Introduction to Volume 5.
This volume deals with the History of the Church from May 3, 1842, to 31st of August, 1843. It, therefore, covers a period of about sixteen months. The main external events may be set down as follows: First, exposure of the wickedness of John C. Bennett, and his departure from Nauvoo; (2) the charge against the Prophet Joseph of complicity in an attempted assassination of Ex-governor Lilburn W. Boggs, under whose celebrated exterminating order the body of the Church was driven from Missouri: (3) the attempt of the state of Missouri to extradite the Prophet from the state of Illinois, to be tried as an accessory before the fact to an assault on ex-Governor Boggs; (4) a second attempt on the part of Missouri to extradite the Prophet from the state of Illinois on the old charge of “murder, treason, burglary, arson, larceny, theft and stealing,” first brought against him in the year 1838; (5) a preliminary prospecting of the West, doubtless with a view to the contemplated removal of the Saints to the Rocky Mountains.
Of events that relate more nearly to the Church as an organization there should be mentioned; (1) the introduction of the endowment ceremonies and enlarged instruction on the subject of baptism for the dead; (2) an extension of auxiliary organization by bringing into existence the Young Men’s and Women’s Society.
Another item of great interest in this volume is the manifest development of the character and spiritual strength of the Prophet during this period. The trying experiences through which he passed seemed to discover new qualities of soul power within him, and to emphasize those which he was known to have possessed.
The doctrinal development of the period covered by this volume deals with several items which may be regarded as preliminary to that richer unfolding of philosophical thought to which the last year of the Prophet’s teaching was so largely devoted. Let us now consider these several items more in detail.
Dr. John C. Bennett.
At the first glance it may be difficult to comprehend how a character like John C. Bennett could find favor and place with the Church of Christ. There is a strong temptation, when the whole truth about this man is known, to regard him as an adventurer and a wicked man from the beginning. But those who had, perhaps, the best opportunity to know him held that his motives for coming to Nauvoo were honest, that his intentions in life at that time were honorable, but that he fell into transgression and would not repent. Such were the views of John Taylor, who was closely associated with Bennett in affairs at Nauvoo (see foot note, pages 80 and 81 this volume); and the Lord in the revelation given on the 19th of January, 1841, accepts of him and speaks approvingly of Bennett’s love for the work: “And for his love he shall he great. * * * * * I have seen the work which he hath done, which I accept, if he continue, and will crown him with blessings and great glory.” (D&C 124:17.)
It cannot be otherwise, then, but that John C. Bennett in coming to the Saints did so out of love for the work, had a desire to work righteousness but was among those who failed—he did not “continue” in his right intentions. It is possible even for men whose lives are not above reproach to feel indignation at acts of injustice, such as was perpetrated upon the Latter-day Saints by the state of Missouri; and sure it is that John C. Bennett expressed himself very pronouncedly against the injustice suffered by the Church at the hands of the officers and people of that state, and he “proffered his military knowledge and prowess” to the Saints while the latter were yet in Missouri, but undergoing expulsion. His proposal was to go to their assistance with all the forces he could raise in Illinois, as “his bosom swelled with indignation” at the treatment the Saints were receiving at the hands of the cruel and cowardly Missourians. That proffered service, however, was not accepted; doubtless because the Saints depended for vindication of their reputation, and redress of their wrongs upon the officers of the state and nation, rather than upon incensed persons, however sincere and well meaning, who offered their service to wage war upon their enemies. But after the Saints began gathering at Commerce, Bennett again expressed a desire to connect his fortunes with them. When he contemplated removing to Commerce, he held the position of quartermaster-general in the militia of the state of Illinois, a position he did not wish to resign. Indeed he expressed a desire to hold the position for a number of years. He was also a physician with an extensive practice, and forwarded extracts to the Prophet from the Louisville Courier-Journalwhich gave evidence of high standing in his profession. Writing of these things to Joseph, he said:
I do not expect to resign my office of quartermaster-general of the state of Illinois, in the event of my removal to Commerce, unless you advise otherwise. I shall likewise expect to practice my profession, but at the same time your people shall have all the benefit of my speaking powers, and my untiring energies in behalf of the good and holy faith.
In a communication following the one from which I make the above quotation he said:
You are aware that at the time of your most bitter persecution, I was with you in feeling, and proffered you my military knowledge and powers.
While Joseph extended a hearty welcome to the Doctor to come to Commerce, he by no means held out any very flattering inducements to him, as may be seen by his letters in answer to Bennett’s expressing his determination to join the Saints. The Prophet said:
I have no doubt that you would be of great service to this community in practicing your profession, as well as those other abilities of which you are in possession. Though to devote your time and abilities in the cause of truth and a suffering people, may not be the means of exalting you in the eyes of this generation, or securing you the riches of this world, yet by so doing you may rely on the approval of Jehovah, “that blessing which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow.” * * * * * * Therefore, my general invitation is, let all who will come, come and partake of the poverty of Nauvoo, freely. I should be disposed to give you a special invitation to come as early as possible, believing you will be of great service to us. However, you must make your own arrangements according to your circumstances. Were it possible for you to come here this season to suffer affliction with the people of God, no one will be more pleased to give you a cordial welcome than myself.
Surely this was frank enough, and ought to have dispelled from the Doctor’s mind all thoughts of winning worldly fame, or gratifying vain ambition, by linking his fortunes with those of the Church of Jesus Christ. The whole course of the Prophet here outlined, and as further set forth in the parts of this volume dealing with the case of John C. Bennett, vindicates him and the Church from any complicity with the wickedness and vileness of that man.
Bennett’s attempted vindication of his course of procedure, and his defense against the action of the Church in exposing his wickedness and excommunicating him is, that from the beginning he came amongst the Saints as a spy, to become acquainted with their alleged treasonable designs against several of the western states, for the purpose of exposing them; all which is set forth in a note at pp. 79, 80 of this volume. All this was ridiculous; and the whole presentation of this view of the matter in his book under the pompous title, The History of the Saints; or An Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism, 1 convinced nobody, since Bennett’s insincerity and putridity of mind is evidenced upon every page of his repulsive book. “The role of traitor,” says H. H. Bancroft, in his history of Utah, dealing with John C. Bennett:—
The role of traitor is not one which in any wise brings credit to the performer, either from one side or the other. However great the service he may render us, we cannot but feel that he is false hearted and vile. Many of the apostates, though they may not have written books, declare that they joined the sect only to learn their secrets and then expose them. These are the most contemptible of all. There may be cases, where a young or inexperienced person, through ignorance or susceptibility, has been carried away for a time contrary to the dictates of cooler judgment; but the statements of such persons are justly regarded with more or less suspicion. Far better is it, far more honest and praiseworthy, for him who, having unwittingly made a mistake, seeks to rectify it, to go his way and say nothing about it; for if he talks of writing a book for the good of others, as a warning, and that they may avoid his errors, few will believe him. “If he has proved traitor once,” they say, “he will deceive again; and if he is sincere, we cannot more than half believe him, for such an individual is never sure of himself.” John C. Bennett, general, doctor, methodist preacher, and quack, is from his own showing a bad man. He devotes some fifty pages to the vindication of his character, which would not be necessary were he honest; other fifty are given to defaming his late worshipful patron Joseph Smith, which would never have been written were he true. When a man thrusts in your face three-score certificates of his good character, each signed by from one to a dozen persons, you may know that he is a very great rascal. Nor are we disappointed here. This author is a charlatan, pure and simple; such was he when he joined the Mormons, and before and after. We may credit him fully when he says, “I never believed in them or their doctrines;” although in a letter to Dr. Dyer, dated Nauvoo, Jan. 20, 1842, he declares: “My heart is filled with indignation, and my blood boils within me, when I contemplate the vast injustice and cruelty which Missouri has meted out to the great philanthropist and devout Christian, General Joseph Smith, and his honest and faithful adherents.” When, however, he affects patriotism and lofty devotion to the welfare of his fellow-men, pretending to have joined the society in order to frustrate “a daring and colossal scheme of rebellion and usurpation throughout the north-western states, . . . . a despotic military and religions empire, the head of which, as emperor and pope, was to be Joseph Smith,” we know that the writer is well aware that it is all nonsense. Nor do we believe that he was induced to print his book “by a desire to expose the enormous iniquities which have been perpetrated by one of the grossest and most infamous impostors that ever appeared upon the face of the earth.” We have heard and are still hearing so much of that kind of talk from some of the worst men in the community that it is becoming somewhat stale, and if the general really does not know better than this why he wrote his book, perhaps he will excuse me for telling him that it was, first, for notoriety; second, for money; and third, in order to make people think him a better and greater man than he is. When a man’s ambition is pitched so low, it is a pity that he should not have the gratification of success. Bravely, then, the general proceeded to offer himself on the altar of his country, “to overthrow the impostor and expose his iniquity” by “professing himself a convert to his doctrines;” for “the fruition of his hopeful project would, of course, have been preceded by plunder, devastation, and bloodshed, and by all the countless horrors which invariably accompany civil war.” We are still more impressed when we read: “I was quite aware of the danger I ran”—that of being kicked out of some back door—”but none of these things deterred me.” Without wasting more time and space upon the man, we are well enough prepared to place a proper estimate upon his statements, particularly when we take into account that, in May of the very year in which his book was published, he went before Alderman Wells and made affidavit that Joseph Smith was an honest, virtuous, sincere, high-minded, and patriotic man. He says himself that he solemnly swore to be true to the Mormons and not reveal their secrets, and now in breaking that oath he has the audacity to ask us to regard him as an honest and truthful man! In some measure, at least, the statements of such men as this, taken up by the press and people, and reiterated throughout the land, have given the Latter-day Saints a worse name than they deserve. Some of his charges are too coarse and filthy for repetition.” 2
The only description I have seen of Dr. Bennett is given in the Essex County Washingtonian, published in Salem, Massachusetts, and that is contained in the issue of the fifteenth of September, 1842. According to that description he was a man of about five feet nine inches high, well formed, black hair sprinkled with gray, dark complexion, a rather thin face, and black restless eyes.
He finally died in obscurity, and also, it is said, in poverty, (Cannon’s Life of Joseph Smith, p. 377).
The Attempted Assassination of Ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri.
When an attempt was made to assassinate ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri it was perhaps to be expected that suspicion would fall upon the Mormon people and upon the head of Joseph Smith especially. Surely Boggs had given sufficient provocation to that people to make it probable that some fanatic of their number might undertake in misguided zeal, the act of revenge; and surely there would not be wanting those who would say that Joseph Smith in his capacity as Prophet had predicted the violent taking off of the ex-governor. Joseph Smith, however, in his communication to theQuincy Whig, in which appeared the first account of the rumored assassination of Boggs, promptly denied making the alleged prediction, and also denied any complicity whatsoever in the wretched business. It is only just to his memory to say that in all the investigation had upon the subject, historically, or judicially, his denial is not controverted. Even in the case of Orrin Porter Rockwell who was charged directly with the attempted assassination and taken to Jackson county, Missouri, for trial, it had to be admitted that “there was not sufficient proof adduced against him to justify an indictment for shooting at ex-Governor Boggs, and the grand jury therefore did not indict him for that offense.” (Independent Expositor, Nile’s Register, Sept. 30, 1843.)
John C. Bennett labors hard to prove by statements alleged to have been made to him by the Prophet, and subsequently by Rockwell, that they were jointly guilty of this attempted assassination; but there is no weight of evidence in his presentation of the case; nor is there any evidence that the Mormon people or the officials of the Mormon Church approved of revenge by acts of assassination. Bennett in his book “The History of the Saints,” (p. 282) makes a quotation from the Nauvoo Wasp in which he charges editorial expressions of approval of the deed, as follows:
The Nauvoo Wasp of May 28, A. D., 1842, a paper edited by William Smith, one of the Twelve Mormon Apostles, and brother of the Prophet, declared, [“Boggs is undoubtedly killed according to report, but] 3 Who did the Noble Deed remains to be found out.”
This, however, is not an editorial expression of the Wasp; but is found in a communication, on the editorial page, it is true, signed by a now unknown writer under the non de plume, “Vortex,” who is indignantly taking to task a correspondent in the Hawk Eye, a paper published in Keokuk, Iowa, for charging the supposed assassination of Boggs upon some Mormon. It is “Vortex” in the Wasp that refers to the then supposed assassination of Boggs as a “noble deed,” not the editor. The editorial comment of the Wasp on this communication from “Vortex” is as follows: “We admit the foregoing communication to please our correspondent, not that we have any faith that any one has killed Governor Boggs. The last account we have received is that he is still living and likely to live.” On the same page of the Wasp is published Joseph Smith’s denial of complicity in the then supposed assassination of Boggs and also the prediction of his violent death.
The First Attempt of Missouri to Extradite the Prophet.
That Joseph Smith should be accused of the crime of being accessory before the fact to the attempted assassination of ex-Governor Boggs, was perhaps to be expected as soon as a Mormon was charged with the assault. But that his extradition should be demanded by Missouri on the ground that he was “a fugitive from justice from that State” is something at which to be astonished, even when the action is by the officials of Missouri of the period of which I am writing. For surely it must be a true principle of law—since it is a plain deduction from common sense principles—that the alleged fugitive from justice must be such in connection with and in consequence of the crime with which he is charged. It was matter of common knowledge both in Missouri and in Illinois, that Joseph Smith had not been in Missouri for more than three years preceding the assault upon Boggs, nor since the time of the assault; and that on the day the assault was made he was in attendance upon an officer’s drill. Finally, then, he was not a fugitive from the State of Missouri in respect of this particular crime, therefore not extraditable under such charge. If, then, Joseph Smith had committed the crime of being accessory before the fact, to the assault upon Boggs at all, it must have been a crime committed in the state of Illinois and not in the state of Missouri. Therefore he has not extraditable for the offense at all, but he must be tried, if tried at all, in the state where the crime was committed, viz., in Illinois. But if astonishment is due that even Missouri should make such palpable blunders in legal procedure in moving for the extradition of the Prophet, astonishment changes to amazement when Governor Carlin of Illinois becomes a party to the attempted illegal extradition. The whole procedure up to the close of Carlin’s administration (which went out of existence on the 8th of December 1842), warrants the conclusion that a conspiracy existed between the high state officials of both Missouri and Illinois against Joseph Smith, and that it was the intent of that conspiracy to encompass his destruction. When the Prophet and Orrin Porter Rockwell were arrested (8th of August, 1842) by the deputy sheriff of Adams county, they made no attempt to evade the officer, but immediately applied to the municipal court of Nauvoo for writ of habeas corpus, which was granted, but the deputy sheriff refused to recognize the authority of the municipal court in this case, and leaving his prisoner in the hands of the city marshal, withdrew from Nauvoo. He returned two days later, however, determined to take the Prophet from Nauvoo and deliver him to the agents of the state of Missouri. The Prophet, however, avoided arrest and went into retirement, where he remained—with now and then an occasional appearance among the people—throughout the summer of 1842. In the early days of December, Governor Carlin’s administration came to an end and Ford’s began, and the Prophet at once petitioned the new executive to rescind Carlin’s order for his arrest. Ford referred the matter to the judges of the Supreme Court, who were unanimously of the opinion that the requisition from Missouri was illegal, but advised that the matter be settled in the courts rather than by executive action. The Governor suggested that if the Prophet found it necessary to repair to Springfield, the state capital, for a judicial investigation of his rights, he did not think there would be any disposition to use illegal violence against him; and the governor pledged himself to protect the Prophet if necessary with any amount of force from mob violence while asserting his rights before the courts, as well as when going to and returning from them. This advice was supplemented by the advice of his eminent counsel, Justin Butterfield; also by his very dear and trusted friend, General James Adams. The Prophet accordingly submitted to arrest and immediately set out for Springfield with a company of his friends.
The matter once before the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of Illinois, Judge Pope presiding, the matter was soon disposed of by declaring the procedure of Missouri and the executive of Illinois, (Carlin) illegal, and ordering that the Prophet be discharged from his arrest, as set forth in detail in the body of this volume.
The Second Attempt of Missouri to Extradite the Prophet.
A second attempt of Missouri to drag the Prophet from the state of Illinois by extradition procedure, was even more infamous than the first. No sooner was Joseph released from arrest and departed from Springfield than John C. Bennett arrived there and wrote some of his friends in Nauvoo his intention to leave immediately for Missouri and obtain a new indictment by a grand jury on the old charge of “murder, treason, burglary, theft,” etc., brought against the Prophet, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt et al., in 1838, hoping that upon this charge he might succeed in getting out extradition papers on the ground that the Prophet was a fugitive from the justice of the state of Missouri. It will be remembered that a former attempt was made under this same charge, in June, 1841, when the Prophet was tried on writ of habeas corpus at Monmouth, Warren county, Illinois, before Judge Douglas and set at liberty. It was on this occasion that Esquire O. H. Browning declared that to ask Joseph Smith “to go to Missouri for a trial was adding insult to injury” (Vol. IV, chapter XX).
An indictment on these old charges was finally obtained, supposedly at the instance of Bennett and the Prophet’s old Missouri enemies, at a special term of the Circuit Court of Daviess county, Missouri, on the 5th of June, 1843. Governor Reynolds, of Missouri issued a requisition on Governor Ford for Joseph Smith, and appointed J. H. Reynolds as agent of Missouri to receive the Prophet from the authorities of Illinois. The story of the arrest and the incidents thereto are given in great detail in the body of this volume, and need not be dwelt upon here. It will be sufficient to say that Joseph finally succeeded in bringing his captors to Nauvoo where he obtained a writ of habeas corpus from the municipal court of Nauvoo by which the validity of the procedure of Missouri might be tested. When Joseph was on trial upon these same charges before Judge Douglas on a writ of habeas corpus in 1841, the Monmouth court refused to enter into a consideration of the merits of the case, as the judge doubted whether on the writ of habeas corpus he had a right to go beyond the writ and inquire into the merits of the ease, but ordered the release of the prisoner on the ground of some defect in the writ under which he was held. The same point was avoided by Judge Pope in the hearing at Springfield on the charge against the Prophet for complicity in the assault upon ex-Governor Boggs. But the Nauvoo municipal court had no such scruples, and at once proceeded to try the case exparte on its merits, and Hyrum Smith, P. P. Pratt, Brigham Young, Geo. W. Pitkin, Lyman Wight, and Sidney Rigdon were examined as witnesses. Their affidavits before the court concerning events that happened to the Saints in Missouri, afford the most circumstantial, reliable and exhaustive data for the history of the Church while in that state. They will be found in the Appendix to Vol. III of this history. After hearing the testimony of these witnesses and the pleading of counsel the court ordered that Joseph Smith be released from the arrest and imprisonment of which he complained for want of substance in the warrant by which he was held, as well as upon the merits of the case. A copy of the proceedings before the municipal court at Nauvoo and all the papers connected with the case were immediately sent to Governor Ford, as also were affidavits from leading counsel and gentlemen from outside places. I may anticipate a little by saying that about a year later a jury in Lee county, Illinois, awarded $40.00 damages and costs against Wilson, a sheriff in the state of Illinois, and Reynolds, the Missouri agent, for false imprisonment and abuse of the Prophet, a verdict, which while it confirms the unlawful course of those officers, and the fact that their prisoner was abused, insults justice by awarding such an amount for damages.
At the time of the action by the municipal court of Nauvoo, ordering the Prophet’s release from arrest, it was a question in Illinois whether said court had the authority to hear and determine writs of habeas corpus arising from arrests made by virtue of warrants issued by the courts of the state or of the governor, as in the foregoing case; or whether the clause in the city charter granting the right of issuing writs of habeas corpus was not confined to cases arising strictly from arrests made on account of the violation of some city ordinance. The clause in the charter, giving to the municipal court the power to issue writs of habeas corpus was as follows:
The municipal court shall have power to grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the ordinances of the city council.
And in addition there was the general welfare provision, which provided 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.
It was maintained on the part of those who believed that the municipal court had the right to issue writs of habeas corpus against process issued from the state courts that all the power there was in Illinois she gave to Nauvoo, and that the municipal court had all the power within the limits of the city that the state courts had, and that power was given by the same authority—the legislature. A number of lawyers of more or less prominence in the state professed to hold these views; but little reliance can be put in the support they bring to the case, since all of them were seeking political preferment, immediately or remotely, and would and did in their interpretation of the powers granted by the charter, favor that side of the controversy most likely to please the citizens of Nauvoo. Governor Ford, too, at the time, gave a tacit approval of the course taken by the municipal court in issuing the writ of habeas corpus, though he afterwards became very pronounced in his opposition to the exercise of such powers. His acquiescence appears in this, that as soon as Joseph was liberated, sheriff Reynolds applied to Governor Ford for a posse to retake him, representing that the Prophet had been unlawfully taken out of his hands by the municipal court of Nauvoo: whereupon the governor refused to grant the petition. Subsequently the governor of Missouri asked Governor Ford to call out the militia to retake Joseph, but this he also refused to do, and gave as a reason that “no process, officer, or authority of the state had been resisted or interfered with;” and recited how the prisoner had been released on habeas corpus by the municipal court of Nauvoo. The governor acted in this instance with perfect knowledge of what had taken place, for the petition and statement of Reynolds were in his possession, as were also complete copies of all the documents which contained the proceedings before the municipal court of Nauvoo; and in addition to these sources of information, the governor had dispatched a trusted secret agent, a Mr. Brayman, to Nauvoo, who investigated the case and reported the result to him. It must be held, however, both as a matter of fact and of law, that the grant in the Nauvoo city charter was intended by the legislature only to give power to the municipal court to issue writs of habeas corpus in cases of arrest for violation of city ordinances; and that giving power to the municipal court to test the warrants or processes issued from the state courts was never contemplated by the legislature, and that the passage of any ordinance by the city council that would bring about or authorize any such unusual proceeding was an unwarranted assumption of power, utterly wrong in principle and consequently subversive of government. But whatever opinion may be entertained on the legal point under consideration, there can be no question but what upon the broad principles of justice the Prophet Joseph ought to have been set free. The state of Missouri had no just claims upon him. He had been arrested and several times examined on these old charges now revived by the personal malice of John C. Bennett, and after being held a prisoner awaiting indictment and trial for five months in Missouri in the winter of 1838-9, so conscious were the officers of the state that they had no case against him, that they themselves connived at his escape. After such proceedings to demand that he be dragged again into Missouri, among his old enemies for a trial on these old and time-worn charges, was an outrage against every principle of justice, and was a coarse prompted solely by malice.
Prospecting the West with a View to Removal of the Saints.
It may be that what is here set down with reference to prospecting the west with a view to the ultimate removal of the Saints, can reach no higher from the data supplied by this volume than conjecture; but taken in connection with the well-known projects of the last year of the Prophet’s life—upon which now our history, even in this volume, has entered—and the facts to which attention is called appear quite significant. These facts are: The Prophet’s remarkable and well attested prediction of 6th of August, 1843, that the Saints would yet be driven to the Rocky mountains where they would become a great people (p. 85 and note;) the several visits of delegations of Pottawattamie Indian chiefs to the Prophet, the body of their people being then settled on the Missouri river nearly due west some three hundred miles from Nauvoo; the appointment of Elder Jonathan Dunham, a man of character and judgment, to visit this tribe of Indians, under the Pottawattamie guide Neotanah; and the incorporation of the journal of Elder Dunham within the narrative of the Prophet’s autobiographical journal. The concluding paragraph of Dunham’s journal expresses disappointment with his explorations, 4 the object of which since his journey covered something like six hundred miles, and was attended by Indian guides both going and returning, was not “bee hunting;” but most probably prospecting a possible trail and locating resting places for the Saints when engaged in a great westward movement.
Development of the Prophet’s Character.
During the trying events of the fifteen months of which this volume is a history, the nature of the Prophet underwent a remarkable development. There never was, of course, any doubt as to the physical courage of the Prophet. From boyhood he had been noted for his fearlessness under trying circumstances, but during the period here considered he was the constant object of assault, both by legal processes, under the leadership of cunning, malicious men, and the physical brutality of officials charged with the execution of the law; and both when facing the maliciously skillful in their proceedings under the color of law, and the threats of physical force from brutal captors, the conduct of the Prophet was most admirable. Also in seclusion, when others were easily excited and manifested symptoms of panic under the circumstances of conflicting rumors of impending dangers, it is refreshing to see how calmly the Prophet keeps his balance and rightly judges the true status of many trying situations. But what is most pleasing to record of this period of enforced seclusion while avoiding his enemies, is the development of that tenderness of soul manifested in his reflections upon the friends who had stood by him from the commencement of his public career: for his father and mother, for his brother Alvin, for Emma, his wife, for his brother Hyrum, the Knights, who were his friends even before the Book of Mormon was translated, and especially for the friends who received him and ministered unto him during his retirement from public ministry. No act of kindness seems to go unmentioned. No risk run for him that is not appreciated. Indeed he gathers much benefit from those trials, since their effect upon his nature seems to be a softening rather than a hardening influence; and the trials of life are always beneficial where they do not harden and brutalize men’s souls; and every day under his trials the Prophet seems to have grown more tender-hearted, more universal in his sympathies; his moments of spiritual exaltation are superb. No one can read them and doubt that the inspiration of God was giving this man’s spirit understanding.
The doctrinal development of the Church for the period covered by this volume covers a wide range of subjects; the Prophet’s definition of the “Kingdom of God,” meaning in its narrowest as in its broadest sense, the “government of God,” whether represented by a single individual, an institution or a great and complex organization (p. 256); the keys by which angelic administrations may be known (p. 267); the virtue of Blood Atonement (p. 296); the physical nature of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (p. 323, 325, 426); the earth becoming a Urim and Thummim to those who shall inherit it in its glorified and perfected state; the coming of the Son of Man; the persistence of acquired knowledge; the impossibility of being saved in ignorance (pp. 322-5). But the climax in doctrine as in moral daring is reached in this volume by the Prophet committing to writing the revelation on the eternity of the marriage covenant, and, under special circumstances and divine sanction the rightfulness, of a plurality of wives. As the time at which this revelation was given has been questioned, and also the authorship of it, extended consideration is given to both these matters in the following treatise:
The Time When the Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, Including a Plurality of Wives, Was Given, and its Authorship.
I. The Date of the Revelation.
The date in the heading of the Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, Including the Plurality of Wives, notes the time at which the revelation was committed to writing, not the time at which the principles set forth in the revelation were first made known to the Prophet. This is evident from the written revelation itself which discloses the fact that Joseph Smith was already in the relationship of plural marriage, as the following passage witnesses:
“And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me.”
There is indisputable evidence that the revelation making known this marriage law was given to the Prophet as early as 1831. In that year, and thence intermittently up to 1833, the Prophet was engaged in a revision of the English Bible text under the inspiration of God, Sidney Rigdon in the main acting as his scribe. As he began his revision with the Old Testament, he would be dealing with the age of the Patriarchs in 1831. He was doubtless struck with the favor in which the Lord held the several Bible Patriarchs of that period, notwithstanding they had a plurality of wives. What more natural than that he should inquire of the Lord at that time, when his mind must have been impressed with the fact—Why, O Lord, didst Thou justify Thy servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; as also Moses, David, and Solomon, in the matter of their having many wives and concubines (see opening paragraph of the Revelation)? In answer to that inquiry came the revelation, though not then committed to writing.
Corroborative evidences of the fact of the revelation having been given thus early in the Prophet’s career are to be found in the early charges against the Church about its belief in “polygamy.” For example: When the Book of Doctrine and Covenants was presented to the several quorums of the priesthood of the Church for acceptance in the general assembly of that body, the 17th of August, 1835, an article on “Marriage” was presented by W. W. Phelps, which for many years was published in the Doctrine and Covenants. It was not a revelation, nor was it presented as such to the general assembly of the priesthood. It was an article, however, that represented the views of the assembly on the subject of marriage at that time, unenlightened as they were by the revelation already given to the Prophet on the subject. What the Prophet Joseph’s connection was with this article cannot be learned. Whether he approved it or not is uncertain, since he was absent from Kirtland at the time of the general assembly of the priesthood which accepted it, on a visit to the Saints in Michigan (see History of the Church, Vol. I, pp. 243-53).
In this article on marriage the following sentence occurs:
“Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”
From this it is evident that as early at least as 1835 a charge of polygamy was made against the Church. Why was that the case unless the subject of “polygamy” had been mooted within the Church? Is it not evident that some one to whom the Prophet had confided the knowledge of the revelation he had received concerning the rightfulness of plural marriage—under certain circumstances—had unwisely made some statement concerning the matter?
Again, in May, 1836, in Missouri, in a series of questions asked and answered through the Elder’s Journal, the following occurs:
“Do the Mormons believe in having more wives than one?”
To which the answer is given:
“No, not at the same time.”
This again represents the belief of the Saints at that time, unenlightened as they then were by the revelation received by their Prophet. But again, why this question unless there had been some agitation of the subject? Had some one before the time had come for making known this doctrine to the Church, again unwisely referred to the knowledge which had been revealed to the Prophet some seven years earlier?
All these incidents blend together and make it clearly evident that the revelation on marriage was given long before the 12th of July, 1843. Doubtless as early as 1831.
In addition to these indirect evidences is the direct testimony of the late Elder Orson Pratt, of the council of the Twelve Apostles. In 1878, in company with President Joseph F. Smith, Elder Pratt visited several states east of the Mississippi in the capacity of a missionary; and at Plano, Illinois, at a meeting of the so-called Reorganized Church of the Latter-day Saints, he was invited by the presiding officer, a Mr. Dille, and the meeting, to occupy the time, which he did. In his remarks, according to his own and his companion’s report of the meeting—
“Elder Pratt gave a plain, simple narration of his early experience in the Church, relating many interesting incidents connected with its rise; explained the circumstances under which several revelations were received by Joseph, the Prophet, and the manner in which he received them, he being present on several occasions of the kind. Declared [that] at such times Joseph used the Seer-stone when inquiring of the Lord, and receiving revelation, but that he was so thoroughly endowed with the inspiration of the Almighty and the spirit of revelation that he often received them without any instrument, or other means than the operation of the spirit upon his mind. Referred to the testimony which he received of the truth of the great latter-day work while yet a boy. Testified that these things were not matters of belief only with him, but of actual knowledge. He explained the circumstances connected with the coming forth of the revelation on plural marriage. Refuted the statement and belief of those present that Brigham Young was the author of that revelation; showed that Joseph Smith the Prophet had not only commenced the practice himself, and taught it to others, before President Young and the Twelve had returned from their mission in Europe, in 1841, but that Joseph actually received revelations upon that principle as early as 1831. Said ‘Lyman Johnson, who was very familiar with Joseph at this early date, Joseph living at his father’s house, and who was also very intimate with me, we having traveled on several missions together, told me himself that Joseph had made known to him as early as 1831, that plural marriage was a correct principle. Joseph declared to Lyman that God had revealed it to him, but that the time had not come to teach or practice it in the Church, but that the time would come.’ To this statement Elder Pratt bore his testimony. He cited several instances of Joseph having had wives sealed to him, one at least as early as April 5th, 1841, which was some time prior to the return of the Twelve from England. Referred to his own trial in regard to this matter in Nauvoo, and said it was because he got his information from a wicked source, from those disaffected, but as soon as he learned the truth, he was satisfied.
(Signed)”Joseph F. Smith”
(The above is taken from a signed report of Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith of the Council of the Twelve on the occasion of their visit to the East in 1878, and is to be found in the Millennial Star, Vol. 40, Nos. 49 and 50.)
Relative to committing the revelation to writing on the 12th of July, 1843, that can best be told by the man who wrote the revelation as the Prophet Joseph dictated it to him, William Clayton; and the man who copied it the day following, Joseph Kingsbury; and from which copy the revelation was afterwards printed as it now stands in the current edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. In a sworn statement before John T. Caine, a notary public in Salt Lake City, on February 16th, 1874, William Clayton said:
“On the 7th of October, 1842, in the presence of Bishop Newel K. Whitney and his wife, Elizabeth Ann, President Joseph Smith appointed me Temple Recorder, and also his private clerk, placing all records, books papers, etc., in my care, and requiring me to take charge of and preserve them, his closing words being, ‘when I have any revelations to write, you are the one to write them.’ * * * On the morning of the 12th of July, 1843; Joseph and Hyrum Smith came into the office in the upper story of the brick store, on the bank of the Mississippi river. They were talking on the subject of plural marriage. Hyrum said to Joseph, ‘If you will write the revelation on celestial marriage, I will take it and read it to Emma, and I believe I can convince her of its truth, and you will hereafter have peace.’ Joseph smiled and remarked, ‘You do not know Emma as well as I do.’ Hyrum repeated his opinion, and further remarked, ‘The doctrine is so plain, I can convince any reasonable man or woman of its truth, purity and heavenly origin,’ or words to that effect. Joseph then said, ‘Well, I will write the revelation and we will see.’ He then requested me to get paper and prepare to write. Hyrum very urgently requested Joseph to write the revelation by means of the Urim and Thummim, but Joseph in reply, said he did not need to, for he knew the revelation perfectly from beginning to end.
“Joseph and Hyrum then sat down and Joseph commenced to dictate the revelation on celestial marriage, and I wrote it, sentence by sentence, as he dictated. After the whole was written, Joseph asked me to read it through, slowly and carefully, which I did, and he pronounced it correct. He then remarked that there was much more that he could write on the same subject, but what was written was sufficient for the present.
“Hyrum then took the revelation to read to Emma. Joseph remained with me in the office until Hyrum returned. When he came back, Joseph asked him how he had succeeded. Hyrum replied that he had never received a more severe talking to in his life, that Emma was very bitter and full of resentment and anger.
“Joseph quietly remarked, ‘I told you, you did not know Emma as well as I did.’ Joseph then put the revelation in his pocket, and they both left the office.
“The revelation was read to several of the authorities during the day. Towards evening Bishop Newel K. Whitney asked Joseph if he had any objections to his taking a copy of the revelation; Joseph replied that he had not, and handed it to him. It was carefully copied the following day by Joseph C. Kingsbury. Two or three days after the revelation was written Joseph related to me and several others that Emma had so teased, and urgently entreated him for the privilege of destroying it, that he became so weary of her teasing, and to get rid of her annoyance, he told her she might destroy it and she had done so, but he had consented to her wish in this matter to pacify her, realizing that he knew the revelation perfectly, and could rewrite it at any time if necessary.
“The copy made by Joseph C. Kingsbury is a true and correct copy of the original in every respect. The copy was carefully preserved by Bishop Whitney, and but few knew of its existence until the temporary location of the Camps of Israel at Winter Quarters, on the Missouri
River, in 1846. * * * * *
(Signed) “Wm. Clayton.
“Salt Lake City, Feb. 16th, 1874.”
On May 22, 1886, Joseph C. Kingsbury made the following statement before Charles W. Stayner, a notary public, in Salt Lake City:
“In reference to the affidavit of Elder William Clayton, on the subject of the celestial order of patriarchal marriage, published in the Deseret Evening News of May 20th, 1886, and particularly as to the statement made therein concerning myself, as having copied the original revelation written by Brother Clayton at the dictation of the Prophet Joseph, I will say that Bishop Newel K. Whitney, handed me the revelation above referred to either on the day it was written or the day following, and stating what it was, asked me to take a copy of it. I did so, and then read my copy of it to Bishop Whitney, we compared it with the original which he held in his hand while I read to him. When I had finished reading, Bishop Whitney pronounced the copy correct, and Hyrum Smith coming into the room at the time to fetch the original, Bishop Whitney handed it to him. I will also state that this copy, as also the original are identically the same as that published in the present edition  of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
“I will add that I also knew that the Prophet Joseph Smith had married other women besides his first wife, Emma; I was well aware of the fact of his having married Sarah Ann Whitney, the eldest daughter of Bishop Newel K. Whitney and Elizabeth Ann Whitney, his wife. And the Prophet Joseph told me personally that he had married other women, in accordance with the revealed will of God, and spoke concerning the principle as being a command of God for holy purposes.
(Signed) “Joseph C. Kingsbury.”
II. Authorship of the Revelation.
In addition to the testimony of these affidavits as to the authorship of the revelation, and many more on file in the Church Historian’s office, equally positive and unimpeachable, which might be quoted, there is another sort of evidence as to the authorship, not before used, so far as I know, to which I desire to appeal, and which is even more certain and convincing on this subject than the testimony of any affidavit by whomsoever given. I refer to the internal evidence that Joseph Smith, under the inspiration of God, of course, is the author of it. The revelation carries with it so many characteristics of his style found in other revelations given through him, that to doubt his authorship of it is impossible. Let us consider these characteristics.
1. The Revelation Was Given in Answer to the Prophet’s Inquiry—A Characteristic of Nearly All his Revelations.
The revelation was given in answer to the Prophet’s inquiries upon one branch of the subject of which it treats, viz., the justification of some of the Bible Patriarchs and Prophets in having a plurality of wives. It is so generally the case that the revelations the Prophet received came in response to inquiries either by himself or by those who sought to learn their duty or to know some truth, that such inquiries may be considered as a condition precedent to his receiving revelations; at any rate it is plainly a characteristic of the whole volume of revelations which Joseph Smith gave to the world.
The Prophet’s first revelation, the one respecting the errancy of the religious world, accompanied as it was by a full view of God the Father, and God the Son, was received in answer to a most earnest inquiry to know what course he should pursue in the midst of the religious confusion then existing—which church should he join. (History of the Church, Vol. I, chapt. 1.)
The first of that series of meetings with the angel Moroni, which finally resulted in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, was brought about through the Prophet asking for a spiritual manifestation from the Lord, that he might know of his “state and standing before Him.” (History of the Church, Vol. I, chapt. 2.)
The series of revelations given during the time the Book of Mormon was in course of translation were chiefly given in response to inquiries on the part of the persons who came to the Prophet seeking to know the will of the Lord with reference to the relationship they should assume towards the work then coming forth. See D&C 10; History of the Church, Vol. I, p. 23, also pp. 28-33, 36, 45, 48, 49, 51, 53. These revelations are found in the D&C 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10,11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17.)
The revelation authorizing the organization of the Church and outlining that organization and some of the fundamental doctrines of the Church (D&C 20), was given in answer to most earnest inquiry as to how the Prophet and his associates should proceed with the work of organization. “We had for some time made this matter a subject of humble prayer,” writes the Prophet, “and at length we got together in the chamber of Mr. Whitmer’s house, in order more particularly to seek of the Lord what we now so earnestly desired; and here to our unspeakable satisfaction, did we realize the truth of the Savior’s promise, ‘ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you’—for we had not long been engaged in solemn and fervent prayer, when the word of the Lord came to us in the chamber.” (History of the Church, chapt. 7.) Then follows the revelation on Church organization and doctrine.
I may say that all the great revelations of the Church, as well as those which might be regarded as merely personal, were received in response to earnest inquiries of the Lord. Thus the revelation which in 1831 was regarded as making known the moral law of the Gospel was received after earnest inquiry. (History of the Church, Vol. I, p. 148; D&C 42,par. 3.) So also the great revelation on priesthood. (History of the Church, Vol. I, p. 287; D&C 84.) The great revelation on the order of the priesthood and the relations of the quorums to each other was given in response to a formal and very earnest petition on the part of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (History of the Church, Vol. II, pp. 219, 220; D&C 107.) So also as to the revelation on tithing and the disposition of it. (D&C 119, 120; History of the Church, Vol. III, p. 44.) So the great revelation setting in order the affairs of the Church at Nauvoo, given January 19, 1841. “Your prayers are acceptable before me,” said the Lord to the Prophet, “and in answer to them I say unto you,” then continues that great revelation. (D&C 124:2.) In fact, to particularize no further, it may be said that by far the greater number of the revelations received by the Prophet were in response to his petitions and inquiries or the Lord; and therefore the fact that this revelation on marriage was given in response to inquiries by the Prophet, to know why the Lord justified the worthy patriarchs named, and some of the prophets, in their plural marriage relations, is characteristic of practically all the revelations received by him.
2. It Possesses the Characteristic of Frankness in Reproving the Prophet.
Another characteristic of the Prophet Joseph’s revelations is the frankness with which the Prophet himself is reproved for his follies and transgressions of the counsels of the Lord. He is never shielded; never justified when he steps aside from the path direct; reproof, chastisement and warnings are administered to him. God in these revelations deals with him indeed as with a son whom he loves, if it be true—and we have warrant of holy writ that it is—that God chasteneth whom he loveth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Heb. 12:6-8.) The following quotations from the revelations will illustrate what I mean. The Lord thus reproved the Prophet in 1829: “And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men. * * * * You should not have feared man more than God. * * * * Thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware, thou wilt fall. * * * Repent. * * * Except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift. * * * Thou hast suffered the counsel of thy director to be trampled upon from the beginning” (D&C 3).
Again in 1829 this: “I command you my servant Joseph to repent and walk more uprightly before me, and yield to the persuasions of men no more.” (D&C 5.)
This was said of the Prophet in a revelation given in 1830: “After it was truly manifested unto this first elder (Joseph Smith) that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world. But after repenting and humbling himself sincerely, through faith, God ministered unto him by an holy angel,” etc. that is, took him again into divine favor. (See D&C 20.)
Again in 1830: “Thou art not excusable in thy transgressions; nevertheless, go thy way and sin no more.” (D&C 24.)
In 1831 this was said of the Prophet: “There are those who have sought occasion against him without cause; nevertheless he has sinned, but verily I say unto you, I the Lord, forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me and ask forgiveness, who have not sinned unto death.” (D&C 64.)
In 1833, this: “Verily, I say unto you, my son, thy sins are forgiven thee, according to thy petition, for thy prayers, and the prayers of thy brethren, have come up into my ears.” (D&C 90.)
In the same year this: “Verily, I say unto Joseph Smith, Jr., you have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord.” (D&C 93.)
In 1841 this was said to the Prophet: “Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments, which you have made, for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth.” (D&C 124.)
It is but in harmony then with the whole course of God with this man that in this revelation on marriage his sins should be referred too. It is particularly Joseph Smith-like that it should be done, and it is done: “Let my handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses; and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses wherein she has trespassed against me. * * * * * * Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him; for he shall do the sacrifice which I require at his hands, for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God.” (D&C 132:56-60.)
Thus it will appear that all the frankness with which the Prophet was reproved in other revelations is manifested in this revelation on marriage; and hence, to the extent of that characteristic, identifies this revelation on the marriage covenant with the other revelations received by the Prophet.
3. The Evidence of the Largeness of Range in the Revelation on Marriage.
The next characteristic to be noted is the largeness of range in this revelation so characteristic of all the Prophet’s revelations. His main inquiry was why God justified the ancient patriarchs in having many wives. The answer went far beyond the inquiry, and there was given to the Prophet a new marriage law, so far transcending the conceptions of men concerning marriage, as the thoughts of God transcend the thoughts of men on all subjects. The marriage covenant must be an eternal one, not marriage “until death does you part.” The marriage relation will exist in heaven. Procreation within the marriage covenant of man is to be an eternal, creative power. It shall people the increasing heavens as it has the multiplying worlds with offspring of the Sons of God. It is to be of the things that shall not pass away, but a means of perpetuating the lives and all their purifying, and uplifting relationships. And the power to establish these relationships is in the Priesthood of God, the keys of which were restored through Joseph Smith.
4. The Evidence of Identical Phraseology in This and Other Revelations.
The recurrence and peculiar use of certain phrases to be found in both this revelation on Marriage and the other revelations given out by Joseph Smith, establish clearly the authorship to be the same. Such, for example, as the peculiar use of “mine” instead of “my.” In the revelation on marriage we have this: “Behold! mine house is a house of order” (v. 8); “If a man be called of my Father, * * * by mine own voice,” etc., (v. 59). “Through the medium of mineanointed, whom I have appointed,” etc., (v. 7); and are sealed * * * according to mine appointment (v. 26); and let minehandmaid Emma Smith, (v. 54); “verily I say, let handmaid forgive my servant Joseph,” etc., (v. 56).
Let these expressions be compared with the following phrases from various revelations: “Behold this is mine authority and the authority of my servants” (D&C sec. 1: 6); “They have strayed from mine ordinances (v. 15); “that mineeverlasting covenant be established,” etc., (v. 22); “shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants” (v. 38); “it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles” (sec. 19:8); “ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect for mine elect hear my voice” (sec. 29: 7); “it hath gone forth * * * that mine apostles, the Twelve,” etc. (v. 12) ; “it is the workmanship of mine hand” (v. 25); “Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump” (v. 26); “through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son” (v. 42); “from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten” (v. 46); “according to mine own pleasure” (v. 48). And so on throughout the revelations this phrase occurs. It is used eight times in the revelation on marriage and runs through nearly all the revelations sometimes fewer, sometimes more than this. In section 101 it occurs eleven times, in section 103 six times. But it is always used sufficiently to make it a characteristic of the revelations received by Joseph Smith.
(2) The phrase “as touching,” is used several times in this revelation on marriage; “as touching the principle and doctrine,” etc., (v. 1); “will answer thee as touching this matter” (v. 2); “and as touching Abraham and his seed” (v. 30); “as touching the law of the priesthood,” etc., (v. 5). The same expression is found in Sec. 42—”As ye * * * are agreed as touching this one thing” (v. 3). Also in the Book of Mormon: “He spake as touching all things concerning my people.”
(3) Such phrases as “I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee,” etc., are frequent in this revelation. The above is in verse 2; then again, “I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law,” etc., (v. 28); “I am the Lord thy God, and I gave unto thee an appointment (v. 40); the same in verse 57; indeed it comes in almost as a refrain of poetic emphasis at about equal distances throughout the revelation, giving them in places almost rhythmic effect. This will be found characteristic of several other revelations, notably section 1: The Lord speaking of His servants says: “I, the Lord, have commanded them” (v. 5); “Wherefore I, the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come,” etc., (v. 17); “for, I, the Lord, cannot look upon sin,” etc., (v. 31.)
So also in slightly different form the peculiarity will be found in section 12: “Behold, I am God and give heed, etc., (v. 2); “behold, I speak unto you,” etc., (v. 7); “behold, I am the light and life of the world,” etc., (v. 9). Also in section 29: “Thus did I the Lord God appoint unto man” (v. 43); “wherefore I, the Lord God, will send forth flies” (v. 18); “wherefore I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out,” (v. 41); “and thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days,” etc., (v. 43). Again in section 50: “Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you” (v. 4); wherefore I, the Lord, ask you this question” (v. 13). Also section 52; “Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the Elders,” etc., (v. 1); “I, the Lord, will make known unto you” (v. 2); “behold I, the Lord, will hasten the city,” etc., (v. 43.)
The peculiar use of “none other,” in place of “no other,” and of “none” instead of “no one,” is an expression both in the revelation on marriage and a number of other revelations about which there is no question of the authorship being Joseph Smith’s. In the revelation on marriage we have this: “Abraham * * * abode in my law, as Isaac also, and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation (v. 37). In section 43 we have the same phrase: “There isnone other appointed unto you,” etc., (v. 3); “I say unto you that none else shall be appointed unto this gift” (v. 4); also inSection 61, the following: “It shall be said in days to come that none is able to go up to the land” (v. 16); also Section 82,“and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way (v. 6); and they * * * shall find none inheritance in that day,” etc., (D&C 85:9).
The use of the plural “Gods” in the revelation on marriage and in other revelations, tends to prove common authorship. In the revelation on marriage we have the following: “And henceforth are not Gods, but are angels of God forever and ever” (v. 17); “it cannot be received there because the angels and the Gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass” etc. (v. 18); “then shall they be Gods because they have no end; then shall they be Gods because they have all power (v. 20); and sit upon thrones, and are not angels, but are Gods (v. 36); in the revelation called the Vision, D&C Sec. 76, which revelation was given in February, 1832, and first published in the Evening and Morning Star of July, 1833, (vol. 1, number 2, p. 28) occurs the following: “And are priests of the most high, * * * wherefore, as it is written, they are Gods even the Sons of God (v. 58) also in Sec. 121; “Nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many Gods, they shall be manifest (v. 28); according to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other Gods, before this world was” (v. 32).
The phrase, “My house is a house of order,” is used in the revelation on marriage (v. 18), also in D&C 88, the phrase occurs, “a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (v. 119); “this shall be the order of the house of the presidency” (v. 128).
In closing the revelation on marriage the paragraph reads as follows: “And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you hereafter; therefore let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen.” This is some-what characteristic of the closing of a number of revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. The revelation in section 60 closes with—”Behold, this is sufficient for you * * * the residue hereafter. Even so. Amen.” Section 84 closes, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Amen” (v. 120). Section 94 closes: “And now I give you no more at this time (v. 17). Section 95 closes “Let the higher part of the inner court be dedicated unto me for the school of mine apostles, saith Son Ahman; or in other words, Alphus, or in other words, Omegus, even Jesus Christ your Lord. Amen” (v. 17).
In other revelations the expression Alpha and Omega comes in the body of the revelation as for instance in section 45,“Verily I say unto you that I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the light and life of the world” (v. 7). The same phraseology is used in the body of section 63, v. 60.
In section 19 it opens the revelation, “I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord, yea even I am He, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world” (v. 1). “Behold, and hearken unto the voice of Him who has all power, who is from everlasting to everlasting, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (section 61, v. 1).
Other revelations close in the same impressive manner and with the somewhat equivalent expressions in English, instead of the use of the Greek terms, Alpha and Omega. Thus section 18 closes: “Behold, I Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God and your Redeemer by the Power of my spirit have spoken it” (v. 47). Section 1 ends, “For behold and lo, the Lord is God and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen” (v. 39).
The same occurs in section 75 and 14; but whether the phrase occurs in the opening of the revelation or the middle of it, or in the closing paragraph, it occurs with sufficient frequency to be noted as a peculiarity of the Prophet’s phraseology, and aids in the identification of his inspired style.
The term “forgiveness of sin” occurs in the revelation on marriage as follows: “Behold, I have seen your sacrifices [Joseph’s], and will forgive all your sins.” This is both a principle and phraseology frequent in the revelations, as an example, section 64: “There are those who have sought occasion against him (Joseph) without cause; nevertheless he has sinned, but verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me” (v. 7). Let the spirit of this be compared with the following from the revelation on marriage: “Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph, for I will justify him, for he shall do the sacrifices which I require at his hands for his transgressions, saith the Lord your God” (v. 60). “Again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses, and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses wherein she has trespassed against me” (v. 56).
In the revelation on marriage occurs the following phraseology: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth, shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name, and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens” (v. 46). The same phraseology is used in section 124 in speaking of Hyrum Smith, who was appointed to hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of God’s people; namely, “Whosoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whosoever he curses shall be cursed; and whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (v. 93). In section 128 the same phraseology is used in describing the power of the priesthood (v. 8). And again in v. 10, quoting it from the New Testament (Matt. 16:18-19).
In verse 26 on the revelation on marriage, this phraseology is found: “They shall be destroyed in the flesh and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan, unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.” The same phraseology occurs in section 82. “The soul that sins * * * shall be delivered over to the buffeting of Satan until the day of redemption” (v. 21). The same phraseology occurs in section 78, v. 12; section 104, v. 9-10. In the revelation on marriage this passage occurs: “I give unto my servant Joseph, that he shall be made ruler many things, for he hath been faithful over a few things.” Section 117 practically the some phraseology occurs with reference to William Marks, “Let my servant, William Marks, be faithful over a few things, and he shall be a ruler over many.”
Again it is said: “and if they commit no murder, wherein they shed innocent blood—yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God (v. 26). “The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world, nor out of the world is in that ye commit murder, wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant (v. 27). That is to say, the doctrine is here set forth that the murderer hath not eternal life abiding in him (1 Jno. 1:15). There is no forgiveness for him in this world or in the world to come. The same idea is to be found in other revelations of Joseph Smith. Notably insection 42: “Behold, I speak unto the Church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come” (v. 18); “if any persons among you shall kill, they shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the law of the land; for remember, that he hath no forgiveness” (v. 79); then again and in connection with breaking covenant, note the following expression: “And this is all according to the oath and covenant of the priesthood. * * * But whoso breaketh this covenant, after he hath received it, and altogether turned therefrom, shall not have forgiveness in this world or in the world to come (v. 39-40).
The expression “new and everlasting covenant” (v. 4) occurs several times in the revelation on marriage: “as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant it was instituted,” etc. (v. 6); “if a man marry a wife * * * * * by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed, etc. (v. 19). The phrase occurs a number of other times in the revelation, viz., in verses 26, 27, 41 and 42. It occurs also in many other revelations by Joseph Smith: In section 1—”That mine everlasting covenant might be established” (v. 22); “this is a new and ever lasting covenant” (Sec. 22:1); “I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world” (Sec. 45:9); same in Sec. 49:9; 66:2; 76:101; 78:11, and in at least a score of other sections
5. The Evidence of Recurrence of Principles in the Revelation on Marriage That are Found in Other Revelations Through Joseph Smith.
Principles that appear in previous revelations reappear in this revelation on marriage: for example, it is said in Sec. 130:“There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven, before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” InSec. 88, occurs the following: “All kingdoms have a law given: and there are many kingdoms; and unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified,” verse 36 to 38. In the revelation on marriage this doctrine is set forth in the following passage: “No one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory; for all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world. * * * * * * * * * And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was! * * * * * * * * * * * I am the Lord thy God, and will give unto thee the law of my Holy Priesthood, as was ordained by me, and my Father, before the world was,” verses 4, 5, 11, 28. The identity of the principle is complete, and tends to establish identity of authorship.
6. The Evidence of the Particularization of Ideas.
In the revelation on marriage there is a singularity of expression, which, for want of a better term, I will call a particularization of ideas, that is decidedly peculiar to the Prophet, for example: “And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made, and entered into, and sealed, by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power, (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth, at a time, on whom this power and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred,) are of no efficacy, virtue or force, in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end, have an end when men are dead. * * * * And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me, or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God!” (verses 7, 13).
A similar particularization of things is found in verses 15, 18, 19, 26, 30, 59, 61, of the revelation on marriage.
With the above quoted passage compare the following: “Whoso receiveth you receiveth me, and the same will feed you, and clothe you and give you money. And he who feeds you, or clothes you or gives you money, shall in no wise loose his reward: And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples. He that receiveth you not, go away from him alone by yourselves, and cleanse your feet even with water, pure water, whether in heat or in cold, and bear testimony of it unto your Father which is in heaven, and return not again unto that man. And in whatsoever village or city ye enter, do likewise. Nevertheless, search diligently and spare not; and wo unto that house, or that village or city that rejecteth you, or your” words, or your testimony concerning me. Wo, I say again, unto that house, or that village or city that rejecteth you, or your words, or your testimony of me.” Sec. 84:89-95. Similar passages of particularization frequently occur in other revelations. The following is a notable example:
“All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and also if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas; or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars; all the times of their revolutions; all the appointed days, months and years, and all the days of their months and years, and all their glories, laws and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fullness of times, according to that which was ordained in the midst of the council of the eternal God of all other Gods, before the world was” (D&C 121:29-31).
7. The Evidences of Identity in Grandeur of Style.
One other peculiarity in the inspired style of the Prophet is seen in a certain growing grandeur in statement, by means of repetitions—repetitions, too, that make a paragraph fairly scintillate with prismatic hues as well as giving to it acrescendo of emphasis: for example, in speaking of the glory that shall come to those who keep covenant with the Lord, it is written in this revelation on marriage:
“And they shall pass by the angels, and the Gods which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever.
Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end;
Therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue;
Then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them.
Then shall they be Gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them” 5 (verses 19-21).
With this compare the following:
“The power and authority of the Higher or Melchisedek, Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the Church—to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven—to have the heavens opened unto them—to commune with the general assembly and church of the first born, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant” (Sec. 107:18-19). Also this:
“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all; art thou greater than he?”
And as covering both the two last peculiarities—particularization of things and a growing grandeur in statement by repetition, consider the following passage:
“I the Almighty have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness: and plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work which shall be cut short in righteousness, until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying—
The Lord hath brought again Zion;
The Lord hath redeemed His people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith
And covenant of their fathers.
The Lord hath redeemed His people,
And Satan is bound and time is no longer:
The Lord hath gathered all things in one:
The Lord hath brought down Zion from above.
The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.
The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength:
And truth is established in her bowels:
And the heavens have smiled upon her:
And she is clothed with the glory of her God:
For He stands in the midst of His people:
Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God; for He is full of mercy,
Justice, grace and truth, and peace,
For ever and ever. Amen.
It should be remarked, in conclusion, that these peculiarities of scope, structure, phraseology, re-appearance of principles, texture of composition and the like, which identify this revelation on marriage as the composition of Joseph Smith (under the inspiration of the Lord, of course) are not forced into the revelation. Its composition gives no evidence of being a conglomerate of Joseph Smith’s thought-gems held together by some one else’s clay. It is all of one piece, it is not patch work. Unity above all things is characteristic of it. Words, phrases, sentences, ideas all blend together, preserving strict unity of style and that style Joseph Smith’s. No one else could have written it. The literary peculiarities of that revelation as readily proclaim it to be Joseph Smith’s composition to those familiar with his literary style, as the contour of his face, the form of his features, the color of his hair and eyes, the tint of his complexion, the intonation of his voice, together with his form and bearing would reveal his physical personality to those who familiarly knew him in life. There will be no doubt whatever as to Joseph Smith being the author of it in the minds of those who will give it literary analysis. Whatever has come of it, or whatever may come of it in the future, Joseph Smith is the author of that revelation, and is responsible before God and the world for the introduction of that marriage law into the Church—the law that contemplates marriage as an eternal union, and the rightfulness of a plurality of wives under certain conditions and divine sanctions, when permissible under the laws of the land and the law of the Church.
History of the Church
of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints.
History of Joseph Smith, The Prophet.
Introduction to Volume 5.
5. I have taken liberty of placing the lines in poetic form, to which they so readily lend themselves, that they may be the more readily compared with the verses from another revelation which follows from D&C sec. 84.