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THE year 1886 opened with conditions surrounding the work which may be reviewed briefly with profit to present and future generations. The prosecutions and convictions under the Edmunds law were increasing in Utah to such an extent that the historian, Andrew Jensen, in his "Church Chronology," paints this somber picture of the scene:
The prosecutions under the Edmunds law for polygamy and unlawful cohabitation were continued, and nearly every settlement of the Saints were [was] raided by United States deputy marshals, in search of polygamists. Fearing the impossibility of a fair trial, hundreds of the brethren and many families went into exile, some of whom sought refuge in Mexico and others in Canada. Nearly all the leaders of the church were in hiding, and the situation throughout Utah was truly critical.-Page 127.
Within the ranks of the church all was not of the most promising character. True, open controversy touching the questions raised by Elders Jason W. Briggs, Zenas H. Gurley, and others, had been cut off by action of the Board of Publication; but it proceeded in private circles, and manifested a phase dangerous to the church. However, but few were seriously and permanently affected, and the outcome of the investigations started by the public discussion accruing before the repressive action of the Board, was a firmer hold upon the truth, and a higher and broader conception of some phases of the work, by many.
The questions pending in regard to the authority and powers of the members of the Quorum of Twelve were agitating many, and to some extent all; and there was an earnest expectancy characterizing the thought of the coming of the next General Conference which it was expected would decide some of these mooted questions.
Elder J. J. Cornish held a debate with Reverend Staples, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at Deckerville, Michigan, the latter part of December, 1885, and the fore part of January, 1886, nine nights in all. Three were baptized by Elder Cornish while the debate was in progress.
C. E. Aldrich, in a letter from Crawfordsville, Oregon, bearing date of January 3, relates the following concerning the goodness of God and the manifestations of his power.
I will now tell you something about the goodness of God towards us, and then you can judge about whether we are serving him or not. About four years ago the Spirit told us to repent of our sins and return to the Lord, saying, Know ye not that pestilence is raging through the earth, baffling the most skillful physicians of the land? Ere long you will have need of that great physician, Jesus Christ. Shortly after there came some disease that the doctors had no name for. Several died, mostly children. Soon after its appearance a doctor was waiting on a little child, a little over a year old, and he said there was no hope for it, at least there were fourteen chances against it to one for it; and the father of the child bought its shroud. That evening a brother came after the writer, then president of the Prairie City Branch, and I went in haste, for the Spirit bade us be quick. When we reached the place we found several old people there, the mother weeping over the child, with all in
the house, except three or four Saints who were well satisfied that the power of God would be there in due time to save.
To the surprise of all, the Spirit was given, the blessing pronounced, and in about five minutes all could see the child was much better. The next morning the doctor was sent for, and he pronounced the child was in perfect health. Though weak, it gained strength slowly for a time, then the Saints held a prayer-meeting and the plague was no more. Soon after this a cancer came on my wife's left cheek. The Saints by this time had departed from the narrow path, the Spirit was withdrawn, the branch went down, and I with my family moved to this place. The cancer kept growing larger. I employed a doctor and he took out the one on her cheek, but soon after it made its appearance on the left temple. We began to doctor it, but to no effect. It grew to the size of eleven inches one way and eight and a half the other. We called another doctor, and he said she could not recover, as it was in the blood. I told my wife what he said, and we continued our prayers. That night I had a dream. A messenger appeared to me and told me that if it kept on four days it would reach the brain, but to have all the faith I could. The next morning she asked me what I thought of the case. I told her all, and said I knew that she would stay the four days. She said she did not believe the Lord would take her away from her little children yet. The next morning I dressed the cancer and applied medicine as common, and it spread as usual. After dressing as above, she said something made her feel that we ought to send for the Saints to meet in prayer. That evening all met at her request and bowed around the bed in mighty prayer, and then she told us to take the medicine off, which was done, and to the surprise of some of the Saints as well as our neighbors it stopped its work immediately, and now she is still with us, in fair health, and still improving. It must not be thought that we only prayed once, for the Saints wrestled all that night. In fact it was the subject of our prayers for weeks, insomuch that some could testify that the angels were near us at different times.
In the District Court of Ogden, Utah, January 5, a verdict of guilty was found against Lorenzo Snow for unlawful cohabitation in 1884 and a part of 1883, and he was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment and fined nine hundred dollars and costs.
January 6 witnessed the beginning of a discussion between Elder J. F. McDowell, and Elder J. D. Pegg of the Seventh-day Adventists, at Boonsboro, Iowa; subject, the Sabbath question. Eight sessions were held.
January 11 at Amboy, Illinois, occurred the death of High Priest Edwin Cadwell. He was born July 7, 1810, at Springfield, Massachusetts, and embraced the gospel faith in 1840, remaining steadfast to the end.
The following sound doctrine occurs in the pastoral of Elder W. H. Kelley, bearing no date, published in Herald of January 30:
The spirit and genius of our cause is not that of domination, but an appeal to the judgment and conscience of the people; the education, enlightenment, and advancement of all-keeping constantly in view "the law and the testimony."
The Saints are free, one and all. But their freedom is in the law; not to ignore and refuse to obey, but to keep it. Not goaded to duty as serfs and vassals, by the lash of some dominant lord; but intelligently, cheerfully, and conscientiously performing their respective duties as made known-able to give a reason for their faith and action-fearing God and loving the right. This is the royal road of progress in earth and heaven. "We are laborers together," mutually interested in a great cause. Each one forms an integral part of the whole, and each in charge of him or herself with a fixed determination to be found in the line of duty-keeping constantly in view the right-and there is no question as to success-the securing of the honor of the cause everywhere-together with the divine benediction.
The first Sunday in January a branch was organized at Hastings, Australia, with Evans Jones as presiding elder; Bro. Woolley as priest; Bro. McGurks, teacher.
The following letters, self-explanatory, touching the life and testimony of Oliver Cowdery, were published in the Saints' Herald for February 6:
RICHMOND, Ray County, Missouri, January 20, 1886.
Bro. Joseph Smith:I send with this a copy of a letter written by my father to Doctor Warren Cowdery, a brother of Uncle Oliver Cowdery, concerning his death and sickness; also answering some questions that Warren Cowdery asked by letter. Father most always kept a copy of this kind of letters when he wrote to any one, and mother gave me a number of his old papers. This copy I found amongst them. Different parties had been making inquiry concerning Uncle Oliver's dying testimony. It seems the Devil will keep up his lying, thinking he can weaken some in the faith of the Book of Mormon, and saying that the witnesses denied their testimony before they died. I bear my testimony that I was with three of the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon in their last sickness, and they held firm to their testimony. If you think it would do good to publish the letter concerning Uncle Oliver, you may. Yours in the hope of a glorious resurrection,
PHILANDER A. PAGE.
RICHMOND, Ray County, Missouri, March 20, 1850.
Doctor Warren Cowdery; Sir: In compliance with a request made by your brother Oliver, and from you, feeling it my duty both to the dead and the living, I address you upon a subject which is solemn, yet carries with it a consolation. Although we have been called upon to mourn we are not left to despair. We have been called upon to inter his remains in the silent tomb where it will not be seen any more until the morning of the resurrection, yet the principles which he avowed deserve to be written in letters of gold, never to be obliterated.
I will give you a description of his illness and death. On the 22d of January, 1849, brother Oliver came to Richmond. The weather was severe and he caught a bad cold, which gave rise to a tight, dry cough. When warm weather came on, he had better health until the first of August when he was attacked with a fever; after the fever left, the chills came on; after this his health was on the decline. In December he was attacked with inflammation of the throat. Some time in February, 1850, the inflammation settled in his stomach, attended by a severe cough, which wore him down; and on the 3d day of March, 1850, we had to part with him. But he gave evidence of his acceptance with God, declaring that he knew his sins were forgiven, and that he had become sanctified. I held him up till he could take the parting hand with all present; then he said to me, "Lay me down, and let me sleep in the arms of Jesus."
During his sickness his mind was strong; although his bodily strength failed, his mind was clear and active.
Questions.-Did he die holding to his former testimony as he taught it, or did he die as some of the sectarians without any special faith in any church? Did he express any opinion about Strang and his followers, or Brewster and his followers, or the Twelveites, or any others that pretend to embrace the Mormon faith? He did frequently express his opinion of those different factions pretending to hold the authority of the primitive church of Christ, who do not cleave to the standard of truth. Of those he said they are either deceivers, or deceived; but he said there are many among them who are honest and will receive the truth when they hear it; and any organization that does not agree with the order laid down in the Bible and Book of Mormon in the gospel dispensation, is to be rejected; knowing that for us to support such errors would be opposing the order of God, and would be worshiping [worshipping] the man of sin. Among his last words, was to reaffirm his testimony to the Book of Mormon.
Your brother in Christ,
On Tuesday, January 26, occurred the death of General David R. Atchison, in Clinton County, Missouri. General Atchison will be remembered kindly as one of the few Missouri officials who treated the Saints with justice and consideration.
On the same day a branch was organized near Ubley, Michigan, by Elder J. J. Cornish, consisting of twenty members.
The Saints' Herald for January 30 appeared with a new department, "Mothers' Home Column." This important change occurred to some extent by reason of "A Plea for Domestic Culture," made by Lucy Lloyd in Herald of January 23, in which she said:
Dear Sisters of the Household of Faith:I trust our beloved editors will grant us space in the columns of the Herald, for the purpose of writing to each other whatever may seem best for our mutual benefit, that we may assist ourselves and others also by kind words of advice and such encouragement as shall lead us, through our own energies, to attain a higher plane of excellence in every-day life.
The times now urge us to be steadfast; striving daily to perfect our faith and build each other up in every good work, spiritually, socially, and morally. An exchange of our choice recipes and best methods of regulating our domestic affairs for the comfort and health of our families is very desirable, that we may learn to simplify our work and teach ourselves to be pleasant and companionable, and that although our homes may be very poor and plain, try to make them habitations of love and happiness. We will also consider the duty of parents to children and try to learn the most wise and proper plans for their training. Home is a mother's kingdom, and there is no field in this world that requires more careful, faithful cultivation than the hearts of our little men and women. Truly, a happy home is worth striving for, and it is a duty we wives and mothers owe to ourselves and families to make it happy. We need encouragement, therefore let us try to give and receive with all patience, charity and humility before God, asking him to bless our efforts, that our talents may multiply and our light shine through this department, helping the Herald to bless every fireside it may reach. Household, according to Webster, are those under one roof, or those belonging to the same family. All Latter Day Saints should feel that they belong to the one family of our Father in heaven, and as such should love and help each other as members of one household, remembering it is the duty of the strong to help the weak; and the duty of the wise and fortunate to seek to uplift the needy and unfortunate. If some are more blessed than others and have by dint of calculation gained a more lofty round in the ladder, let them not look down on those struggling beneath, but kindly show them how they may accomplish the same ends. Wisdom, and all good gifts are from God, and we should impart as freely as we receive. Blessed are they that overcome self and strive to keep that love in their hearts like a living fountain which continually strengthens the faith and patience of the Saints of the Most High.
Mrs. M. Walker was visited by the editor of the Herald and requested to take charge of such a department. This she agreed to do. The editor gave to the new department the appropriate title, "Mothers' Home Column." Her introductory was able and appropriate. She wrote:
When Bro. Joseph asked us, "Will you take charge of such a department?" the immediate answer of the heart was, "We will do all that we can," and the same response comes from the soul to-night. . . . Sr. Lucy Lloyd has, in her excellent letter, fully explained the purpose of this new department of the Herald .. . . As one of your number we expect from time to time to contribute our share. To this work we willingly bring the entire talent God has given unto us, nor stop to question how much that may be. We know that he who had the one talent committed to his charge was held to an account as strictly as he who had ten, and what matter if when our hands are folded in death, no more to labor, our busy brains have ceased to work, our hearts ceased to throb with joy, or ache with pain,-what matter, if it may be truthfully said of us, "She has done what she could!" . . . .
When the "Plea for the Little Ones" went abroad to this church, through the columns of the Herald, it found a response in many a faithful heart, and soon the children had not only a column in the Herald, but a paper all their own. Is not this second plea as much for the children as for the sisters? "Home is a mother's kingdom, and there is no field in this world that requires more careful, faithful cultivation than the hearts of our little men and women." Truer sentence than this was never written, and when the time shall come that God shall fully baptize our hearts with the spirit of this work, when the mothers of the lambs of this flock shall arise in his strength to acquit themselves fully of this sacred duty, then may they look for the blessing of God upon their homes, and expect to see their children walking in wisdom's ways.
That this department of the Herald may be a success-may fully realize the most sanguine hopes of those who labor for it, and those hearts bid it "God-speed," let each one "try to give and receive with all patience, charity, and humility before God." Grander key-note than this was never struck, and may God imbue the heart of each one who shall contribute with this spirit is our prayer. Many brothers and sisters during these long years, have been faithfully contributing their share towards sustaining the Hope, and who may say that this department shall not be equally successful. It is needed now, it has long been needed, and if we are only true to ourselves and the trust committed to our charge it may prove a blessing to thousands, comforting, supporting, and cheering those who of all others in this wide world need encouragement in their never-ending labor of patience and love.
As editor of this department, we promise you that no effort shall be wanting upon our part to make it a success, yet the sisters must not forget
that we are only one among many. We will need original contributions upon any subject of general interest to us as mothers, wives, and housekeepers; also any means by which as members of the household of faith, we may contribute our mite towards rolling on the great work in which we are engaged. But while we solicit original contributions, we do not propose to confine ourselves to these exclusively.
"Truth is truth wherever found,
On Christian or on heathen ground"
The following from Elder Joseph Luff to President Smith under date of February 1, shows something of the Utah situation at that time:
Have been to Ogden, Kaysville, Plain City, and Union Fort. . . At Kaysville and Plain City I was greeted with crowded houses and excellent attention; was also favored with glorious liberty. Did a little public debating in each place; and a little went a long way with them. Your work in Ogden is telling all over. It is public talk to this day, and you are wanted back there.
Elder D. E. Hough reported in Herald under date of February 2, the holding of a sort of running debate at Port Carting, Ontario, in which he had to meet the combined wisdom of a number of opponents.
February 6 brought added gloom to the polygamists of Utah, for upon that day the Supreme Court of Utah sustained Judge Powers' decision against Lorenzo Snow, thus sealing the doom of all polygamists so far as the territorial courts were concerned.
On the date last mentioned, Elder F. M. Sheehy began a four-night debate with an Adventist minister, Elder Plummer, at Martinsville, Maine, upon the following: "Resolved, That the Bible teaches there is no conscious entity between death and the resurrection."
Elder J. J. Cornish reported, under date of February 8, the beginning of a debate with Elder John Chisholm of the Disciple Church. It was not concluded, however, as the chairman held Elder Chisholm strictly to the proposition, and he refused to proceed unless allowed more latitude.
February 8 the excitement in Utah was still further intensified by Marshal Ireland, who offered a reward of five hundred dollars for the apprehension of President George Q. Cannon. President Cannon had been in
hiding for some time, thus evading meeting the charge of unlawful cohabitation; but on Saturday, February 13, his arrest was effected at Humboldt, Nevada. While en route to Salt Lake City he had the misfortune to fall from the car or purposely leaped from it, sustaining considerable injury. The officer, however, again secured possession of his person. Upon arrival in the city he gave bonds in the sum of forty-five thousand dollars and was released.
March 1 witnessed the death of Elder Peter N. Brix, at Aalborg, Denmark. He was in this foreign land engaged in missionary work, and fell at his post. He was greatly missed by the Saints of Denmark who respected and loved him as a faithful worker in the Master's vineyard.
March 12, Elder Joseph Dewsnup, Sr., communicated the following cheering news from England:
The Manchester District (English Mission) bids fair to excel the progress of the past, if we may judge of the future from present appearances. The spirit of inquiry seems rife in several of the branches, resulting in the attendance of numbers of strangers at the ordinary services each Sabbath evening. Five were added to the church by baptism on Friday evening last, in the Manchester Branch. . . . At Leeds in this district the work is onward. The brethren and sisters are battling manfully for the faith once delivered to the Saints, and are succeeding almost beyond their most sanguine expectations. . . .
The work is onward in Sheffield, and the Saints under the presidency of Elder John Austin and his faithful coadjutors, Elder Henry Hoole and Priest Frederick Beaumont, are indefatigable in their efforts to build up the church of Christ. . . .
On Saturday the 6th of March, I visited and met in tea-party with the president and Saints of the Farnworth Branch, spending a very pleasant time with them. The brethren and sisters were all alive to the interests of the church and I believe prospects are brighter than they have been for some time past. The local ministry is leading into sympathy with the church those who are honestly searching after the truth. . . . . We have had a decided revival of the Lord's work here in Manchester and our present condition is clearly traceable to the self-denying and praiseworthy efforts of a band of noble young men, chief amongst which may be mentioned the name of Elder Wm. Armstrong, Jr. The efforts of these brethren have resulted in the bringing of quite a number of people into sympathy with the gospel; several of whom have already become
united with the household of faith, and bid fair to become valuable as well as reputable members of the church. . . .
I visited the Saints at Wigan on the 17th of January last and found the few that are left there fully alive to the importance of the work, and earnestly endeavoring to work for the Master. . . .
I may here say that we have flourishing Sunday-schools in connection with the churches in Sheffield and Manchester, and in the latter place we have also a "Band of Hope" society,
Lorenzo Snow, of the Utah church, went to prison March 12. The claim is made that he went voluntarily that the case might the more speedily be brought before the Supreme Court of the United States, to which tribunal he had appealed from the Supreme Court of Utah.
The case of George Q. Cannon was called in the District Court of Utah March 17. Defendant did not appear and his bonds were declared forfeited.
March 20 Elder Willard J. Smith engaged in a debate with a Christian minister, Elder Ward, at Tiblon, Kansas, on the following: "Resolved, That the Book of Mormon is of human origin."
March 21 Elder F. C. Warnky debated with Elder Ward on, "Resolved, That the Book of Mormon is of divine origin."
The Saints' Herald for March 22 contained the following editorial, which indicates some of the conditions surrounding the ministerial field:
We are constantly receiving letters from the various fields occupied by the elders, and the branches, stating the desires of the writers, and others whom they represent, that an elder or elders should be sent to labor in the places whence they write. Some of these letters are from brethren and sisters who are living remote from any branch, and who have not heard a sermon by the elders of the church for months, and even years; others are from those who live in branches, some of them for years, and in which there are elders.
Bro. O. E. Cleveland writes from Annex, West Virginia, that the little branch of six, to which he belongs, is widely scattered. He has tried to interest the people and keep the work in motion, but apparently with little effect. . . .
Bro. Cleveland is only one of numbers in similar condition; and the calls are seemingly equally urgent everywhere. Not long ago Bro. James Scott wrote from Indiana, most earnestly pleading that some one would be sent, but especially that either Bro. W. W. Blair or the senior editor
would come. He deemed it important that the work should be cared for there, and there is no doubt he was correct.
Thus from the north to the south, the east and the west, these letters calling for help in the ministerial field come to us. We read them anxiously; and are by no means indifferent to them. But we are utterly powerless to respond to them in accordance with the requests they make.
We rejoice that the people are waking up to the necessity of hearing the truth. We are glad that the Saints as a rule, are doing what they can to adorn their profession; and thus to preach by example as well as by precept. We are pleased that the elders and Saints are moved by anxiety when they perceive the willingness to hear.
The Saints' Herald for March 27, contained an important editorial entitled, "Joseph the Choice Seer," which was followed by many in similar view, which were associated with an important phase of church development.
The Herald of March 27 contained a report of a debate between Elder Joseph F. Burton, and Elder Fred Mogg, of New Lambton, Australia, on the following proposition: "Is there a spirit in man which is a conscious and intelligent entity, and may exist apart from and independent of the body." Burton affirming. Date and place of holding the debate are not given.
The forty-eighth annual conference convened at Lamoni, Iowa, April 6. Joseph Smith was chosen president; W. W. Blair, assistant; H. A. Stebbins, secretary; John Scott, assistant.
Of the ministry there were present and reporting: J. H. Lake, James Caffall, Joseph R. Lambert, W. H. Kelley, E. C. Briggs, A. H. Smith, Charles Derry, C. G. Lanphear, E. C. Brand, J. S. Patterson, Heman C. Smith, Columbus Scott, R. J. Anthony, B. V. Springer, I. N. Roberts, G. T. Griffiths, J. L. Bear, J. C. Foss, W. T. Bozarth, M. T. Short, M. H. Forscutt, R. M. Elvin, I. N. White, R. Etzenhouser, J. J. Cornish, F. M. Sheehy, F. C. Warnky, Henry Kemp, Hiram Rathbun, H. L. Holt, A. H. Parsons, M. H. Bond, John Kinneman, E. L. Kelley.
Those of the ministry reporting by letter were: T. W. Smith, William B. Smith, Thomas Taylor, C. H. Caton, J. C. Clapp, J. F. Burton, Peter Anderson, F. P. Scarcliff, Charles Herzing, Clarence Saint Clair, L. R. Devore, James Moler,
Albert Haws, Thomas Daly, John McKenzie, J. F. McDowell, A. J. Cato, D. H. Bays, John Gilbert.
These reports covered fields of labor in the Society Islands, Canada, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, California, Nevada, Illinois, Arkansas, Texas, Rhode Island, Switzerland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, England, Montana, Australia, Dakota, Alabama, Oregon.
The report of the Board of Publication showed a net gain of $434.45.
The report of the Church Recorder showed a net gain in membership of 1,724, making a total membership of about 18,054.
On April 7 the Quorum of Twelve presented the following report:
The members of the Quorum of Twelve present, met at the residence of Bro. William Hopkins. At this meeting the following request was moved, and is hereby presented to conference, desiring action upon the request, respectfully submitted:
Whereas, At the last session of General Conference the body assembled refused to sustain "as members of the Quorum of Twelve," J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley; and Whereas, No cause was assigned, or charges preferred showing why they should not have been sustained, and Whereas, It is a rule, in justice and law, that any person accused is entitled to a hearing upon the allegation brought against him. And where there is no charge against a person, he is considered free, and should not be held in jeopardy. Resolved, That we request again the General Conference to show cause why the body refused to sustain those members of the Quorum of Twelve or release them from further embarrassment.
Also, we respectfully report: Whereas, The Quorum of Twelve for cause, passed a vote of censure upon Brn. J. W. Briggs, Z. H. Gurley, and E. C. Briggs, at the last session of conference, for absenting themselves from the councils of the quorum, demanded an explanation for such treatment of the quorum, and the church; and Whereas, Bro. E. C. Briggs has appeared before the quorum and made explanation, and assigned reasons why he was not present, which show that there was no intention upon his part to avoid duty or ignore the members of the quorum, or the claims of the conference; Therefore, Resolved, That we accept his explanation as a proper apology and release him from further censure.
A. H. SMITH, Secretary.
The clause in relation to E. C. Briggs was adopted; and M. H. Forscutt, J. C. Crabb, Jonas Chatburn, E. C. Brand,
and E. L. Kelley were appointed a committee to draft and present reasons for not sustaining J. W. Briggs and Zenas H. Gurley at the last General Conference.
The committee subsequently reported as follows:
We, your committee, appointed to "show cause why the body refused to sustain" Jason W. Briggs, and Zenas H. Gurley, as "members of the Quorum of Twelve," beg leave to report that, owing to the reception of papers during this session of conference from these brethren, in which they withdraw from fellowship with the body, the following, in their judgment, are the only reasons now necessary to be given for the refusal complained of:
First, The report of the Quorum of the Twelve to the annual conference of 1885, as published on page 290, volume 32, Latter Day Saints' Herald. In that report, the Twelve censure J. W. Briggs; and Z. H. Gurley for "absenting themselves from conference" and quorum meetings; for failing to report; and for "virtually ignoring" the other members of the quorum, becoming thereby "a hindrance and detriment to the quorum, and to the general good of the church," and on these complaints they not only base a resolution in which they "deprecate such action, and require of them acknowledgment and confession for such treatment," but in that resolution these brethren of the Twelve themselves hold the members complained of "under censure until such acknowledgments are made;" and did "so report to the body."
Second, The body indorsed [endorsed] the action of the Twelve, and the vote given affirmed the decision of the members of the Twelve present, as against those absent; for the resolution of the Twelve was before the body when the question of sustaining the authorities came up for consideration, and the body by its vote affirmed its approval of the censure the Twelve presented by refusing to sustain the brethren censured.
MARK H. FORSCUTT.
J. W. CHATBURN.
J. C. CRABB.
E. C. BRAND.
E. L. KELLEY.
The conference failed to adopt this report, or to further define reasons for failing to sustain these officers, hence no reasons were ever given by the body for withdrawing support from Jason W. Briggs, and Zenas H. Gurley in 1885.
The committee on Sandhedens Banner reported as follows:
We, the undersigned, being appointed in connection with Bro. Peter Anderson a committee for Sandhedens Banner, and having as we think, served as far as practicable, and believing our continuance will be of no benefit to the paper, we therefore ask to be relieved, and suggest that the
Sandhedens Banner be issued under the auspices of the Board of Publication, and we heartily pray for its success.
We ask indulgence, to further add to our report on the Banner. We think Bro. Peter Anderson should have what financial aid is necessary, to enable him to prosecute the editorial work of the Banner. . . .
H. N. HANSEN.
Members of the committee reporting were discharged, and their report adopted.
The following documents were presented to the conference and referred to a committee consisting of E. L. Kelley, I. L. Rogers, and Heman C. Smith:
To the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in General Conference assembled.
We, the undersigned members of said church, feel impelled by the action of the last annual conference toward us to submit the following facts for your consideration, and as reason for that which we feel compelled to do.
It is known to the body whom you represent that we do not believe in certain doctrines and principles, or policy more or less accepted and taught by the elders in the church, among which is: First, The literal gathering of the church into Jackson and the adjoining counties in the state of Missouri (or any other one or more places) known as a local Zion. Second, Temple-building and ceremonial endowments therein. Third, Baptism for the dead. Fourth, Tithings as a law applicable to the church. Fifth, The law of consecration by which individuals are made legal heirs to the kingdom of Zion. Sixth, A sole mouthpiece of God to the church. Seventh, The plenary inspiration of, and consequent absolute authority of what are called the sacred books. Eighth, The doctrine of "cursing one's enemies," and of "avenging God upon them to the third and fourth generations." (See sections 100 and 102 of the Doctrine and Covenants.)
In the years gone by we have sought to have the action of the body upon the more important of these, and preparatory to the action sought have endeavored to show from the books themselves that the church have been, and that many are still in error. We have invoked the General Conference, and the General Assembly of the various quorums, as also the Quorum of the Twelve by Elder Briggs its president, in the hope that these questions might be set at rest; and we were induced to believe that they were, and that the church was disposed to drop these doctrines as essential to membership and good standing, as seen by its acts of 1879, in adopting the "Report of the Presidency," and in 1883, in adopting the paper as presented to the Secretary of State of the United States, and more especially the adoption of a resolution by the General Conference, April, 1884, declaring the local commandments in the Doctrine and Covenants
not binding, etc. This was believed by us as a step in the right direction, but to our great surprise, this was followed by elaborate articles in the official organ of the church tending to nullify that resolution et al, and when the president of the Twelve sought to give a reason in accord with said resolution, the church organ aforesaid was denied him.
The action of the last General Conference relating to us personally refusing its support to us as ministers, and for which act the said conference declined to give a reason, and still declines so far as we are informed, can only mean one of two things, viz.-acquiesce in silence, in what we do not believe (as stated above) or leave the church,-reason, self-respect and conscience compel the latter, preferring the gospel of Christ to these things. We therefore do hereby withdraw from the said church our membership and fellowship impugning the motives of none we appeal to the judge of all for the rectitude of ours for this act.
JASON W. BRIGGS.
ZENAS H. GURLEY.
This March 28, 1886.
To the foregoing may be added the revelation of 1841, section 107, Doctrine and Covenants, which enjoins upon the church the building of a hotel, called the "Lord's boarding-house" for Joseph Smith and posterity to dwell in from generation to generation, as also the promise contained therein, viz., "And as I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, in thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed." This coupled with the provision in section 43, that "none else" should or could receive revelation for the church, and the provision in section 19, that the church shall receive Joseph's words and commands the same as if from God's own mouth,-established in our judgment a lineal descent of authority, equivalent to an imperial dynasty, which is foreign to the Spirit and genius of the gospel of Christ.
J. W. B.
Z. H. G.
Added by consent of Elder Briggs.-Z. H. GURLEY.
Also another paper was read, as follows:
We the undersigned members of said church indorsing [endorsing] the views set forth by Elders J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley, in their paper of withdrawal from the church, and feeling that we can not conscientiously accept and indorse [endorse] the doctrines contained in Joseph Smith's revelations as a rule of faith and practice, and desiring to act and live in all good conscience before God, avoiding all hypocrisy in the profession of our faith, recognizing the responsibility which we owe to the race and to God, and knowing that the church expects and requires belief or toleration of the doctrines contained in the revelations, as seen by the act of Decatur District of said church, feel it our bounden duty to withdraw from said church, we therefore do hereby withdraw our membership and fellowship from said church, appealing to the Omnipotent for the uprightness of our intention and this act.
GRACIE GURLEY. MARGARET GURLEY.
EDWIN H. GURLEY. MIDA GURLEY.
April 7, 1886.
This committee subsequently reported as follows:
Your committee to whom was referred the application and reasons therefor of the brethren, J. W. Briggs, Zenas H., and E. H. Gurley and three sisters Gurley to withdraw all fellowship with or from the body would respectfully present the following:
1. That the assigned reasons that impelled them to take this step was action of the last General Conference of this body toward the two first brethren named, i. e.: J. W. Briggs and Zenas H. Gurley, and which conference action we find, was the refusal of the body to sustain them as laborers in the office of an apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve; and further, that at the time of the presentation of the application to your body by the brethren the cases were in the hands of another committee appointed by you to consider and report upon the same.
2. It is further cited by them that for years they have not believed in certain doctrines and principles more or less accepted and taught by the elders of the church-how many or how few of the elders does not appear-but it does appear as set forth in the last part of reason eight by them, that they never have been affirmed as doctrines held to by the church here represented. And the committee are of the opinion that the matter of the presentation of individual opinions by elders, or others of the body, such opinions not having been affirmed by the body as a rule of faith or practice, does not make them a part of the faith or belief of the body; but relate to us individually upon the issue of toleration, which toleration we believe as was manifested in the action of Jesus while dealing with men here in his ministry, should be so broad as to make no occasion for persons to wish to withdraw from the body by reason of these individual differences of opinion.
3. The committee noticing specifically some of the alleged entertained views set forth in the reasons given, state:
That as to the alleged "temple building and ceremonial endowments therein," that we know of no temple building, except as edifices wherein to worship God, and no endowments except the endowment of the Holy Spirit of the kind experienced by the early Saints on Pentecost Day.
4. "Baptism for the dead" referred to belongs to those local questions of which the body has said by resolution:
"That the commandments of a local character, given to the first organization of the church are binding on the Reorganization only so far as they are either reiterated or referred to as binding by commandment to this church:" And that principle has neither been reiterated nor referred to as a commandment.
5. "Tithing as a law applicable to the church" is accepted in the sense set forth by the Savior in the 16th chapter of the gospel recorded by Luke, that we are stewards of our heavenly Father so far as the riches of this world are concerned and that as such we should render an account of our stewardship here; the rendition is in all cases however, necessarily voluntary on the part of the member complying with the law.
6. We know of no "consecration" by which individuals are made legal heirs to the kingdom of God, or church of Christ, when the rewards are apportioned; except, that of a life consecrated to the service of the Master as ordained in his word together with the consecration of properties for the aid of the poor, preaching of the gospel and establishment of the said kingdom, as a member of the same has to so impart.
7. "The sole mouthpiece to the church," is Jesus Christ. We are to receive commandments as a church only as Christ communicates the same; and we are entitled, as a church, to be first satisfied that Christ did give any commandment purporting to come from him, before accepting, or receiving the same.
8. "Plenary inspiration" has never been affirmed by the church; but we believe in the so named "authorized" books of the church as true and proper standards of evidence in the determination of all controverted doctrines in theology.
9. The doctrine of "cursing" and "avenging enemies," we accept only as explained in paragraphs 3 and 4 of section 102, Doctrine and Covenants, the section referred to by the brethren, wherein the Lord is made the sole executor in behalf of the children of Zion as follows:
"I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation; but I speak concerning my churches abroad; there are many who will say, Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver in time of trouble; otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys. Therefore, in consequence of the transgression of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion, that they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly, concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands; and this can not be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high; for behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful, and continue in humility before me; therefore, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion; for behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfill, I will fight your battles.
"Behold, the destroyer I have sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies; and not many years hence, they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints."
10. So far as the necessity and failure on the part of the church is concerned to convene the quorums in general assembly, the wisdom of the majority of the body as to the practicability and necessity of such a step seems to have been adverse thereto in the past.
11. That part of the reasons in the addenda to the application referring
to providing a place of living for certain officers of the church is incorrect and misleading; for said revelation provides for the erection of a boarding-house, a hotel for strangers, in which house the President of the church as such, and his successors, were to "have place;" but neither he nor they were to own said house, neither were he or they to be its "governor," or keeper; and further the commandment to build is largely of a local character; has never been reiterated to this church and consequently under the resolution of the body, before referred to, not made binding upon us.
12. We further believe in an "imperial dynasty" only, wherein Christ is to be King, and the reigning of such of his servants who keep the faith here, with him when he shall come with his rewards.
13. Your committee therefore are of the opinion that the reasons set forth in the application fail to justify the parties in the step they have taken; but believing in the recognized doctrine by the church of individual agency and freedom of conscience in all matters pertaining to religion, we recommend that this body appoint a suitable committee of three of its members who shall be instructed to wait upon the members asking a release, and labor with them as the law provides; and do they persist in pursuing the course outlined in the applications, that they be authorized to report to the church secretary and without impugning the motives of brethren, to authorize their names erased from the records. And to carry out this provision we offer the following:
Resolved, That under the special circumstances attending the application of withdrawal from this body by the brethren named that the rule heretofore adopted by the body governing trials of members, shall be waived in the cases named; unless the said parties desire a trial, in which case the said committee be empowered to appoint the necessary court or courts which shall proceed at as early a time as practicable and hear the cases.
All of which we submit for your consideration.
E. L. KELLEY.
I. L. ROGERS.
HEMAN C. SMITH.
Elder Smith of the committee concurs in all of the report except the matter of waiving a trial of the parties, and thinks they should have a trial before erasing the names.
After some discussion the report of the majority was adopted, and the matter disposed of by the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That under a suspension of the rules, we grant the request of those desiring to withdraw from the church, and that their names be stricken from the church record.
The following resolution was presented according to notice
previously given and after discussion was lost by a delegate vote of 1144/5 for and 2851/5 against.
Resolved That the report and resolutions of the Quorum of the Twelve, as printed on pages 285 and 286 of the Herald for 1884, General Conference proceedings, and acted upon as shown on page 299, be and the same are hereby repealed.
Upon recommendation of the Quorum of Seventy the following were confirmed for ordination to the office of Seventy: Myron H. Bond, George H. Hilliard, Henry Kemp, Joseph F. Burton, Hiram L. Holt, Willard J. Smith, John Smith, I. N. White, Evan A. Davies, Alonzo H. Parsons, Peter Anderson, Arthur Leverton, Thomas Daly, L. R. Devore, R. S. Salyards, John Arthur Davies, A. J. Moore, William M. Rumel, John S. Roth, F. M. Sheehy, and R. C. Evans. Provision was made for their ordination.
In the business session of April 11 the Bishop presented the following:
The work referred to the Bishopric at the last conference of organizing and setting in order the lesser quorums of the church, has been duly considered by us; and after an examination of the law, we are led to conclude that this is a duty enjoined upon the Quorum of the Twelve.
We therefore refer the matter back to the conference, together with all applications for membership to the quorums, lest we should transcend our duties and interfere with that of our brethren, and await your further action in the premises.
By action of the conference this matter was referred to the Quorum of Twelve as suggested.
The following missionary appointments were made at this conference: William H. Kelley, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Eastern Mission, New Jersey, and New England States, in charge. E. C. Briggs, associated with W. H. Kelley. J. R. Lambert, Iowa and Missouri. James Caffall, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. Thomas W. Smith, Australasian Mission, in charge. J. H. Lake, Dominion of Canada, in charge. A. H. Smith, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, and Manitoba. E. C. Brand, Gallands Grove District. Heman C. Smith, Pacific Slope Mission, in charge. G. T. Griffiths, Pittsburg [Pittsburgh] and Kirtland District. A. H. Parsons, Kansas. William T. Bozarth, Missouri and Iowa. W. J. Smith, Canada. M. H. Bond,
Massachusetts District. Peter Anderson, Rocky Mountain Mission. J. W. Gillen, Missouri and Iowa. M. T. Short, Northwestern Illinois. H. L. Holt, Pacific Slope Mission. John C. Foss, Minnesota. I. N. White, Missouri and Southeastern Kansas. F. M. Sheehy, Maine. R. S. Salyards, Pittsburg [Pittsburgh] and Kirtland District. L. R. Devore, in Southeastern Ohio and Virginia. J. T. Davies, in Spring River District. C. Scott, in Michigan District. J. L. Bear, Missouri and Iowa. John Smith, Massachusetts District. R. J. Anthony, Rocky Mountain Mission. William Rumel, Nebraska. E. A. Davies and Warren Peak, Wyoming District, Pennsylvania. Henry Kemp, Fremont District, Iowa. George S. Hyde and I. N. Roberts, Southwestern Mission. J. S. Roth, Des Moines District, Iowa. J. C. Clapp, Montana. T. E. Jenkins, Welsh Mission. B. V. Springer, Michigan District. George H. Hilliard, Southern Illinois. George T. Chute, Southeastern Mission. James A. McIntosh, London District, Canada. George Montague, Southeastern Mission. R. M. Elvin, Nebraska. D. S. Mills, Pacific Slope Mission. M. R. Scott, Southern Indiana District. E. J. French, Southern District of California. E. A. Stedman, Southern Minnesota. J. R. Badham, D. L. Harris, A. W. Thomson, William Gibson, Pacific Slope Mission. Oliver Johnson, Rocky Mountain Mission. John Larsen, Rocky Mountain Mission. F. P. Scarcliff, Southeastern Mission. H. H. Robinson, Independence District, Missouri. F. M. Cooper, Northern Illinois. Otis Foss, Eastern Maine District. Thomas Daly, Northern California District. J. J. Cornish, Northern Michigan and Canada. Oregon was referred to the president of the Pacific Slope Mission. A. J. Moore, Missouri and Iowa. J. F. Burton, Australian Mission. Thomas Taylor, English Mission, in charge. Duncan Campbell, Southern Iowa. H. N. Hansen, Pottawattamie District. Hiram Rathbun, Michigan. J. T. Kinneman, Far West District. A. White, Independence District. Charles Ryan, Southern Kansas. J. H. Merriam, Canada Mission. J. W. Wight, Little Sioux District. Hiram C. Bronson, St. Joseph, Missouri. F. C. Warnky, Missouri. R. Etzenhouser Eastern Iowa. Charles Derry, in Little Sioux District.
A. J. Cato, Southwestern Mission. A. Haws, Oregon. William Anderson, Pacific Slope Mission. Samuel Brown, London District, Ontario Canada, Mission. R. C. Elvin, in Southwestern Nebraska.
April 13 the following touching ordinations in organized districts was adopted:
Resolved, That in organized districts, no one be ordained to the office of an elder, without the voice of the district or conference be had ordering such ordination, or by sanction of the missionary in charge.
The following touching the rules of representation was adopted April 14:
Resolved, That provision four, of section three, of the Articles of Representation, which reads:
"Provided fourth; That no one delegate shall represent in the same conference more than one district," be stricken out, and the following inserted in lieu thereof: Provided fourth; That no one delegate shall be entitled to cast, as representative, in the same conference, more than twenty votes.
The Quorum of High Priests reported the death of two of their number, namely, Zenas Whitcomb and Edwin Cadwell.
The report of the Quorum of Seventy showed the following changes: The removal by death of Peter N. Brix; the dropping of Henry H. Morgan, for inactivity; the dropping of John H. Hansen, who was unable to make any promise of present or future labor; the ordination and reception into the quorum of I. N. White, Henry Kemp, W. J. Smith, M. H. Bond, A. H. Parsons, J. S. Roth, W. M. Rumel, John Smith, A. J. Moore, F. M. Sheehy, and H. L. Holt.
M. H. Forscutt presented his resignation as a public official of the church, and asked to be permitted to labor locally as an elder. The resignation was accepted, and his request granted.
The report of the First Quorum of Elders showed a loss of one by death; of four by ordination to the office of Seventy; the reception and enrollment of R. R. Dana, Asa S. Cochran, A. B. Moore, M. H. Gregg, and J. M. Terry; the election of Volentine White as secretary.
The Second Quorum of Elders reported having lost their president, I. N. White, and his counselor, J. S. Roth, by their being ordained seventies, and having indorsed [endorsed]
S. Maloney as president, and F. C. Warnky and W. C. Cadwell as his counselors. That the following had been received into the quorum: Richard Coburn, Peter Adamson, Charles K. Ryan, George W. Harlow, M. P. Berg, Edward Wheeler, and Warren Peak. George Wilson had been released upon request.
The ordinations of the new president and counselors of this quorum were ordered.
By resolution Nova Scotia was attached to the mission of W. H. Kelley and E. C. Briggs.
Report of the Third Quorum of Elders showed the loss of E. H. Gurley by resignation; the resignation of E. T. Dobson as secretary, and the choice of J. M. Terry in his place; H. Parker received into the quorum.
The Fourth Quorum of Elders reported the loss of H. N. Hansen by ordination to the office of seventy, and the addition to the quorum of Thomas Horton.
The Fifth Quorum of Elders reported dropping the following for failure to obtain license within the time limit: James Bamber, Robert Fuller, Niel Hammer, Ekin Lovell, Charles Perry, J. V. L. Sherwood, B. T. Saint John. The following were reported as added to the quorum: Oliver Johnson, John Larsen, J. M. Tousley, H. Southwick, F. R. Tubb. W. M. Rumel, first counselor, having entered the quorum of seventy, J. A. Robinson had been chosen to succeed him. R. Etzenhouser was chosen secretary and treasurer in place of J. A. Robinson. The quorum had lost the following members by death: Thomas N. Hudson, C. A. Sherman, Edward Bennett, and John Carmichael. Emsley Curtis had been chosen as second counselor. The ordination was ordered.
The First Quorum of Priests reported the following additions: C. K. Preston, A. W. Head, W. H. Kelley, Peter Peterson, to fill vacancies caused by death and ordinations. C. P. Faul was chosen as permanent secretary. W. H. Kelley was chosen as second counselor to the president, whose ordination was requested, as also that of R. White, as first counselor. These ordinations were ordered.
A report of the committee on compilation of church resolutions was read, and referred for examination to a committee
consisting of H. A. Stebbins, J. H. Hansen, and Asa S. Cochran. The committee reporting was H. A. Stebbins, R. Etzenhouser, D. F. Lambert.
The following resolution on tracts was offered:
Resolved, That the Bishop of the church be authorized to transfer to the business manager of the Board of Publication the sum of five hundred dollars from moneys now due the church by the Board, for the purpose of furnishing tracts for free distribution, such as the Bishop and the business manager may direct.
It was adopted.
A resolution was adopted, that all applications for enrollment in the quorums of elders be made to the Secretary of the church.
The following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That the practice of dancing should be discouraged, and that members of the church should be urged to avoid the practice, as one likely to lead their minds from Christ and his gospel.
The following preambles and resolutions presented by the Quorum of Twelve were adopted:
Whereas, Inequality and loss to the church result from the practice of taking up collections for the support of the ministry; and Whereas, Such practice is in opposition to the recommendation of the Twelve and the Bishopric, with the indorsement [endorsement] of the General Conference thereon. (See minutes of September conference, 1882.)
Therefore, Be it resolved by this council, that we call the special attention of all General Conference appointees, branch presidents, and all whom it may concern, to this matter, and we declare in harmony with the expressed views of the Twelve, Bishopric, and church, that none but the Bishopric, their agents, or some one either authorized by them, or holding an ex-officio right are authorized to take up collections for the ministry.
Whereas, There have been, from time to time, numbers of elders in the field, in addition to General Conference appointees, some with and some without the permission of the missionary in charge; and Whereas, Many, if not all, of said elders have received money, but failed to report the same to the Bishop, as required by him; therefore be it
Resolved, That while we look with favor upon and shall ever seek to encourage the efforts made by the elders to preach the gospel as their circumstances will permit, we deprecate their failure to properly account for all moneys received and advise that all elders receiving help while laboring in the Master's vineyard be required to report the same in full to the Bishop of the church.
The Twelve were requested to give a clear and definite statement of the word ex officio and subsequently presented the following:
In reply to your request to give a "clear and definite definition to the word ex officio," we answer as follows: First. The word means "by virtue of office." (See revelation of 1861.) Second. The word, as used by us, refers: (1) to the Twelve; (2) to missionaries in charge. (See Epistle of Twelve and Bishopric in conference minutes for 1878.)
The Daily Honolulu Press, of April 15, contained notes of the life and death of L. L. Rice, who had in his possession for many years the notorious Spalding Manuscript. 1
1He was born in Otsego County, New York, in 1801. As a young man he went to New York City, where he learned the printing business early in this century. While living there he was led to take the total abstinence pledge, and enrolled himself upon that platform, and has done much for the cause of temperance during a long life, the most of which found him identified with the newspapers of Ohio. He went to that State before 1830, and for fifty years was one of her leading citizens. About 1830 he began the publication of an anti-Masonic paper. A few years later he removed to Cleveland, where for many years he was the editor and publisher of a paper which was the predecessor of the "Cleveland Leader" and was dedicated to the agitation of anti-slavery principles.
In 1848 he went to Columbus, the capital of the State, and began the publication of a paper In that city.
For more than twenty-five years he was identified with the public life of Columbus, at first as an editor, then as State printer, and in other positions.
He was well known and greatly beloved. He had for his friends and associates such men as Garrison, Giddings, James G. Birrney, Salmon P. Chase, and men of that stamp.
Father Rice, as he was affectionately called during his residence in Columbus, was a man of strong intellectual power, and was thoroughly consecrated to the highest purposes of life. He was permitted to see the triumph of some of the principles he so vigorously and ardently espoused, and to see the banners of other principles rapidly advancing to victory.
In l875 he removed to Oberlin, where he resided till 1879, when he came to Honolulu, making his home here with his daughter, Mrs. J. M. Whitney. During the summer of 1884 Reverend W. H. Rice of New York, his only son, visited him here, making, as each felt at the time, a final visit. Father Rice kept his intellectual vigor up to the very last. His very presence, during the years of his stay here, has been felt to be a benediction. Yesterday morning he rose as usual and was about the house and grounds until a few moments after ten. He then went to his room and lay down on his bed for a little rest, before dressing to go out to the lunch at Bethel Church, as he was planning to do. At this time Doctor Gray dropped in for a friendly call, and sat chatting with him some minutes. The Doctor remarked that Father Rice carried on his conversation with all of his usual animation.
About half past ten o'clock he observed that he must get ready to go down town, but at the suggestion of the Doctor, that there was an abundance of time, he remained quiet. Suddenly and without warning he fell back upon the pillow, gave a single, slight clutch at the region of his heart, and lay still in death. Not a word or cry of pain; "he was not, for God took him." We shall miss the noble form, and the saintly face; but every life that touched his, is the richer and fuller for it. W. C. MERRITT.
The Quorum of Twelve issued a general epistle to the church, April 19:
To the Saints in all the World; Greeting:The annual General Conference, for the year 1886, has just closed, which was fruitful in accomplished results that portend good to the Reorganized Church of Christ. The church has awakened to the realization that, in order to succeed, she must work in harmony with the text-books-not only in profession, but in fact, giving credence and recognition to the authority upon which rest the watchcare and supervision of the work abroad. For the want of this recognition, and a proper unity so clearly set forth in the law (concerning which a special admonition was given in the revelation of 1882) the work of the Reorganization has been greatly retarded. The proper recognition of each quorum in its place, with the rights, duties, and privileges of the members belonging thereto, should long since have been conceded by all; but unfortunately, this has not been the case. Each one has held his or her private construction of the law and its meaning, to please an aspiring mind, flatter a vain disposition, or gratify an envious and jealous feeling, which has worked as sour leaven for years, neutralizing, in some respects, the efforts of the best workers in the cause. It is cheering, however, to know that light has dawned upon the majority, and a better course is being pursued. Judging from the spirit, temper, and accomplished results of the conference, it is the settled purpose of the workers to eliminate this unsavory leaven from the body, discourage and discontinue the sowing of the seeds of discord, jealousy, envy, and mistrust, that have done their work so effectually, in some respects, in the past, and move straight forward in the right, and as the law directs. Reform is certainly needed in order to place us where we belong.
We deprecate any policy that makes the innocent bear half of the blame of the guilty in order to conciliate and effect a temporary reconciliation and peace; but believe that the wrong-doer should be made to take the consequence of his act; and we are united in the purpose, as we have ever been, that neither flattery, nor fear shall divert us from this course. Some rigid discipline is needed in order to raise our moral tone as a people.
The reaffirming of the declaration of rules passed at Stewartsville in 1884, bodes good to the work. Though containing only that which may be read in the law of the church, they have been received, by some, with suspicion and distrust; mainly from the fear, as expressed, of an abuse of power by those to whom they relate; but abuses are liable to arise in any department, and none can be more easily corrected than this one.
In order to bring them to mind anew, we quote as follows, second paragraph:
"Resolved, That by virtue of their office and calling, as declared by the organic law of the church, the members of the Quorum of the Twelve are the lawful presidents of the church, abroad in all the world, to preside
over, regulate, and set in order the same, and that in all the branches of the church, and districts, this presiding authority should be acknowledged and acquiesced in by the presidents of branches and districts. And when one of them is present, at a district conference or branch meeting, it should be left discretionary with him as to whether it would best serve the cause by presiding.
"Resolved That the Quorum of the Twelve, as a judicial body, have the right, collectively or individually, to render decisions involving the law and usages of the church, in their various fields of labor, and when such decisions are made by individual members of the quorum, said decisions are binding upon the church, and should be respected until brought before the quorum and its decision had."
The President of the church discerned at once that in these resolutions were found a proper rendering of the law relating to this question, and called the attention of the church to them in one of the ablest editorials that ever appeared in the Herald, found on page 305, number 20, volume 31, from which the following is an extract:
"But the history of the Reorganization shows that there was a wide rebound from the rule of priestcraft to one of entire disregard of all authority. Nor was it until every representative sent out by the church was made to feel how utterly fallacious his efforts to bring to pass unity and respect for the law of the church were, did those representative men feel the importance of the Master's word, 'He who heareth you heareth me.' There is no meaning attached to the conferring the calling of an apostle upon a man to the office (of an apostle) and sent out by the church, unless that man is so invested with the authority of the church that he may speak for the church, and carry with him the dignity and honor of the body which he represents. And much mischief has resulted in the past, and may result again if there be not somewhere the right of immediate and positive decision. The Twelve are essentially a traveling ministry, a presiding ministry at that; and are so because of their calling to travel, looking after the spread of the gospel and interests of the church. This includes the welfare of both the districts and branches in their respective fields; and while no member of the quorum may wantonly enter in upon the privileges of either district or branch presidents; yet he may, and must by virtue of his calling and appointment by the church, exercise that authority if necessity warrants, and this is because of a two-fold reason. First, because the organic law of the church invests him with such prerogative. Second, because he is by his appointment a part of each and every organized district and branch in his charge, and has his place at the lead by virtue of such appointment."
The decisions made by individuals of the quorum relate to the law, rules, and usages of the church, rather than to cases had before elders' courts, which may be appealed for final settlement. The Quorum of the Twelve acting under the direction of the First Presidency, as the law defines, is the presiding authority in all the world; and this does not in
the least interfere with the high prerogative and presiding authority of the First Presidency, who by a single tap of the bell may call home one or all of the traveling high councilors at a word! The churches abroad should not wait for members of this council, when traveling, to insist upon a recognition of their rights; but should cheerfully tender a recognition from courtesy and respect for the office, if nothing more, in order that they may administer successfully and aid the work wherever they may be sent. Having been appointed by divine commandment and the common consent of the church to these positions, the keys of authority and the First Presidency are represented through them, more than any others, to all the world.
Why this was ever questioned and necessity laid upon us to defend our rights before antagonizing accusations, is passing strange; and it is only with a view that unity may be attained, and the best interest of the cause subserved that we dwell upon it now.
This quorum has been weakened in numbers by the death of Bro. Josiah Ells, and the withdrawal of Brn. J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley. The withdrawal was for reasons assigned, which will appear in full in the minutes, with the answers made by the conference, which are able and to the point, and may be read with profit by the thoughtful. We sadly regret these losses to our number, for the work's sake, but do not feel like slackening our efforts and support to the work. At no time have we had pleasanter sessions or acted more in unity, than at the sessions just passed, the Spirit's presence encouraging us and giving evidence of God's approval. However well or poorly others succeeded, there was not so much as a ripple of bad feeling occurred among the members of the quorum at the recent conference; and we go out in amity and one accord to another year's labor, confident that God is yet at the helm. May grace and peace be with his Saints everywhere.
A large number of elders were called into the quorum of seventy at the past session of conference, which will augment the working force in the ministerial field. This is as it should be; but we must wait for further direction, perhaps another year, for instruction to go on with organization of quorums until complete. Though some may be anxious, we must wait God's time, which will be our opportunity, and not faint by the way. The appointment of these seventy, together with others, as they now go to their several fields of labor, suggests that there is work for all. They must preach, the church must meet some of the expense. We can not do better, perhaps, than to quote from Saints' Herald, May 13, 1883, page 209: "The question of tithing, in its practical sense, may be considered settled so far as applicable to the present condition. One impediment (perhaps the chief one) to the effectual execution of this law, is found in the want of that confidence that ought to exist among Saints. This is due to the fact that imposition has been, and still is in practice under the name and profession of Latter Day Saints; this being one of the iniquities comprised in the 'flood' against which the Spirit of the
Lord raised a standard in the reorganization of his people, will the Saints withhold the sustaining of this standard because of former misrule, against which this is a standing rebuke? If too confident then shall we go to the other extreme now? To you, brethren, belong a full share of every legitimate burden, and also the full reward of well doing." As a means governing in this duty we refer you to the action of the Twelve and Bishopric, as found in Herald for May 1, 1878, part of which we give below. [Here follows paragraphs 1 to 5 of "Principles and Rules of Action." See pp. 225, 226.]
In the appointment of missions, as in all other work which has been required at our hands, we have acted according to the best wisdom received. We have had none to favor and none to oppose; and nothing, save a deep sense of the grave responsibilities which rest upon us, and our love for God's work, could have induced us to reject any from the missionary list.
Each year, each day, brings its anxieties, duties, and sacrifices. The Saints are to be tried. To be a Saint is to wage a warfare until the end. Soon the Master will come with the reward of merit. May we be ready to meet him. Go on and be comforted, and may the blessings of God attend you.
E. C. BRIGGS,
W. H. KELLEY,
ALEX. H. SMITH,
JOHN H. LAKE,
J. R. LAMBERT,
Of the Quorum of the Twelve.
About this time Elder W. J. Smith held a debate in Tiblo, Kansas, with Reverend Ward, of the Christian Church, on the respective claims of the two churches.
May 10 the Supreme Court of the United States dismissed the three Snow polygamy cases for "want of jurisdiction," and also set aside a former judgment in the Angus M. Cannon case. This left the polygamists entirely in the hands of the Utah federal courts.
May 13 a branch was organized at Kirtland, Ohio, under the supervision of Elder W. H. Kelley. Elder E. L. Kelley was chosen to preside; John Gillespie, deacon; and Hattie Griffiths, secretary.
An editorial entitled, "The Late Conference," appearing in Saints' Herald for May 15, reflects with clearness and force the situation at the time.
Considerable disappointment seems to have been experienced by some by reason of the session of conference just past. Wherein that disappointment
lies we are not altogether informed, only as we hear an occasional murmur that gives a clue to the bent of thought. "We were expecting that the Lord would speak and fill up the quorums at this conference," one is heard to say. "We expected a feast of fat things," says another. "We did not have the gifts at any of our meetings for testimony and prayer; what is the matter?" says still another.
We will be pardoned, we trust, if we express some thoughts concerning the late conference, and state some convictions respecting the matters before it and the action thereon. There are in the lifetime of all organized bodies, small or great, crises of greater or less importance during the passing of which doubt, uncertainty, fear, and apprehension are felt by all. The Reorganized Church has passed through several severe difficulties, in which the permanency of the institution seemed to be in great danger; but we apprehend that no session of conference has been held since 1867 in which the situation was more critical or the danger more serious and threatening than in the one we have just closed.
The question whether the church should consent to formulate a creed in which items of disbelief should find a prominent place, involving serious concessions to the views of two, three, or more prominent men in the body for the sake of the personal worth these men might be to that body, has been faced for several years, and the best that either moral cowardice or conservative wisdom could do, was to put on the appearance of putting off the evil day. Those who have attended the conferences since 1867 can not fail to remember that efforts have from time to time been made to bring about the making of specific declarations touching certain ideas, or theories of doctrine in the form of "we believe" thus and so, rather than to leave those matters couched in the more comprehensive, "we believe in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants." This question assumed definite shape at this last cession when three elders of the church said to the assembled representatives of the body: "You hold to certain things of belief which we disbelieve. We had thought you had abandoned the things referred to, but find you have not, we therefore withdraw from fellowship with you. You have preferred not to accede to our views, we therefore relieve ourselves of the things you believe."
These are not the words in which the withdrawal is framed, but the statement contains the moral aspect of the affair. The substance, the shadow of which the church has seen and felt for years, was precipitated upon us at an early hour of this last session, and the consideration of it and its consequences, its causes, and its effects, entered largely into the thoughts, conversations, and ministrations of the entire session. Its gravity was enough, its surrounding of such a nature that we should have been less than human if we had not felt its somber influence.
The question tersely stated was this, should the church recede from positions assumed by it in the days of its opening struggles, accepting in the stead thereof views held by the few adversely to those positions, for
the sake of harmony with that few. If this could be done, a compromise thus effected, and peace be established upon that basis, where and whence the next crisis of a similar character. The entering wedge driven home, the precedent established and it seemed as if it were easy to foresee that it could be but, a few years, possibly a few months at best, when a few other men might be led to make a similar demand for similar reasons, and the church again be called upon to make concessions for the sake of oneness and unity of belief. If to the demands just made upon us we could yield, and as a body abandon a belief in the revelations of Joseph Smith, contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants; which belief has so often and so persistently been avowed by the church since 1852, it must inevitably follow that upon a like demand, the same body should abandon a belief in the Book of Mormon, and as a sequence there could be no declaration of belief so sound or so well grounded but that it must be put into the same list and be abandoned at the demand of discontented disbelievers.
If the church could consistently yield one well accredited and commonly received teaching, or tenet, of which the majority were satisfied as to its validity, there could be none, not one, which they might not be called on to give up. It would be but a question of time as to when the church would be indeed not only without a creed but without a faith.
It can then be seen that the crisis was a grave one. Personally we confess that we never entered in upon the work of a conference session more bowed down with the weight of responsibility, more impressed with a sense of danger, more certainly aware of possible consequences of disaster than we did the work of this last session. To us it was not a session to "have a good time," to enjoy the "preached word;" to "feast" upon the "fats" of prophecy and tongues, to spend the pleasant hours of recess in chat and visit. It was a crisis in which the welfare of the whole work was at stake; it was a season for faithful devotion to truth, for fervent prayer, for the exercise of the "best gifts," for wise counsel, wiser action, and patient endurance. Those who came for a spiritual "holiday," may have gone away disappointed; those whose anticipations were high may have gone away sad and discouraged; but those whose prescience and wisdom enabled them to foresee and estimate the gravity of the issues have gone away settled and grounded. Those who have been worried and fretted, fearful lest there was not sufficient certainty of belief with the mass of the leading men to act decisively when the emergency came, are gratified to discover solidity of purpose and ability and disposition to decide and face the consequences of decision. Those who held the banners neither wavered in the crisis, nor suffered the standards to be lowered.
None regret the action of Elders J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley more than we do. We think none would have been willing to concede more to have healed the breach between them and the rest of the elders than we. But when they publicly stated their withdrawal from their association
with the body; we believe that self-respect and respect for the church itself require that they should not be held to an unwilling affiliation with the church in any sense whatever. These men are not children, nor men of common ability only. Each is above the mediocre in talent and should know what they wished to say and do. Hence, on the self-chosen ground upon which they based their action of withdrawal, we are contented to let it rest. That they made a grave mistake we certainly believe; they claim to think that we (the church) are in error. Whatever the positions they have held in the church, and to which they were called by divine authority and grace, they have voluntarily resigned. The wisdom of their having been chosen for the work they have done should not be questioned. He who called them knew them and the work he designed them to do in the church. When they abandon that work by severing the connection uniting them with others called in a similar way, and under circumstances which indicate beyond doubt that God took cognizance both of the men, the work, and the circumstances, we can not follow them into the consequences of such abandonment, but must stay with the work itself-such are our convictions.
We trust that none of the eldership will permit themselves to be betrayed into any acrimonious denunciation of Elders Briggs and Gurley; or be guilty of circulating disparaging stories, or tales concerning them. It is beneath the dignity of men who may be devoid of claim to the Spirit of truth; and is totally unbecoming those claiming to be moved by the Christian grace, to revile and belittle former brethren who have gone out of our midst. We may be, and we are satisfied they have made a mistake and we may say so, but an acrimonious tirade in so saying is uncalled for.
In respect to the filling up of the quorums. We had no directions looking toward this, except as was made known in the choosing a number into the seventy. This was important and timely. A number of men of excellent spirit, who have been striving to approve themselves as workmen were chosen and ordained, and will doubtless magnify the calling. We were somewhat in hopes that the High Council might be more perfectly completed, but the absence of positive direction and the extreme difficulties attending calling the members of the high priesthood together, made it unwise as we regarded it. Had there been a command the ways would have been clear.
In regard to the gifts being had during the prayer-meetings. One of the gifts, the principal gift of the Spirit to the members, or officers of the church, and the one most needed by the delegates and other members of the last session of conference, were the gifts of wisdom, and of faith. No more trying season of the same duration of days has ever occurred to a body of elders. No crisis in which better judgment, nobler self-control, wiser thought and speech, more deliberate and cooler reason were demanded has been met and passed than the one impending at the session of which we write. We think decidedly that the verdict of succeeding events will show that the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and faith were with
the people of God during our entire session; and if so, we shall be content though no "cloven tongue, as of fire," was seen or heard.
A communication from Elder J. F. Burton, under date of May 19, from Wallsend, New South Wales, reflects the condition of the work in that country:
You see by this address I am back from Victoria. While there I was much blessed of the Master in all ways needed. Generally I had excellent liberty in presenting to the people the truths of the gospel. Many are investigating our faith, and while there thirty-six united with the church, and others are near the kingdom. . . . The ministry are capable and able, and if they are faithful will keep the Saints together, edifying them, and also adding to their number. There are some excellent Saints there, and some young men who may be a great help yet to the work in Australia. . . .
The conference, with its cares, anxieties and sorrows; its pleasures, joys and peace has passed.
May 19 and 24 Elder J. H. Lake met Reverend L. B. Tupper, an evangelist, in debate at Cameron, Ontario.
An article bearing date May 26, over the signature of J. W. Briggs entitled, "How the Case Stands," appeared in Saints' Herald for June 26, together with the editorial reply, entitled "Does the Case so Stand?" We quote them as follows:
In a late issue you take occasion to express the opinion that those who withdrew from the church, at the late conference "made a grave mistake;" and in connection therewith you convey the idea that those who withdrew had sought to "get the church to recede" from, or drop some of its doctrines, which if complied with, others, or the same ones might object to still other tenets calling for further concession, the thin "end of the wedge" being inserted would do its cleaving work until there would be no faith to stand by, etc. You then congratulate the church upon the assumed fact that her representatives in the late conference stood firm-would not yield an iota of the faith so ruthlessly assailed (by these withdrawing members). Now what are the facts upon record in the case?
First. We, Z. H. Gurley and myself, controverted certain doctrines and dogmas, usages and policies of the rejected church, as contained and taught in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and which we alleged were not necessarily applicable to, or binding upon the Reorganized Church. For this the Herald was closed against us, and the next conference promptly placed us under a ban. We then submitted our reasons for withdrawing, which were a disbelief in those things that we had controverted, and these reasons constituted our assault upon the doctrine or faith of the church, if we assailed it at all. Now in what manner did the church's representatives stand firm and resist this assault? The committee
to whom was referred the same reported substantial agreement with us in every particular and affirmed nothing that we had objected to; omitting to notice one specific reason and the climax of them all, to wit: that we were bound (by the preceding conference), and gagged (by the Board of Publication), and this report was adopted by the conference!
No wonder that this conference could not formulate a reason for the act of the previous one complained of. It is probable that if the substance of that committee report had been incorporated in the proceedings of the conference of 1885, instead of 1886, and shedding its spirit influence upon the Board of Publication, the result would have most likely been, as stated in that report concerning individual opinion, that the principle of toleration as taught and practiced by Jesus, "should be so broad as to make no occasion for persons to wish to withdraw,"-and no withdrawal would have occurred. We are willing to let the responsibility of the causes and "occasion" for the "grave mistake" rest where the record places it, and with the declaration that at no period of my life have I valued the truth more than at the present moment, and the love of it-all truth-has, so far as I am conscious, the chief seat in my heart of hearts; and hoping it will prevail.
I am, respectfully yours, etc.,
J. W. BRIGGS.
WHEELER, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, May 27, 1886.
P. S.-If it seems to you presumptuous in my asking a place in the Herald for this communication, I am nevertheless impressed with its justice and its propriety. J. W. B.
There will be found elsewhere in this issue an article with the caption, "How the case stands," from the pen of Elder Jason W. Briggs.
In publishing this article the Herald is desirous that some things stated in it may be more properly understood than they would be from the terms of the article itself.
1. The paper of withdrawal states specifically that the parties had sought to have certain alleged points of belief and church policy modified or corrected; and further states that the parties had hoped that such obnoxious features had been "set at rest; and we were induced to believe that they were, and that the church was disposed to drop these doctrines as essential to membership and good standing."
The language quoted above is from the article of withdrawal itself, and warrants the idea said by Elder Briggs to have been conveyed by the editorial referred to. It was the intention to "convey" just that "idea," for it is certainly conveyed. In the article of withdrawal, it is stated, "In the years gone by we have sought to have the action of the body upon the more important of these (doctrines), and preparatory to the action sought have endeavored to show from the books themselves that the church have been, and that many are still in error." No juster inference can be drawn than that these men sought to have the church "recede" from, or "drop" some of its doctrines.
2. The conclusion is also equally just that if the church were to drop a doctrine, tenet, or policy to accommodate itself to the opinions, or beliefs of those withdrawing, the same ones, or others might ask for other concessions, and so the church be asked to recede from all, if demanded, and for similar reasons.
3. There was no congratulation upon the representatives of the church standing firm, in the editorial referred to; but the plain statement that they did stand firm. There was no effort to overstate the matter, or to underrate the men or distort the motives of those who withdrew.
4. The reasons given in the paper of withdrawal are not the assault upon the faith of the church. That assault was made before those reasons were formulated and presented; and the article by Elder Briggs itself states that those presenting their letter of withdrawal had "controverted certain doctrines, etc." It is not left to inference that because "certain doctrines and principles or policy are more or less accepted and taught by the elders in the church;" these men withdrew from it; this is their own allegation. What conclusion can be fairer than the one that as the church had not, or would not drop the things complained of, and the elders who accepted and believed them enjoined by the church from teaching them, these men withdrew from the fellowship of the church; thus making the belief of a few or the many of the elders in those things which they did not believe the cause and the occasion of their withdrawal.
5. The report of committee to whom the article of withdrawal was referred, is not in substantial agreement with that article of withdrawal. It is a reaffirmation of the position the church has occupied and now occupies upon the points named in that report. If the things affirmed in the report are a correct statement of the positions of the church, and in agreement with the men withdrawing, then should they not have withdrawn. If Elder Briggs is in substantial agreement with that report, then was there no occasion for withdrawal.
6. There was no necessity for the church to affirm belief in what the parties withdrawing objected to. The church had never affirmed some of them at all, and some of them in nothing like the sense in which those withdrawing presented them. Some of the objections are without point, as far as belief of the church is concerned; and no one should expect an elaborated answer in such a case.
7. The gagging by the Board of Publication could apply to but one of the parties who withdrew, if to any, and was a matter solely within the control of the Board, subject to an inquiry before the conference. No complaint was made to conference of refusal to publish, and the Board asked to state why such refusal was given, or explanation asked from the Board before the conference.
8. The action of withdrawal by the parties named in it was presented at an early moment in the conference, and made the giving a reason for refusing to sustain at the preceding session unnecessary; hence the
inference that the conference could not have formulated a reason is a wrong one. No complaint of the action of the previous conference in failing to sustain was formally made; nor was there an effort made upon the part of those withdrawing to obtain a reason for not sustaining; the reasons for such refusal to sustain were asked for by others than the ones who withdrew, and they urged at the former session that such reasons should be given.
9. The substance of the committee's report has been affirmed at repeated sessions of the conferences of the church, and its essence and spirit may be found in several of the actions of conferences held prior to 1885. The principle of toleration found in it, is found in the report of the Presidency in the fall of 1879; and has ever been recognized on all necessary occasions. The principle of toleration formulated by Jesus: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned;" permits no latitude to individual opinion; and though human privilege may exist to refuse credence without coercion, the "word spoken shall judge men in the last day."
10. If the report of the committee is in substantial agreement with those who withdrew; and if such report correctly states the position of the church; and if Elder Briggs' statement is correct that had these things been "incorporated in the proceedings of the conference of 1885," "it is probable" that "no withdrawal would have occurred;" the fault of misunderstanding does not rest upon the church, and we can all the more readily acquiesce in the statement of Elder Briggs, "we are willing to let the responsibility of the causes and the occasion for the 'grave mistake' rest where the record places it."
11. It almost seems that from the first to the last the church as a body has been placed as if individual rights were the only ones to be regarded; that rules of association, obligations of membership, courtesy to coworkers were all to be made subservient to individual rights and dignities; that the church was in duty bound to respect and regard individual rights and the sanctity of individual conscience and opinion whether she was heard and listened to or not. We do not say that such has been the intention or purpose, and trust that we mistake appearance.
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