Large Number of Persons Endowed in the Temple—January and February, 1846—Catholic Church Efforts To Purchase L. D. S. Nauvoo Property—Friendly Attitude of Judge Josiah Lamborn—Repeated Hostile Efforts of State Officials—Departure of the Twelve Hastened by False Reports Circulated by Governor Ford
“Thursday, January 1, 1846.—At an early hour, Elder Heber C. Kimball and I went to the Temple. The plasterers have commenced to plaster the arched ceiling of the lower hall, the floor is laid, the framework of the pulpits and seats for the choir and band are put up; and the work of finishing the room for dedication progresses rapidly.
6:30 p.m., the high priests met and prayed, eighty-nine persons received ordinances.
Ordinance Work in the Temple—Prayer.
10:20 p.m., after finishing the labors of the day, the company assembled in the large room in the attic story and united in prayer with Elder Heber C. Kimball, thanking God for his great mercy and goodness to us in granting this opportunity of meeting together in the House of the Lord, asking him that he would continue to bless us, that he would bless President Brigham Young with health and wisdom, that he might be able to lead and direct this people; and that the same blessings might be extended to all his brethren of the Twelve and all the saints; and that God would bless our wives and give unto them strength of body that they might live and administer to the servants of God, that they might see three score years and ten, and behold the kingdom of God established in the earth; and that we might be enabled to continue in Nauvoo in peace, until all the faithful saints had received their endowments; and that when the time to leave here should arrive that we might be able to sell our possessions and obtain those things that we need to enable us to go away in comfort. Also, that God would bless our children, and all that pertains to us.
Friday, 2.—Sixty-four persons received ordinances.
At 6 p.m., the high council, high priests, and seventies met in their several apartments for prayer.
Heber C. Kimball’s Dream.
This morning Elder Heber C. Kimball related the following dream: last evening, before retiring to bed he asked God to enlighten his mind with regard to the work of endowment; while sleeping he beheld a large field of corn that was fully ripe, he and a number of others were commanded to take baskets and pick off the corn with all possible speed, for there would soon be a storm that would hinder the gathering of the harvest. The hands engaged in gathering the harvest, were heedless and unconcerned and did not haste, as they were commanded; but he and the man he assisted had a much larger basket than the rest, and picked with all their might of the largest ears of the field, they once in a while would pick an ear that had a long tail on each end and but a few grains scattering over the center of the cob, which were very light.
The interpretation of the dream is, that the field represented the church, the good corn represented good saints, the light corn represented the light and indifferent saints, the laborers are those appointed to officiate in the Temple, the storm is trouble that is near upon us, and requires an immediate united exertion of all engaged in giving the endowments to the saints, or else we will not get through before we will be obliged to flee for our lives.
Elder Kimball having invited Brothers William Pitt, William Clayton, J. F. Hutchinson and James Smithies [musicians], they performed several very beautiful pieces of music.
After a short time spent in dancing, Elder Orson Hyde delivered a short address and requested the company present to unite with him in prayer.
The High Privileges of the Saints.
I addressed the brethren at length, alluding to the privileges we enjoy—of the order of administering endowments: that the way to grow and thrive was to serve the Lord in all we did, exhorted the brethren to remember their covenants and not to speak evil of each other, and related some of the efforts made to arrest me and persecute the saints. If Joseph Smith had been living, we should have already been in some other country, and we would go where we would be ‘the old settlers’, and build larger Temples than this.
Saturday, 3.—One hundred and fourteen persons received their ordinances.
At 5 p.m., several companies of high priests met for prayer.
At 7, the seventies met for prayer.
I had a chill today, accompanied by fever, and felt unable to attend to business. I remained in the Temple all night.
Sunday, 4.—No public meeting was held in the Temple this day, on account of the floor being insufficient to support a large congregation.
I attended a council of the Twelve in the Temple. David Candland was appointed a mission to England.
A letter was received from Samuel Brannan, New York, also one from Pittsburg, signed Wm. W. Salt; both of which were answered.
The different quorums met in their respective rooms for prayer, at the usual hour.
Sheriff Backenstos received the following:
Letter of Governor Ford to Sheriff Backenstos
Springfield, December 29, 1845.
Dear Sir: In the matter of the late attempt to make arrests by the deputy marshal in Nauvoo, you will understand that that was entirely an affair of the U. S. government, in which this state took no official part. A demand was made on me by the marshal for troops which was promptly refused. I am not yet advised that the troops under the command of Major Warren took any part. If they did they had no orders from me, and I cannot think that they did take any part in assisting the deputy marshal for that would have been contrary to the settled and solemn understanding between Major Warren and myself. I had heard some rumor of the matter before I received your letter, from which I inferred that some of the men may have gone with the deputy marshal as a mere personal guard.
You know that the impression has become pretty general that no officer can go with safety unattended to Nauvoo to arrest any of their principal men. The idea is, that an officer thus exposed would be liable to be murdered. This may be all idle supposition, yet it is sufficient to account for the men going with the marshal without supposing they went to assist him.
This indictment in the U. S. court against the leading Mormons puts a new face on the matter. It will bring them and the United States for the first time into collision. It is impossible for me to guess, with any certainty, as to the course of Mr. Polk in the matter, but I would think it likely that he will order up a regiment or two of the regular army, and perhaps call on me for the militia, in which event I will be compelled to order them as you know.
I hope that the administration will not act in the matter this winter. If the Mormons remain in the state a strong force will be ordered to Nauvoo by the secretary of war, to remain there until arrests can be made. This you know is all guess work, as I have no such official relations with the government at Washington as would enable me to know it certainly. I also think that it is very likely that the government at Washington will interfere to prevent the Mormons from going west of the Rocky Mountains. Many intelligent persons sincerely believe that they will join the British if they go there, and be more trouble than ever, and I think that this consideration is likely to influence the government.
If it should be the case that government will order and station a large force at Nauvoo, and they can keep their soldiers there with as little expense as anywherelse, and shall interfere to prevent their emigration, it will put the Mormon leaders who are indicted in a worse box than they have yet been. 1
They will have to separate from their people and become fugitives in the earth, or submit to a trial on their indictments. These are all mere speculations of mine, but it will be for you and them to calculate whether the results guessed at, are not probable. I am most respectfully
Your Obedient Servant,[Signed] Thomas Ford.’
Should Governor Ford’s speculations and suppositions in relation to U. S. troops prove correct, and the government send a regular force to arrest us, we will run no risk of being murdered by them as our leaders have been; and as to fearing a trial before the courts it is all gammon for our danger consists only in being held still by the authorities while mobs massacre us as Governor Ford held Joseph and Hyrum Smith while they were butchered.
Monday, 5.—My health being better I was ready for duty at an early hour. Spent the morning in hearing letters and newspapers [read], and giving directions as to the business of the day.
8:45 a.m., commenced washing and anointing [i. e. in the Temple].
Seventeen bottles of oil were consecrated.
One hundred four persons received their endowments.
The high council, two companies of high priests, and the seventies met in their respective rooms for prayer.
Dancing in the Temple.
9 p.m., the labors of the day being over, Brothers Hanson and E. Averett played on the violin and flute and enlivened the spirits of the saints present: some embraced the opportunity and danced to the lively strains of music.
Elder Heber C. Kimball and I returned home about midnight.
The county commissioners’ court met at Carthage, Messrs. Coulson and Perkins, being in attendance, and while allowing some bills for provisions and provender furnished to Backenstos’ posse—during the late difficulties—Mr. Thatcher, the clerk, stated that an injunction had been served on him, which had been issued by the clerk of the circuit court, forbidding all proceedings in relation to bills presented for the support of said posse, and this injunction he was determined to obey, and would not, therefore, place the order just made on record. The commissioners refused to recognize the legality of the injunction, on the ground that there was no provision in the statutes of the state to authorize such an interference with the county commissioners’ court.
Tuesday, 6.—Seventeen bottles of oil were consecrated,
Ninety persons received ordinances.
6 p.m., Elder H. C. Kimball and I with our wives attended a party at Elder John Taylor’s.
Three companies of high priests, the high council, and the seventies met for prayer in their respective rooms in the Temple.
Several musicians were present in the evening, some of the brethren danced.
I returned to the Temple about 10 p.m. and took part in the exercises. Brothers Erastus Snow and Levi W. Hancock sang hymns.
Wednesday, 7.—This morning there was an immense crowd at the reception room waiting for admission. The brethren brought all kinds of provisions for the use of those who are attending on the ordinances of the Lord’s House.
Catholic Proposal to Rent Public Buildings in Nauvoo.
A letter was received this morning from Father Tucker, informing us that the Catholic bishop could not raise money enough to purchase our property, but would either purchase or rent one of our public buildings, but would not insure it against fire or mobs.
One hundred twenty-one persons received ordinances.
The supply of provisions brought in today has been very abundant, and much has been sent away to those families that are destitute.
The high council and three companies of high priests met for prayer.
Service of the Seventies in the Temple.
The Presidents of Seventies met in council, in relation to keeping order in the Temple. The Twelve delegated to them the government of the Temple, while the ordinances were being administered to their quorums.
A Temple Sealing Altar Erected.
This afternoon, the new altar was used for the first time, and four individuals and their wives were sealed. The altar is about two and one-half feet high and two and one-half feet long and about one foot wide, rising from a platform about 8 or 9 inches high and extending out on all sides about a foot, forming a convenient place to kneel upon. The top of the altar and the platform for kneeling upon are covered with cushions of scarlet damask cloth; the sides of the upright part or body of the altar are covered with white linen.
The Twelve and presiding bishops with their wives were present at the dedication of the altar this afternoon.
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Thursday, 8.—* * * Eighty-one persons received ordinances.
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Friday, 9.—One hundred and five persons received ordinances in the Temple. I attended to ordinances at the altar. The several quorums met for prayer.
Dancing in the Temple Discontinued.
I observed to the brethren that it was my wish that all dancing and merriment should cease, lest the brethren and sisters be carried away by vanity; and that the name of the Deity should be held in reverence, with all the due deference that belongeth to an infinite being of his character.
I received a letter from Samuel J. Hastings, of Boston, proposing to ship passengers, merchandise and freight to the Pacific coast for the saints.
Annoucement of Elder Woodruff’s Return from England.
Saturday, 10.—* * * One hundred and eighteen received ordinances. I received a letter from Elder Wilford Woodruff, Liverpool, informing me that he had made arrangements to send his family home by New Orleans and return himself by Boston, calling in Maine and Connecticut, to bring his kindred to Nauvoo to start with the church westward in their exodus from the United States.
Sunday, 11.—The General Council met and arranged to make an early start west.
Anxious to Receive Temple Ordinances.
Monday, 12.—One hundred and forty-three persons received their endowments in the Temple. I officiated at the altar. Such has been the anxiety manifested by the saints to receive the ordinances [of the Temple], and such the anxiety on our part to administer to them, that I have given myself up entirely to the work of the Lord in the Temple night and day, not taking more than four hours sleep, upon an average, per day, and going home but once a week.
Elder Heber C. Kimball and the others of the Twelve Apostles were in constant attendance but in consequence of close application some of them had to leave the Temple to rest and recruit their health.
Tuesday, 13.—A council was held in the Temple.
The captains of fifties and tens made reports of the number in their respective companies, who were prepared to start west immediately, should the persecutions of our enemies compel us to do so: one hundred and forty horses and seventy wagons were reported ready for immediate service. * * *
Thursday, 15.—I received a letter from George B. Wallace containing information that Samuel Brannan had chartered a ship to take a company of saints to San Francisco at twelve hundred dollars per month.
Elder Wallace had proposed to the brethren to purchase a ship, by shares of fifty dollars each to emigrate the saints to the Pacific coast: he gave an account of the progress of the work in the east.
Friday, 16.—A company of about forty saints including a portion of Elder Woodruff’s family, consisting of his wife, Phebe, and two children, left Liverpool, on board of the ship Liverpool, for New Orleans. Elder Woodruff forwarded his family, he having to go by way of New York to Maine and Connecticut for his parents and daughter.
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Saturday, 17.—Thirty-six persons received ordinances in the Temple.
I received the following [from Attorney-General Josiah Lamborn]:
Josiah Lamborn Proposes to Write History of the ‘Mormons ‘
(Confidential) 17th Jan., 1846.
Dear Sir: I have been thinking of preparing for publication of a brief History of the Mormons and their difficulties in the different states where they have resided. My object would be to present to the public, the political, religious, and sectional motives, which have led to the persecutions of the Mormons. A well arranged statement of all these matters in a popular style of literature would have a tendency to correct public opinion and do much good.
I have lived in this state for many years, and have been intimately acquainted with the policy of office holders and office seekers, and without any particular intimacy with the Mormons themselves, I have become familiar with their peculiar condition.
A history of this kind would come with a good grace from one who has never had any personal, political or religious connection with your people. I presume that you are aware of the fact, that my feelings are as liberal and friendly as the feelings of any public man in the state. At no time have I failed to correct misrepresentations against you; and in some instances I have done so at the peril of losing favor and influence with men in high official stations.
I could prepare a work of the kind proposed and sell the copyright in New York, for five thousand dollars.
My object in addressing myself to you is to ascertain whether the Mormons would afford me any facilities in getting correct information, etc. If I should engage in anything of the kind I would wish to visit Nauvoo and have personal intercourse with some of the intelligent and respectable citizens for four or five weeks. Nothing could be done without some aid from your citizens, and if they will lend me their aid I will endeavor to make manifest my gratitude in a becoming manner. You can consult in confidence, with your friends upon this proposition, and let me know at an early day your views, etc.
Respectfully yours,[Signed] J. Lamborn.’
President Young’s Interest in His Team.
I attended a concert in the Music Hall; while my coachman, Brother George D. Grant, was taking his last passenger home, my horses fell through a bridge on Parley Street; I was in bed when I heard of it, but immediately arose, put on my clothes and hastened to the rescue of my team; on arriving I found they had lain nearly an hour between the timbers of the bridge, totally unable to extricate themselves from their distressing situation, and notwithstanding they were dumb animals they were sensible of their condition. We soon tore the timbers away and let down the horses one at a time, and rolling them over placed them where they could help themselves. (The depth of the gully was about six feet.) I returned home and washed the horses all over with spirits, using about half a gallon of whiskey in bathing them, which prevented stiffness and colds, so that in a few days they were able for service again.
Preparation for Instant Flight from Nauvoo.
Sunday, 18.—A meeting of the captains of Emigrating Companies was held in the attic story of the Temple, to ascertain the number ready and willing to start should necessity compel our instant removal, being aware that evil is intended towards us, and that our safety alone will depend upon our departure from this place, before our enemies shall intercept and prevent our going.
A general interest in the movement was manifested by the whole council, every man felt willing to yield to the circumstances that surround us, and let their property be used for the purpose of accomplishing the removal and salvation of this people.
We selected Almon W. Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood, John S. Fullmer, Henry W. Miller and John M. Bernhisel, a committee to dispose of our property and effects and aid such in emigrating as may have to go, it was agreed that they should have letters of attorney to authorize them to act for us legally.
They were instructed to enclose the Nauvoo House and complete the first story of the Temple.
Meetings for prayer in the several rooms.
Monday, 19.—I administered at the altar all day with the exception of thirty minutes in which I took some refreshments.
Evening, I attended a concert in the Music Hall.
Tuesday, 20.—One hundred and ninety-five persons received ordinances in the Temple.
Public prejudice being so strong against us, and the excitement becoming alarming we determined to continue the administration of the ordinances of endowment night and day.
The high council published the following:
A Circular of the High Council to the Church
‘To the Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to all Whom it May Concern—Greeting:
Beloved Brethren and Friends: We the members of the high council of the church by the voice of all her authorities, have unitedly and unanimously agreed, and embrace this opportunity to inform you; that we intend to send out into the western country from this place, sometime in March, a Company of Pioneers, consisting mostly of young, hardy men, with some families. These are destined to be furnished with an ample outfit; taking with them a printing press, farming utensils of all kinds, with mill irons and bolting cloths, seeds of all kinds, grain, etc.
The object of this early move is to put in a spring crop, to build houses, and to prepare for the reception of families who will start so soon as grass shall be sufficiently grown to sustain teams and stock.
Our Pioneers are instructed to proceed west until they find a good place to make a crop, in some good valley in the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains, where they will infringe upon no one, and not be likely to be infringed upon. Here we will make a resting place, until we can determine a place for a permanent location. In the event of the president’s [U. S.] recommendation to build block houses and stockade forts on the route to Oregon, becoming a law, we have encouragements of having that work to do; and under our peculiar circumstances; we can do it with less expense to the government than any other people.
We also further declare for the satisfaction of some who have concluded that our grievances have alienated us from our country, that our patriotism has not been overcome by fire—by sword—by daylight, nor by midnight assassinations, which we have endured; neither have they alienated us from the institutions of our country.
Should hostilities arise between the government of the United States and any other power, in relation to the right of possessing the territory of Oregon, we are on hand to sustain the claims of the United States’ government to that country. It is geographically ours; and of right, no foreign power should hold dominion there; and if our services are required to prevent it, those services will be cheerfully rendered according to our ability. We feel the injuries that we have sustained, and are not insensible of the wrongs we have suffered; still we are Americans, and should our country be invaded we hope to do, at least, as much as did the ‘conscientious’ Quaker who took his passage on board a merchant ship and was attacked by pirates. The pirates boarded the merchantman and one of the enemies’ men fell into the water between the two vessels, but seized a rope that hung over and was pulling himself up on board the merchantman. The conscientious Quaker saw this, and though he did not like to fight, he took his jack-knife and quickly moved to the scene, saying to the pirate, ‘If thee wants that. piece of rope I will help thee to it.’ He cut the rope asunder—the pirate fell—and a watery grave was his resting place.
Much of our property will be left in the hands of competent agents for sale at a low rate, for teams, for goods and for cash. The funds arising from the sale of property will be applied to the removal of families from time to time as fast as consistent, and it now remains to be proven whether those of our families and friends who are necessarily left behind for a season to obtain an outfit, through the sale of property shall be mobbed, burnt, and driven away by force. Does any American want the honor of doing it? or will Americans suffer such acts to be done, and the disgrace of them to rest on their character under existing circumstances? If they will, let the world know it. But we do not believe they will.
We agreed to leave the country for the sake of peace, upon the condition that no more vexatious prosecutions be instituted against us. In good faith we have labored to fulfill this engagement. Governor Ford has also done his duty to further our wishes in this respect. But there are some who are unwilling that we should have an existence anywhere. But our destinies are in the hands of God, and so also is their’s.
We venture to say that our brethren have made no counterfeit money: and if any miller has received fifteen hundred dollars base coin in a week, from us, let him testify. If any land agent of the general government has received wagon loads of base coin from us in payment for lands, let him say so. Or if he has received any at all from us, let him tell it. Those witnesses against us have spun a long yarn: but if our brethren had never used an influence against them to break them up, and to cause them to leave our city, after having satisfied themselves that they were engaged in the very business of which they accuse us, their revenge might never have been roused to father upon us their own illegitimate and bogus productions.
We have never tied a black strap around any person’s neck, neither have we cut their bowels out, nor fed any to the ‘catfish’. The systematic order of stealing of which these grave witnesses speak, must certainly be original with them. Such a plan could never originate with any person, except someone who wished to fan the flames of death and destruction around us. The very dregs of malice and revenge are mingled in the statements of those witnesses alluded to by the Sangamon Journal. We should think that every man of sense might see this. In fact, many editors do see it, and they have our thanks for speaking of it.
We have now stated our feelings, our wishes, and our intentions: and by them we are willing to abide; and such editors as are willing that we should live and not die; and have a being on the earth while heaven is pleased to lengthen out our days, are respectfully requested to publish this article. And men who wish to buy property very cheap, to benefit themselves and are willing to benefit us, are invited to call and look: and our prayer shall ever be that justice and judgment—mercy and truth may be exalted, not only in our own land, but throughout the world, and the will of God be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
Done in council [stake high council] at the city of Nauvoo, on the 20th day of January, 1846.[Signed] Samuel Bent James Allred
George W. Harris Wm. Huntington
Henry G. Sherwood Alpheus Cutler
Newel Knight Lewis D. Wilson
Ezra T. Benson David Fullmer
Thomas Grover Aaron Johnson.’
Admonition to “Suffer and Forgive!”
Wednesday, 21.—Two hundred and eight persons received ordinances. I received a letter from Hon. J. H. Ralston, Quincy, concerning our removal, etc., he says:
‘I have long known many of the Mormons, who I have always thought good citizens, let them now show that they can suffer and forgive, and that amidst oppression their patriotism grows the brighter,’
Thursday, 22.—One hundred and ninety-eight persons received ordinances in the Temple. Elder Heber C. Kimball received a letter from Dr. Alphonzo Young of the 21st inst. in which he says:
Warning of Hostilities in Iowa.
“I have learned that the mob have been making preparations in Iowa to harass the brethren. Yesterday they got up a war dance in Keokuk and those participating in it were dressed in Indian garb, and as the report is widely circulated that the Twelve will soon leave for the west, I have no doubt but that the meeting was got up to concoct schemes to take the Twelve, when they cross the Mississippi or soon after.’
Friday, 23.—One hundred and twenty-eight persons received ordinances in the Temple. Elder Woodruff and Joseph A. Stratton sailed from Liverpool on board the packet ship Ashburton for New York.
Saturday, 24.—One hundred and fifty-one persons received ordinances in the Temple. I attended a general meeting of the official members of the church held in the second story of the Temple, for the purpose of arranging the business affairs of the church prior to our exit from this place.
The meeting being organized previous to my arrival Elder Orson Pratt was appointed chairman.
Trustees Appointed to Take Charge of Property at Nauvoo.
I explained to the brethren the object of appointing trustees, and informed them that the trustees would act in concert with Bishops Whitney and Miller while they remained here; and that when the Twelve left the bishops would accompany them, and that the trustees now appointed would carry on the finishing of the Temple and the Nauvoo House, also dispose of our property, fit out the saints and send them westward. It is wisdom to take this course that we may have efficient men to act for and in behalf of the church and people. I want Bishops Whitney and Miller here while we are here, and when we go, they will go with us.
We intend to start a company of young men and some few families perhaps within a few weeks. This company will travel until they can find a good location beyond the settlements, and there stop and put in a summer crop, that we may have something to subsist upon, and a portion of us remain there until we can make further discoveries.
We are forced to this policy by those who are in authority [i. e. in the state]. I find no fault with the Constitution or laws of our country, they are good enough. It is the abuse of those laws which I despise, and which God, good men and angels abhor.
I hope we will find a place, where no self-righteous neighbors can say that we are obnoxious to them; I exhort you brethren not to be self-important. We have covenanted to remove the poor that are worthy, and this we intend to do, God being our helper.
President Favors Liberty.
Let us walk humbly before the Lord, be upright and sustain yourselves and realize that we are engaged in a great and important movement. If any want to go with us that are not members of the church bid them welcome; for I look upon every man that is a true republican as bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; and if any wish to follow Sidney Rigdon or J. J. Strang I say let them go; we will cut them off from the church, and let them take their own course for salvation.
I know where the power of the priesthood lies and I know that the enemy of all righteousness seeks our downfall, but God is our preserver.
Of Bogus Makers.
A set of bogus-makers who recently commenced operations in this city, who are determined to counterfeit coin here by wagonloads and make it pass upon the community as land office money; [they] are determined to be revenged upon us, because we would not permit them to pursue their wicked business in Nauvoo, they have scattered through the country circulating their bogus money and spreading lies and every species of falsehood, saying that we are engaged in bogus-making in order thereby to conceal their crimes, and screen themselves from observation and punishment, and at the same time be avenged upon us for not consenting to the establishment of their bogus mints at Nauvoo.
Nevertheless, we may have to suffer repeated wrongs in consequence of those falsehoods that are and which will be circulated about us; but my faith is that God will rule the elements, and the Prince and power of the air will be stayed, and the Lord will fight our battles, as in the days of Moses; and we will see the deliverance brought to pass. Although, there may be bloodshed frequently, still this must needs be that the scriptures may be fulfilled.
Unimportance of Death to the Saints.
It is but a small matter for us to lay down our lives if we are prepared for the change; when we take our exit from this world we go into the society of disembodied spirits, and there become one of those who await the resurrection of the body; if humility and faithfulness has characterized our lives, our condition will be much better than the present. This nation is fearful that we will turn the world upside down and accomplish wonderful things in the land; our elders have confounded the wise men if they have not converted them. The nation are afraid that we will convert the savages of the forest; we will teach them and all with whom we may have intercourse, and further we will yet bring salvation to this nation if they will cease their hostilities against us, and repent of their sins. The Lord has said he would fight our battles, and if this nation still continues to be actuated towards us with a persecuting spirit, vengeance shall come from the Lord upon them, until they shall be utterly wasted; but I intend to preach and do all the good that I can.
When the time comes to start westward we will continue to gather, until Israel is gathered; let there be no feelings about who shall go first; those who go first will lay a foundation for those who shall come after, and none will be neglected in their time.
Justice in Financial Affairs Assured.
I have one request to make of all the saints that expect to emigrate with us, that they be subject to their leaders, with their property and means, and if this is done I can say there never will be a lack in the church. If any man can say that he has been wronged out of his money by the bishops, let him speak and it shall be restored to him again; but I am aware it is not so. Keep your money in circulation and it will enable you to do good and you will be blessed in so doing; retain your money when the poor around you are crying for bread and it will prove a curse to you. Be honorable in all your dealings, prompt and punctual to pay all your debts and restore confidence, let promptness and punctuality be the standard with you and the God of peace will pour out blessings upon you that there shall not be room enough to receive them.
We intend to finish the Temple and the Nauvoo House, as far as putting on the roof and putting in the windows are concerned, and we shall drop all political operations and church government, and by so doing we may preserve our public buildings from the torch. I propose that all the saints lay down their property to be used in building the Temple, the Nauvoo House and helping the poor away, such as must go in the first company.
The Committee of Trustees.
I nominated Almon W. Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood, and John S. Fullmer, trustees for the building of the Temple and Henry W. Miller and John M Bernhisel, trustees or committee for the building of the Nauvoo House, which nominations were seconded and carried without a dissenting voice.
Two p.m., on motion, the meeting adjourned, after which I ascended the stairs—called at the dining room and partook of some refreshment, then repaired to room No. 1 where I continued administering at the altar until midnight.
Sunday, 25.—I attended to ordinances in the Temple.
Monday, 26.—Nine a.m., I went to the Temple and commenced the ordinances in the different departments which were set apart for the purpose; the washing and anointing was suspended until tomorrow.
Tuesday, 27.—One hundred and twenty-six persons received ordinances.
The “Higher Ordinances” of the Temple.
Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Amasa Lyman, and I officiated in the higher ordinances. Elders George A. Smith and Willard Richards were absent, being sick.
Increasing Unfriendliness of Governor Ford.
Sheriff Backenstos has returned from Springfield, and says, that Governor Ford has turned against us, and that Major Warren is making calculations to prevent our going away.
I received a letter from Josiah Lamborn, Esq., Springfield, stating that Governor Ford was decidedly in favor of General J. J. Hardin’s policy, which is, that of suspending all civil offices, the collection of taxes, and placing the county under martial law.
I officiated at the altar until 10 p.m. and remained in the Temple all night.
Wednesday, 28.—One hundred and seventy-two persons received ordinances in the Temple.
Nine-thirty p.m., the labors of the day closed. I remained in the Temple.
Thursday, 29.—I continued giving endowments in the Temple in connection with my brethren of the Twelve and others. One hundred and thirty-three persons received ordinances.
Quite a number of the governor’s troops are prowling around our city; I am informed that they are seeking to arrest some of the leading men of the church.
More Rumors of “Interception”.
This evening I read a letter from S. Brannan in which he said he had ascertained from Amos Kendall, the late postmaster-general, that government intended to intercept our movements by stationing strong forces in our way to take from us all firearms on the pretense that we were going to join another nation.
Brannan said this jealousy originated from Arlington Bennett’s letters in relation to our movements. We ask God our heavenly Father to exert his power in our deliverance that we may be preserved to establish truth upon all the face of the earth.
Friday, 30.—One hundred and seventy-two persons received the ordinances of endowment.
Nine a. m., the [wind] vane was put upon the tower of the Temple.
The weather is stormy, yet not cold. At ten a.m., I entered the Temple where I labored until evening.
Saturday, 31.—Two hundred and thirty-three persons received ordinances.
About noon, Brother Amasa Lyman came into the Temple being quite feeble; Elder H. C. Kimball administered to him.
The labors in the Temple came to a close at 10:39 p.m. I called the house to order and Elder Charles C. Rich prayed and we retired to rest.
Sunday Service in the Temple.
Sunday, February 1, 1846.—Public meeting in the second story of the Temple. Elder Orson Pratt and myself addressed the meeting.
After meeting, I returned to the attic and partook of some refreshments.
Elder Heber C. Kimball, Amasa Lyman, and I administered at the altar.
Monday, 2.—Two hundred and thirty-four persons received ordinances.
Early Departure of the Twelve from Nauvoo Imperative.
Ten a.m., the Twelve, Trustees and a few others met in council, to ascertain the feelings of the brethren that were expecting to start westward. We agreed that it was imperatively necessary to start as soon as possible. I counseled the brethren to procure boats and hold them in readiness to convey our wagons and teams over the river, and let everything for the journey be in readiness, that when a family is called to go, everything necessary may be put into the wagon within four hours, at least, for if we are here many days, our way will be hedged up. Our enemies have resolved to intercept us whenever we start. I should like to push on as far as possible before they are aware of our movements. In order to have this counsel circulated, I sent messengers to notify the captains of hundreds and fifties to meet at 4 p.m. at Father Cutlers’.
At four o’clock, I met with the captains of hundreds and fifties, and laid my counsel before them, to which they all consented, and dispersed to carry it into execution.
I received letters from England and the eastern states.
At sundown, I returned to the Temple and continued there until 9 p. m. Before leaving I gave instructions to my clerks not to stop recording until the records of the endowments were finished.
At the Home of Willard Richards.
Elder H. C. Kimball and I went to Willard Richards’ office, where we remained in council with him. In the course of our council we walked out into the garden, and examined his grove of chestnut trees, and his wife, Jennetta’s grave, and after returning to the office made inquiries of the Lord as to our circumstances and the circumstances of the saints and received satisfactory answers. Retired about 1 a.m.
Great Anxiety of the Saints to Receive Endowments.
Tuesday, 3.—Notwithstanding that I had announced that we would not attend to the administration of the ordinances, the House of the Lord was thronged all day, the anxiety being so great to receive, as if the brethren would have us stay here and continue the endowments until our way would be hedged up, and our enemies would intercept us. But I informed the brethren that this was not wise, and that we should build more Temples, and have further opportunities to receive the blessings of the Lord, as soon as the saints were prepared to receive them. In this Temple we have been abundantly rewarded, if we receive no more. I also informed the brethren that I was going to get my wagons started and be off. I walked some distance from the Temple supposing the crowd would disperse, but on returning I found the house filled to overflowing.
Looking upon the multitude and knowing their anxiety, as they were thirsting and hungering for the word, we continued at work diligently in the House of the Lord.
Two hundred and ninety-five persons received ordinances.
Grave of Jennetta Richards Opened.
Brother Player and two others altering Jennetta Richards’ grave. I stayed at home until 6 p.m. I went to the Temple and returned again in an hour, busy preparing for my journey to the west.
Jennetta’s coffin was opened, and the whole family looked at the corpse, which was but little decayed.
Wednesday, 4.—I continued loading up my wagons, preparatory to starting west.
Elder G. D. Watt received his letter of recommendation to preach the gospel in England.
Brother Player and others completed Jennetta’s grave placing the inscription stone across her breast, one stone below, and another above, for a covering of the whole. It was first covered with a plank. A line passing ten feet south of the house, in a range with the west side of the building, thence west at a right angle twenty feet, thence descend at a right angle about three feet, and it will reach about the center of the vault containing the coffin.
Friday, 6.—Five hundred and twelve persons received the first ordinances of endowment in the Temple.
Bishop George Miller and family crossed the Mississippi river. They had six wagons.
Saturday, 7.—According to G. A. Smith’s Journal upwards of six hundred received the ordinances [i. e. of the Temple]: One hundred and twenty-six of which were reported in the Seventies Record.
Prayer for the Nauvoo Temple.
Sunday, 8.—I met with the Council of the Twelve in the southeast corner room of the attic of the Temple. We knelt around the altar, and dedicated the building to the Most High. We asked his blessing upon our intended move to the west; also asked him to enable us some day to finish the Temple, and dedicate it to him, and we would leave it in his hands to do as he pleased; and to preserve the building as a monument to Joseph Smith. We asked the Lord to accept the labors of his servants in this land. We then left the Temple.
I addressed the saints in the grove and informed them that the company going to the west would start this week across the river.
John Smith, president of the stake, and family crossed the river, accompanied by his clerk, Albert Carrington, and family.
Monday, 9.—A detachment of the governor’s troops came into the city and apprehended a man named Samuel Smith, who soon escaped.
Elder George A. Smith sent his family across the river.
Roof of the Temple on Fire.
Three-thirty p.m., the roof of the Temple was discovered to be on fire. An alarm was immediately given, when the brethren marched steadily to its rescue. I saw the flames from a distance, but it was out of my power to get there in time to do any good towards putting out the fire, and I said if it is the will of the Lord that the Temple be burned, instead of being defiled by the Gentiles, Amen to it.
I went to the Temple as soon as I could, after the fire had been extinguished, the brethren gave a loud shout of Hosannah, while standing on the deck roof.
Willard Richards called on the brethren to bring out all their buckets, to fill them with water, and pass them on. Lines inside were formed, and the buckets passed in quick succession. The fire raged near half an hour. It was caused by the stovepipe being overheated, drying the clothing in the upper room. It burned from the west stovepipe from the ridge to the railing, about sixteen feet north and south, and about ten feet east and west on the north side. The shingles on the north were broken in several places.
By the advice of President H. C. Kimball the brethren dispersed.
Several of the troops went to the Temple and attempted to enter, but were prevented by the brethren at the door.
A River Disaster Incident.
At the same time that the Temple was on fire a number of brethren were crossing the river in a flatboat, when in their rear a man and two boys were in a skiff in a sinking condition, on account of being overloaded and the unskillfulness of the helmsman. They hailed to the flatboat, which soon turned, and rendered them assistance. As soon as they got the three on board the flatboat, a filthy wicked man squirted some tobacco juice into the eyes of one of the oxen attached to Thomas Grover’s wagon, which immediately plunged into the river, dragging another ox with him, and as he was going overboard he tore off one of the sideboards which caused the water to flow into the flatboat, and as they approached the shore the boat sank to the bottom, before all the men could leap off. Several of the brethren were picked up in an exhausted condition. Two oxen were drowned and a few things floated away and were lost. The wagon was drawn out of the river with its contents damaged.
The crossing of the river was superintended by the police, under the direction of Hosea Stout. They gathered several flatboats, some old lighters, and a number of skiffs, forming altogether quite a fleet, and were at work night and day, crossing the saints.
The undersigned wrote as follows:
John E. Page of the Council of the Twelve Disfellowshiped
‘Nauvoo, Feb. 9, 1846.
To the Saints of God.
Dear Brethren and Sisters: We take this opportunity to say to you that we have no fellowship with Elder John E. Page, in consequence of his murmuring disposition, and choosing to absent himself from our councils, and then saying that he is made a servant and slave of by his quorum, and has had no privileges in the Temple, when the plain truth is, he has chosen to stand aside from us, and because we would let him do so, he has murmured about it. He has been on the background and in the shade ever since he failed to fulfill his mission to Jerusalem in company with Elder Hyde.
Now, beloved brethren, you are not bound to look to him as one of the Twelve Apostles, for he has yielded himself up to temptation, and he cannot resist the spirit of apostasy which inspired him to find fault with the organization of the church.
We, therefore, your brethren in solemn council, being grieved at his murmurings and dissension, and also at his yielding himself up to temptation willingly and without cause, have withdrawn the hand of fellowship from him until he comes to us and gives satisfaction for his dissension; and the saints are released from all covenants and obligations to abide his counsel.
Done in council the day and date above written.[Signed] Brigham Young, President
Heber C. Kimball,
Parley P. Pratt,
George A. Smith,
Orson Hyde, Clerk.’ ”
1. The statement in this letter about the probability of the United States government being likely to intercept the departure of the church leaders from Nauvoo is a most diabolical and self-conceived trick on the part of Governor Ford. For in his History of Illinois, (p. 413), after confessing that he purposely tried to mislead the church authorities to a belief of this kind he says:
“With a view to hasten their removal they were made to believe that the president would order the regular army to Nauvoo as soon as the navigation opened in the spring. This had its intended effect: the Twelve with about two thousand of their followers, immediately crossed the Mississippi before the breaking up of the ice.”