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Vol. III. No. 11.] CITY OF NAUVOO, ILL. APRIL 1, 1842 [Whole No. 47
AN EPISTLE OF THE TWELVE,
To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in its various Branches and Conferences in Europe, Greeting:
BELOVED BRETHREN, We feel it our privilege, and a duty we owe to the great and glorious cause in which we have enlisted, to communicate to you, at this time some principles, which, if carried into effect, will greatly facilitate the gathering of the Saints, and tend to ameliorate the condition of those who are strugling [struggling] with poverty, and distress, in this day when the usual means of support seem to be cut short, to the laboring classes, through the depression that every where prevails in the general business mart of the civilized world.
Our situation is such in these last days; our salvation, spiritually, is so connected with our salvation, temporally, that if one fail, the other necessarily must be seriously affected, if not wholly destroyed. God has made us social beings: he has endowed us with capacities for enjoying each others society and it is our duty to bring those powers and privileges into exercise, so far as we can obtain, and for this, it is our duty to strive by all lawful and expedient measures within our reach. While we remain in this state of existence, we need food and raiment; habitations and society; and without these, our enjoyments must be greatly limited, and the real object of our existence diminished for the sustenance of their bodies, they would be comparatively miserable; but when they arrive at that state of perfection, and are clothed upon with the more special gifts and power of increasing the widow's oil and meal, or of receiving their food from the Ravens, like Elijah, they will not need to bestow so much attention on every trifle of the passing moment, as they now do: and until that period arrives, they will recollect that to be in the exercise of the fulness [fullness] of spiritual blessings, they must be watchful and careful to provide things honest in the sight of all men, for the sustenance and comfort of these frail perishable bodies.
That we may be instruments in the hands of God of thus promoting your present and future, temporal and spiritual welfare, we write you at the present time. Many of you are desirous of emigrating to this country, and many have not the means to accomplish their wishes, and if we can assist you by our prayers and our councils to accomplish the desires of your hearts in this thing, so far we will rejoice and be satisfied. You not only want to emigrate to this section of the earth, but you desire also to have some laudable means of comfortable subsistance [subsistence] after you arrive here, and this also is important. How then shall these things be accomplished, and your souls be satisfied? We answer, by united understanding, and concert of action. You all, or most of you, have trades or different kinds of business to which you have long been familiarized, and in which you would like to continue for the purpose of procuring a subsistance [subsistence] ; and a great proportion of your occupation is such, that no employment can be had in this city, or vicinity; for instance, there are no cotton manufacturies [factories] established here, and many of you know no other business. You want to come here, and, when here, want to continue your labors in your accustomed branches of business; but you have no means to get here, and when here there are no factories; and yet factories are needed here, and there would be ready market for all the fabrics which could be manufactured.
Now comes the concert of action; if the church will arise unitedly; if the brethren will individually feel that the great work of the Lord is depending on themselves as instruments, to assist in carrying it forward; and will unite all their means, faith and energy, in one grand mass, all that you desire can speedily be accomplished. A short time only will elapse before you yourselves will be astonished at the result, and you will feel that your desires are more than realized. While the saints are united, no power on the earth, or under the earth can prevail against them; but while each one acts for himself, many,
very many, are in danger of being overthrown.
God has promised all things, to those who love him and keep his commandments; then why be afraid that one should get a little more than another, or that one should gain, for a little moment, what another might lose; when Jesus has promised that the faithful shall be one with him, as he is one with the Father, and shall possess all things in the due time of the Lord; not by stealth, not by force, not by the sword, but by the gift of the Father, through faithfulness to his commands; and the more they shall suffer, while they work righteousness on the earth, the greater will be their reward, the more glorious their kingdom, the more extended their power, when they shall arrive in celestial paradise.
Knowing and feeling these things as we do, and having respect unto the recompence [recompense] of reward to be revealed hereafter, regardless of all necessary privation and labor to accomplish what our master has given us to do; and desiring not to possess the kingdom alone, but that all the honest in heart should be united with us in the great and glorious work of building up Zion and her stakes, we call upon you, dear brethren to unite with us, all with one accord, to do, what? To do the very things you desire should be done; to convey you to the place where we are, and then put you in possession of all the means you may need for your support; so that you may enjoy the fulness [fullness] of the blessings belonging to the sons and daughters of Zion's King.
Had we means, we would not ask your aid: we would gladly send the ships of Tarshish to bear you across the great waters; we would bring you to our homes, to our fire sides; we would provide you habitations, lands and food, when you arrive among us: our hearts are large enough to do all this, and a great deal more. But we have not the means; we have to labor for our own subsistence, as well as attend to those things which are laid upon us of the Lord, and which concern the whole church as much as ourselves. It is not the will of heaven that any one should be put in possession of all things, without striving for them. Where much is given, much is required; and he who has but one talent must be as diligent in the use thereof, as he that has ton [ten], or he will lose his talent and his blessing; and it becometh him who hath but one, five, or ten, to appropriate it in the most economical manner possible, or he will not have enough to bring him hither: and that he who hath but five pounds may have enough and to spare to him who hath but one, or in other words, to HELP the brethren to accomplish with a little, what otherwise would require much more than they can command, is the object of this Epistle.
Had we the means, we would send vessels of our own, laden with flour, meat, fruits, and all sea stores necessary for the comfort of the brethren on the water, so that they would have nothing more to do than go on shipboard and land at New Orleans; from thence we would take them on our Steamers, and bring them to this place, for this is the best place for the saints to stop at, for the present. There may be other places where individuals might have the prospect of adding at once more rapidly to their pecuniary interest, than they could here; but we can only say it is the will of the Lord that the saints build Nauvoo, and settle therein or in the vicinity; and we know assuredly, that those who give heed to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, will be richer, eventually, and not far distant, than those who may seem to prosper more by following their own inclinations.
Brethren we wish not to control you or your means, it is not for our peace or interest; nay, rather, it is a source of labor, trouble and anxiety to have ought to do with the pecuniary business of the church, which we would gladly avoid, could we do it, and do our duty; could we do it and the things desired be accomplished, and we stand guiltless where God hath placed us; and for this reason we desire to make such arrangements as will most tend to leave the business in your own hands, or in the hands of those whom you shall select: men of your own acquaintance in whom you can repose confidence that they will execute their trust in righteousness: and that our plans may be understood by you, and carried into execution, we have sent unto you our beloved brother, Elder John Snider, the bearer of this Epistle, and other Epistles also previously written by us to you; and we beseech you, brethren, to receive him as a servant of the Most High, authorized according to the order of the kingdom
of heaven, and assist him by all lawful means in your power to execute the mission entrusted to him; for great events depend on his success; but to none will they be greater than to yourselves.
Our authority for thus sending brother Snider to you, is found the Book of the Law of the Lord, page 36, as follows; "Nauvoo December 22nd 1841." "The word of the Lord came unto Joseph the Seer, verily thus saith the Lord, Let my servant John Snider take a mission to the Eastern Continent, unto all the conferences now sitting in that region; and let him carry a package of Epistles that shall be written by my servants, the Twelve, making known unto them their duties concerning the building of my houses, which I have appointed unto you saith the Lord, that they may bring their Gold, and their Silver, and their precious Stones, and the Box Tree, and the Fir Tree, and all fine wood to beautify the place of my sanctuary saith the Lord; and let him return speedily with all means which shall be put into his hands, even so, Amen."
In this Revelation, the brethren will discover their duty, in relation to the building of the Temple of the Lord in Nauvoo, and the Nauvoo House: and we call upon them with united cry to give heed unto the things written and help to build the houses which God hath commanded, so that Brother Snider may speedily return with means to strengthen the hands of the laborers, and adorn and beautify the Tabernacle of Jehovah.
Brethren while you are thus preparing to send up your offerings to this place, if you will act in concert with our well beloved Brother, Elder Parley P. Pratt, and the regularly constituted authorities of the church in England; and collect as great an amount of Cotton, Linen, and woollen [woolen] Goods, Silks, Cutlery, Hardware, &c. &c. &c., even all the varieties of Goods which might be useful in this country, and which can be obtained by the brethren in this time of moneyed scarcity, and forward the same to us, by Brother Snider, or your own agent in company with him, or otherwise, and at other times, we will pay you for those Goods in lands, in or out of the city; in houses, cattle, and such kind of property as you may need; and with those goods we will purchase lands &c., flour, meat and all things necessary for a sea voyage, which can be had cheaper here than in England, and charter ships, and forward the same to England, or such places as emigration may require, and bring back in return a ship load of emigrants, at a cheaper rate, than they can now emigrate; while at the same time, those, who remain, can continue to collect and forward merchandize [merchandise] as before, which will give us the means of continuing our purchases here, of keeping ships passing and repassing, and of building manufacturing establishments, ready for the brethren when they arrive in our midst.
While the great depression of the moneyed institutions continues as it now is, the people are compelled to resort to all laudable measures to effect those exchanges of property which are necessary to accomplish their designs in removing from one place to another, and from one kingdom to another; and by a faithful execution of the plans proposed above, much, very much, may be effected in emigration without the aid of cash, or with very little, at the most; and goods may be obtained to advantage for houses and lands which the brethren may have to dispose of, and in payment debts due them: when it would be impossible for them to sell for cash at any price; or get their pay for debts due them even at a great discount; and thus thousands and tens of thousands may be made to rejoice in this land of plenty, while, were it not for a concert of action, they might remain where they are for years, or never have opportunity of appearing among us, on this side the great waters, until the morning of the first Resurrection.
But brethren we want to see you here! we long to see all here who (want to be here and none others, for we desire the increase of those who love God and work righteousness, that Zion's cords may be lengthened, and her stakes strengthened; though the country is free to all who will abide her laws, and we have no disposition to cast out any from our midst who will submit thereto. For many particulars in relation to the times and course of emigration, and many other important items connected with the general and particular interests of the church, we would refer you to our former Epistles: and to enter into a particular and minute detail of all items referred to in this Epistle, would be impossible. Brother Snider will enter into the subject more minutely, and with the assistance of the Presidency
among you, will unfold the subject so that no one need misunderstand.
The brethren need not suppose that this thing is of our own imagination, simply; or that the result threof [thereof], if fully carried into execution, will be of doubtful character. We have been guided by the spirit of the Lord in our deliberations concerning the matter; and have been instructed by the Prophet of the Most High, even Joseph, the Seer and Revelator for the church, whose instructions to us, are as the voice of the Lord, and whose admonitions we ever regard as true and faithful, and worthy the confidence of all who profess the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been with him in prosperity and adversity, in sickness and health, in public and private, in all situations where men may reasonably associate with each other, and know that his words are true, his teachings sacred his character unsullied among men of truth; and that he is what the church acknowledge him to be, a man of God, and the spokesman of the Most High unto his people: and we bear this testimony unto the world, calling on all the honest in heart to uphold him by their faith and prayers, that he may live long, enjoy much, and accomplish great things for the kingdom which he has been the honoured [honored] instrument of establishing on the earth in these last days, even that he may lead a great multitude into the celestial kingdom.
That the saints may enjoy the teachings of the Prophet; those teachings which can be had only at this place so that they may go on from knowledge to knowledge even to perfection, they want to come up hither: and that the plans before suggested may be facilitated, let some individuals of capital come immediately and build Factories; individuals who have the means, understand the business, and are capable of superintending the concerns thereof. There is every natural advantage at this place for facilitating such an order of things; water, wood and coal in abundance; and it only wants the hand of the laborer to bring them forth in form suited to their several uses, and while the gold and the silver is secreted by the hands of unprincipled speculators, let us go forward and accomplish without gold or silver, that which might be more easily and expeditiously done with.
Let the brethren ever remember the admonitions we have so often given, that Zion is not to be built up without labor, fatigue and trial of the faith of many; that when John saw the great company on Mount Zion, he saw those, who had come up through great tribulation; he also saw those who had endured great tribulation after they had arrived, and before the kingdom was completed. The saints of this day are of the number John saw, and those, and those only who are willing to endure tribulation, as good soldiers, without murmuring, will eventually find their names enrolled in the Lamb's book of life, and obtain an inheritance in the Holy city. To all those, who are desirous of sharing in the poverty and sufferings incident to new countries, and the children of the kingdom, we would say, come up hither, and help us to bear the burden and you shall share in the riches glory and honors of the kingdom. And those who, are not willing to suffer afflictions, losses, crosses and disappointments with the people of God, may as well stay away and be destroyed, as to come here and perish; for perish they must who can not abide a celestial Law, and endure to the end in all meekness, patience and faithfulness.
Inasmuch as Elder Levi Richards has asked for council, we would recommend him to return to Nauvoo, as soon as circumstances shall render it convenient.
Praying that you may be blessed with wisdom, intelligence, and perseverance in every good word and work, so that you may accomplish your desires, and help to roll on the great work in which you have enlisted, we subscribe ourselves your brethren and fellow laborers in the kingdom of patience, Amen.
BRIGHAM YOUNG, Pres't.
HEBER C. KIMBALL.
JOHN E. PAGE,
GEORGE A. SMITH,
W. RICHARDS, Clerk.
City of Nauvoo, Hancock county Illinois,
March 20, 1842.
From the Millennial Star.
INTERESTING NEWS FROM ALEXANDRIA AND JERUSALEM.
Letter from Elder Hyde.
Alexandria, Nov. 22, 1841.
DEAR BROTHER PRATT,
A few minutes now offer for me to write, and I improve them in writing to you.
I have only time to say that I have seen Jerusalem precisely according to the vision which I had. I saw no one with me in the vision; and although Elder Page was appointed to accompany me there, yet I found myself there alone.
The Lord knows that I have had a hard time, and suffered much, but I have great reason to thank him that I enjoy good health at present, and have a prospect before me of soon going to a civilized country, where I shall see no more turbans or camels. The heat is most oppressive, and has been all through Syria.
I have not time to tell you how many days I have been at sea, without food, or how many snails I have eaten; but if I had had plenty of them, I should have done very well. All this is contained in a former letter to you written from Java.
I have been at Cairo, on the Nile, because I could not get passage direct.-Syria is in a dreadful state-a war of extermination is going on between the Druses and Catholics. At the time I was at Beyroote [Beirut] a battle was fought in the mountains of Lebanon, near that place, and about 800 killed. Robberies, thefts, and murders are daily being committed. It is no uncommon thing to find persons in the street without heads. An English officer, in going from St. Jean d'Acre to Beyroote [Beirut], found ten persons murdered in the street, and was himself taken prisoner, but was rescued by the timely interferance [interference] of the Pacha. The particulars of all these things are contained in a former letter.
An American traveller [traveler], by the name of Gager, who was a licensed minister of the Congregational or Presbyterian Church, left Jerusalem in company with me. He was very unwell with the jaundice when we left, and at Damietta we had to perform six days' quarantine before we ascended the Nile. On our passage up he was taken very ill with a fever, and became helpless. I waited and tended upon him as well as our circumstances would allow; and when we landed at Bulack, I got four men to take him to the American consul's, in Cairo, on a litter; I also took all his baggage there, and assisted in putting him upon a good bed-employed a good faithful Arabian nurse, and the English doctor. After the physician had examined him, he told me that he was very low with a typus [typhus?] fever, and that it would be doubtful whether he recovered. Under these circumstances I left him to obtain a passage to this place. After I had gone on board a boat, and was just about pushing off, a letter came from the doctor, stating that poor Mr. Gager died in about two hours after I left him. He told me before we arrived at Cairo that he was 27 years of age, and his friends lived in Norwich, Connecticut, near New London, I think. There are many particulars concerning his death which would be interesting to his friends, but I have no time to write them now.
On Sunday morning, October 24, a good while before day, I arose from sleep, and went out of the city as soon as the gates were opened, crossed the brook Cedron, and went upon the Mount of Olives, and there, in solemn silence, with pen, ink, and paper, just as I saw in the vision, offered up the following prayer to him who lives for ever and ever:
"O Thou! who art from everlasting to everlasting, eternally and unchangeably the same, even the God who rules in the heavens above, and controls the destinies of men on the earth, wilt Thou not condescend, through thine infinite goodness and royal favour [favor], to listen to the prayer of thy servant which he this day offers up unto thee in the name of thy holy child Jesus, upon this land where the Sun of Righteousness sat in blood, and thine Anointed One expired.
"Be pleased, O Lord to forgive all the follies, weaknesses, vanities, and sins of thy servant, and strengthen him to resist all future temptations. Give him prudence and discernment that he may avoid the evil, and a heart to choose the good; give him fortitude to bear up under trying and adverse circumstances, and grace to endure all things for thy name's sake, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall rest in peace.
"Now, O Lord! thy servant has been obedient to the heavenly vision which thou gavest him in his native land; and
under the shadow of thine outstretched arm, he has safely arrived in this place to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah's scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy prophets-for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long, and for rearing a temple in honour [honor] of thy name. Everlasting thanks be ascribed unto thee, O Father! Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast preserved thy servant from the dangers of the seas, and from the plague and pestilence which have caused the land to mourn.-The violence of man has also been restrained, and thy providential care by night and by day has been exercised over thine unworthy servant. Accept, therefore, O Lord, the tribute of a greatful [grateful] heart for all past favours [favors], and be pleased to continue thy kindness and mercy towards a needy worm of the dust.
"O thou, who didst covenant with Abraham, thy friend, and who didst renew that covenant with Isaac, and confirm the same with Jacob with an oath, that thou wouldst not only give them this land for an everlasting inheritance, but that thou wouldst also remember their seed for ever. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have long since closed their eyes in death, and made the grave their mansion. Their children are scattered and dispersed abroad among the nations of the Gentiles like sheep that have no shepherd, and are still looking forward for the fulfilment [fulfillment] of those promises which thou didst make concerning them; and even this land, which once poured forth nature's richest bounty, and flowed, as it were, with milk and honey, has, to a certain extent, been smitten with barrenness and sterility since it drank from murderous hands the blood of him who never sinned.
"Grant, therefore, O Lord, in the name of thy well beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to remove the barrenness and sterility of this land, and let springs of living water break forth to water its thirsty soil. Let the vine and the olive produce in their strength, and the fig tree bloom and flourish. Let the land become abundantly fruitful when possessed by its rightful heirs; let it again flow with plenty to feed the returning prodigals who come home with a spirit of grace and supplication; upon it let the clouds distil [distill] virtue and richness, and let the fields smile with plenty. Let the flocks and the herds greatly increase and multiply upon the mountains and the hills; and let thy great kindness conquer and subdue the unbelief of the people. Do thou take from them their stony heart, and give them a heart of flesh; and may the Sun of thy favour [favor] dispel the cold mists of darkness which have beclouded their atmosphere. Incline them to gather in upon this land according to thy word. Let them come like clouds and like doves to their windows. Let the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles; and let kings become their nursing father, and queens with motherly fondness wipe the tear of sorrow from their eye.
"Thou, O Lord, did once move upon the heart of Cyrus to shew [show] favour [favor] unto Jerusalem and her children. Do thou now also be pleased to inspire the hearts of kings and the powers of the earth to look with a friendly eye towards this place, and with a desire to see thy righteous purposes executed in relation thereto.-Let them know that it is thy good pleasure to restore the kingdom unto Israel-raise up Jerusalem as its capital, and constitute her people a distinct nation and government, with David thy servant, even a descendant from the loins of ancient David, to be their king.
"Let that nation or that people who shall take an active part in behalf of Abraham's children, and in the raising up of Jerusalem, find favour [favor] in thy sight. Let not their enemies prevail against them, neither let pestilence or famine overcome them, but let the glory of Israel overshadow them, and the power of the highest protect them; while that nation or kingdom that will not serve thee in this glorious work must perish, according to thy word-'Yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.'
"Though thy servant is now far from his home, and the land bedewed with his earliest tear, yet he remembers, O Lord, his friends who are there, and family, whom for thy sake he has left. Though poverty and privation be our earthly lot, yet ah! do Thou richly endow us with an inheritance where moth and rust do not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.
'The hands that have fed, clothed, or shown favour [favor] unto the family of thy servant in his absence, or that shall hereafter
do so, let them not lose their reward, but let a special blessing rest upon them, and in thy kingdom let them have an inheritance when thou shall come to be glorified in this society.
'Do thou also look with favour [favor] upon all those through whose liberality I have been enabled to come to this land; and in the day when thou shalt reward all people according to their works, let these also not be past by or forgotten, but in time let them be in readiness to enjoy the glory of those mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare. Particularly do thou bless the stranger in Philadelphia, whom I never saw, but who sent me gold, with a request that I should pray for him in Jerusalem. Now, O Lord, let blessings come upon him from an unexpected quarter, and let his basket be filled, and his storehouse abound with plenty, and let not the good things of the earth be his only portion, but let him be found among those to whom it shall be said, 'Thou hast been faithful over a few things, and I will make thee ruler over many.'
'O my father in heaven! I now ask thee in the name of Jesus to remember Zion, with all her stakes, and with all her assemblies. She has been grieviously [grievously] afflicted and smitten; she has mourned; she has wept; her enemies have triumphed, and have said-'Ah, where is thy God?' Her priests and prophets have groaned in chains and fetters within the gloomy walls of prisons, while many were slain, and now sleep in the arms of death. How long, O Lord, shall iniquity triumph, and sin go unpunished?
'Do Thou arise in the majesty of thy strength, and make bare thine arm in behalf of thy people. Redress their wrongs, and turn their sorrow into joy. Pour the spirit of light and knowledge, grace and wisdom, into the hearts of her prophets, and clothe her priests with salvation.-Let light and knowledge, grace and wisdom march forth through the empire of darkness, and may the honest in heart flow to their standard, and join in the march to go forth to meet the Bridegroom.
'Let a peculiar blessing rest upon the presidency of thy Church, for at them are the arrows of the enemy directed. Be thou to them a sun and a shield, their strong tower and hiding place; and in the time of distress or danger be thou near to deliver. Also the quorum of the Twelve, do thou be pleased to stand by, for thou knowest the obstacles which we have to encounter, the temptations to which we are exposed, and the privations which we must suffer. Give us, therefore, strength according to our day, and help us to bear a faithful testimony of Jesus and his gospel, and to finish with fidelity and honour [honor] the work which thou hast given us to do, and then give us a place in thy glorious kingdom. And let this blessing rest upon every faithful officer and member in thy Church. And all the glory and honour [honor] will we ascribe unto God and the Lamb for ever and ever. AMEN."
On the top of Mount Olives I erected a pile of stones as a witness according to the ancient custom. On what was anciently called Mount Zion, where the Temple stood, I erected another, and used the rod according to the prediction upon my head.
I have found many Jews who listened with intense interest. The idea of the Jews being restored to Palestine is gaining ground in Europe almost every day. Jerusalem is strongly fortified with many cannon upon its walls. The wall is ten feet thick on the sides that would be most exposed, and four or five feet where the descent from the wall is almost perpendicular. The number of inhabitants within the walls is about twenty thousand.-About seven thousand of this number are Jews, the balance being mostly Turks and Armenians. Many of the Jews who are old go this place to die, and many are coming from Europe into this Eastern world. The great wheel is unquestionably in motion, and the word of the Almighty has declared that it shall roll.
I have not time to write particulars now, but suffice it to say that my mission has been quite as prosperous as I could expect.
I am now about to go on board a fine ship for Triste, and from thence I intend to proceed to Regensburgh, and there publish our faith in the German language. There are those who are ready and willing to assist me.
I send you this letter by Capt. Withers, an English gentleman, who goes direct to England on board the Oriental steamer. He has come with me from Jerusalem. If I had money sufficient I should be almost tempted to take passage on
board of her to England, but this I cannot do.
On receipt of this, I wish you to write to me immediately, and direct to Regensburgh, on the Danube, Beyern, or Bavaria. If you know any thing of my family, tell me.
My best respects to yourself and family, to brothers Adams and Snow, and to all the saints in England.
May grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, rest upon you all from this time, henceforth, and forever. AMEN.
Your brother in Christ,
P. S. Mr. Gager died on the 15th instant, at four o'clock in the afternoon.
From the same,
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM ELDER HYDE.
Another letter has just come to hand from Elder Hyde, dated Jaffa, Oct. He was then on his way to Jerusalem, the date being much earlier than the one inserted in another page. We have only room for the following extract, which we publish as among the most extraordinary signs of the times. "On my passage from Beyroote [Beirut] to this place (Jaffa) night before last, at one o'clock, as I was meditating on the deck of the vessel as she was beating down against a sultry wind, a very bright glittering sword appeared in the heavens, about six feet in length, with a beautiful hilt, as plain and complete as any cut you ever saw. And what is still more remarkable, an arm with a perfect hand stretched itself out, and took hold on the hilt of the sword. The appearance really made my hair rise, and the flesh, as it were, crawl on my bones. The Arabs made a wonderful outcry at the sight. Oh, Allah! Allah! Allah!* was their exclamation all over the vessel. I mention this because you know there is a commandment of God for me, which says, "Unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the sign of the coming of the Son of Man."
Yours in Christ,
*O Lord. Lord, Lord.
From a number of Inhabitants of the city of Pittsburgh
To the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; and the Quorum of the Twelve, Greeting:-
We, the undersigned citizens of Pittsburgh, have heard the gospel preached by Elder John E. Page, and we know that he is doing great good in this city, especially to the honest in heart, and all men whose minds are not biased by the various bigoted and superstitious doctrines of the day, who make confusion the word of God, and consequently the spreading of infidelity.
We are pained to learn that he is about to leave us no more to return, unless you in your wisdom think proper. We, the undersigned, not members of the church, but seekers of truth, know that Elder Page has ingratiated himself highly into the estimation of all good men for his urbanity of manners, his wisdom and understanding, and above all for the simplification of the scriptures, so that we can know them by our senses and appreciate their meanings. We, therefore, do hope and pray (if it is not incompatible with the interests of your church) that he may be permitted to return unto us and reap the fruit of the good seed he has sown.
RICHARD SAVARY, GEORGE AVERY,
ROBERT L. CASWELL, WM. CAMPION,
J. W. SMITH, THOMAS J. LANYON,
JAMES SPRATLEY, JOHN MACDONALD,
MATTHEW SMITH, JOHN SMITH,
JOHN PRINCE, DAVID POTTS,
DENNIS SAVARY, JOHN STEEL,
BENJ. CHAPMAN, C. SEICWIRT,
JOSEPH DUDLEY, THORNELL CRADDOCK,
L. ALLBEYA, JAMES SMITH,
THOMAS CRAWFORD, JOSEPH HARPER.
-> We are pleased to see so liberal a spirit manifested by the inhabitants of the city of Pittsburg [Pittsburgh], so long impregnable to the principles of truth; and we sincerely hope that the banners of the gospel of peace that have been unfurled may continue to float triumphant over the errors of sectarianism and infidelity, until all the honest in heart shall be gathered out. ED
At our special Conference, which will be held in a few days, we shall consider the above request. ED.
TIMES AND SEASONS.
CITY OF NAUVOO,
FRIDAY, APRIL 1, 1842.
LADIES' RELIEF SOCIETY.
A society has lately been formed by the ladies of Nauvoo for the relief of the poor, the destitute, the widow and the orphan; and for the exercise of all benevolent purposes. The society is known by the name of the "Ladies' Relief Society of the City of Nauvoo" and was organized on Thursday the 24th of March A. D. 1842.
The society is duly organized with a Presidentess or Chairwoman, and two Councillors [Councilors], chosen by herself; a Treasurer and Secretary. Mrs. Emma Smith takes the Presidential chair, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Whitney, and Mrs. Sarah M. Cleveland are her Councillors; [Councilors] Miss Elvira Cole is Treasuress, and our well know and talented poetess, Miss Eliza R. Snow Secretary.
There was a very numerous attendance at the organization of the society and also at their subsequent meetings of some of our most intelligent, humane, philanthrophic [philanthropic] , and respectable ladies; and we are well assured from a knowledge of those pure principles of benevolence that flow spontaneously from their humane, and philanthrophic [philanthropic] bosoms, that with the resources they will have at command they will fly to the relief of the stranger, they will pour in oil and wine to the wounded heart of the distressed; they will dry up the tear of the orphan, and make the widow's heart to rejoice.
Our Ladies have always been signalized for their acts of benevolence and kindness; but the cruel usage that they have received from the barbarians of Missouri, has hitherto prevented their extending the hand of charity in a conspicuous manner; yet in the midst of their persecutions, when the bread has been torn from their helpless offsprings by their cruel oppressors, they have always been ready to open their doors to the weary traveller [traveler], to divide their scanty pittance with the hungry; and from their robbed and impoverished wardrobes, to divide with the more needy and destitute; and now that they are living in a more genial soil, and among a less barbarous people, and possess facilities that they have not heretofore enjoyed, we feel convinced that with their concentrated efforts the condition of the sufferring [suffering] poor, of the stranger and the fatherless will be ameliorated.
We had the privelege [privilege] of being present at their organization, and were much pleased with their modus operandi, and the good order that prevailed; they are strictly parliamentary in their proceedings; and we believe that they will make pretty good democrats. ED.
"TRY THE SPIRITS."
Recent occurrences that have transpired amongst us render it an imperative duty devolving upon me to say something in relation to the spirits by which men are actuated. It is evident from the apostle's writings that many false spirits existed in their day, and had "gone forth into the world," and that it needed intelligence which God alone could impart to detect false spirits, and to prove what spirits were of God. The world in general have been grossly ignorant in regard to this one thing, and why should they be otherwise, "For no man know the things of God, but by the spirit of God." The Egyptians were not able to discover the difference between the miracles of Moses and those of the magicians until they came to be tested together; and if Moses had not appeared in their midst they would unquestionably have thought that the miracles of the magicians were performed through the mighty power of God; for they were great miracles that were performed by them: a supernatural agency was developed; and great power manifested.
The witch of Endor is no less singular a personage; clothed with a powerful agency she raised the prophet Samuel from his grave, and he appeared before the astonished king and revealed unto him his future destiny. Who is to tell whether this woman is of God, and a righteous woman? or whether the power she possessed was of the devil, and her a witch as represented by the bible? it is easy for us to say now; but if we had lived in her day, which of us could have unravelled [unraveled] the mystery?
It would have been equally as difficult for us to tell by what spirit the prophets prophesied, or by what power the apostles spoke, and worked miracles. Who could have told whether the power of Simon, the sorcerer was of God, or of the devil? There always did in every age seem to be a lack of intelligence pertaining to this subject. Spirits of all kinds have been manifested, in every age and almost amongst all people: if we go among the Pagans they have their spirits, the Mahomedans, the Jews, the Christians, the Indians; all have their spirits, all have a supernatural agency; and all contend that their spirits are of God. Who shall solve the mystery? "Try the spirits," says John, but who is to do it? The learned, the eloquent, the philosopher, the sage, the divine, all are ignorant. The Heathens will boast of their gods, and of the great things that have been unfolded by their oracles. The Mussulman will boast of his Koran and of the divine communications that his progenitors have received, and are receiving. The Jews have had numerous instances both ancient and modern among them of men who have professed to be inspired and sent to bring about great events, and the Christian world has not been slow in making up the number.
"Try the spirits" but what by? are we to try them by the creeds of men? what preposterous folly, what sheer ignorance, what madness. Try the motions and actions of an eternal being, (for I contend that all spirits are such,) by a thing that was conceived in ignorance, and brought forth in folly.-a cobweb of yesterday. Angels would hide their faces, and devils would be ashamed and insulted and would say, "Paul we know, and Jesus we know, but who are ye." Let each man or society make a creed and try evil spirits by it and the devil would shake his
sides, it is all that he would ask, all that he would desire. Yet many of them do this and hence "many spirits are abroad in the world." One great evil is that men are ignorant of the nature of spirits; their power, laws, government, intelligence &c., and imagine that when there is any thing like power, revelation, or vision manifested that it must be of God:-hence the Methodists, Presbyterians, and others frequently possess a spirit that will cause them to lay down, and during its operation animation is frequently entirely suspended; they consider it to be the power of God, and a glorious manifestation from God,-a manifestation of what?-is there any intelligence communicated? are the curtains of heaven withdrawn, or the purposes of God developed? have they seen and conversed with an angel; or have the glories of futurity burst upon their view? No! but their body has been inanimate, the operation of their spirit suspended, and all the intelligence that can be obtained from them when they arise, is a shout of glory, or hallelujah, or some incoherent expression; but they have had "the power." The Shaker will whirl around on his heel impelled by a supernatural agency, or spirit, and think that he is governed by the spirit of God: and the Jumper will jump, and enter into all kinds of extravagancies[extravagances], a Primitive Methodist will shout under the influence of that spirit, until he will rend the heavens with his cries; while the Quakers, (or Friends) moved as they think by the spirit of God, will sit still and say nothing. Is God the author of all this? If not of all of it, which does he recognize? surely such a heterogenious] [heterogeneous] mass of confusion never can enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Every one of these professes to be competent to try his neighbour's [neighbor's] spirit, but no one can try his own, and what is the reason? because they have not a key to unlock, no rule wherewith to measure, and no criterion whereby they can test it; could any one tell the length, breadth, or height of a building with out a rule? test the quality of metals without a criterion, or point out the movements of the planetary system without a knowledge of astronomy? certainly not: and if such ignorance as this is manifested about a spirit of this kind who can describe an angel of light, if Satan should appear as one in glory? Who can tell his color, his signs, his appearance, his glory? or what is the manner of his manifestation? Who can detect the spirit of the French Prophets, with their revelations, and visions, and power, and manifestations? or who can point out the spirit of the Irvingites with their apostles, and prophets, and visions, and tongues, and interpretations, &c. &c.; or who can drag into day-light and develope [develop] the hidden mysteries of the false spirits that so frequently are made manifest among the Latter-Day Saints? We answer that no man can do this without the Priesthood, and having a knowledge of the laws by which spirits are governed; for as, "no man knows the things of God but by the spirit of God," so no man knows the spirit of the devil and his power and influence but by possessing intelligence which is more than human, and having unfolded through the medium of the Priesthood the mysterious operations of his devices: without knowing the angelic form, the sanctified look, and gesture, and the zeal that is frequently manifested by him for the glory of God:-together with the prophetic spirit, the gracious influence, the godly appearance, and the holy garb which is so characteristic of his proceedings, and his mysterious windings. A man must have the discerning of spirits, before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors: for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit, when they think they have the spirit of God. Thousands have felt the influence of its terrible power, and baneful effects; long pilgrimages have been undertaken, penances endured, and pain, misery, and ruin have followed in their train; nations have been convulsed, kingdoms overthrown, provinces laid wast, and blood, carnage, and desolation are the habilaments [habiliments] in which it has been clothed. The Turks, the Hindoos, [Hindus] the Jews, the Christians, the Indians, in fact all nations have been deceived, imposed upon and injured through the mischievous effects of false spirits.
As we have noticed before, the great difficulty lays in the ignorance of the nature of spirits, of the laws by which they are governed, and the signs by which they may be known; if it requires the spirit of God, to know the things of God, and the spirit of the devil can only be unmasked through that medium, then it follows as a natural consequence that unless some person, or persons, have a communication or revelation from God, unfolding to them the operation of spirit, they must eternally remain ignorant of these principles:-for I contend that if one man cannot understand these things but by the spirit of God, ten thousand men cannot; it is alike out of the reach of the wisdom of the learned, the tongue of the eloquent, and the power of the mighty. And we shall at last have to come to this conclusion, whatever we may think of revelation, that without it we can neither know, nor understand any thing of God, or the devil; and however unwilling the world may be to acknowledge this principle, it is evident from the multifarious creeds and notions concerning this matter, that they understand nothing of this principle, and it is equally as plain that without a divine communication they must remain in ignorance. The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God they considered to be false prophets; and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and they had to hide themselves "in deserts, and dens, and caves of the earth" and although the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds; whilst they cherished, honored, and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, imposters [impostors] and the basest of men.
A man must have the discerning of spirits as we before stated to understand these things, and how is he to obtain this gift if there are no gifts of the spirit? And how can these gifts be obtained without revelation?-"Christ ascended into heaven and gave gifts to men,. . . ."and he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers." And how were apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists chosen? by "prophesy (revelation) and by laying on of hands:"-by a divine communication, and a divinely appointed ordinance-through the medium of the priesthood, organized according to
the order of God, by divine appointment. The apostles in ancient times held the keys of this priesthood-of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, and consequently were enabled to unlock, and unravel all things pertaining to the government of the church, the welfare of society, the future destiny of men, and the agency, power, and influence of spirits; for they could control them at pleasure, bid them depart in the name of Jesus, and detect their mischievous and mysterious operations when trying to palm themselves upon the church in a religious garb, and militate against the interest of the church, and the spread of truth-we read that they "cast out devils in the name of Jesus," and when a woman possessing the spirit of divination cried before Paul and Silas "these are the servants of the most high God that shew [show] unto us the way of salvation:" they detected the spirit, and although she spake favorably of them Paul commanded the splrit [spirit] to come out of her, and saved themselves from the opprobrium that might have been heaped upon their heads, through an affiance with her, in the development of her wicked principles:-which they certainly would have been charged with if they had not rebuked the evil spirit. A power similar to this existed through the medium of the priesthood, in different ages. Moses could detect the magicians' power and shew [show] that he was God's servant, he knew when he was upon the mountain (through revelation,) that Israel was engaged in idolatry; he could develope [develop] the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, detect witches and wizards in their proceedings, and point out the true prophets of the Lord. Joshua knew how to detect the man who had stolen the wedge of gold and the Babylonish garment, Michaiah could point out the false spirit by which the four hundred prophets were governed; and if his advice had been taken, many lives would have been spared. 2, Chron. xviii, 18. Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and many other prophets possessed this power. Our Saviour [Savior], the apostles, and even the members of the church were endowed with this gift, for says Paul 1, Cor, xiii, "to one is given the gift of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues, to another the working of miracles, to another prophesy, to another the discerning of spirits," all these proceeded from the same spirit of God, and were the gifts of God. The Ephesian church were enabled by this principle "to try those that said they were apostles, and were not and found them liars." Rev. ii, 2.
In tracing the thing to the foundation, and looking at it philosophically we shall find a very material difference between the body and the spirit: the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit by many is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ-and state that spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic, and refined matter than the body;-that it existed before the body, can exist in the body, and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection be again united with it. Without attempting to describe this mysterious connexion [connection] and the laws that govern the body and spirit of man; their relationship to each other, and the design of God in relation to the human body and spirit, I would just remark that the spirits of men are eternal, that they are governed by the same priesthood that Abraham, Melchezedec, and the apostles were; that they are organized according to that priesthood which is everlasting, "without beginning of days or end of years"-that they all move in their respective spheres, and are governed by the law of God;-that when they appear upon earth they are in a probationary state, and are preparing if righteous, for a future and a greater glory:-that the spirits of good men cannot interfere with the wicked beyond their prescribed bounds; for "Michael the archangel dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil, but said the Lord rebuke thee Satan."
It would seem also that wicked spirits have their bounds, limits, and laws by which they are governed or controlled, and know their future destiny; hence those that were in the maniac said to our Saviour [Savior], "art thou come to torment us before the time:"-and when Satan presented himself before the Lord among the sons of God, he said that he came "from going to and fro in the earth, and from wandering up and down in it" and he is emphatically called the prince of the power of the air; and it is very evident that they possess a power that none but those who have the priesthood can control, as we have before adverted to in the case of the sons of Sceva.
Having said so much upon general principles without referring to the peculiar situation, power, and influence of, the magicians of Egypt, the wizards, and witches of the Jews, the oracles of the Heathen; their necromancers, soothsayers, and astrologers; the maniacs or those possessed of devils in the apostles' days, we will notice and try to detect (so far as we have the scriptures for our aid) some few instances of the development of false spirits in more modern times, aud [and] in this our day.
The "French Prophets," were possessed of a spirit that deceived; they existed in Vivaris, and Dauphiny in great numbers in the year 1688, there were many boys, and girls from seven to twenty five; they had strange fits as in tremblings, and faintings, which made them stretch out their legs and arms as in a swoon; they remained awhile in trances and coming out of them uttered all that came into their mouths. [See Buck's Theological Dictionary.] Now God never had any prophets that acted in this way; there was nothing indecorous in the proceeding of the Lord's prophets in any age; neither had the apostles, nor prophets in the apostles' day any thing of this kind. Paul says "ye may all prophesy one by one;-and if any thing be revealed to another let the first hold his peace, for the spirit of the prophets, is subject to the prophets," but here we find that the prophets are subject to the spirit, and falling down have twitchings, tumblings, and faintings, through the influence of that spirit; being entirely under its control. Paul says "let every thing be done decently and in order" but here we find the greatest disorder and indecency in the conduct of both men, and women, as above described. The same rule would apply to the falling, twitchings swooning, shaking, and trances of many of our modern revivalists.
Jonnah Southcot professed to be a prophetess and wrote a book of prophesies in 1804:
she became the founder of a people that are now extant; she was to bring forth in a place appointed a son that was to be the Messiah, which thing has failed. Independent of this however, where do we read of a woman that was the founder of a church in the word of God? Paul told the women in his day "to keep silence in the church, and that if they wished to know any thing to ask their husbands at home" he would not suffer a woman "to rule, or to usurp authority in the church" but here we find a woman the founder of a church, the revelator and guide, the Alpha and Omega, contrary to all acknowledged rule, principle, and order.
Jemimah Wilkinson, was another prophetess that figured largely in America in the last century. She stated that she was taken sick and died, and that her soul went to heaven where it still continues. Soon after her body was reanimated with the spirit and power of Christ, upon which she set up as a public teacher and declared she had an immediate revelation. Now the scriptures positively assert that "Christ is the first fruit, afterwards those that are Christs at his coming; then cometh the end." Bnt [But] Jemimah, according to her testimony died, and rose again before the time mentioned in the scriptures. The idea of her soul being in heaven while her body was on earth is also preposterous; when God breathed into man's nostrils he became a living soul, before that he did not live, and when that was taken away his body died; and so did our Saviour [Savior] when the spirit left the body; nor did his body live until his spirit returned in the power of his resurrection: but Mrs. Wilkinson's soul, [life] was in heaven and her body without the soul [or life] on earth, living [without the soul, or] without life.
The Irvingites, are a people that have counterfeited the truth perhaps the nearest of any of our modern sectarians; they commenced about ten years ago in the city of London in England. They have churches formed in various parts of England and Scotland and some few in Upper Canada. Mr. Irving their founder was a learned and talented minister of the church of Scotland; he was a great logician, and a powerful orator; but withal wild and enthusiastic in his views. Moving in the higher circles, and possessing talent and zeal, placed him in a situation to become a conspicuous character, and to raise up a society similar to that which is called after his name.
The Irvingites have apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and angels. They profess to have the gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues: and in some few instances to the gift of healing.
The first prophetic spirit that was manifested was in some Miss Campbells, that Mr. Irving met with while on a journey in Scotland; they had [what is termed among their sect,] "utterances" which were evidently of a supernatural agency. Mr. Irving falling into the common error of considering all supernatural manifestations to be of God; took them to London with him, and introduced them into his church.
They there were honored as the prophetesses of God, and when they spoke Mr. Irving, or any of his ministers had to keep silence; they were peculiarly wrought upon before the congregation, and had strange utterances, uttered with an unnatural, shrill voice and with thrilling intonations; they frequently made use of a few broken unconnected sentences that were ambiguous, incoherent, and incomprehensible; at other times they were more clearly understood. They would frequently cry out, "There is iniquity! There is iniquity!" And Mr. Irving has been led under the influence of this charge to fall down upon his knees before the public congregation and to confess his sin, not knowing whether the thing referred to him, or somebody else. During these operations the bodies of the persons speaking were powerfully wrought upon, their countenances were distorted, they had frequent twitchings in their hands, and the whole system was powerfully convulsed at intervals; they sometimes however (it is supposed) spoke in correct tongues, and had true interpretations.
Under the influence of this spirit the church was organized by these women; apostles, prophets, &c., were soon called, and a systematic order of things introduced, as above mentioned. A Mr. Baxter (afterwards one of the principal prophets) upon going into one of their meetings, says, I saw a power manifested and thought that it was the power of God, and asked that it might fall upon me; it did so and I began to prophesy. Eight or nine years ago, they had about sixty preachers going through the streets of London, testifying that London was to be the place where the 'two witnesses,' spoken of by John was to prophesy: that (they) 'the church and the spirit' were the witnesses, and that at the end of three years and a half there was to be an earthquake and great destruction, and our saviour [Savior] was to come. Their apostles were collected together at the appointed time watching the event; but Jesus did not come, and the prophesy was then ambiguously explained away. They frequently had signs given them by the spirit, to prove to them that what was manifested to them should take place. Mr. Baxter related an impression that he had concerning a child. It was manifested to him that he should visit the child, and lay hands upon it, and that it should be healed: and to prove to him that this was of God, he should meet his brother in a certain place who should speak unto him certain words; his brother addressed him precisely in the way and manner that the manifestation designated; the sign took place,-but when he laid his hands on the child it did not recover. I cannot vouch for the authority of the last statement as Mr. Baxter at that time had left the Irvingites, but it is in accordance with many of their proceedings, and the thing never has been attempted to be denied.
It may be asked where is there any thing in all this that is wrong?
1st. The church was organized by women and 'God placed in the church first apostles, secondarily prophets:' and not first women; but Mr. Irving placed in his church first women; secondary apostles; and the church was founded and organized by them. A woman has no right to found or organize a church; God never sent them to do it.
2nd. Those women would speak in the midst of a meeting and rebuke Mr. Irving, or any of the church: now the scripture positively says, 'thou shalt not rebuke an elder, but entreat him as a father;' not only this but they frequently
accused the brethren, thus placing themselves in the seat of satan who is emphatically called 'the accuser of the brethren.'
3rd. Mr. Baxter received the spirit on asking for it without attending to the ordinances, and began to prophesy, whereas the scriptural way of attaining the gift of the Holy Ghost is by baptism, and by laying on of hands.
4th. As we have stated in regard to others the spirit of the prophets, are subject to the prophets; but those prophets were subject to the spirits; the spirit controlling their bodies at pleasure.
But it may be asked how Mr. Baxter could get a sign from a second person! To this we would answer that Mr. Baxter's brother was under the influence of the same spirit as himself; and being subject to that spirit, he could be easily made to speak to Mr. Baxter whatever the spirit should dictate; but there was not power in the spirit to heal the child.
Again it may be asked how it was that they could speak in tongues if they were of the devil? We would answer that they could be made to speak in another tongue as well as in their own as they were under the control of that spirit, and the devil can temp the Hottentot, the Turk, the Jew, or any other nation; and if these men were under the influence of his spirit they of course could speak Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Italian, Dutch, or any other Language that the devil knew.
Some will say 'try the spirits' by the word. 'Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God' John iv, 2, 3. One of the Irvingites once quoted this passage whilst under the influence of a spirit, and then said, 'I confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.' And yet these prophesies failed, their Messiah did not come; and the great things spoken of by them have fallen to the ground. What is the matter here? did not the apostle speak the truth? certainly he did but he spoke to a people who were under the penalty of death, the moment they embraced christianity; and no one without a knowledge of the fact would confess it and expose themselves to death: and this was consequently given as a criterian [criterion] to the church or churches to which John wrote. But the devil on a certain occasion cried out, 'I know thee who thou art the 'Holy one of God' Here was a frank acknowledgement [acknowledgment] under other circumstances,-that 'Jesus had come in the flesh.' On another occasion the devil said 'Paul we know, and Jesus we know;' of course come in the flesh. No man nor set of men without the regular constituted authorities, the priesthood and discerning of spirits can tell true, from false spirits. This power they possessed in the apostles' day, but it has departed from the world for ages.
The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have also had their false spirits; and as it is made up of all those different sects professing every variety of opinion, and having been under the influence of so many kinds of spirits, it is not to be wondered at if there should be found amongst us false spirits.
Soon after the gospel was established in Kirtland, and during the absence of the authorities of the church, many strange visions were seen, and wild enthusiastic notions were entertained; men run out of doors under the influence of this spirit, and some of them got upon the stumps of trees and shouted, and all kinds of extravagances were entered into by them: one man pursued a ball that he said he saw flying in the air, until he came to a precipice when he jumped into the top of a tree which saved his life, and many ridiculous things were entered into, calculated to bring disgrace upon the church of God; to cause the spirit of God to be withdrawn; and to uproot and destroy those glorious principles which had been developed for the salvation of the human family. But when the authorities returned the spirit was made manifest, those members that were exercised with it were tried for their fellowship; and those that would not repent and forsake it were cut off. At a subsequent period a Shaker spirit was on the point of being introduced, and at another time the Methodist and Presbyterian falling-down power; but the spirit was rebuked, and put down, and those who would not submit to rule and good order, were disfellowshipped. We have also had brethren and sisters who have had the gift of tongues falsely: they would speak in a muttering, unnatural voice, and their bodies be distorted like the Irvingites before alluded to; whereas there is nothing unnatural in the spirit of God. A circumstance of this kind took place in Upper Canada, but was rebuked by the presiding elder-another, a woman near the same place professed to have the discerning of spirits, and begun to accuse another sister of things that she was not guilty of, which she said she knew was so by the spirit,-but was afterwards proven to be false-she placed herself in the capacity of the 'accuser of the brethren'--and no person through the discerning of spirits can bring a charge against another, they must be proven guilty by positive evidence, or they stand clear.
There have also been ministering angels in the church which were of satan appearing as an angel of light: A sister in the State of New York had a vision who said it was told her that if she would go to a certain place in the woods an angel would appear to her,-she went at the appointed time and saw a glorious personage descending arrayed in white, with sandy coloured [colored] hair; he commenced and told her to fear God and said that her husband was called to do great things, but that he must not go more than one hundred miles from home or he would not return; whereas God had called him to go to the ends of the earth; and he has since been more than one thousand miles from home, and is yet alive. Many true things were spoken by this personage and many things that were false.-How it may be asked was this known to be a bad angel? by the color of his hair; that is one of the signs that he can be known by, and by his contradicting a former revelation.
We have also had brethren and sisters that have had written revelations, and have started forward to lead this church. Such was a young boy in Kirtland-Isaac Russell of Mo. and Gladdon Bishop, and Oliver Olney of Nauvoo. The boy is now living with his parents, who have submitted to the laws of the church Mr. Russell stayed in Far West, from whence he was to go to the Rocky mountains, led by three Nephites, but the Nephites never came
and his friends forsook him all but some of his blood relations, who have since been nearly destroyed by the mob. Mr. Bishop was tried by the high council his papers examined, condemned, and burned, and he cut off from the church; he acknowledge the justice of the decision and said "that he now saw his error; for if he had have been governed by the revelations given before he might have known that no man was to write revelations for the church but Joseph Smith," and begged to be prayed for and forgiven by the brethren. Mr. Olney has also been tried by the high council and disfellowshiped because he would not have his writings tested by the word of God; evidently proving that he loves darkness rather than light because his deeds are evil. Ed.
VIEWS OF THE LIBERAL.
Gen. Bennett's Mother writes him as follows, under date of Feb. 25, A. D. 1842; to wit:
"I will however remark, that I feel much solicitude for the prosperity of your church, as I trust you are building on the rock Christ Jesus, which is a sure foundation, and nothing will be suffered to prevail against it, I sincerely hope that the days of her persecutions have passed by, and that henceforth she will have peace throughout her borders."
HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH.
"After I had retired into the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcome me, and had such astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction, not to any imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world who had such a marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being. Just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun; which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages (whose brightness and glory defy all description) standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, (pointing to the other,) "This is my beloved Son, hear him."
My object in going to enquire [inquire] of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right? that I might know which to join. No sooner therefore did I get possession of myself so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right, (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong,) and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt, they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrine the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." He again forbade me to join with any of them: and many other things did he say unto me which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again I found myself laying on my back, looking up into heaven. Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the methodist preachers who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement, and conversing with him on the subject of religion I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior, he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there was no such thing as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there never would be any more of them. I soon found however that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion and was the cause of great persecution which continued to increase, and though I was an obscure boy only between fourteen and fifteen years of age and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world; yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and
create a hot persecution, and this was common among all the sects: all united to persecute me. It has often caused me serious reflection both then and since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy of a little over fourteen years of age, and one too who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintainance [maintenance] by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, so as to create in them a spirit of the hottest persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and was often cause of great sorrow to myself. However it was nevertheless a fact that I had had a vision. I have thought since that I felt much like Paul when he made his defence [defense] before King Aggrippa and related the account of the vision he had when he "saw a light and heard a voice," but still there were a few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed, and reviled; but all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise, and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew and would know unto his latest breath that he had both seen a light, and heard a voice speaking to him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.-So it was with me, I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak unto me, or one of them did; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision yet it was true, and while they were persecuting me, reviling me and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart, why persecute for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision, and "who am I that I can withstand God," or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen, for I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dare I do it; at least I knew by so doing I would offend God and come under condemnation. I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned, that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but continue as I was until further directed; I had found the testimony of James to be true, that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain and not be upbraided. I continued to pursue my common avocations in life until the twenty first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious because I continued to affirm that I had seen a vision. During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision, and the year eighteen hundred and twenty three, (having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends, and to have treated me kindly and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me, I was left to all kinds of temptations, and mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors and displayed the weakness of youth and the corruption of human nature, which I am sorry to say led me into divers temptations, to the gratification of many appetites offensive in the sight of God. In consequence of these things I often felt condemned for my weakness, and imperfections; when on the evening of the above mentioned twenty first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him: for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation as I had previously had one.
(To be continued.)
From the (Columbus,) Advocate.
NAUVOO AND THE MORMONS.
Having recently had occasion to visit the city of Nauvoo, I cannot permit the opportunity to pass, without expressing the agreeable disappointment that awaited me there. I had supposed from what I had previously heard, that I should witness an impoverished, ignorant and bigoted population, completely priest ridden and tyranized [tyrannized] over by Joseph Smith, the great prophet of these people. On the contrary, to my surprise, I saw a people apparently happy, prosperous and
intelligent. Every man appeared to be employed in some business or occupation, I saw no idleness, no intemperance, no noise, no riot, all appeared to be contented; with no desire to trouble themselves, with any thing except their own affairs. With the religion of these people, I have nothing to do, if they can be satisfied with the doctrines of their new Revelation, they have a right to be so. The Constitution of the country guarantees to them the right of worshiping [worshipping] God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and if they can be so easily satisfied, why should we, who differ with them, complain. But I protest against the slanders and persecutions that are continually heaped on these people. I could see no disposition on their part to be otherwise than a peaceable and law-abiding people, and all they ask of the country is to permit them to live under the protection of the laws, and to be made amenable for their violations, they may have among them men of bad and desperate characters, and what community has not? but I am satisfied as a body the Mormon people will never be the aggressors or violators of the law.
While at Nauvoo, I had a fine opportunity of seeing the people in a body. There was a Masonic celebration, and the Grand master of the State was present for the purpose of Publicly installing the officers of a new Lodge. An immense number of persons assembled on the occasions, variously estimated from 5 to 10,000, and never in my life did I witness a better dressed or a more orderly and well behaved assemblage; not a drunken or disorderly person to be seen, and the display of taste and beauty among the females, could not well be surpassed any where.
During my stay of three days, I became well acquainted with their principal men, and more particularly with their Prophet, the celebrated 'Old Jo Smith." I found them hospitable, polite, well informed and liberal. With Joseph Smith, the hospitality of whose house I kindly received, I was well pleased; of course on the subject of religion, we widely differed, but he appeared to be quite as willing to permit me to enjoy my right of opinion, as I think we all ought to be to let the Mormons enjoy theirs; but instead of the ignorant and tyranical [tyrannical] upstart, judge my surprise at finding him a sensible, intelligent, companionable and gentle manly man. In frequent conversations with him, he gave me every information that I desired, and appeared to be only pleased at being able to do so. He appears to be much respected by all the people about him and has their entire confidence. He is a fine-looking man, about 36 years of age and has an interesting family.
The incorporated limits of Nauvoo, contains, it is said, about 7,000 persons; the buildings are generally small and much scattered. The Temple and Nauvoo House now building will probably, in beauty of design, extent and durability, excel any public buildings in the State, and will both be enclosed before winter. From all I saw and heard, I am led to believe that before many years the city of Nauvoo will be the largest and most beautiful city of the west, provided the Mormons are unmolested in the peacable [peaceable] enjoyment of their rights and privileges, and why they should be troubled while acting as good citizens, I cannot imagine; and I hope and trust that the people of Illinois have no disposition to disturb unoffending people who have no disposition but to live peaceably under the laws of the country and to worship God under their own vine and fig tree
Adams co., March 22, 1842.
Elder John Snider has started for England with the Epistle of the Twelve, it will be found in the fore part of this number; he left about a week ago for New Orleans, and from thence he will take the first vessel that sails for Liverpool.
The Times and Seasons, IS EDITED BY Joseph Smith. Printed and published about the first and fifteenth of every month, on the corner of Water and Bain Streets, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, by JOSEPH SMITH.
TERMS. TWO DOLLARS per annum, payable in all cases in advance. Any person procuring five new subscribers, and forwarding us Ten Dollars current money, shall receive one volume gratis. All letters must be addressed to Joseph Smith, publisher, POST PAID, or they will not receive attention.
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