Volume 2 Chapter 22 | BYU Studies

Volume 2 Chapter 22

 

Chapter 22

The Ministry of the Prophet in Kirtland.

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Reproof of Reynolds Cahoon.

Sunday, November 1.—Verily thus said the Lord unto me, His servant, Joseph Smith, Jun.—

Revelation.

Mine anger is kindled against my servant Reynolds Cahoon, because of his iniquities, his covetous and dishonest principles, in himself and family, and he doth not purge them away and set his house in order. Therefore, if he repent not, chastisement awaiteth him, even as it seemeth good in my sight, therefore go and declare unto him these words.

I went immediately and delivered this message according as the Lord commanded me. I called him in, and read what the Lord had said concerning him. He acknowledged that it was verily so, and expressed much humility. I then went to meeting. Elder John Corrill preached a fine discourse.

In the afternoon President Phelps continued the services of the day by reading the fifth chapter of Matthew, also the laws regulating the High Council, and made some remarks upon them, after which, Sacrament was administered. I then confirmed a number who had been baptized, and blessed a number of children, in the name of Jesus Christ, with the blessings of the New and Everlasting Covenant. Notice was then given that the Elders' school would commence on the morrow.

School for the Elders Opened.

Monday, November 2.—I was engaged in regulating the affairs of the school, after which I had my team prepared, and Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, Frederick G. Williams, my scribe, and a number of others, went to Willoughby to hear Dr. Piexotto deliver a lecture on the theory and practice of physics. Called at Mr. Cushman's, dined, attended the lecture. Was treated with great respect throughout, and returned home.

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Lyman Wight arrived from Zion, also George A. and Lyman Smith returned from a mission to the east, after an absence of five months. The question was agitated whether Frederick G. Williams or Oliver Cowdery should go to New York, to make arrangements respecting a bookbindery. They referred the matter to me for a decision. And thus came the word of the Lord to me, saying—

Revelation.

It is not my will that my servant Frederick should go to New York, inasmuch as he wishes to go and visit his relations, that he may warn them to flee the wrath to come, let him go and see them for that purpose, and let that be his only business, and behold, in this thing, he shall be blessed with power to overcome their prejudices, verily thus saith the Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, November 3.—Thus came the word of the Lord unto me concerning the Twelve, saying—

Revelation to the Twelve.

Behold they are under condemnation, because they have not been sufficiently humble in my sight, and in consequence of their covetous desires, in that they have not dealt equally with each other in the division of the monies which came into their hands, nevertheless, some of them dealt equally, therefore they shall be rewarded; but verily I say unto you, they must all humble themselves before me, before they will be accounted worthy to receive an endowment, to go forth in my name unto all nations.

As for my servant William, let the Eleven humble themselves in prayer and in faith, and wait on me in patience, and my servant William shall return, and I will yet make him a polished shaft in my quiver, in bringing down the wickedness and abominations of men; and there shall be none mightier than he, in his day and generation, nevertheless if he repent not speedily, he shall be brought low, and shall be chastened sorely for all his iniquities he has committed against me; nevertheless the sin which he has sinned against me is not even now more grievous than the sin with which my servant David W. Patten, and my servant Orson Hyde, and my servant William E. M'Lellin have sinned against me, and the residue are not sufficiently humble before me.

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Behold the parable which I spake concerning a man having twelve sons: for what man among you, having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto one, Be thou clothed in robes, and sit thou here; and to the other, Be thou clothed in rags, and sit thou there, and looketh upon his sons, and saith, I am just? Ye will answer, and say, no man; and ye answer truly; therefore, verily thus saith the Lord your God, I appoint these Twelve that they should be equal in their ministry, and in their portion, and in their evangelical rights; wherefore they have sinned a very grievous sin, inasmuch as they have made themselves unequal, and have not hearkened unto my voice; therefore, let them repent speedily, and prepare their hearts for the solemn assembly, and for the great day which is to come, verily thus saith the Lord. Amen.

Object of the Elders' School.

I then went to assist in organizing the Elders' school. I called it to order and made some remarks upon the object of this school, and the great necessity of our rightly improving our time and reining up our minds to the sense of the great object that lies before us, viz—the glorious endowment that God has in store for the faithful.

I then dedicated the school in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

After the school was dismissed, I attended a patriarchal meeting at brother Samuel Smith's; his wife's parents were blessed, also his child, named Susannah.

In the evening I preached in the school house, to a crowded congregation.

Wednesday, November 4.—At home in the morning. Attended school during school hours, made rapid progress in our studies. In the evening lectured on grammar at home. King Follet arrived from Zion this day.

Thursday, November 5.—Attended school. Isaac Morley came in from the east.

This morning I was called to visit Thomas Burdick, who was sick. I took my scribe with me, and we prayed for and laid our hands on him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and rebuked his affliction.

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Inquiries About the Revelation to the Twelve.

William E. M'Lellin and Orson Hyde came in and desired to hear the Revelation concerning the Twelve. My scribe read it to them. They expressed some little dissatisfaction, but after examining their own hearts, they acknowledged it to be the word of the Lord, and said they were satisfied. After school, Brigham Young came in, and desired also to hear it read; after hearing it, he appeared perfectly satisfied.

In the evening I lectured on grammar.

Reflections on the Nature of Prophets.

Friday, November 6.—At home. Attended school during school hours, returned and spent the evening at home.

I was this morning introduced to a man from the east. After hearing my name, he remarked that I was nothing but a man, indicating by this expression, that he had supposed that a person to whom the Lord should see fit to reveal His will, must be something more than a man. He seemed to have forgotten the saying that fell from the lips of St. James, that Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, yet he had such power with God, that He, in answer to his prayers, shut the heavens that they gave no rain for the space of three years and six months; and again, in answer to his prayer, the heavens gave forth rain, and the earth gave forth fruit. Indeed, such is the darkness and ignorance of this generation, that they look upon it as incredible that a man should have any intercourse with his Maker.

Isaac Morley and Edward Partridge Commended.

Saturday, November 7.—Spent the day at home attending to my domestic concerns. The word of the Lord came unto me saying—

Revelation.

Behold I am well pleased with my servant Isaac Morley, and my servant Edward Partridge, because of the integrity of their hearts in laboring in my vineyard, for the salvation of the souls of men. Verily I say unto you, their sins are forgiven them; therefore say unto them, in my name, that it is my will that they should tarry for a little season, and attend the school, and also the solemn assembly, for a wise purpose in me. Even so. Amen.

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The Case of Isaac Hill.

Sunday, November 8.—Went to meeting in the morning at the usual hour. Zerubbabel Snow preached a very interesting discourse; in the afternoon Joseph Young preached. After preaching, Isaac Hill came forward to make some remarks by way of confession. He had previously been excommunicated from the Church for lying, and for an attempt to seduce a female. His confession was not satisfactory to my mind, and John Smith arose and made some remarks respecting the doings of the High Council, in the case of said Hill; that is, that he should make a public confession of his crime, and have it published in the Messenger and Advocate. He proposed that Mr. Hill should now make his confession before the congregation, and then immediately observed that he had forgiven Mr. Hill, which was in contradiction to the sentiment he first advanced. This I attributed to an error in judgment, not in design.

President Rigdon then arose, and very abruptly militated against the sentiment of Uncle John, which had a direct tendency to destroy his influence, and bring him into disrepute in the eyes of the Church, which was not right. He also misrepresented Mr. Hill's case, and spread darkness rather than light upon the subject.

A vote of the Church was then called on Brother Hill's case, and he was restored without any further confession, viz., that he should be received into the Church by baptism, which was administered accordingly.

Labors of the Prophet with the Erring.

After I returned home, I labored with Uncle John, and convinced him that he was wrong; and he made his confession, to my satisfaction. I then went and labored with President Rigdon, and succeeded in convincing him also of his error, which he confessed to my satisfaction.

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The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, that President Phelps and President John Whitmer were under condemnation before the Lord for their errors. For which they made satisfaction the same day.

I also took up a labor with John Corrill, for not partaking of the Sacrament; he made his confession. Also my wife, for leaving the meeting before Sacrament; she made no reply, but manifested contrition by weeping.

Case of Mary Whitcher.

Monday, November 9.—After breakfast, Mary Whitcher came in and wished to see me. I granted her request. She gave a relation of her grievances, which are unfathomable at present, and if true, sore indeed; and I pray my Heavenly Father, to bring the truth of the case to light, that the reward due to evil doers may be given them, and that the afflicted and oppressed may be delivered.

Joshua, the Jewish Minister.

While sitting in my house, between ten and eleven this morning, a man came in and introduced himself to me by the name of "Joshua, the Jewish Minister." His appearance was something singular, having a beard about three inches in length, quite grey; also his hair was long and considerably silvered with age; I thought him about fifty or fifty-five years old; tall, straight, slender built, of thin visage, blue eyes, and fair complexion; wore a sea-green frock coat and pantaloons, black fur hat with narrow brim; and, while speaking, frequently shut his eyes, with a scowl on his countenance. I made some inquiry after his name, but received no definite answer. We soon commenced talking on the subject of religion, and, after I had made some remarks concerning the Bible, I commenced giving him a relation of the circumstances connected with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, as recorded in the former part of this history.

While I was relating a brief history of the establishment of the Church of Christ in the last days, Joshua seemed to be highly entertained. When I had closed my narration, I observed that the hour of worship and dinner had arrived, and invited him to tarry, to which he consented. After dinner, the conversation was resumed, and Joshua proceeded to make some remarks on the prophecies, as follows—he observed that he was aware that I could bear stronger meat than many others, therefore he should open his mind the more freely:

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The Doctrines of "Joshua the Jewish Minister."

Daniel has told us that he is to stand in his proper lot, in the latter days; according to his vision he had a right to shut it up, and also to open it again after many days, or in latter times. Daniel's image, whose head was gold, and body, arms, legs and feet, were composed of the different materials described in his vision, represents different governments. The golden head was to represent Nebuchadnezzer, King of Babylon; the other parts, other kings and forms of governments which I shall not now mention in detail, but confine my remarks more particularly to the feet of the image. The policy of the wicked spirit is to separate what God has joined together, and unite what He has separated, which the devil has succeeded in doing to admiration in the present state of society, which is like unto iron and clay.

There is confusion in all things, both political and religious; and notwithstanding all the efforts that are made to bring about a union, society remains disunited, and all attempts to unite it are as fruitless as to attempt to unite iron and clay. The feet of the image are the government of these United States. Other nations and kingdoms are looking up to her for an example of union, freedom, and equal rights, and therefore worship her as Daniel saw in the vision; although they are beginning to lose confidence in her, seeing the broils and discord that rise on her political and religious horizon. This image is characteristic of all governments.

We should leave Babylon. Twenty-four hours of improvement now, are worth as much as a year a hundred years ago. The spirits of the fathers that were cut down, or those that were under the altar, are now rising; this is the first resurrection. The Elder that falls first will rise last. We should not form any opinion only for the present, and leave the result of futurity with God. I have risen up out of obscurity, but was looked up to in temporal things when but a youth. It is not necessary that God should give us all things in His first commission to us, but in His second. John saw the angel deliver the Gospel in the last days. The small lights that God has even are sufficient to lead us out of Babylon; when we get out, we shall have the greater light.

I told Joshua I did not understand his remarks on the resurrection, and wished him to explain. He replied that he did not feel impressed by the Spirit to unfold it further at present, but perhaps he might at some future time.

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Additional Views of Joshua.

I then withdrew to transact some business with a gentleman who had called to see me, when Joshua informed my scribe that he was born in Cambridge, Washington County, New York. He says that all the railroads, canals, and other improvements are projected by the spirits of the resurrection. The silence spoken of by John the Revelator, which is to be in heaven for the space of half an hour, is between 1830 and 1851, during which time the judgments of God will be poured out, after that time there will be peace.

Curiosity to see a man that was reputed to be a Jew, caused many to call during the day, and more particularly in the evening.

Matthias not Joshua.

Suspicions were entertained that the said Joshua was the noted Matthias of New York, spoken so much of in the public prints, on account of the trials he endured in that place, before a court of justice, for murder, man-slaughter, contempt of court, whipping his daughter, etc.; for the last two crimes he was imprisoned, and came out about four months since. After some equivocating, he confessed that he really was Matthias.

After supper I proposed that he should deliver a lecture to us. He did so, sitting in his chair.

He commenced by saying, God said, let there be light, and there was light, which he dwelt upon throughout his discourse. He made some very excellent remarks, but his mind was evidently filled with darkness.

After the congregation dispersed, he conversed freely upon the circumstances that occurred in New York. His name is Robert Matthias. He says that Joshua is his priestly name. During all this time I did not contradict his sentiments, wishing to draw out all that I could concerning his faith.

Mr. Beaman, of New York, came to ask advice of me whether or not he had better purchase lands in this vicinity, as he could not arrange his business to go to Missouri next spring. I advised him to come here and settle until he could move to Zion.

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Matthias Dismissed by the Prophet.

Tuesday, November 10.—I resumed conversation with Matthias, and desired him to enlighten my mind more on his views respecting the resurrection.

He said that he possessed the spirit of his fathers, that he was a literal descendant of Matthias, the Apostle, who was chosen in the place of Judas that fell; that his spirit was resurrected in him; and that this was the way or scheme of eternal life—this transmigration of soul or spirit from father to son.

I told him that his doctrine was of the devil, that he was in reality in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit, although he professed to be the Spirit of truth itself; and he said also that he possessed the soul of Christ.

He tarried until Wednesday, 11th, when, after breakfast, I told him, that my God told me, that his god was the devil, and I could not keep him any longer, and he must depart. And so I, for once, cast out the devil in bodily shape, and I believe a murderer.

Attended school during school hours. Spent the evening around my fireside, teaching my family grammar. It commenced snowing this afternoon; wind very heavy.

The Prophet's Meeting with the Twelve.

Thursday, November 12.—Attended school again during school hours; rain and snow still falling, about one inch in depth and wind very heavy; the weather extremely unpleasant. The laborers who were finishing the outside of the chapel, were obliged to break off from their business at the commencement of this storm, on the 11th instant.

This evening, at 6 o'clock, met with the Council of the Twelve, by their request. Nine of them were present. Council opened by singing and prayer. And I made some remarks as follows—

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The Prophet's Remarks to the Twelve.

I am happy in the enjoyment of this opportunity of meeting with this Council on this occasion. I am satisfied that the Spirit of the Lord is here, and I am satisfied with all the brethren present; and I need not say that you have my utmost confidence, and that I intend to uphold you to the uttermost, for I am well aware that you have to sustain my character against the vile calumnies and reproaches of this ungodly generation, and that you delight in so doing.

Darkness prevails at this time as it did at the time Jesus Christ was about to be crucified. The powers of darkness strove to obscure the glorious Sun of righteousness, that began to dawn upon the world, and was soon to burst in great blessings upon the heads of the faithful; and let me tell you, brethren, that great blessings await us at this time, and will soon be poured out upon us, if we are faithful in all things, for we are even entitled to greater spiritual blessings than they were, because they had Christ in person with them, to instruct them in the great plan of salvation. His personal presence we have not, therefore we have need of greater faith, on account of our peculiar circumstances; and I am determined to do all that I can to uphold you, although I may do many things inadvertently that are not right in the sight of God.

You want to know many things that are before you, that you may know how to prepare yourselves for the great things that God is about to bring to pass. But there is one great deficiency or obstruction in the way, that deprives us of the greater blessings; and in order to make the foundation of this Church complete and permanent, we must remove this obstruction, which is, to attend to certain duties that we have not as yet attended to. I supposed I had established this Church on a permanent foundation when I went to Missouri, and indeed I did so, for if I had been taken away, it would have been enough, but I yet live, and therefore God requires more at my hands. The item to which I wish the more particularly to call your attention to-night, is the ordinance of washing of feet. This we have not done as yet, but it is necessary now, as much as it was in the days of the Savior; and we must have place prepared, that we may attend to this ordinance aside from the world.

We have not desired as much from the hand of the Lord through faith and obedience, as we ought to have done, yet we have enjoyed great blessings, and we are not so sensible of this as we should be. When or where has God suffered one of the witnesses or first Elders of this Church to fall? Never, and no where. Amidst all the calamities and judgments that have befallen the inhabitants of the earth, His almighty arm has sustained us, men and devils have raged and spent their malice in vain. We must have all things prepared, and call out solemn assembly as the Lord has commanded us, that we may be able to accomplish His great work, and it must be done in God's own way. The house of the Lord must be prepared, and the solemn assembly called and organized in it, according to the order of the house of God; and in it we must attend to the ordinance of washing of feet. It was never intended for any but official members. It is calculated to unite our hearts, that we may be one in feeling and sentiment, and that our faith may be strong, so that Satan cannot overthrow us, nor have any power over us here.

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The endowment you are so anxious about, you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds; but strive to be prepared in your hearts, be faithful in all things, that when we meet in the solemn assembly, that is, when such as God shall name out of all the official members shall meet, we must be clean every whit. Let us be faithful and silent, brethren, and if God gives you a manifestation, keep it to yourselves; be watchful and prayerful, and you shall have a prelude of those joys that God will pour out on that day. Do not watch for iniquity in each other, if you do you will not get an endowment, for God will not bestow it on such. But if we are faithful, and live by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God, I will venture to prophesy that we shall get a blessing that will be worth remembering, if we should live as long as John the Revelator; our blessings will be such as we have not realized before, nor received in this generation. The order of the house of God has been, and ever will be, the same, even after Christ comes; and after the termination of the thousand years it will be the same; and we shall finally enter into the celestial Kingdom of God, and enjoy it forever.

You need an endowment, brethren, in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things; and those that reject your testimony will be damned. The sick will be healed, the lame made to walk, the deaf to hear, and the blind to see, through your instrumentality. But let me tell you, that you will not have power, after the endowment to heal those that have not faith, nor to benefit them, for you might as well expect to benefit a devil in hell as such as are possessed of his spirit, and are willing to keep it; for they are habitations for devils, and only fit for his society. But when you are endowed and prepared to preach the Gospel to all nations, kindred, and tongues, in their own languages, you must faithfully warn all, and bind up the testimony, and seal up the law, and the destroying angel will follow close at your heels, and exercise his tremendous mission upon the children of disobedience; and destroy the workers of iniquity, while the Saints will be gathered out from among them, and stand in holy places ready to meet the Bridegroom when he comes.

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I feel disposed to speak a few words more to you, my brethren, concerning the endowment. All who are prepared, and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior, will see Him in the solemn assembly.

The brethren expressed their gratification for the instruction I had given them. We then closed by prayer, when I returned home and retired to rest.

Chapter 22

1. This refers to the Prophet's second communication to the Messenger and Advocate and will be found at page 259 et seq.