Introduction to Volume 4.
Five subjects may be said to form the outline of the chief events detailed in this volume of the History of the Church: the Founding of Nauvoo; the Appeal of the Church to the National Government for redress of wrongs suffered in Missouri; the Mission of the Twelve Apostles to the British Isles; the Mission of Orson Hyde to Palestine; and the Doctrinal Development of the Church.
Preliminary to a brief consideration of these several subjects, I desire to say a word as to the reception of the Latter-day Saints by the people of Illinois, and the conditions prevailing in that state at the time of their arrival. A knowledge of these conditions is necessary to the understanding of this whole Illinois period of the History of the Church.
Much has been made of the hospitality which the people of Illinois extended to the Latter-day Saints at the time of their expulsion from Missouri. A writer in the American Historical Magazine for July, 1906, says: “To the latter state [Illinois] they [the Saints] went in 1839, and were received with such open-armed hospitality as only a very generous and liberty-loving people can extend to those whom they honestly believe to be suffering from a wrongful oppression. The conduct of the Saints in five years turned this feeling of extraordinarily deep-seated sympathy, inducing great practical charities, into a feeling of very bitter hatred, threatening to break into mob violence.” Far be it from me to depreciate the kindness of those who extended a helping hand to the Saints in the hour of their distress. Stripped and sorely wounded they fled from the violence of Missouri militia-mobs, and found for a time a peaceful asylum in Illinois. Many were the acts of disinterested kindness extended to them by the people in the western part of that state; and every such act I am sure was and is remembered, both by those who were the direct recipients of such acts of kindness and by their grateful descendants. But is responding to the calls of humanity so rare a thing in a Christian state, that it must needs be regarded as so exceptional in this case? Such was the condition of the Saints as they fled from Missouri, such the injustice to which they had been subjected in that state, that their situation would have appealed to the generosity of savages, how much more, then, to a civilized and Christian community! And then, speaking of this reception of the Saints en masse, by Illinois, and leaving out of consideration for the moment—since they have already been acknowledged—the individual acts of kindness bestowed upon the exiles, was this reception of the Saints by Illinois wholly disinterested? Were there not benefits which the Saints could bestow upon the state in return for the heartiness of the reception given? Would it not have been, under all the circumstances, the gravest of blunders for Illinois to have refused asylum to these exiles? Is it to be presumed that the public men of western Illinois were so blind to their own interests as not to see in these twelve or fifteen thousand people a mighty advantage to the state? It is true they were poor in this world’s goods; but they were rich in labor-power, and their reputation for habits of sobriety and of industry had preceded them. Here were thousands of husbandmen seeking lands. Illinois had thousands of acres of unoccupied lands awaiting husbandmen. How shortsighted and unstatesman-like it would have been for the men of Illinois not to have welcomed these settlers into their state? With half an eye it is easy to see that the benefits of this reception of the exiled Mormons by Illinois is not by any means a one-sided affair; and it would be doing an injustice to the intelligence of the people of that state to suppose they were blind to these advantages. This will more fully appear when other conditions are taken into account. Illinois has an area of 56,650 square miles; and at the time of the advent of the Saints in that state a white population of less than four hundred thousand, 1 as against a present population of five and a half millions. 2 It will be seen, then, that in 1839, the year of the advent of the Saints into that state, Illinois was very sparsely settled, and needed above all things for her development and prosperity, people to subdue her wilderness and cultivate her rich lands, especially people desirous of making homes, and becoming permanent citizens. Moreover, Illinois had recently launched an extensive system of internal improvements by state aid. This system included the construction of 1,300 miles of railroads in the state, besides provisions for the improvement of the navigation of the Kaskaskia, Illinois, Great and Little Wabash, and Rock rivers. Also the construction of a canal from Lake Michigan to the navigable waters of the Illinois river, a distance of more than one hundred miles (from Chicago to Peru). To carry out this system of internal improvements the state legislature of 1836-7 had appropriated the sum of $12,000,000; and to raise the money state bonds were placed on the stock markets of the eastern states and in England. It is not my province here even to note the wisdom or unwisdom of this policy of wholesale state aid for these internal improvements; let the wisdom or unwisdom be what it may, these conditions emphasized Illinois’ demand for population, and again makes it evident that it would have been the height of folly for the people of that state to do other than give hearty welcome to this body of population so rich in labor-power; so potent in wealth producing energy.
Another thing to be noted is the fact that about the time of the advent of the Saints into Illinois, political parties were just taking form in that state, and it is within the record of facts in the case, as well as of great likelihood, that a desire for obtaining political advantage was at least in the background of motives prompting the heartiness of the reception given to the Saints.
Illinois was admitted into the Union in 1818, but it is a matter of common knowledge that in the early years of her history as a state, her officers were elected not on any well defined political party principles, but chiefly on the strength of the personality of the candidates and the special things for which they individually stood. Indeed, it was not until 1830 that anything like party lines were drawn in the state, and that it became a battle ground for the two great national parties, Whigs and Democrats. It was a committee from a Democratic party organization in Quincy, Illinois, that took the initiative in welcoming the Saints into the state, and strive how one may, it is difficult to think there was not some political advantage sought through this action. On the other hand, the Whigs were not slow to urge upon the incoming exiles that it was a Democratic state and a Democratic administration in that state which had not only permitted, but had really ordered their expulsion from Missouri, and that doubtless the injustice they had suffered was owing to Democratic ideas of the administration of government. Nor were there wanting those among the Saints who were willing to believe that such was the case. Indeed, Joseph Smith, the Prophet, found it necessary to gently reprove some of his people who were rapidly making the question of their expulsion from Missouri a political party question in Illinois. This effort to win the Saints to one political party or the other, continued to be a factor in their affairs so long as they remained at Nauvoo. It was owing to this rivalry for their support that doubtless made it possible for the Saints to obtain larger grants of power for their city government, and greater political privileges and influence in the State than otherwise could have been obtained by them. It also was this rivalry for their favor, as the events in this, but more especially in the succeeding volume will prove, that made them alternately fulsomely flattered and heartily disliked; fawningly courted, and viciously betrayed.
A knowledge of these circumstances, I say, is essential to the right understanding of the Nauvoo period of the Church’s history.
The Founding of Nauvoo.
The founding of the city of Nauvoo was an event, the interest of which extends beyond the people immediately concerned in it. It was a unique movement in its way, and may yet suggest a policy in reference to the government of large cities from which great benefits may arise. Very naturally after the experiences of the Mormon people in Missouri, the Prophet was anxious to environ them with conditions that would insure protection to the community, hence for Nauvoo he secured as large concessions of political power as it was possible to obtain, and an examination of the Nauvoo charter proper with its attendant charters providing as they did for an independent educational system, from common schools to a University; an independent military organization with a lieutenant-general as its commander; 3 a large grant of commercial as well as municipal power, demonstrates how well he succeeded. Commenting upon the charter immediately after its passage by the state legislature had been formally announced, he said: “The City Charter of Nauvoo is of my own plan and device. I concocted it for the salvation of the Church, and on principles so broad, that every honest man might dwell secure under its protective influence without distinction of sect or party.” 4 On another occasion when defending the right of the city to issue writs of habeas corpus, even against processes of the state, he held: “If there is not power in our charter and courts, then there is not power in the State of Illinois nor in the Congress or Constitution of the United States; for the United States gave unto Illinois her Constitution or Charter, and Illinois gave unto Nauvoo her charters conceding unto us our vested rights which she has no right or power to take from us. All the power there was in Illinois she gave to Nauvoo. * * * The municipal court has all the power to issue and determine writs of habeas corpus within the limits of this state that the Legislature can confer. This city has all the power that the State courts have, and was given by the same authority—the legislature. * * * The charter says that the City Council shall have power and authority to make, ordain, establish, and execute such ordinances not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, or of this State, as they may deem necessary for the peace, benefit and safety of the inhabitants of said city. 5 And also that the Municipal Court shall have power to grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the ordinances of the City Council. The City Council have passed an ordinance ‘that no citizen of this city shall be taken out of this city by any writ without the privilege of a writ of habeas corpus.’ There is nothing but what we have power over, except where restricted by the Constitution of the United States. ‘But,’ says the mob, ‘what dangerous powers!’ Yes—dangerous, because they will protect the innocent and put down mobocrats. There is nothing but what we have power over, except where restricted by the Constitution of the United States. * * * If these powers are dangerous, then the Constitution of the United States, and of this State are dangerous; but they are not dangerous to good men; they are only so to bad men who are breakers of the laws. * * * The lawyers themselves acknowledge that we have all power granted us in our charters, that we could ask for—that we had more power than any other court in the State; for all other courts were restricted while ours was not.”
Such views in relation to an ordinary municipal government would unquestionably be stamped as preposterous. No such powers as are here claimed are accorded to ordinary city governments in Illinois or any other of the states of the American Union. What then may be said of the Prophet’s claims in respect to the municipal powers of Nauvoo? Nothing in way of defense, except that Nauvoo was not an ordinary municipality; that Joseph Smith had sought for extraordinary grants of power for the city of Nauvoo and had obtained them; that his personal experiences and the experiences of his people, both in Ohio and Missouri, had taught him the necessity of having officers charged with the duty of administering government wherein his people were concerned, who were friendly disposed and whose interests were largely identical with those of the Saints: that the things which both the Prophet and his people had suffered justified both him and them in seeking for and obtaining such power as had been conferred by charters upon the city of Nauvoo; that the Prophet was wholly within the lines of right conduct when he invoked the municipal powers in his own protection against the aggressions of his old enemies in Missouri and his new betrayers in Illinois. But whether the legislature of Illinois was fully aware of the extraordinary powers they were conferring upon the city of Nauvoo, or being aware of the import of their action the party in control of the legislature was willing to grant the extraordinary powers in the hope of currying political favor with the Saints, may not now be determined; but in any event these extraordinary powers were granted; and wittingly or unwittingly a “city-state” had practically been established within the state of Illinois. Nothing short of this descriptive term can adequately set forth the municipal government of Nauvoo. It seems to be an unconscious reversion. In an incipient way, to the “city-states” or “city-republics” of the old Greek confederations; or the “free-towns” of medieval times, when the cities were more potent than nations in commerce and even in politics. Whether or not the state courts of Illinois and United States courts would have sustained the Nauvoo charters if the matter of their validity had been referred to them for adjudication, may not be determined; but one can scarcely suppress the thought that the likelihood is that they would not have been sustained; on the contrary they would have been most likely declared anomalous to our system of government as it then stood, and now stands. But certainly if the experiment of such a municipal government had not been interrupted in its progress, it might have been an instructive object lesson in the government of cities; and even as it is, the founding of Nauvoo, the “city-state,” suggests an important idea which may work out great practical reforms in municipal government in our country.
The founders of our Government dealt with conditions that were very simple in comparison with the complexity of the conditions which government in its various forms, municipal, state and national, is confronted with today. The Municipal problems which now vex the people had not then arisen above the horizon of their experience. The American commonwealths of the early decades of the nineteenth century were practically rural commonwealths. At the time of Washington’s inauguration (1789) the population of New York was but thirty-three thousand; Philadelphia forty-two thousand; Boston but eighteen thousand; Baltimore thirteen thousand; Brooklyn one thousand six hundred, and more village than town. Now compare these cities with their present population. New York has a population of over four millions; 6 Philadelphia a population of one and a half millions; 7 Boston more than half a million; 8 Baltimore over five hundred thousand; 9 Brooklyn is absorbed in New York, but as a borough of the larger city it has a population of nearly one and a half millions; 10 Chicago, which in 1840 had but four thousand inhabitants, much smaller than Nauvoo, has now a population of more than two millions; 11 St. Louis which in 1840 had a population of but 16,469, has now a population of three quarters of a million. 12 Nothing like the growth of urban population within the United States during the last fifty years has been known in the history of the world, and it has brought to the inhabitants of these cities problems undreamed of by the founders of our government. Every year discloses more and more distinctly the fact that between these condensed communities and the town, village, and rural population of the states in which they are located, there are very distinct interests and governmental problems of widely differing character. The differences which justify distinct local governments in the state of New York and the peninsula of Florida are not more insistent than the differences between the great commercial city of New York and the state of the same name. Without entering upon elaborate discussion of these questions (a discussion which is foreign to the character of this writing) I venture the suggestion that separate and complete state governments for our large cities, or the elevation of them into what I have called “city-states,” such as Nauvoo was, in an incipient way, will be the solution to most of the problems of municipal government in our very large cities. It would greatly enlarge in them the governmental powers essential to their more perfect peace, security, and prosperity. Also it would separate them from embroilment in those questions of the state governments under which they are now located, and in which they have so little interest—often indeed, there is even sharp conflict of interests, engendering bitterness and strife which hinders progress for both city and state. Besides, granting complete statehood to our larger cities would be but a proper recognition of the right of those great aggregations of citizens with their varied industries, their immense wealth and distinct interests, to that measure of influence in our national affairs which their numbers and intelligence and interests justly demand.
The Appeal of the Church to the National government for Redress of Wrongs Suffered in Missouri.
The Prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Judge Elias Higbee were chosen as the committee to present to the National Congress the petition of the Saints for a redress of their grievances, suffered in Missouri. This journey to the nation’s Capital was of importance quite apart from the immediate purpose for which it was undertaken; namely, it brought the Prophet in contact with the leading statesmen of the United States. While in Washington, he was brought in contact with and interviewed such men as Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, President Martin Van Buren, different members of the Cabinet, Senators, and Representatives. Such contact enabled him to take new measurements, not only of a different class of men from those with whom he had been accustomed to associate, but new measurements of himself by comparison and contrast of himself with those leading spirits of the nation. Comparisons which could not result otherwise than in advantage to him; and I think it must be conceded by all students of the Prophet’s character, especially to those who have been at all close observers of its development, that after this trip to Washington, which afforded the above noted opportunities of comparison and contrast, the Prophet’s growth was immeasurably greater than at any time before that journey.
In some respects however it was unfortunate that the Prophet was not more cosmopolitan in his training and in his views of life on the occasion of this visit to the nation’s capital; for lack of such training and views of life led him to the formation of rather hasty judgments as to the character of our nation’s public men at that time. He undoubtedly had sticking to him as yet, some of the prejudices of his New England and New York sectional training; and at the time of his visit the spirit of the public men of the nation at Washington was largely influenced by the Southern character and spirit. Bourbon Democracy was at its height. The gentlemen of the South with their extreme notions of chivalry and polite deportment, predominated. In those days men were held to strict account for their manner of address one to another. An improper word, a slight, magnified into an insult, meant a challenge to mortal combat on “the field of honor,” and this sense of personal responsibility for utterances begot, no doubt, an extreme politeness in personal deportment which seemed puerile to those reared in another atmosphere and influenced by other sentiments than those which resulted from education in the South. Joseph Smith’s judgment upon manners and customs in Washington, was doubtless New England’s judgment upon Southern customs with which it had no patience, much less sympathy. It is only from these considerations that the rather harsh judgment of the Prophet in relation to conditions in Washington can be properly understood.
Relative to the business upon which this committee visited Washington, it should be said that Sidney Rigdon failed to participate in it at all, in consequence of an illness which befell him on his journey, and hindered him from reaching Washington until the business was practically settled. A short stay in Washington convinced the Prophet that nothing was to be expected in the way of obtaining a redress of grievances for his people from the very cautious politicians then in control of the government, all of whom were anxious, apparently, to palliate the actions of Missouri with reference to the Saints, for the sake of retaining her political influence on their side; and also because of a prevailing inclination to a strict construction of the powers of the general government in its relations to the states. The Prophet therefore left Washington to preach the Gospel for a short time in New Jersey and Philadelphia, after which he returned to Nauvoo, leaving Judge Elias Higbee to urge consideration of the petition of the Saints which had been referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary, with what result is made known in detail in the body of this volume of the history. It is sufficient here to say that the net result of the Committee’s deliberations was simply to recommend that the Saints appeal for a redress of their wrongs to the United States District Court having jurisdiction in Missouri, or they could, if they saw proper, “apply to the justice and magnanimity of the State of Missouri—an appeal which the committee feel justified in believing will never be made in vain by the injured or oppressed.”—(Sic!)
This suggestion to take their case to the United States Courts was never acted upon by the Saints, nor does it appear in what manner it would have been practicable for them to do so. True it is expressly provided in the Constitution that “The Judicial power of the United States shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; to controversies between two or more states; between a state and citizens of another state; between citizens of different states; between citizens of the same state,” etc. 13 The case of the Saints would fall either under the clauses in the above quotation respecting controversies arising between a state (Missouri) and citizens of another state (the Saints, now citizens, of Illinois); or “between citizens of different states,” the Saints, citizens of Illinois, and their former persecutors, citizens of Missouri. In considering the question under the first clause it must be remembered that the eleventh amendment to the Constitution (declared in force 1798) provides that “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.” It is held that “the power as well as the dignity of a state would be gone if it could be dragged into court by a private plaintiff.” 14
The Supreme Court in the case Chisholm vs. the State of Georgia, had decided (1793) that an action did lie against the State of Georgia at a suit of a private plaintiff. The state however refused to appear, whereupon the Supreme Court proceeded, a year later, to give judgment against her by default in case she should not appear and plead before a day; whereupon there arose such a storm of protest, not only in Georgia, but in the other states as well, that the eleventh amendment was adopted exempting a state from being sued in the courts of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens subjects of any foreign state. Moreover, states are not suable in any event except with their consent; 15 and if a state waive its immunity, it may attach any conditions it pleases to its consent. 16 Under these circumstances it is not surprising that the Saints never attempted to bring Missouri before the United States courts. They could only have planted suit against the state by its consent, and if she consented, then under such conditions as she might be pleased to attach to that consent. Moreover, the Saints had the best of reasons for believing that Missouri would never consent.
As to suing their persecutors as individuals before the United States courts, as citizens of one state suing citizens of another, it is only necessary to remind the reader of the insuperable difficulties attending upon that procedure to convince him of the futility of such action. The expensiveness of the undertaking, and the extreme poverty of the exiles alone would be sufficient to bar such an undertaking; for every one knows how bitterly hard it is for the poor to set the judicial machinery of organized society in motion in their favor. Then there was the evident conspiracy entered into by the mobs of Missouri to defeat the ends of justice in respect of the Saints: mobs which an unfriendly governor had converted into a state militia; to which that same governor gave an order to expel from the state or exterminate the entire people; under which order said mob-militia did expel from the state some twelve thousand citizens, depriving them of their property and liberty without due process of law; and afterwards the state through its legislature sanctioned and applauded the actions of this mob-militia for the part it had taken in causing said expulsion—though attended by acts of unspeakable atrocity—by appropriating 200,000 dollars to meet the expenses of the mob-militia in carrying out the governor’s illegal orders. After these crimes against the Constitution and laws of the state, against American institutions and the civilization of the age—after all this, I say, it is not difficult to understand how farcical would be any procedure before either the state or the federal courts in Missouri. By acts of perjury, in order to still further defeat the ends of justice and protect each other from the penalties due to their crimes, it would have been easy for the people of Missouri to defeat the ends of justice. And after having committed the crimes of murder and robbery; after having unlawfully expelled a whole people, numbering thousands, from their homes—of which the despoilers were then possessed—it is not to be believed that such characters would hesitate to subborn witnesses, commit perjury, or hesitate to do any other thing, however criminal, in order to escape the just punishment for their crimes.
The offense of the State of Missouri against the Saints was a denial of political as well as of civil rights. She had in her treatment of the Saints abdicated republican government. Her officers, including the chief executive of the state had violated the Constitution of the state in that they had entered into a wide-spread conspiracy to deprive the Saints of their liberty and property without due process of law; and in fact had deprived them of those rights by expelling them by force of arms from the state.
These were the wrongs the Saints had endured; this the nature of the crime of the state of Missouri against them, and it seems that for these things which they suffered there could be found no remedy; for, as already explained, a state could not be made party to a suit before the courts, either state or federal, without her consent; and it is a well settled principle of American law that “a suit nominally against an officer but really against a state to enforce performance of its obligation in its political capacity, will not lie.” A state, therefore, could not be directly arraigned before the courts or any kind of tribunal for failure to enforce its political obligations; nor could it be indirectly so arraigned through its officers since such an arraignment would undoubtedly have been held to be but “nominally against the officers and really against the state;” hence void. 17 The only arraignment of the state that could be made was evidently at the bar of public opinion and sentiment, and this sentiment, unfortunately viciated by misrepresentations, was against the Saints. All things considered, then, there was little wisdom behind the recommendation of the Senate Judiciary Committee for the Saints to prosecute their case before the Federal courts having jurisdiction in Missouri; and the suggestion that they apply to the justice and magnanimity of the state of the Missouri, borders upon mockery. However, Missouri did not escape the chastisement due to her many acts of predatory injustice upon the Saints; there was measured out to her more than four fold of that sorrow and affliction which she had perpetrated upon the Saints. She sowed to the wind in her conduct towards the Mormon people, she reaped the whirl-wind in the terrible experiences of more then ten years of border warfare, banditti rule, and her enormous sacrifice of blood and treasure in the Civil War; all of which is abundantly set forth in the Introduction to Volume III of this work.
The Mission of the Twelve to England.
The mission of the Twelve to England marks an epoch in the missionary experience of the Church. They undertook this mission in fulfillment of a commandment received of the Lord on the 8th of July, 1838, at Far West, Missouri, which revelation was given in answer to the question of the Prophet: “Show us thy will, O Lord, concerning the Twelve.” In answer to that question the Lord directed that the several vacancies then existing in the quorum should be filled by the appointment of John Taylor, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, and Willard Richards. “And next spring,” said the revelation, “let them [the Twelve] depart to go over the great waters and there promulgate my gospel, the fullness thereof, and bear record of my name. Let them take leave of my Saints in the City Far West on the 26th day of April next, on the building spot of my house saith the Lord.” 18
Notwithstanding the fact that the Church had been expelled from the state of Missouri before the 26th day of April, 1839, a number of the Twelve accompanied by several of those who had been appointed to fill vacancies in the quorum, returned to Far West, held a meeting on the site of the Lord’s house in the public square of that place, on the date appointed, sung some hymns, ordained those present who had been appointed to fill vacancies in the quorum, laid a corner stone of the Lord’s house, took leave of a few of the brethren who were there, and thence started for foreign lands, stopping for a timeen route at Nauvoo. Late in the summer of 1839 the Twelve began their departure, usually in pairs, for foreign lands. The work had already been introduced into England by the labors of Elder Heber C. Kimball and associates, Elder Orson Hyde of the quorum of the Twelve; also Elders Willard Richards, Isaac Russell, John Goodson, John Snyder; and Joseph Fielding, a priest. The mission of the Twelve to England as a quorum, however, established the work in the British Isles on a broader and more permanent basis, and thence forward the body religious was strengthened from this mission; and as much from the character as from the numbers of the British Saints.
The Mission of Orson Hyde to Palestine.
The mission appointed to Elders Orson Hyde and John E. Page, of the quorum of the Twelve, to Jerusalem, was second in importance only to that appointed to the rest of the Twelve to Great Britain. John E. Page utterly failed to fulfill his appointment, notwithstanding the frequent urging and reproofs of the Prophet. He never left the shores of America, and finally returned to Nauvoo to be serverly censured for his lack of faith and energy. Orson Hyde, on the contrary, in the midst of many hardships, persevered in his journey to the Holy Land, until he succeeded in accomplishing that which had been appointed unto him. Elder Hyde it appears, was a descendant of the tribe of Judah; 19 and sometime after the Prophet had become acquainted with him, most probably in the year 1832, in the course of pronouncing a blessing upon him, said: “In due time thou shalt go to Jerusalem, the land of thy fathers, and be a watchman unto the house of Israel; and by thy hand shall the Most High do a great work, which shall prepare the way and greatly facilitate the gathering together of that people.”20 It was in fulfillment of this prediction upon his head that he had been called upon this mission to Jerusalem, to dedicate the land of Palestine by apostolic authority, preparatory to the return of the Jews and other of the tribes of Israel to that land of promise. This mission he fully accomplished. An account of his journey and of his beautiful and powerful prayer of dedication will be found in his letters published in this volume. 21
The question will be asked, Has anything resulted from this mission to dedicate the land of Palestine to the return of the Jews and other tribes of Israel? The only answer is an appeal to facts, to events that have taken place since that prayer of consecration was offered up by this Apostle of the new dispensation of the Gospel, on the 24th of October, 1841.
At the time of Elder Hyde’s visit and the ceremonies of dedication he performed on the Mount of Olives, there were comparatively but few Jews at Jerusalem. As late as 1876 the British Consul Reports show that there were but from fifteen to twenty thousand Jews in Judea. But twenty years later the same authority declared the number of Jews at sixty to seventy thousand; and, what was of more importance than the numbers announced, these reports represented that the new Jewish population was turning its attention to the cultivation of the soil, which but requires the blessings of God upon it to restore it to its ancient fruitfulness, and which will make it possible for it to sustain once more a numerous population. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat commenting on these Consular Reports of 1896, said;
“Only two decades ago there were not more than fifteen or twenty thousand Jews in Jerusalem. At that time no houses were to be found outside the walls of the city. Since then many changes have taken place and the Hebrew population—mainly on account of the increase of the Jewish immigration from Russia—now stands at between sixty and seventy thousand. Whole streets of houses have been built outside the walls on the site of the ancient suburban districts, which for hundreds of years have remained deserted. It is not, however, only in Jerusalem itself that the Jews abound, but throughout Palestine they are buying farms and establishing themselves in a surprisingly rapid manner. In Jerusalem they form at present a larger community than either the Christian or the Mohammedan.”
Also in 1896 that racial movement among the Jews known as “Zionism” took definite form. This movement was really the federation of all the Jewish societies that have cherished the hope of seeing Israel restored to his promised possessions in Palestine. That year the first international conference of Zionists was held in Basel, Switzerland, and since then under the leadership of the late Dr. Herzel of Austria, and since his death under the leadership of Israel Zangwill, and by reason of its annual conferences constantly increasing in interest and attendance, “Zionism” has taken on all the aspects of one of the world’s great movements. It is not so much a religious movement as a racial one; for prominent Jews of all shades of both political and religious opinions have participated in it.
After saying through so many centuries at the feast of the Passover, “May we celebrate the next Passover in Jerusalem,” the thought seems to have occurred to some Jewish minds that if that hope is ever to be realized some practical steps must be taken looking to the actual achievement of the possibility—hence the “Zionite Movement.” The keynotes of that movement are heard in the following utterances of some of the Jewish leaders in explanation of it: “We want to resume the broken thread of our national existence; we want to show to the world the moral strength, the intellectual power of the Jewish people. We want a place where the race can be centralized.”—(Leon Zoltokoff). “It is for these Jews (of Russia, Roumania and Galicia) that the name of their country (Palestine) spells ‘Hope.’ I should not be a man if I did not realize that for these persecuted Jews, Jerusalem spells reason, justice, manhood and liberty.”—(Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch). “Jewish nationalism on a modern basis in Palestine, the old home of the people.”—(Max Nordau). Palestine needs a people, Israel needs a country. Give the country without a people to the people without a country.”—(Israel Zangwill). In a word it is the purpose of “Zionism” to redeem Palestine, and give it back to Jewish control, create, in fact, a Jewish state in the land promised to their fathers.
The age has come when the promises of the Lord to Israel must be fulfilled; and hence an apostle of the new dispensation of the Gospel is sent by divine authority to dedicate the land of Palestine preparatory to the return of Israel to his promised inheritance. After which follows this strange and world-wide movement among the Jews looking to the re-establishment of “Jewish nationalism on a modern basis in Palestine.” What other relationship can exist between the mission of the Apostle Orson Hyde and this world-wide movement among the Jews for the re-establishment of Israel in Palestine, but the relationship of cause to effect—under, of course, the larger fact that the set time for the restoration of Israel has come? The apostle’s mission to Jerusalem for the purpose of dedicating that land, preparatory to the return of Israel, was without doubt part of the general program for the restoration of Israel to their lands and to the favor and blessing of God.
The Doctrinal Development of the Church.
The doctrinal development in this period of the dispensation of the fullness of times, namely, between July, 1839, and the month of May, 1842, about three years, was chiefly in relation to salvation for the dead, and the sacred ritual of the Temple. The foundation for this doctrinal development in relation to salvation for the dead, was laid in the very inception of the work. On the occasion of the first visit of the angel Moroni to the Prophet, on the night of the 21st of September, 1823, among other ancient prophecies quoted by him, and which he declared was soon to be fulfilled, was the prophecy in the fourth chapter of Malachi in relation to the future coming of Elijah the prophet, “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” As quoted by the angel there was a slight variation in the language from King James’ version, as follows: “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers; if it were not so, the whole world would be wasted at his coming.” 22
Here the promise is made, that in consequence of the restoration of a certain Priesthood, or special keys of authority held by Elijah, the promises made to the fathers shall be planted in the hearts of the children, “and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.” Why? For a complete answer to that question the Church waited some years. Again, and still early in the history of the work, namely, March, 1830, the Lord in a revelation to Martin Harris through the Prophet Joseph, added another line or two of knowledge to this doctrine; knowledge which pushed out of the horizon of men’s conceptions the terrible and unjust doctrine respecting the eternal punishment which God is supposed to inflict upon those who fail to obey the Gospel in this life, and also those who died in ignorance of it. In explanation of the terms, “eternal punishment,” and “everlasting punishment,” sometimes found in Holy Writ, the Lord said to the Prophet: “Behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless, for endless is my name. Wherefore—
“Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
“Endless punishment is God’s punishment.”
That is to say, the punishment takes the name of Him in whose name it is inflicted; as if it were written, “Eternal’s punishment,” “Endless’s punishment.” And also, it must be understood, that the punishment itself is endless. That is, penalties always attend upon law, and follow its violation. That is an eternal principle. Law is inconceivable without accompanying penalties. But it does not follow that those who fall into the transgression of law, and therefore under sentence of Eternal’s justice, will have to endure affliction of the penalty eternally. Justice can be satisfied. Mercy must be accorded her claims, and the culprit having been brought to repentance and taught obedience to law through the things which he has suffered, must go free. But only to suffer again the penalties of the law, if he again violates it; for laws and their penalties are eternal. Hence eternal punishment, hence endless punishment administered to the violator of the law, until he learns to live in harmony with law. For, on the one hand, as “that which is governed by law is also preserved by law, and perfected and sanctified by the same; 23 so “that which breaketh a law and abideth not by the law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore they must remain filthy still.” 24 Thus obedience to law becomes a savor of life unto life; while disobedience to law equally becomes a savor of death unto death.
In February, 1832, still further light was shed upon the subject of the different states or degrees of glory in which men will live in the future, by the revelation known as “The Vision.” This revelation is one of the sublimest ever given to man. It utterly discredits and displaces the dogmas about the future of man held by Christendom, or at least by Protestant Christendom. The orthodox, Protestant view of man’s future is that there are two states in one or the other of which man will spend eternity—in heaven or in hell. If one shall gain heaven, even by ever so small a margin, he will enter immediately upon a complete possession of all its unspeakable joys, equally with the angels and the holiest of Saints. Not only in the “Shorter Catechisms,” but in nearly all orthodox creeds the accepted doctrine was: “The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness.” On the other hand, if one shall miss heaven, even by ever so small a margin, he is doomed to everlasting torment equally with the wickedest of men and vilest of devils, and there is no deliverance for him through all the countless ages of eternity! It will be noted that I have excepted out of participating in the above view of man’s future, the Catholic church, by ascribing these views only to orthodox Protestant Christendom. This is because the Catholic church doctrine slightly differs from the doctrine of the Protestants on this subject. That is Catholics do not believe that all Christians at death go immediately into heaven, but on the contrary “believe that a Christian who dies after the guilt and everlasting punishment of mortal sins have been forgiven him, but who, either from want of opportunity, or through his negligence has not discharged the debt of temporal punishment due to his sin, will have to discharge that debt to the justice of God in purgatory.” “Purgatory is a state of suffering after this life, in which those souls are for a time detained, which depart this life after their deadly sins have been remitted as to the stain and guilt, and as to the everlasting pain that was due to them, but which souls have on account of those sins still some temporal punishment to pay; as also those souls which leave this world guilty only of venial (that is pardonable) sins. In purgatory these souls are purified and rendered fit to enter into heaven, where nothing defiled enters.” 25 As all works of the Catholic church accessible to me have nothing on the different degrees of glory in which men shall subsist in eternity, I conclude that Catholic teaching is that they who finally attain unto heaven are all equal in glory. So that in the last analysis of the matter, Catholic doctrine falls as far below the great truth that God has revealed upon the subject of the future estate of man, as the doctrine of Orthodox Protestant Christendom.
Here is not the place for an extended exposition of the doctrine in relation to the future state of man as revealed to Joseph Smith in the revelation called “The Vision.” 26 It must suffice here to say that its central principle is resident in the justice and the mercy of God, that requires that every man shall be judged according to his works, considered in the light of his intelligence, his consciousness of right and wrong, and the moral law under which he lived. If he lived in the earth when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was not in the world, or if he lived at places or in circumstances where he did not learn of its existence, much less come to a knowledge of its truths, then the plain dictates of justice demand that some means must exist by which its sanctifying powers may be applied to him in the future; so also as to those who have even once rejected the truth (as in the case of the antediluvians who rejected the teaching of righteous Noah, and were disobedient, 27 when once the long suffering of God waited in vain in those days for their repentance); having paid the just penalty of their disobedience, then justice would demand that some means must exist by which the saving principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be applied to them; for only by the acceptance of the principles of the Gospel, and by the application of its laws and ordinances as the means by which the grace of God is applied to man, can the sons of men hope for salvation. Then as men differ in degree of intelligence; in the intensity of their faith; in the hartiness of their obedience; in the steadiness of their fidelity; and in as much as there is the stern fact of human freedom and responsibility, and the possibility of a short or long resistance to the will of God, even up to eternal resistance to that will, there is an infinitude of states of glory, of so called rewards and punishments, in which man will live in the future. There is one glory of which the sun in heaven is spoken of as being typical; another of which the inferior light of the moon is typical; and another of which the varying light of the stars is typical. And even as one star differs from another star in glory, in light, so differ those states of existence in which men will live in the future, but each assigned to a place, to an environment, that corresponds to the status of his development; which is only the modern way of saying he shall be judged according to his works. These, in brief, are the underlying principles of this remarkable revelation; a revelation which in every way is worthy the encomium that the Prophet Joseph himself bestowed upon it at the time of its inception: “Nothing could be more pleasing to the Saints upon the order of the Kingdom of the Lord, than the light which burst upon the world through the foregoing Vision. Every law, every commandment, every promise, every truth, and every point touching the destiny of man, from Genesis to Revelation, where the purity of the Scriptures remains unsullied by the folly of men, go to show the perfection of the theory [of different degrees of glory in the future life] and witnesses the fact that that document is a transcript from the records of the eternal world.”
In June, 1836, while attending to washings and anointings in the Kirtland Temple, previous to its dedication, the Prophet received still further knowledge as to the future state of man. This also was by means of a vision. He says: “The heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out, I cannot tell. I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son. I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold. I saw Fathers Adam and Abraham, and my father and mother, my brother, Alvin, that has long since slept, and marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set His hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins. Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me saying—
All who have died without a knowledge of this Gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom, for I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.
“And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability, are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.
The next step in the development of this doctrine of salvation for the dead was the coming of Elijah to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers,” according to Malachi; to restore the priesthood and “plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers,” by which “the hearts of the children shall be turned to the fathers,” according to Moroni. And Elijah committed the keys of this dispensation of turning the hearts of the fathers and children towards each other to Joseph Smith and to Oliver Cowdery. This took place in the Kirtland Temple on the 3rd of April, 1836. 28
It was not, however, until the Nauvoo period that the doctrine of salvation for the dead was fully developed and active steps taken looking to the actual performance of ordinances in their behalf. In the revelation that was given on the 19th of January, 1841, the Saints were commanded to build a house unto the Lord, a Holy Temple unto the Most High. “For,” said this revelation, “there is not a place found on earth that He may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which He hath taken away, even the fullness of the Priesthood; for a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my Saints, may be baptized for those who are dead; for this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me. But I command you, all ye my Saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me, and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.” That is, the baptisms for the dead should be acceptable unto the Lord in other places than the temple, until the temple should be prepared for that ordinance, if the Saints would be diligent and build it according to the Lord’s appointment. Moreover, the information is imparted in the revelation that, it is in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I [the Lord] have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead.”
After this revelation was given to the Church baptism for the dead was a subject frequently expounded in Nauvoo, both by the Prophet and other leading elders. It was a theme upon which the Twelve Apostles dwelt in their Epistles to the Church both in America and in Great Britain. Baptisms for the dead were performed for some time in the Mississippi river, and later, in the latter part of November, 1841, in the baptismal font erected in the basement of the Temple, and dedicated for that sacred purpose. For a time some irregularities obtained in relation to this ordinance owing to the fact that the perfect knowledge of the order of it had not then been obtained, but was developed later in this Nauvoo period of the History of the Church, as will appear in Volume V of this work.
It was a mighty stride forward in the doctrinal development of the Church, this idea of the possibility of salvation for the dead through the administration of the ordinances of the Gospel for and in their behalf by their kindred on earth; and greatly enlarged the views of the Saints in relation to the importance and wide spread effects of their work. The ends of the earth indeed converged in the labors of the Saints henceforth, for their activities in the administrations of the holy ordinances of the Gospel would affect all past generations as well as affect all generations to come. It was a bringing into view the full half of the work which up to this time had lain hidden behind the horizon of men’s conceptions of that “great and marvelous work” which God from the beginning declared was about to be brought forth among the children of men. 29
Other Doctrines of the Prophet’s Teaching.
Other doctrines taught by the Prophet within the period covered by this volume, relate to the Priesthood; to the Status of Translated Persons; to Man’s Personal Responsibility for his own conduct, to Election and Reprobation. A word in relation to each of these doctrines must suffice here since they do not reach their full development in the teachings of the Prophet until the last two years of his eventful life, and must therefore receive fuller treatment in the Introduction of Volume V.
Relative to the Priesthood, the most important items advanced by the Prophet in this volume, are, first, the unity of all Priesthood, and second, the place and power assigned to Adam in the order of the dispensations of the Gospel granted to our earth. Treating on the unity of the Priesthood, the Prophet said: “There are two Priesthoods spoken of in the Scriptures, viz., the Melchisedek and the Aaronic or Levitical. Although there are two Priesthoods, yet the Melchisedek Priesthood comprehends the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood, and is the grand head, and holds the highest authority which pertains to the Priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom of God in all ages of the world to the latest posterity on the earth, and is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation, and every important matter is revealed from heaven. Its institution was prior to ‘the foundation of this earth, or the morning stars sang together, or the Sons of God shouted for joy,’ and is the highest and holiest Priesthood, and is after the order of the Son of God, and all other Priesthoods are only parts, ramifications, powers and blessings belonging to the same, and are held, controlled, and directed by it. It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing His glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth, and through which He has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time.”
Respecting the place of Adam in the Priesthood and his relationship to the dispensations of that Priesthood to our earth, the Prophet said: “Commencing with Adam, who was the first man, who is spoken of in Daniel as being the ‘Ancient of Days,’ or in other words, the first and oldest of all, the great, grand progenitor of whom it is said in another place he is Michael, because he was the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but the first to hold the spiritual blessings, to whom was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity unto the end, and to whom Christ was first revealed, and through whom Christ has been revealed from heaven, and will continue to be revealed from henceforth. Adam holds the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times; i.e., the dispensation of all the times have been and will be revealed through him from the beginning to Christ, and from Christ to the end of all the dispensations that are to be revealed. ‘Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself’ that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him (Ephesians, 1st chap., 9th and 10th verses). Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the last dispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations. And again. God purposed in Himself that there should not be an eternal fullness until every dispensation should be fulfilled and gathered together in one, and that all things whatsoever, that should be gathered together in one in those dispensations unto the same fullness and eternal glory, should be in Christ Jesus; therefore He set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them. * * * * These angels are under the direction of Michael or Adam, who acts under the direction of the Lord. * * * * There are many things which belong to the powers of the Priesthood and the keys thereof, that have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world; they are hid from the wise and prudent to be revealed in the last times.”
That it was the design of the Lord in building the Temple at Nauvoo, that there should be other ordinances revealed besides “baptism for the dead,” is clearly manifested in the revelation itself, for it says: “And again, verily I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name. * * * * Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices, by the sons of Levi and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name. And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein, unto my people; for I deign to reveal unto my Church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the word, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fullness of times.”
The ordinances here mentioned in addition to baptism for the dead are chiefly connected with the Priesthood of the Church, and were fully developed in the teachings of the Prophet before the close of his eventful career.
As to the status of translated personages, he said: “Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fulness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into as great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead.”
Of man being personally responsible for his own conduct, he is reported by the Editor of the Times and Seasons as saying: “He [the Prophet] then observed that Satan was generally blamed for the evils which we did, but if he was the cause of all our wickedness, men could not be condemned. The devil could not compel mankind to do evil; all was voluntary. Those who resisted the Spirit of God, would be liable to be led into temptation, and then the association of heaven would be withdrawn from those who refused to be made partakers of such great glory. God would not exert any compulsory means, and the devil could not; and such ideas as were entertained [on these subjects] by many were absurd.” What beautiful harmony between the Prophet’s doctrine here and that of the Apostle James: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringing forth sin: and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” 30
Of election, a term used generally in connection with reprobation, when commenting on the 9th Chapter of Romans,—wherein Paul is supposed to teach the doctrine of election,—the Prophet is represented as saying: “He then spoke on the subject of election, and read the 9th chapter of Romans, from which it was evident that the election there spoken of was pertaining to the flesh, and had reference to the seed of Abraham, according to the promise God made to Abraham, saying, “In thee, and in thy seed, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” * * * The whole of the chapter had reference to the Priesthood and the house of Israel: and unconditional election of individuals to eternal life was not taught by the Apostles. God did elect or predestinate, that all those who would be saved, should be saved in Christ Jesus, and through obedience to the Gospel, but He passes over no man’s sins, but visits them with correction, and if His children will not repent of their sins He will discard them.”
These several doctrines mark rapid development in the Prophet’s work as an instructor in sacred things, and clearly indicate his increasing capacity and power as Prophet, Seer and Teacher.
Introduction to Volume 4.
3. Commenting once in a half humorous way upon his “exalted” military rank, the Prophet said to Josiah Quincy, who remarks that the Prophet at the time of his visit to Nauvoo (May, 1843), was at the head of 3,000 men equipped by the state of Illinois, represents him as having said:
I decided that the commander of my troops ought to be a lieutenant-general, and I was, of course, chosen to that position. I sent my certificate of election to Governor Ford, and received in return a commission of lieutenant-general of the Nauvoo Legion of the militia of the State of Illinois. Now, on examining the constitution of the United States, I find that an officer must be tried by a court martial composed of his equals in rank; and as I am the only lieutenant-general in the country, I think they will find it pretty hard to try me.” Figures of the Past, p. 383.
5. Section 11, this volume, p. 241. The Prophet quoted from memory, and is not exact; the exact language is—”As they deem necessary for the peace, benefit, good order, regulation, convenience and cleanliness of said city.”
23. D&C 88:34.
24. Ibid, verse 35.
25. D&C 76 and History of the Church Vol. I, 245 et seq.
26. 1 Peter 3:18-22.
27. See History of the Church, Vol. 2, p.435-436. Also D&C 100.
29. James 1:13-15