DEFENSE OF THE REORGANIZED CHURCH OF JESUS
CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS AND REPLY
TO JOSEPH F. SMITH, JR.
BY ALVIN KNISLEY.
(The following was written in reply to a book written by Joseph F. Smith, Jr., and published in 1897 [1907 – J.D.], in Salt Lake City, entitled, Origin of the “Reorganized” church; The Question of Succession. If anything in Mr. Smith’s book has escaped our notice in reviewing him it has either been because we considered it unworthy of notice or because it is dealt with in answer to other publications they have published against us. The Mormon church has hitherto issued its Succession in the Presidency of the Church, and its Priesthood and Presidency, written respectively by Messrs. Roberts and Penrose, and both anent our organization and our claims. These two books have been replied to by men of our ministry, said replies being headed True Succession in the Presidency of the Church, and The Legal Successor in the Presidency of the Church.)
The first ten or eleven pages of Mr. Smith’s production consists of an effort to prove: that Senator Burrows made misstatements in the United States Senate; that the majority of the original church followed Brigham Young; that those who would not follow Brigham Young forsook the church; that few joined the Reorganization.
We will not discuss the statistical aspect of the case, for whether one twentieth or nineteen twentieths of the original membership followed Brigham Young does not to any material extent affect the real issue, which is: Who should succeed Joseph Smith, his son or Brigham Young? The proving of either proposition puts the matter at rest. If more had followed young Joseph than Brigham Young, the most that we, on that account, could be justified in saying is, that more believed he was right. If more followed Brigham Young than young Joseph, it would not follow by any means that he was right, but it would follow that more believed he was right. But what we could say on this could be but repetitional in view of the extent to which it has been controverted and the many available and authoritative documents thereon, in our Church History and Elder Heman C. Smith’s True Succession; in view of the decisiveness of which, anent our opponent’s statements, we must acknowledge some surprise that he has thus put himself on record.
DATE OF THE REORGANIZATION.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr., (p. 11). – Properly it [Reorganization] did not come into existence until 1860 – sixteen years after the martyrdom.
Response: If by coming into existence he means reorganization, it more properly came into existence in 1853 when it was actually reorganized and when a majority of the Quorum of Twelve were chosen and ordained. The ordination of Joseph Smith to the presidency of the high priesthood and his appointment to the presidency of the church – which event marks 1860 – was but a step, a single step, in the chain of events that perfected the organization of the church. Joseph the Martyr was not ordained to the presidency of the high priesthood – equivalent to presidency of the church – till 1832, yet all who believe the mission of Joseph Smith speak of the event of 1830 as an organization of the church. If, then, the church could be organized in 1830 without that office that came to its first elder in 1832, it is too apparent to be denied that upon the event of its disorganization it could be reorganized in 1853 without that which was conferred in 1860. Indeed, it is but a matter, in round numbers, of two years against seven. For the first seven years of the Reorganized Church it was without a president in the sense that it had one in 1860, but it had a temporary president chosen to represent the legal heir. For the first two years, approximately, following the organization of the original church, it was without a president in the sense that it had one in 1832. There was priesthood previous to 1830; so was there previous to 1853. There was this difference, however, that previous to 1830 there was no organized branch, whereas previous to and up to 1853 there was. The organization of the church was progressive in both stages.
JASON W. BRIGGS.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – It is said he [Jason W. Briggs] joined the church at Potasi, Wisconsin, about 1842, but we have no history of this man except as we get it through the records of the “Reorganization.”
Response: His only authority, the records of the Reorganization, (Church History, vol. 3, pp. 196, 737,) declare that he joined in 1841.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr., (p. 12). – About this same time  he [Jason W. Briggs] also organized the Beloit Branch of the same organization. [Reorganization.]
Response: On the very same page of our Church History referred to, along with this statement, and also on page 204 it most distinctly states that he organized the Beloit Branch in “1842 or 1843.”
CONFOUNDS THE GURLEYS.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – In 1886, together with the family of Zenos H. Gurley, Mr. Briggs withdrew from the “Reorganization,” which he had begotten.
Response: What Zenos H. Gurley is referred to?
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Zenos H. Gurley was more active in the church previous to the martyrdom.
Response: The Zenos H. Gurley who withdrew with Mr. Briggs was not in the church previous to the martyrdom. He was born in Illinois in 1842, only two years preceding the Carthage tragedy. He was the son of Zenos H. Gurley, Sr., who was connected with the rise of the Reorganization and died in its faith in 1871. The son apostatized, the father did not. The maker of the blunder can not protect himself under the reply that in these two references to Zenos H. Gurley quoted, reference is had to the two men; for on page 62 it is plainly represented that the Zenos H. Gurley who was in the early church apostatized. Considering the prominence that is given to the distinctness of these two men in our history, it is clear that little research was made by Joseph F. Smith, Jr., before he thrust his work on the public. While pointing out these errors is not much to our account, it is not a little to his discount. We hesitate to impugn his motive, but will be justified in questioning his reliability as we proceed.
“Which he had begotten.” The statement that Jason W. Briggs begat the Reorganized Church is not true. He was but one instrument among others.
MR. GURLEY AFTER THE MARTYRDOM.
The next two or three pages contain quotations from the minutes of the meetings of the Seventy in Nauvoo, of what Zenos H. Gurley is purported to have said in 1845 and 1846, and of what was said concerning him; how he condoned some of the movements and performances of church officials which he afterward looked upon as steps in the downward march of apostasy. All this proves is that Mr. Gurley at one time believed to be right what he afterward believed to be wrong, a very common experience and one from which no man on earth can claim exemption. This is, if Elder Gurley said what is ascribed to him.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. (p. 14). – Here is the testimony of Zenos H. Gurley in relation to the temple ceremonies when he was in full fellowship in the church and was in possession of the spirit of his calling.
Response: But his fullness of fellowship was in a church that was at that time instituting proceedings the lawfulness of which is in question, and which was questioned by Mr. Gurley himself in after years. The intactness of the church at that time, that it was in lawful continuity, is not to be assumed, but to be proved, for it is a direct issue between us.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – At that time he declared most emphatically that on that occasion the Spirit of the Lord was unusual in its outpouring.
Response: Undoubtedly he believed they had the Spirit; and like honest Methodists, Dowieites, and others in the dark, according to the integrity of their hearts, inasmuch as they were honest, maybe they did receive it. We notice that Mr. Smith quotes Gurley in the third person.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – What became of him?
Response. – He remained faithful to the last, a member of the church, until his death.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Because he had not root he withered away.
Response. – Because he had root he refused to follow Brigham Young.
ORIGIN OF THE REORGANIZATION.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – We have already seen that Jason W. Briggs raised up the Waukesha Branch of the Strangite Church in 1849.
Response. – This affirmation is not borne out by our Church History which is confessedly the source of information. It says (on p. 204) that the Waukesha Branch was organized by Jason W. Briggs in 1842 or 1843, and on pages 736, 737 it says that he and Elder Wright organized “a branch at Waukesha”; but the historian is uncertain whether the second was a separate branch or a reorganization of the former one.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Also that he raised up the Beloit Branch for the same organization.
Response. – Which we have already seen is a misrepresentation of facts, as Beloit Branch was organized and presided over by Mr. Briggs in the Martyr’s time.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – And now we have the admission, fatal to their organization, that the Yellowstone Branch was also raised up to Mr. James J. Strang.
Response. – The fatality, of course, consisting in said branch being organized by men or by a man who was for the time being in honest darkness, in the twilight of uncertainty, hoping for developments, but who held the priesthood from the Martyr’s day. Yes, we acknowledge that Yellowstone Branch was organized by Mr. Gurley while he was a follower of Strang. Like Briggs and Marks, his connection with the church had never been severed, he had never been cited to any trial. There had never been an attempt to take from him the priesthood which had been conferred upon him, as admitted. He held the priesthood, he had not been silenced. If his administrations were valid the objection is at once removed. If they were not valid, it must be either because he had not the priesthood, or having it, had not the right of its exercise. The loss of the power of the priesthood is invariably due to transgression. The loss of the power of its exercise is generally due to transgression; the exception being in the event where one is silenced or suspended from officiating, who, though not in transgression, is supposed to be in transgression by his superior or fellow officer who thus restrains him, pending inquiry. I presume that is a rule with the Utah church as well as with us, as also with other ecclesiastical judicatories. The ministrations of him who persists in administering while in this condition are void.
Now, our opponent will scarcely urge on the invalidity of Mr. Gurley’s administration from the latter standpoint. He knows that Mr. Gurley was the subject of no such suspension by coordinate or superior, for transgression either real or supposed. He knows that if Mr. Gurley experienced the loss that the hypothesis imputes to him that it was attributable to no such an agency. The matter therefore resolves itself into the question of the forfeiture of his priesthood by persistency in personal transgression. This is his only alternative. Let me ask, Of what did his transgression consist? Will he venture to point to one single immorality of the man? What have the Utah people laid to his charge in the catalogue of crime? Of what is he accusable? Here is the answer our opponent doubtless will make: He went with Strang. In other words, he for a little while believed that to be true which was not true. That is the last little string to hang on. Why does not Mr. Smith instead of using such specious sophistry, always come right back home when he gets this far and say? He lost the priesthood because he did not follow Brigham Young. But he attempted to reason it from the other standpoint, and from the other standpoint we meet him.
The organization of Yellowstone Branch was not by virtue of authority derived from Mr. Strang, but by virtue of authority invested in Mr. Gurley in the days of the Prophet Joseph. If to be in error for a time will deprive a man of the priesthood, then we could wish to know to what extent he must be in error ere he becomes liable to such deprivation. Are we to understand that a man loses the power of the priesthood every time he gives temporary lodgment to a wrong theory? If so, what are we to say of the many men in the Utah church among whom doctrinal divergences have arisen?
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – They never were connected with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, according to their own admission, but were organized for the church of James J. Strang.
Response. – “According to their own admission.” We will read from our Church History (3:204) from which Mr. Smith professes to get his information, what our own admission is:
Some of these [branches] were organized before Joseph’s death, and presided over by men holding authority under him, including the one at Beloit, Wisconsin, organized in 1843, over which Jason W. Briggs presided; one at Waukesha, Wisconsin, also organized in 1842 or 1843; and one organized later at Yellowstone, Wisconsin, of which Elder Zenos H. Gurley, Sr., and Hiram P. Brown were the organizers, and, Elder Gurley president; and finally one near Jeffersonville, Illinois; which was organized several years before the death of the Martyrs, and continued in an organized condition until united with the Reorganization; presided over through all the dark days by Elder Thomas P. Green.
Comment is needless. We merely invite the reader’s comparison of the above quotation with the assertions of Mr. Smith who professes the treatment of these facts according to their relation in our own records, and who says (p. 16): “I prefer to read to you the account from the History of the ‘Reorganized’ Church, for you know then we will have it correct.”
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Yet mark you, these Strangite branches were admitted into what was called the “New Organization,” or the “Reorganization,” on their original baptisms.
Response. – Those were received whose original baptisms had been performed either previous to 1844 or by men who held authority previous to 1844.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – It is quite evident that the Reorganization is the offspring of the church of this man, James J. Strang.
Response. – And yet the priesthood of not one of its members originated with Strang, and every one of its branches were either organized before the inception of Strang’s church or by virtue of priesthood bestowed before the inception of Strang’s church. The last is the first use made by Mr. Smith of Reorganization without quote marks. Has he not committed himself here?
THE APOSTASY OF JASON W. BRIGGS.
On pages 17-20, Mr. Smith lays much stress on the apostasy of Jason W. Briggs and his repudiation of some of the principles which had formerly had his acquiescence. But, let us ask, Is it any more remarkable that the Reorganized Church should have its apostates than the original church, or the Utah church, or the primitive Christian church, or any other church, for that matter?
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Thus he [Briggs] repudiates his “revelation,” denies the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and repudiates the standard works of the church.
Response. – Too sweeping, too sweeping. Our critic proceeds as a man who sees but one side of the question, and with an impetuosity, whether affected or real, that he certainly does not control. It is not the chivalry of an honorable disputant to ascribe motives; but I will not be wanting in the amenities of a truth-loving polemic when I say that he is anything but a dispassionate investigator. If he will read again the several articles he quotes from Mr. Briggs, he will not find one to bear out either the second or third assertion in his sentence, unqualified as they are. Mr. Briggs denies certain things that were believed by the church – like many Mormons we meet here in Utah and Idaho, which I say not reflectively. He specified one or more portions of the Doctrine and Covenants that he did not believe in. Instead of attempting to throw it out of the Doctrine and Covenants he simply said he did not believe in it. The very fact that he specified something in the Doctrine and Covenants that he did not believe in, is evidence that there is something there that he did believe in, else where the propriety of the specification? If he believed even one section out of what was in excess of one hundred, both as its genuineness and authenticity, it would necessarily follow that he believed to an extent in the mission of Joseph Smith through whom it was given, and in that case Joseph F. Smith, Jr., could not truthfully use the language he did in describing Brigg’s attitude toward the standard works of the church. The Hedrickites disbelieve in some things that he disbelieved in, they regard Joseph as a fallen prophet, yet we could not in full conformity with truth, put ourselves on record as declaring that they deny the divine mission of Joseph Smith and repudiate the standard works of the church. Mr. Briggs denied the plenary inspiration of the sacred books; but that is neither a denial of the authenticity, or of the partiality of their inspiration.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Unstable to the last this man would not rest content in the organization which he was such a potent instrument in bringing into existence.
Response. – Let us see. He became an apostle of the Reorganized Church in 1853, with which inceptive movement he was connected a year or two earlier. He did not withdraw from the church till 1886. There were thus about thirty-four years, nearly all of which were spent in the active ministry, at home and abroad, in America and in foreign fields, baptizing Gentiles and many Mormons, defending the church with pen and voice. He was an apostle in the church for thirty-three years. I think that is a pretty good example of stability. The average age that humanity attains to is just the period of time or little in excess of that in which Jason W. Briggs was singly devoted to the interests of the Reorganized Church. If unstable and discontented to the last, he could not have been stable and contented for a generation preceding the “last.” If stable and contented for upwards of thirty years preceding the last (1886), then Mr. Smith uttered an untruth, then he reflected a falsehood, when he said Briggs was “unstable” and discontent “to the last.” Why not tell the truth about him even though an “apostate”? I see no excuse for reflecting on his stability any part of his life. If he stepped momentarily aside from his path in the early part of his life it was because his north star was obscured by a cloud he could not avoid; but as soon as the cloud disappeared and his guiding star was again visible, he resumed his pathway. No lack of stability there. It was his stability, if it may become my turn to indulge an assertion, that kept him from Utah, that placed him in the Reorganization, and made him an effective worker in the same for a length of time that is creditable to any man. Joseph [F. – J.D.] Smith, Jr., should tell the truth, even about the dead.
QUESTION OF REJECTION.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr., (p. 19). – We now come to the question of the rejection of the church.
Response. – A very important question to come to.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Our friends tell us that the church was rejected for the reason that they failed to complete the Nauvoo Temple “in the sufficient time granted by the Lord.”
Response. – Yes; and for other failures as well.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – They say that the temple was not finished.
Response. – Correct. And the confessions of many Mormon authorities contribute to prove it.
He makes a quotation from the President of the Reorganization and then says:
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – In reply to this it is only necessary to say that it made no difference whether the temple was finished or not.
Response. – Which is equivalent to saying that it made no difference whether they obeyed the command to build it or not. The Twelve understood it quite differently when they published their epistle in the Times and Seasons, December 15, 1841, wherein they said:
If this building is not completed speedily “we shall be rejected as a church with our dead,” for the Lord our God has spoken it.
It had not only to be completed, but “speedily,” according to their idea. Where had “the Lord our God spoken it”? Why, in the revelation, of course, which had been given but the month previous to this epistle, (section 107 in our book and 124 in Utah edition,) the only revelation which speaks of the possibility of the rejection of the church with its dead. And the Martyr himself said if there was any one thing more than another that the Saints were interested in, “it is in the completion of that edifice”; and,
The word of the Lord is build my house, and until that command is fulfilled we stand responsible to the great Jehovah for the fulfillment of it, and if not done in due time we may have to share the same fate that we have heretofore done in Missouri.
These quotations are found in Times and Seasons, 3:937, 939. Although the Utah church and the Reorganized Church are diametrically opposed to each other I can without hesitancy grant unto Mr. Smith this: that whether the Twelve and the Martyr were right or wrong, or whether he is right or wrong, he has the ability to see that he is at variance with them, that the position he takes is the very antithesis to the one they take. But, it is not so much a question of what they say as to what the revelation says. The revelation (in section referred to) commands them to build a temple, gives them a sufficient length of time to do it; and declares that if they did not the work assigned to them in the sufficient time they should be rejected as a church.
But Mr. Joseph F. Smith, Jr., continues.
DILIGENCE ON THE NAUVOO TEMPLE.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – The revelation of January 19, 1841, provided, “That when I [the Lord] give a commandment to any of the sons of men, to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might, and with all they have, to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them, and hinder them from performing that work; behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offering.” No sane man will dare say that the Saints were not hindered by their enemies from the building of the Nauvoo Temple, both before and after the martyrdom.
Response. – No; and no sane man will read the revelation of January 19, in which they were commanded to build it without seeing that their hindrance could only result from their transgression, in which case they could not claim immunity from the consequences determined. The portion of the revelation quoted by Mr. Smith declares that immunity from the consequences of not obeying a command only obtains when the “sons of men go with all their might, and with all they have, to perform that work, and cease not their diligence.” In order then that they might be exempt, they must proceed with that degree of assiduity the Lord had prescribed. The questions immediately arise, Did they do this? Did they begin with it at the right time and were they properly persistent throughout?
But it is not merely a question of diligence, i.e., in the temple work; in which rejection was to follow their neglect of diligence. For it is conceivable how they might have been ever so diligent in that particular work and yet sinned in some other respect so as to merit the disapprobation of God, even to their rejection.
I hold that in view of certain provisions in the same revelation, their being hindered from the completion of the task assigned is inconsiderable. Notwithstanding the fact that he said to them that there was immunity for his people if hindered from a work to which they were faithfully applied, if it can be proved that in this particular instance he promised them if faithful they would not be hindered, or words to that effect, then we know assuredly that inasmuch as the work was not duly executed, they were not as faithful as he required, in whatever their unfaithfulness consisted. Now, did the Lord make any such a promise? Indeed, he did. He said, I give you a sufficient length of time to do this work.
Also, we wish Mr. Smith to note, that the Lord in the same connection says, “If my people will hearken to my voice” they shall not be moved out of their place. Were they moved? Yes, they were cannonaded from Nauvoo, their enemies scattered them, some of them went to Utah. Now, was it because they had “hearkened,” or because they had not hearkened?
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Nevertheless, I maintain that they were diligent in their labors as the following references will show, furthermore that the temple was completed.
Response. – We have pointed out that their diligence in the temple work alone would not save them. The Lord did not say if they were diligent therein they would not be rejected: he said if they were not diligent therein they would be rejected. To have made their rejection contingent exclusively on temple work would have screened them in whatever other misconduct they might have become guilty of. However, we wait the promised references.
“Temple was completed.” There is little object in proving that the temple was completed if it “makes no difference.”
Mr. Smith now makes a quotation from Joseph Smith in Times and Seasons, 3:775, “written in May, 1842,” in which he speaks of the rapid progress of the edifice at that time and the strenuous exertions being made by the Saints, and then Mr. Smith comments:
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – We have seen that the Saints were diligent up to May, 1842.
Response. – Not by any means, no such an indication. We have seen that they were diligent in May, 1842 – not up to. The corner-stone of that edifice had been laid April 6, 1841, over a year from the date of the quotation. Room for a great deal of lagging between those two periods of time.
The next quotation is from Hyrum Smith (no reference) at the April conference, 1844, who speaks of, as Joseph F. Smith puts it, the “willingness of the Saints to do the work as late as 1844.” Yes, but he does not say they had been willing up to 1844. From May, 1842, to April, 1844, (nearly two years,) afforded time to be guilty of lethargy and to falter enough to incur the penalty the fiat of the Lord had fixed.
Let us quote from Doctrine and Covenants (109 in ours, 127 in Utah edition,) dated September, 1842, between the dates of the two quotations, which proves that they were not sufficiently diligent at that time: “Let your diligence and your perseverance, and your patience, and your works be redoubled. Although their efforts at this time might have been sufficient in the eyes of the finite man they were not in the all-seeing eye of God, who, if they were, would rather have been silent or have praised them, than to command that they be redoubled. That, at least, makes one positive break in Mr. Smith’s chain of diligence.
His next quotation is from some one signing himself “C” in Times and Seasons for October 13, 1844, the very month that Brigham Young was sustained as “President of the Quorum of Twelve, and First Presidency of the church,” (ibid., 5:692,) who says the temple was rising fast and had an imposing appearance. Questionable authority; not necessarily proper diligence; no completion.
His next quotation is concerning the progress of the temple two months after what we regard as an apostate step in October. Then the quotations following all relate to events pertaining to the temple, its progress, the laying of the capstone, the conference therein of October 5, 1845, which took place after the disputable action of the conference in April, 1845, in accepting by vote, “the Twelve as the First Presidency and leaders of this church.” (Ibid., 6:869.)
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – There are other passages, but these ought to suffice on this point of the diligence of the Saints.
Response. – Suffice nothing. It is believable that our opponent used his strongest. He only produced two, from two authors, touching not the diligence, but the exertions or willingness of the Saints at two particular periods of time before the Prophet’s death, those periods being nearly two years apart; but I have shown where, between those periods, the Lord impliedly said they were not diligent. Diligence and desultoriness are in opposition.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – But some one will say, all this testimony is from those who are interested – from your friends.
Response. – Not all from your friends, for a portion of it is from Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The remainder is from your friends at the time when we believe the spirit of apostasy had taken deep root; as long as they were unrepentant of and persistent in which, their diligence in temple work, even with the completion of the temple, would not save them. Under the guilt of the action of April, 1845, and the preceding October, it would, indeed, so far as the consequences of completing or not completing the temple were concerned, make no difference whether they completed it or not.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Should we take the testimony of our enemies, those who are interested in our downfall, and who are not acquainted with the facts?
Response. – No; but if he expects his deductions to have any force with “Josephites” he must cite authorities that are acknowledged by them as well as himself. Or, he must by some process of reasoning establish the reliability of the criterion they call in question. To appeal to the authorities he does, after (at the latest) April, 1845, is to appeal to himself – virtually appealing to himself, to his own authorities; and this he persistently does on matters that, as to their lawfulness, are in controversy between us. It therefore devolves upon him to defend, to prove the lawfulness of the procedure of April, 1845. That is the issue, one of the first main issues.
He quotes from “the Messenger and Advocate for June, 1846,” some remarks of Sidney Rigdon’s, to the effect that the Saints “were told that they would not finish that temple which they were building,”; that they labored hard to finish it, but did not. On the next page he observes that Mr. Rigdon “spoke too soon”; that “at that time the temple was not quite finished, but it was finished before all the Saints left Nauvoo.” Reader, bear this in mind, for we want to refer to it again in a few minutes to show that it is contradicted by a gentleman by the name of Joseph F. Smith, Jr.
FAILS TO PROVE TEMPLE COMPLETION.
Mr. Smith’s effort on the next two or three pages is to prove that the temple was completed. To that end he makes a quotation from the Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 1017, (October, 1845,) which admits that it had at that time “temporary floors, pulpits, and seats.” Not completed yet.
His next quotation is from the next page (ibid.) to the effect that certain parts of the temple “will be in readiness in a few days.” Not completed yet.
On page 25 he quotes from the same publication for January 20, 1846, which quotation, again, makes the confession that it was then “an excellent time to finish the temple.” Yes, but not finished yet.
Further on he continues his quotation which still allows that, “If the Lord continues to favor us, the first story above the basement will be completed” in February (1846). Not completed yet. We anxiously await the past tense. The same quotation says, the font “is about ready.”
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Elder John Taylor, in an address to the Saints in England, published in the Millenial Star of November, 1846, (8:97,) has this to say: “Time alone can unfold this to many, but to us it has been manifested long ago, years before the temple was completed, and long before the martyrdom of our Prophet and Patriarch.” Here he declares that the temple was completed. [Italics mine. – A.K.]
Response. – Yes, but he does not say what temple, whether the Kirtland Temple or the one at Nauvoo, and if there is anything in the connection (of the quotation) to indicate, it is in favor of the former. The Kirtland Temple was completed in 1836. John Taylor had been made an apostle in 1835. Relatively, he would not say long ago, years before – something which had happened but a few weeks earlier – in describing something so remote. But I care little which temple he referred to, for at this time John Taylor was not an authority in the case. He was not a competent witness, nor is the Millenial Star of that date. A charge is laid against him for something done in 1845 and he must be exhonerated before we can be consistently asked to accept his testimony in 1846. He was practically a member of the same church as Joseph F. Smith to-day, who might be called on with equal propriety to testify to the same thing.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – But what does his [President of Reorganized Church] testimony amount to as evidence when confronted with the statement of the Times and Seasons?
Response. – The statement of the Times and Seasons at that time was the statement of the leaders of what is now the Utah church. The Times and Seasons was no more federal; it was factional, partisan.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Simply nothing, more than to prove that he knew nothing about it at all.
Response. – The president of the Reorganized Church was fourteen years old in 1846 and capable of taking cognizance of the facts of which he testified. In 1848, before the temple was burned, he was about sixteen years of age and was still more capable of correct observation.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Now which shall we believe.
Response. – We believe Joseph Smith, whose life is a refutation of any reflection on his veracity. Others believe John Taylor, who denied polygamy in France when he was practicing it in Utah.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – The Times and Seasons published at the time, or the president of the “Reorganization,” who made his statement some forty years later.
Response. – The statement of “some forty years later” – which had been the testimony of his lifetime – was of that which he saw in person when his competency to witness was beyond question. It takes but eyes to see, language to describe.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Remember if he admits that the temple was finished his whole structure crumbles to the ground – it’s bound to crumble anyway sooner or later, for it is built upon the sand.
Response. – Whole structure crumbles. Not by any means. The history of the Utah church as told by themselves has relieved us of a dependence on the temple, for the conviction of Joseph F. Smith, Jr. Does he mean to tell us that if the temple was completed, then polygamy is right, blood-atonement is a true doctrine, the Adam-God theory is true, and that the Twelve did right in assuming the presidency, and that Brigham did right in assuming the presidential chair – which was already occupied by the Twelve?
Bound to crumble. That is prophetic; we will wait.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Now our friends quote from the remarks of President Brigham Young delivered at the dedication of the St. George Temple to the effect that up to that time the Saints had never had the privilege of completing and enjoying a temple.
Response. – We plead guilty. I can see a susceptibility of his language being construed to mean, that while a temple had been completed, it had not been both completed and enjoyed. I notice Mr. Smith takes advantage of this susceptibility and credits him with correctness in his remark, which of itself is of some importance in this controversy – that the Nauvoo Temple, though completed, had not served the purpose of its completion. And then he quotes from the News where Brigham Young said in 1863: “We performed the work and performed it within the time which the Lord gave us to do it.” Very well. The former remark of Brigham Young was made at one of the several dedications of the different portions of the St. George Temple, all of which occurred in 1877, the year he died. In the dedicatory service of January 1, he said:
It is true we left brethren there with instructions to finish it, and they got it nearly completed before it was burned; but the Saints did not enjoy it. – Journal of Discourses, 18:304.
If his statement that it was not completed and enjoyed is to be explained in conformity with this, we are to understand that he meant that it had neither been completed nor enjoyed. His statement in the News either contradicts the third quotation or else it is to be understood when he said, “We performed it within the time,” that he had reference to the kind of completion that had been wrought on the St. George Temple when in connection with the third quotation he said, “there is enough completed to commence work therein” – which was no completion at all.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – The Nauvoo Temple was publicly dedicated May 1, 1846….It is not reasonable to suppose that this building was dedicated until it was finished, for each part had been dedicated as it was finished, and the dedication on the 1st of May, 1846, was of the entire structure.
Response. – On page 23 he quotes from Sidney Rigdon, “In the Messenger and Advocate for June, 1846”; and on next page (24) he says: “At that time (June 1846) the temple was not quite finished.” On page 24, not finished in June, and on page 27, finished on May 1! On which page is he correct? He can not extricate himself by saying that the dedication on May 1 was of some part of the building, because he concedes that it is “not reasonable to suppose that this building was dedicated until it was finished,” and “that the dedication on the 1st of May, 1846, was of the entire structure.”
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – I have now shown that the temple was completed, that the Saints were diligent in their labors, and they were hindered by their enemies.
Response. – Temple completed. When? May 1? He has shown nothing of the kind. Two witnesses: John Taylor and Brigham Young; the latter their president when he testified, the former their apostle when he testified; who afterwards became their president. The latter denying on another occasion that the temple was completed; and the statements quoted from the two of them for proof are both questionable and ambiguous as to their meaning. But what is the use of multiplying pages on this when a number of their own leaders have put themselves on record, very explicitly in some cases, as conceding all that we claim? See Journal of Discourses 4:42; 14:124; 19:220, which extracts I will not reproduce as they will be in a forthcoming work.
Hindered by their enemies. We must remind him that if they kept the commandments of the Lord they were not to be hindered by their enemies, at least they were not to be driven from Nauvoo. The Lord said in section 107 (Utah edition, 124): “Let no man go from this place who has come here essaying to keep my commandments”; and, as we have already quoted, “If my people will hearken to my voice, they shall not be moved out of their place.” In the same connection the Lord said: “If you build a temple unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfill the promises which you expect at my hands.” In other words: I will not accept from corrupt hands a temple of the offerings therein, even though built in due time. The “promises” that he would not fulfill are those contained in preceding sentences: first, that he would accept of baptisms for the dead and washings done in a house duly constructed; second, that he would reveal many things to them in that house; third, and finally, that if they hearkened to his voice they should not be moved out of their place. Is it not very evident, now, that when they were removed from Nauvoo the promise of the Lord to prevent their removal was not kept? It follows also that the reason that promise was not kept was because they did “not do the things” that he said. And it follows most logically that that which they did by which they forfeited their title to remain at Nauvoo, forfeited also their title to the fulfillment of the preceding promises – to accept of their temple service. This conclusion follows as literally as night follows day. There is no escape. I maintain, therefore, that in view of certain special features of said revelation their expulsion from Nauvoo could only be upon the penalty of rejection – rejection precedent, pursuant, or upon.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Some of the embellishments, the ornamentations and fixtures, may not have been placed in the building according to the original intention, and in that technical sense, the building may not have been “finished completely.”
Response. – An unfortunate admission. We wondered if he would commit himself before he got through.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – But if so, what difference would it make?
Response. – Just that much difference, that inasmuch as the “original intention” was the divine intention, then it was not acceptably complete until all those embellishments, ornamentations, and fixtures – call them technical or what you may – were a part of the structure. The Lord said: “I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof; and the place whereon it shall be built.
CONTRACTOR AND EMPLOYER.
To the point: a man hires a contractor to build him a house, to whom he makes known the particulars, “all things,” as to the location, its general dimensions, and its interior. In three months’ time the contractor presents his employer with the key, demanding his pay. The employer goes to the house, and seeing no flaw, no fault with its outward appearance, in height, length, breadth, etc., it perfectly fulfills the design. But when he has unlocked the door and enters to ascertain as to the interior, he finds doors without knobs or locks, now and then a cotton factory partition (as was the case in the temple), the wall not all plastered, the stair lacking its railing, the floor laid with different lumber from what the contract called for! How would he be moved at these deficiencies? Would the contractor get his pay? Would the employer accept of this edifice? If not, why? For the simple reason that the parts omitted were in the “original intention,” the contract.
It is conceivable how the contractor might go to work and build a house for the employer gratis, who receives it as a gift out and out. In such a case he could not complain whether it came up to his ideals or not. On similar conditions God’s people sometimes build houses to him which he with much delight and commendation accepts from the donors; the place, size and plan, materials, etc., having been at their option. But God’s houses are not all builded on that system. He does not accept of all his houses after that manner. He once in a while has one that is built by command, by contract. His church is the contractor; he is the employer. Such buildings are called temples. It is a special building and he promises special rewards to his people for its erection. But, unlike those buildings which are built at their own choice and option, - of which they are the designers, of those which are built by contract between him and them, he is the designer. Those constructed by them after their designs are mostly for them to dwell in; those constructed by them for him by contract, after his design, are more particularly for him to dwell in. He has the unquestionable and infinite right to say where he shall dwell, and when his people are worthy of his dwelling with them. Moreover, he has the supreme right to dictate what kind of a house he will dwell in. Any effort on the part of his people to erect such an edifice for such a special purpose without his immediate and specific direction as to all its details, is bold and wicked presumption; yea, sacrilege. And any attempt on their part to insinuate on him the acceptance of such a building which they know, and which they know he knows, is lacking in some or any essentials of the contract – and anything mentioned is essential – is equally presumptious and sacrilegious. It matters not how minute or how unimportant from the standpoint of his contracting people the nature of that is which they have left out; inasmuch as it is a part of the model he gave, the building is not complete without it; without it the contract is not complied with. And this species of wickedness is the very thing Joseph F. Smith, Jr.’s, religious ancestors were guilty of in Nauvoo.
It is conceivable how the people of Canada or South Africa might go to work and build in their country a house to be presented to King Edward VII for him to reside in, without his advice or consultation, but in doing so they would only be displaying their folly and nonsense. They may construct houses for themselves in which to keep the laws that emanate from him; they may construct houses for the execution of those laws; or they may construct houses in which he may dwell by representation, in which his authority may dwell; but if a house is to be constructed in which King Edward himself is to dwell, he will have something to say as to its manner of construction and its location.
If a contractor for some cause beyond his power to avert, has been unable to complete the house of his employer beyond the stages that we previously mentioned, it may be that his employer, in his consciousness of said circumstances, would have the leniency to pay him for what he had done. But it is not to be supposed that he would accept the house in such an unfinished condition as answerable to the contract, or that he would compensate his contractor in full on account of these deficiencies, for that which he had not done. But if the employer knew that it was the contractor’s own fault that the house was not finished, he might both refuse to accept the house and refuse to pay him anything.
If the employer and contractor have agreed upon a set time at the expiration of which the job is to be completed, and if that time arrives and the job is not completed for the reason, directly, that the contractor has been hindered by causes over which he has no direct control or power to repel, and yet the employer knows that those causes are found on other ulterior causes behind and back of them, which originated with the contractor, which were attributable to him – then in such a case the employer might, again justly refuse the work of his contractor.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – The Lord, thank heaven, is not as technical and peevish as men are, or woe be unto all of us.
Response. – We must not count too much on the Lord’s leniency. Duty is ours; leniency is his. I grant that without a great deal of his leniency, woe would be unto the Utah organization.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – The revelation does not say that the church would be rejected with its dead if every identical board and plank or fixture was not in the building according to the original design.
Response. – The revelation does say that the church would be rejected if they did not build a house in sufficient time, in which baptism for the dead could be attended to. Without every board and plank or fixture that formed a part of the “original design” the house was not built. Of course, if the Nauvoo Temple had been completed and remained, it is not inconceivable how they might have been decorating it, putting pictures on the wall, etc., even up to this time; but that is not what we are discussing. I never was in Kirtland Temple. I have heard that there is a picture of Joseph the Martyr on the wall there. But I have never thought that it formed a part of the temple; that the completeness of the temple was increased with it, or diminished without it. I never understood that it formed a part of the “original design.”
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – The thing the revelation does require is that a place be prepared, or built, where the Lord could reveal the priesthood and its ordinances that had been taken away or that had not been restored.
Response. – Will Mr. Smith please point to such revelations of the priesthood and its ordinances that were revealed in the temple?
OFFERING AND THE THING OFFERED.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – And, too, if the temporary floors had not been replaced by the permanent floors, the Lord could and would have revealed himself to the Saints and would have accepted of their offering.
Response. – He revealed himself to them before they had a temple. He would not reveal himself to them by virtue of a temple that had not been built (and built means completion); neither would he have accepted an offering that had not been made. So far as the thing offered is concerned, he could not accept it for what it was not. Mr. Smith hitherto quoted from the section under consideration where the Lord says, “I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson County, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies.” Yes, but he did not accept the house, which had not been built, neither a city, the building of which had not been consummated. Accepting their offering in this case, then, was but accepting a condition that obtained on the part of his people. It was but an acceptation of their effort which was unsuccessful in accomplishing that to which it was put forth. Mr. Smith’s mistake is in using offering in the same sense relative to the carrying out of that which was ordained in the revelation of January, 1841, ordaining that a temple be built in Nauvoo, etc. The nature of this revelation is such as to preclude the acceptation of any offering save the realization of effort, energy, endeavor, in a completed temple presented by pure hands. The status of affairs had become such, had become so strained, that the only offering he would accept would be, not endeavor, but the object of endeavor; in accepting which object, of course, he would at the same time be accepting the effort, energy, endeavor, put forth to that end.
IN THE TEMPLE.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – At the time this revelation [of 1841] was given the Saints were baptizing in the Mississippi River for their dead, this was a special privilege that the Lord granted them in their poverty and while they could prepare a place in the temple for that ordinance.
Response. – In order that the statement be not misleading, instead of saying, “prepare a place in the temple,” he should say, prepare the temple.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – He declares that while that place was being built He would accept their baptisms in the river, but just as soon as a place could be prepared in the temple baptisms for the dead in the river should cease.
Response. – Again he misrepresents the revelation, which seems strange, with the document right before him. The strangeness of his procedure, however, is somewhat diminished when we come to consider his failure to prove that the temple was completed. A completed temple and a completed thing in an incompleted temple are two distinct things. What does the revelation say: “But I command you, all ye my Saints, to build a house [not a font, but a house, a temple] unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house [temple] unto me, and during this time [of its building] your baptisms [without it, in the river, in a pool, pond, or temporary font] shall be acceptable unto me. But behold, at the end of this appointment [the time allowed to build the house], your baptisms for your dead [without the house] shall not be acceptable unto me; for if you do not these things [build the house] at the end of the appointment [time allowed], ye shall be rejected as a church [cease to be acceptable as a church, not as individuals], with your dead, saith the Lord your God. For verily I say unto you, that after you have had a sufficient time to build [complete, of course] a house to me, wherein [in the house] the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which [temples] the same [ordinance] was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead [without such a house] can not be acceptable unto me.” The brackets are mine. A font may exist without a temple, but a temple, such as the revelation calls for, could not exist without a font. But as our opponent says more further on, akin to this, we will proceed to follow him. Suffice to say, however, that the repeated phrase, “in the temple,” is not borne out in the quotation.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – I take it that this means that the Lord would accept of their baptisms in the river until they could prepare a place where the ordinance could be attended to properly, and that he would not discontinue river baptisms until they had had sufficient time to build such a place.
Response. – If by “such a place,” he means a temporary or an improvised font, irrespective of the structure inclosing it, why then there was no excuse for them not to have in readiness such a place in one or two days’ time, from the time that provisions were made for such a place in the revelation.
PRESIDENT OF THE REORGANIZATION.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – I want to read what the President of the “Reorganized” Church has to say on this point. Said he: “Baptisms for the dead was a permissive rite.” Of course I do not agree with him that it was a permissive rite.
Response. – But has he not virtually agreed with him when he said, as we have quoted, that it was “a special privilege that the Lord granted them in their poverty”?
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – But to continue the quotation: “Baptism for the dead was a permissive rite; or to write more plainly (?) the church was permitted by the Lord to baptize for the dead under certain rules.” Here is the rule: “By the terms stated in the revelation this permissive rite could be performed and would be acceptable if performed in the river while the time given the church in which the temple should be built was passing. After the completion of the temple, baptisms for the dead were to be performed in it.” – Saints’ Herald, February 17, 1904.
Response. – His quoting from the President of the Reorganization is fatal to the point he hoped to gain by the quotation, which was evidently to make it appear to his readers that the President of the Reorganized Church, by referring to baptism for the dead as a “permissive rite,” does not view it at any time as mandatory, as obligatory. But the President of the Reorganized Church says nothing of the kind. Indeed he refers to baptism for the dead as a permissive rite, but he very carefully rescues himself from any unintended distortion of his statement, by defining in the same sentence the respect in which its permissiveness consisted. He says the church was permitted [without a temple] to baptize for the dead [in the river] under certain rules. He next explains that the rules [“terms stated in the revelation”] were, that the church might baptize for the dead in the river while the time the Lord allowed for building the temple was passing. He does not say that baptism for the dead is a permissive rite, but, “was a permissive rite.” It is evident from the language of the President of the Reorganized Church that he believes that previous to the building of the temple, they were permitted to baptize for the dead; that after the building of the temple they would be obliged to baptize for the dead; in the first instance in the river or some suitable place; in the second instance, of necessity in the temple. He does not say, was to be performed in the river, but, “could be performed in the river”; and he does not say that “after the completion of the temple, baptisms for the dead were” permitted to be, or could be, performed in it, but “were to be performed in it.” Will Mr. Smith please retract?
DISCONTINUANCE OF RIVER BAPTISMS.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr., (p. 30). – We are certainly safe in saying that the Lord would not break his promise, therefore if we can discover a time when baptisms were discontinued in the river it will be a sign that the sufficient time had expired, so far as baptisms for the dead were concerned.
Response. – Not necessarily. As we have hitherto observed, the revelation did not confine vicarious baptism to the river in the absence of the temple. If not, their transference to another place, a font in an ordinary chapel, a pond, or a temporary font in an incompleted temple, would not be significant of any such consequences. However, if it can be proved that the discontinuance of river baptisms was by command of the Lord, it is probable that it was because the sufficient time (to build the temple) had expired.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – I turn to the minutes of the October conference, 1841, and read from the remarks on baptism for the dead delivered by the Prophet on the third day as follows: “There shall be no more baptisms for the dead until the ordinance can be attended to in the font of the Lord’s house; and the church shall not hold another general conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord.” (Times and Seasons, 2:578.) Was the temple finished. No. Was the church then rejected with its dead?
Response. – If the Lord declared that baptisms without the temple were no longer acceptable to him, in the light of the revelation they must have been rejected.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Verily no! for this was in 1841, and I have already referred you to the editorial of the Prophet’s of May, 1842, wherein he says that never since the formation, or foundation of the church was laid, have the Saints been so willing to comply with the requisitions of Jehovah, and manifested a more ardent desire to do the will of God, than in building of that temple.
Response. – But the willingness of the Saints, to which the Prophet certifies in May, 1842, was about six months after the period when the Lord ordered the discontinuance of vicarious baptisms; and if they were rejected at that time their willingness six months later would not prove that they had not been rejected.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Therefore they could not have been rejected.
Response. – Could not have been rejected in 1841 because they were said to be willing to do their duty in 1842! Their guiltlessness in 1842 would no more prove their innocence in 1841 than my guiltlessness to-day would prove that I had not sinned yesterday.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Yet the sufficient time was up.
Response. – Quite an admission – that the “sufficient time” of the revelation of January, 1841, was up in October following. If the sufficient time was up in October, 1841, then in October, 1841, the church stood rejected. Bear in mind that I am not here taking the position that the church was or was not rejected at that time, or that the sufficient time was up. I am merely following him, contenting myself for the time being with exploding his deductions without respect to the correctness or incorrectness of the premises.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – What must we then conclude? That the temple had progressed so far that baptisms could be performed in it for the dead in accordance with the revelation, and it did not depend altogether, you will see, on the complete finishing of the building.
Response. – He proposes two positions, and then consulting conveniences instead of logic, makes his choice. The two positions or propositions are: either that the church was rejected in 1841, or else that the temple was advanced sufficiently at that time that baptisms for the dead would be acceptable in it. He takes that latter. And why? Because that on the following year, 1842, the Saints were said to be willing to do their duty! But if their willingness in May, 1842, would exonerate them in 1841, then their unwillingness in September, 1842, would convict them in May. And we have shown that they were lacking diligence in September.
Again: Section 128 (110 in our book) provides for a book containing the records of the dead to be kept, which was to be presented “in his holy temple, when it is finished.”
He says that a temporary font was built, “that answered the requirements of the revelation” (but which the revelations says nothing about) and that it “was used by command of the Lord.” Yet he has neither cited the “command,” nor given any reference to where the document might be found, one the importance of which is equal to any and superior to most of the quotations he has made in his brochure. After taking the pains to quote where the Lord discontinued river baptisms, why not quote where he commanded their resumption in the unfinished temple, if such a document is available. And if not available, if no such document exists, he has no right to assume that baptisms in a temporary font were commanded simply because they were performed. We notice that the revelation wherein vicarious baptisms are discontinued, commands that they should not be resumed “until” they could be attended to in the font of the Lord’s house. From the fact that he says until, it is evident that there was no font at that time, or that things were not in a condition to proceed with that work in the temple which, it seems, ceased to be acceptable to him outside the temple. If a place existed where vicarious baptisms could be performed acceptably to him, he would not declare the baptisms then in progress were to cease until such a place be prepared; inasmuch as he would not say, “until the ordinance can be attended to,” in a place which was then awaiting its attendance. We see, therefore, that if there was a temporary font at that time it was not acceptable; that the Lord ignores it and awaits a proper place. If there was no temporary font, no place in readiness even from Mr. Smith’s standpoint, when the revelation was given, then there must have been a lapse of some time, however great or small, before such a place was prepared. Yet, according to his own admission, the sufficient time was up then. He will recall that if there was not a suitable place to which they could repair with the baptisms when the sufficient time was up, the consequence was to be rejection. When the sufficient time was up, it was to be either of two things: baptizing for the dead in the temple, or rejection.
But he says they resumed the baptisms in the following November, in the font. But are we to understand that the condition of things in November would palliate the condition of things in October preceding? No, verily; for the church was not to be saved from rejection on a prospective font or a prospective temple. According to the revelation the ordinance outside the temple was to be acceptable right up to the time that a proper place was prepared, if prepared within the time limit.
In the revelation he quotes from the Times and Seasons it says that the ordinance was to be “attended to in the font of the Lord’s house.” At that time both the font and the Lord’s house were but in prospect. Neither had an existence in the following November save that there was a temporary font. Would that answer? The font was to be in the Lord’s house. He had no house in November. The walls were far from completion, let alone the interior.
Furthermore, it says the church was not to hold another general conference until they could meet in said house. Was this general conference to meet in said house before it was finished? No. Hyrum Smith said (Times and Seasons, November 1, 1841): “there shall not be a General Assembly for a general conference assembled together until the house of the Lord shall be finished, and the baptismal font,” “thus saith the Lord.” Was this complied with? Decidedly not, for before he even claims that house was finished, after the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, they held a general conference therein in April, 1845. See Times and Seasons, volume 6. Interpreting Hyrum Smith’s revelation harmoniously with Joseph’s, it is to be understood that when Joseph said that another general conference was not to meet until they could meet in the Lord’s house, he meant in the Lord’s house in its completed condition. If they could file in the temple with an assembly before the arrival of the condition to render it permissible, does it not greatly throw into suspicion their action in carrying the baptisms into a temporary font in an unfinished temple?
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – “But behold, at the end of this appointment, your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me.” That means, of course, the baptisms in the river shall not be acceptable after the font is built.
Response. – Yes, after the font is built in a built (finished) temple.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – “And if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.” If you do not what things?
Response. – Build the temple, probably.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Does it mean if you do not build the temple at the end of the appointment?
Response. – Probably.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – That could not be the meaning.
Response. – Why?
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – It means, if you do not perform your baptisms for your dead and the ordinances for the dead at the end – not the beginning, but the end – of the appointment, you will be rejected with your dead.
Response. – If it be arbitrary in any degree as to whether the antecedent of “these things” is “baptisms,” or, “build a house,” it is altogether unimportant, as the baptisms were to be done in the house after it was built. For, if, as he insists “these things” denotes the baptisms in the temple, preferably to the building of the temple, since the “end of the appointment” (at which “these things” were to be done) refers to the end of the time appointed or granted to build the temple, his suggested interpretation, if accepted, helps him none. Here are the two renditions: first, “if you do not these things [baptize for the dead in the temple] at the end of the appointment” [time granted to build the temple]; second, “if you do not these things [build the temple] at the end of the appointment” [time granted to build the temple]. The baptisms had to take place at the end of the time appointed to build the temple.
On page 34 he quotes from our conference minutes of 1886:
“Baptism for the dead” referred to belongs to those local questions of which the body has said by resolution: “that the commandments of a local character, given to the first organization of the church, are binding on the Reorganization only so far as they are reiterated or referred to as binding by commandment to this church.” And that principle has neither been reiterated nor referred to as a commandment.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – They declared that we were rejected because we failed to build a house where these ordinances were to be performed and yet they actually have the audacity so [to – J.D.] say that the work of salvation for the dead is not binding on them because they have not reiterated or referred to this commandment as binding on them.
Response. – “They have not reiterated.” By they, he denotes the church instead of God. We do not believe, nor does the resolution say, that it is because we have not reiterated or referred to the commandment that it is not binding; but because God has not so reiterated or referred to it. If Mr. Smith is not only argumentatively or deductively wrong, but he is frequently wrong in fact. In making so many outlandish misstatements and errors with the documents right before him, I can not avoid many reflections in my mind on the matter of sincerity in treating this sacred subject, as I pass along.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – They call it a local commandment, yet we have seen that this commandment was the burden of the Scriptures and the greatest responsibility that God has placed upon us and we are obliged to save them if we would ourselves be saved.
Response. – A local commandment. In objecting to our reference to it as a local commandment, we are to understand that he believes that it is a universal, a general, commandment. If it is not a local commandment, then it is not applicable to one place any more than another. So long as there is priesthood to adminsiter [administer – J.D.] it, according to his objection, it is neither a question of when or where. If, unlike baptism for the remission of sins, which may be performed whenever the priesthood is on the earth, or wherever the priesthood is, it has certain limitation as to time and place or either, then it is local; therein the resolution would have its defense. Now are there any limitations? Indeed there are, for, in the first place, while they were baptizing for the remission of sins from 1829 up to 1841, they did not baptize for the dead till 1841. And whereas they baptize for the remission of sins in various nations and continents in the original church, the only place where they baptized for the dead was in the city of Nauvoo. I do not see how the word local in the resolution could be wanting of more support.
PROMISED REVELATIONS NOT RECEIVED.
The promises of the Lord are generally conditional. When they are not fulfilled we perceive therein an evidence that the conditions have not been complied with. There are certain promises the Lord has made to those who would obey the gospel: that they would receive the Holy Spirit and the gifts thereof; that they would know of the doctrine; that the signs would follow them. If somebody, a reasonable length of time after they have obeyed, were to make the announcement that they had not received the Holy Spirit or any of its attending effects, fruits, gifts or blessings, we would all at once unite to question their repentance, their preparation, their compliance. We would believe that the conditions had not been complied with or fulfilled; and this with the greatest of propriety if we know that the officer from whom they received the ordinances was one who held authority to thus administer. Whether the failures or deficiencies on the part of the candidate are visible or not, we have every reason to believe in their existence inasmuch as not to believe in them reflects discredit and partiality on the Lord.
The same thing which is true in relation to an individual is true in relation to a congregation, the church, or a nation: whether that congregation be located at Nauvoo, whether that church be the original church of Latter Day Saints with its headquarters at Nauvoo, or whether that nation be ancient Israel.
To ancient Israel God made certain promises upon their entrance into Canaan. He promised them his help to make a complete extermination of the Canaanites. But they were not all exterminated. The Philistines and others remained, as a thorn in the flesh of Israel. In other words, the promise was not fulfilled. Why? Because the conditions were not complied with. Because Israel made a league with the Gibeonites. Because they were not dutiful in other respects. In this case there is before us the cause of the nonfulfillment of the promises. But even though the causes were not visible, even though there were no history in the sacred volume respecting the violations by that people of their part of the contract; even though the Bible were silent about their league with the Gibeonites, their intermarriages with heathens, etc., we would, in the very nonfulfillment of the promises, have the best, the surest foundation for our suspicion – yea, our belief that due causes existed, that somewhere there was some default, some shortcoming.
To latter-day Israel God revealed himself and planted them in Jackson County, Missouri. He promised that if they would do right they would “eat the good and fatness of the land of Zion.” The profound and philosophic writer, Orson Pratt, allows, in his pamphlet, “The New Jerusalem,” that they would have lived in peace with their neighbors had they been obedient; they could have remained. But they did not remain, they were driven away. Why? Section 98 (101 in Utah edition) says, “I the Lord, have suffered these afflictions to come upon them, in consequence of their transgressions.” Of what did the transgressions consist? Same section: “There were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them.” Herein the cause is again visible. But were it not, the very fact of what came upon them would be sufficient testimony that it existed.
Later we find them on the banks of the Father of Waters, at Nauvoo. They were commanded to erect a temple, a dwelling, an abode for the Lord. A great promise is made if they would execute this task. He promised that he would dwell in that temple, that he would abide there; and as an evidence of his abode, his dwelling, he would reveal himself, would reveal certain things. “For there is not a place found,” says he, “on the earth that he may come and restore again that which was lost unto you.” Furthermore: “Let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein, unto my people; for I deign to reveal unto my church, things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fullness of times.”
As literally as smoke and warmth issue from fire, these revelations were to issue from the dwelling and abiding of the Lord in that temple. The reception of those revelations was to be an evidence of his acceptance of the temple. The non-reception of the revelations was to be an evidence that the temple was not accepted. He would not reveal himself in or on account of a temple that had not been built; and even if it had been built, he says, “if you build a house unto me and do not the things that I say, I will not fulfill the promises which ye expect at my hands.” We have, therefore, a reason to expect that upon the completion of that edifice God would “restore again that which was lost”; the he would reveal his “ordinances” therein, that he would reveal things never thereunto revealed, things that were hid “from before the foundation of the world,” and that were to pertain to the “dispensation of the fullness of times.” We are therein informed of the seal of approval that God was to put upon that house and the nature of that seal. We are not only told that he was to reveal himself, but we are informed beforehand of the import of the revelations.
Now, let us ask Mr. Smith: Have any such revelations been received? Name them. Where are they and what are they? Our Doctrine and Covenants contains only two sections that were given between that time and the time the Saints left Nauvoo, and they are not revelations, but letters of Joseph Smith containing items of revelation pertaining to baptism for the dead. The Utah Doctrine and Covenants contains nothing that could be accepted as a response, an answer, to the promise in full. Section 125 is said to be a revelation directing the Iowa Saints to gather at or near Nauvoo. Section 126, not published in the Martyr’s lifetime, is purportedly to Brigham Young, telling him that he could stay home thereafter and take care of his family. Nothing in either of these purported revelations revealing lost ordinances, the fullness of the priesthood, or anything that specially pertains to the dispensation of the fullness of times.
Sections 127 and 128 are the two letters referred to addressed by Joseph Smith to the Saints in Nauvoo in 1842. They can not be said to fulfill the measure of revelation the Lord designed, for several reasons. In the first place, baptism for the dead was known and practiced in the primitive Christian church in the days of Paul; and in order to have proceeded, the contents of these revelations must have been then known; hence they do not contain something that had been hid from before the foundation of the world. Then, instead of professing to be a fulfillment of the promise that had been made, they both shrink from and despise the very supposition in looking forward to something yet to come. The former says: “I am about to restore many things to the earth, pertaining to the priesthood.” The concluding paragraph of the latter is still promissory. Section 129, said to be revealed in 1843, contains a few independent paragraphs about spirits, angels, etc., but nothing that pertains any more to the dispensation of the fullness of times than any other dispensation; nothing, I venture to say, that the staunchest Mormon would affirm has been hidden since the foundation of the world.
Section 130, not published in the lifetime of the Martyr, can by no fair means be explained as filling the vacancy depicted. It has something with regard to the nature of God, angels, their habitation, the future earth. It has an item about the war, and another about the time of the coming of Christ; but with reference to the great gap that was to be filled, intimated in the revelation of January, 1841, it is quite irrelevant. It has not one spark of light but what we have reason to believe the ancients had, save the reference to South Carolina and the promise to Joseph about the coming of Christ, which things, as matters of war and private promise, can not be said to have any special pertinency to the great latter-day dispensation.
Take section 131. What is it? It is one which refuses an honest bachelor the right to go to heaven, to celestial glory. No matter how faithful, how dutiful, he must be shut out, according to this section which, again, was not published in the lifetime of the Prophet Joseph. He can enter an inferior glory, but can not procreate. Because he has committed the awful sin of being a bachelor in this life, he is destined to remain one in the life to come. If he has been guilty of the crime of having ill-health, whether that ill-health was hereditary or self-contracted, and thereby rendered unmarriageable, he must nevertheless be shut out. I am glad that section was not published in the Martyr’s lifetime. I am glad that we have the best of reasons for doubting its genuineness and its truth. I am glad that the Martyr is not stained with its known authorship. Whoever wrote it, wrote the word liar on his very forehead. What we have said is sufficient to exclude from the mind of any inquirer the thought of its being of that peculiar nature that we have pointed out is inherent in many preceding sections, whether it is of God or not. It exhibits not one feature, whether it be right or wrong, that we have any foundation for believing was withheld from those intervening the present dispensation and the foundation of the world. But, as a matter of fact, the last three sections do not of necessity enter into this consideration. They might with all propriety have been passed by, as they do not purport to be revelations, but merely some instruction given by Joseph Smith, speaking not by “Thus saith the Spirit,” not ex cathedra.
Following this section 131, this prelude of polygamy, comes the notorious section 132 ordaining polygamy. Permit me to digress to say that paragraph 26 declares that when a man has been married according to this special order, he may commit any sin of the new and everlasting covenant, and he may also go so far as to commit “all manner of blasphemies,” yet so long as he is not guilty of murder, he will “come forth in the first resurrection and enter into his exaltation,” by being “destroyed in the flesh,” which Mr. Penrose defines (“Blood atonement,” pages 24, 28) as being blood-atoned or having their blood spilled. Hence while section 131 shuts bachelors out, section 132 shuts polygamists in. While section 131 will not allow bachelors to do enough good to get into celestial glory, section 132 will not allow polygamists to do enough sin to get out – save murder. If the paragraph referred to does not mean polygamists in particular, Mormons will admit that it includes polygamists.
But what about the nature of this revelation, which purports to have been received in 1843, as responding to the promise. True or false, genuine or spurious, does it fill the bill? What does it contain that according to the document itself had been hidden from before the foundation of the world? The very opposite: it claims to be a reproduction of an order which obtained in the time of the patriarchs. It only claims to be new in the sense of restoration. It teaches that the same course that it justifies was known and observed in the times of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of David and Solomon. Inasmuch as it therefore does not claim to bring to light anything but what was before had and practiced, we may dismiss it at once and extend our inquiry still further. The revelation that the revelation of January, 1841, looks forward to, is not one of restoration, but one that has never in this world been made known.
Section 133 is a revelation given while the Saints were at Kirtland. Section 134 is not a revelation. Section 135 is not a revelation. Section 136 purports to be a revelation given through Brigham Young in 1847. What is its nature? It does not matter very much, for they had already forsaken the temple, finished or unfinished, and were at Winter Quarters on their way across the plains. All the document purports to be is a little instruction as to how they were to organize and proceed in their migration to far West. No ordinance, nothing that had been lost, nothing that had been kept in reserve since creation.
What next? Nothing, for that is the last section. Now where are those revelations? Wherein has the Lord ratified his promise? Echo answers, Where? Where are we to look for this mark of his acceptance to the temple? Where?
We were really not subject to the necessity of examining the sections or revelations given before the period he fixes for the completion of the temple (granting for the time being, if he likes, that the temple was completed); for the revelations were to be given after its completion, when the Lord took up his residence therein. He would not accept it until completed, nor would he reveal himself in indication of his acceptance of it till he had accepted it. The deficiency of these revelations, therefore, is an evidence that the building, built or not built, completed or not completed, was never accepted.
SUCCESSION AND LINEAGE.
Mr. Smith now turns his attention to the Doctrine and Covenants, and proceeds to discuss some of the portions thereof relating to the matter of succession and the law of lineage. He quotes successively from section 28, 35, and 43, of the Utah edition (27, 34 and 43 in our book), the passages we frequently appeal to along with others as incontrovertibly supporting our position relative to the manner of filling the vacancy occasioned by the death of Joseph Smith.
LORD TO APPOINT ANOTHER.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – “And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter, to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom; and thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church, for I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.” You see the Lord was to appoint another. The passage in section 35 is as follows: “And I have sent forth the fullness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him, and I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things that have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead. Wherefore, watch over him that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things.” The third passage is as follows, beginning with the first verse:
“O hearken, ye elders of my church, and give an ear to the word which I shall speak unto you; for behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you, to receive commandments and revelations from my hand. And this ye shall know assuredly that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him, for if it be taken from him, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead; and this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; and this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.”
Response. – Yes, indeed, it is unmistakably plain that it was the Lord who was “to appoint another.”
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – These revelations, extracts from which I have read, were all given between September, 1830, and the first of March, 1831.
Response. – This statement is an error. Instead of being given “between September, 1830, and the first of March, 1831,” section 28, the first of the three quoted from, was given in September; this according to both the Utah Doctrine and Covenants and ours.
SECTIONS 27, 34, AND 43, NOT DONE AWAY.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – At that time the church was less than one year old, and was not fully organized with its various officers as we have it to-day.
Response. – Less than one year dating from April, 1830; but what of it?
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – When they [these revelations] were given the Prophet Joseph was young and inexperienced and this law was laid down for the government of the church as it existed at that time, as these revelations clearly indicate. You will notice from these passages that the Lord was to choose another in the prophet’s stead in case of his removal through transgression or for any other cause during that incipient stage of the history of the church. [Italics mine. – A.K.]
Response. – We admit, again, that the law enunciated in said revelations was one applicable to the church as it existed at that time and during that incipient stage of the history of the church; but on the statement that its applicability was to be regulated to that period and that it has no application to the condition of things to-day, to the more advanced stages of the church, or to its post-martyr period – there we part company with Mr. Smith at once. It is our keen familiarity with his meaning which we gather from his comment following the affirmation we have quoted from him, also from their history – touching the accession of Brigham Young – that has inspired us to italicize his words.
But what is there in the quotations Mr. Smith produces from those three revelations to indicate that the law which they enforced was only of a temporary nature? What is there in them to indicate that the provisions the Lord makes for the maintenance of the function of the revelator in the church were not to be permanent? Not a word, not an iota. Of course he must succeed to this position or Brigham Young (who was neither appointed through Joseph Smith or ordained especially to that office) must go down. To admit that the law provided for in the three sections under consideration is still of binding force and that every future and successive individual who should stand at the head of the church and occupy the place that Joseph occupied at that time must arise to that station, according to the rule therein prescribed, is to admit that Brigham Young was not Joseph Smith’s successor and that the Utah church is not the true church of God. For, if Mr. Young’s accession was in accordance with the provisions of those revelations, let us not think for a moment that our friend would insist upon their inapplicability to his case. And as the whole three sections, which teach that the successor of Joseph Smith was to be appointed by God and through Joseph Smith, all come under Mr. Smith’s repeal. He leaves himself fairly open to the conclusion that Brigham Young was neither appointed by God or through Joseph Smith.
Sections 28 and 35 (in Utah edition) declare that God would appoint the successor of Joseph Smith. Section 43 declares that the successor would be appointed through Joseph Smith. Section 28, containing the first intimation respecting the possibility of Joseph Smith having a successor, has no limitation with respect to time; neither with respect to cause of vacancy. It leaves room for the conclusion that God would appoint the successor if the office became vacant, no matter what might be the event leading to its vacancy. And there is nothing in the revelation from begining [beginning – J.D.] to end to show that its reception was based on the youthfulness of the prophet, as Mr. Smith suggests. Instead of the revelation being given at the instance of the prophet’s youthfulness, history informs us that it was evoked by an altogether different circumstance. What was the circumstance? Hiram Page and other brethren were deceived by the revelations being received from a certain stone. Joseph inquired and received this section, which, from its wording and the nature of the circumstance, makes it clear that its primary object was to allay the condition of deception that had obtained, and at the same time, while making known to them that the Page revelations were false, lay down a rule to fortify the church against any such a contingency in all time to come. The Lord not only informs the church that Joseph Smith was the only one to receive revelations as a law to the church at that time, but that function was to subsist in him “until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead,” to receive revelations for the church.
If any of the membership of the Utah church place themselves in a similar relation to that church or to their president that Hiram Page placed himself in to the original church and the original president by his arrogance, there is no question but what Mormon authorities would all with one accord appeal, in their repudiation, to the provisions of this section. And rightfully enough, for it is not declaratory of a restrictive command, but of a principle which was to be in force from that time on to protect His people from the intrusion of spurious revelations to which they were to be as liable in the future as at that time.
In a great measure that which has been said in respect to section 28 might apply equally to sections 35 and 43. The latter section, especially, was given under conditions strikingly similar to those we have observed as having obtained at the giving of section 28. Preceding the reception of this section 43 in February, 1831, a woman came pretending to give revelations and commandments to the church. She, too, found sympathizers, whereupon Joseph inquired and received this revelation, which is, substantially, but repetitional of the law contained in section 28, which law in section 28 is undoubtedly had in allusion when he says, “Ye have received a commandment” from me covering this matter. And here the Lord extends the provisions as to the mode of succession, stating that the successor was to be ordained, etc.
But, Mr. Smith says that the church was not fully organized with its “apostles and seventies” as it is to-day. Shall we say, therefore, since it is more fully organized and these quorums are created that these quorums or others besides the head of the church may receive revelations for a law to the same? If not we would have him tell us how the section is to be sustained as applying to us now wherein it defines the rights and powers of the president and not applying to us now wherein it is provisional of a means for the perpetuity of that officework.
The Lord says: “Until I shall appoint unto them [the church] another [revelator] in his stead.” It is very evident that the Lord looked forward to the time of his removal by any cause, by transgression or by natural death, in 1834 or in 1844, up to which time he would retain the “keys of the mysteries and revelations,” which are definable as the sole right to receive revelations as a law to the church; which power, of necessity, must be transmitted to a successor, unless the church cease with him. This, because it would still be necessary after his departure for the church to receive revelations, hence, still necessary that they be safeguarded against impositions.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – “Verily, I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall NEVER be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come; nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church.” I take it as a natural sequence that this law which was given in March, 1833, superceded the provision made in 1830 and winter of 1831, wherein a law was given as protection to the church in case of the taking away of the keys from Joseph the Prophet – a contingency that did not arise.
Response. – The quotation used is found in section 90, Utah edition (87:2, our book). His argument is that after March, 1833, it was no longer needful that the president of the church be appointed by God or through Joseph Smith. Suppose then, Joseph Smith had died between March, 1833, and the year 1835, the year the Twelve and Seventy were organized, by what process would his office have been filled? How would the next occupant of the presidential chair have been appointed? For, between March, 1833, and 1835 there was no president of the Twelve to succeed him, and since the law of 1830 and 1831 was no longer in force, according to Mr. Smith, he would have no right to appoint his successor. “Supercede” means, “To take the place of; replace; supplant.” Hence the law of 1830 and 1831 could never be operative after 1833, according to our opponent’s proposition, either in the event of Joseph Smith’s death or of his transgression. But, he says that the prophet had “proved himself and evinced before God through his faithfulness that he was worthy of the trust placed in him,” therefore, “the Lord declared that the keys of the kingdom should never be taken from him in the following words” – of the revelation of March, 1833. That is to say, that God found out by March, 1833, that which he did not know in 1830 and 1831, that Joseph Smith would be faithful. But, as it happens, the operation of the law of 1830 and 1831 was not to be contingent on transgression, but “for any other cause,” as Mr. Smith allows on page 39 of his work, though he denies it on page 40.
Mr. Smith’s idea now seems to be that after 1833 neither Joseph Smith, nor God through Joseph Smith, would ever leave occasion to confer the keys which he held upon a successor, as they were never to be taken from him in this world or the world to come. A very singular position to be sure. The Doctrine and Covenants speaks of many keys. The revelations of 1830 and 1831 do not say “keys of the kingdom”; but “keys of the mysteries and the revelations,” and “the keys of the mystery” – if there be any difference. Turkey may be said to hold the keys to the Black Sea. Great Britain may be said to hold the keys to the Mediterranean. That is, through the channels of these powers, which are controlled or which may be controlled by these powers, it is that access to, or admission to, or intercourse with, the Black Sea or the Mediterranean is to be had. Likewise revelations coming to the church had to come through the channel or avenue of Joseph Smith. Through him they were to receive the law; through him they were to be thus blessed, “all kindreds of the earth.” There can be no question but what these keys were to descend to Joseph Smith’s successor, as we have already seen, whoever or wherever. Those keys the Martyr could not have retained in heaven, after this life, inasmuch as we all know that the revelations to be received to-day (on the hypothesis of either the Utah church or ours being successor) do not and are not to come through him. As certainly as the church looked for the revelations to come through him in the years 1830 to 1844, so Mormons look for them to come through Joseph F. Smith, and we look for them and receive them through our president, the Martyr’s son. That these “keys of the mysteries of the kingdom” were to be relinquished by Joseph Smith to his successor is made very plain in section 64, where it is stated that they were not to be taken from him “while he liveth, inasmuch as he obeyeth mine ordinances.” Seeing that it is the exclusive right to receive revelations for a law to the church that is meant by the keys of sections 28, 35, and 43, and that that right must necessarily inhere in every future incumbent of the prophetic office, it remains as much for our opponent as for us to describe the nature of the keys that Joseph Smith was to retain in the next world. We do not by any means concede darkness on the subject, but prefer in an investigation like this to avoid all logomachy and all that is not strictly pertinent to the points at issue. The fact is, his quotation from the revelation of March, 1833, has no relevancy to the situation and supercedes nothing.
QUORUM EQUALITY MISAPPLIED.
J. F. Smith, Jr. – Later in the year 1835, when the Twelve Apostles were chosen and their duties defined, the Lord declared that they were equal with the Presidency as a quorum.
Response. – The Lord said: “They form a quorum equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned.” Yes, but this equality is not to be understood as being absolute, for the reason that we see some prerogative, some right, in either quorum that does not belong to the other, and which the other can neither assume to do nor take from it. So long as the Presidency has the right to receive revelations to be binding on the church and the Twelve has not that right, so long are they not perfectly equal. That fact alone would destroy the absoluteness of equality. In the same revelation and in the same connection it is said that the Seventy “form a quorum equal in authority to that of the Twelve.” Two things, each of which are equal to the same thing, are equal to one another. If the Twelve are equal to the Presidency and the Seventy are equal to the Twelve, then the Seventy are also equal to the Presidency, necessarily. No way around this. We know that the equality between the Twelve and the Seventy is not absolute. The former has the power of sending and directing the latter, but the latter has no such power in relation to the former. We have noted an inequality between the Presidency and the Twelve; we perceive inequalities between the Twelve and the Seventy; we recognize the most positive inequalities between the Presidency and the Seventy. If then these three quorums are not equal, if no two of them are equal, then when the Lord declared their equality he must have had reference to particularity rather than generality – that there was some particular respect in which they were equal. It becomes a matter of determining, then, the respect in which that equality exists. Perhaps Mr. Smith can tell us.
J. F. Smith, Jr. – That is, in case of the dissolution or destruction of the First Presidency of the church, the Twelve should succeed to the Presidency, and would thus act until such time and place as the Lord revealed that the First Presidency should be again organized.
Response. – O, that is it! But where does the gentleman find anything in the revelation to indicate that the equality of the Twelve with the Presidency spoken of has reference to the power of the former to take the place of the latter upon the latter’s dissolution? Nowhere. Mr. Smith allows on the following page (41) that if “both these quorums (Presidency and the Twelve) should be destroyed, then it would devolve on the Seventies,” etc. In other words, the Twelve is not equal to the Presidency unless the Presidency is dead or has ceased to be; and the Seventy is not equal to the Twelve until both the Presidency and Twelve are wiped out. According to our opponent equality can only take effect upon death or dissolution. To make the issue plain let me quote him on page 41: “I think it must be conceded that the apostles could not be equal in authority with the Presidency when the First Presidency is fully and properly organized.” According to Mr. Smith, then, the equality of one quorum to another spoken of in the revelation (section 104; Utah edition 107) cannot obtain during the life or existence of both quorums.
Now let the reader turn to said revelation and read its language following that which pertains to the matter of quorum equality and there he has the solution of the whole business:
And every decision made by either of these quorums [Presidency, Twelve, or Seventy] must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other.
This is the revelation’s own definition of what the equality was to consist. Simply that the decisions of the quorums would be equal with each other, when unanimously rendered on matters of business or of church government commanding or calling for adjudication. Beyond this we cheerfully submit the text to the scrutiny of the judicious reader who, whether he believes in the divinity of its contents or not, will not fail to be surprised at the most specious sophistry in its treatment by Joseph F. Smith, Jr., of Utah.
Mr. Smith quotes from our Church History 2:11, 12, and Times and Seasons 2:521, where Joseph the Martyr in 1836 and 1841 spoke of the Twelve as standing “next to the First Presidency.” Very true; no objection to that. The Twelve, standing next to the Presidency, when the Presidency was dissolved would clearly be left in the lead as the highest quorum. But they should have led as the Twelve and not as the Presidency. When they got into the shoes of the Presidency they got out of their place.
We admit that when a locomotive tumbles off the track it leaves the tender in the lead; but that does not make a locomotive of the tender. We admit that when the tender tumbles off the track it leaves the baggage coach in the lead; but that neither makes a tender nor a locomotive of the baggage coach. The trouble with the Mormons was, when the locomotive tumbled off, the tender acted as both tender and locomotive for a time, and later contrived a locomotive for itself and pushed it ahead, contrary to the plan of the General Superintendant who was separately preparing one to take the place of the original.
ADMITS LINEAL PRIESTHOOD IN GENERAL.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – From section 86, they quote as follows: “Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers, for ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God; therefore your life and the priesthood hath remained and must need remain through you and your lineage, until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.” But they fail to quote the eleventh and succeeding verse: “Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through the priesthood a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath spoken it. Amen.” But to whom was this revelation given?
Response. – It opens by saying, “Thus saith the Lord unto you my servants.”
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Was it to the Prophet Joseph Smith alone?
Response. – No, and no one has so claimed.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – This revelation was given December 6, 1832, to the elders of the church. Therefore when members of the “Reorganization” declare that Joseph Smith was one of these elders and must be included with his posterity in the promise, we meet their argument with the counter statement, that this promise was also to Hyrum Smith, to Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and a large number of other elders who never have been identified with the “Reorganization,” nor have their children, and to them this promise is as sure as to the seed of any others.
Response. – Granted. We admit that those men named were as much included as Joseph Smith. We have never contended that Joseph Smith was the only one to whom the law of lineal priesthood was applicable. All we use this text for (section 84, Lamoni edition,) is to prove the doctrine of lineal priesthood, and it proves it. Mr. Smith admits here that Joseph Smith was included when he says that the “promise was also to Hyrum Smith” and others.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – The inference in this eleventh verse is, that if they are not faithful then they will not receive the fulfillment of the promise.
Response. – The inference fairly drawn from this statement of Mr. Smith is, that if they are faithful they will receive the priesthood or the fulfillment of the promise. The reader will do well to note that Mr. Smith makes the implied concession that the only interruption to the lineal descent of the priesthood is unfaithfulness; that inasmuch as the sons of a priest are faithful, they are heirs by law to the priesthood.
HEIRSHIP IN THE NAUVOO HOUSE.
On page 46 of Mr. Smith’s book he quotes from Doctrine and Covenants, section 107 (124, Utah edition,) where the Nauvoo House was commanded to be built, in which Joseph Smith and house were to have place from generation to generation; “for,” says the revelation, “this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him.”
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – That is the anointing the term “this” refers to. It is the place in that boarding house, and has nothing to do with the Presidency of the church.
Response. – But by virtue of what was it that Joseph Smith was allotted the place in that boarding house? Why did not the Lord choose some lay member, some member of the deaconship, or of the priests, or, to come higher, of the Twelve, to occupy there? Why not, if the Presidency of the church had nothing to do with that position? Why not place Young, Pratt, or Carter there? Among the lay membership he could have found plenty who, so far as cookery and the temporal administration of the establishment were concerned, could have run things, and from that standpoint could have entertained the “stranger” and the “weary traveler” as capably as Joseph Smith. It is too evident to justify expatiation that it was the Presidentship of Joseph Smith that placed him there or entitled him to that position. If then it was by virtue of his presidentship that he was to hold or have place in that house, with the utmost propriety we ask, Could his seed have place in that house by virtue of anything else? The conclusion is not far-fetched by any means that if Joseph Smith, by virtue of his presidential incumbency was to have place therein, then the head of his posterity was to have place therein for the same reason. The tenor of the revelation goes to show that the Nauvoo House is to the President of the church what the White House is to the President of the United States.
Mr. Smith next has considerable to say respecting the blessings of the Smith family, but as his quotations are largely from private Mormon documents which are not accessible to us we for the most part pass them by.
CONFINES LINEAL PRIESTHOOD TO TWO OFFICES.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – We learn from the Doctrine and Covenants that there are two offices in the church that descend from father to son. One is that of the bishopric, for upon Aaron and his sons the Lord conferred this priesthood (section 68:16-18). The other is that of the evangelist. This we learn in section 107, but our friends misconstrue this section and try to make it appear that it is the Melchizedec priesthood that is meant. I will read it and you may judge for yourselves: “It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation. The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner,” etc.
Response. – Our friend’s idea is that “the order of this priesthood” (section 104) refers to the office of evangelist in particular rather than to the Melchisedec priesthood in general, although the latter is under consideration not only on the page from which the quotation is taken, but also on the following page and on the two pages preceding. In paragraph 11 the Lord speaks of the Presidency, the Twelve, and the Seventy; in paragraph 12 of the Twelve; in 13 of the Seventy; in 14 of the standing high councils; in 15 of the High Council in Zion; in 16 of the Traveling High Council, and then because in the 17th paragraph the ordination of evangelical ministers is referred to he assumes that “evangelical ministers” must be antecedent to “the order of this priesthood” in paragraph 18.
If it said “this office of the priesthood,” there might be some shadow of reason in his contention, but it does it. Suppose nothing had been said in the preceding sentence about evangelical ministers, would he have concluded that because the Twelve are designated therein “the order of this priesthood” had reference to them? As a matter of fact, since the Twelve are mentioned in connection with the evangelical ministers and since they are given such prominence in the sentence preceding, is there not more room for believing that “the order of this priesthood” points to them than to the evangelical ministers, if we falter to apply said verbiage as looking to the Melchisedec order generically? Among the several sections which teach the lineality of the Melchisedec priesthood is section 83 (84 Utah edition) which says that Melchisedec received it “through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah; and from Noah till Enoch, through the lineage of their fathers; …which priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations.”
PETER AS PRESIDENT.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – If the keys of the kingdom belongeth always to the presidency of the high priesthood, then Peter was president of the high priesthood for the Lord conferred upon him the keys of the kingdom.
Response. – Herein Mr. Smith affirms that Peter was really president of the high priesthood, his if being predicated on the declaration of section 80 (81 Utah edition) that the keys of the kingdom “belongeth always unto the presidency of the high priesthood.” Possibly he was. If such is the corollary of the declaration of the revelation and the circumstance of Peter’s receipt of the the keys (Matthew 16), we have no objection.
MOSES AND JOSHUA.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – Even when we go back in ancient Israel we find Moses of the tribe of Levi ordaining Joshua the son of Nun as his successor, and not his own son.
Response. – There is not a scrap of evidence that Moses confirmed upon Joshua a particle of priesthood – merely the civil leadership.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr., (page 53). – The president of their church declares that he was blessed in Liberty Jail, twice afterward before the fall of 1843, and again publicly in the grove at Nauvoo. (True Succession, page 40.)
Response. – Another instance of the recklessness of our critic in the representation of documents right before him. What he refers to as a fourth blessing is described on page 40 of True Succession, quoting from the President of the Reorganized Church, as but a “public attestation of the same blessing,” the former one.
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – It is also quite evident that this expression was an afterthought on the part of Lyman Wight from the fact that on that memorable 8th of August, 1844, he voted to sustain the Twelve Apostles as the presiding quorum and Presidency of the Church, (History of the Church, for August 8, 1844).
Response. – The minutes of the conference as contained in the Times and Seasons published at that time show no vote in reference to the Twelve save for the “supporting the Twelve in their calling.”
[EDITOR’S NOTE – At this point we insert a statement from the pen of the church historian: “Our information is to the effect that Lyman Wight was not present at the meeting ‘on that memorable 8th of August, 1844.’ My mother, Lyman Wight’s eldest daughter then eighteen years old, states that her father refused to attend said meeting; that Heber C. Kimball and George Miller came to his house, in her presence, with a summons from Brigham Young to appear, which he declined to do, declaring that the Twelve were usurping authority. This resulted in a personal encounter during which Miller was forcibly evicted from the room by Wight and Kimball followed without awaiting the enforcement of the order. – Heman C. Smith.”]
Joseph F. Smith, Jr. – It is hardly reasonable to suppose that the Prophet “anointed,” “blessed,” and “ordained” his son to this office every few days.
Response. – Three times in twelve years is not every few days, nor is it exceptionally frequent.
[NOTE. – Our Utah friends need not feel captious about this matter of repeated blessing. It is claimed Joseph F. Smith’s father, Hyrum Smith, received at least two separate patriarchal blessings. The second, published in Lucy Smith’s history of the Prophet, contains no mention of Hyrum’s posterity. To offset that fact our Utah friends triumphantly point to a “former” blessing, now reposing in the famed “archives” in Salt Lake City, in which wonderful predictions were made concerning Hyrum’s seed.
“It is hardly reasonable to suppose” that the Patriarch blessed his son “every few days.” – Associate Editor.]
From The Saints’ Herald, June 30-July 21, 1909.
Transcribed by Jamie A. Dennison (email@example.com) of Salt Lake City, Utah.