An Estimate of the Prophet Joseph as a Religious Leader—Anti-Mormon Meeting at Carthage—Historical Sketch—Important Conference of the Twelve Held in Boston.
Friday, September 1, 1843.—A conference was held in Buffalo, New York, Elder John P. Greene presiding; Wm. H. Folsom, 1 clerk:13 branches, 1 High Priest, 58 Elders, 2 Teachers, 1 Deacon, and 247 members were represented.
I attended the meeting of the High Council as a witness in the case of Cowles 2 vs. George J. Adams. Charges not sustained.
Saturday, 2.—I was not well, and therefore adjourned Mayor’s Court.
Sunday, 3.—I attended council with my brother Hyrum, Newel B. Whitney, Willard Richards, William Law and William Marks, and gave instructions to the brethren in relation to things in futurity.
A tremendous storm at Chester, Penn. The creek rose twenty-three feet in two hours, and swept away all the bridges, many factories and houses, and upwards of twenty persons drowned.
A conference was held at Hayward’s Hotel, Manchester, England.
Minutes of the Manchester Conference, held 3rd of September, 1843.
Charles Miller, President; William Walker, Clerk. Present:1 Patriarch, 1 High Priest, 25 Elders, 40 Priests, 21 Teachers, and 4 Deacons.
Total number of members represented was as follows:1,549 members, including 44 Elders, 99 Priests, 56 Teachers, 22 Deacons. Baptized since last general conference, 80; cut off, 29; emigrated, 18; removed, 26; died, 4.
Monday, 4.—Attended mayor’s court and tried three cases—viz.
City versus A. Dodge, S. Dodge, and Luther Purtelow.
The two first I fined five dollars, and the last one dollar and costs. One, P.M., called and gave licence for a circus performance, which I attended with my family until five, P.M.
I copy from the New York Sun as follows:—
“Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet.” 3
This Joe Smith must be set down as an extraordinary character, a prophet-hero, as Carlyle might call him. He is one of the great men of this age, and in future history will rank with those who, in one way or another, have stamped their impress strongly on society.
Nothing can be more plebeian, in seeming, than this Joe Smith. Little of dignity is there in his cognomen; but few in this age have done such deeds, and performed such apparent miracles. It is no small thing, in the blaze of this nineteenth century, to give to men a new revelation, found a new religion, establish new forms of worship, to build a city, with new laws, institutions, and orders of architecture,—to establish ecclesiastic, civil and military jurisdiction, found colleges, send out missionaries, and make proselytes in two hemispheres: yet all this has been done by Joe Smith, and that against every sort of opposition, ridicule and persecution. This sect has its martyrs also; and the spirit in which they were imprisoned and murdered in Missouri, does not appear to have differed much from that which has attended religious persecutions in all ages of the world.
That Joe Smith, the founder of the Mormons, is a man of great talent, a deep thinker, and eloquent speaker, an able writer, and a man of great mental power, no one can doubt who has watched his career. That his followers are deceived, we all believe; but, should the inherent corruptions of Mormonism fail to develop themselves sufficiently to convince its followers of their error, where will the thing end? A great military despotism is growing up in the fertile West, increasing faster in proportion, than the surrounding population, spreading its influence around, and marshalling multitudes under its banners, causing serious alarm to every patriot.
What is the reason that men are so blind that they cannot or will not see the hand of the Lord in His work of the last days!
Tuesday, 5.—Went to the office at nine, A.M., with Mr. Hamilton, of Carthage, who had obtained a deed from the sheriff of the county for lot 2, block 103, in the city of Nauvoo, for taxes, although I had previously paid them; which is another specimen of the oppression, injustice, and rascality of Mr. Collector Bagby, who by such foul means robs me and other Saints, and abuses all who come unfortunately in his power.
I requested my clerk to make out a bill of fare for the “Mansion.”
The ship Metoka sailed from Liverpool with a company of Saints on board.
Wednesday, 6.—I went to the recorder’s about half past six, A.M., and found him in bed.
Held mayor’s court in the case, “City versus Joseph Owen.”
Anti-Mormon Meeting at Carthage, Seat of Hancock, County Illinois. 4
Meeting convened pursuant to adjournment. The former chairman 5 not being present.
Edson Whitney, Esq., was called to the chair, and the meeting being organized, the following preamble and resolutions were submitted by the committee, and unanimously adopted:—
Preamble and Resolutions.
This meeting having convened for the purpose of taking under advisement a subject of vital importance not only to this county, but to all the surrounding counties, regret that we are necessarily and irresistibly forced to the conclusion that a certain class of people have obtruded themselves upon us, calling themselves Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, and under the sacred garb of Christianity, assumed, as we honestly believe, that they may the more easily, under such a cloak, perpetrate the most lawless and diabolical deeds that have ever, in any age of the world, disgraced the human species.
In evidence of the above charge, we find them yielding implicit obedience to the ostensible head and founder of this sect, who is a pretended prophet of the Lord, and under this Heaven-daring assumption claiming to set aside, by his vile and blasphemous lies, all those moral and religious institutions which have been established by the Bible, and which have in all ages been cherished by men as the only means of maintaining those social blessings which are so indispensably necessary for our happiness.
We believe that such an individual, regardless as he must be of his obligations to God, and at the same time entertaining the most absolute contempt for the laws of man, cannot fail to become a most dangerous character, especially when he shall have been able to place himself at the head of a numerous horde, either equally reckless and unprincipled as himself, or else made his pliant tools by the most absurd credulity that has astonished the world since its foundation.
In the opinion of this meeting, a crisis has arrived, when many of the evils to be expected from a state of things so threatening have transpired. We feel convinced that circumstances have even now occurred which prove to us most conclusively that Joseph Smith, the false Prophet before alluded to, has evinced, in many instances, a most shameless disregard for all the forms and restraints of law, by boldly and presumptuously calling in question the acts of certain officers, who had fearlessly discharged the duties absolutely imposed upon them by the laws, particulary when they have come in contact with his own sordid and selfish interests.
He has been heard to threaten—nay, he has committed violence upon the person of an officer, because that officer dared honestly to do his duties according to law.
He has caused his city council to pass laws contrary to the laws of the state, and subversive of the rights of citizens of this state.
Citizens have been arrested, tried and punished for breaches of those mock laws, from time to time, in such manner, that they have been compelled to the humiliating necessity of seeking an asylum elsewhere, in order to escape the tyranny and oppression of this modern Caligula.
He has caused the writ of habeas corpus to be issued by the municipal court of the city of Nauvoo, in a case not provided for in the charter of this city, and indeed contrary to the letter of that instrument; and, himself a prisoner, arrested under grave charges made by a neighboring state, brought before said court, tried, and acquitted; thereby securing his own rescue from the custody of the law.
Citizens from the adjoining counties have been denied the right to regain property stolen and taken to Nauvoo, even after they have discovered both the thief and the property; and themselves, under the most frivolous pretenses, arrested, fined, and other property rifled from them, to satisfy the mock judgments and costs of his cormorant officers.
Persons upon whom stolen property has been found in the city of Nauvoo, have been brought before this religio-political chief; and he, in the capacity of mayor of the city, has refused to convict, where the cases have been most clear and palpable.
We have had men of the most vicious and abominable habits imposed upon us to fill our most important county offices, by his dictum, in order, as we verily believe, that he may the more certainly control our destinies, and render himself, through the instrumentality of these base creatures of his ill-directed power, as absolutely a despot over the citizens of this county as he now is over the serfs of his own servile clan.
And, to crown all, he claims to merge all religion, all law, and both moral and political justice, in the knavish pretension that he receives fresh from heaven divine instructions in all matters pertaining to these things; thereby making his own depraved will the rule by which he would have all men governed.
He has caused large bodies of his ragamuffin soldiery to arm themselves, and turn out in pursuit of officers legally authorized to arrest himself; he being charged with high crimes and misdemeanors committed in the state of Missouri, and these officers arrested by the vilest hypocrisy, and placed in duress, that he might enable himself to march triumphantly into Nauvoo, and bid defiance to the laws of the land.
In view of the above grievances, this meeting feel that it is their bounden duty to resist, by every laudable means, all such unwarrantable attacks upon their liberties. Therefore—
Resolved, 1st. That inasmuch as we honestly believe that the combination of people calling themselves Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, have given strong indications, in their recent movements, that they are unwilling to submit to the ordinary restraints of law, we are therefore forced to the conclusion that the time is not far distant when the citizens of this country will be compelled to assert their rights in some way.
Resolved, 2nd. That while we would deprecate anything like lawless violence, without justifiable cause, yet we pledge ourselves in the most solemn manner to resist all the wrongs which may be hereafter attempted to be imposed on this community by the Mormons, to the utmost of our ability,—peaceably, if we can, but forcibly, if we must.
Resolved, 3rd. That in the event of our being forced into a collision with that people, we pledge ourselves that we will stand by and support each other in every emergency up to the death.
Resolved, 4th. That we believe that it is also the interest of our friends in the neighboring counties and also neighboring states to begin to take a firm and decided stand against the high pretension and base designs of this latter-day would-be Mahomet.
Resolved, 5th. That provided we must necessarily, for the well-being of this community, the protection of our dearest rights, and the preservation of our excellent institutions, adopt measures to humble the pride and arrogance of that audacious despot; we therefore call upon all good and honest men, without distinction of party or place, to come to the rescue.
Resolved, 6th. That we pledge ourselves in the most determined manner that if the authorities of the State of Missouri shall make another demand for the body of Joseph Smith, and our Governor shall issue another warrant to stand ready at all times to serve the officer into whose hands such warrant may come, as a posse, in order that it may not be said of us, in future, that the most outrageous culprits have been suffered “to go unwhipped of justice.”
Resolved, 7th. That a corresponding committee be appointed to communicate with the different parts of this county, and also with other counties; and we would also recommend to all surrounding counties to appoint like committees for the purpose of a mutual interchange of views in regard to the subjects embraced in these proceedings.
Resolved, 8th. That as it has been too common for several years past for politicians of both political parties, not only of this county, but likewise of the state, to go to Nauvoo and truckle to the heads of the Mormon clan for their influence, we pledge ourselves that we will not support any man of either party in future who shall thus debase himself.
Resolved, 9th. That if the Mormons carry out the threats they have made in regards to the lives of several of our citizens, we will, if failing to obtain speedy redress from the laws of the land, take summary and signal vengeance upon them as a people.
Resolved, 10th. That when the Government ceases to afford protection, the citizens of course fall back upon their original inherent right of self-defense.
In pursuance of the 7th resolution, the following gentlemen were appointed to act as a central corresponding committee at Carthage—namely, Captain Robert F. Smith, Major T. J. Bartlet, Harmon T. Wilson, Frank A. Worrel, and Walter Bagby.
On motion of Henry Stevens, it was ordered that committees, consisting of two persons, be appointed in each election precinct of this county, for the purpose of communicating with the central committee at Carthage; and that those two may add to their number at discretion.
On motion of Daniel Beaver, it was made the duty of the person whose name stands first on the list of each committee to act as chairman; and that all communications from the other committees, or from any other sources shall be added.
The following gentlemen were then appointed by the chair as committees in the several precincts, to wit:—
Green Plains—Edson Whitney and Levi Williams.
Bear Creek—William White and Andrew Moore.
Chili—Stephen Owen and Arthur Morgan.
Augusta—William D. Abernethy and Alexander Oliver.
Saint Mary’s—William Darnell and Daniel Beaver.
Fountain Green—Thomas Geddis and S. H. Tyler.
La Harpe—Jesse Gilmer and Charles Comstock.
Camp Creek—James Graham and Thomas Harris.
Appanooce—John McCanley and John R. Atherton.
Montebello—Samuel Steel and Benjamin B. Gates.
Warsaw—Thomas C. Sharp and Mark Aldrich.
On motion of Levi Williams, Colonel Root, of McDonough county, was added to the central corresponding committee of Carthage.
On motion of Henry Newton, Esq.,
Resolved, That the central committee of correspondence act as a general committee of supervision; and, in case of a contingency occurring requiring aid, that they immediately call on the precinct committees and upon all others favorable to our cause to furnish such aid as the exigency of the case may require.
On the motion of Charles C. Stevens, the following supplementary resolutions were unanimously adopted:—
Resolved, That the president of this meeting be requested to communicate with the Governor of Missouri, and respectfully request him to make another demand upon the authorities of this state for the body of Joseph Smith, commonly called the Mormon Prophet; and in the event of a requisition and an order for his arrest and delivery to the proper officers of the state of Missouri, we offer our services to enforce said order, and pledge ourselves to sustain the supremacy of the laws at all hazards and under all circumstances.
Resolved, That a copy of the proceedings of this meeting be forwarded to the publisher of the Warsaw Message, Quincy Whig, and Quincy Herald, for publication, with a request to them to add a note, soliciting all editors friendly to our cause in this state, Missouri, and Iowa Territory, to copy.
It was then moved and seconded, That this meeting adjourn, subject to the call of the central corresponding committee.
Edson Whitney, Chairman.
W. D. Abernethy, Secretary.
Editors throughout Illinois, Missouri, Iowa Territory, friendly to the Anti-Mormon cause, are requested to publish the proceedings, in today’s paper, of a meeting held at Carthage on the 6th instant.
Thursday, 7.—I took home the letter written to Harrisburg 6 for the Church History, a small fragment of which only has been preserved, and is as follows:—
Historical Sketch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Messrs. Editors,—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded upon direct revelation, as the true Church of God has ever been, according to the Scriptures (Amos 3:7, and Acts 1:2); and through the will and blessings of God, I have been an instrument in his hands, thus far, to move forward the cause of Zion: therefore, in order to fulfill the solicitations of your letter of July last, I shall commence with my life.[Then follows a brief historical sketch of the Church from the birth of the Prophet to the settlement of the Saints at Nauvoo, much in the strain of the “Wentworth Letter” already published in this History, (Vol. 4, Ch. 31); and for the reason that all the historical data in this I. Daniel Rupp sketch is contained in the Wentworth Letter, it is thought unnecessary to reproduce it here, excepting the closing paragraphs which deal with conditions and prospects at Nauvoo, on the date at which we have arrived in our History, viz. September, 1843.—Editor.]
Nauvoo, upon every point connected with increase and prosperity has exceeded the most sanguine expectations of thousands. It now contains near 3,500 houses, and more than 15,000 inhabitants. The charter contains, among its important powers, privileges or immunities, a grant for “The University of Nauvoo,” with the same liberal powers of the city, where all the arts and sciences will grow with the growth and strengthen the strength of this beloved city of the Saints of the last days.
Another very commendatory provision of the charter is that that portion of the citizens subject to military duty are organized into a body of independent military men, styled the “Nauvoo Legion,” whose highest officer holds the rank and is commissioned lieutenant-general. This Legion, like other independent bodies of troops in this Republican Government, is at the disposal of the Governor of the state, and President of the United States. There is also an act of incorporation for an Agricultural and Manufacturing Association, as well as the Nauvoo House Association.
Since the organization of this Church, its progress has been rapid, and its gain in numbers regular. Besides these United States, where nearly every place of notoriety has heard the glad tidings of the Gospel of the Son of God, England, Ireland and Scotland have shared largely in the fullness of the everlasting Gospel, and thousands have already gathered with their kindred Saints to this the corner stone of Zion. Missionaries of this Church have gone to the East Indies, to Australia, Germany, Constantinople, Egypt, Palestine, the islands of the Pacific, and are now preparing to open the door in the extensive dominions of Russia.
There is no correct data by which the exact number of members composing this now extensive and still extending Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be known. Should it be supposed at 150,000, it might still be short of the truth.
Believing the Bible to say what it means and mean what it says, and guided by revelation, according to the ancient order of the fathers, to whom came what little light we enjoy, and circumscribed only by the eternal limits of truth, this Church must continue the even tenor of its way.
Called at the office, and administered the laying on of hands to Sister Partington and her two children.
Dreadful conflagration at Stuhlweissenburg, in Hungary. About six hundred houses destroyed.
Friday, 8.—My wife being sick, I was at home all day.
Stephen Markham started for Dixon with the court papers in relation to the writ of habeas corpus, and as a witness.
I directed William Clayton to go to Augusta, Iowa, to get a deed signed by Mr. Moffit for the steamer Maid of Iowa.
Muster day of the first cohort.
The Twelve held a meeting in Boylston Hall, Boston. Present—Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, Wilford Woodruff, John E. Page.
Saturday, 9.—My wife a little more comfortable. William Clayton went to Augusta, got the deed signed by Mr. Moffit and his wife, and returned in the evening.
General training of the Nauvoo Legion.
The quorum of the Twelve met the church in Boston, at Boylston Hall, in conference. Sixteen branches were represented, containing 878 members. A great deal of valuable instruction was given by the Twelve, and the hall, a very large one, was crowded. A number were baptized during conference, which lasted three days. The minutes of conference I here insert:—
Important Conference of the Twelve, Held at Boylston Hall, Boston, September 9, 1843.
Present of the Quorum of the Twelve—Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith.[Reported by Wilford Woodruff.]
Conference opened with prayer by Elder George A. Smith.
After the various branches in the New England States were represented, Elder P. P. Pratt made a few remarks, of which the following is a synopsis:
Some Elders tell us that they have taught the gathering according to the Scriptures. But it is not sufficient to teach the principle from the Scriptures alone; for if there was no other guide, the people would be left in doubt as to whether they should gather to Jerusalem, Africa, America, or elsewhere. It is right to teach the gathering according to the Scriptures, although some predictions of the Prophets are obscure; but we are not left to them alone. We know and all the Saints ought to know that God has appointed a place and time of gathering and has raised up a Prophet to bring it about, of which we are witnesses. Our message is that we are witnesses of the fulfillment of the predictions of the Prophets.
We have not to lay down a long, round-about [system] of arguments and calculations. The specific time and place are pointed out, the stakes are driven, the foundations of the city and temple are laid, and a people already gathered. We therefore know where to go; and to reject the revelations of God, which have pointed out these things to us, only brings condemnation. If this is not the case, then our faith is vain, and our works and hopes are vain also.
We worship a God who can inspire His servants to tell the people what to do. We have already got the opinions of men enough concerning the coming of Jesus Christ; but we need the voice of a Prophet in such a case and we have it. I am willing to risk my all upon it: and if the Elders understand the principle of gathering, and teach it correctly, the people will have the correct spirit of the gathering.
It is time we come out and declared boldly and definitely what God had for the people. We want more than opinions—we want your works. He has said he would send a Prophet to prepare the way. And let me ask these profound sectarians, why He has not done it? If the angels found a God in heaven able to give instructions, shield them from sword and famine, &c., why have we not found Him? Let the teachers bear the message they are entrusted with; and if the people wish then for Scripture, tell them that their message is in fulfillment of prophecy; but let them have the whole message.
Elder E. P. Maginn said he for one had taught the gathering according to the Scriptures; but he considered all modern revelations Scripture as well as those given anciently.
Elder Brigham Young addressed the meeting on the subject of our faith. We hear the Elders represent the feeling of the brethren concerning the gathering. This is right. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ is a gathering spirit. Its tendency is to gather the virtuous and good, the honest and meek of the earth, and, in fine, the Saints of God. The time has come when the Lord is determined to fulfill his purposes. The people are apt to say that if they had lived in the days of Jesus Christ they would have received His work. But judge ye if the people are better now than then. They are not. When the full, set time was come, the Lord came in the flesh to do His work, whether the people were prepared or not; and He would not have come at all, if He had waited till the people were prepared to receive Him. It was decreed from all eternity that He should come, and He came. The people were not prepared then, nor are they any more prepared now. And now the full set time has come for the Lord God Almighty to set His hand to redeem Israel. We are not bound to make the people believe, but we are bound to preach the Gospel; and having done this, our garments are clear.
The Lord does not require every soul to leave his home as soon as He believes. Some may be wanted to go to the isles of the sea, and some to go north, and some south. But He does require them to hearken to counsel, and follow that course which He points out, whether to gather or stay to do some other work.
The Spirit of the Lord and His work are on the alert, and those who keep up with the work must be on the alert also. The Spirit of the Lord will leave them who sit down and refuse to obey. When the Lord says, “Gather yourselves together,” why do you ask Him what for? Had you not rather enjoy the society of Saints than sinners whom you cannot love? Is it not the principle of the Saints to mingle together and promote the great cause in which they are engaged?
Perhaps some of you are ready to ask, “Cannot the Lord save us as well where we are as to gather together?” Yes, if the Lord says so. But if He commands us to come out and gather together, He will not save us by staying at home. Have you not received the Gospel? Yes. Then do you believe what we say? Have you not received the Holy Ghost, by receiving the Gospel which we have brought unto you? Yes. thousands have; and it stands as a testimony that God has got a Prophet on the earth. You might have been baptized seventy times seven in any way except the way God had ordained and pointed out, and you would not have received the Holy Ghost. This also is a testimony to you.
Are you engaged with us in this great work? “Yes, certainly,” you answer, “heart and hand.” “Can we do any good?” Yes, you can. The sectarian world send the Bible to the nations of the earth. The poor among them put sixpence, fifty cents or a dollar into the box to carry out that object; and can the Latter-day Saints do nothing? Let them do what God requires. He has required that we should build a house unto His name, that the ordinances and blessings of His kingdom may be revealed, and that the Elders may be endowed, go forth and gather together the blood of Ephraim—the people of God, from the ends of the earth.
Can you get an endowment in Boston or anywhere, except where God appoints? No, only in that place which God has pointed out. Now, query—Could Moses have obtained the law if he had stayed in the midst of the children of Israel, instead of going up on to the mountain? The Lord said, “Go and do so and so; stand before Pharaoh; pull off thy shoes, for the place is holy.” Moses obeyed, and obtained blessings which he would not have received if he had been disobedient.
Has the Lord spoken in these last days, and required us to build Him a house? Then why query about it? If He has spoken, it is enough. I do not care whether the people gather or not, if they don’t want to do so. I do not wish to save the people against their will. I want them to choose whether they will gather and be saved with the righteous, or remain with the wicked and be damned. I would like to have all people bow down to the Lord Jesus Christ; but it is one of the decrees of the Lord that all persons shall act upon their agency, which was the case even with the angels who fell from heaven.
Now, will you help us to build the Nauvoo House and Temple? If so, you will be blessed: if not, we will build it without you. And if you don’t hearken, you will not have the Spirit of the Lord; for the Spirit of the Lord is on the move.
The Apostles tried to gather the people together in their day. Christ said He would gather the Jews oft as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but they would not. Neither God nor angels care whether men hear or forbear: they will carry on their work; for the full, set time is come for God to set up His kingdom, and we go about it. We must build a house, and get an endowment, preach the gospel, warn the people, gather the Saints, build up Zion, finish our work, and be prepared for the coming of Christ.
Now, we want to send four missionaries to the Pacific Islands, and we want a little clothing, and beds, and money to pay their passage. Can you do something for them? This is not all. We want you to give all you have to spare towards building the Temple. We shall be able to build it, if we have to work with a sword in one hand. But perhaps you are afraid you will not have enough for yourself, when you get there; yet how easy it is for the Lord to take it away from you by fire or otherwise!
Elder Maginn had an ivory cane. I asked him for it, but he declined making me a present of it. Not long after, he had it stolen from him in a crowd, and it now does neither of us any good. Perhaps your purse may slip through your pocket, or you may lose your property; for the Lord can give and take away. Jacob, with his faith, obtained all the best cattle his father-in-law had.
If I had a wife and ten children, I would give all my money to build the Temple and Nauvoo House, and I would trust in God for their support. Yet I will be richer for it; for God would prosper me in business. Men are apt to serve God on Sunday, and neglect Him all the week. Who blesses you and all the people? God. But do the people acknowledge the hand of God in all these things? No; they turn away from Him, and do not acknowledge Him, or realize from whom their blessings flow. They know not who blesses them. It never comes into their hearts. So with the farmer. The blessings are constantly flowing to him, and he considers not whence they come.
Let me tell you a secret. When the Lord shakes the earth, and every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, He will bring gold for brass, silver for iron, brass for wood, and iron for stones. Then you will have no use for gold, for money and gods as you now have. You will not care so much about it; but the Lord will think as much of it then as now.
But now we want some of the gods of the Gentiles—some of the gold and silver to build the Temple and Nauvoo House for the accommodation of the kings, princes and nobles of the earth, when they come to inquire after the wisdom of Zion, that they may have a place for their entertainment, and for the weary traveler to be refreshed. Let us have your gold to take to Nauvoo for this purpose.
Is there wisdom in Zion? We think so, and the world begins to think so. Let the world come forward and translate the plates that have of late come forth, 7 if they have wisdom to do it. The Lord intends to take away the gods of the Gentiles: He pulleth down and He buildeth up at His own pleasure.
Sacrifice your gods for the building up of Zion. Administer of your substance. Send our missionaries to the islands of the seas. Don’t be afraid of a dollar, or a hundred dollars, or even a thousand dollars. I would not. I have made a sacrifice of all I possessed a good many times. I am richer the more I give; for the Lord has promised and does reward me a hundredfold; and if I sacrifice all for the cause of God, no good thing will be withheld from me. I have taken this course to get rich. I have given all I had, and God has given many blessings in consequence. If I am too bold in asking, be too bold in giving. I ask, expecting to receive. Put your shoulders to the wheel with all your might. Give your all, and become rich by receiving a hundredfold.
Adjourned until half-past two o’clock. when the meeting was opened by singing.
Prayer by Elder Parley P. Pratt. Singing.
Elder Parley P. Pratt said: I have a few remarks to make concerning the subject spoken of in the forenoon by Elder Brigham Young, who said we wanted all your gold, silver, and precious things. We not only want your all as pertaining to gold, silver, &c., but we want you, your wives and children, and all you have to be engaged in the work of the Lord.
I don’t know that I can give you a better pattern of what we want than the case of Joseph in Egypt. Israelites will get all they can. They are very great to go ahead. The Egyptians believed in dreams; and by the peculiar gift of interpretation of dreams, Joseph entered into a great scheme of speculation. He used the gift of interpretation to become great in the eyes of the Egyptians. He obtained great political influence, came out with gold ornaments, and rode in the king’s chariot in great splendor. He laid up corn in great abundance during the seven years of plenty; and when the famine came, he got all their gold, silver, cattle, land, property, and, finally their persons. * * *
God is the origin of power—the Sovereign. He made the people and the earth, and He has the right to reign. There will be good times and good government, when the world will acknowledge the God of heaven as the Lawgiver, and not till then; and if I could live under His government, I should be thankful, although I am a real Republican in principle, and would rather live under the voice of the people than the voice of one man. But it will be for the good and happiness of man when that government is established, which we pray for when we say, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;” and until that time arrives we must pray for it.
This Joseph in Egypt—the speculator—what a great and good man he was! I love him, I admire his course, and I believe a little of his blood is in my veins. But had Joseph been like the religious world at the present day—had he said he had got religion and done with the world, he would not have rode the king’s horse, worn his robe, or had to do with gold and silver; and he would have done no good, built no storehouses, and saved no corn, for fear of speculation.
But he acted differently. And there is an ancient prediction respecting our modern prophet, Joseph—namely, that a prophet and seer should be raised up, and those who seek to destroy him shall be confounded. This has proved true. Upwards of thirty law suits have been brought against the Lord’s anointed, and his persecutors have as often been confounded. He has been raised and supported according to the prophecy, to do a work on the earth, and the Lord has been with him. Every weapon formed against him has been broken. He has overcome all the lawsuits which have been brought against him, and no accusation has been sustained against him; yet he will lay a plan to speculate as large as ancient Joseph did; he will have power to buy up all the rest of the world.
What Elder Young said is good. We want all he spoke of, and a great deal more, We do not want it for ourselves, but for you. We want you to use it; and we have a Prophet who tells how, when and where to use it. Take your means and unite your exertions in this work. We want you to take that course which will save you. Build up a city and temples, and enjoy them, and do as the Lord tells you, and hearken to counsel.
We have prophets to tell us what to do, and we should get as much wisdom as the world. If they want a railroad built, all they have to do is to open books. The people subscribe stock, a railroad is soon built, and an income is realized. The Saints ought to be as well united as the world, and do the things that God has required, that a great nation may be saved from all nations.
The old gentleman [Satan] that rules the nations has ruled long enough; and if I were an infidel, I would like to have the Lord raise up a Joseph, or a Daniel, or a Mordecai, or an Esther, to obtain political, temporal, and spiritual power, and cause a change for the good of the world. Thank heaven, he has begun to raise them up. He has raised up another Joseph to do the great work of God, and it will continue on until the saying goes forth that the Lord has built up Zion.
The kingdom of God must be established, and it will be. I read that gold, silver, power, thrones, and dominions will be connected with the great work of God in the last days. Then let us wake up to see what God says shall come to pass, and let us enlarge our hearts and prepare for the great and glorious work.
Do the Saints here in Boston know that they are identified with the laying of the foundation, and establishing of a great and mighty kingdom, which is to include all the great and glorious work to be fulfilled in the last dispensation and fullness of times? And I prophesy, in the name of the Lord, that whether the Saints of Boston or any other place, stand for it or rise against it, numberless millions will celebrate that day when the foundation of this work was laid.
Elder George A. Smith said: I am pleased with the many remarks which have been made this day. You can easily see a similarity between the two Josephs, and the revelations that are given for the salvation of the present generation. Joseph in Egypt, a savior of his father’s house and the Egyptians: Joseph [Smith] at this day holds the keys of salvation not only to the Gentiles, but also to the house of Israel.
I do not know but some may have reflections different from my own. I will, however, show how the Lord deals with mankind. Some may say, “Who can believe that God who dwells in heaven will condescend to speak to the people about building Him a house in this day of religion and science?
This may be considered simple in the eyes of many; but the day was when the salvation or damnation of the whole world hung upon as small a circumstance. “Noah, by faith, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteous which is by faith.”
Had the editors of this day lived then, I think they would have said and written more against it than they have against Joseph Smith and the revelations he has received and published.
We find God was in the habit of telling men to do many simple things, even to the giving of a law concerning the protection of birds’ nests. You talk about God condescending to speak of small things in the last days, but it is only as it was in the days of Moses; for we read in the Bible how God commanded the children of Israel, when they found a bird’s nest, (Deut. 22:7) not to take the dam with the young: “But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee.” Why? “That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayst prolong thy days.”
We see from this, that however small and simple the commandments of God appear to be, they are great in their results. Connecting this with the law of God to Israel concerning the eating of locusts, beetles and grasshoppers (Leviticus 11:22). “Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.”
Is this as small business for the Lord to talk about as it is for Him to command the Saints to build a tavern or boarding house for visitors who constantly go to Nauvoo, which, when done, will do much good for the spreading of the work to all nations. What good could arise from a law of God permitting the eating of beetles and grasshoppers, I cannot say.
All the prophecies have aimed at the gathering of the people, and saving them in the last days. But it is better never to have known the Master’s will than to know it and not perform it; and my advice is, If you cannot take hold of the work and go through the whole course, stop and go no further. If you have not courage to go on at the expense of all things, it is better to turn back.
We do not want to deceive you. Our traditions have taught us to be very religious, to wear long faces, never to tell an amusing story, nor to laugh, &c. This was the case with the long-faced Christians in Missouri, and they were the first to strike a dagger to our hearts. It is better for a man to act out what he is than to be a hypocrite. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this,” says James, “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
I do not like that religion which lies in a man’s long face, or his coat or his hat. If I wear a strange hat, it is not because of my religion: for where the religion of a man is in the shape of a hat or coat, it is not very extensive anywhere else.
Some of the Elders want to appear very big, and to be called great preachers; but whenever I have seen them trying to preach something large and mysterious, to get a name, I have concluded they have yet much to learn. I have been eleven years a member of this Church, and was a believer two years before I entered it; and during that time I have seen many Elders who like to preach large and mysterious sermons.
As many are desirous of hearing mysteries, I will rehearse a short sermon of mysteries for their edification. Elder Kimball has had a long standing in the Church. He has preached much, done much good, brought many souls into the kingdom, had great influence, and is considered the most successful minister among us.
Elder Amasa Lyman and myself went into Pike county, Illinois, to preach where the Elders had preached all the mysteries about beasts, heads and horns. They wanted us to preach mysteries. We told them we were not qualified to preach mysteries; but if they would send for Elder Kimball he would preach them. So they sent about forty miles for Elder Kimball, and brought him down, they were so anxious to hear mysteries.
When he came, he had a large congregation assembled. He arose and remarked that he understood they had sent for him to come and preach the mysteries to them. “I am well qualified, and fully competent to do it, and am happy to have the privilege. I want the attention of all.” When every mind was stretched and eager to learn these great mysteries he said, “The first mystery I shall present before you is this, “Look at Elder Amasa Lyman; he needs a pair of pantaloons and a new hat. But it appears you do not see it; consequently I want to open your eyes and reveal to you a great mystery; for an Elder in the Church has need of a hat and a pair of breeches as well as yourselves, and especially when the Saints know he is so much in need of them!” He preached a few more mysteries of the same nature, and the result of this sermon was that Elder Lyman got a pair of pants and a new hat, and Elder Kimball and myself each a barrel of flour for our families.
Elder Brigham Young arose and said: I will make an apology for my remarks in the former part of the day. Some may think I spoke very plainly; but the object I had in view was to teach you your duty, as I am aware the people are not made to feel it; and the apology I have to make is this: I will turn Thomsonian doctor, and give the composition without cream and sugar,—it matters not whether I get friends or foes. If this work does not live, I do not want to live; for it is my life, my joy, my all; and if it sinks, God knows I do not want to swim.
I wish you to understand this—that he that gathereth not with us scattereth, and they have not the Spirit of God. We live in anticipation of the day when mobs cannot harm us, and they who have tasted the bitter cup feel to realize this hope. Wake up, ye Elders of Israel who have sought to build yourselves up, and not the kingdom of God, and put on your sword. Wake up, ye that have daubed with untempered mortar! Hearken and hear me; for I say unto you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that if you do not help us to build the Temple and the Nauvoo House, you shall not inherit the land of Zion.
If you do not help to build up Zion and the cause of God, and help me and my brethren on our way when we want to go on the Lord’s business, you shall not partake of the blessings which are laid up in store for the Saints. Many Elders seek to build themselves up, and not the work of the Lord. They will say “Put gold rings on my fingers; give me what I want;” and they care nothing about the Temple. This they should not do. I will not allow myself to do so; and when any one does this, no matter who he may be, even though he was one of the Twelve, he will not prosper. Those of the Twelve and others of the Elders who have apostatized, I have known their hearts and their breathings. I have known their movements although they thought I did not know much. But I knew all about them; and when I see men preaching to build themselves up, and not Zion, I know what it will end in. But you may say you are young. I don’t care if you are. Are you old enough to know what you are about? If so, preach and labor for the building up of the city of Zion; concentrate your means and influence there, and not scatter abroad. Instead of which, some of the Elders appear to be dumb and lazy, and care for nothing but themselves.
Now, ye Elders, will you be faithful? If not, you will not be chosen, for the day of choosing is at the door. Why be afraid of a sacrifice? I have given my all many times, and am willing to do it again. I would be glad to hear the Lord say through His servant Joseph, “Let my servant Brigham give again all that he has,” I would obey it in a moment, if it took the last coat off my back.
A hymn was sung.
Elder Kimball arose and said: I get up of necessity to say a few words. I am unwell, but I feel the importance of this work. I have been a member of this Church twelve years. I came out of the Baptist church and joined this with all my heart, as I was seeking after truth. I have passed through everything but death; in fact I have been brought into situations even worse than death. It has been my lot and privilege to sacrifice all I possessed from time to time; and we have come here to call for help to build the Temple and Nauvoo House. I have spent thirty dollars to get here, and have collected fifteen and that with much difficulty.
We were commanded of the Lord to come: but it seems as though but few felt interested in it. Here I see four brethren going as missionaries to the Sandwich Islands, and destitute of means to help themselves. I could weep for them. I feel interested in this great work. We are seeking to bring about a work that could never before be performed.
When the time is brought about that we are to receive our inheritances, the more faithful we are, the larger will be our reward. We have come out to reap, but do we have time to reap new grain? No; for it takes all our time to try to save that which is already reaped.
We have reapers in the field, and we are trying to save the wheat. We want to get it on the barn floor, so that we may thrash it. We have come after it to warn you. You think Elder Young put the flail on rather heavy; but it is nothing to be compared with the thrashing you will get in Zion, and those who have the hardest heads will, of course, have to be thrashed the hardest. But don’t be troubled about the chaff when it comes to the barn, for God will prepare a great winnowing mill which will blow all the chaff away, and the wheat will be found before the mill: then it has to go through the smut machine, then ground, then put through the bolting machine, and many will bolt in going through. I speak in parables. I compare the Saints to a good cow. When you milk her clean, she will always have an abundance of milk to give; but if you only milk her a little, and don’t strip her, she will soon dry up. So with the Saints: if they do but little in building up Zion, they soon have but little to do with. This was the case in Cincinnati.
The night before arriving at Cincinnati, I had a dream while on the steamboat. I dreamt that I had a wagon with a rack on it, and an individual with me. We were going to a field of wheat of mine that had been cut, bound and shocked up, in order to haul into the barn. When we came to the field, I jumped off the wagon, and got over the fence to examine it, pulled off the cap sheaf, and behold it was oats. Pulling the bundles apart, I found there were clusters of rats. On further examination I found clusters of mice, and the oats were all eaten up.
In my dream I was going to haul in wheat, but to my astonishment it was oats, and they were all eaten up by the rats and mice.
I thought these rats and mice were the Elders and official members who had been in and lain on the Church at Cincinnati—lived on the wheat—eaten it up instead of building up new branches; so that when the Twelve came along, they could not get anything for the Temple or Nauvoo House, or hardly a place to stay. The rats had eaten up the wheat, so we had to go to the world for a home to stay while we were there.
We do not profess to be polished stones like Elders Almon W. Babbitt, George J. Adams, James Blakeslee, and Eli P. Maginn, &c., &c.; but we are rough stones out of the mountain; and when we roll through the forest, and knock the bark from the trees, it does not hurt us, even if we should get a corner knocked off occasionally; for the more we roll about, and knock the corners off, the better we are; but if we were polished and smooth when we get the corners knocked off, it would deface us.
Joseph Smith never professed to be a dressed, smooth, polished stone, but to have come rough out of the mountain; and he has been rolling among the rocks and trees, yet it has not hurt him at all: but he will be as smooth and polished in the end as any other stone, while many who were so very polished and smooth in the beginning get badly defaced and spoiled while they are rolling about.
Elder Parley P. Pratt said—Some are going to Zion, and the rest want to know what they shall do. The Lord, through Jeremiah (3, 14,15) says, “I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion; and I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Inasmuch as you hearken to counsel, you will know what the will of the Lord is concerning you in all things. Meet often together to worship God and to speak to each other of the things of God. Gather as soon as you can. Come up to the mountain of the Lord’s house, and there learn of these things, that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.
Elder Orson Pratt said—I do not know that I can say anything to impress the subjects which have been spoken upon more fully upon your minds than has been done. There are some things, however, I wish to mention. We have learned from what we have heard this day that great blessings will be given to the faithful when the Temple is finished. I will speak of some of the consequences that will follow, if we do not obey.
When the Temple is reared, God will manifest Himself in a peculiar manner. If we are obedient, He has told us He will make manifest to us things we are ignorant of. He has said He will reveal things which pertain to this dispensation that have been hidden and kept secret from the foundation of the world.
No former age or generation of the world have had the same things revealed: all other dispensations will be swallowed up in this. He declares, in His revelations, the consequences of not building the house unto His name within such a time. The Lord says, If you build the house in that time, you shall be blessed; but if not, you shall be rejected as a church with your dead, saith the Lord. So, if that house is not built, then in vain are all our cares; our faith and works, our meetings and hopes are vain also; our performances and acts will be void.
The servants of God who are faithful and do their duty will get the blessing; and we are determined to do our duty, and lay these principles before the Saints, so that they may have the privilege of contributing. We will turn this responsibility upon the heads of the Saints; then our garments will be clear, and the Lord is able and will be willing to endow all the faithful in some other place.
This Church, in its infancy, was directed to do a certain work, and the consequences pointed out. The Lord gave a revelation several years since to the Church to appoint our wise men, and send up our moneys by them to buy land; if not, we should not have an inheritance, but our enemies should be upon us. We went through and told the Saints these things; but did the churches do as God commanded? No, they did not. But the revelation was fulfilled, and the enemies of the Saints came upon them, and drove them from their houses and homes, and finally from the State of Missouri. This was in consequence of their disobeying the commandments of God through His servant Joseph.
Many suppose they must get direct revelation from God for themselves. Not so. He has a prophet, and he says the Church shall give heed to the words of the Prophet, as he is to hold the keys of the kingdom of God in this life and in the world to come. Then it is of much consequence that you give heed to his word.
Says one, Suppose we are not satisfied that this is the work of God? You can ask God if the work is true, and He will give you a testimony. You can put every confidence in the Book of Mormon and in Joseph, the Prophet; and if you are not satisfied, go to God. I doubt in my own mind if men can stand what they will have to pass through, unless they do get a witnes for themselves; and I pray you to give heed to the words which the Twelve have taught you, and ask God to help you.
The conference was adjourned until ten o’clock tomorrow morning.
Sunday, 10th. Conference met according to adjournment.
Meeting was opened by singing, and prayer by Elder Maginn; after which Elder Wilford Woodruff addressed the assembly from Amos 3:7—”Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets?” According to the testimony of the Scriptures in all ages of the world, whenever God was about to bring a judgment upon the world or accomplish any great work, the first thing he did was to raise up a Prophet, and reveal unto him the secret, and send him to warn the people, so that they may be left without excuse. This was the case in the days of Noah and Lot. God was about to bring judgments upon the people, and he raised up those Prophets who warned the people of it; yet they gave no heed to them, but rejected their testimony; and the judgments came upon the people, so that they were destroyed, while the Prophets were saved by pursuing the course marked out by the Lord.
Jesus Christ testified to the Jews of the things that awaited them as a nation, the fall of Jerusalem, and their dispersion among the Gentile world; but they did not believe it. Yet the secret of all these things was revealed to the Prophets and Apostles. They believed it, and looked for its fulfillment; and it came to pass as it was predicted, though contrary to the expectation of the Jewish nation.
In like manner do we look for the certain fulfillment of those tremendous events upon the heads of the Gentile world which have been spoken of and pointed out by all the holy Prophets and Apostles since the world began, they having spoken as they were moved upon by the power of God and the gift of the Holy Ghost, events which more deeply concern the Gentile world than the overthrow of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews did the Jewish nation; for while they stumbled at the stone they were broken; but when it falls upon the heads of the Gentile world, it will grind them to powder.
The full set time is come for the Lord to set His hand to accomplish these mighty events; and as He has done in other ages, so has He done now—He has raised up a Prophet, and is revealing unto him His secrets. Through that Prophet He has brought to light the fullness of the everlasting Gospel to the present generation, and is again once more for the last time establishing His Church upon the foundation of the ancient Apostles and Prophets, which is revelation, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone.
In the Church is now found judges as at the first, and counselors as at the beginning; also Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, with gifts and graces, for the perfecting of the Saints, the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body of Christ.
The Lord has raised up His servants, and sent them into the vineyard to prune it once more for the last time, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to warn the nations, that they may be left without excuse in the day of their visitation; also to gather the honest in heart and the meek of the earth, that Zion may be built up, and the sayings of the Prophets fulfilled.
One of the secrets that God has revealed unto his Prophet in these days is the Book of Mormon; and it was a secret to the whole world until it was revealed unto Joseph Smith, whom God has raised up as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator unto His people. This record contains an account of the ancient inhabitants of this continent and of the cities with which they overspread this land from sea to sea, the ruins of which still remain as standing monuments of the arts, science, power, and greatness of their founders. It also points out the establishing of this our own nation, with the conditions for its progress, and those predictions contained in the Book of Mormon—the stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim, will as truly be fulfilled as those contained in the Bible—the stick and record of Judah; and both these sticks or records contain prophecies of great import concerning the Gentile nations, and especially this land and nation, which are not yet fulfilled, but must shortly come to pass: yea, their fulfillment is nigh, even at the doors.
Though the secrets which God is revealing through His servant the Prophet in these last days may be unpopular and unbelieved in by the world, yet their unbelief will not make the truth of God of none effect, any more than it did in the days of Lot and Noah, or at the fall of Jerusalem.
When Jesus Christ said there should not be left one stone upon another in the temple that should not be thrown down, the Jewish nation did not believe it, neither would they receive such testimony; but they looked at outward circumstances, and were ready to say, “Who can prevail against us? What nation like unto our nation? We have held the giving of the law, the oracles, and the Urim and Thummim; the lawgiver has never departed from between our feet; we have held the power of government from generation to generation; and what nation hath power now to prevail against us?”
Through this order of reasoning they were blinded, and knew not the day of their visitation: they understood not the things that belonged to their peace; they rejected their Lord and King, contended against the word and testimony, and finally put Him to death on the cross, with many who followed Him. But this did not hinder the fulfillment of His predictions concerning that nation. The words of the Lord had gone forth out of His mouth, and could not return unto Him void. The things that belonged to their peace were hid from their eyes, and they were counted unworthy as a nation. The kingdom was to be rent out of their hands and given to another; the die was cast, and judgment must come.
Jerusalem was soon surrounded by the Roman army, led on by the inspired Titus; and a scene of calamity, judgment, and woe immediately overspread the inhabitants of that city, which was devoted to destruction,—such a calamity as never before rested upon the nation of Israel. Blood flowed through their streets; tens of thousands fell by the edge of the sword, and thousands by famine. Women were evil towards the children of their own bosoms in the straitness of the siege, the spectacle of which shocked the Roman soldiers as they entered the city. The Jews were crucified in such numbers by their enemies that they could find no more wood for crosses, or room for their bodies; and while despair was in every face, and every heart sinking while suffering under the chastening hand of God, their enemies rushed upon them in the city to strike the last fatal blow; and, as their last resort, they rushed for safety into the temple, which was soon on fire, and they sank in the midst of the flames with the cry of their sufferings ascending up on high, accompanied by the smoke of the crackling spires and towers.
The remaining population were sold as slaves, and driven like the dumb ass under his burthen, and scattered, as corn is sifted in a sieve, throughout the Gentile world. Jerusalem was razed from its foundations, the ruins of the temple thrown down, and the foundation thereof ploughed up, that not one stone was left upon another. Christ said that Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, which has been the case to the very letter until the present generation.
Will not God in like manner as truly and faithfully bring to pass those great, important and tremendous events upon the heads of the Gentile world which have been proclaimed by the Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and many other holy Prophets; also by Christ and the Apostles on the continent of Asia, as well as by Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Moroni, and others on this continent—all of whom have proclaimed these things as they were moved upon by the Spirit of inspiration, the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost?
The Apostle says that “No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophecy came not of old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Isaiah’s soul seemed to be on fire, and his mind wrapt in the visions of the Almighty, while he declared, in the name of the Lord, that it should come to pass in the last days that God should set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, assemble the outcasts of Israel, gather together the dispersed of Judah, destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea and make men go over dry-shod, gather them to Jerusalem on horses, mules, swift beasts, and in chariots, and rebuild Jerusalem upon her own heaps; while, at the same time, the destroyer of the Gentiles will be on his way; and while God was turning the captivity of Israel, he would put all their curses and afflictions upon the heads of the Gentiles, their enemies, who had not sought to recover, but to destroy them, and had trodden them under foot from generation to generation.
At the same time the standard should be lifted up, that the honest in heart, the meek of the earth among the Gentiles, should seek unto it; and that Zion should be redeemed and be built up a holy city, that the glory and power of God should rest upon her, and be seen upon her; that the watchman upon Mount Ephraim might cry—”Arise ye, and let us go up unto Zion, the city of the Lord our God;” that the Gentiles might come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising; that the Saints of God may have a place to flee to and stand in holy places while judgment works in the earth; that when the sword of God that is bathed in heaven falls upon Idumea, or the world,—when the Lord pleads with all flesh by sword and by fire, and the slain of the Lord are many, the Saints may escape these calamities by fleeing to the places of refuge, like Lot and Noah.
Isaiah, in his 24th chapter, gives something of an account of the calamities and judgments which shall come upon the heads of the Gentile nations, and this because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant. The Apostle Paul says to his Roman brethren, that if the Gentiles do not continue in the goodness of God, they, like the house of Israel, should be cut off. Though Babylon says, “I sit as a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow,” the Revelator says, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death and mourning and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”
Jesus communicated the parable of the fig-tree, which in putting forth its leaves betokens the approach of summer; and so likewise, when we see the signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and in the heavens and the earth of which He spoke, we might know that His coming is near—that the generation in which those signs appeared should not pass away till all should be fulfilled.
These things are about to come to pass upon the heads of the present generation, notwithstanding they are not looking for it, neither do they believe it. Yet their unbelief will not make the truth of God of none effect. The signs are appearing in the heavens and on the earth, and all things indicate the fulfillment of the Prophets. The fig-tree is leafing, summer is nigh, and the Lord has sent his angels to lay the foundation of this great and important work.
Then why should not God reveal His secrets unto His servants the Prophets, that the Saints might be led in paths of safety, and escape those evils which are about to engulf a whole generation in ruin?
Monday, 11. Conference met at Boylston Hall at nine o’clock, A.M. Present of the quorum of the Twelve, Elders Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Heber C. Kimball, and Orson Hyde.
Opened with prayer by Elder Page.
Elder Brigham Young stated the object of the meeting. The first item of business is the spread of the Gospel of salvation. I want to state what devolves upon the Twelve. Nine years ago a revelation was given which was fulfilled in 1835; and when fulfilled, the Prophet lifted up his head and rejoiced before the Lord. Previously, the responsibility of spreading the Gospel rested on him; now it is on the Twelve. This is the relation we hold between the living and the dead—to direct how you may escape.
Last winter we were directed to send men to the nations of the earth. Elder Addison Pratt had been to the Sandwich Islands, and proffered his services. We have power to ordain them, and call upon the Church to assist in sending them. Here are four men willing to go, and we do not wish them to cease trying, unless it be to die trying. One of them is ill. If he stays, he will die. I would go, or die trying.
We call on the churches to fit out these men with necessaries. Elder Eli P. Maginn and Elder Philip B. Lewis we call on to fit them out. If Elder Lewis does not, Maginn will do it himself. This takes the responsibility from us.
If the Saints will not help, the curse of God will rest upon them. If the Temple at Nauvoo is not built, we will receive our endowments, if we have to go into the wilderness and build an altar of stone. If a man gives his all, it is all God requires. Brother Kimball has received one dollar since he came to Boston, and seventeen dollars and a half before, towards building the Temple. A book is kept of all sums given. This book will also be opened. All is recorded. I have received twenty-three dollars, and I have spent about forty-five or fifty dollars. I am rich, and expect to be so throughout all eternity, with the help of God and my brethren. I can get home, if I can sell land. Some of the Twelve are more destitute; but they are the best set of boys you ever saw.
During the persecution in Missouri, when the mob came against Far West, Elder Kimball stood near me in one of the companies; and every time they formed, he rammed down another ball into his old musket, until be got five balls in. We are a good-feeling set of men, because of the Spirit which is in us. What produces it? The impulse of the heart. We should feel the same on the desert of Arabia, or on the islands of the sea; we feel happy wherever we are. When we ask for victuals, and get turned away, as we often have been, we feel just as well.
The Spirit which is in me prompts me to look forward to something better. We have a prospect of selling shares of the Nauvoo House, and of obtaining subscriptions for the Temple, and we feel better.
Here are twelve men, and I defy all creation to bring a charge of dishonesty against them. We had to give security for the faithful performance of our duty as agents for the Nauvoo House and Temple. This has been heretofore unheard of in the Church. I glory in it. The financial affairs of the Church rest on our shoulders, and God is going to whip us into it. When men are in future called to do like Brigham, I will be one to bind them; this is a precedent. We are the only legally authorized agents of the Church to manage affairs, give counsel to emigrants how to dispose of goods, &c.
Some men come into this Church through designing purposes. Mr. Cowen, who lives about 30 miles above Nauvoo, wanted Brother Joseph to make a settlement at Shoquokon. Several of the brethren went there and preached, and some families moved up with the intention of settling. Mr. Cowen was all love—a charming fellow, and calculated to magnetize. He is now in the Eastern country, and going amongst the brethren. He gives one a kiss, and says he, “I am not a Mormon, but expect to be: Brother Joseph and myself are confidential friends. Can’t you lend me five hundred dollars? I have got land, and I will give you a mortgage.” At the same time, he knew quite well that his land was in a perfect swamp, and that the place was not fit for a settlement. Even the captains of steamers could with difficulty be persuaded upon to call there, either on account of goods or passengers. His name is John F. Cowen, and he stands five feet six inches high. There are others.
I would ask the Latter-day Saints, Do you know your benefactors? Do you know the source from whence you derive your knowledge? Take in the publications and periodicals of the Church. They give you intelligence of all matters pertaining to this dispensation with revelations for the guidance of the Church.
I know that men who go through the world with the truth have not much influence; but let them come with silk velvet lips and sophistry, and they will have an influence. It is your privilege to be discerners of spirits. If you don’t know me or the Twelve, walk with us fifty years, and perhaps you will know us then; and if such a man as Cowen comes along, will you trust him or me? No power can hide the heart from the discerning eye. If we are ignorant, what knowledge have the rest of the people? I sit down with all my ignorance, and read people’s hearts as I see their faces, and they can’t help themselves.
No one has ever stepped aside but I have known it. I know the result of their actions, and they cannot help themselves. If you find out my heart, you are welcome to it. If any of the Twelve take a wrong path, or a course by themselves, I know the path, and know the end of it. They are soon in the ditch, crying for help. I sit down and let others run. I strike with a crooked stick to hit the whole.
Now, the Twelve must be helped home, and there must be something for the Temple and the Nauvoo House. We have got a plot of the city of Nauvoo for lithographing. If any wish to advance the money to lithograph, and have a few thousands struck off, they shall be paid till they are satisfied. There was not wealth enough in New York and the regions round about. [He here exhibited the map of Nauvoo.] He concluded with a few remarks relative to the circumstances of Elder Hyde, who had just returned from his mission to Jerusalem.
Elder Parley P. Pratt spoke as follows:—In the middle of last April I arrived at Nauvoo houseless and with a large family. Brother Joseph said to me, “Brother Parley, stay at home and build a house.” I was behindhand in instructions and information, while others had been at home learning the great things of God. I have now come East principally on business, though I always have a mission, wherever I am. I speak for my brethren: they have an absolute claim; it belongs to them, and they want it. It is justly theirs. I ask for nothing for myself.
Elder Heber C. Kimball said, I suppose you all understand what Elder Young has said, and I consider his counsel good. He is my superior and my head in the council of the Twelve. If I go astray, it will be through ignorance. We must be subject to the powers that be; and there are no powers but what are ordained of God; and if we reject their counsel, we shall be damned. Some of our finest-looking and smartest men have fallen.
I consider those trees in the forest which have the largest and highest tops are in the greatest danger: they are blown down; and there is no way of restoring them but to cut them off. Let the stump go back, and new sprouts come out. Those who have most responsibility are in most danger. We must be careful how we treat God’s officers.
No man ever fell, unless it was through rejecting counsel. I as well as my brethren see this. My superior knows more than I, because he is nearer the fountain. To get knowledge, begin at the foot of the stream, and drink all up till you get to the fountain, and then you get all the knowledge.
It is necessary for the people here to obey counsel. God has sent me forth, through his servants, to take my part in this great work, and the work is true. I know there are but few in this Church who will be able to walk in this narrow path. We must keep the celestial law in the flesh. The more simple we teach, the better for us.
It is a wrong idea of Elders whipping sects. Try and win the people; salt both sheep and shepherd too; get them up so that they will lick the salt out of your hands. [An infidel here handed money to Brother Kimball, who prophesied that he would be a Saint and an Elder, and all his family should be Saints.] Give them good salt, gain the affections of the shepherd, and the whole flock will come. Now, we get sheep up to lick; and when the old shepherd of the sheep comes up to lick salt, the Elders will hit him over the head with a cane. Their religion is as dear to them as ours to us. Don’t feed too much salt at once, but give a little at a time, or they are cloyed.
Elders of Israel, be wise! Give short discourses, as long ones cloy your hearers, who will say, “A good discourse, but I got tired.”
Never infringe on the right of other people, and never tear down other people’s houses until you have built a better. We are sent to preach repentance, and let people alone. How do you like to go into other Churches and hear them abuse us? Do as you would be done by. Persuade men, and not compel them, unless the time spoken of by the Savior comes, when the Lord shall say unto His servants “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23-25). Let men be humble, kind and affectionate.
1. William H. Folsom named above afterward became prominent as an architect in Utah. He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in March, 1815, and died in Salt Lake City, 1901, at the advanced age of 86 years. When a boy he moved to Buffalo N.Y. with his parents. When in his twenty fifth year he heard a Mormon Elder preach and was converted to the gospel and joined the Church. As a consequence of this act he was ostracized by his people. He took his family and moved to Nauvoo and established himself as an architect and builder, and assisted in the construction of the Nauvoo Temple.
Brother Folsom was expelled from Nauvoo at the time of the general exodus of the Saints and settled for a time at Keokuk. He subsequently moved to Council Bluffs, and in 1860 went on to Salt Lake valley. His ability as an architect and builder was soon required by President Brigham Young. President Young conceived the general plan of the now celebrated “Mormon Tabernacle” at Salt Lake City, but William Folsom took President Young’s suggestions and worked out the plans. While others scouted the idea of the structure, Folsom had faith in it, and as a consequence he has associated his name inseparably with the building, that stands as one of the world’s centers of interest and curiosity. He was the architect and superintendent of construction of the Manti Temple, and was an able assistant in the construction of all the Temples in Utah. He was the designer of the Salt Lake Theater, and of many other buildings that are this day admired for their architectural grace and durability.
2. This was Austin Cowles, for some time counselor in the Nauvoo stake of Zion (History of the Church, Vol. 4, p. 323) and subsequently a member of the High Council. The nature of the charges made against George J. Adams at this time is not known.
3. This article is much of the complexion of one published many years later—1882—by Josiah Quincy of Boston, who visited the Prophet about eight or nine month later, and published an account of his visit, and his impression of the Prophet his “Figures of the Past,” under the title “Joseph Smith at Nauvoo.”
4. This was an adjourned meeting from one of the same character which had met at the same place of the 19th of August previous, which after hearing Anti-Mormon addresses and appointing committees to draft resolutions against the Mormons, adjourned to meet again on the above date, 6th of September. (See History of the Church, Vol. 10 pp. 537-8).
6. This was a Brief Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of the Church prepared for one I. Daniel Rupp, of Harrisburg, Penn. It was published in 1844, a “History of Religious Denominations,” p. 409.