Volume 5 Chapter 18


A Great Missionary Movement—Special Instructions to Elders Undertaking Missions—Imprisonment of Orrin P. Rockwell—Arrival of Saints from England—Speech of the Prophet—Indian Eloquence.


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A Special Conference at Nauvoo.

Monday, April 10, 1843.—At 10 a.m. a special conference of elders convened and continued by adjournment from time to time till the 12th. There were present of the quorum of the Twelve, Brigham Young, president; Heber C. Kimball, William Smith, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, and Willard Richards.

The object of the conference was to ordain elders and send them forth into the vineyard to build up churches; and the following appointments were made, with united voices by the conference, agreeable to requests which were made by individuals who were acquainted with the several places which they represented:—

Names and Appointments of Elders.

James M. Munroe and Truman Gillet, Auburn, New York.

Dominicus Carter, Lockport, Indiana.

Joshua Holman and John Pierce, Madison, Indiana.

Wandall Mace and Isaac C. Haight, Orange county, New York.

William O. Clark, Richardson Settlement, Iowa.

Benjamin L. Clapp, John Blair, Wilkinson Hewitt, and Lyman O. Littlefield, Alabama.

Alonzo Whitney and J. Goodale, Dublin, Ohio.

William Eaton, Westfield, Sullivan county, New York.

Zebedee Coltrin, Graham Coltrin, and James H. Flanigan, Smith and Tazwell counties, Virginia.

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Jonathan Dunham, Laurenceburgh, Indiana.

Lewis Robbins and Jacob Gates have a roving commission in Massachusetts, with leave to take their wives, but to keep out of the churches.

Stephen Markham and Truman Waite, Huron county, Ohio.

John D. Chase and A. M. Harding, Pittsfield, Vermont.

Amos B. Fuller and Cyrus H. Wheelock, Windham county, Vermont.

John S. Gleason and Henry C. Jacobs, west part of the State of New York.

Marcellus L. Bates and Norman B. Shearer, Sackets Harbor, New York.

Samuel Brown, Maryland.

Lemuel Mallory and George Slater, Washtenau county, Michigan.

Moses Wade, some county in New York, where there has not been any preaching by the Saints.

Chillion Daniels and Ebenezar Robinson, St. Lawrence county, New York.

William Brown and Daniel Cathcart, Pensacola, Florida.

Eleazar Willis, go where he likes.

John Zundall, St. Clair county, Illinois.

Crandall Dunn, Michigan.

George Middow, Waterloo, Canada.

Samuel H. Rogers and Harvey Green, Cumberland, New Jersey.

Daniel Spencer, Canada.

Elias Harmar, Chenango county, New York.

Harvey Tate, Fort Wayne, Indiana;

Robert D. Foster and Jonathan Allen, Tioga county, New York.

William Wharton, of Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware.

Leonard Soby, Peru, Indiana.

Warner Hoops, York county, Pennsylvania.

F. D. Wilson and George W. Brandon, Dyer and Montgomery counties, Tennessee.

Elisha H. Groves and George P. Dykes, from Terre Haute to Shawneetown and Cairo, on both sides of the Wabash.

Perigrine Sessions, Oxford county, Maine.

John L. Butler and David Lewis, Lexington, Kentucky.

Charles C. Rich, Ottowa, Illinois.

William W. Rust, Worcester county, Massachusetts.

Aaron M. York, Maine.

Asaph Rice, Pontiac, Michigan.

Orson Spencer, New Haven, Connecticut.

Lorin Farr, Connecticut.

Stephen Perry, Amos B. Tomlinson, E. G. Terrill, Amos P. Rogers, Joseph Outhouse, and William Bird, Connecticut.

Francis Edwards and Charles Ryan, Jackson county, Tennessee.

Benjamin Kempton, Wheeling to Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Peter Hess, of Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Noah Curtis and Luman H. Calkins, Wayne county, New York.

Stratton Thornton and Sandford Porter, south-east part of Illinois and Indiana.

Benjamin Leland and Eden Smith, Erie county, Pennsylvania.

Samuel Swarner, Orleans county, New York.

Samuel Parker, York county, Maine.

Jacob E. Terry and Err Terry, Niagara district, Upper Canada.

Edward P. Duzette and Elisha Edwards, Loraine and Huron counties, Ohio.

Edwin Williams, Hunterdon county, New Jersey.

Jacob G. Bigler, Lewis county, Virginia.

Orlando Hovey, Franklin county, Indiana.

William B. Brink, some place in the interior of Pennsylvania, where he elders have not been.

F. B. Jacaway and Samuel Rowland, Adams county, Ohio.

Moses Tracy, Perry county Illinois.

Alfred Brown, Chautauque county, New York.

Noah Rogers, Peter Lemons, Joseph Mount, B. W. Wilson, Addison Pratt, and John Brown, Vermont.

Samuel C. Brown to labor on the Temple.

James Caroll, Henry county, Indiana.

Levi Stewart and James Pace, Williamson and Gallatin counties, Illinois.

Edwin Clegg, Rock Island, Illinois.

John Carns, Richmond, Indiana.

Edward Bosley and Rodman Clark, Livingston county, New York.

James Hutchins and Daniel Tyler, Natchez, Mississippi.

George M. Chase, Geauga county, Ohio.

John Royce, Sing Sing, New York.

Lyman Whitney, Franklin county, Vermont.

Charles Ryan, Jacob E. Terry, Henry Moore, Samuel P. Carter, William Isherwood, Samuel Rowland, Dorr P. Curtis, Abraham S. Workman, Jeremiah Hatch, James G. Culberston, Samuel Ferrin, Samuel Crane, David Moore, William Brown, Benjamin Barber, Oliver B. Huntingtion, Edward Clegg, Daniel McRae, William S. Covert, William B. Brink, James Long, and William Empy were ordained elders, with this express injunction, that they quit the use of tobacco and keep the Word of Wisdom.

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Almon W. Babbitt was restored to fellowship by the conference.

Elder Curtis Hodges (who has a wife in this place,) was cut off from the Church for his anti-Christian conduct in Warrick county, Indiana.

Elders James Allred, John Snider, and Aaron Johnson were appointed to administer baptism for the dead in the river while the font could not be used.

President Young instructed the elders not to go from church to church for the purpose of living themselves or begging for their families or for preaching, but to go to their places of destination, journeying among the world and preaching by the way as they have opportunity; and if they get anything for themselves, they must do it in those churches they shall build up or from the world, and not enter into other men’s labors.

Several elders have been presented to us having traveled extensively the past season, preaching but little or none, living on the brethren and begging for their own emolument. Such elders, be they where they may, far or near, are instructed to repair forthwith to Nauvoo and give an account of their stewardship, and report the amount of leg service performed by them, and on their return be sure to keep out of the churches.

It is wisdom for the elders to leave their families in this place when they have anything to leave with them; and let not the elders go on their missions until they have provided for their families. No man need say again, “I have a call to travel and preach,” while he has not a comfortable house for his family, a lot fenced, and one year’s provisions in store, or sufficient to last his family during his mission or means to provide it.

The Lord will not condemn any man for following counsel and keeping the commandments; and a faithful man will have dreams about the work he is engaged in. If he is engaged in building the Temple, he will dream about it; and if in preaching, he will dream about that; and not, when he is laboring on the Temple, dream that it is his duty to run off preaching and leave his family to starve. Such dreams are not of God.

When I was sick last winter, some of the sisters came and whispered in my ear, “I have nothing to eat.” Where is your husband? “He is gone a preaching.” “Who sent him?” said I; “for the Lord never sent him, to leave his family to starve.”

When the Twelve went to England, they went on a special mission, by special commandment, and they left their families sick and destitute, God having promised that they should be provided for. But God does not require the same thing of the elders now, neither does He promise to provide for their families when they leave them contrary to counsel. The elders must provide for their families.

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I wish to give a word of advice to the sisters, and I will give it to my wife. I have known elders who had by some means got in debt, but had provided well for their families during their contemplated mission; and after they had taken their departure, their creditors would tease their wives for the pay due from their husbands, till they would give them the last provision they had left them, and they were obliged to subsist on charity or starve till their husbands returned. Such a course of conduct on the part of the creditor is anti-Christian and criminal; and I forbid my wife from paying one cent of my debts while I am absent attending to the things of the kingdom; and I want the sisters to act on the same principle.

Elder Orson Hyde said, if there is an elder who does not provide for his family in the unrighteous mammon, shall we commit to him the true riches, the priesthood, missions, etc.? No!

Elder Wilford Woodruff requested the elders to remember in their travels that there was a printing press in Nauvoo, and that it is in the hands of the Church, and wished the elders would procure subscribers for the papers, collect pay for the same, and forward it to the editor in cash.

Elder Heber C. Kimball instructed the elders that when they found a place where the people wanted preaching, they must stay themselves and preach, and not run away somewhere else and write to Nauvoo to have elders sent to the place they had left.

Elders Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor requested that when the elders had built up a church, they would write a brief statement of facts, unencumbered with useless matter, and forward their communication to the editor of the Times and Seasons post paid.

The elders were reminded that they need not expect any attention would be given to unpaid letters directed to the Presidency.

The elders were also reminded that although they were not sent out to be taught, but to teach, yet, if they would prosper in their missions, they must be careful to teach those things alone which would be profitable to their hearers; that they must bear their testimony of the truth of the fullness of the gospel, and preach nothing but faith and repentance to this generation; and that if they presumed to teach to babes those things which belong to men, they might expect to return to Nauvoo as destitute as they went out; but if they adhered closely to the first principles, and taught the “Word of Wisdom” more by example than by precept, walking before God and the world in all meekness and lowliness of heart, living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, they might expect an abundant harvest; and as doves return to their windows in flocks when they see the storm approaching, so will multitudes, by listening to their voices, learn of the things which await the earth, and arise and flee, and return unto Mount Zion and her stakes with them who shall be seals of their ministry in the day of celestial light and glory.

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Brigham Young, President.

W. Richards, Clerk.

I gave a letter of attorney to Benjamin F. Johnson to sell some of the Church property in Macedonia.

Batavia, New York, Conference.

A conference was held at Batavia, New York, on the 6th and 7th of April; Elder John P. Greene, president; R. J. Coats, Clerk. Eleven branches, one hundred sixty-seven members, one high priest, forty-eight elders, two priests, and three teachers were represented in good standing; a general spirit of enquiry prevailing. Seven elders were ordained. Elder Greene and others delivered addresses to the elders on the signs of the times, the mission of the Prophet, and the building of the Temple.

Kirtland Conference.

A conference was also held in the House of the Lord at Kirtland, at which was passed a resolution for the removal of all the Saints in that place to Nauvoo. Elder Lyman Wight, the president, preached several times, and about one hundred apostates and a few new members were baptized during the conference.

J. H. Reynolds wrote to Bishop Newel K. Whitney on the 7th as follows:

Letter of J. H. Reynolds to Newel K. Whitney—Imprisonment of Orrin P. Rockwell.

Independence, Mo., April 7, 1843.

Sir:—At the request of Orrin Porter Rockwell, who is now confined in our jail, I write you a few lines concerning his affairs. He is held to bail in the sum of $5,000, and wishes some of his friends to bail him out. He also wishes some friend to bring his clothes to him. He is in good health and pretty good spirits. My own opinion is, after conversing with several persons here, that it would not be safe for any of Mr. Rockwell’s friends to come here, notwithstanding I have written the above at his request; neither do I think bail would be taken (unless it was some responsible person well known here as a resident of this state). Any letter to Mr. Rockwell, (post paid,) with authority expressed on the back for me to open it, will be handed to him without delay. In the meantime he will be humanely treated and dealt with kindly until discharged by due course of law.

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Yours, etc.,

J. H. Reynolds.

Mr. Newel K. Whitney.

The plague appeared at Alexandria, Mansourah, and Damietta, making great ravages.

Tuesday, 11.—In the office most of the day. Some rain and wind.

A volcano broke out near Konigshutte, in Silesia.

Wednesday, 12.—In conversation with Mr. Gillet concerning the Hotchkiss purchase.

Overseer of Work on the Temple Appointed.

In consequence of misunderstanding on the part of the Temple committee, and their interference with the business of the architect, I gave a certificate to William Weeks to carry out my designs and the architecture of the Temple in Nauvoo, and that no person or persons shall interfere with him or his plans in the building of the Temple.

Arrival of Saints from England.

Before the elders’ conference closed, 1 the steamer Amaranth appeared in sight of the Temple, coming up the river, and about noon landed her passengers at the wharf opposite the old post office building, consisting of about two hundred and forty Saints from England, under the charge of Elder Lorenzo Snow, who left Liverpool last January, after a mission of nearly three years. With a large company of the brethren and sisters I was present to greet the arrival of our friends, and gave notice to the new-comers to meet at the Temple tomorrow morning at ten o’clock, to hear instructions.

After unloading the Saints, the Amaranth proceeded up the river, being the first boat up this season.

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About five p.m. the steamer Maid of Iowa hauled up at the Nauvoo House landing, and disembarked about two hundred Saints, in charge of Elders Parley P. Pratt and Levi Richards. These had been detained at St. Louis, Alton, Chester, etc., through the winter, having left Liverpool last fall. Dan Jones, captain of the Maid of Iowa, was baptized a few weeks since: he has been eleven days coming from St. Louis, being detained by ice. I was present at the landing and the first on board the steamer, when I met Sister Mary Ann Pratt (who had been to England with Brother Parley,) and her little daughter, only three or four days old. I could not refrain from shedding tears.

So many of my friends and acquaintances arriving in one day kept me very busy receiving their congratulations and answering their questions. I was rejoiced to meet them in such good health and fine spirits; for they were equal to any that had ever come to Nauvoo.

Thursday, 13.—Municipal Court met at nine a.m. to hear the case of Dana v. Brink on appeal, but adjourned the case to the 19th.

At ten a.m. the emigrants and a great multitude of others assembled at the Temple. Choir sung a hymn; prayer by Elder Heber C. Kimball; when I addressed the Saints. [The following synopsis was written by Willard Richards:]

Remarks of the Prophet to the Saints Newly Arrived from England.

I most heartily congratulate you on your safe arrival in Nauvoo, and on your safe deliverance from all the dangers and difficulties you have had to encounter on the way; but you must not think that your tribulations are ended. This day I shall not address you on doctrine, but concerning your temporal welfare.

Inasmuch as you have come up here, essaying to keep the commandments of God, I pronounce the blessings of heaven and earth upon you; and inasmuch as you will follow counsel, act wisely and do right, these blessings shall rest upon you so far as I have power with God to seal them upon you.

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I am your servant, and it is only through the Holy Ghost that I can do you good. God is able to do His own work.

We do not present ourselves before you as anything but your humble servants, willing to spend and be spent in your service; and therefore we shall dwell upon your temporal welfare on this occasion.

In the first place, where a crowd is flocking from all parts of the world, of different minds, religions, &c., there will be some who do not live up to the commandments; there will be some designing characters who would turn you aside and lead you astray. You may meet speculators who would get away your property; therefore it is necessary that we should have an order here, and when emigrants arrive, instruct them concerning these things. If the heads of the Church have laid the foundation of this place, and have had the trouble of doing what has been done, are they not better qualified to tell you how to lay out your money than those who have had no interest in the work whatever?

Some start [in faith] on the revelations to come here. Before they arrive, they get turned away, or meet with speculators who get their money for land with bad titles, and lose all their property; then they come and make their complaints to us, when it is too late to do anything for them. The object of this meeting is to tell you these things; and then, if you will pursue the same course, you must bear the consequences of your own folly.

There are several objects in your coming here. One object has been to bring you from sectarian bondage; another object was to bring you from national bondage to where you can be planted in a fertile soil. we have brought you into a free government,—not that you are to consider yourselves outlaws. By free government we do not mean that a man has a right to steal, rob, &c.; but [a government that renders you] free from bondage, unjust taxation, oppression, and everything, if he conduct [himself] honestly and circumspectly with his neighbors,—free [also] in a spiritual capacity. This is the place that is appointed for the oracles of God to be revealed. If you have any darkness, you have only to ask, and the darkness is removed. It is not necessary that miracle should be wrought to remove darkness. Miracles are the fruits of faith.

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent?”

God may translate the scriptures by me if He chooses. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. If a man has not faith enough to do one thing, he may have faith to do another: if he cannot remove a mountain, he may heal the sick. Where faith is there will be some of the fruits: all gifts and power which were sent from heaven, were poured out on the heads of those who had faith.

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You must have a oneness of heart in all things, and then you shall be satisfied one way or the other before you have done with us.

There are a great many old huts here, but they are all new; for our city is not six or seven hundred years old, as those you came from. This city is not four years old; it is only a three-year old last fall: there are very few old settlers.

I got away from my keepers in Missouri; and when I came to these shores, I found four or five hundred families who had been driven out of Missouri without houses or food; and I went to work to get meat and flour to feed them. The people were not afraid to trust me, and I went to work and bought all this region of country, and I cried out, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” And the answer was, “Build up a city and call my Saints to this place;” and our hearts leap with joy to see you coming here. We have been praying for you all winter from the bottom of our hearts, and we are glad to see you. We are poor, and cannot do by you as we would; but we will do for you all we can. It is not expected that all of you can locate in the city. There are some who have money and who will build and hire others. Those who cannot purchase lots can go out into the country; the farmers want your labor. No industrious man need suffer in this land. The claims of the poor on us are such that we have claim on your good feelings, for your money to help the poor; and the Church debts also have their demands to save the credit of the Church. This credit has been obtained to help the poor and keep them from starvation, &c. Those who purchase Church land and pay for it, this shall be their sacrifice.

Men of considerable means who were robbed of everything in the state of Missouri, are laboring in this city for a morsel of bread; and there are those who must have starved, but for the providence of God through me. We can beat all our competitors in lands, price and everything; we have the highest prices and best lands, and do the most good with the money we get. Our system is a real smut machine, a bolting machine; and all the shorts, bran and smut runs away, and all the flour remains with us. Suppose I sell you land for ten dollars an acre, and I gave three, four or five dollars per acre; then some persons may cry out, “You are speculating.” Yes. I will tell how: I buy other lands and give them to the widow and the fatherless. If the speculators run against me, they run against the buckler of Jehovah. God did not send me up as he did Joshua. In the former days God sent His servants to fight; but in the last days, He has promised to fight the battle Himself. God will deal with you Himself, and I will bless or curse you as you behave yourselves. I speak to you as one having authority, that you may know when it comes, and that you may have faith and know that God has sent me.

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Some persons may perhaps inquire which is the most healthful location. I will tell you. The lower part of the town is most healthful. In the upper part of the town are the merchants, who will say that I am partial, &c.; but the lower part of the town is much the most healthful; and I tell it you in the name of the Lord. I have been out in all parts of the city, and at all hours of the night to learn these things. The doctors in this region don’t know much; and the lawyers, when I speak about them, begin to say, “We will denounce you on the stand.” But they don’t come up; and I take the liberty to say what I have a mind to about them. Doctors won’t tell you where to go to be well; they want to kill or cure you, to get your money. Calomel doctors will give you calomel to cure a sliver in the big toe; and they do not stop to know whether the stomach is empty or not; and calomel on an empty stomach will kill the patient. And the lobelia doctors will do the same. Point me out a patient and I will tell you whether calomel or lobelia will kill him or not, if you give it.

The Mississippi water is more healthful to drink than the spring water, but you had better dig wells from fifteen to thirty feet deep, and then the water will be wholesome. There are many sloughs on the islands from whence miasma arises in the summer and is blown over the upper part of the city; but it does not extend over the lower part of the city. All those persons who have not been accustomed to living on a river or lake, or large pond of water, I do not want to stay on the banks of the river. Get away to the lower part of the city, or back to the hill where you can get good well water. If you feel any inconvenience, take some mild physic two or three times, and follow that up with some good bitters. If you cannot get anything else, take a little salts and cayenne pepper. If you cannot get salts, take ipecacuanha, or gnaw down a butternut tree, or use boneset or horehound.

Those who have money, come to me, and I will let you have lands; and those who have no money, if they will look as well as I do, I will give them advice that will do them good. I bless you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hyrum Smith made some remarks concerning the prophets. Every report in circulation not congenial to good understanding is false—false as the dark regions of hell.

Closed by singing and prayer.

After meeting, many of the Saints repaired to the landing at the Nauvoo House. The steamer, Maid of Iowa, arrived from Keokuk, where it went last night after the freight which it had left to enable it to get over the rapids.

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I was among them until about three o’clock. When the boat left, I walked home with Brother Kimball.

Eighteen vessels wrecked on the Irish coast by the easterly winds.

The gunpowder mills at Waltham-Abbey, England, exploded, killing seven persons.

The Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, married the two sisters, Sarah and Adelaide Yates, of Wilkes county, North Carolina.

Friday, 14.—Rode out to my farm and to the prairie with some of the emigrants; sold twenty acres of land; and when I was again riding out in the evening, broke the carriage on the side hill, when we all returned home on foot.

I give the following speech, entire, copied from the National Intelligencer, as a specimen of the way the seed of Joseph are being “wasted before the Gentiles.”

Speech of Colonel Cobb, Head Mingo of the Choctaws, East of the Mississippi, in Reply to the Agent of the U.S.

Brother:—We have heard you talk as from the lips of our father, the great white chief at Washington, and my people have called upon me to speak to you. The red man has no books; and when he wishes to make known his views like his fathers before him he speaks from his mouth. He is afraid of writing. When he speaks he knows what he says. The Great Spirit hears him. Writing is the invention of the pale faces; it gives birth to error and to feuds. The Great Spirit talks. We hear him in the thunder, in the rushing winds and the mighty waters. But he never writes.

Brother: When you were young, we were strong. We fought by your side, but our arms are now broken. You have grown large. My people have become small.

Brother: My voice is weak: you can scarcely hear me. It is not the shout of a warrior, but the wail of an infant. I have lost it in mourning for the misfortunes of my people. These are their graves, and in those aged pines you hear the ghosts of the departed. Their ashes are here, and we have been left to protect them. Our warriors are nearly all gone to the far country west; but here are our dead. Shall we go, too, and give their bones to the wolves?

Brother: Two sleeps have passed since we heard you talk. We have thought upon it. You ask us to leave our country, and tell us it is our father’s wish. We would not desire to displease our father. We respect him, and you, his child. But the Choctaw always thinks. We want time to answer.

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Brother: Our hearts are full. Twelve winters ago our chiefs sold our country. Every warrior that you see here was opposed to the treaty. If the dead could have been counted, it would never have been made; but, alas! though they stood around, they could not be seen or heard. Their tears came in the rain drops, and their voices in the wailing wind. But the pale face knew it not, and our land was taken away.

Brother: We do not now complain. The Choctaw suffers, but he never weeps. You have the strong arm, and we cannot resist. But the pale face worships the Great Spirit. So does the red man. The Great Spirit loves truth. When you took our country you promised us land. There is your promise in the book. Twelve times have the trees dropped their leaves, and yet we have received no land. Our houses have been taken from us. The white man’s plough turns up the bones of our fathers. We dare not kindle up our fires; and yet you said we might remain, and you would give us land.

Brother: Is this truth? But we believe now our great father knows our condition, he will listen to us. We are as mourning orphans in our country; but our father will take us by the hand. When he fulfills his promise, we will answer his talk. He means well. We know it. But we cannot think now. Grief has made children of us. When our business is settled, we shall be men again, and talk to our great father about what he has promised.

Brother: You stand in the moccasins of a great chief; you speak the words of a mighty nation. and your talk was long. My people are small. Their shadow scarcely reaches to your knee. They are scattered and gone. When I shout, I hear my voice in the depths of the woods, but no answering shouts come back. My words, therefore, are few. I have nothing more to say, but to tell what I have said to the tall chief of the pale faces, whose brother (William Tyler, of Virginia, brother to the president of the United States, recently appointed one of the Choctaw commissioners) stands by your side.

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1. The conference of the elders continued from the 10th of April to the 12th, it will be remembered. See page 347.