A Press Established at Kirtland-Blessings upon the Prophet’s Family—Responsibility for Lawless Acts in Missouri.
Dedication of the Printing Press.
December 18.—The Elders assembled in the printing office, and bowed down before the Lord, and I dedicated the printing press and all that pertained thereunto, to God, which dedication was confirmed by Elder Rigdon, and my brother, Hyrum Smith. We then proceeded to take the first proof sheet of the reprinted Star, 1 edited by Elder Oliver Cowdery.
Strength and Weakness of Oliver Cowdery.
Blessed of the Lord is Brother Oliver, nevertheless there are two evils in him that he must needs forsake, or he cannot altogether escape the buffetings of the adversary. If he forsake these evils he shall be forgiven, and shall be made like unto the bow which the Lord hath set in the heavens; he shall be a sign and an ensign unto the nations. Behold, he is blessed of the Lord for his constancy and steadfastness in the work of the Lord; wherefore, he shall be blessed in his generation, and they shall never be cut off, and he shall be helped out of many troubles; and if he keep the commandments, and hearken unto the counsel of the Lord, his rest shall be glorious.
The Prophet’s Blessing upon his Father’s House.
And again, blessed of the Lord is my father, and also my mother, and my brothers and my sisters; for they shall yet find redemption in the house of the Lord, and their offspring shall be a blessing, a joy, and a comfort unto them.
Blessed is my mother, for her soul is ever filled with benevolence and philanthropy; and notwithstanding her age, yet she shall receive strength, and shall be comforted in the midst of her house, and she shall have eternal life.
And blessed is my father, for the hand of the Lord shall be over him, for he shall see the affliction of his children pass away; and when his head is fully ripe, he shall behold himself as an olive tree, whose branches are bowed down with much fruit; he shall also possess a mansion on high.
His Brother Hyrum.
Blessed of the Lord is my brother Hyrum, for the integrity of his heart; he shall be girt about with truth, and faithfulness shall be the strength of his loins: from generation to generation he shall be a shaft in the hands of his God to execute judgment upon his enemies; and he shall be hid by the hand of the Lord, that none of his secret parts shall be discovered unto his hurt; his name shall be accounted a blessing among men; and when he is in trouble, and great tribulation hath come upon him, he shall remember the God of Jacob; and He will shield him from the power of Satan; and he shall receive counsel in the house of the Most High, that he may be strengthened in hope, that the goings of his feet may be established for ever.
His Brother Samuel.
Blessed of the Lord is my brother Samuel, because the Lord shall say unto him, Samuel, Samuel; therefore he shall be made a teacher in the house of the Lord, and the Lord shall mature his mind in judgment, and thereby he shall obtain the esteem and fellowship of his brethren, and his soul shall be established and he shall benefit the house of the Lord, because he shall obtain answer to prayer in his faithfulness.
Prophecy on the Head of his Brother William.
Brother William is as the fierce lion, which divideth not the spoil because of his strength; and in the pride of his heart he will neglect the more weighty matters until his soul is bowed down in sorrow; and then he shall return and call on the name of his God, and shall find forgiveness, and shall wax valiant, therefore, he shall be saved unto the uttermost; and as the roaring lion of the forest in the midst of his prey, so shall the hand of his generation be lifted up against those who are set on high, that fight against the God of Israel; fearless and undaunted shall they be in battle, in avenging the wrongs of the innocent, and relieving the oppressed; therefore, the blessings of the God of Jacob shall be in the midst of his house, notwithstanding his rebellious heart.
And now, O God, let the residue of my father’s house ever come up in remembrance before Thee, that Thou mayest save them from the hand of the oppressor, and establish their feet upon the dock of Ages, that they may have place in Thy house, and be saved in Thy kingdom; and let all things be even as I have said, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
Messengers to Zion.
December 19.—William Pratt and David Patten took their journey to the land of Zion, for the purpose of bearing dispatches to the brethren in that place, from Kirtland, O may God grant that they may be a blessing to Zion, as kind angels from heaven. Amen.
The following circular was published in the December number of the Star:
The Elders in Kirtland to Their Brethren Abroad.
Dear Brethren in Christ, and Companions in Tribulation:—It seemeth good unto us to drop a few lines to you, giving you some instruction relative to conducting the affairs of the kingdom of God, which has been committed unto us in these latter times, by the will and testament of our Mediator, whose intercessions in our behalf are lodged in the bosom of the Eternal Father, and ere long will burst with blessings upon the heads of all the faithful.
We have all been children, and are too much so at the present time; but we hope in the Lord that we may grow in grace and be prepared for all things which the bosom of futurity may disclose unto us. Time is rapidly rolling on, and the prophecies must be fulfilled. The days of tribulation are fast approaching, and the time to test the fidelity of the Saints has come. Rumor with her ten thousand tongues is diffusing her uncertain sounds in almost every ear; but in these times of sore trial, let the Saints be patient and see the salvation of God. Those who cannot endure persecution, and stand in the day of affliction, cannot stand in the day when the Son of God shall burst the veil, and appear in all the glory of His Father, with all the holy angels.
On the subject of ordination, a few words are necessary. In many instances there has been too much haste in this thing, and the admonition of Paul has been too slightingly passed over, which says, “Lay hands suddenly upon no man.” Some have been ordained to the ministry, and have never acted in that capacity, or magnified their calling at all. Such may expect to lose their appointment, except they awake and magnify their office. Let the Elders abroad be exceedingly careful upon this subject, and when they ordain a man to the holy ministry, let him be a faithful man, who is able to teach others also; that the cause of Christ suffer not. It is not the multitude of preachers that is to bring about the glorious millennium! but it is those who are “called, and chosen, and faithful.”
Let the Elders be exceedingly careful about unnecessarily disturbing and harrowing up the feelings of the people. Remember that your business is to preach the Gospel in all humility and meekness, and warn sinners to repent and come to Christ. Avoid contentions and vain disputes with men of corrupt minds, who do not desire to know the truth. Remember that “it is a day of warning, and not a day of many words.” If they receive not your testimony in one place, flee to another, remembering to cast no reflections, nor throw out any bitter sayings. If you do your duty, it will be just as well with you, as though all men embraced the Gospel.
Be careful about sending boys to preach the Gospel to the world; if they go, let them be accompanied by some one who is able to guide them in the proper channel, lest they become puffed up, and fall under condemnation, and into the snare of the devil. Finally, in these critical times, be careful; call on the Lord day and night; beware of pride; beware of false brethren, who will creep in among you to spy out your liberties. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; let your light shine, and show yourselves workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Apply yourselves diligently to study, that your minds may be stored with all necessary information.
We remain your brethren in Christ, anxiously praying for the day of redemption to come, when iniquity shall be swept from the earth, and everlasting righteousness brought in. Farewell.
A Life Guard of Washington Driven from Jackson County.
Monday night, the 24th of December, four aged families, living near the town of Independence, whose penury and infirmities, incidents to old age, forbade a speedy removal, were driven from their homes by a party of the mob, who tore down their chimneys, broke in their doors and windows, and hurled large stones into their houses, by which the life of old Mr. Miller, in particular, was greatly endangered. Mr. Miller is aged sixty-five years, and the youngest man in the four families. Some of these men have toiled and bled in the defense of their country; and old Mr. Jones, one of the sufferers, served as life guard to General George Washington, in the Revolution. Well may the soldier of “Seventy-six” contemplate with horror the scenes which surround him at this day in Jackson county, where liberty, law, and equal rights, are trodden under foot. It is now apparent that no man embracing the faith of the Latter-day Saints, whatever be his age or former standing in society, may hope to escape the wrath of the Jackson county mob whenever it is in their power to inflict abuse.
Court of Inquiry.
A court of inquiry was held at Liberty, Clay county, Missouri, the latter part of this month, to inquire into the Conduct of Colonel Pitcher, for driving the Saints, or “Mormons,” from Jackson county, which resulted in his arrest for further trial by a court-martial.
Excommunications at Kirtland.
December 26.—James Blanchard and Alonzo Rider were cut off from the Church by a council of Elders, in Kirtland, for repeated transgressions, and promising to reform, and never fulfilling. Nelson Acre was also cut off, on account of his absenting himself from the meetings, and saying that he wanted no more of the Church, and that he desired to be cut off. None of these being present, the council notified them of their expulsion by letters. This evening a Bishop’s court was called to investigate the case of Elder Ezekiel Rider, who had said many hard things against Bishop Whitney: that Brother Whitney was not fit for a Bishop; that he treated the brethren who came into the store with disrespect; that he was overbearing, and fain would walk on the necks of the brethren. Brother Story was also in a similar transgression. I rebuked them sharply, and told them that the Church must feel the wrath of God except they repent of their sins and cast away their murmurings and complainings one of another. Elder Rigdon also lectured them on the same principles. Brothers Rider and Story confessed their wrongs, and all forgave one another.
Elliot, Haggart, and Babbitt Cases.
December 27.—A bishop’s court was called to investigate complaints made against Brothers Elliot, Haggart, and Babbitt, and their wives, and Jenkins Salisbury, all of whom were present; but the accusers not being present, the court adjourned sine die.
Disposition of the Star Press.
The mob in Jackson county sold the materials, or rather gave Messrs. Davis and Kelly leave to take The Evening and Morning Star establishment to Liberty, Clay county, where they commenced the publication of The Missouri Enquirer, a weekly paper. They (that is, Davis and Kelly) also paid our lawyers, employed as counsel against the mob, three hundred dollars, on the one thousand dollar note, on agreement; a small amount towards an establishment which, with book work and furniture, had cost some three or four thousand dollars.
Where Responsibility Rests.
From the very features of the celebrated mob circular, previously inserted, 2 it will be seen that they meditated a most daring infraction of the constitution of our country that they might gratify a spirit of persecution against an innocent people. To whom shall blame be attached in this tragedy? In July last they boldly made known their determination to drive the “Mormons” from Jackson county, “peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must,” openly declaring, that “the arm of the civil law did not afford them a sufficient guarantee against the increasing evils of this religious sect;” and in their circular they further say, “We deem it expedient, and of the highest importance, to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purposes;” and conclude with these hightoned words: “We therefore agree, that after timely warning, and upon 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 this end, we each pledge to each other our lives, our bodily powers, fortunes, and sacred honors.”
In answer to their bold and daring resolves to guard against anticipated evils, I give the following extract from the Governor’s letter in relation to this affair, dated October 19th, 1833:
No citizen nor number of citizens, have a right to take the redress of their grievances, whether real or imaginary, into their own hands; such conduct strikes at the very existence of society, and subverts the foundation on which it is based.
I ask again, to whom shall blame be attached for this tragedy? When the mob previously and publicly declared their intentions; and the principles involved were understood by the Executive, as appears by the foregoing; and also by the judiciary, according to Judge Ryland’s letter; 3 while the constitution of the land guarantees equal rights and privileges to all—all this considered, to whom should blame be attached, but to Jackson county mobbers, and to Missouri?
Chapter 34 – Notes
1. All the numbers of The Evening and Morning Star from the first issued, in June 1832, up to and including the number for July, 1833 (fourteen numbers in all,) were reprinted at Kirtland: though in the reprint the page was changed from quarto to octavo form. The last number issued in Zion was in July, 1833; the first reprinted number was issued in Kirtland in December of the same year.