History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Comprehensive History of Church Vol 1 : I : : - Comprehensive History of Church Vol 2 : XL : 8 :



The History of the Church of Jesus Christ in the New Dispensation properly begins with an account of the ancestry of Joseph Smith, the Prophet. This in view of efforts to account for the Prophet of the New Dispensation and what are regarded as his "more or less abnormal performances," in bringing into existence the Book of Mormon, and founding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The study of his ancestry becomes important, since no pains are spared in making systematic pathological studies of that ancestry in the hope of finding some abnormalities that would justify the theory that the Prophet's revelations were but hallucinations, the product of a mind diseased. It may be well, therefore, to state what is known of the line of men from whom the Prophet descended, as also to inquire concerning his maternal ancestors.


On the paternal side the ancestry of Joseph Smith can be traced only to Robert Smith, who is known to have come from England to America in 1638, when about fifteen years of age. Nothing is known of the antecedents of Robert in England. After his arrival in America he settled in Essex county, Massachusetts, where he married Mary French, by whom he had ten children. Robert is accredited with having begun life in a humble way; with having won the esteem of his neighbors; and with having prospered fairly well as to material things. He purchased two hundred and eight acres of land located partly in Boxford township, partly in Topsfield. He was usually spoken of as "Robert Smith of Boxford," but sometimes of "Topsfield." He was esteemed as a quiet, unassuming man; interested in the welfare of Boxford, and generous to the needy. It was from this man that the Prophet descended through the following line:

--Samuel (I) third son of the above Robert;

--Samuel (II) first son of the above Samuel;

--Asael, second son of the above Samuel (II);

--and Joseph, (second son of the above Asael) father of the Prophet,

Samuel Smith (I), son of the aforesaid Robert Smith, was born January 26th, 1666. He was a carpenter by trade and married Rebecca Curtis, daughter of John Curtis; and to them were born nine children, two sons and seven daughters. Twenty-three days before his death Robert Smith made his will, which bears the date of August 7th, 1693, in which he appointed his wife Mary and Samuel (I) his executors. But later and at the request of both mother and children, Samuel (I) became sole administrator of his father's estate, a substantial testimony of the family's confidence in his ability and integrity. The letter of administration was issued from Judge Jonathan Corwin, October 3rd, 1698. After the settlement of the estate, Samuel (I) moved from Boxford to Topsfield where he became an influential member of society. While a carpenter by trade, he was also a land owner, and held several offices of trust. He died July 12th, 1748.

Samuel Smith (II), first son of the above Samuel Smith (I), was born January 26th, 1714. He inherited from his father the homestead in Topsfield, and married, first, Priscilla Gould, by whom he had five children. After her demise he married, second, her cousin of the same name. From the number of public offices Samuel (II) filled and the length of time he served in them, it is evident that he was a man of education and enterprise, prominent in the affairs of Topsfield, and active in the affairs of the state. From the public records of Topsfield it appears that he was grand juryman in 1760; in 1770, road supervisor; in 1779, 1780, 1783, 1784, and 1785 he was on the Committee of Safety.

From 1771 to 1777, and again in 1781 and 1782 Samuel (II) was assessor and selectman in Topsfield, declining the honor in 1783. He was moderator of the Topsfield town meetings-chosen by the ballots of the people at each meeting --in 1758, 1759, 1760, 1762, 1764, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1782, and 1783; recognizer of debts in 1777, 1778, 1779, 1780, 1782, and 1783; representative to the General Court (H. of R.) in 1764, 1765, 1766, 1767, 1768, 1769, 1770, 1772, 1777, 1778, and 1781; town clerk in 1774, 1776, and 1777; delegate to the provincial congress at Concord, October 11, 1774; and again January 19, 1775. He was chairman of the local "Tea Committee," and thus had some part in that movement which more than any other of the preliminary steps of resistance to Great Britain's encroachments upon the rights of the colonies, gave good earnest of the greater resistance so soon to follow.

In the Massachusetts Archives is found the following entry:

"Province of the Massachusetts Bay. To the honorable the General Court, Committee Accounts, now sitting at Watertown: "The selectmen of Topsfield hereby exhibit for allowance the account of the powder and lead that the said selectmen delivered out of the town stock, to the minute men and others, to the number of 32, in the whole--and all of the town. It being what they expended in the engagement with the ministerial troops, on their retreat from Concord on the 19th day of April last, viz: One quarter of a pound of powder to each man, amounting in the whole to eight pounds of powder; and also to each man 12 leaden bullets, amounting in weight to 17 pounds. By order of the selectmen of Topsfield.

Topsfield, April 11, 1776. Pr. Sam'l Smith."

Samuel (II) was active throughout the Revolutionary War, and was known as "Captain Samuel Smith," a title he received from service in the militia. He died November 14, 1785, in the ninth year of the Independence of the United States, to obtain which independence he had devoted courageous and efficient service. On his death he left an estate valued at five hundred and forty-four English pounds, which roughly estimated would be equivalent to $2,700. His obituary published in the Salem Gazette of 22nd of November, 1785, said of him:-

"Died.--At Topsfield, on Monday the 14th instant, Samuel Smith, Esq., aged 72.--So amiable and worthy a character as he evidently appeared, both in public and private, will render the memory of him ever precious. For a number of years he represented the town in the General Court, where he was esteemed a man of integrity and uprightness. His usefulness among those with whom he was more immediately conversant was eminent. He was a sincere friend to the liberties of his country, and a strenuous advocate for the doctrine of Christianity."

"The memory of the just is blessed."

Asael Smith, second son of the above Samuel Smith (II), was born 7th of March, 1744. His early life was spent in Topsfield, and at twenty-three he married Mary Duty, of Windham, New Hampshire, in which place he lived for some time, thence moving successively to Dunbarton, and Manchester in the same state. During the American Revolution he served, though with less distinction than his father, in the American army.

On the death of his father, Samuel Smith (II), Asael returned to the old homestead at Topsfield, which he had inherited. At Topsfield, Asael was made to feel the pressure of sectarian intolerance. It is evident that he had strong inclination himself toward that system of doctrine known as universalism--the belief that all souls will finally be saved, that good will finally triumph, universally and permanently.

He was a man of strong convictions in religion, courageous, outspoken, but tolerant withal; and held to the view, not so popular then as it afterwards became, that men should be free to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. These views brought upon him the displeasure of the severely orthodox, who, at that time were swayed by the spirit that regarded toleration with the suspicion, so well expressed in the following quartrain:

"Let men of God in courts and churches watch

O'er such as do a Toleration hatch,

Lest that ill egg bring forth a cockatrice

To poison all in heresy and vice."

This long had been the spirit dominant in New England, and therefore when Asael Smith made free to express his unorthodox opinions, and further emphasized these by giving shelter in his home to a despised and persecuted Quaker, it brought such displeasure of the community upon him that he resolved to leave Topsfield, the home of his fathers, and seek a more congenial society. He went first to northern New Hampshire, thence to Tunbridge, Vermont, where with the aid of his sons he cleared a large farm of virgin forest. In the later years of his life he made his home with his son Silas at Stockholm, St. Lawrence county, New York, where he died October 31st, 1830, in his eighty-sixth year.

It is necessary to deal further with the character of this ancestor of the Prophet, since he is much relied upon by the "hallucination theorists" to prove the physical and mental defects which they feign Joseph Smith, the Prophet, inherited from his forefathers. It has been said that Asael had a physical deformity, that one shoulder was higher than the other. Nehemiah Cleveland, in an address at Topsfield on the occasion of the two hundredth anniversary of the town's incorporation, alluded to this supposed defect by saying: "This man, like `Ammon's great son, one shoulder had too high,' and hence usually bore the significant and complimentary (!) designation of "Crooked Neck Smith'." One may easily discern the bias of the speaker, as he adds: "He was so free in his opinions on religious subjects, that some regarded his sentiments as more distorted than his neck." The facts in relation to this physical "deformity" are, that while a small child Asael's neck was severely burned, the cords contracted, drawing the neck to one side, and rendering it stiff. This misfortune the malice of those whom he offended by the freedom of his religious opinions seized upon as an "abnormality" that later was pressed into service to account for supposed mental abnormalities in his grandson, founder of the Church of the Latter-day Saints. As to the "distortion" of Asael's mind, two documents of his exist which reflect the quality of his mind so clearly, that the reader will need no other evidence to establish the soundness of his understanding, the clearness of his intellect, or the refinement of his nature, than their perusal.

The first of these documents is a letter written by Asael Smith after his removal from Topsfield, commonwealth of Massachusetts, and reads as follows:


"Tunbridge, Jan. 14th, 1796.

"Respected Sir :--Having a favorable opportunity, altho' on very short notice, I with joy and gratitude embrace it, returning herewith my most hearty thanks for your respect shown in your favor of the 30th of November, by Mr. Willes, which I view as a singular specimen of friendship, which has very little been practiced by any of my friends in Topsfield, altho' often requested.

"My family are all, through the goodness of the Divine Benediction, in a tolerable good state of health, and desire to be remembered to you and to all inquiring friends.

"I have set me up a house since Mr. Willes was here and expect to remove into it next spring, and to begin again on an entire new farm, and my son Joseph will live on the old farm (if this that has been but four years occupied can be called old), and carry it on at the halves, which half I hope will nearly furnish my family with food, whilst I with my four youngest sons shall endeavor to bring to another farm, etc.

"As to news, I have nothing, as I know of, worth noticing, except that grain has taken a sudden rise amongst us, about one-third.

"As to the `Jacobin party.' they are not very numerous here or, if they are they are pretty still; there are some in this state, viz., in Bennington, who, like other children crying for a rattle, have blared out against their rulers, in hopes to wrest from them, if possible, what they esteem the plaything of power and trust. But they have been pretty well whipped and have become tolerably quiet again, and I am in hopes, if they live to arrive to the years of discretion, when the empire of reason shall take place, that they will then become good members of society, notwithstanding their noisy, nauseous behavior in their childhood, for which they were neither capable of hearing or giving any reason.

"For my part. I am so willing to trust the government of the world in the hands of the Supreme Ruler of universal nature, that I do not at present wish to try to wrest it out of His hands, and I have so much confidence in His abilities to teach our senators wisdom, that I do not think it worth while for me to interpose, from the little stock of knowledge that He has favored me with, in the affair, either one way or the other. He has conducted us through a glorious Revolution and has brought us into the promised land of peace and liberty, and I believe that He is about to bring all the world into the same beatitude in His own time and way: which, altho' His ways may appear never so inconsistent to our blind reason, yet may be perfectly consistent with His designs. And I believe that the stone is now cut out of the mountain without hands, spoken of by Daniel, and has smitten the image upon his feet, by which the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold, viz., all the monarchial and ecclesiastical tyranny will be broken to pieces and become as the chaff of the summer thrashing floor, the wind shall carry them all away, that there shall be no place found for them.

"Give my best regards to your parents and tell them that I have taken up with the eleventh commandment, that the negro taught to the minister, which was thus-

"The minister asked the negro how many commandments there were, his answer was `eleven, sir.' `Aye,' replied the other, `what is the eleventh? That is one I never heard of.' `The eleventh commandment, sir, is mind your own business.'

"So I choose to do, and give myself but little concern about what passes in the political world.

"Give my best regards to Dr. Meriam. Mr. Willes, Joseph Dorman, and Mr. Cree, and tell Mr. Cree I thank him for his respects and hope he will accept of mine. Write to me as often and as large as you can and oblige your sincere friend and well wisher.

(Signed) Asael Smith.

Mr. Jacob Town, Jun."

The second document is an intended posthumous address to his family. This brave, silent man, who had suffered because of his opinions, is conscious that he "is not free of speech," even under any circumstances, but especially not free of speech "when sick or sad." And not knowing what leisure he might have in the hour of death, or how soon death might overtake him, he writes this "address" some thirty years before his demise, in which he "speaks his heart" to his beloved ones, and wishes them to cherish the product. Though it was the intention of the writer of the document not to have it delivered to the family until after his demise, yet, owing perhaps to the unexpected prolongation of his life after he had written it, its existence became known to and was read by the family before the death of its author. The original writing, in a good state of preservation, is now in the possession of a branch of his family in Salt Lake City, Utah, by whom it is treasured, as well it might be, as a sacred heirloom.


"A few words of advice which I leave to you, my dear wife and children, whom I expect ere long to leave:

"My Dear Selfs--I know not what leisure I shall have at the hour of my death to speak to you, and as you all know that I am not free in speech, especially when sick or sad; and therefore now do speak my heart to you, and would wish you to hear me speaking to you as long as you live (when my tongue shall be mouldered to dust in the silent tomb) in this my writing which I divide among you all.

"And first to you, my dear wife, I do with all the strength and power that is in me, thank you for your kindness and faithfulness to me, beseeching God who is the husband of the widow, to take care of you and not to leave you nor forsake you, or never suffer you to leave nor forsake Him, nor His ways. Put your whole trust solely in Him, He never did nor never will forsake any that trusted in Him. One thing, however, I would add, if you should marry again, remember what I have undergone by a stepmother, and do not estrange your husband from his own children or kindred, lest you draw on him and on yourself a great sin. So I do resign you into the everlasting arms of the great Husband of husbands, the Lord Jesus Christ.

"And now my dear children let me pour out my heart to you and speak first to you of immortality in your souls. Trifle not in this point; the soul is immortal; you have to deal with an infinite Majesty; you go upon life and death; therefore in this point be serious. Do all to God in a serious manner; when you think of Him, speak of Him, pray to Him, or in any way make your addresses to His great Majesty, be in good earnest. Trifle not with His name nor with His attributes, nor call Him to witness to any thing but is absolute truth; nor then, but when sound reason on serious consideration requires it. And as to religion, I would not wish to point any particular form to you; but first I would wish you to search the Scriptures and consult sound reason and see if they (which I take to be two witnesses that stand by the God of the whole earth) are not sufficient to evince to you that religion is a necessary theme. Then I would wish you to study the nature of religion, and see whether it consists in outward formalities, or in the hidden man of the heart; whether you can by outward forms, rites and ordinances, save yourselves, or whether there is a necessity of your having help from any other hand than your own. If you find that you stand in need of a Savior, Christ saith: `Look unto me and be ye saved all ye ends of the earth;' then look to Him, and if you find from Scripture and sound reason that Christ hath come into the world to save sinners, then examine what it was that caused Him to leave the center of consummate happiness to suffer as He did--whether it was to save mankind because they were sinners and could not save themselves; or, whether He came to save mankind because they had repented of their sins, so as to be forgiven on the score of their repentance. If you find that He came to save sinners merely because they were such, then try if there is any other [sinner] so great that He cannot save him; but mind that you admit no others as evidences but the two that God hath appointed, viz., Scripture and sound reason. And if these two witness that you are one whit better by nature than the worst heathen in the darkest corner of the deserts of Arabia, then conclude that God hath been partial towards you and hath furnished you with a better nature than others; and that consequently, He is not just to all mankind. But if these two witnesses testify to you that God is just to all and His tender mercies are over all His works; then believe them, and if you can believe that Christ came to save sinners and not the righteous Pharisees, or self-righteous; that sinners must be saved by the righteousness of Christ alone, without mixing any of their own righteousness with His, then you will see that He can as well save all as any. And there is no respect of persons with God, who will have all mankind to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, viz., `that there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.' And when you believe this you will enter into His rest, and when you enter into His rest you will know what that rest is, and not before. And having gotten this evidence that God is true, be still adding to your evidence and enjoy your present assurance. Do all to your God as to your father, for His love is ten thousand times greater towards you than ever any earthly father's could be to his offspring.

"In the next place strive for those graces, most which concern your places and conditions and strive most against those failings which most threaten you. But above everything avoid a melancholy disposition, that is a humor that admits of any temptation and is capable of any impression and distemper; shun as death this humor which will work you to all unthankfulness against God, unlovingness to men and unnaturalness to yourself and one another.

"Do not talk and make noise to get the name of forward men, but do the thing and do it in a way that is fair and honest, which you can live and die by and rise and reign by; therefore, my children do more than you talk of, in point of religion; satisfy your own consciences in what you do; all men you shall never satisfy, nay, some will not be satisfied though they be convinced.

"As for Your Calling--Any honest calling will honor you if you honor that. It is better to be a rich cobbler than a poor merchant; a rich farmer than a poor preacher; and never be discouraged though sometimes your schemes should not succeed according to your wishes.

"Persevere in the way of well-doing and you may hope for success. For myself (who had never your parts nor helps), I never found anything too hard for me in my calling, but discouragement and Unbelief. If I was discouraged and did not believe I could do a thing. I never could; therefore, when you think anything is too hard for you, do not undertake it.

"As to Your Company--Abandon all infectious, self-serving companions; when once you have found them false, trust them no more. Sort with such as are able to do or receive good. Solomon gives you the best counsel for this in many places. Read the Proverbs and remember him in this: Forsake not an old friend; be friendly and faithful to your friends. Never trouble nor trust friends unless there be a necessity, and lastly be long in closing with friends and loth to lose them upon experience of them.

"As to Your Marriages--I do not think it worth while to say much about them, for I believe God hath created the persons for each other and that nature will find its own.

"But for Your Children--Make it your chiefest work to bring them up in the ways of virtue that they may be useful in their generation. Give them if possible a good education; if nature hath made no difference do you make none in your affections, countinances nor portions; partiality this way begets envy, hatred, strife, and contention.

"And as for Yourself Within Yourselves--My desire hath been to carry an even hand towards you all and I have labored to reduce you as near as I could, all circumstances considered, to an equality; and, therefore, my last request and charge is, that you will live together in an undivided bond of love. You are many of you, and if you join together as one man, you need not want anything. What counsel, what comfort, what money, what friends may you not help yourselves unto, if you will all as one contribute your aids.

"Wherefore, my dear children. I pray, beseech, and adjure you by all the relations and dearness that hath ever been betwixt us and by the heart-rending pangs of a dying father whose soul hath been ever bound in the bundle of life with yours, that you know one another. Visit as you may each other. Comfort, counsel, relieve, succor, help and admonish one another; and, while your mother lives, meet her, if possible, once every year. When she is dead, pitch on some other place, if it may be your elder brother's house; or if you cannot meet, send to and hear from each other yearly and oftener if you can; and when you have neither father nor mother left, be so many fathers and mothers to each other, so you shall understand the blessings mentioned in the 133 Psalm.

"As to Your Estates--Be not troubled that you are below your kindred; get more wisdom, humility and virtue and you are above them, only do this. Deal with your hearts to make them less; begin low, join together to help one another; rest upon the promises which are many and precious this way. Love mercy and have mercy on yourselves and one another, and I know, I know. I say, and I am confident in it, that if you will trust God in His own way He will make comfortable provisions for you. Make no more objections but trust Him.

"For the public--Bless God that you live in a land of liberty and bear yourselves dutifully and conscionably towards the authority under which you live. See God's providence in the appointment of the Federal Constitution and hold union and order precious jewels. And for the Church of Christ; neither set her above her Husband nor below her children; give her that honor, obedience and respect that is her due. And if you will be my children and heirs of my comfort in my dying age, be neither anothers, nor factions of any party, or factions of novelty; it is true that this is not a rising way, but it is a free, fair, comfortable way for a man to follow his own judgment without wavering to either hand. I make no doubt but you will hear diverse opinions concerning me both before and after I shall sleep in silence; but do not be troubled at that. I did what in my circumstances seemed best for me for the present; however, the event hath not in some points answered my expectations; yet I have learned to measure things by another rule than events, and satisfy myself in this that I did all for the best, as I thought, and if I had not so much foresight as some others I cannot help it.

"Sure am I, my Savior, Christ, is perfect, and never will fail in one circumstance. To Him I commit your souls, bodies, estates, names, characters, lives, deaths and all, and myself, waiting when He shall change my vile body and make it like His own most glorious body. And wish to leave to you every thing I have in this world but my faults, and them I take with me to the grave, there to be buried in everlasting oblivion; but leaving my virtues, if ever I had any, to revive and live in you. Amen; so come Lord Jesus; come quickly, Amen.

"The above was written April 10, 1799, and left for my dearly beloved wife and children to view after my decease.

[Signed] Asael Smith."

Making due allowance for some provincialisms, and in one or two places lack of precision of expression, we have in these two papers documents that one would be glad to find that an ancestor of his had written and left as a family heritage. While as a replica of Asael Smith's mind, character, and manners, they certainly reveal him to be a serious minded man, yet of a pleasant humor, and polite manners. A man of noble independence of mind, yet of child-like humility. Of unbounded faith and trust in the wisdom of Providence and in his over-ruling hand in the affairs of nations. Loyal to his country, and full of faith in the stability of the American government, under the over-ruling providences of God. A family solicitude, most admirable; a knowledge of both the problems of life and the best means of their solution. This is not the language of adulation, but merely the summing up of the contents of these two documents.


Joseph Smith, son of the above Asael Smith, and father of the Prophet, was born at Topsfield, Massachusetts, July 12, 1771. He accompanied his father first to northern New Hampshire, thence to Tunbridge, Vermont, where he assisted in clearing a farm of which, four years after it was first cleared, he took possession to cultivate on the "half share" system, common to those times in New England; while his father and four other sons went on clearing other lands. Here he married Lucy Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack of Gilsum, Cheshire county, New Hampshire. The young people met during the repeated visits of Lucy to her brother, Stephen Mack, who was engaged in the mercantile and tinning business with John Mudget at Tunbridge. The marriage took place on the 24th of January, 1796.

Soon after the marriage as the young people were starting on a visit to the bride's parents, at Gilsum, the matter of making Lucy a wedding present became a subject of conversation. "Well," said Mr. Mudget, "Lucy ought to have something worth naming, and I will give her just as much as you will;" this to Stephen Mack. "Done," said the brother, "I will give her five hundred dollars in cash." "Good." said the other, "and I will give her five hundred dollars more." They drew a check for one thousand dollars upon their bankers, and Lucy had been provided with her dowry. "This check," says Lucy, "I laid aside, as I had other means by me sufficient to purchase my house-keeping furniture."

Six years Joseph Smith cultivated his farm at Tunbridge--Lucy calls it a "handsome farm;" and then the ambitious pair determined upon a business career in merchandising. The Tunbridge farm was rented and the family removed to Randolph, where in a short time Joseph Smith learned of the large profits in raising ginseng root, the medicinal properties of which were highly prized in China. Joseph invested all the means he could command in this enterprise; and evidently was successful, since a local merchant of Royalton offered him three thousand dollars for the first quantity he had prepared for shipment. As this was about two-thirds the current value of the product, Joseph determined upon finding an exporter independently, and for this purpose visited New York City. Finally he and Mr. Stevens shipped their ginseng in the same vessel for China, where evidently it sold to great advantage: but through the rascality of Mr. Steven's son, who, according to mutual agreement, went with the cargo to China. Joseph Smith received no returns whatever from this venture. The younger Stevens, after his return told a plausible story of failure to sell the ginseng cargo, but he at once employed eight or ten men and prepared to go into the business of crystallizing ginseng root on a large scale. Young Stevens' embezzlement of the Smith proceeds of the cargo sent to China began to come to light, however; thereupon he fled to Canada, and that was the last the Smiths heard of him. Meantime Joseph Smith's affairs were desperate. He had risked all his means on this ginseng venture; and he had lost about two thousand dollars in bad debts while merchandizing. He was owing eighteen hundred dollars to Boston merchants, payment of which he expected to meet from the proceeds of his China shipment of ginseng. The only resource left was the Tunbridge farm. This was sold for eight hundred dollars, about half of its value; and Lucy bravely brought forth her wedding dowry of one thousand dollars; and this, with the proceeds from the sale of the farm, met Joseph's obligations to the Boston merchants.

After disposing of his farm at Tunbridge, Joseph Smith lived a short time at Royalton, and thence moved to Sharon--the distances not great--Windsor county. Here Joseph rented a farm of his wife's father, Solomon Mack, which he cultivated in the summer, and taught school in the winter. By dint of the father following the two occupations, the affairs of the family began to improve and take on an air of comfort. And here, on the old Mack farm, among the hills of Sharon township, in the beautiful White River Valley, Joseph the future Prophet of the New Dispensation, was born on the 23rd of December, 1805.



On the maternal side the Prophet's ancestry cannot be traced beyond John Mack, who was born in 1653, in Inverness, Scotland. He came to America about 1680, and settled in Lyme, Connecticut, 1734. The Prophet Joseph Smith descended from this man in the following line:


--Ebenezer Mack, son of the above John Mack;

--Solomon Mack, son of the above Ebenezer Mack;

--Lucy Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack, and mother of the Prophet.

John Mack, the Scotch immigrant of 1680, was the original and early settler of that name in the colony of Connecticut, and the ancestor of the early Macks of that state. In the History of Five Colonial Families, of which the Mack family is one, the following occurs:

"It is thought that the Mack family dropped their original name, retaining the prefix only, thereby being better able to escape persecution on account of their religious belief. It is said that part of their coat-of-arms was a boar's head. The Scotch families of McDougal and McTavish have as parts of their coats-of-arms a boar's head erased. One branch of the family thinks that the original name was McDermon."

Ebenezer Mack was born at Lyme, December 8th, 1697; and became pastor of the Second Congregational church at that place. He was a man of considerable property and lived in good style, commanding the respect and attention usually accorded those engaged in his calling, and who follow habits of strict morality. But after enjoying these advantages for a time, misfortunes overtook Ebenezer Mack and the family, once so comfortably situated, was scattered.


Solomon Mack was born at Lyme, Connecticut, September 15th, 1732. When misfortune befell his father's family, Solomon was but four years of age. He was apprenticed to a farmer of the neighborhood, and experienced the hardships of an "apprenticed hand"--all too common in New England in those times, and afterwards--long hours of incessant toil, cold neglect, with no schooling, and but little opportunity for self improvement. Not until he attained his majority was Solomon Mack set free from this semi-bondage. Then he entered the service of his majesty, King George II, the French and Indian War being at its height. He saw active service during the next four years, being in a number of important engagements with the French and Indians about Lake George; at Fort Edward, Fort William Henry, Ticonderoga and Crown Point. At the last named place in the spring of 1759 Solomon Mack received his discharge; and the same year he married Lydia Gates, the daughter of Nathan Gates of East Haddam, Connecticut. Lydia was a school teacher. Solomon speaks of her as an "accomplished young woman;" and later in his Narrative justifies the description by a further reference to her in the most complimentary terms, in connection with the rearing of their family. The money that accumulated in Solomon's hands by four year's service in the army was invested in lands in Grandville, Washington county, New York, east of Lake George, and near the Vermont line. Part of the settler's contract was to build a number of log houses on the land he had purchased. About this time Solomon had the misfortune to cut his leg and he was disabled for work throughout the summer. The man whom he employed to build the aforesaid log houses, and whom he paid in advance, absconded with the money the part of the contract pertaining to building the houses was not fulfilled, and consequently the land with the investment was lost. After this the family settled in Marlow, Cheshire county, New Hampshire. "No other than a desolate, dreary wilderness," is Solomon's description of it, "only four families within forty miles." But here the talents and virtues of Lydia, his wife, shone out. The pair now had four children, and the husband says:


"Here I was thrown into a situation to appreciate more fully the talents and virtues of my excellent wife; for, as our children were deprived of schools, she assumed the charge of their education, and performed the duties of an instructress as none, save a mother, is capable of. Precepts accompanied with examples such as hers, were calculated to make impressions on the minds of the young, never to be forgotten. She, besides instructing them in the various branches of an ordinary education, was in the habit of calling them together both morning and evening, and teaching them to pray; meanwhile urging upon them the necessity of love towards each other, as well as devotional feeling towards him who made them. In this manner my first children became confirmed in habits of piety, gentleness, and reflection, which afforded great assistance in guiding those who came after them, into the same happy channel. The education of my children would have been a more difficult task if they had not inherited much of their mother's excellent disposition."

This lady, it should be remembered, was the maternal grandmother of Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

In 1776 Solomon Mack enlisted in the American army, serving for some time in the land forces, but subsequently with his two sons, Jason and Stephen, he served in a privateering expedition under Captain Havens. After serving his country for four years he returned to Gilsum, New Hampshire. Owing to exposure and the hardships of his early life Solomon Mack's health failed him in his later years; he was feeble and much afflicted with rheumatism. In making journeys about the country in those days he rode on horseback, and for his greater comfort used a woman's saddle--a circumstance pressed into service to emphasize the existence of an "abnormality" in one of the ancestors of Joseph Smith!

The circumstance that he was subject to occasional lapses into unconsciousness is made to do service in the same manner. This defect was occasioned by a severe injury in the head caused by a falling tree upon him in middle life; so, too, some hallucinations of extreme old age attended with failing health. Yet this old, Revolutionary soldier, bequeathed to the country, whose liberties and institutions he had risked his life to establish, a noble family. His two sons, Jason and Stephen, both served their country in the American Revolution. Jason, who is described as "a studious and manly boy," was of a religious turn of mind, even in his youth, and became a preacher of the gospel and a social reformer. The chief scene of his activities was in New Brunswick, where he purchased a tract of land upon which he settled some thirty families of the poorer class, and taught them how to become self-supporting; supervising their temporal labors as well as ministering to their spiritual comfort. In such labor the greater part of his life was spent.


Stephen Mack who, as we have already seen, was engaged in the mercantile and tinning business at Tunbridge, Vermont, finally extended his enterprises westward as far as Detroit, Michigan. He was in Detroit in 1812 at the time of Hull's surrender, and had been appointed to the command of a company of troops as captain, although generally called "Major Mack." When subsequently--and shortly after his appointment as captain--he was ordered by his superior officers to surrender, he was so highly indignant that he broke his sword across his knee and threw it into the lake, saying he would never submit to the disgraceful compromise. By the year 1820, according to the written statement of Horace Stanley, Stephen Mack was the proprietor of a large mercantile establishment in Detroit--large for those days, employing six clerks. Besides this establishment he had a number of stores in various parts of Michigan and Ohio. At his own expense he built a turn-pike road from Detroit to Pontiac where he owned a large farm upon which he lived. In 1828 he was a member of the council of the territory of Michigan. All this would indicate that Stephen Mack was a man of intelligence, judgment, enterprise, and successful withal. When he died he left his family an estate of $50,000, without incumbrance, which, in those days, was a large fortune.

Lovisa and Lovina Mack, daughters of Solomon, died in early womanhood. Both being of a deeply religious nature they had some experiences in spiritual manifestations and bodily "healings" regarded at the time as bordering on the miraculous, but which now, in the larger experience of Christian life, including the claims of "Christian Science," and of the "Immanuel Movement," would scarcely be looked upon as ultra remarkable.

Lydia Mack, the third daughter of Solomon Mack, was less religiously inclined than her sisters. Of her it is said: "She seemed to float more with the stream of common events. * * * She sought riches and obtained them: yet in the day of prosperity she remembered the poor, for she dealt out her substance to the needy with a liberal hand to the end of her days, and died the object of their affection."

Daniel, the third son of Solomon Mack, is described as "worldly minded, but not vicious," and was noted for two things; daring and philanthropy. In proof of the first trait he is credited with rescuing three men from drowning in one adventure, at the risk of his own life."

Solomon Mack (II), the fourth son of Solomon (I), was born in the town of Gilsum, New Hampshire, where also he married. He was known as "Captain" Solomon Mack of Gilsum. He stayed close to his home town, traveling no farther than to Boston, to which city for some time his business called him about twice a year. But in the rocky hills of the old New Hampshire town, prosperity responded to his industry and business acumen, and he was held in honor by the local community in which he lived and died, surrounded by the dignity of a large family.

With Lucy Mack added, of whom something has already been said, and more remains to say--such was the family that Solomon Mack, maternal grand-father of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, gave to his country. This veteran soldier of two wars, the French and Indian War, and the War of the American Revolution --especially when it is remembered that in the latter war two of his sons fought by his side--may be pardoned the vanity of thinking that his life warranted the publication of a brief autobiography, even if, owing to an entire absence of opportunity for schooling in youth, the Narrative was faulty in literary style, imperfect in orthography and grammar, and included some "hymns" of doubtful poetic value.


Three things are commonly charged against the ancestors of Joseph Smith, the Prophet: "restlessness," "illiteracy," and "credulity." The statement of facts on the ancestry of Joseph Smith, drawn from trust-worthy sources of information, and relating to both his paternal and maternal ancestry, as far as it can be traced, may be relied upon to refute all three of these charges, so far as it is necessary to refute them; for to a certain extent these qualities may be admitted without prejudice either to Joseph Smith or his ancestors. For instance, as to

"Restlessness:" On the paternal side it can only be alleged as to Asael Smith and Joseph Smith, Sen., grandfather and father, respectively, of the Prophet. The former removed from Topsfield to northern New Hampshire, thence to Tunbridge, Vermont, where he engaged with his sons in clearing farms; and in his old age moved to Stockholm, St. Lawrence county, New York, where he might spend the closing days of a long and arduous life in the midst of his children and grandchildren. As to the "restlessness" of Joseph Smith, Sen., previous to the commencement of his son Joseph's career, as founder of a church, it was manifested only in several removals covering no great distances in Vermont, and New Hampshire; and thence, the longest distance of all, to Palmyra, New York. As to the restlessness of the Macks, it may not be alleged against any of them, except it may be Solomon Mack, maternal grandfather of the Prophet, and even in him only during the period of the French and Indian War, and the war of the American Revolution. Apart from his movements in that period, and one voyage to Liverpool, England, the limits of his "wanderings" were marked by Cheshire county, New Hampshire, and Windsor county, Vermont --located at no great distance apart across the state line. And what is there in this "restlessness" that was reprehensible? And why should it subject these men to the spiteful epithets of "tramp" and "vagabond"? It was only such "restlessness" as sought to better industrial conditions by change of habitat; and the soil of New England, sterile at best, and the uncertainty of the climate in the hill country of Vermont and New Hampshire, at least justified if they did not compel the removals. It was the "restlessness" that sent the people of New England, Pennsylvania and Maryland through the gateway to the west provided by the head waters of the Ohio, into the Western Reserve; and the people of Virginia and the South Atlantic States, over the Appalachian Mountains into Kentucky and Tennessee; and finally westward to the Pacific coast. It was the "restlessness" that led Americans to take possession of their heritage--was this reprehensible?

The biographers of Lincoln have to meet this same charge of a "restless," migratory spirit in the great president's immediate ancestors; and Mr. Henry C. Whitney, in his biographical treatise--Lincoln the Citizen, published 1907, in defense of the migrations of the Lincoln family, says: "Migration is an American institution. Instances are not rare of men who have actually lived in a dozen different states; and California, Oregon, and Washington are largely peopled by men who commenced their tours of migration in the Atlantic States, and by slow approaches ultimately reached the ultimate limits of western civilization. The Marshall family, whence came the great Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Marshall, could be charged with the same `fault' if such it be. Thomas Marshall, father of John Marshall, left the ancestral farm in Westmoreland county, abandoned it in fact; and settled in Prince William county farther up the Potomac; thence a few years later, he moved into a valley of the Blue Ridge mountains. Years later came another "restlessness" which carried Thomas Marshall over the Blue Ridge into the far distant new settlements of Kentucky. And what of it? Thomas Marshall, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Benjamin Harrison were emigrants."

"Illiteracy:" This may not be strictly charged upon any of the Prophet's ancestry except, perhaps, on Solomon Mack. Certainly not upon the Smiths of Topsfield the two Samuels and Asael; for the evidence that refutes the charge is before the reader in these chapters. Certainly illiteracy may not be charged upon Joseph Smith, Sen., father of the Prophet, for he taught school in Sharon; notwithstanding which Linn says of him: "The father and several of the boys could not read!" And while Riley admits the school teaching, he seeks to minimize the fact by saying: "How much knowledge this would imply is conjectural. The course of study in a Vermont district school at the beginning of the last century did not consist of much more than reading, writing and arithmetic."

The remark is not objectionable. It is safe to say that the educational equipment of school teachers in Vermont and New York was limited; and Mr. Riley himself in a subsequent passage to the one just quoted, gives a sufficient explanation of such limitations:

"Of the founders of Vermont it was said that few were versed in the rules of grammar. A like state of affairs existed on the frontiers of New York, where the average school attendance was but three months in the year and where, at the time of the writing of the Book of Mormon, there were not two academies to a county. Moreover in their toils in the backwoods the boys were needed at home. * * * Along with these shortcomings in education went an equal scarcity of books: every house had its Bible, but of general reading there was a woeful lack. If at this time it cost a day's wages to carry a letter from Boston to Cincinnati, books could not have been widely circulated by mail."

But one whose knowledge extended to "the three R's," who read the Bible, and doubtless other books, ought not to be classed as illiterate. Such illiteracy, then, as may be, in a limited way, attributed to the ancestors of the Prophet, or himself, was that enforced upon them by environment, by lack of opportunity, by the fault of the times, of their location, and of their fortunes; not a deliberate choice of illiteracy in the midst of opportunities to have it otherwise; and hence they bear the charge sans reproach.

Credulity: Yes; the Prophet's ancestors were credulous in that some of them believed that they were healed of bodily ailments by the power of faith in God. Others had dreams, as their neighbors had, that they could refer to no other than the spiritual forces of this God's world. In common with their neighbors they lived in a spiritual world as well as in a material one; they experienced much that they could not understand, and after the manner of their times and the locality in which they lived, they attributed the phenomena of this spiritual world to God or satan!--the names that stood to them for good and evil forces. It may be admitted that some of them believed in fortune telling, in warlocks and witches--though, to their credit be it said, they are not found among those who burned the witches, or who oppressed others for their religious opinions, or for the lack of religious convictions--all this may be admitted. Indeed it is scarcely conceivable how one could live in New England in those years and not have shared in such beliefs. To be credulous in such things was to be normal people. To have been incredulous in such matters in that age and locality, would have stamped them abnormal. And then, it might be pertinent to ask those who now sneer at the "credulity" of past ages, if their "philosophy" has driven the phenomena of mind, or spirit from the realm of man's experience? Or have they merely satisfied themselves with what seems to them a more rational explanation of the sources of these phenomena? And are they quite certain that they have reached the last analysis of such phenomena? If not, does not the truly scientific spirit, which is the boast of our age, require that they be a little modest before speaking too contemptuously this word "credulity"? Then for Christian people, who sneer at the "credulity" that in modern times believes in dreams, in healing of bodily infirmities through faith--power, in angel visitations, spirit voices and promptings amounting sometimes to revelations--for them there are the origins of Christianity to reconcile with their unaccountable scorn of that "credulity" which merely accepts the reality of just such things as those that are associated with Christian origins. Are not we of this age believing more than our ancestors? Let the bulky tomes of the Society for Psychological Research answer. All our hard-headed science, our philosophy, our universal enlightenment, our thought-to-be-skeptical-age, cannot drive out the "supernatural" realities from human life. "Credulity" is not necessarily a badge of ignorance. A truly enlightened age is going to be more thoroughly credulous than an age of darkness. It will not always be an apt saying--"the slighter intelligences are much given to convictions;" nor this, "those who know a few things, believe a great many." Those of the enlightened age to be, now dawning--those of profound intelligence--will have the firmer and larger convictions; those who know many things, will believe very many more. And that which men now and in the past have sneeringly called "credulity," may yet stand, as often it has stood in the past, for rational faith in the spiritual realities of life. Of this truth, England's foremost scientist of this age, Sir Oliver Lodge, whose belief in and widely expressed confidence in the reality of spiritual phenomena is well known, may well be taken as an illustration of the remarks.



During Joseph Smith's early childhood there were removals of the family from Sharon to Tunbridge, and thence to Royalton; but nevertheless these were years of prosperity. In 1811 the family settled in Lebanon, Grafton county, New Hampshire, just over the Vermont line, in the beautiful valley of the Connecticut river. Here the parents hoped for even larger prosperity than had come from their labors in the past. "Here we settled ourselves down," says Lucy Smith, "and began to contemplate with joy and satisfaction the prosperity which had attended our recent exertions; and we doubled our diligence, in order to obtain more of this world's goods, with a view of assisting our children when they should need it; and, as is quite natural, we looked forward to the decline of life and were providing for its wants as well as striving to procure those things which contribute much to the comfort of old age."


Hyrum Smith, the second son, was sent to an academy in Hanover, a few miles north from Lebanon; and the other children of sufficient age, to the nearer common school in Lebanon. The affairs of the family were in this happy condition when an epidemic of typhus fever passed over the neighborhood. The Smiths were sorely afflicted by the fever. Hyrum was stricken while in school in Hanover, and brought home; and all the children one after the other fell victims to the scourge. Sophronia, a daughter, narrowly escaped dying; the mother attributes her recovery to the blessing of God obtained through prayer. Joseph recovered from the fever, but some two weeks after his recovery was suddenly seized with a severe pain in his shoulder. A wrong diagnosis by the physician attributed the trouble to a sprain, when in reality there had been none; but after two weeks of suffering there developed between the breast and shoulder a fever sore which, on being lanced, discharged large quantities of pus. The pain then shifted into the leg, causing great suffering; and so continued from bad to worse despite the efforts of physicians, until finally amputation was decided upon by the surgeons, and was only avoided by the protests and determination of the lad himself and the mother. An operation was performed, however, by a large piece of one of the bones between the knee and ankle being removed. Of course the operation was performed with the crude instruments of the times, without the use of anesthetics; and as the boy refused to take stimulants or to be tied down to the bed, the manner in which he passed through the trying ordeal was a rare exhibition of pluck and power of endurance. After the operation the lad quickly recovered, and was sent to Salem, Massachusetts, to the home of his uncle, Jesse Smith, in the hope that the sea air would help in his restoration to perfect health, a hope that was not disappointed.


Something like a year of sickness played havoc with the fortunes of the family of Joseph Smith, Sen., and they removed to Norwich in the state of Vermont--just over the state line, and some ten or twelve miles distant from Lebanon. Here three successive crop failures still further reduced the fortunes of the family. Meantime, Joseph Smith, Sen., having heard of the richer lands and milder climate of western New York, determined upon removing to that state. After negotiating a settlement of his financial affairs between his debtors and creditors, he departed, in company with a Mr. Howard, for Palmyra, New York. In due time a team was sent back to Norwich for his wife and the family of children, now numbering eight. On the eve of the family's departure some creditors, refusing to abide by the settlement arranged before the father left Vermont, came forward now and presented their claims, which Lucy Smith, by extraordinary exertions succeeded in satisfying. After a painful separation from her mother at Royalton--the former Lydia Gates, so tenderly praised by Solomon Mack--Lucy Smith and her family made their way to Palmyra, New York, where they were welcomed by the father, and all rejoiced in the reunion of the family.

It was a serious condition that confronted this family on its arrival in Palmyra. More than a year of sickness, followed by three successive crop failures--not because of idleness or lack of skill in husbandry, but through drought or frosts, causes beyond their control--together with the necessary expense of removing from New Hampshire to Palmyra, a distance of some three hundred miles, had exhausted all their resources, and they were penniless. It need create no special wonderment that the elder Smith at this period is described as being "of gaunt and haggard visage," and wearing "rusty clothes." A family consultation resulted in the determination to unite their efforts in purchasing a tract of one hundred acres of land some two miles south of Palmyra, on the north border of Manchester township, belonging to minor heirs of the Everson estate, whose agent resided at Canandaigua, Ontario county. "In a year," says Lucy Smith, "we made nearly all of the first payment, erected a log house, and commenced clearing. I believe something like thirty acres of land were made ready for cultivation the first year." Meanwhile, to meet the immediate necessities of the family, the male members engaged in occasional day's work among the neighboring farmers or in the town; while the mother, skilled in hand-painting oil-cloth covers for tables and stands, etc., met a large part of the family expenses.


Finally the family moved from the town of Palmyra, to the new log house on the farm, in Manchester township, and though the house was a humble

one--consisting of two rooms on the ground floor and a like number in an attic, to which there was soon afterwards added a bedroom-wing of sawed slabs--the family was able to resume conditions of independent methods of life to which it had been accustomed. In a very few years a more commodious frame house was planned and the erection of it begun. This enterprise was more especially the conception of Alvin, the oldest son of the family, then about twenty-five years of age. To the neighbors who watched the progress of the new house, he often said: "I am going to have a nice, pleasant room for father and mother to sit in, and everything arranged for their comfort. They shall not work any more as they have done." But Alvin never lived to see the house completed. In the middle of November, 1824, he was taken ill and died, not of bilious colic of which he was stricken down, but of an over-dose of calomel which lodged in the upper intestines, gangrened, and produced death, despite the efforts of four physicians called to attend the case. In after years in speaking of his brother Alvin, the Prophet referred to him "as a very handsome man, and of great strength." The mother speaks of him as "a youth of singular goodness of disposition, kind and amiable."


The new house was finally completed and the family took possession of it. The amount of cleared land gradually increased from thirty to sixty acres, and there were from twelve to fifteen hundred sugar trees on the place from which sap was gathered in the spring and converted into molasses and sugar. The farm thus redeemed from a wilderness and a commodious house built upon it, attracted the attention of the covetous. All the payments as agreed upon with the agents of the Everson estate, except the last, had been made, when a change of agents took place. To the new agent misrepresentations were made as to the movements and intention of the Smiths. The departure of Joseph Smith, Sen., and his son Joseph from home in order to raise the money for the payment of the last installment--having made arrangements with a Mr. Josiah Stoal and a Mr. Joseph Knight for the sale of their wheat crop, with that end in view--was converted into a "running away;" while Hyrum was accused of cutting down the sugar orchard, hauling away the rails, burning them, and doing no end of mischief to the farm. Under these circumstances the place was sold outright by the new agent to other parties--one of them a Mr. Stoddard, who had been the chief carpenter in building the new house for the Smiths--and a deed given for the same. These would-be purchasers, however, did not altogether succeed in their designs, since by the exertions of the Smith family the unjust purchase was canceled and the title lodged with the high sheriff of the county, a Mr. Durfee. The Smiths continued to occupy the home and cultivate the farm until they removed to Ohio, in 1831; but they never completed the title to the property.


During the five years, however, that this commodious house--still in a good state of preservation, as will be seen by the engraving of it accompanying this chapter--sheltered the Smiths. It was the home of a Christian family, too, as also was the more humble log house first erected on the Smith farm, although none of the family formed any connection with the sectarian churches about them until 1820. The question "which the sects shall we join," had been a problem in the Smith household even before their removal from Vermont. Lucy Smith was baptized in that state by a minister who was willing to leave to her the question of choosing the sect she would join, and to a time subsequent to her baptism. During the family's residence in Tunbridge, Lucy's desire to be identified with some one or other of the churches became acute; but, owing to the disagreeable feeling which such a step seemed likely to engender among their friends, and especially with the eldest brother of Joseph Smith, Sen.--Jesse Smith,--she abandoned, for the time being, her desire. In 1820, however, when the religious revival that swept through the Western Reserve and New York state reached Palmyra, she determined upon membership in the Presbyterian church, and in this was followed by her sons Hyrum and Samuel Harrison, and by her daughter Sophronia. Joseph Smith, the future Prophet of the New Dispensation, inclined to the Methodist persuasion, but did not join their church. The father held aloof from formal connection with any of the sects, but was none the less a staunch, Christian man. "Were your folks religiously inclined before Joseph saw the angel," inquired one of William Smith, brother of the Prophet? This in 1893, when William Smith was a very aged man. "Yes," he answered. "We always had family prayers since I can remember. I well remember father used to carry his spectacles in his vest pocket, and when we boys saw him feel for his `specs,' we knew that was a signal to get ready for prayer, and if we did not notice it mother would say, `William,' or whoever was the negligent one, `get ready for prayers.' After the prayer we had a song we would sing; I remember part of it yet.

`Another day has passed and gone, We lay our garments by.'"

It was this circumstance of Bible reading in the home which doubtless led one who was for some years neighbor to the Smiths,--Dr. John Stafford, of Rochester, New York,--to say that Joseph Smith, Jun., was quite illiterate until after the Smiths "began to have school at their house;" and then "he improved greatly." "Did they have school in their own house?" Doctor Stafford was asked. "Yes, sir," he answered, "they had school in their house and studied the Bible." "Who was their teacher?" the Doctor was asked. "They did not have any teacher; they taught themselves."


It was in these places, Palmyra and Manchester, and in the midst of these family struggles for existence and these sorrows, that the boyhood of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was spent. Western and much even of central New York was a wilderness in those years. Rochester, some twenty miles to the northwest of Palmyra, in 1815, consisted of but two or three log houses. The region was known as "the western wilderness," and two years before the arrival of the Smiths the Indians had "desolated the whole Niagara frontier." Educational advantages were meager. Up to the revision of the state constitution in 1822, each school district had but twenty dollars per annum from the state, and it was with some difficulty that a three months term of the common schools could be run by state and local taxation. Moreover, the affairs of the family in the early years of its residence at Palmyra, required the services of even the lad Joseph to assist in its maintenance, so that he was largely deprived even of the small opportunities afforded by the school system of the state; and books, as already noted, were few and difficult to obtain. Small need of wonder, then, if the book--learning of young Smith was limited. Still he learned to read passing well, he could write and had some knowledge of numbers; it is confessed by his mother that he was less inclined to the perusal of books, than the other children of the family, but "was more given to deep study and meditation."


A number of anti-"Mormon" writers unconsciously corroborate this view of his being given to deep study and meditation. Tucker, who perhaps has written the most prejudiced account of the Prophet's boyhood days, says: "Taciturnity was among his characteristic idiosyncracies, and he seldom spoke to any one outside of his intimate associates except when first addressed by another. * * * He nevertheless evidenced the rapid development of a thinking, plodding, evil-brewing mental composition." Of his reading Tucker also remarks: "Joseph, moreover, as he grew in years had learned to read comprehensively, in which qualification he was far in advance of his elder brother and even his father." As this comparison is made as to his brother Alvin, who died in 1824, it gives us a view of the Prophet in his later "teens," from seventeen to nineteen. Tucker also adds: "He was, however, proverbially good natured, very rarely if ever indulging in any combative spirit toward any one, whatever might be the provocation, and yet was never known to laugh." Another anti-"Mormon" writer speaking of the Prophet's boyhood, says: "His mind was retentive; he was possessed of a rude eloquence of speech, and had that rare power of expression that to the stranger or simple would seem the outward form of a sincere belief within."

Leaving out the visions and revelations received by Joseph Smith in his youth-beginning in his fifteenth year, and which are reserved for separate treatment--his boyhood was commonplace enough, and his life very similar to the lives of thousands of American boys of that generation, reared in the borders of an ever expanding frontier.



The Smith family while living in Palmyra and Manchester are said (1) to have been lazy, shiftless, intemperate and untruthful; (2) to have opened a "shop" in Palmyra where they sold cakes, pies, root beer, and the like; and that on public occasions, such as the Fourth of July, militia training days, and election days, the elder Smith would load a rude hand-cart, made by himself, with these wares and sally forth to find such patronage as might come to hand; (3) to have been dishonest and guilty of stealing from their neighbors.


Joseph Smith, the Prophet, states that shortly after obtaining the plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon: "Rumor with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating falsehoods about my father's family, and myself. If I were to relate a thousandth part of them it would fill volumes." A statement one can readily believe when he considers the mass of such rumors that have even found their way into print.

When a very aged man, eighty-two, the Prophet's younger brother, William Smith, in an interview given out about two weeks before his death, answered the following questions:

Question. "It is said that Joseph and the rest of the family were lazy and indolent."

Answer. "We never heard of such a thing until after Joseph told his vision, and not then, by our friends. Whenever the neighbors wanted a good day's work done they knew where they could get a good hand and they were not particular to take any of the other boys before Joseph either. We cleared sixty acres of the heaviest timber I ever saw. We had a good place. We also had on it from twelve to fifteen hundred sugar trees, and to gather the sap and make sugar molasses from that number of trees was no lazy job. We worked hard to clear our place and the neighbors were a little jealous. If you will figure up how much work it would take to clear sixty acres of heavy timber land, heavier than any here, trees you could not conveniently cut down, you can tell whether we were lazy or not, and Joseph did his share of the work with the rest of the boys. We never knew we were bad folks until Joseph told his vision. We were considered respectable till then, but at once people began to circulate falsehoods and stories in a wonderful way."

Question. "Did not you doubt Joseph's testimony [about the Book of Mormon] sometimes?"

Answer. "No; we all had the most implicit confidence in what he said. He was a truthful boy. Father and mother believed him, why should not the children? I suppose if he had told crooked stories about other things we might have doubted his word about the plates, but Joseph was a truthful boy. That father and mother believed his report and suffered persecution for that belief shows that he was truthful. No, sir, we never doubted his word for one minute."

The evidence relied upon to support the charge of being lazy, shiftless, intemperate and unreliable as to speaking the truth, is from a collection of affidavits made in Palmyra, and Manchester, New York; and in Harmony, Pennsylvania, in the closing months of 1833, and published in E. D. Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 1834. Since then they have been revamped from time to time by nearly every anti-"Mormon" writer who has taken in hand the task of enlightening the world respecting "Mormon" origins.


These affidavits were collected by one "Doctor" Philastus Hurlburt, under the following circumstances. Hurlburt had been expelled from the "Mormon" church in Kirtland, in June, 1833, for immoralities; and because he had threatened to take the life of Joseph Smith, Jun., he was placed under bonds "to keep the peace and be of good behavior to all the citizens of the state of Ohio, generally, and to the said Joseph Smith, Jun., in particular."

Hurlburt between these two events,--his excommunication and his trial for threatening the life of Joseph Smith, Jun.,--was sent as the special agent of the anti-"Mormon" party in and about Kirtland, to gather up all that report had to say about the Prophet and his family both in Palmyra, New York, and in Harmony, Pennsylvania. The collection of affidavits in Howe's Mormonism Unveiled was the result. It was simply a matter of "muck raking" on Hurlburt's part. Every idle story, every dark insinuation which at that time could be thought of and unearthed was pressed into service to gratify this man's personal desire for revenge, and to aid the enemies of the Prophet in their attempt to destroy his influence and overthrow the institution then in process of such remarkable development. If the vindictiveness of sectarian hate be taken into account; if the unreliability of even well-meaning persons be remembered when under the influence of prejudice and contending for what they may regard as orthodoxy in religion, neither the character nor the mass of these affidavits against the Smith family need occasion any surprise. The most trifling circumstance under prejudice and hate is expanded into immense proportions. A single misstep is converted into confirmed evil habit. Things indifferent or innocent in themselves are garbed in sinister vestments, and made to appear inexpressibly vile.


Against this large collection of evil report and false interpretation of the character of the Smiths while at Palmyra, prompted as it was by prejudice and collected by malice, the evidence of accomplished fact, and the subsequent lives of the family may be opposed. Take for example the achievements of the family during the few years of their residence in Palmyra. They arrived there penniless, as all admit, with nothing but their bare hands with which to help themselves. Yet in a few years they built two homes in the wilderness; they cleared sixty acres of heavy timber land, and converted it into a tillable farm. In addition to their farming and gardening, they had a sugar orchard of from twelve to fifteen hundred maple trees, from which they gathered the sap and converted it into syrup or sugar. To aid in making the annual payments upon their farm, as well as to help sustain the family until the farm could be made productive, they took an occasional day's work among the neighboring farmers or the Palmyra village folk, sometimes engaged to dig a well, or harvest a field of grain. It is conceded, in the main, that they did all this; and one marvels in the face of it that the charge of laziness and thriftlessness should be made. But the wonder grows when to all this is to be added the stories of the affidavits about the Smith's "money digging" enterprises. "They * * * spent much of their time in digging for money which they pretended was hid in the earth, and to this day large excavations may be seen in the earth not far from their residence, where they used to spend their time digging for hidden treasures." Truly if the half of what is told in the affidavits about these exploits, usually carried on at night, is to be believed, then it would be utterly impossible to believe the Smiths to be idle or habitually lazy.

As to the charge of intemperance, one may not be altogether sure what act may have given some color for this accusation. It was a time when drinking hard cider and even spirits was quite general in that locality, and accounted no great harm except when malice prompted some spiteful allusion to a practice so common. But of this one may be assured, that the evil never ripened into habits with the Smith family; for intemperance never claimed a victim among the Smiths, either the father or any of his sons; and within two years after leaving Palmyra, viz., in 1833, it was Joseph Smith, Jun., who gave to the Church of the Latter-day Saints, and to the world, a temperance law that has been the admiration of all who have become acquainted with it. It has rescued thousands from the evils of intemperance, and restrained tens of thousands from contracting intemperate habits, because it enjoins upon the membership of the church, as the law of God, total abstinence from wines and strong drinks. This law is known as "The Word of Wisdom;" and is not likely to be the product of a man or a family given to habitual intemperance.

Charges of exaggeration and untruthfulness are so easy to make, especially when associated with the announcement of spiritual experiences and religious truths that the world considers unorthodox, that one scarcely need stop to ascertain the grounds of them. It will be enough here to say that the Smith family spent many years with the people gathered together by the ministry of their son Joseph and his associates; and everywhere as a family they won and held the esteem of their people, and this through evil and good report. This is not done by people who are untruthful, who exaggerate, or who are insincere. The well known industry, frugality, honesty, charity, integrity, sobriety and truthfulness, of the Smith family through all their subsequent career, after leaving Palmyra, and of which thousands were witnesses, and which has crystallized into a tradition in the church, is a complete refutation of the idle rumors and trumped up charges of envious neighbors in and about Manchester and Palmyra.


The second charge against the Smiths is that while at Palmyra "they opened a small shop" and sold cakes, pies, root beer and the like; and that on certain public occasions the elder Smith sold such wares in the streets from a hand-cart. There is nothing dishonorable in itself in this, even had they engaged in such an occupation. Still it was put forth with evident intention of making the family appear contemptible by representing that its occupations were petty and mean.

"It can never be," said one of old, "that your spirit is generous and noble while you are engaged in petty, mean employments; no more than you can be abject and mean spirited while your actions are honorable and glorious. Whatever be the pursuits of men, their sentiments must necessarily be similar." One may see a conscious recognition of this truth in the thought of those who would make it appear that the Smiths engaged in "petty, mean employments."

Inventive malice also adds the detail that the "clerkship" of the line of trade above described was assigned to Joseph Smith, Jun.; that here he "learned his first lessons in commercial and monetary science;" and that the boys of Palmyra delighted in "obtaining the valuable goods entrusted to Joseph's clerkship, in exchange for worthless pewter imitation two shilling pieces!" Inquiry among descendants of the Smith family, and wide knowledge of that which is published in relation to them, besides access to letters and papers and personal journals that have never been published, bearing upon their lives and character, fails to disclose any scrap of evidence that the Smiths at Palmyra or elsewhere ever engaged in or followed any such petty employment as is here described; and had it been part of the family's experience in the days of their misfortunes, it is not likely that it would have escaped mention; especially when it is remembered how frank the members of the family have ever been in detailing their experiences, as well those that relate to their misfortunes and humility, as those that would be esteemed as being to their advantage.


Pomeroy Tucker was the first to put forth this charge; and his work was published in 1867. He pretends to speak from personal knowledge of the matter, being a resident of Palmyra while the Smiths lived in that vicinity; and an employee on the Wayne Signal during the time the Book of Mormon was being printed in the job department of that publishing establishment; thus frequently being thrown in contact with the Smiths. One thing, however, very seriously mitigates against the probability of Mr. Tucker's story, besides the absolute silence of the Smith family. It has already been recounted in these pages that in 1833 a large collection of affidavits was made by "Doctor" Philastus Hurlburt as the agent of an anti-"Mormon" party in Kirtland, Ohio, who was intensely bitter in its hatred of all things "Mormon," and was determined to destroy both Joseph Smith and the church. Hurlburt was a worthy agent of such principals, and all that malice could suggest or hatred invent was combined in that effort to scrape together everything derogatory to the character of the Smith family. This was only two years after the departure of the Smiths from the neighborhood of Palmyra, when very many were living there who could remember every circumstance derogatory to their character, injurious to their reputation, or humiliating in their career. Yet in all the fifteen separate and independent affidavits collected in Palmyra in 1833 by Hurlburt, and in the affidavit signed conjointly by 68 people of Palmyra and vicinity, derogatory to the Smiths, not a syllable is uttered respecting the "cake and beer shop," or the "peddling" of such wares in the street on public occasions mentioned with such pomp of circumstance by Pomeroy Tucker. The silence of all the affidavits collected in 1833, and of all the anti-"Mormon" writers up to Tucker in 1867, throws strong suspicions of improbability upon his pretended statement of fact. Malice invented the story, and sectarian prejudice accepted the falsehood for truth.

The third charge, viz, that the Smith family was dishonest and preyed upon their neighbors by stealing from them is not only malicious, but he who first promulgated the charge gives evidence by the very manner in which he sets forth the accusation that he is conscious that the charge is not true. Tucker was the first to make the allegation, and he does it in the following terms:

"Existing as they did from year to year in this thriftless manner, with seemingly inadequate visible means or habits of profitable industry for their respectable livelihood, it is not at all to be wondered at that the suspicions of some good people in the community were apt to be turned toward them, especially in view of the frequently occurring nocturnal depredations and thefts in the neighborhood. On these accounts the inhabitants came to observe more than their former vigilance in the care of their sheepfolds, hencoops, smoke-houses, pork-barrels, and the like domestic interests; though it is not within the remembrance of the writer, who in this designedly impartial narrative would `nothing extenuate nor aught set down in malice,' if the popular inferences in this matter were ever sustained by judicial investigation. It is appropriate to remark, however, that the truth of history, no less than proper deference to the recollections of many living witnesses in Palmyra and its vicinity, demand that these reminiscences should be given, intimately blended as they are with the purpose in hand, to present before the public a candid and authentic account of the origin, rise, and progress of Mormonism, from its first foundation."


There is nothing more cowardly than a vicious insinuation. It is the character-assassins' readiest and deadliest weapon. It can be used in the absence of proof, and be made to calumniate as readily the innocent as the guilty. It can ally itself so easily with hypocrisy, as it does in the above quotation from Tucker, and pretend to act from the purest of motives, in the interest even of impartial narrative, that "would nothing set down in malice!"

It is here invoked by Tucker in the interest of the "truth of history," the most sacred altar upon which truth's incense burns! But "it is not within the remembrance of the writer (Tucker) * * * if the popular inference in this matter were ever sustained by judicial investigation." That is, the Smiths were never charged with the petty thefts insinuated by Tucker. Notwithstanding all the vigilance of a neighborhood deeply prejudiced against them, and disposed to magnify every peculiarity of temperament or error of conduct, and amid "frequently occurring nocturnal depredations and thefts in the neighborhood"--yet the people of Palmyra prejudiced and watchful as they were, could never find justification for even making a charge against the Smiths that went to "judicial investigation!" Then why is the charge made against them in a pretended historical treatise that boasts itself "a candid and authentic account of the origin, rise, and progress of Mormonism?"


It is justified on the ground "that the truth of history, no less than proper deference to the recollection of many living witnesses in Palmyra and its vicinity, demanded that these reminiscences should be given, intimately blended as they are with the purpose in hand, to present before the public a candid account of the origin, rise and progress of Mormonism." But the "truth of history," even as represented by Tucker, raised this charge against the Smith family no higher than "popular inferences." And he is extremely unfortunate in his "deference to the recollections of many living witnesses in Palmyra" on the subject, since, when in 1833 those people were appealed to by Hurlburt, and they made so many affidavits against the Smiths singly and conjointly, some eighty in all, there was not one word said about the Smiths being petty thieves, or of "popular inferences" in relation to such a matter. The fact of silence in the affidavits renders very improbable the vile insinuation of Tucker. And strange to say, on a preceding page, to the one just quoted, Tucker himself gives the Smith family credit for creating the understanding that by means of their "shop" and the "day's works" on the part of the father and elder sons among the "farming people," the elder Smith "was understood to secure a scanty but honest living!"

The charge of petty thieving launched by Tucker is repeated with increasing assurance by many writers who follow him; but it has no force beyond what Tucker's authority gives it. Bring ever so many mirrors into a room where a farthing rush light is burning, you shall not increase the light--you merely reflect what is already there--a single farthing rush light, you make it no more, though you reflect it an hundred times.



For some years previous to 1830 western New York and Pennsylvania, as well as the states of Ohio and Kentucky, were the scenes of a great religious agitation. It was during these years that the revival camp-meeting system of sectarian propaganda was inaugurated. Scenes of wildest religious fervor and excitement were common. According to one writer upon the subject, "the people were accustomed to assemble, sometimes to the number of ten or twelve thousand, and they often continued together, in devotional exercises, for several days and nights." This was said of what was called the great revival in Kentucky in 1800. Later, as this method of reaching men with "religion" became more popular, the crowds were even larger and the encampments extended through many weeks. "Such was the eagerness of the people to attend," says Henry Howe, author of Historical Collections of the Great West, that entire neighborhoods were forsaken, and the roads literally crowded by those pressing forward on their way to the grove." The great assemblies being too large for one person to address them, they would divide into several congregations and be addressed by as many different speakers. "The whole grove," writes Mr. Howe--the encampments were usually held in groves--"the whole grove at times became vocal with the praises of God, and at others pierced with the cries of distressed penitents."


Strange nervous contortions often attended upon manifestations of this religious fervor. Men and women acted as if they were beside themselves. There would be "shoutings," "fallings," "jerkings," and all manner of emotional frenzy manifested. Sometimes large numbers in a congregation would be seized with a tremor. The pulse of one so attacked would grow weaker, his breathing become more difficult, and at intervals hands and feet would grow cold, and finally he would fall. "Both pulse and breath, and all symptoms of life," says Professor J. B. Turner of Illinois College, in describing the malady--I can think of it as nothing else--"forsook them for nearly an hour, during which time they suffered no pain, and were perfectly conscious of their condition, and knew what was passing around them." Continuing his description Professor Turner says:

"At one time, during service, several shrieks were uttered, and people fell in all directions. Not less than one thousand fell at one meeting. Their outward expressions of devotion consisted in alternate singing, crying, laughing, shouting, and every variety of violent motion, of which the muscular system was capable. These violent motions they soon became unable to resist. They were violently thrown upon the ground by the convulsions, where their motions resembled those of a fish upon the land. This disease lasted through several years, in some cases, and propagated itself by sympathetic imitation, from one to another, with astonishing rapidity, in crowds, and often in small assemblies."

These emotional and nervous manifestations were regarded quite generally "as the moving of a divine power upon the bodies and minds of men."

Revival encampments as well as other revival services were often held as "union services." That is, the different sects would unite for the conversion of those who had made no profession of christianity, and for the reclamation of back-sliders; for with the passing away of the excitement under which they professed religion, the converts all too frequently experienced a reversion to the worldly life, and there were many backsliders. It frequently happened, however, that the good feelings engendered during the union revival services were dissipated by jealousies and wranglings when the converts came to elect the religious body in which they desired to hold their fellowship; for notwithstanding it was nominally held that membership in any one of the christian sects styled "orthodox," was all-sufficient for proper church connection, it was in those times--and especially in the states and parts of states herein designated--one of the inconsistencies of Protestant christendom that there was a sharp rivalry, and bitterness between the sects save only when hostilities were suspended on such occasions as those mentioned above. There were cries of "lo, here! here is Christ;" to which the response--"nay, but lo, here! here is Christ!" Fierce debates followed, and great divisions in judgment obtained as to what even constituted the essentials of christianity. Grave doubts perplexed the minds of many people, and hindered the progress of religion.


Palmyra, New York, the home of the Smiths, was in the zone of this widespread religious agitation. In the spring of 1820 the ministers of the several churches in and about Palmyra decided upon a "union revival," in order to "convert the unconverted." The Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists were the sects represented, and the Reverend Mr. Stockton of the Presbyterian church was the leading spirit of the movement, and chairman of the meetings. It was during this revival that the Prophet's mother, her two sons, Hyrum and Samuel Harrison, and her daughter Sophronia became members of the Presbyterian church. Joseph Smith, Sen., was unmoved amid the universal excitement.

Joseph Smith, Jun., was much wrought up in his spirit, and became "somewhat partial" to the Methodist sect, and he "felt some desire to be united with them," he admits. But the divisions that existed between these several churches perplexed him. Why the divisions? "Surely God cannot be the author of this confusion," he reasoned. "If God has a church in the earth it will not be split up into factions. He will not teach one society to worship in one way and administer in one set of ordinances and teach another principles which are diametrically opposed." Reason taught him that unity must be a characteristic of the church of Christ. Paul's question thundered at the schismatically inclined Christians at Corinth, seemed to reach him--"Is Christ Divided?" And his reason answered, "no." "Then what is to be done in the midst of all this confusion?" "Who of all these parties are right? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?" He felt inadequate of himself to answer these questions. "It was impossible for a person young as I was," he remarks, "and so unacquainted with men and things to come to any certain conclusion as to who was right and who was wrong."


Meantime the revival was nearing its close. These questions were evidently pressing. Ministers began to present their respective claims to the converts that had been made by their united efforts. The local agitation before the revival was organized was doubtless begun by the Methodist. The Reverend Mr. Stockton, however, insisted that the work done was largely Presbyterian work as he had been a dominating influence in the movement, and presided at the meetings. The Reverend Mr. Lane of the Methodist church preached a sermon on the subject, "What church shall I join?" He quoted the golden text of James-

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."

The text made a deep impression on the mind of the Prophet. He read it on returning home, and pondered it deeply. Here was a message from the word of God. A message to all men; but to him especially, since he had been made to feel that of all men he lacked wisdom, in respect of a matter to him vital.

Some years later he made the comment:

"Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God I did, for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible."


After much reflection of this nature, he at last took his resolution. He would put the doctrine of James to the test. He would ask God for wisdom. Reasoning that if God gave wisdom to them that lacked it, and would give liberally and not upbraid, he might venture. Situated directly west of the Smith home, a few hundred yards distant, yet on their own farm, was a beautiful grove sufficiently dense and removed from the road to give the necessary seclusion the youth desired; and here on the morning of a beautiful, clear day in that early spring time, he knelt for the first time in all his life to make a personal, direct, verbal appeal to God in prayer.

And now something strange happened. The youth had just began timidly to express the desires of his heart in words, when he was sewed upon by an invisible power that overcame him; his tongue was bound so that he could not speak. Darkness gathered about him, and it seemed for a time that he was doomed to sudden destruction. He exerted all his powers to call upon God for deliverance from this enemy--not from a merely "imaginary ruin," as he assures us, "but from the power of some actual being from the unseen world," who possessed such strength as the youth had never before encountered. Despair seized upon him, and he felt that he must abandon himself to destruction. At this moment of dreadful alarm he saw a pillar of light exactly over his head which shone out above the brightness of the sun, and began gradually descending towards him, until he was enveloped within it. As soon as the light appeared, the youth found himself freed from the power of the enemy that had held him bound. As the light rested upon him, he beheld within it two personages, exactly resembling each other in form and features, standing above him in the air. One of these, calling Joseph by name, and pointing to the other, said:

"This is My Beloved Son, hear Him."

It gives evidence of the intellectual tenacity of Joseph Smith that in the midst of all these bewildering occurrences he held clearly in his mind the purpose for which he had come to this secluded spot, the object he had in view in seeking the Lord. As soon, therefore, As he could get sufficient self-possession to speak, he asked the Personages in whose resplendent presence he stood, which of the sects was right, and which he should join. He was answered that he must join none of them; for they were all wrong. And the Personage who addressed him said, that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that they drew near to him with their lips, but their hearts were far from him; they taught for doctrine the commandments of men: they had a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof. Joseph was again forbidden to join any of these sects, at the same time receiving a promise that the fullness of the gospel would at some future time be made known unto him.

When the lad came entirely to himself he found that he was lying on his back, looking up into heaven. With the passing of the vision he was left without strength; but soon recovering from his weakness he returned home.

A few days after the vision occurred, young Joseph was in conversation with one of the Methodist preachers who was very active in the before mentioned revival, and gave him an account of the vision. The reception of the story by the minister was most surprising to the youth. Says the Prophet:

"He treated my communication not only lightly, but 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."

In fact Joseph Smith soon found that by telling the story he had excited a great deal of prejudice against himself among many professors of religion. His experience indicated how far removed men were from a sincere belief in those scriptures so frequently found upon their lips. Here a text of scripture had been used as the foundation of a public discourse upon a most important subject. A subsequent reading of it had deepened the impression made upon the mind of a sincere believer in the scriptures, until it became to him a veritable message from the word of God--the voice of God to his soul. He acted upon the message thus received. That act of faith brought forth its results, which were now ridiculed and denounced by the teachers of the word of God. Though but an obscure boy, and in such circumstances of life as to render his existence of little consequence in the world, "yet," as he puts it in his own narrative-


"Yet, men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution. It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute ham unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light, and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise. So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two personages and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart, why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision, and who am I that I can withstand God? or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation."

But come what might now, his mind was satisfied as to the sectarian world. He knew they were wrong; that he was to join none of them. He had proved the testimony of James to be true. One who lacked wisdom could ask it of God, receive it, and not be upbraided. He knew now that God lived, and that man could hold visible and personal communion with him. With this knowledge he would rest until further directed.


What a change had come to this youth in one brief hour! How little that fair-haired lad, standing there in the unpruned forest, with the sunlight stealing through the trees about him, realized the burden placed upon his shoulders that early spring morning, by reason of the visitation he received in answer to prayer!

He has found the source of spiritual knowledge, and his life and his life's work have been broadened; but his knowledge will not bring him peace in this world,--except that peace of the soul that rejoices even in the midst of conflict--the peace "that passeth understanding:" but outwardly his knowledge spells strife for him--conflict with a world. His testimony will arouse the wrath of men, and with unrelenting fury they will pursue him. Slander, outright falsehood and misrepresentation will play havoc with his reputation. Everywhere his name will be held up as evil. Derision will laugh at his message to the world. Ridicule will mock it. On every hand he will he met with the cry of "false prophet! false prophet!" Chains and the dungeon's gloom await him; mobs with murderous hate will assail him again and again; and at the last, while under the protection of the law, and the honor of a great commonwealth pledged for his safety, he will meet martyrdom in the shadow of prison walls!



Undoubtedly Joseph Smith sought wisdom on the question of questions of his day, when he decided to follow the injunction of St. James, to ask God for wisdom--viz., which of all the churches is God's church? Without controversy, if God still had a church on the earth, one in which he had deposited the revealed truth respecting religion, making known what was necessary to believe and what was necessary to do to obtain salvation; and if God had given to that church divine commission to teach that truth and administer the prescribed sacraments essential to salvation, then the chiefest quest of man should be to find that church; and, finding it, yield obedience to it respecting those things whereof it is made administrator, as unto God. For if there is such a church, and the inspiration of God dwell in it, then to obey that church, is to obey God. And what she tells him to do, without doubt, is the only thing to do--"the wisest, fittest thing to do--the thing which it will in all ways behoove man, with right, royal thankfulness, and nothing doubting, to do."


From of old, and by the Master himself, men were commanded to hearken unto the church; and if one neglected to hear the church he was to become as "an heathen man and a publican," unto the church. The church which the Christ founded is declared to be the house of the living God--"the pillar and ground of the truth." In her was lodged the power to bind on earth and in heaven; to loose on earth and in heaven. "There is but one inquiry to be made," says a Roman catholic authority, "namely, which is the true church?

* * * It is clear as the noon-day light, that by solving this one question, which is the true church ?----you will at once solve every question of religious controversy that ever has been, or that ever can be agitated." Of course Dr. John Milner invokes this doctrine in behalf of the claims of the Roman catholic church, which he insists is the true and only church of God; which claims the Greek church, and all Protestant churches refuse to allow. But while the Greek church, and all the Protestant churches will not allow the special claims of Dr. Milner in behalf of the Roman church, many of them, and especially the Greek and English churches, and all churches of the same communion with them, are in accord with his principle as to the efficacy of the authority of the church, if only that church can once be determined upon. Dr. John H. Hopkins, Bishop of Vermont, in his elaborate answer to Dr. Milner, specifically admits the above principle, but denies its exclusive application to the Roman church. It is a matter of interest, and also adds importance to this History to know that Joseph Smith began his prophetic career with a question so weighty, so universally recognized as important. His question, under all the circumstances, was worthy of the splendid answer it received.


The declaration with which the New Dispensation opens its message to the world will doubtless be regarded as a singularly harsh one: The churches are all wrong; they teach for doctrine the commandments of men; their creeds are an abomination unto God; their professors are all corrupt. Respecting the churches and the creeds, such a condition as is described through this first utterance of Joseph Smith, could alone justify such a work as the Church of the Latter-day Saints professes to be--viz., a New Dispensation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a re-establishment of the "Church of Christ" in the earth. But respecting the last clause of the message--"those professors are all corrupt," it should not be taken as referring to the whole body of Christians; but rather as referring to the teachers of their creeds--the "professors;" that term not being used in the sense of "confessors" of the creeds, who merely accept doctrine from the teachings of the "professors"--the following and not the leaders.

This distinction is justified from the immediate context of the passage: "they (the "professors") draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they (the "professors") teach for doctrine the commandments of men." This context clearly proves that the charge of "corruption" is limited at least to the "teachers," not to the whole body of Christians. Moreover, I am convinced myself that the declaration is still further limited to the "professors" who founded, and by that act taught to the world the creeds that are an "abomination" in the sight of God--a fact not at all difficult of belief, or of proof, upon an analysis of the creeds themselves. And those who originally could form such conceptions of God and man, and the purpose of human existence, as the creeds teach, were certainly men of warped understanding, men of perverted, or "corrupted" minds. But as to the whole body of Christians, we know that there were at the time of the opening of this New Dispensation of the gospel, and now, many who were not only not corrupt, except for the ordinary sins and weaknesses or "corruption" of our human nature--but virtuous men and women, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, seeking after God, and hindered from finding him only by the abominable creeds formulated by the "professors" of the passage here considered.

It should also be remarked that in Latter-day Saint thought it is not Joseph Smith, nor the Latter-day Saint church that pronounces this judgment upon the "Christian" churches. Joseph Smith confessedly was incompetent to determine which was the true church of God. He of all persons both on account of his extreme youthfulness and his lack of general information, was among the least qualified to pronounce judgment upon such a question. His seeking knowledge from God upon this very question--"which of all the sects is right?" is a confession of his own inability to determine the matter. No human wisdom was sufficient to answer that question. No man in all the world was so preeminent as to be justified in proclaiming out of his own wisdom the divine acceptance of one church in preference to another, or God's rejection of them all. Divine wisdom alone was sufficient to pass judgment upon such a question as that. And there is peculiar force in the circumstance that the announcement which Joseph Smith makes with reference to this subject is not formulated by him nor by any other man, but is given to him of God. God has been the judge of the status of modern christendom, Joseph Smith but his messenger, to herald that judgment to the world.


It is somewhat remarkable that only a few years ago there came from a most unexpected quarter, an emphatic confirmation of what Joseph Smith in substance promulgated a century ago. There was going on at that time throughout the world, a most interesting discussion as to the power and efficiency of "christianity" as represented through the modern "Christian" churches. First to be noted was the "modernist movement" within the Roman catholic church. It was a movement which primarily demands a larger intellectual liberty within that church for its adherents; but its effects, indirectly, was much broader than that, since it concerns itself with the whole question of readjusting the Christian attitude towards modem knowledge. Primarily, however, it is described as "a clear call for the rejuvenation of Roman catholicism:"

"The modernists * * * believe that the church [Roman catholic] can harmonize its teachings with the thought of this age. The most ancient church can survive by becoming the most modern." The ambitious designs of the "modernists" may further be learned by the following questions and the answer made to them:


"At this moment, (1908) pregnant with all sorts of moral revolution, when the intellectual world still alienated from Christ and his church, progresses in a hundred ways towards some indefinable renewal of spirit, we ask ourselves frankly: Is there in the Catholic church-in that great organism in which the religious spirit of the gospel has come to embody itself--is there a power of conquest or simply a conservative instinct? Does she still hide in the secret complexities of her wonderful organization capacities for winning adherents, or is her vitality threatened by the germs of a speedy decay? Is her mission henceforth to be limited to a suspicious vigilance over the rule and simple faith of her rapidly dwindling followers, or will she rouse herself to the reacquisition of that social influence which she has lost through long years of listless self-isolation? For ourselves, we have long since answered this critical question. We have ever watched the aspirations of the contemporary mind with sympathetic interest; our hearts have beaten in unison with its glowing enthusiasm for the new ideals of universal brotherhood; and we have seen in all its movements the symptoms of a glorious revival of religion. * * * Speaking the language of our age, and thinking its thought, we have tried to bring it into touch with the teachings of Catholicism, that through such contact their profound mutual affinities might be made evident. We cannot believe that the church will ultimately reject our programme as mischievous."

The office then of mediator between the old, mediaeval Roman church and the modern intellectual world is the one the modernists would fill. But this call for rejuvenation of the Roman church--this demand for reforms--these questions involving an alternative of rejuvenation or decay, presupposes a deadness; a need for reform; an out-of-harmony existence with modern truth, as developed by modern discovery and thought? What is it all but a partial discovery and admission of that truth announced by Joseph Smith well nigh a century ago, viz., that all the churches--including the Roman catholic church--are wrong, that their creeds are an abomination in the sight of God?

Let no one suppose it is a matter of small importance--this "modernist" movement--a mere "crackling of thorns under the pot." One, somewhat in sympathy with the movement, declares it to be in some respects the most important religious movement since the great "reformation" of the sixteenth century; for it is not confined to the Roman catholic church, but is world-wide in its sweep, influencing more or less all Christian churches, and in a measure all the great religions of the world. "Modernism is, essentially, the spirit of the modern age, and especially the resultant of the many forces which have been working with extraordinary complexity and intricacy during the previous century, and which are rapidly approaching a climax that probably will produce one of the greatest revolutions and reformations of history."

"The battle between Modernism and the Papacy," our author declares, "is raging all over the Christian world." The importance of the conflict may be estimated, in part, from the action of the pope with reference to it. In September of 1908 there issued from St. Peter's at Rome, the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius X, "On the Doctrine of the Modernist;" a document that makes about one hundred pages of printed matter. Besides reviewing and denouncing the supposed errors of the "modernist," the most drastic ecclesiastic punishments were fulminated by the vatican against them; and in every diocese a council of vigilance was ordered to be established to carry out the repressive measures decided upon. The result of these restrictive measures are enumerated by a writer in the North American Review in the following passage:

"The despotic attempts of the Curia to crush it have been vain. Some of the most eminent Catholic scholars have been put under the ban, others have been excommunicated; numbers have been suspended from their priestly functions. Many more have been removed from important positions of usefulness to other less important positions where it was supposed they could do little harm. Great numbers have been simply silenced. What does this all amount to, however, but attempts to smother a flame which still burns fiercely? The attempts to scatter it only increase the number of conflagrations. There are signs that a reaction has already begun. Some of the most distinguished prelates of Italy, France and Germany have rebuked the most offensive spies and detractors of their brethren, whom this sad controversy has brought to the front. Even the Pope is said to have uttered words of caution. The public press of the world is boiling with indignation because of the arrogant dictation, and impertinent interference with their affairs, of Monsignore Benigni, the protege of Cardinal Merry del Val, and his `Corrispondenza Aomana.' There is profound dissatisfaction with the present situation of the church all over the Christian world, and on the part of some of the most distinguished Cardinals and prelates."


Even more emphatic than the "modernist" movement within the Roman catholic church is the voice from the American colleges condemning all the churches, Protestant as well as Roman catholic. The Cosmopolitan Magazine in the year 1909, published four articles by Harold Bolce on the present trend of university teaching in the United States, and "the revelation," as the author remarks, "profoundly stirred America." Summed up in the editor's introductory note to Mr. Bolce's article in the July number, the attitude of many university teachers is this: That "while subscribing to doctrines akin to those of `Christian Science,' `New Thought,' and the `Emmanuel Movement,' they are in favor of studying the forces of the spiritual world in a cold, scientific manner. Orthodox Christian dogma is regarded as at variance with its own principles and is interpreted in a new and revolutionary light."

In the Introductory note to Mr. Bolce's article in the August Cosmopolitan, the editor says:

"It has been shown in the series of articles beginning with `Blasting at the Rock of Ages' that our great universities repudiate the dogma and orthodoxy of the established church, and proclaim a new religion divested of Biblical and church creed. Why do the most profound scholars in our institutions of learning undertake this revolutionary work? What do they hope to accomplish? The answer is here. The schoolmen have placed christianity in a scholar's crucible. They are determined upon reducing sacred institutions to scientific tests. The college men approach the subject with the greatest reverence. It is false to characterize them as atheists or iconoclasts. They assert that what we need is not less of God but more of God. They prophesy the introduction into the world of a system of belief superior to the christianity of the ages. Their whole attack is against what they define as dissipated mediaeval myths as embodied in the Holy Writ."

"The colleges say that the church, through its fear of new truth, has at all times been an obstacle to progress," says Mr. Bolce. "Dr. Andrew D. White, formerly president of Cornell University, says that the church, in its apprehension of the progress of learning, persecuted Roger Bacon, and by so doing, `did more harm to christianity and the world than has been done as a result of all the efforts of all the atheists who have ever lived.' Professor Borden P. Bowne, of Boston University, Professor Frank Sargent Hoffman, of Union College, and scores of others say that the church is the last to come into the possession of truth; that it often lags behind even in the matter of the progressive conscience of the time; that it has had to recede from its position in every field of science; and that it is still receding and must continue to make way for the progress of truth in spiritual matters. For many professors assert that the church, as revealed by the outcry over the disclosures of what the universities teach, is still engaged in the effort to strangle thought. * * * And as the opposition to truth, as it is claimed, is still the role of religious bodies, the inescapable duty of unfettered institutions of learning is to give the world a new revelation. The professors believe that civilization is under the domination of many false doctrines, and that the fact that these are held sacred is no reason why they should be preserved."


Relative to the methods of the churches in propaganda by means of revival services--methods that have been much reformed since the boyhood days of Joseph Smith--the following passage occurs:

"Professor Boris Sidis, of the Pathological Institute of New York, who recently concluded a series of psychological experiments at Harvard, is ruthlessly arrayed against popular religion as expressed in revivals, and his findings have been endorsed by Professor William James in an introduction to the former's published report. If there is in American University teachings a more fearless doctrine than the following as put forth by Professor Sidis and countenanced by Harvard's leading philosopher, I have not yet encountered it: Well may President Jordan of Stanford University exclaim: `Whiskey, cocaine and alcohol bring temporary insanity, and so does a revival of religion--one of those religious revivals in which men lose their reason and self-control. This is simply a form of drunkenness no more worthy of respect than the drunkenness that lies in the gutter!' `Professor Jordan,' comments the Harvard psychologist, as a result of his investigations, `was too mild in his expression, religious revivalism is a social bane; it is more dangerous to the life of society than drunkenness. As a sot, man falls below the brute; as a revivalist he sinks lower than the sot'."

These colleges not only believe the churches are wrong now, but that they have been wrong for centuries. On this point Mr. Bolce remarks:

"The present crusade of the colleges is surcharged with the conviction that the churches and church thought are not only behind the times, but that they have throughout the centuries been an obstacle to human advance, and are even now the last barrier keeping man out of his true spiritual kingdom. They say that man has earned the right to know the truth, the truth that will make him free; and that man's ignorance of his power in a world of spirit, where he could, if he would, be master, with all the harmony, health, happiness, and abundance that that mastery implies, is the secret of the centuries of travail, hatred, wars, and crimes that have cursed the world. This then, is the announced justification of the college arraignment of many cherished institutions. The old indictment, drawn up by irreverent critics against the church is repeated with a new force and a new meaning. It is pointed out that it was religious Jerusalem, not pagan Rome, that clamored for the crucifixion.

"Motley and Draper and other historians have been cited in support of the teachings that the church in many ages murdered more people than it saved. And these victims were burned alive, strangled, or beheaded, not for crimes committed, but in some cases for reading the scriptures, or looking askance at a graven image, or smiling at an idolatrous procession as it passed. * * * But the college men are not blind to what the church has accomplished. In this phase of the subject they are peculiarly catholic. But it is taught now in practically all the departments of philosophy in the great universities that a new revelation is quickening this age, and that it is not only the right, but the duty of the colleges to stand, if they can, as interpreters of the acceptable year of the Lord. Professor R. M. Wendley, of the University of Michigan--teaches that we have every reason to anticipate great changes in christianity. The world of thought is in progress of such profound alteration that orthodox belief can scarcely escape the transforming effects of the new idea of God. Hundreds of thousands of young men and young women in America are coming under the influence of the new university philosophy, and instead of being apologetic for the teaching that the God of the colleges is greater than the God of the church, the university philosophers look forward with composure and even elation to the ultimate surrender of what they regard as discredited beliefs."

Joseph Smith's following may be pardoned if they find in this attitude of the "modernists" and the American colleges, confirmation of the truth of the great message with which the career of their Prophet began--"The churches are all wrong."



There was an interval of more than three years between the first vision of Joseph Smith and a second manifestation in the same kind. Three years! That is a long interval in such matters. Had Joseph Smith been a mere enthusiast, self-deceived, and his vision subjectively induced, would he have waited so long before another manifestation was secured? The length of time between his visions strongly argues for the reality of the first one. Had it not been real he would not have waited three years for the fulfillment of the promise made by the Divine Personages of his first vision, viz., that "the fulness of the gospel would at some future time be made known to him."


Those three years were trying ones to the young Prophet. By telling his vision and speaking of the truth God had revealed to him he had thrown down a tremendous challenge to the sectarian world--they were all wrong--their creeds an abomination! Little peace after that for him. Yet what was he to do? He had learned a great truth. There must be by divine proclamation a clearing away of creedal rubbish accumulated through medieval and modern ages before there could be place for a restoration of the gospel of the Christ, a re-establishment of his church. In the interim between this announcement of a world in error and the beginning of the restoration of the gospel, the Prophet must needs suffer. The natural forces involved in the situation made that inevitable. Local sectarian hatred was awakened. Any one who knows how intensely bitter, bigoted, and cruel sectarian hatred can be, will appreciate how unpleasant young Smith's life was made during the passing of those years. That interval of three years carried him from his fifteenth to his eighteenth year--the perilous period of youth. The period that should be guarded by sympathetic teachers, by helpful social environment. Of all this the young Prophet had but little or none save for the sympathetic interest and love of his own family. In a manner he stood isolated in the community. He was a marked youth--the Visionary! Small wonder if he fell into boyish errors, and formed somewhat undesirable associations. This he confesses:

"During this time, as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies; but as my accusers are, and have been forward to accuse me of being guilty of gross and outrageous violation of the peace and good order of the community, I take the occasion to remark that, though as I have said above, `as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies,' I have not, neither can it be sustained, in truth, been guilty of wronging or injuring any man or society of men; and those imperfections to which I allude, and for which I have often had occasion to lament, were a light, and too often, vain mind, exhibiting a foolish and trifling conversation. * * * I do not, nor never have, pretended to be any other than a man `subject to passion,' and liable, without the assisting grace of the Savior, to deviate from that perfect path in which all men are commanded to walk."


On another occasion he adds to the foregoing acknowledgment of errors, the following:

"I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native, cheery temperament."

These youthful errors were a source of frequent sorrow to the Prophet. "In consequence of these things," he writes, "I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections." In such a mood as this he retired to bed on the evening of the twenty-first of September, 1823. The family were still living in the log house they had first erected on their farm, as the larger frame house, afterwards occupied by them, was not built until 1824-5. This log house had a low garret divided into two apartments, and it was doubtless to one of these apartments that the Prophet retired. He betook himself to prayer and supplication to God for forgiveness of all his sins and follies; and also pleaded for a manifestation that would make known to him his standing before the Lord. There was a heart-yearning to know if the youthful follies had alienated him from God. He felt confident that he would receive a manifestation, but would it be one of reproof and rejection, or one of pardon and further instruction? He was not long left in doubt. For while yet in the act of praying the room gradually began to be filled with light-white, radiant light; in the midst of which appeared a most resplendent personage, whose "countenance was truly like lightning." Naturally emotions of awe and fear at first seized upon the Prophet, but these were soon dispelled. The personage called the youth by name and announced himself to be the angel Moroni, sent from the presence of God with a message to the effect that God had a work for him (Joseph) to do; that his name would be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds and tongues; that it would be both good and evil spoken of among all people.


At this point in his message the angel told the Prophet that a book was deposited in a hill not far distant, written upon gold plates, giving an abridged history of the former inhabitants of the American continents, and an account of their origin. He also said that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was contained in this book as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants of America; that with this record were two stones held in silver bows and fastened to a breast-plate, constituting "Urim and Thummim," or "Interpreters." The possession and use of these stones constituted men "Seers" in ancient times, and God had prepared these for the purpose of translating the before mentioned book. After communicating this information Moroni commenced quoting prophecies from the Old Testament, beginning with the third chapter of Malachi, most likely the first part of the chapter, as that deals with the coming of the messenger to prepare the way for the glorious coming of the Messiah, a theme a propose to the developing mission of the Prophet.

He also quoted the fourth chapter of the same prophecy, varying the language a little. Instead of quoting the first verse as it appears in King James' version, he quoted it as follows:

"For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch."

And the fifth verse thus:

"Behold, I will reveal unto you the priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

He also quoted the next verse differently:

"And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers; if it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming."


Moroni quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, which opens with the prophecy respecting the future coming of the Messiah to judgment, and follows with the prediction relating to the future gathering together of God's Israel accompanied by a mighty display of divine power. He also quoted the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses as they stand in the English New Testament. Moroni said the "Prophet" there alluded to, whom God would raise up unto Israel, and who must be hearkened unto in all things, was the Christ; but the day had not yet come when they who would not hear his voice "should be cut off from the midst of the people;" but that day would soon come. He also quoted the second chapter of Joel from the twenty-eighth to the last verse, which deals with the promise of God that he would pour out his spirit upon all flesh, until old men would dream dreams, and young men would see visions; that predicts also the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord, but promises that whosoever will call upon his name shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and Jerusalem shall be deliverance. Other scriptures were quoted and many explanations given; but specifically the Prophet has not recorded anything beyond what is here set down. He was commanded that when the ancient American record, or Book of Mormon, would be given to him for translation, he must not show the plates, or the interpreters, or the breast-plate to any persons except those to whom he would be commanded to show them. This under penalty of his own "destruction." While conversing upon these matters, the young Prophet's vision was quickened and he beheld the hill in which the Nephite record was deposited, and so distinct was the vision that he easily recognized the place the next day on visiting it.

After making these communications the light in the room seemed to concentrate about the personage of Moroni until the room was left dark except immediately around him; and then the Prophet saw what seemed to him a conduit open and the angel ascended from his presence.


While yet musing upon the strangeness of this vision, to Joseph's astonishment the room was again gradually filled with light and the whole vision from first to last, including message and conversation, was repeated; and again the angel withdrew. Withdrew, however, only to make a third visitation and to relate again the things he had formerly said; and to add to this important precaution to the Prophet: Joseph would be tempted on account of the indigent circumstances of his father's family to obtain the plates for the purpose of acquiring riches. "This," said the Prophet, "he forbade me; saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God; and I must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building his (God's) kingdom. Otherwise I could not get them." At the third withdrawal of the angel, signs of approaching day appeared, so that these visions and interviews had occupied practically all the night.

The physical and mental strain upon the Prophet because of these experiences of that eventful night was doubtless great; and plainly manifested in his appearance the next day. On going to the field with his father and elder brother Alvin for the purpose of harvesting their grain, he found himself so far exhausted as to be unable to proceed with his part of the work. Observing which Alvin, the elder brother, gently spurred him on by saying, "we must not slacken our hands, or we will not be able to complete our task." The father, however, observing the weakness and occasional abstraction of Joseph, and discovering that he was very pale, thought him ill, and insisted upon his going to the house to receive attention from his mother.

One thing which was the cause of the Prophet's abstraction was, beyond doubt, the struggle going on in his mind between fear and duty. Moroni in his communications of the night before had commanded him to relate his visions to his father; but the Prophet feared his father might doubt the truth of the story, and hence up to this time had refrained from making the communication. Still remaining silent with reference to his vision, Joseph started for home; but in attempting to get over a fence, on leaving the field, his strength entirely failed him, and he fell unconscious to the ground. The first thing of which he was conscious on coming to himself was that he was in the presence of the messenger of the night before, who was standing over him, surrounded with the same effulgent light, and calling him by name. The things of the previous night were repeated, and at their conclusion the angel demanded to know why the Prophet had not followed his instruction to tell his father the vision; and Joseph replied, "I was afraid my father would not believe me." On which Moroni said, "He will believe every word you say to him." Thus strengthened the Prophet sought his father and related his visions, whereupon Joseph Smith, Sen., assured his Son that the visions were of God, and enjoined him to obey the messenger absolutely.


Encouraged by this repetition of the vision of the previous night, and strengthened by the assurances of his father that the visitation was of God, Joseph repaired that same day to the hill he had seen in vision, the place where the sacred record was concealed, some two miles distant from the Smith home. The hill is about four miles south of the town of Palmyra, in Wayne county. It stands on the east side of the Canandaigua road, and is the most conspicuous land mark in all that section of New York. In the Book of Mormon the hill is known as Ramah, and Cumorah, referred to more frequently, however, by the latter name. Approaching Cumorah from the north, you are confronted by the bold face of the hill, which rises quite abruptly from the common level of the surrounding country; and as the east and west slopes of the hill, as viewed from the north, are about equal and regular, it looks from a distance as if it might be a huge conical shaped mound. Ascending its steep north side to the summit dispels the illusion, for one finds that he has but climbed the abrupt north end of a ridge of hill having its greatest extent from north to south, and which from its very narrow summit broadens and slopes gently to the southward until it sinks to the level of the common country. The east side of the hill is now ploughed but the west side is untouched by the husbandman; and about two or three hundred yards from the north end there is on the west side a small, scattered grove of young trees, with here and there a decaying stump of a large tree to bear witness that the hill was once covered with a heavy growth of timber. Unquestionably Cumorah is the most distinct land mark in all that section of country, the highest hill, and the most commanding in what I should describe as an extensive plain sloping northward, filled with numerous irregular hills, but which in the main have their greatest extent, like Cumorah, from north to south; and, which, also like Cumorah, are generally highest at the north end.


Many and varied were the reflections of young Smith as he approached this hill on the occasion of his first visit. Ascending it, and going to the spot where in vision he had seen the ancient record was buried--"On the west side, not far from the top"--he saw the crowning surface of the stone box in which it was deposited. Removing the grass and soil which covered the edges of the stone, and securing a lever and placing it under the edge, with a little exertion he raised it up--there before him were the gold plates, bound together by three rings passing through the back of them, the breast-plate, the two transparent stones set in silver bows and fastened to the breastplate--all as stated by the personage who had revealed their existence to him. The box in which the sacred things were deposited was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom were laid two stones crosswise of the box, and on these lay the plates and the other things.

Naturally Joseph stretched forth his hands to take out the treasure, when to his surprise he experienced a shock which seemed to paralyze his strength. A second and third attempt resulted in the same way, save that the repeated shocks, whatever their nature might be, increased in severity, and rendered him hopelessly weak and unable to lay hold of the record. "Why can I not obtain this book," he exclaimed. "Because you have not kept the commandments of the Lord," said a voice near by, and looking up the youth beheld standing by him the messenger of the previous night and of that morning. On the instant the mind of the young Prophet went back to the conversation of the night before, in which he had been told that he must "have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building up his kingdom"--otherwise he could not get this record.

This instruction the Prophet had not followed. In that walk from his father's home to the hill Cumorah, he had indulged in all sorts of reveries as to the possible results of obtaining this record. A record on gold plates! Wealth beyond all his boyish dreams, sufficient for himself and his family! And with wealth, release from want, both of himself and his friends, and in its place ease and comfort, and importance of station in the world! These had been his reflections while on the way to Cumorah, until on his arrival there he was obsessed by them so far that all thought of the glory of God, the restoration of a knowledge of the gospel to the world, the gathering of scattered Israel, of which the coming forth of this ancient record was to be the prelude and sign, the founding of the kingdom of God for the salvation of man--all this had been forgotten by the young and inexperienced Prophet, and the desire for a share in the kingdoms of this world--wealth, ease, influence, station, had for the moment possessed him--and there the possibility of it all lay within his reach in that rude stone box, and yet he had not the power to clutch it!

"Why can I not obtain this book?"

"Because you have not kept the commandments of the Lord!"

That stern pronouncement had a sobering effect. The glory of the kingdoms of this world for Joseph Smith vanished. He stood humbled before his preceptor, for such, surely, Moroni had become. Swift repentance followed; his vision cleared; he was once more en report with the spiritual things of God's kingdom; once more the prophetic powers of his soul were awakened--he was again the Prophet! "The heavens were opened and the glory of the Lord shone round about, and rested upon him." "While thus he stood gazing and admiring, the angel said, `Look!' and as he thus spake Joseph beheld the `Prince of Darkness,' surrounded by his innumerable train of associates. All this passed before him, and the heavenly messenger said:"


"All this is shown, the good and the evil, the holy and impure, the glory of God and the power of darkness, that you may know hereafter the two powers and never be influenced or overcome by that wicked one. Behold, whatever entices and leads to good and to do good, is of God; and whatever does not is of that wicked one: it is he that fills the hearts of men with evil, to walk in darkness and blaspheme God; and you may learn from henceforth, that his ways are to destruction, but the way of holiness is peace and rest. You now see why you could not obtain this record; that the commandment was strict, and that if ever these sacred things are obtained they must be [obtained] by prayer and faithfulness in obeying the Lord. They are not deposited here for the sake of accumulating gain and wealth for the glory of this world; they were sealed by the prayer of faith, and because of the knowledge which they contain they are of no worth among the children of men, only for their knowledge. On them is contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it was given to his people on this land [America], and when it shall be brought forth by the power of God it shall be carried to the Gentiles, of whom many will receive it, and afterwards will the seed of Israel be brought into the fold of their Redeemer by obeying it also.

"Those who kept the commandments of the Lord on this land, through the prayer of faith obtained the promise, that if their descendants should transgress and fall away, a record should be kept and in the last days come to their children. These things are sacred, and must be kept so, for the promise of the Lord concerning them must be fulfilled. No man can obtain them if his heart is impure, because they contain that which is sacred; and besides, should they be entrusted to unholy hands the knowledge could not come to the world, because they cannot be interpreted by the learning of this generation; consequently they would be considered of no worth, only as precious metal. Therefore, remember, that they are to be translated by the gift and power of God. By them will the Lord work a great and a marvelous work: the wisdom of the wise shall become as naught, and the understanding of the prudent shall be hid, and because the power of God shall be displayed those who profess to know the truth but walk in deceit, shall tremble with anger; but with signs and with wonders, with gifts and with healings, with the manifestations of the power of God, and with the Holy Ghost, shall the hearts of the faithful be comforted. You have beheld the power of God manifested and the power of satan: and you see that there is nothing that is desirable in the works of darkness; that they cannot bring happiness; that those who are overcome therewith are miserable, while on the other hand the righteous are blessed with peace in the kingdom of God where joy unspeakable surrounds them. * * *

"I give unto you another sign, and when it comes to pass then know that the Lord is God and that he will fulfill his purposes, and that the knowledge which this record contains will go to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people under the whole heaven. This is the sign: When these things begin to be known, that is, when it is known that the Lord has shown you these things, the workers of iniquity will seek your overthrow; they will circulate falsehoods to destroy your reputation, and also will seek to take your life; but remember this, if you are faithful, and shall hereafter continue to keep the commandments of the Lord, you shall be preserved to bring these things forth; for in due time he will again give you a commandment to come and take them. * * * Your name shall be known among the nations, for the work which the Lord will perform by your hands shall cause the righteous to rejoice and the wicked to rage; with one it shall be had in honor, and with the other in reproach; yet, with these it shall be a terror because of the great and marvelous work which shall follow the coming forth of this fulness of the gospel."


Before departing from him the angel told Joseph Smith that the record would not then be given to him for translation, neither would it be given to him until four years from that time--until, in fact, the Prophet "had learned to keep the commandments of God--not only until he was willing, but until he was able to do it. Joseph was also commanded to come to that same place, Cumorah, at the expiration of another year, and so each year following until the time had come for the plates to be delivered to him for translation, Moroni promising to meet him there on these occasions to give him further instructions. "Accordingly," says the Prophet, "as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days."

The Prophet has not given a more extended description of these annual interviews than is here set down; but undoubtedly the knowledge obtained in them was subsequently interwoven in the doctrine and organization of the church.

On returning home from his first visit to Cumorah, the Prophet took his family into his confidence, and related the events that had taken place; but enjoined secrecy upon them in relation to the subject, that they might not unnecessarily bring persecution upon themselves.


The four years that must intervene before the plates would be given into the hands of the Prophet for translation was an eventful period for the Smith family. About a year after the first visit of Joseph to Cumorah, Alvin, the eldest brother died. A most estimable character he was; by his death the family lost one of its main supports, and the young Prophet a most constant friend; for of all the family no member of it had more faith in the mission to which Joseph had been called than Alvin had, or more thoroughly believed the reality of those things the Prophet had seen and heard."

The male members of the Smith family were still under the necessity of occasionally obtaining work outside of cultivating their own farm. In order to sustain themselves and meet the payments on their land. Hence they were sometimes at home and sometimes abroad. About a year after the death of Alvin, in October, 1825, to be exact, Joseph engaged to work for an elderly gentleman, Josiah Stoal, of Bainbridge, Chenango county, in the south part of New York state. Bainbridge is located on the west bank of the Susquehanna river, and some forty miles south, or down the river, in the township of Harmony, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania. Near Bainbridge was an extensive cave, artificially formed some said, others that it was of a natural formation. In any event a local legend had it that it was an old mine formerly worked by Spaniards; and that they had concealed within it much of the treasure they had discovered, and could not take away, and hence had concealed it within the cave.


Mr. Stoal believed this legend and had employed men to explore the cave for the treasure. Having heard of Joseph Smith's gift of seership, he came to the Smith residence to employ him in this undertaking. Joseph hired out to Mr. Stoal and went with him and the rest of his men, to Harmony, Pennsylvania, where for something like a month they vainly sought to find the "hidden treasure." At the end of that time, and acting under the advice of Joseph Smith, Mr. Stoal gave up the quest. It is mainly from this circumstance that the reputation of "money digger" was fastened upon the Prophet. Although Mr. Stoal gave up the search for the "Spanish treasure," Joseph continued for some time in his employment.

While laboring for Mr. Stoal in Harmony, Joseph had been put to board in the family of a Mr. Isaac Hale, somewhat noted, locally, as a hunter; and here he met Emma Hale, daughter of Isaac. Mutual love was the result of their meeting, and finally they were married on the eighteenth of January, 1827, while Joseph was still in the employ of Mr. Stoal.

The report that Joseph Smith had received a revelation had followed him into Pennsylvania, and as he steadfastly adhered to the reality of that revelation, prejudice and persecution followed him more or less into every neighborhood. Owing to these circumstances the Hale family was considerably prejudiced against him and opposed his marriage with Emma. He was, therefore, under the necessity of taking her elsewhere for the ceremony, and was married at the home of Squire Tarbil, in South Bainbridge, Chenango county, New York. It is usually charged by anti-"Mormon" writers that Joseph Smith "stole his wife," but since she was born on July 10, 1804, and therefore at the time of her marriage was in her twenty-third year, and under the law mistress of her own actions, it is a little difficult to see where the charge of "stealing" or "abduction" can be made to hold good.

Immediately after his marriage. Joseph quit the employ of Mr. Stoal and went to his father's home and farmed with him the following season, the summer of 1827. Another consideration which doubtless governed his action in removing to Palmyra township was the fact that the time was approaching--the twenty-second of September, 1827--when the plates of the Book of Mormon were to be given into his hands for the translation, and he, doubtless, desired to be in the vicinity of Cumorah.


Did the visions of Joseph Smith have objective reality, or were they purely subjective, mere creations of the mind? This question has been extensively debated. Of course, from the Latter-day Saint point of view, the visions had objective reality. That is to say, the Divine Personages of the first vision were tangible, bodily Persons. One of them, in fact, was the risen Christ, who, when he arose from the dead left a tomb empty; who, to some of his doubting disciples, on appearing to a number of them after his resurrection, said: "Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bone as ye see me have." And who in further attestation of the reality of his bodily existence ate of a fish and honey-comb in the presence of these same disciples. And we have warrant even in the Athanasian Creed that "such as the Father is, such is the Son;" and conversely it follows of necessity that as the Son is, so is the Father. Hence the Father a tangible reality, a personage of flesh and bone as indeed was and is the Christ.

Of Moroni, the angel of the second and subsequent visions, treated in this chapter, the Prophet himself, in answering the question "how and where did you obtain the Book of Mormon," said: "Moroni * * * being dead and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me and told me where they [the plates containing the record] were, and gave me direction how to obtain them." So that Moroni was a tangible personage, as much so as the risen Christ was.

The gold plates of the Book of Mormon were also a tangible reality, sensible to touch as to sight. They had length, breadth, thickness and weight; as testified to by those who afterwards, as we shall see, saw, and handled, and "hefted" them.

Of course holding to the objective reality of the personages of these early visions, commits Joseph Smith and his following to the objective reality of God; and to the belief in the existence of a plurality of Divine Intelligences in the universe. This fact has, from the beginning, laid the church open to the charge of "materialism" and "pluralistic" conceptions of the universe. Obviously these questions are too large for discussion in a mere note, and especially at a time when the doctrine in these pages is, as yet, so inadequately developed. But here I may say, while halting merely to note the fact that these early visions of the Prophet commit the church to the doctrine of the objective reality of Deity, and to the existence of a plurality of Divine Intelligences, I disclaim that the church believes in or accepts the doctrine of "materialism," as that doctrine is popularly conceived and expounded. And in the doctrine of the existence of a plurality of Divine Intelligences in the universe, there is to be a modification also, namely, that while regarding such Intelligences as the grand creating and governing forces of the world, the "absolute" of other faiths and philosophies, so far as the "absolute" can be posited--while regarding such Intelligences as "self acting beings." they nevertheless form a "unity"; the "free harmony," of Professor William James, of Harvard, in contradistinction to the "solid block" of other philosophers. The "Many, though indeed One," of Professor Howison (University of California),--the "one Nature in manifold persons." David's "congregation of the mighty," where God "judgeth among the Gods."

This much to forestall hasty judgment on the part of the readers of this History, until a more systematic development of Latter-day Saint concepts can be unfolded in these chapters.



Joseph Smith had doubtless taken both Josiah Stoal of Bainbridge, Chenango county, New York, and Joseph Knight, Sen., of Colesville, Broome county, New York, into his confidence concerning the time at which the Book of Mormon would be delivered to him for translation. Of Mr. Stoal, the employer of Joseph Smith we have already spoken. Joseph Knight, Sen., was a prosperous farmer and mill owner in Broome county New York; he also had employed the Prophet at various times, and at the Knight home Joseph was a frequent visitor even during the time he was in the employ of Mr. Stoal. These two gentlemen, near neighbors, though separated by a county line, were guests at the Smith home in Palmyra at the time the Prophet obtained the Nephite plates, having arrived on the 20th of September, 1827. The presence of these guests naturally increased the domestic anxieties and work of Lucy Smith, so much so that she had not retired by midnight of the 21st. Soon after midnight, the morning of the 22nd, her son Joseph surprised her by suddenly coming from his chamber and inquiring if she had a chest with a lock and key. Suspecting what use the Prophet desired to make of it, she was somewhat agitated as she could not supply the article. Her son, however, assured her he could get along for the present without the chest, and leaving the house he hitched Mr. Knight's horse to the spring wagon. Presently the Prophet's wife, Emma, passed through the room dressed for driving, and departed with Joseph, presumedly for the hill Cumorah. It is not known what part Emma Smith took in the proceedings of the early hours of the 22nd day of September, as neither herself nor the Prophet have left one word on record concerning the matter, and these details are known only through the recital of Lucy Smith. It seems, however, that Joseph made his way to the hill Cumorah, and in the presence of Moroni obtained the Nephite record, the breast-plate and Urim and Thummim.

Owing to his having no suitable place in which to deposit the plates at his home, the Prophet concealed them, temporarily, in the woods some two or three miles distant. He found a fallen birch log that was much decayed, though the bark was well preserved and tough--as is frequently the case with that kind of tree, as all know who are acquainted with it. Carefully cutting the bark and removing sufficient of the decayed wood to admit of the plates, they were deposited in the cavity, the bark was drawn together again, and as far as possible all signs of the log having been disturbed obliterated.


Meantime at the Smith home considerable excitement prevailed. Mr. Knight early in the morning discovered that both his horse and wagon were gone, and he suspected that some rogue had stolen them. Lucy Smith volunteered no information as to Joseph having made use of the horse and wagon, but tried to pacify Mr. Knight with the idea that they were but temporarily out of the way. The Prophet returned home in due time, and taking his mother aside showed to her the Urim and Thummim which he had evidently detached from the breast-plate and concealed on his own person when depositing the plates, as described above. He seems to have kept the instrument constantly about him after that time, as by means of it he could at will be made aware of approaching danger to the record. It appears, however, that Joseph on returning home made no explanations to his father, Mr. Stoal, Mr. Knight, or even to his mother about having obtained the plates. The elder Smith must shortly afterwards have suspected the fact, and so, too, in some way, the local community did, as much excitement and neighborhood gossip prevailed concerning the Prophet having the plates in his possession, and schemes were hatching to wrest the sacred treasure from him.


The fact was that Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra. Men will say in scoffing explanation and in fancied refutation of the things here to be stated that the early decades of the 19th century were noted as a period of great superstition, and western New York was a locality where ignorance prevailed--and ignorance and superstition are always concomitant existences: so much so that where you find one condition the other is sure to be lying about at no great distance. And this ignorance, of which is born too frequently, it must be admitted, preposterous beliefs in things called miraculous; and which distorts all that it touches--the existence of ignorance, I say, is supposed to be a full explanation of the data on which superstition builds its edifice. In other words the proved existence of ignorance in any given case of what is called spiritual experience or supernatural manifestation or psychic phenomena, is held too often to be equivalent to a denial of the existence of any data whatsoever for the distorted account which the ignorant may give out for their more or less abnormal experience with the phenomena of mind. Meantime the spiritual phenomena of mind are realities, and there are manifestations of them as well among the ignorant as among the learned. The ignorant may distort their significance, stand in terror of the manifestations, and accredit them to a divine or a diabolic origin, accordingly as the manifestations affect them favorably or otherwise; while the learned, on the other hand, unmoved by fear may try to classify the phenomena, seek their origin, and give them scientific exposition; and certainly will give them a more intelligible nomenclature; but the bed-rock facts remain the same whether the manifestations of them are among the ignorant or the learned. There is a power in the human spirit that under favorable conditions, which may be self-induced, sees with the mind things not visible to the normal senses; that hears with the mind; and with the mind reads the thoughts of others or unconsciously infuses thoughts into the minds of others. These mind phenomena may be called by the ignorant "second-sight," "witch-craft," "magic," and the like; for they would be ignorant of the more learned terms of "clairvoyance," "clairaudience," "telepathy," or "thought transference;" and would never think of classifying all these manifestations under the general title of "psychical phenomena." Moreover they might be ignorant of the name given to that state of mind under which these abnormal powers are best exercised, the hypnotic or semi-hypnotic state; and also be ignorant of the scientific processes, by which that state may be induced, and resort to "crystal-gazing," "peep-stones," "trance-utterances," and what not; but they produced the necessary state of mind, nevertheless, even with their crude methods, and obtained psychical results. It is too late in the day now to doubt of the reality of these mind-powers, or of their manifestation. Psychical research has progressed too far, and its accumulated evidences are too overwhelming to admit of doubt about them; and too many names honored in the scientific and philosophical world stand sponsors for the fact to allow of them being laughed out of the arena of human experiences, or dismissed from consideration by asserting that they are born of ignorance, and are real only to the superstitious.

Again these mind-powers are at the service of evil disposed persons as well as to those of upright intentions. "As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses," so also may it be expected that men of corrupt minds, will resist the truth, and employ against it psychic powers of mind as well as the normal mental faculties.


These reflections indulged, we may now return to the statement with which they began--viz., Joseph Smith was not the only psychic in the vicinity of Palmyra. A Miss Chase, sister of Willard Chase, the Methodist class leader, already mentioned, had for some time been accredited with psychic powers of mind, and practiced "crystal-gazing;" and besides this, remarkable as it may seem, parties in the neighborhood of the Smith home, numbering some ten or twelve men, sent a distance of sixty or seventy miles for a psychic --"conjuror" they called him--to come to Palmyra and to discover the whereabouts of "Joe Smith's gold bible." The elder Smith learned of the arrival of this person at the home of Willard Chase, and heard him boast in the presence of his employers that he would "have them plates in spite of Joe Smith or all the devils in hell." This boast and the existence of this conspiracy might well agitate the mind of the elder Smith, as indeed it did.

The day after taking possession of the Nephite record, the young Prophet was offered the job of digging a well for a Mrs. Wells, of Macedon, a village some three miles west of Palmyra, and the family standing much in need of the money promised for the work, Joseph immediately accepted the employment and went to Macedon. Shortly after his departure the neighborhood excitement already referred to arose and the "conjuror" arrived. So great were the fears of the elder Smith that he finally determined upon sending for the Prophet, and to this end Emma Smith was mounted on horse-back and sent to Macedon. After some hesitation Mrs. Wells consented to Joseph returning home before the completion of the well, and furnished him with a horse with which to make the journey.

On arriving home the young Prophet allayed the fears of his father by assuring him that the record was as yet safe, and made immediate preparations for bringing it home. His brother Hyrum was sent for and asked to secure a chest with a lock and key by the time he should return with the plates. The plates were hidden, as already described, between two and three miles from the Smith home. Arriving at the place where they were concealed, the Prophet wrapped them in his farmer's "smock," and started for home. For greater security Joseph left the high-way and made the journey through the woods and fields. His enemies were evidently on the watch for him, for three times he was assaulted by as many different persons; but being strong and athletic, by dint of blows and flight he threw them off and finally reached home utterly exhausted from the excitement and the fatigue of his adventures.

As soon as he could relate in part what had befallen him on his way home, he desired his father and Messrs. Knight and Stoal to go in search of his assailants, which they did. At the same time a messenger was sent to Hyrum Smith to remind him of the chest he was to provide. Hyrum soon came with the chest, and the record was at last secured under lock and key. Meantime the elder Smith and his two friends, Knight and Stoal, returned from their fruitless search for the Prophet's assailants; and Joseph by now being recovered somewhat from his exhaustion, related to them and some others --"many others," Lucy Smith says--who had come to the Smith home because of the neighborhood excitement--his adventures in getting home with the plates. It seems that in knocking down his third assailant, Joseph had dislocated his thumb, and this, though not much noticed when it happened, now through its painful throbbing demanded attention, and he requested his father to put it in place.

The Prophet apparently did not return to his work at Macedon, but in order to be near the sacred record entrusted to him, he remained at his father's home working on the farm with his brothers.


It has been several times remarked that with the plates on which a brief history of ancient American peoples was engraven, there was an ancient breast-plate to which, when the Prophet took possession of it, the Urim and Thummim were attached. This breast-plate it appears the Prophet did not bring home with him when he brought the record. But a few days later, according to the statement of Lucy Smith, he came into the house from the field one afternoon, and after remaining a short time put on his "great coat" and left the house. On his returning the mother was engaged in an upper room of the house preparing oil-cloth for painting--it will be remembered that this was an art she had followed for some years. Joseph called to her and asked her to come down stairs. To this she answered she could not then leave her work, but Joseph insisted and she came down stairs and entered the room where he was, whereupon he placed in her hands the Nephite breast-plate herein alluded to. "It was wrapped in a thin muslin handkerchief," she explains, "so thin that I could feel its proportions without any difficulty. It was concave on one side, and convex on the other, and extended from the neck downwards, as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material, for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips. They were just the width of two of my fingers, (for I measured them,) and they had holes in the end of them, to be convenient in fastening. After I had examined it, Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummim.


The sacred things were now collected, it would seem, and secure under lock and key. But not so. As the Prophet states in his own narrative, "the house was frequently beset by mobs and evil designing persons, * * * and every device was made use of to get the plates away from me." One instance of this kind is related by Lucy Smith. A few days after the breast-plate was deposited with the record, Joseph came hurriedly into the house, apparently in some alarm, and inquired if a company of men had recently called at the house. Being answered in the negative, he informed his mother that a mob would be at the house by night-fall or sooner, and that the chest containing the sacred record must be immediately removed from its present place of concealment. At this moment a trusted friend of the family, a Mr. Braman, of Livonia--a village some twenty-five miles distant from Palmyra, in the adjoining county of Livingston--came in, and with his help Joseph took up the hearthstones, in the kitchen, dug a hole sufficiently large to receive the chest and relaid the hearthstones over it. Scarcely had this been done when the expected mob arrived with arms in their hands, and rushed upon the house. Joseph, however, feigned a counterattack upon the mob, and throwing open the doors and giving command as to a large following, himself and father, Mr. Braman, and his brothers, rushed out of the house as if determined to attack the mob, whereupon they took to flight and dispersed.

Again, and only a short time after the foregoing incident, the Prophet received premonitions of another assault by the mob. The chest was taken from under the hearthstones and the sacred record and the associated articles were wrapped in cloths and hidden in a quantity of flax that had been stored away in the loft of a cooper's shop that at the time stood across the road from the Smith home. The chest was then nailed up and hidden under the floor of the cooper's shop. At night-fall the mob came and ransacked the premises, but did not enter the house. In the morning the family found the cooper's shop door broken down, the floor torn up and the chest shivered to splinters, but the record was secure in its place of concealment.

In these several movements the mob claimed to have been guided by the directions of Miss Chase, the psychic before alluded to, who, in her "crystal-gazing," claimed to be able to see where "Joe" Smith had hidden his "gold bible." And notwithstanding the many disappointments they met with, the mob's faith in her occult powers seems not to have been shaken.

The constant apprehension for the safety of the record entrusted to him, and these frequently recurring attacks upon the house by his enemies, rendered the work of translation under these circumstances impossible, and the young Prophet resolved upon removing to the home of his wife's parents where he hoped for a more peaceful environment, suitable for the great undertaking.

The circumstances of the Prophet's family were very humble, and they lacked the means to enable Joseph to make this journey; but through the kindness of Martin Harris, a well-to-do farmer in the neighborhood of Palmyra, who had become interested in the Prophet, and gave some credence to his account of the Lord's visitations to him,--through his kindness the necessary money--fifty dollars--was supplied, and Alvah Hale, brother of Emma, came from Harmony, Pennsylvania, with a team and wagon to convey Joseph and his wife to that place.

In the month of August of that same year, Joseph and Emma had visited Harmony for the purpose of securing some personal property belonging to the latter, and which had been left at her father's home at the time of her departure to be married in the preceding January. On the occasion of that visit there was an approachment to reconciliation between Joseph and his father-in-law, and an invitation was extended to himself and Emma to make their home in Harmony. It was doubtless this invitation that determined the Prophet upon removing to Harmony when the persecution became so intolerable in the vicinity of Palmyra.

He was not, however, permitted to depart in peace. Twice he was overtaken on the road, while still near Palmyra, by an officer who under the pretext of a search warrant sought, as was alleged, something of value that he might attach to satisfy the claim of an alleged debt; but in reality he was searching for the plates. They were concealed in a barrel of beans at the time and it did not occur to the officer to look for them in a depository so commonplace.


As might be expected there is some conflict in the details of the various narratives that are extant concerning the Prophet securing the Nephite plates and bringing them home. The Prophet himself goes into none of the details of the narrative already given, or those which immediately follow, or in any narrative which he published. The utmost that he said in his autobiographical journal is:

"At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go, carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected. I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the "messenger" called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight."

In the "Wentworth Letter," written and published March, 1842, he merely says:

"After having received many visits from the angels of God unfolding the majesty and glory of the events that should transpire in the last days, on the morning of the 22nd of September, A. D. 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into my hands. * * * As soon as the news of this discovery was made known, false reports, misrepresentation and slander flew, as on the wings of the wind, in every direction; the house was frequently beset by mobs and evil designing persons. Several times I was shot at, and very narrowly escaped, and every device was made use of to get the plates away from me; but the power and blessing of God attended me, and several began to believe my testimony."

This is as far into the details as the Prophet ever went in respect of these incidents in any public utterance that has been published. Lucy Smith and others, however, have added details, which, in the main, are doubtless accurate; but, as in all narratives of events, by different witnesses, even by eye witnesses, and especially when given from memory and many years after the events took place, there are certain discrepancies. As for example, a statement by Mr. Stoal, fixes the home-coming of Joseph with the plates in the morning; while from the nature of the events crowded into that day by Lucy Smith, this home-coming must have been sometime in the afternoon, and late in the afternoon. The events summarized are as follows: The elder Smith hearing conversations and threats when moving about among the neighbors, returns home and holds consultation with the family and determines to send Emma Smith to Macedon to bring the Prophet home; Emma rides on horse-back between five and six miles to Macedon; the Prophet makes arrangements with Mrs. Wells to be released from her work and rides home with Emma between five and six miles; after partaking of refreshments and giving various directions, he walks some three miles to where the plates are hidden; and then through woods and fields makes his way home with a heavy burden; it must have been late in the afternoon when he came home, if all these events happened in that one day.

Again, according to Lucy Smith, the Prophet's father and Messrs. Stoal and Knight were not at the house when Joseph, exhausted, came home with the plates, since, according to her narrative. Joseph desired her to send the lad Don Carlos--a younger brother--for his father and the two friends, "and have them go immediately and see if they could find the men who had been pursuing him." According to Mr. Stoal's statement, however, sixteen years after the event, he was at the house when Joseph came to the door with the plates and was the one who took them from him "the morning he brought them home," saying at the same time--"Blessed is he that sees and believeth, and more blessed is he that believeth without seeing."


These discrepancies in details under all the circumstances are not to be wondered at, and can readily be accounted for by the intelligent reader. Some of the events mentioned by Lucy Smith as having happened on one day may have belonged to other days. Lucy's written account was given from memory eighteen years after the events took place, and a slight error of this kind would be quite natural; or Mr. Stoal's statement that it was in the "morning" that the Prophet brought home the record may have been an error--he dictated his statement from memory, sixteen years after the event occurred. And now as to the second matter, the absence of the elder Smith and the two friends, Knight and Stoal, when the young Prophet arrived home, (according to Lucy Smith's account); and the presence of Stoal and his taking the plates from the exhausted Prophet when he arrived, the other two being absent, or one of them may have been absent. In any event the two or the one absent was sent for to make up the party to go in search of the assailants of Joseph. The details are not more variant than would reasonably be expected, and the variation in details, under the circumstances, by no means weaken the narrative nor discredit the Witnesses.

As the statement of Mr. Stoal has been seldom referred to in connection with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, I think it important that the part of it mentioned in this note should be given. It appears that this early friend of the Prophet had such faith in the mission of Joseph that he was baptized, but did not remove from New York when the church was commanded to go to Ohio. Sixteen years afterwards, however, when the church was settled in Nauvoo, and the Prophet was at the height of his fame and glory. Mr. Stoal, then in his declining years and failing health, induced a Mrs. Martha Campbell, at whose home he was living, to write for him--and partly as he dictated--to the Prophet, asking if he would receive, him in the church and allow him to renew his covenants, and expressing his intention to remove to Nauvoo in the spring. This letter was written December 19, 1843. And now the passage on the point of his receiving from Joseph the plates:

"He [Mr. Stoal] says he has never staggered at the foundation of the work, for he knew too much concerning it. If I understood him right he was the first person that took the plates out of your hands the morning you brought them in, and he observed, `Blessed is he that sees and believeth, and more blessed is he that believeth without seeing;' and he says he has seen and believes. He seems anxious to get there [i.e. Nauvoo] to `renew his covenant with the Lord'."



Joseph Smith arrived in Harmony, Pennsylvania, in the month of December, 1827, and established himself in a house located on Mr. Hale's farm which, with a small parcel of land, he had purchased of his father-in-law.

No sooner was he settled than he began making a transcript of some of the characters from the plates. "I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them." He was so engaged from the time of his arrival in December, 1827, until the ensuing February,

Sometime in February, as previously arranged between them, Martin Harris arrived in Harmony from New York; and taking the transcription of characters Joseph had made from the plates, he departed for the city of New York, in order to submit them to men of learning for their inspection, and in order also that they might translate them if they could. It may be that this submission of the transcript of Nephite characters to learned men was undertaken in part to satisfy some lingering doubts in the mind of Martin Harris, as to whether or not Joseph Smith had in his possession a genuine, ancient record; but primarily the purpose was to fulfill a prophecy within the record itself, viz:


"And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered. And behold, the book shall be sealed. * * * Wherefore because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall be kept from them, but the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he shall deliver these words unto another; but the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. * * * But, behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book, take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may shew them unto the learned, saying, read this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say, bring hither the book, and I will read them: and now, because of the glory of the world, and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God. And the man shall say, I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed. Then shall the learned say, I cannot read it. Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say, I am not learned. Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee."

A fragment of the transcript of the Book of Mormon characters which Joseph Smith gave to Martin Harris to submit to the learned men of New York is given in a photograph accompanying this chapter. I say fragment, because the Prophet gives us to understand that between the time of his arriving in Harmony, December, 1827, and the arrival of Harris, sometime in February, 1828, he had transcribed "a considerable number" of characters from the plates certainly more than this seven-lined transcript. Martin Harris says he submitted two papers containing different transcripts, to Professors Anthon and Mitchell, of New York, one that was translated and one not translated; and Professor Anthon himself, in his letter to E. D. Howe, under date of Feb. 17, 1834, says:

"This paper in question was, in fact, a singular scroll. It consisted of all kinds of singular characters disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes; Roman letters inverted or placed sideways were arranged and placed in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, arched with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican calendar by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived."

In a letter to Rev. Coit, bearing date of April 3rd, 1841, Professor Anthon further said:

"The characters were arranged in columns, like the Chinese mode of writing, and presented the most singular medley that I ever beheld, Greek, Hebrew and all sorts of letters, more or less distorted, either through unskillfulness or from actual design, were intermingled with sundry delineations of half moons, stars, and other natural objects, and the whole ended in a rude representation of the Mexican zodiac."

Surely the seven-line transcript engraving, published with this chapter, does not meet this description. Hence, I refer to it as only a fragment of what was submitted to Professors Mitchell and Anthon by Martin Harris, and preserved with the copy of the printer's manuscript of the Book of Mormon, by David Whitmer.

For what happened at the interview between Martin Harris and Professors Mitchell and Anthon, we are, of course, dependent upon the statements of those gentlemen. On returning from his expedition to New York, Martin Harris made the following report to Joseph Smith:


"I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic, and he said that they were the true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.

"He then said to me, `Let me see that certificate.' I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied. `I cannot read a sealed book.' I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation."

Some years after this, viz., in 1834, Professor Anthon, in a letter to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, made a statement as to what took place on the occasion of Martin Harris' visit to him, and I give that statement below in full. By way of introduction it should be said, however, that Mr. E. D. Howe at the time (1834) was connected with a Dr Hurlburt in the production of an anti-"Mormon" book, and the report of Harris' interview with the learned professor having become known, Mr. Howe wrote to Professor Anthon making inquiries about it, hoping, perhaps, that the fact of the interview might be denied. This is the letter he received in reply to his inquiries:


NEW YORK, February 17, 1834.

"Dear Sir: I received your letter of the 9th, and lose no time in making a reply. The whole story about my pronouncing the Mormon inscription to be reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics is perfectly false. Some years ago a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer called on me with a note from Dr. Mitchell, of our city, now dead, requesting me to decipher, if possible, the paper which the farmer would hand me. Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to the conclusion that it was all a trick--perhaps a hoax. When I asked the person who brought it how he obtained the writing, he gave me the following account: A gold book consisting of a number of plates, fastened together by wires of the same material, had been dug up in the northern part of the state of New York, and along with it an enormous pair of spectacles. These spectacles were so large that if a person attempted to look through them, his two eyes would look through one glass only, the spectacles in question being altogether too large for the human face. `Whoever,' he said, `examined the plates through the glasses was enabled not only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning.' All this knowledge, however, was confined to a young man, who had the trunk containing the book and spectacles in his sole possession. This young man was placed behind a curtain in a garret in a farm-house, and being thus concealed from view, he put on the spectacles occasionally or rather looked through one of the glasses, deciphered the characters in the book, and having committed some of them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain to those who stood outside. Not a word was said about their being deciphered by the gift of God. Everything in this way was effected by the large pair of spectacles. The farmer added that he had been requested to contribute a sum of money toward the publication of the golden book, the contents of which would, as he was told, produce an entire change in the world, and save it from ruin. So urgent had been these solicitations, that he intended selling his farm and giving the amount to those who wished to publish the plates. As a last precautionary step, he had resolved to come to New York, and obtain the opinion of the learned about the meaning of the paper which he brought with him, and which had been given him as a part of the contents of the book, although no translation had at that time been made by the young man with spectacles. On hearing this odd story, I changed my opinion about the paper, and instead of viewing it any longer as a hoax, I began to regard it as part of a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money, and I communicated my suspicions to him to beware of rogues. He requested an opinion from me in writing, which, of course, I declined to give, and he then took his leave, taking his paper with him. I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with friends on the subject since the Mormon excitement began and well remember that the paper contained anything else but Egyptian hieroglyphics. Some time after the farmer paid me a second visit. He brought with him the gold book in print, and offered it to me for sale. I declined purchasing. He then asked permission to leave the book with me for examination. I declined receiving it, although his manner was strangely urgent. I adverted once more to the roguery which, in my opinion, had been practiced upon him, and asked him what had become of the gold plates. He informed me they were in a trunk with the spectacles. I advised him to go to a magistrate and have the trunk examined. He said the curse of God would come upon him if he did. On my pressing him, however, to go to a magistrate, he told me he would open the trunk if I would take the curse of God upon myself. I replied that I would do so with the greatest willingness, and would incur every risk of that nature, provided I could only extricate him from the grasp of the rogues. He then left me. I have given you a full statement of all that I know respecting the origin of Mormonism and must beg of you as a personal favor to publish this letter immediately, should you find my name mentioned again by these wretched fanatics.

Yours respectfully.

[Signed] CHAS. ANTHON."

In addition to this acknowledgment of the visit of Martin Harris to him with the transcript of the Nephite characters, Professor Anthon subsequently made another acknowledgment of Martin Harris' visit, in a letter written to Rev. Dr. T. W. Coit, Rector of Trinity church, Rochelle, West Chester county, New York, in answer to a note of inquiry from that gentleman, concerning the professor's connection with the Book of Mormon.



"Rev, and Dear Sir: I have often heard that the Mormons claimed me for an auxiliary, but as no one until the present time has even requested from me a statement in writing, I have not deemed it worth while to say anything publicly on the subject. What I do know of the sect relates to some of the early movements; and as the facts may amuse you, while they will furnish a satisfactory answer to the charge of my being a Mormon proselyte, I proceed to lay them before you in detail.

"Many years ago--the precise date I do not now recollect,--a plain-looking countryman called upon me with a letter from Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, requesting me to examine, and give my opinion upon a certain paper, marked with various characters, which the doctor confessed he could not decipher, and which the bearer of the note was very anxious to have explained. A very brief examination of the paper convinced me that it was a mere hoax, a very clumsy one too. The characters were arranged in columns, like the Chinese mode of writing, and presented the most singular medley that I ever beheld. Greek, Hebrew and all sorts of letters, more or less distorted, either through unskillfulness or from actual design, were intermingled with sundry delineations of half moons, stars, and other natural objects, and the whole ended in a rude representation of the Mexican zodiac. The conclusion was irresistible, that some cunning fellow had prepared the paper in question for the purpose of imposing upon the countryman, who brought it, and I told the man so without any hesitation. He then proceeded to give me the history of the whole affair, which convinced me that he had fallen into the hands of some sharper, while it left me in great astonishment at his simplicity.

"The countryman told me that a gold book had been recently dug up in the western or northern part (I forget which), of our state, and he described this book as consisting of many gold plates like leaves, secured by a gold wire passing through the edge of each, just as the leaves of a book are sewed together, and presented in this way the appearance of a volume. Each plate, according to him, was inscribed with unknown characters, and the paper which he handed me, a transcript of one of these pages.

"On my asking him by whom the copy was made, he gravely stated, that along with the golden book there had been dug up a very large pair of spectacles! so large in fact that if a man were to hold them in front of his face, his two eyes would merely look through one of the glasses, and the remaining part of the spectacles would project a considerable distance sideways! These spectacles possessed, it seems a very valuable property, of enabling any one who looked through them, (or rather through one of the lenses,) not only to decipher the characters on the plates, but also to comprehend their exact meaning, and be able to translate them!

"My informant assured me that this curious property of the spectacles had been actually tested, and found to be true. A young man, it seems, had been placed in the garret of a farm-house, with a curtain before him, and having fastened the spectacles to his head, had read several pages in the golden book, and communicated their contents in writing to certain persons stationed on the outside of the curtain. He had also copied off one page of the book in the original character, which he had in like manner handed over to those who were separated from him by the curtain, and this copy was the paper which the countryman had brought with him.

"As the golden book was said to contain very great truths, and most important revelations of a religious nature, a strong desire had been expressed by several persons in the countryman's neighborhood, to have the whole work translated and published. A proposition had accordingly been made to my informant, to sell his farm, and apply the proceeds to the printing of the golden book, and the golden plates were to be left with him as a security until he should be reimbursed by the sale of the work. To convince him more clearly that there was no risk whatever in the matter, and that the work was actually what it claimed to be, he was told to take the paper, which purported to be a copy of one of the pages of the book, to the city of New York, and submit it to the learned in that quarter, who would soon dispel all his doubts, and satisfy him as to the perfect safety of the investment.

"As Dr. Mitchell was our `Magnus Appollo' in those days, the man called first upon him; but the Doctor, evidently suspecting some trick, declined giving any opinion about the matter, and sent the countryman down to the college, to see, in all probability, what the `learned pundits' in that place would make of the affair.

"On my telling the bearer of the paper that an attempt had been made to impose on him and defraud him of his property, he requested me to give him my opinion in writing about the paper which he had shown me. I did so without hesitation, partly for the man's sake, and partly to let the individual `behind the curtain' see that his trick was discovered. The import of what I wrote was, as far as I can now recollect, simply this, that the marks in the paper appeared to be merely an imitation of various alphabetical characters, and had, in my opinion, no meaning at all connected with them. The countryman then took his leave, with many thanks, and with the express declaration that he would in no shape part with his farm, or embark in the speculation of printing the golden book.

"The matter rested here for a considerable time, until one day, when I had ceased entirely to think of the countryman and his paper, this same individual to my great surprise paid me a second visit. He now brought with him a duodecimo volume, which he said was a translation into English of the `Golden Bible.' He also stated that notwithstanding his original determination not to sell his farm, he had been induced eventually to do so, and apply the money to the publication of the book, and received the golden plates as a security for repayment. He begged my acceptance of the volume, assuring me that it would be found extremely interesting, and that it was already `making great noise' in the upper part of the state. Suspecting now, that some serious trick was on foot, and that my plain-looking visitor might be in fact a very cunning fellow. I declined his present, and merely contented myself with a slight examination of the volume while he stood by. The more I declined receiving it, however, the more urgent the man became in offering the book until at last I told him plainly that if he left the volume, as he said he intended to do, I should most assuredly throw it after him as he departed.

"I then asked him how he could be so foolish as to sell his farm and engage in this affair; and requested him to tell me if the plates were really of gold. In answer to this latter inquiry, he said, that he had not seen the plates themselves, which were carefully locked up in a trunks but that he had the trunk in his possession. I advised him by all means to open the trunk and examine its contents, and if the plates proved to be gold, which 1 did not believe at all, to sell them immediately. His reply was, that if he opened the trunk, the `curse of Heaven would descend upon him and his children.' However, added he, `I will agree to open it, provided you take the `curse of Heaven' upon yourself, for having advised me to the step.' [told him I was perfectly willing to do so, and begged he would hasten home and examine the trunk, for he would find he had been cheated. He promised to do as I recommended, and left me, taking his book with him. I have never seen him since.

"Such is a plain statement of all I know respecting Mormons. My impression now is, that the plain-looking countryman was none other than the Prophet Smith himself, who assumed an appearance of great simplicity in order to entrap me, if possible, into some recommendation of his book. That the Prophet aided me by his inspiration in interpreting the volume, is only one of the many amusing falsehoods which the Mormonites utter, relative to my participation in their doctrines. Of these doctrines I know nothing whatever, nor have I ever heard a single discourse from any of their preachers, although I have often felt a strong curiosity to become an auditor, since my friends tell me that they frequently name me in their sermons, and even go so far as to say, that I am alluded to in the prophecies of scripture!

`If what I have here written shall prove of any service in opening the eyes of some of their deluded followers to the real designs of those who profess to be the apostles of Mormonism, it will afford me satisfaction equalled, I have no doubt, only by that which yourself will feel on this subject.

"I remain, very respectfully and truly,

your friend,

[Signed] CHAS. ANTHON."


After his interviews with Professors Mitchell and Anthon, Martin Harris returned to Harmony, Pennsylvania, and reported to the Prophet Joseph the result of those interviews, thence went on to Palmyra where he arranged his business affairs and returned to the Prophet in Harmony about the 12th of April, 1828, and commenced writing as Joseph translated.

It will be observed that there is a discrepancy between the letter written by Professor Anthon to the Rev. Mr. Coit and the one he sent to E. D. Howe. In the latter he states that he refused to give his opinion in writing on the characters submitted to him; but in his letter to Rev. Coit he says that he gave a written opinion to Harris without hesitation, and to the effect that the marks on the paper appeared to be an imitation of various alphabetical characters that had no meaning at all connected with them. According to Martin Harris' statement Professor Anthon gave him a certificate to the effect that the characters submitted were genuine, and that the translation accompanying them was correct; but upon hearing that the existence of the Nephite plates was made known to Joseph Smith by a heavenly messenger, he requested the return of the paper he had given to Martin Harris, and he destroyed it, saying that the visitation of angels had ceased, etc., etc.

It must be left for the friends of Mr. Anthon to reconcile the contradictions that occur in his statements, merely remarking that since the doctor in one letter declares that he refused to give Martin Harris a written opinion on the characters; and in the other that he gave him a written opinion, increases very much one's faith in Martin Harris' statement as against that of Professor Anthon's upon this point, namely that the professor gave Harris a written statement, but afterwards recalled and destroyed it. The reader should observe also that in his letter to Rev. Coit, written in 1841, the professor says that no one until that time had ever requested from him a statement in writing on the subject of his connection with the Book of Mormon. Yet as a matter of fact E. D. Howe had addressed him a letter on the subject, in 1834, asking him for a statement, to which request the professor responded, telling substantially the same story as in this letter to Rev. Coit, excepting as to the written opinion furnished to Harris, and more detail in the second than in the first letter. The contradictions in Professor Anthon's letters leave him in a most unenviable situation; and doubtless account for anti-"Mormons" usually publishing extracts only from these letters.

The statements of Professor Anthon and Martin Harris are very contradictory, but the sequence will show that there is much that supports the statement of Martin Harris in the main as true; while the anxiety of the professor to disconnect himself as far as possible from any association with "these wretched fanatics," will account for his version of the incident. The object of Mr. Harris in presenting these transcribed characters to the learned professors was, undoubtedly, to learn if they were true characters, or only the idle invention of Joseph Smith. That the answers of both Professor Anthon and Dr. Mitchell were in favor of their being true characters is evidenced by the fact that Martin Harris returned immediately to Joseph Smith, in Harmony, made his report, and thence went to Palmyra to arrange his business affairs that he might hasten back to Harmony to become the amanuensis of the Prophet in the work of translation. This Martin Harris would not likely have done if Professor Anthon's answer had been what that gentleman represents it to have been in his letters to Mr. Howe and the Rev. Coit; nor is it likely that Martin Harris would have ventured, subsequently, to have furnished the money to pay for the publication of the first edition of the Book of Mormon, had he been assured by the professor that the whole thing was a "hoax" or a "scheme" to cheat him out of his money.


As already stated Martin Harris became the amanuensis of the Prophet some time in April, 1828. This work he continued until the 14th of June following--some two months, by which time they had translated enough to make one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript, large sheets, usually called foolscap paper.

Some time after Mr. Harris commenced to write for the Prophet he began to importune him for the privilege of showing so much of the translation as they had made to a number of his friends. This request the Prophet refused to grant. Nothing daunted by this refusal, Harris asked the Prophet to inquire of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim if he might not have that privilege. This Joseph did, and Harris' request was denied. He importuned him to ask again, with the like result. And yet again did he implore that the Prophet would ask the Lord for permission to show the translated pages. "After much solicitation." says the Prophet, in his account of this affair, "I again inquired of the Lord, and permission was granted him to have the writings on certain conditions, which were that he should show them only to his brother, Preserved Harris, his wife, his father and mother, and Mrs. Cobb, a sister of his wife." "In accordance with this last answer," says the Prophet. "I required of him that he should bind himself in a covenant to me in the most solemn manner, that he would not do otherwise than he had been directed. He did so. He bound himself as I required of him, took the writings and went his way."

Shortly after the departure of Martin Harris, Emma Smith gave birth to a son which lived but a short time. Then followed two weeks of constant anxiety and sleepless days and nights for Joseph, for Emma's life hung in the balance and often her recovery was despaired of by her friends. Meantime no word was received from Martin Harris that indicated his movements, or spoke of his return. Naturally the circumstances under which he had obtained of the Lord a reluctant consent, after repeated refusals, for Harris to have the manuscript of the translation of the Book of Mormon, so far as made, and attended also, as it was, by the Prophet having to yield up the custody of the record and Urim and Thummim, gave him grounds for grave doubts as to the wisdom of his whole procedure in this thing, and now that there was no word from Harris or sign of his returning, Joseph's anxieties, it will readily be understood, were great. At last, when it was evident that Emma would recover, the Prophet hastened to the home of his parents to learn the cause of Harris' silence. The journey was made in the stage coach. En route the Prophet was overcome by fatigue, and dejected by his anxieties. His long vigils by the bedside of his wife, told heavily upon him, and the growing uncertainty respecting Harris' fidelity in keeping covenant as to the manuscript so far overcame him that on approaching Palmyra he was well nigh in a state of physical and nervous collapse. His condition was such that it greatly aroused the sympathy of a gentleman fellow passenger, who, when Joseph left the stage coach, to make his way on foot to his father's home, his fellow passenger, though a stranger, insisted upon accompanying him, which he did.

The Prophet at once sent for Martin, who put in a reluctant appearance. He had broken his solemn covenant with the Prophet. In fact he recklessly disregarded that covenant and exhibited the manuscript not only to those named in the agreement, but to others, and that quite freely. As a result the manuscript was stolen from him and he was never able to recover it, nor has it ever been found to this day. This incident went hard with the Prophet. Although he finally had permission to give the manuscript into Harris' hands, the course of the Prophet displeased the Lord and the angel Moroni at that time resumed charge of all the sacred things. Joseph had allowed himself to be over persuaded by Martin Harris, and now saw the effects of his folly.

The Prophet on learning of the loss of the manuscript returned to Harmony greatly troubled in spirit. He so humbled himself in prayer before the Lord that his humiliation and suffering must have moved God to compassion, for sometime in the month of July, 1828, Moroni appeared again to Joseph and gave to him the Urim and Thummim. Joseph immediately inquired of the Lord and by revelation learned the following truths, with accompanying reprimands. I condense from the revelation:


The works and designs of God cannot be frustrated. God does not walk in crooked paths, nor vary from that which he has said. It is not the work of God that is frustrated but the works of men. Although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall, and incur the displeasures of a just God. Joseph had been intrusted with sacred things, but how strict were the commandments given to him respecting them! But also how great were the promises made to him, if he did not transgress the commandments! Yet how often Joseph had transgressed the commandments and laws of God, and followed after the persuasions of men! He should not have feared man more than God. Although other men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his works, Joseph should have been faithful. And had he remained faithful God would have extended his arm and supported him against all the fiery darts of the adversary. Joseph was chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if he was not guarded, he would fall--"But," he was admonished, "remember, God is merciful." "Therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave unto you," said the Lord, "and thou art still chosen, and again called to the work." For as a knowledge of a Savior had come into the world through the testimony of the Jews, even so should a knowledge of a Savior come unto God's people through the testimony of the ancient inhabitants of the western hemisphere--the two American continents. It was for this purpose that the record which had been intrusted to Joseph had been preserved, that the promises of God might be fulfilled that he had made to the ancient inhabitants of America, that their descendants--the American Indians--might know the promises of the Lord made to their father, and believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified and saved through faith in his name, by their faith and repentance.

After the revelation was received, the Urim and Thummim had to be returned to Moroni. As yet the Prophet was upon probation. Upon reflection, whatever may be the reader's views respecting Joseph Smith and his pretensions, it would be difficult to conceive a more appropriate or soul-thrilling communication than this revelation.

The probation of the Prophet was of brief duration. A few days after the above visitation Moroni again appeared, and now with a more complete pardon and manifestation of the favor of God. All the sacred things were now restored to the Prophet, and upon inquiry of the Lord through Urim and Thummim he received another revelation in which the designs of those who had stolen the manuscript from Martin Harris were made known. Those designs aimed at nothing less than the destruction of the work Joseph Smith had in hand. Having now in their possession so large a part of the ancient record, they would hold it and see if the Prophet in a second translation could reproduce it verbatim et literatim, if not, they would say he had no gift for he could not translate the same matter twice alike, therefore he had made false pretensions; he was a false prophet, and his work must be discredited. If, on the other hand, he should reproduce the matter verbatim et literatim then they had the manuscript of the first translation in their hands, and could change that and claim that the Prophet evidently could not translate the same matter twice alike, hence had not translated by inspiration, hence had no supernatural gift, hence was not a Prophet of God, but an imposter. In either event they would discredit Joseph Smith as an inspired man, and destroy the work to be brought forth by him. "Behold," said the Lord, "they will publish this, and satan will harden the hearts of the people, to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words."


But the Book of Mormon was an abridgment, merely, of larger records of the ancient inhabitants of America. And in the course of making that abridgment, the prophet Mormon who made it--hence the name, Book of Mormon--came upon a small collection of plates called the "Smaller Plates of Nephi;" and these containing so much that related to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and being so rich in Messianic prophecy, greatly pleased Mormon, and therefore he placed the whole of the small book of Nephi with the abridgment he himself was making; saying, upon doing so: "I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will."

These Smaller Plates of Nephi also covered historically a period of four hundred years, from six hundred years B. C. to two hundred B. C. Hence by adding these Smaller Plates of Nephi to his own abridgment of the larger records, Mormon supplied in his collection of plates a double line of history for four hundred years. The manuscript of the translation of Mormon's abridgment, covering part of that period, is what had been stolen from Martin Harris; and now the Prophet was directed not to translate again that portion of Mormon's abridgment, but was commanded in the place thereof to translate the Small Plates of Nephi, and that translation should take the place of the first part of Mormon's abridgment. This was done, and the Prophet was delivered from the snares laid for his feet.



The Prophet was now re-established in the favor of God; he was in possession once more of the American scriptures, the Book of Mormon, and the means provided for their translation. As he had been admonished, however, not to run faster or labor more than he had strength and means provided to enable him to translate, he did not immediately take up the work of translation, but labored upon his farm to provide for his family.

The monotony of the winter of 1829 was broken by a visit from his father in February, who was naturally anxious about the progress of his son's work. During his visit the Prophet inquired of the Lord to learn the relationship his father was to occupy to the work then coming forth, and in which he had such unlimited faith. In answer the Prophet received the following revelation through Urim and Thummim:


"Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men;

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day;

Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work,

For behold the field is white already to harvest, and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perish not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.

Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen."

Martin Harris, although now not trusted, or allowed to act as an amanuensis for the Prophet, also visited him in March. He, too, though out of favor, would inquire of the Lord. Evidently the restrictions placed upon Joseph Smith in the matter of showing the plates to none except to those to whom God permitted him to show them, was a great trial to Martin Harris. He had been given a transcript of the characters from the plates, and these he had given into the bands of learned men, and had doubtless been given some encouragement by them to believe in the first instance, that the characters were genuine. He had acted as the Prophet's amanuensis for some time, but while so employed a heavy curtain or other device had screened the Prophet and the plates from his view, and evidently doubts would sometimes arise in his mind as to whether or not the Prophet really had the plates; and so now he desired to have a witness that the Prophet really had the plates-he desired to see them. The Prophet inquired of the Lord for him and received as an answer the following revelation in which it is made known, besides containing a message for Martin Harris, that three special witnesses would be raised up, who should see the plates by the power of God, and to no others would the same kind of a testimony be given concerning the existence of these sacred things-that is, a testimony attended by manifestations of divine power.


"Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you have received of me;

And now, behold, this shall you say unto him, he who spake unto you, said unto you, I, the Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and have commanded you that you should stand as a witness of these things

And I have caused you that you should enter into a covenant with me, that you should not show them except to those persons to whom I commanded you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you.

And you have a gift to translate the plates and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift, until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.

Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words;

For hereafter you shall be ordained and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men.

Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you could show them all these things which I have committed unto you. * * * Behold, verily I say unto you. I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations;

But this generation shall have my word through you;

And in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things, and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you;

Yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true, for from heaven will I declare it unto them.

I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are:

And to none else will I grant this power to receive this same testimony among this generation in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness. * * *

And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word.

And behold, whosoever believeth on my word, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit, and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit.

And you must wait yet a little while, for ye are not yet ordained;

And their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation if they harden their hearts against them. * * *

And now, again. I speak unto you, my servant Joseph, concerning the man that desires the witness.

Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see.

And then he shall say unto the people of this generation, behold I have seen the things which the Lord has shown unto Joseph Smith, Jun., and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen them, for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.

And I the Lord, command him, my servant Martin Harris, that he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he shall say I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God, and these are the words which he shall say;

But if he deny this, he will break the covenant which he has before covenanted with me, and behold, he is condemned.

And now, except he humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things that he has done which are wrong, and covenant with me that he will keep my commandments, and exercise faith in me, behold, I say unto him, he shall have no such views, for I will grant unto him no views of the things of which I have spoken.

And if this be the case, I command you, my servant Joseph, that you shall say unto him, that he shall do no more, nor trouble me any more concerning this matter."

This promised view of the plates was subsequently given to Martin Harris in connection with Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, of which circumstance, more later.


Joseph had been able to proceed but lamely and intermittently with the translation after Martin Harris had ceased to be available as an amanuensis. In the foregoing revelation concerning Harris, Joseph was commanded to stop translating for a season; "and I will provide means," said the Lord, "whereby thou mayest accomplish that which I have commanded thee."

The chief factor in the "means" named above came shortly afterwards in the person of Oliver Cowdery, who presented himself at the humble home of Joseph Smith in Harmony on the 5th of April, 1829. This young man Cowdery was born in Vermont at Wells, Rutland county, October 3rd, 1806; and was therefore about the Prophet's own age. The Cowdery family removed to western New York where some of Oliver's brothers had married and settled. As was quite common in new countries, and especially in those times when the pursuits of men were not so rigidly specialized as in later years, Oliver Cowdery had followed in boyhood and early manhood a variety of callings: farming, blacksmithing, clerk in a store, and finally, in the winter of 1828-9, school teaching. He taught the district school in the vicinity of the Smith home, and "boarded round" in turn with the patrons of the school. As the Smith family patronized the school, this circumstance made Oliver Cowdery for a time an inmate of their home, and the parents of the Prophet related to him the circumstance of Joseph obtaining the Book of Mormon. Young Cowdery became intensely interested in the story related to him. Meantime he met David Whitmer in Palmyra, a young man about his own age, who lived some twenty-five miles from Palmyra, near the town of Waterloo, in a neighborhood called Fayette, Seneca county, at the north end of Seneca Lake. In his conversation with young Whitmer, Oliver told him of his acquaintance with the Smiths and expressed himself to the effect that there must be something in the story of finding the plates, and he announced his intention to investigate the matter. Later, when Oliver started for Harmony, where the Prophet was living, he passed the Whitmer home at Fayette, and promised David that he would report his findings to him concerning Joseph having the plates.

Oliver became convinced that Joseph's story was true, and being informed by the Prophet on arriving at Harmony that it was the will of God that he should remain and act as his scribe in the work of translation, Oliver consented to do so, and on the 7th of April (1829) commenced to write as the Prophet indited the translation obtained by means of Urim and Thummim.


Oliver, in a few days, became anxious to learn more largely the will of the Lord concerning himself and his connection with the work then coming forth, and the Prophet through Urim and Thummim obtained a revelation for him. There was no flattering promise of a worldly character to Oliver Cowdery in the revelation. It simply proclaimed that "a great and a marvelous work was about to come forth." "Thrust in your sickle and reap;" "keep my commandments," is almost sternly said; "seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion;" "seek not for riches, but for wisdom; be diligent; stand by my servant Joseph in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be placed in for the word's sake." Then there are to be difficult circumstances! "Admonish him in his faults." What, the Prophet! Yes, the Prophet--he has faults and is not to be above admonition. "Receive admonition of him. Be patient. Be sober. Be temperate." Have "patience, faith, hope, and charity." And Oliver's reward? Not riches of this world. Not greatness in the eyes of men. Not the honors and applause of the world. "If thou wilt do good, yea and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the Kingdom of God." That is to be his reward. There is nothing worldly in all this. This spirit is worthy the great work that these young men are commissioned to bring forth. This is the kind of atmosphere one would expect to find surrounding men engaged in such a work.

Oliver also learned by this revelation that to the Prophet had been revealed secrets which until now had been known to Oliver alone. While at the Smith home he had secretly inquired of God if the things he had heard concerning the ancient American record and Joseph Smith were true, and he had received a certain witness of the Spirit that they were true. And now the revelation:

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done, for thou hast inquired of me; and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to this place where thou art at this time. Behold, thou knowest thou hast inquired of me, and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things, that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the spirit of truth; yea, I tell thee that thou mayest know that there is none else, save God, that knoweth thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart; I tell thee the things as a witness unto thee, that the words of the work which thou hast been writing are true. * * * Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night when you cried unto me in your heart that you might know concerning the truth of these things; did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? And, now, behold, you have received a witness, for if I have told you things which no man knoweth, have ye not received a witness?"

When Oliver found that the secret meditations of his heart were thus revealed through Joseph Smith: when his secret prayers were revealed and the answer of God's Spirit to those prayers made known, he could no longer doubt that his new-found friend was a Prophet of God; and with renewed zeal he took up again his work as a scribe. It was of these days that he afterwards wrote:

"These were days never to be forgotten--to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom. Day after day I continued, uninterrupted to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, "Interpreters," the history or record called the Book of Mormon."


Mr. Joseph Knight, Sen., of whom mention has already been made, several times brought the young men a wagon load of provisions, which enabled them to continue the work of translation without interruption. But for this timely assistance the work of translation must have been relinquished from time to time in order to secure supplies. Mr. Knight evidently had considerable faith in the claims of Joseph concerning the Book of Mormon; for on the occasion of his visit to him in May, 1829, he desired to know what his duty was with reference to the work that the Lord was about to bring forth. The Prophet inquired of the Lord and, as in the case of Oliver Cowdery, after declaring that a great and marvelous work was about to come forth, the revelation said:

"Keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion. Behold, I speak unto you, and also to all those who have desires to bring forth and establish this work; and no one can assist in this work, except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope and charity, being temperate in all things whatsoever shall be intrusted in his care."

For a time the Prophet had been permitted to pursue the work of translation at Harmony without interference. But in the latter part of May there began to be mutterings of an approaching storm of persecution. Threats were frequent, and the young men were only preserved from actual violence by the influence of Mr. Isaac Hale, who, though he had no faith in the Prophet's work, and in the past had manifested some hostility towards him, he still believed in law and order; was opposed to mob violence; and was willing that Joseph and his associates should be permitted to complete their work without interference.


Meantime Oliver had been writing his friend, David Whitmer, his findings as to the truth of the Prophet Joseph having the plates. He wrote soon after his arrival in Harmony that he was convinced that Joseph Smith had the record. Shortly after this, doubtless immediately after Joseph received the revelation in which the secret meditations and prayers of Oliver respecting the work before he saw the Prophet were described, Oliver wrote a second letter to David, in which he enclosed a few lines of what had been translated, and assured him that he knew of a surety that Joseph Smith had the record of a people that inhabited the American continents in ancient times; and that the plates they were translating gave a history of these people; he moreover assured David that he had "revealed knowledge" concerning the truth of what he affirmed. These letters young Whitmer showed to his parents, and to his brothers and sisters.

The increasing spirit of opposition manifested at Harmony made the Prophet uneasy concerning their personal safety, and at his suggestion Oliver Wrote to David Whitmer at Fayette, asking him to come down to Harmony and take them to the elder Whitmer's home, giving as a reason for their rather strange request that they had received a commandment from God to that effect. This request found David Whitmer in the midst of his spring work, in the hurried execution of which he claims to have received superhuman aid, by which he was able to respond much earlier to the request of his friend Oliver, and the Prophet--the latter he had never seen--than would have been possible without that help.

When David Whitmer was approaching the little village of Harmony with his two-horse team and wagon, he was met some distance from the town by the Prophet and Oliver. "Oliver told me," says David Whitmer, in relating the circumstance, "that Joseph had informed him when I started from home, where I had stopped the first night, how I read the sign at the tavern; where I stopped the next night, etc.; and that I would be there that day before dinner, and this was why they had come out to meet me, all of which was exactly as Joseph had told Oliver, at which I was greatly astonished."

The day following David Whitmer's arrival at Harmony the plates were packed up and delivered into the care of the angel Moroni by the Prophet, that they might be safely conveyed to Fayette.

Soon after the arrival at the Whitmer residence, in the garden near by, Moroni once more delivered the sacred record to Joseph, and the work of translation was renewed with even greater vigor than at Harmony; for when Oliver would tire of writing one of the Whitmers or Emma Smith would relieve him, and thus the work of translation was hastened to its completion; and while the exact date of that completion cannot be definitely fixed, it was most likely sometime in the month of July or August, 1829.


With the coming forth of the Book of Mormon there are associated superhuman events. What men usually call miraculous events. The book's existence was revealed by Moroni, an ancient American Prophet, now raised from the dead, and co-operating with Joseph Smith to bring forth to the world this record of an ancient people. The integrity of the whole story unfolding in the text of these pages depends upon the reality of these things. Was the Christ raised from the dead? Were ancient saints at the time of the Christ's resurrection also raised from the dead? The New Testament answers both questions in the affirmative. And now, if the resurrection be a reality, and the times and the power thereof rest with God, then it is not incredible that the blessings of that resurrection should extend to the inhabitants of the western world as well as to those of the eastern hemisphere. And if men are raised from the dead and made co-laborers with men in bringing to pass the purposes of God, then there is nothing incredible in the co-operation of Moroni, and other resurrected personages, with Joseph Smith and his associates in bringing to pass the great events of this New Dispensation of the gospel. Hence the repeated visitations and aid of the resurrected man, Moroni; hence the apparent superhuman aid given to David Whitmer in his preparations to bring the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery to the Whitmer home. The incidents of seeming superhuman aid given to David Whitmer as related by himself are as follows: The request of Oliver and the Prophet to come and remove them from Harmony, where they were threatened with mob violence, to the home of his father, found David in the midst of his spring work. He had some twenty acres of land to plow and concluded to do that and then go. "I got up one morning to go to work as usual," he says, "and on going to the field, found that between five and seven acres of my land had been plowed under during the night. I don't know who did it; but it was done just as I would have done it myself, and the plow was left standing in the furrow. This enabled me to start sooner."

Nor was this the only assistance of like character given to him. While harrowing in a field of wheat before starting on his journey he found to his surprise that he had accomplished more in a few hours than was usual to do in two or three days. The day following this circumstance he went out to spread plaster over a field, according to the custom of the farmers in that locality, when, to his surprise, he found the work had been done, and well done. David Whitmer's sister, who lived near the field, told him that three strangers had appeared in the field the day before and spread the plaster with remarkable skill. She at the time presumed that they were men whom David had hired to do the work.

"When I was returning to Fayette, with Joseph and Oliver," he says again. "all of us riding in the wagon, Oliver and I on an old fashioned, wooden spring seat, and Joseph behind us, when traveling along in a clear, open place, a very pleasant, nice looking old man suddenly appeared by the side of our wagon and saluted us with, `Good morning; it is very warm;' at the same time wiping his face or forehead with his hand. We returned the salutation, and by a sign from Joseph, I invited him to ride if he was going our way. But he said very pleasantly, `No, I am going to Cumorah.' This name was somewhat new to me, and I did not know what `Cumorah' meant. We all gazed at him and at each other, and as I looked round inquiringly of Joseph, the old man instantly disappeared, so that I did not see him again. * * * It was the messenger who had the plates, who had taken them from Joseph just prior to our starting from Harmony."

David Whitmer says that soon after the installment of Joseph, his wife, and Oliver Cowdery in the Whitmer household, he saw something which led him to believe that the plates were concealed in his father's barn, and frankly asked the Prophet if it were so. Joseph replied that it was. "Some time after this," David adds: "My mother was going to milk the cows, when she was met out near the yard by the same old man [meaning the one who had saluted his party on the way from Harmony; at least, David Whitmer judged him to be the same, doubtless from his mother's description of him], who said to her: `You have been very faithful and diligent in your labors, but you are tired because of the increase of your toil; it is proper, therefore, that you should receive a witness, that your faith may be strengthened.' Thereupon he showed her the plates. My father and mother had a large family of their own, the addition to it, therefore, of Joseph, his wife Emma, and Oliver, very greatly increased the toil and anxiety of my mother. And although she had never complained she had sometimes felt that her labor was too much, or, at least, she was perhaps beginning to feel so. This circumstance, however, completely removed all such feelings, and nerved her up for her increased responsibilities."


Relative to the manner of translating the Book of Mormon the Prophet himself has said but little. "Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God," is the most extended published statement made by him upon the subject. Of the Urim and Thummim he says: "With the record was found a curious instrument which the ancients called Urim and Thummim, which consisted of two transparent stones set in a rim of a bow fastened to a breast-plate."

Oliver Cowdery says of the work of translation, "I wrote with my own pen the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages), as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as he translated by the gift and power of God, by the means of the Urim and Thummim, or, as they are called by that book, `Holy Interpreters'," This is all that Oliver has left on record on the manner of translating the book.

David Whitmer is more specific on this subject. After describing the means the Prophet employed to exclude the light from the Seer Stone, he says: "In the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God and not by any power of man.

There will appear between this statement of David Whitmer's and what is said both by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery a seeming contradiction. Joseph and Oliver both say the translation was done by means of the Urim and Thummim, which is described by Joseph as being "too transparent stones set in a rim of a bow fastened to a breastplate;" while David Whitmer says that the translation was made by means of a Seer Stone. The apparent contradiction is cleared up, however, by a statement made by Martin Harris. He said that the Prophet possessed a Seer Stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as with the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he sometimes used the Seer Stone. Martin said further that the Seer Stone differed in appearance entirely from the Urim and Thummim that was obtained with the plates, which were two clear stones set in two rims, very much resembling spectacles, only they were larger.

The Seer Stone referred to here was a chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum, for a Mr. Clark Chase, near Palmyra, N. Y. It possessed the qualities of Urim and Thummim, since by means of it--as described above--as well as by means of the Interpreters found with the Nephite record, Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates.

Martin Harris' description of the manner of translating while he was an amanuensis to the Prophet is as follows:

"By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say `written;' and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used."

The sum of the whole matter, then, concerning the manner of translating the sacred record of the Nephites, according to the testimony of the only witnesses competent to testify in the matter is: With the Nephite record was deposited a curious instrument, consisting of two transparent stones, set in the rim of a bow, somewhat resembling spectacles, but larger, called by the ancient Hebrews Urim and Thummim, but by the Nephites Interpreters. In addition to these Interpreters the Prophet Joseph had a Seer Stone, which to him was as Urim and Thummim; that the Prophet sometimes used one and sometimes the other of these sacred instruments in the work of translation; that whether the Interpreters or the Seer Stone was used the Nephite characters with the English interpretation appeared in the sacred instrument; that the Prophet would pronounce the English translation to his scribe, which, when correctly written, would disappear and other characters with their interpretation take their place, and so on until the work was completed.

It should not be supposed, however, that this translation, though accomplished by means of the Interpreters and Seer Stone, as stated above, was merely a mechanical procedure; that no faith, or mental or spiritual effort was required on the Prophet's part; that the instruments did all, while he who used them did nothing but look and repeat mechanically what he saw there reflected. Much has been written upon this manner of translating the Nephite record, by those who have opposed the Book of Mormon, and chiefly in a sneering way.

But the translation of the Book of Mormon by means of the Interpreters and Seer Stone, was not merely a mechanical process. It required the utmost concentration of mental and spiritual force possessed by the Prophet, in order to exercise the gift of translation through the means of the sacred instruments provided for that work. Fortunately we have the most perfect evidence of the fact, though it could be inferred from the general truth that God sets no premium upon mental or spiritual laziness; for whatever means God may have provided to assist man to arrive at the truth, he has always made it necessary for man to couple with those means his utmost endeavor of mind and heart. So much in the way of reflection; now as to the facts referred to.

In his Address to All Believers in Christ, David Whitmer says:

"At times when brother Joseph would attempt to translate he would look into the hat in which the stone was placed, [to exclude the light], he found he was spiritually blind and could not translate. He told us that his mind dwelt too much on earthly things, and various causes would make him incapable of proceeding with the translation. When in this condition he would go out and pray, and when he became sufficiently humble before God, he could then proceed with the translation. Now we see how very strict the Lord is, and how he requires the heart of man to be just right in his sight before he can receive revelation from him."

In a statement to Wm. H. Kelley and G. A. Blakeslee, the latter of Gallen, Michigan, under date Of September 15th, 1882, David Whitmer said of Joseph Smith and the necessity of his humility and faithfulness while translating the Book of Mormon:

"He was a religious and straightforward man. He had to be; for he was illiterate and he could do nothing himself. He had to trust in God. He could not translate unless he was humble and possessed the right feelings towards everyone. To illustrate so you can see: One morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went upstairs and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation but he could not do anything. He could not translate a single syllable. He went downstairs, out into the orchard, and made supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour--came back to the house, and asked Emma's forgiveness and then came upstairs where we were and then the translation went on all right. He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful."

The manner of translation is so far described by David Whitmer and Martin Harris, who received their information necessarily from Joseph Smith, and doubtless it is substantially correct, except in so far as their statements may have created the impression that the translation was a mere mechanical process; and this is certainly corrected in part at least by what David Whitmer has said relative to the frame of mind Joseph must be in before he could translate. But we have more important evidence to consider on this subject of translation than these statements of David Whitmer. In the course of the work of translation Oliver Cowdery desired the gift of translation to be conferred upon him, and God promised to grant it to him in the following terms:


"Oliver Cowdery, * * * assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so surely shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask with an honest heart believing that you shall receive a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which contain those parts of my scripture of which have been spoken by the manifestation of my spirit. Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold this is the Spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. * * * Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred, and according to your faith shall it be unto you."

In attempting to exercise this gift of translation, however, Oliver Cowdery failed; and in a revelation upon the subject the Lord explained the cause of his failure to translate:

"Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it [i.e. the gift of translation] unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me; but, behold I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind, then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you, therefore you shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought; that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me."

While this is not a description of the manner in which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, it is, nevertheless, the Lord's description of how another man could exercise the gift of translation; and doubtless it is substantially the manner in which Joseph Smith did exercise it, and the manner in which he translated the Book of Mormon. That is, the Prophet Joseph Smith looked into the Interpreters or Seer Stone, saw there by the power of God and the gift of God to him, the ancient Nephite characters, and by bending every power of his mind to know the meaning thereof, the interpretation wrought out in his mind by this effort--"by studying it out in his mind," to use the phrase of the revelation above--was reflected in the sacred instruments, there to remain until correctly written by the scribe.

There can be no doubt, either, that the interpretation thus obtained was expressed in such language as the Prophet could command, in such phraseology as he was master of and common to the time and locality where he lived; modified, of course, by the application of that phraseology to facts and ideas new to him in many respects, and above the ordinary level of the Prophet's thoughts and language, because of the inspiration of God that was upon him. This view of the translation of the Nephite record accounts for the fact that the Book of Mormon, though a translation of an ancient record, is, nevertheless, given in English idiom of the period and locality in which the Prophet lived; and in the faulty English, moreover, both as to composition, phraseology, and grammar, of a person of Joseph Smith's limited education; and also accounts for the general sameness of phraseology and literary style which runs through the whole translated volume.



As already stated, the exact time when the translation of the Book of Mormon was completed cannot be definitely ascertained. But as soon as the work was finished the Prophet dispatched a messenger from the home of the Whitmer's at Fayette, where he then was, to his parents, who were still living near Palmyra, with the pleasing intelligence that the work of translation was completed, and asked them to come to him. This information the Prophet's parents conveyed to Martin Harris, who also determined to accompany them to the home of the Whitmers. Accordingly, the little party started the next morning, and before sunset met with the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery at the residence of Peter Whitmer, the father of David.

According to statements in the Book of Mormon itself, there were to be three witnesses who were to be granted the privilege of beholding the plates from which the book was translated, and the associated sacred things. Speaking prophetically of the time when the book should be brought forth, one of the prophets, the first Nephi, said:

"When the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein. And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said, that the words of the faithful shall speak as if it were from the dead. Wherefore the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good, will be established his word; and woe be unto him that rejecteth the word of God."


Moroni also, in the part he contributed to the book, declares that the one who shall bring forth the record "may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work; and unto three they shall be shown by the power of God."

1. "Three" witnesses who shall behold the plates of the record "by the power of God."

2. A "few" others, "according to the will of God," shall behold them, "that they may bear testimony to the word of God unto the children of men."

There seems to be indicated this distinction between the first and second class of witnesses--between the "three" and the other "few:" The first are to see the plates under some circumstance attended by a demonstration of the power of God; while no promise of such demonstration is given to the second class.

As these special witnesses, according to the prophecy, were to be chosen from among those who would assist in bringing forth the work, leaning the Book of Mormon, it is not surprising that Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris desired to be the three special witnesses, as they were most prominent in assisting to bring forth the work. They besought the Prophet Joseph Smith, therefore, to inquire of the Lord if they might attain unto this honor, and for an answer the following revelation was received for them:

"Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which, if you do, with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also the breast-plate, the sword of Laban, and Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness on the border of the Red Sea; and it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old. And after you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them by the power of God."

According to the statement of Lucy Smith, it was the day following the arrival of the above party from Palmyra that the three witnesses obtained their view of the plates; but neither in her work nor in any of our annals is the date of the occurrence given. Lucy Smith, however, relates the following interesting detail connected with Martin Harris becoming one of the three witnesses:

"The next morning [i.e. following the arrival of the party from Palmyra], after attending to the usual services, namely, reading from the scriptures, singing, and praying, Joseph arose from his knees, and approaching Martin Harris with a solemnity that thrills through my veins to this day, when it occurs to my recollection, said: `Martin Harris, you have got to humble yourself before your God this day, that you may obtain a forgiveness of your sins. If you do, it is the will of God that you should look, upon the plates, in company with Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer.'"

When the egotism and stubbornness of Martin Harris is taken into account, this preliminary admonition of the Prophet to him is eminently fitting and necessary and in harmony with all the circumstances of Martin's character and the subsequent facts to be related.

Lucy Smith, continuing her narrative, says:

"Joseph, Oliver and David, repaired to a grove, a short distance from the house, where they commenced calling upon the Lord, and continued in earnest supplication, until he permitted an angel to come down from his presence and declare to them that all Joseph testified of concerning the plates was true. When they returned to the house, it was between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, Mrs. Whitmer, Mr, Smith and myself were sitting in a bedroom at the time. On coming in Joseph threw himself down beside me, and exclaimed: `Father, mother, you do not know how happy I am; the Lord has now caused the plates to be shown to three more besides myself. They have seen an angel, who has testified to them, and they will have to bear witness to the truth of what I have said, for now they know for themselves that I do not go about to deceive the people, and I feel as if I was relieved of a burden which was almost too heavy for me to bear, and it rejoices my soul, that I am not any longer to be entirely alone in the work.' Upon this Martin Harris came in: He seemed almost overcome with joy, and testified boldly to what he had both seen and heard. And so did David and Oliver, adding, that no tongue could express the joy of their hearts, and the greatness of the things which they had both seen and heard."

The Prophet's own account of the circumstances attendant upon the revelation to the three witnesses is both interesting and important. After making reference to the revelation already quoted which promised the three men named, Cowdery, Whitmer and Harris, that they should view the plates of the Book of Mormon, and the other sacred things named, the Prophet in his history says:


"Not many days after the above commandment was given, we four, viz., Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and myself, agreed to retire into the woods and try to obtain by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfillment of the promises given in the revelation, that they should have a view of the plates, etc. We accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr. Whitmer's house, to which we retired, and having knelt down we began to pray in much faith to Almighty God to bestow upon us a realization of these promises. According to previous arrangements, I commenced by vocal prayer to our heavenly Father, and was followed by each of the rest in succession. We did not, however, obtain any answer or manifestation of the divine favor in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer, each calling on and praying fervently to God in rotation, but with the same result as before. Upon this, our second failure, Martin Harris proposed that he should withdraw himself from us, believing, as he expressed himself, that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining what we wished for; he accordingly withdrew from us, and we knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged in prayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air of exceeding brightness; and, behold, an angel stood before us; in his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them and discover the engravings thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, `David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps his commandments.' When immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying: `These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.'

"I now left David and Oliver, and went in pursuit of Martin Harris, whom I found at a considerable distance fervently engaged in prayer. He soon told me, however, that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord, and earnestly requested me to join him in prayer, that he also might realize the same blessings which we had just received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained our desires, for before we had finished, the same vision was opened to our view, at least it was again to me, and I once more beheld and heard the same things, whilst at the same moment Martin Harris cried out, apparently in ecstasy of joy, "Tis enough; mine eyes have beheld!' and jumping up, he shouted hosannah, blessing God and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly."

As a result of this revelation, given under such remarkable circumstances and demonstrations of the power of God, the three witnesses published the following statement to the world, which appeared at the end of the first edition, and following the title page of all subsequent editions:


Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engraving thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded, us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.


Oliver Cowdery: Concerning the manner in which the plates and other sacred things were shown to him, beyond what is stated in the testimony of the three witnesses published in the first and every subsequent edition of the Book of Mormon, Oliver Cowdery, so far as I know, has left nothing on record further than what he said at a general conference of the church held at Kanesville, (now Council Bluffs, Iowa) October 21st, 1848. It was the occasion of his returning to the church after an estrangement of eleven years, and renewing his covenants and fellowship with the people of God. He arose and said:

"Friends and Brethren: My name is Cowdery, Oliver Cowdery. In the early history of this church I stood identified with her, and one in her councils. True it is that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance; not because I was better than the rest of mankind was I called; but, to fulfill the purposes of God, he called me to a high and holy calling.

"I wrote, with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph, as he translated it by the gift and power of God, by the means of the Urim and Thummim, or, as it is called by the book, Holy Interpreters. I beheld with my eyes, and handled with my hands, the gold plates from which it was transcribed. I also saw with my eyes and handled with my hands the Holy Interpreters. That book is true. Sidney Rigdon did not write it. Mr. Spaulding did not write it. I wrote it myself as it fell from the lips of the Prophet. It contains the everlasting gospel, and came forth to the children of men in fulfillment of the revelations of John, where he says he saw an angel come with the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. (Rev. xiv). It contains principles of salvation; and if you, my hearers, will walk by its light and obey its precepts, you will be saved with an everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God on high."

It is charged by one G. J. Keen in an affidavit dated 14th April, 1885, that Oliver Cowdery joined the "Methodist Protestant church" of Tiffin, Ohio; and that upon inquiry as to his former "connections with Mormonism and the Book of Mormon," and his willingness to "make public recantation," he replied that he had objections to doing that, but authorized the committee who waited upon him to make known his "recantation;" and that afterwards in a public meeting at which he was received into fellowship, it is charged that he "admitted his error and emplored forgiveness," and said he "was sorry and ashamed of his connection with Mormonism." The affidavit was published in The Naked Truth About Mormonism," A. B. Deming, author. Mr. Deming was a bitter anti-"Mormon," and the affidavit unsupported by corroborative proof must be held as very unreliable evidence. But even if it be held to possess evidential value, there is nowhere in it a specific denial by Oliver Cowdery of his testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon. The fact that Oliver Cowdery afterwards returned to the church, at a time when that church was making its exodus from the United States into the western wilderness, and renewed his testimony to the Book of Mormon and his fellowship with the church and the fact that he persisted in that testimony until his death, is strong evidence that even the alleged partial, and indefinite "recantation" recited in the Keen Affidavit, never took place.

In an affidavit given before A. A. Dixon, notary public in Salt Lake City, Judge C. M. Nielsen, of Utah, under date of 3rd of December, 1909, states that while on a mission in the state of Minnesota, a Mr. Barrington, a successful farmer of that state related to him the following incident in the career of Oliver Cowdery that happened in the state of Michigan, when Mr. Barrington was about twenty years of age. A murder trial was in progress in the town where Mr. Barrington then lived, and walking along the main street one day Mr. B. "noticed a great many people walking up to the county court house, and not knowing what was going on there," he says, "I became inquisitive, and made up my mind to go there also, and on entering the court room I found that the same was crowded to overflowing, but being young and strong I soon made my way up to the railing in front of the bench and jury box, and I then learned from a friend that it was a murder trial on before the court, and that the young attorney who was then addressing or making his opening argument to the jury was the county attorney, Oliver Cowdery; as soon as Mr. Cowdery closed his opening argument, the attorney for the prisoner arose, and, in a sneering way, said: `May it please the Court, and gentlemen of the jury, I challenge Mr. Cowdery, since he seems to know so much about this poor defendant, to tell us something about his connection with Joe Smith, and the digging out of the hill of the Mormon Bible, and how Mr. Cowdery helped Joe Smith to defraud the American people out of a whole lot of money by selling the Mormon Bible and telling them that an angel appeared to them from heaven, dressed in white clothes.' After having kept on for a while in this way, abusing Mr. Cowdery, he [attorney for the defendant] began to argue the case to the jury; but all interest was shifted from the prisoner and his case and directed towards Oliver Cowdery; everybody was wondering in what manner he would reply to the accusation just made. The people did not believe, or know before this, that they had elected a county prosecutor who had been an associate of the `Mormon Prophet,' Joseph Smith. Finally, when the defendant's attorney had completed his argument, Oliver Cowdery's turn came to reply, and everybody in the court room strained their necks to catch a glimpse of Mr. Cowdery. He arose as calm as a summer morning, and in a low but clear voice which gradually rose in pitch and volume as he proceeded, said:

`If your honor please, and gentlemen of the jury, the attorney on the opposite side has challenged me to state my connection with Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon; and as I cannot now avoid the responsibility, I must admit to you that I am the very Oliver Cowdery whose name is attached to the testimony, with others, as to the appearance of the angel Moroni; and let me tell you that it is not because of my good deeds that I am here, away from the body of the Mormon church, but because I have broken the covenants I once made, and I was cut off from the church; but, gentlemen of the jury, I have never denied my testimony, which is attached to the front page of the Book of Mormon, and I declare to you here that these eyes saw the angel, and these ears of mine heard the voice of the angel, and he told us his name was Moroni; that the book was true, and contained the fulness of the gospel, and we were also told that if we ever denied what we had heard and seen that there would be no forgiveness for us, neither in this world nor in the world to come.'"

Martin Harris: So far as any direct personal statement is concerned, Martin Harris is silent as to the manner in which the plates were shown to him; but Elder Edward Stevenson, of the first council of the seventy of the church, who was much interested in Mr. Harris during the closing years of that gentleman's life, states that at a gathering of friends at his (Stevenson's) house, in Salt Lake City, Harris was asked to explain the manner in which the plates containing the characters of the Book of Mormon were exhibited. The response he made is thus described:

"Brother Harris, said that the angel stood on the opposite side of the table on which were the plates, the interpreters, etc., and took the plates in his hand and turned them over. To more fully illustrate this to them, [i.e. Stevenson's guests] Brother Martin took up a book and turned the leaves over one by one. The angel declared that the Book of Mormon was correctly translated by the power of God, and not of man, and that it contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Nephites, who were a branch of the house of Israel, and had come from the land of Jerusalem to America. The witnesses were required to bear their testimony of these things, and of this open vision, to all people, and he (Harris) testified, not only to those present, but to all the world, that these things were true, and before God, whom he expected to meet in the day of judgment, he lied not."

David Whitmer: This witness made a statement to Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, in the course Of an interview at Richmond, Missouri, on the 7th of September, 1878, in which he gives quite a minute description of the manner in which the plates and the other sacred things were shown to himself and Oliver Cowdery in the presence of Joseph Smith. Mr. Whitmer's account of the event as related by Elders Pratt and Smith is as follows:

Elder Orson Pratt: Do you remember what time you saw the plates?

David Whitmer: It was in June, 1829, the latter part of the month, and the eight witnesses saw them, I think, the next day or the day after (i.e. one or two days after). Joseph showed them the plates himself but the angel showed us (the three witnesses) the plates, as I suppose to fulfill the words of the book itself. Martin Harris was not with us at this time; he obtained a view of them afterwards (the same day). Joseph, Oliver and myself were together when I saw them. We not only saw the plates of the Book of Mormon, but also the brass plates, [a jewish record carried by Lehi's colony from Jerusalem and frequently referred to in the Book of Mormon] the plates of the Book of Ether, the plates containing the record of the wickedness and secret combinations of the people of the world down to the time of their being engraved, and many other plates. The fact is, it was just as though Joseph, Oliver and I were sitting just here on a log, when we were overshadowed by a light. It was not like the light of the sun nor like that of a fire, but more glorious and beautiful. It extended away round us, I cannot tell how far, but in the midst of this light about as far off as he sits (pointing to John C. Whitmer, sitting a few feet from him), there appeared, as it were, a table with many records or plates upon it, besides the plates of the Book of Mormon, also the sword of Laban, the directors, [i.e. the ball with spindles which Lehi had, and the interpreters]. I saw them just as plain as I see this bed (striking the bed beside him with his hand), and I heard the voice of the Lord, as distinctly as I ever heard anything in my life, declaring that the records of the plates of the Book of Mormon were translated by the gift and power of God.

Elder Orson Pratt: Did you see the angel this time?

David Whitmer: Yes, he stood before us. Our testimony as recorded in the Book of Mormon is strictly and absolutely true, just as it is there written.


The testimony of the three witnesses was published in the first and also every subsequent edition of the Book of Mormon. That testimony has never been refuted. From the very nature of the testimony it cannot be refuted. No one can rise up and say these men did not receive this revelation; that they did not see an angel from heaven; that he did not show to them the plates; that they did not see the glorious light in which the angel stood; that they did not hear the voice of God saying that the translation of the record was true, and was accomplished through the gift and power of God. No one can say any one of these things. An argument may be formulated against the probability of such an occurrence. It may be alleged that they were ignorant men, uncritical and readily deceived, and therefore unworthy of belief. All this may be done, nay, it has been done; but no one can stand up and say that he knows what they say is not true, that what they say they saw and heard, they did not see and hear.

The witnesses themselves always adhered to the truth of their testimony. They never denied what they in their now celebrated testimony so solemnly affirmed. It was reported at different times during their lifetime that they had denied their testimony, and such statements are to be found in the earlier editions of such standard works as the American Encyclopaedia and in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. But those statements are not true; David Whitmer, who lived to a great age, eighty-four (he died the 25th of January, 1888), specifically denied the truth of these statements, saying:

"It is recorded in the American Encyclopaedia and the Encyclopaedia Britannica, that I, David Whitmer, have denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and that the other two witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, denied their testimony to that book. I will say once more to all mankind, that I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof. I also testify to the world, that neither Oliver Cowdery nor Martin Harris ever at any time denied their testimony. They both died reaffirming the truth of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

The evidence principally relied upon that these witnesses had denied their testimony to the Book of Mormon was the fact that they either left the church or were excommunicated from it. Both Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery, however, returned to the church and died in full faith and fellowship. And while David Whitmer remained separated from the communion of the church to the day Of his death, he still adhered to the truth of his testimony, as is abundantly witnessed by his Address to all Believers in Christ, quoted above, and published only about one year before his death. The trying circumstances under which the witnesses persisted in maintaining the truth of that testimony is also known. Neither separation from Joseph Smith as a companion and associate, nor excommunication from the body religious, brought into existence as a sequence, one may say, of the coming forth of the Nephite record, affected them as witnesses. In the church and while out of it they steadfastly maintained what they first published to the world respecting the Book of Mormon. They never attempted to resolve the appearance of the angel, the exhibition of the plates, or hearing the voice of the Lord into hallucination of the mind; nor did they ever attempt to refer this really great event to some jugglery on the part of Joseph Smith. They never in any indubitable way allowed even the possibility of their being mistaken in the matter. They saw; they heard; the splendor of God shone about them; they felt his presence. They were not deluded. The several incidents making up this great revelation were too palpable to the strongest senses of the mind to admit of any doubt as to their reality. The great revelation was not given in a dream or vision of the night. There was no mysticism about it. Nothing unseemly or occult. It was simple, straightforward, open fact that had taken place before their eyes. The visitation of the angel was in the broad light of day. Moreover, it occurred after such religious exercises as were worthy to attend upon such an event, viz: after morning devotional exercises common to all really Christian families of that period--the reading of a scripture lesson, singing a hymn, and prayer; and after arriving at the scene of the revelation, devout prayer was again engaged in by the Prophet and each of the then-to-be witnesses. The revelation then followed under the circumstances already detailed.



A few days after the three witnesses obtained their view of the Book of Mormon plates, said plates were shown to the eight witnesses by the Prophet himself. Lucy Smith gives the most detailed account of the attendant circumstances. The day following the one on which the three witnesses received their testimony, the Palmyra party, consisting of the Prophet's father and mother and Martin Harris returned home; and now Lucy Smith's statement:

"In a few days we were followed by Joseph, Oliver and the Whitmers, who came to make us a visit, and make some arrangements about getting the book printed. Soon after they came, all the male part of the company, with my husband, Samuel and Hyrum, retired to a place where the family were in the habit of offering up their devotions to God. They went to this place because it had been revealed to Joseph that the plates would be carried thither by one of the ancient Nephites. Here it was that those eight witnesses, whose names are recorded in the Book of Mormon, looked upon them and handled them. * * * After these witnesses returned to the house, the angel again made his appearance to Joseph, at which time Joseph delivered up the plates into the angel's hands."

This narrative is confirmed by the statement of Joseph himself with respect to delivering up the record to the angel. At the time the plates were first given into the Prophet's keeping he was informed that the heavenly messenger would call for them. He then recounts the efforts made to wrest the plates from him by his enemies, and adds:

"But by the wisdom of God they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger [the angel Moroni] called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the 2nd of May, 1838."

In the evening of the day that the eight witnesses saw and examined the Nephite plates, according to Lucy Smith, they held meeting at the Smith residence, "in which all the witnesses bore testimony to the facts as stated above," that is, to the facts stated in their testimony as here given and which appeared in the first and in all subsequent editions of the Book of Mormon.


"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.









The testimony of the eight witnesses differs from that of the three witnesses in that the view of the plates by the latter was attended by a remarkable display of the glory and power of God, and the ministration of an angel; but no such remarkable display of God's splendor and power was attendant upon the exhibition of the plates to the eight witnesses. On the contrary, it was just a plain, matter-of-fact exhibition of the plates by the Prophet himself to his friends. They saw the plates; they handled them; they turned the leaves of the old Nephite record, and saw and marveled at its curious workmanship. No brilliant light illuminated the forest or dazzled their vision; no angel was there to awe them by the splendor of his presence; no soul-piercing voice of God from the midst of a glory to make them tremble by its power. All these supernatural circumstances present at the view of the plates by the three witnesses were absent at the time when the eight witnesses saw them. In this latter event all was natural, matter-of-fact, plain. Nothing to inspire awe, or fear, or dread; nothing uncanny or overwhelming, but just a plain, straightforward proceeding that leaves men in possession of all their faculties, and self-consciousness; all of which renders such a thing as deception, or imposition entirely out of the question. They could pass the plates from hand to hand, guess at their weight---doubtless considerable, that idea being conveyed in their testimony--"we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates." They could look upon the engravings, and observe calmly how different they were from everything modern in the way of record-making known to them, and hence the conclusion that the workmanship was not only curious but ancient.


Of these eight witnesses five of them, viz: Christian Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jun., Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel Smith, all remained true throughout their lives, not only to their testimony, but faithful to the church also, and were honorable, upright men. While the three of the eight witnesses who left the church, or were excommunicated from it, viz: John Whitmer, Hirum Page, and Jacob Whitmer, not one of them ever denied the truth of his testimony; a circumstance of some weight in helping one to determine the value of the testimony to which, with those who remained faithful to the church, they subscribed their names when the Book of Mormon was first given to the world.


It is to be observed that what may be called two kinds of testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon is found in the statements of the three and eight witnesses respectively; viz: what men would call miraculous testimony, and ordinary testimony. Had there been but one kind of testimony the matter would have been much simplified for the objector. Had the testimony of the three witnesses been the only kind given; that is, if the plates had been exhibited to the eight witnesses in the same manner as they had been revealed to the three, then, perhaps, mental hallucination might have been urged with more show of reason. Or, if the three witnesses had seen the plates in the same manner as the eight did, in a plain, matter-of-fact way, without display of the divine power, then the theory of pure fabrication, with collusion on the part of all those who assisted in bringing forth the work, would have more standing. But with the two kinds of testimony to deal with it is extremely difficult for objectors to dispose of the matter.


Anti-"Mormon" writers are much divided as to their treatment of the testimony of these eleven witnesses. The early anti-"Mormon" writers generally assumed a conspiracy between Joseph Smith and the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and hence accorded no importance to either group the three or the eight. Later, however, the force of the testimony of the witnesses persisting, and pressing for an explanation which the theory of conspiracy and collusion did not satisfy, there began to be advanced the theory that probably Joseph Smith had in some way deceived the witnesses and thus brought them to give their testimony to the world. Such is the attitude of Daniel P. Kidder, author of Mormonism and the Mormons, published in 1842; also of the Rev. Henry Caswall, Professor of Divinity in Kemper College of Missouri, author of The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century, 1843; & also of Professor J. B. Turner of Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois, author of Mormonism in All Ages, 1842. Governor Ford, of Illinois, states this same theory very circumstantially, in his History of Illinois, published in 1854, but modestly "leaves it to philosophers to determine whether the fumes of an enthusiastic and fanatical imagination are thus capable of binding the mind and deceiving the senses by so absurd a delusion."

A third class of anti-"Mormon" writers--the latest in the field and who now doubtless hold the field against all others among intelligent readers--insist that Joseph Smith himself was deceived--"genuinely deluded by the automatic freaks of a vigorous but undisciplined brain." So Lily Dougall, author of The Mormon Prophet, 1899, holds.

It remained, however, for the year of grace 1902 to witness the setting forth of these theories under the learned formulas of a scientific treatise, in which the testimony of the witnesses received special consideration. Mr. I. Woodbridge Riley, the author of the work referred to, after quoting the account of the exhibition of the plates by the angel to the three witnesses, as related in the History of Joseph Smith, regards the duty before him to be to find to what degree the manifestations are explicable on the grounds of subjective hallucination, induced by hypnotic suggestion."

Mr. Riley is positive and elaborate in his exposition of the theory of hallucination under hypnotic suggestion in accounting for the testimony of the three witnesses; but brief and markedly less sure of his ground in relation to the testimony of the eight. Here he can only say that the "Bucolic Phrases" of the witnesses--to the effect that they had "seen" and both "handled" and "hefted" the plates--"properly interpreted, suggest both visual and tactual sense illusion." He offers, however, as an alternative, the theory of "pure fabrication;" and the formal, collective statement of the witnesses he refers to as a document due to the "affidavit habit," characteristic of the times! This or "collective hypnotization," must account for their testimony; and what Mr. Riley says for collective hypnotization is not convincing; it scarcely amounts to more than a suggestion, and is timidly put forth.

It is just at this point that the two kinds of testimony--the testimony of the three witnesses and the eight, respectively, act and react upon each other in a manner quite remarkable. The "mental mirage" theory might offer a possible solution for the vision of the three witnesses, but what of the testimony of the eight witnesses--all so plain, matter-of-fact, straightforward and real? How shall that be accounted for? Here all the miraculous is absent. It is a man to man transaction. Neither superstition, nor expectation of the supernatural can play any part in working up an illusion or "mental mirage" respecting what the eight witnesses saw and handled. Their testimony must be accounted for on some other hypothesis than that of hallucination. And indeed it is. Some regard it as a mere fabrication of interested parties to the general scheme of deception. This, however, is an arbitrary proceeding, not warranted by a just treatment of the facts involved. Others, impressed with the evident honesty of the witnesses, or not being able to account for the matter in any other way, admit that Joseph Smith must have had plates which he exhibited to the eight witnesses, but deceived them as to the manner in which he came in possession of them. Such is the conclusion of Tucker; Rev. William Harris; Daniel P. Kidder; Professor Turner also adopts the same theory; as also does John Hyde. The net result then of the anti-"Mormon" speculations in relation to the testimony of the three witnesses, and the eight is the theory of hallucination to account for the testimony of the three witnesses, and pure fabrication, with the possibility of deception by Joseph Smith as to the existence of some kind of plates lurking in the background, to account for the testimony of the eight witnesses.


But the testimony of the three and the eight witnesses, respectively, stands or falls together. If the pure fabrication theory is adopted to explain away the testimony of the eight witnesses, there is no reason why it should not be adopted to explain away the testimony of the three. But every circumstance connected with the testimony of all these witnesses, as we have seen, cries out against the theory of "pure fabrication." It is in recognition of the evident honesty of the three witnesses that the theory of mental hallucination is invented to account for their testimony; as it is also the evident honesty of the eight witnesses that leads to the admission by many anti-"Mormon" writers that Joseph Smith must have had some kind of plates which he exhibited to the eight witnesses, though he may not have obtained them through supernatural means.

The theory of pure fabrication of the testimony of the witnesses is absolutely overwhelmed by the evidence of their honesty. But why have the "pure fabrication" theory to account for the testimony of the eight witnesses, and the "mental hallucination" theory to account for the testimony of the three? If the testimony of the eight is pure fabrication is not the testimony of the three pure fabrication also? Or, at least, is it not most likely to be so? For if conscious fraud, and pure fabrication lurk anywhere in Joseph Smith's and the eleven witnesses' account of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, would it not exist throughout the whole proceeding?

The hallucination theory breaks down under the force of the matter-of-fact testimony of the eight witnesses, from which all possible elements of hallucination are absent.

The manifestation of divine power, through which the three witnesses received their testimony, destroys the theory of deception alleged to have been practiced by the Prophet on the credulity of the eight witnesses by exhibiting plates either manufactured by himself or some ancient plates accidentally discovered.

Such, then is the force of this direct testimony of the eleven witnesses to the truth of the Book of Mormon--the testimony of the three and the eight when considered together. It is so palpably true that it cannot be resolved into illusion or mistake. It is so evidently honest that it cannot be resolved into pure fabrication. It is of such a nature that it would not possibly have been the result Of deception wrought by the cunning of Joseph Smith. There remains after these but one other theory. "The witnesses were honest." They saw and heard and handled what they saw, and heard, and handled.


The persistence of these witnesses in adhering to their testimony after their connection with Joseph Smith and the church was severed, is strong evidence against the presumption of collusion among these young men to deceive the world. Suppose, for a moment, however, that such a collusion did exist. In that event, if the three witnesses fell into transgression--as they evidently did--and violated church discipline ever so flagrantly, would Joseph Smith dare to break friendship with them by excommunicating them? Would he not, on the contrary, say in his heart: It matters not what these men do, I dare not raise my hand against them; for if I do they will divulge our secret compact, and I shall be execrated as a vile imposter by the whole world. I shall be repudiated by my own people, and driven out from all society as a vagabond. At whatever cost I must cover up their iniquity, lest I myself by them be exposed to shame. Such, doubtless, would have been his course of reasoning; and had he with them conspired to deceive mankind, such, doubtless, is what would have taken place; for I maintain that men who would be base enough to concoct such a deception would also be base enough to expose it and become traitors when they became disaffected towards each other. But nothing of the kind took place. When these men violated church discipline and would not repent and forsake the evil they did, neither Joseph Smith nor the church would any longer fellowship them but boldly excommunicated them.

By the act of excommunication, Joseph Smith virtually said to the three witnesses: Gentlemen, God has made you witnesses for himself in this age of spiritual darkness and unbelief, but you refuse to keep his laws, therefore we must withdraw the hand of fellowship from you. This may fill you with anger and malice; you may raise your hand against me and the work of God to destroy it; a wicked spirit may put it into your hearts to deny the testimony you have borne; but I know you received that witness from God, I was with you when you received it, I saw the glorious messenger from heaven show you the plates; I, myself, heard the voice of God bear record to you that the translation was correct and the work true--now deny that testimony if you dare--this work is of God and he can sustain it even if you should turn against it; therefore, we will not fellowship you in your insubordination--you are cut off from our association--do your worst! That is what, in effect, that action said; but though Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer became the pronounced enemies of Joseph Smith, and sought his overthrow, yet they never denied the testimony they bore to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Through all the vicissitudes of life they remained true to that trust committed to them of God. In my opinion they dared not deny that which God had revealed; it drew with it consequences too weighty for them to meet. And the same conclusions must hold with reference to the three out of the group of eight witnesses who left the church or were excommunicated.



After the Book of Mormon was translated some difficulty was experienced in obtaining a publisher. Mr. Egbert B. Grandin of Palmyra, publisher of the Wayne Signal, was asked to undertake the printing of the book; but at that time he refused the work. According to a statement made by Mr. Thurlow Weed, publisher of the Rochester Telegraph, Joseph Smith, in company with Martin Harris called upon him and endeavored to persuade him to publish the book.

Mr. Weed declined on the ground that he was only publishing a newspaper, but recommended the Prophet to a friend who was engaged in publishing books. This, doubtless, was Mr. Elihu F. Marshall, also of Rochester. He gave his terms for printing and binding the book, and was willing to accept Martin Harris as security. As it would be more convenient, however, for the Prophet and his friends to have the printing done at Palmyra, so much nearer the Smith home, Mr. Grandin was applied to again, and finally agreed to print an edition of five thousand copies of the book for three thousand dollars, Martin Harris becoming security for the payment of that sum.


As soon as arrangements were completed for publishing the book, the Prophet Joseph started for Harmony, Pennsylvania, but before his departure he left the following directions respecting the work of printing:

"First, that Oliver Cowdery should transcribe the whole manuscript.

"Second, that he should take but one copy at a time to the office, so that if one copy should get destroyed there would be a copy remaining.

"Third, that in going to and from the [printing] office, he should always have a guard to attend him, for the purpose of protecting the manuscript.

"Fourth, that a guard should be kept constantly on the watch, both night and day, about the house to protect the manuscript from malicious persons who would infest the house for the purpose of destroying the manuscript. All these things were strictly attended to as the Lord had commanded Joseph."

These precautions relative to the manuscript of the book account for the existence of two manuscript copies of it. Oliver Cowdery, during the time that the type setting and printing was going on, made a copy from the original manuscript for the use of the printer, day by day, carefully keeping the original in his possession at the home of the Smiths, so that if peradventure a day's copy sent to the printer should be destroyed or stolen it could be copied again from the original.


It is said by Mr. Gilbert, Grandin's foreman printer and chief compositor on the Book of Mormon, that the manuscript as sent to him was neither capitalized nor punctuated, and that the capitalization and punctuation in the first edition was done by him. This statement, however, can only be true in part, as an examination of the printer's manuscript will prove; for that manuscript is very well capitalized and, in the main, capitalized in the hand writing of Oliver Cowdery. Mr. Gilbert may have capitalized and punctuated to some extent, but it is clear that he did not do all of it, or even the main part of it, as will appear from a facsimile of part of one of the pages of the manuscript prepared by Oliver Cowdery, and presented in this chapter, and which the experienced printer will recognize as "good copy."

The printer's manuscript, after it had served its purpose, was evidently taken possession of by Oliver Cowdery, while the original manuscript remained in the possession of the Prophet, and was by him, on the 2nd of October, 1841, in the presence of a number of elders, deposited in the northwest cornerstone of the Nauvoo House--then building--with a number of coins, papers and books, in a cavity made in the cornerstone for that purpose.

The Nauvoo House was never completed; and after its unfinished walls had stood unprotected for a number of years and were crumbling to decay, they were taken down, the foundations were torn up and the excellent building stone of which they were constructed sold for use in other buildings in and about Nauvoo. During the process of taking up the foundations, the deposits in the northwest cornerstone were uncovered. The manuscript had been almost ruined by the dampness, and but little of it remained that could be preserved. Some portion of that--pages numbered from three to twenty-two, inclusive--finally found its way into the hands of Joseph F. Smith, president of the church, and the present writer had access to it.

The printer's copy of the manuscript was taken possession of by Oliver Cowdery, who, in 1850, a little before his death, which occurred at Richmond, Missouri, in March of that year, gave that copy into the possession of David Whitmer, his fellow witness to the truth of the Book of Mormon. David Whitmer guarded the manuscript intrusted to him with great care up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1888. Some years ago it was given into the care of the president of the "Reorganized Church of Latter-day Saints," grandson of the Prophet Joseph, by the grandson of David Whitmer, George Schweich, and Mr. Smith now (1929) has it in his possession at Independence, Missouri.


Referring back to the precautions taken in respect of the manuscript during the process of printing the book, it may be thought that they were not only extraordinary but unnecessary. The experience of the Prophet, however, in the matter of keeping possession of the plates of the Book of Mormon, and the efforts that were made to take them from him, together with the loss of the one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript he had intrusted to Martin Harris, taught him caution. It is well it did, for having failed in their efforts to wrest the plates from him, several conspiracies were formed by his enemies to obtain the manuscript of the book and prevent its publication. And notwithstanding all the precautions taken an enemy nearly succeeded in publishing the book in garbled form before the printing of it was completed. An ex-justice of the peace by the name of Cole, usually called "Esquire Cole," started to publish a weekly periodical which he called Dogberry Paper on Winter Hilt. In his prospectus he promised his subscribers to publish one form of "Joe Smith's Gold Bible" each week, and thus furnish them with the principal part of the book without their being obliged to purchase it from the Smiths. The Dogberry Paper was printed at Mr. Grandin's establishment, where the Book of Mormon was being printed, and as the press was employed all the time except at night and on Sundays, Mr. Cole printed his paper at those times. This arrangement also enabled him for a time to keep what he was doing from the knowledge of the Prophet and his associates; and it is said that several numbers of his paper containing portions from the Book of Mormon which he had pilfered, were published before his rascality was found out. Joseph, who was at Harmony, in Pennsylvania, was sent for, and on arriving in Palmyra quietly but firmly asserted his copyrights which he had been careful to secure, and Mr. Cole gave up his attempt to publish the book or any portion of it. After settling this difficulty Joseph again returned to Pennsylvania, only to be again summoned to Palmyra to quiet the fears of his publisher, Mr. Grandin, who had been fearful that the Prophet would not be able to meet his obligations for printing the book. The people in the vicinity of Palmyra had held meetings and passed resolutions not to purchase the Book of Mormon if it ever issued from the press. They appointed a committee to wait upon Mr. Grandin and explain to him the evil consequences which would result to him because of the resolutions they had passed not to buy the books when published, which would render it impossible for "the Smiths" to meet their obligations to him. They persuaded him to stop printing and Joseph was again sent for. On the Prophet's arrival he called upon Mr. Grandin in company with Martin Harris, and together they gave the publisher such assurance of their ability to meet their obligation to him that printing was resumed.


There had been some doubts, however, during the winter that the book was in the press, even among the Prophet's friends, as to the ability of Martin Harris to sell a portion of his farm to pay for the printing by the time the book should be finished. According to David Whitmer some of the brethren complained of the slowness of Harris in disposing of part of his farm in order to raise the money. Hyrum Smith is represented by David Whitmer as saying that it had been suggested to him that some of the brethren might go to Toronto, Canada, and sell the copyright of the book for considerable money, that is, sell the right to publish the book in the Canadian provinces, not dispose of the copyright absolutely. He persuaded Joseph to inquire of the Lord, with the result, as David states it, that he "received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and they would sell the copyright." Accordingly, Oliver Cowdery and Hirum Page, the latter being one of the eight witnesses, went to Canada to sell the copyright, but failed. David Whitmer represents that this failure threw the little group of believers into great trouble, and they went to the Prophet and asked him to account for the failure. The Prophet frankly acknowledged his inability to understand the cause of the failure, and inquired of the Lord. He received for answer--according to Whitmer this: "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil." This statement rests chiefly upon the testimony of David Whitmer, and whether his narrative represents the incident with absolute accuracy or not there is no means of determining. His pamphlet, in which the circumstance is detailed, was not published until 1887, fifty-seven years after the event took place; and the possibility of inaccuracy in some part of the statement--which might materially affect the case--is at least considerable; historical candor, however, requires that the incident should be stated here, and the authority given upon which it rests."

In March, 1830, a revelation was received severely reproving Martin Harris for his evident lack of zeal in meeting the obligation he had contracted with the printer, Mr. Grandin. "I command thee," said the revelation to Martin Harris, "that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God. * * * Impart a portion of thy property; yea, even part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family. Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage."


Thus from start to finish, difficulty and likelihood of failure beset the coming forth of this book. At last, however, every obstacle was surmounted, every difficulty overcome, every device of the enemy thwarted; it issued from the press early in the spring of 1830, and the printer was paid. It was published--a five thousand edition of it. Henceforth, thanks to the great art preservative-printing--it would be indestructible. It was destined to pass through very many editions in the English language. How many it is impossible to say. It can be followed through ten or twelve editions in the United States and England, then succession of editions are not traceable because of the use of electrotyped plates, and various missions using them. Some idea of the demand for the book may be formed when it can be stated that the church missions in the United States alone, in 1908, according to official reports, sold over twenty thousand copies of the book; and in subsequent years since, the number of sales has steadily increased in the United States and throughout the world.

The Book of Mormon has been translated and published in fourteen foreign languages. Into Danish, in 1851; into Welsh, French, German and Italian in 1852; Hawaiian, 1855; Swedish, 1878; Spanish, 1886; Maori, 1889; Dutch, 1890; Samoan, 1903; since 1903, in Tahitian and Armenian; and in Japanese in 1909. In most of these languages it has passed through a number of editions, and all told, millions of copies have been published. It has also been translated into Hebrew, Hindoostanee, and Greek, making seventeen languages in all.


In the text of this chapter, attention is called to the fact that our knowledge of the "Toronto Journey Incident" rests chiefly upon the testimony of David Whitmer, and the possibility is suggested of his misapprehending some detail of the matter, which might, if accurately known, put the incident in an entirely new light. That, however, is but conjecture; and while the possibility and even probability of misapprehension by Whitmer is great, still the incident must be considered as it is presented by him, since his testimony may not be set aside.

In that view of the case we have here an alleged revelation received by the Prophet, through the "Seer Stone," directing or allowing men to go on a mission to Canada, which fails of its purpose; namely, the sale of the copyright of the Book of Mormon in Canada. Then in explanation of the failure of that revelation, the Prophet's announcement that all revelations are not of God; some are of men and some even from evil sources. The question presented by this state of facts is: May this Toronto incident and the Prophet's explanation be accepted and faith still be maintained in him as an inspired man, a Prophet of God? I answer unhesitatingly in the affirmative. The revelation respecting the Toronto journey was not of God, surely; else it would not have failed; but the Prophet, overwrought in his deep anxiety for the progress of the work, saw reflected in the "Seer Stone" his own thought or that suggested to him by his brother Hyrum, rather than the thought of God. Three things are to be taken into account in all mental phenomenon, at least by theists, and especially by Christian theists. One is the fact that the mind of man is an intelligent entity, capable of thought, of originating ideas; conscious of self and of not self; capable of deliberation and of judgment--in a word, man is a self-determining intelligence. But while man is all this, and has power to will and to do things of himself, still he is also susceptible to suggestion; to suggestions from his associates, and all Christians believe, susceptible to suggestion and impressions from God through the Holy Spirit: "There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." (Job 32:8); and to those who believe in the Bible account of the fallen angels--"who kept not their first estate" (Jude 6, 9; also II Peter 2:4); and whose chieftain, satan, "deceiveth the whole world," (Rev, xii 7-10); to those it is not incredible that these reprobate spirits also at times should, by thought-power, make evil suggestions to the mind of man. These are the principles recognized in the answer--"some revelations are of God; some revelations are of men; and some revelations are of the devil"--of Joseph Smith to his questioning disciples; and in this instance of the Toronto journey, Joseph was evidently not directed by the inspiration of the Lord. Does that circumstance vitiate his claim as a prophet? No; the fact remains that despite this circumstance there exists a long list of events to be dealt with which will establish the fact of divine inspiration operating upon the mind of this man Joseph Smith. The wisdom frequently displayed, the knowledge revealed, the predicted events and the fulfilment thereof, are explicable upon no other theory than of divine inspiration giving guidance to him.

Then there must be taken into account the probable purpose of God in permitting the Toronto misadventure, the lesson he would teach through it. How important for the Prophet's disciples to know that not every voice heard by the spirit of man is the voice of God;, that not every impression made upon the mind is an impression from a divine source. There are other influences in this God's world than divine influences. There are men-originated influences, and even satanic influences, as well as divine influences. It was important that these disciples be made aware of these facts, that they may not stumble in matters of grave concerns. How impressive the object lesson in this Toronto journey incident! The matter of the journey itself, and its object, were of small importance, but the lesson that came out of the experience was of great moment. It concerned the Prophet as well as his followers to learn that lesson. It is to the Prophet's credit that he submitted the matter to God for the solution. It is doubly to his credit that he boldly gave the answer received to his disciples, though it involved humiliation to him. But one will say, what becomes of certainty even in matters of revelation and divine inspiration if such views as these are to obtain? The answer is that absolute certainty, except as to fundamental things, the great things that concern man's salvation, may not be expected. Here, indeed, that is, in things fundamental, we have the right to expect the solid rock, not shifting sands, and God gives that certainty. But in matters that do not involve fundamentals, in matters that involve only questions of administration and policy, the way in which God's servants go about things; in all such matters we may expect more or less of uncertainty, even errors; manifestations of unwisdom, growing out of human limitations. Would absolute certainty be desirable? "Know ye not that we walk by faith, not by sight," is Paul's statement. From which I infer that this very uncertainty in the midst of which we walk by faith, is the very means of our education. What mere automatons men would become if they found truth machine-made, of cast-iron stiffness, and limited, that is to say, finite, instead of being as we now find it, infinite and elusive, and attainable only by the exertion of every power known to mind and heart of man, with constant alertness to ward off deception and mistake!



The Prophet Joseph Smith's own summary of the contents of the Book of Mormon is doubtless the very best that can be made, in a brief statement, and for that reason it is here quoted from his letter to Mr. John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat, 1842:


"In this important and interesting book, the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages, to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian Era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country. This book also tells us that our Savior made his appearance upon this continent after his resurrection; that he planted the gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists; the same order, the same priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers and blessings, as were enjoyed on the eastern continents, that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions, that the last of their prophets who existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their prophecies, history, etc., and to hide it up in the earth, and that it should come forth and be united with the Bible for the accomplishment of the purposes of God in the last days."


The several purposes for which the book was compiled by Mormon and his son Moroni, are perhaps best stated in the title page of the book found with the gold plates, and written by Moroni himself, as follows:


An Account Written by


Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites written to the Lamanites who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation--written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed--to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof--sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile, the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also; which is a record of the people of Jared; who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to heaven--which is to shew unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever--and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations--And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

Of this preface Joseph Smith says: "The title page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated, the language of the whole running the same as all Hebrew writing in general (i.e. from right to left); and that said title page is by no means a modem composition."


With reference to its construction the Book of Mormon separates into three divisions:

First Division: The Small Plates of Nephi, a record kept upon gold plates made by the first Nephi, upon which he purposed to record and have recorded more especially the work of the holy ministry among the Nephites the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah in the flesh, and the exhortations to righteousness by the prophets who should arise among his people. As compared with his plates on which he designed to have recorded the secular history of his people, the first plates above mentioned were small, and doubtless comparatively few in number, hence their name--The Small Plates of Nephi. The historical data contained in these small plates of Nephi, extend over a period of about four hundred years, or from the departure of Lehi from Jerusalem to the reign of King Benjamin. But chiefly these plates were filled with prophecies and exhortations to righteousness, and many transcriptions from the writings of Isaiah, and other prophets, while historical data--though sufficient to give a general idea of the movement of Lehi's colony, and the subsequent march of events among the peoples that sprang from that colony--are meager.

The translation of these small plates in current editions, occupies the first one hundred and thirty-two pages of the Book of Mormon. The books of this first division are six in number, viz: I Nephi, II Nephi, Book of Jacob, Book of Enos, Book of Jarom, Book of Omni. Though there are but six books in this division there are nine writers, as follows:

The first Nephi, who writes one hundred six and a half pages (current edition, 1928) of the one hundred and thirty-one in this division.

Jacob, brother of Nephi, eighteen pages.

Enos, son of above Jacob, two pages.

Jarom, son of above Enos, two pages.

In the Book of Omni there are but three pages, but there are five writers, each of whom records merely a few lines:

Omni, son of the above Jarom;

Amaron, son of above Omni;

Chemish, brother of the above Amaron;

Abinadom, son of Chemish;

Amaleki, son of above Abinadom.

Amaleki writes about two pages out of the three pages comprising the Book of Omni, and gives the important information concerning the second hegira of the righteous Nephites, their union with the people of Zarahemla and the formation of the Nephite-Zarahemla nation,

Although there are nine writers in this division of the Book of Mormon, the writing is chiefly done by the first two, as will be seen by the above statement.

Second Division: Mormon's Abridgment of the Large Plates of Nephi comprises the second division of the Book of Mormon. This is a condensed record made from the various books written or engraved upon the Large Plates of Nephi, which plates, it will be remembered, were made by the first Nephi, as well as the Small Plates of Nephi, that upon them might be recorded the secular history of the people, their wars and contentions, the affairs of government and the migrations of the people. This part of the Book of Mormon is the work of one man, Mormon, from whom this whole record of the Nephites takes its name, and yet the abridgment of Mormon occupies but 326 out of 522 pages in the whole book. Mormon's own book, bearing his own name, makes eighteen and a half pages.

The style of Mormon's abridgment is very complicated. It consists mainly of his condensation of the various books which he found engraven upon the Large Plates of Nephi--the Book of Mosiah, Book of Alma, Helaman, III Nephi, IV Nephi, etc., Because Mormon retained the names of these respective books to his abridgment of them. Many readers of the Book of Mormon have been led to suppose that there was a separate writer for each book, overlooking the fact that these books, so-called, in the Book of Mormon, are but brief abridgments of the original books bearing those names. Occasionally, however, Mormon came upon passages in the original annals that pleased him so well that he transcribed them verbatim into the record he was writing.

The modern method of writing would be, of course, to make the abridgment of Mormon the regular text of the book, put the verbatim quotations from the old Nephite books that were being abridged within quotation marks, and throw the occasional remarks or comments of the abridger into footnotes. But these devices in literary work were not known, apparently, among the Nephites.

After completing his abridgment of the books written upon the Large Plates of Nephi, down to his own day, Mormon made a record of the things which came under his own observation, and engraved them upon the Large Plates of Nephi, and called that the Book of Mormon; but upon the plates on which he had engraven his abridgment of all the books found in the Large Plates, and which he had made with his own hands, he recorded but a brief account of the things which he had witnessed among his people, and that, too, he called the Book of Mormon. It occupies fourteen and a half pages; which, with the other three hundred and ninety and a half pages, as above stated, makes four hundred and five pages of the Book of Mormon written by the hand of Mormon.

Third Division: The third division of the Book of Mormon is made up to the writings of Moroni, the son of Mormon. He finishes the record of his father, Mormon, in which he occupies seven and a half pages. After that he abridges the history of the people of Jared, who were led from the Tower of Babel to the north continent of the western hemisphere, and whose record was found by a branch of the Nephite people. This abridged history of the Jaredites occupies thirty-two pages, and in character of composition is much like the complex style of Mormon's abridgment of the Nephite records. It was doubtless modeled after that work.

Then follows his own book, the Book of Moroni, which occupies twelve and a half pages, making in all forty-four pages written by Moroni.

The following is a summary of the three divisions:

1. Direct translation from the Small Plates of Nephi, nine writers, (of whom two write 124 of the 131 pages) = 131 pages

2. Mormon's abridgment of the various books written upon the Large Plates of Nephi = 326 pages

3. Mormon's personal account of events that occurred in his own day = 18 pages

Words of Mormon = 2 pages

4. Moroni's writings--abridgment of the Jaredite History, his own book, called the Book of Moroni = 44 pages

Total = 521 pages

The total number of writers in the Book of Mormon is eleven, of whom four do the principal part of the writing, these are the First Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni.

Such is the Book of Mormon as to its construction--the number of its writers, and the style employed in the parts that are abridgments from the larger records of the Nephites and Jaredites.

The evidences for the truth of the Book of Mormon are both external and internal.


The external evidences include the testimony of the three witnesses and of the eight witnesses. Their testimony has already been considered. The testimony of American antiquities is appealed to by those who accept the claims of the book as genuine. The testimony is summarized as follows:

1. Beyond question the ruined cities and temples and other monuments of antiquity, found in many parts of America, furnish the most positive evidence that in ancient times the western world was occupied by great and civilized races of men--conditions that are described in the Book of Mormon.

2. The monuments of this civilization are found where the Book of Mormon requires them to be located.

3. The monumental evidence is to the effect that successive civilizations have existed in America in ancient times; and the older civilization has left the most enduring monuments--a condition required by the Book of Mormon accounting of things.

4. The chief center of this ancient American civilization, and its oldest and most enduring monuments, are in Central America, where the Book of Mormon locates its oldest race of people, and where civilization longest prevailed; and it is also the center from which civilization, beyond question, extended northward into Mexico, and into the Mississippi and Ohio valleys--another thing required by the Book of Mormon accounting for things.

5. The evidence exists that these ancient civilizations were overthrown, and were succeeded by a period of barbarism, in which condition, for the most part, the inhabitants of the western hemisphere were found when America was discovered by Europeans in the fifteenth century.

6. The traditions of native American races concerning ancient Bible facts, such as relate to the Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and the Dispersion of Mankind, etc., sustain the likelihood of the forefathers of the American aboriginies, in very ancient times, being cognizant of such facts either by personal contact with them, or by having a knowledge of them through the Hebrew scriptures, or perhaps through both means. All this is in harmony with what the Book of Mormon makes known concerning the Jaredite and Nephite peoples; for the forefathers of the former people were in personal contact with the building of Babel, the confusion of languages and the dispersion of mankind; while the Nephites, the second colony that came to America, had knowledge of these and many other ancient historical facts through a copy of the Hebrew scriptures which they brought with them to America. This collection consisted of the five books of Moses and a record of the Jews, including the writings of the prophets, down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah.

7. The native American traditions also preserve the leading historical events detailed in the Book of Mormon. That is, the facts of the Jaredite and Nephite migrations; of the intercontinental movements of Book of Mormon peoples; of the advent and character of Messiah and his ministrations among the people; of the signs of his birth and of his death; of the fact of the Hebrew origin and unity of the race, It is not insisted upon that the evidences which American antiquities afford are absolute proofs of the claims of the Book of Mormon. Mormon writers go no further than to say that there is a tendency of external proof in them; and when this tendency of proof is united with the positive, direct external testimony which God has provided in those witnesses that he himself has ordained to establish the truth of the Book of Mormon, the three witnesses and the eight, this tendency of proof becomes very strong, and is worthy of most serious attention on the part of those who would investigate the claims of this American volume of Scripture, the Book of Mormon.


The internal evidences of the Book of Mormon consist in the following facts:

1. The book in style and language is consistent with the theory of its construction;

2. It responds to the demands both of unity and diversity in its style, under the theory of its structure;

3. It has all the characteristics of an abridgment, in the parts that are said to be abridgments; and all the characteristics of original documents where they are given as original documents.

4. It meets all the requirements of the circumstances in the matter of names, originality in names, differences between Jaredite and Nephite names, and the custom of Hebrew peoples with reference to names;

5. The governments it describes are in harmony with the political principles of the age in which those governments are said to have existed;

6. The events to which importance is given are such as would be expected from the character of its writers;

7. It meets the requirements in originality of structure, manner of coming forth, theory of peopling America, the nativity of its peoples; in its accounting for the knowledge of Christian truths among native races in America, and in its doctrine concerning the purpose of man's earth-life the fall and the atonement;

9. Its prophecies, so many and important, so far as the wheels of time have brought them due, are fulfilled, and others are in course of fulfillment;

10. It deals with subjects worthy of God to reveal, and important for man to know;

11. It has an atmosphere about it, a spirit, that bears witness of its truth;

12. And finally it appeals to the psychic force in each individual mind-to the evidence that may arise from the intuitions of the individual soul when seeking truth, by promising that those who out of a sincere heart will ask God if this work is true, shall receive soul-knowledge through the Holy Spirit, that it is true.



The subject of Christian baptism was much discussed among the rival sects in the early decades of the 19th century. The purpose of it; the proper subjects to receive it; the effects of it; the manner in which it should be administered; by whom it could be administered, by any Christian who understood its significance, or only by ordained ministers? By pouring, or sprinkling, or by immersion only? All these questions were subjects of intense controversy in the period named.


When, therefore, in the course of translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery came to a passage making reference to baptism for the remission of sins," it is not surprising that they held divergent views upon the subject; but instead of resorting to argument on the matter they agreed to inquire of the Lord, through prayer, for the knowledge essential to a right understanding of the subject. It was while thus engaged, according to the testimony of both these men, that a heavenly messenger appeared unto them and announced himself to be John, the same that in the New Testament is called "the Baptist." He was now raised from the dead and had been sent to confer upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the Aaronic priesthood, which he did in these words:


"Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah. I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness."

The messenger directed that Joseph Smith should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and afterwards that Oliver should baptize Joseph; which when done Joseph proceeded to ordain Oliver to the Aaronic priesthood, and afterwards received ordination at Oliver's hands--"for so were we commanded," says the Prophet, in his narration of the circumstance. Both experienced great exaltation of spirit on this occasion. "No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery," says the Prophet, "than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy. * * * I prophesied concerning the rise of this church, and many other things connected with the church and this generation of the children of men."


This priesthood which the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery had received under the hands of the angel John, the Aaronic priesthood, holds the keys of the ministering of angels and "the preparatory gospel," which is "the gospel of repentance and of baptism and the remission of sins." Priesthood, of course, briefly explained, is the power or authority which God confers upon men to act in his name. Hence those who receive it are commissioned to teach in the name, which signifies in the authority, of God. They may call men to repentance in that authority. They may baptize men in that authority for the remission of sins.

In this first dispensation of the priesthood to these men there was given only a limited authority. Like the mission of him who restored it, by the above described administration, this priesthood was intended to prepare the way for higher thing--it was the priesthood of the preparatory gospel. John himself explained on the occasion of conferring this priesthood upon the Prophet and Oliver that it did not possess the power to lay on hands for bestowal of the Holy Ghost; but this power or authority would be given to them later. John further explained that he acted under the direction of the ancient apostles, Peter, James, and John who held the keys of the higher priesthood referred to; and when that priesthood should be conferred upon them, Joseph would be ordained the first elder of the church, and Oliver the second elder.

Meantime the minds of these two brethren had been enlightened and put at rest concerning baptism; for they had received the ordinance under the direction and authority of him who in earth-life had been known by way of preeminence as the Baptist. Also these brethren in consequence of this ordination experienced an enlargement of understanding, an intellectual and spiritual awakening. "We began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us, in a manner which we never could attain to previously." Such is the Prophet's description of his own and Oliver's spiritual awakening immediately after their baptism.

The ordination of these brethren and their baptism, events so important in the history of the church, occurred on the 15th of May, 1829, while they were still residing at Harmony, in Pennsylvania, and engaged in the translation of the Book of Mormon. At first they felt it necessary to keep secret the fact of their ordination and baptism, as in Harmony and vicinity there were threats of mob violence which were only prevented from being executed by the influence of Isaac Hale, the Prophet's father-in-law; who, though not believing in the work of Joseph Smith, was nevertheless opposed to mobs and lawlessness, and gave the young Prophet the benefit of his influence, which for some time had amounted to protection.


The restoration of the priesthood, however, had not been made to be kept a secret, nor to go unused of these men. Consequently in a few days, despite the prudence which caution prompted, they found themselves reasoning out of the scriptures with their friends and acquaintances as they happened to meet them. The authority to teach had been given, the spirit of teaching had come with it.

About this time Samuel Smith, a younger brother of the Prophet, came to visit him; and to Samuel the two brethren imparted the glad tidings of what the Lord had restored to the earth-authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel. They reasoned with him out of the Bible, they showed to him the part of the translation that had been made up to that time of the Book of Mormon. But Samuel was not easily persuaded. He made many inquiries, he asked for many explanations. Finally he retired to the woods in order to inquire of the Lord, and while so engaged received such spiritual manifestations and impressions that he became convinced of the truth of the things he had heard, and became the first candidate for baptism, after Joseph and Oliver, in the new dispensation. He was baptized by Oliver, on the 25th day of May, 1829.

Returning to his father's house under an elation of spirit that acceptance of the gospel had brought to him, Samuel evidently excited increased interest in the ever enlarging work of his Prophet brother, for Hyrum Smith hastened from Palmyra to Harmony in order to inquire of the Lord concerning these things reported by Samuel, and to learn what his relationship to the then unfolding work was to be. The Prophet inquired, through the Urim and Thummim, and obtained for him a revelation. It is admirable, this word of the Lord to Hyrum Smith:


"A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

Behold, I am God, give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my word.

Behold, the field is white already to harvest, therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.

Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God;

Therefore, if you will ask of me, you shall receive, if you will knock, it shall be opened unto you.

Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.

Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich: behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so it shall be done unto you: and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. * *

And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good: yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously, and this is my Spirit."

"Seek not for riches but for wisdom!" "He that hath, eternal life is rich!" "Put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good!" "Do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously--this is my Spirit!" That is a passage truly worthy to emanate from Divine Wisdom.

Continuing, these passages occur in the revelation:-

"I will impart unto you my spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy. * * * Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandment, yea, with all your might, mind and strength. * * * Behold thou art Hyrum, my son! Seek the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added according to that which is just."


The exact date upon which was fulfilled the promise of John the Baptist that the greater priesthood should be restored is not known. But beyond all doubt it was between the 15th of May, 1829, and the month of April, 1830; for in the revelation directing the manner of organizing the church, given early in April of the year last named, the ordination of the Prophet and of Oliver Cowdery to the "apostleship"--and consequently to the higher priesthood, since the office of an apostle is an office of that higher priesthood--is referred to as an accomplished fact:

"Which commandments [i.e. to organize the church] were given to Joseph Smith, Jun., who was called of God and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this church; and to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder of this church, and ordained under his hand. "

The Prophet in an ecstatic review of the things God had revealed to him, written under date of September 6th, 1842, makes incidental reference to the occasion of his own and Oliver's ordination to the apostleship, and incidentally mentions the place and persons connected with the event:

"And again what do we hear? * * * The voice of Peter, James and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times."

In September, 1830, the matter of this ordination to the apostleship is again referred to in a revelation, in very specific terms. The revelation deals primarily with the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and makes the promise that the Lord will in some future time celebrate that supper with certain notable ones of his servants--with Adam and Elias; and with the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob and Joseph, and John the Baptist-

"And also with Peter, James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry, and of the same things which I revealed unto them. Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth."

These passages, then, found scattered through these revelations give evidence that the promise made by John the Baptist of ordination to a higher priesthood than he had conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had been fulfilled, and within the time period named above, by the persons Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the kingdom, and "in the wilderness on the Susquehanna river."


It has already been explained that priesthood is power or authority which God gives to man by which man may act in the authority of God in the administration of the gospel. But we have spoken here of the "Aaronic priesthood," and also of a "greater" or "higher priesthood" being conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, hence a word of explanation is necessary.

The church recognizes two orders of priesthood, called the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods respectively. It was explained by revelation to Joseph Smith that the reason why the higher order of priesthood came to be called after Melchizedek was because Melchizedek was such a great high priest. That is, he so magnified his calling, so honored God in his service, that the order of priesthood he held was called by his name. "Before his day," the revelation goes on to say, "it was called the Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God." That is to say, the kind or order of priesthood held by the Son of God himself. "But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid a too frequent repetition of his name, they (the church in ancient days), called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek priesthood." This higher priesthood existed in the days of the ante-diluvian patriarchs; also among the postdiluvian patriarchs, down to the days of Melchizedek and Abraham. Moses also held it, and by its authority wrought his wonderful works in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. But because of the transgression on the part of Israel the Lord finally took Moses from their midst and also withdrew this higher or Melchizedek priesthood--as an institution, and an organization--from among them; leaving the lesser or Aaronic priesthood with them, which remained until the days of John the Baptist, who was a priest of the Aaronic order. But when the Messiah came, and the gospel was about to take the place of the law of Moses--that having fulfilled its purpose --there was need, as Paul argues, for a change in the priesthood also; that is, the higher priesthood--"the priesthood after the order of the Son of God"--must be restored to take the lead in the administration of the higher law, the gospel. "The lesser priesthood also remained to assist, in a subordinate way, in the holy ministry of the church. But the Melchizedek priesthood administers the gospel and holds the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, "even the key of the knowledge of God." The offices of the greater priesthood are apostles, prophets, high priests, seventies, elders; the offices of the lesser priesthood are bishops, priests, teachers, deacons.

Both these priesthoods had now been conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and as the greater priesthood has power and authority over all the offices in the church, and they had not only received that priesthood but had also been ordained to the office of apostles in it, they were fully and perfectly equipped with all the divine authority needful to proceed with the organization of the church of Christ.



The removal of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery into Fayette, Seneca county, New York, was attended with happy results to the developing work they had in hand. The Whitmer family was large and locally influential. They gave the Prophet gracious welcome to their home; and from the first manifested sympathy for, and gave him aid in, his work. There were five sons in this family, ranging in age from thirty-two to twenty-one, all of whom became interested in the Prophet's work. The Prophet himself was but twenty-five. Oliver Cowdery a year younger. Hyrum Smith was thirty, Samuel Smith, the third baptized in the New Dispensation, but twenty-two; Hiram Page, son-in-law in the Whitmer family, the Knight boys, Newel and Joseph, Jun., soon to be identified with the work, were all under thirty. The establishment of the New Dispensation church was evidently a young men's movement. Peter Whitmer, Sen., however, was a man fifty-seven years of age when Joseph Smith became his guest in 1829. He was of Pennsylvania German extraction, and was a faithful member of that strictest of sects--a Presbyterian. He trained his family in that faith, and hence there was an intensely religious atmosphere at the Whitmer home.

The people of Seneca county quite generally were friendly and disposed to listen to what the little group of believers had to say. Some even went so far as to open their houses where the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery might meet their friends for instruction and explanations. In June, 1829, Hyrum Smith, and David and Peter Whitmer, Jun., were baptized in Seneca Lake, the first by the Prophet, the others by Oliver Cowdery. From this time on the circle of believers constantly enlarged and occasionally there was a baptism.


The translation of the Book of Mormon having been completed, it was but natural for the young Prophet's mind to turn to the work that was to follow the coming forth of that work--the establishment of the church of Christ. Moreover, the authority to proceed with the organization had been given, and a number of people had been baptized, so that there existed all the elements for an organization. The Prophet, however, proceeded cautiously, by anxious prayer seeking to know the will of God. As early as June, 1829, the manner of procedure in organizing the church was outlined by the word of the Lord received in the chamber of "Father Peter Whitmer's" house. According to that instruction Joseph was to ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an elder in the church of Christ; and Oliver in turn was to ordain the Prophet to the same office; then proceed to ordain others as it should be made known to them from time to time. But these men nominated by the word of the Lord to become the first and second elders in the church, respectively, were commanded," says the Prophet, to defer their ordination until such time as it should be practicable to have their brethren, who had been and who would be baptized, assembled together, when they must have their sanction to ordain each other, and have them decide by vote whether they were willing to accept the two brethren named as spiritual teachers or not; when, also, they were commanded to bless bread and break it with them, and to take wine, bless it, and drink it with them; and afterward proceed to ordain each other according to the commandment; then call out such men as the Spirit should dictate, and ordain them; and then attend to the laying on Of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, upon all those who had previously been baptized, doing all things in the name of the Lord.


Subsequently a commandment was given fixing the exact date on which the organization of the church was to be effected--viz., the sixth day of April, "one thousand eight hundred and thirty years, since the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the flesh." It was to be "regularly organized and established," agreeably to the laws of the country, by the will and commandments of God, "which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, Jun., * * * and Oliver Cowdery."

The section of the Doctrine and Covenants containing this commandment to organize the church (Sec. xx) seems to be a series of brief revelations received previous to the organization of the church setting forth in brief summary the incidents in which the church had its origin--set forth in detail in these pages--the call of Joseph Smith; his subsequent entanglement in the vanities of the world; his repentance, and the ministration of holy angels and the commandments of God "which inspired him," and gave him power to bring forth the Book of Mormon--"given by inspiration," and "confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared to the world by them, proving that the holy scriptures are true."


Then follows a declaration of fundamental doctrines and an outline of church organization and government, which is here summarized:-

I. Of the Existence of God--There is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting-unchangeable; the framer of heaven and earth and all things which are in them.

II. Of the Creation and Fall of Man--God created man male and female, after his own image, and in his own likeness created he them. He gave them commandment than they should love and serve him, and that he should be the sole object of their worship. But by the transgression of these holy laws man became sensual and devilish--fallen man.

III. Of Jesus Christ:--The Almighty God gave his only Begotten Son as a ransom for fallen man, as it is writter of him in the scriptures. He suffered temptations, but gave no heed to them; he was crucified, died, and rose again the third day; he ascended into heaven to sit on the right hand of his Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of God. As many as believe on him and are baptized in his holy name, enduring in faith to the end--shall be saved. Not only those who believe after he came in the flesh but all those who from the beginning believed in the words of the holy prophets, who testified of him in all things.

IV. Of the Holy Ghost and the Trinity:--The Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and of the Son--is God's witness. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost constitute the Holy Trinity one God, or Grand Presidency of heaven and earth, infinite, eternal.

V. Of Justification and Sanctification: Justification and sanctification come through the grace of God, and are just and true principles. That is, the grace of God supplies the means or conditions of justification and sanctification, and it is for man to apply those means. The means or condition: of justification and sanctification are that men love and serve God with all their might, mind and strength. That would lead them to exercise faith in God, repentance of sin and baptism for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost, and the pursuit of a godly life and conversion--the old conditions of salvation.

VI. Of Falling from Grace:--It is possible for men to fall from grace and depart from the living God, therefore the saints are admonished to take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation. Even those who are sanctified are cautioned to take heed.

VII. Of Baptism--All who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins--shall be received by baptism into the church. No person, however, can be received into the church of Christ, unless he has arrived unto the years of accountability before God, and is capable of repentance.

VIII. Of the Manner of Baptism:--The person who is called of God, and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented him or herself for baptism, and shall say--calling him or her by name:-

"Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen."

Then shall he immerse him Or her, and come forth again out of the water.

IX. Of Confirmation:--Confirmation into the church follows baptism and is performed by the laying on of hands, by those who have authority in the church. The Holy Ghost is imparted in the same manner and by the same act of administration. There is no special form of words given for confirming persons into the church and imparting the Holy Ghost; but, judging from the form given for baptism, administering the sacrament, etc., a simple form is regarded as most proper. But whatever other words are used, the following may not be omitted: I confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and say unto you, receive ye the Holy Ghost. Those officiating, of course, are to be careful to do this in the name of Jesus Christ.

X. Of the Duties of Members:--It is the duty of the members of the church to manifest righteousness by "a godly walk and conversation: "to abstain from ill feeling toward each other, neither indulging in lying, back-biting nor evil speaking. It is also their duty to pray vocally and in secret. They are required to meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus, which is to be administered by the elder or priest in the following manner: kneeling with the church he consecrates the emblems of the body and blood of Christ in these words:


XI. Blessing on the Bread:--"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."

XII. Blessing on the Wine: --"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."

XIII. Of the Duties of Saints Respecting Children:--Every member of the church having children is required to bring them to the elders, before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them and bless them in the name of Jesus Christ.

XIV. The Officers of the Church and their Duties--Elders : Elders have authority to preside over meetings and conduct them as prompted by the Holy Ghost. They also have authority to teach and expound the scriptures; to watch over the church; to baptize; lay on hands for the bestowal of the Holy Ghost; confirm those baptized, members of the church; administer the sacrament, and ordain other elders and also priests, teachers, and deacons.

Priests:--It is the duty of priests to preach, teach, and expound scripture; to visit the home of each member and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all duties. They may also baptize and administer the sacrament, ordain other priests, teachers and deacons, take the lead of meetings when no elder is present, and in a general way assist the elder; but they have no authority to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost or for the confirmation of members into the church.

Teachers:--The teacher's duty is to always be with the church, watch over and strengthen it; to see that there is no iniquity in it, and that the members thereof meet together often and all do their duty. Teachers may warn, expound, exhort, teach and invite all to come unto Christ, and take the lead of meetings when no elder or priest is present; but they have not the authority to baptize, administer the sacrament or lay on hands.

Deacons:--Deacons are appointed to assist the teachers in the performance of their duties. They may also warn, expound, exhort, teach and invite all to come unto Christ, but, like the teachers, they have no authority to baptize, administer the sacrament or lay on hands.

XV. Conferences:--The several elders comprising the church of Christ are to meet in conference once in three months, or from time to time as the said conference shall appoint, to do whatever church business is necessary. It is the duty of the several branches to send one or more of their teachers (or other representatives) to attend the conferences, with a list of the names of those who have joined the church since the last conference, that a record of the names of the whole church may be kept by one who shall be appointed to that work; and the names of those who are expelled are also to be sent up to the conferences, that their names may be blotted out of the general records. Members removing from the church where they reside are to take a letter certifying that they are regular members in good standing, and that when signed by the regular authorities of the branch or ward church from whence they move is to admit them into the fellowship of the saints in the branch or ward to which they go.

Such is the plan of government and discipline contained in the revelation given just previous to the organization of the church; and in it one may observe the germ of that more complete organization which will be treated more fully in another section of this History. The above was sufficient for the church in its infancy.

On the day appointed for the organization of the church, six of those who had been baptized, viz., Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer, Jun., Samuel H. Smith and David Whitmer --met with a few of their friends at the house of Peter Whitmer, Sen., in Fayette township, Seneca county, New York. The meeting was opened by solemn prayer, after which, according to previous commandment, the Prophet Joseph called upon the brethren present to know if they would accept himself and Oliver Cowdery as their teachers in the things of the kingdom of God; and if they were willing that they should proceed to organize the church according to the commandment of the Lord. To this they consented by unanimous vote. Joseph then ordained Oliver an elder of the church of Jesus Christ; after which Oliver ordained Joseph an elder of the said church. The sacrament was administered and those who had been previously baptized were confirmed members of the church and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Some enjoyed the gift of prophecy, and all rejoiced exceedingly.

While the church was yet assembled a revelation was received from the Lord, directing that a record be kept in the church, and that in it Joseph Smith should be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church. And the church was commanded to give heed to all his words and commandments which he should receive from the Lord, accepting his word as the word of the Lord in all patience and faith. On condition of the members doing this, the Lord promised them that the gates of hell should not prevail against the church; but on the contrary he would disperse the powers of darkness from before them and shake the heavens for their good.


Thus the church was organized. And in the process of effecting that organization we see in operation two great principles--(1) the expressed mind and will of God; (2) the consent of the people. The Lord had given commandment to his chosen servants to organize the church; but before they proceed to effect that organization the people that are available as members must consent to the organization. Although Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had been ordained under the hands of Peter, James, and John to be apostles, yet when it came their being ordained presiding elders of the church, that could only be done with the consent of those who were to become members of the church; and thus in the very inception of the work the principle that "all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith," was recognized; and subsequently it was announced as the law, that "no person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church." All this because the government of the church of Christ, like all God's exercise of authority--is moral government only. There are two kinds of authority represented in government, effective and moral. Effective authority operates by compulsion, and is the authority of earthly, human governments. Moral authority operates by persuasion only; this is the method of divine government. "The action of God upon man is moral, and moral only." By constituting man free, God "has refused to exercise effective authority over him." "An ecclesiastical or political society claiming divine authority, must exercise moral authority only; for the moment it exercises compulsion it ceases to represent God, and resolves itself into effective authority which is human, all human, and not at all divine."


No sooner was the church organized, however, than a prophet, seer, and translator is appointed in the person of the presiding elder, Joseph Smith, Jun., and the church is commanded to give heed to his word, as unto the word of the Lord himself. In the government of the church there is to be a union of the counsels of God and the consent of the people. The church is to exercise moral government--the government of God. But there is devised in this system of government the means of bringing down into those affairs of men with which the church is to concern herself, the very wisdom of God, and yet in such manner as not to interfere with the freedom of men, beyond what instruction, reason, persuasion, love and moral influence will interfere with or modify their freedom.



The public ministry of the church was begun on Sunday, the 11th of April, 1830. The meeting was held in Fayette township, at the home of Peter Whitmer, Sen.. where five days before the church had been organized, The meeting was attended by large crowds of people; and Oliver Cowdery had the honor of making the first proclamation of the gospel in the new dispensation, in a public meeting called for that purpose. At the close of the meeting six persons, viz: Hiram Page and four members of the Whitmer family were baptized by Oliver Cowdery in Seneca Lake, to which the Whitmer farm was adjacent. It is a beautiful expanse of clear water, this American lake with a Roman name. It is some thirty-six miles in extent north and south, and between three and four miles in width. Its sand-pebbly shore, and the gentle declivity of its margin, made it an ideal place for the beautiful ceremony of baptism by immersion, wherein are symbolized the burial and resurrection of the Christ; also the death, to sin, of the convert, and his resurrection to a new life of righteousness; the formal taking on of, the name of Christ, the visible entrance into the kingdom of God. A week later, seven more were added to the church at the same place, three of whom were Whitmers, including Peter Whitmer, Sen., and his wife, Mary M. Whitmer; the others were their immediate neighbors.


Meantime the Prophet was not unmindful of his friends, the Knight family, living at Colesville in Broome county, New York, about one hundred miles away; and in this month of April he paid them a visit, to inform them of the progress being made in the work intrusted to him; and hoping, doubtless, to bring them into the church of Christ. Of this family and the friendship subsisting between them and Joseph Smith we have already spoken. The family were Universalists in their faith, and this of itself, since the central idea of that faith tends to liberalize the mind, to say nothing of the esteem in which the family had previously held the Prophet, insured him a respectful hearing, now that he had come as the official representative of a church. The Prophet was not disappointed in his reception, or the Knight family's hospitality. Several meetings were held in Colesville where the Knights lived, and a spirit of inquiry, accompanied by a desire to know the truth, was awakened.

Among those who became interested was Newel Knight, son of Joseph Knight. Sen., a young man five years the Prophet's senior. He was a man of rather delicate constitution. As he had no taste for farming, he had engaged in milling both in carding mills and grist mills; but owing to his failing health he had discontinued these occupations on the advice of his physicians.

He was a prosperous man, however, in material affairs, and had married well, although his wife was also of a delicate constitution. Newel was happy also in the confidence and esteem of his father's family and the neighborhood. He was a man of high character and of a sensitive nature. He and the Prophet had many conversations on the subject of religion; and as many at the meetings now being held were praying for guidance in forming their opinions of the strange things being testified of among them, the Prophet urged his friend Newel to do the same, not only to pray in secret but in the presence of others, and at the meetings. This Newel promised to do, but when the time came, at the evening meeting, his heart failed him, and he excused himself from the undertaking, and could not be persuaded by the Prophet to change his mind. The following morning he retired to the woods where he attempted to carry out his intention to pray in secret, according to his announcement at the meeting the evening before. But he was oppressed by the sense of a duty neglected, by the consciousness of a promise broken; and when he attempted to pray in secret, he failed. Not even words would come at his bidding. Prayer is not a mechanical function. One may not always pray when one chooses. Something more than words are needed. Prayer is soul of man communing with soul of God--the infinite in man reaching upward to touch the infinite of God. God must be a party to this blending of souls, else there will be no prayer.


Newel Knight, under the circumstances, could not then reach God's soul. Newel must be taught a lesson, so also the whole church. Newel Knight could not pray. He began to feel uneasy; both mind and body were afflicted, until on reaching home his appearance was such as to alarm his wife. He requested her to bring the Prophet to him. "I went," says the Prophet, "and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a very strange manner; his visage and limbs distorted and twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine; and finally he was caught up off the floor of the apartment and tossed about most fearfully." His relatives and some of the neighbors having heard of his condition soon gathered at his house and witnessed his distress. The Prophet after some effort caught him by the hand, and immediately Newel spoke to him and asked him to cast the devil out of him, for he knew he was possessed, and he knew the Prophet could cast out the evil spirit. "If you know that I can," said Joseph, "it shall be done." And then almost unconsciously the Prophet rebuked the evil spirit and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from the afflicted man. Newel was instantly relieved: his countenance became natural, the distortions of his body ceased. He himself declared that he saw the evil spirit leave him and vanish from sight. His relief from this mental distress, however, was attended with great physical weakness. But after the storm came the calm. His friends laid him upon his bed, and then was witnessed a most remarkable scene. Newel himself afterwards narrated it as follows:

"I now began to feel a most pleasing sensation resting upon me, and immediately the visions of heaven were opened to my view. I felt myself attracted upward, and remained for some time enwrapt in contemplation, insomuch that I knew not what was going on in the room. By and by, I felt some weight pressing upon my shoulder and the side of my head, which served to recall me to a sense of my situation, and I found that the spirit of the Lord had actually caught me up off the floor, and that my shoulder and head were pressing against the beams."

This is usually called "the first miracle in the church." It was witnessed by eight or ten adult persons, most of whom afterwards joined the church. The Prophet himself ascribed the power by which the evil spirit was cast out, to God; saying:

"It was not done by man, nor the power of man; but it was done by God, and by the power of godliness: therefore, let the honor and the praise, the dominion and the glory, be ascribed to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen."

Soon after this occurrence the Prophet returned to Fayette, whence he was followed by Newel Knight in the last week of May. Soon after Newel's arrival at Fayette he was baptized by David Whitmer.


The first conference of the church was held on the ninth day of June, 1830. About ninety members were in attendance and a large number of believers and sympathizers. The conference was a spirited one. The sacrament of the "Lord's Supper" was administered; a number were called and ordained to the several offices of the church, and there was singing and exhortation. Also spiritual manifestations in visions, and in prophecy concerning the future development of the work then beginning its unfoldment. All present were impressed with the solemnity and yet also with the joy of the occasion. "To find ourselves engaged," says the Prophet, in recording the events of the conference, "in the very same order of things as observed by the holy apostles of old; to realize the importance and solemnity of such proceedings; and to witness and feel with our own natural senses, the like glorious manifestations of the powers of the priesthood, the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost, and the goodness and condescension of a merciful God unto such as obey the everlasting gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, combined to create within us sensations of rapturous gratitude, and inspire us with fresh zeal and energy in the cause of truth."

Shortly after the close of the conference David Whitmer baptized eleven persons in Seneca Lake; and the Prophet returned to his home in Harmony, Pennsylvania.

There was no more staying at home, however, for the Prophet. Under divine guidance he had launched an institution, devotion to which would absorb his life, and be more to him than home and family and country. He no more primarily belonged to home and family, but to the church of God. She must be henceforth the first object of his solicitude, and of his activities; all else, secondary.

In consonance with this new attitude toward life's activities, the Prophet soon left Harmony to pursue his labors at Colesville. Arriving here in company with Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and John Whitmer, he found a number of the Knight family and some others ready for baptism. A public meeting was appointed in Colesville the Sunday following the arrival of the Prophet's party. On Saturday a dam was built across a convenient stream of water, that a suitable place for baptisms might be ready. During the night the dam was torn out by a mob. Sunday came, and a congregation assembled, among whom, it was afterwards ascertained, were the parties who destroyed the dam. Oliver Cowdery preached and the Prophet and others bore testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and also to the truth of the gospel that had been restored.

After the meeting a number opposed the work by seeking to turn against the brethren those who gave credence to their testimony. In this they were not successful. Early Monday morning the dam across the creek was repaired and thirteen persons were baptized. About the time the baptisms were concluded, the mob collected--about fifty in number--and were highly enraged because they had been thwarted in their efforts to prevent the baptisms. The house of Mr. Knight was surrounded by these infuriated men, who seemed determined to commit violence upon the saints. The Prophet's party, therefore, with a few friends, withdrew to the home of Newel Knight, in the hope that this would allay the excitement.

But they were followed by the questioning, threatening mob. "And as long as they chose to stay," says the Prophet, "we were obliged to answer them various unprofitable questions and bear with insults and threatenings without number."


A meeting had been appointed for Monday evening at the house of Joseph Knight, Sen., for the purpose of attending to the confirmation of those who had been baptized that morning. At the appointed hour the newly baptized converts and their friends arrived. When just as the meeting was about to be opened, a constable appeared on the scene and placed the Prophet under arrest on a warrant charging him with being a disorderly person by preaching the Book of Mormon, and setting the country in an uproar. This charge was sworn out by a young man of the name of Benton, but most likely at the instigation of a Mr. Cyrus McMaster, a Presbyterian of high standing; a Doctor Boyington, of the same church; and the Rev. Mr. Shearer a Presbyterian minister, all of whom were active instigators of the persecutions to be enumerated in this chapter. The charge of course was ridiculous; and indeed was only a pretense of legal procedure, during which the mob hoped to get the Prophet into their hands. This the constable himself disclosed soon after the arrest; for the officer had found the Prophet a very different person from what he had been represented to be, and became his friend.

The constable's story was soon confirmed, for not far from Mr. Knight's house the wagon in which the officer with his prisoner had started for South Bainbridge was surrounded by the mob who had been lying in ambush, and who seemed only to await a signal from the constable to take the prisoner. This signal, however, was not given; on the contrary the officer put the whip to his horse, and left them. During the chase that followed, a wheel came off the constable's wagon, and he and his prisoner were nearly overtaken by the mob; but the wheel was replaced in time to make good their escape.

The constable drove his prisoner to South Bainbridge in Chenango county, where he lodged him in a tavern, himself sleeping with his feet at the door of their room with a loaded musket at his side, declaring that if they were unlawfully interfered with he would fight for the prisoner.

The trial came on the next day before Joseph Chamberlain, justice of the peace. Meantime the Prophet's friends had not been inactive. Joseph Knight, Sen., engaged the services of two of his neighbors, well versed in the law, although not practicing attorneys. They were respectable farmers, James Davidson and John Reid, by name and both widely known for their integrity and honor. These gentlemen and a number of the Prophet's friends arrived at South Bainbridge before the opening of the trial.

The main charge apparently, was soon abandoned, as it could not possibly be entertained by the court; but a number of other charges utterly irrelevant were investigated, the nature of which is disclosed by the questions put to the witnesses. And here let it be said, that although these matters are insignificant in themselves, yet they disclose the nature of the charges made against the Prophet, and the untruthfulness of such accusations made against him as involve the employment of his prophetic gifts, or the use of his official position, for material gain. For example: His friend Josiah Stoal was put upon the stand and questioned as follows:

"Did not he [Joseph Smith] go to you and tell you that an angel had appeared Unto him and authorized him to get the horse from you?

"No, he told me no such story.

"Well, how had he the horse of you?

"He bought him of me as any other man would.

"Have you had your pay?

"That is none of your business.

"The question being put again the witness replied:

"I hold his note for the price of the horse, which I consider as good as the pay; for I am well acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jun., and know him to be an honest man; and if he wishes, I am ready to let, him have another horse on the same terms."

Mr. Jonathan Thompson was next called up and examined:

"Has not the prisoner, Joseph Smith, Jun., had a yoke of oxen of you?


"Did he not obtain them of you by telling you that he had a revelation to the effect that he was to have them?

"No, he did not mention a word of the kind concerning the oxen; he purchased them the same as any other man would."

The court was detained until two daughters of Mr. Stoal could be sent for and questioned. These were two young ladies with whom the Prophet had kept company before his marriage. They were examined as to his conduct generally, but especially as to his behavior towards them, both in public and in private. They both gave such answers as left the young Prophet's enemies without pretext of action on their account.

Incidents alleged to have taken place in Broome county were introduced, but these the court, being held in Chenango county, would not entertain; and after the court had been in session from ten in the morning until midnight, the trial closed, by the justice declaring the prisoner "not guilty."

During the day a successful application had been made for a warrant against the Prophet in Broome county; and no sooner was he discharged by Justice Chamberlain than he was arrested under the warrant from Broome county, and dragged off to Colesville some fifteen miles distant. He was taken to a tavern where a number of men gathered and for some time, in the presence of the constable, they ridiculed and insulted the helpless prisoner.

The next day the trial began, and the Prophet found his faithful friends and his counsel of the day before, Messrs. Davidson and Reid, by his side. Many witnesses were called, but their testimony was so palpably false and contradictory that it could not be admitted by the court. A lawyer by the name of Seymour assisted by a Mr. Burch conducted the case for the prosecution. They called Newel Knight as a witness against the prisoner, to detail the account of the Prophet's ministration to him when possessed of an evil spirit, as already related--such were the matters of inquiry in a court of justice in an early decade of the nineteenth century, in the state of New York! In the plea for the state, prosecutor Seymour dragged in the matter of the Prophet having been "a money digger," and in every way that occurred to his ingenuity sought to influence the court against him.


Messrs. Davidson and Reid followed in behalf of the defendant. I may not hope to describe so well as the Prophet himself does the effort these gentlemen made in behalf of their client; and it is due to history and to these gentlemen that their client's own brief description of their speeches shall be recorded here:

"They held forth in true colors the nature of the prosecution, the malignancy of intention, and the apparent disposition to persecute their client, rather than to afford him justice. They took up the different arguments which had beep brought by the lawyers for the prosecution, and having shown their utter futility and misapplication, then proceeded to scrutinize the evidence which had been adduced, and each, in his turn, thanked God that he had been engaged in so good a cause as that of defending a man whose character stood so well the test of such a strict investigation. In fact, these men, although not regular lawyers, were upon this occasion able to put to silence their opponents, and convince the court that I was innocent. They spoke like men inspired of God, whilst those who were arrayed against me trembled under the sound of their voices, and quailed before them like criminals before a bar of justice."

The court pronounced the prisoner "not guilty," to the joy of his friends, and the vexation of his enemies, who still breathed out threats of violence against him; but with the assistance of the constable, who had treated him with unnecessary harshness when making the arrest, and also in bringing him to Colesville, but who now had become friendly, the Prophet escaped their hands and was soon among his friends at Harmony.


The levitation of Newel Knight, related in the text of this chapter is a very remarkable instance of that strange phenomenon, of the possibility and actuality of which there is now little doubt among many leading men of science. The reality of this particular circumstance is well attested. It was not a case of subjective hallucination on the part of Newel Knight; for eight or ten adult persons witnessed the fact of the levitation, and it was doubtless a contributing cause to their uniting with the church, since it was associated with the official action of the Prophet, who had dared in the name of Jesus Christ to rebuke the psychic power that bound Newel Knight just previous to the levitation taking place.

As for the possibility and the actuality of levitation itself, in view of our scriptural and modern knowledge, there can scarcely be a question about it. The case of Elijah's ascension into heaven (II Kings, ii) can be no other than a case of levitation. So, too, the young mans axehead, which fell into the Jordan, and which, through the power exercised by Elisha, "did swim" to the surface of the water and was taken out (II Kings, vi). The ascension of the risen Christ, a personage of "flesh and bone" (St. Luke xxii:39), is another case of scriptural levitation (St. Luke xxi:51; Acts i:9).

Relative to the attitude of many scientific minds towards the fact of levitation (and hence as to the possibility of such a case as the one here being considered) the following from the works of Thomas J. Hudson, author of The Law of Psychic Phenomena and other works on that line of thought, is instructive. Referring to the subjective mind in man, and speaking of its powers, he says:

"It remains to consider another power, peculiarly its own, which demonstrates the actual possession by the soul of a kinetic potency which for the present cannot be classed as intellectual. I refer, of course, to its power to move ponderable bodies, otherwise known as the power of levitation. * * * Of the existence of this force no one who has investigated the subject, pretends to doubt. It has been investigated by many of the ablest scientists of the world, notably by Professor Elliott Coves, of Washington, and Professors Crookes and Lodge, of London, besides many other scientists of lesser note in Europe and America. Professor Coves has given it a name, `Telekinesis,' and writes on the subject learnedly and interestingly, as he writes on every subject which he handles; and Professor Crookes has given the world a very learned disquisition on the topic; whilst Professor Lodge has exhausted the resources of human ingenuity in devising tests demonstrative of the existence of the force, and of the English language in describing them. * * * But no scientist has been able to do more than to enable us to say that it is a power belonging exclusively to the subjective entity; that it performs no normal function in this life; that it requires a physical basis in order to produce phenomena cognizable by the objective sense, and thus, like all other psychic phenomena known as spiritistic, it is never produced except as a result of the most intensely abnormal physical and mental conditions. * * * The only thing that can be said of the power with certainty is that it exists; that it is not a power of the objective mind; that it is a power of the human soul, and that it is valuable in this life only as an evidence that there is a kinetic force resident in the soul. * * * Besides, if, as we must suppose, the soul is a spark of the Divine Intelligence, it must be invested, in some degree, with the potential energy inhering in Omnipotence."

Sir Oliver Lodge in his Science and Immortality, referring to the various explanations to account for miracles, says: "That some may use the term miracle, to mean the utilization of unknown laws-- * * * laws whereby time and space appear temporarily suspended, or extraordinary cures are affected, or other effects produced such as the levitations and other physical phenomena related of the saints."

In the presence of this high authority for the actuality of such phenomena as is here considered, it may not be regarded as the result of superstition or ignorance if one believed in the somewhat remarkable instance of levitation supplied by the case of Newel Knight.


The effect of the two trials of the Prophet described in this chapter must be to give him a clear bill of acquittal of practically all those charges alleged against his youth. It should be remembered that the trials took place right in the vicinity where he had spent the greater part of the preceding five years of his life, being frequently employed by Mr. Stoal and Mr. Knight, and during the last year living at his own home in Harmony, but a few miles distant over the New York state line. Of accusations there were plenty and to spare; but submitted to investigation they proved to be but the slanders of his enemies, or the idle exaggerated gossip of a rural community. On this point most interesting and enlightening are the remarks made upon these incidents in the Prophet's early experience by one of his counsel, at these trials, namely, by John Reid, about fourteen years after the trials occurred. Mr. Reid, though never a convert to the Prophet's faith, nevertheless always held him in high esteem. In May, 1844, Mr. Reid visited Nauvoo, and in a public address related the early experiences connected with these New York trials. After giving a detailed account of the rise of the opposition against the Prophet by sectarian zealots, he said:

"Those bigots soon made up a false accusation against him and had him arraigned before Joseph Chamberlain, a justice of the peace, a man that was always ready to deal justice to all, and a man of great discernment of mind. The case came on about 10 o'clock a.m. I was called upon to defend the prisoner. The prosecutors employed the best counsel they could get, and ransacked the town of Bainbridge and county of Chenango for witnesses that would swear hard enough to convict the prisoner; but they entirely failed. Yes, sir, let me say to you that not one blemish nor spot was found against his character, he came from that trial, notwithstanding the mighty efforts that were made to convict him of crime by his vigilant persecutors, with his character unstained by even the appearance of guilt. The trial closed about 12 o'clock at night. After a few moments deliberation, the court pronounced the words `not guilty,' and the prisoner was discharged. But alas! the devil, not satisfied with his defeat, stirred up a man not unlike himself, who was more fit to dwell among the fiends of hell than to belong to the human family, to go to Colesville and get another writ, and take him to Broome county for another trial. They were sure they could send that boy to hell, or to Texas, they did not care which; and in half an hour after he was discharged by the court, he was arrested again, and on the way to Colesville for another trial. I was again called upon by his friends to defend him against his malignant persecutors, and clear him from the false charges they had preferred against him. I made every reasonable excuse I could, as I was nearly worn out through fatigue and want of sleep; as I had been engaged in lawsuits for two days, and nearly the whole of two nights. But I saw the persecution was great against him; and here let me say, Mr. Chairman, singular as it may seem, while Mr. Knight was pleading with me to go, a peculiar impression or thought struck my mind, that I must go and defend him, for he was the Lord's anointed. I did not know what it meant, but thought I must go and clear the Lord's anointed. I said I would go, and started with as much faith as the apostles had when they could remove mountains, accompanied by Father Knight, who was like the old patriarchs that followed the ark of God to the city of David. * * *

"The next morning about 10 o'clock the court was organized. The prisoner was to be tried by three justices of the peace, that his departure out of the county might be made sure. Neither talents nor money were wanting to insure them success. They employed the ablest lawyer in that county, and introduced twenty or thirty witnesses before dark, but proved nothing. They then sent out runners and ransacked the hills and vales, grog shops and ditches, and gathered together a company that looked as if they had come from hell and had been whipped by the soot boy thereof; which they brought forward to testify one after another, but with no better success than before, although they wrung and twisted into every shape, in trying to tell something that would criminate the prisoner. Nothing was proven against him however. Having got through with the examination of their witnesses about 2 o'clock in the morning, the case was argued about two hours. There was not one particle of testimony against the prisoner. No, sir, he came out like the three [Hebrew] children from the fiery furnace, without the smell of fire upon his garments. The court deliberated upon the case for half an hour with closed doors, and then we were called in. The court arraigned the prisoner and said: `Mr. Smith, we have had your case under consideration, examined the testimony and find nothing to condemn you, and therefore you are discharged.' They then proceeded to reprimand him severely, not because anything derogatory to his character in any shape had been proven against him by the host of witnesses that had testified during the trial, but merely to please those fiends in human shape who were engaged in the unhallowed persecution of an innocent man, sheerly on account of his religious opinions.

"After they had got through, I arose and said: `This court puts me in mind of a certain trial held before Felix of old, when the enemies of Paul arraigned him before the venerable judge for some alleged crime, and nothing was found in him worthy of death or of bonds. Yet, to please the Jews, who were his accusers, he was left bound contrary to law; and this court has served Mr. Smith in the same way, by their unlawful and uncalled for reprimand after his discharge, to please his accusers.' We got him away that night from the midst of three hundred people without his receiving any injury; but I am well aware that we were assisted by some higher power than man; for to look back on the scene, I cannot tell how we succeeded in getting him away. I take no glory to myself; it was the Lord's work, and marvelous in our eyes."



Although pronounced not guilty by the court at Colesville, it did not follow that the Prophet and his associates were to be permitted to exercise the rights of free men and follow unmolested their calling as ministers of the gospel. This was discovered on an attempt being made by the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery to hold meeting, shortly after the close of the trial, at the home of Joseph Knight, Sen., for the purpose of confirming those who had been baptized; and whose confirmation had been so unwarrantably prevented by the first arrest of the Prophet. No sooner did the two brethren appear in Colesville than the mob began to gather to oppose them. It was considered wise on the part of the brethren and their friends to avoid a conflict, and so they departed without even waiting for refreshments. They were closely pursued by the mob, but were successful in eluding them. They traveled most of the night, resting only for a short time under a large tree by the wayside, sleeping and watching alternately, until a little rested, when they resumed their journey and arrived at the Prophet's home in Harmony early in the morning.


About this time a most important revelation was given, destined to have a great effect upon the doctrinal development of the church, the full import of which is not yet realized even by the church. This revelation gave the first part of what is known as the Book of Moses now published in the Pearl of Great Price, one of the four standard doctrinal books of the church. This part could well be entitled the "Call of Moses." For the calling of this prophet and preparing him for his mission as the deliverer of Israel and the historian of the creation is really the burden of this portion of the book. The chapter deals with four important subjects: (1) The eternity of God, and the office of the Christ as the Savior of men; (2) The call of Moses to deliver the children of Israel from bondage; (3) The partial revelation to Moses of the Creations of God, the divine purpose in that creation and the earth-life of man, from which doubtless, Moses was able to write the creation story of Genesis; and, (4), the localization of the revelations to Moses to our earth and its immediately associated spheres--the heavens that are connected with it. In abbreviated form these several topics are thus presented:


Preface: "The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceeding high mountain, and he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses, therefore Moses could endure his presence.

The Eternity of God: the Office of the Christ: "And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years: And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for He is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all."

The Call of Moses: [In the midst of the vision Lucifer appears to Moses, and is rebuked by him, whereupon the vision is renewed, and the Lord said]:

"Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God. And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen."

The Partial Revelation of the Creations of God: The Divine Purpose in the Creation and Earth-Life of Man: "Behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease. Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth. * * * And now behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son; for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee. And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created, and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered. * * *

"And it came to pass as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the seashore. And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof. And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them? And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom, and it remaineth in me. And by the Word of my power have I created them, which is mine only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many. But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power! And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

"And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content. And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

The Revelations of God to Moses Local: "And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying * * * tell me concerning this earth and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content. * * * And now Moses my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. * * * And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak."


About the same time a revelation was given making more definite the calling of the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery. In the midst of the incidents related in this and the preceding chapter the Prophet and Oliver were trying to raise a crop on the small farm at Harmony which the former had purchased of Isaac Hale, his father-in-law, and which he still owned. But the Prophet had been called to a larger work than this, and one which required all his time. Hence the Lord said in the revelation referred to:

"Behold thou wast called and chosen to write the Book of Mormon, and to the work of my ministry. * * * Magnify thine office; and after thou hast sowed thy fields and secured them, go speedily unto the church which is in Colesville, Fayette and Manchester, and they shall support thee; and I will bless them both spiritually and temporally. * * * And thou shalt continue in calling upon God in my name, and writing the things which shall be given thee by the Comforter, and expounding all scriptures unto the church; and it shall be given thee in the very moment what thou shalt speak and write, and they shall hear it, or I will send unto them a cursing instead of a blessing. For thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion; and in this thou shalt have strength. Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days."

Concerning Oliver Cowdery it was said:

"And thy brother Oliver shall continue in bearing my name before the world, and also to the church. And he shall not suppose that he can say enough in my cause; and lo, I am with him to the end. In me he shall have glory, and not of himself; whether in weakness or in strength, whether in bonds or free, and at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men."

To Emma Smith also was given consolation through the word of the Lord, for in a revelation given during those days, she was appointed to be a scribe unto the Prophet during a projected absence of Oliver Cowdery. To her it was said:

"Thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith. And verily I say unto thee, that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better. And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church. For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."


Shortly after the revelations above were given, Oliver Cowdery went to visit the church in Fayette; and the Prophet occupied himself in setting in order and copying the revelations which up to this time had been received; in which work he was assisted by John Whitmer who continued to reside with him. While so engaged, much to the Prophet's surprise, he received a letter from Oliver Cowdery "commanding" him to alter one of the revelations which had been received. The Prophet immediately answered Oliver by letter, but the matter was not finally settled until the Prophet visited the saints in Fayette in person, and convinced Oliver Cowdery and a number of the Whitmers who had taken Oliver's view of the subject, that the passage was reasonable, and according to the scripture: "And thus was this error rooted out," says the Prophet, "which, having its rise in presumption and rash judgment, was the more particularly calculated, when once fairly understood, to teach each and all of us the necessity of humility and meekness before the Lord, that he might teach us of his ways, that we might walk in his paths, and live by every word that proceedeth forth from his mouth."

In the latter part of August, 1830, Joseph Smith, Jun., in company with John Whitmer, David Whitmer, and Hyrum Smith visited the Colesville saints, assembled them together, confirmed them members of the church, partook of the sacrament, rejoiced in their achievements, sang hosannas to God, and the next morning returned to Harmony without molestation.

This work accomplished, the Prophet in the last week of August removed to Fayette. Here, however, irregularity had asserted itself, in that Hiram Page had been receiving revelations" for the church, through the use of an alleged "seer stone," concerning the upbuilding of Zion, the order of the church, etc. "All of which was entirely at variance with the order of God's house," remarks the Prophet, "laid down in the New Testament, as well as in our later revelations." A general conference had been appointed for the 26th of September, and the Prophet thought it wisdom not to say anything about this matter until the conference convened. But on discovering that Oliver Cowdery and a number of the Whitmers were believing in the things set forth by Hiram Page, it was thought best that inquiry should be made of the Lord, and before the conference convened a revelation was received, in which the "revelations" of Hiram Page were condemned; and Oliver Cowdery was commanded to take Hiram Page between himself and him alone, and tell him that the things he had written as revelations were not of God, that satan had deceived him.

Oliver Cowdery's late presumption was also reprimanded in this revelation. The revelation, in fact, was directed to him:

"Behold, I say unto you, Oliver, that it shall be given unto thee, that thou shalt be heard by the church in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the Comforter, concerning the revelations and commandments which I have given. But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church, excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses; and thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the church. And if thou are led at any time by the Comforter to speak or teach or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom: And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church. For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead. * * * For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith."

Thus the order of the church in respect of receiving revelations was more clearly defined, and by the time the conference convened on the 26th day of September the difficulties were well on the way to an amicable settlement.

The conference continued through three days. Besides the preaching and ordinary business a number of revelations were received concerning the future development of the work. Reproof and encouragement were given most fearlessly; a number of people were baptized, and the work generally strengthened. "The utmost harmony prevailed," says the Prophet, "and all things were settled satisfactorily to all present.


Among the things made known by the Book of Mormon is the fact that the land of America is a "chosen land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord;" also that upon it in the last days shall be builded "a new Jerusalem," or "Zion" unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph who holds the birthright in Israel. Hence it is a matter of faith with the Latter-day Saints that this city of "Zion" will be built upon the continent of North America. Very naturally the saints were early exercised concerning this "City" and especially concerning its location. Its location was undoubtedly one of the subjects of Hiram Page's revelations; for in the revelation correcting his errors it is said: "It is not revealed, and no man knoweth, where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold I say unto you, that it shall be on the borders, by the Lamanites." Also the Book of Mormon declares that the gospel of the Christ which it contains shall be preached among the Lamanites, and that they shall be restored to a knowledge of their fathers. This also was a matter that early engaged the attention of the saints, and especially at this September conference. In a revelation received a few days before the conference convened Oliver Cowdery had been appointed to introduce this work to the Lamanites.

During the conference young Peter Whitmer was appointed to go with him. And in October following Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson were added to this Indian mission.


The coming of Parley P. Pratt to the church is a matter of sufficient importance to receive more than a passing notice, both on account of his exceptional native talents and the great work he accomplished in the church, and because of the controversy that gathers about the circumstance of his coming to the church, under the circumstances attendant upon that coming. Viz: Coming immediately from the vicinity of Sidney Rigdon's activities and after association with him; taking this eastern journey for Columbia county, New York, shortly after the Book of Mormon was published; stopping off at Newark, in the vicinity of Palmyra without any seeming occasion beyond a psychic impression that he had a work to do in that neighborhood before going on to the objective point of his journey; meeting the Smiths and accepting the Book of Mormon; all which, it is claimed, bears evidence of his being in collusion with the parties bringing forth the Book of Mormon, and perhaps was the connecting link between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon and the Spaulding Manuscript. Our history as it proceeds will establish the vanity of these idle speculations.

Parley Parker Pratt was the son of Jared and Charity Pratt, and his ancestry runs back to the first settlers of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1639. He was born in Burlington, Otsego county, New York, 1807. His boyhood was spent on a farm, in Canaan, Columbia county, New York, and he had but few educational opportunities. Early in youth, however, he gave evidence of possessing a profoundly religious nature and joined the Baptist church. In his seventeenth year, in company with his brother William, he journeyed west about two hundred miles, and selected lands for a farm about two miles from Oswego, New York. Owing to failure of crops, and also the failure of his brother William to raise his portion of the payments on the land, the farm finally reverted to the original owner. Somewhat disheartened by this incident young Pratt left the state of New York in 1826, and settled some twelve miles west of Cleveland, in Lorain county, Ohio, then literally a wilderness, where he laid the foundations of a wilderness home. The following year he returned to the home of his boyhood and married Miss Thankful Halsey, in September, 1827. The young couple immediately started for the western home in Ohio, where work on the new farm was resumed.

About eighteen months later Sidney Rigdon, then an associate of Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott in that aggressive reform movement which resulted in the founding of the sect of the "Disciples" or "Christians," came into Mr. Pratt's neighborhood on a preaching tour. The doctrines of the "Disciples," appealed to the understanding of Mr. Pratt and he accepted them, resolving also to devote his life to the ministry of that church. With this in view he sold his possessions and started in company with his wife for eastern New York, desiring that the friends of his youth should be among the first to receive his ministrations as a preacher of the gospel. On the journey eastward, following an impression to do so, he stopped off at Newark, in Wayne county, some fifteen or twenty miles east of Palmyra, where he made and filled several appointments for preaching. While in Newark he heard of the Book of Mormon, saw one in fact, at the home of a Mr. Hamlin, learned the current account of its discovery and publication, read it, and resolved to investigate its claims as a divine record. With this purpose in view he visited the Smith home near Palmyra, but the Prophet was absent in Harmony. He met Hyrum Smith however, and with him visited the Whitmers at Fayette, where, about the first of September, he was baptized by Oliver Cowdery, and ordained an elder of the church, He now resumed his journey to the eastern part of the state, preached the gospel to his kindred and to the friends of his boyhood days. His brother Orson, destined to become one of the most powerful advocates of the gospel of the New Dispensation--then a youth of nineteen--readily embraced the gospel, as did several others.

Parley now returned to Fayette, arriving shortly after the first conference of the church was concluded, and there, for the first time, he met the Prophet, and received his appointment to join in the mission to the Lamanites. Soon afterwards the four brethren who had been appointed to this labor started on foot upon their mission, which was to carry them to the distant frontiers of the United States on the Missouri--"to the borders of the Lamanites."


The reader may be startled at the plainness of the revelation made to Moses of the Christ and his mission: "Thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten;" "Mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth"--these words. I say, addressed to Moses may be a surprise to the reader, for they represent the existence of a knowledge of the Christ in ancient times not generally if at all conceded. Inquiry into the facts, however, will sustain the probability of the truth of what is represented as being said to Moses in the passage of Latter-day Saint scripture here considered.

The Christ in Christian scripture is spoken of as the "Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world" (Rev. xiii: 8). This, if it means anything, means that the Christ and his mission was known before the foundations of the earth were laid. Why then, should not his relationship to God and his mission be made known to Moses?

Paul speaks of living "in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Titus i:2). This, if it means anything, means that the scheme on which God promised eternal life,--the Christian scheme--salvation and resurrection for the race through the atonement and the resurrection of the Christ, was known and promised before the world began. Then why should not the part of the Christ in the devised plan of "eternal life" be revealed unto Moses?

Again Paul, in speaking of Moses, says that he esteemed "the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward" (Heb, xi: 26). But how could Moses esteem "the reproach of Christ as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt," if he knew nothing of the Christ, or of "the recompense of the reward," in serving him?

Again Paul says: "The scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith preached before the gospel unto Abraham (Gal, iii: 8). But where the gospel is preached there always must the Christ be preached, as the very heart and life of it--hence even Abraham must have had knowledge of the Christ, and the hope of eternal life through him "which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."

Later in the very scripture last quoted. Paul asks--"Wherefore then serveth the law?" (i.e. the law of Moses). He answers: "It was added because of transgression, until the Seed [i.e. the Christ] should come to whom the promise was made" (v. 19); "wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (v. 24). From this it seems that the gospel of Christ was in the world among the patriarchs before the law of Moses. Why, then, should not Moses have knowledge of the gospel, and of the central fact of it--the Christ?

In the third chapter of Hebrews Paul alludes to the transgressions of ancient Israel; and especially to those in Israel who, by reason of their sins, were destroyed in the wilderness. Then, in opening the fourth chapter, he says: "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering unto his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us [the people of Paul's day] was the gospel preached, as well as unto them [meaning ancient Israel]: but the word preached did not profit them [ancient Israel], not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Heb. iv: 1,2). Here is the gospel in ancient Israel--the Christ must be the central figure of it.

Paul makes a further allusion to the gospel being with the children of Israel in the days of Moses. Writing to the Corinthians he says:

"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

"And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

"And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

"And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Cor. x:1-4).

Surely after this there need be no surprise that an alleged ancient scripture, hitherto not known to the world, should represent that Moses had definite knowledge of the Christ, as the Only Begotten



The first tribe of Indians visited by the mission to the Lamanites was the Catteraugus tribe located near the city of Buffalo. The visit was brief, occupying but one day, but the missionaries proclaimed their message and left two Books of Mormon with members of the tribe who could read, and resumed their journey, "preaching by the way."

The westward journey of these brethren led them through northeastern Ohio, the scene of Sidney Rigdon's active ministry as a preacher in the church of the "Disciples" (Campbellites). He was then living at Mentor, Geauga county, but his field of labor extended into surrounding counties where he had a large following. It was but to be expected that Parley P. Pratt would seek out his former pastor and, subsequently, his associates in the "Disciple" ministry, for the purpose of making them acquainted with the New Dispensation of the gospel which he himself had found, and present to them the Book of Mormon, with which Sidney Rigdon now for the first time became acquainted. The reception of Elder Pratt and his associates by Mr. Rigdon was cordial; but Pratt's account of the Book of Mormon was listened to somewhat guardedly, and the manner of its coming forth closely questioned. However, Mr. Rigdon granted the missionaries the use of his chapel at Mentor and they presented their message to his congregation. At the close of their remarks Mr. Rigdon briefly addressed the congregation chiefly by way of caution against hasty judgment, admonishing them in the language of Paul to "prove all things, and to hold fast to that which is good." In this spirit Mr. Rigdon himself began an investigation of the book and of the message which came with it.


Meantime the missionaries of the New Dispensation found an opening for preaching at Kirtland, some four miles southeast from Mentor. Here a number of Christian families of Mr. Rigdon's faith, but under the immediate leadership of a Mr. Lyman Wight, were undertaking to follow the example of the early Christians by "having all things in common." "Neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own;" but all lived as one family. Here great success attended the missionaries, for in a short time the whole "common stock family," for so were they called, accepted the message and were baptized--seventeen souls in all.

In about two weeks, having finished his investigation of the Book of Mormon and the message which had so strangely come to him, Sidney Rigdon announced himself as ready for baptism. The circumstances attendant upon this event were impressive. When he had satisfied himself of the truth of the new message, according to Elder Pratt, Mr. Rigdon "called together a large congregation of his friends, neighbors and brethren, and then addressed them very affectionately for nearly two hours, during most of which time, both himself and nearly all the congregation were melted into tears. He asked forgiveness of everybody who might have had occasion to be offended with any part of his former life; he forgave all who had persecuted or injured him in any manner, and the next morning, himself and wife, were baptized by Elder Oliver Cowdery." "I was present," says Parley P. Pratt, "it was a solemn scene, most of the people were greatly affected, they came out of the water overwhelmed in tears."


As in the case of Parley P. Pratt, so with Sidney Rigdon, his introduction into the work requires more than a passing notice. Rigdon was of English and Scotch-Irish extraction, although his progenitors for several generations were Americans, living in Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey. He was born in St. Clair township, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, on the 19th of February, 1793, and was the youngest son of William and Nancy Rigdon. The early days of Sidney Rigdon's life were uneventful, His youth and the early years of his manhood were spent at his father's farm in St. Clair township. When Sidney was seventeen years old his father died, but he continued on the farm with his mother until he was twenty-six. In his twenty-fifth year he joined the "Regular Baptist" society or church. The pastor in charge was the Rev. David Phillips, a clergyman from Wales. In March, 1819, Mr. Rigdon left the farm and made his home with the Rev. Andrew Clark, of Beaver county, Pennsylvania, also a Baptist minister. While residing with Mr. Clark he took out a license and began from that time his career as a minister. In May, 1819, he removed from Pennsylvania to Trumbull county, Ohio. In July of the same year he made his home with Adamson Bentley, a minister of the same faith. While residing at Bentley's he met Phebe Brook, to whom he was married on the 12th day of June, 1820, She was a native of the state of New Jersey, Bridgetown, Cumberland county, but previous to her marriage had removed to Trumbull county, Ohio.

Sidney Rigdon continued to preach throughout Trumbull county until November, 1821. Passing through Pittsburg about that time, for the purpose of visiting his relatives at the old homestead in St. Clair township, he was invited to preach to the Baptist society of Pittsburg, which he did the following and several succeeding Sundays. As the congregation had no regular pastor they invited him to take charge and become their regular minister; a "call" which he accepted and removed from Warren in Trumbull county, Ohio, to Pittsburg, in February, 1822. Meantime misgivings arose in his mind with reference to some of the doctrines of the church with which he was connected, especially with reference to the fate of unbaptized infants. Finally, after serving his congregation about two years and six months, he gave up his charge in August, 1824, and retired from the ministry. After taking this step he joined his wife's brother, Richard Brook, in the tanning business. Together they started a small tannery in which Mr. Rigdon worked as a journeyman for some two years. Meantime he had formed the acquaintance of a Mr. Alexander Campbell, generally regarded as the founder of the sect of the "Disciples," or "Campbellites," and Mr. Walter Scott, a Scotchman by birth, but at this time a resident of Pittsburg and a dissenter from a Scandinavian church with which he had formerly been associated. These three gentlemen often met and discussed the subject of religion, the necessity for a universal reformation among the churches, the abandonment of their creeds, etc. The consultations they held led ultimately to the establishment of the church or sect of the "Disciples."

Mr. Rigdon left Pittsburg in 1826, and went to Bainbridge, Geauga county, Ohio, where the people urged him to preach for them. He did so, following in his teachings that line of doctrine which in his consultation with Messrs. Campbell and Scott they had considered essential to Christian spiritual life, viz.: faith in God, repentance of sins, baptism by immersion in water for the remission of sins, and holiness of life--a godly walk and conversation. Mr. Rigdon continued to labor in Bainbridge for about one year, when the people of Mentor, in the same county, but some thirty miles distant from Bainbridge, invited him to reside among them and preach. This he consented to do, and notwithstanding he at first met with some opposition, he prevailed against it and extended his labors into surrounding townships and counties until he had in a number of places a large following. Such were his circumstances and such his labor when the message of "Mormonism" found him--when Parley P. Pratt, his former friend and associate in the ministry, presented him with the Book of Mormon and its attendant message.


This biographical sketch carefully considered will readily establish two things: (1) that Sidney Rigdon was not a resident of Pittsburg at any time when the Spaulding Manuscript is said to have been there in the hands of a printer pending its intended publication, during which time--1812-1814, but by some, who assume a revision of the "first Spaulding Manuscript," extended to 1816 Sidney Rigdon "stole it," or borrowed" and "copied it," and thence conveyed it by some means into Joseph Smith's hands to be put forth as the Book of Mormon; (2) that Rigdon's movements, so connected with public events in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and so easily traced, admit of no probability of collaboration with Joseph Smith in producing the Book of Mormon. In relation to the first item, the residence of Rigdon at Pittsburg, previous to 1821-1822, at which time he went there as the pastor of the first Baptist church, and also as to his connection with Patterson's printing office, where, it is alleged, he had opportunity to "steal" or to "borrow and copy" the Spaulding Manuscript, Mr. Robert Patterson, son of the printer Patterson, and author of Who Wrote the Book of Mormon, after presenting a very unsatisfactory list of witnesses to these matters, says:

"These witnesses are all whom we can find, after inquiries extending through some three years, who can testify at all to Rigdon's residence in Pittsburg before 1816, and to his possible employment in Patterson's printing office or bindery. Of this employment none of them speak from personal knowledge. In making inquiries among two or three score of the oldest residents of Pittsburg and vicinity, those who had any opinion on the subject invariably, so far as now remembered, repeated the story of Rigdon's employment in Patterson's office, as if it were a well-known and admitted fact; they `could tell all about it,' but when pressed as to their personal knowledge of it or their authority for the conviction, they had none."

The search for evidence on this point was prolonged and thorough; evidently, at the outset, the confidence was great; but the results were a disappointment. That becomes more apparent when one reads the footnote of the publishers on Mr. Patterson's passage above-

"The candid reader will doubtless suspend his judgment on this hitherto accepted theory of Rigdon's printership, or set it down as, at the most, only probable, but certainly not yet proved."

As the second item, viz., the collaboration of Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith in producing the Book of Mormon, in addition to what may be gathered from the foregoing biographical sketch, the following concerning Sidney Rigdon is summarized from Hayden's History of the Disciples:

"The Disciple (Campbellite) history sets forth, that Rigdon was their standing minister for the year 1825, at Bainbridge, Ohio; for the year 1826 at Mentor and Bainbridge; for the year 1827 at Mantua; for the year 1828 at Mentor. * * * The next year, 1829. Rigdon continued the work in Mentor, and at Euclid, and founded the church in Perry, Ohio, Aug. 7th. The next year, 1830, he continued as their minister, at Mentor, Euclid, Kirtland and occasionally at Hiram, Perry, Mantua, and Plainsville."

Joseph Smith's movements during the years named are between Manchester, New York; Harmony, Pennsylvania; and Fayette township (where the Whitmer's lived), New York; a distance from Ohio points, where Sidney Rigdon was operating, by the nearest road traveled, of from 250 to 300 miles. It is utterly impossible under such circumstances that the alleged collaboration could have taken place.

During the two or three weeks the Lamanite mission remained in Kirtland and vicinity they baptized one hundred and twenty-seven souls; also they ordained to the ministry, Sidney Rigdon, Isaac Morley, John Murdock, Lyman Wight, and others; they also reported their success to the Prophet by letter, and he sent John Whitmer to preside at Kirtland. On the arrival of Elder Whitmer, the Lamanite mission, adding Dr. Frederick G. Williams to their number, continued its journey westward.


It is denied that two weeks elapsed between the first appearance of the Lamanite mission at Mentor and the baptism of Sidney Rigdon. Those who claim that Sidney Rigdon was in collusion with Joseph Smith in the production of the Book of Mormon insist that his conversion was mere pretense; that he knew of the coming of Cowdery and Pratt, and was anxiously awaiting it, and that he was baptized almost immediately on their arrival--at least within two days. So says Howe, Mormonism Unveiled, p. 104, first edition; so Clark, who follows Howe, Gleanings by the Way, p. 312; Schroeder, American Historical Magazine, predecessor of Americana, Vol. II, pp. 68. 69. It is held by the last named writer that "the two weeks" period was an "after-thought" by those who wrote our annals because it suggested too great haste in the matter of Rigdon's conversion, too apparently indicated the collusion between himself and Joseph Smith in the matter of producing the Book of Mormon. Hence there was recorded in our annals a seeming hesitancy on the part of Rigdon to accept the book, and the delay of two weeks was invented between the coming of Cowdery and his associates and the baptism of Mr. Rigdon. Mr. Schroeder in the American Historical Magazine argues the question at great length. Seizing upon the statement of Pratt that the missionary party started from the state of New York on foot "late in October,"--preaching by the way," "even to Indians," and holding that the distance they traveled before reaching Mentor was three hundred and seventy miles--he insists that the party could not possibly have reached the vicinity of Kirtland earlier than the middle of November. He then cites the Journal of Lyman Wight to the effect that Wight and wife were baptized on the 14th day of November, 1830, and the recollection of Mrs. Wight--given many years afterwards--that the Rigdons were baptized on the same day (see also History of the Church--[a Josephite work]--Vol. I, pp. 153-4). This, with the statement of Howe that Rigdon's baptism occurred "two days" after the arrival of Cowdery et al, and reference to a letter published, if at all, no one knows where, of one H. H. Clapp, to the effect that Rigdon was baptized exactly thirty-six hours after the arrival of Cowdery and party--this makes up Mr. Schroeder's case.

Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, however, fixes the date of the arrival of the Lamanite missionary party in the vicinity of Kirtland "in the latter part of October" (Mormonism Unveiled, p. 102); Clark, "the last of October" (Gleanings by the Way, p. 312); Lyman Wight's journal fixes the date of the mission's arrival at Kirtland and their first interview with him "about the first of November," and as that interview took place two or three days after their arrival at Mentor and their first interview with Sidney Rigdon, it must have been "in the latter part of October," as stated by both Howe and Clark, that the Lamanite mission arrived in the vicinity of Kirtland. Then if Rigdon's baptism took Place at the same time as the Wights', viz., "on the 14th of November, 1830," it makes up the "two weeks" of our church annals.

It is true that Elder Pratt in his Autobiography (page 49) states that the mission started "late in October;" also that the distance traveled, about three hundred and fifty miles,--not three hundred and seventy miles as erroneously stated by Schroeder, since the mission started from the Smith home near Palmyra instead of from Fayette, the home of the Whitmers--would require about two weeks; but evidently the indefinite "late in October" of Pratt's Autobiography, conveys a wrong impression. Elsewhere he writes the date of departure as "about the 15th of October, 1830," (See Pratt's reply to Sunderland, 1842, Saints' Herald, Vol. xlv, p. 61). Before starting on this Lamanite mission the parties to it drew up and signed a covenant to mutually sustain each other, and seek each other's welfare; this document was signed in the presence of Joseph Smith, Jun., and David Whitmer, who witness it by their signatures. It bears the date of "Manchester, October 17, 1830."

It would doubtless be drawn up and signed on the very day of the mission's departure, and hence unquestionably fixes the date on which the four brethren left Manchester township (the Smith home) upon their mission. (The document is published in Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, first edition, pp. 212, 213). If this be accepted as the date of the mission's departure, and the fact of it is a moral certainty, then there is the necessary two weeks in which to make the journey to Mentor, Ohio, arriving the last day of October; and thence to the baptism of Wight and Rigdon on the 14th day of November, gives the "two weeks" of our annals from the arrival of the mission at Mentor, Ohio, to the baptism of Sidney Rigdon.


"Has it entered into the thoughts of our opponents that if Sidney Rigdon was the author or adaptor of the Book of Mormon, how vast and wide spread must have been the conspiracy that foisted it upon the world? Whole families must have been engaged in it. Men of all ages and various conditions in life, and living in widely separate portions of the country must have been connected with it. First we must include in the catalogue of conspirators the whole of the Smith family, then the Whitmers, Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery; further, to carry out this absurd idea. Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt must have been their active fellow conspirators in arranging, carrying out and consummating their iniquitous fraud. To do this they must have traveled thousands of miles and spent months, perhaps years, to accomplish--what? That is the unsolved problem. Was it for the purpose of duping the world? They, at any rate, the great majority of them, were of all men most unlikely to be engaged in such folly. Their habits, surroundings, station in life, youth and inexperience all forbid such a thought. What could they gain, in any light that could be then presented to their minds, by palming [off] such a deception upon the world? This is another unanswerable question."


In a Manuscript History of his father's life, filed in the Historian's Office, Salt Lake City, John W. Rigdon, near the close of that History makes final reference to the coming of Cowdery, Pratt et al to his father's home in Mentor with the Book of Mormon. He relates how he himself visited the then territory of Utah in 1863, where he spent the winter among the "Mormon" people. He was not favorably impressed with their religious life, and came to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon itself was a fraud. He determined in his own heart that if ever he returned home and found his father, Sidney Rigdon, alive, he would try and find out what he knew of the origin of the Book of Mormon. "Although," he adds. "he had never told but one story about it, and that was that Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery presented him with a bound volume of that book in the year 1830, while he (Sidney Rigdon) was preaching Campbellism at Mentor, Ohio." What John W. Rigdon claims to have seen in Utah, however, together with the fact that Sidney Rigdon had been charged with writing the Book of Mormon, made him suspicious; "and," he remarks, "I concluded I would make an investigation for my own satisfaction and find out, if I could, if he had all these years been deceiving his family and the world, by telling that which was not true, and I was in earnest about it. If Sidney Rigdon, my father, had thrown his life away by telling a falsehood and bringing sorrow and disgrace upon his family, I wanted to know it and was determined to find out the facts, no matter what the consequences might be. I reached home in the fall of 1865, found my father in good health and (he) was very much pleased to see me. As he had not heard anything from me for some time, he was afraid that I had been killed by the Indians. Shortly after I had arrived home, I went to my father's room; he was there and alone, and now was the time for me to commence my inquiries in regard to the origin of the Book of Mormon, and as to the truth of the Mormon religion. I told him what I had seen at Salt Lake City, and I said to him that what I had seen at Salt Lake had not impressed me very favorably toward the Mormon church, and as to the origin of the Book of Mormon I had some doubts. You have been charged with writing that book and giving it to Joseph Smith to introduce to the world. You have always told me one story; that you never saw the book until it was presented to you by Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery; and all you ever knew of the origin of that book was what they told you and what Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed to have seen the plates had told you. Is this true? If so, all right; if it is not, you owe it to me and to your family to tell it. You are an old man and you will soon pass away, and I wish to know if Joseph Smith, in your intimacy with him for fourteen years, has not said something to you that led you to believe he obtained that book in some other way than what he had told you. Give me all you know about it, that I may know the truth. My father, after I had finished saying what I have repeated above, looked at me a moment, raised his hand above his head and slowly said, with tears glistening in his eyes: `My son, I can swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of that book is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of that book was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me, and in all of my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but one story, and that was that he found it engraved upon gold plates in a hill near Palmyra, New York, and that an angel had appeared to him and directed him where to find it; and I have never, to you or to any one else, told but the one story, and that I now repeat to you.' I believed him, and now believe he told me the truth. He also said to me after that that Mormonism was true; that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and this world would find it out some day.

"After my father's death, my mother, who survived him several years was in the enjoyment of good health up to the time of her last sickness, she being eighty-six years old. A short time before her death I had a conversation with her about the origin of the Book of Mormon and wanted to know what she remembered about its being presented to my father. She said to me in that conversation that what my father had told me about the book being presented to him was true, for she was present at the time and knew that was the first time he ever saw it, and that the stories told about my father writing the Book of Mormon were not true. This she said to me in her old age and when the shadows of the grave were gathering around her; and I believed her."



Events shift now to Fayette, where the Prophet was residing. Here, early in November, came Orson Pratt, brother of Parley P. Pratt, not yet twenty years of age, to inquire of the Lord what his duty was with reference to the then unfolding work. The revelation given to the Prophet concerning him reflects the spirit in which the New Dispensation had its inception:


"My son Orson, hearken and hear and behold what I the Lord God, shall say unto you, even Jesus Christ, your Redeemer; the light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not; who so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God; wherefore you are my son, and blessed are you because you have believed; and more blessed are you because you are called of me to preach my gospel, to lift up your voice as with the sound of a trump, both long and loud, and cry repentance unto a crooked and perverse generation, preparing the way of the Lord for his second coming."


Early in December Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, two of the new converts from Kirtland, Ohio, though Partridge as yet was not baptized--came to Fayette, on the same errand that brought Orson Pratt there; viz., to inquire of the Lord through the Prophet. It was the first meeting between these men. The Prophet was favorably impressed with them, especially by Edward Partridge of whom he speaks as "a pattern of piety, and one of the Lord's great men." Subsequently, in a revelation, Partridge is spoken of as being a man whose heart is pure before the Lord--"for he is like Nathaniel of old, in whom there is no guile." Shortly after his arrival at Fayette--the next day, according to Lucy Smith--he was baptized by the Prophet.

The Prophet inquired of the Lord for these brethren according to their desire and received the divine word concerning them. Edward Partridge was called to the work of the ministry by revelation and was promised the Holy Ghost as his instructor in the things of God. Sidney Rigdon was approved and commended. Unconsciously in his previous labors in the ministry he had been sent forth even as John the Baptist, to prepare the way before the Lord; he had baptized with water unto repentance, but his converts received not the Holy Ghost; now he received a commandment that he should baptize by water and they should receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, "even as the apostles of old; and it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles." Sidney Rigdon was also appointed to be the Prophet's companion in the ministry and his scribe, "and the scripture shall be given," said the revelation, "even as they are in mine own bosom to the salvation of mine own elect."


Sometime before the coming of Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge the Prophet had begun a revision of the Bible under the spirit of revelation. This revision is generally referred to as "an inspired translation;" with the coming of Sidney Rigdon and his appointment to be the Prophet's scribe this work was resumed with great earnestness. What is really the prelude to this inspired revision of the Bible was given in outline in chapter xviii of this History, dealing with what is there called the first chapter of the Book of Moses. This revelation, as already remarked, gives the source and ground work of the knowledge of Moses concerning divine things, and from which point the Prophet Joseph proceeds with his revision of the English Bible.

The reason assigned by the Prophet for undertaking this work of revision is that the Book of Mormon revealed the fact that many plain and precious truths respecting the gospel, as also many covenants of the Lord, had been taken away from the scriptures; and in some cases whole books referred to in the scriptures are missing from the collection in the Old and the New Testament, and are "lost books," so far as our knowledge of them is concerned.

The fragment of this work published by the church, makes it clear that not only was the mission of the Christ made known to the ancient patriarchs of the Bible, but that the complete scheme of Christian redemption through the atonement of the Christ was revealed and a dispensation of that gospel committed to Adam and succeeding patriarchs; notably to Enoch and to Noah. Thus in the earliest ages the gospel was known--and known as the plan of "eternal life which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" but of which men, in subsequent ages, and because of transgression, lost the clear vision. Unto Moses a dispensation of that same gospel was given; and he sought to establish it in ancient Israel; but could not, because his people were not able in their fallen condition--but recently escaped from Egyptian bondage--to rightly apprehend the lofty theme of salvation by vicarious atonement, nor understand the triumph of love and mercy over the claims of inexorable law, on the conditions of acceptance, through faith of God's proffered grace, and repentance of sin. Therefore the "law of carnal commandments," a law of forms and ceremonies and symbols, was given in place of the gospel, to act as "a schoolmaster" to bring them to Christ.


This view of the antiquity of the gospel of Christ is In harmony with the knowledge revealed in the Book of Mormon; for that book represents that its peoples, ages before the coming of Christ in the flesh, had knowledge through revelation both of the coming, and of the mission of the Christ, and knowledge also of the efficacy of the atonement. To them it was the "plan of redemption which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all who would believe on his name." They were taught that looking forward to the atonement, in faith, and accepting it in their hearts would be as effective for salvation as looking back upon it, in the same faith and acceptance, when it became an accomplished fact. That a knowledge of the gospel was had from the earliest ages, seems to have been clearly understood by Paul, as we have seen; but that was not the view either of medieval or modern christendom; and hence when it came to the modern world through Joseph Smith, it came with the force of a new revelation.


Late in December the work of inspired revision of the Bible was interrupted by a commandment to the Prophet and his associates to go to Ohio; "and this because of the enemy and for your sakes." Also a commandment was given that the whole church in the state of New York should remove to Ohio.

The year 1831 opened propitiously for the church. The first nine months of her existence had been fruitful of experience and had witnessed an expansion seldom attending upon religious movements in the first months of their existence. In New York, centered chiefly at Colesville, Fayette township, and the Smith home near Palmyra, the little flock numbered about seventy souls. A few more lived about Canaan in Columbia county, the fruits of Parley P. Pratt's ministry; and by this time January, 1831--the disciples in Ohio had increased to several hundred.

On the second of January a conference of the saints in New York state was held at Fayette, and here the commandment to the church to gather to Ohio was repeated; and the purpose of God in dealing with his people was further disclosed by the declaration that it was his purpose to grant unto his saints "a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh. And I will give it unto you for the land of your inheritance, if you seek it with all your hearts; and this shall be my covenant with you, ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the inheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away."

This land of course was to be their "Zion,"' but location of the particular city, at this time, was not revealed. They must seek their promised inheritance by faith, even as Abraham of old, who by faith "when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went."

For the present, however, the saints were commanded to go to Ohio "and there," the Lord is represented as saying, "I will give you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high; and from thence, whomsoever I will, shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand." Certain men were to be appointed by the voice of the church, "and they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief, that they shall not suffer; and send them forth to the place which I have commanded them. And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this church." Such farms as could be sold were to be sold; the others rented or left unrented if necessary; but the commandment to go in search of "Zion" was imperative, and all were to labor with their might to carry out the commandment.

By the latter part of January the Prophet with his wife were ready to start for Ohio, and in company with Elders Rigdon and Partridge they arrived at Kirtland about the first of February. The Prophet and his wife were received into the home of Newel K. Whitney, a young merchant of Kirtland, and a member of the church, where they remained several weeks, "and received every kindness and attention," writes the Prophet, "that could be expected."

There was plenty of work for the Prophet in Kirtland. Here the membership was about one hundred; with several hundred more in the surrounding country. By spring the membership had increased to more than one thousand in the several counties forming northeastern Ohio.


In Kirtland the experiment of holding all property in common and living as one family--an experiment already existing before the gospel was preached to that people by Elders Cowdery, Pratt et al--had been continued up to the arrival of the Prophet. It might have been expected that this system of life, having some color of justification both upon New Testament and Book of Mormon authority, would have appealed to him. On the contrary however he advised against continuance of the experiment, and tactfully brought about the disorganization of "The Family."

It appears that following the proclamation of the gospel in Kirtland and vicinity, attended as it was by the declaration that the spiritual gifts of that gospel were to be enjoyed, as among the primitive Christians, led to some extravagances of religious frenzy and disorderly conduct; and while there went out exaggerated and highly colored reports of this exhibition of wild enthusiasm, yet there was enough of fact to bring reproach upon the church. The Prophet at once reproved this tendency to over zeal, and immediately corrected the abuses that arose under it.


Early in February there occurred an unlooked for development in the church organization: Edward Partridge was called by revelation to forsake his business, merchandizing, and accept the office of "Bishop" in the church, to which office he was required to devote all his time and energies. This appointment of Edward Partridge to be a bishop is called an unlooked for development in organization, because there was nothing in preceding revelations that intimated that bishops would constitute any part of the church organization and government.

Shortly after this the Lord fulfilled the promise made before the Prophet and his associates left New York for Ohio, viz., "And there will I give unto you my law." This came in the form of an elaborate revelation in the month of February.

A digest of it will be of interest, even to those who will not be willing to accept it as a revelation, since it will at least be a setting forth of the aspiration, the aims and purposes of Joseph Smith and his associates. If it be true that as a man thinketh so is he, and that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, then sure it must be that those who essay to set forth the "law of the Lord" must reveal both their conceptions of the character of God, and their own ideals of his righteousness. In the "law" one may find the spring and source of Latter-day Saint ideals for personal and community life. It is important to contemplate it. The revelation was given in the presence of twelve elders of the church who had assembled under commandment for the express purpose of receiving it, and agreeing upon it. Following is the proposed digest:


Prelude to the Law: "Hearken, O Ye Elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together in my name, even Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the Savior of the world, inasmuch as they believe on my name, and keep my commandments. * * * Hearken and hear and obey the law which I shall give unto you."

The Moral Law: "And now, behold, I speak unto the church: Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. And again I say, thou shalt not kill; But he that killeth shall die. * * * If any person among you shall kill, he shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness, and it shall be proven according to the laws of the land.

"Thou shalt not steal; and he that stealeth and will not repent shall be cast out. * * * And if a man or a woman shall rob, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land. And if he or she shall steal, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land.

"Thou shalt not lie, he that lieth and will not repent, shall be cast out. * * * And if he or she shall lie, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land. And if he or she do any manner of iniquity he or she shall be delivered up unto the law, even that of God."

Simplicity in Apparel: "Thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty, the beauty of the work of thine own hands."

Cleanliness: "Let all things be done in cleanliness before me."

Industry: "Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.

Evil Speaking: "Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor nor do him any harm. Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my scriptures; he that sinneth and repenteth not, shall be cast out."

Chastity: "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else; And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith and shall not have the Spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out. Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery and repenteth not, shall be cast out; but he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it; and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; but he that doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out."

Offenses--Personal and Public: "And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess, thou shalt be reconciled. And if he or she confess not, thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.

"And if thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastened before many. And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or she may be ashamed. And if he or she confess not, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of God. If any shall offend in secret, he or she shall be rebuked in secret, that he or she may have opportunity to confess in secret to him or her whom he or she has offended, and, to God, that the church may not speak reproachfully of him or her.

Care for the Poor: "Behold thou wilt remember the poor and consecrate of thy properties for their support. That which a man had to impart unto them was to be given with "a covenant and a deed" which could not be broken: "and inasmuch as ye impart of your substance to the poor, ye do it unto me," saith the Lord.

Stewardships: Every man is made accountable unto the Lord a "steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family." But no community of goods is contemplated: "Thou shalt not take thy brother's garment: thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother." If more is obtained in the management of the stewardship than is necessary for his support, the surplus is to be given into the Lord's store house.

Care of the Sick--Community Sympathy: "And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy. And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me. Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me, shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them; and they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter."

"And again, it shall come to pass, that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed; he who hath faith to see shall see; he who hath faith to hear shall hear; the lame who have faith to leap shall leap; and they who have not faith to do these things, but believe in me, have power to become my sons; and inasmuch as they break not my laws, thou shalt bear their infirmities."


Such was the law given to the church in Ohio. Of its excellence as constituting or recognizing both personal and community moral obligations, comment is unnecessary. The statement of it is its own vindication. One thing should be remarked, however, in respect of the law of consecration mentioned above. It was this law which doubtless led many to suppose that the Latter-day Saints sought to establish community of goods, and malice at different times has charged also community of wives. But community of goods is not involved in the principles of consecration and stewardship as above set forth, or subsequently developed either in doctrine or practice. The principle underlying this doctrine of the church is recognition of the Lord as Creator, Proprietor and Owner of the earth and the fulness thereof, and man as but a steward in his possessions. The earth is the Lord's by proprietary right. His because he created it, and sustains it from age to age by his power, and makes it fruitful by his bounty. By the act of consecration, according to the above law, and as afterwards developed, a man visibly and actually recognized God as proprietor of the earth; and by receiving back from such consecration a stewardship from God's visible agency, the church, he acknowledged himself but a steward over that which he possesses, but he is accountable to God only for his management of that stewardship. If from that management there arose beyond what was needful for his personal use and that of his family, that surplus could again be consecrated to the Lord's store house to be used in the granting of other stewardships or developing enterprises involving community interests. In other words the surplus product of the community's industry was to be made available for community interests.


This was a work that occupied the Prophet for a number of years, but it was never published in his lifetime, excepting some fragments of it, and it is doubtful if he ever really completed, to his entire satisfaction, the stupendous work of revision. The evidences that might be quoted in favor of his having completed the work are, first, an entry made in his Journal--"I completed the translation and review of the New Testament, on the 2nd of February, 1833; and sealed it up, no more to be opened till it arrived in Zion"--Independence, Missouri (History of the Church, Period I, vol. I, p. 324). It was the intention to have this revised version of the New Testament printed at Independence in connection with the Book of Mormon, hence the revision of the New Testament was completed before the Old; but before the work of printing could even be commenced, the persecutions arose which made it impossible. Second: In a letter from Kirtland to "The Brethren in Zion," under date of July 2nd, 1833, the Prophet writes: "We this day finished the translation of the scriptures, for which we return our gratitude to our heavenly Father" (History of the Church, Period I, Vol. I, p. 368). This must have reference to the Old Testament since the New Testament had been "completed" on the 2nd of February preceding. Yet when questioned through letter by the brethren at Independence as to printing the revised New Testament, the Prophet answered: "It cannot be done until we can attend to it ourselves, and this we will do as soon as the Lord permits" (History of the Church, Period I, Vol. I, p. 365); a sense of incompletion and a desire to review the work again may have been the motive for having it printed under his own immediate supervision. In a "memorial" of the Prophet's to the high council at Nauvoo, under date of 13th of June, 1840, he asks the church to erect an office in which he might more immediately pursue his spiritual callings, among other things "commence the work of translating the Egyptian records [some records from Egypt which came into his possession in Kirtland, 1835, of which more later], the Bible and wait upon the Lord for such revelations as may be suited to the conditions and circumstances of the church." Including "the Bible" in the translations yet to be done clearly indicates, notwithstanding previous expressions about "completing" it, "finishing" it, etc., that he did not at this date--June 18th, 1840,--regard it as a work wholly ended. On this subject George Q. Cannon in his Life of Joseph Smith, (page 142) says: "We have heard President Brigham Young state that the Prophet, before his death, had spoken to him about going through the translation of the scriptures again and perfecting it upon points of doctrine which the Lord had restrained him from giving in plainness and fulness at the time of which we write"--(Feb. 2nd, 1833).

On this revised version of the Jewish scriptures the church has published several chapters under the title, The Book of Moses, and also the 24th chapter of St. Matthew, including in it the last verse of the 23rd chapter. These extracts are found in a collection of sacred writings called The Pearl of Great Price; A Selection from the Revelations, Translations and Narrations of Joseph Smith, first published by Franklin D. Richards in England, 1851. The parts of the inspired revision published include the chapters referred to and analyzed in chapter xviii of this writing, and thence the revision extends to the commandment to Noah to build the ark.

Some of the sons of Joseph Smith through the authority of what is known as the "Reorganized Church" have published what purports to be the entire translation of the Old and New Testament from the manuscript that was left with the Prophet's family, but lacking that final revision discussed above, which the Prophet intended to give it.


The following are some books of the Old Testament referred to in the text of this History that are missing.

The "scriptures" that existed in the days of Abraham, older than the five books of Moses, for Abraham was before Moses. These scriptures are referred to by Paul as follows: "And the scriptures foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham." (Gal. iii: 8).

The book of the Covenant, through which Moses instructed Israel. (Exo. xxiv:7).

The book of the Wars of the Lord. (Num, xxi: 14).

The book of Jasher. (Josh. x:13, and II Sam. i:18).

The book of the Manner of the Kingdom. (I Sam, x: 25).

Books containing three thousand proverbs, a thousand and five songs, a treatise on natural history by Solomon. (I Kings iv: 32, 33).

The acts of Solomon. (I Kings xi:41).

The book of Gad the Seer. (I Chron. xxix: 29).

The book of Nathan the prophet. (I Chron. xxix: 29 and II Chron. ix:29).

The prophecy of Ahijah, the Shilonite. (II Chron. ix:29). The Visions of Iddo the Seer. (II Chron. ix: 29).

The book of Shemaiah the prophet. (II Chron. xii: 15).

The story of the prophet Iddo. (II Chron. xiii:22). The book of Jehu. (II Chron. xx:34).

Prophecy of Enoch: Speaking of characters who are like "raging waves of the sea foaming out their own shame," Jude says, "And Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, etc, (Jude 15, 16). From this it appears that Enoch had a revelation concerning the glorious coming of the Son of God to judgment. May not the prophecy of Enoch have been among the "scripture" with which Abraham was acquainted?


Another Epistle of Jude. "When I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3). We have but one epistle of Jude. Would not the epistle on the "common salvation" be as important as the one and the only one we have from Jude's pen?

Another Epistle to the Ephesians: In Ephesians iii and 3rd, Paul alludes to another epistle which he had Written to that people, but of which the world has no knowledge except this reference to it, which is made by its author. This epistle contained a revelation from God.

Another Epistle to the Laodiceans: "When this epistle (Collosians) is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea (Col. iv: 16). The Epistle to the Laodiceans is among the scriptures that are lost.

Another Epistle to the Corinthians: In the first letter to the Corinthians is this statement: "I wrote unto you in an epistle not to keep company with fornicators" (I Cor. v:9). From this it would appear that our so-called First Epistle to the Corinthians is really not the first, since Paul in it speaks of a former letter he had written, and which was doubtless as good scripture as the two which have been preserved.



By early spring of 1831 the church in Kirtland an vicinity had increased to more than one thousand in membership. The New York saints also began to arrive in the spring, and by May all had reached Kirtland, or its vicinity.


A conference of the church had been appointed for June, It convened on Friday the third and continued until Sunday the congregation is said to have numbered two thousand. During the conference a revelation was received appointing by name twenty-eight elders to travel through the western country in pairs, preaching the gospel by the way, baptizing and confirming by the water's side those who would received the truth. These elders were to meet in conference in western Missouri, "upon the land," said the Lord, "which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob and those who are heirs according to the covenant.

Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon were to be among those who were to go upon this mission, and faithful the Lord promised to reveal to them the place of the saints' inheritance in Missouri. "I will hasten the city in it time," said the Lord, "and will crown the faithful with joy." And so the elders went forth upon this mission.

Meantime the Colesville saints, about sixty in number led from Colesville, New York, by Newel Knight, and who had settled at Thompson, sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland met with some disappointment growing out of the bad faith of one Lemon Copley, a "Shaking Quaker," residing a Thompson. He had under his control in extensive tract of land which he agreed to allow the Colesville saints to occupy, and a contract was agreed upon; but the terms of this agreement Copley soon afterwards broke, and threw all concerned into confusion. Copley had joined the church and had been ordained to the priesthood. There was a large settlement of the "Shakers" located near the city of Cleveland, and Elders Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt and Copley were sent on a mission to them, but they would not hear much less receive the gospel. Copley himself, also turned away from the faith, which doubtless led to the breaking of his engagements with the Colesville saints at Thompson. Under these circumstances the Colesville branch resolved to remove in a body under the leadership of Newel Knight to the land of promise, western Missouri. They settled about twelve miles west of Independence, Jackson county, on the edge of an extensive prairie in Kaw township, now part of Kansas City, arriving there the latter part of June.

Joseph Smith arrived in Missouri about the middle of July. Here he met with the Lamanite mission sent from New York less than a year before. The Prophet, however, had already heard the report of their labors through Elder Parley P. Pratt, who had been sent back to Ohio, early in the spring, to report the mission's progress.


It appears that after leaving Kirtland in November, 1830, the Lamanite mission visited the Wyandot tribe of Indians near Sandusky, Ohio, with whom they spent several days. "We were well received," writes Elder Parley P. Pratt, "and had an opportunity of laying before them the record of their forefathers, which we did. They rejoiced in the tidings, bid us Godspeed and desired us to write to them in relation to our success among the tribes further west, who had already removed to the Indian territory, where these expected soon to go."

On arriving at Independence two of the company secured employment, while the other three crossed the frontier line and began their labors among the Indians. They visited the Shawnees, spending one night with them, and the next day crossed the Kansas river and began their labors among the Delawares. They sought an interview with the chief of the Delawares, known among the whites as "Chief Anderson." He was the grand sachem of ten nations or tribes, and consequently possessed of large influence. He had always opposed the introduction of missionaries among his people, and therefore did not at first extend a very hearty welcome to the brethren. However, through an interpreter, the brethren made known their errand and explained to him the Book of Mormon and the information it contained for his people. They asked to be heard before a full council of his nation, a proposition which the chief took under consideration until the next day. Next morning the conversation with the Delaware chief was renewed, but he was not inclined at first to call the council. However as he began to understand better the nature of the Book of Mormon, he changed his mind and asked the brethren to suspend their conversation until the council could be assembled. A runner was dispatched to the tribes and in about an hour forty leading men were assembled and seated in grave silence to hear the message concerning the book of their forefathers.


Oliver Cowdery addressed them at some length, during which he detailed the history of their forefathers to them, their ancient glory and power, and the cause `of their decline and present fallen state. He announced the discovery of the record containing an account of these ancient events, and recited the prophecies the book contained of future deliverance of the red man from his thraldom of savage life with its attendant physical hardships and moral and spiritual limitations. In reply the venerable chief of the Delawares said:

"We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this new news concerning the book of our forefathers it makes us glad in here"--placing his hand on his heart. "It is now winter; we are new settlers in this place; the snow is deep; our cattle and horses are dying; our wigwams are poor; we have much to do in the spring; to build houses and fence and make farms; but we will build a council house and meet together, and you shall read to us and teach us more concerning the book of our fathers, and the will of the Great Spirit."

Elder Parley P. Pratt in his report of the mission says:

"We continued for several days to instruct the old chief and many of his tribe. The interest became more and more intense on their part, from day to day, until at length nearly the whole tribe began to feel a spirit of inquiry and excitement on the subject. We found several among them who could read, and to them we gave copies of the book, explaining to them that it was the book of their forefathers. Some began to rejoice exceedingly and took great pains to tell the news to others in their own language. The excitement now reached the frontier settlements in Missouri, and stirred up the jealousy and envy of the Indian agents and sectarian missionaries to that degree that we were soon ordered out of the Indian country as disturbers of the peace, and even threatened with the military in case of non-compliance. We accordingly departed from the Indian country and came over the line, and commenced laboring in Jackson county. Missouri, among the whites. * * * Thus ended our first Indian mission, in which we had preached the gospel in its fulness and distributed the record of their forefathers among three tribes, viz.: The Catteraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N. Y.; the Wyandots, of Ohio; and the Delawares west of Missouri."


"The meeting of our brethren, who had long waited our arrival," says the Prophet, referring to meeting with the members of the Lamanite mission and also with the saints of the Colesville branch, "was a glorious one, and moistened with many tears. It seemed good and pleasant for brethren to meet together in unity."

The questions uppermost in every mind on arriving in western Missouri were, Where is the place of our inheritance? here is the city of Zion to be built? Where shall the temple stand? The saints were not long left in doubt as to these questions; for a few days after the arrival of the Prophet he received a revelation in which it was announced that Missouri was the land which the Lord had consecrated for the gathering of his saints, and "the place which is now called Independence is the center place, and the spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court house." And this instruction follows:

"Wherefore it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints; and also every tract lying westward even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile. And also every tract bordered by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance."

This quotation definitely establishes the fact that there was not intention on the part of Joseph Smith or the saints to procure their inheritances in the land of Zion other than by purchase. Sidney Gilbert of the mercantile firm of Gilbert and Whitney was appointed an agent of the church to purchase lands for the saints. Bishop Partridge was appointed to divide unto the saints their inheritance. William W. Phelps, was appointed to be a printer to the church, and Oliver Cowdery was to assist him. Phelps with his family came to Kirtland on the eve of the departure of the elders of the western mission for Missouri. He said he came to throw in his lot with the church "and to do the will of the Lord." He was at once appointed to go with the Prophet to Missouri.

The first Sunday after the arrival of the elders of this western mission at Independence, a public meeting was held over the western boundary of Missouri, and Elder Phelps delivered an address upon the New Dispensation of the gospel. Such a congregation was present as could only be possible in an American frontier district--Indians, Negroes (then slaves), and all classes and conditions of people from the surrounding counties--Universalists, Atheists, Deists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, both priests and people. At the conclusion of the services two persons were baptized.


On the 2nd of August, in the Colesville branch of the church, Kaw township, the foundation of the first house was laid by the saints in Jackson county. It was to be a log structure, and the first log was carried by twelve men, of whom the Prophet was one, in honor of the twelve tribes of Israel. Sidney Rigdon by prayer consecrated the land to the gathering of the saints. "Do you," he asked the assembled saints-

"Do you receive this land for the land of your inheritance with thankful hearts from the Lord?"

Answer from all: "We do."

"Do you pledge yourselves to keep the law of God on this land which you never have kept in your own lands?"

"We do."

"Do you pledge yourselves to see that others of your brethren who shall come hither keep the laws of God?"

"We do."

After prayer, he arose and said: "I now pronounce this land consecrated and dedicated unto the Lord for a possession and inheritance for the saints, and for all the faithful servants of the Lord to the remotest ages of time, in the name of Jesus Christ, having authority from him. Amen."

"It was a season of joy," writes the Prophet, "and afforded a glimpse of the future which time will yet unveil to the satisfaction of the faithful."

The day following the Prophet dedicated the temple site in Independence, located "a little west of the courthouse." A scant half mile west of the courthouse one comes to a slightly crowning hill--"A gentle hill of mild declivity"--to which tradition points as the place so dedicated. In course of the ceremonies the 87th Psalm was read:

"His foundation is the holy mountains.

The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.

I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me; behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia: this man was born there.

And of Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her; and the Highest himself shall establish her.

The Lord shall count when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there.

As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs [i.e. hopes] are in thee."

On the fourth of August a conference was held in Kaw township, at which quite a number of the elders of the western mission were present. With the close of the conference the purpose for which the mission had been appointed, viz., definitely locating the land of Zion and dedicating it to the Lord for the gathering of the saints, was accomplished, and the leading elders of the church, who were not appointed to remain in the land, began making preparations for returning to Kirtland.

All the elders who started from Kirtland had not arrived in time to participate in this conference, or the important events which preceded it. Arrangements were therefore made by which upon their arrival another conference was to be held at which Bishop Edward Partridge would preside, after which the elders were to return to the east bearing testimony by the way of what they had learned concerning Zion.


There has obtained very generally misapprehensions concerning the purpose of this mission to western Missouri. It has been usually supposed that the purpose was to proceed immediately to take possession of the land, and to commence the glorious city which is the subject of some of the Book of Mormon prophecies, and prophecies in the revelations to Joseph Smith; which prophecies generally allude to the city of Zion in her completed and glorified state, not to the humble beginnings in which the city might have its origin. Fortunately for the history of this event the revelations received by Joseph Smith about this time and on the spot, clearly manifest that he had no misapprehensions as to the purpose of the Lord in assembling his servants in western Missouri on this occasion; nor was there any ground for disappointment in his conceptions about Zion, because the present was a day, apparently, of simple and small things. In a revelation to these elders of the western mission the Lord said:

"Blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation cometh the blessings."

The Lord then proceeds to state the reasons for which he had brought them to the place of the city of Zion, which summarized are as follows:

1. That the Lord's servants might give to him a witness of their obedience;

2. That they might have the honor of laying the foundation of Zion;

3. That they might bear record in all their travels hereafter, where the city of Zion shall stand;

4. That the testimony of these things might go forth from "the city of the heritage of God."

It may be thought that this was not much to be accomplished by the western mission, and yet from these early days of the New Dispensation until now the ministry of the church because of the things which were then done on the land have been able to testify of the fixed decree of God to build in that place a Holy City for the western world--Zion--yet to be a center of spiritual light and truth and power. To know this and to be witnesses of it to the world is a great, yea, a very great thing; and not unworthy of the toil and sacrifices of these first elders. That Joseph Smith, however, clearly understood that not all the elders and saints would immediately receive their inheritance in western Missouri is evident from the revelation last quoted, which, after giving various directions to certain elders who were to remain in Zion, says: "Concerning the residue of the elders of my church, the time has not yet come, for many years, for them to receive their inheritance in this land."


That there was any intention to obtain this land of Zion by any other than by legitimate means, by purchase, has already been made apparent, and is further evident from the following passage from the revelation just quoted: "Let there be an agent appointed by the voice of the church unto the church in Ohio, to receive monies to purchase the lands in Zion." It is also announced as the will of the Lord that "the disciples, and the children of men should open their hearts, even to purchase this whole region of country, as soon as time will permit. * * * Let all things be done in order; and let the privileges of the land be made known from time to time by the bishop or the agent of the church. And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight, but let it be done as it shall be counseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time."

Nor in this movement was there to be encouraged any lawlessness, nor usurpation of the function of the state by the church. True, Bishop Partridge was appointed a judge in Israel--in the church--"to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children," under the law of consecration and stewardship, explained in a former chapter; and he was "to judge the Lord's people" by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the prophets of God; "for verily I say unto you, " said the Lord, "my law shall be kept on this land. Let no man think he is ruler, but let God rule him that judgeth, according to the counsel of his own will." But all this had reference to authority and administration within the church organization as will appear from the verses of the revelation immediately following the last passage quoted, viz.:

"Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land:

Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, [the Christ] and subdues all enemies under his feet.

Behold, the laws which ye have received from my hand are the laws of the church, and in this light ye shall hold them forth. Behold, here is wisdom."

All this demonstrates that there were no ulterior motives in the gathering of the saints to western Missouri. Peace, good order, respect for the rights of others, obedience to the laws of the land, were enjoined; and there was to be no usurpation of the functions of the state by reason of the revelations being received through the Prophet-these were "the laws of the church," not laws for the state, nor were they designed to annul the laws of the state, or the nation--"Behold the laws which ye have received from my hand are the laws of the church, and as such ye shall hold them forth. Behold, here is wisdom!" Can any one doubt it?


It was a new world into which these New England and eastern people had come, when they reached western Missouri. It was to them like some limitless paradise, these immense alternating stretches of open, rolling prairie and densely wooded water courses, as compared with the closed-in, heavily wooded hill country from which they had come. It would not be difficult to regard western Missouri in 1831 as a promised land, fit to be the inheritance of the saints of the Most High, the site of the new world's New Jerusalem--Zion, the capital to be of the Christ-empire in the western world. It was a fitting environment for such a conception.

Independence, designated as the center place of Zion, is located among the rolling hills of alternating prairie and woodland in the northern part of Jackson county, about three or four miles south of the Missouri river. It is situated midway between two small rivers which flow northward into the Missouri; the stream on the west is called Big Blue, and the one on the east Little Blue. Independence in 1831, though the county seat of Jackson county, was but a small frontier town. It had a courthouse built of brick, two or three merchant stores and fifteen or twenty dwelling houses, mostly built of logs hewed on both sides.

Jackson county itself is in ninety-four west longitude, and thirty-nine north latitude, being nearly equally distant from the northern and southern boundaries of the United States. It is also about midway between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, making it a central point within the United States; and, with reference to both North and South America, a central place in this western hemisphere. The climate is delightful, being mild at least three-fourths of the year. The soil of western Missouri is, for the most part, a rich, black loam, in places intermingled with sand and clay, and is from two to ten feet in depth, with a sub-soil of a fine quality of clay. Both climate and soil are favorable to the production of all the fruits and vegetables of the warm temperate climate. In the popular conception, Missouri is regarded as an agricultural state, yet it has a greater variety of mineral products pass it in the aggregate of its mineral output; and fewer still exceed it in the production of its mills and factories. North and west of the location designated by Joseph Smith as the central gathering place for the Lord's people are now the great states of Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma. Surely there was nothing lacking to this location so far as richness and variety of natural resources were concerned; and nothing so far as variety, beauty and grandeur of landscape are concerned; nor central position, whether with reference to the United States or the continent of North America--all advantages that arise from these circumstances are abundantly present, and vindicate that wisdom, whether men shall account it merely human or born of a divine inspiration, that led Joseph Smith to establish his people in Jackson county as the place of their inheritance, and the location of the "Holy City" of the western world--the Zion of God.

18. Doctrine and Covenants, sec, lviii:15-20.



The return of such elders of the western mission as had not been appointed to remain in Missouri was begun on the 9th of August from Independence landing. Arrangements had been made for the company to journey down the Missouri river by means of canoes as far as St. Louis, whence most of them were to go overland to Kirtland two and two preaching by the way. After three days upon the river they reached Mcllwaine's Bend where they camped for the night, and here an important revelation was given relative to their own movements and also in relation to the "destroyer" that should ride upon those western waters, and the danger thereafter of journeying upon them. Shortly after landing, and before night fell upon the scene, William W. Phelps beheld in open vision the "destroyer" in his most horrible power ride upon the face of the waters. "Others," continues the Prophet in his narrative, "heard the noise but saw not the vision." "Behold there are many dangers upon the waters," said the revelation, "and more especially hereafter; for I, the Lord, have declared in mine anger, many destructions upon the waters; yea, and especially upon these waters [i.e. of western Missouri]. * * * And now, behold, for your good, I give unto you a commandment concerning these things." Then follows instructions to the saints who shall hereafter journey to the land of Zion, not to go upon the river, but by land, "pitching their tents by the way."


During the three days upon the river some disagreements and ill feeling had developed among the brethren and explanations and reconciliations had become necessary; it had also been discovered that progress on their journey by the river in canoes was slow, and hence it became necessary for those who had been appointed to purchase the printing press, Sidney Gilbert and William W. Phelps; and the Prophet, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery, who had been commanded to hasten their return to Kirtland, found it imperative to find a more expeditious means of travel than by the canoes. The greater part of the night at Mcllwaine's Bend was devoted to these matters. The brethren became reconciled to each other, and those whose affairs more especially cried haste started overland the next morning for St. Louis, and the rest of the company continued the journey via the river.

Very naturally the theme uppermost in the minds of the saints in Kirtland and vicinity on the return of the Prophet and his associates was the land of Zion, and their duty with reference to gathering to the land. The answer by revelation was, doubtless, somewhat startling; since it revealed the possibility of trouble and bloodshed in connection with obtaining the land of their inheritance.


"And now, behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence.

Behold, the land of Zion, I the Lord, hold it in mine own hands;

Nevertheless, I the Lord, render unto Caesar the things which are Ceasar's:

Wherefore, I the Lord, will that you should purchase the lands that you may have advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger;

For Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood;

Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.

And if by purchase, behold you are blessed;

And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance."

The language in the above passage has been the subject of much controversy. Some, and among these were the old settlers of Jackson county, Missouri, pretended to see in it a threat to take possession of western Missouri by conquest, by the "shedding of blood." Surely nothing can be further removed from the intent of the passage when justly construed. It has already been pointed out that the saints had been commanded to purchase lands in western Missouri and no hope was ever given that they could obtain them in any other way. In the revelation just quoted the saints are informed that Satan is stirring up their enemies, in the land of their inheritance, to anger against them, "and to the shedding of blood." "Wherefore the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood." If obtained "by purchase" the saints may be accounted blessed. If "by blood"--since they were "forbidden to shed blood"--lo, their enemies will be upon them, and they shall be "scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance." And so the event turned out. The saints failed to respond with becoming promptness to the commandment to purchase the land of Zion; and all that was predicted in the revelation befell them. The passage then was a warning to the saints, not a threat directed at the old settlers of Jackson county; and if blood was to be shed, clearly it was to be the blood of the saints rather than that of their enemies.


Meantime, in the absence of the Prophet and other church leaders, evil had reared its head in Kirtland and vicinity, and claimed its following. "Many have turned away from my commandments and have not kept them," said the Lord. Others had "sought after signs and wonders for faith, and not for the good of man." or the Lord's glory. Others still had been guilty of downright sin--immorality. These were sharply rebuked; the law of chastity was repeated and those guilty of its violation, it was declared, would be deprived of the Spirit of the Lord, and would deny the faith. These with liars and sorcerers, it was further declared, would have no part in the first resurrection, but would be subject to banishment from the presence of God. "Behold, I, the Lord, say unto you, that ye are not justified because these things are among you. * * * Wherefore, let the church repent of their sins, and I the Lord will own them, otherwise they shall be cut off."


Nor was dissension and apostasy confined to those who remained in Ohio. At least one of the elders who had gone up to the land of Zion with the western Mission, about this time openly renounced the faith, and published in the Ohio Star, (Ravenna, Portage county) a series of nine letters in justification of his apostasy. This was Ezra Booth, formerly a Methodist minister of Hiram, Portage county, Ohio. He entered the church on seeing a person healed of an infirmity of many years standing; and as he was begotten to the faith by seeing a "miracle," so too, it appears, he craved continuous miraculous manifestations to feed his spiritual life. He had expressed the desire that the Savior would grant him power "to smite men, and make them believe," as he wanted God to do, it is alleged, in his own case. Such, it is needless to say, is not God's method; and when Booth found that the way for reaching other men with truth, and preserving one's own spiritual life was still through God's ancient sacrifice--"the upright heart and pure;" and by faith, patience, diligence, together with love unfeigned--these methods proved too slow for him and he was disappointed, and denied the faith. His letters make no charge of immorality against the Prophet, or any charge at all that could be said to be serious, or fundamental, the man's soured spirit being taken into account, and the false coloring noted which in all such cases paints the picture untrue to truth. The Booth Letters had but momentary influence, and though they have been several times reproduced in anti-"Mormon" works, they seem never to have been effective in discrediting the work at whose destruction they were leveled. The fact is Booth's Letters do not deal with fundamental truths on which the New Dispensation of the gospel is founded. "Lightness and levity" in the Prophet, a "proneness to jesting and joking," or a "temper easily irritated"--all of which is charged by Booth against the Prophet--might be admitted, as also sundry weakness and imperfections in his following, but these things however much they are to be deplored, if true, do not reach down into the vitals of the religious and philosophical system of truth being unfolded by Joseph Smith. Did the world stand in need of revelation from God in the early decades of the nineteenth century of the Christian era? Did Joseph Smith receive such a revelation? Was the Prophet's story of the origin of the Book of Mormon true? Does that book bear evidence of its alleged divine origin? Had a New Dispensation of divine authority been committed to Joseph Smith by personages formerly holding that authority and divine commission? Or are there insuperable difficulties to such an unfolding of truth, or the granting of such a magnificent series of dispensations all entering into and forming one great dispensation to be known as the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times? These are the vital questions, not if men charged with a work so great bear themselves well or ill in every circumstance; or act wise or foolish in a given issue. And these fundamental questions are not considered by Ezra Booth's Letters; nor, for matter of that, are they treated worthily in any anti-"Mormon" literature extant.


During the closing months of the year 1831 great activity prevailed throughout the branches of the church in Kirtland and vicinity. Joseph Smith in September made his home at Hiram, Portage county,--about thirty miles southeast of Kirtland--with the Johnson family, and Sidney Rigdon was temporarily lodged nearby in order to attend to his duty as scribe in the work of revising the English Bible. Numerous council and conference meetings were held to set in order the various branches of the church, and regulate all things pertaining to the church in general. Inasmuch as a printing press had been purchased and was to be established at Independence. Missouri, it was resolved by the brethren in conference assembled that a monthly periodical should be published to be called The Evening and Morning Star. Also it was decided to publish a collection of the revelations in which the New Dispensation had its origin. The collection was to be called The Book of Commandments, and it was voted to print an edition of ten thousand copies. Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon and William W. Phelps both by revelation and conference action were appointed stewards over the revelations and commandments which had been given to them; the business of publishing these works, in other words, was granted to the brethren named as a stewardship, which was to be managed as all other stewardships granted in the church, viz., the profits arising from the management of the stewardship to be used by him or those who held it. If more was received than was necessary for the support of himself and family then the surplus was to be given to the Lord's storehouse.


The revelations were collected under the supervision of the Prophet, edited by him and dedicated to the Lord, and by commandment given into the care of Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer to convey to Independence for publication.

In October, Orson Hyde, then a young man of twenty-six, and a clerk in Gilbert and Whitney's store, at Kirtland, came into the church. He had been successively a Methodist class leader and Campbellite pastor. When the Lamanite mission came to Kirtland and presented the Book of Mormon, Orson Hyde at the request of Campbellite friends, opposed the book in public addresses. But feeling reproved by the Spirit for this course he desisted, made further inquiry, with the result that he became a convert as stated above. "Mormonism" in Orson Hyde's conversion had found one more chief apostle of the New Dispensation, one who later was to carry its message to far distant Jerusalem, and dedicate the land of Palestine for the gathering of the Jews.

Meantime sundry revelations were given adding line upon line and precept upon precept to the unfolding law of God, and developing the organization of the church. The power and authority of God's servants in their ministry was declared. "They shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost," said the Lord. "And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation: Behold this is the promise of the Lord unto you. O ye my servants:"


The law unto Zion and all her stakes was given respecting parents teaching their children the gospel. The divine injunction was that children must be taught faith in Christ as the Son of the living God; repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and all this by the time they are eight years of age, that they might then be received into the church by baptism. Failing in this, the sin is upon the head of the parents. The saints were also "to teach their children to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord."

The saints were commanded to observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

Idlers in the land of Zion were reproved: "I the Lord am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness. Those things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them."

Prayer also was enjoined: "He that observeth not his prayers before the Lord in the season thereof, let him be had in remembrance before the judge of my people"--i.e. the bishop.

These instructions and reproofs given to the saints, plainly testify to the fact that the church was standing for the law of righteousness; not only stoutly, but absolutely.

It was made known in the month of November that other bishops were to be appointed unto the church besides the one already appointed, Bishop Partridge; and shortly afterwards, namely, on the 4th of December, Elder Newel K. Whitney was appointed by revelation, and ordained by Joseph Smith to be the Bishop of Kirtland and the eastern branches of the church. Newel K. Whitney was a thorough business man both by instincts and training; and since in the New Dispensation the bishopric has to do chiefly with temporal affairs, receiving the consecrations and tithes of the people, looking after the poor, and supervising generally the material interests of the church, the selection of Elder Whitney for this position was a most fortunate one.

On January the 25th, 1832, a conference of high priests, elders and members of the church was held in Amherst, Lorain county, Ohio, and here Joseph, the Prophet, was sustained as President of the high priesthood of the church, and ordained to that office; which also carries with it the office of President of the whole church; "The duty of the President of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses. * * * Yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church."

In the midst of these many activities the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon were not neglecting the revision of the Bible. They had made some progress in revising the Old Testament, when the idea was conceived of publishing the New Testament and the Book of Mormon together, and hence the revision of the Old Testament was laid aside and the revision of the New taken up. In the Johnson residence a large upper room was fitted up for the use of the Prophet and his scribe, Sidney Rigdon, and here day after day, and often far into the night they pursued their sacred task.


In the month of February, while working upon the revision of the gospel according to St. John, they came to the 29th verse of the fifth chapter which, referring to those in their graves who shall hear the voice of the Son of God, it stands in the English version as follows:

"And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil; unto the resurrection of damnation."

This passage was given to the Prophet by the Spirit as follows:

"They who have done good, to the resurrection of the just; and they who have done evil, to the resurrection of the unjust."

"This caused us to marvel," says the Prophet, "for it was given unto us of the Spirit. And while we meditated upon these things the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about." Then followed a vision, the like of which, for beauty, for reasonableness, for value as doctrine, for comforting influence, for vindication of the mercy and justice of God--stands unsurpassed even in sacred literature. To appreciate what is here said of the "vision" it will be necessary to briefly state the Christian faith that generally obtained at that time--1832.

For man, in the Christian thought of the period, there existed but two states and places--heaven and hell. Heaven and hell, be it remembered, were regarded both as a state and a place. Heaven was a state and a place of glory, peace, rest and joy. The glory unspeakable; the joy enduring forever. Hell was a state and place of endless misery, sorrow and suffering; the least of which suffering was to be the most frightful physical torture the wit of man can conceive; and this suffering was to be without end as to its continuance and without mitigation as to its severity. If one gained heaven, even by ever so small a margin, he entered upon a complete possession of all its unutterable joys, equally with the angels and holiest of saints. If he missed heaven, even by ever so narrow a margin, he was doomed to everlasting torment, equally with the wickedest of men, and vilest of devils, and there was no deliverance for him. Nor is the climax of this absurdity and abomination reached yet; for it still remains to say that these terrible ideas as to man's future in hell were not to obtain as to adults of the human race only, or to those who had come to years of accountability, and who had been instructed in the things of God and rejected them, but the uninstructed heathen--according to the creeds of men--and even the millions of them are unnumbered--and non-elect children dying in infancy, and unbaptized infants, were doomed to suffer the wrath of God in hell during all the ages of an endless future.

It was left for Joseph Smith to lift this veil of darkness from man's future, and reaffirm the forgotten Christian principle that in God's kingdom there are many mansions; that every man shall be rewarded according to his works; that there are glories celestial, terrestrial and telestial in the kingdoms of God; that as one star differs from another star in glory, "so is the resurrection of the dead."

The vision received under the circumstances already detailed the Prophet was commanded to write, which he did. The introduction as a hymn of praise, exalting the majesty and wisdom of God, is worthy the Psalmist-


Hear O ye heavens, and give ear O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior:

Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doings none can find out;

His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand;

From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail!

In their vision these men also beheld the Christ, which circumstance is described as follows:

We beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father and received of his fulness;

And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshipping God, and the Lamb, who worship him for ever and ever.

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony last of all, which we give of him, that he lives;

For we saw him, even on the right hand of God, and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father:

And that by him and through him, and of him the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

Lucifer and the sons of perdition are thus described:

And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son, whom the Father loved, and who was in the bosom of the Father--was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son.

And was called perdition, for the heavens wept over him--he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.

And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen! even a Son of the Morning!

Lucifer had rebelled against God, "wherefore he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about." Those whom he prevails against become the sons of perdition, of whom it is said that "it had been better for them never to have been born." These are they who deny the Holy Spirit after having received it; these deny the Son of God after he is revealed to them; they crucify him unto themselves, and put him to an open shame. They commit high treason against God. The greatness of their punishment, and the end thereof no man knoweth, neither is it revealed, nor will it be revealed except to those who partake of it.

Then follows at length a description of the three grand divisions into which men in the future, judged according to their works woven into character, will be separated--the celestial, terrestrial and telestial; of which the light of the sun, the moon and the stars, respectively, are spoken of as being typical. These are but general divisions; within them are subdivisions extending to infinity to meet the infinite variation of the worthiness, intelligence and character of men. But even of the least of the three grand divisions, the telestial kingdom, it is said that it "surpasses all understanding;" and that even its inhabitants, the last to be redeemed, and even then deprived of the personal presence of God and the Christ, shall nevertheless receive the ministration of angels and the Holy Ghost, for they are to be accounted "heirs of salvation." How infinitely more glorious, then, must be the higher kingdoms of God and the Christ!

The length of the vision precludes its reproduction in extenso in this work; but it is one of the church's best literary and doctrinal monuments, and is worthy of Joseph Smith's own characterization of it--"A transcript from the records of the eternal world!"


"Nothing very important occurred until the third day, when many of the dangers so common upon the western waters manifested themselves; and after we had encamped upon the bank of the river at McIlwaine's Bend, Brother Phelps, in open vision by daylight, saw the destroyer in his most horrible power ride upon the face of the waters, others heard the noise, but saw not the vision" (History of the Church, Period I, Vol. I, p. 203). Then in the revelation given at that time, this: "Behold there are many dangers upon the waters, and more especially hereafter; for I the Lord, have decreed in mine anger, many destructions upon the waters; yea, and especially upon these waters. * * * I, the Lord, have decreed and the destroyer rideth upon the face thereof; and I revoke not the decree" (Doctrine and Covenants, sec, lxi).

It is a matter of common knowledge that great indeed has been the destruction on these western streams more especially since that time, almost annually. But in May and June of 1903, the destruction upon these western streams, in and about the localities referred to, in the above prediction, reached a climax. High water trouble began on the lower Mississippi as early as the month of March, and about the middle of the month, the Mississippi, at Memphis, registered on the gauge 39.8 feet--the highest ever recorded up to that time. This circumstance created great alarm throughout the lower Mississippi country, and the press of the United States discussed quite generally the necessity for governmental action to provide for strengthening the Mississippi levees, the necessity of forest preservation on the head waters of the great streams, and also the building of reservoirs in the same region for the purpose of holding back freshet waters, and thus prevent the possibility of such floods as were threatening to overwhelm the lower Mississippi country. A few weeks later, points in Kansas and Missouri became the flooded regions, and the disasters were thus described by an eastern journal:

"The floods that wrought so much havoc along the Kansas and Missouri rivers have now subsided, so that their direful results can be calmly calculated by the authorities of the many cities and towns relieved from the awful strain of the three days of death and devastation.

"Minds unclouded by the fear of pending disaster look upon wrecked homes and hopes, fearful loss of life, blotting out of families, irreparable wrenching apart of parents and children, brother and sister, sweetheart and betrothed, and finally, upon the terrible commercial loss that is represented in figures that climb close to the quarter of a billion mark.

"Kansas City and Topeka suffered the most serious losses in lives and property, although all along the course of the Kansas, or, as it is locally called the Kaw river, the damage was great, and in many of the riverside towns there was a loss of life from the sudden encroachment of the angry waters.

"The physical conditions against which the submerged cities had to battle during the height of the flood are thus briefly summarized:

"Train service annulled.

"Waterworks shut down.

"Street cars stopped.

"Fire companies paralyzed.

"Electric light Plants out of business.

"Not a manufacturing plant in operation.

"Wholesale mercantile district submerged under fifteen feet of water.

"Water rushing through streets like mill races.

"Fires breaking out in spots in the flooded districts.

"Kansas City, Kansas, and the near by towns, suffered most. The towns of Armourdale, Argentine and Harlem have been completely wiped off the map, and are now lying submerged by the widening river. No living human being remains in the unfortunate towns.

"Kansas City, Kansas, was cut off for three days from communication with the outside world except by trolley to Leavenworth, from which point relief was rushed to the stricken city. The population of 20,000 was starving, and fought like wild beasts for the 100,000 rations that were hurried to them from the fort.

"The hospitals of the city were soon filled and the post office was turned into one for the occasion. Thieves, taking advantage of the situation, looted and raided the houses that had been deserted by the occupants. Bands of citizens were organized to patrol the streets, and armed with guns they shot the ghouls without mercy. One thousand regulars were asked for to preserve order in the stricken city.

"Kansas City. Mo., just across the river in ordinary times, but now cut off by a sea of raging waters, was powerless to assist her neighbor. Only one bridge that had formerly connected the two cities was left standing, and that was surrounded by miles of water.

"Families caught by the floods in their homes fled to the roofs of houses and cried for help. Their destitute situation was apparent from the highlands, but there was no way to reach them. No boat could live in the rushing torrent of the Kaw. These marooned families vainly hoisted white flags of distress, and while their awful plight was plainly visible to those on shore, there was no way in which succor could be sent to them. The victims shrieked in their agony, and their pitiful cries were plainly heard by those who were powerless to aid them."

A summary of the destruction to property in this region of country by reason of the floods was given in the press dispatches of June the 7th, in the aggregate, as nearly $12,000,000; and the lower estimate of the loss in crops was $5,000,000. The magazines for July, 1903, that dealt with the subject of the Missouri and Kaw river floods charged that the daily papers exaggerated the losses sustained, especially by the farmers; and yet, this same magazine. The American Review of Reviews, July, 1903, estimates the loss in Kansas City alone at $7,000,000 and speaking of the loss of stock and property in the Kaw valley, it remarks that "it is no light thing for a thriving section to have ten million dollars or more swept away (p. 77). So that this conservative magazine, after having an opportunity to correct and comment upon what it calls the exaggeration of the daily papers, places the losses sustained in the flooded districts even beyond the high mark of the passages quoted in this writing from the daily press." (Improvement Era, September, 1903.)

This summary of the flood conditions for 1903 is preserved here without change because it may be regarded as somewhat typical conditions that have prevailed in this district of the great western regions of the United States since that time and occasionally they have been repeated at intervals to quite an extent. In 1927, however, the destructiveness of floods in the several great river valleys centering in the Mississippi valley regions especially referred to in the Prophet's predictions, reached apparently a climax and aroused the nation to a policy of "flood control" that will be memorable, and marks with singular emphasis the fulfillment of the predictions of the Prophet quoted in this note.

The seriousness of these calamities in that year may be understood by the fact that congress took action by the adoption of what is known "as the army engineer's plan" which called for an appropriation of $325,000,000 for flood control in these regions which was immediately passed by both house and senate and signed by the president for flood control.

As further evidence of the great disaster through floods on these waters in 1927, it may be further stated that to take care of those rendered homeless and dependent upon outside sources for food, shelter, taking care of the sick and the like, the Red Cross organization established along the flooded region 149 major concentration centers for care of the refugees driven from their homes. The number of the refugees given succor in the concentration camps during the emergency period numbered more than 330,000 persons, the total number of refugees given relief in the emergency period was 607,236 of whom 33.4% were white and 66.6% were negroes. On August 20, of that year there still were 65,527 refugees being fed at the expense of the Red Cross funds. At that time there had been 90,111 families given rehabilitation aid through the same agency. Hospital relief was administered to these refugees, 296,872 occulations were administered and vaccinations to the number 121,705 were given by August 1 of the disastrous year.

The survey made by the Red Cross investigators set down the flood territory (estimated) to be about 3,800,000 acres of which 82,800 remained inundated as late as August 20. The total loss of animals in the flooded territory are approximately given as follows: Horses and mules, 25,325; cattle, 50,490; swine, 148,110; fowl, 1,276,570. An audit of the Red Cross funds on August 10 of that year showed total expenditures for food relief up to that time amounting to $9,638,374, while commitments then outstanding for food relief totaled $12,392,417.

A meeting at Peoria, Ill., of representatives of those affected by the floods at which were gathered also many prominent national characters, read a proposal before the conference for the members to urge upon congress an appropriation of $100,000,000 per annum over a period of ten years for purposes of flood control, showing the aroused seriousness of the people in, the region "where the destroyer did ride upon the face of the waters.



Lights and shadows closely intermingled in the history of the church in the New Dispensation. Following close upon the vision recounted in the last chapter was perpetrated one of the cruelest and most cowardly outrages of mob violence in the history of our country. Quite a number of men in Portage county followed Ezra Booth in his apostasy, among whom a very bitter spirit of opposition to Joseph Smith developed. So far as one may judge nothing had occurred that gave the least color of justification for the unexpected out-burst of violence, except that Elders Rigdon and Smith had been more than usually active and successful in their public ministry in Hiram and vicinity. The alleged "public exposure of Smith's methods," by such men as Booth and Ryder, another apostate, "coupled with rumors of immoral practices in the fold," do not justify a resort to mob violence, though Linn in his Story of the Mormons, cites these as the causes of the outrage upon Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. There was nothing in the Booth Letters to the Ohio Star, even if all Booth there alleges against the Prophet were admitted as true that would give any color of excuse for resorting to violence; and equally lame is the appeal to "rumors of immoral practices in the fold; "and the further excuse suggested by Hayden, in his Early History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve, is equally unconvincing, viz., the assertion that after Elders Smith and Rigdon left with the western mission for Missouri, in 1831, papers which they left behind them and which fell into the hands of the people of Hiram, "revealed the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the personal control of Smith, the Prophet;" and that "some who had been the dupes of this deception determined not to let it pass with impunity." The experience of men in all reforms and revolutions, and more especially where such movements involve religious prejudices or principles, can be appealed to as showing that there is no bitterness so intense, no hatred so unreasoning as the bitterness and hate of the apostate; and in the early spring of 1832, those who had turned from the faith, with some others, assaulted Elders Smith and Rigdon under the following circumstances:


For some time the Prophet and his wife had been broken of their rest in caring for twin babes, then about one year old, and afflicted with the measles. Emma Smith had taken these babes--children of John Murdock's, the mother having died shortly after their birth--to rear, hoping that they would fill the void in her heart occasioned by the death of her own twin babes born on the same day as the Murdock twins. On the night of the 24th of March, after long watching over one of the babes, the Prophet at the solicitations of his wife lay down on a trundle bed to get a little sleep. The next thing he was conscious of was the screams of his wife, and found himself in the hands of a dozen ruffians and being carried out of the house. Naturally he did not submit quietly, but resisted with all his might. He was overpowered, however, and beaten and choked into insensibility. Recovering from this first attack, he was carried past the orchard towards the meadow. On the way he saw Elder Rigdon stretched out upon the ground, and apparently dead. He expected the same fate for himself, but expressed the hope to his captors that they would not kill him. There seemed to be some uncertainty among the mob on this point. A consultation was held, after which the Prophet was again assaulted, his clothing torn from him, his body scratched and beaten, and covered with tar and feathers. In the brutal process one man tried to force the tar paddle into his mouth; another a phial, supposed to contain aqua-fortis but broke it in his teeth. All this was attended with horrible oaths and imprecations such as might be expected from fiends incarnate engaged in such a lawless, brutal proceeding.

After the departure of the mob the Prophet tried to rise and make his way to the Johnson house, but fell from exhaustion and the effect of his beating. After he began to recover his strength he removed some of the tar from his lips that he might breathe more freely. A second attempt to reach the house was more successful. On seeing him covered with blood and tar his wife fainted. Meantime his friends having gathered at the Johnson home, they spent the rest of the night in cleansing his lacerated and bruised body.

Elder Rigdon had apparently suffered more even than the Prophet, or else had less strength to endure the ordeal. He had for some time lived in a small house not far from the Johnson residence. From this he was taken by the mob and dragged by the heels held high while his head dashed over the hard frozen ground, until he was rendered unconscious. For several days he was delirious, and in his mania seemed desirous of killing his best friends.

The mobbing took place on Saturday night. The Prophet had an appointment to preach at Hiram on Sunday morning, and all bruised and scarified as he was, he appeared before the congregation, held the appointed service; and in the afternoon administered baptism to three converts. In the morning meeting several members of the mob were present, known to the Prophet through the inadvertent use of some of their names during the mob's proceedings, and in other cases known to him by their close contact with him in the struggle he made against their assaults. They were not all an ignorant rabble, but among them were prominent Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists. Simonds Ryder, apparently, was their leader; and the Prophet declares that Felatiah Allen, Esq., supplied a barrel of whiskey to render the mob, numbering between forty and fifty, reckless.


In order to get a proper understanding of the events which make up the history of the church during these and subsequent years it is necessary to note the fact that in creating two centers of activity for the church, --Independence, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, there had arisen a rivalry and something of jealousy between the two places. The foundation of the church membership in Jackson county consisted of the first converts of the Prophet in Fayette and Colesville, New York; whereas at Kirtland the foundation of the church membership consisted largely of the following of Sidney Rigdon. The New York group, besides being the Prophet's earliest friends and first converts had followed him under the commandment of God from New York to Ohio, almost in one body; and thence, under his direction, from Ohio to the western borders of Missouri. True, the Prophet had also come from Ohio to Missouri, and had assisted the New York saints in locating the city of Zion and dedicating the site of the future temple of God, still the Prophet had largely devoted himself personally to the saints at Kirtland, and to the affairs of that center of church activity. Here he had met a number of influential men. Besides Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, there were Sidney Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney, prosperous merchants; Frederick G. Williams, Titus Billings and the Johnson family. True, some of these Kirtland leaders had been stationed at Independence, but chiefly as leaders; Edward Partridge as bishop, Sidney Gilbert, in charge of the Lord's storehouse; William W. Phelps, as printer unto the church, while Oliver Cowdery, the only one of the early New York group recognized by appointment to official position, was appointed Phelps' assistant. Recently also, January, 1832, at Amherst, Ohio, the Prophet had been appointed and ordained president of the high priesthood, which carried with it also the office of president of the church; and on March 20th of this same year Frederick G. Williams was appointed to be ordained a high priest and designated as a counselor to the Prophet, unto whom had been given the keys of the kingdom "which belongeth always unto the presidency of the high priesthood." In all this the saints in Jackson county had not participated. Also some months previously a bishop--Newel K. Whitney-- had been appointed to preside in that office in Kirtland and over the eastern branches. This rapid development in the church organization was something for which the saints in Missouri were scarcely prepared; and therefore Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Newel K. Whitney were appointed "to sit in council with the saints which are in Zion; otherwise satan seeketh to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded and understand not the things which are prepared for them."

Accordingly, on the first day of April, 1832, the above named brethren, with Peter Whitmer and Jesse Cause added to the company, started for Missouri. To escape their enemies in Hiram and Kirtland, who still breathed out threatenings against them, they went via the Ohio river--boarding a steamer at Steubenville to St. Louis; thence by stage coach to Independence where they arrived on the 24th of April.

A general council of the church was immediately called and the Prophet was acknowledged as the president of the high priesthood of the church, Bishop Edward Partridge in behalf of the church giving to him the right hand of fellowship. "The scene was solemn, impressive, and delightful," says the Prophet. Thus the action of the Amherst conference was ratified by the church in Zion.


A grievance between Elder Rigdon and Bishop Partridge, which had resulted in estrangement and hardness, was amicably settled during the intermission between the forenoon and afternoon of their council; and when the saints met together in the afternoon the Prophet received a revelation which opened with the pleasing announcement that, "In as much as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I the Lord forgive you." But they were warned against further transgressions, and this important principle was announced: "I the Lord am bound [i.e. to fulfill his promises] when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."

A central board of control over temporal concerns as pertaining to the management of "the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric, both in the land of Zion and in the land of Kirtland," was appointed by this revelation, Joseph Smith, Newel K. Whitney, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris being named as the board; and for their services in managing these important temporal interests they were to have equal claims upon the properties handled, every man according to his wants and his needs, "in as much as his wants were just."


The council ordered that a three thousand edition of the Book of Commandments be printed instead of an edition of ten thousand, as at first contemplated; also that the selection of hymns that had been made by Emma Smith in fulfillment of her appointment be corrected and published by W. W. Phelps. It was also arranged that the brethren engaged in mercantile pursuits in Kirtland and Independence, respectively, be united in one firm; the store in each place being regarded as a branch of the one firm. Still it was resolved that each of these branches should have a separate company name. The name of the branch in Zion was to be "Gilbert, Whitney & Company," and the one in Kirtland "Newel K. Whitney & Company." W. W. Phelps and A. S. Gilbert were appointed to draft the bond for the united firm. A. S. Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney were appointed to be the agents of the new firm, one operating at Independence, the other at Kirtland. It was also resolved that whenever any special business should arise it would be the duty of the united firm by its branches at Independence and Kirtland, to regulate the same by special agency. It was also resolved that the united firm negotiate a loan of fifteen thousand dollars at six per centum. The firm of Newel K. Whitney & Co, was appointed to transact the business. While this last measure was adopted by the council there was manifested some opposition to it. It was the effort of the Prophet in all these transactions, according to his own words, "to so organize the church that the brethren might eventually be independent of every incumbrance beneath the celestial kingdom, by bonds and covenants of mutual friendship, and mutual love."

During this visit to Missouri the Prophet spent two days with the Colesville saints, located in Kaw township, twelve miles west of Independence. These were his earliest friends, and his first converts. These had befriended him while translating the Book of Mormon, housed him and fed him. These stood by him when mobs in New York pursued him; and furnished him the means of defense when haled before the courts at Bainbridge and Colesville. These had followed him from New York to Ohio, from Ohio to the western borders of Missouri. These left all to follow the voice of the Master revealed through him. How they must have believed in him! How trusted him! How he must have loved them--how sweet his reunion and communion with them!

Before the brethren left Jackson county on the return journey to Ohio, Sidney Rigdon preached what the Prophet called "two most powerful discourses;" "which," he continues, "so far as outward appearance was concerned, gave great satisfaction."


In June, 1832, the first number of the Evening and Morning Star issued from the church press. It was of royal quarto size, and of course was to be devoted to the propaganda and support of the doctrines of the New Dispensation. It was the first periodical published by the church, the first of that long series of periodicals since published in many lands and many languages. A prime means this periodical literature has been of both advocacy and defense of the truth. Looking over the pages of this pioneer periodical of the church its defects are easily apparent. Chiefly they consist in a bad choice of matter and a lack of orderly and simple setting forth of the events in which the work of the Lord in these last days had its origin, together with a turgid style which was the vice of nearly all American literature of the period. And yet one can readily understand the cause of these defects. The editors and publishers were anxious to plunge at once into the midst of the things God had revealed, apparently unmindful of the fact that the world to whom the Star's message was addressed was unfamiliar with the events with which the work began. That the Prophet, though having had no training in journalism, keenly felt the defects of the Star is evident from the reproof he administered to its editor after the publication of several numbers of the first volume: "We wish you to render the Star as interesting as possible, by setting forth the rise, progress, and faith of the church, as well as the doctrine; for if you do not render it more interesting than at present, it will fall, and the church suffer a great loss thereby."


About this time a new group of men appear at Kirtland, destined to wield a great influence upon the history of the church. These were Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Joseph Young, an elder brother of Brigham Young's. The first two were destined, subsequently, to be associated together for many years in the presidency of the church; the first will conduct the great exodus of the church from the confines of the United States into Mexican territory--now the valleys of the state of Utah; the second will become the first apostle to carry the New Dispensation of the gospel to a foreign nation--England--in 1837. The last of the three, Joseph Young, was to become the head of that body of priesthood that constitutes in the main the propaganda of the church--the quorums of the seventy. All three of these men had become members of the church in the spring of 1832, and now in the month of November of that year, they came to Kirtland, and for the first time met with the Prophet.



The activities of the Prophet during the remainder of the year after his return from Missouri to Kirtland in June, consisted principally of, first, a hurried journey to Albany, New York, and Boston, in company with Bishop Whitney. The latter had been required by revelation to visit those cities, chiefly as the bishop of Kirtland and the eastern branches; and to negotiate the loan of fifteen thousand dollars authorized by the action of the brethren at Independence in the early part of May. Second, the Prophet continued the work of revising the English Bible. And third, received sundry revelations of profoundest doctrinal importance.

One of these revelations received on the 22nd and 23rd of September dealt with the matter of "priesthood," of which explanations have already been given. Instruction was also given to the ministry of the church, to the effect that in going into the world to preach the gospel of the kingdom the elders go without purse and script, taking no thought for the morrow for what they should eat or drink or where withal they should be clothed--"let the morrow take thought for the things of itself." Also the manner in which they should deliver their message was indicated:

"Neither take ye thought before hand what ye shall say, but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

The saints were sharply reproved, and more especially those living in Zion--Missouri. "And your minds," said the Lord, addressing the Prophet and the six elders in whose presence the revelation was received-

"Your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received; which vanity, and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written, that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion: for shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily I say unto you, Nay."

The promise of the spiritual blessings of the gospel were renewed and emphasized:

As I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost.

And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name they shall do many wonderful works; in my name they shall cast out devils; in my name they shall heal the sick; in my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; and the tongue of the dumb shall speak; and if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them; and the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world, for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation.


Some parts of the revelation will rank high as inspired literature, of which the following prelude and anthem is an example:


"I the Almighty have laid my hands upon the nations to scourge them for their wickedness: And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness; until all shall know me who remain even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together shall they sing this new song, saying-


The Lord hath brought again Zion:

The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,

According to the election of grace,

Which was brought to pass by the faith And covenant of their fathers.

The Lord hath redeemed his people;

And Satan is bound and time is no longer. The Lord hath gathered all things in one.

The Lord hath brought down Zion from above.

The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.

The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength; And truth is established in her bowels;

And the heavens have smiled upon her;

And she is clothed with the glory of her God; For he stands in the midst of his people.

Glory, and honor, and power, and might.

Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercy, Justice, grace and truth, and peace,

For ever and ever, Amen."


Towards the close of 1832 a great political crisis arose in the United States. The "protective tarriff" law passed in 1828 by congress was from its inception distasteful to the south--to the cotton-growing states--as being inimical to their industrial and commercial interests; and when in the spring of 1832 additional duties were imposed on foreign goods, it led to threatened rebellion in South Carolina. A state convention was called and met on the 19th of November, the governor of the state being made president of the convention. That assembly declared the late tariff measure unconstitutional, and therefore null and void; and proclaimed that any attempt to enforce the collection of duties in the port of Charleston, would be resisted by arms, and result in the withdrawal of South Carolina from the Union. The state legislature meeting directly after the adjournment of the convention enacted laws in support of these determinations, military preparations were begun and civil war seemed inevitable. But Andrew Jackson was then the chief executive of the nation, and met the crisis by issuing a proclamation on the 10th of December, denying the right of any state to nullify any act of the national government, and warned those fomenting rebellion in South Carolina that the laws of the United States would be strictly enforced by military power if necessary. The prompt action and the well known firmness of President Jackson checked the rising tide of rebellion, and in February, 1833, Henry Clay introduced his compromise tariff measure gradually reducing the obnoxious duties, and for a time the agitation ceased.

It was during this agitation, namely on the 25th of December, that Joseph Smith received a revelation on "War." Naturally a mind as active as the Prophet's would be exercised by a question so important and far reaching as this threatened rebellion in South Carolina, and thus he delivered himself upon the subject:


"Verily, thus said the Lord, concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls. The days will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at that place; For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war: And it shall come to pass also, that the remnants who are left of the land [the native American Indians] will marshal themselves, and shall become exceeding angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation:

And thus, with the sword, and by bloodshed, the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquakes, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed, hath made a full end of all nations; that the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies. Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen."

Once afterwards the Prophet made allusion to this prediction of war between the states, namely at a meeting in Ramus, Hancock county, Illinois, on the 2nd of April, 1843, when he said:

"I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise through the slave question. This a voice declared to me while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25th, 1832."


1. Time of the Publication of the Revelation: The revelation and prophecy on war, of December 25th, 1832, was not immediately published. The elders engaged in the missionary work of the church, however, obtained manuscript copies of it, and in their journeys carried it with them and read it to their congregations in various parts of the United States. In Vol. XIII of the Millennial Star, published in 1851, pp. 216 and 217, is an advertisement of a new church publication to be called the Pearl of Great Price. In the announced contents is named this revelation of December, 1832, with a statement that it had "never before appeared in print." Subsequently, but in the same year, the Pearl of Great Price with this prophecy in it, was published by Franklin D. Richards, in Liverpool, England. Copies of the first edition of this work are on file in the Historian's Office at Salt Lake City.

I am careful to make these statements that the reader may have ample assurance that the revelation and prophecy preceded the event of the great American Civil War. The revelation containing the prophecy was given on the 25th of December, 1832. The first shot fired in the great war was fired early on the morning of April 12th, 1861. Hence the prediction preceded the commencement of its fulfillment by twenty-eight years, three months and seventeen days. Ten years before the war began, the prophecy was published in England and circulated both in that country and in the United States. There can be no question, therefore, as to the prophecy preceding the event.

2. The Rebellion Began in South Carolina: It is true that there was practical rebellion in South Carolina at the time the revelation on war was given, but it is singular that twenty-eight or nine years later, when hostilities broke out in the war between the states, in every act of rebellion leading to that war, South Carolina took the initiative, in evidence of which the following facts of history are set forth:

Deeming her interests threatened, and the institution of slavery doomed if Abraham Lincoln was elected, on November 5th, 1860, the legislature of South Carolina met to choose presidential electors, and Governor William H. Gist in his message to that legislature recommended that in the event of Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency, a convention of the people of the state be immediately called to consider and determine for themselves the mode and measure of redress. He expressed the opinion that the only alternative left in the event of Lincoln's election was "the secession of South Carolina from the federal union."

Abraham Lincoln being elected in November, 1860, on the 17th of that month, an ordinance of secession was unanimously adopted by the legislature of South Carolina, the first act of the kind by any of the states.

On the 10th of November, 1860, the United States senators from South Carolina, James N. Hammond and James Chestnut, Jun., resigned their seats, being the first of the senators to take that step.

On the 24th of November, 1860. South Carolina's representatives in congress withdrew; they were the first representatives to do so.

Members to a state convention called were chosen on the 3rd of December, 1860, to take measures for maintaining the "sovereignty" of South Carolina. The convention was assembled in Charleston.

On the 20th of December, the convention passed the ordinance of secession and Governor Pickins--just elected--announced on the same date the repeal, by the good people of South Carolina, the ordinance of May 23rd, 1788, by which South Carolina had ratified the federal constitution, and declared "the dissolution of the union between the state of South Carolina and the other states under the name of the United States." The governor's proclamation also announced to the world "that the state of South Carolina is, as she has a right to be, a separate, sovereign, free and independent state; and, as such, has a right to levy war, conclude peace, negotiate treaties, leagues, or covenants, and to do all acts whatsoever that rightly pertain to a free and independent state. Done in the eighty-fifth year of the sovereignty and independence of South Carolina.

The act of rebellion on the part of South Carolina was completed. She was followed in the act of rebellion by ten other southern states, as follows--I take the date on which the state conventions passed their secession ordinances to be the date on which the rebellion of the respective states was completed: Mississippi, January 9th. 1861; Florida, January 10th; Alabama, January 11th; Georgia, January 19th; Louisiana, January 26th; Texas, February 1st; Virginia, April 17th; Arkansas, May 6th; North Carolina, May 20th; Tennessee, June 8th, all of the same year, 1861. And thus truly the southern states were "divided against the northern states."

Not only in these several acts of rebellion did South Carolina take the initiative, but actual hostilities was begun by her, and the first gun in the war between the states was fired from her shores.

On the 11th of April, 1861, General Beauregard, in command of the Confederate forces in Charleston demanded the evacuation of Fort Sumter. Major Anderson refused to comply with the demand, whereupon, early on the morning of the 12th of April, General Beauregard opened fire on the fort from his batteries of about thirty heavy guns and mortars, to which the guns of the fort promptly replied. The bombardment lasted thirty-two hours; and then Major Anderson capitulated, though the fleet from the north was within view during the bombardment.

"This was the beginning of a war between the states of the federal union, which has been truly characterized as `one of the most tremendous conflicts on record.' The din of its clangor reached the remotest parts of the earth and the people of all nations looked on for four years and upwards, in wonder and amazement, as its gigantic proportions loomed forth, and its hideous engines of destruction of human life and everything of human structure were terribly displayed in its sanguinary progress and grievous duration."

3. The Southern States Called Upon Other Nations, and Upon the Nation of Great Britain in Particular, for Assistance in the War: As early as May, 1861, the Confederacy sent commissioners abroad to seek recognition and aid from foreign powers. William L. Yancy, of Alabama; P. A. Rost, of Louisiana; A. Dudley Mann, of Virginia; and To Butler King, of Georgia. Mr. Yancy was appointed to operate in England. Mr. Rost in France, and Mr. Mann in Holland and Belgium. Mr. King had a roving commission. Subsequently, in October. 1861, the Confederacy appointed James M. Mason and John Slidell, ambassadors to England and France respectively, to solicit the assistance of the British and French governments in the southern cause. The ambassadors took passage from Charleston to Cuba in a blockade runner. At the latter place they engaged passage to England on the British steam packet Trent. On the 8th of November 1861, the Trent was overtaken by the Federal warship San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes commanding; and Messrs. Masor and Slidell were taken prisoners and carried to Boston Harbor where they were placed in Fort Warren. England promptly resented this violation of the rights of a neutral nation upon the high seas, and the United States as promptly disavowed the action of Captain Wilkes, made a suitable apology, and as soon as might be, restored Messrs. Mason and Slidell to a British deck, the Rinaldo, in which vessel the ambassadors were taken to England, where they prosecuted their mission.

Though Messrs. Mason and Slidell did not succeed in securing the open assistance of Great Britain, yet it is well known that British sympathy was with the Confederate cause: and so far did this sympathy lead England to violate the law of nations that, against the protests of the United States' minister at the court of St. James, she allowed the confederate war vessels Alabama and Florida, built by Messrs. Laird & Co., shipbuilders, Liverpool, England, to put to sea. These vessels did immense damage to northern states shipping. The Alabama alone captured sixty-five merchant vessels belonging to the United States; and destroyed some ten million dollars worth of property. Finally the United States warship Kearsarge sunk her off the coast of France, near Cherbourg. This Alabama trouble led to ill feeling between England and the United States which was not finally settled until the 27th of June, 1872, when the Geneva Board of Arbitration decided that England should pay to the United States the sum of fifteen million five hundred thousand dollars, an amount really in excess of the demands of merchants and others claiming the loss of property through depredation of the Alabama.

4. The War Beginning in the Rebellion of South Carolina Terminated in the Death and Misery of Many Souls:Though it is notorious that it did so, let us consider the fact of it somewhat in detail. Mr. Alexander H. Stephens, in concluding the chapter he devotes to the civil War, in his History of the United States, says: The Federal records show that they had, from first to last, 2,600,000 men in the service; while the Confederates all told, and in like manner, had but little over 600,000. * * * Of Federal prisoners during the war, the Confederates took in round numbers 270,000; while the whole number of Confederates captured and held in prisons by the Federals was in like round numbers 220,000. * * * Of these 270,000 Federal prisoners taken, 22,576 died in Confederate hands; and of the 220,000 Confederates taken by Federals, 26,436 died in their hands. * * * The entire loss on both sides, including those who were permanently disabled, as well as those killed in battle, and who died from wounds received and diseases contracted in the service, amounted, upon a reasonable estimate, to the stupendous aggregate of 1,000,000 of men!"

* * Both sides during the struggle, relied for means to support it upon the issue of paper money, and upon loans secured by bonds. An enormous public debt was thus created by each, and the aggregate of money thus expended on both sides, including the loss and sacrifice of property, could not have been less than 8,000,000,000 of dollars--a sum fully equal to three-fourths of the assessed valuation of the taxable property of all the states together when it commenced."

To the terrible loss of life and property let there be added the consideration of the suffering of the wounded and the sick who languished in loathsome prisons; the sorrow of widows and orphans who looked in vain for the return of husbands and fathers, who marched in the fulness of manly strength to the war; the anguish of parents, whose dim eyes looked in vain for sons thrown into unknown graves; and the gentler yet equally tender sorrows of sisters which in the fierce war lost the companions of their childhood. Let all this, I say, be taken into account, as resulting from this war and the "misery of many souls," no less than the death of many others will be apparent.

5. "And `Then' War Shall Be Poured Out Upon All Nations:" This passage is from paragraph three of the revelation as published in the Doctrine and Covenants (Sec. lxxxvii), the authorized book of collected revelations accepted by the church as one of its books of scripture. In early editions containing this revelation the "and then war," etc., was written "and thus war" etc. But a later reading of the manuscript copy of the revelation in the Church Historian's Office, discovered that in the manuscript copy it was written "then" not "thus;" which made a tremendous difference in the significance of the revelation, and greatly increased the prophetic value of it. The change was authorized and made in the copy of the revelation and was published in the History of the Church, Period I, 1902, Vol. I, pp. 301-2. Afterwards the same change was made in the Doctrine and Covenants. The change first appeared in the edition of 1921, Salt Lake City, and has been made in all subsequent editions.

It will be observed that in the revelation the statement is made that the southern states will call upon "other nations" to aid her in the war between the states; and specifies Great Britain as among these "other nations:" "And the southern states shall call upon other nations," it continues, "even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then [when Great Britain does that] war shall be poured out upon all nations."

Take note that this misprint in the revelation, "thus" instead of "then," was discovered and corrected in the first volume of the History of the Church, Period I, in 1902, twelve years before the outbreak of the World War of 1914.

England through many years trusted to the strength of her navy to guarantee the integrity of her far-flung empire; and her statesmen prided themselves On what they called England's policy of "Splendid Isolation." That is to say, her freedom from entangling alliances with continental European powers, and for matter of that, with other world powers. But when Germany began its rivalry in naval construction against England, some years before the outbreak of the World War of 1914-1918, then England lost her sense of security based upon the strength of her navy, and turned to other nations--"called upon other nations, in order to defend herself against other nations, "then was the signal given for the war upon all nations."


England formed her entente alliance with France, and later with other world powers, with what result is common historical knowledge. Even casual observation of the leading events and the results of that war will bring conviction that it was in a large measure the fulfillment of this prediction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, uttered more than four score years earlier, that "war would be poured out upon all nations;" for during its continuance "sixteen established nations and three new ones which the war brought forth [making nineteen], assembled their human powers for the great conflict, fifteen on one side and four on the other." Against one or more of the four nations--the European central powers--twelve other nations declared war, but did not actively indulge in it; thus making thirty-one nations which declared war. Of the nations remaining outside this number, five other independent nations severed their relations with one or more of the four original aggressors (Germanic powers and their allies). "All were seriously affected." Authoritative tables give the grand total of all armies mobilized at 59,176,864. Direct military deaths out of this number are set down as 7,781,806; the wounded at 18,681,257; prisoners and missing 7,080,580; making a total of direct military casualties of 33,434,443. This is only a statement of military casualties however. The same authority sets down the number of civilians as being greater from famine, disease, and massacres than those who fell in the military operations. Of these two classes are named: civilians who were killed by direct military causes, and those who died from indirect causes. Of the first class the number was 100,082; and the second--those who died from indirect causes, among the Armenians, Syrians, Jews, and Greeks--massacred or starved by the Turks--are numbered at 4,000,000. The deaths numbered beyond the normal mortality of influenza and pneumonia induced by the war is placed at 4,000,000. The Serbians who died through diseases, or massacre, numbered 1,085,441. Making the total of deaths in these two classes 9,085,441, so that with military deaths and civilian deaths, resulting from the war, make a grand total of 16,967,329 deaths. And of the more than 18,000,000 who were wounded in battle 30% or about 6,000,000, were made permanent human wrecks.

The destruction of property, the waste and destruction and the misery ever attendant upon war--war's other namesin fact--is beyond all human expression or comprehension and I undertake no representation of it in figures. But who may deny that the facts above stated make up a case where war was literally "poured out upon all nations;" and that by "the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth were made to mourn?" How much more calamity the world will have to endure under this prediction--how much of "famine and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also," remains to be seen.

6. Miscellaneous Items of the Prophecy: In the part taken by negroes in the war between the states, many see the fulfillment of the prediction of the revelation that "slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war;" for of the 2,653,000 soldiers enlisted on the side of the Union, 186,397 were colored, and many of them saw active service in the field against their former masters.

In our several Indian uprisings since the close of the Civil War, many see the fulfillment of that part of the prophecy which declares that the "remnants who are left of the land [the American Indians] will marshal themselves, and shall become exceeding angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation." As for the remainder of the prophecy and its fulfillment, which predicts still more extensive and destructive wars--those are events of the future, to be wrought out as God wills.


In addition to these revelations given in the closing months of the year 1832, one more was given on the 27th of December, which the Prophet himself called the "Olive Leaf," which he explained to mean, "The Lord's Message of Peace to us,"--i.e. to the elders and saints in Kirtland. It is a revelation of peculiar power and beauty, dealing with lofty spiritual themes, and deep philosophical questions, as well as giving practical instructions for the saints, as a topical outline will show.

The Lord declares his acceptance of the saints and renews upon them the promise and gift of the Holy Spirit; gives assurance of the resurrection of the dead; proclaims "the spirit and the body" to be the "soul of man," that the resurrection is the redemption of the "soul;" that the redemption of the soul is "through him who quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it."

The final sanctification of the earth is proclaimed, that those worthy of a celestial glory may possess it; for this intent was it created, and those inhabitants of the earth who have not been able to abide a celestial law cannot receive a celestial glory, and hence must receive another, even a lesser glory, and inhabit another kingdom.

The co-existence and eternity of matter and extension of space is affirmed; also the universality and sovereign power of law. The immanence of God, by his Spirit, in the infinite universe is proclaimed in this revelation; also it declares that the planetary system of the infinite universe is inhabited by sentient beings--the children of God.

Surely these are lofty themes! This is knowledge worthy of God to reveal; worthy of a world to receice, and by it be enlightened.



In the winter of 1833 a school, called the "school of the prophets" was organized, at which both secular instruction was imparted and the spiritual blessings of the gospel enjoyed. During this period of mental and spiritual exaltation the Prophet, with the aid of his scribes, was revising the Bible. There were frequent meetings held at which there were exhortations to righteousness given, the washing of feet, in token of fellowship and fidelity to each other. The Prophet washed the feet of all the elders at a noted conference held on the 23rd of January, and pronounced them all clean from the blood of this generation; but added that if any of them should sin willfully after they were thus cleansed, and sealed up unto eternal life, "they should be given over to the buffetings of satan until the day of redemption."

About a month later the noted revelation known as the "Word of Wisdom" was given. Because of its importance in the practical life of the church, and also because it is an effectual refutation of the charges made that about this time there was toleration in the church of gross intemperance, it is reproduced here in extenso.


A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church; and also the saints in Zion [i.e. Missouri]. To be sent greeting--not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the Word of Wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days; given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints:-

Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto You, in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this Word of Wisdom by revelation--that inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him. And behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.

And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.

And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.

And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.

And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man--Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; and it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth; and these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

All grain is good for the food of man, as also the fruit of the vine, that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground--Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.

And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel, and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint; and I the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.


The presidency Of the church was also being evolved about this time. Joseph Smith had been chosen and ordained president of the high priesthood of the church," and was sustained in that position both in Ohio and in Zion; that office also carries with it the presidency of the church, but his counselors had not as yet been chosen. On the 8th of March the assurance by revelation was given to the Prophet that--"The keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from thee while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come." This confirms upon the head of Joseph Smith the presidency of the great dispensation he was the instrument in the hands of God in introducing into the world. Henceforth he stands at the head of it, whether in heaven or in earth. In the same revelation Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were named as his counselors in the presidency and declared to be equal with the Prophet "in holding the keys of this last kingdom." Ten days after the revelation was given, at an assembly of the "school of the prophets," Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams claimed their ordination to the office of "presidents of the high priesthood." "Accordingly," writes the Prophet in his journal, "I laid my hands on Brothers Sidney and Frederick, and ordained them to take part with me in holding the keys of this last kingdom and to assist in the presidency of the high priesthood as my counselors; after which I exhorted the brethren to faithfulness and diligence in keeping the commandments of God." Thus was the presidency of the high priesthood, which is also the presidency of the church, brought into existence.

The inconvenience experienced by the school of the prophets during the winter of 1832-3 emphasized the necessity of a public building for the church that would combine the conveniences of an educational institution and a place of public worship. This combination has been and is characteristic of the places of worship built by the Latter-day Saints. Never was a graver mistake made than when it was alleged, and became popular belief, that the Church of the Latter-day Saints was founded upon ignorance, and chiefly relied upon ignorance for its perpetuation.

The establishment of this "school of the prophets" at Kirtland is a refutation of the charge of the church's trust in ignorance for its success. The school was founded for the preparation of the ministry of the church. To the elders called to that ministry the Lord said:

"I give unto you a commandment, that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom; teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land, and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms, that ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you. * * *

"Therefore, verily, I say unto you, my friends, call your solemn assembly, as I have commanded you; and as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning even by study, and also by faith. Organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."


A few months later a revelation was given that enabled the church to give out to the world that splendid utterance respecting the glory of God, which ever since has been an inspiration to her membership and especially to her priesthood, and which eventually, it is hoped, will be an inspiration to the world, viz.-

"The Glory of God is Intelligence:"

Looked at from any standpoint one cannot see how it could be otherwise than that "intelligence," par excellent, must be the glory of God. For intelligence is the attribute in God that perceives and knows truth; which both recognizes truth and applies it to needful ends. Thence comes knowledge which brings forth wisdom, and from wisdom the demonstration of intelligence: thence follows justice, judgment, mercy--these said to be the habitation of God's throne--and love. The circle of excellences is completed; but the source of these is intelligence; and hence intelligence in God the moving and the regulating force in all these things--the eternal birth-spring of his glory.

Other items of this revelation which make it a revelation of aphorisms, an intellectual treasury, are as follows:

A Definition of Truth: "Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come."

The Eternity of Intelligence: "Intelligence, or the light of truth was not created or made, neither indeed can be."

The Independence of Truth and Intelligence: "All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it to act for itself, as all intelligence also, otherwise there is no existence" (i.e. no existence where this truth is not present).

The Agency of Man: "Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man, because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light [i.e. cognition of the truth]; and every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation, for man is spirit." And therefore from the nature of him is capable of apprehending truth.

The Eternity of the Elements of Matter, and the Design of their Union with Spirit: "The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; and when separated man [who is spirit in the essence of him, see above] cannot receive a fulness of joy."

The Immanence of God in the Elements and in Man: "The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple."

One may not regard a revelation containing passages of such profound philosophical import as these, otherwise than as a remarkable outgiving.


The revelation containing these slogans of the intellectual life of the church was given on the 6th of May, 1833. The first steps towards the building of the Kirtland temple were taken on the 4th of the same month, when a conference of high priests appointed a committee to take into consideration the building of such a house as that contemplated in the revelation above quoted. It was finally decided to erect a building fifty-five by sixty-five feet, inside measurement, two stories in height, and an attic for class rooms. Ground was broken for the foundation on the 5th of June.

In the spring of this year somewhat extensive land purchases were made in and about Kirtland and laid off with a view to enlarging the city, and organizing it with the surrounding branches of the church into a "stake of Zion."

It was about this time that a general plan for building "cities of Zion" was evolved, that is of very great interest. In June the Prophet sent to Zion the plat of the city to be founded at Independence, which was to be a model for the rest, and which a few years later became the plan On which Kirtland was laid Out. The following description is condensed from the elaborate instructions of the Prophet sent to the bishop in Zion upon this subject:


The city plat is one mile square, divided into blocks containing ten acres each--forty rods square--except the middle range of blocks running north and south; they will be forty by sixty rods, containing fifteen acres, having their greatest extent east and west. The streets will be eight rods wide, intersecting each other at right angles. The center tier of blocks forty by sixty rods will be reserved for public buildings, temples, tabernacles, school houses, etc.

All the other blocks will be divided into half-acre lots, a four rod front to every lot, and extending back twenty rods. In one block the lots will run from the north and south, and in the next one from east and west, and so on alternately throughout the city, except in the range of blocks reserved for public buildings. By this arrangement no street will be built on entirely through the street; but on one block the houses will stand on one street, and on the next one on another street. All of the houses are to be built of brick or stone; and but one house on a lot, which is to stand twenty-five feet back from the street, the space in front being for lawns, ornamental trees, shrubbery, or flowers according to the taste of the owners; the rest of the lot will be for gardens, etc.

It is supposed that such a plat when built up will contain fifteen or twenty thousand population, and that they will require twenty-four buildings to supply them with houses for public worship and schools. These buildings will be temples, none of which will be less than eighty-seven feet by sixty-one, and two stories high, each story to be fourteen feet, making the building twenty-eight feet to the square. None of these temples will be smaller than the drawing of the one sent with the plat of the city to Independence; but of course there may be others much larger; the above, however, are the dimensions of the one the saints were commanded to build first.

Lands on the north and south of the city will be laid off for barns and stables for the use of the city, so there will be no barns or stables in the city among the homes of the people.

Lands for agriculturalists sufficient for the whole plat are also to be laid off on the north and south of the city plat, but if sufficient land cannot be laid off without going too great a distance, then farms are to be laid off on the east and west also; but the tiller of the soil as well as the merchant and mechanic will live in the city. The farmer and his family, therefore, will enjoy all the advantages of schools, public lectures and other meetings. His home will no longer be isolated, and his family denied the benefits of society, which has been, and always will be, the great educator of the human race; but they will enjoy the same privileges of society, and can surround their homes with the same intellectual life, the same social refinement as will be found in the home of the merchant or banker or professional man.

"When this square is thus laid off and supplied, lay off another in the same way," said the Prophet to those to whom the city plat was sent, "and so fill up the world in these last days, and let every man live in the city, for this is the city of Zion."

Before these plans for building the initial city of Zion and the first temple--plans for the construction of which accompanied the plat of the city could be carried into effect, that cruel persecution began which ended in the expulsion of the saints from Jackson county.

It is interesting to note that while the saints have never been situated in any of their subsequent colonizing enterprises to carry out all the details of the above plan of building cities, still the general principles of the foregoing instructions have influenced all their colonizing enterprises. In Nauvoo, in Salt Lake City and in all the settlements of Utah and surrounding inter-mountain states, the settlements have been laid off into town plats divided into blocks of equal size by streets running at right angles, with farming lands immediately surrounding the settlements cut up into small holdings with a view to having all the people live in the town or city and every family have a home in the town, that they might enjoy the advantages of schools, public meetings, and society as noted above. This method of colonization, while it may have some disadvantages and limitations, has been suited to the experiences of the Latter-day Saints, whose circumstances have made them a pioneering people: And also the plan removes the dreary loneliness of the ordinary pioneer, and even of farm life, retains the advantages of organized society, and makes it possible for men to advance upon the wilderness or semi-desert as drilled cohorts move to battle, with likelihood of success much enhanced above the method that is but a series of individual conflicts. It is this general plan, despite some impractical features of the first draft of it, that has made the Latter-day Saints the most successful of modern colonizers.



The attainment of the ideal is difficult. In nothing is it more so than in righteousness. With the name "saint," there goes the idea of a perfect life; yet upon second thought, it will be remembered that those who have borne that title have done so in virtue of their aspirations for sanctity rather than absolute attainment of it. And this because, as remarked by Guizot, "In nothing, perhaps is it given to man ever to arrive at the goal he has proposed to himself; his glory is in advancing towards it." These reflections are pertinent at the opening of a chapter in the History that is to deal with the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from Jackson county, Missouri, since their failure to meet perfectly the high requirements of the law of God giver to them in their land of promise is, in large part, responsible for what befell them.


In the visit made to the settlements of the saints in Jackson county, in the spring of 1832, by Joseph Smith and other leading elders, as detailed in a former chapter, all matters of difference between the leaders in Missouri and Ohio were amicably adjusted and settled, and each gave the other the right hand of fellowship in token of perfect good will and friendship. Not long after the departure of the Ohio brethren however, suspicions, evil surmisings and jealousies reasserted themselves and found expression in both spoken and written word, and in failure to carry out the plans that had been agreed upon for the general welfare of the church. This had become so manifest towards the close of the year that it was a cause of deep anxiety to the Prophet and other leaders of the church at Kirtland, and led to the writing of two communications to the brethren in Zion, of great historical importance, and also important as exhibiting the spirit in which the Prophet and his associates worked in maintaining and developing the New Dispensation of the gospel committed to their hands. One of these letters was written by the Prophet, the other by a conference of high priests, per Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith. The Prophet's communication was accompanied by the revelation called the "Olive Leaf," the main features of which were considered in the closing paragraphs of chapter xxiv and was addressed to Elder W. W. Phelps.


"Kirtland, January 14, 1833.

"Brother William W. Phelps:

"I send you the `Olive Leaf' which we have plucked from the tree of Paradise, the Lord's message of peace to us; for though our brethren in Zion indulge in feelings towards us which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant, yet, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us, and has accepted us, and established his name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations; for the Lord will have a place whence his word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in his sight, he will seek another people; for his work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear his voice, must expect to feel his wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord's anger be kindled to fierceness. Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion; and strange as it may appear, yet it is true, mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of mankind. I say to you (and what I say to you I say to all), hear the warning voice of God, lest Zion fall, and the Lord swear in his wrath the inhabitants of Zion shall not enter into his rest.

"The brethren in Kirtland pray for you unceasingly, for knowing the terrors of the Lord, they greatly fear for you. You will see that the Lord commanded us, in Kirtland, to build a house of God, and establish a school for the prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us, and we must, yea, the Lord helping us, we will obey: as on conditions of our obedience he has promised us great things; yea, even a visit from the heavens to honor us with his own presence. We greatly fear before the Lord lest we should fail of this great honor, which, our Master proposes to confer on us; we are seeking for humility and great faith lest we be ashamed in his presence. Our hearts are greatly grieved at the spirit which is breathed both in your letter and that of Brother Gilbert's the very spirit which is wasting the strength of Zion like a pestilence and if it is not detected and driven from you, it will ripen Zion for the threatened judgments of God. Remember God sees the secret springs of human action, and knows the hearts of all living.

"Brother, suffer us to speak plainly, for God has respect to the feelings of his saints, and he will not suffer them to be tantalized with: impunity. Tell Brother Gilbert that low insinuations God hates; but he rejoices in an honest heart, and knows better who is guilty than he does. We send him this warning voice, and let him fear greatly for himself, lest a worse thing overtake him; all we can say by way of conclusion is, if the fountain of our tears be not dried up, we will still weep for Zion. This from your brother who trembles for Zion, and for the wrath of heaven, which awaits her if she repent not.


"P. S.--I am not in the habit of crying peace, when there is no peace; and, knowing the threatened judgments of God, I say, woe unto them who are at ease in Zion; fearfulness will speedily lay hold of the hypocrite. I did not suspect you had lost the commandments, but thought from your letters you had neglected to read them, otherwise you would not have written as you did.

"It is vain to try to hide a bad spirit from the eyes of them who are spiritual, for it will show itself in speaking and writing, as well as in all other conduct. It is also needless to make great pretensions when the heart is not right; the Lord will expose it to the view of his faithful saints. We wish you to render the Star as interesting as possible, by setting forth the rise, progress, and faith of the church, as well as the doctrine; for if you do not render it more interesting than at present, it will fall, and the church suffer a great loss thereby.

(Signed) J. S., JUN"


The letter from the conference of high priests alludes to past difficulties; also to a revelation of September 22nd and 23rd in which it was said that the minds of the saints in times past had been darkened because of unbelief, and because they had treated lightly the things they had received, which vanity and unbelief had brought the whole church under condemnation, "and this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion [having reference to the saints in Missouri] even all: And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandment' which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written, that they may bring forth fruit mete for their Father's kingdom, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion: For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay."

The answers that had been received by the brethren in Ohio to these reproofs and remonstrances were by no means satisfactory; therefore the conference of high priests wrote to the brethren in Zion as follows:


"At the time Joseph, Sidney, and Newel left Zion, all matters of hardness and misunderstanding were settled and buried (as they supposed), and you gave them the hand of fellowship; but afterwards you brought up all these things again, in a censorious spirit, accusing Brother Joseph in rather an indirect way of seeking after monarchial power and authority. This came to us in Brother Corrill's letter of June 2nd. We are sensible that this is not the thing Brother Joseph is seeking after, but to magnify the high office and calling whereunto he has been called and appointed by the command of God, and the united voice of this church. It might not be amiss for you to call to mind the circumstances of the Nephites, and the children of Israel rising up against their prophets, and accusing them of seeking after kingly power, and see what befell them, and take warning before it is too late.

"Brother Gilbert's letter of December 10th has been received and read attentively, and the low, dark, and blind insinuations, which were in it, were not received by us as from the fountain of light, though his claims and pretensions to holiness were great. We are not unwilling to be chastened or rebuked for our faults, but we want to receive it in language that we can understand, as Nathan said to David--`Thou art the man!' We are aware that Brother Gilbert is doing much, and has a multitude of business on hand; but let him purge out all the old leaven, and do his business in the spirit of the Lord, and then the Lord will bless him, otherwise the frown of the Lord will remain upon him. There is manifestly an uneasiness in Brother Gilbert, and a fearfulness that God will not provide for his saints in these last days, and these fears lead him on to covetousness. This ought not so to be; but let him do just as the Lord has commanded him, and then the Lord will open his coffers, and his wants will be liberally supplied. But if this uneasy, covetous disposition be cherished by him, the Lord will bring him to poverty, shame and disgrace.

"Brother Phelps' letter or December 15th is also received and carefully read, and it betrays a lightness of spirit that ill becomes a man placed in the important and responsible station that he is placed in. If you have `fat beef, and potatoes,' eat them in singleness of heart, and boast not yourselves in these things. Think not brethren, that we make a man an offender for a word; this is not the case; but we want to see a spirit in Zion, by which the Lord will build it up; that is the plain, solemn, and pure spirit of Christ. Brother Phelps requested in his last letter that Brother Joseph should come to Zion; but we say that Brother Joseph will not settle in Zion until she repent, and purify herself, and abide by the new covenant, and remember the commandments that have been given her, to do them as well as say them. * * *

"We have the best of feelings, and feelings of the greatest anxiety for the welfare of Zion: we feel more like weeping over Zion than we do like rejoicing over her, for we know that the judgments of God hang over her, and will fall upon her except she repent, and purify herself before the Lord, and put away from her every foul spirit. We now say to Zion, this once, in the name of the Lord, repent! repent! awake! awake! put on thy beautiful garments, before you are made to feel the chastening rod of him whose anger is kindled against you. Let not satan tempt you to think we want to make you bow to us, to domineer over you, for God knows this is not the case: our eyes are watered with tears, and our hearts are poured out to God in prayer for you, that he will spare you and turn away his anger from you. * * *

"* * * We now close our epistle by saying unto you, the Lord has commanded us to purify ourselves, to wash our hands and our feet, that he may testify to his Father and our Father, and to his God and our God, that we are clean from the blood of this generation; and before We could wash our hands and our feet, we were constrained to write this letter. Therefore, with the feelings of inexpressible anxiety for your welfare, we say again, Repent, repent, or Zion must suffer, for the scourge and judgment must come upon her.

"Let the bishop read this to the elders, that they may warn the members of the scourge that is coming, except they repent. Tell them to read the Book of Mormon, and obey it; read the commandments that are printed, and obey them; yea, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that peradventure he may turn his anger from you. Tell them that they have not come up to Zion to sit down in idleness, neglecting the things of God; but they are to be diligent and faithful in obeying the new covenant.

The high priests refer to the Prophet's letter given above and with the following explanation, endorse it.

"There is one clause in Brother Joseph's letter which you may not understand; that is this, `If the people of Zion did not repent, the Lord would seek another place, and another people.' Zion is the place where will at all people upon that holy land being under condemnation, the Lord will cut off, if they repent not, and bring another race upon it, that will serve him. The Lord will seek another place to bring forth and prepare his word to go forth to the nations, and as we said before, so we say again, Brother Joseph will not settle in Zion, except she repent, and serve God, and obey the new covenant. With this explanation, the conference sanctions Brother Joseph's letter."


These reproofs and warnings of impending calamities leave nothing to be desired in the matter of frankness. They made some impression, too, on those to whom they were addressed. The above communications bear the date of January 14th, 1833; on the 26th of February following a solemn assembly was called at which a humble repentance was manifested by the brethren in Zion, and such acknowledgments made by letter to the brethren in Kirtland that they were satisfactory to the presidency.

In a revelation given on the 8th of March referring to the matter of the Prophet Joseph going to Zion and presiding there--a matter that Missouri saints seemed very much to urge--it was said:

"Behold ye shall write this commandment, and say unto your brethren in Zion, in love, greeting, that I have called you also to preside over Zion in mine own due time; therefore, let them cease wearying me concerning this matter. Behold, I say unto you that your brethren in Zion begin to repent, and the angels rejoice over them."

Still there were some with whom the Lord was not well pleased, and they were named. "And the bishop also," said the revelation, "and others have many things to repent of. But verily I say unto you, that I the Lord will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me."

Viewed in the light of the calamities which so soon afterwards befell the saints in Missouri, these utterances of the revelations and the letters were warning and prophecy to them.

The question of the presiding authority in Zion was a vexed one for some time. There seemed to be a general understanding that Bishop Partridge was the presiding authority; still when certain high priests and elders who had been appointed to travel and preach to the world came up to Zion they, in some instances, assumed to set in order the branches of the church, not then understanding the virtue and power of appointment in the priesthood. This led to some confusion, in consequence of which a council of high priests was called for the 26th of March. This council reverted to the instructions given at the solemn assembly of the church held the previous year, on the occasion of the Prophet's visit among them, and they determined to follow the plan then advised, viz, that the seven high priests who were sent from Kirtland to build up Zion, viz, Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps, John Whitmer, Algernon Sidney Gilbert, Bishop Edward Partridge, and his two counselors, Isaac Morley and John Corrill, should stand at the head of affairs in Zion, and, with the consent of the respective branches, should appoint presiding elders over each; of these branches there were now ten.

These efforts at conforming to the requirements previously made of them by the law of the Lord and the counsel of the Prophet, brought the spirit of peace to the saints in Zion; and on the third anniversary of the organization of the church, the 6th of April, 1833, about eighty officers and the saints from the several branches of the church in Jackson county, assembled at what was called "The Ferry" on "Big Blue"--a small forest-lined stream a few miles west of Independence--to celebrate the event. The spring broke early in western Missouri that year, and it was truly a season of hope and joy to the saints. It was the first time the church had celebrated the anniversary of its organization. The progress made was sufficient to be conspicuous. Only three years before, in the house of Peter Whitmer, Sen., the church had been organized with six members, and only nine had been baptized up to that time. Within three years the gospel had been preached in nearly all the states of the Union, in Canada and among a number of the Indian tribes. Thousands had hailed the message with delight, and numerous branches of the church had been established. The place of the city of Zion had been revealed, and nearly a thousand of the saints had gathered there. A printing establishment had been founded, the precious truths of the New Dispensation were being published to the world; and all this had been accomplished in the face of poverty and bitter opposition.


Uncongenial elements of population were meeting in Jackson county when the saints came in contact with the "old settlers." The "old settlers" were principally from the mountainous portions of the southern states. They had settled along the water courses, in the forests which lined their banks, instead of out on the broad and fertile prairies, which only required fencing to prepare them for cultivation. It was the work of years to clear a few acres of the timber lands, but with these small fields the "old settlers" were content. They had no disposition to beautify their homes, or even make them convenient or comfortable. They lived in their log cabins without windows, and very frequently without floors other than the ground; and the dingy, smoked log walls were unadorned by pictures or other ornaments. They were uneducated; those who could read or write being the exception; and they had an utter contempt for the refinements of life. They were hospitable to the stranger, and even generous to an enemy in supplying him food and shelter when in need, yet they were narrow-minded, ferocious, and jealous of those who sought to obtain better homes, and who aspired to something better in life than had yet entered into the hearts of these people.

There was another element in western Missouri which did not tend to the improvement of its society. Western Missouri at the time of which I write, was on the frontiers of the United States, and therefore a place of refuge for those who had outraged the laws of society elsewhere. Here they were near the boundary line of the United States, and if pursued by the officers of the law, in a few hours they could cross the line out of their reach. These outcasts helped to give a more desperate complexion to the already reckless population of western Missouri.

The saints could not join the Missourians in their way of life--In Sabbath-breaking, profanity, horse-racing, idleness, and in all too prevalent drunkenness. They had been commanded to keep the Sabbath day holy, to keep themselves unspotted from the sins of the world. The fact of people having so little in common with each other was of itself calculated to beget a coldness and suspicion, which would soon ripen into dislike. The saints, too, for the most part, had come from the northern and New England states, and the dislike and suspicion that existed at that time between the people of the slaveholding and free states, was manifested toward the saints by their "southern" neighbors. Moreover, the "old settlers" were dear lovers of office, and the honors and emoluments growing out of it; and they greatly feared that the rapidly increasing Latter-day Saint population would soon out-number them, and that the offices would be wrested from them.

It must be admitted also that there is something very irritating in the message which the Church of the Latter-day Saints has to proclaim to the world; the churches are all wrong; their creeds are an abomination to the Lord; they teach for doctrine the commandments of men; they draw near to the Lord with their lips, but their hearts are far from him; they have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof--and hence a New Dispensation of the gospel has become necessary. All this of course was not likely to appeal sympathetically to the ministry or people of supposedly orthodox Christian churches, especially when such a message was delivered, as sometimes it must be admitted it was delivered, without due regard to the feelings of those to whom it was addressed.

As early as the spring of 1832 there began to appear signs of an approaching storm. In the deadly hours of the night the houses of some of the saints were stoned, the windows broken, and the inmates disturbed. In the fall of the same year a large quantity of hay in the stack belonging to the saints was burned, houses were shot into, and the people insulted with abusive language. In the month of April, 1833, the "old settlers" to the number of some three hundred met at Independence, to consult upon a plan for the destruction, or immediate removal, of the "Mormons" from Jackson county. They were unable, however, to unite on any plan, and the mob becoming the worse for liquor, the affair broke up in a "Missouri row."

The sectarian priests inhabiting Jackson and the surrounding counties were earnestly engaged in fanning the flames of prejudice, already burning in the public mind. The Rev. Finis Ewing, the head and front of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, published this statement: "The Mormons are the common enemies of mankind and ought to be destroyed."

The Rev. Pixley, who had been sent out by the Missionary Society to christianize the savages of the west, spent his time in going from house to house, seeking to destroy the church by spreading slanderous falsehoods, to incite the people to acts of violence against the saints.


Early in July, a document was in circulation known as the Secret Constitution, setting forth the alleged grievances of the mob, and binding all who signed it to assist in "removing the Mormons. The document set forth the following: The signers believed an important crisis was at hand in their civil society, because a pretended religious sect--the "Mormons"--had settled in their midst. The civil law did not afford them a sufficient guarantee against the threatening evils, and therefore they had determined to rid themselves of the "Mormons," "peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must," and for the better accomplishment of this object, they had organized themselves into a company--pledging to each other their "bodily powers, their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors.

The saints in this document are represented as being the very dregs of that society from which they came; and also as being poor, "idle, lazy, and vicious." They are accused of claiming to receive direct revelation from God; to heal the sick by the laying on of hands; to speak in unknown tongues by inspiration; and, in short, "to perform all the wonder-working miracles wrought by the inspired apostles and prophets of God;" all of which, the document claims, "is derogatory of God and religion, and subversive of human reason."

The signers of this document also accuse the saints of sowing dissensions and inspiring seditions among their slaves. They further charge that the "Mormons" had invited "free people of color" to settle in Jackson county; and state that the introduction of such a caste among their slaves, would instigate them to rebel against their masters, and to bloodshed.

The "Mormons" are also charged with having openly declared that God had given them the land of Jackson county; and that sooner or later they would possess it as an inheritance. The document then concludes by saying that if after timely warning, and receiving an adequate compensation for what property they could not take with them, the saints shall refuse to leave the county, such means as might be necessary to remove them were to be employed, and called a meeting of the signers to convene at the courthouse in Independence on the twentieth of July, to consult on subsequent movements.

It may not be amiss here to notice the several charges made against the saints:


The statement made by the mob that the "civil law did not afford them a sufficient guarantee against the threatening evils" of which they complained, is good evidence that the saints, although they may have fallen far short of coming up to the full requirements of the spiritual laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ, had violated none of the laws of man. This is further evidenced by the statement of the mob in the address adopted at their meeting of the 20th of July and published in the Western Monitor, (printed at Fayette, Howard county, Missouri) where it is said as an excuse for their lawless intentions to resort to mob violence--"the evil is one that no one could have foreseen, and therefore is unprovided for by the laws; and the delays incident to legislation would put the mischief beyond remedy." In all which one plainly sees unconscious admission that the saints were not guilty of infractions of the laws of the land.

As to the saints being the dregs of the society from which they came--it is untrue; they had a respectable standing in the society from which they came, and that society was far in advance of civilization and enlightenment of the people of western Missouri.

The charge of "idleness" comes with a bad grace from the slaveholders of Missouri. Especially so since the charge is made against people chiefly from New England; who, whatever other faults they may have possessed can never be broadly charged with idleness. In addition to the saints who settled in Missouri having been trained from childhood to habits of industry in their former homes, they had received an express command from God to labor, and the idler was not to eat the bread nor wear the garment of the laborer; and unless the idler repented, he was to be cast out of the church.

The saints in Missouri, it is true, claimed to receive revelations from God through the Prophet Joseph Smith; and they also enjoyed the gifts of tongues, and of healing the sick through the anointing with oil and the prayer of faith, in fulfillment of the promises of the Lord; but how all this can be "derogatory of God and true religion," when these blessings of revelation and the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts enumerated are the same as those that were possessed by the primitive Christians, which they were encouraged to "desire," and which have ever been regarded as a crowning glory of the early church; or how they could be "subversive of human reason," can only be comprehended by a Missouri mob, seeking a vain excuse for the destruction of those for whom they had conceived an hatred.


The charge of sowing dissensions and inspiring seditions among the slaves, and inviting "free people of color" to settle in Jackson county, has no foundation in truth. The July number of the Evening and Morning Star, for 1833, contains an article on "free people of color," and publishes the law of Missouri relating to that class of people. "Free people of color" were negroes or mulattoes who were set free through the kindness of their masters, or who, by working extra hours, for which they were sometimes allowed pay, were able at last to purchase their liberty. Concerning such people the Missouri law provided that:

"If any negro or mulatto come into the state of Missouri, without a certificate from a court of record in some one of the United States, evidencing that he was a citizen of such state, on complaint before any justice of the peace, such negro or mulatto could be commanded by the justice to leave the state; and if the colored person so ordered did not leave the state within thirty days, on complaint of any citizen, such person could be again brought before the justice who might commit him to the common jail of the county, until the convening of the circuit court to inquire into the cause of commitment; and if it was found that the negro or mulatto had remained in the state contrary to the provisions of this statute, the court was authorized to sentence such person to receive ten lashes on his or her bare back, and then order him or her to depart from the state; if the person so treated should still refuse to go, then the same proceedings were to be repeated, and punishment inflicted as often as was necessary until such person departed."

And further: If any person brought into the state of Missouri a free negro or mulatto, without the aforesaid certificate of citizenship, for every negro or mulatto so brought into the state, the person offending was liable to a forfeit of five hundred dollars, to be recovered by action of debt in the name of the state. The editor of the Star commenting upon this law said:

"Slaves are real estate in this and other states, and wisdom would dictate great care among the branches of the church of Christ on this subject. So long as we have no special rule in the church as to people of color, let prudence guide; and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God, we say: shun every appearance of evil."

Publishing this law, and the above comment, was construed by the "Old settlers," to be an invitation to free people of color to settle in Jackson county! Whereupon an extra was published to the July number of the Star on the sixteenth of the month, which said:

"Our intention was not only to stop free people of color from emigrating to this state, but to prevent them from being admitted as members of the church. * * * Great care should be taken on this point. The saints must shun every appearance of evil. As to slaves we have nothing to say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age, much is doing towards abolishing slavery, and colonizing the blacks in Africa.

"We often lament the situation of our sister states in the south, and we fear, lest, as has been the case, the blacks should rise and spill innocent blood: for they are ignorant, and a little may lead them to disturb the peace of society. To be short, we are opposed to have free people of color admitted into the state; and we say, that none will be admitted into the church, for we are determined to obey the laws and constitutions of our country, that we may have that protection which the sons of liberty inherit from the legacy of Washington, through the favorable auspices of a Jefferson, and Jackson."

The Missourians claimed that this article was merely published to give directions and cautions to be observed by "colored brethren," to enable them upon their arrival in Missouri, to "claim and exercise the rights of citizenship." And this base falsehood was used to inflame the minds of the "old settlers" against the saints.


That certain over-zealous church members may have said the Lord would yet give them the land of Missouri for their inheritance, is doubtless true; but that they were to obtain it in any other than a legal way never entered their minds. They had been commanded of the Lord to purchase the land for an inheritance. Besides, the elders stationed in Zion, about this time, addressed an epistle to the churches throughout the United States, in which they alluded to the gathering of the ancient Israel, and pointing out the difference in their circumstances and those by which the saints were now surrounded. Ancient Israel had been compelled to obtain the lands Of their inheritance by the sword. "But," the address adds, "to suppose that we can come up here and take possession of this land by the shedding of blood, would be setting at naught the law of the glorious gospel and also the word of our Great Redeemer: and to suppose that we can take possession of this country without making regular purchases of the same, according to the laws of our nation, would be reproaching this great republic, in which most of us were born, and under whose auspices we all have protection." Nothing then can be clearer than that while the saints may have said that Missouri would eventually be the land of their inheritance, they were expecting to obtain it in a perfectly legitimate manner--by purchase.

I have been particular in examining the charges made against the saints by their enemies in Jackson county, in order that it may be known that wherein the things charged were not in and of themselves innocent, and no cause for offense whatever, they were utterly without foundation in truth.

In answer to the call made for the citizens of Jackson county to assemble at the courthouse on the twentieth of July, 1833, to devise means to rid the county of the "Mormons," between four and five hundred gathered in from all parts of the county. Colonel Richard Simpson was elected chairman of the meeting, and James H. Flournoy and Colonel S. D. Lucas were chosen secretaries. A committee of seven was appointed by the chair to draft an address to the public, in relation to the object of the meeting; the following was the committee: Russel Hicks, Esq., Robert Johnson, Henry Childs, Esq., Colonel Jas. Hambright, Thomas Hudspeth, Joel F. Childs and Jas. M. Hunter.


The address prepared by this committee repeated the falsehoods concerning the saints interfering with slaves; inviting free people of color to settle in Jackson county; of the saints being the very dregs of the society from which they had emigrated; again charged them with most abject poverty, idleness, and of coming to obtain inheritances in Jackson county, "without money and without price." It declared that the evils which threatened their community, by the "Mormons" settling among them, were such as no one could have foreseen, and therefore they were unprovided for by the laws; and the delays incident to legislation would put the mischief beyond all remedy. It expressed the apprehension that if the saints were not interfered with, the day would not be far distant when the civil government of the county would be in their hands; when the sheriff, the justices, and the county judges would be "Mormons" or persons wishing to court their favor from motives of interest or ambition; and then the following:

"What would be the fate of our lives and property in the hands of jurors and witnesses who do not blush to declare, and would not, upon occasion, hesitate to swear, that they have wrought miracles, and have been the subjects of miraculous and supernatural cures, have conversed with God and his angels, and possess and exercise the gifts of divination, and of unknown tongues, and fired with the prospects of obtaining inheritances without money and without price--may better be imagined than described."

However, in speaking of the gifts of the Spirit which the saints enjoyed-revelation, prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing the sick, etc., the committee proposed to have nothing to say, but piously close the paragraph which refers to these things with the words--"Vengeance belongs to God alone!" For the other things with which they charged the saints--each and all of them were utterly false except it might be in the matter of poverty. But even in this the truth was not stated. A few cases aside, the "poverty" in question was that poverty of the pioneer newly arrived in the wilderness which is to be the subsequent field of his enterprises and triumphs. Quite generally the saints went into Jackson county prepared to purchase lands and build homes; but pending the accomplishment of that, there was much inconvenience and some suffering for want of shelter and clothing; but "abject poverty," there was none.

The conclusion of the mob in the whole matter was thus stated:

"We do hereby most solemnly declare that no Mormon shall in future move to or settle in this [Jackson] county that those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested, until they have sufficient time to sell their property, and close their business without material sacrifice; that the editor of the Star be required forthwith to close his office, and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must, in every case, strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration, and upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same; that the Mormon leaders here are required to use their influence in preventing any further immigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above requisitions; that those who fail to comply with these requisitions be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination, and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them."

This address was unanimously adopted by the meeting, and a committee of twelve appointed to wait upon the "Mormon" leaders, and see that the foregoing requisitions were assented to by them. In case of a refusal on the part of the "Mormons" to comply with these arbitrary, illegal, and unreasonable demands, the committee, acting as the organ of Jackson county, were to inform them that it was the fixed determination of the mob to adopt such means as would enforce their removal.

The committee called upon Edward Partridge, A. S. Gilbert, John Corrill, Isaac Morley, John Whitmer, and W. W. Phelps, and demanded that they cease publishing the Star and close the printing office; and that, as the presiding elders of the "Mormon" church, they agree to move out of the county forthwith. Three months were asked for by these brethren in which to consider the proposition, and to give them time to counsel with the church authorities in Ohio; as closing a printing office and removing twelve hundred people from their homes was a work of no small moment. But this time was denied them. They asked for ten days; but that was not granted; fifteen minutes only was allowed them in which to decide. At this the conference broke up, and the mob returned to the courthouse and reported to the meeting that they had called upon the "Mormon" leaders and that they refused to give a direct answer, but asked for time to consider the propositions and to counsel with their brethren in Ohio. The meeting then resolved that the printing office be razed to the ground, and the type and press destroyed.

With demoniac yells the mob surrounded the printing office and house of W. W. Phelps. Mrs. Phelps, with a sick infant in her arms, and the rest of the children, were forced out of their home, the furniture was thrown into the street and garden, the press was broken, the type pied; the revelations, book-work and papers were nearly all destroyed or kept by the mob; and the printing office and house of W. W. Phelps were both razed to the ground. Having reduced these buildings to a mass of ruins, the mob proceeded to demolish the mercantile establishment of Gilbert, Whitney & Co., and destroy the goods; but when Mr. Gilbert assured them that the goods would be packed by the twenty-third, they desisted from their work of destruction.

The fiendish hate of the mob, however, had not yet spent its force. With horrible yells and cursings loud, they sought for the leading elders. Men, women and children ran in all directions, not knowing what would befall them. The mob caught Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen, and dragged them through the maddened crowd, which insulted and abused them along the road to the public square. Here two alternatives were presented them; either they must renounce their faith in the Book of Mormon or leave the county. The Book of Mormon they would not deny, nor consent to leave the county. Bishop Partridge, being permitted to speak, said that the saints had to suffer persecution in all ages of the world, and that he was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ, as the saints in former ages had done; that he had done nothing which ought to offend anyone, and that if they abused him, they would injure an innocent man. Here his voice was drowned by the tumult of the crowd, many of whom were shouting: "Call upon your God to deliver you-pretty Jesus you worship!" The two brethren, Partridge and Allen, were stripped of their clothing, and bedaubed with tar, mixed with lime, or pearl-ash, or some other flesh-eating acid, and a quantity of feathers scattered over them. They bore this cruel indignity and abuse with so much resignation and meekness that the crowd grew still, and appeared astonished at what they witnessed. The brethren were permitted to retire in silence.

The outrages of this day were the more reprehensible because of the character of the leaders of the mob. In the main they were county officers--the county judge, the constables, clerk of the court, and justices of the peace; while Lilburn W. Boggs, the lieutenant-governor,--who resided in Jackson county--the second officer in the state, was there quietly looking on and secretly aiding every measure of the mob--and who, walking among the ruins of the printing office and house of W. W. Phelps, remarked to some of the brethren, "You now know what our Jackson boys can do, and you must leave the county!"


Referring to the charges made against the saints in the mob's so-called "Secret Constitution," Elder Parley P. Pratt, a participant in all these Missouri events, makes the following pertinent comment:

"I will briefly notice a few items of the foregoing bond of conspiracy, for I consider most of it as too barefaced to need any comment. In the first place I would inquire whether our belief as set ford in this declaration, as to gifts, miracles, revelations and tongues, is not the same that all the apostles and disciples taught, believed and practiced, and the doctrine of the New Testament?

"Secondly--I would inquire when the New Testament religion ceased, and a law revealed or instituted, which made blasphemy of the belief and practice of it? Or what holy religion the Jackson mob were speaking of, which was thrown into contempt by the revival of the New Testament religion?

"Thirdly--They complain of our society being very poor as to property; but have they never read in the New Testament that God had chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom of God? And when did poverty become a crime known to the law?

"Fourthly--Concerning free negroes and mulattoes. Do not the laws of Missouri provide abundantly for the removal from the state of all free negroes and mulattoes (except certain privileged ones) ? And also for the punishment of those who introduce or harbor them? The statement concerning our invitation to them to become Mormons, and remove to this state, and settle among us, is a wicked fabrication, as no such thing was ever published in the $tor, or anywhere else, by our people, or anything in the shadow of it; and we challenge the people of Jackson (county), or any other people, to produce such a publication from us. In fact one dozen free negroes or mulattoes never have belonged to our society in any part or the world, from its first organization to this day (1839).

"Fifthly--As to crime or vice, we solemnly appeal to all the records of the courts of Jackson county, and challenge the county to produce the name of any individual of our society on the list of indictments, from the time of our first settlement in the county, to the time of our expulsion, a period of more than two years.

"Sixthly--As it respects the ridiculous report of our threatening that we would have their lands for a possession, it is too simple to require a notice, as the laws of the country guarantee to every man his rights, and abundantly protect him in their full enjoyment. And we hereby declare, that we settled no lands, only such as our money purchased, and that no such thing ever entered our hearts, as possessing any inheritance in any other way.

Seventhly--We ask what public morals were in danger of being corrupted where officers of the peace could openly violate their several oaths in the most awful manner, and join with hundreds of others in murder, treason, robbery, house burning, stealing, etc. "


This is an old and oft repeated charge against the early members of the church--this charge that they were of the "dregs of the society from which they came," and I repeat again what is said in the text of this History, that the charge is not true. I know the usual method of defense is to concede the charge, and then quote the well-known and, I may add also, the well-worn passage from Paul's writings, where, in speaking of the early Christians, he says: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty; not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, * * * the weak things of the world, * * * and base things of the world, and things which are despised, * * * and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence." But however complete such an answer may have been in the day of Paul with reference to the Christians of the first century; and however satisfying it may be now in some particulars as to the character of the early membership of the church, so far as the charge, that the early members thereof were of the "dregs of that society from which they came," is concerned, there is a better course to pursue, a more direct and perfect answer to make; and that better course, that more complete answer, is to deny in toto the charge. I do deny it. It is not true. Nobler men and women than those who first embraced the gospel of the Son of God in the New Dispensation are not to be found; nobler spirits were not on earth. It counts for nothing that in the main they were poor in this world's goods. It is of little moment that they were not famous for learning in the schools of men. I care nothing about their not being regarded as constituting "polite society," having neither the leisure nor the means to cultivate the special graces supposed to go to the making of "polished" gentlemen and ladies. But honesty of heart, purity of motive, nobility of soul, righteousness of life, devotion to God--all characteristics and all attributes which go to the making of a people worthy in the sight of God, may exist quite apart from all that man considers essential to entitle certain of their fellow-men to be considered as forming "good society;" and these attributes the early members of the church possessed. The Smiths, the Whitmers, the Cowderys, the Johnsons, the Pages, the Knights, the Partridges, the Pratts, the Morleys, the Rigdons, the Whitneys, the Gilberts, the Hydes, the Allens, and a little later, the Youngs, the Snows, the Kimballs, the Taylors, the Richardses, the Spencers--and a host of others whose names do not appear so prominently in the early history of the church, were a class of people of whom both the church and God might well be proud. So far removed were they from being the dregs of society that they were the very choicest part of it; respected and honored because possessed of those cardinal virtues which always command respect, however fallen the material fortunes, or humble the station or calling of those who possess them, Nor is this general statement concerning the respectability of the early members of the church to be weakened because some of them were unhappily overcome of the world, the flesh and the devil. It is not to be supposed that all who start in the way of salvation will be equal to the task of persevering to the end. The inherent weakness of human nature forbids us to hope for that. The innate weakness of many of the saints was made apparent. The gospel is calculated to do that. "If men come unto me I will show them their weakness," (Ether xii:27. Book of Mormon) is the word of the Lord in the Book of Mormon, and indeed it is self-evident that if men are to be perfected--and that is the mission of the gospel--then it is necessary that their defects be pointed out to them; for the first step in reformation is to learn in what particular direction reformation is needed. All chat can be said, then, against some of the early saints of this dispensation is that they manifested some of the sinfulness common to humanity, and much of that weakness which is the heritage of the sons of Adam; and some of them--many of them if you will--were not quite equal to the great task of overcoming that sinful nature, that human frailty. But as a whole the people who comprised the early membership of the church, were highly respectable and honorable, and God-fearing people.



On July 23rd the mob, to the number of some five hundred, again came dashing into Independence bearing a red flag, and armed with rifles, pistols, dirks, whips and clubs. They rode in every direction in search of the leading elders, making the day hideous with their inhuman yells and wicked oaths. They declared it to be their intention to whip those whom they captured with from fifty to five hundred lashes each, allow their negroes to destroy their crops, and demolish their dwellings. Said they:

"We will rid Jackson county of the Mormons peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must. If they will not go without, we will whip and kill the men; we will destroy their children, and ravish their women!"


The leading elders seeing their own lives, and the property and lives of those over whom they presided in jeopardy, resolved to offer themselves as a ransom for the church--willing to be scourged, or even put to death if that would satisfy their tormentors, and stop their inhuman cruelties. The men who thus offered their own lives for the lives of their friends were:

John Corrill,

John Whitmer,

W.W. Phelps,

A.S. Gilbert,

Edward Partridge,

Isaac Morley.

This did not appeal to the mob leaders. With brutal imprecations they told these men that not only they, but every man, woman and child would be whipped or scourged until they consented to leave the county, as the "old settlers" had decreed that the "Mormons" should leave the county, or they "or the Mormons must die."

The presiding brethren, finding that there was no alternative but for them to leave speedily or witness innocent blood shed by fiends incarnate, concluded to leave Jackson county. A new committee was selected by the mob to confer with the brethren, and the following agreement was entered into:

The leading elders with their families were to move from the county by the first of January following; and to use their influence to induce all their brethren to leave as soon as possible, one-half by the first of January, 1834, and the remainder by April, 1834. They were also to use all the means in their power to stop any more of their brethren moving into the county; and also to use their influence to prevent the saints then en route for Missouri settling permanently in Jackson county, but for these men on the way they were to be permitted to make temporary arrangements for shelter until a new location was agreed upon by the society. John Corrill and A. S. Gilbert were to be allowed to remain as general agents to settle up the business of the church, so long as necessity required. Gilbert, Whitney & Co, were to be permitted to sell out their merchandise then on hand, but no more was to be imported. The Evening and Morning Star was not again to be published, nor a press established by any member of the church in the county. Edward Partridge and W. W. Phelps were to be allowed to pass to and from the county to wind up their business affairs, provided they moved their families from the county by the first of January following. On the part of the mob, the committee pledged themselves to use all their influence to prevent any violence being used against the saints, so long as the foregoing stipulations were complied with on the part of the church.

A day or two after this treaty was entered into, the church in Zion dispatched Oliver Cowdery to Ohio to confer with the general church authorities on the situation of the saints in Missouri. This conference resulted in the general authorities sending as special messengers Elders Orson Hyde and John Gould to Jackson county, with instructions to the saints not to dispose of their lands or other property, nor remove from the county, except those who had signed the agreement to do so.


While the saints were making efforts to carry out the first part of the stipulation entered into with the mob of Jackson county, the mob on their part failed to refrain from acts of violence. Daily the saints were insulted. Houses were broken into, and the inmates threatened with being whipped if they even stirred in their own defense. But truth began to make itself heard. As the lawless acts of the mob became known, they called forth execrations from various quarters. A number of articles published in the Western Monitor, censured the conduct of the mob, and suggested that the saints seek redress of the state authorities for the wrongs they had suffered. Whereupon the leaders of the mob began to threaten life, and declared that if any "Mormon" attempted to seek redress by law or otherwise, for defamation of character, or loss of property, he should die.


These threats, however, did not deter the saints from appealing to the chief executive of the state for a redress of grievances. A petition setting forth their sufferings, and denying the allegations of the mob, was presented by Orson Hyde and W. W. Phelps to Daniel Dunklin, who, at the time, was governor of the state. In addition to relating the story of their wrongs, and denying the charges made by the mob, upon which the "old settlers" of Jackson county depended to justify their acts of cruelty toward the saints, the petition set forth that whenever that fatal hour arrived that the poorest citizen's person, property, or rights and privileges shall be trampled upon by lawless mobs with impunity, "that moment a dagger is plunged into the heart of the Constitution of the country, and the Union must tremble." "We solicit," said they, "assistance to obtain our rights; holding ourselves amenable to the laws of our country, whenever we transgress them." They asked the governor by express proclamation or otherwise to raise a sufficient number of troops, who, with themselves, might be empowered to defend their rights; that they might sue for damages, for the loss of property, for abuse, for defamation of character, and, if advisable, try for treason those who had trampled upon law and government, that the law of the land might not be defied, nor nullified, but peace restored to the country.

To this very reasonable request Governor Dunklin made a patriotic reply. He stated he would think himself unworthy the confidence with which he had been honored by his fellow-citizens did he not promptly employ all the means which the Constitution and laws had placed at his disposal to avert the calamities with which the saints were threatened, and added:

"Ours is a government of laws, to them we all owe obedience, and their faithful administration is the best guarantee for the enjoyment of our rights. No citizen, nor number of citizens, have a right to take the redress of their grievances, whether real or imaginary, into their own hands. Such conduct strikes at the very existence of society, and subverts the very foundation on which it is based. I am not willing to persuade myself that any portion of the citizens of the state of Missouri are so lost to a sense of these truths as to require the exercise of force, in order to insure respect for them."

The governor advised the threatened saints, therefore, to make a trial of the efficacy of the laws; that wherein their lives had been threatened, they make affidavit to that effect before the circuit judge, or the justices of the peace in their respective districts, whose duty it then became to bind the threatening parties to keep the peace. By this experiment, he said, it would be proven whether the laws could be executed or not; and in the event that they could not be peacefully executed, the governor pledged himself, on being officially notified of the fact, to take such steps as would insure a favorable execution of them.

As to the injuries the saints had sustained in the loss of property, the governor advised them to seek redress by civil process, expressing the opinion that the courts would grant them relief.


I do not doubt the sincerity of Governor Dunklin in giving this counsel to the saints, and under ordinary circumstances to seek redress at the hands of the civil authorities would be the proper thing to do. But in this case the officers of the law had been the head and front of this high-handed and infamous proceeding. In proof of this statement I give the names and offices held by those who were most active in the lawless course herein related:

S. D. Lucas, colonel, and judge of the county court;

Samuel C. Owens, county clerk;

Russel Hicks, deputy clerk;

John Smith, justice of the peace;

Samuel Weston, justice of the peace; William Brown, constable;

Thomas Pitcher, deputy constable.

Besides these there were Indian agents, postmasters, doctors, lawyers and merchants.

These were the men who had despoiled the saints--these the ones, in connection with the secret assistance of the lieutenant-governor of the state, Lilburn W. Boggs, who inflamed the minds of the ignorant frontier settlers against an innocent people, and encouraged the vicious to maltreat the virtuous. Surely it was only a forlorn hope the saints could entertain of being redressed for their wrongs by appealing to the very parties who inflicted those wrongs upon them; and yet it was about the only course open to the governor to suggest at that time. Being willing to magnify the law, the saints acted upon the governor's advice. For this purpose they engaged the services of four lawyers from Clay county, then attending court at Independence, viz.: Messrs. Wood, Reese, Doniphan and Atchison. These gentlemen engaged to plant all the suits the saints might wish to present before the courts, and agreed to attend to them jointly throughout for one thousand dollars. W. W. Phelps and Bishop Partridge gave their notes for that sum, endorsed by Gilbert, Whitney & Co.

Having made all necessary preparations for obtaining by civil process redress for the wrongs inflicted upon them by the mob, Sunday, the twentieth day of October, the saints declared publicly that as a people they intended to defend their lands and homes. The next day the leaders of the mob began to prepare to inflict further violence upon them. Strict orders were circulated among the saints not to be the aggressors, but to warn the mob not to come upon them. Court was to convene on Monday, the 28th of October, and it was expected that some of the leaders of the mob would be required to file bonds to keep the peace.

While these preparations were progressing among the saints, the mob were not idle. They resorted to their old method of circulating false rumors abort the "Mormons," The "blasphemy" of their doctrines; their intentions to take possession of Jackson county by force; the incompatibility between the "old settlers" and the "Mormons"--were all urged, and the conclusion reached that a war of extermination must be waged against the saints in the name of self-preservation.

Saturday, the 26th, about fifty of the mob met in counsel and "voted to a hand to move the Mormons." Monday, the 28th, the circuit court convened, but very few people were in attendance. There was no mob there, but threats of the most violent character were made.

The remainder of the story is soon told. Though the circuit court was convened, and the majesty of the law of the state was appealed to, hostilities were begun by the mob on the night of October the 31st, and between that and the 7th of November there was a veritable reign of terror throughout the parts of Jackson county occupied by the Latter-day Saints. Houses were unroofed and in many cases burned to the ground; household furniture destroyed, cornfields laid waste, women and children driven from their homes, men tied up and whipped, and even the sick assaulted. The people of whole settlements were herded together and driven before the mob. One company of one hundred and ninety,--all women and children, except three decrepit old men--were driven thirty miles across a burnt prairie. The ground was thinly crusted with sleet, and the trail of these exiles was easily followed by the blood which flowed from their lacerated feet. This company and others who joined them, erected some log cabins for temporary shelter, and not knowing the limits of Jackson county, built them within its borders, Subsequently, in the month of January, 1834, parties of the mob again drove these people, and burned their wretched cabins, leaving them to wander without shelter in the most severe winter months. A number of them were taken suddenly ill and died.

This pathetic incident is related by Newel Knight of four families who misplaced confidence in the humanity of the mob:

"I must not omit to mention one act of cruelty, which, if possible, seems to surpass all others. In one of the settlements were four families of very old men, infirm and very poor. They seemed to think that they would not be molested and so remained behind, but no sooner did the mob learn of it, than they went to their houses, broke their windows and doors, and hurled great stones into their rooms endangering their lives; thus were these poor old men, and their families, driven before the ruthless mob in mid-winter. These men had served in the Revolutionary war, and Brother Jones [one of the four] had been one of General Washington's body guard, but this availed them nothing, for they were of the hated people. Thus were all the saints compelled to flee into Clay county, where the sympathies of the people were extended towards them."


Of course all the foregoing mob violence did not take place without some resistance on the part of the saints. They gathered wherever they could for mutual protection, and went to each other's assistance whenever they heard of their brethren being overwhelmed by numbers. One circumstance which embarrased the saints not a little in their movements against the mob was the fact that they were divided as to what action it would be proper for them to take in the premises. Parley P. Pratt in his Persecutions of the Saints, says that "having passed through the most aggravating insults and injuries without making the least resistance, a general inquiry prevailed at that time throughout the church as to the propriety of self-defense. Some claimed the right of defending themselves and their families from destruction, while others doubted the propriety of self-defense." Under these conditions it can be readily understood that the defense of the saints was not so vigorous or so effective against their enemies as it might have been had they been perfectly agreed as to the extent to which they would be justified in defending themselves and their families against the violence of the mob.

In the midst of the excitement and apparently general Uprising in the county, on the 5th of November, at the instigation of Lieutenant-Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, it is said, the militia was called out. The command was given to Colonel Thomas Pitcher, deputy constable of the county, and one of the most active leaders of the mob. The only difference between the militia and the mob was that in the latter capacity they were prepared to adopt more effective means for driving the saints from their homes than when acting as a mob. Colonel Pitcher as commander of the militia refused to grant peace to the saints unless they would consent to surrender their arms and deliver up certain men who had been engaged in one of the many conflicts of the previous day in which two of the mob had been killed, and one of the saints--a brother Andrew Barber--mortally wounded, and several others wounded in both parties. The brethren refused to give up their arms unless Colonel Pitcher and other militia leaders would also agree to disarm the mob. This was readily assented to by Colonel Pitcher, pledging his honor with that of Lieutenant-Governor Boggs, Samuel C. Owen, the county clerk, and others to carry out the promise. Whereupon the brethren laid down their arms--forty-nine guns and one pistol; they also surrendered the parties engaged in the battle of the previous day to be tried for murder.

The agreement made by Colonel Pitcher to disarm the mob was never executed; but as soon as the brethren surrendered their arms, bands of armed men raided the settlements of the saints, and this continued until, in all, more than twelve hundred members of the church, men, women and children were driven from their homes, their houses to the number of two hundred and three were burned, also a number of stacks of hay and grain; and one grist-mill was also destroyed.


The exiles generally moved northward and bivouacked in the Missouri bottoms at the ferries that led into Clay county, where many of them were hospitably received. The final scenes of this expulsion are vividly drawn by Elder Parley P. Pratt who participated in them:

"The shore of the Missouri began to be lined on both sides of the ferry with men, women and children; goods, wagons, boxes, provisions, etc., while the ferry was constantly employed; and when night again closed upon us the cottonwood bottom had much the appearance of a camp meeting. Hundreds of people were seen in every direction, some in tents and some in the open air around their fires, while the rain descended in torrents. Husbands were inquiring for their wives, wives for their husbands; parents for children, and children for parents. Some had the good fortune to escape with their families, household goods, and some provisions; while others knew not the fate of their friends, and had lost all their goods. The scene was indescribable, and, I am sure, would have melted the hearts of any people on the earth, except our blind oppressors, and a blind and ignorant community."


While the greater number of the exiles were still bivouacked in the Missouri bottoms, on the night of the 13th of November, occurred the notable meteoric shower of that year, usually called the "falling of the stars." Parley P. Pratt thus describes it:

"About two o'clock (on the morning of the 13th) we were called by the cry of signs in the heavens. We arose, and to our great astonishment all the firmament seemed enveloped in splendid fireworks, as if every star in the broad expanse had been hurled from its course, and sent lawless through the wilds of ether. Thousands of bright meteors were shooting through space in every direction, with long trains of light following in their course. This lasted for several hours, and was only closed by the dawn of the rising sun."

There was, of course, no connection between the annual meteoric shower--though unusually brilliant that year--and the calamities which had befallen the saints; the meteors would have fallen had the saints been undisturbed in their possessions; but surely it ought not to be thought strange if some of the exiles--the most of them in fact--regarded the phenomenon as in some way connected with their suffering, and a sign of judgment to come upon the ungodly who had wrought the injustice against them and caused their calamities.



The saints, exiled from their homes in Jackson county, found a temporary resting place in Clay county; though some of them were scattered through Ray, Lafayette, and VanBuren counties. Those, however, who settled in Van Buren were again driven away. The people in Clay county, as a rule, were kind to the exiles thrown so unceremoniously upon their hospitality. They were permitted to occupy every vacant cabin, and build others for temporary shelter. Some of the sisters obtained positions as domestics in the households of well-to-do farmers, while others taught school. For their acts of kindness the people of Clay county were well repaid in labor performed by the brethren, who were by no means of the class to receive a gratuity when it was within their power in any way to give its equivalent.


The leading elders were perplexed most of all as to what course to pursue. Their return to the lands from which they had been driven looked at least unlikely. They knew not whether it would be best to lease or buy lands in Clay county; whether to prepare for permanent or only temporary residence in that land. In the midst of this uncertainty, a conference was convened on the 1st of January, 1834, at the house of Parley P. Pratt, at which it was-

"Resolved, that Lyman Wight and Parley P. Pratt be sent as special messengers to represent the situation of the scattered brethren in Missouri, to the presidency of the church, in Kirtland, and ask their advice."

Accordingly these brethren started to perform this mission, leaving their families in a penniless condition, while they themselves faced the winds and snows of winter in the interests of their afflicted co-religionists.

By following the suggestion of Governor Dunklin in relation to putting the laws to the test in Jackson county, the saints had in a special way put themselves under the protection of the state's executive, and it was doubtless a consciousness of this that led the governor to take the several steps in what at first looked like an earnest effort at vindication of the law. At any rate as soon as the news of the expulsion of the saints reached the ears of the state officials, they were anxious to reinstate them in their possessions. R. W. Wells, the attorney-general of Missouri, wrote the lawyers employed by the church to the effect that if the "Mormons" desired to be returned to their homes in Jackson county, an adequate force of the state militia would be sent forthwith to accomplish this object, the militia having been ordered to hold themselves in readiness for that purpose. He also promised that if the "Mormons" would organize themselves into a company of militia, they should be supplied with arms by the state. He also suggested that "as only a certain quantity of public arms can be distributed in each county, those who first apply will be most likely to receive them." This letter was written after a conversation between the governor and the attorney-general; and by that conversation the attorney-general believed that he was warranted in making these suggestions to the "Mormons," and one would be justified in regarding the foregoing as the sentiments of the governor, as well as of the attorney-general.


John F. Ryland, the circuit judge for the district of which Jackson county was a part, wrote to Amos Reese, circuit attorney for the same district, and also counsel for the church, saying that he had been, requested by the governor to inform him "about the outrageous acts of unparalleled violence that had lately happened in Jackson county;" and had been requested by him to examine into these outrages, and to "take steps to punish the guilty and screen the innocent." Judge Ryland, however, could not proceed without some person was willing to give the proper information before him. He asked the circuit attorney to find out from the "Mormons" if they were willing to take legal steps against the citizens of Jackson county; and if they desired to be reinstated in their possessions. If so, he was willing to adopt measures looking toward the accomplishment of this object saying that the military force would repair to Jackson county, and execute any order he might make respecting the subject. "It is a disgrace to the state," said he, "for such acts to happen within its limits, and the disgrace will attach to our official characters, if we neglect to take proper means to insure the punishment due such offenders."

The order for an immediate court of inquiry had been prepared by the governor, but he waited to hear from the saints, as to whether or not they desired to be reinstated in their homes. The leading elders of the church, learning through their attorneys of the steps taken to hold an immediate court of inquiry, at once wrote the governor, asking him not to hold an immediate court of inquiry, as at that time many of those persons whom they would want as witnesses were scattered through several of the surrounding counties, and could not be notified in time to be in attendance. Besides this they urged that many of their principal witnesses would be women and children, and so long as the rage of the mob continued unabated, it would be unsafe to take these witnesses to Independence. "An immediate court of inquiry," wrote A. S. Gilbert, "called while our people are thus situated, would give our enemies a decided advantage in the point of testimony." He asked his excellency therefore, in behalf of the church, to postpone the court of inquiry until the saints were restored in their homes, and had an equal chance with their enemies in producing testimony before the court.

Amos Reese, the circuit attorney, and one of the counsel for the church, concurred in these very reasonable requests; and said further: "I think that at the next term of the court, an examination of the criminal matter cannot be gone into without a guard for the court and witnesses."

A petition to the governor, which set forth the outrages committed against the saints by the Jackson county mob, as already related in these pages, had been sent to the governor, asking him to restore them to their possessions, and protect them when restored by the militia of the state, if legal, or by a detachment of the United States troops. The petition suggested that doubtless the latter arrangement could be effected by the governor conferring with the President of the United States on the subject. They also asked that their men be organized into companies of "Jackson Guards," and furnished with arms by the state, that they might assist in maintaining their rights. "And then," said they, "when arrangements are made to protect us in our persons and property (which cannot be done without an armed force, nor would it be prudent to risk our lives there without guards till we receive strength from our friends to protect ourselves), we wish a court of inquiry instituted, to investigate the whole matter of the mob against the Mormons."

To the petition of the leaders of the church, Governor Dunklin replied on the 4th of February, 1834; and said the request to be restored to their homes and lands needed no evidence to support the right to have it granted. In relation to the brethren organizing into military companies, the governor said: "Should your men organize according to law--which they have a right to do, indeed it is their duty to do so, unless exempted by religious scruples--and apply for public arms, the executive could not distinguish between their right to have them, and the right of every other description of people similarly situated."

All the answers of the governor to the petitions of the exiled saints, so far, were good, and manifested a desire to administer even-handed justice. But when he comes to consider their request to be protected in their possessions, as well as reinstated in them, his reply was not so favorable. "As to the request," said he, "for keeping up a military force to protect your people, and prevent the commission of crimes and injuries, were I to comply it would transcend the power with which the executive of this state is clothed."

Still, the laws of the state empowered the "commander-in-chief, in case of actual or threatened invasion, insurrection, or war, or public danger, or other emergency, to call forth into actual service such portion of the militia as he may deem expedient." This clause, however, the governor construed as follows:

"The words, or other emergency, in our militia law, seem quite broad; but the emergency to come within the object of that provision, should be of a public nature. Your case is certainly a very emergent one, and the consequences as important to your society as if the war had been waged against the whole state, yet the public has no other interest in it than that the laws be faithfully executed."

The sequel will show how faithfully the laws were executed, and how the public stood by, indifferent spectators, while an unoffending people were robbed of their possessions, and the laws of the state set at defiance by insolent mobs. The governor closed his answer to the petition of the exiles by saying that as then advised it would be necessary to have a military guard for the court and state witnesses, while sitting in Jackson county; and he sent an order to the captain of the Liberty Blues to comply with the requisition of the circuit attorney, in protecting the court and executing its orders during the progress of the trials arising out of the Jackson county difficulties; and said the "Mormons" could, if they felt so disposed, return under the protection of this guard to their homes, and be protected in them during the progress of the trials.

It required no great wisdom, however, to foresee that for the saints to return to their homes, and then be left there without protection--would not be far removed from community suicide, as the mob greatly outnumbered the saints. To return under these circumstances would only be laying the foundation for a greater tragedy than the one already enacted; and the brethren wisely concluded not to attempt to regain possession of their homes, until some measure was adopted to protect them when there.


At the February term of the circuit court, which convened at Independence, about twelve of the leading elders were subpoenaed as witnesses on the part Of the state, against certain citizens of Jackson county for their acts of mob violence against the "Mormons." On the twenty-third of the month these witnesses crossed the Missouri into Jackson county, under the protection of the Liberty Blues, Captain Atchison commanding. The company numbered about fifty, and were all well armed with United States muskets. The company and witnesses commenced crossing the river about noon, but it was nearly night before the baggage wagon was taken across. While waiting for the arrival of the wagon, it was decided to camp in the woods, and not go to Independence until the next morning. Half the company and a number of witnesses went about half a mile towards Independence and built fires for the night. While engaged in these duties the quarter-master and others, who had gone ahead to prepare quarters in town for the company--evidently alarmed at the bold front of the mob, and believing that the guard of fifty militiamen which had been called out to protect the court and the witnesses would not be a sufficient force--sent an express back, which was continued by Captain Atchison to Colonel Allen, for the two hundred drafted militia under his command: and also sent to Liberty for more ammunition.

Next morning the witnesses were marched to Independence under a strong guard and quartered in the block-house--formerly the Flourney Hotel. The attorney-general of the state, Mr. Wells, had been sent down by the governor to assist the circuit attorney, Mr. Reese, "to investigate as far as possible, the Jackson outrage." These gentlemen waited upon the witnesses in their quarters, and gave them to understand that all hope of criminal procedure against the mob was at an end. Which act on the part of the officers of the court and of the state admits of but one explanation--the civil authorities were awed into inaction by the boldness, and threats of the mob; and contributing to this end was the fact that the people who had been whipped, beaten and despoiled; whose houses were burned and who were driven from the lands they had purchased from the government, were the adherents of an unpopular religion, and hence the officers of the state weakly submitted to the boldness of the mob and failed to uphold the majesty of the law.

A few minutes after the information had been given the witnesses that all hope of criminal procedure was at an end, Captain Atchison informed them that he had received an order from Judge Ryland that the services of his company were no longer needed in Jackson county. The witnesses for the state decided to retire with the militia company and were marched out of town to the tune of "Yankee Doodle"--quick time.

Thus ended the attempt of the state authorities to "execute the law"--in which execution the "public," according to the governor, "was interested, but no further interested in this outrage"--only, "so far as a faithful execution of the law is concerned." He presumed, "the whole community felt a deep interest; for that, which is the case of the Mormons today, may be the case of the Catholics tomorrow, and after them, any other sect that may become obnoxious to a majority of the people of any section of the state!"

Thus ended the only effort that was ever made by the officers of Missouri to bring to justice these violators of the law. One class of citizens had conspired against the liberties of another class, and being the stronger had, without the authority of law, or shadow of justification, driven twelve hundred Of them from their possessions, and there was not virtue enough in the executive of the state and his associates to punish the offenders. The determination of the mob to resist the law was stronger than the determination of the state officers to execute it and make it honorable. And yet the Constitution of the state made it the imperative duty of the executive to "take care that the laws are faithfully executed," and to this end empowered the commander-in-chief of the militia (the governor) "in case of * * * insurrection, or war, or public danger, or other emergency, to call forth into actual service such portion of the militia as he might deem expedient." With this power placed in his hands by the laws of the state, Governor Dunklin permitted mobs to over-awe the court of inquiry he himself had ordered.


Equally weak did Governor Dunklin show himself to be in the matter of investigating the military course of Colonel Pitcher in disarming the "Mormons," and leaving them at the mercy of the mob. An inquiry into this circumstance was begun at Liberty, Clay county, in the latter part of December, 1833. The inquiry resulted in the arrest and trial of Colonel Pitcher before a court-martial; but the court did not convene until the 20th of February, 1834; and so remiss in the performance of his duty was General Thompson, who presided at the court-martial trial, that no report was made to the governor until the first of May, and even then it had to be solicited by him.

From the facts brought out in that trial, the governor decided that Colonel Pitcher had no right to dispossess the "Mormons" of their arms; and sent an order to S. D. Lucas, colonel of the thirty-third regiment, to deliver the arms taken from the "Mormons" on the 5th of December, 1833, to W. W. Phelps, John Corrill, Edward Partridge, A. S. Gilbert, or their order. Lucas, in the meantime, however, had resigned his position, had left Jackson county and settled in Lexington. Learning of this, the governor issued a second order for the arms, directing it this time to Colonel Pitcher. This letter was inclosed in a letter from the governor to W. W. Phelps, and sent to Colonel Pitcher on the tenth of July; but the arms were never returned. Indeed, between the issuing of the first and second orders of the governor for their restoration to their owners, the arms were distributed among the mob; and they insolently boasted that the arms should not be returned, notwithstanding the order of the executive. The determination of the mob leaders proved to be stronger than the authority of the governor--the commander-in-chief of the 276).



There was great distress throughout the church in consequence of the calamities which had befallen the saints in Missouri. The severity and cause of the persecution perplexed the Prophet. He inquired of God and after some time received for an answer a revelation of which the following is a passage:


"Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance, I, the Lord have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions. Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make Up my jewels. Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son; for all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified. Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them: therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances. They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God, therefore the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble."

This answer, it will be observed, was in harmony with the warnings and prophecies which had preceded the Jackson county difficulties, and sent to the church in Missouri under circumstances of utmost urgency; all which warnings and protestations, however, only resulted in bringing the church in Missouri to a partial repentance. Seeing, then, that calamities had befallen the saints in Missouri because of their neglecting the counsels of God, the question may arise: Is the Jackson county mob to be held responsible for their lawless and brutal acts of violence? Most assuredly; for it is a case where "offenses must needs come, but woe unto them by whom they come."

In the revelation which gave the foregoing cause for the misfortunes which had overtaken the saints, direction was given to the elders and saints of the churches in the east to make preparations for an extensive purchase of lands in Jackson and surrounding counties; and still later a revelation was given directing that an effort be made to raise from one to five hundred men, to join their exiled brethren in Missouri, to accept Governor Dunklin's offer to reinstate the exiles in their lands, buy out such of the "old settlers" as could not consent to live with them on terms of friendship, and maintain their inheritance by force of numbers. This led to the organization of Zion's camp. The camp, which gathered at Kirtland in the spring of 1834, when ready to start, numbered about one hundred and fifty. This number was increased to two hundred by the time the camp arrived in Missouri. On the arrival of the camp in the vicinity of Jackson county, negotiations were opened with Governor Dunklin asking him to fulfill his promise to call out the militia in sufficient numbers to reinstate the exiled saints in their possessions. The governor admitted the justice of the demand, but expressed the fear that should he so proceed his action would excite civil war, and he dared not carry out what he admitted to be the plain duties of his office. He suggested that the delegation that waited upon him urge their brethren to sell their lands in Jackson county. This the saints could not do without repudiating the revelations that designated Jackson county as the land of their inheritance, the place for the gathering together of God's people, and the location of the city of Zion; also it meant an abandonment of their right as citizens of the United States to settle whereever they thought proper to make their homes within the confines of the Union."

With the governor unwilling to fulfill his engagements to the exiles by calling out the militia to reinstate them in their lands; with the inhabitants of western Missouri deeply prejudiced against them, and greatly excited by the arrival of Zion's Camp; and the brethren of the camp, and the exiled brethren, painfully conscious that the saints in the eastern branches of the church had not responded with either sufficient money or men for them to act independently of the governor, take possession of their lands, purchase other lands, and hold them despite the violence of mobs--the necessity of disbanding Zion's camp, and awaiting some future opportunity for the redemption of Zion, was apparent to the minds of its leaders. Accordingly it was disbanded from its encampment on Rush Creek, in Clay county, on the 24th of June, and word to that effect was officially sent to some of the leading citizens of Clay county.

On the eve of disbandment cholera broke out among the members of the camp and within four days thirteen of them died, also some of the Missouri brethren, among whom was Algernon S. Gilbert, the keeper of the "Lord's storehouse."


Before the disbandment of the camp, and even before its arrival in the immediate vicinity of Jackson county, several efforts were made both on the part of the exiled saints and their friends and the "old settlers" of Jackson county to adjust their troubles in some peaceable manner. Through some influential gentleman of Clay county the "old settlers" suggested to Governor Dunklin the plan of dividing Jackson county, that the "old settlers" and the saints could occupy separate territory, and confine themselves within their respective limits, with the exception of the public rights of ingress and egress upon the highway. Replying to this proposition the governor said:

"My first advice would be to the Mormons to sell out their lands in Jackson county, and to settle somewhere else, where they could live in peace, provided they could get a fair price for their lands, and reasonable damages for injuries received. If this failed I would try the citizens, and advise them to meet and rescind their illegal resolves of last summer, and agree to conform to the laws in every particular, in respect to the Mormons."

Should success attend upon neither of these plans then he would favor the plan of dividing the county. "If all these fail," said the governor, in his letter to Colonel Thornton, "then the simple question of legal right would settle it. It is this last that I am afraid I shall have to conform my action to in the end." But when that issue was fairly presented to Governor Dunklin by the application of the exiles to be reinstated upon their lands on the arrival of their brethren from the east, he failed, as we have seen, in his strength to meet the issue, and allowed mob violence and mob fear to over-awe the majesty of the law.

In order to take our final leave of Governor Dunklin and his connection with these unhappy Missouri troubles, it is only necessary to say that subsequent to the matters above related, replying to an appeal made to him as executive of the state, calling attention to a renewal of interference with the saints, Governor Dunklin took a still more cowardly attitude than the one just described; for he then became the apologist for public sentiment and its demands, regardless of whether or not that sentiment was based on truth Or falsehood, for or against law--it still was the public sentiment, and as such was as the voice of God in the American Republic! In proof of which I submit in extenso his letter to the saints on the occasion to which reference is here made:


"City of Jefferson, July 18th, 1836.

"Messrs. W. W. Phelps and others:

"Gentlemen:--The treatment your people have received, and are now receiving, is of extraordinary character, such as is seldom experienced in any country by any people. As an individual I sympathize with you, and as the executive of the state, deeply deplore such a state of things. Your appeal to the executive is a natural one, but a proper understanding of our institutions will show you that yours is a case not for the special cognizance of the executive. It is the case, or, I may say, they are cases of individual wrongs. These, as I have before told you, are subjects for judicial interference; and there are cases sometimes of individual outrage which may be so popular as to render the action of courts of justice nugatory, in endeavoring to afford a remedy. I would refer you to the charge of Judge Lawless, made to the grand jury of St. Louis. Public sentiment may become paramount law; and when one man or society of men become so obnoxious to that sentiment as to determine the people to be rid of him or them, it is useless to run counter to it.

"The time was when the people (except those in Jackson county) were divided, and the major part in your favor; that does not now seem to be the case. Why is this so? Does your conduct merit such censures as exist against you? It is not necessary for me to give my opinion. Your neighbors accuse your people of holding illicit communication with the Indians, and of being opposed to slavery. You deny. Whether the charge or the denial is true I cannot tell. The fact exists and your neighbors seem to believe it true; and whether true or false, the consequences will be the same (if your opponents are not merely gasconading), unless you can, by your conduct and arguments convince them of your innocence. If you cannot do this, all I can say to you is that in this Republic the vox populi is the vox dei.

Yours respectfully,


Another attempt at peaceful settlement Of the troubles existing between the "old settlers" and the saints was made on the 10th of June at Liberty county courthouse, when a delegation from Jackson county and representatives of the exiled saints met with some leading citizens of Clay county to consider propositions presented by the Jackson delegation, which were as follows:

"First. The people of Jackson county will buy all the land the Mormons own in the county of Jackson, and also all the improvements which the Mormons had on any of the public lands as they existed before the first disturbance between the people of Jackson and the Mormons, and for such improvements as they have made since. The valuation of the land and improvements shall be ascertained by three disinterested arbitrators, to be chosen and agreed upon by both parties; should the parties disagree in the choice of the arbitrators, then--is to choose them.

"Twelve Mormons shall be permitted to go with the arbitrators to show them their lands and improvements while they are being valued; and any other Mormons may accompany the arbitrators whom they may desire in order to give them information; and the people of Jackson guarantee their entire safety while doing so.

"When the arbitrators report the value of the land and improvements, the people of Jackson will pay to the Mormons the valuation, with one hundred per cent added thereon, within thirty days thereafter; the Mormons are to agree not to make any effort ever after to settle, either collectively or individually, within the limits of Jackson county; and are to enter into bonds to insure the conveyance of their lands in Jackson county, according to these terms when the payment shall be made, and the committee will enter into a like bond, with such security as shall be sufficient, for the payment of the money according to this proposition. While the arbitrators are investigating and deciding upon the matter referred to them, the Mormons are not to attempt to enter into Jackson county, or to settle there, except such as by these propositions are permitted.

"Second. The people of Jackson will sell all their lands and improvements on public lands in Jackson county to the Mormons, the valuation to be obtained in the same manner, the same per cent to be added, and thirty days allowed for payment as in our proposition to buy: the Mormons to give good security for the payment of the money, and this delegation will give security that the land will be conveyed to the Mormons. All parties to remain as they are till the payment is made, at which time the people of Jackson will give possession."

On these propositions several speeches were made by members of the Jackson delegation, not of a pacificatory character. The Rev. Mr. Riley, a Baptist minister said that the "Mormons" had lived long enough in Clay county; "and they must either clear out, or be cleared out." To which Mr. Turnham the chairman of the meeting answered: "Let us be Republicans; let us honor our country, and not disgrace it like Jackson county. For God's sake don't disfranchise or drive away the Mormons they are better citizens than many of the old inhabitants." A statement with which others in the meeting--there were about one thousand present--agreed by exclamations of approval. The meeting adjourned in the midst of some confusion owing to a dirk fight between two Missourians, but not before the representatives of the exiled saints promised to call a meeting of their people and lay before them the Jackson delegation's proposition; promising also to use their influence to prevent their brethren then coming to their assistance--Zion's camp--from entering Jackson county until an answer had been made to the foregoing propositions.

The same evening, when the Jackson delegation was crossing the Missouri on their return home, the ferry boat suddenly sank and seven out of the twelve on board were drowned.

At first glance it might seem that the proposition of the Jackson county people for the settlement of difficulties between the saints and themselves was fair, since they offered to "buy or sell" upon the same terms. But to the buying proposition were attached such conditions that the saints could not accept it since it required that they bind themselves never again to make any effort "to settle, either collectively or individually, within the limits of Jackson county." Such an agreement could not be made by the saints without repudiating the revelations of God under the injunctions of which they had settled in Jackson county, and began preparations to build the city of Zion; and this the Jackson county people knew.

On the other hand, the proposition that the saints buy out the " old settlers" of Jackson upon the terms proposed was equally impossible. The "old settlers" owned so much more land than the saints did, say thirty acres to one. The saints were not wealthy to begin with; and now, after they had been driven from their homes, robbed of their goods, their cattle driven away, their houses, stables, and stacks of grain burned, they were asked to buy nearly the whole of Jackson county, for which they must pay double price, because they were to add one hundred percent to the appraised value--and make the payment in thirty days! One can scarcely believe the people of Jackson county were sincere in making either offer. They knew that both would have to be rejected, and of course were rejected.

The counter proposition formulated by representatives of the saints, provided that twelve disinterested men be chosen, six by the exiles, six by the people of Jackson county, as arbitrators. These twelve men to say what the possessions of those men were worth that would not consent to live with the "Mormon" people, and they should receive the money for the same in one year from the time the treaty was made, none of the saints to enter Jackson county to reside until the money was paid.

This same company of twelve men was to be empowered to say what the damage was which the "Mormons" sustained in being driven from their homes and in the destruction of their property, the said amount allowed for damages to be deducted from the amount paid for the lands of those who would not consent to live with the saints.

The only reply received to this proposition was in a letter from S. C. Owens to Mr. Amos Reese, attorney for the saints, which plainly said that the Jackson people would listen to nothing like the proposition made by the "Mormons;" and here the hopes of settling the Jackson county trouble by arbitration ended."


It should be remembered that it was Governor Dunklin's own proposition to call out the state militia in order to reinstate the saints in their homes in Jackson county; but when they were finally ready to take that step he refused to perform what throughout he had recognized as his plain duty in the matter--viz., to restore by executive action the saints to the homes from which ruthlessly and without the authority of law they had been driven.

Later he assumed the position that their cases were individual cases, calling for judicial rather than executive cognizance; and ended by telling them that "public sentiment may become paramount to law; and when one man or society of men become so obnoxious to that sentiment as to determine the people to be rid of him or them, it is useless to run counter to it." Public sentiment was thus against the Latter-day saints, they must convince their neighbors by their conduct and argument that they are innocent. "If you can not do this," says the governor, "all I can say to you is that in this Republic the vox populi is the vox dei.

What a mockery then is free, republican government! Under it none may hope to enjoy liberty but those who are willing to move with the tides of popular sentiment--streams oftener influenced by passion than by reason. How precarious is the hold of the inhabitants of such a government upon their liberties depending upon the changing whims of the populace--the populace, which "today will weep a Caesar slain; tomorrow vote a monument to Brutus!" Under such a government what is to become of reformers? Perhaps the fate of reformers of other ages, who have fallen victims to the hatred of popular sentiment will answer the question. What is to become of the weaker parties if all are to be crushed or banished that popular sentiment condemns? For what are governments established if not to protect all, the weak as well as the strong, the despised as well as the favored, in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

What do constitutions amount to if they are not recognized as conservators of liberty, by acting as restraints upon these rash acts of injustice, so frequently prompted by the frenzy of popular sentiment--a sentiment often manufactured by a misrepresentation of the principles and motives of those against whom the injustice is levelled? In popular governments constitutions are adopted for the express purpose of restraining the majority in the exercise of its power, and to guarantee the enjoyment of rights and liberties to the minority--to those out of favor with the popular sentiment of the hour. The tyranny of a majority is known and feared, and hence it is restrained by constitutional provisions, which thus become the bulwarks of freedom, by especially guarding the weak against the strong.

It may be held that in popular governments the constitutions and laws enacted in accordance therewith are but the expressions of popular sentiments. Grant it. But the popular sentiment as expressed in constitutions and laws is very different from that expressed by an excited populace, not unfrequently controlled by demagogues.

Popular sentiment is often created by intemperate speeches, and sustained by misrepresentation. More frequently than otherwise, too, the so-called popular sentiment is but the sentiment of the active minority rather than of a majority of the people who may be merely indifferent to the question at issue. But the popular sentiment as expressed by laws and constitutions is adopted in legislative halls where right reason has a chance to assist in forming the sentiment; and where a decent respect for the long established maxims of justice and liberty will be taken into consideration, and will influence the legislature in forming the rules for the action of the people. When popular sentiment is expressed in constitutions and laws, and they are enforced the citizens are, in a measure at least, secure from oppression and sudden destruction; but what guarantee have the people against injustice being done, if an inconsiderate, frenzied, popular sentiment is to be enforced--a sentiment that falsehood creates and that passion directs? None whatever. And should the citizens of the American Republic finally be persuaded to regard the prejudiced and excited voice of the populace as the voice of God--as Governor Dunklin of Missouri did in the case of the Latter-day saints--they may as well prepare themselves to see free government perish from the earth.


Of the extent of the property injuries inflicted upon the saints in this Jackson county persecution I would add that according to a statement made in a petition to congress for redress of their Jackson county grievances, it is represented that "the houses of the Mormons in the county of Jackson, amounting to about two hundred, were burned down or otherwise destroyed by the mob, as well as much of their crops, furniture, and stock. The damage done to the property of the Mormons by the mob in the county of Jackson, as above related, as near as they can ascertain, would amount to the sum of $175,000,00. The number of Mormons driven from the county of Jackson amounted to about twelve hundred souls." The above does not include the valuation of their lands of which they were dispossessed.

According to a statement made in an affidavit before the municipal court of Nauvoo, Parley P. Pratt also states that the number driven from the county was twelve hundred, and that two hundred and three houses were destroyed. Lyman Wight in an affidavit before the same body also says of the mob, that "they burned two hundred and three houses and one gristmill, these being the only residences of the saints in Jackson county."



After the disbandment of Zion's camp the Prophet proceeded to organize the saints in western Missouri--chiefly located in Clay county--into a "stake of Zion," by the organization of a "high council" and a "stake presidency." David Whitmer was chosen president and W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer were selected for his counselors. The high council consists of twelve high priests, and with the presidency of the stake constitute an ecclesiastical court of both original and appellate jurisdiction, but primarily it was organized for settling important difficulties which could not be settled in the bishop's court to the satisfaction of the contesting parties. The first high council of the church had been organized at Kirtland, of which the presidency of the church were acting as presidents.

This work accomplished, the Prophet and the most of those who had come with him in Zion's camp returned to Kirtland, which for several years will be the center of ecclesiastical activity.

The press which the church had established in Jackson county in 1831, the mob, in December, 1833, permitted the firm of Davis & Kelley, of Clay county, to take over to Liberty where they began the publication of the Missouri Enquirer; and in payment for the press said firm of Davis & Kelley turned over to the attorneys employed by the saints three hundred dollars on the one thousand dollar conjoint note the brethren of Jackson county had given as a "retaining fee" to Messrs. Woods, Reese, Doniphan and Atchison, their attorneys. Not much return of property to the church on a printing press which, with the bookbindery, eighteen months before, had cost between four and five thousand dollars!

Another press, however, was promptly procured by the church and set up at Kirtland, where, in December, 1833, was resumed the publication of the Evening and Morning Star. It was changed however, from quarto to octavo form, and in time all the previous numbers published in Missouri were reprinted. Also the publication of the revelations given in the New Dispensation which had been interrupted by destruction of the printing office at Independence was resumed; but the title of the collection was changed from "The Book of Commandments" to "The Book of Doctrine and Covenants." It issued from the press in August, 1835; and in all subsequent editions--of which there are many--that title has been retained. It is recognized as one of the standard works of the church: that is, one of the books of scripture, together with the three other books accepted by the church as scripture, viz: The Bible, Book of Mormon, and The Pearl of Great Price.


The journey of "Zion's camp" to Missouri, since it failed of its purpose to reinstate the saints in possession of their lands in Jackson county, was regarded by some as being an unprofitable, and an unmeaning episode. It was far from that. Undoubtedly the most important thing in life is experience, and every experience has a value. It was so with this expedition of Zion's camp. A brother in Kirtland--one too weak in the faith to go with the camp--meeting Brigham Young on his return from Missouri, said to him: "Well, what did you gain on this useless journey to Missouri with Joseph Smith?" "All we went for," promptly replied Brigham Young. "I would not exchange the experience I gained in that expedition for all the wealth of Geauga county" --the county in which Kirtland was then located. Certainly in the camp's journey of more than a thousand miles there were experiences enough. There were dissensions and rebellions within the camp; there were threatening portents and hostile demonstrations from without. There were fatigues to endure, hardships to encounter, disappointments to sustain. All these experiences became serviceable to a large number of the two hundred men who participated in them; for of that company more than a score became the leaders--captains and lieutenants --in two great exoduses; the first, but four years in the future, involving the removal of twelve thousand people from the state of Missouri to Illinois; and the other, twelve years beyond in the future, of the Missouri-Illinois event, viz., the great western exodus of more than twenty thousand Latter-day Saints from Illinois to the Salt Lake and other Rocky Mountain valleys. Viewed, then, in the light of a preparatory training for the larger enterprises awaiting these men, the Zion's camp movement was of immense value to the church.


In another way also this Zion's camp episode was turned to good account. On Saturday the 14th of February, 1835, a two days convention or conference was convened, at which, after a week's notice, those brethren who had accompanied the Prophet to Missouri in the camp were called together, and it was announced that from their numbers would be chosen the quorum of the twelve apostles and their assistants in the work of the foreign ministry of the church, the seventy.

As early as June, 1829, it was made known that there would be twelve apostles chosen in the New Dispensation; and they were to be chosen by the three special witnesses to the Book of Mormon. The twelve apostles are called to be the special witnesses of the name of the Christ in all the world, thus differing from other officers of the church in the duties of their calling. They would also constitute a traveling, presiding high council, and officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the presidency of the church, to build up the church and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations. They would hold the keys of the foreign ministry of the church and open the door for the proclamation of the gospel in all nations. To assist the twelve special witnesses, quorums of seventy were to be appointed whose calling is apostolic in its character, for they, too, are to be special witnesses of the Christ in all the world, and are to act in the name of the Lord under the direction of the twelve "in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations." The quorum of the twelve are declared to be "equal in authority and power" to the presidency of the church; and the first quorum of the seventy form a quorum "equal in authority to the quorum of the twelve apostles."

Such were the new quorums of priesthood to be organized; and the Prophet explained to the meeting of the members of Zion's camp that the trials and sufferings endured on that journey to Missouri were not in vain, for it was the will of God "that those who went to Zion with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time."

It was with impressive formality that this special conference of the church proceeded to the selection and the ordination of the twelve apostles. The Prophet read at, the opening of the conference the 15th chapter of St. John; the appropriateness of it is striking. In it is stressed the needed union with the Christ. So close that it must be as the branch to the vine, if it would have life; love so great that it will not withhold life as a sacrifice to friendship and greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;" the apostles are declared to be friends to the Christ. "Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you and ordained you that ye may bring forth much fruit." "Love one another;" and "if the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. * * * the servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me they will persecute you. * * * They hated me without a cause. * * * But when the Comforter is come * * * even the Spirit of Truth ** * he will testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness." How fitting the scripture to the occasion!

Then followed the setting forth of the proposition for the three witnesses to choose the other twelve witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ, or the twelve apostles, as already commanded in an earlier revelation. The Prophet submitted the question to the conference if they would approve carrying out the plan proposed. It was unanimously approved. After extended remarks the Prophet expressed a desire for "the brethren" to say if they would "be satisfied to have the spirit of the Lord dictate in the choice of the elders to be apostles. Whereupon all the elders present expressed their anxious desire to have it so."

At this point the conference recessed for one hour.

When it convened again in the afternoon, the following hymn was sung:

"Hark! listen to the trumpeters!

They sound for volunteers,

On Zion's bright and flowery mount

Behold the officers.

"Their horses white, their armor bright.

With courage bold they stand,

Enlisting soldiers for their king,

To march to Zion's land.

"We want no cowards in our band,

Who will our colors fly,

We call for valiant-hearted men,

Who're not afraid to die.

"To see our armies on parade,

How martial they appear!

All armed and dressed in uniform,

They look like men of war.

"They follow their great General,

The great Eternal Lamb- His garments stained in his own blood- King Jesus is His name.

The Prophet, after the hymn, called upon the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, each one to pray in turn--the same order that was followed when they sought the testimony from God of the truth of the Book of Mormon. After the prayer the three witnesses were blessed by the laying on of the hands of the first presidency, and then proceeded to choose the twelve men to be the apostles. Their names are as follows:













These men were called up for ordination in groups of three. The first group were:




The second group:




The third group:




Elder Heber C. Kimball adds the interesting remark respecting the ordination of the first group of three: "After we had been thus ordained by these brethren [he refers to the three witnesses], the first presidency [then Joseph Smith, the Prophet, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, his counselors], laid their hands on us and confirmed these blessings and ordinations, and likewise predicted many things which should come to pass."

The other three apostles, Parley P. Pratt, Thomas B. Marsh, and Orson Pratt were not present at this conference, but were ordained shortly afterwards, viz., Parley P. Pratt on the 21st of February, by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer (Martin Harris is not named as being present); Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Pratt (both having been absent from Kirtland on missions at the time of the special conference at which the twelve were called) were ordained on the 26th of April.

All these apostles after they were ordained were given a solemn charge as to their responsibilities and duties, chiefly by Oliver Cowdery.

Two weeks following the choosing of the twelve apostles the first quorum of the seventy was organized, its membership also being selected from the members of Zion's camp. The organization of the first seventy was effected on the 28th of February, 1835. The names of the first seven presidents chosen were as follows:








It was apparently overlooked, at the time, that presidents of the seventy are to be "chosen out of the number of the seventy;" for it was discovered later that of the above seven brethren all but Joseph Young and Levi W. Hancock had been high priests. Afterwards, viz., on the sixth of April, 1837, on the occasion of a general assembly of the priesthood at Kirtland, the Prophet Joseph invited those brethren among the presidents of seventy who had been high priests to take their places in the high priests' quorum.

There is some discrepancy between Joseph Young's account and other writers as to the time when the five high priests, who had been ordained presidents of the seventy, were transferred to the high priests' quorum. Joseph Young places it in November, 1835; the Prophet in April, 1837. James Foster, Daniel S. Miles, Josiah Butterfield, Salmon Gee and John Gaylord, were ordained to take the place of the five retiring brethren. It was reported that Levi W. Hancock, who was absent from Kirtland at the time, had previously been ordained a high priest, and John Gould was put in his place in the first council. When Elder Hancock returned to Kirtland during the summer of 1837, however, it was ascertained that it was a mistake about his having been ordained a high priest, and John Gould was taken into the high priests' quorum, and Levi W. Hancock was retained in the first council. The first council as finally settled upon in that organization, and at that time, stood as follows:








The names of the members of this first quorum are given in the History of the Church, Period I, Vol. II, Ch, xiii. The Prophet stated that the Organization of "the first quorum of seventy was according to the vision and revelations which I have received." Also he stated, at the special conference called for choosing the twelve, that "the meeting had been called because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit." At the meeting called for selecting the seventy, 28th February, 1835, the Prophet explained that "the seventies are to constitute traveling quorums to go into all the earth, whithersoever the twelve apostles shall send them."

When these organizations, the twelve and the seventy, were completed, the Prophet remarked:

"Brethren, some of you are angry with me, because you did not fight in Missouri; but let me tell you, God did not want you to fight. He could not organize his kingdom with twelve men to open the gospel door to the nations of the earth, and with seventy men under their direction to follow in their tracks, unless he took them from a body of men who had offered their lives, and who had made as great a sacrifice as did Abraham. Now the Lord has got his twelve and his seventy, and there will be other quorums of seventy called, who will make the sacrifice, and those who have not made their sacrifices and their offerings now, will make them hereafter."


In the interim, however, the responsibility of their new calling had a sobering effect upon the minds of the twelve elders called to this new responsibility of apostleship. Introspective and retrospective reflection revealed to them that they had not realized the importance of their calling; they had been light-minded and, vain, "and in many things had done wrong;" all this they confessed at their council meeting held on the 28th of March, 1835. "For all these things," they record in the minutes of the meeting of that day, "we have asked the forgiveness of our heavenly Father; and wherein we have grieved or wounded the feelings of the presidency, we ask their forgiveness." In view of their early departure for their first mission, they said, in the minutes of their first meeting: "We * * * feel to ask him whom we have acknowledged to be our Prophet and Seer, that he inquire of God for us and obtain a revelation (if consistent) that we may look upon it when we are separated, that our hearts may be comforted. We have unitedly asked our heavenly Father to grant unto us through his Seer a revelation of his mind and will; * * * even a great revelation that will enlarge our hearts, comfort us in adversity, and brighten our hopes amidst the powers of darkness."

This communication they sent to the Prophet, and the same day, "in compliance with the above request," the Prophet inquired of the Lord and received a very important revelation on "priesthood" and the relationship of the respective quorums to each other and to the church. It is a divine outgiving of such importance that it may not be passed without consideration, nor may the genius of Latter-day Saint church government be understood without analytical knowledge of this revelation.

It is to be observed that this revelation comes in answer to an earnest petition from the newly organized important quorum of the church, the twelve apostles; and the answer was immediate; that is as to the first fifty-seven verses of the revelation; they were given on the same day the request for the revelation was made; the remainder was revealed at sundry times and added to it. All this is explained in the introduction to the revelation at the head of it in many editions of the Doctrine and Covenants previous to the edition of 1921; see edition of 1911, etc., and back of that edition to earlier dates.

It is to be observed also that the revelation was given on the same principle that most of the revelations of the New Dispensation were given, viz., upon a desire to know; and upon earnest inquiry of the Lord. "Ask and ye shall receive;" "seek and ye shall find," seems to have been the principle on which the Lord has proceeded with reference to giving revelations. For instance, the Lord revealed himself and his Son Jesus Christ to the Prophet Joseph in answer to the latter's earnest prayer to know the truth respecting the various religions; Moroni came three years later in response to the young Prophet's earnest prayer to know his standing before the Lord; nearly all the early revelations to individuals in the church, to Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Knight, Sen., David, Peter, John, and Christian Whitmer, were given in answer to the inquiry of these men to know their duty in respect of the work of the Lord then coming forth. And so throughout with nearly all the revelations, including this revelation--as we have seen--on priesthood and church government.

The first five verses as they now stand in the current editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, constitute an introduction to the whole revelation at once bold, original and unique; and goes far towards establishing the inspiration by which the Prophet speaks. Listen:

"There are, in the church, two priesthoods, namely, the Melchizedek and Aaronic, including the Levitical priesthood.

"Why the first is called the Melchizedek priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest. Before his day it was called the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek priesthood. All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood."

Where else may one find such information as this? Of itself it is a scrap of history brought from some archive of knowledge accessible only to the inspiration of God.

The revelation goes on to recognize two "grand heads" in priesthood, named, respectively, the Melchizedek and the Aaronic priesthoods.

The Melchizedek priesthood holds the right of presidency and has power and authority over all the offices of the church "in all ages of the world to administer in spiritual things."

The second or Aaronic priesthood is so called because it was "conferred upon Aaron and his seed throughout his generations." It is called the lesser priesthood. "Why it is called the lesser priesthood is because it is an appendage to the Melchizedek priesthood, and has power in administering in outward ordinances."

Each of these priesthoods has a presidency. The president of the high priesthood is to be a high priest.

"Wherefore it must needs be that one be appointed of the high priesthood to preside over the priesthood, and he shall be called president of the high priesthood of the church; or presiding high priest over the high priesthood of the church. From the same comes the administering of ordinances and blessings upon the church by the laying on of the hands."

Thence comes also the holding of "the keys of the kingdom, which belong always unto the presidency of the high priesthood." Though one is to be "president of the high priesthood of he church," he may be, and is to be assisted by counselors. Thus the Lord to Frederick G. Williams in the revelation just referred to above, where he calls upon him to heed the calling to which he has just been called--"even to be a high priest in my church," said the Lord, "and a counselor unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., unto whom I have given the keys of my kingdom, which belong always unto the presidency of the high priesthood."

In a subsequent revelation it was made known that Sidney Rigdon was called to be a counselor to the Prophet in this same capacity, viz., a counselor in the presidency of the high priesthood: The Lord announced in this revelation (given on the 8th of March, 1833) that he had forgiven the sins of his servant the Prophet, as also the sins of Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, "and they are accounted as equal with thee [the Prophet] in holding the keys of this last kingdom; as also through your administration the keys of the school of the prophets, which I have commanded to be organized that they [members of the school] may be perfected in their ministry for the salvation of Zion and of the nations of Israel, and of the Gentiles, as many as will believe." Ten days following this revelation, viz., on the 18th day of March, 1833, on the occasion of the high priests being assembled in the school of the prophets, Elders Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams expressed their desire to be ordained to the office to which they had been called, viz., "those of presidents of the high priesthood, and to be equal with me [the Prophet] in holding the keys of the kingdom, according to the revelation given on the 8th of March, 1833." "Accordingly," says the Prophet, "I laid my hands on Brothers Sidney and Frederick, and ordained them to take part with me in holding the keys of this last kingdom, and to assist in the presidency of the high priesthood as my counselors."

Following the organization of the quorum of the twelve, steps were immediately taken to begin their official labors in the ministry, and an extended tour was projected throughout the branches in the eastern states, to extend to the Atlantic ocean. At a meeting on the 12th of March it was decided that the twelve should leave Kirtland on this mission on the 4th of May, with a conference to be held at Kirtland two days earlier.


The organization of the presidency of the high priesthood had begun sometime previous to this, viz., in January, 1832. The Prophet Joseph had been chosen and ordained president of the high priesthood of the church" at a conference of high priests and elders and members of the church held at Amherst, Lorain county, Ohio, on the 25th of January, 1832; and this action had been confirmed by another general council of the church held in "Zion" [Independence, Mo.] on the 26th of April, 1832. "The right hand of fellowship was given to me by the bishop, Edward Partridge, in behalf of the church," says the Prophet. "The scene was solemn, impressive and delightful." And now by the appointment of these two counselors, and their ordination the presidency of the high priesthood of the church was established.

Meantime, Oliver Cowdery had returned from "Zion," that is, Independence, Missouri, where he had been for some time. He had been sustained, it will be remembered, as "the second elder" in the church at its first organization, Joseph Smith being sustained as the "first elder." When he returned to Kirtland he found the "presidency of the high priesthood" existing as set forth above. "Being met together on the 5th of December, 1834, with Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams and Oliver Cowdery, and having under consideration the welfare of the church," says the Prophet, "according to the direction of the Spirit * * * I laid my hands on Brother Oliver Cowdery and ordained him an assistant president; saying these words: `In the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified for the sins of the world, I lay my hands upon thee, and ordain thee an assistant president to the high and holy priesthood, in the Church of the Latter-day Saints'."


We next turn to the presidency of the lesser or Aaronic priesthood of the church. "The bishopric," is declared to be, "the presidency of this priesthood," by the revelation we here are considering. And this holds both in the matter of the presiding bishop of the church--meaning the bishop of the whole church--as presiding over the whole Aaronic priesthood of the church, as also local bishops in respective bishop's wards presiding over the Aaronic priesthood in their individual wards. Already we have learned that this lesser priesthood is so called because it is "an appendage to the greater or higher priesthood, and has power in administering, more especially, "outward ordinances." "No man has a legal right to this office to hold the keys of this priesthood"--be a bishop except he be a literal descendant of Aaron. But as a high priest of the Melchizedek priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power by the hands of the presidency of the Melchizedek priesthood."

Each of these priesthoods is graded off into direct and regular quorums as follows: Of the Melchizedek priesthood the quorums are high priests, seventies, and elders; of the Aaronic, or lesser priesthood, the quorums are, priests, teachers and deacons. The respective duties, callings, and relations of these several officers in the priesthood and of the respective quorums and their relationship with each other, will receive consideration in a future chapter.


This revelation here under review, however, outlines three great councils of the priesthood to which attention should be called, these are:

The First Presidency: There are to be three "presiding high priests" of the Melchizedek priesthood, "chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office and upheld by the confidence, faith and prayer of the church: These form a quorum of the presidency of the church." And in as much as "the presidency of the high priesthood" of the church, always hold "the keys of the kingdom," of course the presidency of that high priesthood becomes the presidency of the church. "The duty of the president of the office of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses. -Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church."

The Twelve Apostles: Next to the first presidency is the quorum of the twelve traveling councilors, called to be the twelve apostles, "or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world--thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. * * * The twelve are a traveling presiding high council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the presidency of the church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews. * * * The twelve being sent out, holding the keys to open the door by the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and first unto the Gentiles and then unto the Jews. * * * It is the duty of the traveling high council to call upon the seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel, instead of any others."

The Seventy: Following the twelve apostles as a council in the Melchizedek priesthood, is the first quorum of the seventy.

"The seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world--thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. And they form a quorum equal in authority to that of the twelve special witnesses or apostles just named. * * * The seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the twelve or the traveling high council, in building up the church and regulating all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and then to the Jews."

"* * * And it is according to the vision showing the order of the seventy, that they should have seven presidents to preside over them, chosen out of the number of the seventy; and the seventh president of these presidents is to preside over the six; and these seven presidents are to choose other seventy besides the first seventy to whom they belong, and are to preside over them; and also other seventy, until seven times seventy, if the labor in the vineyard of necessity requires it. And these seventy are to be traveling ministers, unto the Gentiles first and also unto the Jews. Whereas other officers of the church, who belong not unto the twelve, neither to the seventy, are not under the responsibility to travel among all nations, but are to travel as their circumstances shall allow, notwithstanding they may hold as high and responsible offices in the church."

Of these several quorums acting as councils on questions that may be in issue before them, it is said: "Every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other--a majority may form a quorum when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise--unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchizedek, and were righteous and holy men. The decisions of these quorums or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long-suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity; because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. And in case that any decision of these quorums is made in unrighteousness, it may be brought before a general assembly of the several quorums, which constitute the spiritual authorities of the church; otherwise there can be no appeal from their decision."


Patriarchs: "It is the duty of the twelve in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated Unto them by revelation--the order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:"

Then the line of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah is given. The nature of this office is sufficiently set forth in the passage given from the revelations. (See citations in note 37). It is a new application of the term "evangelist" to call these special officers in the church "evangelical ministers", since there is no such use made commonly of the term "evangelists." Elsewhere in the revelations these evangelists are called "patriarchs."

Presiding Patriarch of the Church: It will be observed that the twelve apostles are to ordain "evangelical ministers" in "large branches of the church." Also there is provided a presiding patriarch over all the patriarchs of the church, and he is known as the presiding patriarch of the church, holding the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of the Lord's people; the knowledge also through the inspiration of the Spirit of the Lord, of their tribal relations in Israel, and the blessings and powers to which they may attain on conditions of their faithfulness. All the patriarchs, or "evangelists" chosen "in all large branches of the church" by the apostles participate, of course, in all these spiritual powers, graces, and rights of this office in the priesthood, but the patriarchs of the respective "large branches of the church" are limited in their jurisdiction of blessing and designation of tribal relations and ancestry to the respective jurisdictions assigned them. The presiding patriarch over the patriarchs of the church, however, is not so limited, since his jurisdiction in the line of his calling extends throughout the church, and he presides over, instructs and directs the labors of all the patriarchs of the church.

The first general, or presiding patriarch of the church in the New Dispensation was Joseph Smith, Sen., father of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jun. He was ordained to that office by Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, who at the time were the presidency of the Melchizedek priesthood, on the 18th of December, 1834, at Kirtland, Ohio. At the same time he was made president of the high priests at Kirtland; and also was active in mission work of the church as well as in giving patriarchal blessings to the people.

All these officers: the first presidency, the council or quorum of the twelve apostles, the council or first quorum of the seventy, the patriarchs, with all among them who may be designated as "prophets," "seers," and "revelators"--all pertain to the higher or Melchizedek priesthood, possession of which is a pre-requisite to any of these positions in the church.

Judiciary Elements: Also there is outlined, in the revelation considered, the elements of a judiciary system, and especially as related to the trial of the president of the high priesthood of the church. Bishops are to be descendants of the house of Aaron in order to have legal right to that priesthood; in that case one may act without counselors in his office of bishop; provided, of course, he shall be properly designated and ordained under the hands or by the direction of the first presidency of the Melchizedek priesthood. Then "the descendant of Aaron," properly chosen and appointed, may act alone in the office of bishop in administering all temporal things; "having a knowledge of them by the spirit of truth;" also he may act as a judge in Israel, to do the business of the church, to sit in judgment upon transgressors upon testimony, to be a common judge in Israel; his court is one of record; and this in any ward or stake in Zion where he may act. Thus the descendant of Aaron may act as a bishop in the church without counselors, except in the case of the president of the high priesthood being tried before him, explained later.

When no literal descendant of Aaron may be found to act in this office of bishop, then, as a high priest of the Melchizedek priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of bishop, but he must be assisted by two counselors who are also to be high priests of the Melchizedek priesthood.

When acting as a judge in Israel before whom a president of the high priesthood is to be tried, then "twelve high priests of the Melchizedek order" are to be chosen to act as counselors to the bishop who is a literal descendant of Aaron, or to the bishopric, when three high priests are acting as said bishopric. "And in as much as a president of the high priesthood shall transgress," he shall be had in remembrance before the bishop as described above. "And their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him. Thus none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God, that all things may be done in order and in solemnity before him, according to truth and righteousness."

Such in outline is the developing organization of the church.


Meantime the temple, begun in the summer of 1833, was completed and dedicated in March, 1836, with imposing ceremonies which extended through several days. A number of visions and revelations were received: The Savior appeared and proclaimed his acceptance of the temple and of the saints as his people; Moses appeared and restored the keys of the gathering of Israel; Elias appeared and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham; Elijah came in fulfillment of the words of Malachi "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers," preparatory to the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

From this visitation of Elijah comes the doctrine of vicarious work for the dead, by which the principles and ordinances of the gospel are applied to the dead: "For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."

The dedication of the temple was a notable occasion, as making for the spiritual development of the saints, and the reported visions and other spiritual manifestations therein created a sensation throughout northern Ohio.

The temple facing the east occupies a site that commands a noble view of the surrounding country. Its outside measurements are sixty by eighty feet; the heighth to the square, is fifty feet; to the top of the tower one hundred and ten feet. The ground floor was designed for the ordinary public meetings of the church, for Sunday worship, prayer and sacramental meetings; the hall on the second floor was the meeting place of the "school of the prophets"--the priesthood, and in the attic are five class rooms; In the front of the building are four vestibule rooms; two on each main floor. The building is of stone covered with a fine quality of stucco which is still (1929) in a good state of preservation. The building cost $40,000; and when the conditions under which it was built are taken into account, the saints, few in number and generally poor, it stands as a monument of faith in God and devotion to his revealed purposes.


A biographical note of Elder Phelps, will be found in chapter xxi of this work. As may be learned from the text of this History he was placed in charge of the publishing house of the church in Zion, Independence, Missouri; was prominent in all the Jackson county troubles, and made one of the presidency of the stake in Clay county when it became apparent that the exiled saints could not return to their homes in Jackson county. In the biographical sketch above referred to, it is stated that he was a writer of considerable ability and that a number of hymns, the most characteristic of Latter-day Saint thought stand to his credit. He was especially prolific of hymns about the time of the dedication of the Kirtland temple, and four composed by him were sung in the dedicatory services. The following perhaps is the most spirited, and is still frequently sung in the general conferences and other gatherings of the church.


The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!

The latter-day glory begins to come forth;

The visions and blessings of old are returning,

The angels are coming to visit the earth.


We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven- Hosanna, hosanna, to God and the Lamb!

Let glory to them in the highest be given,

Henceforth and forever: amen and amen.

The Lord is extending the saints' understanding,

Restoring their judges and all as at first;

The knowledge and power of God are expanding;

The veil o'er the earth is beginning to burst.

We'll sing and we'll shout, etc.

We'll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,

To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,

That we through our faith may begin to inherit

The visions and blessings and glories of God.

We'll sing and we'll shout, etc.

We'll wash and be washed, and with oil anointed,

Withal not omitting the washing of feet;

For he that receiveth his penny appointed

Must surely be clean at the harvest of wheat.

We'll sing and we'll shout, etc.

Old Israel, that fled from the world for his freedom,

Must come with the cloud and the pillar amain;

A Moses and Aaron and Joshua lead him,

And feed him on manna from heaven again.

We'll sing and we'll shout, etc.

How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion

Shall lie down together without any ire,

And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,

As Jesus descends with his chariots of fire!

We'll sing and we'll shout, etc.



It is necessary now to relate events of a different order than those of mob violence. The unlikelihood of very soon reestablishing Zion, in Jackson county, together with the general Uncertainty of affairs in Missouri pertaining to the saints, made it imperative that Kirtland should be enlarged and maintained as the headquarters of church activity. As already stated in a previous chapter, on the return of the elders from the Zion camp expedition, the foreign ministry of the church, represented in the quorums of the twelve and the seventy, was organized and its duties defined. The temple was hastened to its completion, and dedicated; the Evening and Morning Star, the church periodical, was discontinued with the September number of 1834, and succeeded by the Messenger and Advocate, which was regarded as a more appropriate title for a periodical of the New Dispensation, which had both a message to deliver and a cause to advocate. About this time also a change was made in the title of the church. Up until now the organization had been called by its members the "Church of Christ" or "The Church of Jesus Christ," but by non-members the "Mormon Church," and "Mormonites." In the hope of establishing a more distinctive title,--and perhaps in the hope of escaping the term "Mormonite" --at a conference of elders in Kirtland, over which President Joseph Smith presided, held on the 3rd of May, 1834, a resolution was passed to the effect that the church thereafter should be known as "The Church of the Latter-day Saints." The heading of the conference minutes, however, begins with these words: "Minutes of a conference of the elders of the Church of Christ," etc. This is pointed out in order that it may be seen that while the conference aforesaid adopted the title, "The Church of the Latter-day Saints," and the church officially for some time was called by that name, it was not the intention to regard the church as any other than the "Church of Christ." Subsequently, namely, on the 26th of April, 1838, the matter of the name of the church was finally settled by revelation--"Thus shall my Church be called in the last days," said the Lord, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." The appropriateness of this title is self-evident, and in it there is a beautiful recognition of the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the saints to the organization. It is "The Church of Jesus Christ." He owns it, for he organized it. It is his, for he gave himself for it. It is the sacred depository of his truth. It is his instrumentality for promulgating all those spiritual truths in which he would have mankind instructed. It is also the Christ's instrumentality for the perfecting of the saints, as well as for the work of the ministry. It is the Christ's church in all these respects; but it is an institution which also belongs to the saints. It is their refuge from the confusion and religious doubt of the world. It is their instructor in principle, doctrine, and righteousness. It is their guide in matters of faith and morals. They have a conjoint ownership in it with Jesus Christ, which ownership is recognized in the latter part of the title. "The Church * * * of Latter-day Saints," is equivalent to "The Church of Jesus Christ," and "The Church of the Latter-day Saints."


For some time there was a season of joy and gladness in Kirtland for the saints. The school for the elders in the temple went steadily on. During the week Professor H. M. Hawes conducted the "Kirtland High School," where, in addition to the English branches, the classics were taught; and Professor Joshua Seixas was employed to conduct a class in Hebrew which was well and enthusiastically attended by a number of leading elders, including the Prophet. In the evenings the various temple rooms were quite generally occupied by the different quorums of priesthood. On Thursday night a weekly prayer meeting was held in the main hall of the lower story, conducted by the father of the Prophet, now the presiding patriarch of the church, and vocal music was taught to members of the choir on several evenings of the week, On Sundays the temple was crowded with eager worshipers from far and near, and Kirtland was indeed a center of educational and religious activity. From thence elders were sent throughout the United States and into Canada, which was the first country to receive the message of the New Dispensation outside of the United States. Elder Orson Pratt preached the first discourse in Canada at Potten, north of the state of Vermont, on the 20th of July, 1833. In October of the same year the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon performed a brief mission in upper Canada, accompanied by Freeman Nickerson. They held meetings in Mount Pleasant, near Brantford, the shire town of Brant county; also in Waterford, in the adjoining county of Norfolk. About sixteen were baptized and Freeman A. Nickerson (a relative of the Freeman Nickerson who accompanied the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon on their mission) was ordained an elder and appointed to preside over the newly made converts. Subsequently, namely, in 1836, Elder Parley P. Pratt under very interesting circumstances went to the city of Toronto and preached the gospel in that city and the surrounding country. Among his early converts in Toronto was John Taylor, who afterwards became prominently associated with Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, was made one of the twelve apostles, and became the third president of the church, succeeding Brigham Young, in that high office.

From Canada the work finally extended into England in the following manner. Several of the saints in Canada had friends and relatives in England, to whom, by letter, they gave an account of the opening and progress of the New Dispensation of the gospel; and at length, Joseph Fielding, Isaac Russell, John Goodson and John Snyder became anxious to proclaim the gospel in England.


About this time the darkest days had fallen upon Kirtland. The spirit of apostasy was rife. No quorum of the church was free from it. Five of the quorum Of the twelve at one time were in league with the enemies of the Prophet, and it would seem that every evil power had combined to make an end of the New Dispensation so recently established. In many constitutions of American states it is written that frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the perpetuity of free government. The doctrine of frequent recurrence to fundamental principles holds not only in civil government, but as well in ecclesiastical organizations. The primary mission given to the church was to make proclamation of the truth deposited with her to the world. She was established to be God's instrumentality for teaching the truth to all nations. The gospel restored "in the hour of God's judgment" was to be preached "to every nation and kindred and tongue and people." The closer the church adheres to this mission the greater will be her security from the "gates of hell" which seek to prevail against her. And hence it happened that in these darkest Kirtland days there was a recurrence to fundamental principles. "God revealed it to me," says the Prophet, "that something new must be done for the salvation of his church." That "something new" was to send the gospel to England under apostolic commission. The inspiration of the spirit led the Prophet on the 4th of June (Sunday) to go to Heber C. Kimball, then sitting in the temple, and to say to him: "Brother Heber, the spirit of the Lord has whispered to me: Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my gospel, and open the door of salvation to that nation." A few days later Orson Hyde, also of the quorum of the twelve, and Elder Willard Richards, a recent convert to the faith, were appointed to accompany Elder Kimball, and these three brethren with the four Canadian brethren already named comprised the mission to England, the first foreign mission undertaken under the New Dispensation of the gospel.

We must now consider the calamitous events which befell the saints in Kirtland. As already stated the unlikelihood of any way soon reestablishing Zion, in Jackson county, as a center of church activity, made it imperative that something like permanency be given to the operations of the church in Kirtland. In pursuance of this purpose the leading elders of the church and the saints, as far as they had means to participate in such movements, purchased tracts of land in Kirtland and vicinity, and platted them into town lots with a view of establishing a city of some pretensions. In addition to their printing establishment, a steam sawmill was installed and a tannery founded--both proved to be unprofitable investments and failed. The mercantile establishments were enlarged and an extensive stock of goods purchased on credit. The lands purchased for the expansion of Kirtland were bought at excessively high prices, and also upon credit; but the expected gathering of the saints from the east and elsewhere, who would be able to purchase the lands, failed of realization; and the platted lands were largely left on the hands of the first purchasers. The poor came, in considerable numbers, even to the embarrassment of the presiding authorities of the church; but these could not build up the city where means for purchasing lots, building homes and establishing manufactures and other industries was the first requisite. The saints, also, it must be admitted, lived extravagantly on borrowed money. They had entered into that spirit of reckless speculation which for several years had been rife throughout the United States, and which expressed itself chiefly in land speculations and in excessive banking, culminating in the disastrous financial panic of 1837. In order that it may be seen--after frankly admitting, the folly and sin of the saints in these matters--that the financial failures of the saints at Kirtland were not purely local, nor due to any principle connected with "Mormonism," but were part of a general financial and industrial maelstrom that swept through the country, I quote the following from Alexander H. Stephens' History of the United States:

"Soon after Mr. Van Buren became president occurred a great commercial crisis. This was in April, 1837, and was occasioned by a reckless spirit of speculation, which had, for two or three preceding years, been fostered and encouraged by excessive banking, and the consequent expansion of paper currency beyond all the legitimate wants of the country. During the months of March and April of this year the failures in New York City alone amounted to over $ 100,000,000. This state of affairs became so distressing, that petitions were sent to the president from several quarters, and a deputation of merchants and bankers of New York waited upon him in person, and solicited him to defer the immediate collection of duties, for which bonds had been given, and to rescind the treasury orders which had been issued under Jackson's administration, requiring dues to the government to be paid in specie. They also asked that an extra session of congress should be called to adopt measures of relief. He granted their request so far only as to suspend suits on bonds, which had been given for the collection of duties. In a few days after his response to this deputation was made known in New York, all the banks in that city stopped specie payments, and their example was soon followed by nearly all the banks in all the states. In this emergency, Mr. Van Buren was compelled to convene an extra session of congress, to provide for meeting demands on the treasury with legal currency. He accordingly summoned the twenty-fifth congress to meet at the capitol on the 4th day of September, 1837. The session lasted five or six weeks. In his message to congress, Mr. Van Buren assigned as the causes of the unhappy condition of the country, the excessive issues of bank paper; the great fire in New York, December, 1835; the large investments that had been made in unproductive lands, and other speculative enterprises. To meet the exigencies of the treasury, as well as to provide for the public relief, as far as to them seemed proper, congress passed an act authorizing the issue of treasury notes to the amount of $10,000,000."

Another authority says:

"The great extent of the business operations of the country at that time, and their intimate connection with each other, extended the evil throughout all the channels of trade; causing, in the first place, a general failure of the mercantile interests--affecting, through them, the business of the mechanic and the farmer, nor stopping until it had reduced the wages of the humblest day laborer."

Commenting on the refusal of the president to rescind the order for payments for public lands in specie, Wilson remarks:

"Two days after the decision of the president became known, all the banks in the city of New York suspended specie payments, and this was followed by a similar suspension on the part of the banks throughout the whole county. The people were not the only sufferers by this measure; for, as the deposit banks had likewise ceased to redeem their notes in specie, the government itself was embarrassed, and was unable to discharge its own obligations."

A more recent historian--Morris, 1897--says:

"The overthrow of the United States bank was followed by the establishment of a host of state banks, many of them without capital, and issuing notes which they were very unlikely to redeem. These became known as `wild-cat banks.' Some of these state banks whose directors were in harmony with Jackson's views received deposits of government money. This money as already said, soon made its way into the hands of borrowers and gave rise to a high tide of speculation. Land at first, and afterward almost everything, was speculated in, and paid for largely in the notes of the wild-cat banks."

Speaking of the panic of 1837, Morris says:

"Much of the land bought was purchased from the government. When Jackson found that it was being paid for largely in notes that soon became worthless, an order was issued to the government agents to accept only gold in payment for public lands. This order precipitated a panic.

"It began in 1837, shortly after Van Buren took his seat, in the failure of a large New Orleans business house. Other failures quickly followed. Land was hastily offered for sale, but no one would buy. Prices fell rapidly. In ten days a hundred New York merchants found their business ruined. Within two months the failures in that city alone reached the sum of one hundred million dollars.

"The state bank notes came back in numbers for payment, but there was no gold or silver in the vaults to redeem them, and the banks began to fail in all directions. Gold and silver vanished from sight, and the government was forced to pay its debts in paper money.

"The business depression that followed was one of the worst the country has ever known. Everywhere mills and factories stopped and workmen were thrown out of employment. The government was forced to suspend the payment of the surplus ordered to be divided among the states, and the fourth installment of this was never paid."


Such were the general conditions prevailing throughout the United States--conditions which affected the industrial and business enterprises of the Latter-day saints in Ohio, in common with other people, and contributed to their failure; but the failure in the case of the saints was magnified out of all just proportions. Especially is this the case in the matter of what is called "The Kirtland Bank" failure, the history of which is as follows: In November, 1836, a number of brethren including the presidency and other leading elders of the church, applied to the Ohio state legislature for a charter for a bank, to be known as the "Kirtland Safety Society Bank;" but on account of religious prejudice it is supposed, the legislature refused to grant the charter. Meantime, confident of getting the charter, Oliver Cowdery had been sent to Philadelphia as the agent of the proposed bank's currency. Failing to get the charter for a bank, the saints organized a "Stock Industrial Company" called the "Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Bank-ing Company," under which they "proposed the management of their respective occupations," consisting of "agriculture, mechanical arts and merchandising." By the articles of agreement the individual members of said society held themselves bound for the redemption of all notes given by it in proportion to the amount of stock subscribed. And this article was made unalterable, (see Art. 16). In issuing their notes the "Kirtland Safety Society" doubtless made a mistake in that they used the notes printed from the plates prepared for their anticipated bank issue, using a stamp to make the notes read--Anti-Bank-ing Co., instead of "Kirtland Safety Society Bank." This to avoid the necessity of incurring the expense of making new plates; but anti-"Mormon" writers have attributed a sinister motive to the action. The "Kirtland Safety Society" enterprise ended disastrously. Having no state charter the notes of the "society" had no legal standing as currency, and were soon rejected by its creditors in New York, Pittsburg and Cleveland, where merchandise for the stores in Kirtland had been purchased on credit, in large quantities, and for which the "society," its notes being rejected was unable to pay. Prices in real estate rapidly declined so that the large farms purchased by the "society" on credit and platted for a city could not be sold but at great loss; and the financial disasters that had swept over the whole country still paralizing all branches of business activity, the "Kirtland Safety Society" failed with thousands of other business concerns of 1837, and involved many members of the church in financial distress.

Nor was this the worst of their calamities. Pride and worldly mindedness among the saints had preceded some of their financial difficulties, and when their troubles came thick upon them they accused each other of all kinds of sin and folly; there were evil surmisings, bickerings, fault-finding, false accusations and bitterness, until the spirit of the gospel in Kirtland was well nigh eclipsed. The Prophet especially was censured. It was reported that the "bank" had been "instituted by the will of God," i.e., by revelation, "and would never fail, let men do what they would." This the Prophet denied in open conference, saying that "if this had been declared no one had authority from him for doing so;" and added that he "had always said that unless the institution was conducted on righteous principles it would not stand." Many, however, became disaffected toward the Prophet, "as though I were the sole cause," he writes, "of those very evils I was most strenuously striving against, and which were actually brought upon us by the brethren not giving heed to my counsel." Matters went on from bad to worse, apostasy was rife even among some of the high church officials. In March, 1837, the Prophet as treasurer, Sidney Rigdon as secretary of the ill-fated "Kirtland Safety Society," were arrested upon a charge of violating the banking laws of the state. They were adjudged guilty in the Geauga county court, but appealed from the decision on the ground that the "Kirtland Safety Society" was not a bank. This question was never ruled upon by the courts, as both Sidney Rigdon and the Prophet were compelled to Bee the state for security of their personal safety from false brethren, before the case could be heard.


The breaking up at Kirtland in the closing months of 1837, was well nigh complete. On the 3rd of September, Sunday, a conference was held in the temple at which the dissenters and apostates for the time being were outwitted. Brigham Young early that morning visited the faithful saints and urged their attendance at the conference, so that when the names of the officers of the church were presented those in good standing might be sustained by vote of the people; and that those who had become dissenters might be rejected and disfellowshipped.

Among these were three of the quorum of the twelve apostles, viz., Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson and John F. Boynton. They were given an opportunity of confessing and making satisfaction, and this John F. Boynton attempted in the meeting, but his confession was not satisfactory. He attributed his difficulties to the failure of the "Kirtland bank" which he understood was "instituted by the will of God, and he had been told it would never fail, let men do what they would." This was denounced as untrue by the Prophet. Oliver Cowdery was declared to have been in transgression, but was forgiven and sustained as an "assistant counselor" in the presidency of the church. Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, John Smith, (uncle of the Prophet) were also sustained as "assistant presidents." Four members of the Kirtland stake high council were rejected, among the number Martin Harris, one of the three special witnesses of the Book of Mormon. At a meeting held in the temple one week later, the three apostles who had been rejected by the saints made their confessions, and were restored to fellowship, and retained in their office.

This reconciliation and adjustment of matters, however, was not permanent. It is doubtful even if the confessions of the disaffected apostles were sincere. At any rate, soon afterwards, when the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon were absent in upper Missouri locating new stakes of Zion for the saints, now rapidly gathering to that land, the opposition of these three apostles to the Prophet, and their bitterness towards those who sustained him in the late conference, were manifested in a most determined effort to overthrow the church. The party opposed to the Prophet called themselves "reformers," and were under the leadership of Warren Parrish, one of the seventy, and a man of some native force of character. He had been at one time a faithful elder in the church, clerk to the Prophet, and companion to Elders David W. Patten and Wilford Woodruff in missionary labors in Kentucky and Tennessee. He was guilty of sexual sin in Kirtland, however, of which he made confession to the church, and on promising reformation retained his standing. He became first a clerk and finally the cashier in the "Kirtland Safety Society Bank," and was guilty of peculation to the extent of more than twenty-five thousand dollars of the funds of the bank. Questioned in open court in the case of Grandison Newel vs. Joseph Smith--which case was tried in June, 1837 -as to whether he knew anything "in the character or conduct of Mr. Smith which is unworthy his profession as a man of God," he answered--"I do not." Yet Warren Parrish kept up a constant agitation among the saints, insisting that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet, and that he should be displaced as president of the church in favor of David Whitmer.

In addition to Warren Parrish and the three apostles named, Leonard Rich, Stephen Burnett, Sylvester Smith, Cyrus P. Smalling and Joseph Coe were numbered among the leaders of this movement.

Among other things these "reformers" insisted that the regular authorities in Kirtland had departed from the true order of things by calling the church "The Church of the Latter-day Saints." They proceeded therefore to repudiate this title and adopt what they considered the proper one, "The Church of Christ," and held themselves forth as the "old standard;" they rejected the Prophet, and denounced those who adhered to him as heretics. They met frequently in the temple, and claimed ownership of it, sometimes resorting to violence in their assertion of the right to control it. Many of the faithful saints during the year of 1837 had removed from Kirtland to upper Missouri, to which place also many of the saints from the branches in the eastern states and Canada were migrating. The hope of redeeming Zion had not been abandoned; nor had the previous misfortunes which befell the saints in Missouri destroyed their faith in the revealed purposes of God with reference to that land. But the migration of faithful saints from Kirtland stake of Zion during the time named left dissenters and apostates at the last in the majority in that place, and hence the sad results here chronicled.

The closing scenes of the disasters came with the closing days of 1837, and the early days of 1838. On the 22nd of December, Brigham Young, who persisted in declaring both in public and in private that he knew by the power of the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, was compelled to flee from the fury of threatened mob violence. Further stormy scenes in council meetings followed. Men braved the Prophet to his face and charged their misfortunes upon him. The sheriff was a frequent visitor at Kirtland and mortgage foreclosures followed each other in surprising frequency. The printing establishment was seized "to satisfy, an unjust judgment of the county court," and the Elders Journal, which had issued but two numbers of the first volume, was discontinued. Later the printing office with a large amount of paper and many books was sold by the sheriff to one of the "reformers;" and on the night of the day of sale (January 14th) the office with its contents and also a small Methodist chapel standing nearby were burned to the ground. On the 12th of January, the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, to avoid the rising storm of another persecution "under the color of legal process," left Kirtland in the night, en route for the settlement of the saints in upper Missouri. They were followed some distance by their enemies, for more than two hundred miles, according to the Prophet, but they successfully eluded their pursuers.


The following passage occurs in Linn's Story of the Mormons, (p. 159):

"Smith made a stubborn defense of his business conduct. He attributed the disaster of the bank to Parrish's peculations and the general troubles of the church to `the spirit of speculation in lands and property of all kinds,' as he puts it in his autobiography, wherein he alleges that `the evils were actually brought about by the brethren not giving heed to my counsel.' If Smith gave any such counsel, it is unfortunate for his reputation that neither the church records nor his `revelations' contain any mention of it..,

Doubtless it would have been more satisfactory had the Prophet been more specific in his statement on this point. But it is due to him to say that evidence exists that he sought to stem the tide of evil produced by the mismanagement of the "bank" and the speculations of some of its officials. Sometime previous to July 7th, 1837, the Prophet resigned his office in the "Kirtland Safety Society," disposed of his interest therein and withdrew from the institution, saying that he was satisfied "after so long an experiment [five months] that no institution of the kind, established upon just and righteous principles for a blessing not only to the church but to the whole nation, would be suffered to continue its operations in such an age of darkness, speculation, and wickedness." (History of the Church, Period I, Vol. II, p. 497). In the August number of the Messenger and Advocate he also published the following:

Caution.--To the brethren and friends of the Church of Latter-day Saints, I am disposed to say a word relative to the bills of the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, I hereby warn them to beware of speculators, renegades and gamblers, who are duping the unsuspecting and the unwary, by palming upon them those bills which are of no worth here. I discountenance and disapprove of any and all such practices. I know them to be detrimental to the best interests of society, as well as to the principles of religion."


In an editorial in the August (1838) number of the Elders' Journal the Prophet details an account of the peculations of Warren Parrish as follows:

"He had the handling of large sums of money, and it was soon discovered, that after the money was counted and laid away, and come to be used and counted again, that there was always a part of it missing; this being the case, repeatedly, and those who owned it, knowing that there was no other person but Parrish who had access to it, suspicion of necessity fixed itself on him. At last, the matter went to such lengths, that a search warrant was called for, to search his trunk. The warrant was demanded at the office of F. G. Williams, Esq., but he refused to grant it, some difficulty arose on account of it. The warrant, however, was at last obtained, but too late, for the trunk in question was taken out of the way, and could not be found; but as to his guilt, little doubt can be entertained by any person acquainted with the circumstances. After this affair, Parrish began to discover that there was great iniquity in the church, particularly in the editor of this paper" (i.e. Joseph Smith).

Lucy Smith, mother of the Prophet, in her history of him says that it was Joseph who demanded this warrant; in order to bring Parrish to just punishment under the law, and save the credit of the "bank." First she refers to a discourse which the Prophet delivered in Kirtland after his return from the east where he had been in company with Martin Harris. In that discourse the Prophet felicitated the saints on the happy conditions that obtained in Kirtland, but warned them of a change in prospect, and such a change as would lead some of them to be willing to take his life, and they would take it, if God would permit the deed. "But brethren," he said, "I now call upon you to repent, and cease all your hardness of heart, and turn from those principles of death and dishonesty which you are harboring in your bosoms, before it is eternally too late, for there is yet room for repentance."

After this reference to the Prophet's discourse Lucy continues: "In the fall of 1836, a bank was established in Kirtland. Soon after the sermon above mentioned, Joseph discovered that a large amount of money had been taken away by fraud from this bank. He immediately demanded a search warrant of Esquire F. G. Williams, which was flatly refused, `I insist upon a warrant,' said Joseph, `for if you will give one, I can get the money, and if you do not, I will break you of your office.' `Well, break it is, then,' said Williams, `and we will strike hands upon it.' `Very well,' said Joseph, `from henceforth I drop you from my quorum, [in first presidency] in the name of the Lord.'" (History of the Prophet Joseph, Lucy Smith, ch, xlv).

This agrees with the Prophet's statement that when application was made to F. G. Williams for a search warrant and he refused it, "some difficulty arose on account of it."

This movement of the Prophet against Parrish's peculation occurred previous to June, 1837, and hence previous to the Prophet's withdrawal from the ill-fated institution and disposal of his interest therein; and his "caution" against the validity of the Safety Society's notes. Each of these several actions was a protest against the course the institution was following, after it had fallen under corrupt management. And in view of these several actions and warnings against dishonest methods is not the Prophet warranted in saying that the disasters of the Safety Society arose from its not giving heed to his counsel? And is it fair to insinuate, as Linn does, that our church records give no evidence that the Prophet made any such efforts, or gave any such counsel?


Not all of those who may be classed as anti-"Mormon" writers censure the action of the saints in their efforts to found a city at Kirtland, with industrial, mercantile and banking institutions. Some of this class of writers recognize the right of the saints to engage in these enterprises, as well as other people, and admit that there were natural advantages at Kirtland which justified the hope of success in such a movement. Among those who view matters from this standpoint is Kennedy, an author often cited in our narration. On the point in question he says:

"Looked at from the dispassionate ground of a business view alone, one can hardly criticise the Mormon leaders for many of the ventures into which they were led. It was a time when the canals of New York and Ohio, the waters of Lake Erie and the Ohio river, and the highways between the east and the great west, were filled with people bent upon the founding of new homes in the new lands, and lured by a future that, however bright it might have seemed, has been far outrun by the magnificent developments of the half-century past. Cities were springing up as if by magic. Settlements were made today where the forest had stood untenanted and unbroken but yesterday. Farms were marked out in lands that were on the far frontier a year before. With any advantage in natural gift or commercial creation, one spot seemed equal to the rest in a hope for the future, and those whose interests were staked upon it felt justified in calling the attention of the world to their possessions, and in offering to others a part of the harvest they hoped to reap. Kirtland lay upon one of the roadways the hand of the pioneer had cut through the forests of northern Ohio, while the waters of Lake Erie could be seen from her temple roof. The nucleus of a large town seemed to have been formed in the settlement of so many strangers about the temple, and the limits to which it might yet grow could only be defined by the future. Those who had seen that which had already been done, had a reason for their hope of yet greater things in times to come."


Another circumstance connected with this Kirtland period, and in a way related to the financial difficulties of the times, is dwelt upon by anti- "Mormon" writers to the disadvantage of the Prophet and of the church; and for that reason it is necessary to mention it here. Briefly told it amounts to this: In July, 1836, in the midst of the greatest financial distress at Kirtland, the Prophet, with his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery made a journey to Salem, Massachusetts, where they hired a house during the month of August and spent their time in teaching the people from house to house and preaching publicly, as opportunity presented; visiting occasionally sections of the surrounding country which are rich in the history of the Pilgrim Fathers of New England, in Indian warfare, religious superstitions, bigotry, persecution and learned ignorance. While the Prophet gives a somewhat circumstantial account of this journey to Salem and his return to Kirtland in September, he nowhere assigns an adequate cause for himself and company making it--the object of it is not stated. Ebenezer Robinson, for many years a faithful and prominent elder in the church, and at Nauvoo associated with Don Carlos Smith--brother of the Prophet--in editing and publishing the Times and Seasons, states that the journey to Salem arose from these circumstances. There came to Kirtland and a brother by the name of Burgess who stated that he had knowledge of a large amount of money secreted in the cellar of a certain house in Salem, Massachusetts, which had belonged to a widow (then deceased), and thought he was the only person who had knowledge of it, or of the location of the house. The brethren accepting the representations of Burgess as true made the journey to Salem to secure, if possible, the treasure. Burgess, according to Robinson, met the brethren in Salem, but claimed that time had wrought such changes in the town that he could not for a certainty point out the house "and soon left." They hired a house and occupied it and spent their time as per the narrative of the Prophet already quoted, While in Salem the Prophet received a revelation in which the folly of this journey is sharply reproved:

"I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies;

I have much treasure in the city for you, for the benefit of Zion; and many people in this city whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality;

Therefore it is expedient that you should form acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you.

And it shall come to pass in due time, that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours.

Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.

Concern not yourselves about Zion, for I will deal mercifully with her.

Tarry in this place, and in the regions round about;

And the place where it is my will that you should tarry, for the main, shall be signalized unto you by the peace and power of my Spirit, that shall flow unto you.

This place you may obtain by hire. And inquire diligently concerning the more ancient inhabitants and founders of this city;

For there are more treasures than one for you in this city.

Therefore be ye as wise as serpents and yet without sin, and I will order all things for your good, as fast as ye are able to receive them. Amen."

Here we have an opportunity of discerning the difference between the ways of God and the ways of men. Whereas these brethren had come seeking an earthly treasure, God directs their attention to spiritual things, telling them there are more treasures than one for them in that city; and instructs them to inquire diligently concerning the ancient inhabitants and founders of that city, doubtless having in view the securing of their genealogies and the redemption of the past generations of men who had lived there; so that if for a moment the weakness of men was manifested in this journey, we see that fault reproved and the strength and wisdom of God made manifest by directing the attention of his servants to the real and true treasures that he would have them seek, even the salvation of men, both t



Movements in Missouri must now be noted, When the people of Clay county welcomed the exiled saints into their midst (1833-1834) the prevailing thought was that their stay would only be temporary. When it became evident that they would not be returned to their Jackson county homes very soon, if at all, from the view point of the "Old settlers," there was expressed some misgivings among the people of Clay county as to the propriety of permitting the exiles to remain, Also some of the saints were purchasing lands and making homes which of course looked like permanent settlement. To this manifest uneasiness of the "old settlers" the leading elders of the church replied that they did not regard Clay county as their permanent home, but looked upon it merely as a temporary asylum which they would promptly leave whenever a respectable portion of the citizens of said county should request it. On the 29th of June, 1836, at a mass meeting held at Liberty court house, which was widely attended, a series of resolutions was passed that culminated in calling upon the saints to now fulfill the pledge which their leaders had given some two years previously, by withdrawing from the county. It is stated in the minutes of this public meeting that the saints were "charged by those opposed to them with an unfriendly determination to break that pledge; that their rapid emigration, their large purchases and offers to purchase land, the remarks of the ignorant and imprudent portion of them that this country is destined to be theirs-are received and looked upon, by a large portion of this community as strong and convincing proofs that they intend to make this country their permanent home, the center and general rendezvous of their people."


The reasons why the saints had become objectionable as permanent citizens to many of the people of Clay county were stated to be:

1. Their religious tenets were so different from the present churches of the age, that this always had and always would excite deep prejudice against them in any populous country where they might locate.

2. They were eastern men whose manners, habits, customs, and even dialect were essentially different from the Missourians.

3. They were non-slave holders, and opposed slavery, which excited deep and abiding prejudices in a community which tolerated and protected slavery.

4. Common report had it that they kept up a constant communication with the Indian tribes on the frontier; and declared from the pulpit that the Indians were a, part of God's chosen people, destined by heaven to inherit with them the land of Missouri.

"We do not vouch for the correctness of these statements," said the committee which draughted the report, "but whether they are true or false, their effect has been the same in exciting our community."

The causes named are represented as having raised a prejudice against the saints, and a feeling of hostility, that the first spark might--and the committee deeply feared would--ignite into all the horrors and desolation of a civil war, and it was therefore-

"Resolved, that it is the fixed and settled conviction of this meeting, that unless the people commonly called `Mormons,' will agree to stop immediately the immigration of their people to this country, and take measures to remove themselves from it, a civil war is inevitable.

"We do not contend that we have the least right under the constitution and laws of the country to expel them by force. But we would indeed be blind, if we did not foresee that the first blow that is struck at this moment of deep excitement, must and will speedily involve every individual in a war, bearing ruin, woe, and desolation in its course. It matters but little how, where, or by whom the war may begin, when the work of destruction commences, we must all be borne onward by the storm, or crushed beneath its fury."

The saints were told that if they had one spark of gratitude they would not willingly plunge a people into civil war who had held out to them the friendly hand of assistance in the dark hour of their distress. A committee of ten was appointed to present these views to the leading elders among the "Mormons" with the understanding that if the saints would consent to move as requested, the gentlemen who had called the meeting, and now asked them to leave Clay county, would use all their influence to allay the excitement among the citizens of the county.


The reply of the saints to the request to remove from Clay county was adopted at a general mass meeting, held two days after the citizens' meeting. In their reply they expressed their appreciation of the kindness shown them by the people of Clay county, and then proceeded to enter formal denial of the several things charged against them by those opposed to them, and which I quote from the body of their answer to the citizens of Clay county.

"We deny having claim to this, or any other county, or country, further than we shall purchase the land with money, or more than the Constitution and laws allow us as free American citizens. We have taken no part for or against slavery; but are opposed to the abolitionists, and consider that men have a right to hold slaves or not, according to law.

"We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruptions of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond-servants, nor preach the gospel to them, nor meddle with nor influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situation in this life; thereby jeopardizing the lives of men. Such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude.

"We deny holding any communications with the Indians; and mean to bold ourselves as ready to defend our country against their barbarous ravages, as any other people. We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly."

They held that it would be useless to enter further into detail of their faith or mention their sufferings on account of it; but-

"Resolved, first: For the sake of friendship, and to be in a covenant of peace with the citizens of Clay county, and they to be in a covenant of peace with us, notwithstanding the necessary loss of property, and expense we incur in moving, we comply with the requisitions of their resolutions in leaving Clay county, as explained by the preamble accompanying the same; and that we will use our exertions to have the church do the same and that we will also exert ourselves to stop the tide of emigration of our people to this county.

"Resolved, second: That we accept the friendly offer verbally tendered to us by the committee yesterday, to assist us in selecting a location, and removing to it."

The reply from the saints was perfectly satisfactory to the people of Clay county, and the latter made some arrangements to assist the former in complying with their request; that is, two persons from each township were appointed to raise money by subscription to aid the "Mormons" who might need assistance to leave the county, and also arrange for some suitable person to assist them in selecting a new location for settlement; and recommend the "Mormons" to the good treatment of the citizens in surrounding counties; and asked them to assist the exiles in selecting some abiding place, where they would be, in a measure, the only occupants of the land; and where none would be anxious to molest them.

At this time the whole northern part of Missouri was but sparsely settled, and but few counties were organized. It therefore seemed to be the most suitable place that could be suggested for their gathering together where they might live in peace, pending the arrival of that time when they could be restored to their possession in Jackson county--when Zion could be redeemed. It was to this region that influential friends in Clay county called the attention of the saints in the summer of 1836; and in the month of October a number of Latter-day Saint families began settling on Shoal Creek--a tributary of Grand river--about thirty or thirty-five miles north and a little east of Liberty in Clay county. They soon petitioned the legislature for an enactment organizing a new county. The petition was granted and the new county organized in December, 1836.


It is worthy of note in passing that this arrangement of organizing a new county to be inhabited by the saints was looked upon as a happy solution of a difficult problem, as appears from the following statement in the History of Caldwell County:

"When the Mormon leaders had determined upon the occupation of this portion of Missouri, certain public men of the state thought they had discovered an easy and satisfactory solution of the Mormon problem. The Mormons had already selected Far West as their principal town and were clustering about it in considerable numbers, and at various points on lower Shoal Creek. They seemed well enough pleased with the county, and were coming by bands and companies every week.

"`Let us fix up a county expressly for the Mormons,' exclaimed certain politicians and public men. Let us send all the Mormons in the state to that county and induce all Gentiles therein to sell out and leave. The proposition suited everyone. The Gentiles said, `If the Mormons are willing to go into that prairie country and settle, let them have it and welcome.' The Mormons said, `If we may be allowed to remain peaceably and enjoy our religion, we will go into any country that may be set apart for us, no matter how wild and unbroken it may be, and we will make it to blossom as the rose. If we obtain political control of a county we will honestly administer it and be loyal in all things to the state government over us.

"Arrangements were soon made. Every Gentile in the proposed new county that could be induced to sell his possessions at a reasonable price was bought out, and his place taken by a Mormon. The authorities of the church agreed that no Mormons should settle in any other county without the previous consent of the settlers already there."

It is evident that in the view of the Missourians the saints were getting no choice part of the state when they accepted this prairie country for their habitat. They were simply taking that which the Missourians thought to be worthless, hence the remark--above--"If the Mormons are willing to go into that prairie country and settle, let them have it and welcome."

Hon. Alexander W. Doniphan then a representative from Clay county to the Missouri legislature, was doubtless the one who proposed this plan of settling the "Mormon" problem of that day, and to him in the state legislature was assigned the work of preparing the bill for the creation of the new county. `Fearing that the organization of a county especially for the "Mormons" might meet with opposition, a bill creating two counties out of the northern part of what was Ray county, one to be named Caldwell and the other Daviess, was brought in by Doniphan and passed without much opposition. Of course the matter of Caldwell being a county created and set apart for "Mormon" settlement, as also the agreement on the part Of the saints that they would not settle in other counties, "without the previous consent of the settlers already there," had to be merely an understanding between the Missourians and the saints, as no such agreement could be enacted into law since it would be an abdiction of one of the rights of citizenship under the Constitution on the part of the saints; and an assumption of unconstitutional power on the part of the Missourians, for them to forbid citizens of the state of Missouri or of any other state of the Union to settle where they pleased, since it is a part of the Constitution itself that "the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states."


Under this agreement the saints rapidly left Clay county and began taking possession of the new county created for them. It amounted to a second exodus, albeit a peaceful one. The saints made special agreements with the citizens of DeWitt in Carroll county, and with the citizens of Daviess county, by which they could settle among them. "It is claimed," says the writer of the History of Caldwell County, "that all the Mormons settled outside of this [Caldwell] county, were made with the prior consent of the inhabitants then living where the settlements were made; the consent was obtained, in nearly every instance, by the payment of money, either for the lands of the pioneer Gentiles or for some articles of personal property they owned. Money was scarce at that day, and although the pioneers did not approve Mormon doctrines, they did approve of Mormon gold and silver, and they were willing to tolerate the one if they could obtain the other. But afterward certain of the Gentiles claimed that the Mormon occupation had been by stealth and fraud, and perhaps in some instances this was true." The last remark is wholly gratuitous. It is not true, and there is no evidence that warrants the "perhaps" of the quotation.

DeWitt was located on the Missouri river, near the mouth of Grand river, which it was hoped could be made a navigable stream. By securing this location at the mouth of Grand river, and one about fifty miles higher up the stream, in Daviess county, a means of commercial ingress and egress to the upper Missouri country allotted to the saints had been provided that spoke well for the foresight of the church leaders. The right of the saints to settle in DeWitt was secured for the saints in the spring of 1838 by Elders George M. Hinkle and John Murdock.

The upper settlement on Grand river was called "Adam-ondi-Ahman," generally abbreviated to "Di-Ahman." The site was selected by Joseph Smith in May, 1838, and is in township sixty, ranges twenty-seven and twenty-eight, sections twenty-five, thirty-six, thirty-one and thirty. A number of families of saints had been settled at this point for several months before the arrival of Joseph Smith who called the place "Spring Hill;" "but by the mouth of the Lord," said the Prophet, "it was named Adam-ondi-Ahman" "because" said he, "it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people or the Ancient of Days shall sit as spoken of by Daniel the prophet."

A short distance south of Spring Hill, or Adam-ondi-Ahman, was the home of Lyman Wight, at the foot of "Tower Hill," a name given to the place by Joseph Smith "in consequence of the remains of an old Nephite altar or tower," he explains, "that stood there." A photogravure of Wight's house is published in this chapter, being the only "Mormon" home left standing in "Di-Ahman," or its vicinity. It may also be said to be a typical Missouri house of the period.


About thirty miles southwest of "Di-Ahman," in Caldwell county, was Far West, the principal settlement of the saints in upper Missouri. It was located about one mile south of Shoal Creek, a tributary of Grand river, running eastwardly through the middle of the county; while half a mile south ran Goose Creek, a tributary of Shoal. Both streams were capable of furnishing water power for manufacturing purposes. The city was five miles northwest of the town of Kingston, the present county seat of Caldwell county, and was the highest swell of land in that high rolling prairie country, and is visible from a long distance.

The site of Far West was chosen by John Whitmer and W. W. Phelps in the summer of 1836, the entry being filed on the 8th of August of that year. The north half was entered in the name of W. W. Phelps, the south half in the name of John Whitmer; but both Phelps and Whitmer held the land in trust for the church. Some misunderstandings arose in the church in Missouri concerning the entry of this town site by the above two brethren. The money used in the purchase of it had been collected among the saints in Kentucky and Tennessee (at least fourteen hundred dollars of it) by Elder Thomas B. Marsh, president of the twelve apostles, and Elder Elisha H. Groves, who turned over the amount named above to W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer, as constituting the proper authorities to receive it, they being the counselors in the presidency of the church in Missouri, and David Whitmer, the president, being absent in Kirtland. These two brethren so presumed to act independently of the high council of the church in Missouri, and without consultation with others, that they seemed to be conducting matters with a high hand, also in their own interests-for personal gain. They laid out the public square; they appointed and ordained a committee to supervise the building of a house unto the Lord-a temple; and appropriated to themselves the profits arising from the sale of town lots, though from these profits, it must be said for them, they made large donations or appropriations ($1,000 each) to the house of the Lord in contemplation. It is very probable that no wrong was intended by these brethren, but acting as they did without consultation with the high council and other brethren equally interested in the upbuilding of Zion with them, and in utter disregard of the principle that "all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith," naturally gave offense, and awakened suspicion of wrong intentions. This, in the spring of 1837, led to a somewhat extended investigation of their conduct by the high council and two of the twelve apostles then in Missouri, Elders Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patten. The protracted hearing finally resulted in an amicable adjustment of differences. The town site and some other lands entered by Elders Phelps and Whitmer, together with the profits arising from the sale of the lands, was turned over to the bishop of Zion--Edward Partridge--for the benefit of Zion, and the two brethren, Phelps and Whitmer, were released from the obligation to pay the $2,000 they had subscribed to the building of the proposed temple. This settlement was still further confirmed by a conference of the church held at Far West in November, 1837, at which the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon were present, and where both Elders Whitmer and Phelps made explanations and confessions of their error, and were continued in their ecclesiastical positions.

In laying out Far West the general plan of laying off the cities of Zion was followed, viz: The town site was made one mile square, divided by streets running at right angles into regular blocks, except that a large public square was laid off in the center of the town, designed for a temple site and other public buildings. This square was approached from the four points of the compass by avenues, eight rods wide. All the other streets were five rods wide. Such was the rapid influx of the saints into Caldwell county, however, that in November, 1837, it was decided to double the size of the city plat by making it two miles square, and the blocks were so enlarged as to contain four acres each instead of being, as at first designed, 396 feet square.

Such was the location at Far West. Caldwell county in 1836 was a wilderness. By the spring of 1838 the population was more than 5,000; of which more than 4,900 were Latter-day Saints. At Far West, by that time, there were one hundred and fifty houses, four dry goods stores, three family groceries, half a dozen blacksmith shops, a printing establishment and two hotels. A large and comfortable school house had been built in 1836, and served also as church and courthouse. During the summer of 1838 the population of Far West, together with all other settlements of the saints in upper Missouri, were greatly augmented from Canada--whence came one company of two hundred wagons; from the eastern states, and especially from Kirtland, Ohio, and its vicinity. One company of over five hundred souls--one hundred and five families--made the journey from Kirtland in one company, under the leadership of the first council of the seventy, and on arriving among the saints in upper Missouri, settled at "Di-Ahman," where they arrived on the 4th of October, having traveled nine hundred miles from Kirtland temple. They were given a most cordial welcome at Far West before moving to "Di-Ahman," and the description of that reception by the Prophet exhibits the spirit in which this gathering of the people was being carried out:

"The Kirtland camp arrived in Far West from Kirtland. I went in company with Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, Isaac Morley and George W. Robinson, and met them some miles out, and escorted them into the city, where they encamped on the public square directly south, and close by the excavation for the Lord's house. Here friends greeted friends in the name of the Lord. Isaac Morley, patriarch at Far West, furnished a beef for the camp. President Rigdon provided a supper for the sick, and the brethren provided for them like men of God, for they were hungry, having eaten but little for several days, and having traveled eleven miles this day; eight hundred and sixty miles from Kirtland, the way the camp traveled."

Of the camp's arrival at "Di-Ahman" the Prophet in his journal said:

"This is a day long to be remembered by that part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called `The Camp,' or `Kirtland Camp No. 1,' for they arrived at their destination and began to pitch their tents about sunset, when one of the brethren living in the place proclaimed with a loud voice: `Brethren, your long and tedious journey is now ended; you are now on the public square of Adam-ondi-Ahman. This is the place where Adam blessed his posterity, when they rose up and called him Michael, the Prince, the Arch-angel, and he being full of the Holy Ghost predicted what should befall his posterity to the latest generation.


It was most unfortunate for the state, that the "old settlers" throughout upper Missouri did not give to these people a hearty welcome; for they were of a class much needed at the time in that part of the state. The fact that the saints had many educated people among them, that school teachers were numerous in their rapidly forming settlements, and that they early gave attention to educational interests--has already been established by non-"Mormon" authority. The same authority, after saying that the majority of the "Mormons" were poor, that many of them were able only to enter and improve about forty acres of land; that most of their houses were cabins; that like other pioneers they had come to upper Missouri to better their conditions; that to worship God as they pleased and to be with their brethren were, of course, considerations; that every head of a family was guaranteed a home, and if he was unable to buy one it was given him from the lands held by the trustees of the church-then adds: "Among so many, however, there could but be those of some wealth, as well as craftsmen of various kinds, skilled mechanics and artisans. There were also many persons of education and accomplishments."

Had the writer of this History of Caldwell County tried to describe the ideal elements essential to successful colonization Of a frontier country, instead of describing the Latter-day Saints and the motives that were the incentives to their coming to upper Missouri, and the motive power of their industrial activities, he could not have succeeded better than he has in giving his description of the Latter-day Saints. An enlightened statesmanship would have welcomed such a population to such a country as upper Missouri, and protected them in their property, religious, and political rights; for in this "Mormon" population, as described by this Caldwell county historian, is every motive and every element essential to successful colonization: conditions, in the main, which enforce small holdings in land, which means more careful and more intense cultivation; skilled artisans of a variety of vocations; industry; frugality; community sympathy touched by religious sentiments, that would make for mutual, individual and community helpfulness. What might not have been hoped for had this community been permitted, unmolested, to have worked out their destiny under the operation of these industrial, social and religious ideas?



Joseph Smith arrived at Far West on the 14th of March, 1838. He was met "with open arms and warm hearts" by the saints. "You may be assured," he wrote to the faithful at Kirtland, "that so friendly a meeting and reception paid us well for our long seven years of servitude, persecution and affliction in the midst of our enemies in the land of Kirtland; yea, verily, our hearts were full, and we feel grateful to Almighty God for his kindness to us."

It was evident that the saints would become a political factor in Missouri, and that not only as controlling in Caldwell county, but also as affecting political conditions in the other counties, where they were settling. This made it important that their attitude in respect of politics should be declared. Accordingly, a few days after the arrival of the Prophet at Far West, while walking about the city in company with a number of brethren, he dictated the following as outlining those political sentiments and principles, by which the saints would be governed:


"The Constitution of our country formed by the Fathers of Liberty. Peace and good order in society. Love to God, and good will to man. All good and wholesome laws, virtue and truth above all things, and aristarchy, live for ever. But woe to tyrants, mobs, aristocracy, anarchy, and toryism, and all those who invent or seek out unrighteous and vexatious law suits, under the pretext and color of law, or office, either religious or political. Exalt the standard of democracy. Down with that of priestcraft, and let all the people say amen! that the blood of our fathers may not cry from the ground against us. Sacred is the memory of that blood, which bought for us our liberty."

This has become known in the church annals as the "political motto" of the church.

On the 6th of April a general conference was held at Far West at which Thomas B. Marsh was appointed president pro tempore of the church in Missouri, with Brigham Young and David W. Patten as counselors. The reason for appointing them pro tempore was because they were of the general authorities of the church called to act in a local capacity. John Corrill and Elias Higbee were appointed church historians; George W. Robinson, general church recorder and clerk to the first presidency; Ebenezer Robinson, clerk and recorder for Far West, and clerk of the high council of that stake. These appointments had become necessary because of the rejection of the local presidency of the church in Missouri, and the excommunication of the church historian, John Whitmer.


A question had arisen in the church as to the disposition that should be made of the lands still owned in Jackson county by the church and by individual members. Some held that to sell these lands would be an evidence of a lack of faith in the promises of God with reference to the establishment of the city of Zion in Jackson county. Indeed, in an "appeal" made to the world in July, 1834, after the disbandment of Zion's camp, and all hope of the immediate return of the saints to Jackson county was abandoned--in discussing the "old settlers" proposition to "buy or sell" lands the following occurs: "To sell our land would amount to a denial of our faith, as that land is the place where the Zion of God shall stand, according to our faith and belief in the revelations of God, and upon which Israel will be gathered, according to the prophets."

This View persisted in the minds of a great number of the brethren. Others again, feeling the pressure of present needs, thought it not amiss to sell those lands, in order to employ the means thus obtained in prosecution of their present enterprises, trusting to the future to develop ways and means for the redemption of Zion.

Among those who held this latter view were the Whitmers, W. W. Phelps, and Oliver Cowdery. Early in February, 1838--hence before the arrival of the Prophet in Far West--the presidency of the church in Missouri, David Whitmer, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer were arraigned before a "committee of the whole church in Missouri, in general assembly," charged with selling their lands in Jackson county, and with other offenses--David Whitmer for persisting in the use of tea, coffee and tobacco, in violation of the Word of Wisdom; John Whitmer and W. W. Phelps for claiming money which really belonged to the church. The result of the meeting was the rejection of this local presidency by the Saints in Far West, and in all the other settlements of the saints in upper Missouri.

Subsequently John Whitmer and W. W. Phelps were charged before the high council at Far West "for persisting in unchristian-like conduct"--presumably still claiming the money which belonged to the church. The accused brethren refused to appear before the high council on the ground that the tribunal was illegal, composed of men prejudiced against them, and who had already given an opinion or judgment regarding the matters at issue. This was conveyed to the council by a written communication, signed by them and David Whitmer in their official capacity as "presidents of the church of Christ, in Missouri," thus ignoring the action of the church in "committee of the whole" in rejecting them as a presidency, which was counted as adding to their offenses, and the two brethren who had been summoned before the council were excommunicated.

Later, namely, on the 7th of April, a series of charges were preferred against Oliver Cowdery to Bishop Partridge, and subsequently--on the 11th--to the high council of Far West, by Elder Seymour Brunson:


"First--For persecuting the brethren by urging on vexatious lawsuits against them, and thus distressing the innocent.

"Second--For seeking to destroy the character of President Joseph Smith, Jun., by falsely insinuating that he was guilty of adultery.

"Third--For treating the church with contempt by not attending meetings.

"Fourth--For virtually denying the faith by declaring that he would not be governed by any ecclesiastical authority or revelations whatever, in his temporal affairs.

"Fifth--For selling his lands in Jackson county, contrary to the revelations.

"Sixth--For writing and sending an insulting letter to President Thomas B. Marsh, while the latter was on the high council, attending to the duties of his office as president of the council, and by insulting the high council with the contents of said letter.

"Seventh--For leaving his calling to which God had appointed him by revelation, for the sake of filthy lucre, and turning to the practice of law.

"Eighth--For disgracing the church by being connected in the bogus business, as common report says.

"Ninth--For dishonestly retaining notes after they had been paid; and finally, for leaving and forsaking the cause of God, and returning to the beggarly elements of the world; and neglecting his high and holy calling, according to his profession."

Due notice was served upon Oliver Cowdery of these charges by Bishop Partridge, but he declined to attend the council and announced his withdrawal from the church in the following communication:


"Far West, Missouri, April 12, 1838.

"Dear Sir--I received your note of the 9th inst., on the day of its date, containing a copy of nine charges preferred before yourself and council against me, by Elder Seymour Brunson.

"I could have wished that those charges might have been deferred until after my interview with President Smith; but as they are not, I must waive the anticipated pleasure with which I had flattered myself of an understanding on those points which are grounds of different opinions on some church regulations, and others which personally interest myself.

"The fifth charge reads as follows: `For selling his lands in Jackson county contrary to the revelations.' So much of this charge `for selling his lands in Jackson county,' I acknowledge to be true, and believe that a large majority of this church have already spent their judgment on that act, and pronounced it sufficient to warrant a disfellowship and also that you have concurred in its correctness, consequently, have no good reason for supposing you would give any decision contrary.

"Now, sir, the lands in our country are allodial in the strictest construction of that term, and have not the least shadow of feudal tenures attached to them, consequently, they may be disposed of by deeds of conveyance without the consent or even approbation of a superior.

"The fourth charge is in the following words, `For virtually denying the faith by declaring that he would not be governed by any ecclesiastical authority nor revelation whatever in his temporal affairs.'

"With regard to this, I think I am warranted in saying, the judgment is also passed as on the matter of the fifth charge, consequently, I have no disposition to contend with the council; this charge covers simply the doctrine of the fifth, and if I were to be controlled by other than my own judgment, in a compulsory manner, in my temporal interests, of course, could not buy or sell without the consent of some real or supposed authority. Whether that clause contains the precise words. I am not certain--I think, however, they were these, `I will not be influenced, governed, or controlled, in my temporal interests by any ecclesiastical authority or pretended revelation whatever, contrary to my own judgement.' Such being still my opinion shall only remark that the three great principles of English liberty, as laid down in the books, are `the right of personal Security, the right of personal liberty, and the right of private property. My venerable ancestor was among the little band, who landed on the rocks of Plymouth in 1620--with him he brought those maxims, and a body of those laws which were the result and experience of many centuries, on the basis of which now stands our great and happy government; and they are so interwoven in my nature, have so long been inculcated into my mind by a liberal and intelligent ancestry that I am wholly unwilling to exchange them for anything less liberal, less benevolent, or less free.

"The very principle of which I conceive to, be couched in an attempt to set up a kind of petty government, controlled and dictated by ecclesiastical influence, in the midst of this national and state government. You will, no doubt, say this is not correct; but the bare notice of these charges, over which you assume a right to decide, is, in my opinion, a direct attempt to make the secular power subservient to church direction--to the correctness of which I cannot in conscience subscribe--I believe that the principle never did fail to produce anarchy and confusion.

"This attempt to control me in my temporal interests, I conceive to be a disposition to take from me a portion of my constitutional privileges and inherent right--I only, respectfully, ask leave, therefore, to withdraw from a society assuming they have such right.

"So far as relates to the other seven charges, I shall lay them carefully away, and take such a course with regard to them, as I may feel bound by my honor, to answer to my rising posterity.

"I beg you, sir, to take no view of the foregoing remarks, other than my belief in the outward government of this church. I do not charge you, or any other person who differs with me on these points, of not being sincere, but such difference does exist, which I sincerely regret.

"With considerations of the highest respect, I am, your obedient servant,


"Rev. Edward Partridge, Bishop of the Church of Latter-day Saints."

When the charges came up for hearing before the high council on the 12th of April, the fourth and fifth charges were rejected by the council, and the 6th was withdrawn. It is against the fourth and fifth charges that Elder Cowdery leveled his whole reply, but as those charges were rejected by the council they constituted no issue at all between Elder Cowdery and the church. As to the other charges it is to be regretted that Oliver did not attend the hearing before the council and either admit their truth, so far as they might be true, or specifically deny them. Under the circumstance of his refusing to be present the hearing was exparte, and on that necessarily one-sided presentation of evidence, the remaining charges were held to be proven, and he was excommunicated.


On the 13th of April a series of charges were preferred to the high council of Far West against David Whitmer as follows:

"First--For not observing the Word of Wisdom.

"Second--For unchristian-like conduct in neglecting to attend meetings, in uniting with and possessing the same spirit as the dissenters.

"Third--In writing letters to the dissenters in Kirtland unfavorable to the cause, and to the character of Joseph Smith, Jun.

"Fourth--In neglecting the duties of his calling, and separating himself from the church, while he had a name among us.

"Fifth--For signing himself `President of the Church of Christ' in an insulting letter to the high council after he had been cut off [rejected] from the presidency."

Due notice was served upon David Whitmer of these charges and the hearing before the high council, but he declined to attend and withdrew from the fellowship of the church in the following communication:


"Far West, Mo., April 13, 1838.

"John Murdock:

"Sir:--I received a line from you bearing date the 9th inst. requesting me as a high priest to appear before the high council and answer to five several charges on this day at 12 o'clock.

"You, sir, with a majority of this church have decided that certain councils were legal by which it is said I have been deprived of my office as one of the presidents of this church. I have thought, and still think, they were not agreeable [legal] to the revelations of God, which I believe; and by now attending this council, and answering to charges, as a high priest, would be acknowledging the correctness and legality of those former assumed councils--which I shall not do."

"Believing as I verily do, that you and the leaders of the councils have a determination to pursue your unlawful course at all hazards, and to bring others to your standard in violation of the revelations, to spare you any further trouble I hereby withdraw from your fellow-humble, where the revelations of heaven will be observed and the rights of men regarded.

(Signed.) "DAVID WHITMER."

"After reading the above letter," say the minutes of the high council, "it was not considered necessary to investigate the case, as he [David Whitmer] had offered contempt to the council by writing the above letter;" but it was decided to let the councilors speak upon the case, and give a decision. "The councilors then made a few remarks in which they spoke warmly of the contempt offered in the above letter, therefore thought he [David Whitmer] was not worthy to be a member in the church." And to this effect was the decision of the council.

The loss of these two men,--Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer--two of the three special witnesses to the Book of Mormon--was a misfortune. I have dealt with their excommunication at length because I deem it important, and have published their letters to the council in extenso that attention might be called to the fact that neither of them denies nor casts any doubt upon the facts in which the New Dispensation had its origin--the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the ministration of angels to both Joseph Smith and themselves. Had there been fraud associated with these events; or had collusion existed between Joseph Smith and themselves with reference to events in which the New Dispensation had its inception, it would have been a very natural thing for men smarting under what they regarded as injustice, to have manifested that fact in these communications. Their silence at this critical time in their experience, and in the experience of the church, constitutes very strong presumptive evidence of the reality, to them, of these facts which brought the New Dispensation into existence.

On the day of action against David Whitmer, charges were also presented to the high council against Lyman E. Johnson, one of the twelve apostles. His offenses were encouraging litigation among the brethren and bringing distress upon the innocent; being united with the Kirtland dissenters and advocationg their cause; absenting himself from the meetings of the church; not observing either prayer or the Word of Wisdom; assaulting a brother--Phineas Young, brother of Brigham Young; discrediting the officers of Caldwell county--the "Mormon" county; for falsehood and other unreighteous conduct. He declined to appear before the high council, and by letter withdrew from fellowship of the church. The council, however, as in the case of Oliver Cowdery, proceeded to hear the case ex parte. The charges by that testimony were sustained, and Lyman E. Johnson was dropped from the quorum of the twelve, and excommunicated from the church.

These troubles at Far West grew out of the unhappy conditions that had existed in Kirtland for some time. Oliver Cowdery had been in transgression at Kirtland, as publicly announced by the Prophet; both he and David Whitmer, while in Kirtland, had been in sympathy with the dissenters, which sympathy continued after their return to Missouri. Besides these leaders there were many others in upper Missouri who were disaffected, some for one cause and some for another. Many had made sacrifices for the sake of the church in Kirtland, loaning money to the presidency for the erection of the temple, and for the establishment of the various industries and mercantile establishments started in that place. Some of these persistently demanded a reimbursement, and because that was impossible on the part of the presidency, under conditions then existing, they became disaffected, and charged that to dishonesty which ought to have been assigned to a common misfortune in which the whole church was involved. Vexatious law suits were instituted among the saints, and systematic efforts made, apparently, to undermine and destroy the influence of the presidency of the church. Naturally these conditions called for protest on the part of the presidency, and under date of Sunday, May the 6th, the Prophet writes in his journal--speaking of a discourse he that day delivered:

"I cautioned the saints against men who came amongst them whining and growling about their money, because they had kept the saints, and borne some of the burden with others, and thus thinking that others, who are still poorer than themselves, and have borne greater burdens ought to make up their losses. I cautioned the saints to beware of such, for they were throwing out insinuations here and there, to level a dart at the best interests of the church, and if possible destroy the character of its presidency."


Sometime in June Elder Sidney Rigdon delivered what was afterwards called his "Salt Sermon," because he took as a text:

"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith, shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

The doctrine of the text the speaker applied to the dissenting brethren and intimated that the "trodden under foot of men" should be literal, much to the scandalizing of the church, since the dissenters made capital of it to prejudice the minds of the non-"Mormons" of the surrounding counties. This, unfortunately, was followed shortly afterwards by a communication drawn up by Elder Rigdon, it is said, and addressed to the leading dissenters, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, William W. Phelps and Lyman E. Johnson, commanding them to leave Caldwell county within three days under penalty of a "more fatal calamity" befalling them if they refused to depart. The document was signed by eighty-four men, more or less prominent in the church, but neither the Prophet's nor Sidney Rigdon's name is included among the signatures. This action was undoubtedly a departure from that strict adherence to legal procedure for which the church must stand or else accept the doctrine of the "old settlers" of Jackson county that there exists with the community, outside of legal procedure, the right to expel undesirable people from that community. These dissenters were undoubtedly a disturbing element; they both instituted and encouraged litigation among the people, which the unsettled state of affairs in a new country, and the brought-over troubles from Kirtland made not only possible but easy. They no doubt were insolent and defiant of local disapproval of their course--which ordinarily is sufficient to correct such evils--because it was easy to appeal to the prejudice and jealousies of the "old settlers" in the surrounding counties, and to menace the saints with mobs in the event of any attempt to innterfere with them--the dissenters. These dissenters, or some of them, were accused of crimes, with stealing, with being associated with counterfeiters and blacklegs, with violating the postal laws by interfering with the mail. All which, even for the dissenters to be suspected of, was injurious to the reputation of the saints, and discreditable to the church of which they had been members. But if these accusations were true, they constituted crimes which lay open to the law, and should have been punished by the law. Those eighty-four citizens of Caldwell county were not justified in taking the law into their own hands and under threats of vengeance driving these dissenters from Far West, for that was the effect of these threats. The dissenters took hasty departure, late one afternoon in June, leaving their families to follow them, which they afterwards did.


The celebration of the 4th of July this year at Far West was made a notable event. That day the corner stones of a temple were laid amid elaborate ceremonies. The excavation made for the building was a hundred and ten feet long, by eighty feet wide. It was to have three floors, the first to be devoted to the purpose of public worship, the other two to educational purposes. It was meant therefore to be both a house of worship and an institution of learning. There was a band of music at the celebration, a long procession in which both militia and church authorities took part; also the ladies. But more important than parade or even laying the corner stones of the temple was what was afterwards called the "Mormon Declaration of Independence." The Prophet himself so characterizes it. "The day was spent," he writes, "in celebrating the `Declaration of Independence of the United States of America,' and also by the saints making a `Declaration of Independence' from all mobs and persecutions which have been inflicted upon them, time after time, until they could bear it no longer." Sidney Rigdon was the orator of the day, and the aforesaid "declaration," was embodied in his speech. The speech on the whole is very admirable, and worthy. The keynote of it, the motif that recurs here and there, leading to what must be regarded as its unfortunate climax, is the text on which the speech was built-

"Better, far better to sleep with the dead, than be oppressed among the living."

The speech expresses admiration for the free institutions of our government, and urges their maintenance; it extols religious freedom, and declares that all "attempts on the part of religious aspirants, to unite church and state, ought to be repelled with indignation;" it reviews the establishment of the church of Christ in the New Dispensation, its development, the nature of the religion being unfolded therein, with intelligence as a motive force, to develop which, this temple, the corner stones of which were being laid, was to be built; note is taken of what suffering has been endured for the sake of this cause--from foes without and from foes within; for it the saints have taken the spoiling of their goods; their cheeks have been given to the smiters and their heads to those who plucked off the hair; when smitten on the cheek, they have turned the other, and this repeatedly, until they are wearied of being smitten, and tired of being trampled upon; they had proved the world with kindness; they had suffered their abuse--abuse without cause--with patience, without resentment, until this day, and still presecution and violence do not cease:-

"But from this day and this hour we will suffer it no more. We take God and all the holy angels to witness, this day, that we warn all men, in the name of Jesus Christ to come on us no more for ever, for from this hour we will bear it no more; our rights shall no more be trampled on with impunity; the man, or the set of men who attempt it do it at the expense of their lives. And that mob that comes on us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them a war of extermination; for we will follow them until the last drop of their blood is spilled; or else they will have to exterminate us, for we will carry the seat of war to their; own houses and their own families, and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed. Remember it then, all men. We will never be the aggressors, we will infringe on the rights of no people, but shall stand for our own until death. We claim our own right and are willing that all others shall enjoy theirs. No man shall be at liberty to come into our Streets, to threaten us with mobs, for if he does he shall atone for it before he leaves the place; neither shall he be at liberty to villify and slander any of us, for suffer it we will not, in this place. We therefore take all men to record this day, that we proclaim our liberty this day, as did our fathers, and we pledge this day to one another our fortunes, our lives, and our sacred honors, to be delivered from the persecutions, which we have had to endure for the last nine years or nearly that time. Neither will we indulge any man, or set of men, in instituting vexatious law suits against us, to cheat us out of our rights; if they attempt it we say woe be unto them. We this day, then, proclaim ourselves free with a purpose and determination that never can be broken, No, never! No, never! No, never!"

This declaration was followed by the multitude present uniting in the shout of "Hosannah, hosannah, hosannah! Amen, Amen, Amen!" Thrice repeated.

Under all the circumstances, remembrance of past wrongs endured in Jackson county; then to be again threatened with mob violence by dissenters and some "old settlers," and to see movements on foot to arm again the red hand of a relentless persecution--it is not to be wondered at that these mortal men, though aspiring to be saints, should make a declaration of independence from mob rule, and threaten vengeance upon those who should again assail them. Moreover, it must be remembered that the saints in their difficulties in Jackson county were much embarrassed in their defense of their homes and families by a divided opinion among them as to how far they might justly proceed in resisting the assaults of their enemies; and in the presence of the likelihood of a recurrence of mob violence, it certainly was desirable to have that question definitely settled. And whatever of error may be thought to have been made by issuing this declaration, it should be remembered that it remained merely a declaration--an outburst of indignation when laboring under a sense of outraged justice. It was never translated into deeds; no war of extermination was attempted, though the contingency upon which such threat was made arose again and again within the experience of the saints during the next few months.

The historian more than four score and ten years after these occurrences, and in the calm of his study where he dispassionately weighs the deeds of men and passes judgment upon historical events, may find it easy to say that the outgiving of this "declaration of independence from mobs" by the saints, and proclaiming a war of extermination in the event of their being again assailed, was of doubtful propriety, even under all the existing provocation--unwise; impolitic; but it was a very human-like thing to do, albeit more likely to bring about than avert a conflict with the Missourians. Subsequent events proved this to be the effect of it; and certainly the speedy expulsion of the entire body of the church from Missouri, under such circumstances of cruelty and suffering as accompanied the expulsion, affords no ground for belief that there was any divine vindication of the attitude assumed by the saints on that fourth of July day, 1837.

One other thing the truth of history requires here, viz., the fixing of responsibility for this "declaration." The unwisdom of the utterance has been quite generally recognized by our writers, and by them responsibility for it has been placed upon the rather fervid imagination of Sidney Rigdon, who delivered the speech, and who quite generally is supposed to have been mainly or wholly responsible for it. This is not true. The speech was carefully prepared, written before delivery in fact, and read by other presiding elders of the church before its delivery. It immediately appeared in The Far West, a weekly newspaper published at Liberty, Clay county; and was also published in pamphlet form by Ebenezer Robinson on the press of the Elders' Journal. Joseph Smith in his journal speaks of it approvingly; and in the Elders' Journal, of which he was the editor, and in the editorial columns under his name, the speech is approvingly recommended to the saints. In view of these facts, if the "declaration" was of doubtful propriety, and unwise and impolitic, responsibility for it rests not alone on Sidney Rigdon, but upon the authorities of the church who approved it, and the people who accepted it by their acclamation.

Other events worthy of note occurring about this time were the restoration of Frederick G. Williams to the church, the establishment of the law of tithing, filling the vacancies in the quorum of the twelve, and appointing the quorum as a body to go to England in the following spring, to preach the gospel and bear record of the New Dispensation of it in that land.

Elder Williams had been rejected as a counselor in the first presidency at a conference in Missouri held On the 7th of November, 1837, and Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet, had been chosen in his place. He now sought restoration to complete fellowship with the saints, and accordingly was rebaptized, ordained an elder, and commanded to go from place to place and preach the gospel. A like opportunity was given to W. W. Phelps, but he did not at that time avail himself of it.


The law of tithing was given by revelation on the eighth of July in answer to the question: "O, Lord, show Unto thy servants how much thou requirest of the properties of the people for a tithing." The answer was, "All their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church of Zion [Missouri]; for the building of mine house [the temple at Far West], and for the laying of the foundation of Zion, and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the presidency of my church."

This was to be the "beginning" of the tithing of the people. After that, those who had thus been tithed, were required to pay one-tenth of all their interests annually; "and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord."

The law was applicable also to all who should thereafter gather to Zion. "And I say unto you," continues the revelation, "if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you. And this shall be an example unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen."

Ten days later, by another revelation, the custodianship and dispostion of the church revenues to arise from this law were lodged in a council composed of the first presicency of the church, the bishop of the church and his council [the traveling high council--the twelve apostles], and by mine own voice unto them, saith the Lord."

Thus the revenue law of the church was established. It is but a modification of the law of consecration and stewardship, first given to the church. In the first law consecration was to be made of all that was possessed, with subsequent consecrations from time to time of the surplus arising from the management of the stewardship received after consecration, or that resulted from the member's industry in gainful pursuits. In the law now given there was to be first, a consecration of the surplus possessed --not all; and afterwards a payment of one-tenth of a member's interests annually, instead of a consecration from time to time of all the surplus arising from his business or industry.

The men chosen to fill the vacancies in the quorum of the twelve, vacancies occasioned by the falling away of John Boynton, Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and Wm.E. M'lellin, were John Taylor, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards. "And next spring," said the revelation, making these appointments, "let them"--referring to the whole quorum--"let them depart to go over the great waters, and there promulgate my gospel, the fulness thereof, and bear record of my name. Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West on the 26th day of April next, on the building spot of my house, saith the Lord."

In view of the events which intervened between the time this revelation was received and the time set for the twelve's departure for England, the boast of the mob that here was one of "Joe Smith's revelations at least that should fail of fulfillment;" and the equally great determination on the part of the twelve that it should not fail, makes the revelation of special interest, but the account of its fulfillment belongs to a future chapter.



Active hostilities between the saints and the Missourians, which ultimately resulted in the expulsion of the former from Missouri, broke out at an election held at Gallatin in Daviess county on the 6th Of August. W. P. Peniston, candidate for representative to the state legislature from Daviess county had been for some time bitterly opposed to the saints. He was active in the agitation which caused their removal from Clay county, and fearing that they would not support him in the election he planned to prevent them from Voting at all in Daviess county. This plan was made known to the brethren some two weeks before election by Judge Morin, who lived at Millport, near Gallatin. He advised the brethren to go to the polls prepared for an attack, to stand their ground, and maintain their rights. No heed was paid to the warning of the judge, however, and the saints went to the polls unarmed. Peniston was at the polls and harangued the voters against the "Mormons." He accused the leaders with being rascals, and the rank and file he denounced as dupes, and thieves. He declared that if the "Mormons" were allowed to vote the "old settlers" would soon lose their suffrage. In the midst of this abuse a local bully assaulted Samuel Brown, one of the brethren. It is admitted by Missouri's historical writers that the "old settlers" undertook to prevent the "Mormons" from voting; that they "began the row;" that the blow which began the hostilities was "uncalled for."


Following the assault upon Brown the fight became general and a number on both sides were bruised and otherwise injured, though none were killed on either side. The "old settlers" were the first to withdraw to arouse their sympathizers and to arm themselves. Meantime the saints had become determined to maintain their rights and a renewal of the conflict seemed inevitable. Under these circumstances the county authorities in charge of the election came to the brethren and pleaded with them to withdraw, saying that the riot was a premeditated thing to prevent the "Mormons" from voting. The brethren being unarmed withdrew to their farms, collected their families, concealed them in the hazel thickets and stood guard over them through the night.

The following day an exaggerated report of this Gallatin affair reached Far West, such as that several of the brethren had been killed and the mob refused to allow them to be buried, and were determined to drive all the "Mormons" from Daviess county. These reports occasioned great excitement in Far West; and as soon as men could get ready they rode off in small squads to learn the extent of the outbreak against their brethren. Joseph Smith went with one of these companies, but the general command of the expedition was given to G. W. Robinson. How many left Far West on this errand is not known. They have been variously estimated from one to two hundred. They rendezvoused at "Di-Ahman" at the residence of Lyman Wight, and here met with some who had been at the disturbance at Gallatin, from whom they learned the truth, concerning the riot of the previous day. The next day was spent by Joseph Smith and others of the company from Far West in visiting "old settlers' in the vicinity of "Di-Ahman" to learn their dispositions towards their "Mormon" neighbors. Among others called upon was one Adam Black, a justice of the peace, and now judge-elect for Daviess county. Under these circumstances it was especially desirable to know this man's intentions, particularly as rumor had connected him with the mob. As the document is unique both in orthography and composition it is given in full as prepared and signed by the judge-elect:

"I, Adam Black, a justice of the peace of Daviess county do hereby certify to the people, called Mormon, that he is bound to support the Constitution of the state and of the United States and he is not attached to any mob, nor will he attach himself to any such people, and so long as they will not molest me, I will not molest them. This the 8th day of August, 1838.


The same day a meeting was arranged for the 9th between some of the citizens of Millport, adjacent to Gallatin, and the leaders of the company from Far West. Among the former who met with the brethren from Far West were Joseph Morin, state senator-elect; John Williams, representative-elect; James B. Turner, clerk of the circuit court and others. The substance of the agreement entered into by these parties, as stated by Joseph Smith, is as follows:

"At this meeting both parties entered into covenant of peace to preserve each other's rights, and stand in each other's defense; that if men did wrong, neither party would uphold them or endeavor to screen them from justice, but deliver up all offenders to be dealt with according to law and justice."


On the 10th of August, however, W. P. Peniston, Wm. Bowman, Wilson McKenny and John Netherton appeared before Judge Austin A. King, Of the fifth judicial circuit and made affidavit that they had good reason to believe, and did believe that there was collected in Daviess county a body of five hundred armed men whose movements were of a highly insurrectionary and unlawful character, that about one hundred and twenty of aforesaid insurrectionaries had committed violence against Adam Black by surrounding his house, and taking him in a violent manner and subjecting him to great indignities, by forcing him under threats of immediate death to sign a paper writing of a very disgraceful character, and by threatening to do the same to all the "old settlers" and citizens of Daviess county; that said armed body had threatened to put to instant death Wm. P. Peniston, one of the affiants, and he verily believed they would do it without they should be prevented; like threats were made against Wm. Bowman, another of the affiants. Joseph Smith, Jun., and Lyman Wight were declared to be the leaders of this body of armed men whose object it is "to take vengeance for some injuries, or imaginary injuries, done to some of their friends, and to drive from the county all the old citizens, and possess themselves of their lands, or to force such as do not leave, to come to measures and submit to their dictation."

In the latter part of the month of August, Adam Black confirmed in an affidavit much of what was sworn to by Peniston, especially that he had been threatened "with instant death" if he did not sign a writing binding himself as a justice of the peace "not to molest the people called Mormons."

On the affidavit of Peniston et al warrants were issued against Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight for being engaged in this alleged insurrectionary movement. It was reported that they would not submit to service of the warrants, nor to the law, and much was made of this report in the surrounding counties. When the sheriff of Daviess county notified Joseph Smith that he had a writ to take him to Daviess county and reference was made to these reports, the Prophet informed the sheriff that he intended always to submit to the laws of the country, but he wished to be tried in his own county, as the citizens of Daviess county were highly exasperated at him, and that the laws of the country granted him this privilege. Hearing this the sheriff declined serving the warrant until he could consult with Judge King, at Richmond, in Ray county. The Prophet agreed to remain at home until his return. On returning the sheriff stated that he had no jurisdiction in Caldwell county and retired.

This action on the part of the Prophet was construed and reported to be resistance to an officer of the law, and used to further inflame the country. Finally, acting under the counsel of his legal advisers, Messrs. David R. Atchison and A. W. Doniphan, Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight volunteered to be tried by Judge King in Daviess county, and much to their surprise they were bound over in five hundred dollar bonds to appear before the circuit court for trial.

Meantime all manner of exaggerated reports of these matters were circulated throughout all the counties of upper Missouri, mingled with downright misrepresentations as to the intentions and alleged warlike preparations of the "Mormons" to drive the "old settlers" from their homes; and doubtless the rumors of mob preparations in surrounding counties--such as that men were collecting from "eleven counties" to take into custody Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight for their part in the expedition into Daviess county --were equally exaggerated and untrue. But it was true that great excitement had been created against the saints throughout the counties of upper Missouri, that amounted to an "uproar."And because of these misrepresentations the "Mormons" were both feared and hated, save perhaps in Clay county, where they were best known and had a few staunch friends among some of the strongest men in western Missouri. "Ray county Gentiles," says one historian, after noting the absence of ill-feeling in Clay county--"Ray county Gentiles hated them; Carroll county Gentiles detested them; and Daviess county Gentiles vowed hostilities against them."

No attempt is made in this general History to detail all the movements of mob and militia forces and the counter movements on the Latter-day Saints' side; only those actions necessary to a true understanding of the outcome are detailed.

Following the Adam Black affair various representations were made to Governor Boggs from citizens and some officers of Chariton, Carroll, Daviess and Livingston counties, representing, in the main, that the "Mormons" were in insurrection, refused to submit to law, had formed alliances with the Indians on the western frontier, and were preparing to make war upon the Missourians in the fall. And thence from time to time, as the conflict developed, petitions, affidavits, appeals and official reports flooded the chief executive of the state, generally to the disparagement of the saints, for seldom could the latter reach the governor's ear. Indeed in all the collection of affidavits, appeals and petitions published under the authority of the Missouri legislature, there is but one brief petition from "Certain Mormons to the Governor." The petition was signed by fifty of the saints at DeWitt, and recites the threats made against them by the mob, and appeals for executive protection.


The first official act of a series which resulted in bringing against the people of Far West a body of more than 6,000 state troops, and expelling over twelve thousand people, men, women and children from the state, under threats of extermination--was an order of the executive through B. M. Lisle, adjutant general of the militia, to General David R. Atchison and six other major generals, to raise within their respective districts and hold in readiness for further orders, four hundred mounted men, armed and equipped as infantry or riflemen and formed into companies under officers already in commission. This made ready a body of soldiery 2,800 strong.

"Indications of Indian disturbances on Missouri's immediate frontier, and the recent civil disturbances in the counties of Caldwell, Daviess and Carroll," are said to render the order necessary as a precautionary measure. This order is dated the 30th of August.

The whole country was in a state of great excitement and squads of armed men were moving about making threats against the saints. The latter were at great disadvantage by reason of being widely scattered over a very large area of country; in this they neglected to follow the advice of the Prophet to form compact settlements and live in them; which, had they done, among other advantages of such a policy, already considered, they would have had better opportunities for self-defense.

The brethren from Far West were active in going from point to point, under the direction of the civil authorities of Caldwell county, wherever there was a threatened attack upon their people. Hearing that a wagon load of arms and ammunition was en route from Richmond to the mob investing the vicinity of "Di-Ahman," Captain Wm. Allred took a company of ten mounted men and started to intercept the transport. They found the wagon broken down, and the boxes of guns concealed near the roadside in the tall grass; but no one was in sight. Shortly after this party had discovered the arms, they saw moving over the prairie, from the direction of the mob's camp, two horsemen and behind them a third man driving a team. These parties came up to the broken down wagon and were arrested by Captain Allred, by virtue of a writ he held for them issued by the civil authorities of Caldwell county. The prisoners and the guns were taken to Far West, and after an examination before Albert Petty, justice of the peace, they were held to bail for their appearance at the next term of the circuit court. The names of these parties were, J. B. Comer, held as principal, and Wm. L. McHoney and Allen Miller as being in the employ of Comer, engaged in furnishing a mob with arms for an illegal purpose.

Judge King was immediately informed of the arrest of these men, and his advice was asked as to what disposal should be made of the prisoners. He replied that the prisoners must be turned loose and treated kindly. He had no advice to give about the guns, and was at a loss to know how to account for them being in the possession of Comer, as they belonged to the government, and had been in the custody of Captain Pollard, living in the vicinity of Richmond. The guns were distributed among the brethren to be used in self-defense. A few days afterwards the prisoners were delivered up to General A. W. Doniphan; and forty-two stands of the firearms were also collected and delivered to him.

The mob took a number of the brethren prisoners, and sent word to Far West and other settlements that they were torturing them in the most inhuman manner, by this means, doubtless, seeking to provoke retaliation.

Meantime the militia Governor Boggs had ordered to be held in readiness, was mustered into service. Under the direction of General Doniphan six companies of fifty men each were collected and armed from the militia of Clay county, and at once marched to the vicinity of "Di-Ahman." Here Doniphan found the citizens of Daviess and surrounding counties to the number of two or three hundred under arms, and commanded by Dr. Austin, from Carroll county. They claimed to have collected solely for the purpose of defending the people of Daviess county against the "Mormons." Doniphan read to them the order of his superior officer, General Atchison, to disperse, but this they refused to do.

"I had an interview," said Doniphan, "with Dr. Austin, and his professions were all pacific. But they [Austin's men] still continued under arms, marching and counter marching." The general also visited the encampment of the brethren under the command of Colonel Lyman Wight. Doniphan' s report says:

"We held a conference with him, and he professed entire willingness to disband, and surrender up to me every one of the Mormons accused of crime; and required in return that the hostile forces collected by the other citizens of the county, should also disband."

As the mob refused to obey the order to disband, the safety of the brethren and their families required that men under Wight should continue under arms. General Doniphan took up a position between the two opposing forces, hoping that if the parties were kept apart, in a few days they would disband without coercion.

In the course of two or three days General Atchison arrived with a body of militia from Ray county. He at once ordered the citizens from the surrounding counties to repair to their respective homes, a movement they began to make with many signs of reluctance. Only about one hundred of them obeyed the order. Atchison reported to Governor Boggs, that he had received assurance from the "Mormons" that all those accused of a violation of the laws would be in for trial the very day on which his report was dated--the 17th of September. "And," says the report, "when that is done, the troops under my command will be no longer required in this county, if the people of the other counties will retire to their respective homes."

A day or two after this report, Atchison succeeded in disbanding the mob forces; and the brethren against whom charges were made appeared before a court of inquiry and entered into bonds to appear at the next session of the circuit court. This much having been accomplished, Atchison thought it no longer needful to keep his whole force of militia in the field, hence he dismissed all his forces except two companies, which were left in the vicinity, under the command of Brigadier General H. G. Parks. In reporting these latter movements to the governor, Atchison says in conclusion:

"The Mormons of Daviess county, as I stated in a former report, were encamped in a town called Adam-ondi-Ahman, and they are headed by Lyman Wight, a bold, brave, skillful, and I may add, a desperate man; they appear to be acting on the defensive, and, I must further add, gave up the offenders with a good deal of promptness. The arms taken by the Mormons and the prisoners were also given up on demand with seeming cheerfulness."

The forces which had been called out by order of General Atchison were disbanded, except the two companies that were left under the command of General Parks. Parks and these men remained in the vicinity of "Di-Ahman," watching both "Mormons" and Gentiles, assisting in serving civil process, and reporting occasionally to his superior officers. As these reports come from a source that is other than a "Mormon" one, he is a witness to the uprightness of the acts of the "Mormon" people, at that time, of considerable importance; and this must be our justification for inserting several extracts from his official reports. In a report which Parks made to Governor Boggs, on the 25th of September, occurs the following:

"Whatever may have been the disposition of the people called Mormons before our arrival here, since we have made our appearance, they have shown no disposition to resist the law or of hostile intentions. * * * There has been so much prejudice and exaggeration concerned in this matter, that I found things entirely different from what I was prepared to expect. It is true that a great excitement did prevail between the parties, and I am happy to say that my exertions, as well as those of Major General Atchison, and the officers and men under my command, have been crowned with success. When we arrived here, we found a large body of men from the counties adjoining, armed and in the field, for the purpose, as I learned, of assisting the people of this county against the Mormons, without being called out by the proper authorities."

In the meantime, a committee of "old citizens" had agreed to meet with a committee appointed by the saints in Daviess county, for the purpose of making arrangements for either buying the property of the saints, or of selling theirs to the brethren. Speaking of this committee in a postscript to the above report, Parks says:

"I received information that if the committee do not agree, the determination of the Daviess county men is to drive the Mormons with powder and lead."

The committee met and the brethren entered into an agreement to purchase all the lands and possessions of those who desired to sell and leave Daviess county. Messengers immediately carried the news of the agreement to the Prophet at Far West, and he approved of the action and immediately appointed messengers to the churches east and south to raise the means to fulfill the contract. But continued conflicts on every hand prevented its consummation.

Two days later than the date of Parks' report, last quoted, General Atchison wrote to the governor, saying:

"The force under General Parks is deemed sufficient to execute the laws and keep the peace in Daviess county. Things are not so bad that county as represented by rumor, and in fact from affidavits. I have no doubt your excellency has been deceived by the exaggerated statements of designing or half crazy men. I have found there is no cause for alarm on account of the Mormons; they are not to be feared; they are very much alarmed."

These Statements, accompanied by the former statements of Atchison and Doniphan, which said the "Mormons" were only acting on the defensive, and had surrendered the arms they had taken from the mob together with the prisoners with promptness, prove that the saints in collecting and arming were merely acting in self-defense, and not with any desire to outrage the laws or injure the Missourians.

The mob forces thwarted for the present in their designs on "Di-Ahman," moved next upon DeWitt, in Carroll county, with the express purpose of expelling the "Mormons" from that place. No charge at all of unlawful conduct is made against the saints in DeWitt. The utmost that was said against them by the mob to the committee of citizens from Chariton county--who went to DeWitt to inquire into the trouble there--was, that they were unwilling for the "Mormons" to remain at DeWitt, "which was the cause of them waging war against them--they were waging a war of extermination, or to remove them from said county."

"We also went into DeWitt," says the committee's report. "We found them [the saints] in the act of defense, begging for peace, and wishing for the civil authorities to repair there and as early as possible settle the difficulties between the parties. Hostilities have commenced, and will continue until they are stopped by the civil authorities."

This report of the Chariton county committee was transmitted to the governor with General Atchison's report to him of October the 5th. General Atchison ordered General Parks to disperse the mob about DeWitt, but that officer reported his command as partaking "in a great degree of the mob spirit," so that no reliance could be placed upon it; and while General Atchison disagreed with this view it prevented General Parks from venturing upon any decisive measures against the mob, or giving relief to the saints of DeWitt.


The Prophet, learning of the distress of the saints at DeWitt, made his way to them. He found the saints in sore straits, their food supplies exhausted, and a constantly increasing mob surrounding them. A number of non- "Mormon" citizens of DeWitt expressed a willingness to make affidavits respecting the treatment of the saints at the hands of the mob, and their present perilous situation; also their willingness to send a messenger with such affidavits to the governor. The affidavits accordingly were drawn up and placed in the hands of a Mr. Caldwell who presented them to Governor Boggs, but the executive of the state instead of giving the besieged citizens of DeWitt any hope of relief, said to Mr. Caldwell-

"The quarrel is between the Mormons and the mob, and they can fight it out!"

To the disgrace of Governor Boggs these affidavits of the non-"Mormon" citizens of DeWitt are not among the official papers reported to the Missouri legislature.

Shortly after this incident General Parks sent word to the people of DeWitt that his troops under Captain Bogart had mutinated and to prevent them from joining the mob he was under the necessity of drawing them away. The Prophet had no confidence in General Parks himself, and denounces him for making no move against the mob, and giving as his reason that "Bogart and his company were mutinous and mobocratic, that he dare not attempt a dispersion of the mob."

Deserted on every hand by the legal authorities who should have gone to their assistance, and the mob forces constantly increasing, there was nothing for the saints to do but to capitulate and leave DeWitt; and this they did, making a melancholy march to Far West, a number dying on the way from the effects of fatigue and privation.

The DeWitt affair may not be more fittingly closed than by the final official report of General Atchison to Governor Boggs, respecting it.

"Boonville, Oct. 16, 1838.

"To His Excellency, L. W. Boggs.

"Sir--From a communication received from General Parks, I learn that the Mormons in Carroll county have sold out and left, consequently everything is quiet there, but Parks reports that a portion of the men from Carroll county, with one piece of artillery, are on their march for Daviess county, where it is thought the same lawless game is to be played over, and the Mormons to be driven from that county and probably from Caldwell county. Nothing, in my opinion, but the strongest measures within the power of the executive, will put down this spirit of mobocracy.

"The troops ordered into the field, from Parks' report, partake, in a great degree, of the mob spirit, so that no reliance can be placed upon them; however, in this I believe Parks to be mistaken. I would respectfully suggest to your excellency the propriety of a visit to the scene of excitement in person, or at all events, a strong proclamation. The state of things which have existed in the counties of Daviess and Carroll for the last two months, has been, in a high degree, ruinous to the public, and disgraceful to the state. I would again respectfully suggest strong measures to put down this spirit of mob and misrule, or permit them to fight it out. If your excellency should conclude the latter expedient best calculated to produce quiet and restore order, issue an order to the major general, 3rd division, to discharge the troops now engaged in that service.

I have the honor, &c.,


Encouraged by their success at DeWitt against an unoffending Latter-day Saint community--beyond the fact that they were "Mormons"--the mob hastened to Daviess county to repeat there, if possible, their DeWitt success.

While these events were occurring in Carroll county, Cornelius Gilliam was raising a mob in Platte and Clinton counties, west of Caldwell, for the purpose of assisting in this enterprise. General Doniphan learned of both these movements and sent word to Joseph Smith that a body of eight hundred men were moving upon the settlements of his people in Daviess county. He gave orders for a company of militia to be raised at Far West and marched at once into Daviess county, to defend those who were threatened, until he could raise the militia in Clay and adjoining counties to put down the insurrection. Accordingly a company of one hundred militiamen were gotten in readiness to march into Daviess county. The command was given to Colonel Hinkle and he started for "Di-Ahman."

After General Parks had left the vicinity of DeWitt, with his mutinous militia, he returned to "Di-Ahman," where he had left Colonel Thompson in command, and resumed control of affairs in that section.

The mob about "Di-Ahman," hearing of the fate of DeWitt, and learning of the approach of that mob and the efforts of Gilliam in raising a mob in the west, became bolder, and at once began to threaten the saints and to burn some of their houses and stacks of hay and grain. These depredations were committed chiefly in the vicinity of Millport, a short distance from "Di-Ahman."

General Parks passed these burning ruins, and they seemed to arouse within him a just indignation. He at once went to Lyman Wight and gave him orders to call out his companies of militiamen--Wight holding a Colonel's commission in the fifty-ninth regiment of the Missouri militia, commanded by General Parks--and gave him full authority to put down mobs wherever he should find them assembled. He said he wished it distinctly understood that Colonel Wight had full authority from him to suppress all mob violence. The militia that Colonel Wight called out was divided into two companies; one company, consisting of about sixty men, was placed under the command of Captain David W. Patten, and the other of about the same number was commanded by Wight in person.

Captain Patten was ordered to go to Gallatin. Here he found a body of the mob, about one hundred strong, who were amusing themselves by mocking and in various ways tantalizing a number of the saints whom they had captured. Seeing the approach of Fatten's men, and knowing the determination of the leader, the mob broke and ran in the greatest confusion, leaving their prisoners behind them.

On his arrival at Millport, Colonel Wight found the whole country deserted by the mob which had infested it, and their houses in flames or in smouldering ruins. The mob having learned that General Parks had ordered out Wight's company of militia, was seized with sudden fear and swore vengeance, not only upon the "Mormons" but upon General Parks and Doniphan as well. To accomplish this purpose, they had loaded their most valuable personal effects into wagons, and setting fire to their log huts, they sent runners throughout the state with the lying report that the "Mormons" had "riz" and were burning the houses, destroying property, and murdering the "old settlers."


The Gallatin-Millport events related above occurred on the 17th, 18th and 19th days of October; but General Parks who certainly had acted in a weak and unsoldierly way before DeWitt, and who was suspected of more or less sympathy with the mob forces, made no mention of the orders he had given to Lyman Wight to put down mob violence in Daviess county; but on the contrary makes in said report unfriendly allusions to a body of saints under arms at "Di-Ahman" who declared their intention to "defend that place." He reports also the desertion of Millport by the "old settlers;" expresses the belief that the "Mormons" had "become the aggressors; that the excitement in Daviess county was "more deep and full of vengeance" than he had ever seen it before; and he would "not be surprised if some signal act of vengeance would be taken on these fanatics"--the "Mormons," of course. "I do not know what to do," he adds, "I will remain passive until I hear from you. I do not believe calling out the militia would avail anything towards restoring peace, unless they were called out in such force, as to frighten the Mormons and drive them from the country. This would satisfy the people, but I cannot agree to it."


On the strength of this report General Atchison sent the following remarkable communication to Governor Boggs, in which one may see struggling in the mind of the general deep disgust and just indignation at the course events had taken.

"Liberty, October 22, 1838.

"To His Excellency, the Commander-in-chief.

"Sir--Almost every hour I receive information of outrage and violence--of burning and plundering in the county of Daviess. It seems that the Mormons have become desperate, and act like mad-men; they have burned a store in Gallatin; they have burnt Millport; they have, it is said, plundered several houses; and have taken away the arms from divers citizens of that county; a cannon that was employed in the siege of DeWitt, in Carroll county, and taken for a like purpose to Daviess county, has fallen into the hands of the Mormons. It is also reported that the anti-Mormons have, when opportunity offered, disarmed the Mormons, and burnt several of their houses.

"The great difficulty in settling this matter, seems to be in not being able to identify the offenders, I am convinced that nothing short of driving the Mormons from Daviess county will satisfy the parties opposed to them; and this I have not the power to do, as I conceive, legally. There are no troops at this time in Daviess county, nor do I deem it expedient to send any there, for I am well convinced that it would but make matters worse; for, sir, I do not feel disposed to disgrace myself, or permit the troops under my command to disgrace the state and themselves by acting the part of a mob. If the Mormons are to be driven from their homes, let it be done without any color of law, and in open defiance thereof; let it be done by volunteers acting upon their own responsibilities.

"However. I deem it my duty to submit these matters to the commander-in-chief, and will conclude by saying it will be my greatest pleasure to execute any order your excellency shall think proper to give in this matter with promptness, and to the very letter.

I have the honor to be,

Your excellency's most ob't ser'vt.


After this General Atchison took little part in the movements of the state militia against the saints. From Richmond, under date of the 28th of October, he joins in an official report with General Lucas, major general of the 4th division state militia--from Jackson county--saying that in consequence of "late outrages committed by the Mormons, civil war was inevitable;" that "they have set the laws of the country at defiance and are in open rebellion." The two officers announce that they have two thousand men under arms to keep the "Mormons" in check, and urge that his "excellency be at the seat of war as soon as possible."

On the 30th of October these two officers received the "Exterminating Order" of Governor Boggs, dated 27th of the same month. General A. W. Doniphan at the same time received "an order and a letter" from the governor instructing him to obey the orders of General John B. Clark when he should arrive and assume command, as he had been ordered to do. "The letter was very denunciatory of the Mormons, and declared among other things, that `they must all be driven from the state or exterminated.'" The authority here quoted adds:

"It is asserted that General Atchison's orders or directions from the governor were to the same purport as Doniphan's letter from the governor, and that thereupon General Atchison withdrew from the military force, declaring that he would be no party to the enforcement of such inhuman commands. On the other hand, it is asserted that the governor's orders to Atchison relieved him from command, directing him to turn over his command to General Lucas. At any rate, General Atchison left the militia at Log Creek on receipt of the governor's orders, and returned to his home at Liberty, and General Lucas was left in sole command."

General Atchison would never clear up this uncertainty in relation to his retirement from these movements against the Latter-day Saint settlements. The author of the History of Caldwell County says: "Repeated letters to General Atchison on this subject have received no answer." Joseph Smith says that General Atchison "withdrew from the army at Richmond as soon as the governor's extermination order was received." General Doniphan says that Atchison was "dismounted" and sent back to Liberty, Clay county, by special order of Governor Boggs on the ground that he was inclined to be too merciful to the "Mormons." Governor Boggs himself says, in a communication to General Clark, November the 6th, that "General Atchison was not ordered out in this last affair [i.e. under the Exterminating Orders of Oct. 27th], for two reasons: one was, that I was aware as a member of the legislature he would have other duties to attend to; and another was, that there was much dissatisfaction manifested towards him by the people opposed to the Mormons. "

The only regrettable thing in the whole course of General Atchison, and the only inconsistent thing, was his joining with General Lucas in that conjoint report to the governor of the 28th of October, charging "outrages committed by the Mormons;" and in this he was doubtless misled by General Parks' report to him of the 21st of October (see ante); also saying that "Mormons" had "set the laws of the country at defiance," and were in "open rebellion." In answer to all this it might be asked: when all the officers of the law refused to hear their complaints, and both civil and military authorities delivered them into the hands of merciless mobs to be plundered and outraged at their brutal pleasure, and all petitions for protection at the hands of the governor had been answered with--"It is a quarrel between the Mormons and the mob, and they must fight it out"--what was left for the Latter-day Saints to do but to arm themselves and stand in defense of their homes and families?

But this incident aside, whether he was "dismounted" for being too merciful to the "Mormons," or withdrew from the military forces moving upon the "Mormons" on receiving Governor Boggs' exterminating order, on the ground that he "would be no party to the enforcement of such inhuman commands"--his departure is equally honorable to General David R. Atchison.



Governor Boggs from the commencement of the troubles which arose in upper Missouri between the Latter-day Saints and the "old settlers" had taken wholly the representations of the latter, as to the cause and origin of those troubles. By those representations alone was he guided in all his official actions. It was in vain that the militia officers of his own appointing reported the fact--after arriving on the scene of action--that the Latter-day Saints were acting on the defensive; that they were willing to disband and surrender up every "Mormon" charged with violation of law if the armed forces which had come against them were also disbanded. It was in vain that General David R. Atchison reported again that the "Mormons" appeared "to be acting on the defensive;" that they gave up those charged with breaking the law "with a good deal of promptness;" that the arms and the prisoners they had taken were also given up on demand "with seeming cheerfulness." In vain General Parks reported to Atchison and he to the governor, that the Mormons since his arrival on the scene of conflict had shown no disposition to resist the law or of hostile intentions; that there had been so much prejudice and exaggeration respecting the upper Missouri troubles that he found things entirely different from what he had been prepared to expect; that he had found a large body of men from the surrounding counties, armed and in the field to assist the people of Daviess county against the "Mormons" without being called out by the proper authorities; that in the event of the conjoint committee of saints and "old settlers" appointed to consider the question of buying out the latter, it was the declared intention of the "old settlers" of Daviess county "to drive the Mormons with powder and ball." In vain General Atchison supplemented his former reports by saying that things were "not so bad as represented by rumor;" "that his excellency had been deceived by the exaggerated statements of designing or half crazy men;" that there was "no cause of alarm on account of the Mormons." In vain the committee of citizens of Chariton county reported to Governor Boggs that the only accusation brought against the saints at DeWitt was that they were "Mormons," and that they--the mob--"were not willing for them to remain in DeWitt on that account, and hence were waging a war upon them to remove them from the county." Also the committee represented that they found the "Mormons" of DeWitt "in the act of defense, begging for peace, and wishing for the civil authorities to repair there and as early as possible to settle the difficulties between the parties." In vain did General Parks report to General Atchison--and he to Governor Boggs--that the troops ordered into the field "partake in great degree of the mob spirit, so that no reliance can be placed upon them." In vain did General Atchison report to Governor Boggs, after the "Mormon" capitulation at DeWitt, that the men who had driven the "Mormons" from DeWitt were then marching into Daviess county with one piece of artillery; "where," he continued, "it is thought the same lawless game is to be played over, and the Mormons to be driven from that county and probably from Caldwell county." In vain did General Atchison say that "nothing," in his opinion, "but the strongest measures within the power of the executive, will put down this spirit of mobocracy." In vain did General Atchison say: "This state of things which has existed in the counties of Daviess and Carroll for the last two months, has been, in high degree, ruinous to the public, and disgraceful to the state." In vain did General Atchison suggest "strong measures to put down this spirit of mob and misrule, or permit them [saints and mob] to fight it out." In vain did General Atchison say in sarcasm that if, his excellency should "conclude the latter expedient best calculated to produce quiet and order," then to "issue an order to the major general, 3rd division [himself] to discharge the troops now engaged in that service."

In vain did General Atchison report that nothing short of driving the "Mormons" from Daviess county would satisfy the parties opposed to them, and this he had no power to do, as he conceived, legally; that there were no troops in Daviess county, nor did he deem it expedient to send any since that would make matters worse; "for, sir," said he-

"I do not feel disposed to disgrace myself, or permit the troops under my command to disgrace the state and themselves by acting the part of a mob. If the Mormons are to be driven from their homes, let it be done without any color of law, and in open defiance thereof; let it be done by volunteers acting upon their own responsibilities!"


All these reports and representations, I say, had no effect upon Governor Boggs--he gave heed to it not at all. But when Adam Black and other citizens of Daviess and of Livingston counties made the most extravagant and wild charges as to what "the Mormon banditti" were doing or contemplating, these received most cordial attention, and upon them the promptest action was taken; and apparent belief in them continued notwithstanding reports to the contrary by Atchison, Parks and Doniphan, as seen in the foregoing.

When General Samuel D. Lucas, passing DeWitt en route for Booneville heard rumors of a battle at the former place, he reported on the 4th of October to Governor Boggs as follows:

"If a fight has actually taken place, of which I have no doubt, it will create excitement in the whole upper Missouri, and those base and degraded beings will be exterminated from the face of the earth. If one of the citizens from Carroll should be killed, before five days I believe that there will be from four to five thousand volunteers in the field against the Mormons, and nothing but their blood will satisfy them. It is an unpleasant state of affairs. The remedy I do not pretend to suggest to your excellency. My troops, of the 4th division, were only dismissed subject to further orders, and can be called into the field at an hour's warning."

Lucas was commander of the fourth division of the state militia, a resident of Jackson county and a participant in the mob violence which drove the saints from that county five years before. His report of the troubles at DeWitt, his forecast of the unfavorable result to the saints, and his willingness to be called back into military service to achieve that result, was doubtless as music to the ears of Governor Boggs, who was also a resident of Jackson county and at least a mediate participant with Lucas in the disgraceful proceedings of five years before in that county. May it not be that these men were of the opinion that the expulsion of the "Mormons" from the entire state of Missouri would in some way be a vindication of the previous unwarranted and shameful expulsion of them from Jackson county?

Statements and reports of like spirit to this from Lucas came to the governor from General John B. Clark, inclosing appeals from the mob forces investing DeWitt to the people of Howard county; also similar statements from Captain Bogart, whose troops with himself were in insubordination, according to General Parks' reports; from Wm. P. Peniston; Samuel Venable; Johnathan J. Dryden; James Stone; fourteen citizens of Ray county; Thomas C. Burch; Judge Austin A. King, Adam Black and others. In all these reports, statements and affidavits the movements of the militia under Colonels Hinkle and Lyman Wight upon Gallatin and Millport--the two militia officers acting under orders of General Parks, be it remembered --were made the basis of their misrepresentations.


In addition to the exaggerations and misrepresentations of the "old settlers" in Daviess, Ray and other counties, must be added also the misrepresentations of false brethren, who, alarmed at the threatening portents gathering about the saints were not equal to the task of standing unmoved in the presence of the approaching storm. On the night of the 18th of October, Thomas B. Marsh, president of the quorum of twelve apostles, with Orson Hyde, also one of the twelve, left Far West and fled to Richmond; where, on the 24th of the month, they made affidavits that went far towards sustaining the false reports of the "old settlers' as to the purposes and actions of the leading elders and brethren of the church. The chief items in the affidavit of Marsh were as follows:

"They have among them a company, considered true Mormons, called the `Danites,' who have taken an oath to support the heads of the church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong. Many, however, of this band are much dissatisfied with this oath, as being against moral and religious principles. On Saturday last, I am informed by the Mormons, that they had a meeting at Far West, at which they appointed a company of twelve, by the name of the `Destruction Company,' for the purpose of burning and destroying, and that if the people of Buncombe came to do mischief upon the people of Caldwell, and committed depredations upon the Mormons, they were to burn Buncombe; and if the people of Clay and Ray made any movement against them, this destroying company were to burn Liberty and Richmond. * * * The Prophet inculcated the notion, and it is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith's prophecies are superior to the laws of the land. I have heard the Prophet say that he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; and if he was not let alone, he would be a second Mohammed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean; that like Mohammed whose motto in treating for peace was, `the Alcoran or the Sword,' so would it be eventually with us, `Joseph Smith or the Sword.' These last statements were made during the last summer. The number of armed men at Adam-ondi-Ahman was between three and four hundred."

The affidavit of Orson Hyde was to the effect that most of the statements "in the foregoing disclosure" he knew to be true, the remainder he believed to be true. This false testimony greatly strengthened the "old settlers" in their misrepresentations, and made the saints feel the bitterness of betrayal by false brethren.


Meantime the saints in the main, had gathered into the two settlements of "Di-Ahman" and Far West and were preparing to defend themselves as best they could.

On the evening of the 24th of October word was brought into Far West of the operations of Captain Bogart's "command" in the south part of Caldwell county. The "command," about forty in number, called at the home of a brother Parsons, living on the east branch of Log Creek, and ordered him to leave by ten o'clock the next morning; Bogart saying that he expected to "give Far West hell," before noon of the following day, provided he joined forces with Niel Gilliam, who had raised men from Platte and Clinton counties--west of Clay and Caldwell respectively--to march against the "Mormons;" and who would camp within six miles of Far West that night, while Bogart himself would go into camp on Crooked river. The same day a detachment of Bogart's men entered the house of a brother Pinkham, took three men prisoners, also took four horses, some firearms and food, and warned Pinkham to leave the state at once or they "would have his d--d old scalp." These reports were brought into Far West about midnight; and Judge Elias Higbee-the first judge in Caldwell county, and the highest civil authority therein, and the officer in whom the state law vested the right to call upon the militia to enforce the law --immediately called upon Colonel George M. Hinkle to raise a company of militia to disperse the mob and rescue the prisoners. This was done and the command given to Captain David W. Patten, who at once marched upon Bogart s encampment on Crooked river, where he arrived at break of day on the 25th. Dismounting his company some distance from the river Patten formed them into three divisions, and advanced. They encountered one of Bogart's picketmen who fired upon them, mortally wounding young Patrick O' Banion. Patten ordered a charge upon the enemy and the conflict was hand to hand. Bogart's forces broke and fled, leaving their horses and camp equipment. In the charge Captain Patten was mortally wounded, Gideon Carter instantly killed, and nine others were wounded. Of the casualties in Bogart's forces the most reliable account fixes the number as one killed--Moses Rowland--and six wounded.

The results of this engagement between the company of Caldwell militia and Bogart's patrol was greatly exaggerated at the time. "The news of the fight on Crooked river spread rapidly." says one account, "all the Gentiles in the northern part of the county abandoned their homes and fled southward near Richmond and elsewhere for safety, believing that a general raid upon them by the Mormons was imminent. The Mormons had fired the first gun, and were to be considered the aggressors, and wherever the news was received there was a general and vehement demand that they be at once `put down,' severely punished for what they had done, and effectually disposed of."

Wiley C. Williams and Amos Reese reporting the Crooked river encounter to General John B. Clark, who had been appointed to the chief command of the forces against the "Mormons," declared that Bogart's command of fifty had been attacked by "three hundred Mormons;" ten had been killed; many others wounded, most of the remainder had been taken prisoners, and these informants had but little hope but "these wretched desperadoes--will kill all those prisoners!" Also they reported that the "Mormons" had determined to attack and burn Richmond that night, and they had but little doubt but that they would attempt it; the women and children had all left Richmond and were fleeing for protection into surrounding counties. Of course the report was closed with a strong plea for something to be done and that speedily to stop these alleged proceedings of the "Mormons."


Messrs. Williams and Reese were already en route to the governor with the reports of the Gallatin-Millport affair (having been appointed to that mission by a mass meeting of the citizens of Richmond, held on the 24th day of October) when E. M. Ryland sent after them rumors that reached Richmond of the Crooked river encounter. These were substantially the same as those already in the possession of Williams and Reese. They were urged by Ryland to hasten their journey to Jefferson City "spreading the reports of Mormon outrages as they went, calling upon volunteers to flock to the scene of conflict as fast as possible." Such volunteers were to be instructed to rendezvous with the full determination to exterminate the "Mormons," or expel them from the state en mass. "The Mormons must leave the state," said the communication, "or we will, one and all. And to this complexion it must come at last."

Sashiel Woods and Joseph Dickson reported to Governor Boggs from Carrolton (Carrolton county, east of Ray), that by express from Ray county, they had learned that "Captain Bogart and all his company, amounting to between fifty and sixty men were massacred by the Mormons at Buncombe, twelve miles north of Richmond, except three. This statement you may rely on as being true and last night they expected Richmond to be laid in ashes this morning. * * * We know not the hour or minute we will be laid in ashes--our country is ruined--for God's sake give us assistance, as quick as possible."

Meantime, the Caldwell militia having executed the order of the judge of the county, having dispersed Bogart's command and rescued the three prisoners, so far from meditating an attack upon Richmond, were mournfully returning to Far West with their own killed and wounded, where they arrived on the 26th, and the day following David W. Patten was buried with military honors.

Before arrival of Messrs. Williams and Reese in Jefferson city, Governor Boggs, acting upon the false reports that reached him concerning affairs at Gallatin and Millport, ordered into the field a large force of the state militia. Under date of 26th of October he ordered out four hundred men from each of the following divisions: the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 12th; making a body of 2,000 troops. At the same time General Willock of the 14th division was ordered to raise 500 men. Generals Doniphan and Parks were ordered to raise each five hundred men; but no steps were taken by them to carry out this order, doubtless for the reason that the rapid development of events gave them no opportunity to do so, and they were already in the field each in command of a large force, about eighteen hundred men in the two commands. The above military orders were issued by Governor Boggs in response to an application of the citizens of Daviess county to the governor "for protection, and to be restored to their homes and property." The orders were given because the governor claimed to have received "intelligence that the Mormons with an armed force," had "expelled the inhabitants of that county from their homes," had "pillaged and burnt their dwellings, driven off their stock, and were destroying their crops. That they [the Mormons]" had "burnt to ashes the towns of Gallatin and Millport in said county; the former being the county seat of said county," and that there was not now a civil officer within said county."

Shortly after the above order was issued Messrs. Williams and Reese arrived at Jefferson City with their reports of the Crooked river encounter, the supposed determination of the "Mormons" to burn Richmond, added to their false reports of Gallatin-Millport affairs. Upon this showing Governor Boggs issued a second order to General Clark, under date of the 27th of October, known as his "Order of Extermination;" which, on account of its importance in our history, is given in extenso:


"Headquarters of the Militia,

"City of Jefferson, Oct. 27, 1838.

"General John B. Clark:

"Sir--Since the order of this morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Amos Reese, Esq., of Ray county, and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aids, information of the most appalling character, which entirely changes the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this state. Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operation with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace--their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may consider necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj. Gen. Willock, of Marion county, to raise five hundred men, and to march them to the northern part of Daviess, and there unite with Gen. Doniphan of Clay, who has been ordered with five hundred men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express, you can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead therefore of proceeding as at first directed to reinstate the citizens of Daviess in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond and then operate against the Mormons. Brig. Gen. Parks of Ray, has been ordered to have four hundred of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force will be placed under your command.

I am very respectfully,

your ob't serv't,

"L. W. Boggs, Commander-in-Chief."

Thus truth was eclipsed by falsehood; and Governor Boggs, no longer acting as the executive of a great commonwealth anxious to enforce the law and restore peace, changed his order to restore the "old settlers" of Daviess county to their homes, to a declaration of war upon the "Mormons,"--a war of extermination, the only alternative to which was banishment from the state. Nor did time for reflection change the determination of Governor Boggs; for writing to General Clark under date of November 1st, he, in effect, renewed the order for extermination: "It was considered by me," he writes to the general, "that full and ample powers were vested in you to carry into effect my former orders. The case is now a very plain one--the Mormons must be subdued and peace restored to the community. You will therefore proceed without delay to execute the former orders. * * * The ringleaders of this rebellion should be made an example of; and, if it should become necessary for the public peace, the Mormons should be exterminated or expelled from the state."

The Exterminating Order was forwarded by General Clark to General Atchison and Lucas on the 30th, with instructions "to act for the best until he could arrive." The effect of the arrival of this order to the officers in command of the militia forces we have already seen: Atchison either considered himself "dismounted," or else "withdrew" from the military force, "declaring that he would be no party to the enforcement of such inhuman commands." This left General Lucas in command of the militia in the field and he at once began the movement upon Far West.


On the day that the militia under Lucas were seen approaching Far West, came the report to its citizens of the massacre at Haun's Mill. Haun's Mill was situated on Shoal Creek, some ten or twelve miles due east of Far West. Here about thirty families of the saints had located, several of which had but recently arrived from the eastern states, and were camped in their wagons and tents. Two days before the massacre these people had entered into a treaty of peace with Colonel William O. Jennings of Livingston county. Each party to the treaty was to act with forebearance and exert itself to prevent hostilities. Two days later, several companies of state militia, numbering two hundred and forty in all, led by Colonel Wm. O. Jennings, Nehemiah Comstock, Thomas R. Ryan and William Mann rushed upon their encampment and began firing upon them; and though the saints offered but slight resistance and cried for peace, no quarter was granted. The utmost confusion existed, women and children fled in every direction, mainly to the woods; while the men, especially such as had arms, fled to the old blacksmith shop near the mill as a place of rendezvous from which they could make such defense as was possible against such overwhelming odds. The blacksmith shop was quickly surrounded and volley after volley fired into it; and such was the crowded condition of the shop and so numerous the crevices through which the assailants could fire that it proved to be a death trap rather than a place of safety. It was soon abandoned, and in the attempt to escape from it a number were shot down. In all seventeen were killed outright and twelve severely wounded.

Some of the murders in this massacre were wantonly barbarous. The History of Caldwell County, published at St. Louis by the National Historical Co., 1886, and frequently quoted in these pages, recited some of these atrocities in the following paragraph:

"Esq. Thos. McBride was an old soldier of the Revolution. He was lying wounded and helpless, his gun by his side. A militiaman named Rogers came up to him and demanded it. `Take it,' said McBride. Rogers picked up the weapon, and finding that it was loaded, deliberately discharged it into the old man's breast. He then cut and hacked the old veteran's body with a rude sword, or `corn knife' until it was frightfully mangled. Wm. Reynolds, a Livingston man, killed the little boy Sardius Smith, 10 years of age. The lad had run into the blacksmith shop and crawled under the bellows for safety. Upon entering the shop the cruel militiamen discovered the cowering trembling little fellow, and without even demanding his surrender fired upon and killed him, and afterwards boasted of the atrocious deed to Chas. R. Ross and others. He described, with fiendish glee, how the poor boy struggled in his dying agony, and justified his savage and inhuman conduct in killing a mere child by saying, `Nits will make lice, and if he had lived he would have become a Mormon.'"

As soon as all in sight were killed or wounded the militia proceeded to loot the houses, wagons and tents of their victims, taking everything of value, and even in some cases stripped the dead. They drove off the horses and wagons, loaded with plunder, and left the widows and orphans of the slain destitute of the means of subsistence.

When night settled down over the scene those who had fled to the woods returned to learn the fate of their relatives and friends, and to care for the wounded. The next day, for want of time to provide a more decent burial--for they knew not what moment they might be again assailed--the survivors of the massacre gathered up the dead and threw their bodies into an unfinished well, which was afterwards filled up, and no one knows the exact spot of interment of these victims of misplaced hate.


This butchery was doubtless the first fruits of Governor Boggs' Exterminating Order. True, the History of Caldwell County says that Colonel Jennings "made the attack upon his own responsibility, without orders from Governor Boggs, or any superior authority;" but the historian makes the startling assertion that "the governor afterwards approved what was done!" But what was this massacre at Haun's Mill but carrying into effect the governor's Exterminating Order of the 27th of October? And why did Jennings change his pacific policy bound by special treaty, to one of assault and massacre towards these people at Haun's Mill? The only answer is that learning of the governor's Exterminating Order he forthwith proceeded to execute it. That he knew of that order admits of no doubt, since it was issued on the 27th of October; on the 28th it was received by General Clark and forwarded to Generals Atchison and Lucas on the 30th; by which time it was doubtless known to all the commands gathering about Far West, to Jennings' and Comstocks' with the rest, only they acted with more promptness than the other commanders of militia companies. In history the Haun's Mill massacre will stand as an incident in direct sequence of the issuance of Governor Boggs' Order of Extermination.

Naturally it was with grave alarm that the citizens of Far West saw the large forces of militia approaching their town on the afternoon of October 30th. They were ignorant of the several orders issued by Governor Boggs against them, and hence were not certain if the forces approaching were coming to protect them, or were a mob to destroy them.

There is some confusion as to the order of events for the next two or three days, owing to the annals on both sides being apparently defective by the omission or the confusion of some events that took place; but as nearly as the accounts may be harmonized the following is the order of events: On the approach of the several commands of militia under General Lucas on the evening of the 30th of October--the sun about one hour high--the militia of Caldwell county in Far West was drawn up in line just south of the city, the number estimated was between six and eight hundred, to oppose the advance of the formidable enemy. Both parties sent out a flag of truce, under which the representatives of the respective sides met. In answer to the inquiry of the citizens of Far West as to whom these hostile forces were and what their intentions, the answer was that they were state militia ordered out by the governor to stop the further depredations of the "Mormons;" that they wanted three persons out of the city before they assaulted it. The three persons named--one of them, Adam Lightner, not a "Mormon"--refused to leave the city. After this there is reported an interview between Charles C. Rich and General Doniphan--Rich was also the first flag-of-truce-man--in which Rich begged that hostilities might be deferred until morning. Doniphan pledged himself that it should be so, except that he would not be responsible for the actions of Neil Gilliam's forces which had just joined the main army and were going into camp. Gilliam's forces were from the west, painted and decorated as Indians, and frankly more mob than militia; hence the exception made by Doniphan. Rich also desired to see General Atchison, but Doniphan informed him that Atchison had been "dismounted" by order of Governor Boggs for being too friendly to the "Mormons," and he had retired to his home in Clay county. This ended the negotiations for the day. During the night the citizens in Far West were reinforced by the arrival of Colonel Lyman Wight and a small company of men from "Di-Ahman."


The next morning Colonel George M. Hinkle, the highest militia officer in Caldwell county, sent a request to General Lucas for an interview. That officer, however, was so engrossed in receiving and encamping constantly arriving troops-among them the companies of militia fresh from the massacre at Haun's Mills--that he refused to meet Colonel Hinkle until two o'clock in the afternoon. At that time with his staff officers he met Colonel Hinkle, "and some other Mormons," at the place agreed upon. Hinkle stated his object to be-according to Lucas--to see "if there could not be some compromise or settlement of the difficulty without a resort to arms." He was furnished with a copy of Boggs' Exterminating Order, and Lucas proposed to him the following terms of capitulation:

1. "To give up their leaders to be tried and punished.

2. "To make an appropriation of their property, all who had taken up arms, to the payment of their debts, and indemnity for damage done by them.

3. "That the balance should leave the state, and be protected out by the militia, but to be permitted to remain under protection until further orders were received from the commander-in-chief.

4. "To give up the arms of every description to be receipted for."

"Colonel Hinkle agreed to this proposition readily," says Lucas, "but wished to postpone the matter until morning." "I then told him," says Lucas, "that I would require Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt and George W. Robinson as hostages for his faithful compliance with the terms, and would pledge myself and each of the officers present, that in case he, after reflecting and consulting upon the propositions during the night declined acceding to them, that the hostages should be returned to him in the morning, at the same point they were received, but it was understood, in case they did comply, they were to be held for trial as part of the leaders called for by the first stipulation; I then gave him until one hour by sun in the evening to produce and deliver them."

Colonel Hinkle returned to Far West and reported to Joseph Smith that the officers of the militia desired to have an interview with him and some others--naming those stipulated by General Lucas--hoping that the difficulties might be settled without carrying into effect the governor's Exterminating Orders. To this "interview" the brethren named readily assented, but judge of their surprise, when, on meeting General Lucas and the troops that came forward from the main body to receive them, Colonel Hinkle said: "General, these are the prisoners I agreed to deliver up." They were then surrounded and marched off as prisoners. On reaching the enemy's encampment, ninety men were called out to guard them. Thirty were on this duty at a time: two hours on and four hours off. The prisoners lay in the open air with nothing as a covering, and they were all drenched with rain before morning. All night long they were mocked and taunted by the guard, who demanded signs, saying, "Come Mr. Smith, show us an angel, give us some of your revelations, show us a miracle;" mingling these requests with the vilest oaths. Sidney Rigdon had an attack of apoplectic fits, which afforded much merriment to the brutal guard. All night long the prisoners were compelled to listen to the filthy obscenity of those who watched them, and hear them relate their deeds of rapine and murder, and boast of their conquest over virtuous wives and maidens by brute force. Thus the wretched night passed away.

The morning following, which was the 1st of November, Hyrum Smith and Amasa Lyman were also brought into the mob's camp as prisoners.

According to Hinkle's agreement, the militia in Far West were marched out of the city the next morning and grounded their arms which were taken possession of by Lucas, although they were not state arms, but were the private property of the men who carried them.

The mob was now let loose upon the unarmed citizens of Far West, and under the pretext of searching for arms they ransacked every house, tore up the floors, upset haystacks wantonly destroyed much property, and shot down a number of cattle just for the sport it afforded them. The people were robbed of their most valuable property, insulted and whipped; but this was not the worst. The chastity of a number of women was defiled by force; some of them were strapped to benches and repeatedly ravished by brutes in human form until they died from the effects of this treatment.


During the night a court-martial was held, consisting of some fourteen militia officers, among whom were Colonel Hinkle and about twenty priests of the different denominations. Sashiel Woods and Bogart, the Presbyterian ministers, were among them; and in addition to these spiritual dignitaries, there was the circuit judge, Austin A. King and the district attorney, Mr. Thomas Burch. The decision of the court was that the prisoners should be shot the following morning at eight o'clock, in the public square of Far West, as an example to the "Mormon" people.

Colonel Hinkle visited Hyrum Smith and told him that a court-martial had been held and that he had contended for his (Hyrum's) acquittal, but it availed nothing, and all were to be shot the next morning. General Wilson had

As to the kind of treatment received by the people of Far West at the hands of the mob-militia after their surrender, and giving up their arms, the following communication from M. Arthur, Esq., addressed to the representatives in the legislature from Clay county under date of November 29th, 1838, will bear witness:

"Respected Friends--Humanity to an injured people prompts me at present to address you thus. You were aware of the treatment (to some extent before you left home), received by that unfortunate race of beings called the `Mormons, from Daviess, in the form of human beings inhabiting Daviess, Livingston, and a part of Ray county; not being satisfied with the relinquishments of all their rights as citizens and human beings in the treaty forced upon them by General Lucas, by giving up their arms, and throwing themselves upon the mercy of the state, and their fellow-citizens generally, hoping thereby protection of their lives and property, are now receiving treatment from those demons, that makes humanity shudder, and the cold chills run over any man, not entirely destitute of any feeling of humanity. Those demons are now constantly strolling up and down Caldwell county, in small companies armed, insulting the women in any and every way, and plundering the poor devils of all their means of subsistence (scanty as it was) left them, and driving off their horses, cattle, hogs, etc., and rifling their houses and farms of everything therein, taking beds, bedding, wardrobe and all such things as they see they want, leaving the poor Mormons in a starving and naked condition. These are facts I have from authority that cannot be questioned, and can be maintained and substantiated at any time." (Documents, etc., published by the Missouri Legislature, p. 94)


The bold stand taken by General Doniphan in threatening to remove his troops and denouncing the execution of the prisoners as "cold-blooded murder," alarmed Lucas, and he changed his mind about executing the decision of the court-martial; in fact he revoked the decree, and placed the prisoners in charge of General Wilson with instructions to conduct them to Independence.

The fact of the court-martial and the sentence passed upon the prisoners does not rest upon Latter-day Saint testimony alone--although Lucas in his report to Governor Boggs is silent upon the subject. In the History of Caldwell County the matter is related as follows:

"The militia officers were not trifling; they really wished and intended to kill Smith and his companions in cold blood, and there were many threats and symptoms that if they were not formally executed they would be assassinated. Yielding to the pressure upon him, it is alleged that General Lucas, at about midnight, issued the following order to General Doniphan, in whose keeping the hostages were:

`Brigadier-General Doniphan: Sir:--You will take Joseph Smith and the other prisoners into the public square of Far West, and shoot them at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning.

[Signed.] "`SAMUEL D. LUCAS,

"`Major-General Commanding.'

"But General Doniphan, in great and righteous indignation, promptly returned the following reply to his superior:

"`It is cold-blooded murder. I will not obey your order. My brigade shall march for Liberty tomorrow morning, at 8 o'clock; and if you execute these men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God.



"* * * Flagrantly insubordinate as was General Doniphan's refusal, he was never called to account for it."

It is quite possible that Lucas was conscious that he was acting largely upon his own responsibility, and had no direct authority from the governor for the above procedure; that it was to General Clark and not to him that the execution of the Exterminating Order had been intrusted; and when afterwards he learned--as shortly he did--that neither Generals Atchison nor Lucas had been called into service under the late order, (the order of the 27th of October, the Exterminating Order), Lucas doubtless felt that he himself was well out of an awkward predicament, without attempting to discipline General Doniphan for his insubordination,


"The hero of the Chihuahua campaign of the Mexican war was born in Mason county, Kentucky, July 9, 1808. His father, Joseph Doniphan, was a native of King George county, and his mother of Fauquier county, Virginia, His mother's maiden name was Anne Smith, and her paternal ancestor was among the original colonists at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. His first ancestor in America of the name of Doniphan came from England to Virginia near the middle or latter part of the seventeenth century, and settled near what is known as the Northern Neck. The given name of that ancestor was Mott.* * *

"It is a tradition in the Doniphan family (a tradition which I neither avouch nor deny), traceable and fully believed by its members for more than a century, that it is of Spanish origin. According to the tradition, their ancestor, who separated himself from the parent stock in Spain, was a young Castilian, of noble blood, who served under Ferdinand and Isabella in the conquest of Granada, and was knighted by King Ferdinand for gallantry on the field. * * *

"* * * A lineage which is traceable to the chivalry of the battlefield and the highest devotion to conviction, will always command the respect and admiration of men. The seven hundred years of battle between the Spaniards and the Moors left the impress of supreme courage, undoubting faith and unconquerable will on the former, which easily made of them the foremost men of all christendom four centuries ago. Perhaps the tradition is true. If so, I can explain without looking further, the tinge of old romance in Col. Doniphan's character, his wonderfully delicate respect for women, and his stern adherence to sentiments of honor, * * *

"* * * At the age of fourteen years he was entered a student at Augusta College, in Bracken county, Kentucky. For many years it was an institution of very high repute. * * * He graduated there at the early age of eighteen years, with great distinction, particularly in classics. While at Augusta College, he had the benefit of the training and molding influences of several very able instructors. I mention as being among them, Drs. Durbin and Bascom. He constantly through life expressed his deep sense of obligation to those two gentlemen. * * * In his youth the predilection of Col. Doniphan, was for the law as a life profession, and this was largely through the influence of his mother, who was a woman of great and far-reaching mind. Upon quitting college, therefore, for the purpose of legal study, he entered the law office of the Hon. Martin P. Marshall, of Augusta, Kentucky. In the opinion of the pupil, his legal preceptor was one of the most learned and able of all the members of the famous Marshall family. * * * In 1833 he removed to Liberty, Missouri, where he made his home for the succeeding thirty years. There he found, already established in the practice, those eminent lawyers, David R. Atchison, Amos Reese, James M. Hughes, and General Andrew S. Hughes. His experience at Lexington had been preparatory; at Liberty his reputation attained its zenith. * * *

"From 1830 to 1860 he continued in the active practice of his profession. His fame was greatest as a criminal lawyer, and during that period there was no criminal cause of magnitude in northwest Missouri in which he was not retained for the defense. He never prosecuted. The reputation of a great advocate usually absorbs that of the counselor. * * *

"On December 21st, 1837, Col. Doniphan was married to Miss Elizabeth Jane Thornton, of Clay county. It was a perfect union of heart and intellect. She was a highly intellectual cultivated woman, and her grace of manner and charm in conversation made her the delight of society. * * * Of his marriage there were born only two children--both sons. They were youths of rare intellectual promise, and their father might well hope to prolong his life and fame in those of his children. One of them died from accidental poison, at Liberty, in 1853 and the other beneath the angry waves of a West Virginia brook, in 1858. From blows so severe as these, it can be well understood why the life of Col. Doniphan, during more than thirty years before its close, was void of ambition."

General Doniphan took a prominent and honorable part in the war between Mexico and the United States, making one of the few great historical marches into the interior of an enemy's country; and against what should have been overwhelming odds--his little army of less than one thousand men were confronted at the pass of the Sacramento, in view of the city of Chihuahua, by a Mexican force of four thousand six hundred men--he made himself master of the state of Chihuahua and practically of all northern Mexico. At the close of the war lie laid aside the sword and resumed the practice of law at Liberty, Clay county, Missouri. During the preliminary agitation and political conflicts which finally resulted in the Civil War, General Doniphan strove earnestly for peace and the preservation of the Union; when he saw that war was inevitable he returned to his home unwilling to take part in the strife and awaited the result in deepest sorrow. He died at Richmond, on the 8th day of August, 1887; and is buried in the cemetery at Liberty, where a gray granite shaft, twenty-five feet in height, marks his last resting place.

"His personal appearance was truly imposing and magnificent. His was the grandest type of manly beauty. A stranger would not have failed to instantly note his presence in an assemblage. In height, he was six feet and four inches. His frame was proportioned to his height, and was full without the appearance of obesity. His face approached the Grecian ideal very closely, the essential variance being in the nose, which was aquiline without severity. His forehead was high, full and square; his eyes of the brightest hazel; and his lips symmetrical and smiling. When young, his complexion was extremely fair and delicate, and his hair sandy. At the peace conference in 1861, when introduced to Mr. Lincoln, the latter said to him: `And this is the Col. Doniphan who made the wild march against the Navajos and Mexicans! You are the only man I ever met who, in appearance, came up to my previous expectation.'"


"Among the earliest associations of the Prophet with attorneys of character was that with Atchison & Doniphan, at Liberty, Clay county, Missouri, and after Atchison retired and Baldwin became Doniphan's partner. Joseph studied law in the latter's office. He respected and trusted Doniphan, and for over five years they were friends, and had much to do with each other. While others fell away from the Prophet, * * * it is not anywhere shown that Doniphan abandoned his old client, or lost sympathy and respect for him at any time. And his testimony concerning Joseph has come down through the years with that of Browning, Douglas, Josiah Quincy, and others, to the effect that he was a wonderful man--such indeed as none of them had ever seen or known. While they were loth to admit that he was a Prophet of God, and that `Mormonism' is true, it stands everlastingly to the credit and honor of Alexander W. Doniphan that he lived to bear witness and to testify that he knew Joseph Smith was a prophet; for he heard him make a wonderful prediction, and saw for himself its literal fulfillment."



With the capitulation of Far West as outlined in the preceding chapter, General Lucas considered "the war" at that place at an end, and accordingly, with the exception of the troops he thought necessary to conduct the prisoners to Independence--his headquarters--and four companies to hold Far West, and five companies under General Parks sent into Daviess county, to receive the surrender of the people at "Di-Ahman," and take possession of their arms, the general disbanded the rest of his forces leaving the others designated above to report to General Clark, then drawing near to Far West, while he and General Wilson hastened toward Independence with their prisoners.


During the journey towards Independence, namely, on the morning of the 3rd of November, the Prophet Joseph speaking in a low but cheerful and confidential tone said to his fellow-prisoners:

"Be of good cheer, brethren; the word of the Lord came to me last night that our lives should be given us, and that whatever we may suffer during this our captivity, not one of our lives shall be taken."

A prediction which was realized in the experience of the prisoners.

General Clark arrived at Far West on Sunday the 4th of November. It appears from his subsequent reports to Governor Boggs that he was not very well pleased with the proceedings of Lucas, but could then do no other than accept as a basis of procedure the terms of capitulation which that officer had dictated to the people of Far West. He had tried to reach Lucas by express, ordering him to hold the prisoners, but to make no final treaty until he (Clark) should arrive.

The day before arriving at Far West, Clark learned that Lucas had disbanded his forces and was marching with his prisoners to Independence. He tried to intercept him with an order to deliver the prisoners to him at Richmond, but Lucas made good his determination to take the prisoners to Independence--his headquarters--where he kept them several days. They were finally returned to Richmond under guard commanded by Colonel Sterling Price, who put them in irons and guarded them day and night during the examination before Judge Austin A. King, which lasted seventeen days.


During this time the prisoners were subjected to many hardships and much abuse from their guards, and at times were compelled to listen to their stories of murder, robbery and raping. It is related by Parley P. Pratt, that during one night when the guard had been unusually abusive and ribald in their boastings the Prophet arose and in a "voice of thunder," or as "a roaring lion," rebuked them in the following language:

"Silence, ye fiends of the infernal pit? In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die this instant!"

Upon this they were silent and remained so until the guard was changed.

When Clark arrived in Far West, on the 4th of November, with his command of about twenty-one hundred men, Far West had been visited by some six thousand troops within one week, whereas the number of the Caldwell county militia numbered all told but from five to eight hundred men, the numbers here given representing the minimum and maximum estimates. On the 5th General Clark designated fifty-six men of more or less prominence in the church whom he placed under arrest, and the next day paraded the remainder of the brethren at Far West and finally addressed them on the public square as follows:


"Gentlemen, you whose names are not attached to this list of names will now have the privilege of going to your fields and providing corn, wood, etc., for your families. Those who are now taken will go from this to prison, be tried, and receive the due demerit of their crimes. But you (except such as charges may hereafter be preferred against) are now at liberty, as soon as the troops are removed that now guard the place, which I shall cause to be done immediately. It now devolves upon you to fulfill the treaty that you have entered into, the leading items of which I shall now lay before you:

The first requires that your leading men be given up to be tried according to law; this you have already complied with.

The second is, that you deliver up your arms; this has been attended to.

The third stipulation is, that you sign over your properties to defray the expenses of the war; this you have also done.

Another article yet remains for you to comply with, and that is, that you leave the state forthwith; and whatever may be your feelings concerning this, or whatever your innocence, it is nothing to me; General Lucas, who is equal in authority with me, has made this treaty with you--I approve of it--I should have done the same had I been here--I am therefore determined to see it fulfilled. The character of this state has suffered almost beyond redemption, from the character, conduct and influence that you have exerted, and we deem it an act of justice to restore her character to its former standing among the states, by every proper means.

The orders of the governor to me were, that you should be exterminated, and not allowed to remain in the state, and had your leaders not have been given up, and the terms of the treaty complied with, before this, you and your families would have been destroyed and your houses in ashes.

There is a discretionary power vested in my hands which I shall exercise in your favor for a season; for this lenity you are indebted to my clemency. I do not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season, or of putting in crops, for the moment you do this the citizens will be upon you. If I am called here again, in case of a non-compliance of a treaty made, do not think that I shall act any more as I have done-you need not expect mercy, but extermination, for I am determined the governor's order shall be executed. As for your leaders, do not once think--do not imagine for a moment--do not let it enter your mind that they will be delivered, or that you will see their faces again, for their fate is fixed--their die is cast--their doom is sealed.

I am sorry, gentlemen, to see so great a number of apparently intelligent men found in the situation that you are; and oh! that I could invoke the Great Spirit, the Unknown God, to rest upon you, and make you sufficiently intelligent to break that chain of superstition and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound--that you no longer worship a man.

I would advise you to scatter abroad, and never again organize yourselves with bishops, presidents, etc., lest you excite the jealousies of the people, and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you.

You have always been the aggressors--you have brought upon yourselves these difficulties by being disaffected and not being subject to rule--and my advise is, that you become as other citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin."

Brigham Young, who was present when the speech was made, says that in addition to the above General Clark said that "Mormons" must not be seen as many as five together: "If you are," said he, "the citizens will be upon you and destroy you" * * * There was no alternative for them but to flee; that they need not expect any redress, for there was none for them. The saints were also compelled to sign away their property by executing a deed of trust at the point of the bayonet which they did, amid the frantic joy of the mob.


After the first group of prisoners consisting of Joseph Smith and his several associates were returned to Richmond, General Clark sought diligently through military codes for authority to try them by court-martial. He even sent to Fort Leavenworth, then a United States military post, for information on the subject, and also asked that the opinion of the attorney-general of the state be forwarded to him in relation to the mater; but apparently he could get nothing that would justify his desire for a court-martial trial. So persistent was he in this proceeding that he was sharply reproved by Governor Boggs himself. In a communication of November 19th, the governor said: "You will take immediate steps to discharge all the troops you have retained in service as a guard and deliver the prisoners over to the civil authorities. You will not attempt to try them by court-martial, the civil law must govern. * * * The officers retained to serve on court-martial will also be discharged."

Finding that he was debarred from proceeding by courtmartial, General Clark turned over his first group, numbering fifty-six, to be examined in a court "of inquiry" at Richmond before Judge Austin A. King. The prisoners were accused of "treason, murder, arson, burglary, robbery, larceny and perjury." The testimony is taken largely ex parte, being merely an inquiry to ascertain if there was sufficient evidence to hold the accused to a grand jury investigation of the charges. The prisoners, however, were called upon for witnesses on their side of the case; but whenever they gave such names the parties themselves were made prisoners and put upon examination for similar offenses as those charged against their friends. And where this was not done the parties named were made to flee from the country by threats of violence. The matter of such treatment of witnesses for the defense led Messrs. Doniphan and Reese, counsel for the defendants, to advise that no other witnesses be named as there would not be one of them left for final trial. "And as to making any impression on King," said Doniphan, "if a cohort of angels were to come down and declare you innocent, it would be all the same, since King has determined from the beginning to cast you into prison."

The testimony taken before Judge King is published by the legislature of Missouri, in its collection of Documents, Correspondence, Orders, etc., and makes altogether sixty-five pages of matter. The "evidence" is made up almost exclusively of the statements of apostates, and the saint's bitterest enemies among the "old settlers;" and of the sixty-five pages which it fills, less than four is occupied with testimony for the defense.

The court found sufficient cause for holding most of the prisoners on one or the other of the offenses charged, and held them to appear before the courts in the respective counties where the crimes were alleged to have been committed. Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, Hyrum Smith, Alexander McRae, and Sidney Rigdon were held for treason, against the state, murder, burglary, arson, robbery and larceny; and were committed to prison without bail in Liberty, Clay county, for want of a suitable jail in Caldwell county. Parley P. Pratt, Morris Phelps, Luman Gibbs, Norman Shearer and Darwin Chase, charged with murder, and hence not bailable, were confined in Richmond prison, also for want of a suitable jail in Caldwell county. About twenty of the other prisoners were held on various charges, and were either admitted to bail or allowed to go upon their own recognizances. Before the time set for the trial of their cases, they and their bondsmen were compelled to leave the state.


The testimony which was most effective in holding these men to investigation before grand juries was the sworn statements of apostates--Dr. Sampson Avard, John Corrill, Reed Peck, W. W. Phelps, George M. Hinkle, John Whitmer, Burr Riggs, and other less prominent. It is in this testimony and principally in the statement of Dr. Avard, that the existence of the "Danites" in the "Mormon" church is affirmed. Avard declared that about four months before the date of his testimony,--which would be in the month of July, 1838--"a band called the `Daughter of Zion' (afterwards called the `Danite Band'), was formed of the members of the Mormon church, the original object of which was to drive from the county of Caldwell all those who dissented from the Mormon church; in which they succeeded admirably and to the satisfaction of all concerned."

Avard charges that Joseph Smith was the prime mover and organizer of the "Danite Band;" that its officers were blessed by him; that he with his counselors, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith, were cognizant of all the band's movements; that it was the Prophet who proposed that they be bound together by covenant not to reveal the secrets of the society under the penalty of death. The oath according to Avard was as follows:

"In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I do solemnly obligate myself ever to conceal, and never to reveal, the secret purposes of this society called the `Daughter of Zion.' Should I ever do the same, I hold my life as the forfeiture."

"The Prophet," continues Avard, "together with his two counselors, were considered as the supreme head of the church; and the `Danite Band' felt themselves as much bound to obey them as to obey the supreme God." He also testified that Joseph Smith gave the instruction that if any of the "band" got into difficulty the rest should help him out, and that "they should stand by each other right or wrong." Avard also gave to the court the alleged "preamble" and "constitution" of this so-called secret organization; and as he represents the document he delivered to the court as being the original, and no copies having been taken of it; and as so much has been made of this alleged secret and "murderous organization," preamble and constitution are here given in extenso:


"Whereas, in all bodies laws are necessary for the permanency, safety, and well-being of society, we, the members of the society of the `Daughter of Zion,' do agree to regulate ourselves under such laws as, in righteousness, shall be deemed necessary for the preservation of our holy religion, and of our most sacred rights and of the rights of our wives and children. But, to be explicit on the subject, it is especially our object to support and defend the rights conferred on us by our venerable sires, who purchased them with the pledges of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And now, to prove ourselves worthy of the liberty conferred on us by them, in the providence of God, we do agree to be governed by such laws as shall perpetuate these high privileges, of which we know ourselves to be the rightful possessors, and of which privileges wicked and designing men have tried to deprive us, by all manner of evil, and that purely in consequence of the tenacity we have manifested in the discharge of our duty towards our God, who has given us those rights and privileges, and a right, in common with others, to dwell on this land. But we, not having the privileges of others allowed unto us, have determined, like unto our fathers, to resist tyranny, whether it be in kings or in the people. It is all alike unto us. Our rights we must have, and our rights we shall have, in the name of Israel's God.

"Art. 1st. All power belongs originally and legitimately to the people, and they have a right to dispose of it as they shall deem fit; but, as it is inconvenient and impossible to convene the people in all cases the legislative powers have been given by them, from time to time, into the hands of a representation composed of delegates from the people themselves. This has been the law, both in civil and religious bodies, and is the true principle.

"Art. 2nd. The executive power shall be vested in the president of the whole church and his counselors.

"Art. 3rd. The legislative powers shall reside in the president and his counselors together, and with the generals and colonels of the society. By them all laws shall be made regulating the society.

"Art. 4th. All offices shall be during life and good behaviour, or to be regulated by the law of God.

"Art. 5th. The society reserves the power of electing its own officers, with the exception of the aids and clerks which the officers may need in their various stations. The nomination to go from the presidency to his second, and from the second to the third in rank, and so down through all the various grades. Each branch or department retains the power of electing its own particular officers.

"Art. 6th. Punishment shall be administered to the guilty in accordance to the offense, and no member shall be punished without law, or by any others than those appoined by law for that purpose. The legislature shall have power to make laws regulating punishments, as, in their judgments, shall be wisdom and righteousness.

"Art. 7th. There shall be a secretary, whose business it shall be to keep all the legislative records of the society, also to keep a register of the names of every member of the society; also the rank of the officers. He shall also communicate the laws to the generals, as directed by laws made for the regulation of such business by the legislature.

"Art. 8th. All officers shall be subject to the commands of the captain general, given through the secretary of war; and so all officers shall be subjects to their superiors in rank, according to laws made for that purpose.'"

This "constitution" is disappointing after hearing its murderous nature roaring so loud and thundering in the index supplied by the testimony of Avard, Marsh, et al. One would naturally expect to find the "constitution" more sanguinary than it is after all that has been said by the exploiters of it. Now follows the account of Avard's "Danite Band" organization condensed from Joseph Smith's History of the Church.


"Doctor Sampson Avard had been a member of the church but a few months. He was one of those restless, ambitious men who desire to become great, and lord it over their fellow men. Possessing neither the intelligence nor the integrity to rise to positions of honor and trust in the church by open, fair means, he resolved to become a leader by craft and villainy. He employed the art of flattery in his conversations with the brethren, appointed frequent meetings at his own house which was guarded by one or more of his trusted associates, who would give him a sign if any one approached whom he had not trusted. With an air of mystery he would intimate that he had been appointed by the heads of the church to accomplish some important work of a secret character, and at last put those whom he had won by his flattery, under an oath of eternal secrecy, not to reveal anything that he should communicate to them.

"By these means he continued to enlarge his band, which he named the `Danites.'

"He gave to them certain secret signs by which members of the band could recognize each other, either day or night. He gave them to understand that he had authority from the heads of the church for what he was about to do. He then proceeded to organize his men into companies of tens and fifties, placing a captain over each. Up to this time Avard had never intimated that anything unlawful or contrary to the spirit of the gospel was to be carried out. But now that he had the companies organized and all under an oath of secrecy, he thought he could with safety let the mask fall. After instructing the men as to what their duties were under their several captains, he took the captains into a secluded place and there told them they would soon be permitted to go among the Gentiles and take their property as spoil, and by robbing and plundering the Gentiles, they were to waste them away and with the property thus confiscated build up the `Kingdom of God.' If any of the band were recognized by their enemies, `who could harm them?' he asked: `for,' said he, `we will stand by each other, and defend one another in all things. If our enemies swear against us, we can swear also.' At this point some of the brethren expressed astonishment; but Avard continued by saying: `As the Lord liveth I would swear to a lie to clear any of you; and if this would not do, I would put them or him under the sand as Moses did the Egyptian. * * * And if any of us transgress, we will deal with him amongst ourselves. And if any one of this Danite society reveals any of these things, I will put him where the dogs cannot bite him.'

"This lecture of the doctor's revealed for the first time the true intent of his designs, and the brethren he had duped suddenly had their eyes opened, and they at once revolted and manfully rejected his teachings. Avard saw that he had played and lost so he said they had better let the matter drop where it was. As soon as Avard's villainy was brought to the knowledge of the president of the church, he was excommunicated, and was afterwards found making an effort to become friends with the mob, and conspiring against the church * * * And here let it be distinctly understood, that these companies of tens and fifties got up by Avard, were altogether separate and distinct from those companies of tens and fifties organized by the brethren for self-defense, in case of an attack from the mob. This latter organization was called into existence more particularly that in this time of alarm no family or person might be neglected; therefore, one company would be engaged in drawing wood, another in cutting it, another in gathering corn, another in grinding, another in butchering, another in distributing the meat, etc., etc., so that all should be employed in turn, and no one lack the necessaries of life. Therefore, let no one hereafter, by mistake or design confound this organization of the church for good and righteous purposes, with the organization of the `Danites,' of the apostate Avard."

This latter and legitimate organization was revived at the breaking up and evacuation of Nauvoo, some years later, and under it the great exodus of twenty thousand people from Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley was conducted.

The matter of Avard's deception and secret proceedings are again referred to in an official communication from President Smith, to the church from Liberty prison, under date of 16th of December, 1838:

"We have learned also since we have been prisoners, that many false and pernicious things, which were calculated to lead the saints far astray and to do great injury, have been taught by Dr. Avard as coming from the presidency, and we have reason to fear that many other designing and corrupt characters like unto himself, have been teaching many things which the presidency never knew were being taught in the church by anybody until after they were made prisoners. Had they known of such things they would have spurned them and their authors as they would the gates of hell. Thus we find that there have been frauds and secret abominations and evil works of darkness going on, leading the minds of the weak and unwary into confusion and distraction, and all the time palming it off upon the presidency, while the presidency were ignorant as well as innocent of those things which those persons were practicing in the church in their name."


A lie once hatched, how long it lives! How easy it is for people to believe what they desire established as fact! How slight the evidence needs to be in support of an untruth, if only it ministers to their prejudices! Here is the testimony of this man Avard and of Marsh and of Hyde and of Phelps, respecting the existence in the church of the "Danite Band:" the first a traitor and perjurer, if his testimony before Judge King was true; for in that event he was under oath not to reveal that which he revealed, hence a perjured man. All the world knows the worthlessness of such a witness.

It is not known how far Hyde's testimony supported Marsh's statements. He merely "knew some of the things" Marsh testified of, the rest he "believed to be true." After the church was safely settled in Illinois, Orson Hyde returned to the church, confessed his errors, made amends as far as lay in him the power, and was reinstated in the church and in his office. In later years he said in tears to his friend John Taylor, that he would give his life if only recollection of his support to Marsh's affidavit could be wiped out.

Phelps in a deeply repentant spirit returned to the church in the summer of 1840; humbly made acknowledgment of his errors in Missouri, and was forgiven by the church and reinstated in his standing. Even Marsh returned to the church. He was baptized at Florence, Nebraska, in July, 1857, and the same year moved to the main body of the church in Utah, where for several years he lived upon the bounty of the very people he had betrayed, a poor, shattered, broken down old man. On several occasions, in public as well as in private, he said: "If any of you want to see the effects of apostasy, look upon me."

Notwithstanding the testimony upon which the existence of the "Danite Band" in the church is of so questionable a character, given by men under the stress of fear and great excitement--men anxious to be received into the favor of the "old settlers," and of the militia and civil officers of the state, as the only means of finding security for themselves and families; notwithstanding most of the principal witnesses to the alleged fact, after the stress under which they testified was removed, confessed their error and returned to the church, begging forgiveness and seeking reinstatement; notwithstanding the fact that men within the church of the highest probity, of character denied the existence of this secret, oath-bound band of assassins within the church--beyond the existence of the society organized by Dr. Avard as explained in these pages, and which in no way received the sanction or approval of responsible church authorities, and "which died almost as soon as it was born"--notwithstanding all this, belief in the existence of the "Danites" in the "Mormon" church is quite general among non-"Mormons;" and every irregularity that has occurred in the church since these Missouri days, every act of violence in the frontier life of Utah, almost every militia movement in which "Mormons" have been engaged, has been set down as so many acts and movements of the "Danites." Murderers and desperadoes on the frontiers of the inter-mountain west; as also the camp followers along the trails of the church from the Missouri river to the Rocky Mountains, have not been slow to recognize the advantage of having this alleged band of assassins on which they could load the responsibilities for their own crimes, and make the church the scapegoat for the sins of the mythical "Danites." Even people having fellowship in the church have sometimes been misled into believing in the existence of such a secret band, and in speech and in written word have treated the "Danite Band" as if it were a reality. Among non-"Mormons" in some quarters the "Danites" have become the hob-goblin terror of "old wives' tales," relating to the "Mormons and "Mormonism." They do not exist, however, and never have existed in the church with the sanction and authority of that church; nor with the knowledge and approval of the responsible officers of the church. The institution which God has founded--the church--to teach peace on earth, good will to men; to be a witness for him--of his being and the kind of being he is; to bear witness of the Christ and of the power of salvation in the gospel of the Christ; an institution which abhors murders and secret abominations, and whose chief scripture after the Bible--the Book of Mormon--repeatedly denounces such organizations as they existed among the ancient peoples whose history it contains --could never become the instigator and supporter of murderous, secret organizations, nor hope to prosper by robberies and assassinations.



At the conclusion of the examination of the prisoners before Judge King, and their departure for Liberty and Richmond respectively, the main body of the church began preparations for the enforced exodus by spring.

It was during these trying times that Brigham Young began to exhibit those executive qualities which so preeminently fitted him as a great leader. By the death of David W. Patten and the apostasy of Thomas B. Marsh, the presidency of the quorum of the twelve apostles devolved upon him, hence also the leadership of the church during the absence of the first presidency, since the quorum of the twelve apostles stands next in order to the first presidency, in the general presiding councils of the church, and is of equal authority with the council of the first presidency.


Elder Young called together those members of the high council of the Far West stake of Zion that still remained in Far West, and inquired of them as to their faith in the Latter-day work, first telling them that his own faith was unshaken. All the members present expressed their undying faith in the gospel, and their confidence in Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. The council was then reorganized; the vacancies caused by absence or apostasy were filled, and the council was prepared to do business. Elders John Taylor and John E. Page, both of whom had previously been chosen by revelation for the office, were ordained members of the quorum of the twelve apostles, on the nineteenth day of September, 1638, under the hands of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball.

Elder Young's activity and zeal in caring for the poor were unbounded. A public meeting was called, not only of the saints but also of the citizens of Caldwell county, and the poverty and distress of many of the saints presented to them. Several gentlemen, not members of the church, expressed themselves as being of the opinion that an appeal should be made to the citizens of upper Missouri, inviting their assistance towards furnishing means to remove the poor from Caldwell county. It is doubtful if any appeal was made, as a resolution was adopted at the meeting as follows:

"Resolved, that it is the opinion of this meeting that an exertion should be made to ascertain how much means can be obtained from individuals of the society (church); and that it is the duty of those who have, to assist those who have not, that thereby we may, as far as possible, within and of ourselves, comply with the demands of the executive."

At a subsequent meeting similar in character to the first, Elder Young offered this resolution:

"Resolved, that we this day enter into a covenant to stand by and assist each other, to the utmost of our abilities, in removing from this state, and that we will never desert the poor who are worthy, till they shall be out of the reach of the general exterminating order of General Clark, acting for and in the name of the state,"

This resolution was adopted, and a committee of seven appointed to superintend the removal of the saints.

A committee was also appointed to draft a covenant that should bind the members of the church in an agreement to assist each other to the extent of their available property to remove from the state of Missouri, in accordance with the orders of the governor; this covenant was drawn up in due form and signed by the faithful brethren. Elder Young secured eighty names to this covenant the first day he circulated it, and three hundred the next.

Agents were appointed to go down towards the Mississippi and make deposits of corn for the use of the saints as they should make their way out of the state. The agents were also to make contracts for ferriage and arrange whatever else might be necessary for comfort and security of the refugees.

No sooner had these arrangements been perfected than Elder Young, whose wisdom and activity had doubtless given offense to the enemies of the church, had to flee from Far West to escape the vengeance of the mob. He went to Illinois. In his labors Elder Young had been materially assisted by the support and counsel of Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor and the members of the various committees that had been appointed, to whom was now left the execution of the plans that had been evolved for the removal of the church.

By the twentieth of April nearly all the saints, variously estimated from twelve to fifteen thousand, had left the state where they had experienced so much sorrow; and found a temporary resting place in the state of Illinois, many in the city of Quincy and vicinity, but a few settled in the then territory of Iowa.


Before leaving the state--as early as the 10th of December, in fact--the saints memorialized the state legislature in behalf of the citizens of Caldwell county. The document is a temperate and straightforward statement of the wrongs suffered by the memorialists from their first settlement in Jackson county to the treaty forced upon them at Far West by Generals Lucas and Clark, and the outrages committed upon them after the surrender of their arms. It constitutes a terrible arraignment of the state and its officials, which is all the more powerful because of its moderation, which gives assurance of its truth.

After detailing the story of their wrongs, the memorial asked; first, that the legislature pass a law rescinding the exterminating order of Governor Boggs; second, an expression of the legislature disapproving the conduct of those who compelled the saints to sign a deed of trust at the muzzle of the musket, and of any man in consequence of that deed of trust taking their property and appropriating it to the payment of damages sustained, in consequence of trespasses committed by others; third, that they receive payment for the six hundred and thirty-five firearms that were taken from them, which were worth twelve or fifteen thousand dollars; fourth, that an appropriation be made to reimburse them from their loss of lands from which they had been driven in Jackson county. The petition closed in these words:

"In laying our case before your honorable body, we say that we are willing, and always have been, to conform to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and of this state. We ask in common with others the protection of the laws. We ask for the privileges guaranteed all free citizens of the United States and of this state to be extended to us, and that we may be permitted to settle and live where we please, and worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience without molestation. And while we ask for ourselves this privilege, we are willing all others should enjoy the same."

Elder David H. Redfield was appointed to present this petition to the legislature; and on that mission he arrived at Jefferson City on the seventeenth day of December.

Previous to the arrival of Redfield, the governor's Exterminating Order, General Clark's reports, the report of the ex parte investigation at Richmond, with other papers, had been forwarded to the legislature and referred to a special joint committee. That committee reported on the eighteenth day of December; and to show in what bad repute these documents were held by the committee, I need only say that it refused to allow them to be published with the sanction of the legislature, because the evidence adduced at Richmond in a great degree was ex parte and not of a character to be desired for the basis of a fair and candid investigation. Also because the grand juries in the several counties to which the charges against the "Mormon" prisoners would be referred would be required to act upon the same documentary evidence which the committee would be compelled to examine; by which circumstances two coordinate branches of government might be brought into collusion--a circumstance that should be avoided. Also the report of the committee previous to the trial of the "Mormon" prisoners might be prejudicial to them, and prevent a fair and impartial trial. The report concluded with three resolutions: one to the effect that it was inexpedient at that time to prosecute further the inquiry into the cause of the late disturbances; another to the effect that it was inexpedient to publish any of the documents accompanying the Governor's message in relation to those disturbances; the third favored the appointment of a joint committee from the house and senate to investigate the troubles in upper Missouri, and the conduct of the military operations to suppress them. These resolutions were referred to a joint select committee with instructions to report a bill in conformity thereto. On the nineteenth the petition from the saints was read amid the profound stillness of the house. At its conclusion an angry debate followed, in which quite a number of the members testified to the correctness of the statements made in the petition and to the cruelties practiced upon the saints, but they were in the minority.

On the sixteenth of January, Mr. A. W. Turner, the chairman of the special conjoint committee before alluded to, in conformity with the resolution passed, reported "a bill to provide for the investigation of the late disturbances in the state of Missouri." The bill consisted of twenty-three sections. It provided for a joint committee composed of two members of the senate and three members from the house, which was to meet at Richmond on the first Monday in May and thereafter at such time and places as it saw proper. The committee was to select its own officers; issue subpoenas and other processes, administer oaths, keep a record, etc.

This bill was introduced on the sixteenth of January, and on the fourth of February called up for its first reading, but on motion of Mr. Wright was laid on the table till the fourth day of July. He knew that by that time, since the governor's Exterminating Order was still in force, that the "Mormons" in obedience to that cruel edict, would all have left the state, and then there would be no need of an investigation; and that was the fate of the bill. It was never afterwards brought up.


The legislature appropriated two thousand dollars to relieve the sufferings of the people in Daviess and Caldwell counties, the "Mormons" were to be included as beneficiaries of the act. And now came an opportunity for the Missourians of Daviess county to display their generosity. Having filled their homes with the household effects of the saints; their barns and stables with the stock they had stolen; their smoke houses with "Mormon" beef and pork; they concluded they could get along without their portion of the appropriation and allowed the two thousand dollars to be distributed among the "Mormons" of Caldwell county.

Judge Cameron and a Mr. McHenry superintended the distribution of this appropriation. The hogs owned by the brethren who had lived in Daviess county were driven down into Caldwell, shot down, and without further bleeding roughly dressed and divided among the saints at a high price. This and the "sweepings of some old stores" soon exhausted the legislative appropriation, which amounted to little or nothing in the way of relief to the exiled saints.

Subsequently this same legislature, while the petition of the saints for a redress of their wrongs was lying before it, appropriated two hundred thousand dollars to defray the expenses incurred in the "Mormon War!"



"The Mormons began leaving at once, and continued until all were gone except a few who gave up their associates rather than their property, and who had friends among the citizens. Many sold out for what they could get, others left being unable to sell at all. Their leaders were prisoners, their means of defense as well as offense were taken from them, and the order of the governor caused some twelve thousand of them to be driven from the state. The official statement of the number killed and wounded on both sides in this Mormon War was officially stated as forty Mormons killed and several wounded, and one citizen killed and fifteen badly wounded."

"In the midst of an inclement winter, in December, 1838, and in January, 1839, many of the Mormon men, women, and children, the sick and the aged, as well as the young and strong, were turned out of their homes in this (Caldwell) county and Daviess, into the prairies and forests, without food, or sufficient protection from the weather. In some instances in Daviess, their houses were burnt before their eyes and they turned out into the deep snow. Only a few cabins in the southwestern part of Caldwell were burned at this time.

"Numerous families set out at once for Illinois, making the entire distance, in midwinter, on foot. A large majority, however, remained until spring as under the terms of the treaty they were allowed to remain in the county until that time. All through the winter and early spring those who remained prepared to leave. They offered their lands for sale at very small figures. In fact many bartered their farms for teams and wagons to get away on. Some traded for any sort of property. Charles Ross, of Black Oak, bought 40 acres of good land, north of Breckenridge, for a blind mare and a clock. Some tracts of good land north of Shoal Creek, in Kidder township, brought only fifty cents an acre. Many of the Mormons had not yet secured the patents to their lands, and though they had regularly entered them, they could not sell them; the Gentiles would not buy unless they could receive the government's deeds, as well as the grantor's. These kind of lands were abandoned altogether, in most instances, and afterwards settled upon by Gentiles who secured titles by keeping the taxes paid."

"These conditions [i.e., the terms enforced by Lucas and Clark] were certainly very hard, but they were the best that could be obtained; and if we may credit Mormon writers, it was owing to the determined stand of Alexander W. Doniphan that they were not more rigorous. As it was, the scenes that took place when the time came for carrying out these terms are said to have beggared description. The season was already far advanced, transportation was totally insufficient, and yet notwithstanding these silent appeals for delay some thousands of these unfortunate creatures of all ages, sizes, conditions, and of both sexes, were driven from their homes, and compelled to cross almost the entire northern part of the state before they could hope to find a resting place. As a rule, they were poor, had nothing but the small farms from which they were driven, but such was the pressure put upon them, or their anxiety to get away, that not infrequently `a valuable farm was traded for an old wagon, a horse, a yoke of oxen, or anything that would furnish them with the means of leaving.' To take advantage of the necessities of a people so situated, even when their misfortunes were brought about by their own misdeeds [which they were not, as established by the text of this History] was certainly bad enough; but what adds immeasurably to the shame of the transaction is the fact that there are grounds for believing that not a little of the intolerance shown on this occasion may have been due to a desire on the part of the Gentiles to get possession of the Mormons' land. At least, this is the not unnatural inference from the statement made, not by one of themselves, but by a gentleman who has enjoyed exceptional advantages for acquainting himself with the facts of the case, and who tells us that `in many instances conveyances of land were demanded and enforced at the mouth of a pistol or rifle.'"

In a note Carr adds: "Switzler, in The Commonwealth of Missouri, (p. 249). In the Succinct History, we are told, that `several hundred persons were driven in a defenseless condition into a hollow square of armed fiends, and compelled to sign away their property to the republic of Missouri, to defray the expenses which had been incurred in committing these crimes.'"

"The surrender took place in November. The days were cold and bleak, but the clamor for the instant removal of the Mormons was so great that the old and young, the sick and feeble, delicate women and suckling children, almost without food and without clothing were compelled to abandon their homes and firesides to seek new homes in a distant state. Valuable farms were sold for a yoke of oxen, an old wagon or anything that would furnish means of transportation. Many of the poorer classes were compelled to walk. Before half their journey was accomplished the chilly blasts of winter howled about them and added to their general discomfort. The suffering they endured on this forced march, though great, was soon forgotten in the prosperity of Nauvoo, their new asylum. Their trials and sufferings instead of dampening the ardor of the saints, increased it tenfold. `The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church.'"


In the legislature which convened in 1840-41, the subject of the "Mormon" difficulties was again taken up on the recommendation of Governor Boggs in his message. By this time the unwarranted procedure of the executive of the state, the militia officers, and the previous legislature began to be known throughout the country and widely commented upon by the press, and very generally condemned. This produced great uneasiness in the mind of Governor Boggs, and in his message to the legislature of 1840-41 he suggested that:-

"To explain the attitude which we have been made to assume I would recommend the publication of all the events relating to the occurrence, and distributing the same to the chief authorities of each state. In pursuance of this recommendation the joint committee appointed from the senate and house made a collection of documents on the subject covering 162 pages. In the collection, however, there are none of the statements, petitions, or representations made to the public or to the legislature by the saints. The documents consist of the action of the respective houses in the appointment of committees and reports of those committees recommending investigations, etc.; of accusations against the saints of plundering the "old settlers" and burning settlements which were never set on fire, or else were fired by the "old settlers" themselves; of the reports and military orders of the militia generals; while the remainder of the pamphlet is made up of the ex parte testimony taken before Judge King at Richmond, concerning which testimony the Turner senate committee in reporting to the senate, under date of December 18, 1838, said: "It is manifestly not such evidence as ought to be received by the committee: First, because it is not authenticated; and, second, it is confined chiefly to the object of inquiry, namely, the investigation of criminal charges against individuals under arrest."

The action of the legislature was an attempt to vindicate the state of Missouri in her treatment of the Latter-day Saints. The effort, however, was in vain. The truth in relation to those transactions, in spite of all the efforts of the legislature was known, and the state's attempt to counteract its influence by a publication of documents giving a hearing practically to but one side of the case, only emphasized the crime. I say but one side of the question was given, that should be so far modified as to admit that in the petition and affidavits about three and a half pages of matter are from "Mormons" or persons favorable to them and in the second part, under the caption, "Evidence" there is about three pages of pro-"Mormon" evidence. The History of Caldwell County records the following concerning the publication of this collection of documents: "The same legislature [i.e., of 1839] also prohibited the publication of `the orders, letters, evidences, and other documents relating to the Mormon disturbances,' and enjoined the secretary of state from `furnishing or permitting to be taken copies of the same for any purpose whatsoever.' Two years later, however, this prohibition was rescinded. (See Acts 10th General Assembly, p. 334). Why the act was passed in the first place may better be conjectured than positively asserted."

"Extract of a letter from A. W. Turner, one of the members of the Missouri legislature; [also he was chairman of the committee on `Mormon Investigation'] dated city of Jefferson, November 31st, 1838; taken from the Columbia Patriot, a Whig paper published in Missouri:

"The Mormon War is the most exciting subject before the legislature or the community; it involves an inquiry the most critical of any ever presented to the legislature of this country; one in which the rights of a portion of the free citizens of the state is concerned on one side, and the rights of another portion of the same citizens on the other. Upon the decision of this subject the character of the state is suspended. If upon full investigation it is found (and reported by the committee to the legislature) that the Mormons are not the aggressors, and that some of them have been murdered, others driven from the state by military force, and others imprisoned by order of the executive, then our character will be established as the most lawless invaders of religious and civil rights.'

"Will the public believe that with the above view of the subject, the legislature avoided an investigation? Wonder and be astonished, O Americans!"


"What authority General Lucas had to make such a treaty and to impose such conditions is not clear. It would seem that he regarded the Mormons as composing a foreign nation, or at least as forming an army with belligerent rights, and with proper treaty-contracting powers. The truth was they were and had not ceased to be citizens of Missouri, amenable to and under the jurisdiction of its laws. If they had committed any crime they ought to have been punished, just the same as other criminals. There was no authority for taking their arms from them except that they were proved to be militia in a state of insubordination. There was no sort of authority for requiring them to pay the expense of the war. It was monstrously illegal and unjust to attempt to punish them for offenses for which they had not been tried and of which they had not been convicted. It would be a reasonable conclusion that in making his so-called treaty, General Lucas was guilty of illegal extortion, unwarranted assumption of power, usurpation of authority, and flagrant violation of the natural rights of man."

"The entire proceedings in the cases [i.e. the proceedings against Joseph Smith et al on the charge of `treason against the state and murder, arson, robbery, etc,] were disgraceful in the extreme. There never was a handful of evidence that the accused were guilty of the crimes with which they were charged. Those who were tried were defended by General Doniphan and James S. Rollins.

"That Governor Boggs' order of banishment was illegal and contrary to the spirit of our institutions--as are all such, whether emanating from executives, courts, or mobs cannot be controverted."

"From first to last--but especially in the outset of the troubles--the governor of the state was guilty of the most unpardonable remissness and partiality. He was formerly of Jackson county, and came into office with strong prejudices against the Mormons. At the time of the difficulty in Carrol, the Mormons sent and besought his interposition. He refused it, on the pretext of expense; but in a few weeks afterwards, ordered out against the Mormons, an army large enough to have prostrated ten times the force, supposed to be arrayed against it.

"The conduct too, of General Lucas, who commanded at the (so-called) surrender at Far West, was to the last degree absurd and tyrannical. Regarding the Mormons--not as American citizens--but as prisoners of war, belonging to a strange and a belligerent people, he imposed upon them a `treaty' by which they bound themselves, through a committee to indemnify (the innocent for the guilty!) the sufferers in Daviess, and to quit the state. Such stipulations, so flagrantly at war with the law of the land and with common right, did this notable general officer, in the execution of his high and delicate trust, think fit to exact of his Mormon prisoners; supposing, as he doubtless did, that the Mormons were bound by it!"

"The general assembly of Missouri refused investigation of the origin and history of this unexampled persecution. They knew better than to do it. Impartial investigation would have implicated the state and many of its legislators too deeply. It was a series of enormities that would not bear the light; and they, therefore--so far as they could do it--have quenched it in the darkness."

Notwithstanding these and many other expressions of disapproval that found their way into current periodicals and books, yet there were, as stated by Parley P. Pratt. "Many state journals which tried to hide the iniquity of the state, by throwing a covering of lies over her atrocious deeds. But can they hide the governor's cruel order for extermination or banishment? Can they conceal the facts of the disgraceful treaty of the generals, with their own officers and men, at the city of Far West? Can they conceal the fact that ten or twelve thousand men, women and children, have been banished from the state without trial or condemnation. And this at an expense of two hundred thousand dollars, and this sum appropriated by the state legislature, in order to pay the troops for this act of lawless outrage? Can they conceal the fact that we have been imprisoned for many months, while our families, friends and witnesses have been driven away? Can they conceal the blood of the murdered husbands and fathers; or stifle the cries of the widow and the fatherless?"



The winter of 1838-9 was a trying one to President Joseph Smith and his associates immured in Liberty prison. The food was coarse and filthy. "We could not eat it until we were driven to it by hunger," says Alexander McRae. This hardship was sometimes relieved by the ministrations of friends in the neighborhood who brought them wholesome food and passed it through the prison window. One of the prisoners suspected that at one time an attempt was made to feed them upon "human flesh," basing his suspicion upon the appearance of the meat and the fact that one of the guards made sport of the prisoners, saying that he had fed them on "Mormon beef," but this boast might have arisen from the fact that "Mormon" cattle were brought in and killed for beef. Bad as the Missourians were, they are entitled to the benefit of the doubt that exists in the case of such a revolting crime.


Of course every effort was made to secure the liberation of the prisoners. A hearing was obtained on writs of habeas corpus before Judge Turnham, one of the judges of Clay county, and Sidney Rigdon was released; but the rest were remanded to prison. Such was the state of feeling existing even in Clay county, that although Elder Rigdon was released by the court, he had to leave the prison at night and by stealth, and flee from the state to escape the mob.

Word came into the prison that some of the most influential men in western Missouri had said in the streets of Liberty, that the "Mormon prisoners would have to be condemned or the character of the state would go down." Upon this the prisoners determined upon making an effort to escape by rushing from the prison when their evening meal was served. In this they failed, and the news that they had attempted an escape greatly excited the populace, and many threats of violence were made, but nothing came of them.

President Smith also alludes to another attempt at escape by making a breach in the prison wall, but they were discovered upon the very eve of its accomplishment. The prisoners also had some misunderstanding with their attorneys in the matter of conducting their case, and the Prophet was incensed at the course of General Atchison as his counsel.


The succession of these unpleasantries was occasionally broken by the coming of a friend or a group of them to express their sympathy for the prisoners, and their confidence in the Prophet. All the prisoners, and especially the latter, appreciated these visits. "I was in prison and ye visited me," had a real meaning in his experience. "Those who have not been enclosed in the walls of a prison," he writes, "can have but little idea how sweet the voice of a friend is. One token of friendship from any source whatever awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling; it brings up in an instant everything that is passed; it seizes the present with the avidity of lightning; it grasps after the future with the fierceness of a tiger; it moves the mind backward and forward, from one thing to another, until finally all enmity, malice and hatred, and past differences, misunderstanding and mismanagement are slain victorious at the feet of hope."

These visiting friends also brought information concerning the progress of the church in leaving the state, which enabled the Prophet to give the saints counsel from time to time. Also he communicated with them by letter several times, and in these communications he loosened the flood tide of his over-wrought emotions, and in them the greatness of his soul is often revealed. The following salutation in one of these communications will exhibit the spirit in which he wrote to his people:


"Your humble servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., prisoner for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the saints, taken and held by the power of mobocracy, under the exterminating reign of his Excellency, the Governor, Lilburn W. Boggs, in company with his fellow prisoners and beloved brethren, Caleb Baldwin, Lyman Wight, Hyrum Smith, and Alexander McRae, send unto you all greeting. May the grace of God the Father, and of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, rest upon you all, and abide with you forever. May knowledge be multiplied unto you by the mercy of God. And may faith and virtue, and knowledge and temperance, and patience and godliness, and brotherly kindness and charity be in you and abound, that you may not be barren in anything, nor unfruitful.

"For inasmuch as we know that the most of you are well acquainted with the wrongs and the high-handed injustice and cruelty that are practiced upon us; whereas we have been taken prisoners, charged falsely with every kind of evil, and thrown into prison, enclosed with strong walls, surrounded with a strong guard, who continually watch day and night as indefatigably as the devil does in tempting and laying snares for the people of God-

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, we are the more ready and willing to lay claim to your fellowship and love. For our circumstances are calculated to awaken our spirits to a sacred remembrance of everything, and we think that yours are also, and that nothing, therefore, can separate us from the love of God and fellowship one with another; and that every species of wickedness and cruelty practiced upon us will only tend to bind our hearts together and seal them together in love. We have no need to say to you that we are held in bonds without cause, neither is it needful that you say unto us, we are driven from our homes and smitten without cause. We mutually understand that if the inhabitants of the state of Missouri had let the saints alone, and had been as desirable of peace as they [the saints] were, there would have been nothing but peace and quietude in the state unto this day; we would not have been in this hell, surrounded with demons (if not those who are damned, they are those who shall be damned); and where we are compelled to hear nothing but blasphemous oaths, and witness a scene of blasphemy, and drunkenness, and hypocrisy, and debaucheries of every description."

The Prophet does not hesitate to indulge in self-criticism, and criticism of the saints in these communications. Having in mind the exalted station which the New Dispensation conferred upon the priesthood of the church, and upon the members, he said:

"How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations--too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God, according to the purposes of his will, formed before the foundation of the world! We are called to hold the keys of the mysteries of those things that have been kept hid from the foundation of the world until now. Some have tasted a little of these things, many of which are to be poured down from heaven upon the heads of babes; yea, upon the weak, obscure and despised ones of the earth. Therefore we beseech of you, brethren, that you bear with those who do not feel themselves more worthy than yourselves, while we exhort one another to a reformation with one and all, both old and young, teachers and taught, both high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, male and female; let honesty and sobriety and candor, and solemnity, and virtue, and pureness, and meekness, and simplicity crown our heads in every place; and in fine, become as little children, without malice, guile or hypocrisy."

The experiences in Missouri evidently had a broadening effect upon the Prophet's mind, He thus instructs his people in relation to the tolerance that should be exercised towards those not of the faith:

"We ought always to be aware of those prejudices which sometimes so strangely present themselves, and are so congenial to human nature, against our friends, neighbors, and brethren of the world, who choose to differ from us in opinion and in matters of faith. Our religion is between us and our God. Their religion is between them and their God. There is a love from God that should be exercised toward those of our faith, who walk uprightly, which is peculiar to itself, but it is without prejudice; it also gives scope to the mind, which enables us to conduct ourselves with greater liberality towards all that are not of our faith, than what they exercise toward one another."

In relation to civil duties and the sacredness and value of the Constitution of the United States, the Prophet thus taught his people from within the walls of his prison:

"Here is a principle also, which we are bound to be exercised with, that is, in common with all men, such as governments, and laws, and regulations in the civil concerns of life. This principle guarantees to all parties, sects, and denominations, and classes of religion, equal, inherent, and indefeasible rights; they are things that pertain to this life; therefore all are alike interested; they make up our responsibilities one towards another in matters of corruptible things, while the former principles respecting religion do not destroy the latter, but bind us stronger, and make up our responsibilities not only one to another, but unto God also. Hence we say, that the Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner; it is to all those who are privileged with the sweets of its liberty, like the cooling shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in a thirsty and weary land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun. We, brethren, are deprived of the protection of its glorious principles, by the cruelty of the cruel, by those who only look for the time being for pasturage, like the beasts of the field, only to fill themselves; and forget that the Mormons as well as the Presbyterians, and those of every other class and description, have equal rights to partake of the fruits of the great tree of our national liberty."

And this was the peroration of the epistle:

"We say that God is true; that the Constitution of the United States is true; that the Bible is true; that the Book of Mormon is true; that the Book of [Doctrine and] Covenants is true; that Christ is true; that the ministering angels sent forth from God are true; and that we know that we have `an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, whose builder and maker is God,' a consolation which our oppressors cannot feel, when fortune, or fate, shall lay its iron hand on them as it has on us."

Such outgivings as these made Liberty jail, for a time, a center of instruction. The eyes of the saints were turned to it as the place whence would come encouragement, counsel--the word of the Lord. It was more temple than prison, so long as the Prophet was there. It was a place of meditation and prayer. A temple, first of all, is a place of prayer; and prayer is communion with God. It is the "infinite in man seeking the infinite in God." Where they find each other, there is holy sanctuary--a temple. Joseph Smith sought God in this rude prison, and found him. Out of the midst of his tribulations he called upon God in passionate earnestness-


"O God! where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens, the wrongs of thy people, and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened towards them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion towards them? O Lord God Almighty, Maker of the heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controlleth and subjecteth the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Shayole! Stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion towards us. Let thine anger be kindled against our enemies; and in the fury of thine heart, with thy sword avenge us of our wrongs. Remember thy suffering saints, O our God! and thy servants will rejoice in thy name forever."

And God answered, and said:

"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes; thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again, with warm hearts, and friendly hands; thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job; and they who do charge thee with transgression, their hope shall be blasted, and their prospects shall melt away as the hoar frost melteth before the burning rays of the rising sun; * * * The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee, while the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from thy hand, and thy people shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors; * * * If thou art called to pass through tribulation, if thou art in perils among false brethren, if thou art in perils among robbers, if thou art in perils by land or by sea, if thou art accused with all manner of false accusation, if thine enemies fall upon thee, if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters, and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring * * * And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee, if thou be cast into the deep, if the billowing surge conspire against thee, if fierce winds become thine enemy, if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The son of man hath descended below them all; art thou greater than he?"

One other lesson came of that seven times heated furnace of Missouri experience. A lesson rich in great possibilities for the future peace and prosperity of the church. A lesson that bars priestcraft from the church, and enthrones there a true priesthood, moved to action by the pure love of God and man, which is charity. It establishes the government of the church as moral government, and moral government alone--God's government. That lesson also was put into form in that Prison-Temple, Liberty prison, and stands in the revelation as follows:


"Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson--That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is time, but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion, upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, amen to the priesthood, or the authority of that man. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks; to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned, by sad experience, that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence, many are called but few are chosen. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, and meekness, and by love unfeigned. By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile. Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death."

Truly the kingdom of the Christ is not of this world. If it were of this world its reliance would be upon effective government, the government which rests on force. "If my kingdom were of this world," said the Christ to Pilate, "then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence;" or, not of physical force, but of moral persuasion. "Every one," says Jesus, in concluding his conversation with Pilate here quoted--"Everyone that is of the truth, heareth my voice." And such as obey, of course, do so because persuaded of the truth. Again the master said:

"Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

Truly a kingdom not of this world. A kingdom of humility, not of pride; of service, not of mastery; of persuasion and teaching truth, not of physical force; of love, not of compulsion. And how admirably all this conjoins with the great truth announced from the Prison Temple at Liberty, quoted above. The Missouri experiences of the church were trying and sad. The days were filled with sorrow and the nights with terror; but if out of those fiery ordeals came this lesson, and the absolute truth and force of it could come to the church in no other way, it was worth to the church for its future guidance and to humanity, all that it cost the saints. Had the church been guided altogether in her later Missouri period by the principles of this revelation, her history in that state might have been somewhat different; but if the Son of Man had to learn obedience by the things which he suffered, it is not surprising if lesser men learn obedience in the same way, but more slowly.


In April of 1839 the prisoners so long held in Liberty jail were taken into Daviess county where it was expected they would be tried. In about ten days the grand jury reported indictments against them for "treason, murder, arson, theft and stealing." Considering that in Daviess county they would be tried before Judge Thomas C. Burch, who had been the prosecuting attorney in the ex parte examination of the charges against them before Judge King at Richmond in November preceding, and also connected, as a military officer, with the court-martial that condemned them to be shot at Far West; that some of the grand Jury which had indicted them were men connected with the massacre at Haun's Mill; and having reason to believe that the trial jury would be men made up of the same class, the prisoners asked for a change of venue to Marion county. That was denied, but one was given them to Boone county, and Judge Burch made out the mittimus without date, name, or place; and the prisoners in charge of the sheriff and four other men and a two-horse team and wagon started for Boone county.

Passing through "Di-Ahman" the prisoners were allowed to purchase two horses of the guard, giving some clothing for one, and their note for the other. The third day out from Gallatin three of the guards and the sheriff got drunk and went to bed. The sheriff, previously having shown the prisoners the mittimus made out by Judge Burch, now also informed them that Burch had told him not to take the prisoners to Boone county. After exposing the plan that had been laid for their escape by the authorities, the sheriff assured the prisoners that he should take a good drink of whiskey and go to bed, and they could do as they pleased. Accordingly when all the guards but one were asleep, that one, who, by the way, was sober as well as awake, assisted them to mount their horses and escape. Ten days later they arrived among their friends in Illinois.

The other prisoners who had been left in Richmond during this dreary winter, in the spring were taken to Columbia, in Boone county, and during the summer also escaped and joined their fellow exiles in Illinois.

The escape of Joseph Smith and his associates from Liberty prison and the state of Missouri was not the last scene of "Mormon" experience in Missouri, This chapter can be closed with the record of a prophecy fulfilled. In closing chapter xxxiii of this History reference was made to an appointment in a revelation given on the 8th of July, 1838, requiring the quorum of apostles to take leave of the saints in Far West on the site of the "Lord's House," and thence depart "over the great waters"--Atlantic Ocean--"and there promulgate the gospel." Also reference was made to the boast of the mob that this was one of "Joe Smith's revelations that should fail."


At the time appointed, however, the twenty-sixth day of April, 1839, five of the twelve apostles arrived there, (i.e. in Far West) having come from Quincy, Illinois, by various routes to elude the vigilence of their enemies, together with a number of elders, high priests and other officers. The five apostles ordained Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith members of their quorum. They also ordained Darwin Chase and Norman Shearer, both newly released from Richmond prison, to the office of seventy. They excommunicated a number of persons from the church; prayer was offered up by the apostles in the order of their standing in the quorum. A hymn known to the saints as "Adam-Ondi-Ahman" was sung. After this hymn, Elder Alpheus Cutler, the master-workman of the Lord's House, laid the southeast corner stone in its position, and said: "In consequence of the peculiar situation of the saints, it is deemed prudent to discontinue further labor on the House until the Lord should open the way for its completion." The apostles then took leave of some seventeen saints, who were present, and started on their way to fill their missions "over the great waters." Thus was fulfilled that revelation in every particular, notwithstanding the boasts of the mob which said it should fail of fulfillment.



"Messrs. Smith, Wight, and other comrades in jail at Liberty took a change of venue to Boone county and the Daviess county officers started with the prisoners to their destination in Boone county. Some of the prisoners having no horses, William Bowman, the first sheriff of Daviess county, furnished the prisoners three and they left in charge of William Morgan, the sheriff of the county. The sheriff alone returned on horseback, the guard, who accompanied him, returning on foot or `riding and tying' by turns. The sheriff reported that the prisoners had all escaped in the night, taking the horses with them, and that a search made for them proved unavailing. The people of Gallatin were greatly exercised and they disgraced themselves by very ruffianly conduct. They rode the sheriff on a rail, and Bowman was dragged over the square by the hair of the head. The men guilty of these dastardly acts accused the sheriff, Morgan, and ex-sheriff, Bowman, of complicity in the escape of the Mormon leaders; that Bowman furnished the horses and that Morgan allowed them to escape, and both got well paid for their treachery. The truth of history compels us to state that the charges were never sustained by any evidence adduced by the persons who committed this flagrant act of mob law."

"After some months of confinement Smith made his escape, it was said by the connivance of the sheriff who had him in charge, the authorities probably deeming this the easiest way of disposing of a troublesome case."



There have been, of course, more extensive persecutions, and more terrible, than those inflicted on the saints in Missouri in 1838-9. Viewed from the stand-point of its net results there were some fifty people, men, and children, killed outright; about as many more were wounded or cruelly beaten, and very many more, including delicate women, perished indirectly because of the exposure to which they were subjected during the exodus.

In round numbers it is estimated that between twelve and fifteen thousand people, citizens of the United States, after being dispossessed of their lands and many of their houses burned or otherwise destroyed were forcibly driven from the state.


Joseph Smith represents that before leaving Missouri he paid the lawyers at Richmond $34,000,00 in cash and land. One tract for which he was allowed, on account, $7,000,00, the lawyers were soon offered $ 10,000,00 for, but they refused to accept it. In vexatious suits others than those at Richmond, Ray county, he paid his lawyers $16,000,00. Making in all fifty thousand dollars. "For which," he remarks, "I received very little in return."

It is known that the saints paid to the United States government for land alone, three hundred and eighteen thousand dollars, which, at the minimum price of one dollar and a quarter per acre, would give them land holdings of over two hundred and fifty thousand acres, representing for that day very large interests.

To this list of results must be added the more horrible one of a number of cases of ravishment at Far West; and also, after barely escaping from the sentence of death pronounced by a court-martial, the cruel imprisonment through weary months of a number of the church leaders, including among them the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.


In passing judgment upon such matters as these, account must be taken of the age and country in which they occurred; likewise the pretensions to right views of life, and devotion to freedom on the part of the perpetrators of the injustice. Undoubtedly a heavier debt is incurred to history, to humanity and to God, when the parties who resort to such acts of mob violence and injustice live in an enlightened age, and where the free institutions of their country guarantee both the freedom and the security of its citizens.

If in the jungle a man meet a tiger and is torn to pieces, no one thinks of holding the tiger to any moral accountability. Perhaps the hunt will be formed to destroy the beast, but that is merely to be rid of a dangerous animal, and prevent the repetition of the deed. If another meets a cruel death among savages, in heathen lands, while some moral responsibility would hold against them, according to their degree of enlightenment, yet the fact that it was the act of savages would be held to reduce the degree of moral turpitude. And likewise even in civilized states, in localities to which the vicious may gravitate, when acts of violence are committed there, some allowance may bed and generally is, made for the ignorance and general brutality of the particular neighborhood.

By this process of reasoning I think it will appear quite clear that moral responsibility, both on the part of individuals and communities or nations, increases in proportion to their enlightenment. If, therefore, this principle be kept in view, the persecution of the Latter-day Saints by the people of Missouri was a very heinous offense.

True it may be said that the worst acts of cruelty were perpetrated by low, brutish men among the mob or in the militia--for these bodies were convertible from one to the other on shortest possible notice, and wholly as the exigencies of the enemies of the saints demanded--but these were led and abetted by quite a different order of men; by lawyers, members of the state legislature, by county and district judges, by physicians, by professed ministers of the gospel, by merchants, by leading politicians, by captains, majors, colonels, and generals--of several grades--of the militia, by many other high officials of the state including the governor, and finally by the action of the state legislature which appropriated two hundred thousand dollars to defray the expenses incurred by the mob-militia in carrying out the governor's order to exterminate or drive the saints from the state. These facts are made apparent in the pages of this History of the Church. The facts cannot be questioned. They are written out most circumstantially. Times, places, and names are given of the incidents related, and the more important of these may be corroborated by histories of these events other than the annals of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


The persecutions then of the Latter-day Saints in Missouri, and their final expulsion from that state, were crimes against the enlightenment of the age and of the state where the acts occurred; a crime against the Constitutions and institutions both of the state of Missouri and of the United States; as also a crime against the Christian religion. All this must be borne in mind when speaking of the severity and cruelty of this Missouri persecution when compared with other persecutions. The state of Missouri was guilty of a greater crime when it permitted, and even participated in, the persecution of the Latter-day Saints than states were which in the barbarous times of the dark ages persecuted their people, though when estimated in net results there may have been more murders and robberies, greater destruction of property, and more widespread suffering in the latter than in the former.

But what of Missouri? Did she pay any penalty for her wrong-doing? Are states such entities as may be held to an accounting for breaches of public faith and public morals--constitutional immoralities? Is there within the state a public conscience to which an appeal can be made; and in the event of the public conscience failing to respond to appeals for justice, and persisting in unrighteousness is there retribution?

I answer these questions in the affirmative; and hold that Missouri paid dearly for the violations of her guarantees of religious freedom, and for her many acts of lawlessness and her cruelties practiced towards the Latter-day Saints. That is to say, the vicious tendencies in lawlessness engendered by the acts of mobs and by the state's course towards the saints, established such precedents, and begot such a disregard for law that the events to be related in the experience of Missouri as establishing retribution for violation of the plain dictates of justice, became possible. Let me say also before reciting those events, that the results to be pointed out here were specifically predicted by Joseph Smith in the following prophecies:

"Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was mete in mine eyes, and which I commanded them. But those who cry transgression, do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves. And those who swear falsely against my servants, that they might bring them into bondage, and death--Woe unto them! because they have offended my little ones, they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house; their basket shall not be full, their houses and their barns shall perish, and they themselves shall be despised by those that flattered them. They shall not have right to the priesthood, nor their posterity after them, from generation to generation. It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto all those that discomfort my people, and drive, and murder, and testify against them, saith the Lord of Hosts; a generation of vipers shall not escape the damnation of hell. Behold mine eyes see and know all their works, and I have in reserve a swift judgment in the season thereof, for them all."

The letter from which this prediction--given as the Word of the Lord--is taken, was written from Liberty prison, March 25, 1839. Again, on the 29th of November, 1843, in the city of Nauvoo, when reviewing in the presence of a number of brethren the course taken by Missouri against the saints, the Prophet said:

"They shall be oppressed as they have oppressed us, not by Mormons, but by others in power. They shall drink a drink offering, the bitterest dregs, not from the Mormons, but from a mightier source than themselves, God shall curse them."


The following prophetic incident is given upon the authority of Mr. Leonidas M. Lawson, now of New York City, formerly a resident of Clay county, Missouri, and a brother-in-law of General Doniphan's. "In the year 1863," says Mr. Lawson, "I visited General A. W. Doniphan at his home in Liberty, Clay county, Missouri. This was soon after the devastation of Jackson county, Missouri, under what is known as Order No. 11.' This devastation was complete. Farms were everywhere destroyed, and the farm houses were burned. During this visit General Doniphan related the following historical facts and personal incidents." Then follows in Mr. Lawson's account a recital of the treatment meted out to the saints in Missouri from the time of their first arrival in 1831, to their expulsion, including recitals of the personal relations of General Doniphan and Joseph Smith, in which the following incident occurred during the Prophet's imprisonment in Liberty jail:

"On one occasion General Doniphan caused the sheriff of the county to bring Joseph Smith from the prison to his law office, for the purpose of consultation about his defense. During Smith's presence in the office, a resident of Jackson county, Missouri, came in for the purpose of paying a fee which was due by him to the firm of Doniphan & Baldwin, and offered in payment a tract of land in Jackson county.

"Doniphan told him that his partner, Mr. Baldwin, was absent at the moment, but as soon as he had an opportunity he would consult him and decide about the matter. When the Jackson county man retired, Joseph Smith, who had overheard the conversation, addressed General Doniphan about as follows:

"`Doniphan, I advise you not to take Jackson county land in payment of the debt. God's wrath hangs over Jackson county. God's people have been ruthlessly driven from it, and you will live to see the day when it will be visited by fire and sword. The Lord of Hosts will sweep it with the besom of destruction. The field: and farms and houses will be destroyed, and only the chimneys will be left to mark the desolation.'

"General Doniphan said to me that the devastation of Jackson county forcibly reminded him of this remarkable prediction of the `Mormon' Prophet.

Yours sincerely,

[Signed.] "L. M. LAWSON."

In a letter from Mr. A. Saxey of Spanish Fork, Utah, to Mr. Junius Wells treating further of the fulfillment of this prophecy, so well attested, Mr. Saxey under date of Aug. 25, 1902, says:

"In the spring of 1862, my regiment went south, and it was during that time that `Order No. 11' was issued, but I was back there again in 1864, during the Price raid, and saw the condition of the country. The duty of executing the order was committed to Col. W. R. Penick's regiment, and there is no doubt but that he carried it into effect, from the howl the copperhead papers made at the time. I went down the Blue river, we found houses, barns, outbuildings, nearly all burned down, and nothing left standing but the chimneys which had, according to the fashion of the time, been built on the outs