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THE Herald greeted its readers at the opening of 1877 as follows:
Another year has gone to keep company with the centuries and ages which have made their record upon nations and races and individuals throughout all the dwelling-places of man. In many respects it has been an eventful year, one into which has been crowded a multitude of events in the political, moral, social, and spiritual affairs of the sons of men.
The new year opens at a critical period in the situation of our own republic, or such it has the appearance, although some time may yet elapse before he who holds the winds that shall yet come from every quarter and make the whirlwind of destruction, shall permit the complications of this and other lands to culminate in the great struggle.
The situation in Europe is not encouraging, although an effort at peace through a peace conference is being held, and may delay the issue.
The old year has also told its tale to the great Ruler concerning the advance of the work of God toward its consummation, and what the story of good and ill the year has carried up to God in its record of days, weeks, and years for the laborers and waiters, the diligent and the indifferent, the faithful and the careless, the day of judgment will reveal to our collective and individual joy or else to our sorrow and dismay before the Judge.
But we hope and wish that none of those who have truth and righteousness may have turned away from their true love and constancy, for whatever has disheartened and discouraged for the time being in the way of personal trial or in the way of fears about situation of the work, as a whole or in part, will find by patient continuance, a great reward, a fullness of comfort, a crown of rejoicing that they did not fall out of the way because of this one's or that one's words or deeds. Be of good cheer, brethren, the day will come in the splendor and glory of God, in his own time. The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 8.
The Messenger's greeting was as follows:
We wish it [the New Year] may be a happy one to all, especially to the readers of The Messenger. The opening year is full of prophecy and much of it will receive a fulfillment ere it closes, among which may be reckoned the erection of a house of worship in this city by the true Latter Day Saints so necessary to give life to the faith in Utah. It will write the epitaph of the schemer, loosen the bonds, reinstate human agency, and rekindle the smothered light of gospel breath upon many an hearthstone in priest-ridden Utah. There are prophetic omens in the air,-of bartering schemes, of scribes and Pharisees, to bind heavy burdens upon the souls of men;-merchandise of priestcraft;-of rumbling in the distance of discontent, at empty promises, and feeding upon husks. The teachers whose office is to ferret out the condition of the mind, and enforce obedience to counsel, report a large per cent of malcontents in the valleys waiting for something to "turn up," to clean the streams that have been fouled by the fat cattle, and to renew the pastures which they have "eaten up." All these are buds of promise; prophetic of a healthful change. Yet it is said that Jesus is coming soon to their closet. If so it will be to use the "scourge of small cords" upon the unclean desecrators of the human sanctuary-society.-The Messenger, vol. 3, p. 2.
Beginning with the issue for January 1, 1877, the Herald was greatly enlarged, which was a necessary change, as the demands on the church organ were yearly becoming greater.
In the Herald for January 15, 1877, the editor, President Joseph Smith, gave his views in regard to Saints settling in Missouri:
We are now sometimes asked whether we advise the Saints to move into the state of Missouri. We now state that we are decidedly of the opinion that those who may so desire, can move into that State in safety if they will take special pains to pay strict heed to a popular maxim of the old prosperous days, "mind your own business," observing the rule laid down, "talk not of judgment, boast not of mighty faith."
We have so repeatedly recommended those desiring to locate in permanent homes to move "into the regions round about," that it seems almost useless to state anything about it. We have not materially changed in
our views touching the redemption of the land, as we still think that it is to be "purchased" to the Saints rather than to be redeemed by blood.
We furthermore think that every man who now attempts to go near to Zion, should count the cost, and if he can not live in peace with his neighbor, his family, himself, and his God, let him by all means stay away; if he is persuaded that he can do this, let him set the boundaries of his home, plant his orchard and vineyard, and establish the door-posts of his house, and his altar place, and determine there to abide. It is time the Saints ceased wandering and pitched their tents for a season of repose. If it should ever again turn out that they shall be compelled to leave their homes, let every man refuse to sell a foot of his land, cache his title deeds, or carry them with him; and as soon as the storm abates return to their homes. Let the Saints now live in honesty with the world and among themselves and we are fully satisfied that they will never again be removed.
We do not pretend to infallibility, nor do we think a man a heretic if he disregards our counsel, for it is the privilege of every man to act for himself; but many events that have transpired, now in the past, have shown that we were nearly correct in our forecasting the situation; and while it has taught us to be careful, it has also strengthened us in the views so often expressed, that "we can safely inhabit in the 'regions round about."'
No immigration in a mass can be safely carried forward, neither is it at present advisable, for two reasons; distress would ensue, and, it is stated, there is an order on the statute book of Missouri, unrepealed, preventing it. This, however, need not affect those who may choose to cast their fortunes as individuals in that State. We believe it to be unwise to further arraign anybody for wrongs, redress for which has so long been placed by humble and devoted prayer, upon the final docket of the great Judge of all the earth. Let the past bury its dead, and only complain of wrongs inflicted since the appeal was taken.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 25.
This opinion is confirmed by the following legal opinion subsequently obtained through the efforts of Elder T. W. Smith:
To Whom it May Concern:Having, at the request of the Reverend T. W. Smith, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, carefully investigated the statutes of the state of Missouri, as to their effect on any contemplated adventures in business by members of that church, who are citizens of other States, under which capital shall be introduced with a view to investment in business, and joint stock or other companies may be formed, we do hereby declare that it appears that the laws of said state of Missouri do most clearly and positively favor such enterprises, and invite them by the most liberal provisions and protection, without any respect to persons, or religious or political belief (excepting the
requirement of the observation of the first day of the week, called Sunday, which in Missouri is about the same as it is in the other States.) The constitution of the state of Missouri is a guarantee to peoples of all religious faiths of a perfect equality-no one being in the least favored or restrained more than any other.
Furthermore, a long and extensive acquaintance with the people of all Northern and Central Missouri, enables us to truly assure all persons that with the possible exceptions that may be in some very obscure points, or among some few unknown, ignorant, and uninfluential persons, any and all persons, of any religious sect whatever, who propose to bring into our State either labor or capital, or both, are warmly welcomed with outstretched arms and gladly encouraged. No one dreams of asking what any person's religious belief is, and in Northwest Missouri especially, our people are familiar with the customs and doctrines of the church first above mentioned, and are not likely to be surprised, as with a novelty.
Incorporated companies for manufacturing, or business purposes, are required by law to have a majority of their directors citizens of Missouri, as is generally the requirement of most if not all States. But it is well known that citizenship does not require an absolute residence, and that one may be a citizen of a State for business purposes, and yet reside for the most part elsewhere.
T. H. KEMP.
Brother Joseph: When in Oregon, a few weeks ago, I called upon the above-named gentlemen, who are among the best informed lawyers in these parts, and asked them what were the laws of Missouri in regard to the matters referred to. There is nothing to prevent any number of Saints coming in and colonizing anywhere.
Your brother in the faith,
T. W. SMITH.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 95.
The following items of historical value were published in the Herald for January 15, 1877, on pages 25 and 26:
Bro. Henry Halliday, of Shelby Station, Iowa, writes that the work of the Lord is prospering there. He has baptized fourteen this year, and others are believing.
A late letter from Newport, Southern California, states: "We will baptize four persons, at least, next Sunday, November 16."
Bro. J. S. Patterson, of the Canada Mission, writes that they are doing all they can preaching, though his health is poor and the winter weather is severe there.
Bro. R. M. Elvin, of Nebraska City, sends us a bill of fifteen lectures to be given by Bro. M. H. Forscutt, in that place. Bro. Elvin writes that the first two were given on Sunday, December 31, and the attendance was large and the attention good. After an intermission in the evening the Saints held a sacrament and testimony meeting. in which the power of
faith was manifested and they rejoiced in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Sr. Eliza Hunter, of Alton, Illinois, writes that the Saints are all well there and enjoying a good portion of the Holy Spirit, although they are much scattered and have no place of meeting, except at the Saints' houses. . . They feel blessed in having Father Whitehead among them, and rejoice that his life is still spared.
Bro. Marcus Shaw, of Detroit, Becker County, Minnesota, writes that the Saints there are all doing well, but have some trials. No traveling elder visits them. He is preaching the gospel and expects to devote most of his time this winter to the work.
Bro. Francis Earl, recently of Braidwood, Illinois, has been preaching at Lake Village, Newton County, Indiana, near Momence, Illinois. He finds the people kind-hearted and attentive, and the minds of some seem to be open for conviction of the truth.
Bro. Adam See, of Adam's Center, Wisconsin, writes that Bro. William Savage has been traveling in Sauk, Vernon, and Eau Claire Counties of that State, preaching with good success, but the illness of his wife has caused his return home.
Bro. J. A. Robinson, of Peoria, Illinois, wrote December 26 that Bro. H. C. Bronson was there on his way to hold a series of meetings in Canton.
President William W. Blair has been laboring at Kewanee, Illinois, and more recently attended the funeral services of Bro. William Aldrich at Burlington, Wisconsin. He has now gone into Hancock County, Illinois, to preach.
Bro. E. C. Brand writes that he has recently delivered ten lectures in South Bend, Nebraska, and vicinity, and is now preaching near DeWitt, to attentive congregations.
Bro. J. J. Cornish wrote from London, Ontario, January 1, that he baptized two more the night before, cutting through thick ice to make a place.
February 19 Elder Joseph Dewsnup wrote from Manchester, England. The following is an extract from his letter telling of some baptisms:
As you would learn from the letter, which appeared in the Herald of November 15, 1876, we had expectation of baptizing some six others. I am happy in being able to inform you that their new birth was accomplished on the 16th of December last, so that we now number twenty members, composed of five different families. We have had considerable uphill work in the shape of sickness; and a little opposition from those with whom we formerly worshiped [worshipped]; but God's blessings have attended us throughout. We have a first-class president in Elder John Miller, an old veteran in Mormonism, prepared, I believe, to resist to the death all heresies, polygamic or otherwise. As a branch, we are fully satisfied with our present position, and thank the Giver of all good for the liberty of the gospel. We have frequently come in contact with the followers of
Brigham Young, much against the will of many of them, as we hold our public meetings in the same building that they do. We feel that we have nothing to fear but everything to hope for in the future. We have quite a number of inquirers who seem deeply interested in our principles, and will, I hope, ere long cast in their lot with us.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, pp. 117, 118.
There was much discussion about this time in regard to the forming of an association having for its object the gathering of the Saints, furnishing them employment, assisting them to procure homes, etc. Under date of February 22, Elder I. N. W. Cooper wrote an article which was subsequently published, giving a detailed explanation of a proposed association to be known as "The Common Sense Mutual Agricultural Association." Considerable discussion for and against followed this through the Herald columns; other plans were proposed, but no association of the kind was ever perfected.
On Monday, March 5, 1877, the Saints of Salt Lake City, Utah, having procured a lot for the purpose, broke ground for the erection of a house of worship in that city. This was considered an important movement, by the church at large, for up to this time they had been under the necessity of renting halls, or holding service in private houses, as public houses controlled by the Utah church had generally been unconditionally closed against them.
March 6, 1877, Elder C. H. Caton wrote from Birmingham, England. Of the mission he stated:
I am happy to say that the English Mission is in good condition, and I think that the General Conference of the church in America will do well to sustain Bro. Thomas Taylor as president of it; it will save money and time, too.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 110.
The following is an extract from a letter written from Myrtle Creek, Oregon, March 19, by Elder J. C. Clapp:
I have baptized eighteen since I wrote you, and have brought many more to confess that ours is the doctrine of Christ. I organized a branch at Ott, Coos County, and left them rejoicing in the spirit of true brotherhood.
On March 23, 1877, John D. Lee was executed at Mountain Meadow, Utah. In the Herald for April 15, the editor made the following observations on the subject:
If the conviction and consequent punishment of John D. Lee for murder, should justly work the downfall of all phases of "Mormonism," because all have the principles of error, wrong, and crime in them, we shall say, amen. But if it shall be made to appear, as we believe that it will be, that the principles of "Mormonism" so-called, as taught by Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and their compeers, in their lifetime, are in no wise responsible for the outgrowth manifested in the massacre for which John D. Lee was executed, it will be one more link forged in the chain of the law of compensation to which we look for the righting of things now wrong. Many things transpiring of late confirm our trust in the ultimate lifting of the cloud of ignominy under which the truth has so long been hid.
Our duty, as to those to whom has been committed the "true riches," is to remain steadfast in the truth which we have received. For one we do not fear what may be beyond the confession of John D. Lee.
At eleven o'clock in the forenoon on the 23d of March, at the scene of the Mountain Meadow Massacre, two hundred ninety miles from Salt Lake City, John D. Lee was shot, five bullets piercing his heart, for his participation in that terrible deed of twenty years ago, whereby about one hundred twenty men, women, and children suffered death. Before his execution he declared that he had not designed to do wrong in that affair, but that, contrary to his feelings, he acted in the scene of crime under his superiors, and by his allegiance to the church of Brigham Young. His last words are significant and show his recognition of the contrast between the teachings of Joseph Smith and those of B. Young. He said: "I do not believe everything that is now taught and practiced by Brigham Young. . . . I believe that he is leading the people astray. But I do believe in the gospel as taught in its purity by Joseph Smith in former days. I used to make this man's [B. Y.'s] will my pleasure, and did so for thirty years, but see what I have come to this day. I have been sacrificed in a cowardly, dastardly manner. But there are thousands of people in the church, who are honorable and good hearted, whom I treasure in my heart."
His written confession charges Brigham Young, George A. Smith (now dead), William H. Dame, Isaac C. Haight, J. M. Higby, Philip K. Smith, and many others with being the planners, aiders, and abettors of that bloody deed, and claiming that he stood out against the council which convened the day of the massacre, and just before the emigrants were decoyed out with a false flag of truce to their deaths, but that, through fear for his own life, and in blind submission to the teachings of those in charge, he gave up his opposition. He said that it was stated by Colonel Dame, Lieutenant-colonel Haight, and Major Higby, that by order of the president (Brigham Young) none of the emigrants "who could talk" were to be spared. They taught also that the words of their leaders to them "were as the will of God," and that they had "no right to question," but must obey "as commanded."-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, pp. 120, 121.
The thirty-ninth annual conference of the church convened at Plano, Illinois, April 6, 1877, Presidents Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair presiding; Elder H. A. Stebbins secretary, Elder John Scott clerk. The Recorder's report showed a net increase in membership for the year of seven hundred fifty-two.
An order was read from the conference in England on Bishop Rogers for the amount in his hands as emigration fund to be transferred to the Utah chapel fund. After some discussion this was denied. 1
The Bishop was, by resolution, instructed to procure an abstract of title to the Kirtland Temple property.
The following resolution was adopted on the 7th:
Resolved, That the Bishop be, and is hereby instructed to pay all moneys now in his hands for the Utah chapel to the present building committee, on their order.
On the same day the committee on music reported through its chairman, Elder M. H. Forscutt. The report was referred to a committee consisting of I. N. W. Cooper and John Scott. This committee reported on the 9th, recommending that the work of tune book be completed and submitted to the Board of Publication for further investigation before publishing. This recommendation was adopted.
An attempt was made by Elders J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley to amend the articles of incorporation, but the amendments were denied.
On the 10th a committee to whom the trouble in Canada
1The editor of "Herald" explains this action as follows:
"While writing of the Utah chapel, we deem it advisable to state, that the emigration fund to which reference was made in the late conference, as having been ordered to be paid to the use of the chapel, was a fund raised by contribution from Saints to be devoted especially to emigration purposes. It was very properly deemed unwise to divert this fund to any other object with a probable result of losing it to the one for which it was created; as to do so would be to act in bad faith toward the depositors in that land. We took no part in the discussion upon the question, but certainly commend the wisdom of conference in refusing their consent to the payment of that fund to the Utah chapel. It is true that the amount is not large, but the principle is just as important, and applies with equal force to ten or ten thousand dollars; and while we will be pleased to see the chapel prosper, we can not afford to see it prosper at the expense of what we deem right dealing. We write this without prejudice to the brethren of the conference in England, as we feel they acted conscientiously in the matter."-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 140.
had been referred reported, and their report was adopted, as follows:
We, your committee, would respectfully submit the following: Whereas, A question of authority has arisen in the Kent and Elgin District as touching the right of certain elders, viz.: George Cleveland, Robert Davis, George Shaw, John Shippy, and two others, six in all (as reported in Herald of March 15, in minutes of Kent and Elgin District), to convene a conference of said district-on October 4, 1876. And, Whereas, A notice duly published in the Herald of October 1, and dated September 11, 1876, signed by the president of that district, and by the president of the mission in charge, appointed by General Conference, to the effect "that for good and sufficient reasons" manifested to them, "that no conference would be held in the district until further notice appears in the Herald." And, Whereas, It appears in evidence, that all the branches of said district, with one exception, were governed by this notice, last aforesaid, as seen in the report of committee on branch reports, in minutes of Kent and Elgin District conference, of October 14, 1876, and published in Herald of March 15, 1877; said conference having been convened by the aforesaid brethren in disregard of said published notice; Therefore, We your committee, recommend that said act be declared discourteous and illegal. And, Whereas, The president of said mission, because of said act, did silence from preaching the aforesaid brethren, Cleveland, Davis, Shaw, and Shippy; and, Whereas, We consider this act premature; Therefore, We recommend that license to preach be restored to these brethren, except it be to John Shippy, who, in the opinion of your committee, has been the leading spirit of the whole difficulty; and from the information presented by both parties in this matter, we do not consider him a safe man to represent the interests of the church of Christ. All of which, together with the papers pertaining to this matter presented to us, are respectfully submitted.
Z. H. GURLEY, }
J. T. PHILLIPS, } Committee.
E. BANTA, }
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 136.
The conference, by resolution, requested the Board of Publication to publish in pamphlet form some articles previously appearing in the Herald by W. H. Kelley, entitled "Presidency and Priesthood."
Committee on removal reported, and their report was adopted, reading as follows:
We, your committee on location and removal, made so by the articles of incorporation, respectfully submit the following report:
Your committee at its first meeting decided that they could not safely attempt to make purchases with a view to secure a location with less than
five thousand dollars at command of committee; that by loan and donation the sum of four thousand four hundred forty-seven dollars seventy cents has been placed at the command of the committee; that in view and expectancy of receiving an amount sufficient to warrant the further prosecution of the duty assigned, three of your committee were appointed a committee of inquiry and observation, who, upon request have reported making suitable inquiry, and the finding of several eligible locations; that your committee have not yet decided upon a particular site, and therefore ask for further time in which to perfect arrangements; and also request a more hearty and extended coöperation with your committee in the endeavor to do what the articles of incorporation require, and the church demands of your committee.
Your committee further urge upon the attention of the church, that a more liberal support would enable your committee to determine definitely, and proceed to the completion of the duty as directed at your last annual session. We respectfully abide your further action.
JOSEPH SMITH, Chairman of Committee.
PLANO, Illinois, April 10, 1877.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 137.
The following were received upon evidence of baptism into the original church: Ezra T. Whitehead of Mexico, New York, Sarah P. Smith of Delevan, Kansas, and Elizabeth Unsworth of Kansas City, Missouri.
On the 11th the First Quorum of Elders, upon a request from the Pacific Slope, reported favorably upon a proposition to organize a separate quorum upon the Pacific Slope, and requested that they be permitted to transfer names from other quorums for that purpose, but this was denied. They reported that they had taken Elder Alma Kent into the quorum to fill a vacancy occasioned by the death of Elder George Braby.
The Bishop reported, due Bishop at last report, and since expended, $1,422.23; received, $1,318.78; due the Bishop, $103.45.
The following missionaries were appointed: James Caffall, Iowa and Nebraska, in charge; J. R. Lambert, Northern Iowa and Minnesota, in charge; W. H. Kelley, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, in charge; Z. H. Gurley, Utah; J. W. Briggs, released from Utah, but requested to remain until fall; E. C. Briggs, Western States; Josiah Ells, to labor as the Spirit may direct and his ability permits; A. H. Smith, Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri;
J. H. Lake, Northeastern Missouri, Southeastern Iowa, and Western Illinois, but should his circumstances permit he to go to Canada; T. W. Smith, referred to the First Presidency for appointment; Glaud Rodger, sustained in Australia with permission to return to America if he deems it wise; J. T. Davies, Kansas, Missouri, and Indian Territory; James McKiernan, last appointment; J. H. Hansen, Southeastern Mission; R. J. Anthony, Iowa and Nebraska until fall, then Southeastern Mission; J. T. Phillips, Ohio and Pennsylvania, J. F. McDowell, Ohio and Indiana; Charles Derry, Northern Iowa and Minnesota; C. N. Brown, New England Mission; Magnus Fyrando, and P. N. Brix, Danish Mission, with permission to Elder Fyrando to return if he so wishes; D. S. Mills, and J. C. Clapp, Pacific Slope Mission; J. S. Patterson, Eastern Iowa and Western and Central Illinois; A. J. Cato, Southwestern Missouri and Southeastern Kansas; Heman C. Smith, in former field; J. C. Foss, Maine; J. X. Allen, St. Louis District; M. T. Short, Western Illinois and Iowa; Columbus Scott, under W. H. Kelley; J. M. Wait, Wisconsin; Joseph Lakeman, Maine and New Brunswick; Francis Earl, Northern Illinois and Michigan; E. Banta, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio; G. S. Yerrington, New England Mission; J. W. Mather, Central Illinois, Eastern and Southern Iowa; Robert Davis, Michigan and Canada; Thomas Taylor, English Mission; Robert Evans, Welsh Mission.
On the 12th the First Presidency reported on questions propounded by Elder J. S. Patterson, of the Canada Mission, which were referred to them, and their answers were adopted by the conference. 2
2 Whereas, I have been informed by the president of the London (Canada) Branch, that two elders (at a time when they were silenced) did profess to have received revelation commanding or instructing them to seal up to eternal life a young sister of said branch, which command they did put into operation by performing something like an ordinance, we therefore present this paper to the conference, desiring that the matter be investigated, as to the nature of the ordinance, and also as to the rights of elders to perform such ordinances, If such there be in the church.
[Signed] JOHN S. PATTERSON.
To the conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, In session at Plano, Illinois: The First Presidency, to whom your honorable body referred the question respecting ' sealing unto eternal life,' propounded in the paper attached hereto, submit the following In reply:
The following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That the Bishop be authorized to make a call upon the church for means to support the missionary efforts now being made.
The call of the Bishop provided for above was subsequently made, and reads as follows:
In accordance with the instruction of the late General Conference, I hereby make this call upon the church for funds to sustain the missions appointed and continued by vote of said conference.
Subscriptions from branches and individuals in districts where there are Bishop's agents, should be paid to such agents, and such funds as are paid in answer to this call, and so specified, should by them be sent to me together with all actual tithings received by them, as heretofore directed. But other offerings not so specified, but paid in to be used in the districts by the instructions of their conferences are to be so retained and used, if needed, or, if not, then they may be sent to the general treasury of the church. Where there are no agents all these funds should be sent directly to me.
As the servant of the church, and in the hope of the gospel, I subscribe myself your brother in the Lord,
ISRAEL L. ROGERS,
Bishop of the Church.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 144.
The editor of the Herald on April 15 made the following comments on the conference:
The session was one characterized by great unanimity of feeling among the elders present. The number attending was not large, yet the building
We know of no law of the church creating or authorizing "sealing up to eternal life," as an ordinance; other than such sealing as may be found in the "laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost," in confirming members into the church. We therefore decide that such persons as may have performed a rite supposed to be one of "sealing unto life," as an ordinance of the church, have erred, but, such error is not of such a nature as to become a crime against the law governing the church, as the fact of such "sealing up unto eternal life," can not be determined as to its truth, or falsity, except at the judgment day, when the acts of all are to appear for arbitration and decision; therefore the act of those men referred to in the inquiry submitted to us, and of which complaint is made, is not such an act as demands official inquiry and condemnation.
While this is our decision; we decide, while there is no ordinance of the kind referred to known to the law, the written law of the church, it is therefore of the things of the unwritten law, if the right exists at all to seal up unto eternal life, other than in confirmation by the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the performance of such an ordinance, or the solemnizing of such a rite is of doubtful propriety, and should in no case be done except upon unqualified directions of the Spirit. Further, that elders should not teach, nor practice such rites as a rule of the church.
All of which to respectfully submitted.
Done at Plano, Illinois, April 1877.
W. W. BLAIR, of the First Presidency.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 139
in which the meeting was held was quite well filled for the first three days of the session, by an earnest and orderly body of Saints, all alive to the interests of the cause they represented.
There was considerable business of importance done. . . . The missionary field was considered at some length, and provisions made, so far as it was within the power of the assembly to provide, for an active prosecution of the work wherever laborers were and could be laboring. . . .
The routine of daily business was: Assembling at nine, or half past nine in the morning, the Saints held prayer and testimony meeting; the Committees and quorums held at hours of their own choosing those sessions which were deemed advisable by them, for such business as they found necessary; consultations and mutual conferences between the different officers of the church as made necessary-these occupied the forenoon. At one o'clock in the afternoon conference convened for business, and remained in session for from four to five and one half hours; the evening was spent in preaching the word by elders appointed by the chairman of the meeting. The elders appointed responded without an excuse being offered in a single instance, and each one was blessed; the best succession of discourses being preached that has been at any of our previous sessions.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 121.
April 15, 1877, a branch was organized at Blue Rapids, Kansas, by Elders Heman C. Smith and I. N. Roberts, composed of sixteen members, principally the fruit of the labor of Elder George W. Shute. G. W. Vail was ordained an elder; J. S. Goble, a priest; and Mahlon Smith, a teacher; and chosen to act in these several offices for the branch.
The annual conference of the Welsh Mission was held at Aberaman, April 29, 1877, Robert Evans, presiding; J. R. Gibbs, secretary; E. Morgan, clerk.
Brigham Young was about this time annoyed with much litigation in the case against him by Ann Eliza Webb Dee, and several decisions and counter decisions were rendered by the courts. Of the latest decision the Herald editor commented on May 15, as follows:
By the late decision of Judge Shaffer, of Utah, in the case of Mrs. Ann Eliza Dee Young against President B. Young, the former is declared not to have been a wife but a menial in the service of President Young, and therefore not entitled to divorce, or alimony, but wages as such menial; and the latter having already paid a sufficient sum for such services as were rendered by Ann Eliza, is discharged from further obligation to pay. Whether this horn of the dilemma will be any more pleasing to President Young, than in the other wherein Ann Eliza would be declared a wife and
entitled to a divorce, and the president made to pay heavily as alimony, remains for his own private cogitation and decision to determine. In either case President Young loses; in the one money, in the other moral prestige: and the latter is just now the most valuable to him.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 154.
Elder Magnus Fyrando arrived at home, Magnolia, Iowa, May 13, 1877, from whence he wrote the following letter on the 18th:
We left Copenhagen April 20, Glasgow the 27th, Larne, Ireland, the 29th, and arrived at New York May 8, after ten days pleasant sailing.... I was sorry to have to leave the mission and Bro. Brix alone. We were sure some one was sent from the General Conference to his help, but how sadly disappointed. . . . It is hard to be alone. From January 22 to April 6 there were eleven baptized, and many more are believing. Five of the members came over with me from Denmark.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 24, p. 174.
Commencing with June 4, Elder Heman C. Smith held a public discussion at Blue Rapids, Kansas, with Reverend W. F. Boyakin, of the Baptist Church. This resulted in a more extensive hearing in that city and country than the Saints had hitherto had.
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