Excerpts from the Manuscript History of Brigham Young from August 9, 1844 to October 8, 1848
Part V deals with the actual beginning of the authorized administration by the Twelve Apostles in their Presidency of the Church; and gives the detail of their administration from August 9, 1844 to December 5, 1847, when Brigham Young was nominated by the Council of the Twelve Apostles near Winter Quarters; and by October 8, 1848, the nomination had been presented and unanimously sustained by all the major divisions of the church. The subject matter of the period is taken almost exclusively from The History of Brigham Young, (Ms.)
This period officially shows the administration of the Quorum of the Twelve acting as the Presidency of the Church, and vindicates that Presidency for harmony and effectiveness. It has never before been published and will be found a rich mine of original information that will be of high value to the church for all time, in that it will constitute an appeal to ultimate authority for events of this period, and a vindication of the men who functioned in the Presidency of the Church during that time.
The main features covered in the period are the church life in Nauvoo; the completion of the Temple with the administration of the sacred ordinances therein; the establishment of the quorums of the priesthood, especially the high priests and the seventies. It may be said that it is especially a period of instruction for the ministry of the church and important in developing the seventies’ organization therein. The period also deals with the exodus of the church from Nauvoo, the journey to the Missouri frontiers, thence westward over the plains and the mountains to the Salt Lake Valley; the beginning of settlements there and the installation of the second First Presidency of the Church—Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards.
Events Immediately Following the Sustaining of the Quorum of the Twelve—As the Presidency of the Church—Resumption of Church Activities—Perpetuation of the Policy of the Prophet
Friday, August 9, 1844.—I met in council with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman and eleven others at my house,
Administrative Acts Following the Appointment of the Apostles to the Presidency.
On motion of Elder Heber C. Kimball, Bishop Newel K. Whitney and George Miller were appointed to settle the affairs of the late Trustee-in-Trust, Joseph Smith, and be prepared to enter upon their duties as Trustees of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Nauvoo House Committee were instructed to wind up their business and report.
Patriarch John Smith [local] had the privilege of appointing another president at Macedonia in his stead and locating in Nauvoo at his option. 1
Conversation ensued relative to the affairs and liabilities of the church and the building of the Nauvoo House.
Saturday, 10.—The following is an extract from the Minutes of the Nauvoo City Council:
Action of the City Council for the Suppression of Vice.
‘City council met at 9 a.m. and subscribed about $80.00 for the aid of the police. Councilors (city) Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith and Hyrum Kimball in addition relinquished their dues as councilors that the taxes might be lessened and the police be paid. * * * Captain Hosea Stout said the police were willing to watch the city while it was necessary and all they wanted was to live [i.e. have their living provided for] while they did it.
Daniel Spencer was elected to fill the remainder of the term of the late martyred Mayor Joseph Smith.
An ordinance was passed allowing $100.00 per year to the mayor, and $1.00 a day to the councilors and aldermen while in session.
Also an ordinance prohibiting brothels and disorderly characters.’ 2
Sunday, 11.—Forenoon meeting. At the stand Elder Lyman Wight preached about leading a company away into the wilderness. Afternoon, Elder Wm. Hyde preached. At 3 p.m., a few of the authorities met at my house to pray for deliverance from the mob.
At a conference held in Southfield Center, Oakland county, Michigan on the 9th, 10th and 11th inst. there were represented 14 branches, containing upwards of 200 members and 37 officers. Elders W. Burton and Mephiboseth Sirrine, presidents.
Definite Assignment to Labors.
Monday, 12.—The Twelve Apostles met in council and made the following appointments:
That Elder Amasa Lyman, who was ordained an Apostle by the direction of President Joseph Smith August 20, 1842, stand as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve;
That Elder John Taylor hire the printing office and establishment of the Nauvoo Neighbor and the Times and Seasons from the church;
That Elder Wilford Woodruff go on a mission to England and preside over the churches there and on the adjacent isles and continent, taking charge of the printing and take his family with him;
That the general superintendencies’ direction and control of the emigration from England be in the name of Brigham Young, President of the Quorum of the Twelve;
That the continent of America be organized into districts and high priests appointed to preside over each district;
That Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards direct the continent and appoint presidents to manage the general affairs of the church;
That Lyman Wight go to Texas as he chooses, with his company, also George Miller and Lucine Woodworth, if they desire to go;
That Willard Richards continue the history of the church and be supported;
Elder Hyde arrived at Nauvoo from his eastern mission.
Wednesday, 14.—I attended meeting of the Twelve, Temple and Nauvoo House Committees and the stone-cutters for the Temple at the Seventies’ Hall. Agreed to raise the wages of the windlass men to $1.50 per day. The meeting terminated in a feeling of renewed determination to prosecute the work upon the Temple.
Thursday, 15.—The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met at my house. Many matters were talked over.
Righteous Resolutions of the Twelve.
The council resolved to bear off the kingdom of God in all the world, in truth, honesty, virtue and holiness, and to continue to set their faces as a flint against every species of wickedness, vice and dishonesty in all its forms.
I met in a prayer circle with the Twelve and a few others in the afternoon and prayed for the sick.
The following is from the Times and Seasons:
An Epistle of the Twelve to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in Nauvoo and All the World—Greeting:
‘Beloved Brethren:—Forasmuch as the saints have been called to suffer deep affliction and persecution, and also to mourn the loss of our beloved Prophet and also our Patriarch who have suffered a cruel martyrdom for the testimony of Jesus, having voluntarily yielded themselves to cruel murderers who had sworn to take their lives, and thus like good shepherds have laid down their lives for the sheep, therefore it becomes necessary for us to address you at this time on several important subjects.
The Saints Bereft of Their Prophet.
You are now without a prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you; but you are not without Apostles, who hold the keys of power to seal on earth that which shall be sealed in heaven, and to preside over all the affairs of the church in all the world; being still under the direction of the same God, and being dictated by the same spirit, having the same manifestations of the Holy Ghost to dictate all the affairs of the church in all the world, to build up the kingdom upon the foundation that the Prophet Joseph has laid, who still holds the keys of this last dispensation, and will hold them to all eternity, as a king and priest unto the Most High God, ministering in heaven, on earth, or among the spirits of the departed dead, as seemeth good to him who sent him.
The Prophet Still at the Head of His Dispensation.
Let no man presume for a moment that his place will be filled by another; for, remember he stands in his own place, and always will; and the Twelve Apostles of this dispensation stand in their own place and always will, both in time and in eternity, to minister, preside and regulate the affairs of the whole church.
How vain are the imaginations of the children of men, to presume for a moment that the slaughter of one, two or a hundred of the leaders of this church could destroy an organization, so perfect in itself and so harmoniously arranged that it will stand while one member of it is left alive upon the earth. Brethren be not alarmed, for if the Twelve should be taken away still there are powers and offices in existence which will bear the kingdom of God triumphantly victorious in all the world. This church may have prophets many, and apostles many, but they are all to stand in due time in their proper organization, under the direction of those who hold the keys.
Nauvoo the Place for the Gathering for the Present.
On the subject of the gathering, let it be distinctly understood that the city of Nauvoo and the Temple of our Lord are to continue to be built up according to the pattern which has been commenced, and which has progressed with such rapidity thus far.
The city must be built up and supported by the gathering of those who have capital, and are willing to lay it out for the erection of every branch of industry and manufacture, which is necessary for the employment and support of the poor, or of those who depend wholly on their labor; while farmers who have capital must come on and purchase farms in the adjoining country, and improve and cultivate the same.—In this way all may enjoy plenty, and our infant city may grow and flourish, and be strengthened an hundred fold; and unless this is done, it is impossible for the gathering to progress, because those who have no other dependence cannot live together without industry and employment.
Therefore, let capitalists hasten here; and they may be assured we have nerves, sinews, fingers, skill and ingenuity sufficient in our midst to carry on all the necessary branches of industry.
The Temple must be completed by a regular system of tithing, according to the commandments of the Lord, which he has given as a law unto this church, by the mouth of his servant Joseph.
The Law of Tithing to be Enforced.
Therefore, as soon as the Twelve have proceeded to a full and complete organization of the branches abroad, let every member proceed immediately to tithe himself or herself, a tenth of all their property and money, and pay it into the hands of the Twelve; or into the hands of such bishops as have been, or shall be appointed by them to receive the same, for the building of the Temple for the support of the priesthood according to the scriptures, and the revelations of God; and then let them continue to pay in a tenth of their income from that time forth, for this is a law unto this church as much binding on their conscience as any other law or ordinance. And let this law or ordinance be henceforth taught to all who present themselves for admission into this church, that they may know the sacrifice and tithing which the Lord requires, and perform it; or else not curse the church with a mock membership as many have done heretofore. This will furnish a steady public fund for all sacred purposes, and save the leaders from constant debt and embarrassment, and the members can then employ the remainder of their capital in every branch of enterprize, industry, and charity, as seemeth them good; only holding themselves in readiness to be advised in such manner as shall be for the good of themselves and the whole society; and thus all things can move in harmony, and for the general benefit and satisfaction of all concerned.
The U.S. to be Organized into Church Districts Administered by High Priests.
The United States and adjoining provinces will be immediately organized by the Twelve into proper districts, in a similar manner as they have already done in England and Scotland, and high priests will be appointed over each district, to preside over the same, and to call quarterly conferences for the regulation and representation of the branches included in the same, and for the furtherance of the gospel; and also to take measures for a yearly representation in a general conference, This will save the trouble and confusion of the running to and fro of elders; detect false doctrine and false teachers, and make every elder abroad accountable to the conference in which he may happen to labor. Bishops will also be appointed in the larger branches, to attend to the management of the temporal funds, such as tithings and funds for the poor, according to the revelations of God and to be judges in Israel.
The gospel in its fullness and purity, must now roll forth through every neighborhood of this widespread country, and to all the world; and millions will awake to its truths and obey its precepts; and the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
Suggestion as to Policies.
As rulers and people have taken counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed, and have murdered him who would have formed and saved the nation, it is not wisdom for the saints to have anything to do with politics, voting, or president-making, at present. None of the candidates who are now before the public for that high office, have manifested any disposition or intention to redress wrong or restore right, liberty or law; and therefore woe unto him who gives countenance to corruption, or partakes of murder, robbery, or other cruel deeds. Let us then stand aloof from all their corrupt men and measures, and wait, at least, till a man is found, who, if elected, will carry out the enlarged principles, universal freedom, and equal rights and protection, expressed in the views of our beloved Prophet and martyr, General Joseph Smith.
We do not, however, offer this political advice as binding on the consciences of others; we are perfectly willing that every member of this church should use his own freedom in all political matters; but we give it as our own rule of action, and for the benefit of those who may choose to profit by it.
Now, dear brethren, to conclude our present communication, we would exhort you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be humble and faithful before God, and before all the people, and give no occasion for any man to speak evil of you, but preach the gospel in its simplicity and purity, and practice righteousness, and seek to establish the influence of truth, peace and love among mankind, and in so doing the Lord will bless you, and make you a blessing to all people.
You may expect to hear from us again.[Signed] Brigham Young
Nauvoo, August 15th, 1844. President of the Twelve.’
Report of Mission Movements in the Pacific Islands.
August 15, (continued).—Elders Noah Rogers and Benjamin F. Grouard wrote from Tahiti of this date that they and Elder Addison Pratt had arrived at the Society Islands. Their vessel had stopped at Toboui to refit and obtain supplies, where, being favorably received by the natives Elder Pratt remained. Elders Rogers and Grouard proceeded to Tahiti and found the people in great confusion in consequence of an invasion by the French. The English missionaries opposed the elders bitterly, but having become alarmed in consequence of the war between the French and the Islanders they had mostly left the island. The elders found great difficulty in engaging the attention of the people in consequence of the excitement of the war. Queen Pomare’s force having been defeated, the natives retired to the interior. Elder Pratt had baptized several Americans who were residing at Toboui which is a small island about 300 miles from Tahiti.
Saturday, 17.—In company with Elders Kimball, Woodruff and others I went on to the Temple walls, viewed the country, encouraged the workmen and counseled Brother Woodruff in relation to his mission to England.
Afternoon, spent considerable time in the Tithing Office.
Mission Movements in the Southern States.
Elder John Brown wrote from Monroe county, Mississippi, of his preaching in Kentucky, and in Hickman, Williamson, and Sumner counties, Tennessee; also in Tuscaloosa county, Alabama; thence he proceeded to Perry county, Alabama, where he found a branch of fifteen raised up by Elder James Brown, and where he and Brother Haden W. Church, baptized forty-five. They continued their labors during last winter in Alabama and Mississippi. A conference was held in Alabama, in April, at which several elders were ordained. From this conference, Brother Church went to Tennessee and Brother B. L. Clapp and John Brown to Mississippi. Brother Clapp soon returned to Nauvoo and Brother Brown held a conference in July when thirty-nine were reported as having been baptized since last conference.
Sunday, 18.—I preached to the saints in the morning. The following synopsis of my discourse and minutes of the meeting were reported by Elder Woodruff:
President Brigham Young’s Discourse
‘I have many things to speak of. It was my mind in the first place that we should have a suitable time to meditate upon all matters, and weigh them, even every subject wherein we felt interested. When the question was asked me if the elders should continue to baptize for the dead, I replied that I had no counsel to give upon that subject at present, but thought it best to attend to other matters in the meantime.
Restless Elements at Nauvoo.
I have learned some things I did not know when I came home. I discover a disposition in the sheep to scatter, now the shepherd is taken away. I do not say that it will never be right for this people to go from here or scatter abroad; but I do say wait until the time comes, or until you are counseled to do so. The report has gone forth through the city that the Twelve have a secret understanding with those men who are going away and taking companies with them, that they shall take away all they can; and although the Twelve will blow it up in public, yet privately they wish it to go on, but if they were the last words I had to say before going into the eternal worlds I would swear by the Holy Trinity that such a report is utterly false, and there is not a word of truth in it. There is no man who has any right to lead away one soul out of this city by the consent of the Twelve, except Lyman Wight and George Miller, they have had the privilege of taking the ‘Pine Company’ 3 where they pleased, but not another soul has the consent of the Twelve to go with them. There is no man who has any liberty to lead away people into the wilderness from this church, or to lead them anywhere else, by the consent of the Twelve or the church, except in the case above named—and I tell you in the name of Jesus Christ that if Lyman Wight and George Miller take a course contrary to our counsel and will not act in concert with us, they will be damned and go to destruction—and if men will not stop striving to be great and exalted, and lead away parties from us, thereby weakening our hands, they will fall and not rise again—and I will destroy their influence in this church with the help of God and my brethren. I wish you to distinctly understand that the counsel of the Twelve is for every family that does not belong to the Pine Company to stay here in Nauvoo, and build up the Temple and get your endowments; do not scatter; ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. It has been whispered about that all who go into the wilderness with Wight and Miller will get their endowments, but they cannot give an endowment in the wilderness. If we do not carry out the plan Joseph has laid down and the pattern he has given for us to work by, we cannot get any further endowment—I want this to sink deep into your hearts that you may remember it. If you stir up the flame of dissension, will you get an endowment? No! You get a party to run here and another there, to divide our strength, and weaken our hands, and our enemies will flock around us and destroy us—in that case you will not get your endowments, but will sink and not rise;—go to hell and not to the bosom of Abraham. Do the people leave here because they are afraid? Are you cowards? Do you fear those who have power to kill the body only? If you leave this place for fear of the mob, before God tells you to go, you will have no place of rest, but you will flee from place to place and go like the Jews, until God raises up some other people to redeem you, for if the devil scares you from this place he will scare you from all other places. Let no man go from this place but the pine country brethren, but stay here and sow, plant, build, and put your plowshares into the prairies: one plowshare will do more to drive off the mob than two guns. Let us stay here where the bones of Joseph, Hyrum, Samuel, Don Carlos, and Father Smith are. While Joseph was alive he said ‘If I am slain in battle or fall by the hands of my enemies I want my body brought to Nauvoo and laid in the tomb I have prepared.’ I would rather have the dead body of the Prophet than some men who are alive and I would rather have the clothes of the Prophet stuffed with straw for president of the United States than any man whose name is now before the nation as a candidate, for the straw would not do any harm.
We want to build the Temple in this place, if we have to build it as the Jews built the walls of the Temple in Jerusalem, with a sword in one hand and the trowel in the other. How easily some men are scared! I have not been frightened yet, and I know of other men who have not.
The Church not to be Deprived of Revelations.
Do you suppose the mouth of God is closed, to be opened no more unto us? If this were the case I would not give the ashes of a rye straw for the salvation of the church. If God has ceased to speak by the Holy Ghost, or to give revelation, there is no salvation; but this is not the case.
There seems to be a disposition by many to leave Nauvoo and go into the wilderness or somewhere else. Suppose we should all go into the wilderness and then ask God to give us an endowment, and he should ask if we were driven from Nauvoo, and who drove us? The devil drove us would be the answer; he might say, well, did you not know that I had power over the devil? Yes, but one said I would not give a jackknife for all Nauvoo, and another said, I would not give a pair of mules for the best farm in Hancock county and I was afraid; would the Lord give an endowment to a people who would be frightened away from their duty?
Concerning those who are wishing to lead away parties contrary to counsel, I would not wish them damned worse, than to have a company after their own liking go with them, for they will soon quarrel among themselves; and if we should go to the wilderness and ask the Lord to give us an endowment, he might ask us, saying, Did I not give you rock in Nauvoo to build the Temple with? Yes. Did I not through my providence furnish men to quarry and cut the stone and prepare it for the building? Yes, Did I not give you means to build the Temple there? Yes. Very well, had you died in Nauvoo, on the walls of the Temple, or in your fields, I would have taken you to myself and raised up men to officiate for you, and you would have enjoyed the highest glory. Did you make a sacrifice by tithing? No. Well I do not wonder you did not believe I had power over the devil.
The Law of Tithing to be Enforced.
Such may go away but I want to have the faithful stay here to build the Temple and settle the city. We shall require the tenth of all your property as a tithing for the building of the Temple and for the poor and for the priesthood. I want my support and living by the church hereafter, so that I can give my whole time to the business of the church. I have always supported myself heretofore in all my travels and labors, with the aid of my brethren.
Joseph has always been preserved from his enemies, until now, but he has sealed his testimony with his blood, and his testament is now in force. While the testator lived it was all in his hands, but now he is dead.
There is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood. 4 You will soon wake up and know things as they are—there has been a great debt paid; there will be no need of more blood of the saints being shed at present, by and by you will understand and see that all is right.
Woe! to Those by Whom Offenses Come.
Woe! woe! woe! unto all who have shed the blood of the saints and the Lord’s anointed. It must needs be that offenses come, but woe unto that man through whom they come.
The Whole of America Zion.
To those who want to go away from this place, I would say wait until the time comes. I will give you the key. North and South America is Zion and as soon as the Temple is done and you get your endowments you can go and build up stakes, but do not be in haste, wait until the Lord says go. If you have the Spirit of God you can discover right from wrong—when all is right with the priesthood and a man rises up and speaks by the Spirit of God and just right, all will say, Amen, but when a man rises up and talks as smooth as oil, if he is not right, there will be many queries about it, it will not edify the body [i. e. the people]. I give this as a key. You may go all over North and South America and build up stakes when the time comes. The whole continent of America must be organized into districts and presiding elders appointed over each district: the time has come when all things must be set in order.
I wish the saints to let their bickerings cease, and a strict order of things be introduced; we shall nor harbor blacklegs, counterfeiters and bogus-makers; we know all about them, they have been in our midst long enough. I advise all the saints to have no dealings with such men; let them alone. The time has come that they should be wiped out of our midst, let the ungodly dealers alone; and as to the doctors who are in our midst, who are our enemies, I say let them alone, for I have no doubt but that three to one who have died in this place had a doctor. I say woe unto you lawyers, for your whole study is to put down truth and put a lie in its stead. I want the lawyers to know that we have common sense. They want to make you believe that when you spell ‘baker’ it means cider or whiskey. Now let the lawyers and doctors alone and leave off bitterness and evil speaking, and you will build the Temple and get an endowment. All ye lawyers go away and let us alone and when we get full of the devil and want you, we will send for you, we may then have a more convenient season.
The Ungodly Not to be Tolerated.
I want to say to all who profess to be saints, do not harbor blacklegs, counterfeiters and bogus-makers, wipe them away; it is time to carry out the design of our Prophet; do cease to employ doctors, lawyers, and merchants who will empty your purses and then mob you. Store your grain in Nauvoo for you will want it here to eat while you are building the Temple. I say to the hands on the Temple, be united; and to the Temple Committee, do not turn away any person because he is an Englishman, Scotchman, Irishman or of any other nation; but employ every man you can and build the Temple and your homes. I would rather pay out every cent I have to build up this place and get an endowment, if I were driven the next minute without anything to take with me. As to the doctors, let them go. I can prove that a doctor in this place doctored a woman that was in the family way, and did not know it until she was delivered, and both woman and child died, and if you will employ them, you will all die.
Evasions not to be Practiced in Administering the Law of the Church.
The Removal of Dead Branches.
There is a distinction between the law of the land and the law of the church. You have the privilege of keeping all shops that do not come in contact with the law of the state, county, or city; so I will evade the law of the land, says the dealer, and give away whiskey and sell a little tobacco or something else and charge enough for both; but the law of the church will reach such men and if they are members they should be cut off. I dreamed that I saw a fruit tree in which I went in search of fruit. I soon discovered that some of the main branches on the top were dead. It seemed to me necessary to cut off the dead branches in order to save the tree so I told some person to help me cut them off. The person stepped on to a large green limb and was afraid it would break so I put my shoulder under it and held it up till the dead branch was cut off, the green limb cracked but did not break. After all the dry limbs were cut off the wounds healed up and the tree grew finely.
Let us cut off the dead branches of the church that good fruit may grow and a voice will soon be heard, go and build up Zion and the Temple of the Lord.
The seventies will be organized and a presidency of seven men will be chosen out of the first quorum to preside over the first ten quorums.’ 5
The Work of the Church in the South.
August 18, (continued). —At a conference in Tazewell county, Virginia, Richard H. Kinnamon presiding, Elders Hamilton and Park were appointed to labor in Tazewell, Smith and Washington counties. Elders King and Lambson were appointed to labor in Greenbrier and Monroe counties, Elders Carter and Biles in Giles and Roanoke counties, Elder Hyatt in Patrick county, Elder Pitts in Giles county, Elders R. H. Kinnamon and Stephen Litz in South Carolina and Elder J. T. Crow was sent on a mission south.
Several were called to the priesthood; during conference the sacrament was administered and one person baptized. Elder Robert Hamilton preached.
The Prophet’s “Translation” of the Bible Sought. 6
Monday, 19.—Elder Willard Richards called on Emma Smith, widow of the Prophet, for the new translation of the Bible: She said she did not feel disposed to give it up at present.
I met in council with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Amasa M. Lyman, Erastus Snow, William W. Phelps and Jonathan Dunham at my house, when it was voted that Dan Jones receive an order on Elder Woodruff, Liverpool, for five hundred dollars to assist him on his mission to Wales, having confidence that the Lord would bless him in preaching the gospel to that nation; Brother Jones having relinquished a certain sum due him to be applied to the benefit of the Temple.
James Arlington Bennett.
Elder Willard Richards read a letter he received from James Arlington Bennett, in which he relates his dreams relative to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum. Elder Richards was instructed to write Bennett in reply, which was done. Afternoon, with Elder Kimball and Richards I visited Mr. Davidson Hibbard on business.
Wednesday, 21.—Council of the Twelve Apostles at my house to meet Elder Lyman Wight. Elder John Taylor went after him with a carriage; found him sick and unable to attend.
I spent the evening and partook of supper at Elder Woodruff’s with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, John Taylor and their wives.
Friday, 23.—The brethren of the Twelve got ready to go and dine at Father Mikesell’s; but were called to go and see Lyman Wight near the upper stone house: he and thirty others were sick in the same house.
Council Meetings to Give Impetus to Build the Temple.
Saturday, 24.—Council of the Twelve Apostles, the Temple and Nauvoo House Committees and other elders at my house, when it was voted that I should take such measures as should seem best to gather men and means to this place to complete the Temple. Elder Lyman Wight was counselled to go north instead of going south.
After transacting the business presented, Elder Woodruff was blessed and set apart to his mission to England under the hands of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles present: Several of the Twelve Apostles were baptized for their dead this afternoon. 7
Discourse of Elder Wilford Woodruff
Sunday, 25.—Meeting at the stand, Elder Wilford Woodruff preached, he said:
Exhortation to Unity.
‘There is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth it understanding. It is through this principle that this congregation is assembled together at this place; you had understanding of the things of God by the Spirit of God, and I have now one important declaration to make unto you, and that is, that inasmuch as you will be united in heart, mind and action in supporting your counsellors, the authorities of the church, the priesthood of God, and follow the counsel given you, as you have endeavored to follow the counsel of the Prophet while he was living, you will be safe and blessed and will prosper; but if you are divided and reject the counsel of God you will fall: union and faithfulness is your salvation. You have been led by one of the best men that ever graced humanity or tabernacled in flesh; but he has gone; he has sealed his testimony with his blood; he loved this people unto death.
The Prophet Joseph Sealed his Testimony with his Blood.
I call upon this people to be united in building upon the foundation which the Prophet Joseph has laid. You have been called to suffer much in the cause in which you are engaged, but if judgment begins at the House of God, Babylon will not escape; and if there is fire in a green tree, a dry tree will not escape, and there are none more prepared for the shock that is coming upon the earth than the Latter-day Saints. The object we have in view is to secure blessings beyond the veil in the first resurrection; this is what we are preparing for. Again, I would say let not the saints be troubled because they have lost their Prophet. I would ask, because the Prophet has sealed his testimony with his blood, if that destroys the gospel—takes away the power of God—annihilates truth—or buries the priesthood? I tell you, nay! it does not. His testament is now in force; therefore my counsel is to follow the example of those who have gone before and be faithful unto death. If you will be united and go too with your mights in building the Temple you will have power to accomplish it and get an endowment. I exhorted the saints to faithfulness—and requested their prayers, and asked their forgiveness for anything that I might have done wrong and bade them farewell.’
Baptism for the Dead Resumed.
I [Brigham Young] spoke a few words to the saints; told them they were at liberty to be baptized for their dead relatives. 8
Testimonies of Various Things.
Elders Orson Hyde and Parley P. Pratt bore testimony that Joseph the Prophet had ordained, anointed and appointed the Twelve to lead the church, and had given them the keys of the kingdom for that purpose.
Elder John Taylor bore testimony against those that murdered Joseph and Hyrum Smith; he said they should be cursed and the congregation said, Amen.
Elder William W. Phelps and Reynolds Cahoon bore testimony that Joseph said unto the Twelve ‘upon you must rest the responsibility of bearing off the kingdom of God in all the world, therefore round up your shoulders and bear it.’ 9
Monday, 26.—Attended council held at my house. Afternoon attended a court martial.
Tuesday, 27.—I met with the officers of the Nauvoo Legion in council; six of the Apostles were present. The council decided that they would carry out all the views of our martyred Prophet: the brethren felt very spirited on the subject.
Departure of Elders Woodruff and Jones for England.
Wednesday, 28.—Elders Wilford Woodruff, Dan Jones, and Hiram Clark with their families started this afternoon for England.
Elders Rigdon and Marks Cited Before the Twelve.
Thursday, 29.—The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met at my house, having notified Elders Rigdon and Marks to attend. This was fast day and I attended meeting at the stand and laid hands on several of the sick.
A Social Function Under Armed Guard.
Friday, 30.—In company with my brethren of the Twelve, Father John Smith and many others I visited at Father Mikesell’s, partook of dinner and an abundance of peaches from his orchard: the family were glad to see us and we spent a pleasant day. Many of the brethren in the city being apprehensive that we might fall into the hands of the mob, took their guns and went a ‘hunting’ around and below Mikesell’s along the timbered bluffs on the Mississippi River.
Saturday, 31.—Visiting the sick. Afternoon attended general meeting of the officers of the Nauvoo Legion. I was unanimously elected lieutenant-general and Charles C. Rich, major-general of the Nauvoo Legion. Evening, attended a school meeting.”
1. This was Patriarch “Uncle” John Smith, from now on prominent in the history of the church, and who was made Presiding Patriarch to the whole church Dec. 24, 1847. He was paternal uncle of the Prophet Joseph.
Heretofore in this volume the footnotes are from various writers. Those supplied by the present editor up to now have been signed with his initials. Hereafter, as he supplies all the footnotes, they will not be so signed.
2. The ordinance was signed by George W. Harris, president protem and Willard Richards, recorder. The ordinance was quite drastic. It declared such places (brothels) public nuisances and that the owners or keepers of such houses be fined in the sum of not less than $50.00, nor more than $2,500.00 and imprisonment for six months for each offense of one day’s continuance of such establishments, and that any person frequenting such establishments (except on lawful business) is to be fined in any sum of not less than $50.00 or more than $500.00 and six months imprisonment for each offense and further for every act of adultery or fornication which can be proved. The party is to be imprisoned six months and fined in the sum of not less than $50.00 and not more than $2,500.00, and that the individual’s own acknowledgment shall be considered evidence in the case.
4. Heb. 9:22.
5. These groups constituting the councils for the first ten quorums however did not cease to be members of the first quorum, on the contrary they continued to be the First Quorum of the Seventy one of the three great councils (the third) of the priesthood. The First Presidency and the Twelve being the other two (D&C 107).
6. It will be observed that I place “translation” in the sideheading in quotation marks. I do this because the work of the Prophet was not really a translation of the Bible from ancient languages, but was a revision of the English Bible (King James’ version), under inspiration. (See this History, vol. 1. p. 324. especially footnote; and p. 341: vol. 4, p. 137).
7. Also see p. 264, where President Young extended the privilege for the saints generally to be baptized for the dead. It is to be presumed that this was the announcement of the resumption of attending to baptisms for the dead under the administration of Brigham Young and the Twelve Apostles which baptisms may well have been interrupted during the exciting period just previous to and following the martyrdom of the Prophet. While Elijah revealed the keys of the priesthood pertaining to this ordinance in the Kirtland Temple in 1836—April 3—the Prophet Joseph did not begin teaching baptism for the dead until in October, 1840 (See letter of President Smith to the “Traveling High Council”—the Twelve Apostles, then in England—this History, vol. 4, p. 231).
On the introduction of this doctrine to the church it made a very strong appeal to the members thereof and there was generally an earnest desire to attend to this ordinance for the dead. Some irregularities ensued, such as improper representatives being baptized for the departed dead, and in some few instances women being baptized for men and vice versa. These ordinances for some time were performed in the Mississippi river. This procedure however was finally cancelled and at the October conference, 1841, the Prophet Joseph made the announcement that there should be no more baptisms for the dead until the ordinance could be attended to in the Temple then binding. “For thus saith the Lord”, declared the Prophet (this History, vol. 4, p. 426).
8. Also there had been some irregularities in the matter of neglecting to make proper records of baptisms for the dead. These irregularities were corrected by careful instructions from the Prophet. (See two epistles of his in D&C 127 and 128, bearing date of Sept. 1, 1842 and Sept. 6, 1842.) Meantime a rather fine temporary baptismal font was erected in the basement of the Temple and enclosed by a temporary frame building, built of split oak clapboards (See this History, vol. 6, p. 46). Baptisms in this font were very numerous, even in the days of the Prophet. And now such baptisms were resumed under the direction of President Brigham Young and his brethren.
The mission of Elijah in the New Dispensation was foreshadowed even on the occasion of Moroni’s first visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith on September 21, 1823, when Moroni, in quoting prophecies of the scriptures which were soon to be fulfilled, made reference to this mission of Elijah, saying: that the Lord would reveal unto the Prophet Joseph the priesthood by the hand of Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and that he would plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, etc. (See Writings of Joseph Smith, Pearl of Great Price, p. 21. current edition). In section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants, 25-27, it is said “that as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name [in the New Dispensation then coming forth] and endure in faith to the end, should be saved. Not only those who believed after he came in the Meridian of time in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came who believed in the words of the holy prophets, who spake as they were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost, who truly testified of him in all things—should have eternal life as well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God, by the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son.” So that almost from the commencement of the New Dispensation the work for the dead may be said to be in contemplation.
9. This is important as corroborating a statement made many years subsequently by William Smith, brother of the Prophet at a court in Independence. He testified in that court in what is known as the “Temple Lot Suit” to obtain title to the Kirtland Temple by the organization known as the Josephite Church, vs. the Hedrickite Church, when he said President Joseph Smith ordained “him [Wm. Smith, who was one of the original members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at Kirtland] a prophet, seer, revelator, and translator, and then informed him that he had all the necessary ordinations to lead the church in his time” (see Succession in the Presidency of the Church, B. H. Roberts, second edition. p. 104).