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SOMETIME during his missionary work in the South, Elder John Thomas, one of the missionaries of the church, had attended a religious meeting of some kind in Henry County, Tennessee, and improved an opportunity to address the audience. This was construed into a disturbance of the meeting. Elder Thomas was arrested, taken before a justice of the peace, and fined. An appeal was taken, and sometime in the summer of 1882 the decision was reversed by the higher court, and he was exonerated.
On July 20 Elder Joseph Dewsnup wrote cheeringly from Manchester, England, of prospects there. He stated:
The position of the church in the Manchester District is very encouraging. A fair amount of progress is being made; inquiries are numerous; we have had several baptisms of late; the candidates bid fair to become creditable and useful members of the church. We are about extending our operations in several directions, with fair prospects of success. There is a good spirit manifested in the several branches composing the district; the official brethren seem to desire to magnify their respective positions in the church; we have the
Spirit manifested in our administrations, and peace prevails. . . . Brighamism is dead here; they have had to give up their meeting-room here in Manchester, not being able to support it. I do not think that they have ever been at such a low ebb before. And while Brighamism is declining, the Reorganized Church is steadily increasing in membership and in influence, corresponding with the diligence in good works of the membership of the body. So far, we have not made a great deal of noise, but we have in an unassuming manner endeavored to live in keeping with our profession, and teach by our example as well as by our precept; and God has blessed our humble efforts in this direction. I believe that the Saints in this district desire the prosperity of the church, and work obediently and, loyally to that end.
At this time Utah was making another effort to secure statehood, and had sent a delegation consisting of W. H. Hooper, J. T. Caine, James Sharp, W. W. Riter, F. S. Richards, D. H. Peery, and W. D. Johnson, Jr., to Washington to present the petition to Congress. This effort, like all former ones, was a failure, because of the absence of a sufficient guarantee that polygamy would be abandoned in the new State.
The population of Utah according to the last census was: Mormons 120,283; Gentiles 14,156; apostate Mormons 6,988; Josephites 820; classified as doubtful 1,716.
The Deseret News in its issue of April 2, admitted that polygamy was not originally a part of Mormonism. It said:
One of the Methodist preachers who assisted in framing the resolutions recently passed by the M. E. conference in this city, calling for the political destruction of Utah and the establishment of an irresponsible oligarchy of nine persons, informed us a few days ago that if the "Mormons" would "give up polygamy," he and his friends would shoulder their guns to defend our people in their rights. We replied that they would probably shoulder their weapons as the Methodists and other sectarians did in Missouri, when men, women, and children were driven from their homes and massacred simply because they were "Mormons," plural marriage not being then a tenet of their creed nor practiced by any of their number, and the "Christian" mobocrats who plundered and murdered them made no pretension that they were "fighting polygamy."
On August 7 Elder J. R. Lambert wrote from Gerber, Georgia, of a peculiar experience. He stated:
I have spent about one month on Lookout Mountain and vicinity, preaching from one to four times per week. Congregations generally small, interest ordinary. There are a few who believe, and ought to obey, we think. At Sulphur Springs. or Wildwood Station, we
had rather an interesting time. They would not allow us to preach in the Union (?) church, and put us out of the schoolhouse. They presented us with a petition to which is appended twenty-six names, requesting us not to preach any more in the house, and to call in our appointment. This was done on Sunday when we were within a quarter of a mile of the place of meeting. We spoke twice under the shade of the trees and felt well, Quite a number attended.
On August 13 the church at Boonsboro, Iowa, was dedicated; the local authorities being assisted by President Joseph Smith.
On August 18 the commission appointed by President Arthur under the Edmunds law, consisting of Alexander Ramsey, of Minnesota; A. S. Paddock, of Nebraska; G. L. Godfrey, of Iowa; A. B. Carlton, of Indiana; and J. R. Pettigrew, of Arkansas, arrived in Salt Lake City, and immediately began arrangements for the November election. In appointing registrars they required each one to make oath to the following:
That he is not a bigamist or polygamist; that he is not a violator of the United States' law prohibiting bigamy or polygamy; that he does not live or cohabit with more than one woman in the marriage relation, nor does any relation exist between him and any woman, which has been entered into or continued in violation of the said laws of the United States; or if a woman, that she is not the wife of a polygamist, nor has entered into any relation with any man in violation of the laws of the United States concerning polygamy or bigamy.
In a letter written to the Saints' Herald, August 22, 1882, Mr. Charles J. Strang explained how the "letter of appointment" to J. J. Strang came into his possession: 1
1 The question has already arisen how I came into possession of the letter of appointment mentioned in my former communication.
Two years ago, my brother Clement, while on a visit to Black River Falls, Wisconsin, procured for my use in the preparation of a history of father's life, some very valuable material, among which was this document, represented to be the original letter. It was brought to me inclosed [enclosed] within the covers of the book of record containing the names of the "witnesses of the crowning of the King of Zion," July 8,1850. The affidavit in the book of record was apparently in J. J. Strang's handwriting, and was followed by two hundred and thirty-four signatures, fifty-eight of which were cross marked. There was nothing about any of the documents to indicate a forgery, so I was compelled to believe the letter was genuine as represented. The postscript bore the appearance of having been written at the same time as the body of the letter,-a little below the center of the third page of a large letter sheet; the fourth page having the superscription and red postmark, being the outside as letters were then folded and sent, sealed with wax or wafers, and without envelopes. I could detect nothing differing from the description of it published during Strang's lifetime.
As soon as I read the postscript I was almost fully convinced of the theory expressed in my communication, but I studied the matter nearly two years before I finally decided to publish my opinion.
On July 9, 1902, the Historian, in company with C. H. Fish, called on Mr. C. J. Strang at his residence in Lansing, Michigan, and examined this letter, and found it substantially as reported, though we did not give it a critical reading.
The Herald for September 1 contained an extract from a letter from Elder P. N. Brix, from Aalborg, Denmark, explaining the needs of the Scandinavian Mission. He wrote:
It is necessary for the church to have the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants in the Danish language. I can get one thousand Books of Mormon printed in Denmark for $360, and bound for twenty-five cents each; and one thousand Doctrine and Covenants for $210, and bound for twenty cents each. If the church will send me $570, I can place the money in the bank here and then get the work done, so far as printing is concerned; and can get them bound as needed.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 29, p. 269.
September 12 Tehopea and Torohia wrote from Tahiti, of conditions there, as follows:
We have now in our hands a large extent of land in the metropolis of these islands, Papeete. We have already secured among ourselves a small sum; but we require the assistance of our brethren, and above all their prayers. . . . Do, then, all you can to assist us in framing and building our new church. . . . I am still the elder in charge of the church at Papeete, where I can assure you that I endeavor by every means, by preaching and by advice, to advance our sacred cause. Pray for me. Torohia is my assistant; I love him as a brother beloved in the Lord. He is a great assistant. . . . We are in number, at the present time, about one thousand, and many others are being daily admitted.
September 15, 1882, President Joseph Smith defined the requirements of the financial system of the church as follows:
First. All of your wealth and possessions not in use and occupation by you-a surplus.
Second. If you have none of the first, then consecrate so much as you may choose, money, goods, or chattels.
Third. If you have not the first, nor choose the second, then give as a free-will offering, much or little as you please.
Fourth. Each year, one tenth of your increase.
Fifth. If you have no increase, and choose to help, then as before, consecrate, or donate free-will offerings.
Sixth. All of these are to be voluntarily performed.
Can anything be simpler, or more specific than the foregoing, and leave anything at all to the prompting of the Spirit to teach men the way?
Seventh. Pay to the Bishop's agent where these are appointed; and in their absence pay to the Bishop, or as he may direct. . . .
How are the means to be paid out?
First. Upon a direct order from the conferences by vote.
Second. At the discretion of the Bishop; and by his agents by consultation with and direction from him.
Third. By agreement and understanding between the Twelve and the Bishopric in regard to missionary work, its needs and the ministry engaged in the work.
Fourth. And to them who are engaged in the work as necessity, wisdom, and opportunity demand as provided for.
The semiannual conference of 1882 was held at Lamoni, Iowa, convening September 20 and closing the 29th. Joseph Smith was chosen to preside; and John Scott, R. M. Elvin, and Walter McKnight were elected secretaries.
G. A. Blakeslee resigned from the committee on Secretary and Recorder's books; and Phineas Cadwell being absent, Joseph Luff and I. N. White were placed on the committee. The following ministers who were present reported: J. R. Lambert, A. H. Smith, J. H. Lake, Z. H. Gurley, T. W. Smith, W. H. Kelley, James Caffall, E. L. Kelley, J. F. McDowell, J. S. Patterson, E. M. Wildermuth, W. T. Bozarth, R. J. Anthony, M. T. Short, J. F. Mintun, J. T. Davies, J. W. Gillen, E. C. Brand, Charles Derry, R. M. Elvin, Joseph Luff, E. H. Gurley, and G. E. Deuel. The following ministers reported by letter: W. W. Blair, Thomas Taylor, J. R. Gibbs, P. N. Brix, Columbus Scott, J. C. Foss, G. T. Griffiths, H. A. Stebbins, George Hicklin, F. P. Scarcliff, J. F. Burton, Hiram Robinson, A. J. Cato, G. W. Shute, T. W. Chatburn, and Alma Kent. Committee to settle with Bishop I. L. Rogers reported that they had balanced the books, secured all papers and documents, and turned them over to Bishop George A. Blakeslee.
The Quorum of Twelve presented the following resolution, which was considered and adopted:
Whereas, The ministry of the church in the several quorums seem to be in a measure inadequate to the pressing demands made upon them, and believing this quorum should by virtue of their calling take the lead in
establishing the work in the regulating of its affairs in general; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we do hereby ask the church to engage in solemn, earnest prayer, asking the Lord to reveal his will concerning these various quorums, that they may be properly filled, and that in so doing we may act agreeably to that will.
The committee on Danish publications reported, discouraging the spending of means for the publication of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, as these works could be purchased at a reasonable price. The committee recommended the publication of a Danish periodical, and that subscriptions and contributions be solicited. The publication was ordered, to be under the direction of the Board of Publication. The following resolution was, after some discussion and explanations from Danish members, unanimously adopted:
Whereas, The Book of Covenants issued by authority of the church at Salt Lake has been materially changed from that accepted by the church; be it Resolved, That this conference advise the Danish brethren against the use of the same.
The committee on Kirtland Temple repairs reported asking for an appropriation of one thousand dollars with which to commence the work and prepare the lower room to be comfortable for church service. The report was adopted, the committee continued with instruction to solicit subscriptions, and to make such repairs as the money raised would enable the committee to do.
A committee was appointed to revise and enlarge the rules of representation and make them applicable to district conferences and branches. The members of the committee were Joseph Smith, E. L. Kelley, J. W. Gillen, J. C. Crabb, and W. C. Cadwell.
The committee on Church Recorder's work reported, recognizing the great danger to which the church records were exposed, but expressing the opinion that in the condition of church finances it would be unwise to go to the expense of building an office and vault. The committee recommended the purchase of a fire-proof safe for the preservation of the records, the payment of two hundred and fifty dollars per
year for the work of the Recorder, and fifty dollars per year for office rent and fuel.
The following presented by the Twelve and Bishopric was adopted:
1. That the action in the appointment of district treasurers, aside from the general agents in the church, we find is working injury to the cause and defeating the placing of funds either in the hands of the district treasury or Bishop's agents; therefore,
Resolved, That the action authorizing it be and is hereby repealed.
2. That under the present system of reporting to the Bishop, on the part of the ministry, injury is wrought in this, that in some cases all funds are sent to the Bishop or his agents, and in others not so done, but kept by the ministry, and privately reported to the Bishop, and so never known to the church, which fact causes complaints on the part of those who contribute; therefore, we recommend that hereafter all persons under general church appointment, report all church moneys received to the Bishop, together with the names of persons paying, so far as possible, and that they draw for their expenses directly from the Bishop or his agents.
3. We believe that it will be to the interest of the church and the good of all, if the Bishop's reports are published annually instead of quarterly, and they will be in a shape to be better understood by the Saints, and the transactions for the year are then in such shape as to be properly considered and criticised [criticized].
4. That to prevent doubt and distrust, and the abuse of the discretion now exercised by the Bishop, all persons under appointment of general church authorities, requiring expenses paid by the church, should, before appointed, state to the Twelve and Bishopric, the probable amount required for expenses per annum.
5. By resolution all rules and conjoint agreements heretofore obtaining which conflict with the operation of any of these rules and agreements be declared to be rescinded.
The Quorum of High Priests reported; also the Quorum of Seventy, and First, Second, Third, and Fourth Quorums of Elders, and the First Quorum of Priests. First Quorum of Elders had dropped W. H. Pomeroy, and enrolled H. C. Bronson. Second quorum enrolled J. S. Roth, and J. H. Merriam. The priests reported having received Oscar Brown to fill a vacancy occasioned by the ordination of E. L. Kelley to the office of elder.
The Twelve and Bishopric reported that they had amended their joint agreement so that it was not now required that a Bishop's agent should be an elder.
Much discussion was had regarding the work in Chicago, some contending that it should be prosecuted as a separate and distinct mission. Others maintained that it should be attached to the Northern Illinois District and subject to local authority the same as other work within the limits of the district. This, with other subjects, was made a subject of special prayer. In answer to prayer a revelation was presented giving light on vexed questions. 2
This was approved by the Quorums of Twelve and Seventy, and then presented to the body, and by it adopted.
The following preambles and resolution were adopted and Joseph Smith and Z. H. Gurley appointed to present it to the Secretary of State:
Whereas, The circular letter of Honorable William M. Evarts, while Secretary of State, asking all foreign governments to prevent the immigration of Mormons (so-called) to this country, as they came to practice crime, being polygamists; and, Whereas, This has conduced to the injury of the body of Latter Day Saints who affirm the original faith under which no such practice is tolerable, and because such distinction has not been had, and we have been confounded with that people whom this letter very properly brands as criminals; therefore be it
Resolved, That we ask the present Secretary of State to correct this error, and place us in our proper light before the world.
The following missions were assigned:
T. W. Smith as counseled by the First Presidency. J. R. Lambert, Chicago, Illinois. M. T. Short, under E. C. Briggs.
21. In asking of me, ye did well. I will hasten my work in its time. Ye can not now prosecute missions in many foreign lands, nor is it expedient that the elders of the first quorums be sent out of the land of America until the work of the reorganization of my church be more fully established, and a greater unity of understanding between them be obtained. Nor is it expedient now to further fill up the quorums, except it be the elders, priests, teachers, and deacons; which ye may do, as ye deem wise, by the direction of conference.
2. Continue the mission in Chicago until the April conference, when if it be found expedient it may be left in the charge of the authorities of the Northern Illinois District.
3. It is my will that ye more fully honor and pay heed to the voice and counsel of the traveling ministry in spiritual things; which if ye do not, the office which they hold is not honored in my service, and the good they should do is made void.
4. If they approve themselves as righteous ministers, they shall be blessed; if they be found transgressors, or idle servants, ye shall not uphold them. But be not hasty in withdrawing your support from them, peradventure ye shall injure my work. Even now I am not well pleased with some, but space is granted for repentance and a renewal of diligence. Let no one deceive himself that he shall not account for his stewardship unto me.
By command of the Spirit.
J. C. Clapp, released from Rocky Mountain Mission. R. J. Anthony, Southeastern Mission in charge. H. A. Stebbins, released from General Conference appointment as a missionary. J. F. Burton, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Cape Breton Island. L. F. West, E. H. Gurley, and E. L. Kelley, released. Peter Anderson, Denmark if found practicable. Joseph Luff, Rocky Mountain Mission. James McIntosh, Canada. T. E. Jenkins, Welsh Mission. Harbert Scott, Southern Indiana. E. DeLong, Northern Michigan. J. H. Merriam, Canada. Glaud Rodger, Duncan Campbell, J. W. Gillen, E. M. Wildermuth, J. C. Foss, and J. F. McDowell, to travel and labor as their circumstances permit. F. C. Warnky, Missouri. H. N. Hansen, Utah Mission.
Morras Walsh was received on his original baptism.
The conference decided to adjourn until April 6, 1883, and annually thereafter. This disposed of the semiannual conferences, and they have not since been resumed.
On the 26th, Elder Elijah Banta was ordained first counselor to Bishop Blakeslee.
September 29, A. J. Hinkle wrote from Green Ridge, Manitoba, of the visit of Elders Kelley and Blakeslee, and of conditions there. He said:
I feel anxious to let you know how we are getting along here, since the visit of Brn. W. H. Kelley and George A. Blakeslee. . . . They were here only one week, but it seemed the shortest week I ever witnessed. We had two sermons from Bro. Kelley, but they were to the point, and where prejudice was not too deeply grounded, it took but a short time to make up the mind where the truth lay. Ten went to the Rosue River and obeyed the Master's call, and still rejoice in it, and are striving as much as is in their power to keep themselves in the narrow way.
On October 9 Elder W. W. Blair wrote cheerfully of the work in Utah. He stated in part as follows:
The outlook for our mission work is far better than ever, and all feel encouraged and joyful; and better still, they are determined to labor, and make every needful sacrifice to forward the work. This is true of both the ministry and the membership.
If the whole church were under the same measure of love and power
and light which pervaded the assembly at our two o'clock service, yesterday, there would be no want of energy, nor means, to push forward the gospel work they have committed to them of God.
Elder J. C. Clapp wrote, November 30, that he had been elected justice of the peace in Moscow, Idaho. He stated: "I will administer justice according to my idea of justice, and preach the gospel also this winter."
A discussion was held at Lucas, Iowa, beginning December 5, between Elder J. D. Pegg, of the Adventist Church, and Elder J. W. Gillen.
December 9, 1882, Lucy Millikin, wife of Arthur Millikin, and youngest sister of the Martyrs Joseph and Hyrum Smith, died at Colchester, Illinois.
A discussion commenced at Dewitt's Run, West Virginia, on December 26 between a Mr. J. D. Harris and Elder L. R. Devore. During the year G. A. Blakeslee and E. L. Kelley, of the Bishopric, were especially active, traveling extensively among the churches and preaching the law of tithing. This caused a revival in the financial department of church work. Their teaching was quite generally accepted, though meeting with some opposition in places.
Elder Thomas Taylor, of England, wrote: "Prospects of the work in England have improved of late, and the Saints feel well towards the missionary fields. Care and diligence are redeeming the good name of the Lord's work."
About this time appeared the following in the Halifax Mail regarding the work of Elder J. F. Burton:
Pereaux is the vanishing point of the fair vale of Cornwallis. The shadow of Blomidon falls upon it, and the pleasant waters of Minas Basin kiss its shores. The spot is beautiful for situation, and in fruits and field products rich as the garden of the Lord. The inhabitants are virtuous, pious and happy. To this land, in June last, came Elder Joseph Burton, a son of Reverend William Burton, formerly a Baptist clergyman in Halifax, and afterward in Hantsport, Nova Scotia. Mr. Joseph Burton, his son, was a member of the Baptist Church, and a sea captain of no inconsiderable attainments. In California Captain Burton was converted to the Mormon faith, and gave such evidence of preaching power, that he was sent by the society of the
Saints to convert his friends to Mormonism. He came to Cornwallis, took a hall at Pereaux, and went to preaching. His early efforts were crowned with success. First a prominent Baptist, a deacon or other official was won over, who, with his wife, were rebaptized, according to the rules of the Mormons. This secession was followed by that of other equally sturdy Baptists. . . . Mr. Burton is not a polygamist, and does not believe in the Brigham Young faction of the Latter Day Saints.
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