An Appeal to Lyman Wight To Be United with the Twelve—Letters to the President of the United States and the Governors of the Respective States—Letters of Governor Ford to State Military Leaders—Important Doctrinal Letter of the Twelve to the Church
“Monday, April 14, 1845.—The public hands commenced the foundation of the wall around the Temple block.
Elder Richards and I attended the deacons’ meeting. The deacons have become very efficient looking after the welfare of the saints; every part of the city is watched with the strictest care, and whatever time of night the streets are traveled at the corner of every block a deacon is found attending to his duty.
Towns Under General State Corporation Act Considered.
Tuesday, 15.—Brother Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith and myself went to visit Philo Dibble, who was sick. We then went to Isaac Higbee’s office and attended a council in relation to the organization of a town under the general incorporation act. Afterwards visited the arsenal and Uncle John Smith who let Dr. Cannon have his house and lot in Macedonia to cancel an obligation for four hundred dollars held by Dr. Cannon’s wife and her sister against myself and Brother Kimball. Proceeded to Bishop Whitney’s and administered to his wife who was sick; thence to the Seventies’ Hall and attended General Council, where the letter from Governor Ford was read. If the advice of Governor Ford relative to organizing city government under the state law, were complied with to the letter, it would require twelve incorporations, as limited by the state statutes to supply the place of the Nauvoo Charter and cover the limits of the city with this species of complicated restricted town protection.
Wednesday, 16.—At sunset, Brother Heber C. Kimball and I laid hands on Brother W. Richards who was sick. A small portion of the city was incorporated as the town of Nauvoo and Alpheus Cutler, Orson Spencer, Charles C. Rich, Theodore Turley and David Fullmer were appointed trustees; they selected policemen, and appointed Hosea Stout captain, they also appointed assessors, collectors and other officers.
Thursday, 17.—I met in council with Elders Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman, C. C. Rich, and Samuel Bent, at Elder Richards’. We wrote as follows:
Letter to Lyman Wight et al: A Plea for Union
“To Brother Lyman Wight and All the Brethren with Him—
We the Council of the Twelve being assembled and having learned your present circumstances and situation and also your future calculations with regard to your journey west, cannot feel justified without giving you a word of counsel and advice together with some information relative to our present prospects. We are prospering in this city both temporally and spiritually. Immigration continues to this city. Several hundred have arrived this spring. Great peace and union prevail among all the saints. There were many thousands present at our conference this month. All of our business was performed with the utmost peace and union and not a dissenting voice. We are rushing the Temple ahead with a strong hand. Tithings come in for the Temple more liberally than they have ever done before, and with but few exceptions the saints are willing to give their all for the Temple if required. There is every prospect of getting on the roof and finishing some rooms by next autumn when we shall commence administering the ordinances of endowment according to the commandment. We intend commencing again on the Nauvoo House within a few days. All the saints feel spirited and determined to carry out the measures of our martyred Prophet. There is no prospect of any mob at present, and all things bid fair for peace and prosperity.
And now, dear brethren, if you will hearken to our counsel you will give up all idea of journeying west at present. If you go westward before you have received your endowments in the Temple you will not prosper. And when you meet with trouble and difficulty let no one say that the counsel of the Twelve brought them into it, for we now in the name of the Lord counsel and advise you not to go west at present. We desire, dear brethren, that you should take hold with us and help us to accomplish the building of the Lord’s houses. Come brethren, be one with us, and let us be agreed in all of our exertions to roll on the great wheel of the kingdom. We forward this letter by Brother Bent. He will give you further instructions relative to our proceedings and future calculations and we hope you will receive his counsel and do accordingly and all shall be well.’
Elder Samuel Bent was instructed to read the foregoing letter aloud to all the company.
Brother Lyman Wight has one hundred and thirty souls numbering forty able bodied men with him.
Evening, the Twelve and presiding bishops met and prayed.
Friday, 18.—As the workmen on the Temple had raised a large stone about fifteen hundred pounds weight, the chain broke and it fell fifty feet, but without injury to the building or any person.
Sunday, 20.—Elders Orson Pratt, Phineas H. Young and I preached. Afternoon, in council with the Twelve at the Seventies’ Hall when four elders were set apart for missions.
Monday, 21.—Elder Wm. W. Player put up the first star on the southeast corner of the Temple. Elders Heber C. Kimball and William Clayton were watching the progress of the stone towards its destination: the ‘stars’ will add much to the beauty of the Temple.
Tuesday, 22.—Attended General Council.
Wednesday, 23.—George A. Smith spent the evening with me.
Thursday, 24.—Elders Phineas H. Young, Jonathan Dunham, Charles Shumway, Lewis Dana and S. Tindale, started west on a mission to the Lamanites. Evening, attended prayer meeting with the Twelve at Elder Richards.
Realizing fully the insecurity of our position surrounded as we are by mob violence, and the constitution and laws of Illinois being powerless for our protection we deemed it wisdom, in General Council, to write as follows to the President of the United States and to the governor of every state in the Union except Missouri [and Illinois]:
Letter to the President of the United States and the Governors of the Respective States
‘Nauvoo, Illinois, April 24, 1845.
His Excellency James K. Polk,
President of the United States.
Suffer us, Sir, in behalf of a disfranchised and long afflicted people to prefer a few suggestions for your serious consideration in hope of a friendly and unequivocal response, at as early a period as may suit your convenience, and the extreme urgency of the case seem to demand.
It is not our present design to detail the multiplied and aggravated wrongs that we have received in the midst of a nation that gave us birth. Most of us have long been loyal citizens of some one of these United States over which you have the honor to preside, while a few only claim the privileges of peaceable and lawful emigrants designing to make the Union our permanent residence.
We say we are a disfranchised people. We are privately told by the highest authorities of this state that it is neither prudent nor safe for us to vote at the polls; still we have continued to maintain our right to vote, until the blood of our best men has been shed, both in Missouri and Illinois, with impunity.
You are doubtless somewhat familiar with the history of our extermination from the state of Missouri, wherein scores of our brethren were massacred; hundreds died through want and sickness occasioned by their unparalleled sufferings; some millions of our property were confiscated or destroyed, and some fifteen thousand souls fled for their lives to the then hospitable and peaceful shores of Illinois; and that the state of Illinois granted to us a liberal charter (for the term of perpetual succession) under whose provision private rights have become invested, and the largest city in the state has grown up, numbering about twenty thousand inhabitants.
But Sir, the startling attitude recently assumed by the state of Illinois forbids us to think that her designs are any less vindictive than those of Missouri. She has already used the military of the state with the executive at their head to coerce and surrender up our best men to unparalleled murder, and that too under the most sacred pledges of protection and safety. As a salvo for such unearthly perfidy and guilt she told us through her highest executive officer, that the laws should be magnified and the murderers brought to justice; but the blood of her innocent victims had not been wholly wiped from the floor of the awful arena, where the citizens of a sovereign state pounced upon two defenseless servants of God our Prophet and our Patriarch, before the senate of that state rescued one of the indicted actors in that mournful tragedy from the sheriff of Hancock county and gave him an honorable seat in her hall of legislation, and all who were indicted by the grand jury of Hancock county for the murder of Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith are suffered to roam at large watching for further prey.
To crown the climax of those bloody deeds the state has repealed all those chartered rights, by which we might have lawfully defended ourselves against aggressors. If we defend ourselves hereafter against violence whether it comes under the shadow of law or otherwise (for we have reason to expect it both ways) we shall then be charged with treason and suffer the penalty; and if we continue passive and non-resistant we must certainly expect to perish, for our enemies have sworn it.
And here, Sir, permit us to state that General Joseph Smith, during his short life, was arraigned at the bar of his country about fifty times charged with criminal offenses, but was acquitted every time by his country, his enemies, or rather his religious opponents, almost invariably being his judges. And we further testify that as a people, we are law abiding, peaceable, and without crime and we challenge the world to prove the contrary; and while other less cities in Illinois have had special courts instituted to try their criminals, we have been stripped of every source of arraigning marauders and murderers who are prowling around to destroy us except the common magistracy.
With these facts before you, Sir, will you write to us without delay as a father and friend and advise us what to do. We are members of the same great confederacy. Our fathers, nay some of us, have fought and bled for our country, and we love her Constitution dearly.
In the name of Israel’s God and by virtue of multiplied ties of country and kindred, we ask your friendly interposition in our favor. Will it be too much for us to ask you to convene a special session of congress and furnish us an asylum, where we can enjoy our rights of conscience and religion unmolested? Or, will you in a special message to that body, when convened recommend a remonstrance against such unhallowed acts of oppression and expatriation as this people have continued to receive from the states of Missouri and Illinois? Or, will you favor us by your personal influence and by your official rank? Or will you express our views concerning what is called the ‘Great Western Measure’ of colonizing the Latter-day Saints in Oregon, the northwestern territory, or some location remote from the states, where the hand of oppression shall not crush every noble principle and extinguish every patriotic feeling?
And now, Honored Sir, having reached out our imploring hands to you, with deep solemnity, we would importune with you as a father, a friend, a patriot and the head of a mighty nation, by the Constitution of American Liberty, by the blood of our fathers who have fought for the independence of this Republic, by the blood of the martyrs which has been shed in our midst, by the wailings of the widows and orphans, by their murdered fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and children, by the dread of immediate destruction from secret combinations now forming for our overthrow, and by every endearing tie that binds man to man and renders life bearable, and that too, for aught we know for the last time, that you will lend your immediate aid to quell the violence of mobocracy, and exert your influence to establish us as a people in our civil and religious rights where we now are, or in some part of the United States, or at some place remote therefrom, where we may colonize in peace and safety as soon as circumstances will permit.
We sincerely hope that your future prompt measure towards us will be dictated by the best feelings that dwell in the bosom of humanity, and the blessings of a grateful people and of many ready to perish shall come upon you.
We are Sir,
with great respect,
Your Obt. Servts.[Signed] Brigham Young,
W. W. Phelps,
A. W. Babbitt,
J. M. Bernhisel,
Committee in behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Nauvoo, Illinois.’
‘P.S. As many of our communications, postmarked at Nauvoo have failed of their destination and the mails around us have been intercepted by our enemies, we shall send this to some distant office by the hand of a special messenger.’
The letters to the governors were the same as the above with slight requisite alterations.
Saturday, 26.—In company with Brothers Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman, and others I attended Brother George D. Watt’s phonographic class from nine a.m. till noon.
Sunday, 27.—Elders A. W. Babbitt and John Taylor preached at the stand. I met with the brethren of the Twelve at Elder W. Richards’: we revised the conference minutes.
Evening, the Twelve Apostles, Presidents John Smith and Joseph Young met for prayer.
Monday, 28.—In council with Brothers H. C. Kimball, John Taylor and N. K. Whitney; we read letters from Parley P. Pratt in relation to his movements in the east; he thinks that he has influence with President Polk and other leading men of the nation, who are determined secretly to control the officers of Illinois so as to induce them to do away with mobs and mobocracy.
Tuesday, 29.—Evening, I attended General Council: Elder Samuel Bent reported the result of his visit to Lyman Wight’s camp.
Thursday, May 1, 1845.—Accompanied by Brothers Heber C. Kimball, Newel K. Whitney, Alpheus Cutler and Wm. Clayton I rode to the river and bought lumber to the amount of sixteen hundred dollars. Brother Kimball and I gathered teams to draw it to the Temple. Evening, attended prayer meeting.
Saturday, 3.—Brother Ellis M. Sanders let the Trustees of the Temple have one thousand dollars in cash.
At a conference held in Batavia, N. Y., four branches containing seventeen elders, one priest and forty-two members were represented: Elder Winslow Farr presided.
Sunday, 4.—I attended meeting. Elder Orson Spencer and I preached. I dined at Brother Willard Richards’ in company with Elders Kimball, Smith, Taylor and our wives. I met with the Twelve and wrote letters to Elders Parley P. Pratt and E. T. Benson, notifying the latter of his release and of Willard Snow’s appointment as his successor in Massachusetts.
William Smith and family arrived from the east.
Elder Wilford Woodruff attended a conference in Blackburn, near Preston, England, and dedicated a new hall to worship; full house and interesting time.
Monday, 5.—Attended council of the Twelve at my house, on the case of Samuel Brannan and matters in the east. William Smith was present and expressed his satisfaction with the organization of the church.
Tuesday, 6.—The following was published in the Nauvoo Neighbor:
A Voice From Nauvoo
‘Whereas it is currently reported in various parts of this county, and in the adjoining counties, as we are creditably informed, that it is our intention to throng Carthage during the ensuing session of the circuit court of this county, for the purpose of awing or overruling the court so as to procure a conviction of certain men of the crime of murdering Joseph and Hyrum Smith; and whereas such reports are calculated to awaken an unjust prejudice against an innocent people; and whereas our enemies have jumped upon this stratagem as a hobby to raise an excitement against us; and whereas many honest and law abiding men are liable to be misled and imposed upon by these false, malicious, and envious reports; and whereas the governor of our state has solemnly pledged himself to us that the laws should be executed in justice in the premises; and whereas we did at that time pledge ourselves as a people to patiently wait their execution, and the action of the government; and whereas it is reported that certain individuals are trying to raise an excitement on the editorials of the Nauvoo Neighbor.
We therefore, in behalf of the church we represent do hereby publish to all men, that as a people and a council, we have no knowledge of the Neighbor until we read it as do others, and therefore cannot be responsible for it, and all we ask is the same consideration in the public mind, as is exercised towards the editorials of other papers in our land. And we further declare to all men, that as a people we are still determined to abide our pledge, and await the action of the executive and judiciary, and tarry at home and attend to our own business as usual during the sitting of the court except such as have lawful business with the court and are required to be in attendance, and hope that all men will do the same, and we wish, decidedly wish, that those whose business it is to keep the peace during court, should do it, and let us as a people alone, for we do not wish to be brought in collision with our neighbors and we are determined to abide the law.
In behalf of a General Council of the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Nauvoo.[Signed] Willard Richards, Committee.’
Evening, I attended General Council, when it was agreed that letters should be written to Governor Ford and J. B. Hoge, M. C., in relation to the threats of the mob; and to take measures for the brethren to hold themselves in readiness for defense in case of an attack, and to pursue a medium course avoiding extremes that might raise an excitement in the country.
The Twelve met with the old police at the Masonic Hall to make preparations to prevent our surprise by the mob.
Wednesday, 7.—Brother Orson Hyde reported that a mob of about two hundred men were collected at Appanoose who had prevented some of the brethren from going to work on the Island. The mob captain told the brethren that they had arranged matters so as to cut off all communication with the governor.
The officers of the Legion met at the Masonic Hall.
Evening, attended prayer meeting with the Twelve, N. K. Whitney, and Levi Richards.
Thursday, 8.—I called at Elder Richards’ office at ten a.m., and remained till five p.m., when Elder Richards accompanied me to Elder Kimball’s.
Evening, met and prayed with the Twelve.
The council wrote to Elder Woodruff as follows:
Council’s Letter to Elder Wilford Woodruff—England
‘It is a part of our religion to support any government, wherever we may be, that will protect us in common with other citizens; for, to this end governments are instituted; and as England has ever been true and faithful to us, as a people in common with others, the elders cannot be too particular to enjoin on all the saints to yield obedience to the laws, and respect every man in his office, letting politics wholly, entirely and absolutely alone, and preach the principles of the gospel of salvation; for to this end were they ordained and sent forth. We are for peace, we want no contention with any person or government, and should war commence between England and America, it will probably be wisdom for you and all the American elders to return immediately home, and leave all parties to fight their own battles. * *
The stones are in rapid progress for the new font [i. e. of the Temple]. The wall for the foundation of the pickets or railing around the Temple block, and the block west of the Temple (to be in one) is also commenced. The bricks are making for the Nauvoo House; one hundred and forty thousand feet of pine timber was received last Saturday for our public buildings; another raft is expected soon and we anticipate they will be enclosed early in the fall. Immigration has been greater than usual this season; perfect peace and union prevail. It is also a time of health.
We have thought it would be very agreeable to the feelings of the English saints to furnish a bell for the Temple, if this is their pleasure you can forward it the first conveyance, and we will have it hung as the building is going up. We are but little acquainted with the weight of bells; we have thought of two thousand pounds weight, but we leave this to your judgment; we want one that can be heard night or day.
We forward you with this in a package a letter of attorney constituting you an agent to transact all necessary business for the church in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and on the continent of Europe.’
Friday, 9.—I met with the Twelve in council, also Elders N. K. Whitney and W. W. Phelps and J. B. Backenstos.
Saturday, 10.—Brother George A. Smith called upon me this morning and I accompanied him to the Historian’s Office where we read and revised Church History.
Afternoon, met in General Council.
Sunday, 11.—Elders William and George A. Smith and I preached at the stand. Evening, attended prayer meeting.
Conference at Clitheroe England.
Elder Woodruff attended a quarterly conference at Clitheroe, England, and ordained one elder and several to the lesser priesthood. He had an interesting and affectionate time with those churches built up by Elder Heber C. Kimball on his first mission to England.
Monday, 12.—Evening, with Brothers Heber C. Kimball, W. Richards and George A. Smith at Brother Edward Hunter’s revising history.
Tuesday, 13.—With Elders Heber C. Kimball, W. Richards and George A. Smith reading and revising Church History at Brother Edward Hunter’s where we had retired to keep out of the way of writs reported to have been issued against us.
Governor Ford wrote the following letters;
Letters From Governor Ford to General Deming
Springfield, Ill, May 13, 1845.
M. R. Deming, Brigadier-General, Illinois Militia.
Sir[Signed] Thomas Ford, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.’
‘Springfield, Ill., May 13, 1845.
Brigadier-General M. R. Deming:
Sir: I herewith send you authority to call out the militia of your brigade if necessary. The defendants in the murder cases have written here for Logan to defend them; and it is understood here that they do not intend to create any disturbance. The signs are not yet sufficiently certain to authorize me now to send militia there. I have employed Lamborn to assist in the prosecution. You will advise with him. If the defendants should organize a force to prevent a fair trial and keep off the witnesses I think it would be best to get the cases continued and at another term it will be so manifest that a force will be necessary to protect the court that I will be justified in sending one. But if at present I send one I will be laughed at and it will be universally believed that no necessity existed for it and that I have put the state to expense for nothing. If however you see that force is to be used and should think it most advisable to meet the crisis at this time, I give you power to employ your whole brigade including the Mormons of course. Upon the whole I think that they are the most fit material to be called on as their fidelity in doing their duty during the pending trials may be more thoroughly relied on than any troops I could send there.
I am most respectfully your obedient servant,[Signed] Thomas Ford.’
Governor Ford’s Letter to A. W. Babbitt—Vacillation
‘Springfield, May 13, 1845.
Hon. A. W. Babbitt:
Dear Sir: I received your favor from Galena last evening. If I thought that I could have the least influence in preventing a disturbance in Hancock county I would cheerfully go over there. My opinion however is that my presence there, and that of Mr. Hoge would only aggravate matters. I have employed Mr. Lamborn to assist the prosecution and have sent a military order to General Deming giving him authority to call out his whole brigade, including the Mormons of course if necessary to protect the court, the witnesses, the jurors; or to secure the custody of prisoners. He will use this order with discretion. You can certainly raise a force in Hancock amply sufficient to overpower any mob forces which can be got together. The defendants have written here for counsel, and it is universally understood here, that they do not intend to resist. At any rate the signs are not so definite as to authorize me now to call the militia. If I were to do so, the people would be made to believe all over the state that there was no necessity for it, and that the public had been corruptly put to this expense to serve the Mormon vote. Besides I very much question whether I could raise a force now, when there is so little apparent necessity for it; and I also question whether any force which I could send could be relied on to act efficiently. You suggest in your letter that if there shall be a disturbance the distance to this place where I reside, would prevent a messenger from arriving until after the event had occurred. Nearly the same thing would happen if I were at Carthage. If I were to call on the militia (other than the Mormons) I would have to send back an order to this side of the Illinois river before I could begin to find any that I could rely on. It is evident to my mind that it would not do to call on any of the militia of the military tract. They would either stand idle or join the enemy. If a force shall really become necessary I can think of none which can be embodied so soon, or who would be likely to act with the requisite zeal and fidelity as the Mormons themselves. General Deming has my orders for this purpose; and as I do not pretend to be a military man I do not see why he cannot act as efficiently with this force in my absence as if I were present.
I would make another suggestion: Possibly, if a mob should be organized to keep away the witnesses it may be the best for the prosecution to move for a continuance of the indictments grounded on the absence of testimony setting forth all the circumstances calculated to prevent a fair trial. And if the case shall have to be continued on account of a mob, the necessity will then be apparent to all the world for a force at the next term. But until such a necessity is manifest it is the very worst policy to be making frequent calls of the militia. The very idea that the necessity for protecting the Mormons and putting the state to expense for that purpose continually exists, creates a prejudice against them and a strong desire everywhere of getting them out of the state. Besides the mob party have this advantage that if I send a force there capable of overpowering them they can and will swear that they never had the least intention of creating the least possible disturbance. And what is more they will make the whole people of the state believe it. They will believe in such a case that I have been humbugged; and humbugged by the Mormons. You may well conceive what a prejudice this impression will create. Upon the whole I am decidedly of opinion that the local militia under the command of General Deming ought to be relied on; that even this force ought not to be called out until it is manifestly apparent that it is needed for the protection of the law against actual violence and that in fact it might be better to suffer a continuance of the prosecutions if it will be the means of shewing to the world what the defendants and their friends will do if not prevented. I have made these same suggestions to Mr. Lamborn and General Deming.
I am most respectfully,
Your Obedient Servant,[Signed] Thomas Ford.’
Wednesday, 14.—Continued at Brother Edward Hunter’s as yesterday; my health, and that of Brother Richards poor; but we read and revised history all day.
Thursday, 15.—I was quite unwell, Brother George A. Smith called in the forenoon and read the Neighbor to me: Brothers W. Richards and Amasa M. Lyman sick.
Fast day: all works were stopped. Meetings were held in the several wards and donations made to the bishops for the poor; enough was contributed to supply the wants of the poor until harvest. Evening, met at Brother Richards’ for prayer.
Friday, 16.—I spent the day at Brother Hunter’s in company with Brothers Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, George A. Smith and N. K. Whitney revising history: Thomas Bullock read for us. I wrote a letter to the architect directing him to place a stone in the west end (front) of the Temple with the inscription ‘Holiness to the Lord’ thereon. Isaac Chase agreed to let the church have one thousand dollars. Elder Orson Pratt called and reported that four hundred men had gone up the opposite side of the river.
Saturday, 17.—Revising history as yesterday, with the addition of Brother John Taylor: Brother Hunter and family were very kind to us. We wrote an epistle to the saints in Nauvoo dated at Point Clear and directed the same to Brother Orson Pratt.
Sunday, 18.—Elder Orson Pratt preached to the saints; also read the following epistle:
General Letter of the Twelve to the Church from Their Retirement
Point Clear, Steamboat under way,
one o clock Saturday morning, May 17, 1845.
To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the City of Joseph—Greeting:
Beloved Brethren: Our whole souls bless you; and we are happy in the privilege of communicating to you a few thoughts. Much more would we rejoice were it our privilege to be in your midst the coming Sabbath and tell you all that is in our hearts; but we are pilgrims in a world of sorrow and woe. In our journeyings to proclaim the gospel and bring about salvation to the honest in heart, God is with us and we prosper; though weary, we are not cast down nor discouraged, for we know that victory is with the upright.
We are happy to hear of the great union and love manifested at your recent fast, which also the Spirit bore witness of to us, and of your liberality towards the poor, and may the abundance which you have so liberally contributed in your penury in dealing your bread to the hungry be the omen of an abundant harvest of the fruits of the earth into your granaries the present and all future seasons.
Since we commenced our journey we have discovered some letters from Brother Joseph Smith to Bishop Partridge from which we extract the following for your edification and instruction:
Message of Newly Discovered Letters of the Prophet on Consecration
‘I proceed to answer your questions concerning the consecration of property. First, it is not right to condescend to very great particulars in taking inventories. The fact is this, a man is bound by the law of the church, to consecrate to the bishop, before he can be considered a legal heir to the kingdom of Zion; and this too without constraint; and unless he does this, he cannot be acknowledged before the Lord, on the church book: therefore to condescend to particulars, I will tell you that every man must be his own judge how much he should receive, and how much he should suffer to remain in the hands of the bishop. I speak of those who consecrate more than they need for the support of themselves and their families.
‘The matter of consecration must be done by the mutual consent of both parties; for to give the bishop power to say how much every man shall have, and he be obliged to comply with the bishop’s judgment is giving to the bishop more power than a king has; and upon the other hand, to let every man say how much he needs and the bishop be obliged to comply with his judgment is to throw Zion into confusion and make a slave of the bishops. The fact is, there must be a balance or equilibrium of power, between the bishop and the people; and thus harmony and good-will will be preserved among you.’
The Principle of Fasts Defined
Let this be an ensample to all saints, and there will never be any lack for bread: When the poor are starving, let those who have, fast one day and give what they otherwise would have eaten to the bishops for the poor, and every one will abound for a long time; and this is one great and important principle of fasts approved of the Lord. And so long as the saints will all live to this principle with glad hearts and cheerful countenances they will always have an abundance.
We will give you another extract from the same author in a letter to Elder Phelps when in Zion:
Fate of the Sons of Perdition Not Revealed
‘Say to the brethren Hulets and to all others that the Lord never authorized them to say that the devil, or his angels, or the son of perdition should ever be restored; for their state of destiny was not revealed to man, is not revealed, nor ever shall be revealed save to those who are made partakers thereof; consequently those who teach this doctrine have not received it of the Spirit of the Lord. Truly Brother Oliver declared it to be the doctrine of devils. We, therefore, command that this doctrine be taught no more in Zion. We sanction the decision of the bishop and his council in relation to this doctrine being a bar of communion.’
Let this extract remind the elders and all saints that a wise head keeps a still tongue. And that it is far better many times for men, yes and women too to forget all they know, than to tell all they know. And better still to forget than to tell some great things which they do not know. Probably the elders in Zion know about as much about the devil’s being redeemed, as the elders know about the great God of the Gods, of the God of this world, which some have spoken of, concerning which they know nothing. There are Lords many and Gods many. But who are they, and what their relation to us, or this earth? Who can answer? This is a subject not revealed, therefore let the elders be silent concerning it. And who knows anything about our suffering in this world for sins committed in a former state of existence? Let him who had the answer by revelation speak: and if no such revelation exists, let this subject also live where it belongs in eternal forgetfulness to the ignorant until they shall be instructed from the right source.
Wisdom is justified of her children, therefore beloved brethren be wise and live up to the holy religion which you profess—to mind your own business and let your neighbors alone. Plant your gardens and till your farms; acknowledge your heavenly Father in all things; continue to raise up his house; walk humbly before him; watch and pray without ceasing; for ye know not what hour the thief will come. But be ye sure of this the thief will never come while he sees the good man of the house watching for him.
If ye are one, says Jesus, then are ye mine, and whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he will give it unto you. Then brethren continue to be one and ask unceasingly and God will deliver you from all your enemies, break the oppressor’s power and continue peace in the beloved city. Brethren pray for us that we may be prospered on our journey, and be returned to the saints in peace and safety when we shall have completed our mission. We bless you and praying the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bless you with every blessing even unto everlasting life and salvation in his presence in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.’
Sunday, 18. (continued).—At five p.m., the Presidents of Seventies met. President Joseph Young spoke emphatically as to putting down wickedness and evil known to exist among members of the quorums.
Evening, attended council and prayer meeting with the Twelve at Brother Richards’: adjourned at 2 a.m.
Elder Woodruff attended a conference at Carlisle, England, one hundred and sixty-five members were represented including thirty-seven officers.
A conference was held in Ilion, Herkimer county, New York, fifty-two members, nine elders and two priests were represented.
Monday, 19.—Associated with Brothers Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, and George A. Smith, I spent the day at Brother Robert Pierce’s; Brother Pierce had gone to Carthage as a juror, his family made us very comfortable. Brothers W. Richards and George R. Smith went to Brother Elijah Fordham’s.
Many brethren went to Carthage to attend the trial of the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith: George D. Watt attended court and reported the proceedings.
Tuesday, 20.—With the brethren named I remained at Brother Pierce’s; Willard Richards and George A. Smith joined us. We read and revised fifty-seven pages of History of Joseph Smith from Book ‘B’: Brothers Amasa M. Lyman and others called to see us.
Wednesday, 21.—Brother Richards went to Brother Fordham’s. Brother George A. [Smith] visited the families of the Twelve who were from home and spent the afternoon with Brother Richards. At nine p.m., Brothers H. C. Kimball, J. Taylor, G. A. Smith, W. H. Kimball, Bishop Garn and I called at Brother Richards’ and remained till midnight.
The following letter was sent to Josiah Lamborn, attorney-general of Illinois [by George A. and John Smith]:
Review of Difficulties Attendant upon Collection of Evidence for the Prospective Trial of Those Charged with the Murder of the Prophet and Patriarch Joseph and Hyrum Smith
‘Sir: We are this evening informed by Mr. Scott that it is your wish as prosecuting attorney vs. the murderers of the Generals Smith that the Mormons should hunt up the witnesses in the case, and that Mr. Murray McConnell had conveyed the idea that there was a committee in the county whose business it was to collect and arrange the testimony against the day of trial and that said committee are supposed to be Mormons, etc. etc.
Now, Sir, in behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; or, if you choose, the Mormon fraternity, we beg leave to state to you, what has been often reiterated by us, and which is a well known fact, both to our people and the state, viz
The facts are, the Messrs. Smiths were murdered while in the charge of the state, relying on the plighted faith of the state for protection, and not in the presence of Mormon witnesses, for the Mormons were not there, but doubtless in the presence of many who were not Mormons.
To show our loyalty to the institutions of our country and preserve peace in the county, as a people, we pledged ourselves to abide the operations of the law as directed by the proper authorities of the commonwealth; and that we would abide the decisions of the court, not taking vengeance into our own hands, (as was then feared by some) or commencing prosecutions, to which we have strictly adhered, and intend still to adhere, that our pledge may be honorably redeemed in the sight of all men, although we have been strongly solicited to enter the field of prosecution, and that, too, by the state or her agents: for instance when Mr. McConnell was engaged in preparation for the prosecution he came to Nauvoo and strongly solicited the Mormons to come out as complainants and assist in procuring witnesses, etc.; but we replied that we had had nothing to do with the affair, and wanted nothing to do with it; and for us to enlist in attempting to bring the murderers to justice, no matter how legal in our movements it would be construed into a persecution, or a desire to pick a quarrel on our part, which we were and still are determined to avoid even every appearance of evil, and cut off every occasion of our enemies, or of those who are ready to seize upon any pretext to make us trouble.
We are decidedly for peace, and we ever have been and as the murders were committed while the murdered were in immediate charge of the state, all we ask is, that the state will prosecute the case to final judgment, and redeem her pledge, as we have ours; or if she choose to abandon the prosecution we shall submit peaceably; although, for public good, we would prefer that justice should take place.
We are unacquainted with the statute which suffers indicted murderers to roam at large month after month without arrest; or, after delivery, or surrender, to run at pleasure before trial, and we know not what other similar laws we might come in contact with, and be liable to break to our own endangering or disadvantage, should we attempt to have anything to do with the case in question.
It is reported to us, true or false we know not, that the sheriff of Hancock county and his deputies have been forbidden by the court to act in pending trials, and that the jurors have been discharged without impaneling. If this be true we are unacquainted with the statutes in the case and have nothing to say.
When Mr. McConnell was here last fall, at his earnest solicitation, we collected all the information in our possession and presented the same to him, supposing he would prosecute the case to final judgment. He took minutes at the time and probably has them now, if he has not handed them over, of which you must be acquainted, better than we, and of which we did not preserve minutes: we know of no new information since that period.
We were happy to hear that the trials had been committed to your able charge, and anticipated that you would have made us a visit before the sitting of the court; and we still anticipate that after court you will make us a visit, that we may have the pleasure of a more general acquaintance among our citizens; and we feel confident that such a visit would be highly appreciated by our friend, General Young, with whom we understand you are acquainted.
We shall be ever ready to assist in favoring the ends of right so far as we can do it and not give any occasion of excitement which would be detrimental to public peace.
We are Sir,
Your Servts.[Signed] George A. Smith,
Thursday, 22.—Elder Kimball and I spent the day at Brother Parley P. Pratt’s.
Caroline Grant, wife of Elder Wm. Smith, died, aged thirty years and four months.
Evening, I attended council and prayer meeting.
Friday, 23.—Forenoon, Elder Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, John Taylor, George A. Smith, John E. Page and myself at Brother Taylor’s. Afternoon, Samuel Brannan arrived from New York and in company with Wm. Smith visited us.
Brother John Kay was engaged in drilling out a six-pounder cannon and preparing it for service.
Evening, in council with the Twelve and Bishop Whitney: the improper course of Wm. Smith was the subject of conversation.
Laying the Capstone of the Temple.
Saturday, 24.—A large number of the saints assembled to witness the laying of the capstone on the southeast corner of the Temple. Of the Twelve there were present, besides myself, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Willard Richards, Amasa M. Lyman, George A. Smith, John E. Page, Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt, also Newel K. Whitney and George Miller the Presiding Bishops and Trustees-in-Trust, Alpheus Cutler and Reynolds Cahoon, Temple Committee, William Clayton, Temple recorder, John Smith, patriarch and president of the stake and several members of the high council. The brass band arranged themselves and played the ‘Nightingale’.
At six o’clock and eight minutes a.m., Brother Wm. Player commenced spreading the mortar, perfect silence prevailing; the stone being lifted to its place. I stepped on the same and fitted it precisely to its position with the large beetle, at twenty-two minutes past six a.m., the capstone was pronounced set; the band played the ‘Capstone March’ composed for the occasion by Wm. Pitt. I said:
‘The last stone is now laid upon the Temple and I pray the Almighty in the name of Jesus to defend us in this place and sustain us until the Temple is finished and we have all got our endowments.’
The whole congregation then shouted, ‘Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna, to God and the Lamb, Amen, Amen, and Amen,’ which was repeated a second and third time. I concluded by saying, ‘So let it be, O Lord Almighty. This is the seventh day of the week or the Jewish Sabbath. It is the day on which the Almighty finished his work and rested from his labors; we have finished the walls of the Temple and we may rest today from our labors.’
I dismissed the workmen for the day and requested them to spend the day in giving thanks to God; and dismissed the congregation, and with the brethren of the Twelve retired to our places of retreat, out of the way of constables and officers who are prowling around the city from Carthage.
The morning was wet and cold, but those present were highly interested with the morning’s services, and felt well in consideration that the walls of the Temple were completed, notwithstanding the prophecies of our enemies and apostates.
Elder Orson Pratt preached the funeral discourse of Caroline, the daughter of Joshua and Thalia Grant and wife of Elder Wm. Smith, to a large assembly at the stand; her remains were deposited in the tomb of Joseph: she has left two children to mourn her loss.
At three p.m., a council of the Twelve met at Elder Taylor’s and took into consideration the case of Elder Samuel Brannan who had been disfellowshiped; an investigation was entered into and Elder Brannan introduced testimony to prove his innocence of the charges made against him: he was restored to fellowship.
Wm. Smith Made Patriarch of the Whole Church.
The brethren present expressed their feelings towards Elder Wm. Smith to which he responded. The Twelve then laid their hands upon him and ordained him to be a patriarch to the whole church: there was a warm interchange of good feeling between William Smith and the quorum.
Sunday, 25.—Elder John E. Page preached at the stand. The Presidents of Seventies met and preached to each other. Evening, the Twelve and others met for prayer.
Monday, 26.—I met with several of the Twelve and others in the Phonographic School at Brother Richards’. The Twelve and Trustees met in council at Bishop Miller’s and wrote a long communication to Elder Parley P. Pratt.
Tuesday, 27.—I received a respectful letter from Governor Drew in reply to our Memorial to him as governor of Arkansas; stating his inability to protect us in the state of Arkansas, and suggesting the propriety of our settling in Oregon, California, Nebraska or some other country where we will be out of the reach of our persecutors.” 1