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Times and Seasons/4/12
|←Number 11|| Times and Seasons
4, Number 12
|Source document in Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries online archive: Times and Seasons Vol. 4|
|TIMES AND SEASONS|
|"TRUTH WILL PREVAIL"|
|Volume IV. No. 12.]||CITY OF NAUVOO, ILL. MAY 1, 1843||[Whole No. 72.|
History of Joseph Smith
Sidney S. Rigdon was born in Saint Clair township, Alleghany [Allegheny] county, State of Pennsylvania, on the 19th of February, A. D. 1793, and was the youngest son of William Rigdon, his father, was a native of Hartford county, State of Maryland, was born A. D. 1743, and died May 26th A. D. 1810, in the 62d year of his age. William Rigdon was the son of Thomas Baker, and Ann Lucy Rigdon. Thomas Baker Rigdon was a native of the State of Maryland, who came from Great Britain.
Ann Lucy Rigdon, grandmother of Sidney S. Rigdon, was a native of Ireland, and emigrated to the city of Boston, Massachusetts, and was there married to Thomas Baker Rigdon. Nancy Rigdon's mother was a native of Freehold, Monmouth county, New Jersey, was born March 16th, 1759, and died October 3d, 1839, and was the eldest daughter of Bryant Gallaher, who was a native of Ireland. Elizabeth Gallaher, mother to the said Nancy Rigden [Rigdon], was the second wife of the said Bryant Gallaher, and whose maiden name was Reed, and who was a native of Monmouth county, New Jersey. Their parents were natives of Scotland.
In giving an account of his parents, Elder Rigdon is of the opinion that he is of Norman extraction, and thinks that the name of Rigdon was derived from the French word Rig-o-dan, which signifies a dance, which language was spoken by the Normans, and that his ancestors came over to England with William the Conquerer. His father, William Rigdon, was a farmer, and he removed from the State of Maryland some time prior to his marriage; to the State of Pennsylvania; and his mother had removed some time prior to that, from the State of New Jersey to the same State; where they were married, and continued to follow agricultural pursuits. They had four children, viz: three sons, and one daughter. The eldest, sons, were called Carvil, Loami, and Sidney S., the subject of this brief history. The fourth, a daughter, named Lucy.
Nothing very remarkable took place in the youthful days of Elder Rigdon, suffice it to say, that he continued at home with his parents, following the occupation of a farmer until he was seventeen years of age, when his father died; after which event, he continued on the same farm with his mother, until he was twenty-six years of age. In his twenty-fifth year, he connected himself with a society which in that country was called Regular Baptists. The Church he united with, was at that time under the charge of the Rev. David Phillips, a clergyman from Wales. The year following, he left the farm and went to reside with the Rev. Andrew Clark, a minister of the same order. During his continuance with him, he received a license to preach in that society, and commenced from that time to preach, and returned to farming occupations no more. This was in March 1819.
In the month of May of the same year, he left the State of Pennsylvania and went to Trumball county, State of Ohio, and took up his residence at the house of Adamson Bentley, a preacher of the same faith. This was in July of the same year. While there, he became acquainted with Phebe Brook, to whom he was married on the 12th of June, A. D. 1820. She was a native of the State of New Jersey, Bridgetown, Cumberland county, and had previously removed to Trumball county, Ohio.-After his marriage he continued to preach in that district of country until November, 1821, when he was requested by the First Baptist Church of the city of Pittsburgh, to take the pastorial [pastoral] charge of said Church, which invitation he accepted, and in February, A. D. 1822, he left Warren, Trumball county, and removed to that city and entered immediately upon his pastorial [pastoral] duties, and contined [continued] to preach to that Church with considerable success. At the time he commenced his labors in that Church, and for some time before, the Church was in a very low state and much confusion existed in consequence of the conduct of their former pastor.-However, soon after Elder Rigdon commenced his labors, there was a pleasing change effected, for buy his incessant labors and his peculiar style of preaching, the Church was crowded with anxious listeners. The number of members rapidly increased, and it soon became one of the most respectable Churches in that city.-He was now a popular minister, and was much respected in that city, and all classes and persuasions sought his society. After he had been in that place some time, his mind was troubled and much perplexed, with the idea that the doctrines maintained by that society were not altogether in accordance with the
scriptures. This thing continued to agitate his mind, more and more, and his reflections open these occasions were peculiarly trying; for according to his views of the word of God, no other church that he was acquainted with was right, or with whom he could associate; consequently, if he was to disavow the doctrine of the church with whom he was then associated, he knew of no other way of obtaining a livelihood except by mental labor, and at that time had a wife and three children to support.
From the Courier de la Martinique, of Feb. 14, 1843.
More Particulars of the Earth-quake at Gaudalope [Guadeloupe].
There was in Saint Pierre but one cry of desolution [desolation]. Terror and consternation were depicted on all faces. All those who had an acquaintance, a friend, a relation, in the unhappy city, inquired after him. Such a one? Dead! Such a one? Dead! such a one wounded, and such a one wounded also. Oh, God! oh, God! what a great crimes had there been committed by this unfortunate city to be so cruelly visited?-When Jerusalem sold our Divine Lord and shed his blood, your anger did not fall so heavily upon that devoted city. The voice of your Prophet had announced her last hour, and she could not save herself from her impending fate. Your vengeance, though slow, was tremendous. You had charged men with the execution of your unalteralabe justice, and the city who had disavowed her God, and had caused the blood of the just man to flow, could redeem herself by her submission; but here, of God! neither submission nor repentance could save her; her hour was marked on the clock of eternity, and her doom must be accomplished.
Immediately zeal redoubles; persons run from door to door to ask for clothing; the daily labors are abandoned; the chest of the rich, the trunks of the poor, are emptied; and each one hurries to give all the linen he can spare. This is not all; in every house you may see the women and the children occupied in preparing lint. The exchange soon presents the same spectacle. Every where activity and labor prevails. They fear to lose time. They would say that for each moment lost it is a wounded man that utters his last groan,
However, the Mouche had only confirmed the news; the principal details were wanted. Her mission called her to Fort Royal. But some vessels arrived to-day from those places of desolation have told us all! We know but too much!! Our pen refuses to trace the picture of that destruction of a city, in which not a house is standing, not one! * * * * and which the fire continues to consume. The few wooden houses which the scourge had spared are a prey to the flames, which have made as many or more victims than the earthquake itself. Unfortunately people, who found themselves buried under the ruins, not being able to extricate themselves from the vast heaps of rubbish, reached by the fire, saw every chance of rescue vanished. The young girls, old men, women, half bruised between blocks of walls, demanded succors which were impossible; for the fire, advancing like a raging sea, rapidly emgulphed [engulfed] them. The violence of the elements frightened those whose courage and devotedness prompted them to brave all to snatch there unfortunates from their horrible death.
Saturday evening the city was still but a burning furnace!!! Finally, to terminate their sad recitals, here is a letter written upon the ruins of Point a Petre, to Mr. Baffin, a merchant of our city. It says more than we can express, all possible narrations.
"I have received your letter. Thanks for this remembrance. I am well. All ruined or lost; all! all!! This evening we employ the artillery to finish throwing down the walls in order to save the laborers from their probable crumbling.-Since last night we can no longer take the dead bodies away. There are too many. Yours, Berthmet.
February 11th, 1842.
P. S. Write to my wife."
Three things alone are peering over this vast necropolis. The front of the crumbling church is there standing, with the face of its clock still uninjured, the hands of which point out thirty-five minutes past ten, the hour in which was accomplished the ruin of a city, the annihilation of a whole population. The hour of eternity had struck, and in a shorter time than had been necessary perhaps for the hammer to rise and fall, the work of destruction was accomplished. The silence of death had succeeded the tumultuous noise of life. The poor and the rich, the free and the slave, were lying in the same shroud of stone, and the reddish glare of the fire was lighting the funeral pyre of that annihilated people. As a pendant to this sad spectacle, upon a part of a wall of a house half fallen, a picture was preserved, as by a miracle a picture of the ruins of Babylon. A singular coincidence-the traditions of the past, with the reality of the present; the picture of human devastation, presence in of the divine destruction. And farther along, looking on this scene of desolation, the portrait of the king alone, preserved by a strange fatality, seemed to promise protection and succor to those who
have had the good fortune to escape the disaster. Yes, sire! you will come to the aid of that population without an asylum-rich yesterday, and to-day ruined, without bread, without clothing. Sire, God has preserved your image here, as he has preserved your days elsewhere, so that you may send succor to a whole people, as you have brought a remedy to the evils of our country; for God, in his terrible justice, has wished to leave to you the noble mission to relieve so great a misfortune, and your picture, preserved in the midst of this frightful catastrophe, was there to warn the unfortunates that they had not lost their all-that they still had a father.
Here I stop. It is still under the deep impression of all those dreadful recitals of calcined bodies, drawn from under the ruins, still smoking, three days after the event; of unfortunate people whose voices are begging for succor that no human power could bring to them, that I write these lines. Pressed to give these details, I do not know how my pen ruus [runs]. Here is no pretensions to the elegance of style; there are still so many things to be said. Must we speak of the admirable conduct of Mr. Barmont, in the midst of this population, without an asylum, and dying with starvation; must we show you some wretch sucking a piece of sugar can to allay his thirst! Shall I retrace the picture of that deputation of Point a Petre, coming to meet that of St. Pierre, the Mayor covered with a sailor's jacket, and in the middle of all this, the Governor in tears, trying to impart to every body a resignation which he himself probably had not; so much he felt the enormity of the evil, and the impossibility of repairing so great a disaster. I shall say nothing either of Rear Admiral De Moges, whose destiny seems to be to carry help to great misfortunes. A singular casuality [casualty]! This same man, who, four years ago, was present at the destruction of the capital of the island of which he was the governor, annihilated by an earthquake, is called on to-day to bring help to another city, overthrown likewise by the same scourge! I cannot describe such scenes. These are only the principal facts that I give you here. Time presses. Another may write a longer article. L. B.
Proclamation of the Governor of Martinique.
Citizens of Martinique,-
The earthquake of the 8th of February has laid Point a Petre in ruins, and such as remain of her unfortunate inhabitants, are without bread and without shelter. We thank Providence that we are permitted to send them help in this awful calamity. On the receipt of the news of this distressing event, the inhabitants of Part Royal and other villages, repaired to the spot with food and clothing. The nights of the 9th and 10th were passed in loading the steam frigate Gomer with provisions and other necessaries belonging to the government, and she was immediately dispatched in aid of the distressed. A subscription is now opened for the sufferers, and all receipts will be placed in the hands M. Liot, Treasurer.
Governor of Martinique,
(Correspondent of the Richmond Palladium.)
Eight miles below this place, on the other side of the river, is Nauvoo, the city of the Prophet. It is beautifully situated, on a point formed by a broad and sweeping bend of the river. The ground rises in successive benches of several feet in height, each bench extending back some distance, forming a level piece of table land to the next bench. On the last and highest bench, which is level with the surrouding [surrounding] country, stands the Temple, which is to be a magnificent building. The basement only is raised. The town site is six miles long and two or three wide, being a circular strip following the curve of the river. Nothing can be more beautiful than the situation of the city of saints. It contains at least 10,000 inhabitants, and as motley a crowd as you can imagine.
There is but little of the prophet or saint in Joe's exterior. He is a large, powerfully built man, and I believe is reckoned to be a social, good natured, good hearted, clever fellow, with a nerve of iron, an eye of fire, a heart of stone, and a head full of all sorts of things. Let him alone and he is your friend, but it is dangerous to trifle with him. Much has been said about the Mormons, but after all they are like other men, and their prophet is a man like unto us all. There is nothing in their belief that is incredible, except it be the inspiration of their prophet, and that I must be permitted to doubt. The greatest difference between them and the Methodists is , that they have more of the spirit than the followers of Wesley. When a Methodist would shout, a Mormon would prophesy, when the former would cry "glory," the latter would speak in unknown tongues. When one would pray over a sick brother, the other would lay on his hands and heal him-if he could.
[When the Methodist faith fails him respecting some parts of the Bible, and he has recourse to the spiritualizing system to get along, the Mormon swallows all down, just as it stands, like the whale swallowed Jonah, hat and shoes; the former worships a God without body, parts or passions, while the latter worships the same being
that Moses speaks of seeing his back parts, beholding his face, and being angry with the wicked every day. The Mormon is always prepared to give you some reason for every thing connected with his religion, whilst the other worships he knows not what.] You have doubtless heard of the thievish propensities of the Mormons. They are not such great rascals as they are represented. Much stealing is done on their credit, of which they are not guilty. They have been charged in this world with much of which there will be no record against them in the next. My sheet is drawing to a close, and I must pull in my horns. I could discourse of many matters to you had I room. You have heard of the late treaty, by which a new purchase has been made of the Indians;-that is all the rage here now, and all the world is bound for the "New Purchase." Thousands, I verily believe, are ready to start for that untried region, as soon as the gates are opened which will be on the 12th of May next. The river has been frozen over solid for more than three months, so that teams have crossed on it constantly. We have had good sleighing most of that time. We have cold dry winters here, but no changes from wet to dry.
Yours, &c. D
To the Editor of the Boston Weekly Bee:
Sir-The progress of Mormonism or the doctrine of the Latter Day Saints in Boston; the closing of Elder Adam's official labors in the east; preparations making for his immediate departure for the west; the great Mormon tea party at Boylston Hall, that came off in high glee; and your liberality in giving to the readers of your 'busy Bee' the latest news in every subject;-has induced me to give you a short sketch of the closing up of the labors of this great apostle of Mormonism in Boston. On Thursday evening, March 23d, agreeable to appointment, he addressed an immensely large concourse of people, on the character and mission of Joseph Smith, the prophet. In speaking of him, he bears a positive and direct testimony to the divinity of his mission. He does this without hesitation; just as if he meant what he said, and said what he meant. He does not say he hopes Joseph Smith is a true prophet, but says he is positive that such is the fact.-On Sabbath, March 26th, during the day, he introduced Elder E. P. Maginn, and gave him a high recommendation as an able minister of the fulness [fullness] of the gospel, who is to take his place in Boston for the present. He also spoke of Elder Orson Hyde, one of the twelve apostles, that would probably visit them this spring-and according to Adams' account of him, he must be a perfect Apollo in learning and eloquence. As usual, the Boylston Hall was a perfect jam during the day and evening. On Tuesday evening, he gave his farewell lecture. That was a rich treat indeed, embodying the outline of the faith and doctrine of Latter Day Saints.-But on Wednesday evening, at the great tea party, was the time it was clearly manifested that kindest feelings existed in this city towards the Mormons. There was present on that occasion over 500 people: 350 sat down at the first table. After supper, Elder Adams delivered a very appropriate and eloquent address. It was listened to with profound attention, during which time we saw the tear start in many an eye-plainly indicating that they deeply regretted that Elder Adams was about to leave them. During his remarks, he spoke very beautifully of the 'marriage supper of the Lamb,' that was to wind up this last dispensation-cause creation to cease to groan-and usher in the long looked for period, when universal religion, liberty and toleration shall be proclaimed from 'mountain top to mountain top, and every man in every place, shall meet a brother and a friend.' It seems strange to many that Elder Adams should be called away at this time, as his very name is a tower of strength to the Mormon cause in the east. Thousands are looking for the day when he shall return; petitions are getting up here and elsewhere for this return. This is as it should be, and we sincerely hope that the authorities of the Church at the west, will see it their duty to send him to us again as soon as possible. He left with the prayers and blessings of the saints and friends, and I have no hesitation in saying, that thousands will hail with joy the day of his return.
Yours truly, (not a Mormon, but) one of the many friends to that much abused people. D. W. R.
Boston, April 1, 1843.
Thursday Morning, April 6, 1893.
11 o'clock, A. M.
A special Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was convened on the platform of the Temple. There were present, Hyrum Smith, Patriarch: Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Geo A. Smith, and W. Richards, of the Quorum, of the Twelve; and a very large assembly of the elders and saints.
Elder Brigham Young announced that President Joseph Smith was detained on business,
but would be present soon. He called upon the choir to sing an Hymn. Elder Amasa Lyman opened by prayer, and another Hymn was sung. Elder Orson Pratt then read the 3d chapter of the 2d epistle of Peter, and spoke upon the subject of the resurrection. At ten minutes before 12 o'clock President Joseph Smith, Elder Sidney Rigdon, and Elder Orson Hyde arrived.
At 12 o'clock Elder Pratt gave way for the business of the Conference.
President Joseph Smith commenced by saying, We all ought to be thankful for the privilege we enjoy this day, of meeting so many of the Saints, and for the warmth and brightness of the heavens over our heads,-and it truly makes the countenances of this great multitude to look cheerly [cheerily], and gladdens the hearts of all present.
He next stated the object of the meeting, which was,
First, to ascertain the standing of the first presidency, which he should do by presenting himself before the conference for trial.
Second, to take into consideration the expediency of sending out the Twelve, or some of them, or somebody else, amongst the branches of the church, to obtain stock to build the Nauvoo House, for the time has come to build it.
Third, the elders will have the privilege of appeals from the different conferences, to this, if any such cases exist. These, said the president, are the principle items of business which I have at present to lay before you. This is not a general, but an annual conference.
It is necessary that this conference give importance to the Nauvoo House. A prejudice exists against building the Nauvoo House, in favor of the Lord's House, and the conference are required to give stress to the building of the Nauvoo House. This is the most important matter for the time being, for there is no place in this city, where men of wealth, and character, and influence, from abroad, can go to repose themselves, and it is necessary we should have such a place. The church must build it or abide the result of not fulfilling the commandment.
President Joseph then asked the conference if they were satisfied with the First Presidency, so far as he was concerned, as an individual, to preside over the whole church; or would they have another? If, said he, I have done anything that ought to injure my character, reputation, or standing; or have dishonored our religion by any means in the sight of men, or angels, or in the sight of men and women, I am sorry for it, and if you will forgive me, I will endeavor to do so no more. I do not know that I have done anything of the kind; but if I have, come forward and tell me of it. If any one has any objection to me, I want you to come boldly and frankly, and tell of it; and if not, ever after hold your peace.
Motion was made and seconded that President Joseph Smith continue president of the whole church. After a few minutes silence, the motion was put by President Young, when one vast sea of hands was presented, and the motion was carried unanimously.
President Joseph returned his thanks to the assembly for the manifestation of their confidence, and said he would serve them according to the best ability God should give him.
The first presidency being disposed of, President Joseph said he did not know any thing against the Twelve if he did he would present them for trial. It is not right that all the burden of the Nauvoo House, should rest on a few individuals; and we will now consider the propriety of sending the Twelve to collect means for the Nauvoo House. There has been to great a solicitude, in individuals, for the building of the temple, to the exclusion of the Nauvoo House. The agents have had too great latitude to practice fraud, by receiving donations and never making report. The church has suffered loss, and I am opposed to that system of collecting funds when any elder may receive moneys.
I am opposed to any man's handling the public funds of the church who is not duly authorzed [authorized].
I advise that some means be devised for transacting business on a sure foundation. The Twelve are the most suitable persons to perform this business; and I want the conference to devise some means to bind them as firm as the pillars of heaven, if possible. The Twelve were always honest, and it will do them no hurt to bind them.
It has been reported that they receive wages at two dollars per day for their services. I have never heard this till recently, and I do not believe it. I know the Twelve have never had any wages at all. They have fulfilled their duty-they have always gone where they were sent, and have labored with their hands for their support, when at home. If we send them into the world to collect funds, we want them to return those funds to this place, that they may be appropriated to the very purpose for which they were designed. I go in for binding up the Twelve, solid, putting them under bonds; and let this conference institute an order to this end, and that the travelling [traveling] expenses of the agent shall not be borne out of the funds collected for building these houses, and let no man pay money or stock into the hands of the Twelve, except he transmit
an account of the same immediately to the Trustee in trust; and let no man but the Twelve have authority to act as agent for the temple and Nauvoo House.
I would suggest the propriety of your saying that no money should ever be sent by any man except it be some one whom you have appointed as agent, and stop every other man from receiving moneys. It has been customary for any elder to receive moneys for the Temple when he is travelling [traveling], but this system of things opens a wide field for every kind of imposition, an any man can assume the name of a Mormon elder, and gather his pockets full of money and go to Texas. Many complaints have come to me of money being sent that I have never received. I will mention one case. He is a good man; his name is Russell, from Akron, New York. His brother had been east on business for him, and there received twenty or twenty-five dollars, as a donation to the Temple, which he put in Russel's [Russell's] bag, with his money, and forgot to take it out before he returned the bag. Two or three days after his return, he called on his brother for the money belonging to the church; but Russell thought his brother had paid out too much of his money, and he would keep the church's money to make good his own. I called to see Russell about the money, and he treated me very politely, but did not give me to understand he ever meant to pay it. He said he did not know at the time, that there was any church money in the bag; that he paid it out, and he had none now.
[The brother who brought the money from the east, stated to the conference, that he did not think it was because his brother was short of funds, that he kept it, for he had money enough. He had told him that he should not be out of funds again; that his brother had twenty dollars of the church funds, and some dried fruit for the president.]
President Joseph resumed I give this as a sample of a thousand instances. We cannot give an account to satisfy the people, on the church books, unless something is done. I propose that you send your moneys for the Temple by the Twelve, some one, or all; or some agent of your own choosing, and if you send by others, and the money is lost, 'tis lost to yourselves; I cannot be responsible for it.-Every thing that falls into my hands shall be appropriated to the very thing it was designed for.
Next, it is wrong for the church to make a bridge of my nose, in appropriating church funds. The incorporation required of me securities, which were lodged in the proper hands as the law directs; and I am responsible for all that comes into my hands.
Next, the Temple Committee are bound to me in the sum of $2000, with good securities. If they appropriate any property where they ought not, they are liable to me for it; and the church are running to them, with funds every day, and thus make a bridge over my nose. I am not responsible for it. If you put it into the hands of the Temple Committee, I, nor my clerk, know nothing of it.
So long as you consider me worthy to hold this office, it is your duty to attend to the legal forms belonging to the business; and if not, put some other one in my place. My desire is that the conference minutes may go forth in such form, as those abroad may learn the order of doing business; and that the Twelve be appointed to this special mission, of collecting funds for the Nauvoo House; so that all may know how to send their funds safe, or bring them themselves, and deliver them to the Trustee in Trust, or my clerk, who can always be be found in my office. Who are the Temple Committee that they should receive the funds? They are nobody.
When I went to the White House, at Washington, and presented letters of introduction, from Thomas Carlin, Governor of Illinois, to Martin Van Buren, he looked at it very insignificantly and said, 'Governor Carlin! Governor Carlin!! who's Governor Carlin? Governor Carlin's nobody." I erred in spirit, I confess my mistake; and I here make my apology to all the world, and let it be recorded on earth and in heaven, that I am clear of the sin of being angry with Martin Van Buren for saying that "Governor Carlin's nobody." I have been sorry for it ever since. All property ought to go through the hands of the Trustee in Trust.
There have been complaints against the Temple Committee for appropriating church funds more freely for the benefit of their own children, than to others, who need assistance more than they do; and the parties may have till Saturday to prepare for trial.
It was then voted unanimously that the Twelve be appointed a committee to collect funds to build the Nauvoo House, and receive moneys for the Temple, with this proviso:
That the Twelve give bonds for the safe delivery of all funds, coming into their hands, belonging to the Nauvoo House and Temple, to the Trustee in Trust, and that the payor [payer], also, make immediate report to the Trustee in Trust, of all moneys paid by him to the Twelve; and that the instructions of President Joseph Smith, to the conference, be carried into execution.
Elder W. W. Phelps proposed that the Twelve sign triplicate receipts, for moneys received, for the benefit of the parties concerned.
Elder Brigham Young objected, and said he should never give receipts for cash, except such as he put into his own pocket, for his own use; for it was calculated to make trouble hereafter, and there were better methods of transacting the business; and more safe for the parties concerned; that he wished this speculation to stop, and would do all in his power to put it down: To which the Twelve responded, amen. Elder Young asked if any one knew any thing against any one of the Twelve, any dishonesty; if they did, he wanted it exposed; he said he knew of one who was not dishonest. He also referred to muzzling the ox that treadeth out the corn, &c.
President Joseph said, I will answer Brother Brigham. The Twelve need not spend all their time abroad, they can spend the time belonging to the Temple, for to collect funds; and the remainder of the time they may labor for their support; and they may call on the public to supply their wants. It is no more for the Twelve to go abroad and earn their living in this way than it is for others. The idea of not muzzling the ox, is a good old Quaker song, but we will make the ox tread out the corn first and then feed him. I am bold to declare that I have never taken the first farthing of church funds for my own use, till I have first consulted the proper authorities. When there was no quorum of the Twelve or high priests for me to consult, I have asked the Temple Committee, who had no particular business with it, but did it for the sake of peace. [Elder Cutler said it was so.] Let the conference stop all agents from collecting funds, except the Twelve.-When a man is sent to preach the first principles of the gospel, he should preach that and let the rest alone.
The choir sung a hymn, and elder O. Hyde prayed, and Twelve minutes before 2 o'clock P. M., conference adjourned for one hour.
3 o'clock, P. M.
Patriarch, Hyrum Smith, commenced by saying that he had some communications to make to the conference, on stealing, and he would do it while waiting for Joseph; and referred to the article in the last number of the 'Wasp.' Said he, I have had an interview with a man who formerly belonged to the church, and he revealed to me that there is a band of men, and some who pretend to be strong in the faith of the doctrine of the Latter Day Saints, but they are hypocrites, and some who do not belong to the church, who are bound together by secret oaths, and obligations and penalties, to keep the secret; and they hold that it is right to steal from any one who does not belong to the church provided they consecrate two-thirds of it to the building of the temple. They are also making bogus money.
This man says he has become convinced of the error of his ways, and has come away from them to escape their fury. I wish to warn you all not be duped by such men, for they are the Gadianters of the last days.
He then read from the Wasp as re-published from the Times and Seasons, his own affidavit and the proceedings of the authorities of the church generally, dated Nov. 26, 1841. The man who told me said, "this secret band refer to the bible, book of Doctrine and Covenants, and book of Mormon to substantiate their doctrine:" but no such doctrines are taught there.
They say it has been taught from this stand, that they are the little foxes that spoil the vines, and the first Presidency are the big foxes: and the big foxes wanted the little foxes to get out of the city and spread abroad, so that the big foxes might have a chance; which every body knows is false: all these things are used to decoy the foolish and unwary.
I will mention two names, David Holman and James Dunn, they were living in my house I went to them and asked them if they were stealing for a livelihood? Holman confessed that he had stolen from the world, not from the brethren. I told them to get out of my house. David asked me to forgive him, and he lifted his hands towards heaven and swore if I would forgive him he would never do so again. Soon after he went to Montrose, where he was found stealing salt, as is currently reported; he then stole a skiff and came across the river, stole a barrel of flour that had just been landed from a steamer, rowed down the river to Keokuk and sold the flower for $2.00, saying he had picked it up in the river, and was likely a little damaged, got his pay, and went his way. Dunn would not promise to quit stealing, but said he would go to St. Louis. I tell you to-day, the man that steals shall not long after be brought to the Penitentiary. They will soon be brought to condign punishment. I demand in the presence of God that you will exert your wit and your power to bring such characters to justice, if you do not the curse of God will rest upon you, such things would ruin any people. Should I catch a latter day saint stealing, he is the last man to whom I would shew [show] mercy.
President Joseph Smith said, I think it best to continue this subject. I want the elders to make honorable proclamation abroad concerning what the feelings of the first presidency is, for stealing has never been tolerated by them. I
despise a thief above ground. He would betray me if he could get the opportunity. I would know that he would be a detriment to my cause., and if I were the biggest rogue in the world, he would steal my horse when I wanted to run away.
It has been said that some were afraid to disclose what they know of these secret combinations, consequently I issued a proclamation which you may read in the Wasp, No, 48, which the president read
To the Citizens of Nauvoo.
Whereas it appears by the re-publication of the foregoing proceedings and delaration, that I have not altered my views on the subject of stealing: And whereas it is reported that there now exists a band of desperadoes, bound by oaths of secrecy, under severe penalties in case any member of the combination divulges their plans of stealing and conveying properties from station to station, up and down the Mississippi and others routes: And whereas it is reported that the fear of the execution of the pains and penalties of their secret oaths, on their persons, prevents some of the members of said secret association, (who have, through falsehood and deceit, been drawn into their snares,) from divulging the same to the legally Constituted authorities of the land:
Know ye, therefore, That I, Joseph Smith, Mayor, of the city of Nauvoo, will grant and ensure protection against all personal mob violence, to each and every citizen of this city, who will freely and voluntarily come before me, and truly make known the names of all such abominable characters as are engaged in said secret combination for stealing, or are accessary [accessory] thereto in any manner; and I would respectfully solicit the co-operation of all ministers of Justice, in this and the neighboring states, to ferret out a band of thievish outlaws from our midst.
Given under my hand at Nauvoo City, this 25th day of March, A. D. 1843.
Mayor of said City.
If any man is afraid to disclose what he knows about this gang of thieves let him come to me, and tell me the truth, and I will protect him from violence. Thieving must be stopped.
Opportunity was then offered to the elders to bring forward their appeals from other conferences, but no case was presented.
President Joseph continued his remarks and said; it is necessary that I make a proclamation, concerning Keokuk; and also in relation to the economy of the church on that side of the river.
It has been supposed that I made a great bargain with a certain great man at Keokuk. He came to my house about the 1st of August 1842, a stranger, and put on a long face, and said he was a "stranger in the place, and he was in distress; and having understood that I was very benevolent, he had come to me for help. He said that he was about to loose [lose] $1400 at Sheriff's sale for $300 cash. I have money in St. Louis, which I expect in two or three days; but the sale takes place to-morrow, and I want to hire money for two or three days." I thought of this subject over night. I did not like the looks of the man, but thought I, he is a stranger. I have been a stranger in a strange land, an whenever I have asked for assistance I have obtained it. It may be he is an honest, man, and if I turn him away I shall be guilty of the sin of ingratitude, and I had better loose $200 in good faith, than be guilty of ingratitude. So I let him have the money and he gave me his note payable on demand, saying "whenever you call on me you shall have the money."
When I was taken with Carlin's writ, I asked him for the money. "You ought to have it," said he, "but I have not got my money from St. Louis, I shall have it in a few days." He then stated, "I have a curious plan in my mind which I think may be profitable both for you and me. It is this, "I will give you a quit claim deed of all the land you bought of Galland; which is 20,000 acres: you paid Galland the notes, and ought to have them; they are in my hands as his agent, and I will give them up." I also propose deeding to you one half of my right to all my land in the Iowa Territory; and all I ask in return, is for you to give your influence to help to build up Keokuk."
I replied I have not asked for your property, and do not want it. I would not give a snap of my finger for it; but I will receive the papers, and if I find things as you say I will use my influence to build up Keokuk; but I will give you nothing for the land, and I want the $200 which is due me. He made out the deeds and gave them to me, and I got them recorded. He also gave up the most of the notes. I then said to Uncle John, if you will go there, with the brethren, I will give you the property; but he would not accept it.
This man called for some more favors, and I let him have some cloth, &c. to the amount of six or seven hundred dollars. I have offered this land to many if they would go and settle there; but nobody will go. He began soon after to say to the brethren what obligations I was under to him. I wrote him a letter on the subject, but I have since found he is swindling,
and there is no prospect of getting any thing from him.
He is owing me about $1100, and I thought it my duty to publish his rascality, that the elders might do the same in that Territory, and prevent the brethren from being imposed upon.-He has got a writing to this effect, that if he owned as much as he pretended, and would do as he said, I would give my influence to build up Keokuk, and on other terms.
His name is J. G. Remick, he took this plan to swindle me out of money, cloth, boards, &c. I want all the congregation to know it. I was not going to use any influence to have the brethren to go to be swindled. My advise is, if they choose, that they come away from Keokuk and not go there more; it is not a good location.
I am not so much a christian as many suppose I am, when a man undertakes to ride me for a horse, I feel disposed to kick up and throw him off, and ride him. David did so, and so did Joshua. My only weapon is my tongue. I would not buy property in the Iowa Territory: I considered it stooping to accept it as a gift.
(To be Continued)
Elder Joseph Mecham is requested to return home, as the wants of his family require his immediate assistance. Elder Appleton Harmon to continue his labors in the vineyard.
Nauvoo, May 8, 1843.
The hand of fellowship is withdrawn from elder Wm. Hewit, by the quorum of the seventies, until he make satisfaction before said quorum. Josiah Butterfield, pres't.
A. P. Rockwood, clerk.
Nauvoo, March 26, 1843.
Times and Seasons.
City of Nauvoo,
Wednesday May 1, 1843.
Circumstances are daily transpiring which give additional testimony to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. A few years ago, although supported by indubitable, unimpeachable testimony, it was looked upon in the same light by the world in general, and by the religious world in particular, as the expedition of Columbus to this continent was by the different courts that he visited, and laid his project before. The literati looked upon his expedition as wild and visionary, they suspected very much the integrity of his pretensions, and looked upon him-to say the least-as a fool, for entertaining such wild and visionary views. The Royal courts, aided by geographers, thought it was impossible that another continent should, or could exist; and they were assisted in their views by the learned clergy, who to put the matter beyond all doubt, stated that it was contrary to Scripture; that the apostles preached to all the world, and that as they did not come to America, it was impossible that there would be any such place. Thus at variance with the opinions of the great, in opposition to science and religion, he set sail, and actually came to America; it was no dream, no fiction; but a solid reality; and however unphilosophical, and infidel the notion might be, men had to believe it; and it was soon found out, that it would agree both with religion and philosophy.
So when the Book of Mormon first made its appearance among men, it was looked upon by many as a wild speculation, and that it was dangerous to the interest and happiness of the religious world; but when it was found to teach virtue, honesty, integrity, and pure religion, this objection was laid aside, as being untenable. We were then told that the inhabitants of this continent were, and always had been, a rude barbarous race, uncouth, unlettered, and without civilization. But when they were told of the various relics that have been found indicative of civilization, intelligence and learning; when they were told of the wealth, architecture and splendor of ancient Mexico; when recent developements [developments] proved beyond a doubt, that there was ancient ruins in Central America, which, in point of magnificence, beauty, strength and architectural design, would vie with any of the most splendid ruins on the Asiatic continent; when they could trace the fine delineations of the sculptor's chisel, on the beautiful statue, the mysterious hieroglyphic, and the unknown character, they begun to believe that a wise, powerful, intelligent and scientific race had inhabited this continent; but still it was improbable, nay, almost impossible-notwithstanding the testimony of history to the contrary, that anything like plates could have been used anciently; particularly among this people. The following letter and certificate, will, perhaps have a tendency to convince the sceptical [skeptical], that such things have been used, and that even the obnoxious Book o f Mormon, may be true; and as the people of Columbus' day were obliged to believe that there was such a place as America; so will the people in this day be obliged to believe, however reluctantly, that there may have
been such plates as those from which the Book of Mormon was translated.
Mr. Smith has had those plates, what his opinion concerning them is, we have not yet ascertained. The gentleman that owns them has taken them away, or we should have given a fac similie [facsimile] of the plates and characters in this number. We are informed however, that he purposes returning with them for translation; if so, we may be able yet to furnish our readers with it.
It will be seen by the annexed statement of the Quincy Whig, that there are more dreamers and money diggers, than Joseph Smith, in the world, and the worthy editor is obliged to acknowledge that this circumstance will go a good way to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. He further states that, "if Joseph Smith can decypher [decipher] the hieroglyphics on the plates, he will do more towards throwing light on the early history of this continent than any man living." We think that he has done that already, in translating and publishing the Book of Mormon, and would advise the gentleman and all interested, to read for themselves, and understand. We have no doubt however, but Mr. Smith will be able to translate them.
To the Editor of the Times and Seasons.
On the 16th of April last a respectable merchant by the name of Robert Wiley, commenced digging in a large mound near this place: he excavated to the depth of 10 feet and came to rock; about that time the rain began to fall, and he abandoned the work. On the 23d he and quite a number of the citizens with myself, repaired to the mound, and after making ample opening, we found plenty of rock, the most of which appeared as though it had been strongly burned; and after removing full two feet of said rock, we found plenty of charcoal and ashes; also human bones that appeared as though they had been burned; and near the eciphalon a bundle was found that consisted of six plates of brass, of a bell shape, each having a hole near the small end, and a ring through them all, and clasped with two clasps, the ring and claps [clasps] appeared to be of iron very much oxidated [oxidized], the plates appeared first to be copper, and had the appearance of being covered with characters. It was agreed by the company that I should cleanse the plates: accordingly I took them to my house, washed them with soap and water, and a woolen cloth; but finding them not yet cleansed I treated them with dilute sulphuric [sulfuric] acid which made them perfectly clean, on which it appeared that they were completely covered with hieroglyphics that none as yet have been able to read. Wishing that the world might know the hidden things as fast as they come to light, I was induced to state the facts, hoping that you would give it an insertion in your excellent, paper for we all feel anxious to know the true meaning of the plates, and publishing, the facts might lead to the true translation. They were found, I judged, more than twelve feet below the surface of the top of the mound.
The following certificate was forwarded for publication, at the same time.
We the citizens of Kinderhook, whose names are annexed do certify and declare that on the 23d April, 1843, while excavating a large mound, in this vicinity, Mr. R. Wiley took from said mound, six brass plates of a bell shape, covered with ancient characters. Said plates were very much oxidated [oxidized]--the bands and rings on said plates mouldered into dust on a slight pressure. The above described plates we have handed to Mr. Sharp for the purpose of taking them to Nauvoo.
Rob't Wiley, W. P. Harris,
G. W. F. Ward, W. Longnecker,
Fayette Grubb, Ira S. Curtis,
Geo. Deckenson, W. Fugate.
J. R. Sharp.
(From the Quincy Whig.)
Singular Discover-Material for Another Mormon Book.
A Mr. J. Roberts, from Pike county, called upon us last Monday, with a written description of a discovery which was recently made near Kinderhook, in that county. We have not room for his communication at length, and will give so much of a summary of it, as will enable the reader to form a pretty correct opinion of the discovery made.
It appeared that a young man by the name of Wiley, a resident in Kinderhook, dreamed three nights in succession, that in a certain mound in the vicinity, there was treasures concealed.-Impressed with the strange occurrence of dreaming the same dream three nights in succession, he came to the conclusion, to satisfy his mind by digging into the mound. For fear of being laughed at, if he made others acquainted with his design, he went by himself, and labored diligently one day in pursuit of the supposed treasure, by sinking a hole in the centre of the mound. Finding it quite laborous, he invited others to assist him. Finally, a company of ten or twelve repaired to the mound, and assisted in digging out the shaft commenced by Wiley. After penetrating the mound about 11 feet, they came to a bed of limestone, that had apparently been subjected to the action of fire, they
removed the stone, which were small and easy to handle, to the depth of two feet more, when they found Six Brass Plates, secured and fastened together by two iron wires, but which were so decayed, that they readily crumbled to dust upon being handled. The plates were so completely covered with rust as almost to obliterate the characters inscribed upon them; but after undergoing a chemical process, the incriptions [inscriptions?] were brought out plain and distinct. There were six plates-four inches in length, one inch and three quarters wide at the top, and two inches and three quarters wide at the bottom, flaring out to points. There are four lines of characters or hieroglyphics on each; on one side of the plates are parallel lines running lengthwise. A few of the characters resemble, in their form, the Roman capitals of our alphabet-for instance the capital B and X appear very distinct. In addition, there are rude representations of three human heads on one of the plates, the largest in the middle; from this head proceeds marks or rays, resembling those which usually surround the head of Christ, in the pictoral [pictorial] representations of his person. There is also figures of two trees with branches, one under each of the two small heads, both leaning a little to the right. One of the plates, has on it the figure of a large head by itself, with two + pointing directly to it.
By whom these palates were deposited there must ever remain a secret, unless some one skilled in deciphering hieroglyphics, may be found to unravel the mystery. Some pretend to say, that Smith the Mormon leader, has the ability to read them. If he has, he will confer a great favor on the public by removing the mystery which hangs over them. We learn there was a Mormon present when the plates were found, who it is said, leaped for joy at the discovery, and remarked that it would go to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon-which it undoubtedly will.
In the place where these plates were deposited, were also found human bones in the last stage of decomposition; also some braid, which was at first supposed to be human hair, but on a closer examination proved to be grass; probably used as a covering for the bodies deposited there; this was also in the last stage of decay. There were but few bones found in the mound; and it is believed, that it was but the burial place of a small number, perhaps of a person, or a family of distinction, in ages long gone by, and that these plates contain the history of the times, or of a people, that existed far-far beyond the memory of the present race. But we will not conjecture any thing about this wonderful dicovery [discovery], as it is one which the plates alone can reveal.
On each side of this mound in which this discovery was made, was a mound, on one of which is a tree growing that measures two feet and a half in diameter, near the ground. Showing the great antiquity of the mounds, and of course, all that is buried within them. These mounds like others, that are found scattered all over the Mississippi valley, are in the form of a sugar loaf.
The plates above alluded to, were exhibited in this city last week, and are now, we understand, in Nauvoo, subject to the inspection of the Mormon Prophet. The public curiosity is greatly excited, and if Smith can decipher the hieroglyphics on the plates, he will do more towards throwing light on the early history of this continent, than any man now living.
To the Presidency, and Ladies of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo.
Beloved sisters and friends-As I shall necessarily be absent from your pleasant society, for a season, my husband not having succeeded in business in Nauvoo as he anticipated, I could not take my leave without soliciting your kind wishes and prayers for the time being, that we find it necessary to locate ourselves elsewhere, until a more favorable door is opened, for our residence with the church.
I wish also to acknowledge my grateful sense, of the much kindness, and good feelings, which has been manifested toward me, during my visit amongst you; and in return you have my sincere prayers, that the best of heaven's blessing may rest upon you: and may the cause of humanity, benevolence, and mercy, flourish in your midst, under the benign auspices of an approving heaven, and the smiles of the Holy one of Israel. And may the heart of the widow, the fatherless, the poor, and the destitute, for whose benefit the society was organized, be made to rejoice through the means of your benevolent exertions. And feel assured, that while this is made the grand rallying point, for the active energies of your minds, no power, however desirous it may be to vilify, and call in question your good name, will be able to tarnish the luster of your good deeds, or pluck from your standard, the laurels which will be woven by the hand of gratitude as a shining trophy to your name, to all eternity.
With respect and affection, I am yours in the bands of the gospel,
Sarah M. Cleveland.
To the Editor of the Times and Seasons,
Dear Sir:-I am requested by Sister Burnham
to inform you, that her husband, Elder James Burnham, is dead; and as you are acquinted [acquainted] with his history, she desires you would notice his death in your paper. I have this moment returned from a visit to see her, and found that deep affliction is her present lot. She gave me a letter from Brother Phineas Richards, (I think he is a brother to Dr. Richards of Nauvoo) which states, that Elder Burnham after leaving Illinois, visited his mother in the east part of the State of New York; thence traveling east, he visited some branches of the church, and built up new ones in Massachusetts, where his labors were very abundant which brought on indisposition that terminated in a quick consumption. He died after being confined six weeks and five days, without a struggle or a groan, at Richmond Massachusetts, 22nd of last March, in the 46th year of his age. The next day, he was removed to West Stockbridge in the same state, where he was intered [interred]. The letter goes on to state, that Brother Burnham had his right mind to the moment of his death, excepting a short time, about four days before, he was a little wandering; in which time, he clearly manifested what was foremost in his mind, for he was constantly preaching, and praying, or in some kind of devotion. He was perfectly resigned, during his illness, and longed for the time, (as he knew it must shortly be) when he should be present with the Lord.
Yours, Benjamin Andrews.
Macedonia, April, 23d 1843.
The above painful intelligence will be read with sorrow by a large circle of the deceased's friends. We have been personally acquainted with Brother Burnham upwards of three years. He went over to England about three years ago, and started from thence on a mission to Wales, where he was very successful in bringing many to the knowledge of the glorious principles of eternal truth. About twelve months ago he returned to this land rejoicing, bringing many of "his sheaves with him." We were not aware until we received this letter that after having been gone from his friends and home so long, that he had again forsook the bosom of his friends, entered the field, and performed so great a work as we are here informed of. We know that he shrunk not from toil, but hardly expected that he would have renewed his labors so soon; his form however could not sustain so great labor, and he has sunk under the burthen [burden]; he has died in the cause of God; and dying proclaimed the truth of the gospel, which he preached while living. He has left a faithful wife, and several amiable children to mourn his loss with whom we deeply sympathise [sympathize]. In this afflictive dispensation we must submit to the wise behest of Jehovah, and in taking leave of him until the resurrectisn [resurrection] morn, as a tribute of respect we must say, he slumbers with the dead, "peace be to his ashes."-ED.
March 27th, 1843.
To the Editor of the Times and Seasons.
Beloved Brother Taylor:-I write to inform you that we held a conference at Johnson's Creek, Hartland, Niagara county, New York yesterday, the 26th inst., at the house of Brother Brown, according to previous notice.
After the conference convened, Elder A Montgomery arose and stated the object of the meeting. On motion, Elder Montgomery was chosen to preside over the meeting, and John Bell chosen clerk.
Conference was opened by singing and prayer, by Elder Montgomery, and the fifeenth [fifteenth] chapter of John was read by the president.
After proper instructions had been given by the president, relative to the different ordinances, viz: confirmation, ordination, the sacrament of the Lord's supper, the blessing of children, the gathering, &c.; the president proceeded to confirm five members, which had previously been baptized.
Motioned by A. Montgomery, and seconded by Brother Brecken, that Brother Bell, Brother Stars, and Brother Brown, be ordained elders.
Motioned by A. Montgomery, and seconded by Brother Bell, that Brother Brecken be ordained priest.
Elder Montgomery then proceeded to ordain the above named persons.
Motioned by Elder Montgomery and seconded by Brother Bell, that this branch of the Church be called the 'Johnson Creek Branch,' of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
On a motion made by Elder Montgomery and seconded by Brother Bell, it was
Resolved, That minutes and proceedings of this conference be sent to Nauvoo, with a request that it be published in the Times and Seasons.
It gives me joy and pleasure to be able to inform you through the medium of this sheet, that there is a great door open in this section of country. The majority of the people are very anxious to hear. Most part of the time that Elder Montgomery has been laboring here, he has spoken every night, to crowded audiences, and we believe that a great work will be done in this place. We earnestly solicit travelling [traveling] elders to visit us.
A. Montgomery, Prest.
J. W. Bell, Cl'k.
Venice, Butler county, Ohio, }
January 18th, 1843 }
Conference convened agreeable to previous appointment at the school-house, and proceeded to appoint brother Geo. Mory president, and Willard Snow clerk. Opened by singing and prayer by the president.
Elder Lamoreaux represented the Newtrenton branch, as numbering 25 in good standing. Invitations for preaching on all sides, as well as at Lawrenceburg Miami town, and the prospect flattering in other places.
Brother Mory represented the present prospect as good in the region where he had been laboring for a few weeks in opening a field of labor in the regions north.
Elder Mattindale represented the branch at Washington, Wayne county, called the Greenfork branch, in good standing, consisting of 15 members-doors open for preaching in the north.
Elder Pettegrew gave an account of his and W. Snow's labors, which had been principally confined to Fayette county, when the Alquina branch was organized, as also Franklin county, in the region of the Newtrenton branch, and Derbon county, among his old neighbors and friends. In all these places there were doors open for preaching.
Elder Lumoreaux [Lamoreaux] then requested a letter of recommendation from the conference to the church at Nauvoo, as he was under the necessity of returning home. Voted that as he is in good standing and fellowship, that his request be granted.
Voted also that we suggest the propriety of sending three or four efficient elders to this region to take the place of those who are under necessity of returning home in the spring.
Moved that we adjourn this conference to Newtrenton, until the first day of April next.
Geo. Mory, Pres't.
Willard Snow, Clerk.
(From the Millennial Star.)
The Influence of the Principles of Truth.
In the third number of the second volume of the Star, we find the following extract taken from the Baptist Register (an American paper) in reference to the influence of the principles taught by the Church of Christ in the last days:-"We have looked upon it as a mere delusion, containing the seeds of its own disrolution [dissolution] . But there is order in this fanaticism, there is system in this imposture, and it carries with it an invisible spirit by which the learned and the unlearned are strangely overcome."-We also extract from Mr. Alexander Campbell's recommendation of "Mormonism Unveiled," published by E. D. Howe, the following:-"The water of Lethe, in their fabled powers of stupefaction, were not half so efficient as the infatuations of Mormonism, for once the delusion is tasted, there is little or no hope,"
We like the opposers of the principles of truth to make such acknowledgments, illustrating the sentiment conveyed by Tertullian of old, when he said, "who ever looked well into our holy religion that did not embrace it?" So will it be, for who can approach the contemplation of the principles of eternal truth, calmly and rationally, without being interested? who can investigate the scheme of salvation-the manifestion [manifestation] of the benevolence of Deity, without being entranced with divine goodness?
What, then, are the principles which are so influential, even according to the testimony of our enemies? We go forth amongst the multitude, who instead of being one "harmonious whole" through the influence of religion, are torn asunder and distracted by the multitude of conflicting opinions that obtain amongst them. We bear testimony that angels have again ministered unto the sons of men, that the curtain which hides from our view the eternal world has been withdrawn, and that mortals have held converse with the resurrected dead, in order to learn the will of God, and to enable them to become instruments in his hands for the accomplishment of his great purposes in terminating the present condition of men, and bringing to pass the millennial reign of his glorified and exalted Son.
And through what instrumentality do we profess that this great work has begun? We answer through the coming forth of a record of a branch of the house of Israel, of the seed of Joseph, upon the western continent, in answer to the prayer of faith in the righteous dead, and in fulfilment [fulfillment] of the prophecies of the ancient fathers, in reference to the house of Joseph being the instrument in the hands of God, in bringing to pass his great purposes, and pushing the nations together from the ends of the earth.
The Book comes forth through the instrumentality of one ordained to stand as a prophet unto the people of the Lord, and inspired to translate its contents and usher them forth to the world. But what is its reception? It is handled and glanced at by the learned and the wise of this generation, for a glance is generally sufficient to satisfy such with regard to its contents, and is cast aside and condemned as a puerile and absurd production-as bearing the stamp of imposture, because it violates the grammatical rules of the English language, and is not sent forth garnished and adorned with learned tropes
and rounded periods, like the divinity of the schools, which is so well calculated to charm a people most faithfully described as having itching ears.
But where does the absurdity lie? Surely not in supposing that if the Lord gave revelation through the mouth of one brought up to agricultural pursuits, and as our enemies testify, "not much given to study," it would be given in the language of the individual, such as he was in the habit of using to communicate his ideas, and certainly not in the diction of the schools. But a ridiculous notion is frequently expressed, that the dictates of the spirit, through whatsoever channel they may flow, must necassarily [necessarily] be correctly constructed and perfectly grammatical. We grant at once, that if the Lord had chosen for his instrument the learned and the wise, we might expect what they gave forth as the teachings of the spirit, to be sufficiently correct to please the most fastidious,-But, certainly, we should have left ourselves justified in being sceptical [skeptical] as to the truth of the Book of Mormon, had we found it written in the style of modern divinity, knowing at the same time, that the individual who sent it forth had not had the advantage requisite to give a polished education. But we perceive by the word of God, that our beloved brother, Joseph Smith, is not the only agent who has been employed as a servant of the Lord from amongst (comparative speaking) the uneducated class. In the 4th chapter of Acts and the 13th verse, we read thus: "now, when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled [marveled]; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." We ask, by what did they perceive that the apostles were unlearned and ignorant? Was it by their speaking the Hebrew language in its purity and perfection? We trow [trust] not; for had the apostles been speaking a purely grammatical language, where could the evidence have been that they were unlearned? But the truth is this, and we repeat what we have before said, every instrument which the Lord employs will be at any rate gifted with simplicity and sincerity, and whatever the Lord shall be pleased to give unto his people, by them shall be given naturally and without hypocrisy.
But what are these strange and influential principles which have come forth with the Book of Mormon? Truly, our enemies have for once borne [born] testimony to what is true, when they have written as before quoted on the influence of these things. Yes; we have often looked around us with admiration and wonder to see the effect of the teaching of the Lord; we have beheld the aged tottering on the brink of the grave as it were awakened by the principles of truth to the liveliness and vivacity, of youth, their hearts overflowing with gratitude like Simeon of old, when his eyes had seen the Lord's Christ; and again, we have seen youth humbling itself to the requirements of truth, and exercising a power of faith in the unsophisticated spring of life, that has given unto them the wisdom of years, and enabled many of them to arise and gather with the people, and the youngest and most feeble, perhaps, of the family, have become the pioneers of their tribe. In many cases we have seen, as it were, natural and constitutional, fear annihilated by obedience to the principles of truth, and the reception of that spirit which is imparted to them that from the heart obey.
Let us, then, now briefly state what the principles are which the enemies of truth, as well as the servants of the Lord acknowledge to be so powerful. We say at once, that the doctrine of the Church of Christ opens to man, in the first place, a fountain for sin and uncleanness, proposes to him means by which he may be forgiven, and not forgiven only but restored into the favor of God, to become an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ; yes, even as it is written,-"he came unto his own but his own received him not, but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in his name." And again, as Paul writes in the 2nd Thessalonians, 2nd chapter and 14th verse, "whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." And is this the portion of them that receive the testimony of Jesus and endure to the end? Is it, indeed, true that redeemed man is destined for so high a glory? Let us examine this subject a little. We find in the prayer of the Saviour [Savior] this declaration, "and the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them that they may be one, even as we are one."
And again, 'from the declarations of the Savior to his servant John in his apocalyptic vision, we learn that to him that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule with a rod of iron; as the vessels of the potter shall they be broken to shivers; even as I received of my Father, and I will give unto him the morning star.' Again, to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne.' And, 'he that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.' And these are the glories of the redeemed, and this is the distinction to which he that is faithful
shall be exalted. Shall we wonder, then, at the influence of the principles of truth? can we any longer be surprised at the fortitude with which the ancient saints endured tribulation and braved death in its most terrific forms? or can we be surprised that the influence of the same glorious principles should produce the same effect in the present age of the world?-No wonder, then, as Mr. Campbell says, 'if the delusion be once tasted, there is little or no hope.' Here is the secret spring of action in those who have entered into covenant with God; here is the hope that elevates the saints above the things that surround them; here is the source of their energy which enables them to calmly bear the finger of scorn-the contempt of one devoted friendship-the loss of friends, of kindred, of natural affection, and to press onward in the service of God, with an eye single to his glory, and a heart prepared to serve him with all diligence in the rolling onward of the gospel of the kingdom as a witness unto all nations that the end may come. Yes the people of God are looking forward to the recompense of reward; their minds are expanding, and their hearts are enlarging through the glorious truths that are opened unto them by the revelations of the Spirit. What, then, is the faith and the obedience necessary to give us claim to these high honors, to these glorious distinctions? We answer they are the same today as yesterday-the same at this hour in the Island of Britain, as they were on the day of Pentecost; even faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the anointed of the Father the Messiah, the Savior of the world; and baptism in his name for the remission of sins, in order that they may receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, by which witness they shall know of a surety what is truth, and realize to a certainty whether the doctrines they have embraced be of God of not. And if it was necessary on the day of Pentecost to recognize him whom the Father had sent, it is necessary now; and if there was a power in his name on that memorable day to cancel the sins of the transgressor, it has the same power to-day as then, and is as necessary to be invoked upon us as upon them. And was the promise faithful in that day, that they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, it is faithful still, it is needed still; and, let the heart of every Saint respond with gratitude, it is realized still; and it has been our inestimable privilege to prove for ourselves the God of truth, and to know by a happy experience that his promises fail not.
Then, let the Saints rejoice to hear such exclamations as the foregoing with regard to the principles of truth, when we see our enemies acknowledging that, in connexion [connection] with the work of the Lord, 'there is an invisible spirit by which the learned and the unlearned are strangely overcome.' It was said in our hearing the other day, that there was nothing in the work of the Lord to attract a superior mind. Be it allowed for a moment, and what is the reason? Did the world by wisdom ever find out God, or will they ever do so? We answer, no. The purposes of the Almighty were ever ordained so as to bring to nought [naught] the wisdom of the wise, and to cause the understanding of the prudent to be hid; and shall the great work of the latter days be conducted on a system at variance with all his former preceedings [proceeding's]? nay, verily, he will not give his glory to another.
But what is the reason that multitudes of the wise and the learned turn away with scorn from the work of the Lord, as almost beneath their contempt; we say at once it is because the plan of salvation is so God-like; and by being so simple, recognizing all men as involved in one like calamity, as equally helpless and undone, and as requiring alike the same means to deliver them from the consequences of sin, and introduce them to the favor of God. The human mind finds itself much more flattered by laboring among the mists and the clouds of human wisdom; it is then conscious of its strength and energy, and rejoices in its own right; but the gospel which he that runs may read, is by far too simple and is comprehended by the honest hearted without calling forth the energy which the human mind is so proud of exercising.-But though we allow that there is not that in the gospel which attracts the self-opinionated and the proud, yet it is not true that superior minds do not become subject to the principles of truth; but rather is the quotation at the head of this article more correct, when it is said that it is accompanied by an invisible spirit by which the learned and the unlearned are strangely overcome. Yes, my hearers, the servants of the Lord are sent forth to preach the 'gospel of the kiogdom [kingdom].' the gathering together in the dispensation of the fulness [fullness] of times of a people and a nation to meet the Lord at his coming, that his will may be done on the earth even as it is in heaven. Let us, then, rejoice and be glad, knowing that we are called by a holy calling, and that we have not followed a cunningly devised fable, but the truth at it is in Jesus; and let us be desirous to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. With such sublime prospects before us, we can allow the world to cry delusion, and can take the scoffs and the sneers of it with patience, looking upon the recompense of reward, and hasting unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, when he shall be revealed from heaven, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of his Son.
May the Lord preserve the saints in righteousness and in all faithfulness until that day; and when called to pass through the deep waters of tribulation, may they be sustained by his spirit, that they may come forth purified, having their garments washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.
For the Times and Seasons.
Response to My "Epitaph," by Miss Eliza R. Snow.
"I feel the low responses roll, Thy talents ne'er will be restor'd!
Like the far echo of the night, That loss to us will leave a blank;
And whisper, softly through my soul, The flood from which thy genius drank,
"I would not be forgotten quite." Will ever move unruffled on,
In brightness sparkling 'neath the sun
- * * * And, Oh, when other vainly think
To near the limpid water's brink,
Forgotten!-No; thy pen for thee And quaff its wave, with skill, like thee,
Hath carv'd a name destined to be 'Twill stop its course-'twill backward flee,-
A monument, in future years; Or if they dip in it the Quill,
And tho' no stone thy signet bears, 'Twill shrink its tide into a rill.
Or tells thy name, 'twill matter not- Thy friends need but to speak thy name
Thy fame fill never be forgot. To tell the stranger of thy fame;
More lasting than a sculptur'd tomb And at the sound will leap to life,
Of "cold grey [gray] stone," or swelling dome, Mid worldly din, with business rife-
Will be the name thy pen hath won Like spectres [scepters] from a fun'ral pile,
For thee, to bloom when thou art gone, Or pilgrims from a long exile-
Thy poundrous [ponderous] pile of learned lore Thy sentiments of purity,
On us its flood of beauties pour; Found in thy matchless poetry.
It lifts the darken'd drapery Those friends with whom thou daily art
Of years, with musty panoply, Thy deeds are written on each heart,
From off your minds; and brightly, then, Within whose faithful, silent urn,
All gladness springs to life again. Deep gratitude, for thee, shall burn
The woes and sorrows of the saints- When thou art gone, far from our shore,
Begirt around with men's constraints- To be distress'd, on earth, no more.
Are often chronicled by thee, Unnumber'd voices now unite:-
With promptness and fidelity. Thou shalt not be "forgotten quite!"
Oh, then thy loss will be deplor'd-
The Three Witnesses.
The glorious plan which God has given, Buried beneath the liquid grave,
To bring a ruined world to heaven, To know the Spirit's power to save,
Was framed in Christ by the new birth, And feel the virtue of his blood,
Was seal'd in heaven, was seal'd on earth. Are witnesses ordained of God.
As in the heavens they all agree, In heaven they all agree in one,
The record's given there by Three, The Father, Spirit, and the Son.
On earth three witnesses are given, On earth these witnesses agree,
To lead the sons of earth to heaven. The water, blood, and Spirit, three.
Jehovah, God the Father, 'sone; One great connecting link is given
Another, God's eternal Son; Between the sons of earth and heaven
The Spirit does with them agree- The Spirit seals us here on earth,
The witnesses in heaven are three. In heaven records our second birth.
Nor are we, in the second birth, If we, on earth, possess those three,
Left without witnesses one earth, Mysterious saving unity,
To grope, as in eternal night, The Book of Life will record bear,
About the way to endless light. Our names are surely written there. T.
The Times and Seasons, is edited by John Taylor.
Printed and published about the first and fifteenth of every month, on the corner of Water and Bain Streets, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.