The Bennett-Dyer Correspondence—The Prophet’s Discourse on the Subject of the Resurrection, and the Salvation of Children—Epistle of the Twelve to the Saints in England Concerning Their Emigration to America.
Wednesday, March 2.—I read the proof of the Times and Seasons, as editor for the first time, No. 9, Vol. 3, in which is the commencement of the Book of Abraham; 1 paid taxes to Mr. Bagby, in the general business office for county and state purposes, but refused to pay the taxes in the city and town of Commerce, as the demand was illegal, there being no such place known in law, the city and town of Commerce having been included in the city plat of Nauvoo, but continued by our enemies on the tax list for the purpose of getting more money from the Saints; I commenced a settlement with Gilbert Granger on the estate [Kirtland] of his father, Oliver Granger; and continued in my office till nine in the evening, having received a visit from General Dudley of Connecticut.
Thursday, 3.—I attended council in the general business office (over the store) at nine o’clock a.m.
Attempted Settlement with Gilbert Granger.
In the afternoon, continued the settlement with Gilbert Granger, but finally failed to effect anything, except to get Newel’s note. 2 Granger refused to give up the papers to me, which he had received of his father, the same being Church property, although I presented him deeds, mortgages and paper to the amount of some thousands against his father, more than he had against the Church.
I also wrote Hiram Barney, Esq., of New York, in reply to his letter of the 24th of January, offering him one hundred dollars per acre, for his twenty acres of land in this city, lying somewhere between the Hotchkiss purchase on the north, and Galland’s purchase on the south, or to take an agency to sell the same.
Book of Abraham Facsimile.
Friday, 4.—At my office exhibiting the Book of Abraham in the original to Brother Reuben Hedlock, so that he might take the size of the several plates or cuts, and prepare the blocks for the Times and Seasons; and also gave instruction concerning the arrangement of the writing on the large cut, 3 illustrating the principles of astronomy, with other general business.
Attended city council, and moved “that when property is sold at sheriff’s, marshal’s or constable’s sale under ordinance of this city, the persons having their property sold shall have the privilege of redeeming the same, by paying the principal and fifteen per cent on principal, with cost and charges, within thirty days after sale.”
Saturday, 5.—Attended the city council, and spoke at considerable length on the powers and privileges of our city charter; among other business of importance, the office of registrar of deeds was established in the city of Nauvoo, and I was chosen registrar by the city council.
Sunday 6.—I preached at Elder Orson Spencer’s near the Temple.
Monday, 7.—At the general business office. Peter Melling, the Patriarch from England, brought to the office cash $13.47 1/2, and clothing $65 from Parley P. Pratt and Amos Fielding, of England; I transacted much general business and wrote the mayor as follows:
Letter of the Prophet to John C. Bennett—on Bennett’s Correspondence Anent Slavery.
Editor’s Office, Nauvoo, Illinois, March 7, 1842.
Respected Brother:—I have just been perusing your correspondence with Doctor Dyer, on the subject of American slavery, and the students of the Quincy Mission Institute, and it makes my blood boil within me to reflect upon the injustice, cruelty, and oppression of the rulers of the people. When will these things cease to be, and the Constitution and the laws again bear rule? I fear for my beloved country—mob violence, injustice and cruelty appear to be the darling attributes of Missouri, and no man taketh it to heart! O tempora! O mores! What think you should be done?
Correspondence between Dr. C. V. Dyer and General J. C. Bennett. 4
Chicago, January 3, 1842.
Dear Sir:—I am not sure that I am not indebted to you for your last letter, not having answered it, as I remember. But as I have been very sick during the long interval of my silence, you will readily excuse any apparent neglect on my part. I thank you for your paper sent me, the Times and Seasons, and have got much information from it, and since that, from other sources, in relation to the outrages committed upon the Latter-day Saints by the authorities as well as the people of the state of Missouri; and my blood boiled with indignation to see the whole Christian world—and the whole political world, too, look tamely on, and never raise a warning voice—a voice of expostulation, nor even giving the facts in the case! O what outrages will not be allowed or winked at by those in authority, and the people generally, if they happen to be inflicted upon those who bear an unpopular name, espouse an unpopular cause, and are poor and obscure! It seems as if we had again fallen upon the middle ages, when the privileged classes could pour out their sympathies by the hour, and the very circumstantial and minute details of the loss of the life, or any other serious evil that befell one of their own number; but they could write [of] of hear without emotion, and even with satisfaction and joy, the history of the massacre of a thousand defenseless women and children, if they belonged to the common sort of people. Just read, for example, Madame de Sevigne’s account in a letter to her daughter, dated “Aux Rochers,” 30 Oct., 1675, in the second volume of De Toquerville’s Democracy in America. What, my dear sir, do you think of the treatment which the subject of American slavery receives at the hands of the American press—amongst the people generally, and especially in the halls of Congress? What think you of the sentencing of three men from the Quincy Mission Institute in this state, a short time since, to twelve years confinement in the penitentiary of Missouri, for no crime at all, or only such as God would regard as a virtue? Please look into this matter, and see if you cannot join with the benevolent and fearless, and call the attention of the nation or the state, to these outrages of Missouri, I send you a paper, and mark one of the pieces for your perusal. Read it. I do not know whether you have examined the whole subject of American slavery; but if you have not, I beseech you to do so, and let me hear from you. Is it not sin? Yes. Then is it not right to repent of it? Yes. When? God allows not a moment. Is not repentance and abandonment of sin safe, so long as God commands, and stands ready to look after the consequences? Certainly so. Well, can any court, either state or national, rob me of liberty for twelve years (even against their own state laws), for acting precisely in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the United States, and the precepts of Jesus Christ? Is it to be submitted to tamely, that three men shall be immured in a dungeon for twelve years, torn from their families and friends, and from society and usefulness, for barely teaching a fellow being how to go to a place where he may learn the sciences—have his own wages, aye, and his own person? Let me hear from you. Have we not a right to sympathize with each other?
I am, very sincerely, your friend and obedient servant,
Charles V. Dyer.
Gen. John C. Bennett.
Nauvoo, Hancock county, Illinois.
Nauvoo, Ill., January 20th, A. D. 1842.
Dear Sir:—Yours of the 3rd inst., accompanied by the Genius of Liberty, containing the address of Alvin Stewart, Esq., is before me, and I seize upon this, the first, opportunity to reply.
You refer me to Madame de Sevigne’s letter to her daughter, dated “Aux Rochers,” 30th Oct., A. D. 1675, in the second volume of De Toquerville’s Democracy in America; and ask me to examine the subject of American slavery. I have done so: I gave it a full and fair investigation years ago—I swore in my youth that my hands should never be bound nor my feet fettered, nor my tongue palsied—I am the friend of liberty, “Universal liberty,” both civil and religious. I ever detested servile bondage. I wish to see the shackles fall from the feet of the oppressed, and the chains of slavery broken. I hate the oppressor’s grasp, and the tyrant’s rod; against them I set my brows like brass, and my face like steel; and my arm is nerved for the conflict. Let the sons of thunder speak, achieve victories before the cannon’s mouth, and beard the lion in his den; till then the cry of the oppressed will not be heard; till then the wicked will not cease to trouble, nor the weary bondman be at rest. Great God, has it come to this—that the free citizens of the sovereign state of Illinois can be taken and immured within the walls of a Missouri penitentiary for twelve long years, for such a crime as God would regard as a virtue! simply for pointing bondsmen to a state of liberty and law! and no man take it to heart? Never, no never, no never! Let the friends of freedom arise and utter their voice, like the voice of ten thousand thunders—let them take every constitutional means to procure a redress of grievances—let there be a concerted effort, and the victory is ours. Let the broad banners of freedom be unfurled, and soon the prison doors will be opened, the captive set at liberty, and the oppressed go free. Missouri will then remember the unoffending Mormons in the days of their captivity and bondage—when murder and rapine were her darling attribute,—why, my heart is filled with indignation, and my blood boils within me, when I contemplate the vast injustice and cruelty which Missouri has meted out to that great philanthropist and devout Christian, General Joseph Smith, and his honest and faithful adherents—the Latter-day Saints, or Mormons; but the time has passed, and God will avenge their wrongs in His own good time. Dr. Dyer, put your hand upon your heart, and remember Zion. Just investigate the wrongs which our people have suffered in their unprecedented privations, the confiscation of their property, and the murder of their friends—the persecutions of the Waldenses in former ages were not to be compared to it, and history affords not a parallel. Now let us make a strong, concerted, and vigorous effort, for Universal Liberty, to every soul of man—civil, religious and political. With high considerations of respect and esteem, suffer me to subscribe myself,
Charles V. Dyer, M. D
John C. Bennett.
P. S. Gen. Smith informs me that there are white slaves in Missouri 5 (Mormons) in as abject servitude as the blacks, and we have, as yet, no means of redress! God grant that the day of righteous retribution may not be procrastinated. J. C. B.
Letter of John C. Bennett to Joseph Smith—Anent the Dyer-Bennett Correspondence. 6
Mayor’s Office, City of Nauvoo, Illinois,
March 8, A. D., 1842.
Yours of the 7th inst. has been received, and I proceed to reply, without undue emotion or perturbation. You ask, “When will these things cease to be, and the Constitution and the laws again bear rule?” I reply—once that noble bird of Jove, our grand national emblem, soared aloft, bearing in her proud beak the words “Liberty and Law,” and that man that had the temerity to ruffle her feathers, was made to feel the power of her talons; but a wily archer came, and with his venomed arrow dipped in Upas’ richest sap, shot the flowing label from the eagle’s bill—it fell inverted, and the bird was sick, and is—the label soon was trampled in the dust—the eagle bound and caged. The picture is now before you in bold relief. What think you should be done? The master spirits of the age must rise and break the cage, restore the label, unbind the bird, and let her tower unfettered in the air—then will the nation have repose, and the present minions of power hide their faces in the dust. Many of Missouri’s noble sons detest her acts of cruelty and crime, and gladly would they wipe them from the escutcheon of her fame, and will; yes they will lend a helping hand—and all must help, for the time is at hand—and if man, rebellious, cowardly, faltering man, will not do the work, the thunderings of Sinai will wind up the scene—the blood of the murdered Mormons cries aloud for help, and the restoration of the inheritances of the Saints; and God has heard the cry—and the moral battle must be fought, and the victory won, he who answers by fire will cause sword and flame to do their office, and again make the Constitution and the laws paramount to every other consideration—and I swear by the Lord God of Israel, that the sword shall not depart from my thigh, nor the buckler from my arm, until the trust is consummated, and the hydra-headed, fiery dragon slain. This done the proud southron will no longer boast of ill-gotten gain, or wash his hands in the blood of the innocent, or immure the freemen of the prairie State within Missouri’s sullied, poisoned, deathly prison walls. Let us always take refuge under the broad folds of the Constitution and the laws, and fear no danger, for the day of vengeance will assuredly come when the Omnipotent hand of the Great God will effect the restitution of the trophies of the brigand victories of Missouri, and again place the Saints on high.
John C. Bennett.
General Joseph Smith.
Tuesday, 8.—Recommenced translating from the Records of Abraham for the tenth number of the Times and Seasons, and was engaged at my office day and evening.
Wednesday, 9.—Examining copy for the Times and Seasons, presented by Messrs. Taylor and Bennett, and a variety of other business in my office, in the morning; in the afternoon continued the translation of the Book of Abraham, called at Bishop Knight’s and Mr. Davis’, with the recorder, and continued translating and revising, and reading letters in the evening, Sister Emma being present in the office.
I also wrote Edward Hunter, as follows—
Letter of the Prophet to Edward Hunter—Business Transactions.
Dear Sir:—I yesterday had the pleasure of receiving your letter of February 10. Am much pleased that you have effected a sale, and are so soon to be with us, &c.
I have purchased the lands you desired, and will use my influence to have the improvements made which you wish. Brother Weiler received your letter and says he will do what he can to have all done.
The eight hundred dollars for the Temple and Nauvoo House, I wish you to bring in goods, for which I will give you stock and credit as soon as received.
I wish you to invest as much money as you possibly can in goods, to bring here, and I will purchase them of you when you come, if we can agree on terms; or you can have my new brick store to rent. I wish the business kept up by some one in the building, as it is a very fine house, and cost me a handsome amount to build it. Some eight or ten thousand dollars worth of goods would be an advantage to this place; therefore, if you or some of the brethren, would bring them on, I have no doubt but that I can arrange for them in some way to your or their advantage.
As to money matters here, the State Bank is down, and we cannot tell you what bank would be safe a month hence. I would say that gold and silver is the only safe money a man can keep these times, you can sell specie here for more premiums than you have to give; therefore there would be no loss and it would be safe. The bank you deposit in might fail before you had time to draw out again.
I am now very busily engaged in translating, and therefore cannot give as much time to public matters as I could wish, but will nevertheless do what I can to forward your affairs. I will send you a memorandum of such goods as will suit this market.
Thursday, 10.—Gave instructions concerning a deed to Stephen Markham, Shadrack Roundy, and Hiram Clark, and letter of attorney from Miss Smith to Edward Hunter, and did a great variety of business; rode out; and in the evening attended trial at Brother Hyrum’s office, the City of Nauvoo versus Amos Davis, for indecent and abusive language about me while at Mr. Davis’ the day previous. The charges were clearly substantiated by the testimony of Dr. Foster, Mr. and Mrs. Hibbard, and others. Mr. Davis was found guilty by the jury, and by the municipal court, bound over to keep the peace six months, under $100 bond; after which I retired to the printing office with Emma, and supped with the Twelve and their wives, who were spending the evening with Sister Hyde.
Extract from the Legion Minutes.
The Nauvoo Legion was on parade, commanded by Lieutenant-General Joseph Smith in person. Several of the Twelve Apostles rode in the general staff as Chaplains. The line was formed at ten o’clock, a.m., and soon the Legion marched from their usual place of parade, below the Temple, to Water-street, in front of General Smith’s house, where the troops were inspected, and after a recess marched west on the bank of the river, and taking a circuitous route, resumed their usual post on the parade ground, and closed the day in good order and with good feelings, and to the full satisfaction of the Commander-in-Chief.
Extract of High Council Minutes.
In the evening President Smith attended the trial of Elder Francis Gladden Bishop, at his (the president’s) house. Elder Bishop appeared before the High Council of Nauvoo on complaint of having received, written, and published or taught certain “revelations” and doctrines not consistent with the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church. Mr. Bishop refusing to present the written “revelation” the Mayor, (John C. Bennett) issued his warrant and brought them before the council, when parts of the same were read by Mr. Bishop himself to council, the whole mass of which appeared to be the extreme of folly, nonsense, absurdity, falsehood and bombastic egotism—so much so as to keep the Saints laughing, when not overcome by sorrow and shame. President Joseph explained the nature of the case and gave a very clear elucidation of the tendency of such prophets and prophesyings, and gave Mr. Bishop over to the buffetings of Satan until he shall learn wisdom. After a few appropriate observations from Patriarch Hyrum and some of the council, the council voted unanimously that Francis Gladden Bishop be removed from the fellowship of the Church; President Joseph having previously committed the “revelation” above referred to, to the flames.
Saturday, 12.—I presided over a court-martial of the officers of the Nauvoo Legion at my own house, for the purpose of deciding upon the rank and station of the several officers, and the more perfect organization of the Legion.
Sunday, 13.—I was with my family.
Monday, 14.—Transacted a great variety of business at the office.
Tuesday, 15.—I officiated as grand chaplain at the installation of the Nauvoo Lodge of Free Masons, at the Grove near the Temple. Grand Master Jonas, of Columbus, being present, a large number of people assembled on the occasion. The day was exceedingly fine; all things were done in order, and universal satisfaction was manifested. In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office.
Some time previous to this [March 15th] Sister Elizabeth Morgan died at London without medical aid, after calling for the Elders, &c., which created much excitement, and a coroner’s inquest was called by Mr. Baker, who brought in a verdict of “natural death.”
The Prophet Becomes Editor of the Times and Seasons.
This paper commences my editorial career: I alone stand responsible for it, and shall do for all papers [i.e. Nos. of the Times and Seasons,] having my signature henceforward. I am not responsible for the publication or arrangement of the former paper; the matter did not come under my supervision.
We extract the following from the New York Tribune:
Honor Among Thieves.
“The paymaster of the Missouri Militia, called out to put down the Mormons some two years since, was supplied with money some time since, and started for Western Missouri, but has not yet arrived there. It is feared he has taken the Saline slope.”
We are not surprised that persons who could wantonly, barbarously, and without shadow of law, drive fifteen thousand men, women and children from their homes, should have among them a man who was so lost to every sense of justice, as to run away with the wages for this infamous deed; it is not very difficult for men who can blow out the brains of children; who can shoot down and hew to pieces our ancient veterans who fought in defense of our country, and delivered it from the oppressor’s grasp; who could deliberately and in cold blood, murder men and rob them of their boots, watches, &c., and whilst their victims were yet weltering in their blood, and grappling with death, proceed to rob the widows’ houses. Men who can deliberately do this, and steal nearly all the horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, and property of a whole community, and drive them from their homes en masse, in an inclement season of the year, will not find many qualms of conscience in stealing the pay of his brother thieves, and taking the “Saline slope.” The very idea of Government paying these men for their bloody deeds, must cause the sons of liberty to blush, and to hang their harps upon the willow, and make the blood of every patriot run chill.
The proceedings of that state have been so barbarous and inhuman that our indignation is aroused when we reflect upon the scene. We are here reminded of one of the patriotic deeds of the government of that state, who after they had robbed us of everything we had in the world, and taken from us many hundred thousand dollars’ worth of property, had their sympathies so far touched (alias their good name) that they voted two thousand dollars to the relief of the “suffering Mormons,” and choosing two or three of her noblest sons, to carry them heavenly boon, these angels of salvation came in the plentitude of their mercy and in the dignity of their office to Far West. To do what? To feed its hungry and clothe its naked with the $2,000? Verily nay! but to go into Daviess county and steal the Mormons’ hogs (which they were prohibited themselves from obtaining under penalty of death) to distribute among the destitute, and to sell where they could obtain the money. These hogs thus obtained were shot down in their blood and not otherwise bled; they were filthy to a degree. These, the Mormons’ own hogs, and a few goods, the sweepings of an old store in Liberty, were what these patriotic and noble-minded men gave to the “poor Mormons,” and then circulated to the world how sympathetic, benevolent, kind and merciful the Legislature of the State of Missouri was, in giving two thousand dollars to the “suffering Mormons”. Surely “the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
Wednesday, March 16.—I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree.
Thursday, 17.—The High Council withdrew the hand of fellowship from Elder Oliver Olney for setting himself up as a prophet, and took his license.
Origin of the Female Relief Society.
I assisted in commencing the organization of “The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo” in the Lodge Room. Sister Emma Smith, President, and Sister Elizabeth Ann Whitney and Sarah M. Cleveland, Counselors. I gave much instruction, read in the New Testament, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants, concerning the Elect Lady, and showed that the elect meant to be elected to a certain work, &c., and that the revelation was then fulfilled by Sister Emma’s election to the Presidency of the Society, she having previously been ordained to expound the Scriptures. Emma was blessed, and her counselors were ordained by Elder John Taylor.
Friday, 18 and Saturday 19.—At home and at my office engaged in business, temporal and spiritual.
Sunday, 20.—I preached to a large assembly in the grove near the Temple on the west. The body of a deceased child of Mr. Windsor P. Lyon being before the assembly, changed my design in the order of my remarks.[The following is a brief synopsis of the Prophet’s remarks, by Elder Wilford Woodruff:]
The Prophet’s Sermon on Life and Death; the Resurrection and the Salvation of Children.
President Smith read the 14th chapter of Revelation, and said—We have again the warning voice sounded in our midst, which shows the uncertainty of human life; and in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting. The strongest reasons that present themselves to my mind are these: This world is a very wicked world; and it is a proverb that the “world grows weaker and wiser;” if that is the case, the world grows more wicked and corrupt. In the earlier ages of the world a righteous man, and a man of God and of intelligence, had a better chance to do good, to be believed and received than at the present day: but in these days such a man is much opposed and persecuted by most of the inhabitants of the earth, and he has much sorrow to pass through here. The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again.
What chance is there for infidelity when we are parting with our friends almost daily? None at all. The infidel will grasp at every straw for help until death stares him in the face, and then his infidelity takes its flight, for the realities of the eternal world are resting upon him in mighty power; and when every earthly support and prop fails him, he then sensibly feels the eternal truths of the immortality of the soul. We should take warning and not wait for the death-bed to repent, as we see the infant taken away by death, so may the youth and middle aged, as well as the infant be suddenly called into eternity. Let this, then, prove as a warning to all not to procrastinate repentance, or wait till a deathbed for it is the will of God that man should repent and serve Him in health, and in the strength and power of his mind, in order to secure His blessing, and not wait until he is called to die.
The doctrine of baptizing children, or sprinkling them, or they must welter in hell, is a doctrine not true, not supported in Holy Writ, and is not consistent with the character of God. All children are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and the moment that children leave this world, they are taken to the bosom of Abraham. The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory, we for a moment lose sight of it, and mourn the loss, but we do not mourn as those without hope.
My intention was to have spoken on the subject of baptism, but having a case of death before us, I thought proper to refer to that subject. I will now, however say a few words upon baptism, as I intended.
God has made certain decrees which are fixed and immovable: for instance,—God set the sun, the moon, and the stars in the heavens, and gave them their laws, conditions and bounds, which they cannot pass, except by His commandments; they all move in perfect harmony in their sphere and order, and are as lights, wonders and signs unto us. The sea also has its bounds which it cannot pass. God has set many signs on the earth, as well as in the heavens; for instance, the oak of the forest, the fruit of the tree, the herb of the field—all bear a sign that seed hath been planted there; for it is a decree of the Lord that every tree, plant, and herb bearing seed should bring forth of its kind, and cannot come forth after any other law or principle. Upon the same principle do I contend that baptism is a sign ordained of God, for the believer in Christ to take upon himself in order to enter into the kingdom of God, “for except ye are born of water and of the Spirit ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” said the Savior. It is a sign and a commandment which God has set for man to enter into His kingdom. Those who seek to enter in any other way will seek in vain; for God will not receive them, neither will the angels acknowledge their works as accepted, for they have not obeyed the ordinances, nor attended to the signs which God ordained for the salvation of man, to prepare him for, and give him a title to, a celestial glory; and God had decreed that all who will not obey His voice shall not escape the damnation of hell. What is the damnation of hell? To go with that society who have not obeyed His commands.
Baptism is a sign to God, to angels, and to heaven that we do the will of God, and there is no other way beneath the heavens whereby God hath ordained for man to come to Him to be saved, and enter into the kingdom of God, except faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and any other course is in vain; then you have the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
What is the sign of the healing of the sick? The laying on of hands is the sign or way marked out by James, and the custom of the ancient Saints as ordered by the Lord, and we cannot obtain the blessing by pursuing any other course except the way marked out by the Lord. What if we should attempt to get the gift of the Holy Ghost through any other means except the signs or way which God hath appointed—would we obtain it? Certainly not; all other means would fail. The Lord says do so and so, and I will bless you.
There are certain key words and signs belonging to the Priesthood which must be observed in order to obtain the blessing. The sign of Peter was to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, with the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost; and in no other way is the gift of the Holy Ghost obtained.
There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. Until he obeyed these ordinances and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man, and it obey him; for the spirits might say unto him, as they did to the sons of Sceva: “Paul we know and Jesus we know, but who are ye?” It mattereth not whether we live long or short on the earth after we come to a knowledge of these principles and obey them unto the end. I know that all men will be damned if they do not come in the way which He hath opened, and this is the way marked out by the word of the Lord.
As concerning the resurrection, I will merely say that all men will come from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young; there will not be “added unto their stature one cubit,” neither taken from it; all will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies, and not blood. Children will be enthroned in the presence of God and the Lamb with bodies of the same stature 7 that they had on earth, having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; they will there enjoy the fullness of that light, glory and intelligence, which is prepared in the celestial kingdom. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors and their works do follow them.”
The speaker, before closing, called upon the assembly before him to humble themselves in faith before God, and in mighty prayer and fasting to call upon the name of the Lord, until the elements were purified over our heads, and the earth sanctified under our feet, that the inhabitants of this city may escape the power of disease and pestilence, and the destroyer that rideth upon the face of the earth, and that the Holy Spirit of God may rest upon this vast multitude.
At the close of the meeting, President Smith said he should attend to the ordinance of baptism in the river, near his house, at two o’clock, and at the appointed hour, the bank of the Mississippi was lined with a multitude of people, and President Joseph Smith went into the river and baptized eighty persons for the remission of their sins, and what added joy to the scene was, that the first person baptized was M. L. D. Wasson, a nephew of Mrs. Emma Smith—the first of her kindred that has embraced the fullness of the Gospel.
At the close of this interesting scene, the administrator lifted up his hands towards heaven, and implored the blessing of God to rest upon the people; and truly the Spirit of God did rest upon the multitude, to the joy and consolation of our hearts.
After baptism, the congregation again repaired to the grove, near the Temple, to attend to the ordinance of confirmation, and, notwithstanding President Smith had spoken in the open air to the people, and stood in the water and baptized about eighty persons, about fifty of those baptized received their confirmation under his hands in the after part of the day.
While this was progressing, great numbers were being baptized in the font.
After this, I baptized a large number in the font myself.
An Epistle of the Twelve to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in its Various Branches and Conferences in Europe. Greeting:
Beloved Brethren.—We feel it our privilege and a duty we owe to the great and glorious cause in which we have enlisted, to communicate to you at this time, some principles which if carried into effect, will facilitate the gathering of the Saints, and tend to ameliorate the condition of those who are struggling with poverty and distress, in this day when the usual means of support seem to be cut short to the laboring classes, through the depression that everywhere prevails in the general business mart of the civilized world. Our situation is such in these last days, and our salvation spiritually is so connected with our salvation temporally, that if one fail, the other necessarily must be seriously affected, if not wholly destroyed. God has made us social beings; He has endowed us with capacities for enjoying each other’s society, and it is our duty to bring those powers and privileges into exercise, so far as we can, and for this it is our duty to strive by all lawful and expedient measures within our reach.
While we remain in this state of existence, we need food and raiment, habitations and society, and without these our enjoyments must be greatly limited, and the real object of our existence diminished, if not wholly destroyed. Though the Saints should possess all the common gifts of the Spirit of God, and yet remain destitute of those comforts so much needed for the sustenance of their bodies, they would be comparatively miserable; but when they arrive at that state of perfection, and are clothed upon with the more special gifts and power of increasing the widow’s oil and meal, or if receiving their food from the ravens, like Elijah, they will not need to bestow so much attention on every trifle of the passing moments, as they now do; and until that period arrives they will recollect that to be in the exercise of the fullness of spiritual blessings they must be watchful and careful to provide things honest in the sight of all men for the sustenance and comfort of all these frail, perishable bodies. That we may be instruments in the hands of God of thus promoting your present and future temporal and spiritual welfare, we write you at the present time.
Many of you are desirous of emigrating to this country, and many have not the means to accomplish their wishes, and if we can assist you by our prayers and our counsels to accomplish the desires of your hearts in this thing, so far we will rejoice and be satisfied. You not only wish to emigrate to this section of the earth, but you desire also to have some laudable means of comfortable subsistence after you arrive here, and this also is important. How then, shall these things be accomplished and your souls be satisfied? We answer, by united understanding and concert of action.
You all, or most of you, have trades or different kinds of business, with which you have been long familiarized, and in which you would like to continue for the purpose of procuring a subsistence; and a great proportion of your occupation is such that no employment can be had in this city or vicinity; for instance: there are no cotton manufactories established here, and many of you know no other business. You want to come here, and when here, want to continue your labors in your accustomed branches of business; but you have no means to get here, and when here there are no factories, and yet factories are needed here, and there would be a ready market for all the fabrics which could be manufactured.
Now comes the concert of action; if the Church will arise unitedly; if the brethren will individually feel that the great work of the Lord is depending on themselves as instruments to assist in carrying it forward; and will unite all their means, faith and energy, in one grand mass, all that you desire can speedily be accomplished. A short time only will elapse before you yourselves will be astonished at the result, and you will feel that your desires are more than realized.
While the Saints are united, no power on the earth, or under the earth can prevail against them; but while each one acts for himself, many, very many, are in danger of being overthrown. God has promised all things to those who love Him and keep His commandments; then why be afraid that one should get a little more than another, or that one should gain, for a little moment, what another might lose; when Jesus has promised that the faithful shall be one with Him, as He is one with the Father, and shall possess all things in the due time of the Lord; not by stealth, not by force, not by the sword, but by the gift of the Father, through faithfulness to His commands; and the more they shall suffer, while they work in righteousness on the earth, the greater will be their reward, the more glorious their kingdom, the more extended their power, when they shall arrive in the celestial paradise.
Knowing and feeling these things as we do, and having respect unto the recompense of reward to be revealed hereafter, regardless of all necessary privation and labor to accomplish what our Master has given us to do, and desiring not to possess the kingdom alone, but that all the honest in heart should be united with us in the great and glorious work of building up Zion and her stakes, we will call upon you, dear brethren, to unite with us, all with one accord, to do what? To do the very things you desire should be done; to convey you to the place where you are, and then put you in possession of all the means you may need for your support; so that you may enjoy the fullness of the blessings belonging to the sons and daughters of Zion’s King.
Had we means we would not ask your aid; we would gladly send the ships of Tarshish to bear you across the great waters, we would bring you to our homes, to our firesides; we would provide you habitations, lands and food, when you arrive among us. Our hearts are large enough to do all this, and a great deal more; but we have not the means; we have to labor for our own subsistence, as well as attend to those things which are laid upon us of the Lord, and which concern the whole Church as much as ourselves.
It is not the will of heaven that any one should be put in possession of all things without striving for them. Where much is given, much is required; and he who has but one talent, must be as diligent in the use thereof as he that has ten, or he will lose his talent and his blessing; and it becometh him who hath but one, five or ten, to use them in the most economical manner possible, or he will not have enough to bring him hither; and that he who hath five pounds may have enough and to spare to him who hath but one, or in other words to help the brethren to accomplish with a little what otherwise would require much more than they can command, is the object of this Epistle.
Had we the means we would send vessels of our own, laden with flour, meats, fruits, and all sea stores necessary for the comfort of the brethren on the water, so that they would have nothing more to do than go on shipboard, and land at New Orleans; from thence we would take them on our steamers, and bring them to this place, for this is the best place for the Saints to stop at for the present.
There may be other places where individuals might have the prospect of adding at once, more rapidly to their pecuniary interest, than they could here; but we can only say, it is the will of the Lord that the Saints build Nauvoo, and settle therein or in the vicinity; and we know assuredly that those who give heed to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, will be richer eventually—and not far distant—than those who may seem to prosper more by following their own inclinations.
Brethren, we wish not to control you or your means; it is not for our peace or interest; nay, rather, it is a source of labor, trouble and anxiety to have ought to do with the pecuniary business of the Church, which we would gladly avoid, could we do it, and do our duty—could we do it, and the things desired be accomplished, and we stand guiltless where God hath placed us—and for this reason we desire to make such arrangements as will most tend to leave the business in your own hands, or in the hands of those whom you shall select; men of your own acquaintance, in whom you can repose confidence that they will execute their trust in righteousness. And that our plans may be understood by you, and carried into execution, we have sent unto you our beloved brother, Elder John Snyder, the bearer of this Epistle, and other Epistles also, previously written by us to you; and we beseech you, brethren, to receive him as a servant of the Most High, authorized according to the order of the kingdom of heaven, and assist him by all lawful means in your power, to execute the mission entrusted to him; for great events depend upon his success; but to none will they be greater than to yourselves.
Our authority for thus sending Brother Snyder to you, is found in the “Book of the Law of the Lord,” page 36, as follows—
“Nauvoo, December 22, 1841. The word of the Lord came unto Joseph the Seer; verily thus saith the Lord—Let my servant John Snyder take a mission to the Eastern continent, unto all the conferences now sitting in that region, and let him carry a package of epistles that shall be written by my servants the Twelve, making known unto the Saints their duties concerning the building of my houses, which I have appointed unto you, saith the Lord, that they may bring their gold, and their silver, and their precious stones, and the box tree, and the fir tree, and all fine wood to beautify the place of my sanctuary, saith the Lord, and let him return speedily, with all means which shall be put into his hands: even so. Amen.
In this revelation, the brethren will discover their duty in relation to the building of the Temple of the Lord in Nauvoo, and the Nauvoo House; and we call upon them with united cry to give heed unto the things written, and help to build the houses which God has commanded, so that Brother Snyder may speedily return with means to strengthen the hands of the laborers, and adorn and beautify the Tabernacle of Jehovah.
Brethren, while you are thus preparing to send up your offerings to this place, if you will act in concert with our well beloved brother, Elder Parley P. Pratt, and the regularly constituted authorities of the Church in England; and collect as great an amount of cotton, linen, and woollen goods, silks, cutlery, and hardware, &c., even all the varieties of goods which might be useful in this country, and which can be obtained by the brethren in this time of monied scarcity, and forward the same to us by Brother Snyder, or your own agent, in company with him, or otherwise, and at other times, we will pay you for those goods, in lands, in or out of the city, in houses, cattle, and such kind of property as you may need; and with those goods we will purchase lands, &c., flour, meat, and all things necessary for a sea voyage, which can be had cheaper here than in England, and charter ships, and forward the same to England, or such places as emigration may require, and bring back in return a ship load of emigrants, at a cheaper rate than they can now emigrate; while, at the same time, those who remain can continue to collect and forward merchandize as before, which will give us the means of continuing our purchases here, of keeping ships passing and repassing, and of building manufacturing establishments ready for the brethren when they arrive in our midst.
While the great depression of the moneyed institutions continues as it now is, the people are compelled to resort to all laudable measures to effect those exchanges of property which are necessary to accomplish their designs in removing from one place to another, and from one kingdom to another; and by a faithful execution of the plans proposed above, much, very much, may be effected in emigration without the aid of cash, or with very little, at the most; and goods may be obtained to advantage for houses and lands which the brethren may have to dispose of, and in payment of debts due them, when it would be impossible for them to sell for cash at any price, or get their pay for debts due them even at a great discount, and thus thousands and tens of thousands may be made to rejoice in this land of plenty, while, were it not for a concert of action, they might remain where they are for years, or never have the opportunity of appearing among us on this side the great waters, until the morning of the first resurrection.
But, brethren, we want to see you here. We long to see all here who want to be here, and none others, for we desire the increase of those who love God and work righteousness, that Zion’s cords may be lengthened, and her stakes strengthened; though the country is free to all who will abide her laws, and we have no disposition to cast out any from our midst who will submit thereto.
For many particulars in relation to the times and course of emigration, and many other important items connected with the general and particular interest of the Church, we would refer you to our former epistles, as to enter into a particular and minute detail of all items referred to in this epistle, would be impossible. Brother Snyder will enter into the subject more minutely, and with the assistance of the presidency among you, will unfold the same, so that no one need misunderstand.
The brethren need not suppose that this thing is of our own imagination, simply; or that the result thereof, if fully carried into execution, will be of doubtful character. We have been guided by the Spirit of the Lord in our deliberations concerning the matter; and have been instructed by the Prophet of the Most High, even Joseph, the Seer and Revelator, for the Church, whose instructions to us are as the voice of the Lord, and whose admonitions we ever regard as true and faithful, and worthy the confidence of al who profess the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We have been with him in prosperity and adversity, in sickness and health, in public and private, in all situations where men may reasonably associate with each other, and know that his words are true, his teachings sacred, his character unsullied among men of truth, and that he is what the Church acknowledge him to be, a man of God, and the spokesman of the Most High unto His people; and we bear this testimony unto the world, calling on all the honest in heart to uphold him by their faith and prayers, that he may live long, enjoy much, and accomplish great things for the kingdom which he has been the honored instrument of establishing on the earth in these last days, even that he may lead a great multitude into the celestial kingdom.
That the Saints may enjoy the teachings of the Prophet; those teachings which can be had only at this place, so that they may go on from knowledge to knowledge even to perfection, they want to come up hither; and that the plans before suggested may by facilitated, let some individuals with capital come immediately and build factories—individuals who have the means, understand the business, and are capable of superintending the concerns thereof.
There is every natural advantage at this place for facilitating such an order of things; water, wood, and coal in abundance, and it only wants the hand of the laborer to bring them forth in form suited to their several uses; and, while the gold and the silver are secreted by the hands of unprincipled speculators, let us go forward and accomplish without gold or silver, that which might be more easily and expeditiously done with it.
Let the brethren ever remember the admonitions we have so often given, that Zion is not to be built up without labor, fatigue, and trial of the faith of many; that when John saw the great company on Mount Zion, he saw those who had come up through great tribulation; he also saw those who had endured great tribulation after they had arrived, and before the kingdom was completed.
The Saints of this day are of the number John saw, and those—and those only who are willing to endure tribulation, as good soldiers, without murmuring—will eventually find their names enrolled in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and obtain an inheritance in the holy city.
To all those who are desirous of sharing in the poverty and sufferings incident to new countries and the children of the kingdom, we would say, come up hither, and help us to bear the burden, and you shall share the riches, glory and honors of the kingdom. And those who are not willing to suffer afflictions, losses, crosses, and disappointments with the people of God, may as well stay away and be destroyed, as to come here and perish, for perish they must who cannot abide a celestial law, and endure to the end in all meekness, patience, and faithfulness.
Inasmuch as Elder Levi Richards has asked for counsel, we would recommend him to return to Nauvoo, as soon as circumstances shall permit.
Praying that you may be blessed with wisdom, intelligence, and perseverance, in every good word and work, so that you may accomplish your desires, and help to roll on the great work in which you have enlisted, we subscribe ourselves your brethren and fellow laborers in the kingdom of patience. Amen.
Brigham Young, President.
Heber C. Kimball,
John E. Page,
Geo. A. Smith.
Willard Richards, Clerk.
City of Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, March 20, 1842.