Progress of Work on the Temple—Miscellaneous Movements in Church and State
Friday, December 6, 1844.—I [Brigham Young] insert the following minutes:—
The Placing of the Last Capital on the Temple
‘The last of the capitals was placed on the walls of the Temple. The workmen commenced raising the stone at half after 10 o’clock, but when about half way up one of the block shives broke in two. This placed the matter in a dangerous position, it was impossible to raise the stone higher without a new shive, and to attempt to let it down would have cut off the rope instantly. After much labor the workmen secured the tackle so that it could not move and having this done, they fixed a new shive in the block and after about an hour and a half’s delay, at half after one p.m. the stone was safely fixed in its place in the wall. This stone is the largest one among the capitals and is supposed to weigh over two tons. There are thirty capitals around the Temple, each one composed of five stones, viz. one base stone, one large stone representing the sun rising just above the clouds, the lower part obscured; the third stone represents two hands each holding a trumpet, and the last two stones form a cap over the trumpet stone, and these all form the capital, the average cost of which is about four hundred and fifty dollars each. These stones are very beautifully cut, especially the face and trumpet stones, and are an evidence of great skill in the architect and ingenuity on the part of the stonecutters. They present a very pleasing and noble appearance, and seem very appropriate in their places. The first capital was set on the 23rd of September last, making but a little over ten weeks between the first and the last, and out of that time the workmen lost about three weeks through bad weather, and having to wait for stone.
There has not been the slightest accident attending the raising of these large stones, except the second one which was set, the workmen, undertook to move the stone a little nearer the building without having first fixed the guy ropes to the crane, and while in the attempt the crane fell over with a tremendous crash and fell within about a foot of Brother Thomas Jaap, one of the workmen, who ran as soon as he saw the crane falling but happened to run in the same direction in which it fell. Providentially no further damage was done than to the crane which was partially broken.
The weather has been very favorable most of the time, but on account of its being so late in the season, it was generally feared we would not succeed in getting them [the capitals] up before winter set in, but it seems as though the Lord held up the storms and the cold for our advantage, until this important piece of labor has been accomplished to our utmost satisfaction and delight.
There are yet twelve of the capitals without trumpet stones, and will have to remain so until spring; three of them however are finished and several others nearly so.
The weather changed this morning. It rained nearly all the time the men were at work; and about two hours after the last capital was set, it commenced snowing and continued until the ground was covered about four inches deep. Nine o’clock p.m., it now freezes very sharp and to all appearance stern winter has taken possession of the atmosphere in earnest.’
Departure of Elder Woodruff for England.
Elder Wilford Woodruff and family, in company with Elder H. Clark and Dan Jones and their families, and Elders Milton Holmes and Leonard W. Hardy sailed from New York in the packet ship, John B. Skiddy, for Liverpool.
Sunday, 8.—The seventies met in their hall. Eight brethren were ordained seventies. A letter was read from Elder B. F. Grouard from the Society Isles. Elder Henry Harriman, George A. Smith and Joseph Young instructed the elders.
Elder Willard Richards, city recorder, opened office in his new house, and appointed Thomas Bullock his deputy. Thomas [Bullock] commenced putting the city records in order, which had been neglected some four months in consequence of Brother Willard’s inability through sickness.
Conference in Michigan.
Monday, 9.—A conference was held in Comstock, Kalamazoo county, Michigan on the 8th and 9th inst. Crandall Dunn presiding; five branches were represented numbering 107 members, 1 high priest, 16 elders, 1 teacher, and one deacon. Resolutions were passed to sustain the Twelve and agreeing to tithe themselves to aid in building the Temple. During the conference much good instruction was given by Elder Crandall Dunn, C. M. Webb, and D. Savage; one priest was ordained, 3 children blessed, and one person baptized.
Wednesday, 11.—Elder Willard Richards recommenced to gather materials for the Church History, assisted by W. W. Phelps.
Thursday, 12.—The high priests of the 5th ward met in the Concert Hall.
Friday, 13.—The Aaronic priesthood met. Bishop N. K. Whitney presided. He spoke on the subject of furnishing employment for the poor, the manufacturing of straw and palm leaf hats, and willow baskets. Two were ordained.
Repeal of Nauvoo Charter Proposed.
Saturday, 14.—Received a lengthy communication from A. W. Babbitt, Esq., house of representatives, Springfield. Advising in relation to his communications with the governor, the anticipated movements of the legislature, and his intended course pertaining to the chartered rights of the city of Nauvoo; to which a reply was written by Orson Spencer showing the injustice and unconstitutionality of a repeal of the Nauvoo Charter.
City Council Meeting.
In company with Elder Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, and George A. Smith, I attended city council. An ordinance was passed organizing the Seventies’ Library and Institute Association. The council expressed their views in relation to the illegality of the legislature interfering with the chartered right of the city of Nauvoo; when those rights had never been exercised to the hurt or the prejudice of the innocent.
Sunday, 15.—Ten a.m. meeting of seventies. President Joseph Young, presiding. Twenty-nine persons were unanimously received by vote and ordained to be seventies.
The ordinance of the city council in relation to the Seventies’ Library and Institute Association was read.
School for Seventies.
Elder George A. Smith advised the elders to get up schools, that all the seventies who would, might be taught in the branches of education, and prepare themselves that the least might be fully competent, to correspond with the wise men of the world.
Good and useful instruction relative to manners, order and good behavior were given by the president and some of his council.
Monday, 16.—I extract from the Tithing Record No. 2:—
Carpenters Selected to Work on the Temple.
‘A few days ago the Twelve and the Trustees counseled together on the propriety of employing a suitable number of carpenters this winter to prepare the timbers for the Temple, so as to have them all ready when the stone work was finished.
They concluded to employ fifteen persons steadily as carpenters, and that the architect be authorized to select such men as he has confidence in—men who are well qualified to do the work that is wanted. It was also concluded to fix up a shop in the Temple for the carpenters to work in. Accordingly the south side of the lower story was weather-boarded around and a convenient shop made of it on Saturday, and today, the men have gone to work.
The names of the carpenters selected as steady hands are as follows: viz.: Truman O. Angel, William Felshaw, William F. Cahoon, Joseph S. Schofield, Samuel Rolfe, Zimri H. Baxter, Addison Everett, John Stiles, Hugh Riding, Miles Romney, Jabez Durfee, Stephen Longstroth, Benjamin Rolfe, Nicholas T. Silcock, William Carmichael Hiram Mace, Daniel Avery, Gideon Gibbs, and Wandel Mace.
N. B.—Daniel Avery is employed to take care of the shop and the fires, etc.
The three last named are engaged in the sawmill shop.’
Tuesday, 17.—I copy the following minutes on file:—
Presidency Appointed for Kirtland
‘The Quorum of the Twelve and others in council assembled at the office of President Brigham Young, at the corner of Kimball and Granger Streets.
Moved and seconded that Brother Reuben McBride take the presidency over all the affairs pertaining to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kirtland—both spiritually and temporally—which was carried by a unanimous voice of said council.
Elder Rigdon Rejected by Elders in Pittsburgh.
A letter was then read before the council which President Young received from Brothers Joseph Parsons and James McDowell, residing in Pittsburgh, containing an acknowledgment that they had been deceived by Elder Rigdon’s false pretensions to the Presidency, and after a calm and careful investigation of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon, they had renounced the pretensions of Sidney Rigdon as being false and felt satisfied that the Quorum of the Twelve held the keys of the kingdom.
Voted unanimously that their acknowledgment be received and they be received into full fellowship with the saints.’
Hotchkiss Interests in Nauvoo.
I received a letter from Horace R. Hotchkiss proposing to dispose of lots in Nauvoo, to be compensated by improvements on adjoining lots; also on the subject of home manufactures and building up the city of Nauvoo; to which I replied informing him that property was not so high as it had been, and referred him to Elder Taylor for information on the trades operations.
The brethren of the Twelve visited Elder Willard Richards who was sick.
Wednesday, 18.—Evening with Elder Heber C. Kimball and Bishop N. K. Whitney. I attended the practice of music at the Concert Hall.
Friday, 20.—In company with Elder Heber C. Kimball and George A. Smith I spent a portion of the day at the Tithing Office regulating matters pertaining to tithings; called on Brother Willard Richards, found him some better.
William Clayton records he ‘had some conversation with Brother Cahoon respecting making a feast for the poor and proposed to do it on New Year’s day. Daniel H. Wells, Esq., agreed to give ten dollars to aid the feast for the poor.’
Sunday, 22.—I met as usual with the Twelve Apostles and others for prayer.
Ten a.m., seventies met at their hall, Joseph Young presiding: five presidents and forty seventies were ordained; fourteenth quorum organized; two brethren were recommended to the high priests’ quorum.
Monday, 23.—The Aaronic priesthood met; Bishop N. K. Whitney presiding; four persons were ordained to the office of priest.
Tuesday, 24.—The stockholders of the Seventies’ Library and Institute Association elected Elder George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman, Joseph Young, Levi W. Hancock, Albert Carrington, John D. Lee and James M. Monroe trustees.
Banquet and Party.
Wednesday, 25.—I spent an agreeable time at Brother Coolidge’s, in company with Elders Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, A. M. Lyman, John Taylor and their ladies. The band was in attendance. We partook of a substantial dinner; after which I made a few remarks expressive of my good feelings and love to my brethren. I remarked that the Lord would never suffer us to overcome our enemies while we cherished feelings of revenge, when we prevailed over our enemies it must be from a sense of duty and not of revenge.
Friday, 27.—I went to the Trustee’s Office.
Evening, there was a meeting in the Seventies’ Hall of the city council, the high council and leading authorities of the church.
Governor Ford’s Message to the Illinois Legislature.
Governor Ford’s special message to the legislature was read. It was a very meager attempt to excuse himself from participation in the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, being full of misrepresentations, exaggerations and contemptible falsehoods.
Brother A. W. Babbitt made a report of his proceedings in Springfield.
Sunday, 29.—I published the following:
‘Brother Taylor on Church Periodicals.—The question is asked in The New York Prophet: Why is it that there is no more interest manifested among the elders in enlisting support or subscriptions for our periodicals? For one I will answer the question. While I have been preaching abroad from place to place, the question being asked of me so many times by the saints, ‘Why do not my papers come? I subscribed and sent the money long ago and have received but two or three numbers.’ My reply has been, ‘it seems the post office department is very uncertain.’
Realizing the very few that have been received by our brethren abroad, in proportion to the many that have been mailed at our establishment, my heart has fainted, and I have not asked men to pay their money fearing they would never receive their papers.’ ”