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IN the early months of 1864 the missionary force was quite active and their reports very encouraging. They were meeting representatives of the different factions every where, and with commendable courage were declaring their willingness and anxiety to compare views and honorably meeting existing issues. They were generally avoided, however, by the advocates of other claims. Especially is this true of the representatives of the Utah faction. For about twelve years before this date the elders of the Reorganization had sought to have them meet the issues in honorable controversy, but they had persistently refused. This effort has been continued until the present time, and as yet the representatives of the Reorganization have not been able to get the Utah elders to squarely meet the issue.
There was a special conference held at Galland's Grove, Iowa, March 12, 13. J. A. McIntosh presided; Nathan Lindsey was clerk.
The Annual Conference met April 6, 1864, at Amboy, Lee County, Illinois. Presidents Joseph Smith and William Marks presided, and Isaac Sheen and J. W. Gillen were clerks.
The forenoon session was occupied by President Smith in appropriate instruction. There were present two of the First Presidency, four of the Twelve, one high priest, one bishop, six of the High Council, eight of the Seventy, eighteen elders, one priest, two teachers, and one deacon.
The following branches reported:-
Lindsley, Trafalgar, and Buckhorn, Canada West; Plano, Mission, Nauvoo, Batavia, Alton, Caseyville, Illinoistown, Amboy, and Princeville, Illinois; Galien, Michigan; Montrose, Buffalo, and Nashville, Iowa; Burlington, Wisconsin; Blue Ridge, Dry Hill, and St. Louis, Missouri. (Herald, vol. 5, p. 121.)
The following elders gave encouraging reports: James Blakeslee, reported labor done in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Samuel Powers, had labored in Canada, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Reuben Newkirk, in Illinois and Wisconsin. John Shippy, in Michigan and Canada. William Anderson (of Iowa), in St. Louis, Missouri. C. G. Lanphear, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. E. M. Wildermuth, in Iowa. Henry Cuerden, in Missouri and Illinois. Oliver Bailey, in Michigan. J. W. Gillen, in Illinois, Michigan, and Canada. William H. Kelley, in Minnesota, Riley Briggs, Wisconsin and Minnesota. A. H. Smith, in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. John Landers, in Canada.
President Joseph Smith reported as follows:-
"I have received letters from many who have set up pretended claims, which I did not deem it necessary to answer, one from C. B. Thompson. It has been said that I was ordained by J. J. Strang. I have twice denied it before, and therefore I have not answered a letter which has been sent to me on the subject.
"He likewise reported that the work is spreading in the String Prairie conference, and that the Nauvoo conference is in a good state of prosperity, and that the St. Louis conference had requested all the official members to labor in the ministry.
"He said that the Nauvoo conference recommends that Bro. B. Austin be ordained a bishop of that conference."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 5, p. 124.
On the 7th Elder William H. Kelley baptized Matthew Hunter, Cinderilla Gifford, and Abiah Cook.
On the 8th Thomas Revell, J. T. Phillips, T. E. Jenkins, and R. W. Briggs were ordained seventies. Benjamin Austin and John Landers were ordained high priests; and the ordination of Hugh Lytle,
Thomas Dungan, and Michael Griffiths to the same office was provided for. Benjamin Austin was ordained a bishop of Nauvoo conference by the Presidency. Hiram P. Brown, who had at that conference been received into the church, Wentworth Vickery, James W. Mather, and John D. Bennett, were ordained elders. Blakeslee Brush and Mary P. Brush were received as members.
The following appointments were made and resolutions adopted:-
"James Blakeslee, to preside over the missions in the State of New York, and that C. G. Lanphear and C. W. Wheaton go with him.
"John Shippy, to preside over the missions in the Canadas, and Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and that J. W. Gillen and H. W. Pomeroy go with him.
"James Burgess, to preside over the missions in Vermont and New Hampshire.
"Reuben Newkirk, preside over the missions in Western Wisconsin, and that E. M. Wildermuth go with him.
"W. W. Blair, to preside over the missions in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and that William Anderson go with him.
"Samuel Powers, to preside over Eastern Wisconsin and Michigan, and that Hiram P. Brown go with him.
"J. T. Phillips and T. E. Jenkins and David Evans, to go to Wales on missions, and to be under the direction of J. W. Briggs.
"Riley Briggs and William H. Kelley were appointed to labor in Minnesota.
"Z. H. Gurley [Sen.], to preside over the missions in Northern Illinois.
"Joseph Smith, to preside over Southern Illinois and Eastern Iowa and Missouri.
"Hugh Lytle, to preside over Western Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska.
"George Redfield and W. Gaylord were requested to preach on their contemplated journey to Utah, and Thomas Revell in England.
"Resolved, that Bro. J. W. Briggs be sustained by this conference.
"That we sustain E. C. Briggs and those who are laboring with him.
"That we sustain all who have been appointed on missions.
"That we recommend that all the elders labor in the ministry."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 5, pp. 124, 125.
The hand of fellowship was withdrawn from George White, of the Twelve, until he reports.
A special conference was held in Little River branch, in Decatur County, Iowa. April 30 and May l; George Morey president, William Alden clerk.
In the latter part of the year 1863 the work was planted in California by E. H. Webb and G. P. Dykes, the latter having been ordained in Utah by Apostle E. C. Briggs and sent on to California. The May numbers of the Herald contained cheering news from California. A short letter from Elder E. H. Webb, dated Sacramento, March 23, 1864, indicates the condition of the work there, and that Elder Dykes had extended his work into Nevada. The following is an extract:-
"I can vouch for fifty-one who have been baptized into the Reorganized Church in California, and probably there are several others. Bro. Dykes is in Nevada, and we hope that he is doing a good work. Bro. Henry H. Morgan, son of Bro. John H. Morgan, of Lydney, England, has gone on a mission to Southern California. We hope that we shall have several more elders out in the field soon. We have six branches of the church, with presidents, as follows: Sacramento branch, Cornelius Bagnall; San Francisco, T. J. Andrews; Folsom, Jeremiah Thomas; Dry Creek, Thomas Phillips; Watsonville, George Adams."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 5, P. 142.
Encouraging reports were also published from Utah, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, St. Louis, Missouri; and an account of two discussions between Elder John Shippy and Rev. Abram Duncan, of the Baptist Church.
June brought its share of glad tidings from Utah, Western Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and England; also of special conferences; one held in Southwestern Iowa, where William Gaylord was ordained an elder; one at North Star, Iowa, May 21 and 22, where Marion Outhouse and Elijah Cobb were ordained elders, and E. L. Kelley, Susan Harrison, E. E. Cowlishaw, and M. A. Galland were baptized by Elder George Sweet; one at Kewanee, Illinois, June 14, 15; and an account of a debate held at Sandwich, Illinois, between Mr. Elzea, Adventist, and Elder R. W. Briggs.
July was the beginning of a new volume of the Herald--volume 6. This month there was published encouraging news from Utah, California, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, and the Herald published minutes of conferences held at Batavia, Illinois, June 18,19; Nauvoo, Illinois, June 11; Sacramento, California, May 14, 15; Burlington, Wisconsin, June 4, 5; and Amboy, Illinois, June 25, 26. At the conference at Batavia George W. Ewing was baptized by Elder Philo Howard, and ordained an elder, and Nelson Castleman a priest.
About this time a periodical called The Truth Teller appeared, advocating the claims of Granville Hedrick to the Presidency of the Church.
The month of August brought its share of trials, but it also brought to the anxious saints cheering news from afar. The work was moving satisfactorily in England, Utah, and California, and the standard bearers were much encouraged; while in the States the manner in which the Spirit's presence blessed the saints was inspiring. It brought tidings of conferences held at Galland's Grove, Iowa, June 18, 19. At this conference the name of "Galland's Grove" was given to the district which has since borne that name. At this conference S. M. Hough and Eliza J. Hough were baptized by Elder Thomas Dobson; and S. M. Hough was ordained a seventy, by Elders J. A. McIntosh and Thomas Dobson.
The St. Louis conference was held June 25, 26, 1864 One item in the minutes of this conference should be especially
mentioned; it is the testimony of Elder Thomas P. Green, of Wayne County, Illinois, who retained the faith and kept up the local organization under him through all the trying scenes between the rejection of the church in Nauvoo and its reorganization. The following is the entry in the conference minutes:-
"Resolved, that Bro. T. P. Green, of Wayne County, give a brief history of himself in connection with the church, through her trials and tribulations for the space of twenty-one years-during 'the dark and cloudy day.' He did so with deep and touching feelings; sometimes he could not contain himself; his eloquence and power of speech drew many tears. His mode of speaking was electrifying to the congregation. He clung to the church and held steadfast, preaching the first principles all the while. He organized many branches under his teachings, now sixty-one members. He had twenty-one debates with ministers of different denominations, winning the platform."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 6, p. 45.
At this conference John Clegg, Henry Scofield, and Michaelas Shaw were ordained elders.
A special conference was held near Louisville, Canada West, July 9, 10, 1864. A report of one is also published August 15, held in Decatur County, Iowa, July 23, 24.
September reports contained encouraging news from New York, California, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and St. Louis, Missouri.
The following conference minutes were also published in September Heralds: Pittsfield district, held near Barry, Pike County, Illinois.
On October 6, 1864, the Semiannual Conference of the church convened at Galland's Grove, Iowa. Conference organized by selecting President Joseph Smith to preside, and Nathan Lindsey and R. W. Briggs clerks.
The following branches reported: Plum Creek, Council Bluffs, Preparation, Fremont, Glenwood, North Star, Union Grove, Union, Weeping Water, Twelve Mile Grove, Mason's Grove,
Billington, Boyer, Bigler's Grove, Boomer, Little Sioux, and Galland's Grove.
The following elders reported: Hugh Lytle, Wheeler Baldwin, Wilson Sellers, George Outhouse, George Sweet, J. A. McIntosh, Daniel Savage, Joseph Smith, Henry Shaw, Howard Smith, W. H. Jordon, W. H. Kelley, Francis Reynolds, D. H. Bays, J. N. Burton, B. V. Springer, -- Watson, Thomas Dobson, R. W. Briggs, Charles Derry, Alexander McCord, John Stiles, William Litz, Levi Wilson, Silas Condit, and Lehi Ellison.
James Anderson was ordained a high priest, and Bishop for St. Louis district, by Joseph Smith and Hugh Lytle.
Jason W. Briggs was released from the European mission.
The following missions were appointed: D. P. Hartwell, with Wheeler Baldwin; J. M. Scott, D. H. Bays, George Outhouse, and Lehi Yocum, to Kansas; B. V. Springer and Lehi Ellison, to Indiana.
On the 8th the following-named persons were baptized by President Joseph Smith: T. C. Dobson, M. V. B. Hale, J. W. Wight, E. J. Hough, Katherine Butler, David Jones, and Alice Halliday. David Jones' was a rebaptism, and at the confirmation the office of seventy, which he had formerly held, was reconfirmed upon him.
The October Heralds contained assuring reports from Utah. West Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin; also minutes of local conferences as follows: Mission, Illinois, August 26-28, 1864; British conference, held at Penny-darren, Wales, July 24; Southwest district of Iowa, held in Fremont County, Iowa; Buffalo Prairie, Illinois, September 3, 4; Jeffersonville, Wayne County, Illinois, September 3, 4; String Prairie, Iowa, September 10; Batavia, Illinois, September 17, 18. At this conference Elder Horace Bartlett baptized Walter B. Weller and Sarah Weller.
November was a period of renewed activity by the elders, who were greatly encouraged by manifestation of what they recognized as God's approval. The November Heralds are replete with good news coming from the following fields: England, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and Wales. The following-named conferences are
also reported in the Heralds for November: Galland's Grove, held at Galland's Grove, Iowa, October 22, 23. At this conference Lafayette Jackson was ordained an elder. The California semiannual conference, should have special mention, for it was something more than a local conference, and was calculated for the purpose of doing general business pertaining to the Pacific Slope, because it was so far removed from the regular Semiannual Conference. It convened at San Francisco, California, October 6, 1864; E. C. Briggs, of the Twelve, presiding, W. H. Wilson clerk. The minutes show the rapid progress made in the few months the work had been established there, and also the number of ministers who had rallied to its support. Many of them were ministers in the days of Joseph the Seer, and had such strong confidence in the gospel as then taught that they could not indorse the radical changes and strange innovations made under the administration of Brigham Young, hence they continued their journey farther westward, and settled in the Golden State, where they hailed with Joy the Reorganization.
The following ministers reported: E. C. Brand, T. J. Andrews, H. V. Moore, Joseph Outhouse, Jonathan Newman, George Adams, Nathanael Booth, -- Freeman, E. H. Webb, Harvey G. Whitlock, Glaud Rodger, H. H. Morgan, Cornelius Bagnall, W. H. Wilson, Hiram Falk, G. W. Oman, O. T. Davis, -- Wyckoff, Abednego Johns, William Potter, Henry Burgess, Aaron Garlick, George P. Dykes. Of the latter's report the following is stated:--
"He contrasted the present with the past. Not yet a year has elapsed since his arrival here with the truth, where not a saint was to be found although Bro. Webb and others had been anxiously waiting his arrival; he finds now a thriving church of three hundred fifty-seven members, united in the faith under the true bond of brotherly love. He feels to deliver all up to the watchcare and presidency of Elder E. C. Briggs, imploring the mercies and blessings of the God of Jacob, to guide the future destinies of the beloved saints in California."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 6, p. 152.
The following branches reported: San Francisco, Sacramento, Folsom, Petaluma, Watsonville, Brighton, El Monte, San Bernardino, Alameda, and Stockton, California; and Nevada, Nevada.
Elders Abednego Johns, Glaud Rodger, and H. H. Morgan were ordained to the office of seventy. Bro. T. J. Andrews was appointed treasurer and book agent, and W. H. Wilson church recorder for the Pacific Slope.
December, the closing month of the year, found the Reorganization diligently prosecuting gospel work in many fields, covering the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and in the Dominion of Canada, while England and Wales were responding in joyful acclaim to the message borne to them. Communications were published from elders in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Canada, and England. The following conferences were also reported this month: St. Louis, September 24, 25; Pittsfield, Illinois, November 5, 6; Southern Nebraska, November 20, 21; Little Sioux, Iowa, November 5, 6; Princeville, Illinois, December 3.
The European mission demands more especial mention than we have given it in the preceding pages, hence we shall devote a special chapter to it.
The Utah mission will also demand special consideration; not because the dominant church there is more nearly associated with the Reorganization than any other, but because it claims to be the church in succession, hence some notice should be taken of it, that the merit or demerit of the claim may be recognized.
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