Early History of the Reorganization
by Apostle Edmund C. Briggs


CONTENTS

Introduction
Chapter 1   
Edmund Briggs' Early Life
His Religious Training
He First Hears of the "Mormons"
His Brother, Jason, Joins the Latter Day Saint Church

Chapter 2 
Jason Briggs Expounds the Scriptures to Edmund
His Mother Joins the Church_At Age Ten 
Edmund Is Convinced of the Restored Gospel
He Has a Vision of the Evil of Polygamy

Chapter 3 
The Briggses Are Visited by the Utah Faction
Edmund's Vision Is Fulfilled_He Loses Interest 
for a Time in Latter Day Saintism_Jason Visited 
by William Smith and Joseph Wood_Edmund 
Meets Zenas H. Gurley

Chapter 4 
Resolutions Passed at the 1852 Conference in Beloit
Jason Briggs Receives a Revelation
Edmund Has an Unpleasant Experience with William Smith
He Wrestles with the Decision to Be Baptized

Chapter 5 
Edmund Is Baptized and Ordained the Same Day
He Is Struck with a Severe Sickness
Henry Deam's 
Stand on Rebaptism
Edmund's Mother Is Healed

Chapter 6
Edmund Is Shown the Difference Between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of the Devil
Counsel Regarding Spirit Manifestations
His First Experience with Preaching
He Commences Ministry to the Scattered Saints
Prophecy Regarding Young Joseph Taking
His Place As Prophet of the Church

Chapter 7 
Edmund, through Prophecy, Is Told to Go to the Scattered Saints and to Young Joseph
He Is to Be Accompanied by Samuel Gurley
He Prophesies Young Joseph Will Come to the Church within Five Years
W. W. Blair Is Converted to the Reorganization
The Missionaries' First Meeting with Emma Smith Bidamon at Nauvoo

Chapter 8 
The Missionaries' First Meeting with Young 
Joseph_He Is Handed the Letter from Jason 
Briggs_Joseph Does Not Wish to Discuss 
Religion with Them_Their Further Dis-
cussion with Sister Emma_Samuel Gurley
Leaves the Mission for Home

Chapter 9
Edmund Heard Preaching of Elders John E. Page and George J. Adams
People in and about Nauvoo Speak Highly of Joseph the Martyr
Emma Tells of Threats Made to Her by Brigham Young
Emma Speaks Endearingly of Her Husband, Joseph
Emma Talks of the Purported Revelation on Polygamy 

Chapter 10
The Lord Directs Edmund to Visit William Marks, Israel Rogers, and James Blakeslee
Brother Marks Talks about Polygamy at Nauvoo and Joseph's Denunciation of it
Marks Also Discusses the Purported Revelation on Polygamy
Baneemyism
Edmund Visits Saints in Wisconsin

Chapter 11 
Edmund and W. W. Blair Meet with the Hedrickites in Conference
Some Claim Sidney Rigdon Should Be the President
Many Embrace the Reorganization

Chapter 12 
The Missionaries Once Again Visit Nauvoo and the Smith Family
They Visit the Saints in Wisconsin
Gifts of the Holy Ghost Are Manifest in Great Power
William Marks Unites with the Reorganization
He Is Spoken to in Prophecy

Chapter 13 
Account of Edmund Briggs and W. W. Blair's Missionary Journey in Order to Bring Back the Wandering Sheep, Lost in the Dark and Cloudy Day of Apostasy
Chapter 14 
Persecution Rears Its Ugly Head
Edmund Suffers with Severe Headaches
Dissertation on Sufferings of Joseph, Son of Jacob

Chapter 15 
Dissertation on Joseph of Egypt Continued
George M. Hinkle Takes Exception to the Name Latter Day Saints Being Acknowledged by the Church
Missionaries Meet Some Cutlerites
Edmund Still Plagued with Ill Health

Chapter 16
Edmund Is Healed of His Illness through Administration
Through the Gift of Prophecy, the Missionaries Are Told That Satan Had Accompanied Them on Their Mission to Iowa

Chapter 17 
A Branch Organized at Union Grove
James M. Adams Objects to the Name of the Church
Account of Joseph Naming His Son, David
Minutes of First Conference Held in Iowa by the Reorganized Church

Chapter 18
Edmund Discusses the Assumption of Brigham Young to the Presidency of the Church
He Rescues an English Lady from the Meshes of Utah Mormonism
The Condition of the Church and the Resulting Apostasy
Promise to the Faithful

Chapter 19
Missionaries Debate with the Cutlerites
W. W. Blair Leaves the Mission for Home
More Discussions with the Followers of Alpheus Cutler

Chapter 20 
A Branch Organized at Farm Creek
Rebaptism Discussed
Sermon on Who Will Be Saved
Edmund Practically Alone in the Mission Field

Chapter 21
Plans to Publish the True Latter Day Saints' Herald
Brigham Young's Statement upon Hearing of Joseph's Death
Many Speak Highly of the Smith Family
The Doctrine of Gladden Bishop
Edmund Upholds Joseph the Martyr

Chapter 22 
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Edmund Disappointed and Sorry to Read an Article in the Herald Written by Isaac Sheen
William Marks Tells of His Last Conversation with the Martyr Regarding Polygamy
Edmund the Only Missionary in the Vineyard

Chapter 23 
Edmund Visits with a Follower of Charles B. Thompson
His Confrontation with Gladden Bishop
He Addresses the Law of Lineage
Some Quotations of Brigham Young

Chapter 24
Pretensions of J. J. Strang, Charles Thompson, Alpheus Cutler, Gladden Bishop, and Granville Hedrick
The Last Three Pages of the "Word of Consolation," Touching on Polygamy
Gift of Tongues Manifest

Chapter 25
The Belvidere Branch Is Organized
Debate with Gladden Bishop
Edmund Preaches on the Necessity of Authorized Priesthood and the Everlasting Covenant

Chapter 26 
Edmund Receives Evidence He Will Be a Delegate at the Amboy Conference
Through Prophecy, Some of the Saints Are Told Joseph III Will Come to the Amboy Conference
Brother Beebe Provides Money to Send Edmund to the Conference

Chapter 27 
Saints Offer to Reimburse Brother Beebe for Edmund's Expenses to Conference
William H. Kelley Baptized
Edmund Begins His Journey to Conference at Amboy
He Spends the Night at Saint Joseph, Missouri

Chapter 28 
While at Saint Joseph, Edmund Reminisces about Some of the Events Which Transpired in Missouri
A Dissertation on the Era of the Reformation
Joseph III Writes to William Marks of His Intention to Take His Place at the Head of the Church
Edmund Arrives at Amboy

Chapter 29 
The Amboy Conference of 1860 Convenes
Minutes of the Conference
Joseph Smith III's Statement to the Conference
He is Accepted by Unanimous Vote As the Prophet of the Church and Successor to His Father

"In Memory of E. C. Briggs" by Elder Charles Derry 


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Copyright 1998
Price Publishing Company
915 E. 23rd Street
Independence, Missouri 64055
Phone (816) 461-5659
FAX (816) 461-5565

This book is a retyped version of a series of articles entitled, "Autobiographic Sketch and Incidents in the Early History of the Reorganization," by Edmund C. Briggs of the Quorum of the Twelve, published in the Saints' Herald, Volume 48, January 2, 1901, through Volume 50, July 8, 1903. The Saints' Herald was published by Herald Publishing House for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Corrections have been made in spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. An introduction and an article, "In Memory of E. C. Briggs," by Elder Charles Derry, have been added. The original text is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission.

Price Publishing Company produces materials which proclaim the original doctrines of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Introduction

Edmund C. Briggs was born February 20, 1835, at Wheeler, New York. He was the son of Hugh and Polly Briggs.
In 1841 his older brother, Jason, was baptized into the Church in Potosi, Wisconsin, and was soon to bring the good news of the Restored Gospel to his family, who were then living in Beloit, Wisconsin.
The Briggs family subscribed to the Church periodical, Times and Seasons. They would read it aloud as the family gathered together in the evenings, that all might hear. At that time, Edmund was a lad of only eight years. When he had opportunity he would take the paper in his own hands and would try to read it; but most of the words were too long and difficult for him to understand by himself. He especially loved to hear the "History of Joseph Smith" that was being printed in serial form within its pages. Those evenings with the family, reading the precious words about the restoration of the gospel, made such an impression upon his young mind that he remembered those words and teachings throughout his life.
Edmund was a delicate, sickly youth and in November 1851 had been very ill, presumably dying. Jason, his older brother, pleaded his case in prayer to his Heavenly Father. As a result of his prayers, the Lord spoke to him, and said, "Thy brother, Edmund, shall not die, but shall live and come into the Church and shall stand with you in this work."
Edmund was baptized in July 1852 at Zarahemla, Wisconsin, at the age of eighteen years. He had never held membership in any of the existing factions of that time. On the day of his baptism and confirmation, he was ordained an elder. He and Samuel Gurley, son of Zenas, were the first missionaries after the Church was reorganized. They were commissioned by the branch at Zarahemla, Wisconsin, to deliver the "Word of the Lord" to young Joseph at Nauvoo, Illinois. They were disappointed by Joseph's initial response, as he would not discuss religion with them. Samuel Gurley returned to his home at Zarahemla, but Edmund had resolved not to return to Wisconsin until Joseph III came to take his place at the head of the Church. He was soon to see this transpire at the Amboy Conference of 1860.
At one time in his ministry, he was the only missionary for the Reorganization. At the Amboy Conference of April 6, 1860, he was ordained to the office of president of seventy; and at the fall conference of that same year he was ordained to the office of apostle. He occupied that office until he was ordained a patriarch on April 20, 1902. He opened the first Reorganized Church mission in Salt Lake City, Utah, during August of 1868. 
He married his wife, then Emma Whitmore, in 1861 in Beloit, Wisconsin. They had four children (one died in infancy): Damon, Dayton, and Mabel. Elder Briggs died at his home at Lamoni, Iowa, July 4, 1913. He and his wife are laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery at Lamoni.
As Edmund began the following autobiographic sketch, the first episode appearing in the Saints' Herald of January 2, 1901, he wrote this introductory statement:
The short sketch of my experiences with the Church, considering the length of time in which they have occurred, occupying as they have nearly half a century, is submitted in the hope that some good thought may be furnished to the reader, which shall make him more earnest in the gospel work and more confident in the directing hand of the Lord in the affairs of His people.
Two important things have prevented giving these experiences to the people through the third volume of the Church History: 1. I could not prepare in time. 2. I was informed that the space properly allotted to such a sketch would not be sufficient for more than one-fourth of what I had in preparation, and it was my preference to publish as I had written or not at all, believing that in this way only those who read could gain the benefit which the experiences set out may furnish.
Sincerely and respectfully,
E. C. BRIGGS.

LAMONI, Iowa, December 25, 1900.


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Chapter 1

Edmund Briggs' Early Life
His Religious Training
He First Hears of the "Mormons"
His Brother, Jason, Joins the Latter Day Saint Church

Prompted by the request of many of the Saints and the dictates of my own mind, I write this sketch of my life, fully realizing that in the Judgment, before God, I must answer for every idle word written as well as spoken.
Were I capable of glossing, and in fancy or romantic style portraying to the reader's mind gilded pictures to fascinate the imagination, I would not do so. Nor do I write to challenge critical examination of style or diction; but I trust that the facts and experiences which I shall relate will tend to confirm the hope of the older, and strengthen the faith of the younger and rising generation who may read it, and be attractive and convincing to those not yet converted to the faith of the Kingdom of Heaven.
In such a work as this, I must necessarily intersperse my own experiences in "the marvelous work among the people, even a marvelous work and a wonder"; for, as the founder of the great Methodist Church chose to term it, "The times which we have reason to believe are at hand (if they are not already begun) are what many pious men have termed the times of 'The Latter Day Glory'_meaning the time wherein God would gloriously display His power and love in the fulfillment of His gracious promises that 'The knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.' And yet the wise men of the world, the men of eminence, the men of learning and renown, cannot imagine what we mean by talking of an extraordinary work of God. They cannot discern the signs of these times. They cannot see signs at all of God's arising to maintain His own cause and set up His Kingdom over the earth" (John Wesley's Sermon 71).
I was born February 20, 1835, in Wheeler, Steuben County, New York. My parents' names were Hugh L. and Polly Briggs; nee Polly Damon. In our family there were ten brothers and five sisters; four brothers still living.
My parents moved from New York to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, arriving there June 10, 1838. About a year later we moved to Jefferson County, Wisconsin. I remember my first religious impressions were at a prayer meeting at this place. While many were kneeling at the altar and my eldest brother, Silas H., was engaged in prayer, others began praying also, whereupon my brother ceased and soon they all stopped. Then Silas prayed again, and I could understand him; but soon others commenced praying, as before, shouting and saying "Amen," at which Silas again ceased to pray and soon they all discontinued. They began and ended in this manner some three or four times; then all arose and sang a hymn.
The singularity of my brother's manner, the confusion created when all were praying, and the stillness at intervals when they ceased while they were yet kneeling, made a lasting impression on my mind. At times I felt pleased, and again sad; but all the time was dissatisfied at what I saw and felt.
My brother, Edwin, went forward to the "anxious seat" during this meeting. The calm yet solemn sensation, when all were quiet, was pleasant to my mind. I attended several of these meetings during the winter, but nothing seemed to attract my attention until in the following summer. When I was attending meeting on one occasion, I heard someone remark that "God was killed." I was startled at the statement. I had heard of the crucifixion of Christ, but did not understand it. I thought, "Now we will all live forever," for I had had it impressed on my mind that God caused all death. For some days, I had considerable pleasure in the thought which had been expressed in meeting.
One morning, I went into the house and said to my mother, "I am glad that God is dead, for we will live forever now." Mother then explained to me that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. His mother was called Mary, and lived at Jerusalem. He was a child once, but grew to be a good man and was taken by wicked men and put to death. Three days later He arose from the dead in an immortal state and ascended to His Father, to God in Heaven. She also said if we would do right and be good, we should be raised from the dead and would go to Heaven. This simple, plain story I believed. It did me good, child as I was. First, it impressed me with the thought that I must try to be good so that I would be raised from the dead and go where there is no more trouble and sorrow. Secondly, it led me to ask many questions about God, the Savior, His apostles and prophets.
Little by little, I soon learned that all of His apostles were killed excepting John the Divine, who was thrown into a caldron of boiling oil but escaped unharmed and afterwards was banished to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse.
Then the Savior's question to the Jews, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers killed?" led me to believe that all of them had been hated, persecuted, and killed by mistaken, fanatical, religious, and bigoted people.
In the fall and winter of 1841 and 1842, my mother explained, read, and told us children Bible stories until I had a very good idea of the lives of the patriarchs and prophets, generally. To illustrate: We would say, "Tell us of 'Cain and Abel'; or 'the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace'; of 'Joseph that was sold into Egypt'; of 'David and Solomon'; of 'Peter's confession and denial of Christ'; of 'Paul's conversion,' etc."
As I learned of these men's characters, goodness or badness, they made lasting impressions upon my mind, the nature of which I may explain some other time as I proceed with my narrative. Suffice it to say, I had a fairly good idea of these men and their acts before I could read very much for myself, owing to the instruction of my dear mother, who was a Methodist. I also had three older brothers and two sisters who belonged to that same church.
While attending Sabbath school in the summer of 1842, the superintendent, Mr. Hollister, told the class of the goodness of God, how His mercy endureth forever; that God is love, and though "a mother might forget her sucking child, yet God could never forget His children." This last sentence was very impressive upon my mind. The thought of my mother forgetting one of her children seemed impossible to me. I contrasted her watch care over her children with the watch care of a God who is everywhere, and at the same time watching over all of earth's children; and that He loved them better than any earthly parent was capable of loving their own children, because He is God and knows how to love better than earthly parents; yet, how He could love better than mother I confess was a mystery. The thought that a mother could forget her child seemed impossible, and that God could not seemed a mystery, until one beautiful day my sister, Mary, came home on a visit with her first babe in her arms. I remember well how fond she was of it, with its sparkling eyes and dimpled cheeks. She caressed it, rocked it to sleep, and laid it on the bed. A little time passed and we were all merrily visiting, when all at once sister exclaimed, "Where is Elias?" No one knew. The barn was searched. A hasty visit was made to the little brook and spring below the house, but he could not be found. My sister was almost frantic and exhausted with fear. At this juncture I went into the house, and there lay the little one quietly sleeping on the bed, just as I remembered having seen my sister place it there but a short time before. I ran to the door and called to my sister, and when I informed her that the baby was peacefully sleeping on the bed, she laughingly exclaimed, though she trembled from head to foot, "Oh, I remember having laid it there asleep!"
This simple little occurrence brought vividly to my mind the Sunday school lesson_that a mother may forget her sucking child but God cannot forget His children. It was no mystery now. I could see how easily poor, weak-minded mortals could forget, be distressed and sorrowful, and in a rage do wrong; while God is love and never forgets His own, for "His mercy endureth forever."
During the remainder of the week I took comfort in the thought that God was so good. The lesson was, indeed, a blessing to me. The very next Sunday, Mr. Hollister told us of Hell, there to suffer forever, "Where their worm dieth not"; "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night."

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. (Matthew 7:13)

And that Dathan and Abiram went down alive into the pit and the earth closed upon them. These thoughts and many more were impressed upon our minds. I was distressed at the thought that God had determined such a horrible fate for the wicked. He was the Author of the spirits of all flesh, knew the end from the beginning, and knew before He made them that but few would be saved.
I said to Mr. Hollister, "Last Sunday you stated, 'God is love,' and how could He punish the wicked in that manner?" His reply was, "The Bible says, 'I will laugh at your calamity; I will laugh when your fear cometh.' " I was crestfallen at this quotation. I knew it was in the Bible, and that all Christendom professed to believe the Bible, and that my mother believed it. The thought never had occurred to me then that the ministers of the different churches were in many things misrepresenting the Bible, God, and Christ. I did not dare to tell Mr. Hollister my thoughts, lest I might offend him; for I loved him as a man and teacher. He was a quiet, pleasant-dispositioned man, very considerate, and would not offend one purposely. But the idea that he could love a God who would torture most of the human family in Hell forever, was so absurd to my mind that I soliloquized: "You lie if you say you love God; I hate Him from the bottom of my heart." I believed all he had taught me of God and Heaven, all that mother had taught of God and of Hell and its torments and the misery of the damned, there to welter forever. I realized fully, as I never had before, that I had always been taught the cruel, revengeful, unrelenting torture of the wicked.
On my way home from that Sunday school, I made up my mind I would read one more chapter in the Testament and never read another while I lived. With this determination, I reached home, took the Testament, and read the third chapter of the Gospel According to Saint John. While I read, my mind was opened to realize and understand that all punishment inflicted upon the wicked, they brought upon themselves through their own wickedness and disobedience, and this was permitted in order to work a reformation and benefit for those who suffer such punishment. I seemed to realize that their punishment would cease as soon as they would do good and not evil. A feeling of inexpressible joy pervaded my whole being as these thoughts passed through my mind, and again I felt love and thankfulness in my heart for the divine works. Ever since that moment, all my service in religious warfare has been prompted through fear of offending a just and good God; also, the love of principle because it is right and calculated in its nature to make men godlike, pure, and holy, rather than to create a fear of torment.
I thought I read the above sentiments in the Testament, and as I laid down the Bible, I exclaimed, "Mother! Mother! I do not believe in a Methodist Hell." She did not hear me, so I went to the other room and was about to tell her my change of views, when something seemed to say, "Do not, for fear she will feel badly." I was happy in the new thought that the Savior was good and was, indeed, the One who will draw all men unto Him and save those who are lost; that He was Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; or, as the ancient apostle said,

For they [our fathers] verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he [God] for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)
For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

In February 1842, was the first time I remember of hearing anything of the people called "Mormons," except horrible stories of their wickedness. My father had been gone about a week to Milwaukee, and on his return home stopped overnight at the Rock River Hotel in Beloit, Wisconsin. After he reached home, and while he was hanging up his overcoat, he remarked, "Mother, I heard a strange thing last night. I stayed at the Rock River Hotel, and it was crowded with strangers from all parts of the country; beds all full_and barroom and dining room floors; and I slept in the dining room. During the evening, a stranger from Quincy, Illinois, was telling about Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet. He said he was a swearing, drunken blackguard, a gambler, horse racer, and blackleg; that he gambled on the boats up and down the river. As he made this remark, the landlord, who was behind the counter, said to him, "Stranger, I keep hotel here to make money, and your money is as good as anyone's, but you are too g __ d____ mean a man to stay under my roof. I kept hotel in Quincy, and Mr. Smith has been at my house hundreds of times, and a more marked gentleman never ate at my table. I do not know or care a d____ about his religion, but you know every word you said about Mr. Smith is a g__ d____ lie, and you can take your duds and leave my house." This terrible rebuke to a stranger under such circumstances, and in such horrible language by the rude man, was a real surprise to me and made a lasting impression on my mind. I thought, "Is it possible he told the truth? And if he did, and Mr. Smith is a real gentleman, what could I think of the clergy who had always spoken of Smith as a wicked man, and the 'Mormons' as the roughest, most wicked, and most ignorant people in the world? In fact, I had never heard any good of them before. Could it be a fact that this wicked hotel keeper had told the truth?" These thoughts crowded themselves on my mind for some time.
Our house was the home of all the ministers at quarterly meetings for a long time. Elders Merriam, Ostrander, and the great revivalist, Knapp, a Methodist but later joined the Baptist Church, were frequently at our house. There were also several ministers at Beloit who called at our house. They always appeared to be so kind and good that I naturally reverenced them. Then, I was naturally religiously inclined. But the only impression I now remember of their making on me, relative to religion, was the view that we are saved by faith only; that God was a person without body or parts and that Christ is God, all of which looked very mysterious to me; that He did miracles in order to convince the people that He was God; that He sent His apostles to work miracles to assist in establishing His Church, but afterwards did away with these because they were no longer needed. I often questioned mother why there were no prophets in the church now, and the gifts of the Spirit as enjoyed in the days of the apostles and prophets. But I got no satisfaction; only the statement that they were not needed, for we were saved by faith in Christ, and that He was God. But how He could be without a body and yet be raised from the dead, eat with His disciples, be handled by them, and see Him go up into Heaven and sit at the right hand of the Father, without having a personal identity, was a puzzle.
These things afforded me no satisfaction or rest. Meanwhile, my mother's Bible stories comforted me, though I felt sad and perplexed to think there would be no more prophets or gifts of the Holy Ghost among the people. And I wondered why it was that all professors agreed that these were done away, excepting in their revival meetings where the denominations agreed to hold services in order to convert sinners to Christ, through prayers and exhortations, without referring to any of their denominational differences, for they said these were nonessentials to salvation.
I will illustrate them by giving a little occurrence that came under my own observation when I was but a child, and which will also show how I noticed things in my youth. I had attended meeting in one of the adjacent neighborhoods, when perhaps thirty or forty persons of ages all the way from the little schoolgirl to the gray-haired grandfather, with the minister, were bowed around the altar in prayer. Some were shouting and praying, others kept saying, "Hallelujah!" etc., until the confusion and excitement were distressing. Many became exhausted and some fell to the floor.
Meeting closed, and on the way home the class leader remarked, "There was a great outpouring of the Holy Ghost there tonight."
A Mr. Samuel Wright replied with an oath, "I do not believe it!"
The class leader rebuked him for swearing, and Mr. Wright retorted, "I do not mean any more when I swear than you do when you pray. Now you prayed tonight for a Pentecostal Holy Ghost. You did not mean any such thing, or believe you would receive any such thing. If forked tongues of fire had appeared to you, you would have all run away, nearly scared to death."
These remarks impressed me very forcibly, as illustrating the fact that the people did not believe in the Holy Ghost that led men to speak in tongues, prophesy, see visions, have revelations, heal the sick, cast out devils, have the gift of discernment or the knowledge of God; and in fact, the manifestations among them, of what they called the Holy Ghost, was not in harmony with what the Scriptures teach were the manifestations of the Spirit in apostolic times, for "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." For, according to the Bible, when the people of God met they had the gifts of the Spirit and prophesied, spoke in tongues, and interpreted, that all might be edified together.
All the revival meetings that I had ever attended were accompanied by confusion and without edification. I remember all of our old neighbors, when speaking of their experiences, always referred to the time of their conversion at the "anxious seat" as the happiest time of their life. They had not gained a single intellectual thought by their experience. That led me to think they were not making any progress in heavenly things, but were just as ignorant as they were before they began their religious life. No one could define his doctrine or tell what it took to constitute a Christian, more than to be a moral man. Yet, there were many good, moral men who did not pretend to be Christians.
I was but a child; yet, through the little I had gleaned from my mother's Bible stories, the Sunday school, and meetings, I had become very anxious to know more about God and religion, and often thought I would go to the altar to be prayed for that I might become a Christian. I always said my evening prayer.
As I write, I cannot remember one clear, Bible, doctrinal thought taught me when a child (by these ministers) that gave me comfort and peace of mind. Darkness seemed to enshroud all their explanations of the Bible, as all those beautiful principles set forth in the examples, doctrine, and experiences of ancient men of God were said to be done away or no longer needed. This "was a mystery" they said, and it was not intended we should understand them.
While all this conflict was going on in my mind, mother received a letter from my eldest sister, Louisa Parkinson, saying that my brother, Jason, was coming home and that he had joined the "Mormons" (referring to the Latter Day Saints), and when we received him we would receive a "Mormon" preacher. We were all surprised. Father and mother talked in undertones and felt grieved at heart, and wondered how it was possible he could be so deceived and led away among such bad people. They expressed the hope that when he returned he would be easily shown the error of his way and reclaimed to the Christian church.
I was sent off on an errand; but none knew how sad I was over the news of my sister's letter. While walking along, I thought what a disgrace it was on the family for him to join such a church. And the thought, "Oh, what a disgrace it would be on the whole neighborhood!" suddenly burst in on my mind as if someone spoke to me. I then sat down and wept bitterly over it for some time.
It may be that some of my readers will say, "How could a boy so young in years have such pungent thoughts and grief over the question of religion?" I can only say in reply to this, that it has always been a marvel to me that, young as I was, I should have been so wonderfully exercised on this subject, until very recently I have had reasons to believe that God was preparing me for a work that needed a preparation; and that if it had not been for my early experiences, I should not have been able to withstand the storm of adversity I have had to meet, and may yet have to pass through.


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Chapter 2

Jason Briggs Expounds the Scriptures to Edmund
His Mother Joins the Church
At Age Ten Edmund Is Convinced of the Restored Gospel
He Has a Vision of the Evil of Polygamy


Suffice it to say, my brother soon came home. We were all pleased to see him. We could not see any difference in his appearance, and I do not remember that there was any reference made to his religion by the family, until he held some meetings in our district schoolhouse. He held three meetings. He quoted the Bible readily and it seemed to me that he knew it all by heart. His quotations were not long, but from every part of the Bible.
The knowledge that I had gained from my mother's oft-repeated Bible stories now seemed to give me an understanding of his sermons, that I had never realized while hearing others preach; but the peculiar application of each passage was so different from anything I had before heard, that I was disappointed and displeased with the three discourses.
On the way home from the third meeting, my brother said to me, "How do you like my doctrine?" I suppose he had noticed my strict attention to what he had said.
I unhesitatingly replied, "I do not like it."
He continued, "Why not?"
I replied, "According to your doctrine, the gospel of Christ has not been preached for eighteen hundred years, or since the death of the apostles, and all of our fathers and uncles (and some of them were preachers) are lost and gone to Hell."
He replied, "They never heard this doctrine, did they?"
I quickly answered, "No."
He then said, "The Bible says where there is no law there is no transgression, for sin is the transgression of the law."
I then said, "The Apostle Paul says the gospel is the power of God unto salvation; and if they never heard it, they are lost. And it does not look reasonable that God would permit the whole world to be lost until Joe Smith came along with the gospel, as you explain it."
He replied, "I have not explained it; I have only quoted the language of the Bible."
"But," I continued, "you have just quoted a verse here and a verse there in the Bible. Had you read the whole chapter, I guess you would have found it to mean differently from what you make out of it."
He then continued, "Admitting that I have given the true light on the subject, our forefathers have not heard the gospel, have they?"
I answered, "No"; and I remember I felt a little irritated at such a thought.
He then continued, "Admitting I have given the right light on the Scriptures, you remember Christ said, 'In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.' As much as to say, there were other places in the Father's house, not in Hell, for those who had not heard the gospel he was then preaching."
And again he said, "You remember, it is written there is a celestial glory, a terrestrial glory, and a glory of the stars; and as one star differs from another in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead_but every man in his own order. There is a first and a second resurrection; and every man is to be judged according to the deeds done in the body and rewarded according to his works, whether they be good or evil."
As my brother made these quotations, a flood of light seemed to burst in upon the sacred pages as I never saw before, and I was converted in my innermost soul to Christ. His whole life of sacrifice to save the human family seemed to be spread out before me. My brother continued:
"For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living"; "Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit; by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison"; "That they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."
As he gave these quotations, my soul was enraptured with joy and love to God, for I could see and realize, as I could never see before, how "his mercy endureth forever," and that all the sons and daughters of Adam's race would, indeed, hear the gospel of Christ in purity, and obey it. For "no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby"; "that we might be partakers of his holiness."
The manifestation I had already had_that punishment was permitted to come on the wicked to bring about a reformation, and that when they cease to do evil and learn to do well they would, indeed, be saved, though they had died in sin, that the arm of the Lord was not shortened that it could not save_and my soul was lit up with the glory of God, my Savior. A calm, serene sensation pervaded my mind, and I heard these words: "You will yet receive this gospel, be baptized, and ordained an elder, and preach it to your fellowmen." How these words came to me, or who spoke them, I did not know; but they were so impressed upon me that they have ever been as fresh to my mind as though just spoken.
The Bible was now a new book to me, and many things so obscure before were now plain. The Church and Kingdom of God had suffered violence from the days of John, and had been taken by force and was now reestablished by the angel flying through the heavens with the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on earth, to every nation, tongue, and people (Revelation 14:5-6).
I soon learned that the word Mormon was not the name of a people, but of a book. And the enemies of Mr. Smith, through prejudice against him, were persecuting him and the Latter Day Saints because they believed the gospel of Christ just as it was preached eighteen hundred years before.
There is another incident I will now mention in my early experience. One evening, father came home from Beloit, and as we sat down to supper, he said, "Jason, some of the friends at Beloit sent word for you to come down and preach in the Methodist church."
Jason replied very quietly, "All right. Give out an appointment and I will go down."
Father smiled, but none of us said a word about it. After we had gone to bed, I heard father say to mother,
"What does the boy mean? Does he really mean he will go and preach in the church at Beloit?"
Mother said, "I do not know, I am sure."
The next morning father was going to town, and I now remember very distinctly how perplexed he looked as he took up the lines to start. Looking up, he called to Jason who was then in the house. When Jason came to the door, father said,
"Do you really mean that you will preach in Beloit if the friends there make an appointment for you?"
"Yes. Why not?"
The appointment was made. My brothers were getting out fencing for father, and worked as usual every day. The second evening before the appointment came, father asked mother if she had seen Jason writing his sermon. She had not.
"What does the boy mean?" said father. "I guess I will tell him he need not work tomorrow."
The next morning, while we were around the breakfast table, he told Jason he need not work that day, for he was in no hurry for the fencing. But Jason replied, "I'd just as leave work, and I am in a hurry to get through," and so went to work as usual.
The evening finally came for the meeting, and Jason asked father how he was going to town. Father replied, "Are you going to town?"
Jason answered, "Is not this the evening of our appointment for meeting?"
Father smiled, and said, "I will take you"; and mother went along.
After they had returned and had retired, they talked over his sermon and expressed surprise at his information of the Bible; so father concluded to take him up to Aztalan, and on the way call on Elder Ostrander, a Methodist minister, and visit Elder Merriam also; and see if they could not bring the boy around all right again.
Silas was still living there on the old farm near Aztalan, but we had moved forty miles south, near Beloit, and were living on a new place. Father was not going to tell Jason the object of the visit. The journey and visit were made; and on their return father reported that on the way they called upon Elder Ostrander, and just before they went into the house he said to the elder,
"My boy has come home a Mormon, and I have brought him up here to have you show him his error."
"Oh, that is all right, Brother Briggs; that will be an easy job!"
And father related, "When we went into the house they were soon busy in conversation. Jason quoted the Bible, answered every question, and seemed to understand the whole Bible. Brother Ostrander could not do anything with him. After dinner we talked about two hours, and Elder Ostrander arose and went outdoors. I followed him. I saw he was bothered, and so was I; and just as we got outdoors Elder Ostrander turned around to me, and said, 'Brother Briggs, we can do nothing with your son. The only thing that can be done is to hop on old Joe Smith.' I replied, 'My, you must not do that!'
"When we got up to Aztalan the ministers there could do nothing with him, and became angry. Jason had the Bible on his tongue's end. My, I do not see when the boy learned it!"
I could see father was disturbed about my brother, and disgusted with the manner in which he was used by the ministry. He thought he ought to be met with Bible arguments instead of scandalous stories about Mr. Smith.
As time passed on, I became more and more interested in the doctrine of the Latter Day Saints. The Times and Seasons, a monthly published at Nauvoo, Illinois, was a welcome visitor at our house. I could not read much in it, but mother, sister, and brother, Edwin, read it; and I was very anxious to hear it all read when it came.
In the winter of 1842-1843, mother went to the state of New York on a visit. The most I remember of that winter was that sister kept house. It was a long, lonesome winter and we were all very anxious for mother's return. Spring came and finally mother and little brother, who could now talk and run alone, returned. Mother told us of meeting with the Millerites.
They had said she would never see her family again, for the world would be destroyed before the lakes opened in the spring. She replied to them she knew better, for Jerusalem had not been built up yet, and the Jews gathered back to their own land; and that Christ would appear there on the Mount of Olives; that just as He went up in sight of His disciples as they gazed up into heaven when He ascended, so should He in like manner descend again. She also told us she had been baptized on her way out at Waukesha in the fall by Elder Babcock. That was the first that we knew she had joined the Church.
It was this year (1843) the revivalist, Elder Knapp, was at our house the last time and soon after went to Chicago, attended the Baptist conference, became concerned about baptism, and to quiet his conscience was there immersed and joined the Baptist Church. Soon after this, while in the harvest field, my father's remarks about it were,
"Elder Knapp has been a Methodist all his life, has preached until he is an old man, and has just found out he has not been baptized, and that sprinkling is not baptism"_and said, "Boys, before you undertake to jump a stream, be sure you can light on the other shore, lest you may fall in the water"; that is, be sure you are right before you join any church. And then he continued, "I understand a man may be a gentleman and a moral man, yet not a Christian. But no man can be a Christian that is not a gentleman. Christianity commences where a gentleman and moralist stops."
These remarks led me to decide that I would not hastily join any church, but be careful and watch all churches and accept none that did not have the form of doctrine, claim the power, and have the organization of the Church just as the New Testament said it was during the apostles' times; and when I was twelve years old I would get permission of my parents to visit some of our relatives, and while gone from home, go to Nauvoo, see Mr. Smith, and if I became fully satisfied I ought to be baptized, I would join the Latter Day Saints. The history of Joseph Smith and the persecution of the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, were being published then, and I was very much interested in it.
Sometime during the spring of 1843, I heard father tell of some strange things he had seen, where someone had been mesmerized and was completely under the control of the one who mesmerized him. It made a very strong impression on my mind for days, and in the fall of 1843 my brothers, Silas and Jason, and cousin, Almon White, came to our house on their way to Nauvoo to attend conference. The night before they were to start, I requested Jason to ask Mr. Smith what mesmerism is. He promised to do so, and next morning, when they were all ready to leave, I renewed my request. When he came back, the first question I asked him was, "What did Joseph Smith say about mesmerism?"
He replied, "I asked Joseph the question. He answered, 'It is the power that spirits of men, in tabernacles, under clairvoyant influence, may wield over each other.' Said it was a similar power as that of lying spirits, foul spirits, called devils in the days of Christ_only the one which is of men cannot have so much power over others in the flesh; disembodied spirits can have much more power, and are the means by which devils would work miracles in the last days to deceive, if possible, the very elect_and the Saints ought not to have anything to do with it."
This was some satisfaction to me, yet I could not comprehend devils working miracles. And all those instances so frequently mentioned in the Bible of devils, foul spirits, unclean spirits, were inexplicable mysteries. I could not say I believed there were any such things as evil spirits, or that they could do anything among men.
In the winter of 1843-1844, I had become fully satisfied that Smith was a prophet of God. Mother had read to us the Voice of Warning, a pamphlet published by Elder P. P. Pratt, which was explicit and vigorous in its defense of the gospel of Christ, and the government and Kingdom of God as understood by the prophets and apostles of old.
I became satisfied the unscrupulous stories circulated against Joseph Smith and the Latter Day Saints were false, and I soon found out that many who were the authors of the slanders circulated against the Saints, were ministers who narrated them in their meetings in order to prejudice the people against hearing the Latter Day Saint elders preach. I was full of expectation in the triumph of the Church, though persecution raged everywhere against it, and Mr. Smith's life was often threatened. But the idea that he could or would be killed was never entertained by me for a moment. I was full of hope, and joyous in the blessed truth of the gospel restored again, as in the days of old, and for the ministration of angels. In fact, I was not ashamed of the gospel, nor cared if others called me a "Mormon" because I believed the gospel and my people were members of the church that others called "Mormons." 
All was brightness and happiness to me, for I now loved God with a better understanding than I ever did before. I believed God was a real person, in the exact image of His Father's person, who had ascended to Heaven, there to remain until He came again in person to dwell on the earth with His Saints a thousand years. And that the Holy Ghost is also a person of power and intelligence, not in the person of God or man, but is a substance everywhere present, capable of manifesting itself in the form of a dove, in a dream or vision, revelations and miracles; is everywhere present to bestow blessings upon all those who are worthy to receive them. In a word, is the means or power by which Jesus Christ cast out devils, and needed not that any man should tell Him what was in man, for the Holy Ghost was given Him without measure. It was the power by which the disciples spoke the wonderful things of God to so many different nationalities on the Day of Pentecost; and the power by which Christ was raised from the dead; and the same power by which all men will ultimately be raised from the dead, some to the better resurrection and celestial glory, and others to lesser glories, but every man in his own order_some in the first resurrection; others, not so worthy, in the last resurrection. And all to immortality, honor, and glory, for they cannot die anymore, being equal to the angels and children of God.
With all these bright thoughts before me in my tenth year, I rejoiced, indeed, that I had found the Kingdom of God on earth, and that God was no respecter of persons; that faith comes today through hearing the gospel preached, just the same as it did eighteen centuries ago, and that miracles followed those who believed now as then. I felt to praise His holy name in my inmost soul.
"But," says one, "you were too young then to have and appreciate such experiences as these."
I do not say I could so well express them then, but I had all these general thoughts then, and as I now write, am only able to express them better and more fully as they come to my mind; and they are true, as I expect to stand in the Judgment to answer for what I write.
One bright, beautiful day in July, we had all been to dinner except my brother, Edwin. He had been to Beloit. Upon my entering the dining room, he was sitting on the lounge reading a newspaper, awaiting preparation for his lunch, and read the account of the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the "Mormon" prophet and his brother, at Carthage, Illinois, by an infuriated mob. As he read the account, a strange power, such as I never experienced before, rested on me. It seemed to rest on my head first and pass down through my whole body, and was repeated three times in the same manner. I was transfixed so I could not move, and was lost to all sensibility and consciousness of everything I ever did or thought of, but realized I stood in the room, mother and brother present. And then I saw a marble statue of a person, and while I looked at it I wondered what it meant. And a voice, a little back of me and to the right, said (and I seemed to be conscious that some person stood there), "You are compared to that statue," and it passed away; or in other words, out of my sight. And immediately I saw a beautiful hand_it seemed almost transparent_ extended out towards me and a pointed, flowing white sleeve hung from the wrist. As I looked at it, I noticed that between the thumb and index finger it held a spotless sheet of paper. The under leaf hung down a little lower than the other, and I could see between them; and as I gazed I wondered what it meant, and the same voice said, "You are compared to that sheet of paper." And as it passed from my sight, a serene, calm, peaceful sensation pervaded my mind and all around me. And then I heard a voice just in front of me and over my head, say, "Joseph, the son of Joseph, is the prophet of the Church." Then I was conscious of the fact, or seemed to realize, that the prophet, Joseph Smith, was dead, and his son would take his place in the Church.
As I came to my normal condition again, I did not seem to realize that anything unnatural had occurred_only a sad conviction left on my mind that the prophet had been killed, and a real anxiety about his little son, Joseph, taking his father's place. I remember that Jason said at first he did not believe the story of the assassination; but I did, and we waited with great anxiety for the paper published at Nauvoo, expecting it would confirm the news of his death, and I fully expected the same paper would announce that little Joseph, his son, had taken his place. Some days, and it seemed weeks, passed before it came; and when it came all dressed in black, I asked mother what it meant. She said it was draped in mourning. I then knew our worst fears were to be realized; but my surprise was great when it did not say a word about little Joseph taking his father's place; and in fact, I thought the paper showed that the Church did not know who would. My vision in open day and the voice, "Joseph, the son of Joseph, is the prophet of the Church," was vivid before my mind, and I thought, "Was I deceived? Was that a manifestation from God? And if so, why did it not come to pass? Or, was it from the Devil?"
I confess I was much troubled in my mind, but yet hoped something would develop soon to relieve my distress of mind. The thought came to me that Joseph was a little boy. How could he be the prophet to the Church? Samuel, I remembered, was a prophet when but a child, and received the Word of the Lord. While all these things were perplexing me, the Times and Seasons came again and again, and finally it was published that the Twelve claimed to be the leaders of the Church, and with the announcement that "Joseph stands in his own place behind the vail, and let not another presume to take his place, for he stands in his own place and always will."
Many claimants to the leadership of the Church had arisen. James J. Strang claimed to be the successor of Joseph by a letter of appointment. James Colin Brewster, Gladden Bishop, and others followed with their claims to be leaders and prophets to the Church, until confusion reigned complete, it seemed, in the Church.
While I was in this state of mind I had a vision, but I cannot now remember the circumstances I was in when I had it. In the vision, I stood north of the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, and saw the woods and prairie north and northeast of the city, with scattering houses in the timber, on the hill, and down the sloping plain to the lowland along the river. While I viewed the city, I saw a thin mist like crape, descending from the northeast of the city. It settled down on the trees first, but did not stop its course until it settled down closely over all the city; and while I stood wondering in my mind what it was, a voice nearby, to the right and a little back of me, said, "It is the spirit of whoredom, and it will be poured out upon the Church first, and then it will be poured out upon the whole world." And immediately I stood in a room. A fireplace was in the west end. The door and door casings were made of heavy lumber, very nicely finished and polished. The window casings, mantelpiece, and baseboards were of the same material, and resembled black walnut lumber; and while noticing the fine workmanship, I saw two women near the east end of the room. 
They were clothed in nicely fitting black, and wore bonnets fastened like the Shaker, tied close under the chin. They walked side by side as though they took hold of each other's arms, but yet they did not. Each was in tears, crying and wringing her hands as if in distress, and one of them said, "Is that so?" They walked toward the fireplace, and again one of them spoke out in her sobs as though her heart would break, "My God! Is that so?" By this time I was much moved by sympathy for them, and I exclaimed, "My God! What does this mean?" And again one of them said, "If it was not for the future, I would not do it." I then seemed to understand that they were being taught something repugnant to their feelings, that caused them great sorrow and anguish of heart as they sobbed and wrung their hands and slowly walked toward the fireplace. And immediately I saw two Mormon elders following these women. They, too, walked side by side, and their raiment was fine broadcloth in shining luster. They were gleefully talking together, making rather awkward gestures with their hands. I then noticed the contrast between the women and the men. The first were in agony of soul; the others in a mood of laughing indifference, full of glee. The first in plain, dead black; the others in fine broadcloth. And while I gazed at them with wonder and astonishment, again one of the women exclaimed, "My God! Is it so?" And I repeated in the anguish of my heart, "What does this mean?" And a person I had not noticed before seemed to stand at my right, and said, "They are being taught whoredom under a new name to take away the reproach, and whoredom sits a queen over all manner of corruption." And immediately after I saw a pail of blood splash on the floor just behind the men, and the person standing at my right passed behind me, went up to them, took hold of one of their coat collars, showed me the seams of the collar, then took hold of one of the sleeves and pointed to the seams of the sleeves, then took hold of the skirt and showed me all the seams of the coat, and around the skirts, and every seam was lined with blood, and he then said, "That is murder, and murder is the sister of the queen; and the queen and her sister sit and preside over all manner of corruption that flesh is heir to."
This vision troubled me for days. I could not understand it; did not even know the meaning of the words. Sometimes I thought I would ask my mother what they meant, but I was afraid to ask her. I thought it was some horrible thing that was being taught those women. And while meditating over the matter in the latter part of the summer of 1844, I resolved to go and ask my mother the meaning of the words used by the person in my vision; but when I got near the house, a voice said to me, "It was the besetting sin of the prophets and kings of ancient Israel." And then I was afraid, and a feeling of anguish and astonishment came over me, and it seemed impossible to believe that the ancient prophets could be guilty of such wickedness, for I had always been taught to revere the names of the prophets and kings of Israel.


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Chapter 3

The Briggses Are Visited by the Utah Faction
Edmund's Vision Is Fulfilled
He Loses Interest for a Time in Latter Day Saintism
Jason Visited by William Smith and Joseph Wood
Edmund Meets Zenas H. Gurley


The conflicting claims of the many aspirants who professed to be leaders of the Church, were being pushed in all quarters by those directly interested in them, creating much confusion and doubt in the minds of the Saints; and I was in great hopes that some elder or missionary would come to us direct from Nauvoo, in order that we might meet them face to face. I thought in that way we could get the facts, and I was in hopes they would tell us they acknowledged little Joseph would be the prophet of the Church. While in this condition of mind, the glad news was brought to us that two elders direct from Nauvoo were in the neighborhood and would soon be at our house. I was all delighted and in expectation of hearing good news right from the city of the Saints. Soon the carriage came in sight, and while I waited it drove up to the gate. I started to meet it. My brother, Jason, followed me. I had gone but a few steps toward the gate when I stopped, and the Spirit in great power rested on me, and those elders appeared to me as black as colored men and I thought they were the most dreadful, most wicked men I had ever seen. Jason passed on to meet them; and as they were about to get out of the carriage, one of them remarked in an important tone of voice,
"I have not come with a guess so, but with a know so."
The Holy Spirit still rested on me, and I could hardly restrain myself from speaking aloud, "You lie, and you know you lie." As they started for the house my first thought was to run from them, but a feeling of confidence and reassurance came to me, and I said to myself, "No, I will not be a coward."
I had a desire to hear what they would say, and so I followed them into the house. My brother asked them questions. They did most of the talking. I do not remember their conversation, but their manner seemed to be light and frivolous all that afternoon. The next morning, I saw that Jason looked troubled. As it seemed to me, they had an important manner about them, and so very consequential_a great contrast to the humble, meek manner I had always observed in the ministers of the Church before. To some statement they made (I do not remember what it was), Jason said, "That would be bigamy."
"No," replied Elder Lyman Stoddard, "it would be polygamy."
I was startled at the word and was much surprised, and the Holy Spirit rested upon me, and said, "That is the word in the vision that you could not understand. Whoredom is polygamy, to take away the reproach."
At first I did not know what polygamy meant, but I soon learned it was a plurality of wives, and then the vision was all plain to me. For me to believe in that horrible practice as a divine institution, I could easier believe that there is no God! Every fiber of my being revolted at the abominable crime attempted and fostered as a religious tenet, and I thanked God with my whole heart that I knew by the ministration of His angels and the Holy Ghost to me, that it was not of God!
My brother opposed them and looked distressed in mind, and the other elder who was with Lyman Stoddard, said, "If you had received your endowment, then you would understand all about it, and then I could explain all about it, but I can't do it now until you get your endowment."
Then the Spirit said to me, "That is murder in the secret chamber and sister to the queen, as you were taught in the vision."
All was plain to me now. The Church had apostatized and gone into great and abominable wickedness, and was rejected of God. All of my fond hopes in relation to it were now blasted. Those men whom I had learned to love and esteem had become corrupt and were deceivers, and I felt to mourn over the condition of things, being much disappointed in my expectations and hopes.
Elders of the many factions that had arisen from the once- united and beautiful Church often called upon us, as missionaries of their respective organizations. Contention and bitterness towards each other seemed to be their general feelings and characteristics. An important, arrogant spirit possessed the zealous missionary of each respective faction to a great extent. I saw a complete change in the spirit and demeanor of the elders, and the once childlike simplicity had given way to a coarse, overbearing, dictatorial importance. I often thought of a saying I had heard: "General Jackson's overcoat would not make them a jacket," and when I see anyone feigning to appear what he is not, I yet think of the same crude expression.
The words Latter Day Saints and Mormons had now lost all their charms for me. Disappointment and shame often crimsoned my cheeks when I heard reference made concerning the Church. Instead of God and the meek and lowly Lamb of Calvary's cross being the watchword and theme, it was a war of words about men and ceremonies, secret endowments consisting of words, signs, and grips, instead of the endowment of the Holy Ghost and power from God displayed through wisdom and holiness.
The whole aspect of things had changed! I did not know then that the body of the Saints in their scattered condition by thousands were over all the land, feeling the same distress and shame that I did, refusing to follow either faction; but, like Elias of old, I felt that I was alone.
In the meantime, I had a dream (in 1846) that gave me some comfort. I saw the people of the city of Nauvoo leave it and go west, and that I went after them to bring them back. This gave me hope. And then it began to be talked around that little Joseph would yet lead the Church. This, too, afforded some peace of mind, though clouds seemed to hover around me.
In 1848, the Rochester, New York, spirit rappings began to create much talk in the country. I became quite anxious to learn of its developments. It seemed to baffle all who investigated it, and astounded the most learned professors of the land. Many conjectures were had in regard to it, and some thought that both the house and Fox family were haunted by evil spirits, or by the spirit of someone that had been murdered in the house. A thousand stories were afloat concerning them. But it had the effect to confirm me in the truth of the Bible, in relation to the oft-repeated statements found in it, where Jesus cast out devils, and mention is made of familiar spirits (see Isaiah 8:19 and the devils of Revelation 16:13-14). It also confirmed me in the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, by reason of the light reflected when he sent me word that mesmerism and false spirits were means to deceive the people, and the Saints ought to have nothing to do with them.
In the latter part of the winter of 1849-1850, I was stricken with typhoid fever, nigh unto death, but finally recovered slowly. The physician had given me strong medicine and deprived me of water to drink, and I suffered severely for it. Every joint in me seemed to hurt if I made a quick move of my body in the least, and I afterward resolved never to be deprived of water like that again by the order of a physician; that I would die first.
After I recovered, in the fall of 1850, I went up to live with my brother, Silas. I found Silas was a firm believer in the theory that little Joseph would yet lead the Church; that those claimants to leadership and would-be prophets were base impostors; that polygamy was a blasphemous heresy; and that many of the Saints in this country and Europe were standing still and had nothing to do with any of the factions_and would unite with him. The Bible was then my companion. I began to read it with more interest than ever before. The complex composition and nature of its history were a source of trial to me. Was it possible that God walked and talked with man? Was man really made in the likeness of his Maker? And did He have anything to do with such a wicked man as Cain the murderer, to even talk with him after he had killed his brother?
During the summer of 1851, I made up my mind that in the fall I would go into the pinery, in the northern part of the state, and see if I could find an opening to make money faster than to work by the month for others; but in August I was taken sick while I was helping my brother in the hay field. At one time I had fallen from the hayloft into the barn and hurt one of my limbs, and while I was sick my limb began to pain dreadfully. I suffered excruciating pain most of the time for months. Finally, I became so weak I could not turn in bed or help myself. My brother was very busy on the farm at the time, and most of my care was from my sister-in-law, Sarah Briggs, who was always very kind and attentive to see that everything was done for me that could be done. I asked my sister-in-law what the physician said about me getting well, but I quickly saw she evaded my question. Though suffering physically, my mind seemed strong and clear all the time. When it was possible to meditate upon my life and things that had happened with me, the uncertainty of all things mortal, I thought as far as was possible upon those things that were called divine and eternal. The things that are fleeting truly seemed wholly inadequate to the hungry, vigilant mind that thirsted after knowledge, and worldly things at best were very unsatisfactory. And if this life were the ultimatum of man's existence, I felt, indeed, that what we called the climax of divine wisdom was the extreme of folly.
But God is, and is possessed of almighty power; yet His wisdom is past finding out by mortal man, unaided by this same merciful Creator. The fact that progress has been made by man is satisfactory evidence that ultimately, in the cycles of eternity, perfection will be reached, and that every soul who pants for happiness will be saved. Yes, all these comforting thoughts were all the solace I found during those dreary months of fall and winter. February was fast fading away with its record into eternity, and I was waiting to hear my loving sister-in-law tell me what the physician said of my earthly destiny. Three long days I urged her to tell me. I said to her, "If he says I am going to die, I think I ought to know it. If I am to be a poor, feeble cripple to linger a worthless life, I ought to know it."
She finally yielded, and after cautioning me not to take it to heart, replied, "The doctor says your physical system is all gone. There is nothing to build on, and you are liable to drop away at any moment. You may possibly linger a short time, but will never be able to feed or dress yourself again."
Upon receiving this sad answer, I involuntarily replied, "I will be up and dress myself in a week."
My sister-in-law went out into the other room. A quiet, serene sensation seemed to come over my mind, and the manifestation I had at my conversion, when the voice said to me, "You will embrace this doctrine, be baptized, and preach it," came to my mind in great force. I then told the Lord as follows: "If you want me to preach the gospel, and will give me my health and the use of my limbs so I will not be lame, and will tell me anything, I will do it. I do not want you to tell somebody else and then he tell me. But I can't travel and preach and be lame; I ask for the use of my limbs or death."
When I repeated the above words, the Spirit rested on me, and said, "You will recover and be baptized, and for evidence to you that the one who baptizes you has authority from God, he will have the gift of prophecy and revelation to indicate your calling, and ordain you an elder the day you are baptized; and then you will preach for a time and then be chosen into the High Council of the Church." This manifestation was clear and unmistakable, and has ever since been indelibly impressed on my mind. My hand could easier forget to obey my mind, than I could forget this glorious revelation.
And right here, let me answer the query often presented to the thinking mind that reflects upon the subject of inspiration. What is inspiration? How does it operate upon the prophet? The apostle says,

Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21)
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (Joel 2:28-32)
And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren; and they hated him yet the more. (Genesis 37:5-11)
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream. (Genesis 41:15-24)
And Joseph said unto Pharaoh . . . God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do. (ibid., verse 25)
And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven. (Revelation 4:2)
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. (Daniel 2:19)
If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you (Jesus). (Matthew 12:28)
Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace. (Acts 18:9)
And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. . . . And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. (1 Samuel 10:9-10)
He took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. (Acts 21:11; see also 1 Corinthians, Chapters 12 and 14)

These passages show the effect of receiving the Holy Ghost. Sometimes they were translated by it; at other times they saw open visions and talked with the angel of the Lord; at other times they discerned spirits and the thoughts of men, healed the sick, cast out devils, and spoke in tongues and interpreted. In fact, it is the power by which God made the world and all things in it.
In my experience, inspiration gives open visions. Sometimes I am not aware that it is a vision, but think, until it has passed, that it is but a natural view of things. At other times, I know it is the Holy Spirit resting on me at the time. Sometimes it is manifest in bringing things to our remembrance; at others in healing the sick, casting out devils, and giving comfort and joy unspeakable. It also helps us to be resigned to conditions and circumstances which we cannot control, assuring us that all things will work together for good to those who love the Lord.
Oh, that I could persuade all my readers, in the language of the beloved disciple who leaned on the bosom of his dear Lord, that a high moral character and spiritual development are required in order to attain unto those heavenly treasures.

He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he [God] is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. (1 John 3:7-8)

This cannot be attained except by keeping His commandments.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1 John 3:10)
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. . . . He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings. (John 14:21, 23-24)

The Psalmist says,

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. (Psalm 119:6; italics added)

Jesus, in keeping with this, says,

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)

But my readers may say, "What are the commandments?" The Pharisees of this age would answer by turning your attention to the Decalogue and telling you to "believe in Christ," "be sanctified through grace," and such language_and leave you just as ignorant of the commanded gospel duties enjoined as when you asked the question. But the man of God must answer,

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2:38)

I have been thus particular in presenting the above texts. First, to show that Jesus taught the gospel, and that it is the power of God unto salvation. Secondly, that Peter and Paul each preached the same gospel. Third, that any man or an angel from Heaven that should preach any other gospel should be cursed. Fourth, faith is the first principle of the gospel; repentance is the second; baptism the third for the remission of sins. And the reception of the Holy Ghost is promised to as many as believe, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
But to return. How could I, after hearing these glorious principles, help being enraptured with them? Through sad experience and suffering I had, indeed, learned that all things earthly and clothed in mortality are transitory, and if there is anything that is enduring it must come direct from the Creator.

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. . . . As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:33, 57)

Or, as the ancient apostle said,

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

To be led by the Spirit of God is to receive revelation from God.
These grand and beautiful principles were weighed in my mind, and became a constant source of comfort to me during the long night that the Church passed through from 1844 until 1851. I also read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants during this time.
Sometime during the winter of 1850, my brother, Silas, received letters from home and Jason, informing him of a visit from Elders William Smith and Joseph Wood; that they lived at Palestine, near what is now called Amboy, Lee County, Illinois, and were preaching the law of lineage, holding that it was the right of William's nephew, Joseph, to take the lead of the Church. But in the meantime, God had revealed to William Smith that it was his duty to preach the gospel, and tell the scattered Latter Day Saints that he represented the rightful heir until he should take his father's place; that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were following those who obeyed the gospel.
My brother, Silas, believed this report in part; that is, that the gifts might follow the believer, and that little Joseph (as he was then called) would be called to take his father's place in the Church. But he was prejudiced against William Smith on account of some acquaintance he had with his connection with the Church before the martyrdom of his brother, Joseph, and he doubted that God had inspired William to move in any such manner to preach the gospel, or represent the legal heir to the presidency of the Church; or that he had any such right to so represent him by virtue of being a son of the patriarch or brother of the Prophet Joseph. Neither had I forgotten the account in Joseph's history concerning the trouble William had caused him and the family.
Silas went down home on a visit, and I did the chores while he was gone; but when he came back, he was no better satisfied that William Smith was just what he seemed to be, or that he was a leader of the Church by God's appointment, than before; and early in the spring of 1852, as soon as I was able, I went home, where I heard many stories about William Smith and Wood. I saw letters in Smith's own handwriting, claiming the right of the presidency of the Church, and denouncing the right of his nephew to the presidency; and if he ever attained to any authority in the Church, it would be by its being conferred upon him by William or his successors.
I also attended the conference held June 12 and 13 near Beloit, Wisconsin, and there, the evening before conference opened, met, for the first time in my life, Elder Z. H. Gurley; and while I do not recall much that was said during the conference, yet I do distinctly remember the words that Elder Gurley said to Jason, which were as follows:
"When I first saw your revelation I did not believe it, for I could not believe that God would endorse William Smith as His servant_and your revelation did acknowledge him as a servant of God; neither did I believe that little Joseph had any rights to the presidency because he was a son of the Martyr. And I opposed Brother Powell holding meetings in our branch; but afterwards my little child, Julia, received the gift of tongues, and the interpretation declared it was his right by lineage, and also by blessing. And then it was all plain to me, and after looking up the Book of Covenants I saw the law governing the whole matter, and thought it strange we had not seen it before; and I was ready to join in with you, and I thought it best to call a conference_so I wrote to you about it."


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Chapter 4

Resolutions Passed at the 1852 Conference in Beloit
Jason Briggs Receives a Revelation
Edmund Has an Unpleasant Experience with William Smith
He Wrestles with the Decision to Be Baptized


I was much pleased with the spirit and conversation of Elder Gurley. I do not remember much of the preaching during the conference, but remember that my brother, Silas, preached from the text, "Let patience have her perfect work," and exhorted the people not to "faint in well doing." The resolutions that were passed during the conference I thought were grand, believing they would prevent the people from being misled by impostors claiming to be prophets. For the benefit of my readers I will here insert them, for they were really the first landmarks I had seen that would be a shield to the Saints against the impostors who were claiming leadership to the Church:

Resolved, that this conference regard the pretensions of Brigham Young, James J. Strang, James Colin Brewster, and William Smith and Joseph Wood's joint claim to the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as an assumption of power, in violation of the law of God, and consequently we disclaim all connection and fellowship with them.
Resolved, that the successor of Joseph Smith, Jr., as the Presiding High Priest in the Melchisedec priesthood, must of necessity be the seed of Joseph Smith, Jr., in fulfillment of the law and promises of God.
Resolved, that as the office of First President of the Church grows out of the authority of the Presiding High Priest, in the high priesthood, no person can legally lay claim to the office of First President of the Church without a previous ordination to the Presidency of the High Priesthood.
Resolved, that we recognize the validity of all legal ordinations in this Church, and will fellowship all such as have thus been ordained while acting within the purview of such authority.
Resolved, that we believe that the Church of Christ, organized on the sixth day of April, A.D. 1830, exists as on that day wherever six or more Saints are organized according to the pattern in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
Resolved, that the whole law of the Church of Jesus Christ is contained in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
Resolved, that in the opinion of this conference, there is no stake to which the Saints on this continent are commanded to gather at the present time, but that the Saints on all other lands are commanded to gather to this land, preparatory to the reestablishment of the Church in Zion; when the scattered Saints on this land will also be commanded to gather and return to Zion, and to their inheritances, in fulfillment of the promises of God. And it is the duty of the Saints to turn their hearts and their faces towards Zion, and supplicate the Lord God for such deliverance.
Resolved, that we will, to the extent of our ability and means, communicate to all the scattered Saints, the sentiments contained in the foregoing resolutions.
Resolved, that this conference believe it the duty of the elders of this Church, who have been legally ordained, to cry repentance and remission of sins to this generation, through obedience to the gospel; as revealed in the record of the Jews, the Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants; "and not to faint in the discharge of duty."
After which, in pursuance to the eighth resolution, it was motioned, seconded, and carried unanimously, that a committee of three be appointed to write a pamphlet, based upon the foregoing resolutions, entitled, "A Word of Consolation to the Scattered Saints." Whereupon, Elders Jason W. Briggs, Zenas H. Gurley, and John Harrington were appointed said committee.

Shortly after the conference closed, one day my brother, Jason, asked me why I had not been baptized. I answered that I did not want to join the Church. He replied, "I thought you would during conference." He then took pains to tell me of his experience with William Smith, and of his attending a meeting held at Palestine in which Smith made extravagant claims and taught things so adverse to anything he had ever received before, that upon returning home, the more he thought of them the more he became dissatisfied with the way things were going. He also received letters from other branches, indicating trouble. Being in doubt, he finally concluded to fast and pray for light, and as he did so he became more and more dissatisfied with the movement under William Smith. He continued thus seeking for three weeks, when he received the following revelation, a copy of which I now have in my possession. It is as follows:

While pondering in my heart the situation of the Church, on the 18th day of November, 1851, on the prairie about three miles northwest of Beloit, Wisconsin, the Spirit of the Lord came upon me and the visions of truth opened to my mind, and the Spirit of the Lord said unto me, "Verily, verily, saith the Lord, even Jesus Christ, unto his servant, Jason W. Briggs, concerning the Church: Behold, I have not cast off my people; neither have I changed in regard to Zion. Yea, verily, my people shall be redeemed and my law shall be kept which I revealed unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jr., for I am God and not man; and who is he that shall turn me from my purpose, or destroy whom I would preserve? Wolves have entered into the flock, and who shall deliver them? Where is he that giveth his life for the flock? Behold, I will judge those who call themselves shepherds, and have preyed upon the flock of my pastures.
"And because you have asked me in faith, concerning William Smith, this is the answer of the Lord thy God concerning him: I, the Lord, have permitted him to represent the rightful heir to the Presidency of the High Priesthood of my Church, by reason of the faith and prayers of his father and his brothers, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, which came up before me in his behalf; and to respect the law of lineage, by which the holy priesthood is transmitted in all generations, when organized into quorums. And the keys which were taught him by my servant, Joseph, were of me, that I might prove him therewith. And for this reason have I poured out my Spirit through his ministrations, according to the integrity of those who received them.
"But as Esau despised his birthright, so has William Smith despised my law, and forfeited that which pertained to him as an apostle and high priest in my Church. And his spokesman, Joseph Wood, shall fall with him, for they are rejected of me. They shall be degraded in their lives, and shall die without regard; for they have wholly forsaken my law and given themselves to all manner of uncleanness, and prostituted my law and the keys of power entrusted to them, to the lusts of the flesh, and have run greedily in the way of adulterers. 
"Therefore, let the elders whom I have ordained by the hand of my servant, Joseph, or by the hand of those ordained by him, resist not this authority nor faint in the discharge of duty, which is to preach my gospel as revealed in the record of the Jews, and the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; and cry repentance and remission of sins through obedience to the gospel, and I will sustain them and give them my Spirit; and in mine own due time will I call upon the seed of Joseph Smith, and will bring one forth and he shall be mighty and strong, and he shall preside over the high priesthood of my Church, and then shall the quorums assemble, and the pure in heart shall gather, and Zion shall be reinhabited, as I said unto my servant, Joseph Smith; after many days shall all these things be accomplished, saith the Spirit. Behold, that which ye received as my celestial law is not of me, but is the doctrine of Baalam. And I command you to renounce it and proclaim against it; and I will give you power that none shall be able to withstand your words, if you rely upon me; for my Spirit shall attend you." And the Spirit said unto me, "Write, write, write, write the revelation and send it unto the Saints at Palestine, and at Voree, and at Waukesha, and to all places where this doctrine is taught as my law; and whomsoever will humble themselves before me, and ask of me, shall receive of my Spirit a testimony that these words are of me. Even so. Amen." (The Messenger, edited by Jason W. Briggs, Vol. 2, p. 1; CH 3:200-201)

He also showed me a letter written by William Smith, in which I saw the cause for disgust in the minds of the members of the Church. I do not give the details, for the reason these matters are not of any special importance to this history. I was not a member of the Church, and it is enough for me to say that I never had any confidence in the claim of these men to be leaders of the Church. As I was going down to Palestine in a few days, I promised to send for said letters if I found any of the members of the Church there who would like to see them, and would not destroy them.
Two or three days before I started, I met Elder David Powell, and after some little conversation, he said,
"Brother Edmund, you ought to be baptized before you start to Illinois, and I am coming over tomorrow to baptize you."
I told him he need not come, for I would not be baptized. He did not come, and I went down to Palestine. Here I became personally acquainted with William Smith, Elder W. W. Blair, Edwin Cadwell, Alva Smith, and others; and while attending one of Smith's meetings, he took pains to refer in a very severe manner to those who had formerly been associated with him. Upon his sitting down, I involuntarily and without premeditation of thought_in fact, I was not conscious of any intention of speaking_arose, acknowledged my faith in the gospel for the first time in my life in public, and made some remarks, suggesting that charity should be extended towards those who may have stepped aside and got in the dark, for it might not be altogether as bad as had been reported, and harshness toward them might hinder them from coming back. I knew the harsh remarks Smith had uttered against those he referred to were not deserved or just, and I knew he knew it; hence, I was careful to clothe my thoughts in such language that none but Elder Smith would know I meant a rebuke to him.
When I sat down, he arose and in a very scathing manner denounced those whom he termed apostates, and then turned to me and spoke of me as only a dirty little boy needing a mother's doting care.
A Mr. John Neal from Wisconsin was present. He arose and made some remarks, regretting the harsh words used towards me, and expressed the hope that I would yet be a lamb in the Church. Elder Cadwell made some remarks, and said he did not see any cause for such feelings being manifest. Elder Blair was also present, but I do not think he made any remarks touching the matter. I did not, however, feel disturbed in my feelings over the matter, but regretted very much that I was not a member of the Church when he called me an outsider and a little Gentile.
I was working for a Mr. Alva Smith at the time, and I told him all about some letters that had been written by William Smith; the result of which was, he sent for the letters and when they came he showed them to Elders Blair, Cadwell, Jotham Barrett, and others_and I had the pleasure of seeing these good, honest brethren withdraw from William Smith's faction, for my sympathy was very much drawn out towards them from the first time I had made their acquaintance, and I was sorry they were doomed to disappointment.
During the summer, I had the hardest trial of my life concerning the gospel. My acquaintance with the condition of the Church and the unfavorable impression Elder Smith made on me (and he was a brother of the founder of the Church), all conduced to make my life fretful. The manifestations I had received, establishing the truth of the gospel and that Jesus was the Christ, the Way, Life, and Light of the World, and of every man that came into the world, appeared most mysterious. Taking a retrospect of my life as to how little I had enjoyed and knew, and with but little prospect before me, or any of the world as to spiritual things, it seemed that all were doomed to deception. And the expression of Jesus of Nazareth, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" was impressed on my mind as never before. The cruel denial of Peter when he cursed and swore, and said, "I know not the man," though he had before said, "Though all men forsake thee, yet I will not," seemed, indeed, to stamp upon all mortality the uncertainty of their testimony.
The awful murder of Abel by his brother, so soon after Almighty God had said, "Everything is good, very good," now weighed on my mind with tenfold more horror than I ever realized before; followed by thoughts of the long train of crime, debauchery, and carnage, until the horrible deluge came by the fiat of God and swept off the face of the whole earth the race of Adam and every living creature_not the old, hardened, crim-soned wretch only, but the young man and the beautiful maiden, and children with innocence enstamped upon their countenances. And then the fate of Lot, who was counted righteous and was led out of the city of Sodom by the hand of an angel of God, who told him where there was a place of safety, and that the Lord could do nothing till he was gone; and then all the sweet, innocent babes of Sodom were burned up. These, with hundreds of other like things which were unreasonable to me, it seemed that professors of religion everywhere winked at, and accepted the worst of characters as model men sent of God as His prophets and ministers of salvation.
But Mr. Smith, who was not accused of anything half so bad as the Bible says those ancient men admitted they had done, was declared a deceiver, was hated, despised, and finally suffered death at the hands of cruel men. And his taking off was hailed with delight by religious professors, while nonprofessors everywhere denounced it as an outrage of religious persecution. All night long I would lie awake and think of these things, and often in tears would exclaim, "Why can't I sleep like others, and put all these thoughts from me?" I often conversed with Elder Cadwell and his wife about the things of the Church. He always stood for the Church as it was in his early experience in it. His wife was much disaffected in her mind, and always portrayed the dark side of the picture about all religion.
Brother Blair was disappointed, and said but little about religion. Alva Smith was always firm in the faith of the gospel, but disgusted with things as they were going. The many factions of the Church would send their missionaries through the land exhibiting their folly everywhere, instead of preaching the gospel; and like all sectarian churches, they were not preaching the beautiful gospel of the Son of God, but were preaching men and creeds. Often I was led to pray and felt comforted, and yet to me Church matters seemed in a doubtful condition, without much hope of speedy help.
Are all things possible with God? Yes, I finally answered, in this manner: In accordance with law. That He can do things finite beings cannot, because they know not the law by which they are done; that He works by law in the heavens and in the earth. He cannot lie, because He is a God of truth. He cannot change, because He is perfect and possesses all power; should He change He would not be God. Everything He does is in keeping with law. The artist can paint a picture of the rose or blade of grass and tint it with every hue, but he cannot make either a rose or a spear of grass, because he does not know the law by which they are made. Ah yes, he can with brush and chisel produce the landscape and statue, but why not make a living being and a world? Simply because he has not learned the law of creation and of life by which they are made. If these things are so, will God through Jesus Christ save a single fallen creature except by law? The logical answer is, He will not. What is that law of life? All Christendom answers, "The doctrine of Christ"; or, in other words, the gospel of Christ. We read as follows:

And they were astonished at his doctrine. (Mark 1:22)
Whosoever . . . abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God [or in other words, the gospel, which is synonymous]. (2 John 9)
And Jesus went about all Galilee . . . preaching the gospel of the kingdom. (Matthew 4:23)
For it [the gospel] is the power of God unto salvation. (Romans 1:16)

He who does not receive and obey the doctrine or gospel of Christ cannot be saved, because it is the law by which salvation is attained_"the perfect law of liberty." No wonder, then, that God could do nothing until Lot had gone out of the city, for it is a law of God's, being that the righteous shall not be destroyed with the wicked. No, my dear reader, God could do nothing inconsistent with law. God could not save a sinner except he repent of his sins and obey the law of redemption of the righteous, any more than Esau could repent though he sought the blessing with tears.
This train of thought led me to fully realize how necessary it is for all men to comply with law in order that they may be in harmony with God, who governs by law, and that what we call miracle is a miracle only to the finite being, because he does not understand the fixed conditions or laws by which it is done. To God or his angels it is no miracle, for they know the principle by which these things are done. Again, miracles are daily occurrences; in fact, to us all things in nature_around, above, and beneath_are miracles, for we cannot understand the law by which they are made. We do not know the principle (or law) by which the fragrant rose, the spear of grass, the sturdy oak, and the maple, ash, and butternut all grow side by side in the forest, and yet they each are different and unlike each other. All have the same soil, atmosphere, sunshine, or night, with the same gentle dew or rain, yet they are essentially different. Yes, the creature, man, with one accord exclaims, "Miracles and mystery are all around us!" and it is true, so far as the finite is concerned. But to the infinite there is no miracle.
These things occupied my mind daily, and created in me a real desire to comply with the divine law in order that I might approximate nearer to the Infinite One, who is the source of all this wonderful mystery in what we call nature.
Baptism is the first example we learn of Christ, to fulfill the law of righteousness, and he said, "Follow me." Can I do so without following him down into the waters of baptism? I had prayed from my childhood to know the straight and narrow way, and endeavored to repent of all my sins and weaknesses, and oh, that I might have help to do right was my constant desire. I sought earnestly to know what I ought to do, when one day late in July or early in August 1852, I was impressed with the thought, "If I should meet Elder Powell, I would have him baptize me." I was away from home, but upon my return home, to my surprise, I met Elder Powell in front of the house. I had but just said aloud to myself, "If I should meet him, I would be baptized"; but as I saw him coming, my heart failed me and my first thought was to turn and run from him. But we had met and I had to do the best I could, so bravely saluted him with,
"How do you do, Elder Powell?" But oh, with what crushing weight his response came, when he said,
"I have come down to baptize you. Are you ready?"
I quickly answered, "No, sir; I do not propose to join the Latter Day Saints Church."
"I have come down on purpose to baptize you, and I hope you will be ready before I leave."
I replied, "You have come on a fruitless errand."
We were standing in front of our own door. I then invited him in and we had no further conversation that afternoon. He visited with mother and brother Edwin a short time, and then went to a neighbor's, Mr. Jotham Barrett. Immediately upon his leaving our house, I was taken with a severe pain in my head, and a violent fever prostrated me. And while I lay on the bed, my promise, made but one short hour before, occurred to me and I felt that God had withdrawn His protection from me for not obeying the sacred ordinance of baptism, which had been given as an example by Jesus Christ the Master, and was ordained by His command for the remission of sins. I could think of no sins I had ever committed, and the question came, "Why be baptized for sin when I could think of none I ever did?" I felt, indeed, the chastening of the Almighty was on me, and the act of baptism did look to me to be the most humiliating thing I could do. In fact, I resolved in my heart I could not, but I would suffer the chastisement of God rather than go down into the water and be baptized. And again the question came to me with great force, "Do you not want to do right?" I answered in the agony of my soul, "Yes, but I cannot."
The door to my room was shut, but at that moment I saw, in vision, Elder Powell come into the front room_and soon after, he came in and said to my mother, "Where is Edmund?" She informed him that I was on the bed, sick. At that, he came through the room, opened my door, came to my bedside, and just drew his hand across my forehead, and said, "Your head aches," and stepped out of my room. All the pain, distress, and burning fever left me instantly. A calm, serene sensation took the place of all the distress of mind and body I had just passed through, and I felt a peaceful contentment of spirit, with a desire to arise and go out and hear the conversation going on in the other room. After a little, Elder Powell bade us good afternoon and went up to one of our neighbors to stay overnight. After he left, again the subject of religion occupied my thoughts: the course of life I had lived; my experience; the manifestations I had received; how I would be baptized and preach the gospel, and for evidence to me, the man who baptized me should have the gift of prophecy, indicate my calling, and ordain me an elder the day I was baptized, and afterwards I should be ordained into the High Council_and I thought, "Now is the opportunity to prove this manifestation, whether or not it is of God." That I had just been healed in a remarkable manner, I knew. And that happy, calm, serene sensation that had been with me so often was again manifested. I thought, "It must be the Holy Spirit that is leading me, for it certainly gives real comfort and joy." But oh, the wretched condition of the Church! The trials of God's people in all ages came before me, and the besetting sin of many was the gross, revolting crime of polygamy. Shame and ignominy seemed to blacken the whole religious world with apostasy and backsliding from the commandment of God. The Reorganization at this time was only in branches, anticipating the coming of its prospective president and quorum association, and its numbers were few. Elder Powell represented them.


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Chapter 5

Edmund Is Baptized and Ordained the Same Day
He Is Struck with a Severe Sickness
Henry Deam's 
Stand on Rebaptism
Edmund's Mother Is Healed


In that sleepless night, I thought of these things and debated in my mind upon the chances before me. I saw that according to the Bible and Book of Mormon, but few who had made a religious profession ran the course through, and received the crown at the end of the race. The Book of Covenants showed clearly to me that the Church, as an organization, was rejected of God; and clouds like a pall hung over all religious efforts among mortals of this earth. Fanaticism and excitement, accompanied with confusion and a lack of understanding of the doctrine of Christ, I could see could not be the religion of Christ or have emanated from the God of the universe. That Jesus Christ, ere He answered the question,

When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

said:

Take heed that no man deceive you. . . . For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:3-4, 24)

Restlessness, sorrow, and disappointment finally took possession of my mind as I concluded that it was too hard a task for me to undertake to be a Christian, and I wished that I might sleep like others and not be bothered anymore over the subject. I got up, tired, unhappy, and lonely; helped do the chores; sat down to the table without an appetite; was sick at heart and stomach and could not eat; arose from the table and took my hat for a walk, not thinking where I should go_but went up to Mr. Barrett's. As I opened the gate, Elder Powell, who stood by the house putting on his overcoat (or linen duster) in readiness to start on his journey, said, calling me by name, "Good morning."
Involuntarily, I replied, "I want you to baptize me."
Soon as I had made this request all that fear, distress of mind, and discontent left me, and I felt glad and had perfect peace in my mind, and all that burden that had depressed me so long left me and I felt free and happy. Yes, my dear reader, I can truly say I never knew what freedom was before, and it has continued so until this day_and from that glad hour I commenced life anew.
Elder David Powell in answer, said, "Well, we were about to start on our mission, but as I came here on purpose to baptize you, we will stop and attend to it, and not go until tomorrow." As we walked down to the river, he said, "I was in Galena, desiring to go down the river, but the boat shoved off just as I got to the wharf and we had to stay overnight in the city, and that night, in a dream, I saw you and the place where I baptized you; so I have come all this distance [one hundred miles] to baptize you." As we came to the river, he said, "This is not the place," and following up the stream, as he led the way, we came to an open, clear place, free from brush or grass, and he exclaimed, "Here is the place."
I was baptized, feeling the solemn obligation I had taken upon me to follow my Master all the days of my life. Elder John Harrington, Mr. Barrett, and my brother, Edwin, accompanied us. As we went home, a calmness reigned in my heart. I was confirmed by Elders David Powell and John Harrington, after which Elder Powell said, "Brother Edmund, it is manifest to me that it is your calling to be an elder in the Church, and if you will allow me, I will now ordain you an elder."
I answered, "I can't preach."
Brother Barrett then arose and prophesied unto me: "Thus saith the Lord, It is my will you should be ordained an elder in my Church, and it is your calling to preach my gospel in this land, and you shall also cross the briny deep and in foreign lands declare my gospel in power, for your calling is to the world and not at home, for the world is your home. Amen."
Elder Powell then pressed his question, "Will you allow us to ordain you?"
I replied, "I desire to do right, but I cannot preach now."
He said, "The Lord will prepare you for that." And he and Elder J. Harrington ordained me on the day I was baptized, and thus was fulfilled the promise made to me when my life was despaired of; and when I was ordained in 1860 into the High Council, then was fulfilled another part of the revelation. And I declare in words of truth and soberness that no human being knew of these promises to me, for I had not mentioned them to a single soul on earth, and until the time I was ordained into the quorum in which I now stand, I did not know it was called a High Council, though I had often talked of the calling of the Twelve and read the revelation defining their true position, in contrast with the assumption they made under Brigham Young in the apostasy.
But oh, I had just begun to learn! My lessons came thick and fast. For a little time I felt perfect contentment. I had obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine taught in the Scriptures. I enjoyed my seasons of prayer and the written Word, as I searched the sacred pages for a little season; but soon I was depressed, when at prayer, with a feeling of fear. At times it would seem as though some person stood behind me, and I would have such fear come over me that I would cease praying and shudder. Sometimes I would make sure there was no one in my room, and then lock the door and try to pray; but the same fear would come over me, and it seemed so real that someone stood over me, that for nearly two years I could pray only as I prayed in my heart and in my desires. In this time, I would often feel a power rest on me that caused darkness and doubt concerning prayer, or the object of prayer. The idea that God, enthroned in Heaven, was listening to my simple prayer; or that I could change His purpose toward me if I did pray; or that He would notice me or listen to my prayer; or that He should listen to the prayers of all living and answer them, seemed absurd to my mind.
With these thoughts, and constant fear that hovered over me, I feared to go to my closet to pray; until one day I came into the house (I was stopping with Elder Samuel Powers at the time) and took up the Book of Mormon, opened, and read the following: Every spirit that leadeth to pray is of God, but every spirit that leadeth not to pray is of the Devil. At the reading of this passage, the Holy Spirit rested on me in great power, and so suddenly that it shocked my whole being, and it said, "The spirit that has troubled you so long on the subject of prayer, is the Devil." Inexpressible joy and surprise filled my heart, and I then knew there was an evil spirit in the world as I never knew before, and also that the statement in the Book of Mormon was penned by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and from that glad hour I have not doubted the efficacy of prayer. And then I was led to answer these questions that had troubled me, in the following manner:
God hears and answers prayer by the Spirit_which Spirit is one person of the Godhead, is always present and alike in all places, and permeates everything. The Spirit is an intelligent substance, almighty in its control, and can influence all worlds and animate and inanimate things; things in the starry heavens and of men on earth. The gifts or fruits of the Spirit are extended to all, beckoning them to come and partake of the waters of life freely, without money or price, and be saved. When the child of God places himself in the attitude worthy to receive a blessing, said gifts are his to enjoy; they are not afar off, as saith the apostle:

Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word [power of God] is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach. (Romans 10:68)

With this answer before me, I can always pray and not faint. God can and does answer the prayer of faith.
It is with much reluctance I write, or continue the theme of my experience. I have been blessed many times with the assurance and love of God in this great work of His. I have learned, indeed, that man is frail, unreliable, and cannot be depended on. The Psalmist puts it in this language:
As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. (Psalm 103:15-18)

In the summer of 1855, I again made up my mind I would not engage in, or say a word upon, the subject of religion until the Church was again fully established with its quorums and with young Joseph as its president. But again I was taken sick, first with a pain in one of my eyes, from which I suffered dreadfully for three weeks. In the meantime, Elder Samuel Powers sent for me by his brother, John, and I went to his home and he and his wife took care of me until I was nearly well, or at least until my eye ceased paining me; and then my other eye was afflicted in the same way, only more severely_ which lasted for three more long weeks. My other eye pained me in the most excruciating manner. I was fully prostrated. It took weeks for me to again get around, and when I did recover, Brother Powers urged me to go with him to conference that was to be held in Zarahemla, Wisconsin. He offered to take me there and back, and it should be no cost to me. I finally concluded to go with him and attend the conference. 
The distance was forty miles, and as we reached the place we found that the meeting had begun, and they were singing the first hymn as we stepped into the house. All were strangers to me except Elder Gurley, my brother, Jason, and Elder Powers. After praying and singing again, the meeting was opened for the Saints to occupy in testimony and prayer, or as they might be led; and the first one who arose spoke in tongues. After a few sentences had been spoken, I understood every word as it was uttered, as plainly as though it had been in my own language_every word being accompanied with a feeling of exceeding joy such as I had never experienced before. Tongue cannot describe, nor can I convey by pen, the certainty that what was being said was from God, as I then realized; and then what was also remarkable, another got up and interpreted the tongue in our own language. 
The interpretation was that the Church was of God, and that the Lord would hold the reins in His own hands, and in due time Joseph, the son of Joseph the Martyr, would be called to take his father's place in the presidency of the Church, and exhorting the Saints to diligence and faithfulness. This manifestation was not given in excitement nor under enthusiasm, but in a mild, straightforward manner and was the first speech made at the conference. A few other brief, dispassionate remarks were made by three others, after which the president stated that a commandment from God had been given some- time before, that two men should be chosen into the Quorum of Twelve at this conference; and he also remarked that in choosing the first seven of said quorum, a revelation had been given to the Church, directing the conference to appoint a committee to select those to occupy places in the quorum. It was then ruled that a committee should be appointed now to select the two to fill vacancies caused by apostasy. Accordingly, three men were appointed said committee, and as they arose to retire from the room, the Spirit said to me, "Elder Powers and a stranger sitting across the room from you will be chosen into the Quorum of the Twelve." I rejected this manifestation in my own heart, so far as the stranger was concerned, from the fact that his appearance was not prepossessing to my mind. But true to the manifestation I had received, the two were chosen.
I returned home with Elder Powers, and during the fall my mother purchased a place in Zarahemla, afterward called Blanchardville, and in the spring I went home to live with her.
My mother had not joined in with the Reorganization. This summer I attended meeting quite often, and it was the first time I had lived in a branch of the Church since a child. I often had a great desire to speak in meeting, but natural timidity and bashfulness would overcome me, and I would feel sorry and condemned.
One evening, mother gave a retrospect of her life, relating many experiences, and said, "I have not thought I would live more than sixty years, and now I am living on borrowed time." (This was in June, and she was sixty years old the sixth of May just previous.) I was very sad as she talked of dying, and when she said, "I do not know but I am as well prepared as I shall ever be. I have done the best I knew how, and do not know as I would do better if I had my life to live over. I believe in the gospel as restored by the angel to Brother Joseph, the Choice Seer; but now the Church is so distracted I do not know who is right. Brother Henry Deam believes all ought to be baptized and begin the work anew, just as it began at first_as the Church has been rejected with their dead. And really, I do not see any harm it could do if all were rebaptized and commenced anew."
That was Brother Deam's position after he was cut off from the Church. He also claimed that the Church could choose three high priests, and they, being ordained by the direction of a General Conference, would be legal and the Lord would sanction it. He repudiated the law of lineage entirely, and denounced the position and claim that Brother Joseph would ever take his father's place in the presidency of the Church. In fact, at this time I sometimes thought from his conversation that he was becoming skeptical in relation to the latter-day work. I often met him that summer. He was a good neighbor and was generally liked by all his acquaintances and respected, but his assumption to be a leader and head of the Church spoiled my confidence in him as a minister, though otherwise I liked him as a man. His wife and children were quiet, unassuming, and really a fine family. But he had led off nearly or quite half of the branch at one time, after him. His brother-in-law, John Cunningham, once of the Twelve, was cut off from the Church with him for apostasy, and there was much discussion in the branch over the division caused by Brother Deam's strange move in Church matters; and my mother was much disquieted and disheartened in relation to the Church, but had no confidence in any of the various factions that had arisen since the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph in 1844.
When William B. Smith first came to our place in 1850, presenting the law of lineage and little Joseph's right to the presidency of the Church, mother accepted it as in the right direction, but soon as prosperity seemed to crown his effort, his strange and extravagant claims displeased her and she denounced him as an impostor. At this conversation she was cheerful, yet believed the time near at hand when she would leave this stage of action. We sat up late that night, and I was very sad while she told us of her childhood days. She remembered the war of 1812 and saw many of the soldiers, her father being a soldier in the Revolutionary War; that Austin Briggs, my grandfather, was in the same war, and after peace was declared he was a sheriff in the state of New York for many years. Also related many instances of her early life, and things concerning George Washington, Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin that impressed her in her girlhood days_the treachery of Aaron Burr and Benedict Arnold. She compared Benedict Arnold to Judas, who betrayed the Savior, and dwelt upon the persecution of the Church in the beginning of the Christian era_how that thousands of the early Saints were put to death. The first three hundred years there were ten universal persecutions, and in the Dark Ages since intervened, millions were put to death in the Crusades because of religious intolerance; and as soon as the renewal of the true Church again commenced, persecution began first in New York, then in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, until Joseph Smith the prophet and his brother were killed by an infuriated mob, fired by religious intolerance. I went to bed very sad that night. Mother's talk was very interesting, yet in many respects very sad.
The next morning I got up quite early (it was Sunday) and went over to Elder David Powell's. He was feeling dejected over the condition of the Church. The Saints of the branch were becoming cold and indifferent. Little difficulties had estranged some of them against each other, and prayer meetings were being held very seldom. The Deam faction also had not all subsided; in fact, Brother Powell was much distressed in mind and discouraged over the prospect that Joseph would ere long come and take his place, as promised through many manifestations of the Holy Spirit to the Saints. I felt specially clear in mind and hopeful, all the time Brother Powell was talking of his disappointment and sorrow over the distraction of the Church, not in Zarahemla only, but all over the world. 
Ever since the rejection of the Church in Nauvoo, all was darkness and confusion; a few were led off by Brigham Young to the American Desert. Do not be startled at this expression, "a few were led off." The facts are, but a few of the Saints followed Brigham Young. They were too well acquainted with the spirit of the Church in Joseph's day, to follow the intolerant rule of Brigham Young; and most that did follow him of the old Church came back, or went to the gold fields of the western states, and many that followed their pernicious ways have been converted since his introduction of polygamy, August 29, 1852. And many who went after Strang did not even land their goods in Voree, but scattered into the country in Wisconsin, and many followed other false shepherds. Thousands scattered over all the world, and had, like the disciples of old, "gone a fishing," disappointed, and their confidence lost in man and God, it almost seemed to us; though we believed all the scattered Saints who ever had felt one spark of the Holy Spirit upon their conversion in the latter-day work, yet had a lingering hope that the Church would again arise and put on her beautiful garments. Just how it would be brought about, none seemed to know. Bitterness and ill feeling were more or less manifest between the many contending factions that broke from the Church.
I went home from Brother Powell's about nine o'clock. My mind was very much exercised over our conversation, as it had taken a very wide range over Church matters. The revelation of November 18, 1851, was considered. The promise made in it that the seed of Joseph should yet lead the Church, and the many evidences that the Saints had received, attesting its truthfulness, and yet the lethargy of the Saints in the work there, were perplexing to us. I was sad, and yet renewed hope and gladness that God would certainly revive His work seemed to impress my mind very clearly.
As I reached home, I was very much surprised to find my mother sick in bed with a very high fever, and the first words she said were, "Edmund, I am going to die, and I want you to promise me not to send for a physician, for I want to die a natural death, without any assistance from a doctor. Neither do I want you to send for any of the elders of the Church to administer to me, for I am going to die; and they can't help me anyway, and I want to die, for my time has come."
Her conversation of the previous evening came to my mind, that she was living on borrowed time and always thought she would die when she was sixty years old.
I urged her to allow me to send for the elders to administer to her, but she steadfastly refused. For three days I made the matter a constant subject of prayer, as I was very much concerned about her, and watched over her all the time. I also secured a lady to come and help take care of her. On Wednesday afternoon, mother called me to the bedside, and said, "Edmund, you may send for the elders if you want to."
I replied, "Mother, do you want to get well?"
Her reply was, "Yes."
As soon as mother said yes, I seemed to know that she would certainly recover, and I went with a perfectly contented mind after Elder Reuben Newkirk. Several of the Saints came with him, and after prayer he anointed and laid his hands on her and earnestly prayed again for her, and prophesied, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Thou shalt fully recover and be noted for faith in Zarahemla."
In a few moments her fever left her, and she seemed to be entirely well in two or three hours. We all slept nicely that night, and in the morning mother got the breakfast and was perfectly well and cheerful. I remained home until about four o'clock in the afternoon. I had promised to help Brother Zenas H. Gurley that week, but mother's sickness kept me home. But now I was anxious to go to his help, and just as I stepped from the door and bade mother good-bye, a quick, sharp pain took me in the head; but I walked on nearly a mile, the pain growing worse and so severe that I became weak and faint, and sat down for a little time, wondering what it meant. My suffering was so unnatural that I thought it meant something; and perhaps I ought not to have left home. So I retraced my steps. As I did so, the severe pain grew less and less, and just as I stepped into the door it all left me as suddenly as it came. And mother, who was sitting in her chair where I had left her, immediately addressed me, and said, "Edmund, I do not see why we can't all go and be rebaptized, and that will stop all this contention on that subject; it certainly won't do any harm."
I inquired, "Has anyone been here?"
Mother answered, "Yes, Brother Deam has been here, and he said, 'I heard that prayers were made for you last evening, so I also prayed for you, and I wish to administer to you also,' and he laid his hands on me and prayed for me, and he has just gone home."
Then the Spirit rested on me in power and directed me to rebuke the Devil and Satan in the name of Jesus Christ, and command him to depart from the house.
But I had never officiated in my office as a minister, and I was too fearful to obey the command of God to me by His Holy Spirit.


Return To Contents

Chapter 6

Edmund Is Shown the Difference Between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of the Devil
Counsel Regarding Spirit Manifestations
His First Experience with Preaching
He Commences Ministry to the Scattered Saints
Prophecy Regarding Young Joseph Taking
His Place As Prophet of the Church


Mother had already a fever and headache, and immediately took to her bed again; was sick all night and I sat up with her. Just at daylight she dropped to sleep and breathed easily, while all night she had been very restless and was very much troubled for breath, having a constant, burning fever. I stood by the bedside watching her for some time, but became very tired and finally took a pillow and lay down on the carpet in an adjoining room.
I must have gone to sleep immediately, for I soon had a dream, or vision, in which I saw Brother Samuel H. Gurley standing in the door, and he awoke me by speaking the following words in a distinct tone of voice: "Your mother will not recover, but will die; Sarah says so." I sprang to my feet and stepped into mother's room, but she was sleeping sweetly as I had left her just a few moments before. I hastily returned to meet Brother Gurley, but he was not there. I then stepped to the door and called for him, and upon receiving no response I hastily went around the house, fully expecting to find him. It was impossible for him to have gotten out of sight of the house if he had been there. I was very much surprised and disappointed at first, as we were great friends. Just as I returned to the house, something seemed to say to me, "Sarah is the wife of Abraham, who was the friend of God, and God has in His mercy revealed to you in this manner of your mother's death, so you may be better prepared for it, and not feel so bad when she is taken away; and as Sarah was the companion of Abraham, the friend of God, and is now in Heaven, it is to show you that your mother will also soon be with them in Heaven, and be at rest from all the trouble of this world."
A feeling of happiness and joy, indeed, came over me, to think the Lord in His goodness had shown me that my mother would surely be saved and go to Heaven. And not only men, but women in Heaven were interested in the salvation of their children, and that Sarah, the companion and wife of Abraham, was permitted to reveal to me through a dream or a vision in this way, and make it clear to my mind for my comfort and satisfaction, so that I might be fully at rest in relation to my mother's gaining eternal life in the celestial glory.
With these thoughts, I felt perfectly resigned to part with mother and let her go to rest with the angels in Heaven. A peace and contentment of mind seemed to take possession of my whole being. And then a feeling of doubt came over me in relation to the Bible. Was it really true that God did reveal himself to Adam in the Garden of Eden? Did He really make him out of the dust of the earth, and talk to him? And did Eve eat of the forbidden fruit? Were they cast out of the Garden, and flaming swords kept them from returning again to the Garden? Could I really say I believed these things? I confess they did not seem reasonable, and a disquiet and dissatisfaction took possession of my very being, and I was unhappy in the thought that all these extravagant things in the Bible could not be true.
But again, the dream, vision, and voice I had just heard that morning in relation to my mother was true. I knew it was true. I heard the voice, I saw the vision, I had the dream, and was happy in the thought that certainly I knew mother would be saved in Heaven. But while these happy reviews passed through my mind, all at once something would seem to say, "Do you believe God commanded Noah to build an ark and by this means save himself and family, while He deluged the whole earth with water to drown all the inhabitants thereof, with their little, innocent children? And all the dumb animals? Did God do that in His wrath? And the righteous Noah, after that, got drunk and cursed his grandson because his own son did not show respect to him when he was drunk?" These interrogations brought doubts; and forebodings filled my mind and I began to feel skeptical in relation to all of my early teaching in the Bible. But my experience just that morning, and the evidence that I had been moved on by a power that was not earthly, gave me a peace of mind more than mortal man can give. The destiny of my beloved mother was real and surely true, and I was satisfied.
While these pleasant thoughts were passing through my mind, again I was asked (it seemed almost as though some unseen person stood by me), "Do you believe Jesus is the Christ and was born of the Virgin Mary? That He created this world, worked miracles, raised the dead, was crucified, and rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples, and finally ascended to Heaven? That Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and translated from gold plates the Book of Mormon?" My dear reader, while I pen these thoughts, I confess to you that I was unhappy all that forenoon, except when I was thinking upon the new revelation I had received in relation to my darling mother, who had taken so much care of me in my childhood. I could realize in my innermost soul that she would soon be at rest in Heaven with God and His angels, and I was happy in the very thought that she would be in Heaven and would not mind my sorrow in her death.
About noon, as I passed the little church near our house, I had a desire to enter and pray and thank the Lord for all His mercies to me. I was all alone; a quiet, serene feeling pervaded my mind as I knelt in prayer, and the Holy Spirit rested on me in great power, and said, "Verily, thus saith the Lord, As I have said, your mother shall recover every whit and be noted for faith in Zarahemla. That spirit that spoke to you this morning, represented through your friend, was the Devil and Satan; and I permitted him to do so that you might know the difference between my power and the power of Satan. All this forenoon the revelation concerning your mother has given you perfect satisfaction and peace of mind, but you have been led to doubt all my words in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Covenants. Yea, you have even doubted the existence of God, and even your own existence, and doing so has brought unhappiness and sorrow to you. While you have been comforted in the one revelation concerning your mother, you have doubted and been led to disbelieve all the revelations I have given to my servants, the prophets. By this you may know the contrast between my Spirit and the power of Satan. My Spirit brings to memory what I have said in the past, and gives comfort and peace concerning my promises in the future, while the spirit of the Evil One gives fear and doubt concerning all my words. By this you may know the difference, during all your life, so you may not be deceived. Even so, Amen and Amen."
The above revelation was a remarkable manifestation to me, and experience more wonderful than I had ever had before. A peace of mind and certainty that it was the voice of God by the Holy Ghost to me, left no doubt in my mind. I could see very clearly that the spirit that had been tormenting me all the forenoon, in relation to the truthfulness of the Holy Scriptures, and in all of those essential things around which the Christian had anchored his hope for salvation, was swept away from me, and my joy was centered only in the thought of the salvation and happiness of my mother in Heaven, and this at the expense of all the blessed truths of the Bible and the gospel of Christ. Certainly, that was the Devil trying to deceive me!
Was it not the Comforter that brought to memory the blessed promises of the gospel of Christ? Mother would surely recover, though she had a high fever and was very weak; but all uneasiness about her had left me. My brother, Riley, and Sister Elizabeth Cline were with me, and we watched over her all the time, day and night, until Sunday morning. Three days and nights mother seemed to be sinking and grew worse, but all this time I had not a single doubt that she would get well again.
When time came for meeting, I had a desire to attend. I did so, and Brother Samuel Powers from Beloit, Wisconsin, was the preacher. After services, I immediately invited him to go home with me, and informed him that mother was sick_but did not tell him anything of my experiences or of the circumstances of mother's sickness. As soon as we reached home, Brother Powers prayed and anointed mother and laid his hands on her, and said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke the Devil and Satan, and command him to leave this house. Amen." He turned from the bed, and mother was clear in her mind and the fever very soon left her entirely and she was well. Soon she got up and dressed herself, and in a few days was strong as ever. 
This wonderful circumstance made a deep and lasting impression on my mind. Surely there is a God who rules in Heaven and on earth, and a Devil and wicked spirits among men! I knew Elder Powers knew nothing of mother's condition, or of my manifestations. He had just arrived from his home, and soon as he entered the meetinghouse, was called into the pulpit. He was naturally very timid, retiring, humble, and without affectation, and always seemed to act like himself, without self-importance. He simply and very quietly rebuked the Evil One, who had tormented my mother nigh unto death for days with a fever, and now she was well, thank the Lord, O my soul! These thoughts, and a general survey of the landmarks of my own experiences, brought afresh to memory the harmony of my experience with the experiences related in the Bible and the Book of Mormon of other men in times of old, confirmed me, indeed, in the thought that if those books were true, then I was surely being taught by the same Spirit that the prophets and Saints of ancient times were led by. And here allow me to suggest, that all the prophets of God in the past have been taught by experience to know that there is a Devil and wicked influences from the unseen world; hence, the instructions by the Beloved Disciple:

Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

And in the great commission to the apostles, Jesus said:

In my name shall they cast out devils. (Mark 16:17)

And the ancient apostle says:

To another discerning of spirits. (1 Corinthians 12:10)

How shall they discern spirits if they never come in contact with them? Jesus, our blessed Master, was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness, and Moses had an audience with the Evil One, for,

Behold, Satan came tempting him, saying, Moses, son of man, worship me. (see Preface to Inspired Translation, p. 7, par. 8)

Again:

For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world. (Revelation 16:14)

And I advance the thought to all Saints, that it is wise not to be too ready to accept spirit manifestations until you are sure they are of God, for it is Satan's cunning to deceive the members in all the branches, as well as individuals in their experiences; and he who passively invites, with anxiety, spirit manifestations without a proper prayerful examination of the teaching of the Spirit, is on dangerous ground.
But to return. Mother was now well, as promised to me she would be, and the next Tuesday I went to Brother Gurley's to assist him in some work he was doing on his farm. That evening they received a letter from Galesburg, Illinois, that their eldest daughter, Mrs. Eaton, was very sick and if they wished to see her alive, must come immediately. The distance was far and cost much; and they had not a dollar to bear expenses and did not know where to borrow it. They were greatly distressed over the matter. When time for prayer came, Brother Gurley said, "Let us remember Louisa in our supplication." Both Brother and Sister Gurley fervently prayed to Almighty God to spare their child. Just as they arose from their knees, their son, Samuel, came into the house, and said, "I had retired, and as soon as I lay down on the bed I had a vision, and I saw a very large room, and in the door which opened into another large room, stood Sister Louisa. I do not know what it means, but I saw her very plainly as she stood in the door." Sister Gurley screamed aloud, "It's death's door, and my daughter will die," and she wept aloud like a child, crying, "My darling child is going to die. Oh, my dear girl!" My sympathy was much wrought upon as the family all wept. They all seemed to believe the vision certainly meant that Louisa was going to die. A quiet, calm feeling impressed my mind, and involuntarily, without any special motive on my mind, I arose from my seat and stepped near to Sister Gurley, and said, "Sister Gurley, your daughter will not die, but recover and return home very soon, and you will introduce her to me here in your own house. Thus saith the Holy Ghost."
I sat down much astonished, and thought, "How did I know that?" and a fear came over me, and I was very sorry I had used such words to Sister Gurley. I repeated to myself, "I do not know any such thing. I can't see why I spoke such words."
Brother Gurley seemed to believe it and tried to comfort his wife over the matter, and said, "We will wait a few days and see if we do not get another letter, giving us better news."
The next day, I felt much distressed in mind over my prophecy to Sister Gurley, and in the evening of Wednesday, Brother Gurley sent for his son, Samuel, and wife to come over to a prayer meeting, remarking, "We will make Louisa the special subject of prayer." During the meeting, Brother Samuel spoke in prophecy to me and directed me to go to the branch of the Church in Zarahemla and preach to them, saying, "Your mouth shall be opened and your tongue loosened to declare my Word to my people, and you shall not be confounded, saith the Lord of hosts."
This again was a great trial to me. The Spirit rested on me in great power while he was speaking, and brought to memory the events of my conversion_how I would embrace this doctrine, be baptized, ordained an elder, and preach it. The promise I had made the Lord, if He would tell me what I ought to do that I would do it, and the promise which was made to me for an evidence to me that the man who baptized me should ordain me an elder the day I was baptized, and many things which had been revealed to me, and also many passages of scripture confirmatory of the gospel, all rushed through my mind, it seemed in a moment of time; but yet to comply with this command of God, to go and preach to the Saints at Zarahemla, seemed impossible. I had never spoken in meeting to the Saints in my life, or made a single prayer in meeting vocally. Oh, I thought I could never do it! Thursday was a long day to me, full of misgivings, doubt, and debate in my own mind, for and against the latter-day work_that God's Holy Spirit had certainly been with me if the Bible was true; and then how did I know it was true? Jesus of Nazareth had not accomplished what was expected of Him_His disciples were all disappointed and finally died, and their work was followed by a long night of war and carnage called the Dark Ages.
Joseph Smith came, and one hundred and fifty or two hundred thousand had been converted to the gospel in fourteen years, and now they were scattered and in darkness and knew nothing for certain, it seemed to me, concerning the Kingdom of God and the great hope held out to God's people in different ages of the world, according to the Scriptures. A thousand things seemed to rush into my mind to discourage me and throw doubt and distress in my mind. Friday, the debate continued in my very soul. It seemed as though two influences surrounded me at the time_one to encourage me in the gospel of Christ and to refresh my mind in relation to my own experiences; the other to throw doubt and uncertainty upon all sacred and divine things that had ever been taught to me by my mother. Even her prayers would come up before me and her Bible stories seemed so real, yet I was made unhappy through doubting them. How could I go and preach to the Saints? All knew more than I could tell them, and the other influence impelled me to doubt all God had ever said.
While these thoughts were pressing on me, one of Brother Gurley's little boys came running to us, exclaiming, "Father, come quick! Louisa has just come home." Brother Gurley exclaimed, "Thank the Lord, Brother Briggs, your prophecy has come to pass, and I will go to the house and you come after a little, for supper will be ready."
At supper time I was introduced to Sister Eaton by her mother. I soon learned from her own lips the following: "On Tuesday evening I was very sick, not expected to live; but all of a sudden a change came over me and I was well. I knew father was praying for me, and I soon went to sleep and rested good all night, and in the morning I told Mr. Eaton I must go home, and he was willing I should; so I hurried to get ready and took the cars last night, and when I got to the station I procured a livery and got here about four o'clock this afternoon."
All of this again substantiated the thought that, indeed, if the prophets and apostles were led and taught of God by His Holy Spirit, so was I led by the same Holy Spirit. But how I could go and begin to preach to the Saints still troubled me the more, for I really felt that I knew God had commanded me to do so.
I went home Saturday evening. Brother Gurley had an appointment for Sunday morning in our meetinghouse. I started for meeting as usual, and just before I got to the house the Spirit rested upon me in great power, and said to me, "Elder Gurley will attempt to fill his appointment, but he will be confounded and cannot preach, and when he sits down, you speak." This clear manifestation and revelation of the will of the Lord to me was impressed in such a calm, serene manner that I felt no doubt in my mind but what my Heavenly Father wished me to now begin in His service as a minister of the gospel. But oh, I was so weak! I could not see how it was possible to obey the command, and I began praying in my heart for Brother Gurley to be blessed with the Spirit of his calling, so that he could preach. But after meeting had opened as usual, Elder Gurley read a chapter in the New Testament, quoted his text, and tried to speak_but instead began to stammer. He then tried to read a few verses again and speak, but he could not for some moments, when he closed the Bible, said "I do not feel that I will ever preach again in Zarahemla," and sat down much confused. I was very anxious and distressed in mind for a few moments, and someone started a hymn, and after singing, Brother Samuel Gurley arose to speak. He also was confused and sat down, feeling embarrassed and mortified. Another hymn was sung, and while singing, the Holy Spirit rested on me and like a shock passed through my whole being, and I was lost to all consciousness of my surroundings and did not know that I arose to my feet or was speaking, for some moments; and in fact, was not exercised in thoughts for ideas or words to speak. I saw the words spelled out before me, and uttered them one by one as they appeared before me and seemed to pass through my mind. I spoke for half or three-quarters of an hour rapidly, and was fully conscious and in my normal condition before I sat down.
I have been thus particular, my dear reader, to relate my first experiences, that you may judge of my real condition of mind and heart when I began in this latter-day work.
By this time, every vestige of doubt had been cleared from my mind, and I was fully committed and consecrated to the gospel ministry. The Almighty Father of Heaven and earth I acknowledged as my God, and Jesus the Christ, His Only Begotten by the Holy Ghost, as the Savior. The office work of the Holy Spirit I had attested, to my satisfaction, to be what is declared to be the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, and will bring all things to remembrance and show things to come.
From this hour, I commenced in the ministry as the work of life to my fellowmen. My first labor was with the Saints in Zarahemla, which resulted in holding meetings at Brother Reuben Newkirk's. At first, I met him at his house and talked with him outdoors. The following evening, I called on him again and this time he invited me into the house, and after quite a long conversation in relation to the hope of the Saints, I suggested we have prayer. This was the first prayer that I ever attempted to make in the hearing of others; and only Brother Newkirk and wife were present. They did not pray, but before I left that evening he suggested that I come again the next evening and he would invite his brother, David, and wife, and we would have a prayer meeting at his house. I agreed to this and we had an excellent meeting. The Spirit of prayer and testimony was given to us in a goodly degree. We kept the meetings up. One by one the Saints came to meet with us and our meetings became very interesting, and in order to accommodate all who came, we accepted the invitation to hold our meetings at Brother Cyrus Newkirk's house, as it was a much larger building. The gifts of prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues were given to us in great power, with joy in the Holy Ghost. All the Saints of the branch soon attended our meetings.
Sometime early in the fall, a Mr. Cox came to Brother Deam's. He had been a member of the Church in Nauvoo, an acquaintance of Brother Deam, and was well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph; had just come from Nauvoo; was on his way up north and said he was at the funeral of little Joseph_as Joseph was then called by us. He reported that he knew he was dead and buried. Mr. Cox was an elder of the Church at the time when Brother Deam knew him, was thought much of and was well respected; hence, Brother Deam recommended him very highly as a man. But now he was a Spiritualist, lecturing on that subject, and lectured in our little church. The second evening after his arrival in our neighborhood, and during his lectures, he told us of his visit to Nauvoo, Illinois, on his way to our place, and that he attended the funeral of Joseph Smith just a few days previous, and that he knew he was dead and buried. This announcement caused a sensation among the Saints. They had received many evidences, and all believed from God, that he would be the successor of his father in the presidency of the Church. We were all very quiet and said but little, but the next evening, while in our prayer meeting, the Spirit rested on me and I arose and prophesied:
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Joseph, the son of Joseph the Choice Seer, is not dead, but is alive; and it is impossible for him to die, for he was called, chosen, and ordained before the foundation of the world to be the successor to his father and president of the Church."
This manifestation of the Holy Spirit gave us some hope again; but others would say, "It is not possible that he is alive, for what object would this man have in lying to us about his death and burial?" I felt somewhat concerned over the matter, fearful lest I had been deceived by some false spirit. Brother Z. H. Gurley, Sr., took courage again and wrote to the postmaster at Nauvoo, asking this question: "Is Joseph Smith, son of Joseph Smith the Mormon prophet, who was killed at Carthage, dead and buried?" It was some ten or fifteen days before he got the following answer: "Joseph Smith, the son of the Mormon prophet, who was killed, was just in and got his mail and is alive and well. Signed, John Bauer, Postmaster, Nauvoo, Illinois."
When the above letter came to us, it gave new life to the Saints. I was particularly rejoiced over it, for I had suffered much in my feelings, and thought how I would be mortified and disgraced if I had been deceived by a lying spirit. It now appeared that the very Evil One had been tormenting me over my prophecy. The facts are, the Saints in Zarahemla had more trials over the coming of Joseph Smith to take his place at the head of the Church, than in relation to the general principles of the gospel; for in these they were thoroughly established. The other was a matter of prophecy.
At one of our meetings during this summer, while Brother Samuel Gurley was speaking, the Spirit of prophecy rested on him, and he predicted that Joseph would soon come and take his place as the prophet of the Church. Soon after he sat down, he very abruptly took his hat and left the house. He was gone some time, and when he returned I noticed he was much cast down in his feelings, and crestfallen. I wondered about it at the time, but the next morning I met him and he began talking of the excellent meeting we had the day before, when he remarked, "Did you notice me leaving the meeting yesterday?" I answered him in the affirmative. "Well," said he, "I was so certain that Joseph was coming to take his place in the Church that I went to meet him, thinking that I might see him coming then." Continuing, he said, "Well, I believe he will come in the Lord's due time, don't you? And if I ever doubt again, I ought to be damned."


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Chapter 7

Edmund, through Prophecy, Is Told to Go to the Scattered Saints and to Young Joseph
He Is to Be Accompanied by Samuel Gurley
He Prophesies Young Joseph Will Come to the Church within Five Years
W. W. Blair Is Converted to the Reorganization
The Missionaries' First Meeting with Emma Smith Bidamon at Nauvoo


Our meetings continued to be more interesting, and all the Saints were faithfully attending the services, when one Sunday afternoon Elder Reuben Newkirk, while prophesying, came and laid his hands on my head, and said, "Verily thus saith the Holy Ghost, I ordain you to take a mission to my people, scattered latter-day Israel, and to my servant Joseph, son of the Martyr. Tell him what you know and most assuredly believe, and say to my Saints, 'Establish your family altars,' and preach my gospel with a warning voice. Fear not, for I will be with you by the voice of my Spirit, and I will protect you from evil and you shall not be confounded, and your enemies shall not have power over you. Thus saith the Holy Ghost. Amen"
While this manifestation was being given, the Spirit rested on me in a great degree, attesting to me its divinity and the sure voice and Word of God, calling me to a mission to the Latter Day Saints. The very next Sunday afternoon, there was another prayer meeting at Brother Cyrus Newkirk's and Brother Reuben again had the gift of prophecy; and while speaking, his face was lit up by the Spirit so it shone brightly, and he laid his hands on Brother Samuel Gurley's head, and said, "I ordain you to accompany my servant, Edmund, on a mission to the Latter Day Saints, and to my servant Joseph. Tell him what you know and most surely believe." Then he turned to my brother, and said, "My servant, Jason, thou shalt write a letter to my servant, Joseph, as thou shalt be prompted by my Spirit. Thus saith the Lord of hosts."
The next Wednesday evening while in the meeting, I was in prayer and the Spirit of prophecy rested on me, and said, "My servants shall not return until my servant, Joseph, comes forth to preside over my people, saith the Holy Ghost."
When I came to the word servants, the word servant was given me. I also saw the words five years_also the figure 5_ and I was given to understand that Joseph would come to the Church within five years. I also knew that Brother Gurley would be greatly disappointed at the reception Joseph would give us. I became so well prepared in mind before I left home, that no matter how things might turn when we should meet him, it would be no surprise to me.
After I returned home from meeting, I retired to my room and read a chapter in the Bible; and when I came to the last verse of the chapter, I continued to read, "Thou shalt start on thy mission Wednesday, three weeks from today; and on your journey call on my servants Alva Smith, Edwin Cadwell, Jotham Barrett, and W. W. Blair."
I was greatly astonished at this reading at first, for the words were as plain in the Bible as any printing I ever saw; and my first thoughts were, "This is like the words on the wall as recorded in the prophecy of Daniel." A peaceful, happy feeling rested on me, and I rejoiced in the knowledge that God could and did truly reveal His mind and will to me as He did to His prophets in days of old. I was now certain as to the time when I should start on my mission. The second Sunday after this, the letter Brother Jason had written to Joseph was read in our meeting and unanimously accepted by the branch, and then he remarked, "Let all those who feel to do so, kneel and put their hands on the letter and ask the blessing of the Lord to accompany it, and the mission to Brother Joseph." Seven of us laid our hands on it and Jason offered a solemn prayer, asking a blessing upon Joseph and the mission. The letter bore date of November 18, 1856.
Wednesday, we started on our mission, taking the cars at Darlington_the county seat of Lafayette County, fifteen miles from Brother Gurley's_on the Illinois Central Railroad for Dixon, Illinois, where Elder Alva Smith then lived.
Here I will mention a remarkable conversation I had on the cars with a stranger who sat in the seat back of me. Brother Gurley sat across the aisle from me at the time. The stranger, with whom I had had no conversation, and without any seeming intrusion, or at least I did not even think of the singularity of his conversation at the time, said, "When you meet Brother W. W. Blair, he will express joy and gladness in a marked degree_so much so that you will notice it very particularly; and when you get into conversation with him he will oppose you very much, but do not have any fear. Brother Gurley will contend and discuss with him, but you will not. Brother Blair's mind will be lit up and his tongue loosed, while Brother Gurley's mind will be darkened and he will be confounded. But have no fear; it is wisdom in me. You will have no contention or debate with him, and you may ask a sign that when you are there at Brother Blair's, it may be given you."
I replied, "I can't think of anything to ask."
"Then," he said, "I will give you one while you are there, and ever after whatever may be your condition of mind, or however much you may be cast down in mind, if you can recall the sign or bring it to your mind, it will revive your feelings and give you assurance, until you will feel bright in your mind and have perfect confidence and faith again."
I was becoming very much interested in his conversation by this time and wondered who he was, but at this instant my mind was all absorbed over the knowledge this stranger had of my mission, and he was gone without my observing when he left. At first, I felt very sorry I had not asked him who he was, and then I became satisfied he was a messenger sent from God to prepare me more fully for my mission, and that it would not be wise for me to tell Brother Gurley of it.
We reached Dixon in the night. Brother Alva Smith kept a hotel there at the time, and we rode from the depot in his omnibus. We immediately retired for the night. In the morning, we met Brother Smith and told him of our mission and the promises we had received through the gifts, that one of the sons of Joseph Smith would take his father's place, and expounded the law of lineage to him as best we could. He was much pleased with what we said. We conversed until the middle of the forenoon that day, and then we walked to Brother Cadwell's (ten miles from Dixon), stayed overnight, and had a very interesting conversation with him in relation to our faith and of the reorganization of the Church. He was very much interested and told us he had been looking for little Joseph to be the successor of his father ever since he left Nauvoo, and was well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph. Brother Alva Smith was also acquainted with the Choice Seer and they were both fully interested in the Restored Gospel, but much disheartened at what they called the apostasy of Brigham Young and his horrible doctrine of polygamy; and they both avowed they knew Joseph never taught it in Nauvoo.
The next day (Friday), we called on Jotham Barrett at Palestine, near what is now Amboy, Lee County, Illinois; found him very sick. Dr. Gardner had just been there and a council of physicians had been held the day before, and they told him there was no hope for him; that he was in the very last stages of consumption. He was feeling very badly, and wept while speaking of leaving his family. We said everything we could to comfort him. He had then been sitting up in his chair six weeks, for he could not breathe when lying down. When we arose to leave him that evening, he requested us to call on him in the morning if he were alive. We stayed overnight with Brother Royal Stone and his son, Stephen.
The next morning, Saturday, we called on Brother Barrett again. He was sitting in his chair just as we left him the evening before, his hands and feet swollen as large as it was possible for them to be, it seemed; and after some little conversation we did the best we could to comfort the (as we thought) dying man. I said to him, "Brother Barrett, we must go as we have twenty-eight miles to walk today."
He then said, "I wish you would pray for me before you go. It is not likely you will ever see me again. Do not pray for my recovery. I am reconciled to go and I believe the Lord will take care of my family, but pray that the fear of death may be taken from me, and that I may not fear the passage from time to eternity."
We knelt in prayer and the Spirit rested upon me, and I said only these words: "As I have said in my Word, Before ye ask me I will answer. My servant, Jotham Barrett, shall recover every whit, saith the Lord." We arose and I was at first much distressed in mind, for I could not think it possible he would live. His eyes were sunken and his hands and feet looked dreadful. But these words came to my mind: "Holy men of old spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Spirit will show you things to come." Brother Gurley anointed him and we laid hands on him, and I spoke these words in perfect faith and confidence as I was moved by the Spirit: "Dear Brother Barrett, your disease is now rebuked, and you shall begin to amend from this day and fully recover. Your companion should unite with you in prayer, and as you increase in faith, so shall you increase in strength until you are in perfect health, saith the Lord of hosts. Amen."
This was the first time I had ever administered to the sick in my life, according to the instructions of the Bible, to "lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (A year afterward I went to Brother Barrett's again and he was well; and he then said to me, "My general health is now better than it has been before, for fifteen years.")
Notwithstanding this rich experience and blessing, Saturday was a long, tedious day to us. Brother Samuel Gurley was cast down in spirit and depressed. He felt badly about leaving his home and companion. Doubts and fears seemed to trouble him all the day. It seemed to be terrible for him to leave his wife and be away among strangers, on a mission in the interest of the most unpopular doctrine of this world.
Sister Cadwell, just as we were about to start from their home Friday morning, remarked, "I guess I better give you a lunch for tomorrow, for I do not suppose anyone will think to give you any, and you are too bashful to ask." I took the lunch in my satchel, and when we sat down out on the prairie to eat it, we were tired and cast down in our feelings. I was feeling much perplexed over my prophecy that morning in relation to the recovery of Brother Barrett, and was wondering if Brother Blair would receive us with joy and gladness, as the stranger had told me he would; and if not, would I continue on my mission? It seemed to me that Satan was determined to destroy our faith in the gospel and our mission. At times, when we would talk of our many experiences, our hope would revive and we would feel encouraged.
Night finally came on us ere we reached East Paw Paw where Brother Blair was living, and we went to his store. Himself and clerks were waiting on customers, who seemed to fairly crowd the room. I knew Brother Blair, but he did not notice me as I came in, so particularly as he did Brother Gurley. I introduced Brother Gurley as Mr. Gurley to him. At that, he at once gave some directions to his clerks about shutting up the store, etc., and then turned to me, and said, "Let us go home." Soon as we stepped out of the store he turned to us, and said, "Who is this Mr. Gurley? Is it Elder Zenas Gurley?"
I replied, "It is Samuel Gurley, his son, and we are on a mission."
He exclaimed, "Oh, I am so glad to see you! I never was so glad to see anyone in my life! What news have you?"
I at once informed him it had been revealed to us by the Spirit of prophecy, that little Joseph would soon take his father's place, and it was his right by lineage.
He replied, "I do not know about that, but I am glad to see you, anyway." When we reached the house, he introduced us to his wife, who very coolly said, "Good evening," and soon got us some supper. As we sat down to the table, Brother Blair told us to be at home and eat our supper, but to excuse him and he would build a fire in the sitting room. As soon as the room was warm we went in, and Brother Blair again expressed himself as being extremely glad to meet us, and said, "As we are going to talk in matters of great importance, I suggest we have a word of prayer first." We readily assented; in fact, we, too, felt the Spirit of prayer. He led and we each prayed in turn, and when we arose from our knees I introduced Brother Gurley as the speaker, saying, "You now have the floor. Enter into business at once and I will take the lounge, as I have nothing to say." They both demurred, saying, "I guess you will have something to say, too." I replied, "No, sir, I am a spectator tonight; go on." And as I was very weary, I reclined on the couch and they were soon in earnest debate. Brother Blair believed that Joseph was a fallen prophet_hence, had nothing to descend to his posterity; that the Choice Seer would be a descendant of Joseph, son of Lehi, and therefore would be an Indian, or a Lamanite. In fact, at this time he was inclined to favor the views of James Colin Brewster. His tongue was loosed and his mind filled with thoughts to successfully oppose Brother Gurley in everything he would bring up.
Brother Gurley was baffled and much confused. I thought several times that I would help him out, but instead of entering into the conversation or debate, I would refer to some of our prayer meetings and experiences in relation to the gifts that we had enjoyed at Zarahemla, and promises we had received, which seemed to encourage Brother Gurley and again he would renew his argument. Thus matters continued in a spirited contention and debate until three o'clock in the morning, after which Brother Blair said, "I guess we had better retire, and we will continue this controversy in the morning." He showed us our rooms and bade us good night.
Soon as Brother Blair left us, Brother Gurley burst into tears and sobbed like a child, and said, "I am confounded and can't say anything, and you don't try. We might as well go home." I felt very sorry for Brother Gurley, yet I could see what the messenger had told me on the cars was coming true, that Brother Blair's mind would be fruitful and bright, and Brother Gurley's darkened and he would be confounded; and I was comforted and clear in my mind all the time. I did not know how it would be brought about, but I was certain we would have the victory in the end and Brother Blair would see the light. We prayed again and retired. Brother Samuel wept like a child. I was sleepy and urged him to dismiss the matter from his mind and rest, and was soon asleep.
When I awoke, the sun was shining brightly. Brother Gurley was very much overcome. He said, "I have not slept a wink tonight, and you have been sleeping like a log. We might as well go home. I am confounded and can't talk, and you don't try."
I replied, "Do not get discouraged. I guess it will come out all right." All the burden had left me and I felt we were in the hands of the Lord, and He would deliver us so we would not be finally confounded, although I could not yet see how it would be done.
We got up and united in prayer before we left our room. Brother Gurley felt better and tried to be cheerful as we met the family. Breakfast over, we retired to the sitting room and after we had all joined in prayer again, Brother Gurley led in the conversation and began quoting the passages usually referred to in defense of the Reorganization, and Joseph's right to the blessing of his father. But Brother Blair could not see any light in them. He argued that Joseph died a fallen prophet, lost his gifts as such, and did not appoint his successor.
They continued the debate until ten o'clock, when Brother Blair went out after wood to build a fire. As soon as he left the room, Brother Gurley burst into tears, and cried out, "I am confounded and I will give it up, and we might as well go home!" I involuntarily replied, "I am glad of it." Brother Blair returned with a smile on his face, and while he was putting wood into the stove, he remarked, "Brethren, all I want is the truth. I do not care how it comes"; and just as he sat down, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me in power and I took up the Book of Mormon, intending to find Lehi's prophecy to his son, Joseph, and his quotation in relation to the Choice Seer, and read it; but instead of finding it, I read the following words: "I will forgive whom I will; and have mercy on whom I will have mercy." I then commenced expounding those passages of scripture they had been discussing, and delivered a prophecy, declaring that Joseph would soon come forth as prophet and president of the Church. When I sat down, Brother Gurley arose and prophesied of the coming of Joseph, and that it was his right according to the law of lineage and the blessing of his father upon him. Brother Blair, in a flood of tears, immediately said, "Brethren, pray for me! One living prophet is worth more than a hundred dead prophets."
Brother Gurley then led in prayer. Brother Blair was converted, and we had a season of rejoicing together and knew that the Lord was with us in very deed, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Brother Gurley was ever so happy, realizing that God had delivered him from all the trials and distress of mind which he had suffered. From that time on, while we were at Brother Blair's, we had a feast of gladness and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Brother David Fuller came in and spent the evening with us. Elder Gurley soon commenced conversation with him, and his mind being clear and lit up by the Spirit, he in a most eloquent and fervent manner explained our faith and hope, and bore testimony to the voice of the Spirit to us_and backed it up by abundant scriptural evidence. While he was talking, the Spirit rested on me in greater power than I had ever experienced before. I fell to the floor, overcome by the power of the Holy Ghost, and saw and realized that God would in His own due time bring to pass all His words; that Joseph would, indeed, come to the Church, and it would be fully organized according to the pattern given in the Book of Covenants. I do not know how long I lay on the floor, but I was so weak I could not stand on my feet. I attempted to rise, but could not stand and fell again on the couch, where I lay until Brother Gurley came to me in the power of the Spirit and touched me with his hands, and said, "Receive strength, saith the Lord." Immediately I received my natural strength, and again prophesied that Joseph would soon come to the Church, and the gospel be preached to all nations; the Jews build up Jerusalem, and the Ten Tribes return from the north.
Sister Lizzie Blair then rose and bore her testimony, confessing how cold and indifferent she felt towards us when we first came to their house, but the Lord had healed her that very morning, as evidence that we were His servants and ministers of the gospel.
We remained at Brother Blair's until Wednesday morning, when he took us with carriages to Ottawa railroad station, and by cars and stage we came to Nauvoo on the following Friday, the fifth of December 1856, and stopped at the Mansion House, kept by Major L. C. Bidamon. He had married Emma, the widow of Joseph Smith, and had an impression, when we first arrived, that we were Latter Day Saint ministers. We told him we were missionaries of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, and were from Wisconsin. After some conversation, in which he spoke very highly of young Joseph, and that his wife, Emma, was the best woman that ever lived, and that she believed her former husband was a prophet of God, he said, "And I believe she is honest in her convictions. She tells so many things that took place in connection with the writing of the Book of Mormon, that I can't help but believe there is something in it; and I had much rather believe in it than to believe in the Bible. In fact, I do not believe in the Bible anyway." He was quite talkative and claimed to be skeptical on religious matters, though he continued, "I believe Joseph Smith was an honest man, but think he might have been deceived. My wife wrote a part of the Book of Mormon as Smith translated it from the plates he had found," he said. He seemed quite inquisitive in relation to our mission. I told him we wished to see Joseph. He informed us that he had been married lately and was living on a farm, and that there were some Mormon elders from Utah there a few days before to see him, but Joseph would not have anything to do with them.
He then took us into the dining room where his wife was, and introduced us to her. We informed her that we were on a mission, preaching the gospel. She appeared quite reserved; seemed inclined to talk very little with us, and we avoided telling our special object of visiting Nauvoo at this time. We stayed overnight in the hotel and until about the middle of the afternoon Saturday. Major Bidamon informed us he expected Joseph in the city, and as he did not come, about three o'clock in the afternoon we walked out to the farm to see him.


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Chapter 8

The Missionaries' First Meeting with Young 
Joseph_He Is Handed the Letter from Jason 
Briggs_Joseph Does Not Wish to Discuss 
Religion with Them_Their Further Dis-
cussion with Sister Emma_Samuel Gurley
Leaves the Mission for Home


When we arrived at his place, Joseph was not in the house, but soon came in and his wife introduced us to him as strangers who wished to see him. Elder Gurley at once introduced himself and me as missionaries of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and stated that we wished to have some talk with him, and handed him the following letter:

The Church of Zarahemla, Wisconsin, to Joseph Smith:_
Our faith is not unknown to you, neither our hope in the regathering of the pure in heart, enthralled in darkness, together with the means to the accomplishment of the same, viz., that the seed of him to whom the work was first committed should stand forth and bear the responsibility (as well as wear the crown) of a wise master builder_to close up the breach, and to combine in one a host, who, though in captivity and sorely tried, still refuse to strengthen the hands of usurpers. As that seed, to whom pertains this right and Heaven-appointed duty, you cannot be unmindful nor indifferent. The God of Abram, Isaac, and Jacob covenanted with them and their seed. So the God of Joseph covenanted with him and his seed, that his word should not depart out of his mouth, nor out of the mouth of his seed, nor out of the mouth of his seed's seed, till the end come. A Zerubbabel in Israel art thou. As a nail fastened in a sure place, so are the promises unto thee to make thee a restorer in Zion, to set in order the house of God. And the Holy Spirit that searcheth the deep things of God hath signified to us that the time has come; for through fasting and prayer hath the answer from God come unto us, saying, Communicate with my servant, Joseph Smith, son of Joseph the prophet. Arise, call upon God and be strong, for a deliverer art thou to the Latter Day Saints, and the Holy Spirit is the prompter.
The apostles, elders, and Saints who have assembled with us have beheld the vacant seat and the seed that is wanting; and like Ezra of old with his brethren, by the direction of the Holy Spirit have we sent faithful messengers to bear this our message to you, trusting you will, by their hands, notify us of your readiness to occupy that seat, and answer to the name and duties of that seed. For this have our prayers been offered up without ceasing for the last five years. We are assured that the same Spirit that has testified to us, has signified the same things to you. Many have arisen, perverting the work of the Lord. But the good and the true are throughout the land, waiting the true successor of Joseph the prophet as president of the Church and of the priesthood. In our publications_sent to you_we have shown the right of successorship to rest in the lineal descendant of the chosen seed to whom the promise was made, and also the manner of ordination thereto. We cannot forbear reminding you that the commandments, as well as the promises given to Joseph, your father, were given to him and his seed. And in the name of the Master, even Jesus Christ, as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, we say, Arise in the strength of the Lord and realize those promises by executing these commandments, and we, by the grace of God, are thy helpers in restoring the exiled sons and daughters of Zion to their inheritances in the Kingdom of God, and to the faith once delivered to the Saints.
Holding fast that which is good and resisting evil, we invoke the blessings of the God of Israel upon thee and upon all Saints, for whom we will ever pray.

J. W. BRIGGS,
Representative President of the Church
and the Priesthood in Zarahemla

ZARAHEMLA, November 18, 1856.

After reading the above letter, Joseph handed it back to Elder Gurley, and said, "Gentlemen, I will talk with you on politics or any other subject, but on religion I will not allow one word spoken in my house."
Elder Gurley replied, "But we wish to tell you what we believe."
Mr. Smith, in a most emphatic manner, replied, "I will not allow one word spoken on the subject to me in my house."
At this blunt, emphatic statement that he would not allow us to speak one word on the subject of religion in his house, Brother Gurley burst into tears and wept. At this juncture, I spoke as follows: "Mr. Smith, while we respect your feelings as a man, and do not wish to injure your feelings, yet we will not allow you to hinder us in doing our duty, as we have been sent by the command of God to tell you what we know and most surely believe in relation to your calling as the successor of your father."
At that, Joseph arose to his feet, and I thought somewhat sprung in his feelings, and said in a hasty tone of voice, "When men come to my house and tell me what I must do, I tell them there is the door and they can go out."
Brother Gurley then said to me, "Come, let us go."
I replied, "Brother Gurley, do not be in a hurry," and Joseph's wife said, "Don't, Joseph, don't!" (I will never forget those beautiful eyes as she looked up so imploringly to Joseph.)
Joseph then calmed down, and said, "I did not mean to injure your feelings, and I ask your forgiveness." Brother Gurley also then asked his forgiveness. I did not, for I felt I had only done my duty and could not ask to be forgiven. I then told him briefly that it had been revealed to us that he would be the successor of his father in the Church, and that we had been commanded to so inform him of our hope and faith in the matter.
He replied to us, "I do not allow myself to talk on such matters in relation to my own calling, or what I may do in the future." Up to this time, Gurley was weeping all the time. I spoke in a real earnest manner_and a part of the time quite loud. A quieter feeling now prevailed, and Joseph informed us that Elders George A. Smith and Snow from Utah had been to see him but a short time before, and that he would not have anything to do with that people or their corrupt doctrines.
Supper was now ready and Joseph invited us to eat with him, which we did; and after supper some little conversation was had in relation to our mission and hope, but he objected to any reference to his own calling, and I then said,
"Will you meet us in the morning in the city?"
He promised to do so, after which we bade him good night and walked to Nauvoo. Soon as we had left the house, Brother Gurley remarked to me, "He insulted us and will not receive our mission, and we might as well go home. He might as well have turned us out-of-doors."
I said, "We have not yet finished our mission to him. You remember, we were commanded in case he did not receive our mission, that we should raise our hands before him and leave him in the hands of the Lord?"
Brother Gurley then exclaimed, "Oh, I forgot that! Let us go back and do that now."
"No," I replied, "he promised to meet us in the morning at the Mansion House, and then we will have some more talk; and if he does not accept our message to him, then we will present him to the Lord with uplifted hands."
Gurley then said, "That will do. How came you to think to ask him to meet us in the morning?"
I replied, "I thought of it all the time."
The next morning was Sunday, and after breakfast we started to take a walk, and just as we got to the door, Joseph opened it, and said, "Good morning."
Brother Gurley hastily and abruptly said, "Have you received the evidence yet?"
Joseph answered, "No!"
"Then let us go and have a talk," Brother Gurley continued.
Joseph led the way to a room upstairs, and when he had shut the door, he said to us, "If you men have been commanded of God to do anything, why can't you do it without any reference to me, for I know that no man or the angels from Heaven can lead the Church in the condition it is now in."
At this, Brother Gurley again broke into tears and wept for some moments. I then said, "Mr. Smith, we can do our duty without any reference to other men, for we do not recognize any man, priest, or king as our leader, save Jesus Christ only; neither would we receive you except you are called of God yourself. But as ministers sent to scattered latter-day Israel, we call on you as one of the spiritual stones of the house of God to come and take your place, as it has been shown to us by the gifts of prophecy."
At that, my hands involuntarily rose, and Joseph said, "Don't curse me. I can't stand that."
I looked, and Gurley also stood with his hands uplifted, and he replied, "That be far from us. We rather bless than curse." He then offered a short but fervent prayer for Joseph, and presented him to the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ.
Joseph then said, "Are you now through?"
Gurley answered, "Yes."
Then Joseph, with uplifted hands, rose to his feet and offered a most fervent prayer. Among the things he said in his prayer were, "Heavenly Father, keep me from wrongdoing, and that my face may be like a flint, that I may not fear the face of clay. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen." He then said, "I am through, and will take the responsibility upon myself for my own actions." A peaceful feeling pervaded my mind and there seemed to be a good feeling on the part of all.
Joseph then asked how old we were. When we informed him, he said, "I like the spirit of you men, and we may see many things yet." And he assured us again that he would have nothing to do with the practices of the "Mormons" in the West. After some little talk, which showed us that he was, indeed, interested in the work his father labored to build up, we separated good friends.
In the evening, we had some little conversation with his mother. She made several inquiries about our meetings and the interests of the Church at Zarahemla, and we informed her of the evidence we had received of her son taking the leadership of the Church, as it was his right by lineage. She seemed to wish to avoid any reference about her children having anything to do with the Church; spoke of her former husband with tears in her eyes.
The next morning, she said, "I have always counseled the Saints who came to me for advice as to where they should go_ to go north."
I inquired, "Why did you give them that counsel? Did you think James J. Strang's claims were right?"
She quickly replied, "No, but I thought if they went up north they could soon get away again; but if they went west they could not, and I always believed the Church would arise again in the north. I have always avoided talking to my children about having anything to do in the Church, for I have suffered so much, I have dreaded to have them take any part in it. But I have always believed if God wanted them to do anything in the Church, the same One who called their father would make it known to them, and it was not necessary for me to talk to them about it; but I never had confidence in Brigham Young, and Joseph did not for some time before his death."
I then said to her, "Did Joseph have any knowledge or premonition of his death before it took place?"
She replied, "Yes, he was expecting it for some time before he was murdered. About the time he wrote those letters that are in the Book of Covenants, he was promised if he would go and hide from the Church until it was cleansed, he should live until he had accomplished his work in the redemption of Zion; and he once left home, intending not to return until the Church was sifted and thoroughly cleansed, but his persecutors were stirring up trouble at the time and his absence provoked some of the brethren to say he had run away, and they called him a coward, and Joseph heard of it and he then returned, and said, 'I will die before I will be called a coward.'
"He was going to find a place and then send for the family, but when he came back I felt the worst I ever did in my life, and from that time I looked for him to be killed, and had felt so bad about it that when he was murdered I was not taken by surprise, and did not feel so bad as I had for months before."
While she talked to us, the tears flowed from her large, bright eyes like rain and I could see in every act, affection for Joseph.
Delineating her evidence of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, she said, "When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out; and while I was writing them, if I made any mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling, although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time. Even the word Sarah he could not pronounce at first, but had to spell it, and I would pronounce it for him.
"When he stopped for any purpose at anytime he would, when he commenced again, begin where he left off without any hesitation, and one time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, 'Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?' When I answered 'Yes,' he replied, 'Oh, I was afraid I had been deceived!' He had such a limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls."
She also spoke very highly of Elder William Marks, and said, "Joseph always had confidence in him. David Whitmer is honest, and when you see him you will say he is an honest, truthful man; and the reason he absented himself from the Church was because of his misunderstandings, and the acts of some in the Church he could not fellowship."
I then referred to Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, when she said, "Oliver Cowdery was an honest man, but he became disaffected because of the actions of some in the Church." Of Harris, "He was an honest man, but not naturally as stable and firm in his mind as some. There were only three classes that followed Brigham Young to Utah: knaves, fools, and those whose circumstances and environments compelled them to go."
Brother Gurley was much pleased with what Joseph and his mother both said, though at first he was greatly disappointed at the way Joseph received what he had said or, as he expressed it, "would not allow me to say anything." But we were both impressed that he was aware of his calling as the successor of his father, but that human agency would not influence him to take any stand in the Church, and that he was unalterably and utterly opposed to polygamy. As Brother Gurley put it, "He gave us to understand he would not go to Utah, and I am glad of that, anyway."
I was really glad in my heart to see the manner in which he resented what he first thought we wished to urge upon him as our views, against his own conviction. We also thought he was impressed with the fact that we were sincere and believed that we were divinely impressed to visit him with our message, and that we would not accept him as the successor and president of the Church, without he was truly called of God as his father was.
The next day, Brother Gurley yet felt so badly about leaving home, that he could not endure the thought of continuing in the ministry. I urged him to remain in the mission, and we would visit as many of the members of the Church as we could and tell them of our hope of the Reorganization, but his struggles were too great, and the next Wednesday evening he said to me, "Brother Briggs, I am going home to Katie in the morning if I lose my salvation." I saw there was no use in trying to persuade him to continue longer in the ministry, and after some conversation we had prayer, and in the best of feelings and spirit we talked over our hope, and agreed that he should return home. The next morning, he left me in Nauvoo and went home. It was as I had expected before we left_I was alone.
In a few days, I received the following letter from Brother Z. H. Gurley, Sr.:

YELLOWSTONE, December 16, 1856.
Dear Brother Edmund:_Feeling deeply interested in your situation, and in the welfare of the Church, I have thought to trouble you with a few lines, sincerely praying Almighty God to direct us all aright, for surely in and of ourselves we are weak; yea, perfect weakness.
Samuel returned Sunday evening almost tired out. Since you left, the snow has fallen two feet and upwards and is badly drifted, which renders it almost impossible to move. The roads are completely filled up and have been impassable for several days. As soon as we can get around, will go down to Zarahemla and the Church will then direct what you shall do. Until you hear from the Church officially, stay where you are, and you shall do much good.
Last Sunday I was with the Church at Zarahemla, and our prayer meeting lasted until 1:30 o'clock in the morning. We were told that you and Samuel had presented the message and had been faithful before the Lord. Sister Newkirk [Brother David Newkirk's wife] had a vision; saw you on one side and Samuel on the other of a young man, holding him up. The Holy Spirit then commanded us to hold up Brother Joseph by our faith and prayers, as you were holding him up, with the promise that he should come to Zarahemla. So fear not. Do what the Spirit of God commands you, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ you shall accomplish your mission, and I say unto you, Receive strength and help, and in the name of the Lord Jesus, after many days you shall succeed. Even so. Amen.
Brother Edmund, during your stay spend all of your time in study. Study the Bible prophecies. Pray for understanding. Commit more or less to memory every day, and wait patiently as does the husbandman for the early and latter rain, and know assuredly you shall not wait in vain. I would advise you at a suitable time to visit Brother William O. Clark. He lives, or used to live, about three miles west of Montrose. He is the man that baptized your brother, Jason, Jones, and Whiteaker's family; and on your road, if it seems right, go on to West Point. Inquire for John Hardy. Tell him you call at my request to see him. He is with us in faith, and is a good man. There are several in that region who know me, who used to live at La Harpe. They have as much faith in the gifts as you have and will welcome you.
Brother, the Spirit of God will, I think, direct you this way, for a measure of it is on me at this time. You will find several, no doubt, who will fill their several places in the Church, according to their appointment when the foundation of the earth was laid.
Stand up, Brother Edmund, as a man of God. I would not advise you to debate much, but bear a faithful testimony of this work, of what you know and most assuredly believe, and in this way you will have victory every time.
As to money, some shall come to you soon. . . . Sunday, after you left, when on the way to Zarahemla, I saw you and Samuel in a close place, and I struggled in spirit near three-fourths of an hour until you were delivered. I knew you had victory. Since Samuel has returned, I have learned where you were. [We were at Brother W. W. Blair's.] After that, I went on to the meeting. We had a good time. In vision, some saw Brother Joseph in company with two others. A part of the revelation given in March 1833, read_Section 87, paragraphs 1 and 2_the Holy Spirit directing at the same time that through him (Joseph) the oracles were then given to us, even the Church. This is the second time that Joseph has been seen in our midst . . . . Your people are well. Riley spoke and prayed in our prayer meeting.
I sent your license in Samuel's letter. Cut it out. Please write often, and know that the daily prayers of the Church are for you.
May God bless you and protect you, is the prayer of

Z. H. GURLEY.
To E. C. Briggs.

In a second letter, he said, "Samuel is in good spirits and faith that Joseph will soon be with the Church," and advised me to remain in my mission, "because we have received evidence that you will not return to Zarahemla until the Prophet Joseph comes with you to the Church."
In a short time after, I received a letter from my brother, Jason, confirming Brother Gurley's letters, and instructing me to return to Brother Joseph his letter of November 18, as Samuel had left it with me. The first time I saw Joseph after this, I handed said letter to him, with this remark, "I have been instructed to hand this letter back to you."
He replied, "All right."
I never again referred to it or my mission, nor had any conversation with him on religious matters involving his association with the Church, while on my mission.


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Chapter 9

Edmund Heard Preaching of Elders John E. Page and George J. Adams
People in and about Nauvoo Speak Highly of Joseph the Martyr
Emma Tells of Threats Made to Her by Brigham Young
Emma Speaks Endearingly of Her Husband, Joseph
Emma Talks of the Purported Revelation on Polygamy 


I remained in Nauvoo and vicinity until the fall of 1857; worked a part of the time for Joseph on his farm_though he had moved into the city and his brother, Frederick, worked the place.
I became quite well acquainted with the Smith family. Frederick was prepossessing; in fact, a gentleman in his appearance, open and frank in his countenance, six feet high and well proportioned, and I noticed he was very affectionate to his mother and often saluted her with a loving kiss and good morning or good-bye. Everybody loved him.
Joseph was always cheerful, very respectful to his mother, always seemed to be busy. Alexander was always quiet around the house and doing chores. David was a handsome boy, modest and retiring in disposition, studious, and quite an artist; loved and admired by everybody who formed his acquaintance. Sister Emma was an exceptionally good woman, whom everybody spoke of as an example worthy of imitation. In fact, the whole family were esteemed by all people who knew them as good, worthy citizens above reproach, having the reputation of being strictly moral and temperate in all things.
I spent most of my time in reading the Bible and history. I read the ancient history of the Egyptians, Carthaginians, Medes and Persians, Macedonians and Grecians by Charles Rollin, and much of Josephus' History of the Jews. Sometimes I was lonesome and despondent in spirit as I contemplated the condition of the Church, and realized how it once flourished in their city (I am told there were twenty-fivethousand Saints who lived in this city and in Hancock County), and thousands throughout the world joined the Church every month. Elder James Blakeslee (in 1846), when at our house, told me that he had baptized one thousand in six months when he was preaching in the state of New York.
Elder John E. Page of the Twelve had preached in my father's house and our neighborhood. His wonderful memory and talent charmed my very soul while he expounded the gospel of salvation, and proved beyond a doubt that Jesus was the Christ and that the new covenant was, indeed, established again by the heavenly angel. His ecclesiastical knowledge and powerful manner of presenting the truth of the Scriptures, and proving it with historical facts, and the archaeological evidences of both the eastern and western continents, establishing the divine authenticity of the sticks of Judah and Ephraim as spoken of by the Prophet Ezekiel, which were to be joined together just before the restoration of Israel in the last days to build up their beloved Jerusalem, preparatory to the second coming of Jesus Christ_and that city must certainly be rebuilt before His second advent, according to the Scriptures_were truly grand and convincing to the thinking mind.
Also, the eloquent elder, George J. Adams, was one of the most intellectual and fascinating ministers of the gospel I ever heard. It was a grand feast to the soul to hear him preach Christ and repeat the Lord's Prayer. He was an elocutionist of the richest type in word painting I had ever heard in the pulpit, and when I realized what a high pinnacle the Church was on, and contrasted it with the condition of things then in the city, I was amazed and felt so distressed in mind that at times I could not be comforted in anything around me. The excellent examples I had seen in so many of the elders were my themes of thought, being so very much in contrast with the appearance of the dilapidated city of Nauvoo, looking like a bleak and dreary plain in comparison with what it once was, teeming with its thousands of comforted, loving Saints.
The temple, though never finished, was built and enclosed_so it was an imposing structure of art to crown the hill overlooking the happy city and the beautiful waters of the curved Mississippi River, that more than half surrounded their loved homes. Oh, what a contrast! All was swept away except the three corners of the broken fragment of the temple_ like towers, which still stood as specters overlooking the ruins and ragged streets all grown up to weeds and sandburs. Yes, all this change came to the Church and city because of its sins, wicked persecutions, and Brigham Young's misdeeds and mismanagement.
"But," say the enemies of the Church, "all this wickedness is the natural result and fruit of Joseph Smith's efforts in church building, and his personal sins."
I deny it in the most emphatic language it is possible to use! As well might we charge the early Christians with the black night and cruel apostasy that followed the martyrdom of the apostles of Christ. No more cruel voluptuousness of heart ever possessed the human soul, than characterized the long and weary Dark Ages that succeeded the first century of the Christian era. Would anyone dare charge the Christ and His disciples with the treachery of a Judas? Rapine and all manner of corruption, and every form of iniquity, are charged against the Church until the Reformation in the days of Martin Luther in the sixteenth century, and millions of men, women, and innocent children were put to death by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestants; and many burned at the stake in the persecution of each other. One hundred thousand in Germany alone were burned alive at the stake as witches in the short space of twelve months. Twenty-two thousand were massacred in one day in France, and the pope in Rome, soon as he heard of it, celebrated mass in honor of the great victory over the heretics. Henry VIII, the founder of a very popular church in England, who married six wives, divorced two, killed two, and was accessory to the murder of the third by celebrating the birth of an heir to the throne, burned at the stake both Protestants and Roman Catholics, and won the title of the great Defender of the Faith. Intolerance was the general rule.
Were Jesus of Nazareth and his early disciples intolerant, and scandalmongers? Not a sane man now living would so charge them. Even Thomas Paine, after discussing the tendency of the idolatry of the ancient mythologists, at the time in which Jesus Christ lived, and discrediting the account of His birth, says of Him,

Jesus Christ wrote no account of Himself, of His birth, parentage, or anything else; not a line of what is called the New Testament is of His own writing. The history of Him is altogether the work of other people; as to the account given of His resurrection and ascension, it was the necessary counterpart to the story of His birth. His historians, having brought Him into the world in a supernatural manner, were obliged to take Him out again in the same manner, or the first part of the story must have fallen to the ground. . . . That such a person as Jesus Christ existed, and that He was crucified, which was the mode of execution at that day, are historical relations strictly within the limits of possibility. He preached most excellent morality, and equality of man; but He preached also against the corruption and avarice of the Jewish priests, and this brought upon Himself the hatred and vengeance of the whole priesthood. The accusation which those priests brought against Him was that of sedition and conspiracy against the Roman government, to which the Jews were then subject and tributary; and it is not impossible that the Roman government might have some secret apprehension of the effects of His doctrine, as well as the Jewish priests, neither is it improbable that Jesus Christ had in contemplation the delivery of the Jewish nation from the bondage of the Romans. 
Between the two, however, this virtuous reformer and revolutionist lost His life. . . . He called men to the practice of moral virtues and the belief of one God. The trait in His character is philanthropy. . . . Had it been the intention of Jesus Christ to establish a new religion, He would undoubtedly have written this system Himself, or procured it to be written in His lifetime. But there is no publication extant authenticated with His name. All the books called the New Testament were written after His death. He was a Jew by birth and by profession; and He was the Son of God in like manner that every other person is_for the Creator is the Father of all. . . . One thing, however, is much less equivocal, which is that out of the matters contained in those books, together with the assistance of some old stories, the church has set up a system of religion very contradictory to the character of the person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of pomp and revenue, in pretended imitation of the person whose life was humility and poverty.

And Robert G. Ingersoll in one of his lectures, as represented by a paper clipping I have, says,

And let me say here, once for all, that for the man, Christ, I have infinite respect. Let me say once for all, that the place where man died for men is holy ground; and let me say once for all, to that great and serene man I gladly pay the homage of my admiration and my tears. He was a reformer in His day. He was an infidel in His time. He was regarded as a blasphemer, and His life was destroyed by hypocrites, who have, in all ages, done what they could to trample freedom out of the human mind. Had I lived at that time I would have been His friend, and should He come again, He would not find a better friend than I will be.

Their antagonism was mainly against the interpretation of what was accepted as the orthodox churches prescribed by the Scriptures_without weighing the real internal evidence of the sacred volume, and with very slight criticism did they ever pass a remark on what Jesus Himself said. These great agnostics never spoke against Jesus or what He really taught, neither did they ever persecute others, or advise anything to lead men to be intolerant to others. It was left for apostate Christians and Mormons to persecute their fellowmen, and be intolerant to others because of their religious faith.
The winter of 1856-1857 was a long winter to me in some respects, while I stopped in Nauvoo; and the foregoing thoughts occupied my mind.
Joseph Smith's teachings, without a single exception, in every word, line, or sentence on the subject of religion, ever teaches the highest morals and purest Christianity. And he wrote thousands of pages, and examined and controlled many thousands more written by his followers in his lifetime; and these pages of literature on the subject of religion ever smack with the purest of motives and highest morals, declaring ancient Christianity restored again to better the world, promising gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost to everyone who would continue in the Word, by which they might know of the doctrine, whether it is of God or man. By a careful study of the Scriptures and Elder Joseph Smith's writings, I could see he was, indeed, a thorough, true Christian; and he had enstamped his very life upon his affectionate, innocent wife and children. Could all this be done and Joseph Smith be a bad man? Jesus says,

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. (Matthew 12:34-35)

The people in and out of the Church about Nauvoo, who personally knew Joseph Smith before he was murdered, spoke of him with respect and declared he was a good, honorable man, a worthy citizen, and declared the scandalous stories circulated about him were base misrepresentations put in circulation because of religious intolerance, or by his political enemies. At the same time, the newcomers into the city after the death of Smith, who spoke against him, were rabid in their denunciation of him and delighted in telling extravagant stories about him, though they never had seen him. This thought impressed me as very singular and strange_that in this enlightened age, a man who had done so much to stir up the whole religious world, in the very place where he lived and was murdered, should be spoken so well of by his old neighbors, though they did not believe in his prophetic calling or his religion; and his enemies, who were not personally acquainted with him, should tell all manner of evil things about him_that he preached and practiced polygamy in Nauvoo. But all who personally knew Joseph Smith, in and out of the Church, denied in the most emphatic manner that Smith ever taught or practiced polygamy in Nauvoo.
Mr. R. H. Loomis, who was an honorable man and well acquainted with Joseph, said, "I believed Mr. Smith was honest and conscientious in his religion, and did not teach or practice polygamy."
And Sister Emma, in speaking of the condition of the Church after her husband's death, said to me, "I was threatened by Brigham Young because I opposed and denounced his measures and would not go west with them. At that time, they did not know where they were going themselves, but he told me that he would yet bring me prostrate to his feet. My house was set on fire several times, and one time wood was piled up at the side of the house and set afire. It burned the siding considerably and went out before we discovered it. It was either set on fire, or by accident or carelessness caught afire a number of times, and went out of itself when we did not discover it and put it out; but I never had any fear that the house would burn down as long as the Inspired Translation of the Bible was in it. I always felt safe when it was in the house, for I knew it could not be destroyed."
She spoke very affectionately of Joseph, and said, "I never had any reason to oppose him, for we were always on the best of terms ourselves, but he allowed some others to persuade him in some measures against his will, and those things I opposed. He was opposed to the destroying of the press of the Nauvoo Expositor, but the council overruled him by vote and he told them they were the cause of its destruction, but he would be held personally responsible for it; and I often heard Joseph contend against measures in council, and sometimes he would yield to them."
I said, "Those were city councils?"
She replied, "Sometimes, and other times in councils of the Church, which were often held in our house. For the last eighteen months or two years before his death, it seemed the best elders were kept away from him as much as possible on missions, and the worst characters in the Church hovered around him all the time."
When Sister Emma made the above statements, it was a real revelation to me. I had not realized before how the Church came to so soon run into such a horrible apostasy. She spoke so endearingly of Joseph, in confidence, tears filling her eyes, that I could see she reverenced his very memory, and had full faith in Joseph's inspiration as a prophet of God, and she always denied to me in the most emphatic language that he taught or practiced polygamy.
Again, she said several times in conversation with me that the Utah Mormons had by their acts, since the death of her husband, made true all the slanders and vile things charged against the Church. I was also present when my brother, Jason Briggs, asked Sister Emma in relation to the purported revelation on polygamy, published by Orson Pratt in 1852, and she again denied that her husband ever taught polygamy, or that she ever burned any manuscript of a revelation purporting to favor polygamy, and that "the statement that I burned the original of the copy Brigham Young claimed to have, is false, and made out of whole cloth, and not true in any particular." My brother was quite particular in his inquiry, when she said, "I never saw anything purporting to be a revelation authorizing polygamy until I saw it in the Seer, published by Orson Pratt." Several were present at the time, and I shall never forget the candid manner of her expression when she, without a single hesitancy, with honesty and truthfulness marking her countenance, gave the lie to Brigham Young's assertion on the twenty-ninth of August 1852 in Salt Lake City, when he said, "The original of this revelation was burned up. . . . Sister Emma burned the original. The reason I mention this is because that the people who did know of the revelation, supposed it was not now in existence." Mark the thought: "The people who did know of the revelation, supposed it was not now in existence." Brigham Young, at the very instance when it was introduced, claimed that no one else on earth except himself knew of the existence of this purported copy of a revelation which is sweeping in its character. It is called "a new and everlasting covenant, and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory; for all who will have a blessing at my hands, shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as was instituted from the foundations of the world. And as pertaining to the everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fullness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fullness thereof, must and shall abide the law or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God" (Deseret News, Extra, September 14, 1852, pp. 25-27). (The first publication of the blasphemous production called a revelation.)
Which shall we believe? Sister Emma, the "Elect Lady" and prophet's wife, or the bold, unsupported statement of Brigham Young? Is what the Book of Mormon calls the "grosser crime," now what Mr. Young calls "the only means of exaltation and glorification"; and all this great change to rest on the uncertainty of a purported copy of a purported revelation burned by a woman? It is too absurd, and a rebuke to good common sense. It cannot be entertained by an honest-thinking, logical mind for a single moment.
The great English author and traveler sums up his evidence against the introduction of the accursed, soul-destroying practice of polygamy in this strong language of logic and truthfulness:

THE GREAT SCHISM

This dogma of a plurality of wives has not come into the church without fierce disputes and a violent schism.
George A. Smith, cousin of Joseph and historian of the Mormon Church, tells me from the papers in his office, that about five hundred bishops and elders live in polygamy in the Salt Lake valleys; these five hundred elders having, as he believes, on the average, about four wives each_and probably fifteen children; so that this very peculiar institution has come, in fourteen years, to affect the lives and fortunes, more or less, of ten thousand persons. This number, large though it seems, is but a twentieth part of the following claimed by Young. Assuming, then, that these five hundred pluralists are all of the same opinion_in the first place, as to the Divine will having been truly manifested to Joseph; in the second place, as to that manifestation having been faithfully recorded; and in the third place, as to that record having been loyally preserved_there must still be room for a very large difference of opinion. The great body of male Saints must always be content with a single wife; Young himself admits so much. Only the rich, the steadfast, the complaisant, can be indulged in the luxury of a harem even now, when the thing is fresh and the number of female converts is large enough to supply the want. As nature itself is fighting against this dogma, the humble Saint cannot hope to enjoy in the future any of the advantages which he is now denied. Many, even among the wealthy, hesitate, like Captain Hooper, to commit themselves forever to a doubtful rule of family order, and to a certain collision with the United States. Some protest in words, and some recede from the church, without, however, renouncing the authority of Joseph Smith.
The existence of a second Mormon Church_of a great schismatic body, is not denied by Young, who of course considers it the Devil's work. Vast bodies of the Saints have left the church on account of polygamy; twenty thousand, I am told, have done so in California alone. Many of these non-pluralist Saints exist in Missouri and in Illinois. Even among those who fondly cling to their church at Salt Lake City, it is apparent to me that nineteen in twenty have no interest, and not much faith, in polygamy. The belief that their founder, Joseph, never lived in this objectionable state is widely spread.
Prophets, bishops, elders, all the great leaders of the faith, assert that for months before his death at Carthage, the founder of Mormonism had indulged himself, though in secret, with a household of many wives. Of course, they do not call his sealing to himself these women an indulgence; they say he took to himself such females only as were given to him of God. But they claim him as a pluralist. Now, if this assertion could be proved, the trouble would be ended, since anything that Joseph practiced would be held a virtue, a necessity, by his flock. On the other side, a pluralist clergy is bound to maintain the truth of this hypothesis. For if Joseph were not a polygamist, he could hardly, they would reason, have been a faithful Mormon and a Saint of God; since it is the present belief of their body that a man with only one wife will become a bachelor angel, a mere messenger and servant to the patriarchal gods. So, without producing much evidence of the fact, the elders have stoutly asserted that Joseph had secretly taken to himself a multitude of women, three or four of whom they point out to you, as still living at Salt Lake in the family of Brigham Young.
Still, no proof has ever yet been adduced to show that Joseph either lived as a polygamist or dictated the revelation in favor of a plurality of wives. That he did not openly live with more than one woman is admitted by all_or by nearly all; and so far as his early and undoubted writings are concerned, nothing can be clearer than that his feelings were opposed to the doctrines and practices which have, since his death, become the high notes of his church. In the Book of Mormon he makes God Himself say that He delights in the chastity of women, and that the harems of David and Solomon are abominations in His sight. Elder Godbe, to whom I pointed out this passage, informed me that the bishops explain away this view of polygamy as being uttered by God at a time when He was angry with His people on account of their sins, and as not expressing His permanent will on the subject of a holy life.
The question of fact is open, like the question of inference. Joseph, it is well-known, set his face against Rigdon's theory of the spiritual wife; and it is equally well-known that he neither published the revelations which bear his name, nor spoke of such a document as being in his hands.
Emma, Joseph's wife and secretary, the partner of all his toils, of all his glories, coolly, firmly, permanently denies that her husband ever had any other wife than herself. She declares the story to be false, the revelation a fraud. She denounces polygamy as the invention of Young and Pratt_a work of the Devil_brought in by them for the destruction of God's new church. On account of this doctrine, she has separated herself from the Saints of Utah, and has taken up her dwelling with what she calls a remnant of the true church at Nauvoo.
The four sons of Joseph_Joseph, William [Frederick], Alexander, David_all deny and denounce what they call Young's imposture of plurality. These sons of Joseph are now grown men; and their personal interests are so clearly identified with the success of their father's church, to the members of which their fellowship would be precious, that nothing less than a personal conviction of the truth of what they say can be honestly considered as having turned them against Brigham Young.
As it is, these sons of the original Seer have formed a great schism in the church. Under the name of Josephites, a band of Mormons are now gathering round these sons of the prophet, strong enough to beard the lion in his den. Alexander Smith has been at Salt Lake while I have been here, and has been suffered to preach against polygamy in Independence Hall.
Young appears to me very sore on account of these young men, whom he would gladly receive into his family and adopt as his sons, if they would only let him. David he regards with a peculiar grace and favor. "Before that child was born," he said to me one day, when the conversation turned on these young men, "Joseph told me that he would be a son; that his name must be David; that he would grow up to be the guide and ruler of this church." I asked Young whether he thought this prophecy would come to pass. "Yea," he answered, "in the Lord's own time, David will be called to this work." I asked him whether David was not just now considered to be out of the church.
"He will be called and reconciled," said Young, "the moment he feels a desire to be led aright."
This schism on account of polygamy_led, as it is, by the prophet's widow and her sons_is a serious fact for the church, even in the judgment of those bishops and elders who in minor affairs would seem to take no heed for the morrow. Young is alive to it; for in reading the Chicago platform, he can see how easily the Gentile world might reconcile itself to the prophet's sons in Nauvoo, while waging war upon himself and the supporters of polygamy in Utah.
The chief, almost the sole, evidence that we have found in Salt Lake City in favor of Joseph having had several wives in the flesh, is an assertion made by Young.
I was pointing out to him the loss of moral force to which his people must be always subject while the testimony on that cardinal point of practice is incomplete. If Joseph were sealed to many women, there must be records, witnesses, of the fact; where are those records and those witnesses?
"I," said Young vehemently, "am the witness. I myself sealed dozens of women to Joseph."
I asked him whether Emma was aware of it. He said he guessed she was; but he could not say. In answer to another question, he admitted that Joseph had no issue by any of these wives who were sealed to him in dozens.
From two other sources, we have obtained particles of evidence confirming Young's assertion. Two witnesses, living far apart, unknown to each other, have told us they were intimate with women who assert that they had been sealed to Joseph at Nauvoo. Young assures me that several old ladies, now living under his roof, are widows of Joseph; and that all the apostles know them, and reverence them as such. Three of these ladies I have seen in the Tabernacle. I have learned that some of these women have borne children to the second prophet, though they bore none to the first.
My own impression (after testing all the evidence to be gathered from friend and foe) is, that these old ladies, though they may have been sealed to Joseph for eternity, were not his wives in the sense in which Emma, like the rest of women, would use the word wife. I think they were his spiritual queens and companions, chosen after the method of the Wesleyan Perfectionists; with a view, not to pleasures of the flesh, but to the glories of another world. Young may be technically right in the dispute; but the prophet's sons are, in my opinion, legally and morally in the right. It is my firm conviction, that if the practice of plurality should become a permanent conquest of this American church, the Saints will not owe it to Joseph Smith, but to Brigham Young. (New America, 3d ed., by William Hepworth Dixon, editor of the Athenaeum and author of The Holy Land, William Penn, etc., [Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Company, 1869], Chapter 30 entire, pp. 220-225)


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Chapter 10

The Lord Directs Edmund to Visit William Marks, Israel Rogers, and James Blakeslee
Brother Marks Talks about Polygamy at Nauvoo and Joseph's Denunciation of it
Marks Also Discusses the Purported Revelation on Polygamy
Baneemyism
Edmund Visits Saints in Wisconsin


The facts are, dear reader, I have not enlisted in the interest of the Church without a full and free investigation of its claims from every moral, religious, and political standpoint, and weighing, as far as possible with my limited knowledge, the evidence on either side of the subject; and at my baptism I resolved that by the grace of God I would discountenance wrongdoing in the Church. When I heard Sister Emma's statement, as before published, I believed her testimony and I reaffirmed my vow, for I could plainly see that through evil-minded men the Church had been brought to shame and its final rejection as an organization; hence, the necessity of a reorganization of the Church. I felt thankful to God that the prophet's wife had never been deceived, was in the Church, and had the Inspired Translation of the Holy Scriptures left in her hands for safekeeping, while the Church was passing through the dark and cloudy day of apostasy.
I had learned many things while I was in Nauvoo, and to illustrate how I was taught one principle of the gospel which had bothered me more or less, in relation to the punishment of the wicked, I will relate one incident. One day, I was very much cast down and lonely. A feeling of utter despair and distress came over me, and I threw myself on the bed and exclaimed, "Hell can't be any worse than this world, and if there is a Devil, I wish I could see him now!" Instantly, the Devil rushed to my bedside and leaned over me, and said, "Here I am." I was frightened and covered my head in fear and could only say, "Jesus, Jesus!"; and while I struggled to pray and could only say, "Jesus, Jesus!" all of a sudden I saw an eye, and a happy, peaceful, calm, joyous sensation came over me. It looked bright as fire, yet beautiful, with an expression of love and kindness defying description; and I heard these words: "Thus saith the Lord, I have permitted you to have only a taste of the pains of Hell, so you may know something of the distress of the damned in Hell; and the joy and happiness of the blessed ones in Heaven, in contrast with the suffering of the wicked in Hell."
This manifestation was so real and convincing, and led to so much thought upon the subject of the punishment of the wicked, that I pondered over it for days, and I was led to the idea that if the withdrawal of God's protecting influence and comfort of the Spirit was merely a taste of the pains of Hell, what was that in comparison to the doomed who would be banished in the Prison House until they had paid the uttermost farthing, and Hell should give up its dead? The Psalmist David seemed to hold the same view, when he said,

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. (Psalm 116:3-4)

I was very watchful all the time to gather any expression from Sister Emma, in which she reflected any feeling concerning the latter-day work. One evening, she said, "If anyone will follow the instructions as laid down in the Proverbs of Solomon and the Psalms of David, they will come out all right." But Joseph said, "David was not raised from the dead when the righteous came forth at the time of Christ's resurrection, because he put Uriah to death; and the crimes of polygamy and murder always go together."
I had a desire to lead her out in conversation concerning her expectations of Joseph ultimately taking his father's place in the Church, but she always avoided any conversation on that subject. I had a dream, or vision, in which I was talking to her about it, and Joseph appeared in front of a window in the door, looking at us. We both saw him at the same time, and his mother stopped talking and observed, "Joseph would rather I should say nothing about it." After I had this manifestation of the Spirit, I felt perfectly satisfied that Joseph and his mother both believed that he would, in the due time of the Lord, take his father's place in the Church, and all my anxiety to talk with them about it left me.
I then had a great anxiety to know just when he would be called to take his father's place as the prophet in the Church, and for this purpose I set apart a certain day, with a resolution that I would neither eat nor drink until the Lord would reveal to me the day that Joseph would take the presidency of the Church. I abstained from food and water all day, and just as the shades of evening came on, I was kneeling in prayer and the Holy Ghost rested on me in mighty power, and said, "It is none of your business to know what any other man will do. It is enough for you to know what you ought to do, without reference to anyone else, saith the Lord"; and the statement found in the Gospel According to Saint John, Chapter 21, verses 21-22,

Peter seeing him [John] saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me,

came to my memory with great force, and so suddenly was I shocked by the Holy Spirit that my whole being at first trembled with fear. But soon the hallowed influence of the Spirit comforted me with such an assuring peace and joy that all doubt left me, and I never had any more anxiety over the matter. I felt assurance that Joseph would be the president of the Church, as a decree from the Almighty God had revealed it to me by so many varied manifestations, that all seemed to rush into mind in an instant of time. My comfort of mind was such that I could say, indeed, I had realized the promise of Jesus,

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

But to return to my narrative. While I was yet stopping at Brother Joseph's farm, I passed the evening at one of his neighbors, James Richardson. And about nine o'clock I started from his place, and the Holy Spirit in great power, more so than I had ever felt before, rested on me and I fell to the ground, and a person stood over me, and said, "Truly, men are creatures of circumstances over which they have no control; but if they are prepared, it will do them no injury. You are a creature of circumstances over which you have no control, and like John who was in the wilderness, not a forest of trees, but like ancient Israel who were in the wilderness, not knowing the source from whence deliverance came, so are you in the wilderness of scattered latter-day Israel, who do not know the source from whence deliverance comes. And if I now send you into the northern part of this state, will you continue on your mission, or will you run away and go home?"
I answered, "I will do just what you say."
He then said, "Go into the northern part of this state and call on my servants, William Marks, Israel Rogers, and James Blakeslee, and tell them what you know and most assuredly believe, and then you will be directed to visit others."
That this was a heavenly messenger sent to me, I had not a single doubt. That it was now my duty to commence my missionary work to the Latter Day Saints in earnest was made plain to me by an angel of God, and that I could tell all the Saints, without doubt, that the Church would be fully organized and that the gospel of Christ is unchangeable, the only means by which salvation can be obtained by mortal man. Ah, my gladness of heart cannot be described by pen and ink, while the still assuring voice of the Spirit gave me comfort of soul and confidence in the gospel of Christ as taught in the Three Records! I do know that messengers, who are greater in power than mortal man, minister to men on earth; and like the apostles and prophets of old, I can testify I know the gospel of Christ is true and the power of God unto salvation, to all who obey it. The power that rested on me at this time was similar to the manifestation I had when I fell on the floor at Brother Blair's; and a train of thought filled my mind as I pondered over this glorious revelation, bringing to my memory so very many of the manifestations I had received from the Lord by His Holy Spirit, that my confidence was unshaken in the divine plan of redemption of mankind through Jesus the Christ.
I soon started on my mission to visit Brethren William Marks, Israel Rogers, and James Blakeslee, as instructed by the angel. I went by Amboy and called on Brother W. W. Blair. He was now firm in the faith and hope that Joseph would be divinely called to the presidency of the Church, and that God had, indeed, truly commenced to organize His government and Kingdom again on earth; and he informed me that after we left him, about Christmas, he went up to Zarahemla to visit the Saints and was much pleased with what he saw and heard, and was baptized by Brother Zenas H. Gurley, Sr.
Brother Blair took me in his carriage to visit Brethren William Marks, who then lived at Shabbona Grove, and Israel Rogers, on the Fox River (near Sandwich, Illinois). Both were very much interested in the gospel and Church work and received us very kindly, expressing hope that our mission was all we claimed for it, and that Joseph would, indeed, take his father's place in the Church, and that they were waiting in faith that God would in His own time revive His Church. Brother Marks was indignant and disgusted over the pretensions and preposterous claims of Brigham Young and James J. Strang, and said, "I stand in the faith of the gospel of Christ just as I received it in Joseph's days." Brother Rogers had obeyed the gospel when he was a young man, in 1840, in the state of New York, and was still a firm believer that Joseph was a prophet of God, but had never had any confidence in the pretended prophets and leaders of the Church who had arisen since the martyrdom of Joseph. He gave me much encouragement and I thought he would soon be with us, for he said he had believed for some time that little Joseph might yet be called to take his father's place. He was so full of business he could not talk very much with me, but manifested to me that he was not aware there was so much written in favor of lineal priesthood and Joseph's blessing. Sister Rogers seemed more alive and interested in my mission than he was at that time.
Sister Marks bore a very strong testimony of the gospel and of the wonderful power of healings and gifts of the Holy Spirit she had often witnessed in Nauvoo. She said, "Oh, I did not have to call for the elders to minister to my children. Often I would anoint them with oil when sick and they would immediately be well." Brother Marks was all alive to the interest of the gospel and latter-day work, and as proof that he had great confidence in the Prophet Joseph, and knew that he was a man of God, said, "Just before his death I had quite a long talk with him. I had been feeling badly about the rumors that were being circulated about polygamy, and those old stories started by John C. Bennett concerning spiritual wives, and I was fearful that Joseph was mixed up with them in some way. But in his conversation he denounced all those things in the strongest language possible, and I became satisfied that Joseph was not abetting the crime of polygamy in any sense or form. In fact, he told me he would go on the stand the very next Sunday and denounce it publicly, and also advised me to look up the matter in the most thorough manner, and if I found anyone in the Church who was teaching spiritual wives or any form of polygamy, to bring charges against them and he would help me to prosecute them until the Church was cleansed of all such characters. His language was in such earnest solicitude for the welfare of the Church, and against evil in any direction, that I was much encouraged and was determined to stand by him to my utmost ability."
I then said, "Brother Marks, do you know anything of that purported revelation concerning polygamy, as published in the Seer by Orson Pratt?"
He replied, "I never saw any such thing until I saw it in Pratt's paper, nor did I ever hear of it during Joseph's life. It was evidently gotten up by Brigham Young and some of the Twelve after Joseph's death."
I had such confidence in Brother Marks, knowing he was the president of the stake at Nauvoo, that I was very particular in asking him on this matter. He said, "I think Joseph had been deceived in some men who were hovering around him, and that he was not aware of their real character until just before his death. In fact, since then I have been led to believe that it was hidden from Joseph until just before his death, so those wicked men could fulfill the Scriptures in their apostasy in the latter days; and it was to be, or the Bible would not be true in its predictions in relation to those referred to, where the Apostle Paul says,

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:1-2),

and Jesus Christ says of them,

Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. (Matthew 24:26)

"I tell you, Brother Briggs, this latter-day apostasy was to be, and the Utah Mormons are fulfilling it to the very letter."
When Brother Marks made the above statements to me, I could not help seeing the force of his application of those sacred passages to Brigham Young and the Mormons. And when I connected it with the prophecy of Jeremiah 17:5-6, where he says,

Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert [Great American Desert], and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited

(until the Mormons went there), it did seem in very deed that all these things were to be, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled; and also to teach all men that they should not be led by their fellowmen, but, indeed, be taught by the Holy Ghost which will lead into all truth, as the Savior taught His disciples nineteen centuries ago. And if they would not learn by precept, they must be taught through suffering and disappointment, as we now hear through the wail of disheartened, scattered Latter Day Saints who have been led to and fro in the land during the dark and cloudy day of apostasy.
I then went alone to visit Brother James Blakeslee, who lived at Batavia. He was then associated with Charles B. 
Thompson, in what was known as Baneemyism. He at first opposed me quite vigorously, but I had the Spirit to expound the law of lineage and the promises to Joseph and his seed as found so abundantly in the Scriptures, and also the gift of prophecy, in which I declared these words:

Thus saith the Lord, The time is near when the hope of Baneemyism and Charles Thompson's deception will come to naught, and you will be a witness of its overthrow and shame.

At my first visit with him, he did not give much encouragement, though he treated me very kindly. He remembered being at my father's home when I was but a small boy.
I then went up to Beloit, Wisconsin, and visited Brethren Samuel Powers, Henry Pease, William Hartshorn, Otis Bass, and some others of the Saints; and with Samuel Powers of the Twelve, went to Beaverton, Boone County, Illinois, where Brother Zenos Whitcomb and wife lived. They had joined the Church in Canada in 1839, and were firm in the faith of the gospel of Christ; and had never been deceived by any of the false prophets who had arisen since the martyrdom of Joseph. At this place, Brother Powers had been holding meetings some little time, and much interest was manifested to hear the Word.
From Beaverton, I went to Burlington, Wisconsin, where I found Brethren William Aldrich, John Gaylord, Chester Smith, Moses Nickerson, and others, in the vicinity of Voree where James J. Strang once had his headquarters. These brethren all denounced Strang as an impostor and had never embraced his philosophy and teaching, but were real Latter Day Saints and hoping that the Church would again arise and shine as in the days of Joseph_and were really expecting some of Joseph's children would ere long be called to take the lead of the Church. But when I informed them of our hope in the Reorganization, the law of lineage, and bearing testimony of the gifts of prophecy and revelation that had been given to the Saints in Zara-hemla, concerning the coming forth of little Joseph (as he was then called) to take his father's place as prophet of the Church, they soon had evidence of the Spirit to the truth of my mission and joined the Reorganization.
I also went to Rochester, Wisconsin, and found Brother Lyman Hewitt and his brother. They had formerly been Presbyterians. Lyman soon received my message of good news, for he had been patiently waiting to hear of the rise of the Church once more. They were also from the state of New York and had received the gospel soon after the Church started, and after the Church was rejected in Nauvoo they moved into Wisconsin.
Then I went to Waukesha and met with many of the old Saints there, but they had been very much tried in their faith, through what they called William Smith and Joseph Wood's philosophy of church building, and some of them were investigating modern Spiritualism. A cousin of mine, Sister Emeline Welch, was then a firm believer in Spiritualism, but most of the old members of the Church were firm in the gospel as taught by my brother, Jason, before the death of Joseph; but were now inactive and waiting, as little Joseph had not yet made a move as they had been led to believe he would through the hope held out by the Reorganization for some years_as they were among the first to receive Jason's revelation of November 18, 1851, and some of them attended the conference of June 12-13, 1852.
Here I met one of my uncles, Riley Damon, who never belonged to any religious denomination and, as I had supposed, was indifferent to the Christian religion. But one evening after supper, he drew his chair close to me, and said, "Nephew, I want you to tell me all about your faith, hope, and what you are doing." I accordingly delineated my hope in the gospel of Christ, explaining my faith in the doctrine as taught by Jesus and His disciples, and illustrated it by the examples they left for us to follow. How that Jesus Himself was baptized and commanded His disciples to baptize, and they taught baptism for the remission of sins, and the signs and gifts of the Holy Ghost followed the obedient in Christ; that none were baptized except they were old enough to be taught faith in God, repentance, laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead. There would be yet in the future two resurrections and eternal judgment, and that all men_the race of Adam_would have the offer and would hear the gospel. 
Some, who are termed the first fruits, would be obedient in this probation, or life; others who were not fortunate enough to obey the gospel in this mortal existence, would die without a life in Christ Jesus, that makes them free from sin and death, and all such would be consigned to what is termed the lower parts of the earth_other passages of scripture terming it the Prison House, where Jesus descended before He ascended far above all heavens, and then gave gifts unto men as on the Day of Pentecost. And as the Apostle Peter says, Christ went and preached the gospel to the spirits in Prison, to them that were dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But those who did not avail themselves when they had the opportunity to obey the gospel in this life, would not in the general judgment have part in the glory of the sun, but would be judged worthy to inherit some of the mansions in lesser glories in the Kingdom of God; that the Church and Kingdom of God on earth, established by Jesus Christ and His apostles eighteen centuries before, suffered violence from the days of John the Baptist. The forerunner of Jesus was beheaded, Christ crucified, and all the apostles of Christ suffered martyrdom, save John, the Lord's brother; and within three centuries ten universal persecutions were waged against the Church of Christ until the time of Constan-tine, when the corruption of the world swallowed up the Church, and the Dark Ages intervened. During this time of persecution, millions of the Saints and professors of religion were put to death, many of them by being burned at the stake, and such violence did the Church suffer that no one on the whole earth held to and advocated the doctrine of Christ in its entirety. 
All the churches in their fragmentary organizations held to some little smattering, in a broken manner, of the principles of the gospel, but had all lost the authority to administer the ordinances of the Church of God; and hence, the necessity of having the authority again sent by the hand of an angel of God, as foreseen by the Evangelist John on the Isle of Patmos, as recorded in Chapter 14, verses 6-7. I then gave him a concise history of the rise of the Church in our day, with its wonderful progress for fourteen years during the life of Joseph the Choice Seer; of the apostasy through Brigham Young, James J. Strang, Gladden Bishop, J. C. Brewster, and others; and now of the promises left to us that little Joseph would, in the due time of the Lord, be called to take his father's place as president and prophet of the Church. I was very much led out in testimony. For nearly three hours we thus canvassed and conversed over our hope, and when we were through talking, my uncle said,
"Nephew, I believe you are on the right track, and I believe the gospel of Christ is true and the Latter Day Saints the true Church of God, and all I have to say to you is, do not allow anyone to spoil you. I have been watching the Church for years, and have seen so many fall through flattery, and some because they would get heady and think they were the ones who were doing the work, instead of giving God the glory. You continue just as you are, humble and devoted, and you will come out all right."
I answered, "I am surprised! Why, uncle, I did not know that you had any interest or faith in the gospel of Christ. I thought you were a skeptic or favored infidelity."
He continued, "No, I have believed the gospel ever since I first heard it during Smith's life, but the apostasy of Brigham Young and others kept me out of the Church. But you go ahead now, and you will come out all right."
"But," I replied, "will you not come with us and help us, and also secure your own salvation?"
He answered, "Oh, I do not know what I will do, but you go on and do all the good you can."
The second time I saw him was in the spring of 1859, in company with Elder Blair. He was much interested in our hope. I pleaded with him to be baptized. He said he knew he ought to, but he continued, "If I should make a start and fail, like so many others have, I would never get over it_it would kill me."
I said, "You are a businessman, and would not neglect your business where it involves only a matter of dollars and cents, which is nothing in comparison with the welfare of souls. How can you neglect so great an interest as the worth of a soul and lose prospect of gaining the celestial glory in the first resurrection, and sonship as a joint heir with Christ?"
He replied, "I do not know, but it seems hard, somehow, to make a start"; and his last inquiry was, "Will you come back this way?"
I said, "Will you be baptized if I do?"
His answer was, "I do not know."
I left him, feeling very sorry for his condition. Though he was then a hale, hearty man, in six weeks he was dead and buried, and I have never visited that neighborhood since.


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Chapter 11

Edmund and W. W. Blair Meet with the Hedrickites in Conference
Some Claim Sidney Rigdon Should Be the President
Many Embrace the Reorganization


The winter of 1857-1858, Brother W. W. Blair and I met with the Hedrickites in conference at Bloomington, Illinois. They treated us very kindly, though they would not extend to us the privilege of presenting our views and the hope of the Reorganization. It seemed to us that Elder Granville Hedrick was the sole adviser and leader of their society. His claims for himself were extraordinary, and he took peculiar positions as regards the reputation of the Choice Seer. In my life, I have heard many hard things said against Joseph the Martyr, but never so many things clustered in a three-hour discourse as did Mr. Hedrick in a talk at their conference. He even resorted to the silly stories of the money-digging and the black sheep to charm the hidden treasures, as published in some unreliable literature of the present age, and told them as facts with all seriousness. Brother Blair listened for about an hour and a half, then took his hat and left. He was gone about an hour and returned in time to hear the close of the onslaught.
Their claims were singular. They honored Joseph as a true prophet in 1833, claiming that while in the midst of giving a certain revelation, he fell. They accepted a part of the revelation as from God, and rejected the other part as from Satan.
We were entertained with hospitality by Elder A. C. Haldeman, and I will mention a little incident that took place while at his table. I think most of those who attended their conference were sitting around the table, upon which was a bounteous supply of the comforts of life, both with substantials and delicacies. As the waiters inquired of each one which they would have, tea or coffee, all, from the quite elderly to the youngest, replied, "I prefer water" or, "I would like a glass of water, please." I was a little surprised to see the goodly, happy company all around the large table refuse tea and coffee, and I thought when they came to my turn I would respond, "I will have a cup of tea, please." But when they reached me, I, too, answered, "I guess not, but would prefer a glass of water, please." From that day to the present it has never been inconvenient for me to go without tea or coffee. Before that time, I had so acquired the habit that it was quite a cross to refuse the unnecessary stimulant, that is in fact an injury to the human system. So, really, the Hedrickite conference in Bloomington was a blessing to me. I was much pleased by the manner and devotion of the members, generally. I thought they were sincere. Brother Adams, David Judy, and Jedediah Owens were present. They all seemed to wish to be friendly to us, and I thought by their expressions and manner they wished, as much as possible, to make us feel at home and welcome in their midst.
In the winter and spring of 1858, I visited several of the Saints in Bureau County and northern part of the state. Brother Israel Huffaker and several in his neighborhood were influenced by the claims of Sidney Rigdon. As but few know what his claims were, I will briefly add here that he did not claim at first to be the president of the Church, or even claim his right to preside by virtue of being one of Joseph's counselors; but in his blindness he claimed to be a guardian of the Church, and as the Church was fourteen years old, it had the right to choose its guardian_and as he was one of the First Presidency, he presented himself as such guardian. But as the Church did not know such an officer in the priesthood, they of course refused to sustain him as such, and he did not have light enough to know what to tell the people. They in turn could not help him, and refused as a body to follow him. Yet, there were a few who still held to him as a leader. Brother Huffaker, of Bureau County, was one of those few who were claiming that Rigdon should be the president. The passage which says,

Of the Melchisedec priesthood, three presiding high priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the presidency of the church (DC 104:11),

was often quoted by them to sustain their position. The forty-second paragraph of the same section, they overlooked. It reads,

And again, the duty of the president of the office of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses. Behold, here is wisdom, yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet; having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.

And they never quoted Section 17:12, which says,

Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon, is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him; and he is to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost which is in the one who ordains him.

They also lost sight of Doctrine and Covenants 99:6, which says,

The president of the church, who is also the president of the [high] council, is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged, in his administration, by the voice of the church,

and that the promise pertaining to the president of the Church, which included all those blessings, having all those blessings which He bestows on the head of the Church, were gifts truly lineal in their descent from father to son, as is surely declared in the following terse language:

Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers, for ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God; therefore your life and the priesthood hath remained, and must needs remain, through you and your lineage, until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began. Therefore [as much as to say, In consideration of these facts], blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savor unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen. (DC 84:3-4)

The highest, the most important gifts pertaining to the priesthood, certainly are those required as "a light" and "a savor unto my people Israel." These belong to the Moses man, who is always president of the Church, and are, indeed, blessings which are absolutely necessary to bring about the restoration of all things spoken by all the prophets since the world began. Let us see, now, where that blessing belongs by lineal descent:

And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house, which I have commanded you to build, for the boarding of strangers. Let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation; for this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him; and as I said unto Abraham, concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, In thee, and in thy seed, shall the kindred of the earth be blessed. Therefore, let my servant Joseph, and his seed after him, have place in that house, from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord, and let the name of that house be called the Nauvoo House; and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting place for the weary traveler, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion, and the glory of this the cornerstone thereof; that he may receive also the counsel from those whom I have set to be as plants of renown, and as watchmen upon her walls. (DC 107:18)

The blessing of the president here is declared fixed or established by an oath, as God swore by Himself as He did to Abraham by an oath:

For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath. (Hebrews 6:13-17)

So the blessing and anointing upon Joseph, and the blessing upon the head of Joseph's posterity after him, were established by an oath.
The Book of Mormon also clinches this thought by stating that the Choice Seer was to be of the lineage of Joseph of Egypt, in the following language:

A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins . . . . And his name shall be called after me [Joseph]; and it shall be after the name of his father [whose name was Joseph]. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation. (2 Nephi 2:11, 29-31)

Rigdon, like Brigham Young, Strang, Brewster, Thompson, and all the false prophets, never pretended to be ordained according to the law governing in the case, as found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants 17:17, as follows:

Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder), bishop, high counselor, and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a high council, or general conference.

It is very singular that none of those pretenders and aspirants to the presidency of the Church ever claimed to be thus ordained, and yet they found followers among the Saints, and it proves just as effectually that they were not being led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. But in harmony with law governing the ordination of the president of the Church, Joseph, the Choice Seer, was ordained at Amherst, Ohio, January 25, 1832, and his true successor and son was ordained at Amboy, Illinois, April 6, 1860, in a General Conference of the Church. It seems strange, indeed, how it is possible for any of the Saints to be so blinded that they will still follow such pretended leaders, after it has been pointed out to them that in this one essential of ordination, their president has failed to comply with the law of God. But to return to my narrative.
Edwin Cadwell, Jacob Doan, Royal Stone and his son, Stephen, Jotham Barrett, William W. and Winthrop H. Blair and their mother and families, Charles Williams and family of Amboy, Illinois; Alva Smith and wife of Dixon; and David Fuller and mother of East Paw Paw, were now all interested in the Reorganization. Brother Cadwell had been president of the branch, and most of them had been members of the Church in Nauvoo and well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph, and were now rejoicing in our hope and enjoying the gifts of the Spirit to a goodly degree.
Brother Reuben Newkirk was appointed at the conference held on April 6, 1858, at Zarahemla, Wisconsin, to meet me at Amboy the last of the month, and we soon started on our mission. Stopped the first night with Brother Richardson near La Moille, ten or twelve miles south of Amboy. He was a strong Baneemyite, but treated us very kindly. We then visited some brethren in Bureau County, whom I had called on before. We then called on Brother Lightfoot at Ottawa, and Brethren Benjamin, Phineas, and Charles Bronson of Princeville, Peoria County, who were waiting for the Lord to revive His work. They had been members of the Church in the days of Joseph, and soon received the Spirit, attesting our hope and the coming of little Joseph to take his father's place in the Church.
We then visited Brother Z. H. Gurley, Sr., who was living near Henderson Grove, not far from Galesburg. We then went eighteen miles to Abingdon, where Brother Edwin Stafford lived. It was a very warm day, and when we reached his house we were very tired and hungry. But Brother Stafford was thoroughly disheartened over the wicked apostasy of Brighamism. He had been interested in what he hoped was the renewal of the work under Charles B. Thompson; but having just learned of its deception, he felt sour and suspicious of all Latter Day Saints who claim a renewal of the work, and told us he wished to have nothing more to do with religion. Dinner was over and he did not invite us to eat. We then walked seven miles farther to the home of Brother William Moore. Brother Newkirk was cast down and felt much discouraged. He even complained. In fact, he had been distressed much of the time before on account of leaving his home. But this was too hard a trial for him as we walked in the hot sun seven miles farther without dinner, and he finally said, "This suffering is more than Jesus Christ ever suffered." I was surprised at this remark, and replied, "How are you suffering so much?" He answered, "Here we are, off among strangers, hungry, our families at home, and Jesus never had a wife to leave, as I have." He was so thoroughly cast down and lonesome, I could not revive his spirits or hope.


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Chapter 12

The Missionaries Once Again Visit Nauvoo and the Smith Family
They Visit the Saints in Wisconsin
Gifts of the Holy Ghost Are Manifest in Great Power
William Marks Unites with the Reorganization
He Is Spoken to in Prophecy


It was fully the middle of the afternoon before we reached Brother Moore's. Sister Moore received us very kindly and was talkative, but forgot, or did not think, to ask us if we had been to dinner. Her husband was away from home and did not get back till late, and it was sundown before we were invited to break our fast for that day. As it was a forced fast and not in the Spirit of prayer, it was almost a torture for dear Brother Newkirk. I felt sorry for him, but neither of us had courage to tell Sister Moore we had no dinner and were hungry. I took a philosophical view of the matter, and concluded we must not be afraid to take some of the bitter side of a missionary's life in this world, without complaining. And I remembered that Jesus also hungered at times in His mission work in this unthankful, sin-cursed world, without complaining. And this I felt to do, though I do not think I suffered so much as Brother Newkirk. I imagined I could almost see Jesus and His disciples carrying loaves of bread and fishes under their arms, when they were going where it would be inconvenient to get dinner. We had only neglected to follow their example and take a lunch with us; hence, had no complaint to make except against ourselves.
Brother Moore is now in Lamoni, and the first time I met Brother Stafford after that in conference, he came to me with tears in his eyes and asked my forgiveness over and over again for the way he used us. But I could not forgive him, for I had not even thought of blaming him in the matter. He had been the happy recipient of the gospel in England in 1837, when the first missionaries visited that foreign land, under the ministration of Heber C. Kimball and others, who left Nauvoo with the glad tidings of the angel's message. Brother Stafford's love for the gospel and those men in that early day had been so betrayed by those men's apostasy, that, in the darkness which surrounded it and them, it nearly made shipwreck of him forever. But his integrity of soul was all the time just the same, and had he invited us into his home at that time, no doubt he would have been fired with our message of the same gospel we were bearing to the lost and scattered sheep of latter-day Israel, as he soon received it through Brother Gurley.
We stayed the next day with Brother Moore, and the morning following started on our journey, not knowing just where to go next. While we were pondering over the matter, we agreed to make it a subject of prayer. While at prayer, Brother Newkirk "had a vision, and saw Burlington, Iowa, and we were walking in the streets." Like Paul the ancient apostle, we gathered from this manifestation we should go there. We were then seven miles south of Burlington, and we started west. We stayed overnight with a stranger five miles from the river, and there learned that the Mississippi River was very high and the ferryboats came to Shokokon, where we took the steamer for Burlington. While standing on the banks of the river waiting for the boat, teams soon came up and the teamsters, like ourselves, patiently waited for the opportunity to cross the river; and as the ferryboat hove in sight, one of the teamsters said to us, "Gentlemen, if you will jump into my wagon it will cost you nothing to cross over to Burlington." We accepted his invitation and in that way saved a dollar, which, by the way, we did not have. Twenty-two teams, wagons, and carriages crossed with us. As the gentleman drove up into the city, he said to us, "Did one of you gentlemen pay my fare?" We had not, and he remarked, "No one asked me for it, so I am a dollar ahead also." I mention this occurrence simply to show that it seemed Providence helped us at that time.
It was some little time before we found any of the Saints. Brother Newkirk again became discouraged, for it was most night, and neither of us had money. He waited at a hotel and I kept on the search, hoping to find some of our brethren. I finally heard that Mr. Morton, who was in the post office, was a "Mormon." I at once called on him. He was glad to see us, took us to his hotel for supper, and we lodged overnight with him and in the morning he took us to Brother Dwight Webster's; and in the evening, Brother Oliver P. Dunham came in and we had special liberty in presenting the gospel, and the promises to us of the coming of Joseph to take his father's place in the Church. The Spirit bore testimony to all the brethren of our mission, and they were with us heart and hand; so much so that they gave us quite a number of dollars to help us in our mission. This was the first money I received in my mission. These brethren all once lived in Nauvoo, and were well acquainted with the Choice Seer, and had never followed any of the factions which broke off from the Church during the apostasy; and had been waiting patiently and hoping for one of Joseph's children to come forward and take the leadership of the Church.
From there, we visited Mount Pleasant, Glasgow, West Point, String Prairie, Keokuk, and Montrose, Iowa. In all of these places we found some of the Saints, whom I will mention more particularly before I close this article; and on June 28, 1858, we crossed the river to Nauvoo. On that date, I find the following notes in my diary:
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, June 28, 1858. This day, we have visited Major Lewis C. Bidamon. Saw Brother Joseph and wife. They are well, but we had no talk with them of our hope. Sister Bidamon seems cast down in mind. Little David has the appearance that thought has marked his countenance; and, in fact, they all seem to be lonely and cheerless_rather on suspense, or else I imagine it. I judge from my acquaintance with the family, which has been since December 5, 1856, something over a year. I boarded at the Mansion House. Bidamon was proprietor. With the exception of a little over three months, I worked for Joseph on his farm. I left Nauvoo, December 1857, and went to Amboy; but today I saw Brother Joseph again, though we have had no talk with him in regard to our hope, which is deliverance and reorganization. But while at prayer, the Spirit rested on us in mighty power, and the burden of our supplications were in behalf of Brother Joseph and deliverance, and in the name of the God of Israel and authority vested in us, we took peace from Joseph in the world until he would acknowledge his calling as a deliverer in Israel.
We then returned to Burlington, and Brother Oliver P. Dunham accompanied us to conference, which was held four miles west of Amboy. Brother Dunham paid our fares on the cars. I was confirmed in regard to my mission, and was further directed by the Spirit of prophecy, through Brother Samuel H. Gurley, that my mission was to the north, northeast, south, and west, and then accompany the Prophet Joseph to Zarahemla, for my mission was not finished. Brother Reuben Newkirk was again appointed by the conference to accompany me on my mission. He accepted the appointment, but soon began to get uneasy and discouraged, desiring to return home. He accompanied me as far as Beaverton, Boone County, and while at Brother Whitcomb's, he said to me, "Brother Briggs, I am going home in the morning to see my wife and family, but will return in six weeks or two months." He failed to keep the promise.
It was now the first of July. I stopped in Boone County through the most of the fall, and went to the conference held in Amboy, December 1858. We had a very interesting and spiritual conference, and I returned to Beaverton and stopped with the Saints a short time longer. We had had two or three prayer meetings a week since the last of July, and preaching once in two or three weeks by Elder Samuel Powers of Beloit. There had been twenty members added to the Church here since I came. Brother Zenos Whitcomb and wife were the only members when I went there in July. Those who joined the Church enjoyed the gifts of the Holy Spirit, confirming them in the Word of the Lord as in ancient times.
In January, I visited many of the old Saints in Wisconsin _at Burlington, Racine County, Rochester, Waukesha; and again in Fox River Valley, Illinois, Brother I. L. Rogers, the Horton family, Henry Hart, Archibald M. Wilsey, Philo and Dimic Howard, Elder James Blakeslee, and others; and at Batavia, in March, I baptized Brethren Crowell G. Lanphear, Harvey Blakeslee, and Louis Delmon. These are the first I ever baptized into the Church. I then attended the General Conference of April 6, 1859, in Boone County, near Beaverton. The meetings continued five days and the gifts of the Holy Ghost were manifest in great power, confirming the Saints and approbating and endorsing the conference. Brother James Blakeslee did most of the preaching, assisted by Elders Samuel Powers and W. W. Blair. Brethren Aldrich and Gaylord of Burlington, Wisconsin, attended this conference and were now firm in the work of the Reorganization. Ten were baptized at the conference. Sister Lydia Blakeslee, wife of George A., of Galien, Michigan, was one of them. He was, at that time, not a member. Elder W. W. Blair was appointed to labor with me on my mission.
We visited the Saints at Burlington, Wisconsin. We found several old Saints in Kane County, Illinois, and in East Troy found Brother Bentley, and west of Troy seven miles, a Brother David Stiles. In Waukesha, Wisconsin, we visited eight families of the old Saints_Albert White, and Emeline, Emily, Julia, and Louisa, all cousins of mine; Nelson, Hiram, and Edwin Higley were old members of the Church, all living there. Cousin Emeline Welch was now a Spiritualist.
We then went north of Waukesha eight miles and found some more of the old members of the Church, and in Milwaukee visited Brother Thomas Feavel and several other families in the city. They were all expecting to move to the state of Iowa in the fall. In Racine, we visited a Brother Andrews and three other families, and then we continued our mission down the Fox River Valley, visiting many families of the Saints whom we left much interested in the faith; and we had great reason to rejoice, for we were very much blessed with the Spirit in bearing testimony of the coming of Joseph to take charge of the work commenced by his father.
We reached Amboy the first of June. Conference convened the tenth. Meetings lasted until the fourteenth. Fourteen members were added to the Church by baptism. The gifts of the Holy Spirit were manifest in great power. Many of the old Saints said they never saw the power of God manifest so much in all their experience in the Church before. Elder William Marks of Shabbona Grove extended his hand of fellowship to unite with us. The conference received him with joy, and he was now with us heart and hand. He bore a faithful testimony of the truth of the latter-day dispensation as it was opened by the Prophet Joseph. He was a beloved brother of great experience, and during this conference Sister Helen Pomeroy, while speaking in prophecy, turned to him and said,
"Thus saith the Lord, O thou man of God, In times past thou hast sat in council with my servant, Joseph the Seer, and the time is near when thou shalt sit in council with his son. When I called my servant Joseph, he was as a lone tree; but when I shall call his son, he shall be as one of a mighty forest."
The Saints all seemed lit up by the power of the Holy Spirit, and confirmed in our blessed work. Brethren Aldrich and Gaylord were much elated and confirmed in the Reorganization, and I was comforted in my very soul by the power of the Holy Ghost confirming me in my mission. I did not feel as though I were all alone now anymore as a missionary of the Reorganization. Up to this time, I was the only one who was a continual missionary of the Church, and my forte was in prayer meetings and constant testimony whenever I met with any of the Saints at their homes. The Spirit of revelation and prophecy was always with me in testimony, whenever I met with wandering Saints who had been in the wilderness of confusion ever since the martyrdom of Joseph, the Choice Seer.
At this conference, Brother C. G. Lanphear's little daughter, Nettie, not more than ten or twelve years old, spoke in tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost. She was not a member of the Church at the time, and I always thought the Lord permitted His Spirit to be given to her for my special benefit, for I had much desired to see someone have the gift of tongues who did not belong to the Church, like it was given to Cornelius and his house that feared God, though they were not yet members of the Church, as is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, tenth chapter. I knew Nettie Lanphear was an innocent little girl, and the Spirit bore testimony to me while she was speaking, and brought to my memory the conversion of the first Gentiles in the days of the disciples of Christ.
The conference again accepted my labors, as it had done all previous conferences since 1856, and now appointed Elder Blair to again accompany me on my mission west, requesting us to go as far as Council Bluffs, Iowa, and vicinity.


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Chapter 13

Account of Edmund Briggs and W. W. Blair's Missionary Journey in Order to Bring Back the Wandering Sheep, Lost in the Dark and Cloudy Day of Apostasy

I shall now quote from my journal, so the Saints may see how the first two principal missionaries began their labors in the vineyard of the Lord, in order to bring back the wandering sheep to the fold from whence they had wandered in the dark and cloudy day of the latter-day apostasy.
Tuesday, June 21. This day, Brother William W. Blair and myself left Amboy to prosecute our mission west. We took the train at twelve o'clock for La Salle. Reached La Salle at 1:00 p.m. Walked eight miles west of the city to Brother Edwin Miller's.
June 22. Walked and rode on the cars to Bureau station on Burlington Railroad. Walked eight miles and again took the cars to Chillicothe. Arrived at 4:00 p.m. Then rode with Mr. Sanders eight miles, and walked to Brother Rufus Ben-jamin's, three miles east of Princeville.
Thursday morning, June 23. Called on Elder Z. Brooks and had a long talk with him. He holds that it is necessary for Jesus Christ, in person, to ordain all apostles by laying on of hands; therefore, all who have attempted to act in that capacity without being thus ordained are impostors. He was a powerful and fluent reasoner, building on the Bible and Book of Mormon exclusively, rejecting the Book of Covenants, though claiming to be inspired himself. We were made to realize, in fact, that he was possessed of an evil spirit, and it accompanied us as we left him_until we fasted to be delivered from it.
We called on Brethren Phineas and Charles Bronson and families in Princeville, Peoria County, whom I had met before. They were with us in faith and received us with marked kindness, and with whom we took dinner. In the afternoon, we walked six miles west to Sister Bachellor's and daughter, Jerusha, where we stopped overnight.
Friday, June 24. We concluded to fast today, so we started very early this morning and walked three miles and called on a Sister Drusilla, a widow, who is a very firm believer in the gospel and latter-day work. Seven miles from Princeville, we found Michael Walden and family. He has been looking for young Joseph to be the successor of his father ever since the martyrdom of the prophet in 1844, and he received us with great joy, and the Spirit rested on us in power as we told him of our hope and the promises to us, and of reorganization. In the afternoon, we walked eight miles farther to Brother Harvey Strong's, where Elder Blair stopped overnight, and I tarried overnight with Brother Joseph Wilder. They received us very kindly and were much interested in our hope; T. G. Cook was also very much interested. They all bade us Godspeed, and we left Brother Strong in tears as he wept with joy over the glad news we brought them of our work, and desired interest in our prayers for himself and family. Brother Silas Cook resides in Victoria, but was not at home.
June 25. We walked eleven miles to Wataga station, part of the time in the rain_so we got very wet. We reached the station at 3:00 p.m. and took the train to Oquawka on the Mississippi River. Here, we took the steamer for Burlington, fifteen miles distant, arriving at 9:15 in the evening, where we found Brother William Morton in the post office, who was looking for us; and we remained with him overnight and Sunday.
June 26. Visited with Brother Dwight Webster. His wife was very much interested in the gospel and was a firm believer, though she had never heard a sermon.
On the twenty-seventh we walked to Madison, where we took the boat again and reached Montrose, Iowa, at 9:30 p.m., and soon were kindly welcomed by Brother John Bowen. It seems, indeed, a happy home for me this evening, as I am very tired and have been suffering with a severe headache all day, and with a burning sun beating on me, it seemed without mercy. And while I pen these few lines in my diary for future reference, let me say this has been a day of severe trial and suffering. It seems that the very enemy of my soul is trying to torment me.
Tuesday, June 28. Crossed the river to Nauvoo and had dinner in the Mansion House. We met Brother Joseph and his mother, but had no special conversation with them; in fact, nothing on our hope. I settled with Major Bidamon and paid him $23, and recrossed the river to Montrose.
June 29. We visited Brethren Bowen, Spinning, and others; also Brother Dungan of String Prairie. He has lost all interest in the latter-day work.
Thursday, June 30. We visited Brother John Newberry, who is very sick with lung and liver complaint, and realizes that his time is short on earth and said he relied on the mercies of Christ. Also called on James Newberry and Michael Griffiths, who are very much interested in the faith. We left him two pamphlets, "A Word of Consolation" and "The Voice of the Captives," the first two publications of the Reorganization. We then continued on our journey and crossed the Des Moines River at Sweet Home and took dinner with Mr. David Miles, two miles west of the river. Crossing a beautiful prairie to Mount Sterling, we stopped overnight at a hotel.
July 1. We called on Brother James T. Pierson at Keosauqua, and five miles west of Pittsburg stopped overnight with Mr. Millington; but the weather was very warm, so we started on our journey very early in the morning and reached Brother Jacob Crandall's for breakfast at nine o'clock. He was very much interested in the gospel. We stayed with him until the afternoon and then went six miles to Stringtown, where we found Brother Boren and John W. Archer. They were hid up and wished to remain so for the present, entirely indifferent to religion, and did not wish it known among their neighbors that they were ever members of the Church. Brother Townsend was not at home. His wife is in the faith and was glad to see us, and spoke of her hope with much interest.
Sunday, July 3. Three miles west of Stringtown we remained with a Mr. William Awalt, a Methodist, over Sunday. Attended their meeting and Sunday school, and Brother W. W. Blair preached an excellent sermon. The Spirit comforted us very much while we talked of our hope, and much good was done.
Monday, July 4. Our stay with our Methodist friend was very pleasant, and he invited us to return and preach for them again, and bade us Godspeed. This day, we walked thirty-eight miles, and at 12:30 p.m. we called on Brother Porter. He was cold and indifferent, and did not wish to talk on religious matters, and did not invite us to stop for dinner. We stayed overnight four miles west of Centerville.
Tuesday, July 5. Reached Corydon, county seat of Wayne County, and took dinner at a hotel. In the afternoon, went to Garden Grove. Walked forty miles today. This place was formerly settled by the Mormons, but only three families remain in this vicinity. We did not visit them.
On the sixth, we visited Brethren Haskins, Capoline, and Hall at Brush Creek, five miles west of Garden Grove. Here we were kindly received as brethren.
Thursday, July 7. Held meeting at 5:00 p.m. Had large audience. The Spirit rested on the people. By request, again made another appointment for two o'clock Friday afternoon.
July 8. We held meetings again. Had very large audiences. Brothers Patterson, Moss, and Martin Hall, and their wives, gave in their names to join the Church and were baptized. They were of the Disciples Church. From present appearances others will follow, and it is creating quite a stir among their former brethren.
Saturday. Preaching again at 5:00 p.m. Two more came forward for baptism.
July 10. The Disciples (or Campbellites) commenced meeting last evening and occupied the church until 3:00 p.m., and by request Brother Blair preached again on the first principles of the gospel. Three hundred people present. He then announced baptism to be attended to in the morning at 10:00 a.m.
Monday, July 11. Preaching at 10:00 a.m. Brother Blair spoke on the order of the Kingdom of God, and baptized Benjamin Harding, Eliza Ann Harding, Jemima McNew, and Lucinda Haskins, and they were confirmed at the water's edge. At 6:00 p.m. we preached another sermon.
Nine Eagles, or Pleasant Plains (now Pleasanton), July 12. Today came to Brother George M. Hinkle's. He seems to have great faith in the latter-day work; yet is in the dark and cannot believe in the law of lineage or the rights of Joseph to the presidency.
July 13. Today called on Brother and Sister Ebenezer Robinson. They seem firm in the faith of the gospel and wished us prosperity in our work.
July 14. Brother Hinkle tells us he thinks the Church has a right, under present circumstances, to choose three high priests, and they be upheld by the prayers and faith of the Saints, as such officers to compose the presidency, and that God is bound to recognize them; and that he will wager his soul's salvation that Joseph will not take his father's place in the Church, or be president of the Church_and yet he thinks we have the Holy Spirit and are doing good, but our organization is not right; hence, will fail and come to naught.
Thursday, July 14. I visited Brother Alfred W. Moffet. He was formerly from La Harpe, Illinois, and has great faith in the latter-day work. He was well acquainted with Z. H. Gurley, Sr.; his wife, formerly [Lydia] Ann Wright. They are much alive in the hope of the gospel, and receive our message of the Reorganization with a ready mind. They have great experience in the history of the Church. He also informs me that he heard Brigham Young, in a meeting held in the temple at Nauvoo, while preaching to a large audience, say that "the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants they might leave on their shelves when they left Nauvoo, as they would not be needed any more than a last year's almanac is of use this year, for he was as their God to them, and if the Saints obeyed his counsel, he would be responsible for their salvation."
July 15. We visited with Brethren George and David Morey. Saints are all much interested in the latter-day work.
Sabbath, July 17. Sister Morey, this morning, thinks of being baptized again to renew her covenant. We think it is not required, as she is a regular member of the Church, though perhaps in this time of the scattering, since the rejection of the Church, they may not have lived as Saints ought at all times; yet it does not affect their membership if they now repent and take up their cross daily, and in faith seek the God of our fathers in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, who is our intercessor with the Father of the spirits of all flesh. Brother Blair preached at 10:00 a.m., and in the evening we held another meeting. The Saints are very much revived in their faith. There are some thirty members of the Church in this vicinity. Brother Blair baptized Sister Martha Ann Truman, and we confirmed her into the Church at the water's edge.


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Chapter 14

Persecution Rears Its Ugly Head
Edmund Suffers with Severe Headaches
Dissertation on Sufferings of Joseph, Son of Jacob


Monday, July 18. A feeling of persecution exists and some threats are made against us; and two men from Missouri visited us today, claiming to be a committee sent to warn us not to hold any more meetings in this part of the country. They said, "You must think we are g__ d____ fools to allow you to build up a church in our midst. You will soon rise up and undertake to drive us out of the country." We very plainly in-formed said committee that we were American citizens and preaching the gospel of Christ, and were not in any manner connected or associated with the Mormons in Utah; and after some little explanation of our doctrine, they made apologies to us, and said, "Gentlemen, go ahead; we have been misinformed in relation to you, and we will not do anything to hinder your work." They bade us good-bye, and we took no further notice of the rumors that were put afloat against us. But we observed the little opposition against us in this place was indicative that Satan was aware a great work was going to be done in here.We did not then think that near this place would be the headquarters of the Church. Lamoni is only about fourteen miles from where this committee waited on us July 18, 1859, ever memorable in my history, for I admit I felt a little indignant at first to have a committee wait on me on such business. My own grandfathers were in the war, to secure the liberty of our country from all oppression, and that our government might be enjoyed as an asylum where religious intolerance should not have one breath of God's free air; and my father was in the war of 1812, to perpetuate that sacred boon for all ages to come_and to have these two men come to warn me to cease preaching the gospel of Christ_well, I may say it served to stir up all the latent powers of my mind against intolerance and persecution, that had culminated and been fostered by religious fanaticism since the world began. 
Whenever I see people get angry and discourteous with each other on account of a difference of religious views, I always call it Cain's religion, who slew his brother. The Inspired Translation of the Scriptures informs us that Satan inspired Cain to kill the first martyr, through religious disappointment and to rob his brother, Abel; and I must say, when any people or religious person gets mad with others while conversing on religious subjects, I cannot help thinking they have Cain's religion. The love of God sent Jesus, the blessed Master, to this earth to teach goodwill and peace on earth to all men, and my religion is to help the unfortunate to see the light of life that is revealed in the pure doctrine of Christ, and my weapons are spiritual (not carnal), to the pulling down of all ignorance and the establishing of knowledge in the hearts of my fellowmen, which is eternal life through God's eternal Spirit. The Blessed One clothes the beautiful thought with these golden words:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

All who have been or ever will be saved in the Kingdom of God must be taught and led by the Holy Spirit, which gives them a knowledge of the truth, which is not an ecstasy of excitement and confusion to bewilder the sober, candid, thinking mind to weigh facts and solid problems of logical truth submitted by the Divine Being. Jesus again gives us the sublime rule in this strong sentence and arbitrary statement:

Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. (John 17:17)

Notice, my dear reader, it does not say through human rituals or ceremonies devised by mortal men or synods, which deny present revelation and God's willingness to commune with His children, whom the Christ came to save.
But to return to my journal.
July 19. I wrote letters and read what I could in the Bible, though my head ached most of the time, except when in meeting or earnestly talking upon our glorious faith. It seems very strange that since I started from Burlington, every day and most of the time I am suffering with the headache, and a part of the time quite ill in health. Brother Hinkle takes back today what he said a few days since, when he proposed to wager his life that Brother Joseph would not be president of the Church, but he says, "I will take back what I said, for truly there is truth in the law of lineage, but whether Joseph inherits the office of president or not, is not clear to my mind yet." We held a prayer meeting at Brother Morey's. It was very spiritual and interesting. Two sisters requested baptism during the meeting.
Wednesday, July 20. This morning, went to the river for baptism. Brother Blair addressed the large audience who gathered to witness the example and obedience to the sacred ordinance which Jesus the Christ commanded, and who hallowed Jordan's waters by his example and commands to take his cross and burden, which is light and easy to bear, and "follow me." Brother Blair was lit up with the Spirit to impress the thought that obedience to the command of God was better than to sacrifice, and illustrated his thoughts by King Saul's disobedience to sacrifice in the minister's office, instead of hearkening to the Word of the Lord. He then immersed ten precious souls for the remission of sins, according to the doctrine of Christ.
One who was baptized, a Miss Elizabeth Hartman, deserves particular mention by me. When confirming her, I rebuked the disease that had troubled her, and pronounced her well in the name of Jesus Christ. I was especially moved by the Spirit to say, "Be well." It troubled me very much, for she looked so well and hearty I did not think she could be ill in any way, and I often thought of it and was much perplexed over it. Years passed, and I had crossed the continent in the defense of the gospel, and yet that instance of administering and blessing Sister Hartman with health was just as fresh in my memory as though it were but yesterday. A few years ago, on my recent visit to Lamoni I met her again, and she was telling me a dream she had some little time before. She said, "I do not know as it means anything, but I feel like telling you of it. I was walking in a very narrow path, and on each side of the path were thorns, thistles, weeds, and briars, and scattered among them on either side of me were now and then beautiful flowers, but I was not paying any attention to them. I looked ahead of me and saw an elevation, like a plain, and all around it had banisters, and I saw a gentleman up there, and he said to me, 'Pluck some of those flowers and bring with you.' But I replied, 'I am going to a land of flowers.' 'Yes,' he said, 'but they are not yours,' and I could see the flowers hanging over the banisters."
I had the Spirit when she told me the dream, and felt to tell her the dream fitly represented the narrow path that but few could find in this world. The flowers represented the Christian graces that Saints should put on in this probation, and the thorns, thistles, weeds, and briars represented the troubles and trials incident to this life, and only those in the midst of trials, who secured the flowers and graces of the Christian life would, indeed, adorn the higher and better world. The sweet, happy influence of the Spirit, indeed, gave me comfort of soul as she then continued:
"I have never forgotten the time when you confirmed me into the Church. I had been subject to some complaint or disease, I do not know what, but I would be around the house or walking along in the road, when all of a sudden I would fall down, helpless as a child, without a single premonition or warning to my senses. I would fall anywhere I happened to be. But I never had one of those falls after you confirmed me."
My dear reader, I must, indeed, say in the language of the Psalmist David, "The word of the Lord tried me" (Psalm 105:19) all those years since I had confirmed this dear disciple and pronounced her well, when to my human senses she seemed the very picture of health. I had often thought over this manifestation, but when she now told me of her illness and how she was healed from that very day, it lifted a load of doubt and fear from me that had distressed me many times, for years. I had often thought how many of the prophets must have been tried in their very souls in olden time, after they had received the Word of the Lord; and from every human standpoint it appeared impossible for the thing promised to them to come to pass. Nay, more, the very revelation they had received was so very forbidding and even brought trouble upon them, it would seem; yet they proved faithful. But I never applied the lesson to myself in those early days and so gained comfort from them, as I should have done.
It would seem I was often left alone. I now see why it was so. For example, let me illustrate, for the benefit of my reader, from the devoted son of Jacob:

And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren; and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed; for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

Ah, they seem to have had a presentiment that the dreams meant something!

And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying. (Genesis 37:5-11)

Again:

And when they [his brethren] saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams. And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again. And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into a pit; and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread; and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver; and they brought Joseph into Egypt. (verses 18-28, inclusive)

It is seen in the above that the Word of the Lord given to Joseph must have been a great trial to him_suffering and pain. But the hand of the Lord overruled, even in this cruel event of wicked men, and made the wrath of man to praise God, and Joseph to be a savior to those wicked men. Let the Psalmist David describe this wonderful event:

He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant; whose feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in iron; until the time that his word came; the word of the Lord tried him. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance; to bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom. (Psalm 105:17-22)

Oh, my brethren, what a flood of light is poured on this sacred passage! Just think of the cruel suffering this little lad must have passed through! He was only seventeen years old when he was sold to the Midianite merchantmen as a slave_stripped of his coat of many colors; torn away from affectionate father, mother, and sisters; bound with chains and driven into Egypt, a foreign land. The dark night that passed over this loved son, loved of God and all good men, can only be imagined by us in this way off and late age of the world. What was in reserve for that young prophet of God was hid from him: The cruel, voluptuous Potiphar's wife; the dark dungeon where the hideous criminals were incarcerated had not yet opened its iron doors, grating on his sensitive ears; the accusations against him as one of the most black criminals that ever was thrust into a prison, he had never as yet thought of. And all of this was awaiting the young prophet. What must have been the distress of this poor boy's mind none can tell at this late date, though, thank God, a little light is thrown on it by those same cruel, self-condemned, wicked brothers_in just two verses in the Bible_when they, too, were bound in a lonely prison house as spies, though they did not mean to admit their crime. Let us read it:

And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required. (Genesis 42:21-22)

And again:

And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth. (Genesis 43:26)

Oh, how the eleven sheaves bowed to his sheaf!

And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph's house . . . and they fell before him on the ground. (Genesis 44:14)

Yes, Joseph's dreams came to pass.


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Chapter 15

Dissertation on Joseph of Egypt Continued
George M. Hinkle Takes Exception to the Name Latter Day Saints Being Acknowledged by the Church
Missionaries Meet Some Cutlerites
Edmund Still Plagued with Ill Health


But let us see just one more thought in this connection:

And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land; and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God; and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45:4-8)

No anger nor vituperation burned in his devoted soul. He was all sunshine between his flood of tears and affection for his brothers.
"Ah," say some of my readers, "why was all this suffering permitted to come on this young prophet, seer, and revelator?" Let me answer. The ancient apostle says,

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. (Hebrews 5:8-9)

Jesus himself learned through suffering. Joseph was destined to be a ruler and preserver of life, and a counselor and a teacher to instruct senators wisdom, as testified by David the Psalmist, before quoted. If Joseph could not have endured trials, suffering, and distress, and yet not lose his faith in God, he would not have been so well prepared for the arduous duties that fell to his lot to bear when he was raised to affluence, honor, and great responsibility. To use his own words,

And he [God] hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Yes, my dear reader, the whole tenor of the Scriptures teaches the doctrine that we must learn to appreciate the good by the opposite. The contrast seems to be absolutely necessary in this life, to make us competent to judge between good and evil; and if we cannot endure trial without getting sour and saddened in our dispositions, we will never be worthy to enjoy the "crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me [us] at that day" (2 Timothy 4:8). And John the Divine says,

What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Revelation 7:13-17)

When I think, indeed, Joseph's eleven brothers all bowed to him, and his father also, it is evidence there is a hereafter to be enjoyed and appreciated by us all. No, my dear brethren, trials are good for us all, if we can endure them and, like Joseph, lose not our integrity, purity, and holiness; and like Job, who said,

But he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:10-12)

But I must hasten in my narrative.
Wednesday, July 20. The Saints are revived in their faith, but Brother Hinkle takes great exception to the name of Latter Day Saints being acknowledged by the Church, and is very much hurt because we confirmed the members into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and seemed to be really angry about it, though we would not contend with him. Our argument was that most of the brethren and sisters have been confirmed under that name, and in our opinion think the words Latter Day Saint add substantially nothing to the name, Church of Christ, but was added that we might be distinguished by the law of the land from other churches of our day, which are known by the law of the land as the Church of Christ. And again, those who are confirmed in the Church under the name in full, are blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit; also, substantially the Church of Jesus Christ is composed of Latter Day Saints, and signifies and distinguishes them from the Church of Jesus Christ of former-day Saints. Hence, for convenience' sake it only distinguishes the age when the Church of Jesus Christ was authoritatively established among men. We had an excellent prayer meeting this evening at Brother George Morey's.
July 21. We returned to Franklin Grove, or Brush Creek. Brother Hinkle is with us_has promised to take us eighty miles in his carriage, on our journey to Council Bluffs. Brethren Blair and Hinkle stopped with Brother Elijah Hall, while I remained at David Hall's.
Friday, July 22. We held meeting at 10:00 a.m. and at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 23. Again Elder Blair preached an excellent sermon at 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 24. We held three meetings and organized a branch of the Church of seventeen members.
Monday, July 25. We held another meeting at eight o'clock. Elder Blair preached. After services, Elijah B. Hall, Mary Hall, William Harris, Amanda Harris, and Jacob Morse were baptized. In the evening at six o'clock, preaching again at Brother Hall's, and confirmation followed the services. Saints are rejoicing in our hope and are all alive to the interests of the work of the Reorganization, and have been anxious to have all the meetings possible. Since we have been with them, they have treated us so loyally and grandly that it has paid us for all the cold rebuffs we have received by the prejudiced world for a long time. Many friends have been gained for our blessed hope, for we have had large audiences most of the time during the week, as well as on Sundays.
Tuesday, July 26. Continued on our journey. It has rained part of the time today, but we arrived at Afton at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, July 27. At six o'clock, we were on our journey. Brother Hinkle thinks we have driven forty miles. It has been a beautiful day. Reached Fontanelle at 5:30 p.m.
I find this note in my journal:
After dinner today, I took a walk in the grove. It is beautiful timber, and all nature looks cheerful and happy; but, alas, I am lonely! My health has been poor for three weeks. Headaches most of the time, except when in meeting and while reflecting on the past of my life, which is not very inviting; but I have done the best I could under the circumstances, and now I would fain penetrate the future_but that is known only to God, though my impressions are that my sea is going to be a rough one. Time alone is the revealer, but my choice is that my grief shall not disturb the happiness of my dearest friends; but I will suffer without a murmur if alone. Truly, the Lord has blessed me many times with the comfort of His Spirit, but of myself I truly feel my weakness and frailty in this wicked world, and like our blessed Master, I have not a place to lay my head that I can call my own, but do not covet what the world enjoys.
We stopped overnight with Brother Ireland.
Thursday, July 28. From this place, Brother Hinkle leaves us and returns home. It has been very kind in him to bring us so far on our journey, and I have appreciated it very much, for I have been very sick most of the time with a severe pain in my head, and it does not seem possible this morning for me to continue on our journey on foot; but I feel to thank Brother Hinkle with my whole heart for bringing us this far. May he be rewarded by our blessed Master for his kindness to us. We gave him four dollars and paid his expenses for bringing us to this place.
This day, we have traveled across the prairie from Brother Ireland's, over the old Mormon route. The grass was high as our heads all along the road, so we got very wet with the dew this morning. Distance between houses_fourteen miles. We took dinner in Cass County, and tonight lodged with Mr. V. M. Conrad.
Wheeler's Grove, Pottawattamie County, Friday, July 29, 1859. This day, we traveled twenty-three miles. I have been very poorly in health all day_so weak and distressed I have almost wished Brother Blair would go on and leave me alone on the prairie so I could rest and sleep. My head has pained me all day in a most dreadful manner, and it seems a great trial to be so afflicted when I am on an errand of love to my fellowmen, and really commissioned of Jesus Christ to call back the wandering, scattered latter-day Israel to the fold of Christ. If there was any doubt in my mind in this matter, I believe I would now stop the mission field and, like Elders Samuel H. Gurley and Reuben Newkirk, go home. But my confidence in God is unshaken; His promises yea and amen to me. I know in whom I have trusted, and the wonderful principles of the gospel of Christ surpass in excellency all the devices and schemes that have been established by men. My severe trial and afflictions now are so unnatural that I believe, indeed, it must be the power of darkness is determined to make shipwreck of my faith; but like the ancient apostles, I can truly say,

Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:68-69)

I have seen and conversed with the heavenly messenger myself, so I cannot doubt my calling in the ministry.
We stopped at Mrs. Wheeler's for a late dinner, and the widow informed us Mr. Levi Graybill was a Latter Day Saint, lived near there, and was a fine man. This was good news to us, and we soon went to see him.
The notes in my journal, penned that day, ever memorable to me, read as follows:
For dinners, paid fifty cents and went to Brother Levi Graybill's, who received us as warmly as though we were old acquaintances. We stopped overnight. I have some of the symptoms of ague chills, and in the evening have some fever. We have been unwell for the last few weeks. It has been very warm weather, and we have had very poor water to drink most of the way through the state; therefore, are both somewhat ill, and the power of Satan is our enemy.
I was too sick to visit very much, but I appreciated the kindness of Brother Graybill and family. They were firm in the faith and at once received our hope. Brother Blair did most of the talking. I was too ill to take much interest in the conversation. We learned there were quite a number of families of the Saints in that vicinity. 
Saturday, July 30. We visited Brother Calvin Beebe, Sr., at Farm Creek in Mills County, seven miles from Wheeler's Grove. Elder Beebe is presiding elder of a branch of forty members, who are looking up to Elder Alpheus Cutler of Manti as their leader, and who claims to be a specially commissioned high priest to teach the oracles given through Joseph the Choice Seer; also claims authority to organize a school of the prophets, so Brother Beebe informs us. The brethren receive us very kindly, and tell us the gifts of the Holy Spirit are enjoyed by some of the members of the branch_mostly gifts of tongues and interpretation; also dreams.
I am very poorly in health today; can do but little talking. Have been very much distressed, and the power of the Evil One is sensibly felt by both of us. Brother Blair is not well, but he is not so ill as I am. It has seemed almost impossible for me to travel today, and it seems almost a godsend to me to find such a friendly feeling here at Brother Beebe's. I have tried to keep up courage for some days and not let Brother Blair know how bad I have felt, but I cannot hide all of my feelings from him.


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Chapter 16

Edmund Is Healed of His Illness through Administration
Through the Gift of Prophecy, the Missionaries Are Told That Satan Had Accompanied Them on Their Mission to Iowa


Sunday, July 31. This morning, I am still very ill_sick all night, but not yet willing to give up. I sat at the breakfast table, but I was soon taken so deathly sick I asked to be excused, and retired to a new house Brother Beebe was building, where I lay down on the bed and said these words: "O Lord, my God, I am on a mission appointed of thee. I do not know any wrong I have done. I have tried to do right, and I have suffered most of the time since the day I left Burlington; have walked most of the way across the state in pain, except when in meeting and when bearing testimony of thy work. I am near my special field of labor, and I am sick, too sick to fill my mission. I have prayed and sought for help, and none has come to me, except when I am telling of thy work and presenting the gospel of Christ to my fellowmen. I cannot ask anymore for help until I know why I am so severely afflicted and sorely tried in my patience. If I am at fault, I do not know it; and I will now suffer until relief comes to rescue me."
I felt resigned to whatever might be my fate, much cast down and discouraged, yet trusting in the Lord, for it was impossible for me to doubt but that the rich blessings I had often received from His hands were, indeed, all they professed to be_indeed, the providence of God to me; and whether they were or not, the excellency of the knowledge I had received through the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I knew exceedingly far surpassed any benefit that could accrue through any system devised among mortal men, and I could not deny my hope in Christ and still be conscientious in my integrity and love of right principles. While I was thus meditating over my condition, so frail and weak, and the sad condition of the Church, then in the wilderness of fear and doubt, humiliated and disgraced through the latter-day apostasy, Brother Blair came to the door of the room where I lay, sick and distressed, and said, "Brother Briggs, let us go and take a walk." I knew what he wanted. We had often gone together to have our season of prayer in the silent forests or shade of the lonely, scattering trees of the fields. "What shall I say?" came as a flash to my mind. I had but just said to the Lord Himself I would pray no more until I knew where the fault was (and, my dear reader, while I pen these lines, I confess I then felt it was not fair for the Lord to bless me only when I was engaged in His service, actually in conversation upon the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then let me suffer all the rest of the time, when I was traveling or seeking rest from the fatigue of the day's tedious journey across the state); but I readily decided to go with Brother Blair and hear him pray, though it was a great task to walk to the lonely tree of Brother Beebe's field. We knelt together, as we had so often done before. His fervent prayer reached the heavens, but I was silent and listened. We arose from our knees and after some little conversation, he said,
"I had an impression as I arose from the breakfast table, that if we would go by ourselves and have prayer, and I should administer to you, that you would recover your health."
I replied, "I do not feel worthy now to receive such a blessing, for I have told the Lord this very morning that I would not pray to Him anymore for my health."
He continued, "Well, if you will allow me to administer to you, I will do so." He then prayed again and anointed my head with oil, and while his hands were still on me, the Holy Spirit came to me in mighty power and I was well_I did not begin to recover, but I was strong and well from that very moment. I have felt to be particular in giving the details of this remarkable incident of my life, for several reasons. It did not then occur to my mind why the Lord permitted me to suffer in this manner for so long. I had often read in the Scriptures of Jesus:

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)
And of Job:

Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? . . . And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold he is in thine hand; but save his life. (see Job 1:9-12 and 2:6, inclusive)

But I had never applied such lessons to myself. It is very well to read those wonderful events, and many thousands more that can be referred to as experiences of those men of God; but oh, it is another thing to have them to endure yourself! I will just add here briefly that this sad experience of suffering so long, and the sudden relief under the circumstances, have never been erased from my memory; neither have I forgotten that the power of God is, indeed, mighty to save_save from all suffering and pain. Since that happy moment, I have never suffered from the headache. I may have had some little symptoms of headache through indiscretion in eating, or severe cold, but thank the Lord, such suffering as I had been subject to for so long in that tedious journey in my mission has never since come to my lot to endure. Oh, why should I doubt the power of God and His willingness to help His children in our day, as well as is so fully attested and believed in by the whole Christian world, as things so common in the first century of the Christian era. It is unbelief and disobedience that have bereft the world of these wonderful gifts of the Holy Ghost. But to return to the theme of this sketch.
Brother Blair and I returned to the house just in time to accompany Elder Calvin Beebe to his appointment. After he had opened meeting in the usual manner, he introduced us to his congregation as men of God, saying, "By the Spirit I am of, I discern that they have the Spirit of Christ, and the message they bring is good news," and then called on me to occupy the time and gave the meeting into our hands. I spoke briefly of the rise of the Church in 1830; of its wonderful and rapid progress in numbers for the first fourteen years; of the threatenings of the Lord to reject it if not faithful; and of the disaster that followed the martyrdom of the Choice Seer on the twenty-seventh of June 1844; and of its rejection as an organization, which affected its quorums as such, and they were broken up and scattered_but as members of the Church, all who continued in the integrity of their hearts were still accepted of God, as is suggested in the language of the revelation, which says,

Behold, this is my doctrine: Whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. (DC 3:16)

Hence, as in the case of the abandonment of Israel from Jerusalem, and their rejection as a government in Babylon for seventy years, yet Daniel, Haggai, and other prophets received the Word of the Lord concerning their deliverance, so has the Lord said to us scattered latter-day Israel, that the blessing of the Choice Seer should descend to his seed after him, not after any of those false shepherds who have risen during the dark and cloudy day of the apostasy; and that the Lord had, indeed, through the gift of prophecy, revealed to us that Joseph would be called to take his father's place, as it is his right by lineage and blessing.
Brother Blair then, in a clear, definite manner set forth the law of lineage governing the whole matter of authority. He was lit up by the spirit of argument and doctrine, which carried conviction to the whole audience. The meeting continued two hours. Brethren W. H. Kelley and Hougas, now of Lamoni, and Brother Newberry were in that meeting.
A brother, James Badham, a young man, spoke in tongues and testified that, indeed, we were servants of the Lord, bearing the glad tidings of the gospel. Brother John Smith predicted that we should lay the foundation of a great work in western Iowa, and said many things to comfort us in our mission. The meeting was held at the home of Brother Newton Richards.
Levi Graybill and others spoke. All seemed to recognize that, indeed, we had the same Spirit that they enjoyed when they first embraced the gospel in the days of Joseph, as many of them had been well acquainted with the Choice Seer.
Monday morning, August 1, 1859. Oh, I am so well I cannot be thankful enough! This is the first day I have felt well in body since the twenty-seventh day of June. To appreciate health is to be deprived of it for a time. This beautiful day, Brother Graybill has kindly volunteered to take us to Council Bluffs_twenty-five miles.
In the evening, we held meeting at Brother George Graybill's, five miles from the Bluffs, with twenty-five of the old Saints present. They manifest interest in the latter-day work, though very much discouraged. They have seen so much evil among those who claimed to be Saints, it has nearly discouraged them.
Tuesday, August 2. At Council Bluffs. Here we received a letter from Brother Z. H. Gurley of Henderson Grove, Illinois. He is very much cheered in our hope. Brother Blair also received a letter from his wife, Lizzie, which brings the sad news of their little daughter, Fannie, being very sick. I see by the tone and spirit of her letter she thinks there is no hope for her recovery, but adds, "We have everything we need but you, and we have received the gift of prophecy that the Lord is with you; also, that Satan has accompanied you on your mission to Iowa." When I read this letter, I received evidence by the Holy Spirit that the little one would be taken from the evil to come. She was one of the most affectionate and bright children I had ever seen, and I felt in my heart if Brother and Sister Blair knew the wisdom of God in taking the little one to Himself, they would be glad, though the parting be a great trial. And I also felt to realize, indeed, the truthfulness of the statement, "Satan has accompanied you on your mission to Iowa." The passages in Job 1:6 and Revelation 12:10-12 came to my mind. Up to this time, I have not realized that the Devil and evil spirit were constantly on the alert to hinder the work of God everywhere, as I do today; and I do not wonder now so much at the command of Jesus, when he said, "Pray lest ye enter into temptation"; and again, when he taught His disciples to pray, "Suffer us not to be led into temptation" (see also Daniel 10:13-14). All these passages of Holy Writ prove that intelligent beings, of what we call the unseen world, are all alive to the interests of this world for either weal or woe, and he who comprehends the things of this world only, truly cannot see the Kingdom of God, as attested by our Lord and Master. With these comforting thoughts, we now feel that we are fully enlisted in the heart of our mission, and today we visit my brother, Edwin Briggs, who lives three miles north of the city, and have an appointment for meeting tomorrow evening.
Friday, August 5. We visited Florence, Nebraska, known as Winter Quarters, and met several families of Saints who have just returned from Salt Lake, Utah. They are firm in the faith of the gospel, but have renounced Brigham Young as an impostor; and his polygamy, with all its kindred doctrines, as the works of darkness. Also visited Sister Walker, who lives in the little village. She is a daughter of the patriarch, Hyrum Smith. She says, "I am in the faith of ancient Mormonism, as it is called, but no faith in Brighamism." We called on many of the old members of the Church during the day, and returned to my brother's in the evening.
Saturday, August 6. In the city. Today we visited quite a number who have just returned from Salt Lake. They denounced Young as a wicked man, and are now looking for deliverance and expecting Joseph Smith to take his father's blessing and be the president of the Church.
Brother Richard Golden today made me a present of the Book of Covenants, which I very much needed.
Sunday, August 7. Held meetings at 10:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Allen schoolhouse, near Wicks Mill. Brethren here are very cold and indifferent, but we had a large audience. Brethren Samuel Waldo and Jonathan Heywood, who are old members of the Church and used to live in Nauvoo, are all alive in the work and welcomed us and our mission with joy.


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Chapter 17

A Branch Organized at Union Grove
James M. Adams Objects to the Name of the Church
Account of Joseph Naming His Son, David
Minutes of First Conference Held in Iowa by the Reorganized Church 


Monday, August 8. We went to Union Grove, twenty-five miles north of Council Bluffs. Brother Archibald Patten, brother of the apostle, David Patten, referred to in the Book of Covenants, brought us in his covered carriage. We held meeting at Brother David Jones'. There are nine families of the old Saints in this vicinity: Brothers Thomas Sellers, Magahan, Samuel Wood, Benjamin Leland, and their families.
Thursday, August 11. We have held two meetings a day since we came to the Grove, and the Saints are very much awakened in faith and today have appointed, two weeks from next Sabbath, to organize a branch of the Church; and have promised to keep up meetings every week hereafter. Elder Blair baptized Mrs. Aurilla Pekinpauch, Mrs. Harriet Magahan and two daughters, Surbrina and Harriet, and at the close of the afternoon service baptized Miss Helen Maria Wood. About seventy-five of the old Saints attended the baptismal service, and as we stood by the water, Elder Blair addressed the Saints again upon the importance of the ordinance and covenant of baptism, which had been consecrated by the example of Jesus the Christ, when He said to the forerunner, John the Baptist, "Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." Confirmation meeting in the evening.
Bigler's Grove, Harrison County, Iowa, Friday, August 12, 1859. This day, we came from Union Grove_sixteen miles. Found Brother James M. Adams, who received us as brethren and spared no pains to make us feel at home, and gave us his views and hope. He has no faith in the law of lineage, and took great exception to having the Church called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and will not accept of any other name but the name of Christ.
Saturday, August 13. Visited all day with Brethren Adams, Phineas Cadwell, and some others; and expounded our hope and made appointment for meeting Sunday.
Sabbath, August 14. Brother Adams opened meeting by prayer, and then introduced Elder Blair and myself to the audience as "servants of God, bringing good news," and requested the Saints "to bear them up with their faith and prayers while they should attempt to speak of the goodness of God" to man. We then occupied about an hour and a half, speaking of our hope and the law of lineage, and what the Holy Spirit had said to us concerning Joseph as a deliverer in Israel. Brother Adams then spoke a short time, and said in part, "I believe you have the Spirit of God, yet I do not believe your organization is of God_hence, will fall to the ground; for I think the Church will not be organized again until the gospel is taken to the covenant people of Israel, for the Gentiles have rejected the gospel." After some counsel with the brethren, we appointed a two-days' meeting and conference to convene on Saturday, August 27.
Monday, August 15. This day, we have come to Galland's Grove in Shelby County, fifteen miles east of Bigler's Grove, and visited with Brother William Van Ausdall, who accepted our testimony with gladness.
Tuesday. We visited Brother Uriah Roundy, and Brethren Blair and Patten returned to Council Bluffs, expecting to do some labor at Union Grove and the city and vicinity, and to meet me again on the twenty-seventh for the two-days' meeting. I have an appointment for next Sunday in this place.
Wednesday. I visited Brother Alexander McCord. He is one of the soldiers who went in the Nauvoo Legion to the Mexican War. I had a pleasant visit with him.
Thursday. Visited Brethren John McIntosh, Jackson, and John Hunt, and returned Saturday to Brother Roundy's.
Sabbath, August 21, 1859. I held meeting at 11:00 a.m. in the schoolhouse. Large audience, composed mostly of old members of the Church who were well acquainted with the prophet in Nauvoo. When I gave liberty for remarks, Brother McIntosh was soon on his feet, weeping like a child, and between his sobs, he said, "Brethren, this is the truth, and the same work I once preached, but I can't say anything now, only I am noted for wickedness; but the rest of you talk." Brethren Van Ausdall and Roundy both spoke, endorsing our position. I had great liberty and power of the Spirit in presenting the faith of the Church, and the Saints manifested great interest in my mission; and I have no doubt a good work will be done in Galland's Grove in the near future. On my way from meeting to Brother John Hunt's, Brother McIntosh went a part of the distance with us, and as we parted he clasped my hand in his two large ones, and with tears streaming from his eyes like rain, after hesitating some moments, he said, "Brother Briggs, do not get down on your knees without remembering me."
I will have more to say of this grand and good old man and soldier of the cross before I get through this article. The integrity of his heart was without reproach_bless his memory. Brother McCord has grandchildren now attending Graceland College. He had a large experience; embraced the doctrine in Canada; was acquainted with the Choice Seer in Far West, Missouri, and passed through the persecution of the Church in Missouri and Illinois; was well acquainted with the leading elders. I will say more of these good men at another time.
Bigler's Grove, Monday, August 22, 1859. This day, I came back to Elder James M. Adams'. He tells me today he thinks two high priests can baptize each other, as Elders Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery did in the beginning, and that will qualify them to commence the organization of the priesthood; and he is willing to be one of the high priests and he quotes, for example and precedent, Alma and Helaman. He also advocates that Jesus Christ is God the Eternal Father; in other words, there is but one personage in the Godhead. He is a devout man and has a nice family, and is prepossessing in appearance. In the week, I visited Brethren Phineas Cadwell, Carrico, Charles C. Perrin, Jehiel Savage, and Libbeus T. Coons. 
The latter tells me of a remarkable incident that occurred in Nauvoo, Illinois. He says, "I was present at the Mansion House, or hotel, ostensibly kept by Sister Emma, Joseph's wife, when he was about to start for Carthage, the county seat of Hancock County, Illinois, where he was arrested for treason at the time of his martyrdom. There were quite a number of men, all on horseback, and Joseph got off his horse and went into the hotel. He seemed to be in deep thought, and looked around as though he had forgotten something he wanted. He returned and got onto his horse again, but he still looked perplexed and in deep thought, as though in trouble. The second time he dismounted and went into the house, and again seemed confused, and looked around the room as though distressed in mind. He returned and remounted his horse, pulled up the reins to start, but a third time dismounted and went into the hotel, and immediately stepped to Emma, who was sitting in a chair, and laid his hands on her and blessed her, and said, 'Thou shalt bear a child, and though he should be incarcerated in solid rock, yet he shall come out and make his mark in the world. Call his name David.' Emma said, 'Suppose it be a girl?' He answered, 'Call him David!' "
This very singular statement of Brother Coons, who was a total stranger to me, impressed my mind several days. I was well aware that Joseph had named his child David before he was born, or I had heard it so reported, and I was quite wrought up in expectation of that event. And when the promised child was born and called David, I felt quite a relief and thought it really an attestation of Joseph's divine inspiration. But Brother Coons' statement now led me to believe, or wonder, if there were not some disaster in reserve for the promised child, and ever since the misfortune that has come to that loved and honored young man, I have ever had a lingering hope for his release from the power that has bound him these many years. Another incident that strengthens my hope is the following:
He was appointed on his first mission to Michigan with Elder Henry A. Stebbins, under my charge. The next day after his appointment, Sister Emma, his mother, said to me, "Be careful with David, and watch over him." I was living at Galien, Michigan, at that time and these two young elders met me there, and we soon commenced the mission work together. At Galien, Lawrence, Hopkins, Grand Rapids, and other places, we held many meetings.
The two young men were of different dispositions, both very sensitive in their feelings. Henry was very studious and doctrinal in his discourses, backing up his argument by quotations from the Scriptures. His efforts were good and of a lasting benefit to those who were learning, as at the foot of the cross of Christ. David was eloquent, poetical, sentimental, a popular preacher. He never seemed to be studying the Scriptures much, and quoted them seldom, yet had them readily to suit his convenience_while as a word painter he captivated his audiences. In and out of the Church, all seemed to bring him the flowers and beautiful bouquets. He was handsome, and all admired him and never ceased to compliment his efforts.
We returned to Elder Henry C. Smith's of Lawrence, and one day I was meditating over the marked distinction between these two young men, ministers, both truly called of God to preach the gospel; one laboring arduously to do his duty, and doing it well, yet never seeming to be satisfied with his efforts, and seldom getting a flower, and never a bouquet, and rarely a compliment for his methodical, doctrinal discourses; while the eloquent orator never seemed to cease to be praised, com-plimented, and fairly petted. Who blamed the people for carrying the young Demosthenes or Cicero in their hearts? I did not. They could not help it. He stood like a shaft of light let down from Heaven, while he painted the skies with golden letters as he told us of the love of God, and His compassion for poor, fallen humanity. We all loved and admired him. He was a prodigy, and all seemed to come to him without effort on his part. It was natural. I was pondering over the contrast between the two, and the thought came to me, "Is it fair? Has Providence discriminated and showered such blessings upon the one, and he without labor or painstaking wears the crown of victory, and all the others by dint of hard labor may gain it; but more fail through exhaustion, fatigue, and distress, and yield to the inevitable and are lost?" 
While these thoughts pressed themselves upon me, a feeling of awe and a calm, serene sensation pervaded my mind, and the Holy Spirit said to me, "David shall be no exception to the rule. His trials shall be as severe as any who have conquered, or shall conquer and gain the victory and wear the crown, saith the Lord. Even so. Amen." A fear and dread came over me, and I felt that some unlooked-for distress was awaiting this beautiful young man of God. It all seemed a mystery to me then, and is still a wonder, but I confess that all this strangeness in relation to him has lent to me a hope and expectation favorable for Brother David. God only knows what is in reserve for this once bright mind, who could gild as with golden lining every principle of the gospel, to fascinate the seeker after truth. But I must turn to my journal narrative.
Friday, August 26, 1859. Elder Blair met me at Brother Adams'. He has been very busy preaching the Word at Council Bluffs and vicinity since he left me at Galland's Grove, and is in good spirits and has returned here to attend the first conference held in Iowa by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which convened at Brother David Fry's residence, August 27, 1859. Conference called to order by Elder W. W. Blair who, after making some appropriate remarks by way of introduction, stated that the object of calling the conference was to inform the Saints of what the churches were doing in Wisconsin and Illinois, and what the Lord was doing to gather the Saints, or to unite them in sentiment and to appoint delegates to attend the October conference to be held in Illinois. A hymn was sung and prayer offered by Elder E. C. Briggs. A second hymn was sung, and Elder Blair spoke forty-five minutes on the general principles of the gospel, and suggested that it would be better not to organize until Sabbath morning. 
As the weather was rainy, but few were in attendance and the assembly, by resolution, turned the meeting into a communion or fellowship meeting. Much interest and feeling were manifest by all present. The old elders made confessions and said they had been in the dark, and had failed to keep their watch fires burning, and expressed the hope that good would be done by assembling at this time, and spoke of what they once enjoyed in the Church and hoped to enjoy again; though they had been almost in despair of ever seeing the latter-day work revived and be as it once was_a glorious Church enjoying the Holy Ghost. The Spirit's power was manifest. The Saints had a profitable time, and all seemed to look for good to be done soon to brighten their pathway and hope.
Sunday morning, August 28. Conference convened in Bigler's Grove; called to order by Elder Blair. Elder William Van Ausdall was called to the chair, and after some remarks and singing, Elder Jehiel Savage led in prayer. The president then stated, "We wish to hear from Elders Blair and Briggs, who are from Wisconsin and Illinois." Elders Blair and Briggs then preached on the hope and promises of God to the scattered Saints, and that the Spirit had truly raised up a standard of righteousness for the Saints. They dwelt on the law of lineage and the sure promise to us that Joseph, the son of the Martyr, would surely be called to the presidency of the Church. At 2:00 p.m., meeting opened as usual; prayer by Elder E. C. Briggs. Elder Savage preached upon the first principles of the gospel. Elders James M. Adams, John A. McIntosh, Uriah Roundy, and Alexander McCord all spoke, and some others; and Elders Savage and Adams were appointed by resolution to attend semiannual conference to be held in October on the Fox River at Elder Israel L. Rogers' (near what is now Sandwich), and the conference adjourned sine die. The Saints were all very much revived in their faith and seemed to think deliverance near at hand, and nearly all expressed their determination to serve God better in the future.
I presume the above are the only minutes of this conference now in existence, and it is a sad thought, indeed, that all of those who attended this conference have passed over on the other shore, except the writer and Elder Thomas Chatburn, now of Independence, Missouri. I remember him as distinctly today as though it were but yesterday, as he stood, a young man, and gazed at me with seeming astonishment; but I do not remember of speaking to him at that time. He may remember other incidents of that conference that I have not noticed.
Monday, August 29, 1859. We returned to Union Grove and Elder Blair preached an interesting discourse on the subject of eternal judgment, and when he gave liberty for remarks, several spoke of their hope and determination to serve God more faithfully. The meeting was very interesting.
Tuesday, August 30, 1859. Held meeting at 10:00 a.m., and Elder Blair baptized Brethren Wallace Wood, Wilson Sellers, and John Kirkpatrick, and after confirmation, organized the Union Grove Branch by choosing David Jones, presiding elder; Wilson Sellers, priest; John Kirkpatrick, teacher; and Wallace Wood was ordained an elder. Also held meeting at 2:00 p.m., and another preaching service at Brother Benjamin Leland's, four miles northeast of the Grove.
Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. Preaching again, and I baptized Mrs. Sarah Gallup, and after confirmation services in the afternoon, we returned to Union Grove.


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Chapter 18

Edmund Discusses the Assumption of Brigham Young to the Presidency of the Church
He Rescues an English Lady from the Meshes of Utah Mormonism
The Condition of the Church and the Resulting Apostasy
Promise to the Faithful


After so long a time, I now send the eighteenth installment of my autobiography. Circumstances have been such with me as to render it impossible for me to send it sooner. I have lost none of my faith in the great latter-day work; and in the language of one of the great orators and illustrious senators of the Roman republic, more than a century before the Christian era, who said, "There should be no selfish devotion to private interest; we are born not for ourselves only, but for our kindred and fatherland. We owe duties, not only to those who have benefited, but those who have wronged us. We should render to all their dues; and justice is due even the lowest of mankind." If these grand sentiments could be expressed by one who had never heard of the Anointed One so long ago, outside of Christ, believe me, as a Christian, I can do no less than reecho those God-given principles that illuminated a scholar of Rome. And as a friend of humanity, I continue my narrative.
Wednesday, August 31, 1859, 10:00 a.m. We held preaching services again at Brother Benjamin Leland's, and after meeting I baptized Mrs. Sarah Gallup of Leland's Grove. After confirmation services in the afternoon we returned to Union Grove, retracing our steps with the intention of returning to Illinois, and hoping to attend the fall conference to be held at Brother I. L. Rogers' on Fox River, near what is now called Sandwich. Our hearts are made glad by the Holy Spirit, which has given us much assurance that we have laid the foundation of a great work in western Iowa, that will be of vast interest to the Church in general; to give comfort to the Lord's people in the latter days, as foreseen by the ancient apostles and prophets. But I have some impression this evening that I may not attend the conference, but may stay in western Iowa to continue the good work; but this thought I keep from Brother Blair, as it seems a great cross to me to be left alone again in the mission field, and I have hope that I may not be detained in this new and sparsely settled country.
Thursday, September 1. Brother Blair and I returned to Council Bluffs, thirty-five miles south of Union Grove, and again visited with my brother, Edwin R. Briggs, who is in good spirits and health_and it seems like home to us this evening. We are, indeed, tired, for we have been deprived of much-needed rest, holding meetings nearly every day and evening for weeks; and it seems, talking almost all the time of our hope to many of the old Saints who have settled in this part of the country. They tell us of their sad disappointment and chagrin over the apostasy of Brigham Young and his followers who, before they left here, established their wicked dancing parties in the churches, to drown the trouble of the Saints and lead them to forget their heartaches and trials, while they taught and privily practiced polygamy, and then denied it openly to the world.
Friday and Saturday. We remained at my brother's, and appreciated our needed rest; and read my Bible and wrote letters to my mother and to Brother Louis Delmon of Batavia, Illinois, and to some others.
Sabbath, September 4. We held meeting at my brother's; several of his neighbors attended the services.
Monday, September 5. I went to Crescent City, six miles north of Council Bluffs, and visited with a Brother Eggleston and family, who came from Nauvoo, Illinois, and were members of the Church there; but now they are waiting and hoping for the salvation of the latter-day Israel. They were once lively members of the Church in the days of Joseph, and loved the gospel of Christ with a satisfaction and peace the world could not give, neither could take away. But they are not now fully satisfied with Brigham Young's administration, though not decided in mind; he tries to believe in the "gross crime" of polygamy as a divine institution, though he admits he "never heard the Prophet Joseph teach it." 
I had no liberty of the Holy Spirit, trying to talk with him of our hope and the Reorganization; and I have the impression by the Holy Spirit that any man who really desires in his heart to believe in the practice of polygamy, the Holy Spirit will not be given to confirm or accompany our words to them. And when any of the elders of the Reorganization meet with those who love that "gross crime" in their hearts, it is a waste of time to attempt to convert them to the true principles of the gospel of Christ; for they have, indeed, lost the Spirit of the gospel, if they ever had it. I returned to my brother's to stay overnight, really sad as I meditate over the condition of the Church, scattered all over the land from Maine to California; having been rent into fragments, it would seem, by the many aspirants to leadership since the martyrdom of the "Choice Seer" and prophet of God. But I trust that we shall revive new hopes in many of the disappointed Saints, so they will once more establish their altars and call on the Lord for deliverance. For truly it does seem that a great mass of the scattered Saints do not know the source from whence deliverance comes.
Council Bluffs, September 6. Today, I called on Mr. Folsom who is a firm believer in Brigham Young. He says, "I know Brigham Young is a prophet of God, and successor of Joseph Smith." I replied, "Brigham Young, in an epistle of the Twelve, who signed himself President of the Twelve at Nauvoo, August 15, 1844, in Times and Seasons, Volume 5, page 618, said, 'You are now without a prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you. . . . Let no man presume for a moment that his place will be filled by another; for, remember he stands in his own place, and always will; and the Twelve Apostles of this dispensation stand in their own place and always will, both in time and in eternity to minister, preside, and regulate the affairs of the whole Church.' And I have often heard many of the old Saints who live in Nauvoo say they had heard Brigham Young declare he was 'not a prophet, nor a son of a prophet.' And again, in the Millennial Star, Volume 16, page 442, in a discourse delivered April 7, 1852, in Utah, Mr. Young says, 'A person was mentioned today who did not believe that Brigham Young was a prophet, seer, and revelator. I wish to ask every member of this whole community, if they ever heard him profess to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, as Joseph Smith was?' And in the same discourse he did not even pretend to be ordained president of the priesthood. He simply said, 'Who ordained me to be the First President of [the] Church on earth? I answer, it is the choice of this people, and that is sufficient.' 
"Like James J. Strang, James Colin Brewster, and Gladden Bishop, he did not think it necessary to be ordained. But the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, in Section 17 and paragraph 17, which is the law of God to the Church, says, 'Every president of the high priesthood . . . is to be ordained by the direction of a high council, or general conference.' Nay, more than that, Section 104, paragraph 42, says, 'And again, the duty of the president of the office of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses. Behold, here is wisdom, yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet; having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.' And again, Section 99, paragraph 6, says, 'The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged, in his administration, by the voice of the church.'
"The fact is, Young never made the claim that he was appointed by revelation, or that he ever was ordained to the presidency; for on October 6, 1844, at a General Conference, in the presence of thousands of Saints in Nauvoo, he made the emphatic statement, 'There never has a man stood between Joseph and the Twelve, and unless we apostatize, there never will.' And in the same sermon, before thousands of people, Brigham Young said, 'Did Joseph ordain any man to take his place? He did. Who was it? It was Hyrum. But Hyrum fell a martyr before Joseph did.' Brother Folsom, I would not pluck a single laurel from Mr. Young's crown, but all the history in the case shows that he was never appointed as Joseph's successor in the presidency of the Church, and never was ordained according to the law of God; and he here admits it himself. "And if Young's statement be true, that Joseph ordained his brother, Hyrum, it was not done in conference or a High Council that we have any record of; hence, it would not be a legal ordination. And besides that, it would be in violation of the law of God, which says, 'For this anointing have I put upon his [Joseph's] head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his [Joseph's] posterity after him [Joseph, not Brigham Young]; and as I said unto Abraham, concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, In thee, and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed' (see Section 107:18b-c). And again, in Section 84, paragraphs 3 and 4, which says, in a revelation to Joseph, 'Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers, for ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God: therefore your life and the priesthood hath remained, and must needs remain, through you and your lineage, until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began. Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savor unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen.' 
"These passages show that Joseph's blessings were to be a light unto the Gentiles, and through his priesthood a savor unto the house of Israel.
"Doctrine and Covenants, Section 80, paragraph 1, speaking of Joseph Smith, Jr., says, 'Unto whom I have given the keys of the kingdom, which belongeth always unto the presidency of the high priesthood.' And if Mr. Young, according to his own statement, is 'neither a prophet, nor a son of a prophet,' he certainly cannot be a successor to Joseph in the prophetic office. Neither can he perform the duty of the president of the office of the high priesthood like unto Moses, which the law of God makes it incumbent for him to do; and the very fact that Mr. Young never claimed to have been ordained to the presidency of the priesthood, he could not hold the keys of the Kingdom, which 'belonged to the president of the Church.' "
This seemed to be an avalanche of testimony against his claim for Mr. Young's position, and so astonished him that he soon became silent in his defense of Brigham Young's claims. And I showed him that even Brigham admitted that if a man stood between Joseph and the Twelve, it would be because they had apostatized. And when Mr. Young assumed to be the president, and without revelation filled up the Quorum of Twelve, it proved according to his own admission that he and the Quorum of Twelve had apostatized; for, in making his claim and choosing his counselors, which took two more out of the Twelve, they all stood between Joseph and the Quorum of Twelve. In fact, there was not a majority of the quorum left; not enough to do business legally. He finally said, "I do not wish to have any further talk on the matter." He was so positive in his utterance and defense for Brigham's prophetic claim, that I felt justified in presenting the absurdity of his position, by both the law of God governing the matter, and his human-made prophet's own denial of even being a prophet. I used him with all courtesy, but realized, indeed, he was blind and could not reason upon his untenable position.
Council Bluffs, September 7. I visited and lodged with Brother Isaac Beebe last night. He was much pleased with our hope, and seemed at once to readily grasp the doctrine of lineage, and that one of Joseph's posterity must, indeed, be the successor in his prophetic office, and is very decidedly opposed to the apostasy of what he calls, "Mormonism in Utah." He used to be well acquainted with Joseph in Nauvoo. I also called on Sister Hannah Woodhave, and she is now on her way to Utah; though she expects to stay here this coming winter. But after I had some conversation with her and presented the true light of the gospel, in contrast to the horrible innovations and absurdities of the Mormons, I think she will now return to Fort Des Moines, Iowa, to her husband, that she has left through the advice and persuasion of the Mormon elders. She, with her husband, left England two years ago with the intention of going to Utah, believing it to be their duty to emigrate to Zion. But her husband became so disgusted with what he had experienced and seen among the Mormon elders, that he apostatized and would not go any farther than Fort Des Moines, and she had been persuaded to leave him in order to get her endowment, exaltation, and full salvation; which she could not, except she would leave her apostate husband, as she expressed it to me. 
I opened up the subject of the gospel in its true light, and showed, indeed, that its provisions were the power of God unto salvation to all who believe in every land, without going to the "salt land," as foreseen by the Prophet Jeremiah, seventeenth chapter, fifth and sixth verses, when he said, "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited." Her countenance lit up, and she exclaimed, "Thank God, I will go back to my husband! And I believe that he will see this beautiful light of the gospel again and will receive me back into his affections, and we will be happy as we once were together!"
I feel to thank God with all my heart that I have rescued this dear English lady from the meshes of Utah Mormonism. She has all the appearance of refinement, purity, and honesty. She, with her husband, had received the pure gospel of Christ in her native land, and in good faith had emigrated with high hopes to reach a home with the Saints in America; had heard nothing of the great apostasy of Brigham Young and the church with him in America; knew nothing of the great mass of the Saints all over this country who never followed Brigham Young or his teachings; knew nothing of the law of lineage, or the reorganization of the Church in America. Her distress of mind has been terrible; but today she again brightens in her hopes and expressed her joy in the prospects of soon being with her husband, and believes that he will unite with the Church again in the Reorganization. She had, through the teaching of the missionaries from Salt Lake, been impressed with the idea that there was some wonderful light, power, and blessing associated with the endowment given in the Utah Church. And except she now left her apostate husband, she would lose her salvation in the celestial Kingdom. Her husband had become disheartened and thoroughly disgusted with some of the doctrines and actions of the elders, and he had remained at Fort Des Moines.
I also met Brother Ellison of Six-Mile Grove, Harrison County, Iowa. He is much interested in the gospel and is waiting, watching, and hoping for the revival of the Church again. He has not lost his first love in the faith of the gospel of Christ. I rode with him about a mile, and lost my Book of Doctrine and Covenants in his wagon.
September 8. We stayed again with my brother last night. Brother Blair has not been with me for a few days. He has been visiting Brother Samuel Waldo and Jonathan Heywood. He is in good spirits and this morning we continue on our journey homeward, or to the Illinois conference. Brother Archibald Patten is to take us in his covered carriage as far as Montrose, Iowa. We arrived at Brother Calvin Beebe's, Sr., on Farm Creek in Mills County, at nine o'clock in the evening.
Friday, September 9. We have concluded to stop and hold meetings here today. The Saints are very anxious to hear more of the present hope of the Saints, and what is our duty as members of the Church in its scattered condition.
Friday. We held meeting at two o'clock in the afternoon, and spoke on the order of the priesthood of Joseph's calling, his blessing, and law of lineage. The Holy Spirit did, indeed, accompany the Word of the Lord to them, giving comfort and bearing testimony of the coming of Joseph to take his father's place in the prophetic office in the due time of the Lord. Many of the Saints are much encouraged and revived in their faith and hope. They were well acquainted with the Choice Seer, and all of them declare they knew he was free from the blight and cursed doctrine of the Nicolaitans, or polygamy taught by Brigham Young, as they expressed it.
Saturday, September 10. It rains this morning, so we have concluded to tarry here over Sunday, as the Saints are very anxious to continue meetings a little longer. I visited and remained overnight with Brother Badham, Brother James' father. Brother Blair remained with Brother Beebe.
Sunday, September 11. It is a beautiful day, and we had a large audience at Brother Beebe's cottage_quite a roomy house. Elder W. W. Blair preached an excellent sermon on the subject of the resurrection of the dead; read a part of the fifteenth chapter of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. He dwelt on the subject of the three glories, showing the great and everlasting, infinite benefit of obtaining the celestial glory, which is in our power to secure by well-doing in this life, in contrast with the lesser glories which are gained by well-doing after punishment in the Prison, where Jesus went and preached the gospel to them who were dead, that they might be "judged according to men in the flesh, but live in the spirit according to the will of God." The dear Saints all seemed to be lit up by the soul-cheering thoughts of the subject.
At two o'clock service, we both spoke on the gospel, confirming the Saints in the latter-day work and showing that the Kingdom of God as foreseen by the Prophet Daniel was, indeed, set up; and which shall never be destroyed, and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, and that it was very small in embryo when the first two were baptized in this generation, like the stone which was "cut out of the mountain without hands," as is clearly declared would be the case in the revelation of God, July 1828, nearly one year before Joseph and Oliver were baptized. For, "Behold, this is my doctrine: Whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church; whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore, he is not of my church" (DC 3:16). And in harmony with this thought, when these two brethren were baptized on May 15, 1829, they were the true Church of God on earth, "speaking unto the church individually"; and soon after the Church was established with only two members in it, others were added to it, such as were believers in the gospel of Christ, and were baptized into Christ. And they could truly say, as the ancient Apostle Paul said, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:12-14). 
On the sixth day of the month, which is called April, one thousand eight hundred and thirty, these two first elders, who had been ordained by the angel to be apostles, organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Church and Kingdom of God then had but two officers. Truly, it was only a small Kingdom on that ever-memorable day. And it may also be truly said, "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Other officers were ordained by the command of God in this beautiful Church. And on January 25, 1831, Elder Joseph Smith, Jr., was chosen at a conference of high priests, elders, and members, and ordained President of the High Priesthood, in harmony with the law of God, which says, "Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder) . . . is to be ordained by the direction of a high council, or general conference" (DC 17:17).
And again, "The president of the church, who is also the president of the high council, is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged, in his administration, by the voice of the church" (DC 99:6).
"And again, the duty of the president of the office of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses. Behold, here is wisdom, yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet; having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church" (DC 104:42).
Now this Church, so beautifully arranged with all its varied officers, it may be truly said, "Speaking unto the church collectively and not individually," by the voice of God, said, "And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written, that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion; for, shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay."
This Church, with whom the Lord had once pronounced that He was well pleased, so soon as September 22, 1832, collectively are under condemnation. Later on, in December 1833, the Lord says again to the Church, "Verily, I say unto you, Notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion toward them; I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy. . . . And in that day, all who are found upon the watchtower, or in other words, all mine Israel shall be saved" (DC 98:4).
And in order to bring about this salvation, the Lord again says, in a revelation in December 1834, "Behold I say unto you, The redemption of Zion must needs come by power; therefore I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel, for ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham; and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched out arm; and as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be" (DC 100:3).
Now, my dear brethren and sisters, all these several paragraphs show that darkness, disaster, and trouble, like a pall, hung over the Saints in that early day of the Church, very soon after its organization; and it culminated in the revelation and promise to the Church as an organization, in the Word of God as found in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107, paragraphs 10, 11, 13, and 14. I will quote only a part of these paragraphs for brevity, so you can see the true light of the situation of the Church at this time, in 1841: "But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me, and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me. But, behold, at the end of this appointment, your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment, ye shall be rejected as a church with your dead, saith the Lord your God. . . . If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot, that it shall be made holy; and if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, They shall not be moved out of their place. . . . And it shall come to pass, that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfill the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord; for instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments, upon your own heads . . . by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord."
These several quotations demonstrate the fact, if the Word of the Lord is sufficient authority, that the Church, as an organization, was rejected before the people were driven from Nauvoo at the roar of the firearms, and the terrible harassing they received from the mob, and constant threats from their foes. The Church was united at the time the promise was made to them, that if they would build the temple in a sufficient time, they should not be moved out of their place. They were promised many rich and varied blessings if they would faithfully perform the work entrusted to them. But the given time passed, and they were now bringing upon their heads cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgment. Instead of obtaining the endowment and great blessings to follow the faithful discharge of the task put upon them, as clearly promised in the declaration, "Ye shall not be moved out of your place," and as was really expected by the Saints at Nauvoo, their failure brought calamities. The Choice Seer and prophet was taken from them June 27, 1844, so they had no mouthpiece like Moses to lead them. And on August 15 of the same year, as soon as the Twelve could convene in Nauvoo, they issued an epistle. It says: "You are now without a prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you. . . . Let no man presume for a moment that his place will be filled by another; for, remember he stands in his own place, and always will; and the Twelve Apostles of this dispensation stand in their own place and always will, both in time and in eternity, to minister, preside, and regulate the affairs of the whole church" (Times and Seasons, Volume 5, p. 618).
Their assumption that Joseph's place in the presidency would not be filled by another, shows plainly that they were in darkness and in the spirit of apostasy, the same as the varied sects of the day, who did not believe in prophets in these days. Young as I was, the moment I read that statement I discerned that they had apostatized, or there was something wrong, and that they were in darkness at least; or else I was deceived in the manifestation I had received when the voice from Heaven said to me, "Joseph, the son of Joseph, is the prophet of the Church." Anyhow, blindness hovered over the whole Church and it split into many fragments and factions, who followed their respective false prophets: Brigham Young, Strang, Brewster, Gladden Bishop, Charles B. Thompson, and others, and general confusion ensued in the Church; while the great body of the Church was scattered all over the land, or remained where they had united with the Church, and never gave their consent to follow any of the false shepherds that had arisen since the martyrdom of the beloved Prophet Joseph. 
And now by the command of God to us, we are instructed to say, "To the scattered Latter Day Saints, in the own due time of the Lord, Joseph will be called upon by the God of Heaven to take his father's place as prophet and president of the Church; for the Church has not been destroyed, or the Kingdom given to another people, though they have been scattered and left without shepherds during a dark and cloudy day. Yet, saith the Lord of hosts, they that remain and are faithful shall be gathered and reorganized, for the Lord has not changed concerning Zion. For the pure in heart shall be restored to their promised inheritance, and shall see the glory of God in their deliverance from all their enemies and those that hate them, saith the Lord your God."
With these precious promises, which have surely been given us in our scattered condition by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and by the ministration of angels, we are encouraged; and we are truly commanded of God to tell the Saints that we know that Joseph, the son of the Martyr, will soon take his father's place to guide the people of the Lord, as his father once did on the earth.
During this discourse, the Saints were very much comforted in the faith of the latter-day work, and numbers of them said, "This is the gospel, and in the same Spirit we first heard it in the days of the Choice Seer." "Ah," says Elder Calvin Beebe, "this is what I have been looking for during the cloudy days since the wicked apostasy of Brigham Young! I can see clearly now that the great body of the Church is scattered among the Gentiles, as we are in western Iowa, and did not follow those whose hearts departed from the Lord to the 'salt land,' as seen by the Prophet Jeremiah in his seventeenth chapter." And his wife, Submit R. Beebe, expressed her desire to renew her covenant again by baptism. And his son, Calvin A., and his son's wife, Angeline C. Beebe, gave in their names to unite with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And at one o'clock in the afternoon, I immersed them in the living waters; not in Jordan's stream, but the beautiful sparkling waters of Farm Creek in Iowa. And they were the first to unite with the Church in this place. In the evening, at 7:30, we held confirmation and prayer meeting; the gift of the Holy Ghost, tongues, and interpretations were given, to the great joy of the Saints, confirming the Word of the Lord to them. And many of the Saints said they never attended as good a meeting before. And we can truly say in our hearts, we know some of the true Saints are in this place, and are loyal to the gospel of Christ as they say, "We have heard Joseph, the Choice Seer, expound it in Nauvoo before his death."


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Chapter 19

Missionaries Debate with the Cutlerites
W. W. Blair Leaves the Mission for Home
More Discussions with the Followers of Alpheus Cutler


Monday, September 12. Brother Beebe gave me two dollars fifty cents this morning, just as we were ready to start on our journey to Manti, Fremont County, thirty miles south of Farm Creek. We arrived at our destination at 4:00 p.m., and called on Brother Alpheus Cutler. He seems to be the chief man of the place. He greeted us in rough and uncouth language, as apostates, and is so conceited and arrogant that it seems really strange to us that he has an influence with the people. Meekness and lowliness of heart do not appear to be any of his characteristics; but in a rough tone of voice he said, "I consider you apostates, but you are welcome to refreshments at my house." We thanked him and took seats. After our supper, we visited Brother Wheeler Baldwin, who welcomed us very cordially; but he remarked, "I consider you brethren like the sectarians_having no authority from God."
Tuesday morning, ten o'clock, September 13. We have conversed with Brethren Cutler and Baldwin, though to no purpose as yet. In fact, their ideas are so crude and disconnected, it seems to us, that they are under some constraint and hardly dare tell us their true position and faith that binds them together as a distinct body of believers, outside of the general first principles of the gospel_except to assert, "We claim the right of presidency," without referring us to any law or precedent to substantiate their authority and claim.
Later. This evening, Brother Wheeler Baldwin gave us their hopes and claims in plainness as follows: Elder Alpheus Cutler claims to be the president of the Church, though he is not a prophet, but is especially ordained to teach the oracles, or revelations, given through the Choice Seer; and has his two counselors chosen_though hesitates to tell us who they are. The members generally seem scared and hardly dare to speak of their position or authority in the Church to us; but are free to speak of us having no authority, and they claim that when the Church was rejected as a Church, the priesthood was lost; or in other words, their argument is, "that all who held office in the Church lost their priesthood, except a quorum of fifty which was organized and called 'the Kingdom'; and if it were not for said quorum of fifty, the priesthood would not be on the earth." And therefore, the quorum of fifty high priests which they allude to, is going to be the salvation of the Church, or Israel, as they look at it.
Wednesday, September 14. We have, by request of Elder Cutler, announced an appointment for preaching service at 4:00 p.m. Elder Edmund Fisher, who seems to be one of the chief advisers of the Cutlerites, has just returned last evening to this place, with many of the brethren who have been attending Circuit Court at Sidney, county seat of Fremont, where they have been interested in lawsuits for the last week. They are all in good spirits, having gained all their cases that were in litigation. But the power of darkness prevails over them in a great degree in spiritual things. We have just learned that the Saints here believe that Joseph, before his martyrdom, organized a quorum of fifty and denominated it "the Kingdom," separate and apart from the Church. Therefore, when the Church was rejected, the priesthood in it was also rejected, and all authority in the Church was disannulled; but "the Kingdom" was not affected by the rejection of the Church, for "the Kingdom" was all composed of high priests, and in it the priesthood remained intact and in full force.
This afternoon, the meeting was well attended by the members of their church, which was held at Brother Cutler's house. We both spoke upon the subject of the gospel of Christ, its restoration by the administration of the angel, as foreseen by the Revelation of Saint John, fourteenth chapter; also, that the Church is, indeed, the Kingdom of God on earth, and so existed as such in organization April 6, 1830, composed of six members. And its first two officers were elders and apostles, and the gospel of the Kingdom was preached by them, following the example of Jesus the Christ eighteen centuries ago, who went about all Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, "Repent ye and believe the gospel"; that many precious souls, men and women, soon united with the Church and Kingdom of God. And the organization of quorums subsequently followed as helps and governments in the Kingdom of God, "which was the only true and living church with which the Lord was well pleased," and which the Lord did, indeed, own by His own voice and gifts of the Holy Ghost as in ancient days, in apostolic times. And speaking unto the Church collectively and not individually, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. 
Therefore, the rejection of the Church affected the Church as an organization, but not as individuals, any more than it was possible for God to destroy Sodom with the righteous Lot in the wicked city. We might truly say, as Abraham said of the Lord, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" "That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked." And we may truly say now, as then, that any individual in the Church who has not lost his integrity and membership by transgression, could not lose his authority as a minister for Christ. The prophet and president was taken from the Church; and the quorums as helps and governments, which God set in the Church, were rejected of God, and the quorums were scattered and apostatized; and the leading ones who were left were driven out of the land of Zion, or its regions round about, and went to the "salt land" as foreseen by the Prophet Jeremiah. And he pronounced a curse upon them, when he said, "For he [they] shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness," which is now known as the Great American Desert. But, my dear brethren, only a few of the Church ever followed Brigham Young to Utah. The great body of the Church remained in the States. It is true, they have in many instances grown cold, and have neglected their family altars and forgotten their prayers; and like ancient Israel in the wilderness, they do not know the source from whence deliverance cometh. But let us assure you that the God of Heaven has surely visited some of these scattered Latter Day Saints in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois, and by His own voice, and by the ministration of the heavenly angels, and through the gifts of prophecy commanded us to say to all latter-day Israel, that God will call one of Joseph's sons to take the presidency of the Church as prophet in the near future; and it is his right by lineage and blessing. We showed very clearly, we think, that the Cutlerite views were untenable according to the law of God, and bore a strong testimony of what we know the Lord is doing in attestation with the Reorganization. And we are comforted in hope, for we can truly say our testimony was not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.
The brethren seemed to be rather abashed and confounded at our bold and plain setting forth of our faith and views upon the law governing Church organization. And when we showed that all endowments that consisted in ceremonies, secret covenants and oaths, were the inventions of men or devils, in contrast and in opposition to the endowments of the gifts and powers of the Holy Ghost, as was enjoyed on the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, and as was expected by the Saints in the event the temple was built in Nauvoo, it seemed to produce a hush all over the audience, and a feeling of surprise pervaded. We felt comforted in our spirits and rejoiced in our hearts, for we know we have the truth as it is in Christ our Heavenly Master.
Later, just evening. The weather is delightful, as these beautiful prairies are enchanting in the fields of the woods, as seen by the Psalmist David; but so sparsely settled, it seems lonesome as we look over the wonderful landscapes, like a great ocean of water with its rolling billows in a raging storm. The blooming flowers give fragrance to the balmy air, and which is, indeed, bracing to our souls. But I am sorry, indeed, this evening to think Brother Blair is going to leave me in the morning. But I am contented to say, "The will of the Lord be done."
Thursday, September 15. This morning, Brother W. W. Blair has started for his home in Amboy, Illinois. We have been together since April. It is with sorrow we separate; but we feel it is according to the mind of the Lord that we do so for the sake of the work we have been engaged in, and that we love with all our hearts. Souls are more precious to us than the pleasure it can afford us to continue together. While he feels it is his duty to look after his family and business interests, and also to attend the conference on the sixth of October, I expect to remain in the vineyard of the Lord; how long, the Lord only knows. However, I do not feel as though I had no friend left to counsel with; for, indeed, I feel that the Lord God of Israel is my friend, and will still give me aid. But I feel that I am parting with a dear and beloved brother. It makes me sad to think there are so few in the ministry on missions. Brother Blair and myself are the only ones who, it may be said, are constant missionaries at this time, and he is hindered with secular business sometimes. 
Brethren Z. H. Gurley, Samuel Powers, and James Blakes-lee are doing some mission work a part of the time, and a few local elders doing the best they can, but all are hindered more or less by their secular business and cares of their families. It almost seems that I am alone, a constant missionary to tell of the love of God to the distracted, scattered Latter Day Saints, who as a body are in darkness and do not know the source from whence comes deliverance. The false shepherds who have arisen since the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph, have so disheartened them that they do not see, indeed, the efficacy of prayer and true devotion to the Lord, which is the only way to obtain favor from the God of Heaven, who has said, "The time speedily cometh that great things are to be shown forth unto the children of men; but without faith shall not anything be shown forth except desolations upon Babylon" (DC 34:3). And again, "Without faith it is impossible to please God," for "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." And I am truly assured by the voice of the Holy Spirit to me, that it is my duty to waken the Saints to diligence and prayer, and to exercise faith that God may once more favor Zion.
The Manti brethren are holding a private council meeting today at 1:00 p.m. They wished me not to take any offense because they did not invite me to the council. The most prominent of the brethren here appear to be Elders Alpheus Cutler, Wheeler Baldwin, William Redfield, Amos Cox, Edmund Fisher, Chauncy Whiting, and Squire Eggleston. There seems to be some fluttering and hushed whispering among the Cutlerites today. I really think our visit to their little town has disquieted them in some things. This evening, Brother Redfield requested me to pray for and administer to his daughter who is sick with the typhoid fever.
Friday, September 16. I tarried overnight with Brother Redfield. He expressed faith with us this morning, and in fact is a staunch believer in the promises of Joseph and that his seed must in the due time of the Lord be the successor of their father, and is much interested in our mission work. And this evening, Sister Elizabeth Stillman, who is afflicted with a cancer, requested me to pray and administer to her.
Saturday, September 17. I returned to Brother Calvin Beebe's on Farm Creek. Brother Amos Cox was kind in bringing me in his carriage. Elders James Badham and Eggleston accompanied us, with the intention of preaching in Farm Creek Branch as messengers from the Manti headquarters of the Cutlerite church, I am informed.
Farm Creek, Sunday, September 18. Meeting was held today at Franklin Richards'. Elder Eggleston preached about thirty minutes, and then to my surprise called on me to speak. I did so for about forty minutes, defining my position very plainly; the order of the priesthood in the Church, in organization and doctrine as it is found in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, and how we must, indeed, be governed by the law of God as established in the Three Books. It seemed that Elder Eggleston, in his talk, was embarrassed or felt confused over something, and I felt led to express as fully as possible my faith in the doctrine of Christ, established in the Standard Books of the Church; and that authority must be recognized in the ministry, formed in a properly called and ordained manner according to the law of God and usages of the Church_or else the Latter Day Saints were like the self- constituted sects of the day, who were floating with the drift of apostasy, having no definite doctrine nor answer to prayer from God. But like all former-day Saints, we must believe that God has reserved the right solely to Himself to appoint His own ministers. And the true followers of Christ, in no age of the world, have a right to ordain men into the ministry, except they are called of God by revelation through the gift of the Holy Ghost. 
After I sat down, Brethren Amos Cox and Eggleston both arose and, in a short address, endorsed fully my position. Prayer meeting was announced for evening service at Brother Beebe's. We were a little surprised to find that the brethren who had so fully endorsed my position in the forenoon meeting, had returned to Manti after saying to some of the brethren they "could take me on my position and tear me all to pieces." And I learned also, they were messengers sent by the secret council of last Thursday, but what they have done by coming, I do not know. They have been holding private council in conversation with all they thought proper against our position and principle of lineage, and have made arrangements to return again in two weeks; and I suppose that they will bring all of their strong reasons to substantiate Brother Cutler's claim as the president of the Church.
Our prayer meeting was very interesting; a number of the Saints took part, and Brother Beebe is now all alive with us in the faith, and again confirms the idea that we have brought with us the same Spirit in our preaching as accompanied the Word of the Lord when he first heard it in the days of Joseph. And during the week, we visited quite a number of the families of the Saints in the neighborhood; three families of the Richards, Brother Badham, Alexander Liles, and others.
Saturday, September 24. In company with Brother Beebe, we visited Brother Richard Y. Kelley on Mud Creek, seven miles from Brother Beebe's, who is alive in the faith of the gospel; and in very deed I felt at home at his house. Himself and wife seemed to me, as they expressed it, that they were real Latter Day Saints and have been waiting during the dark days of the apostasy, since the death of Joseph, for the coming forth of little Joseph to take his father's place. He has quite a large family, all quiet and orderly at home, improving the time making a comfortable living. By his suggestion, we called on Brother McKeown, one of his neighbors, who received us kindly, yet is trying to be skeptical on the Christian religion. This evening, held meeting at Brother Kelley's; house full of interested listeners_Text: James 1:5. I had great liberty of the Spirit in presenting the thought that God has always answered the prayer of faith when His people served Him in righteousness. I believe great good was done, as surely the Holy Spirit bore testimony to many, while the tears glistened in their eyes, testifying, indeed, that the love of God was the thoughts of their hearts.
Sunday, September 25. It rains today, so we do not have meeting; and this evening we return to Brother Beebe's by carriage, and to our surprise and grief we find Sister Harriet Richards, Brother Beebe's daughter, sick in bed, suffering severely with her hand, which she caught in the rollers of a cane mill, which crushed off three of her fingers and tore most of the flesh off her hand. We all sympathize with her very much, for she is, indeed, a worthy, good member of the Church and loved by all who have her acquaintance. Her affectionate husband is dreadfully distressed in his mind. I sat up all night with him while he tenderly cared for his wife and administered to her wants.
I spent this week going from house to house, preaching our views to all whom I met, and gave myself to reading the Word, the Scriptures of divine truth. And Friday evening, September 30, I preached to a good-sized audience at Mr. Otto's, five miles north of Brother Beebe's. His mother is a member of the Church.
Sunday, October 2. Preaching at Brother Frank Richards' to a large and intensely interested audience. Many of the Saints in this place are truly awake to the fact that the Reorganized Church has come to stay, and is in truth the government of God on earth; and by its representatives, inviting all who are worthy to be called Saints to enlist under its banner. Brethren Levi Graybill, John Smith, and others from Wheeler's Grove were in attendance; also, Brother Kelley and Noah Cotton of Mud Creek. In the evening, we held prayer meeting at Brother Beebe's again. The blessed Spirit was with us in great power, confirming us in the hope of the gospel of Christ, and many of the Saints took active part in prayer and testimony. Sister Harriet Richards is getting along nicely over her severe affliction, and is cheerful; and I rejoice in God with my whole soul in the blessing of God who is my helper in all my meetings.
Monday, October 3. At 11:00 a.m., a special conference of the Cutlerites convened at Sister Lucy Beebe's cottage, a large and roomy house. It was called by the direction of a council of elders at Manti_Elder Edmund Fisher chosen president; Amos Cox, clerk. The Chair, in his opening remarks, stated the object of the meeting, and said, "We mean to talk in great plainness today, as we desire to know who is really in the faith." Elder Cox then read the first eight verses of the Hebrew letter, sixth chapter, and dwelt largely on the danger of falling from grace. President Fisher then followed with a short exhortation to the Saints, and plainly said, "I wish to know the reason of so much talk by some of the Saints in the branch." Then followed much desultory talk by many of the brethren, and telling of their faith in the gospel. Brother Beebe bore testimony of his faith in the latter-day work, as taught in the days of Joseph. Also, Sister Beebe spoke of hope and faith in the gospel, but she continued, "I see there are some differences of opinion in relation to who is the presiding and leading offi-
cers of the Church." Then someone said, "Brother Beebe does not sustain Brother Cutler." President Fisher said, "We claim Brother Cutler is the president of the Church and of the priesthood of Melchisedec, and we sustain him as the only president there is over the only living and true Church that is acknowledged of God on earth; holding all the rights of the presidency as the First President of the Church and priesthood."
Then someone introduced a resolution to sustain Brother Cutler, and after some more desultory talk, in which I discovered that they were not agreed upon how the resolution should read, I arose and addressed the Chair and asked if I might ask a question. The Chair replied, "Yes." I then asked the two following questions: "When was Elder Alpheus Cutler ordained to the office of president of the priesthood?" Brother Wheeler Baldwin answered, "About two years ago." I then said, "When was he called by revelation?" The Chair replied, "We have not time to answer any more questions," and then adjourned for thirty minutes. 
At two o'clock, conference called to order again, and after some general talk about how the resolution should read to sustain the president, I, by permission, made the following remarks: "Brethren, the law of God in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants says the president of the Church is called of God by revelation, and is ordained according to the gifts and callings unto him, which is to be a prophet, seer, revelator, translator_and, behold, here is wisdom_to be a man like Moses, having all the gifts of God which He bestows upon the head of the Church. And he also holds the keys of the Kingdom to lead Israel, and should be upheld by the prayers and confidence of the Church, so he may be prepared to magnify his office. And if in that light you wish to sustain Brother Cutler, why not simply sustain him as president of the Church?" Brother Baldwin then said, "That is just it_in the light we hold it." And a resolution was then passed to sustain Elder Cutler as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Some did not vote, and conference adjourned sine die. Brethren Beebe, W. H. Kelley, and some others did not vote. I do not remember whether there was any negative vote; but the eyes of many of the Saints were now opened wide to the Cutlerite position. 
And from the third day of October 1859, may be dated the downfall of the Cutlerite faction. Brethren Edmund Fisher, Wheeler Baldwin, Amos Cox, and Eggleston went home, I think a little crestfallen. The Saints talked more than ever as they discovered how untenable Cutler's claims are. But my views are these: Most of the brethren who have been united in the Cutler move are honest, if not all of them; but are blind so far as Brother Cutler's peculiar claims are concerned, and have not particularly considered his claims; and in the integrity of their hearts, they have been living the best they knew how, thinking of the love of the gospel as they first heard it in the days of Joseph, and bringing up their children in the doctrine of Christ. Hence, the Lord has blessed them according to their faith and good works.


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Chapter 20

A Branch Organized at Farm Creek
Rebaptism Discussed
Sermon on Who Will Be Saved
Edmund Practically Alone in the Mission Field


Tuesday, October 4. I held meeting at Mr. Newton Richards'; most of the Saints being in attendance. Much interest is manifest in our hope. I dwelt on the latter-day work as understood by us, in contrast to the views of any of the factions which have broken off from the Church, and constituted unauthorized and presumptuous leaders. The main body of the Saints remained scattered over all the world wherever they happened to be, and are hoping to once more see the Church rally in one united effort as it was in the days of Joseph. While it may be true many have been growing cold, yet their faith is in the gospel_if it is not entirely crushed out through the false leaders who have disgraced the name of Saint by their wild schemes to aggrandize themselves in human ambition or satanic cunning. And the Reorganization pretends to no especial leadership, but we are so directed that we look for one of the legal heirs of Joseph to fill his father's place when the Lord sees fit, in His own time, to call one forth.
Thursday evening, October 6. Attended prayer and social meeting at Brother Frank Richards'; all of the Saints took part and many were blessed with the Holy Spirit, which gave peace and comfort to their souls, while they exclaimed in very deed, as Sister Lucy says, "This seems like old times in the days of Joseph when we first heard this Restored Gospel!"
Friday, October 7. We held services at Brother R. Y. Kelley's_Subject: First principles of the gospel. House crowded with interested listeners.
I will mention a little incident that occurred on my way there. I met several little boys on the side of the road and asked one of them whose boy he was. In a very genteel manner, he replied, "Mr. Kelley's." "Will you tell me your name?" He answered, "Edmund Kelley." "Do you know the definition of the word Edmund?" "No, sir." "It is an olive branch or leaf." Little did I know then, that in that little boy was the future bishop and member of the presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I had seen the definition in some book when I was a little lad, and that it had its origin in the French language. Brother Kelley and wife have never affiliated with any of the factions which have broken off from the Church.
Saturday evening. Preaching again at Mr. Otto's. He is friendly to the Church; but his mother is an excellent, faithful member.
Wheeler's Grove, Sunday, October 9. Preaching at eleven o'clock at Brother Graybill's, and in the evening at Brother Beebe's on Farm Creek. Read the Scriptures and visited with a number of the neighbors_expounding the law governing our Church, from the Three Books.
Wednesday, October 12. Preaching services at Brother Beebe's.
Thursday, October 13. Prayer meeting at Brother Frank Richards'. Brother James Badham spoke in the gift of tongues and interpreted, to the encouragement of the Saints, impressing upon our mind that the Lord was willing to give His children a knowledge of His gospel for themselves, if they were faithful.
Sunday, October 16. At 11:00 a.m., meeting at Brother Beebe's. Spoke on the reorganization of the Kingdom of God_Text: Ephesians 4:11. Also, of the introduction of priestcraft. The first was the establishing of a government with all of its officers appointed by the command of God, and their interest was the well-being of the membership of the Church, with an eye single to the glory of God in the spirit of meekness, love, and long-suffering_patient in all things; while in contrast, priestcraft is where men set themselves up as ministers and deny present-day revelation, or recognize no standard given of God. So you can detect their schemes of self-laudation, and among apostates from the Church they generally depend upon secret conniving to office and place in the Church. Brother Beebe made some remarks encouraging to the Saints, to faithfulness in serving the Lord. 
At 2:00 p.m., meeting assembled again according to previous appointment. After singing and prayer, I read revelation of January 1844, Section 107, from paragraphs 10 to 14. I spoke of the rejection of the Church, and in the Spirit of prophecy, declared, "That the endowment received in the non- completed temple at Nauvoo was not of God; and that the blessings promised in those paragraphs were not received by the Church. And the fullness of the priesthood contemplated therein was not given to man on the earth, as was promised, because the conditions were not lived up to by the people as specified in the revelation." I then dwelt upon the law the Saints should be governed by, as found in the Scriptures of divine truth, and fully explained branch government as best I could. 
Then I inquired how many wished to unite in a branch of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Seventeen arose to their feet and expressed their desire to have their names enrolled as members of a branch. I then spoke of the duties of the officers a few moments, and of what would be expected of the members of the branch. When I closed my remarks, Brother Richard Y. Kelley and John Smith moved and seconded that Elder Calvin Beebe be elected president of the branch; carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Brother Kelley, seconded by Calvin Beebe, Sr., that John Smith act as priest; carried unanimously. Moved by Brother Beebe, seconded by J. Smith, that John Richards be the teacher; carried unanimously. Moved by _____ ______ and seconded by Levi Graybill, that Brother R. Y. Kelley be deacon; carried unanimously. Moved by Brother R. Y. Kelley and seconded by Levi Graybill, that Brother Beebe be clerk; carried unanimously. The following are the names of all the charter members of the branch: Calvin Beebe, president and clerk; John Smith, priest; John Richards, teacher; Richard Y. Kelley, deacon; Submit Beebe, Sarah Smith, Harriet Richards, Levi Graybill, Patience Graybill, Alexander Liles, Frances M. Liles, Calvin A. Beebe, Angeline Beebe, Joseph Smith, Rachel Smith, Stephen Smith, William H. Kelley, Alice O. ______ (I do not know the last name), Henry Winegar, Frances L. Richards, Elizabeth Wine-gar, Ann Strong, and Sarah A. Fletcher_twenty-three names in all.
Moved and seconded that this branch be known as the Farm Creek Branch; carried unanimously. The Saints are all in good spirits and rejoice in the gospel of the Son of God.
One incident worthy of note during the meeting today, was the remarks of Brother William H. Kelley. He said, "When I embraced the gospel, I had no thought of embracing the brethren at Manti; and when I saw at the late special conference the dodging, squirming, twisting, and going clear around 'Robin Hood's barn' and coming in at the back door by those brethren, I want them to understand I do not want anything more to do with them, and I withdraw my name from among them, and I wish to be identified with the reorganization of the true Church." He was but a young man of about eighteen summers, but expressed thoughts of a mature age, worthy of the son of a father who had kept the faith from the first; and was the first to move a branch organization at this place, under what he believed and knew to be the renewal of that which he first embraced in the days of Joseph.
There was some talk about rebaptism also today; but I presented the view taken by the Church from the first conference of the Reorganization of June 12 and 13, 1852, which is this: "All members who have not lost their standing in the Church by apostasy, or have not been legally cut off or expelled, are eligible to membership in good standing with us in the Reorganization." For this is not a new church, but a reorganization of the old members, once more to continue the work as at first. Or in other words, it is the Kingdom foreseen by the Prophet Daniel under the figure of the little stone, ultimately to fill the whole earth, when Jesus comes to take full charge of His government on the earth. And while some of the old members prefer to renew their covenant by rebaptism when they unite with us, yet it is not required of them; but it is left to their own discretion_but there is no law requiring it.
Farm Creek, Mills County, Iowa, Sunday, October 23. I attended the prayer meeting at Brother Beebe's at 10:30 a.m. And at 7:00 p.m., preaching service; Subject: "Restoration of all things"_Text: Romans 14:9: "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living." I took the ground that the only ones that are finally lost, who are called the sons of perdition, must have been baptized into Christ before it were possible for them to become the sons of perdition. Or, in other words, such as have sinned willfully after they have received a knowledge of the truth, "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins"; "But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:27). And at that time when Satan is destroyed, all other adversaries, which mean opposers to the truth, will suffer the same doom. And whatever is the destruction of the Devil, will be the same fate of the sons of perdition. And if at that time there is to be no Devil left, for through death Christ is to destroy him that had the power of death; that is, the Devil_it is evident that Christ saves all the workmanship of His hands except those who have been partakers of the Holy Ghost, which gave them a knowledge of Christ, and then willfully turned away. 
In that view, I also presented the thought that the sons of perdition are the only ones who could be subjects upon whom such an extreme judgment could be passed. They must have been saved in Christ by baptism of water and the Holy Ghost; and then, indeed, as Paul says, truly can it be said, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order." That is, whatever man secures by well-doing or evil in this life, just as he merits or demerits, he is rewarded. And whatever may be said in relation to the punishment of the wicked, it is certain all of the human family will be saved in glory, or redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the suffering of His wrath for their wickedness_except they who are sons of perdition, as recorded in the language of the revelation, which says, "For all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and glory of the Lamb" (DC 76:4). 
Therefore, we can afford to be patient and long-suffering towards all men who may differ from us in the sectarian world; for, like little children, they do not know enough to commit the unpardonable sin, and for the very best of reasons they have not had the Holy Ghost, by which they know that Jesus is the Christ, and are not, or cannot be, witnesses of Christ. But to us who know that Jesus is the Christ by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, it will be an infinite and eternal loss if we fail to receive the celestial glory. And we will realize, indeed, the full force of the language of the Master when He said, he that knoweth his Master's will, and doeth it not, will be beaten with many stripes; while they who know it not, will be beaten with few stripes. And in order that the children of Adam may all hear the gospel, our text says, "Christ died"; and the Apostle Peter says he was "quickened by the Spirit; by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison," or "to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." 
Therefore, we see clearly how in the mercy of God, who loved His children so, He sent His own Son into the world, that the world through Him might be saved. And the world here certainly means the whole human family; and agreeing with this thought, evidently the Prophet Zechariah in his ninth chapter, eleventh and twelfth verses, referring to the mission of Christ, says, "As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee." Evidently another chance to hear the gospel after they were dead and in the Prison, or where Jesus said He would go when He told the sign-seekers, "So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth," where the rich man in Hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and cried for mercy and to have Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool his tongue (see Luke 16:24).
But when I presented the fact that the Lord chastised "for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness" (Hebrews 12:10), it inspired us to love God with our whole hearts; and we can say with John the Divine, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11). Agreeing with the ancient prophet (Isaiah 59:1), "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear," for truly the gospel is good news to all people_for even death and Hell is conquered, for Jesus has the keys of both death and Hell. And it may truly be said, with many more words, the Saints were made happy in the love of God this day in their renewed relationship in the work as an organization, and as they first commenced in it when they embraced the gospel in the days of Joseph.
During the week, I have visited from house to house, expounding the Scriptures and telling of our hope in Christ; and Wednesday evening held our first prayer meeting in the branch.
Keg Creek, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Monday, October 24. This day, I came to Brother Campbell's, twenty-one miles from Brother Beebe's. I am very tired, as I walked all the way. Brother Campbell and wife are old Saints and much interested in our hope.
Tuesday, October 25. I returned to my brother Edwin's_ it is, indeed, a real pleasure to meet with him and feel that I am at home with one of my own kindred. No one can know the feeling that sometimes presses itself upon a messenger for Christ, who is sent away from home and all kindred, with a message that is unpopular, to a wicked world and among those who profess a belief in Christ, and yet more bitter towards you than infidels. Yes, in the midst of what is called (self-called) orthodox Christians, known as Protestants. And just think, in the year of our Lord 1515, there was not one of the Protestant churches which are now on the earth, in all this world! I say no one can know the sadness that sometimes is experienced by such a messenger, without he has had a trial of it himself. The expression of Jesus may give the nearest idea it is possible to have, when He said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." 
With but few local elders in the Church doing the best they can, I sometimes feel I am alone doing mission work in all this wide world. Truly, like John the Baptist_all alone_ crying to scattered latter-day Israel, "Repent and believe the gospel!" And did I not know by the gifts of the Holy Ghost to me (and surely I have demonstrated beyond a doubt, by comparison with the facts of the Bible, that in very deed I am being taught by the Holy Ghost, the same power described in the Word of God as was enjoyed by the Saints in days of old, and the heavenly angels who did, indeed, visit and minister to me, and the pure teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ), I would today throw down the banner of the Christian religion and engage in other work and calling in this world, rather than continue in the ministry of the gospel of Christ. But there is no other way marked out for me, and live a conscientious life and hope to receive the plaudit, "Well done," from my Heavenly Father.
Wednesday, October 26. I wrote letters to Brethren Blair, Samuel Gurley, H. W. Pomeroy, my cousin, Albert White, and Curtis F. Stiles, my brother-in-law.
Friday, October 28. Was in Council Bluffs today and purchased a cap, and cloth for a pair of pants. My mother and sister-in-law will make the cloth up for me. Cutting and cloth cost me six dollars and twenty-five cents.


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Chapter 21

Plans to Publish the True Latter Day Saints' Herald
Brigham Young's Statement upon Hearing of Joseph's Death
Many Speak Highly of the Smith Family
The Doctrine of Gladden Bishop
Edmund Upholds Joseph the Martyr


Friday, October 28, 1859. Today, called on Brother M. V. Follett (he is a brother of King Follett of Nauvoo, Illinois, whose funeral sermon was preached by Brother Joseph). He is trying to be skeptical, yet says if the Bible be true, the Saints have the true religion if anyone has; is very kind to me and is the first subscriber I have received for the True Latter Day Saints' Herald. I have just received a letter from Brother Blair, informing me of the interesting time at conference held at Sandwich, Illinois, on the sixth instant, and that it is the purpose of the Church to publish a monthly paper as soon as practicable. I rejoice to hear this glad news. It certainly will be a new era in the reorganization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints_Elders William Marks, Z. H. Gurley, and W. W. Blair, publishing committee; and Elder Isaac Sheen, editor. The last named has but recently joined the Reorganization and resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am glad our hope is beginning to be understood in the East; and by the grace of God assisting me, all western Iowa shall at least know of our faith. May the Herald live forever and soon be a weekly, is my earnest prayer.
Sunday, October 30. Held preaching service at Sister Polly Graybill's; her son, Levi, from Wheeler's Grove was present and all alive in the faith. Had a large audience and most of them were old members of the Church in Nauvoo, Illinois. Sister Graybill is an excellent woman_very firm in the faith of the gospel, as are the most of her family; though some of them are reading the Boston Investigator, an infidel publication_but all treat me with the greatest respect and kindness. This evening, went home with Brother Gatrost to visit his sick wife who has the typhoid fever; and through the prayer of faith, the Lord has immediately healed her and she is now rejoicing in the blessing of the Lord_for truly the fever has left her. All the glory is the Lord's. I praise His holy name, for He truly confirms His Word with signs following the believer now, as in the days of the ancient apostles. Brother Levi Graybill of Macedonia and Sister Margaret Stokes of Council Bluffs subscribe for the Herald.
Tuesday, November 1. I visited Brother Rees Price, who lives ten miles east of the city. He is interested in the latter-day work as taught by the Choice Seer, though now very much depressed and disheartened through the wicked apostasy of Brigham Young, and the horrible disgrace he has brought upon the innocent Saints by his blasphemous teaching of what is called in the Book of Mormon, the "grosser crime" practiced by David and Solomon. Yes, it is true, while the popular churches of our day condone and make apologies for those men of Bible times who practiced those crimes, which were the sequence of adulterous hearts, yet they are ever ready and quick to condemn the Saints of our day because such wicked men have gone out from us_who, indeed, are only fulfilling the prophecies of their own Bible, "Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy." But thank God, I am a living witness of the fact that the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is founded upon eternal truth, and the apostates who leave it will never be able, through their treachery, to join in with the self-styled orthodox churches of this world to destroy it; but in the eloquent language of the inspired Apostle Peter, they will by reason of their heresies establish the divinity of his words, spoken nearly two thousand years ago, when he said the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
No devout ones of the popular churches now, ever refer me to any saying or teaching of Joseph Smith and say it is bad doctrine, or its tendency is not in the highest sense thoroughly pure Christian, but they always quote Brigham Young or some other slanderer, who has been misrepresenting Joseph Smith and the doctrine he taught. But thank God, O my soul, my face never turns crimson with shame because of anything the Choice Seer ever said or wrote upon religious subjects; and his political views were of a high order, evincing true patriotism of an American_honorable and just to all men.
Wednesday, November 2. I returned to Brother Samuel Waldo's, and he was telling me today that Brigham Young was in his neighborhood when the news first came to them of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. He said he heard Brigham say, "If I can get the confidence of the Saints, I can lead the Church as well as Joseph did." And during the conversation, Brigham continued, "This is the happiest day of my life."
"At that time," said Brother Waldo, "I thought he wished to comfort us, as we all felt bad and very sorrowful; but since Young's apostasy and assumption of authority without ordination to the presidency, and his terrible, corrupt doctrines of blood atonement and polygamy, I have believed he was at once, as soon as he heard of the death of Joseph, seized with ambition and the spirit of the Devil to take the leadership of the Church." If this statement of Brother Waldo's is correct (and he is a very candid and careful man), it is very evident that Young was happy at the death of Joseph, for it gave him the opportunity to gratify his ambition, which he never could have done during Joseph's life; and he was the only one in the Church I ever heard of that was happy upon hearing of the death of the Martyrs.
Saturday, November 5. During the week, I have visited Brethren Jonathan Heywood, Hartwell, David Hall, and others of the old Saints in the neighborhood. All seem much interested in our hope and the coming of Joseph to take his father's place. I have been from house to house, preaching the gospel of Christ and the reorganization of the Church incessantly, all the week.
Sunday, November 6. I held meeting at the Wicks Mill schoolhouse. Infidelity is the leading thought of the people in this neighborhood, and the Boston Investigator is the literature in their houses, generally.
Monday, November 7. I wrote a letter to Elder Edwin Cadwell of Amboy, Illinois, and sent him a list of eight subscribers for the Herald and four dollars, the first money I have sent for the publication, and returned to Brother Calvin Beebe's on Farm Creek. Saints all in good spirits.
Thursday, November 10. I attended prayer and social service. The Saints are, indeed, rejoicing in the hope of the gospel and the steps they have taken in the Reorganization, and say, "We realize that the Church of Christ has, indeed, been brought to us in such a clear light, that we feel firmer in the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ than we ever were in all our lives before." It is very encouraging to me to have these old Saints, who were members of the Church in the days of Joseph, now confirm my mission in such strong terms of love and confidence.
Sunday, November 13. I held services at Brother Beebe's. His large home was crowded with an appreciative audience, who listened with interest while I spoke upon the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The Holy Spirit was given us in great power in attestation of its worth, bearing evidence of its truthfulness as the great things of God's law written to Ephraim. It is a source of great satisfaction and joy that I can always refer to it as a book full of good instruction and the purest Christianity; and I know there is not a Christian minister in the whole world who dares criticize its teachings, or deny its purity and holiness in a single doctrinal thought found in it. In the evening prayer and fellowship meeting, all the Saints took part and manifested great interest in the welfare of the Church. Most of the people in this place are members of the Church, and often refer to the interesting meetings they enjoyed in the days of Joseph, and the dark night which has intervened since that time until now. But now all seems bright to them, for the Holy Spirit bears witness to the work of the Reorganization, and the "coming of little Joseph to take his father's place," as they often express it.
Monday, November 14. Today, I took dinner with Brother William Campbell of Keg Creek; he subscribed for the Herald. In the afternoon, I came to my brother Edwin's, at Council Bluffs. Delia and their sweet little girl, Lenora, are so good_it is quite a rest to me to feel at home among my own folks.
Wednesday, November 16. I wrote a letter to Brother Edwin Cadwell and sent him six dollars for twelve subscribers of the True Latter Day Saints' Herald. It is very encouraging to think we shall soon have a paper of our own to help spread the doctrine of the reorganization of the Church; for it certainly will reach many of the old Saints the elders can never visit. At present, I am the only missionary in the vineyard of the Lord. A few others are doing some work in their local fields as circumstances will permit, with the care of their own dear families on their hands; no one to assist them from a financial standpoint. But, thank God, the Holy Spirit is their helper in defense of the truth of the gospel against the latter-day apostasy and the popular churches of the world, which are, in fact, but another departure from the former-day apostasy. And while we gladly give them credit for all the good they do, yet none of them are the true Church of God after the apostolic pattern, in doctrine or organization. While we are but fragmentary in organization, yet we believe in every element of the gospel of Christ as taught in the Bible. Thank God, O my soul!
Today, I hastened to Union Grove, Harrison County, to fill appointments and was hospitably cared for by Brother Wood of this place. I am thankful for Brother Beebe's horse, which is such a help to me to reach the long distances over these bleak and chilly prairies this time of the year, with often not a single house to break the monotony for five to twenty miles.
Thursday, November 17. In the evening, held meeting at Brother Jones' cottage_Subject: First principles of the gospel. Full house of eager listeners to hear the pleasing story of a full salvation through Christ's gospel.
Union Grove, Sunday, November 20. I held services at Brother Samuel Wood's at eleven o'clock; had large audience_ Subject: The Kingdom of God. It is a great pleasure and joy to speak of our hope in Christ and bear witness in the power of the Holy Spirit, not only of the gospel of Christ, but of the coming of Joseph to take his father's place in the Church in God's own appointed time. The Protestant churches are more or less interested in choosing their presiding elders and bishops; the Roman Catholic in electing its popes (which name is not heard of in all God's Holy Bible), and sometimes not chosen without shedding blood and loss of many lives; and all know that God has nothing to do in their appointments, any more than He has to do in appointment of the leader of any other society in all this broad earth. Revelation from God is out of the question in the matter of choosing their presiding elders in every church of all this broad earth, except among the true Latter Day Saints. Oh, what a contrast and a picture to the whole world, and what joy to my very soul when I can say and know by the revelation of God to me through the Holy Ghost, and by the blessed ministrations of the angels of God, I do know that our Heavenly Father appoints the presiding officer of His Church on earth, in these days as in days of old.
The Roman Catholic Church and all her apostate daughter and granddaughter churches of this age may read_yes, do read in the Bible, that God "set" (gave) apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers_with miracles_for the perfecting of the Saints and the work of the ministry, before their several churches had a being or name in the earth; but not one ever heard the voice of God, saw an angel of light, or received a revelation from God acknowledging it as His church, or appointing one of its ministers to preach the gospel, or to take charge of the Church of God on earth. This was the general theme of our discourse today, interspersed with many proof-texts. Oh, how happy I am to know for myself that our Heavenly Father has not lost any of His loving-kindness for His Church in our day, and has not changed or had any variableness in His dealings with His children as taught by Jesus Christ; that God was more willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than earthly parents were to give good gifts to their children. My very soul is enraptured in the love of God my Savior, to know that He does speak to us and appoint our ministers, and there are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, inspired now as in days of old; and that the presiding minister of our Church is a prophet, appointed and called of God as Moses was, to receive revelation as a law to govern the Church. And like John the Baptist, who could prophesy of the speedy coming of the Messiah, so can I prophesy that Joseph, the son of the Martyr, will soon come to take his father's place in the Church.
Again this evening, we held prayer meeting; much interest and all the Saints spoke and prayed. Mr. Thomas Shearer arose and confessed Christ and belief in His doctrine, and in humility of heart requested baptism at our hands; and I announced that the ordinance would be attended to at nine o'clock next morning.
Monday morning, November 21. At nine o'clock in the forenoon, a large audience gathered at the water's edge, and I made a few remarks on the importance of the everlasting covenant, which is the gospel of Christ, and that those who entered into gospel relations were parties to said covenant on the one hand, and Jesus Christ on the other. Jesus says, "My words are words of life unto life, or death unto death." The entire neighborhood seemed to turn out to behold the sacred ordinance of baptism, consecrated by the example of our blessed Redeemer. It was a solemn occasion while I baptized Brother Thomas Shearer and his wife, Elizabeth J. Confirmation meeting was an interesting service. All the Saints were happy, and so was I glad in my very soul to see so many turning to the Lord in this place, to live lives of holiness. May God help them to keep themselves unspotted from the vices of the world, is my fervent prayer. I took great pains to instruct the dear Saints that the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost was a legal ordinance, ordained of God to entitle them to the Holy Ghost, which would lead them into all truth and enable them to detect every false spirit, if they continued faithful to their covenant they had made today. Quite a number spoke of their blessed hope since they had joined the Reorganization, and the dark and cloudy days of the latter-day apostasy have all been cleared away by the bright light of our hope, which has been made plain by attestations of the Holy Spirit. 
I took dinner at Brother Wood's. He has an interesting family, all in the faith of the gospel of Christ. This afternoon, I journeyed on to Galland's Grove, twenty-three miles north of Union Grove, and found a welcome home at Brother Uriah Roundy's; he is a true Latter Day Saint. Was in the Church almost from the beginning, and well acquainted with the Choice Seer and his father's family. He says they were a good family_honest and upright in all their dealings; that his mother was one of the best women he ever knew_a very charitable woman, full of love and cheer for everybody who was trying to do right, and Father Smith, the great patriarch of the Church, was, indeed, a loving and good man of God. All of his boys were conscientious, honorable men. William was the exception in some respects; but he says, "I did not blame him much, for he had seen so much persecution all his days, heaped upon his father's family_it sometimes made him feel desperate, and he had a temper to contend with and he made some trouble through his hasty acts."
All the old Saints have a very great reverence for the Smith family; and yet as to William, they regret some of his doings.
The attestation of the virtues, truthfulness, and loyalty of the founders of the Church in every place I go, is no ordinary evidence in favor of the Choice Seer and his family. All bless his memory and say he was a good man; and never yet have I met a man who is not a member of the Church, who was personally acquainted with Joseph Smith, but what always spoke of him in the best respects and believed him honest in his religious convictions; and an honorable, upright man in all his dealings. This, indeed, is a glowing picture to me in contrast with the vile epithets hurled against him by those who were never personally acquainted with him, and yet his most bitter enemies are the clergy of the popular churches of our day. When I ask them, "Did you ever see Mr. Smith?" they answer, "No." "Did you ever see his writings?" Again comes the emphatic answer, "No, and do not want to." When I inform them I have taken great pains to read all of Mr. Smith's writings and have found they always teach pure Christianity, honorable dealings_ man with his fellowman_they again retort, "His writings are beneath my notice, and I would not spend my time to read them, or allow his books in my house to be read by our children."
All such men are incompetent witnesses against Mr. Smith, and as American citizens, would not be considered eligible to a jury in a case against him.
While the men in the Church in all this country have the best of reputation for truth and veracity, and are the best of witnesses in any court of our land, and after passing through so much persecution_for many of them lived in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois when they were under the fiery trials of mob violence, and also witnessed the apostasy of Brigham Young_ yet they are firm believers in the latter-day work and gospel of Christ, and not one of them ever saw a wicked act of Joseph Smith, or heard an unbecoming remark from his lips. There are thousands of such witnesses in this country, as this place is well settled by old members of the Church. While I am holding meetings nearly every day, and many times two a day, I am at the same time going from house to house preaching all the rest of the time, when not taking rest in sleep.
Tuesday, November 22. I held meeting in the schoolhouse; had a very large audience, all intensely interested_while the Holy Spirit bore testimony to every heart, confirming the Word to the joy of every soul.
Thursday, November 24. I took charge of prayer and social service; Saints all took part and spoke in glowing terms of their joy in the renewal of the glorious latter-day work. Many of the Saints here were well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph, and all speak of him in terms of love and honor.
Sunday, November 27. I preached to a large congregation, of our hope in Christ and of His doctrine, urging the necessity of holiness of heart, and that we shall all be judged at the last day out of the Books, the Word of God, and receive rewards according to our deeds, whether good or evil. I gave liberty for remarks, and many arose and spoke with much earnestness and warmth of their hope in Christ and determination to be faithful in righteousness to the end. Several wished to be baptized, and some wished to renew their covenant by doing their first work over again. They explained that they had lived so beneath their privileges during the dark and cloudy day of apostasy, that they really felt they would have more faith if permitted to be rebaptized. I therefore adjourned our meeting to regather at the waters, and I immersed the following precious souls: Brethren John A. McIntosh, Alexander McCord, Milton Lynch and his wife, Elizabeth, and Luther McCord_the last three, new members. In the evening services, I confirmed those baptized. Our meetings were all very joyous today, and many took part and bore their testimony in love for their Savior and His blessed gospel.
Monday, November 28. Today, came to Mason Grove, twenty-five miles north. Brother A. McCord accompanied me with carriage. I appreciate his kindness very much; surely the Lord will reward him. Our dear Heavenly Master has blessed me wonderfully in all my labors in His vineyard, and though I am holding public services most every day, and many times two and three meetings a day during the weekday, as well as on Sabbath, and talking all the time it would seem_around the fireside and in the family group_I hardly ever become weary or tired. We also have had beautiful weather all the fall so far, which seems almost a godsend to us in the interest of His blessed cause in all this land.
We find Brother Jesse Mason, an old-time Saint, almost bewildered with the temporal affairs of this life, and has been so distressed over the apostasy that he has forgotten the altar of the Lord in his prayers; but he is kind to us and is an old acquaintance of Brother McCord's. We also visited Brethren Milton Hough and Thomas Dobson, and told them of the Reorganization and the promises to us that one of Joseph's sons will ere long be called of God to take his father's place in the Church.
Tuesday evening, November 29. I held meeting in the schoolhouse; had very large audience_I may say, a packed house of eager listeners; and this evening after service we are invited to lodge with Brother Dobson. Brother McCord is no little help to me in this place. In his testimony, he tells the old Saints here why Brother Briggs comes to us with the old Jerusalem gospel again, just as it was in the days of Joseph the Seer, and the same Holy Spirit comes with it. It does my soul good to hear others affirm our hope and attest to the Divine Spirit that is giving me comfort, as the same Spirit that was enjoyed in the days of Joseph. The old Saints here rejoice to hear of our hope and the Reorganization, and learn of our glorious manifestations from the Lord concerning the coming of one of Joseph's sons to take his father's place in the presidency of the Church. Many in this place were well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph, and all join in speaking of him in the highest terms as a true prophet of God, and free as an angel from the accursed doctrines of devils as taught by Brigham Young's apostasy, as they call it.
Wednesday, November 30. I held another meeting; the entire neighborhood turned out. The best of order and respect was shown me. Methodist and Baptist members seemed as much interested as the old Saints_Subject: The doctrine of Christ as the only way to eternal life; from the words of the Apostle John the Divine, "He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9). I had great liberty and blessing of the Holy Spirit in speaking the Word tonight; dwelt upon the thought that the doctrine of Christ in the Bible is always used in the singular number, but the doctrines of men and devils are always used in the plural. The reason of this is, no one principle of the doctrine of Christ is sufficient to save anyone, but the doctrines of devils or men are held by them severally_that it does not make much difference what your doctrines are, so you only believe in Christ. My dear brethren and friends, that is one of the great distinguishing features between the doctrine of Christ and the doctrines of men. The one is very particular and insists that every principle of the gospel is couched in the Christian religion, while Antichrist, in all of its multiplied phases, is always willing to compromise, omit, change, or add to, just to suit the times or caprices of the individual or environments, while I insist in the language of our dear Lord and Master, "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me" (John 7:16). 
I feel charitable towards all and love all Adam's race, but not of that kind of love expressed by the "Pharisees and lawyers [who] rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him" (Luke 7:30). The foregoing was the leading thought of this discourse, while I took great pains to show what Christ's doctrine is. As I reflect upon the wonderful provision God has made to save the race, it seems strange that those of the learned clergy of this age resort to mortalizing sermons and exhortations, and ignore the doctrine of Christ entirely_even when they dwell upon the principle of faith, they rob it of all its essential elements, as taught in the gospel, in which there is answer to prayer or the gift of knowledge from God. But I rejoice with my whole soul to know that the gospel principles are so easy to be understood by those who will not close their eyes and stop their ears, lest they are converted in these days, "as it was in the days of the Savior."
Thursday, December 1. We returned to Galland's Grove_ Brother McCord enjoying our visit at Mason Grove, and is built up very much in faith and says he would like to be with me all he can in this glorious work. It is a beautiful day; no cold weather or snow yet this season. It is a great blessing to me, as I do not feel that I have a single day to be hindered by stormy weather.
I took charge of prayer services this evening. Saints all in the best of spirits, and all spoke of their love in the gospel work. The spirit of peace and unity filled every heart.
Friday, December 2. I held meeting at Brother J. A. McIntosh's cottage; house full of listeners who are, indeed, full of hope; sister of the house happy_the sun shines in her sky all the time now. The change is so bright since I first visited this dear family. I blessed four of their darling little children, after the pattern given by our dear Lord and Master. And He laid His hands on them and said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. I ordained Brother Alexander McCord to the office of elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Sunday, December 4. Services in the schoolhouse. Elder Andrew Jackson preached an able discourse on the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, from the words, "I have written to him [Ephraim] the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing" (Hosea 8:12); "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold . . . and they shall hear my voice" (John 10:16). He showed that Ephraim was west of the land of Judea, a multitude of nations, and that Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection; and, from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel (Genesis 49:24). He is, indeed, a very forcible and logical reasoner. It was a feast to me to hear his clear-cut logic and proof in evidence of the blessed book. I made a few remarks confirming his beautiful discourse, and invited all to come to Christ in faith, through obedience to His doctrine. 
A very worthy young lady, Miss Emiline Miller, niece of Brother Uriah Roundy, arose and said, "I desire to be baptized, and I ask the dear Saints to pray for me that I may meet you all in the celestial Kingdom of God." She truly manifested to us that she had received of the Spirit, that leadeth unto repentance and love of the gospel of Christ. We dismissed the meeting and repaired to the water, and I baptized her in the presence of a very large audience. The spirit of peace and solemnity brooded over the happy assembly, impressing every heart that the Lord was truly pleased with the sacred ordinance. At seven o'clock in the evening, I discoursed on the wonderful mission of Christ, from the text, "We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe" (1 Timothy 4:10); and, "As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water" (Zechariah 9:11). Oh, what a blessed thought it is to realize that poor, erring mortals who die in their sins, and are punished in the Prison House, may yet have the opportunity to hear the truth of the gospel of Christ and be saved in some of the lesser glories, though they have been robbed of the better resurrection through false doctrine of men and devils. Saints were all happy, and those not of the Church were very much pleased, and said, "We could have listened all night, for thou hast almost persuaded us to be Christians tonight, for we certainly want to come forth in the first resurrection." 
Elder Jackson assisted me in confirming Sister Miller and ordaining Brother Milton Lynch, teacher, of the Galland's Grove Branch, just before we closed our services. The blessed Spirit of God was with us in very deed in all our services today. Saints are all kind to me, and may the Lord bless them is my constant prayer for them day and night.
Wednesday, December 7. I came to Brother Benjamin Leland's; Brother McCord brought me ten miles in his spring wagon. I felt very thankful to him for his kindness. I came the rest of the way on foot. This evening, Brother Leland and I visited a Mr. Gallup, who is all infatuated with Mr. Gladden Bishop, who is stopping at his house. He is another false pretender to leadership among the scattered Saints. It is really astonishing how such wicked impostors can influence men with their glaring false doctrines. He applies most of the sacred passages of the Bible that have a bearing on the second advent of the Messiah, to himself; and he is the one to do the great work of the Father in the last days in restoring Israel. 
Mr. Bishop, like Granville Hedrick, whom I met in 1857, holds that the Choice Seer was a true prophet a short time, but fell into transgression and lost his standing and favor with God. This evening, he seemed to take delight in repeating and rehashing all the scandal that had been circulated by his bitter enemies in the sectarian world_then had the effrontery to turn and ask me what I thought of his position. I replied, "The very first revelation of the angel of the Lord, when he came to Joseph with a message from God revealing his calling, said to him, 'Your name shall be known among the nations, for the work which the Lord will perform by your hands shall cause the righteous to rejoice and the wicked to rage; with the one it shall be had in honor, and with the other in reproach.' And now, Mr. Bishop, you have my opinion of any man who speaks in disrespect of Joseph Smith. Neither you, nor the apostate Mormons, nor any of the popular clergy of the Protestant churches that I ever met, has ever seen any personal act of Joseph Smith that was not honorable, virtuous, true, and good as an example worthy of imitation by any Christian gentleman; and I have been personally acquainted with many thousands of them. And when I ask them, 'Did you ever see any moral wrongdoing in Joseph Smith?' and like yourself, tonight, and you have been acquainted with him for years, you and they invariably answer me, 'No, sir.' 
"Here, in western Iowa, are many thousand members of the Church who lived in Nauvoo, and have been acquainted with him for years; some of them as early as when he lived in Kirtland, Ohio_many nonmembers of the Church who were personally acquainted with Elder Joseph Smith_and they all unequivocally tell me he was a good man and a Christian. I also lived in Nauvoo in the years of 1856 and 1857, and met with great numbers of people there, and no man or woman who was personally acquainted with Mr. Smith, ever did speak against the man in my presence; and I took great pains to question people on that matter. There were people there who would repeat the scandalous stories about him, but without a single exception they were not personally acquainted with him. They got their information from the popular charges of pious scandalmongers, who never met Mr. Smith. I honor the name of Joseph wherever you find it written, endorsing anything he ever said upon religious subjects; it is always in harmony with the teachings of Jesus the Christ."
Thursday, December 8. I held meeting at Brother Samuel Wood's in Union Grove, with a full house_mostly members of the Church. All welcome me back with cheerfulness and faith in the reorganization of the Church. Oh, how vivid it is to my mind that a church without authorized living apostles and prophets in these days, as in the dark days of the apostasy, in what history calls the Dark Ages of the Roman Catholic apostasy, the people are so easily led by presumptuous, wicked aspirants, who are prompted by unholy ambition and a thirst for worldly power, who are ever ready to make merchandise of the people for their love of filthy lucre. May God deliver our blessed Church from another such apostasy is my fervent, daily prayer. Thank God, I know my prayers will be granted, and though the Church may, yes, will pass through severe trials, yet it will triumph and come off and achieve more than victory, and receive her crowned King in glory; and our apostles and prophets, with the dear Saints, will receive the plaudit, "Well done, for thou hast been faithful."


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Chapter 22

Mountain Meadows Massacre
Edmund Disappointed and Sorry to Read an Article in the Herald Written by Isaac Sheen
William Marks Tells of His Last Conversation with the Martyr Regarding Polygamy
Edmund the Only Missionary in the Vineyard


Friday, December 9. I came to Council Bluffs and to my surprise found my sister, Mary, and husband, Curtis F. Stiles, at brother Edwin's. I had not seen them since the spring of 1852. They are in good health and spirits, though grieved and depressed at heart religiously, because of so much wickedness and distress brought on the Church by the presumptuous leaders of the latter-day apostasy. They have been to California and just returned to the States. I am very glad to see them. They have many interesting things to tell me of the beautiful country. On the way, they stopped in Utah a short time and met many of the Mormons at Mountain Meadows; saw the bleached bones of the dear people who were murdered_and saw many of the clothes of the women with bullet holes in them, and now worn by the people of that valley. While there, they saw two of their leading men, who came and called a meeting of the members of their church, and in the harshest language forbade them to talk over the matter of the horrible massacre, but did not say a word disapproving the wearing of clothes of that rich company, or say a word about burying their dead and bleached bones. John D. Lee and others of the Mormons were well known as parties in that horrible butchery of one hundred and twenty emigrants_was the common talk in the Territory when they were there, so they report.
Saturday, December 10. I purchased some clothes_cost, ten dollars; and visited with my dear people and many of the Saints in the vicinity of the city for a few days.
Sabbath, December 18. Held meeting in the city district schoolhouse. A few were out to hear; only six strangers, besides my friends and relatives.
Sunday, December 25. I attended meeting in the Methodist church. The minister exhorted his people in a very moral way to be good, and as usual, said nothing about the doctrine of Christ. All he said, I can endorse with all my heart. I truly believe no one can be a true Christian without being in every sense a moral man; yet a moralist, without obeying the doctrine of Christ, is not a Christian.
Friday, December 30. My brother-in-law accompanied me to Farm Creek, and again I find Brother Beebe in best of spirits, taking charge of the Saints in the branch. 
Sunday, January 1, 1860. I held meetings at Brother Beebe's cottage this morning_Subject: First principles of the gospel. Prayer and social service in the evening. Saints are all alive in the work and every member took part in the most humble and loving manner, testifying of his hope in Christ; and the blessed Holy Spirit gave much comfort to the dear Saints. Another New Year's Day has come to us, with a renewal of the blessed Spirit, and I rejoice in God, my Savior, with all my heart. I hope to do more for the advancement of the latter-day work this year than I have in any year before. I breathe this fervent prayer: O, thou God of Israel, help me to do all thy will, and have the faith once delivered to the Saints. Amen.
The weather is cold and snow covers the ground, but looks beautiful; so clean and pure as it covers these vast prairies, resembling "the fields of the woods" so graphically described by King David in his forty-eighth and one hundred thirty- second Psalms: "For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation; and her saints shall shout aloud for joy."
Oh, will the Church be more completely organized, with Brother Joseph the president and prophet this coming year? is the earnest solicitation of my heart; in fact, many of the Saints think if the Lord would once more raise up a prophet like Joseph was, they would never be troubled again in their faith; but I do not think this, for there will always be hard trials before the Saints until the coming of the Son of God in His second advent. I am enjoying the hospitality of Brother John Richards_he is a son-in-law of Brother Beebe, a most humble and devoted man. His wife, bright and cheerful, makes home happy by her very presence_so humble and good. Indeed, a happy home is a heaven begun on earth before the Millennium is ushered in by the coming of the Son of righteousness.
Tuesday, January 3. I enjoyed the hospitality of Brother Beebe last night. He is a good, humble Saint and only wants the right; has had a long experience in the Church, and was well acquainted with Joseph the prophet. He gave me three dollars to help support the publication of the True Latter Day Saints' Herald, which is to be published in Cincinnati, Ohio. Also subscribed for three copies, one to be sent to a sister, Julia Daniels, of California. He also gave me five dollars and has let me have a horse and saddle for the remainder of the winter. It will be a great help to me, for I have been traveling these lonely prairies alone and on foot so long, it seems a godsend to me_for I did not solicit it, but it is all a volunteer act on the part of Brother Beebe. Now I shall be able to do so much more in the vineyard of the Lord. He will surely be rewarded for his share of all the work I will do, more than I could possibly accomplish if it were not for his kindness. Today, I came twenty miles to Brother Rees Price's, nine miles northeast of Council Bluffs; and he has just been telling me of a dream, or vision as he calls it, a short time since. He says, "While I was in the vision, I was instructed that the Lord had sent John Smith to his cousin, Joseph Smith, before he called Joseph to take his father's place as president of the Church of Christ." It is a very singular dream, or vision (for he does not seem to know which it is), whether it means anything or not.
Thursday, January 5. I came to Council Bluffs and made appointment for meetings and put up written notices in the city in many places, worded as follows: "Revival among the true Latter Day Saints. Meeting held Sabbath, January 8, at seven o'clock in the evening in schoolhouse, district number 2. Everybody cordially invited."
Sunday, January 8. At half past ten o'clock in the morning, I preached at Mr. Martin V. Follett's residence; had a house full of listeners. After services, I baptized Catherine A. and Matilda C. Follett, and Edson Runyon. I realized that Brother Runyon had but a short time to remain with us; he has consumption and is very weak and frail. In his pleadings to me for the sacred ordinance of baptism, he said, "I want to obey the command and follow my Lord and Master, and I am not afraid the water will injure me, or the exposure will do me any harm." And sure enough, he has not seemed to be suffering any ill effect, though it is a very, very cold day, and the ice more than two feet thick where the baptism was administered, near Wicks Mill. As I lifted him into the water, which was about three feet deep, or nearly to my waist, a solemn awe and sadness rested on me. I had the sensation of bells tolling at the death of a dear friend, and I realized that the dear young man will soon be in Paradise. Sister Matilda Follett is also very poorly in health, and so feeble I left her for the last one; and when I lifted her into the water, a sudden feeling of joy and bright hope seemed to burst upon us all. A glowing heat came over the frail, sick ones, and our wet outer garments froze and served to keep the wind from penetrating_so none of us suffered any with the bitter cold weather. 
This evening, I had a very large audience in the city, and the blessed Spirit confirmed the Word in much power and assurance_Subject: The gospel and Church government, and its apostasy and reorganization, and of the especial blessing of the Choice Seer, which says, "For this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him; and as I said unto Abraham, concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, In thee, and in thy seed, shall the kindred of the earth be blessed" (DC 107:18). So often has the power of the Holy Spirit confirmed to me the evidence of the coming of Joseph to take his father's place in the Church, that I have no hesitancy in saying I know it will come to pass, without doubt. Quite a number of the old Saints, and many of other churches, attended our meeting.
Monday, January 9. I confirmed Brother Edson Runyon into the Church with the laying on of hands, according to the rules of the Church, and anointed him with oil; and was very solemnly impressed by the Holy Ghost to administer the Lord's Supper to him, but did not_and regret it very much. May God forgive me for not obeying the direction of the Holy Spirit in this matter.
By this instruction, also, I now know the importance of this holy ordinance, as I never did before. I thank God from my very soul that Brother Runyon is feeling very much better, for today I hear there are threats being made to arrest me for baptizing the poor sick young man if there are any ill effects following his exposure and baptism; but I have no fears that the Lord will permit any such event to disturb me in ministering the sacred ordinance, hallowed and consecrated by His example, and authorized by His own command.
Tuesday, January 10. I confirmed the two Sisters Follett at their father's home. Matilda has been sickly from her birth, but is feeling much better today.
Sunday, January 15. Held meetings in Wicks schoolhouse at half past ten in the forenoon, and in the evening at half past seven. Very large audiences both morning and evening. I think much good was done today to lay the foundation of our work in this city.
Tuesday, January 17. Had prayer with and administered the sacred ordinance for the healing of the sick to Sister Follett. She is feeling much better than she has for many years. The honor is all the Lord's. Praise His holy name!
Wednesday, January 18. I had a large audience this evening in Crescent City, seven miles north of Council Bluffs. Indeed, our meeting was very interesting. So many are old members of the Church, but they have been living a long time without meetings, and our hope is really new to them. But the Lord's Spirit bore testimony to the Word, and all the people seemed good and honest; many of them were well acquainted with the Prophet Joseph, but since the rejection of the Church they have neglected their altars and house of prayer; but I have not a doubt that we shall soon have the Reorganization planted in this place.
Thursday, January 19. I had a house full of listeners this evening at Brother Samuel Wood's residence, three miles east of Council Bluffs. Many are beginning to appreciate and love the gospel of Christ in this neighborhood. Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Friday, January 20. Brother and Sister Follett make me a beautiful home. They are so kind to me, though he has lost all hope in the gospel. He says the apostasy of Brigham Young has destroyed his faith. He loved Joseph and believed he was a good man, but cannot believe his son will now come to take his father's place after so long a time; for if the Lord wanted him to help the Saints, He would have called him long ago, and he has lost all interest in reading and is involved in secular matters altogether. His daughter, Matilda, made me a present of a beautiful large scarf; one of her own make. I appreciate it very much, as it adds to my comfort while riding across these wild, sparsely settled prairies, and holding meetings nearly every evening. Often, I have to go five to ten miles after services at night. And often many of my audience come five to ten miles to my meetings, from one settlement or village to another. And Sister Matilda's present shall be noted in my diary as a benefactor to one of the little ones who is trying to make the world better because he lives in it, and to God shall be ascribed all the glory. While I have all confidence in the gospel, and not a doubt but Joseph will ere long be with us, it is, indeed, strange that so few are alive to the interest of the Church, or are willing to make any sacrifice to build it up; but it is all my hope and joy. I appreciate every token of interest from others who are led to sacrifice, to establish truth and righteousness in the world.
Sunday, January 22. At half past ten in the forenoon, I held meeting again in Crescent City; had a house crowded with earnest listeners_Subject: History and spirit of the latter-day work, and the gospel of Christ restored by the angel was the all-important theme, and the only means of salvation; and what it imports to be in all its elements to sanctify and purify the soul, and our only hope_while the accursed practice of polygamy always was and is a pollution of the flesh and a destroyer of all the finer feelings of the heart, had ever gendered strife and every wicked work, and was prohibited by the command of God in the Book of Mormon and called the "grosser crime," after upbraiding the people of ancient days of wicked and abominable sins. The large hall was packed with an appreciative audience, and much good done to correct the influence of Utah Mormonism. There are quite a few of their members in western Iowa.
Brother John A. McIntosh of Galland's Grove was present, and has just been telling me of his five years' work preaching the gospel in the days of Joseph the Seer. "Ah," he says, "Brother Briggs, they were the happiest years of my life. I was on a mission when Joseph was killed, and when I came home to Nauvoo in the fall of that sad year and found Brigham Young at the head of the Church there, teaching and practicing polygamy privately and denying it publicly, I was angry, and for a time I could not govern my feelings, and I cursed and swore; I was heartbroken and in despair. I felt all was lost, and those innocent souls I had brought into the Church would be disgraced or leave the Church and be lost, and I felt so bad and distressed in mind, I went into the world to forget and drown my trouble. 
"I knew Joseph Smith was a pure, truthful man of God, and taught holiness and virtue; and now to have the most black crime of whoredom taught, pleading the example of David and Solomon as evidence of its divinity, was more than I could endure. I often gave way to tears, and then again I would tiptoe and swear; and then again I would pray and seek forgiveness. One night, I had a dream, or vision, that comforted me, though I could not understand it then. In my dream, I thought I saw an angel and he came to me with a pillow slip, or pillowcase, as some call it. It was beautiful and white, and inside of it was another case more beautiful, and finer than the first or outside one. The angel said to me, 'There is a precious pearl for you inside of these cases, provided you can get it safely in your hand and take it out; but you must be very careful or you will lose it by allowing it to slip out of your hand_but if you can get it out, all right; you have secured eternal life.' I stripped up my sleeve and took hold of the mouth of the pillow slip, and was very careful to keep it tightly around my hand, wrist, and arm until I firmly grasped the precious pearl in my hand, and then carefully took it out of the case. The angel stood by me and saw me take it out. He then exclaimed, 'You have now secured eternal life in the Kingdom of God.' 
"When I came to myself, I felt that the dream, or vision, was from God. The two linen cases mean the two priesthoods; the precious pearl was the gospel of Christ. But the personage was dressed in a black suit of clothes, and I could not understand that. For years, the dream would often come to my mind, and give me comfort during the dark and cloudy storm of apostasy that has come over the Church since the days of Joseph. When you asked the blessing at my table the first time you were there, my dream flashed into my mind and I knew you were the person I had seen in the vision, and all my joy and comfort in the gospel returned to me, which I had experienced when I used to preach in the days of Joseph. Why, Brother Briggs, I saw you in the vision just as plain as I see you now."
It does me good to hear Brother McIntosh talk of his acquaintance with the Seer, and early experiences in the Church. He is a good man. In the dark and cloudy days of the apostasy he may have drifted with the world, but his every experience now indicates that he has been an honest man all the time, and grieved at heart through the latter-day apostasy. This evening, he preached a good, soul-cheering gospel sermon, interspersed with his early experiences in the Church, and I am assured he is going to do a good work in western Iowa; for all his neighbors and extensive acquaintances, and the old Saints, have great confidence in him as a man of integrity and sterling worth, and he is an honored justice in his township.
Tuesday, January 24. I held meeting at eight o'clock in the evening at Brother Philip Gatrost's residence; large congregation; much interest manifest by Saints and their neighbors who were present. Brother McIntosh bore testimony of the work, and comforted my heart as he compared my efforts with the blessed work in the early days of the Church.
Wednesday, January 25. This evening, we held meeting at Brother Joseph Bardsley's. His son took my horse, to notify his neighbors of our appointment, and several came; but the boy has not returned and a snowstorm is raging furiously; a real western blizzard. We think, perhaps, he has stopped at some of the neighbors overnight, but I confess I feel very anxious about the boy. His parents seem to have no fears about their child, so I will try and dismiss all fear for his safety.
We had a good meeting; quite a number present. Brother John makes it very interesting with his lively conversation during the night. He was in the southern states on his last mission in 1844, preaching the gospel and also trying to raise money to print the Inspired Translation of the Scriptures. When he last saw Joseph, he was very anxious to have it published. It is so very stormy and dark that the brethren and sisters cannot go home. I am so tired_the dear people make room for me, and I retire twenty-five minutes to two in the morning.
Thursday, January 26. This morning, Brother Bardsley's son has returned home with my horse; he was lost on the prairie, so he stopped, and, standing in the storm all night, held my horse, and in the morning he was only three-fourths of a mile from home. Well, we are all glad to see him; he had a tedious night of it, standing near the horse for a windbreak. Most of the audience sat up all night, as there was no room for lodging. We are at New Morton's, which is near the Lone Tree in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Today, I went to Union Grove and held services at Brother Samuel Wood's; good large audience. Brother McIntosh is a very great help to me in all my meetings.
Friday, January 27. Elder J. A. McIntosh preached an interesting discourse on first principles of the gospel at Brother Kirkpatrick's; all the Saints enjoyed it very much. January 28, he returned home to Galland's Grove.
Sabbath, January 29. Elder Jones preached at the schoolhouse on the first principles of the gospel. I appreciate the Word delivered by others very much, as I seldom have the opportunity of hearing others since Elder Blair left me for his home. In the evening, I again held preaching service at Brother Wood's_Subject: Resurrection of the dead.
Galland's Grove, Iowa, January 30, 1860. I arrived at Brother J. A. McIntosh's after a tedious ride in the cold. Found him in the best of spirits and hope in the reorganization of the Church. And to my surprise, here is the first number of the True Latter Days Saints' Herald. Have read it with much interest, though disappointed and sorry to find the letter of Elder I. Sheen of October 9, 1852, taken from the Cincinnati Commercial. He says the Book of Mormon condemns ancient as well as modern polygamy. The Salt Lake apostles also excuse themselves by saying that Joseph Smith taught the spiritual wife doctrine, but this excuse is as weak as their excuse concerning the ancient kings and patriarchs. Joseph Smith repented of his connection with this doctrine, and said it was of the Devil. He caused the revelation on this subject to be burned.
Every public utterance and printed statement of Joseph, and Hyrum, his brother, before their cruel martyrdom, attests the fact that they never favored it in the least degree. But Brother Sheen's letter in this first number of the Herald will be used by our enemies against the true position of the Reorganization in relation to Joseph being responsible for that accursed doctrine. Brother Sheen must have given credence to Young's lie, when he said, "Emma burned it." Emma told me she never saw such a revelation until it was published by Pratt in the Seer. Young says she burned it; and now Elder Sheen says Joseph had it burned. That is a new statement and the first I had heard of it.
I have met thousands of the old members of the Church who were well acquainted with Joseph, and yet I never saw a man who heard Joseph teach polygamy; but they said that they had heard him denounce it as a corrupt doctrine.
In the Times and Seasons, for two years, we had been warned against that abomination by Joseph and Hyrum Smith; and they took great pains to denounce it as a corrupt and wicked practice. And it is evident from Elder Marks' letter in this same Herald, that Joseph never had any affiliation with it; and proposed immediately to make a thorough investigation and find out who were in any way favoring it, and cut them off from the Church. Brother Marks said this to me personally, referring to his talk with President Smith upon this conversation, set out in this Herald. He has not given it in full as he did to me. I said to him, "Did you, when you had that conversation with Brother Joseph, think he had been in any way mixed up in polygamy, or had favored it?" He replied, "No. I had more confidence in him at that time than I ever had in all my life before, and was satisfied that he was pure from that gross crime. 
"I had been troubled over the condition of the Church for some time, and been fearful that Joseph did not bring the pressure against some men in the Church that he should have done. You see, from John C. Bennett's time there had been so many rumors going the rounds, I was fearful that there might be something in the stories afloat that might implicate Joseph. But Joseph was so free and positive in his denunciation of polygamy in every form, that I took courage; and I could see Joseph was in earnest and felt just as I did about it. But before the Sunday following our conversation, Joseph was having his suit and he was killed before he had a chance to commence his investigation against those whom he had suspicioned of teaching it privily. But I thought he had been deceived in some of the men and elders of the Church, and had too much confidence in some of them. But I guess it was to be so, to fulfill the Scriptures in relation to the latter-day apostasy."
I then said, "Brother Marks, did you ever see the revelation on polygamy before it was published in 1852 by Mr. Pratt?" Marks emphatically replied, "No, never."
"You were president of the stake at Nauvoo, and if Joseph had such a revelation, would you not have been privileged, according to custom, to have seen it or heard of it?" He replied, "Yes, without a doubt. There was no such revelation in existence when I lived in Nauvoo, just after Joseph's death; Brigham Young would have showed it to me when I opposed his measures. But he never pretended to any such thing to me_that there was such a revelation on the subject from Joseph."
Another mistake I notice in this Herald. New organization! I never heard that name before, applied to the Reorganization. The word new contradicts the idea that has always been understood by us as a Church. The term reorganization conveys the idea that the Church has been disorganized, and is now again being established as it was before; but not another thing or system which had never been before.
I am sorry on account of these errors. They are evidently the errors of Brother Sheen, who has but lately united with the Church. But I am really sorry that they are in the first Herald. Our enemies will take advantage of them to do us an injury, if possible. May God help us is my fervent prayer. For the sake of the lambs of the Church, right, only right, is all I want. By the grace of God helping me, for that will I ever contend while God gives me breath, in all these matters that affect our glorious Church. Amen.
Well, I am glad in my heart to see the Herald, and know the Church has a paper to give the current news of the progress of the work being done by our ministers. It has the minutes of the October conference in it, and am sorry to see that Brother Blair is appointed "to travel as circumstances might permit." That means he is still hindered so he can do but little ministerial work in the vineyard of the Lord, except local work this winter, on account of financial embarrassment. Brother Wil- liam Marks to visit western Iowa, but I hardly think he will come to our help this winter. Brethren Samuel Powers and Z. H. Gurley_I know their circumstances and they will do but little traveling; and my brother, Jason, is doing but little local work, preaching in his own neighborhood. That leaves me the only missionary in the vineyard of the Lord, a minute man, to labor all the time in all this wide world, without anything to hinder. Thank God, I am willing and anxious to do all I can to move the cause of Zion. But I must take courage and press on, for I have splendid audiences most of the time; crowded houses of eager, hungering souls, starving for the Words of God. Brother McIntosh, this evening, has given me many interesting incidents of his early experience in the Church in the days of Joseph; also, that the gifts of the Holy Ghost were with him daily in all his ministry for five years. He says the worst persecutions always came from professors of the sectarian churches. "There was nothing too low for them to report against us, and they would send their reports ahead of us to prejudice the people, so they would not come to hear the gospel. But we always got the ears of the thinking people. Why, one time I went into a neighborhood and they reported a mob had killed me in the place I had come from. When I returned from my last mission in 1844, Joseph was a martyr, and the whole Church seemed so changed in spirit at Nauvoo_from what it was when I left on my last mission. Many of the best Saints were leaving the city and scattering everywhere. My whole soul revolted at the usurpation of Brigham Young, ruling in despotic arrogance. I was crushed in my spirit. I remembered those dear, innocent souls I had brought into the Church, and knew they were doomed to disappointment, deception, and perhaps be led into the vile practice of polygamy. Their wicked deception, while practicing it in secret and denying it publicly_and I always did detest a liar_caused me to weep, and I cursed and swore. Finally, I got into despair and wandered off into the world, in darkness, until you visited me last summer; and when I saw you bless the bread at my table, I recognized you as the one I had seen years ago in a vision, who brought a precious pearl to me in a pillow slip. Thank God, I now see light again as I did in the days of Joseph, and I will try to redeem all the time I possibly can to make up for my wild days in sin during the dark and cloudy days of the latter-day apostasy."
It is interesting to hear the old veteran rehearse his experiences, as a young man, in this wonderful work of God. If he has been in the dark and wilderness during the great trial that came to the Church in 1844, he has been an honorable man all the time, as attested by his neighbors, as they say, "If Uncle John McIntosh has done wrong, it has only been to himself; he has never injured anyone else." I predict success and much good for our blessed cause through his labors, for he has the confidence of all his neighbors and acquaintances, far and near, and he is endowed with a goodly portion of the Holy Spirit.
Tuesday, January 31. Visited Brother Alexander McCord. He is alive in the faith of the gospel of Christ, and was well acquainted with Joseph in Nauvoo. He sold Brigham Young a wagon, but never could get his pay for it; also enlisted in the Mormon Battalion and went to the Mexican War in 1847. He says, "After Brigham Young solemnly promised to see that my family was well taken care of, if I would enlist, Brigham Young got all the money from the Government for my services! All my family ever got from him was a piece of sole leather, and I was mustered out of the army in California and managed to get back to Iowa as best I could." He is an honorable man and well-to-do, and has a welcome home for our elders. Himself and wife are warmhearted Latter Day Saints, and have a nice family of children. I also visited Brother Strong, who is a real earnest Latter Day Saint.
Wednesday, February 1. This morning, Brother Strong gave me Brown's Pocket Concordance of the Bible. I shall appreciate it very much, with thankfulness. It will be handy as a ready reference help. I am so busy all the time I do not have time to read and study the Bible as much as I would like. I also came to Bigler's Grove today and visited Mr. McHenry. His wife is a daughter of Brother William Marks and a member of the Church, and expresses much joy on hearing of the revival of the work, and seems to realize that once more her father is alive in it as in the days of Joseph. It is like home to me; she is an excellent, intelligent woman and loves the gospel. He is worldly and indifferent, but very kind to me. They have a comfortable home. She used to be in Nauvoo and was well acquainted with Brother Joseph, and Emma, the prophet's wife. She bears a wonderfully good testimony of the Smith family. She says they were true and pure-minded children of God, and Joseph was a prophet of the Most High. She has a bright little niece living with her, and as I look at the little one, it seems sad to think she has no affectionate mother to caress her, as only an own mother can. I do not wonder God says in His law to Moses, If the orphan mourn at all I will hear it; and Jesus says, Suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. I love little children, and especially those who have no precious parents to affectionately cherish them.
Thursday, February 2. I called on Brother J. M. Adams. He used me very kindly, but is opposed to the Reorganization, and prophesied to me in the name of the Lord that the Church of Christ will never be organized among the Gentiles again, for he was commanded of the Lord five years ago to preach the funeral sermon of the Church of Christ. His argument is, that the Church will never be organized again until the seed of Jacob, or the Lamanites, receive the gospel; and the blessing of Joseph referred to in the revelation of 1841 is the blessing of the Nauvoo House, and is not his blessing in the priesthood. He is a good, social man and has a nice family and is comfortably situated; but he is blind spiritually, as midnight darkness. Personally prepossessing, I really love the man, but cannot see any deliverance for him. It is a fearful thing for those once enlightened and who have known the power of the gospel, to then be led astray by false spirits.
The sectarian, popular churches are led by their fellowmen, and deny the gifts of the Holy Spirit that lead into all truth; are all in the dark through the former-day apostasy. But the latter-day apostasy has left the bewildered, unfortunate ones to be led by wicked spirits and devils.
I feel very sad today when I look out on the religious world, and see deception following deception in every land and nation. The infidel and atheist fold up their arms, and say, "We are free men, for we do not believe in religion." But how barren, indeed, are such men who have no hope in God or a future life!


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Chapter 23

Edmund Visits with a Follower of Charles B. Thompson
His Confrontation with Gladden Bishop
He Addresses the Law of Lineage
Some Quotations of Brigham Young


Friday, February 3. I visited Brother Phineas Cadwell; he is very friendly to me and has faith in the gospel, but is influenced by Brother Adams and is darkened in mind in relation to authority in the Church. His wife is real ladylike in appearance and, I am informed, very prejudiced against the Saints, though a very devoted Baptist. He loves her and no doubt feels like Watts, when he said, "Suffer not beloved study to prejudice your mind, so far as to despise all other learning."
Sunday, February 5. I held services in the schoolhouse. Only eight came to the meeting_Subject: The government of God and the disorganization of the Church, and the evidence we have received of its reorganization; and of the promises that one of Joseph's sons will be called of God to take the presidency of the Church. I gave liberty for remarks and Brother Adams took great exception to my discourse, and argued that the blessing of Joseph referred to in the revelation, where it says, "In thee and in thy seed, shall the kindred of the earth be blessed," referred to Joseph and Jesus Christ. His spirit is very much wrought up against the position taken by the Reorganization.
Brother Cadwell had his eyes opened quite fully to the sophistry of Brother Adams, but more especially to the bad spirit manifest in his opposition to our views on lineal priesthood, which we hold is in general to all who are called of God, but especially holds good to the highest officer in the Church_ as it had been confirmed to Joseph by an oath as it was confirmed to Abraham.
I have had a very pleasant visit with Brother and Sister Cadwell. She is a very intelligent and brilliant woman to converse with, though not a member of our Church_a good, consistent Baptist lady, loved by all who are acquainted with her; and I believe will yet be a defender of our blessed hope in Christ. Her love of right is prominent in all of her expressions, with a cheerful countenance. It gives me encouragement to meet with such good people, though they do not belong to the Latter Day Saints. I believe the Lord does certainly bless them, and I am glad the true faith in Christ does not lead the children of God to hold prejudice against anyone who differs with them in faith or belongs to other churches. I felt to advise Brother Cadwell not to express any anxiety or argument to his wife to persuade her to become a member of our Church. He is too anxious and appears to her to be almost arbitrary in urging his views to her.
Monday, February 6. Visited Brother Stephen Mahoney; he is an interesting man to converse with, and was well acquainted with Brethren Z. H. Gurley, Mather White of La Harpe, Illinois, and the Choice Seer. He speaks of them as grand, good men_honorable in all their daily walk and conversation. I am at Brother Lamb's. His son is reading the books on the latter-day work this winter. I gave them much encouragement in relation to the Church, while I rehearsed to them my experience in the Reorganization in Wisconsin and Illinois. They were very friendly to me and I shall ever remember their kindness.
Tuesday, February 7. I came to Mr. Nelson Follett's; he is a brother of King Follett. He lives in Raglan Township, Harrison County; he is not at home, but I left my horse in his barn and this evening I am visiting with Brother Streeter. He loves the gospel, but like so many of the Saints who are scattered in this region, has been discouraged by the apostasy of Brigham Young; but my visit has given them new hope. I am visiting every house, bearing testimony of the riches of the gospel to us in our glorious hope, and the Holy Spirit is, indeed, attesting the Word to their hearts_and they can see that the Reorganization is their only hope.
Little Sioux, Wednesday, February 8. I came to this place and found Elder Jehiel Savage, sixty miles north of Council Bluffs. I was acquainted with him years ago in Wisconsin, when he was an able preacher in early days of the Church, but he is much discouraged now; and his secular business troubles him and he laments over the disaster which causes the way of truth to be evilly spoken of by well-meaning people of the popular churches. But he loves the gospel of Christ with his whole heart, and was an eloquent defender of the faith in the days of Joseph, and speaks of the Choice Seer with endearing terms of love. He is with us in his affections, but I fear his temporal affairs will hinder him from doing much for the work.
Thursday, February 9. At half-past seven this evening, held meeting at Brother John Johnson's, three miles east of Little Sioux. Had a good attendance and much good done.
Friday, February 10. I came to Mr. Allen Sellers' who is sick in bed and without fuel. His wife has been chopping it for some time. I helped them what I could by chopping them some wood, and doing other work. They are Gladdenites_a poor, spiritually blind people who are following a fanatic and wicked man. I have tried to comfort them all I could, and on the eleventh worked the best I could to take the heavy burden from off the sister, who looks so frail.
Sunday, February 12. Held meeting at Brother Streeter's; large audience. The entire neighborhood were in attendance, and were much interested in our first services in Raglan Township. Many of the people here were formerly from the state of Maine, and old Saints. Elder Pierce is a wise, careful man, but they have been discouraged so long they have, in a great measure, forgotten their daily altars, though they seem to love the gospel.
Preparation, Monona County, Iowa, Monday, February 13. I came to this noted little village just before sunset. It was the headquarters of Charles B. Thompson. I am hospitably received by Elder Rowland Cobb, keeper of a hotel and general intelligence office of the place. I had met with him some years since at Elder Blair's at Amboy, Illinois. He was then on a mission in the interest of Baneemyism, a firm believer in the first principles of the gospel, but had sidetracked with Charles B. Thompson, who had claimed special, divine call and introduced into his wild scheme an old doctrine of the ancient idolaters of India; and a sect among the Romans of the transmigration of the soul; and common stock business as an agent for Baneemy. But in his precaution for the welfare of the souls of men, he had taken the pains to have all the real estate deeded to "Charles B. Thompson." A large tract of valuable land is now involved in a chancery suit. His affectionate brother of St. Louis, Missouri, is the innocent purchaser of Charles' estate in this region of the state of Iowa. 
The regular mealtime was past, but I soon had a sumptuous repast prepared; and while I was enjoying it, Elder John Gallup of Leland's Grove came in and very happily greeted me with, "We are all glad to meet you, and want you to preach to us this evening." I replied, "I have just arrived, cold and tired, and have not decided on any arrangements for meeting, and am on my way to Belvidere for tomorrow's appointments." He expressed much solicitude for the sake of the people, who would all like a meeting this evening. He also very kindly informed me that President Gladden Bishop was here, and would be pleased to hear me. I thought I could discern a sinister motive in urging me so persistently. I knew he was pretty nearly a stranger and had been here but a few days with his master, who had been holding meetings every evening for the last ten days, and that he was a far-reaching, crafty man, not slow in quoting scripture as in historical lore_a debater, logical reasoner, and withal had been at Washington in the lobby, watching the parliamentary usage; hence, had more of the polish acquired as a speaker and withal had the reputation of being an interesting preacher. But soon after Elder Gallup left me, Elder Cobb came into my room, and said, "Elder Briggs, we would like very much to have you preach for us tonight. Elder Bishop has been holding meetings some days and has the people stirred up considerably, and we are so situated that we can get out the people in this place in thirty minutes." 
The town was built in a circle, and the houses very close together. I informed him I was on my way to Belvidere, but always willing to talk of my hope in the gospel and the latter-day work, and consented if he would make the appointment. In forty-five minutes, a messenger informed me that my audience was waiting. I hastened to the assembly (it was a schoolhouse where Mrs. Elijah Cobb was teaching school) and was, indeed, surprised to find a packed house of bright, intelligent-looking people with cheerfulness beaming on their countenances, to welcome my arrival. But I admit I felt there was really a little music in their hearts as they thought how soon I would be vanquished by their champion, who had been interesting them the last few days. I took in the whole situation at a glance, and realized how frail I was. I was all alone. Mr. Bishop sat just in front of the stand. I opened meeting as usual; congregation sang a beautiful hymn, and I made a short prayer. After the second hymn, I was alive to the situation, and to the fact that the people before me were dazed and fairly challenged with admiration of the eloquence and bold claims of Mr. Bishop, as the one mighty and strong to do the great work of the Father in the last days, to restore Israel. I had been acquainted with him by reputation from my childhood, and knew he was an ambitious, wiry, cunning manipulator. Had met him once before in a private circle, where he put in the evening telling of his claims as the one suddenly to come to the temple.
I used the following words for my text: "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19). I took the premise that these words had reference to a future time, when the Lord would set up His work after conferring priesthood authority by the ministration of an angel, and during said dispensation an apostasy would be brought about. I dwelt upon the angel message, with the gospel to be preached to all people, as attests Revelation 14:6-7, and that for fourteen years this gospel of the Kingdom had gathered one hundred and fifty or two hundred thousand into the Church; and in the year of our Lord, 1844, came the blighting time of great trial, and a loose rein for apostasy was given, and they in turn had brought in a flood of iniquity that had brought shame to the name of Latter Day Saint. But during the lifetime of the Choice Seer, the would-be apostate aspirants had but little chance to make much impression upon the Church. A comparison between the genuine and their false claims was too apparent to blind the casual observer. But when the prophet and the patriarch fell martyrs, the trying time came to the Church, and those not truly led by the Spirit of God were deceived by the false and presumptuous leaders, inspired by the Evil One, who quickly presented their claims. 
The true Latter Day Saint who waited in supplication upon the Lord, as early as the eighteenth day of November 1851, received instructions from the Lord that fully cleared away all the clouds and misgivings that had hovered as a pall over the Church since the martyrdom of the prophet. And a standard was truly raised against the iniquity that had come in like a flood, and the revelation to us commanding the truly appointed minister to preach the gospel of Christ as the power of God unto salvation, and say in the due time of the Lord, God would call one of the sons of Joseph to the presidency of the Church, for it was his right according to the law of lineage and blessing. I quoted the texts usually employed in defense upon the subject of the presidency and lineage; such as, the chief ruler came to Judah, but the birthright was Joseph's (1 Chronicles 5:2); "And he blessed them (Ephraim and Manasseh) that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh" (Genesis 48:20); and in the restoration of Israel, "For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn" (Jeremiah 31:9). I used the text, "Ephraim is my firstborn," in the sense that Ephraim will be the first to receive the gospel in the last days. And to prove that fact, I quoted Lehi's blessing to one of his sons on this continent: "For Joseph [of Egypt] truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. . . . And he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment, that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. And I will give unto him a commandment, that he shall do none other work save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work" (2 Nephi 2:8-12, large edition). 
I took the ground that that seer was Joseph Smith; that he would not fall or lose his standing before God, for he was to be great in the eyes of the Lord_which could not be the case if he was a fallen prophet. The prediction clearly says he "shall do my work"; hence, any man since his martyrdom who claims leadership in the Church, and at the same time advocates that Joseph invented or established any other system which would contravene and negative the true work of God, exhibited the cloven foot and stamped at once upon himself that he is an impostor, or a false prophet. Joseph was to be highly esteemed by his brethren, and when any man accuses the Choice Seer of originating a system, or a doctrine, that would stamp upon his name infamy and crime, and at the same time claim to be a believer in the divinity of the Book of Mormon, is a way-mark by which all true Latter Day Saints may know that such men are impostors and deceivers. The evidence of that fact is clearly revealed in the revelation and prophecy, which says (of the Prophet Joseph who was the president of the priesthood), "For this anointing have I put . . . upon the head of his posterity after him; and as I said unto Abraham, concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, In thee, and in thy seed, shall the kindred of the earth be blessed."
The blessing of Abraham was given to him by an oath. In like manner was Joseph's blessing decreed by an oath from God, who cannot lie, to be placed upon the head of Joseph's posterity after him_not upon some apostate from the faith who would "privily bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them . . . by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Peter 2:1-2). And with many other references I endeavored to make clear, indeed, that in the due time of the Lord, that one of the sons of Joseph would be called to the presidency of the Church.
I had great liberty in presenting the Word tonight. Thank God with my whole soul! When I closed my sermon, I invited anyone who chose, to make remarks or ask any question upon the subject I had presented. Elder Bishop was immediately on his feet, and in a very adroit manner rehearsed and commented on the subject of the evening. He denounced the idea of lineage and the blessing of Joseph; simply referred to the fortune to accrue to him was a subterfuge, as there was nothing in it_ and after speaking an hour, gave way. Elder Forgeus spoke an hour, negativing my discourse; and Elder Rowland Cobb spoke another hour. Just think of four hours continuous preaching! I then closed our meeting by benediction.
It is needless to say, I quietly withdrew from the meeting. Elders R. Cobb and Perrin, Brethren Edward Johnson, Orrin Butts, Silas Wilcox, Thomas and Bronson Lewis, and Elijah Cobb were present, and many others who were formerly members of the Church in Nauvoo, or their children.
I retired rather sad in heart tonight, to think how blind the poor people are who were once enlightened with the glorious gospel of Christ. The most of them here do not endorse Gladden Bishop; yet he has a certain influence over them, and they do not know just how to answer his sophistry. I do not blame them, but I am sorry, sorry. They were all intensely interested to grasp all that was said tonight. The large audience_old, middle-aged, and young people, all sat four hours as quietly as though it were but thirty minutes. May God have pity and mercy on us all, is my fervent prayer.
Tuesday, February 14. The dear people I met this morning are cheerful, yet seem to look upon me as vanquished and not able to answer the onslaught poured out last evening. As I left them, I felt they rather had sympathy and pity for me, and without a single word in reference to our meeting, bade me good-bye. Brother Cobb wished me well, and cordially invited me to stop with him again on my way from Belvidere.
There are some good people in Preparation, but they have been in the dark so long, yet anxious to know the truth; but they have allowed themselves to be led by emotions, enthusiasm, and zeal, rather than a proper understanding of the Word of God and the sure teaching of the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of promise that leads into all truth_have neglected their prayers and put too much confidence in men, or trusted in the arm of flesh.
I truly love my fellowmen, for they are all children of God by creation, for whom Jesus Christ came to save from their sins. I truly love to labor for them in Christ's stead, saying, "Be ye reconciled to God," instead of following after poor human beings who are ambitious for worldly honors.
Belvidere, Monona County, Iowa, Tuesday, February 14, 1860. Here, I received a happy greeting and a hospitable home at Brother Hugh Lytle's. It is such a rest to find these good people, though I have never met them before; yet they seem like old acquaintances and dear friends. We called on Brethren John Outhouse, John Thomas, Albert Clements, and some others; announced an appointment for tomorrow evening at seven o'clock.
The revival of the latter-day work in the states of Wisconsin and Illinois was our theme among the Saints today; and when I assured them that the Lord had revealed to us that in the near future Joseph, son of the Choice Seer, will soon be called by the God of Israel to take the presidency of the Church, it seemed to fire the old Saints up with faith at once and gave them great joy. The law of lineage seemed to put in new life_a thought they had not understood before; and, indeed, our visit has been very profitable today. The Saints here are truly in the faith of the gospel, and all aver in solemn words of truthfulness they know Joseph was a pure and virtuous man; free from any contamination of the apostasy of Brigham Young. Many of them were well acquainted with the Choice Seer; and at the expulsion of the Saints from Nauvoo, they drifted off here, ashamed of the name of Mormon when held up in the light of Utah Mormonism.
Wednesday, February 15, 1860. At half past ten o'clock in the forenoon, I had a large audience and splendid attention while I presented the hope of the true Latter Day Saints and the law of lineage; also read the resolutions passed by the first conference of the Reorganization, which was held at Beloit, Wisconsin, June 12 and 13, 1852, and recorded in the pamphlet, entitled, "A Word of Consolation to the Scattered Saints," published by the Church, and reads as follows:

First. Resolved, that this conference regard the pretensions of Brigham Young, James J. Strang, James Colin Brewster, and William Smith and Joseph Wood's joint claim to the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as an assumption of power, in violation of the law of God, and consequently we disclaim all connection and fellowship with them.
Second. Resolved, that the successor of Joseph Smith, Jr., as the Presiding High Priest in the Melchisedec priesthood, must of necessity be the seed of Joseph Smith, Jr., in fulfillment of the law and promises of God.
Third. Resolved, that as the office of First President of the Church grows out of the authority of the Presiding High Priest, in the high priesthood, no person can legally lay claim to the office of First President of the Church without a previous ordination to the Presidency of the High Priesthood.
Fourth. Resolved, that we recognize the validity of all legal ordinations in this Church, and will fellowship all such as have thus been ordained while acting within the purview of such authority.
Fifth. Resolved, that we believe that the Church of Christ, organized on the sixth day of April, A.D. 1830, exists as on that day wherever six or more Saints are organized according to the pattern in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
Sixth. Resolved, that the whole law of the Church of Jesus Christ is contained in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
Seventh. Resolved, that in the opinion of this conference, there is no stake to which the Saints on this continent are commanded to gather at the present time, but, that the Saints on all other lands are commanded to gather to this land, preparatory to the reestablishment of the Church in Zion; when the scattered Saints on this land will also be commanded to gather and return to Zion, and to their inheritances, in fulfillment of the promises of God. And, it is the duty of the Saints to turn their hearts and their faces towards Zion, and supplicate the Lord God for such deliverance.
Eighth. Resolved, that we will, to the extent of our ability and means, communicate to all the scattered Saints, the sentiments contained in the foregoing resolutions.
Ninth. Resolved, that this conference believe it the duty of the elders of this Church, who have been legally ordained, to cry repentance and remission of sins to this generation, through obedience to the gospel; as revealed in the record of the Jews, the Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants; "and not faint in the discharge of duty."

The reading of these resolutions was very impressive and gave a foundation for the Saints to build upon, and to see the glaring latter-day apostasy in all its deformity; and the source from which they may look for deliverance. I am blessed with the Holy Ghost, in power, to present the Word of the Lord in much assurance, demonstrating by the sure word of prophecy that the gospel of Christ is, in truth, the foundation for all Saints to build on in humility. Yet, the Church and Kingdom of God has an organization like Ezekiel's wheel in a wheel, called officers, helps, and governments, or quorums (as we call them) of the ministers: to wit, apostles, prophets, evangelists, bishops, elders, pastors, teachers, and deacons, with miracles placed in the Church as it pleased God; that the Saints may not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and those officers are all ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost which is in the one ordaining_if done at all according to the will of God. And the pretension of apostates to assume that the highest presiding officer of the Church could fill that office without a previous ordination to the presidency of the Melchisedec priesthood, is clearly a violation of the law of God, as revealed to us in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which says, "The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by revelation" (Section 99, paragraph 6).
And again, "Every president of the high priesthood . . . is to be ordained by the direction of a high council, or general conference" (DC 17:17); "And he is to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost which is in the one who ordains him" (DC 17:12). And what is more, "The duty of the president of the office of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses. Behold, here is wisdom, yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator and a prophet; having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church" (DC 104:42). And the authority, like unto Moses, to give commandments as a law to the Church, is clearly stated in Section 43, paragraphs 1 and 2, which says,

Verily, verily I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him [Joseph] whom I have appointed unto you, to receive commandments and revelations from my hand. And this ye shall know assuredly, that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me. But verily, verily I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him, for if it be taken from him he shall not have power, except to appoint another in his stead; and this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations, or commandments; and this I give unto you, that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me. For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me, shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received, and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.

And to make it plain, my dear brethren and sisters, so you can see that Joseph did not lose his gifts, blessings, and standing before God, I will quote from the revelations of Jesus Christ to him, which says, "Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers, for ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God; therefore your life and the priesthood hath remained, and must needs remain, through you and your lineage, until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began. Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savor unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it. Amen" (DC 84:3-4).
"But yes," says the objector, "false prophet and usurper." The little word, "if ye continue in my goodness," "if he abide in me," is a very doubtful little word, and indicates the possibility that Joseph may fall and lose his gifts and great blessings to lead Israel, and in such an event, he would not have any inheritance to hand down to his posterity or lineage after him. 
Yes, very truly we are always ready to admit that men are liable to err and go wrong while in this world of trial and temptation. Abraham, the father of the faithful and friend of God, was one like all others in this world of sorrow and many vicissitudes of this life. He left all that was dear to him, to secure a land of promise, and was a stranger all his days; not even receiving a place to put his foot upon the Promised Land, as his own. Yet, in his great trial, and it may be said his last great trial, he was commanded to offer up his only son. Mark the words, his only son, Isaac; and after he had offered him up, with his whole heart wrung out in tears and anguish, then God comes to his rescue: "And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. . . . And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee . . . and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Genesis 22:11-18).
Abraham had passed through many trials up to that time, and all his hope was based upon the condition, "If thou art faithful." That little word "if" still stood in his way. Oh, if I can prove faithful I shall succeed to the chosen one; to bear off the crown and be a great blessing to all the families of the earth. But now this momentous era of all eras, since God called me to be his servant, has come; and as I know God cannot lie, so I know in my seed shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed_for it now has become a decree of the Almighty God of Heaven, and by an oath has God sworn that in me and my seed shall all the children of man be blessed. Ah, my dear brethren, heaven and earth may fail, but the Word of the Lord cannot fail; for it is attested by the oath of God, that cannot lie. So now, in like manner, has the Almighty God of Heaven said to Joseph, the Choice Seer:
"For this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him; and as I said unto Abraham, concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, In thee, and in thy seed, shall the kindred of the earth be blessed. Therefore, let my servant Joseph, and his seed after him, have place in that house, from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord" (DC 107:18).
What was Joseph's blessing? To hold the keys of the Kingdom; to receive the law like Moses, a light to the Gentiles, and through his priesthood, "a savor (not Savior) unto my people Israel."
Joseph's blessing now no more rests upon the little word "if"; but like Abraham, he has secured his blessing by and through the oath of Almighty God, that his anointing and blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him. Not after Brigham Young, James J. Strang, Charles B. Thomp-son, Alpheus Cutler, Gladden Bishop, or Granville Hedrick.
Just let us see for a few moments, the claims of these gentlemen for the presidency of the Church. Brigham Young says in his first epistle, after the martyrdom of the Choice Seer, "You are now without a prophet in the flesh to lead you. . . . Let not another presume to take his place, for he stands in his own place and always will." And again, he says, "I am not a prophet, or the son of a prophet, like Joseph was." "That's so," many of my audience cried out, "for I heard him say so." And he was never ordained to the office of President of the priesthood in a High Council or General Conference. And instead of teaching "those revelations which you have received, and shall receive through him whom I have appointed," he said the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants are no better than a last year's bird's nest, almanac, or the ashes of a rye straw. And instead of, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else" and, "Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord; For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife. . . . For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women," Brigham Young says, "Cleave unto many women and have many wives to increase your glory." Instead of intelligence being their glory, it is having many wives; and their glory is enhanced in ratio to their numerous wives. I am ashamed that any member of the Church should be deceived by such an impostor.


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Chapter 24

Pretensions of J. J. Strang, Charles Thompson, Alpheus Cutler, Gladden Bishop, and Granville Hedrick
The Last Three Pages of the "Word of Consolation," Touching on Polygamy
Gift of Tongues Manifest


James J. Strang said the president of the priesthood did not need to be ordained to the office. He, too, taught the gross crime of having many wives_and other abominations. And permit me to read two or three paragraphs in the "Word of Consolation to the Scattered Saints," which fully exhibits the absurdity of his claims, published on pages 17 and 18: "It might be well here to notice the single clause in the Book of Covenants, on which is based the pretense of this man to the successorship of Joseph, in the presidency of the Church. It is found in Section 14, paragraph 2, and reads as follows: 'But verily, verily, I say unto you that none else shall be appointed unto this gift (of receiving commandments and revelations for the Church), except it be through him (Joseph); for if it (the gift) be taken from him, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead: For verily I say unto you, that he that is (to be) ordained of me, shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before.' Now let us dispassionately examine this text, which is made the covert of this audacious impostor. 
"First then, upon what contingency occurring does this authorize Joseph to appoint? We answer, that of losing the 'gift' himself, and in no other case. Second, did Joseph lose this gift, or was it taken from him? We answer this by quoting from the letter purporting to have been written by Joseph to Strang, nine days previous to his death (authority with those for whom this is designed): 'Archangels shall place on my brow, the double CROWN of MARTYR, and KING, in a heavenly world'; 'My servant Joseph, thou hast been faithful over many things, and thy REWARD is GLORIOUS. The CROWN and SCEPTER are thine and they wait thee.' 
"If this be the Word of God, here is irrefutable evidence that Joseph had not forfeited or lost this 'gift' at that time. Archangels do not place the diadem which belongs to the perfected in Christ Jesus, upon the brow of the transgressor. Kingly authority 'in a heavenly world' is not conferred upon those who have been tried and found unworthy to hold the keys of revelation in this. 'Faithfulness,' and 'reward' is not applicable to Joseph at the very time he is being put out of his stewardship for transgression. 'Glorious' rewards, 'Crowns,' and 'Scepters,' are not the results of losing the 'gifts' of God. In plain language, the pretense of Mr. Strang involves the following absurdities: God is represented as saying to Joseph, appoint your successor, for the 'gift' is 'taken' from you; for, 'thou hast sinned in some things, and thy punishment is very bitter.' 'I have tried thee, and found thee unfaithful, thou Shepherd and Stone of Israel; therefore appoint James J. Strang in your stead, and he shall be like you; and come thou, who are unfit to hold the keys on earth, and receive "a double crown of Martyr and King," and "rule a mighty host" in the spirit land.' Oh, folly! stand rebuked by common sense."
It is most astonishing he could lead a single man an hour after they become acquainted with his pretensions_they are so self-contradictory. 
Charles B. Thompson claimed no previous ordination to the presidency, according to the law. You are fully apprised of his untenable grounds and his absurd doctrine of the transmigration of souls; an old theory of idolaters of India, revived on these beautiful prairies of western Iowa.
Alpheus Cutler himself informed me personally, only last summer, that he did not claim to be a prophet, and yet he claims to be the president of the priesthood. And the Book of Doctrine and Covenants distinctly says it is the duty of the said officer to be a man like Moses, a prophet, seer, and revelator; and now let every man learn his duty, or he shall not be counted worthy to stand.
Gladden Bishop, who is now at Preparation, claims to be the "branch" referred to in Zechariah 3:8: "For, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH." Again, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch. . . . In his days Judah shall be saved . . . and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jeremiah 23:5-6). He also claims to be the one to "suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 3:1). Also, that he is doing "the greater work of the Father." He says, "Now Christ did not suddenly come to his temple in Jerusalem_but it is to be fulfilled in Utah. How little the Mormons think they are building a temple for my reception." It is preposterous. It is a shame to think of his pretension, so blasphemous and absurd.
Granville Hedrick holds that Joseph is a fallen prophet. He even gives the date of his fall on June 22, 1834; and in the midst of a revelation beginning with the fifth paragraph, though he claims great reverence for his name as the founder of the great latter-day work, denies the law of lineage and teaches that he is a true prophet; but he, too, fails to come in at the gate and be ordained according to the law governing the First Presidency.
I had much of the blessed Spirit of prophecy, and again predicted the coming of Joseph to take his father's place as the true successor and prophet of God in the Church. We quite thoroughly canvassed the ground of our hope and showed the untenable claims of factions that had been led away by the pretenders, who had claimed leadership since the death of the Prophet Joseph. When someone suggested to me, while I was yet speaking, "Suppose little Joseph should die, then what would you think?" I replied, "Suppose the little child had died after 'Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying. . . . And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways'?" (Luke 1:67, 76).
Ah, my dear brethren and sisters, I have reached that condition in my experience where I have no doubt on that subject, of the successor of the Prophet Joseph. For I once lay prostrated on the ground, like the Prophet Daniel at the feet of the heavenly angel, and he said to me, "Go to my servants, William Marks, Israel Rogers, and James Blakeslee, and tell them what you know and most assuredly believe, and then you will be directed to others." I then knew I had received the gifts of the Holy Ghost many times, just as it is described in the Bible_ in dreams, in visions, interpretation, prophecy, and the gifts of healing. In a word, the signs had followed the believer just as Jesus said they would; and by the gift of prophecy I had many times predicted things that came to pass; hence, I know Jesus told the truth. And, in fact, I can say the gifts and power of the Holy Ghost are so exquisite in knowledge to me, that I can only say it is past understanding, so far as being able to tell you so you can have the exact knowledge from anything I can say, except you yourself should have the same experience. Verily, it is what the ancient Apostle Paul meant when he gave the expression, It is the peace of God "which passeth all understanding." Again, he describes these glorious manifestations and knowledge of God given by the Holy Ghost, in these graphic words: "Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." And this much assurance of the gospel accounts for the wonderful words, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Yes, I can now see the true meaning of those words of the man of God, "caught up to the third heaven. . . . And heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." The ancient apostle could as well said, "and moreover I am not able to utter." Yes, indeed, by all these wonderful evidences I have received implicit living faith, the promises of God to me. I spoke more than two hours; and many of the Saints said, "This is like old times, in the days of Joseph. All is clear now. I do not see why the Saints could not have seen this before and it would have saved all the dark and cloudy days that have hung over us so long; and the deception that has been practiced upon us. Joseph will surely come to take his father's place, and the Church will be fully organized again." Others would say, "This I have been looking for ever since the breaking up at Nauvoo, but I did not know how it would be brought about." And still others would say, "I always did believe little Joseph would be his father's successor; but I did not know there was so much about the lineage question and blessing being conferred upon Joseph's posterity after him."
The Saints are wonderfully wrought up to the interest of the Reorganization in this place, and the last three pages of the "Word of Consolation" which I read to the assembly, seemed to have a solid foundation to help them to see the dreadful crime of polygamy, in the light as God looks at it; as they had not seen it before, though they had always denounced it and had no fellowship with the Mormons who practiced it. And that all the Saints and all the world may know the circumstances under which these three pages were written, I will give a quotation from the "History of the Reorganization" by my brother, Jason W. Briggs, Chapter 5, as given in the Messenger, published in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 1876:

Shortly after the conference [the second conference of the Church in 1852, held at the Yellowstone Branch of the Church, in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, on the sixth of October], while the subject of polygamy was being discussed in connection with the revelation brought forward by Brigham Young, at Salt Lake the August previous, and had just reached us by a reprint in the Seer, by O. Pratt, it was signified through the gifts that the Church should meet in fasting and prayer, to receive instruction. This was done January 9, 1853, and among other testimonies received, was the following upon this subject:
"Polygamy is an abomination in the sight of the Lord God. It is not of me; I abhor it, as also the doctrines of the Nicolaitans, and the men, or set of men, who practice it, I judge them not; I judge not them who practice it, their works shall judge them at the last day; be ye strong, for ye shall contend against this doctrine. Many will be led into it honestly, for the Devil will seek to establish it and roll it forth to deceive. They seek to build up their own kingdoms to suit their own pleasure; but I countenance it not, saith God; I have given my law, I shrink not from my Word. My law is given in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; but they have disregarded my law, and trampled upon it and counted it a light thing, and obeyed it not; but my Word is the same yesterday as today and forever.
"As you have desired to know of me concerning the pamphlet, it is written in part but not in plainness; it requires three more pages to be written, for it shall go forth in great plainness, combatting this doctrine, and all who receive it not, it shall judge at the last day. Let this be the voice of the Lord in the pamphlet, for it shall go forth in great plainness, and many will obey it and turn unto me, saith the Lord."
This testimony was given in the name and by the authority of the Holy Spirit, and written at the time in answer to the prayers, with fastings, of the whole Church assembled. It agrees with the law of the Church to which it appeals; and, like that of November 18, 1851, condemns polygamy, and showed to the Saints that the so-called revelation authorizing polygamy was not, and could not be, from God. In compliance with the above instruction, an article was written against it, to be added to the pamphlet; and as being the first publication of the reformation, it is here given, written by J. W. Briggs as chairman of the committee, and added to the pamphlet as follows:
"We cannot forego this opportunity to raise our voice against an evil which has well-nigh completed the overthrow of the Church:_which Sampson-like hath lain hold upon the very pillars of society. And instead of order, it has produced anarchy_instead of union, division; in short, instead of confidence and love, distrust and hatred. We refer to the system of spiritual wifery, taught by Brigham Young, to the 'plurality' doctrines of James J. Strang, and the fouler system (of whoredom) taught by William Smith and his joint occupant, called 'Spokesman.' These systems, though unlike each other, are all known as a system of polygamy, under which they themselves take shelter; hence, we will not treat of them under their proper names, but under the less offensive or semi-legal one, viz: polygamy. Whence came the practice, and where is the warrant for it? The first we hear of it is from the lips of Lamech, a son of Cain, who owns himself deserving of seventy-fold greater punishment than Cain himself. We conclude, therefore, that none will quote Lamech as a justifying precedent; but we insist that the father of the system gives it its character. His shedding blood was but a type of what belongs to, or must accompany the system, since male and female come into the world about equal, and God having stamped upon man (His own views), 'that it is not good to be alone'; hence, of course, if one (like Lamech) secures one or two additional wives, he must either persuade that number of men that it was 'good to be alone,' or, he must kill them off. It seems he chose the latter, which no doubt was the easiest. It is admitted that examples preached more powerful than words. Now let no man, working by a pattern, presume to be wiser than Him who gave the pattern. When God made man, seeing it was not good for him to be alone, He gave him a helpmeet in one wife, and one only. Here is an example of the first organization of society. Now for the precept in conformity with this example. The law of nature is the voice of God; and in this case, cannot be misunderstood. Nature echoes the revealed Word of God, that it is not good for man to be alone, and nature provides one helpmeet for each, and no more. Thus, the example teaches that one woman is made for one man, and nature cries, only one. We are well aware that it was practiced by better men than Lamech_by patriarchs and prophets; at which time it was also written, 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth'; which the gospel revealed in a different light, saying, 'resist not evil.' Polygamy was, perhaps, like this mode of revenge and many other things, suffered because of the hardness of their hearts; but was not so from the beginning_not to be, after 'the true light shined' forth. Agreeing with this last supposition, it is remarkable that of all the nations that practice this, but a single one acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, and they practically reject the gospel.
"If it be said that the Law of Moses provided for polygamy, we answer, it also provided for choosing a king, which God had forbidden. If David, the man after God's own heart, be appealed to, we refer to the Word of God in his case (see Book of Mormon, page 127): 'Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.' It is then commanded that they, the Nephites, should have but one wife, and concubines none. Alma, in effect, declares the same (see pages 332 and 333, Palmyra Edition).
"Some may say that this was a law to the Nephites, but not to us. Let us see. In Doctrine and Covenants, Section 4, paragraph 1, it says, 'The word of the Lord concerning his church.' Hear what the Lord says to the Church. In paragraph 8, the whole Church is condemned for unbelief and treating lightly the commandments. Then it is said, 'And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.' Here the Church is required not only to say (they believe it), but to obey what is written in it. See also Section 13, paragraph 5: 'And again, the elders, priests, and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon . . . and they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them.' We have already seen what is written in the Book of Mormon on this subject. Let us now examine the covenants and Church articles (see Section 65, paragraph 3): 'For marriage is ordained of God unto man; wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh'; (see Section 13, paragraph 7): 'Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else.' See Church article, Section 101, paragraph 2: 'You both mutually agree to be each other's companion, husband and wife, observing the legal rights belonging to this condition; that is, keeping yourselves wholly for each other, and from all others, during your lives.' Such is the marriage covenant recognized by the Church. See paragraph 4: 'We (the whole Church in general assembly) declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.' See Section 13, paragraph 16: 'Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received . . . for a law, to be my law, to govern my church; and he that doeth according to these things, shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned, if he continues.'
"We demand of all who have been called Latter Day Saints, Do you believe these things? If you do not, you ought at once to renounce the name. But if you acknowledge the authority of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants (or either of them), then know that polygamy is forbidden of God, and this interdict is directed to us who have known the mighty power of God in establishing the authority of this, His Word; and whoever transgresses and repenteth not, shall receive according to the law. Hear it, oh ye deceivers and deceived together: 'He that receiveth my law and doeth it the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you' (Doctrine and Covenants 61:2)_'I come quickly; and ye shall see that my law is kept'; (paragraph 3): 'These words are given unto you, and they are pure before me; wherefore, beware how you hold them, for they are to be answered upon your souls in the day of judgment. Even so. Amen.' Herein, brethren, we have shown in few words what the law of God is on this subject, and we call upon you both far and near to obey it, lest ye be found fighting against God, and receive of His wrath in the day of His indignation. Let those who have offended in this matter know, that 'the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant' (Malachi 2:14). To those calling themselves Latter Day Saints at Salt Lake, we commend the latter, and the following quotations: Ezra 10:14, 'Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us' (and separate yourselves from the strange wives); and return with weeping and with supplication to the law of God. And he that scattered Israel in wrath, will gather them in mercy, and keep them as a shepherd doth his flock. Behold this shall go forth as a restorer of paths to walk in, and a swift witness against him that giveth not heed to the words which the Lord and his spirits hath spoken.' " ("A Word of Consolation," pages 21-23)

My dearly beloved brother, Jason, has often told me when he wrote the above, he did so not knowing how much manuscript it would take to make three pages, and without any thought on the matter of quantity or number of words it would take, he handed the manuscript to the printer without any instruction in reference to size of the pamphlet; and when it was published, the last three pages referred to above were in it_a copy of which is now before me.
The Saints here are, indeed, in the faith of the gospel of Christ, as taught in the days of Joseph; and say I have brought the same Spirit with me that came with the gospel when they first heard it in the days of the Choice Seer. And in the evening at seven o'clock, held services again to a crowded house of listeners_Subject: First principles and the government of God; Text: Romans 14:17: "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
Several not of the Church were present and much good has been done today, to the comfort of the dear Saints in Belvidere.
Preparation, Thursday, February 16, 1860. I returned to this place. Brethren Hugh Lytle and George Outhouse accompanied me. They would not allow me to come alone, and said they would like to continue with me all the time. Elder Rowland Cobb welcomes me and is cheerful, and soon informed me that Elder C. C. Perrin, who lives about a mile from town, wished him, in case I returned to this place, to make an appointment for him. "Really," continued Elder Cobb, "I think he wants to score you, and see if he cannot convert you to his way of thinking. What do you say? Shall I make an appointment for him?" I replied, "Certainly. I am on the 'anxious seat,' and if in error I am as interested for my own conversion as he possibly can be for me."
The appointment was made, and about three o'clock in the afternoon Elder Perrin came to see me (I had met him before, but no acquaintance). Soon after introduction, he invited me to take a walk with him, and as soon as we were out of hearing of others, he said, "Elder Briggs, I want to throw a stone tonight and hit Gladden Bishop. It will hit you, too, but I want to hit Bishop the hardest. He can talk all around me and you, too. But I do not want him to speak in my meetings. And when I get through speaking, I would like to have you speak, but not be very hard on me; and when you are through with your remarks, I will close the meeting." My reply was, "If I feel so led, may say a few words; if not, you may close your meeting as soon as you please."
When meeting time came, quite an assembly had gathered, and it could easily be noticed from the countenances of the large audience, that they expected to see fire fly somewhere. After usual preliminaries, Elder Perrin was preaching. His only allusion to the Reorganization was, the doctrine of lineage is true. But Joseph is to preside in Jerusalem of Judea_but David is to preside in Zion in America.
He then led off, antagonizing some of Elder Bishop's theories. His sermon was short and arguments somewhat confused and scattering, and as he said Amen, Elder Bishop was on his feet. But Elder Perrin said, "Elder Briggs, do you wish to make any remarks?" Mr. Bishop sat down, and I arose and said, "Elder Perrin virtually concedes all I wish to say as a reply to his remarks this evening. For I remember it is written by the Prophet Isaiah, 'For out of Zion shall go forth the law; but the word of the Lord from Jerusalem,' and if Joseph takes a mission to Jerusalem, I shall have no objection.
"But, my dear brethren and sisters, you all remember I spoke here a few evenings since and there was three brethren followed me, and misconstrued and made light of all my address; and with many words for three long hours covered up all I said. Now I wish to reply for myself, and I know you will be patient with me and hear what I have to say.
"In the first place, on the first general principles of the gospel, all professed Christians agree that faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment, and the Lord's Supper is the doctrine of Christ; or at least was the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Holy Bible, and was taught by Jesus and His apostles.
"Roman Catholics and Protestants are very tenacious that some of the principles should be taught and be believed in now, to secure the Spirit and eternal life in the Kingdom of God. But the Latter Day Saints believe that all of these principles I have just enumerated are fundamental and eternal truth, and must be obeyed or received to secure eternal life in the celestial Kingdom of God; and that the doctrine of Christ must be taught by authorized ministers sent from God; that such a minister was established in the dispensation called the latter-day work, and in keeping with the ancient prophet, who said, 'Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets' (Amos 3:7); and the opening of this last dispensation in the house of God's judgment_it was done by the angel as foreseen by John the Divine on the Isle of Patmos (Revelation 14:6-7); and the chief and highest officer of the Church continued in the faith until his martyrdom, June 27, 1844. He did not introduce any strange and farfetched thing to prevent or subvert the very pure principles of the gospel of Christ, in all his lifetime.
"And it is an undisputed fact that what he wrote on religious subjects smacked with the purest Christian doctrine and breathed the spirit of holiness, and he was the author, under Divine Providence, of many thousand pages; and the very most wicked apostate that has left the Church during his life or since his martyrdom cannot point to a single public utterance he ever made that is not honorable, as a man with his fellowman. And after he had endured all manner of indignities and persecution and vexatious lawsuits, not a single charge or allegation against him was ever sustained. He was then near the close of his eventful life, which was characterized by faithful obedience to all the commands of God. Like Abraham, God covenanted with him by an oath that his blessing should be placed upon the head of the seed after him, which should prove a blessing to all the kindred of the earth, as the presiding officer over that system of good government, that would be a light unto the Gentiles (and through his priesthood which had come down through the lineage of his fathers), 'a savor unto my people Israel'_and with many other words establishing the law of lineage as a general rule governing the transmitting of authority from father to son, when they made themselves worthy." 
I clearly made it plain to the large, intelligent audience this night. Then I sat down. Elder Bishop replied for about thirty minutes. Then Elder Forgeus sprang to his feet to speak (this gentleman claimed to fill the offices of a minister and a lawyer in civil courts). I claimed the right in all fairness that I should be permitted to follow my opponent. The congregation cried out, "By all means, Elder Briggs has the right to the floor." I then followed his fallacious argument against lineal priesthood and his wicked attack upon the character of the Martyr. Just as I closed my address, Elder Bishop was seized with some violent sickness, and was so prostrated that four men carried him out of the hall. When they laid him down on the bed, he said, "I will never meet that man again."
The Lord was truly my helper, and to His praise all the glory. Many of the scattered Saints are in confusion and do not seem to have much idea of the law governing the organization of the Church; while on the first principles of the gospel, in theory they have but little difference, or all agree or have little contention, except in case of the "Mormons," who have included the crime of having many wives as a means of exaltation in Heaven. And tonight Mr. Bishop applied the text in Matthew 12:19, "He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets," to himself. He continues, "It is a fact that Jesus did talk on the streets, but I never do; and the Evangelist Matthew made a mistake when he applied Isaiah 42:2 to Jesus Christ." He is the one to do the greater work of the Father in the last day, to bring about the gathering of Israel, no more to be thrown down. Also, the place of deliverance is at Salt Lake City, or the place where Israel is to be hid up, as is recorded in Isaiah 26:20-21, and he quotes the language with such confidence that it really has weight with the unsuspecting people: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." With such congratulations, he concludes by saying, "How little do the Mormons know they are building the temple for me to fulfill the prophecy of Malachi 3:1: 'And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.' "
And it is a fact, that as a coincidence, Brigham Young also quotes the above text in Isaiah, and says, "We are fulfilling it, and we will shut up Parley's Canyon, Echo Canyon, and one or two other canyons, and will keep out both red Indians and white Indians." Ah, what a tangled mess these apostate, leading usurpers are weaving to bring reproach upon the fair name of Latter Day Saint! The Apostle Peter, in his second letter, says of them, "And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
Well, I am sad at heart tonight to think how easily people are led away after foolish, vagrant, and absurd interpretations of the Holy Scriptures; and yet I rejoice to know I have been delivered from this cunning, crafty, wicked man. He has a few who are fascinated by his eloquence and bold assumptions. But the large audiences have their eyes fully opened now so he cannot bother them anymore, and I thank God with my whole soul.
My dear reader, when you read these lines do not smile and say there is nothing in it to mislead anyone of brains. Let me assure you there is an invisible spirit accompanying such men, that is not discerned by the natural, unregenerated soul who cannot know, like Job, "that my Redeemer liveth." The whole Protestant and Catholic world are led by just such fantastical spirits, who are ignoring the doctrine of Christ and following the doctrines of men, with the consoling exhortations upon morality and solemnly affirming it is not necessary to be particular about doctrine or being born of the water and the Spirit, or it is not absolutely necessary to follow the one Lord and Master into the waters of baptism. I predict that the wild schemes of men, fired by the spirit of Antichrist, has but just begun its diabolical work to deceive this disobedient generation. The ancient apostle says of them, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
Friday, February 17. This morning, visited Brother Thomas Lewis. He favors Baneemyism yet. His son, Branson, is sick; has been confined to his room most of the time for five years, and wishes me to ask the conference that convenes the sixth of April to remember him in their prayers. I also called on Elder Perrin. His mind is in a state of confusion, but desires to love and obey the gospel of Christ.
Raglan Township, three miles northwest of Magnolia, Sunday, February 19. I came to this place last evening to fill appointment, and at twelve o'clock had a large attendance. The entire neighborhood was out to our meeting_Subject: The first principles of the gospel.
In the evening at seven thirty o'clock, held prayer and fellowship services. Elder Artemus Lockling and Sister Elmira Streeter spoke in the gift of tongues. The sister formerly came from the state of Maine; spoke in the German language. A gentleman present, who is not a member of the Church, but who was well acquainted with the lady, arose and said, "I am astonished, for I know Mrs. Streeter does not know one word of the German language, yet she spoke in great plainness in my own tongue so I could understand every word."
The Saints are revived in their faith, and promise to hold regular services now every Sunday. Brethren Morton and Caleb Streeter, Hosea Pierce, Daniel Maule, and E. W. Lamb all live in this neighborhood. 
Monday, February 20. I am at Mr. Nelson Follett's, who is just as kind as can be to me. Shall ever remember him for his tokens of respect for me, though he does not see the necessity of obeying the gospel. This is my twenty-fifth birthday. My health is good, and have implicit faith in the gospel of Christ, and hope I shall witness more events in building up the great latter-day work this year than I have ever witnessed in all my life before. I have taken great pains to learn, indeed, if Sister Streeter is entirely unlearned in the German language, and in fact, is quite an uneducated lady; and the German who says she spoke in his language is a candid man, and he affirms this morning she spoke plainly in his mother tongue, in our meeting last evening.


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Chapter 25

The Belvidere Branch Is Organized
Debate with Gladden Bishop
Edmund Preaches on the Necessity of Authorized Priesthood and the Everlasting Covenant


Tuesday, February 21. I rode to Brother Smith Stephen-son's, who lives eight miles from Magnolia in Jascon Township. It has been raining most of the day. Brother Smith and family, indeed, are so kind to me, I feel very much at home.
Wednesday, February 22. Stormy and very severe weather. Have visited, talked of our hope, and read the great things of God's law to Ephraim all day, and have appreciated my home with Brother Smith very much. He has a very quiet, neat family_so still. Home comfortable in contrast to so many places in western Iowa, but few can realize what a discomfort it is to be compelled to be away from home and kindred among strangers, and meet with customs so different; and yet must be content and never notice the little discourtesies_as unfriendly remarks that reach your naturally sensitive disposition. I often think of Jesus. He must have had a tender, affectionate heart, and yet the Jews were envious and jealous of him and called him evil and vile names, though he never did a wrong in all his life. The awful wickedness of jealousy and envy is the incentive of more crime than most any one thing, and is so apparent in anyone who gives way to it, or harbors it in his heart. Everyone can easily discern it who has ordinary ability. May God help the Reorganization so it never will be cursed through jealousy of its members, is my fervent prayer; for he who cannot appreciate a good effort or act of his fellow mortal because of his jealousy, is a wicked man and Satan is his spiritual father.
Thursday, February 23. Returned to Belvidere and held meeting in the evening_Subject: First principles of the gospel.
Friday, February 24. At seven o'clock in the evening, held services again_Subject: Divine evidences of the Book of Mormon. Large audience, full of enthusiasm and love to hear the wonderful story of the cross and the latter-day glory re-established again, being attested with the comforting influence of the Holy Spirit, as when they heard it in the days of Joseph.
Saturday, February 25. Had dinner with Brother Outhouse, and this afternoon he accompanied me to Onawa, county seat of Monona County. This is a beautiful part of the state; prairies are rolling enough to make it picturesque and a grand landscape. Surely, God has designed in His creation to bless and please mankind if they will appreciate the good and beautiful, and enjoy it in righteousness. We were hospitably cared for by Brother Isaac Ashton. He, too, is an old member of the Church, grounded in the eternal truth of the gospel of Christ, but has been grieved over the wild schemes and wickedness of the apostasy.
Sunday, February 26. Held meeting at eleven o'clock in the forenoon in the Ashton schoolhouse; large and attentive audience. After meeting, had dinner at Brother Frederick D. Winegar's. He is a splendid man. Honesty is glowing on his very countenance, and he treated us very royally. Shall ever remember him as worthy of being numbered with the Saints. In the afternoon, we returned to my appointment in Belvidere at seven o'clock. Also held meeting Monday evening_Subject: The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation.
Tuesday, February 28. At seven o'clock held meeting_ Subject: Restoration of all things and the mission of Christ our Lord to the spirits in Prison. Intense interest was manifest by the dear people while we presented the love of God, who sent His Only Begotten Son that the world might not perish, but have life everlasting.
Wednesday, February 29. At eleven o'clock, held meeting_Subject: Duties of the Saints and the Kingdom of God. Organized a branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The following names were handed in who wished to be charter members: Hugh Lytle, John Outhouse, John Thomas, George B. Outhouse, Elizabeth E. Jones, Mary J. Andrews, Nancy T. Lytle, Maria Outhouse, Martha M. Outhouse, Matilda Clements. Elder John Outhouse chosen president; Elder Hugh Lytle, priest; Brother George B. Outhouse, clerk. Voted to name the branch Belvidere. Services again this evening at half past seven, and by request appointment made for meeting tomorrow morning.
Thursday morning, March 1. At ten o'clock, a large audience assembled, all on hand by the opening service hour. I discoursed on the subject of the resurrection, from the text, "The earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain" (Isaiah 26:21); and, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice" (John 5:28). I spoke more than two hours, and the following dear souls arose and requested baptism: Martha M. and Maria Outhouse, Mary Jane Anderson, George R. Outhouse, and Mrs. Elizabeth Jones wished to do their first works over again by being baptized. We adjourned to repair to the water, and there again witnessed the burial in baptism of the dear souls who wished to follow our Lord, who appeared on Jordan's banks and was baptized of John in the water and came up out of the water praying, and a voice was heard from Heaven, saying, "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." It is strange everybody who believes Jesus was baptized do not wish to follow His example. At three o'clock in the afternoon, held confirmation meeting. Elder John Outhouse assisted in confirming the blessed souls into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I feel to rejoice in my Savior as I hear so many of the Saints say, "This is like old times we enjoyed in the days of Joseph, and is a great evidence to us that the doctrine of lineal priesthood is true, and Joseph will surely come and take his father's place in the Church in the Lord's due time, though of course we do not know when, as things seen and predicted by the Spirit seem so near, yet from a human standpoint it may be years in the future; but our duties are plain to us that we should preach the gospel and live the life of holiness as the whole duty of man."
Preparation, Friday, March 2. Brethren Lytle, Thomas, George Outhouse, and several others of the Saints of Belvidere, accompanied me back to this place and say they are loath to separate from me. In the evening, I held meeting in the schoolhouse. A Mrs. Elijah Cobb is teaching school here, but is not of our faith; but I hear is a good member of the Baptist Church. I had splendid liberty in presenting the glorious hope of the Reorganization, in contrast to the apostasy of the various factions which have left the Church since the martyrdom of the Choice Seer, and though there have been several factions, most of them have been of mushroom growth. Only one of any importance is left, and that is the one sent out of the land of Zion into the Great American Desert, and is so accurately described by the Prophet Jeremiah (17:5-6): "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited." It does seem that not one of the true Saints should be deceived and led off to the accursed land of salt and fastness of the mountains, where the Gadianton robbers used to resort to when they apostatized from the Church in Book of Mormon times.
Brother Andrew Jackson followed me in a clear and logical manner, confirming what I had said in my discourse; also, Brethren Lytle and Thomas made some very excellent remarks, bearing testimony of my mission work in Belvidere as the true voice of the Spirit, as in the early days of the Church in Joseph's time. Our meeting was quite a protracted one, but the people were very much pleased and many said they could have listened all night and never got tired. Brother Andrew Jackson came here yesterday and is to have a discussion tomorrow evening with Mr. Gladden Bishop. The question for debate is, "Resolved, that priesthood goes by lineal descent, and the prophet to lead the Church (as Israel) in the last days is of the seed of Joseph, the translator of the Book of Mormon, according to the Word of God recorded in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants." Elder Andrew Jackson of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints affirms; Elder Gladden Bishop denies.
Saturday, March 3. The hall was crammed to its utmost capacity this evening at half past seven, by an audience eager to hear the debate. Eyes sparkled and expectancy was expressed on every face. Without judges or moderator, perfect order characterized the assembly. The resolution for the debate was read by Elder Jackson. He then led off by quoting the text commonly used in defense of lineal priesthood, and establishing the fact that a blessing was placed upon the Choice Seer, and promised to descend to the head of his posterity after him. He was very clear and cogent in all his arguments. The eloquence of truth was brilliant in his defense for the right of Joseph's posterity to the father's blessing to lead Israel. Elder Bishop quoted Hebrews 7:1, 3, Book of Alma_last clause of ninth chapter and first of tenth chapter_and then stated those two witnesses were against the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; also, that he believed Joseph erred, or sinned, but believed he was a true prophet of God; but, "I do not believe the Doctrine and Covenants is the Word of God to govern us, for the Church was rejected, and all the authority, and there is no one qualified to baptize legally, for the Church has answered its end and the work of the Father, as taught in the Book of Mormon, is now to accomplish the great restoration of Israel; yet, I believe the Word of God is contained in the Doctrine and Covenants."
These are some of his positions and contradictions, but on the whole the discussion was interesting and a good feeling prevailed with the audience. They had three speeches each, and closed the debate about eleven o'clock. Mr. Bishop made appointment for meeting tomorrow morning.
Sunday, March 4. This morning, before I was up, Mr. Elijah Cobb and someone else (I do not remember his name) came to me and urged me to preach at nine o'clock this morning, and make a general reply covering the ground discussed last evening. I suggested the impracticability of getting an audience that early, and the probability that most of the audience did not get to bed until twelve o'clock last night; and besides, I have an appointment at one o'clock in Raglan Township_nine miles from here_today, and Mr. Bishop and his friends will think I ought to stay and hear his reply at eleven o'clock, which is impossible. The brethren replied, "We will see that the audience is all there, and we are not particular about what Mr. Bishop or his friends may think; we want you to speak at nine o'clock and will insure you a full house.
I consented, and told them to let me know when the congregation was assembled. Ten minutes before nine o'clock, a messenger informed me, "All of the people of the town are waiting for you." Sure enough, the house was crowded with intelligent-looking people, with smiles on their faces, music in their souls, and longing eyes. After a beautiful, inspiring hymn was sung by the entire audience, I arose, and said, "While we believe, indeed, all things in religious services should be celebrated with prayer_prayer and thanksgiving to God; and the songs of Zion, when sung in the Spirit and with the understanding, are the prayers of the Saints_this morning we will waive any further preliminaries and at once introduce the subject of the morning discourse. (Elder Bishop sat close in front of me, intently watching me.)
"Brethren and sisters, by urgent request I am here at this early hour_a previous appointment is announced for eleven o'clock, and I have an appointment nine miles from here at one o'clock this afternoon. It is impossible for me to attend the eleven o'clock service, but I suggest that all of the rest of you attend. With this preface, we will at once address ourselves to the subject of this service.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is the all-important question of all questions, so recognized by all Christian denominations. Some of them believe that there should be properly authorized ministry, called of God to preach it and administer its ordinances in a legal manner, or else aliens cannot be transformed into citizens of the Kingdom of God.
"The Latter Day Saints are preeminently of this class, who believe the Church of God is 'built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord . . . for an habitation of God through the Spirit' (Ephesians 2:20-22); and also, God 'gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ' (Ephesians 4:11-12); 'And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues' (1 Corinthians 12:28). The Saints are of the opinion that helps, governments, include what we call quorums and presiding officers, for it is not logical to say that there could be order in the Church of God without a system of ministry to take charge of it on earth_like Ezekiel's vision of the wheel within a wheel. 
"The Protestant churches, and Catholic too, all believe there should be a ministry, but none of them ever dare lay claim that God appointed one of their ministers. They are unlike the Saints who, in all ages of the world, ever believed that God reserved the right to Himself to appoint all of His ministers. But without discussing what are the constituent parts of the elements of the gospel this morning, for we all agree to what it was, by every Christian faction, though they may now differ in relation to its perpetuity and unchangeability as essential to salvation. But no Saints ever differ in any age of the world on these matters. But the Latter Day Saints are now divided upon the subject, "Who is the rightful presiding officer of the Church on earth?" The members of the Reorganization claim that, according to the law of God, one of Joseph Smith's sons will be his successor, in fulfillment of the Word of the Lord to us, and according to the law of lineage and the promises made to the Choice Seer."
I clearly presented the law on the subject as found in the Three Standard Books, and then stated, "I once sought by fasting and prayer to know the day when Joseph would be called of God to take his father's place, and I was truly instructed by the voice of the Holy Ghost to me, that it was not for me to know the time, but it was enough for me to know my duty and do it without any reference to what other men might be called to do."
I then contrasted the work accomplished through the instrumentality of Joseph the Seer, during his ministerial life of only fourteen years. "About two hundred thousand had been gathered into the Church in that short period. In all his writings, and he wrote many thousand pages, his every thought is sparkling with true patriotism to human governments, and in every sentence the love of God and the gospel in purity brilliantly shining in every word and line he ever wrote upon the doctrine of Christ, and no single sentence that he has left in black and white that contradicts the teaching of Jesus Christ and His apostles, as recorded in the Bible.
"And in the revelation of the recent vision and angel's ministrations to Joseph, it was told him by the angel of God that his name should be had for good and evil in all the world: 'Your name shall be known among the nations, for the work which the Lord will perform by your hands shall cause the righteous to rejoice and the wicked to rage; with the one it shall be had in honor, and with the other in reproach.'
"We are all witnesses of the fulfillment of this prediction, so far as the civilization has gone. By the true Saints of God, no man on earth was loved more than Joseph was during his life, and since his martyrdom his memory is revered as the chosen servant of Christ, to open up the last dispensation to prepare a people to meet the Lord Jesus when he comes again, 'without sin unto salvation' (Hebrews 9:28). And at the same time, no man since God made the world has been lied about and slandered more than he has been. His wicked slanderers are the popular ministers of this age, generally; and one thing is always noticeable as a fact_whoever stoops so low to blacken Joseph's character, they never refer to his writings to prove that he has outraged society, good morals, or the Christian religion. They always resort to unreliable reports of his bitter enemies, like it was with the Pharisees who slandered our blessed Lord, the Christ, and the ancient prophets.
"The Book of Mormon, in its religious part, interspersed with its historical record, for more than five hundred pages of closely written matter, or the thousands of pages of his own written biography and documents, and of current events during his life, is not once read or quoted by his enemies to prove that he was not in the fullest sense Christian, and holy in his teaching. And now, for any man who once believed Joseph Smith was a prophet, to join in with the enemies to slander him and to claim all those passages that refer to Christ's second coming to himself, and will soon be fulfilled when he shall suddenly come to the temple in Salt Lake, built by Brigham Young, who is fulfilling the prediction of the Apostle Peter, when he says,

There shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them. . . . And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

And this man, Brigham Young, without pretending to receive a revelation from God to build a temple, anticipated the Almighty and volunteered to build a temple, and a mortal man is suddenly coming to it and fulfill the prophecy of the Prophet Malachi; and he is 'the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts' (Malachi 3:1). And a mortal man is to fulfill this. Why, my brethren, I am ashamed to refer to it in this connection. It is preposterous and ridiculous! Just think of such a man as this doing the great work of the Father!
"Let us see what is said of the work of the Father in the great things of God's law written to Ephraim: 'And when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose foundation is the devil, then at that day the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants which he hath made to his people, who are of the house of Israel' (1 Nephi 3:236-237); 'Therefore, when ye shall receive this record, ye may know that the work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the land' (Ether 1:114).
"If the Book of Mormon is true, the work of the Father commenced with the revelation of this sacred book.
"I am astonished at the presumption of such poor, frail, mortal men. The work of the Father is not going to be done by any man on this earth. That is purely a work of God's Holy Spirit upon the hearts of man, and preparing them by environment and circumstances, by which His great work will be accomplished in their final restoration from all lands, where they have been scattered, just before the second coming of the Son of God.
"The Reorganization believes the gospel of Christ is in very deed the power of God unto salvation, as attested by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, and the one to come suddenly to His temple is none other than this same Jesus who ascended up from Mount Olivet, when His disciples looked steadfastly towards heaven as He went up, and beheld two angels standing by them in white apparel, which also said, 'Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.'
"It is our duty to live, devoted Christians, in prayer and humility of heart.
"And while we follow the injunction of the apostle, 'Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,' I suggest we follow the instruction of the prophet, who said, 'To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them' (Isaiah 8:20).
"Let me tell you plainly, the faith of the Saints in all ages of the world is summed up in the language of the Scriptures, which says, 'Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.' While we look for one of Joseph's sons to take his place in the Church, as lawgiver like Moses, yet Jesus Christ is the central thought and great leader, the head of the Church, which is His body; and as Paul says, 'Follow me as I follow Christ,' and any true prophet of God is only a servant of Christ; and in the language of our Lord and Master, who said, 'For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?' (John 5:46-47).
"My dear brethren and sisters, it is evident the Lord had false Christs in view when He said, 'And again, verily I say unto you, that the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth; wherefore be not deceived' (DC 49:4); 'And again I say unto you, All things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit; and ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with; and ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen' (DC 46:9). With all these beautiful revelations of God before us, I am astonished that any sane man will for one moment follow a man who claims he is the one who is suddenly to come to his temple, and applies those passages, referring to the second advent, to himself_such as, he the one who 'shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant.' 
"The covenant is the everlasting covenant of Christ, so beautifully described by Saint Paul in his letter to the Hebrews; also prophesied of by Jeremiah: 'Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more' (Jeremiah 31:31-34). 
"Not long ago, I heard a very devout man, when he was asked to say grace at the table, close his prayer and blessing in the name of Elias, Amen. While I am in favor of religious liberty and opposed to any form of persecution because of difference of opinion on the subject of religion, yet to be consistent, while we believe the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants as divine, there is no other name given under Heaven whereby we can be saved, except in and through the name of Jesus Christ, Amen and Amen." Elder Jackson closed our meeting just five minutes before eleven o'clock.
The audience all hastened out of the hall; and as I walked out with Elder Jackson, we heard loud talk and some of the people threw their hats into the air shouting, "Hurrah! hurrah for the little Josephite!" I was told that a man, a Mr. Durfey, a friend of Mr. Bishop, struck Mr. Elijah Cobb and I saw them clinch each other and both fell to the ground, but gentlemen standing by separated them.
I was sorry of the occurrence, but I certainly said nothing to encourage such a feeling of bitterness or anger. I had contrasted truth and error on parallel lines, and tried to avoid personalities as far as it was possible, and it had the effect of creating a feeling of bitterness on the part of this Antichrist spirit that had taken possession of Mr. Bishop's followers_ that like it was in the days of Cain and Abel, he who offered the sacrifice not commanded of God became angry and sought to injure his brother. Ever since that occurrence, it has led me to believe that when anyone becomes angry over religious subjects, that man has the religion of Cain who killed his brother, Abel, and like Saul of Tarsus before he was converted. These two men were both devoted, pious, praying men, and when they meet opposition and those who differ from them and the truth of God, they become exceeding mad and were intolerant, even to the shedding of innocent blood of their fellowmen. That certainly is the spirit of Cain's and Saul's religion. With this thought before me, I can now see more fully the meaning of the language of Jesus, when he said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division" (Luke 12:51).
Mr. Cobb was not a member of any church, but probably felt pleased over the morning discourse and, with others, gave expression of his approval, and Mr. Durfey, who was an admirer of Mr. Bishop and one of his disciples, was mad_like Cain and Saul of Tarsus were_and forgot to be a gentleman, let alone his religion, and forgot his profession of Christianity and exhibited the spirit of his father, the Devil, who was a murderer. All people ought to know, when their religion leads them not to do to others as they would others should do to them, that there is something wrong with their religion, and at least they have not the Christian religion.
After our morning services, Elder Jackson accompanied me to Raglan, nine miles, in time for our appointment. We had a large audience at Brother Streeter's cottage. I had splendid endowment of the Holy Spirit again, and discoursed on the first principles of the glorious gospel of Christ. Brother Jackson made some excellent remarks and opened and closed our meeting. Oh, how I appreciate the help of this grand and eloquent minister for Christ. He has a beautiful mind, full of thought and well stored up with knowledge_he takes in the whole position of the Reorganization; has been an old Saint for years, but recently joined in with us. His soul has been in distress during the cloudy days of apostasy, but is now overjoyed to find we have what he first embraced in the latter-day work.
After meeting, we came to Brother James M. Adams' of Bigler's Grove.


Return To Contents

Chapter 26

Edmund Receives Evidence He Will Be a Delegate at the Amboy Conference
Through Prophecy, Some of the Saints Are Told Joseph III Will Come to the Amboy Conference
Brother Beebe Provides Money to Send Edmund to the Conference


Brother Adams takes great exceptions to the second number of the Herald, because it sets forth the faith of the Reorganization as an established fact, that no one can be the successor of the Martyr except one of his sons. He believes that the Church, in conference assembled, can select any high priest, ordain him president, and sustain him by their faith; may be chosen, and God would endow him with all the gifts pertaining to the office, in agreement with the law, which says, "Of the Melchisedec priesthood, three presiding high priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the presidency of the church" (DC 104:11). He does not see the word "appoint" refers to a previous call or revelation from God, appointing the presidency, is necessary before his selection by the body. But when I pointed this out to him, his argument is, if a conference should select any man to that office, God is bound to endorse him and appoint him to the office. I had but little talk with him this evening. I see his cherished theory is in his way. His ambition to lead a people is not favored by us, and he feels a little discomforted. I am fearful the power of darkness will so distract his mind that he will never enlist in the Reorganization; but I love the man, and he has an interesting family, though I guess they are after things of this life more than the things of the Kingdom.
Monday, March 5, 1860. Early this morning, visited and took breakfast with Brother Phineas Cadwell and his excellent wife. He is all interested with us in faith and has been telling me how he first heard my eldest brother, Silas H. Briggs, years ago preach the gospel in Wisconsin, and it had always remained with him until this day. But no opportunity had offered him the chance to obey until he met Elder Adams in this place; but in the apostasy he did not know where to look for the Church organization. And while he thinks much of Brother Adams, yet he can see he is in error with reference to the true successor to the presidency of the Church. When I was here a short time since, I invited Sister Cadwell to write an article for our Herald, and she halted me this morning with the remark, "If you think it worthy of a place in your Herald, you may send it to the editor."
It is such an excellent article, and glowing with eloquence in the expression of God's love for the race, and affection that should ever dwell in the hearts of the Saints, I preserved it as one of the helps to guide my acts in all my ministerial life, to save my fellowmen; and is word-painting such as I believe will be a help to those who are permitted to read them. They reveal the fact that one of God's children, not yet in the Church, is certainly inspired with the central thought of our holy religion, and should be an incentive to prompt us to be faithful workers in the vineyard of the Lord, to gather all such precious souls into the sheepfold with Christ. It is as follows:

Brother Sheen: A highly esteemed friend and Christian brother, one who is also a zealous, self-denying laborer in the work of endeavoring to bring light out of darkness and separate truth from error, called on us a few days since, and invited me to send a few lines for your paper. In compliance with his wishes, I submit a few disconnected thoughts on charity.
Those who are truly worthy of the name of Latter Day Saints will readily admit this to be not only one of the choicest, but one of the rarest and most difficult to practice, of all the Christian virtues. The religion which we profess to love, and which our Savior laid down His life to establish, is largely composed of that divine combination of love, benevolence, and good- will, which we call charity. Saint Paul must certainly have been inspired when he painted that beautiful picture in its praise. And truly, what other of the Christian graces, or of all the amiable traits which fallen man may possess, can fill its place in the purifying, elevating, or ennobling influence it exerts on our life and character?
True charity is a jewel, the possession of which, though it may not elevate to fame or worldly honor, does enrich its possessor in those heavenly treasures which we are wisely counseled to lay up for ourselves in that celestial Kingdom, where moth or rust are not permitted to corrupt, nor thieves to break through and steal. True charity is a bond of union to congenial spirits in this life, and a source of perpetual sunshine to every heart where it is encouraged to dwell, diffusing joy and scattering blessings as far as its influence can reach. But perhaps we can better illumine our ideas in relation to the sweet influence of charity by contrasting it with its opposite quality, which is malice or hate; and who has not been made aware by observation of the evil, demoniacal tendency of the exercise of this passion, which poisons not only the peace and quiet of those who cherish it, but like a malarious atmosphere infuses itself more or less into the lifeblood of every being within range of its circumference.
It is this baneful spirit of hate, this evil genius from the pit of vice, that destroys the peace and harmony of so many domestic family circles_that breathes its venom into the vitals of the slanderer, and by its insidious arts undermines the moral purity of many who were valued and beloved members of society. The human heart_the supposed habitation of all the passions and emotions of the soul, is often compared very appropriately to a garden, where the evil weeds of envy, malice, discontent, avarice, and kindred vices are of spontaneous growth and, unhappily, thrive_if not carefully rooted out and narrowly watched. But the choice plants of love, kindness, purity of thought and motion, universal goodwill, and kindred virtues of heavenly birth must be planted in youth, carefully cultured and nursed with maternal vigilance, protected from fierce storms and sultry heat, and watered often with the tear of sympathy and affection; and even then, how often does the labor seem almost in vain_so cold and barren is the soil we attempt to subdue. 
How very essential then, not only to our own enjoyment and usefulness in this life, but to the happiness of all with whom we are intimately or remotely associated, either in the business or domestic relations of life, that we devote a large space in the chamber of the heart to be occupied by this rare jewel. Let this beautiful fabric compose a large share of the garments with which we clothe our thoughts in our social intercourse with others, and then we may be sure we shall not have lived entirely in vain. Charity is the guiding star of the philanthropist, the beacon light that calls the wanderer from virtue's path back to the hearthstone of domestic bliss. And were kindly influence more universally diffused, its genial warmth more lavishly bestowed, there would be far less aching hearts and unhappy households. Our benevolent lunatic asylums would have less unfortunate inmates; our jails and prisons would be more thinly populated; and our home circles would reveal more happy hearts and joyous faces. As charity is the strongest link in the chain of human affections, so are its largest possessors most nearly allied to our Divine Leader, and best adapted to accomplish much in the great field where our Savior has commanded us to toil.
Let us then in our demeanor towards our brethren, who are pleased to differ from us in regard to present duty and future promise of the great work to which we have committed ourselves, exercise this excellent virtue; they may be as honest, as conscientious as we, but for some wise reason the rays of light we have received have not yet reached them. But lest I weary you beyond endurance, I will close by quoting that beautiful and significant passage by Saint Paul: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
Yours in the spread of truth,
HARRIET F. CADWELL.

Brother Cadwell is very anxious that his talented wife should join the Church, but I feel it would be wisest for him not to urge his wishes in this matter; and again I advised him to refrain making urgent expression of his wish to her. Solomon expresses the thought, "There is a time to speak, and a time to keep silent." Oh, that God may bless dear Brother and Sister Cadwell is my earnest prayer.
This afternoon, I came to Brother William Van Ausdall's of Galland's Grove. He has stood firm in the faith of the gospel during all the cloudy days of the apostasy. He is an old veteran of the cross of Christ; an honorable man, loved by all of his neighbors for his integrity and veracity. He was well acquainted with the Choice Seer, and bears witness of his many virtues as one of the noble men of the Church_a man of God. Hyrum, his brother, he thinks was the most perfect man on earth; a model worthy of imitation by all Christians who follow Christ as an object lesson; who ever reflected Christ's character in his life.
Tuesday, March 6, 1860. Visited Brother J. A. McIntosh who is now a zealous worker in the ministry, appreciated and respected as an example in the Church; and his experience in the days of the Choice Seer is a wonderful help to him and the Saints in western Iowa.
I find Elder Leland here, and he has an appointment for this evening. He, too, was well acquainted with Joseph and the Saints in Illinois, and is a willing laborer in the Church. He has a letter from Elder W. W. Blair, received some time since, soliciting the branches of western Iowa to send delegates to the General Conference. He gave us an excellent sermon on the first principles of the gospel this evening.
Wednesday, March 7, 1860. The Galland's Grove Branch met at ten o'clock this forenoon to perfect arrangements to appoint a delegate to the Amboy, Illinois, conference, to be held sixth of April. Just previous to our assembling, Elders McIntosh and McCord asked me if I expected to attend the General Conference. I replied, "No, sir, I have given it up." They wished me to be their delegate. The assembly was called to order by Elder Uriah Roundy, and by motion, Elder William Van Ausdall was chosen chairman, who requested me to open meeting by prayer. While bowed in supplication, the Spirit of prophecy filled the room, and said, "It is my will that my servant shall attend the conference and declare my Word to the assembly of my people." At the same time, I saw my own name before me.
The president then stated the object of the meeting and many others made remarks, all favoring the appointment of a delegate. I then moved that Elder Andrew Jackson be appointed delegate. This was seconded by Elder McIntosh, and Brother Jackson was declared by unanimous vote our representative to the General Conference. The question of defraying the expenses was then introduced, and Elder Jackson said, "I will bear my own expenses. I have the money and I am willing to do it."
After the meeting closed, Brethren McCord and McIntosh asked me again, "Are you going to attend the Amboy conference?" I replied that I was and had received evidence, while opening the meeting, that I should go. They both said, "I think you should go," and Brother McCord gave me two and one-half dollars and McIntosh a one-dollar gold piece to bear expenses.
Thursday and Friday evenings following, I held meetings in the schoolhouse and had large audiences. Quite a number of the people, not of the Church, attended. Saints are in the best of spirits and hope.
Leland's Grove, Saturday, March 10, 1860. I came home with Brother Leland, fifteen miles from Galland's Grove. It is beautiful weather. I have never experienced a milder winter. There has been but little wind and few cold days. It almost seems Providence to me, as I have been very actively engaged all winter, when not in public meetings from house to house, visiting both members and nonmembers of the Church. And my whole conversation has been upon the gospel of Christ, and prophesying of the coming of Joseph and the ultimate triumph of the latter-day work. Yesterday, I received evidence again by the Holy Spirit that I should attend the April conference and I am now on my journey, hoping to reach the Amboy conference; though my raiment is badly worn, almost threadbare, with only three dollars and fifty cents to supply needed apparel and expenses. But in the language of the poet,

Though troubles assail us, and dangers affright;
Though friends should all fail us, and foes all unite;
Yet one thing secures us, whatever betide;
The Scriptures assure us, the Lord will provide.

That expresses the sentiment impressed upon my mind by the Holy Spirit, but I cannot see how it is possible for me to go. It is too late now to take the long journey afoot. Surely, the Lord must open up the way for me and provide the means, or I cannot attend the conference. I have labored all winter, hard; and yet not one penny has been handed me to defray expenses, except three dollars and fifty cents just a few days since. But I am assured by the Spirit of God I must dismiss the whole matter from my mind, for the Lord will certainly open up the way before me so I can attend the General Conference at Amboy.
Union Grove, Sunday, March 11, 1860. Elder Leland accompanied me to this place. The Saints here and at Galland's Grove have set apart this day for fasting and prayer to our Heavenly Father, that His special blessing and direction may be given to the General Conference, and that God will direct all things to His name's glory, and that the reorganization of His Church may be more thoroughly established. I also joined with the dear Saints in their fast in faith, and we had a good spiritual meeting. All took part in the prayer and fellowship service. Their testimonies were very encouraging to me. All seemed so pure minded in the faith of the gospel of Christ. Surely, the Lord has laid the foundation of a great work in western Iowa for the Reorganization to build on. At seven o'clock this evening, I discoursed on the first principles and duties of the Saints. A goodly portion of the Spirit was with us to comfort every heart.
Elder Jones resigned and Brother Thomas Sellers chosen in his place to preside over the branch, by unanimous voice of the Saints. Elders Jones, Leland, and Wallace Wood assisted me in ordaining Brother Thomas Sellers an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and Brother Wilson Sellers, a priest, was elected a delegate to attend the General Conference. The blessed Spirit was our comforter today in all our services, and the dear Saints are all revived in the latter-day work.
Council Bluffs, Monday, March 12, 1860. I came to my brother Edwin's. Wife and daughter, Lerona, are well; and I find eight letters from correspondents_most of them being good news of the latter-day work and the revival of the Saints in the Reorganization. In one from Brother Z. H. Gurley, in answer to one I wrote him on the words, new organization, he says, "I do not think it makes much difference. It was an oversight of Brother Sheen and can be easily corrected. . . . I do not think you better come to the General Conference; it will take you from your field of labor and incur considerable expense and loss of time." Brother Samuel Powers of Beloit, Wisconsin, wrote a very affectionate and encouraging letter of the work with him. Also, Brother W. W. Blair writes a nice letter of the work where he has labored in Illinois. His wife, Sister Elizabeth Blair, in her excellent and encouraging letter to me, says, "Elder Blair has been gone from home much of the time this winter, but we have been having some very excellent meetings in our branch, and recently we received a manifestation of the Spirit, in which it was said Joseph will be at our conference the sixth of April, and Brother Ed, I believe it."
I cannot say that this item of Sister Blair's struck me with very much force. It seemed too good news to have it fulfilled so soon. In fact, it had been the theme of my fondest hope for nearly sixteen years, that the Martyr's oldest son would be his successor in the prophetic office, and I had received so many divine evidences by the Spirit of God that he would be called to fill that important office. But to have it come to pass now, so soon as our April conference, I could not believe it and the thought soon passed from my mind_so it did not impress me very forcibly.
As this forms such an important place in my autobiography, I will add a letter I have just received from Sister Blair. She lives with her daughter, Sister Minnie Nicholson, our nearest neighbor; they are both excellent members of the Church. They were very ill in health when I first visited them in the year 1856 at Paw Paw, Illinois, and were healed in a miraculous manner by the blessing of God while I was there.
Her letter of today reads as follows:

LAMONI, Iowa, March 28, 1903.
Brother E. C. Briggs: I think it was in the latter part of February 1860, that Brother Reuben Newkirk, then on a mission to the eastern states, stopped at our home in Amboy, Illinois, for a few days' visit. During his stay, we had a prayer meeting at our home. All the members of the branch were there in attendance. At that time, we were few in numbers, but very earnest and faithful in our service. All took part in some way_ singing, praying, or testifying to the goodness of God unto them; and under the influence of the Spirit, Brother Newkirk arose and sang in tongues. I had the interpretation of one verse, and sang it with him. After he sat down, I arose, and said, "The Lord is well pleased with His people; and in answer to their prayers, Joseph shall, indeed, come as his father's successor to lead my people, and be at the coming conference in April. Verily, thus saith the Lord." It had been the burden of all our prayers that the time might soon come when Brother Joseph would take his place, for we had not a doubt that he would come; but as there had been no word from him, the prediction was a surprise to us that he would be at the conference, and we rejoiced greatly.
My heart goes out to God this day in thankfulness for the many blessings and mercies I have received at the hands of my Heavenly Father. May I ever prove faithful to the end, is my daily prayer.
Your sister in gospel bonds,
ELIZABETH BLAIR.

Brother Isaac Sheen's letter is encouraging; he is getting letters from many of the scattered Saints, attesting their love for this latter-day work, and acknowledges receipt of money I have sent him.
Tuesday, March 13, 1860. My brother, Edwin, gave me three dollars, and I purchased a pair of boots for six dollars and fifty cents. Visited Mr. Follett and family. His daughter is improving in health; general health is better than it has been for years.
Farm Creek, Wednesday, March 14, 1860. Arrived at Brother Beebe's at eight o'clock in the evening. It has been a very tedious day to me and I am so tired and weary physically, but my mind has been lit up and strengthened all day. A retrospective view of my whole life and experience in the latter-day work has passed before me. The sure evidence I have received of the divinity of the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, and the Choice Seer's wonderful work to bless the human family, all gave me comfort of heart and tended to prompt my love for all my fellowmen, and filled me with a great desire to do all I can during my life to make this world better because I am in it. But this evening, with the light of day all gone, chilly and weary after a long ride in the saddle, I was surprised as I stood for Brother Beebe to open his door for me, that instead of his usual salutation of welcome, he said, "Oh, Brother Briggs, you are on the way to conference, and I have the money to bear your expenses!"; and I answered, "You are going with me." He replied, "I think not, but I have the money to send you."
Oh yes, this is wonderful! I can now understand why I must dismiss this whole matter of expense from my mind, "for the Lord will certainly open up the way before you so you can attend the General Conference at Amboy." Truly, no one but God's Holy Spirit could have moved upon Brother Beebe to have made me such a liberal offer to bear my expenses to the conference, upon the impulse of the moment as soon as he saw me this evening. I feel tonight as if I could always rely on the words of Jesus to His ministers, when He said, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? . . . for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. . . . Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:31-32, 34).
I had almost forgotten the matter of expense, since I had received the blessed assurance that the Lord would provide the means necessary to supply my wants. Here is, indeed, a case in point to illustrate how easy it is for the Lord to provide for His truly appointed ministers, without their worrying beforehand over the matter of real necessities.
Yes, my dear fellow workmen in the vineyard of the Lord, a minister who knows he is called of God to preach the gospel of Christ, has a thousand times more to encourage him than all the ministers of the Protestant, popular churches of the world, who know they never had a revelation or an angel from God acknowledging them as His ministers, or their churches as His own. Why, even one of the great-granddaughter churches of the old apostate mother bases their call to preach the gospel upon the doubtful little word of two letters, "if we have authority to preach we have authority to baptize," and so their church was born upon an "if." So unlike anything our loving Heavenly Father ever did when He called men into His vineyard, as attests the inspired prophet, when he said, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).


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Chapter 27

Saints Offer to Reimburse Brother Beebe for Edmund's Expenses to Conference
William H. Kelley Baptized
Edmund Begins His Journey to Conference at Amboy
He Spends the Night at Saint Joseph, Missouri


Wednesday, March 14, 1860 (continued). I rejoice in God my Savior tonight, for I can truly say I know of His doctrine, that it is of God and not of men; and while I can say, indeed, other churches have each a little smattering of the doctrine of Christ interspersed with their human creeds, which are changing as civilization is advancing since the Dark Ages emerged into the Reformation, set on foot by Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, Zwingli, Henry the Eighth (king of England), and championed by the Wesleys, who chanted the beautiful, prophetic hymn,

Almighty God of love,
Set up the attracting sign,
And summon whom thou dost approve,
For messengers divine.

From favored Abrah'm's seed
The new apostles chose,
In isles and continents to spread
The dead-reviving news.

These beautiful verses reflect so much of the latter-day work in which we are engaged, I cannot think but that if the Wesleys were on earth now, they would certainly be true Latter Day Saints. But to return to my hosts. Brother Beebe is all alive to the interests of the latter-day work, and has had a long experience with the founders of the Church under God's true appointed servants, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris; and has never lost his first love in the gospel of Christ, though he has passed through many trials. The severest of all to him now is the loss of his good, devoted wife, Sister Submit Beebe, and his son-in-law, John Richards. They were both well and rejoicing in the faith and doctrine of Christ seven weeks ago when I left here, but now are in the Paradise of God.
Father and daughter left alone to mourn; but mingled with their tears is the joyful knowledge, if faithful, they will be united in the resurrection of the just and reign with Christ on the earth a thousand years. But how keenly they feel their loss! Harriet is so young to be left alone; it seems more painful to be separated from her loved husband. It is so sad, I cannot but mourn with them. Brother Beebe is like a shock of corn, almost ready for the harvest. I do not feel that his separation is very long; he too must soon be called to try the realities of the eternal world, whither we are all tending. The all-absorbing question with us who are left is, Shall we be ready to hear the welcome call, Come home? The lesson in this instance: One was elderly, the other was young in years; both called about the same time; both were true Christians; yet the harvest reaper does not show any partiality for age. Is it possible that Providence may select those best prepared, and those left behind are spared in order that they may be better qualified in the near future to follow in the next harvest time? This idea is food for thought and is worthy of our serious consideration; and if it proves true, should inspire us with more diligence and faithfulness in our service in the Master's cause, to make this world better because we live in it. 
During the remainder of this week, I visited the Saints, confirming them in the faith of the Reorganization. Diligence_ earnest faithfulness in Christ_is the watchword of the dear people in this branch of the Church. Doubts in relation to the ultimate triumph of the latter-day work are dismissed from their minds now. The gloomy day of the latter-day apostasy has cleared away, and the Reorganization is the continuation of the Church of God, without a doubt.
Sunday, March 18, 1860. At eleven o'clock, I spoke upon the first principles of the gospel. Saints are all well and in the best of spirits. By unanimous vote, Elder Calvin Beebe was appointed delegate to the April conference. The Saints in our meeting discussed the question of bearing my expenses to the conference, for they said they were not willing to allow Brother Beebe [to] do it all. So by unanimous vote, they resolved to defray my expenses to the General Conference; but as they have not the money, Brother Beebe advances it and they will repay him.
This morning, I visited and prayed with Sister Richards. She is sixty-eight years old and very feeble, and will soon join with her son, who has preceded her so recently.
Monday, March 19. I was called to the house of mourning. Sister Frances Richards, surrounded by her large family, is expressing joy in her hope of eternal life. She said, "I have no fear of death. Do not weep or mourn for me, for we will all soon meet again; I am going to a better home." After pausing a few moments, she continued, "One thing is certain, we have had our minds too much on things of this world. My children, live faithfully so you can meet me in the first resurrection. Farewell, farewell!" And she went to sleep without a single expression of pain and sorrow. So sweetly she sleeps before me; but the children are weeping and sobbing so tenderly, that the moments all seem sanctified to me as tokens of a brighter day, made possible through a crucified and risen Savior, as foreseen by the Prophet Hosea (13:14), when he said, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." Yes, indeed, I feel today it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting. Yet, it is sad to be separated from loved ones in this life. Sister Richards was a Christian, and had many rich blessings from her Heavenly Father, in evidence of the great latter-day work and the divine calling of the Choice Seer; and was fully established in the conviction that his eldest son would be called of God to be his successor in the presidency of the Church.
Wednesday, March 21, 1860. A large audience of friends and neighbors gathered at the residence of Sister Richards, to pay their respects to the departed one and mourn with the family; all attest to her integrity and Christian virtues. My text was Saint John's Revelation 14:13: "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." I was blessed of the Lord while I discoursed upon the subject of the hope of the Saints and the resurrection of the dead, and the sure evidence that our beloved sister had so lived that she was entitled to the "better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35). This is, indeed, a blessed promise_if all the people would so live that they could know the promises of the Lord are sure to them, that they shall live again in the new world, where all is peace and sorrow never enters. The skeptical have no consolation, in comparison with the true Christian, when they are called to the house of mourning, as this dear family has been this morning. And as they truly loved their mother, they now have another inspiring incentive to continue in righteousness and holiness, so they may meet their loved ones in the first resurrection.
Thursday, March 22. Prayer meeting this evening at Brother Beebe's. It was a spiritual feast to the Saints, who were confirmed in our blessed hope. My sister, Mary Stiles, gave me some new linen apparel and money, and Sister Harriet Richards some other raiment, bright and new. So I am nicely clothed to attend our conference. It is just marvelous how I am favored just in time when I am in need. I am glad I have not worried over my wants. Truly, the Lord has provided just as He has promised, when He said, "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" (Matthew 6:30).
Well, I shall be content in the promises of our Heavenly Father, and labor as best I can in this unfriendly world. The Savior and all the prophets and apostles were hated in this world, and they were on missions of love and goodwill, and so I am on the same errand of mercy. But there is one thing true, as it is lamentable, the popular religious churches have always been the enemies of those who have been truly sent of God. Their ministers were salaried men, well provided for by stipulated agreement from their fellowmen. But the called and sent of God are under humiliation in the eyes of the world, as being poor and unprovided for_only as it seems chance provides for them as beggars who put up their plea to more fortunate pilgrims in this sin-cursed world. May God help us, my dear brethren and fellow servants in the Lord, to be faithful. If Jesus and His loving disciples could afford the humiliation of not having a place to call their own, and could carry a few loaves and fishes under their arms to satisfy hunger when they traveled on foot the highways of the hilly country of Judea, and the Savior by whom the world was made and without Him was not anything made, could submit to be born in a manger where the oxen are wont to be fed, certainly we can endure the slightings of the sectarian churches and their apostate mother, and the insults of our kindred who should be loving brothers and sisters.
Sunday, March 25, 1860. I held services at Brother Richard Y. Kelley's residence; good audience of his neighbors. Brother Noah Cotton and Marcelous McKeown, who were members of the old Church, were present; they are inclined to skepticism now_Subject: Divine evidence of the Book of Mormon. Was blessed very much by the Holy Spirit in my effort to establish the importance of the blessed book as another witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is a remarkable fact, that though the Protestant churches have so much to say against the book, yet I never hear one of their ministers quote a passage from it to show that it conflicts with the Christian religion; and I clearly proved, judging from the standard established by our blessed Lord, that the author of the book, if it were only human in its moral teaching and doctrinal parts, was a good man, for Jesus said, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things."
Another beautiful thought connected with the mission of Joseph Smith, is the fact that in all of his authentic utterances, and many letters and revelations upon the subject of the Christian religion, not one word or sentence can be fairly or honestly construed by his most bitter enemies to be in conflict with the holy and pure doctrine of Christ as taught in the Bible. At the close of the services, a son and daughter of Brother Kelley arose and confessed their faith in Christ and wished to unite with the Church. We dismissed our meeting and repaired to the water, where I baptized Brother William H. Kelley and his sister, Mary. Brother Beebe assisted in confirming them in our prayer meeting this evening. Brother William impressed me with his sterling worth as a young man that could not be swerved from his integrity and manly uprightness, and would make his mark in the Church as a champion for the truth against wrongdoing.
Monday, March 26. Mr. William B. Wilson of the neighborhood, very kindly brought us in his private conveyance fifteen miles to Glenwood, the county seat of Mills County, on our journey to the General Conference, and this evening at eight o'clock we held meeting in the courthouse; large audience and best of interest manifest_Subject: The gospel of Christ. I endeavored to establish the fact that the doctrine of Christ is unchangeable and its principles being eternal, like its Author, is the power of God unto salvation. And to ignore or leave out any part of it is to jeopardize our chances to secure the celestial glory, where God and Christ are.
We accepted the hospitality of Brother Coolidge. He was a member of the Church in Nauvoo, Illinois; was well acquainted with the Martyrs, Joseph and Hyrum Smith. He says they were good, conscientious men, honorable in all their dealings, and Christians if there ever were any since the days of Jesus Christ. He has become indifferent and cold in his faith, yet he says, "I have hope, but have given up trying to defend any religion."
Tuesday, March 27. This morning, we continue our journey by the public stagecoach, drawn by four horses, for St. Joseph, Missouri_a distance of one hundred thirty miles. Our fare is fourteen dollars. The coachman is gentlemanly and cracks his long whip lively, though careful to avoid hitting his horses, of which he seems proud; and they are fine-looking animals.
Wednesday, March 28. At one o'clock in the afternoon, we arrived safely in St. Joseph; had a pleasant journey, though somewhat tedious to ride all night and until one o'clock today. The roads have been good, though dusty, which is remarkable for this time of the year. We passed through Sidney, county seat of Fremont County. Took supper at Mr. Thomas', twelve miles south of Sidney. It cost us fifty cents each. At Rockport, county seat of Atchison County, state of Missouri, changed coaches and horses again. The country has been picturesque, with its rolling prairies skirted with light timber, and its rich valleys. The hand of art has decorated with many elegant farm cottages, enclosed in the beautiful fields. But few have small dooryards. Fencing is too expensive to make line fences or small lots. Our Heavenly Father has, indeed, blessed the virgin soil of this wonderful land with plenty, to make His children happy if they will do right. I feel if the Church would keep the commandments of God, there never would be any scarcity or curse in all this land of Zion. Nature, in all its grandeur, has unfurled her wings of love of grace to this part of our habitable globe, and it should be the abode of a happy people.
I had an interesting interview with a very intelligent passenger in the stagecoach, a merchant of White Cloud, Kansas. The gospel, from a Bible standpoint, seemed all new to him, though he had always been, from a child, familiar with the popular churches of the day_yet he had never got much light from the Bible. All had been darkened by the contending, unauthorized ministers, who had taken it upon themselves to explain away the principles, plain experiences, and teachings of the former-day Saints, by saying they were no longer needed; but that a higher class of scholastic learning and moralizing sermons was all that is needed now; that the doctrine of Christ bred strife and contention; and if men are only honest and moral, it did not make much difference what they believe; that a belief in a Supreme Being called God, or Jesus Christ, whom no one had seen since Bible times, was not material to our salvation nowadays. If we are good moralists, seemed to be his theme, and the churches of the present day did not pretend to have any certain knowledge from God, and they differed in relation to His character and actual personal being. "The God whom the Bible speaks of," he said, "used to talk face to face with man; but the God of the popular churches of today is altogether a different being, without body, parts, or passions, and never says anything to anyone. Either the Bible is not true or present-day preaching is false, is my conclusion, for it teaches that God is no respecter of persons, and in whom there is no variableness; and Jesus taught if any man will do the will of the Father, he should know of the doctrine, whether it is of God or of himself. No man pretends to know now of the doctrine; they simply believe_believe themselves into Heaven. Jesus taught, 'This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent' (John 17:3). But nowadays it is all believe, believe yourself into life eternal. If the former view is correct, the latter view is an error; hence, I have concluded to try and do the best I can, and not bother myself with the contending and conflicting theories of the churches of our days." I presented a new light on the Bible to him, and he has promised to make a further investigation.
We put up at the hotel in St. Joseph. No members of the Church in this beautiful little city on the banks of the Missouri River. Brother Beebe is quite tired. The long stagecoach ride has been quite severe on him, without any sleep since we left Glenwood, Iowa. But he is cheerful and in good spirits, and has retired while I am penning these few lines in my journal. It is rather lonesome for me; no meeting tonight, and somehow I feel a diffidence about saying anything about our glorious hope in Christ. Independence is but a short distance from here, where our dear brethren were mobbed by the infuriated, intolerant people. It may be that I am impressed too sadly tonight on account of being so near the spot where the Saints were shot down in coldblood, little children put to death, and their mothers outraged by the mob of cruel persecutors who drove the Latter Day Saints from the state of Missouri so short a time ago. I am well acquainted with hundreds who were driven from the state because their faith in Christ differed from the popular churches.


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Chapter 28

While at Saint Joseph, Edmund Reminisces about Some of the Events Which Transpired in Missouri
A Dissertation on the Era of the Reformation
Joseph III Writes to William Marks of His Intention to Take His Place at the Head of the Church
Edmund Arrives at Amboy


Wednesday, March 28, 1860. Sister Yokum and her daughter, who now live at Council Bluffs, Iowa, have often told me of how the mob shot her husband and left him to die on the prairie not far from here [St. Joseph, Missouri], bleeding with four bullet wounds. To this day, the daughter, innocent lamb, mourns when she recalls those sad days of religious persecutions and intolerance, when her dear father was shot down; and though he survived for years, yet suffered until his death. I have also many times heard Elder Z. H. Gurley tell of the time he and others were fleeing for their lives at the massacre at Haun's Mill. How they covered up Brother Yokum in the tall, rank prairie grass, solemnly praying for his recovery, and left him all alone while they continued their flight in the rain of leaden bullets falling all around them. Seventeen of the dear Saints_men, women, and children_were massacred at Haun's Mill. Joseph Smith and others were, after the most insulting manner, abused and handcuffed and put in Liberty Jail for many months. But, "Ah," says many of our devout, orthodox Protestant ministers, "it served him right; he was a deceiver, fraud, and a wicked man, and his doctrine was a blasphemous pretension! The idea that he has revelations from God as in the days of the ancient prophets is preposterous," as I have heard many of them say. 
I feel in my very soul tonight, while I sit in this lonely hotel in St. Joseph, Missouri, to challenge any religious minister in this world to produce one single sentence Joseph Smith ever uttered or wrote on religious subjects, that was not in harmony with the teaching of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible. He was the author of many, many pages discussing the various phases of the moral and religious questions that are before the nineteenth century. The true Latter Day Saints are in the lead of all other churches in teaching the entirety of the doctrine of Christ, in the greatest simplicity, in all its fullness and excellency, and in giving emphatic expression and endorsement to all that is good in morals, and just as positive in giving expression condemning evil and wickedness. The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, of nearly a thousand pages of closely written matter, are preeminently works of the highest class in parallel lines, contrasting good with evil and always without any uncertain expression. They teach and endorse righteousness and holiness of life. They are the publications of Joseph Smith, and never has it been proven that he ever did an immoral act in his life or a wicked thing, and his doctrine was the gospel of Christ in all its purity. Can the same be said of the Reformers, the leading prime movers of the popular Protestant churches? Let my readers remember, that not one of them had an existence or a name in this world until the year A.D. 1517, as reformers.
Allow me to quote just a few paragraphs of what is said and written of them from a History of the Protestant Reformation, by William Cobbett. This writer says of himself, page 360, "A parson said of me once, by letter, 'Your religion, Mr. Cobbett, seems to me to be altogether political.' 'Very much so indeed,' I answered, 'and well it may be, since I have been furnished with a creed which makes part of an act of parliament.' And the fact is, I am no Doctor of Divinity, and like a religion, any religion that tends to make men innocent and benevolent and happy, by taking the best possible means of furnishing them with plenty to eat, drink, and wear." On page 98 of his history, he says, "Having in the preceding numbers shown that the thing impudently called the 'Reformation,' was engendered in beastly lust, brought forth in hypocrisy and perfidy, and cherished and fed by plunder, devastation, and by rivers of innocent English and Irish blood, I intended to show, in the present number, how the main body of the people were, by these doings, impoverished and degraded up to this time; that is to say, I intended to trace the impoverishment and degradation down to the end of the reign of the bloody tyrant, Henry VIII." On page 102, he continues, "Perhaps the world had never, in any age, seen a nest of such atrocious miscreants as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Beza, and the rest of the distinguished reformers of the Catholic religion. Every one of them was notorious for the most scandalous vices, even according to the full confession of his own followers. They agreed in nothing but in the doctrine that good works were useless; and their lives prove the sincerity of their teaching, for there was not a man of them whose acts did not merit a halter." On page 173, he says, "But when the Protestant religion came, and along with it a married priesthood, the poor classes were plundered of their birthright and were thrown out to prowl about for what they could beg or steal. Luther and his followers wholly rejected the doctrine that good works were necessary to salvation. He held that faith, and faith alone, was necessary. They expunged from their Bible the Epistle of Saint James because it recommends, and insists on, the necessity of good works_ which epistle Luther called an 'epistle of straw.' "
The Reformations differed from each other as widely as the colors of the rainbow in most other things; but they all agreed in this_that good works were unnecessary to salvation and that the "Saints," as they had the modesty to call themselves, could not forfeit their right to Heaven by any crimes, however numerous and enormous, by those amongst whom plunder, sacrilege, adultery, polygamy, incest, perjury, and murder were almost as habitual as sleeping and waking, by those who taught that the way to everlasting bliss could not be obstructed by any of these, nor by all of them put together. By such persons, charity, besides that it was a so well-known Catholic commodity, would be as a matter of course, set wholly at naught. On pages 45 to 48, Mr. Cobbett says:

All accounts agree that Luther was a most profligate man. To change his religion he might have thought himself called by his conscience; but conscience could not call upon him to be guilty of all the abominable deeds of which he stands convicted, even by his own confessions, of which I shall speak more fully when I come to the proper place for giving an account of the numerous sects into which the Protestants were soon divided, and of the fatal change which was, by this innovation in religion, produced even according to the declaration of the Protestant leaders themselves, in the morals of the people, and the state of society. But just observing that the Protestant sects had, at the time we are speaking of, spread themselves over a part of Germany and got into Switzerland and some other states of the continent, we must now, before we state more particulars relating to Luther and the sects that he gave rise to, see how the king of England dealt with those of his subjects who had adopted the heresy.
The Protestants immediately began to disagree amongst themselves; but they all maintained that faith alone was sufficient to secure salvation_while the Catholics maintained that good works were also necessary. The most profligate of men, the most brutal and bloody of tyrants, may be a staunch believer; for the devils themselves believe. And therefore we naturally, at first thought, think it strange that Henry VIII did not instantly become a zealous Protestant; did not become one of the most devoted disciples of Luther. He would, certainly; but Luther began his "Reformation" a few years too soon for the king. In 1517, when Luther began his works, the king had been married to his first wife only eight years; and he had not then conceived any project of divorce. If Luther had begun twelve years later, the king would have been a Protestant at once, especially after seeing that this new religion allowed Luther and seven others of his brother leaders in the "Reformation" to grant, under their hands, a license to the Langrave of Hesse to have two wives at one and the same time! So complaisant a religion would have been, and doubtless was at the time of the divorce, precisely to the king's taste; but, as I have just observed, it came twelve years too soon for him. For not only had he not adopted this religion, but had opposed it as a sovereign; and, which was a still more serious affair, had opposed it as an author! He had, in 1521, written a book against it. His vanity, his pride, were engaged in the contest, to which may be added that Luther, in answering his book, had called him "a pig, an ass, a dunghill, the spawn of an adder, a basilisk, a lying buffoon dressed in a king's robes, a mad fool with a frothy mouth and a whorish face," and had afterwards said to him, "You lie, you stupid and sacrilegious king."
Therefore, though the tyrant was bent on destroying the Catholic Church, he was not less bent on the extirpation of the followers of Luther and his tribe of new sects. Always under the influence of some selfish and base motive or other, he was, with regard to the Protestants, set to work by revenge; as in the case of the Catholics he had been set to work by lust_if not by lust, to be gratified by incest. To follow him step by step and in minute detail through all his butcheries and all his burnings, would be to familiarize one's mind to a human slaughterhouse and a cookery of cannibals. I shall, therefore, confine myself to a general view of his works in this way.
His book against Luther had acquired him the title of "Defender of the Faith," of which we shall see more by and by. He could not, therefore, without recantation, be a Protestant; and, indeed, his pride would not suffer him to become the proselyte of a man who had, in print too, proclaimed him to be a pig, an ass, a fool, and a liar. Yet, he could not pretend to be a Catholic. He was, therefore, compelled to make a religion of his own. This was doing nothing, unless he enforced its adoption by what he called law. Laws were made by him and by his servile and plundering parliament, making it heresy in, and condemning to the flames, all who did not expressly conform, by acts as well as by declarations, to the faith and worship which, as head of the church, he invented and ordained. Amongst his tenets there were such as neither Catholics nor Protestants could consistently, with their creeds, adopt. He therefore sent both to the stake, and sometimes in order to add mental pangs to those of the body, he dragged them to the fire on the same hurdle, tied together in pairs, back to back, each pair containing a Catholic and a Protestant. Was this the way that Saint Austin and Saint Patrick propagated their religion? Yet, such is the malignity of Burnet and of many, many others called Protestant "divines," that they apologize for, if they do not absolutely applaud this execrable tyrant, at the very moment that they are compelled to confess that he soaked the earth with Protestant blood, and filled the air with the fumes of their roasting flesh.
Throughout the whole of this bloody work, Cranmer, who was the primate of the king's religion, was consenting to, sanctioning, and aiding and abetting in the murdering of Protestants as well as of Catholics; though, and I pray you to mark it well, Hume, Tillotson, Burnet, and all his long list of eulogists say, and make it [a] matter of merit in him, that all this while he was himself a sincere Protestant in his heart! And, indeed, we shall by and by see him openly avowing those very tenets for the holding of which he had been instrumental in sending, without regard to age or sex, others to perish in the flames. The progress of this man in the paths of infamy needed incontestable proof to reconcile the human mind to a belief in it. Before he became a priest, he had married. After he became a priest and had taken the oath of celibacy, he, being then in Germany and having become a Protestant, married another wife while the first was still alive. Being the primate of Henry's church, which still forbade the clergy to have wives and which held them to their oath of celibacy, he had his wife brought to England in a chest with holes bored in it to give her air! As the cargo was destined for Canterbury, it was landed at Gravesend, where the sailors, not apprised of the contents of the chest set it up on one end, and the wrong end downwards, and had nearly broken the neck of the poor frau! Here was a pretty scene! A German frau, with a litter of half-German, half-English young ones, kept in hugger-mugger on that spot, which had been the cradle of English Christianity; that spot where Saint Austin had inhabited, and where Thomas a Becket had sealed with his blood his opposition to a tyrant, who aimed at the destruction of the church and at the pillage of the people! 
Here is quite enough to fill us with disgust; but, when we reflect that this same primate, while he had under his roof his frau and her litter, was engaged in assisting to send Protestants to the flames because they dissented from a system that forbade the clergy to have wives, we swell with indignation, not against Cranmer, for, though there are so many of his atrocious deeds yet to come, he has exhausted our store; not against Hume, for he professed no regard for any religion at all; but against those who are called "divines" and who are the eulogists of Cranmer; against Burnet, who says that Cranmer "did all with a good conscience"; and against Doctor Sturges, or rather the Dean and Chapter of Winchester, who clubbed their "talents," in getting up the "Reflections of Popery," who talk of the "respectable Cranmer," and who have the audacity to put him, in point of integrity, upon a level with Sir Thomas More! As Doctor Milner, in his answer to Sturges, observes, they resembled each other in that the name of both was Thomas; but, in all other things, the dissimilarity was as great as that which the most vivid imagination can ascribe to the dissimilarity between Hell and Heaven.
The infamy of Cranmer in assisting in sending people to the flames for entertaining opinions which he afterwards confessed that he himself entertained at the time that he was so sending them, can be surpassed by nothing of which human depravity is capable; and it can be equaled by nothing but that of the king, who, while he was, as he hoped and thought, laying the axe to the root of the Catholic faith, still styled himself its defender.
He was not, let it be borne in mind, defender of what he might as others have, since his day and in his day, called the Christian faith. He received the title from the pope as a reward for his written defense of the Catholic faith against Luther. The pope conferred on him this title, which was to descend to his posterity. The title was given by Pope Leo X in a bull, or edict, beginning with these words, "Leo, servant of the servants of the Lord, to his most dear son, Henry, king of England, defender of the faith, all health and happiness." The bull then goes on to say that the king, having in defense of the faith of the Catholic Church written a book against Martin Luther, the pope and his council had determined to confer on him and his successors the title of Defender of the Faith. "We," says the bull, "sitting in this holy see, having, with mature deliberation considered the business with our brethren, do, with unanimous counsel and consent, grant unto your majesty, your heirs and successors, the title of Defender of the Faith; which we do, by these presents, confirm unto you; commanding all the faithful to give your Majesty this title.

On pages 133 and 135, Cobbett says:

For now, justice at last overtook this most mischievous of all villains, who had justly to go to the same stake that he had unjustly caused so many others to be tied to. The three others were Hooper, Latimer, and Ridley, each of whom was, indeed, inferior in villainy to Cranmer, but to few other men that have ever existed. . . .
Brought at last to the trial and to condemnation as a heretic, he professed himself ready to recant. He was respited for six weeks, during which time he signed six different forms of recantations, each more ample than the former. He declared that the Protestant religion was false; that the Catholic was the only true one; that he now believed in all the doctrines of the Catholic Church; that he had been a horrid blasphemer against the sacrament; that he was unworthy of forgiveness; that he prayed the people, the queen, and the pope to have pity on and to pray for his wretched soul; and that he had made and signed this declaration without fear and without hope of favor, and for the discharge of his conscience, and as a warning to others. . . . Now finding that he must die, and carrying in his breast all his malignity undiminished, he recanted his recantation, thrust into the fire the hand that had signed it, and thus expired, protesting against that very religion in which, only nine hours before, he had called God to witness that he firmly believed!

In the language of Mr. Cobbett, I must quote again a few passages:

By making himself the supreme head of the church, he made himself_he having the sword and the gibbet at his command_the master of all property of that church, including that of the monasteries! His counselors and courtiers knew this, and as it was soon discovered that a sweeping confiscation would take place, the parliament was by no means backward in aiding his design, everyone hoping to share in the plunder. The first step was to pass acts taking from the pope all authority and power over the church in England, and giving to the king all authority whatever as to ecclesiastical matters. His chief adviser and abettor was Thomas Cranmer, a name which deserves to be held in everlasting execration; a name which we could not pronounce without almost doubting of the justice of God, were it not for our knowledge of the fact that the cold-blooded, most perfidious, most impious, most blasphemous caitiff expired at last, amidst those flames which he himself had been the chief cause of kindling.
The tyrant, being now both pope and king, made Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury, a dignity just then become vacant. Of course, this adviser and ready tool now became chief judge in all ecclesiastical matters. But, here was a difficulty_for the tyrant still professed to be a Catholic, so that his new archbishop was to be consecrated according to the usual pontifical form, which required of him to swear obedience to the pope. And here a transaction took place that will at once show us of what sort of stuff the "Reformation" gentry were made. Cranmer, before he went to the altar to be consecrated, went into a chapel and there made a declaration, on oath, that, by the oath that he was about to take, and which for the sake of form he was obliged to take, he did not intend to bind himself to anything that tended to prevent him from assisting the king in making any such "reforms" as he might think useful in the Church of England! . . .
Having provided himself with so famous a judge in ecclesiastical matters, the king lost, of course, no time in bringing his hard case before him and demanding justice at his hands! Hard case, indeed, to be compelled to live with a wife of forty-three, when he could have, for next to nothing and only for asking, a young one of eighteen or twenty! A really hard case; and he sought relief, now that he had gotten such an upright and impartial judge, with all imaginable dispatch. . . .
It was now four or five years since the king and Cranmer had begun to hatch the project of the divorce [from the pope]; but in the meanwhile, the king had kept Anne Boleyn, or in more modern phrase, she had been "under his protection" for about three years and, here let me state, that in Doctor Bayley's Life of Bishop Fisher, it is positively asserted that Anne Boleyn was the king's daughter, and that Lady Boleyn, her mother, said to the king when he was about to marry Anne, "Sir, for the reverence of God, take heed what you do in marrying my daughter, for, if you record your own conscience well, she is your own daughter as well as mine." To which the king replied, "Whose daughter soever she is, she shall be my wife." (pages 28-29)

And it is a remarkable fact, in direct line of this same ecclesiastical Judge Bishop of Canterbury, the Reverend John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, claims his authority, as he says, "When their champion (Mr. Nash) appealed, coming close to me, asked by what authority I did these things, I replied, by the authority of Jesus Christ, conveyed to me by the (now) Archbishop of Canterbury, when he laid hands upon me and said, 'Take thou authority to preach the gospel.' " And Wesley did not claim he had been converted until he had founded his church, both in Europe and America.
But, "Ah," say some of my dear readers who may by chance note the quotations above (if my memories should find place in print), "they were written evidently by bitter enemies of the 'illustrious Reformers!' " Just so, my reader, but you can see that it is a fact that any man can be destroyed in his reputation by his enemies, and you can easily see also that I would be a base, unprincipled man to undertake to meet you in argument and rely upon what your enemies should say against you, by referring to the statements of such enemies.
Remember, I do not say these allegations against those Reformers are true, and those quoted are but a small part of the infamy and crime that is charged against them by their enemies. But dare you deny them in part or as a whole in the light of history, handed down from the sixteenth century to the present time? I am prepared in solemn truth before God to deny every wicked thing that is charged against Mr. Smith, and that is being circulated broadcast against him all over the civilized world by the clergy of the popular churches, which were founded by men who never claimed that God called them by revelation to do a work for God on the earth, and many of them were criminals and died on the scaffold or by fire. Joseph Smith, though harassed by about forty lawsuits, was never convicted of a wrong in all his life in any court of the land, and never accused of any of the black crimes the Reformers of the sixteenth century were. I have been acquainted with thousands of good people in and out of the Church, and all of them say Joseph Smith was a good, moral, and honest man. I never saw a man in all my life who ever knew an immoral act of Joseph's. The worst crime, except the gossip and slander, the popular ministers ever refer to is that he claimed to have received a revelation from Heaven, and by direction of the heavenly angels organized the Church of Christ after the apostolic pattern.
I thank God I have read the history for and against both Catholic and Protestant churches and their founders, so I am not altogether a novice in historical lore; and if by hearing and information of what has been said and written against the founders of either Catholic or Protestant churches, it is possible to be qualified to be a juror or judge, I have had some little opportunity.
I have not been willing to judge of the truthfulness or falsity of any religion or church organization until I have heard both sides_from its friends first, if possible, and then from its enemies. And one thing I have tried to guard myself against, since I came to years of discretion, is not to allow anyone to prejudice me against any individual or his religion by hearing his enemies speak disrespectfully of him or his faith; and all I ask now of any man is, in a dispassionate manner, to hear and learn what Joseph Smith truly did say and teach; and if he believes in the teachings of the Christian Bible, he cannot honestly reject the teaching and doctrine of Joseph Smith.
With all the above thoughts, like a vision passing before my mind, I cannot help but feel sad and lonely tonight (not a friend near me except Brother Beebe, and he is taking rest in sleep), as I contemplate the condition of the world and the latter-day work that must ultimately restore Israel into favor with God, just before the second advent of the Savior. If the son of the Martyr were only with us, it does seem the Reorganization would soon be a power in the world for good, and have a tendency to check the apostasy of the Utah Mormons.
I must retire, as I am weary and tired; and if Providence permits, we continue our journey across the state of Missouri on the morrow.
Thursday, March 29. At twenty minutes past nine in the forenoon, we are on board the cars of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. Indeed, in comparison to the slow stagecoach, the Prophet Nahum (2:3-4) has very fitly described them when he says, "The chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken. The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings. He [the conductor] shall recount his worthies [the passengers]: they shall stumble in their walk." The conductor put one passenger off because he had not paid his fare, but he counted all the worthy ones in, and I was one of them, so I continued on my journey. When we arrived at Hannibal, we took steamer for Quincy, Illinois, which is situated on the banks of the Father of Waters, the Mississippi River, twenty miles north of Hannibal_and then again on the cars to Galesburg. We reached the city at seven o'clock in the evening. Brother Beebe is not feeling very well, though is cheerful in spirits. He has been broken of his accustomed quiet and rest so many nights, that he is very weary and tired; so I suggested we stay overnight and rest. He readily accepted the proposition and we put up at the hotel of the railroad passenger house. 
Friday, March 30. It is beautiful weather and we are feeling nicely after a good night's rest. Galesburg is a beautiful inland city. At ten o'clock in the forenoon, we again are on the cars of the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad for Mendota, eighty miles from Galesburg; and then changed cars to the Illinois Central, eighteen miles to Amboy, arriving at our destination at three o'clock in the afternoon, and walked one mile and a half to Brother Royal Stone's. Here we met Brother W. W. Blair and wife, and after usual greetings of fraternal expressions of kindness, he said, "Did you come by way of Nauvoo?" I replied in the negative. He then said, "Joseph is to be with us at conference, or at least he said he would; but as all things human are uncertain, we will not say anything about it to make talk in the world until he comes." 
He then informed me that Elder William Marks of Shabbona Grove had received a letter from Joseph, in which he said he had determined to take his father's place at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and desired Brother Marks, and such others as he might select, would call on him immediately at Nauvoo in order that he might obtain their counsel on Church matters. Agreeably to this request, Elder Marks, Israel L. Rogers, and W. W. Blair visited him on the twentieth and twenty-first of March, and after this interview, Joseph informed the brethren that he would be at the General Conference at Amboy on the sixth of April. The counsel he wished to have with the brethren was their wisdom and advice about redeeming the Mormons of Utah from their evil practices of polygamy and kindred doctrines. He stated he understood that the law of God to the Church was given February 1831, and cannot be superseded by any other law; and he also said he believed that many had been led into the evils of their doctrines honestly, and it is advisable and proper to adopt a mild course towards the Mormons, who had apostatized from the faith as his father taught it.
Thank God, O my soul! This is good news to me; too good to realize that it can come to pass so soon. My joy is too great to give expression to my feelings. Is it possible I am to realize all my hopes so soon in these matters? Like it was with John the Baptist, I feel to say, "Is it, indeed, he of whom it has been prophesied should come to fulfill the many promises to the Saints? Is Joseph surely coming so soon, called of God to take the presidency of the Church?" Between fears and hopes, I rejoice in my very soul. If he now comes to the Reorganization, the oft-repeated question, "What would you think if Joseph should claim a call from God to take his father's place and unite with Utah Mormons? What would you think then?" My invariable answer has been, "I knew he would not unite with such an apostate people." I feel a spirit of contentment and peace, yet like one who has had great hope for some special blessing, and not altogether satisfied until the momentous event is passed into history.
How will the public announcement, that Joseph the son of the Choice Seer is president of the Church, affect the scattered Saints in all the world? What will the professors of the sects now say of this young man? He has been, in some respects, before the religious world all his life, and no one has attacked his character. What will they say now if the young man is called of God and successor of his father? I was not personally acquainted with the Choice Seer, but I am with this young man; and if the devoted, uninspired professors undertake to slander him, I shall know by personal experience that they are moved from selfish motives or a lying spirit. His father was an obscure, unlearned young man when he commenced his religious work. This young man has been quite prominent before the world as the eldest son of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, as they are pleased to call it. He has a fair education, is noted as upright and honest, and has never been associated with the Mormons, who have been so prominent in the world because of their wicked apostasy from what his father taught. If he gives the lie to all the scandal repeatedly circulated by the popular clergy of the world, by his conduct and defense of the gospel of Christ as taught by his father, what will our enemies resort to next? Will they meet this young, honorable man with an honorable defense against his doctrine, with the Bible and the internal evidence of our own books? Or will they resort to the ashes of his father and repeat the scandals circulated by his enemies, who persecuted him to death? If the son is now accepted by common consent by the Church his father founded, he will endorse the doctrine published by the Reorganization_the Bible as the foundation of our faith, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants as the Word of God and law to govern the Church. It will also be an evidence of the position taken by the Reorganization of the Church against the pollution of polygamy and the kindred doctrines taught by the Utah people, that are so horrible according to the Christian standard as taught by the true Latter [Day] Saints. This is the general thought occupying my mind today and I rejoice with all my heart, and will await the events that must take place in the next few days. If Joseph does certainly come, "What will he say to us first?" is my leading thought, and expectancy is happily upon the countenances of all the Saints.
Sunday, April 1, 1860. The Saints observed in fasting and prayer to our Heavenly Father for His special blessings to attend our General Conference. Social service at Brother Stone's residence, and in the evening at the same place, Elder Blair spoke a short time on the first principles of the gospel; and the meeting turned into a general social service. All are in good spirits; weather is beautiful and roads good.
Tuesday, April 3. Elder Samuel Powers of the Twelve, Elders John Gaylord and William Aldrich of Wisconsin, George Morey and Oliver Dunham have arrived in good health and spirits.
Wednesday, April 4. Quite a number of the brethren are here and meeting was held in the Cadwell schoolhouse; Elders Z. H. Gurley and William Marks presiding_general council, nominating of quite a number of the elders for officers in the several quorums of the Church, and general preparatory work and business for the conference. The elders are in good spirits and hope, gladdened by the news that the expected Joseph will soon be with us. But few of them had learned that he had said he would attend our conference, or of the visit of the brethren to see him.
Amboy, Lee County, Illinois, April 5, 1860. I accompanied several of the brethren who were anticipating friends to arrive on the next train, which is now due. While we were waiting at the depot, Brother Joseph Smith came up the street to meet us. I happened to be the only one who knew him. I soon introduced him to the Saints, and he informed me that he came up on the night train before, that his mother was with him and was at her sister's, Mrs. Wasson's, who was an old resident of the place. I then invited him to attend our social prayer meeting to be held at Brother Stone's this evening. He replied, "I would like to attend, but also would like to have my mother go if I had any conveyance so she could." I informed him I would see that he was provided with conveyance for himself and mother. This evening, Brother Stone's son, Lardner, took his open, double-seated spring carriage and went after them. They were cheerful, unassuming, and social in conversation, yet reserved in manner_casually referred to the stormy time crossing the river on their way, but made no expression in relation to the Church. Just as we reached the door of Brother Stone's residence (the house is a very neat one story and a half cottage in L form), the congregation knelt in prayer; the parlor was closely seated and packed, but the front room had no seats and the audience was standing, and two alcoves, or bedrooms, veiled in front by curtains which were drawn to one side, were where hats and caps had been placed.
Brother Joseph and his mother sat on the edge of one of the beds, while Elder Gurley offered the invocation to our Heavenly Father for His blessing; and as the audience rose to their feet, a hymn was sung, and just as the closing lines of praise were sung, the Holy Spirit said to me, "Introduce Brother Joseph as the son of the Prophet Joseph and Sister Emma as the wife of the deceased." I instantly said to Joseph, "Allow me to introduce you to this audience," and took him by the hand and led him to the door of the sitting room and introduced him in the form of words as above commanded of God, and in the same manner introduced Sister Emma. Our hope, as based upon prophecy, is now being realized. A joyous influence of the Holy Spirit solemnized every heart in Divine presence, and Elder Gurley said, "Welcome, welcome." Brother Joseph said, "I am pleased to meet with you, and in coming I propose to say tomorrow to you, if the same Spirit that prompts my coming prompts my reception, I am with you." He did say other words, but I do not remember them so I can repeat them. I do not think Sister Emma made any response to the glad voice of Elder Gurley to her, "Welcome, welcome to the elect lady."
I am truly glad to record the above events, as they will ever serve as a link in the history of the great latter-day work, and they are true as God cannot lie. The meeting was a spiritual feast. Many of the Saints spoke and rejoiced in the Holy Ghost. Several spoke in the Spirit of prophecy, which must have been very comforting to Joseph and Sister Emma, and all the Saints were lit up with great hope, comfort, and peace of the Holy Ghost. As the hour of service advanced, I was impressed to offer prayer and thanksgiving to ask Almighty God to bless the Church in its effort to gather into His sheepfold the honest in heart everywhere, in all the earth, and that Israel might be gathered from its long dispersion and that Joseph, the son of the Martyr, may be kept from the besetting sin of the ancient kings and prophets of Israel. I had the assurance, by the Holy Spirit, that my prayer would be answered and that Joseph would never be led into the gross crime of polygamy. The meeting was a happy one, long to be remembered, and will be handed down in Church history as an epoch never to be forgotten. As it was getting late, Joseph said to me, "I wish you would excuse us and allow us to return." As we took them back to Mrs. Wasson's, they expressed themselves pleased with the spirit of the meeting and appreciative of the Saints, but they did not shake hands with any of them, as we retired before the close of the services.
I have been quite particular in the record of events, as I believe it will be of interest to the rising generation that will follow us; also, because it is a fulfillment of prophecy that I would come to the Church with the Prophet Joseph. Before I took my mission in 1856, it was revealed to me that I should not return to Zarahemla, Wisconsin, until Joseph would be called to take his father's place; and that I was directed in western Iowa to attend this conference, and means would be supplied to bear my expenses_all shows unmistakable evidence that a Divine power had been guiding in all these matters. It was not a studied plan of mine to even meet Joseph at Amboy, but it seemed to come about as a natural happening so far as I was concerned. But now as it has come about as current events in history, I can see how an overruling Providence has been in it all.


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Chapter 29

The Amboy Conference of 1860 Convenes
Minutes of the Conference
Joseph Smith III's Statement to the Conference
He is Accepted by Unanimous Vote As the Prophet of the Church and Successor to His Father


April 6, 1860. Ever a memorable day in the cycle of days when God commands a work to be done! We accompanied Joseph and his mother to the conference. He is cheerful and easy in his manner, unassuming, without the least expression of affectation; reserved, and yet not distant in his way. He greeted us, "Good morning," as he and his mother took seats in the carriage. On the way to the hall he asked me the following question: "What do you think in relation to new revelation?" I replied, "We believe the general law of God is given to the Church as recorded in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants, but as has been in the ages past, so it will be in the future_as circumstances and new events or obstacles demand, there will be new revelations from God, but always in harmony with what has been given, and never conflicting with the law of God already given." He then said, "I wish the conference to organize and conduct its business this forenoon just the same as if I were not there." As I led the way into the hall, I gave them seats and then informed Elder Z. H. Gurley of Joseph's request, and conference organized in the usual manner by choosing Elder Gurley, president; and Elder William Marks, assistant; Elders Andrew G. Jackson and Isaac Sheen, clerks.
After invocation by one of the elders, President Gurley, in an eloquent and impassionate address, took a retrospective view of the great latter-day work, congratulating the Saints for their union and courage in their work of love and sacrifice the last year in the building up of the Church, which was reorganized April 6, 1830, by command of God_soon came under condemnation, but continued until the ministers were established in quorums. The Choice Seer and prophet was taken from them, and finally they were rejected as an organization in 1844, and scattered as sheep without a shepherd, the rebellious driven out of the land of Zion to the Great American Desert, graphically described by the Prophet Jeremiah as the "salt land" (Jeremiah 17:6-7), while the pure in heart have been watching and waiting for a reorganization of the Church, which was effected in the year 1853, at a General Conference, by choosing a majority of the Quorum of the Twelve by command of God, in order to again have divinely appointed, general, traveling, presiding officers "to build up the church and regulate all the affairs of the same, in all nations" (Section 104:12). Still, we wait for further direction from the Divine Master, who is "Christ, the head of the body which is his church." With loving exhortation as few men can make to the Saints, he closed with a hearty, Amen.
He called on Elder Samuel Powers of the Twelve, who addressed the Saints upon the general principles of the gospel of Christ_its unchangeableness and entity must be received to have the promise of the celestial glory_and in a clear, logical manner established the fact that its elements are eternal in all its provisions, and the power of God unto salvation. He has such a breadth of thought and is such a sacred historian and biblical scholar, it is an intellectual feast to hear his oratory while he preaches Jesus Christ and him crucified, and a Savior risen from the dead.
I followed upon the same subject, that this wonderful story of the cross was restored by the angel after the former-day apostasy, as recorded in Revelation 14:6-7, in the year 1830; and a host of Saints had been gathered around the standard of Prince Immanuel, and for fourteen years the Church of Christ had been built up in every land and on the isles of the sea. We saw no obstacles in the way to hinder its mighty strides from conquering every foe, and becoming the triumphant Church in a very few years. But instead thereof, it was foreseen by the inspired prophets that after the Church should be restored in the latter days, there would be another apostasy: "And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you" (2 Peter 2:2-3). But thank God, another prophet says, "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19); hence, the Reorganization has been raised up in fulfillment of prophecy.
The Saints are in best of spirits and hope, and at the adjournment, Brother Joseph and his mother were introduced to many of the Saints.
At half past one, conference convened and after singing, Elder Archibald Wilsey offered invocation and President Gurley made a few remarks and invited those who wished to unite with the Church. Brethren Horace Bartlett, Frederick Squires, and Joseph Robinson arose to their feet and expressed their faith in Christ and desired to unite with the Reorganization, and were received by unanimous vote. Brother Joseph Smith then came forth and was introduced by the president in the following words: "I am pleased to introduce to you, my brethren, Joseph Smith, the son of the Choice Seer." He then made an address, after which a motion was made that he be received and chosen to the office of President of the High Priesthood. A unanimous vote was had and he was ordained under the hands of Elders Z. H. Gurley, Samuel Powers, W. W. Blair of the Twelve, and William Marks and George Morey of the High Priests. The quiet, peaceful Spirit of God brooded over the entire audience when the solemn ordination took place, and the Saints were happy and comforted in the faith. I could realize that as his father had been ordained at Amherst, Ohio, on the twenty-fifth of January 1832, to the office of President of the High Priesthood, so now the son, Joseph, had been ordained at Amboy, Illinois, on the sixth of April 1860, in harmony with the precedent in his father's case and the law of God, which says, "Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder) . . . is to be ordained by the direction of a high council, or general conference."
As I reflect upon it now, it is indeed strange that all of the impostors who have risen up to lead different factions of the Church since the martyrdom of Joseph, have overlooked this one sacred ordinance established by the law of God. It shows how blind they were; and the midnight blindness of their followers who were deceived by them. The people in Utah ought to see that when their president assumes the office of the presidency without revelation or ordination to the office, he is violating the express command of God, which says, "Exalt not yourselves" (Section 105:6), and this revelation was addressed to the Quorum of Twelve from which the members exalt one of their number to the presidency, thus ignoring the law of God entirely in that matter, as well as the revelation, which says, "The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by revelation" (Section 99:6).
The minutes are here given as published in the Amboy Times and copied in the True Latter Day Saints' Herald, Volume 1, Number 5, page 101, with the comments of the editor_who I am informed is a gentleman of the Presbyterian Church, in good standing:

From the Amboy (Illinois) Times.

THE MORMON CONFERENCE.

We devote considerable space to the proceedings of this body, believing that they are of great importance to us, even as a nation. There is a great body of these people scattered through the States, who, unwilling to follow the fortunes and doctrines of Brigham Young, have been quietly waiting for the time to come when they could organize under a lineal descendant of Joseph Smith as their prophet. That time has at length arrived. Joseph Smith, Jr., occupies the position which his father once held. A new era in the history of Mormonism has dawned_an era which we hope will greatly improve the name of this despised people.
Whatever ideas we may entertain in relation to the doctrines of the Mormons, we must look with approbation and satisfaction upon any movement on their part which looks towards a radical reformation in their practices as a people.
For many years past, Brigham Young has been looked upon as the embodiment of Mormonism, and those professing to be Mormons have been regarded as no better than he. Henceforth, they, or at least one branch of them, are to be judged by a different standard. The eyes of the world will now be turned upon young Joseph. Hitherto, this man has borne a good name. His talents are of no mean order; and it is earnestly to be hoped that he will use them for good, and not a bad purpose.
We give a correct report of Mr. Smith's remarks, previous to his acceptance and ordination by the Church_the only reliable report yet published.
The Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints assembled in this city on the sixth inst., at ten o'clock in the morning.
The conference organized by calling Zenas H. Gurley to the chair, and appointing William Marks, assistant.
The forenoon was spent in preaching by Zenas H. Gurley, Samuel Powers, and Edmund C. Briggs.
The sermons were devoted principally to setting forth their peculiar doctrines and defining the difference between their branch of the Church and that represented by Brigham Young. They profess, and we believe with the utmost sincerity, to hold in utter abhorrence the wicked doctrines and practices of Brigham.
It is claimed that the great body of the Mormon people are scattered through the several states, and that a prophet, by lineage, will call together the scattered fragments and unite them into a grand whole.

AFTERNOON SESSION.

According to adjournment, the Conference assembled at half past one.
Horace Bartlett, Frederick Squires, and Joseph Robinson signified their desires and united with the organization.
Joseph Smith, Jr., then came forward, when Mr. Gurley said, "I present to you, my brethren, Joseph Smith."
Mr. Smith then spoke as follows:
"I would say to you, brethren (as I hope you may be, and in faith I trust you are), as a people that God has promised His blessings upon, I came not here of myself, but by the influence of the Spirit. For some time past I have received manifestations pointing to the position which I am about to assume.
"I wish to say that I have come here not to be dictated by any men or set of men. I have come in obedience to a power not my own, and shall be dictated by the power that sent me.
"God works by means best known to Himself, and I feel that for some time past He has been pointing out a work for me to do.
"For two or three years past, deputations have been waiting on me, urging me to assume the responsibilities of the leadership of the Church, but I have answered each and every one of them that I did not wish to trifle with the faith of the people.
"I do not propose to assume this position in order to amass wealth out of it, neither have I sought it as a profit.
"I know opinions are various in relation to these matters. I have conversed with those who told me they would not hesitate one moment in assuming the high and powerful position as the leader of this people. But I have been well aware of the motives which might be ascribed to me_motives of various kinds, at the foundation of all of which is selfishness, should I come forth to stand in the place where my father stood.
"I have believed that should I come without the guarantee of the people, I should be received in blindness, and would be liable to be accused of false motives. Neither would I come to you without receiving favor from my Heavenly Father.
"I have endeavored, as far as possible, to keep myself unbiased. I never conversed with J. J. Strang, for in those days I was but a boy, and in fact am now but a boy. I had not acquired a sufficient knowledge of men to be capable of leading myself, setting aside the leading of others.
"There is but one principle taught by the leaders of any faction of this people that I hold in utter abhorrence. That is a principle taught by Brigham Young and those believing in him. I have been told that my father taught such doctrines. I have never believed it and never can believe it. If such things were done, then I believe they never were done by Divine authority. I believe my father was a good man, and a good man never could have promulgated such doctrines.
"I believe in the doctrines of honesty and truth. The Bible contains such doctrines, and so does the Book of Mormon and the Book of Covenants, which are auxiliaries to the Bible.
"I have my peculiar notions in regard to revelations, but am happy to say that they accord with those I am to associate with, at least those of them with whom I have conversed. I am not very conversant with those books (pointing to a volume before him)_not so conversant as I should be and will be. The time has been when the thought that I should assume the leadership of this people was so repulsive to me, that it seemed as if the thing could never be possible.
"The change in my feelings came slowly, and I did not suffer myself to be influenced by any extraneous circumstances, and have never read the numerous works sent me which had a bearing on this subject, for fear they might entice me into wrongdoing. It is my determination to do right and let Heaven take care of the result. Thus I come to you free from any taint of sectarianism, taints from thoughts of the varied minds I have come in contact with; and thus hope to be able to build up my own reputation as a man.
"It has been said that a Mormon elder, though but a stripling, possessed a power unequaled by almost any other preacher. This arises from a depth of feeling, and the earnestness with which they believe the doctrines they teach; and it is this feeling that I do not wish to trifle with.
"I know that Brigham Young is considered a man of talent, by some a bold and fortunate man, and by others an unscrupulous and bad man, according as circumstances differ.
"Should you take me as a leader, I propose that all should be dealt by in mercy, open as to Gentile or Jew, but I ask not to be received except as by the ordinances of the Church.
"Some, who had ought to know the proprieties of the Church, have told me that no certain form was necessary in order for me to assume the leadership_that the position came by right of lineage; yet, I know that if I attempted to lead as a prophet by these considerations, and not by a call from Heaven, men would not be led to believe who do not believe now. And so I have not come of my own dictation to this sacred office.
"I believe that we owe duties to our country and to society, and are amenable to the laws of the land, and have always considered it my duty to act upon this principle; and I do say that among the people where I live, I have as many good and true friends as I could desire among those of any society.
"The people of Hancock County have been strongly anti-Mormon, and there I know of no enemies. I have been engaged in business with anti-Mormons; I have mingled with them, and have not only been obliged not to make any remarks which might give offense, but also to smother my own feelings, if I had any. I hold no enmity to any man living who has fought this doctrine, nor do I know any who hold enmity towards me. I hope there are none.
"In conclusion, I will come to you if you will receive me, give my ability, and the influence my name may bring, together with what little power I possess, and I trust by your prayers and faith to be sustained. I pledge myself to promulgate no doctrine that shall not be approved by you, or the code of good morals.
"I have my shortcomings, but I trust as a leader I shall do nothing to lead astray. If I do so, I shall expect condemnation, for I am satisfied that this people, governed by the same policy, would serve me worse than they have Brigham Young before, for I would be wholly deserted.
"A gentleman from Utah informs me that a majority of Brigham Young's people were restive_not satisfied with their condition_but dared say nothing. That those who preached and those who practiced his teachings were, in reality, the old fogies of the institution_the younger taking a different view of matters.
"I do not care to say any more at present, but will simply add that if the same Spirit which prompts my coming, prompts also my reception, I am with you."
When Mr. Smith concluded, it was moved that he be received as a prophet_the successor of his father, which was carried by a unanimous vote.
Mr. Gurley then said, "Brother Joseph, I present the Church to you in the name of Jesus Christ."
To which Mr. Smith responded as follows: "May God grant in His infinite mercy that I may never do anything to forfeit the high trust confided to me. I pray that He may grant to us power to recall the scattered ones of Israel, and I ask your prayers."
Isaac Sheen then led in prayer.
Then followed the ordination of Joseph Smith as President of the High Priesthood.
These ceremonies were earnest and impressive; and when they were completed, almost the entire congregation were in tears.
Emma Bidamon, mother of Joseph, was then proposed and united with the Church.
The conference then proceeded to elect and ordain the following persons as members of the High Council:
John C. Gaylord, William Aldrich, George Morey, Edwin Cadwell, Calvin Beebe, Jacob Doan, Oliver P. Dunham, Zenos Whitcomb, Lyman Hewitt, Dwight Webster, Winthrop H. Blair, Andrew G. Jackson.
The acting president then stated for the benefit of those not belonging to the Mormon Church, that these councilmen were a jury for Church matters and, with their president, settled all differences between members, etc., etc.,_that one-half always acted in behalf of the Church and the other for the accused. To determine in whose behalf each should act, lots were cast, and those getting odd numbers would always act for the Church, and those getting even for the accused.
Lots were then cast with the following result:

Gaylord 7 Aldrich 12 Morey 9
Cadwell 8 Beebe 4 Doan 1
Dunham 5 Whitcomb 2 Hewitt 11
Webster 3 Blair 10 Jackson 6

Isaac Sheen was then elected and ordained president of the High Priests' Quorum.
Then followed the election of the seven presidents of the Quorum of Seventies, and the following-named persons were chosen: James Blakeslee, Edmund C. Briggs, Crowell Lanphear, William D. Morton, Archibald Wilsey, George Rarick, John A. McIntosh.
The first five were ordained, the two latter being absent.
S. J. Stone was elected and ordained president of the Quorum of Elders.
Israel L. Rogers was elected as bishop of the Church.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent in preaching, and prayer meeting was held in the evening.
April 7. Israel L. Rogers was ordained as bishop, in whom is vested the presidency of the Aaronic priesthood.
George Rarick was also ordained as president of the Quorum of Seventies.
A list of names was here handed to the prophet, of persons to be dismembered, but he objected to having action on the matter on grounds of charity.
The Sabbath was spent in preaching and administering the ordinance of baptism. (Saints' Herald, May 1860)

April 7. On the convening of conference this morning, I was requested by the president to offer prayer, and while in supplication I had a vision, and saw the words before me as I spoke them: "Let my servant, Israel L. Rogers, be ordained to the office of bishop in my Church, for this is his calling saith the Lord your God, Amen." The Holy Spirit in power rested on the entire audience, so all confidence, without a doubt, was given to the Saints by the gifts of the Holy Ghost. I now feel, let the results be what they may, the Reorganization of the Church of God is established on the true foundation, in harmony with the will of our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ being the head of the body, which is His Church on earth_as in ancient apostolic times. The burden is now lifted from me as the especial witness, crying in the wilderness of scattered latter-day Israel, the source to which to look for deliverance from the false shepherds who have sought to lead the Latter Day Saints. The Church is now organized in a formidable manner, like a standard to which all who are desirous to know the truth may flock when seeking the Kingdom of God_with all the elements as constituent parts of the government of God, as clearly described in the Bible and witnessed in the great things of God's law written to Ephraim and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I am now happy and contented in the peace of the Holy Ghost, and will, by the grace of God, endeavor to build up and strengthen the Church of God wherever my lot may be cast among my fellowmen, and return to my mission with renewed hope.


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Chapter 30

"In Memory of E. C. Briggs" by Elder Charles Derry

(A word of gratitude and esteem from one who has been benefited through the life and zeal for truth of our lamented brother, E. C. Briggs.)

In the year 1860, I heard a report that Joseph Smith, the eldest son of the martyred president of the Church of Latter Day Saints, had been called of God to fill his father's place at the head of the Church. I considered that Brigham Young was using him as a tool to decoy those who had not followed Brigham to Utah, and those who had left Brighamism in disgust, to return there.
I, being one of the latter class, paid no heed to the story. But in the month of February 1861, I visited a neighbor, not a Latter Day Saint, who handed me a paper_a copy of the Herald_sent to me by Brother E. C. Briggs. I read the paper aloud in the house of my neighbor. With the reading, another Spirit came over me_the Spirit of God_the same Spirit I had received when I obeyed the gospel. It bore testimony to the truth of the message borne in that Herald.
I returned home, told my family, and read to them the good tidings. My family altar had been neglected, but my house was now made a house of prayer. My wife and children, with myself, accepted the message. I requested wife to cook me a few biscuits. We were then in the wilds of Nebraska. She cheerfully complied, and on the twenty-eighth day of March, with their prayers in my behalf, and the snow eighteen inches deep on the level prairie, I started for Iowa in search of the Reorganized Church. I was then about sixty miles west of the Missouri River.
My only means of travel was on foot, except that on the second day I was permitted to ride a few miles by stage. I found the ice on the Missouri River covered with water four or five inches deep. I landed safe on the Iowa side_then six miles through slush and mud to Council Bluffs.
I found Brethren E. C. Briggs and William W. Blair about ten miles east of that city, at Keg Creek. I was permitted to tarry with them. I traveled with them to Farm Creek. I heard their message, was satisfied God was with them, and on March 3, 1861, in the waters of Farm Creek, I renewed my covenant with God, under the hands of W. W. Blair, and was confirmed by him and E. C. Briggs. Brother Briggs also generously ministered to my temporal necessities, for I had been to Jericho and fallen among thieves, who had robbed me of my faith and left me bare of temporal means.
Our brother has gone to his reward. No braver soldier of the cross have I known. I thank God for the life and holy zeal of Edmund C. Briggs.
May I be as valiant for truth, is my prayer.

[The Saints' Herald, December 15, 1915, pp. 1216-1217]