General Conference at Nauvoo—Epistle of the Twelve to the Saints in England—Difference between Baptists and Latter-Day Saints.
Minutes of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in Nauvoo, Illinois, on the 7th day of April, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one.
The names of the presidents of the several quorums were called, and they took their seats on the stand, with their counselors in front. The meeting was called to order. Choir sang a hymn; prayer by William Law.
The clerk then read the report of the First Presidency, as follows—
Report of the First Presidency.
The Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, feel great pleasure in assembling with the Saints at another general conference, under circumstances so auspicious and cheering; and with greatful hearts to Almighty God for His providential regard, they cordially unite with the Saints, on this occasion, in ascribing honor, glory, and blessing to His Holy name.
It is with unfeigned pleasure that they have to make known the steady and rapid increase of the Church in this state, the United States, and Europe. The anxiety to become acquainted with the principles of the Gospel, on every hand is intense, and the cry of “come over and help us,” is reaching the Elders on the wings of every wind; while thousands who have heard the Gospel have become obedient thereto, and are rejoicing in its gifts and blessings. Prejudice, with its attendant train of evil, is giving way before the force of truth, whose benign rays are penetrating the nations afar off.
The reports from the Twelve Apostles in Europe are very satisfactory, and state that the work continues to progress with unparalleled rapidity, and that the harvest is truly great. In the Eastern States the faithful laborers are successful, and many are flocking to the standard of truth Nor is the South keeping back. Churches have been raised up in the Southern and Western States, and a very pressing invitation has been received from New Orleans, for some of the Elders to visit that city; which has been complied with. In our own state and immediate neighborhood, many are avowing their attachment to the principles of our holy religion, and have become obedient to the faith.
Peace and prosperity attend us; and we have favor in the sight of God and virtuous men. The time was, when we were looked upon as deceivers, and that “Mormonism” would soon pass away, come to nought, and be forgotten. But the time has gone by when it is looked upon as a transient matter, or a bubble on the wave, and it is now taking a deep hold in the hearts and affections of all those who are noble-minded enough to lay aside the prejudice of education, and investigate the subject with candor and honesty. The truth, like the sturdy oak, has stood unhurt amid the contending elements, which have beat upon it with tremendous force. The floods have rolled, wave after wave, in quick succession, and have not swallowed it up. “They have lifted up their voice, O Lord; the floods have lifted up their voice; but the Lord of Hosts is mightier than the mighty waves of the sea;” nor have the flames of persecution, with all the influence of mobs, been able to destroy it; but like Moses’ bush, it has stood unconsumed, and now at this moment presents an important spectacle both to men and angels. Where can we turn our eyes to behold such another? We contemplate a people who have embraced a system of religion, unpopular, and the adherence to which has brought upon them repeated persecutions. A people who, for their love to God, and attachment to His cause, have suffered hunger, nakedness, perils, and almost every privation. A people who, for the sake of their religion, have had to mourn the premature death of parents, husbands, wives, and children. A people, who have preferred death to slavery and hypocrisy, and have honorably maintained their characters, and stood firm and immovable, in times that have tried men’s souls. Stand fast, ye Saints of God, hold on a little while longer, and the storm of life will be past, and you will be rewarded by that God whose servants you are, and who will duly appreciate all your toils and afflictions for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s. Your names will be handed down to posterity as Saints of God and virtuous men.
But we hope that those scenes of blood will never more occur, but that many, very many, such scenes as the present will be witnessed by the Saints, and that in the Temple, the foundation of which has been so happily laid, will the Saints of the Most High continue to congregate from year to year in peace and safety.
From the kind and generous feelings, manifested by the citizens of this state, since our sojourn among them, we may continue to expect the enjoyment of all the blessings of civil and religious liberty, guaranteed by the Constitution. The citizens of Illinois have done themselves honor, in throwing the mantle of the Constitution over a persecuted and afflicted people: and have given evident proof that they are not only in the enjoyment of the privileges of freemen themselves, but also that they willingly and cheerfully extend that invaluable blessing to others, and that they freely award to faithfulness and virtue their due.
The proceedings of the legislature, in regard to the citizens of this place, have been marked with philanthropy and benevolence; and they have laid us under great and lasting obligations, in granting us the several liberal charters we now enjoy, and by which we hope to prosper until our city becomes the most splendid, our University the most learned, and our Legion the most effective of any in the Union. In the language of one of our own poets, we would say—
In Illinois we’ve found a safe retreat,
A home, a shelter from oppression dire;
Where we can worship God as we think right,
And mobbers come not to disturb our peace;
Where we can live and hope for better days,
Enjoy again our liberty, our rights:
That social intercourse which freedom grants,
And charity requires of man to man.
And long may charity pervade each breast,
And long may Illinois remain the scene
Of rich prosperity, by peace secured.
In consequence of the impoverished condition of the Saints, the buildings which are in course of erection do not progress as fast as could be desired; but from the interest which is generally manifested by the Saints at large, we hope to accomplish much by a combination of effort, and a concentration of action, and erect the Temple and other public buildings, which we so much need for our mutual instruction and the education of our children.
From the reports which have been received, we may expect a large emigration this season. The proclamation which was sent, some time ago, to the churches abroad, has been responded to, and great numbers are making preparations to come and locate themselves in this city and vicinity.
From what we now witness, we are led to look forward with pleasing anticipation to the future, and soon expect to see the thousands of Israel flocking to this region in obedience to the heavenly command; numerous inhabitants—Saints—thickly studding the flowery and wide-spread prairies of Illinois; temples for the worship of our God erecting in various parts, and great peace resting upon Israel.
We would call the attention of the Saints more particularly to the building of the Temple, for on its speedy erection great blessings depend. The zeal which is manifested by the Saints in this city is, indeed, praiseworthy, and, we hope will be imitated by the Saints in the various stakes and branches of the Church, and that those who cannot contribute labor will bring their gold and their silver, their brass and their iron, with the pine tree, and box tree, to beautify the same.
We are glad to hear of the organization of the different quorums in this city, and hope that their organization will be attended to in every stake and branch of the Church, for the Almighty is a lover of order and good government.
From the faith and enterprise of the Saints generally, we feel greatly encouraged and cheerfully attend to the important duties devolving upon us, knowing that we not only have the approval of heaven, but also that our efforts for the establishment of Zion and the spread of truth, are cheerfully seconded by the thousands of Israel.
In conclusion we would say, brethren, be faithful, let your love and moderation be known unto all men; be patient, be mindful to observe all the commandments of your Heavenly Father, and the God of all grace shall bless you. Even so, Amen.
Joseph Smith, President,
Robert B. Thompson, Clerk.
On motion, Resolved that the report be printed in the Times and Seasons.
President Rigdon arose and stated that, in consequence of weakness from his labors of yesterday, he would call upon General John C. Bennett to officiate in his place.
General Bennett then read the revelations from “The Book of the Law of the Lord,” which had been received since the last general conference, in relation to writing a proclamation to the kings of the earth, building a temple in Nauvoo, the organization of the Church, &c. 1
President Joseph Smith rose, and made some observations in explanation of the same; and likewise of the necessity which existed of building the Temple, that the Saints might have a suitable place for worshiping the Almighty; and also the building of the Nauvoo Boarding House, that suitable accommodations may be afforded for the strangers who visit this city.
The choir sung a hymn, and the meeting adjourned for one hour.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment, and was called to order by William Law.
Choir sung a hymn, and President William Marks addressed the throne of grace.
General Bennett read the charters granted by the legislature of this state, for incorporating “the City of Nauvoo,” “the Nauvoo Legion,” “the University of the City of Nauvoo,” “the Agricultural and Manufacturing Association,” and “the Nauvoo House Association.”
On motion, Resolved that the charters now read be received by the Church.
President Don Carlos Smith arose, and gave an exhortation to the assembly.
General John C. Bennett then spoke at some length on the present situation, prospects, and condition of the Church, and remarked that the hand of God must indeed be visible, in accomplishing the great blessings and prosperity of the Church, and called upon the Saints to be faithful and obedient in all things, and likewise forcibly and eloquently urged the necessity of being united in all their movements; and before he sat down, he wished to know how many of the Saints who were present felt disposed to continue to act in concert and follow the instructions of the First Presidency; and called upon all those who did so, to arise on their feet—when immediately the Saints, almost without exception, arose.
The choir sung a hymn, and the meeting, after prayer, adjourned until tomorrow morning.
Thursday morning, April 8. At an early hour this morning the different quorums, who had previously been organized, came to the ground and took their seats as follows: The First Presidency, with the presidents of the quorums on the stand, the High Council on the front of the stand, the High Priests on the front to the right of the stand, the Seventies immediately behind the High Priests, the Elders in the front to the left, the Lesser Priesthood on the right.
On motion, Resolved, that this conference continue until Sunday evening.
President Joseph Smith declared the rule of voting to be, a majority in each quorum; exhorted them to deliberation, faith, and prayer; and that they should be strict and impartial in their examinations. He then told them that the presidents of the different quorums would be presented before them for their acceptance or rejection.
Bishop Whitney then presented the First Presidency to the Lesser Priesthood. President John A. Hicks presented them to the Elders’ quorum. President Joseph Young presented them to the quorums of the Seventies. President Don Carlos Smith presented them to the High Priests’ quorum. Counselor Elias Higbee presented them to the High Council; and the clerk then presented them to the presidents of all the quorums on the stand, and they were unanimously accepted. John C. Bennett was presented, with the First Presidency, as Assistant President until President Rigdon’s health should be restored.
The presidents and counselors belonging to the several quorums were then presented to each quorum separately, for approval or rejection, when the following persons were objected to, viz., John A. Hicks, president of the Elders’ quorum; Alanson Ripley, Bishop; Elder John E. Page, one of the Twelve Apostles; and Noah Packard, High Priest. Bishop Newel K. Whitney moved their cases be laid over, to be tried before the several quorums.
President Joseph Smith presented the building committee of the “House of the Lord,” viz., Alpheus Cutler, Reynolds Cahoon, and Elias Higbee, to the several quorums collectively, and they were unanimously received.
President Smith observed that it was necessary that someone should be appointed to fill the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in the room of the late Elder David W. Patten; whereupon President Rigdon nominated Elder Lyman Wight to that office; and he was unanimously accepted. Elder Wight stated that it was an office of great honor and responsibility, and he felt inadequate to the task; but, inasmuch as it was the wish of the authorities of the Church that he should take that office, he would endeavor to magnify it.
Resolved: That James Allred be appointed to the office of High Councilor, in the place of Charles C. Rich, who had been chosen a counselor to the president of this stake, and that Leonard Soby be appointed one of the High Council, in the room of David Dort, deceased.
The choir sung a hymn, and after prayer by President Rigdon, the meeting adjourned for two hours.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment. A hymn was sung by the choir.
President Rigdon delivered an interesting discourse on the subject of “Baptism for the dead.”
President Joseph Smith followed on the same subject; and threw considerable light on the doctrine which had been presented.
The choir then sung a hymn; and after prayer by Elder William Smith, conference adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock.
Friday morning, the 9th, conference met pursuant to adjournment.
The quorums reported that they had investigated the conduct of the persons who had been objected to, and that they had rejected Alanson Ripley and James Foster. Leave was given to James Foster to make a few remarks respecting the charges preferred against him: after which it was resolved that Elder James Foster continue his standing in the Church. Resolved: That, as Alanson Ripley has not appeared to answer the charges preferred against him, that his Bishopric be taken from him.
President Joseph Smith made some observations respecting the duty of the several quorums, in sending their members into the vineyard, and also stated that labor on the Temple would be as acceptable to the Lord, as preaching in the world, and that it was necessary that some agents should be appointed to collect funds for building the Temple.
Resolved: That John Murdock, Lyman Wight, William Smith, Henry William Miller, Amasa Lyman, Leonard Soby, Gehiel Savage, and Zenos H. Gurley be appointed to travel and collect funds for the same.
A hymn was then sung by the choir. Prayer by President Don Carlos Smith.
President Joseph Smith then stated that he should resign the meeting to the presidency of the stake, and the president of the High Priests’ quorum.
The building committee were called upon to address the assembly. Elder Cahoon spoke at length on the importance of building the Temple, and called upon the Saints to assist them in their great undertaking. Elder Alpheus Cutler made some very appropriate remarks.
Conference adjourned one hour.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment.
Elias Higbee spoke on the same subject [i.e. importance of building the Temple]. Elder Lyman Wight then came forward and addressed the meeting at considerable length.
The clerk read a letter from Elder John Taylor in England, to President Joseph Smith, which gave an account of the prosperity of the work of the Lord in that land.
On motion, adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock.
Saturday, 10th. The weather was unfavorable, consequently no business was transacted.
Sunday, 11th. The conference again met.
Elder Zenos H. Gurley preached on the literal fulfillment of prophecy.
President Rigdon made some observations on baptism for the remission of sins.
Conference adjourned for one hour.
Conference met, and was addressed by the Bishops of the stake, who stated the situation of the poor who had to be supported, and called upon the Saints to assist in relieving the necessities of the widows and fatherless.
Elder Lyman Wight made some observations on the subject.
President Joseph Smith then addressed the assembly, and stated that in consequence of the severity of the weather the Saints had not received as much instruction as he desired, and that some things would have to be laid over until the next conference. As there were many who wished to be baptized, they would now go to the water, and give them opportunity.
The procession was then organized, and proceeded to the Mississippi.
After the baptisms were over, the conference adjourned to the first of October next.
Joseph Smith, President.
R. B. Thompson, Clerk.
On the 7th of April, 1841, the Twelve Apostles were in England and were busy in council, visiting the Saints in Manchester, and in the evening supped at “Mother Miller’s.” On the 9th, they visited the Zoological Gardens, Manchester, England. Elder W. J. Barratt writes from Australia, “he had arrived safe at Adelaide after a rough passage, but had not baptized any persons. Obstacles to the introduction of the work of the Lord are very great.”
Letter of George A. Smith to the Star—Report of Labors.
Bolton, April 11, 1841.
Elder P. P. Pratt:
I thought good to give your readers (through the medium of the Star) a short account of my labors in England. I landed in Liverpool on the 6th of April, 1840; and, after attending the Preston conference, I went to the Staffordshire Potteries, where there were about 100 Saints; I remained there three months. The work continued to prosper, and 80 were added to the church in that time. I then left the church there to the care of Elder Alfred Cordon, and, in company with Elders Kimball and Woodruff, visited the churches in Herefordshire and vicinity. Hundreds received our testimony, and were baptized. From thence we proceeded to London, where we met with much difficulty in introducing the fullness of the Gospel; the hearts of the people were barred against the truth, but the Lord blessed our labors, and we succeeded in establishing a branch of the Church there. My health being poor, I was counseled by my brethren of the Twelve Apostles to return to the field of my former labors in Staffordshire; which I did, leaving in London but eleven members. Since that time, my labors have been chiefly confined to the limits of the Staffordshire conference, which has, until lately, included Birmingham and Macclesfield, containing eighteen branches of the Church, 580 members having been added since the time I commenced laboring there. Many have been called to the ministry, who are faithful men, and willing to receive counsel. Although I have suffered much bodily affliction during the past year, the Lord has blessed my labors abundantly, and I can say I never enjoyed myself better in the discharge of my duty, than I have on this mission. Among the greatest blessings I have enjoyed, has been the privilege of attending four general conferences, and meeting in council with the Twelve Apostles. I can assure you that a meeting with those in whose company I have suffered so much tribulation for the Gospel’s sake, both at home and abroad, by land and sea, is to me a privilege indeed. I am now preparing to return home with my brethren, according to the instructions of the First Presidency of the Church; and, as I take my leave of the Saints in this land, my prayer to God is that He will preserve His people from the hand of Satan, and prepare them for the coming Redeemer, who is near at hand.
I remain your servant for the Gospel’s sake,
George A. Smith.
Tuesday, 13.—Elder Heber C. Kimball left Manchester for Preston.
Conference in New York City.
A conference of the Church was held in New York City. Elder George W. Harris, of Nauvoo, chairman. Lucien R. Foster was elected president of the branch, and Addison Everett and George Holmes, his counselors. John M. Bernhisel was elected Bishop, and Richard Burge and William Acker his counselors. These six, having been chosen, were ordained and set apart to the several offices under the direction of Elder Harris, he having been specially appointed and authorized by President Hyrum Smith, at the Philadelphia conference, to organize more perfectly the branch in New York.
Lucien R. Foster, Secretary.
An Epistle of the Twelve Apostles to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Isle of Man, Greeting:
Beloved Brethren:—Inasmuch as we have been laboring for some time in this country, and most of us are about to depart for the land of our nativity; and, feeling anxious for your welfare and happiness in time and in eternity, we cheerfully offer you our counsel in the closing number of the first volume of the Star, hoping you will peruse it when we are far away, and profit by the same.
First of all, we would express our joy and thanksgiving to Him who rules, and knows the hearts of men, for the heed and diligence with which the Saints in this county have hearkened to the counsel of those whom God has seen fit to send among them, and who hold the keys of this ministry. By this means a spirit of union, and, consequently, of power, has been generally cultivated among you. And now let the Saints remember that which we have ever taught them, both by precept and example, viz., to beware of an aspiring spirit, which would lift you up one above another, to seek to be the greatest in the kingdom of God. This is that spirit which hurled down the angels. It is that spirit which actuates all the churches of the sectarian world, and most of the civil and military movements of the men of the world. It is that spirit which introduces rebellion, confusion, misrule, and disunion, and would, if suffered to exist among us, destroy our union, and, consequently, our power, which flows from the Spirit, through the Priesthood; which Spirit, and power, and Priesthood, can only exist with the humble and meek of the earth. Therefore, beware, O ye Priests of the Most High! lest ye are overcome by that spirit which would exalt you above your fellow-laborers, and thus hurl you down to perdition, or do much injury to the cause of God.
Be careful to respect, not the eloquence, not the smooth speeches, not the multitude of words, not the talents of men, but the offices which God has placed in the Church. Let the members hearken to their officers, let the Priests, Teachers, and Deacons hearken to the Elders, and let the Elders hearken to the presiding officers of each church or conference, and let all the churches and conferences hearken to the counsel of those who are still left in this country to superintend the affairs of the Church; and, by so doing, a spirit of union will be preserved, and peace and prosperity will attend the people of God.
We have seen fit to appoint our beloved brethren and fellow-laborers, Levi Richards and Lorenzo Snow to travel from conference to conference, and to assist Brother Pratt in the general superintendency of the Church in this country. These are men of experience and soundness of principle, in whose counsel the Church may place entire confidence, as long as they uphold them by the prayer of faith.
The spirit of emigration has actuated the children of men, from the time our first parents were expelled from the garden until now. It was this spirit that first peopled the plains of Shinar, and all other places; yes, it was emigration that first broke upon the death-like silence and loneliness of an empty earth, and caused the desolate land to teem with life, and the desert to smile with joy. It was emigration that first peopled England, once a desolate island, on which the foot of man had never trod, but now abounding in towns and cities. It was emigration that turned the wilds of America into a fruitful field, and besprinkled the wilderness with flourishing towns and cities, where a few years since the war hoop of the savage, or the howl of the wild beasts was heard in the distance. In short, it is emigration that is the only effectual remedy for the evils which now afflict the over-peopled countries of Europe. With this view of the subject, the Saints, as well as thousands of others, seem to be actuated with the spirit of enterprise and emigration, and as some of them are calculating to emigrate to America, and settle in the colonies of our brethren, we would here impart a few words of counsel on the subject of emigration.
It will be necessary, in the first place, for men of capital to go on first and make large purchases of land, and erect mills, machinery, manufactories, &c., so that the poor who go from this country can find employment. Therefore, it is not wisdom for the poor to flock to that place extensively, until the necessary preparations are made. Neither is it wisdom for those who feel a spirit of benevolence to expend all their means in helping others to emigrate, and thus all arrive in a new country empty-handed. In all settlements there must be capital and labor united, in order to flourish. The brethren will recollect that they are not going to enter upon cities already built up, but are going to “build cities and inhabit them.” Building cities cannot be done without means and labor. On this subject we would call the particular attention of the Saints to the Epistle, and also to the proclamation signed by the First Presidency of the Church, published in the eleventh number of this work (the Star), and would earnestly exhort them to observe the order and instructions there given.
We would also exhort the Saints not to go in haste, nor by flight, but to prepare all things in a proper manner before they emigrate; and especially in regard to their dealings with the world, let them be careful to settle everything honestly, as becometh Saints, as far as lies in their power, and not go away in debt, so far as they have the means to pay. And if any go away in debt, because they have not the means to pay, let it be with the design of paying as industry shall put it in their power, so that the cause of truth be not evil spoken of.
We have found that there are so many “pick-pockets,” and so many that will take every possible advantage of strangers in Liverpool, that we have appointed Elder Amos Fielding as the agent of the Church to superintend the fitting out of the Saints from Liverpool to America.
Whatever information the Saints may want about the preparation for a voyage, they are advised to call on Elder Fielding at Liverpool, as their first movement when they arrive there as emigrants. There are some brethren who have felt themselves competent to do their own business in these matters and, rather despising the counsel of their friends, have been robbed and cheated out of nearly all they had. A word of caution to the wise is sufficient. It is also a great saving to go in companies, instead of going individually.
First, a company can charter a vessel, so as to make the passage much cheaper than otherwise.
Secondly, provisions can be purchased at wholesale, for a company, much cheaper than otherwise.
Thirdly, this will avoid bad company on the passage.
Fourthly, when a company arrives at New Orleans they can charter a steamboat, so as to reduce the passage near one-half. This measure will save some hundreds of pounds on each ship load.
Fifthly, a man of experience can go as leader of each company, who will know how to avoid rogues and knaves.
Sovereigns are more profitable than silver or any other money, in emigrating to America; and the brethren are also cautioned against the American money, when they arrive in that country. Let them not venture to take paper money of that country, until they become well informed in regard to the different banks, for very few of them will pass current very far from the place where they are issued, and banks are breaking almost daily.
It is much cheaper going by New Orleans than by New York; but it will never do for emigrants to go by New Orleans in the summer, on account of the heat and sickness of the climate. It is, therefore, advisable for the Saints to emigrate in autumn, winter, or spring.
Let the Saints be careful also to obtain a letter of recommendation, from the Elders where they are acquainted, to the brethren where they are going, certifying their membership; and let the Elders be careful not to recommend any who do not conduct themselves as Saints; and especially those who would go with a design to defraud their creditors.
In regard to ordaining and licensing officers, each conference is now organized under the care of their respective presidents, who, with the voice of the Church, may ordain, according to the gifts and callings of God, by the Holy Spirit, and under the general superintendence of Elders Pratt, Richards, and Snow. Licenses should be signed by the presiding officers.
There are many other items of importance, which we would gladly mention, had we time and space sufficient; but this must suffice for the present; and may the God of our fathers bless you all with wisdom and grace to act each your part in the great work which lies before you, that the world may be warned, and thousands brought to the knowledge of the truth; and may He bless and preserve you blameless until the day of His coming. Brethren and sisters, pray for us.
We remain, your brethren in the new and everlasting covenant,
Heber C. Kimball,
Parley P. Pratt,
Geo. A. Smith.
Manchester, April 15, 1841.
Elders Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, and Levi Richards went from Manchester to Liverpool to attend a tea-party at the Music Hall.
Difference Between the Baptist and Latter-Day Saints, from the “North Staffordshire Mercury.”
Sir:—In a late publication, you reported the case of some persons who were taken before T. B. Ross, Esq., for disturbing a congregation of Latter-day Saints, or believers in the “Book of Mormon.” A teacher of that sect, on being asked by the magistrate wherein they differed from the Baptists, replied, “In the laying on of hands;” but declined making an honest confession of those peculiarities which separate them as widely from the Baptists, as from every other denomination of the Christian church. This was certainly prudent; but as the Baptists feel themselves dishonored by such an alliance, they would be unjust to themselves were they to leave unanswered such a libel upon their denomination. The following very prominent marks of difference will enable your readers to judge for themselves.
1. The Saints admit all persons indiscriminately to baptism, encouraging them to pass through that rite, with the promise that great spiritual improvement will follow. They baptize for remission of sins, without waiting for creditable evidence of repentance for sin. But the Baptists admit none to that ordinance who do not exhibit this qualification in the most satisfactory manner; and if they found a candidate looking to the water of baptism as having virtue to cleanse him from sin, he would be put back until better instructed.
2. After baptism the Saints kneel down, and their Priest, laying on his hands, professes to give them the Holy Ghost. If effects similar to those produced by the laying on of the Apostles’ hands were seen to follow, skepticism must yield to the force of such evidence; but in their case no such effects are produced; the baptized sinner is a sinner still, though flattered and deluded with the epithet “Latter-day Saint.” The Baptists regard such mummery with as much disgust as all Christians do.
3. Having, as they suppose, the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, the Saints consistently pretend to have the power of working wonders, and process to heal the sick with holy oil; also to the power of prophecy. As most moral evils bring with them their own remedy, these lofty pretensions will ruin them in due time, by opening the eyes of the most deluded, as in the case of the countless sects of impostors who have appeared upon the stage before them. It need not be added, that the Baptists stand far removed from such conceits, and have no part in them.
4. Not satisfied with the Bible as a complete revelation from God, the “Latter-day Saints” have adopted a romance, written in America, as a fresh revelation, and have added a trashy volume of 600 pages to that book, which we are forbidden to add to, or take from, under the most awful penalties! But even this is not enough for their impious resumption. They have published a monthly magazine, in which “new revelations” are served up fresh, as they arrive, for the use of all who can swallow them. The disgust with which the Baptists regard such a melancholy exhibition of human folly and wickedness, separates them to an impassable distance from such people.
5. In order to carry on this order of things, the Latter-day Saints have appointed two Priesthoods. “The Lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances. The power and authority of the higher, or Melchisedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the Church—to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven—to have the heavens opened to them—to commune with the general assembly and Church of the First-born; and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and of Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant,” (see page 13). So that, in this wonderful Priesthood, they have provided for an ample supply of new things, in endless variety, and without end, from the hands of wretched men, who blasphemously aspire to a dignity which belongs alone to Him who is the only “Priest forever after the order of Melchisedek.”
The fear of trespassing upon your valuable columns, Mr. Editor, prevents my enlarging upon these and very many other points of difference; but enough has been done to show your readers, that no two sects can differ more widely from each other, than the Baptists and the Latter-day Saints; and that to confound them in any way together is not only unjust to the former, but involves them in the disgrace of being partakers in a bold imposition, or a pitiable delusion, which they regard with equal abhorrence and disgust.
Hanley, Feb. 16, 1841.
The foregoing article attempts to show the difference between the Baptists and Latter-day Saints. We will now attempt to show the difference between the Baptists and Former-day Saints.
The Difference Between the Baptists and the Former-Day Saints.
1st. The Former-day Saints baptized for remission of sins, Acts 2:38. The Baptists baptize those only who are supposed to have their sins forgiven before they are baptized.
2nd. The Former-day Saints admitted all persons indiscriminately to baptism, as soon as they professed faith and repentance, encouraging them to pass through that rite, with the promise that great spiritual improvement would follow, Acts 2:38-41 inclusive. But if the Baptists found the penitent believer looking for remission of sins through that rite, they would be put back to “get religion” where they could find it.
3rd. After baptism, the Former-day Saints prayed for, and laid hands on the disciples in the name of Jesus, and professed to give them the Holy Ghost, Acts 8:17, also Acts 19:6. The Baptists say, “They regard such mummery with as much disgust as all Christians do.”
4th. Having, as they supposed, the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, the Former-day Saints consistently pretended to have the power of working wonders, and professed to heal the sick with holy oil; James 5:14-15. Also to the power of prophecy; First Corinthians from 12th to 14th chapter. It need not be added that the Baptists stand far removed from “such conceits,” and have no part in them; nor in anything pertaining to the gifts and power of God: or, to use the Apostle’s own words, “they have a form of godliness, denying the power.”
5th. Not satisfied with the Bible as a complete revelation from God, the Former-day Saints have added a volume of several hundred pages (the New Testament), to that book, which (according to Baptist logic) Moses forbid them to add to, or take from; but new revelations were served up almost daily, fresh as they arrived, for all those who could swallow them. “The disgust with which the Baptists regard such things, considering them but a melancholy exhibition of human folly and wickedness,” separates them to an impassable distance from the Former-day Saints; and how, with all these differences, the Baptists should ever have been thought, by themselves, or anybody else, to be the Church of Christ, is difficult to imagine!
6th. In order to carry on their strange work, or order of things, the Former-day Saints had two Priesthoods. The Aaronic Priesthood administered in outward ordinances, as in the case of John the Baptist. The power and authority of the higher, or Melchisedek Priesthood, was to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessing of the Church, as Jesus said, “I give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven—whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,” &c. They were to have the privilege of knowing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom”—to have the heavens opened unto them—to commune with the general assembly and Church of the First born; and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and of Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant: Heb. 12:22-24.So that in this wonderful Priesthood, they have provided for an ample supply of new things, in endless variety, and without end, from those who are and were counted the off-scouring of all things; and who, as the Baptists would insinuate, “did aspire to a dignity,” which they say, “Belongs alone to Him who is the only Priest forever after the order of Melchisedek.”
The fear of trespassing upon the time and patience of our readers, prevents our enlarging upon these and many other points of difference; but enough has been said to show, that no two sects can possibly differ more widely from each other than do the Baptists and Former-day Saints, and to amalgamate the two systems in any way is not only an act of injustice—but would involve the Baptists, who by the way are an honorable body, in the disgrace of that sect which was “everywhere spoken against.” See Acts 28:23.
1. This is the revelation of 19th January, 1841, now Doctrine and Covenants 121.