Volume 2 Chapter 3 | BYU Studies

Volume 2 Chapter 3

 

Chapter 3

The Cause and Object of the Jackson County Persecution—The Prophet's Mission through Western New York.

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February 24.—I received the following:

Revelation. 1

1. Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that ye may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion;

2. Being driven and smitten by the hands of mine enemies, on whom I will pour out my wrath without measure in mine own time;

3. For I have suffered them thus far, that they might fill up the measure of their iniquities, that their cup might be full;

4. And that those who call themselves after my name might be chastened for a little season with a sore and grievous chastisement, because they did not hearken altogether unto the precepts and commandments which I gave unto them.

5. But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.

6. Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.

7. And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.

8. But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them,

9. For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;

10. And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

11. But verily I say unto you, I have decreed that your brethren which have been scattered shall return to the lands of their inheritances, and shall build up the waste places of Zion.

12. For after much tribulation, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing.

13. Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren: your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down.

14. Nevertheless, if they pollute their inheritances they shall be thrown down; for I will not spare them if they pollute their inheritances.

15. Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power;

16. Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.

17. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm:

18. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.

19. Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say unto you as I said unto your fathers, mine angel shall go up before you, but not my presence;

20. But I say unto you, mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.

21. Verily, verily I say unto you, that my servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith, Jun.,) is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you.

22. Therefore let my servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith, Jun.,) say unto the strength of my house, my young men and the middle aged, gather yourselves together unto the land of Zion, upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me:

23. And let all the churches send up wise men with their moneys, and purchase lands even as I have commanded them;

24. And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you to drive you from my goodly land, which I have consecrated to be the land of Zion: even from your own lands after these testimonies, which ye have brought before me against them, ye shall curse them;

25. And whomsoever ye curse, I will curse, and ye shall avenge me of mine enemies;

26. And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

27. Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake, for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again;

28. And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.

29. It is my will that my servant Sidney Rigdon shall lift up his voice in the congregations in the eastern countries, in preparing the churches to keep the commandments which I have given unto them concerning the restoration and redemption of Zion.

30. It is my will that my servant Parley P. Pratt and my servant Lyman Wight should not return to the land of their brethren, until they have obtained companies to go up unto the land of Zion, by tens, or by twenties, or by fifties, or by an hundred, until they have obtained to the number of five hundred of the strength of my house.

31. Behold this is my will; ask and ye shall receive; but men do not always do my will;

32. Therefore, if you cannot obtain five hundred, seek diligently that peradventure you may obtain three hundred;

33. And if ye cannot obtain three hundred, seek diligently, that peradventure ye may obtain one hundred.

34. But verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall not go up unto the land of Zion, until you have obtained a hundred of the strength of my house, to go up with you unto the land of Zion.

35. Therefore as I said unto you, ask and ye shall receive; pray earnestly that peradventure my servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith, Jun.,) may go with you, and preside in the midst of my people, and organize my kingdom upon the consecrated land, and establish the children of Zion upon the laws and commandments which have been and which shall be given unto you.

36. All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith.

37. Let my servant Parley P. Pratt journey with my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.

38. Let my servant Lyman Wight journey with my servant Sidney Rigdon.

39. Let my servant Hyrum Smith journey with my servant Frederick G. Williams.

40. Let my servant Orson Hyde journey with my servant Orson Pratt, whithersoever my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., shall counsel them, in obtaining the fulfilment of these commandments which I have given unto you, and leave the residue in my hands. Even so. Amen.

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Arrival of Delegation from the Church in Missouri.

The High Council of the Church also met this day at my house for the purpose of giving an audience or hearing to Lyman Wight and Parley P. Pratt, delegates from the Church in Missouri, to represent to us the state of the Church in that place.

Minutes of Council Meeting.

President Joseph opened the Council by prayer. Two of the standing Councilors were absent, namely, Joseph Coe and John Smith. Hyrum Smith was chosen to act in the place of John Smith, and John P. Greene to act in the place of Joseph Coe. Thus the High Council was organized, and six Councilors were appointed to speak. Brothers Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight, messengers from Zion, arose, and laid their business before the Council, and delivered their message, the substance of which was: when, how and by what means Zion was to be redeemed from her enemies. They said that our brethren who had been driven away from their lands and scattered abroad, had found so much favor in the eyes of the people [of Clay county, Mo.,] that they could obtain food and raiment of them for their labor, insomuch that they were comfortable. But the idea of their being driven away from the land of Zion pained their very souls, and they desired of God, by earnest prayer, to return with songs of everlasting joy, as said Isaiah, the prophet.

They also said that none of their lands were sold into the hands of our enemies, except a piece of thirty acres owned by Brother William E. McLellin, which he sold into the hands of the enemy, and seven acres more which he would have sold to the enemy if a brother had not come forward and purchased it and paid him his money.

Brother Joseph then arose, and said that he was going to Zion, to assist in redeeming it. He called for the voice of the Council to sanction his going, which was given without a dissenting voice. He then called for volunteers to go with him, when some thirty or forty volunteered to go, who were present at the Council. It was a question whether the company should go by water or by land, and after a short investigation it was decided unanimously that they go by land. Joseph Smith, Jun., was nominated to be the commander-in-chief of the armies of Israel, and the leader of those who volunteered to go and assist in redemption of Zion: the nomination was seconded and carried by the vote of all present. Council then adjourned by prayer and thanksgiving.

Orson Hyde,

Oliver Cowdery, Clerks.

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The Prophet seeks Volunteers to Redeem Zion.

February 26.—I started from home to obtain volunteers for Zion, in compliance with the foregoing revelation and action of the High Council; and on the 27th, stayed at Brother Roundy's.

To show the feelings of a certain portion of the public, at this period, I copy the following from the February number of the Evening and Morning Star, page 271:

We copy the following article from the North Star, headed "The Mormons," printed in Danville, Vermont, by E. Eaton:

"We have received the first number of the 'Mormon' Morning and Evening Star [the Evening and Morning Star], resusciated in Kirtland, Ohio. It is the same assuming, mysterious publication as its original."

Cheering Words.

While the press and many of the public were breathing the spirit of bitterness against the work of God, I received letters from many of our friends, which gave us occasion for rejoicing: amongst them, I extract from Brother Moses Chapman Nickerson's letter of December 20, 1833. 2

Your labors in Canada have been the beginning of a good work; there are thirty-four members attached to the Church at Mount Pleasant, all of whom appear to live up to their profession, five of whom have spoken in tongues, and three have sung in tongues; and we live at the top of the mountain.

Also from Saco, Maine:

January 20, 1834.

Brethren in the Lord,—I have baptized about fourty in this section, and there are more convinced of the truth, but are still lingering on the threshold of the Church, and I think the Lord will gather some of them into His kingdom. Brother Evan M. Greene labored with me from the 16th of January, 1833, till the October following; while we were together, we baptized about one hundred and thirty. Brethren, pray for me, that I may have words of wisdom, and a door of utterance to declare the whole counsel of God, and rightly divide the word of truth, giving to every man his portion in due season; for my determination is, with the stick of Joseph [the Book of Mormon] in one hand, and the stick of Judah [the Bible] in the other, to labor diligently in this world, that my skirts may be clear from the blood of all men, and I stand acquitted before the bar of God.

I am yours in Christ

(Signed) John F. Boynton.

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Incidents in the Prophet's Journey through Western New York.

We continued our journey, and, on the 28th of February stayed at a stranger's, who entertained us very kindly; and on the first of March arrived at Brother Lewis', in Westfield.

On the 2nd, which was the Sabbath, Brother Parley P. Pratt preached, and I spoke in the evening; we had a good meeting. There is a small church in this place, which seems strong in the faith. O may God keep them in the faith, and save them, and lead them to Zion.

March 3.—We intended to start on our journey east, but concluded to tarry another day. O may God bless us with the gift of utterance to accomplish the journey and errand on which we are sent, and return safe to the land of Kirtland, and find my family all well. O Lord, bless my little children with health and long life, to do good in their generation, for Christ's sake. Amen.

Since leaving Kirtland, we passed through Thompson, Springfield, Elk Creek, Erie, Livonia, Silver Creek, Perrysburgh, Collins, China, Warsaw, Geneseo, Centreville, Catlin and Spafford, before we arrived at Westfield.

On the 4th instant, we continued our journey from Westfield, accompanied by Elder Gould; and after a ride of thirty-three miles arrived at Villanova, and tarried all night with a Brother McBride.

The next morning, March 5th, we went to Brother Nickerson's, and found him and his household full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.

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We called the church together, and related unto them what had happened to our brethren in Zion, and opened to them the prophecies and revelations concerning the order of the gathering to Zion, and the means of her redemption; and I prophesied to them, and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon me, and with all readiness the young and middle-aged volunteered for Zion. The same evening we held two meetings, three or four miles distant from each other.

March 6.—We held another meeting at Brother Nickerson's. The few unbelievers that attended were outrageous, and the meeting ended in complete confusion.

March 7.—We proceeded on our journey, accompanied by Brother Nickerson, leaving Brothers Gould and Matthews to prepare and gather up the companies in the churches in that region, and meet us in Ohio, ready to start for Zion on the first of May. We arrived after dark at Ellicotville, the county seat of Cataraugus, and tried for lodgings at every tavern in the place. It being court time we found no room; but were obliged to ride on in the dark, through mud and rain; and, after traveling about one mile, we found shelter, for which we paid more than tavern fare.

On the 8th, we arrived at Palmersville, at the house of Elder McGown, where we were invited to go to Esquire Walker's to spend the evening. We found them very friendly and somewhat believing, and tarried all night.

Sunday, March 9.—We preached in a school house, and had great attention. We found a few disciples who were firm in the faith; and, after meeting found many believing and could hardly get away from them, and appointed a meeting in Freedom for Monday the 10th, and stayed at Mr. Warren A. Cowdery's, where we were blessed with a full enjoyment of temporal and spiritual blessings, even all we needed, or were worthy to receive.

Monday 10.—Met our appointment, and preached to a great congregation; and at evening again preached to an overflowing house. After meeting, I proposed if any wished to obey, and would make it manifest, we would stay to administer to another meeting. A young man of the Methodist order arose and testified his faith in the fullness of the Gospel and desired to be baptized. We appointed another meeting for the next day.

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Tuesday 11.—Fulfilled our appointment and baptized Heman T. Hyde, 3 after which we rode nine miles, and put up at Steward's tavern.

Wednesday 12.—We arrived at Father Bosley's, after a ride of thirty-six miles.

Thursday 13.—I preached.

Friday 14.—At Father Beaman's. 4

March 15.—While at Father Beaman's, Elders Rigdon and Wight arrived, much to the joy of their souls and the Saints in Livonia.

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Sunday 16.—Elder Rigdon preached to a large congregation in Geneseo, Elder Pratt preached in the afternoon of Monday, the 17th.

The Conference at Avon, Livingston County.

There was also the same day, March 17, a conference of Elders at Avon, Livingston county, New York, at the house of Alvah Beaman, which I attended. There were present also Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, John Murdock, Orson Pratt and Orson Hyde, High Priests; and six Elders. I stated that the object of the Conference was to obtain young and middle-aged men to go and assist in the redemption of Zion, according to the commandment; and for the Church to gather up their riches, and send them to purchase lands according to the commandment of the Lord; also to devise means, or obtain money for the relief of the brethren in Kirtland, say two thousand dollars, which sum would deliver the Church in Kirtland from debt; and also determine the course which the several companies shall pursue, or the manner they shall journey when they shall leave this place.

It was voted by the Council, that Fathers Bosley and Nickerson, Elder McWithey, and Brother Roger Orton, should exert themselves to obtain two thousand dollars, for the present relief of Kirtland. They all agreed to do what they could to obtain it, firmly believing that it could be accomplished by the first of April. It was also decided that Elder Orson Hyde should tarry and preach in the regions round about, till the money should be obtained, and then carry it with him to Kirtland. It was also voted that I should return to Kirtland, accompanied by Elders Sidney Rigdon and Lyman Wight. Elders John Murdock and Orson Pratt were appointed to journey to Kirtland, preaching by the way; and Elders Parley P. Pratt and Henry Brown to visit the churches in Black River country, and obtain all the means they could to help Zion.

Tuesday, March 18.—Tarried at Father Bosley's through the day. On the 19th commenced my journey for Kirtland, and stayed that night at Brother McWithey's tavern.

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March 20.—Continued our journey. Dined at Brother Joseph Holbrook's, and at night tried three times to procure lodgings in the names of disciples, but could not succeed. After night had commenced we found a man, in China, named Reuben Wilson, who would keep us for money; thus we learn there are more places for money than for the disciples of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

March 21.—We came to the house of a man named Starks, six miles east of Springville; and on the 22nd arrived at Brother Vinson Knight's in Perrysburgh, Cataraugus county. On the 23rd we arrived at Father Nickerson's, in Perrysburgh, where we held meeting. On the 24th, I was not able to start, but felt determined to go the next morning.

March 25.—Journeyed from Father Nickerson's to Father Lewis', in Westfield, accompanied by Father Nickerson. On the 26th, continued our journey to Elk Creek, and stayed with Elder Hunt. The 27th, I came to Springfield, where I found Elder Sidney Rigdon, who had come on by a different route; and we arrived that night within sixteen miles of Painesville. Arrived home at Kirtland on the 28th of March, finding my family all well. The Lord be praised for this blessing!

March 27.—Remained at home and had great joy with my family. Sunday, the 30th, was at home, except going to hear Elder Rigdon preach.

Chapter 3

1. D&C 103.

2. This Mount Pleasant branch of the Church, it will be remembered, was organized by the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, in the October previous. See vol. I, chap. 30.

3. Of this incident Elder Parley P. Pratt, who was the Prophet's traveling companion on this mission, says: "We baptized a young man named Heman Hyde; his parents were Presbyterians, and his mother, on account of the strength of her traditions, thought that we were wrong, and told me afterwards that she would much rather have followed him to an earthly grave than to have seen him baptized. Soon afterwards, however, herself, her husband, and the rest of the family, with some thirty of forty others, were all baptized and organized into a branch of the Church—called the Freedom branch—from which nucleus the light spread and souls were gathered into the fold in all the regions round. Thus mightily grew the word of God, or the seed sown by that extraordinary personage, the Prophet and Seer of the nineteenth century." (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, p. 117.)

Speaking of the pleasure of his companionship with the Prophet, Elder Pratt also says: "As we journeyed day after day, and generally lodged together, we had much sweet communion concerning the things of God and the mysteries of His kingdom, and I received many admonitions and instructions which I shall never forget." (Ibid., p. 117.)

4. Speaking of "Father Beaman" and his interesting family, Elder Parley P. Pratt has the following interesting passage, which discloses the fact that "Father Beaman" was acquainted with the work during the time that the Book of Mormon was translating: "Among those whose hospitality we shared in that vicinity [Geneseo] was old Father Beaman and his amiable and interesting family. He was a good singer, and so were his three daughters; we were much edified and comforted in their society, and were deeply interested in hearing the old gentleman and Brother Joseph converse on their early acquaintance and history. He [Beaman] had been intimate with Joseph long before the first organization of the Church; had assisted him to preserve the plates of the Book of Mormon from the enemy, and had at one time had them concealed under his own hearth." (Ibid., pp. 117, 118.)