The Return of a Prodigal—Conditions in Kirtland—Progress of the Work in Great Britain—The Coming of John C. Bennett.
Extract of a Letter from Elder William Barratt.
Deptford, 1 July 15, 1840.
Dear Brother In Christ:—I write to inform you of my arrival in the metropolis this morning, after a tedious journey in the midst of much profaneness and swearing, such as I never heard in my life before. I feel, as the Apostle expresses it, like a lamb among wolves, going into a land of strangers to preach the Gospel; therefore I desire your prayers in my behalf. I have witnessed much of the spirit of revelation since Sunday; in fact, I only thought it a mere thought, when the Elders testified that they were called by revelation; but now I know the truth of the assertion, which proves to me who ought to preach, and that none ought, without they are called by revelation.
Give my love to all the Saints, and tell them that as many as remain faithful I will meet in Zion, bringing my sheaves with me. Tell them my faith is fixed, and my resolution is strong to meet you all there, whom I love in the Lord. Pray that a door may be opened, and that a gift of utterance may be given unto me in a foreign land to preach the Gospel. Brethren, sorrow not for me, as those that have no hope, for we have a hope of living and eating together in the kingdom of our God.
Friday, 17.—By my suggestion, High Council voted that Samuel Bent and George W. Harris go on a mission to procure money for printing certain books.
Saturday, 18.—Elias Smith was ordained a Bishop.
Sunday, 19.—An answer to Brigham Young’s letter of the 17th of May was sent by Lorenzo Snow, 2 which gave the Twelve permission to publish the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and hymn-book, but not to ordain any into the quorum of the Seventies; and likewise some general instructions.
Monday, 20.—Elder John Moon and company arrived in New York being the first arrival of Saints in America.
The Prophet’s Letter to William W. Phelps—Welcoming him back into the Church. 3
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, July 22, 1840.
Dear Brother Phelps:—I must say that it is with no ordinary feelings I endeavor to write a few lines to you in answer to yours of the 29th ultimo; at the same time I am rejoiced at the privilege granted me.
You may in some measure realize what my feelings, as well as Elder Rigdon’s and Brother Hyrum’s were, when we read your letter—truly our hearts were melted into tenderness and compassion when we ascertained your resolves, &c. I can assure you I feel a disposition to act on your case in a manner that will meet the approbation of Jehovah’ (whose servant I am), and agreeable to the principles of truth and righteousness which have been revealed; and inasmuch as long-suffering, patience, and mercy have ever characterized the dealings of our heavenly Father towards the humble and penitent, I feel disposed to copy the example, cherish the same principles, and by so doing be a savior of my fellow men.
It is true, that we have suffered much in consequence of your behavior—the cup of gall, already full enough for mortals to drink, was indeed filled to overflowing when you turned against us. One with whom we had oft taken sweet counsel together, and enjoyed many refreshing seasons from the Lord—”had it been an enemy, we could have borne it.” “In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day when strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon [Far West], even thou wast as one of them; that thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother, in the day that he became a stranger, neither shouldst thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.”
However, the cup has been drunk, the will of our Father has been done, and we are yet alive, for which we thank the Lord. And having been delivered from the hands of wicked men by the mercy of our God, we say it is your privilege to be delivered from the powers of the adversary, be brought into the liberty of God’s dear children, and again take your stand among the Saints of the Most High, and by diligence, humility, and love unfeigned, commend yourself to our God, and your God, and to the Church of Jesus Christ.
Believing your confession to be real, and your repentance genuine, I shall be happy once again to give you the right hand of fellowship, and rejoice over the returning prodigal.
Your letter was read to the Saints last Sunday, and an expression of their feeling was taken, when it was unanimously
Resolved, That W. W. Phelps should be received into fellowship.
“Come on, dear brother, since the war is past,
For friends at first, are friends again at last.”
Yours as ever,
Joseph Smith, Jun.
Credentials of Elders Samuel Bent and George W. Harris.
To all whom it may concern:—This is to certify that Elders Samuel Bent and George W. Harris are authorized agents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, being appointed by the First Presidency and High Council of said Church to visit the branches of the Church in the east, or wherever they may be led in the providence of God, to obtain donations and subscriptions for the purpose of printing the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, hymn-books, the new translation of the Scriptures. They are likewise instructed and authorized to procure loans in behalf of the Church, for carrying into operation the above and other important works necessary to the well being of said Church.
From our long acquaintance with these our beloved brethren, their long, tried friendship under circumstances the most trying and painful, their zeal for the cause of truth, and their strict morality and honesty we most cheerfully recommend them to the Saints of the Most High. Any statements they may make relative to their mission may be implicitly relied upon, and any loans which they may obtain, will be considered binding on the Church. And we do hope the Saints will do all in their power to effect the object proposed, and lift up the hands of our beloved brethren who have cheerfully come forward to engage in a work so great and important.
Joseph Smith, Jun., President. Hyrum Smith,
William Marks, Newel Knight,
Elias Higbee, Alpheus Cutler.
David Dort, Henry G. Sherwood,
Charles C. Rich, David Fullmer,
Seymour Brunson, Thomas Grover,
William Huntington, Lewis D. Wilson.
The Prophet’s Letter to Oliver Granger—Dealing Chiefly with Affairs at Kirtland.
Dear Sir:—It was with great pleasure I received your and Brother Richards’ letter, dated New York, June 23, 1840, and was very happy to be informed of your safe arrival in that place, and your probability of success; and I do hope that your anticipations will be realized, and that you will be enabled to free the Lord’s House from all incumbrances, and be prospered in all your undertakings for the benefit of the Church; and pray that while you are exerting your influence to bring about an object so desirable, that the choicest blessings of heaven may rest down upon you, while you are endeavoring to do so, and attending to the duties laid upon you by the authorities of the Church in this place.
I am sorry to be informed not only in your letter, but from other respectable sources, of the strange conduct pursued in Kirtland by Elder Almon W. Babbitt. I am indeed surprised that a man having the experience which Brother Babbitt has had, should take any steps whatever, calculated to destroy the confidence of the brethren in the Presidency or any of the authorities of the Church.
In order to conduct the affairs of the Kingdom in righteousness, it is all important that the most perfect harmony, kind feeling, good understanding, and confidence should exist in the hearts of all the brethren; and that true charity, love one towards another, should characterize all their proceedings. If there are any uncharitable feelings, any lack of confidence, then pride, arrogance and envy will soon be manifested; confusion must inevitably prevail, and the authorities of the Church set at naught; and under such circumstances, Kirtland cannot rise and free herself from the captivity in which she is held, and become a place of safety for the Saints, nor can the blessings of Jehovah rest upon her.
If the Saints in Kirtland deem me unworthy of their prayers when they assemble together, and neglect to bear me up at the throne of heavenly grace, it is a strong and convincing proof to me that they have not the Spirit of God. If the revelations we have received are true, who is to lead the people? If the keys of the Kingdom have been committed to my hands, who shall open out the mysteries thereof?
As long as my brethren stand by me and encourage me, I can combat he prejudices of the world, and can bear the contumely and abuse with joy; but when my brethren stand aloof, when they begin to faint, and endeavor to retard my progress and enterprise, then I feel to mourn, but am no less determined to prosecute my task, being confident that although my earthly friends may fail, and even turn against me, yet my Heavenly Father will bear me off triumphant.
However, I hope that even in Kirtland there are some who do not make a man an offender for a word, but are disposed to stand forth in defense of righteousness and truth, and attend to every duty enjoined upon them; and who will have wisdom to direct them against any movement or influence calculated to bring confusion and discord into the camp of Israel, and to discern between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
It would be gratifying to my mind to see the Saints in Kirtland flourish, but think the time is not yet come; and I assure you it never will until a different order of things be established and a different spirit manifested. When confidence is restored, when pride shall fall, and every aspiring mind be clothed with humility as with a garment, and selfishness give place to benevolence and charity, and a united determination to live by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord is observable, then, and not till then, can peace, order and love prevail.
It is in consequence of aspiring men that Kirtland has been forsaken. How frequently has your humble servant been envied in his office by such characters, who endeavored to raise themselves to power at his expense, and seeing it impossible to do so, resorted to foul slander and abuse, and other means to effect his overthrow. Such characters have ever been the first to cry out against the Presidency, and publish their faults and foibles to the four winds of heaven.
I cannot forget the treatment I received in the house of my friends. These things continually roll across my mind, and cause me much sorrow of heart; and when I think that others who have lately come into the Church should be led to Kirtland instead of to this place, by Elder Babbitt; and having their confidence in the authorities lessened by such observations as he (Elder Babbitt) has thought proper to make, as well as hearing all the false reports and exaggerated accounts of our enemies—I must say that I feel grieved in spirit, and cannot tolerate such proceedings—neither will I; but will endeavor to disabuse the minds of the Saints, and break down all such unallowed proceedings.
It was something new to me when I heard there had been secret meetings held in the Lord’s House, and that some of my friends—faithful brethren—men enjoying the confidence of the Church, should be locked out. Such proceedings are not calculated to promote union, or peace, but to engender strife; and will be a curse instead of a blessing. To those who are young in the work, I know they are calculated to be, and must be, injurious. Those who have had experience, and who should know better than to reflect on their brethren—there is no excuse for them.
If Brother Babbitt and the other brethren wish to reform the Church, and come out and make a stand against sin and speculation, &c., they must use other weapons than lies, or their object can never be effected; and their labors will be given to the house of the stranger, rather than to the House of the Lord.
The proceedings of Brother Babbitt were taken into consideration at a meeting of the Church at this place, when it was unanimously resolved, that fellowship should be withdrawn from him until he make satisfaction for the course he has pursued: of which circumstance I wish you to apprise him without delay, and demand his license.
Dear sir, I wish you to stand in your lot, and keep the station which was given you by revelation and the authorities of the Church. Attend to the affairs of the Church with diligence, and then rest assured of the blessings of heaven. It is binding on you to act as president of the Church in Kirtland, until you are removed by the same authority which put you in; and I do hope there will be no cause for opposition, but that good feeling will be manifested in future by all the brethren.
Brother Burdick’s letter to Brother Hyrum was duly received, for which he has our best thanks; it was indeed an admirable letter, and worthy of its author. The sentiments expressed were in accordance with the spirit of the Gospel, and the principles are correct.
I am glad that Brother Richards has continued with you, and hope he has been of some service to you. Give my love to him.
Our prospects in this place continue good. Considerable numbers have come in this spring. There were some bickerings respecting your conduct soon after your departure, but they have all blown over, and I hope there will never be any occasion for any more; but that you will commend yourself to God and to the Saints by a virtuous walk and holy conversation.
I had a letter from William W. Phelps a few days ago, informing me of his desire to come back to the Church, if we would accept of him. He appears very humble, and is willing to make every satisfaction that Saints or God may require.
We expect to have an edition of the Book of Mormon printed by the first of September; it is now being stereotyped in Cincinnati.
I am, &c., &c.,
Joseph Smith, Jun.
A Jew’s Memorial.
An interesting memorial concerning the Jews, “To the Protestant Powers of Europe and America,” signed and sealed in London the 8th of January, 1839, may be found in the Millennial Star, Vol. I, No. 6. 4
Sunday, 24.—Elder William Donaldson, member of the British army bound for the East Indies, writes from Chatham, 24th of July, “We go on board tomorrow. I have had a glorious vision about going into the land of Egypt.”
Letter of John C. Bennett to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon—Announcing His Intention to Join the Saints.
Fairfield, Illinois, July 25, 1840.
Reverend and Dear Friends:—The last time I wrote you was during the pendency of your difficulties with the Missourians. You are aware that at that time I held the office of “Brigadier-General of the Invincible Dragoons” of this state, and proffered you my entire energies for your deliverance from a ruthless and savage, though cowardly foe; but the Lord came to your rescue, and saved you with a powerful arm. I am happy to find that you are now in a civilized land, and in the enjoyment of peace and happiness.
Some months ago I resigned my office with an intention of removing to your town, and joining your people; but hitherto I have been prevented. I hope, however, to remove to Commerce, and unite with your Church next spring. I believe I should be much happier with you. I have many things to communicate which I would prefer doing orally; and I propose to meet you in Springfield on the first Monday in December next, as I shall be there at the time on state and United States business.
If I remove to Commerce, I expect to follow my profession, and to that end I enclose you a slip from the Louisville Journal, to give you an idea of my professional standing.
On the first of this month I was appointed to the office of “Quartermaster-General of the State of Illinois,” which office I expect to hold some years.
I hope you are all quite well. In haste. Write me immediately.
John C. Bennett. 5
To Messrs. Smith and Rigdon.
Letter of John C. Bennett to Messrs. Smith and Rigdon—Making Further Tender of his Services to the Church
Fairfield, Illinois, July 27, 1840.
To the Reverends Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun.:
Respected Friends:—I wrote you a few days ago from this place, but my great desire to be with you and your people prompts me to write again at this time; and I hope it will not be considered obtrusive by friends whom I have always so highly esteemed as yourselves.
At the last District and Circuit Court of the United States, holden at Springfield, in June last, I had the honor of being on the grand inquest of the United States for the District of Illinois, and hoped to have seen you there; but was quite disappointed. I attended the meeting of your people opposite Mr. Lowry’s hotel, but did not make myself known, as I had no personal acquaintance in the congregation.
It would be my deliberate advice to you to concentrate all of your Church at one point. If Hancock county, with Commerce for its commercial emporium, is to be that point, well; fix upon it, and let us cooperate with a general concerted action. You can rely upon me in any event. I am with you in spirit, and will be in person as soon as circumstances permit, and immediately if it is your desire. Wealth is no material object with me. I desire to be happy, and am fully satisfied that can enjoy myself better with your people, with my present views and feelings, than with any other. I hope that time will soon come when your people will become my people, and your God my God.
At the time of your peril and bitter persecution in Missouri, you are aware I proffered you my utmost energies, and had not the conflict terminated so speedily, I should have been with you then. God be thanked for your rescue from the hand of a savage, but cowardly foe!
I do not expect to resign my office of “Quartermaster-General of the State of Illinois” in the event of my removal to Commerce, unless you advise otherwise. I shall likewise expect to practice my profession; but at the same time your people shall have all the benefit of my speaking powers, and my untiring energies in behalf of the good and holy faith. Un necessariis unitas, in non necessariis libertas, in omnibus charitas, 6 shall be my motto with—Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re. 7
Be so good as to inform me substantially of the population of Commerce and Hancock county, the face of the country, climate, soil, health, &c., &c. How many of your people are concentrated there? Please to write me in full immediately. Louisville paper will accompany this; please inquire for it.
With sentiments of profound respect and esteem, suffer me to subscribe myself,
John C. Bennett.
Elder John Taylor sailed for Ireland from Liverpool. 8
Letter of the Prophet to Horace R. Hotchkiss—Rock River Lands and the White Purchase.
Nauvoo, July 28, 1840.
Horace R. Hotchkiss, Esq.:
Dear Sir:—I acknowledge the receipt of yours of last month, giving me the numbers of the land on Rock River, which you felt disposed to sell. In reply to which I have to say, that we have not yet examined the land, and consequently have not arrived at any conclusion respecting it; but it is probable that some of my friends will visit it this fall, and if we should think it wisdom to locate there, or on the other tract, you will be informed of the same, and arrangements entered into.
I am sorry that your health has been so poor, but hope, ere this, you are perfectly recovered. It would afford me great pleasure indeed, could I hold out any prospect of the two notes due next month being met at maturity, or even this fall. Having had considerable difficulty (necessarily consequent on a new settlement) to contend with, as well as poverty and considerable sickness, our first payment will be probably somewhat delayed, until we again get a good start in the world; and I am happy to say, the prospect is indeed favorable. Under these circumstances we shall have to claim your indulgence, which I have no doubt will be extended. However, every exertion on our part shall be made to meet the demands against us, so that if we cannot accomplish all we wish to, it will be our misfortune, and not our fault. Notwithstanding the impoverished condition of our people, and the adverse circumstances under which we have had to labor, I hope we shall eventually rise above them, and again enjoy the blessings of health, peace, and plenty.
You were informed in a former letter that we had paid Mr. William White the one thousand dollars specified in your bond; a few days ago he called at this place and agreed to give us a deed for the ninety acres, (less one-half acre), providing I would give him an identifying bond, and pay the interest due from you to him on the one thousand dollars, which I agreed to do. I have therefore got the deed for the land, and paid him the interest. My reasons for so doing were these: there are some who wish to purchase lots, providing they can get a good title deed for the same, and who would be induced to make purchases and make an effort to raise money, for the sake of getting a deed; which effort they would not be so likely to make if we could only give them a bond. This I think will work both to your advantage and ours, and hope that we shall be able by and by to make some cash sales.
I hope this arrangement with Mr. White will meet your approbation, although it is a departure from the common rules of business; but was induced to do so from the advantages which will result from it, which I hope will be mutual. The amount of interest paid to Mr. White, after deducting $61.50, which was coming from him to you for rents, was eighty-four dollars and forty cents. Mr. White told us that you agreed to pay him as much interest for the money as he could get elsewhere. We accordingly (in good faith) allowed him at the rate of ten per cent. Hoping the course pursued will meet your approbation.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Joseph Smith, Jun.
P. S.—You will recollect the verbal agreement entered into by us, that the notes for the interest would not be exacted for at least five years. Notwithstanding which, we use our endeavors to meet them as fast as possible, and think that when I have the pleasure of seeing you again, you will be fully satisfied with the course we have taken, and our endeavors to meet all our engagements.
J. S., Jun.
Letter of John C. Bennett to Messrs. Smith and Rigdon—Expressing Anxiety to be with the Saints.
Fairfield, Wayne County, Illinois, July 30th, 1840.
To Reverends Sidney Rigdon, and Joseph Smith, Jun.
Respected Friends:—It is with difficulty that I can forego the felicity of an immediate immersion into the true faith of your beloved people. I have written you several letters, and forwarded you several newspapers to Commerce, which I hope will be duly received, as they contain some matters of importance.
Is Nauvoo, or Commerce, to be the general point of concentration for the Mormon people? For at that point I desire to locate, and ever remain. My anxiety to be with you is daily increasing, and I shall wind up my professional business immediately, and proceed to your blissful abode, if you think it best.
Look at all my letters and papers and write me forthwith. You are aware that at the time of your most bitter persecutions, I was with you in feeling, and proffered you my military knowledge and prowess. My faith is still strong. I believe the God of the whole earth will avenge your wrong in time as well as in eternity.
O my friends, go on and prosper; and may the God of all grace save you with an everlasting salvation.
J. C. Bennett.
Saturday, August 1.—In the Times and Seasons of this month I find the following:
A voice from the holy city—rebuilding of the temple of Solomon—Recall of the people of God to the land of Judah.
We have received by the last packet from England, a copy of a very extraordinary “Circular” issued by the Jews, now residing at Jerusalem, and addressed to all the descendants of Abraham to the uttermost ends of the earth. It is written in the pure Hebrew character, and accompanied with an English translation, which we annex as matter of the deepest curiosity to the people of this country. Next week, if we possibly can, we shall publish the original Hebrew in a double sheet, but at present we must content ourselves with the translation.—Morning Herald.
“To our Brethren the Israelites of Europe and America:
“The liberal and benevolent contributors towards every holy and pious purpose—ready to stand in the breach and evince their love for the Land of Promise: to the well-wishers of Jerusalem, and friends of Zion (dearer to us than life) who extend their bounteous aid to this Holy City, and devote their best means, in love and affection, ‘to take pity on her stones, and show mercy to her dust.’ To the illustrious and excellent Rabbies—to their worthy and distinguished Assessors—to the noble Chiefs and faithful Leaders of Israel; to all congregations devoted o the Lord, and to every member thereof—health, life, and prosperity. May the Lord vouchsafe His protection unto them; may they rejoice and be exceedingly glad; and with their own eyes may they behold when the Lord restoreth Zion. Such be His gracious will. Amen.
“It is a fact well known throughout Judah and Israel, that ‘the glory altogether departed from the daughter of Zion,’ since upwards of one hundred years ago, the congregation of German Jews in this Holy City were forcibly deprived of their homes and inheritance. Dreadful and grievous was the yoke under which the despots of this land oppressed them. Tyranny and cruel usage ground them to the dust, and forced them to forsake their habitations, to abandon their houses and all their property, and to seek safety in flight. Thus the large court they inherited from their ancestors remained deserted and uninhabited, until it was seized upon and possessed by aliens. The sacred edifices it contained, namely, the Synagogue and Medrash, were by them demolished, the whole of the property utterly ruined, and possessions, lawfully ours, devastated before our eyes. Then did our souls refuse all consolation! For how could we bear to witness the evil which befell our people!
“As the light gleams forth from a spark, so did our congregation take heart and return again to form their establishments, and to take root on the Holy Mount. But we could find no rest for our wearied feet—no place consecrated and appointed for our prayer and instruction. Our aching eyes beheld how every nation and tongue, even from the most distant isles of the ocean, is here possessed of structures defended by walls, gates, and portcullis, whilst the people of the Lord, forcibly expelled from their inheritances by rapacious barbarians, were covered with obloquy, scorn, and disgrace.
“The cries of the people ascended unto the Lord who dwelleth in Zion. He looked down, and in pity beheld their sufferings and oppression. And ever since the ruler of Egypt first assumed the government of the Holy Land—a ruler who maintains justice throughout his dominions—an edict was issued permitting Jews to do whatsoever they deemed right and expedient, with respect to the rebuilding of their demolished synagogues and colleges. Us, likewise, the Lord in His mercy vouchsafed to remember, and caused us to be reinstated into the heritage of our fathers, even to the aforementioned court, which is called the Ruin of R. Jehudah the Pious (of blessed memory).
“Blessed be the Lord our God, the God of our fathers, who inspired the heart of the ruler of Egypt to restore unto us the possessions of our ancestors. Nor did we delay or lose time in the matter, but exerted ourselves to rebuild Jerusalem.
“‘We fenced it, and gathered up the stones thereof,’ and the sacred undertaking prospered in our hands, so that we have completed the Medrash, and ‘great is the glory of the house;’ and also houses for the teachers of the law, and for the hospitable reception and entertainment of strangers, which were indispensably necessary to accommodate the many pious Israelites who visit the Holy City during the festivals. And onRosh Hodesh Shebath last we joyfully placed a Sepher Torah in the Medrash, which we consecrated by the name of ‘Menahem Zion,’ for the Lord has vouchsafed to comfort His people.
“But although we have thus, under the blessings of Providence, retrieved from devastation a part of the possessions bequeathed unto us by our pious ancestors, yet our hearts are afflicted and our eyes are dimmed when we behold the sanctuary of our Lord, the Synagogue, which still lies in ruins; nor is it in the power of all of us (the German Congregation) to rebuild it; for alas! great is the number of our poor who stand in need of bread, and the debts we contracted in building the Medrash are large, and weigh heavily upon us.
“The cause of our grief is thus ever present to our eyes—the ruins of the Synagogue are heaped in the middle of the court, and rank weeds spread over the consecrated pile. We therefore deem it our bounden duty to dispatch a messenger unto our brethren, the children of Israel, who are dispersed and in exile, in order to acquaint them with ‘the salvation of the Lord in the land,’ so that they may arise and take pity on Zion, for it is time to show mercy unto her.
“To undertake this laborious duty was the voluntary offer of our dearly beloved friend, that profound and renowned Rabbi, the zealous and honorable Aaron Selig Ashkenazi. He is a man confirmed in the fear of the Lord, of a faithful stock; and him we depute as our messenger, worthy of all trust, to make proclamation unto the communities of Israel ‘according to the sight which he has seen in the Holy Mount,’ and to him we have given letters of authorization, containing full particulars as to his pious mission, and every necessary information relating thereto.
“Now, therefore, let the righteous behold and rejoice. Let the pious exult and triumph in gladness. The day ye have so long hoped for is come, and ye see it. The crown of holiness will again adorn its former abode. Therefore, arise, and take upon yourselves, according to the words of this letter, to devote a portion of your wealth as a sacred tribute towards erecting ‘the Temple of the Most Holy King on the mountain of the Lord’—that ye may have a portion and a righteous record in Jerusalem.
“Let no one among you refuse his aid, but let the poor man contribute his mite for himself and his household freely, as the rich dispenses the bounty wherewith the Lord hath blessed him. Let fathers and their offspring, the aged and the youthful, alike arise in mercy to Zion at this propitious season.
“Let each man encourage his neighbor and say, ‘We will be zealous and persevering for our people and the City of our God. And for the love of Zion, and the sake of Jerusalem, we will not rest nor be easy until Jerusalem is praised throughout the earth, and foremost in our joys, even as we have vowed:—If I forget thee, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.’
“Such are the words of your brethren who address you for the glory of God, and for the honor of His land, His people and His inheritance—continually praying for our exiled brethren, and offering up our orisons on holy ground and particularly near the Western Wall, that it may be well with you everlastingly as you yourself desire, and we most sincerely wish.
“Signed at Jerusalem, the 18th day of year 5597 A.D., by the Wardens of the Medrash, and members of the Building Committee, on behalf of the Congregation of German Jews in this Holy City.[“Signed] Hirsh Joseph,
“Abraham S. Salmons,
“Uriah S. Hyam.
The undersigned Assessors of the Bethdin, by the direction of the Rev. Chief Rabbi, hereby certify that Rev. Aaron Selig Ashkenazi is actually deputed for the purpose mentioned in the above circular.
“London, the 7th Tebath,
“24 Dec. 5599.
“A. L. Barnett.”
Monday, August 3.—Elders Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith are at Ledbury, Herefordshire.
Tuesday, 4.—Elder Heber C. Kimball left Manchester for Herefordshire, and Joseph Fielding is at Bedford.
Extract of a Letter from Wilford Woodruff to the Editor of the Millennial Star—Reporting Labors.
Beloved Brethren:—Since Elder George A. Smith and myself left Manchester for the purpose of going to the south of England, we have visited the churches which lay in our route, and found them universally prospering and receiving additions.
We preached in Leek on Sunday, July 10th, and Elder Smith baptized six persons after meeting: and numbers were also baptized in the churches at the Staffordshire Potteries while we were there. We passed through West Bromwich and Birmingham, and found numbers who were anxiously wishing for some of the Elders to visit that region and labor among them. We arrived in Ludbury, Herefordshire, July 22nd, and here spent about two weeks in visiting the churches through this region, and I am happy to inform you, that we have found the Saints universally rejoicing in the truth, and the work progressing upon every hand.
Elder Thomas Richardson has baptized about forty since he came, and Elder William Kay about twenty; they are both much blessed in their labors. Elder Kington is laboring constantly in this wide field, which is under his care; and he with the Elders and Priests generally throughout this region are blessed with many souls as seals of their ministry. We baptized forty on Sunday last in this region, making 250 since the conference. The churches here now number about 800 members and appear [to be] in a very prosperous state. We are expecting Elder Kimball every hour, and soon after his arrival we shall leave the Saints in this region, for the purpose of visiting the city of London and warning the inhabitants thereof.
Saturday, 8.—Soon after the July conference at Manchester, Elder Parley P. Pratt started for America for the purpose of getting his family and taking them to England, meantime leaving the Star in charge of President Brigham Young, assisted by Elder Willard Richards.
The Prophet’s Letter to John C. Bennett—Bidding Him Welcome to Nauvoo, to partake of—its Poverty.
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois,
August 8th, 1840.
Dear Sir:—Yours of the 25th ultimo, addressed to Elder Rigdon and myself, is received, for which you have our thanks, and to which I shall feel great pleasure in replying.
Although I have not the pleasure of your acquaintance, yet from the kindness manifested towards our people when in bondage and oppression, and from the frank and noble mindedness breathed in your letter, I am brought to the conclusion that you are a friend to suffering humanity and truth.
To those who have suffered so much abuse, and borne the cruelties and insults of wicked men so long, on account of those principles which we have been instructed to teach to the world, a feeling of sympathy and kindness is something like the refreshing breeze and cooling stream at the present season of the year, and are, I assure you, duly appreciated by us.
It would afford me much pleasure to see you at this place, and from the desire you express in your letter to move to this place, I hope I shall soon have that satisfaction.
I have no doubt you would be of great service to this community in practicing your profession, as well as those other abilities of which you are in possession. Since to devote your time and abilities in the cause of truth and a suffering people may not be the means of exalting you in the eyes of this generation, or securing you the riches of the world, yet by so doing you may rely on the approval of Jehovah, “that blessing which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow.” Through the tender mercies of our God we have escaped the hands of those who sought our overthrow, and have secure locations in this state, and in the territory of Iowa. Our principal location is at this place, Nauvoo, (formerly Commerce), which is beautifully situated on the banks of the Mississippi, immediately above the lower rapids, and is probably the best and most beautiful site for a city on the river. It has a gradual ascent from the river nearly a mile, then a fine, level, and fertile prairie—a situation in every respect adapted to commercial and agricultural pursuits, but like all other places on the river, is sickly in summer.
The number of inhabitants is nearly three thousand, and is fast increasing. If we are suffered to remain, 9there is every prospect of its becoming one of the largest cities on the river, if not in the western world. Numbers have moved in from the seaboard, and a few from the islands of the sea (Great Britain).
It is our intention to commence the erection of some public buildings next spring. We have purchased twenty thousand acres in the Iowa Territory opposite this place, which is fast filling up with our people. I desire all the Saints, as well as all lovers of truth and correct principles, to come to this place as fast as possible, or [as rapidly as] their circumstances will permit, and endeavor, by energy of action and concentration of talent, &c., &c., to effect those objects, that are so dear to us. Therefore my general invitation is, Let all that will, come, and partake of the poverty of Nauvoo freely.
I should be disposed to give you a special invitation to come as early as possible, believing you will be of great service to us; however, you must make arrangements according to your circumstances. Were it possible for you to come here this season to suffer affliction with the people of God, no one will be more pleased to give you a more cordial welcome than myself.
A charter has been obtained from the legislature for a railroad from Warsaw, being immediately below the rapids of the Mississippi, to this place—a distance of about twenty miles, which if carried into operation will be of incalculable advantage to this place, as steamboats can only ascend the rapids at a high stage of water. The soil is good, and I think not inferior to any in the state. Crops are abundant in this section of country—and I think provisions will be reasonable.
I should be very happy could I make arrangements to meet you in Springfield at the time you mention—but cannot promise myself that pleasure. If I should not, probably you can make it convenient to come and pay us a visit here, prior to your removal.
Elder Rigdon is very sick, and has been for nearly twelve months with the fever and ague, which disease is very prevalent here at this time. At present he is not able to leave his room.
Joseph Smith, Jun.
To J. C. Bennett, M. D.
P. S.—Yours of the 30th is just received, in which I am glad to learn that your increasing desire to unite yourself with a people “that are everywhere spoken against,” and the anxiety you feel for our welfare—for which you have my best feelings; and I pray that my heavenly Father will pour out His choicest blessings in this world, and enable you by His grace to overcome the evils which are in the world, that you may secure a blissful immortality in the world that is to come.
J. S., Jun.
August 10.—Colonel Seymour Brunson, aged forty years, ten months and twenty-three days, died at Nauvoo. Colonel Brunson was among the first settlers of this place. He has always been a lively stone in the building of God and was much respected by his friends and acquaintances. He died in the triumph of faith, and in his dying moments bore testimony to the Gospel that he had embraced.
Letter of John C. Bennett to Messrs. Smith and Rigdon—Announcing that he will soon be in Nauvoo.
Wayne County Illinois, August 15, 1840.
Reverends Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon.
Respected Friends:—I have written you several communications to Commerce and Nauvoo, supposing they were different places, but a brother to a lady in your community, now in this place, informs me that they are one and the same.
I have received no reply to my letters, and attribute the delay to a press of business or professional absence. I have come to the conclusion to join your people immediately, and take up my abode with you. Let us adopt as our motto—Licut partribus sit Deus nobius—(as God was with our fathers, so may He be with us), and adapt the means to the end, and the victory is ours. The winged warrior of the air will not cease to be our proud emblem of liberty, and the dogs of war will be forever chained.
I shall be with you in about two weeks, and shall devote my time and energies to the advancement of the cause of truth and virtue, and the advocacy of the holy religion which you have so nobly defended, and so honorably sustained.
My love to all the brethren.
With sentiments of fraternal regard.
J. C. Bennett.
2. Lorenzo Snow was born April 30, 1814, in Mantua, Portage county, Ohio. He was the eldest son of Oliver Snow and Rosetta L. Pettibone. The early years of his life were spent upon his father’s farm. Later he entered Oberlin College, a Presbyterian institution, in the town of Oberlin, in Lorain county, Ohio, about sixty miles southwest of Kirtland. In June, 1836, he visited Kirtland and attended the Hebrew classes, then being taught in the Temple. While in Kirtland he became a convert to the faith of the Latter-day Saints and was baptized by Elder John Boynton, one of the Twelve Apostles. The following year he did some missionary work among his relatives and friends in Ohio, and in 1836, with his parents, who in the meantime joined the Church, he moved to Missouri, and shortly afterwards went upon a preaching mission through the states of Kentucky and Illinois. A few days before starting upon this mission mentioned in the text, namely, 17th of July, 1840, he was ordained a seventy by President Joseph Young, and the day following was made a High Priest under the hands of Don Carlos Smith. The testimony which this man received of the truth of the Gospel is very interesting, and seems to have remained with him throughout his long life, in all the freshness of its first impression upon him. Having received the usual promise of a testimony of the truth of the work if he obeyed the Gospel, he sought that testimony most earnestly in prayer with the following result as stated by himself:
“I had no sooner opened my lips in an effort to pray than I heard a sound just above my head like the rushing of silken robes; and immediately the Spirit of God descended upon me, completely enveloping my whole person, filling me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and oh, the joyful happiness I felt! No language can describe the almost instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and knowledge, as it was at that time imparted to my understanding. I received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and of the restoration of the Holy Priesthood, and the fullness of the Gospel. It was a complete baptism—a tangible immersion in the heavenly principle or element, the Holy Ghost; and even more physical in its effects upon every part of my system than the immersion by water.”
3. When the great offense of Elder William W. Phelps is taken into account—amounting as it did to a betrayal of the Prophet and the Church in Missouri, during the troubles of the Saints in that state—this letter is remarkable. The Prophet’s frank forgiveness of his erring brother, gently chiding his wrong-doing, but at the same time remembering in a large way that brother’s former devotion and labors; the Prophet’s willingness to have the prodigal return and occupy his former high standing among the Saints—all this exhibits a broad-mindedness and generosity that can come only from a great soul, influenced by the spirit of charity enjoined upon his disciples by the teachings of the Son of God. One of the surest evidences of Joseph Smith’s greatness of mind and of the inspiration of God upon him is to be seen in his treatment of those who had fallen but were willing to and did repent of their sins. His capacity to forgive under these circumstances seemed boundless.
4. The article which appeared first in a periodical, entitled “Memorial Concerning God’s Ancient People of Israel,” and then in theLondon Times, seems to have been written by a Christian Jew. It deals largely with the promises of God to ancient Israel, especially as to their return as a people to Palestine. The closing paragraph is an appeal to the Protestant powers of the north of Europe and America to assist in this restoration: “As the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, was stirred up to build the Lord a temple, which was in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 36:22-23), who is there among you, high and mighty ones of all the nations, to find the good pleasure of the holy will of the Lord of heaven, saying to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Thy foundation shall be laid?’ (Isa. 44:28). The Lord God of Israel be with such. Great grace, mercy and peace shall descend upon the people who offer themselves willingly; and the free offerings of their hearts and hands shall be those of a sweet smelling savor unto him who hath said, ‘I will bless thee (Gen. 12:3), and contend with him that contendeth with thee'” (Isa. 49:25).
5. “This was a Dr. John C. Bennett, a man who seems to have been without any moral character, but who had filled positions of importance. Born in Massachusetts in 1804, he practiced as a physician in Ohio, and later in Illinois, holding a professorship in Willoughby University, Ohio, and taking with him to Illinois testimonials as to his professional skill. In the latter state he showed a taste for military affairs, and after being elected brigadier-general of the Invincible Dragoons, he was appointed quartermaster-general of the state in 1840, and held that position at the state capital when the Mormons applied to the legislature for a charter for Nauvoo.” (“The Story of the Mormons,” Linn, 1901).
History of the Church, Vol.4, p.170, Footnotes
8. Elder John Taylor was accompanied on this mission by Brothers McGuffie and William Black. Elder Taylor had baptized Brother McGuffie while laboring in Liverpool; and as the new convert had some acquaintances in Newry, county Down, Ireland, he thought it advisable to take him along. A large company of saints went with them to see them off. The day after sailing, Elder Taylor and companions arrived in Newry, a beautiful Irish village nestling among rolling hills, characteristic of that part of Ireland. Brother McGuffie obtained the court house to hold a meeting in, and sent around the bell-man to give notice of it. A congregation of six or seven hundred gathered in at seven o’clock in the evening, and Elder Taylor preached to them. This was the introduction of the Gospel into Ireland.
History of the Church, Vol.4, p.178, Footnotes