Development of the Work in England—The Palestine Mission—Post-Office Name Changed from Commerce to Nauvoo.
April 7.—The brethren [President Brigham Young, et al.] found Elder John Taylor, who, in company with Joseph Fielding, had recently built up a branch of twenty-eight members in Liverpool.
April 8.—President Brigham Young and company went to Elder Richards’, at Preston, by railway; when they arrived there, they had not a single sixpence left. So emaciated was President Young at this time from his long sickness, and journey, that when Elder Richards returned home this day from a mission to Clitheroe, and found him in his room, he did not know him.
Letter of Hon. Richard M. Young to Elias Higbee.
Washington City, April 9, 1840.
Judge Elias Higbee:
Dear Sir:—Having a private opportunity, by Judge Snow, of Quincy, I have sent you two receipts, one for $50, and the other for $90, making together $140, to Mr. E. I. Philips, cashier of the branch of the State Bank of Illinois, at Quincy. When it is convenient for you to make payment, will you have the goodness to send the money to Mr. Philips, who is instructed to receive it, and apply it towards the payment of a note of mine in that bank.
I received a letter from Mr. Rigdon a few days ago. It was mailed in Philadelphia, but was dated on the inside in New Jersey. His health is gradually but slowly improving, and he thinks he will set out for home some time in May. He wished a small sum of money, $40, deposited in one of the banks here, for a gentleman in Buffalo, New York, which I have attended to according to his direction and request. I also informed him, if he stood in need of more, to call on me and it would give me pleasure to accommodate him; so you need not be uneasy on that score.
Nothing new has transpired since you left us, with the exception of the death of one of the Connecticut Senators, Mr. Thadeus Betts, who died yesterday. His funeral took place today, hence no business was transacted in the Senate. We have also lost the Cumberland Road Bill by a final vote in the Senate, 20 voting for and 22 against it; one single vote from the majority would have saved it, by making a tie. The Vice-President was exceedingly anxious for the opportunity of getting the casting vote in its favor. Mr. Clay, of Kentucky, made a speech against and voted throughout against it. Grundy, of Tennessee, Wright of New York, and Buchanan of Pennsylvania, three of the leading Democrats in the Senate voted for it. There were but seven Whigs who voted for it, and thirteen Democrats. I think we will adjourn about the first or second Monday in June.
I received from Mr. Rigdon the Petition and papers in relation to a change of postmaster at Commerce, with an affidavit from Doctor Galland, all of which have been laid before the proper department. As soon as I get an answer, it shall be communicated to you. Don’t forget to have the Times and Seasons sent to me. Give my respects to Rev. Joseph Smith, and accept for yourself my best wishes for your happiness.
Richard M. Young.
In the Times and Seasons of this month is a prospectus for publishing at Nauvoo, a weekly paper, to be called The News. 1
Orson Hyde’s Credentials as a Missionary to Palestine.
To all people unto whom these presents shall come, Greeting—
Be it known that we, the constituted authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, assembled in Conference at Nauvoo, Hancock county, and state of Illinois, on the sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty, considering an important event at hand, an event involving the interest and fate of the Gentile nations throughout the world—from the signs of the times and from declarations contained in the oracles of God, we are forced to come to this conclusion. The Jewish nations have been scattered abroad among the Gentiles for a long period; and in our estimation, the time of the commencement of their return to the Holy Land has already arrived. As this scattered and persecuted people are set among the Gentiles as a sign unto them of the second coming of the Messiah, and also of the overthrow of the present kingdoms and governments of the earth, by the potency of His Almighty arm in scattering famine and pestilence like the frosts and snows of winter, and sending the sword with nation against nation to bathe it in each other’s blood; it is highly important, in our opinion, that the present views and movements of the Jewish people be sought after and laid before the American people, for their consideration, their profit and their learning.
And feeling it to be our duty to employ the most efficient means in our power to save the children of men from “the abomination that maketh desolate,” we have, by the counsel of the Holy Spirit, appointed Elder Orson Hyde, the bearer of these presents, a faithful and worthy minister of Jesus Christ, to be our Agent and Representative in foreign lands, to visit the cities of London, Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem; and also other places that he may deem expedient; and converse with the priests, rulers, and elders of the Jews, and obtain from them all the information possible, and communicate the same to some principal paper for publication, that it may have a general circulation throughout the United States.
As Mr. Hyde has willingly and cheerfully accepted the appointment to become our servant and the servant of the public in distant and foreign countries, for Christ’s sake, we do confidently recommend him to all religious and Christian people, and to gentlemen and ladies making no profession, as a worthy member of society, possessing much zeal to promote the happiness of mankind, fully believing that they will be forward to render him all the pecuniary aid he needs to accomplish this laborious and hazardous mission for the general good of the human family.
Ministers of every denomination upon whom Mr. Hyde shall call, are requested to hold up his hands, and aid him by their influence, with an assurance that such as do this shall have the prayers and blessings of a poor and afflicted people, whose blood has flowed to test the depths of their sincerity and to crimson the face of freedom’s soil with martyr’s blood.
Mr. Hyde is instructed by this Conference to transmit to this country nothing but simple facts for publication, entirely disconnected with any peculiar views of theology, leaving each class to make their own comments and draw their own inferences.
Given under our hands at the time and place before mentioned.
Joseph Smith, Jun., Chairman.
Robert B. Thompson, Clerk.
Sunday, 12.—Several of the Twelve bore their public testimony to the Gospel in the Cock Pit, Preston.
The High Council of Nauvoo met at my house, when I proposed that Brother Hyrum Smith go east with Oliver Granger to settle some business transactions of the Church which the Council sanctioned; and voted, “that President Joseph Smith, Jun., make the necessary credentials for Oliver Granger and Hyrum Smith.”
Monday, 13.—From the second of October, 1839, to this date, there have been one hundred and forty-five shocks of earthquake in Scotland, reported by Mr. Milne to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Some of these shocks were sufficient to alter the natural levels of the ground more than two degrees, and some witnesses thought four degrees, and caused houses to rock like boats on the sea.
Ordination of Willard Richards to the Apostleship.
Tuesday, 14.—A council of the Twelve, namely, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith and John Taylor, was held at the house of Elder Willard Richards, in Preston, England, when the latter was ordained to the Apostleship,—agreeably to the revelation,—by President Young, under the hands of the quorum present. Other business was transacted, as also on the following days, all of which may be seen by reference to President Young’s letter of the 17th instant.
Wednesday, 15.—Elder Orson Hyde left Commerce for Jerusalem.
Thursday, 16.—Elder Orson Hyde met with John E. Page at Lima.
Letter of Brigham Young to the Saints of the United States—Affairs of the British Mission.
Preston, England, April 17, 1840.
To the Saints in the United States of America: For the comfort of the Church in general, in that country, I attempt to address a few lines to you, to let you know where we are, and what we are doing in this country.
The work of the Lord is progressing here, and has been ever since Elders Orson Hyde and H. C. Kimball left this country. According to the account that the Elders give of their labors, there have been about eight or nine hundred persons baptized since they left. The Gospel is spreading, the devils are roaring. As nigh as I can learn, the priests are howling, the tares are binding up, the wheat is gathering, nations are trembling, and kingdoms tottering; “men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking for those things that are coming on the earth.” The poor among men are rejoicing in the Lord, and the meek do increase their joy. The hearts of the wicked do wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
But I rejoice that I am counted worthy to be one of the number to carry salvation to the poor and meek of the earth. Brethren, I want to say many things, but I shall not have room on this paper, as I design giving the minutes of our conference below.
After a long and tedious voyage of 28 days on the water, we landed in Liverpool, Elders Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Reuben Hedlock, were in the company. We rejoiced in the Lord, and when we cast our minds upon the Saints in that country, [the United States] we could, by faith participate in their joys, realizing they were met in conference, it being the 6th day of April. We soon found a room that we could have to ourselves, which made our solemn assembly glorious. We blest each other and prepared for our labor. The next day we found Elder Taylor in the city. There had been about thirty baptized. On Wednesday went to Preston; met with the church on Sunday, and bore testimony to the things the Lord is doing in these last day’s. President Joseph Fielding gave out an appointment for a conference for the church on Wednesday, the 15th.
At a council of the Twelve, held in Preston, England, on the 14th of April, 1840, it being the 9th day of the 1st month of the 11th year of the rise of the Church of Jesus Christ, Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor and George A. Smith, being present, Elder Brigham Young was called to preside, and Elder John Taylor chosen secretary.
The council was opened by prayer by Elder Brigham Young. Elder Willard Richards was ordained to the office of an Apostle, and received into the quorum of the Twelve by unanimous vote, according to previous revelation. Elder Brigham Young was unanimously chosen as the President of the Twelve. 2
Resolved, that he who acts as the secretary of the quorum, shall prepare the minutes of the conference of the quorum, and deposit them in the hands of the president for keeping.
Moved by Elder Kimball, and seconded by Elder Richards, that twenty of the Seventies be sent for, and that it be left discretionary with the President of the Twelve to send for more if he think proper. Conference adjourned. Benediction by Elder Kimball.
At a general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in the Temperance Hall, Preston, Lancashire, England, on the 15th of April, 1840, President Joseph Fielding called upon Elder Kimball to preside, and Elder William Clayton was chosen clerk, it being the 10th day of the 1st month of the 11th year of the rise of the Church.
The meeting was opened by singing, and prayer by Elder Kimball. Elder Kimball then called upon the Elders to represent the different branches of the Church. Elder Joseph Fielding represented the church in Preston, consisting of about three hundred members, seven Elders, eight Priests, six Teachers, and two Deacons. Elder Peter Melling represented the church in Penworthan, consisting of seventy-three members, three Elders, one Priest, two Teachers. John Jackson represented the church at Southport, consisting of twenty members, one Priest, and one Teacher. Elder John Moon represented the church at Danbers Lane, and neighborhood—members generally in good standing, consisting of fifty-four members, one Elder, two Priests, three Teachers. Richard Benson, represented the church at Hunter’s Hill and neighborhood, consisting of seventeen members, one Elder, one Priest, one Teacher.
Elder Amos Fielding, represented the church at Bolton, consisting of sixty members, one Elder, two Priests, two Teachers. Elder Amos Fielding represented the church at Heskin, consisting of three members, one Elder. Elder Amos Fielding represented the Church at Radcliff, consisting of ten members. Elder Withnal represented the church at Whittle, consisting of eighteen members, one Elder, four Priests. Elder Francis Clark represented the church at Ribchester, consisting of twenty-five members, two Elders, one Priest. Elder Thomas Richardson represented the church at Burnley, consisting of twenty four members, generally in good standing, one Priest, one Teacher. Elder Francis Moon represented the church at Blackburn, consisting of fifteen members, one Priest. Elder James Smithies represented the church at Chardgley and Thornley, consisting of twenty-nine members, two Elders, one Priest, one Teacher, one Deacon.
Priest John Ellison represented the church at Waddington, consisting of fifty members, two Priests, two Teachers, one Deacon. Elder Thomas Smith represented the church at Clitheroe, consisting of twenty-seven members, one Elder, three Priests. Elder Thomas Smith represented the church at Catburn, consisting of eighty-four members, one Elder, two Priests, two Teachers, one Deacon. Elder Thomas Smith represented the church at Downham, consisting of twenty members, one Teacher, one Deacon.
Elder Thomas Smith represented the church at Gridleton, consisting of five members. Elder William Clayton represented the church at Manchester, consisting of two hundred and forty members, three Elders, five Priests, four Teachers, one Deacon. Elder William Clayton represented the church at Stockport, consisting of forty members, one Priest, two Teachers, one Deacon. Elder William Clayton represented the church at Peover and Macclesfield, consisting of thirty members, three Priests. Elder William Clayton represented the church at Duckinfield, consisting of thirty members, one Priest. Elder William Clayton represented the church at Altrincham, consisting of eight members, one Priest, one Teacher. Elder William Clayton represented the church at Middlewich, consisting of six members.
Elder David Wilding represented the church at Bury and Elton, consisting of twelve members. Elder Wilford Woodruff represented the church in the Potteries, consisting of one hundred and one members, one Elder, two Priests, four Teachers, one Deacon. Elder Wilford Woodruff represented the church at Herefordshire, consisting of one hundred and sixty members, one Elder, two Priests; about forty of them were Methodist preachers of the United Brethren.
Elder John Taylor represented the church at Liverpool, consisting of twenty-eight members. Elder Joseph Fielding represented the church at Alston, Cumberland, consisting of forty members, two Elders, two Priests, two Teachers. Elder Willard Richards represented the church at Brampton, consisting of thirty members, one Elder, one Priest. Elder Willard Richards represented the church at Redford, consisting of forty members, one Elder, one Priest. Elder Willard Richards represented the church at Scotland, consisting of twenty-one members, three Elders.
The meeting was then adjourned for one hour. The conference again assembled at half-past one o’clock. Meeting opened by prayer, and business commenced.
Elder John Moon represented the church at Layland Moss, consisting of six members, one Priest.
Elder Willard Richards having been previously ordained into the quorum of the Twelve, according to previous revelation, it was moved by Elder Young, and seconded by Elder Taylor, that Elder Hyrum Clark be appointed as a counselor to Elder Fielding, in the place of Elder Richards; carried unanimously.
Moved by Elder Fielding, seconded by Elder Young, that a hymnbook should be published; carried. Moved and seconded, that the publishing of the hymn-book shall be done by the direction of the Twelve; carried.
Moved and seconded that a monthly periodical shall be published under the direction and superintendence of the Twelve, for the benefit and information of the Church, as soon as a sufficient number of subscribers shall be obtained; carried.
Moved and seconded that Brother John Blazard, of Samsbury, be ordained to the office of a Priest; carried.
Moved and seconded that Brother James Cobridge, of Thornley, be ordained to the office of Priest; carried.
Elder Kimball then laid before the conference the importance and propriety of ordaining a Patriarch to bestow patriarchal blessings on the fatherless, &c.; referred to the Twelve, whose business it is to select one, and ordain him according to the directions of the Spirit.
After various remarks and addresses given by the Elders, President Fielding and his counselors proceeded to ordain Brothers Blazard and Cobridge to their offices, as stated above.
Elder Kimball then called upon the clerk to read over the minutes of the conference, which being done, they were received by the unanimous voice of the conference.
Moved by Elder Young, and seconded by Elder Parley P. Pratt, that this conference be adjourned until the 6th of July next, to be held in Preston, at 10 o’clock A.M.; carried. Meeting then adjourned.
H. C. Kimball, President.
Wm. Clayton, Clerk.
Council Meeting of the Twelve in England—Hymn-Book and the “Millennial Star” Projected.
The Council met pursuant to adjournment, April 16th, 1840. The number of the quorum the same as on the 14th.
Moved by Elder Young, seconded by Elder Taylor, that Elder Parley P. Pratt be chosen as the editor of the monthly periodical for the Church.
Moved by Elder Kimball, seconded by Parley P. Pratt, that a committee of three be appointed to make a selection of hymns.
Moved by Elder Orson Pratt, and seconded by Elder Wilford Woodruff, that Elders Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor form the committee for that purpose.
Moved by Elder Willard Richards, seconded by Elder George A. Smith, that the name of the paper or periodical be the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star.
Moved by Elder Brigham Young, seconded by Elder Orson Pratt, that the size of the paper, its plan, and price be left at the disposal of the editor.
Moved by Elder Brigham Young, seconded by Elder Heber C. Kimball, that the Saints receive a recommend to the Church in America to move in small or large bodies, inasmuch as they desire to emigrate to that new country.
Moved by Elder Brigham Young, seconded by Parley P. Pratt, that we recommend no one to go to America that has money, without assisting the poor according to our counsel from time to time.
Moved by Elder John Taylor, seconded by Elder Parley P. Pratt, that the copyright of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon be secured as quick as possible.
Moved by Elder Woodruff, seconded by Elder Willard Richards, that Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Parley P. Pratt be the committee to secure the copyright.
Moved by Elder Heber C. Kimball, and seconded by Elder Willard Richards, that Elder Peter Melling be ordained an evangelical minister [Patriarch] in Preston.
Moved by Elder Heber C. Kimball, that the Twelve meet here on the 6th of July next, seconded by Elder Wilford Woodruff; and carried.
Moved by Elder Willard Richards, and seconded by Elder Wilford Woodruff, that the editor of the periodical keep an account of all the receipts and expenditures connected with the printing, general expense. &c., and the books at all times be open for the inspection of the Council.
The above resolutions were unanimously adopted. The conference closed by prayer.
John Taylor, Clerk.
Letter of Brigham Young to the Prophet.
To President Joseph Smith and Counselors:
Dear Brethren:—You no doubt will have the perusal of this letter, and minutes of our conference; this will give you an idea of what we are doing in this country. If you see anything in or about the whole affair, that is not right, I ask, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you would make known unto us the mind of the Lord, and His will concerning us. I believe that I am as willing to do the will of the Lord, and take counsel of my brethren, and be a servant of the Church, as ever I was in my life; but I can tell you, I would like to be with my old friends; I like new friends, but I cannot part with my old ones for them.
Concerning the hymn-book—when we arrived here, we found the brethren had laid by their old hymn-books, and they wanted new ones; for the Bible, religion, and all is new to them. When I came to learn more about carrying books into the states, or bringing them here, I found the duties were so high that we never should want to bring books from the states.
I request one favor of you, that is, a letter from you, that I may hear from my friends. I trust that I will remain your friend through life and in eternity. As ever.
April 17.—This day the Twelve blessed and drank a bottle of wine at Penworthan, made by Mother Moon forty years before. Held a Council at her house in the evening, and ordained Peter Melling, Patriarch. 3
The following is the aggregate number of churches, official and private members represented at the above Conferences, held in Preston, England: Elders, 36; Priests, 54; Teachers, 36; Deacons, 11; members, 1,686; all contained in 34 branches.
Saturday, 18.—Elders Young, Woodruff, and George A. Smith went to Burslem, and Elders Kimball and Richards to Chaidgley.
Sunday, 19.—The High Council voted to meet at my office every Saturday at two in the afternoon.
Mission Opened in Scotland—Orson Pratt.
Monday, 20.—Elders Young and Woodruff went to Wolverhampton. About this time Elder Orson Pratt went to Edinburgh, Scotland. Elder Taylor returned to Liverpool.
Letter of Robert Johnstone to Senator Young—Postoffice Name Changed from Commerce to Nauvoo.
Postoffice Department, Appointment Office,
21st April, 1840.
Sir:—I have the honor to inform you, that the Postmaster General has this day changed the name of the postoffice at Commerce, Hancock county, Illinois, to “Nauvoo,” and appointed George W. Robinson postmaster thereof.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Second Assistant Postmaster General.
To the Hon. Richard M. Young, U.S. Senate.
Elders Young and Woodruff visited the old cathedral at Worcester on their way to Ledbury, where they arrived this night.
Letter of Senator Young to Judge Elias Higbee—Postoffice Name, etc.
Washington City, April 22, 1840.
Dear Sir:—After your departure from this city, I received, under cover from the Reverend Sidney Rigdon, the petition mentioned by you, for the appointment of George W. Robinson as postmaster at Commerce. This petition I laid before the Honorable Robert Johnstone, second assistant postmaster general, who has appointed Mr. Robinson as requested.
We found, on examination of the papers, and a letter from Dr. Gallad, that there was a request that the name of the postoffice should be changed to that of Nauvoo, a Hebrew term, signifying a beautiful place. Mr. Johnstone, at my instance, has changed the name accordingly, in the supposition that it would be agreeable to the citizens concerned. Will you please advise with the Rev. Joseph Smith and others most immediately interested, and if the change of the name to Nauvoo should not be acceptable, it can on application be restored to that of Commerce.
I received a letter from Malcolm McGregor, Esq., postmaster at Carthage, a few days ago, in which he urges the necessity of having the mail carried twice a week, between Carthage and Nauvoo, and expresses the opinion that the additional expenses would not exceed one hundred and fifty dollars, as the mail is carried on horseback. I have brought the subject before the proper department as requested by Mr. McGregor, and hope to be able to succeed; although the Postoffice Department, owing to pecuniary embarrassment, is not in a situation to extend facilities at the present time.
Please present my respects to Mr. Smith, and accept for yourself my kindest regards.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Richard M. Young.
To Judge Elias Higbee.
Wednesday, 22.—Elders Young and Woodruff organized a branch of the Church at Frooms Hill, Herefordshire.
Thursday, 23.—Elders Kimball and Richards returned to Preston. Elder Young visited at Moor Ends Cross, and 24th preached at Malvern Hill. Elder Kimball went to Eccleston and continued some day; visiting the churches around Preston.
Saturday, 25.—Elder Richards went to Manchester, found the Prospectus for the Millennial Star ready. Elder Young returned to Frooms Hill, and stayed at Brother John Benbow’s till the 30th, preaching, and writing letters to his friends in America.
Wednesday, 29.—Elders Hyde and Page were at Quincy, Illinois.
Elder Woodruff wrote as follows:
Letter of Wilford Woodruff to Don Carlos Smith—Success of Woodruff’s Ministry.
Ledbury, Herefordshire, England,
April 29, 1840.
Elders Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith:
Brethren:—As Elder Young is writing, I am privileged with a space of a few lines: knowing that our friends are desirous to hear of the work of the Lord in this land, I make the following remarks concerning the mercy of God and my labors.
Since I last wrote you, (I wrote you a lengthy letter, dated February 27th, in which I gave you an account of my travels, voyage, and labors from the time I left Montrose unto the date of my letter, which I trust you have received,) I continued laboring in Staffordshire until the first of March, when I felt it to be the will of the Lord that I should go more to the south part of England. I left the care of the Staffordshire church in the hands of Elder Turley, and traveled eighty miles south, in a region where the word had not been preached. I commenced preaching near Ledbury, Herefordshire; this is about forty miles from Bristol, forty from Birmingham, fourteen from Worcester, one hundred and twenty from London. As soon as I began to teach, many received my testimony. I there preached one month and five days, and baptized the superintendent of the church of the United Brethren, a branch of the Methodist church, and with him 45 preachers, mostly of the same order; and about 114 members, making 160 in all. This put into my hands, or under my care, more than forty established places of preaching, licensed according to law, including one or two chapels. This opened a large field for the spread of the work in this country.
Among the number baptized are some of most all churches and classes as well as preachers. There is one constable, and one clerk of the Church of England, with numbers of their members. But in the midst of my labors I received a letter stating that the Twelve had just arrived and wished me to come to Preston, and meet with them in conference. Consequently I traveled 160 miles to Preston and was once more permitted to strike hands with my brethren from America, and sit in conference with them, the minutes of which you have.
After conference I returned to Herefordshire in company with Elder Brigham Young. We have again commenced our labors here, and there will be many baptized in this region. I have now more than 200 on my list, and scores are now waiting for an opportunity to receive the ordinance of baptism; and the work is progressing in all parts of this country where it is faithfully proclaimed. I understand that Elders Wright and Mulliner are opening some permanent doors in Scotland; and we have many calls through many parts of this country, even more than we are able to fill.
I desire the prayers of the Saints; that I may have wisdom and grace according to my day, and do the work of God in meekness and humility.
Thursday, 30.—Elders Young, Woodruff, and Richards met at Elder Kington’s, at Dymock.
Letter of Elders Hyde and Page to the Prophet—Plans for the Palestine Mission.
Columbus, May 1, 1840.
Sir:—The mission upon which we are sent swells greater and greater. As there is a great work to be done in Germany, as manifested to us by the Spirit, the following plan has been suggested to us; viz., to write a set of lectures upon the faith and doctrine of our Church, giving a brief history of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and an account of its contents in as clear and plain a style as possible; together with the outlines and organization and government of the Church of Latter-day Saints, drawn from the Doctrine and Covenants with all the wisdom and care possible; and get the same translated into German, and publish it when we arrive in Germany, and scatter it through the German empire. Is this correct? Should we consider it necessary to translate the entire Book of Mormon into German, and Doctrine and Covenants too, are we or are we not at liberty to do so? Should we deem it necessary to publish an edition of hymn-books in any country, are we at liberty to do it? The fact is, we need such works, and we cannot get them from the church here; and if we could, we could not well carry them with us, at least in any quantity.
We feel that we are acting under the direction of the Presidency of the Church; and the reason that we make these inquiries, is, that we do not wish to step beyond our limits, or bring ourselves into a snare and dishonor by taking liberties that are not ours. We feel that all our exertions and interests shall become subservient to building up the Kingdom of God. We wish to be co-workers with you and with the Spirit of the Lord. We did not converse so much upon these literary works as we should have done before we left. The fact is, we did not begin to see the greatness of our mission before we left home; our minds were in a nutshell.
It seems to us that we should spread this work among all people, languages and tongues, so far as possible; and gather up all jewels among the Jews besides. Who is sufficient for these things?
As agents for the Church abroad, and as co-workers with yourself, in spreading this kingdom to the remotest corners of the earth, are we at liberty to translate and publish any works that we may think necessary, or that the circumstances in which we are placed seem to require whether original, or works published by the Church? If we are not at liberty to take this wide range, please tell us how far we may go.
We are setting this great work before the people as an inducement to them to help us. If we are setting our standard too high, a word from you will bring it down. We have held a two days’ meeting in this place; but in consequence of continual rains, which swelled the creeks so high, the people could not get to us. The meeting was four miles from Columbus; one only baptized.
We have now an opportunity to ride as far east as Indiana, beyond the metropolis, and have the privilege to stop and preach by the way. Will you write to us at Cincinnati, and much oblige
Your brethren in the Kingdom of God,
John E. Page.
P. S.—Will you please send word to Marinda, that I want her to write to me at Cincinnati, Ohio. Please bear it in mind and oblige thy friend.
Commotions in the World.
Friday, May 1.—The town of Baji, in the county of Baes, on the river Danube, was almost totally destroyed by fire; about two thousand houses were burnt, with the palace, several churches, and all the great corn magazines; leaving about sixteen thousand inhabitants destitute. The plague is raging in the East—at Silistria, Broussa, Alexandria, Aleppo, &c. ; and wars and rumors of wars in Spain, Mexico and South American governments; French and Arabs in Africa, Russia and Circassia, Egypt, England and the East Indies, and the Canada Revolution; all betoken the fulfillment of prophecy.
Thursday, 7.—The city of Natchez was this day to a great extent destroyed, almost in a moment, by a whirlwind, storm and tempest. It is reported that sixty boats sunk, houses and churches blown to atoms, more than three hundred persons killed, and $5,000,000 of property destroyed; nearly the whole country on the Mississippi for 1,100 miles from its mouth is under water.
Letter of Brigham Young to the Prophet—Affairs of the British Mission.
Lugwardine, Herefordshire, England,
May 7, 1840.
Brother Joseph Smith:—Through the mercy of our heavenly Father, I am alive and in pretty good health; better than I should have been, had I remained in America. I trust that you and family are well, and I ask my heavenly Father that we may live forever; but not to be chased about by mobs, but live to enjoy each other’s society in peace. I long to see the faces of my friends again in that country once more, It is better for me to be here, because the Lord has called me to this great work, but it is hard for me to be parted from my old friends whom I have proved to be willing to lay down their lives for each other. I feel as though the Lord would grant me the privilege of sometime seeing my old friends in America. Give my best wishes to your wife. I remember her in my prayers, and also Father and Mother Smith. I remember the time when I first saw Mother Smith, and the trials she had when the work of the Lord first commenced in her family. I beg to be remembered to Brother Rigdon and family, also to Brother Hyrum and family, and to all the faithful in Christ.
The brethren that have come from America are all well and doing well. I want to ask some questions. Shall we print the Book of Mormon in this country immediately? They are calling for it from every quarter. The duties are so high on books, we need not think of bringing them from America. Another question, is the Book of Doctrine and Covenants to be printed just as it is now, to go to the nations of the earth; and shall we give it to them as quickly as we can? Or what shall we do? Will the Twelve have to be together to do business as a quorum? Or shall they do business in the name of the Church? Why I ask this is for my own satisfaction; if the Lord has a word for us, for one I am willing to receive it.
I wish you to write as soon as you receive this, and let me know about the Book of Mormon, whether we shall proceed to publish it immediately or not, or whether we shall do according to our feelings. If I should act according to my feelings, I should hand the Book of Mormon to this people as quickly as I could. The people are very different in this country from what the Americans are. They say it cannot be possible that men should leave their homes and come so far, unless they were truly the servants of the Lord; they do not seem to understand argument; simple testimony is enough for them; they beg and plead for the Book of Mormon, and were it not for the priests, the people would follow after the servants of the Lord and inquire what they should do to be saved. The priests feel just as they did in the days of the Savior. If they let “this sect alone, all men will believe on them, and the Romans will come and take away our place and nation.”
I wish you would tell me how Cousin Lemuel gets along with his business, and all the boys on the half-breed track, and the whole breed. I think a great deal about our friends, families, and possessions. I look for the time when the Lord will speak so that the hearts of the rebellious will be pierced. You will remember the words of the Savior to His disciples; He says, to you is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them that are without, all things are in parables.
The brethren here are very anxious to emigrate to that country; some want to come this fall: where shall they go? Their customs are different from ours, and it would be more pleasant for them to settle by themselves. Almost without exception it is the poor that receive the Gospel. I think there will be some [who will go] over this fall. My counsel to such as intend to go is, that they go to the western states, where they can live among the farmers and wait for orders from the authorities of the Church, and all will be well.
You must excuse my bad writing. I have only caught at ideas. I want to know about the brethren’s coming over this fall. I think some of us will come. We shall send our papers to you, and to a number of the rest of the brethren. I wish you would have the goodness to give me a pretty general knowledge of the Church, for I feel for them, and pray for them continually. We need help very much in this country. One American can do more here than a number of Elders who are raised up here by the preaching of the Gospel. We have sent for some to come. I wish you would encourage them to come as quickly as they can.
If we could go four ways at a time, we could not fill all the calls we have for preaching. I shall expect such counsel from you about the Elders coming as you shall think necessary for us and them to have. I wish to know what the prospect is about the government’s doing anything for us. When we left New York I thought there was but a poor chance for us.
Concerning calling Seventies and sending them to other countries, I should like to know whether it would be proper to ordain them to that office or not while here. Had any of us better come back this fall? I suppose that some that come over with us will return; Brothers Clark and Hedlock, and Brother Turley if the latter gets at liberty. I suppose you have heard that he is in prison. He has been there ever since my arrival in England, and how long he will remain the Lord only knows. He was put there through the influence of a priest, as nigh as I can learn, for some old pretended claim, but no one can find out what that claim is.
I have just met with Brother Woodruff; he tells me that the Church in this region of country numbers between three and four hundred; it is only about three months since Brother Woodruff commenced to labor here. I have just received a letter from Brother Turley, which states he expects to leave his place the next day. Brother Woodruff sends his respects.
I am as ever,
Release of Elder Turley from prison.
Saturday, 9.—Elder Theodore Turley was released from Stafford jail, where he had been confined since his arrest on the 16th of March last, at the instigation of John Jones, a Methodist preacher, on the pretense of a claim arising under a partnership with another man fifteen years ago, before he left England; but the real object was to stop his preaching. He was without provisions for several days, but the poor Saints in the Potteries, on learning his condition, supplied his wants, some of the sisters actually walking upwards of twenty miles to relieve him. He preached several times to the debtors, was visited by Elders Woodruff, Richards, George A. Smith, A. Cordon, and others, and was dismissed from prison on his persecutors ascertaining their conduct was about to be exposed. This rather encouraged than disheartened the Elders, as I had told them on their leaving Nauvoo, to be of good courage, for some of them would have to look through grates before their return.
Thursday, 14.—The papers of this date report that the island of Ternate 4 was nearly ruined by earthquakes on the 14th and 15th February, 1840.
Letter of the Prophet to Elders Hyde and Page—Palestine Mission Considered.
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, May 14th, 1840.
To Orson Hyde and John E. Page:
Dear Brethren:—I am happy in being informed by your letter that your mission swells “larger and larger.” It is a great and important mission, and one that is worthy those intelligences who surround the throne of Jehovah to be engaged in. Although it appears great at present, yet you have but just begun to realize the greatness, the extent and glory of the same. If there is anything calculated to interest the mind of the Saints, to awaken in them the finest sensibilities, and arouse them to enterprise and exertion, surely it is the great and precious promises made by our heavenly Father to the children of Abraham; and those engaged in seeking the outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah, cannot fail to enjoy the Spirit of the Lord and have the choicest blessings of Heaven rest upon them in copious effusions.
Brethren, you are in the pathway to eternal fame, and immortal glory: and inasmuch as you feel interested for the covenant people of the Lord, the God of their fathers shall bless you. Do not be discouraged on account of the greatness of the work; only be humble and faithful, and then you can say, “What art thou, O great mountain! before Zerubbabel shalt thou be brought down.” He who scattered Israel has promised to gather them; therefore inasmuch as you are to be instrumental in this great work, He will endow you with power, wisdom, might, and intelligence, and every qualification necessary; while your minds will expand wider and wider, until you can circumscribe the earth and the heavens, reach forth into eternity, and contemplate the mighty acts of Jehovah in all their variety and glory.
In answer to your inquiries respecting the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, hymn-book, history of the Church, &c., &c., I would say that I entirely approve of the same, and give my consent, with the exception of the hymn book, as a new edition, containing a greater variety of hymns, will be shortly published or printed in this place, which I think will be a standard work. As soon as it is printed, you shall have some sent to you, which you may get translated, and printed into any language you please.
Should we not be able to send some to you, and there should be a great call for hymn books where you may be, then I should have no objection to your publishing the present one. Were you to publish the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or hymn-book, I desire the copyrights of the same to be secured in my name.
With respect to publishing any other work, either original, or those which have been published before, you will be governed by circumstances; if you think necessary to do so, I shall have no objection whatever. It will be well to study plainness and simplicity in whatever you publish, “for my soul delighteth in plainness.”
I feel much pleased with the spirit of your letter—and be assured, dear brethren, of my hearty co-operation, and my prayers for your welfare and success. In answer to your inquiry in a former letter, relative to the duty of the Seventies in regulating churches, &c., I say that the duties of the Seventies are more particularly to preach the Gospel, and build up churches, rather than regulate them, that a High Priest may take charge of them. If a High Priest should be remiss in his duty, and should lead, or suffer the church to be led astray, depart from the ordinances of the Lord, then it is the duty of one of the Seventies, acting under the special direction of the Twelve, being duly commissioned by them with their delegated authority, to go to the church, and if agreeable to a majority of the members of said church, to proceed to regulate and put in order the same; otherwise, he can have no authority to act.
Joseph Smith, Jun.
Letter of Willard Richards to the Editor of the Millennial Star—Reporting Labors.
Ledbury, Herefordshire, May 15th, 1840.
To the Editor of the Millennial Star:
Beloved Brother:—Two weeks ago this day, I parted with Brothers Young and Woodruff in this place, taking different locations in this part of the vineyard, originally opened by Brother Woodruff, and after visiting various places in Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire, preaching daily, talking night and day, and administering the ordinances of the Gospel as directed by the Spirit, we have again this day found ourselves together, and Elder Kington in our midst (he is devoted wholly to the ministry). By comparing minutes we find there have been in these two weeks about 112 baptized; 200 confirmed; 2 Elders, about 20 Priests, and 1 Teacher ordained; and the Church in these regions now numbers about 320. The branches are small, the brethren much scattered; consequently the field is so large that the reapers cannot call to each other from side to side, neither can they often see each other without a telescope.
There are many doors open which we cannot fill; calls for preaching on almost every hand, which we cannot answer. Oh! that the Saints would pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers!
I have this day received a letter from my sister in Massachusetts, giving me the intelligence of the death of my aged father. The work of the Lord is rolling forth in that part of the land, such intelligence as this from our native land makes our hearts rejoice, even in affliction.
Your brother in the everlasting covenant,
1. It was announced in the Prospectus that the News would “take perfectly neutral ground, in regard to politics, and it is the fixed determination of the publishers to studiously avoid all party strife, and political wranglings which are so prevalent at the present time.” The News, however, never materialized.
2. President Young was also President of the Twelve by virtue of seniority of ordination into the quorum. When the quorum of the Twelve was first organized the members took their place according to age. This arrangement brought Thomas B. Marsh to the head of the quorum, and made him President. After this first arrangement, however, the members of the quorum took their place in it according to seniority of ordination, not of age. (See Volume 2 this work, pp. 219, 220, and notes). Brigham Young was the second man ordained into the quorum, Lyman E. Johnson being the first. As Lyman E. Johnson was excommunicated from the church at Far West in 1838, Brigham Young was President of the Twelve by virtue of his seniority of ordination as well as by the choice of his brethren. Indeed the choice of the brethren mentioned in the text can only be regarded as an act recognizing the fact of his presidency by virtue of his seniority of ordination. It may be of interest to remark also, that at the time there was but one man in the quorum President Young’s senior by age, namely, John E. Page, born in 1799, and ordained an Apostle in 1838.
3. Peter Melling was the first patriarch ordained in a foreign land, that is, a foreign land from America where the latter-day dispensation of the Gospel was opened. He was the son of Peter Melling, born in Preston, England, on the 14th day of February, 1787. He was, therefore, in his 64th year. He was evidently a man of great force of character, for he proceeded at once with great diligence and ability to fulfill the duties of his high office, all of which is evidenced by the record of the Patriarchal blessings given under his hands, and now in the Historian’s office.