Isaac C. Haight, son of Caleb Haight, was born in Windham, Green County, New York, on the twenty-seventh day of May in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirteen. My father was a farmer and brought me up to labor on the farm. There was nothing transpired in the early part of my life that is worthy of notice. Being of a light and buoyant spirit I engaged in all the gay amusements of the circles in which I was brought up. I got a common school education attending school in winter and in the summer labored on the farm. The season that I was eighteen years old I became a convert to the religion of the day and was very zealous for the cause that I had espoused. The next season I was baptized into the Baptist church by Elder Harmon Harvey. I travelled with that church till the spring of eighteen hundred and thirty-three when my father moved from Green County to Cayuga. I took a letter of commendation to the Baptist Church in that county; was received by them and I rejoiced in their communion and fellowship and thought I enjoyed much of the spirit of the religion that I professed for some years, during which time I thought I had a call to preach the gospel to the heathen. I made my feelings known to our preacher and some of the deacons of the church, and they favored the idea that I should be put forward to improve my talents but upon more mature reflection I thought I would wait till I was more fully convinced of the call being from God but I soon became convinced that it grew out of my passions being excited by reading the stirring missionary appeals for young men to go to Burma to convert the heathen.
I soon gave up the idea of preaching the gospel. I found that those that preached, preached for hire and I wanted nothing to do with such a system of things. I thought if God called men to preach he would sustain them without purse or script.
The winter after I was twenty-one I was severely attacked with the pleurisy from which, with great difficulty, I recovered. My constitution was so much impaired that I was not able to labor for the next season so I went to school part of the season. The next winter after I was twenty-three years old I was married to Miss Eliza Ann Snider of Morovia, Cayuga County, New York. I taught school that winter in our district. In the spring we moved into the house of my father and worked his farm.
About this time I had much reflection on the situation of the Christian churches. I found that they had departed from primitive purity and that they were corrupt and I became cold toward the church I belonged to. I did not meet them very often and when I did I found nothing but cold formality without life and without spirit. I soon found my mind changing from the rigid close communion Baptist of the Presbyterian school to the universalian principles but not established in any creed. In this state of mind I was found by a preacher of the gospel by the name of Pelatish Brown in the winter of eighteen hundred and thirty-eight. The first time I heard him preach he preached from the seventh chapter of Daniel.
In his discourse he set forth the apostasy of the primitive church and finally the taking away of the priesthood, and finally the setting up of the kingdom that was to be set up in the last days with all its gifts and graces with all its power and blessings and then bore testimony that God had set up his kingdom and had again called men by revelation to preach the gospel and the baptize for the remission of sin and to lay hands on for the gift of the Holy Ghost. He was opposed by a Methodist preacher but I thought he only exposed his own weakness.
The spirit bore testimony to me of the truth and after close investigation I became convinced that God had set up his kingdom on the earth again and on the third day of March 1839 I and my wife were buried in the waters of baptism for the remission of sins, much to the mortification of our friends. Although the cold was severe--so much that our clothes froze stiff the moment we came out of the water -- yet our hearts were warm with the spirit of God.
Many reviled against the truth and tried to discourage us and turn us back from the truth to the weak and beggarly elements of the world. We had to go about a quarter of a mile to change our clothes, which when we had done we were confirmed as members of the Church of Latter-day Saints, and then Elder Brown ordained me an elder by the spirit of revelation.
Oh, how I felt my weakness at that time to be taken right from all my sectarian traditions to be a preacher of the true and everlasting gospel and bear the reproach of the name of Mormon. I felt so weak being left alone that it was two years before that I could get confidence to speak in public; notwithstanding, I never failed to bear testimony to the truth on all occasions in private circles and always contended for the faith once delivered to the Saints.
In the fall of 1839 the Baptist Church sent their priest to labor and reclaim me from the error of my ways but he going instructed only in the traditions of the fathers and not in the gospel of Jesus Christ was easily confounded and went home quite disappointed and requested me to meet with the church and answer for myself before the deacons. I gladly accepted the invitation and on the day appointed I met with the church to be tried for heresy.
They gave me the privilege to express my sentiments which I gladly accepted. I set forth the order of the true Church with apostles, prophets and with all the gifts of the gospel which was all new to them and they knew not what to say to it. So they wanted to get more counsel and wanted me to meet them again. I did so and after much talk wherein I set forth the principles of the gospel, they cut me off for embracing the doctrine of the Mormons.
In the spring of 1841 I commenced preaching in company with Elder [Pelatish] Brown. God blessed our labors so that we built up a branch of about forty members. I had the happiness to see my father, mother, one brother and two sisters baptized into the new and everlasting covenant. I was chosen and appointed to preside over the Church. Elder Brown left and I took charge of the church. I labored diligently that and the next season baptizing, confirming and building up the Church.
In the winter of 1841 I went on a mission to Green County, I labored there about three months, broke down much prejudice and baptized my cousin, Mr. Carbine. Many others believed but were not quite ready so they put it off until another time. And being directed by the spirit I bade them farewell and returned home feeling that I was wanted there.
When I arrived home I found the Church in confusion in consequence of the bad use of the gift of tongues but they were soon restored to peace. I began to feel that it was time to gather up with the Saints in Nauvoo. Accordingly I, with some others, set about getting ready to go and dwell with the Saints in Zion. Started June 7th.
June 7, 1842. Started for Zion in company with nine wagons. Travelled 18 miles and encamped. Waited all day for [Samuel] Eggleston. Preached in the evening to numerous congregations from Matt. 6th, 33rd verse. Travelled 20 miles. Travelled 13 miles. Encamped in a grove at Wands Inn. Preached in the forenoon in the grove. Arrived at the Genesee Valley Canal and by the solicitation of the company took charge of the goods of the company at Pifford on the canal. Left the company and my wife and little daughter and took passage on board the tiny boat Congress; Captain Chapin for Rochester. Before leaving the camp administered by the laying on of hands to Sister Eggelston and she was healed. Arrived at Rochester. Took passage on board the boat Henry K. Smith, Captain G. Canada, for Buffalo. Felt quite lonesome to leave my family to go a long tedious journey alone and bear the stigma of being a Mormon with no one to reciprocate.
June 15. Nothing transpired worth notice till we arrived at Buffalo where I took passage aboard the steamer boat Lexington for Cleveland.
June 16. Arrived at Cleveland 5 o'clock p.m. and then such a babbling among the runners from the public houses and canal boats was hardly ever heard and would almost pull one to pieces. After much parley I took passage aboard the line boat Rochester, Captain Laughlin, for Portsmouth through the Ohio Canal.
June 17. Lay all day in Cleveland on board the boat. Passed the most lonesome day I ever saw. Anxious to get through with my journey. The water in the canal stunk. The sun poured down in it meridian strength. The filthy conversation of the idle boatmen and the headache all combined to cause feelings amounting to little less than despondency. Wandered over the town to ease my mind. The town on the hill is a smart looking place but under the hill along the canal is very filthy and the sink of iniquity.
June 18. Passed the forenoon in the same place. Left at 12 a.m. It seemed good to be under motion again.
June 19. Passed through Akron. 16 lock in 1 1/2 miles.
June 22. Left the Ohio Canal at Lockburn. Took side cut for Columbus, the capital of Ohio. Arrived in the evening.
June 23. In the morning with other passengers took a view of the city. It is pleasantly situated on the Scioto River. There are but few fine buildings. The state house is quite inferior. Left about 12 o'clock. At 7 o'clock p.m. passed through Circleville which took its name from a circular mound near it. It is a flourishing little village.
June 24. Passed through Chillicotaka [Chilicothe]. Quite a fine little village. Arrived at Portsmouth in the evening.
June 25. Took passage aboard the steam boat Richmond for St. Louis and it is with much pleasure I leave the canal boat with its slow monotonous movement. On this canal there is no lock tenders as on other canals but every boat tends its own locks which makes traveling very slow and wearisome.
June 26. Stopped at Cincinnati. Stayed over the sabbath. Inquired for some of the Latter-day Saints but could find none. While sitting on the boat, looking across the Kentucky saw a crowd of people come down to the river and two were baptized by the Campbellites. It pains my heart to see people led by the blind priests, who without authority or any true knowledge of God or revelation of his will are looked up to as the oracles of God, while those that have revelations and the true knowledge of God and the Holy Priesthood are derided and scoffed at and called the filth and of scourings of all things. Shipped aboard the steamboat Amazon.
June 27. Took a load of salt.
June 28. Stopped at Louisville, Kentucky.
June 29. One of the deck hands, a black, was drowned. Passed over the rapids.
July 2. Arrived at St. Louis at 8 o'clock a.m.
July 3. Shipped aboard the boat Rosalic. Steamboat Edna burst her boiler about 5 o'clock a.m. Killed two and scalded about eighty persons and several missing. It was caused by the carelessness of the new engineer.
July 5. Arrived at Nauvoo. Health very poor. Went to Brother C. Barnums, two and a half miles from the city. Found them well. Continued there until the wagons arrived. There was much stir in the city about this time in consequence of John C. Bennett's leaving the city being excommunicated by the Church for adultery.
July 24. The wagons arrived, the company being all in good health. Moved into the house of Brother Ezra Chase with Brother Covert.
August 2. Was taken sick with a fever. Continued sick and confined to my bed for five weeks in which time I suffered much. Some thought I must die but by the grace of God I was finally restored to health. My wife was sick at the same time about two weeks.
September. Nothing worthy of notice.
October 2. Moved into a house which I bought of William Thompson on the Hotchkiss purchase the last of this month. I went out on the prairie, husking corn for two weeks for Mr. Myres.
November 8. It commenced snowing. Grew quite cold. Winter commenced with great vigor. Worked part of the month for Robert Smith.
December to February, 1843. Worked for Hiram Kimball. It was the coldest winter I ever saw.
March. Took care of a sick man by the name of Thomas Heap. He died the twelfth of April.
April 6. Attended a Special Conference of the Church which lasted three days. Had a good time. Was much refreshed by the teaching of President Joseph Smith and others.
April 10-11. Attended the Elders Conference. Was appointed to go in company with Elder Wandle Mace on a mission to Washingtonville, Orange County, New York. We received much good instruction from President [Brigham] Young.
June 18. Left Nauvoo to go on my mission and bid adieu to my wife and friends leaving them with a heavy heart. Brother Mace not being ready I must go alone to combat the errors of this generation from which my heart almost shrinks, but trusting in the grace of God to sustain me I go forth. Took passage on board the steamboat Rapids for Savannah. Arrived there the 19th and about 12 o'clock p.m. Proceeded on foot toward Steffenson County. Stayed overnight at Widow Kellogs. Plumb River. They were much prejudiced against the truth. Had much talk with a peddler who was much opposed.
June 20. Proceeded on to my brother's, Hector C. Haight. Found them all well but much prejudiced against the people called "Mormons" knowing nothing but hearsay about them. Commenced teaching them the pure principles of the gospel and to my great satisfaction found my brother's prejudice began to give way before the truth and wanted I should preach in the neighborhood.
June 25. Preached at his home from Matt. 6th Chapter, 33rd verse to an attentive congregation. The Lord gave me freedom to speak.
July 2. Preached at the house of Thomas Carter's but few attended. The Methodists used all influence to keep people from hearing the truth for their creeds are in danger of falling.
July 4. Attended the celebration of the 67th Anniversary of American Independence. Oration delivered by Martin P. Sweet, Esq. in good state. All went off in good order worthy of the occasion. But how can I enjoy these blessings while the children of Zion are in exile, her dearest rights trampled under foot, her prophet groans in chains being persecuted for the testimony of Jesus, while for the sake of the gospel many have sealed their testimony with blood; even when our constitution guarantees to all the right to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience. Ah! Liberty, whither hast thou fled? Where is the arm to protect religious rights for which our fathers fought and bled? It has become palsied and powerless.
July 9. Preached at Hearts School House at 11 o'clock and at 5 o'clock p.m. at Freeport in the Court House. Was opposed by a Presbyterian priest by the name of Waterbury who after being caught in a falsehood left the house with his followers.
July 14. Visited Mr. Alfred Giddings. Found them much prejudiced and willing to believe a lie rather than the truth.
July 16. Preached at my brothers from 2nd Peter, 1-20 verses.
July 23. Preached at Heart School House on the Book of Mormon; many were displeased to hear about the stick of Joseph. Four o'clock preached at Mr. George Andrews, Yellow Creek, John 6-16 verses to an attentive congregation.
July 30. Preached at my brothers from Hebrew 4 chapter, 9 verses.
July 31. Started for the state of New York. Brother H. C. Haight accompanied me to Greeport, 14 miles. Stayed at the house of I. T. Smith.
August 1. Took the stage for Chicago at 3 o'clock p.m. Travelled all night which was not very pleasant. The next day, the 2nd, we passed over the beautiful prairies dotted here and there with beautiful fields of grain. The prairies variegated with the most beautiful flowers of every hue filling the air with their fragrance. The hum of the bee, the lowing of the distant herd, the bleating flock filled my mind with awe while I contemplated the great and glorious works of nature. We arrived at Chicago at three o'clock.
August 3. Took passage on board the steamboat Constitution, Captain E. K. Forks. At 7 a.m. started for Buffalo and had a pleasant time down the lakes. Nothing important occurred. The 5th we stopped at Mackinaw, a small village, situated on an island of the same name and is a military station. There is about 140 soldiers stationed here. The fort stands on the hill and commands the strait. The place is of but little importance except as a military post. The buildings are quite old and many are covered with cedar bark, also sided up with the same.
August 8. Arrived at Buffalo. Took the cars for Auburn. Arrived at Father Snider's at 9 o'clock. Found them all well. From there went to my father's. Found mother quite feeble.
August 20. Preached at the school house.
August 27. Preached in Venice at Woods Schoolhouse from Jer. 6 chapter, 16th verse.
September 3. Preached at Cartright's school house at 5 p.m. Preached at the Universalist meetinghouse at Kelloggsville.
September 5. Went to Scipio. Baptized Norman Sharp and his wife in Wasca Lake.
September 13. Left Moravia in company with Father, mother and Bateman and family, William Van Orden and family for Nauvoo. All in good health but mother. She was very feeble but being anxious to go to Nauvoo, she thought she could try the journey. She stood the journey very well the first week. She then began to fail so that on the 23rd we had to stop that and the next day.
September 25. Started again. Mother had to lay on a bed. We arrived in Kirtland on the 27th and for the first time gazed upon the Lord's house [temple] with delight and admiration. Were kindly received by the brethren. Stayed until the next day.
September 28. As mother was so feeble it was thought best to go to Revenna and put mother aboard the canal. We reached there on the next day, 29th and stopped at the house of William P. Nazen and Adelia Carbine and myself took the care of mother to carry her by the canal. The wagons with our friends left us with heavy hearts not knowing as they would ever see mother again alive as she was now sometimes delirious.
October 3. Took passage on the steamer, Minstrel, for Cincinnati where we arrived on the 6th when we stayed two days anxious to get along as mother's health is so delicate that I fear she will not live to get to Nauvoo.
October 8. Left Cincinnati and on the 10th passed through the Portland and Louisville Canal. This canal is cut around the falls in the Ohio River at this place to accommodate steamboats in time of low water. I here saw the Kentucky Giant. He is 7 feet 4 inches high. He is very spare and thin. His health is very poor, rather inclined to consumption. We were entertained with several trials of mesmerism. They all failed except one. There seemed to be power of some kind manifested which I believe to be the deceptive power of the Evil One. Nothing occurred worthy of notice till we arrived at St. Louis.
October 14. Changed boats and proceeded on the steamboat, Iowa.
September 30. Took passage on board the line boat, Mobile, for Bridgeport where we arrived on the 2nd of October, Mother quite worn out by the noise on the boat.
October 15. Arrived at Nauvoo. Found my family all well. Mother is quite feeble and it rejoices my heart that she can rest from her long journey. And now, having arrived safely at home in the city of the Saints. I feel to rejoice as one day spent with the people of God is worth thousands in the world. Nothing transpired worthy of note till father and company arrived by land.
October 27. They were all well. The next week Father and I started for Knox county to see the farm that Father had bought. He was quite disappointed. We returned in about ten days. Found mother had failed very much which she continued to do until the 18th of November when she died without a struggle or a groan and has gone to rest in the paradise of God with the Saints that have gone before them to remain until the morning of the resurrection of the just when we shall again behold her clothed with bright immortality and eternal life.
December. I was now chosen one of the city police consisting of forty chosen men to guard the city and especially Brother Joseph Smith whose life was threatened by our enemies and a strict watch had to be kept day and night all this winter.
In the spring of 1844 we were released from watching Brother Joseph said he could take care of himself as some found fault about paying the police. So I went to farming as usual till about June 1.
June 1. The enemies of the Church began to rage without and hypocrites and dissenters to manifest themselves within. The Laws, Fosters, Higbees, and others got up a printing press in the city and began to slander [the Nauvoo Expositor] the Saints in the most shameful manner so that the city council considered it a nuisance and ordered the mayor to call on the police and legion to abate the nuisance. It was done according to order.
June 10. We burnt the fixtures and papers and destroyed the press. The same day the proprietors were at a meeting at Carthage to devise means to destroy our city and drive and kill the saints. This, the Saints were not disposed to submit to as the mob began to gather on every side of us, and our Lieutenant General Joseph Smith though best for our safety to call out the Nauvoo Legion until he could get word from the governor. The legion was drilled everyday till the governor arrived at Carthage which was about the twenty-second. He ordered the legion dismissed and sent for Joseph and Hyrum to come to Carthage or he would sent he militia to bring them to be tried on charge of riot in the destruction of the press of the Nauvoo Expositor. They refused to go unless the governor would protect them from the fury of the mob then gathered at Carthage. The governor then pledged his end and the honor of the state that they would be protected. Then upon the plighted faith of the Governor [Thomas Ford] and the state of Illinois they agreed to go to Carthage to be tried by those that had sworn to take their lives.
Therefore, on the morning of the 26th day they in company without about 20 of their friends started for Carthage (I was one of the number) with fearful foreboding of the snare that was laid for to effect the death of the best man that was now upon the earth. The prophet was calm as a summer morning and seemed to know or have a knowledge of the fate that awaited him. Once as we were riding along he turns to Hyrum and says, "Brother Hyrum, let us go back to Nauvoo and all die together." Thus showing that he was well aware of what would befall him. But Hyrum thought best to go on.
We, therefore, proceeded until we got in about four miles of Carthage to Brother Fellows and then we met the governor's agent with sixty armed men going to Nauvoo to demand the state arms which the state had distributed to the legion as their proportion of the arms of the state agreeable to the charter organizing the Legion.
The demand was accepted by the Lieutenant General and it was agreed that we should return to Nauvoo in company with the agent and his men and collect the arms, which we did. When we got to Nauvoo the state arms were collected as soon as possible with as little noise as could be expected under existing circumstances. Joseph and Hyrum then started for Carthage accompanied only by two or three of the brethren. The governor forbid the others to go. It was hard to part with our Beloved Prophet into the hands of his enemies.
When they were examined the next day there they were discharged but no sooner were they at liberty than they were arrested for treason and thrust into jail without trial, contrary to the laws of the sate and the remonstrance of their counsel that it was illegal. They appealed to the governor who knew the whole proceedings but he, like Pilate, willing to please the people, suffered them to be thrust into prison amidst the curses and threats of the mob. The next day they sought for a trial but could get none. In the meantime the governor was making preparations to go to Nauvoo on the 28th and agreed to take the prisoners with him and all his troops that he had composed partly of militia and partly of the mob whom the governor had organized to keep them in subjection for the ostensible object of searching for bogus money and bogus manufactories.
But to the surprise of the prisoners and everyone else on the morning of the 27th the troops were all disbanded except two companies. One was to guard the jail, the other to go with the governor that day to Nauvoo. When this was known the mob swore they would kill the Smiths while the governor was gone.
When this came to the ears of the counsel for the Smiths, he went to the governor and told him the threats of the people and sought a strong guard to guard the jail and also guard the road leading from Warsaw which he agreed should be done and about two o'clock started with his guard for Nauvoo leaving the Carthage Greys, the sworn enemies of Joseph, to guard the jail. Those from the county of McDonough were stationed about a quarter of a mile off. Those from Warsaw dismissed and then sent home. This was the situation of things while the governor was going to Nauvoo. As soon as it was known that the governor was going to Nauvoo a signal was hung out of the court house and runners sent to Warsaw. They drove all the friends of Joseph out of Carthage at the point of the bayonet and about 5 o'clock in the afternoon all at once was seen a company of armed men painted black rushing upon the jail. The guard discharged their muskets over their heads (there were but six of the guards). They rushed passed the guard, up the stairs where the prisoners were and commenced firing through the door which the prisoners shielded with their hands as there was no lock on it. They soon left the door and John Taylor attempted to leap out the window but was shot in four places and fell back. Hyrum was shot at the same time and fell dead. Joseph sprang out of the window and fell to the ground amidst his enemies. He was stunned by the fall. They sat him up by the side of the well curb and four men shot him. He died almost instantly. The last words he spoke were, "O Lord, my God," and fell asleep.
Thus fell a man who has done the most (save Jesus) for the salvation of the inhabitants of the earth of anyone that was ever upon it.
The governor at the same time was in Nauvoo and delivered a short address in an abusive and threatening manner and soon started for Carthage. About sunset as he was leaving the city he met one of the brethren with the news of the murder. He stopped him and took him back to Carthage and made him promise not to go to Nauvoo that night and left him. The governor fled for his life to Quincy and all the people fled from Carthage except one family. Fear had seized hold of them; thus the wicked fled when no man pursued. About two o'clock the morning of the 28th, as I was standing guard near the [Nauvoo] temple, the same brother (George Grant) that the governor took back came in. I hailed him and he told me that Joseph and Hyrum were dead and the way they came to their death. My heart shrunk within me and I felt to curse the perpetrator of that dark and diabolical deed.
The news soon spread through the city. Mourning was depicted on every countenance; that day was truly a day of mourning with the Saints. About three o'clock in the afternoon the procession was formed in the east of the city to receive the bodies of our martyred prophet and patriarch as carriages were sent to convey them to Nauvoo. We did not wait long before we saw them mournfully winding their way across the prairies. Their bodies were received with tears by the Saints and conveyed to the Mansion amidst the cries and lamentations of the people. The next day, the 29th, the bodies were to be seen at the Mansion from 9 o'clock a.m. till 5 p.m. when they were taken by some chosen friends and buried to await the resurrection morn. The mob, having accomplished their purpose, began to disperse and peace began to be restored and the Saints to return to their different occupations, harvesting having now commenced.
I began to harvest and all became quiet without. But there soon began to be trouble within. Joseph and Hyrum who stood at the head of the Church being dead, the Twelve being absent on a mission in the east, Sidney Rigdon, who was one of Joseph's counselors but also was gone to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, returned and told the church that they must choose a guardian to lead them and appointed a day for the Church to meet for that purpose notwithstanding the remonstrance of some of the Twelve that had got home that they should wait until the Twelve all got home, which, thank the Lord, they did before the day appointed.
And when the Church came together they resolved to sustain the Twelve in their office and the First Presidency being dead all but one, it was no longer a quorum. Consequently, the Twelve became the Presidency and Brigham Young, the President of the Twelve, the first President of the church. Sidney Rigdon tried to divide the Church under pretense of having revelation that the Saints must go to Pittsburgh. Notwithstanding the Lord had commanded them to build the [Nauvoo] temple and Nauvoo House, there were a few that he made believe him; all went off to Pittsburgh leaving the Saints to build the temple, which, under the care of the Twelve prospered finely and all enjoyed peace again.
The work of the temple goes on finely. President Young prophesied that we should be blest with peace and a plentiful season. I worked on my farm on the prairie, breaking prairie and planting corn, working on the temple, etc., until about the first of August, when I was taken with the ague and fever which reduced me very low but the Lord had delivered and raised me up to behold the prosperity of Zion.
September 11. The roof is on the [Nauvoo] temple and a room is being finished in the roof to begin to give those their endowments that are to go on their missions this fall. The mob begins to rage again and this morning a messenger came from Lima Branch with the news that the mob had burnt some of their homes.
September 16. An attack was made by the sheriff's posse on the mob as they were burning the houses and some two or three were killed.
September 17. Went with eight well-armed and mounted men under command of Colonel Markham to Beer Creek to arrest the house burning men but they all fled into Missouri.
September 21. Returned home in the evening. An alarm was given and we were again called to go to Carthage to protect the county officers.
September 23. Returned in the evening. Found my wife sick with chills and fever.
September 24. Remained at home to nurse my wife and break the ague.
September 25-26. Moved in some of the brethren from Camp Creek. The mob has burned some 140 houses.
September 27. Carried some of the troops to Carthage. Counsel of the Twelve held a conference with a committee from Quincy and agreed with them to leave this state next spring.
October 4. Attended a meeting in the House of the Lord for the first preparatory to the General Conference.
October 6. Attended the Conference, it being the first General Conference that the Saints were permitted to hold since eighteen hundred and forty-one. Had good time and enjoyed much of the spirit through the conference which lasted three days during which time much good instruction was given by President Brigham Young and others of the Twelve. The subject of leaving the gentiles and going west to the Pacific Ocean where the earth, water and air were free were discussed. It was unanimously agreed upon that we should go to the Pacific Ocean or some place where the Saints could enjoy the high privilege of worshipping God according to the dictates of their own conscience. It was agreed upon that I should go to the state of New York to do some business for myself and others. I arranged my business to go. . .
. . .December 14. Arrived in the city of Joseph. Found my family well. I feel to thank God for his goodness and mercy in bringing me safe to my home and in good health after accomplishing a journey of about four thousand miles in the space of about two months.
December 19. Was called upon to go to the House of the Lord to receive my washing and anointing and endowment. My soul rejoices in the things of the kingdom. Well might David say that one day in the House of My God was worth a thousand. Labored very hard to gather my crops and getting ready to go to the far west, having also a company of ten to get ready having been appointed captain over them.
January 22. I joined the Horse Guards as there had to be a guard to protect the city and temple from being destroyed by our enemies.
January 24. Went into the [Nauvoo] temple with my wife to attend to the sealing ordinances and be married according to the law of God by the Holy Priesthood. The Twelve began to think of leaving and preparations were made for the first company to get ready and start for the wilderness. I was called to join the guard. I did so and devoted my time to guard the temple and city. I was appointed captain of ten and was ordered to get my company ready to go over the river.
February 9. The temple caught fire from some of the stove pipes in the roof and with much difficulty the fire was extinguished much to the joy of the Saints. The damage was not very great.
February 10. About 11 o'clock p.m. I was severely attacked with the bilious colic which lasted about 10 hours and left me so sore and weak with a hot burning fever that I was unable to sit up or hardly turn myself in bed.
February 12. My company went over the river. I was not able to go. I was not able to leave my room for several days. The company left before my health was so that I could go with them, much to my regret.
March 8. My health is getting quite good and feel to rejoice in the gospel. Notwithstanding many are turning away from the Church and from the Twelve apostles to follow a new prophet that has risen up pretending to receive his appointment by Joseph before his death and then confirmed by the visitation of an angel who gave him the Urim and Thummim by which he discovered some plates, etc., claimed to take the lead of the Church but when his claims were presented by the one he sent for that purpose (as he never came to the Church himself) he was rejected as a false prophet and because the church would not receive him but strove to carry out the principles of the Prophet Joseph he breathed out his anathemas against them. The following is one: "In the name of God and Lord Jesus Christ may their bones rot in the living tombs of the flesh; may their flesh generate from its own corruption a loathsome life for others; may their blood swarm with leprous life of motelike, ghastly corruption, feeding upon flowing life; generating chilling agues, burning fevers and loathsome living corruption; may peace and honor be names forgotten to them; and the beauty they have betrayed to infamy may it be to their eyes a crawling mass of putridity and battering corruption a loathsome, ghostliness; its delicate hues a sickly light that glares from universal corruption; its auburn tresses the posthumaus growth; temples of crawling worms; its fragrant breath the blast of perdition; with insatiate desires may each gratification turn burning shame. And I prayed unto my God saying: 'Ah, God, curse them not and let me not raise my voice against my fellows.' But he said unto me, 'CURSE, CURSE, CURSE. I will altogether curse them until they return unto me for they have perverted my law and deceived my servant, unto the destroyer shall thou deliver them for their prayer of sin. Denunciation upon the elders and those who teach concubinage and licentiousness in the name of God.'" (copy) J. J. Strang.
The voice of the spirit of God is peace and goodwill to all men; but the voice of the evil one is full of wrath and bitterness; and as they delight in cursing let it come upon their own heads and let it be poured unto their bones like oil. The charge of concubinage as they are pleased to call it is false and emanated from the father of lies; and is got up for the express purpose of dividing the flock and to bring persecution on the Church, and all who follow after their lies will find themselves deceived to their shame and ruin.
March 15. . Sunday. My heart was made to rejoice today with joy and gladness to get another opportunity of feasting on the good work of the Lord given to the Saints to cheer them in the hour when the clouds of darkness roll heavily upon the Church; as part of the Church has left with all of the Twelve but Orson Hyde; evil men have crept in the flock to divide and the spirit of God came upon Brother Hyde on the 14th and he received the following revelation: "In my meditations this morning, the spirit of the Lord came upon me and I was moved to write; and being grieved in my spirit on account of the false pretenses by evil designing persons to gain power and lead away the flock of God. It whispered to me and said: `Evil men ambitious of power, must needs rise among you, and they shall be led by their own self will and not by me; yet they are instruments in my hands and are permitted to try my people, and to collect from among them those who are not the elect, and such as are unworthy of eternal life. Grieve not after them, neither mourn nor be alarmed. My people know my voice and also the voice of my spirit, and a stranger they will not follow. Therefore such as follow strangers are not my people.
'Behold, James J. Strang hath cursed my people by his own spirit and not by mine. Never, at any time, have I appointed that wicked man to lead my people. Neither by my own voice, nor by the voice of my servant, Joseph Smith, neither by the voice of mine angels; but he hath sought to deceive and Satan helpeth him; but before of old was he one that was ordained to gather the tares of the field and mine angels have chosen him to do it because he was a wicked man even as Judas was chosen to destroy his Lord.
'But his spirit and ambition shall soon fail him and then shall he be called to judgment and receive that portion which is his mete. And his treacherous followers who have forsaken the counsel of their brethren and turned from the covenants of their God and have cast asunder the tenderest ties must come and drink from a bitter cup.
'Let no man who putteth his trust in me be troubled about his rights. The worthy shall have their rights and no power can prevent it; for I will given them the hearts of my people, and their voice is my voice even as my voice is the voice of my Father; and what they bind on earth I will bind in heaven; but the unworthy have no rights except these; repentance or condemnation. If they act upon the former, behold they are justified but, if not, they must suffer the consequences of the latter. By this you may know the unworthy among my people; for whomsoever they reject, the same are rejected of me. And woe to such as shall follow him who hath been rejected by my people. If my people sin I will correct and chasten them because I love them; yet I will not reject them. Neither give my kingdom to another people for behold the end draweth nigh. And judgment will I pour out upon your oppressors and upon those who accurse you to hide their own iniquity and their shame and to get power for unholy purposes and not for the building up of my kingdom.
'Let such beware lest they fall by the hand of the destroyer whose arrows are plague and pestilence before their designs are accomplished. Let my Saints gather up with all consistent speed and remove westward, except such as are counselled to tarry, and must needs remain to settle their business, according to the counsel of my servant Joseph Smith in the day that he was with you in the flesh, and also according to the counsel of my servants, the Twelve whom I have chosen, and who have abode in me. Let there be no more disputes or contentions among you about doctrine or principles, neither who shall be greatest but hearken to those things which I have spoken unto you and which have before been given and you shall rest in my kingdom and have glory and honor forever and ever. Yes! Saith the Spirit and the Spirit is truth and the truth abideth forever!'" (Printed in Nauvoo, March 14, 1846).
The time of the Saints is occupied in preparing to go to the West but the prospects are rather unfavorable for many are poor and have not means to go with and those that have farms can sell but for little and how they will all get off I know not.
April 6, . Conference met in the basement of the [Nauvoo] temple. The workmen were to work painting the lower rooms so the conference could not meet in the upper part of the temple and the day is so rainy we cannot meet in the grove so we met and organized in the basement story and adjourned till tomorrow at 10 o'clock a.m.
April 8. Met according to adjournment. The day is very fine. A large congregation assembled. Were addressed by Elder O. Hyde. He gave much good instruction. A spirit of union prevailed through the day. The conference adjourned to meet next April, on the Rocky Mountains or somewhere else. After the meeting closed someone handed Elder Hyde a blank letter with a rifle ball which created some excitement and hurt our feeling to think that anyone could be so depraved as to threaten the lives of the servants of God when in the discharge of their duty.
April 11. The weather is cold and very wet. Some of the brethren are crossing the river for the West. I have but little prospect of getting away very soon as we have no chance to sell our land. My mind is filled with great anxiety about getting away, but my trust is in the Lord that he will open the way for us to get away from this wicked nation stained with the blood of the prophet.
April 15. Had another severe attack of the bilious colic. Suffered almost unto death. Sickness continued all the week but through the goodness of God I recovered.
April 26. Went to meeting at the Grove. Brother O. Hyde preached gave me some good instruction.
May 1. Have sold my land on the prairie and am making preparations for moving to the west. Father has also sold his farm at a great sacrifice and we are all making ready to go west. This month was all taken up in getting ready.
June 1. Put on our teams to go across the river. A storm arises and prevents me from going.
June 2. My family got over the Mississippi today but I have to stay with the cattle.
June 3. Got over today and got about two miles to Black Jack Grove and encamp near Brigham Young, stay there several days waiting for some of our company and to get our cattle together which was attended with some difficulty.
June 6. The company met this evening to organize. They chose me to lead them to the west.