Volume 4 Chapter 11
Threatening Portents in the Actions of Missouri—General Conferences in Nauvoo and England—The Doctrine of Priesthood.
Tuesday, September 15, 1840.
"The governor of Missouri, after a silence of about two years, has at last made a demand on Governor Carlin of Illinois, for Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt, Caleb Baldwin, and Alanson Brown, as fugitives from justice.
"The demand it seems has been complied with by Governor Carlin, and an order issued for their apprehension; accordingly our place has recently received a visit from the sheriff for these men; but through the tender mercies of a kind Providence, who by His power has sustained, and once delivered them from the hands of the blood-thirsty and savage race of beings in the shape of men that tread Missouri's delightful soil; they were not to be found—as the Lord would have it, they were gone from home, and the sheriff returned, of course without them.
"These men do not feel disposed to again try the solemn realities of mob law in that state; and a free and enlightened republic should respond against it, for Missouri has no claim on them, but they have claim on Missouri.
"What right have they to demand of Governor Carlin, as fugitives from justice, men against whom no process had ever been found in that state—no, not so much as the form of a process? They were taken by a mob militia, and dragged from everything that was dear and sacred, and tried (without their knowledge) by a court martial, condemned to be shot, but this failing, they were forced into confinement, galled with chains, deprived of the comforts of life, and even that which was necessary to save life, then brought to a pretended trial, without even having a legal process served, and then deprived of the privilege of defense. They were taken by a mob, tried, condemned and imprisoned by the same, and this Missouri cannot deny.
"What a beautiful picture Governor Boggs has presented to the world, after driving twelve or fifteen thousand inhabitants from their homes, forcing them to leave the state under the pain of extermination, and confiscating their property, and murdering innocent men, women and children; then, because that a few made their escape from his murdering hand, and have found protection in a land of equal rights, so that his plans and designs have all been unfruitful, to that extent that he has caused "Mormonism" to spread with double vigor; he now has the presumption to demand them back, in order that his thirst for innocent blood may yet be satiated.
"He has no business with them; they have not escaped from justice, but from the hands of a cursed, infuriated, inhuman set, or race of beings who are enemies to their country, to their God, to themselves, and to every principle of righteousness and humanity. They loathe Christianity, and despise the people of God; they war against truth, and inherit lies; virtue they tread under their feet; while vice (with her ten thousand offspring) is their welcome associate; therefore, men on whom Missouri has no claim, she cannot, no, she never shall have." 1
Sunday, 20.—Elder Willard Richards went to Preston, held a conference, ordained five Elders, eleven Priests, eight Teachers, one Deacon, and returned to Manchester same day.
Letter of Samuel Bent and George W. Harris to the Presidency—Reporting Labors.
Cincinnati, Sept. 23, 1840.
To the First Presidency and High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
We gladly embrace this opportunity of conveying a few lines to you by Ebenezer Robinson, who we expect will leave this place for Nauvoo in a few days.
Brother George W. Harris and myself have visited the several branches of the Church in Adams county, Pike county, Jacksonville, and Springfield. On our way we stopped at Terre Haute, and Pleasant Garden, Indiana. We found the brethren generally very willing and anxious to do all in their power to assist the Church in the great and glorious cause that we have engaged in respecting the printing of the several books in contemplation, but I am sorry to say I found them destitute of the means to relieve our present necessity.
However, we have succeeded in obtaining several notes of hand from different brethren in the state of Illinois, to the amount of about eighty-three dollars, which will come due on the first day of October next, and we have handed them over to Ebenezer Robinson, to be delivered to Joseph Smith, Jun., for collection. We expect Brother Robinson will arrive with them at the time they become due.
We have obtained some money, which we have paid over to Brother Ebenezer Robinson. We have also given our obligations as agents for the Church, to Shepherd and Stearns to the amount of three hundred dollars, two hundred of which becomes due on the twenty-sixth day of November next, and the other one hundred on the twenty sixth day of December next, being the amount due Shepherd and Stearns for the stereotype plates.
We have taken up the bond that Brother Brown gave for the wagon or carriage which he let Joseph Smith, Jun., have, and we have succeeded in procuring a horse and harness to put alongside of the other horse to make it easier for him. We got said horse and harness by contributions from the brethren at Dayton and West Milton, Ohio.
Brother Ebenezer Robinson (we think) has been very economical, diligent, and persevering, and successful in the business whereupon he was sent. He has gained the confidence of the gentlemen with whom he has been transacting business in the city, and has done honor to the cause of Christ and His Church of Latter-day Saints. We can further say to you brethren, we think the course he has taken, and our united exertions with him, have established the credit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this place (I mean as to business transactions), to that extent that we can obtain any amount of paper, type, and other materials requisite to carry on the printing business to a large extent, and upon terms that will warrant our success.
We therefore shall go on with renewed courage and zeal, trusting in the Lord to prepare the way before us, and we feel to ask your prayers that God may peradventure expand the minds of the Saints abroad, that they may be able to comprehend the magnitude of the work we so much desire to accomplish, which in all probability will induce them to donate with alacrity.
Brother John E. Page is preaching with the manifestations of the Spirit and power in this place, and with considerable success. We think when Brother Page leaves the city of Cincinnati, the inhabitants thereof will be left without excuse for not receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and his garments clear from their blood in the day of judgment. Accept our love and best wishes. Yours in the bonds of the New and Everlasting Covenant,
George W. Harris.
Letter of John E. Page to the Presidency—Reporting Progress of Palestine Mission.
Cincinnati, September 23, 1840.
To the President and Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also to all the Saints Assembled in General Conference:
Your humble servant embraces with pleasure this opportunity to pen for your edification a few lines. I congratulate you upon the steady march and advancement of the cause of Christ, as [it] has fallen under my observation. Elder Hyde and myself have been treated with respect, and had the greatest attention paid us by the brethren and sisters; and by gentlemen and ladies of the first class in society, we have been made welcome very heartily to their dwellings and comforts of life. When we separate from them they grip our hands with tears standing full in their eyes, bidding farewell, and often leave something noble with us to help us on our mission; and a firm promise that they will duly reflect on the great things which we have told them. They ardently request us to send them some competent Elder to preach to them.
Yes, dear brethren, the cause of truth is marching onward with unparalleled rapidity, and victory! Victory! will soon be the shout of all the faithful in Christ; and thank the Lord, thank the Lord, is the language of unworthy me, that I have lived to see 1840, with all its attendant evidences of the truth of the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
I must save a place in this communication to make some remarks concerning Brother Ebenezer Robinson. I can say, in truth and soberness, that he merits the esteem and confidence of the Saints and all good men for his diligence and economy while getting the Book of Mormon stereotyped, &c., here. The honest and frank course he has pursued towards the gentlemen with whom he has been concerned in business (viz., Messrs. Shepherd, Stearns, and others), has won their everlasting respect and esteem, judging from their own manifestations to me.
Dear brethren and sisters, your humble servants, Orson Hyde and myself, sincerely solicit your special prayers, sealed with a hearty amen.
Elder Hyde is truly a humble servant of the Lord, and a very agreeable companion in the ministry. Our hearts are one, our faith is one, and the strongholds of Satan quake before us. We desire to have grace to perform our mission, that we may return to our families and brethren with triumph and joy.
I anticipate that Elder Hyde is in New York City. I am waiting to obtain a few copies of the third edition of the Book of Mormon. To raise means is hard, yet we trust in the Lord. I shall go to Philadelphia as soon as possible.
I have baptized thirteen in this city; many are believing, and some halting between two opinions; and have baptized in all since I started, eighty-four.
I have had a vision from the Lord, which manifested the present state of the world respecting the Jews, Jerusalem, the remnant of Israel, and also the Gentile world. As hasty summer fruit, so is this nation; as a vineyard of grapes fully ripe, ready to be gathered for the press, so are all the nations of the earth.
I want the conference to send some faithful and competent Elder to this place, to nurse the seed or word that has been sown here, and shall leave this matter with Ebenezer Robinson to lay before the conference.
Elders Bent and Harris are here, and are using all their energies, both of mind and body, to fill their calling. I deem them amply qualified to discharge the function of their office, provided they keep humble.
Dear brethren, remember me to my family, and pray for them; remember me to Sister Hyde, and also all of the wives of the Elders in particular, whose husbands are in the field. Tell them to pray for us. I hope the authorities of the Church will see that they are provided with food and raiment, that they may enjoy life with you.
Yours in the bonds of the Covenant,
John E. Page.
Extracts from Orson Hyde's Letter—Signs in the Heavens.
Burlington County, New Jersey.
I left Elder Page at Cincinnati the latter part of August, and came on up the Ohio river as far as Wellsburgh, Virginia. I stopped with Father James. Here I preached twice, and baptized three persons; came on by stage and steamboats to Pittsburg; from thence took the canal to Leechburgh, where I stopped and preached to a small number of Saints, raised up by the instrumentality of Father Nickerson—in good spirits.
As I left this place about nine o'clock in the morning, the most remarkable phenomenon occurred in the heavens that I ever witnessed. There appeared two bright and luminous bodies, one on the north and the other on the south of the sun; in length about ten yards, inclining to a circle resembling a rainbow, about fifty yards distant from the sun; apparently east about twenty-five yards, was a body of light as brilliant almost as the sun itself; and on the west, a great distance from the sun, appeared a white semi-circle passing half way round the horizon, and another crossing it at right angles, exhibiting a scene of the sublimest kind. It was a great wonder to the passengers on board the boat. Put this with the fact that the Jews are gathering home, and that all Europe is in commotion and on the eve of breaking out in open hostilities; and also that the tree of liberty, which has long flourished in the republican soil of America, has been girdled, and her green foliage, which has shielded and protected the sons of oppression from the scorching rays of despotic power, already begins to wither like the accursed fig tree—and what language do these speak to the Saints!"Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth near!" * * * * * *
I came on, and met with the Saints in Chester county, Pennsylvania, laboring there about one week with Brother Barnes, where we added six to their number. I preached about one week in Philadelphia, and baptized twelve; came on to this place with Brothers Snow and Barnes, and held a two-days' meeting, at which sixteen were baptized. I shall return to Philadelphia in a few days, where I expect to meet Brother Page, and then, if the Lord will, after holding a few meetings in this country, we shall proceed on to New York, there to take ship and sail over the seas.
On the night of the 28th, Elder Heber C. Kimball had the following dream, as related by himself:
Elder Heber C. Kimball's Dream.
Having great anxiety for the welfare of the small branch which we had raised in London, I retired to rest and had the following dream. I thought that we dug a well on high ground in order to obtain water, and after digging some considerable time, we came to an excellent spring; we then commenced to back it up, but before it was finished, we had occasion to leave for a short time and when we returned to complete it, we found it carefully filled up with sand, and all attempts to remove it proved unavailing, we thought it better to choose another spot on lower ground, where we were successful. When we returned to London, we experienced a perfect fulfillment of my dream—having to open a new preaching place at Barrett's Academy, King Square, Goswell Road, our former place being closed against us.
Tuesday, 29.—Elders Heber C. Kimball and George A. Smith left London for the Manchester conference.
Saturday, October 3.
Minutes of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, Beginning October 3, 1840.
The conference was opened with prayer by President William Marks. President Joseph Smith was then unanimously called to the chair, and Robert B. Thompson appointed clerk.
A letter from Elders Bent and Harris, and one from Elder John E. Page were then read by the clerk, which gave very satisfactory accounts of their mission.
On motion, Resolved: That a committee be appointed to ordain such as have recommends to this conference for ordination, and that Jonathan H. Hale, Elisha H. Groves, Charles C. Rich, John Murdock, and Simeon Carter, compose said committee, and report their proceedings before the conference closes.
The President arose and stated that there had been several depredations committed on the citizens of Nauvoo, and thought it expedient that a committee be appointed to search out the offenders, and bring them to justice.
Whereupon it was Resolved: That Joseph Smith, Elias Higbee, William Marks, Vinson Knight, William Law, Charles C. Rich, and Dimick B. Huntington, compose said committee.
On motion, Resolved: That Robert B. Thompson be appointed the General Church Clerk, in the room of George W. Robinson, who intends to remove to Iowa.
It having been requested by Elder Page, that the conference would appoint an Elder to take charge of the church which he and Elder Hyde had raised up in Cincinnati, on motion, Resolved: That Elder Samuel Bennett be appointed to preside there.
The president then arose and stated that it was necessary that something should be done with regard to Kirtland, so that it might be built up; and gave it as his opinion, that the brethren from the east might gather there, and also that it was necessary that some one should be appointed from this conference to preside over that stake. On motion, Resolved: That Elder Almon W. Babbitt be appointed to preside over the Church in Kirtland, and that he choose his own counselors.
Conference adjourned for one hour.
One o'clock p.m. Conference met pursuant to adjournment. An opportunity was given to the brethren who had any remarks to make on suitable locations for stakes of Zion. Elder H. W. Miller stated that it was the desire of a number of the brethren residing in Adams county, to have a stake appointed at Mount Ephrain in that county, and stated the advantages of the place for agricultural purposes.
On motion, Resolved: That a stake be appointed at Mount Ephraim, in Adams county.
There being several applications for the appointment of stakes, it was Resolved: That a committee be appointed to organize stakes between this place and Kirtland, and that Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, and Almon W. Babbitt, compose said committee.
The President then spoke of the necessity of building a "House of the Lord" in this place. Whereupon it was Resolved: That the Saints build a house for the worship of God, and that Reynolds Cahoon, Elias Higbee, and Alpheus Cutler be appointed a committee to build the same.
On motion, Resolved: That a commencement be made ten days from this date, and that every tenth day be appropriated for the building of the house.
President Hyrum Smith arose and stated that there were several individuals who, on moving to this place, had not settled with their creditors, and had no recommend from the branches of the churches where they had resided. On motion, Resolved: That those persons moving to this place, who do not bring a recommend, be disfellowshiped.
John C. Bennett, M. D., then spoke at some length, on the oppression to which the Church had been subjected, and remarked that it was necessary for the brethren to stand by each other, and resist every unlawful attempt at persecution.
Elder Lyman Wight then addressed the meeting. Adjourned till tomorrow morning.
Sunday morning, October 4.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment, and was opened with prayer by Elder Almon W. Babbitt.
The clerk was then called upon to read the report of the Presidency in relation to the city plat, after which the President made some observations on the status of the debts on the city plat, which will appear at the close of these conference minutes, and advised that a committee be appointed to raise funds to liquidated the same. On motion, Resolved: That William Marks and Hyrum Smith compose said committee.
On motion, Resolved: That a committee be appointed to draft a bill for the incorporation of the town of Nauvoo, and other purposes.
Resolved: That Joseph Smith, John C. Bennett, and Robert B. Thompson be said committee.
Resolved: That John C. Bennett be appointed delegate, to urge the passage of said bill through the legislature.
President Hyrum Smith then rose and gave some general instructions to the Church. Conference adjourned for one hour.
One o'clock p.m. Conference met pursuant to adjournment, and was opened with prayer by Elder John P. Greene.
President Joseph Smith then rose and delivered a discourse on the subject of baptism for the dead, which was listened to with considerable interest, by the vast multitude assembled.
Dr. John C. Bennett from the committee to draft a charter for the city, and for other purposes, reported the outlines thereof. On motion: Resolved: That the same be adopted.
Elder Ebenezer Robinson then rose and gave an account of the printing of another edition of the Book of Mormon, and stated that it was now nearly completed, and that arrangements had been made for the printing of the hymn-book, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, &c.
Conference adjourned to Monday morning.
Monday morning, October 5.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment, and was opened with prayer by Elder Lyman Wight.
Elder Robert B. Thompson, after a few preliminary remarks, read an article on the Priesthood, composed by President Joseph Smith, which will appear at the close of the conference minutes; after which Elder Babbitt delivered an excellent discourse on the same subject, at considerable length.
Conference adjourned for one hour. During the intermission a large number was baptized.
Two o'clock p.m. Conference met pursuant to adjournment. Elder Lyman Wight addressed the congregation on the subject of baptism for the dead, and other subjects of interest to the Church.
The President then made some observations and pronounced his benediction on the assembly.
Dr. John C. Bennett said that many persons had been accused of crime, and been looked upon as guilty, when on investigation it has been ascertained that nothing could be proved against them. Whereupon, on motion, it was Resolved: That no person be considered guilty of crime, unless proved so by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
He next brought before the conference the treatment the Saints had experienced in Missouri, and wished to know whether the conference would take any further steps in relation to obtaining redress. On motion, resolved: That Elias Higbee and Robert B. Thompson be appointed a committee to obtain redress for the wrongs sustained in Missouri.
The committee on ordinations reported that they had ordained thirty-nine to the ministry.
On motion, Resolved: That this conference be dismissed, and that the next conference be held on the 6th day of April next.
Joseph Smith, President.
Robert B. Thompson, Clerk.
The following is the article on Priesthood referred to in the conference minutes:
In order to investigated the subject of the Priesthood, so important to this, as well as every succeeding generation, I shall proceed to trace the subject as far as I possibly can from the Old and New Testaments.
There are two Priesthoods spoken of in the Scriptures, viz., the Melchisedek and the Aaronic or Levitical. Although there are two Priesthoods, yet the Melchisedek Priesthood comprehends the Aaronic or Levitical Priesthood, and is the grand head, and holds the highest authority which pertains to the Priesthood, and the keys of the Kingdom of God in all ages of the world to the latest posterity on the earth, and is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation, and every important matter is revealed from heaven.
Its institution was prior to "the foundation of this earth, or the morning stars sang together, or the Sons of God shouted for joy," and is the highest and holiest Priesthood, and is after the order of the Son of God, and all other Priesthoods are only parts, ramifications, powers and blessings belonging to the same, and are held, controlled, and directed by it. It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing His glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth, and through which He has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time.
Commencing with Adam, who was the first man, who is spoken of in Daniel as being the "Ancient of Days," or in other words, the first and oldest of all, the great, grand progenitor of whom it is said in another place he is Michael, because he was the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but the first to hold the spiritual blessings, to whom was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity unto the end, and to whom Christ was first revealed, and through whom Christ has been revealed from heaven, and will continue to be revealed from henceforth. Adam holds the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times; 1.e., the dispensation of all the times have been and will be revealed through him from the beginning to Christ, and from Christ to the end of all the dispensations that are to be revealed."Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him" (Ephesians 1:9-10).
Now the purpose in Himself in the winding up scene of the last dispensation is that all things pertaining to that dispensation should be conducted precisely in accordance with the preceding dispensations.
And again, God purposed in Himself that there should not be an eternal fullness until every dispensation should be fulfilled and gathered together in one, and that all things whatsoever, that should be gathered together in one in those dispensations unto the same fullness and eternal glory, should be in Christ Jesus; therefore He set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them."Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).
These angels are under the direction of Michael or Adam, who acts under the direction of the Lord. From the above quotation we learn that Paul perfectly understood the purposes of God in relation to His connection with man, and that glorious and perfect order which He established in Himself, whereby he sent forth power, revelations, and glory.
God will not acknowledge that which He has not called, ordained, and chosen. In the beginning God called Adam by His own voice. "And the Lord called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and hid myself" (See Genesis 3:9-10). Adam received commandments and instructions from God: this was the order from the beginning.
That he received revelations, commandments and ordinances at the beginning is beyond the power of controversy; else how did they begin to offer sacrifices to God in an acceptable manner? And if they offered sacrifices they must be authorized by ordination. We read in Genesis, 4th chap., 4th, that Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock and the fat thereof, and the Lord had respect to Abel and to his offering. And, again, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead, yet speaketh" (Hebrews 11:4). How doth he yet speak? Why he magnified the Priesthood which was conferred upon him, and died a righteous man, and therefore has become an angel of God by receiving his body from the dead, holding still the keys of his dispensation; and was sent down from heaven unto Paul to minister consoling words, and to commit unto him a knowledge of the mysteries of godliness.
And if this was not the case, I would ask, how did Paul know so much about Abel, and why should he talk about his speaking after he was dead? Hence, that he spoke after he was dead must be by being sent down out of heaven to administer.
This, then, is the nature of the Priesthood; every man holding the Presidency of his dispensation, and one man holding the Presidency of them all, even Adam: and Adam receiving his Presidency and authority from the Lord, but cannot receive a fullness until Christ shall present the Kingdom to the Father, which shall be at the end of the last dispensation.
The power, glory and blessings of the Priesthood could not continue with those who received ordination only as their righteousness continued; for Cain also being authorized to offer sacrifice, but not offering it in righteousness, was cursed. It signifies, then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing.
If Cain had fulfilled the law of righteousness as did Enoch, he could have walked with God all the days of his life, and never failed of a blessing."And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah 300 years, and begat sons and daughters, and all the days of Enoch were 365 years; and Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him" (Gen. 5:22). Now this Enoch God reserved unto Himself, that he should not die at that time, and appointed unto him a ministry unto terrestrial bodies, of whom there has been but little revealed. He is reserved also unto the Presidency of a dispensation, and more shall he said of him and terrestrial bodies in another treatise. He is a ministering angel, to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation and appeared unto Jude as Abel did unto Paul; therefore Jude spoke of him (14, 15 verses). And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, revealed these sayings:"Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His Saints."
Paul was also acquainted with this character, and received instructions from him."By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God; but without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a revealer to those who diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:5).
Now the doctrine of translation is a power which belongs to this Priesthood. There are many things which belong to the powers of the Priesthood and the keys thereof, that have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world; they are hid from the wise and prudent to be revealed in the last times.
Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead. "Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." (See Heb. 11:35.)
Now it was evident that there was a better resurrection, or else God would not have revealed it unto Paul. Wherein then, can it be said a better resurrection. This distinction is made between the doctrine of the actual resurrection and translation: translation obtains deliverance from the tortures and sufferings of the body, but their existence will prolong as to the labors and toils of the ministry, before they can enter into so great a rest and glory.
On the other hand, those who were tortured, not accepting deliverance, received an immediate rest from their labors."And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for from henceforth they do rest from their labors and their works do follow them." (See Revelation 14:13.)
They rest from their labors for a long time, and yet their work is held in reserve for them, that they are permitted to do the same work, after they receive a resurrection for their bodies. But we shall leave this subject and the subject of the terrestrial bodies for another time, in order to treat upon them more fully.
The next great, grand Patriarch [after Enoch] who held the keys of the Priesthood was Lamech."And Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years and begat a son, and he called his name Noah, saying, this same shall comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands because of the ground which the Lord has cursed." (See Gen. 5:28-29.) The Priesthood continued from Lamech to Noah:"And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them, and behold I will destroy them with the earth" (Gen. 6:13).
Thus we behold the keys of this Priesthood consisted in obtaining the voice of Jehovah that He talked with him—Noah—in a familiar and friendly manner, that He continued to him the keys, the covenants, the power and the glory, with which he blessed Adam at the beginning; and the offering of sacrifice, which also shall be continued at the last time; for all the ordinances and duties that ever have been required by the Priesthood, under the directions and commandments of the Almighty in any of the dispensations, shall all be had in the last dispensation, therefore all things had under the authority of the Priesthood at any former period, shall be had again, bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets; then shall the sons of Levi offer an acceptable offering to the Lord."And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord. (SeeMalachi 3:3.)
It will be necessary here to make a few observations on the doctrine set forth in the above quotation, and it is generally supposed that sacrifice was entirely done away when the Great Sacrifice [i.e., the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus] was offered up, and that there will be no necessity for the ordinance of sacrifice in future; but those who assert this are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood, or with the Prophets.
The offering of sacrifice has ever been connected and forms a part of the duties of the Priesthood. It began with the Priesthood, and will be continued until after the coming of Christ, from generation to generation. We frequently have mention made of the offering of sacrifice by the servants of the Most High in ancient days, prior to the law of Moses; which ordinances will be continued when the Priesthood is restored with all its authority, power and blessings.
Elijah was the last Prophet that held the keys of the Priesthood, and who will, before the last dispensation, restore the authority and deliver the keys of the Priesthood, in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness. It is true that the Savior had authority and power to bestow this blessing; but the sons of Levi were too prejudiced."And I will send Elijah the Prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord," etc., etc. Why send Elijah? Because he holds the keys of the authority to administer in all the ordinances of the Priesthood; and without the authority is given, the ordinances could not be administered in righteousness.
It is a very prevalent opinion that the sacrifices which were offered were entirely consumed. This was not the case; if you read Leviticus, second chap., second and third verses, you will observe that the priests took a part as a memorial and offered it up before the Lord, while the remainder was kept for the maintenance of the priests; so that the offerings and sacrifices are not all consumed upon the altar—but the blood is sprinkled, and the fat and certain other portions are consumed.
These sacrifices, as well as every ordinance belonging to the Priesthood, will, when the Temple of the Lord shall be built, and the sons of Levi be purified, be fully restored and attended to in all their powers, ramifications, and blessings. This ever did and ever will exist when the powers of the Melchisedek Priesthood are sufficiently manifest; else how can the restitution of all things spoken of by the holy Prophets be brought to pass? It is not to be understood that the law of Moses will be established again with all its rites and variety of ceremonies; this has never been spoken of by the Prophets; but those things which existed prior to Moses' day, namely, sacrifice, will be continued.
It may be asked by some, what necessity for sacrifice, since the Great Sacrifice was offered? In answer to which, if repentance, baptism, and faith existed prior to the days of Christ, what necessity for them since that time? The Priesthood has descended in a regular line from father to son, through their succeeding generations. (See Book of Doctrine and Covenants.) 2
Report Of The Presidency. 3
The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would respectfully report—
That they feel rejoiced to meet the Saints at another General Conference, and under circumstances as favorable as the present. Since our settlement in Illinois we have for the most part been treated with courtesy and respect, and a feeling of kindness and of sympathy has generally been manifested by all classes of the community, who, with us, deprecate the conduct of those men whose dark and blackening deeds are stamped with everlasting infamy and disgrace. The contrast between our past and present situation is great. Two years ago mobs were threatening, plundering, driving and murdering the Saints. Our burning houses lighted up the canopy of heaven. Our women and children, houseless and destitute, had to wander from place to place to seek a shelter from the rage of persecuting foes. Now we enjoy peace, and can worship the God of heaven and earth without molestation, and expect to be able to go forward and accomplish the great and glorious work to which we have been called.
Under these circumstances we feel to congratulate the Saints of the Most High, on the happy and pleasing change in their circumstances, condition and prospects, and which those who shared in the perils and distress, undoubtedly appreciate; while prayers and thanksgivings daily ascend to that God who looked upon our distresses and delivered us from danger and death, and whose hand is over us for good.
From the unpropitious nature of the weather, we hardly expected to behold so many of our friends on this occasion; in this, however, we are agreeably disappointed, which gives us strong assurance that the Saints are as zealous, untiring, and energetic as ever, in the great work of the last days; and gives us joy and consolation, and greatly encourages us, while contending with the difficulties which necessarily lie in our way. Let the brethren ever manifest such a spirit, and hold up our hands, and we must, we will go forward; the work of the Lord shall roll forth, the Temple of the Lord be reared, the Elders of Israel be encouraged, Zion be built up, and become the praise, the joy, and the glory of the whole earth, and the song of praise, glory, honor, and majesty to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever, shall reverberate from hill to hill, from mountain to mountain, from island to island, and from continent to continent, and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and His Christ.
We are glad indeed to know that there is such a spirit of union existing throughout the churches, at home and abroad, on this continent, as well as on the islands of the sea; for by this principle, and by a concentration of action, shall we be able to carry into effect the purposes of our God.
From the Elders abroad we receive the most cheering accounts. Wherever the faithful laborer has gone forth weeping, sowing the seed of truth, he has returned with joy, bringing his sheaves with him; and the information we receive from all quarters is that the laborers are few and that the harvest is great. Many wealthy and influential people have embraced the Gospel, so that not only will the poor rejoice in that they are exalted, but the rich in that they are made low. The calls to the Southern States are indeed great; many places which a short time ago would think it a disgrace to give shelter to a "Mormon," on account of the many misrepresentations which were abroad, now desire to hear an Elder of the Church of the Latter-day Saints.
On the islands of the sea, namely, Great Britain, there continues to be a steady flow of souls into the Church. Branches have been organized in many large and populous cities, and the whole land appears to be thirsting for the pure streams of knowledge and salvation.
The Twelve have already printed a new edition of the hymn-book, and they issue a monthly periodical in that land. Several families have already arrived here from England, and a number more are on their way to this place, and are expected this fall.
If the work rolls forth with the same rapidity it has heretofore done, we may soon expect to see flocking to this place, people from every land and from every nation; the polished European, the degraded Hottentot, and the shivering Laplander; persons of all languages, and of every tongue, and of every color; who shall with us worship the Lord of Hosts in His holy temple and offer up their orisons in His sanctuary.
It was in consideration of these things, and that a home might be provided for the Saints, that induced us to purchase the present city for a place of gathering for the Saints, and the extensive tract of land on the opposite side of the Mississippi. Although the purchase at the time, and under the peculiar circumstances of the Church, appeared to many to be large and uncalled for; yet from what we now see, it is apparent to all that we shall soon have to say,"This place is too straight, give us room that we may dwell."We therefore hope that the brethren who feel interested in the cause of truth, and desire to see the work of the gathering of Israel roll forth with power, will aid us in liquidating the debts which are now owing, so that the inheritances may be secured to the Church, and which eventually will be of great value.
The good spirit which is manifested on this occasion, the desire to do good, and the zeal for the honor of the Church, inspires us with confidence that we shall not appeal in vain, but that funds will be forthcoming on this occasion, sufficient to meet the necessities of the case.
It is with great pleasure that we have to inform the Church that another edition of the Book of Mormon has been printed, and which is expected on from Cincinnati in a short time; and that arrangements are making for printing the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, hymn-book, &c.; so that the demand which may exist for these works will soon be supplied.
In conclusion we would say, brethren and sisters, be faithful, be diligent, contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints; let every man, woman and child realize the importance of the work, and act as if success depended on his individual exertion alone; let all feel an interest in it, and then consider they live in a day, the contemplation of which animated the bosoms of kings, Prophets, and righteous men thousands of years ago—the prospect of which inspired their sweetest notes, and most exalted lays, and caused them to break out in such rapturous strains as are recorded in the Scriptures; and by and by we will have to exclaim, in the language of inspiration—
The Lord has brought again Zion,
The Lord hath redeemed His people Israel.
Tuesday, October 6.
Minutes of a General Conference in England.
Minutes of a general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held at Carpenter's Hall, Manchester, Tuesday, the 6th day of October, 1840, it being the first day of the seventh month of the eleventh year of the Church; when the following officers of the Traveling High Council were present, viz.: Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, and George A. Smith; other officers: High Priests 5, Elders 19, Priests 28, Teachers 4, and Deacons 2.
The meeting being called to order at 10 o'clock by Elder Brigham Young, it was moved by Elder Young, seconded by Elder Woodruff, that Elder Orson Pratt be president off the conference, which was carried unanimously. Elder George Walker was chosen clerk.
After singing, and prayer by the president, the following statistical report was read:
The president brought before the conference the subject of ordinations, and after various observations thereon, it was proposed by Elder George A. Smith, that for the future, ordinations be not attended to, except by the Traveling High Council or under such restrictions as they may adopt in reference thereto. Elder Young spoke on the subject of conferences, and also with respect of restricting ordination; and after taking into consideration the great expense attendant upon holding general conferences, and the inconvenience experienced by members attending them, suggested, that for the future, general conferences should in a great measure be done away with, or restricted to the Traveling High Council to hold conferences at such places and times as they may think proper.
The meeting adjourned at 12 o'clock.
At 2 o'clock the meeting opened with prayer, after which Elder Kimball spoke on the subject of Elders taking upon themselves the responsibility of ordaining officers in this Church; after pointing out the evils that might result therefrom, he proceeded to treat upon the duty of members towards those who preside over them in the Lord, and respecting the members administering to the temporal necessities of those whose calling it is to labor amongst them in spiritual things.
Moved by Elder Willard Richards, seconded by Elder Thomas Smith, and carried unanimously, that all ordinations be confined to or under the regulations of the Traveling High Council.
Elder Young called the attention of the conference to the case of Emma Bolton, a sister from the Potteries, who had conducted herself disorderly. Elder Johnson and others spoke of several cases of improper conduct on her part; after which it was moved by Elder Young, seconded by Elder Kimball, and carried unanimously, that Emma Bolton be cut off from the Church.
The president [of the conference, Elder Orson Pratt], then called the attention of the conference to a letter from Isaac Brown and other officers of the Church at Macclesfield, concerning Elder Heath, and also to some half a dozen charges preferred by the said Isaac Brown, James Galley, Edward Horrocks, and John Horrocks, against the said Samuel Heath, for several items of misconduct, and neglecting the duties of his office; to all of which charges Elder Heath pleaded not guilty. The complainants then entered into proof of the several items, to which Elder Heath replied by stating that the charges against him were in consequence of a misunderstanding, &c. The proceedings opened a wide field for instruction from Elder Young, followed by the president, who recommended the parties to become reconciled to each other, stating that he did not consider the charges preferred against Elder Heath sufficiently substantiated to withdraw fellowship from him; when it was moved and seconded, that no further proceeding be taken on this subject; carried unanimously.
The conference then adjourned till 7 o'clock. p.m.
At 7 o'clock the meeting was opened with prayer.
The president having made such preliminary remarks as the importance of the subject called forth, proceeded to call upon those who were willing to volunteer their services to labor in the vineyard of the Lord, when the officers gave their names as follows:
High Priests—Hiram Clark, Thomas Smith, Alfred Cordon, Thomas Kington, Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith.
Elders—George D. Watt, John Parkinson, David Moss, Martin Littlewood, William Parr, Samuel Heath, John Sanders, Theodore Curtis, Henry Royle, Thomas Tweddle, John Leigh, Amos Fielding, Thomas Richardson.
Priests—William Snailam, William Speakman, John Needham, James Mahon, Frederick Cook, Robert Crooks, William Mitchell, William Black, Robert Williams, William Jones, Thomas Pollitt, Richard Steele, John Burns, Joseph Knowles, Richard Benson, John Wyche, William Roylance, Joseph Street, Joseph White.
Moved, seconded, and carried, that Elder George D. Watt go to Edinburgh; Elder Alfred Cordon to Birmingham, and also take charge of the Staffordshire Potteries Conference, and that John Burns, Priest, go with him.
Elder Thomas Kington to take charge of the Herefordshire Conferences as heretofore, also Garway; and William Snailam and Joseph Knowles, Priests, to accompany him.
Robert Crooks, Priest, to go to Bolton; Thomas Richardson, Elder, and John Needham, Priest, to go to Herefordshire; Elder Hiram Clark to go to the Isle of Man; Elder Thomas Tweddle to Glasgow; Elder John Sanders to labor at Alston, and go to Carlisle as soon as practicable.
Elder Amos Fielding to go to Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Elder John Parkinson to Greenock; Elder Henry Royle and Frederick Cook, Priest, to Cly in Flintshire; William Mitchell, Priest, to Leeds; Elder Thomas Smith to remain at Clitheroe; Elder John Leigh, and James Mahon, Priest, to go to Arden, Cheshire, and Joseph White and Richard Steele, Priests, to labor under the direction of Elder Cordon.
Elder John Smith to be ordained High Priest, to take charge of the church in Manchester and the regions round about: Elder Peter Melling to take charge of the church as heretofore, in connection with Elder H. Withnall; and John Wyche, Priest, to go into Staffordshire, and labor under the direction of Alfred Cordon.
Moved and seconded, that the remainder of the officers who have volunteered, be left to the Traveling High Council to dispose of, and appoint to such places as they may judge expedient; carried.
Moved and seconded, that in consequence of there not being time to transact all the business of this conference, the ordination of officers be left to the Traveling High Council to ordain from time to time such members as they may consider requisite; carried.
Elder Young then addressed the meeting on the propriety of establishing a fund for the support and clothing of such members as may from time to time be called out to labor in the vineyard, and whose circumstances may require that their necessities may be administered unto. The president then addressed the meeting on the same subject, and pointed out the difference between preaching for money and the Elders having their necessities ministered unto, while they are called to labor "without taking thought for the morrow." Elder Richards followed upon the same subject; also Elder Kimball; after which Elder Young moved, that wherever a branch of the Church is established, two members be appointed to receive the weekly voluntary contributions of the members, for promoting the spread of the Gospel, and the same to be disposed of by the vote of the church in council with the Twelve Apostles; seconded by Elder George A. Smith, and carried.
The minutes were then read and accepted, and the conference adjourned sine die.
Orson Pratt, President,
George Walker, Secretary.
Minutes of Council of the Twelve in England.
Minutes of a Council of the Twelve, viz., Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards; also Hiram Clark, and Reuben Hedlock, High Priests, at the house of Willard Richards, No. 1, Chapman Street, Manchester; Brigham Young presiding.
Moved by Elder Kimball, that Elder Willard Richards take charge of the Millennial Star, seconded and carried. Voted that our publishing office be removed to London as soon as circumstances will permit; and that Elders Hedlock and Curtis go where they please to labor.
Willard Richards, Clerk.