Volume 3 Chapter 25


Commerce—The Prophet’s History—Doctrinal Development.

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Wednesday, June 5.—I returned to Commerce and spent the remainder of the week at home.

Sunday, 9.—I attended meeting with my wife and family at Brother Bosiers. Elder John E. Page preached.

Monday, 10.—Elder Page baptized one woman. I was engaged in study preparatory to writing my history.

First House Built by the Saints at Commerce.

Tuesday, 11.—I commenced dictating my history for my clerk, James Mulholland, to write. About this time Elder Theodore Turley raised the first house built by the Saints in this place [Commerce]; it was built of logs, about twenty-five or thirty rods north north-east of my dwelling, on the northeast corner of lot 4, block 147, of the White purchase.

Description of Commerce.

When I made the purchase of White and Galland, there were one stone house, three frame houses, and two block houses, which constituted the whole city of Commerce. Between Commerce and Mr. Davidson Hibbard’s, there was one stone house and three log houses, including the one that I live in, and these were all the houses in this vicinity, and the place was literally a wilderness. The land was mostly covered with trees and bushes, and much of it so wet that it was with the utmost difficulty a footman could get through, and totally impossible for teams. Commerce was so unhealthful, very few could live there; but believing that it might become a healthful place by the blessing of heaven to the Saints, and no more eligible place presenting itself, I considered it wisdom to make an attempt to build up a city.

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Wednesday and Thursday, 12 and 13.—I continued to dictate my history.

Letter of Edward Partridge to the Prophet.

Quincy, June 13, 1839.

President Smith:

Sir:—Your letter in answer to my note to Bishop Knight, I received by the hand of Brother Harris. Respecting the cattle, I had promised three or four yoke to Father Myers. I did expect Brother Shearer would have sent the cattle down immediately, or I should not have been quite so willing to accommodate him with some to move with.

Some of our poor brethren wished me to furnish them teams to move up to town with, and I promised them that when the teams returned, I would. They were very anxious to get up in time to get in a little garden; and were not my plans frustrated, I could have accommodated them greatly to their satisfaction.

The brethren that I allude to are the blind brethren, who say that they had as lief live in tents there as here. It is now too late to think of making gardens, and what is best for them to do, I know not. I had promised some money as soon as I could sell a yoke of cattle. 50 know of nothing else I have that I can raise money with at this time; and they are getting to be dull sale to what they were.

Sister Meeks has been quite sick, but she is getting better. She has nothing to eat only what she is helped to. A number of other poor here, I think, need assistance; widow Sherman for one; but if you think that all the means should be kept up there [at Commerce], I have nothing to say, only that I do not believe it to be my duty to stay here living on expense, where I can earn nothing for myself, nor do anything to benefit others.

As I before stated, I have promised some money as soon as I can raise it. I have not at this time two dollars in the world, one dollar and forty-four cents is all. I owe for my rent, and for making clothes for some of the poor, and some other things. I am going into the room Brother Harris leaves, to save rent. What is best for me to do, I hardly know. Hard labor I cannot perform; light labor I can; but I know of no chance to earn anything, at anything that I can stand to do. It is quite sickly here. Five were buried in four days—Brother Moses’ child, Sister Louisa P. and Brother Pettigrew’s son Hiram, eighteen or nineteen years of age; the other two were children of the world.

I spoke to Brother Isaac Higbee about his seine; he said that he would speak to his brother about it. He said he thought they would sell it, or they would come up in the fall and fish a while, but to lend it, he thought it would not be best, as those unaccustomed to fish in the rivers would be apt to tear it to pieces. You perceive that I have not means to get you twine at present; therefore I presume that you will not blame me for not doing it.

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Were I well, I would go up to Commerce with Brother Whitney and settle with the committee and Brother Rogers, and see what is best to do; probably may come next week. If Brother Markham could sell one yoke of cattle and let me have the avails of them, I should be glad; and I think it best to let two yoke, that are up there, go to Father Myers. As to teams to move up some of the poor, do as you think best.

Edward Partridge.

President Joseph Smith, Jun., Commerce.

Excitement at Columbia Prison, Mo.

Friday, 14.—Continued writing history. This evening there was a great excitement about the jail of Columbia, Missouri. Several individuals went and called for the jailer, but he was absent. They next called for the jailer’s wife, and offered her money to let the prisoners go, which she declined, and becoming alarmed, raised a cry which brought the whole village together, armed with bowie knives, guns, pistols, etc.; but finding no one there, they soon returned home, except a few to guard the prison. This now brought different individuals to see the prisoners, and by acquaintance those feelings were softened towards the Saints.

Visit of the Prophet with William Smith.

Saturday, 15.—I started with my family to visit Brother Don Carlos Smith. We met Brother William on the prairie, about four miles west of Carthage; found him in good spirits, and went with him to his house in Plymouth; found his family well. Staid over night, and had a very satisfactory visit.

Visit with Don Carlos.

Sunday, 16.—We went to Brother Don Carlos Smith’s, in McDonough county, near the village of Macombe, where we spent the remainder of the day.

Monday, 17.—Bishops Whitney and Knight arrived at Commerce. I staid at Brother Don Carlos’ this day, and my brother Samuel H. Smith came in; I had not seen him before, since my deliverance from prison. Bishop Knight returned to Quincy.

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Tuesday, 18.—I went to the house of a man by the name of Matthews. During the evening the neighbors came in and I gave them a short discourse.

Ministry of the Prophet.

Thursday, 20.—Visited at Elder Zebedee Coltrin’s. From hence we were invited to visit at Brother Vance’s, which we did, and there gave to the brethren and friends of the neighborhood a brief history of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

Saturday, 22.—We returned to Brother Don Carlos’ place.

Sunday, 23.—Went to Brother Wilcox’s and preached to a very crowded congregation; and so eager were they to hear, that a part of them stood out in the rain during the sermon. In general they expressed good satisfaction as to what they heard.

Purchase of Lands in Iowa.

Monday, 24.—We started for home, and went to Brother Perkins, near Fountain Green, in Hancock county, where they insisted we should tarry, and we complied. This day the Church purchased the town of Nashville, in Lee county, Iowa Territory, together with twenty thousand acres of land adjoining it.

Tuesday, 25.—We held a meeting, at which I spoke with considerable liberty to a large congregation.

Return of the Prophet to Commerce.

Wednesday, 26.—I with my family returned to our home at Commerce.

Thursday 27.

The Prophet’s Answer to Jacob Stollings.

Commerce, Illinois, June 27, 1839.

Sir:—In answer to yours concerning those books, I have to say that I have made inquiry concerning them, as far as I consider there is any prospect of obtaining them for you; and not having been able to trace them in the least degree, I have determined to give up the pursuit. I would recommend you to inquire after them of Dr. Avard, as the only chance I know of at present.

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Yours, etc.,

Joseph Smith, Jun.

P. S.—Since writing the above, I have ascertained of one man (who told me) that he saw Dr. Avard have the books; but what he did with them, he knows not.

J. S.

To Mr. Jacob Stollings.

Restoration of Orson Hyde.

I attended a conference of the Twelve, at which time Brother Orson Hyde made his confession, and was restored to the Priesthood again.

At this time I taught the brethren at considerable length on the following subjects:

The Prophet’s Instruction on Various Doctrines.

FAITH comes by hearing the word of God, through the testimony of the servants of God; that testimony is always attended by the Spirit of prophecy and revelation.

REPENTANCE is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression and daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God.

BAPTISM is a holy ordinance preparatory to the reception of the Holy Ghost; it is the channel and key by which the Holy Ghost will be administered.

THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST by the laying on of hands, cannot be received through the medium of any other principle than the principle of righteousness, for if the proposals are not complied with, it is of no use, but withdraws.

TONGUES were given for the purpose of preaching among those whose language is not understood; as on the day of Pentecost, etc., and it is not necessary for tongues to be taught to the Church particularly, for any man that has the Holy Ghost, can speak of the things of God in his own tongue as well as to speak in another; for faith comes not by signs, but by hearing the word of God.

THE DOCTRINE OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD AND THE ETERNAL JUDGEMENT are necessary to preach among the first principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION. St. Paul exhorts us to make our calling and election sure. This is the sealing power spoken of by Paul in other places.

“13. In whom ye also trusted, that after ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,

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“14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory, that we may be sealed up unto the day of redemption.”—Ephesians, 1st chapter.

This principle ought (in its proper place) to be taught, for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest. How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power, and the other Comforter spoken of, which will be manifest by revelation.

There are two Comforters spoken of. One is the Holy Ghost, the same as given on the day of Pentecost, and that all Saints receive after faith, repentance, and baptism. This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile, though it may not have half as much visible effect upon the body; for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost. In such a case, there may be more of a powerful effect upon the body, and visible to the eye, than upon an Israelite, while the Israelite at first might be far before the Gentile in pure intelligence.

The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest, and perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost, (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter, which the Lord hath promised the Saints, as is recorded in the testimony of St. John, in the 14th chapter, from the 12th to the 27th verses.

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Note the 16, 17, 18, 21, 23 verses:

“16. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

“17. Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

“18. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. * * *

“21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me should be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

“23. If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even He will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions—Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the Saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the First Born.

THE SPIRIT OF REVELATION is in connection with these blessings. A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i. e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.

AN EVENGELIST is a Patriarch, even the oldest man of the blood of Joseph or of the seed of Abraham. Wherever the Church of Christ is established in the earth, there should be a Patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints, as it was with Jacob in giving his patriarchal blessing unto his sons, etc.

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