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IT was because many once members of the original church had cast their fortunes with the Utah people that the Reorganized Church made special effort, in 1863, to recover them, by sending E. C. Briggs, of the Twelve, and Alexander McCord, of the Seventy, on a mission to Utah. We have already given some items concerning their arrival, reception, and labor; but a communication written by Elder Briggs, and published in the Daily Vedette, of Fort Douglas, Utah, will be interesting:-
"Editor Vedette:-Sir, in accordance with my appointment from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, under the Presidency of Joseph Smith, as a missionary to Utah, on my arrival I called upon President Young, stating the object and purport of my mission, to whom I also presented my credentials, and politely requested permission to address the people in some of the public places of worship. Having read the proclamations issued from time to time by the spiritual authorities in Utah, calling upon ministers of all denominations to come where freedom reigns supreme-in these so-termed peaceful valleys-that every facility of approach to the people should be afforded them, judge of my surprise when President Young, in answer to my request, informed me that every influence he possessed should be exerted against me; that he would immediately advertise me throughout the length and breadth of the Territory; and that my every action should be watched. This has been truly verified. Not only has that influence to prevent the people from hearing been exerted, but intimidations and threats of violence extreme
have been continually sounded in my ears; my footsteps have been dogged by assassins sent forth by spiritual leaders who hypocritically profess the name of Jesus. . . .
"Every other avenue of public communication being closed, I respectfully request your insertion of this, together with the accompanying circular, in the columns of the Vedette Yours, etc.,
"SALT LAKE CITY, March 25, 1864." "E C BRIGGS.
-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 5, pp. 172, 173.
On December 12, 1863, Elder Briggs related in a letter some of his experiences and observations. The letter gives the reader an insight into the way the missionaries were received and the manner in which those who favored or entertained them were treated:-
"I write to inform you still further of the triumph of our glorious cause in this desert and salt land; I have not been able as yet to procure a single hall, or commodious house to hold meetings in, in all this city, or Territory. Brigham has made his word good, 'that wherever he had any influence not a house should be opened to receive me or my doctrine,' and instead of publishing me and warning the people not to receive me into their houses in an open, bold, becoming manner, as any good principled man would do, if he attacked another's principles, or person (as he said he would publish against me), he has in a secret manner said and written to his followers, 'not to harbor us in any manner, only as beggars, and to treat us with silent contempt, but don't tell them that it is the counsel, and that it came from me.'
"I have been to Ogden City since I wrote to you, and attended meeting there in the tabernacle. After meeting I asked the presiding elder for the privilege of the house for meetings, or some of the halls; but he replied, No; we do not wish to let you have any of our houses to preach in. C. C. Rich, one of the supposed apostles was there, and he said we are satisfied with our religion, and do not wish to be stuffed, neither did he wish to hear any apostates preach; and he reiterated the scandalous reports that Brigham put in circulation against Brother Joseph and his associates.
"From there I went to North Ogden, and called on a brother, Thomas Squires, who had previously called on me in this city, at which time I had great freedom to expound the doctrine of the Reorganization, and bore testimony of Bro. Joseph's true calling as the only successor of Joseph the Martyr; but he did not commit himself for or against me, so I on my way to Ogden Valley called on him, and stopped with him about a day and a half; the result was, that he was notified by Bishop Chauncey [W.] West, to appear at a meeting to answer to a charge preferred against him, on the evening of the 30th of October, and as it was open doors to Jew or Gentile. I also attended the meeting. [Elder Briggs here relates some desultory remarks made by Bishop West, and continues.]
"'But I will now come right to the business, I will ask the brethren whose names have been handed to me, I wish to ask Bro. Thomas Squires, as I have been informed that there are those here who are leaning towards young Josephism, and they are harboring those who have come here to teach Josephism; I do not know whether it is so or not, they have a right to believe as they please, but I do not feel to fellowship them as brethren and sisters. Have you not been blessed when you were sent to battle against error under the Prophet Brigham? Apostates said we could not finish the temple at Nauvoo, but we did finish it, as Brigham Young said we could. Thousands have received witness that Joseph was a prophet, and I ask Bro. Squires, "Do you acknowledge Brigham Young as the one to lead the church?" "Do you believe in the right of Brigham Young as the legal successor of Joseph, and the Prophet and President of the Church?" Squires said, 'May I ask a question?' It was allowed. 'What charges are preferred against me?' Bishop answered, 'There is none; but I repeat the questions, I am your bishop, and it is your duty to answer me, and I do not want any argument about it, and I want order.' (He then threw out what I thought were intimidations.) Squires said, 'I consider the questions out of order, and will not answer them, for I do not acknowledge your right to catechise [catechize] me in this manner.' Bishop
then added, 'I ask Bro. John Lewis, do you acknowledge the right of Brigham Young to lead the church as the successor of Joseph.' Lewis replied, 'Have you any charges preferred against me?' Bishop replied, 'No.' Lewis replied, 'Then I answer no questions.' Bishop then said, 'I ask Bro. John Green, do you believe that young Joseph Smith has the legal right to lead the church?' Green replied, 'If anyone on the earth has the authority I believe he has it.' After which the Bishop called on Bro. Thomas Dunn, a former Bishop of North Ogden, to make a statement, which he did as follows: 'I have been acquainted with Bro. Squires three or four years, at times have been a little suspicious of him because he entertained some of the Morrisites.' Here Bro. Squires stopped the speaker and said, 'I have never entertained or fed a Morrisite in my life, and there was never but one called on me, and he stopped only a short time, a half hour or such a matter; I do not want that brought in as an influence here.' Dunn then proceeded, 'The brethren and sisters would ask me if he was doing right when he would give aid and comfort to those who were our enemies; and I remember that once Bro. Squires showed me a passage in the Millennial Star, where it refers to a man who should be raised up mighty and strong, and now since the missionaries have arrived here from little Josephism, he entertains them, and he makes them a home there at his house; I went to see Bro. Squires to-day to talk with him for myself, I asked him if he believed the revelation on polygamy, and it's my firm conviction that he does not believe in polygamy, or that Abraham was a polygamist, and from what Bro. Lewis told me I believe he is of about the same opinion as Bro. Squires.' Then a Brother Goddard was called to bear his testimony', but he did not particularly touch the case under consideration, but said, 'I was present when Bro. Joseph the prophet blessed little Joseph, and the power of God was manifest so we could not keep still; and I was also present when he blessed David, and the power of God was manifested again so we could not keep still; and if little Joseph is the man to lead the church, let him come on.' Bro. Hammond West (brother of the
Bishop) next took the stand and said, 'Bro. Squires has not been proven a Josephite or not very satisfactorily a Brighamite, but when you bring up philosophical arguments, and when you bring up a pile of books and refer to the law to prove all things, I want to live by a living priesthood; what does Noah's ark have to do with us? If our friends should call on Bro. Hammond to prove all things, (I suppose he referred to us, or me,) prove the Devil, what the h-1 do I care what is in all the old nasty slough holes.' Then the Bishop stated, 'I am not afraid of being called in question in this matter, and this is the last time you will have a chance on this matter, a hundred and fifty or two hundred were cut off from the church because it was stated they did not live according to their religion. At a conference a few years since, I heard Joseph say where the church went, that is, a majority, there is the church. Do the brethren here harbor men who are bitter enemies and are laying a plot to overthrow this people? I want the brethren to know I am a Brighamite to the backbone, and I will abide by Brigham's counsel, and his counsel at conference was to cut off all who harbored these d-d scamps in their houses. Bro. Brigham said don't you harbor these infernal scamps, don't harbor them, and now brethren, what shall we do with these brethren? Make a motion.'
"Then followed the motion and second. Then one in the audience said, 'I would like to give Bro. Squires another chance to answer those questions;' therefore another chance was given for him to answer the questions. Squires replied, 'Has anyone ever heard me speak against Bro. Brigham? If they have, let them say it now; I have always said that he was the president of this people.' The Bishop then called the vote and he was cut off.
"The questions were again put to Lewis; he replied, 'I don't compromise,' and the three were cut off from the church without being labored with according to the law of God, and on suspicion that they leaned towards the doctrines of the Reorganization, and for entertaining me one night, they were so shamefully used and not allowed to answer or defend themselves, that it needs no comment to
see the high handed oppression of Brighamism in Utah; their names are well known in England as defenders of the faith, and Bro. S. and L. as presidents of conferences. Bro. Squires has since joined the Reorganization and is holding meetings in his own hired house. I asked the presiding elder of North Ogden to allow me to announce a meeting to give it publicity in his audience, and he said no, we don't want any more business done here to-day. In Ogden Valley I got the privilege of the schoolhouse once, but I could not get it the second time. I have also been to Provo and Springville, but could not procure any house at Springville to hold meetings in. At Provo I procured a private house and baptized four, and many more are with us in faith; and I saw a brother a few days since who told me that he was present when the martyred prophet blessed Bro. Joseph and predicted that he should be a prophet, seer, and revelator. Our cause is onward with intense rapidity to the spiritual beholder, while Utah begins now to witness the joys of gospel blessings and that peace in the Holy Ghost as was enjoyed in the days of the first Joseph. Oh! the deep feelings of regret, remorse, shame, and sorrow, that are felt by the innocent-hearted ones of this Territory, who have been beguiled into this heathenish, soul-destroying, murderous, blasphemy, polygamy! But, brethren and sisters, many thousands have been led into it were as honest, virtuous, and pure in their intentions as the infant babe is unconscious of evil, by that seductive spirit that was to characterize the departing from the faith in the latter times, and by those unscrupulous men who were 'speaking lies in hypocrisy' and were 'lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.' 'For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.' And surely these Scriptures are having their most marked and literal fulfillment here.
The leaders here are cutting off from the church all who do not pay their tithings, and their greediness for gold seems to have no bounds. While many pay them conscientiously, others pay through policy, fearing the monopoly that exists in the hands of the few. It seems strange and is too bad, all of the elders in every land and every nation can obtain suitable rooms to hold meetings in, and I cannot procure one in all this Territory. . . .
"I rejoice in my lot, for all things shall work for good to them that love God and keep his commandments, and the Lord of the whole earth will do right.
"Yours in the Lord,
"E. C. BRIGGS
"GREAT SALT CITY, December 12, 1863."
-True latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 5, pp. 45-48.
On December 28, 1863, Elder Briggs reported progress in Provo City, also in Weber County. He said eighteen or twenty had been expelled from the Brighamite Church; some for entertaining him, some for attending his meetings, and others for reading the Herald; but he adds: "Yet our glorious cause is onward with intense interest and rapidity, despite these oppositions and curses."
On January 26, 1864, a branch was organized in Salt Lake City, Utah, to be called the Great Salt Lake City branch, composed of thirty nine members; John Stiles president, R. H. Atwood clerk. Elders E. C. Briggs and Alexander McCord officiated at the organization.
The first conference of the church held in Utah convened April 6, 1864. Apostle E. C. Briggs presided, and R. H. Atwood was elected clerk. The first day was devoted to preliminaries and preaching. On the 7th Utah was divided into three districts, to be known as the Northern, Southern, and Central districts. Salt Lake City was to constitute the Central, that portion of the Territory north of the city the Northern, and that portion south the Southern district.
R. H. Atwood was ordained a seventy, Frederick Ursenbach, John Stiles, and Thomas Squires high priests, and Henry Ursenbach, David Pudney, A. Williams, William Chapman,
and Thomas Job, elders. W. Matthews was appointed Bishop's agent.
It was reported that one hundred had joined the church in Salt Lake City, fifty-two in Provo, and the North Ogden branch numbered thirty.
The following resolution was adopted by unanimous vote:-
"Resolved, that we uphold and sustain Joseph Smith as President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, William Marks as his counselor, the Quorum of the Twelve, the High Council, I. L. Rogers as Presiding Bishop, and all the constituted authorities of the church, while acting in purview of their office."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 5, p. 155.
On August 4, 1864, Elder Briggs wrote as follows:-
"I am happy to inform you that the work of the Lord in this Territory is onward with rapid strides to the spiritual observer, and I feel every day more and more encouraged with the prospects before me of the triumph of the gospel of Jesus, and the downfall of priestcraft and unrighteousness. Notwithstanding every effort is made by the leaders in Utah to arrest the progress of truth, the people are gradually awakening to a sense of their position, realizing that they have been egregiously duped, and that underneath a mask of religion they have been enslaved and subjected to the power of sin and Satan. Infidelity prevails to an alarming extent. Men as soon as they become aware of the gross deception that has been practiced upon them look suspiciously even upon the truth, when presented before them. The blow has been so severe to their feelings that the reaction that takes place in some instances is fearful to behold; but thanks be to Jesus, I am enabled to understand and know of a surety that thousands who have emigrated to this land have done so with the purest of motives, who will ere long rejoice in the liberty of the gospel.
"We held our special conference according to previous appointment July 23 and 24 last. The conference was well attended, and measures adopted for the further spread of
the work. Elders Harrington, McIntosh and lady, arrived here July 21 in good health and spirits. The former is appointed to the Northern, the latter to the Southern district. Elder A. McCord is released from the mission and expects to start for home to-morrow.
"On the evening of July 25 I held a meeting at the house of Mr. Peter White, in Spanish Fork. At the conclusion of the meeting I accepted the hospitality of Mr. Thomas Job, a resident of that place, and in company with Elder Rush proceeded to his house. We had been seated probably half an hour, when we were saluted by volley after volley of rocks, with occasional pistol shots, from a mob, numbering from thirty to forty, who were yelling and shouting like infuriated demons. These I afterwards ascertained were called high priests, seventies, and elders, in full fellowship in Brigham Young's church. The windows were all smashed in and the door and door frame broken to pieces. After the storm subsided a little, leaving the house in charge of Mr. Rush, I went with Mr. Job to report to the mayor. The mob followed, throwing rocks at us nearly all the way. I returned with the mayor, who politely requested the mob to retire, which they attended to. On my asking the mayor what he thought of such conduct, and whether those men would still be retained in fellowship with the church, he replied, 'certainly they would, they were just the boys the church wanted. They were not afraid of the Devil.' The latter part of his assertion I was forced to believe from the fact that while they are doing his work they need be in no fear of his displeasure.
"One young man afterwards came and apologized for his misconduct, stating that although Bishop Thurbar, the Bishop of Spanish Fork, taught in the public meeting that the people were not to molest the Josephites, yet privately he taught them differently, urging them on to these acts of aggression.
"In the Northern settlements threats of extreme measures, such as burning houses, property, etc., are used by Bishop West and others towards those who feel disposed to favor us. Notwithstanding all these things the people are
fast awakening to a sense of their position. The very measures taken by their leaders are working admirably toward the emancipation of the people.
"Bishop C. W. West, understanding a sister residing in North Ogden, whose husband owned a carding machine, was favorable to the gospel, told her if she joined the Josephites he would burn down and destroy their machinery. He said that no one should own property in this Territory except the followers of Brigham.
"A plan was concocted by Bishop West, with about thirty of his followers, to tear down a mill belonging to Mr. Dawson who cast in his lot with us. He had, however, luckily just sold it and received his pay. This was revealed by one of the party. There is so much dissatisfaction amongst the people that they cannot keep their plans secret. The men they confide in are continually betraying them."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 6, p. 124.
Again he wrote on August 12, as follows-.-
"On Monday next I bid farewell to the salt land for a short season, to prosecute my mission in Nevada and California. The saints here are all in good health and spirits, rejoicing in the liberty of the sons and daughters of God; and all feel much encouraged with the prospects before them in relation to the advancement and spread of the gospel in this Territory. I can truly say that a foundation has been laid that cannot be destroyed. I leave an able ministry in whom I have every confidence as men of God, who are determined by the blessing and assistance of the Almighty to use every effort towards the emancipation of the honest hearted ones from the thraldom [thralldom] of sin and bondage."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 6, p. 104.
Elder Briggs left Utah, August 15,1864, and arrived in San Francisco, California, October 5, stopping at Virginia City, Nevada, enroute, where he was warmly received by the saints. He left other missionaries zealously at work.
The following letter from Elder R. H. Atwood, written November 23, 1864, we commend to a careful reading. He
gives some items of interest regarding progress made, and suggests a possible reason, worthy of consideration, for slow progress. It is certain that if all who became identified with the church in Utah had remained, the Reorganization would have been much stronger there to-day. The letter is as follows:-
"The work of the Lord is prosperous in every part with us. We are surely and steadily moving onward. About four hundred have joined the Reorganization in this Territory during the past year. Nearly all of the saints here are making preparations for an early start east in the spring and owing to abstractions at the post office, and the irregularity of the mails, and their intention to leave this country in a few months, they are careless in relation to subscribing for the Herald. As soon as we baptize any into the Reorganization they are for leaving this country as soon as possible. There is no counsel given them on the subject; in my simple judgment it is the greatest hindrance we have here. We no sooner get a place open than the saints leave and the ground has to be broken over again. If they had not hurried away we should now have had three or four times the number of places open. In American Fork we have now better attended meetings than the Brighamites, and those under fear and intimidation attend, and one by one embrace the truth. In the spring I expect they will all leave. Then of course it will take time to make another breach and so it is with other places."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 7, p. 31.
The following challenge with explanatory note was published in the Vedette and from that publication copied in the Herald for May 1, 1865. It speaks in no uncertain way, yet it is respectful enough to demand attention. However, it received none, but was treated as other communications have been. This people have persistently refused to defend their position.
"G. S. LAKE CITY, U. T., Dec. 21, 1864.
"Editor Vedette; Sir.-The elders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Utah, under
the Presidency of Joseph Smith, will feel obliged by your insertion of the following challenge:-
"To the President Brigham Young, the Twelve, and several other Presidents and Bishops in the Territory of Utah:-
"Gentlemen:-Your attention is respectfully called to the following facts. That Joseph Smith, son of Joseph the Martyr, in accordance with divine appointment, has assumed the position of President and Prophet to the Church of Jesus Christ in all the world. Realizing that every effort is made to prevent the Latter Day Saints in this Territory from becoming acquainted with their real position; viz., apostasy from the true order of the gospel of Jesus Christ, having imbibed doctrines contrary to the revealed mind of God, as set forth in ancient and modern Scriptures; we whose names are undersigned, having at heart the welfare of the human family, their redemption from priestcraft and spiritual and temporal bondage, do, on behalf of the church under the Presidency of Joseph Smith in Utah, call upon you to come forth and defend the following doctrines advocated by you as essential to salvation; viz.: That Adam is God of the human family and the only God with whom we have to do; that polygamy forms any part of the gospel of Christ; that Brigham Young is a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and the legal successor of Joseph Smith in the Presidency of the Church; that the law of tithing is administered according to the revealed will of God; that Salt Lake City is Zion, or the gathering place for the saints. Or, we are prepared to meet you in discussion and prove that Joseph Smith is the true successor of his father in the Presidency of the Church; that Utah is not the land of Zion, but the place where the rebellious saints who would not abide the commandments of God were driven to, from out of the land of Zion; that polygamy is an abomination, was never approbated by the Almighty, and originated in the accursed seed of Cain; that the doctrine of Adam being our God, is idolatry; that the administration of tithing in Utah is a perversion of the law. We cite you to the Doctrine and Covenants, which commands those who have the truth, to
come forth boldly and confound their enemies, both in public and private; and respectfully subscribe ourselves for and on behalf of the Reorganization of the Church of Jesus Christ in Utah.
"R. H. ATWOOD.
"C. G. MCINTOSH.
-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 7, p. 142.
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