Further Light Respecting the Sacrament—The Prophet’s Removal to Fayette.
Instructions on the Sacrament.
Early in the month of August Newel Knight and his wife paid us a visit at my place in Harmony, Pennsylvania; and as neither his wife nor mine had been as yet confirmed, it was proposed that we should confirm them, and partake together of the Sacrament, before he and his wife should leave us. In order to prepare for this I set out to procure some wine for the occasion, but had gone only a short distance when I was met by a heavenly messenger, and received the following revelation, the first four paragraphs of which were written at this time, and the remainder in the September following:
Revelation given at Harmony, Pennsylvania, August, 1830. 1
1. Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.
2. For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory—remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.
3. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies;
4. Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.
5. Behold, this is wisdom in me: wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim;
6. And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days;
7. And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias;
8. Which John I have sent unto you, my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first Priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron;
9. And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse;
10. And also with Joseph and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, by whom the promises remain;
11. And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days;
12. And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them;
13. Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth;
14. And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world.
15. Wherefore, lift up your heart and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.
16. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;
17. Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;
18. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen.
A Confirmation Meeting.
In obedience to the above commandment, we prepared some wine of our own making, and held our meeting, consisting only of five, viz., Newel Knight and his wife, myself and my wife, and John Whitmer. We partook together of the Sacrament, after which we confirmed these two sisters into the Church, and spent the evening in a glorious manner. The Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon us, we praise the Lord God, and rejoiced exceedingly.
The Prophet’s Father-in-law Embittered.
About this time a spirit of persecution began again to manifest itself against us in the neighborhood where I now resided, which was commenced by a man of the Methodist persuasion, who professed to be a minister of God. This man had learned that my father-in-law and his family had promised us protection, and were friendly, and inquiring into the work; and knowing that if he could get him turned against me, my friends in that place would be but few, he visited my father-in-law, and told him falsehoods concerning me of the most shameful nature, which turned the old gentleman and his family so much against us, that they would no longer promise us protection nor believe our doctrines. 2
The Eyes of Enemies Blinded Through Faith.
Towards the latter end of August, in company with John and David Whitmer, and my brother Hyrum Smith, I visited the Church at Colesville, New York. Well knowing the determined hostility of our enemies in that quarter, and also knowing that it was our duty to visit the Church, we had called upon our Heavenly Father, in mighty prayer, that He would grant us an opportunity of meeting with them, that he would blind the eyes of our enemies, so that they would not know us, and that we might on this occasion return unmolested. Our prayers were not in vain, for when within a little distance of Mr. Knight’s place, we encountered a large company at work upon the public road, amongst whom were several of our most bitter enemies. They looked earnest at us, but not knowing us, we passed on without interruption. That evening we assembled the Church, and confirmed them, partook of the Sacrament, and held a happy meeting, having much reason to rejoice in the God of our salvation, and sing hosannas to His holy name. Next morning we set out on our return home, and although our enemies had offered a reward of five dollars to any one who would give them information of our arrival, yet did we get out of the neighborhood, without the least annoyance, and arrived home in safety. Some few days afterwards, however, Newel Knight came to my place, and from him we learned that, very shortly after our departure, the mob came to know of our having been there, when they immediately collected together, and threatened the brethren, and very much annoyed them during all that day.
The Prophet Finds an Asylum in Fayette.
Meantime, Brother Knight had come with his wagon, prepared to move my family to Fayette, New York. Mr. Whitmer, having heard of the persecutions against us at Harmony, Pennsylvania, had invited us to go and live with him; and during the last week in August we arrived at Fayette, amidst the congratulations of our brethren and friends.
Spurious Revelations Through Hiram Page.
To our great grief, however, we soon found that Satan had been lying in wait to deceive, and seeking whom he might devour. Brother Hiram Page had in his possession a certain stone, by which he had obtained certain “revelations” concerning the upbuilding of Zion, the order of the Church, etc., all of which were entirely at variance with the order of God’s house, as laid down in the New Testament, as well as in our late revelations. As a conference meeting had been appointed for the 26th 3 day of September, I thought it wisdom not to do much more than to converse with the brethren on the subject, until the conference should meet. Finding, however, that many, especially the Whitmer family and Oliver Cowdery, were believing much in the things set forth by this stone, we thought best to inquire of the Lord concerning so important a matter; and before conference convened, we received the following:
Revelation to Oliver Cowdery, given at Fayette, New York, September, 1830. 4
1. Behold, I say unto thee, Oliver, that it shall be given unto thee, that thou shalt be heard by the church in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the Comforter, concerning the revelations and commandments which I have given.
2. But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this Church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.
3. And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the Church.
4. And if thou art led at any time by the comforter to speak or teach or at all times by the way of commandment unto the Church, thou mayest do it.
5. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom;
6. And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church;
7. For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.
8. And now, behold, I my unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings, thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.
9. And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city of Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.
10. Thou shalt not leave this place until after the conference; and my servant Joseph shall be appointed to preside over the conference by the voice of it, and what he saith to thee thou shalt tell.
11. And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me, and that Satan deceiveth him;
12. For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants.
13. For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.
14. And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites.
15. And it shall be given thee from the time thou shalt go, until the time thou shalt return, what thou shalt do.
16. And thou must open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing. Amen.
Revelation, given in the presence of Six Elders, in Fayette, New York, September, 1830. 5
1. Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;
2. Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer.
3. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that at this time your sins are forgiven you, therefore ye receive these things; but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you.
4. Verily, I say unto you that ye are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel with the sound of rejoicing, as with the voice of a trump.
5. Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom.
6. And, as it is written—Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, being united in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive.
7. And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;
8. Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.
9. For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth;
10. For the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke, so shall it come to pass;
11. For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.
12. And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, by the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments and none else.
13. For a trump shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai, and all the earth shall quake, and they shall come forth—yea, even the dead which died in me, to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am, to be with me, that we may be one.
14. But, behold, I say unto you that before this great day shall come the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and there shall be greater signs in heaven above, and in the earth beneath;
15. And there shall be weeping and wailing among the hosts of men;
16. And there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.
17. And it shall come to pass because of the wickedness of the world, that I will take vengeance upon the wicked, for they will not repent; for the cup of mine indignation is full; for behold, my blood shall not clean them if they hear me not.
18. Wherefore, I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them;
19. And their tongues shall be staid that they shall not utter against me; and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets;
20. And it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them up.
21. And the great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet, who spoke of these things, which have not come to pass but surely must, as I live, for abominations shall not reign.
22. And again, verily, verily, I say unto you that when the thousand years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season;
23. And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth,
24. For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea;
25. And not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand.
26. But, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth—yea, even all.
27. And the righteous shall be gathered on my right hand unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father;
28. Wherefore I will say unto them—Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
29. And now, behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from mine own mouth that they should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power.
30. But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men: and as the words have gone forth out of my mouth, even so shall they be fulfilled, that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my spirit.
31. For by the power of my spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal—
32. Firstly spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work—
33. Speaking unto you that you may naturally understand; but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you that ye may understand, because ye have asked it of me and are agreed.
34. Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.
35. Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.
36. And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;
37. And they were thrust down, and then came the devil and his angels;
38. And, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell.
39. And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet—
40. Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.
41. Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed.
42. But, behold, I say unto you that I, the Lord God gave unto Adam and unto his seed that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.
43. And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;
44. And they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;
45. For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey.
46. But, behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten:
47. Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;
48. For it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers.
49. And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent?
50. And he that hath no understanding, it remaineth in me to do according as it is written. And now I declare no more unto you at this time. Amen.
The Conference of September 26th.
At length our conference assembled. The subject of the stone previously mentioned was discussed, and after considerable investigation, Brother Page, as well as the whole Church who were present, renounced the said stone, and all things connected therewith, much to our mutual satisfaction and happiness. We now partook of the Sacrament, confirmed and ordained many, and attended to a great variety of Church business on the first and the two following days of the conference, during which time we had much of the power of God manifested amongst us; the Holy Ghost came upon us, and filled us with joy unspeakable; and peace, and faith, and hope, and charity abounded in our midst.
Before we separated we received the following:
Revelation to David Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jun., and John Whitmer, given September, 1830. 6
1. Behold, I say unto you, David, that you have feared man and have not relied on me for strength as you ought.
2. But your mind has been on the things of the earth more than on the things of me, your Maker, and the ministry whereunto you have been called; and you have not given heed unto my Spirit, and to those who were set over you, but have been persuaded by those whom I have not commanded.
3. Wherefore, you are left to inquire for yourself at my hand, and ponder upon the things which you have received.
4. And your home shall be at your father’s house until I give unto you further commandments. And you shall attend to the ministry in the church, and before the world, and in the regions round about. Amen.
5. Behold, I say unto you, Peter, that you shall take your journey with your brother Oliver; for the time has come that it is expedient in me that you shall open your mouth to declare my gospel; therefore, fear not, but give heed unto the words and advice of your brother, which he shall give you.
6. And be you afflicted in all his afflictions, ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer and faith, for his and your deliverance; for I have given unto him power to build up my church among the Lamanites;
7. And none have I appointed to be his counselor over him in the church concerning church matters, except it is his brother, Joseph Smith, Jun.
8. Wherefore, give heed unto these things and be diligent in keeping my commandments, and you shall be blessed unto eternal life. Amen.
9. Behold, I say unto you, my servant John, that thou shalt commence from this time forth to proclaim my gospel, as with the voice of a trump.
10. And your labor shall be at your brother Philip Burroughs’, and in that region round about, yea, wherever you can be heard, until I command you to go from hence.
11. And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen.
Revelation to Thomas B. Marsh, Given September, 1830. 7
1. Thomas, my son, blessed are you because of your faith in my work.
2. Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family; nevertheless, I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church.
3. Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed, and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation.
4. You shall declare the things which have been revealed to my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun. You shall begin to preach from this time forth, yea, to reap in the field which is white already to be burned.
5. Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.
6. Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word and I will prepare a place for them.
7. Yea, I will open the hearts of the people, and they will receive you. And I will establish a church by your hand;
8. And you shall strengthen them and prepare them against the time when they shall be gathered.
9. Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.
10. Behold, I say unto you that you shall be a physician unto the church, but not unto the world, for they will not receive you.
11. Go your way withersoever I will, and it shall be given you by the Comforter what you shall do and whither you shall go.
12. Pray always, lest you enter into temptation and lose your reward.
13. Be faithful unto the end, and lo, I am with you. These words are not of man nor of men, but of me, even Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, by the will of the Father. Amen. 8
Satisfactory Results of the Conference.
During this conference, which continued three days, the utmost harmony prevailed, and all things were settled satisfactorily to all present, and a desire was manifested by all the Saints to go forward and labor with all their powers to spread the great and glorious principles of truth, which had been revealed by our Heavenly Father. A number were baptized during the conference, and the word of the Lord spread and prevailed.
Mission to the Lamanites.
At this time a great desire was manifested by several of the Elders respecting the remnants of the house of Joseph, the Lamanites, residing in the west—knowing 9 that the purposes of God were great respecting that people, and hoping that the time had come when the promises of the Almighty in regard to them were about to be accomplished, and that they would receive the Gospel, and enjoy its blessings. The desire being so great, it was agreed that we should inquire of the Lord respecting the propriety of sending some of the Elders 10 among them, which we accordingly did, and received the following:
Revelation to Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson, given October, 1830. 11
1. And now concerning my servant Parley P. Pratt 12 behold, I say unto him that as I live I will that he shall declare my gospel and learn of me, and be meek and lowly of heart.
2. And that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants Older Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.
3. 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.
4. And they shall give heed to that which is written, and pretend to no other revelation, and they shall pray always that I may unfold the same to their understanding.
5. And they shall give heed unto these words and trifle not, and I will bless them. Amen.
Departure of the Lamanite Mission; Arrival at Kirtland.
Immediately on receiving this revelation, preparations were made for the journey of the brethren therein designated, to the borders of the Lamanites, and a copy of the revelation was given them. They bade adieu to their brethren and friends, and commenced their journey, preaching by the way, and leaving a sealing testimony behind them, lifting up their voice like a trump in the different villages through which they passed. 13 They continued their journey until they came to Kirtland, Ohio, where they tarried some time, there being quite a number in that place and vicinity who believed their testimony, and came forward and obeyed the Gospel. Among the number was Mr. Sidney Rigdon, 14 and a large portion of the church over which he presided.
Previous Relations of Pratt and Rigdon.
Previous to this, Elder Parley P. Pratt had been a preacher in the same church with Mr. Rigdon, and resided in the town of Amherst, Loraine county, in Ohio, and had been sent into the state of New York on a mission, where he became acquainted with the circumstances of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and was introduced to Joseph Smith, Jun., and other members of the Church. The belief that there were many in the church with which he had formerly been united, who were honest seekers after truth, induced Elder Pratt; while on his journey to the west, to call upon his friends, and make known the great things which the Lord had brought to pass.
Presentation of the Book of Mormon to Sidney Rigdon.
The first house at which they called in the vicinity of Kirtland, was Mr. Rigdon’s, and after the usual salutations, they presented him with the Book of Mormon, stating that it was a revelation from God. This being the first time he had ever heard of, or seen, the Book of Mormon, 15 he felt very much surprised at the assertion, and replied that he had the Bible which he believed was a revelation from God, and with which he pretended to have some acquaintance; but with respect of the book they had presented him, he must say that he had considerable doubt. Upon this, they expressed a desire to investigate the subject, and argue the matter. But he replied, “No, young gentleman, you must not argue with me on the subject; but I will read your book, and see what claims it has upon my faith, and will endeavor to ascertain whether it be a revelation from God or not.”
Public Ministry at Mentor.
After some further conversation they expressed a desire to lay the subject before the people, and requested the privilege of preaching in Mr. Rigdon’s chapel, to which he readily consented. The appointment was accordingly published, and a large and respectable congregation assembled. Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt severally addressed the meeting. At the conclusion, Mr. Rigdon arose, and stated to the congregation that the information they had that evening received was of an extraordinary character, and certainly demanded their most serious consideration; and as the Apostle advised his brethren to “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good,” so he would exhort his brethren to do likewise, and give the matter a careful investigation, and not turn against it without being fully convinced of its being an imposition, lest they should, possibly, resist the truth.
The Work Opened at Kirtland.
A few miles from Mr. Rigdon’s home in Mentor, at the town of Kirtland, lived a number of the members of his church. They lived together and had all things common—from which circumstance has risen the idea that this was the case with the Church of Jesus Christ. To that place the Elders immediately repaired, and proclaimed the Gospel unto them, with considerable success; for their testimony was received by many of the people, and seventeen came forward in obedience to the Gospel.
The Conversion of Sidney Rigdon.
While thus engaged, they visited Mr. Rigdon occasionally, and found him very earnestly reading the Book of Mormon,—praying to the Lord for direction, and meditating on the things he heard and read; and after a fortnight from the time the book was put into his hands, he was fully convinced of the truth of the work, by a revelation from Jesus Christ, which was made known to him in a remarkable manner, so that he could exclaim “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto me, but my Father which is in heaven.” Accordingly he and his wife were both baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ; and, together with those who had been previously admitted to baptism, made a little branch of the Church, in this section of Ohio, of about twenty members.
This much accomplished, the brethren bound for the borders of the Lamanites, bade an affectionate farewell to the Saints in Kirtland and vicinity; and, after adding one of their new converts to their number—Dr. Frederick G. Williams 16—they went on their way rejoicing.
Chapter 11 – Notes
1. D&C 27.
2. Mr. Hale, the Prophet’s father-in-law, retained the bitterness then engendered in his mind; and some years later—namely, in 1834—made an affidavit concerning the character of Joseph the Prophet, which has been very generally quoted in anti-“Mormon” works.
3. In the manuscript of the Prophet Joseph’s History this conference is said to have been appointed for the “first day of September;” but in the Far West Record, a manuscript record kept by the clerks of the High Council in Missouri—and to which reference has before been made—are the minutes of the 9th of June conference (1830), which state that that conference adjourned to meet again on the 26th of September. The record also contains the minutes of the above conference bearing the date of September 26th. In addition to these reasons for changing the date in the text is the fact that immediately, or at least very soon after the close of the conference, a revelation was sought and obtained concerning the mission to the Lamanites, to which, even previous to the conference, Oliver Cowdery had been appointed (D&C 28:8-10). The said revelation bears the date of “October, 1830.” (D&C 32), which would scarcely be the case if the conference had been held on the first, rather than near the close of September, as there is every reason to believe from the record that this revelation was received immediately after the conference closed. Moreover, the 26th of September, 1830, came on Sunday; whereas the first of September came on Wednesday, and as the conference lasted but three days, the brethren would scarcely arrange such a gathering without appointing it for such days as would include a Sunday.
4. D&C 28.
5. D&C 29.
6. D&C 30.
7. D&C 31.
8. Thomas Baldwin Marsh, to whom the foregoing revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph, was born in Massachusetts, November 1, 1799, and after his marriage to Elizabeth Godkin in 1820, he went into the grocery business in New York, afterwards engaging in a type foundry in Boston. Here he joined the Methodist church, but on comparing its principles with the Scripture, and failing to make them correspond, he withdrew from all sects, but expected and indeed predicted the rise of a new church which should have the truth in its purity. He was moved by the Spirit to make a journey west, during which he heard of the Book of Mormon. He met Martin Harris at the office where it was being printed, and secured proof sheets of the first sixteen pages. He later met Oliver Cowdery, and remained with him two days, receiving from him full information as to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Returning to his home near Boston, he kept up a correspondence with the Prophet and Oliver for about a year; and upon learning of the organization of the Church, he moved to Palmyra in September, 1830, and was baptized by David Whitmer, and a few days later was ordained an Elder by Oliver Cowdery.
10. The consideration of the “propriety” of sending Elders among the Lamanites here referred to was doubtless restricted to the propriety of increasing the number of Elders to go among them; for before the conference convened the propriety of sending EIders to the Lamanites had been settled by the word of the Lord. In a revelation receive before the conference of September 26th, Oliver Cowdery was appointed to go on a mission to the Lamanites, though instructed not to leave Fayette until after the conference. (See p. 111; also D&C 28:8-10.) And before the conference adjourned another revelation was received in which Peter Whitmer, Jun., was appointed to accompany Oliver Cowdery on his mission. (See p. 116; and D&C 30:5-6.) Hence these inquiries after the conference concerning the “propriety” of sending Elders among the Lamanites, I repeat, must have had reference merely to the propriety of increasing the number that should go. It will be observed also that the revelation which follows in the text merely appoints Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson to accompany Elders Cowdery and Whitmer.
11. D&C 32.
12. Parley Parker Pratt was born on the 12th day of April, 1807, in Burlington, Otsego county, state of New York. He was the third son of Jared and Charity Pratt. Jared was the son of Obediah and Jemima Pratt; Obediah was the son of Christopher and Sarah Pratt; Christopher was the son of William and Hannah Pratt; William was the son of Joseph Pratt, Joseph was the son of Lieutenant William and Elizabeth Pratt, who were found among the first settlers of Hartford, Connecticut, in the year 1639.
This William Pratt was a member of the legislature for some twenty-five or thirty sessions; and the general court gave him one hundred acres of land in Saybrook, Connecticut, for services performed as lieutenant in the Pequot war; he was one of the judges of the first court in New London county. Parley P. Pratt is a lineal descendant, of the seventh generation, from that distinguished pilgrim and humble pioneer to the new world.
Parley P. Pratt was reared to hard work on a farm and though his opportunities for acquiring an education were extremely limited, he was brought up in the strictest school of morals. Even in early youth he gave evidence of a profoundly religious nature, and while yet in his teens became identified with the Baptist church. In 1826 he left New York state and settled some thirty miles west of the town of Cleveland, in the state of Ohio, and laid the foundation of a wilderness home. The next year, 1827, he returned to Canaan, Columbia county, New York,—the county where much of his boyhood was spent, the home, too, of his parents—and there married Thankful Halsey, on the 9th of September, 1827. The same month the newly married couple returned to the wilderness home west of Cleveland. About eighteen months later Sidney Rigdon, who was connected with Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and others in that aggressive reform movement among the Christian sects, which resulted in the founding of the sect of the “Disciples” or “Campbellites,” came into Mr. Pratt’s neighborhood preaching the doctrines of faith, repentance and baptism. As his doctrine more nearly conformed to the scriptures than any other Mr. Pratt had heard, he accepted Sydney Rigdon’s teachings, joined the “Disciples,” and became a minister in that church. He determined to take up the ministry as his life’s labor, sold his possessions and started first of all to call upon his relatives in New York. En route, however, he was moved upon by the spirit to stop off at Newark, in New York, while his wife continued her journey to her father’s home. At Newark, Mr. Pratt first heard of and saw the Book of Mormon, and, without delay, hastened to Palmyra to investigate the story of its coming forth. At the home of the Smiths, near Manchester, he met with Hyrum, brother of the Prophet, and from him learned the particulars of the work. In company with Hyrum Smith he went to Fayette, where he met with Oliver Cowdery; and about the first of September he was baptized by him in Seneca Lake, and straightway was ordained an Elder of the Church. After these events he continued his journey to the home of his kindred in Columbia county, New York, where he baptized his brother Orson, then a youth of nineteen years. He returned to Fayette in time to attend the conference, where he met the Prophet Joseph, and received the appointment to the Lamanite mission as related in the text.
13. After traveling for some days the Lamanite mission called at some Indian encampments near the city of Buffalo, where they spent part of a day instructing them in the knowledge of their forefathers. These Indians were of the Cattaraugus tribe, and kindly received the brethren, who left with certain of their number who could read English, two copies of the Book of Mormon. And then continued their journey westward. (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 49, 61.)
14. Sidney Rigdon was born in Saint Clair township, Allegheny county, state of Pennsylvania, on the 19th of February, A. D. 1793, and was the youngest son of William and Nancy Rigdon, William Rigdon, his father, a native of Hartford county, state of Maryland, was born A. D. 1743, and died May 26th, A. D. 1810. William Rigdon was the son of Thomas Baker and Ann Lucy Rigdon. Thomas Baker Rigdon was a native of the state of Maryland, and was the son of Thomas Baker Rigdon, who came from Great Britain. Ann Lucy Rigdon, grandmother of Sidney Rigdon, was a native of Ireland, and emigrated to the city of Boston, Massachusetts and was there married to Thomas Baker Rigdon. Nancy Rigdon’s mother was a native of Freehold, Monmouth county, New Jersey; she was born March 16th, 1759, and died October 3rd, 1839, and was the eldest daughter of Byrant Gallaher, who was a native of Ireland. Elizabeth Gallaher, mother to the aforesaid Nancy Rigdon, was the second wife of the said Byrant Gallaher, and her maiden name was Reed. She was a native of Monmouth county, New Jersey. Her parents were natives of Scotland.
The early days of Sidney Rigdon’s life were uneventful. His youth and the early years of his manhood were spent at his father’s farm in St. Clair township, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. When Sidney was seventeen years old his father died, but he continued on the same farm with his mother until he was twenty-six. In his twenty-fifth year he joined the “Regular Baptist” society or church. The pastor in charge was the Rev. David Phillips, a clergyman from Wales. In March, 1819, Mr. Rigdon left the farm and made his home with the Rev. Andrew Clark, of Pittsburgh, also a Baptist minister. While residing with Mr. Clark he took out a license and began from that time his career as a minister. In May, 1819, he removed from Pennsylvania to Trumbull county, Ohio. In July of the same year he made his home with Adamson Bentley, a minister of the same faith. While residing at Bentley’s he met Phebe Brook, to whom he was married on the 12th day of June, 1820. She was a native of the state of New Jersey, Bridgetown, Cumberland county, but had previously removed to Trumbull county, Ohio.
Sidney Rigdon continued to preach throughout Trumbull county until November, 1821. Passing through Pittsburgh about that time, for the purpose of visiting his relatives at the old homestead in St. Clair township, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, he was invited to preach to the Baptist society of Pittsburg, which he did the following and several succeeding Sundays. As the congregation had no regular pastor they invited him to take charge and become their regular minister; a “call” which he accepted and removed from Warren in Trumbull county, Ohio, to Pittsburg in February, 1822. Meantime misgivings arose in his mind with reference to some of the doctrines of the church with which he was connected, especially with reference to the fate of unbaptized infants. Finally, after serving his congregation about two years and six months, he gave up his charge in August, 1824, and retired from the ministry. After taking this step he joined his wife’s brother, Richard Brook, in the tanning business. Together they started a small tannery in which Mr. Rigdon worked as a journeyman for some two years. Meantime he had formed the acquaintance of Mr. Alexander Campbell, generally regarded as the founder of the sect of the “Disciples,” or “Campbellites,” and Mr. Walter Scott, a Scotchman by birth, but at this time a resident of Pittsburg and a dissenter from a Scandinavian church with which he had formerly been associated. These three gentlemen often met and discussed the subject of religion, the necessity for a universal reformation among the churches, the abandonment of their creeds, etc. The consultations they held led ultimately to the establishment of the church or sect of the “Disciples.”
Mr. Rigdon left Pittsburg in 1826, and went to Bainbridge, Geaugo county, Ohio, where the people urged him to speak to them. He did so, following in his teachings that line of doctrine which in his consultation with Messrs. Campbell and Scott they had considered were essential to Christian spiritual life, viz., faith in God, repentance of sins, baptism by immersion in water for the remission of sins, and holiness of life—a godly walk and conversation. Mr. Rigdon continued to labor in Bainbridge for about one year, when the people of Mentor, in the same county, but some thirty miles distant from Bainbridge, invited him to reside among them and preach. This he consented to do, and notwithstanding he at first met with some opposition, he prevailed against it and extended his labors into surrounding townships and counties until he had in a number of places a large following. Such were his circumstances and such his labor when the message of “Mormonism” found him—when Parley P. Pratt presented him with the Book of Mormon and its attendant message.
15. The circumstance of Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt and their associates presenting Sidney Rigdon with the Book of Mormon is thus related in the Life of Sidney Rigdon, by his son, John W. Rigdon (Ms. p. 18): “In the fall of 1830, Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Oliver Cowdery, and Peter Whitmer called at the home of Sidney Rigdon, in the town of Mentor, Ohio, and Parley P. Pratt presented to him a bound volume of the Book of Mormon in the presence of his wife and his oldest child, Athalia Rigdon, now Athalia Robinson, who was then a girl ten years old, and now (1900) living in the town of Friendship, Allegheny county, state of New York; and who remembers the transaction as well as any incident of her life. Parley P. Pratt, at the time he handed the book to Sidney Rigdon, said it was a “Revelation from God.”
Again referring to this circumstance near the close of the sketch of his father’s life, John W. Rigdon relates how, in the fall of 1863, he visited the territory of Utah, where he spent the winter among the “Mormon” people. He was not favorably impressed with their religious life, and came to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon itself was a fraud. He determined in his own heart that if ever he returned home and found his father, Sidney Rigdon, alive, he would try and find out what he knew of the origin of the Book of Mormon. “Although,” he adds, “he had never told but one story about it, and that was that Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery presented him with a bound volume of that book in the year 1830, while he (Sidney Rigdon) was preaching Campbellism at Mentor, Ohio.” What John W. Rigdon claims to have seen in Utah, however, together with the fact that Sidney Rigdon had been charged with writing the Book of Mormon, made him suspicious; “and,” he remarks, “I concluded I would make an investigation for my own satisfaction and find out if I could if he had all these years been deceiving his family and the world, by telling that which was not true, and I was in earnest about it. If Sidney Rigdon, my father, had thrown his life away by telling a falsehood and bringing sorrow and disgrace upon his family, I wanted to know it and was determined to find out the facts, no matter what the consequences might be. I reached home in the fall of 1865, found my father in good health and [he] was very much pleased to see me. As he had not heard anything from me for some time, he was afraid that I had been killed by the Indians. Shortly after I had arrived home, I went to my father’s room; he was there and alone, now was the time for me to commence my inquiries in regard to the origin of the Book of Mormon, and as to the truth of the ‘Mormon’ religion. I told him what I had seen at Salt Lake City, and I said to him that what I had seen at Salt Lake had not impressed me very favorably toward the ‘Mormon’ Church, and as to the origin of the Book of Mormon I had some doubts. You have been charged with writing that book and giving it to Joseph Smith to introduce to the world. You have always told me one story; that you never saw the book until it was presented to you by Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery; and all you ever knew of the origin of that book was what they told you and what Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed to have seen the plates had told you. Is this true? If so all right; if it is not, you owe it to me and your family to tell it. You are an old man and you will soon pass away, and I wish to know if Joseph Smith, in your intimacy with him for fourteen years, has not said something to you that led you to believe he obtained that book in some other way than what he had told you. Give me all you know about it, that I may know the truth. My father, after I had finished saying what I have repeated above, looked at me a moment, raised his hand above his head and slowly said with tears glistening in his eyes: “My son, I can swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of that book is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of that book was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me, and in all my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but the one story, and that was that he found it engraved upon gold plates in a hill near Palmyra, New York, and that an angel had appeared to him and directed him where to find it; and I have never, to you or to anyone else, told but the one story, and that I now repeat to you.” I believed him, and now believe he told me the truth. He also said to me after that that ‘Mormonism’ was true; that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and this world would find it out some day. After my father’s death, my mother, who survived him several years, was in the enjoyment of good health up to the time of her last sickness, she being eighty-six years old. A short time before her death I had a conversation with her about the origin of the Book of Mormon, and wanted to know what she remembered about its being presented to my father. She said to me in that conversation that what my father had told me about the book being presented to him was true, for she was present at the time and knew that was the first time he ever saw it, and that the stories told about my father writing the Book of Mormon were not true. This she said to me in her old age and when the shadows of the grave were gathering around her and I believe her.” (Life of Sidney Rigdon, by his son John W. Rigdon, Ms, pp. 188-195)
Our author also mentions in his sketch of his father’s life, an affidavit given to him by his sister, Athalia Robinson, to the same effect as the statement of Sidney Rigdon and his wife, relative to the coming of Pratt and Cowdery to their home in Mentor, and presenting to her father a bound copy of the Book of Mormon. Athalia was ten years old at the time, and distinctly remembered throughout her life the circumstance. (Ibid, Ms. pp. 195-6).
16. Frederick Granger Williams was born in Suffield, Hartford county, Connecticut, October 28th, 1787. He was therefore a man of forty-three years of age when the Gospel was brought to him at Kirtland by Oliver Cowdery and associates. He was a man of considerable influence in the community where he resided. He owned a farm near Kirtland, but at the time the Gospel found him he was practicing medicine, and was widely known as Dr. Williams. He abandoned the practice of his profession, however, for the work of the ministry, and accompanied the Lamanite mission to Missouri.