Volume 2 Introduction
The events which make up the first volume of the History of the Church moved forward from the back ground of successive dispensations of the Gospel which preceded the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. That volume covered the period from the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1805, to the close of the year 1833, and included as its chief events: the birth of the Prophet; his first vision of the father and the Son; the coming forth of the Book of Mormon; the organization of the Church, April 6th, 1830; the mission to the Lamanites; the gathering of the people from the state of New York, first to Kirtland, Ohio, and subsequently the gathering of many of them to Jackson county, Missouri; the location of the site of the future city of Zion and its temple; the introduction of the doctrine of consecration and stewardship; the experience of the Elders of Israel in their movements back and forth between Kirtland and Zion; the spread of the work throughout the states of the American Union and Canada; the Prophet's own mission to the latter place; the founding of the first Church periodical, The Evening and Morning Star; the selection of a number of the revelations of God for publication under the title, "The Book of Commandments;" the establishment of the Mercantile and Literary firms of Zion and Kirtland; the laying of the corner stones of the Kirtland Temple; the planting of a number of settlements in Jackson county, Missouri; the awakening jealousy of the old settlers against the more progressive Saints; the fanning of these flames of jealousy by sectarian priests; the rise of that religio-political persecution which culminated in the terrible suffering of the Saints—the destruction of their printing establishment, the burning of their homes, their final expulsion from Jackson county; also the negotiations between the Saints and the civil authorities of the state of Missouri for reinstatement of the exiles upon their lands. The first volume closed with the narration of these circumstances of discouragement which befell the Saints in their efforts to establish Zion in Missouri.
In this second volume is recorded the arrival of a delegation from the exiled Saints in Missouri, seeking advice and the word of the Lord from the Prophet; the organizations of Zion's Camp for the deliverance of Zion; its march from Kirtland to Missouri; its rich educational experiences; its disbandment and the return of many of the brethren to Ohio; the establishment of a school for the Elders at Kirtland, the first educational movement in the Church; the discovery of the Book of Abraham; the organization of the first, or Kirtland High Council; the organization of the quorums of the foreign ministry; the Twelve and the Seventy; the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants; the completion and dedication of the Kirtland Temple; the purification and spiritual endowment of the Elders of the Church; the appearance of Messiah in the Temple declaring His acceptance of it; the appearance of Moses, Elias and Elijah, on the same occasion, delivering the keys of their respective dispensations to the Prophet of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times; the commencement of the ministry of the Twelve among the branches of the Church in the eastern States of the American Union; the misunderstandings that arose between them and the Presidency of the Church; the revelations of God which came in consequence of their misunderstandings, more clearly defining the rights, powers, and relations of the respective quorums of the Priesthood; the peaceful exodus of the Saints from Clay county, Missouri, and the founding of Far West; the opening of the first foreign mission by sending two of the Twelve and several Elders to England; the attempt to mass the several industrial pursuits and temporal interests of the Saints under one general concern, the "Kirtland Safety Society Company;" the failure of that concern in the general financial maelstrom that swept over the country in 1837, hastened also—sad to relate—by the unwise management and dishonesty of some of the incorporators and directors; the manifestation of excessive pride and worldliness on the part of some of the Saints at Kirtland; the disaffection of many hitherto leading Elders of the Church against the Prophet Joseph; the extensive apostasy of many Elders and Saints in Kirtland; with the account of which calamitous events this volume closes.
The time covered by this volume may properly be called the Kirtland period of the Church History, since that city is the chief center of activity. The four years which comprise the period are marked, on the one hand, by rapid doctrinal development, institutional growth, outward enlargement and internal spiritual progress; and, on the other hand, are marked by internal dissensions, abundant manifestations of human weakness and wickedness, resulting in bitterness and apostasy. The period is one in which the Church is manifestly militant, and not always, from surface appearances, triumphant. Yet removed from that period by well nigh three-quarters of a century, one may see now that it was a glorious period, notwithstanding sombre shadows are now and then cast athwart the pathway of the Church's progress. Who can rightly estimate the value of the experiences of that movement for the redemption of Zion, called Zion's Camp? Nothing so completely reveals the worth or worthlessness of human character as expeditions of this description. Men are thrown into such relations with each other that all that is in them, good or bad, comes to the surface. As opportunities in time of war reveal noble or debased natures, so in expeditions such as Zion's Camp the base or exalted phases of human nature are forced to the surface, and are known and read of men. God, it appears was about to choose His foreign ministry, His Especial Witnesses to the world, the Twelve and the Seventy. After the expedition of Zion's Camp He could choose them from among men who had offered their all in sacrifice—even to life itself—for the work's sake. Are not such manifestly fitter witnesses than those who are untried? Will it be argued that to the All-knowing the untried are as well know as the tried, and that God needed no such demonstration of fidelity as was afforded by the expedition of Zion's Camp in order to guide Him in the choice of His Witnesses to the nations of the earth? If so, my answer would be an acquiescence—God needs no such expedition in order to reveal to Him the worthiness of those who shall be His special Witnesses. But what of the world—what of men? Do not they need some such evidence back of those who shall testify of a new dispensation of the Gospel? Will not men have more regard for the testimony of Witnesses who have offered their all in sacrifice for any given work, than for the testimony of witnesses who have made no such sacrifice? Undoubtedly. Not for God's guidance, then, but for the qualification of the Witnesses in the eyes of men was the expedition of Zion's Camp in part conceived and executed. Also that those men who, under God—the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon—were to make choice of especial Witnesses might know whom to select because of actually demonstrated fitness and worthiness.
Moreover there were men in that expedition who later will be called upon to conduct larger expeditions much of the same character—an exodus of thousands from Missouri; an exodus of tens of thousands from the confines of the United States, a thousand miles into the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. May not the Lord have designed in part this expedition of Zion's Camp for their instruction, for their training? The leaders of these later movements are all there—Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Parley P. Pratt, Charles C. Rich, George A. Smith, Wilford Woodruff and many more. It is significant, too, that Brigham Young at least sensed the true importance of the Zion's Camp expedition. That expedition for the redemption of Zion was regarded by many weak-faithed Saints as a sad failure, a humiliation of a presumptuous prophet. One of these attempted to ridicule it in the presence of Brigham Young, as a case of marching men up a hill to march them down again. "Well," said the scoffer, "what did you gain on this useless journey to Missouri with Joseph Smith?" "All we went for," promptly replied Brigham Young. "I would not exchange the experience gained in that expedition for all the wealth of Geauga county." A remark which proves that Brigham Young had a keen insight into the purpose of the Zion's Camp movement.
The value of the educational movement in the Church by the establishment of a school for the Elders in Kirtland, cannot be fully appreciated even yet. It stands as a direct contradiction to the oft-repeated charges that Mormonism seeks to thrive through the ignorance of its devotees. "Seek ye diligently, and teach one another words of wisdom," was an admonition the Church in the Kirtland period of its history sought earnestly to carry into effect. "Yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom: seek learning even by study, and also by faith." To the sphere of their learning there were no limitations set. "Teach ye diligently," said the Lord, "and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the Gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land, and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms." I know of nothing that lies outside this boundless field of research into which the Elders of the church especially were invited—nay, commanded, to enter. It comprehends the whole possible sphere of human investigation; and furnishes all necessary contradiction to the theory that the Church at any time contemplated an ignorant ministry. By intelligence, not stupidity; by knowledge, not ignorance, has the Church from the very beginning hoped to succeed in her mission.
It is during the Kirtland period of her history also that the Church raised her eyes and for the first time gazed out upon the world-wide sphere of her future activities. Until now she had confined her missions and labors to the United States and Canada. But lo! a foreign ministry had been organized, a quorum of Twelve Apostles and two quorums of Seventy had been called into existence and ordained. Was that without significance? Undoubtedly there is power in ordinances, in divine appointments: "Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him and the children of Israel hearkened unto him and did as the Lord commanded Moses." While Timothy, the young Christian evangelist, was admonished by Paul to stir up the gift of God which was in him by the putting on of the Apostle's hands. Since, then, there is virtue in ordinations of divine appointing, it is but to be expected that the Church of Christ in this last dispensation would be influenced by the appointment and ordination of her foreign ministry. It was but a proper sequence of the appointment of this ministry that Apostles and their associates should be sent to England. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was never intended to be merely an American sect of religion. It is a new and the last dispensation of the Christian religion—the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, the dispensation into which will be gathered all former dispensations of the Gospel of Christ; all keys of authority, all powers, all gifts, all graces essential to the welfare and salvation of man—all that is essential to the completion of the mission of the Christian religion. The mission of the Church in such a dispensation is general not local, world-embracing. Had it been less than one of the world's great movements, Mormonism had been inadequate to the world's needs—less than sufficient for a world's redemption. There was marked, therefore, a mighty bound forward in the progress of the work when the foreign ministry of the Church was organized, and a mission appointed to England. The work would have perished had it not taken this step forward. The Church had reached that stage of development when there must be a forward movement. Things do not stand inert in this world. Inertia is death. In progress only is there life. The thing that does not grow dies. The very rocks increase or decay. For the time being the elements on which the Church lived were exhausted in the land where it came forth. The material which had been gathered into it was passing through the crucible. There was need of an enlargement of action, a necessity for new elements being brought into the body religious. That enlargement of action was found in opening the British mission. The new elements essential to the preservation of the work were found in the English people; for among them were given the evidences of the existence of the spiritual light and life which had characterized the work at its coming forth: and as that mission had been directly appointed by the Prophet Joseph Smith, it supplied the proofs that God was still with him, honored the authority which had been given him, and still directed his movements in the administration of the affairs of the Church; for it was the prompting of the Spirit of God in the Prophet, that led to the appointment of this first foreign mission. These considerations made the opening of the British mission an epoch in the history of the Church.
The work of God was also greatly enlarged during this Kirtland period, by the appearance of Moses and Elias and Elijah, and bestowing upon the Prophet the keys of their respective dispensations. Let us contemplate the event. "Moses appeared before us," says the Prophet, "and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel, from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north." Who, at the time comprehended the full import of this incident? Who comprehends it now? From the beginning of the great Latter-Day work men had their attention directed to the gathering of Israel and the establishment of Zion and Jerusalem as a part of the purposes of God to be accomplished in the work. The angel Moroni on the occasion of his first visit to the Prophet Joseph, quoted a number of Old Testament scriptures referring to the Lord's promises concerning the redemption of Judah and Jerusalem; 1 also concerning the gathering of Israel from all the lands whither they had been driven. 2 Numerous are the prophecies relating to the return of Israel from the land of the north, and other parts of the earth, into which they were driven in the day of their rebellion and apostasy; 3 but it occurred to no one that before these prophecies could be fulfilled Israel's great prophet, Moses, who held the keys of the dispensation pertaining to the gathering of Israel, must come and give to men the authority to proceed with that work. The moment he appears, however, and gives such authority, the propriety of it, the fitness of it is apparent. The appearance of Moses was also in proper sequence of events in the development of the great Latter-Day work. Although, as already stated, the gathering of Israel in the last days had been made a prominent feature in the communication of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph, and the subject also of some other early revelations to the Church 4 not until the foreign ministry had been organized—the Twelve and the Seventy—the quorums of Priesthood on which rests the responsibility to travel in all the world and preach the Gospel and gather Israel—not until this ministry was organized did Moses appear and commit the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth. What order is here? The organization of the foreign ministry to go into all the nations of earth, and then the coming of Moses to commit the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north. In this incident as in a thousand others in the great work of God in the last days, the evidence of a divine wisdom having regard for the eternal fitness of things, for the proper sequence in the order of events in the development of the Lord's purposes, is apparent. Note, too, the spiritual effect upon the Saints of the restoration of these keys of the gathering of Israel. Before the mission for England under Elders Kimball and Hyde departed, the prophet enjoined them to adhere strictly to the first principles of the Gospel, and say nothing for the present in relation to the gathering; this, doubtless on account of the unsettled condition of the Church at the time. Similar instructions, and for the same reason, were given to the Twelve Apostles in 1839 when they went on their mission to England. But the Saints could not be kept in ignorance of these matters. No sooner were the people baptized than they were seized with a desire to gather with the main body of the Church. "I find it is difficult to keep anything from the Saints," writes Elder Taylor in his journal of this period, "for the Spirit of God reveals it to them. * * * * Some time ago Sister Mitchell dreamed the she, her husband and a number of others were on board a vessel, and that there were other vessels, loaded with Saints, going somewhere. She felt very happy and was rejoicing in the Lord." Another sister, Elder Taylor informs us, had a similar dream, and was informed that all the Saints were going. Neither of these sisters nor any of the Saints at that time, knew anything about the principle of gathering, yet all were anxious to leave their homes, their kindred and the associations of a lifetime, to join the main body of the Church in a distant land, the members of which were total strangers to them. 5 The same spirit has rested upon the people in every nation where the Gospel has been received. There has been little need of preaching the gathering, the people as a rule have had to be restrained rather than encouraged in the matter of gathering to Zion and her stakes.
During the last ten years the world has witnessed a remarkable change of spirit come over the Jewish race. We hear of Jewish aspirations for national existence; for the perpetuation of the Jewish customs and Jewish ideals. After saying so long, "May we celebrate the next Passover in Jerusalem," the thought at last seems to have occurred to some Jewish minds that if that expressed wish is ever realized, some practical steps must be taken looking to the actual achievement of that possibility—which has given rise among the Jews to what is called the "Zionite Movement." The keynotes of that movement are heard in the following utterances of some of the leaders in explanation of it: "We want to resume the broken thread of our national existence; we want to show to the world the moral strength, the intellectual power of the Jewish people. We want a place where the race can be centralized." 6 "It is for these Jews [of Russia, Roumania and Galicia] that the name of their country [Palestine] spells 'Hope.' I should not be a man if I did not realize that for these persecuted Jews, Jerusalem spells reason, justice, manhood and integrity." 7 "Jewish nationalism on a modern basis in Palestine, the old home of the people." 8 "Palestine needs a people, Israel needs a country. Give the country without a people, to the people without a country." 9 In a word, it is the purpose of "Zionism" to redeem Palestine and give it back to Jewish control—create, in fact, a Jewish state in the land promised to their fathers.
Of course, for hundreds of years there has been talk of the Jews returning to Jerusalem, and from time to time societies have been formed to keep alive that hope, and keep the Jew's face turned toward the chief city and land of his forefathers; but little was achieved by those societies, however, except to foster the hope of Israel's return in the heart of a widely dispersed, persecuted and discouraged race, who have waited long for the realization of the promises made to their fathers. I say but "little" was accomplished by the various Jewish societies existing before the Zionite movement began beyond fostering the hope of Israel based on the predictions of their prophets; but that "little" was much. It was nourishing in secret and through ages of darkness that spark of fire which when touched with the breath of God should burst forth into a flame that not all the world could stay. They made possible this larger movement, now attracting the attention of the world, and know as the "Zionite Movement;" which, in reality, is but the federation of all Jewish societies which have had for their purpose the realization of the hopes of scattered Israel.
"Zionism" is considered to have grown out of the persecution of the Jews during the last eighteen years in such European countries as Russia, France, Germany, and Roumania. It held its first general conference in August, 1897, in Basle, Switzerland; and since then has continued to hold annual conferences that have steadily increased both in interest and the number of delegates representing various Jewish societies, until now it takes on the appearance of one of the world's great movements. It is not so much a religious movement as a racial one: for prominent Jews of all shades of both political and religious opinions have participated in it under the statesmanlike leadership of Doctor Herzel of Austria. Not to persecution alone, however, is due this strange awakening desire on the part of the Jews to return to the city and the land of their fathers; but to the fact of the restoration of the keys of the gathering of Israel by Moses to the Prophet of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. Under the divine authority restored by Moses, Joseph Smith sent an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to the land of Palestine to bless it and dedicate it once more to the Lord for the return of His people. This Apostle was Orson Hyde, and he performed his mission in 1840-2. In 1872 an Apostolic delegation consisting of the late Presidents George A. Smith and Lorenzo Snow were sent to Palestine. The purpose of their mission, in part, is thus stated in President Young's letter of appointment to George A. Smith: "When you get to the land of Palestine, we wish you to dedicate and consecrate that land to the Lord, that it may be blessed with fruitfulness, preparatory to the return of the Jews, in fulfillment of prophecy and the accomplishment of the purposes of our heavenly Father." 10
Acting, then, under the divine authority restored to earth by the Prophet Moses, this Apostolic delegation—as well as the Apostle first sent—from the summit of Mount Olivet blessed the land, and again dedicated it for the return of the Jews. It is not strange, therefore, to those who look upon such a movement as Zionism in connection with faith in God's great latter-day work, to see this spirit now moving upon the minds of the Jewish people prompting their return to the land of their fathers. It is but the breath of God upon their souls turning their hearts to the promises made to the fathers. It is but the fulfillment in part of one of the many prophecies of the Book of Mormon relating to the gathering of Israel, viz: "It shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence His work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of the keys of authority to gather Israel from the four quarters of the earth, and the exercise of that divine authority, though unrecognized as yet by the world, is the real cause of this movement Palestine-ward by the Jews.
The work accomplished by Elijah in giving to the Prophet Joseph the particular dispensation of the Priesthood which should plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers—lest the whole earth should be utterly wasted at His coming 11—is attended by evidences of virtue and power of God no less palpable than those which bear witness to the virtue and power of God in the work accomplished by Moses in giving to the Prophet the keys of authority for the gathering of Israel. The work done by Elijah was to open the door of salvation for the dead. From that event comes the knowledge of the principles by which the saving power of the Gospel may be applied to men who have died without receiving its benefits in this life. From of old men had read in the scriptures that Messiah would bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house; 12 that in addition to being given as a restorer of the tribes of Jacob and a light to the gentiles, the Messiah should have power to say to the prisoners, "Go forth; to them that sit in darkness, show yourselves;" 13 "to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." 14 From the beginning of Christianity men had read in the New Testament how Jesus had once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust; and how that being put to death in the flesh He was quickened by the Spirit by which He went and preached to the spirits in prison which were disobedient when the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah. 15 Also they read how for this cause was the Gospel preached to them that are dead that they might be judged as men are in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit; 16 also the reasoning of Paul to the effect that if there was no resurrection of the dead, why, then, were the Saints baptized for the dead; 17 also how the fathers without those of later generations cannot be made perfect. 18 All of which passages, however, have been regarded as among the mysteries of the word of God, incomprehensible, dark. But touched by the Prophet Elijah's hand, imparting to them their true import, how bright they glow with spiritual light and life! and what a sense of largeness and power is given to the Gospel of Jesus Christ when from this mission of Elijah's there comes the power to apply the principles and ordinances of salvation to all the children of men (save the sons of perdition; and these, thank God! are but few) in all ages of the world, and whether living or dead! How the horizon of things respecting the Gospel of Christ is pushed back from the walled-in limits of that pseudo-Christianity current among men, by this spirit and power of Elijah that has come into the world! The fact that such a spirit has come into the world is sustained by palpable evidences. The truth of my statement will be recognized when I say that within the last fifty years there has arisen throughout the world an increased spirit of interest among men concerning their ancestors that scarcely stops this side of the marvelous. In all lands men are earnestly seeking for their genealogies, and many volumes are issued from the press annually in which the pedigrees of men of all sorts and conditions are given. Some may be said to be possessed almost of a mania, on this subject so ardent are they in seeking for a knowledge of their fore-fathers, and this all quite apart from any direct work that is being done along the same lines by the Latter-Day Saints; though the work of the Saints in the temples for their dead is greatly helped by this outside circumstance to which I call attention. Why and whence this spirit in the hearts of the children which turns the attention of men to the fathers of former generations, if it is not a consequence of the fulfillment of Elijah's predicted mission that before the great and dreadful day of the Lord should come he [Elijah] would be sent to turn the heart of the children to the fathers, and the heart of the fathers to the children? 19
Of the work done by the Latter-Day Saints in consequence of the restoration of these special keys of the Priesthood by the hand of Elijah I need scarcely speak. That the spirit which came into the world by reason of Elijah's special dispensation of authority to Joseph Smith is working upon the hearts of the Latter-Day Saints is evidenced by the building of the beautiful temple at Nauvoo, and by the erection of the world-famed temple in Salt Lake City; also by the erection of magnificent temples in Logan, Manti, and St. George—all in Utah. These temples have all been erected in response to the diffusion of that spirit that attended upon Elijah's mission; and are evidences in stone that the Saints have partaken of that spirit which turns the hearts of the children to the fathers. Another palpable evidence to the same great truth is seen in the throngs which daily visit these temples to perform the ordinances of salvation for the dead; not only baptism for the dead, but also the confirmations, ordinations and sealings by which the fathers shall be prepared for the kingdom of God, and all the families of men be set in order, united together by bonds, covenants and established relations that shall be in harmony with that heavenly kingdom which the redeemed of God shall inherit. The full importance of this work—its height and depth—is not yet appreciated by the children of men; but so great it is that the period of our Church History which witnesses its beginning—even if it were the only achievement—must ever be regarded as an important period.
As for the calamitous events of the Church during the Kirtland period, what shall we say of them? Are they to be accounted wholly deplorable, or as part of that experience of the Church which makes for advancement? Unquestionably every experience is of value to an individual or an organization. Some experiences may be sad, and accounted at the time as disastrous; but are they really so? The rough wind which shakes it helps the young and slow-growing oak; for by reason of this very shaking the tree takes firmer hold of the earth; wider spread the roots; deeper down into the soil are they thrust, until the sapling, once so easily shaken, becomes a monarch in the forest, mocks the howling tempest, until its height and frame become worthy of the land and atmosphere in which it grows a giant tree. So may grow a government—civil or ecclesiastical—so may grow the Church, helped by the adverse circumstances which shake it to the very foundations on which it rests. Profitable if not sweet are the uses of adversity. As the winter's wind when it bites and blows upon man's body is no flatterer, but feelingly persuades him what he is, so the adverse circumstances which overtake an organization, such as the Church of Christ, may be very profitable to it. Such rebellions and apostasies as occurred in this Kirtland period of the Church's history but test and exhibit the strength of the fabric. Such circumstances force a review of the work as far as accomplished. The whole is re-examined to see if in it there is any flaw or defect; if any worthless material is being worked into its structure. Hence periods usually considered calamitous are accompanied by corrections of what may be wrong; and the body religious is purified by the expulsion of those whose rebellion and apostasy but prove them unworthy of the Lord's work. Let me be rightly understood here. I am not contending that adverse circumstances, rebellions and apostasies are in themselves good. Whatever may be the over-ruled results to the body religious, rebellion and apostasy spell condemnation and the destruction of spiritual life for the individuals overtaken by such calamities. But so long as human nature is what it now is—weak and sinful—just so long as out of that intractable material the Church of Christ has the mission to prepare men for the Father's kingdom, just so long will there be occasional calamities periods in the history of the Church such as was the year 1837 at Kirtland. But what after all are such periods but times of purification, of cleansing? During the previous years of success in the ministry, there had been gathered into the Church all classes of men. As in former dispensations of the Gospel, so in this last dispensation; the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net cast into the sea, that gathers of every kind of fish; and when it is full, they draw it to shore, and sit down, and gather the good into vessels, and cast the bad away. The first step in the process of correcting human nature is to discover its defects. It may not always follow that when the defects are made known they will be corrected. But it is true that no correction will be made until the necessity of correction is manifest, until the defects are pointed out. Hence God has said: "If men will come unto me, I will show unto them their weaknesses." But, unhappily, it sometimes is the case that men resist God, they love their sins, they become hardened in their iniquity, they resist the Spirit, and prove themselves unworthy of the Father's kingdom. What then? Shall they pollute that kingdom, or shall they be cast out as material unfitted for the Master's use, and of their own volition choose to remain so? There can be but one reasonable answer to the question. They refuse to go peaceably, however. They are boisterous, they accuse the innocent, they justify their own course, they seek to wreck the Church, to bring to pass chaos; and in the midst of this disorder they are cast out; and although this may not always end their power to work mischief, or create annoyance for the body-religious—for the power to work evil is still with them—yet the Church is rid of them, and in no way can be regarded as responsible for their wickedness. It is our custom to enumerate such scenes as among the calamitous events of the Church; and they are so, in some aspects of the case. As already remarked it is a calamitous time for those who are cast out, for they are overcome of the evil one; and as the heavens wept when the Son of the Morning and his following were cast out of heaven, so it is to be expected that the Saints will be sad, and sorrow over those who are overcome of the adversary. But for the Church herself it is well that this intractable material is gotten rid of; that the body religious is purged of those who can only be a source of weakness and of shame to her. She is helped by the event; purified by it; strengthened; made more acceptable with God and pleasing to reasonable men. It is only in a modified sense, then, that this latter part of the Kirtland period of the Church's history can be regarded as a calamitous time. There is more adversity yet to follow in the experience of the Saints; much distress and many sore trials; and so shall there continue to be such times of trial as long as the Church remains the Church militant. Not until she becomes the Church triumphant, and is glorified by the presence of her Great Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, can the Saints hope for an absolute discontinuance of the occasional recurrence of what are generally considered trying or calamitous events.
History of the Church
of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.
Introduction To Volume 2.
1. See Mal. 3:1-7.
2. Isaiah 11:11-16; also History of the Church, vol. I, pp. 12, 13.
11. Church History Vol. I p. 12, also Mal. 4:5-6.
12. Isaiah 42:7.
13. Ibid. 49:6-9.
14. Ibid. 61:1.
15. 1 Peter 3:18-20.
16. Ibid. 4:6.
17. 1 Cor. 15:29.
18. Heb. 11.
19. Mal. 4:5-6.