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IN the latter part of the year 1871 and the early part of the year 1872, President Smith published a series of articles entitled "The Situation," which are so valuable that we think they should be preserved in their connection; therefore we insert them in a separate chapter.
"There are times in the history of every organization, whether social, political, or religious, when a recast of its situation from the standpoint of some of the minds supposed to be sufficiently prominent to give some degree of importance to the considerations which they may present, may not only be opportune, but conducive to the well-being of that organization.
"We consider the time propitious for presenting to the members of the Reorganization,-to all and every one of the many once holding 'the faith,' whether now connected with any so named Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or waiting in careless security for the 'good time coming,' or still more carelessly in stolid, if not in wicked indifference, throwing religion to the winds,-and to the world, as comprehensive a review of the situation as we may be capable of.
"In what follows we shall write freely, stating our belief and our convictions, urging in defense of those that we think need defending what seems to us to be good grounds for defense, seeking no exculpation against just censure nor
deprecating the just indignation of any. However, while fearless against antagonism, whether proper or erroneous, we have a desire to commend to the thoughtful and the prudent, the wise and true, and in fact, to all within the fold, a careful weighing of the principles involved, that a more extended and better assimilation of theory and practice may be had in the church.
"From the standpoint from which we have chosen to regard the situation, we cannot but observe that the gospel forms the basis upon which the entire situation is built; nor can we successfully define present hopes, expectations, and duties, unless we shall first briefly define what we understand the gospel to be, and what was and is promised through it.
"We understand the gospel to be the offer of everlasting life, the means by which it is available to man, and the law of its perpetuation. That it takes all these to make up the sum of 'glad tidings, good news, full of great joy,' needs no labored effort to make plain, as it is sufficiently apparent upon the face of the statement itself.
"Of all that man may believe as connected with, or growing out of, the mission of Jesus Christ, there are, somewhere, lines of demarcation, more or less clearly defining what a man must believe in order to be saved. The question then, How much must be believed? will be presented to the mind of an inquirer, to whom the great sum of good, eternal life, is offered by the gospel; nor is it inconsistent to presume that this will be followed by the almost equally pertinent one of, How little may be believed, and an individual be saved? Perhaps no man ever believed too much truth, or had too strong a confidence and trust in God and Christ; but grave doubts may be entertained whether there are not many thousands who have believed too little. With many of these last, there is reason to believe, there exists a strong desire to be saved; but thinking that they are required by the Christian to believe too much, they have discarded the whole plan as presented and now believe too little. If there could be, to them, a point of belief, not too remote,
upon the line of which salvation would be granted, then it would be less difficult for them to accede to the terms prescribed, and accept the salvation proffered.
"Everlasting life, life in perpetuity, is the great offer made in the gospel. This is the 'life and immortality,' the 'immortality and eternal life brought to light through the gospel;' nor is there anything better or higher than this, through the entire range of human research, or divine revelation, made known to man since the Savior came. This is the burden of all the promises; the real vital energy of every one of them. Christ came to offer it; he was content with offering nothing less, he was not authorized to offer anything more. All through the New Testament, from the declaration of John the Baptist that the kingdom of heaven was at hand to the latest declaration therein contained, everlasting life is made the underlying promise. Christ accepted the condition, and bears record to the validity thereof by stating that 'whatsoever the Father commanded' him, that he spoke, and he knew that 'his commandment' was 'life everlasting.'
"There has always been more or less stress put upon the value of any law supposed to come directly from God in the form of a command; the virtue of the command being, as it is supposed, in the divine character of the one from whom it comes. The terms of the gospel are commanded of God; so at least do all Bible believers admit, the Latter Day Saints more earnestly, if possible, than all others. Does the virtue of these terms lie in this fact alone that they are commanded of God? It is so supposed. We are forced to conclude, however, that if this idea obtains to the exclusion of every other consideration that might possibly give weight to the terms imposed, there is not a proper basis laid for a compliance with those terms. And when we inquire what those terms are, we think we shall find some very pungent reasons besides, which, if not of primary importance, are so completely necessary as secondary or auxiliary ones, that they cannot be dispensed with without impairing the harmony of the whole.
"Faith was not a new element infused into the nature of man by the Savior when he came; but he, in bringing to bear upon man the experiment determined upon for his salvation, finds the principle existing in the being of man under another name, and giving it now prominence and a new signification under the name of faith, makes it in its development the element with which He works, and upon which He proposes to depend in effecting the salvation of the human race.
"God and Christ, the Father and the Son, are the beings in whom this faith in man centers; and were it not for the confidence in God and in Christ which man feels is unto an acceptance with them, the effort made in the mission of Jesus must fail.
"Repentance is the natural result of a conviction of sin; and being necessary to a forgiveness in one already within the kingdom, is still more necessary to a remission by an admission into that kingdom which was presented to view in the preaching the gospel. Faith, or confidence in God, assures man of an acceptance, and remission is an act of clemency on the part of God, reaching the person of the seeker after such favor, as soon as he is placed in a condition to be reached by it; which condition cannot be attained unto but by a willingness to obey the commands of God. Hence, however much virtue there may be in a command given of God, as emanating from him, the real power of the command unto the person commanded is found in the obedience to what is commanded.
"Obedience is therefore the prime object of the commands of God; and the value of the obedience rendered is in exact ratio with the willingness of the one rendering it. Those who gladly obey find a better acceptance than those who account obedience as of debt.
"This rightly considered, enhances the propriety of each subsequent action of the seeker after, and the recipient of, divine favor. Nor is such a seeker likely to refuse compliance with the commandment to be baptized, baptism being commanded as necessary to a remission of sin. The Holy Ghost having been made the
subject of promise, and following the baptism of water, by which the body is washed in token of regeneration, in the laying on of hands in confirmation, is made the seal of acceptance, remission, and forgiveness, and will result in the birth of the Spirit.
"The promise of salvation having been made upon condition of belief and baptism, we feel confident in assuming that so much it is necessary to believe: Firstly.-That God is, and that he rewards those who seek him. Secondly.-That Jesus is the Son of God, and the Savior of men. Thirdly.-That obedience to the commands of God is necessary to an acceptance with him, and the reception of everlasting life, through the regeneration accomplished by a baptism of water for the remission of sin, and a baptism of the Spirit accomplished by giving of the Holy Ghost in laying on of hands, in confirmation, as a seal of acceptance unto the knowledge that Jesus is the Lord.
"Here, as we remark it, a line of demarcation may be drawn. So much it is necessary to believe to be saved. A belief in the resurrection from the dead is a result of the teaching of salvation in Christ Jesus; not a means unto that salvation. It is a principle of the gospel, and is to be taught as such; but is not a principle of such character that a man may predicate his action in it. It is an effect to be wrought upon and for him unto the perpetuation of his life; and not being wrought by any power inherent in him, as man, does not depend on any act of his, save only the passive one of abiding in the power by which it is effected, that is, in Christ.
"The eternal judgment of God is the general rendition of justice unto all the tribes of men, and must take place sooner or later. An active or latent belief in this obtains in all men, and it is taught in the gospel as an assurance from God that whatever is not pleasing unto him will be excluded from his presence, and that whatever is in accordance with his will, will be acknowledged and honored by his Son and by himself. The terms by which man is received of God unto everlasting life, with a gospel salvation, once accepted
by man unto belief, the belief in the eternal judgment of God is very easy.
"From this it will be seen that anyone of sufficient capacity to receive, retain, and exercise a faith like the foregoing is assured of salvation; and that none of greater capacity are, by reason of this increase of their power, entitled to more than a salvation. If this idea had been fully indorsed [endorsed] and always kept in view, we believe that much of the confusion and wild visionary fanaticism that has to some extent characterized many of the devotees of the latter-day work, would have been avoided. But this having been lost sight of, many of those who became satisfied that they had been received into favor with God, presumed that if they possessed superior capacity to others, they were, or would be, received unto something more than life everlasting; in fact, some have acted in a manner to warrant the conclusion that they supposed that the possession of those superior qualities gave them such immunity that they could not sin, and that the practice of what would be crimes in men of commoner mould [mold] would be pardonable or permissible in them.
"A man may believe much more than what has been here enumerated, but this seems to be the minimum unto salvation. To this agrees the statements found in the New Testament, 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,' 'He that believeth on me shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life.' The teaching of the Book of Mormon is the same: 'He that receiveth my gospel, and is baptized, the same is my disciple, and belongeth to my church. . . . the same shall be saved;' 'And this is my doctrine, and the doctrine of my church.' The commandments of God in the Book of Covenants do not contradict these, but enforce them: 'And this is my gospel, repentance and baptism;' 'Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.'
"Every other means offered by men to men as the way of salvation is not accredited of God, and confusion and defeat must inevitably follow its teaching. No man is, or can be authorized to teach other systems as the means of salvation Jesus is 'the way, the resurrection, and the life.'
"We are not dependent, therefore, for the fulfillment of the promises contained in the gospel, upon the men who have been the agents through whose instrumentality these promises have come to us. They are but the channels through which the streams of mercy have reached us, not the streams themselves; nor yet the fountain from which those streams have taken their rise. Whoever then has rested his faith upon the human agent through whom the offer of life has been made to him, has leaned upon the arm of flesh; and a failure of this arm of flesh has broken his faith reposed in it, and only too frequently it has resulted in breaking the faith of the one reposing it in God from whom the blessing was to come. When the agents, who were intrusted with the messages of salvation, conveyed that intelligence in keeping with the command authorizing its promulgation, so far they are within the line of obedience; in which line there could only come the salvation proffered; but whenever and wherever any of those agents transcended the limits of the promise, then and there did they cease to represent the power making the promise, and certain defeat and disgrace awaited them. This was the case in Christ's day; it was the case in the days of the disciples immediately succeeding him; and need we say it has been the case with the disciples on this land in former and latter times.
"While the promises of the gospel were taught, as commanded, there ensued among those availing themselves of the means through which those promises were to be realized, a universality of knowledge respecting Jesus, that made them one in the acceptation of the Messiahship. This came to different persons in different forms, but always with like result; the same Spirit, the same power, the same Lord, but different manifestations; tongues, prophecy, interpretations, faith, knowledge, wisdom, healings, miracles, helps, and governments, all working to the same end-and all the testimony of Jesus-the bond of their unity; without it they could not be one; with it, oneness was possible.
"Much has been said and written upon this subject of unity, or oneness in the church, or among the churches
of Christ. How much has been accomplished towards effecting an equality in worldly wealth, upon a supposition that in this and this alone depended the oneness to be wrought by the testimony of Jesus, the history of the churches and of the church, but too plainly reveals. As the eye, the hand, the foot, has each a conscious existence with the body of man, so with the membership of the body of Christ, each member has a conscious identity with the body. But as the conscious identification of the several members of the human body with that body, does not change the respective organism and relationship of each separate member with every other one of the body, so it is that the conscious identification of those who become members of the church, the mystical, visible body of Christ, does not change the several relations which the separate identities hold to each other in that body. As there is a conscious oneness pervading the entire physical body of a man, through the spirit of man which is in him, so was and is this oneness to pervade the entire body of Christ, the church, through the 'Spirit of God,' the 'Spirit of Christ,' the 'Spirit of truth,' the 'Comforter,' which is the Holy Ghost. This testimony of Jesus is the one bond of unity in which the saints may be one with Christ as he is one with the Father. It was given unto the saints of former times; it is given to saints of the latter days.
"Our hope in the gospel is then easily summed up. It is found in two sentences, and what is contained in them as contingent results. They are, firstly, THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL; and, secondly, THE GATHERING.
"The gospel dispensation is a gathering dispensation. The direct and the remote effect of the preaching of the offer of 'life and salvation' is to invite men to come out of spiritual darkness into spiritual light; from the darkness incident to the natural man, into the bright effulgence of the light of the spiritual man; to gather out from the degradation of a servitude to sin, unto the exaltation of the service of righteousness. The cry is, 'Come out of her, O my people;' 'Flee out of Babylon, the city of confusion.' To do this, gathering is involved as a consequence; for as
men shall congregate together that safety may accrue from invasion in secular government, so may the legions of a peaceful and spiritual kingdom be strengthened by assimilation within the pales of that cementing bond of unity that accompanies the gospel. But, having to treat of the gathering under another head, we shall not offer anything further here.
"In all that we have written heretofore, we have so closely identified ourselves with all the accepted men of the past who have been followers of Christ, that except we should ourself draw the definitive lines, it might justly be supposed that this was intended to be a general rather than a special disquisition.
"If the men of the past are to form a part of the great whole which is to be 'gathered in one' in the 'fullness of times,' it is essential that a proper estimate of them shall be formed by us, so far as our facilities for arriving at a just judgment of them may warrant an estimation.
"Seen through the haze and mist of a long period of time, the prominent men of past ages assume undue proportions. Weird and strange importance attaches to some; some are lost in the gloom of obscurity; while others shine out in the fairest light; the character of some is seen as the character of angels ought to be, while others inspire but a shudder at the darkness of their souls; this one is lauded as akin to the gods, that one condemned as a devil. The only true method of correcting the refraction which distorts the distant objects upon which we are gazing, is to approximate nearer to those objects, until the medium through which they are seen ceases to refract. We cannot turn back the wheel of time. We may reach up to its advancing spokes to lay hold upon them as they come within our grasp; but when once they have passed from beneath our hands they are gone forever. We can, however, by that peculiar process of retrogressive thought known to the thinker, place ourselves in juxtaposition with the men of every successive generation; and as their compeers, examine and weigh them. Let us in this light and by this process, without permitting ourselves
to pass into tedious and uninviting detail, glance rapidly through the galaxy of names which have by so common use become familiar to us.
"Adam has to some men become a myth, a thing of the brain originally, and a thing of the brain still. To others he is a type, a symbol, typifying a principle, a spiritual entity. To others again, the man, Adam, was and is the sole delinquent responsible for the woes of man through his transgression. To us, however, Adam was a reality, an entity, a being like ourselves; save only, that being created in the image of God he was in physical development the best type of what man should be. He became, like us, subject to a condition of sin and death. To him there came the offer of life, and he was thankful for the terms. He was tempted as a man, fell as a man, and was saved as a man. We must judge him from the standpoint of his own age, as to the crime of his transgression; and if he must answer according to the 'eternal judgment of God, there are no grounds for our animadversions upon the turpitude of his transgression. And although we must, by reason of our being in the line of the perpetuation of his species, partake of his condition after his transgression, we do not, nor can we answer for any part of his moral sin. Adam lived and died. It is to be our lot to live and to die. What Adam was to the generation immediately succeeding him, he ought to be to us; an exemplar rather than a hero looming up unto unattainable proportions.
"Moses, the Israelitish [Israelites] lawgiver, in his day accomplished much towards humanizing succeeding generations, having been made the instrument of laying a foundation for the enactment of nearly every law affecting human rights now known among men; yet Moses was a man similar in passions and human frailties to the men of our own age. And, if we judge from some things occurring in the sacred history of his connection with many noted events, there were many of his own compeers who did not stand in awe of him. We regard Moses both in the office of lawgiver and as a man; nor are we willing that the glory with which he was permitted to rule over Israel shall so dazzle us that
we always see him through its shining mystery. We find him a man of God; erring at times, steadfast at others; but finally dying within sight of the 'promised land' which his posterity must at the last inherit. If so, we can greet Moses as a man; patiently waiting, always pressing forward, never doubting the end, but ever ready to strike with the opportunity; a man pursuing the policy with which be begun, through the storms of outside pressure; unyielding to the importunity of the dissatisfied ones of the host he led and governed, and though painfully alive to every breath of censure, daring it all when needful. A man who knew the seductive influence of place and power, yet knew just as well what the end of pride, of haughtiness, and oppression must inevitably be. With these contradictions in himself, Moses did well, and as a man-a noble man-he achieved a crown we cannot envy, but may emulate.
"The apostles, James, John, and Paul, taking them as representatives, were men,-chosen men it is true, but evidently chosen for their known qualifications as ministers of the gospel of grace, as it should be in the warfare of its propagation and its triumphing. Not the least valuable quality in the character of these men, was their, to us, almost incomprehensible endurance of mental conflict which must have been theirs to pass through.
"This conflict must have been at times terrible, yet these men bore it to the end; and the unconquerable tenacity with which they held fast the faith was sublime at the time, and is worthy our best commendation now. They were tried as men; as men they fought and conquered. We regard them as men only, having no wish to lessen the honors due them for their labor and their faithful integrity; and having still less desire to endow them with extraordinary powers to which they never aspired while living, and with which they have become invested by lapse of time only. As men at work for the kingdom of God, by choice of that Almighty Ruler; and by reason of their deliberate convictions enduring all things, death not excepted, for the hope set before them, we can understand them and their lives. Their agency was not destroyed; and, although living in the light
of the revealed word, there was a liability to err, to listen to the promptings of self, and mistake them for the voice of the Spirit; to be tried by the temptations of infallibility as the recipients of the favor of God, and repositories of a knowledge of the policy of the Redeemer concerning the world. All these things these men had to encounter, and to come off triumphantly was a triumph indeed.
"Our relations with them are, or should be, as though they all had lived but yesterday, and are now waiting till tomorrow to receive, with us, a crown of rejoicing.
"A more difficult task than that of placing a proper estimate upon the character of the men with whom the work of the last days begun, can scarcely be undertaken. This task we shall essay only in the light of a general consideration of them, and the measures carried out by them, or their attempted realization of them. Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and a host of others, have been variously regarded; nor has the elapsing of time yet cooled the ardor and fervor of the friends of the work and these men for the work's sake; nor removed the hatred and rancor of their enemies, enemies of the work for their sake.
"There are many living who knew Joseph and Hyrum Smith, some intimately, some well, and some from only a casual acquaintance. Many have formed opinions concerning them from the representations of others, some friends, some foes of the work; and from their opinions are ready to condemn or to laud. We wish to look at them with as much freedom from bias of judgment as is practicable under the circumstances, and do them justice without compromising our own action in the work. We use the names of Joseph and Hyrum as they were representative men, and perhaps as widely influential for good and evil as any connected with the work.
"The contradictions which their public life gave rise to are all fresh within the memory of man; their virtues being not yet overestimated by a halo of time's mists, nor their vices toned down in the forgetfulness of years,-they stand almost as the living to be judged by their colaborers. It is
this that makes the task difficult. On the one hand, their friends are to be consulted if one is inclined to censure the acts of these men; and on the other, their enemies will object to too much praise.
"Joseph Smith was a man of like passions to those which moved Adam to his fall; like those which disturbed the equanimity of Moses at Meribah, and when he slew the Egyptian; like Peter when he wavered, and, like all of them in being subject to death. In all these things his brother Hyrum was like him. He was moreover like Adam in desiring salvation after sinning; and like Moses he became leader of the people favored by God. Like James, and John, and Paul, Joseph and Hyrum Smith labored for the good of man, and were willing to make and did make some sacrifices for that good. They steadfastly endured in the faith, and both died, slain by the hands of an irresponsible mob.
"As much as any other man can do, do we revere the memory of these men. Their self-sacrificing spirit we admire, and would emulate; their devotion was heroic, and worthy of praise; their steadfastness to the purpose for which they devoted their lives has seldom been excelled, and should now shame all waverers. We are not content, however, to be admirers of the steadfastness and devotedness of these men, and to shut our eyes to their faults, and their vices, if evidence shows they had vices.
"We do not feel it incumbent upon us to defend the evil deeds of either remote or near predecessors; nor do we recognize it as an obligation upon us to receive all the acts of those predecessors, because we believe them to have been good and true men; or because we are assured that they received and enjoyed the favor of communion with heavenly powers. If they were infallible, then all their teachings were true, and all their acts were correct. But it is not claimed that they were infallible; on the contrary, the idea of infallibility in man is indignantly denounced. If those men Adam, Moses, James, John, and Paul were fallible and might err, so might Joseph and Hyrum Smith err, they being fallible. We believe them to have been fallible, and liable to err; and we are inclined to believe that they did err.
"Our relation to these men as being their immediate successors demands of us, not a blind adherence to their views without regard to the works they have left as expository of the hope and promises actuating them, but a full recognition of all their good thoughts, words, and acts, as incentives to the performance of good by us; and an acknowledgment of their errors, with the view to shun them, if the circumstances and conditions of our lives present them to us for action. We are not concluded by their evil deeds to our exclusion from salvation, and consequent condemnation; nor are we to be saved upon their meritorious acts. We are only affected by either, as they may influence our lives for good or for evil. As their compeers we must weigh them and their measures together, or in comparison; whatever of either may be in harmony with the other may be received as the real standard of estimation, and that which is inharmonious in either with the other may be discarded, and if erroneous by other tests, we are not bound by it.
"Adam is not to be judged by his fall alone, but by all the circumstances connected with his fall and his life before and after it.
"Moses is not to be judged by the murder of the Egyptian and by his rebellion at Meribah alone; but by all the circumstances surrounding him, and the entire conditions of his life.
"The measures which were introduced by Moses, or through his instrumentality, were for the good of all men, but more especially for the good of those people for whom he thought and toiled. Those measures have become the common foundation upon which the whole fabric of the laws governing the rights of man is based, and must have originated from principles of right action existing in Adam's time, and from that time receiving the sanction of every generation to Moses; but by him reduced to a written code. If he by his life contravened any of the provisions of that written code, he must be condemned by it; but in whatever way he honored that code, then by it and his life he bears record of the good to us.
"Adam's hope is for life eternal, Moses' that of entering into the promised land to abide forever. Adam enforced the principle of his hope by obedience; Moses by the precept and the example of his life sought for the fruition of his hope. Their measures and their lives are harmonious to a very consistent whole, marred only by the instances recorded by which their fallibility is attested.
"The hope of James, John, and Paul were in their ultimate not dissimilar to that of Adam and Moses conjoined. They hoped for life eternal, and a perpetuated life in the land which God should purify, and sanctify, and glorify for their eternal home. They were fired by this hope, because that the Messiah had come to teach it, and exemplify the means by which they might attain unto the things hoped for. The measures which were introduced by Jesus were accepted by these men, and their lives were conformed to those measures. If they, subsequently to their acceptance of those measures, failed to teach, enforce, and exemplify them, then are they to be condemned by them; but if in their teaching and their example there was a conformity with those measures, they thereby exhibited the harmony of both, and their hope is made plain to us. Where they fell short of attaining unto the standard, it but shows their fallibility, and should neither detract from their goodness, nor from the certainty and truthfulness of their hope, nor the divinity of the measures by which they expected to attain unto it.
"The measures introduced by Joseph Smith became the measures of Hyrum Smith and others by reason of their voluntary acceptance and adoption; and these measures were so accepted and adopted because that the promise which was made by Christ to James, John, and Paul was reinstated and made available to them, as though they were compeers in point of time, as in point of hope. So far as the measures instituted by Joseph Smith and others were conducive to the end assigned, they would bear a similarity in form and character to those which Christ first, and James, John, and Paul subsequently taught. If the latter taught truthfully, and their measures were., or would be, productive
of eternal life to the recipients, then dissimilar measures would not be productive of good to man.
"The measures introduced by Christ were, as we have already considered under the head of the gospel, to become universal in their spread, operation, and effect; hence the entire reasonableness of the declaration, 'But seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God and to establish his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'
"Our relation to these men and the measures instituted by or through them, is to be regarded in the light of our hope in those measures; and as that hope is enhanced in value or made more certain by each respective measure, so does such measure demand our sanction and support. Whatever individual measure is, in its tendency, calculated to lessen that hope in value, or certainty of realization, we must either reject as erroneous, or remain silent upon, if we do not care to pass judgment upon it.
"Whatever act or measure of these men, of the remote or immediate past, may be advocated or defended upon open, manly, upright grounds, we feel at liberty to defend and advocate; but neither in the columns of the Herald, as editor or a contributor; nor publicly or privately, as an elder, teacher, or lay member of the church, have we, or shall we advocate or defend any theory, single act or continued practice, public or private teaching, of any one of them which cannot so be defended and advocated.
"The careful treatises and decisions of James; the fervid, loving epistles of John; the weighty and argumentative letters of Paul, are so many guides to the measures of those men; and are indicative of the grounds upon which they rested their hopes.
"The Bible, New Testament (King James' or common version); the Book of Mormon; the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and the Holy Scriptures (New Translation), naming them in the order of their acceptance by the church, form the comprehensive field of research from which we gather what were the measures of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, with the others who were the pioneers in the work of the last days. We are authorized to believe that in these
books are set forth the hope of those men, the promise by which the hope is offered, and the measures by which it is guaranteed and attained unto.
"These books are then so authenticated that they are to us the statutory enactments by which the masses of the church may claim their liberties, the propagation of the gospel be prosecuted, and the gathering indicated be effected. All men who have accepted the work and the works of these men consonant with the general character of their religious government, must be tried in their lives, and public teaching, by the rules of their accepted laws. Where these condemn, the acts condemned must be censured or ignored. Hence, where Joseph and Hyrum Smith, either as teachers of the great principles of life, or as exemplars of those principles, fell into an erroneous conception of them, and practiced accordingly, or willfully transgressed them, their successors are warned not to transgress in like manner, or fall into like errors.
"We may safely write then that the most prominent measures of the past, so far as Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and others, early adherents to the work are concerned, were, 'The propagation of the gospel, and the gathering.' Within the scope of these two measures there may be found a train of others, each one intended to be more or less conducive to the accomplishment of one or the other of them. Among them we notice, the establishment of an efficient corps of gospel ministers; holding local and general conferences; organizing branches; ordaining men to the offices of apostle, high priest, seventy, elder, bishop, priest, teacher, and deacon; the appointing and sustaining a presiding officer with proper assistants over the whole church, and localizing a center of a religious government; and the realization of sufficient temporal measures to carry on the affairs of such government; the building of a temple at Kirtland, Ohio; one at Independence, Missouri; one at Nauvoo; the establishment of a bank of issue and deposit, at Kirtland; the organization and operation of joint stock companies in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa; the building of cities, mills, workshops, and manufactories; the
settlement of new lands, and opening branches of industry thereon; the setting up and running of printing presses, and the issuing of newspapers, periodicals, and books; the fostering of political influence by municipal charter, as in the city of Nauvoo, and the offering of the names of prominent men in the church for political preferment; the cultivation of the spirit of war by creating military organizations other than those provided by the State, and by the display of warlike dress, equipments, armament, and parade; and the introduction of secret orders.
"In writing of the foregoing measures, we expect to write of them as they now appear to us, and to state our convictions as to their real tendency to bring about the results intended, not as to the intention itself; for we are willing to concede at the outset that the intention may have been good, though the measure introduced may have been an error, and resulted in wrong.
"The establishing or bringing into working order, in an organized effort to promulge [promulgate] the gospel, the different officers authorized in the church, has always seemed desirable, and was only partially realized in the days of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. What the hindering causes were, is only left for our conjecture. Suffice it to say, that although a constant effort seems to have been put forth, up to the time of the death of these men, to secure such a knowledge of the working details of organized effort as would render the labor systematic and concentrated, the records found in the published works of the church warrant the conclusion that but very few were in possession of the knowledge of those details in sufficient degree to prevent or expose imposition if attempted.
"If we may judge from the present disposition manifested in opposition to proposed schemes for the further development and organization of the preaching element of the church, one difficulty to the proposed establishment was, the existence of a preponderating disposition to wait to be told what to do, rather than to do what was clearly pointed out as a present and necessary duty. This we recognize
and deprecate, and wish to call attention to for the purpose of asking whether it ought not to be exorcised and eradicated.
"We believe the measure to have been a correct one in its conception, and within certain limits to have been correctly carried out. Wherein we think some of its legitimate provisions have been denied and rendered inoperative, we shall notice under another head.
"The holding of local and general conferences we believe to have been, and still to be, one of the surest, safest, and best means that could have been or that can be used to the accomplishment of a proper assimilation of thought and spirit among brethren, and the right understanding of doctrine among the teachers and those taught. These local and general conferences we believe to be authorized by the general laws of the church under which the promulgation of the gospel was to be carried on; and they are not therefore the creatures of local organizations called churches or branches. They are natural and necessary assemblings of the church officers for the transaction of necessary business connected with the carrying out the great program of salvation, and for the free interchange of thought, expression of opinion, and the preaching of the word. We trust that such assemblings will be more largely attended than heretofore.
"The range of business which may be done at these conferences is very wide, and comprises all 'things necessary to be done;' the necessity for the doing of any particular business being the law governing the case, 'according to the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants.'
"The organization of numbers of believers into churches, or branches, is a politic necessity; and hence a measure which was introduced at a very early date of the church existence. It was essential then; it is so now. There is ample provision for requisite organization in the Book of Covenants, and the usages of the church, as found in the instructions given from time to time.
"The ordination of men to the various offices to be found in the church began at the inception of the church,. and can
no more properly be dispensed with than can the preaching of the word; indeed it is made the means to the end, that the word may be preached to the entire world. These officers form the army of workers in the affairs of the church, both spiritual and temporal; it being intended by the law that they shall work harmoniously together; and further providing for all the peculiar conditions which may be involved in preaching the word.
"The appointing of a presiding officer with suitable assistants is but a step on in the organization of powers for the common end; and instead of this one arrogating to himself the aims, object, titles, and powers of an autocrat, he is but an arm of the public service, and must labor in accordance with the law governing the whole. Should he cease to be governed by that law, he ceases to be a 'servant of all.' The localizing a center of religious government was a measure introduced with a view of facilitating the carrying on of the work in its entirety; not for the purpose of centralizing power. Those who now fear the concentration of power would do well to make a more thorough examination of the objects of church association, and study to a better conclusion the theory of the gospel as applied to human associations. There can be no possible better guarantees given to a people for the maintenance of their liberty than those assured to the people of the church in their organic church law; and it is only necessary that it be known that any one intrusted with the liberties of the people is proving recreant to his trust to apply the remedy. Concentration is only to be feared when the power of applying the remedy is denied, or the law by which it is guaranteed is ignored. So far as the Reorganization is concerned, this power is not denied nor the law ignored.
"The realization of sufficient temporal means to carry on the affairs of the church government has been the occasion of much thought, teaching, labor, discussion, debate, animadversion, and finally of abuse. The list of officers comprises those to whom belongs the duty of engaging in and looking after the temporal matters of the church, and the manners and methods by which the incumbents
of those offices have successively tried to carry out the measures proposed from time to time, have been various, and according to their variety has been their success or their failure. The true policy-one that satisfies everybody and gives offense to none; that produces a sufficiency to an abundance for every real need; that fills the coffers of the church, but takes nothing from those of individual members-has not yet been discovered. All say that they feel that it ought to be done, that there is a great need of such means, and that it should be supplied; but none, or a very few, suppose that themselves are under any obligation to aid that supply; and hence there is still a lack. But a portion of the measures used will be cited hereafter; suffice it now to write that so far the most of the measures just noticed were and are for the carrying on of a spiritual movement for religious purposes.
"As an adjunct to, and necessary consequence of, the gathering, the building of a temple has been attempted as a measure calculated to intensify the worship of the people; to foster their spirit of devotion, and to develop their love of God, their industry, patience, faithfulness, and their ability. One was begun and completed at Kirtland, Ohio; but was abandoned, we suppose, for sufficient reasons. What the causes were that superinduced the abandonment of Kirtland and the stake there, it is not now our purpose to allege. It is sufficient for the present object to know that the abandonment was effected. A corner stone was laid in Jackson County, Missouri; but no building was erected. A site for a city was chosen; various public edifices were projected; some were erected, others left to the future. The genius of disruption again wrought a dispersion, and the site and temple there were abandoned. The causes conspiring to effect this second abandonment of a measure to be so replete with good to the people, may be more easily traced than those of the first, but we let them pass without further consideration, as foreign to our object in this article.
"The temple at Nauvoo was by far the most important of any in its conception and progress, and the interest clustering
round the history of its building, although the one at Jackson County was supposed to be the one most likely to be accepted when completed. This temple at Nauvoo was begun under circumstances of adversity; its erection was continued during the period of the greatest activity in the promulgation of the gospel abroad, and the gathering to the west, as the states of Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa were then designated. It was during the building of this edifice that Nauvoo became, by charter, the 'City of the Saints;' it was also during this period that other public measures were adopted, and culminated, as we shall trace further on in our article.
"It has been stated by those whose duty it was to know, that the Temple at Nauvoo was finished, 'completed as Joseph designed.' This statement is not true. In no sense can it be said truthfully, that any part of the Temple at Nauvoo was completed, with the possible exception of the main assembly room into which the front doors opened. The basement, in which was the font, was incomplete; the stairway to the left of the front was not relieved of the rough boards laid on the risings, on which the workmen went up and down; the upper assembly room was not accessible, the floor not being laid, neither the doors hung nor the walls plastered. Besides this, the inside ornamentation was by no means finished even in those parts called completed. There are plenty of persons now living who were frequent visitors to the Temple after the people who built it left Nauvoo, who will testify that the building was not completed; among them, David LeBaron, who had charge of it for some time; Major L. C. Bidamon, for years proprietor of the Mansion House; Dr. Weld, of Nauvoo; Amos Davis, living near the Big Mound, on the Nauvoo and La Harpe road; George Edmunds, of Sonora, and the writer, with a host of others.
"It is further rumored that after the death of Joseph Smith the plans and specifications were altered; and that such parts as were nearly completed were not so completed in accordance with the original design. Of this we cannot testify, never having seen the original drawings nor read
the specifications. If the statements of various persons are to be relied on, there can be but little doubt that in one respect there was a completion; and that respect is the desecration and defilement of the Temple, by the holding of such revels and orgies therein as were not even thought of by the 'money changers,' who made the House of God at Jerusalem a 'den of thieves,' and against whom the righteous indignation of Jesus was so signally directed.
"That there was cause for the abandonment of even this magnificent structure who can doubt. It was abandoned; and in little over four years after the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, malice, envy, and hatred set fire to it, and it was burned. We think that the inscription stated that it was begun in 1841. If so, it was but a little over the supposed allotted seven years given for its completion that it fell, being burned about October 8, 1848. The corner stone was laid April 6, 1841, and the burning occurred October 8, 1848. The saints, however, left Nauvoo in 1846, no work probably being done upon the Temple after the spring or summer of that year.
"The only object we have in writing so explicitly in regard to the Temple at Nauvoo, is, that those who have been made to believe that it was completed may be undeceived; and that those who have so industriously circulated the statement that it was completed may be shamed.
"A temple, or its equivalent or representative, has had an existence in the general economy of nearly every important faction of the church since the abandonment of Nauvoo. The saints under the lead of James J. Strang had a 'Tower of Strength;' Baneemy had 'The Secret Chamber;' Gladden Bishop a 'Rock of Refuge;' Alpheus Cutler raised 'An Ensign of Peace' and built a 'Council House;' and there is a 'Tabernacle' at Salt Lake City, and a temple in course of erection. It is then a measure considered as a feature necessary to the cause.
"The establishment of schools we are most decidedly in favor of. What may have been the character of the school at Kirtland, so far as its personal conduct was concerned, we are not aware; but suppose it to have been for the purpose
of receiving and imparting necessary instruction to those wishing to avail themselves of its advantages. Such was evidently the intention of the establishment of the school or schools at Nauvoo; and the only bad feature that we now remember in connection with any of the literary institutions at Nauvoo, is that the library belonging to the 'Lyceum Association,' was grossly robbed of its books, at or about the time of the breaking up there. If a people would be free, they must be intelligent, and intelligence other than the light of the Spirit must be cultivated, and cultivation must be had in the schools; and these schools to be effective for the people, must be of and by the people.
"The Kirtland bank was a failure. Whatever may have been the intention, so far as honesty of motive may be implied, we have not a word to write; but we may be pardoned if we do assume that the supposed effect was to be the easing up of monetary stringency, by the issue and circulation of an equivalent to the hard facts of currency, gold and silver coin. That the bank as a scheme failed, may be more attributable to a failure to comprehend and carry out its business details, than to absolute dishonesty in its projectors. It was an unfortunate measure, and entailed a portion of shame and disgrace upon all involved in it, either by direct or indirect implication. We cannot defend it, as we believe it to have been an error-a grave error. Whether some of the parties engaged in it were overpersuaded, or voluntarily lent the aid and sanction of their names to it, we do not know; but we are satisfied that it was a prostitution of spiritual character, prestige, and forecast, to improper uses, in the vain hope that the end would justify the means; its failure might have been easily predicted, and was inevitable. We have stated all that we need to state when we write it as our conviction that it was an error.
"The organization and operation of joint stock companies was a favorite measure of the immediate past. We cannot write the history of them all, nor do we care to write the history of any; it is enough that they one by one perished,
dwindled away by improvidence, waste, and consumption.
The usual features of them one and all may be confidently told. They were almost invariably an attempt to make any given number of poor men rich, by the aggregation of their poverty; as suppose, one thousand men propose a stock company, and subscribe ten dollars each to the capital stock, there is the aggregate of the nice little sum of ten thousand dollars. This seems large, and it would be for one man; but when we reflect that there are one thousand persons holding interests, we can easily perceive that they are not individually richer, as they own but ten dollars each. Now, if five hundred stockholders draw out for daily consumption twenty dollars each, the whole sum is exhausted, and five hundred stockholders are defrauded out of their whole stock; if two hundred and fifty draw out forty dollars each, the stock is exhausted, and seven hundred and fifty stockholders are left minus their stock-the fact is, we believe that nine out of every ten joint stock companies, organized among the saints, died of 'home consumption.' Instead of being stockholders, the members of them became stock-consumers; and those organizations instead of being 'fat and well favored,' were 'lean and ill favored.' The very means which should have made the people rich, an aggregation of labor and capital, was made a means of robbery and extortion, until to call an associational 'joint stock' was to condemn it. This should not have been the case. We do not defend the men who were the founders of those schemes, we do not condemn them personally, for we do not know them, at least not many of them, but the principle of the association of labor and capital is a measure of policy and sound wisdom, we believe. Many instances may be cited of what may be done by unity of labor; the most striking one occurring to our memory of late occurrence is that of a beautiful stone church, standing not far from the south end of Grand Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, built by an order of Catholic priests; and when it is stated that these men, although few in number, are prohibited from asking alms, and have done all the work on their building, quarrying, cutting, and laying the stone, together
with doing the whole of the wood work, it will be conceded that a unity of purpose with energy of action will usually accomplish the most unlikely of human designs, and render those of great feasibility a thing of a day.
"We are of the opinion that many of the past associations have been destroyed through the lack of a proper understanding and appreciation of their working details. If so, then is the lesson necessary to be learned pointed out.
"The building of cities; a favorite theory, the measure of every age. How anxiously has the saint longed for the power to build up, and how constantly have his feet been turned from the ways of the great city of the greater King. Who shall tell how the subtle influence, the hope of one day entering into the gates and walking the streets of a city of God, a Salem, a city of Peace, has cheered the stricken heart and elated the soul of the laborer in Zion at his daily toil; the hardy artisan as he sang to the stroke of his sounding hammer; the scholar as he strove to 'show himself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed;' the wise man as he sat beneath the skies of a distant clime, and sighed for the day when the 'tribes' might return.
"Where are the cities of the saint! Kirtland lies upon the hills a 'deserted village;' 'Far West,' 'Adam-ondi-ahman,' and the City of Cities, lie wasted and dead; 'Nauvoo,' on fairer site than which the sun does not shine, is a city of less than one tenth of her former inhabitants. Her hills are covered with the vine, and her valleys bear the peach and the plum; while the beer-drinking, wine-growing Teuton has built his 'wine vaults,' and garnished his 'wine gardens' with the stones quarried by the saints of God, and by their patient hands laid in the walls of 'the temple that crowned the hill.'
"A sad comment upon the unfaithfulness of man is found in the fact that of all the host that once held sacred worship within the 'City of the Saints,' few have an inheritance there. Of those few, the family of 'Joseph the Martyr' form a part, and these are sedulously striving to sow the 'word' and some of them are combatting [combating], step by step, for
the ground lost in the battle where their father and uncle went down, and endeavoring to build upon the ruins of a past spiritual hierarchy the pure theocracy of a 'Risen Redeemer.' Where! O where are the cities of the saints?
"Mills, workshops, manufactories, are but concomitant accessories to cities and villages, and must follow in their train. The opening of new lands is necessary to proper outgrowth, and the extension of the borders of Zion; who shall say the measure is not a wise one? We believe in it, and it is one of those of the past that commends itself to us.
"The setting up and running of printing presses, and the issuing of newspapers, periodicals, and books. What can we write in reference to these measures, which really form but one, for the setting up of printing presses comprises all the rest; newspapers, periodicals, and books being children of the brain and the press.
"The church deemed it advisable at a very early day to purchase a press; and it was made a powerful auxiliary to the preaching of the word. It was insisted upon that there should be freedom of the press. Persecution arose, the causes of which we do not care to inquire as we have before stated, and people and press were successively driven from Kirtland and from Missouri. At Nauvoo the aid of the press was again invoked; the Times and Seasons, Nauvoo Neighbor, and Gospel Reflector succeeded the Evening and Morning Star, the Messenger and Advocate, and the Elders' Journal. The Millennial Star was begun in England, and still continues, we believe. This bringing into the service of the church, the labor and the results of the 'types' and 'Printers' ink,' was a correct and judicious measure; and while legitimately employed, these agents were powerful for good. There came a time when these agents were not used for the promulgation of the 'gospel of peace;' but for the purpose of a wordy defense against attack from offensive neighbors near and remote, and some issues of the church organ are sadly spoiled by the bandying of unclean and vituperative epithets, from the pens of men whom we now think might have spent their time and talent in a better labor, one of love. The measure of employing the press we
indorse; but some of the uses to which the church press was put we cannot do otherwise than deprecate, we cannot indorse, much less defend them.
"There is a page written in the history of the church that we have always regarded as a sad one; and as the circumstances of its occurring have a sort of connection with the subject now being considered, we write of it here. The grounds upon which it was deemed advisable to employ the press as an agent in the dissemination of the tenets of the church were, the rapidity with which copies of important and useful information could be created; the facility of retaining the landmarks of doctrine and teaching, and the freedom guaranteed to the press by the law of the land, and the peculiar political organization of our country.
"At what time the church turned its face upon these considerations, more particularly the last one, we are not advised; but of the fact there seems to be clear evidence, that not content with the exhibition of lawless and legal violence illegally used, which had sent the presses from Ohio and Missouri, the church did give a practical denial to the doctrine of the freedom of the press by the destruction of the office of the Nauvoo Expositor, a newspaper published and to be issued ostensibly for the exposure of iniquity in the church.
"We wish to be properly understood upon this matter, and for this reason, that it has been charged upon the writer of this article that he was 'hand in glove' with the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith; and one of the chief reasons why this statement of complicity with murderers has been made, is the fact, that he has declared it to be his opinion that the destruction of the presses and types of the Expositor was an 'unwise, impolitic, and illegal measure.' We have no reason to love those who took the lives of men held to answer to the bar of justice whom the law would have released; nor do we see how that the expression of an honestly held opinion, formed after years of trial, forced upon us as consequences partially due to that act, can rightfully subject us to so grave a charge.
We have met none of the men engaged in the publication of that paper, with the exception of Mr. Wilson Law, and we have only rumor to assert for our supposition of his connection with it; and Mr. Law we met but for a moment in an eating house in Nauvoo, and had no conversation with him in reference to that affair. Whether the opinion that the destruction of that press and its fixtures was an 'unwise, impolitic, and illegal measure,' subjects us to so unkind a judgment or otherwise, such is our conviction. We believe it to have been an error and a signal infraction of the 'liberty of the press.'
"That political influence was fostered by municipal charter, the history of the procuring of the charter of the city of Nauvoo, and its extraordinary provisions, no legal mind can doubt. Where the idea of incorporation first originated, we are not prepared to say; but one of the prime movers in it, and the delegate to Springfield to urge the passage of the incorporating bill appointed by the conference, was John C. Bennett. We believe that the incorporation of the city of Nauvoo as a municipal city, with its extraordinary privileges, including its municipal court, was an error fraught with dangerous consequences, one of which we believe to have been the passage of a resolution declaring the Expositor office a 'nuisance,' and ordering it 'abated.' That the municipal court of the city may have done a good deed when it took cognizance of the arrest of Joseph Smith by H. T. Wilson, and insured him a trial, we admit; but the possession of the power by which such a thing could be done was a dangerous possession; and though right uses of such a power might always be made, it was possible, as we have seen, for one branch of that municipal government to err.
"We implicate no one else in this statement of our belief respecting these measures being errors. We write only our own sentiments, and we have a purpose in so doing.
"As a natural result of the adoption of the city charter, a mayor of the city was elected. This was a necessary feature of a city government; but it was not essential that high spiritual authorities should be made chief municipal
officers, to the loss of spiritual prestige and power. We have been told, and we believe it to be partly true, that after a certain time, political partisanship ran to so sad an extreme, that one of the chief officers of the city was hemmed in by a cordon of office-seekers, and political spoliation appropriators, to the exclusion of good and true men who loved the cause of Zion, and were alarmed at the drifting tide of events. So officious and so zealous were these political hucksters, that it soon became a matter of difficulty for an honest, outspoken man to get the ear of the highest spiritual authority in the church, so closely were such men watched and their efforts forestalled. Such is the legitimate result in every society of modern times, when politics become a trade, and when political wire-workers obtain preferment in the church in the place of honest, religious-minded men; and we may well be pardoned if we see some traces of such state of affairs in the later years of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
"It would have been difficult, when once the restraining influence of a spiritual life had relaxed, to take up the broken threads and knit them into so perfect and so strong a cord as it should have been originally; and for this reason, if for no other, the men upon whom the burden of the great spiritual work of the last days rested, should have held themselves aloof from active participation in political strife. It was not a crime to aspire to high political station in itself; but the influences by which preferment is obtained, and which too frequently accompany it, give rise to undue ambition, and are too easily prostituted from right uses to base and ignoble ends. We believe that when men lost sight of the dignity of the title of 'elder in the Church of Christ,' it was an error, and when this was followed by a love for political power to the lessening of the love for spiritual advancement, it was a graver error still.
"We class the cultivation of the spirit of war with the error spoken of above, but do not regard it as one of such dangerous character, from the fact that a real necessity for bloodshed might never have arisen after the year 1840, if right counsel had prevailed. We do
not say that there was any real necessity for the shedding of blood prior to the year 1840; but from the tenor of commandments given during and subsequently to the exodus from Missouri, we are persuaded that none would have arisen after that year.
"The raising of a standard of peace was one of the duties devolving upon the saints. Military organizations among them should have been the result of state law direct, not the result of domestic primary action. The military organizations of the state were sufficient for the practical purposes of defense against invasion from without; but would have been powerless against dissension from within.
"There were three evils connected with the existence of military organizations among the saints. One of these evils was the appearance of hostility which it gave to the saints, as a religious body, crying peace unto all people. Another was, that there was an unnecessary expenditure of time and money in keeping up drill, parade, dress, equipage, and arms. But the worst evil of the three, as it appears to us, looking at it from our chosen standpoint, was the dependence upon the arm of flesh in warlike demonstration, rather than in God and the practice of holiness; and we may add another, closely connected with the last, military titles and appellations usurped the place of the plainer callings, and the higher dignities of 'elders in Israel,' 'ministers of the gospel.' Some of the publications of the church show an unmistakable tendency to foster the love of distinctive titles, and 'Captain,' 'Colonel,' and 'General,' are prefixes; where to our democratic taste, 'Mr.' and Elder,' would have looked far better, and would have served more palpably to enhance the value of church distinctive titles.
"We blame no one for this,-we cannot say where it first begun, nor that any absolute wickedness was wrought; but we regard it as an error.
"We have noted heretofore, the introduction of secret orders as a measure which obtained in the church. We have introduced it not for the purpose of finding fault with those brethren who belong to them now, nor for the purpose of railing against them all, or any
one of them. Let this be borne in mind, and the brethren will be relieved of any necessity for writing in reply to us, or in defense of what is not attacked. All we wish to write about them is this. We know of nothing in the gospel making them necessary; nor do we know of any authorized by the church. There is nothing enjoined in any of them that is noble, kind, and good, that is not enjoined in the gospel covenant. As a writer on the subject, who is by the way a member of one of them, tritely remarks, They begun in time, and will end in time, while the gospel begun in eternity and will end in eternity.'
"We have now taken up one by one the principal measures of the men of the immediate past, and propose to view them with regard to our relation to them.
"That some if not all of these measures which we have been considering are as much an essential part of the policy of the Reorganization as they were a part of the policy of the men of the past, is not a question for controversy, hence our relation to them is one of careful measurement and adjustment. Whatever is conducive to our advancement as a people, as a church, as individuals, will demand and should have, our earnest, cordial indorsement [endorsement], and our active and energetic support.
"Disguise it as we may to ourselves, the many organizations that have succeeded what is sometimes called 'the old church,' may be regarded as factions; nor do we intend any disrespect to persons now living, either in or out of the Reorganization, in using this term; and with the dead we have no quarrel. Hence, when this article is read by anyone who takes issue with us, we wish them to understand that we have never had, nor can we now have, any but the kindliest feelings towards the seekers after truth, no matter what may be their denominational name.
"Since the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith there has sprung into existence the following parties, associations, nearly all claiming some kind of authority or sanction from the 'old church.' An organization under Sidney Rigdon, in Pennsylvania, and one in Iowa; one under Lyman Wight,
in Texas; one under William Smith, in Kentucky, and one in Illinois; one under James J. Strang, in Wisconsin and Michigan; one under Alpheus Cutler, in Iowa; one under William Bickerton, in Pennsylvania; one under Z. Brooks, in Illinois and Ohio; one under Joseph Morris, in Utah; one under Granville Hedrick, in Illinois and Missouri; and the Reorganization. There has been a number of lesser note than any of these, that we do not notice.
"The organization existing in Utah under Brigham Young, although considered by us as coming into existence subsequently to the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, we did not name for the following reasons: Of all these organizations there are now left but three of any considerable importance; these are, the church in Utah under Brigham Young; the organization under Granville Hedrick, and the Reorganization. There is, it is true, a few with William Bickerton; a few with Stephen Post, as Sidney Rigdon's representative, at Attica, Iowa; a few of Father Cutler's adherents in Minnesota; and a few yet holding to the claims of James J. Strang, and a few to Joseph Morris' successors.
"Each one of all these organizations advance reasons why theirs should be considered the true branch of the church; and we have not a doubt as to the honesty of many of the men engaged in so stating their reasons. If we doubt the honesty of any of them, we do so only because as individuals they have failed to sustain such character.
"That measures of public polity were introduced by some of these organizations that we consider to have been erroneous, and some wicked, we believe; but that there were many who innocently received and believed those measures to be right ones, we also believe; and we are willing to believe further, that many who still hold to some of those measures are doing so conscientiously. This is not an admission that the measures referred to are righteous.
"WHAT IS OUR RELATION TO THESE FACTIONS
OF THE CHURCH?
"We are striving to secure a unity of belief among the one-time Latter Day Saints, our only intention towards them
being for their good. To make this intention apparent to them is our duty; and to present the good in such form that they are attracted to it rather than repulsed from it, is also our duty. Our relation to them then is one of friendship to the men composing them; though there may and ought to be no compromise upon our part with those measures of either or all of them that we believe to be erroneous or wicked.
"The men composing these various organizations have been at one time, if they are not now, lovers of the principles of the gospel as taught by Christ; they were honest in the convictions which resulted in their obeying it, and they have taught the necessity of obedience to it as strenuously as do we. We in this respect stand upon common ground, and so far should meet as brothers. If they advocate and practice what is to our understanding wrong, we to them occupy a similar position, because we teach and practice what is to their understanding erroneous. With the three or four of them that are left we are now at variance on points of doctrine; but that variance is rather upon matters of comparatively later origin, and does not involve what all agree in calling the fundamental principles of the gospel of Christ, however that gospel may to us be affected by the teaching of those things to which we do not agree.
"At present but one of these organizations, the one in Utah, outnumbers the Reorganization; and from all the indications seen now, the latter is rapidly increasing, while the former is losing, or at best but remaining the same. As a natural result, judging from past history, the increase of numbers, and the growing importance which the increase of numbers gives, there will be a strong tendency to become conservative; and arrogant conservatism is but another name for intolerance. Our labor should be to secure our relations with these factions from assuming the intolerant form.
"Our relation to the different churches throughout the land is of a somewhat similar character, with the exception that they have not, as we understand it, received the gospel. They do, however, exercise a faith
in God and in Christ, and are honest in their convictions; that is to say we believe the great mass of them to be. If the spirit of love to those who have known the truth binds us to a forbearance and kindness towards them, does not the same spirit of love bind us to a more comprehensive forbearance and kindness towards those whom we think have not so known the truth? We think so; and therefore we feel assured that harshness and severity exercised towards them will inevitably return upon the head of him exhibiting them.
"To the world at large, our relation should be that of teachers, exemplars; holding the truth in righteousness, and practicing virtue for the love of the commandment to be virtuous, and for the peace that virtue brings. Anything less than this is a violation of our relations with the world, the different churches, the factions of the church, and the men of the past.
"We examine this casually in the following order as a proper closing to our lengthened article.
"The men of the present; the measures of the present; our policy, present duty, and the hoped-for end.
"The men of the present are, a great many of them, men who were pioneers in the work in the early days of its commencement; some are the children of those who have fought the good fight of faith, and have lain down to rest from their warfare, while some are those who have believed our report, and have become identified with the work during the days of the Reorganization. These men have, many of them, grievously suffered for the sake of the cause of the Master, and are not yet done with their willingness to sacrifice for the same cause; and all are men who desire the advancement of the cause in truth and righteousness. Their purpose is not to suffer defeat if they can prevent it by honorable means. They regard the men of the past as brothers, and feel that they have the right to examine the records left for their use and direction, and exercise their own right of decision upon them. To inquire into the measures
of their predecessors, and to decide for the interests of the church, according to the light afforded by the history of the past, the light of the present, and their prescience of the future, these men of the present believe to be their duty.
"They are, as a class, fearless and free in their discussion of every question with which they have to deal; and there are men of marked piety and ability among the number, able and willing to defend the principles of the faith and doctrines of the church as left us by the first elders, and as found in the books, but unwilling to defend any in wrongdoing,-for this reason they do not propose to defend what they feel assured was wrong in the past. They are willing to stand for the right, but will not exonerate the evil doer; he must abide the consequences of his evil doing, let him be whom he may. They are earnest, and mean to redeem the character of the church from opprobrium, so far as their lives and influence can do so. We do not deem it necessary to name any of them, as their names appear from time to time in the published proceedings of the church.
"That all the men of the Reorganization are not of the character above described is but natural. Coming out of all the factions, and being gathered up from the various cities, towns, and hamlets, where they had waited the passing away of the 'cloudy and dark day,' it is but reasonable to suppose that there should be men of every possible shade of religious belief that could have obtained during those disastrous years in which righteousness seemed to have been forgotten among the children of Zion. These men, uniting with a common object in view, needed intercourse, long and trying intercourse with each other, in order that an assimilation should be possible. Bravely has this work of assimilation gone on, and well and bravely have the men of the present borne the test required. Some, it is true, have failed to bear, and have departed from us. What their reasons were, how much they saw, and heard, and felt, and withstood, we cannot say; nor would we add a single pang to pain of mind, if existing with any of them, or aid by a stroke the departing course of those who cannot walk with these men of the present in the Reorganization.
"THE MEASURES OF THE PRESENT; WHAT ARE THEY?
"This is one of the most vital questions to be considered; and might give rise to more controversy under ordinary circumstances than we would be willing to originate; but as we have heretofore written, we have proposed to make this outlook as comprehensive as we have the ability to do, and the consequences must care for themselves.
"We may not in the following enumeration please some, who believe that any theory of an elder of the church is a measure, and belongs to the policy of the church; but we shall give such as we feel assured are the measures to which our indorsement [endorsement] and our support are pledged.
"The establishment of an efficient corps of gospel ministers; the holding of local and general conferences; the organization of branches; ordaining men to the offices of apostle, high priest, seventy, elder, bishop, priest, teacher, and deacon; the appointing and sustaining a presiding officer of the church, and localizing a center of a religious government; and the realization of sufficient temporal means to carry on the affairs of such government. The foregoing measures we regard as directly appertaining to our spiritual affairs; or to be better understood, they are the direct measures necessary to the successful administration in spiritual things for man's redemption and salvation.
"As auxiliary and effective measures necessary for the well-being and happiness of the people of the church, as individuals and as a body, we regard the following: the gathering, as a result of the preaching of the word; the building of a temple, as a necessity growing out of a gathering; the establishment of schools, those schools to be of various kinds, but all for the diffusion of knowledge among the people of God; the building of cities, to be stakes; the building and operation of mills, workshops, and manufactories; the settlement of new lands, and the opening of various branches of industry thereon; the setting up and operating of printing presses, and the publishing and issuing of newspapers, periodicals, and books. As a means to
the successful carrying out of the last named measures, we believe a necessary and additional one to be the creation of incorporated companies, having legal existence according to the laws of the states where it may be designed to carry out such measures, with legal safeguards against the management of such incorporations by irresponsible or evil designing men.
"We have already written something in behalf of each of the foregoing measures under their different heads; but we may be pardoned for hastily reviewing and adding here and there a word, by way of further explanation.
"When it became necessary in the past to raise money for church purposes, a commandment was given, showing the way; this way in its right meaning must become sooner or later a measure of the church polity for that purpose. Its abuses in the past will not excuse us, nor will our disposition to do, if we leave undone those things we know how to do, avail us. Hence the errors committed in ordaining more than seven quorums of the seventy, and the giving spiritual power to bishops, by reason of the care of temporal things, must be avoided by us, or we will cumber the wheels as heretofore.
"WHAT IS THE POLICY OF THE REORGANIZATION?
HAS IT A POLICY?
"The course pursued by the elders of the church in the Reorganization has been the subject of many a stormy debate, in the states and territories of the United States, and in Europe; and it has been usual for their opposers to ignore; firstly, the foundation upon which the elders built; and secondly, the arguments advanced by them. This was done upon the assumed grounds that the Reorganization had no policy; that it was but an inchoate gathering together of odds and ends of doctrine, and of men who had been cast off from the true church, and who were so contentious, dissatisfied, and rebellious, that they could not stay in other organizations, and hence would soon fall by the ears and destroy their organization and themselves.
"The lapse of time, and the persistency with which the elders of the Reorganization have presented its claims upon the consideration of the saints of every name, have demonstrated that there was a policy; and that however mad the adherents of that policy were, 'there was a method in their madness.'
"That policy, as it has so far been developed, may be stated in a very few propositions, viz.:-
"To insist that the laws to govern the church are found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; that whatever is contained in those books as doctrine for the salvation of man, is the doctrine of the church; that whatever is taught to the church as doctrine, not in accordance with, or denies, contradicts, is in opposition to or contravenes the teaching found in those books is not the doctrine of the church; that all men, Latter Day Saints included, are amenable to God for their acts here, and always; that the scriptures are to all men for guidance, and that Latter Day Saints are not privileged to disregard that guidance, and that the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants are scripture to Latter Day Saints. Arising out of the foregoing propositions it has been, and is the policy of the Reorganization to hold positive and continued antagonism to certain doctrines sought to be engrafted upon the faith of the church, as that faith was delivered to the church by Joseph and Hyrum Smith and their immediate colaborers; among which are to be found, 'polygamy' or a 'plurality of wives;' the doctrine of 'sealing,' as applied to the marriage covenant; the train of evil teachings and consequent evils resulting from the teaching, practicing, and defending those doctrines; the abuse of the law of tithing; and the doctrine of 'consecration' as interpreted to institute, carry on, and defend theft.
"It has been furthermore the policy of the church to recognize but one true church, the one existing, in an organized condition until June 27, 1844, from that time in an unorganized condition until the Reorganization begun, which is but a regathering and reorganizing of the members of the one true church. This has led to the ignoring
the specific administrations performed by the various factions above referred to. All legal baptisms are of necessity held to be valid by the elders of the Reorganization; but baptisms to be accepted, must be shown by proper proofs to be legal.
"It has been also the policy of these 'men of the present' to 'preach the gospel;' and to insist that the practice of the principles of 'virtue,' 'honesty,' 'uprightness,' and 'faithful,' 'fair-dealing' between man and man should be the rule in the church; and that tyranny, oppression, and vice are not to be tolerated.
"OUR PRESENT DUTY.
"From a consideration of what is presented in the foregoing pages of this article, our duty is very plain. It is not to sit idly down in the hope that righteousness will spring from the soil to our salvation, nor to the encouragement of a morbid sentimentality under the guise of ascetic religion; nor to a wild and careless enthusiasm that will continue to overlook the practical parts of our faith. No; neither of these lines of policy will do, and hence neither is our duty. We must look all the difficulties surrounding us, and the conditions of our lives, directly in the face, take them all into the account, and with a steadfast purpose fixed upon the object or objects to be obtained, pursue individually and collectively that line of conduct which will best secure those objects.
"We must therefore buy lands, and improve them; plant orchards and vineyards, and eat the fruit of them; build houses and inhabit them; make homes and enjoy them; build cities, villages, and hamlets, and people them; build workshops, manufactories, mills, tanneries, foundries, and all other accessories to useful labor, and run them; establish schools, colleges, business houses, and make use of them; erect meetinghouses, places of worship-temples-and worship in them.
"In doing all this the true and abiding principles of justice and honesty, fair and honorable dealing only will avail us. Duplicity, deceit, and double dealing must ultimately stand
face to face with justice, the eternal justice of God. 'For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.'
"We must be true men, true in all the walks of life, making better citizens, better sons, better husbands, better fathers, better daughters, better wives, better mothers, better men, better women, better saints.
"We must build our houses solidly, to stand for more than a day; we must build our fences, to secure good neighbors; we must strive for the best roads, best bridges, best wells and springs, best towns, best everything of public utility and benefit; doing all our work with a view to its stability.
"Our spiritual labor must be of like permanent character. We must preach the principles of life and enforce them by our example. We must carry the news to the ends of the earth, and we must be glad in it ourselves. We must be faithful, sober, upright, and intelligent, and so shall we gain the desired end-happiness here, eternal life hereafter."-The Saints' Herald, vol. 18, pp. 688-692, 718-723, 740-744; vol. 19, pp. 17-21, 48-54, 81-86.
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