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AT a business meeting of Independence Branch, Independence, Missouri, January 3, a committee formerly appointed to consider the advisability of securing a lot for a larger church building, reported favorably. Their report was adopted, and F. G. Pitt, F. W. Barbee, F. C. Warnky, C. A. Bishop, and Joseph Luff were appointed a committee to secure the erection of a building to seat about twelve hundred people in the main auditorium and as nearly that number as possible in the basement. This committee met on the 4th, and elected Joseph Luff, chairman; F. G. Pitt, secretary; F. W. Barbee, treasurer. The committee subsequently published a statement of their intentions and called for subscriptions from all the United States and islands of the sea.
On January 12 the Edmunds-Tucker Bill was passed by the United States House of Representatives; and on the 13th it was referred to a conference committee by the United States Senate.
Of this measure the Herald for January 29 has this to say:
On the twelfth of January, the House of Representatives of the National Congress, passed the Edmunds-Tucker Bill, some of the provisions of which are very severe. The bill provides that the lawful husband or wife of any person prosecuted for bigamy, polygamy, or unlawful cohabitation, be a competent witness against the accused, and for the registration of all marriages, making it a misdemeanor for any person to violate the provision requiring such registration. It also does away with all the requirements of the territorial laws for the identification of the votes of electors at any election, and also all laws by reason of which the territorial courts have taken cognizance of cases for divorce, and the abolishment of the suffrage to woman in the territory of Utah. Penalties are provided for unlawful intercourse, and defining polygamy to be a marriage between one person of one sex and more than one person of another sex, declares it to be a felony. Another provision dissolves the corporation known as the Church of the Latter Day Saints, also the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company, and the Attorney General is directed to wind these incorporations up by process of court. All laws for the organization of the militia of the Territory and the creation of the Nauvoo Legion are annulled. Polygamists are not to vote, and a test oath is prescribed for those offering to vote, imposing the conditions that they will obey the laws of the United States, and especially the laws in respect to the crimes named in the Edmonds-Tucker and the original Edmunds acts. The judges and selectmen of the county and the probate courts are at once to be appointed by the President, and the justices of the peace, sheriffs, constables, and other county and district officers by the Governor.
This bill was sent to the Senate for their concurrence, but that body did not see fit to consent to the passage of the bill, and so appointed a committee of conference with the house, for the purpose of seeking a basis of unity of action. The passage of the bill as it appears was a surprise to many, who supposed that it was cast in the committee room and would stay there till too late for action at this term of Congress. What will be its fate now remains to be seen. We have looked to see some severe laws enacted against polygamy, by Congress, sooner or later, and which from the nature of the case we have regarded as a fatality, but these provisions are extraordinarily hard, possibly too severe. Having been persistently warning the people of Utah of what might be looked for if their peculiar transgression against the laws of God given in the church from 1831 to the death of the Seer was persisted in, we feel that we have not been remiss in our duty as a watchman, nor have we
called without reason. Will the leaders, those who can, if they will, now take measures to avert the impending storm most likely to burst over those illy prepared to meet it.
Did we not feel the most confident assurance that for which the church in Utah is certainly suffering and likely still to suffer, was not designed of God, or sanctioned by him, we should be alarmed at the apparent threatening to American liberties found in this bill. But the fact that the Lord, who in his own wisdom laid the political foundation upon which alone it could rise and flourish, did in most emphatic terms declare to the church that in keeping the laws by virtue of which the church was established, there would be no necessity to break the laws of the land upon which it was organized, and on which it was to achieve a final triumph, warrants us now, as it has warranted us in the past, to declare that no matter through what human instrument it may come, whatever asks, or demands that a member of the Church of Christ shall disregard or break the law of the land is not from God. And while we state this we know, full well, how that it may be urged that we should obey God rather than man; which we subscribe to most heartily; but it must not be forgotten by those in Utah who may urge this, that the presumption is not only fair but is unavoidable, that God must have known what sort of laws regarding the marriage relation would be prevalent at the instituting of the church and that he would also know the character of the men who would be called from time to time by the people to make the laws to govern the nation as a whole; and if he should have foreseen that there would ever come a time at which he intended to require his people to disregard the laws of the country where his work was to be performed, he would have provided for such an emergency, by shaping the legislation of Congress to that end; which any one can easily see has not been done. Up to the introduction of plural marriage the church was singularly free from suits at law against its members based upon their transgression of the laws of the States where they lived, and founded on facts; but now the strange spectacle is presented, by the people who claim to be the church, of hundreds being arrested, tried and convicted for flagrant and gross violations of well-known and well-defined laws. To believe that such a condition of things was designed of God, is not only beyond the pale of common sense, but is, also beyond the compass of sound reason.
The leading men of the church in Utah may continue to lull the spirit of inquiry among the people, and by their peculiar sophistry make them believe that it is a crusade of hate and persecution that is being waged against them, "for their religion's sake;" but sophistry does not change the facts, that all the rules, regulations, and laws given of God to the church at its establishment, and during its days of prosperity in propagating the gospel of which the church was made the repository, and its elders the heralds were monogamic, under the laws of the United States also monogamic, and in States in all of which the domestic relations were monogamic. What an astounding array of most stubborn facts are these!
Who can, who dare so arraign the wisdom of God, in arranging the affairs for the bringing to pass "his act his strange act," by declaring that he intended such a condition of things as is now existing in the valleys of Utah?-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 65.
On February 17 the report of the conference committee on the Edmunds-Tucker Bill was adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of two hundred two to thirty-nine, and on the 18th it was adopted by the Senate by a vote of thirty-seven to thirteen. The Act became a law without the signature of President Cleveland. 1
About this time E. H. Gurley, formerly an elder of the church, was preaching in and near Lamoni, upon, his own responsibility, not claiming to represent any organized body. In his preaching he made some attacks upon the church, especially in the series of meetings held in the Bonnet Schoolhouse in Decatur County. These efforts were replied to by Elder J. R. Lambert, and subsequently the controversy was carried into the Saints' Herald through a correspondence by Elders Gurley and Lambert.
On February 7 the United States Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Utah courts in the case of Lorenzo Snow, and declared that what was known as the segregation policy was illegal. This policy held
1The text of the oath prescribed by the Edmonds-Tucker Bill is as follows:
"I, ------, being duly sworn (or affirmed), depose and say that I am over twenty-one years of age, that I have resided in the territory of Utah for six months last passed, and in this precinct for one month immediately preceding the date hereof; and that I am a native born (or naturalized, as the case may be) citizen of the United States; that my fun name is--------; that I --- am years of age; that my place of business is---------; that I am a (single or) married man, that the name of my lawful wife is---------, and that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and will faithfully obey the laws thereof, and especially will obey the act of Congress approved March 22, 1882, entitled 'An Act to amend Section 5352 of the Revised Statutes of the United States in reference to bigamy and for other purposes,' and that I will also obey the Act of Congress of March 3, 1887, entitled 'An Act to amend an Act entitled an Act to amend Section 5352 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in reference to bigamy and for other purposes,' approved March 22, 1882, in respect of the crimes in said Act defined and forbidden, and that I will not, directly or indirectly, aid or abet, counsel or advise any other person to commit any of said crimes defined by Acts of Congress as polygamy, bigamy, unlawful cohabitation, incest, adultery, fornication; [and I further swear (or affirm) that I am not a bigamist or polygamist, and that I have not been convicted of any crime under the Act of Congress, entitled 'An Act to amend Section 5352 of the Revised Statutes of the United States, in reference to bigamy and for other purposes,' approved March 22, 1882; nor under the Act amendatory thereof, of March 3, 1887, and that I do not associate or cohabit polygamously with persons of the other sex.]"-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 225.
defendants liable for each separate act of unlawful cohabitation.
In consequence of severe drought in Texas, the previous season, many of the Saints in Texas were in a suffering condition, and made an appeal to the church and in general for help. This appeal was indorsed [endorsed] by Bishop Blakeslee, and their wants were in a measure relieved by donations from different parts of the church.
On February 13, 1887, Willow Valley Branch in the Little Sioux District, was organized by Elder Charles Derry. J. H. Hunt, president; J. F. Harper, priest; F. Harper, teacher; A. H. Hunt, deacon; Henry Purcell, clerk.
On February 20 the Logan Branch in the same district was organized by Elder Charles Derry, with fifty-two members. Phineas Cadwell, president; J. C. Johnson, priest; W. R. Davison, teacher; Charles S. Kennedy, deacon; Adelia Card, clerk.
These two branches were composed of members formerly belonging to the Magnolia Branch.
February 20 the Saints' chapel in Oakland, California, was dedicated. Elders H. P. Brown, G. S. Lincoln, John Parsons, C. A. Parkin, D. J. Philips, and J. W. Vernon participated.
About this time Elder J. H. Peters had an edition of the Voice of Warning printed at his own expense, and circulated copies freely through elders and Saints in different parts of the country, and good results were reported from many places.
In the early part of this year a pamphlet written by Elder David Whitmer, entitled "An Address to all Believers in Christ, by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," was circulated throughout the church. In this address Elder Whitmer reaffirms in the most positive language, his testimony published in connection with the Book of Mormon, and claims that in 1838 the church went into transgression and lost the Spirit of God; and that he at that time withdrew from the church, and had remained comparatively inactive until
the present time, when, in obedience to the dictations of the Spirit, he took an active part in an effort to revive the work of God. This resulted in an attempt at an organization of the church and the gathering of a few to his standard. Missionaries were sent out to different parts of the country, and some agitation of the issues raised by his address was had in different places in the church. This interest, however, was not permanent, and gradually the influence of it died out. At present there is little or nothing being done by the advocates of his theory. The address was examined editorially through the Herald, and quite an extended controversy was had between the editors of the Herald, and Elder Whitmer and others associated with him.
Under date of March 6, 1887, M. Walker wrote a communication which was published in the Herald for March 19, urging the necessity for a magazine devoted to the interests of the young people of the church, and proposed to commence the publication of said magazine upon conditions that a sufficient interest was taken to justify the movement; proposing that if she could receive fifteen hundred subscribers she would commence the publication. The suggestions leading to this movement, and the authority by which it was to be undertaken, were presented by her as follows:
During the session of General Conference at this place last spring, it was suggested to us that the church needed a publication for our young people, which should be intermediate between the Herald and Hope. This suggestion came from more than one elder actively engaged in the work, and men whose judgment the church respects. Again the plea was often presented when we were trying to enlarge the Hope, and letters to this effect were published in the Home Column, until we are constrained to believe the want is a wide-felt and almost an imperative one.
Under a pressure of feelings such as these, when the Board of Publication met at this place on the 10th of January, 1887, we laid the matter before them in the form of a proposition, that we ourselves would edit such a periodical, assuming all financial responsibility, provided it met their approval. The answer was favorable, and having taken time to consider the matter, we now present it to you. If indeed this want is felt, the church is abundantly ably to supply it to themselves, and we are willing to devote our time to it. That we can not do this without obtaining a support from it, will be evident to all when we tell them that at least
one half of our time is now given to church work (which we do not propose to relinquish), and the other half is given to just such cares as Martha complained of, and which for the sake of the church we are willing to lay down.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 183.
On March 13 a Saints' chapel was dedicated in Armstrong, Kansas, by President Joseph Smith, assisted by Elders Alexander H. Smith and F. C. Warnky. While President Smith was in the vicinity of Independence, Kansas City, and Armstrong he took occasion to visit the old jail at Liberty, Missouri, where his father and others were incarcerated in 1838-9. Of this visit President Smith writes as follows:
On Friday, the 18th, we availed ourself [ourselves] of an opportunity to visit the historic town of Liberty, in Clay County, and see the jail in which the men who escaped the order to be shot were confined, about which so much of interest among the Saints must ever center. A little party consisting of Brn. Alexander H. Smith, Stephen Maloney, Frederick C. Warnky, John W. Brackenbury, and the editor, drove across the country in an open buggy, crossing the Missouri River at the Blue Mills Ferry, on a primitive flat boat propelled by horses treading an endless chain power. The day was pleasant, the company was congenial, all being fully in accord in gospel bonds; the occasion was an auspicious one, and the ride and its incidents will always live in the memory of those who participated in them. We reached the town at a little after eleven o'clock, and at once inquired for the jail. A gentleman, whom we met at a turn of the square, kindly showed us to it. We found that the original blockhouse, made of large squared logs, had been inclosed [enclosed] with an outer wall of hewn stone, almost obliterating the identity of it, as it was when the brethren were confined there. The western wall had succumbed to the pelting of the storms and had tumbled outward leaving the logs exposed to view; the roof had rotted away at its supports, and had fallen inward leaving the eastern gable standing without support, and liable to fall at any time; indeed, so precarious seemed the standing of the whole stone structure that one or two of the brethren thought that we ought to be very wary lest we were caught in the fall of it. After we had examined it at some length we went to the Arthur House, the leading hotel of the place, and had a most excellent dinner, for which our ride in the raw eastern wind had given us a good appetite. We then visited the college hill, where there is a seminary and a college for the purpose of educating men for the ministry, we think of the Baptist order, over which we were shown by two of the students, very kindly and pleasantly. From the cupola of the college there is a view surpassed for beauty by none that we ever saw; south, east, and west, the undulating landscape gave rise to the thought that it was one of the fairest portions of God's heritage to man. From
this imposing view we returned to the jail, and Bro. P. C. Warnky, having enlisted the services of the resident photographer, took views of the jail and the lot in which it is located, we five brethren making the animated part of the picture. Having secured these negatives, we returned to the city whence we started well pleased with the day's venture.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 209.
Some time in the month of March Elder E. L. Kelley met some representatives of the Utah church in Kirtland, Ohio, and discussed the question, "Does the Bible teach or maintain the doctrine of polygamy?" He challenged them also to discuss the question of Joseph Smith's connection with polygamy: this they agreed to do, but afterwards they declined.
The annual General Conference for the year 1887 convened at Kirtland, Ohio, April 6; Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair, of the First Presidency, presided; James A. McIntosh acted as secretary, and F. M. Sheehy and A. B. Kirkendall as assistants. The First Presidency presented the following communication:
To the brethren in conference assembled, the First Presidency, in greeting, present:
We feel justified in congratulating you that there has been a decided gain and advancement in church work during the conference year just past.
The net gain in membership, as the Secretary's report will show is 1,306.
The total of the Bishop's receipts shows an increase of property to the value of $7,542.89.
The cash receipts during the year are about $30,000 in round numbers. There has been a marked increase in the receipts of the Herald Office of nearly 29 per cent over last year, cash receipts; showing a healthy increase in the subscription lists, and an encouraging growth in the business of the office. The gain in bills receivable is something over 5 per cent.
These but show the increase of temporalities; but the increase on the spiritual side of the work has not been less marked than on the temporal side.
At the close of the last session there existed cause to fear a considerable loss in membership by defection following in the lead of those brethren who withdrew from us during the session. The loss from this cause has been but slight; though we regret that there has been any, the persons who were affected and withdrew being of good intention and good report so far as known to us. The brothers Z. H. and E. H. Gurley have
done some preaching in and around Pleasanton and Lamoni, Iowa, during the year, but to what result we are not fully prepared to estimate, other than that the effect wrought upon the mass of the members has been to the confirming of their faith in the calling and work of the Reorganization. We think this is the result at Pleasanton, the home of Elder Z. H. Gurley, and at Lone Rock and at other points in Missouri, where Elder E. H. Gurley has spoken, and at Lamoni. Whatever else may be said, while the work to be done by the elders of the church may have been made more difficult, the cause has not been checked, nor any serious inroads made upon the numbers and faith of the body.
The effort lately made by Elder David Whitmer, J. C. Whitmer, J. J. Snyder, and W. P. Brown, to create a diversion from the faith as held by us has not met the success which it may well be believed those who made it thought it entitled to, though it has been annoying to some and in that sense hurtful. We are informed of but few of the members who have been seriously affected by the statements of Elder Whitmer so far as made. What may be in reserve to be said we are not informed, and can not venture to offer a surmise, either as to its nature or the course to be pursued by the eldership in view of it. Elder W. P. Brown baptized one at Lamoni, Iowa, and a number at, or near Cameron, Ontario, from those who were at the time or had been members with us. Aside from these we are not aware that the faith of the Saints has been turned away from the truth as held by the church.
The outlook as presented by letters to us from every quarter of the field is a very encouraging one.
Australia under the ministry of Bro. Joseph P. Burton offers an attractive field.
The Society Islands, under Bro. T. W. Smith seems to offer an opportunity for considerable increase, but requires much labor.
The English Mission shows an increased vigor and changed prospects for the better.
If practicable the missions in Germany and Denmark should be strengthened. There are several brethren who are available for the Danish field, if it be decided to prosecute it anew.
From every part of the American field, with one exception, there are the most flattering reports. Alabama presents a stagnant condition. No labor of moment has been done there for the past two years; and there is great need of active missionary work being done there.
The work of the Reorganized Church in Utah never needed more careful and wise effort than now. The events of the past year have been peculiar and favorable for a better hearing for our cause than for years back; and we believe the work should be continued there.
The circumstances surrounding the laborers in the field during the year have been conducive to an increase of knowledge regarding the history of the church in the past, and of the work demanded of the eldership. They have also tended to a better understanding among the
laborers, and consequently to a better unity of opinion and feeling than has heretofore existed.
The attitude of the Government toward Utah calls for the most careful consideration and wise action on our part, that we may avoid undue prejudice against the people of the Territory on the one part, and undue zeal as citizens of the United States, on the other part, by which our attitude of advisers of that which is good to those suffering justly under the laws may not be put in jeopardy.
We are not advised of any change to be made in the quorums, not having received direction in this regard.
We do not deem it wise that there should be any change in the mission fields of the general officers of the church, so far as we are informed. In all of them we believe good and efficient work has been done. Commending the work to the care of the Master we are, in Christ, your servants,
KIRTLAND, Ohio, April 6, 1887. W. W. BLAIR
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 31., p. 292.
The following missionaries were present and reported: J. H. Lake, James Caffall, J. R. Lambert, E. C. Briggs, W. H. Kelley, John Smith, E. C. Brand, F. M. Sheehy, W. J. Smith, W. M. Rumel, R. C. Evans, Henry Kemp, D. S. Mills, L. R. Devore, Alfred White, John S. Roth, W. T. Bozarth, M. H. Bond, M. T. Short, G. T. Griffiths, E. A. Davies, R. S. Salyards, James A. McIntosh, R. M. Elvin, E. L. Kelley, Hiram Rathbun, J. J. Cornish, W. E. Peak, F. M. Cooper, R. J. Anthony, J. W. Gillen, F. C. Warnky.
Ministers reporting by letter: A. H. Smith, T. W. Smith, Joseph F. Burton, Heman C. Smith, Thomas Daly, I. N. White, James Moler, Duncan Campbell, A. J. Moore, I. N. Roberts, B. V. Springer, A. H. Parsons, H. N. Hansen, Peter Anderson, E. M. Wildermuth, Charles Derry, G. H. Hilliard, J. C. Foss, G. S. Hyde, J. L. Bear, C. Scott, Thomas Taylor, Samuel Brown, Albert Haws, J. R. Badham, A. J. Cato, G. T. Chute, H. C. Bronson, F. P. Scarcliff, H. H. Robinson, J. W. Wight.
The following communication from the Twelve was read on the 7th.
We, of the Quorum of the Twelve, report to your honorable body, that we are now ready and willing to transact such business as may be properly referred to us in our present condition, being but five in number. We note with gladness the progress made in the general work, but can but regret our inability to perform
important work, which seems so essential to the present and future safety and prosperity of the cause. We earnestly call your attention to the present condition of our quorum. We have but seven members, one of whom is in a distant land. Thus you will see that the second quorum of the church, as a quorum, does not exist in the land of America. Will your honorable body adopt such measures as you may deem proper, with a view to bettering our condition. We deem this as important a matter as can engage the attention of the conference; and we believe that God is willing to hear our prayer, and relieve us from this embarrassment.
JAMES CAFFALL, Acting Secretary.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 293.
Based upon the above report, the following preambles and resolution were adopted on the 8th.
Whereas, The depleted condition of the Quorum of the Twelve, and the important character of work needing to be done by it, has led the present members thereof to request this body to take some action regarding it, and
Whereas, They have expressed a belief that God is willing to hear and answer our prayers at this time regarding the matter, and
Whereas, The Quorum of Seventy have expressed anxiety in the same direction; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we unitedly ask the President of the church to present the case again before the Lord, and that we, also, go before the Lord in earnest, humble prayer and fasting, that he may give instruction regarding this matter, and all other matters representing present need for further revelation to his church.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 294.
Subsequently a resolution was passed setting apart Saturday, April 9, as a day of fasting and prayer for the purposes named. This day was so observed; and in answer to prayers offered a revelation was given on the 11th, in which James W. Gillen, Heman C. Smith, Joseph Luff, and Gomer T. Griffiths, were called to the office of apostles. Elders Gillen, Luff, and Griffiths were ordained at this conference; Elder Smith not being present did not receive ordination until a year later. This revelation also gave important instructions upon other subjects.
The revelation was presented to the several quorums. The First Presidency, the Twelve, and the Seventy, each reported that they had received the revelation by unanimous vote. It was also indorsed [endorsed] by First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of Elders; and by the body of elders not enrolled, or whose quorum was not
present. Also by the High Priests' Quorum, and by the body of priests, teachers, and deacons present. The document was read before the General Conference on the 12th, and the following resolution was adopted by the unanimous vote of the body, all members voting:
Resolved, That this conference as a body accept and indorse [endorse] the revelation presented to us as being the word of God, and additional direction by which we should walk in faith and truth before him.2
2To the Elders of the Church:
Thus saith the Spirit:
1. It is not yet expedient that the Quorum of the Twelve shall be filled; nevertheless, separate my servants, James W. Gillen, Heman C. Smith, Joseph Luff and Gomer T. Griffiths, unto the office of apostles, that the quorum may be more perfectly prepared to act before me. I have still other men of my church who shall be designated in their time if they still continue faithful unto me and in the work whereunto they are now called.
2. There is a great work to be done by mine elders, and that they may be fitted to do this work and the accomplishment thereof be not prevented, it is enjoined upon them that they shall not only be kind of heart and of a lowly spirit, that their wisdom may be the wisdom of the Lord and their strength the strength of the Spirit, but they shall lay aside lightness of speech and lightness of manner when standing to declare the word, and shall study to approve their ministrations to the people by candor in speech and courtesy in demeanor, that as ministers of the gospel they may win souls unto Christ.
3. The elders and men of the church should be of cheerful heart and countenance among themselves and in their intercourse with their neighbors and men of the world, yet they must be without blame in word and deed. It is therefore not seemly that they indulge in loud and boisterous speech, or in the relating of coarse and vulgar stories, or those in which the names of their God and their Redeemer are blasphemed. Men of God, who bear the vessels of the Lord, be ye clean in your bodies and in your clothing; let your garments be of a sober character and free from excess of ornamentation. Avoid the use of tobacco and be not addicted to strong drink in any form, that your counsel to be temperate may be made effectual by your example.
4. That the work of restoration to which the people of my church are looking forward may be hastened in its time, the elders must cease to be overcareful concerning the return of those who were once of the faith but were overcome in the dark and cloudy day, fearing lest they should bring in hidden heresies to the overthrowing of the work; for verily, there are some who are chosen vessels to do good, who have been estranged by the hindering snares which are in the world and who will in due time return unto the Lord if they be not hindered by the men of the church. The Spirit says "Come;" let not the ministers for Christ prevent their coming.
5. And the Spirit saith further: Contention is unseemly, therefore, cease to contend respecting the sacrament and the time of administering it; for whether it be upon the first Lord's day of every month, or upon the Lord's day of every week, if it be administered by the officers of the church with sincerity of heart and in purity of purpose, and be partaken of in remembrance of Jesus Christ and in willingness to take upon them his name by them who partake, it is acceptable to God. To avoid confusion let him who presides in the sacrament meeting, and those who administer it cause that the emblems be duly prepared upon clean vessels for the bread and clean vessels for the wine, or the water, as may be expedient; and the officer may break the bread before it is blessed, and pour the wine before it is blessed; or he may, if he be so led, bless the bread before it be broken and the wine before it be poured; nevertheless both bread and wine should be uncovered when presented for the blessing to be asked upon it. It Is expedient that the bread and wine should be administered in the early part of the meeting before weariness and confusion ensue. Let him that partaketh and him that refraineth cease to contend
Upon the request of Decatur District Elder John Shippy was released from silence, and restored to the privileges of an elder.
The committee on amendments to chapter thirteen of the Book of Rules, reported, and the report was deferred for one year and made the special order for the third day of the next General Conference.
The committee appointed in 1886 to visit Elder J. W. Briggs, former historian of the church, to obtain from him manuscript of history prepared by him, reported:
with his brother that each may be benefited when he eateth at the table of the Lord.
6. The service of song in the house of the Lord with humility and unity of spirit in them that sing and them that hear is blessed, and acceptable with God; but song with grievous sadness in them that sing and bitterness of spirit in them that hear is not pleasing to God. Therefore, in all the congregations of the people of God, let all strife and contention concerning song service cease; and that the worship in the house of the Lord may be complete and wholly acceptable, let them who shall be moved thereto by a desire and the gift to sing take upon them the burden and care of the service, and use therein instruments of music of the reed and of the string, or instruments of brass in congregations that are large, and as wisdom and choice may direct. Let the young men and the maidens cultivate the gifts of music and of song; let not the middle-aged and the old forget the gladsomeness of their youth and let them aid and assist so far as their cares will permit; and remember that saints should be cheerful in their warfare that they may be joyous in their triumph. Nevertheless, let the organ and the stringed instrument, and the instrument of brass be silent when the Saints assemble for prayer and testimony, that the feelings of the tender and the sad may not be intruded upon. To facilitate unity in the song service of the church those to whom the work of providing a book of song has been intrusted may hasten their work in its time.
7. And the Spirit saith farther: Inasmuch as there has been much discussion in the past concerning the Sabbath of the Lord, the church is admonished that until further revelation is received, or the quorums of the church are assembled to decide concerning the law in the church articles and covenants, the Saints are to observe the first day of the week commonly called the Lord's day, as a day of rest: as a day of worship, as given in the covenants and commandments. And on this day they should refrain from unnecessary work; nevertheless, nothing should be permitted to go to waste on that day, nor should necessary work be neglected. Be not harsh in judgment but merciful in this, as in all other things. Be not hypocrites nor of those who make a man an offender for a word.
8. Prosecute the missionary work in this land and abroad so far and so widely as you may. All are called according to the gifts of God unto them; and to the intent that all may labor together, let him that laboreth in the ministry and him that toileth in the affairs of the men of business and of work labor together with God for the accomplishment of the work intrusted to all.
9. Be clean, be frugal, cease to complain of pain and sickness and distress of body; take sleep in the hours set apart by God for the rebuilding and strengthening of the body and mind; for even now there are some, even among the elders, who are suffering in mind and body, who have disregarded the advice of the Spirit to retire early and to rise early that vigor of mind and body should be retained. Bear the burdens of body of which the Spirit of healing from the Lord in faith, or the use of that which wisdom directs does not relieve or remove, and in cheerfulness do whatever may be permitted you to perform that the blessing of peace may be upon all. Amen.
KIRTLAND, Ohio, April 11, 1887.
We, your committee appointed to wait upon Bro. J. W. Briggs, church historian, with a view to get possession of the manuscript in his possession of church history, beg leave to report as follows:
That two of the committee waited on Bro. Briggs, immediately after the April session of conference of 1886. They were kindly received by him, and he appeared to be in a pleasant mood, and talked freely on church matters.
Regarding the manuscript in his possession he manifested a willingness to put it into the hands of the church; provided he had security, or assurance, that it would be published substantially as written; but entertaining a suspicion, or belief, that it is the determination of some that it shall not be so published, he declines in the following language in a recent communication to give up the manuscript:
"Your kindly expressions of good wishes are appreciated; and were it your committee with E. L. and others of like spirit and purpose I could easily comply with the wishes expressed in regard to the manuscript of history. But it is the conference, whose majority I have hitherto (and still do) arraign for inconsistency and injustice. That majority, the creature of caucus and intrigue, is the party you represent and to whom you must report and deliver whatever is delivered to you. Under these circumstances I must decline to accede to your wishes, but with naught but kindly feelings toward your committee.
J. W. BRIGGS."
WM. H. KELLEY,
J. R. LAMBERT,
E. C. BRIGGS, Committee.
-The Saints'' Herald, vol. 34, pp. 296, 297.
This report was spread upon the minutes and the committee was discharged.
Subsequently, in December, 1896, the manuscript in the hands of Elder Jason W. Briggs was upon request turned over to Heman C. Smith, one of the committee on history, with the proviso that it could be used for information in any form desired, except that if it was published as Elder Briggs' production it should be published as written, he expressing himself that the former would be preferable to him, and his preference was followed.
On the 12th a letter was presented and read from Elder M. H. Forscutt, from Omaha, Nebraska, asking forgiveness of the conference for action taken in the conference of 1886.
On motion the request was granted; and he was relieved of disability.
Bishop Blakeslee in his financial report incorporated a letter
from Mrs. M. Walker, editor of Zion's Hope, representing the Home Column and Missionary Fund, from November 27, 1886, to March 26, 1887, a period covering not quite four months, accompanied by a draft of $411.41, and in behalf of the donors of this fund asked that no elder addicted to the use of tobacco be a recipient of any part of this fund. She also stated that very many who had contributed to this fund, had expressed earnest desire that the elders should manifest greater interest in the spiritual welfare of the sheep and lambs within the fold.
The Quorums of High Priests, Seventy, and several of the quorums of elders reported, showing changes in the quorums as follows:
The Seventy had expelled John S. Patterson from the quorum.
The First Quorum of Elders had enrolled Thomas J. Beatty, James Moler, L. W. Torrence, Charles Coombs, John Taylor, Ephraim Thomas, David S. Holmes and Marcus Shaw.
The committee on examination of the financial statement of the Board of Publication were instructed to inquire in regard to the number of employees in the Herald Office and the wages paid; and in their report, in addition to reporting on the financial accounts, they said:
We made the inquiry as directed in the resolution of the conference as to the number of employees of the Herald Office, and the wages paid: There are eleven persons employed, and we believe that it is not practicable to successfully continue the power of the press for good with a less number. Concerning the question of wages, we believe them to be not excessive.
The committee on compilation and publication of resolutions of General Conference reported. It expressed the opinion that the resolutions should be printed in book form and in the order of their dates. This was finally referred to the Board of Publication with authority to compile and publish if deemed best by them, and the committee was discharged.
The committee on Temple repairs, William H. Kelley and George A. Blakeslee, reported. The summary of their report is as follows:
1. The plastering on the outside walls of the building has been replaced where needed, in order to protect and preserve the house.
2. The building has been newly plastered throughout except that part of the walls where the plastering was put on the stone wall, and this was pecked and a new putty-coat put on.
3. The doors, windows, and partitions are restored in the third story and doors in the second.
4. The pulpits, seats and ornaments in the second audience room have been restored, and the room painted and finished, except the gold leaf on the pulpits.
5. The stairway has been fully restored, with its ornaments, and newly painted.
6. A furnace has been placed in the building, ample to warm it, and pipes and flues and registers arranged for use.
7. New chimneys were built, and out of new material
8. Glazing of all the windows in the building.
9. Ten dozen chairs for seating it.
This report was received, the committee discharged, and the entire matter turned over to the Bishopric, and they were authorized to solicit donations to pay the amount due on the repairs made, and continue the work unto completion.
The Bishop stated that there was a sum accrued of $500 now due; and he was authorized to pay this sum from the general fund of the church, to be refunded by donation.
The following missions were appointed by the Twelve with the advice of the First Presidency and Bishopric: T. W. Smith, Australian Mission. James Caffall, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming Territory. W. H. Kelley, E. C. Briggs, G. T. Griffiths, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and New England States. J. H. Lake, Canada Mission. J. R. Lambert and Joseph Luff, Missouri and Iowa. Alexander H. Smith, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, and Manitoba. Heman C. Smith, Pacific Slope Mission. I. N. Roberts, Southwestern Mission. I. N. White, Independence District, Missouri. R. J. Anthony, Rocky Mountain Mission. J. C. Clapp, Rocky Mountain Mission. Thomas Taylor, English Mission. Thomas E. Jenkins, Welsh Mission. Joseph F. Burton, Australian Mission. Willard J. Smith, London District, Canada Mission. R. C. Evans, London District, Canada Mission. W. T. Bozarth, Far West, Missouri. J. S. Roth,
Des Moines and Eastern Iowa Districts. John C. Foss, Minnesota till fall, then in Missouri. Henry Kemp, Fremont District, Iowa. B. V. Springer, Michigan and Northern Indiana. R. S. Salyards, Pittsburg [Pittsburgh] and Kirtland District. M. H. Bond, Massachusetts District. Duncan Campbell, Decatur District, Iowa. A. J. Moore, Nodaway District, Missouri. L. R. Devore, Southeastern Ohio and West Virginia District. W. M. Rumel, in Nebraska. M. T. Short, Northern Illinois. F. M. Sheehy, Maine. Columbus Scott, Michigan and Northern Indiana. Charles Derry, Little Sioux and Garlands Grove Districts, Iowa. J. H. Merriam, Kent and Elgin District, Ontario. Alfred White, Independence District, Missouri. E. A. Davies requested to labor in the Spring River District. James McKiernan, Nauvoo and String Prairie District. Peter Anderson, Rocky Mountain Mission. Thomas Whiting, Massachusetts District. E. C. Brand, Des Moines District, Iowa. James A. McIntosh, London District, Canada Mission. D. S. Mills, Southern California District, and requested to labor for two or three months at Elko City and Carson City, Nevada, and vicinity. J. J. Cornish, Northern Michigan. J. W. Wight, Little Sioux District, Iowa. W. E. Peak, Gallands Grove District, Iowa. I. M. Smith, Southeastern Illinois District. R. M. Elvin, Nebraska. H. Rathbun, Michigan District. A. H. Parsons, Northwestern Kansas District. James Brown, Pittsburg [Pittsburgh] and Kirtland District. H. H. Robinson, Independence and Central Missouri Districts. E. A. Stedman, Southern Minnesota. Albert Haws, Pacific Slope Mission. J. R. Badham, Southern California. Leonard Scott, Southern Indiana and Michigan Districts. Nicholas Stamm, Central Iowa. James Thomas, Nodaway District, Missouri. Samuel Brown, London District, Canada. C. Coombs, Massachusetts District. J. R. Cook, Pacific Slope Mission. U. W. Greene, Western Maine and Nova Scotia. F. P. Scarcliff, Mobile District, Alabama. Thomas Matthews, Southeastern Ohio and West Virginia District. James Molar, and T. J. Beatty, Southeastern Ohio and West Virginia. F. M. Cooper, Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. J. D. Jones, Welsh Mission. James G. Scott, Southern Indiana. Stephen Maloney,
Southeastern Kansas and Indian Territory. James W. Gillen, St. Louis District. John Smith, Massachusetts District. C. G. Lanphear, New York State.
Those who were present of the Quorum of Twelve remained at Kirtland after adjournment, and on April 21 issued an epistle which was published in the Herald for May 7, 1887, setting forth the duties of presidents of districts and branches, and giving information in regard to other matters of importance. This epistle met with considerable opposition and was widely discussed during the year following.
Under date of April 25, Elder James Baty wrote from Manchester, England, giving an account of the progress of the work there. Among other things he said:
We have just concluded one of the best conferences ever held in this district. Peace and harmony prevailed. Business got through without a jar. And the devotional and preaching services were acknowledged by our heavenly Father. The testimonies were soul-inspiring and the preaching was with power and demonstration of the Spirit. The attendance was good and the attention excellent, and we believe a great good was done to the people of Sheffield. The reports from the branches show the work in good condition and the prospect good.
In the Herald for April 30 the editor comments on the Kirtland conference as follows:
One of the best sessions of conference we ever attended was held in Kirtland from April 6 to 14 inclusive. Unity, with but slight exceptions, prevailed from first to last, and the peace and love of Christ seemed to pervade every heart. The topics treated by those who preached were timely, and were delivered with divine grace and wisdom. The prayer and testimony meetings were seasons of gladness, and were marked by a large endowment of the Holy Spirit. The council meetings proved fruitful of good results and tended largely to expedite conference business. The Saints and friends vied with each other in making the occasion most pleasant to all.
The repairs on the Temple rendered it neat and attractive, making it a significant type of the work of the restoration going on among the Saints in cleaning away the filth and rubbish of the latter-day apostasy, and in repairing the breaches made by the unfaithful builders on the foundations laid of God in the organization and establishment of his church in this last dispensation. "Great events cast their shadows before." When the revelation of April 11 was read, explained, and then adopted by a rising vote, quorum after quorum, and then by the entire assembly; and when
after that the entire assembly, standing, sang "We thank thee, O God, for a prophet," followed by "Old Hundred," the very dome of the Temple answered back the swelling, heart-felt melody that poured forth in one inspired volume, and the Holy Spirit bore witness of heaven's acceptance of the work of that important and blessed occasion. God was there.
The reports of the ministry from nearly all quarters were most encouraging, and all indications pointed forward to a glorious future for the church near at hand.
We have no hesitancy in saying that the outlook for the church was never before so bright as now, and that if the ministry and membership press steadily forward as best they can, in the spirit of love and godly zeal, wonderful victories for Christ and his people will be won in all parts of the land.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 273.
May 11, 1887, Elder Wheeler Baldwin died at the residence of his daughter, six miles north of Stewartsville, Missouri, at the age of ninety-four years. Elder Baldwin was one of the early defenders of the church, uniting therewith on January 8, 1831, in Ohio. He was ordained to the office of high priest June 4, 1831, and was one of the elders who went up to Independence soon after, at the time that the land of Zion was dedicated and the corner-stone of the temple laid. He had constantly adhered to the faith he embraced so long ago.
As a fitting conclusion to this chapter we quote the following article under the title of "What has the Reorganization done?" by President Joseph Smith:
It has saved the faith of hundreds in original Mormonism.
It has proved that evil, wrong-doing, crime, and debauchery do not justly belong in the faith and practice to Latter Day Saints.
It has restored the confidence of hundreds in their fellow men, and shown that a man may be clothed upon with the priesthood, or authority to act in the name of Christ, without being given to evil practices by which his fellows are wronged and defrauded.
It has sent its elders into nearly all parts of the United States where the early elders of the church had gone, and there set about the work of redeeming the name of the church from the odium cast upon it by the advocates and practicers of polygamy.
It has won respect for its doctrines in those places where its elders have been heard.
It is spreading the doctrines of primitive Mormonism in every place where elders can go, and in doing this it has made clear the difference between Utah Mormonism and the primitive faith of the church.
It has built up, since 1860, over four hundred branches, extending from
Maine to New Mexico, and from Oregon to Florida, in England, Wales, Tahiti, and Australia.
It has made the name of Latter Day Saint honorable in places where it was a hiss and a byword, and has been the instrument of fulfilling the word of the Lord, "and ye shall find favor in the eyes of the people."
It has so wrought that its elders are able to stand up in defense of its truths without a cringing sense of shame of the name they bear.
It has kept its public pledges to advocate the truth and insist that honesty is not only the best, but is the only policy that will establish men.
It has an almost empty treasury, but its Bishopric can sleep in peace because their coffers hold no ill-gotten gains, and its officers do not fear the just complaint of wronged and oppressed comrades.
It has built no temples, but it has gathered together bands of believers into the "regions round about," who have no "milk of the Gentiles" to turn sour on their hands.
It has consecrated the individual labors of hundreds of faithful, honest men, but has not "consecrated" the wealth of others, nor of the "cattle on a thousand hills," without giving an equivalent in honest compensation therefor.
It has built "houses of worship" in places where its members dwell, and where they have sung, prayed, and worshiped [worshipped] God after the manner their neighbors call heresy, but have maintained their integrity during it all.
It is carefully and steadily gaining ground everywhere, and the "Lord confirms the word."
It has built up a publishing house worth many thousands of dollars, and is using it to spread the truth.
It has published and given to the Saints and the world, "in the own due time of the Lord," the Inspired Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the most valuable uncompleted (incomplete in the sense that it was not published in his lifetime) work of Joseph the Martyr.
It has placed the Scriptures, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants before the world, as containing the word of God, and has maintained them there honorably and consistently.
It has through the instrumentality of those agencies which God sometimes employes [employs], to bring his purposes to pass, discovered and placed before the Saints and the public, what is evidently the long lost "Manuscript Found," which the opposers of the latter-day work have so industriously urged as the origin of the Book of Mormon; and which is proved to be a clumsy attempt to account for the settlement of this, or some other land, by a class of mariners cast away from their vessel which was lost. By making this discovery and publishing the Manuscript the Reorganization has definitely shown that the Book of Mormon did not originate with Reverend Solomon Spalding.
It has so labored and so lived, that the places whence the Saints were driven in the years gone by are open to their return, and the inhabitants
thereof are asking the Saints to come in and dwell with them, thereby making practicable the fulfillment of the prophecy, which states that the "waste places of Zion shall be rebuilt."
It has made a happy and a smiling people of those cast down oppressed with care and well-nigh hopeless.
It is driving out the spirit of unrest and disquiet, so long resident in the hearts of Saints, and is filling its place with rest and quiet, causing them to begin to drive the corner stakes, plant the hearthstones, and raise the rooftrees of permanent homes in which "Zion, the pure in heart," may dwell in peace and safety; and by God's blessing they will continue to do this, until "Zion and her borders be full."
It is striving in all its parts to make the name of Saint honorable, its faith permanent, and its practices lawful; and although there are in places contention and strife, they are in contravention and disregard of rule, not in accordance with it.
It has won a standing place in the arena of the world's great strife, and has demonstrated that its advocates are worthy to "fight the good fight of the faith," unto success.
It has, by dint of the "perseverance of the Saints," gained so great coignes of vantage against the common enemy, that those not of the faith are gladly willing that the elders shall defend the Christian philosophy against the assaults of unbelief.
It has restored the only temple built by the Saints and accepted of God, after those who claimed to be true defenders of the latter-day work had left it to be desecrated by careless and indifferent hands, a place for the bats and a shelter for sheep.
It has proved by precept and example, that loyalty to the commands of God given to the church does not require men to be disloyal to the government which God caused to be instituted for the very purpose of the development of his church.
It has so far kept the commands of the Lord that they who are bearing the burden of the ministry have confidence to approach him and ask that they be further directed in their work; and they are encouraged in their work by the fact that he hears and answers their requests.
Those who are looking on and denouncing us for not doing more, may read this with profit, and be content.
The above enables the Saints to see that the "kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal;" and that its work of enlightening and converting souls is still blessed of God.
It likewise proves that the Saints, though not of the world, may yet live in the world, and be preserved, prospered, honored, and blessed, if they are just and faithful.
The church of the living God is moving. Let the Saints take courage and go forward to victory, triumphing in the Lord.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 337.
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