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Vol. 1. Whole No. 6.] COMMERCE, ILLINOIS, APRIL, 1840 [Whole No. 6.
A HISTORY, OF THE PERSECUTION, OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, OF LATTER DAY SAINTS IN MISSOURI.
In the winter and spring of 1838, the saints were prospered in all their pursuits; the church received great accession by emigration, as hundreds of families moved in from various parts of the United States and Canada.-Some time in the month of March, President Joseph Smith jr. arrived with his family, accompanied by several brethren, from Kirtland, Ohio; soon after this President S. Rigdon arrived with his family also, they both settled in Far West. At this time there were several persons living in Far west, who were disaffected with the church and had dissented from it, and were cut off from the church according to the rules and regulations of the same. These characters were busy in striving to stir up strife and turmoil among the brethren, and urging on mean and vexatious lawsuits; they were also, studiously engaged in circulated false and slanderous reports against the saints, to stir up our enemies to anger against us, that they might again drive us from our homes, and enjoy the spoils together we are disposed here, to give the names of some of those characters, believing that justice to an endured people, requires it at our hands. They are as follows, viz: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmore, W. W. Phelps, John Whitmore, and Lyman E. Johnson, of whom we may have occasion to speak hereafter.
We shall now make an extract from P. P. Pratts history published in Detroit last season, which is a correct statement of facts.
"On the Fourth of July, 1838, many thousands of our people assembled at the city of Far West, the county seat of Caldwell, erected a liberty pole, and hoisted the bold [bald ?] eagle, with its stars and stripes, upon the top of the same. Under the colors of our county we laid the corner stone of a house of worship, and had an address delivered by Elder Rigdon, in which was painted, in lively colors, the oppression which we had long suffered from the hand of our enemies; and in this discourse we claimed and declared our constitutional rights, as American citizens, and manifested a determination to do our utmost endeavors, from that time forth, to resist all oppression, and to maintain our rights and freedom according to the holy principles of liberty, as guaranteed to every person by the constitution and laws of our government. This declaration was received with shouts of hosanna to God and the Lamb, and with many and long cheers by the assembled thousands, who were determined to yield their rights no more, except compelled by a superior power.
But in a day or two after these transactions, the thunder rolled in awful majesty over the city of Far West, and the arrows of lightning fell from the clouds and shivered the liberty pole from top to bottom; thus manifesting to many that there was an end to liberty and law in that state, and that our little city strove in vain to maintain the liberties of a country which was ruled by wickedness and rebellion. It seemed to portend the awful fate which awaited that devoted city, and the county and pople [people] around.
Soon after these things, the war clouds began again to lower, with dark and threatening aspect. The rebellious party in the counties around had long watched our increasing power and prosperity with greedy and avaricious eyes, and they had already boasted that as soon as we had made some fine improvements, and a plentiful crop, they would drive us from the state, and again enrich themselves with the spoils. Accordingly, at an election held in Davies co., the robbers undertook to drive our people from the poll box and threatened to kill whoever should attempt to vote. But some were determined
to enjoy their rights or die; they therefore went forward to vote, but were sized by the opposing party and attacted [attacked], and thus a fight commenced. But some of our people knocked down several of the robbers, and thus cleared the ground and maintained their rights, though vastly unequal in numbers. The news of this affair soon spread far and wide, and cuased [caused] the people to rally, some for liberty and some to support the robbers in their daring outrages. About one hundred and fifty of those who were on the side of liberty, marched to the spot next day, and went to the residence of the leaders in this outrage, and soon an agreement was signed for peace, But this was of short duration, for the conspirators were stirred up throughout the whole State, being alarmed for fear the Mormons, as they called them, should become so formidable as to maintain their rights and liberties, insomuch [inasmuch] that they could no more drive and plunder them. About this time, meetings were held by the robbers in Carroll, Saline, and other counties, in which they openly declared their treasonable and murderous intentions of driving the citizens who belonged to our society from their counties, and if possible, from the State. Resolutions to this effect were published in the journals of Upper Missouri, and this without a single remark of disapprobation. Nay more this murderous gang when assembled and painted like Indian warriors, and when openly committing murder, robbery, and house burning, were denominated citizens, white people, &c., in most of the papers of the State; while our society who stood firm in the cause of liberty and law, were denominated Mormons, in contradistinction to the appelation [appellation] of citizens, whites &c, as if we had been some savage tribe, or some colored race of foreigners. The robbers soon assembled, to the number of several hundred, under arms, and rendezvoused in Davies county, being composed of individuals from many of the counties around. Here they commenced firing upon our citizens, and taking prisoners. Our people made no resistence [resistance], except to assemble on their own ground for defence [defense]. They also made oath before the Circuit Judge, A. A. King, to the above outrages. Five hundred men were then ordered into service, under the command of Major General Atchison, and Brigadier Generals Parks and Doniphan. These were soon mustered and marched through Caldwell, and took their stand in Daviess county, where some of them remained thirty days. The robbers were somewhat awed by these prompt measures, so that they did not proceed farther at that time in Daviess, but they proceeded to De Wit, a small town in Carroll county, which was mostly settled by our people. Here they laid siege for several days, and subsisted by plunder and robbery, watching every opportunity to fire upon our citizens. At this time they had one field piece, and were headed by a Presbyterian priest by the name of Sashel Woods, who, it is said, tended prayer, night and morning, at tha [the] head of the gang. In this siege they say that they killed a number of our people. They also turned one Smith Humphrey, and his wife and children out of doors when sick, and set fire to their house, and burned it to ashes before their eyes. At length they succeeded in driving every citizen from the place, to the sacrifice of every thing which they could not take with them.
Liberty Jail, Missouri, Dec. 16, 1838
To the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Caldwell county, and to those who are scattered abroad, who are persecuted and made desolate, and who are afflicted in divers manners, for Christ's sake and the Gospel's, by the hands of a cruel mob, and the tyranical [tyrannical] disposition of the authorities of this State.
We are sensible also, that your perils are greatly augmented by the wickedness and corruption of false brethren, may grace, mercy and peace be and abide with you. And notwithstanding all your sufferings we assure you that you have our prayers and fervent desire for your welfare both day and night.
We believe that, that God who sees us in this solitary place, will hear our prayers and reward you openly.
Know assuredly Dear brethren, that
it is for the testimony of Jesus, that we are in bonds and in prison; but we say unto you, that we consider our condition better, notwithstanding our sufferings, than those who have persecuted and smitten us, and have borne false witness against us; and although our enemies seem to have a great triumph over us for the present, we most assuredly believe and know, that their triumph will be but short, and that God will deliver us out of their hands, notwithstanding their bearing false witness and other wise. We want you, brethren, to remember Haman and Mordecai, you know that Haman could not be satisfied, so long as he saw Mordecai, at the kings gate, consequently he sought the life of Mordecai, and the whole Jewish people. But the Lord so ordered it, that Haman was hanged upon his own gallows: so shall it come to pass with poor Haman in the last days.
Those who have sought by their unbelief and wickedness; as well as by the principle of mobocracy, to destroy us and the people of God, by killing and scattering them abroad, and wilfully [willfully] and maliciously delivering us into the hands of murderers, desiring us to be put to death, and having us dragged about in chains and cast into prison! and for what cause? It is because we were honest men, and were determined to defend the lives of the saints, at the expense of our own; I say unto you that those, who have thus vilely treated us, shall like Haman be hanged on their own gallows, or in other words, shall fall into their own gin and ditch, which they have prepared for us, and shall go backward and stumble, and fall, and their name shall perish, and God shall reward them according to all their abominations.
Dear Brethren, do not think that our hearts are faint, as though some strange thing had happened unto us, for we have seen these things before hand, and have an assurance of a better hope, than our persecutors, therefore God has made our shoulders broad, so that we can bear them: We glory in our tribulations, because we know that God is with us, that he is our friend, and he will save us. We do not care for those that can kill the body; knowing that they cannot harm our souls. We ask no favors at the hands of mobs, of the world, or of the devil; not yet of any of his emmissaries [emissaries], the desenters [dissenters]. We have never dissembled nor will we for the sake of our lives: inasmuch then as we know we have been endeavouring [endeavoring], with all our mights, minds, and strength to do the will of God in all things whatsoever he has commanded us, we feel a satisfaction which we would not part with for any worldly advantage whatever. As to our light speeches which may have escaped our lips from time to time, they have nothing to do with the fixed principles of our hearts; and those who have taken offence [offense] at any thing which may inadvertantly [inadvertently] have escaped our lips, we would refer them to Isaiah's description of those, who make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for those that reprove in the gate: We have no retraction to make, we have reproved in the gate, and men have laid snares for us; we have spoken words and men have made us offenders; yet notwithstanding all this, our minds are not darkened, but we yet feel strong in the Lord. But behold the words of the Savior, "if the light which is in you became darkness, how great is that darkness: Look at the desenters [dissenters].-And again. "If you were of the world the world would love its own.
Look at those men, viz: Hinckle, Corril and Peck, by whom we were led into the camp, as the Savior was led, like lambs prepared for the slaughter and as sheep before the shearers are dumb, so we opened not our mouths. But the men being greedy of gain sold us into the hands of those who loved them, for the world loved his own.-We would also remember W. W. Phelps who came to us as one of Job's comforters: God suffered such kind of beings to afflict Job, but it never entered into their hearts that Job would get out of it all.
This poor man who professes to be much of a prophet, has no other dumb ass to ride, but David Whitmer or to forbid his madness, when he goes up to curse Israel; but this not being of the same kind of Balaam's, therefore, notwithstanding the angel appeared unto him, yet he could not sufficiently penetrate his understanding, but that he brays out cursings instead of blessings. Poor ass, wheover [whoever ?] lives, will see him
and his rider perish like those who perished in the gainsaying of Core, or after the same condemnation, unless they repent. Now as for these and the rest of their company; we will not say that the world loves them, but we presume to say that they love the world; therefore we classify them in the error of Balaam, and in the gainsaying of Core: and with the company of Cora, Dathan and Abiram.
In speaking thus some of our brethren may think we are offended at those characters, if we are, it is not for a word, neither because they reproved in the gate; but because they have been the means of sheding [shedding] innocent blood.-Are they not murderers then at the heart? are not their consciences seared as with a hot Iron? We confess that we are offended. The Savior said "that offences [offenses] must come; but woe unto them by whom they come? And again, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and speak all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
Now dear brethren, if any men ever had reason to claim this promise we are the men, for we know that the world not only hates us, but "speak all manner of evil against us falsely," for no other reason, but because we have been endeavoring to teach the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After we were bartered away by Hinckle and were taken into the camp of the millitia [militia] , we had all the evidence we could have wished, that the world hated us and that most cordially too. The priests of the different sects hated us. The Generals hated us, the colonels hated us, the officers and soldiers hated us; and the most profane blasphemers, drunkards, and horemongers hated us. And why? Because of the testimony of Jesus Christ. Was it because we had committed treason against the government, or burglary, or larcany [larceny], or arson or any other unlawful act; we know that such things have been reported by certain priests, lawyers and judges who are the instigators and abettors of a certain gang of murderers and robbers, who have been carrying on a scheme of mobocracy to uphold their priestcraft against the saints of the last days; and have tried by a well contemplated and premeditated scheme to put down by physical power, a system of religion that all the world, (by fair means,) and all their intelligence, were not able to resist. Hence mobbers were encouraged by priests and Levites, by pharisees [Pharisees] and saducees[Saducees], by essenees [Essenees]and herodions [Herodions], and by the most abandoned and wicked characters that are suffered to live upon the earth, indeed a parallel cannot be found any where of such characters who gathered together to steal, to plunder, to starve and to exterminate the saints: these are the characters, who by their treasonable acts, have desolated and laid waste Daviess county. These are the characters that would fain make all the world believe that we are guilty of the above names acts; but they represent us falsly [falsely]; we say that we have not committed treason, nor any other unlawful act in Daviess county.
Was it for murder in Ray county, that we were thus treated? We answer no. We were not present when the mobs came forth in that direction, who after dragging our brethren from their homes, and burning their habitations and killing several of our beloved friends, but not without the expense of, some of their own lives; retreated and after getting clothed with the authority of militia, raised the cry of murder! treason! &c. and appeared as innocent as a sheep. This suited their purpose, but if their borrowed garb had been torn off; instead of the peaceable sheep we should have found all the characteristics of the prowling wolf guilty of the murder of innocent and harmless men; therefore, on the heads of that mob with Bogard at their head be the crime and upon them rests the curse.
Was it for commiting [committing] adultery? We are aware that false and slanderous reports have gone abroad, which have reached our ears, respecting this thing, which have been started by renagadoes [renegades], and spread by the dissenters, who are extremely active in spreading foul and libilous [libelous] reports concerning us; thinking thereby to gain the fellowship of the world, knowing that we are not of the world; and that the world hates us. But by so doing they only show themselves to be vile traitors and sycophants.
Some have reported that we not only dedicated our property, but likewise our families to the Lord, and Satan taking advantage of this has transfigured it into lasciviousness, a community of wives, which things are an abomination in the sight of God.
When we consecrate our property to the Lord, it is to administer to the wants of the poor and needy according to the laws of God, and when a man consecrates or dedecates [dedicates] his wife and children to the Lord, he does not give them to his brother or to his neighbor; which is contrary to the law of God, which says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife" "He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already in his heart."-Now for a man to consecrate his property, his wife and children to the Lord is nothing more nor less than to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the widows and fatherless, the sick and afflicted; and do all he can to administer to their relief in their afflictions, and for himself and his house to serve the Lord. In order to do this he and all his house must be virtuous and "shun every appearance of evil. Now if any person, has represented any thing otherwise than what we now write they have willfully misrepresented us.
We have learned also since we have been in prison that many false and pernicious things, which were calculated to lead the saints astray and do great injury, have been taught by Dr. Avard, who has represented them as coming from the presidency; and we have reason to fear, that many other designing and corrupt characters, like unto himself, have taught many things, which the presidency never knew of, until after they were made prisoners which, if they had known, they would have spurned them and their authors as they would a serpent.
Thus we find, that there has been frauds, secret abominations, and evil works of darkness going on leading the minds of the weak and unwary into confusion and distraction, and all of which has been endeavored to be palmed upon the presidency, who were ignorant of these things which were practised [practiced] upon the church in our name. And now brethren what can we enumerate more, is not all manner of evil of every description spoken against us falsly [falsely], yea we say unto you falsly [falsely]. We have been misrepresented misunderstood and belied, and the purity of our hearts have not been known. And some have gained influence by their hypocracy [hypocrisy] sanctified appearance and the pious discourses which they have delivered. And our souls have been bowed down and we have suffered much distress in consequence thereof, and truly we have had to wade through an ocean of trouble.
We could enumerate the names of many who have acted in a mean and dastardly manner, some of whom we once considered our friends men whom we once thought would never condescend to such unhallowed proceedings, but their love of the world and the praise of men has overcome every feeling of virtue, and they have yielded obedience once more to their old master, consequently their last end will be worse than the first. It has happened to them according to the words of the Savior. The dog has returned to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." If those under Moses' law did without mercy under two or three witnesses, of how much severer punishment, suppose ye, shall those be thought worthy, who have betrayed and denied the new and everlasting covenant, by which they were sanctified, and called it an unholy thing; and have done despite to the spirit of grace. Again we would say inasmuch as their is virtue in us; and the keys of the kingdom have not been taken from us; and the holy priesthood has been confer'd upon us, (for verily thus saith the Lord, be of good cheer, for the keys I gave unto you are yet with you;) therefore we say unto you dear brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we deliver these characters unto the buffetings of satan until the day of redemption that they may be dealt with according to their works and from henceforth shall their works be made manifest.
And now dear and well beloved brethren, to you who have continued faithful, both men women and children, we exhort you in the name of the Lord Jesus to be strong in the
faith of the new and everlasting covenant, and nothing frightened at your enemies for what has happened to us is a token to our enemies of damnation but unto you and us of salvation, and that of God: therefore hold on, even unto death, for he that seeks to save his life shall loose it, but he that looseth his life for my sake and the gospel shall find it" saith the Saviour [Savior].
Brethren from henceforth let truth and rightousness [righteousness] prevail and bound in you, and in all things be temperate abstain from drunkenness, profane language, and from every thing which is unrighteous and unholy, and from the very appearance of evil: be honest one with another; for it seemeth some have come short in this thing, and some have been uncharitable towards their brethren who were indebted to them: while they have been dragged about in chains and cast into dungeons: such persons will have their turn and sorrow in the rolling of the great wheel; for it rolleth and none can hinder: remember whatsoever measure you meet it shall be measured to you again.
Zion shall yet live: although she seemeth to be dead. We say unto you brethren: be not afraid of your adversaries: contend earnestly against mobs, and the unlawful works of dissenters, and of darkness; and the very God of peace shall be with you: and make a way for your escape from your adversaries. We commend you to God and the word of his grace; which is able to make you wise unto salvation. Amen. JOSEPH SMITH, Jr.
To all the people unto whom these presents shall come.-GREETING.
Be it known that we the constituted authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, assembled in conference, at Nauvoo, Hancock county and State of Illinois, on this, sixth of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and forty, considering an important event at hand, an event involving the interest and fate of the Gentile nations throughout the world. From the signs of the times, and from declarations contained in the oracles of God, we are forced to come to this conclusion.
The Jewish nation have been scattered abroad among the Gentiles for a long period; and in our estimation, the time of the commencement of their return to the Holy Land, has already arrived.
As this scattered and persecuted people are set among the Gentiles as a sign unto them of the second coming of the Mesiah [Messiah]; and also, of the overthrow of the present kingdom's and Governments of the earth, by the potency of his Almighty arm in scattering famine and pestilence like the frosts and snows of winter, and sending the sword, with nation against nation to bathe it in each others blood: It is highly important, in our opinion, that the present views and movements of the Jewish people be sought after, and laid before the American people for their consideration, their prophet and their learning; and feeling it to be our duty to employ the most efficient means in our power to save the chilren [children] of men from the 'abomination that maketh desolate."-We have, by the counsel of the Holy Spirit, appointed Elder Orson Hyde, the bearer of these presents, a faithful and worthy minister of Jesus Christ, to be our agent and representative in foreign lands, to visit the cities of London, Amsterdam, Constantinople and Jerusalem; and also others places that he may deem expedient, and converse with the priests, rulers and Elders of the Jews, and obtain from them all the information possible, and communicate the same to some principal paper for publication, that it may have a general circulation throughout the United States.
As Mr. Hyde has willingly and cheerfully accepted the appointment to become our servant, and the servant of the public in distant and foreign countries for Christ's sake, we do confidently recommend him to all religious and christian people, and to gentlemen and ladies, making no profession as a worthy member of society, possessing much zeal to promote the happiness of mankind, fully believing that they will be forward to render him all the pecuniary aid he needs, to accomplish this laborious and hazardous mission for the general good of the human family. Ministers of every denomination, upon whom Mr. H. shall call, are requested to hold up his hands and aid him by their influence, with an assurance that
such as do this, shall have the prayers and blessing of a poor and an afflicted people whose blood has flowed to test the depths of their sincerity, and to crimson the face of freedoms soil with MARTYR'S BLOOD.
Mr. Hyde is instructed by this conference to transmit to this country nothing but simple facts for publication, entirely disconnected with any peculiar views of theology, leaving each class to make their own comments and draw their own inferences.
Given under our hands, at the time and place before mentioned. JOSEPH SMITH, jr. Ch'r. ROBERT B. THOMPSON, Clerk.
Bro's Smith and Robinson, will discover, by the conference minutes, that our worthy brother, Elder John E. Page, was duly appointed by said conference to accompany me in this mission; and to receive the same credentials as my own.
Perry, Pike co. Ill. March 26th, 1840.
BRO'S ROBINSON AND SMITH,
It has been some over three month since we (Bro's William Burton and myself) commenced laboring in this village and its vicinity, including a small part of Brown co.
When we commenced proclaiming the sacred truth of the everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of the before mentioned places, there was but little appearance of much success; but we cannot always correctly determine what will be effected by a presentation of pure, simple, unadultered [unadulterated] truth, in it purity, excelencies [excellencies], and unblemished beauties, accompanied by the corresponding evidence, with an exhibition of its general utility and application to individuals in order to produce peace, love, and joy in this life, which is an earnest of that glory and immortality to be given to the heirs of the celestial kingdom in eternity. I have learned from experience, that, though men may be filled with prejudice produced by the many varying false, malicious reports circulated in order to hinder the progress of the fullness of the gospel, by mobs, hireling priests and their dupes; yet, when they hear the unalloyed truth spoken by the power of the Holy Ghost, their prejudice gradually gives way to the spirit of examination, (if they are honest,) and truth, the legitimate offspring of investigation when rightly directed, bursts upon their minds in all its superior grandure [grandeur]. Who can stop the work of the great God? Can persecution in all its direful forms? Can tribulation? Can all the power of earth and hell? I answer no! no!!-For as the great king of day rising in the east causes the dew of night to disappear forever, while he illumines the western horizon by his genial rays, so will error, lies, and gross darkness which now covers the people as a thick mantle, be forever swept away by the benign influence of truth, and the knowledge (not a think about) of the Lord cover the earth, and all shall know (not believe about) him from the least unto the greatest: I have baptized twenty in this and Brown county, since we have been preaching here, notwithstanding we have had to fight hard against rumor with her many tongues. Bro. Burton started home the 10th inst.; he is a faithful minister of Christ, and though young in the cause, has been a great assistant to me in the good work.
I organized a branch of the church in Brown county on thursday last, about seven miles from this place, consisting of eleven members, seven of which I baptized, four were members before, Bro. Loderwick Ferre, and elder was elected to preside over this branch, Bro. William Rickmore was elected Teacher, and Bro. Samuel Rickmore Deacon, and were ordained under my hands: this Branch I have named the Moroni branch of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This branch own a school-house, it is spacious and will perhaps accommodate a hundred people.
On last Sunday I arganized [organized] a branch of the church in Brown county, between four and five miles from this village, consisting of eighteen members; this branch elected Br. Stephen Abbott to the office of an elder, Br. Levi Powel Priest, Br. William Jaques Teacher, Br. John Brown Deacon: they were ordained under my hands: Br. Abbott was elected to preside over this branch. On Tuesday last I baptized three more,
which will unite themselves with this branch, which raises its numbers to twenty one, eight of which were members before, thirteen were baptized by me: this branch will meet on every other Sunday at this village: this branch I have been pleased to name Union branch of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as it will meet on one Sunday either at republican school-house, or Br. Jacque's, Brown county, and the other at Perry Pike county, at the house of sister Ferre's.
I can truly say the work of the Lord is onward in this section of the country.
We have had only two public attacks by Rev. heads, or would be divines but soon they took the hint and deserted.
The truth in power will cut its way,
The book of Mormon will surely sway,
Till people many yet shall see,
Zion glorious, happy, free.
Your brother in the patience of the gospel of the Son of God. JOSEPH WOOD.
Adams co. Ill. March 30th, 1840.
MESSRS. ROBINSON AND SMITH.
I take this opportunity to inform you of my success in the vineyard of the Lord, the winter past. I left my home last Nov. to preach the gospel in Tennessee, trusting alone in the Lord to sustain me, as I was alone, and never had attempted to preach before. I commenced preaching in DeKalb co. the people were very prejudiced in consequence of the falsehoods that had been written from Missouri, by our most zealous persecutors, but on hearing, expressed their surprise to hear me contend so strongly for the bible, and its requirements; and that we should be persecuted for preaching the very order of things which all Christendom was earnestly praying for.
On arriving at Overton co. I found Elder J. Moses, we preached together two weeks and baptized two. I then went to Jackson co. and preached almost constantly for six weeks, doors were open on the right hand and left. I have baptized ten in all and others are believing; Br. Moses joined me in Jackson co., we traveled and preached in many places, but could not supply all the calls, the prejudice of the people appeared to give way on hearing for themselves, our wants was supplied, we never lacked for a comfortable place to lodge, we obtained 21 subscribers for the Times and Seasons, and the call was Books! Books!! But the common weapon misrepresentation was used against us by individuals, we was invited to a public discussion of our principles, which we accepted, the debate lasted three days. Myself and Br. Moses on the affirmative, and Rev. S. Dewhitt and F. A. Stone, (campbelites) Negative, points at issue was.
1st That the Book of Mormon is a Sacred Record, and was translated by inspiration of God and came forth in fulfillment of Prophecy.
2nd, That Apostles and Prophets and Spiritual gifts, such as prophecyings [prophesies], healings, diversities of tongues and the interpretation of tongues; are necessary in the church of Christ according to his order, at the close of the debate we baptize one, there are others, we think, who will obey the first oportunity [opportunity]. I arrived at home on the 28 inst. found my family in good health, My prayer to God is that he will roll on his good begun work until error cannot be found, and truth pervade the whole earth, in hope of which I remain your friend and brother in the testimony of the new and everlasting covenant. GEORGE W. GEE.
March 20th, 1840 MESSRS. ROBINSON AND SMITH.
Gentlemen. In the midst of the serpentine windings of human life, and by a well directed turn of divine providence, I have been favored with the reception of the voice of warning and instruction to all people; also, the Times and Seasons; by the politeness both works with wonder and admiration; the voice of warning, I find contains the plain truth and much sound logic.
Now Gentlemen, I am no Mormon, nor have I ever heard a Mormon preacher, neither have I ever seen a regular Mormon member of society: but in perusing the Times and Seasons I was
struck with horror and astonishment, to find such a long list of horrid and bloody persecutions, in the midst of the land of christendom and in our land of boasted liberty.
My Lord and my God; can this be the religion of the benign prince of peace? What, to see a band of preachers of various denominations, who denominate themselves the ministers of the gospel plenipotentiary; placed at the head of a bloody mob, with swords and gun in hand, marching forth in the midst of blood and slaughter; fire and devastation; in order to take the lives of innncent [innocent] men, women and children! No wonder that men are driven into the doctrine of infidelity and skepticism: I have been well nigh driven into infidelity myself, in consequence of such abominable conduct of sectarians; until I took the second thought, and actually found that they were not the ministers of the gospel; but the priests of sectarianism. now it is no marvel that they do so, for their craft is in danger. Do so how, do what? why fight for the maintainance [maintenance] of their religion, instead of maintaining it by the truth, and the word of God.
Old mother superstition and fanaticism, does all the mischief, that are at the begining [beginning] of all blood shed, and the original stamina of all religions persecution: the doctrine of metaphysics is one of the first born heirs of superstition, and holds a strong hand in the great contention of the world for power and despotism!! O avaricious superstition! who art thou? When will thy cruel jaws be glutted with human blood? will thy wicked heart never be satisfied with the groans of the dying, and the cries of helpless infants, and the ears of decriped [decrepit] old age? O ignorance! thou demon of human happiness; better for us that thou had never been born. I am your friend, with due respect.
EXTRACT FROM THE VOICE OF WARNING. THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
"Seek first the kingdom of God" was the command of the Saviour [Savior] while on the earth, teaching the children of men.
Having taken a general view of the Prophesies Past and Future-we will now proceed to fulfil [fulfill] this command, and search out the kingdom of God. But before we proceed, I would again caution the reader not to proceed with me in this research, unless he is prepared to sacrifice every thing, even to his good name, and his life itself, if nesessary [necessary], as a sacrifice for the truth; for if he should once get a view of the kingdom of God, he will be so delighted as never to rest satisfied short of becoming a citizen of the same. And yet it will be so unlike every other system of religion now on earth, that he will be astonished that any person with the Bible in his his hand should ever have mistaken any of the systems of men, for the kingdom of God. Now there are certain powers, privileges, and blessings, pertaining to the kingdom of God, which are found in no other, kingdom nor enjoyed by any other people. And by these things it was ever distinguished from all other kingdoms and systems, insomuch [inasmuch] that the inquiring mind, who is seeking the kingdom of God, being once acquainted with these peculiarities concerning it, need never mistake or be at a loss to know when he has found it. But before we proceed any father [farther] in our research, let us agree upon the naming of the term or the sense in which we will use it; for some apply this term to the kingdom of Glory above, and some to the individual enjoyments of their own souls, while others apply it to his organized goverment [government] on the earth.-Now when we speak of the kingdom of God, we wish to be understood as speaking of his organized goverment [government] on the earth.
Now reader, we launch forth into the wide field before us, in search of kingdom. But stop, let us consider what is a kingdom? I reply that four things are required in order to constitute any kingdom, in Heaven or on earth: viz: first a king; second, commissioned officers duly qualified to execute his ordinances and laws; thirdly, a code of laws, by which the citizens are governed; and fourthly, subjects who are governed. Now, where these exist in their proper order and regular authority, there is a kingdom: but where either of these cease to exist there is a disorganization of the kingdom, consequently an end of the kingdom, until
re-organized after the same manner as before. Now in this respect, the kingdom of God is like all other kingdoms: wherever we find officers duly commissioned and qualified by the Lord Jesus, together with his ordinances and laws existing in purity, unmixed with any precepts or commandments of men; there the kingdom of God exists, and there his power is manifest, and his blessings enjoyed as in days of old.
We shall now take a view of the commencement of the setting up of the kigdom [kingdom] of God in the days of the Apostles. The first intimation of its near approach was by an angel to Zachariah, promising him a Son, who should go before the king to prepare his way. The next manifestation was to Mary, and finally to Joseph, by an holy angel, promising the birth of the Messiah; while at the same time the Holy Ghost manifested unto Simeon in the temple, that he should not die until he had seen the Saviour [Savior]. Thus, all these, together with the shepherds and the wise men from the east began to rejoice with a joy unspeakable and full of glory, while the world around them knew not the occasion of their joy. After these things, all seemed to rest in silent expectation, until John had grown to manhood, when he came bounding from the wilderness of Judea with a proclamation strange and new: crying, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand baptizing unto repentance, telling them plainly that their king, was already standing among them on the point of setting up his kingdom.
And while he yet ministered, the Messiah came, and was baptized and sealed with the Spirit of God, which rested upon him in the form of a dove, and soon after he began the same proclamation as John, saying, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
And soon after choosing twelve disciples, he sent them forth into all the cities of Judea, with the same proclamation-the kingdom of heaven is at hand: and after them he sent seventy, and still another seventy, with the same news, so that all might be warned and prepared for a kingdom, which was soon to be organized among them.-But when these things had produced the desired effect, in causing a general expectation, more especially in the hearts of his deciples [disciples], who daily expected to triumph over their persecutors, by a coronation of this glorious personage, while they themselves were hoping for a reward of all their toil and sacrifices made for his sake by being exalted to dignity near his person-what must have been their disappointment, when they saw their king taken and crucified, being mocked, derided, ridiculed, and finally' overcame and triumphed over both by Jew and Gentile? They would gladly have died in battle, to have placed him upon the throne. But tamely to submit without a struggle, to give up all their expectations, and sink in despair from the highest pitch of enthusiasm to the lowest degradation, was more that they could well endure. They shrunck [shrunk] back in sorrow, and turned every man unto his net, or to their several occupations, supposing all was over: probably with reflection like these: is this the result of all our labours [labors]? was it for this, we forsook all worldly objects, our friends, our houses, and lands, suffering persecution, hunger, fatigue, and disgrace?-and we trusted it should have been he, who would have delivered Israel: but alas, they have killed him and all is over. For three years we have awakened a general expectation through all Judea, by telling them the kingdom of heaven was at hand, but now our king is dead how shall we dare to look the people in the face. With these reflection, each pursuing his own course, all was again turned to silence, and the voice had ceased to be heard in Judea, crying, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven as at hand. Jesus slept in the arms of death; a great stone with the seal of state secured the tomb where he lay, while the Roman guard stood in watchful silence, to see that all was kept secure; when suddenly from the regions of glory, a mighty angel descended, at whose presence the soldiers fell back as dead men, while he rolled the stone from the door of the sepulcher, and the Son of God awoke from his slumbers. burst the bonds of death, and soon after appearing to Mary, he sent her to the disciples, with the joyful news of his resurrection, and appointing a place
to meet them. When, after seeing him, all their sorrow was turned into joy and all their former hopes were suddenly revived, they were no longer to cry, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, but were to tarry at Jerusalem, until the kingdom was established, and they prepared to unlock the door of the kingdom, and to adopt strangers and foreigners into it as legal citizens, by administering certain laws and ordinances, which were invariably the laws of adoption; without which no man could ever become a citizen.-Having ascended up on high, and having been crowned with all powers in heaven and on earth, he again comes to his disciples and gives them their authority, saying unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned: and these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."-Mark xvi., 15, 16, 17, 18. [to be continued.]
TIMES AND SEASONS.
COMMERCE, ILL. APRIL, 1840
We have several lengthy communications, and numerous extracts, which for want of room we are under the necessity of omitting in this No. but they will appear in our next.
We are happy however, to be able to state that the cause of truth is gaining ground very rapidly in almost every State in the Union; hundreds are embracing the gospel both at home and abroad almost daily; the East are listening to the proclamation of truth with intense interest, and hundreds are yielding obedience to the requirements of the gospel, and are rejoicing in its gifts and blessings: the South is contributing no small share of the honest in heart as candidates for the celestial kingdom of our God; and the west and north are "not keeping back," but are following the glorious example: Finally the great wheel has rolled with such velocity, that it has crossed the mighty deep, and the "Old Country" is now listening with interest to the gospel of the Redeemer, and his kingdom is rising in majesty, not only in England, but Scotland, is begining [beginning] to rejoice in the heavenly principles; yes, Edinburgh, the seat of science and literature are now being made acquainted with the gospel, and some are obeying its precepts.-Thus the cause of truth rolls on, and priests, people, mobs nor the devil cannot hinder it in its decreed course; therefore, O Lord! arm thy servants with with power, wisdom and grace, according to the greatness of the dispensation which thou hast committed to them: O give them thy Spirit, that they may rightly divide the word of truth, that they may be clad with righteousness as with a garment, and "shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." And go forth among all nations proclaiming the words of eternal life, until Israel shall be gathered, and the heavens shall "reveal the Son of God in flaming fire" to the utter consumation [consummation] of the wicked, and the glorious establishment of the principles of righteousness upon the face of the whole earth, is the prayer of they servant: Amen.
+ WANTED, One thousand dollars, to be appropriated to BOOK printing, on a loan of six and twelve months, for which real estate or personal property will be given for security. ROBINSON & SMITH. Commerce, April, 1840.
At a general conference of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, held at the town of Nauvoo, Hancock county, Illinois, on the sixth day of April A. D. 1840, agreeable to previous appointment.
Joseph Smith, jr. was called upon to preside over the conference, and Robbert [Robert ?] B. Thompson to be Clerk.
The meeting was then opened by an address to the Throne of Grace, by Elder J. E. Page.
The president rose and made some observations on the business of the conference; exhorted the brethren who had charges to bring against any individual to be charitable; and made some very appropriate remarks respecting "pulling out the beam in their own eyes, that they might see clearly the mote which was in their brothers eye.
A letter was read from presidents of the seventies, wishing for an explanation of the steps, which the high council had taken, in removing Elder F. G. Bishop, from the quorum of the sevties [seventies ?], to that of the High Priest, without any other ordination than he had when in the seventies, and wished to know, whither [whether ?], those ordained into the seventies at the same time F. G. Bishop was, had a right to the High Priesthood, or not. After observations on the case by different individuals, the president gave a statement of the authority of the seventies, and stated that they were Elders and not High Priests, and consequently brother F. G. Bishop had no claim to that office. It was then unanimously resolved that Elder F. G. Bishop be placed back again into the Quorum of the seventies.
It was then resolved that the conference adjourn until two o'clock P. M.
The conference met pursuant to adjournment.
Prayer by Elder Joseph Young.
Elder J. Grover presented charges against Bro. D. W. Rogers for compiling an Hymn Book, and selling it as the one selected and published by sister Emma Smith; for writing a letter to N. Y. having reflections in it on elder John P. Green, and derogatory to his character, and likewise for administering medicine, which had a bad effect.
It was resolved, that as Bro. Rogers is not present, the case be laid over until to morrow.
Elder John Lawson then came forward and stated, that in consequence of some difficulty existing in the branch of the church where he resided, respecting the word of wisdom the church had withdrawn their fellowship from, him & Bro. Thomas S. Edwards. After hearing the statements; it was resolved, that John Lawson and Thomas S. Edwards be restored to fellowship.
Elder Orson Hyde addressed the conference and stated that it had some years previous been prophesied of him, that he had a great work to perform among the Jews; and that he had recently been moved upon by the spirit of the Lord to visit that people, and gather up all the information he could from them respecting their movements, expectations &c. and communicate the same to this church and to this nation at large. Stated that he intended to visit the Jews in New York, London, Amsterdam, and then visit Constantinople and the Holy Land.
It was then unanimously resolved that Elder Hyde proceed in his mission, and that his letter of recommendation be signed by the President and Clerk of the conference.
Elder John E. Page then rose, and spoke with much force on the object of Elder Hyde's mission, the gathering together of the Jews, and the restoration of the house of Israel; proving in a short, but convincing manner from the Bible, book of Mormon, and the book of Doctrine and covenants. That these things must take place and that the time had now nearly arrived for their accomplishment.
It was then resolved that the conference adjourn until to morrow morning, at 9 o'clock.
Tuesday morning. Conference met pursuant to adjournment.
A. Hymn was sung by the choir and the meeting was opened by prayer by Elder Caleb Baldwin.
Bro. D. W. Rogers' case was them called up.
Which after some observations and explanations of the different charges.
It was unanimously resolved, that Bro. D. W. Rogers be forgiven and that the hand of fellowship be continued.
The meeting was then adjourned for one hour.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment.
A Hymn was sung by the choir and prayer was made by Elder R. Calhoon.
The President called upon the Clerk to read the report of the Presidency and High council, with regard to their
proceedings in purchasing lands and securing a place of gathering for the saints. The report having been read, the President made some observations respecting the pecuniary affairs of the church, and requested the brethren to step forward and assist in liquidating the debts on the town plot, so that the poor might have inheritances.
He then gave some account of his mission to Washington city, in company with President Rigdon and Judge Higbee, the treatment they received and the action of the Senate on the memorial which was presented to them.
The meeting then called for the reading of the memorial, and the report of the committee on Judiciary, to whom the same had been referred.-Which were read.
It was then resolved, that a committee of five be appointed to draught [draft ?] resolutions expressive of the sentiments of this conference in reference to the report.
Resolved, that Robert D. Foster, Orson Hyde, John E. Page, Joseph Wood and Robert B. Thompson compose said committee, and report to this conference.
Resolved, That this meeting adjourn until to morrow morning at 9 o'clock.
A Hymn was then sung and the meeting was dismissed by Elder John Smith.
Wednesday morning, conference met persuant [pursuant] to adjournment.
A number were confirmed, who had been baptized the previous evening.
The meeting was then opened with prayer by Elder Marks.
The committee appointed to draft resolutions on the report which was read yesterday, were then called upon to make their report.
Robert B. Thompson of the committee then read the resolutions as follows.
Whereas, we learn with deep sorrow, regret and disappointment, that the committee on Judiciary, to whom was referred the memorial. of the members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly called Mormons) complaining of the grievances suffered by them in the State of Missouri, have reported unfavorable to our cause, to Justice and humanity.
Resolved 1st. That we consider the report of the committee on Judiciary, unconstitutional, and subversive of the right of a free people; and justly calls for the disapprobation of all the supporters and lovers of good government and republican principles.
Resolved, 2nd. That the committee state in their report, that our memorial aggravate the case of our oppressors, and at the same time say; that they have not examined into the truth or falsehoods of the facts mentioned in said memorial.
Resolved, 3rd. That the memorial does not aggravate the conduct of our oppressors, as every statement set forth in said memorial, was substantiated by indubitable testimony, therefore, we consider the statement of the committee in regard to that part; as false and ungenerous.
Resolved, 4th. That, that part of the report, refering [referring] us to the Justice and magnanimity of the State of Missouri for redress; we deem it a great insult to our good sense, better judgment, and intelligence; when from numerous affidavits which were laid before the committee: Proved, that we could only go into the State of Missouri, contrary to the exterminating order of the Governor, and consequently at the risk of our lives.
Resolved, 5th. That after repeated appeals to the constituted authorities of the State of Missouri for redress, which were in vain; we fondly hoped that in the Congress of the United States, ample justice would have been rendered us; and upon that consideration alone, we pledged ourselves to abide their decision.
Resolved, 6th. That the extermination order of Governor Bogs, is a direct infraction of the constitution of the U. States, and of the State of Missouri; and the committee in refusing to investigate the proceedings of executive and others of the State of Missouri, and turning a deaf ear, to the cries of widows, orphans, and innocent blood, we deem no less, that secondary the proceedings of that murderous mob, whose deeds are recorded in heaven, and justly calls down upon their heads, the rightous [righteous] judgments of an offended God.
Resolved, 7th. That the thanks of
this meeting be tendered to the citizens of the State of Illinois, for their kind, liberal, and generous conduct towards us; and that we call upon them, as well as every patriot in this vast republic, to aid us in all lawful endeavors, to obtain redress for the injuries we have sustained.
Resolved, 8th. That the thanks of this meeting be tendered to the delegation of Illinois, for their bold, manly, noble and independent course they have taken, in presenting our case before the authorities of the nation, amid misrepresentation, contamely [contumely] and abuse which characterized us in our suffering condition.
Resolved, 9th. That the thanks of this meeting be tendered to Gov. Carlin of Illinois, Gov. Lucas of Iowa for their sympathy, aid, and protection.-And to all other Honerable [Honorable] Gentlemen who have assisted us in our endeavors to obtain redress.
Resolved, 10th. That Joseph Smith jr. Sidney Rigdon, and Elias Higbee, the delegates appointed by this church, to visit the city of Washington to present our suffering before the authorities of the nation, accept of the thanks of this meeting, for the prompt and efficient manner in which they have discharged their duty; and that they be requested in the behalf of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, throughout the world, to continue to use their endeavors to obtain redress for a suffering people; and if all hopes of obtaining satisfaction (for the injuries done us:) be entirely blasted, that they then appeal our case to the court of Heaven, believing, that the great Jehovah, who rules over the destiny of nations, and who notices the falling sparrow, will undoubtedly redress our wrongs, and ere long avenge us of our adversaries.
It was then resolved, that the report of the committee on Judiciary, as well as the foregoing preamble and resolutions, be published in the Quincy papers.
Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed to investigate the recommendations, those persons may have, who wish to obtain an ordination to the ministry and to ordain such as may be thought worthy. That elder Samuel Bent, Joseph Wood and Orson Hyde, compose said committee.
Resolved, That this meeting feel satisfied with the proceedings of the presidency with regard to the sales of town property &c. and that they be requested to continue in their agency.
Resolved, That this meeting adjourn for one hour.
Conference met pursuant to adjournment, after singing the President arose and read the 3d chap. of John's Gospel after which prayer was offered by elder Erastus Snow.
The President commenced making observations on the different subjects embraced in the chapter particularly on 3d, 4th, 5th verses illustrating it with a very beautiful and striking figure, and throwing a flood of light on the subjects which were brought up to review.
He then spoke to the elders respecting their mission, and advised those who went into the world, to preach the gospel, to leave their families provided for, with the necessaries of life; and to teach the gathering as set forth in the Holy scriptures.
That it had been wisdom to, for the greater body of the church to keep on this side of the river, in order that a foundation might be established in this place, but that now, it was the priviledge [privilege]of the saints to occupy the lands in the Iowa, or wherever the spirit might lead them.
That he did not wish to have any political influence, but wished the saints to use their political franchise to the best of their knowledge.
He then stated that since Elder Hyde had been appointed to visit the Jewish people, he had felt an impression that it would be well for Elder John E. Page to accompany him on his mission.
It was resolved, that Elder John E. Page be appointed to accompany Elder Orson Hyde on his mission, and that he have proper credentials given him.
It was then resolved, that as a great part of the time of the conference had been taken up with charges against individuals which might have been settled by the different authorities of the church that in future no such cases brought before the conferences.
The committee on ordination, reported that they had ordained thirty one
persons, to be elders in the church; who were ordained under the hands of Alpheus Gifford, and Stephen Perry.
Which report was accepted.
F. G. Williams presented himself on the stand and humbly ashed [asked] forgiveness for his conduct and expressed his determination to do the will of God in future: his case was presented to the conference by President Hyrum Smith, when it was unanimously resolved, that F. G. Williams be forgiven, and be received into the fellowship of the church.
It was reported, that seventy five persons had been baptized during the conference, and that upwards of fifty had been received into the quorum of the seventies.
President Hyrum Smith, was called upon to dismiss the assembly.
After he had made a few observations, the conference was closed under the blessings of the Presidency. Until the first Friday in October next.
JOSEPH SMITH, jr. Pres't. ROBERT B. THOMPSON, Clerk.
DIED.-Near Warsaw, Hancock co. Ill. John W. Clark, aged 31 years, formerly from Hadam, Middle sex co. Connecticut.
-On the 21st of Aug. Harriet, eldest daughter of John W. and Mariah Clark, aged 11 years.
-On the 27th of Aug. Alpheus, eldest son of John W. and Mariah Clark, aged 9 years.
-On Bear Creak, Hancock co. Ill. on the 30 of Sept. last, Aaron C. Lyon, aged 58 years.
-In Will co. Ill. on the 3rd of March, Wicar Leavitt, aged 53 years.
-In Warsaw, Hancock co. Ill. on the 27th day of October, William J. Holseclaw, aged 21 years 9 months and 12 days.
-Near Carthage, at the house of Noah Packard, on the 16th of Oct. Miss Caroline Rogers, formerly from McDonough co. N. Y. aged about 22 years.
-In Quincy, Ill. on the 17th of Oct. last, Melvin L. Wilber son of Melvin and Eunice Wilber aged 11 years 1 month and 15 days.
-In Quincy on the 25th of July last, Elder Michael Barkdull, aged 40 years,
-In Quincy, on the 6th of Nov. last, Eunice Alloizey, daughter of Thomas and Mary Gordon aged 14 years and six months. Also on the 17th of January, Joseph Nathaniel Gordon, aged 2 years, 8 months.
-In this place Sept. 24th Abner, son of Laban and Ester L. Morril, aged 10 months and 27 days.
-In Pittsfied, Pike co. Ill. on the 12th of Feb. Clarissa, consort of Daniel Carter aged 26 years.
-In Adams co. Ill. on the 21st of Oct. 1839, Omar son of Abel and Almira Lamb, aged 9 years 6 months and 24 days.
-In Quincy Ill, on the 27 of August last, Mary B. consort of Samuel Parker, aged 57 years.___________________________________________________________________
For the Times and Seasons
BY E. PARTRIDGE
We read of the sufferings of saints long ago, Tho' we are oppress'd, we will sing and praise God,
How tyrants destry'd them without a just cause. For he counts us worthy to bare it for Christs' sake;
So modern saints too, have their sufferings and woes; All sons must be chast'ned, and prov'd with the rod,
In this land of freedom, religion and laws. Then let us not murmur, nor his cause forsake.
They have been tarr'd, feather'd, and often times whip'd, How long, O my God, shall the enemy reign,
Been murder'd, and plunder'd, and robbed, and driv'n; And rob, drive and murder, the saints without cause?
Their housed destroy'd, till they have been strip'd When shall they have power their rights to maintain,
Of all earthly wealth, but they've treasures in heav'n.
Shall mobs always triumph, in spite of the laws?
Oh! no for the prophets have foretold a time, Oh! hasten dear Lord, hasten on that blest day,
(But not till the Ancient of days shall have sit,) My soul will rejoice, should I live till it come;
That saints shall have power, wisdom divine, Prepare Lord thy saints, for the happy era,
The kingdom to take, and then to possess it. That we may be ready, and bid it welcome.
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AGENTS FOR THE TIMES AND SEASON.
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