Kirtland vs. Nauvoo—Political Attitude of the People of Nauvoo Declared—Publications Mormon and Anti-Mormon for 1841—Close of the Year.
Tuesday, December 14, 1841.—I commenced opening, unpacking, and assorting a lot of dry goods in the second story of my new store, situate on the northwest corner of block 155. 1 The joiners and masons are yet at work in the lower part of the building.
Wednesday, 15.—In reply to inquiries concerning Almon W. Babbitt, and the printing press at Kirtland, contained in a letter written at Kirtland, November 16, 1841, by Lester Brooks and Zebedee Coltrin, acting presidents, and Thomas Burdick, Bishop and council, to President Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, it was decided as follows:
Decision in the Case of Almon W. Babbitt and Kirtland.
It remains for Almon W. Babbitt to offer satisfaction, if he wishes so to do, according to the minutes of the conference. You are doubtless all well aware that all the stakes, except those in Hancock county, Illinois, and Lee county, Iowa, were discontinued some time since by the First Presidency, as published in the Times and Seasons; but as it appears that there are many in Kirtland who desire to remain there, and build up that place, and as you have made great exertions according to your letter, to establish a printing press, and take care of the poor, &c., since that period, you may as well continue operations according to your designs, and go on with your printing, and do what you can in righteousness to build up Kirtland, but do not suffer yourselves to harbor the idea that Kirtland will rise on the ruins of Nauvoo. It is the privilege of brethren emigrating from any quarter to come to this place, and it is not right to attempt to persuade those who desire it, to stop short.
The foregoing is an extract from my letter in reply.
The Twelve Apostles were in council at Elder Kimball’s.
Affairs at Ramus.
Tuesday, 16.—William Wightman of Ramus, delivered to President Joseph Smith, sole trustee-in-trust, the deed to the unsold and bonded lots of land in the town of Ramus, bearing date December 8, 1841; also the plat of the “first addition to Ramus,” and the notes which have been received of individuals who have purchased lots, and the bonds of William Miller, September 21, 1840, and of Ute Perkins, November 26, 1840, and of William J. Perkins, November 7, 1840, and of John F. Charles, November 16, 1841, for lots of land adjoining Ramus, and which may hereafter be added to the town plats (a part of the land included in William Miller’s bond is included in the first addition to Ramus, and the notes were transferred to the sole trustee-in-trust, for the benefit of the whole Church, by a vote of the Ramus conference, December 4 and 5, 1841), after applying sufficient of said property to liquidate the claims of those from whom the town was purchased, and also paying two notes given by William Wightman for money borrowed to pay for the above property, viz., to Lyman Prentice $11.45, and James Cummins $50.00, and some other small demands against said Wightman which have been contracted for the benefit of the Church in Ramus.
Saturday, 18.—I attended the city council, and stated circumstances which I had heard concerning mobocracy, from a person late from Macombe, and requested an ordinance passed, so that persons ordering any person to leave their peaceful homes could be dealt with rigorously; also presented the following—
Expressions of Gratitude to James Gordon Bennett and the New York Herald.
Resolved by the city council of the city of Nauvoo, that the high-minded and honorable editor of the New York Weekly Herald, James Gordon Bennett, Esq., is deserving of the lasting gratitude of this community, for his very liberal and unprejudiced course towards us as a people, in giving us a fair hearing in his paper, thus enabling us to reach the ears of a portion of the community, who, otherwise would ever have remained ignorant of our principles and practices.
Resolved, That we recommend our fellow citizens to subscribe for the New York Weekly Herald, and thus be found patronizing true merit, industry, and enterprise.
Sunday, 19.—The Twelve were in council at Elder Brigham Young’s—morning.
Meeting at my house in the evening.
The subjoined minutes are from Elder Wilford Woodruff’s journal—
Minutes of a Meeting of the Twelve in the House of the Prophet.
Elder Heber C. Kimball preached at the house of President Joseph Smith, on the parable in the 18th chapter of Jeremiah, of the clay in the hands of the potter, that when it marred in the hands of the potter it was cut off the wheel and then thrown back again into the mill, to go into the next batch, and was a vessel of dishonor; but all clay that formed well in the hands of the potter, and was pliable, was a vessel of honor; and thus it was with the human family, and ever will be: all that are pliable in the hands of God and are obedient to His commands, are vessels of honor, and God will receive them.
President Joseph arose and said—”Brother Kimball has given you a true explanation of the parable,” and then read the parable of the vine and its branches, and explained it, and said, “if we keep the commandments of God, we should bring forth fruit and be the friends of God, and know what our Lord did.
“Some people say I am a fallen Prophet, because I do not bring forth more of the word of the Lord. Why do I not do it? Are we able to receive it? No! not one in this room. He then chastened the congregation for their wickedness and unbelief, ‘for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son and daughter whom he receiveth,’ and if we do not receive chastisements then we are bastards and not sons.”
On the subject of revelation, he said, a man would command his son to dig potatoes and saddle his horse, but before he had done either he would tell him to do something else. This is all considered right; but as soon as the Lord gives a commandment and revokes that decree and commands something else, then the Prophet is considered fallen. Because we will not receive chastisement at the hand of the Prophet and Apostles, the Lord chastiseth us with sickness and death. Let not any man publish his own righteousness, for others can see that for him; sooner let him confess his sins, and then he will be forgiven, and he will bring forth more fruit. When a corrupt man is chastised he gets angry and will not endure it. The reason we do not have the secrets of the Lord revealed unto us, is because we do not keep them but reveal them; we do not keep our own secrets, but reveal our difficulties to the world, even to our enemies, then how would we keep the secrets of the Lord? I can keep a secret till Doomsday. What greater love hath any man than that he lay down his life for his friend; then why not fight for our friend until we die?
Elder Brigham Young said—one thing lay with weight on his mind; that is, that we should be prepared to keep each commandment as it came from the Lord by the mouth of the Prophet, and as the Lord had commanded us to build a temple, we should do it speedily.
Monday, 20.—I communicated to the Times and Seasons, as follows—
The Prophet on the Attitude of the Saints in Politics.
To My Friends In Illinois—The Gubernatorial Convention of the state of Illinois has nominated Colonel Adam W. Snyder 2 for Governor, and Colonel John Moore for Lieutenant-Governor, of the state of Illinois, election to take place in August next.
Colonel Moore, like Judge Douglas and Esquire Warren, was an intimate friend of General Bennett long before that gentleman became a member of our community; and General Bennett informs us that no men were more efficient in assisting him to procure our great chartered privileges, than were Colonel Snyder, and Colonel Moore. They are sterling men, and friends of equal rights, opposed to the oppressor’s grasp, and the tyrant’s rod. With such men at the head of our State, government will have nothing to fear. In the next canvass, we shall be influenced by no party consideration, and no Carthagenian coalescence or collusion with our people will be suffered to effect, or operate against General Bennett, or any other of our tried friends, already semi-officially in the field; so the partizans in this county, who expect to divide the friends of humanity and equal rights, will find themselves mistaken—we care not a fig for Whig or Democrat; they are both alike to us, but we shall go for our friends, our tried friends, and the cause of human liberty, which is the cause of God. We are aware that “divide and conquer” is the watchword with many, but with us it cannot be done—we love liberty too well—we have suffered too much to be easily duped—we have no catspaws amongst us. We voted for General Harrison because we loved him—he was a gallant officer and a tried statesman; but this is no reason why we should always be governed by his friends. He is now dead, and all of his friends are not ours. We claim the privilege of freemen, and shall act accordingly. Douglas is a master spirit, and his friends are our friends—we are willing to cast our banners in the air, and fight by his side in the cause of humanity and equal rights—the cause of liberty and the law. Snyder and Moore are his friends—they are ours. These men are free from the prejudices and superstitions of the age, and such men we love, and such men will ever receive our support, be their political predilections what they may. Snyder and Moore are known to be our friends; their friendship is vouched for by those whom we have tried. We will never be justly charged with the sin of ingratitude—they have served us, and we will serve them. 3
Lieutenant-General of the Nauvoo Legion.
Tuesday, 21.—I received from Edward Hunter a letter on business, to which I wrote the following reply—
The Prophet’s Letter to Edward Hunter—Business Affairs at Nauvoo.
Nauvoo, Dec. 21, 1841.
Mr. Edward Hunter,
Beloved Brother:—Yours of the 27th of October came to hand at a late date, but I am now able to say to you that the power of attorney is executed and sent up to the clerk’s office for the seal of the state, and will be forwarded direct from them; it is now on the way most probably.
Your letter did not arrive till after Mr. Potter returned with the goods, which I received in safety; and Brother Potter has started on a mission to the inhabitants of Jamaica, one of the West India isles.
I will accept the goods as you propose, on your debt, so far as it goes, and answer the remainder on the payments which you mention, as they become due.
I have purchased ninety acres of timber land in the vicinity of Nauvoo, a little up the river, and have made proposals to McFall, but as yet, am waiting for him to receive answers from his correspondent in the east. I shall be able to purchase all the wood land you will want, in a little time.
As respects steam engines and mills, my opinion is, we cannot have too many of them. This place has suffered exceedingly from the want of such mills in our midst, and neither one nor two can do the business of this place another season. We have no good grain or board mill in this place; and most of our flour and lumber has to be brought twenty miles; which subjects us to great inconvenience.
The city is rapidly advancing, many new buildings have been erected since you left us, and many more would have arisen, if brick and lumber could have been obtained. There is scarcely any limits which can be imagined to the mills and machinery and manufacturing of all kinds which might be put into profitable operation in this city, and even if others should raise a mill before you get here, it need be no discouragement either to you or Brother Buckwalter, for it will be difficult for the mills to keep pace with the growth of the place, and you will do well to bring the engine. If you can persuade any of the brethren who are manufacturers of woollens or cottons to come on and establish their business, do so.
I have not ascertained definitely as yet how far the goods will go towards liquidating Dr. Fosters’s note, or finishing your house; but this I can say, I will make the most of it, and benefit you every possible way.
Your message is delivered to Mrs. Smith, and she will be glad to have returns on her letter of attorney, as speedily as circumstances will permit, according to the understanding thereof.
I am happy to hear of your welfare, and the health of your family; and also to inform you that the health of Nauvoo has much improved since last summer, and considering the very mild state of the weather most of the time, it is excellent.
Myself and family are in health, and our enemies are at peace with as, as much as can be expected in this generation. Should anything new occur, which may be for our advantage, you will please write, and I will do the same.
I remain, yours in the Gospel of Christ,
P.S.—You will endeavor to have the money on your letter of attorney from Mrs. Smith, ready to furnish a fresh supply of goods early in the spring.
Nauvoo, December 22, 1841.
Revelation to John Snyder and Amos B. Fuller.
The word of the Lord came unto Joseph the Seer, verily thus saith the Lord, let my servant John Snyder take a mission to the eastern continent, unto all the conferences now sitting in that region; and let him carry a package of epistles, that shall be written by my servants the Twelve making known unto them their duties concerning the building of my houses which I have appointed unto you, saith the Lord, that they may bring their gold and their silver, and their precious stones, and the box-tree, and the fir-tree, and all fine wood to beautify the place of my sanctuary, saith the Lord; and let him return speedily with all means which shall be put into his hands, even so. Amen.
Elder Amos B. Fuller, of Zarahemla, stated to me that he had settled all his debts, made all necessary provision for his family, and desired to know the will of God concerning him.
“Verily thus saith the Lord unto my servants the Twelve, let them appoint unto my servant A. B. Fuller a mission to preach my Gospel unto the children of men, as it shall be manifested unto them by my Holy Spirit. Amen.”
This day I commenced receiving the first supply of groceries at the new store. Thirteen wagons arrived from Warsaw, loaded with sugar, molasses, glass, salt, tea, coffee, &c., purchased in St. Louis. The original stock purchased in New Orleans having been detained at St. Louis by one Holbrook, innkeeper, under false pretenses.
Work on the Proclamation to Kings of the Earth.
This evening I commenced giving instructions to the scribe concerning writing the proclamation to the kings of the earth, mentioned in the revelation given January 19, 1841.
Immigration Agency in England.
Friday, 24.—This evening I had a consultation with President Young and Bishop Whitney about establishing an agency in England for the cheap and expeditious conveyance of the Saints to Nauvoo. and for our convenience in merchandise; and I said, “in the name of the Lord we will prosper, if we will go forward in this thing.”
Elder Truman Gillett, Jun., returned from a short mission to Van Buren county, Iowa, where he baptized fourteen, bringing $20 as a donation to the building of the Temple, from Samuel Moore.
Xmas at Nauvoo, 1841.
Saturday, 25.—Being Christmas, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and their wives, and Willard Richards spent the evening at Hiram Kimball’s; and after supper, Mr. Kimball gave each of the Twelve Apostles a fractional lot of land lying on the west side of his second addition to Nauvoo.
Alpheus Gifford, a member of the Church since 1831, and a faithful Elder in the Church [it was he who baptized Heber C. Kimball] died at his home some five miles above Nauvoo. 4
Conference Minutes—New York and Maine.
At a conference held in Batavia, Genessee county, New York, 11 branches, comprising 15 Elders, 7 Priests, 7 Teachers, 4 Deacons, and 207 members were represented.
A conference met in the Universalist Church, in Hope, Waldo county, Maine, when Fox Islands, with five Elders, 1 Priest, 2 Teachers, 1 Deacon, and 100 members, also the Main Land, with 6 Elders, 2 Priests, 3 Teachers, 1 Deacon, and 68 members were represented; Otis Shaw, president, and Calvin C. Pendleton, clerk.
Purpose of the Gift of Tongues.
Sunday, 26.—The public meeting of the Saints was at my house this evening, and after Patriarch Hyrum Smith and Elder Brigham Young had spoken on the principles of faith, and the gifts of the Spirit, I read the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, also a part of the 14th chapter, and remarked that the gift of tongues was necessary in the Church; but that if Satan could not speak in tongues, he could not tempt a Dutchman, or any other nation, but the English, for he can tempt the Englishman, for he has tempted me, and I am an Englishman; but the gift of tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church, is for the benefit of the servants of God to preach to unbelievers, as on the day of Pentecost. When devout men from every nation shall assemble to hear the things of God, let the Elders preach to them in their own mother tongue, whether it is German, French, Spanish or “Irish,” or any other, and let those interpret who understand the language spoken, in their own mother tongue, and this is what the Apostle meant in First Corinthians 14:27. 5
Instructions to the Twelve.
Monday, 27.—I was in council with Brothers Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards and John Taylor, at my office, instructing them in the principles of the kingdom, and what the Twelve should do in relation to the mission of John Snyder, and the European conferences, so as to forward the gathering of means for building the Temple and Nauvoo House; that Brigham might go with John Snyder on his mission if he chose, but the object of the mission could be accomplished without.
Tuesday, 28.—I baptized Sidney Rigdon in the font, for and in behalf of his parents; also baptized Reynolds Cahoon and others.
Warren and Warsaw Affairs.
Thursday and Friday, December 30th and 31st—Calvin A. Warren, Esq., Mark Aldrich and Daniel S. Witter, visited me at my office, and after much explanation and conversation concerning Warren and Warsaw, In which Esquire Warren manifested the kindest and most confidential feelings and Aldrich and Witter expressed their entire approbation of past proceedings of the Presidency, they all agreed that if I did not succeed in the next attempt to establish and build up Warren, that they would fully excuse me from all censure, and would feel satisfied that I had done all that could reasonably be required of any man in a like case, be the consequence what it might to themselves; and Esquire Warren frankly acknowledged that his temporal salvation depended on the success of the enterprise, and made liberal proposals for the benefit of the brethren, to help forward the undertaking. The party retired manifesting the best of feeling, and expressing the most perfect satisfaction with their visit, with me and all concerned.
A Prophecy Respecting Warsaw.
Thursday evening at the office, while conversing with Calvin A. Warren, Esq., about the proceedings at Warsaw, I prophesied in the name of the Lord, that the first thing toward building up Warsaw was to break it down, to break down them that are there, that it never would be built up till it was broken down, and after that keep them entirely in the dark concerning our movements, and to let Sharp 6 publish what he pleases and go to the devil, and the more lies he prints the sooner he will get through; not buy him out or hinder him; and after they have been in the dark long enough, let a certain set of men go there who will do as I tell them, a certain kind of men, some of those capitalists from the Eastern States, say from Pennsylvania; wise men who will take the lead of business, and go ahead of those that are there before they know what we are about, and the place will prosper, and not till then.
The following list shows some of the books, pamphlets, letters, &c., published for and against the Latter-day Saints in 1841.
Mormon Literature, (pro et con) 1841.
“A Proclamation to the Saints Scattered Abroad,” January 15, by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith.
Twenty-three numbers of the “Times and Seasons,” published at Nauvoo.
Twelve numbers of the “Millennial Star,” published in England by Parley P. Pratt.
First European edition of the Book of Mormon, published in England, 21st January, by Elders Brigham Young, and Willard Richards.
A third edition of the “Voice of Warning” was published in Manchester, England, by Parley P. Pratt.
“A Letter to Queen Victoria of England, Touching the Signs of the Times, and the Political Destiny of the World:” in pamphlet form, by Parley P. Pratt, Manchester, England.
Five hundred copies of “An Address to the Hebrews,” in the Dutch language, by Orson Hyde. Published in Rotterdam, Holland, in July; being the first pamphlet pertaining to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, written in a foreign language.
A pamphlet containing 116 pages, 8vo., by Orson Hyde, containing “A Synopsis of the Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” addressed to the German nation in their own language.
A Small Collection of Hymns, by Christopher Merkley.
“Evidences in Proof of the Book of Mormon:” a work of 256 pages, 32 mo. Published at Batavia, New York, by Charles Thompson.
A lengthy “Address to the Citizens of Salem, Massachusetts, and Vicinity,” by Erastus Snow, and Benjamin Winchester, October.
“Gospel Reflector,” a monthly periodical, by Benjamin Winchester. published in Philadelphia.
“Proclamation and Warning to the Inhabitants of America,” by Charles Thompson.
The editor of the “Times and Seasons” noticed the following “From the ‘Upper Mississippian,’ a series of letters, entitled ‘Nauvoo Mormon Religion,’ &c., the writer no doubt intended to give a fair statement, and in the main did so; but respecting our faith (on some points), the Book of Mormon, &c., he is wide of the mark.”
An article published in the “North Staffordshire Mercury,” showing the difference between the Baptists and Latter-day Saints. Hanley, February, 16, signed “A Baptist.” Replied to by Parley P. Pratt, who showed the difference between the Baptists and Former-day-Saints.
A severe article against the Latter-day Saints, which filled several columns of fine print, was published in “Edinburgh Intelligencer” of April 7th, taken from the “Athenaeum” on the subject of the “Book of Mormon and the Latter-day Saints.” Replied to by Parley P. Pratt. May.
Mr. J. B. Rollo, of Edinburgh, Scotland, published a pamphlet entitled “Mormonism Exposed.” Replied to by Parley P. Pratt, July 10.
The “Preston Chronicle” of April 24, published a long article against the Latter-day Saints, which was replied to by Parley P. Pratt, in the “Millennial Star,” July 10.
A bitter article was published in the “Cheltenham Free Press” of August 23rd, headed “Latter-day Saints’ Swindle,” replied to by Parley P. Pratt in the “Star” of October.
“A Few Plain Facts, Showing the Folly, Wickedness and Imposition of the Rev. Timothy R. Matthews.” By George J. Adams, Bedford, England.
The St. Louis, Missouri, “Atlas” published a favorable article entitled, “The Latter-day Saints.”
The “Juliet Courier” published a favorable account of the late trial of Joseph Smith. Monmouth, June.
The “Philadelphia Saturday Courier” and the “Public Ledger” on July 10, published several articles anathematizing the Latter-day Saints.
A slanderous pamphlet entitled “Mormonism Unmasked,” by A. Gardner, of Rochdale, England.
“The Mormons—Arrest of Joe Smith” was the heading of an article published in the “New York Herald of Commerce,” and copied in many of the Eastern papers.
“The Christian Messenger and Reformer” published an account of the Latter-day Saints, collected from the book of Edward D. Howe, of Painsville, Ohio.
Thomas Sharp, editor of the “Warsaw Signal,” devoted his entire time to slandering, to lying against and misrepresenting the Latter-day Saints.
“In December, 1841, a state Democratic convention assembled at Springfield, and nominated Adam W. Snyder as the Democratic candidate for governor, to be elected in August, 1842. Mr. Snyder was a native of Pennsylvania, and a distant relative of Gov. Snyder of that state. In his early youth, he learned the trade of a fuller and woolcarder. He came to Illinois when he was about eighteen years old; settled in the French village of Cahokia: followed his trade for several years: studied law; removed to the county seat, where he commenced his profession, in which he was successful in getting practice. In 1830 he was elected to the State Senate, and was afterwards elected to Congress, from his district; and was again elected to the State Senate in 1840. Mr. Snyder was a very showy, plausible and agreeable man in conversation, and was gifted with a popular eloquence, which was considerably effective. He was a member of the Senate when the Mormon charters were passed, and had taken an active part in furthering their passage.” In fact Mr. Snyder was chairman of the Judiciary committee, to which the charters were referred, and he reported them to the Senate with a recommendation that they pass.
3. For some time there had been an agitation going on in respect of the Saints and their relationship to the politics of the State; and political capital was sought to be made by manifestations of friendliness or of hostility towards them. Although, in the main, the people of Nauvoo had sustained the Whig candidates, both locally and nationally, in the preceding election, including the Whig candidate for Congress, Mr. John J. Stuart, yet there were outbreaks against them both among the Whig politicians and in the Whig press of Illinois. “The Whig newspapers,” writes Governor Ford, in his “History of Illinois,” “teemed with accounts of the wonders and enormities of Nauvoo, and of the awful wickedness of a party which could consent to receive the support of such miscreants. Governor Duncan, [nominated in opposition to Snyder] who was really a brave, honest man, and who had nothing to do with getting the Mormon charters passed through the legislature, took the stump on this subject in good earnest, and expected to be elected governor almost on this question alone” (History of Illinois, Ford, p. 269.)
The position of the Saints in their relation to the political parties in the state of Illinois is tersely set forth by the late President John Taylor in his review of affairs at Nauvoo, leading up to the martyrdom of the Prophet; which document was prepared at the request of the Historians of the Church, and filed in the archives of the Church as the testimony of an eye witness and participant in those events. The document, under the title of “The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith,” was published by permission of the author in Tyler’s “History of the Mormon Battalion.” Of the political situation at Nauvoo—which was forming at the period to which the political announcement of the text above belongs—President Taylor says:
“There were always two parties, the Whigs and Democrats, and we could not vote for one without offending the other; and it not unfrequently happened that candidates for office would place the issue of their election upon opposition to the ‘Mormons,’ in order to gain political influence from religious prejudice, in which case the ‘Mormons’ were compelled, in self-defense, to vote against them, which resulted almost invariably against our opponents. This made them angry; and although it was of their own making, and the ‘Mormons’ could not be expected to do otherwise, yet they raged on account of their discomfiture, and sought to wreak their fury on the ‘Mormons.’ As an instance of the above, when Joseph Duncan was candidate for the office of governor of Illinois, [in the campaign to which the document in the body of the text above relates] he pledged himself to his party that, if he could be elected, he would exterminate or drive the ‘Mormons’ from the state. The consequence was that Governor Ford was elected.” (History of the Mormon Battalion, Introduction, pp. 12 and 13.)
It cannot in truth be claimed that any favor shown by the Democratic party, as such, to the Mormon people was the cause of the announcement of the above independent attitude in politics. For while Judge Douglas, a leading Democrat, had recently rendered a decision favorable to the Prophet, liberating him from the clutches of Missouri, it should be remembered that the Judge had but pronounced upon the course of the officers of the states of Missouri and Illinois and found that course at variance with the law, and there was no alternative but to set the Prophet free. But it was the law that vindicated Joseph Smith, not the favor of Judge Douglas. And then, if a Democratic Judge had decided a case in favor of the Prophet, it should be remembered that it was the act, and I might say the unwarranted, the illegal act, of a Democrat, Governor Carlin, which had put the life and liberty of the Prophet in jeopardy by issuing an illegal requisition for his arrest and deliverance to Missouri, This to show that it was not any favor that had been shown by the Democratic party, as such, that prompted the assumption of an independent attitude in politics by the Prophet; but that for weal or woe, the attitude was taken as a measure of self-defense, and for the protection of the people in whose interest it was announced.
4. Alpheus Gifford was born in Adams township, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, August 25, 1793. At the age of eighteen, having scarcely sufficient learning to enable him to read the Bible, he commenced preaching the Gospel, not for hire, but for the salvation of souls.
In 1817, he married Anna Nash, who bore him seven sons and three daughters. In the spring of 1831, hearing of the doctrines taught by Joseph Smith, he made diligent inquiry, and found they were scriptural, and was baptized and ordained a priest; he brought home five Books of Mormon which he distributed among his friends; he was then living in Tioga county, Pennsylvania. Soon after he went to Kirtland, Ohio, to see the Prophet Joseph Smith and the brethren, when he was ordained an Elder; he was accompanied by his brother Levi Elial Strong, Eleazar Miller, Enos Curtis and Abraham Brown, who were baptized on returning to Pennsylvania he preached and baptized many, among whom was Heber C. Kimball. The gifts of the Gospel were enjoyed by many; signs following those that believed, devils were cast out; the sick were healed; many prophesied; some spake with new tongues; while others interpreted the same. Mr. Calvin Gilmour, with whom Brother Gifford had previously been associated in preaching, heard him speak in tongues and interpret. Gilmour declared he understood the languages and that they were interpreted correctly, but that he would rather be damned than believe in Mormonism.
In June, 1832, Brother Gifford started for Missouri; traveled to Cincinnati and wintered there with a few Saints, who had been baptized by Lyman Wight. He arrived in Jackson county, Mo., in March, 1833, where he preached much. He was driven with the saints in the fall of that year. He removed to Clay county, and subsequently went to Kirtland, Ohio, and attended the dedication of the Temple and received the ordinances there administered. He returned to Missouri, and removed with the Saints to Far West, Caldwell county. In the winter of 1839 he was driven from Missouri. He located in the Morley settlement near Lima, Illinois, and subsequently removed five miles above Nauvoo, where he died December 25, 1841. (The above is taken from a sketch of his father’s life by Samuel K. Gifford, furnished the Church Historian in November, 1861, and filed in the History of the Church under date of December, 1841.)
5. “If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, at the most by three, and that by course, and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the Church; and let him speak to himself and to God.”
6. This reference is to Thomas Sharp, editor of the Warsaw Signal, a bitter anti-Mormon, and described by the late President John Taylor, as “a violent and unprincipled man, who shrank not from any enormity.”