Epistle of the Twelve to the Church—Moral and Spiritual Guidance
“Sunday, September 29, 1844.—I [Brigham Young] attended meeting. Elder Parley P. Pratt preached on the duties of saints and advised all the drunkards and thieves to either quit their wickedness or leave the city, and not claim the name of Mormons, he exhorted the saints in the spirit of meekness to cherish the fruits of the Spirit and walk uprightly before God, and deal justly with all men and to shew by their walk and conduct that they had not taken upon them the name of Christ in vain, giving their enemies no occasion to say or print anything against them that was evil.
I made a few remarks endorsing the sisters’ penny subscription 1 for the purpose of procuring glass and nails for the Temple and requested the saints to prepare themselves to entertain the elders who may be in attendance at conference.
All the First Quorum of the Seventy Ordained Presidents.
Afternoon, I went to the Seventies’ Hall and ordained the sixty-three members of the First Quorum of the Seventy to be presidents over the quorums from the second to the tenth inclusive.
The high priests’ quorum met.
Considerable sickness reported throughout the city and many deaths.
Monday, 30.—I breakfasted at Elder Heber C. Kimball’s. We laid hands on the sick and visited Mother Smith.
Elder Marks’ Ball Boycotted.
Evening, went to the military school held at the Masonic Hall. Afterwards attended council with the Twelve and concluded to use our influence to prevent the brethren and sisters from attending the ball which William Marks, landlord of the Nauvoo Mansion was making arrangements for; the same to come off on Wednesday evening in the dining room of the Mansion, which was still stained with the blood which flowed from Joseph and Hyrum, as their bodies lay in said room preparatory to burial.
Tuesday, October 1.—Evening, attended a meeting of the quorum for prayer: a very interesting session.
An Epistle of the Twelve,
‘To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Greeting:
Subjects of the Epistle.
Dear Brethren: Having promised in our former epistles to address you from time to time, we now proceed to give you further information relative to the welfare of the church both temporally and spiritually; the building up of Nauvoo; the gathering of the saints; the building of the Temple; the establishment of manufacturing and various branches of industry; the support of the poor, and the preserving of peace, good order, union, love, and truth: to the suppression of vice, and every kind of disorder, evil, and immorality.
The Temple, as a great and glorious public work, immediately connected with the completion of our preparation, and ordinances, touching our salvation and exaltation, and that of our dead, necessarily claims our first, and most strict attention. And we rejoice to say for the encouragement of all, that its walls are now ready to receive the capitals, and the arches of the upper story windows; and in fact, seven of the capitals are already reared. The timbers are also being framed, and reared on the inside. In short it is progressing with a rapidity which is truly astonishing.
The gathering, next claims our attention as a work of salvation, to be accomplished in wisdom and prudence. Your Prophets and Apostles, have often told you, that the saints cannot gather together in large numbers, and be able to enjoy the comforts and necessaries of life, without the necessary calculations and preparations for their employment and support. Not only must farms be cultivated, houses built, and mills to grind the corn, but there must be something produced by industry, to send off to market in exchange for cash, and for such other articles as we need. This must be produced, not by singing, or praying, or going to meeting, or visiting, or friendly greetings, or conversation, But, by the united industry, skill, and economy of the whole people. Men, women, and children must be well, and constantly employed. In order the more effectually to do this, we must turn our attention to the erection of workshops for the manufacture of every useful article; and wares thus manufactured must find a market, not in Nauvoo alone but in all the wide country, and in cities and towns abroad.
If the saints will commence and follow out this plan, and lay out their cash for the raw material, and employ their friends and themselves at home, instead of sending away all our cash for manufactured goods, we can soon produce millions of wealth, and the poor will have no cause of complaint; for among a temperate people thus employed there would soon be no poor except the widow, the orphan, or the infirm, and these could be abundantly provided for.
Economic Advantages at Nauvoo.
The fact is, we have a country abundantly supplied with natural resources, and calculated for the production of wool, flax, hemp, cotton, and many other articles; and we have water power to any amount; and after all our troubles, a prospect of peace and protection; in short everything for the encouragement of capitalists and workmen. Come on then, all ye ends of the earth, take hold together, and with a long, strong, steady and united exertion, let us build up a stronghold of industry and wealth, which will stand firm and unshaken amid the wreck of empires and the crash of thrones.
The Consciousness of Sound Doctrine.
In regard to principle and doctrine, we know that we are founded upon the plain and manifest truth as revealed from on high; and which is sufficiently manifest and plain to convince all honest men who look into it, and to confound all who oppose. The main object then which remains to be carried out is to practice accordingly, and to live according to our knowledge.
Let the saints now send in their young men who are strong to labor, together with money, provisions, clothing, tools, teams, and every necessary means, such as they know they will want when they arrive, for the purpose of forwarding this work.
Brethren, bring all your tithings into the storehouse and prove the Lord, and see if he will not pour out a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive.
Awaiting Spiritual Blessings.
Yes, brethren, we verily know and bear testimony, that a cloud of blessing and of endowment, and of the keys of the fulness of the priesthood, and of things pertaining to eternal life, is hanging over us, and ready to burst upon us; or upon as many as live worthy of it, so soon as there is a place found on earth to receive it. Therefore, let no cunningly devised fable, no false delusive spirit, or vision, no man or set of men who go out from us, but are not of us, have any influence on your minds for a moment, to draw your minds away from this all important work. But enter steadily and regularly upon a strict observance of the law of tithing, and of freewill offerings, till Jehovah shall say it is enough; your offerings are accepted: then come up to the House of the Lord, and be taught in his ways, and walk in his paths; yea, enter his sanctuary; and receive the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
In order to do this we must not only be industrious and honest, in providing abundantly for our temporal wants, and for those for whom duty and charity bind us to act, but we must abstain from all intemperance, immorality and vice of whatever name or nature; we must set an example of virtue, modesty, temperance, continence, cleanliness, and charity. And be careful not to mingle in the vain amusements and sins of the world.
Against Vice in All its Forms.
In nearly all cities or towns of an extensive population there are certain vices, or crimes, not exactly tolerated by law, but yet, borne with by the people as a kind of unavoidable or necessary evil; such, for instance, as gambling, drunkenness, vain and wicked amusements and allurements, directly calculated to corrupt the morals of the people and lead them from the paths of virtue and truth. Among the most conspicuous and fashionable of these we might mention, balls, dances, corrupt and immodest theatrical exhibitions, magical performances, etc., all of which are apt not only to have an evil tendency in themselves, but to mingle the virtuous and the vicious in each others society; not for the improvement of the vicious but rather to corrupt the virtuous.
Nauvoo is now becoming one of the largest towns of the west, and as it was founded, and is still in a great measure managed by the saints, we greatly desire the united influence of all well- wishers to our society, and to good order and morality, to cooperate with us in preserving the general peace and quiet, and in suppressing these and all other vices and evils.
Or, to be plain on the subject, we wish to suppress all grogshops, gambling houses, and all other disorderly houses or proceedings in our city, and to tolerate no intemperance or vice in our midst. And so far at least as the members of the church are concerned, we would advise that balls, dances, and other vain and useless amusements be neither countenanced nor patronized; they have been borne with, in some instances heretofore for the sake of peace and good will. But it is not now a time for dancing or frolics but a time of mourning, and of humiliation and prayer.
If the people were all righteous, it would do to dance, and to have music, feasting and merriment. But what fellowship has Christ with Belial? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? or what union have the sons and daughters of God with the children of this world, who fear not God nor regard man. All amusement in which saints and sinners are mingled tends to corruption, and has a baneful influence in religious society.
There are amusements which are at once both innocent, instructive, and entertaining; and which the saints can enjoy, in honor to themselves, and without mingling with the world. Such for instance, as musical concerts, philosophical and astronomical exhibitions, etc. These, together with our religious devotions, and the increase of light, knowledge and intelligence which flows like a flood of glory from the upper world, are quite sufficient to exercise all our powers of enjoyment.
Organization for Effective Administration.
As the business of the conference is now fast crowding upon our time, we must cut short this communication by informing you that an organization and arrangement is now in progress, by which high priests and presiding officers will be appointed over each district of country, throughout the union, who will have entire charge, under the direction of the Twelve of all spiritual matters, superintending the labors of the elders and the calling of conferences. Arrangements will also be made, for the proper payment and reception of tithing, so that it may be duly received by responsible agents and recorded. Of these particulars you will receive further communication from us soon.
Done in council at Nauvoo, this first day of October, A. D. 1844.
[Signed] Brigham Young, President.
Wednesday, 2.—At ten a.m., a council of the Twelve met at Elder Kimball’s.
Elder A. W. Babbitt read a letter from Oliver Cowdery.
Sharp and Williams, Alleged Murderers of the Prophet Surrender.
Governor Ford disbanded his troops. Sharp and Williams have given themselves up and gone to Quincy under a contract with the governor.
Friday, 4.—I went up to the Temple in the forenoon. Attended council with the Twelve, the bishops and the Temple Committee at Sister Emma Smith’s and expressed our feelings and intentions to her.
Labors of Elder Woodruff Among Relatives.
Elder Woodruff preached through the eastern states while traveling on his mission to England. He had an interesting time among his relatives at his father’s house in Farmington, Connecticut, and this evening ordained his Uncle, Ozem Woodruff, a high priest.”