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IT is now the spring of 1839, and the body of the Saints are in Western Illinois, where they went cheerfully and diligently to work to rebuild their wasted fortunes.
There is one event of this time which we cannot pass without mention; viz., the return of the Twelve to Far West amid dangers, in the face of a threatening mob, to carry into effect an obligation placed upon them, as they believed, by command of God. There were five of the Twelve who made this journey from Illinois, accompanied by others; viz., Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, and John E. Page. They assembled on the Temple Lot with several of their brethren on April 26, 1839.
At this meeting they ordained Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith 1 apostles of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Darwin Chase and Norman Shearer to the office of Seventy
1He visited me while I was in Liberty jail, when I made known to him that he was appointed to fill the place of Thomas B. Marsh in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He assisted in moving the saints out of Far West, and returned with the Twelve to fulfill the revelation concerning the foundation stone of the temple at Far West.-Joseph Smith, Millennial Star, vol. 17, p. 168.
They then commenced laying the foundation of the temple by rolling a large stone near the southeast corner, and Elder Alpheus Cutler, master workman, placed it in position. The Twelve then returned to Quincy, taking several families who had not removed during the winter.
The following is from the pen of Elder Wilford Woodruff, a participant in the scenes:-
"When the time drew near for the fulfillment of this commandment of the Lord, Brigham Young was the President of the Twelve Apostles; Thomas B. Marsh, who was the senior apostle, had fallen. Brother Brigham called together those of the Twelve who were then at Quincy, Illinois, to see what their minds would be about going to Far West to fulfill the revelation. The Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and Parley P. Pratt were in prison in Missouri at the time; but Father Joseph Smith, the Patriarch, was at Quincy, Illinois. He and others who were present did not think it wisdom for us to attempt the journey, as our lives would be in great jeopardy. They thought the Lord would take the will for the deed. But when President Young asked the Twelve what our feelings were upon the subject, we all of us, as the voice of one man, said the Lord God had spoken and it was for us to obey. It was the Lord's business to take care of his servants, and we would fulfill the commandment, or die trying.
"To fully understand the risk the Twelve Apostles ran in making this journey, my readers should remember that Lilburn W. Boggs, Governor of the State of Missouri, had issued a proclamation, in which all the Latter Day Saints were required to leave that State or be exterminated. Far West had been captured by the militia, who were really only an organized mob; the citizens had been compelled to give up their arms; all the leading men who could be got hold of had been taken prisoners; the rest of the saints-men, women, and children-had to see as best they could out of the State to save their lives, leaving all their houses, lands, and other property which they could not carry with them,
to be taken by the mob. In fact they shot down the cattle and hogs of the saints wherever they could find them, and robbed them of nearly everything they could lay their hands upon. Latter Day Saints were treated with merciless cruelty and had to endure the most outrageous abuses. It was with the greatest difficulty that many of them got out of the State, especially the prominent men; for there were many men of that State at that time who acted as though they thought it no more harm to shoot a 'Mormon' than a mad dog. From this brief explanation you will be able to understand why some of the brethren thought we were not required to go back to Far West to start from there upon our mission across the ocean to Europe.
"Having determined to carry out the requirement of the revelation, on the 18th of April, 1839, I took into my wagon Brigham Young and Orson Pratt; and Father Cutler took into his wagon John Taylor and George A. Smith, and we started for Far West.
"On the way we met John E. Page, who was going with his family to Quincy, Illinois. His wagon had turned over, and when we met him he was trying to gather up a barrel of soft soap with his hands. We helped him get up his wagon. He drove down into the valley below, left his wagon, and accompanied us on our way.
"On the night of the 25th of April we arrived at Far West and spent the night at the home of Morris Phelps, who was not there, however, himself; he having been taken prisoner by the mob, was still in prison.
"On the morning of the 26th of April, 1839, notwithstanding the threats of our enemies that the revelation which was to be fulfilled this day should not be, and notwithstanding that ten thousand of the saints had been driven out of the State by the edict of the Governor, and though the Prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum Smith, with other leading men were in the hands of our enemies, in chains and in prison, 2 we moved onto the temple grounds in the city of Far West, and held a council, and fulfilled the revelation and commandment
2This is a mistake. They had escaped ten days before.
given unto us, and we performed many other things at this council.
"We excommunicated from the church thirty-one persons who had apostatized and become its enemies.
"The 'Mission of the Twelve' was sung, and we then repaired to the southeast corner of the temple ground, and, with the assistance of Elder Alpheus Cutler, the master workman of the building committee, laid the southeast chief corner stone of the temple, according to revelation.
"There were present of the Twelve Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, and John Taylor, who proceeded to ordain Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith to the apostleship, and as members of the Quorum of the Twelve, in the places of those who had fallen, as they had been called by revelation.
"Darwin Chase and Norman Shearer, who had just been liberated from Richmond prison, were also ordained to the office of seventies. The Twelve then offered up vocal prayer in the following order: Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and George A. Smith, after which we sang 'Adam-ondi-ahman.'
"The Twelve then took their leave of and gave the parting hand to the following saints, agreeable to revelation: A. Butler, Elias Smith, Norman Shearer, William Burton, Stephen Markham, Shadrach Roundy, William O. Clark, John W. Clark, Hezekiah Peck, Darwin Chase, Richard Howard, Mary Ann Peck, Artimesia Granger, Martha Peck, Sarah Granger, Theodore Turley, Hiram Clark, and Daniel Shearer.
"Bidding good-bye to the small remnant of the saints who remained on the temple ground to see us fulfill the revelation and commandments of God, we turned our backs on Far West and Missouri, and returned to Illinois. We had accomplished the mission without a dog moving his tongue at us, or any man saying, 'Why do you do so?'
"We crossed the Mississippi River on the steam ferry, entered Quincy on the 2d of May, and all had the joy of reaching our families once more in peace and safety.
"There was an incident connected with our journey that is worthy of record. While we were on our way to fulfill the revelation, Joseph the prophet and his companions in chains had been liberated, through the blessings of God, from their enemies and prison, and they passed us. We were not far distant from each other, but neither party knew it. They were making their way to their families in Illinois, while we were traveling to Far West into the midst of our enemies. So they came home to their families and friends before our return."-Leaves from My Journal, pp. 57-60.
The church was hospitably received by the people of Quincy and vicinity, but of course some provision must be made for future homes, and they early began the investigation of the advantages of different localities.
An offer of twenty thousand acres of land, located in Iowa Territory, between the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers, was made them. They were offered this tract of land at two dollars per acre, to be paid in twenty annual installments without interest. A committee was appointed to examine the land, who at a conference held at Quincy, Illinois, in February, 1839, reported favorably. However, there was some difference of opinion about the propriety of again settling in a body.
William Marks, Bishop Partridge, and Judge Higbee opposed it, thinking it was best to scatter out and seek locations severally; so there was no definite action taken on the proposition, but it was decided "not to be advisable to locate on the lands for the present."
Of their reception in Illinois, Bancroft states the following:-
"Finally they reach Quincy, and are kindly received. Not only the saints but others are there who have human hearts and human sympathies. Indeed, upon the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri the people of Illinois took a stand in their favor. The citizens of Quincy, in particular, offered their warmest sympathy and
aid, on the ground of humanity. A select committee appointed to ascertain the facts in the case, reported, on the 27th of February, 1839, 'that the strangers recently arrived here from the State of Missouri, known by the name of Latter Day Saints, are entitled to our sympathy and kindest regard.' The workingmen of the town should be informed 'that these people have no design to lower the wages of the laboring class, but to procure something to save them from starving.' Finally it was resolved: 'That we recommend to all the citizens of Quincy, in all their intercourse with the strangers, that they use and observe a becoming decorum and delicacy, and be particularly careful not to indulge in any conversation or expressions calculated to wound their feelings, or in any way to reflect upon those who, by every law of humanity, are entitled to our sympathy and commiseration.'"-History of Utah, pp. 136,137.
Dr. Isaac Galland, a gentleman residing at a village called Commerce, on the east bank of the Mississippi River, fifty miles above Quincy, took an active interest in the saints and made them some propositions which were being considered as early as March, 1839.
The following letter written by Bishop Partridge gives a fair idea of the situation:-
"Beloved Brother:-Having an opportunity to send direct to you by Brother Rogers, I feel to write a few lines to you.
"President Rigdon, Judge Higbee, Israel Barlow, and myself went to see Dr. Galland, week before last. Brothers Rigdon, Higbee, and myself are of opinion that it is not wisdom to make a trade with the Doctor at present; possibly it may be wisdom to effect a trade hereafter.
"The people here receive us kindly; they have contributed near one hundred dollars cash, besides other property, for the relief of the suffering among our people. Brother Joseph's wife lives at Judge Cleveland's; I have not seen her, but I sent her word of this opportunity to send to you, Brother Hyrum's wife lives not far from me. I have been to see her a number of times; her health was very poor
when she arrived, but she has been getting better; she knows of this opportunity to send. I saw Sister Wight soon after her arrival here; all were well; I understand that she has moved about two miles with Father and John Higbee, who are fishing this spring. Sister McRae is here, living with Brother Henderson, and is well; I believe she knows of this opportunity to send. Brother Baldwin's family I have not seen, and do not know that she has got here as yet. She, however, may be upon the other side of the river; the ice has run these three days past, so that there has been no crossing; the weather is now moderating, and the crossing will soon commence again.
"This place is nearly full of our people, yet they are scattering off nearly all the while. I expect to start to-morrow for Pittsfield, Pike County, Illinois, about forty-five miles southeast from this place. Brother George W. Robinson told me this morning that he expected that his father-in-law, Judge Higbee, and himself, would go on a farm about twenty miles northeast from this place. Some of the leading men have given us (that is our people) an invitation to settle in and about this place. Many no doubt will stay here.
"Brethren, I hope that you will bear patiently the privations that you are called to endure; the Lord will deliver in his own due time.
"Your letter respecting the trade with Galland was not received here until after our return from his residence, at the head of the shoals or rapids. If Brother Rigdon were not here, we might, after receiving your letter, come to a different conclusion respecting that trade. There are some here that are sanguine that we ought to trade with the Doctor. Bishops Whitney and Knight are not here, and have not been, as I know of. Brothers Morley and Billings have settled some twenty or twenty-five miles north of this place, for the present. A Brother Lee, who lived near Haun's Mill, died on the opposite side of the river a few days since. Brother Rigdon preached his funeral sermon in the court. house. It is a general time of health here.
"We greatly desire to see you, and to have you enjoy your freedom. The citizens here are willing that we should
enjoy the privileges guaranteed to all civil people without molestation.
"I remain your brother in the Lord,
"[Directed] To Joseph Smith, Jr., and others, confined in Liberty jail, Missouri."-Millennial Star, vol. 16, pp. 775, 776.
At a meeting held at Quincy, March 9,1839, a committee of five was appointed to visit certain lands in Iowa and "select the land, if it can be safely located." The committee were, Sidney Rigdon, J. P. Green, Elias Higbee, E. T. Benson, and Israel Barlow.
On March 17, at a conference held at Quincy, several were expelled from the church. The record is as follows:-
"After the conference fully expressed their feelings upon the subject, it was unanimously voted that the following persons be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; viz.: George M. Hinkle, Sampson Avard, John Corrill, Reed Peck, William W. Phelps, Frederick G. Williams, Thomas B. Marsh, Burr Riggs, and several others."
Dr. Galland, who interested himself in behalf of the saints, wrote a letter to Robert Lucas, Governor of Iowa Territory, concerning their settling on Iowa. soil, and received the following reply:-
"Executive Office, Iowa, Burlington, March, 1839.
"Dear Sir:-On my return to this city, after a few weeks' absence in the interior of the Territory, I received your letter of the 25th ultimo, in which you give a short account of the sufferings of the people called Mormons, and ask 'whether they could be permitted to purchase lands, and settle upon them, in the Territory of Iowa, and there worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, secure from oppression,' etc.
"In answer to your inquiry, I would say that I know of no authority that can constitutionally deprive them of this right. They are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to all the rights and privileges of other citizens. The second section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States (which all are solemnly bound to support),
declares that 'the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States.' This privilege extends in full force to the Territories of the United States. The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States declares that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'
"The ordinance of Congress of the 13th July, 1787, for the government of the territory northwest of the river Ohio, secures to the citizens of said Territory, and the citizens of the States thereafter to be formed therein, certain privileges which were by the late act of Congress organizing the Territory of Iowa, extended to the citizens of this Territory.
"The first fundamental article in that ordinance, which is declared to be forever unalterable, except by common consent, reads as follows, to wit: 'No person demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments in said Territory.'
"These principles I trust will ever be adhered to in the Territory of Iowa. They make no distinction between religious sects. They extend equal privileges and protection to all: each must rest upon its own merits, and will prosper in proportion to the purity of its principles, and the fruit of holiness and piety produced thereby.
"With regard to the peculiar people mentioned in your letter, I know but little. They had a community in the northern part of Ohio for several years; and I have no recollection of ever having heard in that State of any complaints against them from violating the laws of the country. Their religious opinions I consider has nothing to do with our political transactions. They are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to the same political rights and legal protection that other citizens are entitled to.
"The foregoing are briefly my views on the subject of your inquiries. With sincere respect,
"I am your obedient servant,
"To Isaac Galland, Esq., Commerce, Illinois." "ROBERT LUCAS.
-Millennial Star, vol. 17, p. 133.
Governor Lucas also issued, to President Sidney Rigdon, letters of introduction to President Van Buren, and General Shannon of Ohio. 2
President Smith and his fellow-prisoners arrived in Quincy on April 22, 1839.
On the 24th a council was held in which Joseph Smith, Jr., Bishop Knight, and Alanson Ripley were sent into Iowa Territory as a committee to make a location for the church.
The following resolution was also passed at this council:-
"That the advice of the conference to the brethren in general is, that as many of them as are able, move north to Commerce, as soon as they possibly can."
The committee purchased land in Hancock County, Illinois. Of this purchase Joseph states:-
"[May 1, 1839.]
"I this day purchased, in connection with others of the committee, a farm of Hugh White, consisting of one hundred and thirty-five acres, for the sum of five thousand dollars; also a farm of Dr. Isaac Galland, lying west of the White purchase, for the sum of nine thousand dollars; both of which were to be deeded to Alanson Ripley, according to the counsel of the committee; but Sidney Rigdon declared that ,no committee should control any property which he had anything to do with;' consequently the Galland purchase was deeded to George W. Robinson, Rigdon's son-in-law, with the express understanding that he should deed it to the
2The letter to President Van Buren can be found on pages 95, 96, and 97 of this volume. The one to Governor Shannon is as follows:-
BURLINGTON, Iowa Territory, April 22, 1839.
To His Excellency, Wilson Shannon, Governor of the State of Ohio.
Sir:-I have the honor to introduce to your acquaintance, Doctor Sidney Rigdon, who was for many years a citizen of Ohio. Doctor Rigdon wishes to obtain, from the general government of the United States, an investigation into the causes that led to the expulsion of the people called Mormons from the State of Missouri, together with all the facts connected with that extraordinary affair. This investigation, it appears to me, is due them as citizens of the United States, as well as to the nation at large.
Any assistance that you can render the Doctor towards accomplishing that desirable object, will be gratefully received and duly appreciated by your sincere friend and humble servant,
-Millennial Star, vol. 17, p. 15I.
church when the church had paid for it according to their obligation in the contract." 3 -Millennial Star, vol. 17, pp. 202, 203.
On May 4 and 5, 1839, a conference was held, of which the following are the minutes:-
"Minutes of a General Conference, held by the Church of Latter Day Saints at the Presbyterian camp ground, near Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, on Saturday, the 4th of May, 1839.
"At a quarter past eleven o'clock meeting was called to order, and President Joseph Smith, Jr., appointed chairman.
"A hymn was then sung, when President Smith made a few observations on the state of his peculiar feelings, after having been separated from the brethren so long, etc., and then proceeded to open the meeting by prayer.
"After some preliminary observations by Elder J. P. Green and President Rigdon, concerning a certain purchase of land in the Iowa Territory, made for the church by the Presidency, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:-
"Resolved lst: That Almon W. Babbitt, Erastus Snow, and Robert B. Thompson, be appointed a traveling committee to gather up and obtain all the libelous reports and publications which have been circulated against our church, as well as other historical matter connected with said church, that they possibly can obtain.
"Resolved 2d: That Bishop Knight be appointed, or received into the church in full bishopric.
"Resolved 3d: That this conference do entirely sanction the purchase lately made for the church in the Iowa Territory, and also the agency thereof.
"Resolved 4th: That Elder Granger be appointed to go to Kirtland and take the charge and oversight of the house of the Lord, and preside over the general affairs of the church in that place.
"Resolved 5th: That the advice of this conference to the
3The committee was appointed to make a location in Iowa Territory by what authority they purchased in Illinois does not appear.
brethren living in the Eastern States is, for them to move to Kirtland and the vicinity thereof, and again settle that place as a Stake of Zion; provided they feel so inclined, in preference to their moving farther west.
"Resolved 6th: That George A. Smith be acknowledged one of the Twelve Apostles.
"Resolved 7th: That this conference are entirely satisfied with, and give their sanction to the proceedings of the conference of the Twelve and their friends, held on the temple spot at Far West, Missouri, on Friday, the 26th of April last.
"Resolved 8th: That they also sanction the act of the council held the same date and same place in cutting off from the communion of said church certain persons mentioned in the minutes thereof.
"Resolved 9th: That Elders Orson Hyde and William Smith be allowed the privilege of appearing personally before the next General Conference of the church to give an account of their conduct; and that in the meantime they both be suspended from exercising the functions of their office.
"Resolved l0th: That the conference do sanction the mission intended for the Twelve to Europe, and that they will do all in their power to enable them to go.
"Resolved 11th: That the subject of Elder Rigdon's going to Washington be adjourned until to-morrow.
"Resolved 12th: That the next General Conference be held on the first Saturday in October next, at Commerce, at the house of Elder Rigdon.
"Resolved 13th: That we now adjourn until to-morrow at ten o'clock a. m. . .
"Sunday, 5th, ten a. m. Conference opened pursuant to adjournment as usual, by prayer and singing; when it was unanimously Resolved, that this conference send a delegate to the city of Washington, to lay our case before the general government; and that President Rigdon be the delegate
"Resolved 2d: That Almon W. Babbitt be sent to Springfield, Illinois, clothed with authority, and required to set to rights the church in that place in every way which may become necessary according to the order of the Church of Jesus Christ.
"Resolved 3d: That Colonel Lyman Wight be appointed to receive the affidavits which are to be sent to the city of Washington; after which the afternoon was spent in receiving instruction from the Presidency, and those of the Twelve who were present.
"At five o'clock p. m. conference adjourned, according to the resolution of Saturday; namely, until the first Saturday in October next, at Commerce, Illinois.
"JOSEPH SMITH, JR., Chairman.
"JAMES MULHOLLAND, Clerk."
-Millennial Star, vol. 17, pp. 204, 205.
At a conference held on the 6th of May the following named seventies received the sanction of the conference to accompany the Twelve on their mission to Europe: Theodore Turley, George Pitkin, J. B. Nobles, Charles Hubbard, John Scott, L. D. Snow, Samuel Mulliner, Willard Snow, John Snider, William Burton, L. D. Barnes, Milton Holmes, A. O. Smoot, Elias Smith; also the following high priests: H. G. Sherwood, John Murdock, Winslow Farr, William Snow, and Hiram Clark.
John P. Green was appointed to preside over the churches in the city of New York and the regions round about. President Smith gave him a letter of recommendation, in which he says: "We do not hesitate to recommend him to the saints as one in whom they may place the fullest confidence," etc.
About this time the church was making an effort to bring their Missouri grievances to the attention of President Van Buren and the Governors of the several States. The citizens gave letters of recommendation to Elders Rigdon and Green. 4
4 Quincy, Illinois, May 8, 1839.
To all whom it may concern:-
The undersigned citizens of Quincy, Illinois, take great pleasure in recommending to the favorable notice of the public, the bearer of this, John P. Green. Mr. Green is connected with the church of "Mormons" or "Latter Day Saints," and makes a tour to the East for the purpose of raising means to relieve the sufferings of this unfortunate people, stripped as they have been of their all, and now scattered throughout this part of the State.
We say to the charitable and benevolent, you need have no fear but your contributions in aid of humanity will be properly applied if intrusted to the hands of Mr. Green. He is authorized by his church to
On May 9, 1839, Joseph Smith left Quincy with his family, and arrived at Commerce on the 10th, where he moved into a small log house one mile south of Commerce on the bank of the river, on the White purchase before-mentioned.
act in the premises; and we most cordially bear testimony to his piety and worth as a citizen.
Very respectfully yours
SAMUEL HOLMES, Merchant.
I. N. MORRIS,
Attorney at Law, and Editor of Argus.
Governor State of Illinois.
RICHARD M. YOUNG,
United States Senator
L. V. RALSTON, M. D.
Receiver Public Moneys.
HIRAM RODGERS, M. D.
J. T. HOLMES, Merchant.
NICHOLAS WREN, County Clerk.
C. M. WOODS,
Clerk of Circuit Court, Adams County, Illinois.
QUINCY, Illinois, May 8, 1839.
To His Excellency, the President of the United States, the Heads of Departments, and to all whom this may be shown:-
The undersigned citizens of Quincy, Illinois, beg leave to introduce to you the bearer, Rev. Sidney Rigdon. Mr. Rigdon is a divine, connected with the Church of Latter Day Saints, and having enjoyed his acquaintance for some time past, we take great pleasure in recommending him to your favorable notice as a man of piety and a valuable citizen.
Any representation he may make touching the object of his mission to your city may be implicitly relied on.
Very respectfully yours,
RICHARD M. YOUNG.
I. N. MORRIS.
J. T. HOLMES.
C. M. WOODS.
QUINCY, Illinois, 10th May, 1839.
The bearer, the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, is a member of a society of people called "Mormons," or "Latter Day Saints," who have been driven from the State of Missouri, by order of the Executive of that State, and who have taken up their residence in and about this place in large numbers. I have no hesitation in saying that this people have been most shamefully persecuted and cruelly treated by the people of Missouri.
Mr. Rigdon has resided in and near this place for three or four months, during which time his conduct has been that of a gentleman and a moral and worthy citizen.
-Millennial Star, vol. 17, p. 215.
On May 13 Elder R. B. Thompson wrote a letter to the Presidency complaining of articles written by Lyman Wight and published in the Quincy Whig, wherein it was alleged that Lyman Wight charged the Democratic party with the responsibility for the Missouri troubles, to which the First Presidency replied as follows:-
"COMMERCE, Hancock County, Illinois,
25th May, 1839.
"Dear Sir:-In answer to yours of the 13th instant, to us, concerning the writings of Colonel Lyman Wight, on the subject of our late sufferings in the State of Missouri; we wish to say, that as to a statement of our persecutions being brought before the world as a political question, we entirely disapprove of it. Having, however, great confidence in Colonel Wight's good intentions, and considering it to be the indefeasible right of every free man to hold his own opinion in politics as well as religion, we will only say that we consider it to be unwise, as it is unfair, to charge any one party in politics, or any one sect of religionists, with having been our oppressors, since we so well know that our persecutors in the State of Missouri were of every sect, and of all parties, both religious and political; and as Brother Wight disclaims having spoken evil of any administration, save that of Missouri, we presume that it need not be feared that men of sense will now suppose him wishful to implicate any other.
"We consider that in making these remarks we express the sentiments of the church in general as well as our own individually, and also when we say in conclusion that we feel the fullest confidence that when the subject of our wrongs has been fully investigated by the authorities of the United States, we shall receive the most perfect justice at their hands; whilst our unfeeling oppressors shall be brought to condign punishment, with the approbation of a free and enlightened people, without respect to sect or party.
"We desire that you may make whatever use you may
think proper of this letter, and remain your sincere friends and brethren.
"JOSEPH SMITH, JR.
"ELDER R. B. THOMPSON."
-Millennial Star, vol. 17, p. 231.
This will serve to show that the troubles in Missouri had no partisan significance, and that it is unwise to charge them upon any political party or religious organization.
May 25, William Smith was restored to fellowship in the Quorum of the Twelve.
On June 4, Joseph and Hyrum Smith each made a statement regarding the Missouri troubles, to present before the general government. Each also, made a statement of damages they had sustained, estimating the damage at one hundred thousand dollars each, including actual loss and damages for illegal imprisonments.
Regarding Commerce at the time the church went there, we quote from Joseph Smith. He states:-
"Tuesday, [June] 11. I commenced dictating my history for my clerk, James Mulholland, to write. About this time Elder Theodore Turley raised the first house built by the saints in this place; it was built of logs, about twenty-five or thirty rods north northeast of my dwelling, on the northeast corner of lot 4, block 147 of the White purchase. When I made the purchase of White and Galland, there were one stone house, three frame houses, and two block houses, which constituted the whole city of Commerce. Between Commerce and Mr. Davidson Hibbard's, there was one stone and three log houses, including the one that I live in, and these were all the houses in this vicinity, and the place was literally a wilderness. The land was mostly covered with trees and bushes, and much of it so wet that it was with the utmost difficulty a footman could get through, and totally impossible for teams. Commerce was so unhealthy, very few could live there; but believing that it might become a healthy place by the blessing of heaven to the saints, and no more eligible place presenting
itself, I considered it wisdom to make an attempt to build up a city."-Millennial Star, vol. 17, p. 276.
Monday, June 24, the church purchased the town of Nashville, in Lee County, Iowa, together with twenty thousand acres of land adjoining it.
June 27, at a conference of the Twelve, which Joseph Smith attended, Orson Hyde made his confession and was restored to his position in the quorum.
Joseph at this time gave some instruction, from which we make the following extract:-
"The Spirit of revelation is in connection with these blessings. A person may profit by noticing the first intimations of the Spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing unto you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; i. e., those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus."-Millennial Star, vol. 17, p 279.
July 2, President Smith advised the building of a town to be called Zarahemla, upon land recently purchased by Bishop Knight, in Iowa.
On the same day some of the twelve and seventy who were to go to Europe were blessed under the hands of the Presidency; also the wives of some who were to go abroad were blessed by the same.
At this time Joseph gave some instruction to the Twelve, of which the following is an extract:-
"Again: Let the Twelve and all saints be willing to confess all their sins, and not keep back a part; and let the Twelve be humble, and not be exalted, and beware of pride, and not seek to excel one above another, but act for each other's good, and pray for one and another, and honor our brother or make honorable mention of his name, and not backbite and devour our brother. Why will not man learn wisdom by precept at this late age of the world, when we have such
a cloud of witnesses and examples before us, and not be obliged to learn by sad experience everything we know? Must the new ones that are chosen to fill the places of those that are fallen, of the Quorum of the Twelve, begin to exalt themselves, until they exalt themselves so high that they will soon tumble over and have a great fall, and go wallowing through the mud and mire and darkness, Judas like, to the buffetings of Satan, as several of the quorum have done, or will they learn wisdom and be wise? O God, give them wisdom, and keep them humble, I pray!
"When the Twelve or any other witnesses stand before the congregations of the earth, and they preach in the power and demonstration of the Spirit of God, and the people are astonished and confounded at the doctrine, and say, 'That man has preached a powerful discourse, a great sermon,' then let that man or those men take care that they do not ascribe the glory unto themselves, but be careful that they are humble, and ascribe the praise and glory to God and the Lamb; for it is by the power of the holy priesthood and Holy Ghost they have power thus to speak. What art thou, O man, but dust? And from whom dost thou receive thy power and blessings, but from God?
"Then, O ye Twelve! notice this key, and be wise for Christ's sake, and your own soul's sake. Ye are not sent out to be taught, but to teach. Let every word be seasoned with grace. Be vigilant; be sober. It is a day of warning, and not of many words. Act honest before God and man. Beware of Gentile sophistry; such as bowing and scraping unto men in whom you have no confidence. Be honest, open, and frank in all your intercourse with mankind.
"O ye Twelve, and all saints! profit by this important KEY-that in all your trials, troubles, temptations, afflictions, bonds, imprisonments, and death, see to it, that you do not betray heaven; that you do not betray Jesus Christ; that you do not betray the brethren; that you do not betray the revelations of God, whether in the Bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants, or any other that ever was or ever will be given and revealed unto man in this world or that which is to come. Yea, in all your kicking and flounderings
see to it that you do not this thing, lest innocent blood be found in your skirts, and you go down to hell. All other sins are not to be compared to sinning against the Holy Ghost, and proving a traitor to thy brethren."-Millennial Star, vol. 17, p. 295.
On July 3, 1839, Dr. Isaac Galland was baptized by Joseph Smith.
About this time six of the Twelve; viz., Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball, J. E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and G. A. Smith, wrote a lengthy epistle to the elders, the churches, and the saints scattered abroad.
Sunday, July 7, there was an open air meeting at Commerce, when a large gathering assembled to hear the farewell addresses of the Twelve who were to go to England. The meeting was addressed by John E. Page, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Hyde, and Brigham Young, of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Sidney Rigdon of the First Presidency.
Monday, July 28, Joseph and the Twelve were engaged in selecting hymns for the compiling of a hymn book.
During the months of July and August there was much sickness among the saints.
On August 4 several of the Twelve addressed a meeting at Commerce and declared their willingness to proceed to Europe, and the church passed a resolution, That the Twelve proceed as soon as possible, and that they would provide for their families during their absence.
August 29, 1839, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and Hiram Clark started for their mission to Europe, leaving Commerce by wagon.
September 18, Elders Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball also started.
September 21 Elders G. A. Smith, Reuben Hedlock, and Theodore Turley started by wagon.
A General Conference convened at Commerce, October 5, 1839. The following extracts are from the minutes as published in the Times and Seasons:-
"Proceedings of the General Conference, held at Commerce,
Hancock County, Illinois, on Saturday, the 5th day of October, 1839.
"The meeting was opened by prayer by President Joseph Smith, Jr., after which he was appointed president, and James Sloan clerk of the conference, by the unanimous voice of the meeting.
"The President then spoke at some length upon the situation of the church, the difficulties they had to contend with, and the manner in which they had been led to this place; and wished to know the views of the brethren, whether they wished to appoint this a stake or not, stating that he believed it to be a good place and suited for the saints.
"It was then unanimously agreed upon that it should be appointed a stake and a place of gathering for the saints. The following officers were then appointed; viz.:-
"William Marks to be president. Bishop Whitney to be bishop of Middle Ward. Bishop Partridge to be bishop of Upper Ward. Bishop Knight to be bishop of Lower Ward. George W. Harris, Thomas Grover, Samuel Bent, Newel Knight, Henry G. Sherwood, Charles C. Rich, David Fulmer, David Dort, Alpheus Cutler, Seymour Brunson, William Huntington, Lewis D. Wilson, to be high council; who being respectfully called upon, accepted of their appointment.
"It was then voted, that a branch 5 of the church be established on the other side of the river, in Iowa Territory; over which Elder John Smith was appointed president, Alanson Ripley bishop, and Asael Smith, David Pettigrew, John M. Burke, Elijah Fordham, A. Owen Smoot, Edward Fisher, Richard Howard, Elias Smith, Willard Snow, John Patten, Erastus Snow, Stephen Chase, were elected High Council.
"Don C. Smith was elected to be continued as president of the high priesthood.
"Orson Hyde to stand in his former office, and William Smith to be continued in his standing.
"Letters were then read respecting the absence of members, from ill health. .
5We are of the opinion that this should read stake.
"Judge Higbee was appointed to accompany Presidents J. Smith, Jr., and S. Rigdon to the city of Washington.
"The meeting then adjourned until Monday morning.
"Monday morning, October the 9th.
"Conference met pursuant to adjournment.
"The President spoke at some length to the elders, and explained many passages of scripture.
"Elder Lyman Wight spoke on the subject of the resurrection, and other important subjects. When he offered the following resolution, which passed unanimously:-
"Resolved, That a new edition of hymn books be printed immediately, and that the one published by D. W. Rogers be utterly discarded by the church. . . .
"After having referred the business not gone into, to the High Council; the President then returned thanks to the conference for their good attention and liberality; and having blessed them in the name of the Lord, the conference was dismissed.
"The next conference was appointed to be held on the 6th day of April next."-Times and Seasons, vol. 1, pp. 30, 31.
On October 21, the High Council indorsed [endorsed] President Smith's resolution to go to Washington to present the grievances of the church, and decided that he should have a recommend from the High Council. The 26th they also voted that Sister Emma Smith select and publish a hymn book for the use of the church, and that Brigham Young be informed of the same, and he not to publish the hymns taken by him from Commerce; and that the council assist in publishing a hymn book and the Times and Seasons.
The 28th the council resolved to build a stone boarding house in upper Commerce. They resolved also to finish the office of President Joseph Smith. The council resolved to sign the recommend of Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, and Elias Higbee as delegates of the church, to importune the President and Congress of the United States for redress.
The above delegates, accompanied by O. P. Rockwell, left Commerce, enroute to Washington, on October 29, in a two horse carriage.
A letter written November 22, from New York, by Elder P. P. Pratt, gives quite a concise account of the condition of the church in the East. 6
Sometime in the month of November, 1839, the first issue of the Times and Seasons was published at Commerce, Illinois, by Don Carlos Smith and Ebenezer Robinson, under the firm name of "Robinson and Smith." It was a monthly periodical devoted to the interests of the church, from the pages of which we have frequently quoted in this work.
December 6 the High Council of Iowa ordained Alanson Ripley to the office of Bishop.
6The churches in these parts are prospering greatly, and are firm in the faith, and increasing in numbers continually. The church in New York and Brooklyn now numbers from one hundred and fifty to two hundred members, and additions are being made every week. A General Conference was held in this city on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Elders present: O. Pratt, W. Woodruff, Samuel James, Benjamin Winchester, Elders Foster, Layne, Jenks, Brown, Benedict, and myself. Priests present: A. Everett, Birge, and Vanvelver. Many branches of the church in the region round about were represented; several hundred members in all, and mostly increasing. Great doors are open for preaching, and crowded houses are the order of the day.
I have also received letters from Maine and from Michigan, with joyful accounts of the spread of the work of the Lord. You would now find churches of the saints in Philadelphia, in Albany, in Brooklyn, in New York, in Sing Sing, in Jersey, in Pennsylvania, on Long Island, and in various other places all around us. Our New York meetings are now held three times every Sabbath in Columbia Hall, Grand Street, a few doors east of the Bowery; it is very central, and one of the best places in the city; it will hold nearly a thousand people, and is well filled with attentive hearers. Brother Winchester has a good hall well fitted up in Philadelphia where stated meetings are held-several every week, and crowded audiences.
In short the truth is spreading more rapidly than ever before, in every direction, far and near. There is a great call for our books. I am now reprinting the "Voice of Warning," "The History of the Persecution," and my "Poems." There is a great call for "hymn books," but none to be had. I wish Sister Smith would add to the old collection such new ones as is best, and republish them immediately. If means and facilities are lacking in the West, send it here, and it shall be nicely done for her, and at least one thousand would immediately sell in these parts wholesale and retail. The "Book of Mormon" is not to be had in this part of the vineyard for love or money; hundreds are wanted in various parts hereabouts, but there is truly a famine in this respect.
The conference took into consideration the pressing calls for this book, and have appointed a committee to raise means for the publication of the same, and also to publish it if we can obtain leave from you, who hold the copyright. Any "hymn book" which Sister Smith or the church will favor us with, shall also be published on similar conditions.
P. P. PRATT.
-Millennial Star, vol. 17, p. 420.
The 8th of December, 1839, the High Council, the Presidency concurring, resolved to issue an epistle to the saints, advising them not to return to Kirtland, Ohio, as some contemplated doing. 7
The year 1839 closed in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa with all the activity possible for the inclement season of the
7To the saints scattered abroad, in the region westward from Kirtland, Ohio.
Beloved brethren:-Feeling that it is our duty, as the servants of God, to instruct the saints from time to time in those things which to us appear to be wise and proper: therefore we freely give you, a few words of advice at this time.
We have heard it rumored abroad, that some at least, and probably many, are making their calculations to remove back to Kirtland next season.
Now brethren, this being the case, we advise you to abandon such an idea; yea, we warn you, in the name of the Lord, not to remove back there unless you are counseled so to do by the First Presidency and the High Council of Nauvoo. We do not wish by this to take your agency from you; but we feel to be plain and pointed in our advice, for we wish to do our duty, that your sins may not be found in our skirts. All persons are entitled to their agency, for God has so ordained it. He has constituted mankind moral agents, and given them power to choose good or evil; to seek after that which is good, by pursuing the pathway of holiness in this life, which brings peace of mind and joy in the Holy Ghost here, and a fullness of joy and happiness at his right hand hereafter; or to pursue an evil course, going on in sin and rebellion against God, thereby bringing condemnation to their souls in this world and an eternal loss in the world to come. Since the God of heaven has left these things optional with every individual, we do not wish to deprive them of it. We only wish to act the part of a faithful watchman, agreeably to the word of the Lord to Ezekiel the prophet (Ezekiel 33: 2-5), and leave it for others to do as seemeth them good. Now for persons to do things merely because they are advised to do them, and yet murmur all the time they are doing them, is of no use at all; they might as well not do them.
There are those who profess to be saints who are too apt to murmur and find fault when any advice is given which comes in opposition to their feelings, even when they themselves ask for counsel; much more so when counsel is given unasked for, which does not agree with their notion of things; but, brethren, we hope for better things from the most of you; we trust that you desire counsel from time to time, and that you will cheerfully conform to it whenever you receive it from a proper source.
It is very probable that it may be considered wisdom for some of us and perhaps others, to move back to Kirtland, to attend to important business there; but notwithstanding that, after what we have written, should any be so unwise as to move back there without being first counseled so to do, their conduct will be highly disapprobated.
Done by order and vote of the First Presidency and High Council for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at Nauvoo, December 8, 1839.
H. G. SHERWOOD, Clerk.
-Times and Seasons, vol. 1, p. 29.
year, with events incident to new settlements. There had been much sickness since their advent into this country, some of which was fatal; but with commendable energy and resignation they took up the burdens of social and business life as only those can who have confidence in the triumph of right.
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