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IN the early part of the year 1835 some very important events transpired in the church at Kirtland. The organization of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and of the Quorum of Seventy as auxiliaries to them in their work, is of very great importance in the history of the church. The events of the first two or three months of 1835 are given quite fully in the history of Joseph Smith as published in the Millennial Star, volume 15. We will give our readers the benefit of this account copied from that journal.
We think, however, that it is our duty to record the fact that the Messenger and Advocate, published monthly during the same period of time, at Kirtland, Ohio, by F. G. Williams and Company, and edited by Oliver Cowdery, makes no mention of these events. It is strange that a church periodical published at the same place, and edited by one of the principal actors, should not have mentioned events of so much importance.
There is no question but that such quorums were organized about that time, and from corroborative testimony we think they were organized at the place and dates given in this account; though as it was not published until nearly nine years after the death of Joseph Smith, we think it possible that the details were enlarged upon; nor can we vouch for the absolute correctness of all the teachings here recorded, though in the main we think them correct.
It will be seen that the following testimony by H. C. Kimball correspond with the history as published. Kimball in his journal writes:-
"Most of us continued about six weeks, when a meeting was called for the camp of Zion to be assembled, to receive what was called a Zion's blessing. After being assembled, the Presidency having duly organized the meeting, told us there were twelve men to be chosen, to be called the Twelve Apostles or Traveling High Council....
"It was far from my expectation of being one of the number, as heretofore I had known nothing about it, not having had the privilege of seeing the revelations, as they were not printed. I will now mention their names as they were first chosen: Lyman Johnson, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, David W. Patten, Luke Johnson, William E. McLellin, Orson Hyde, William Smith, John F. Boynton, Orson Pratt, Thomas B. Marsh, and Parley P. Pratt. After having expressed our feelings on this occasion, we were severally called into the stand, and there received our ordinations, under the hands of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. These brethren ordained us to the apostleship, and predicted many things which should come to pass, that we should have power to heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, give sight to the blind, have power to remove mountains, and all things should be subject to us through the name of Jesus Christ, and angels should minister unto us, and many more things too numerous to mention. After we had been thus ordained by these brethren, the First Presidency laid their hands on us, and confirmed these blessings and ordination, and likewise predicted many things which should come to pass.
"After being chosen there being but nine of us present, we assembled from time to time as opportunity would permit, and received such instruction as the Lord would bestow upon us, and truly he blessed us with his Spirit, and inspired his prophet to speak for our edification. One evening when we were assembled to receive instruction, the revelation contained in the third section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, on Priesthood, was given to Brother
Joseph as he was instructing us, and we praised the Lord."-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, pp. 868, 869.
The March number of the Messenger and Advocate contains the minutes of "a council;" and though it is not stated to be a council of the Twelve, it is signed by Orson Hyde and William E. McLellin, who, according to the account, were chosen clerks by the council. 1
There is also a communication in the May number, from Westfield, signed by Elders Hyde and McLellin, and dated May 12, in which occurs the statement: "Elder Marsh, our presiding elder." And this also: "The conference continued until about two o'clock p. m. and then adjourned until three o'clock, when public preaching commenced by Elder B. Young, and followed by the farewell exhortation of the Twelve." (Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, pp. 115, 116.)
From the above corroborative statements we feel safe in presenting the following from the Star as the history of the events of the times:-
"During the month of January, I was engaged in the school of the elders, and in preparing the Lectures on theology for publication in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which the committee appointed last September were now compiling.
"Certain brethren from Bolton, New York, came for counsel,
1Kirtland, March 8, 1835.
Bro. O Cowdery.-A council being called this evening to take into consideration the many pressing requests from the eastern churches for conferences to be held among them during the present year, it was unanimously resolved that conferences should be held in the following places to be attended by the traveling elders from Kirtland; viz.: In Westfield, Chautauqua County, New York, May 9, 1835; in Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York, May 22; in Lyonstown, Wayne County New York, June 5; at Pillow Point, Jefferson County, New York, June 19, in West Loborough, near Kingston, Upper Canada, June 29; in Johnsbury, Vermont, July 17; in Bradford, Massachusetts, August 7; in Dover New Hampshire September 4; in Saco, Maine, September 18; and in Farmington, Maine, October 2, 1835, etc., etc.
The brethren in various churches and places mentioned above may expect public preaching on the two days following each conference, and they are requested to see that the appointments are made at the most convenient houses. This we leave for them to do for their own convenience. All the elders within reasonable bounds of these conferences are requested to attend them, and it will be their duty so to do
ORSON HYDE }
W. E. MCLELLIN } Clerks
-Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, p. 90.
relative to their proceeding to the West; and the High Council assembled on the 18th. After a long investigation, I decided that Elder Tanner assist with his might to build up the cause by tarrying in Kirtland; which decision received the unanimous vote of the Council.
"The school still continued, and arrangements were also made, according to the revelation of June, 1829, for choosing 'the Twelve' to be especial messengers to bear the gospel among all nations.
"On the Sabbath previous to the 14th of February, Brothers Joseph and Brigham Young came to my house after meeting, and sung for me; the Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon us, and I told them I wanted to see those brethren together, who went up to Zion in the camp, the previous summer, for I had a blessing for them; and a meeting was notified, of which the following are the minutes:-
"'Kirtland, February 14, 1835. This day, a meeting was called of those who journeyed to Zion for the purpose of laying the foundation of its redemption, last season, together with as many others of the brethren and sisters as were disposed to attend.
"'President Joseph Smith, Jun., presiding, read the fifteenth chapter of John, and said: "Let us endeavor to solemnize our minds that we may receive a blessing, by calling on the Lord." After an appropriate and affecting prayer the brethren who went to Zion were requested to take their seats together in a part of the house by themselves.
"'President Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit....
"'The President also said many things; such as the weak things, even the smallest and weakest among us, shall be powerful and mighty, and great things shall be accomplished by you from this hour; and you shall begin to feel the whisperings of the Spirit of God; and the work of God shall begin to break forth from this time; and you shall be endowed with power from on high.
"'President Smith then called upon all those who went to Zion, if they were agreed with him in the statement which
he had made, to arise; and they all arose and stood upon their feet.
"'He then called upon the remainder of the congregation, to know if they also sanctioned the movements, and they all raised the right hand....
"'President Joseph Smith, Jr., after making many remarks on the subject of choosing the Twelve, wanted an expression from the brethren, if they would be satisfied to have the Spirit of the Lord dictate in the choice of the elders to be apostles; whereupon all the elders present expressed their anxious desire to have it so.
"'A hymn was then sung, "Hark, listen to the trumpeters," etc. President Hyrum Smith prayed, and meeting was dismissed for one hour.
"'Assembled pursuant to adjournment, and commenced with prayer.
"'President Joseph Smith, Jr., said that the first business of the meeting was, for the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, to pray, each one, and then proceed to choose twelve men from the church, as apostles, to go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.
"'The three witnesses; viz., Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, united in prayer.
"'These three witnesses were then blessed by the laying on of the hands of the Presidency.
"'The witnesses then, according to a former commandment, proceeded to make choice of the Twelve. Their names are as follows:-
1. Lyman E. Johnson. 7. William E. McLellin.
2. Brigham Young 8. John F. Boynton.
3. Heber C. Kimball. 9. Orson Pratt.
4. Orson Hyde. 10. William Smith.
5. David W. Patten. 11. Thomas B. Marsh .
6. Luke Johnson. 12. Parley P. Pratt.
"'Lyman E. Johnson, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball came forward; and the three witnesses laid their hands upon each one's head and prayed, separately....
"'A hymn was then sung, "Glorious things of thee are spoken," etc.; and the congregation dismissed by President Joseph Smith, Jr.
"'Sunday, February 15, the congregation again assembled.
"'President Cowdery made some observations upon the nature of the meetings, calling upon the Lord for his assistance....
"'President Cowdery then called forward Orson Hyde, David W. Patten, and Luke Johnson, and proceeded to their ordinations and blessings. [Also those of McLellin, Boynton, and William Smith.] . . .
"'Kirtland, February 21, 1835. Pursuant to adjournment, a meeting of the church was held; and, after prayer by President David Whitmer, and a short address by President Oliver Cowdery to the congregation, Elder Parley P. Pratt was called to the stand, and ordained one of the Twelve, by President Joseph Smith, Jr., David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery. . . .
"'Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Pratt were absent on a mission.
"'Elder Marsh returned to Kirtland on the 25th of April, and Elder Pratt on the 26th, and received their ordinations and blessing....
"'The following charge was given to the Twelve by President O. Cowdery: Dear brethren, previous to delivering the charge, I shall read a part of a revelation. It is known to you that previous to the organizing of this church in 1830 the Lord gave revelations, or the church could not have been organized. The people of this church were weak in faith compared with the ancients. Those who embarked in this cause were desirous to know how the work was to be conducted. They read many things in the Book of Mormon, concerning their duty, and the way the great work ought to be done; but the minds of men are so constructed that they will not believe without a testimony of seeing or hearing. The Lord gave us a revelation that in process of time, there should be twelve men chosen to preach his gospel to Jew and Gentile. Our minds have been on a constant stretch, to find who these twelve were: when the time should come we could not tell; but we sought the Lord by fasting and prayer, to have our lives prolonged to see this
day, to see you, and to take a retrospect of the difficulties through which we have passed; but, having seen the day, it becomes my duty to deliver to you a charge; and first, a few remarks respecting your ministry. You have many revelations put into your hands; revelations to make you acquainted with the nature of your mission: you will have difficulties by reason of your visiting all the nations of the world. You will need wisdom in a tenfold proportion to what you have ever had; you will have to combat all the prejudices of all nations.
"'He then read the revelation, and said: Have you desired this ministry with all your hearts? If you have desired it you are called of God, not of man, to go into all the world.
"'He then read again, from the revelation, what the Lord said to the Twelve. Brethren, you have your duty presented in this revelation. You have been ordained to the holy priesthood, you have received it from those who have their power and authority from an angel; you are to preach the gospel to every nation. Should you in the least degree come short of your duty, great will be your condemnation; for the greater the calling the greater the transgression. I therefore warn you to cultivate great humility; for I know the pride of the human heart. Beware lest the flatterers of the world lift you up; beware lest your affections are captivated by worldly objects. Let your ministry be first. Remember, the souls of men are committed to your charge; and if you mind your calling, you shall always prosper.
"'You have been indebted to other men, in the first instance, for evidence; on that you have acted; but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven.
"'Never cease striving till you have seen God, face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief; and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid his hands upon you. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid his hands on his disciples, why not in latter days?
"'With regard to superiority I must make a few remarks. The ancient apostles sought to be great; but lest the seeds of discord be sown in this matter, understand particularly the voice of the Spirit on this occasion. God does not love you better or more than others. You are to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Jacob, you know, wrestled till he obtained. It was by fervent prayer and diligent search that you have obtained the testimony you are now able to bear. You are as one; you are equal in bearing the keys of the kingdom to all nations. You are called to preach the gospel of the Son of God to the nations of the earth; it is the will of your heavenly Father, that you proclaim his gospel to the ends of the earth, and the islands of the sea.
"'Be zealous to save souls. The soul of one man is as precious as the soul of another. You are to bear this message to those who consider themselves wise: and such may persecute you; they may seek your life. The adversary has always sought the life of the servants of God; you are therefore to be prepared at all times to make a sacrifice of your lives, should God require them in the advancement and building up of his cause. Murmur not at God. Be always prayerful; be always watchful. You will bear with me while I relieve the feelings of my heart. We shall not see another day like this; the time has fully come, the voice of the Spirit has come, to set these men apart.
"'You will see the time when you will desire to see such a day as this, and you will not see it. Every heart wishes you peace and prosperity, but the scene with you will inevitably change. Let no man take your bishopric; and beware that you lose not your crowns. It will require your whole souls, it will require courage like Enoch's.
"'The time is near when you will be in the midst of congregations who will gnash their teeth upon you. This gospel must roll, and will roll until it fills the whole earth. Did I say congregations would gnash upon you? Yea, I say nations will gnash upon you; you will be considered the worst of men. Be not discouraged at this. When God pours out his Spirit, the enemy will rage; but God, remember, is on your right hand and on your left. A man, though he be considered the worst, has joy, who is conscious that he pleases God. The lives of those who proclaim the true gospel will be in danger; this has been the case ever since the days of righteous Abel. The same opposition has been manifest whenever men came forward to publish the gospel. The time is coming when you will be considered the worst, by many, and by some the best of men. The time is coming when you will be perfectly familiar with the things of God. This testimony will make those who do not believe your testimony seek your lives; but there are whole nations who will receive your testimony. They will call you good men. Be not lifted up when you are called good men. Remember you are young men, and you shall be spared. I include the other three. Bear them in mind in your prayers; carry their cases to a throne of grace; although they are not present, yet you and they are equal. This appointment is calculated to create an affection in you for each other, stronger than death. You will travel to other nations; bear each other in mind. If one, or more, is cast into prisons, let the others pray for him, and deliver him by their prayers; your lives shall be in great jeopardy; but the promise of God is that you shall be delivered.
"'Remember you are not to go to other nations till you receive your endowment. Tarry at Kirtland until you are endowed with power from on high. You need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence, such as you never had. Relative to the endowment, I make a remark or two, that there be no mistake. The world cannot receive the things of God. He can endow you without worldly pomp or great parade. He can give you that wisdom, that intelligence, and that power, which characterized the ancient
saints, and now characterizes the inhabitants of the upper world. The greatness of your commission consists in this: you are to hold the keys of this ministry; you are to go to the nations afar off, nations that sit in darkness. The day is coming when the work of God must be done. Israel shall be gathered. The seed of Jacob shall be gathered from their long dispersion. There will be a feast to Israel the elect of God. It is a sorrowful tale, but the gospel must be preached, and God's ministers be rejected; but where can Israel be found and receive your testimony, and not rejoice? Nowhere! The prophecies are full of great things that are to take place in the last days. After the elect are gathered out, destructions shall come on the inhabitants of the earth; all nations shall feel the wrath of God, after they have been warned by the saints of the Most High. If you will not warn them, others will, and you will lose your crowns.
"'You must prepare your minds to bid a long farewell to Kirtland, even till the great day come. You will see what you never expected to see; you will need the mind of Enoch or Elijah, and the faith of the brother of Jared; you must be prepared to walk by faith, however appalling the prospect to human view; you and each of you should feel the force of the imperious mandate, Son, go labor in my vineyard, and cheerfully receive what comes; but in the end you will stand while others will fall. You have read in the revelation concerning ordination: Beware how you ordain, for all nations are not like this nation; they will willingly receive the ordinances at your hands to put you out of the way. There will be times when nothing but the angels of God can deliver you out of their hands.
"'We appeal to your intelligence, we appeal to your understanding, that we have so far discharged our duty to you. We consider it one of the greatest condescensions of our heavenly Father, in pointing you out to us; you will be stewards over this ministry; you have a work to do that no other men can do; you must proclaim the gospel in its simplicity and purity: and we commend you to God and the word of his grace. You have our best wishes, you have our most fervent prayers, that you may be able to bear this testimony,
that you have seen the face of God. Therefore, call upon him in faith and mighty prayer till you prevail; for it is your duty and your privilege to bear such testimony for yourselves. We now exhort you to be faithful to fulfill your calling; there must be no lack here; you must fulfill in all things: and permit us to repeat, all nations have a claim on you; you are bound together as the three witnesses were; you, notwithstanding, can part and meet, and meet and part again, till your heads are silvered over with age.
"'He then took them separately by the hand, and said, Do you with full purpose of heart take part in this ministry, to proclaim the gospel with all diligence, with these your brethren, according to the tenor and intent of the charge you have received? Each of whom answered in the affirmative.
"'Kirtland, February 27.
"'This evening, nine of the Twelve; viz., Lyman Johnson, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, David W. Patten, Luke Johnson, William E. McLellin, John F. Boynton, and William Smith, assembled at the house of President Joseph Smith, Jr., who was present, with Frederick G. Williams, Sidney Rigdon, Bishop Whitney, and three elders. Parley P. Pratt had gone to New Portage, and Orson Pratt and Thomas B. Marsh had not yet arrived to receive their ordination.
"'After prayer by President Joseph Smith, Jr., he said if he were heard patiently he could lay before the council an item which would be of importance. He had for himself learned a fact, by experience, which, on reflection, always gave him deep sorrow. It is a fact, if I now had in my possession, every decision which has been had upon important items of doctrine and duties, since the commencement of this work, I would not part with them for any sum of money; but we have neglected to take minutes of such things, thinking, perhaps, that they would never benefit us afterwards; which, had we now, would decide almost every point of doctrine which might be agitated. But this has been neglected, and now we cannot bear record to the church and to the world of the great and glorious manifestations
which have been made to us, with that degree of power and authority we otherwise could if we now had these things to publish abroad.
"'Since the Twelve are now chosen, I wish to tell them a course which they may pursue, and be benefited hereafter, in a point of light of which they are not now aware. If they will, on every time they assemble, appoint a person to preside over them during the meeting, and one or more to keep a record of their proceedings, and on the decision of every question or item, be it what it may, let such decision be written; and such decision will forever remain upon record, and appear an item of covenant or doctrine. An item thus decided may appear, at the time, of little or no worth; but, should it be published, and one of you lay hands on it after, you will find it of infinite worth, not only to your brethren, but it will be a feast to your own souls.
"'Here is another important item. If you assemble from time to time, and proceed to discuss important questions, and pass decisions upon the same, and fail to note them down, by and by you will be driven to straits from which you will not be able to extricate yourselves, because you may be in a situation not to bring your faith to bear with sufficient perfection or power to obtain the desired information; or, perhaps, for neglecting to write these things when God revealed them, not esteeming them of sufficient worth, the Spirit may withdraw, and God may be angry; and here is, or was, a vast knowledge of infinite importance which is now lost. What was the cause of this? It came in consequence of slothfulness, or a neglect to appoint a man to occupy a few moments in writing all these decisions. Here let me prophesy. The time will come when, if you neglect to do this thing, you will fall by the hands of unrighteous men. Were you to be brought before the authorities, and be accused of any crime or misdemeanor, and be as innocent as the angels of God, unless you can prove yourselves to have been somewhere else, your enemies will prevail over you; but, if you can bring twelve men to testify that you were in a certain place, at that time, you will escape their hands. Now, if you will be careful to keep minutes of these
things, as I have said, it will be one of the most important records ever seen, for every such decision will ever after remain as items of doctrine and covenants.
"'The council then expressed their approbation concerning the foregoing remarks of President Smith, and appointed Orson Hyde and William E. McLellin clerks for the meeting.
"'President Smith proposed the following question: What importance is there attached to the calling of these Twelve Apostles, different from the other callings or officers of the church?
"'After the question was discussed by Counselors Patten, Young, Smith, and McLellin, President Joseph Smith, Jr., gave the following decision:-
"'They are the Twelve Apostles, who are called to the office of Traveling High Council, who are to preside over all the churches of the saints, among the Gentiles, where there is a Presidency established; and they are to travel and preach among the Gentiles, until the Lord shall command them to go to the Jews. They are to hold the keys of this ministry, to unlock the door of the kingdom of heaven unto all nations, and to preach the gospel to every creature. This is the power, authority, and virtue of their apostleships.
"'OLIVER COWDERY, Clerk.'
"'On the 28th, the church in council assembled, commenced selecting certain individuals from the number of those who went up to Zion with me, in the camp; and the following are the names of those who were ordained and blessed at that time, to begin the organization of the First Quorum of the Seventies, according to the visions and revelations which I have received; the Seventies to constitute Traveling Quorums, to go into all the earth, whithersoever the Twelve Apostles should call them:-
Hiram Winters, Lorenzo Booth, John D. Parker,
Elias Hutchins, Zera S. Cole, Daniel Stearns,
Henry Shibley, Leonard Rich, Hiram Stratton,
Roger Orton, Harrison Burgess, Sylvester Smith,
J. B. Smith, Alden Burdick, William Pratt,
Harvey Stanley, William F. Cahoon, Ezra Thayre,
Jedediah M. Grant, Harper Riggs, Levi W. Hancock,
Lyman Sherman, Bradford Elliot, Solomon Warner,
Joseph Hancock, Burr Riggs, Israel Barlow,
Lyman Smith, Lewis Robbins, Willard Snow,
Peter Buchanan, Darwin Richardson, Hazen Aldrich,
David Elliot, Joseph Young, Charles Kelley,
Almon W. Babbitt, Alexander Badlam, Jenkins Salisbury,
Levi Gifford, Zebedee Coltrin, George A. Smith,
Joseph B. Nobles, Solomon Angel, Nathan B. Baldwin,
"The Council adjourned to the day following, March l; when, after attending the funeral of Seth Johnson, several who had recently been baptized were confirmed, and the sacrament was administered to the church. Previous to the administration I spoke of the propriety of this institution in the church, and urged the importance of doing it with acceptance before the Lord, and asked, How long do you suppose a man may partake of this ordinance, unworthily, and the Lord not withdraw his Spirit from him? How long will he thus trifle with sacred things and the Lord not give him over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption? The church should know if they are unworthy from time to time to partake, lest the servants of God be forbidden to administer it. Therefore our hearts ought to humble themselves, and we to repent of our sins, and put away evil from among us.
"After sacrament the council continued the ordination and blessing of those previously called; also John Murdock and S. W. Denton were ordained and blessed; Benjamin Winchester, Hyrum Smith, and Frederick G. Williams were blessed; and Joseph Young and Sylvester Smith were ordained Presidents of the Seventies.
"'Kirtland, March 7, 1835. This day a meeting of the Church of Latter Day Saints was called for the purpose of blessing, in the name of the Lord, those who have heretofore assisted in building (by their labor and other means) the house of the Lord in this place.
"'The morning was occupied by President Joseph Smith, Jun., in teaching the church the propriety and necessity of purifying itself. In the afternoon the names of those who had assisted to build the house were taken, and further instructions received from President Smith. He said that those who had distinguished themselves thus far by consecrating
to the upbuilding of the House of the Lord, as well as laboring thereon, were to be remembered; that those who build it should own it and have the control of it.
"'After further remarks, those who performed the labor on the building voted unanimously that they would continue to labor thereon till the house should be completed.
"'President Sidney Rigdon was appointed to lay on hands and bestow blessings in the name of the Lord.
"'The Presidents were blessed; and Reynolds Cahoon, Hyrum Smith, and Jared Carter, the building committee (the last two) though not present, yet their rights in the house were preserved.
"'The following are names of those who were blessed in consequence of their labor on the House of the Lord in Kirtland, and those who consecrated to its upbuilding:-
"'Sunday afternoon, March 8.
Sidney Rigdon, Aaron E. Lyon, Henry Baker,
Joseph Smith, Jr., Thomas Burdick, William Fisk,
F. G. Williams, Truman Wait, Henry Wilcox,
Joseph Smith, Sen., Edmund Bosley, George Gee,
Oliver Cowdery, William Bosley, Lorenzo Young,
N. K. Whitney, William Perry, David Clough,
Reynolds Cahoon, Don Carlos Smith, James Durfee,
Hyrum Smith, Shadrack Roundy, Joseph Coe,
Jared Carter, Joel Johnson, Thomas Gates,
Jacob Bump, Oliver Higley, Loren Babbit,
Artemas Millet, Evan M. Green, Blake Baldwin,
Alpheus Cutler, Levi Osgood, Joseph B. Bosworth,
Asa Lyman, Alpheus Harmon, Gad Yale,
Josiah Butterfleld, Joseph C. Kingsbury, John Johnson,
Noah Packard, Ira Bond, John Tanner,
James Putnam, Z. H. Brewster, Henry G. Sherwood,
Isaac Hill, Samuel Thomson, Sidney Tanner,
Edmund Durfee, Sen., John Ormsby, Joseph Tippits,
Edmund Durfee, Jun., Luman Carter, Robert Quigley,
Gideon Ormsby, John Smith, Erastus Babbit,
Albert Miner, Samuel H. Smith, Samuel Canfield,
Ira Ames, Thomas Fisher, Phineas H. Young
Salmon Gee, Starry Fisk, Samuel Rolfe,
Peter Shirts, Amos R. Orton, Calvin W. Stoddard,
Isaac Hubbard, Almon Sherman, Josiah Fuller,
Horace Burgess, Warren Smith, Erastus Rudd,
Dexter Stillman, Moses Bailey, Isaac G. Bishop,
Amos F. Herrick, Sebe Ives, Roswell Murray,
Mayhew Hillman, Andrew H. Aldrich, Benjamin Wells,
William Carter, Ebenezer Jennings, Nehemiah Harman,
William Burgess, Oliver Granger, Oliver Wetherby,
Giles Cook, Orson Johnson, Thomas Hancock,
Maleum C. Davis, James Lake, Joshua Grant,
Jaman Aldrich, William Redfield, William Draper,
John Young, Sen., Cyrus Lake, Ransom V. Beuren,
Ezra Strong, Harvey Smith, Tunis Rappellee,
Joel McWithy, Isaac Cleveland, John Reed,
Matthew Foy, William Barker, Samuel Wilcox,
James Randall, Samuel S. Brannan, Benjamin Johnson.
John P. Green, John Wheeler
"'Kirtland, March 12, 1835. This evening the Twelve assembled, and the Council was opened by President Joseph Smith, Jr., and he proposed we take our first mission through the Eastern States, to the Atlantic Ocean, and hold conferences in the vicinity of the several branches of the Church for the purpose of regulating all things necessary for their welfare.
"'It was proposed that the Twelve leave Kirtland on the 4th day of May, which was unanimously agreed to.
"'It was then proposed that during their present mission Elder Brigham Young should open the door to the remnants of Joseph, who dwell among the Gentiles, which was carried.
"'It was motioned and voted that the Twelve should hold their first conference in Kirtland, May 2; in Westfield, New York, May 9; in Freedom, New York, May 22; in Lyonstown, New York, June 5; on Pillow Point, June 19; in West Loboro', Upper Canada, June 29; in Johnsbury, Vermont, July 17; in Bradford, Massachusetts, August 7; in Dover, New Hampshire, September 4; in Saco, Maine, September 18; Farmington, Maine, October 2.
"'William McLellin,} Clerks.
"'Kirtland, March 28.
"'This afternoon the Twelve met in council and had a time of general confession. On reviewing our past course we are satisfied, and feel to confess also, that we have not realized the importance of our calling to that degree that we ought; we have been lightminded and vain, and in many
things done wrong, wrong. For all these things we have asked the forgiveness of our heavenly Father; and wherein we have grieved or wounded the feelings of the Presidency, we ask their forgiveness. The time when we are about to separate is near; and when we shall meet again, God only knows; We therefore feel to ask of him whom we have acknowledged to be our Prophet and Seer, that he inquire of God for us, and obtain a revelation, (if consistent,) that we may look upon it when we are separated, that our hearts may be comforted. Our worthiness has not inspired us to make this request, but our unworthiness. We have unitedly asked God our heavenly Father to grant unto us through his Seer, a revelation of his mind and will concerning our duty the coming season, even a great revelation, that will enlarge our hearts, comfort us in adversity, and brighten our hopes amidst the power of darkness.
"'Wm. E. McLellin} Clerks.
"'To President Joseph Smith, Jr., Kirtland, Ohio.'
"In compliance with the above request, I inquired of the Lord, and received answer. 2
"The school closed, the last week in March, to give the elders an opportunity to go forth and proclaim the gospel preparatory to the endowment.
21. There are, in the church, two priesthoods; namely: the Melchisedec, and the Aaronic, including the Levitical priesthood. Why the first is called the Melchisedec priesthood, is because Melchisedec was such a great high priest: before his day it was called the holy priesthood, after the order of the Son of God; but out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchisedec, or the Melchisedec priesthood.
2. All other authorities, or offices in the church are appendages to this priesthood; but there are two divisions, or grand heads-one is the Melchisedec priesthood, and the other is the Aaronic, or Levitical priesthood.
3. The office of an elder comes under the priesthood of Melchisedec. The Melchisedec priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church, in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things.
4. The presidency of the high priesthood, after the order of Melchisedec, have a right to officiate in all the offices in the church.
5. High priests, after the order of the Melchisedec priesthood, have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, priest (of the Levitical order), teacher, deacon, and member.
"Sunday, March 29. I preached about three hours, at Huntsburgh-where William E. McLellin had been holding
6. An elder has a right to officiate in his stead when the high priest is not present.
7. The high priest and elder are to administer in spiritual things agreeably to the covenants and commandments of the church; and they have a right to officiate in all these offices of the church when there are no higher authorities present.
8. The second priesthood is called the priesthood of Aaron, because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed, throughout all their generations. Why it is called the lesser priesthood is, because it is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchisedec priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances. The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys or authority of the same. No man has a legal right of this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant of Aaron. But as a high priest of the Melchisedec priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices, he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power by the hands of the presidency of the Melchisedec priesthood.
9. The power and authority of the higher, or Melchisedec, priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church; to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; to have the heavens opened unto them; to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn; and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.
10. The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic, priesthood is, to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances-the letter of the gospel-the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins agreeably to the covenants and commandments.
11. Of necessity, there are presidents, or presiding offices, growing out of, or appointed of, or from among those who are ordained to the several offices in these two priesthoods. Of the Melchisedec priesthood, three presiding high priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the presidency of the church. The twelve traveling counselors are called to be the twelve apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ, in all the world; thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. And they form a quorum equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned. The seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world-thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling; and they form a quorum equal in authority to that of the twelve especial witnesses, or apostles, just named. And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other. (A majority may form a quorum, when circumstances render it impossible to be otherwise.) Unless this is the case, their decisions are not entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchisedec, and were righteous and holy men. The decisions of these quorums or either of them, are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness and lowliness of heart, meekness and long-suffering, and in faith and virtue and knowledge; temperance patience godliness, brotherly kindness,
a public discussion, on a challenge from J. M. Tracy, a Campbellite preacher, the two days previous, on the divinity of the Book of Mormon, at the close of which two were baptized;
and charity, because the promise is, if these things abound in them they shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. And in case that any decision of these quorums is made in unrighteousness, it may be brought before a general assembly of the several quorums which constitute the spiritual authorities of the church, otherwise there can be no appeal from their decision.
12. The twelve are a traveling, presiding high council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the presidency of the church, agreeably to the institution of heaven, to build up the church and regulate all the affairs of the same, in all nations; first unto the Gentiles, and secondly unto the Jews.
13. The seventy are to act in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the twelve, or the traveling high council, in building up the church, and regulating all the affairs of the same, in all nations; first unto the Gentiles, and then to the Jews; the twelve being sent out, holding the keys to open the door by the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and first unto the Gentiles, and then unto the Jews.
14. The standing high councils, at the stakes of Zion, form a quorum equal in authority, in the affairs of the church, in all their decisions, to the quorum of the presidency or to the traveling high council.
15. The high council in Zion forms a quorum equal in authority, in the affairs of the church, in all their decisions, to the councils of the twelve at the stakes of Zion.
16. It is the duty of the traveling high council to call upon the Seventy, when they need assistance, to fill the several calls for preaching and administering the gospel, instead of any others.
17. It is the duty of the twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation.
18. The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner:-
19. From Adam to Seth, who was ordained by Adam at the age of 69 years, and was blessed by him three years previous to his (Adam's) death, and received the promise of God by his father, that his posterity should be the chosen of the Lord, and that they should be preserved unto the end of the earth, because he (Seth) was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto his father in all things; and could be distinguished from him only by his age.
20. Enos was ordained at the age of 134 years, and four months, by the hand of Adam.
21. God called upon Cainan in the wilderness, in the fortieth year of his age, and he met Adam in journeying to the place Shedolamak: he was eighty-seven years old when he received his ordination.
22. Mahalaleel was 496 years and seven days old when he was ordained by the hand of Adam, who also blessed him.
23. Jared was 200 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam, who also blessed him.
24. Enoch was 25 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam, and he was 65 and Adam blessed him-and he saw the Lord: and
and on Monday four more came forward for baptism.
"[The following is the copy of a letter from Certain members of the Irvingite church (so-called) in England, presented
he walked with him, and was before his face continually: and he walked with God 365 years: making him 430 years old when he was translated.
25. Methuselah was 100 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam
26 Lamech was 32 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Seth.
27. Noah was 10 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Methuselah.
28. Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity, who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing. And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the Prince, the Archangel. And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam and said unto him, I have set thee to be at the head: a multitude of nations shall come of thee; and thou art a prince over them forever.
29. And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation, and notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation. These things were all written in the Book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time.
30. It is the duty of the twelve, also, to ordain and set in order all the other officers of the church, agreeably to the revelation which says:-
31. To the Church of Christ in the land of Zion, in addition to the church laws, respecting church business: Verily, I say unto you, says the Lord of hosts, There must needs be presiding elders, to preside over those who are of the office of an elder; and also priests, to preside over those who are of the office of a priest; and also teachers to preside over those who are of the office of a teacher, in like manner; and also the deacons: wherefore, from deacon to teacher, and from teacher to priest, and from priest to elder, severally as they are appointed, according to the covenants and commandments of the church; then comes the high priesthood which is the greatest of all; wherefore, it must needs be that one be appointed, of the high priesthood, to preside over the priesthood; and he shall be called president of the high priesthood of the church, or, in other words, the presiding high priest over the high priesthood of the church. From the same comes the administering of ordinances and blessings upon the church, by the laying on of the hands.
32. Wherefore the office of a bishop is not equal unto it; for the office of a bishop is in administering all temporal things: nevertheless, a bishop must be chosen from the high priesthood, unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron: for unless he is a literal descendant of Aaron he cannot hold the keys of that priesthood. Nevertheless, a high priest, that is after the order of Melchisedec, may be set apart unto the ministering of temporal things, having a knowledge of them by the Spirit of truth, and also to be a judge in Israel, to do the business of the church, to sit in judgment upon transgressors, upon testimony, as it shall be laid before him, according to the laws, by the assistance of his counselors, whom he has chosen, or will choose among the elders of the church. This is the duty of a bishop who is not a literal descendant of Aaron, but has been ordained to the high priesthood after the order of Melchisedec.
33. Thus shall he be a judge, even a common judge among the inhabitants
to certain elders of the Church of Latter Day Saints, in the evening of the 10th of June, 1835, by a gentleman named in the same, at the time calling himself a communicant and preacher of that church.]
"'To the Saints of the Most High.
of Zion, or in a stake of Zion, or in any branch of the church where he shall be set apart unto this ministry, until the borders of Zion are enlarged and it becomes necessary to have other bishops, or judges in Zion, or elsewhere: and inasmuch as there are other bishops appointed they shall act in the same office.
34. But a literal descendant of Aaron has a legal right to the presidency of this priesthood, to the keys of this ministry, to act in the office of bishop independently, without counselors, except in a case where a president of the high priesthood, after the order of Melchisedec, is tried; to sit as a judge in Israel. And the decision of either of these councils, agreeably to the commandment which says:-
35. Again, verily I say unto you: The most important business of the church, and the most difficult cases of the church, inasmuch as there is not satisfaction upon the decision of the bishop, or judges, it shall be handed over and carried up unto the council of the church, before the presidency of the high priesthood; and the presidency of the council of the high priesthood shall have power to call other high priests, even twelve, to assist as counselors; and thus the presidency of the high priesthood, and its counselors shall have power to decide upon testimony according to the laws of the church. And after this decision it shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord; for this is the highest council of the Church of God, and a final decision upon controversies, in spiritual matters.
36. There is not any person belonging to the church, who is exempt from this council of the church.
37. And inasmuch as a president of the high priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve councilors of the high priesthood; and their decision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him. Thus none shall be exempted from the justice and the laws of God; that all things may be done in order and solemnity before him, according to truth and righteousness.
38. And again, verily I say unto you, The duty of a president over the office of a deacon, is to preside over twelve deacons, to sit in council with them, and to teach them their duty-edifying one another, as it is given according to the covenants.
39. And also the duty of the president over the office of the teachers, is to preside over twenty-four of the teachers, and to sit in council with them-teaching them the duties of their office, as given in the covenants.
40. Also the duty of the president over the priesthood of Aaron, is to preside over forty-eight priests, and sit in council with them, to teach them the duties of their office, as is given in the covenants. This president is to be a bishop; for this is one of the duties of this priesthood
41. Again, the duty of the president over the office of elders is to preside over ninety-six elders, and to sit in council with them, and to teach them according to the covenants. This presidency is a distinct one from that of the seventy, and is designed for those who do not travel into all the world.
42. And again, the duty of the president of the office of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses.
"'Dear Brethren in the Lord:-At a council of the pastors of our church, held March 28, 1835, upon the propriety of the Rev. John Hewitt visiting you, it was resolved and approved that as he had an anxious desire to go to America to see the things that are spoken of in one of your papers brought here by a merchant from New York, he should have, as he desired, the sanction of the council, and if it pleased the Lord, his approval. The Lord hath seen our joy and gladness to hear that he was raising up a people for himself in that part of the New World, as well as here. O, may our faith increase that he may have evangelists, apostles, and prophets, filled with the power of the Spirit, and performing his will in destroying the works of darkness.
"'The Rev. Mr. Hewitt was Professor of Mathematics in Rotherham Independent Seminary, and four years pastor of Barnsley Independent Church. He commenced preaching the doctrines we taught about two years since, and was excommunicated. Many of his flock followed him, so that he was eventually installed in the same church, and the Lord's work prospered. As he is a living epistle, you will have, if all be well, a full explanation. Many will follow, should he approve of the country, etc., who will help the cause, because the Lord hath favored them with this world's goods. We had an utterance during our meeting, which
Behold, here is wisdom, yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet; having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.
43. And it is according to the vision, showing the order of the seventy that they should have seven presidents to preside over them, chosen out of the number of the seventy, and the seventh president of these presidents is to preside over the six; and these seven presidents are to choose other seventy besides the first seventy, to whom they belong, and are to preside over them; and also other seventy until seven times seventy, if the labor in the vineyard of necessity requires it. And these seventy are to be traveling ministers unto the Gentiles, first, and also unto the Jews whereas other officers of the church, who belong not unto the twelve neither to the seventy, are not under the responsibility to travel among all nations, but are to travel as their circumstances shall allow, notwithstanding they may hold as high and responsible offices in the church.
44. Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence. He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved, shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.
caused us to sing for joy. The Lord was pleased with our brother's holy determination to see you; and we understand that persecution had been great among you, or would be, but we were commanded not to fear, for he would be with us. Praise the Lord.
"'The time is at hand when distance shall be no barrier between us; but when, on the wings of love, Jehovah's messages shall be communicated by his saints. The Lord bless our brother, and may he prove a blessing to you. Be not afraid of our enemies; they shall, unless they repent, be cast down by the Lord of Hosts. The workers of iniquity have been used by the Prince of Darkness to play the counterfeit; but discernment has been given to us, that they were immediately put to shame, by being detected, so that the flock never suffered as yet by them.
"'Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from the Spirit, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
"'I am, dear sir, your brother in the gospel,
"'Barnsley, April 21, 1835.
"[One object, and only one, has induced us to lay the foregoing letter from England before our readers; and that is, the good of the cause of God. It might have remained in our possession, perhaps for years, in silence, had it not been for circumstances, which we will briefly mention hereafter.]
"'On the 26th of April, the Twelve Apostles, and the Seventy who had been chosen, assembled in the Temple (although unfinished) with a numerous concourse of people, to receive their charge and instructions from President Joseph Smith, Jr., relative to their mission and duties. The congregation being assembled, Elder Orson Pratt arrived from the south part of the State, making our numbers complete, Elder Thomas B. Marsh having arrived the day previous.
"'28th. The Twelve met this afternoon at the Schoolroom, for the purpose of prayer and consultation. Elder David W. Patten opened the meeting by prayer.
"'Motioned and carried, that when any member of the council wishes to speak, he shall arise and stand upon his feet.
"'Elder McLellin read the commandment given concerning the choosing of the Twelve; when it was voted that we each forgive one another every wrong that has existed among us, and that from henceforth each one of the Twelve love his brother as himself, in temporal as well as in spiritual things, always inquiring into each other's welfare.
"'Decided that the Twelve be ready and start on their mission from Elder Johnson's tavern, on Monday at two o'clock a. m., May 4.
"'Elder B. Young then closed by prayer.
"'W. E. McLellin} Clerks.'
"'May 2. A grand Council was held in Kirtland, composed of the following officers of the church; viz.: Presidents Joseph Smith, Jr., David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Joseph Smith, Sen., and Hyrum Smith, with the Council of the Twelve Apostles, Bishop Partridge and Council, Bishop Whitney and Council, and some of the Seventy, with their Presidents; viz., Sylvester Smith, Leonard Rich, Lyman Sherman, Hazen Aldrich, Joseph Young, and Levi Hancock; and many elders from different parts; President Joseph Smith, Jr., presiding.
"'After the conference was opened, and the Twelve had taken their seats, President Joseph Smith, Jr., said that it would be the duty of the Twelve, when in council, to take their seats together according to age, the oldest to be seated at the head, and preside in the fist council, the next oldest in the second, and so on until the youngest had presided; and then begin at the oldest again, etc.
"'The Twelve then took their seats according to age, as follows: Thomas B. Marsh, David W. Patten, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, William E. McLellin, Parley P. Pratt, Luke Johnson, William Smith, Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson.
"'President Joseph Smith then stated that the Twelve will have no right to go into Zion, or any of its stakes, and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof, where there is a standing high council; but it is their duty to go abroad
and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the church. When the Twelve are together, or a quorum of them, in any church, they will have authority to act independently, and make decisions, and those decisions will be valid. But where there is not a quorum, they will have to do business by the voice of the church. No standing high council has authority to go into the churches abroad, and regulate the matters thereof, for this belongs to the Twelve. No standing high council will ever be established only in Zion or one of its stakes. When the Twelve pass a decision, it is in the name of the church, therefore it is valid.
"'No official member of the church has authority to go into any branch thereof, and ordain any minister for that church, unless it is by the voice of that branch. No elder has authority to go into any branch of the church, and appoint meetings, or attempt to regulate the affairs of the church, without the advice and consent of the presiding elder of that branch. If the first Seventy are all employed, and there is a call for more laborers, it will be the duty of the Seven presidents of the first Seventy to call and ordain other seventy and send them forth to labor in the vineyard, until, if needs be, they set apart seven times seventy, and even until there are one hundred and forty and four thousand thus set apart for the ministry. The Seventy are not to attend the conferences of the Twelve, unless they are called upon or requested so to do by the Twelve. The Twelve and the Seventy have particularly to depend upon their ministry for their support, and that of their families; and they have a right, by virtue of their offices, to call upon the churches to assist them."
"'Elder Henry Herriman was ordained one of the Seventy.
"'The circumstances of the Presidents of the Seventy were severally considered, relative to their traveling in the vineyard; and it was unanimously agreed that they should hold themselves in readiness, to go at the call of the Twelve, when the Lord opens the way. Twenty-seven of the Seventy were also considered, and it was decided they should hold themselves in readiness to travel in the ministry, at the call of the President of the Seventy, as the Lord opens the way.
"'After an adjournment of one hour, the council reassembled. . . .
"'Lorenzo Barnes was ordained one of the Seventy; also Henry Benner, Michael Griffiths, Royal Barney, and Lebbeus T. Coon, who, together with twenty others, were called upon to hold themselves in readiness to travel when circumstances permit.
"'The Elders of Kirtland and its vicinity were then called upon, or their circumstances considered; and their names being enrolled, President Joseph Smith, Jr., arose with the lists in his hand, and made some very appropriate remarks, relative to the deliverance of Zion; and, so much of the authority of the church being present, moved that we never give up the struggle for Zion, even until death, or until Zion is redeemed.
"'The vote was unanimous, and with deep feeling.
"'Voted, that all the elders of the church are bound to travel in the world to preach the gospel, with all their might, mind, and strength, when their circumstances will admit of it; and that the door is now opened.
"'Voted, that Elders Brigham Young, John P. Green, and Amos Orton be appointed to go and preach the gospel to the remnants of Joseph, the door to be opened by Elder Brigham Young; and this will open the door to the whole house of Joseph.
"'Voted, that when another Seventy is required, the Presidency of the first Seventy shall choose, ordain, and set them apart from among the most experienced of the elders of the church.
"'Voted, that whenever the labor of other Seventy is required, they are to be set apart and ordained to that office; those who are residing at Kirtland and the regions round about, who can come to Kirtland, and be set apart and ordained by the direction of the Presidency of the church in Kirtland.
"'William E. McLellin, Clerk.'
"'The Twelve left Kirtland this morning, and embarked on board the steamer Sandusky, at Fairport. and landed at Dunkirk, New York, five o'clock p. m.; and after preaching
in those regions a few days, met in Conference at Westfield, May 9, according to previous appointment; the church being present, and Thomas B. Marsh, the oldest of the quorum, presiding.
"'The following items were suggested for the consideration of the council.
"'l. Resolved: That the limits of this conference extend south and west to the line of Pennsylvania, north as far as Lake Erie, and east as far as Lodi, embracing the branches of Westfield, Silver Creek, Perrysburg, and Lavona, to be called the "Westfield conference."
"'2. Inquire into the standing of all the elders within the bounds of this conference.
"'3. Inquire into the manner of their teaching, doctrines, etc.
"'4. Inquire into the teaching, conduct, and faithfulness of all traveling elders who have recently labored within the bounds of this conference.
"'5. Hear a representation of the several branches of the church.
"'On investigation, the standing and teaching of the elders present met the approbation of the council, except the teaching of Elder Joseph Rose, which was that "the Jewish Church was the sun, and the Gentile Church was the moon, etc.; when the Jewish Church was scattered, the sun was darkened; and when the Gentile Church is cut off, the moon will be turned to blood;" also some things relative to the apocalyptic beast with seven heads and ten horns, etc.
"'He was shown his error, and willingly made a humble confession.
"'The faithfulness of all the traveling elders was found to be good....
"'After further instructions on general principles, the conference adjourned until eight o'clock a. m., Monday evening, May 11.
"'Sunday, 10. Elders Marsh and Patten preached to an attentive congregation of about five hundred; after sacrament, five persons desired baptism, which was attended to by Elder McLellin.
"'May 11. Conference met pursuant to adjournment.
"'Resolved unanimously: That this conference go to, immediately, and appoint their "wise men," and gather up their riches. and send them to Zion to purchase land according to previous commandment, that all things be prepared before them in order to their gathering.
"'Much was said to the conference upon these important things; and they covenanted before the Lord that they would be strict to attend to our teaching.
"'After preaching by Elder Young at three o'clock p. m., and the farewell exhortation of the Twelve, seven individuals were baptized by Elder Hyde, who were confirmed in the evening. And after laying hands on many sick, who obtained relief, adjourned to the 22d instant, to meet in Freedom, New York.
"'Orson Hyde, Clerk.'
"About the middle of May, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer, Presidents of the Church in Missouri, arrived at Kirtland, and John Whitmer was appointed to take the place of President Oliver Cowdery, in conducting the Messenger and Advocate.
"Frederick G. Williams was appointed to edit the Northern Times, a weekly newspaper, which we had commenced in February last, in favor of Democracy; and W. W. Phelps (with his son Waterman) made his home with my family, and assisted the committee in compiling the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
"'May 22. The Twelve met in conference with the church in Freedom, New York, when, after an agreeable salutation and rejoicing in each other's prosperity, Elder D. W. Patten being chairman, conference was opened by singing, and prayer by the President.
"'[Here let it be remarked that it was the universal custom of the Twelve and the Presidency of the Church, to open and close all conferences and councils by prayer, and generally singing, so that this need not be named in this history hereafter.]
"'Resolved: That the limits of this conference extend from Lodi in the west, so far east as to include Avon, south
to Pennsylvania, and north to Lake Ontario, called the "Freedom conference," including the branches of Freedom, Rushford, Portage, Grove, Burns, Genesee, Avon, Java, Holland, Aurora, Greenwood, and Niagara.
"'The report concerning the labors and teachings of the elders in the conference, and those who had recently traveled through, was good.
"'The branch in Freedom numbered sixty-five; Rushford, twenty-eight; Burns, thirty; Holland, fifteen; represented by P. P. Pratt, as having suffered much from false teachings by hypocrites and knaves; Aurora, four; Niagara, four; the numbers of the remaining branches not ascertained, but generally reported in good standing.
"'The council gave instruction concerning the "Word of Wisdom," the gift of tongues, prophesying, etc.; and adjourned till tomorrow morning.
"'23d. Conference met to take into consideration the redemption of Zion.
"'After addresses from five of the council, the church expressed their determination to put into practice the teachings we had given, when the conference adjourned.
"'May 25. The Twelve met in council, to pray for one another until they should meet again; and, resolved: That we recommend and counsel Elders John Murdock, and Lloyd Lewis, to go to the churches at Chenango Point, New York; and Springville, Pennsylvania (among whom we understand there is some difficulty), and set in order the things that are wanting in those branches.
"'Resolved: That Elder Brigham Young go immediately from this place to an adjacent tribe of the remnants of Joseph, and open the door of salvation to that long dejected and afflicted people. The council, according to his request, laid their hands upon him, that he might have their faith and prayers, to fill (with humility and power) that very important mission.
"'They also laid hands on Elders John P. Green and Amos Orton, for the same purpose, as they expected to accompany him.
"'Orson Hyde, Clerk.'
"'On the 5th of June, nine of the Twelve met in council at Rose, or Lyons town, New York. There being so few of the brethren in that region, it was resolved: That it was not necessary to establish a conference, after council adjourned. And after they had preached several sermons in the vicinity, Elders Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and William Smith returned to Kirtland, as witnesses on a certain case wherein President Joseph Smith, Jun., was concerned before the county court, in which he righteously triumphed over his enemies.
"'Orson Hyde, Clerk.'. . .
"The Presidency. Bishop, and High Council of Zion, having removed to Kirtland, or gone forth in the vineyard, I caused it to be published in the June number of the Messenger and Advocate, that, according to the order of the kingdom begun in the last days, to prepare men for the rest of the Lord, the elders in Zion or in her immediate region have no authority or right to meddle with her spiritual affairs, to regulate her concerns, or hold councils for the expulsion of members, in her unorganized condition. The High Council has been expressly organized to administer in all her spiritual affairs; and the Bishop and his council are set over her temporal matters; so that the elders' acts are null and void. Now, the Lord wants the wheat and tares to grow together; for Zion must be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. Every elder that can, after providing for his family (if he has any) and paying his debts, must go forth and clear his skirts from the blood of this generation. While they are in that region, instead of trying members for transgression, or offenses, let every one labor to prepare himself for the vineyard, sparing a little time to comfort the mourners, to bind up the broken-hearted, to reclaim the backslider, to bring back the wanderer, to reinvite into the kingdom such as have been cut off, by encouraging them to lay to while the day lasts, and work righteousness, and, with one heart and one mind prepare to help to redeem Zion, that goodly land of promise, where the willing and obedient shall be blessed.
"About this time I received an introduction to Mr. Hewitt,
a preacher who had come out from Europe, with his lady, to examine this work, and, as he stated, was delegated by his church for this purpose. His interview was short, and he left with the understanding he would call again and renew his investigations. As he did not return according to agreement, and hearing he was at Fairport, the Council of the Presidency sent him the following letter:-
"'To the Rev. Mr. Hewitt.
"'Sir:-In consequence of your not returning as we understood you at your introduction to us, it was resolved and approved in council, on the evening of the 14th instant, that the bearer, Oliver Cowdery, one of the Presiding Elders of our church, should proceed to Fairport, and ascertain if possible the cause of your delay; and this is done as one reason that we feel an anxious desire for the salvation of the souls of men, and to satisfy your inquiries concerning the religion we profess. If at Fairport it is the sincere desire of the council that Mr. Hewitt return, that we may satisfy him concerning our religion, and he satisfy us concerning his; for we feel as great a desire for the welfare of his people as he can for ours.
With respect, etc.,
"'W. W. Phelps, Clerk.'
"Elder Cowdery repaired immediately to Fairport, and on the day following reported to the council that Mr. Hewitt was not in the place; that he left their letter with Mrs. Hewitt, who informed him that her 'husband had frequently spoken of his wish to become further acquainted with the people whom he had come out from Europe to see.' But the next we heard of the Rev. John Hewitt was that he had opened a school in Painesville, Ohio. Mr. Hewitt was elder of the Irvingite Church, in Barnsley, England, and received a delegation from that church, as expressed in a letter from Mr. Shaw, of April 21, to visit the saints in America, and ascertain their faith and principles; and if Mr. Hewitt found them as they expected, the saints in America might expect help from them (the church in Barnsley), as they were rich in temporal things, and had received the gift of tongues in the church.
"Thursday, June 18. Nine hundred and fifty dollars were subscribed for the Temple, by the saints in Kirtland. Great anxiety was manifest to roll on the work.
"'On the l9th, nine of the Traveling High Council met with the church in conference at Pillow Point, New York, and resolved that the limits of the conference embrace all the northern part of the State, to be called the "Black River conference." The elders of this conference had been diligent in their callings. Their manner of teaching, in some respects needed correction, which they gladly received.
"'The church at Pillow Point numbered twenty-one, but did not generally observe the "Word of Wisdom." Sacket's Harbor numbered nineteen; Burville, seven; Champion, six; Ellesburgh, thirty-three; Henderson, four; Alexandria, four; Lyme, four; and two in Orleans, three in Potsdam, and six in Stockholm. ..
"'Orson Hyde, Clerk.'
"The twenty first, being Sunday, I preached in Kirtland on the evangelical order.
"Thursday, June 25. There was a meeting in Kirtland to subscribe for the building of the Temple; and $6,232.50 were added to the list. Joseph Smith subscribed $500; Oliver Cowdery $750; W. W. Phelps $500; John Whitmer $500; and F. G. Williams $500; of the above, all of which they paid within one hour, and the people were astonished.
"June 29. Six of the Traveling High Council, viz: D. W. Patten, H. C. Kimball, Luke Johnson, Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson, assembled in conference with the church in Loborough, Upper Canada. The church in Loborough, composed of twenty-five members, were uninformed in many principles of the new covenant, not having had the same privilege of instruction as the churches in the States....
"'Elder Frederick M. Van Leuven was appointed Presiding Elder, and a number were added to the church during our stay.
"On the 3d of July, Michael H. Chandler came to Kirtland to exhibit some Egyptian mummies. There were four human
figures, together with some two or more rolls of papyrus covered with hieroglyphic figures and devices. As Mr. Chandler had been told I could translate them, he brought me some of the characters, and I gave him the interpretation, and like a gentleman, he gave me the following certificate:-
"'Kirtland, July 6,1835.
"'This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning the knowledge of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jr., in deciphering the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic characters in my possession, which I have, in many eminent cities, showed to the most learned; and, from the information that I could ever learn, or meet with, I find that of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jr., to correspond in the most minute matters.
"'Michael H. Chandler,
"'Traveling with, and proprietor of,
" . . . Soon after this some of the saints at Kirtland purchased the mummies and papyrus (a description of which will appear hereafter), and I, with W. W. Phelps and O. Cowdery as scribes, commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc., a more full account of which will appear in their place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly can we say, The Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth....
"'July 17. The Twelve met in conference, agreeably to previous appointment, at Saint Johnsbury, Vermont.
"'Resolved: That this State be the limits of this conference, and include the branches in Littleton, Dolton, and Landaff, in New Hampshire, to be called the "Vermont Conference."
"'The St. Johnsbury branch numbered forty-one members; Danville, twenty-three; Charlton, twenty-one; Jay, eleven; Dalton, fifteen; Landaff, four; Littleton, ten; Andover, Vermont, fifteen; Beneeon, seven; and Lewis, New York, seventeen.
"'Six of the council addressed the conference on principles of faith and action.
"'Adjourned to the 18th, when the remaining six enforced the necessity of sending up wise men, and purchasing lands, according to the commandments, which they readily agreed to do.
"'Sunday, 19. Our public meeting was attended by more than a thousand people, and during our conference nine were baptized.
"'Wm. E. McLellin,} Clerks
-Millennial Star, vol. 15, pp. 204, 205, 206, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 230, 231, 245, 260, 261, 262, 263, 283, 284, 285, 296, and 297.
During this time the Messenger and Advocate was published monthly, at Kirtland, Ohio, and gave accounts of the progress of the work as reported by the elders. With the June number it changed editors, Oliver Cowdery retiring, and John Whitmer succeeding him. From a glance over its pages we see reports of work done in the following named places, in the most of which additions were made, and in many of them organizations effected: Green County, Sugar Creek, and Brookville, Indiana; Norfolk, Connecticut; Dover, New Hampshire; Bradford, Dighton, and Wendell, Massachusetts; Lewiston, Gilead, Pleasant Grove, Washington County, Lebanon, Troy, Clinton County, Green County, Canton, Flatbush, and Paris, Illinois; Freedom, Java, Wethersfield, Portage, Grove, Perrysburgh, Laoni, Hanover, Geneseo, and Sacket's Harbor, New York; North Danville, Vermont; Farmington, Maine; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Paris, Tennessee; Cincinnati, Cummingsville, Fulton, Batavia, Huntsburgh, Carthage, and Stark County, Ohio; Providence, Rhode Island; and Saco, Maine.
To show the condition of the work and the nature of the opposition we quote the following editorial from the Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, pages 76 and 77:-
"From the foregoing extracts it may be seen how much truth there is in the reports which are circulated by many of all parties and sects. We are confident that there never has
been a time since the church commenced that the prospects have been more flattering than they are at present. In all parts of our country multitudes are inquiring after truth. So numerous are the calls that if the number of elders were three to every one they could not supply them. These facts are opening the eyes of some of the worst of our enemies, among whom is A. Campbell, of Millennial Harbinger memory. He has recently begun to howl most prodigiously, calling upon the people in great agony to read Mr. Howe's book as a sure antidote against delusion. As this is all that Mr. C. can do, or dare do, we do not wish to deprive him of this privilege. So we say concerning Alexander, Dudley and Company, Let them exert themselves with all their power, for they will find it a harder task to 'kick against the pricks,' than to reform, as they call it, Masons and sectarians; they have undertaken a task too great for them: the arm of Omnipotence is too potent for 'schoolboys,' and this they will find after they have exhausted all their power. The 'black speck' will still 'stain the American character,' for the people will receive the everlasting gospel, nor can men nor devils prevent it. The people may rage and the heathen imagine a vain thing; but He who sits in the heavens will laugh, the Lord will have them in derision, and ere long he will speak to them in his wrath and vex them in his sore displeasure.
"Mr. Campbell has been invited to show himself a man of principle-after repeated insults to the Church of the 'Latter Day Saints,' and to exchange papers and cut a quill like a man; but seeing he dare not do it (for notwithstanding the confidence which his satellites have in him, he knows the weakness of his cause too well to hazard an investigation with an elder of the Church of the 'Latter Day Saints'), we consider this effort of his in the same point of light which we do a whipped spaniel, when he is afraid to face his enemy he turns his hind parts and barks-so bark on, Alexander."
The saints in Missouri remained in about the same condition, harassed to some extent by the opposition and suffering much privation, with no immediate prospect of a restoration to their lands and rights.
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