Actions in Relation to John C. Bennett et al.—The Prophet’s Instructions to the Relief Society—Treatise on the “Holy Ghost”—William Law’s Defense of the Saints—The Prophet’s Address to the Church.
Monday, May 23, 1842.—I called a special session of the city council, at which Dimick B. Huntington was elected coroner of the city of Nauvoo.
The Fall of Chauncey L. Higbee.
Tuesday, 24.—Chauncey L. Higbee was cut off from the Church by the High Council, for unchaste and unvirtuous conduct towards certain females, and for teaching it was right, if kept secret, &c. He was also put under $200 bonds to keep the peace, on my complaint against him for slander, before Ebenezer Robinson, justice of the peace.
Wednesday, 25.—I spent the day in counseling the Bishops, and assisting them to expose iniquity.
Notice was this day given to John C. Bennett, that the First Presidency, Twelve, and Bishops had withdrawn fellowship from him, and were about to publish him in the paper, but on his humbling himself, and begging we would spare him from the paper, for his mother’s sake, the notice was withdrawn from the paper.
Confessions of John C. Bennett.
Thursday, 26.—This forenoon I attended a meeting of nearly a hundred of the brethren in the Lodge Room, to whom John C. Bennett acknowledged his wicked and licentious conduct toward certain females in Nauvoo, and that he was worthy of the severest chastisements, and cried like a child, and begged that he might be spared, in any possible way; so deep was his apparent sense of his guilt and unfitness for respectable society; so deeply did he feign, or really feel contrition for the moment, that he was forgiven still. I plead for mercy for him.
The Prophet’s Political Attitude.
At one p.m. I attended a large and respectable meeting of the citizens of Nauvoo, near the Temple, and addressed them on the principles of government, at considerable length, showing that I did not intend to vote the Whig or Democratic ticket as such, but would go for those who would support good order, &c.
The meeting nominated candidates for senators, representatives, and other officers, and expressed their entire disapprobation of the Quincy Whig, relative to my being concerned against Governor Boggs.
I met with the Ladies’ Relief Society, and gave them a short address; a synopsis was reported by Miss E. R. Snow.
Address of the Prophet to the Relief Society.
President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel—said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church—that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls—applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall—that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves, envious towards the innocent, while they afflict the virtuous with their shafts of envy.
There is another error which opens a door for the adversary to enter. As females possess refined feelings and sensitiveness, they are also subject to overmuch zeal, which must ever prove dangerous, and cause them to be rigid in a religious capacity—[they] should be armed with mercy, notwithstanding the iniquity among us.
Said he had been instrumental in bringing iniquity to light—it was a melancholy thought and awful that so many should place themselves under the condemnation of the devil, and going to perdition. With deep feeling he said that they are fellow mortals, we loved them once, shall we not encourage them to reformation? We have not [yet] forgiven them seventy times seven, as our Savior directed; perhaps we have not forgiven them once. There is now a day of salvation to such as repent and reform;—and they who repent not should be cast out from this society; yet we should woo them to return to God, lest they escape not the damnation of hell! Where there is a mountain top, there is also a valley—we should act in all things on a proper medium to every immortal spirit. Notwithstanding the unworthy are among us, the virtuous should not, from self importance, grieve and oppress needlessly, those unfortunate ones—even these should be encouraged to hereafter live to be honored by this society, who are the best portions of the community. Said he had two things to recommend to the members of this society, to put a double watch over the tongue: no organized body can exist without this at all. All organized bodies have their peculiar evils, weaknesses and difficulties, the object is to make those not so good reform and return to the path of virtue that they may be numbered with the good, and even hold the keys of power, which will influence to virtue and goodness—should chasten and reprove, and keep it all in silence, not even mention them again; then you will be established in power, virtue, and holiness, and the wrath of God will be turned away.
I have one request to make of the President and members of the society, that you search yourselves—the tongue is an unruly member—hold your tongues about things of no moment—a little tale will set the world on fire. At this time, the truth on the guilty should not be told openly, strange as this may seem, yet this is policy. We must use precaution in bringing sinners to justice, lest in exposing these heinous sins we draw the indignation of a Gentile world upon us (and, to their imagination, justly too). It is necessary to hold an influence in the world, and thus spare ourselves an extermination; and also accomplish our end in spreading the Gospel, or holiness, in the earth. If we were brought to desolation, the disobedient would find no help. There are some who are obedient, yet men cannot steady the ark—my arm cannot do it—God must steady it. To the iniquitous show yourselves merciful.
I am advised by some of the heads of the Church to tell the Relief Society to be virtuous, but to save the Church from desolation and the sword; beware, be still, be prudent, repent, reform, but do it in a way not to destroy all around you. I do not want to cloak iniquity—all things contrary to the will of God, should be cast from us, but don’t do more hurt than good, with your tongues—be pure in heart. Jesus designs to save the people out of their sins. Said Jesus, “Ye shall do the work, which ye see me do.” These are the grand key-words for the society to act upon. If I were not in your midst to aid and counsel you, the devil would overcome you. I want the innocent to go free—rather spare ten iniquitous among you, than condemn one innocent one. “Fret not thyself because of evil doers.” God will see to it.
Friday, 27.—Had an attack of a bilious nature, stayed at home, took some medicine.
Saturday, 28.—Convalescent. Walked to the store with Emma, transacted some business in the city. At eight in the evening, called at the printing office, with the night watch, to see the Wasp.
Violent shocks of earthquakes were experienced in Greece about this time.
The High Council were in session, as they had been from day to day through the week, investigating charges against various individuals for unvirtuous conduct, committed through the teachings and influence of John C. Bennett; several were cut off, and some were forgiven on confession.
Sunday, 29.—I was at home; and about the city engaged in counselling the brethren, &c., and also on Monday and Tuesday, the 30th, and 31st.
Wednesday, June 1.—I attended a political meeting in the grove, for the nomination of county officers, for the county at large, in which I concurred, with the exception of the candidate for the sheriffalty, and spoke in favor of the proceedings.
A general conference was held in the Exchange, Manchester, England, Elder Parley P. Pratt, presiding, at which 16 conferences were represented, comprising 7,514 members, 220 Elders, 421 Priests, and 110 Teachers.
Thursday, 2.—Rode out with Brother Bowen and my clerk, and sold lot 1 in block 143.
The State of Michigan repudiated its debt for $2,350,000.
Friday, 3.—In the forenoon I rode out in the city, and sold to Brother Harmer lot 1 in block 123, and in the afternoon rode to Brother John Benbow’s, on horseback, accompanied by Emma and others.
Saturday, 4.—At the printing office in the morning, and heard letters read from Grand Master Jonas, Dr. King and Mr. Helme, concerning John C. Bennett’s expulsion from the Masonic Lodge in Ohio.
In the afternoon paid E. B. Nourn $505 for land bought of Hugh McFall, and settled with the heirs of Edward Lawrence at my house, assisted by Newel K. Whitney and my clerk.
Discourse by the Prophet.
Sunday, 5.—I preached this morning to a large congregation. The subject matter of my discourse was drawn from 32nd and 33rd chapters of Ezekiel, wherein it was shown that old Pharaoh was comforted and greatly rejoiced that he was honored as a kind of king devil over those uncircumcised nations that go down to hell for rejecting the word of the Lord, notwithstanding His mighty miracles, and fighting the Saints; the whole exhibited as a pattern to this generation, and the nations now rolling in splendor over the globe, if they do not repent, that they shall go down to the pit also and be rejoiced over, and ruled over by old Pharaoh, king-devil of mobocrats, miracle-rejecters, Saint-killers, hypocritical priests, and all other fit subjects to fester in their own infamy.
Monday, 6.—I rode on the prairie to view some land, accompanied by Brother Yearsley and my clerk; dined at Brother Lot’s, and returned home; when I approved of a series of resolutions passed by a court martial of the Nauvoo Legion.
Tuesday, 7.—Sold David D. Yearsley a quarter section of land. Quite a snowstorm is reported in many parts of the New England and Middle States.
Wednesday, 8.—I was about home. Sent Dr. Richards to Carthage on business. On his return, old Charley, while on a gallop, struck his knees and breast instead of his feet, fell in the street, and rolled over in an instant, and the doctor narrowly escaped with his life. It was a trick of the devil to kill my clerk. Similar attacks have been made on myself of late, and Satan is seeking our destruction on every hand.
Thursday, 9.—At home, and about the neighborhood, attending to domestic affairs, and the business of the Church.
Minutes of Meeting of the Female Relief Society, at the Grove, Nauvoo, June 9, 1842, (Reported by Miss E. R. Snow.)
President Joseph Smith opened the meeting by prayer, and then addressed the congregation on the design of the institution. Said it is no matter how fast the society increases, if all the members are virtuous; that we must be as particular with regard to the character of members now, as when the society was first started; that sometimes persons wish to crowd themselves into a society of this kind when they do not intend to pursue the ways of purity and righteousness, as if the society would be a shelter to them in their iniquity.
He said that henceforth no person shall be admitted, but by presenting regular petitions, signed by two or three members in good standing in the society, and whoever comes in must be of good report.
Objections having been previously made against Mahala Overton, they were now removed; after which President Joseph Smith continued his address; said he was going to preach mercy. Suppose that Jesus Christ and holy angels should object to us on frivolous things, what would become of us? We must be merciful to one another, and overlook small things.
Respecting the reception of Sister Overton, President Joseph Smith said: It grieves me that there is no fuller fellowship; if one member suffer all feel it; by union of feeling we obtain power with God. Christ said He came to call sinners to repentance, to save them. Christ was condemned by the self-righteous Jews because He took sinners into His society; He took them upon the principle that they repented of their sins. It is the object of this society to reform persons, not to take those that are corrupt and foster them in their wickedness; but if they repent, we are bound to take them, and by kindness sanctify and cleanse them from all unrighteousness by our influence in watching over them. Nothing will have such influence over people as the fear of being disfellowshiped by so goodly a society as this. Then take Sister Overton, as Jesus received sinners into His bosom. Sister Overton, in the name of the Lord, I now make you free. Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.
It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with the principles of godliness to behold the contraction of affectionate feelings and lack of charity in the world. The power and glory of godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of charity. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them.
All the religious world is boasting of righteousness: it is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind, and hinder our progress, by filling us with self-righteousness. The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. My talk is intended for all this society; if you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another.
President Smith then referred them to the conduct of the Savior, when He was taken and crucified, &c.
He then made a promise in the name of the Lord, saying that that soul who has righteousness enough to ask God in the secret place for life, every day of their lives, shall live to three score years and ten. We must walk uprightly all the day long. How glorious are the principles of righteousness! We are full of selfishness; the devil flatters us that we are very righteous, when we are feeding on the faults of others. We can only live by worshiping our God; all must do it for themselves; none can do it for another. How mild the Savior dealt with Peter, saying, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” At another time, He said to him, “Lovest thou me?” and having received Peter’s reply, He said, “Feed my sheep.” If the sisters loved the Lord, let them feed the sheep, and not destroy them. How oft have wise men and women sought to dictate Brother Joseph by saying, “O, if I were Brother Joseph, I would do this and that;” but if they were in Brother Joseph’s shoes they would find that men or women could not be compelled into the kingdom of God, but must be dealt with in long-suffering, and at last we shall save them. The way to keep all the Saints together, and keep the work rolling, is to wait with all long-suffering, till God shall bring such characters to justice. There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand in hand with reproof.
Sisters of the society, shall there be strife among you? I will not have it. You must repent, and get the love of God. Away with self-righteousness. The best measure or principle to bring the poor to repentance is to administer to their wants. The Ladies’ Relief Society is not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls.
President Smith then said that he would give a lot of land to the society by deeding to the treasurer, that the society may build houses for the poor. He also said he would give a house, frame not finished, and that Brother Cahoon will move it on to the aforesaid lot, and the society can pay him by giving orders on the store; that it was a good plan to set those to work who are owing widows, and thus make an offset, &c.
Friday, 10.—Went to Brother Hibbard’s with my clerk, to purchase some land.
Saturday, 11.—Presided in city council. Council resolved to publish the city charter, ordinances of the city council, and Nauvoo Legion, before the first day of next July. Also resolved that the bond given by William Marks, binding him to make a deed for the land purchased of him for a burying ground, for the use of the city, be put on record in the office for the registry of deeds in the city of Nauvoo.
Riots and mobs are multiplying in the land.
Sunday, 12.—Mostly at home. Called at the printing office for some papers.
Conditions of English Saints in Nauvoo.
Monday, 13.—Attended a general council in the lodge room to devise ways and means to furnish the poor with labor. Many of the English Saints have gathered to Nauvoo, most of whom are unacquainted with any kind of labor, except spinning, weaving, &c.; and having no factories in this place, they are troubled to know what to do. Those who have funds have more generally neglected to gather, and left the poor to build up the city and the kingdom of God in these last days.
Tuesday, 14.—Rode to the big mound on the La Harpe road, accompanied by Emma, Hiram Kimball, and Dr. Richards, and purchased a three-quarter section of land of Kimball, including the mound.
Hyram Clark Sent to England.
The Twelve—namely, President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and Willard Richards, Bishop George Miller, and Hiram Clark, of the High Priest’s quorum, in council at the printing office. Voted that Hiram Clark go immediately to England take a letter to gather means of the churches to go on his journey and take charge of the emigration in England, instead of Amos Fielding; also collect means for building the Temple, purchase goods, &c., and that letters be given him to Brother Parley P. Pratt to this effect. Voted that Brother Fielding come immediately to this place with his family after his return from England.
John C. Bennett’s defense of the proceedings at Nauvoo, &c., may be seen on the 37th, 38th, and 39th pages of the Wasp.
Wednesday, 15.—Visited at different places in the city, and my farm on the prairie, accompanied by my clerk and Orrin Porter Rockwell, and supped at Hiram Kimball’s.
Issued an editorial on the Gift of the Holy Ghost, as follows:—
Various and conflicting are the opinions of men in regard to the gift of the Holy Ghost. Some people have been in the habit of calling every supernatural manifestation the effects of the Spirit of God, whilst there are others that think there is no manifestation connected with it at all; and that it is nothing but a mere impulse of the mind, or an inward feeling, impression, or secret testimony or evidence, which men possess, and that there is no such a thing as an outward manifestation.
It is not to be wondered at that men should be ignorant, in a great measure, of the principles of salvation, and more especially of the nature, office, power, influence, gifts, and blessings of the gift of the Holy Ghost; when we consider that the human family have been enveloped in gross darkness and ignorance for many centuries past, without revelation, or any just criterion [by which] to arrive at a knowledge of the things of God, which can only be known by the Spirit of God. Hence it not infrequently occurs, that when the Elders of this Church preach to the inhabitants of the world, that if they obey the Gospel they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, that the people expect to see some wonderful manifestation, some great display of power, or some extraordinary miracle performed; and it is often the case that young members of this Church for want of better information, carry along with them their old notions of things, and sometimes fall into egregious errors. We have lately had some information concerning a few members that are in this dilemma, and for their information make a few remarks upon the subject.
We believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost being enjoyed now, as much as it was in the Apostles’ days; we believe that it [the gift of the Holy Ghost] is necessary to make and to organize the Priesthood, that no man can be called to fill any office in the ministry without it; we also believe in prophecy, in tongues, in visions, and in revelations, in gifts, and in healings; and that these things cannot be enjoyed without the gift of the Holy Ghost. We believe that the holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and that holy men in these days speak by the same principle; we believe in its being a comforter and a witness bearer, that it brings things past to our remembrance, leads us into all truth, and shows us of things to come; be believe that “no man can know that Jesus is the Christ, but by the Holy Ghost.” We believe in it [this gift of the Holy Ghost] in all its fullness, and power, and greatness, and glory; but whilst we do this, we believe in it rationally, consistently, and scripturally, and not according to the wild vagaries, foolish notions and traditions of men.
The human family are very apt to run to extremes, especially in religious matters, and hence people in general, either want some miraculous display, or they will not believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost at all. If an Elder lays his hands upon a person, it is thought by many that the person must immediately rise and speak in tongues and prophesy; this idea is gathered from the circumstance of Paul laying his hands upon certain individuals who had been previously (as they stated) baptized unto John’s baptism; which when he had done, they “spake in tongues and prophesied.” Phillip also, when he had preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of the city of Samaria, sent for Peter and John, who when they came laid their hands upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost; for as yet he was fallen upon none of them; and when Simon Magus saw that through the laying on of the Apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money that he might possess the same power (Acts 8). These passages are considered by many as affording sufficient evidence for some miraculous, visible manifestation, whenever hands are laid on for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We believe that the Holy Ghost is imparted by the laying on of hands of those in authority, and that the gift of tongues, and also the gift of prophecy are gifts of the Spirit, and are obtained through that medium; but then to say that men always prophesied and spoke in tongues when they had the imposition of hands, would be to state that which is untrue, contrary to the practice of the Apostles, and at variance with holy writ; for Paul says, “To one is given the gift of tongues, to another the gift of prophecy, and to another the gift of healing;” and again: “Do all prophesy? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” evidently showing that all did not possess these several gifts; but that one received one gift, and another received another gift—all did not prophesy, all did not speak in tongues, all did not work miracles; but all did receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; sometimes they spake in tongues and prophesied in the Apostles’ days, and sometimes they did not. The same is the case with us also in our administrations, while more frequently there is no manifestation at all; that is visible to the surrounding multitude; this will appear plain when we consult the writings of the Apostles, and notice their proceedings in relation to this matter. Paul, in 1st Cor. 12, says, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant; ” it is evident from this, that some of them were ignorant in relation to these matters, or they would not need instruction.
Again, in chapter 14, he says, “Follow after charity and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” It is very evident from these Scriptures that many of them had not spiritual gifts, for if they had spiritual gifts where was the necessity of Paul telling them to follow after them, and it is as evident that they did not all receive those gifts by the imposition of the hands; for they as a Church had been baptized and confirmed by the laying on of hands—and yet to a Church of this kind, under the immediate inspection and superintendency of the Apostles, it was necessary for Paul to say, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy,” evidently showing that those gifts were in the Church, but not enjoyed by all in their outward manifestations.
But suppose the gifts of the Spirit were immediately, upon the imposition of hands, enjoyed by all, in all their fullness and power; the skeptic would still be as far from receiving any testimony except upon a mere casualty as before, for all the gifts of the Spirit are not visible to the natural vision, or understanding of man; indeed very few of them are. We read that “Christ ascended into heaven and gave gifts unto men; and He gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and Teachers” (Eph. 4).
The Church is a compact body composed of different members, and is strictly analogous to the human system, and Paul, after speaking of the different gifts, says, “Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular; and God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all Teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? It is evident that they do not; yet are they all members of one body. All members of the natural body are not the eye, the ear, the head or the hand—yet the eye cannot say to the ear I have no need of thee, nor the head to the foot, I have no need of thee; they are all so many component parts in the perfect machine—the one body; and if one member suffer, the whole of the members suffer with it: and if one member rejoice, all the rest are honored with it.
These, then, are all gifts; they come from God; they are of God; they are all the gifts of the Holy Ghost; they are what Christ ascended into heaven to impart; and yet how few of them could be known by the generality of men. Peter and John were Apostles, yet the Jewish court scourged them as impostors. Paul was both an Apostle and Prophet, yet they stoned him and put him into prison. The people knew nothing about it, although he had in his possession the gift of the Holy Ghost. Our Savior was “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” yet so far from the people knowing Him, they said He was Beelzebub, and crucified Him as an impostor. Who could point out a Pastor, a Teacher, or an Evangelist by their appearance, yet had they the gift of the Holy Ghost?
But to come to the other members of the Church, and examine the gifts as spoken of by Paul, and we shall find that the world can in general know nothing about them, and that there is but one or two that could be immediately known, if they were all poured out immediately upon the imposition of hands. In I. Cor. 12., Paul says, “There are diversities of gifts yet the same spirit, and there are differences of administrations but the same Lord; and there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestations of the Spirit is given unto every man to profit withal. For to one is given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom, to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing, by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another the discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the self same spirit, dividing to each man severally as he will.”
There are several gifts mentioned here, yet which of them all could be known by an observer at the imposition of hands? The word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge, are as much gifts as any other, yet if a person possessed both of these gifts, or received them by the imposition of hands, who would know it? Another might receive the gift of faith, and they would be as ignorant of it. Or suppose a man had the gift of healing or power to work miracles, that would not then be known; it would require time and circumstances to call these gifts into operation. Suppose a man had the discerning of spirits, who would be the wiser for it? Or if he had the interpretation of tongues, unless someone spoke in an unknown tongue, he of course would have to be silent; there are only two gifts that could be made visible—the gift of tongues and the gift of prophecy. These are things that are the roost talked about, and yet if a person spoke in an unknown tongue, according to Paul’s testimony, he would be a barbarian to those present. They would say that it was gibberish; and if he prophesied they would call it nonsense. The gift of tongues is the smallest gift perhaps of the whole, and yet it is one that is the most sought after.
So that according to the testimony of Scripture and the manifestations of the Spirit in ancient days, very little could be known about it by the surrounding multitude, except on some extraordinary occasion, as on the day of Pentecost.
The greatest, the best, and the most useful gifts would be known nothing about by an observer. It is true that a man might prophesy, which is a great gift, and one that Paul told the people—the Church—to seek after and to covet, rather than to speak in tongues; but what does the world know about prophesying? Paul says that it “serveth only to those that believe.” But does not the Scriptures say that they spake in tongues and prophesied? Yes; but who is it that writes these Scriptures? Not the men of the world or mere casual observers, but the Apostles—men who knew one gift from another, and of course were capable of writing about it; if we had the testimony of the Scribes and Pharisees concerning the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, they would have told us that it was no gift, but that the people were “drunken with new wine,” and we shall finally have to come to the same conclusion that Paul did—”No man knows the things of God but by the Spirit of God;” for with the great revelations of Paul when he was caught up into the third heaven and saw things that were not lawful to utter, no man was apprised of it until he mentioned it himself fourteen years after; and when John had the curtains of heaven withdrawn, and by vision looked through the dark vista of future ages, and contemplated events that should transpire throughout every subsequent period of time, until the final winding up scene—while he gazed upon the glories of the eternal world, saw an innumerable company of angels and heard the voice of God—it was in the Spirit, on the Lord’s day, unnoticed and unobserved by the world.
The manifestations of the gift of the Holy Ghost, the ministering of angels, or the development of the power, majesty or glory of God were very seldom manifested publicly, and that generally to the people of God, as to the Israelites; but most generally when angels have come, or God has revealed Himself, it has been to individuals in private, in their chamber; in the wilderness or fields, and that generally without noise or tumult. The angel delivered Peter out of prison in the dead of night; came to Paul unobserved by the rest of the crew; appeared to Mary and Elizabeth without the knowledge of others; spoke to John the Baptist whilst the people around were ignorant of it.
When Elisha saw the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof, it was unknown to others. When the Lord appeared to Abraham it was at his tent door; when the angels went to Lot, no person knew them but himself, which was the case probably with Abraham and his wife; when the Lord appeared to Moses, it was in the burning bush, in the tabernacle or in the mountain top; when Elijah was taken in a chariot of fire, it was unobserved by the world; and when he was in a cleft of a rock, there was loud thunder, but the Lord was not in the thunder; there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and then there was a still small voice, which was the voice of the Lord, saying, “What doest thou hear, Elijah?”
The Lord cannot always be known by the thunder of His voice, by the display of His glory or by the manifestation of His power; and those that are the most anxious to see these things, are the least prepared to meet them, and were the Lord to manifest His power as He did to the children of Israel, such characters would be the first to say, “Let not the Lord speak any more, lest we His people die.”
We would say to the brethren, seek to know God in your closets, call upon him in the fields. Follow the directions of the Book of Mormon, and pray over, and for your families, your cattle, your flocks, your herds, your corn, and all things that you possess; ask the blessing of God upon all your labors, and everything that you engage in. Be virtuous and pure; be men of integrity and truth; keep the commandments of God; and then you will be able more perfectly to understand the difference between right and wrong—between the things of God and the things of men; and your path will be like that of the just, which shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.”
Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing. We may some future time enter more fully into this subject, but shall let this suffice for the present.
Thursday, 16.—The following notice was published by the Nauvoo [Masonic] lodge:
To all whom it may concern, greeting:—Whereas, John Cook Bennett, in the organization of the Nauvoo Lodge, under dispensation palmed himself upon the fraternity as a regular mason, in good standing: and satisfactory testimony having been produced before said lodge, that he, said Bennett, was an expelled mason, we therefore publish to all the masonic world the above facts that he, the said Bennett, may not impose himself again upon the fraternity of masons. All editors who are friendly to the fraternity of free and accepted ancient York masons will please insert the above.
Master of Nauvoo Lodge under Dispensation.
The British forces captured the Chinese fortifications on the Yang-tse-Kiang river with 364 pieces of artillery.
Defense of the Saints in Nauvoo by William Law.
What have the Mormons done to Illinois? is the question which I have frequently asked of those who are busy with the tongue of slander in calumniating the Latter-day Saints, but as yet I have found none who are willing to answer me honestly or correctly. Perhaps many judge from rumor, not having investigated the matter for themselves. I have, therefore, thought it might be well to lay before the public some facts in relation to the case, believing that there is a respectable portion of the community, who, after having received correct information, will frown with indignation upon the conduct of those who are endeavoring to raise a persecution against our people.
In the first place, we would say, that where a crime is committed there is a law broken, for if no law has been violated, there cannot have been a crime committed; if, then, our people have broken the law is there not power in those laws to vindicate themselves, or to redress the wrongs of those who are injured? We say there is; neither would we cast any aspersion upon the characters of the administrators of the laws, as though they were not vigilant in the discharge of their duty; we believe, with very few exceptions, they have been vigilant.
With these facts before us, there is then no difficulty in obtaining correct information as to the amount of crime committed by the Mormons throughout the state. You have only to refer to the various dockets kept by the administrators of law, from the highest court to the lowest, throughout the length and breadth of the land, and there you will find recorded the crimes of the Mormons, if it so be that they have committed any.
We say their faults are few compared to the population. Where is there a record of murder committed by any of our people? None in the State. Where is there a record against any of our people for a penitentiary crime?—Not in the State. Where is there a record of fine or county imprisonment (for any breach of law) against any of the Latter-day Saints? I know of none in the State. If, then, they have broken no law, they consequently have taken away no man’s rights—they have infringed upon no man’s liberties.
We have been three years in this State, and have not asked for any county or state office. Laws have been administered by those not of our persuasion; administered rigorously, even against the appearance of crime, and yet there has been no conviction of which I have heard. Where is there another community in any state, against none of whom there is a record of conviction for crime in any court during the space of three years? And yet there are those who cry out “Treason! murder! bigamy! burglary! arson! and everything that is evil, without being able to refer to a single case that has ever been proved against the Mormons.
This, then, must be the “head and front of our offending,” that by industry in both spiritual and temporal things, we are becoming a great and numerous people; we convert our thousands and tens of thousands yearly to the light of truth—to the glorious liberty of the Gospel of Christ; we bring thousands from foreign lands, from under the yoke of oppression and the iron hand of poverty, and we place them in a situation where they can sustain themselves, which is the highest act of charity toward the poor. We dry the widow’s tear, we fill the orphan’s hand with bread, and clothe the naked; we teach them principles of morality and righteousness, and they rejoice in the God of Abraham and in the Holy One of Israel, and are happy.
Thus it is with the honest in heart: but when the wicked creep in amongst us for evil, to trample upon the most holy and virtuous precepts, and find our moral and religious laws too strict for them, they cry out, “Delusion, false prophets, speculation, oppression, illegal ordinances, usurpation of power, treason against the government, &c. You must have your charters taken away; you have dared to pass an ordinance against fornicators and adulterers; you have forbidden the vending of spirituous liquors within your city; you have passed an ordinance against vagrants and disorderly persons; with many other high-handed acts! You even threaten to vote at the next election, and may be, (at least we fear) you will send a member to the legislature; none of which doings we, the good mobocrats and anti-Mormon politicians (and some priests as well) are willing to bear.”
This is the cry of the base and the vile, the priest and the speculator, but the noble, the high-minded, the patriotic and the virtuous breathe no such sentiment; neither will those who feel an interest in the welfare of the state, for who does not know that to increase the population ten thousand a year with the most industrious people in the world, to pay thousands of dollars of taxes, to bring into the state immense sums of gold and silver, from all countries; to establish the greatest manufacturing city in America (which Nauvoo will be in a few years,) and to create the best produce market in the west,—is for the good and prosperity of the community at large, and of the state of Illinois in particular. As to the city ordinances we have passed all such as we deemed necessary for the peace, welfare and happiness of the inhabitants, whether Jew or Greek, Mohammedan, Roman Catholic, Latter-day Saint or any other; that they all worship God according to their own conscience, and enjoy the rights of American freemen.
Nauvoo, June 17, 1842.
The Prophet’s Confirmation of Wm. Law’s Defense of the Saints.
The above are plain matters of fact, that every one may become acquainted with by reference to the county and state records. We might add that in regard to moral principles, there is no city either in this state, or in the United States that can compare with the city of Nauvoo. You may live in our city for a month, and not hear an oath sworn; you may be here as long and not see one person intoxicated. So notorious are we for sobriety, that at the time the Washington convention passed through our city a meeting was called for them, but they expressed themselves at a loss what to say, as there were no drunkards to speak to.
Saturday, 18.—The following brief extract is from the journal of Elder Wilford Woodruff:
Minutes of a Public Meeting in Nauvoo.
The citizens of Nauvoo, both male and female, assembled near the Temple for a general meeting; many thousands were assembled.
Joseph the Seer arose and spoke his mind in great plainness concerning the iniquity, hypocrisy, wickedness and corruption of General John Cook Bennett. He also prophesied in the name of the Lord, concerning the merchants in the city, that if they and the rich did not open their hearts and contribute to the poor, they would be cursed by the hand of God, and be cut off from the land of the living.
The main part of the day was taken up upon the business of the Agricultural and Manufacturing Society. Arrangements were entered into to commence operations immediately, under the charter granted by the legislature.
Also Joseph commanded the Twelve to organize the Church more according to the law of God; that is to require of those that come in to be settled according to their counsel, and also to appoint a committee to wait upon all who arrive, make them welcome and counsel them what to do. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith and Hyrum Smith were the committee appointed to wait upon emigrants and settle them.
Tuesday, 21.—I attended a large assembly of the Saints, at the stand near the Temple, and addressed them on the subject of agriculture, manufacture, and trade, and was followed by the Twelve and others on the same subject.
Wednesday, 22.—There was a special session of the city council held, when was passed “an ordinance repealing all ordinances and resolutions relative to the changing of the names of streets” in the city of Nauvoo.
Thursday, 23.—I published the following:
An Address to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to all the Honorable Part of the Community.
It becomes my duty to lay before the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the public generally, some important facts relative to the conduct and character of Dr. John C. Bennett, who has lately been expelled from the aforesaid Church and the honorable part of the community may be aware of his proceedings, and be ready to treat him, and regard him as he ought to be regarded, viz., as an impostor and base adulterer.
It is a matter of notoriety that the said Dr. John C. Bennett became favorable to the doctrines taught by the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and located himself in the city of Nauvoo, about the month of August, 1840, and soon after joined the Church. Soon after it was known that he had become a member of said Church, a communication was received at Nauvoo from a person of respectable character and residing in the vicinity where Bennett had lived. This letter cautioned us against him, setting forth that he was a very mean man, and had a wife and two or three children in McConnellsvill, Morgan county, Ohio; but knowing that it is no uncommon thing for good men to be evil spoken against, the above letter was kept quiet, but held in reserve.
He had not been long in Nauvoo before he began to keep company with a young lady, one of our citizens; and she, being ignorant of his having a wife living, gave way to his addresses, and became confident from his behavior towards her, that he intended to marry her and this he gave her to understand he would do. I, seeing the folly of such an acquaintance, persuaded him to desist, and on account of his continuing his course, finally threatened to expose him if he did not desist. This, to outward appearance, had the desired effect, and the acquaintance between them was broken off.
But, like one of the most abominable and depraved beings which could possibly exist, he only broke off his publicly wicked actions to sink deeper into iniquity and hypocrisy. When he saw that I would not submit to any such conduct, he went to some of the females in the city who knew nothing of him but as an honorable man, and began to teach them that promiscuous intercourse between the sexes was a doctrine believed in by the Latter-day Saints, and that there was no harm in it, but this failing, he had recourse to a more influential and desperately wicked course, and that was to persuade them that myself and others of the authorities of the Church, not only sanctioned but practiced the same wicked acts, and when asked why I publicly preached so much against it, said that it was because of the prejudice of the public, and that it would cause trouble in my own house. He was well aware of the consequence of such wilful and base falsehoods, if they should come to my knowledge, and consequently endeavored to persuade his dupes to keep it a matter of secrecy, persuading them there would be no harm if they did not make it known. This proceeding on his part answered the desired end; he accomplished his wicked purposes; he seduced an innocent female by his lying, and subjected her character to public disgrace, should it ever be known.
But his depraved heart would not suffer him to stop here. Not being contented with having disgraced one female, he made an attempt upon others; and by the same plausible tale overcame them also, evidently not caring whose character was ruined, so that his wicked, lustful appetites might be gratified.
Some time, about the early part of July, 1841, I received a letter from Elders Hyrum Smith and William Law, who were then in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This letter was dated June 15th, and contained the particulars of a conversation betwixt them and a respectable gentleman from the neighborhood where Bennett’s wife and children resided. He stated to them that it was a fact that Bennett had a wife and children living, and that she had left him because of his ill treatment toward her. This letter was read to Bennett, which he did not attempt to deny, but candidly acknowledged the fact.
Soon after this information reached our ears, Dr. Bennett made an attempt at suicide by taking poison, but he being discovered before it took effect, and the proper antidote being administered, he recovered; but he very much resisted when an attempt was made to save him. The public impression was that he was so much ashamed of his base and wicked conduct, that he had recourse to the above deed to escape the censures of an indignant community.
It might have been supposed that these circumstances, transpiring in the manner they did, would have produced a thorough reformation in his conduct; but, alas! like a being totally destitute of common decency, and without any government over his passions, he was soon busily engaged in the same wicked career, and continued until a knowledge of the same reached my ears. I immediately charged him with it, and he admitted that it was true; but in order to put a stop to all such proceedings for the future, I publicly proclaimed against it, and had those females notified to appear before the proper officers, that the whole subject might be investigated and thoroughly exposed.
During the course of investigation, the foregoing facts were proved by credible witnesses, and were sworn and subscribed to before an alderman of the city, on the 15th ultimo. The documents containing the evidence are now in my possession.
We also ascertained by the above investigation that others had been led by his conduct to pursue the same adulterous practice, and in order to accomplish their detestable designs made use of the same language insinuated by Bennett, with this difference, that they did not hear me say anything of the kind, but Bennett was one of the heads of the Church, and he had informed them that such was the fact and they credited his testimony.
The public will perceive the aggravating nature of this case, and will see the propriety of this exposure. Had he only been guilty of adultery, that was sufficient to stamp disgrace upon him, because he is a man of better information, and has been held high in the estimation of many. But, when it is considered that his mind was so intent upon his cruel and abominable deeds, and his own reputation not being sufficient to enable him to do it, he must needs make use of my name in order to effect his purposes, an enlightened public will not be astonished at the course I have pursued.
In order that it may be distinctly understood that he willfully and knowingly lied in the above insinuations, I will lay before my readers an affidavit taken before an alderman of the city, after I had charged him with these things:—
State of Illinois,
City of Nauvoo.
Personally appeared before me, Daniel H. Wells, an alderman of said city of Nauvoo, John C. Bennett, who being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith,—that he never was taught anything in the least contrary to the strictest principles of the Gospel, or of virtue, or of the laws of God or man, under any circumstances, or upon any occasion, either directly or indirectly, in word or deed, by Joseph Smith, and that he never knew the said Smith to countenance any improper conduct whatever, either in public or private; and that he never did teach me in private that an illegal, illicit intercourse with females was, under any circumstances justifiable, and that I never knew him so to teach others.
John C. Bennett.
Sworn to, and subscribed before me, this 17th day of May, A.D. 1842.
Daniel H. Wells, Alderman.
The following conversation took place in the City Council, and was elicited in consequence of its being reported that the doctor had stated that I had acted in an indecorous manner, and given countenance to vices practiced by the doctor and others:—
Dr. John C. Bennett, ex-mayor, was then called upon by the mayor to state if he knew aught against him [i.e., Joseph Smith], when Mr. Bennett replied: I know what I am about, and the heads of the Church know what they are about, I expect. I have no difficulty with the heads of the Church. I publicly avow that any one who has said that I have stated that General Joseph Smith has given me authority to hold illicit intercourse with women, is a liar in the face of God; those who have said it are damned liars; they are infernal liars. He never, either in public or private, gave me any such authority or license, and any person who states it, is a scoundrel and a liar. I have heard it said that I would become a second Avard by withdrawing from the Church, and that I was at variance with the heads, and would use an influence against them, because I resigned the office of mayor; this is false. I have no difficulty with the heads of the Church, and I intend to continue with you, and hope the time may come when I may be restored to full confidence and fellowship, and my former standing in the Church; and that my conduct may be such as to warrant my restoration; and should the time ever come that I may have the opportunity to test my faith, it will then be known whether I am a traitor or a true man.
Joseph Smith then asked: “Will you please state definitely whether you know anything against my character either in public or private?”
General Bennett answered: “I do not; in all my intercourse with General Smith, in public and in private, he has been strictly virtuous.”
Heber C. Kimball,
Geo. A. Smith,
Newel K. Whitney,
John P. Greene,
George W. Harris,
James Sloan, City Recorder.
May 19, 1842.
After I had done all in my power to persuade him to amend his conduct, and these facts were fully established (not only by testimony, but by his own confessions) he having acknowledged that they were true, and seeing no prospects of any satisfaction from his future life, the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from him as a member of the Church by the officers; but on account of his earnest requesting that we would not publish him to the world, we concluded not to do so at that time, but would let the matter rest until we saw the effect of what we had already done.
It appears evident that as soon as he perceived that he could no longer maintain his standing as a member of the Church, nor his respectability as a citizen, he came to the conclusion to leave the place, which he has done, and that very abruptly; and had he done so quietly, and not attempted to deceive the people around him, his case would not have excited the indignation of the citizens so much as his real conduct has done. In order to make his case look plausible, he has reported that he had withdrawn from the Church because we were not worthy of his society; thus, instead of manifesting a spirit of repentance, he has to the last proved himself to be unworthy the confidence or regard of any upright person, by lying to deceive the innocent, and committing adultery in the most abominable and degraded manner.
We are credibly informed that he has colleagued with some of our former wicked persecutors, the Missourians, and has threatened destruction upon us; but we should naturally suppose that he would be so much ashamed of himself at the injury he has already done to those who never injured him, but befriended him in every possible manner, that he could never dare to lift up his head before an enlightened public with the design either to misrepresent or persecute; but be that as it may, we neither dread him nor his influence, but this much we believe, that unless he is determined to fill up the measure of his iniquity, and bring sudden destruction upon himself from the hand of the Almighty, he will be silent, and never more attempt to injure those concerning whom he has testified upon oath he knows nothing but that which is good and virtuous.
Thus I have laid before the Church of Latter-day Saints, and before the public, the character and conduct of a man who has stood high in the estimation of many; but from the foregoing facts, it will be seen that he is not entitled to any credit, but rather to be stamped with indignity and disgrace so far as he may be known. What I have stated, I am prepared to prove, having all the documents concerning the matter in my possession, but I think that to say further is unnecessary, as the subject is so plain that no one can mistake the true nature of the case.
I remain, yours respectfully,
Nauvoo, June 23, 1842.
I have been engaged in domestic affairs and counseling the brethren the last week.
I addressed the following letter to Richmond, Massachusetts:
The Prophet’s Letter to Jennetta Richards.
Nauvoo, June 23, 1842.
Sister Jennetta Richards:—Agreeable to your request in the midst of the bustle and business of the day, and the care of all the churches both at home and abroad, I now embrace a moment to address a few words to you, thinking peradventure it may be a consolation to you to know that you, too, are remembered by me, as well as all the Saints.
My heart’s desire and prayer to God is all the day long for all the Saints, and in an especial and particular manner for those whom He hath chosen and anointed to bear the heaviest burthens in the heat of the day, among which number is your husband received—a man in whom I have the most implicit confidence and trust. You say I have got him; so I have, in the which I rejoice, for he has done me a great good, and taken a great burthen off my shoulders since his arrival in Nauvoo. Never did I have a greater intimacy with any man than with him. May the blessings of Elijah crown his head for ever and ever. We are about to send him in a few days after his dear family; he shall have our prayers fervently for his safe arrival in their embraces; and may God speed his journey, and return him quickly to our society; and I want you, beloved sister, to be a general in this matter, in helping him along, which I know you will. He will be able to teach you many things which you never have heard; you may have implicit confidence in the same.
I have heard much about you by the Twelve, and in consequence of the great friendship that exists between your husband and me, and the information they all have given me of your virtue and strong attachment to the truth of the work of God in the last days, I have formed a very strong brotherly friendship and attachment for you in the bonds of the Gospel. Although I never saw you, I shall be exceedingly glad to see you face to face, and be able to administer in the name of the Lord, some of the words of life to your consolation, and I hope that you may be kept steadfast in the faith, even unto the end.
I want you should give my love and tender regard to Brother Richards’ family, and those who are friendly enough to me to inquire after me in that region of the country, not having but very little time to apportion to any one, and having stolen this opportunity, I therefore subscribe myself, in haste, your most obedient brother in the fullness of the Gospel,
P.S.—Brother Richards having been with me for a long time, can give you any information which you need, and will tell you all about me. I shall be very anxious for his return; he is a great prop to me in my labors.
The Afghan war has cost great Britain $15,000,000 per annum since its commencement.
Friday, 24.—Called St. John’s day. I rode in Masonic procession to the grove where a large assembly of masons and others listened to an address from President Rigdon. Dined at the Masonic Hall Hotel, kept by Brother Alexander Mills.
Wrote Governor Carlin as follows:
The Prophet’s Letter to Governor Carlin on John C. Bennett Affairs.
Nauvoo, June 24, 1842.
Thomas Carlin, Governor of the State of Illinois:
Dear Sir:—It becomes my duty to lay before you some facts relative to the conduct of our major-general, John C. Bennett, which have been proven beyond the possibility of a dispute, and which he himself has admitted to be true in my presence.
It is evident that his general character is that of an adulterer of the worst kind, and although he has a wife and children living, circumstances which have transpired in Nauvoo, have proven to a demonstration that he cares not whose character is disgraced, whose honor is destroyed, nor who suffers, so that his lustful appetite may be gratified; and further, he cares not how many or how abominable the falsehoods he has to make use of to accomplish his wicked purposes, even should it be that he brings disgrace upon a whole community.
Some time ago it having been reported to me that some of the most aggravated cases of adultery had been committed upon some previously respectable females in our city, I took proper methods to ascertain the truth of the report, and was soon enabled to bring sufficient witnesses before proper authority to establish the following facts:
More than twenty months ago Bennett went to a lady in the city and began to teach her that promiscuous intercourse between the sexes was lawful and no harm in it, and requested the privilege of gratifying his passions; but she refused in the strongest terms, saying that it was very wrong to do so, and it would bring a disgrace on the Church.
Finding this argument ineffectual, he told her that men in higher standing in the Church than himself not only sanctioned, but practiced the same deeds; and in order to finish the controversy, said and affirmed that I both taught and acted in the same manner, but publicly proclaimed against in consequence of the prejudice of the people, and for fear of trouble in my own house. By this means he accomplished his designs; he seduced a respectable female with lying, and subjected her to public infamy and disgrace.
Not contented with what he had already done, he made the attempt on others, and by using the same language, seduced them also.
About the early part of July, 1841, I received a letter from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; in it was contained information setting forth that said Bennett had a wife and two or three children then living. This I read to him, and he acknowledged it was true.
A very short time after this, he attempted to destroy himself by taking poison; but being discovered before it had taken sufficient effect, and proper antidotes being administered, he recovered.
The impression made upon the minds of the public by this event, was that he was so ashamed of his base conduct, that he took this course to escape the censure of a justly indignant community. It might have been supposed that after this he would have broken off his adulterous proceedings; but to the contrary, the public consternation had scarcely ceased, before he was again deeply involved in the same wicked proceedings and continued until a knowledge of the fact reached my ears. I immediately charged him with the whole circumstance, and he candidly acknowledged the truth of the whole.
The foregoing facts were established on oath before an alderman of the city; the affidavits are now in my possession.
In order that the truth might be fully established, I asked Bennett to testify before an alderman, whether I had given him any cause for such aggravating conduct. He testified that I never taught him that illicit intercourse with females was under any circumstances justifiable, neither did he ever hear me teach anything but the strictest principles of righteousness and virtue. This affidavit is also in my possession. I have also a similar affidavit taken before the City Council, and signed by the members of the Council.
After these things transpired, and finding that I should resist all such wicked conduct, and knowing that he could no longer maintain himself as a respectable citizen, he has seen fit to leave Nauvoo, and that very abruptly.
I have been credibly informed that he is colleaguing with some of our former cruel persecutors, the Missourians, and that he is threatening destruction upon us; and under these circumstance I consider it my duty to give you information on the subject, that a knowledge of his proceedings may be before you in due season.
It can be proven by hundreds of witnesses that he is one of the basest of liars, and that his whole routine of proceedings, while among us, has been of the basest kind.
He also stated that he had resigned his commission as major-general to the Governor, whether this be true or not, I have no knowledge. I wish to be informed on the subject, that we may know how to act in regard to the Legion.
A short time ago, I was told by a friend of mine (not a member of the Church) that some of the Missourians were conspiring to come up to Nauvoo and kidnap me, and not doubting but that it might be true, I consulted with General Bennett upon the most proper course to be pursued. We concluded to write to you on the subject, and I requested him to do so. I understand he has written to you, but I know not in what manner, and I should be very much pleased if you would write to me on receipt of this, giving me the contents of his communication.
I have also heard that you have entertained of late very unfavorable feelings towards us as a people, and especially so with regard to myself, and that you have said that I ought to be shot, &c. If this be true, I should be pleased to know from yourself the reason of such hostile feelings, for I know of no cause which can possibly exist that might produce such feelings in your breast.
It is rumored, and strong evidence exists, that Dr. Bennett and David and Edward Kilbourn have posted bills in Galena, calling upon the people to hold meetings, and have themselves in readiness at a moment’s warning to be assembled and come here and mob us out of the place, and try to kidnap me; we know not as to the truth of this report, but we have conversed with some transient persons who had the report from a gentleman who lately came from there, and had seen those hand bills posted in Galena.
In case of any mob coming upon us, I wish to be informed by the Governor what will be the best course for us to pursue, and how he wishes us to act in regard to this matter.
Lieutenant-General Nauvoo Legion.
There was a severe shock of an earthquake at Antigua.
Saturday, 25.—Transacted business with Brother Hunter, and Mr. Babbitt, and sat for a drawing of my profile to be placed on a lithograph of the map of the city of Nauvoo.
The Work of Stephens and Catherwood.
Messrs. Stephens and Catherwood have succeeded in collecting in the interior of America a large amount of relics of the Nephites, or the ancient inhabitants of America treated of in the Book of Mormon, which relics have recently been landed in New York.
Sunday, 26.—President Young preached on the law of consecration, and union of action in building up the city and providing labor and food for the poor.
Council meetings at the Prophet’s Home.
I attended meeting and council at my house at six o’clock p.m.; present Hyrum Smith, George Miller, Newel K. Whitney, William Marks, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards, to take into consideration the situation of the Pine country, and lumbering business, and other subjects of importance to the Church; after consultation thereon the brethren united in solemn prayer that God would make known His will concerning the Pine country, and that He would deliver His anointed, His people, from all the evil designs of Governor Boggs, and the powers of the state of Missouri, and of Governor Carlin and the authorities of Illinois, and of all Presidents, Governors, Judges, Legislators, and all in authority, and of John C. Bennett, and all mobs and evil designing persons, so that His people might continue in peace and build up the city of Nauvoo, and that His chosen might be blessed and live to man’s appointed age, and that their households, and the household of faith might continually be blest with the fostering care of heaven, and enjoy the good things of the earth abundantly. Adjourned to Monday evening.
Monday, 27.—Transacted a variety of business. Borrowed money of Brothers Woolley, Spencer, &c., and paid Hiram Kimball for the mound.
When the council assembled in the evening, Brothers Hunter, Ivins, Woolley, Pierce and others being present, the adjourned council was postponed till Tuesday evening, and I proceeded to lecture at length on the importance of uniting the means of the brethren for the purpose of establishing manufactories of all kinds, furnishing labor for the poor, &c. Brothers Hunter and Woolley offered their goods towards a general fund, and good feelings were generally manifested.
This morning little Frederick G. W. Smith told his dream to all the house, that “the Missourians had got their heads knocked off.”
Tuesday, 28.—Paid Brothers Woolley and Spencer. Brother Hunter’s goods were received at the store, and Brother Robins consecrated his goods and money to the general fund.
The adjourned council of Sunday evening met in my upper room, and were agreed that a reinforcement go immediately to the Pine country, led by Brother Ezra Chase. The council dispersed after uniting in solemn prayer to God for a blessing on themselves and families, and the Church in general, and for the building up of the Temple and Nauvoo House and city; for deliverance from their enemies, and the spread of the work of righteousness: and that Brother Richards (who was expected to go East tomorrow for his family) might have a prosperous journey, have power over the winds and elements, and all opposition and dangers, his life and health be preserved, and be speedily returned to this place with his family, that their lives and health might be preserved, and that they might come up in peace to this place, and that Brother Richards might be prospered according to the desire of his heart, in all things in relation to his household, and the Church, and that the Spirit of God might rest upon him continually, so that he may act according to the wisdom of heaven.
Previous to the council, in company with Bishop Miller, I visited Elder Rigdon and his family, and had much conversation about John C. Bennett, and others, much unpleasant feeling was manifested by Elder Rigdon’s family, who were confounded and put to silence by the truth.
George Miller’s Letter to Governor Reynolds of Missouri.
To his Excellency Governor Reynolds, of Missouri.
Dear Sir:—You will permit me to ask you to peruse this letter and the accompanying newspaper, relative to the character and conduct of John Cook Bennett, who associated himself with our religious community nearly two years ago, he being a man of respectable talents and moderately good literary attainments.
In the judicial organization of our city under the charter granted by the legislature of Illinois, said Bennett was elected mayor; and continued to hold said office of mayor until within the last two months or less. He having learned that he could no longer maintain a standing as an honorable man in our society, he tendered his resignation, which was accepted.
The object of this communication is, therefore, to inform you of the true character of said John C. Bennett, that he may not injure the innocent by gaining credence with you, or those over whom your Excellency is placed to govern.
We have learned from respectable sources that John Cook Bennett has entered into a conspiracy with some of the citizens of your state, to bring a mob upon us, and thereby disturb our peaceful vocations of life, and destroy and drive us from our homes and firesides.
Believing that your Excellency cannot be influenced by the popular prejudice, almost everywhere entertained against us, on account of our peculiar tenets, I am the more free to write to you without reserve, knowing that the high-toned and honorable men of the earth will not be easily carried away by popular opinion or vulgar prejudice; but will always be found on the side of the law-abiding portion of the community, and will suppress, so far as in them lies, every movement that tends to abridge the rights, or mar the peace and happiness of any portion of the citizens of the common country.
I have resided in this city nearly three years, and have attached myself to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, soon after their location here; and have had a good opportunity of learning the feelings of the leading members of the said Church in regard to the citizens of Missouri which are of the most friendly nature, ever desiring to live in peace and cultivate friendship with all the citizens of your state, as also all the states, and all mankind generally; it being a principle of our faith to cultivate friendship and live in peace with all mankind; and if Dr. John Cook Bennett, or any other person, may conspire with citizens of your state to bring upon us mob violence, we confide in you as one who will under all circumstances, interpose the strong arm of the law in the suppression of conspiracy or mobs, or any other violation of law. As citizens of the United States we claim the protection of the several states and the United States in all our constitutional rights; and having learned something of your character, we, the more confidently, expect your protection against all lawless aggressions by any of the citizens of your state.
Whatever may be reported concerning us, we assure your Excellency that our feelings are, as I have before stated, of the most friendly nature, and should Bennett or any other person report anything contrary, your Excellency need pay no attention to it; for it is not the truth, and is only designed by wicked men to cause the overthrow of the innocent.
Should any report have already reached your ears, I would esteem it as a great favor, if you would give me information of the same by letter immediately on receipt of this.
I am, yours respectfully,