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THE Herald for January 15, 1876, contained the following editorial, which will be a fitting opening to the records of the year:
Were it possible, we would like to begin the year with a flourish of trumpets, and a greeting that would infuse new energy and life into every individual member, every officer, every conference, district, and branch. But we can not discover, just now, any potent elixir at our command, with which to do so wonderful a work; and yet we can not divest ourselves of the constantly recurring reflection that the prize that we are striving for is at the end of the race, and though we should run swiftly, and with oft-repeated bursts of enthusiasm, we shall not reach and obtain the prize until that end is reached. For this reason, we are contented to plod steadily, making what forward progress we may, and refusing to go backward.
That we have come forward since last we greeted you with a "Happy New Year," few would care to deny; but we are not yet so far progressed that we may not go further is clear.
January 2, 1876, Elder A. H. Smith wrote a pastoral letter to the Saints of Pacific Slope, notifying them that he had appointed Elder D. S. Mills as his successor as president of the mission. This was published in the Herald, volume 23, page 80.
Elder Glaud Rodger wrote from Waratah, Australia, January 12, giving cheering news concerning conditions and prospects.
On February 7 he wrote from Sydney, Australia, giving account of ten elders arriving there from Utah as representatives of the philosophy taught in Utah. He said they were effecting but little.
February 14,1874, Joseph Gilbert wrote from Birmingham, England, strongly commending the labors and presidency of of Elder Thomas Taylor. On February 20 Elder C. H. Caton wrote from the same place, and to the same effect. From his letter we make the following extract as showing the condition of the church and church work in England:
I desire to say a few words concerning the work of God in these lands. The year 1875 has been a good one so far as the spread of the truth is concerned. There have been about thirty-five added by baptism; and the good feeling of amity amongst the brethren and sisters in the entire mission has grown firmer. Being acquainted with most of the brethren that compose this part of the Lord's vineyard, and occupying the position of district secretary, gives me some little chance of knowing the condition and requirements of this mission. I can assure you, and feel happy in doing so, that I am proud of the association of such noble brethren and sisters as those whom I am acquainted with at Birmingham, London, Hanley, Stafford, Farnworth, Sheffield, and other places.
We have good prospects for preaching the gospel this year, and the Spirit of God bears witness that a great many will be added to the church before 1876 is passed away. There have been eleven baptized this year already. The affairs of the English Mission are ably attended to by Bro. Thomas Taylor; and things are looking better now than ever I remember to have seen them since I joined the church, without casting any reflection on the good labors of the brethren who have been sent from America to administer the word.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 23, p. 301.
The Herald for March 1, 1876, published some items which give a fair idea of the condition of the work in many places:
We learn by letter from Bro. Nicholas Trook, of Union, Cass County, Nebraska, 17th ultimo, that Bro. R. C. Elvin, president of the district,
was there and preached to them on the 6th and 7th, and on the 8th organized the Moroni Branch at that place, from the members that once composed the Liberty Branch. James Ervin was chosen president, Milton Ervin was ordained priest, Nicholas Trook, teacher, and Jesse Ervin deacon. They were rejoicing in the gifts of the gospel.
Bro. J. C. Clapp, we are pleased to learn by letter of recent date, is improving in health, and is again in the field. . . .
Bro. John O. Savage, writing from Dewitt, Saline County, Nebraska, 2d instant, said Bro. R. C. Elvin had been there, preached fourteen discourses, baptized four persons, organized a branch called the Blue River. Many ware believing. . . .
Bro. James McDiffitt, under date of 1st instant, writes encouragingly from Chariton, Iowa. Nine had been added to their number within the last six months. They were "rejoicing in the gifts and blessings of the gospel." Prophecies made, and blessings promised through gifts of the Spirit, had been, and were being fulfilled and enjoyed. . .
Brn. Arthur Leverton and Robert Davis wrote from Lapeer County, Michigan, January 19, that they had been laboring there for three weeks-two had been baptized. . .
James H. Stratton, of London, Ontario, writes very encouragingly of the progress of the gospel there. The Saints' chapel is done, and meetings are well attended.
Sr. Sarah Brearly, of Stillwater, Rhode Island, writes that she was healed of paralysis of one of her arms by faith and prayer to God. She gives God the glory of her good.
In the issue of the Herald for March 1, 1876, Elder D. S. Mills, president of Pacific Slope Mission, published a notice changing the place of holding the annual conference from Stockton, California, the place to which adjournment was had, to Washington Corners. Against this action Elder Peter Canavan and others made an earnest protest.
March 1, 1876, Elder J. W. Briggs, president of the Quorum of Twelve, issued a notice calling on the Twelve to meet at Plano, Illinois, April 3.
On March 15, Elders Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair, of the First Presidency, published a notice appointing April 2 to be observed by the whole church as a day of fasting and prayer, "that the church may be blessed with spiritual strength, and faith, to abide during trial."
The Herald for March 15, 1876, announced the publication of the Book of Rules, which has since been largely used as authority on parliamentary usage in church assemblies.
The following letter from Elders Fyrando and Hansen gives some encouragement that prospects were brighter in Denmark:
AALBORG, March 29, 1876.
Brother Joseph Smith: Since our last communication to you we have been preaching in the above-named city and surrounding country, to good-sized congregations. Quite an interest has been manifest, and it appears like as if the Lord had now opened the way for his gospel to be preached in this country. Last Tuesday we had the privilege of administering the ordinance of baptism to two, that are the first-fruits of labors that yet have been gathered; but we hope and believe that several more will come soon. Those baptized are both heads of families, good, earnest men, previously belonging to the Brighamite church. One of them was an elder who opposed us as long as he could; but when he saw his error he laid it aside and received the truth.
As there is now quite an interest manifest and the prospects are that a good many will come into the church, we see the necessity of having a hymn-book of our own in the Danish language, as we hitherto, as also the Scandinavian Saints in America, have used the Brighamite book, which is not suitable to our faith. We would therefore propose to the Scandinavian Saints in America, to help us with means to get up a book, with from one hundred fifty to two hundred selected hymns, arranged similar to the "Saints' Harp." We would like to have the book as soon as possible, for we need it, and would therefore ask those interested to put forth a helping hand as soon as possible.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 23, p. 283.
About this time a public discussion was held at Lilly Dale, Perry County, Indiana, where Elder M. H. Forscutt met Elder W. B. F. Treat, of the Christian Church.
The annual conference convened at Plano, Illinois, April 6, 1876. Elders Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair, of the First Presidency, presiding; Elders H. A. Stebbins and T. W. Smith, secretaries. Immediately after organization President Smith suggested the consideration of the Book of Rules and if authorized, that it be used to govern our assemblies. He asked if the committee were ready to report. Committee reported as follows:
We, your committee on "Book on Business and Parliamentary Usages and Rules," appointed at the April session of conference in 1875, do report that said book has been compiled and duly examined by us, and is now published and presented with our recommendation that said book be adopted as a manual of practice and rules of order and debate to govern the legislative assemblies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We further think that credit is due to the compilers for the neat and compact manual they have furnished.
W. W. BLAIR
M. H. FORSCUTT
PLANO, Illinois, April 6, 1876. JOHN S. PATTERSON.
The recommendation of the committee was adopted by unanimous vote and the committee discharged.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 23, p. 257.
The Church Recorder presented a statistical report showing the approximate aggregate numerical strength of the church to be about nine thousand seven hundred seventy-five.
He reported branches recently organized as follows:
East Dover, Canada; Fair Haven, Connecticut; Rocky Mountain, Colorado; Alma, Caseyville, Peoria, and Tunnelhill, Illinois; Davis City, Des Moines Valley, Northfield, and Shenandoah, Iowa; Olive, Indiana; Union, Kansas; Plainville, Massachusetts; Bigelow, Carrolton, and Valley, Missouri; Winston, Mississippi; Hope of Zion and Oak Lake, Minnesota; Blue River, Cedar Creek, Moroni, and Platte River, Nebraska; Lebanon, Minersville, Monroe, and West Wheeling, Ohio; Mansfield, Pennsylvania; Simmonsville, Rhode Island.
Reports from the ministry were quite general, and very encouraging in character.
On the 7th the report of committee on location was read:
To the Saints in Conference Assembled, April 6, 1876; Greeting: We, your committee on location, appointed at the session for April, 1875, to "arrange for and effect the purchase of lands," etc., as per resolution found on pages 299 and 300 of Herald, beg leave to report:
That upon consultation, only one of the committee, Bro. J. H. Lake, being absent, it was agreed to send to various brethren for circulation and deliberative action among the brethren, the following circular;
"TO THE SAINTS.
"The committee on location, appointed at the April conference of 1875, have consulted partially the one with the other, and four of the five, the other being absent in the field of missionary labor, are agreed, that
"1. An eligible site for a location is had in view, upon which it will not be difficult to decide.
"2. The committee is not in a position to decide upon any point definitely, because they are not possessed of the means requisite to secure the land whereon to locate.
"3. It will be quite unsafe to fix definitely upon a given point unless there shall be a sufficient amount of means at the disposal of the purchasing agent to warrant the committee in entering in upon proper contracts for such amount of land as will secure those wishing to settle where such site may be selected from paying exorbitant prices for homes.
"4. The committee know of no property belonging to the church which may be by them offered as security for moneys, if borrowed of capitalists; therefore, do not feel at liberty to pledge the faith of the church for the repayment of the means if so borrowed.
"5. The committee can therefore see no more practical method of raising adequate means, with which to begin the work of purchasing lands, than the following:
"(1). Those Saints who may have means which they wish to devote (consecrate) to this object may set it apart to be so used, by sending it to the Bishop of the church, subject to the order of the committee.
"(2). Those Saints who may have means which they are willing shall be used in such purchase, either without interest, or at a reasonable rate of interest, may loan such moneys to the committee by sending the same to the Bishop, taking his receipt therefor, specifying date, sum, length of time for which it is loaned, and the rate of interest to be paid; provided, that such sum so loaned is to be repaid by the committee out of the proceeds of sales of lands purchased and sold by said committee, in pursuance of the object for which they were appointed; provided further, that no sum shall be loaned for a less period than two years.
"6. The committee are of the opinion that from twenty-five thousand to fifty thousand dollars should be expended by the church in the purchase of lands at and contiguous to the site that may be selected.
"7. That as soon as a sufficient sum shall be placed at the command of the committee, the purchase of lands shall begin, and continue so long as the means will permit; provided, that unless a sufficient amount is raised within a reasonable period of time, the sums consecrated and loaned for the purchase of lands shall be returned to those who so consecrated and loaned them'-the loans to be returned without interest.
"8. The committee are now ready to receive consecrations and loans, as provided heretofore, and to proceed to the purchase and location of a site for a settlement; and would make a formal appeal to the Saints to now aid in the work. They do further assure all who may desire to help the measure, that they need have no fears in giving what aid is in their power, as the committee are pledged to carry out the measures that may be devised faithfully to the desired end.
"The committee would, therefore, in view of what is hereinbefore set forth, earnestly request, and urge upon the Saints, an immediate and positive action, that means may be forthcoming in sufficient amount to enable the committee to proceed at an early day to the completion of the duty assigned them.
"Let there be no delay, but let every man take counsel with himself and
his fortunes, and whatever he has to devote to this good cause, let it be at once set apart as before provided for. Saints, the work is now before you, and whether it is done or not, remains with all, even every one.
"JOSEPH SMITH, Chairman,
"On behalf of the Committee.
"PLANO, Illinois, November, 1875."
Soon after this, it began to reach the ears of the chairman of your committee, that opposition to the supposed action of the committee, as proposed in the circular, had arisen in certain localities, and among certain brethren, some of greater and some of lesser note, which has to an extent engendered distrust and apparent lack of confidence in the wisdom of your committee, and of their fitness for the duties placed upon them, as a whole; we therefore ask, should it be decided to continue the effort to make said contemplated location, that the names of such persons now forming said committee on location, as are deemed disqualified by lack of proper knowledge of their duties, and the laws of the church defining the same, and who have not sufficient wisdom to act in those duties, be released from said committee, and the names of properly qualified brethren be substituted therefor.
And for the success of Zion's cause we your committee will ever pray.
JOSEPH SMITH, Chairman, }
WM. W. BLAIR, }
ISRAEL L. ROGERS, }Committee.
JOHN H. LAKE:, }
DAVID DANCER, }
Resolved, That the consideration of this subject be deferred until two o'clock p. m. to-morrow.
At the appointed time the matter was taken up and, after much discussion, the following was adopted:
Whereas, The members of the church have not sufficiently responded to the call of the locating committee in furnishing the means adequate for the purchase of land for the location of the press, and the gathering together more closely the spiritual authorities of the church; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the report be accepted (except that portion which relates of the appointment of another committee), and that the moneys already in the hands of the committee be refunded.
On the 7th, on application by letter and successive motions, the following-named were admitted on evidences of original baptism: Ann Fosdick, Sarah J. Wilcox, Ann T. Goodrich, Marcia Gilbert, Marietta Trowbridge, Mary Barnett, and John Timms.
The 8th the boundary lines of Little Sioux District were fixed by action of conference; also those of Southern Indiana District.
The auditing committee on Bishop Rogers' report showed receipts $1,565.42, expenditures $1,596.57, leaving $31.16 due I. L. Rogers on general fund. Danish Mission fund, receipts $128.40, paid out to Danish missionaries $118.30, balance on hand $10.10. Welsh Mission fund, received and on hand $22.00. Utah chapel fund, received and on hand $5.50.
President Joseph Smith tendered his resignation as a member of the Board of Publication. The resignation was accepted, and upon nomination by the Bishop, Elder H. A. Stebbins was chosen to fill the vacancy.
The 9th, Chester Bass and Mary Fisher were baptized by Elder H. A. Stebbins.
The 10th, the High Priests' Quorum reported the deaths of George Morey and Jacob Doan, and recommended for ordination Elders R. C. B. Elvin and Jackson Goodale. These recommendations were indorsed [endorsed] and their ordinations ordered. It reported as members of the quorum the following: Wheeler Baldwin, James Whitehead, Lyman Hewitt, Zenos Whitcomb, James Newberry, James Anderson, W. H. Hazzeldine, David M. Gamet, Hiel Bronson, Ebenezer Robinson, Silas W. Condit, Hiram P. Brown, John A. McIntosh, Henry J. Hudson, T. P. Green, Daniel P. Young. Phineas Bronson, Thomas Carrico, Stephen Richardson, Israel L. Rogers, William Aldrich, Edwin Cadwell, Winthrop H. Blair, Oliver P. Dunham, John Landers, Benjamin Austin, Hugh Lytle, Thomas Dungan, Charles Derry, Loren W. Babbitt, Jesse Price, G. A. Blakeslee, Joseph Parsons, Thomas Dobson, Mark H. Forscutt, William Redfield, G. W. Brooks, A. M. Wilsey, W. D. Morton.
The following recommendations of the Quorum of Twelve were sanctioned by conference:
Elder J. W. Briggs, in charge of the Utah Mission. Josiah Ells, in his present field and to extend his labors into the Eastern Mission; Elder Banta under his direction. E. C. Briggs, in his former field, and J. S. Patterson in connection with him. A. H. Smith, released from Pacific Slope Mission, and Elder D. S. Mills sustained in the oversight thereof; Elder William Anderson under his direction. T. W. Smith, present field. Z. H. Gurley, present field.
William H. Kelley, Northern Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Joseph R. Lambert, Northern Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. James Caffall, present field. John H. Lake, present field. A. H. Smith, Northern Missouri and Southern Iowa. Glaud Rodger, in charge of Australian Mission. John C. Foss, Maine. B. V. Springer, present field. John T. Davies, Spring River District. A. B. John, Nevada. James McKiernan, under the direction of J. H. Lake. Abraham Rees, Welsh Mission. Thomas Taylor, English Mission, and Robert Evans Welsh Mission. Magnus Fyrando, Danish Mission, and H. N. Hansen released there-from. J. H. Hanson, in charge of the Southeastern Mission, and R. J. Anthony to labor in connection with him.
The recommendations of the Twelve of R. J. Anthony, Joseph F. McDowell, and Heman C. Smith for the Quorum of Seventy were sustained, and it was ordered that these brethren be so ordained.
The committee, consisting of the First Presidency and the Bishopric, who were last fall requested to give their views upon the jurisdiction of Bishop D. M. Gamet, reported, defining the limits of his jurisdiction to be Little Sioux District. The report was adopted.
The following were received on their original baptism: Christian Seichrist, Alcina Thompson, and Sabrina Avery.
The following was discussed and adopted:
Whereas, The articles of incorporation of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints locate the present business center of the church at Plano, Illinois, and,
Whereas, Provisions are made in said articles of incorporation for the changing of said business center to some other place; and,
Whereas, We believe that upon grounds of economy, convenience, the common good, and a wise reference to the coming wants of the church, such change should be made at an early day;
Therefore be it resolved, That this conference does hereby recommend that active steps be taken by those having the matter in charge, to make such change, at such time, and to such place, as they in their wisdom may think best.
The 11th, the following missions, recommended by the Quorum of Twelve, were confirmed by vote of the conference: F. C. Warnky, in charge of Colorado Mission. Mark H. Forscutt, Iowa, Nebraska, and
Illinois. J. T. Phillips, Central Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. C. F. Stiles, Missouri and Kansas. C. G. Lanphear, Northern Illinois. Duncan Campbell, Michigan, Northern Indiana, and Canada. J. F. McDowell, under the direction of J. Ells. J. C. Clapp, Pacific Slope Mission, and permitted to extend his labors into Utah, if found practicable.
On recommendation from Davis City Branch, Peter Brix was ordained an elder and assigned to labor in Scandinavia under the presidency of M. Fyrando.
On petition from the districts named, Eastern and Northern Nebraska Districts were consolidated.
After some discussion the following was adopted:
Whereas, Much unpleasantness has occurred through members leaving one branch and joining another without a certificate of membership; therefore, be it
Resolved, That members leaving one branch, shall not be permitted to join another without a certificate of membership.
The 12th, the following items of business were transacted:
Resolved, That this conference look with favor upon the effort to build a chapel, as a house of worship, in Salt Lake City, when found practicable, and that we will encourage its erection.
Whereas, Some years ago it was proposed to build a house of worship in Salt Lake City, and some means having been raised for that object, which was subsequently placed in the general church fund, by vote of conference, therefore be it
Resolved, That this conference authorize the Bishop to transfer said money to the Utah Chapel Fund again to be used in the erection of a building in that place when the erection of said chapel shall be found practicable.
Those who were present of the parties whose ordinations were provided for were then ordained; viz., Elvin, Goodale, McDowell, and Brix.
Elder James Caffall was requested to ordain Heman C. Smith, and it was resolved that R. J. Anthony be ordained when practicable. After discussion the following was adopted:
Whereas, The conferences in the past have affirmed that, there is at present no place of gathering; therefore be it
Resolved, That any elder teaching contrary to the resolutions of General Conference is censurable.
The annual conference of the Pacific Slope Mission convened at Washington Corners, California, April 6, 1876, and
closed April 9; D. S. Mills and H. P. Brown presiding, G. N. Davidson and Jacob Smith clerks. The business was mostly of a routine character. Russell Huntley was ordained an elder, and by adoption of a committee report it was decided that Elder S. Hubbard was "not at present considered to be a proper representative of the cause."
The committee appointed on building a house for the president of the mission was discharged.
In April, 1876, the editor of the Herald mentions the departure of Elder Oliver from the office as follows:
Bro. Milton B. Oliver, who has been for the past two years associated with us as assistant editor, and who has been so faithful in his care of the Hope, left the sanctum of the Herald Office, on the 5th of April, to engage in other duties at Burlington, Iowa.
Bro. Oliver's connection with the Herald Office and the branch at Plano, has confirmed and strengthened the trust reposed in him; and his going away to engage elsewhere is but the result of circumstances which demand it at his hands. His release from the duties of the office is an honorable one to him; and we beg to assure the Saints that wherever he may go he carries with him the assurance of the esteem and fellowship of his office comrades and the Saints at Plano. For our sake receive him as a brother in Christ, and for his own you will trust him, when you know him.
On April 15, 1876, the Quorum of Twelve issued an epistle giving instruction on financial and other matters. 1
1 EPISTLE OF THE TWELVE.
To all the Saints: In the discharge of our duties, and in obedience to the promptings of judgment and conscience, as well as that of the Holy Spirit, we address unto you this greeting:
Peace be with you and remain for ever, is our prayer in this behalf. And that it may remain, and that you may abound in every good work, it is needful that your "pure minds be stirred up" in respect to some things-duties undischarged, hopes deferred, which maketh the heart sick, and the whole body to languish.
The increase in our numbers in all the fields of missionary labor has been steady, but slow; too slow, for want of laborers; for the field is ready for the harvest, but the laborers are few.
To remedy this the following instructions were given:
"In order to place the church in a position to carry on the propagation of the gospel, and as a means of fulfilling the law, the Twelve will take measures, in connection with the Bishop to execute the law of tithing, and let them, before God, see to it that the temporal means so obtained is truly used for the purposes of the church, and not as a weapon of power in the hands of one man for the oppression of others, or for the purpose of self aggrandizement by any one, be he whomsoever he may be. As I live, saith the Lord, in the manner ye execute this matter, so shall ye be judged in the day of judgment."-Herald, vol. 10, no. 11. [Vol. 2, no. 7.]
Fifteen years have elapsed since this charge was given; and the first object contemplated, viz.: "to carry on the propagation of the gospel," has not been attained to any
Some things in this epistle were objected to by the Bishopric and after some months consideration they published
degree of satisfaction to us or to the church at large, or to the localities whence the cry is heard, "Come over and help." And this implies: 1. That the proper "measures" have not been taken to execute that law; or; 2. That there is a lack in understanding those measures and the law itself, or both; 3. Or there is an unwillingness to comply on the part of the church.
We think the defect is in the two former, and not in the latter.
Now the first step in the execution of a law is to define it, and the second to then carry it out. In our communication to the Saints, dated November, 1861, a compliance with that law in defined to be "a systematic free-will offering."
This definition is based upon the fact, that all means set apart to the proper uses of the church, is recognized as a tithing. And in that same communication, the presidents of branches are charged with the duty of teaching this principle, and receiving means under it; and in the communication of the quorum of "the Twelve and the Bishop," is the following: "It is the duty of presidents of branches to present this duty, with others, in its time and place, equal with any other requirement of the gospel." And in the absence of a resident bishop, or special agent, it is their duty to act as agents of the Bishop in this matter. The question has been asked, How shall the needy in the several branches be relieved? We would say, let such be relieved first, when needed, out of the tithing, and send the residue to the Bishop, or to the treasury of the whole church. Tithing and (or) offerings, it is evidently contemplated, shall supply every want of the poor and needy; and therefore it is improper for any to solicit means of the members of branches, Individually, in the name of the church, or as an elder." (See Herald, no. 10, vol. 11.)
These were the measures adopted to carry out, or execute the law as thus defined; which places the responsibilities and duties relating to this matter upon many, acting in unison, and not therefore liable to become "a weapon of power in the hands of one man." If but a small part of the contributions made for the work is credited upon the book of the treasurer of the church, it is owing to the neglect of the contributors, and branch officers or agents to report in proper form for such credits; and for lack of credits, the contributions have been withheld, to the serious detriment of the work. Missions are not appointed, because it is understood that there is no means to prosecute them; others are appointed and then postponed, or but feebly sustained for the same reason. The bad effect of this are wide-spread, and the responsibility for such a state of things is equally wide-spread.
Let every branch, district, and mission manage its own finances; but withal, remember that "the propagation of the gospel" is the first object in the law of offerings; and the general mission fund should be in the general treasury, kept by the Bishop. We earnestly appeal to the judgments and consciences of the Saints, to strengthen our hands, by means necessary to prosecute the missionary fields in force, and to prosecute them effectually. It should be remembered that at the first conference held in June, 1852, and at the April conference of 1863, it was declared that "In the opinion of this conference there is no stake to which the Saints on this continent are commanded to gather, at the present time;" therefore this is the rule that should govern us in our teaching upon that subject, inasmuch as no later commandment has been given or recognized by the church. Evidently the quorums will assemble before "the pure in heart shall gather," and the latter take place as counseled by the former.
In view of the baneful influence of the great apostasy from the faith, and the concentration of that power in Utah, whence the wicked perversions of the gospel are propagated, and morals corrupted; and that the General Conferences have authorized the building a house of worship in Salt Lake City, for the maintenance of the true faith of the Latter Day Saints; we trust the Saints will help the same liberally, and speedily "as God shall bless you with the things of this world."
To the elders in their several missions, we suggest that they seek to better systematize their labors; and to do this, we advise that each labor in their own fields, in union with the
in the Herald for October 1, 1876, an article entitled, "Views of the Bishopric." 2
district authorities, and with their advice; and seek to open new fields, and not to follow continually in the tracks of others.
The contracting debts, borrowing money and failing to repay, or doing so without reasonable grounds for promising to repay, creates suspicion, does violence to a rule of conference touching the indebtedness of elders taking missions, and gives just grounds of grievance to creditors. Such must not be tolerated.
In the discharge of the various duties enjoined upon us let us seek to do so without ostentation or arrogance; but in humility, as becometh the servants of Him who, though invested with "all power in heaven and in earth," condescended to the lowly; that our ministrations may be ratified in the heavens and the gospel vindicated upon earth, as the power of God unto salvation.
And may the peace of God be with you and all Saints through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Your brethren and fellow laborers,
JASON W. BRIGGS. JAMES CAFFALL.
JOSIAH ELLS. JOHN H. LAKE.
EDMUND C. BRIGGS. ALEX. H. SMITH.
WM. H. KELLEY. ZENAS H. GURLEY.
THOS. W. SMITH. JOS. R. LAMBERT.
PLANO, Illinois April 15,1876.
2To all the Saints; Greeting: We feel that the proper time has come for us to make response to questions that have been asked of us concerning our position as a quorum in relation to certain theories that have been advanced about the temporal interests of the church, and the management thereof; also to reply to the claims presented to us at the close of the last April General Conference, by the Quorum of the Twelve, in their "Statement of Principles," as we did not have time then to reply, during the few hours allotted to us by them.
We now, therefore, feel to give our views on those matters which so fully concern our official relations to the church, knowing as we do that the whole church is interested in this subject; also, that it is exceedingly anxious to see a solution of the differences that exist, not only in this matter, but also in the line of conduct and course of teaching to be adopted by the authorities of the church, both in things temporal and in things spiritual; in faith, in doctrine, and in all that appertains to it and its well-being, as the organization of God's kingdom on earth.
And we state our views in all kindliness of feeling and spirit, and we feel also that it is with just motives and pure intentions, and that we are earnestly seeking for the best and highest interests of the cause we love, when we herein write our understanding of what the word and law of God proclaims to be the rights, privileges, and line of duty contemplated therein for the Bishopric, as pertaining to the matters immediately under consideration.
First, we will quote some of the words directly bearing upon this matter, and those so often quoted and upon which so much stress is laid by some. They are found in the Concordance of the Book of Covenants, and were written by the President of the church, October 7, 1861, and are as follows:
"And, as a means of fulfilling the law, the Twelve will take measures, in connection with the Bishop to execute the law of tithing; and let them before God see to it, that the means so obtained are truly used for the purposes of the church."
In the "statement" before referred to, it is claimed that "the Twelve and the Bishopric are conjointly charged with executing the law of tithing; and that executing the law of tithing means collecting and disbursing the means so obtained. That each individual of this conjoint body should act by a rule, affirmed by the body."
Now we do not have this view, namely, that "executing" the law of tithing means both "collecting and disbursing" the funds of the church; neither that the Twelve with the Bishopric (twelve men to three) are conjointly charged with and have an equal right,
To this some members of the Twelve made reply, and considerable friction was engendered.
"each individual" of the fifteen, in so collecting and disbursing, as we understand is the tenor of the above, and would be the result of adopting a conjoint rule giving equal privileges to all.
Neither do we see that it would be according to either law, precedent, or necessity, or by permission of the word of God, that "a rule affirmed" by this body of fifteen men, could rightfully or properly govern and control the funds of the church, by such conjoint rule, or consistently and in keeping with said law and revelation of God.
Nor do we think that governing in this matter is consonant with the duties of the Twelve, whose mission is so clearly defined in the following passages of the law: B. of C., 16:5; 17:8; 83:9-16, 20, 21; 104:11, 12, 16, 30; 105:2-8, 11; 107:40; Matt. 6:25-33; Luke 12:22-40; Acts 6:2-5. See also instructions of Joseph Smith, in Mil. Star, vol. 15, pages 213, 261, 262.
On page 218 President Smith in answer to a question as to the special duties of the Twelve, other than those pertaining to other quorums, replied that they are to preside over all the churches and to travel and preach and "to hold the keys of this ministry . . . unto all nations. This is the power, authority, and virtue of their apostleships." On page 261 he stated as follows, that "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 have the authority to 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 elder has authority to go into any branch and appoint meetings or attempt to regulate the affairs of the church without the consent of the presiding elder of the branch. 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 to call upon the churches to assist them." Their privileges of support are apparent, and their right to call upon the branches for aid, but no jurisdiction is given herein, any more than the foregoing quotations from the law, to demand it from the Bishop or his agents, or to collect and disburse funds in common with the Bishop and his agents, or in like manner.
Their office, calling, and jurisdiction in their field of labor is entirely dissimilar, by the law, from those of the Bishopric, whose jurisdiction and duties are none the less clearly defined; and we do not feel, before God, that we can properly or consistently thus join ourselves by such proposed compact, or to be governed by rules, in whose adoption, as well as in all legislation and plans of procedure, we would stand but as one to four; and all this to be submitted to and conceded by us to deprive the temporal authorities of the church of the very rights especially committed to their care, and upon which the law is so plain, leaving no need for the proposed compact.
Those rights and duties may be seen by consulting the following passages in the B. of C., see. 42;8-10; 51:1-5; 57:6; 58:12; 70.3; 83:18-23; 87:6; 104:32; 106:1, 2; 38:8.
In sec. 42: 10, the reference to the High Council we understand to mean that body which is so designated and known as the High Council of the church, even the body of twelve high priests. In support of this we find the instructions of Joseph Smith to Bishop Partridge, in 1833, as found in "Millennial Star," vol. 14, page 450, where he writes concerning issues that may take place on the subject of tithing and consecration, and of how they are to be laid before a council "of twelve high priests" for a decision. From the law (sec. 99 and 107:4), their jurisdiction is clearly more of a temporal nature than that of the Twelve, and they are the ones commonly understood when speaking of the High Council, and are directly named by Joseph the Martyr, in connection with the Bishop, as being high priests, as we have seen. The purpose of the association of the apostles, or "traveling high council," with the matter, as by the revelation of 1861, we will again refer to, as we view lt.
Again, the revelation in section 83:18, clearly shows that every man who goes forth to proclaim the gospel should be in his financial matters in subjection to the order given, even to the Bishop of the church; and not that the Bishop, neither his agents, nor the
The following items are from the Herald for May 1, 1876:
Bro. J. H. Lee writes from Myrtle Creek, Oregon, March 29, that Bro. J. C. Clapp had preached there and baptized three. There were many calls to preach in that region.
Bro. J. H. Hansen writes from Milton, Florida, April 15, that the cause in that country is in a good condition; that he is as busy as he can be, preaching constantly. His health is excellent, considering the amount of work he does.
Bro. J. Goodale writes from Barry, Pike County, Illinois, April 23, 1876, that he has since conference baptized four at Pittsfield, two of them sons of Bro. C. Mills, all heads of families and esteemed as the best of citizens.
The Welsh annual conference was held at Aberaman, Wales, May 14, 1876, Robert Evans, presiding; E. Morgan, secretary. The authorities of the church throughout the world were sustained, including Joseph Smith, president of the church; Thomas Taylor, in charge
funds in their hands, be subject to the ministry as their right, be they whomsoever they may be; and we believe that this rule should be observed more than it has been.
We believe that it is intended that each quorum, in its place, should see that the powers of the church, both spiritual and temporal, are properly administered, and not wrested on the one hand into empty theories, false doctrines, or for personal power, nor on the other for selfish aggrandizement or individual ends, yet that all this is to be done in a proper manner, and without infringing upon the lawful privileges or jurisdiction of any quorum or body.
It is evident to us that the words "so obtained," as found in the word of 1861, clearly marks that "executing the law of tithing," only means obtaining funds for the church; that is teaching its propriety, necessity, and legality, and not that "executing" means also controlling or disbursing the funds, neither having the power to do so at their will, or on their demand.
The words that follow show that "seeing" to its use is an after consideration, and this the Twelve properly have a right to counsel about, because of their supervising connection with the prospects and prosperity of the spiritual affairs of the church, according as they are able to legislate in the conferences (58:12), or beforehand to counsel and advise with other authorities; for we do not believe that "seeing" to it necessarily includes either handling the money, or the right, as their right, to call it out of the hands of either the Bishop or his agents, as we have heard it expressed.
We believe that the first paramount duty in relation to this matter is the systematic teaching of the will of God, known as the law of tithing, whenever the quorums of the church, each in their place, shall become sufficiently enlightened and agreed upon it, and so obedient to the letter and spirit of it, as to present it in a unity of doctrine and precept, of order and practice, of humility and righteousness, and not as a matter of coercion, of force nor of fear, but as one of conscience, even of conscience regulated by the word of God; as a necessary doctrine, and one which the people of God who receive and obey it will obtain the blessings promised for so doing.
And we believe that the Twelve are charged, in the revelation of 1861, with teaching this law to the church, as their part of the work of executing and accomplishing it; and the teaching it in connection with the Bishop is properly a part of their mission as ministers of the gospel, and of the law and order of the church throughout the world; also, that they exercise special watchcare over the temporal affairs of the church only as their
of European Mission; Robert Evans of the Welsh Mission, and J. R. Gibbs, president of the Western District of Wales.
The following call, which explains its own purpose, was published in the Herald for June 15, 1876:
This will notify all the Saints that an adjourned meeting of the officers composing the board of removal of the business center of the church, was held at the Herald Office, Plano, Illinois, June 7, 1876, pursuant to a resolution adopted at the conference session of April, 1876; and that at said meeting the undersigned was authorized to give this notice, and to request those willing and desirous, and who are intending to assist and cooperate in the removal and re-location of the business center, to perfect their arrangements and determine the amount and kind of aid they can render.
The sums donated, or loaned to this board of officers, are to be used for the benefit of the church; the land bought and buildings erected, will be the property of the church, just the same as other properties now owned by the church, the board of officers being only charged with the duty of securing and disbursing an amount of means sufficient to accomplish the object designed by their appointment.
From five to fifteen thousand dollars will be required, and of this amount about seventeen hundred dollars are in the hands of the Bishop, subject to the call of the board. To raise the remaining amount, the board request all those designing to assist, to send the sums they devote to this measure to Bishop I. L. Rogers, Sandwich, DeKalb County,
office, calling, and authority in the Church is superior to others, for their duties in looking out for the missions, and in seeing to the spiritual prosperity of the work, necessarily associates them in the united success of the work.
And so, by thus teaching, the general good as well as their own, will be served, by the means that will come into the storehouse of the Lord, and into the keeping of those whom the Lord has set for this purpose, as said in section 38:8, "And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this church."
For teaching this law wisely and well is the important and indispensable step in executing it; this teaching including a due recognition of the rights, privileges and jurisdiction of all the authorities in their proper places in this matter.
Therefore, we believe that teaching it and having a general watchcare in the way of advice and counsel in respect to collecting and disbursing is the part the Twelve have in it. The words of Joseph Smith to and of Brigham Young in Nauvoo, in respect to the use and control of church funds, as not being the business of that quorum, are sufficient caution, in our opinion, against any stepping aside of one quorum to assume the duties or privileges of another.
We believe that there is need that the Twelve in their spiritual superintendence "under the direction of the Presidency of the church" (section 104:12), should have an understanding with said Presidency and the Bishopric, as to the wants and needs of the church, and as to what means are available, and as to what are the most important needs to be served, if but a portion can be provided for.
The lack of this understanding often brings into conference long lists of resolutions and appointments that fail of fruition for lack of funds. Besides, some appointed are ashamed that they can not go, having trusted that the church know its business in accepting them.
Illinois, stating to him, distinctly, the object for which it is sent, and whether the sum sent is to be a donation, or a loan; if the latter, state the time for which it is loaned. All loans should be for two years, or longer, as it will not be practicable to pay sooner.
Those who advanced means last year to the committee on location, will do well to notify Bishop Rogers, whether, or not, they design the means advanced to be placed at the disposal of the present board; or whether, or not, they desire it returned to them, as he was directed to do by the April conference. Also, those who offered aid to the late committee on location, are requested to notify Bishop Rogers, whether, or not, they will aid the present board; and if so, to what extent, with statement of amounts, time, and terms.
It is the intention of the board of officers to do all that they can to carry the resolution of the late conference into effect; whether they shall succeed, or fail, will depend to a great degree upon the character of the coöperation that they shall have.
We commend the effort to the consideration of all.
JOSEPH SMITH, Chairman of Board.
Done by order of Board of Removal, at Plano, Illinois, June 8, 1876.
The following from the Plano Mirror, of June 22, 1876, is valuable as showing the esteem in which President Smith and the Saints were held in Plano:
There is a vigorous effort on the part of the Latter Day Saints to change the location of the headquarters of the church from Plano to some
Again, by this lack of method, some interests may be served that are less important than some that are not served.
Seeing to it to then an important part of the duty of the Twelve. The spiritual authorities upon one hand know the men and the mission fields, and the temporal authorities know the funds present or available. In this way appointments that would be a certainty could be made. But this would be altogether different from adopting a rule, or set of rules, on equality of individuals, collecting and disbursing funds.
We believe that mutual brotherly love, faithfulness and prayerfulness, in spirit and in action, with true intent of heart for the best interests, or "purposes of the church," would cause wiser legislation, more acceptability to the church and to God, and success in a unity of doctrine, a oneness of principle, and a bettering of finances greater than we have had in the past.
As a quorum we hope to discharge our duties in humility and in righteousness, as the servants of God, and as coworkers with Christ and with our brethren and the Saints everywhere, and to see, ere long, a satisfactory unity of precept and practice, of doctrine and principle, in all departments of the church and kingdom of God, that it may indeed be the bulwark of salvation to all who love and wish to serve God in the fullness of truth.
May the peace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be yours for ever.
Your brethren and fellow laborers,
ISRAEL L. ROGERS.
HENRY A. STEBBINS.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 23, pp. 596-598.
new Zion, where the whole church can be concentrated in a community of its own. This is a favorite scheme with the leaders of the church, and they seem now to be in earnest. There is a call to the "Saints" in the last Herald from President Joseph Smith, chairman of the board of removal, urging the matter. . . .
Should this people leave Plano they will be a loss to the village; they are good citizens, and number over two hundred in Plano and vicinity. Elder Smith is a good man, and however much others may dissent from his Mormon views, all who know him respect him.
About this time there was a debate held at Davis City, Iowa, between Elder J. W. Mather and Reverend Ira B. Ryan of the United Brethren Church, on the Essentiality of Water Baptism. The Leon Reporter published an account written by a person not a member of any church speaking in complimentary terms of the effort and victory of Elder Mather. The audience by almost unanimous vote decided in his favor.
On June 27 Elder J. H. Hansen returned to Farmington, Kentucky, from his southern trip.
June 29 Elder Glaud Rodger wrote from Waratah, Australia. From his letter we make the following extract:
I have been in a new field, where I met with much opposition and abuse through the papers. Over four months among strangers and never saw the face of a Latter Day Saint. It was then, dear brethren, that I saw the wisdom of sending the elders two and two. I was alone and my testimony being single, had not the full effect with this people, for they need so much convincing and proof for everything. But the Lord greatly helped me in my defense of the gospel; and he raised me friends in hours of need. I have proven the goodness of God and his promises to the elders. After a hard struggle for five months I baptized two most excellent men, heads of families; and several others promised to unite with us on my return after the winter is over. A good field is open for an elder, friends in many places; . . . also there is general inquiry to know more of us. I am sorry indeed that no one has been sent from conference to our help. We have no preachers among us but Bro. Ellis, and his time is otherwise engaged. Bro. Marriott, president of the Waratah Branch, is a most excellent man, but none can render much assistance in spreading the work; so you see how I am placed. But my work is before me; and although this mission has been to my family a great sacrifice temporally still I believe the Lord will provide. I am but a poor instrument in the hands of the church, yet by the help of a higher power I will try and overcome the evil and magnify my calling with honor.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 23, p. 507.
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