Change of Editors on the “Messenger and Advocate.”
About the middle of May, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer, Presidents of the Church in Missouri, arrived at Kirtland, and John Whitmer was appointed to take the place of President Oliver Cowdery, in conducting the Messenger and Advocate.
Frederick G. Williams was appointed to edit the Northern Times, a weekly newspaper, which we had commenced in February last, in favor of Democracy; and W. W. Phelps (with his son Waterman) made his home with my family, and assisted the committee in compiling the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
Minutes of Conference held at New Portage, June 6th.
The Elders and brethren assembled in conference, June 6th, at New Portage, Oliver Cowdery, presiding.
Elder David Matthews, who was suspended at a previous conference, for unchristian conduct, was present.
After hearing the testimony, the council unanimously agreed that there had been due contrition of spirit manifested by him, in his walk and conversation since his suspension; and Elder Matthews was restored.
Elder Barkdall preferred a claim against Elder Keeler, for services said to be rendered some eight or nine years since, and to have been awarded by a former council.
It appeared there had been a decision in favor of Elder Barkdall, but no testimony was produced by either of the parties to substantiate a claim, or prove a payment. It was, therefore, Resolved:—That both the accuser and the accused have manifested a bad spirit, and deserve the severe rebuke of this council.
Elder Milo Hays was tried for not obeying the Word of Wisdom, and for covenant breaking.
Both charges were sustained by testimony, and Elder Hays was excluded from the Church.
Several other cases of discipline were attended to, and conference adjourned at 12 o’clock at night.
Sunday morning, President Oliver Cowdery preached, after which four were baptized.
The council again organized in the evening, and ordained Jacob Myers an Elder.
The case of Elders Barkdall and Keeler was again called up; four councilors spoke on the subject, when it was decided that they have one week and no more to settle their differences with each other, and make confession to the Church, or lose their standing.
W. A. Cowdery, Clerk.
Instructions of the Prophet to the Elders and Saints in Missouri.
The Presidency, Bishop, and High Council of Zion, having removed to Kirtland, or gone forth in the vineyard, I caused it to be published in the June number of the Messenger and Advocate, that according to the order of the kingdom begun in the last days, to prepare men for the rest of the Lord, the Elders in Zion or in her immediate region, have no authority or right to meddle with her spiritual affairs, to regulate her concerns, or hold councils for the expulsion of members, in her unorganized condition. The High Council has been expressly organized to administer in all her spiritual affairs; and the Bishop and his council are set over her temporal matters ; so that the Elders’ acts are null and void. Now, the Lord wants the wheat and tares to grow together; for Zion must be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. Every Elder that can, after providing for his family (if he has any) and paying his debts, must go forth and clear his skirts from the blood of this generation. While they are in that region, [Missouri] instead of trying members for transgression, or offenses, let every one labor to prepare himself for the vineyard, sparing a little time to comfort the mourners, to bind up the broken-hearted, to reclaim the backslider, to bring back the wanderer, to re-invite into the kingdom such as have been cut off, by encouraging them to lay to while the day lasts, and work righteousness, and, with one heart and one mind, prepare to help to redeem Zion, that goodly land of promise, where the willing and obedient shall be blessed. 1
The Mission of Mr. Hewitt.
About this time, I received an introduction to Mr. Hewitt, a preacher who had come out from Europe, with his wife, to examine this work; he stated that he was delegated by his church for this purpose, and presented a letter of commendation, a copy of which follows:
To the Saints of the Most High:
Dear Brethren in the Lord.—At a council of the pastors of our church, held March 28th, 1835, upon the propriety of Reverend John visiting you, it was resolved and approved that as he had an anxious desire to go to America to see things that are spoken of in one of your papers brought here by a merchant from New York, he should have, as he desired, the sanction of the council, and if it pleased the Lord, His approval. The Lord hath seen our joy and gladness to hear that He was raising up a people for Himself in that part of the New World, as well as here. O, may our faith increase that He may have Evangelists, Apostles, and Prophets, filled with the power of the Spirit, and performing His will in destroying the works of darkness.
The Reverend Mr. Hewitt was professor of mathematics in Rotherham Independent Seminary, and four years pastor of Barnsley Independent church. He commenced preaching the doctrines we taught, about two years since, and was excommunicated. Many of his flock followed him, so that he was eventually installed in the same church, and the Lord’s work prospered. As he is a living epistle, you will have, if all be well, a full explanation. Many will follow, should he approve of the country, etc., who will help the cause, because the Lord hath favored them with this world’s goods. We had an utterance during our meeting, which caused us to sing for joy. The Lord was pleased with our brother’s holy determination to see you; and we understand that persecution had been great among you, or would be, but we were commanded not to fear, for He would be with us. Praise the Lord.
The time is at hand when distance shall be no barrier between us; but when on the wings of love, Jehovah’s messages shall be communicated by His Saints. The Lord bless our brother, and may he prove a blessing to you. Be not afraid of our enemies; they shall, unless they repent, be cast down by the Lord of Hosts. The workers of iniquity have been used by the prince of darkness to play the counterfeit; but discernment has been given to us, that they were immediately put to shame, by being detected, so that the flock never suffered as yet by them.
Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from the Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I am, dear sir,
Your brother in the Gospel,
Barnsley, April 21, 1835. 2
The interview with Mr. Hewitt was brief, and he left with the understanding that he would call again and renew his investigations. As he did not return according to agreement, and hearing he was at Fairport, the council of the Presidency sent him the following letter:—
To the Reverend Mr. Hewitt:
Sir—In consequence of your not returning as we understood you would at your introduction to us, it was resolved and approved in council, on the evening of the 14th instant, that the bearer of this communication, Oliver Cowdery, one of the presiding Elders of our Church, should proceed to Fairport, and ascertain if possible, the cause of your delay; and this is done as one reason, that we feel an anxious desire for the salvation of the souls of men, and to satisfy your inquiries concerning the religion we profess. If at Fairport it is the sincere desire of the council, that Mr. Hewitt return, that we may satisfy him concerning our religion, and he satisfy us concerning his; for we feel as great a desire for the welfare of his people, as he can for ours.
With respect, etc.,
W. W. Phelps, Clerk.
The Indifference of Mr. Hewitt.
Elder Cowdery immediately repaired to Fairport, and on the day following reported to the Council that Mr. Hewitt was not in the place: that he left their letter with Mrs. Hewitt, who informed him that her “husband had frequently spoken of his wish to become further acquainted with the people whom he had come out from Europe to see.” But the next we heard of the Reverend John Hewitt was that he had opened a school in Painsville, Ohio.
Mr. Hewitt was an elder of the Irvingite 3 church, in Barnsley, England, and was sent as a delegate from that church, as expressed in the letter from Mr. Shaw, of April 21st, to visit the Saints in America, and ascertain their faith and principles; and if Mr. Hewitt found them as they expected, the Saints in America might expect help from them (the church in Barnsley) as they were rich in temporal things and had received the gift of tongues in the church.
Subscriptions for the Temple.
June 18.—Nine hundred and fifty dollars were subscribed for the temple, by the Saints in Kirtland. Great anxiety was manifested to roll on the work.
The twenty-first, being Sunday, I preached in Kirtland on the Evangelical Order. 4
Thursday, June 25.—There was a meeting in Kirtland to subscribe for the building of the Temple; and $6,232.50 was added to the list. Joseph Smith subscribed $500; Oliver Cowdery, $750; W. W. Phelps, $500; John Whitmer, $500; and Frederick G. Williams, $500; of the above, all of which they paid within one hour, and the people were astonished.
Conference in Canada.
June 29.—Six of the traveling High Council, viz.:—David W. Patten, Heber C. Kimball, Luke S. Johnson, Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson, assembled in conference with the church in Loborough, Upper Canada. The church in Loborough, composed of twenty-five members, were uninformed in many principles of the new covenant, not having had the same privilege of instruction as the churches in the United States.
Brothers Henry and Jacob Wood, who had been suspended, had a rehearing, but were cut off. Elder Frederick M. Van Leuven, was appointed presiding Elder, and a number were added to the Church during their stay.
Michael H. Chandler and the Egyptian Mummies.
On the 3rd of July, Michael H. Chandler came to Kirtland to exhibit some Egyptian mummies. There were four human figures, together with some two or more rolls of papyrus covered with hieroglyphic figures and devices. As Mr. Chandler had been told I could translate them, he brought me some of the characters, and I gave him the interpretation, and like a gentleman, he gave me the following certificate:
Kirtland, July 6, 1835.
This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning the knowledge of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., in deciphering the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic characters in my possession, which I have, in many eminent cities, showed to the most learned; and, from the information that I could ever learn, or meet with, I and that of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., to correspond in the most minute matters.
Michael H. Chandler,
Traveling with, and proprietor of, Egyptian mummies. 5
Sunday 5.—I preached in the afternoon.
The Case of Michael H. Barton.
Michael H. Barton tried to get into the Church, but he was not willing to confess and forsake all his sins—and he was rejected.
The Writings of Abraham and Joseph.
Soon after this, some of the Saints at Kirtland purchased the mummies and papyrus, a description of which will appear hereafter, and with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc.,—a more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth.
Edmund Bosley Tried for Breaking Covenant.
On the 9th I rode to Cleveland, in company with Elder Cowdery and others. On the 14th a charge was preferred against Elder Edmund Bosley, to a council of the Presidency, for unchristian-like conduct, in breaking a certain sacred covenant, made September 4, 1834.
I instructed the council on points of duty, such as observing covenants, etc., and testified to the truth of the above covenant.
President Oliver Cowdery testified that he himself framed the covenant alluded to, and that at the time when Bosley said that he had a witness that it was the will of the Lord that he should consecrate the surplus of his property over and above what would be needful for his and his family’s support.
Bishop Whitney stated that Elder Bosley agreed to let the Presidency and others have money on loan, for the printing of the Revelations, if he could control his property in one year, or, as soon as he obtained it.
Decided that Elder Bosley broke the covenant which he made September 4, 1834—therefore he is not a member of this Church, unless he make satisfaction to those whom he injured.
Also Isaac H. Bishop was complained of as having spoken evil of the High Council, by saying that “the High Council had the wrong tree to bark up,” which was testified to by J. M. Corrill, President Rigdon and others.
It was decided that Isaac H. Bishop shall make public confession to the satisfaction of the injured, and walk as a saint in all things.
The hand of the Lord shall be upon them, until they repent in sackcloth and ashes, and shall effect their temporal and spiritual interests unless they repent.