Previous chapter Previous chapter Table of Contents Table of Contents Next chapter Next chapter



THE numerical strength of the church at the death of the martyrs has been variously stated. Joseph Smith in a sketch of history published in 1844 estimated the number at 150,000 or more. But there is a wide difference between this estimate and the estimate of Elder F. D. Richards, Historian of the Utah Church. (See correspondence on page 25 of this work.)

Deducting those known to have rejected the leadership of Brigham Young from Mr. Richards' estimate, there was quite a small minority left to follow the Twelve. In any event, the Twelve, or the nine of them before mentioned, assumed control in Nauvoo, and urged on the building of the temple and other improvements.

On August 15, 1844, the Twelve issued an epistle signed by their President (see this volume, pp. 13-17), which, taken in connection with the circumstances and current events, has considerable historical significance.

In it the claim is made that no one will attempt to occupy Joseph's place, and the promise is made that the Twelve would always remain in their own place.

We have seen in a former chapter how this promise was violated in December, 1847. Such instruction was given concerning the building of the temple and the building up of the city as to indicate that a removal of the church west was not then contemplated, but that the intention was to make Nauvoo a manufacturing center from whence manufactured articles could be shipped to markets abroad. A further indication that they did not then contemplate withdrawing from the United States is found in the advice that the States and adjoining provinces were to be put under more perfect

(page 110)


organization. On October 1, 1844, they issued another epistle in which the above and similar points are more fully brought out. 1

To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Greeting.
Dear Brethren:-Having promised in our former epistles to address you from time to time, we now proceed to give you further information relative to the welfare of the church both temporally and spiritually; the building up of Nauvoo; the gathering of the saints; the building of the temple; the establishment of manufacturing and various branches of industry; the support of the poor, and the preserving of peace, good order, union, love, and truth; to the suppression of vice, and every kind of disorder, evil, and immorality.
The temple as a great and glorious public work, immediately connected with the completion of our preparations and ordinances, touching our salvation and exaltation, and that of our dead, necessarily claims our first and most strict attention. And we rejoice to say for the encouragement of all, that its walls are now ready to receive the capitals, and the arches of the upper story windows, and in fact, seven of the capitals are already reared. The timbers are also being framed, and reared on the inside. In short, it is progressing with a rapidity which is truly astonishing.
Let the saints now send in their young men who are strong to labor together with money, provisions, clothing, tools, teams, and every necessary means, such as they know they will want when they arrive, for the purpose of forwarding this work.
Brethren, bring all your tithings into the storehouse, and prove the Lord, and see if he will not pour out a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive.
Yes, brethren, we verily know and bear testimony, that a cloud of blessing, and of endowment, and of the keys of the fullness of the priesthood, and of things pertaining to eternal life, is hanging over us, and ready to burst upon us, or upon as many as live worthy of it, so soon as there is a place found on earth to receive it. Therefore, let no cunningly devised fable, no false delusive spirit, or vision, no man or set of men who go out from us, but are not of us, have any influence on your minds for a moment, to draw your minds away from this all-important work. But enter steadily and regularly upon a strict observance of the law of tithing, and of freewill offerings, till Jehovah shall say, It is enough; your offerings are accepted. Then come up to the house of the Lord, and be taught in his ways, and walk in his paths; yea, enter his sanctuary, and receive the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
The gathering next claims our attention as a work of salvation, to be accomplished in wisdom and prudence. Your prophets and apostles have often told you that the saints cannot gather together in large numbers, and be able to enjoy the comforts and necessaries of life, without the necessary calculations and preparations for their employment and support. Not only must farms be cultivated, houses built, and mills to grind the corn; but there must be something produced by industry, to send off to market in exchange for cash, and for such other articles as we need. This must be produced, not by singing or praying, or going to meeting, or visiting, or friendly greetings or conversation, BUT BY THE UNITED INDUSTRY, SKILL, AND ECONOMY OF THE WHOLE PEOPLE. Men, women, and children must be well, and constantly

(page 111)


By a careful reading of these two epistles one will see that their only expressed policy was to build up the city of Nauvoo, and to thoroughly organize the church throughout the United States under the supervision of the Twelve, as such. If any thought was entertained

employed. In order the more effectually to do this, we must turn our attention to the erection of workshops for the manufacture of every useful article; and wares thus manufactured must find a market not in Nauvoo alone, but in all the wide country, and in cities and towns abroad.
If the saints will commence and follow out this plan, and lay out their cash for the raw material, and employ their friends and themselves at home, instead of sending away all our cash for manufactured goods, we can soon produce millions of wealth, and the poor will have no cause of complaint: for among a temperate people thus employed there would soon be no poor except the widow, the orphan, or the infirm, and these could be abundantly provided for.
The fact is, we have a country abundantly supplied with natural resources and calculated for the production of wool, flax hemp, cotton and many other articles; and we have water power to any amount; an after all our troubles, a prospect of peace and protection; in short everything for the encouragement of capitalists and workmen. Come on then, all ye ends of the earth, take hold together, and with a long strong, steady, and united exertion, let us build up a stronghold of industry and wealth, which will stand firm and unshaken amid the wreck of empires and the crash of thrones.
In regard to principle and doctrine, we know that we are founded upon the plain and manifest truth as revealed from on high; and which is sufficiently manifest and plain to convince all honest men who look into it, and to confound all who oppose. The main object then which remains to be carried out is to practice accordingly, and to live according to our knowledge.
In order to do this we must not only be industrious and honest, in providing abundantly for our temporal wants, and for those for whom duty and charity bind us to act. But we must abstain from all intemperance, immorality, and vice of whatever name or nature; we must set an example of virtue, modesty, temperance, continency, cleanliness, and charity. And be careful not to mingle in the vain amusements and sins of the world.
In nearly all cities or towns of an extensive population there are certain vices, or crimes, not exactly tolerated by law, but yet borne with by the people, as a kind of unavoidable or necessary evil; such, for instance as gambling, drunkenness, vain and wicked amusements and allurements, directly calculated to corrupt the morals of the people and lead them from the paths of virtue and truth. Among the most conspicuous and fashionable of these we might mention, balls, dances, corrupt and immodest theatrical exhibitions, magical performances, etc., all of which are apt not only to have an evil tendency in themselves, but to mingle the virtuous and the vicious in each others society; not for the improvement of the vicious, but rather to corrupt the virtuous.
Nauvoo is now becoming one of the largest towns of the West, and as it was founded, and is still in a great measure managed by the saints we greatly desire the united influence of all well wishers to our society; and to good order and morality, to cooperate with us in preserving the

(page 112)


of forming a First Presidency, or of an exodus beyond the mountains, that thought was carefully concealed.

On April 6, 1845, a "proclamation" was issued by the Twelve, which begins as follows:-

"Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"To all the Kings of the world, to the President of the United States of America;

"To the governors of the several States, and to the rulers and People of all nations;


"Know ye that the kingdom of God has come, as has

general peace and quiet, and in suppressing these and all other vices and evils.
Or, to be plain on the subject, we wish to suppress all grog-shops gambling houses, and all other disorderly houses or proceedings in our city, and to tolerate no intemperance or vice in our midst. And so far at least as the members of the church are concerned, we would advise that balls, dances, and other vain and useless amusements be neither countenanced nor patronized; they have been borne with, in some instances heretofore for the sake of peace and good will. But it is not now a time for dancing or frolics, but a time of mourning, and of humiliation and prayer.
If the people were all righteous, it would do to dance, and to have music feasting, and merriment. But what fellowship has Christ with Belial? or what fellowship has light with darkness? or what union have the sons and daughters of God with the children of this world, who fear not God nor regard man? All amusements in which saints and sinners are mingled tends to corruption, and has a baneful influence in religious society.
There are amusements which are at once both innocent, instructive and entertaining, and which the saints can enjoy, in honor to themselves, and without mingling with the world; such, for instance, as musical concerts, philosophical and astronomical exhibitions, etc. These, together with our religious devotions, and the increase of light, knowledge, and intelligence which flows like a flood of glory from the upper world, are quite sufficient to exercise all our powers of enjoyment.
As the business of the conference is now fast crowding upon our time we must cut short this communication, by informing you that an organization and arrangement is now in progress by which high priests and presiding officers will be appointed over each district of country, throughout the Union, who will have entire charge, under the direction of the Twelve, of all spiritual matters, superintending the labors of the elders and the calling of conferences. Arrangements will also be made for the proper payment and reception of tithing, so that it may be duly received by responsible agents and recorded. Of these particulars you will receive further communication from us soon.
Done in council at Nauvoo, this 1st day of October, A. D. 1844.
-Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp. 668-670.

(page 113)


been predicted by ancient prophets, and prayed for in all ages; even that kingdom which shall fill the whole earth, and shall stand forever.

"The great Elohim, Jehovah, has been pleased once more to speak from the heavens, and also to commune with man upon the earth, by means of open visions and by the ministration of holy messengers.

"By this means the great and eternal high priesthood, after the order of his Son (even the apostleship), has been restored or returned to the earth.

"This high priesthood or apostleship holds the keys of the kingdom of God, with power to bind on earth that which shall be bound in heaven, and to loose on earth that which shall be loosed in heaven; and, in fine, to do and to administer in all things pertaining to the ordinances, organization, government, and direction of the kingdom of God; being established in these last days for the restoration of all things spoken by the prophets since the world began, and in order to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man.

"And we now bear witness that his coming is near at hand; and not many years hence the nations and their kings shall see him coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

"In order to meet this great event, there must needs be a preparation.

"Therefore we send unto you, with authority from on high, and command you all to repent and humble yourselves as little children before the majesty of the Holy One; and come unto Jesus with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and be baptized in his name for the remission of sins (that is, be buried in the water, in the likeness of his burial, and rise again to newness of life in the likeness of his resurrection), and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the laying on of the hands of the apostles and elders of this great and last dispensation of mercy to man.

"This Spirit shall bear witness to you of the truth of our testimony, and shall enlighten your minds, and be in you as the spirit of prophecy and revelation. It shall bring things

(page 114)


past to your understanding and remembrance, and shall show you things to come.

"It shall also impart unto you many great and glorious gifts; such as the gift of healing the sick, and of being healed, by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus; and of expelling demons, and even of seeing visions, and conversing with angels and spirits from the unseen world.

"By the light of this Spirit, received through the ministration of the ordinances, by the power and authority of the holy apostleship and priesthood, you will be enabled to understand, and to be the children of light, and thus be prepared to escape all the things that are coming on the earth, and so stand before the Son of Man.

"We testify that the foregoing doctrine is the doctrine or gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness; and that it is the only true, everlasting, and unchangeable gospel; and the only plan revealed on earth whereby man can be saved."- Pages 1-3.

This was published in pamphlet form and widely circulated. The reader will observe that they therein earnestly urge what are known as the first principles of the gospel; viz., faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, etc., as being the "gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness, and the only true, everlasting, and unchangeable gospel" and the only plan "whereby man can be saved."

At the General Conference held in October, 1844, some peculiar moves were made, showing the general tendency toward the centralization of power. At this time Elder Brigham Young ventured to claim for himself the position of revelator, and thus elevated himself above his colleagues in his quorum. He said:-

"It is the test of our fellowship to believe and confess that Joseph lived and died a prophet of God in good standing; and I don't want anyone to fellowship the Twelve who says that Joseph is fallen. If you don't know whose right it is to give revelations, I will tell you. It is I. There never has a man stood between Joseph and the Twelve, and unless we apostatize there never will."-Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 683.

(page 115)


There was also a resolution passed which ventured a little further than the one of August 8, 1844, and associated the Quorum of the Twelve with the Presidency of the Church as one quorum. The resolution was as follows:-

"Elder W. W. Phelps moved that we uphold Brigham Young the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, as one of the Twelve and First Presidency of the Church.

"This motion was duly seconded, and put to the church by Elder John Smith, and carried unanimously."-Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 692.

On separate motions the following were also unanimously sustained as members of the Quorum of Twelve: Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, William Smith, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, and George A. Smith. The following action was also had:-

"Moved by Elder H. C. Kimball that Elder Amasa Lyman stand in his lot. The motion was seconded.

"President Young said by way of explanation that Elder Amasa Lyman is one of the Twelve, just in the same relationship as he sustained to the First Presidency. He is one in our midst and a counselor with us.

"The motion was then presented and carried unanimously.

"Moved and seconded, and after some discussion, carried unanimously that Elder Lyman Wight be sustained in his office, to fill the place of Elder D. W. Patten (martyred), but not to take his crown; for that, as the Lord has said, no man can take.

"Elder Snow moved that George Miller be received as the President of the High Priests' Quorum. Carried unanimously.

"President Miller moved that Noah Packard and William Snow be sustained as counselors. Carried unanimously.

"President John Smith moved that William Marks be sustained in his calling as president of this stake.

"Elder W. W. Phelps objected inasmuch as the High Council had dropped him from their quorum.

"Elder S. Bent explained and said the reason why the High Council dropped Elder Marks was because he did not

(page 116)


acknowledge the authority of the Twelve, but the authority of Elder Rigdon.

"President Young said that a president of a stake could be dropped without taking his standing from him in the church. But not so with the First Presidency or the Twelve. A president of a stake is only called for the time being; if you drop him he will fall back into the High Priests' Quorum.

"The motion was then put, but there was only two votes. The contrary vote was put and carried by an overwhelming majority.

"Elder E. C. Kimball moved that Elder John Smith stand as the president of this stake. Carried unanimously.

"President Young then said, 'The Macedonia church must select their own men for a president, as Elder John Smith is coming here.'

"President John Smith moved that Elder C. Rich be one of his council. Carried unanimously.

'Moved and seconded, that S. Bent, James Allred, Dunbar Wilson, George W. Harris, William Huntington, Sen., Newel Knight, Alpheus Cutler, Aaron Johnson, Henry G. Sherwood, Thomas Grover, Ezra T. Benson, and David Fulmer, be sustained as the High Council. Carried unanimously.

"Elder E. C. Kimball moved that Elder Joseph Young stand as first president over all the quorums of the seventies. Carried unanimously."-Times and Seasons, vol., 5, p. 692.

On separate motions the following were also unanimously sustained as Presidents of Seventy: Levi W. Hancock, Daniel S. Miles, Zerah Pulsipher, Henry Herriman.

The following action was also had:-

". . . That Josiah Butterfield be cut off from the church. Carried unanimously.

"President Young showed that it was because he had got a little money, and was lifted up. . . .

"President Young said, that the seventies had dropped James Foster, and cut him off, and we need not take an action upon his case.

". . . That Jedediah M. Grant take the place of J. Butterfield in the Quorum of Seventies. Carried unanimously.

(page 117)


"Elder H. C Kimball moved that N K. Whitney stand as our first Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Carried unanimously.

". . . That George Miller stand as second Bishop. Carried unanimously.

". . . That Samuel Williams retain his office as President of the Elders' Quorum. Carried unanimously.

". . . That Jesse Baker and Joshua Smith be sustained as his council. Carried unanimously.

". . . That Stephen M. Farnsworth retain his office as President of the Priests. Carried unanimously.

". . . That E. Averett retain his standing as President of the Teachers. Carried unanimously.

". . . That Jonathan H. Hale, Isaac Higbee, John Murdock, David Evans, Hezekiah Peck, Daniel Cairns, Jacob Foutz, Tarlton Lewis, and Israel Calkins, be sustained as bishops in their several wards Carried unanimously."-Times and Seasons vol. 5, p. 693.

Asahel Smith was ordained a patriarch.

There was also an intimation given by Brigham Young that he contemplated teaching something not before taught to the church.-

"We want you to come on with your tithes and offerings to build this temple, and when it is finished we want you to spend a year in it and we will tell you things you never thought of."-Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 694.

The manner of selecting seventies and others at this conference was very peculiar. Their policy to build up the church in the States was again declared and explained. The following is from the minutes:-

"Elder G. A. Smith moved that all in the Elders' Quorum under the age of thirty-five should be ordained into the Seventies', if they are in good standing, and worthy, and will accept it. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously. . .

"He then recommended all those elders who are under the age of thirty-five, and also all the priests, teachers, deacons, and members who are recommended to be ordained, to withdraw

(page 118)


and receive an ordination into the seventies, which was done.

"President B. Young then appeared and proceeded to select men from the High Priests' Quorum to go abroad in all the congressional districts of the United States to preside over the branches of the church. . .

"President Young explained the object for which these high priests were being sent out, and informed them that it was not the design to go and tarry six months and then return, but to go and settle down, where they can take their families and tarry until the temple is built, and then come and get their endowment, and return to their families and build up a stake as large as this.

"President Young then selected from the Elders' Quorum some to be ordained high priests, whose names for the want of room are omitted for the present.

"He also selected a number more to go into the Seventies', after which the remainder of the morning was spent in calling out the several quorums of seventies, and giving charges to the several presidents.

"Brother Joseph L. Heywood was ordained under the hands of Elder B. Young, H. C. Kimball and P. P. Pratt, to be a bishop to the church in Quincy, Illinois.

"Previous to adjournment the Presidents of the Seventies ordained upwards of four hundred into the quorums of the seventies, and the Presidents of the High Priests' Quorum ordained forty into their quorum.

"The meeting then adjourned until two o'clock, p. m.

"Two o'clock, p. m. Conference resumed business. Those Presidents of the Seventies who were present and had not received an ordination to the Presidency over the Seventies were called out and ordained, under the hands of President Joseph Young and others.

"The remainder of the afternoon was spent in filling up the quorums of seventies, and at the close, eleven quorums were filled and properly organized, and about forty elders organized as a part of the twelfth quorum."-Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp. 695, 696.

(page 119)


The remaining part of the year passed in comparative peace so far as outside opposition was concerned, but the contention between the aspirants for leadership was very bitter, and if we are to judge from their utterances a very bad spirit was engendered. Sidney Rigdon came in for his share of abuse and slander, and he retaliated in much the same spirit.

In the last issue of the Times and Seasons for the year 1844 appeared an editorial on "The City of Nauvoo," which represented the material prosperity of the city to be great. 3

In December, 1844, the Seventies' Hall in Nauvoo was dedicated with imposing ceremonies. Two quorums were accommodated each day, and there were fifteen quorums, so several days were necessary to complete

Since the death of our beloved Prophet and Patriarch, many have supposed that our city would be laid desolate, or at least that it would cease to prosper; that Mormonism would die, with its great leader, and that the Latter Day Saints would be scattered to the four winds. The editors of the day with few exceptions have come to this conclusion; and some few in our midst, not being better informed, or wayward in their dispositions, have essayed to believe this egregious folly. Some few families have left us and gone to Pittsburg [Pittsburgh], some few to the pine country, and a few have gone west; but since this occurrence we should think that twice as many have been added to our numbers as those that have left, as emigration has been pouring in all the time. It is true that a momentary panic ensued immediately after that tragical event. Humanity shuddered at the perpetration of so horrid a deed; a temporary gloom overspread the minds of the saints; they felt that every principle of humanity was violated, and that they were living among a horde of savage barbarians, who were reckless alike of faith, honor, and human life. Their finer feelings were for a moment stunned; they considered themselves degraded, and their national honor laid prostrate in the dust, and that their nation was damned in the eyes of all nations, by such diabolical acts as had never degraded any other soil.
They felt also to mourn over the bodies of their martyred chiefs, to hang their harps upon the willows, and in their overwhelming grief to cease for awhile from the common avocations of life. Their feelings over, and they awoke from their stupor; they started again into life, and everywhere might be seen the mechanic, the laborer, and the husbandman following with their wonted alacrity all the various avocations of life.
Great numbers of brick houses have been and are being put up, various branches of manufactures have been started, and everything wears the aspect of industry, content, and prosperity.
The temple has progressed with greater rapidity since the death of Joseph and Hyrum than ever it has done before, and things in this city never looked more prosperous.-Times and Seasons, vol. 5, pp. 743, 744.

(page 120)


the service. There had been a remarkable increase of seventies since the death of Joseph Smith. We do not know just how many there were at his death, but certainly they did not exceed the "seven times seventy" provided for in the law. 4 We have seen account of but two quorums. What authority was had for more than seven quorums, of seventy each, is not clear. The Utah people cite an alleged statement of Joseph Smith's found in Millennial Star, volume 15, page 261, (see History, vol. 1, p. 561,) which in addition to the provision found in the law adds: "And even until there are one hundred and forty and four thousand thus set apart for the ministry." But as they did not publish this statement until April, 1853, long after they ventured beyond the limits, and as this additional provision is not found in the law, others claim it to be without authority.

By January 19,1846, there were at least thirty quorums. (Times and Seasons, vol. 6, p. 1096.) They have since increased the number to over one hundred quorums.

4 See Doctrine and Covenants 104: 43.

(page 121)

Previous chapter Previous chapter Table of Contents Table of Contents Next chapter Next chapter