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Times and Seasons/4/4
Times and Seasons: Volume 4, Number 4
Summary:Source document in Mormon Publications: 19th and 20th Centuries online archive: Times and Seasons Vol. 4
|Number 3||Number 5|
Times and Seasons: Volume 4, Number 4
Jump to Subtopic:
- THE RELEASE OF GEN. JOSEPH SMITH.
- HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH.
- LETTER FROM JUSTIN BROOKS.
- PROTRACTED MEETING AND CONFERENCE.
- SATURDAY EVENING THOUGHTS.
|TIMES AND SEASONS|
|"TRUTH WILL PREVAIL"|
|Volume IV. No. 4.]||CITY OF NAUVOO, ILL. Jan. 2, 1843||[Whole No. 64.|
Boston, Oct. 21, 1842
My Dear Sir-On the confidence of an old acquaintance, and kindly intercourse, I have long wished to address a friendly line to you; for I am sure you have not forgotten the pleasant though brief interviews which we enjoyed at Middlefield. Since I saw you there a great change has taken place, as I have been led to believe, in your religious views; and a corresponding one in your relations and circumstances.-Still I trust that you have not forgotten the claims of friendship and acquaintance. I need not tell you how much I became interested in your family, so young and so full of promise, nor of the strong confidence which I reposed in your piety and conscientious regard for the will of God. I would not allow myself to believe that you would profess what you did not sincerely believe, nor that you would believe without good reasons; still the change in your views excited in me not little surprise. I have therefore been desirous to receive from yourself an account of your views, and the reasons of your change. I am also desirous to obtain from one in whom I can confide-one who is acquainted with the facts, and one who is not prejudiced against it at the outset, some account of the faith which you have embraced; of the personal character, doctrines, claims, and influence of him who is called the leader-I mean Joseph Smith. Does he claim to be inspired? Is he a man of prayer? a man of pure life? a man of peace? Where is he now? Does he appear at the head of his troops as a military commander? What is the nature of the worship among you, and wherein does it differ from that of religious people with whom you have been acquainted elsewhere? How many inhabitants has the city of Nauvoo? What is their condition? occupations, and general character? What are the dimensions of the Temple, now in a course of erection? If so, from whom? Are the children instructed in learning and religion? It would give me pleasure to learn, also, how you are employed? whether your family are with you; and also your present views of truth and duty, and in what respects they differ from the views which you formerly entertained.
Excuse the number and minuteness of these inquires. I take an interest in all that affects the welfare of my fellow men, and especially in what is so important as their religious views and hopes. I am aware that the people, and the views which you have adopted as your own, are peculiarly liable to misrepresentation; but from you I may expect something more impartial. Now if you do not find the task too great a tax on your time, I should be much gratified in receiving as full and as speedy an answer to the queries above proposed, with any other information in your possession, as may be convenient to yourself.
It may be gratifying to you to learn that a powerful revival of religion has been enjoyed in Middlefield, within a few weeks past, an account of which Mr. Bestor, the present pastor has sent to me for publication in the Christian Watchman, a copy of which I send you. I visited the town in the summer and found your old friends well. I also attended a minister's meeting at Br. Bestor's, and enjoyed a very pleasant interview. Several of the brethren spoke of you in terms of kindness. My best wishes attend you. Present my regards to Mrs. Spencer, and believe me very truly yours, W- C-.
P. S. You will understand that I ask for information, for my private benefit and satisfaction. I do not ask for any thing to be published unless you see fit to give it for that purpose. I wish you to write as to an old friend.
LETTER OF ORSON SPENCER.
Nauvoo, November 17, 1842.
My Dear Sir:-I received yours of the 21st ultimo about a week since, but many engagements have prevented a more early reply. Your enquiries [inquiries] were very interesting and important, and I only regret that I have not more time and room to answer them as their importance and minuteness demand. I am not at all surprised that my old friends should wonder at my change of views. Even to this day, it is marvellous [marvelous] in my own eyes how I should be separated form my brethren to this (Mormon) faith. I greatly desire to see my Baptist brethren face to face, that I may tell them all things pertaining to my views and this work. But at present the care of my wife and six childreu [children] with the labors of a civil office forbids this privilege. A sheet of paper is a poor conductor of a marvellous [marvelous] and controverted system of theology. But receive this sheet as containing only some broken hints upon which I hope to amplify
in some better manner hereafter. You have expressed confidence in my former conscientious regard for the will of God. I thank you for this, because the virtues of many good men have been disallowed upon some supposed forfeiture of public esteem. I thank God that you and many of the churches where I once labored, are more liberal.
You, more than common men, know that it is in accordance with all past history, that men's true characters suffer imprisonment, scourging, and death, as soon as they become innovators or seceders from long established and venerated systems. Many have suffered martyrdom for literary, and also religious improvements, to whom after ages have done better justice. "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted, and slain them which told before of the coming of the just One?"-It was the misfortune of many of the former prophets that they were raised up at a period of the world when, apostacy [apostasy] and corruption rendered their efforts indispensible [indispensable]: although such efforts proved unacceptable to those who were in fault. Ancient prophets, you know, did not merely reiterate what their predecessors had taught, but often spoke hidden wisdom, even things that had been kept secret for many generations; because the spirit by which they were moved had knowledge of all truth, and could disclose and reveal as it seemed wisdom in God. The spirits that were disobedient while once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, doubtless despised the prophet that taught a universal deluge.
But Noah had a special revelation of a deluge, although the religious people of his day counted him an enthusiast. The revelation given to Moses to gather an opprest [oppressed] to a particular place, was equally one side of and out of the usual course of former revelations.-John came to the literal followers of Abraham and Moses; but he escaped not persecution and death, because he breathed an uncharitable and exclusive spirit towards the existing sects of the day; still he was a revelator and seer approved of God.
And is it a thing incredible with you brother, that before the great Sabbatic era, world's rest or millennium, God should raise up a prophet to prepare the people for that event, and the second coming of Jesus Christ? Would it be disagreeable to those who love the unity of Saints, or improbable or unscriptural to expect such a prophet to be possessed with the key of knowledge or endowed like Peter with the stone of revelation. If the many hundred religious sects of this age should hereafter harmonize into one faith and brotherhood without the aid of special revelations, it would constitute an unparalleled phenomenon. Should they become a bride fit to receive Jesus Christ at his coming, it could not be according to Paul's gospel. For six thousand years, apostles and prophets have constituted an essential part of the spiritual edifice in which God dwells.-Paul says it is by them the church is perfected and brought to unity of faith.
I know that you and I have been taught from our childhood, that the church can be perfected without prophets; but where I ask is the first scripture to support this view.
As you kindly say, I have always been accustomed to offer a reason for my faith. But be assured I was confounded and made dumb when asked why I taught another gospel than what Paul did; why I taught that revelation was ended when Paul did not; or why I taught that prophets were not needed when no inspired teacher ever taught such a doctrine.-Error may become venerable by age, and respectable for the number of its votaries, but neither age nor popularity can ever make it truth. You give me credit for a conscientious regard for the will of God. It was this that gave me the victory where many others I fear are vanquished. The spirit of God wrought mightily in me commending the ancient gospel to my conscience. I contemplated it with peaceful serenity and joy in believing. Visions and dreams began to illuminate occasionally my slumbering moments. But when I allowed my selfish propensities to speak, I cursed Mormonism in my heart, and regretted being in possession of as much light and knowledge as had flowed into my mind from that source.-When I preached or conversed according to my best convictions peace reigned in my heart, and truth enlarged my understanding: conviction and reverence for the truth at such times seemed to reign in the hearts of those that heard me; at times however, some were ready to gnash their teeth, for the truth that they would not receive and could not resist.
I counted the cost to myself and family of embracing snch [such] views, until I could read it like the child his alphabet, either upward or downward. The expense I viewed through unavoidable tears both in public and private, by night and by day: I said however, the Lord He is God, I can, I will embrace the truth.
When I considered the weakness of the human mind and its liability to be deceived, I re-examined and held converse with the most able opposers to Mormonism, in a meek and teachable spirit. But the ease with which may wearing
a high profession of piety, turned aside the force of palpable truth, or leaned on tradition for inextricable difficulties, that they could not solve into harmony with their professions, was very far from dissuading me from my new views. What could I do? Truth had taken possession of my mind; plain, simple, bible truth. It might be asked if I could not expel it from my door: yes I could do it; but how would that harmonize with a sincere profession to preach and practise [practice] the truth by way of example for others? It was a crisis I never shall, I never can forget. I remember it as an exodus from parents, kindred, denomination and temporal support. Has any one ever passed such a crisis, they will say at least be careful of Br. Spencer's character and feelings.
Little as I supposed that I cared about popularity, competence, or the fellowship of those who were sincerely in error; when I came to be stretched upon the altar of sacrifice, and the unsheathed blade that was to exscind from all these hung over me with perpendicular exactness. Then, then, brother I cried unto the Lord to strengthen me to pass through the scene with his approbation.
While I was enquiring [inquiring], to know what the Lord would have me to do, many brethren of different denominations warned and exhorted me faithfully: but their warnings consisted very much in a lively exhibition of evils to be endured if I persisted, or in other words, they appealed to my selfish nature; but I knew too well that truth should not be abandoned through the force of such appeals, however eloquently urged. Some with whom I conversed, gave glowing descriptions of the obnoxious character of Joseph Smith, and of the contradictory and unscriptural jargon of the Book of Mormon, but it was their misfortune usually, to be deplorably ignorant of the true characters of either.
Of the truth of this statement many instances might be furnished, if the limits of my sheet would allow. My own solicitude to know the character of Mr. Smith in order to judge of the doctrines propagated by him, was not so great as that of some others. My aversion to the worship of man is both educational and religious; but I said boldly concerning Mr. Smith, that whoever had arranged and harmonized such a system of irresistible trnth [truth] has borne good fruit. Some suggested that it would be wisdom to make a personal acquaintance with Mr. Smith previous to embracing his doctrines; but to me the obligation to receive the truths of heaven seemed absolute, whatever might be the character of Mr. Smith.
I read diligently the Book of Mormon from beginning to end, in close connection with the comments of Origen Bachelor, Laroy Sunderland, and Dr. Hurlburt, together with newspapers and some private letters obtained from the surviving friends of Mr. Spaulding, the supposed author of that Book. I arose from its perusal with a strong conviction on my mind that its pages were graced with the pen of inspiration. I was surprised that so little fault could be found with a book of such magnitude, treating as it did of such diversified subjects, through a period of so many generations. It appeared to me that no enemy to truth or godliness would ever take the least interest in publishing the contents of such a book; such appeared to me to be its godly bearing, sound morality and harmony with ancient scriptures that the enemy of all righteousness might as well proclaim the dissolution of his own kingdom, as to spread the contents of such a volume among men: and from that time to this, every effort made by its enemies to demolish, has only shown how invincible a fortress defends it. If no greater breach can be made upon it than has hitherto been made by those who have attacked it with the greatest animosity and diligence, its overthrow may be considered a forlorn hope. On this subject I only ask the friends of pure religion to read the Book of Mormon with the same unprejudiced, prayerful and teachable spirit that they would recommend unbelievers in the ancient scriptures to read those sacred records. I have not spoken of the external evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon, which is now worthy of much consideration; but the internal evidence I think will satisfy every honest mind.
As you enquire [inquire] after the reasons that operated to change my mind to the present faith, I only remark that Stevens' Travels had some influence, as an external evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon.
My present view after which you also enquire [inquire] is that, the evidence both internal and external have been multiplied-it may have caused surprise and wonder to many of my respected and distinguished friends in New England how I could ever renounce a respectable standing in the churches and in the ministry to adhere to a people so odious in every one's mouth and so revolting to every one's natural liking. The answer in part is this: As soon as I discovered an identity in the doctrines of the Latter-Day Saints and the Ancient Saints, I enquired [inquired] whether the treatment bestowed upon each was also similar: I immediately began to dig deep to find the foundation and cornerstone of the true church, I looked narrowly at
the demeanor and character of those who surrounded the Ancient Saints. The result of my observation seemed to be that even Jesus Christ had many objectionable points of character to those who observed him: those who were reputedly most conversant with Abraham, Moses, and other prophets of the Lord, pronounce him unfit for the respect and confidence of a pious community: and why did such men find so many objectionable points in the character and conduct of Jesus Christ? For substantially the same reasons that men of high intelligence and devotion find fault with Joseph Smith and his doctrines. Those who bore down with heavy opposition to Jesus Christ were honorable men, whose genealogy took in the worthiest ancestry: they were the orthodox expositors of revealed truth. Those who now oppose Joseph Smith, (a person ordained and sent forth by Jesus Christ,) occupy the same high and respectable standing, and manifest a similar bearing towards the reputed impostor of the present day. The ancient worthies were the repositories of learning, and so are the modern worthies. The ancients taught many things according to truth and godliness, and verily believed they were substantially right in faith and practice; this is also true of modern religious teachers.
But in reply to my own question, why the ancient religionists opposed Jesus Christ, I answer, in the first place they mistook his true character and conduct. In the second place they were palpably ignorant of the wisdom and godliness of many things in the character and conduct of Jesus Christ; they considered that there was absolutely a wide difference in the views and conduct of Jesus Christ and themselves. The same is true of many distinguished opposers to Mr. Smith: they consider that there is an irreconcileable [irreconcilable] between themselves and Mr. Smith; and Mr. Smith of course is in the wrong, and they are in the right. Now let us consider first, wherein the ancients mistook the character of Jesus Christ, and modern opposers to Mr. Smith do the same of him. The true character of Jesus Christ was very imperfectly known to those who opposed him in his own time. Many impostors that had preceded, had guarded the public mind against a repetition of further abuse. He was eyed with dark suspicion wherever he went; it may well be supposed that sage precaution against him was vehemently urged, lest through his great subtelty [subtlety] might mislead even some that were respectable.
And what could he do to disabuse the public mind-prejudice and calumny outrun and prepared a thorny reception for him in all places; and so thick and dark was the fog and cloud of misapprehension and falsehood that followed him, that dark suspicions and foul inferences would obtrude upon the minds even of the honest to weaken their convictions in his behalf, and shake their conclusions: the tale of calumny never lost in sharpness and effect by time nor distance. Those who had not the privilege of a personal acquaintance with Jesus, might be supposed to have no interest in favoring a personage, whose pretensions if countenanced would disturb their quietude, and impugn their motives, and threaten the prosperity of a system that they supposed as old as the days of Abraham, and teachings as orthodox as the sayings of Moses. But whatever was said or done by Jesus that could possibly be construed by prejudiced minds to his disadvantage, these things were heeded with readiness and published in the social circle and rivited [riveted] the butt of ridicule upon every mind; and those who loved a laugh at the expense of the innocent, could furnish stock for the purpose by retailing tales about the supposed impostor, that had their origin in misapprehension and falsehood. But they were well received and cheered by those who affected grave reverance [reverence] the Supreme Deity, while they could trample with scorn (unconsciously) upon the brightness of his glory in the person of his Son.
Now let me ask if the character and conduct of Mr. Smith, is not equally misunderstood by modern religionists-Mr. Smith only claims to be a prophet raised up to usher in the last dispensation; while Jesus Christ was more obnoxious in proportion to the superior magnitude of his claims as the Son of God. How difficult it is for persons in the present age, to form a correct estimate of the true character and views of Mr. Smith. The public mind is always forestalled concerning him. It is taken to be sound orthodoxy that there is no more need of prophets or revelations; the canon of scripture is full: consequently the man that will claim to be a prophet or revelator and seer, must be a base impostor and knave. With this educational prejudice sanctioned by the best men for a thousand years past, and riveted by solemn vows to abide in orthodoxy, they see as though they heard not. If excellent things are taught by Mr. Smith, it is considered more detestable and dangerous, because say they, if he did not mix so much good with his system he would not be so dangerous and so likely to deceive. Again can the people of this
country obtain a correct knowledge of the prophet through the religious prints. I apprehend they never will. Those who control the religious prints conceive they know in the premises, that God has not raised up such a prophet; therefore they will not tarnish the columns of their periodicals by publishing any thing favorable to him. While they feel bound to withhold whatever might commend the prophet, to the favorable regards of impartial men, they feel solemnly constrained to advertise the public of all rising heresies. Thus, while our supposed heresies are published from very questionable data, our real virtues are buried in oblivion-We do not murmur: if Jesus the master could not be known in his true character; but said with mingled pity and forgiveness, they know not what they do; we cannot expect better treatment from those who know but little of us while they say much to disadvantage. Paul did the ancient Saints much harm, and wasted them greatly; being ignorant of their true character, and unbelieving as to their doctrines. It is certain that Latter Day Saints have received much harm from those who are ignorant of their character, and unbelieving as to their doctrines. Religious Editors generally know very little of us except what they have learnt [learned] from our enemies. Jesus Christ was entirely stripped of his reputation by his enemies, and was put to death by learned yet ignorant zealots who were too self-wise to be taught by one whom they knew to be an impostor in the start; but those men were mistaken in the character of our Lord; and so are our enemies mistaken in the character and view of the modern prophet. My own personal observation teaches that it is a very difficult matter to instill into the minds of Sectarian Churches a true knowledge of the faith and practice of latter Day Saints. Though one should go among them that was once highly esteemed by them, they are alarmed at his approach; and his virtues are concerned to render him more deserving of a repulse. His influence say they may be formidable, we must not bid him God speed; consequently he is not asked to pray in the family, or public meeting. If he can by great effort get an opportunity to preach, it not thought advisable for any body to go to hear him, lest they should be led away by his errors. Thus, you see Br., how difficult in former and latter days to bring the true faith to the knowledge of men through prejudice. They are prejudged a matter of which they are almost entirely ignorant. This same motion of treating new matters has veiled the Sun in darkness and hung the Prince of Life in agonies. How long shall this treatment of the Saints be persisted in? How long shall prophets be persecuted and slain without being fully known, and the servants of God be excluded from an impartial hearing, when they seek to publish good tidings, even salvation to the inhabitants of the earth? Now let me ask my former friends in the Eastern Churches, with whom I once held sweet intercourse, how it is possible for the latter day Saints to introduce their views among the sectarian churches and the world, with any more favorable reception than the ancient saints had in introducing theirs. Prejudice and persecution faced them down always, and so it is in these days. It is certainly a mistaken idea to suppose that people are much better now than they were anciently when the true gospel was misunderstood and its promoters sincerely account disturbers and heretics worthy of exemplary punishment. But say the wise and great men among the Sectarian Churches, "we do understand the true gospel, and have already embraced it; and it is only error and heresy that we oppose, and the weight of our contempt and ridicule is hurled at impostors and knaves who palm off gross deceptions upon the public and lead captive ignorant zealots by pretended revelations and spurious miracles. But do they not know that substantially the same charge was brought against Jesus Christ and the primitive disciples. But let it be proved that we are what our enemies call us; let us file our respective pleas and come to a speedy and impartial trial; to this our opposers will not consent; they intend to employ all the advantage of education and prejudice to exclude us from a hearing, so did the opposers of the ancient Saints. But I solemnly ask whether it has ever been necessary in any moral enterprize [enterprise] for those who have the truth on their side, especially gospel truth, to defend that truth by foreclosing discussion, and shunning public investigation; and then carry on their depredations by the use of such small arms as ridicules and preconceived objections that need only to be brought to the light, to be dissipated like fog in the meridian Sun.
Do Temperance Lecturers, Bible and Education Agents and other moral reformers find it necessary to carry on their enterprizes [enterprises] by such means? Do they seek to avoid an open and frank discussion with the intemperate portions of community? Do they avoid a manly investigation because the intemperate portions of community confine in their life and conduct beastly sottishness, unprovoked abuse to wives and children a prodigal waste of competence,. and ample fortunes, and the overthrow of intellect, and the dissolution of all moral ties? No, by no means! They seek the broad day light
of public discussion, because they know the truth and power of that side of the cause which they have espoused. They know that intemperance cannot survive the impartial observation of good men. All we ask is that the word of God may have free course. We wish that it may come distinctly to the knowledge of men that they may sit in impartial judgment upon it. By word of God we mean not only what was revealed for the ancients specially, but also what is now revealed for this generation. Oh, says the objector, he wants to have the word of Jo Smith have a free circulation, and this we oppose, because it is blasphemous and preposterous. Yes, we want the word of God by Joseph Smith, to be known and read of all men, because it is written not with ink, but the spirit of the living God. What were Peter, Elijah, or Moses, but earthen vessels by whom God communicated his own knowledge, and power, and glory. Does not the word by Joseph comment itself to every man's conscience where it is heard with due candor. I have never seen that person who had read the Book of Mormon and the Book of doctrine and Covenants entirely through, with an earnest desire to know whether it was of God or not, who could raise any worthy objection against them. A few isolated portions of these Books are often selected out and made to speak some other besides their true meaning, and thereby a dislike for these books is created, consequently some refuse to read them at all, while some others read only to confirm their preposessions [prepossessions] and prejudices. And superficial enquirers [inquirers] hear with credulity that such a minister, Editor or, Professor of some College, has published an expose or refutation of Mormonism that will inflict a fatal wound upon this glaring and blasphemous heresy.-Now it is well known that the novelties of this age are so many and various, that no man has time to examine into them all; and many consider that a hint from a pious Editor or distinguished Reviewer against, Mormonism is sufficient apology for them not to examine it. Now, under these considerations it is easy to divine that the doctrines of Latter-day Saints must travel through obstacles and difficulties of the greatest magnitude. And I am ready dear Br., to mourn over the prospect, because many bad men, and some good men will fight against the faith not knowing what they do. My bosom heaves with the deeper concern, because I know this to be the true gospel, and that it will prevail, even though the foe should be so great and powerful as the Lords enemies were in the days of Noah. Pardon my assurance when I say that those beautiful systems call benevolent operations, must come to nought [naught]; not because they are not honestly designed for some good effect, but because they are a mixture of human devise with the wisdom of God or the gospel perverted. I know too, that these beautiful systems, together with the various orders of sectarianism cannot well be vanquished without a desperate struggle ensues Sectarianism is old and venerable, and having undergone many costly repair without much substantial improvement; it can never be demolished without violent resistance. There is an air of sacredness around it that will stimulate its votaries insensibly. And when they are assailled [assailed] the strong hand of eternal bible truth, rather than to see their fortress taken by the illiterate followers of the despised prophet, will summon to their aid the worst passions and push matters to the greatest extremities. These remarks are amply supported by the history of the past, both in respect to former and Latter Day Saints. See the ancient Jew of our Lord's day-his piety was scrupulously exact. He knew the worth of his religion by the pains and expense it had cost him. Every thing had with great trouble been fashioned into a system of sacredness. They had been striving hard for a beautiful system of perfection that would commend them to God, and mourned that many of Abraham's children should teach that there was no resurection [resurrection] &c. and not harmonize with them in bearing heavy burdens in order to save men's souls; and when an obscure personage spring up, and broke over their rules of piety, and mingled with the profane without ceremoneous [ceremonious], and was seen to drink wine probably, and eat with the boisterous and odious classes of society, without pretending to wash away the contagion that accrued, and to travel on the sabbath day, and to pluck ears of corn without any signs of confession, and to heap harsh soundings and heavy anathemas [anathema's] the most intelligent and devoted men of the age, and claim to be a prophet, while he ignorantly conversed with an adulterous woman:-All this; the scrupulous Jew could not and would not bear; And his anger was heightened to madness when he found that many adhered to the new Teacher, and occasionally a person of wealth and standing was won over to the imposter [impostor] by his artifice and juglery [juggling]. And as the influence of this odious personage spread especially among the common people who had not sufficient sagacity to detect his fraudulent tricks; and as the orthodoxy and piety of the children of Abraham and Moses began to be suspected and even preached in synagogues that were too holy for such pollution, the devoted children of Abraham became exasperated if we
let him alone say they, all men will believe on him; fearful to use the rod and power by reason of the Romans to the utmost rigor; they at first sought to render him obnoxious to Cæsar; but as measures successively failed, they thirsted for his blood until their pious malice was glutted in his expiring agonies. Then thought they, every body may know that his miracles are all a humbug because he could not save himself. Now brother, I ask you to stop and make a full pause by way of reflection. How do devoted sectarians entertain the Latter Day Saints? Not surely by a candid exposure of our errors coupled with a patient effort to reclaim us. By no means. Said a highly respectable Deaconess: "Br. Spencer, I would rather have heard that you were dead." She know in the general that I had embraced Mormonism. But of the true character of mormonism she was grossly ignorant; and she was actually driven into fits when she found I defended the doctrines of Latter Day Saints. Look at the conduct of devoted sectarians towards the Latter Day Saints, and mark the resemblance to that of ancient Jews to former Saints. The same proscriptive spirits reigns now as then. The same spirit that dictated expulsion from the sysnagogue [synagogue] then, now closes the doors of meeting houses against us. The same spirit that closed men's ears against the burning eloquence of Stephen then, counsels men not to hear or go nigh Mormon preachers now.
You ask if the Latter Day Saints are persecuted; if so, by whom are they persecuted? The answer is a painful one; because it inculpates those who were bound by many tender ties. As a people we have been truly persecuted from the beginning. From the moment we embrace this doctrine, in most cases we are virtually banished from friends, and rank, and station, and business. Says the venerated father, "if you have embraced that doctrine my son, I never want to see your face any more." Says the partner in trade, if you are a Mormon, we must dissolve partnership forthwith. If such an one occupying an important office of profit and honor does not give up his Mormonism, we will sue him at the law, and calumniate him and embarrass him until he is ousted and broken up, and obliged to leave our village. We are separated from men's company while the licentious, and profane and intemperate are suffered to dwell in peace.-While our opposers cherish to their bosom the rankest infidels, they repulse us with disdain; though none can point out ought wherein we differ from the ancient apostles and prophets. Almost daily my eyes behold those who have suffered too much to mention. But I would rather refer you to printed documents than to attempt a description of the sufferings of our people in Missouri. From forty to sixty of our brethren suffered death by violent hands, in Missouri, and as many more in consequence of the abuse and privations to which they were exposed by an infuriated, and blood-thirsty mob; and the disappointment, privations and homeless condition of survivers [survivors] was very great. Many widows and orphans knew not what to do, having just begun to live in a comfortable and thriving manner. They had almost forgotten their first sorrow of parting from early friends and possessions, when lo! the hideous mob came upon them; at one blow their homes were made desolate; in some instances father and son were no more: their sufferings in planting themselves anew in this state without means or friends though I have often heard them told, I will not attempt to rehearse. Perhaps some will say we understand the Mormons were in fault in that matter and brought merited sufferings themselves by their misconduct. The same has always been understood to be true of all persecuted Saints. The greater part of people probably thought Stephen deserved the punishment that terminated his life.
The same might be said of John the Baptist, who meddled with the matrimonial concerns of those who did not acknowledge his ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The prophet Elijah was designated to death because he troubled Israel. Daniel refused lawful obedience to the established Governor of the realm. In short, persecutors in every age, have always had a plausible pretext for their doings, in the popular estimation of their own day and age. You ask by whom we are persecuted? In reply, I could mention as instigators of mobs, the names of a Baptist missionary, a Methodist and Presbyterian minister. You may also be apprised that ex-gov. Boggs, of Missouri, made affidavit that Joseph Smith was accessary [accessory] to an attempt to murder him; and that Gov. Carlin, of Illinois, in the face of Superabundant testimony, and law, gave a warrant to arrest him, (Joseph Smith) on that affidavit. A heavy reward has been offered for his apprehension. And bold menaces are occasionally hung over our heads, that we as a people shall be driven from the state. These things have a tendency to check our prosperity. In one instance some of our brethren were kidnapped by Missourians, from this state, and put to shame and scourging. The malignant and vexatious lawsuits to which our people have been subject, are exceedingly numerous, and owing to our impoverished condition, rendered sometimes distressing. But none of these things
move us, because we know that if they have hated the Master they will also hate the disciples. Such as are born of the bond woman will persecute them that are born of the free woman. But it seems like a discouraging effort to attempt to convince our opposers that we are persecuted, because editors and other philanthropic men are reluctant to tell to the public our side of the matter. They themselves would thereby become suspected of espousing our cause. Men are so sensitive on the subject of our religion that whoever speaks peaceably of it perils his influence and reputation. But hireling editors and priests will speak and publish against us.
You ask me to give an account of the faith which I have embraced. I believe that Jesus Christ is God, co-eternal with God the Father, and that such as have the knowledge of the gospel and believe upon him will be saved; and such as believe not will be damned. I believe the Old and New Testaments to be the word of God. I believe that every person should be born, not only of the spirit, but also of the water, in order to enter into the kingdom of God. There are three that bear witness on earth, as there are three that bear record in heaven.-The spirit, the water, and the blood, bear concurrent testimony to our obedience on earth; for the want of any one, or all of these witnesses on earth, in our favor, there will be no registry of our perfect acceptance in heaven. Hence the baptism for the dead. The righteous dead have a merciful provision made for them in the testimony of the three witnesses on earth, which secures a record of their perfect acceptance in heaven, without which they cannot attain to the highest glory. I believe in the resurrection of the dead, the righteous to life eternal, and the wicked to shame and everlasting contempt. I believe that repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, are among the elementary and cardinal truths of the gospel.
In some, and indeed many respects do we differ from sectarian denominations. We believe that God is a being that has both body and parts, and also passions. Also in the existance [existence] of the gifts, in the true church, spoken of in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. I believe that every church in gospel order has a priesthood, consisting of Prophets, Apostles, Elders, &c., and that the knowledge and power of a priesthood, ordained of God, as the ancient priesthood was, is indispensibly [indispensably] necessary to the prosperity of the church. I do not believe that the canon of sacred scripture was closed with the revelation of John; but that wherever God has a true church there he makes frequent revelation of his will; and as God takes cognizance of all things, both temporal and spiritual, his revelations will pertain to all things whereby his glory may be promoted, and the temporal and spiritual well being of his people is advanced. Any people that are destitute of the teachings of prophets and apostles, which come by immediate revelation, will soon fall into divisions and strifes, and depart from the truth as it is in Jesus.
You wish to know "what is the personal character and influence, doctrines and claims of him who is called the leader, Joseph Smith.-Joseph Smith, when the great designs of heaven were first made known to him, was not far from the age of seventeen. From that time to this he has had much said about him, both of a favorable and unfavorable nature. I shall only speak of his character as I believe it to be from an intimate acquaintance of more than one year; and from an intimate acquaintance with those who have been with him many years. No man is more narrowly watched by friends and enemies than Joseph Smith; consequently, if he were as as good a man as any prophet that has preceded him, he would have as violent enemies as others have had. But I hasten to give my own opinion. I firmly avow in the presence of God, that I believe Mr. Joseph Smith to be an upright man, that seeks the glory of God, in such a manner as is well pleasing to the Most High God. Naturally, he is kind and obliging, pitiful and courteous; as far from dissimulation as any man; frank and loquacious to all men, friends or foes. He seems to employ no studied effort to guard himself against misrepresentation, but often leaves himself exposed to misconstructions, by those who watch for faults. he is remarkably cheerful for one who has seen well tried friends martyred around him, and felt the inflictions of calumny-the vexation of law suits-the treachery of intimates-and multiplied violent attempts upon his persona and life, together with the cares of much business. His influence, after which you inquire, is very great. His friends are as ardently attached to him as his enemies are violently opposed. Free toleration is given to all opposing religions, but wherever he is accredited as a prophet of the living God, there you will perceive, his influence must be great. That lurking fear and suspicion that he may become a dictator, or despot gradually gives place to confidence and fondness, as believers become acquainted with him.
In doctrine Mr. Smith is eminently scriptural. I have never known him to deny or depreciate a single truth of the Old and New Testaments;
but I have always known him to explain and defend them in a masterly manner.-Being anointed of God, for the purpose of teaching and perfecting the church, it is needful that he should know how to set in order the things that are wanting to bring forth things new and old, as a scribe well instructed. This office and apostleship he appears to magnify; at his touch the ancient prophets spring into life, and the beauty and power of their revelations are made to commend themselves with thrilling interest to all that hear.
You inquire, Does he claim to be inspired? Certainly he does claim to be inspired. He often speaks in the name of the Lord, which would bo [be] rank hypocrisy and mockery, if he were not inspired to do it. It seems very difficult for those who stand at the distance of many generations from the true prophets, to realize what prophets are, and what ought to be expected from them. I do not chide them for their ignorance and folly, however, because I have nothing to boast of previous to embracing the faith of the Latter Day Saints. I understand that prophets may speak as they are moved by the Holy Ghost, at one time, while they may be very far from being moved by the Holy Ghost as they speak at another. They may be endowed with power to perform miracles and mighty deeds at one time, while they have no authority, and there is uo [no] suitableness in doing the same at another time. You ask, Is he a man of prayer? of a pure life? of peace?-Does he appear at the head of his troops as a military commander? These questions I answer according to the best knowledge I have in the affirmative. As a people we perform military duty, as the laws of the State of Illinois enjoin and require. The Legion answers the purpose to keep the lawless and mobocratic at a respectful distance; and the more "earthquake and storm" our enemies raise about the Nauvoo Legion, and a military chieftain, like the ancient Mahomet, the greater fear and dread of us will be conveyed to ths [the] minds of the lawless, who watch for prey, and spoil, and booty. I can assure you that neither Mr. Smith, nor any other intelligent Latter Day Saint, ever intends to make one convert by the sword. Neither are we such teetotal [teetotaler] peace-makers that any savage banditti of lawless depredators could waste our property, violate virtue and shed innocent blood, without experiencing from us a firm defence [defense] of law, of right, and innocence.-We are to this day very sensitive to a repetition of past wrongs, that we still smart under. The Lord our God, who was once called (by a man after his own heart.) a "man of war," we trust will be our defence [defense] and strong tower in the day of battle, if our country should ever call us to scenes of carnage and blood.
You ask, What is the nature of the worship among you, and wherein does it differ from that of religious people with whom you have been acquainted elsewhere? On the Sabbath some person usually preaches a sermon, after prayer and singing, and perhaps reading some scripture. We have also frequent prayer meetings, in which all that are so disposed may join.-The gifts are variously exercised, sometimes in the way of prophecy, or in tongues; sometimes in discerning of spirits, or interpretation of tongues. The ordinance of baptism, together with the imposition of hands, for the gift of the Holy Ghost is administered as occasion may require. Thus you will perceive that our worship differs from what we both have been accustomed to in time past. Anxious seats, and enquiry [inquiry] &c. are not in use at all with us; although converts to our faith have swelled our numbers greatly in every year that is past, yet we are very far from employing any blustering efforts to convert men. The spirit of God attends the truth with sufficient power to save the upright, while those that hold the truth in unrighteousness, and contend with it, are beyond the legitimate exercise of divine power to save, and are led captive by the devil at his will. Our worship differs from that of other religious people, inasmuch as we have the knowledge of God, and the true doctrine and order of his kingdom beyond all perplexing doubt and diversity of opinion. It is utterly impossible for intelligent and devoted sectarian clergy to lead their hearers into any considerable knowledge of God, for this very potent reason, that they neither know much of him themselves, nor indeed have they the means of knowing him. For this they are not at all culpable,; but the fact is nevertheless incontrovertible. I do not speak now to please men, nor to mortify them; but I know it to be true, my brother, and therefore speak it boldly. Are you offended? will you stop here and throw down my letter with contempt, as though an ignorant upstart had abused you? If I write plainly it is with deep and painful emotions.-While writing I can hardly suppress a flood of tears. I know the dilemma in which many of my religious brethren are placed, and the extreme difficulty of approaching them, but whether thy hear or forbear, I must tell them that it is out of their power to attain to any considerable knowledge of the true and living God. But say they, have we not got the good old bible, which makes men wise unto salvation? You
have indeed those venerable truths which have many ages since made men wise unto salvation; and those truths will teach you, if you take heed to them, that the Gentiles have been broken off from the covenant favor of God, as the Jews were; But those scriptures cannot impart to you the gifts of the Holy Ghost; they cannot ordain and qualify you to teach and preach the gospel, and administer the ordinances; they cannot give you promises and revelations that are expresly [expressly] for you.
When the apostle Paul was in danger of being shipwrecked with his crew, (see acts of Apostles,) it would have been poor consolation to him to read the ancient history of Jonah's shipwreck, and pray over the subject, in order to know how the voyage would result to him; but how much greater his consolation, and how much more certain his knowledge, when God ministers to him by visions and angels, and promises both him & the crew preservation. Philip wanted no better assurance of his duty to go to Gaza, than for an angel of God to tell him to go; but if he had pored [poured] over ancient revelations with prayerful anxiety in order to know the same, it would have been a poor guide. The New Testament saints did not lean upon Old Testament revelations for the knowledge of present duties, or for aid in their present contingencies. They looked directly to God for present, fresh instruction and aid-they obtained what they looked for. The ancient Jews, (cotemporary [contemporary] with Christ,) that leaned on the venerated sayings of Abraham and Moses, and other eld [old] prophets, abode in darkness, and became the prey of foul spirits, while the advocates of present revelations were mighty through God, in signs and wonders, and marvellous [marvelous] deeds. Now let the religious people of this day depend exclusively upon the ancient scriptures, rejecting present revelations and they will be filled with ignorance, and the spirit of unrighteousness will possess them; and they cannot act with that certainty and power that those can who know for themselves, by immediate revelation. But I have said it is impossible for them to know much of the true God. The careful observer knows that what one sect or denomination teaches for doctrine, another will controvert and deny.-There is not that power in the doctrine of any one sect that gives them much ascendancy over any other sect. The doctrines of all sects though adverse to each other, are about equally weighty and plausible; no one gets any considerable ascendancy. If there appears to be light in one sect over another sect, it shows an equal amount of an opposite character.
It is an acknowledged duty of parents, in this church, to teach their children the elementary principles of religion, training them up in the way they should go. You ask if they are instructed in learning. As a people we aim most diligently to give our children learning.-Our persecutions, oppression, and poverty have operated greatly to the disadvantage of our children: still we have a chartered University, that promises much benefit to us; and common schools are extensively multiplying throughout the city.
The present population of the city is from ten to twelve thousand. You ask, What is their condition, occupation, and general character? The condition of the people is as prosperous as circumstances will permit. Many of them, like Jacob of old, have left a good patrimony at home that they are not benefitted [benefited] from, by reason of their being every where spoken against. But though they had nothing but their staff in hand and a little bundle upon their back when they came, they have now in many instances a comfortable cottage, a flourishing garden, and a good cow. There are many instances of families being subject to privations, beyond what they were accustomed to in early days; and there are some instances of deep penury, through sickness, persecution, and other uncontrolable [uncontrollable] causes; and there are also instances of wealth, but be assured, sir, there is not a more contented and cheerful people to be found. Families will consent to let father and brother go out to preaching, when their daily bread is barely supplied for a few months. Believing as we do, that these are the last days, and that signal matters await this generation: and that the harvest must be gathered soon, if at all, you must not marvel if we do not all at once become rich, and build large houses, and enclose productive farms.-If riches were our object, we might readily gratify the most ambitious grasp. We possess every facility for being rich; but we long to behold the beauty of the Lord, and enquire [inquire] in his holy Temple. The place of His sanctuary, which we greatly desire to beautify, is a site of surpassing natural beauty. Upon it stands the incomplete structure of a Temple-in dimension a little over one hundred and twenty-eight feet long, by eighty eight feet wide, to be elevated in height a little under fifty feet; the walls are made of well wrought, handsome stone. The inhabitants are very industrious; being occupied in agriculture and the various mechanic arts. Our people are mostly the working classes of community, from the United States and Great Britain and her Provinces. They are a very intelligent people, especially so far as common sense and a general knowledge of men and things are concerned. Our elders are versed in religious
polemics, from discussions in the pulpit, stage, bar-room, canal and steamboat, of the fireside, and high-way side: and perhaps you are not aware that many, very many, are from the most enlightened portions of New England; men that have been rocked in the cradle of orthodoxy and liberty; accustomed to fatigue, privation and opposition; and knowing that heir religion has more light and truth, and the power of the Holy Ghost to support it, than any other that has existed since the days of the apostles; they are prepared to endure all things with the assurance that their reward is great in heaven. You wish to know the general character of the people. There is probably less profanity, drunkenness, lewdness, theft, fighting, gambling and tavern haunting, than in any other city of the same magnitude.
But I must close my answer to your many and minute inquiries, having already protracted them beyond my original design. Your letter contains many important enquiries [inquiries] similar indeed to what I have received from other distinguished friends from different parts of the Union; and you will accept my apology for not answering at an earlier date; and though I design this epistle to be a general answer to all similar enquries [inquiries], yet shall hereafter readily reciprocate all private communications in the usual method of friendship and affect ion.
Most sincerely and truly yours, ORSON SPENCER.
Brother Spencer is a graduate of Union College, New York, and has for many years had a respectable standing as a minister in the "Baptist Church;" and as he is generaly [generally] known in the New England States, we presume that the above logical and conclusive expose of our principle, will be read with interest, by his numerous friends, and by all the Saints.-ED]
TIMES AND SEASONS,
CITY OF NAUVOO,
MONDAY JANUARY 2, , 1843.
THE RELEASE OF GEN. JOSEPH SMITH.
We are happy to have it in our power to state, that the distinguished individual above named is once more free, and the illegal prosecution, and persecution which has been instituted against him by ex-Gov. Boggs, Gov. Reynolds of Missouri, and ex-Gov. Carlin of this State, has terminated successfully in behalf of the innocent and unoffending; and we have had one striking instance of the dignity and purity of our laws being held inviolate, despite of executive influence and intrigue, and the influence of misrepresentation and bigotry.
Mr. Smith had long been convinced of the illegality of the proceedings which were instituted against him; but he at the same time thought that when public excitement was so great, and popular prejudice so strong, that it would be hazardous for him to place himself in the hands of any of the minions of Ex-Gov. Carlin-judging (very correctly) that if that gentleman had issued a writ illegally, and unconstitutionally for his apprehension, he might use an unwarrantable, executive influence in having him delivered up to the justice (i. e. injustice) of the State of Missouri.
But while on the one hand he feared, and had reason to fear, usurped executive power; he as firmly believed that if he could obtain a fair and impartial hearing before the judiciary that there was sufficient strength, and virtue in the laws, to deliver him from the unjust influence, and mal-administraton [administration] of his enemies.
Feeling fully convinced of the justice of his cause, he repaired to Springfield, about two weeks ago, for the purpose of obtaining a hearing, (and as he believed) receiving and acquittal from the District Court of the United States, for the district of Illinois.
The Secretary of State had been instructed to send for the writ issued by Gov. Carlin, that Mr. Smith might have the privilege of the Habeas Corpus and of having the legality and constitutionality of the writ tested.
But as Ex-Governor Carlin, or the sheriff of Adams county, or both, were either afraid of having their deeds investigated, or wished to set at defiance the law; the writ was not forthcoming; and after the great hue and cry that has been made about Joseph Smith's fleeing from justice, he was absolutely under the necessity of petitioning Governor Ford to issue another writ before he conld [could] obtain a hearing before the court. For the purpose of answering the ends of justice, and that Mr. Smith might be legally and fairly dealt with, Governor Ford issued another writ, which was a copy of the one issued by Gov. Carlin. Mr. Smith then petitioned the United States district court for a writ of Habeas Corpus, which was granted and he appeared before that court on Saturday the 30th of December, 1842, and gave bail for his appearance at court on Monday. Mr. Lansbourn [Lamborn], the Attorney General of the State of Illinois, appeared in behalf of the State, and Mr. Butterfield was counsel for Gen. Smith.
On Monday Mr. Lamborn requested of the court a little time, stating that the subject was new to him, that it was one of great importance,
that he had not had an opportunity of investigating it, and he hoped that the court would indulge him with one or two days; the court granted him that privilege, and the trial was postponed until Wednesday, the 4th of January. Mr. Lamborn objected to the proceedings on the ground that the United States Court had no jurisdiction in this case, and that it belonged to the courts of this State to adjudicate in this matter: he moreover contended that they could not go behind the writ, to try the guilt, or innocence of the accused party: his objections however were overruled by the court.
Mr. Edwards and Butterfield shewed [showed] in a very lucid manner that Mr. Lamborn was in the dark concerning this matter-and Mr. Butterfield contended that in this case, and under the circumstances of the issuing of this writ, the United States district court not only had jurisdiction; but that it had exclusive jurisdiction. He also shewed [showed] very clearly that although they had no right to go behind the writ when judgment was rendered that they had a perfect right where that was not the case; he quoted several authorities in defence [defense] of the position that he took, and very clearly shewed [showed] that the course which he had taken in this affair, was strongly supported by law, that he was sustained by the constitution of the United States, and by a law of Congress based upon the constitution, and by all former precedents. He then exposed in a very able manner the corruption of Governor Reynolds of Missouri, and of Governor Carlin of Illinois, in relation to this matter, proving from their own documents that the steps which they had taken were illegal, that Governor Reynolds had no foundation to issue a writ, or to demand Joseph Smith from Governor Carlin on any thing that there was in the affidavit of Ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri, and that he was obliged to add certain clauses in his demand which were not found in the body of the affidavit, before his claims upon this State could have the semblance of law, and that Governor Carlin with these lame documents before him wished to make it a little more plain, and added another addition, by way of codicil to the charge. He clearly shewed [showed] the progress of crime among those governors.-Ex-Governor Boggs' affidavit stated that "he believed, and had good reason to believe that Joseph Smith was accessory before the fact, and that he was a resident of Illinois." Governor Reynolds stated that it had been represented to him that Joseph Smith was accessory before the fact, and had fled from the justice of Missouri; and to make up the thing complete, Governor Carlin stated that he was a fugitive from justice, consequently neither Governor Reynolds nor Governor Carlin had any foundation whereon to base the issuing of a demand, proclamation, or writ.
After showing very clearly, the ignoranec [ignorance] and injustice of those executives-proving to a demonstration that Joseph Smith had not been in Missouri for three years: that he could not be a fugitive from justice, and that if he were guilty of being an accessary [accessory], the thing was not done in Missouri, and he could not be taken there to be tried; he concluded by saying, that all the difference there was between the Mormons and other professions was, that the different sects believed in the ancient prophets only, and the Mormons believed in both ancient and modern prophecy. Another distinction was, that the ancient prophets prophecied [prophesied] in poetry, and the modern ones on prose.
Judge Pope then stated that the court would give its decision the next morning.
On Wednesday morning the Judge in his decision investigated the whole matter, and in a very able manner sustained the views of Mr. Butterfield, and adduced additional testimony and evidence, in favor of the acquittal of Mr. Smith; and after a very learned and able address he concluded by saying, that "the decision of the court is that the prisoner be discharged; and I wish it entered upon the records in such a way, that Mr. Smith be no more troubled about this matter."
We hope to be able to furnish our readers with a corrected copy of the whole proceedings of this interesting trial.
We had the honor of accompanying General Smith to Springfield, together with about fourteen gentlemen from this place, and we were very much pleased with the excursion; we met with a great deal of courtesy and respect on our way to Springfield, and when we arrived there; both from the citizens generally, and also from Honorable members of the Legislature, indeed our presence seemed to dispel those deep prejudices which many had imbibed in consequence of misrepresentation and falsehood; and in our intercourse with them they perceived that the Mormons were affable, courteous, and intelligent; and in looking at our heads and feet they discovered that we had neither horns nor hoofs.
By the politeness of the Hon. Mr. Hackleton, speaker of the House of Representatives, we were favored with the privilege of speaking in the Legislative Hall; Elder Hyde preached in the morning, and myself in the afternoon; a large concourse of people attended, composed
of lawyers, judges, state officers, legislators, and citizens of Springfield, and many of them concluded that Mormonism was as reasonable, as scriptural; and that there was as much sound common sense, and a little more connected with it, than with any other system that they had heard, or investigated.
Upon the whole we had a very interesting visit, and in our short stay formed associations that will not soon be forgotten.
Much praise is due to Governor Ford, Judge Pope, Mr. Butterfield, Mr. Edwards, and many other gentlemen, for the bold, independent, and patriotic course that they have pursued in relation to this matter; they have manifested a disposition to maintain inviolate the supremacy of the law; and that the Mormons shall have even handed justice administrated to them in common with all other citizens of the state.
HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH.
The constable who served this second warrant upon me, had no sooner arrested me than he began to abuse and insult me, and so unfeeling was he with me, that although I had been kept all the day in court, without any thing to eat since the morning, yet he hurried me off to Broom county, a distance of about fifteen miles, before he allowed me any kind of food whatever. He took me to a tavern and gathered in a number of men, who used every means to abuse, ridicule, and insult me. They spit upon me, pointed their fingers at me, saying prophesy, prophesy; and thus did they imitate those who crucified the Saviour [Savior] of mankind, not knowing what they did. We were at this time not far distant from my own house. I wished to be allowed the privilege of spending the night with my wife, at home, offering any wished for security, for my appearance, but this was denied me. I applied for something to eat.-The constable ordered me some crusts of bread, and water, which was the only fare I that night received. At length we retired to bed; the constable made me lie next the wall: He then laid himself down by me, and put his arm around me; and upon my moving in the least would clench me fast, fearing that I intended to escape from him; and in this (not very agreeable) manner did we pass the night. Next day I was brought before the Magistrates court, of Colesville, Broom county, and put upon my trial. My former faithful friends and lawyers were again at my side; my former persecutors were arrayed against me. Many witnesses were again called forward and examined; some of whom swore to the most palpable falsehoods, and like to the false witnesses which had appeared against me the day previous, they contradicted themselves so plainly that the court would not admit their testimony. Others were called who shewed [showed] buy their zeal that they were willing enough to prove something against me; but all they could do was to tell some things which somebody else had told them. In this "frivolous and vexatious" manner did they proceed for a considerable time, when finally, Newell Knight was called up and examined, by lawyer Seymour, who had been especially sent for on this occasion. One lawyer Burch, also was on the side of the prosecution; but Mr. Seymour seemed to be a more zealous Presbyterian, and appeared very anxious and determined that the people should not be deluded by any one professing the power of Godliness; and not "denying the power thereof."
So soon as Mr. Knight had been sworn, Mr. Seymour proceeded to interrogate him as follows: Q. Did the prisoner, Joseph Shith [Smith], jr. cast the devil out of you? Ans. No sir. Q. Why, have not you had the devil cast out of you? A. Yes sir. Q. And had not Joe Smith some hand in its being done? A. Yes sir.-Q. And did not he cast him out of you? A. No sir; it was done by the power of God, and Joseph Smith was the instrument in the hands of God, on the occasion. He commanded him out of me in the name of Jesus Christ. Q. And are you sure that it was the devil? A. Yes sir. Q. Did you see him, after he was cast out of you? A. Yes sir, I saw him. Q. Pray, what did he look like? (Here one of my lawyers informed the witness that he need not answer the question). The witness replied, I believe I need not answer your last question, but I will do it provided I be allowed to ask you one question, first, and you answer me, viz: Do you, Mr. Seymour, understand the things of the spirit! No, (answered Mr. Seymour) I do not pretend to such big things. Well then, (replied Knight,) it would be of no use to tell you what the devil looked like, for it was a spiritual sight, and spiritually discerned; and of course you would not understand it, were I to tell you of it. The lawyer dropped his head, whilst the loud laugh of the audience proclaimed his discomfiture. Mr. Seymour now addressed the court, and in a long and violent harangue endeavored to blacken my character and bring me in guilty of the charges which had been brought against me. Among others things, he brought up the story of my having been a money digger and in this manner proceeded, in hopes to influence the court and the people against me. Mr. Davidson, and Mr. Reed followed
on my behalf. They held forth in true colors, the nature of the prosecution; the malignancy of intention, and the apparent disposition to persecute their client, rather than to afford him justice. they took up the different arguments which had been brought by the lawyers for the prosecution, and having shewed [showed] their utter futility and misapplicatioa [misapplication] , then proceeded to scrutinize the evidence which had been adduced, and each in his turn, thanked God that he had been engaged in so good a cause as that of defending a man whose character stood so sell the test of such a strict investigation. In fact, these men, although not regular lawyers, were upon this occasion able to put to silence their opponents, and convince the court that I was innocent. they spoke like men inspired of God, whilst those who were arrayed against me trembled under the sound of their voices, and quailed before them like criminals before a bar of justice.
The majority of the assembled multitude had now began to find that nothing could be sustained against me: even the constable who arrested me, and treated me so badly, now came and apologised [apologized] to me, and asked my forgiveness of his behaviour [behavior] towards me; and so far was he changed that he informed me that the mob were determined that if the court acquitted me that they would have me, and rail ride me, and tar and feather me; and further, that he was willing to favor me, and lead me out in safety by a private way.
The court finding the charges against me not sustained, I was accordingly acquitted, to the great satisfaction of my friends, and vexation of my enemies, who were still determined upon molesting me, but through the instrumentality of my new friend, the constable, I was enabled to escape them and make my way in safety to my wife's sister house, where I found my wife awaiting with much anxiety the issue of those ungodly proceedings: and with her in company next day, arrived in safety at my own house.
After a few days however, I again returned to Colesville, in company with Oliver Cowdery, for the purpose of confirming those whom we had thus been forced to abandon for a time.-We had scarcely arrived at Mr. Knight's, when the mob was seen collecting together to oppose us, and we considered it wisdom to leave for home, which we did, without even waiting for any refreshment. Our enemies pursued us, and it was oftentimes as much as we could do to elude them; however, we managed to get home after having travelled [traveled] all night, except a short time, during which we were forced to rest ourselves under a large tree by the way side, sleeping and watching alternately. And thus were we persecuted on account of our religious faith-in a country, the constitution of which, guarantees to every man the indefeasible right , to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience; and by men too who were professors of religion, and who were not backward to maintain this privilege for themselves; though they thus wantonly could deny it to us. For instance, Cyrus M'Master, a Presbyterian of high standing in his church, was one of the chief instigators of these persecutions; and he at one time told me personally, that he considered me guilty, without judge or jury. The celebrated Doctor Boyington, also a Presbyterian, was another instigator to these deeds of outrage; whilst a young man named Benton, of the same religious faith, swore out the first warrant against me. I could mention many others also, but for brevity's sake will make these suffice for the present.
LETTER FROM JUSTIN BROOKS.
Kirtland, Ohio, Nov. 7, 1842.
BROTHER JOSEPH SMITH: SIR:-I now take the opportunity to inform you, the brethren in Nauvoo, and all that feel interested in this last dispensation of Almighty God, which has been committed to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that since our conference minutes were enclosed, Elders Wight, Green and Badlam have continued their labors in this place, up to this time, with great success; the Lord pouring out his spirit upon them and also upon the people. There have been, since the above stated time, several persons baptized, which have looked on, and have seen the rise and progress of this church from the commencement, and many smart, intelligent young men have also been ordained elders; amongst the number are Austin Babbit and William Wilson. The number ordained since conference is ten; and several persons have been baptized. The prospect now is that a great blessing will result to the inhabitants of this region of country, from the labors of the above named elders. The reformation which has taken place here has taken some of the most prominent members from among the Methodist; and the Presbyterians begin to think that Mormonism, as they call it, is not dead, as they supposed, in consequence of Bennett's apostacy [apostasy]. I am this moment informed that Priest Coe has withdrawn from his ministerial labors in the Presbyterian church, you will discover that it is not positive. Where the reformation that has begun will end, the Lord only knows: such an anxiety to learn the doctrines of this church, has never before
been manifest since the commencement of the church.
The elders are going to leave us this morning with the prayers and fellowship of the brethren in this region of country. Those which have been the most hostile in their feelings are perfectly friendly with Brother Wight, and have all invited him to call upon them.
The labors of the elders seem to have effected a union of all parties; and if I must give my opinion I think upon the right principle.
Twelve persons were baptized yesterday and information has just reached me that Brother Martin Harris has been baptized, and is now on his way home from the water. I would further state that Br. Wight expects to administer baptism to several persons in Painesville, on his way east. He further wishes me to state that he will write in a short time. Give my respects to sister Elvira Cowles and to all enquiring [inquiring] friends. Yours in the bonds of the gospel, and fellow laborer in the new and everlasting covenant, JUSTIN BROOKS.
PROTRACTED MEETING AND CONFERENCE.
Protracted Meeting, and Conference, held in Burk's Garden, Tazewell County, Virginia, by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: commencing Sept. 10th 1842.
Saturday 11 o'clock A. M.-A respectable audience being assembled at Union Grove, the meeting opened by singing; prayer by Elder J. M. Grant.
Elder W. A. Litz briefly addressed the audience on the subject of righteousness.
Elder Joshua Grant jr. then delivered a lengthy address from Matt. iii. 6, followed by Elders R. Kinnamon and Orange Wight.
After a short exhortation by Elder J. M. Grant, the meeting closed by singing.
Second day-Sabbath morning at the Grove, the services commenced by singing; prayer by Elder J. Grant jr.
Br. J. M. Grant then preached to the congregation from 2 Cor. iv . 17.
Br. J. Grant jr. continued the subject that he commenced on Saturday; he was followed by Brs. Kinnamon and Litz.
Br. J. M. Grant then called for candidates for baptism; four came and gave their hands with tears and solemnity; the ordinance of confirmation was then attended to, and the meeting closed by singing.
Third day-The people came together at the waster; 9 o'clock A. M., after which six were immersed. It was unanimously resolved that the meeting remove to the house of Br. Peter Litz, one mile north-west of the Grove-met at 10 o'clock and organized the conference by appointing Elder J. M. Grant president, and Geo M. Tibbs clerk.
The conference opened by singing, and prayer by the president, who addressed the conference from John xiii. 20.
Elder J. Grant jr. then addressed the conference. The official members were then called on, to represent the different branches of the church in this conference.
Br. George M. Tibbs represented the Little Nauvoo branch, in Withe county Virginia, consisting of thirty-one member, one priest, one teacher and one deacon.
Br. J. T. Crow represented the Rich Valley branch, in Smith county, twenty-four members and one priest.
Elder J. M. Grant represented the Burk's Garden branch, consisting of sixty members.
Elder J. Grant jr. represented the branch in Patrick county, consisting of sixteen members and one priest; (eight having moved to the west,) in Grayson county two members and one elder; he represented the church in Surry county, North Carolina, sixteen members and one teacher; in Stokes county, N. C., eleven members and one priest; after which the following persons were chosen and ordained as officer in the Burk's Garden branch.
Br. Adam Ritter to be ordained a priest.
Br. James Spencer, teacher.
Br. James Brunty, deacon.
Silas Eagle, teacher.
The Lord's Supper was then administered.
Br. G. M. Tibbs was chosen clerk for the Little Nauvoo and Rich Valley branches, and Adam Ritter for the Burk's Garden branch.
Br. Richard Kinnamon was chosen to preside over the church in Tazewell county, and Br. W. A. Litz to preside in Withe and Smythe branches; the ordinance of confirmation was then attended to, and a number of children blessed; after which it was unanimously resolved that this conference adjourn until the 6th of April 1843.
JEDEDIAH M. GRANT, Pres't. GEORGE M. TIBBS, Clerk.
P. S. The meeting continued two days after the conference, and it is worthy of remark that during the whole proceedings, for five days, the congregations were large and attentive, the most perfect order prevailed, the elders in all their remarks were warm and spirited; and when Elders J. M. and J. Grant, (at the close of the meeting) came to bid adieu to the saints and friends in Virginia, the scene was truly affecting: they left recommended by the saints, and hundreds of worthy citizens. GEORGE M. TIBBS, Clerk.
For the Times and Seasons
SATURDAY EVENING THOUGHTS.
BY MISS E. R. SNOW.
"My heart is fix'd"-I know in whom I trust. Of God.-To stand unwav'ring, undismay'd
'Twas not for wealth-'twas not to gather heaps And unseduc'd, when the base hypocrite
Of perishable things-'twas not to twine Whose deed take hold on hell, whose face is garb'd
Around my brow, a transitory wreath, With saintly looks drawn out by sacrilege
A garland deck'd with gems of mortal praise, From a profession, but assum'd and thrown
That I forsook the home of childhood; that Around him for a mantle to enclose
I left the lap of ease-the halo rife The black corruption of a putrid heart.-
With smiling friendship's soft and mellow tones- To stand on virtue's lofty pinnacle
Affection's fond caresses, and the cup Clad in the heav'nly robes of innocence,
O'erflowing with the sweets of social life, Amid that worse than every other blast-
Where high refinement's richest pearls were strew'd. The blast that strikes at moral character
Ah no! A holier purpose fir'd my soul- With floods of falsehood foaming with abuse.-
A nobler object prompted my pursuit: To stand, with nerve and sinew firmly steel'd,
Eternal prospects open'd to my view, When in the trying scale of rapid change,
And hope's celestial torch within me burn'd. Thrown side by side and face to face with that
Foul hearted spirit, blacker than the soul
God, who commanded Abraham to leave Of midnight's darkest shade, the traitor,
His native country, and to offer up The vile wretch that feeds his sordid selfishness
On the lone altar, where no eye beheld Upon the peace and blood of innocence-
But His who never sleeps an only son; The faithless, rottenhearted wretch, whose tongue
Is still the same, and thousands who have made Speaks words of trust and fond fidelity,
A covenant with him by sacrifice, While treach'ry like a viper, coils behind
Are bearing witness to the sacred truth, The smile that dances in his evil eye.-
Jehovah speaking? Yes, as heretofore. To pass the fiery ordeal, and to have
The proclamation sounded in my ear- The heart laid open-all its contents prov'd
It touched my heart-I hearken'd to the sound, Before the bar of strictest scrutiny.-
Counted the cost, and laid my earthly all To have the finest heart-strings stretch'd unto
Upon the altar, and with purpose fixed Their utmost length to try their texture.-To
Unalterably, while the spirit of Abide, with principle unchang'd, the wreck
Elijah's God, within my bosom reigns; Of cruel, tort'ring circumstances, which
Embrac'd the "Everlasting Covenant;" Ride forth on revolution's blust'ring gale.
To be a saint among the faithful ones
Whose race is measur'd by their life-whose prize But yet, altho' to be a saint, requires
Is everlasting, and whose happiness A noble sacrifice-an arduous toil-
Is God's approval, and to whom 'tis more A persevering aim; the great reward
Than meat and drink to do his righteous will. Awaiting the grand consummation, will
It is no trifling thing to be a saint Repay the price however costly; and
In very deed. To stand upright nor bow, The pathway of the saint, the safest path
Nor bend beneath the weighty burthen [burden] of Will prove, tho' perilous: for 'tis foretold,
Oppressiveness.-To stand unscath'd amid All things that can be shaken, God will shake:
The bellowing thunder and the raging storm Kingdoms, and Institutes, and Governments,
Of persecution, when the hostile pow'rs Both Civil and religious must be tried-
Of darkness, stimulate the hearts of men Tried to the core and sounded to the depth.
To warfare: to besiege, assault, aim
To overthrow the kingdom God has rear'd- Then let me be a saint, and be prepar'd
To stand unmov'd beneath the with'ring rock For the approaching day, which like a snare
Of vile apostacy [apostasy], when men depart Will soon surprise the hypocrite-expose
From the pure principles of righteousness- The rottenness of human schemes-shake off
Those principles requiring man to live Oppressive fetters-break the gorgeous reins
By ev'ry word proceeding from the mouth Usurpers hold, and lay the pride of man,
And glory of the nations low in dust!
Several thousands of Israelites of Poland Russia have, says a letter form Berlin, in the German Journal of Frankfort, entered into an engagement to proceed on the first favorable opportunity, to Jerusalem, there to wait in prayer and fasting, the coming of the Messiah.
There has been a very severe storm on the Lakes, which has occasioned many shipwrecks and much loss of property and life.
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