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



BEARING date of January, 1885, the first number of The Expositor appeared, published at Oakland, California. The first number contained the following declaration of its policy and purpose:

The Expositor is published in the interest of the truth, as its name implies; but more especially the truths believed in, and taught by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and to draw the distinction plainly and clearly between the said church, which is opposed to polygamy and its kindred evils, and the so-called Latter Day Saint or "Mormon" church of Utah, which teaches and practices the abominable doctrines of polygamy, Adam worship, and "blood-atonement."

We want it distinctly known and understood by all the world, that the Reorganized Church of Christ, under the presidency of Joseph Smith, son of the martyred prophet, is a separate and distinct organization, duly and legally incorporated under the laws of our country, and has no connection or fellowship with the "Mormon church" of Utah under the presidency of John Taylor, successor to Brigham Young. It has been judicially decided by the courts of Ohio, that the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ, is the true and lawful continuation of, and successor to the church organized by Joseph Smith and others, on April 6, 1830. While the same tribunal has decided and determined that the Utah church is a schismatic and apostate church, having denied and rejected the original doctrines of said church of 1830. And while this paper will fearlessly attack what it deems errors and heresies in religion, its columns will always be open as far as possible for the respectful reply of those

(page 469)


who think different from us. This we believe is one anamoly [anomaly] in religious journalism.

Of course articles will necessarily have to be brief, and they must be gentlemanly and decent, to insure insertion.

With regard to members of the Reorganized Church, it must be distinctly understood that its columns will not be used to ventilate private notions, or doctrines adverse to the well-established and generally accepted doctrines of said church.

The church is a unity, and so are her doctrines.

"We must all speak the same thing," for we are all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink of the same spirit, for with us there is only "one Lord, one faith, and one baptism."

February 22 a branch was organized at Nottingham, England, by Elders C. H. Caton and G. S. Greenwood, with William Shepherd, presiding elder; A. Wibberly, priest; J. Cope, teacher; and William Coxen, deacon.

The Leeds Branch, at Leeds, England, was organized soon after by Elders Joseph Dewsnup and James Baty, with Joseph Naylor, president; Martin Haywood, priest; and Henry Warren, teacher.

About this time it became generally known that the Spalding Romance, of which so much has been said in connection with the Book of Mormon, had been discovered in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Sandwich Islands. This excited much inquiry, both on the part of those who believed in the identity of the manuscript with the Book of Mormon, and those who believed otherwise.

The following account of the find appeared in the January, 1885, number of the Bibliotheca Sacra, published at Oberlin, Ohio, and was copied into several other publications:

The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spalding will probably have to be relinquished. That manuscript is doubtless now in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, formerly an anti-slavery editor in Ohio, and for many years State printer at Columbus. During a recent visit to Honolulu, I suggested to Mr. Rice that he might have valuable antislavery documents in his possession which he would be willing to contribute to the rich collection already in the Oberlin College Library. In pursuance of this suggestion Mr. Rice began looking over his old pamphlets and papers, and at length came upon an old, worn, and faded manuscript of about one hundred and seventy-five pages, small quarto,

(page 470)


purporting to be a history of the migrations and conflicts of the ancient Indian tribes which occupied the territory now belonging to the states of New York, Ohio, and Kentucky. On the last page of this manuscript is a certificate and signature giving the names of several persons known to the signer, who have assured him that, to their personal knowledge the manuscript was the writing of Solomon Spalding. Mr. Rice has no recollection how or when this manuscript came into his possession. It was enveloped in a coarse piece of wrapping paper and endorsed in Mr. Rice's handwriting, "A Manuscript Story."

There seems no reason to doubt that this is the long-lost story. Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance, between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes. Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required.


This caused President Joseph Smith to write Mr. L. L. Rice, suggesting that the manuscript be placed for safe keeping in the hands of some proper and safe custodian in America, and suggested the Historical Society in Chicago, Illinois.

To President Smith's suggestion Mr. Rice replied as follows:

Mr. Joseph Smith: The Spalding Manuscript in my possession came into my hands in this wise. In 1839-40 my partner and myself bought of E. D. Howe the Painesville Telegraph, published at Painesville, Ohio. The transfer of the printing department, types, press, etc., was accompanied with a large collection of books, manuscripts, etc., this Manuscript of Spalding among the rest. So, you see, it has been in my possession over forty years. But I never examined it, or knew the character of it, until some six or eight months since. The wrapper was marked, "Manuscript Story-Conneaut Creek." The wonder is, that in some of my movements, I did not destroy or burn it with a large amount of rubbish that had accumulated from time to time.

It happened that President Fairchild was here on a visit, at the time I discovered the contents of it, and it was examined by him and others with much curiosity. Since President Fairchild published the fact of its existence in my posession [possession], I have had applications for it from half a dozen sources, each applicant seeming to think that he or she was entitled to it. Mr. Howe says when he was getting up a book to expose Mormonism as a fraud at an early day, when the Mormons had their headquarters at Kirtland, he obtained it from some source, and it was inadvertently transferred with the other effects of his printing-office. A. B. Deming,

(page 471)


of Painesville, who is also getting up some kind of a book I believe on Mormonism, wants me to send it to him. Mrs. Dickinson, of Boston, claiming to be a relative of Spalding, and who is getting up a book to show that he was the real author of the Book of Mormon, wants it. She thinks, at least, it should be sent to Spalding's daughter, a Mrs. Somebody-but she does not inform me where she lives. Deming says that Howe borrowed it when he was getting up his book, and did not return it, as he should have done, etc.

This Manuscript does not purport to be "a story of the Indians formerly occupying this continent;" but is a history of the wars between the Indians of Ohio and Kentucky, and their progress in civilization, etc. It is certain that this Manuscript is not the origin of the Mormon bible, whatever some other manuscript may have been. The only similarity between them, is, in the manner in which each purports to have been found-one in a cave on Conneaut Creek-the other in a hill in Ontario County, New York. There is no identity of names, of persons, or places; and there is no similarity of style between them. As I told Mr. Deming, I should as soon think the Book of Revelation was written by the author of Don Quixote, as that the writer of this Manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon. Deming says Spalding made three copies of "Manuscript Found," one of which Sidney Rigdon stole from a printing office in Pittsburg [Pittsburgh]. You can probably tell better than I can what ground there is for such an allegation.

As to this Manuscript, I can not see that it can be of any use to anybody, except the Mormons, to show that IT is not the original of the Mormon bible. But that would not settle the claim that some other manuscript of Spalding was the original of it. I propose to hold it in my own hands for a while, to see if it can not be put to some good use. Deming and Howe inform me that its existence is exciting great interest in that region. I am under a tacit, but not a positive pledge to President Fairchild, to deposit it eventually in the library in Oberlin College. I shall be free from that pledge, when I see an opportunity to put it to a better use.

Yours, etc.,


P. S.-Upon reflection, since writing the foregoing, I am of the opinion that no one who reads this Manuscript will give credit to the story that Solomon Spalding was in any wise the author of the Book of Mormon. It is unlikely that any one who wrote so elaborate a work as the Mormon bible, would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this, which at best is but a feeble imitation of the other. Finally I am more than half convinced that this is his only writing of the sort, and that any pretense that Spalding was in any sense the author of the other, is a sheer fabrication. It was easy for anybody who may have seen this, or heard anything of its contents, to get up the story that they were identical.

L. L. R.

(page 472)


Later Mr. Rice wrote as follows:


Dear Sir: I am greatly obliged to you for the information concerning Mormonism, in your letters of April 30 and May 2. As I am in no sense a Mormonite, of course it is a matter of curiosity, mainly, that I am interested in the history of Mormonism.

Two things are true concerning this Manuscript in my possession: First, it is a genuine writing of Solomon Spalding; and second, it is not the original of the Book of Mormon.

My opinion is, from all I have seen and learned, that this is the only writing of Spalding, and there is no foundation for the statement of Deming and others, that Spalding made another story, more elaborate, of which several copies were written, one of which Rigdon stole from a printing-office in Pittsburg [Pittsburgh], etc. Of course I can not be as certain of this, as of the other two points. One theory is, that Rigdon, or some one else, saw this Manuscript, or heard it read, and from the hints it conveyed, got up the other and more elaborate writing on which the Book of Mormon was founded. Take that for what it is worth. It don't seem to me very likely.

You may be at rest as to my putting the Manuscript into the possession of any one who will mutilate it, or use it for a bad purpose. I shall have it deposited in the Library of Oberlin College, in Ohio, to be at the disposal for reading of any one who may wish to peruse it; but not to be removed from that depository. My friend, President Fairchild, may be relied on as security for the safe keeping of it. It will be sent there in July, by a friend who is going there to "take to himself a wife." Meantime, I have made a literal copy of the entire document-errors of orthography, grammar, erasures, and all-which I shall keep in my possession, so that any attempt to mutilate it will be of easy detection and exposure. Oberlin is a central place, in the vicinity of Conneaut, where the manuscript was written.

I have had an idea, sometimes, that it is due to the Mormons to have a copy of it, if they took interest in it enough to publish it. As it is only of interest as showing that it is not the original of the Book of Mormon, no one else is likely to wish it for publication.

Miss Dickinson, whom you call a granddaughter of Solomon Spalding, represents herself to me as his grandniece: "My great-uncle, Reverend Solomon Spalding," she writes.

Reverend Doctor Hyde, President of the Institution, in this place, for training Native Missionaries for Micranesia, (a very prominent and successful institution), has written an elaborate account of this manuscript, and of Mormonism, and sent it for publication in the Congregationalist, of Boston. I presume it will be published, and you will be interested in reading it.

Very respectfully, yours,


(page 473)


To this letter Mr. Rice added postscript saying that he found the following indorsement [endorsement] on the manuscript:

"The writings of Solomon Spalding proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.

(Signed) D. P. HURLBUT."

The following communications will explain that the manuscript was finally made the property of Oberlin College, and from there a copy was obtained by the church:

HONOLULU, Hawaiian Islands, June 12,1885.


Herewith I send to you the Solomon Spalding Manuscript, to be deposited in the Library of Oberlin College, for reference by any one who may be desirous of seeing or examining it. As a great deal of inquiry has been made about it since it became known that it was in my possession, I deem it proper that it be deposited for safe-keeping, where any one interested in it, whether Mormon or anti-Mormon, may examine it. It has been in my possession forty-six years-from 1839 to 1885-and for forty-four years of that time no one examined it, and I was not aware of the character of its contents. I send it to you inclosed [enclosed] in the same paper wrapper, and tied with the same string that must have inclosed [enclosed] it for near half a century-certainly during the forty-six years since it came into my possession. I have made and retain in my possession a correct literal copy of it, errors of orthography, of grammar, erasures and all. I may allow the Mormons of Utah to print it from this copy, which they are anxious to do; and a delegation is now in the Islands, awaiting my decision on this point. They claim that they are entitled to whatever benefit they may derive from its publication; and it seems to me there is some justice in that claim. Whether it will relieve them in any measure, from the imputation that Solomon Spalding was the author of the Book of Mormon, I do not attempt to decide. It devolves upon their opponents to show that there are or were other writings of Spalding-since it is evident that this writing is not the original of the Mormon bible.

Truly yours, etc.,


P. S.-The words "Solomon Spalding's Writings" in ink on the wrapper were written by me, after I became aware of the contents. The words "Manuscript Story-Conneaut Creek," in faint penciling, were as now when it came into my possession.

Oberlin College, OBERLIN, Ohio, July 23, 1885.

I have this day delivered to Mr. E. L. Kelley a copy of the Manuscript of Solomon Spalding, sent from Honolulu by Mr. L. L. Rice, to the Library of Oberlin College, for safe-keeping, and now in my care. The copy was prepared at Mr. Kelley's request, under my supervision, and is,

(page 474)


as I believe, an exact transcript of the original manuscript, including erasures, misspellings, etc.


President of Oberlin College.

KIRTLAND, Ohio, 24th July, 1885.

PRESIDENT W. W. BLAIR, Lamoni, Iowa:

Herewith I transmit to you the copy of the Spalding Manuscript prepared by President Fairchild as attested by him, together with his certificate, and photograph sheets.


The "Manuscript Story" was published by the church, and has been and is kept on sale by the Herald Publishing House, at Lamoni, Iowa. An examination does not disclose any resemblance to the Book of Mormon.

A controversy had been running through the columns of the Herald for some time between Elders W. W. Blair and Z. H. Gurley, on the questions of the gathering and tithing. In the Herald for April 11, 1885, the closing arguments were published.

At the spring session of the United States Supreme Court a decision was rendered annulling the test oath prescribed by the Utah Commission, thus restoring the elective franchise to several who were deprived by the test oath.

The following information was received from Elder J. F. Burton dated at Sydney, Australia, March 25:

Everything is going on as usual. We reorganized, or revived the Wallsend Branch; but the Sydney Saints do not wish to be organized. They never were a regularly organized branch here. We are still preaching on domain and in hall.

The annual conference for 1885 convened on April 6 at Independence, Missouri; Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair, presidents; H. A. Stebbins and W. C. Cadwell, secretaries. The following ministers were present and reported: W. W. Blair, J. R. Lambert, J. H. Lake, A. H. Smith, James Caffall, Josiah Ells, W. H. Kelley, Charles Derry, H. A. Stebbins, E. C. Brand, J. S. Patterson, J. C. Foss, G. T. Griffiths, Heman C. Smith, George Montague, R. M. Elvin, Rudolph Etzenhouser, Joseph Luff, G. E. Deuel, Henry Kemp, W. J. Smith, Thomas Nutt, Peter Anderson, A. H. Parsons, Columbus Scott, I. N. Roberts, M. T. Short,

(page 475)


J. T. Davies, J. T. Kinneman, Alfred White, George Hicklin, F. C. Warnky, E. W. Cato, E. A. Davies, M. H. Forscutt, and E. L. Kelley. The following absent ministers reported by letter: T. W. Smith, J. W. Briggs, E. C. Briggs, C. G. Lanphear, R. J. Anthony, J. C. Clapp, T. E. Jenkins, B. V. Springer, W. T. Bozarth, Duncan Campbell, J. F. Mintun, P. N. Brix, J. F. Burton, Torahia, Teavin, F. P. Scarcliff, A. J. Cato, J. J. Cornish, John Gilbert, M. H. Bond, J. M. Terry, H. C. Bronson, L. R. Devore, David Chambers, Albert Haws, Thomas Daly, Harbert Scott, I. P. Baggerly, John Landers, G. S. Hyde, F. M. Sheehy, Samuel Brown, Thomas Taylor, J. A. McIntosh, M. R. Scott, and Edward Delong. These reports covered missionary labor done in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Society Islands, New York, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Indian Territory, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Wales, Minnesota, Scandinavia, California, Australia, Canada, Michigan, Indiana, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Colorado, Maine, Nova Scotia, and England. The Church Recorder's report showed a net increase over all losses of 626.

Herald Office report showed a net increase of $515.34.

The committee on Sunday-schools reported at length setting forth that they had provided Sunday-school lessons for Hope, and did what they could in the space allowed them in that paper.

The following resolution was adopted concerning General U. S. Grant, who was then suffering from the sickness that terminated his life on July 23, 1885:

Resolved, That it is with great sorrow and solicitude that we are compelled to chronicle the fact of the severe trial and affliction of that great patriot soldier and our beloved countryman, General U. S. Grant, and that during this conference we invoke in his behalf our united prayers, that if it may please our heavenly Father he may yet be spared to the joy of his family and countrymen.

It was resolved to compile all the resolutions and acts of past conferences now binding on the church, and H. A. Stebbins, Rudolph Etzenhouser, and D. F. Lambert were appointed a committee for that purpose. In consequence of

(page 476)


the discussions through the columns of the Herald on "items of doctrine," prominent among which was the controversy before referred to between Elders Blair and Gurley, the Pottawattamie District through its delegates protested against "such abuse" of the columns of the church organ. This gave rise to much discussion, and to the appointment of a committee composed of E. L. Kelley, J. T. Kinneman, J. W. Gillen, Columbus Scott, and G. T. Griffiths.

This committee subsequently reported as follows:

The committee to which was referred the resolution presented by the Pottawattamie District conference, relative to the adoption of certain measures which shall govern in the publication of articles through the Saints' Herald, submit the following:

1. That in its opinion, the enforcement of iron-clad rules and arbitrary decisions by persons who are not governed in their work by broad and liberal principles of toleration, as is shown by the history of societies in the past, has had such a tendency to subvert the liberties and retard the progress of the race, as to make the enactment of any set rules to be followed under all circumstances of doubtful propriety and final good.

2. That in our opinion there is a just and proper line to be drawn between the positions of permitting a fair hearing of the views of any and all through the church paper, and the abuse of the sacred principle of toleration and freedom adhered to by the church by using to excess the columns of the church paper, in making a series of attacks upon the life of the body, or an undue effort to enforce personal views upon the people, when they are clearly in parts antagonistic to the accepted faith of the body; and that the responsibility is upon the editor and Board of Publication to see that this line is truly made in their discrimination, the improper exercise or abuse of such discretion, or agency, to be remedied by the selection of such persons for these positions as will fill them in wisdom and fairness to all.

3. That where radical differences of opinion occur between leading representatives of the body, the discussion of them should take place in quorum capacity, and not through the columns of the Herald.

4. That in our opinion in the acceptance of articles for publication through the Herald, the parties doing the same should exclude all such as make special attack upon the supposed private views and character of the dead, or that impugn motives and question the integrity of the living; there being neither sound argument nor wisdom attained by such methods.

5. The committee has not deemed it within its duty to pass judgment upon the right or abuse of the exercise of privileges in the extended controversy

(page 477)


of the past few months, but to point out the proper steps to be taken in case the rights of the body are left unguarded in the future.

The conference amended by adding the following resolution presented by the Quorum of Twelve:

Resolved, That it is the sense of this body, that any man who accepts appointment and ordination as a representative of the church is under obligations to teach, sustain, and seek to establish the faith of the church; and no one, be he whosoever he may be, has any right to attack the divinity of the faith in part, or as a whole, as said faith is set forth in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants.

The Quorum of Twelve made a report censuring three members of the quorum. The report read as follows:

Whereas, In the present seeming crisis upon the church, when it is the duty of every member of this quorum to be present in the councils, for the good of the whole body, and

Whereas, The members present were led to believe that this quorum was to convene for the express purpose of meeting the crisis, and such have made diligent effort to be present at considerable expense, coming from distant fields, and

Whereas, Brn. J. W. Briggs, E. C. Briggs, and Z. H. Gurley, members of this quorum, have failed to meet, or report by letter to the quorum, thus virtually ignoring the members now present; and

Whereas, The quorum and conference are left without their aid and counsel at a time when their advice should be had; and

Whereas, Their thus absenting themselves from this conference is a hindrance and detriment to the quorum, and to the general good of the church; and

Whereas, No competent reasons have been assigned for thus absenting themselves; therefore be it

Resolved, That we deprecate such action, and require of them acknowledgment and confession for such treatment, and that we hold them under censure until such acknowledgments are made; and further we do so report to the body.

The following resolution presented by the Third Quorum of Elders was adopted:

Inasmuch as some of the members of this church are in the habit of visiting saloons and drinking intoxicants, which habit seems to hinder the spread of the work, therefore be it

Resolved, That we as a quorum, request that it be made a test of fellowship for any member of this church who will persist in this practice.

In harmony with a resolution adopted the day before, April 10 was observed as a day of fasting and prayer regarding the condition of President David H. Smith, and the first

(page 478)


quorums of the church. On the 11th instruction was presented through President Joseph Smith on these points. 2

Reports of the quorums indicated the following changes: Glaud Rodger, president of Seventy; A. M. Wilsey, L. W. Babbitt, John Macauley, and D. M. Gamet, of the High Priests, had died during the year.

In accordance with instruction given, the Seventy chose five to fill vacancies in the presidency of the quorum, viz: John S. Patterson, John T. Davies, James W. Gillen, Heman C. Smith, and Columbus Scott. These were presented to and approved by the conference, and accordingly ordained. These with E. C. Brand and Duncan Campbell previously ordained, completed the Quorum of Seven Presidents.

J. R. Badham resigned as second counselor to the president of First Quorum of Elders, and E. L. Kelley was chosen his successor. The following were received as members of this quorum: H. L. Holt, W. J. Smith, T. Whiting, Mahlon Smith, E. J. French, G. H. Hulmes, and D. L. Harris. The

2 1. At the April session of conference of 1885, during the consideration of the sustaining of the officers of the church made the special order for the 11th, when David H. Smith, second counselor to the president, was presented, the question was asked whether any communication had been received in regard to it. The President of the church replied: "The voice of the Spirit is that David H. Smith be released. He is in mine hand."
2. When the Quorum of the Twelve were presented the question was again asked: Has any information been received concerning said quorum? President Joseph Smith replied: "The voice of the Spirit is that E. C. Briggs be sustained for the present. J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley are in your hands, to approve or disapprove as wisdom may direct. Be merciful, for to him that is merciful shall mercy be shown."
3 On the 14th of the month, the eighth day of the session, when the mission of Elder E. C. Briggs was being considered, the following instruction was presented as the will of the Lord concerning the Chicago mission, over which some trouble had occurred:
4. "It is my will that my servants shall contend no longer one with another in regard to the Chicago Branch. Let the branch be instructed to report to the conference of my saints of the district where the branch is located, the Northern Illinois District. My servants, the elders, when passing to and from, should labor in the city when time and opportunity permit, that my people there may be strengthened and encouraged. And this should be agreeable to the elders in charge of the branch and the district, who should ever be willing to aid such ministration; and this should be without jealousy on either part."
5. The following also received in 1885, is added by direction of conference of 1894:
"My servants of the Seventy may select from their number seven; of which number those now being of the seven presidents of seventy shall be a part; who shall form the presidency of seven presidents of seventy as provided in my law."
6. The foregoing was accepted as proper instruction, and the conference acted upon it as such; but the word received was not presented to the quorums, nor acted upon by them as is the usual custom of the church in regard to revelations received for the guidance of the church. It is given here as having been acquiesced in by all, in answer to prayer and decisive upon the matters referred to.

(page 479)


Second Quorum of Elders received as members W. S. Taylor, E. A. Davies, John A. Davies, and William Thompson. C. H. Porter and G. W. Beebe were received into the Third Quorum of Elders.

The Fourth Quorum of Elders released G. F. Waterman from his position of president of quorum on account of "failure in official duty." Elder J. D. Flanders was chosen to succeed him, and upon his nomination David E. Powell and J. T. Williams were chosen counselors. This quorum received into membership Joseph Westwood, Hiram Rathbun, Richard Preator, John T. Clark, Samuel Crum, B. N. Fisher, D. A. Frampton, and S. J. Madden.

F. W. A. Reidel was expelled, and C. A. Hall dropped from Fifth Quorum of Elders; and J. W. Wight and F. B. Moyers were received into membership. The First Quorum of Priests received into the quorum C. H. Derry, G. M. Jemison, H. R. Harder, G. E. Ross, Henry Scarcliff, Roderick May, Thomas Hatty, and William Pooler. J. B. Goldsmith was chosen president, and H. R. Harder and Robert White counselors.

The Quorum of Seventy adopted the following resolutions:

Resolved, That we, the Quorum of Seventy, do hereby reaffirm the resolution presented by the High Priests' Quorum, and adopted by the General Conference of September, 1880; wherein it, is stated to be the duty of the church to sustain the Twelve and Seventy in their ministry as special witnesses of the gospel, before means are supplied to send out the members of the other quorums.

Resolved, That this quorum hereby declares that it recognizes the Holy Scriptures, the Book of Mormon, and the revelations of God contained in the Doctrine and Covenants as the standard of authority in church government and doctrine, and the final standard of reference in all controversies.

A committee was appointed to confer with the Church of Christ, known as "Hedrickites." After consultation this committee reported as follows:

We, your committee appointed to confer with a committee of the church known as "Hedrickites" report that we met with said committee-Elders Richard Hill, George Prisby, and George Hedrick,-at the house of Bro. Stephen Maloney, and after a free interchange of views, it was agreed to arrange with the Independence Branch of the church for a free, Christianlike discussion, in their chapel in this city, in respect to questions of doctrine and church government which exists between the

(page 480)


two societies, if found agreeable to the will and wishes of said branch. W. W. Blair, chairman, Stephen Maloney, Israel L. Rogers.

President Joseph Smith resigned as a member of the Board of Publication, and David Dancer upon the nomination of Bishop Blakeslee was chosen to succeed him.

Joseph Smith, J. R. Lambert, and E. L. Kelley were appointed a committee to formulate a set of rules to govern in cases of trial and appeal in the church. The leading officers were presented separately, which resulted as follows: Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair, of the First Presidency, were sustained, and D. H. Smith released. Josiah Ells, J. H. Lake, W. H. Kelley, James Caffall, J. R. Lambert, A. H. Smith, and T. W. Smith were sustained unanimously as members of the Quorum of Twelve, E. C. Briggs was sustained with one negative vote, and the conference refused to sustain J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley. The remainder of church officers were sustained.

The chairman of the committee to examine the books of the Church Secretary and Recorder stated that they had been unable to meet and hence were not ready to report.

The committee on comparing the Book of Mormon with the manuscript in David Whitmer's possession made report, which was received, adopted, and the committee discharged.

Committee on repairing Kirtland Temple reported no work done. It was continued.

Alfred Munn made a proposition to the conference looking to the formation of a company to handle a thirty-two acre tract of land that he had purchased in the suburbs of Independence. This proposition was referred to the Presidency, the Bishopric, and Twelve.

A motion was made to repeal the resolutions of the Quorum of Twelve adopted at the annual conference of 1884. Action on this motion was deferred until next annual conference.

The Quorum of Twelve presented the following on missions:

We the members of the Quorum of the Twelve present, in council, by advice of the First Presidency and Bishopric, do hereby report: Under the present depressed state of the finances of the church, we do not deem it advisable to send out as many missionaries as in the year just past; but do advise, if it can be so arranged, and meet your approval, the appointing and sustaining the following-named ministers to the respectively-named

(page 481)


fields of labor; and while we regret the necessity of lessening the number of appointees, we trust all those who have hitherto had appointments, and who may have had reason to expect appointment from this conference, will accept the situation in the proper spirit, and labor for the good cause, as circumstances shall permit, until such time as the church finances shall enable them to take the field. Praying for the spirit of wisdom and patience to be given, we humbly submit the following:

W. H. Kelley, Michigan, Northern Indiana, Northern Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, the Eastern Mission, New Jersey, and New England States, in charge. A. H. Smith, Pacific Slope Mission, composed of California, Oregon, and Western Nevada. John H. Lake, in charge of Canada Mission. J. R. Lambert, in charge of Iowa and Missouri. James Caffall, in charge of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming Territory. T. W. Smith, in charge of Australian Mission. J. Ells, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and to travel farther east as he may feel able. E. C. Briggs, Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The Twelve recommended other appointments as follows: E. C. Brand, Nebraska and Western Iowa. Columbus Scott, in the field of W. H. Kelley and Northern Illinois District. Gomer T. Griffiths, Western Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I. N. Roberts, Kansas. Heman C. Smith, in charge of Southwestern Mission. W. T. Bozarth and D. H. Bays, released from the Texas Mission. John C. Foss, Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin, and Minnesota. George Montague, in charge of Southeastern Mission. M. T. Short, Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. John T. Davies, Missouri, Kansas, and Indian Territory. R. J. Anthony, Rocky Mountain Mission. P. N. Brix, released from Danish Mission. Joseph C. Clapp, Idaho and Montana. W. T. Bozarth, Minnesota and Northern Iowa. Charles Derry, Western Iowa. M. H. Forscutt, Pittsburg [Pittsburgh] and other parts of W. H. Kelley's field. F. M. Sheehy, Eastern Mission. J. J. Cornish, Michigan and Canada. M. H. Bond, Massachusetts District. R. M. Elvin, Nebraska. J. F. Burton, Australasian Mission. John Gilbert, Philadelphia. R. Etzenhouser, Central Iowa. James A. McIntosh, Canada Mission. Henry Kemp, Fremont District, Iowa. I. N. White, Western Missouri. F. C. Warnky, Missouri. Charles Horzing, Kansas. A. H. Parsons, Kansas. J. T. Kinneman, Missouri and Kansas. Peter Anderson, Eastern Nebraska

(page 482)


and Western Iowa. John Moore, Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri. Hiram Rathbun, Michigan and Indiana. Hiram L. Holt, Northern Iowa, Southern Minnesota, Southeastern Dakota.

The Twelve also presented the following:

Resolved, That this quorum request of the body assembled the reasons why they have failed to sustain Brn. J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley as members of this quorum, that the quorum may act on their cases advisedly.

Resolved, That we, the members of this quorum, request of the First Presidency what the result of the action of the body in regard to Brn. J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley is, in this quorum. Does it remove them from the quorum?

Provision was made that Joseph Luff be sent to Utah Mission, when he was prepared to go, if thought wise.

The recommendation concerning I. N. Roberts was changed to read Southwestern Mission.

The resolution requesting reasons for not sustaining J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley was disapproved by vote of the conference. After these amendments the report of the Twelve was adopted.

On this conference the editor of the Herald commented as follows:

The conference which has just passed, was in some respects the most important of any held by the Reorganization since 1852. A feeling of unrest, in some of downright dissatisfaction, and in others of annoyance and distress, had gone out into the different districts of the church, and affected the delegates when they came together, in regard to the affirmation of the belief of the church. The delegates to the conference, and the members by virtue of their office, came into the session with this feeling, and it was made apparent before the reading of the reports of the elders in the field had come to a close, that the church as a body was in no immediate danger of disintegration. A strong determination to stand by the standard books, as heretofore indorsed [endorsed], was manifested from first to last; and the idea that the church had not spoken with sufficient definiteness [definitiveness] to be understood by her representative men was not entertained by any. Great harmony of both sentiment and spirit prevailed from first to last, with scarcely an exception. By some it is thought that in this respect it was the beat session ever held in the Reorganization. . . .

The citizens of the city of Independence were friendly, and showed courtesy to the visitors from abroad; seemingly willing to give the Saints credit for the best of intentions.

The representation was large, and the best by far that the church has

(page 483)


had. All were present for the best good of all the people, and had come to attend to the business in hand, full of keen appreciation of the situation, its gravity, and its consequences; as well as cheerfulness and determination. The interest was intense and was maintained to the end of the proceedings.

Some of the business men of the place requested Bro. S. G. Mayo to invite those of the delegates and visitors who might so desire to a ride through the city and its suburbs, directing him to provide the carriages at their expense. Some of the Saints were pleased with this attention, and availed themselves of the opportunity, and were delighted with the country.

The attempt to force the church into the declaration of a formulated creed, failed as heretofore. There was no disposition to build the "iron bedstead" upon which to stretch the devotee. It was equally apparent that the body had little sympathy with any effort to destroy the integrity of the revelations of God to the church. It was considered that to declare upon this point at the demand of one, involved the precedent to declare on another point at the demand of some one else; and if for these, then at the requirement of any who chose to rise up and demand a declaration of dogma, the church would have to yield, the result of which would be to finally eliminate the liberty of individual inquiry, quench the teaching of the word of God, and practically deny the officework of the Spirit in leading into truth. Once involved in the intricacies of such formulated declarations there could be no abiding lines of demarcation drawn where belief might safely rest and dogmatism assume the rule. It was and is far safer to affirm the books of the church, as with one so with the other, than to build a creed.

There was no ambiguity in the declaration of the Presidency in the fall of 1879; nor any mistake in the adoption of their report. The affirmation of the report respecting the ministry was clear in each of the articles where a faith in the books was named; and any one with the clearness of perception to make him a representative of the faith of the church so far as the Bible and New Testament are concerned, need be under no dubiety as to the affirmation concerning either the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 32, pp. 285, 286.

April 9 the Legislature of Tennessee passed a law forbidding the teaching of polygamy and prescribing penalties therefor. This rendered it more difficult for the missionaries from Utah to propagate their faith in that State.

May 2 a mass-meeting was held in the Tabernacle, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to protest against the course of federal officers in the territory of Utah. A declaration of grievance and protest addressed to the President and people of the United States was adopted and John T. Caine,

(page 484)


John W. Taylor, and John Q. Cannon were sent to Washington to present it. Similar meetings were held in different parts of the Territory. These meetings were indicative that the people in Utah were feeling sensitively the efforts being made to enforce the law.

The annual conference for the European Mission was held at Sheffield, England.

In the Herald for May 16 the First Presidency replied to the question referred by General Conference concerning Elders J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley as follows:

In reply to the question submitted to the Presidency at the late April session of conference, respecting the official standing of Brn. Jason W. Briggs and Zenas H. Gurley, by reason of the vote of the conference failing to sustain them: We answer that they are still members of their quorum, and hold priesthood; but by reason of the vote not to sustain, are not authorized to act as ministers for the church, until such time as the disability imposed by the vote of conference is removed.


May 4, 1885. W. W. BLAIR.

May 20 a branch was organized in Sioux City, Iowa, by Elders Charles Derry and H. L. Holt, composed of seven members, M. P. Berg, presiding elder; E. A. Townsend, teacher; David Jennings, deacon.

(page 485)

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