The Prophet’s Mission to Canada.
The Prophet Starts for Canada.
October 5.—I started on a journey to the east, and to Canada, in company with Elders Rigdon and Freeman Nickerson, 1 and arrived the same day at Lamb’s tavern, in Ashtabula; 2 and the day following, the Sabbath, we arrived in Springfield, whilst the brethren were in meeting, and Elder Rigdon spoke to the congregation. A large and attentive congregation assembled at Brother Rudd’s in the evening, to whom we bore our testimony. 3 We continued at Springfield 4 until the 8th of October, when we removed to Brother Roundy’s at Elk Creek; and continuing our journey on the evening of the 9th, we arrived at a tavern, and on the 10th, at Brother Job Lewis,’ in Westfield 5 where we met the brethren according to previous appointment, and spoke to them as the Spirit gave utterance, greatly to their gratification.
Letter to Saints in Zion.
This day, October 10th, Elder Frederick G. Williams wrote as follows from Kirtland to the Saints in Missouri:
Dear Brethren:—It is a long time since we have received any intelligence from you, save a letter received by Brother Elliott from Elder John Whitmer, which informed us that he had written four letters since Elder Oliver Cowdery left, but we have not received any of them, nor any others from Zion, except one from Bishop Partridge, of August 13th, and have had no information, to be depended upon, concerning the riot, and the situation of the brethren in Zion; and considering that the enemy have commenced intercepting our letters, I direct this to Mrs. Billings, thinking, by so doing that you may get it. The brethren here are all engaged in the work of the Lord, and are using every exertion in their power for the welfare of Zion and for the promotion of the great cause of our Redeemer. Immediately after the arrival of Oliver Cowdery, we sat in council to know what should be done. The decision of the council was, that measures should be immediately taken to seek redress by the laws of our country, for your grievances; accordingly two messengers were dispatched for that purpose. (Let this suffice, for this may fall into the hands of the enemy). We have not received any revelation for a long time (which has been written), and none concerning the present situation of Zion; but it has been manifested to Joseph, and communicated to me by him, that the brethren in Zion should not sell any of their inheritances, nor move out of the county, save those who signed the agreement to go, and if it becomes necessary for those to move for their personal safety, let them be directed by wisdom, and seek for homes where the Lord shall open the way.
If Elder Phelps is obliged to move from that place, let him take his family and Elder Cowdery’s wife, and come to Kirtland, but not to bring anything with him except his bedding and clothing; and let Elder Gilbert furnish him with the means to bear his expenses; but it would not be expedient for Elder Phelps to come, provided the prospect is favorable for a reconciliation to the extent that the Saints are not obliged to leave the county. We can do no more for you than we are doing; but we have this great consolation, that God will deliver Zion, and establish you upon the land of your everlasting inheritance. Remember that this is only for the trial of your faith, and he that overcomes and endures to the end, will be rewarded a hundred fold in this world, and in the world to come will receive eternal life; so, brethren, you have great reason to rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh.
Presidents Smith and Rigdon are absent on a mission, and we do not expect their return until some time in November. They have gone down the lake to Niagara, from thence they expect to go into Upper Canada, as far as Long Point, and preach in all the most noted places on their way.
We held a council meeting this morning, on the subject of building, etc. It was decided by the council that we should discontinue the building of the Temple during the winter, for want of materials; and to prepare and get all things in readiness to recommence it early in the spring. It was also agreed that we should set the hands immediately to erect a house for the printing office, which is to be thirty by thirty-eight feet on the ground; the first story to be occupied for the School of the Prophets this winter, and the upper story for the printing press.
Oliver Cowdery started for New York on the first of October for the printing establishment, with eight hundred dollars. There will be as many hands employed upon the house as can work, and every exertion made to get the printing into operation, republish the Star, commencing from the last number printed, to be conducted by Oliver Cowdery (until an opportunity offers to transfer it again to Zion, to be conducted by W. W. Phelps & Co., as usual), and also publish a paper under the firm-name of F. G. Williams & Co., entitled the Latter-day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, which will be forwarded to subscribers for the Star by the first of December. Oliver has written to you for the names and residences of the subscribers for the Star, and if you have not sent them, we wish you to send them immediately, that there may be no delay in the papers going to subscribers as soon as they can be printed.
Bishop Whitney, also, started for New York at the same time, to replenish his store in Kirtland, with money enough to pay all the debts of both establishments, and expects to bring a larger supply of goods than at any former time. Thus you see the goodness and mercy of God in providing for His Saints. Not one week before Bishop Whitney started, the way seemed hedged up, and ten or twelve hundred dollars was the most that he had, and knew not where to obtain the amount he wanted; but by a remarkable interposition of Divine Providence, he was furnished with all he wanted, for which let us raise our hearts in gratitude to God, and praise His holy name, that He is a present help in every time of need.
We have seen a letter, written to Sister Whitney, in Nelson, that has a great deal to say about the gift of tongues, and the interpretation which was given by way of prophecy, namely, “that Zion would be delivered by judgments;” and that certain ones named, would go to such and such places among the Lamanites, and “great things would be done by them;” and also, that two Lamanites were at a meeting, and the following prophecy was delivered to them:—”That they were our friends and that the Lord had sent them there; and the time would soon come, when they would embrace the Gospel;” and, also, “that if we will not fight for ourselves, the Indians will fight for us.” Though all this may be true, yet, it is not needful that it should be spoken, for it is of no service to the Saints and has a tendency to stir up the people to anger.
No prophecy spoken in tongues should be made public, for this reason:—Many who pretend to have the gift of interpretation are liable to be mistaken, and do not give the true interpretation of what is spoken; therefore great care should be taken as respects this thing, but, if any speak in tongues a word of exhortation, or doctrine, or the principles of the Gospel, etc., let it be interpreted for the edification of the Church.
When you receive this letter, I wish you to write immediately and direct your letters to David Elliott, Chagrin, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, and put this mark “X” on the back of it, if you do not wish it broken open, and he will forward it to us, and you will please to name in your letter, where and to whom we shall direct our reply, and thus we may evade interception. Yours in the bonds of love,
F. G. Williams.
Distraction About Zion.
At this time the evil and designing circulated a report, that Zion was to be extended as far east as Ohio, which in some degree tended to distract the minds of the Saints, and produced a momentary indecision about removing thither, according to the commandments; but the report was soon corrected, and the brethren continued to remove to Zion and Kirtland.
Narrative of Canada Journey Renewed.
On the 11th of October, we left Westfield, and continuing our journey, staid that night with a man named Nash, an infidel, with whom we reasoned, but to no purpose. 6 On the 12th, arrived at Father Nickerson’s, at Perrysburg, New York, 7 where I received the following revelation:
1. Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.
2. Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you.
3. Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land.
4. Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.
5. Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
6. For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
7. But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
8. And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.
9. And it is expedient in me that you, my servant Sidney, should be a spokesman unto this people; yea, verily, I will ordain you unto this calling, even to be a spokesman unto my servant Joseph.
10. And I will give unto him power to be mighty in testimony.
11. And I will give unto thee power to be mighty in expounding all scriptures, that thou mayest be a spokesman unto him, and he shall be a revelator unto thee, that thou mayest know the certainty of all things pertaining to the things of my kingdom on the earth.
12. Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end.
13. And now I give unto you a word concerning Zion. Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season.
14. Thy brethren, my servants Orson Hyde and John Gould, are in my hands; and inasmuch as they keep my commandments they shall be saved.
15. Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church.
16. For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness;
17. And all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved. Even so. Amen.
At “Father” Nickerson’s.
On the day following (October 13th), Elder Rigdon preached to a large congregation, at Freeman Nickerson’s, and I bore record while the Lord gave His Spirit in a remarkable manner.
Through Upper Canada.
Monday, 14.—Continued our journey towards Canada, and arrived at Lodi, where we had an appointment, and preached in the evening to a small assembly, and made an appointment for Tuesday, the 15th, at 10 o’clock a. m., to be in the Presbyterian meeting house. When the hour arrived, the keeper of the house refused to open the doors, and the meeting was thus prevented. We came immediately away, leaving the people in great confusion, and continued our journey till Friday, the 18th, when we arrived at the house of Freeman A. Nickerson, in Upper Canada, having passed through a fine and well-cultivated country, after entering the province, and having had many peculiar feelings in relation to both the country and people. We were kindly received by Freeman A. Nickerson, who lived at Mount Pleasant, which was near Brantford, the county seat of Brant county.
Meeting at Brantford.
Sunday, 20.—At 10 o’clock we met an attentive congregation at Brantford; and the same evening a large assembly at Mount Pleasant, at Mr. Nickerson’s. The people gave good heed to the things spoken.
Tuesday, 22.—We went to the village of Colburn; and although it snowed severely, we held a meeting by candle-light on Wednesday evening, and were publicly opposed by a Wesleyan Methodist. He was very tumultuous, but exhibited a great lack of reason, knowledge, and wisdom, and gave us no opportunity to reply.
Thursday, 24.—At the house of Mr. Beman, in Colburn, whence we left for Waterford, 9 where we spoke to a small congregation; thence to Mount Pleasant, and preached to a large congregation the same evening, when Freeman A. Nickerson and his wife declared their belief in the work, and offered themselves for baptism. Great excitement prevailed in every place we visited. 10
Meetings and Baptisms at Mt. Pleasant.
Saturday, 26.—Preached at Mount Pleasant; the people were very tender and inquiring.
Sunday, 27.—Preached to a large congregation at Mount Pleasant, after which I baptized twelve, and others were deeply impressed, and desired another meeting, which I appointed for the day following.
Monday, 28.—In the evening, we broke bread, and laid on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and for confirmation, having baptized two more. The Spirit was given in great power to some, and peace to others. 11
Tuesday, 29.—After preaching at 10 o’clock a. m., I baptized two, and Confirmed them at the water’s side. Last evening we ordained F. A. Nickerson an Elder; and one of the sisters received the gift of tongues, which made the Saints rejoice exceedingly. 12 Tuesday, the 29th of October, also we took our departure from Mount Pleasant, on our return to Kirtland, and arrived at Buffalo, New York, on the 31st.
Return to Kirtland.
Friday, November 1.—I left Buffalo, New York, at 8 o’clock a. m., and arrived at my house in Kirtland on Monday, the 4th, 10 a. m. and found my family well, according to the promise of the Lord in the revelation of October 12th, for which I felt to thank my Heavenly Father.
Action of Governor Dunklin on Petition.
On the 8th of October Elders Phelps and Hyde had presented the petition of the Saints in Jackson county to the Governor of Missouri, who at that time gave them for an answer that the Attorney-General of the State was absent, but promised that on his return he would inform them of his conclusions by mail, addressed at Independence, whither the brethren immediately returned. About the 28th of October, in pursuance of Governor Dunklin’s promise, the brethren in Zion received the following communication from him in reply to their petition of September 28:
City of Jefferson, Executive Department,
October 19, 1833.
To Edward Partridge, W. W. Phelps, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, A. S. Gilbert, John Whitmer and others:
Your memorial, soliciting my interposition against violence threatened you, and redress for injuries received by a portion of the citizens of Jackson county, has been received, and its contents duly considered. I should think myself unworthy the confidence with which I have been honored by my fellow-citizens, did I not promptly employ all the means which the constitution and laws have placed at my disposal, to avert the calamities with which you are threatened.
Ours is a government of laws; to them we owe all obedience; and their faithful administration is the best guarantee for the enjoyment of our rights.
No citizen, nor number of citizens, have a right to take the redress of their grievances, whether real or imaginary, into their own hands. Such conduct strikes at the very existence of society, and subverts the foundation on which it is based. Not being willing to persuade myself that any portion of the citizens of the state of Missouri are so lost to a sense of these truths as to require the exercise of force, in order to ensure a respect for them, after advising with the Attorney-General, and exercising my best judgment, I would advise you to make a trial of the efficacy of the laws. The judge of your circuit is a conservator of the peace; if an affidavit is made before him by any of you, that your lives are threatened, and you believe them in danger, it would be his duty to have the offenders apprehended and bind them to keep the peace. Justices of the peace in their respective counties, have the same authority, and it is made their duty to exercise it. Take, then, this course:—obtain a warrant, let it be placed in the hands of the proper officer, and the experiment will be tested, whether the laws can be peaceably executed or not. In the event they cannot be, and that fact is officially notified to me, my duty will require me to take such steps as will enforce a faithful execution of them.
With regard to the injuries you have sustained by destruction of property, etc., the law is open to redress; I cannot permit myself to doubt that the courts will be open to you, nor [believe] that you will find difficulty in procuring legal advocates to sue for damages therein.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. Phelps, Esq., Independence, Jackson County, Mo.
Preparation for Asserting Rights.
Immediately on receipt of the Governor’s letter, the members of the Church generally, (though they had lain idle since the outrage in July), began to labor as usual, and build and set in order their houses, gardens, etc. The brethren in Zion were also busily engaged in devising means of redress for their grievances; and having consulted with four lawyers from Clay county, then attending court in Independence, they received from them the following letter on the day written; which I will copy entire, that the principles by which the lawyers of this generation are actuated may be recorded, as well as the difficulties the Saints had to encounter in following the Governor’s instructions:
Independence, Oct. 30, 1833.
Gentlemen:—The first thing necessary to be done, under circumstances like ours, is to ascertain and fix upon the amount of fee to be paid, and to secure the payment thereof by the necessary papers: and then the responsibility of advising falls upon us. We are now laboring under all the disadvantages of an engagement without any of its advantages; it therefore becomes us to know whether we can agree as to the fee or not; and that we should be paid, too, according to the situation in which we place ourselves. We have been doing a practice here among these people, to a considerable extent, and by this engagement we must expect to lose the greatest part of it, which will be to all of us a considerable loss; besides that, the amount involved must be very considerable, and the amount involved must be generally the criterion of the fee. Taking all these matters into consideration we propose to you to bring all the suits you may want brought, and attend to them jointly throughout, for the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars each, making for all four, of us, the sum of one thousand dollars.
This may seem to be a large sum for a fee for lawyers in this country, but the circumstances here involved make it necessary. This matter must be attended to in the first place, and then such advice, for the present, as may seem to be dictated by wisdom, and be necessary, we will give you; and in the proper time we will bring the suits. If this proposal suits, you will please execute notes, and send them to us; and if not agreed to, apprise us by letter immediately, for we can be engaged on the opposite side in all probability. We prefer to bring your suits, as we have been threatened by the mob, we wish to show them we disregard their empty bravadoes.
As a dernier ressort, the brethren accepted the foregoing proposition, and Brothers Phelps and Partridge gave their note of one thousand dollars, endorsed by Gilbert & Whitney. No sooner had this news spread among the mob, than they began to congregate and prepare for battle.
Chapter 30 – Notes.
1. Freeman Nickerson was born in South Dennis, Barnstable county, Massachusetts, February 5, 1778. His Father’s name was Eleazer Nickerson, his mother’s Thankful Chase Nickerson. Her father was a seaman. In 1800 Freeman emigrated to Vermont, and settled in Windsor county; and here he married Huldah Chapman, daughter of Eliphalet and Abigail Chase Chapman, on January 10, 1801. He served in the war of 1812 and was commissioned a lieutenant. He received the Gospel at Dayton, Cattaraugus county, New York, in April, 1833, being baptized by Elder Zerubbabel Snow, and was soon after ordained a Deacon. Brother Nickerson performed a mission among the Saints in Kirtland and vicinity in the early fall of 1833, and on the 5th of October started for Canada in company with the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, taking them on this journey with his own team and conveyance.—”Obituary Record,” (Ms.), page 45.
3. While on this journey to Canada the Prophet kept a daily journal, from which the narrative he gives in the text was evidently taken. This journal is in the Prophet’s own handwriting, and is one of the interesting relics among the records of the Church. At various points in the Prophet’s narrative of this mission, I shall quote whatever may be of interest in addition to the narrative given in the text. Of this meeting at Rudd’s the Prophet says: “Had a great congregation—paid good attention. O God, seal our testimony to their hearts!”—(Page 6.)
8. D&C 100.
10. “The result is in the hands of God,” adds the Prophet. (Journal, page 14.) I also add the Prophet’s entry for the 25th, which is omitted in his narrative. Friday, 25th. “This afternoon, at a Mr. Patrick’s, expect to hold a meeting this evening. People very superstitious. O God, establish thy word among this people. Held a meeting this evening; had an attentive congregation; the spirit gave utterance.” (Page 14.)
12. “May God,” adds the Prophet, “increase the gifts among them for His Son’s sake.” (Journal, page 17.) On the 29th the Prophet’s party started for home. “May the Lord prosper our journey. Amen,” he writes in his Journal, page 17.
These excerpts from the Prophet’s Daily Journal omitted from the narrative made up from it, have been reproduced in these notes in order that the deeply religious and prayerful nature of the Prophet might be observed. They are indeed gems of expression, and exhibit the Prophet’s profound reliance upon God and his blessings.” “O God, seal our testimony to their hearts:” “I feel very well in my mind.” “The Lord is with us;” “The Lord gave His spirit in a remarkable manner to some Saints, for which I am thankful to the God of Abraham,” he exclaims. “Lord bless my family, and preserve them,” is a frequent prayer. “This day we expect to start for Canada. Lord be with us on our journey. Amen.” And thus in all things he remembers the Lord, seeks the guidance of His Spirit, trusts in Him, relies upon Him for success, and pleads for the presence of His protecting power.