Volume 3 Chapter 27
Baptism Of Isaac Galland—Epistle Of The Twelve To The Church.
Wednesday, July 3, 1839.—I baptized Dr. Isaac Galland, and confirmed him at the water's edge; and about two hours afterwards I ordained him to the office of an Elder.
Afternoon. I was engaged in dictating my history.
About this time the Twelve wrote the following epistle:
Epistle of the Twelve.
To the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to the Churches Scattered Abroad and to All the Saints:
We, the undersigned, feeling deeply interested in the welfare of Zion, the upbuilding of the Church of Christ, and the welfare of the Saints in general, send unto you greeting, and pray that "grace, mercy and peace may rest upon you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." But, brethren, the situation of things as they have of late existed has been to us of a peculiarly trying nature.
Many of you have been driven from your homes, robbed of your possessions, and deprived of the liberty of conscience. You have been stripped of your clothing, plundered of your furniture, robbed of your horses, your cattle, your sheep, your hogs, and refused the protection of law; you have been subject to insult and abuse, from a set of lawless miscreants; you have had to endure cold, nakedness, peril and sword; your wives and your children have been deprived of the comforts of life; you have been subject to bonds, to imprisonment, to banishment, and many to death, "for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God." Many of your brethren, with those whose souls are now under the altar, are crying for the vengeance of heaven to rest upon the heads of their devoted murderers, and saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" But it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren that should be killed, as they were, should be fulfilled.
Dear brethren, we would remind you of this thing; and although you have had indignities, insults and injuries heaped upon you till further suffering would seem to be no longer a virtue; we would say, be patient, dear brethren, for as saith the apostle, "Ye have need of patience, that after being tried, ye may inherit the promise." You have been tried in the furnace of affliction; the time to exercise patience is now come; and we shall reap, brethren, in due time, if we faint not. Do not breathe vengeance upon your oppressors, but leave the case in the hands of God; "for vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay."
We would say to the widow and the orphan, to the destitute and to the diseased, who have been made so through persecution, be patient; you are not forgotten; the God of Jacob has His eye upon you; the heavens have been witness to your sufferings, and these are registered on high; angels have gazed upon the scene, and your tears, your groans, your sorrows, and anguish of heart, are had in remembrance before God; they have entered into the sympathies of one whose bosom is "touched with the feelings of our infirmities," and who was "tempted in all points like unto you;" they have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth; be patient, then, until the words of God be fulfilled and His design accomplished; and then shall He pour out His vengeance upon the devoted heads of your murderers; and then shall they know that He is God, and that you are His people.
And we would say to all the Saints who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice, that, inasmuch as you are faithful, you shall not lose your reward, although not numbered among those who were in the late difficulties in the west.
We wish to stimulate all the brethren to faithfulness; you have been tried, you are now being tried; and those trials, if you are not watchful, will corrode the mind, and produce unpleasant feelings; but recollect that now is the time of trial; soon the victory will be ours; now may be a day of lamentation—then will be a day of rejoicing; now may be a day of sorrow—but by and by we shall see the Lord; our sorrow will be turned into joy, and our joy no man taketh from us. Be honest; be men of truth and integrity; let your word be your bond; be diligent, be prayerful; pray for and with your families; train up your children in the fear of the Lord; cultivate a meek, a quiet spirit; clothe the naked, feed the hungry, help the destitute, be merciful to the widow and orphan, be merciful to your brethren, and to all men; bear with one another's infirmities, considering your own weakness; bring no railing accusations against your brethren, especially take care that you do not against the authorities or Elders of the Church, for that principle is of the devil; he is called the accuser of the brethren; and Michael, the archangel, dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee, Satan;" and any man who pursues this course of accusation and murmuring, will fall into the snare of the devil, and apostatize, except he repent.
Jude, in the eighth verse, says, "These filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities;" and, says he, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His Saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Peter, speaking on the same principle, says: "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord."
If a man sin, let him be dealt with according to the law of God in the Bible, the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants; and then leave him in the hands of God to rebuke, as Michael left the devil. Gird yourselves with righteousness, and let truth, eternal truth, be written indelibly on your hearts. Pray for the prosperity of Zion, for the Prophet and his counselors, for the Twelve, the High Council, the High Priests, the Seventies, the Elders, the Bishops, and all Saints—that God may bless them, and preserve His people in righteousness, and grant unto them wisdom and intelligence; that His kingdom may roll forth.
We would say to the Elders, that God has called you to an important office; He has laid upon you an onerous duty; He has called you to an holy calling, even to be the priests of the Most High God, messengers to the nations of the earth; and upon your diligence, your perseverance and faithfulness, the soundness of the doctrines which you preach, the moral precepts that you advance and practice, and upon the sound principles that you inculcate, while you hold that priesthood, hang the destinies of the human family. You are the men that God has called to spread forth His kingdom; He has committed the care of souls to your charge, and when you received this priesthood, you became the legates of heaven; and the Great God demands it of you, that you should be faithful; and inasmuch as you are not, you will not be chosen; but it will be said unto you, "Stand by and let a more honorable man than thou art take thy place, and receive thy crown."
Be careful that you teach not for the word of God the commandments of men, nor the doctrines of men, nor the ordinances of men, inasmuch as you are God's messengers. Study the word of God, and preach it and not your opinions, for no man's opinion is worth a straw. Advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions. We would moreover say, abide by that revelation which says "Preach nothing but repentance to this generation," and leave the further mysteries of the kingdom till God shall tell you to preach them, which is not now.
The horns of the beast, the toes of the image, the frogs, and the beast mentioned by John, are not going to save this generation; for if a man does not become acquainted with the first principles of the Gospel, how shall he understand those greater mysteries, which the most wise cannot understand without revelation? These things, therefore, have nothing to do with your mission.
We have heard of some foolish vagaries, and wild speculations, originating only in a disordered imagination, which are set forth by some, telling what occupation they had before they came into this world, and what they would be employed with after they leave this state of existence; those and other vain imaginations we would warn the Elders against, because if they listen to such things, they will fall into the snare of the devil; and when the trying time comes, they will be overthrown.
We would also warn the Elders, according to previous counsel, not to go on to another's ground without invitation, to interfere with an other's privilege, for your mission is to the world, and not to the churches.
We would also remark, that no man has a right to usurp authority or power over any church, nor has any man power to preside over any church, unless he is solicited and received by the voice of that church to preside.
Preach the first principles of the doctrine of Christ—faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance towards God, baptism in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
When you go forth to preach, and the Spirit of God rests upon you, giving you wisdom and utterance, and enlightening your understanding, be careful that you ascribe the glory to God, and not to yourselves. Boast not of intelligence, of wisdom, or of power; for it is only that which God has imparted unto you; but be humble, be meek, be patient and give glory to God.
We would counsel all who have not received a recommend since the difficulties in Missouri, to obtain one from the authorities of the Church if they wish to be accounted as wise stewards.
We are glad, dear brethren, to see that spirit of enterprise and perseverance which is manifested by you in regard to preaching the Gospel; and rejoice to know that neither bonds nor imprisonment, banishment nor exile, poverty or contempt, nor all the combined powers of earth and hell, hinder you from delivering your testimony to the world, and publishing those glad tidings which have been revealed from heaven by the ministering of angels, by the gift of the Holy Ghost, and by the power of God, for the salvation of the world in these last days. And we would say to you that the hearts of the Twelve are with you, and they, with you, are determined to fulfill their mission, to clear their garments of the blood of this generation, to introduce the Gospel to foreign nations, and to make known to the world these great things which God has developed. They are now on the eve of their departure for England, and will start in a few days. They feel to pray for you and to solicit an interest in your prayers and in the prayers of the Church, that God may sustain them in their arduous undertaking, grant them success in their mission, deliver them from the powers of darkness, and stratagem of wicked men, and all the combined powers of earth and hell. And if you unitedly seek after unity of purpose and design: if you are men of humility and of faithfulness, of integrity and perseverance; if you submit yourselves to the teachings of heaven, and are guided by the Spirit of God; if you at all times seek the glory of God and the salvation of men, and lay your honor prostrate in the dust, if need be, and are willing to fulfill the purposes of God in all things, the power of the Priesthood will rest upon you, and you will become mighty in testimony; the widow and the orphan will be made glad and the poor among men rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Princes will listen to the things that you proclaim, and the nobles of the earth will attend with deference to your words; queens will rejoice in the glad tidings of salvation, and kings bow to the scepter of Immanuel; light will burst forth as the morning, and intelligence spread itself as the rays of the sun; the cringing sycophant will be ashamed, and the traitor flee from your presence; superstition will hide its hoary head, and infidelity be ashamed. And amid the clamor of men, the din of war, the rage of pestilence, the commotion of nations, the overthrow of kingdoms, and the dissolution of empires, Truth shall walk forth with mighty power, guided by the arm of Omnipotence, and lay hold of the honest in heart among all nations; Zion shall blossom as a rose, and the nations flock to her standard, and the kingdoms of this world shall soon become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever. Amen.
Heber C. Kimball,
John E. Page,
Geo. A. Smith.
N. B.—We have heard that a man by the name of John M. Hinkle is preaching in the Iowa territory. We would remark to the public, that we have withdrawn our fellowship from him, and will not stand accountable for any doctrines held forth by him; nor will we be amenable for his conduct. The minutes of a conference will be published, mentioning the names of others from whom we have withdrawn our fellowship.