401. Joshua Beynon Stewart’s Patriarchal Blessing describes his possession of the gifts of healing and discernment, and he was called by scores to administer to the sick. His son, Adiel, recounts: “Father was doctor in the home. He administered to us.” A member of Joshua’s Sunday School class, Sarah Cornick, was in a coma from scarlet fever. He took his class and administered to her in her home. He told her to get up. She sat up and came to church the following Sunday. Joshua also reportedly brought back to life a man who had died.
In 1913 a weevil was destroying alfalfa crops in the state. In a matter of hours, forty to fifty acres could be destroyed. One Sunday, Adiel and his dad were walking out in the fields irrigation and observed that a weevil had started in infest their crop. Joshua leaned on his shove, and surveyed the situation. Turning to Adiel, he said: “Take off your hat Adiel.” Adiel described what followed:
“He then talked to the Lord. He told him that he had two boys on missions and the weevils had to stop. He then went about his irrigation. There was a clear line between his crops where the weevil stopped and those of his neighbors, where the weevil continued.”
In late August 1913, a similar experience occurred. Joshua’s farm was mortgaged and he had two boys on missions. Thirty to forty acres were in potatoes, and they were no bigger than buttons. He talked to the Lord and explained his plight. By September 5th the potatoes had reached full growth; all within ten days. He received the highest price paid on potatoes that year as his were the first potatoes harvested. In fact, it was the best crop of potatoes the Stewart’s ever harvested.
Peace Like A River, The Historical and Spiritual Journey of The Isaac M. Stewart Family, Compiled and Edited By David H. Epperson (Salt Lake City, 2007), 126.
402. Meliton Trejo was born in Spain and grew up without settling on any religion. He was serving in the military in the Philippines when he heard a remark about the Mormons in the Rocky Mountains and felt a strong desire to visit them. Later he became very ill and was told in a dream that he must visit Utah. When he recovered, he journeyed to Salt Lake City. He met Brigham Young and investigated the gospel. He became convinced that he had found the truth and became a member of the Church. He served a mission in Mexico and was then prepared, spiritually and intellectually, to play a major role in seeing that Spanish-speaking people could read the Book of Mormon in their own language.
Our Heritage, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996), 94.
403. The following from the autobiography of Levi Hancock:
It is now May 1831. I told what I had done with the help of the Lord, for I know he was with me and guided me all the way. I found that we had nearly broken up the Freewill Baptist church west. A Mr. Rollins came to see me. I told him many names; he knew them well, he said. From that time on he did not appear to want to see me, as he had been their preacher before and now his flock had left him.
There was an old sister there that told him a dream she had before I got back there. The dream did not please him. She told him the following dream, Well, she said she saw two curtains let down from heaven while she could not see the top, she saw Levi W. Hancock walk between them until he came to a large field, in it was a fruit tree that spread its branches over a large body of land. Many people shook hands with him. He reached and took some fruit almost from the top twig and commenced singing. She saw Mr. Rollins start and run with his hat off, the fire pursued him as far as she could see. Some had left the church of Christ and they also ran.
Autobiography of Levi Hancock, Typescript, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University; http://www.boap.org/
404. In May 1884, Bishop Henry Ballard of the Logan Second Ward was signing temple recommends at his home. Henry’s nine-year-old daughter, who was talking with friends on the sidewalk near her home, saw two elderly men approaching. They called to her, handed her a newspaper, and told her to take it to her father.
The girl did as she was asked. Bishop Ballard saw that the paper, the Newbury Weekly News, published in England, contained the names of more than 60 of his and his father’s acquaintances, along with genealogical information. This newspaper, dated 15 May 1884, had been given to him only three days after it was printed. In a time long before air transportation, when mail took several weeks to get from England to western America, this was a miracle.
The next day, Bishop Ballard took the newspaper to the temple and told the story of its arrival to Marriner W. Merrill, the temple president. President Merrill declared, “Brother Ballard, someone on the other side is anxious for their work to be done and they knew that you would do it if this paper got into your hands.” This newspaper is preserved in the Church Historical Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Our Heritage, A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), 99.
405. When Apostle Francis M. Lyman was sent to the Holy Land to rededicate Palestine he was 62 years of age. He had received numerous dreams prior to this event which helped prepare his mind for the task at hand. In all of these dreams he was visited by men who provided him with the necessary instructions for this special mission. The dream which had the most effect on Elder Lyman occurred in September of 1901. In this dream he saw himself stand before Prophets Joseph F. Smith and Lorenzo Snow. The two men were discussing a very special, but yet very delicate mission and consulting with each other who should fulfill this mission. Francis M. Lyman stood forward and said that he felt he could fulfill such an assignment. He said, “I will undertake it and do the best I can.” President Snow responded, “We don’t want to wear you out that way.” Lyman then replied, “I shall wear out and shall not rust out.”
Francis M. Lyman to Lorenzo Snow, May 5, 1902, Church History Library.
406. Father [Levi Hancock] had a great deal of opposition in Nauvoo. One day as father and I were walking down Water Street, and we came within twenty feet of the Mansion, an east window raised up, and Francis M. Higbee took deliberate aim with a rifle, and shot father in the left breast. I was walking on father’s right side, and I saw the shot fired, and heard the thud as the bullet struck, but father stopped and picked up the bullet from the ground, and reaching it toward heaven with his right hand, said, “I thank thee, O God the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, that thou didst destroy the power of this bullet”. As soon as the shot was fired, the window was shut down. I suppose Higbee thought father was gone this time for sure, but father had been shot at many times by the mobbers and apostates. Father had had the temple in his care for sometime, and some were jealous of the honors conferred upon him.
Autobiography of Mosiah Hancock, Typescript, BYU-S; htpp://www.boap.org/
407. The following from the pioneer journal of Lucy Meserve Smith:
While I was in School at Provo two of the Brown boys and John H. Smith, were out of School one day, and the Provo River being very high and running very swiftly, they thought they could have a nice boat ride. They accordingly procured a Skiff and started out. They paddled to the opposite side. When their boat capsized the two Browns managed to get back into the boat, but John Henry sank and came up and was sinking the second time, when to the surprise of the people on the shore there came a great swell in the water without a breeze stirring and went right down under John H. lifting him up out of the water and throwing him up the high straight bank, and as he struck on his stomach the water poured out of his mouth very profusely.
His Father (George A. Smith) was at Salt Lake City at the time, and at that moment as near as we could learn, a feeling came over him, that all was not right with his boys at Provo. He hastened to his prayer-room, and prayed to our Heavenly Father that his boys might not be swallowed up in the Provo River. When I got out of school, J.H. looked pale. I asked the cause and he related to me the whole circumstances also of his miraculous deliverance, saying I took one good drink while I was in the River. Said I, Jonny the Lord has a great work for you to do. He has already been on two missions to Europe, once 15 years ago, and once since he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in 1884-5.
Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey M. Godfrey, and Jill Mulvay Derr, Women’s Voices: An Untold History of The Latter-day Saints 1830-1900 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1982), 266-267.
408. This is 1842 when Mosiah Hancock was eight-years old.
The next day the Prophet came to our home and stopped in our carpenter shop and stood by the turning lathe. I went and got my map for him. "Now", he said, "I will show you the travels of this people". He then showed our travels through Iowa, and said, "Here you will make a place for the winter; and here you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake! You will build cities to the North and to the South, and to the East and to the West; and you will become a great and wealthy people in that land. But, the United States will not receive you with the laws which God desires you to live, and you will have to go to where the Nephites lost their power. They worked in the United Order for 166 years, and the Saints have got to become proficient in the laws of God before they can meet the Lord Jesus Christ, or even the city of Enoch". He said we will not travel the shape of the horse shoe for there we will await the action of the government. Placing his finger on the map, I should think about where Snowflake, Arizona is situated, or it could have been Mexico, he said, "The government will not receive you with the laws that God designed you to live, and those who are desirous to live the laws of God will have to go South. You will live to see men arise in power in the Church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty. There will be two great political parties in this country. One will be called the Republican, and the other the Democrat party. These two parties will go to war and out of these two parties will spring another party which will be the Independent American Party. The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands until other nations will say, "Let's divide up the lands of the United States", then the people of the U. S. will unite and swear by the blood of their fore-fathers, that the land shall not be divided. Then the country will go to war, and they will fight until one half of the U. S. army will give up, and the rest will continue to struggle. They will keep on until they are very ragged and discouraged, and almost ready to give up--when the boys from the mountains will rush forth in time to save the American Army from defeat and ruin. And they will say, 'Brethren, we are glad you have come; give us men, henceforth, who can talk with God'. Then you will have friends, but you will save the country when it's liberty hangs by a hair, as it were".
Autobiography of Mosiah Hancock, Typescript, BYU-S; http://www.boap.org/
409. August 17th 1845, Monday morningÑAll business commences in the city with usual liveliness. The temple [Nauvoo] is in a rapid state of improvements. [It's] sturdy. The last of the tower or the top of the tower was raised, which was the 23rd of August. The shingling of the roof, which was completed sometime before this, put a veto on one of Sidney Rigdon's false prophecies that was that the last shingle never would be put onto the house in consequence of our enemies. But thanks be to God, no arm is as yet suffered to hinder the work of the Lord.
Autobiography of William Huntington, Typescript, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
410. The following was a statement made by Orson Hyde that has proved to be prophetic. Orson said this when he belonged to the Methodist faith.
About this time some vague reports came in the newspapers that a "golden bible" had been dug out of a rock in the state of New York. It was treated, however, as a hoax. But on reading the report, I remarked as follows--"Who knows but that this `golden bible' may break up all our religion, and change its whole features and bearing?" Nothing more was heard of it for a long time in that section.
“History of Orson Hyde [1805-1842],” Millennial Star, 26 (1864), 742-44, 760-61, 774-76, 790-92.
411. About the same time my wife was taken very sick. By her request, I administered to her, and she was immediately healed. I visited my father and told him that signs followed the believer, as in the days of the apostles; that I was a believer, and had been ordained an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that the signs followed my ministrations.
He ordered me out of his house for believing such non-sense. I went out, reflecting as to whether or not I had done wrong in predicting that I would baptize him in less than two years.
Sometime after this he was taken sick, and I went to see him. My mother told me he had the spotted fever, and that there was no hope of his recovery. She believed he was dying, and so it appeared to me; but I thought that God could and would save him if I prayed for him.
I retired to a private place, and prayed to the God of Abraham to have mercy on my father and heal him, that he might have an opportunity of obeying the gospel.
It was a moonlight night, and when I returned to the house my mother stood at the door. She spoke to me very kindly, and said:
“Jacob, the fever has left your father; he has spoken and wants to see you.”
As I approached him he said, “The fever has left me, and your mother says that you came to me and went away again. What has made such a sudden change? Do you know?”
I answered that I had prayed for him, that I was a believer in the gospel of the Son of God and in the signs following those that believe.
“Well,” said he, “if it is the gospel, I would like to know it; but if it is preistcraft, I want nothing to do with it.”
Soon after the sickness of my father, I sold my home, gathered up my effects and started for Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois.
In passing my father’s house I [Jacob Hamblin] found him quite well, and he desired me to remain overnight. He showed much interest in the principles of the gospel, and, when I left his house in the morning, the Spirit manifested to me that my father and his household would yet accept the truth.
Jacob Hamblin’s father must have eventually joined the Church for latter in his life history we find the following events that take place while Jacob and his family are crossing the plains in 1850:
. . . The next day the cholera attacked me and I was healed under the hands of my father.
I was advised to get into the wagon and ride the remainder of the day. As my eldest son, a small lad, took the whip to drive the team, he fell forward to the ground and both wheels on the left side of the wagon ran over his body. It appeared to me that he never could breathe again. My father took him out of the road, administered to him, and he arose to his feet and said that he was not hurt.
My youngest son, Lyman, was taken with the cholera, and my father in administering to him, rebuked the destroyer, and commanded it to depart from him, from the family and from the company. To my knowledge no more cases of the cholera occurred after that in the company.
James A. Little, Jacob Hamblin in Three Mormon Classics, Preston Nibley, comp. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), 206-207, 219-220.
412. After we [Mosiah Hancock and family] left Far West, we were left alone for awhile. The mob worried to know where my father [Levi Hancock] was. One day a deputation of men came to our place and generously gave father three days to get away, which pleased us very much for we certainly had no desire to stay. Father was an expert in everything he tried to do, and he rigged up a foot lathe and soon had two hubs turned out. It didn't take us long to build a cart, and soon we were traveling off with the cart box filled with corn. The snow was deep enough to take me to the middle of the thigh, and I was barefooted and in my shirt tail. Mother had made me a tow shirt in Kirtland, and the shirt still stuck to me, or rather, I still stuck to the shirt. We had old Tom hitched to the cart, and father drove the horse and carried the rifle on his shoulder. Mother followed the cart carrying my little brother, Francis Marion in her arms. I tried to follow in her tracks. We finally stopped to rest and get something to eat; but mother said she could not stand it much longer. She cried . . . . . and father said, "Cheer up, Clarissa, for I prophesy in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ--you shall have a pair of shoes delivered to you before long, in a remarkable manner"! After we had made our fire and eaten of our roasted corn on the cob, mother reached down on the side to get her old shoes, and held up a new pair! Father answered, "Clarissa, did I not tell you that God would provide you a pair in a remarkable manner?" We continued on until dark when we found a good sized log to build our bed by. Our cart was filled with ears of corn, so we could not make our bed in it. We made a bed of leaves and put a quilt on top of them, then we covered ourselves with what loose garments we could spare--we were not oversupplied with clothing in those days. Father had what was called in those days a coat; I had my shirt; and mother had one dress made of the same material as my shirt. She had made them in Kirtland, and since that time hadn't had the opportunity to spin or weave because the mob would not give us time to get anything together. We even had to leave our flax after we had raised it! Father cut down a basswood tree for Tom to graze on during the night.
Autobiography of Mosiah Hancock, Typescript, BYU-S; http://www.boap.org/
413. It’s common knowledge that in March of 1842 Joseph Smith sent a history of the rise of the Church and a listing of 13 beliefs of the Church to a John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat, in what has become known as the Wentworth Letter. The following may not be known:
Several earlier lists of the beliefs of the Church were prepared by Joseph Smith and others that may have influenced the list in the Wentworth Letter. The revelation in section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants (1830) was originally entitled the “Articles and Covenants of the Church” and contained many of its most significant beliefs. Oliver Cowdery listed 8 “principles” in the LDS Messenger and Advocate (Oct. 1834); Parley P. Pratt listed 18 “principles and doctrines” in Late Persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1840); and Orson Pratt listed 19 paragraphs of “faith and doctrine” in his Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (1840), many of which begin with the phrase “we believe.” The order of the paragraphs in Orson Pratt’s pamphlet is very similar to the list of 13 in the Wentworth Letter.
The 13 statements from the Wentworth letter were printed and circulated among the members of the Church in the Times and Seasons (1842) and among nonmembers in several publications about the Church. Franklin D. Richards printed the articles from the Times and Seasons in his collection of texts for the Saints in England that he entitled The Pearl of Great Price (1851). Elder Richards did not give a title to the articles, but when Orson Pratt revised the Pearl of Great Price in 1878, he entitled them “Articles of Our Faith.” In October conference 1880, the Pearl of Great Price was presented to the membership of the Church and accepted as part of the standard works; thus the Articles of Faith became canonized scripture. In October conference 1890, Elder Franklin D. Richards specifically presented the Articles of Faith to the membership of the Church “as the rule of faith and conduct for Latter-day Saints,” and the membership again accepted and sustained them. Minor alterations were made in the wording and punctuation of the Articles of Faith in 1902 and 1981. In the revised edition of the Pearl of Great Price prepared by James E. Talmage in 1902, they were given the title “The Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”—the title by which they are still known.
Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000), 52-53.
414. After Joseph Smith first sent James Wentworth, of the Chicago Democrat the original Thirteen Articles of Faiths (1842) other lists of the Latter-day Saints beliefs have materialized. These listings were usually published by those men in the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
An interesting list appeared in April 1849 in a pamphlet published under Orson Pratt’s direction: James H. Flanigan, Reply to a Sheet Entitled “The Result of Two Meetings between the L.D. Saints and Primitive Methodists” at Gravely, Cambridgshire. This is a first printing of the thirteen Articles of Faith, with one additional one, and includes a few additions:
4th Article-“The Lord Supper” is added as a fifth ordinance.
5th Article-“Inspiration” is named as a means of men’s calling.
-“Duly Commissioned” replaces “in authority.”
7th Article-Additional gifts believed in are “faith, discerning of spirits, brotherly love, charity, and wisdom.”
8th Article-Includes “all good books,” nevertheless fails to state “as far as it is translated correctly.”
9th Article-Includes “the Messiah’s” second coming.
11th Article-States, “We believe in the literal resurrection of the body, and the dead in Christ will rise first, and that the rest of the dead live not again until the thousand years are expired.”
12th Article-Adds the term “unmolested” as a means of worship professed by the Saints.
13th Article-Adds “queens” to the rulers.
14th Article-Includes “temperate and upright” as qualities sought after, with a final “looking forward to the recompense of reward.”
James H. Flanigan, Reply to a Sheet Entitled “The Result of Two Meetings between the L.D. Saints and Primitive Methodists” at Gravely, Cambridgshire (Liverpool? 1849), 7-8.
John Taylor published a list containing nineteen “beliefs,” although it seemed to rely on Orson Pratt’s 1844 list in Listen to the Voice of Truth.
This list ran in every issue of The Mormon (New York City), beginning with Vol. 1, No. 1 (17 March 1855): 4.
415. Some of the newspapers and writings that gave the Saints bad press:
1818- Sangamo Journal, Springfield, Illinois, Thomas Hart Benton (In 1842 this paper was responsible for the spread of anti-Mormon literature).
1829- Palmyra Reflector (Palmyra, New York), Abner Cole editor (pseudonym Obediah Dogberry).
1833- The Reverend Benton Pixley, a longtime missionary to the Indians, wrote anti-Mormon articles and made house-to-house visits denouncing the Saints.
1835- Painesville Telegraph (Painesville, Ohio), Eber D. Howe editor.
1835- Millennial Harbinger (Ohio) Campbellite press
Early Anti-Mormon books:
1834- Delusions, Alexander Campbell (This is the first anti-Mormon book written; really, more of a pamphlet as it is only sixteen pages).
1834- Mormonism Unvailed [sic], Excommunicated member Doctor Philastus Hurlbut is the author, but due to a conviction of threatening the prophets life by a Chardon, Ohio court, the book is issued under the name of Eber D. Howe.
1838- Quincy Whig, Quincy, Illinois
1841- Warsaw Signal, Warsaw, Illinois, Thomas C. Sharp editor.
1844- Nauvoo Expositor, Nauvoo, Illinois, Sylvestor Emmons editor.
1863- Daily Union Vedette, Fort Douglas, Utah, founder Colonel Patrick E. Connor (This was Utah Territory first daily newspaper, which also tended to be anti-Mormon in its attitude).
1868- Utah Magazine, Salt Lake City.
1870- Mormon Tribune, Salt Lake City (replaces the Utah Magazine).
1878- Boston Watchman (a Baptist newspaper, suggested steps for a new anti-Mormon campaign).
1910 and 1911- Pearsons, Everybody’s Magazine, McClure’s, and Cosmopolitan all took anti-Mormon shot’s at the Church.
The Saints Newspapers that often refuted the claims made in the above newspapers, articles, and books:
1832- The Evening and Morning Star, Independence, Missouri, William W. Phelps editor.
1832- Upper Missouri Advertiser, Independence, Missouri, William W. Phelps editor
1834- The Latter-day Saint Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Oliver Cowdery editor (This paper started as a result of the press that printed The Evening and Morning Star being destroyed).
1834- Northern Times, Kirtland, Ohio, founded by Frederick G. Williams for use as a secular paper and to squash anti-Mormon rhetoric.
1837- Elders Journal, Kirtland, Ohio (Two volumes printed in Kirtland and the last two volumes at Far West, Missouri), Don Carlos Smith editor.
1840- The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, Parley P. Pratt editor (This is the Church’s longest running publication; 130 years from 1840-1970).
1842- Times and Seasons, Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith Jr. editor.
1842- Wasp, Nauvoo, Illinois, William Smith editor (strictly a secular paper).
1843- Nauvoo Neighbor, Nauvoo, Illinois, John Taylor editor (Replaces the Wasp).
1845- Prophet, New York City, Samuel Brannan, publisher.
1849- Frontier Guardian, Kanesville, Iowa, Orson Hyde editor.
1850- Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Willard Richards editor.
1853- The Zion’s Watchman, Australia (was published in an effort to counteract false statements in the press and to defend Church policies).
1866- Juvenile Instructor, Salt Lake City, George Q. Cannon editor (This became the official Sunday school publication).
1872- Women’s Exponent, Salt Lake City, Louisa Lula Greene editor.
1879- The Contributor, Salt Lake City, Junius F. Wells editor.
1889- Young Woman’s Journal, Salt Lake City.
1897- Improvement Era, Salt Lake City (Replaces The Contributor).
1903- Children’s Friend, Salt Lake City, May Anderson editor.
1915- Relief Society Magazine, Salt Lake City (Replaces the independently owned Women’s Exponent).
James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 80, 81-82, 95, 104, 164, 180, 190, 192, 191, 206, 259, 330, 343, 345, 401, 465, 476, 482; The Zion’s Watchman, Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000), 64.
416. Hubert Howe Bancroft, a book collector and historian in California, wrote one of the first histories of the Latter-day Saints written by a sympathetic non-Mormon. Published in 1889 in San Francisco, Bancroft’s History of Utah includes an even-handed treatment of the Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor periods of Church history.
Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000), 75.
417. Apostate, John C. Bennett, first mayor of Nauvoo, wrote the anti-Mormon book The History of the Saints; or, An Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism, published in Boston in November of 1842.
Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan, Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 2000), 89.
418. On 15 October 1982, Max Chopnick, vice president of the Laymen’s National Bible Committee, presented to the Church an award for outstanding service to the Bible cause. The award was accepted by President Gordon B. Hinckley.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church History In The Fulness Of Time (Salt Lake City: Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1993), 588.
419. The first book to record the revelations of Joseph Smith Jr. was known as the Book of Commandments & Revelations, which was the forerunner to the Book of Commandments, which was the forerunner to the Doctrine and Covenants.
Robert J. Woodford, “Introducing A Book of Commandments and Revelations, A Major New Documentary ‘Discovery,’” BYU Studies, Volume 48, Number 3, 2009, 7.
420. Because the Book of Commandments & Revelations was taken to Missouri (in 1831 to be published), Church authorities in Kirtland purchased another ledger book in which to continue to record subsequent revelations. This second volume is traditionally known as the Kirtland Revelation Book. . . The first revelation in the book is section 76 of the current D&C.
Robert J. Woodford, “Introducing A Book of Commandments and Revelations, A Major New Documentary ‘Discovery,’” BYU Studies, Volume 48, Number 3, 2009, 8-9.
421. The full title of the Book of Commandments & Revelations is: “A Book of Commandments & Revelations of the Lord Given to Joseph the Seer & Others by the Inspiration of God & Gift & Power of the Holy Ghost Which Beareth Record of the Father & Son Which Is One God Infinite and Eternal World without End Amen.”
Robert J. Woodford, “Introducing A Book of Commandments and Revelations, A Major New Documentary ‘Discovery,’” BYU Studies, Volume 48, Number 3, 2009, 20.
Additional interesting information:
Pages missing from the Book of Commandments & Revelations:
Pages 3-10, 15-22, and 25-26 are missing from the volume, and their location is unknown. Similarly, pages 111-112, 117-120, and 139-140 are missing from the volume, but fortunately the location of these pages is know: they are currently located at the Community of Christ Library-Archives in Independence, Missouri.
Robert J. Woodford, “Introducing A Book of Commandments and Revelations, A Major New Documentary ‘Discovery,’” BYU Studies, Volume 48, Number 3, 2009, 20.
422. . . . a minute book, later to be known as the Kirtland Council Minute Book, was created about December 1832 in order to copy into one book loose manuscripts of general conference and other meeting minutes.
Robert J. Woodford, “Introducing A Book of Commandments and Revelations, A Major New Documentary ‘Discovery,’” BYU Studies, Volume 48, Number 3, 2009, 22.
423. The top books as voted on by Goodreads.com
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Pride and Prejudice
4. The Book of Mormon
7. The Bible
424. John Clark, a minister in the Palmyra area, wrote the following:
It was early in the autumn of 1827 that Martin Harris called at my house in Palmyra, one morning about sunrise. His whole appearance indicted more than usual excitement, and he had scarcely passed the threshold of my dwelling, before he inquired whether he could see me alone, remarking that he had a matter to communicate that he wished to be strictly confidential. Previous to this, I had but very slight acquaintance with Mr. Harris. He had occasionally attended divine service in our church. I had heard him spoken of as a farmer in comfortable circumstances, residing in the country a short distance from the village, and distinguished by certain peculiarities of character. He had been, if I mistake not, at one period, a member of the Methodist Church, and subsequently had identified himself with the Universalists. At this time, however, in his religious views he seemed to be floating upon the sea of uncertainty. He had evidently quite an extensive knowledge of the scriptures, and possessed a manifest disputatious turn of mind. As I subsequently learned, Mr. Harris had always been a firm believer in dreams, and visions, and supernatural appearances, such as apparitions and ghosts, and therefore was a fit subject for such men as Smith and his colleagues to operate upon.
On the occasion just referred to, I invited him to accompany me to my study, where, after having closed the door, he began to draw a package out of his pocket with great and manifest caution. Suddenly, however, he stopped, and wished to know if there was any possibility of our being interrupted or overheard? When answered in the negative, he proceeded to remark, that he reposed great confidence in me as a minister of Jesus Christ, and that what he had now to communicate he wished me to regard as strictly confidential. He said he verily believed that an important epoch had arrived — that a great flood of light was about to burst upon the world, and that the scene of divine manifestation was to be immediately around us.
In explanation of what he meant, he then proceeded to remark that a Golden Bible had recently been dug from the earth, where it had been deposited for thousands of years, and that this would be found to contain such disclosures as would settle all religious controversies and speedily bring on the glorious millennium. That this mysterious book, which no human eye of the present generation has yet seen, was in the possession of Joseph Smith, Jr., ordinarily known in the neighborhood under the more familiar designation of Jo Smith; that there had been a revelation made to him by which he had discovered this sacred deposit, and two transparent stones, through which, as a sort of spectacles, he could read the Bible, although the box or ark that contained it, had not yet book [been?] opened; and that by looking through those mysterious stones he had transcribed from one of the leaves of this book, the characters which Harris had so carefully wrapped in the package which he was drawing from his pocket.
The whole thing appeared to me so ludicrous and puerile, that I could not refrain from telling Mr. Harris, that I believed it a mere hoax got up to practice upon his credulity, or an artifice to extort from him money; for I had already, in the course of the conversation, learned that he had advanced some twenty-five dollars to Jo Smith as a sort of premium for sharing with him in the glories and profits of this new revelation. For at this time, his mind seemed to be quite as intent upon the pecuniary advantage that would arise from the possession of the plates of solid gold of which this book was composed, as upon the spiritual light it would diffuse over the world. My intimations to him, in reference to the possible imposition that was being practiced upon him, however, were indignantly repelled. He then went on to relate the particulars in regard to the discovery and possession of this marvelous book. As far as I can now recollect, the following was an outline of the narrative which he then communicated to me, and subsequently to scores of people in the village, from some of whom in my late visit to Palmyra, I have been able to recall several particulars that had quite glided from my memory.
Before I proceed to Martin’s narrative, however, I would remark in passing, that Jo Smith, who has since been the chief prophet of the Mormons, and was one of the most prominent ostensible actors in the first scenes of this drama, belonged to a very shiftless family near Palmyra. They lived a sort of vagrant life, and were principally known as money-diggers. Jo from a boy appeared dull and utterly destitute of genius; but his father claimed for him a sort of second sight, a power to look into the depths of the earth, and discover where its precious treasures were hid. Consequently long before the idea of a Golden Bible entered their minds, in their excursions for money-digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place, where they struck their treasures, Jo used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig.
According to Martin Harris, it was after one of these night excursions, that Jo, while he lay upon his bed, had a remarkable dream. An angel of God seemed to approach him, clad in celestial splendor. This divine messenger assured him that he, Joseph Smith, was chosen of the Lord to be a prophet of the Most High God, and to bring to light hidden things, that would prove of unspeakable benefit to the world. He then disclosed to him the existence of this Golden Bible, and the place where it was deposited — but at the same time told him that he must follow implicitly the divine direction, or he would draw down upon him the wrath of heaven. This book, which was contained in a chest, or ark, and which consisted of metallic plates covered with characters embossed in gold, he must not presume to look into, under three years . . .
After his marriage and return from Pennsylvania, he became so awfully impressed with the high destiny that awaited him, that he communicated the secret to his father and family. The money-digging propensity of the old man operated so powerfully, that he insisted upon it that they should go and dig and see if the chest was there — not with any view to remove it till the appointed time, but merely to satisfy themselves. Accordingly they went forth in the stillness of the night with their spades and mattocks to the spot where slumbered this sacred deposit. They had proceeded but a little while in the work of excavation, before the mysterious chest appeared; but lo! Instantly it moved and glided along out of their sight. Directed, however, by the clairvoyance of Jo, they again penetrated to the spot where it stood, and succeeded in gaining a partial view of its dimensions. But while they were pressing forward to gaze at it, the thunder of the Almighty shook the spot, and made the earth to tremble — a sheet of vivid lightning swept along over the side of the hill, and burnt terribly around the place where the excavation was going on, and again with a rumbling noise, the chest moved off out of their sight. They were all terrified and fled towards their home. Jo took his course silently along by himself.
On his way homeward, being alone and in the woods, the angel of the Lord met him, clad in terror and wrath. He spoke in a voice of thunder: forked lightning shot through the trees, and ran along upon the ground. The terror which the appearance of the divine messenger awakened, instantly struck Smith to the earth, and he felt his whole frame convulsed with agony, as though he were stamped upon by the iron hoofs of death himself. In language most terrific did the angel upbraid him for his disobedience, and then disappeared. Smith went home trembling and full of terror. Soon, however, his mind became more composed. Another divine communication was made to him, authorizing him to go along by himself and bring the chest and deposit it secretly under the hearth of his dwelling, but by no means to attempt to look into it. The reason assigned by the angel for this removal, was that some report in relation to the place where this sacred book was deposited had gone forth, and there was danger of its being disturbed. According to Harris, Smith now scrupulously followed the divine directions. He was already in possession of the two transparent stones laid up with the Golden Bible, by looking through which he was enabled to read the golden letters on the plates in the box. How he obtained these spectacles without opening the chest, Harris could not tell. But still he had them; and by means of them he could read all the book contained. The book itself was not to be disclosed until Smith’s child had reached a certain age. Then it might be published to the world. In the interim, Smith was to prepare the way for the conversion of the world to a new system of faith, by transcribing the characters from the plates and giving translations of the same.
This was the substance of Martin Harris’ communication to me upon our first interview. He then carefully unfolded a slip of paper, which contained three or four lines of characters, as unlike letters of hieroglyphics of any sort, as well could be produced were one to shut up his eyes and play off the most antic movements with his pen upon paper. The only thing that bore the slightest resemblance to the letter of any language that I had ever seen, was two uprights marked joined by a horizontal line, that might have been taken for the Hebrew character. My ignorance of the characters in which the pretended ancient record was written, was to Martin Harris new proof that Smith’s whole account of the divine revelation made to him was entirely to be relied on. . . .
[Journey to New York] He [Martin Harris] was so much in earnest on this subject, that he immediately started off with some of the manuscripts that Smith furnished him on a journey to New York and Washington to consult some learned men to ascertain the nature of the language in which this record was engraven. After his return he came to see me again, and told me that, among others, he had consulted Professor Anthon, who thought the characters in which the book was written very remarkable, but he could not decide exactly what language they belonged to. Martin had now become a perfect believer. He said he had no more doubt of Smith’s commission, than of the divine commission of the apostles. The very fact that Smith was an obscure and illiterate man, showed that he must be acting under divine impulses: - “God had chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things to confound the mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised — yea, and things that are not to bring to naught — things that are — that no flesh should glory in his presence:” that he was willing to “take of the spoiling of his goods” to sustain Smith in carrying on this work of the Lord; and that he was determined that the book should be published, though it consumed all his worldly substance.
It was in vain I endeavored to expostulate. I was an unbeliever, and could not see afar off. As for him he must follow the light which the Lord had given him . . . The way that Smith made his transcripts and translations for Harris was the following. Although in the same room, a thick curtain or blanket was suspended between them, and Smith concealed behind the blanket, pretended to look through his spectacles, or transparent stones, and would then write down or repeat what he saw, which, when repeated aloud, was written down by Harris, who sat on the other side of the suspended blanket. Harris was told that it would arouse the most terrible divine displeasure, if he should attempt to draw near the sacred chest, or look at Smith while engaged in the work of deciphering the mysterious characters. This was Harris’ own account of the matter to me. What other measures they afterwards took to transcribe or translate from these metallic plates, I cannot say, as I very soon after this removed to another field or labor where I heard no more of this matter till I learned the Book of Mormon was about to be published . . . This book, which professed to be a translation of the Golden Bible brought to light by Joseph Smith, was published in 1830—to accomplish which Martin Harris actually mortgaged his farm.
John A. Clark, Gleanings by the Way (1842), pp. 222-31; http//www.boap.org/
425. "Golden Bible." -- The Palmyra. Freeman Says, the greatest piece of superstition that has ever come within our knowledge, now occupies the attention of a few individuals of this quarter. It is generally known and spoke of as the "Golden Bible." Its proselytes give the following account of it: In the fall of 1827, a person by the name of Joseph Smith of Manchester, Ontario County, reported that he had been visited in a dream by the spirit of the Mighty, and informed that in a certain hill in that town, was deposited this Golden Bible, containing an ancient record of a divine nature and origin. After having been thence thus visited, as he states he proceeded to the spot and after having proceeded to the spot and after having penetrated "mother earth a short distance, the Bible was found together with a huge pair of spectacles! He had directed, however, not to let any mortal being examine them, under no less penalty than instant death! They were therefore nicely wrapped up and excluded from the vulgar gaze of poor wicked mortals!" It was said that the leaves of the Bible were plates of gold about eight inches long, six wide and one eighth of an inch thick, on which were engraved characters or hieroglyphics by placing the spectacles in a hat, and looking into, Smith could (he said so at least) interpret the characters.
An account of this discovery was soon circulated. The subject was almost invariably treated as it should have been with contempt. A few however believed the "Golden" story, among whom was Martin Harris, an honest and industrious farmer of the town of Palmyra. So blindly enthusiastic was Harris, that he took some of the characters interpreted by Smith, and went in search of some one; besides the interpreter, who was learned enough to English them; but to all whom he applied (among the number was Professor Mitchell, of New York,) happened not to be possessed of sufficient knowledge to give satisfaction! Harris returned, and set Smith to work at interpreting the Bible. He has at length performed the task, and the work is soon to be put to press in Palmyra. Its language and doctrines are said to be far superior to the book of life!
"Golden Bible," Painesville Telegraph, 1831, p. 3.
426. January 4, 1833: In a letter to N.C. Saxton, editor of the American Revivalist and Rochester Observer, Joseph Smith taught about the gathering of Israel and prophesied of pestilence and civil war.
Smith, Joseph Jr. History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Edited by B. H. Roberts, 2d, ed., rev. 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 1:312-16.
427. The Monticello, Utah Temple is the only temple to have had a statue of the angel Moroni colored white. Within a year, the white statue was replaced with a larger and more visible gold-leafed one. White enamel-covered fiberglass statues were to decorate the "smaller and remote-area" temples as conceived by President Gordon B. Hinckley, but the Monticello statue proved too difficult to see, especially in cloudy weather. It was replaced about a year later by a larger, traditional gold-leafed statue, which remained the standard. The white statue was gold leafed and installed atop the Columbus Ohio Temple.
Chad S. Hawkins, The First One Hundred Temples (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate,2001), 273; www.ldschurchtemples.com
428. The Ogden Utah Temple was the first temple dedicated in the state of Utah. (Utah gained statehood on January 4, 1896. Four temples—including the Salt Lake Temple—had already been dedicated in Utah Territory.)
429. The Angel Moroni statue was placed on top of the Nauvoo Temple September 21, 2001 in commemoration of the 178th anniversary of Moroni’s first appearance to Joseph Smith. The LDS Church “flew three angels” that day: one in Nauvoo, Illinois; one in Boston, Massachusetts; and one in The Hague, Netherlands.
Heidi S. Swinton, Sacred Stone (American Fork: Covenant Communications, Inc., 2002), 20.
430. The Redlands California Temple stands on a parcel of the original Mormon landholdings purchased in October 1851 by Elders Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich.
431. The temple (Kirtland) was built of sandstone covered with plaster. The cornerstone was laid on July 23, 1833, and the project had an immediate impact on the Church and the community. It spurred a lagging economy and employed those unable to find work elsewhere including refugees from troubled Missouri.
James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1992), 108.
432. Of all the American churches pictured on old blue china and listed as Staffordshire ware, the rarest is the Mormon Temple (Nauvoo Temple).
The New York Historical Society Quarterly July, 1949, pg. 185 and January, 1950, pg. 21-22.
433. Because of Wilford C. Wood’s foresight, many items, both in sites and artifacts now belong to the Church. After serving in the Northern States Mission and returning home in 1918 he began his collection that he obtained with his own money. The following is a list of the major items he had purchased over the years:
1. The original uncut sheets of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon
2. The John Taylor home in Nauvoo
3. The original Temple site at Nauvoo
4. The Liberty Jail in Missouri
5. The Newell K. Whitney Store in Kirtland, Ohio
6. Property at Adam-ondi-Ahman
7. Property along the Susquehannah River
8. Many acres of the Martin Harris Farm
9. An original edition of the Book of Commandments
10. A first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, containing the Lectures of Faith
James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 2d ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 531; Julie A. Dockstader, “Foresight Preserves Historical Legacy.” Church News, 1 June 1991, 4; Wilford C. Wood, Joseph Smith Begins His Work. Vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Wilford C. Wood, 1962).
434. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith, dated September 25, 1862:
. . . Saw at the hotel a copy of an ancient Bible, printed in Dutch, in 1542, which circumstance caused the hotel where we tarried to be called the Bible house, as it was printed there.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 85.
435. On April 5, 1942, the First Presidency closed the Tabernacle for the duration of the war. During that time conference sessions were held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square and in the solemn assembly room on the fifth floor of the Salt lake Temple.
Sheri L. Dew, Go Forward With Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1996), 126.
436. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith, dated October 21, 1862 while serving a mission to Scandanavia:
. . . Took a walk on the beach. Attended Elder’s Council. The clergy of Norway having ruled our Church outside the pale of Christianity, it was held that members of our Church could not be legally married, the clergy solemnizing all the marriages.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 98.
437. Bro. Young spoke of the rapid growth of the Saints. Observed from the statistical report that over one-third of our numbers were under eight years of age. Did not know that we all would gain an exaltation, but all could strive for it. More people had left the Church than were now in it. Thomas L. Kane said the government should let the Saints have the country west of the Rocky Mountains as they deserve it.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 270.
438. In January 1857, the Utah Territorial Legislature created the office of Superintendent of Meteorological Observations. William W. Phelps was the first person appointed to this position, no doubt in part because of his reputation for astronomical knowledge as expressed in his publications [almanacs].
David J. Whittaker, “Alamancs in the New England Heritage of Mormonism,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 103.
What’s interesting about this appointment is there was a time when W. W. Phelps did not believe in astrology. In fact, it was Phelps who attacked the belief of astrology in his 1851 almanac, as the following information makes clear:
Phelps, of course, was not a farmer, and by 1857 changed his mind about astrology after a discussion with Brigham Young. After President Young told him that he believed astrology was true, Phelps wrote to Young, “I believe I did wrong in saying I did not know what astrology was . . . so I will now say astrology is one of the sciences belonging to the holy Priesthood perverted by vain man”
Wilford Woodruff, Journal, 28 June 1857, MS, LDS Church Archives
439. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith dated June 6, 1862?
Mrs. Karen Thomsen presented me a bottle of wine, and requested me to baptize her, which I did at 10 p.m. She and her husband had formerly belonged to the Church, but had been cut off for not paying their tithing.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 76.
440. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith, dated February 1, 1863 while serving a mission to Scandanavia:
. . . Received a letter from George A. Smith and Silas dated Salt Lake City Dec. 23. They both advised me to avoid over-exertion in speaking; and George A. recommended to me the counsel which the Prophet Joseph gave to him: viz., “Preach short sermons; make short prayers, and deliver your sermons with a prayerful heart, and you shall always prosper.”
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 103.
441. I learned from the Stake record of the quarterly conference held in Snowflake Dec. 27, 1879 that Apostle W. Woodruff, Pres. Lot Smith and Bishop George Lake were present besides the largest part of the local authorities. The statistical report showed the number of souls to be 748. Pres. Woodruff made some prophetic remarks. He also advised the brethren not to take any steps politically or otherwise that would affect the interests of the people without first having counsel on the matter. Further said no person has a right to preach what he does not practice. Advised all young men to let liquor alone. We have young men in the Church who drink, smoke and go whoring. Some of the heirs of Pres. Young are going to hell. We are nothing but what God has made us, and we must give Him the glory. Other brethren made good remarks. There was but little if any change in the local ministry.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 237.
442. . . .Referred to my missionary labors among the railroad camps; the majority of those composing them have no respect for the Sabbath day. Some of them might be termed fighting Mormons. They are profane and uncouth like those of our people who live by freighting. The Lord is not dependent upon us. He can raise up a people who will do His will if we all rebel.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 251.
443. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith dated July 1, 1883:
I ordained Warren R. Tenney a High Priest and a High Councillor to fill a vacancy in the High Council. I also set apart Emma S. Smith as president of the Relief Societies of our Stake and Elizabeth Swapp a nurse of the sick.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 274.
444. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith dated July 27, 1864:
Plodding along the Muddy River, often sticking on bars as the water was very low. We had on board the relics of the Nebraska 1st Regiment returning from the war. There were only a part of their original number, and some of them had been wounded; they were going to Omaha to be mustered out.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 170.
445. The Newspaper Editors in London are either very ignorant of Geography west of the Mississippi, or they believe and publish lies rather than truth; for instance, the past fortnight. One day they publish Brigham Young arrested by Col. Sumner and on his way to Washington guarded by troops. In a day or two they publish he is gone on a secret tour to hide away from the rebellious Mormons. In a day or two after that we hear he is in Russian America establishing a new colony. Next he is at the head of the Utah troops within a 100 miles of Omaha City come to fight the U.S. Troops. In a day or two after we learn he is in Council with Col. Van Vleit in the Social Hall, threatening to burn every house in the Valley and go into the Mountains leaving all a desolate waste. And today I learn that a large company of Mormons dressed as Indians, have killed 500 U.S. Soldiers somewhere in Minnesota. Such conflicting statements appear, and they are all believed to be true. No apology for the previous lies, no qualification for the rapid change of events. No telling how time and distance is annihilated or how he has the power to be in several places hundreds, yea thousands of miles apart at one time.
Thomas Bullock to Henrietta Rushton Bullock, 25 November 1857, Thomas Bullock Collection, LDS Church Archives. Most of Bullocks’ letters to Henrietta during 1857-58 can be found in the Henrietta Ruston Bullock Collection.
446. In April of 1936, every bishop was asked to have in store enough food and clothing to help each family in his ward make it through the next winter. The Relief Society was a huge factor in this undertaking. In southern Utah the Relief Society put up 14,000 cans of peaches and ingeniously shelled their peas by running the pods through the “clothes wringers on [two] brand new Speed Queen washing machines” loaned by generous Sisters for the purpose.
Louise Y. Robison, “Relief Society’s Contribution to the Church Welfare Program,” Relief Society Magazine 25 (November 1938): 765-66; “Notes from the Field,” Relief Society Magazine 23 (November 1936): 775; Relief Society in the St. George Stake, 28; New Views of Mormon History, Edited by Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 1987), 259.
Additional interesting information relative to the “Dirty Thirties” and the Relief Society:
The church helped to make a house-by-house survey of unemployment in the Salt Lake district and then contributed over $12,000 in cash plus some 420,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables to be delivered to the needy in Salt Lake City during the winter of 1930.
Bruce D. Blumell, “ ‘Remember the Poor’: A History of welfare in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1980,” 88, typescript, Library of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute of Church History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; New Views of Mormon History, Edited by Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 1987), 249.
447. Belle Spafford remembered how she and other Relief Society sisters in her Salt Lake City ward scrupulously followed church leaders’ counsel to avoid unnecessary waste that fall, gathering windfall peaches and apples, sterilizing collected bottles “in great big tubs with boiling water, and putting up fruit all day long, which needy families lined up to receive “before the bottles were cool.”
Belle S. Sapfford Oral History, interviews by Jill Mulvay [Derr], 1975-76, typescript, 14, James Moyle Oral History Program, LDS Church Archives; New Views of Mormon History, Edited by Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 1987), 253.
448. In 1937, in the Salt Lake region, Presiding Bishop Sylvester Q. Cannon praised the Relief Society for producing, among other items on a long list, 4,097 quilts, 8,452 items of new clothing, 15,808 items of remodeled clothing, 102,585 quarts of fruit, and 134,585 quarts of vegetables, representing 40,850 total days of service.
Sylvester Q. Cannon address, Relief Society Magazine 25 (May 1938): 350.
449. On March 23, 1942, the First Presidency announced that for the duration of World War II only older men who had been ordained high priests and seventies would be called on full-time missions.
Dew, Sheri L., Go Forward With Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1996), 126.
Additional interesting information:
During World War II, in Salt Lake City the First Presidency closely monitored the mounting crisis and soon ordered the evacuation of all missionaries from Europe. Most missionaries crossed the Atlantic Ocean on cargo ships with makeshift accommodations for several hundred passengers each. Typically, these ship’s holds were filled with bunks, with only a curtain separating the men’s and women’s areas. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., regarded the successful evacuation of missionaries as truly miraculous:
“The entire group was evacuated from Europe in three months, at a time when tens of thousands of Americans were besieging the ticket offices of the great steamship companies for passage, and the Elders had no reservations. Every time a group was ready to embark there was available the necessary space, even though efforts to reserve space a few hours before had failed. . . .
“Truly the blessings of the Lord attended this great enterprise.”
In Conference Report, April 1940, pg. 20.
450. After associating with Mormon brethren in the mining camps and elsewhere for much of a year, Elder [Amasa] Lyman wrote Brigham Young that “to strike hands with a man having the Spirit of God is a rare treat in California,” meaning that there were but few, in his judgment, who had maintained their full commitment to the faith after coming into contact with what he termed “the poison of gold.”
Edward Leo Lyman, “The Rise and Decline of Mormon San Bernardino.” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 43.
451. Between March and June , expeditions headed by George W. Bean (Provo) and William H. Dame (Parowan) roamed through an expanse of the Great Basin astraddle the current Utah-Nevada boundary, about two hundred miles north-south and one hundred miles east-west, and even planted crops near present-day Panaca. But the 171 men of the White Mountain Expedition found nothing to match Brigham Young’s impression of “room in that region for 500,000 persons to live scattered about where there is good grass and water.”
Richard D. Poll, “The Move South,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 66.
Additional Interesting information:
Brigham Young said [Referring to the army that the United States was sending], “I am in favor of leaving them before I am obliged to. . . Where are you going? To the deserts and the mountains. There is a desert region in this Territory larger than any of the Eastern States, that no white man knows anything about. . . . I am going there where we should have gone six or seven years ago.
Clifford Stott, Search of Sanctuary: Brigham Young and the White Mountain Expedition (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1984), 24-30, 49-65.
452. January 22, 1939: Elder George Albert Smith ordains and sets apart Moroni Timbimboo, the first Native American Indian to serve as a bishop in the Church, as the presiding officer of the Washakie Ward, in Box Elder County, Utah.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 17.
453. In July of 1929, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, with Ted Kimball as announcer, Anthon Lund as conductor, and Edward P. Kimball as organist, has its first broadcast on NBC radio, later switching to KSL radio, on the CBS network.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 139.
454. May of 1949, in celebration of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s twentieth year of continuous network broadcasting, Columbia Records releases the choir’s first record album, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir of Salt Lake City, Volume 1.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 207.
455. In July of 1954, Life magazine highlights the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s twenty-five years of broadcasting.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 147.
456. Territorial officers were again discussed in the Council of Fifty on 4 March 1849, when a slightly modified slate was nominated by the council: Brigham Young, governor; Willard Richards, secretary of state; Heber C. Kimball, chief justice; Newel K. Whitney and John Taylor, associate judges; Horace S. Eldredge, marshal; Daniel H. Wells, attorney general; Albert Carrington, assessor and collector; Newel K. Whitney, treasurer; and Joseph L. Heywood, supervisor of roads. Further, the council voted to hold a general “election” on 12 March where the citizenry would be given the opportunity to ratify this slate. Such an “election,” unthinkable in any other part of the United States, was typical in Mormondom; officers were nominated by the Church leaders and then presented to the lay members for their sustaining vote. Despite a heavy snowstorm, the election came off as scheduled; 674 votes were polled in favor of the ticket, none in opposition.
Peter Crawley, “The Constitution of the State of Deseret.” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 10.
457. Actually some small banknotes had been printed in the valley in January 1849 on a small greeting-card press made by Truman O. Angell [Salt Lake Temple architect], which was not large enough to do book printing.
Peter Crawley, “The Constitution of the State of Deseret.” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 22.
458. Between 1851 and 1866, William W. Phelps compiled fourteen known almanacs. During the first few years they were titled Deseret Almanac; by 1859 they were simply titled Almanac, but the titled Deseret Almanac appeared again in 1865.
David J. Whittaker, “Alamancs in the New England Heritage of Mormonism,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 99.
459. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith dated December 11 and 12, 1861:
December 11: Bro. Christensen gave me 25 cents; walked 12 miles to the village of Valling, were welcomed by Bro. Niels Jensen. No appointment having been given out for meeting, were passing the evening quietly when two decently dressed girls came in and inquired if we were preachers, replying in the affirmative, they asked us to sing a hymn, in which they joined with great apparent devotion. Two hymns were sung, and the girls stated there were several nearby who wished to hear use preach. The bait was caught by Bro. C., who proposed to our host that we send out an appointment, which the young women volunteered to circulate. Some preparations were made, the invitation sent, and the door opened, when the room was immediately filled with ruffians, the two girls coming in to see the fun. They had simply been used as decoys to get the meeting appointed. The meeting was opened, I was asked to speak. I could easily discern that the ruffians intended to mob us. I spoke calmly and firmly for a few minutes, meeting with some interruption. Bro. C. endeavored to speak, but was drowned with shouts and clamor. The men sat smoking with their hats on. We concluded to dismiss. While trying to sing our single light was extinguished by some one throwing a hat upon it. Relighting, Bro. C. offered a short prayer, during which another attempt was made to put out the light. Bro. Jensen and wife, Bro. C. and I withdrew to an adjoining room, after Bro. Jensen had requested the mob to go in peace; this they refused to do; they extinguished every light, screamed, halloed, sang low songs, broke up seats, overturned the stove breaking it, and finally left the house yelling like demons. The two girls remained throughout the whole disgraceful proceedings. A bed being provided, we at length retired to rest.
December 12: Set out in good time. The mob of last evening were many of them gathered at the blacksmith shop, at the end of the village; saluted them as we passed. After walking some time in silence, Bro. C. turned to me and said: “Did you know those men intended to attack us as we came up?” “I thought so,” I replied. “Do you know the reason they did not?” “No,” I answered. “It was because they were afraid of you,” he said, “for I never saw you look as you did then; you looked larger than common, and when I looked at you I was afraid of you myself.” Such was Bro. C.’s remark.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 67-68.
460. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith dated June 14, 1864 while serving a mission to Scandinavia:
Off by steamer, up the Rhine by 5 a.m. Reached Mannheim between 11 and 12, from whence proceeded by rail, passing through Heidelberg, catching a glimpse of its celebrated castle, reached Karlsruhe and lodged at the hotel “L’Esprit”; Brother Riter went out and found a Bro. J. Miller, whom we met last year at Landschlacht, Switzerland; he had been imprisoned 16 times since last February for preaching the gospel. The Bailiff once offered to release him if he would deny his religion but this he declined to do.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 163.
461. January 19, 1953: The First Presidency informs stake presidents of the need for stenographers and other office help in the missions and suggests that a few properly trained women at least twenty-one years old be called as missionaries. The previous minimum age for sister missionaries had been twenty-three.
Richard Neitzel Holzpfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 15.
462. The following event happened while Jesse N. Smith was attending the Salt Lake Temple dedication:
While attending the dedicatory services of the Salt Lake Temple I had the pleasure of meeting my cousin, Caroline Smith Callister, who related a story that I have heard my mother relate as follows: When my mother came to Kirtland it was not with any intention of uniting with the Mormon Church, and she reported herself to the Presbyterian Church in the neighborhood of which she became a member. She had taken me, then a little over two years old, to this Church one Sunday. The services had not been interesting to her, and after the concluding services the front view of the Kirtland Temple was very vividly presented before her eyes and these words borne in upon her mind, “There thy best friends and kindred dwell; there Christ thy Savior reigns.” From the contemplation of which she was aroused by my shout, “Mother, get the dumbelly (umbrella) and let’s go home.”
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 394.
463. (From a talk given by Jesse N. Smith, a cousin of the Prophet, to the Church History class of Professor John Henry Evans in the L. D. S. College, Salt Lake City, April 11, 1905)
This talk was given one year prior to Jesse N. Smith’s death:
I may say I was never so impressed by any person. I am unable to fully describe my sensations when in the presence of this wonderful man [Joseph Smith]. I only know that I rejoiced being in his presence. No voice that I had ever heard seemed to me to be such a voice. I have never heard any human voice, not even my mother’s, that was so attractive to me. Even his bitterest enemies, if they had the privilege of hearing him speak, became mollified, and forgot their anger. Now I believe even his murderers, at the last, if their passions could have been stilled, if their anger by which they were enraged and were no longer men, could have heard his voice, his impressive voice, and listened to his explanations, I do not believe they would have demanded his life. It was a sort of insanity. The powers of evil are abroad in the world. They obtain dominion sometimes of the children of men. It was under this circumstance that they were impelled to make that mad attack.
I will speak of the domestic life of the Prophet. My mother being a widow, he noticed her children. She had to sons. He asked them to his house, he made them welcome, they were at liberty to remain in his household. In this way we passed some time under his roof. I was intimate with his children, especially with the one that came into prominence and was known as young Joseph. I knew that queenly woman, his wife, Emma Smith. I may say that I was greatly impressed with her personality. She was the fitting helpmate of such a man. I stood in awe of this lady far more than I did of the Prophet himself, because he was so considerate of the feelings of the children.
His domestic animals seemed to love him. He was very fond of horses. He had a few very fine horses, one very remarkable dog, the housedog; they called him Major. The dog and the horses rejoiced when they saw this man because he took care of them, because he recognized them in their places as God’s creatures. He did not require unreasonable things of them; he was kindness itself to every human being, especially to his own household. His children rejoiced when he was present, and this was not so very remarkable; they could not do otherwise with so good and kind a father.
I was comparatively a poor and friendless child, my father having succumbed to the bitterness of the Missouri persecutions, my noble brother having fallen a victim also. I felt somewhat forlorn, for we were in poverty. They say poverty is not dishonorable, but a poor orphan feels it. Under this consideration, what wonder then that I feel justified in saying that this man was my friend; what wonder that he was almost deified in my mind. You probably will not enter into the enthusiasm for this matter altogether, yet I trust you will give me credit for sincerity. We perhaps, many of us, have received the witness of the Spirit of Truth, which testifies to us that Joseph Smith was a Prophet. I fully enter into this, with you and with everyone who has received this witness. I have received it and in a great degree also. I will say another thing, that I feel to be equally true, Joseph Smith was a gentleman in the very highest sense of the word. I never heard that said before, but I will stake my reputation on it that I know it was true.
He was especially neat in his appearance. He was unusually tidy—he was exceptionally tidy. When I have seen him almost at the best advantage was when he was attired in a military uniform. He was an officer of the military organization known as the “Nauvoo Legion. . .”
. . .His career was short. He had but a little time to realize the sorrows of this world. Although he was termed by those who knew him by the familiar term of Old Joe Smith, yet he was not old. He had scarcely reached the meridian of his life when he was called away. The people never felt comforted when they thought of his loss until the revelation was given to Brigham Young at Winter Quarters. I think I am correct in saying that the people never were comforted. In that revelation it was said that the Lord had taken Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, and that it was for a wise purpose and when these words came to the people they felt somewhat reconciled. Why, it isn’t much to say, for my poor life was little valued, but child that I was, I felt that I would cheerfully pay my life for his if by so doing I could hope to preserve him for the people. My young brothers and sisters, the name of this man has been sacred to me. It has been next to that of the Blessed Redeemer in my estimation. I knew him at home, I knew him in his public ministry. I listened to him in his house and also in the congregation of the people, and at every walk of life he stood at the head.
President Daniel H. Wells did not join the Church until after the Prophet’s death. He was very intimate with him although he had not subscribed to the faith of the Latter-day Saints. They were associated together in legal affairs, yet he knew a man when he saw him. President Wells had a strong legal training and a strong legal education likewise, and was a man who held a very responsible position. At that time he was Justice of the Peace. I will say for Pres. Wells that the path of promotion was before him. There was every possibility that he would be a very prominent man in the history of the nation, but casting his lot with the Latter-day Saints took away the hopes in that direction. He had a strong legal mind. It seems to me now that when I look back that Pres. Wells had just as good a chance as did Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Pres. Wells was of the same party as Abraham Lincoln. It seems to me that his chance for the presidential chair was fully equal to the chance of Abraham Lincoln. I believe that he was just as good a man legally and politically. Pres. Wells said: “I have known legal men all my life. Joseph Smith was the best lawyer that I have ever known in all my life.”
That is a wonderful tribute to the legal attainments of this wonderful man. I do not know whether a greater tribute could be obtained, for Pres. Wells knew whereof he was speaking. I do not expect that you will ever become as enthusiastic as I am about Joseph Smith. I never said a word in my life that seemed to bless me so as when I have said a good word for Joseph smith.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 455-456.
464. [Thomas] Bullock continued his labors in behalf of the Church and community in the Salt Lake Valley. He drew plats of the city for the land office, assisted in the establishment of the monetary system used in the valley, was the first proofreader for the Deseret News, served as recorder for the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, chief clerk of the Territorial House of Representatives, census taker, Salt Lake County recorder, inspector of liquors for the territory, clerk for Brigham Young’s exploration parties, and secretary of the Nauvoo Legion of Utah (rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel prior to his mission call to England in 1856). In addition, he wrote an Emigrant’s Guide, was president of the Twenty-Seventh Quorum of Seventies, helped divide the valley into wards, was instrumental in copying and creating maps of the region, and continued clerking for Brigham Young and the Council of the Twelve. He also helped organize the first Utah library and was a member of the Deseret Theological Institute and home secretary of the Desert Horticultural Society. He was frequently consulted on horticultural matters. He was also involved with the pioneer theater as a prompter, was an ardent reader, served on the Board of Regents of the University of Deseret, and was appointed by the board to examine school teachers.
Most of the appointments can be found in the Thomas Bullock Collection, LDS Church Archives; C. Ward Despain, “Thomas Bullock: Early Mormon Pioneer” (Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1956), 61-72,91-98.
465. Other leading diarists on the trek benefited from [Thomas] Bullock’s journal-keeping assignment. William Clayton wrote that he had “the privilege of copying from Brother Bullock’s journal. Clayton in turn allowed Howard Egan to copy from his journal in trade for doing Clayton’s laundry.
William Clayton, William Clayton’s Journal (Salt Lake City: Clayton Family Association, 1921), 114; Ibid., 176, 343 (23 May and 10 August 1847. It is evident in the Journal History that the history for the 1846-1848 treks was compiled after 1915, when Egan’s journal was printed, but before 1921, when Clayton’s was typeset. Egan was quoted every day, Clayton hardly ever, and Bullock’s official records were used to some extent. It appears that Egan copied from Clayton for the duration of the vanguard trek.
466. In July 1934, Samuel P. Cowley, a member of the Church and head of the Bureau of Investigation’s anti gangster unit, supervises the capture of John Dillinger, a notorious gangster in Chicago. In the process, Dillinger is killed during a gun battle.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 144.
467. During a gun battle between FBI agents and gangster George “Baby Face” Nelson, Inspector Samuel P. Cowley, the first LDS agent in the FBI and the head of the anti gangster unit, is mortally wounded. Cowley continues firing his weapon as he falls to the ground and kills Nelson. Cowley dies the following day (November 27, 1934).
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 231.
468. January 1, 1968: Swedish convert Hilda Anderson Erickson, the last of the pioneers who made the trek west before the coming of the railroad to Utah in 1869, dies at the age of 108.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 1.
469. The following from Jesse N. Smith journal dated August 14 and 15, 1863:
August 14: Bros. Sprague and Gray told me they thought they had the “Itch.” I sent for a doctor who pronounced it genuine Itch, and recommended that they go to the hospital to be cured. Went down to the General Hospital, but not finding the professor I sought, I sent a message to the Royal Frederick Hospital enquiring whether they could be treated there. Received answer that by paying 8 Marks each per day (about 70 cents) and depositing 200 Rdlr. as security for the payment of said expense they could be provided with such rooms as were kept for officers and people of the better classes. To these terms I consented, deposited the money, and accompanied the boys to their new quarters.
August 15: Answered all my home letters lately received. Called at the hospital; the doctors agreed that it was true Itch and the boys were plastered over with a coating of green soap.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 127.
470. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith dated August 23, 1864:
Rained last night. Road heavy. At noon I gathered prairie gum, the first I had tasted since my boyhood. Overtook Hyde’s and Snow’s trains at Antelope Creek; travelled about 35 miles.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 172.
471. November 27, 1881: At Snowflake I gave an account of my recent journey, also of the public teachings of Pres. Taylor and party that I heard in Parowan. Spoke upon the evils of dancing. Some did not realize that it was not a part of our religion, while rest and recreation are necessary; believed that as a Church we had lost more than we had gained by dancing, especially had the round dance been termed “the dance of death.” Notwithstanding the partial permit of Pres. Taylor I felt to use my influence against round dancing in this stake of Zion.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 257-258.
Additional interesting information:
The following from Jesse N. Smith’s journal dated December 18, 1881:
At a meeting in Snowflake I spoke on the subject of dancing. Reprehended the practice of swinging around in a wanton manner and more times than the figure or the music required. Musicians in the Church who played for round dancing were accessory thereto. Recommended parties to attend dancing schools and learn how to deport themselves properly. Similar remarks were made by Bishops Hunt and Udall and Bro. John A. West.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 259.
472. The following from Jesse N. Smith’s journal of March 8, 1884 during a Stake Conference:
I said it seems a strange thing to our Mexican friends, traditionated as they are in the Roman Catholic religion, when they see us dance in the same building in which we partake of the sacrament. This has been permitted in our poverty, but I feel that it is improper.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 285.
473. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith dated January 28, 1882:
The railroad company moved the telegraph office down to Barado’s ranch, which place they named Holbrook [Arizona]. They soon after took up the side track at the old place. This left the A. C. M. I. out in the cold. John W. Young having quarreled with F. W. Smith, the superintendent of the A & P railroad, the latter seemed to extend his enmity to the whole Church, and as he had a controlling interest in the lots of the new town of Holbrook, he would neither sell nor rent any ground to us for our store. As the next best move we located the store at Woodruff and erected some temporary buildings there for its accommodation.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 259-260.
474. We were now in the middle Gila Valley thickly strewn with ranches, and soon came to a stone by the roadside, marking the boundary line between Arizona and New Mexico. The valley was wide, the stream less sluggish than farther down, the water bright and sparkling, the bottom beautifully timbered, the soil apparently very fertile and still there seemed a lack of thrift. This was explained when we learned the chills were prevailing. Met some 14 mule teams loaded with timber for mining and building purposes. Every traveler we saw carried a rifle to defend himself against Indians and cowboys, the latter rather the worst.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 265.
475. The poplar is the tree of the pioneers, marking their farms on all the benches and valleys from the red sands of Moencopi to the plains of Alberta. It is becoming rare as business supplants the noble windbreaks with billboards.
Wulf Barsch: Looking toward Home, catalog for Looking toward Home: Recent Art by Wulf Barsch, an exhibition at the Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake City, 22 November 1985 to 13 April 1986 (Salt Lake City: Museum of Church History and Art, 1985), [xii-xiii].
476. Hannah McFarlane Bingham recalled the arrival of a thirty-six member Indian camp on a sand ridge east of Ogden. Only eight years old, she played with the Indian children until her brother accidentally stepped on an Indian child’s foot. The child’s frightened cries brought “two old buck Indians” wielding a butcher knife. “Her brother ran home, ducked under the bed, very much frightened. Her father had to give them flour and sugar to pacify them. Mrs. Bingham never played with the Indian children again.”
Ronald W. Walker, “Toward a Reconstruction of Mormon and Indian Relations, 1847-1877.” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 37.
477. According to Journal accounts, the Prophet Joseph taught the location of the ancient City of Manti, mentioned in the Book of Mormon during the march of Kirtland Camp:
On September 25, 1838, having passed through Huntsville, Randolph County, Missouri the Prophet stated that this place was where “the ancient site of the city of Manti.”
Andrew Jensen, The Historical Record, Vol. 7, 601.
Additional interesting information:
Samuel D. Tyler writes the following dated September 25, 1838:
We passed through Huntsville, Co, seat of Randolph Co, Pop. 450, and three miles further we bought 32 bu, of corn off one of the brethren who resides in this place. There are several of the brethren round about here and this is the ancient site of the City of Manti, which is spoken of in the Book of Mormon and this is appointed one of the Stakes of Zion, and it is in Randolph County, Missouri, three miles west of the county seat.
Journal of Samuel D. Tyler, Sept. 25, 1838, filed in Church Historian’s Office
Again, from the records of Kirtland Camp:
The camp passed through Huntsville, in Randolph County, which has been appointed as one of the stakes of Zion, and is the ancient site of the City of Manti, and pitched tents at Dark Creek, Salt Licks, seventeen miles.
Millennial Star, vol. 16, 296.
What’s interesting is Huntsville exists today. You can find it 42 miles northwest of Columbia, Missouri.
478. At the time a number of families were called to go to San Bernardino, California: In [William] Kartchner’s journal he said that when he declined to go at first that Elder Lyman said, “Said that if I Refused to go he would cause me to have a worse mission.”
William Decatur Kartchner, “Autobiography,” 35, photocopy of holograph, Archives, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo.
Additional interesting information:
Even though Kartchner had to be persuaded, it’s interesting that many didn’t, in fact more than had been called showed up at the point of departure in Payson. Again from Kartchner’s journal:
He noted, “It was seen a Grate many more than was called was moving with us & Prest. B. Young and H. C. Kimball called a meeting at this Place & Heber Preached and Discouraged many from going.” President Young then declared, “He was sick at the sight of so many of the Saints running off to California.”
Only twenty families were initially called to go, nevertheless 437 individuals departed. Brigham felt many were leaving because of the enticements of the world.
William Decatur Kartchner, “Autobiography,” 35, photocopy of holograph, Archives, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo.
479. Inflation in California when San Bernardino was first settled by the Saints was a staggering 3% per month.
Edward Leo Lyman, “The Rise and Decline of Mormon San Bernardino,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 46.
480. On San Bernardino, California: In answer to one of these letters, Brigham Young revealed a lack of confidence in the colony’s future, stating, “we cannot afford to spare good men enough to sustain such a place as that is soon likely to be.” In another letter addressed to [Elder] Rich at the end of 1855, President Young cited a Brother Lewis as comparing current troubles in their midst to the bitter anti-Mormon conflict in Illinois at the time of Joseph Smith’s assassination, saying San Bernardino was “just half way between Carthage and Warsaw.” The highest Church leader predicted that either the San Bernardino Church members would incline to the ways of their neighbors and the “spirit of the world” or else the past history of cupidity, hate, and violence would repeat itself.
Edward Leo Lyman, “The Rise and Decline of Mormon San Bernardino,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 54.
Additional interesting information:
In a June public address in Salt Lake City, referring to San Bernardino, he [Brigham Young] stated, “Hell reigns there, and . . . it is just as much as any ‘Mormon’ can do to live there, and that is about time for him and every true Saint to leave that land.”
Deseret News, 10 June 1857
After 1857-58, there was no organized branch of the Church in San Bernardino for more than a half-century. Agents of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [Currently the Community of Christ] did establish a branch in the area.
Edward Leo Lyman, “The Rise and Decline of Mormon San Bernardino,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 63.
481. Original town names: Lehi (Dry Creek), Alpine (Mountainville), American Fork (Lake City), Pleasant Grove (Battle Creek), Mapleton (Hobble Creek), Salem (Pondtown), Payson (Peteetneet), Santaquin (Summit Creek), Nephi (Salt Creek)
Richard D. Poll, “The Move South,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 79.
482. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith dated July 25, 1864:
As I sat in the shade of the boiler deck upon a camp stool in the crowd, a middle-aged man wearing a straw hat and duster came and stopped before me and after the usual salutation, asked: “Who are you, and where are you going?” Replied that I was a Mormon elder on my way home to Utah. The man clasped his hands fervently and exclaimed, “Thank God.” He then related to me some portions of his history. His name was Marcus Holling; he was born in Holstein and received a good education; he came to this country and lived near Albany, N.Y., where he practiced medicine as a homeopathic doctor. He was also a preacher, as I afterwards learned. He had some scruples about his religious ideas, and one night while lying on his bed he was visited by a supernatural personage, who said to him, “Go to Brigham Young and he shall tell thee what to do to be save.” Deeply impressed, he related what he had heard to his friends, but they scouted him as a lunatic. Precisely the same scene occurred the two following nights; so he hesitated no longer but wrote to Pres. Young, recounting his experience, and asking his advice. He showed the President’s reply, which was in German, in which language the letter of inquiry was written. The advice was that Holling should come on to Omaha and join some of our emigrating companies and proceed to Utah. Against the advice of former friends he sold all his property for money, greenbacks, packed same in his trunk preparatory to starting on his journey, and during the night lost all by fire except the clothes he wore, and the money happened to have been upon his person. With this scanty outfit he commenced the journey and was thus far on the road. I was the first Latter-day Saint he had ever met. I advised him to stop with me at Wyoming, as our outfitting point had been changed from Omaha to that place, but he held to the letter and the letter said Omaha, and there he would go.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 170.
483. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith relating his experience while attending the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple on April 8, 1893:
Received special permits for self and sons, for Uncle Silas and Bro. L. H. Hatch to attend all the temple services. Attended twice a day with two exceptions until the evening of the 18th instant. Pres. Woodruff taught that to enjoy the Holy Spirit was a greater testimony to any man than to enjoy the presence of an angel. Said he never witnessed so great an outpouring of the Holy Spirit but once before, and that was when Joseph Smith said that Adam lived to be older than any other man, but died inside the thousand year limit. Said once in A. O. Smoot’s mother’s house an angel appeared to him and showed him a panorama of future events. Also of seeing a vision of thousands of the Lamanites enter the temple by the door in the west end of the building previously unknown to him. They took charge of the temple and could do as much in an hour as the other brethren could do in a day. He prophesied that the Presidency and Twelve would never again be disunited, but if any one of them got wrong the Lord would remove them.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 393.
484. The following from the journal of Jesse N. Smith (cousin of the Prophet Joseph Smith) while serving a mission in Denmark, dated October 8, 1861:
Bro. Johnson and I walked out to Jellings; saw in the old church yard a large block of granite covered with hieroglyphics or Kimic characters, some of which resembled characters in the Deseret alphabet.
This would make sense since many of the Saints in the valley came from Denmark.
Oliver R. Smith, ed., The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith-1834-1906 (Provo: Jesse N. Smith Family Assn., 1970), 62.
485. The following from Emma Smith as recorded in the Saints Herald in 1879:
In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us. Q. Had he not a book or manuscript from which he read, or dictated to you? A. He had neither manuscript nor book to read from. Q. Could he not have had, and you not know it? A. If he had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me. Q. Are you sure that he had the plates at the time you were writing for him? A. The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen table cloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book. Q. Where did father and Oliver Cowdery write? A. Oliver Cowdery and your father wrote in the room where I was at work. Q. Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having first read it out of some book? A. Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, “a marvel and a wonder,” as much so as to any one else.
“Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints Herald 26 (1 October 1879): 289-90.
Additional interesting information:
Joseph Knight (between 1833 and 1847): Now the way he translated was he put the urim and Thummim into his hat and Darkened his Eyes then he would take a sentence and it would apper in Brite Roman Letters. Then he would tell the writer and he would write it. Then that would go away the next sentence would Come and so on. But if it was not Spelt rite it would not go away till it was rite, so we see it was marvelous. Thus was the hol translated.
Dean C. Jessee, “Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History,” BYU Studies 17 (August 1976): 35.
David Whitmer (1887): Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear.
David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ (Richmond, Mo.: Privately printed, 1887), 12.
Elizabeth Anne Whitmer Cowdery Johnson (David Whitmer’s sister, Oliver Cowdery’s wife; 1870): I cheerfully certify that I was familiar with the manner of Joseph Smith’s translating the book of Mormon. He translated the most of it at my Father’s house. And I often sat by and saw and heard them translate and write for hours together. Joseph never had a curtain drawn between him and his scribe while he was translating. He would place the director in his hat, and then place his face in his hat, so as to exclude the light, and then . . .
Charles Anton, in two different letters (written in 1834 and 1841), discussed Martin Harris’s visit to him in February 1828. He claims that Harris said Joseph Smith translate from behind a curtain. In 1842 the Reverend John Clark claimed that Martin Harris told him in the fall of 1827 that while translating Joseph Smith used a thick curtain or blanket to separate himself from Martin Harris, who was acting as scribe (see Milton V. Backman, Jr., Eyewitness Accounts fo the Restoration [Orem, Utah: Grandin Book Co.,1983], 209, 213, 215, 218). Early on in the translation, Joseph Smith quite probably used a curtain while translating, especially if he was translating directly from the gold plates, since at that time no one was permitted to see the plates.
John W. Welch and Tim Rathbone, “The Translation of the Book of (Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1986), 25.
486. The following from an interview with Emma Smith in 1856:
When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made a mistake in spelling, although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time. Even the word Sarah he could not pronounce at first, but had to spell it, and I would pronounce it for him.
John W. Welch and Tim Rathbone, “The Translation of the Book of (Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1986), 8.
487. February 28, 2000: The one hundred millionth copy of the Book of Mormon published by the Church since 1830 is released making the scripture the third most published book in the world.
Richard Neitzel Holzapfel et al., On This Day In The Church (Salt Lake City: Eagle Gate, 2000), 42.
488. Five-thousand copies were printed in the first edition of the Book of Mormon in Palmyra, New York. A second edition in 1837 of between 3,000 to 5,000 copies was printed in Kirtland, Ohio with minor changes. For example, according to 1790 federal copyright law, Joseph Smith identified himself as the “author and proprietor.” In this 1837 edition, Joseph changed “author” to “translator.” A third edition of 2,000 copies was printed in Cincinnati, Ohio and quite often referred to as the Nauvoo Illinois edition.
Arnold K. Garr et al., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 118.
489. The following from the autobiography of Mary E. Lightner:
Quite a number of the residents of Kirtland accepted baptism. Mother and myself also, in the month of October, 1830. A branch of the Church was organized, and Father Morley was ordained an elder to preside over it. He owned a large farm, about a mile from Kirtland, and some three or four families went there to live, and meetings were held there. A good spirit and one of union prevailed among the brethren for some time. After Oliver Cowdery and his brethren left there for Missouri on their mission to the Lamanites, a wrong spirit crept into our midst, and a few were led away by it. About this time, John Whitmer came and brought a Book of Mormon. There was a meeting that evening, and we learned that Brother Morley had the Book in his possession the only one in that part of the country. I went to his house just before the meeting was to commence, and asked to see the book; Brother Morley put it in my hand, as I looked at it, I felt such a desire to read it, that I could not refrain from asking him to let me take it home and read it, while he attended meeting. He said it would be too late for me to take it back after meeting, and another thing, he had hardly had time to read a chapter in it himself, and but few of the brethren had even seen it, but I pled so earnestly for it, he finally said, "Child, if you will bring this book home before breakfast tomorrow morning, you may take it." He admonished me to be very careful, and see that no harm came to it.
If any person in this world was ever perfectly happy in the possession of any coveted treasure I was when I had permission to read that wonderful book. Uncle and Aunt were Methodists, so when I got into the house, I exclaimed, "Oh, Uncle, I have got the 'Golden Bible'." Well, there was consternation in the house for a few moments, and I was severely reprimanded for being so presumptuous as to ask such a favor, when Brother Morley had not read it himself. However, we all took turns reading it until very late in the night as soon as it was light enough to see, I was up and learned the first verse in the book. When I reached Brother Morley's they had been up for only a little while. When I handed him the book, he remarked, "I guess you did not read much in it." I showed him how far we had read. He was surprised and said, "I don't believe you can tell me one word of it." I then repeated the first verse, also the outlines of the history of Nephi. He gazed at me in surprise, and said, "child, take this book home and finish it, I can wait."
Before or about the time I finished the last chapter, the Prophet Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland, and moved into a part of Newel K. Whitney's house (Uncle Algernon's partner in the Mercantile Business), while waiting for his goods to be put in order. Brother Whitney brought the Prophet Joseph to our house and introduced him to the older ones of the family (I was not in at the time.) In looking around he saw the Book of Mormon on the shelf, and asked how that book came to be there. He said, "I sent that book to Brother Morley." Uncle told him how his niece had obtained it. He asked, "Where is your niece?" I was sent for; when he saw me he looked at me so earnestly, I felt almost afraid. After a moment or two he came and put his hands on my head and gave me a great blessing, the first I ever received, and made me a present of the book, and said he would give Brother Morley another. He came in time to rebuke the evil spirits, and set the church in order. We all felt that he was a man of God, for he spoke with power, and as one having authority in very deed.
"Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner," The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 17 (July 1926):193-205, 250-
Additional interesting information:
In the first fifty years of Church history, copies of the Book of Mormon were relatively scarce, making it difficult for many members to use it regularly in daily religious life or to know its text in depth.
Arnold K. Garr et al., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 119.
490. In preparing the manuscript for publication, Joseph Smith had Oliver Cowdery and other scribes make a copy of the original—the printer’s manuscript—to take to the Grandin printing shop. This second manuscript was not produced all at once but as the printer needed copy. About three-fourths of the way through, the scribes apparently fell behind in their copy work, so for about 15% of the text (Hel. 13—Morm. 9) they let the printer use the original manuscript to set the type for the 1830 edition. Nonetheless, the printer’s manuscript was completed.
Arnold K. Garr et al., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 120.
491. In 1841 Joseph Smith placed the original manuscript in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House. In 1882, Lewis Bidamon (Emma Smith’s second husband) removed it from the cornerstone. Unfortunately, water seepage and mold had destroyed most of the manuscript but about 28% is still extant. The LDS Church owns most of the remaining leaves. The printer’s manuscript, owned by the RLDS Church [Community of Christ], is in good condition and is missing only about three lines of text.
Arnold K. Garr et al., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 120.
492. According to anti-Mormon writer Eber D. Howe, in his 1834 work Mormonism Unvailed (Even though this is a misspelling, this is the way the titled stood), claimed that the text for the Book of Mormon did not come from brass plates but rather Joseph Smith copied the writings of Spaulding. Howe states that many of the names Joseph Smith used in the Book of Mormon, such as Nephi, Lehi, Nephites, Lamanites, Laban, Zarahemla, and Moroni were names found in the Spaulding manuscript. Howe also suggested that Spaulding wrote in a scriptural style quite often employing the phrase, And it came to pass.
The argument stands that Joseph Smith most likely did not know of Spaulding and his writings especially since Spaulding died when Joseph Smith would have been ten years old. Of course these claims could not be disproven since the Spaulding Manuscript was lost. However, in 1884, the Spaulding Manuscript was re-discovered. Spaulding’s characters were not Jews from Jerusalem but Romans from Rome. There was not a single proper name from the Book of Mormon, nor was the manuscript written in scriptural style, in fact, not once did he use the phrase “And it came to pass.”
Kent P. Jackson, ed. Manuscript Found: The Complete Original “Spaulding Manuscript.” (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1996).
493. Some anti-Mormon writers have suggested that a book published in 1823 and 1825 by the Reverend Ethan Smith titled “View of the Hebrews,” as a possible source to the Book of Mormon. Critics state that Joseph Smith’s idea that the American Indian originates in the Holy Land comes from Ethan Smith’s writings. A review of the View of the Hebrews teaches that the American Indian crossed a land bridge at the Bering Sea, whereas Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon states that Lehi and his family crossed the ocean in a boat. The manuscript had been out of print for more than 170 years when Brigham Young University reprinted it so that people could judge the few similarities, but also the major differences.
Ethan Smith, View of the Hebrews 2d ed. 1825. Edited by Charles D. Tate Jr. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1996.
494. 494. The family [Joseph Smith Sr.] relied heavily on Almanacs for agricultural and recipes to medicines. This passage has been deleted from all the published versions of Lucy Mack Smith’s history, but it can be found in the “Preliminary Manuscript,” 77, Library-Archives, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
495. 495. The following from W. W. Phelps as printed in the Deseret News on 8 March 1851, 219-20:
Again Doctor, I solicit a space in your columns, to say a few words upon ‘the weather,’ which is so wonderfully foretold by the almanac maker, or the printer’s devil. In many almanacs, for the vexing consolation of farmers, travelers, and some visiting women. . . .
In addition to this kind of soothsaying, a large majority of mankind actually believe, that the moon holds an immense sway, at her changes, over the weather; and this serves to strengthen the almanac maker’s or the printer’s devil faith, or cunning, or calculations, in foretelling the hidden treasures of the weather. . . .
I have witnessed more that six hundred changes of the moon in fifty years, during which time not less than ten thousand changes of weather have happened by night and by day, among which were snow in summer, and thunder showers in winter; and yet, before, and after all; when true philosophy, which is Truth, was consulted, I never found a man of this world that knew what a day would bring forth, a year, a month, or a week ahead, unless revealed by the spirit of prophecy.
David J. Whittaker, “Alamancs in the New England Heritage of Mormonism,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989,
496. 496. References to almanacs occur in early Mormon newspapers. An almanac was planned as one of the first items to be issued by the early established Literary Firm in Kirtland, Ohio, and in November 1841 the Times and Seasons advertised as in press and ready for delivery the “Mormon Almanac and Latter Day Saints Calendar.”
David J. Whittaker, “Alamancs in the New England Heritage of Mormonism,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 94.
497. 497. This almanac [1852, Early Salt Lake Valley Almanac] moved closer to the traditional American almanac providing recipes for such things as whitewash, Scotch bread, wedding cake, and wine; poems; tables for measuring corn and wheat; lists of discoveries and inventions in world history; lists of Church leaders, territorial officers, officers of the Nauvoo Legion, justices of the peace; and perhaps most importantly, lists of operating post offices with arrival and departure schedules for the mails.
David J. Whittaker, “Alamancs in the New England Heritage of Mormonism,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 100.
Additional interesting information:
The modern student who peruses Phelps’s almanacs can imaginatively enter into the cultural world of early Utah. One can glimpse, for example, the major medical concerns of an earlier generation by reading of the potions recommended for their cure. Articles on tanning hides, curing diarrhea, treating cuts and bruises, making candles, preparing vegetable glue, and preventing skippers in hams, suggestions on how to preserve various foods, how to soften water or stain wood, how to remove ink stains, or “How to feed fowls in such a manner that they will lay eggs during the winter season” can bring us closer to the daily lives and thoughts of our ancestors.
David J. Whittaker, “Alamancs in the New England Heritage of Mormonism,” BYU Studies, Fall 1989, 104.
498. 498. John Hancock, the President of the Second Continental Congress, will be remembered into the eternities for his flamboyant signature on the Declaration of Independence. Why so large and obvious? It’s been said that he wanted King George to be able to read his signature without his spectacles.
Mr. Hancock can insinuate all he wants about the king’s eyesight; however I think the size of his signature runs far deeper than the possibility of the King of England misplacing his glasses and the fear his majesty would overlook Mr. Hancock’s surname. I seriously believe John Hancock’s signature was what it was due to his passion and conviction to the truth of the Declaration of Independence.
Little did John Hancock understand at the time he signed the Declaration, that in a little more than 50 years, one of his ancestors would be attaching their name to the truthfulness and validity on another inspired document; the Book of Commandments.
As the conference convened at Hiram, Ohio it was determined by the ten elders present that the revelations the Prophet Joseph had received to this point in time should be published into a book title the Book of Commandments. It was the Lord who commanded it as he revealed to the prophet during a recess in the conference these words as stated in verse 6, “Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.”
Joseph required volunteers to step forward and bind their names to a statement he drafted concerning the legitimacy and truthfulness of the revelations. Five of the elders signed; however four other elders in attendance, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Peter Whitmer Jr. had already linked their names to the Book of Mormon as witnesses, and therefore they did not sign the Book of Commandment statement.
The revelations were compiled and circulated so additional names could be gathered as witnesses in the Kirtland , Ohio and Jackson County, Missouri areas. One of those elders to affix his signature to the truth of the Book of Commandments was Levi Hancock. Levi didn’t go overboard like his ancestor, John Hancock, nevertheless there’s something compelling about Levi’s signature. He’s the only one of the 18 witnesses who autographed his name in pencil. Realizing this, he jots the following after his name, “Never to be erased.” Regardless that Levi’s signature blended with the other 17 men, these four simple words, in a sense, highlighted his signature creating a bolding affect similar to his ancestor, John Hancock.
Additional interesting information: The following is the testimony and the signatures of those witnesses who placed their names in the Book of Commandments:
“We, the undersigners, feel willing to bear testimony to all the world of mankind, to every creature upon the face of all the Earth and upon the islands of the sea, that God hath borne record to our souls, through the Holy Ghost shed forth upon us, that these commandments are given by inspiration of God and are profitable for all men and are verily true.
“We give this testimony unto the world, the Lord being our helper;
“And it is through the grace of God, the Father, and his son, Jesus Christ, that we are permitted to have this privilege of bearing this testimony unto the world, in the which we rejoice exceedingly, praying the Lord always, that the children of men may be profited thereby. Amen.”
Sidney Rigdon, Orson Hyde, Wm. E. McLellin, Luke Johnson, Lyman Johnson, Reynolds Cahoon, John Corrill, Parley Pratt, Harvey Whitlock, Lyman Wight, John Murdock, Calvin Beebe, Zebedee Coltrin, Joshua Fairchild, Peter Dustin, Newel Knight, Levi Hancock; never to be erased, Thomas B. Marsh
499. 499. Edersheim in his work, The Temple, says:
“To this day, in every Jewish home, at a certain part of the Paschal service [i.e., when they drink the “third cup”]—the door is opened to admit Elijah the prophet as forerunner of the Messiah, while appropriate passages are at the same time read which foretell the destruction of all heathen nations. It is a remarkable coincidence that, in instituting his own Supper, the Lord Jesus connected the symbol, not of judgment, but of his dying love, with his ‘third cup.”’
Some may refer to it as coincidence or sheer irony that Elijah appeared in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836. April 3rd of that year also coincided with the third day of the Paschal feast, the day that the Jews opened their homes to invite Elijah. Little did they realize that he did appear, not in their homes, but in the Kirtland Temple.
As interesting as the above story is, the significance of the situation is enhanced when one discovers the actual time of day that Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery was also the very hour of the day, in their time zone, that Jewish families were preparing to begin the feast of the Passover.
500. 500. As members we’re well versed with the story of Martin Harris losing the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon translation. It’s common knowledge that Martin was instructed by the prophet to show the manuscript to only a select few individuals, two of which were Martin’s wife, Lucy, and her sister, a Polly Cobbs. Many believe Lucy Harris is responsible for the theft of the manuscript due to the antagonism she felt toward Joseph Smith and his wanting to “defraud” her husband out of his money to pay for the publishing cost of the Book of Mormon. Because of these feelings, Lucy hauled Joseph before a magistrate in Lyons, New York. A number of witnesses were called to the stand to prove Lucy’s certainty that young Joseph Smith was only interested in her husband’s money, nothing more. One witness stated that Joseph Smith really didn’t have gold plates, but rather the box he housed them in was empty. Others stated the box was filled with sand or lead and was part of his demented ploy to fool Mr. Harris. It was Martin’s testimony which relieved Joseph Smith of the false claims laid against him. Martin states the following:
“I can swear that Joseph Smith has never got one dollar from me by persuasion. . . . I have never seen in Joseph Smith, a disposition to take any man's money without giving him a reasonable compensation in return.”
At the conclusion of Martin’s testimony, the Judge instructed those in attendance to keep such ridiculous matters out of his court room and then closed court, allowing Joseph to walk free.
Lucy Harris’s feelings toward the prophet and the work was actually positive early in the translation of the Book of Mormon, showing a complete interest in the project.
The question might be asked, who was the first monetary donor toward the cause of the Book of Mormon translation? Most would answer Martin Harris, nonetheless another came forward with money before Martin did. While Lucy Mack Smith visited with both Lucy Harris and Polly Cobbs, she shared the story of the gold plates and how it was that her young Joseph had them in his possession. Enthralled by the story, and obviously believing the mother of the prophet, both Lucy Harris and Polly offer money to help in the translation of the record. When Lucy Mack turned down the offer, Lucy Harris visited Joseph Smith, again with the offer of a money donation. Joseph only succeeded in gaining Lucy Harris’s displeasure when he stated: "I always prefer dealing with men rather than their wives." With such a statement, most would turn and walk away; nevertheless after claiming to see a dream of the gold plates, Lucy Harris returned to Joseph and again offered him money. This time, not refusing, Joseph accepted her gift of $28, money that had been given to her as an inheritance at the passing of her mother.
After the loss of the 116 pages, finger pointing ensued. Not only did Lucy Mack Smith place the blame on Lucy Harris, but Martin also. Lucy Harris vehemently denied the accusations. What’s fascinating is Joseph Smith’s attitude during this black time in his life. He could have been caught up in the same spirit of allegation and accusation, but rather, if there was to be finger pointing, he pointed the finger at himself realizing that the loss was a direct "consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings." The Lord solidified Joseph’s grief when He stated: "And when thou deliveredst up that which God had given thee sight and power to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred into the hands of a wicked man" (D&C 3:12; 10:1,7). Martin had "set at naught the counsels of God, and [had] broken the most sacred promises which were made before God, and [had] depended upon his own judgment and boasted in his own wisdom" (D&C 3:13).
501. 501. In the fall of 1830 a man came to the Smith home in Manchester, New York and demanded payment on a $14 debt. The man was quick to point out that he would forgive the debt if Joseph Smith Sr. would renounce his religion and burn all the Books of Mormon in their home. Joseph Sr. refused, leading to his arrest and confinement in the Canandaigua jail. While in jail he recorded these feelings:
“I shuddered when I first heard these heavy doors creaking upon their hinges; but then I thought to myself, I was not the first man who had been imprisoned for the truth’s sake; and when I should meet Paul in the paradise of God, I could tell him that I, too, had been in bonds for the Gospel which he had preached. And this has been my only consolation.”
Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1979), 185.
Joseph Sr. was imprisoned for thirty days. Remembering the Lord’s instructions, he taught the gospel to his fellow prisoners, and, upon his release, baptized them into the Church.
Kelly, Brian and Petrea, Illustrated History of The Church (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 2008), 68.
As a young missionary called to serve in the Massachusetts Boston Mission, I can recall well standing in the old mission home across the street from the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City with two to three hundred other elders reciting in unison Section 4 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It was powerful and left a lasting impression that has never diminished over the years. If the field is truly “white for the harvest,” as the Lord stated, then it would seem reasonable to expect that Church growth since 1830 would reflect this.
From the Church’s initial inception of six members in 1830, it took 117 years (until 1947) to reach the one million mark. The two million member mark was surpassed in 1963, in a short span of sixteen years. Then in 1971, eight years after the two million mark, Church membership had grown to three million Latter-day Saints. Currently, Church growth adds an additional million members every three years. The present population of the Church stands at 14 million.
502. 502. Martin did see the plates and remained true to his testimony as first recorded in the back of the original copies of the Book of Mormon. It’s true that Martin did leave the Church for a time, nevertheless was never forgotten by the leaders of the Church as the following story depicts.
In 1869, an Elder Stephenson was called on a mission to the Eastern States. On his way he stopped in Kirtland to visit with Martin Harris. It was on this visit that he planted the idea in Martin Harris’s mind to migrate to Salt Lake City and surround himself with the Saints. At first opposed to the suggestion, Martin Harris eventually wrote Brigham Young in 1870 in favor of the move west. Elder Stephenson accompanied Martin Harris on the train trip west and then relates a time when he, Martin Harris, President George A. Smith and John Henry Smith were riding in a carriage to enjoy a bath at the warm springs in the vicinity of Salt Lake City. As the group came to a rise in the landscape, they stopped and looked down on the city spreading out below them. It was here that Martin could get a view of the temple lot with the temple still under construction and the immense Tabernacle. After enjoying the vista for a moment, Martin exclaimed, “Who would have thought that the Book of Mormon would have done all this?”
On occasion, while attending baptisms and noting the number of individuals in attendance, Martin Harris, with an uplifted heart, would cry out, “Just see how the Book of Mormon is spreading.”
Martin Harris passed away July 10, 1875 in Clarkston, Cache County, Utah. Previous to his passing that July afternoon, he held a Book of Mormon in his hands and bore testimony to those present surrounding his bed. He had seen the angel, he had seen the plates turned leaf by leaf before his eyes, he knew what he had seen and never denied it to his dying breath. It’s persuasive that just a few hours before his passing, Bishop Simon Smith entered his room and broke the news to Martin, “it’s just been announced, the Book of Mormon will be translated into Spanish!” Martin was so energized by the news that the Bishop noted his voice had strength and a vigor that he was only familiar with prior to Martins decline. Bishop Smith noted just the mere mention of the Book of Mormon infused new life into Martin. Brother Harris spoke for two additional hours prior to his passing.
Not only was Martin Harris instrumental in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, but little did he know, as a result of his missionary efforts, one of his posterity would one day serve in the leading councils of the Church. The following from Elder Dallin H. Oaks April 1999 conference address titled, “The Witness: Martin Harris”:
“In 1832 Martin Harris's older brother, Emer, who is my great-great-grandfather, was called on a mission from Ohio (see D&C 75:30). Emer spent a year preaching the gospel near his former home in northeastern Pennsylvania. During most of this time Emer's companion was his brother Martin, whose zeal in preaching even caused him to be jailed for a few days. The Harris brothers baptized about 100 persons. Among those baptized was a family named Oaks, which included my great-great-grandfather. Thus, my middle name and my last name come from the grandfathers who met in that missionary encounter in Susquehanna County in 1832-33.”
503. Joseph Smith records that while in conversation with Oliver Cowdery, Oliver shared with the prophet how it was confirmed to him that this work was true. Oliver stated that while boarding at the Smith home in Manchester, New York, and after hearing the account from the Smith family of Joseph Smith and the gold plates (Joseph and Emma were living in Harmony, Pennsylvania at this time), that Oliver approached the Lord in prayer and the Lord answered his prayer, although he kept this manifestation secret. Oliver’s secret? The Lord showed to him a vision of the plates and a confirmation of its truthfulness. Lucy Mack Smith describes Oliver Cowdery’s enthusiasm for the work after he received his affirmation from the Lord. She states:
“. . . from this time, Oliver was so entirely absorbed in the subject of the record that it seemed impossible for him to think or converse about anything else.”
In verse 14 of Section 6, the Lord tells Oliver, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou are at this time.”
What drove Oliver to journey to Harmony to be with the Prophet? According to Lucy, the mother of the prophet, she states that one afternoon it had rained incessantly. Lucy honestly believed with as hard as the rain was descending, and the condition of the roads, there would be little chance that Oliver would be coming home that night from school, but most likely stay with friends much closer to the school house. Regardless of the rain, Oliver was determined to reach the Smith home. After entering the home Oliver announced, “I have now resolved what I will do[,] for the thing which I told you seems working in my very bones insomuch that I cannot for a moment get rid of it.” Lucy writes that after hearing Joseph Sr. explain the marvelous circumstances surrounding the unearthing of the gold plates that Oliver pondered continually on the subject and convinced that he was the person who was to act as scribe for the prophet. Once Oliver had established this course of action, I imagine he had a difficult time keeping his mind on teaching the children he had a responsibility to educate. As the Lord stated, “thou hast received instructions of my Spirit,” and it’s obvious that because of the Spirit, Oliver’s mind was consumed with what he should do. Oliver then reveals his intention to travel to Harmony with Samuel and there speak to Joseph Smith. Oliver adds, “I have made it a subject of prayer, and I firmly believe that it is the will of the Lord that I should go. If there is a work for me to do in this thing, I am determined to attend to it.”
Oliver did become the scribe for Joseph. In light of his experience with the Spirit, and the answer to his prayers, is it surprising that Oliver would pen the following statement:
“These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom!”
504. 504. The Apostle John ministered to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 when he assisted Peter and James in the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood (see D&C 27:12).
In a conference of the Church on 3 June 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught concerning John’s ministry: “John the Revelator was then among the Ten Tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion”
“When the Prophet Joseph had finished the endowments of the First Presidency, the Twelve and the Presiding Bishops, the First Presidency proceeded to lay hands upon each one of them to seal and confirm the anointing; and at the close of each blessing the whole of the quorums responded to it with a loud shout of Hosanna! Hosanna! etc.
“While these things were being attended to the beloved disciple John was seen in our midst by the Prophet Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and others.”
505. 505. The Liahona, the Urim and Thummim, and seer stones are objects with which the Lord has used to communicate to man. Most members are familiar with and understand their place in Book of Mormon and Church history. Interestingly, the Lord, in reference to Oliver Cowdery, instructs in verse 6, “Now this is not all thy gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things;” Joseph Fielding Smith instructs:
“There was another gift bestowed upon Oliver Cowdery, and that was the gift of Aaron. Like Aaron with his rod in his hand going before Moses as a spokesman, so Oliver Cowdery was to go before Joseph Smith. Whatever he should ask the Lord by power of this gift should be granted if asked in faith and in wisdom. Oliver was blessed with the great honor of holding the keys of this dispensation with Joseph Smith, and like Aaron [Ex. 4:10-17], did become a spokesman on numerous occasions. It was Oliver who delivered the first public discourse in this dispensation.
Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 82.
Verse 8 reads, “Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.” Is this verse of scripture referring to the gift of Aaron or is it an item that Oliver Cowdery would hold in his hands to translate? To clarify the meaning, it’s necessary to turn to the original edition of the Book of Commandments. In the original, the preceding verse reads as follows:
“Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God.”
It’s evident that Oliver Cowdery had in his possession a rod—possibly a divining rod that would act as the Urim and Thummin and assist in the translation of the gold plates. Hyrum Andrus writes the following:
“It seems evident that the Lord entrusted Oliver with a sacred instrument through which he could translate by the Spirit of revelation… Having received instructions on the use of the sacred instrument which he possessed, Oliver Cowdery sought to translate from the Plates of Mormon, probably through the instrument which had been entrusted into his care. But he failed.”
Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], 6.
Some individuals may wonder why the revelation in the Book of Commandments reads differently than our current edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. Melvin J. Petersen states the following:
“The meaning of this revelation as recorded in the Book of Commandments and in the Doctrine and Covenants is not clear. History does not record that Oliver Cowdery or anyone else living at the time it was given had a problem understanding it, but today some of the revelation (as given in the original) is unclear to us.”
“Accordingly, when the text of the revelation was prepared for review in 1835, it was altered. But who changed it? Both Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were part of the “committee to revise the Book of Commandments when the wording of this 1829 revelation was changed.”
“The Mature Joseph Smith and Treasure Searching” by Richard Lloyd Anderson Fn, BYU Studies, vol. 24 (1984), Number 4 - Fall 1984
A further study will indicate that it was Sidney Rigdon who initially changed the original, as found in Revelation Book 1, and reads as follows:
...remember this is thy gift now this is not all for thou hast another gift which is the gift of working with the sprout Behold it hath told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of Nature to work in your hands.
...remember this is your gift now this is not all for you have another gift which is the gift of working with the rod Behold it has told you things Behold there is no other power save God that can cause this rod to work in your hands.
Shortly, an additional revision was made by the publication committee (Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Frederick G. Williams) in the Book of Commandments (Chapter 7: 3), which stated:
Now this is not all, for you have another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod: behold it has told you things: behold there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God.
Now this is not all thy gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things; Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.
We know based upon the text of the revelation that Oliver possessed a gift of working with something alternately referred to as a "sprout," "thing of nature," or "rod of nature." We also know that the Lord approved of Oliver's use of this gift. The reference was later changed to the "gift of Aaron," but we can only speculate as to the exact reason why. We do not know if the "rod" referred to by Sidney Rigdon when he edited the revelation was referring to a divining rod, since there is no other record beyond the revelation itself that indicates this.
We do know that Oliver's gift had to do with receiving revelation, and that Oliver attempted to employ it during the period in which the Book of Mormon was being translated. We also know that Oliver's experience in attempting to translate produced one of the lasting lessons which continues to be taught in Church even today—the knowledge that one must study things out in their mind in order to know the truth of something.
506. The Lord commanded Oliver through Joseph Smith to satisfy himself for the time being to write for the prophet. In Doctrine and Covenants verse 2, the Lord instructs Oliver that there are other records that he will give Oliver the power to translate. What other records could the Lord be referring to? We understand that a portion of the Book of Mormon is sealed. Could it be that the Lord had this in mind? Also, it wasn’t too many years after this when Joseph Smith purchases the Egyptian mummies which also included the Book of Abraham. So why didn’t Oliver translate, even “other records?”
President Joseph F. Smith alludes to this when he commented that maybe we as a Church would have these other scriptures at our disposal, but since the general Church membership failed to follow the commandments as outlined in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants that these additional scriptures have been withheld. History has repeated itself on a number of occasions in Church history. Why is it that President Brigham Young and other General Authorities traveled extensively throughout Utah Territory to call the Saints to repentance in what became known as “the reformation.” Those willing to repent and follow the commandments were rebaptized into the Church. Similar situations point to the softening of gospel principles in Jackson County, Missouri, Zion’s Camp, and the Saints attitude toward the United Order. President Joseph F. Smith goes on to say that it was because of Oliver’s disobedience, by falling away from the Church for a time, that this ability to translate other scripture was taken away. Joseph Smith also experienced this at the time of Martin Harris negligence in losing the 116 translated pages of the Book of Mormon. The difference between Joseph and Oliver is Joseph humbled himself and had his ability restored, whereas Oliver failed in his attempt to shed himself of pride. President Joseph F. Smith continues:
“Oliver Cowdery was a party to this failure by turning away from the Church for a number of years when it needed his service. He therefore lost his privilege to translate through his own disobedience, and the people have lost the privilege of receiving the ‘greater things’ spoken of by the Lord to Mormon (III Nephi 26:8–11 ) until the day shall come when they are willing to be obedient in all things and will exercise faith such as was had by the brother of Jared. It should be remembered that such faith has rarely been seen on the earth. It appears, therefore, that we must wait until the reign of unrighteousness is at an end before the Lord will give to the people these writings, containing ‘a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.’ (II Nephi 27:7 .)”
Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1949), 1:52-53.
It’s possible the Lord had other scriptures in mind for Oliver to help translate, scriptures that were hidden deep in the heart of the Hill Cumorah:
“How does it compare with the vision that Joseph and others had, when they went into a cave in the hill Cumorah, and saw more records than ten men could carry? There were books piled up on tables, book upon book. Those records this people will yet have, if they accept of the Book of Mormon and observe its precepts, and keep the commandments.”
“President [Heber C.] Kimball talked familiarly to the brethren about Father Smith, [Oliver] Cowdery, and others walking into the hill Cumorah and seeing records upon records piled upon table[s,] they walked from cell to cell and saw the records that were piled up. . . .”
Although not a member of the Church, Elizabeth Kane lived in St. George, Utah, and entertained the company of Brigham Young. She recorded the following discussion:
“I asked where the plates were now, and saw in a moment from the expression of the countenances around that I had blundered. But I was answered that they were in a cave; that Oliver Cowdery though now an apostate would not deny that he had seen them. He had been to the cave. . . . Brigham Young's tone was so solemn that I listened bewildered like a child to the evening witch stories of its nurse. . .
“Brigham Young said that when Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith were in the cave this third time, they could see its contents more distinctly than before. . . . It was about fifteen feet high and round its sides were ranged boxes of treasure. In the centre was a large stone table empty before, but now piled with similar gold plates, some of which lay scattered on the floor beneath. Formerly the sword of Laban hung on the walls sheathed, but it was now unsheathed and lying across the plates on the table; and One that was with them said it was never to be sheathed until the reign of Righteousness upon the earth.”
“Brigham Young said that when Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith were in the cave this third time, they could see its contents more distinctly than before. . . . It was about fifteen feet high and round its sides were ranged boxes of treasure. In the centre was a large stone table empty before, but now piled with similar gold plates, some of which lay scattered on the floor beneath. Formerly the sword of Laban hung on the walls sheathed, but it was now unsheathed and lying across the plates on the table; and One that was with them said it was never to be sheathed until the reign of Righteousness upon the earth.”
“To the Reader—As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again—and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil. Wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have, through his grace and mercy, accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing.”
Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 172.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in a January 1996 Ensign Article shares his interesting perspective in relation to the lost 116 manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon:
“At least six times in the Book of Mormon, the phrase ‘for a wise purpose’ is used in reference to the making, writing, and preserving of the small plates of Nephi (see 1 Ne. 9:5; W of M 1:7; Alma 37:2, 12, 14, 18). We know one such wise purpose—the most obvious one—was to compensate for the future loss of 116 pages of manuscript translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith from the first part of the Book of Mormon (see D&C 3, 10).
“But it strikes me that there is a ‘wiser purpose’ than that, or perhaps more accurately, a ‘wiser purpose’ in that. The key to such a suggestion is in Doctrine and Covenants 10:45 [D&C 10:45]. As the Lord instructs Joseph Smith on the procedure for translating and inserting the material from the small plates into what had been begun as the translation of the abridged large plates, he says, ‘Behold, there are many things engraven upon the [small] plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel’ (emphasis added).
“So clearly this was not a quid pro quo in the development of the final Book of Mormon product. It was not tit for tat, this for that—116 pages of manuscript for 142 pages of printed text. Not so. We got back more than we lost. And it was known from the beginning that it would be so. We do not know exactly what we have missed in the lost 116 pages, but we do know that what we received on the small plates was the personal declarations of three great witnesses, three of the great doctrinal voices of the Book of Mormon, testifying that Jesus is the Christ.
“I am suggesting that Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah are three early types and shadows of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris-witnesses positioned right at the front of the book where Oliver, David, and Martin (who in spite of their later difficulties remained true to their testimony) would later be positioned. But Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah bore a very special witness-they testified of the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, he who would be the central, commanding, presiding figure throughout the Book of Mormon.”
508. 508. The Lord states in Section 124, “I, the Lord, love him [Hyrum Smith] because of the integrity of his heart, and because he loveth that which is right before me.” This commendation from the Lord could only be what He meant when He stated in verse 10 of Section 11 that Hyrum “had a gift.” He was quick to try and negotiate a dispute, forgive an enemy, or extend the hand of fellowship. The Prophet on occasion would say that, “if Hyrum could not make peace between two who had fallen out, the angels themselves might not hope to accomplish the task.” On one occasion, an elder spoke out against the Prophet Joseph. John Taylor, who was a witness to the incident, saw the need to reconcile with the man in hopes of not losing him from the Church. Brother Taylor soon discovered that Hyrum was one step ahead of him and had placed the arm of fellowship around one who was separating himself from his spiritual leaders. Realizing this, John Taylor stepped back from the situation, knowing that if Hyrum could not reconcile the individual, then he stood very little chance to be successful himself.
John Taylor shares the following scene at the Carthage Jail just moments after the martyrdom of the Prophet and Hyrum:
“These reflections and a thousand others flashed upon my mind. I thought, why must the good perish, and the virtuous be destroyed? Why must God’s nobility, the salt of the earth, the most exalted of the human family, the most perfect types of all excellence, fall victims to the cruel, fiendish hate of incarnate devils?
“The poignancy of my grief, I presume, however, was somewhat allayed by the extreme suffering that I had endured from my wounds.
“Soon after I was taken to the head of the stairs and laid there, where I had a full view of our beloved and now murdered brother, Hyrum. There he lay as I had left him; he had not moved a limb; he lay placid and calm, a monument of greatness even in death; but his noble spirit had left its tenement, and was gone to dwell in regions more congenial to its exalted nature. Poor Hyrum! He was a great and good man, and my soul was cemented to his. If ever there was an exemplary, honest, and virtuous man, an embodiment of all that is noble in the human form, Hyrum Smith was its representative.”
509. 509. In verse 8, the Lord reveals, “And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.” Joseph Knight Sr. was this and more. Often referred to as the second family of the restoration, Joseph Knight and his family were true friends to the prophet. It was Joseph Knight who loaned a horse and buggy to Joseph to transport the plate’s home from the Hill Cumorah. It was Joseph Knight Sr. who sent supplies to the prophet and Oliver on occasion so that they wouldn’t have to leave the all important work of translating the Book of Mormon. The prophet would later praise Joseph Knight Sr. years later saying “if it wasn’t for this timely help, the world would not have received the Book of Mormon as fast as it did.” The first miracle in this dispensation was performed on the Joseph Knight farm when Joseph Smith cast an evil spirit out of Newell Knight, son of Joseph Knight. It was Joseph Knight, who, when Joseph Smith was unlawfully arrested, hired two local farmer friends, a James Davidson and John Reid [possibly Reed], who were both well versed in the law to defend the prophet.
Years later Joseph Smith would record the name of Joseph Knight Sr. in The Book of the Law of the Lord, the book where Joseph Smith recorded the names of his closest and most loyal friends. It was also in Nauvoo that the prophet noticed his aged friend Joseph Knight Sr. hobbling down a Nauvoo Street. Joseph ran out to the street and, putting his arm around the aged gentleman, gave him his cane, stating that Brother Knight needed it more than he did. Yes, Joseph Knight listened well to the Lords counsel and gave unfailing love and charity.
A walking cane given as a symbol of friendship from the Prophet Joseph Smith to Joseph Knight Sr. is now in the possession of the Church History Department, a donation from descendants of Brother Knight, a figure in early Church history.
The donation was made in a May 29 presentation at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, at which Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, Church Historian and Recorder, received the cane from Jim Knight, a spokesman for the Knight family descendants gathered for the presentation.
"This cane is a memorial of friendship, of mutual faith, that Joseph Smith and the Joseph Knight family share," Brother Knight said.
"Our family often talks about what transpired when Joseph Smith presented the cane to Joseph Knight Sr. Joseph Smith spotted his dear friend, Joseph Knight, hobbling down a Nauvoo street. Father Knight, in his 70s, had been the Prophet's friend for almost 20 years.
"Joseph stepped up to him, put his arm around him, pressed his elderly friend's gnarled fingers onto the top of the cane and said, 'Brother Knight, you need this cane more than I do.'
"The Prophet told Father Knight to keep the cane as long as he lived and to pass it on to Knight descendants with the first name of Joseph."
Brother Knight said the cane passed in turn to five succeeding generations of Joseph Knights. "Now, it's my generation's responsibility to ensure that the cane is safely preserved for the Knight family descendants and the Church members to enjoy," he said.
510. 510. Oliver Cowdery wasn’t the only individual whose interest was piqued by reports of a “golden bible” found buried in a hill south of Palmyra. This reported discovery spread like wildfire throughout the surrounding countryside. There were those whose notice was motivated by greed, developing schemes to rid Joseph of the unearthed treasure, whereas others, such as Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, only design was to know if in fact the golden plates purported to be what they were, strictly from God. It was in Palmyra where Oliver Cowdery met David Whitmer for the first time. Why was David Whitmer in Palmyra, 36 miles northeast of his father’s farm in Fayette, New York? It was to quench his curiosity, to satisfy his inquisitiveness as to the reality of the plates. History is silent on how the two men met. Is it possible they accidentally bumped shoulders on a Palmyra sidewalk, or possibly ate lunch in the same tavern? None of this is important. The Lord had a purpose and this purpose was now fulfilled as a third witness was found who would attach his name to the new scripture. I’m certain David was all ears when Oliver stated he lived under the same roof with the Smith family. I can imagine David’s excitement when Oliver shared with him what information he had obtained by listening to the Smith family explain the visions, the angel, and the yearly visits, culminating in the reception of the ancient record.
Oliver explained his forth coming trip to see the prophet in Harmony, Pennsylvania to Whitmer and the two men agreed that Oliver, once he reached his destination would write David and inform him if the rumors buzzing around the country were the truth. Oliver kept his promise. Shortly after Cowdery’s arrival in Harmony he wrote David announcing that he was Joseph’s scribe and was “convinced that Smith had the records.” It wasn’t long when a second letter arrived complete with direct quotes from the gold plates translation and a confirmation to the truth of the work. Finally, a third letter was opened by David with a request that Oliver, Joseph, and his young wife Emma be permitted to travel to Fayette and stay at the Whitmer farm to complete the translation.
As much as David wanted to extend the invitation, he couldn’t, it wasn’t his to give since it wasn’t his home. He would have to receive permission from his parents. I can imagine the young David Whitmer approaching his parent’s explaining the situation. It helped that the Whitmers and the Smiths knew each other regardless that their farms were many miles apart. I imagine Peter Sr. and his wife Mary gave the situation serious reflection. The house was already full with four of the younger children still at home. Could they make room for three more individuals? Then there was the work around the farm. If David went on his journey to Harmony to bring Joseph, Emma, and the scribe to their house, how much time would be lost around the farm? Finally, Peter Sr. approached David with the following proposition, “Why, David [you] know you have sowed as much wheat as you can harrow in tomorrow and next day, and then you have a quantity of plaster to spread.” It was decided that David should not go to Harmony unless he got “a witness from God that it is very necessary.” David prayed that he would be able to accomplish the required work much faster than expected. To everyone’s astonishment, two days of work was completed in one day prompting Peter Sr. to tell David to go to Harmony to “bring up the man and his scribe,” believing that “there must be some overruling power in this thing.”
“I did not know what to do. I was pressed with my work. I had some twenty acres to plow, so I concluded I would finish plowing and then go. I got up on the morning to go to work as usual, and on going to the field, found between 5 and 7 acres of my ground had been plowed during the night. I do not know who did it, but it was done just as I would have done myself, and the plow was left standing in the furrow.”
Hyrum M. Smith, and Jane M. Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenant Commentary (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1923), 73.
At the emergence of the last gospel dispensation, farmers added plaster to the soil to cut down on the soils acidity. Again, David Whitmer was required to spread the plaster before moving Joseph and Emma. As David went out to the fields he noticed the work had already been done. He hunted down his sister and asked her if she knew who had spread the plaster. The following conversation took place:
“I’m astonished at that,” replied his sister, “for the children came to me in the forenoon, and begged of me to go out and see the men sow plaster in the field, saying, that they never saw anybody sow plaster so fast in their lives. I accordingly went, and saw three men at work in the field, as the children had said, but, supposing that you had hired some help, on account of your hurry, I went immediately into the house, and gave the subject no further attention.”
511. 511. John [Whitmer] first met Joseph [Smith] at the time his brother David [Whitmer] brought the prophet, his wife, and scribe, to the family home in Fayette, New York. It’s while Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon that John was asked to record some of the revelations which Joseph Smith had received. Not only does John record revelations for the Prophet, but he begins recording the day to day history of the Church, the first such history. He would eventually become the first Church historian serving in this position from 1831 to 1838. John was also chosen by the prophet to be one of the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon. He followed the Church to Kirtland and then on to Missouri where he was called to act as the assistant president of the Church. Unfortunately, pride and the riches of the world took control of his heart. Using his position to gain control of land through the use of Church funds, and operating independent of the High Council in Missouri led to his eventual excommunication. After the Church’s expulsion from Missouri, John moved to Far West establishing a successful farm and ranch.
Like the Three Witnesses who left the Church, but defended their testimony of the Book of Mormon, so likewise John Whitmer defended his testimony of seeing the gold plates even though he too had separated himself from the Church. The most notable occasion took place on April 5, 1835 when he rode with at least 50 men bound and determined not to eat or drink until they had killed “Joe” Smith. Eight men in this group approached Church member Theodore Turley presenting him with a revelation given to the prophet and one they were certain would never see its fulfillment. The group expressed their feeling that this was proof that Joseph Smith was a false prophet and tried to get Elder Turley to swear that if the revelation did not take place that he would denounce Mormonism and leave the Church. Brother Turley defended the prophet and the revelation and then turning to John Whitmer said:
“There are many things published that they say are true, and again turn around and say they are false?” Whitmer, asked, "Do you hint at me?" Elder Turley said, "If the cap fits you, wear it; all I know is that you have published to the world that an angel did present those plates to Joseph Smith." John replied: "I now say, I handled those plates; there were fine engravings on both sides. I handled them." Then he described in the presence of these bitter enemies how the plates were fastened and he said, "They were shown to me by a supernatural power.”
512. 512. Not only did David Whitmer have an angel address him by name, heard a voice from the heavens, and viewed the gold plates as the leaves of the plates were turned before his and the others eye’s, but more was shown on this afternoon, much more. David Whitmer states:
“We not only saw the plates of the Book of Mormon but also the brass plates, the plates of the Book of Ether, the plates containing the records of the wickedness and secret combinations of the people of the world down to the time of their being engraved, and many other plates ... there appeared as it were, a table with many records or plates upon it, besides the plates of the Book of Mormon, also the Sword of Laban, the Directors i.e., the ball which Lehi had—and the Interpreters [Urim and Thummim]. I saw them just as plain as I see this bed (striking the bed beside him with his hand), and I heard the voice of the Lord, as distinctly as I ever heard anything in my life declaring that the records of the plates of the Book of Mormon were translated by the gift and power of God.”
1878 interview between Orson Pratt and David Whitmer, recorded in Book of Mormon Compendium, pp. 55-56.
513. 513. William E. McLellin was one such individual that David Whitmer proselytes and who would eventually be chosen by David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery to serve in the original Quorum of the Twelve. When David finds William McLellin in Paris, Illinois, William was teaching school and shares the following with his relatives:
“One of these [visitors] was a witness to the book and had seen an angel which declared its truth (his name was David Whitmer). They were in the neighborhood about a week. I talked much with them by way of enquiry and argument.”
David’s preaching had such an astonishing effect on William, that Brother McLellin shut down his school and traveled the 450 miles on horseback to Jackson County, Missouri to converse more on the Church with the elders, one of whom was Hyrum Smith. It didn’t take long for William to accept the gospel, be baptized, and ordained an elder.
There is an innumerable supply of stories of those who opened their mouths and then let the Lord work the miracle. I imagine anyone that has served a mission could attest to this. Samuel Smith, the first missionary of the Church comes to mind. He opened his mouth, but yet felt very much a failure. I’m sure he’s chuckling now, simply because I’m certain the Book of Mormon he left with a Methodist minister, John P. Greene, that was eventually passed on to Brigham Young, who eventually shared it with Heber C. Kimball is now responsible for tens of thousands of baptisms, possibly even in the hundreds of thousands.
One of my favorite stories of opening one’s mouth and preaching the gospel is the story of Eli H. Pierce. Today when we watch General Conference we fully expect temples to be announced and excited when the prophet first takes the podium. Back in the mid to late 1800’s, men entered the tabernacle during conference time, not with the thought of what temples will be built, but rather whose name was going to be called over the pulpit to serve a mission. Many men were called on missions in this manner. At one particular conference, a number of men were called to serve missions for the Church. Eli H. Pierce was one of the names announced on October 5, 1875, except that Eli was not in the congregation. Eli would be the first to admit the reason he wasn’t at conference was because he had no desire to be there, he was less active and that’s the way he preferred it. He was a railroad man that bought cigars like they were going out of style and had never read more than a few pages of scripture in his lifetime. One of his fellow work associates heard the call and immediately went to the telegraph office to send Eli the message. When the telegraph arrived, Eli was smoking a pipe and reading a novel. He states that after reading the call, he threw the novel in the waste basket (and has never picked up one since), got rid of the pipe, was re-baptized, ordained a Seventy, and in one month from the time of the call was serving his mission in the state of New York. Brother Pierce said, “Remarkable as it may seem. . . a thought of disregarding the call, or of refusing to comply with the requirement, never once entered my mind.” In fact, Eli would go on and serve three more missions. Here’s a rundown of the numbers he accumulated, only because he knew if he opened his mouth the Lord would bless:
Baptisms, 108; ordinations, 11; children blessed, 37; branches organized, 5; branches reorganized, 1; marriages, 1; meetings held, 249; miles traveled, 9870; total cost, $1320.
514. 514. In early June of 1829 Martin Harris inquires the possibility that E. B. Grandin, the publisher of the Wayne Sentinel in Palmyra, would take on the work of publishing the Book of Mormon (Grandin would refer to it as the Mormon Bible). Mr. Grandin was not interested, causing Martin Harris to approach him a second time on the subject. Martin told Grandin that if he did not publish the book that it would publish in Rochester in hopes of swaying Mr. Grandin’s attitude to the work. Unable to persuade Grandin, Joseph and Martin traveled to Rochester.
The editor of the Anti-Masonic Enquirer, Thurlow Weed, declared that Joseph Smith first approached him about the subject and that he had no interest in the project. Joseph came back a second time in company with Martin Harris, “a substantial farmer residing near Palmyra.” It was at this meeting that Martin “offered to become security for the expense of printing.” Again, Mr. Weed turned Joseph down. Interestingly, an Elihu F. Marshall, also of Rochester, agreed to publish the Book of Mormon, but at a ridiculous price. Joseph realized at this point it might be best to meet for a third time with Mr. Grandin and hopefully he would have second thoughts on the project.
Grandin finally relented, agreeing to publish only after he and one of his employee’s, a Pomeroy Tucker, unsuccessfully tried “to divert Harris from his persistent fanaticism in that losing speculation.” It’s incredible to me that Mr. Grandin would consider the publishing of the Book of Mormon as a “losing speculation,” but yet still publishes the book. Nevertheless, Mr. Grandin was not entering the venture without a guarantee from Martin securing a note on his farm land as collateral. Finally, agreement was reached between Grandin and Harris on August 17, 1829.
The initial agreement stated that Martin would provide the funds for half of the project and Joseph and Hyrum would supply the other half. Joseph tried to secure a loan from a George Crane of Macedon, but his application was denied. Joseph considered pre-selling the Book of Mormon to friends and associates around and in the town of Palmyra, but again this idea failed. Joseph’s final hope was in his friend Josiah Stowell. In October of 1829, Joseph met with Oliver Cowdery and stated that Stowell had the ability to get five or six hundred dollars towards the cause, although this was never realized. By January of 1830, Martin Harris became cognizant of the fact that the price tag for the publication of the Book of Mormon would fall squarely on his shoulders.
On January 26, 1830 the work on the publication came to a halt primarily because of two circumstances. First, E. B. Grandin was swayed by rumors that Martin could not sell his farm land as stated in their agreement, and second, a resolution was passed by the citizens of Palmyra to boycott the Book of Mormon entirely. It wasn’t until Martin obtained permission from Joseph Smith to equal selling rights, until at least the cost of publication was covered, that Mr. Grandin resumed the work.
Even though Martin was considered by the town’s people of Palmyra to be affluent, it’s interesting that Martin applied for a $1300 loan through Charles Butler of the New York Insurance and Trust Company located in Geneva, New York. Surprisingly, the loan was refused.
About this time, Lucy Harris, Martin’s wife, pressured her husband to turn his back on his obligation. Hyrum Smith began to sense some hesitancy in Martin Harris. It was at this time that Hyrum convinced Joseph to send someone to Canada to sell the copyright on the Book of Mormon in hopes of raising the necessary funds. Oliver Cowdery, Hiram Page, Joseph Knight Sr., and Josiah Stowell were sent north during the winter of 1829-1830. It was hoped that the copyright would be purchased for $8,000, but failed to raise a single penny even though the men had tried to convince those they thought could help in Kingston and York (Currently Toronto).
The Lord’s edict to Martin Harris to “not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon,” seems, at least for the moment, to have been forgotten. Martin was considered wealthy and yet he felt it necessary to negotiate at every turn to save what he could in property.
March 26, 1830 the Book of Mormon would be available for public sale in Grandin’s book store. Coincidental to this time was Lucy separating her and the children from Martin and moving to an 80 acre farm. To add to Martins mounting dejection was the fact that he was unsuccessful at any attempt to pre-sell the Book of Mormon. It was Martin that said to Joseph Smith and Joseph Knight Sr., “The Books will not sell for no Body wants them.” It was also said that, “Martin Harris. . . gave up his entire time to advertising the Bible to his neighbors and the public generally in the vicinity of Palmyra. He would call public meetings and address them himself.” Also, that, “Harris became very boisterous on the subject of the book and preached about the country in the endeavoring to make sale of it—Harris is by some considered a deluded man partially insane, and by others as a cunning speculator in publishing this book for the sake of gain.”
On April 7, 1831, Martin Harris sold 151 acres of his land to a Thomas Lakely. An agreement was settled with terms of payments on the land extending to October of 1832. Unfortunately, the money did not come as Martin had hoped. It was a John Graves that ultimately rescued the land deal. He and his wife Jane lived just north of Palmyra. They had a widowed daughter, Christina Grainger, who lived with them along with her four children. Christina wore a money belt around her waist with $3000 in gold coins. It was this money that Cristina loaned to her father who used it to pay off Thomas Lakely for 150 ¼ acres on 28 January 1832.
Thomas Rogers, second assignee on the original mortgage agreement between Martin Harris and Grandin, certified before the commissioner of deeds for Wayne County, Truman Hemingway, on 28 January 1832 that "said mortgage is redeemed paid off, satisfied and discharged." The long-standing debt [on the Book of Mormon] was duly retired.
In Doctrine and Covenants 19:33 the Lord warns Martin: “And misery thou shalt receive if thou wilt slight these counsels, yea, even the destruction of thyself and property.” Lucy Mack Smith records the following:
“. . .a dense fog spread itself over [Martin's] fields, and blighted his wheat while in the blow, so that he lost about two thirds of his crop; whilst those fields, which lay only on the opposite side of the road, received no injury whatever.”
515. 515, The earliest reference to baptism for health was most likely in 1841 when William Clayton recorded Joseph Smith’s instructions to Samuel Rolfe to wash in the baptismal font.
“Brother Samuel Rolfe being present, and being seriously afflicted with a felon on one hand president Joseph instructed him to wash in the font, and told him he would be healed, although the doctors had told him it would not be well before spring, and advised him to have it cut. He washed his hands in the font and in one week afterwards his hand was perfectly healed.”
“Although some were baptized for health purposes in the Nauvoo Temple font, still others resorted to the Mississippi River for this ordinance. The most notable example occurred when Joseph Smith baptized his wife Emma twice in the Mississippi River on 5 October 1842 because of her serious ill health, and then went with her on 1 November 1842, ‘to the temple [the font being the only part completed] for the benefit of her health.’ The Prophet’s anxiety for his wife to receive baptism for health was such that a non-Mormon businessman reported that Joseph Smith had interrupted a business interview because ‘Mrs Smith lay Dangerously ill at the time and they ware about to administer the Rights of Baptism to her.’ Apostle Willard Richards also baptized his wife frequently for her health.
“In fact, when Reverend George Moore visited Nauvoo and its unfinished Temple, he recounted that ‘in the basement is the baptismal font, supported by 12 oxen. In this I learned that persons are baptized for the dead, and for restoration to health.’”
“Baptisms for the dead, and for the healing of the body must be in the font, those coming into the Church, and those re-baptized may be baptized in the river.”
“We can, at the present time, go into the Endowment House and be baptized for the dead, receive our washings and anointing, etc., for there we have a font that has been erected, dedicated expressly for baptizing people for the remission of sins, for their health and for their dead friends”
“This practice of multi-use Temple fonts continued into the 20th century. My mother and her siblings were all baptized in the Manti Temple at the age of eight. The continuance of healing baptism did, however, subside much earlier. In a 1922 letter to Temple Presidents, the office of the First Presidency wrote:
“We feel constrained to call your attention to the custom prevailing to some extent in our temples of baptizing for health, and to remind you that baptism for health is no part of our temple work, and therefore to permit it to become a practice would be an innovation detrimental to temple work, and a departure as well from the provision instituted of the Lord for the care and healing of the sick of His Church.”
516. 516, At a speech given in the Tabernacle, May 24, 1874, President George A. Smith related the following: During the bitter Missouri years when Joseph Smith and other Church leaders were held prisoners by the State, General Moses Wilson made the following observation: “He was a remarkable man. I carried him into my house, a prisoner in chains, and in less than two hours my wife loved him better than she did me.” President George A. Smith goes on to state that a number of years later the Wilsons had relocated to Texas where Mrs. Wilson’s admiration for the prophet was manifested in a daring act. General Wilson decided he would gather a mob against the Mormon missionaries. Mrs. Wilson caught wind of her husband’s evil design, and although an aged lady, she rode her horse thirty miles to warn the elders.
Dan Barker, Unique Stories and Facts from LDS History (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, Inc., 2010), 52.
Understanding the threat that Far West was experiencing, Lyman Wight gathered fifty-three volunteers from Adam-ondi-Ahman to assist Far West which was surrounded by the State (mob) Militia. On October 31, 1838, Colonel George M. Hinckle betrayed Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight and others into the hands of General Moses Wilson. That night General Wilson took Lyman Wight out of the camp in hopes of swaying his mind against the Prophet Joseph Smith, when the following conversation ensues:
General Wilson said, "Colonel Wight, we have nothing against you, only that you are associated with Joseph Smith. He is our enemy and a damned rascal, and would take any plan he could to kill us. You are a damned fine fellow; and if you will come out and swear against him, we will spare your life, and give you any office you want; and if you don't do it, you will be shot tomorrow at 8 o'clock." Colonel Wight replied, "General Wilson, you are entirely mistaken in your man, both in regard to myself and Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith is not an enemy to mankind, he is not your enemy; but is as good a friend as you have got. Had it not been for him, you would have been in hell long ago, for I should have sent you there by cutting your throat, and no other man but Joseph Smith could have prevented me and you may thank him for your life. And, now, if you will give me the boys I brought from Adam-ondi-Ahman yesterday, I will whip your whole army." Wilson said, "Wight, you are a strange man; but if you will not accept my proposal, you will be shot tomorrow morning at 8." Colonel Wight replied, "Shoot and be damned."
517. Not all of the approximately 60 people in attendance at the organization of the Church on Tuesday, April 6, 1830 were adults. History teaches us that one young boy; eleven-year old David Lewis was also present. He listened and viewed the proceedings and felt what others had felt on this historic day, and like others, also desired baptism. I don’t know if he was a member of another faith, but I do know he understood that to belong to the Church of Christ it was necessary to be baptized. It’s possible he watched as others were baptized in nearby Seneca Lake that day. As he watched the six men, who had been baptized prior to this day, be re-baptized and then six others, including Porter Rockwell, the prophet’s sister Katherine Smith, and two additional brothers, Don Carlos and William, the yearning only increased in David’s heart. The Prophet explained to young David that he would be more than willing to perform the ordinance for him, but because of his young age it was necessary that he obtain the consent of his parents.
David went home and expressed his desire to his mother. His mom, not completely understanding why he would want to attach himself to the Church, nevertheless gave permission for him to be baptized when he turned twelve years of age. Twenty-nine days later, after the organization of the Church, Joseph Smith baptized David Lewis a member of the Church.
Brian and Petrea Kelly, Illustrated History of the Church (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications Inc., 2008), 49-50.
518. Samuel Smith was to become the first ordained missionary for the Church in this dispensation. As Latter-day Saints we’re familiar with the details of his encounter with the Greene’s and how the Book of Mormon that was left at the Greene’s found its way into the hands of Mrs. Greene’s brother, Brigham Young and then eventually to the Heber C. Kimball family.
Samuel sold a second Book of Mormon while on this first mission. Ironically, it was sold to a Methodist minister named Phinehas Young, brother to Brigham Young. History states that Phinehas was on his way home from a preaching circuit and eating dinner with a family when the young Samuel Smith knocked at the door. The following conversation takes place:
Samuel opened the book to the testimonies of the Three and Eight Witnesses and said, “Here is the testimony of the witnesses to the truth of the book.”
Phinehas read their testimonies. When Phinehas looked up from his reading, the young man said, “If you will read this book with a prayerful heart and ask God to give you a witness, you will know the truth of the work.”
“Yes,” Samuel said. “I know the book is a revelation from God, translated by the power of the Holy Ghost, and that my brother, Joseph Smith, Jr., is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator.”
After arriving home Phinehas told his wife, “I have got a book here called the Book of Mormon, and it is said to be a revelation, and I wish to read it and make myself acquainted with its errors, so I can expose them to the world.”
True to his promise, he read the Book of Mormon—twice in two weeks. Rather than finding any errors, he became convinced the book was true. On Sunday, when his congregation asked for his opinion of the book, “he defended it for ten minutes, when suddenly the Spirit of God came on him with such force that in a marvelous manner he spoke at great length on the importance of it. … He closed by telling the people that he believed the book.”
519. Though Samuel [Smith] was not always as eloquent as his brothers or his companions, his testimony was strong. He said, “How could I doubt anything that I knew to be true?” In a blessing given by his father, Samuel was promised that his testimony would be received by thousands.” This blessing was fulfilled through Samuel’s six missions.
Spring and summer 1830: Samuel served alone in the neighboring communities around Palmyra, New York.
January 31, 1831, to April 1831: Samuel Smith and Orson Hyde preached the gospel in the vicinity of Kirtland, Ohio. In April they baptized about 50 people, many previously of the Campbellite faith.
[1832: Feb. 1]
We [Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde] left Kirtland and went as far as Painesville . . .
We [Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde] left Kirtland and went as far as Painesville . . .
[1832: Feb. 27]
. . . Baptized two young men: Horace Spencer and his brother. We confirmed them and ordained Brother Simons to be an Elder of the Church [in Springfield Twp., Erie Co., PA] and we baptized five and went again to Mr. Barr's. . . .
. . . Baptized two young men: Horace Spencer and his brother. We confirmed them and ordained Brother Simons to be an Elder of the Church [in Springfield Twp., Erie Co., PA] and we baptized five and went again to Mr. Barr's. . . .
June 4, 1831, to mid-November 1831: Samuel, who had recently been ordained a high priest, was one of many elders called to Independence, Missouri. He and his missionary companion, Reynolds Cahoon, had powerful missionary experiences. They returned to Kirtland on September 28 but were immediately asked to serve briefly in southern Ohio.
William E. McLellin was born in the state of Tennessee, supposed in 1806. He heard the gospel preached by Elders Samuel H. Smith and Reynolds Cahoon, while they were on their mission to Jackson County, Missouri, in the summer of 1831. He wound up his business and followed them to Jackson County. While on the way he was baptized and ordained an elder. He visited Kirtland, Ohio, in the fall. http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/Mcllelin.html
The first missionaries known to have visited Kentucky were Samuel H. Smith and Reynolds Cahoon. They passed through the northern part of Kentucky in late June 1831 on their way to Missouri. http://www.ldschurchnews.com/missions/153/Kentucky-Louisville-Mission.html
November 16, 1831, to late December 1831: Samuel Smith and William McLellin served in eastern Ohio. William recorded that Samuel laid his hands upon a badly scalded child and the burn was healed “in so much that it did not even so much as blister.” This mission ended abruptly after 40 days because William had murmured in his heart.
While William McLellin’s writings speak of Harvey Whitlock and David Whitmer as the missionaries who helped convert him, Samuel H. Smith apparently also took part in his conversion. From Lucy Mack Smith’s history, we get the impression that her son, Samuel H. Smith, and his companion, Reynolds Cahoon, were the first missionaries to make contact with William McLellin. He asked them to preach and “went out, and in a short time he had a large congregation seated in a convenient room, well lit up at his expense. After the meeting was dismissed, Mr. McLellin urged them to stay in the place and preach again, but they refused, as their directions were to go forward without any further delay than to warn the people as they passed.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, Revised and Enhanced, edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], chap. 39)
Subsequently, Elders Whitlock and Whitmer would preach to William—staying in the area long enough for their message to stick. William would follow them to Zion where he was baptized. Yet it is interesting to note that the relationship between Samuel Smith and William McLellin began as missionary and investigator only to blossom into a missionary companionship within only a few months. http://www.gospeldoctrine.com/DoctrineandCovenants/DC%2066.htm
February 1, 1832, to December 22, 1832: Samuel Smith and Orson Hyde were called to serve in New England. Their efforts resulted in about 60 baptisms and the establishment of four branches.
Orson Hyde, a native of Connecticut, turned twenty-seven in January 1832, at the time of his missionary call. Samuel Smith, a younger brother of Joseph Smith, was twenty-three years old at the time of his mission call to the eastern states. Elders Hyde and Smith commenced their difficult mission on February 1, 1832, from Kirtland, Ohio, and returned to Kirtland on December 22, 1832—serving for almost eleven months. The efforts of Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith were confined to the area east of the Connecticut River, in a line from Providence, Rhode Island, to Boston and vicinity, including Bradford, and on to Saco and Farmington, Maine. Their two-thousand-mile mission took them to Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. The following report of their mission was published in The Evening and the Morning Star: “BROTHERS Orson Hyde, and Samuel H. Smith, have just returned to this place [Kirtland, Ohio], in good health and spirits, saying, that they had built up four churches; one in the state of Maine; two in Massachusetts,
and one in Pennsylvania—They have baptized sixty or more, disciples, who they say, are strong in the faith, rejoicing in the Holy One of Israel.”
Samuels first wife, Mary Bailey, died in 1841. On May 30, 1841, while in Scott County, Samuel would marry his second wife, Levira Clark. http://josephsmithpapers.org/person/samuel-harrison-smith
520. Prior to receiving the plate’s, history reveals that Joseph Smith was hired by Josiah Stowell to help him in his pursuit to search for a lost Spanish treasure. It’s this activity that led to the disorderly conduct charge. What’s ironic is Joseph Smith was the individual that convinced Josiah to give up his search for the treasure. The laws at the time (1826) defined actions by “persons pretending. . .to discover where lost goods may be found” as “disorderly.”
James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1992), 41-42.
Immediately after the arrest of Joseph Smith (he would be arrested twice in the same night), Joseph Knight Sr. seeks out two friends, a John Reid and James Davidson, to represent the prophet at his trial. While neither men were lawyers (in fact, both were farmers) they were well versed in the law. John Reid relates the prosecutions attempt at trying to convict the prophet:
“Neither talents nor money were wanting to insure them success. They employed the best lawyer in that county, and introduced twenty or thirty witnesses before dark, but proved nothing. Then they sent out runners and ransacked the hills and vales, grog shops (bars) and ditches, and gathered together a company that looked as if they’d come from hell and had been whipped by the soot boy thereof; which they brought forward to testify one after another, but with no better success than before, although they wrung and twisted into every shape, in trying to tell something that would criminate the prisoner. Nothing was proven against him however.
Brian and Petrea Kelly, Illustrated History of the Church (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications Inc, 2008), 54.
521. Emma answered the Lord’s call. In August of 1835, the first Church hymnal was published and titled, “A Collection of Sacred Hymns for the Church of the Latter-day Saints.” The hymnal was comprised of ninety hymns and measured a very small 3 by 4 ½ inches. The hymns were strictly text, not having any music to the words (1857 was the first year that music was included with the lyrics). More than a third of the hymnal was composed of original songs written by LDS members such as William W. Phelps, Eliza R. Snow, and Parley P. Pratt, the remainder being popular Protestant hymns of the age. Since there wasn’t music to the text, the songs were sung to popular melodies of the time.
You might ask how many hymns from the original hymnal are found in our current hymn book. The answer is twenty-five, with such popular selections as:
522. At this point in the history of the Church, Joseph Smith, along with his scribes Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer, had begun the translation of the King James Version of the Bible. This project consumed much of the men’s time from June of 1830 to July of 1833. This was detailed work as it produced nearly 500 pages and thousands of passages that were either confusing or contradicted. It was because of this that the Lord inspired the prophet to bring new clarity to the Bible. Joseph referred to this work as the new translation, although once in printed form has been named the inspired revision or the inspired translation.
Just how extensive was this work? There are 3,400 verses which Joseph Smith, through inspiration, clarified, and yet never finished since the prophet suffered a premature, martyrs death.
523. It’s interesting that the complete use of water during the sacrament actually didn’t take place in all congregations until the end of Brigham Young’s presidency.
A letter sent by the First Presidency on 11 July 1877 to all wards encouraged the passing of the sacrament to children during Sunday school so that they could learn the importance of the ordinance.
In early Church history it was the practice to either have someone speak turning the sacrament or songs sung. The custom of speaking during the administration of the sacrament discontinued shortly after Brigham Young’s presidency. On May 2, 1946 the First Presidency issued the following statement:
“The ideal condition is to have absolute quiet during the passing of the sacrament, and that we look with disfavor upon vocal solos, duets, group signing, or instrumental music during the administration of this sacred ordinance.”
524. Hiram Page claimed to have in his possession a seer stone which provided him with many revelations. Newell Knight records that when he arrived in Fayette for the second conference of the Church he stated that “he [Hiram Page] had quite a roll of papers full of these revelations,” which had led a number of the Whitmers, Oliver Cowdery and others astray, regardless of the fact that the revelations were in opposition to the New Testament and the revelations as received by the prophet Joseph Smith. Newell Knight further adds that the prophet was extremely concerned with the situation, so concerned in fact, “that the greater part of the night was spent in prayer and supplication” concerning what he should do to diffuse the situation. It was then Joseph received Section 28.
The next day at conference, the prophet was able to reason with those who had been swayed by Hiram Page’s revelation. To the joy of all, the seer stone was renounced and peace prevailed for the remainder of the conference.
It’s easy to fault Hiram Page and those that followed him momentarily; however a study of their previous religious background will help give additional knowledge and explain why they were so easily swayed. Many of these converts were from a Congregationalist environment and as such, any member claiming inspiration had the right to proclaim whatever doctrine they wanted to the rest of the congregation provided those listening concurred.
525. President [Ezra Taft] Benson tells of the time when persecution reached a fever pitch while he was a young missionary serving in Northern England during 1922. His mission president instructed the missionaries to discontinue street meetings for the moment. About this time Elder Benson and his companion received a letter from a congregation inviting them to come to their town to speak. They promised the elders that the people in their town didn’t share the same sentiments that others felt. In addition, they promised the two elders that it would be a good meeting. Elder Benson and his companion prayed and fasted, then with humbled hearts attended the meeting. President Benson states that he prepared a talk on the apostasy, but realized at the conclusion of his speech, that he spoke with freedom on the divine mission of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. After the meeting a number of non-members came forward and said, “Tonight we received a witness that the gospel is true as you elders teach it. We are now ready for baptism.”
President Benson, in the same Ensign article, shared another time when World War II was over and he was assigned to deliver much needed clothes, medicine, and food to the suffering Saints in war torn Europe. Elder Benson desired to meet with the commander in charge over the American forces in the European area. When meeting the appointment officer, Brother Benson was told that he could not meet the general for at least three days. Elder Benson said he couldn’t wait that long, it was imperative he meet with him that very day. Again he was turned down. Elder Ezra Taft Benson and his companion left the building and went to their vehicle where they offered a fervent prayer. After fifteen minutes, Elder Benson went back in the building and noticed there was a different appointment officer. Within fifteen minutes they were given permission to meet with the general. President Benson then states:
We explained the welfare program and how it operated. Finally, he said, “Well, gentlemen, you go ahead and collect your supplies; and by the time you get them collected, the policy may be changed.” We said, “General, our supplies are already collected; they’re always collected. Within twenty-four hours from the time we wire the First Presidency of the Church in Salt Lake City, carloads of supplies will be rolling toward Germany. We have many storehouses filled with basic commodities.”
He then said, “I’ve never heard of a people with such vision.” His heart was touched as we had prayed it would be. Before we left his office, we had a written authorization to make our own distribution to our own people through our own channels.
526. It’s a familiar fact that the four elders (Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer Jr, and Ziba Peterson), after visiting the friendly Cattaraugus (Seneca) tribe in the Buffalo, New York area, and leaving them with two Books of Mormon, made their way to Mentor, Ohio, just a few miles north of present day Kirtland. While in Mentor, Parley P. Pratt presented a Book of Mormon to a very hospitable Sidney Rigdon (Parley P. Pratt’s former minister when Parley belonged to the Reformed Baptist Society) and his wife. Sidney promised the elders he would read the book. For the next two weeks, while the elders were laboring in nearby Kirtland, Sidney poured over the Book of Mormon hardly letting it down to eat or rest. Sidney knew the book was true, but now faced a dilemma (this is where the story gets interesting).
Sidney Rigdon was the minister to a large congregation. As a minister, Sidney refused to preach for money. To get around this issue his congregation built him a new church, complete with home and farm. Sidney and his wife were just getting ready to move into the new home when the elders first arrived on his front door. Sidney understood the consequence of accepting the Book of Mormon and converting to the new faith. Both he and his wife were cognizant they would not realize the new church, home, and farm, and he would be asked to leave his congregation. Nevertheless, as a result of a revelation, Sidney and his wife desired baptism.
The four elders experienced great success in Kirtland, and it was only a matter of time when the first baptism was scheduled. Parley P. Pratt invited Sidney Rigdon and his wife to the baptism. They did attend, however prior to his own baptism Sidney asked that he could speak to his congregation once more. Like only Sidney could, he spoke eloquently to his flock, extending forgiveness to all and asking for forgiveness in return. He had his parishioners reduced to tears. At the baptism of Sidney and his wife the next morning, many in his congregation were present. After being raised out of the water by Elder Oliver Cowdery, and while still standing in the water, Sidney immediately preached to those who witnessed the event. It’s this speech that caused many of his congregation to enter the water and to be baptized with him. Sidney hadn’t even dried off and yet was responsible for the conversion of numerous individuals.
Other future Church leaders who joined as a result of this first mission in the Kirtland area were Orson Hyde, John Murdock, Fredrick G. Williams, and Philo Dibble.
527. Thomas B. Marsh spent much of his early life in the Albany to New York City area. After marrying his wife, his career path swung from the restaurant and hotel industry to the grocery business. After an unsuccessful one-and-a-half years, left the grocery business, moved to Boston, engaged in a foundry, and joined the Methodist church. Thomas Marsh then records this about the Methodist:
“While engaged in this business I joined the Methodist Church and tried for two years to be a genuine Methodist, but did not succeed any better in getting Methodist religion than I did in the grocery business. I compared Methodism with the Bible, but could not make it correspond.”
528. Thomas B. Marsh records he felt inspired by the spirit to take a trip to the west. He, along with his friend Benjamin Hall, traveled to Lima, Livingstone County, New York. After a three month stay, Thomas and Benjamin decided to travel back to the Boston area. Their first night on the journey home, they stayed with a family from Lyonstown. The next morning, while preparing for their day’s trip, the lady of the house asked Thomas Marsh if he had heard about a Golden Bible found by a young man named Joseph Smith. Thomas replied that he had never heard of such news, but was anxious to learn more; realizing of course that this might be why he had the urge to go west. The lady informed Thomas that he could learn more from a Martin Harris who lived in Palmyra. Thomas eventually found Martin in the Grandin printing shop in Palmyra just as the first sixteen pages of proof were struck off the press. Realizing Thomas’s intent, Martin Harris guides him to the home of Joseph Smith Sr. where he meets Oliver Cowdery. Oliver answered the numerous questions that filled Thomas’s mind.
529. Verse three reads [Section 32], “And Ziba Peterson also shall go with them; and I myself will go with them and be in their midst; and I am their advocate with the Father, and nothing shall prevail against them.”
Not only did Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson receive their mission calls simultaneously, but they also experienced court time together. This next story is the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise in verse three. About fifty miles west of Kirtland the five missionaries (Fredrick G. Williams joined and is accompanying the four missionaries) are invited into the home of Simeon Carter. It’s while the missionaries are teaching the Carter family that Parley P. Pratt is arrested. Ziba tags along with him to the courtroom. It was while in the courtroom that Parley asked Ziba to sing the hymn “O How Happy Are They,” to the Judge. Why Parley and Ziba did this, history does not explain. This only served to exasperate the Judge, partly due to the late hour (close to midnight), who let Ziba go, but jailed Parley. Realizing that the charges against Elder Pratt were trumped up, he was soon released to join his missionary companions.
530. Ziba Peterson’s life takes an interesting turn shortly after the missionary group broke up. Ziba and Peter Whitmer [Jr.] were the only two missionaries that did not have the chance to preach to the natives. The two of them took jobs as tailors in Independence to support the five missionaries while the other three spent time preaching to the natives before they were ordered out by the government. To compensate for their missed opportunity to teach the natives, Ziba and Peter cross the Missouri River on April 8, 1831. Ziba, in company with Oliver Cowdery, travels to Lafayette County to preach and it is here that Elder Peterson met and converted his future wife, a Rebecca Hopper. Later that summer Ziba Peterson is found sharing the gospel in the town of Lone Jack on the south part of the state of Missouri. By May of 1833, Ziba has been excommunicated from the Church and could be found teaching school in Lone Jack. In 1848 the Peterson family moves to Dry Diggins, California where Ziba is elected sheriff. Other than his mission, he may be best noted for supervising the hanging of three desperadoes, which were the first legal hangings in the state of California. The town was re-named Hangtown. By the next year (1849) Ziba dies of unknown causes in Placerville, California. His widow moves to the Napa Valley, purchasing land in the Sonoma area.
"When Hyrum [Smith] began to speak, every word touched me to the inmost soul. I thought every word was pointed to me. God punished me and riveted me to the spot. I could not help myself. The tears rolled down my cheeks, I was very proud and stubborn. There were many there who knew me, I dare not look up. I sat until I recovered myself before I dare look up. They sung some hymns and that filled me with the Spirit. When Hyrum got through, he picked up a book and said, 'here is the Book of Mormon.' I said, let me see it. I then opened the book, and I received a shock with such exquisite joy that no pen can write and no tongue can express. I shut the book and said, what is the price of it? 'Fourteen shillings' was the reply. I said, I'll take the book. I opened it again, and I felt a double portion of the Spirit, that I did not know whether I was in the world or not. I felt as though I was truly in heaven. Martin Harris rushed to me to tell me that the book was true. I told him that he need not tell me that, for I knew that it is true as well as he"
532. Joseph Fielding Smith explains the Lord’s preparation of Sidney Rigdon, even prior to the missionaries coming to Ohio and finding him:
“The Lord told Sidney that he had looked upon him and his works, having reference to his ministry as a Baptist and later as one of the founders of the ‘Disciples’ with Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott. During those years the hand of the Lord was over him and directing him in the gathering of many earnest souls who could not accept the teachings of the sects of the day. His prayers in which he sought further light than the world was able to give, were now to be answered. The Lord informed him that he had been sent to prepare the way, and in the gathering of his colony and the building up of his congregation in and around Kirtland, the hand of the Lord was directing him, and the way for the reception of the fulness of truth was being prepared. It should be carefully noted that a great number of forceful, intelligent men who became leaders in the Church had been gathered by Sidney Rigdon, with the help of the Lord, in this part of the land. Without any question, the Spirit of the Lord had rested upon these men, as it did on Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt, to direct them to gather in Kirtland at that early day. When, therefore, Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson and their companions came to Kirtland they found the way prepared for them through the preaching, very largely, of Sidney Rigdon, so that it was not a difficult matter for these missionaries to convince this group of the truth. While Sidney was preaching and baptizing by immersion without authority, which the Lord informed him in this revelation, yet it all resulted in good when the Gospel message reached them. These men were not only convinced and ready for baptism, but were in a condition by which the Priesthood could be given them, and this was done.”
Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1949), 1:160.
533. Edward Partridge was one of many who converted when Oliver, Parley, Ziba, and Peter preach the gospel in the Kirtland, Ohio area. Even though he was converted to the faith, yet he refused baptism until he met the Prophet Joseph Smith. Shortly after Sidney Rigdon’s baptism into the Church, Sidney and Edward journeyed eastward to meet the prophet of God at Fayette, New York.
“In December of the same year , Joseph appointed a meeting at our house. While he was preaching, Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge came in and seated themselves in the congregation. When Joseph had finished his discourse, he gave all who had any remarks to make, the privilege of speaking. Upon this, Mr. Partridge arose, and stated that he had been to Manchester, with the view of obtaining further information respecting the doctrine which we preached; but, not finding us, he had made some inquiry of our neighbors concerning our characters, which they stated had been unimpeachable, until Joseph deceived us relative to the Book of Mormon. He also said that he had walked over our farm, and observed the good order and industry which it exhibited; and, having seen what we had sacrificed for the sake of our faith, and having heard that our veracity was not questioned upon any other point than that of our religion, he believed our testimony, and was ready to be baptized, ‘if,’ said he, ‘Brother Joseph will baptize me.’
“‘You are now,’ replied Joseph, ‘much fatigued, brother Partridge, and you had better rest to-day, and be baptized tomorrow.’
Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1996), 249-250.
534. Not all were overjoyed at the influx of Mormon immigrants from the state of New York. This call to “the Ohio” definitely changed the landscape in the Kirtland area. What was a quaint community of 481 in 1820 would more than double to 1018 by 1830. As a result of the Mormon immigration, the population of Kirtland would triple over the next seven years (http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Kirtland,_Ohio). Needless to say, the persecution the Saints had turned their backs on in New York hit them square in the face with the landing of steamships at Fairport Harbor. Eber D. Howe, editor of the anti-Mormon newspaper, the Painesville Telegraph, blindly penned the following article, titled “Mormon Emigration” May 17, 1831:
“About two hundred men, women and children, of the deluded followers of Jo Smith’s Bible speculation, have arrived on our coast during the last week, from the state of New York & are about seating themselves down upon the “promised land” in this county. It is surely a melancholy comment upon human nature to see so many people at this enlightened age of the world, truckling along at the ear of a miserable imposter, submitting themselves both soul and body, to his spiritual and temperal mandates, without a murmur, or presuming to question that it is all a command direct from Heaven. “
535. Jared Cared (This is most likely a spelling mistake, but rather Jared Carter is the individual quoted), in the article, “Mormon Migration on Lake Erie and Through Fairport Harbor,” tells of what could very well be the first miracle performed on the waters in this dispensation. Jared tells of how their steamship while sailing to Fairport Harbor, just north of Kirtland, hit dangerous winds. These winds were common on Lake Erie with many ships sinking or breaking up and people losing their lives. Brother Carter, who had just recently joined the Church on February 20, 1831 (baptized by Hyrum Smith), and although barely dry from baptism, but high in faith tells of calming the winds while traveling on the lake. He wrote:
“We had not gone far before we met with a stiff headwind which made us in considerable dangerous sailing. So that the Captain informed us of the danger, but at length we reached to Erie where the boat was tied by fonts, to wait for the wind. There was an influence as with a voice speaking with me. Go and command the winds in the name of Christ to cease. I immediately arose and went out of the hearing of the wicked crowd and said in the name of Jesus Christ, I command the winds to cease, and the wind from that moment began to cease and in about fifteen minutes it was stopped and the boat then soon started and we, in a few hours landed in Ohio, at Fairport.
536. Newell Knight led the sixty-seven members of the Colesville Branch of the church, Martin Harris the fifty members of the Manchester Branch, and Thomas B. Marsh and Lucy Mack Smith the eighty members of the Fayette Branch. All Branches of the Church traveled separately arriving in the Kirtland area between April and May of 1831.
The following is a letter to the editor found in the Palmyra Reflector written January 26, 1831 from an individual in Waterloo, New York:
Elder S. Rigdon left this village on Monday morning last in the stage, for the “Holy Land,” where all the “Gold Bible” converts, have recently received a written commandment from God, through Jo Smith, junior, to repair with all convenient speed after selling off the property. This command was at first resisted by such as had property, (the brethren from the neighboring counties being all assembled by special summons,) but after a night of fasting, prayer and trial, they all consented to obey the holy messenger.—Rigdon has for some time past been arranging matters with Smith for the final departure of the faithful for the “far west.” The man of many CREEDS, (Rigdon) appears to possess colloquial powers to a considerable degree, and before leaving this vicinity left us his blessing. He delivered a discourse at the Court House immediately preceding his departure, wherein he depicted in strong language, the want of “charity and brotherly love” among the prevailing sects and denominations of professing christians, and sorry I am to admit, that he had too much truth on his side with regard to this particular. After denouncing dreadful vengeance on the whole state of New York, and this village in particular, and recommending to all such as wished to flee from “the wrath to come,” to follow him beyond the “western waters,” he took his leave.
537. Referring to the Hosanna Shout: “Perhaps the most unusual occurrence of this shout came in 1886 at the Utah State penitentiary in Salt Lake City. Many Mormon men were serving prison terms for unlawful cohabitation, including Lorenzo Snow, then president of the Quorum of the Twelve. At President Snow's funeral, Rudger Clawson, called just seven days before as his second counselor, spoke of this unique experience:
“He called the brethren together (there were some thirty-five or forty in all) and said in substance: ‘We have been sent to this place and are associated together in prison. It will 'be our privilege, if we so desire to express our feelings to the Lord by offering up unto Him the sacred shout.’ . . . The sacred shout was then offered up within those prison walls — a great and mighty shout to God and the Lamb. The foundation of the prison seemed to shake, and the shout ascended to heaven”
538. Edward Partridge was also being groomed by the Lord to fulfill his call as Bishop. The Lord required a man with a strong business background, one who had experience and understood land transactions, and one who excelled in leadership. Edward Partridge was all this wrapped into one package. He ran a very successful hatter business, he owned multiple properties, and was a respected civic leader in Painesville, Ohio. The Lord knew he would require a man who could administer to the demands of the “Law of Consecration” that the Lord was on the verge of revealing to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Ironically, the Campbellites, which Edward Partridge was a member of at the time that Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Ziba Peterson first appeared in the area, belonged to a religious society known as “Disciples,” where the intent was for all belonging to the society as having all things in common. Nevertheless, even after some of these people converted into the Church they still continued to practice what is known as “common stock.” John Whitmer makes an interesting observation, stating it didn’t work because some thought it meant sharing everything including clothes, whereas others interpreted the rules regulating the society differently. The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote:
“The branch of the Church in this part of the Lord’s vineyard, which had increased to nearly one hundred members, were striving to do the will of God, so far as they knew it, though some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them. With a little caution and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brethren and sisters to overcome them. The plan of ‘common stock,’ which had existed in what was called ‘the family,’ whose members generally had embraced the everlasting Gospel, was readily abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord; and the false spirits were easily discerned and rejected by the light of revelation.”
Edward Partridge had the experience the Lord required. Twice Edward posted advertisements in the local paper, once in January 1828 and again in September of 1829 “to quit the hatting business and leave Painesville.” His business never sold, making it possible for Oliver Cowdery to introduced him and his family to the gospel.
Shortly after Joseph Smith baptized Edward Partridge in late December of 1830, Edward traveled east to Pittsfield, Massachusetts in hopes of sharing the gospel with his family. Arriving with high hopes, Edward soon realizes that his family, at least for the moment, does not desire the gospel. In her autobiography, Edwards’s daughter, Emily Dow Partridge, writes, “They pronounced him crazy” and one of his sisters ordered him out of her house and told him “never to come back again.” Edwards’s parents were so concerned over his mental well being that they sent their youngest son, James Harvey Partridge, to accompany his older brother Edward to Painesville, Ohio. Needless to say, Harvey was taught the gospel while in Ohio and joined the Church.
Emily tells of her father’s trip to Fayette, New York. He was not yet a member, but had been taught the gospel in the Kirtland area by the four elders to the Lamanites. Edward knew it was true and wanted to solidify his testimony by meeting the prophet prior to being baptized. Emily writes of her father’s homecoming after arriving in Kirtland with Joseph and Emma Smith along with Sidney Rigdon:
“After his arrival home, his old and most intimate friends that had been so anxious for him to go and find out the truth of the reports about ‘Mormonism’ because of his honesty and superior judgment, pronounced him crazy when he declared the Book of Mormon true.”
539. This third situation surfaced when a Mrs. Hubble claimed to have received revelations for the Church. John Whitmer writes the following:
“She professed to be a prophetess of the Lord, and professed to have many revelations, and knew the Book of Mormon was true, and that she should become a teacher in the church of Christ. She appeared to be very sanctimonious and deceived some who were not able to detect her in her hypocrisy; others, however, had the spirit of discernment and her follies and abominations were manifest.”
- The General Conference of 1833 was held on a ferry boat on the Big Blue River near Independence, Missouri.
-The first General Conference held outside the United States was in Great Britain in 1840. This is also the same year that conferences switched from quarterly to semi-annual events.
-The October 1957 conference was canceled due to another flu scare.
541. The Church is growing by leaps and bounds in the Kirtland area. When Joseph first arrived in February of 1831 there were approximately 100 individuals in the branch, with total Church membership around 300 members. At the close of 1831 Church membership would reach 680 members, a 142% increase in growth from 1830 and then a 291% increase in 1832 with membership at 2,661. Is it any wonder that ministers began to worry about their flocks and circulate “false reports and foolish stories,” that Joseph Smith mentions in the heading to Section 45 of our current Doctrine and Covenants. For example, Simonds Ryder, a Campbellite preacher joined the Church as the result of reading a newspaper article elaborating on an earthquake in China. What caught his eye, more than anything, was the title of the article, not just in this paper, but others who christened the event as, “Mormonism in China.” Why was it referred to as such when the Church’s missionary efforts only extended to Missouri, New England, and Canada? According to the story, “a young Mormon girl” had predicted the event six weeks earlier.
Church History in the Fulness of Times, Church Educational System (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1993), 93.
“All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the ‘elect’ have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so ‘slow,’ so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle—keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate, if he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason. . . . Whenever he found his speech growing too modern—which was about every sentence or two—he ladled in a few such scriptural phrases as ‘exceeding sore,’ ‘and it came to pass,’ etc., and made things satisfactory again. ‘And it came to pass’ was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.”
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Roughing It (Hartford, Connecticut: Americn Publishing Company, 1891), 128-29.; Dan Barker, Mormon History 101 (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort Inc., 2011), 131.
“And arrived at father Isaac Morley's about dark, and was soon introduced to those four men from New York, and presented with the Book of Mormon; I now said within myself, I have items placed before me that will prove to me whether it be of God or not viz: four men professing to be servants of the most high God, authorized to preach the gospel, and practice the ordinances thereof, and build up the Church after the ancient order; and having a book professing to have come forth by the power of God, containing the fullness of the gospel; I said if it be so their walk will agree with their profession, and the Holy Ghost will attend their ministration of the ordinances, and the Book of Mormon will contain the same plan of salvation as the Bible. I was sensible that such a work must come forth, but the question with me was, are these men that are to commence the work. I did not ask a sign of them by working a miracle, by healing a sick man, by raising a dead man, or, by casting out a devil; only I desired to know whether the Spirit would attend their ministration if the Book of Mormon was not true, neither if they were not sent forth by God. Accordingly, that night was held the first confirmation meeting that was held in Ohio. And I said within myself it is a good time for me. For thought I, this night must prove it to be true, or false; I did not find out respecting the meeting till about ten o'clock at night. And at that time they had all left but three men; and I found they wanted to go to the meeting, and did not want those in, that had not been baptized. I said to them go, for if you wish to be alone, I do not blame you. The case is one of importance. They went and I stayed alone, and read the Book of Mormon. “
544. By time the Church had located in Nauvoo, Illinois, not only were non-members encouraged to attend the Church’s religious services, but clergy from other denominations were invited to speak. The following from the History of the Church:
“At ten a.m., meeting at the stand. Willard Richards and Wilford Woodruff speak and then at half-past two p.m. Joseph Smith introduces Mr. de Wolf, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church, and requested the attention of the congregation in his behalf.”
545. Not only does John Whitmer begin the history of the Church, but also about this time he collects the loose revelations that Joseph Smith has received and compiles them into Revelation Book 1, forerunner to the Book of Commandments. John Whitmer acted as the Church Historian from 1831 to 1838, recording almost the entire Book of Commandments, with the exception of a few pages in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. During this time he also recorded 85 pages of history. With all the exciting things that were happening in the young Church’s history, it’s safe to say that Brother Whitmer’s 85 pages of history was sketchy at best. One would suspect that John Whitmer’s heart was never completely in it. In fact, when the prophet Joseph extended the call, John told Joseph that the only way he would accept the position was if Joseph received revelation from the Lord stating that he was to fill the position. When John Whitmer left the Church in 1838, he also took this history with him. It wasn’t until 1893, long after the death of John Whitmer (July 11, 1878) that the Church received this history.
546. Had the history and rise of the Church been recorded with equal seriousness, controversies and questions are less apt to surface. For instance, believe it or not, until a recent manuscript had been discovered in the Church Historians Office, there were questions surrounding the place of the organization of the Church. We have been taught and accept the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York as the confirmed site. Nevertheless, because of an error in the Book of Commandments and other writings, many believe Manchester, New York is the location of this event. This error in thinking originated with W. W. Phelps mistakenly inserting in a revelation heading in the Book of Commandments that Manchester, New York was the site of the organization of the Church. The fact that Joseph Smith discovered this error and corrected it with the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, didn’t sway all minds to the belief that Fayette, and not Manchester, was the site of the Church’s organization. Of course it did little to help that the Evening and Morning Star in an article titled, “Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ” (vol. 1 no. 10 March 1833), states, “IT will be three years the sixth of April next, since the church of Christ was organized, in Manchester, New York, with six members. It has increased steadily in faith and works since; and the work has spread into several states.” Another Church publication, Times and Seasons, in a reprint of the Wentworth letter in March of1842 (vol. 3 no. 9 March1,1842, 708) confirms, “On the 6th of April, 1830, the ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,’ was first organized in the town of Manchester, Ontario co., state of New York.” Is it any wonder Joseph Smith was prompted to say what he did in reference to keeping accurate records?
While laboring on the third volume of the Joseph Smith Papers, the editors discovered a manuscript in the vaults of the First Presidency which serves to dispel the myth that Manchester, New York was the site of the organization of the Church. Steven C. Harper states:
"The manuscript may have the effect of resolving a controversy that has arisen over whether the Church was organized at Fayette, N.Y., as has traditionally been understood, or at Manchester, N.Y. It does so by affirming that a revelation given on April 6, 1830, was given at Fayette, not at Manchester. 'The 1833 Book of Commandments, heretofore the earliest source available, located this revelation in Manchester,' he explained. Some authors thus argued that the traditional story of the Church's founding in Fayette lacked foundation in the historical record, 'but we can now see that in this case, tradition and the historical record match up,' he said."
R. Scott Lloyd, "'Major Discovery' Discussed at Mormon History Association Conference," Church News, 22 May 2009.
“They came, men, women, and children, in every conceivable manner, some with horses, oxen, and vehicles rough and rude, while others had walked all or part of the distance. The future ‘City of the Saints’ appeared like one besieged. Every available house, shop, hut, or barn was filled to its utmost capacity. Even boxes were roughly extemporized and used for shelter until something more permanent could be secured.”
548. Looking back 182 years after the call to “the Ohio” we as Saints understand, even though the Saints at the time of the call might not have seen the larger picture, the purpose for the Lord’s command. Let’s consider for a moment how crucial the Kirtland years were to the Church. Half of the revelations in our current Doctrine and Covenants were received here. The Saints witnessed the miracle of the first temple in this dispensation and the resultant blessings which flowed from their sacrifice and diligence. The government of the Church would evolve to include a First Presidency, a Quorum of the Twelve and the Seventies. In addition, four future prophets of the Church would be baptized during the Kirtland era, namely, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow. Truth be known, the leadership of the Church would be influenced clear until 1951 from those who had contact with the Kirtland Saints.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Our Heritage (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996), 29.
549. On May 8, 1831, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Leman Copley visit Ashbel Kitchel, the presiding elder for the Quakers in this area. Ashbel asked that:
“neither [group] to force their doctrine on the other at this time, but let the time be spent in feeling of the spirit, as it was Rigdon’s first visit…[and] he [Rigdon] said he would subject himself to the order of the place.” Ashbel states that Parley P. Pratt instructs Sidney Rigdon and Leman Copley “to pay no attention to me [Ashbel] for they had come with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the people must here it, etc.”
Sidney Rigdon was then given permission to read Section 49 of the Doctrine and Covenants, whereupon the congregation explained to the Brethren that they were satisfied with their religion and wanted nothing to do with Mormonism.
“But Parley Pratt arose and commenced shaking his coat tail. He said he shook the dust from his garments as a testimony against us, that we had rejected the work of the Lord Jesus. Before the words were out of his mouth, I [Ashbel Kitchel] was to him and said, ‘You filthy beast, dare you presume to come in here and try to imitate a man of God by shaking your filthy [coat] tail.’ …I then turned to Leman [Copley], who had been crying while the message was reading, and said to him ‘you hypocrite, you knew better,’ …Sidney had been looking on all this time without saying a word. As he had done all he did only by liberty [with permission], nothing was said to him. …Parley’s horse had not been put away, as he came too late, He mounted and started for home without waiting for anyone. Sidney [Rigdon] stayed for supper… He was treated kindly and let go after supper, but Leman [Copley] tarried all night and started for home in the morning.”
Lawrence R. Flake, “A Shaker View of a Mormon Mission.” In Brigham Young University Studies (Autumn 1979) 20/1:94-99. Provo, Utah, 1959-present.
550. John Whitmer records the following about religious enthusiasm with members of the church during the Kirtland period:
“Some had visions and could not tell what they saw. Some would fancy to themselves that they had the sword of Laban, and would wield it as expert as a light dragoon [soldier], some would act like an Indian in the act of scalping, some would slide or scoot on the floor, with the rapidity of a serpent, which they termed sailing in the boat to the Lamanites, preaching the gospel. And many other vain and foolish maneuvers, that are unseeming, and unprofitable to mention.
Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor ed., Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Salt Lake City: Desert Book, 2000), n5 81.
551. It’s interesting that Joseph Wakefield would serve this mission and two more before falling away from the Church. He was instrumental in the conversion of George A. Smith, cousin to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and yet it’s ironic that the very spirits he was called to cast out among the Saints eventually overpowered him. For some reason he couldn’t get over the fact that the Prophet would descend the steps of the revelation room (at the John Johnson farm), where he was recording the word of God, and then play with his little children.
Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor ed., Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Salt Lake City: Desert Book, 2000), n4 81.
552. The following is from the journal of Sister Margarette McIntire Burgess. This journal entry gives us an indication of both the prophets concern for his wife, but also his deep love for children (this is during the Nauvoo years):
“I will relate another incident which occurred. Joseph's wife, Sister Emma, had lost a young babe. My mother having twin baby girls, the Prophet came to see if she would let him have one of them. Of course it was rather against her feelings, but she finally consented for him to take one of them, providing he would bring it home each night. This he did punctually himself, and also came after it each morning. One evening he did not come with it at the usual time, and Mother went down to the mansion to see what was the matter, and there sat the Prophet with the baby wrapped up in a little silk quilt. He was trotting it on his knee, and singing to it to get it quiet before starting out, as it had been fretting. The child soon became quiet when my mother took it, and the Prophet came up home with her. Next morning when he came after the baby, Mother handed him Sarah, the other baby. They looked so much alike that strangers could not tell them apart; but as Mother passed him the other baby he shook his head and said, "This is not my little Mary." Then she took Mary from the cradle and gave her to him, and he smilingly carried her home with him. The baby Mary had a very mild disposition, while Sarah was quite cross and fretful, and by this my mother could distinguish them one from the other, though generally people could not tell them apart. But our Prophet soon knew which was the borrowed baby. After his wife became better in health he did not take our baby anymore, but often came in to caress her and play with her. Both children died in their infancy, before the Prophet was martyred.”
553. In December of 1830 Joseph Smith had announced that the Lord was in the process of forming a New Zion. From this time forward the Prophet had been constantly questioned by members concerning the location. To be honest, Joseph didn’t know the exact spot other than it was in the west by the borders of the Lamanintes. The arrival of Parley P. Pratt to the Kirtland area that spring with his glowing reports of western Missouri only added to the anticipation and caused Joseph to approach the Lord with inquiries.
A conference of the Church was called on June 3rd to 6th, a conference so important that elders serving missions were called home in order to attend. It’s at this conference that the first men received the office of High Priest and then the day after the conference, Joseph Smith received Section 52.
554. Not just Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, but 28 others are called to travel to Missouri and teach by different routes as they traveled to the west. Levi Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin were called by the Lord to serve as companions on this journey. Levi shares the following:
“We then went to Winchester in Randolph County [Indiana], and stopped at the county seat on the head waters of the White River. We saw there a school master and introduced the Gospel to him. He was so well pleased with the message that he spread the news as fast as possible and called a meeting. After the meeting he wanted to be baptized, so we went to the water with him and baptized him. Soon after this we were happy to hear that nearly all the people wanted to hear us so we went to the courthouse and got permission to hold a meeting there. After this meeting we were able to baptize several others. … We continued to preach here in the region and around about, until we had raised a large branch of the Church … and in a short time we had … about one hundred members.”
Autobiography of Levi Hancock, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
There were those in town who didn’t understand the new religion and proceeded to persecute the elders. Levi and Zebedee had an appointment to meet with investigators the next day at 11 a.m., but had just received a note that they were to leave town by 10 a.m. Initially, the two elders thought they would obey the order, but then decided to keep their meeting. Levi then records the following in his journal:
“The next morning Sunday came and we were prepared for the worst. It was my turn to speak and I sang too. Zebedee gave the prayer. Bill Walker placed himself at the door and looked as surly as a bull; he was my friend. He said nothing, but something said to me, that I should not be hurt. So I commenced talking and soon forgot myself and said what came to my heart. I mounted the bench and walked in among the same crows who had written that letter. I said, ‘You wrote to warn me to leave this place before then, but you see I am still here. …I am a cousin to the first man who signed the Declaration of Independence. Now, if you want to reveal anything to me, come on I am ready.’ Nothing was said, so I sat down, and Zebedee then took hold of the subject and gave a good sermon. He opened the door for baptism. We felt the spirit of the Lord there with us. After the meeting we went to the water and baptized seventeen of that crowd, who the day before were going to mob us.”
Laureen Gaunt, “Research and Perspective: The Pioneer Saints of Winchester, Indiana,” Ensign October, 1992, pg. 56.
555. Brother [Algernon Sidney] and Sister Gilbert had the pleasure of raising one nephew and two nieces, the children belonging to Sister Gilberts sister, Keziah Rollins. Keziah’s husband drowned in a shipwreck on Lake Erie. With no way to care for her children, she sent James Henry, Mary Elizabeth, and Caroline to live with the childless Uncle Algernon and Aunt Elizabeth.
The Prophet Joseph was particularly fond of these children having come to know them in his visits to the Gilbert and Whitney store in Kirtland. Joseph Smith placed his hands on the head of Mary Elizabeth and gave her a great blessing. He also, in a blessing, stated to James Henry, “Well the Lord has shown him great things.”
Why do I speak of the children that Sidney and his wife raised? It’s this one thing; the children’s great courage, which of course could only come from the teachings of great parents (or in this case, a great Uncle and Aunt). It was Mary Elizabeth and Caroline that saved the revelations meant for publication in the Book of Commandments from total destruction when the mob vandalized the printing shop in Jackson County.
556. When Joseph first came to Kirtland he realized that the Campbellites were practicing what was known at the time as “the family.” This failed because of misunderstanding. The famous story of Heman Bassett (who would eventually join the Church as a sixteen-year old and ordained to the office of elder at the age of seventeen) taking Levi Hancock’s watch and selling it, claiming that the watch was his also because it belonged in “the family.” Joseph had a better idea, as revealed by the Lord, but it would require selfless love on those who were to live under such a system. Leman Copley was all for the Law of Consecration at the outset, allowing the Colesville Saints to settle on his large farm, but two months later forced them off the land, charging them $60 dollars damage for “fitting up his houses and planting his ground.”
557. William Wines Phelps was a highly educated man, editor of a political newspaper and considered for the position of Lieutenant governor of New York when he first heard of the Church through the efforts of Sidney Rigdon. He said the following about the Book of Mormon:
“By that book I found a key to the holy prophets; and by that book began to unfold the mysteries of God, and I was made glad. Who can tell his goodness, or estimate the worth of such a book?”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church History in the Fulness of Times (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1993), 103.
He then writes Eber D. Howe, Editor of the Painesville Telegraph and author of the anti-Mormon book Mormonism Unvailed [sic], on January 10, 1831 stating the following in reference to the Book of Mormon:
“I have read the book, and many others have, but we have nothing by which we can positively detect it as an imposition, nor have we any thing more than what I have stated and the book itself, to show its genuineness. We doubt—supposing, if it is false, it will fall, and if of God, God will sustain it.”
558. In addition to the above instructions, William [W. Phelps] is also called to “correct” the hymns selected by Emma Smith. In fact, William W. Phelps penned, and in some cases, wrote the music to 29 of the 90 hymns in the first hymnal. He’s responsible for such favorites as, “Adam-ondi-Ahman,” “Gently Raise the Sacred Strain,” “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” “Now Let Us Rejoice,” “ Now We’ll Sing With One Accord,” “O God, The Eternal Father,” “Praise to the Man,” “Redeemer of Israel,” and “The Spirit of God.”
559. The Lord states in verse 3 of Section 57 in the Doctrine and Covenants, “. . .Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse.”
The courthouse that is mentioned in the revelation is significant, not only in the history of the United States, but also in Church history. Algernon Sidney Gilbert, who was instructed by the Lord to travel with the Prophet to Missouri, purchased this courthouse in Independence, Missouri for $371 dollars as a private residence, and also as a mercantile store for the Saints in the area. There’s a number of interesting facts surrounding this courthouse. First, it was constructed using 100% slave labor. Second, it’s the oldest courthouse west of the Mississippi River. Third, it’s the oldest Latter-day Saint dwelling west of the Mississippi River still in existence. Fourth, Harry S. Truman briefly held court in it.
560. The Lord commands Sidney Rigdon to write a description of the land so that the members in the east could get a mental picture in their minds (Remember, photography was yet to be invented) Sidney Rigdon paints the following description:
“The country is unlike the timbered states of the East. As far as the eye can reach the beautiful rolling prairies lie spread out like a sea of meadows; and are decorated with a growth of flowers so gorgeous and grand as to exceed description; and nothing is more fruitful, or a richer stockholder in the blooming prairie than the honey bee. Only on the water courses is timber to be found. There in strips from one to three miles in width, and following faithfully the meanderings of the streams, it grows in luxuriant forests. The forests are a mixture of oak, hickory, black walnut, elm, ash, cherry, honey locust, mulberry, coffee bean, hackberry, boxelder, and bass wood; with the addition of cottonwood, butterwood, pecan, and soft and hard maple upon the bottoms. The shrubbery is beautiful, and consists in part of plums, grapes, crab apple, and persimmons.
“The soil is rich and fertile; from three to ten feet deep, and generally composed of a rich black mould, intermingled with clay and sand. It yields in abundance, wheat, corn, sweet potatoes, cotton and many other common agricultural products. Horses, cattle and hogs, though of an inferior breed, are tolerably plentiful and seem nearly to raise themselves by grazing in the vast prairie range in summer, and feeding upon the bottoms in winter. The wild game is less plentiful of course where man has commenced the cultivation of the soil, than in the wild prairies. Buffalo, elk, deer, bear, wolves, beaver and many smaller animals here roam at pleasure. Turkeys, geese, swans, ducks, yea a variety of the feathered tribe, are among the rich abundance that grace the delightful regions of this goodly land—the heritage of the children of God.
“The season is mild and delightful nearly three quarters of the year, and as the land of Zion, situated at about equal distances from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as from the Alleghany and Rocky mountains, in the thirty-ninth degree of north latitude, and between the sixteenth and seventeenth degrees of west longitude, it bids fair—when the curse is taken from the land—to become one of the most blessed places on the globe. The winters are milder than the Atlantic states of the same parallel of latitude, and the weather is more agreeable; so that were the virtues of the inhabitants only equal to the blessings of the Lord which He permits to crown the industry of those inhabitants, there would be a measure of the good things of life for the benefit of the Saints, full, pressed down, and running over, even an hundredfold.”
It’s interesting that the Lord rejected this description as found in D&C 63:55-56, but yet it was so much more positive than a 1828 description of the residence of Independence by a Congregationalist and Presbyterian missionary. He writes the following:
“The prospects for our evangelical work appear less likely here than any place I have seen in my westward journeying. Such a godless place, filled with so many profane swearers, would be difficult to imagine. … There are a few so-called ministers of the gospel here-abouts, but they are a sad lot of churchmen, untrained, uncouth, given to imbibing spirituous liquors, and indulging as participants in the gambling which accompanies horse racing and cock fighting. There are many suspicious characters who headquarter here, but when intelligence arrives that a federal marshal is approaching this county, there is a hurried scurrying of many of this element to the Indian Territory on the west side of the Missouri. … one soon learns not to make inquiry concerning the names nor the home towns of this class of men. … Christian Sabbath observance here appears to be unknown. It is a day for merchandising, jollity, drinking, gambling, and general anti-Christian conduct. … There appears to be an overabundance of females here practicing the world’s oldest profession. … Gouging and more serious forms of violence are common. The sheriff has little support from the populace, except to prevent burglars breaking into the merchant’s shops. He confided to me that the citizens do not care to have the lawless punished.”
T. Edgar Lyon, “Independence, Missouri and the Mormons, 1827-1833.” In Brigham Young University Studies (Autumn 1972) 13/1:10-19. Provo, Utah, 1959-present.
561. On August 2, 1831, twelve men representing the twelve tribes of Israel laid the first log “as a foundation of Zion in Kaw township, twelve miles west of Independence.” It was during this service that Sidney Rigdon dedicated the land to the Lord. The next day eight elders, viz. Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Peter Whitmer Jr., Frederick G. Williams, William W. Phelps, Martin Harris, and Joseph Coe congregate at the temple lot where Sidney Rigdon dedicates the temple lot to the Lord. Joseph Smith lays the cornerstone in the southeast corner and then Psalms 87 is read.
Church Educational System, Church History in the Fulness of Times (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1993), 107; Richard L. Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling (New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, Random House, 2006), 163.
Not only does Joseph Smith teach that Jackson County, Missouri is the location for the New Jerusalem, but is also the location of the Garden of Eden.
Church Educational System, Church History in the Fulness of Times (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1993), 106.
562. Samuel Smith and Reynolds Cahoon were called as companions and shortly after their call traveled to Reynolds relatives in southern Indiana. It was here that they stayed for a brief period of time and experienced success. On the return trip from Missouri the two missionaries stopped in the same area (Green County) for two weeks where they met and converted John Patten. Brother Patten wrote his brother David in Michigan, stating among other things, that he had received the Holy Ghost and explained to David the restored gospel. David wrote, “This caused my heart to leap for joy, and I resolved to go immediately and see for myself.”
David Patten was baptized by his brother John in June of 1832 and three years later was ordained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He is also the first Apostle to die in this dispensation from a fatal wound received at the Battle of Crooked River in Missouri.
“From this happy state I fell away and lived, in a measure, in darkness until the year 1830, when my mind became again aroused by the Spirit of God to a sense of my situation, and I began to pray mightily to God that he would pardon my sins and grant me his Holy Spirit. About this time the sound of the Book of Mormon came to my ears, and I was greatly agitated in mind about it, and desired to see it. I saw the book that same summer, but had no opportunity of reading it further than the preface and testimony of the witnesses. A fear came upon me, and I dare not say anything against it. From that time I began to cry to God for saving faith.
“Nothing took place worthy of note until May, 1832, when on receiving a letter from my brother in Indiana, giving me information of the rise of the Church of Christ, the reception of the Holy Ghost and the gifts thereof by the Saints. My brother informed me that he had received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of the Elders of the Church. This caused my heart to leap for joy, and I resolved to go immediately and see for myself.
“I soon became satisfied that the work was true, and was baptized on the 15th of June, 1832, in Greene Co., Indiana, by my brother, John Patten. I was ordained an elder on the 17th, under the hands of Elisha H. Groves in said county, when I was appointed, in company with brother Wood, to preach in the Territory of Michigan. We travelled and preached together, and I recorded many remarkable cases of healing, which occurred under my administration: in many instances I went to the sick, who said they had faith and promised to obey the Gospel when they got better, and commanded them in the name of the Lord to arise and be made whole; and they were immediately restored. Sixteen persons were baptized near the Maumee River.”
563. “While no evidence yet suggests that Mormon converts were scheduled to sail to America on board the new queen of the White Star line [the Titanic], six young returning missionaries—Alma Sonne, George B. Chambers, Willard Richards, John R. Sayer, F. A. Dahle, and L. J. Shurtliff—all had been booked passage on the Titanic by Elder Sonne himself, who had served as emigration clerk in Liverpool for much of his mission. What a greater farewell for successful missionaries than to send them home on the world’s greatest ship! The Church’s British newspaper, the Millennial Star, saluted Elder Sonne for his fine work as emigration agent, wishing him “God speed and marked success in that wider field of endeavor to which the great ocean liner and overland express will swiftly carry him.”
“Then a strange thing happened,” as Sonne’s biographer reports. “[Elder] Fred Dahle . . . sent a wire a day or two before their scheduled departure stating that he had been delayed and could not arrive by the 12th. He suggested that the other elders go on without him. Alma, for some inexplicable reason, cancelled their bookings on the Titanic and rebooked them on the Mauretania leaving a day later. ‘I did this on my own responsibility,’ he later said, ‘and the others in the group manifested a little resentment because they were not sailing on the Titanic.’”
It’s interesting that prior to their missions Alma Sonne was the boyhood friend of the less active Fred Dahle. When Alma received his call to serve in England, he convinced Fred to serve a mission also. Ironically, Fred was called to serve in the same mission as Elder Sonne. At the conclusion of their missions, as the two Elders discovered the fate of the Titanic, Elder Sonne thanked Elder Dahle for saving his life, to which Fred responded, “No, I should thank you, for it was you who saved my life by convincing me to serve this mission.” It’s incredible to realize that not only were the six elders schedule to board the Titanic, but the Clifford family as well. The Clifford’s were on their way to America where Brother Clifford had just recently been hired to act as the caretaker and farmer to the Joseph Smith Memorial and farm in Sharon, Vermont. This LDS family of eleven from England never crossed the Atlantic on the doomed ship. As the day of departure neared, Brother Clifford felt extremely uneasy about the trip and canceled their boarding passes, obtaining passage a year later on another ship. Even though 17 LDS lives were saved from the disaster, unfortunately one Latter-day Saint, Irene C. Corbett did go down with the Titanic. She had been studying in London and decided to return to Utah. The sad side to the story is, she had heard there would be elders traveling on the Titanic and so she too purchased passage knowing that with elders on board that she would be safer. Unfortunately, she didn’t know about the elders change in plans.
Dan Barker, Unique Stories and Facts From LDS History, (Cedar Fort Inc.: Springville, Utah, 2010), 91.
“There are unsubstantiated rumors that Mormon missionaries were on board the Carpathia, the ship that saved several hundred Titanic passengers in lifeboats. Elder James Hamilton Martin was on board the Virginian en route from Halifax to Liverpool when it changed directions to help with rescue efforts if necessary. He wrote: “Shortly after 9 a.m. [April 15] we reached the iceberg that had caused the sinking of the largest steamship afloat and the death of 1,630 people and for six hours traveled along side of it. It was no more and no less than a mountain of ice. At 11 a.m. we passed the place where the Titanic went down.”
“A few Latter-day Saints interpreted the sinking as evidence of a long-held doctrine that Satan, the destroyer, rides upon the waters. An early 1831 revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith had stated: “There are many dangers upon the waters, and more especially hereafter; for I, the Lord, have decreed in mine anger many destructions upon the waters; . . . nevertheless all flesh is in mine hand, and he that is faithful among you shall not perish by the waters (D&C 61:4–6).” In an article titled “Dangers Upon the Deep,” Elder Orson Whitney wrote:
“One frightful feature of the unparalleled struggle that ended with the signing of the armistice (November 11, 1918), was the havoc wrought by the German U-boats, otherwise known as submarines. There had been, before the coming of the U-boat, dreadful dangers upon the waters, as the fate of the ill-starred Titanic—ripped open by an iceberg—testifies. But the submarine, the assassin of the Lusitania, multiplied those dangers a hundredfold. Did the proud world know that a prophet of God had foreseen these fearful happenings, and had sounded a warning of their approach?”
564. In July of 1831, Reynolds Cahoon and Samuel Smith stopped to preach in the town of Paris, Illinois. Their preaching attracts William McLellin, the town’s school teacher, who wrote the following, “When I heard it, I made up my mind that there was more in it than any religion I had ever before heard advocated.”
David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock also stopped to preach in Paris. Listening to Harvey Whitlock, William writes, “I never heard such preaching in all my life. The glory of God seemed to encircle the man, and the wisdom of God to be displayed in his discourse.”
Regardless that he had 30 students to teach, William joins David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock on their journey to Independence. His purpose in traveling with the pair was to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith. On August 3rd, after William McLellin bought the last Book of Mormon from Harvey and David, he pursues the journey on his own. William states his reasoning, “My object was to get to Independence before them and see if the testimony of the other witnesses would agree with theirs.”
565. On a visit to one of her nieces in the Pontiac area, Lucy Mack Smith had an opportunity of meeting and conversing with her niece’s minister, a Mr. Ruggles. Upon meeting the prophet’s mother, Mr. Ruggles extends his hand in friendship, but yet at the same time rudely states, “And you are the mother of that poor, silly, foolish boy, Joe Smith, who pretended to translate the Book of Mormon.” When Lucy asked why he would say such things about her son he answers, “Because, that he should imagine he was going to break down all the churches with the simple Mormon book.” Lucy Smith leaves him with a prophecy that her son will send a minister to his congregation, and that this elder will succeed in converting a 1/3 of his congregation including the very deacon.
As mentioned, Joseph sent Jared Carter who baptized 70 of Mr. Ruggles Presbyterian flock, including Samuel Bent, the deacon of the church.
Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor ed., The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996), 292-294.
“My eldest son was born in Nauvoo, November 22nd, 1841; when the babe was three days old a little incident occurred which I shall mention. The walls of the Nauvoo Temple were about three feet above the foundation. The Church was in need of help to assist in raising the Temple walls. I belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; my husband did not belong to the Church at that time. I wished to help on the Temple, but did not like to ask my husband (who owned considerable property) to help for my sake. My husband came to my bedside, and as he was admiring our three days’ old darling, I said, “What is the boy worth?” He replied, “O, I don’t know, he is worth a great deal.” I said, “Is he worth a thousand dollars?” The reply was “Yes, more than that if he lives and does well.” I said, “Half of him is mine, is it not?” “Yes, I suppose so." “Then I have something to help on the Temple.” He said pleasantly, “You have?” “Yes, and I think of turning my share right in as tithing.” “Well, I’ll have to see about that.” Soon after the above conversation Mr. Kimball met the Prophet Joseph Smith, President of the Church, and said, “Sarah has got a little the advantage of me this time, she proposes to turn out the boy as Church property.” President Smith seemed pleased with the joke, and said, “I accept all such donations, and from this day the boy shall stand recorded, Church property.” Then turning to Willard Richards, his secretary, he said, “Make a record of this, and you are my witness.” Joseph Smith then said, “Major, (Mr. Kimball was major in the Nauvoo Legion) you now have the privilege of paying $500 and retaining possession, or receiving $600 and giving possession.” Mr. Kimball asked if city property was good currency. President Smith replied that it was. Then said Mr. Kimball, “How will that reserve block north of the Temple suit?” President Smith replied, “It is just what we want.” The deed was soon made out and transferred in due form. President Smith said to me, “You have consecrated your first born son, for this you are blessed of the Lord. I bless you in the name of the Lord God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. And I seal upon you all the blessings that pertain to the faithful. Your name shall be handed down in honorable remembrance from generation to generation.
“I examined the book, the people, the preachers, and the old scripture and from the evidences which I had before me I was bound to believe the Book of Mormon to be a divine revelation and the people to be Christians. Consequently, I joined them.
“And on the 24th [August 1831] I was ordained an Elder in The Church of Christ and on the 25th I started to the east with brother Hyrum Smith, a brother to Joseph. On the 28th I preached my first discourse to the world. I spoke one hour and 1/2 which astonished the multitude! Some said I had been a preacher. Some said a lawyer etc, etc. But the secret was God assisted me by His spirit and it reached their hearts. Thence we traveled on proclaiming by the way until we got to Jacksonville, Ill. (in court term) on Friday and gave an appointment to preach the next day in the court house. We attended the house though it was largely full of judges, lawyers, doctors, priests and people. I think about 500 [attended]. I spoke 3 hours and when done I cannot describe the joy of some, the consternation of others and the anger of others. . .
"We [William McLellin and Hyrum Smith] reached Kirtland [from Independence] on the 18th day of October, and on the 25th, I attended a general conference in the town of Orange, about 20 miles distant. Here I first and formed an acquaintance with Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, John Whitmer, etc. About 40 ministers attended the conference. During its sittings, I, with nine others, was pointed out again by the spirit of revelation, as having the gifts and callings to the office of High Priest, and was ordained thereunto under the hands of Pres. Oliver Cowdery. Following this conference I went home with the Prophet, and on Saturday, the 29th, I received through him, and wrote from his mouth a revelation concerning myself [Doctrine and Covenants 66]. I had expected and believed that when I saw Brother Joseph, I should receive one: and I went before the Lord in secret, and on my knees asked him to reveal the answer to five questions through his Prophet, and that too without his having any knowledge of my having made such request. I now testify in the fear of God, that every question which I had thus lodged in the ears of the Lord of Sabbath, were answered to my full and entire satisfaction. I desired it for a testimony of Joseph's inspiration. And I to this day consider it to me an evidence which I cannot refute." (William McLellin, Ensign of Liberty 1, 1848, 61)
It’s sad, but with time William would apostatize from the Church. On May 11, 1838 he would appear before a Bishop’s court and excommunicated. He played an active roll in the mob persecution of the Saints and robbed Joseph’s house of a number of items while the prophet was confined to the Richmond Jail. It was while Joseph was in jail that William approached the Sheriff and asked if he could flog (whip or beat with a stick) the prophet. The Sheriff was fine with this only if Joseph could fight back. The Sheriff told Joseph of the arrangement and Joseph agreed just so long as he could fight without his irons on. William then refused to fight under these terms, not unless William could have a club. Joseph was still fine with the arrangement, however the Sheriff would not let the two of them fight under such unfair terms.
“I saw one of these Apostles [Lyman Johnson] in the Kirtland Temple, while the Sacrament was being passed, stand in the aisle and curse the Prophet of God to his face while he was in the stand, and when the bread was passed he reached out his hand for a piece of bread and flung it into his mouth like a mad dog. He turned as black in the face almost as an African with rage and with the power of the devil. What did he do? He ate and drank damnation to himself. He did not hang himself; but he did go and drown himself, and the river went over his body while his spirit was cast into the pit, where he ceased to have the power to curse either God or His Prophet in time or in eternity.”
Brethren - I will call you brethren - I will tell you the truth. If I could believe Mormonism - it is not a matter whether it is true or not - but if I could believe Mormonism as I did when I traveled with you and preached, if I possessed the world I would give it. I would give anything. I would suffer my right hand to be cut off, if I could believe it again. Then I was full of joy and gladness. My dreams were pleasant. When I awoke in the morning, my spirit was cheerful. I was happy by day and by night, full of peace and joy and thanksgiving. But now it is darkness, pain, sorrow, misery in the extreme. I have never since seen a happy moment.
569. In the fall of 1831 William McLellin and Samuel Smith were called to serve a mission to the Hiram area. Not yet ready to leave, according to Lucy Mack Smith, Samuel heard a voice in the middle of the night saying to him, “Samuel, arise immediately and go forth on the mission which thou wast commanded to take to Hiram.” He arose and wasted little time gathering some clothes and leaving without eating. It was at Hiram that Samuel met up with William McLellin and together the two of them preached in the surrounding area. Shortly after their arrival, they were summoned by a young lady who had been sick for a number of months and had prayed to the Lord that Mormon missionaries be sent to her home to lay their hands upon her head and heal her. This Samuel did for her. Not only was the young lady healed, but she was also baptized into the Church.
Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor ed., The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), 294.
570. The Lord states in Doctrine and Covenants verse 7, “Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest.”
Sir—As you have publicly declared the book of Mormon to be an imposition, and I believing it to be otherwise, at present, deeming it my privilege to know it as well as you, do hereby present a request to you to meet me in the township of Hiram, Portage county, at such time and place as may be agreed upon hereafter, to investigate this subject, before the public; that if I am deluded in receiving this book as a revelation from God, I may be corrected, and the public relieved from anxiety. Your acceptance or rejection of this request, is desired through the medium of the Ohio Star.
Interestingly, Ezra did not show up for the debate. This may have been a wise choice though, as Sidney was known as an eloquent orator.
Joseph Smith states in History of the Church 1:241 that Sidney’s and his mission “did much towards allaying the excited feelings which were growing out of the scandalous letters then being published.”
571. It’s interesting that Elizabeth Ann joined the Church a number of month’s prior to Newell accepting the gospel. She joined in November of 1830, at the time the four elders on the Lamanite mission came through the Kirtland area. Five years after Newell’s baptism, his parents also joined the Church. Not everyone in the Whitney immediate family established a tie with the Church. Newell had a younger brother, Samuel that idolized him. In fact Samuel over saw the finances of the Whitney store. Samuel constantly tried to persuade Newell to leave the Church, and completely stunned when Bishop Whitney consecrated all he had to the church, the store included. Samuel Whitney was certain that his brother was defrauded out of his business. Years later when Newell was living in Nauvoo, Samuel came to visit him. He couldn’t get over the fact that many of the Saints lived in humble circumstances and yet they had a magnificent temple. Regardless of their differences, the two men respected and loved each other. Samuel mourned over Newell’s financial losses, while Newell mourned over his brother’s constant rejection of the gospel.
572. At a BYU speech in 1984, Bruce R. McConkie answers the question why we as Latter-day Saints use the King James Version of the Bible. He states:
“As far as the Bibles of the world are concerned, the King James Version is so far ahead of all others that there is little comparison. . . It is the Bible that came into being to prepare the way for the translation of the Book of Mormon and to set a literary pattern and standard for the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. It is the official Bible of the Church.”
In the same speech Elder McConkie explains the importance of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible:
“The Joseph Smith Translation, or Inspired Version, is a thousand times over the best Bible now existing on earth. It contains all that the King James Version does, plus pages of additions and corrections and an occasional deletion. It was made by the spirit of revelation, and the changes and additions are the equivalent of the revealed word in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. . .
“. . . Reference to this section and to the footnotes themselves will give anyone who has spiritual insight a deep appreciation of the revelatory work of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is one of the great evidences of his prophetic call.”
573. Philo Dibble, an early Kirtland convert (October 1830), was present at the time Section 76 was received. He gives the following account of the events of this vision as they transpired in the revelation room at the home of John Johnson:
“The vision which is recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was given at the house of "Father Johnson," in Hiram, Ohio, and during the time that Joseph and Sidney were in the spirit and saw the heavens open, there were other men in the room, perhaps twelve, among whom I was one during a part of the time-- probably two-thirds of the time,--I saw the glory and felt the power, but did not see the vision.
“The events and conversation, while they were seeing what is written (and many things were seen and related that are not written,) I will relate as minutely as is necessary.
“Joseph would, at intervals, say: ‘What do I see?’ as one might say while looking out the window and beholding what all in the room could not see. Then he would relate what he had seen or what he was looking at. Then Sidney replied, ‘I see the same.’ Presently Sidney would say ‘what do I see?’ and would repeat what he had seen or was seeing, and Joseph would reply, ‘I see the same.’
“This manner of conversation was repeated at short intervals to the end of the vision, and during the whole time not a word was spoken by any other person. Not a sound nor motion made by anyone but Joseph and Sidney, and it seemed to me that they never moved a joint or limb during the time I was there, which I think was over an hour, and to the end of the vision.
“Joseph sat firmly and calmly all the time in the midst of a magnificent glory, but Sidney sat limp and pale, apparently as limber as a rag, observing which, Joseph remarked, smilingly, ‘Sidney is not used to it as I am.’”
574. Elder Tyler Daniels records in his journal the prophets love of the Bible and the ease with which he was able to explain the Bible’s teachings to others:
“During his short stay he preached at my father's residence, an humble log cabin. He read the 3rd chapter of John, and explained much of it, making it so plain that a child could not help understanding it, if he paid attention. I recollect distinctly the substance of his remarks on the 3rd verse—‘Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. . .’
“. . . His discourse was, I think, entirely on the first principles of the gospel, and he quoted many passages of scripture, but I do not recollect any other so clearly defined as those I have quoted. I have given his exact language, as near as I can recollect it, after a lapse of over fifty years--nearly sixty years. The joy that filled my juvenile soul no one can realize except those who have had a foretaste of heavenly things. It seemed as though the gates of heaven were opened and a living stream flowed directly to the holy man of God. It also filled the house where we were sitting. To this day, when I think of it, which is quite often, and always when I hear those scriptures referred to, a thrill of joy and of testimony permeates the inmost recesses of my soul.
575. If your Doctrine and Covenants was printed earlier than the 1981 edition, you will notice in this Section that code names or pseudonyms are used to replace common names of some of the Church leaders and even places.
The reasoning behind the use of pseudonyms was to protect those individuals named in the revelation. Persecution was running high and the Lord saw the need to protect his servants. Orson Hyde comments on the use of the pseudonyms:
“The law of Enoch is so named in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, but in other words, it is the law given by Joseph Smith, Jr. The word Enoch did not exist in the original copy; neither did some other names. The names that were incorporated when it was printed, did not exist there when the manuscript revelations were given, for I saw them myself. Some of them I copied. And when the Lord was about to have the Book of Covenants given to the world it was thought wisdom, in consequence of the persecutions of our enemies in Kirtland and some of the regions around, that some of the names should be changed, and Joseph was called Baurak Ale, which was a Hebrew word; meaning God bless you. He was also called Gazelam, being a person to whom the Lord had given the Urim and Thummim. He was also called Enoch. Sidney Rigdon was called Baneemy. And the revelation where it read so many dollars into the treasury was changed to talents . And the City of New York was changed to Cainhannoch.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Journal of Discourses (Liverpool, England: Latter-day Saint Book Depot, 1874), 16:156.
The following is a listing of the pseudonyms used in the Doctrine and Covenants and the corresponding individual, place, or thing that the pseudonym is attached to in addition to the section number where it is found in the Doctrine and Covenants, also the interpretation of the Hebrew name.