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THE CHURCH MOVES WEST
By December 1830, plans were being made for the church in New York to remove to Ohio. According to a statement of Joseph about this time, the church from "Colesville to Canandaigua, New York, numbered about seventy members." The eventful year of 1830 ended amid preparations to move as a body westward and await in Ohio the return of the missionaries.
At the Conference in Fayette, January 2, 1831, the last General Conference in New York, direction was given concerning the move to Ohio, and promise of a great endowment there was given. Therefore about the last of January, Joseph Smith, his wife, Sidney Rigdon, and Edward Partridge started for Kirtland, arriving there the first of February, where for "several weeks" Joseph Smith and his wife were pleasantly received and entertained by the genial merchant of the little town, Newel K. Whitney. "With a little caution and some wisdom," writes Joseph Smith, "I soon assisted the brethren and sisters to abandon some of the notions that had crept in among them...... The plan of common stock which had existed in what was called 'the family,' whose members generally had embraced the everlasting gospel, was readily abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord."
On Friday, February 4, 1831, Edward Partridge was called to take charge of the financial affairs of the church, and the people were promised on condition of their assembling with prayer and faith, that a law should be given "that ye may know how to govern my church, and have all things right before me."
The people were looking forward not only to a spiritual, but also to an economic brotherhood, which came to be called after the city of old, where all men lived in righteousness and equality, and there were no rich and no poor, "Zion," which was defined to mean "the pure in heart."
The people from the East were gathering into Kirtland as spring progressed. When the majority of those who were experienced in such matters considered that the spring was "open" enough for travel, the Saints from that region assembled at the home of Joseph Smith, Sr., who now occupied a rented house upon the Erie Canal, on the Seneca River in Waterloo, and prepared to make the long trip to Kirtland. To most of the people gathered there, it was an event of great importance, for few of them had been many miles from home, except those who had migrated years before from New England, and from Pennsylvania to Fayette in the German immigration early in the century. They had planned with a foresight that later marked the Saints in matters of immigration to go together, chartering a canal boat for their own use and thus saving expense. When all was prepared it was found that there were eighty souls present, each with his small belongings, and most of them with what food was considered sufficient for the trip.
The Methodist minister's boat had been rented for the occasion. Doubtless it was a "line" boat, and not one of the luxuriously appointed and gaily painted packets that plied the canal. Even on these humble line boats, the fare without board was two and a half cents per mile, so that the cost of transportation for the entire group would have been around two dollars a mile. They were rejoiced to be saving money on the trip. Neighbors thronged the little boat and the now nearly empty house of the Smiths, saying good-by. One kind friend, put into the hands of Mother Smith seventeen dollars, which, although she had plenty for herself and her own children,1 came to good use later in supplying food for those who had not brought an ample supply. Canal travel, even though it was upon little more than a large ditch, had some hazards. The famous Erie Canal was but forty feet wide at the top, twenty-eight feet at the bottom, and only about four feet deep. The locks were ninety by twelve feet, and the largest boat they would hold would be only one hundred tons. One of the most common mishaps was for the canal to "break," which stopped all progress down the canal until it was repaired. This happened on this occasion, but "Mormon" preaching was always in demand among the curious, and one of the neighbors where the boat was held up came on board and asked if there were any preachers there. As there was a beautiful green near the boat, Elders Humphrey and Page preached to a good congregation gathered there, and were invited to make another appointment for the next day, but that night at eleven the canal was repaired, and the little band of pilgrims continued on its way. They made good time, arriving at Buffalo just five days after leaving Waterloo. Here they met the Colesville Saints who had come ahead of them, and were still in Buffalo, held up by four feet of ice on the lake.
All shipping was laid up, and rooms in the city of Buffalo were at a premium. Mother Smith could find none, and supplies and money were limited. She was anxious to reach her destination. Then she remembered her brother Stephen Mack's former partner, a lake captain, and fortunately found him in port. He told her to bring her party on board his boat and remain there until the ice broke. She tells of how the little band of pilgrims knelt in prayer upon the deck, and how almost immediately the ice broke, opening up a channel, which soon closed behind them, and how for almost three weeks no other boat left port.2 The trip was long and stormy, the most stormy Captain Blake had seen in his thirty years upon the lakes. The boat was reported lost, and the members of the family in Kirtland almost despaired of seeing those who were on her. But at last, worn and weary with wind, rain, and storm, the little band disembarked at Fairfield, eleven miles from Kirtland. Young William Smith and another young man by the name of Jenkins Salisbury started to walk to Kirtland in search of their father and brothers, who on hearing the news hastened to Fairfield to conduct the rest of the family home. The reunion was a happy one, and the breakfast at Edward Partridge's, the first regular meal they had had in weeks, was so enjoyed, especially by the young members of the company, that they remembered it even down to old age.3
By similar journeys the Saints poured into Kirtland from the East. Although practically the entire membership had migrated to Kirtland, New York still continued to be one of the most fertile fields for missionary efforts for many years to come.
Kirtland had never been intended for more than a temporary stopping place for the Saints in their pilgrimage west to the Zion that was to be built on "the borders by the Lamanites." It was now planned that practically all the elders in Kirtland who could travel were to make the trip to Zion, two by two, and upon their arrival the place where the city should begin would be pointed out to them.
A more effective missionary campaign could hardly have been devised. Fifteen pairs of men (see D. and C. 52) traveling through that sparsely settled western country, might easily cover all the main roads to Missouri. These men were to be Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Lyman Wight and John Corrill, John Murdock and Hyrum Smith, Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre, Isaac Morley and Ezra Booth, Edward Partridge and Martin Harris, David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock, Parley P. and Orson Pratt, Solomon Hancock and Simeon Carter, Edson Fuller and Jacob Scott, Levi Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin, Reynolds Cahoon and Samuel H. Smith, William Carter and Wheeler Baldwin, Newell Knight and Selah J. Griffith, Joseph Wakefield and Solomon Humphrey. Edson Fuller, Jacob Scott, and William Carter dropped out. Ezra B. Thayre could not prepare in time, and Newell Knight was required to stay home to help superintend the proposed rehelp superintend the proposed removal of the Colesville Branch moval of the Colesville Branch en masse, as the community experiment attempted at Thompson by the Colesville Branch was not working out as anticipated. Therefore Thomas B. Marsh was mated anew with Selah J. Griffith, and Wheeler Baldwin occupied himself with missionary work near Kirtland.
The fact that little time was spent in preparation was characteristic of our early missionaries. These men were called to go on a mission at the conference of June 6. In less than two weeks the majority of them, probably all of them, had said good-by to their families and taken up their journey on foot to the unknown West. The entire saga of these early missionary travels would be as thrilling as a tale of adventure, but unfortunately only a few written lines remain to tell the story.
Just as Joseph Smith was about to leave, one of the many inquirers from the East called at his house and having learned of the latest missionary project was anxious to go along. That man was William Wine Phelps. He was promptly baptized, ordained, and provided with a traveling companion in the person of Joseph Coe. Thus it happened three of the missionary pairs made the journey together. With them was a partner of Newell Knight in his mercantile venture, Algernon S. Gilbert, who was accompanied by his wife. Gilbert was to establish a new store in Independence.
These went by wagon to a point where they could take the new canal to Cincinnati; Ohio had a few years previously entered upon a program of canal building intended to link the Erie Canal to the Ohio River, for travel in this era was mainly by water. This was part of the magnificent scheme of state improvements, for which six years later the people of Ohio with the rest of the citizens of the United States were asked to pay the piper in the panic of 1837. It took superlative courage and optimism (not to say rashness) to plan the building of such an immense system of canals, the first one alone of which was estimated to cost one tenth of all the taxable property in the State of Ohio ($5,700,000). The first of these two canals, the Ohio-Erie Canal, ran from Cleveland on Lake Erie and down the Scioto to Portsmouth on the Ohio River; the second, the Miami Canal, followed the historic route from Cincinnati to Toledo on Maumee Bay. These canals, or such portions of them as were finished, figured largely in the migrations of the early Saints to and from Missouri. The missionary party consisting of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge, Martin Harris, W. W. Phelps, Joseph Coe, and the Gilberts took the Miami Canal which had been finished as far as Dayton two years before, and arriving in Cincinnati had a few days to wait for a steamer to Louisville. Joseph Smith and Rigdon took the occasion to visit Rigdon's old friend of Pittsburgh days, Walter Scott, but they were bitterly repulsed.
From there they took a steamboat to Louisville, Kentucky, and down to Saint Louis. At Saint Louis, after some parley, the party separated. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert with Sidney Rigdon, whose previous life and over two hundred pounds of avoirdupois unsuited him for walking, took a Missouri River steamboat. Now any river pilot of that day could tell you that the Missouri was temperamental; that navigation on the Mississippi was child's play compared with taking a boat up the Missouri. "Of all the variable things in creation the most uncertain are the action of a jury, the state of a woman's mind, and the condition of the Missouri River."4 And yet the river in the heyday of steamboating was navigated twenty-three hundred miles above Saint Louis. So while the Gilberts and Rigdon waited for a boat, their brethren started to walk and beat them to Independence!
As the five men walked along, they talked over the gospel and made it a practice to read a chapter from the Bible and have a prayer every day. Arriving in what is now Kansas City, the party camped near the site of the historic old spring which is now directly at the foot of the extension of Charlotte Street. The earth on top of what was once the cave's mouth forms the union of what is now Charlotte Street and Gleed Terrace.5 The old cave and the spring which flowed from it were well known to frontiersmen long before Kansas City was built. It was located near the old Independence-Westport Road, a part of which now forms Gillham Road. The Santa Fe trade that traveled the route from Independence through Westport had established a watering place there for the wagon caravans which passed. In the days when Joseph Smith and his missionary party camped here, a stream of crystal clear water ran from this spring and fed a goodsized creek, which flowed southwest and made a junction with another creek, running down the present side of Oak Street.
Joseph Smith's impression of the people was not reassuring, for the Missourians were as uncongenial to the people from the East as the "Mormonites" were to them. He says: "Our reflections were great, coming as we had from a highly cultivated state of society in the East, and standing now upon the confines or Western limits of the United States and looking into the vast wilderness of those that sat in darkness. How natural it was to observe the degradation, leanness of intellect, ferocity and jealousy of a people that were nearly a century behind the time, and to feel for those who roamed about without the benefit of civilization, refinement, or religion!"
He was greatly pleased with the country as a whole, and thought that by encouraging the people to bring with them a better grade of stock, grain for planting, and implements for farming, and the will to establish and maintain schools, conditions would improve, and the land would become indeed the promised land of their highest hopes.
The union with the brethren who had left Fayette nearly nine months before was an unmixed pleasure.
W. W. Phelps, a member of the church now for nearly a month, was the chosen speaker the Sunday after the arrival of the missionaries, speaking to a mixed congregation of white pioneers, Negroes, and Indians. Two were baptized that day. It was now the middle of July. Few of the missionaries had arrived. The next week the Colesville Branch6 came, Sidney Rigdon, A. S. Gilbert and wife, and the first of the missionary teams, Isaac Morley and Ezra Booth. The settlement of Zion had begun!
And by special protection of the Lord, Brother Joseph Smith, Junior, and Sidney Rigdon [wrote John Whitmer, historian of the church], in company with eight other elders, with the church from Colesville, New York, consisting of about sixty souls, arrived in the month of July, and by revelation the place was made known where the temple shall stand and the city should commence. And by commandment twelve of us assembled ourselves together, viz., Elder Joseph Smith, Junior, the Seer, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Newel Knight, William W. Phelps, and Ezra Booth who denied the faith.
On the second day of August, 1831, Brother Sidney Rigdon stood up and asked, saying, Do you receive this land for the land of your inheritance with thankful hearts from the Lord? Answer from all, We do. Do you pledge yourself to keep the laws of God on this land, which you have never kept in your own land?7 We do.
Do you pledge yourselves to see that others of your brethren who shall come hither do keep the laws of God? We do. After prayer, he arose and said, I now pronounce this land consecrated and dedicated to the Lord for a possession and inheritance for the Saints (in the name of Jesus Christ, having authority from him). And for all the faithful servants of the Lord to the remotest ages of time. Amen.
The day following eight elders, viz., Joseph Smith, Junior, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Peter Whitmer, Junior, Frederick G. Williams, William W. Phelps, Martin Harris, and Joseph Coe assembled together where the temple is to be erected. Sidney Rigdon dedicated the ground where the city is to stand, and Joseph Smith, Junior, laid a stone at the northeast corner of the contemplated temple in the name of the Lord Jesus of Nazareth. After all present had rendered thanks to the great Ruler of the universe, Sidney Rigdon pronounced this spot of ground wholly dedicated unto the Lord forever. Amen.8
The spot for the temple was about a half mile from the straggling little village of Independence, a short distance south of the road. As yet these people did not own one foot of ground!
The purpose for which they had come now being fulfilled, the missionary party made ready to go back to Kirtland. On the 4th, all attended a conference at the home of Joshua Lewis,9 one of the Missouri converts to the church, near what is now 35th and the Paseo in Kansas City.
All the way west, Polly Knight, wife of Joseph Knight, Sr., who had mothered young Joseph Smith in the old days at Colesville, had been steadily failing. It was her one great wish to live to see the "land of Zion." Now less than a month after she had arrived with all her family, she passed away. Joseph Smith delayed his departure until after her funeral. Hers was the first death in the church in the land of Zion. Tradition is silent upon the place of her burial.
On the day of Sister Knight's funeral, August 7, 1831, directions were given for keeping the Sabbath Day, for to the New England bred elders a town without a church, and a community where Sunday was just another day represented a barbarous condition. In every small village in New England little white churches lifted a spire heavenward, and the Sabbath Day was most religiously unprofaned.
On the 9th day of August, the little party of eleven elders set out in canoes from Independence Landing, to return to Kirtland. The first day they went as far as Fort Osage (now Sibley). At this pioneer outpost of civilization they were made welcome with a dinner of wild turkey. The night of the third day they encamped at McIlwain's Bend. On the 13th some of the elders on their way to Zion met with this party just returning and had a joyful reunion, recounting experiences of the road. The party divided here, some going by water, others by stage back to Kirtland, where they arrived August 27.
In the meantime the little group left alone in the "wilderness" were trying faithfully to adapt themselves to pioneer life. They found much different conditions than they had in their home in the East. The frequent arrival of the missionaries created some diversion, but the summer of 1831 had been as unseasonal as the previous winter, dark, cold, and stormy from the time spring opened with waters "higher than they had been since Noah's flood."10 The summer had been one succession of floods and disasters, until people were afraid to venture on the water. The scientific papers of the Smithsonian Institute show torrential rains that summer such as were known only in the tropics. At last in August there came a "killing frost," nipping the corn so severely that it did not fully mature. Only a few grains were ripened, so that seed for the following year's spring planting was scarce and very expensive. Many of the vegetables counted upon for winter stores failed, so the gathering Saints, who had no crops, found supplies hard to obtain as the season advanced. Deer and wild game still abounded, so there was no danger of actual starvation.
Three days after the missionaries started east, Lyman Wight came on foot, saying he had left his companion John Murdock fifty miles behind, very ill. Wight borrowed a horse of one of the Saints, rode back to where he left Murdock, and brought in the sick man, walking beside him all the fifty miles to support him in the saddle.
They had come from the faraway outpost of Detroit, after a visit to Pontiac and other points on the way. They reported the conversion and baptism of many, including some names later familiar in Latter Day Saint history, such as James Emmett and Morris Phelps. From the very beginning, Mother Lucy Smith had most earnestly desired the opening of a mission in Michigan, for it was here where her second brother, Stephen Mack, had gone before the War of 1812 and made a fortune for himself. Since Stephen was one of the eldest of the family and Lucy the youngest, she hardly knew him, but still he was the pride of the family. She had heard all her life of his success "merchandising" in Michigan, of his trading posts there and elsewhere, how he had six clerks in one store and mills and boats on the lakes and trading posts even as far east as Ohio.11 True, her brother had died without hearing the gospel, but there was a duty Lucy felt she owed to his widow, Temperance Mack, and the rest of his family. Therefore, two pairs of missionaries were to go by way of Detroit and Pontiac, and Lucy was to accompany them on a visit to her sister-in-law. These four were Lyman Wight, John Corrill, John Murdock, and Hyrum Smith.
They went by boat to Detroit, and hence to Pontiac, where they found Temperance Mack and her family in enjoyment of an estate of fifty thousand dollars, free of encumbrance, left by Stephen when he died. There were stores, farms, a mill at Rochester, and considerable other property.12 Such an interest was raised here that Jared Carter was sent out from Kirtland to follow up the work of the first missionaries. He soon baptized seventy people in Pontiac, which may well be known as the cradle of the Latter Day Saint work in Michigan.
Toward the latter part of August about fifteen elders met in Zion. All had not yet arrived from their missions, for wherever they had found an interest, they had remained to preach, baptize, confirm, ordain, and organize branches. Many of the converts simply came along with the missionaries as they traveled. One of these, William McLellin, had come Zionward with the first elders he met, Samuel H. Smith and Reynolds Cahoon, and was baptized by Hyrum Smith on the 29th of August in Colesville settlement, and immediately ordained an elder.13
The Pratt brothers did not arrive in Zion until September. They were fast becoming two of the most able preachers and prose-lytizers of the new faith. Leaving Kirtland in June they had traveled on foot through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, preaching, baptizing, suffering many hardships: hunger, thirst, fatigue, but with the record of many baptisms and new branches organized in various parts of Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Almost immediately upon arrival, Parley P. Pratt, much weakened by the hardships he had endured, fell a victim to that curse of settlers in new country, fever and ague.
He was tended by the old friends in Colesville Branch, who were struggling under difficulties to make a home in the new surroundings. He writes of those days:
They had arrived late in the summer, and cut some hay for the cattle, sowed a little grain, and prepared some ground for cultivation, and were engaged during the fall and winter in building log cabins, etc. The winter was cold, and for some time about ten families lived in one log cabin, which was open and unfinished, while the frozen ground served for a floor. Our food consisted of beef and a little bread made of corn, which had been grated into coarse meal by rubbing the ears on a tin grater. That was rather an inconvenient way of living for a sick person; but it was for the gospel's sake, and all were very cheerful and happy.
We enjoyed many happy seasons in our prayer and other meetings, and the Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon us, and even on the little children, insomuch that many of eight, ten or twelve years of age spake, and prayed, and prophesied in our meetings and in our family worship. There was a spirit of peace and union, and love, and good will manifested in this little church in the wilderness, the memory of which will be ever dear to my heart.14 15
1 There were eight of the Smith family, mother Lucy Smith, her daughter
Sophronia Stoddard McCleary, husband and child; Catherine, William, Don Carlos, and Lucy.
The father and other sons had preceded them to Kirtland.
2 See Joseph Smith and His Progenitors, also letter of Catherine (Smith) Salisbury, written from Fountain Green, Illinois, May 16, 1886, Saints' Herald for 1886, Volume 33, page 404.
3 William Smith on Mormonism, Lamoni Herald Press, 1883.
4 Sioux City Register, March 28, 1868.
5 In Carrie Westlake Whitney's Kansas City, Missouri, Its History and Its People, 1808-1908, Volume 1, pages 55-56, it is stated that Joseph Smith the Mormon prophet established a school one hundred yards northeast of the cave's mouth two years before Westport was platted. The school was abandoned when the Mormons left the county in 1833. This would place the date as 1831, since Westport was platted in 1833. Joseph Smith was present in Jackson County only for a very short time in 1831--from the middle of July to August 9. The only possible incident, if any, referring to the school's establishment is one recorded in Joseph Smith's notes which reads: "August 2, I assisted in laying the first log for a house as the foundation of Zion in Kaw Township, twelve miles West of Independence. The log was carried and laid in place by twelve men in honor of the twelve tribes of Israel." We have no record of this property ever belonging to the church. However, at the same time, the church dedicated the site for the temple to be built in Independence on land they did not own, but acquired by purchase some months later.
6 In the Kansas City Star for March 19, 1933, in an article "Westport Won the Santa Fe Trade from Independence" by William W. Harris, we are told, "The first large settlement [of the Saints] was established in the valley of Brush Creek from the state line eastward a mile or more between the Ward homestead and Westport, where they entered and bought several thousand acres. The families occupied ten or twenty acre tracts of land which had been secured in 1831 by Bishop Partridge and held as common property." The old records in the courthouse in Independence bear out the fact that Edward Partridge did hold considerable land in the valley of Brush Creek. In the summer of 1933, W. O. Hands made a blue print showing these land descriptions superimposed upon a modern map of Kansas City. The Saints of Colesville probably occupied these tracts, or a part of them, particularly the part indicated by Harris. Five tracts of this land following modern boundaries as nearly as possible were (1) Beginning at state line and 47th Street, east to Holly, south to 55th, west to state line, north to place of beginning; (2) Beginning at Summit and 51st, east to Wornall Road, south to 55th, west to Summit, north to 51st (This tract comprises all of Jacob L. Loose Memorial Park); (3) Beginning at 47th and Broadway, east to Main, south to 50th, west to Broadway, and north to 47th; (4) Beginning at 51st and Main, east to Holmes, south to 55th, west to Main, and north to 51st; (5) Beginning at 51st and Troost, east to Woodland, south to 55th, west to Troost, and north to 51st.
7 Probably referring to the new economic order about to be instituted among them.
8 Manuscript History of John Whitmer; Journal of History, Volume 1, page 59.
9 For many years it was assumed that Joshua Lewis was one of the Colesville Saints, and that if and when his home was located, we would know the location of the Colesville Settlement." Mr. Rolland Brittain finally located the Joshua Lewis homestead by means of a tax title. For many years we called this the site of the Colesville settlement, but we now know definitely that Joshua Lewis was not a member of the Colesville Branch but a convert made by the earliest missionaries to Missouri. His farm was actually in the Whitmer settlement as shown by Whitmer deeds on record in the courthouse at Independence, and by other accounts which definitely place the Lewis farm near the Whitmer settlement on the Blue. Briefly, evidence leading us to the conclusion that Lewis was not one of the Colesville settlers is as follows: The Kansas city Star of Tuesday, February 3, 1931, speaks of him as one "who was believed by his relatives at the time to have disgraced his family by joining the then persecuted sect." Parley Parker Pratt in his autobiography says he was "a most faithful pilot, an old resident of the country, who knew every crook and turn of the different paths." The Colesville Saints had only arrived a few days before this conference. And lastly and most conclusively he is listed as a voter in Jackson County in 1828, before the Latter Day Saints ever came to Missouri.
10 Pioneers of Mason and Menard, by T. G. Omstot.
11 Stephen Mack built "the turnpike road" from Detroit to Pontiac, known now as Woodward Avenue. Mack Avenue in Detroit is named for him.
12 The present church of Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints stands on a portion of the old Mack estate. 13 William McLellin was a rather eccentric character. He was born in Tennessee, probably in 1806. His joining the elders in their trek westward leaving his store to its own devices was characteristic of his impulsive behavior. He became one of the first Quorum of Apostles in February, 1835. In March he was carrying on a famous debate with Reverend J. M. Tracy of the Christian Church at Huntsburg, Geauga County, Ohio, and defended his position well enough to earn the admiration of those outside as well as in the church (History of Geauga County, Ohio, page 751). In August, 1836, he wrote to the Presidency that he was withdrawing, as he had lost confidence in the leaders. Two years later the church took action expelling him from the church. He was later connected for brief periods with different factions. Perhaps his latest venture was when he was received by vote into the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) on June 5, 1869 (Old Record Church of Christ, page 28). On November 3 of the same year, he withdrew from their fellowship (Ibid., page 33) and just 18 days later wrote to Davis H. Bays, "As to Brighamism, Young Josephism, or G. Hedrickism, I have no use for either of them.... I do not believe in plurality of Gods, nor women; in baptism for the dead, in two priesthoods in the gospel church. Not I. But say you: 'Do tell what you do believe?' I believe David Whitmer was legally and properly appointed and ordained on the 8th day of July, 1834, by Joseph Smith, in a kind of general assembly of all his camp-followers, and all the ministerial authorities of Zion met together three miles west of Liberty, Missouri" (from a letter to D. H. Bays, printed in the Saints' Herald, Volume 17, page 291). McLellin lived, practiced his profession of medicine, and died in Independence, near the square. His grave is in Woodlawn Cemetery, beside that of his faithful wife, who cast her fortunes with the Reorganized Church. One of the noteworthy characteristics of the Restoration of the gospel is that those who once partook of its spirit never forsook its basic principles. These principles were as firmly implanted in Dr. McLellin's heart in his lonely old age as they were in his impetuous youth, when he walked out of his business establishment to follow two strange men with a strange story into the western wilderness. Dissenting with almost all his former colleagues [except David Whitmer] he wrote his crusty criticisms to all and sundry but signed them, "Yours in the love of the pure truth."
14 Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, pages 76, 77. 15 The author was criticized in the former edition of this book for use of this quotation as not representative of true conditions, but further study does not convince her that Pratt's testimony should be rejected. In an article, "Elder John Brush," by two friends, as published in the Autumn Leaves, Volume 4, page 22, we find, "To this period Brother Brush looks back with the deepest pleasure; for although the Saints were poor, being new settlers and so away from mills and manufactories, they were very happy; and there were no quarrelings or dissensions among the masses that he knew of. The officers of the branch at this settlement visited the Saints regularly every two or three weeks; the priests enlightening and counseling the families; the teachers rooting out, smoothing away, and helping to settle the very beginnings of difficulties among members; the deacon attending to the wants of the needy, assisting them to obtain that wherein they lacked. It is his testimony also that the Saints were discreet in their intercourse with nonbelievers, and that they did not disobey the laws of the land. That they did not obey perfectly all the commandments of God is probable, but the character of their social and religious relations when thus in their gathered condition was so far above anything he has before or since seen, that he cannot but look back to those times with the tenderest emotions."
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