Volume 2 Chapter 24 | BYU Studies

Volume 2 Chapter 24

 

Chapter 24

Miscellaneous Labors of the Prophet in Kirtland.

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December 1.—At home. Spent the day in writing for the Messenger and Advocate. Fine sleighing, and the snow yet falling.

Insolent Treatment of the Prophet.

Wednesday, 2.—A fine morning. I started to ride to Painesville with my family and scribe. When we were passing through Mentor Street, we overtook a team, with two men in the sleigh; I politely asked them to let me pass. They granted my request, and as we passed them they bawled out, "Do you get any revelations lately?" with an addition of blackguard language that I did not understand. This is a fair sample of the character of Mentor Street inhabitants, who are ready to abuse and scandalize men who never laid a straw in their way; and, in fact, those whose faces they never saw, and [whom they] cannot bring an accusation against, either of a temporal or spiritual nature, except their firm belief in the fullness of the Gospel. I was led to marvel at the longsuffering and condescension of our heavenly Father in permitting these ungodly wretches to possess this goodly land, which is indeed as beautifully situated, and its soil is as fertile, as any in this region of country, and its inhabitants are wealthy even blessed above measure in temporal things; and fain would God bless them with spiritual blessings, even eternal life, were it not for their evil hearts of unbelief. And we are led to mingle our prayers with those of the Saints that have suffered the like treatment before us, whose souls are under the altar, crying to the Lord for vengeance upon those that dwell upon the earth. And we rejoice that the time is at hand, when the wicked who will not repent will be swept from the earth as with a besom of destruction, and the earth become an inheritance of the poor and the meek.

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When we arrived in Painesville, we called at Sister Harriet Howe's, and left my wife and family to visit her, while we rode into town to do some business. Called and visited H. Kingsbury. Dined with Sister Howe and returned home. Had a fine ride—sleighing good, weather pleasant.

Thursday, 3.—At home. Wrote a letter to David Dort, Rochester, Michigan; another to Almira Schoby, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri.

Marriage of Warren Parrish.

At evening, visited with my wife at Thomas Carrico's. A respectable company awaited our arrival. After singing and prayer I delivered an address on matrimony, and joined in marriage Warren Parrish and Martha H. Raymond. Closed by singing and prayer. After refreshments, returned home, having spent the evening very agreeably.

Financial Transactions.

Friday, 4.—In company with Vinson Knight, drew three hundred and fifty dollars out of Painesville Bank, on three months' credit, for which we gave the names of Frederick G. Williams & Co., Newel K. Whitney, John Johnson and Vinson Knight. Settled with Brother Hyrum Smith and Vinson Knight, and paid Knight two hundred and forty-five dollars; also have it in my power to pay J. Lewis, for which blessing I feel heartily thankful to my heavenly Father, and ask Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to enable us to extricate ourselves from all embarrassments whatever, that we may not be brought into disrepute, that our enemies may not have any power over us. Spent the day at home, a part of the day studying Hebrew. Warm, with some rain, snow fast melting.

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Conversation on Religion.

This evening a Mr. John Hollister, of Portage County, Ohio, called to see me on the subject of religion, and I spent the evening conversing with him. He tarried over night with me, and acknowledged in the morning that, although he had thought he knew something about religion, he was now sensible that he knew but little; which was the greatest trait of wisdom I could discover in him.

A Matter of Postage.

Saturday, 5.—Weather cold and freezing, with a moderate fall of snow. In the forenoon studying Hebrew with Dr. Frederick G. Williams and President Cowdery. I am laboring under some indisposition of health. Slept awhile, and arose feeling tolerably well, through the mercy of God. I received a letter from Reuben McBride, Vilanovia, New York; also another from Parley P. Pratt's mother-in-law, Herkimer County, New York, of no consequence as to what it contained, but it cost me twenty-five cents for postage. I mention this, as it is a common occurrence, and I am subjected to a great deal of expense by those whom I know nothing about, only that they are destitute of good manners; for if people wish to be benefitted with information from me, common respect and good breeding would dictate them to pay the postage on their letters.

I addressed the following letter to the editor of the Messenger and Advocate:

Dear Brother—I wish to inform my friends and all others abroad, that whenever they wish to address me through the postoffice, they will be kind enough to pay the postage on the same. My friends will excuse me in this matter, as I am willing to pay postage on letters to hear from them; but I am unwilling to pay for insults and menaces; consequently must refuse all unpaid.

Yours in the Gospel,

Joseph Smith, Jun.

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An Unruly Member.

Sunday, 6.—Went to meeting at the usual hour. Gideon Carter preached a splendid discourse.

In the afternoon we had an exhortation and communion service. Some two or three weeks since, Brother Draper insisted on leaving the meeting before communion, and could not be prevailed on to tarry a few moments, although we invited him to do so, as we did not wish to have the house thrown into confusion. He observed that he "would not," if we excluded him from the Church. Today he attempted to make a confession, but it was not satisfactory to me, and I was constrained by the Spirit to deliver him over to the buffetings of Satan, until he should humble himself and repent of his sins, and make satisfactory confession before the Church.

Monday, 7.—Received a letter from Milton Holmes, and was much rejoiced to hear from him, and of his success in proclaiming the Gospel. Wrote him a letter requesting him to return to Kirtland. Spent the day in reading Hebrew. Mr. John Hollister called to take the parting hand with me, and remarked that he had been in darkness all his days, but had now found the truth and intended to obey it.

This evening a number of brethren called to see the records, which I exhibited and explained. Fine sleighing.

Kindness of the Saints to the Prophet.

Tuesday, 8.—At home. Read Hebrew in company with Dr. Williams, President Cowdery, Brother Hyrum Smith and Orson Pratt. In the evening, preached at the school house as usual, had great liberty in speaking, congregation attentive. After the services closed, the brethren proposed to haul wood for me.

Wednesday, 9.—At home. Wind south, strong, and chilly. Elder Packard came in this morning, and made me a present of twelve dollars, which he held in a note against me. May God bless him for his liberality. Also, James Aldrich sent me my note by the hand of Jesse Hitchcock, on which there was twelve dollars due. And may God bless him for his kindness to me. Also the brethren whose names are written below opened their hearts in great liberality, and paid me, at the committee's store, the sums set opposite their respective names, to wit:

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John Corrill $5 00 Salmon Gee $0 75
Levi Jackman————3 25 Harvey Stanley————1 00
Elijah Fordham————5 25 Zemira Draper————1 00
James Emmet————5 00 Emer Harris————1 00
Newel Knigh————2 00 Truman Jackson————1 00
Truman O. Angell————3 00 Samuel Rolf————1 25
William Felshaw————3 00 Elias Higbee————1 00
Albert Brown————3 00 George Morey————1 00
William F. Cahoon————1 00 John Rudd————0 50
Harlow Crosier————0 50 Alex. Badlam————1 00

$40 50

With the addition of the two notes above . . . . . . . 24 00

Total . . . . $64 50

Gratitude of the Prophet.

My heart swells with gratitude inexpressible when I realize the great condescension of my heavenly Father, in opening the hearts of these my beloved brethren to administer so liberally to my wants. And I ask God, in the name of Jesus Christ, to multiply blessings without number upon their heads, and bless me with much wisdom and understanding, and dispose of me to the best advantage for my brethren, and the advancement of His cause and kingdom. And whether my days are many or few, whether in life or in death, I say in my heart, O Lord, let me enjoy the society of such brethren.

Elder Tanner brought me half of a fatted hog for the benefit of my family. A few days since, Elder Shadrach Roundy brought me a quarter of beef. And may all the blessings named above be poured upon their heads, for their kindness towards me.

Thursday, 10.—This morning a number of brethren called to see the records, [Egyptian] which I exhibited to their satisfaction. This day my brethren met according to previous arrangement to chop and haul wood for me. Beautiful morning, indeed, and fine sleighing.

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Healing of Angeline Works.

This afternoon I was called, in company with President David Whitmer, to visit Angeline Works. We found her very sick, and so much deranged that she did not recognize her friends and intimate acquaintances. We prayed for her and laid hands on her in the name of Jesus Christ, and commanded her in His name to receive her senses, which were immediately restored. We also prayed that she might be restored to health; and she said she was better.

Fire in the Kirtland Board Kiln.

The board kiln had taken fire, and on our return we found the brethren engaged in extinguishing the flames. After laboring about one hour against this destructive element, we succeeded in conquering it, and probably saved about one-fourth part of the lumber. I do not know the amount of loss the committee have sustained, but it must have been considerable, as there was much lumber in the kiln. There were about two hundred brethren engaged on this occasion; they displayed much activity and interest, and deserve much credit. The brethren have also been very industrious, and supplied me with my winter's wood, for which I am sincerely grateful to each and every one of them, and shall remember, with warm emotions, this expression of their goodness to me. And in the name of Jesus Christ I invoke the rich benediction of heaven to rest upon them and their families; and I ask my heavenly Father to preserve their health, and that of their wives and children, that they may have strength of body to perform their labors in their several occupations in life, and the use and activity of their limbs, also powers of intellect and understanding hearts, that they may treasure up wisdom, understanding and intelligence above measure, and be preserved from plagues, pestilence, and famine, and from the power of the adversary, and the hands of evil-designing men, and have power over all their enemies, and the way be prepared for them that they may journey to the land of Zion, and be established on their inheritances, to enjoy undisturbed peace and happiness forever, and ultimately be crowned with everlasting life in the celestial Kingdom of God, which blessing I ask in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Amen.

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The Prophet's Blessing on Leonard Rich.

I would remember Elder Leonard Rich, who was the first one that proposed to the brethren to assist me in obtaining wood for the use of my family, for which I pray my heavenly Father to bless him with all the blessings named above. And I shall ever remember him with much gratitude, for this testimony of benevolence and respect, and thank the great I AM for putting into his heart to do me this kindness. And I say in my heart, I will trust in Thy goodness and mercy forever, O Lord, for Thy wisdom and benevolence, are unbounded, and beyond the comprehension of men, and all of Thy ways cannot be found out.

The petitions of the people from all parts of the United States to the Governor of Missouri to restore the Saints to their possessions, were arranged and mailed at Kirtland, this day, for Missouri. The petitions were numerous, and the package large, the postage thereon being five dollars. It was directed to the governor.

Friday, 11.—A fire broke out in a shoemaker's shop, owned by Orson Johnson, but the flames were soon extinguished by the active exertions of the brethren. A pleasant morning. Spent the day in reading and instructing those who called for advice.

The Prophet Reproves a Young Lady.

Saturday, 12.—Spent the forenoon in reading. About twelve o'clock a number of young persons called to see the Egyptian records. My scribe exhibited them. One of the young ladies who had been examining them, was asked if they had the appearance of antiquity. She observed, with an air of contempt, that they had not. On hearing this, I was surprised at the ignorance she displayed, and I observed to her, that she was an anomaly in creation, for all the wise and learned that had examined them, without hesitation pronounced them ancient. I further remarked, that it was downright wickedness, ignorance, bigotry and superstition had caused her to make the remark; and that I would put it on record. And I have done so, because it is a fair sample of the prevailing spirit of the times, showing that the victims of priestcraft and superstition would not believe though one should rise from the dead.

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Debate at William Smith's.

In the evening attended a debate at Brother William Smith's, on the following question—Was it necessary for God to reveal Himself to mankind in order for their happiness? I was on the affirmative, and the last to speak on that side of the question; but, while listening with interest to the ingenuity displayed on both sides, I was called away to visit Sister Angeline Works, who was supposed to be dangerously sick. Elder John Corrill and myself went and prayed for her and laid hands on her in the name of Jesus Christ; and leaving her apparently better, returned home.

Sunday, 13.—At the usual hour, ten a. m., attended meeting at the school house on the flats. Elder Jesse Hickcock preached a very feeling discourse.

Experiences of Elders Whitmer and Williams.

In the afternoon, Elder Peter Whitmer related his experience; after which, President Frederick G. Williams related his also. They both spoke of many things connected with the rise and progress of this Church, which were interesting. After this, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered under the superintendence of President David Whitmer, after which, I made some remarks respecting prayer meetings, and our meeting was closed by invoking the blessing of heaven. I returned home and ordered my horse, and myself and scribe rode to Mr. E. Jenning's, where I joined Ebenezer Robinson and Angeline Works in matrimony, according to previous engagements. Miss Works had so far recovered from her illness as to be able to sit in her easy chair while I pronounced the marriage ceremony.

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Marriages in Kirtland.

We then rode to Mr. McWhithy's a distance of about three miles from town, where I had been solicited to attend another marriage. We found a large and respectable number of friends present. I had been requested to make some preliminary remarks on the subject of matrimony, touching the design of the Almighty in its institution, also the duties of husbands and wives towards each other. And after opening our interview with singing and prayer, I delivered a lecture of about forty minutes, in which all seemed interested, except one or two individuals, who manifested a spirit of groveling contempt, which I was constrained to reprove and rebuke sharply. After I had closed my remarks, I sealed the matrimonial engagement between Mr. E. Webb and Miss E. A. McWhithy, in the name of God, and pronouncing the blessings of heaven upon their heads, closed by returning thanks. A sumptuous feast was then spread, and the company invited to seat themselves at the table by pairs, male and female, commencing with the eldest. The festival was conducted with propriety and decorum, and cheerfulness prevailed. After spending the evening agreeable until nine o'clock, we pronounced a blessing upon the company and returned home. This day the board kiln took fire again.

Monday, 14.—A number of brethren from New York called to visit me and see the Egyptian records. Also Elder Harris returned from Palmyra, New York, and Brother Francis Eaton of the same place, and Sister Harriet Howe called to visit us.

Precautions Against Incendiaries.

After dinner, attended the funeral of Sylvester Smith's youngest child. And in the evening met, according to previous notice, to make arrangements to guard against fire, and organize a company for this purpose; also counseled on other affairs of a temporal nature. Samuel Barnum came to my house, much afflicted with a swollen arm. As he had not sufficient faith to be healed, my wife applied a poultice of herbs, and he tarried over night. I spent the day at home reading Hebrew, and visiting with friends who called to see me.