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HAVING now followed the church in America to the close of A. D. 1837, and noted during the last year that a mission was sent to Europe, it will now be proper to inquire how the work was prospering in foreign lands.
Heber C. Kimball, who was in charge of this mission, kept a journal, extracts of which have since been published in book form, and from which we will quote largely in this chapter:-
"I was then set apart, along with Elder Hyde, who was likewise appointed to that mission, by the laying on of the hands of the Presidency, who agreed that Elders Goodson, Russell, Richards, Fielding, and Snider should accompany us.
"After spending a few days in arranging my affairs and settling my business, on the thirteenth day of June, A. D. 1837, I bade adieu to my family and friends, and the town of Kirtland, where the house of the Lord stood, in which I had received my anointing, and had seen such wonderful displays of the power and glory of God. In company with Elder Hyde and the other brethren I arrived at Fairport, on Lake Erie, that afternoon, a distance of twelve miles, and about an hour after our arrival, took passage in a steamboat for Buffalo, New York.
"We were accompanied by Brother R. B. Thompson and wife, who were on their way to Canada, from Kirtland, where he intended to labor in the ministry.
"After a pleasant voyage, we reached Buffalo the next day, at which place we expected to get some funds which were promised us, to assist us on our journey; but we were unfortunately disappointed.
"At that time we had but very little means, but still we determined to prosecute our journey, believing that the Lord would open our way.
"We accordingly continued our journey, and took our passage in a line boat on the Erie Canal to Utica, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles, and thence to Albany on the railroad.
"From this latter place I went with Brother Richards into the country about thirty miles, where we were successful in obtaining some means to enable us to prosecute our journey. We then returned and took passage on a steamboat for New York, at which place we arrived on the 22d day of June.
"On our arrival we met with Brothers Goodson and Snider, according to appointment (they having gone round by the way of Canada), all in good health.
"When we arrived at New York we found a vessel ready to sail; but not having sufficient means, we were obliged to wait until such time as we could obtain funds to pay our passage and buy provisions for the voyage. We rented a small room in a storehouse, hoping that some way would be provided for us to go forward and fulfill the mission whereunto we were sent.
"We spent considerable time while we were there in praying to our heavenly Father for his guidance and protection, that he would make our way plain before us, bless us with a prosperous voyage across the billows of the mighty ocean and make us a blessing to each other and to the captain and crew with whom we should sail.
"During our stay in that city, we were subject to many inconveniences. We had to lay upon the floor, and had to buy and cook our own victuals; yet none of these things moved us, neither did we feel discouraged, believing that the Lord would open our way and guide us to our destination.
"We conversed with many persons on the subject of the gospel, and distributed a large number of copies of the 'Prophetic
Warning' among all classes of the community, not forgetting the ministers of religion who abound in that city. We sent a copy to every one whose name we could ascertain through the medium of the post office.
"After remaining a few days, we were presented with sixty dollars to assist us. Brother Elijah Fordham made us a present of ten dollars, and concluded to accompany us on our mission, but upon more mature consideration we thought it was best for him to stop in that place, believing that the Lord had a people in that city, and that a church would be built up, which was afterwards done by the instrumentality of Elders Parley P. and Orson Pratt.
"Having obtained as much money as would pay our passage across the Atlantic, we laid in a stock of provisions, and on the first day of July went on board the ship Garrick, bound for Liverpool, and weighed anchor about ten o'clock a. m., and about four o'clock p. m. of the same day lost sight of my native land. I had feelings which I cannot describe when I could no longer behold its shores, and when I bade adieu to the land of my birth, which was fast receding. . . .
"I hope I was actuated by a different motive than either to please myself or to gain the riches and applause of the world: it was a higher consideration than these that induced me to leave my home. It was because a dispensation of the gospel had been committed to me, and I felt an ardent desire that my fellow creatures in other lands, as well as those of the land of my birth, might hear the sound of the everlasting gospel, obey its requisitions, rejoice in the fullness and blessings thereof, and escape the judgments which were threatened upon the ungodly.
"Our passage was very agreeable, and the winds for most part very favorable. On the banks of New Foundland we saw several whales and many different species of fish.
"We were kindly treated while on board, both by the officers and crew, and their conduct was indeed praiseworthy; had we been their own relatives, they could not have behaved more kindly or have treated us better. Thus the Lord answered our prayers in this respect, for which I desire to praise his holy name.
"The Lord also gave us favor in the eyes of the passengers, who treated us with the greatest respect. During our voyage a child belonging to one of the passengers was very sick and was given up for dead by the doctor who attended it; consequently, its parents had given up all hopes of its recovery, and expected to have to commit their little one to the ocean. Feeling a great anxiety for the child, I went to its parents and reasoned with and laid before them the principle of faith, and told them that the Lord was able to restore their child notwithstanding there was no earthly prospect of its recovery, to which they listened with great interest. Having an opportunity shortly after secretly to lay hands upon the child, I did so, and in the name of Jesus Christ rebuked the disease which preyed upon its system. The Spirit of the Lord attended the administration, and from that time the child began to recover, and two or three days after it was running about perfectly well. Its parents had to acknowledge that it was healed by the power of the Almighty.
"The last Sunday we were on the water I went to the Captain and asked the privilege for one of us to preach on board. He very obligingly agreed, and appointed the time when it would be most suitable for himself and the crew to attend, which was at one o'clock p. m. We then appointed Brother Hyde to speak, and notified the crew and passengers of the circumstance.
"At the time appointed there was a congregation of from two to three hundred persons assembled on the deck, who listened with great attention and deep interest to the discourse, which was delivered with great power. I think I never heard Brother Hyde speak with such power and eloquence as that time; he spoke on the subject of the resurrection. The time being limited on account of the duties of the ship's company, his subject was necessarily condensed. The congregation was composed of persons from different nations and of different faiths, English, Irish, Scotch, Germans, French, etc., both Jews and Christians. A great feeling was produced upon the minds of the assembly, who had never heard the subject treated in like manner before, and
from the conversation we afterwards had with several of them I believe that good was done, and many from that time began to search the Scriptures for themselves, which are able to make men wise unto salvation.
"On the 15th of July we came in sight of land, which caused joy and gratitude to my heavenly Father to arise in my bosom for the favorable passage we had had so far and the prospect of soon reaching our destination. We then sailed up the Irish Channel, having Ireland on our left and Wales on our right. The scenery was very beautiful and imposing.
"Three days after first seeing land, being the 18th of July, we arrived in Liverpool, one of the largest ports in Great Britain, being just seventeen days and two hours from our departure from New York. The packet ship South America, which left New York the same time we did, came in a few lengths behind. The sight was very grand to see these two vessels enter port, with every inch of canvas spread. When we first got sight of Liverpool I went to the side of the vessel and poured out my soul in praise and thanksgiving to God for the prosperous voyage and for all the mercies which he had vouchsafed to me; and while thus engaged, and while contemplating the scenery which then presented itself, and the circumstances which had brought me thus far, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me in a powerful manner; my soul was filled with love and gratitude, and was humbled within me, while I covenanted to dedicate myself to God and to love and serve him with all my heart.
"Immediately after we anchored a small boat came alongside, and several of the passengers, with Brothers Hyde, Richards, Goodson, and myself got in and went on shore. When we were within six or seven feet from the pier I leaped on shore, and for the first time in my life stood on British ground, among strangers whose manners and customs were different from my own. My feelings at that time were peculiar, particularly when I realized the object, importance, and extent of my mission and the work to which I had been appointed and in which I was shortly
to be engaged."-Heber C. Kimball's Journal, pp. 11-l5
Left in the city of Liverpool, strangers in a strange land, they had nothing to rely upon but their faith in God and his promises.
Of their condition Elder Kimball states:-
"Having no means, poor and penniless we wandered in the streets of that great city, where wealth and luxury, penury and want abound. I there met the rich attired in the most costly dresses, and the next moment was saluted with the cries of the poor, who were without covering sufficient to screen them from the weather. Such a distinction I never saw before. We then looked out for a place to lodge in, and found a room belonging to a widow, which we engaged for a few days.
"The time we were in Liverpool was spent in council and in calling on the Lord for direction, so that we might be led to places where we should be most useful in proclaiming the gospel and in establishing and spreading his kingdom. While thus engaged the Spirit of the Lord, the mighty power of God, was with us, and we felt greatly strengthened; and a determination to go forward, come life or death, honor or reproach, was manifested by us all. Our trust was in God, who we believed could make us as useful in bringing down the kingdom of Satan as he did the rams' horns in bringing down the walls of Jericho, and in gathering out a number of precious souls who were buried amidst the rubbish of tradition and who had none to show them the way of truth.
"Feeling led by the Spirit of the Lord to go to Preston, a large manufacturing town in Lancashire, we started for that place three days after our arrival in Liverpool. We went by coach and arrived on Saturday afternoon about four o'clock. After unloading our trunks, Brother Goodson went in search of a place of lodging, and Brother Fielding went to seek a brother of his, who was a minister, residing in that place."-Heber C. Kimball's Journal, pp. 16, 17.
This Mr. Fielding was found, and he received the elders very kindly, and gave them the privilege of preaching in his
chapel, until some of the members of his church were believing, when he closed the doors against them. The elders then began preaching in private houses, which were opened on every hand, and many became obedient to the faith.
After laboring in Preston for a time successfully and baptizing several they divided their labor; Elders Goodson and Richards going to the city of Bedford, Elders Russell and Snider to Alston, and Elders Kimball, Hyde, and Fielding remaining in Preston. The work spread rapidly and their success was remarkable.
After about four weeks' labor, Elder Kimball states:-
"I was instrumental in building up churches in Eccleston, Wrightington, Askin, Exton, Daubers Lane, Chorly, Whittle, and Laland Moss, . . . and baptized upwards of one hundred persons."
All these places were near Preston.
Soon after, in company with Elder Fielding, he took a short tour northeast of Preston, and raised up churches in Ribchester, Thomly, Soney Gate Lane, and Clitheroe. On his first visit to the village of Chatburn he baptized twenty-five persons. At this time, after an absence of seven days, they returned to Preston, having baptized eighty-three persons.
The first conference in Europe was held on Christmas Day, 1837. Of this conference and the events succeeding it, Elder Kimball writes:-
"On Christmas Day the saints assembled in the Cockpit, and we then opened the conference, which was the first that was held by the Church of Christ in that country. There were about three hundred saints present on the occasion, all of whom, with the exception of three, had been baptized within a very short time. Elders Hyde, Fielding, and myself were present.
"The brethren were instructed in the principles of the gospel, and their several duties enjoined upon them, as saints of the Most High. We then proceeded to ordain several of the brethren to the lesser priesthood, to take charge of the different branches where they resided. We confirmed fourteen
who had previously been baptized, and blessed about one hundred children.
"At this conference the Word of Wisdom was first publicly taught in that Country, having previously taught it more by example than precept; and, from my own observation afterwards, I am happy to state that it was almost universally attended to by the brethren.
"The Spirit of the Lord was with us during our interview, and truly the hearts of the elders were rejoiced beyond measure when we contemplated the glorious work which had begun. We had to exclaim, 'It is the Lord's doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes! Blessed be the name of the Lord!'
"I felt greatly humbled before the Lord, who had crowned our labors with such signal success, and had prospered us far beyond my most sanguine expectations.
"Immediately after this conference Elder Hyde and I went to a village called Longton, situated near the seashore, where we raised the standard of truth and published to the listening crowds the glad tidings of salvation. After delivering two discourses, several came to us and requested baptism. It being very cold weather, insomuch that the streams were all frozen up, we had to repair to the seashore to administer that ordinance, and immersed fifteen in the waters of the ocean.
"It would probably be too tedious to enumerate all the particulars which occurred during the time we sojourned in that country; I shall therefore pass over many events which, though pleasing to us at that time, and which showed the kind dealings of our heavenly Father, would not be sufficiently interesting to others. I shall therefore content myself by giving an outline of the principal circumstances attending our mission, which I have no doubt will be pleasing to the brethren, and to all who love the prosperity of Zion.
"From this time until about five weeks previous to our departure from that land, we were continually engaged in the work of the ministry, proclaiming the everlasting gospel in all the region round about, and baptizing all such as believed the gospel and repented of their sins. And truly,
'the Lord of Hosts was with us, the God of Jacob was our refuge.' The Holy Ghost, the Comforter, was given to us and abode with us in a remarkable manner, while the people thronged to hear our addresses, and 'numbers were added to the church daily, such as should be saved.' We would baptize as many as fifty in Preston in a week, exclusive of those in the country. During one short mission which Brother Hyde and I took into the country, after preaching five discourses on the principles of our holy religion, we had the pleasure of immersing one hundred and thirty in the waters of baptism.
"Thus mightily ran the word of God and prospered to the joy and comfort of his servants, and to the salvation of precious and immortal souls; while the world was struck with amazement and surprise at the things which they saw and heard. During this state of things, our enemies were not idle, but heaped abuse upon us with an unsparing hand, and issued torrents of lies after us, which, however, I am thankful to say, did not sweep us away.
"Among those most active in publishing falsehoods against us and the truth were many of the reverend clergy, who were afraid to meet us face to face in honorable debate, although particularly requested so to do, but sought every opportunity to destroy our characters and propagate their lies concerning us, thus giving testimony that 'they loved darkness rather than light.'
"Although we frequently called upon the ministers of the different denominations, who had taken a stand against us, to come forward and investigate the subject of our religion before the world in an honorable manner, and bring forth their strong reasons to disprove the things we taught, and convince the people by sound argument and the word of God, if they could, that we did not preach the gospel of Christ, they altogether declined.
"This course we felt moved upon by the Spirit to adopt; but they kept at a respectful distance, and only came out when we were absent, with misrepresentations and abuse. It is true we suffered some from the statements which they thought proper to make, when we could get no opportunity
to contradict them; but generally their reports were of such a character that they carried along with them their own refutation.
"The time when we expected to return to our native land having now nearly arrived, it was thought necessary to spend the short time we had to remain in the country in visiting and organizing the churches; placing such officers over them, and giving such instructions as would be beneficial to them during our absence. Accordingly Brothers Hyde, Fielding, and I entered upon this duty, and we visited a church nearly every day, and imparted such instructions as the Spirit directed. We first visited the churches south of Preston, and after spending some time in that direction we journeyed to the north, accompanied by Brother Richards, who had just returned from the city of Bedford.
"While we were attending to our duties in that section we received a very pressing invitation from a Baptist church, through the medium of their deacon, to pay them a visit, stating that the society was exceedingly anxious to hear from our own lips the wonderful things we had proclaimed in the regions round about.
"We endeavored to excuse ourselves from going, as our engagements already were such that it would require the short time we had to stay to attend to them. But they seemed determined to take no denial, and plead with us with such earnestness that we could not resist their entreaties, and finally we consented to go and preach once.
"Having arrived at the place we found a large congregation already assembled in the Baptist chapel, anxiously awaiting our arrival. The minister gave out the hymns for us, and Elder Hyde spoke on the subject of the resurrection with great effect; after which the minister gave out another hymn, which was sung by the assembly, and he then requested me to address them. I arose and spoke briefly on the first principles of the gospel.
"During the services the congregation were overjoyed, the tears ran down their cheeks, and the minister could not refrain from frequently clapping his hands together for joy while in the meeting. After the service was over he took us
to his house, where we were very kindly entertained. After partaking of his hospitality he with some more friends accompanied us to our lodgings, where we remained in conversation until a very late hour.
"The next morning while we were preparing to depart we were waited upon by several of the citizens, who requested us to preach again that day, stating that great interest was felt by the inhabitants, many of whom were in tears, fearing they should hear us no more; and that a number of influential men had suspended operations in their factories to allow their workmen the privilege of hearing us preach. But we were obliged to deny them, as it was necessary to attend to the appointments we had previously made. We could scarcely tear ourselves away from them, and when we did so they wept like little children. Such a desire to hear the gospel I never saw equaled before.
"After commending them to the grace and mercy of God, we went to Downham, where we preached in the afternoon, after which forty came forward and were baptized. In the evening we called the churches of Chatburn and Downham together, and after confirming forty-five who had previously been baptized, we appointed priests, teachers, and deacons to preside over them."-Heber C. Kimball's Journal, pp. 32-35.
Of their closing labors in the mission and the organization they left when returning to America, Elder Kimball writes:-
"On the eighth day of April, A. D. 1838, it being Sunday, and the time appointed for a general conference of the saints in that kingdom, and the day previous to our departure from them, they began to assemble at an early hour in the morning, and by nine o'clock there were from six to seven hundred of the saints assembled from various parts of the country.
"Believing it necessary for the good of the kingdom to have some one to preside over the whole mission, we nominated Brother Joseph Fielding to be appointed to that office, and Brothers Levi Richards and William Clayton to be his counselors. The nominations met with the approbation of the whole assembly, who agreed to hearken to their instructions and uphold them in their
offices. These brethren were then, with eight elders, several priests, teachers, and deacons, set apart and ordained to the several offices to which they were called. One of the brethren who was ordained was going to Manchester, one of the largest manufacturing towns in England, and another to the city of London, and they undoubtedly would carry the tidings of salvation to those places.
"We then laid hands upon forty individuals, who had previously been baptized, for the gift of the Holy Ghost, after which about one hundred children were presented to us to receive a blessing, and the same day we baptized about twenty individuals for the remission of sins, and then proceeded to administer the sacrament to this numerous assembly. We then gave some general instructions to the whole church respecting their duty to God and to one another, which were listened to with great attention and were treasured up in the hearts of most who were present.
"At five o'clock p. m. we brought the conference to a close, it having continued without intermission from nine o'clock a. m. We then appointed seven o'clock the same evening to deliver our farewell addresses.
"At the time appointed we repaired to the meeting, which was crowded to excess. Brother Hyde and myself then spoke to them respecting our labors in that land, the success of our ministry, and the kindness we had experienced at their hands; told them that we hoped before long to see them again, after we had visited the church and our families in America; but when we spoke of our departure their hearts were broken within them. They gave vent to their feelings and wept like children, and broke out in cries like the following: 'How can we part with our beloved brethren!' 'We may never see them again!' 'O, why can you leave us!' etc. I could not refrain; my feelings only found vent in a flood of tears.
"Some persons may be disposed to accuse me of weakness on this occasion, but if any should do so, I would say that I do not envy any man's feelings who could witness such a scene with all its associations, and the finer feelings of his heart not be touched on such an occasion; indeed, it would
have been almost an impossibility for us to have left this dear and affectionate people had we not had the most implicit confidence in the brethren who were appointed to preside over them in our absence; but knowing their faith and virtuous conversation, and that they had the confidence of the church, we felt assured that the affairs of the church would be conducted in righteousness; consequently we left them under different feelings than we otherwise could have done.
"Immediately after dismissing we met the official members, the number of whom were eighty, at a private house, and instructed them further in their duties, and dismissed them at one o'clock the next morning.
"This was certainly one of the most interesting conferences I ever attended. The services were calculated to convince the honest and give joy to saints, and will long be remembered by all those who attended, and I have no doubt was the means of great and lasting good.
"At this conference we were favored with the company of Elders Isaac Russell and Willard Richards. The latter had returned from the county of Bedford, where he had been proclaiming the gospel. In consequence of sickness his labors had not been so extensive as they otherwise would have been, and were confined within a short distance from the city of Bedford, where he raised up two small branches, which he set in order and ordained one elder and other officers. He labored under considerable difficulty in consequence of the conduct of Elder Goodson, who accompanied him on that mission, who taught many things which were not in wisdom, which proved a barrier to the spread of the truth in that region. Elder Russell had returned from a mission to the north, having been laboring in the county of Cumberland, near the borders of Scotland, where numbers of his friends resided. While he was there he met with considerable opposition, even from those of his own family as well as the ministers of the different denominations, who sought every opportunity to block up his way and to destroy his influence.
"However, notwithstanding the great opposition he was instrumental in bringing upwards of sixty souls into the
kingdom of God, and left them rejoicing in the truth and strong in the faith of the gospel.
"Thus the great work which is to go through the length and breadth of that land, which will cause the hearts of thousands to rejoice and the poor and meek to increase their joy in the Lord; which shall lead the honest-hearted to the foundation of truth; which shall prepare a holy company from that nation to meet the Lord Jesus when he shall descend from the mansions of glory and from the regions that are not known, which shall cause thousands to rail against the doctrines of Christ and his servants, and persecute the honest in heart; which shall prepare the ungodly for the day of vengeance of our God, and shall bind them together in the cords of darkness, was commenced in three places; viz., Preston, Bedford, and Alston; which forcibly reminds me of the parable of the leaven which the woman cast into the three measures of meal."-Heber C Kimball's Journal, pp. 45-47.
They arrived in Kirtland on the 22d of May, 1838, after an absence of nearly one year. This was one of the most marvelously successful missions ever prosecuted by the church, the details of which we have not space to relate.
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