Preparations of the Mob in Jackson County to Resort to Violence—Important Excerpts from the Star.
The Rise of Mob Force in Jackson County.
July, which once dawned upon the virtue and independence of the United States, now dawned upon the savage barbarity and mobocracy of Missouri. Most of the clergy acting as missionaries to the Indians, or to the frontier inhabitants, were among the most prominent characters, that rose up and rushed on to destroy the rights of the Church, as well as the lives of her members. One Reverend Pixley 1, who had been sent by the Missionary Society to civilize and Christianize the heathen of the west, was a black rod in the hands of Satan; as well as a poisoned shaft in the hands of our other foes He wrote horrible falsehoods about the Saints which he sent to the religious papers in the East, from time to time, in order to sour the public mind against them; and used his influence among both Indians and whites to overthrow the Church in Jackson county. On the first of July, he wrote a slanderous tract entitled, “Beware of False Prophets,” which he carried from house to house, to incense the inhabitants against the Church, to mob them, and drive them away. The July number of The Evening and Morning Star, pursued a mild and pacific course; the first article therein, entitled, “Beware of False Prophets,” was calculated to disabuse the honest public mind from Pixley’s falsehoods; 2 and the caution against “Free People of Color,” settling in Missouri, was sufficient to silence the fears of every sober mind, yet, it was all in vain; the hour of trial must come: notwithstanding the constitution of Missouri—as published in the same paper—says:
Article 4th. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; and that no man can be compelled to erect, support, or attend any place of worship, or to maintain any minister of the Gospel, or teacher of religion; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience; that no person can ever be hurt, molested, or restrained in his religious professions, or sentiments, if he do not disturb others in their religious worship.
5th. That no person, on account of his religious opinions, can be rendered ineligible to any office of trust or profit under this state; that no preference can ever be given by law, to any sect or mode of worship. 3
The Mob Ignores the Constitutional Guarantee of Religious Freedom.
Yet, because the Saints in spiritual things believed and taught differently from their neighbors—although both the faith and the teachings of the Saints were according to the laws of heaven—the mob drew up and published the following manifesto:
The Manifesto of the Mob. 4
We, the undersigned, citizens of Jackson county, believing that an important crisis is at hand, as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled, and are still settling in our county, styling themselves “Mormons;” and intending, as we do, to rid our society, “peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must,” and believing as we do, that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least a sufficient one, against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing, by the said religious sect, deem it expedient, and of the highest importance, to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose—a purpose which we deem it almost superfluous to say, is justified as well by the law of nature, as by the law of self-preservation.
It is more than two years since the first of these fanatics, or knaves, (for one or the other they undoubtedly are) made their first appearance amongst us, and pretended as they did, and now do, to hold personal communication and converse face to face with the Most High God; to receive communications and revelations direct from heaven; to heal the sick by laying on hands; and, in short, to perform all the wonder-working miracles wrought by the inspired Apostles and Prophets of old.
We believed them deluded fanatics, or weak and designing knaves, and that they and their pretensions would soon pass away; but in this we were deceived. The arts of a few designing leaders amongst them have thus far succeeded in holding them together as a society; and since the arrival of the first of them, they have been daily increasing in numbers; and if they had been respectable citizens in society and thus deluded, they would have been entitled to our pity rather than to our contempt and hatred; but from their appearance, from their manners, and from their conduct since their coming among us, we have every reason to fear that, with but very few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of that society from which they came, lazy, idle, and vicious. This we conceive is not idle assertion, but a fact susceptible of proof, for with these few exceptions above named, they brought into our country little or no property with them and left less behind them, and we infer that those only yoke themselves to the “Mormon” car who had nothing earthly or heavenly to lose by the change; and we fear that if some of the leaders amongst them, had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen ambassadors of the Most High, they would have been inmates of solitary cells. But their conduct here stamps their characters in their true colors. More than a year since, it was ascertained that they had been tampering with our slaves, and endeavoring to sow dissensions and raise seditions amongst them. Of this their “Mormon” leaders were informed, and they said they would deal with any of their members who should again in like case offend. But how spacious are appearances. In a late number of the Star, published in Independence by the leaders of the sect, there is an article inviting free negroes and mulattoes from other states to become “Mormons,” and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society, to inflict on our society an injury that they know would be to us entirely insupportable, and one of the surest means of driving us from the country; for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see that the introduction of such a caste amongst us would corrupt our blacks, and instigate them to bloodshed.
They openly blaspheme the Most High God, and cast contempt on His holy religion, by pretending to receive revelations direct from heaven, by pretending to speak unknown tongues, by direct inspiration, and by divers pretenses derogatory to God and religion, and to the utter subversion of human reason.
They declare openly that their God hath given them this county of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have possession of our lands for an inheritance; and, in fine, they have conducted themselves on many other occasions, in such a manner, that we believe it a duty we owe to ourselves, our wives, and children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up our pleasant places and goodly possessions to them or to receive into the bosom of our families, as fit companions for our wives and daughters, the degraded and corrupted free negroes and mulattoes that are now invited to settle among us.
Under such a state of things, even our beautiful county would cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable. We, therefore, agree (that after timely warning, and receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace, as they found us—we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes and sacred honors.
We will meet at the court house, at the town of Independence, on Saturday next, the 20th inst., [July], to consult on subsequent movements.
Among the hundreds of names attached to the above document were:
Lewis Franklin, jailor; Samuel C. Owens, county clerk; Russel Hicks, deputy county clerk; R. W. Cummins, Indian agent; James H. Flournoy, postmaster; S. D. Lucas, colonel and judge of the court; Henry Chiles, attorney-at-law; N. K. Olmstead, M. D.; John Smith, justice of the peace; Samuel Weston, justice of the peace; William Brown, constable; Abner F. Staples, captain; Thomas Pitcher, deputy constable; Moses G. Wilson and Thomas Wilson, merchants. 5
Free People of Color. 6
To prevent any misunderstanding among the churches abroad, respecting free people of color, who may think of coming to the western boundaries of Missouri, as members of the Church, we quote the following clauses from the laws of Missouri:
Section 4.—Be it further enacted, that hereafter no free negro or mulatto, other than a citizen of someone of the United States, shall come into or settle in this state under any pretext whatever; and upon complaint made to any justice of the peace, that such person is in his county, contrary to the provisions of this section, if it shall appear that such person is a free negro or mulatto, and that he hath come into this state after the passage of this act, and such person shall not produce a certificate, attested by the seal of some court of record in someone of the United States, evidencing that he is a citizen of such state, the justice shall command him forthwith to depart from this state; and in case such negro or mulatto shall not depart from the state within thirty days after being commanded so to do as aforesaid, any justice of the peace, upon complaint thereof to him made may cause such person to be brought before him and may commit him to the common goal of the county in which he may be found, until the next term of the circuit court to be held in such county. And the said court shall cause such person to be brought before them and examine into the cause of commitment; and if it shall appear that such person came into the state contrary to the provisions of this act, and continued therein after being commanded to depart as aforesaid, such court may sentence such person to receive ten lashes on his or her bare back, and order him to depart the state; and if he or she shall not depart, the same proceedings shall be had and punishment inflicted, as often as may be necessary, until such person shall depart the state.
Section 5.—Be it further enacted, that if any person shall, after the taking effect of this act, bring into this state any free negro or mulatto, not having in his possession a certificate of citizenship as required by this act, (he or she) shall forfeit any pay, for every person so brought, the sum of five hundred dollars, to be recovered by action of debt in the name of the state, to the use of the university, in any court having competent jurisdiction; in which action the defendant may be held to bail, of right and without affidavit; and it shall be the duty of the attorney-general or circuit attorney of the district in which any person so offending may be found, immediately upon information given of such offenses to commence and prosecute an action as aforesaid.”
Slaves are real estate in this and other states, and wisdom would dictate great care among the branches of the Church of Christ on this subject. So long as we have no special rule in the Church, as to people of color, let prudence guide, and while they, as well as we, are in the hands of a merciful God, we say: Shun every appearance of evil.
“The Evening and Morning Star” Extra. 7
July 16, 1833.
Having learned with extreme regret, that an article entitled, “Free People of Color,” in the last number of the Star, has been misunderstood, we feel in duty bound to state, in this Extra, that our intention was not only to stop free people of color from emigrating to this state, but to prevent them from being admitted as members of the Church.
On the second column of the one hundred and eleventh page of the same paper, may be found this paragraph:—”Our brethren will find an extract of the law of this state, relative to free people of color, on another page of this paper. Great care should be taken on this point. The Saints must shun every appearance of evil. As to slaves, we have nothing to say; in connection with the wonderful events of this age much is doing towards abolishing slavery, and colonizing the blacks in Africa.
We often lament the situation of our sister states in the south, and we fear, lest, as has been the case, the blacks should rise and spill innocent blood, for they are ignorant, and a little may lead them to disturb the peace of society. To be short, we are opposed to having free people of color admitted into the state; and we say, that none will be admitted into the Church; for we are determined to obey the laws and constitutions of our country, that we may have that protection which the sons of liberty inherit from the legacy of Washington, through the favorable auspices of a Jefferson and Jackson.
The Elders Stationed in Zion, to the Churches Abroad, in Love Greeting: (From The Evening and Morning Star, July number.)
Dear Brethren:—One year having passed since we addressed the churches abroad, on the situation of Zion and the state of the gathering it seems to be our duty to again address the Saints on the same subjects. Although you frequently learn through the medium of the Star our situation and progress, yet we indulge a hope, that a circular from us, particularly setting these things forth at this time, will be received by you in fellowship. We have abundant reason to thank the Lord for His goodness and mercy manifested unto us, since we were planted in this land. With the exception of the winter season, the gathering has continued slowly. At present we have not the exact number of the disciples; but suppose that there are near seven hundred,—include with these their children and those who belong to families, and the number will probably amount to more than twelve hundred souls. Many have been planted upon their inheritances, where, blessed with a fruitful soil, and a healthy climate, they are beginning to enjoy some of the comforts of life.
This in connection with peace and satisfaction of pure and undefiled religion; which is to visit the widow and fatherless in their afflictions and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, brings down the blessings of peace and love from our Father, and confirms our faith in the promise, that we shall see Him in the flesh, when He comes to be glorified in His Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.
Here let us remark, that our duty urges us to notice a few letters which have been sent from this place, by persons seeking the loaves and fishes, or by such as have lost their standing among men of character in the world. In the letters alluded to, are some facts; but most of the statements are false. It is said that women go out to work; this is a fact, and not only women, but men, too; for in the Church of Christ, all that are able have to work to fulfil the commandments of the Lord; and the situation in which many have come up here, has brought them under the necessity of seeking employment from those who do not belong to the Church. Yet, we can say as far as our knowledge extends, that they have been honorably compensated. And we are willing to decree concerning mankind, Thou shalt eat thy bread by the sweat of thy brow, should be fulfilled. Members of the Church have, or will have, “deeds” [to their lands] in their own name.
One Bates, from New London, Ohio—who subscribed fifty dollars for the purpose of purchasing lands, and the necessaries for the Saints—after his arrival here, sued (Bishop) Edward Partridge, and obtained a judgment for the same. Bates shortly after denied the faith, and ran away on Sunday, leaving debts unpaid. We do not mention this to cast reflection, but to give a sample of his work manifested since he came to this land. No man that has consecrated property to the Lord, for the benefit of the poor and the needy, by a deed of gift according to the laws of the land, has thought of suing for it, any more than the men of the world, who give, or donate to build meeting houses, and colleges; or send missionaries to India or the Cape of Good Hope. Every Saint that has come to this land to escape the desolations which await the wicked, and prepare for the coming of the Lord, is well satisfied with the country, and the order of the kingdom of our God; and we are happy to say that the inhabitants of Zion are growing in grace and in the knowledge of those things which lead to peace and eternal glory. And our hearts are filled with thanksgiving for the privilege of bearing this testimony concerning our brethren on this land. One object in writing this epistle is, to give some instructions to those who come up to the land of Zion. Through a mistaken idea many of the brethren abroad, that had property, have given some away, and sacrificed some, they hardly know how. This is not right nor according to the commandments. We would advise in the first place, that every disciple, if in his power, pay his just debts so as to owe no man, and then if he has any property left, let him be careful of it; and he can help the poor, by consecrating some for their inheritances; for as yet, there has not been enough consecrated to plant the poor in inheritances, according to the regulation of the Church and the desire of the faithful.
This might have been done, had such as had property been prudent. It seems as though a notion was prevalent in Babylon, that the Church of Christ was a common stock concern. This ought not so to be, for it is not the case. When a disciple comes to Zion for an inheritance, it is his duty, if he has anything to consecrate to the Lord for the benefit of the poor and needy, or to purchase lands, to consecrate it according to the law of the Lord, and also according to the law of the land, and the Lord has said, that in keeping his laws we have no need to break the laws of the land; and we have abundant reason to be thankful, that we are permitted to establish ourselves under the protection of a government that knows no exceptions to sect or society, but gives all its citizens the privilege of worshiping God according to their own desire. Again, while in the world, it is not the duty of a disciple to exhaust all his means in bringing the poor to Zion; and this because if all should do so, there would be nothing to put in the storehouse in Zion for the purpose which the Lord has commanded.
Do not think, brethren, by this, that we would advise or direct that the poor be neglected in the least; this is not the desire of our hearts; for we are mindful of the word of our Father, which informs us that in His bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall possess it.
The welfare of the poor has always a place in our hearts; yet we are confident that our experience, even had we nothing else to prompt us to advise on this point, and that wholly for the good of the cause in which we labor, would be sufficient in the minds of our brethren abroad, to excuse a plainness on this important part of our subject. To see numbers of disciples come to this land, destitute of means to procure an inheritance, and much less the necessaries of life, awakens a sympathy in our bosoms of no ordinary feeling; and we should do injustice to the Saints were we to remain silent, when, perhaps, a few words, by way of advice, may be the means of instructing them, that hereafter great difficulties may be avoided. For the disciples to suppose that they can come to this land without ought to eat, or to drink, or to wear, or anything to purchase these necessaries with, is a vain thought. For them to suppose that the Lord will open the windows of heaven, and rain down angel’s food for them by the way, when their whole journey lies through a fertile country, stored with the blessings of life from His own hand for them to subsist upon, is also vain. For them to suppose that their clothes and shoes will not wear out upon the journey, when the whole of it lies through a country where there are thousands of sheep from which wool in abundance can be procured to make them garments, and cattle upon a thousand hills, to afford leather for shoes, is just as vain.
The circumstances of the Saints in gathering to the land of Zion in these last days are very different from those of the children of Israel, after they despised the promised rest of the Lord, after they were brought out of the land of Egypt. Previous to that, the Lord promised them, if they would obey His voice and keep His commandments, that He would send the hornet before them, and drive out those nations which then inhabited the promised land, so that they might have peaceable possession of the same, without the shedding of blood. But in consequence of their unbelief and rebellion, they were compelled to obtain it by the sword, with the sacrifice of many lives.
But to suppose we can come up here and take possession of this land by the shedding of blood, would be setting at naught the law of the glorious Gospel and also the word of our great Redeemer: and to suppose we can take possession of this country without making regular purchases of the same, according to the laws of our nation, would be reproaching this great republic, in which the most of us were born, and under whose auspices we all have protection.
We feel as though enough was said on this point, knowing that a word to the wise is sufficient; and that all our brethren are aware of the fact, that all the tithes cannot be gathered into the storehouse of the Lord, that the windows of heaven may be opened, and a blessing be poured out that there is not room enough to contain it, if all the means of the Saints are exhausted, before they reach the place where they can have the privilege of so doing. Do not conclude from these remarks, brethren, that we doubt in the least, that the Lord will provide for His Saints in these last days; or think that we would extend our hands to steady the ark; for this is not the case. We know that the Saints have the unchangeable word of God that they shall be provided for; yet we know, if any are imprudent, or lavish, or negligent, or indolent, in taking that proper care, and making that proper use of what the Lord has made them stewards over, they are not counted wise; for a strict account of every one’s stewardship is required, not only in time, but will be in eternity. Neither do we apprehend that we shall be considered putting out our hands to steady the ark of God by giving advice to our brethren upon important points relative to their coming to Zion, when the experience of almost two years’ gathering, has taught us to revere that sacred word from heaven. “Let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you.”
Then, brethren, we would advise, that where there are many poor in a church, that the Elders counsel together, and make preparations to send a part at one time, and a part at another. And let the poor rejoice in that they are exalted, but the rich in that they are made low, for there is no respect of persons in the sight of the Lord.
The disciples of Christ, blessed with immediate revelations from Him, should be wise and not take the way of the world, nor build air-castles, but consider that when they have been gathered to Zion, means will be needed to purchase their inheritances, and means will be needed to purchase food and raiment for at least one year; or at any rate, food; and where disciples, or churches, are blessed with means to do as much as this, they would be better off in Zion than in the world, troubled as it is, and will shortly be, with plagues, famines, pestilences, and utter destruction upon the ungodly.
On the subject of false reports, which are put in circulation by evil-minded men, to ridicule the idea of the gathering of Israel in these last days, we would say to our brethren abroad, believe them not; The Evening and Morning Star was established expressly to publish the truth, and the word of the Lord, that the Saints might not be deceived, by such as make broad the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts; yea, by such as bind heavy burdens which are grievous to be borne, and lay them upon men’s shoulders but will not move them with one of their fingers. Yea, we give this caution that the disciples may not give heed to the gainsaying of those who seek the honor of this world and the glory of the same, rather than seek the honor of God and His glory; nor those who have turned away from the Church of Christ, and denied the faith delivered to His Saints in these last days.
Brethren, the Lord has begun to gather His children, even Israel, that they may prepare to enter into and enjoy His rest when He comes in His glory, and He will do it. No matter what your ideas or notions may be upon the subject; no matter what foolish reports the wicked may circulate to gratify an evil disposition, the Lord will continue to gather the righteous, and destroy the wicked, till the sound goes forth—it is finished.
It ought to be known abroad that much improvement is needed in the cattle, sheep, and hogs in this part of the country. As cows here are worth from ten to fifteen dollars, our brethren would do well, and we would advise them, to purchase before they arrive in this region. In fact, if they journey according to the commandments of the Lord, pitching their tents by the way, like Israel in days of old, it would be no more than right to drive cows enough to supply every family or company with milk on the way. They would then have them when they arrived here, and if they selected of the best breeds, they would lay a foundation for improvement. A thing of which all our brethren who are acquainted with raising stock will at once see the propriety.
The sheep of this state are large, but as their wool is coarse, the breed would soon be improved if our brethren would drive with them some merinos or saxons. As soon as wool and flax are had among the brethren, sufficient for the purpose, they will manufacture cloth for their own use in the Church. The swine in this country are not good, being the old fashioned shack breed, and much inferior to the large, white grass breed of the eastern states. If any could introduce this breed, what little pork might be wanted in the winter, would be much better, and easier raised.
It is a matter of much surprise to us, that our brethren should come up to the land of Zion, as many do, without bringing garden seeds, and even seeds of all kinds. The Jaredites and Nephites took with them of all kinds; and the Jaredites, all kinds of animals. And although the Lord has said that it was His business to provide for His Saints, yet He has not said that He would do it, unless they kept His commandments.
And notwithstanding the fulness of the earth is for the Saints, they can never expect it unless they use the means put into their hands to obtain the same in the manner provided by our Lord. When you flee to Zion, we enjoin the word, prepare all things, that you may be ready to labor for a living, for the Lord has promised to take the curse off the land of Zion in His own due time, and the willing and the obedient, not the idle, will eat the good of the same; for they are to be had in remembrance before the Lord.
One very important requisition for the Saints that come up to the land of Zion is, that before they start, they procure a certificate from three Elders of the Church, or from the Bishop in Ohio, according to the commandments; and when they arrive, to present it to the Bishop in Zion; otherwise they are not considered wise stewards, and cannot be received into fellowship with the Church, till they prove themselves by their own goodness.
Some of our brethren may think, at the first instant, perhaps, that this is useless and formal, but a few reflections will be sufficient for them to see the propriety of it, and more especially, when they learn that it is a commandment given us of the Lord.
On another page of this paper, our brethren will find an extract of the law of this state relative to free people of color. Great care should be taken on this point. The Saints must shun every appearance of evil. As to slaves, we have nothing to say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age, much is doing towards abolishing slavery, and colonizing the blacks in Africa.
The foregoing remarks have been addressed to our brethren abroad, considered as one general body, and have been designed as general information to all. We cannot close this epistle, compatible with our duty, without particularly addressing ourselves to our brethren, the Elders, to whom is entrusted the preaching of the everlasting Gospel,—the glad tidings of salvation to Israel, and to all the Gentiles if they will listen to the invitation.
Brethren, we are aware of your many afflictions, or at least in part, some of us having been eye witnesses to the things of God, and having been called to bear testimony of the same from the first, since this Gospel has been proclaimed in these last days. The desire of our hearts for your prosperity we can truly say is inexpressible; for when you are prospered, we are, and when you are blessed we are blessed also. The affliction which you are necessarily called to undergo in these days of tribulation and vengeance upon the wicked, call forth from our hearts unceasing prayers to our common parents in your behalf, that you may be enabled to deliver His message in the demonstration of His Spirit, and call together His elect from the ends of the earth, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts even to Mount Zion.
By those few expressions, you will see brethren, how important we view your calling. We do not consider that it is our duty to direct you in your missions; but we will give you in few words what we have reason to expect relative to the gathering of the Saints, according to the revelations of the Lord.
By the authority of your calling and ordination, you, no doubt, will admit that it will be expected that you know your duty, and at all times and in all places, teach the disciples theirs; but we are sorry to say, that in some instances, some of our brethren have failed to do so.
We will remind our brethren of a clause in the covenants, which informs us that all who are ordained in this Church, are to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost which is in the one who ordains them. We would also remind them of one valuable caution recorded in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, which says, “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins.”
Those cautions, however, are particularly addressed to our young brethren in the ministry. We know that many of our brethren are wise in these important parts of their labors, and have rid their garments of the blood of this generation, and are approved before the Lord.
We will proceed further, brethren, to notice some particular items immediately connected with your duties, and what, as we said before, we have reason to expect from you, according to the revelations. In one given December 4th, 1831, we learn that it is the duty of the Elders of the Church in the East to render an account of their stewardship unto the Bishop appointed unto the Church in that part of the Lord’s vineyard.
The Lord says, “And now, verily I say unto you, that as every Elder in this part of the vineyard, (the East) must give an account of his stewardship unto the Bishop in this part of the vineyard, a certificate from the judge or Bishop in this part of the vineyard, unto the Bishop in Zion, rendereth every man acceptable, and answereth all things for an inheritance, and to be received as a wise steward, and as a faithful laborer; otherwise he shall not be accepted of the Bishop in Zion.
“And now, verily I say unto you, let every Elder who shall give an account unto the Bishop of the Church, in this part of the vineyard, (the East) be recommended by the church or churches, in which he labors, that he may render himself and his accounts approved in all things.”
We hope brethren, that you will be particular to teach the disciples abroad prudence and economy in all things. Teach them in plainness, that without regular recommends, they cannot be received in fellowship with the Church in Zion, until after they have proven themselves worthy by their godly walk. And those who are recommended by you, we expect will be such as are personally known to you to be disciples indeed, and worthy the confidence of all Saints.
Viewing the quotation relative to your obtaining a certificate from the Bishop in the East concerning your worthiness, you cannot blame us brethren if we are strict on this point. It may be understood, therefore, by our brethren, the EIders, who come from the East and do not bring a regular certificate showing that their labors have been accepted there, that they cannot be accepted in Zion. We do not set ourselves up as judges in this; we have only a desire to see the order of our Redeemer’s kingdom observed in all things; for His commandments are precious with us, we have them in our hands, and they are sacred to our hearts.
Our brethren who labor in the churches a distance to the west of the residence of the Bishop in the East, who do not render their accounts to him, should be particular to bring recommends from the churches in which they do labor, and present them with the accounts of their labors to the Bishop immediately after their arrival here. And those Elders who labor continually in preaching the Gospel to the world, should also be particular to render their account of the same, that they may show themselves approved in all things, and be known to be worthy of the high office in which they stand in the Church of Christ.
Having said considerable concerning those particular points which are necessary to be observed by our brethren who journey to this land, and also a few words to the Elders, we deem it a privilege before we conclude, to say something more to the Church at large. In the previous remarks, however, we presume our brethren may make many improvements; and perhaps discover some errors; if so, we can say that the best of motives has prompted us to write to our brethren; and if some small errors are to be found, we are certain that the general ideas are correct, and will be a means of doing good, if those who are immediately interested in the same, give heed to them.
Dear brethren in the New Covenant, accept this as a token for a salutation in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, from your brethren in Zion. While we are permitted to witness the great things which are continually taking place in fulfilment of the prophecies concerning the last days, as the children of God are gathered home to prepare themselves for the supper of the Lamb, our language, that is, the English tongue, fails to express our joy.
Extracts from the Elders’ Letters to the Editor of the “Evening and Morning Star,” July Number.
Palmyra, Missouri, May 16th, 1833.
The Lord is opening the eyes of the blind, and blessing our labors. We have baptized eighteen members in this settlement.
G. M. Hinkle,
Elisha H. Groves.
Six Miles from Quincy, Mo., June 3, 1833.
Every few days there are some honest souls born into the kingdom of God. Persecution rages to a considerable extent. It seems as if every denomination, sect, party, and club, were prepared to fight against the work of the Lord. A man has just told me that in Palmyra, in forty-eight hours, the cholera had taken forty-seven to their graves. The disease is in the country as well as the town, and carries off all ages, colors and conditions, sparing none.
George M. Hinkle.
Chenango Point, N. Y., May 16, 1833.
Dear Brothers:—It is about six weeks since I left Kirtland to take a mission to the East; since which time I have visited twelve churches, and passed three others in coming to this place; all of which are nearly in the course from Kirtland to Chenango, N. Y.; so grows, and so spreads the mighty work of the Lord. Some of said churches are composed of nearly one hundred members; and in nearly all of them, the work is still going on. O, may the Lord cause His glorious voice to be heard, until error and superstition shall give way to the everlasting Gospel of Jesus. I feel much weakness as a man, but in the strength of Christ, I am resolved to blow the trumpet of the Gospel until the people of God are delivered from the merchants and traffickers of souls unto the glorious liberty of the Gospel. I have baptized four since I left Kirtland. As for myself I intend, if possible, to attend the school at the latter Jerusalem, to which I am confident it is my privilege to go, as often as the old Apostles went to the former Jerusalem.
I have traveled about five hundred miles in about six weeks, and held fifteen meetings, and I trust that I shall continue to receive the grace of God to support me even to the end. Sylvester Smith.
State of the World.
(From the July Star.)
The flood of waters, occasioned by the great rains in the eastern and middle states, did immense damage: war between Turkey and Russia continued to rage: and the epidemic disease of London continued its frightful ravages; so terrible were its effects as to close all the principal places of amusement and suspend the court of reform for the metropolis.
Council of Elders in Kirtland.
July 13.—Elder Brigham Young having returned from his mission to Canada, accompanied by some twenty or thirty of the brethren, a council of Elders assembled in Kirtland. There were present at the council Gideon H. Carter, Jacob Wood, Dennis Lake, Brigham Young, James Lake, Newel K. Whitney, John Smith, Luke S. Johnson and myself. Elder James Lake desired to know the will of the Lord, whether he should proceed on to Zion, or remain in Kirtland. It was decided that he should remain in Kirtland.
Chapter 27 – Notes
1. The Reverends Finis Ewing and Isaac McCoy were equally bitter and nearly as active. The former was the head and front of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and is credited with publishing this statement: “The Mormons are the common enemies of mankind and ought to be destroyed.”
Of this Reverend Pixley and the part taken by the clergy against the Saints generally in these Jackson county troubles, Elder Newel Knight, in his journal, published in Scraps of Biography, page 76, says: “The sectarian priests and missionaries around us were among the first to come out both secretly and openly against us. Among the more active of these was a Mr. Pixley, who did not content himself in slandering us to the people of Jackson county, but also wrote to eastern papers telling horrible lies about us, with the evident intention of rousing a spirit of hatred against us. His talk was of the bitterest kind, his speeches perfectly inflammatory; and he appeared to have an influence among the people to carry them with him in his hellish designs. Nor did he confine his actions to the white settlers, but tried to stir up the Indians against us, and use every means in his power to accomplish his purposes. His efforts were seconded by such men as Reverends McCoy, Fitzhugh, Bogard, Kavanaugh, Lovelady, Likens, Hunter, and others; and by their perseverance at last, the public mind became so excited that on the 20th of July a meeting was called and largely attended by not only the rabble of the county, but also the men holding official positions.”
2. As stated in the Prophet’s narrative, the article in the Star, “Beware of False Prophets,” written as an answer to Reverend Pixley’s tract, was of a mild and pacific character. It proceeds to place in contrast, merely, the course and character of true Prophets and false ones—fixing many of the marks of false prophets, however, on the sectarian ministers of the times who, while clinging to forms of godliness, were denying the power thereof. It makes no direct allusion to the tract of Rev. Pixley, nor does it say a personal word of the course he was pursuing: but indirectly it evidently refers to him and his nefarious work in the following passages: “When, therefore, any man, no matter who, or how high his standing may be, utters or publishes anything which afterwards proves to be untrue, he is a false prophet. And if he does it uncalled for, for the purpose of injuring his fellow-beings, or for the sake of gain, or to deceive any man by putting a false coloring upon a matter of religion, to lead astray or prejudice the minds of any to hinder them from receiving the truth, wo unto him, he is a false prophet! * * * * Here then we can say, where we find a person uttering or publishing what he does not know to be a truth, merely to make a noise, whereby the least saint on earth might be offended—beware of false prophets. * * * * Did you ever hear, or have you ever read of a true prophet that spake evil of any man, or that would lie to further the cause of God or anything else? If you have, brethren, then has the hypocrite an excuse for leaving his own fault unexposed, and publishing his neighbor’s to the world. Then has the false prophet an opportunity to plead his right to send his lying words abroad, that he may obtain the praise and glory of this world, and deceive the simple.”
3. The comment of the editor of the Star on this clause of Missouri’s constitution is—”It shows a liberality of opinion of the great men of the west, and will vie with that of any other state. It is good; it is just, and it is the citizen’s right.”
4. This document is sometimes referred to as “The secret constitution,” and was doubtless regarded as a “constitution” by the mob, by which they were bound together to accomplish the objects set forth in the document itself. The Saints became aware of its existence and the fact of its being circulated among the old settlers about the middle of July; how long before that it had been circulated is not known, but it was doubtless drawn up early in that month.
“I will briefly notice a few items of the foregoing bond of conspiracy, for I consider most of it as too barefaced to need any comment. In the first place I would inquire whether our belief as set forth in this declaration, as to gifts, miracles, revelations and tongues, is not the same that all the Apostles and disciples taught, believed and practiced, and the doctrine of the New Testament?
Secondly—I would inquire when the New Testament religion ceased, and a law revealed or instituted, which made blasphemy of the belief and practice of it? or what holy religion the Jackson mob were speaking of, which was thrown into contempt by the revival of the New Testament religion?
Thirdly—They complain of our society being very poor as to property; but have they never read in the New Testament that God had chosen the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom of God? And when did poverty become a crime known to the law?
Fourthly—Concerning free negroes and mulattoes. Do not the laws of Missouri provide abundantly for the removal from the state of all free negroes and mulattoes (except certain privileged ones)? And also for the punishment of those who introduce or harbor them? The statement concerning our invitation to them to become “Mormons,” and remove to this state, and settle among us, is a wicked fabrication, as no such thing was ever published in the Star, or anywhere else, by our people, or anything in the shadow of it; and we challenge the people of Jackson [county], or any other people, to produce such a publication from us. In fact one dozen free negroes or mulattoes never belonged to our society in any part of the world, from its first organization to this day (1839).
Fifthly—As to crime or vice, we solemnly appeal to all the records of the courts of Jackson county, and challenge the county to produce the name of any individual of our society on the list of indictments, from the time of our first settlement in the county, to the time of our expulsion, a period of more than two years.
Sixthly—As it respects the ridiculous report of our threatening that we would have their lands for a possession, it is too simple to require a notice, as the laws of the country guarantee to every man his rights, and abundantly protect him in their full enjoyment. And we hereby declare, that we settled no lands, only such as our money purchased, and that no such thing ever entered our hearts, as possessing any inheritance in any other way.
Seventhly—We ask what public morals were in danger of being corrupted where officers of the peace could openly violate their several oaths in the most awful manner, and join with hundreds of others in murder, treason, robbery, house burning, stealing, etc.
6. This article, “Free People of Color,” referred to in the Prophet’s History, but not quoted in extenso anywhere by him, is here given entire, and is followed with The Evening and Morning Star extra, published on the 16th of July, 1833. The importance of these documents justifies their introduction in this manner. It will be observed that the mob in their manifesto charge that the Saints in the first article in question, “Invite free negroes and mulattoes from other states to become ‘Mormons,’ and remove and settle among us.” On this false accusation the mob pretended to found the following apprehensions: “This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society, to inflict on our society an injury that they know would be to us entirely unsupportable, and one of the surest means of driving us from the country; for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see that the introduction of such a caste among us would corrupt our blacks, and instigate them to bloodshed.”
The publication of the article, “Free People of Color” completely refutes the false accusation of the mob against the Saints.
7. This “Extra,” as soon as the brethren learned what construction was being put upon the article “Free People of Color,” was printed in the form of a handbill and circulated as promptly as possible. In it, however, the editor of the Star goes too far when he says that no free people of color “will be admitted into the Church.” Such was never the doctrine or policy of the Church. Indeed in the article “Free People of Color,” the editor himself had said: “So long as we have no special rule in the Church as to free people of color, let prudence guide.” And again, in the “Address of the Elders stationed in Zion to the Churches Abroad,” published in the July number of the Star, and also found on page 379 of this volume, occurs the following: “our brethren will find an extract of the law of this state relative to free people of color on another page of this paper. Great care should be taken on this point. The Saints must shun every appearance of evil. As to slaves we have nothing to say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age, much is doing towards abolishing slavery, and colonizing the blacks in Africa.” This, with the passage from the article “Free People of Color,” is quoted to show that the Church had formulated no doctrine or policy with reference to slaves or free people of color; and in forming his judgment of this matter the reader must remember that the statement about not admitting such people into the Church is merely the view at that time of the editor of the Star, and by no means represents the policy of the Church. As a matter of fact there were very few, if any, people of color in the Church at that time. The “fears” of the Missourians on that head were sheer fabrications of evil-disposed minds.