History of the Church Vol. 1 Chapter 15. [June 1831 - Aug. 1831]
The Important Conference of June 3rd-6th--Arrival of the Elders In Western Missouri.
[For an explanation of abbreviations used see vol. 1 chapter 1.]
[Copyright © 1998 BOAP. All rights reserved.]
ON the 3rd of June(1), the Elders from the various parts of the country where they were laboring came in; and the conference before appointed, convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power to the most perfect satisfaction of the Saints. The man of sin(2) was revealed,(3) and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred(4) for the first time upon several of the Elders.(5) It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required.(6) Great harmony prevailed; several were ordained; faith was strengthened;
and humility, so necessary for the blessing of God to follow prayer, characterized the Saints.(7)
The next day, as a kind continuation of this great work of the last days, I received the following:
Revelation, given June, 1831. [D&C 52][June 6, 1831](8)
1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders whom he hath called and chosen in these last days, by the voice of his Spirit--
2. Saying: I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant.
3. Wherefore, verily I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon take their journey as soon as preparations can be made to leave their homes, and journey to the land of Missouri.
4. And inasmuch as they are faithful unto me, it shall be made known unto them what they shall do;
5. And it shall also, inasmuch as they are faithful, be made known unto them the land of your inheritance.
6. And inasmuch as they are not faithful, they shall be cut off, even as I will, as seemeth me good.
7. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Lyman Wight(9) and my servant John Corrill take their journey speedily;
8. And also my servant John Murdock(10), and my servant Hyrum Smith, take their journey unto the same place by the way of Detroit.
9. And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith.
10. Let them go two by two and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by water, and the laying on of the hands by the water's side.
11. For thus saith the Lord, I will cut my work short in righteousness, for the days come that I will send forth judgment unto victory.
12. And let my servant Lyman Wight beware, for Satan desireth to sift him as chaff.
13. And behold, he that is faithful shall be made ruler over many things.
14. And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations--
15. Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances.
16. He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances.
17. And again, he that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom, according to the revelations and truths which I have given you.
18. And again, he that is overcome and bringeth not forth fruits, even according to this pattern, is not of me.
19. Wherefore, by this pattern ye shall know the spirits in all cases under the whole heavens.
20. And the days have come; according to men's faith it shall be done unto them.
21. Behold, this commandment is given unto all the elders whom I have chosen.
22. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Thomas B. Marsh and my servant Ezra Thayre, take their journey also, preaching the word by the way unto this same land.
23. And again, let my servant Isaac Morley(11), and my servant Ezra Booth(12) take their journey, also preaching the word by the way unto this same land.
24. And again, let my servants Edward Partridge and Martin Harris take their journey with my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun.
25. Let my servants David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock(13) also take their journey, and preach by the way unto this same land.
26. And let my servants Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt take their journey, and preach by the way, even unto this same land.
27. And let my servants Solomon Hancock(14) and Simeon Carter(15) also take their journey unto this same land, and preach by the way.
28. Let my servants Edson Fuller(16) and Jacob Scott(17) also take their journey.
29. Let my servants Levi W. Hancock(18) and Zebedee Coltrin(19) also take their journey.
30. Let my servants Reynolds Cahoon(20) and Samuel H. Smith also take their journey.
31. Let my servants Wheeler Baldwin(21) and William Carter(22) also take their journey.
32. And let my servants Newel Knight and Selah J. Griffin(23), both be ordained, and also take their journey.
33. Yea, verily I say, let all these take their journey unto one place, in their several courses, and one man shall not build upon another's foundation, neither journey in another's track.
34. He that is faithful, the same shall be kept and blessed with much fruit.
35. And again, I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Wakefield and Solomon Humphrey(24) take their journey into the eastern lands;
36. Let them labor with their families, declaring none other things than the prophets and apostles, that which they have seen and heard and most assuredly believe, that the prophecies may be fulfilled.
37. In consequence of transgression, let that which was bestowed upon Heman Bassett(25) be taken from him, and placed upon the head of Simonds Ryder(26).
38. And again, verily I say unto you, let Jared Carter(27) be ordained a priest, and also George James(28) be ordained a priest.
39. Let the residue of the elders watch over the churches, and declare the word in the regions round about them; and let them labor with their own hands that there be no idolatry nor wickedness practiced.
40. And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.
41. And again, let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, and Edward Partridge take with them a recommend from the church. And let there be one obtained for my servant Oliver Cowdery also.
42. And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.
43. But, behold, I, the Lord, will hasten the city in its time, and will crown the faithful with joy and with rejoicing.
44. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I will lift them up at the last day. Even so. Amen.
Shortly after the foregoing was received, at the request of Algernon Sidney Gilbert(29) I inquired, and obtained the following:
Revelation, given June, 1831. [D&C 53](30)
1. Behold, I say unto you, my servant Sidney Gilbert, that I have heard your prayers, and you have called upon me that it should be made known unto you, of the Lord your God, concerning your calling and election in the church, which I, the Lord, have raised up in these last days.
2. Behold, I, the Lord, who was crucified for the sins of the world, give unto you a commandment that you shall forsake the world.
3. Take upon you mine ordination, even that of an elder, to preach faith and repentance and remission of sins, according to my word, and the reception of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands;
4. And also to be an agent unto this church in the place which shall be appointed by the bishop, according to commandments which shall be given hereafter.
5. And again, verily I say unto you, you shall take your journey with my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon.
6. Behold these are the first ordinances which you shall receive; and the residue shall be made known in a time to come, according to your labor in my vineyard.
7. And again, I would that ye should learn that he only is saved who endureth unto the end. Even so. Amen.
The branch of the Church in Thompson, on account of breaking the covenant(31), and not knowing what to do, they sent in Newel Knight and other Elders, to ask me to inquire of the Lord for them; which I did, and received the following:
Revelation to Newel Knight, given at Kirtland June, 1831. [D&C 54](32)
1. Behold, thus saith the Lord, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, even he who was crucified for the sins of the world--
2. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, my servant Newel Knight, you shall stand fast in the office wherewith I have appointed you.
3. And if your brethren desire to escape their enemies, let them repent of all their sins, and become truly humble before me and contrite.
4. And as the covenant which they made unto me has been broken, even so it has become void and of none effect.
5. And wo to him by whom this offense cometh, for it had been better for him that he had been drowned in the depth of the sea.
6. But blessed are they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment, for they shall obtain mercy.
7. Wherefore, go to now and flee the land, lest your enemies come upon you; and take your journey, and appoint whom you will to be your leader, and to pay monies for you.(33)
8. And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.
9. And after you have done journeying, behold, I say unto you, seek ye a living like unto men, until I prepare a place for you.
10. And again be patient in tribulation until I come; and, behold, I came quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls. Even so. Amen.
The Elders now began to go to the western country, two and two, according to the word of the Lord.(34)
From Parley P. Pratt, who during the spring had returned from his mission of last fall, we had verbal information; and from letters from the still remaining Elders we had written intelligence; and as the mission to Western Missouri and the gathering of the Saints to that place was the most important subject which then engrossed the attention of the Church, I will here insert the copy of a letter, received about this time from that section, dated at Kaw Township, Missouri, May 7, 1831(35) :
Our Dearly Beloved Brethren;--I have nothing particular to write as concerning the Lamanites; because of a short journey which I have just returned from, and in consequence of which I have not written to you since the 16th of last month. Brother Ziba Peterson and myself went into the county east, which is Lafayette, about forty miles; and, in the name of Jesus, we called on the people to repent, many of whom are, I believe, earnestly searching for truth, and if sincerely, I pray they may find that precious treasure, for it seems to be wholly fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter.
The letter we received from you informed us that the opposition was great against you. Now, our beloved brethren, we verily believe that we also can rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer shame for His name; for almost the whole country, consisting of Universalists, Atheists, Deists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and other professed Christians, priests and people; with all the devils from the infernal pit are united, and foaming out their own shame [against us]. God forbid that I should bring a railing accusation against them, for vengeance belongeth to Him who is able to repay; and herein, brethren, we confide.
I am lately informed of another tribe of Lamanites, who have abundance of flocks of the best kinds of sheep and cattle; and they manufacture blankets of a superior quality. The tribe is very numerous; they live three hundred miles west of Santa Fe, and are called Navahoes(36). Why I mention this tribe is because I feel under obligations to communicate to my brethren any information concerning the Lamanites that I meet with in my labors and travel; believing, as I do, that much is expected from me in the cause of our Lord; and doubting not that I am daily remembered before the throne of the Most High by all my brethren, as well by those who have not seen my face in the flesh as by those who have.
We begin to expect our brother Parley P. Pratt soon; we have heard from him only when he was at St. Louis. We are all well, bless the Lord; and preach the Gospel we will, if earth and hell oppose our way--for we dwell in the midst of scorpions(37)--and in Jesus we trust. Grace be with you all. Amen. OLIVER COWDERY.(38)
P. S.--I beseech Brother Whitney to remember and write, and direct to me, Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.(39)
About the middle of June, while we were preparing for our journey to Missouri, William W. Phelps(40) and his family arrived among us--"to do the will of the Lord," he said: so I inquired of the Lord concerning him and received the following:
Revelation given June, 1831. [D&C 55](41)
1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant William, yea, even the Lord of the whole earth, thou art called and chosen; and after thou hast been baptized by water, which if you do with an eye single to my glory, you shall have a remission of your sins and a reception of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands;
2. And then thou shalt be ordained by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., to be an elder unto this church, to preach repentance and remission of sins by way of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the living God.
3. And on whomsoever you shall lay your hands, if they are contrite before me, you shall have power to give the Holy Spirit.
4. And again, you shall be ordained to assist my servant Oliver Cowdery to do the work of printing, and of selecting and writing books for schools in this Church, that little children also may receive instruction before me as is pleasing unto me.
5. And again, verily I say unto you, for this cause ye shall take your journey with my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that you may be planted in the land of your inheritance to do this work.
6. And again, let my servant Joseph Coe(42) also take his journey with them. The residue shall be made known hereafter, even as I will. Amen.
Soon after I received the foregoing, Elder Thomas B. Marsh came to inquire what he should do; as Elder Ezra Thayre, his yoke-fellow in the ministry, could not get ready to start on his mission as soon as he (Marsh) would; and I inquired of the Lord, and received the following:
Revelation, given at Kirtland, June, 1831. [D&C 56](43)
1. Hearken, O ye people who profess my name, saith the Lord your God; for behold, mine anger is kindled against the rebellious, and they shall know mine arm and mine indignation, in the day of visitation and of wrath upon the nations.
2. And he that will not take up his cross and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved.
3. Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken.
4. Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord.
5. Wherefore, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre, and give a new commandment unto my servant Thomas, that he shall take up his journey speedily to the land of Missouri, and my servant Selah J. Griffin shall also go with him.
6. For behold, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Selah J. Griffin and Newel Knight, in consequence of the stiffneckedness of my people which are in Thompson and their rebellions.
7. Wherefore, let my servant Newel Knight remain with them, and as many as will go may go, that are contrite before me, and be led by him to the land which I have appointed.
8. And again, verily I say unto you, that my servant Ezra Thayre must repent of his pride, and of his selfishness, and obey the former commandment(44) which I have given him concerning the place upon which he lives.
9. And if he will do this, as there shall be no divisions made upon the land(45), he shall be appointed still to go to the land of Missouri.
10. Otherwise he shall receive the money which he has paid, and shall leave the place, and shall be cut off out of my church, saith the Lord God of hosts;
11. And though the heaven and the earth pass away, these words shall not pass away, but shall be fulfilled.
12. And if my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., must needs pay the money, behold, I, the Lord, will pay it unto him again in the land of Missouri, that those of whom he shall receive may be rewarded again according to that which they do;
13. For according to that which they do they shall receive, even in lands for their inheritance.
14. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my people--you have many things to do and to repent of; for behold, your sins have come up unto me, and are not pardoned, because you seek to counsel in your own ways.
15. And your hearts are not satisfied. And ye obey not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.
16. Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!
17. Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men's goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
18. But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.
19. For behold, the Lord shall come, and his recompense shall be with him, and he shall reward every man, and the poor shall rejoice;
20. And their generations shall inherit the earth from generation to generation, for ever and ever. And now I make an end of speaking unto you. Even so. Amen.(46)
On the 19th of June, in company with Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Joseph Coe, Algernon S. Gilbert and his wife, I started from Kirtland, Ohio, for the land of Missouri, agreeable to the commandment before received, wherein it was promised that if we were faithful, the land of our inheritance, even the place for the city of the New Jerusalem, should be revealed. We went by wagon, canal boats, and stages to Cincinnati, where I had an interview with the Rev. Walter Scott, one of the founders of the Campbellites, or Newlight church(47). Before the close of our interview, he manifested one of the bitterest spirits against the doctrine of the New Testament (that "these signs shall follow them that believe," as recorded in Mark the 16th chapter,) that I ever witnessed among men. We left Cincinnati in a steamer, and landed at Louisville, Kentucky, where we were detained three days in waiting for a steamer to convey us to St. Louis. At St. Louis, myself, Brothers Harris, Phelps, Partridge and Coe, went by land on foot to Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, where we arrived about the middle of July, and the rest of the company came by water a few days later.(48)
Notwithstanding the corruptions and abominations of the times, and the evil spirit manifested towards us on account of our belief in the Book of Mormon, at many places and among various persons, yet the Lord continued His watchful care and loving kindness to us day by day; and we made it a rule wherever there was an opportunity, to read a chapter in the Bible, and pray; and these seasons of worship gave us great consolation.
The meeting of our brethren, who had long awaited our arrival(49), was a glorious one, and moistened with many tears. It seemed good and pleasant for brethren to meet together in unity. But our reflections were many, coming as we had from a highly cultivated state of society in the east, and standing now upon the confines or western limits of the United States, and looking into the vast wilderness of those that sat in darkness; how natural it was to observe the degradation, leanness of intellect, ferocity, and jealousy of a people that were nearly a century behind the times, and to feel for those who roamed about without the benefit of civilization, refinement, or religion; yea, and exclaim in the language of the Prophets: "When will the wilderness blossom as the rose? When will Zion be built up in her glory, and where will Thy temple stand, unto which all nations shall come in the last days?(50)" Our anxiety was soon relieved by receiving the following:
Revelation, given in Zion, July, 1831. [D&C 57](51)
1. Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the Saints.
2. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.
3. And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and the spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court-house.(52)
4. Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the Saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile.
5. And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance.
6. And let my servant Sidney Gilbert stand in the office to which I have appointed him, to receive monies, to be an agent unto the church, to buy land in all the regions round about, inasmuch as can be done in righteousness, and as wisdom shall direct.
7. And let my servant Edward Partridge stand in the office to which I have appointed him, and divide unto the Saints their inheritance, even as I have commanded; and also those whom he has appointed to assist him.(53)
8. And again, verily I say unto you let my servant Sidney Gilbert plant himself in this place, and establish a store, that he may sell goods without fraud, that he may obtain money to buy lands for the good of the Saints, and that he may obtain whatsoever things the disciples may need to plant them in their inheritance.
9. And also let my servant Sidney Gilbert obtain a license--behold here is wisdom, and whoso readeth let him understand--that he may send goods also unto the people, even by whom he will as clerks employed in his service.
10. And thus provide for my saints, that my gospel may be preached unto those who sit in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death.
11. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William W. Phelps be planted in this place, and be established as a printer unto the church.
12. And lo, if the world receive his writings--behold here is wisdom--let him obtain whatsoever he can obtain in righteousness, for the good of the Saints.
13. And let my servant Oliver Cowdery assist him, even as I have commanded, in whatsoever place I shall appoint unto him, to copy, and to correct, and select, that all things may be right before me, as it shall be proved by the Spirit through him.
14. And thus let those of whom I have spoken be planted in the land of Zion, as speedily as can be, with their families, to do those things even as I have spoken.
15. And now concerning the gathering--Let the bishop and the agent make preparations for those families which have been commanded to come to this land, as soon as possible, and plant them in their inheritance.
And unto the residue of both elders and members further directions shall be given hereafter. Even so. Amen.
The first Sabbath after our arrival in Jackson county, Brother W. W. Phelps preached to a western audience over the boundary of the United States, wherein were present specimens of all the families of the earth; Shem, Ham and Japheth; several of the Lamanites or Indians--representative of Shem; quite a respectable number of negroes--descendants of Ham; and the balance was made up of citizens of the surrounding country, and fully represented themselves as pioneers of the West. At this meeting two were baptized, who had previously believed in the fulness of the Gospel.(54)
During this week the Colesville branch, referred to in the latter part of the last revelation,(55) and Sidney Rigdon, Sidney Gilbert and wife and Elders Morley and Booth, arrived. I received the following:
Revelation, given in Zion, August, 1831. [D&C 58](56)
1. Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to my word, and learn of me what I will concerning you, and also concerning this land unto which I have sent you.
2. For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
3. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
4. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.
5. Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow.(57)
6. Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you--that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come;
7. And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand;
8. And also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor; yea, a feast of fat things, of wine on the lees well refined, that the earth may know that the mouths of the prophets shall not fail;
9. Yea, a supper of the house of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited.
10. First, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble;
11. And after that cometh the day of my power; then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come.
12. Behold, I, the Lord, have spoken it.
13. And that the testimony might go forth from Zion, yea, from the mouth of the city of the heritage of God--
14. Yea, for this cause I have sent you hither, and have selected my servant Edward Partridge, and have appointed unto him his mission in this land.
15. But if he repent not of his sins, which are unbelief and blindness of heart, let him take heed lest he fall.(58)
16. Behold his mission is given unto him, and it shall not be given again.
17. And whoso standeth in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children;
18. And to judge his people by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the prophets of God.
19. For verily I say unto you, my law shall be kept on this land.
20. Let no man think he is ruler, but let God rule him that judgeth according to the counsel of his own will, or, in other words, him that counseleth or sitteth upon the judgment seat.
21. Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.
22. Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet.
23. Behold, the laws which ye have received from my hand are the laws of the church, and in this light ye shall hold them forth. Behold, here is wisdom.
24. And now as I spake concerning my servant Edward Partridge, this land is the land of his residence, and those whom he has appointed for his counselors; and also the land of the residence of him whom I have appointed to keep my store-house;
25. Wherefore, let them bring their families to this land, as they shall counsel between themselves and me,
26. For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things, for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness:
28. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
29. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.
30. Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?
31. Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?
32. I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
33. Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.
34. And now I give unto you further directions concerning this land.
35. It is wisdom in me that my servant Martin Harris should be an example unto the church, in laying his monies before the bishop of the church.(59)
36. And also, this is a law unto every man that cometh unto this land to receive an inheritance; and he shall do with his monies according as the law directs.
37. And it is wisdom also that there should be lands purchased in Independence, for the place of the store-house, and also for the house of the printing.
38. And other directions concerning my servant Martin Harris shall be given him of the Spirit, that he may receive his inheritance as seemeth him good;
39. And let him repent of his sins, for he seeketh the praise of the world.
40. And also let my servant William W. Phelps stand in the office which I have appointed him, and receive his inheritance in the land;
41. And also he hath need to repent, for I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me.
42. Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
43. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins--behold he will confess them and forsake them.
44. And now, verily, I say concerning the residue of the elders of my church, the time has not yet come, for many years, for them to receive their inheritance in this land, except they desire it through the prayer of faith, only as it shall be appointed unto them of the Lord.
45. For, behold, they shall push the people together from the ends of the earth.
46. Wherefore, assemble yourselves together; and they who are not appointed to stay in this land, let them preach the gospel in the regions round about; and after that let them return to their homes.
47. Let them preach by the way, and bear testimony of the truth in all places, and call upon the rich, the high and the low, and the poor to repent.
48. And let them build up churches, inasmuch as the inhabitants of the earth will repent.
49. And let there be an agent appointed by the voice of the church, unto the church in Ohio, to receive monies to purchase lands in Zion.
50. And I give unto my servant Sidney Rigdon a commandment, that he shall write a description of the land of Zion, and a statement of the will of God, as it shall be made known by the Spirit unto him;
51. And an epistle and subscription, to be presented unto all the churches to obtain monies, to be put into the hands of the bishop, of himself or the agent, as seemeth him good or as he shall direct, to purchase lands for an inheritance for the children of God.
52. For, behold, verily I say unto you, the Lord willeth that the disciples, and the children of men should open their hearts, even to purchase this whole region of country, as soon as the time will permit.
53. Behold, here is wisdom. Let them do this lest they receive none inheritance, save it be by the shedding of blood.
54. And again, inasmuch as there is land obtained, let there be workmen sent forth of all kinds unto this land, to labor for the saints of God.
55. Let all these things be done in order; and let the privileges of the lands be made known from time to time, by the bishop or the agent of the church.
56. And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight but let it be done as it shall be counseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time.
57. And let my servant Sidney Rigdon consecrate and dedicate this land, and the spot for the temple unto the Lord.(60)
58. And let a conference meeting be called; and after that let my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun., return, and also Oliver Cowdery with them, to accomplish the residue of the work which I have appointed unto them in their own land, and the residue as shall be ruled by the conferences.
59. And let no man return from this land except he bear record by the way of that which he knows and most assuredly believes.
60. Let that which has been bestowed upon Ziba Peterson be taken from him, and let him stand as a member in the church, and labor with his own hands, with the brethren, until he is sufficiently chastened for all his sins; for he confesseth them not, and he thinketh to hide them.
61. Let the residue of the elders of this church, who are coming to this land, some of whom are exceedingly blessed even above measure, also hold a conference upon this land.
62. And let my servant Edward Partridge direct the conference which shall be held by them.
63. And let them also return, preaching the gospel by the way, bearing record of the things which are revealed unto them.
64. For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth--the gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe.
65. And behold the Son of man cometh. Amen.
Return to History page.
Notes Chapter 15
1. This date in the Prophet's narrative is given as the 6th of June, but the minutes of the conference in the Far West Record are dated June 3rd in John Whitmer's History of the Church it is written: "June 3rd 1831, a general conference was called and a blessing promised if the Elders were faithful and humble before Him (i.e. the Lord). Therefore the Elders assembled from the east and from the west from the north and the south and also many members". (p. 21.) Whitmer however speaks of the conference as continuing several days (p. 22.) and then under date of "the 6th of June states that the revelation was given which Joseph the Prophet in the text of his History above speaks of as having been given the day following the close of the conference. The 3rd of June 1831, fell upon Friday, so that the great probability is that this important conference commenced on Friday and continued through Saturday and Sunday, and then before the Elders dispersed on Monday the 6th, the revelation alluded to by the Prophet was given. Previous conferences of a general character usually occupied three days. See p. 118, and hence it is likely that this one did.(BHR)
2. That is, Satan. Joseph had apparently prophesied the event the previous day. John Whitmer gives the following account of the conference and this incident in his history:June 3, 1831, a general conference was called, and a blessing promised, if the elders were faithful, and humble before him. Therefore, the elders assembled from the East and the West, from the North and the South. And also many members. Conference was opened by prayer and exhortation by Joseph Smith, Jr., the Revelator. After the business of the Church was attended to according to the covenants. The Lord made manifest to Joseph that it was necessary that such of the elders as were considered worthy, should be ordained to the High Priesthood.
The spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph in an unusual manner. And prophesied that John the Revelator was then among the ten tribes of Israel who had been led away by Salmanasar King of Israel [should be Assyria], to prepare them for their return, from their long dispersion, to again possess the land of their fathers. He prophesied many more things that I have not written. After he had prophesied he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight [and ordained him] to the High Priesthood after the Holy Order of God. And the spirit fell upon Lyman, and he prophesied, concerning the coming of Christ, he said that there were some in the congregation that should live until the Savior should descend from heaven, with a shout, with all the holy angels with him. He said the coming of the Savior should be, like; the sun rising in the east, and will cover the whole earth, so with the coming of the Son of man be, yea, he will appear in his brightness and consume all before him. And the hills will be laid low, and the valleys be exalted; and the crooked be made straight; and the rough smooth. And some of my brethren shall suffer martyrdom, for the sake of the religion of Jesus Christ, and seal the testimony of Jesus with their blood.
He saw the heavens opened, and the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the Father. Making intercession for his brethren, the Saints. He said that God would work a work in these last days that tongue cannot express, and the mind is not capable to conceive. The glory of the Lord shone around.
At the conference these were ordained to the high priesthood, namely, Lyman Wight, Sidney Rigdon, John Murdock, Reynolds Cahoon, Harvey Whitlock and Hyrum Smith [they] were ordained by Joseph Smith, Jr., except Sidney Rigdon.
The following [were ordained] by Lyman Wight by commandment. Parley P. Pratt, Thomas B. Marsh, Isaac Morley, Edward Partridge, Joseph Wakefield, Ezra Thayer, Martin Harris, Ezra Booth, who denied the faith, Harvey Whitlock denied the faith, also Joseph Wakefield, Joseph Smith, Sen., Joseph Smith, Jr., [and] John Whitmer. The bishop then proceeded and blessed the above named and others by the laying on of hands. Isaac Morley and John Correll [Corrill] were ordained as bishop's counsellors to Edward Partridge.
Joseph Smith, Jr., prophesied the day previous that the man of sin should be revealed. While the Lord poured out his spirit upon his servants, the devil took a notion, to make known his power, he bound Harvey Whitlock and John Murdock so that they could not speak, and others were affected but the Lord showed to Joseph the Seer, the design of the thing, he commanded the devil in the name of Christ and he departed to our joy and comfort.
Therefore a part of the revelation given at Fayette, New York, was fulfilled. The churches of the state of New York had moved to Ohio, with their wives and their children, and all their substance, some purchased farms others rented, and thus they situated themselves as convenient as they could. The day being now far spent and the conference was adjourned.[Book of John Whitmer, typescript, 8-9.]
3. The manner in which the man of sin was revealed and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood manifested is related by John Whitmer in his History of the Church (ch. vii). After giving the names of those who were ordained High Priests the day on which the two powers were manifested he says: "Joseph Smith, Jun. prophesied the day previous that the man of sin would be revealed. While the Lord poured out His Spirit upon His servants, the devil took a notion to make known his power. He bound Harvey Whitlock and John Murdock so that they could not speak, and others were affected but the Lord showed to Joseph, the seer, the design of the thing; he commanded the devil in the name of Christ, and he departed, to our joy and comfort."
Parley P. Pratt also alludes to this subject in his Autobiography. In this conference much instruction was given by President Smith who spoke in great power, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost: and the spirit of power and of testimony rested down upon the Elders in a marvelous manner Here also were some strange manifestations of false spirits which were immediately rebuked." (p. 72.)(BHR)
4. The text of the paragraph was altered by Willard Richards well after it was written; it was then altered again by B. H. Roberts. The original text apparently read:
". . . and the Lord displayed his power in a manner that could not be mistaken. The man of sin was revealed, and the authority of the Melechisedec [the word "priesthood" is inserted here by someone] was manifested and . . ."
Richards finally altered this to read: ". . . and the Lord displayed his power to the most perfect satisfaction of the saints, I conferred the high priesthood for the first time . . ."
A synonym for high priesthood at the time was "order of Melchizedek" according to Ezra Booth (see his second letter to the Painesville Telegraph of Nov. 1, 1831). This is a natural extention of the biblical terminology. Indeed, Joseph Smith's new translation of the Bible, suggests a number of related terms: see his insertion at Gen. 14:24.
It seems that the text Roberts displayed so much anxiety about resulted from not following the correction of Richards who evidently noticed what was probably nothing more than a typographical error. Roberts' motive for going back to the first draft of the text may have been his own problem with the terminology "high priesthood."
Virtually all present occurrences of the word "priesthood" in historical texts of this time period (~1831) (aside from Book of Mormon passages) reflect retroactive insertions. New England protestants tended to view the word with some misgivings, making the connection to European Catholicism. "Mechizedek priesthood" is a term that fails to occur in any contempory revelation or document at this period. Some of the early revelations (like D&C 20 and D&C 68) were updated to reflect the term at the 1835 publication of the D&C. The Moroni visit reference to Elijah revealing the "Priesthood" was not written until 1838. Until 1835, there is no official reference to "priesthood" as a separate notion, there were only "offices" to which a man might be "ordained."
At the time of these events, there was no formal distinction between the "authority pools" from which offices were drawn, the only difference between 'teacher,' 'priest,' and 'elder' was defined in the list of duties in the Articles [D&C 20]. Hence the term Melchizedek Priesthood may have been synonymous for Joseph and other early leaders, if they even knew the term, with the office of "high priest" (Mechizedek's priesthood). [See for example, The Journals of William E. McLellin, ed. John W. Welch, Jan Shipps, (BYU Studies and University of Illinois Press, 1994) 283.]
Thus the notion of "priesthood" in 1831 was quite different from its later incarnation (ca. 1835). The differences are well illustrated by the two "priesthood revelations" [D&C 84 and D&C 107:1-58] from these periods. The "two priesthoods" mentioned in D&C 84 are the "lesser priesthood" and the "high priesthood." High priesthood = "high priest," lesser priesthood = "Aaronic priest." Hence being "ordained to the high priesthood" meant receiving the Church office of "high priest." The words "Holy Priesthood" in this revelation, mean the Church office of "high priest" as does "higher priesthood" and "high priesthood." See verses 29 and 30 of section 84. The usage is precisely that found in Book of Mormon references: Alma 13 - obtaining the "high presthood" meant obtaining the office of "high priest." Effectively we have the following:
While the term "high priesthood" remained another term for the office of high priest during Joseph Smith's lifetime, in his later life (after 1833) he began to use the terms Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthood to refer to reserviors from which various functions or offices may be drawn. See Doctrine and Covenants 107:1-10, especially verse 9 which distinguishes "high priesthood" (high priest) and "Melchizedek Priesthood" as compared to the (chronologically) earlier usage evident in 107:59ff. See notes at p. 235 this volume. Joseph Smith himself however did not always observe these gradually introduced distinctions. The 1835 status of "priesthood" could be illustrated as:
The distinction between the primitive and more developed ideas can be grasped by substituting other common words for priest in priesthood. For example, knighthood vs. neighborhood. One receives the knighthood upon being tapped on the shoulder by the king's sword (ordained). There are other offices which are "appendages" to the knighthood, e.g. "page." In analogy to the 1835 notion, one is "moved into" the neighborhood [priesthood is conferred], and receives a "house" [priesthood office] in the neighborhood.
When Joseph Smith began ordaining high priests, he stated it was the privilege of any elder to receive the high priesthood as worthiness dictated. However, this gradually changed with the 1835 revelation. By this time the system of offices had become more complex. There were apostles, and seventies added. They were not fit into the earlier scheme directly, however in Joseph's April 6, 1837 discourse, he essentially classifies them as part of the high priesthood. Nevertheless, the presiding officer in the church remained one of the "high priesthood" and was "president of the high priesthood." Three high priests served as the governing body of the church.
However, even after the 1835 developments, the practice of receiving a priesthood office remained unchanged for many decades. One was simply ordained to the particular office assigned by the presiding officer. See for example, W. W. Phelps to Sally Phelps, January 3, 1836 (LDS Archives).
A peculiar manifestation of the 1830-1835 shift in concept shows up in the early 20th century. Essentially two methods of ordaining men to priesthood offices existed at that time, corresponding to the two notions of the 1830's (although by then the reasons for the difference had become obscure). One method [apparently based in the 1835 shift] was to lay hands on the recipient's head and then "confer" the appropriate "priesthood" ("we confer upon you the Melchizedek Priesthood") and then ordain to an office (e.g., "and ordain you an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.") The other method [1830 heritage] was to simply ordain the individual to the office, as in "we ordain you an Elder, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and confer upon you all the rights, powers, keys and authority pertaining to this office and calling in the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood . . ." this latter fashion was acknowledged as the one of long standing (and advocated well into the 20th century by some church leaders such as Charles Penrose), but the former eventually became more and more popular (and was suggested by LDS president Joseph F. Smith) and is now the standard form among Utah-based Mormons.
The oddity stems from the fact that some ex-Mormons who advocated plural marriage in the 1920s and onward claimed among many other unique curiosities that the first method was the only "correct way" and anyone ordained in the latter fashion was without authority. Hence such advocates logically imolated their own origins. For an official Mormon response to questions on these methods of ordination, see Messages of the First Presidency vol. 5 pp. 120-121.
The later revelations began to fill out certain facts about the office of high priest:
"Bishops" who are not literal descendants of Aaron, the ancient brother of Moses, must first be ordained high priests before being ordained bishops. This development changed the status of the first bishop, who was ordained a bishop prior to the introduction of the high priesthood. The offices of bishop (noting the literal descendant exception) and elder are "appendages" to the office of high priest [cp. D&C 84:29]. The members of the First Presidency of the Church (the highest Church authority) function in the office of high priest (the high priesthood is the greatest office: D&C 107:64 and the office of high priest is the general office of presidency or leadership in the Church. (D&C 107:9-10,22,64-71) The office of Patriarch in the LDS Church is another hereditary office which, like bishop, may be assumed by a high priest. (D&C 107:39-57)
Finally, the official minutes (see below) of this conference use the term "high priesthood" not Melchizedek Priesthood in referring to the ordinations that took place, contrary to the ms history. This raises the possibility of some kind of composing error in the ms history text. [FWR, 6-7; Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 195; see notes at volume 1 chapters 5 and 17 in this history.]
Parley P. Pratt in his autobiography [completed two decades after this incident] offers this account of the event:
"Several were then selected by revelation, through President Smith, and ordained [Pratt was among them] to the High Priesthood after the order of the Son of God; which is after the order of Melchizedek. This was the first occasion in which this priesthood [from his next remark, it is clear that Pratt means priesthood office here] had been revealed and conferred upon the Elders in this dispensation, although the office of an Elder is the same in a certain degree, but not in the fulness." [Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 68; also LDS D&C 84:29.]
5. A misapprehension has arisen in the minds of some respecting the statement-"The authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders." It has been supposed that this passage meant that the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood was now for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation. This of course is an error, since even before the Church was organized the Apostleship the highest authority in the Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and very probably upon David Whitmer also (See pp. 40-42 note.) the Prophet does not mean that the Melchizedek Priesthood was given for the first time in the Church. It was at this conference, however, that the special office of High Priest was for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation, except in so far as Apostles are also High Priests (Doctrine and Covenants sec. lxxxiv: 63), and of course as there were men who had been ordained to the apostleship before this conference of June 1831 in that manner there had been High Priests in the Church, but not otherwise.(BHR)[See notes above for a more complete discussion.]
6. In addition to the spiritual manifestations already mentioned as having occurred at this conference of June 3rd-6th it should be said that according to John Whitmer's History of the Church (ch. v): "The Spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph in an unusual manner, and he prophesied that John the Revelator was then among the Ten Tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser king of Assyria to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion to again possess the land of their fathers. He prophesied many more things that I have not written After he had prophesied he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight and ordained him to the High Priesthood (i.e. ordained him a High Priest), after the holy order of God And the Spirit fell upon Lyman and he prophesied concerning the coming of Christ He said that there were some in the congregation that should live until the Savior should descend from heaven with a shout, with all the holy angels with Him. He said the coming of the Savior should be like the sun rising in the east, and will cover the whole earth. So with the coming of the Son of Man; yea, He will appear in His brightness and consume all (the wicked) before Him, and the hills will be laid low, and the valleys be exalted, and the crooked be made straight and the rough smooth And some of my brethren shall suffer martyrdom for the sake of the religion of Jesus Christ, and seal their testimony of Jesus Christ, and seal their testimony of Jesus with their blood. He saw the heavens opened and the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father, making intercession for his brethren, the Saints He said that God would work a work in these last days that tongue cannot express and the mind is not capable to conceive. The glory of the Lord shone around."
"The congregation at this conference number two thousand souls."--Cannon's Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, p. 113.
This was the fourth general conference of the Church, the others were held on the 9th of June, 1830; the 26th of September, 1830; and the 2nd of January, 1831, respectively: and all at Fayette, Seneca County, New York.(BHR) [Cannon probably overestimated the attendence at this conference. David Whitmer claims that there were about 2000 members at this point. But it is doubtful any number like this attended the proceedings mentioned above. See the minutes below. This was not a "general" conference in the sense used today since the term as applied in the early period meant that all members were invited - certainly not true of this particular conference.]
7. The official minutes taken by John Whitmer follow:Minutes of a general Conference held in Geauga County Ohio June 3. 1831.
Joseph Smith jr.
Samuel H. Smith
Joseph Smith, sen.
Parley P. Pratt
Thomas B. Marsh
Newel Knight [listed twice]
Major N. Ashley
Conference opened by br. Joseph Smith jr. in exhortation & prayer. Prayer by br. Sidney Rigdon & exhortation by the same. Exhortation by most of the Elders present.
Brs. Lyman Wight John Murdock Reynolds Cahoon Harvey Whitlock & Hyrum Smith were ordained to the high Priesthood under the hand of br. Joseph Smith jr.
Exhortation by brs. Lyman Wight & Harvey Whitlock
Bros. Parley P. Pratt Thomas B. Marsh Isaac Morley Edward Partridge Joseph Wakefield Martin Harris Ezra Thayer Ezra Booth John Corrill Samuel H. Smith Solomon Hancock Simeon Carter Wheeler Baldwin Jacob Scott Joseph Smith sen. John Whitmer Joseph Smith jr. & Sidney Rigdon were ordained to the High Priesthood under the hand of br. Lyman Wight. The Bishop (Edward Partridge) then blessed those who were ordained in the name of Christ according to commandment br. John Corrill & Isaac Morley were ordained assistants to the Bishop under the hand of Lyman Wight.
Exhortation by br. Sidney Rigdon & Joseph Smith jr. closed by prayer by br. Sidney Rigdon.
John Whitmer Clerk
[Note that a previously established pattern was followed here. Joseph Smith had authority from angels (Peter) and used it to ordain to priesthood office, he in turn was ordained by one he had ordained.]
Several other men at the meetings of this conference wrote about their experiences. Levi Hancock stated:The Fourth of June came and we all met in a little string of buildings under the hill near Isaac Morley's in Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio. Then we all went to a school house on the hill about one fourth of a mile ascending nearly all the way. The building was built of logs. It was filled with slab benches, Here the elders were seated and the meeting was opened as usual. Joseph Smith began to speak, he said that the kingdom of Christ that he spoke of that was like a grain of mustard seed was now before him and some should see it put forth its branches and the angels of heaven would some day come like birds to its branches just as the Saviour had said. Some of you shall live to see it come with great glory. Some of you must die for the testimony of this work and he looked at Lyman White [Wight] and said to him, "You shall see the Lord and meet him near the corner of the house and laid his hands upon him and blessed him with the visions of heaven."
Joseph Smith then stepped out on the floor and said, "I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand, let them kill me, I should not feel death as I am now."
Joseph put his hands on Harvey Whitlock and ordained him to the high priesthood. He turned as black as Lyman was white. His fingers were set like claws. He went around the room and showed his hands and tried to speak; his eyes were in the shape of oval O's. Hyrum Smith said, "Joseph, that is not of God." Joseph said, "Do not speak against this." "I will not believe," said Hyrum, "unless you inquire of God and he owns it." Joseph bowed his head, and in a short time got up and commanded Satan to leave Harvey, laying his hands upon his head at the same time. At that very instant an old man said to weigh two hundred and fourteen pounds sitting in the window turned a complete summersault in the house and came his back across a bench and lay helpless. Joseph told Lyman to cast Satan out. He did. The man's name was Leanon [Leman] Coply [Copley], formally a Quaker [Shaker]. The evil spirit left him and as quick lightning Harvey Green fell bound and screamed like a panther. Satan was cast out of him. But immediately entered someone else. This continued all day and the greater part of the night. But to return to the meeting, Joseph said, "Now if you elders have sinned it will do you no good to preach if you have not repented. Heamon [Heman] Bassett you sit still the Devil wants to sift you. . ." Then he ordained Jacob Scott and some others to the High Priesthood. He came to Zebidee [Zebedee] Coltrin and myself and told us that we had another calling as high as any man in the house [four years later in 1835 they were among the Seventy]. I was glad for that for I was so scared I would not stir without his liberty for all the world. I knew the things I had seen was not made.
Joseph said that John was to tarry until Christ came. He is now with the ten tribes preaching to them and when we can get ready for them they will come.
Joseph Smith called Lyman White [Wight] and laid his hands on his head and say what God should tell him to say. He did and the blessing was so long I cannot write it.
After this we went down to the house and heard Harvey Whitlock say when Hyrum Smith said it was not God, he disdained him in his heart and when the Devil was cast out he was convinced it was Satan that was in him and he knew it then. I also heard Harvey Green say that he could not describe the awful feeling he experienced while in the hands of Satan.
On June the fifth  we all assembled on the hill in a field where there was a large concourse of people collected. Lyman White [Wight] spoke and gave a fine discourse.
The Prophet Joseph said that from that time on the elders would have large congregations to speak to and they must soon take their departure into the regions West. When the meeting was out we went to Gilberts and Solomon [Hancock] sang some songs and we talked with brother Whitmer and told him what happened at the conference. He asked me if what Joseph had said was fulfilled about someone seeing the Lord. I told him I considered it so. "Do you?" said he. "Yes sir," said I. "Were you not there?" I understood him not.
When night came Solomon and I, Wheeler Baldwin and some others started to my father's, we walked heavily, some said that they felt as if they would be seized by Satan. Others that they felt as though the Devil and his angels were hanging about them. I kept my feelings to myself, until we came to the mill pond of Mr. Fergdsons about a half or a little over the distance we had to go that night. When we had got against the pond which was about fourteen rods across and very deep, I said, "Let us pray." So we all kneeled down and prayed around a circle as soon as the last one got through about nine o'clock at night and the moon shown brightly. A sudden bray of a jackass was heard about twenty feet behind us. We looked and could see nothing and nothing in the way. It started toward the pond braying all the time. I never had seen one in my life and I know that there was none about there for I was well acquainted there. I heard how they brayed. The most of our company had seen them. This braying continued across the pond and ascended the high hills on the other side until it grew less and less distinct until it got out of hearing.
"There," said Brother Baldwin. "This proves to me that this work is true, for we all prayed for assistance; the Devil ran away." . . .[Levi Hancock Autobiography, typescript, p. 33-34]
Philo Dibble gave a similar account of the meetings:I saw Joseph Smith the Prophet when he first came to Kirtland, and was with him in the first conference held in that place, which was in a small schoolhouse. When he arose in our midst he said that before the conference closed there were those present who should see the heavens open and bear record of the coming of the Son of Man, and that the man of sin should be revealed.
While he talked he laid his hand upon the head of Lyman Wight. He then laid his left hand upon the head of Harvey Whitlock. Lyman Wight stepped into the middle of the room and bore record of the coming of the Son of Man. Then Harvey Whitlock stepped into the middle the room with his arms crossed, bound by the power of Satan, and his mouth twisted unshapely.
Hyrum Smith arose and declared that there was an evil spirit in the room.
Joseph said, "Don't be too hasty," and Hyrum sat down.
Shortly Hyrum rose the second time, saying, "I know my duty and will do it," and stepping to Harvey, commanded the evil spirits to leave him, but the spirits did not obey.
Joseph then approached Harvey and asked him if he believed in God. Then we saw a change in Harvey. He also bore record of the opening of the heavens and of the coming of the Son of Man, precisely as Lyman Wight had done.
Next a man by the name of Harvey Green was thrown upon his back on the floor by an unseen power. Some of the brethren wanted to administer to him by laying on of hands, but Joseph forbade it. Harvey looked to me like a man in a fit. He groaned and frothed at the mouth. Finally he got upon his knees and came out of it.
Next thing I saw a man came flying through the window from outside. He was straight as a man's arm as he sailed into the room over two rows of seats filled with men, and fell on the floor between the seats and was pulled out by the brethren. He trembled all over like a leaf in the wind. He was soon apparently calm and natural. His name was Lemon Copley. He weighed over two hundred pounds. This I saw with my own eyes and know it is all true, and bear testimony to it. [Philo Dibble "Recollections," Juvenile Instructor 27 (1892), 303]
David Whitmer in his Address to all Believers . . . wrote about the meetings:In Kirtland, Ohio, in June, 1831, at a conference of the church, the first high priests were ordained into the church. Brother Joseph ordained Lyman Wight, John Murdock, Harvey Whitlock, Hyrum Smith, Reynold[s] Cahoon and others to the office of a high priest. When they were ordained, right there at the time, the devil caught and bound Harvey Whitlock so he could not speak, his face being twisted into demon-like shape. Also John Murdock and others were caught by the devil in a similar manner. . . I was not at that conference, being then in Hiram, which is near Kirtland, Ohio. I also have the testimony of Harvey Whitlock whom the devil caught and bound: also John Whitmer, who was present, and others who were present at the time, so I know it is true. John Whitmer wrote this in the church history when he was in full fellowship with the church.David Whitmer later felt Joseph Smith had gone astray with this new office. The ordination of high priests was one of several complaints Whitmer had against Joseph Smith, although he accepted it at the time.
8. Joseph Smith may have received this revelation or something related to it as a vision.. . . I removed from Seneca county, N. Y. to Geauga county, Ohio, in February, 1831. Having received, by an heavenly vision [D&C 52:3-5] a commandment, in June following, to take my journey to the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and there designate the very spot, which was to be the central spot, for the commencement of the gathering together of those who embrace the fulness of the everlasting gospel I accordingly undertook the journey . . . [MA Sept 1835, p. 179]Several missionary companionships [32 elders or high priests] were called by this revelation to go to Missouri preaching by the way. Earliest publication in BC, chapter 54. A ms exists, undated but probably earlier than BC. No variations beyond the trivial exist among copies of this revelation. The date of this revelation is probably June 6, 1831, but the text suggests a date of June 4.[Woodford]
9. Lyman Wight, b. May 9, 1796 at Fairfield, Herkimer County, NY to Levi Wight and Sarah Cardin, served short time in the War of 1812. M. Harriet Benton January 5, 1823 at Henrietta, New York. Six children: Orange Lysander, Anna Christinia, Rosina Minerva, Lyman Lehi, Levi Lamoni, and Loamni Limhi. Moved to Warrensville, Ohio, about 1826; remained until 1829. Joined Sidney Rigdon and Campbellite movement May 1829. Entered into covenant of "common stock" with Isaac Morley and Titus Billings. Moved to Kirtland February 1830. Baptized November 14, 1830. Confirmed November 18, 1830. Ordained elder November 20, 1830. Ordained to High Priesthood June 3, 1831. Appointed to travel to Missouri with John Corrill June 1831. Arrived in Jackson County, Missouri, August 12, 1831. With others, mission to Cincinnati, Ohio, January 26, 1832; baptized approximately one hundred persons. Returned to Independence, MO July 14, 1832. Traveled extensively recruiting for Zion's camp. Attended School of Prophets 1835-36. Participated in dedication of Kirtland Temple March 27, 1836. Returned to Missouri in early May 1836. Moved to Caldwell County, Missouri, February 1837. Moved to Adam-Ondi-Ahman February 1, 1838. Appointed counselor in Adam-Ondi-Ahman Stake presidency June 28, 1838. Arrested November 1838. Incarcerated November 1838-April 1839 at Liberty Jail. No conviction. Escaped from law enforcement officers April 16, 1839. Located temporarily in Quincy, Illinois, in summer of 1839. Counselor in Zarahemla Stake presidency October 19, 1839 in Lee County, Iowa. Appointed to temple committee January 1841. Ordained apostle April 8, 1841. Served successful mission in the east. On July 22, 1843 left with family and about one hundred fifty others for Black River (above LaCrosse, Wisconsin); there Nauvoo House committee had purchased pinery to provide lumber for homes, temple, and Nauvoo House. Preached to Indians while in Wisconsin. While on Black River, with others conceived idea of going to Texas to establish gathering place for southern converts. Returned to Nauvoo May 1, 1844. First attended a meeting of Council of Fifty 3 May 1844. Received endowment May 14, 1844. On May 21, 1844 left Nauvoo on mission to advocate Joseph Smith for President of United States. Arrived in Nauvoo August 6, 1844, after Prophet's death. In accord with decisions of Council of Fifty of 1844-45, spent winter on Black River anticipating move to Texas in spring of 1845. With about one hundred fifty others, left Wisconsin March 28, 1845, traveling down Mississippi for Texas. Married first plural wife, Mary Hawley, 1845. Two children: Miamomento and Romanon. Married Mary Ann Otis. Three children: Carrina, Rollondo, and infant. Married Margaret Ballentine. One known child: John W. Sustained as member of Quorum of Twelve Apostles until 1848. Cut off from Church December 3, 1848 because of his pamphlet entitled "An Address by way of an abridged account and journal of my life from February 1844, up to April 1848, with an appeal to the Latter-day Saints, scattered abroad in the earth … " [Austin, Texas(?), 1848] which rejected leadership of Twelve Apostles. Elected chief justice of Gillespie County, Texas, 1850. In 1851, after floods destroyed his colony in Zodiac, group moved to Hamilton's Creek, about eight miles south of Burnet. In 1853 colony moved to site on Medina River, twelve miles south of Bandera, Texas. Called new location Mountain Valley. D. March 31, 1858 at Dexter, Medina County, Texas, about eight miles from San Antonio. Buried at Zodiac.[RJS, 82, PJS 1:523.]
10. John Murdock, b. July 15, 1792, to John Murdock and Eleanor Riggs at Kortright, Delaware County, New York. Moved to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, about 1820. Joined with Sidney Rigdon in Campbellite movement about 1827. M. Julia Clapp December 14, 1823. Five children: Office, John Riggs, Phebe, Joseph, and Julia. Baptized by Parley P. Pratt November 5, 1830. Ordained elder November 1830. Wife, Julia, died April 30, 1831. Appointed by revelation to travel to Jackson County, Missouri, with Hyrum Smith June 1831. Ordained high priest June 6, 1831. Returned to Ohio from Missouri June 1832. Appointed to preach in "eastern countries" August 1832. Preached in Kirtland area September 1832-April 1833. Attended School of Prophets 1833. Served numerous short missions. Member of Zion's Camp 1834. Member Clay County high council July 7, 1834. Married Amoranda Turner February 4, 1836 in New York. No children. Assisted in settling Far West, Missouri, 1836. Member of Far West high council. Wife, Amoranda, died August 16, 1837. Married Electa Allen May 3, 1838. Three children: Gideon, Rachel, and Hyrum Smith. Appointed to settle DeWitt, Missouri, June 1838. Expelled from Missouri February 1839. Settled near Lima, Illinois; resided until 1841. Moved to Nauvoo in spring of 1841. Ordained bishop of Nauvoo Ward August 20, 1842; served until November 29, 1844. Mission to East November 1844. Wife, Electa, died October 16, 1845. Married Sarah Zuflet March 13, 1846 in Fulton County, Illinois. Two children: George Weire (adopted) and Brigham Young. Left Illinois for West May 1846. Arrived in Salt Lake Valley September 24, 1847. Member of Salt Lake high council. Appointed bishop of Salt Lake Fourteenth Ward February 14, 1849. Left on mission to Australia March 12, 1851. Arrived in Sydney October 30, 1851. Left for Utah June 4, 1852. Arrived in Salt Lake City January 23, 1853. Ordained patriarch April 9, 1854 by Heber C. Kimball. Resided in Lehi, Utah, 1854-67. Moved to Beaver, Utah, 1867. D. December 23, 1871. [RJS, 79]
11. Isaac Morley, b. March 11, 1786 at Montague, Mass. to Thomas Morley and Edith Marsh Served in War of 1812. Married Lucy Gunn in Mass. June 20, 1812. Seven known children: Philena, Lucy Diantha, Editha Ann, Calista, Cordelia, Theresa A., and Isaac, Jr. Moved to Western Reserve before 1830. Assisted in introducing agriculture to Western Reserve. Baptized November 15, 1830. Ordained elder shortly thereafter. Cooper by trade. Ordained high priest June 3, 1831 and set apart as counselor to Bishop Edward Partridge. Appointed by revelation to travel to Missouri with Ezra Booth June 1831. Arrived in Jackson County July 1831. On September 11, 1831 chastised for unbelief and directed to sell farm in Kirtland and locate in Missouri. Member of Independence Branch in Jackson County. Suffered persecution in Jackson County, Missouri, 1833. Participated in dedication of Kirtland Temple March 1836. Ordained patriarch November 7, 1837. Located at Yelrome, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1839. Appointed president of Lima Stake October 22, 1840. After stake disorganized, appointed president of branch of Church at Lima on June 11, 1843. Received endowment December 23, 1843. Moved to Nauvoo 1845. Sealed to Harriet Lenora Snow 1846. No children. Sealed to Hannah Blakesley January 14, 1846. Three children: Joseph Lamoni, Simeon Thomas, and Mary Lenora. Left Nauvoo 1847. Settled at Winter Quarters until 1848; emigrated to Utah. Appointed presiding member of the Salt Lake high council February 15, 1849. Settled Sanpete Valley 1849. Member of general assembly of Provisional State of Deseret. Member of Utah Territorial Legislature 1851-55. D. June 24, 1865 at Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah.
12. Ezra Booth, b. 1792, Conn. Removed to Nelson, Ohio, by 1819. M. Dorcas Taylor March 10, 1819. Methodist minister. Converted to Church through miraculous healing of Elsa Johnson's arm about May 1831. Ordained elder before June 1831. Ordained high priest June 3, 1831 by Lyman Wight. Appointed to travel to Missouri with Isaac Morley June 1831. Attended Church conference in Jackson County, Missouri August 4, 1831. Directed to purchase canoes for Ohio elders returning to East. Arrived in Ohio by September 1, 1831. Mission to Missouri; there became disillusioned and lost faith in Joseph Smith's divine calling. Fellowship withdrawn September 6, 1831. Chastised September 11, 1831, for evil actions. Officially denounced Mormonism September 12, 1831. Considered first Mormon apostate to publish anti-Mormon literature. Authored nine letters against Church; published them in Ohio Star (October-December 1831). Residing in Mantua, Portage County, Ohio, 1860; owned farm.[RJS, 72.] One account of Booth's conversion was given in A. S. Hayden's Early History of the Disciples (1876): "Ezra Booth, of Mantua, a Methodist preacher of much more than ordinary culture, and with strong natural abilities, in company with his wife, Mr. And Mrs. (John) Johnson, and some other citizens of this place [Hiram, Ohio], visited Smith at his home in Kirtland, in [May] 1831. Mrs. Johnson had been afflicted for some time with a lame arm, and was not at the time of the visit able to lift her hand to her head. The party visited Smith partly out of curiosity, and partly to see for themselves what there might be in the new doctrine. During the interview, the conversation turned on the subject of supernatural gifts, such as were conferred in the days of the apostles. Some one said, "Here is Mrs. Johnson with a lame arm; has God given any power to men now on the earth to cure her?" A few moments later, when the conversation had turned in another direction, Smith rose, and walking across the room, taking Mrs. Johnson by the hand, said in the most solemn and impressive manner: 'Woman, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command thee to be whole,' and immediately left the room. "The company were awe-stricken at the infinite presumption of the man, and the calm assurance with which he spoke. The sudden mental and moral shock -- know not how better to explain the well attested fact--Mrs. Johnson at once lifted it up with ease, and on here return home the next day she was able to do her washing without difficulty or pain."[Account of B. A. Hinsdale, president of Hiram (Ohio) college, given at funeral sermon of Simonds Ryder, 1870]
13. Harvey Gilman Whitlock was born 1809 in Massachusetts (lists birthplace as New Hampshire in 1880 census). M. Minerva Abbott 21 Nov. 1830, Ohio. Eight known children: Almon, Sally, Sclota (Kitty?), Herman, Hamer, Oscar, Maloni, and Parintha. Baptized and ordained elder before June 1831. One of the first high priests ordained 3 June 1831 by Joseph Smith. Appointed by revelation to travel to Jackson County, Missouri, with David Whitmer, June 1831. Located his family in Missouri in 1831. Member of the Whitmer Branch. Expelled from Jackson County, Missouri, 1833 by the mob. Stripped of priesthood and membership 1835. In September 1835 he wrote to Joseph Smith: "I have fallen from that princely station whereunto our God has called me . . . I have sunk myself in crimes of the deepest dye." Revelation was given on 16 November 1835 counseled Whitlock to forsake sins, pursue virtuous life, and go immediately to Kirtland. On 30 January 1836 conference of First Presidency authorized Whitlock to be rebaptized and ordained high priest. Withdrew from Church during Missouri difficulties 1838. Residing in Cedar County, Iowa, 1840. Member of the "Grand Council" of the Sidney Rigdon's Church in 1846. Moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, by 1850; there listed as an MD in US Census. In February 1851 he was arrested as an accessory to theft. Resided for a time at Springville, Utah. Harvey was rebaptized about 1858. Cut off again January 1859. He moved to California by 1864 and there joined the Reorganized LDS church and served as president of the Pacific Slope. Excommunicated from the RLDS Church, 1868. (1880 census lists a Harvey G. Whitlock, physician living with son-in-law Samuel L. Ganow at Bishops Creek, Inyo, California - listed as a widower - but Minerva died 1896 Watsonville, CA) Died 6 June 1885, at Watsonville, California. [RJS, 81; PJS vol. II. 1880 US Census; 1850 US Census; Family records; LDS Church temple records, Brigham Young office journals, Journal History of the Church.]
14. Solomon Hancock, b. Aug. 14, 1793 Springfield, Maselectrified the rheumatic arms. to Thomas Hancock and Amy Ward. Moved with family to Ontario County, New York, about 1805. Joined Methodist Church 1814. Fine singer. M. Alta Adams March 12, 1815. Ten known children: Leucina, Rufus, Eliza, Joseph, Charles, George Washington, Asael, Agnus, Nephi, and Ammaron. Residing in Wolcott, Ontario County, New York, 1820. Settled in Chagrin, Ohio, by 1830. Baptized by December 1830. Ordained elder before June 1831. On June 23, 1834, chosen to receive "endowment" in Kirtland. Wife Alta, died January 18, 1835. M. Phebe Adams June 28, 1836. Five known children: Isaac, Alta, Solomon, Elijah, and Jacob. Sung hymn at dedication of Far West temple site July 4, 1838. Presided over Yelrome Branch 1844. Received endowment January 17, 1846. Left Illinois April 1846. Located in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. D. December 2, 1847. [RJS,77.]
15. Simeon Carter, b. July 7, 1794 at Killingworth, Conn. to Gideon Carter and Johanah Sims. Family resided in Massachusetts 1810-20. M. Lydia Kenyon December 2, 1818: Three children. Moved to Amherst, Ohio, by 1830. Baptized February 22, 1831. Ordained elder by June 1831. Ordained high priest June 3, 1831 by Lyman Wight. Appointed to preside over Branch Number Nine in Jackson County September 11, 1833. On June 23, 1834 appointed to receive "endowment" in Kirtland Temple. Member of Far West high council. Received endowment December 15, 1845 in Nauvoo Temple. Sealed in Nauvoo Temple to Hannah Dunham (born 1800 in Vermont) January 19, 1846. Mission to England 1846-49. M. Louisa Holland Gibbons November 14, 1849. Three children: Simeon, Louisa, and Samuel. Arrived in Salt Lake Valley August 15, 1850. Located in Brigham City, Box Elder County, Utah. D. February 1869.
16. Edson Fuller, b. 1809 in NY Carpenter. M. Celira (born 1811 in Ohio) about 1830. Six known children: Coryeden, Ceylor, Ellen, Elma, William, and Orrin. Resided in Chardon, Ohio, from at least 1830 to 1843; there joined Church early 1831. Ordained elder before June 3, 1831. Appointed by revelation to travel to Jackson County, Missouri, with Jacob Scott June 6, 1831. Apparently did not go to Missouri but did preach gospel and baptize converts in Western Reserve. (Baptized David Johnson, brother to Benjamin F. Johnson.) Troubled with false spirits soon after baptism (see notes above). Stripped of priesthood September 1, 1831, shortly thereafter denied faith. Moved to Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, by 1850. [RJS, 76.]
17. Jacob Scott, baptized and ordained elder before June 1831. Ordained high priest June 3, 1831. Appointed by revelation to travel to Jackson County, Missouri, with Edson Fuller June 6, 1831; apparently did not go. Left Church 1831. Positive identification cannot be made, but this Jacob Scott was not the man who join the Church in Upper Canada and is mentioned in MA (May 1837) p. 511. [RJS, 81]
18. Levi Ward Hancock, b. April 7, 1803 to Thomas Hancock and Amy Ward. in Old Springfield, Mass. Moved with family to Ontario County, New York, 1805. Moved to Chagrin, Ohio, about 1820. Cabinetmaker by trade and good musician. Baptized by Parley P. Pratt November 16, 1830. Ordained elder soon thereafter by Oliver Cowdery. Successful missionary. M. Clarissa Reed 1833. Eight children: Mosiah, Sariah, Elizabeth Amy, Francis Marion, John Reed, Levison, Levi W., and Joseph Smith. Member of Zion's Camp 1834. Ordained seventy February 28, 1835. Ordained president of First Quorum of Seventy shortly thereafter; served in position until death. Moved to Missouri 1838. Located in Nauvoo 1839. Member of Nauvoo Legion. Received endowment December 12, 1845. Left Illinois for West 1846. Member of Mormon Battalion July 1846-July 1847. Arrived in Salt Lake City October 1847. M. Emily Melissa Richey before 1849. Three known children: Emily Melissa, Temperance, and Levi W. Residing in Salt Lake City 1850. Located in Payson, Utah, 1850-51. Elected representative to territorial government from Utah County September 1851. Assisted in settling Manti, Sanpete County; there elected territorial representative 1852. Appointed to preach gospel along Wasatch Front October 1852. Back to Payson by 1855. M. Anne Tew July 1857. Seven children: Levison, Zenis, Zenil, Ether Thomas, Cyrus, Solomon, and Samuel. Located in Salt Lake Tenth Ward by 1862. Appointed to go on cotton mission November 1862. Returned to Salt Lake City by 1863. About 1866 moved to Southern Utah and assisted in settling Harrisburg, Leeds, and Washington. Ordained patriarch 1872. M. Elizabeth Woodville Hovey and Mary Mogen. No known children. D. in Washington, Washington County, Utah, June 1882. [RJS, 76.]
19. Zebedee Coltrin, b. Sept. 7, 1804, to John Coltrin and Sarah Graham at Ovid, Seneca County, New York. Moved with family to Geauga County, Ohio, 1814; settled in Strongsville, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, shortly thereafter. M. Julia Ann Jennings (born 1813 in Pennsylvania) before April 1828. Apparently had five children, all of whom died in infancy. Baptized January 9, 1831 by Solomon Hancock. Confirmed January 19, 1831 by Lyman Wight. Ordained elder January 21, 1831 by John Whitmer. Ordained high priest by Reynolds Cahoon July 17, 1832. Attended School of Prophets 1833. On Feb. 20, 1834 appointed to preach in Upper Canada. Member of Zion's Camp 1834. Ordained seventy February 28, 1835. Ordained president of First Quorum of Seventy March 1, 1835. Attended School of Elders in Kirtland 1836. Attended dedication of Kirtland Temple 1836. Settled in Nauvoo 1839. Later moved to Kirtland; there chosen counselor in Kirtland Stake presidency May 22, 1841. Returned to Nauvoo by 1842. Assisted in rescuing Joseph Smith from Dixon arrest 1843. Received endowment December 22, 1845. Left Illinois with Saints 1846. Located in Winter Quarters. Arrived in Salt Lake Valley July 24, 1847. Returned to Winter Quarters November 1847. Took family to Utah 1851. Directed to locate in Spanish Fork, Utah, 1852. Ordained patriarch May 31, 1873 by John Taylor. Married Mary Mlott. Eight known children: John Graham, Mary Mlott, Zebedee, Haman, Electa, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Hugh. D. in Spanish Fork, Utah County, Utah, July 21, 1887. [RJS, 75.]
20. Reynolds Cahoon, b. April 30, 1790 to William Cahoon and Mehitabel Hodge at Cambridge, Washington County, NY. M. Thirza Stiles December 11, 1810. Seven children: William F., Leroni Eliza, Pulaski, Daniel, Andrew, Julia, and Mahonri Moriancumer. Moved to Western Reserve 1811; began farming. Soldier in War of 1812. Located near Kirtland, Ohio, 1825. Baptized October 11, 1830 by Parley P. Pratt. Shortly after baptism, ordained elder by Sidney Rigdon. Ordained high priest June 3, 1831 by Joseph Smith. Ordained counselor to Bishop Newel K. Whitney February 10, 1832. Member temple committee, Kirtland. Located in Iowa after Mormon explusion from Missouri. Received endowment October 12, 1843. Member of Council of Fifty March 11, 1844. Received patriarchal blessing January 24, 1845 from John Smith. Sealed to Lucina Roberts Johnson (born 1806 in Vermont) January 16, 1846. Three children: Lucina, Rais, and Truman. Sealed to Mary Hildrath January 16, 1846. No known children. Located in Winter Quarters 1846. Arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 23, 1848. D. in South Cottonwood Ward, Salt Lake County, Utah, 1862.[RJS, 73; PJS 1:477.]
21. Wheeler Baldwin, b. March 1793 at Albany County, NY. Living in Strongsville, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1830. Married Mary (b. July 1793). Baptized Jan. 8, 1831. Ordained elder before June 3, 1831. Ordained high priest June 3, 1831 by Lyman Wight. Appointed to travel to Missouri June 1831; apparently did not go. Attended Orange, Ohio, conference October 25-26, 1831; there stated he rejoiced to hear testimonies of those who had been "up to the land of Zion." Moved to Jackson County, Missouri, by October 5, 1832. Settled in Caldwell County, Missouri, by 1836; owned property. On 6 March 1840, Iowa high council appointed Wheeler Baldwin, Lyman Wight, and Abraham O. Smoot to obtain affidavits and other documents to be forwarded to Washington, D.C. Received endowment January 7, 1846 in Nauvoo Temple. Did not move to Utah. Joined Alpheus Cutler's group in Mills County, Iowa, about 1852. Moved with Cutlerites to Manti, Fremont County, Iowa, in 1854. Joined RLDS in March 1863. Presided over RLDS branches in the counties of Mills, Fremont, Taylor, and Page (Iowa). D. May 11, 1887, near Stewartsville, Missouri.[RJS, 72.]
22. William Carter, baptized and ordained elder before June 3, 1831. Appointed by revelation to travel to Missouri with Wheeler Baldwin June 6, 1831; apparently did not go. Stripped of priesthood September 1, 1831. Positive identification cannot be made, but was not "one of the Utah pioneers who put the first ploughs into the ground and planted the first potatoes in Salt Lake Valley."[Second Carter mentioned, Clayton pioneer journal, p. 75; W. Woodruff address, July 24, 1888; RJS, 75.]
23. Selah J. Griffin, b. abt. 1792. Blacksmith. One known child: Loyal C.R. Residing in Morgan, Ashtabula County, Ohio, 1820. Moved to Kirtland before 1827. Elected supervisor of highways for Kirtland April 2, 1827. Joined Church in Kirtland before June 1831. Ordained elder June 6, 1831 by Joseph Smith. Appointed by revelation to travel to Jackson County, Missouri, with Newel Knight June 1831. Subsequently directed to travel with Thomas B. Marsh. After completing mission, moved family to Jackson County, Missouri; resided in Independence Branch. Located in Clay County, Missouri, November 1833. Visited Kirtland area 1835-36. Ordained seventy 1836. Resided in Caldwell County, Missouri. Expelled from Missouri 1839. Filed affidavit January 1840 for loss of personal property in Missouri. Residing in Knox County, Illinois, 1840. Did not migrate West with Saints.[RJS, 76.]
24. Solomon Humphrey b. Sept. 23, 1775 to Solomon Humphrey and Lucy Case at Canton, Hartford County, Connecticut. Married Ursula Andrews. One known child: Luther. Residing in St. Lawrence County, New York, 1830. Converted to Church by Don Carlos Smith 1831. Ordained elder before June 1831. In June 1831 appointed by revelation to accompany Joseph H. Wakefield on mission to "eastern lands"; preached in St. Lawrence County, New York, and surrounding areas; there baptized George A. Smith Sept. 10, 1832. Assisted in laying foundation stones of Kirtland Temple July 23, 1833. Member of Zion's Camp 1834. Volunteered to preach gospel in Missouri August 1834. D. Sept. 1834 in Clay County, MO. [RJS, 78.]
25. Heman Bassett, b. 1814. Baptized and ordained elder by spring of 1831. One of first to withdraw from Church in Ohio. Active participant in abnormal spiritual activities in Kirtland, Ohio, early 1831 (see previous notes). Living on Morley farm "family" February 1831. By May 1831 had declared Mormonism hoax. D. 1876 in Philadelphia, Penn.[RJS, 72.]
26. Simonds Ryder, b. Nov. 20, 1792 at Hartford, Washington County, Vermont. Moved to Hiram, Ohio, Jan. 6, 1814 with colony from Vermont. Married Mahitable Loomis (born 1799 and also from Vermont) November 1818. Joined Campbellite movement May 1828; appointed to oversee members in Hiram, Ohio. Baptized into LDS church in spring of 1831. Ordained elder June 6, 1831. Letter of appointment and license to preach both misspelled last name. Later used error as pretense to show call was not divinely inspired. Left Church in fall of 1831. Assisted others in tarring and feathering Joseph Smith March 24, 1832 in Hiram, Ohio. Later regained confidence with Campbellites. Remained in Hiram. Farmer of some prominence. Died August 1, 1870 in Hiram, Ohio. [RJS, 81.]
27. Jared Carter, b. June 14, 1801 to Gideon Carter and Johanah Sims at Benson, Rutland County, Vermont. M. Lydia Ames Sept. 20, 1825. Nine known children: Evaline, Ellen, Orlando, Clark, Lydia, Jared, David, Rosabella, and Joseph. Residing in Chenango, Broome County, New York, 1830. Baptized February 1831 by Hyrum Smith. Moved to Amherst, Ohio, 1831. Ordained elder by September 1831. Served several missions in east. Assisted in laying foundation stones of Kirtland Temple July 23, 1833. Tried before Church court Sept. 16, 1835 for "rebelling against the advice and counsel" of First Presidency as well as for "erring in judgment." Acquitted upon humble confession. Participated in dedication of Kirtland Temple March 1836. Appointed member of Far West high council March 1838. Expelled from Missouri 1839; located in Nauvoo, Ill. Accused of being in league with George W. Robinson, Sidney Rigdon, and John C. Bennett March 1843. Became disaffected in 1843. Subsequently became reconciled. Disfellowshipped Sept. 8, 1844. On Sept. 16, 1844, made confession for errors and promised to return to Church. Member of Yoree Branch of Church in Chicago, Ill. Jan. 1847. D. 1849 in Ill. [RJS, 73; PJS 1:479.]
28. George Fitch James, b. 1797, Mass. M. Caroline C. (b. Conn.) Moved to Ohio by 1820. Located in Brownhelm, Lorain County, Ohio, by 1830. Three known children: Stephen, William, and Frederick. Stepdaughter, Jane A. Baptized by June 1831. Appointed to be ordained priest June 1831. Ordained elder by Hyrum Smith Nov. 18, 1831. Disfellowshipped. On April 4, 1834 council of high priests reconsidered complaint against James and extended hand of fellowship. Additional charges brought November 1834. Did not gather with Saints in Missouri or Illinois. In 1844 contacted by Simeon Carter and encouraged to move to Nauvoo. Despite promise to do so, remained in Ohio. Listed in 1850 census as farmer with assets of $1,000. Died in Brownhelm, Lorain County, Ohio, November 1864. Widow died in Nebraska. [RJS, 78.]
29. Algernon Sidney Gilbert, b. 1789 to Eli Gilbert at New Haven, Conn. M. Elizabeth Van Benthusen Sept. 30, 1823. One known child: Loyal. Merchant at Painesville and then partner of Newel K. Whitney in the firm Gilbert & Whitney, Kirtland, Ohio, before 1830. Baptized about December 1830. Ordained elder June 6, 1831. Arrived in Independence with wife about July 25, 1831. While in Missouri, appointed by revelation to locate in Jackson County and serve as bishop's agent. Returned to Ohio with William W. Phelps August 1831. Arrived before Sept. 1, 1831. Moved to Independence before December 1831. Operated branch of Gilbert-Whitney store in Independence 1831-33. Ordained high priest April 26, 1832. Member of United Firm April 26, 1832. Expelled from Jackson County in fall of 1833. Located in Clay County, Missouri, 1833. On June 23, 1834 appointed to receive "endowment" in Kirtland. Died of cholera in Zion's camp, June 29, 1834 in Clay County, Missouri. Widow died in Utah. [RJS, 84; PJS 1:486.] Gilbert was apparently named for 17th century British libertarian Algernon Sidney. Sidney's ideas were highly regared among some American thinkers during the Revolution. [See James Conniff, " Reason and History in Early Whig Thought: The Case of Algernon Sidney," Journal of the History of Ideas. 43 (1982): 397-416.]
30. This revelation must have been received before June 19, 1831 when Joseph Smith left for Missiouri. The only change in the text of this revelation between the earliest copies to the present was made in the 1921 edition of the D&C. In verse 3 the current version reads "ordination" while the earlier texts read "ordinances." One ms exists in the handwriting of Sidney Rigdon. It may be the original dictated ms. It is found in the Newell K. Whitney collection at Brigham Young University. Another copy exists in the hand of Gilbert himself. The revelation was first published in 1833 as chapter 55 of the BC. [Woodford]
31. It is difficult to determine with exactness in what the transgressions of the saints at Thompson consisted but it is evident that selfishness and rebellion were at the bottom of their trouble, and that Leman Copley and Ezra Thayre were immediately concerned in it. The saints comprising the Colesville branch when they arrived at the gathering place, in Ohio were advised to remain together and were settled at Thompson, a place in the vicinity of Kirtland. On their arrival Bishop Edward Partridge urged the Prophet Joseph to inquire of the Lord concerning the manner of settling them, and providing for them. Whereupon the Prophet inquired of the Lord and received the revelation found on page 173. It will be seen from that revelation that the saints of the Colesville branch were to be organized under the law of consecration and stewardship. That is, in brief the saints were to make a consecration of whatsoever things they possessed unto the Bishop and then each man receive from the Bishop a stewardship. Every man was to be equal in his stewardship, according to his family, his circumstances, and his needs. For details in the matter the reader is referred to the revelation itself. It is evident that some of the brethren already living at Thompson, had agreed to enter into the law of consecration and stewardship with the Saints from Colesville; and that afterwards they broke this covenant. Among these were Leman Copley and Ezra Thayre. "A man by the name of Copley," says Newel Knight in his journal, "had a considerable tract of land there in Thompson which he offered to let the saints occupy. Consequently a contract was agreed upon and we commenced work in good faith. But in a short time Copley broke the engagement, and I went to Kirtland to see Brother Joseph," etc. (Scraps of Biography, in which is published Newel Knight's journal, ch. vi.) Of this matter, John Whitmer, then the Church Historian, writes: "At this time [the early part of June] the Church at Thompson Ohio was involved in difficulty because of the rebellion of Leman Copley, who would not do as he had previously agreed, which thing confused the whole Church and finally the Lord spake through Joseph the Prophet, saying:…" He then quotes the revelation to Newel Knight given in the text above." (John Whitmer's History of the Church chap. viii). For Ezra Thayre's part in the proceedings at Thompson see the revelation given to Thomas B. Marsh, pp. 186, 187.(BHR) [See notes in the previous chapter on Copley.]
32. The earliest copy is found in the BC. No significant textual variations have appeared.
This revelation points out that some other problems existed for the Thompson Saints besides the Copley difficulties (verse 3). Jared Carter wrote of temptations to be critical and to engage in unfounded gossip. [Jared Carter journal, 11-14]
33. "The Church at Thompson," says John Whitmer, "made all possible haste to leave for Missouri, and left, and none of their enemies harmed them." (John Whitmer's History of the Church, chap. viii.) Newel Knight was appointed the leader of this company, which was made up of the Colesville branch and under his leadership they made the entire journey from Thompson to Missouri.(BHR)
34. The Painesville Telegraph (June 14, 1831) made its usual sarcastic notice of the Kirtland conference:After all the good followers of Jo. Smith from York state had got fairly settled down in this vicinity, which Rigdon had declared to be their "eternal inheritance," Jo. must needs invent another "command from God." At a meeting of the tribe on the 3d inst. the fact was made known to them that 28 elders must be selected and ordained, to start immediately, for Missouri. Jo accordingly asked the Lord in the assembly whom he should select, and the Lord named them over to him as he made them believe. The ceremony of endowing them with miraculous gifts, or supernatural power, was then performed, and they were commanded to take up a line of march; preaching their gospel, (Jo's Bible) raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out devils, &c. This squad comprises Jo himself, Rigdon, Martin Harris, Gilbert, Morley, Murdock, Partridge, and all the other leading and influential men among them. The flock are to be left to shirk for themselves the best way they can. It is said they are about to commence an establishment some 500 miles up the Missouri, where they contemplate building the New Jerusalem, and they have expressed doubts whether few if any of them will ever return to this "land of promise".... The chosen few are to be off during the present week, going by pairs in different routes, all on foot, except Jo., Rigdon, and Harris.
35. Willard Richards altered the text of this paragraph in the ms history (written by W. W. Phelps) from the following:
"The elders now began to go to the western country, two and two according to the precious word of the Lord[.] From P. P. Pratt, who had returned from this expedition of last fall. during the spring, we had verbal information; and from letters from the still remaining elders we had written intelligence; and as this was the most important subject which then engrossed the attention of the saints, I will here insert the copy of a letter received about this from that Section, dated at Kaw township (Mo.) May 7, 1831."[PJS 1:354]
36. It was doubtless the Navajo Indians, whose reservation is now located in north eastern Arizona of whom Oliver heard.(BHR)
37. Cowdery's description of the inhabitants of the area coincides with one protestant missionary's observation:I take my pen in hand to improve the opportunity to report my peregrinations since I last wrote. Please be informed, that, according to mission Board instructions, I have penetrated many miles of wilderness and after many privations and suffering physical discomforts due to the variable inclemency of the weather, have at last reached the western border of our nation. What I have found here is anything but encouraging. The prospects for our evangelical work appear less likely here than any place I have seen in my westward journeyings. Such a godless place, filled with so many profane swearers, would be difficult to imagine. The majority of the people make a mild profession of Christian religion, but it is mere words, not manifested in Christian living.
There are a few so-called ministers of the Gospel here-abouts, but they are a sad lot of churchmen, untrained, uncouth, given to imbibing spiritous liquors, and indulging, as participants, in the gambling which accompanies horse-racing, and cock fighting.
There are many suspicious characters who headquarter here, but when intelligence arrives that a federal marshall is approaching this county, there is a hurried scurrying of many of this element to the Indian territory on the west side of the Missouri. As soon as the marshall returns down stream, this element is back in the saloons and other centers of sin. In this town, one soon learns not to make inquiry concerning the names nor home towns of this class of men. Apparently they are hiding something of their past of which they are not proud, and are also afraid of detection.
Christian Sabbath observance here appears to be unknown. It is a day for merchandising, jollity, drinking, gambling, and general anti-Christian conduct.
When the Santa Fe wagon trains return here, or pass through on their way eastward, there is a multiplication of sin beyond the usual amount. There appears to be an over abundance of females here practicing the world's oldest profession. . . . Gouging [swindling] and more serious forms of violence are common. The sheriff has little support from the populace, except to prevent burglars breaking into the merchants' shops. He confided to me that the citizens do not care to have the lawless punished. . . [As quoted by T. Edgar Lyon, BYUS 11, no. 1, p.16]
The Missouri frontier drew a variety of adventurers for the quick profits available from the Santa Fe trade, individualists who wanted to live their own way without coersion, areligious, not prone to act in cohesive groups. In addition, the Missouri compromise had caused the influx of much of the "dregs" of society, paid to establish a pro-slave vote in the state.
38. The lack of success with preaching to American Indians over the Missouri border seemed to be overshadowed by the designation of the center place of Zion in Jackson County. Parley Pratt assigned the government intervention against the missionaries to missionaries of other churches. [EM 2 "Lamanite Mission of 1830-31."]
39. THE MISSION TO THE LAMANITES--As the "mission to the Lamanites" is a very prominent event in early Church history, it is proper that the labors of the brethren engaged in at should be spoken of more fully than appears anywhere in the Prophet's narrative and at this point following the letter of Oliver Cowdery seems as appropriate a place as will be found to speak of it. It has already been said that the brethren of the mission called upon the Cattaraugus tribe, near Buffalo, New York. (p. 120 note) After leaving Kirtland on their journey westward they visited the Wyandot tribe of Indians near Sandusky, Ohio with whom they spent several days. "We were well received," writes Elder Parley P. Pratt, "and had an opportunity of laying before them the record of their forefathers, which we did They rejoiced in the tidings bid us Godspeed and desired us to write to them in relation to our success among the tribes further west, who had already removed to the Indian territory, where these expected soon to go."--Aut. P. P. Pratt, p. 54.
On arriving at Independence two of the company secured employment, while the other three crossed the frontier and began their labors among the Indians They visited the Shawnees spending one night with them and the next day crossed the Kansas river and began their labors among the Delawares. They sought an interview with the chief of the Delawares, known among the whites as Chief Anderson. He was the grand sachem of ten nations or tribes and consequently possessed of large influence. He had always opposed the introduction of missionaries among his people and therefore did not at first extend a very hearty welcome to the brethren. However, through an interpreter the brethren made known their errand and explained to him the Book of Mormon and the information it contained for his people. They asked to be heard before a full council of his nation a proposition which the chief took under consideration until the next day. Next morning the conversation with the Delaware Chief was renewed, but he was not inclined at first to call the council. But as he began to understand better the nature of the Book of Mormon he changed his mind and asked the brethren to suspend their conversation until the council could be assembled. A runner was dispatched to the tribes and in about an hour forty leading men were assembled and seated in grave silence to hear the message concerning the book of their forefathers. At the request of the chief Oliver Cowdery in substance delivered the following address:
OLIVER COWDERY'S SPEECH TO THE DELAWARES.
"Aged Chief and venerable Council of the Delaware nation; we are glad of this opportunity to address you as our red brethren and friends. We have traveled a long from towards the rising sun to bring you glad news. We have traveled the wilderness crossed the deep and wide rivers and waded in the deep snows and in the face of the storms of winter, to communicate to you great knowledge which has lately come to our ears and hearts and which will do the red man good as well as the pale face.
"Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea--from the rising to the setting sun; the whole land was theirs; the Great Spirit gave it to them, and no pale faces dwelt among them. But now they are few in numbers: their possessions are small, and the pale faces are many.
"Thousands of moons ago, when the red men's forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land the Great spirit talked with them, and revealed His law and His will and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets This they wrote in a Book, together with their history and the things which should befall their children in the latter days.
"This Book was written on plates of gold and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations.
"It was then that the people prospered and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth built buildings and cities and abounded in all good things, as the pale faces now do.
"But they became wicked; they killed one another and shed much blood; they killed their prophets and wise men, and sought to destroy the Book. The Great Spirit became angry and would speak to them no more; they had no more good and wise dreams; no more visions, no more angels sent among them by the Great spirit; and the Lord commanded Mormon and Moroni, their last wise men and prophets to hide the Book in the earth that it might be preserved in safety and be found and made known in the latter-day to the pale faces who should possess the land that they might again make it known to the red men, in order to restore them to the knowledge of the will of the Great Spirit and to His favor. And if the red men would then receive this Book and learn the things written in it and do according thereunto, they should be restored to all their rights and privileges; should cease to fight and kill one another; should become one people; cultivate the earth in peace, in common with the pale faces who were willing to believe and obey the same Book and be good men and live in peace.
"Then should the red men become great and have plenty to eat and good clothes to wear, and should be in favor with the Great Spirit and be His children while He would be their Great Father and talk with them, and raise up prophets and wise and good men among them again who should teach them many things.
"This Book, which contained these things was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the state of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario county.
"In that neighborhood there lived a young man named Joseph smith who prayed to the Great Spirit much in order that he might know the truth, and the Great Spirit sent an angel to him and told him where this Book was hid by Moroni, and commanded him to go and get it. He accordingly went to the place and dug in the earth and found the Book written on golden plates.
"But it was written in the language of the forefathers of the red men; therefore this young man, being a pale face, could not understand it; but the angel told him and showed him and gave him knowledge of the language and how to interpret the Book so he interpreted it into the language of the pale faces, and wrote it on paper and caused it to be printed, and published thousands of copies of it among them, and then sent us to the red men to bring some copies of it to them, and to tell them this news. So we have now come from him, and here is a copy of the Book, which we now present to our red friend, the Chief of the Delawares which we hope he will cause to be read and known among his tribe; it will do them good."
We then presented him with a Book of Mormon.
There was a pause in the council and some conversation in their own language, after which the chief made the following reply:
THE CHIEF'S REPLY.
"We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this new news concerning the Book of our forefathers; it makes us glad in here,--placing his hand on his heart "It is now winter we are new settlers in this place; the snow is deep, our cattle and horses are dying our wigwams are poor; we have much to do in the spring--to build houses and fence and make farms, but we will build a council house and meet together, and you shall read to us and teach us more concerning the Book of our fathers and the will of the Great Spirit.
Elder Parley P. Pratt in his report of the matter adds; "We continued for several days to instruct the old Chief and many of his tribe. The interest became more and more intense on their part, from day to day, until at length nearly the whole tribe began to feel a spirit of inquiry and excitement on the subject. We found several among them who could read and to them we gave copies of the Book, explaining to them that it was the Book of their forefathers, some began to rejoice exceedingly and took great pains to tell the news to others in their own language. The excitement now reached the frontier settlements in Missouri, and stirred up the jealousy and envy of the Indian agents and sectarian missionaries to that degree that we were soon ordered out of the Indian country as disturbers of the peace, and even threatened with the military in case of non-compliance. We accordingly departed from the Indian country and came over the line, and commenced laboring in Jackson county, Missouri, among the whites We were well received and listened to by many, and some were baptized and added to the Church.
"Thus ended our first Indian mission, in which we had preached the Gospel in its fulness and distributed the record of their forefathers among three viz. The Cattaraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N. Y., the Wyandots, of Ohio and the Delawares, west of Missouri.--Aut. P. P. Pratt, pp. 56-61.(BHR)
40. William Wines Phelps had a profound influence on Mormonism. Many of his poems became some of the most popular and moving LDS hymns with enduring messages. The son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith, b. 17 February 1792 at Hanover, Morris County, New Jersey. Moved with family to Homer, New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman 28 April 1815. Ten children: William Waterman, Sabrina, Mehitabel, Sarah, Henry Enon, Janes, Jerusha, Lydia, Mary, and Princetta. Employed as editor of Western Courier. Moved to Trumansburg, New York, 1823; there commenced publication of Lake Light. Moved to Canandaigua, New York, by 1828; there published anti-Masonic Ontario Phoenix. Purchased copy of Book of Mormon from Parley P. Pratt 1830. Met Joseph Smith 21 December 1830. Baptized 1831. Moved to Kirtland, Ohio, June 1831. Appointed by revelation to assist Oliver Cowdery in printing Church literature June 1831. Prominent Church leader 1831-38. Traveled to Jackson County, Missouri, in summer of 1831. Directed to reside in Jackson County, Missouri, August 1831. Edited Evening and Morning Star. Member of Literary Firm. Printed Book of Commandments 1833. Moved to Clay County, Missouri, late 1833. Chosen counselor in presidency of Church in Missouri 8 July 1834. Directed to return to Kirtland temporarily to assist in Church printing affairs. Left Clay County 25 April 1835. Arrived in Kirtland 16 May 1835. Assisted in compiling 1835 edition of Doctrine and Covenants. Assisted in compiling and printing first Church hymnbook 1836. Participated in dedication of Kirtland Temple. Left Kirtland for Missouri 9 April 1836. During 1836-37, with John Whitmer, began to administer affairs of Church in Missouri--independent of high council. Actions created much confusion; excommunicated 10 March 1838. Moved to Dayton, Ohio, before March 1840. Contacted Orson Hyde and John E. Page June 1840. Repented and was extended hand of fellowship July 1840. Moved to Kirtland by May 1841; there began to strengthen Church. Appointed to preach in Ohio and East 23 May 1841. Located in Nauvoo 1841. Elected mayor's clerk and fire warden for City of Nauvoo 11 February 1843. Assisted Prophet as clerk, scribe, and confidant in wide range of activities 1841-44. Became a member of the Quorum of the Annointed and received endowment 9 December 1843. Member of Council of Fifty 11 March 1844. Sealed in Nauvoo Temple to Laura Stowell (born 1825 in New York) 2 February 1846. Sealed in Nauvoo Temple to Elizabeth Dunn (born 1828 in Alabama) 2 February 1846. Left Nauvoo for West 1846. Resided in Winter Quarters until 1849. Appointed to travel east and purchase press and type 31 March 1847. Completed purchase in Boston by August 1847. Returned to Winter Quarters 12 November 1847. Excommunicated 9 December 1847. Rebaptized 11 December 1847. Arrived in Salt Lake City 1849. Constructed adobe house in Old Fort; there resided until death. Elected to Legislative Assembly of Territory of Utah 1841-57. Elected speaker of House 1851. Appointed member of Board of Regents of University of Deseret. Published Deseret Almanac 1851. Admitted to bar 7 October 1851. Died 6 March 1872 in Salt Lake City, Utah. [RJS, 87-88; PJS 1:505; Bruce Van Orden, "By That Book I Learned the Right Way to God: The Conversion of William W. Phelps," Regional Studies, New York, 203-212.]
41. Earliest copy extant is found in BC chapter 57. Recorded in ms history by Phelps himself. No variations of any significance exist among available published and ms versions.
42. Joseph Coe, b. 1785 in New Jersey. Living in Essex County, NJ by 1830. M. Sophia. Baptized and ordained elder before June 1831. Appointed by revelation to travel to Jackson County, Missouri, with Joseph Smith and others June 1831. Returned from Missouri 4 September 1831. Moved family to Mentor, Ohio, 22 September 1831. Ordained high priest 1 October 1832 by Joseph Smith. Mission to New York with Ezra Thayer 12 October-28 December 1831. Ordained and set apart as agent to purchase property for Church 18 March 1833. Assisted in laying foundation stones for Kirtland Temple 23 July 1833. Appointed member of Kirtland high council 17 February 1834. Worked on Kirtland Temple. Received blessing for working on Kirtland Temple 8 March 1835. Assisted in purchasing Egyptian mummies, including papyri, 1835 by contributing $800.00. Participated in dedication of Kirtland Temple 1836. Rejected as high councilor 3 September 1837. Disaffected from Church leadership by December 1837. Excommunicated December 1838 by Kirtland high council, John Smith presiding. Farmer residing in Kirtland 1850.[RJS 86-87, PJS 1:480]
43. Received before June 19. One ms of unknown date with what appears to be a number of copying errors exists. The earliest dated version is found in BC chapter 58. No significant variant texts are known.
44. Probably refers to the following uncanonized revelation for Joseph Smith, Sr. and Ezra Thayer:Hearken unto my words and behold I will make known unto you what ye shall do as it shall be pleasing unto me for verily I say unto you it must needs be that ye let the bargain stand that ye have made concerning those farms until it be so fulfilled behold ye are holden for the one even so likewise thine advisary is holden for the other. Wherefore it must needs be that ye pay no more money for the present time until the contract be fulfilled and let mine aged servant Joseph and his family go into the house after thine advisary is gone and let my servant Ezra board with him and let all the brethren immediately assemble together to put up an house for my servant Ezra and let my servant Fredericks family remain and let the house be prepared and their wants be supplied and when my servant Frederick returns from the west behold and lo he desireth to take his family in mine own due time unto the west let that which belongeth unto my servant Frederick [G. Williams] be secured unto him by deed or bond and thus he willeth that the brethren reap the good thereof let mine aged servant Joseph govern the things of the farm and provide for the families and let him have healp in as much as he standeth in need let my servant Ezra humble himself and at the conference meeting he shall be ordained unto power from on high and he shall go from thence (if he be obedient unto my commandments) and proclaim my gospel unto the western regions with my servants that must go forth even unto the borders of the Lamanites for behold I have a great work for them to do and it shall be given unto you to know what ye shall do at the conference meeting even so amen.
What shall the brethren do with the monies. Ye shall go forth and seek dilligently among the brethren and obtain lands and save the money that it may be consecrated to purchase lands in the west for an everlasting inheritance even so Amen. [KRB, 90-92. Original spelling and punctuation preserved.]
45. Thayer wanted to delay his trip west with Marsh because a dispute about how his property in Thompson should be divided among himself and two other owners.[RJS, 88]
46. The phrase in the ninth verse of the foregoing revelation "As there shall be no divisions made upon the land," undoubtedly has reference to the land upon which Ezra Thayre was living at Thompson and which he had covenanted, under some arrangement for compensation to grant to the Church and which contract he attempted at least to repudiate.(BHR)
47. Reference is made to both Mr. Alexander Campbell and Mr. Scott and the founding of the "Campbellite" or "Disciples" sect in the biographical sketch of Sidney Rigdon; as also Rigdon's connection with that movement.--see pp. 120, 121.(BHR)
48. This brief account of the 900 mile journey was reviewed by Joseph [Joseph Smith diary, February 10, 1842]. Sidney Rigdon also contributed information to the account and the account of the second visit of the presidency to Missiouri in 1832. [Joseph Smith diary, February 13, 1843.] W. W. Phelps helped to construct the narrative. It can be supplemented with a later account in MA 1:179 (Sept. 1835):I have been laboring in this cause for eight years, during which time I have travelled much, and have had much experience. I removed from Seneca County, N.Y., to Geauga County, Ohio, in February, 1831. Having received, by an heavenly vision, a commandment in June following, to take my journey to the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and there designate the very spot, which was to be the central spot for the commencement of the gathering together of those who embrace the fulness of the everlasting gospel--I accordingly undertook the journey with certain ones of my brethren, and after a long and tedious journey, suffering many privations and hardships, I arrived in Jackson County, Missouri. And after viewing the country, seeking diligently at the hand of God, he manifested himself unto me and designated to me and others the very spot upon which he designed to commence the work of the gathering and the upbuilding of an holy city, which should be called Zion: Zion because it is to be a place of righteousness, and all who build thereon are to worship the true and living God--and all believe in one doctrine, even the doctrine of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
W. W. Phelps, a companion of Joseph on the journey gives further details:Started for Cleveland on the 18th. Passed from thence to Newark, 176 miles on the Ohio canal; found it superior to the Erie canal in point of better locks, and wider excavation. From thence to Dayton, 101 miles. I passed through Columbus, the capital of the state, an ordinary town about as large as Geneva; and from thence to Cincinnati, 65 miles by water on the Miami Canal. Cincinnati is a thriving place, as large as Albany, but not so handsome. Took steamboat for Louisville, 165 miles (deck passage) and was roused in the night by the cry of wood! wood!--the common practice among southern boats to replenish the stock of fuel. Arrived at Louisville on the 25th. This is a considerable southern city, with daily newspapers, hacks, and draymen (cartmen) thick as southern mosquitoes; passed down 1 1/2 miles to Shippingport (or Shavingport), and tarried three days in wait for a passage to St. Louis. Viewed the Grand Canal round the falls of Ohio--a magnificent display of human skill, which cost $900,000. Three superb locks of hewn stone, the largest of which, for high water, is 60 feet wide, 43 feet deep, and 300 feet long. Saw the Franklin, a boat of the largest size, mount through in a kind of "dreadful splendor." On the 27th, left for St. Louis in the ohio, where three states were in sight, in the 37th degree of north latitude, and the sun nearly over head. 30th saw mills on the Missouri propelled by current wheels: constructed like cidermill screws, 100 feet long; halted at Cape Girardeau, and saw Frenchmen using oxen to draw by the horns; lead piled up like cord wood; broke the boat wheels on Devil Island. July 1st, stopped at Genevieve, saw large quantities of lead and white sand. Arrived at St. Louis same day, and quite a city, with the small pox in it. July 2d started for the west part of Missouri, and saw in the first graveyard Roman Catholic crosses sprawled over the dead. From this time until the 14th, I passed through patches of timber, and fields of prairies, till I arrived at Independence, 12 miles from the west line of the United States, containing the last, or outside post-office.[Phelp's mention of "Roman Catholic" crosses is indicative of the fact that the cross was viewed with some suspicion by American protestants. Classed as part of the iconography of the Roman church, protestants refrained from using it as a church symbol. The Mormon converts (virtually all American Protestants at this point) felt no imperative to display the cross. When the bulk of the Saints left the US in 1846, they took the same practice with them. When protestants began to warm to using the cross as a devotional symbol or sign and in building decoration in the 1850s, the Utah Mormons were removed from those cultural currents by distance and a kind of pride of peculiarity. Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Methodists and even Baptists were found borrowing from the Catholics whose church they still named Mother of Harlots. So came altar-cloths, vestments, lecterns, fonts, pulpits and other items for essentially the same purpose that the Roman Catholics used them! The Mormons on the other hand were loath to change their own firm practice solidified in isolation from and then conflict with their fellow religionists. It cannot be said however that the Mormons did not employ symbolism in their worship. Many Mormon temples display multiple design features that represent and define much of the religion.
Today, subtle references to the cross can be found in many LDS buildings, from light fixtures to ceiling decor to various, perhaps unnoticed, design elements. It seems unlikely however that crosses will decorate the steeples of LDS chapels in the near future. Instead, the posting of the name Jesus Christ on exterior walls is the current practice. For the nineteenth century Protestant appropriation of Catholic symbols, see Ryan K. Smith, Gothic Arches, Latin Crosses: Anti-Catholicism and American Church Designs in the Nineteenth Century. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).]
The heavy sounding boat-horns, used by the stage drivers in Ohio, with the common term "smart," applied to everything--as a smart man, smart land, smart rain, etc. was nothing compared to the customs below Louisville. Men go armed with a pocket dirk, or pistol; a sixpence is called a "piccaoon"; a schilling a "bit", and the word "mighty" is an indefinite adjective and qualifies all things, good, bad and indifferent--as a mighty man, mighty land, mighty big, mighty little, mighty much, etc.
The Ohio, opposite Indiana and Illinois, is a beautiful sheet of water, quite clear, and studded with cotton wood, sycamore, locust, etc., and streaked with steamboats from one end to the other. The Mississippi is a serpentine stream, rily below St. Louis; guarded on the west, or Missouri shore, by huge bluffs, capt ever and anon with daring shot towers. It is said to be clear above the Missouri. The Mississippi is the grand middle feeder of the Atlantic Ocean and already steams and smokes with the commerce of nine states. The Missouri is the capsheaf--it is always rily and bubbly, and receives its "mountain rise" the last of June. It is said to possess mineral qualities, among which is magnesia. An uncommon heavy shower on the night of the 4th of July raised the stream in 24 hours, 8 feet! [Phelps' letter to the Ontario Phoenix, Sept. 7, 1831]
On this journey one pair of missionaries contacted future LDS apostle William E. McLellin. McLellin records his encounter with David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock:
"The people were assembled in a beautiful sugartree grove. Mr Whitlock arose and gave some particulars respecting the book [of Mormon] and some reasons why he believed it to be a divine revelation. Spoke some of the Signs of the times then he expounded the Gospel the plainest I thot that I ever heard in my life, which astonished me. D Whitmer then arose and bore testimony to having seen an Holy Angel who had made known the truth of this record to him. all these strange things I pondered in my heart." [The Journals of William E. McLellin, (BYU Studies and University of Illinois Press, 1994) 29.]
49. According to W. W. Phelps, the party arrived before July 17, 1831 (a Sunday). On that day Phelps claimed Joseph Smith received a revelation west of Independence, MO.:
"Verily, Verily, saith the Lord, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, the light and the life of the world ye cannot discern with your natural eyes, the design and the purpose of your Lord and your God, in bringing you thus far into the wilderness, for a trial of your faith - and to be especial witnesses to bear testimony of this land, upon which the Zion of God shall be built up in the last days, when it is redeemed . . ." The revelation goes on to give instructions on conducting a missionary meeting and predicts coming judgments. This together with a later paragraph in the history stating that W. W. Phelps preached the first sermon (as per this revelation) dates the Prophets' arrival between July 11 and July 16. [Joseph Smith collection HDC, letter W. W. Phelps to Brigham Young, August 12, 1861.]
50. No doubt a reference to Isa. 35:1; 2:2. Cf. D&C 49:24-25.
51. This revelation was first published in the 1835 D&C. The date of this revelation, given by two ms versions and the Far West Record is July 20, 1831. Two early mss (BLC bk B and KRB) have a somewhat different reading from the published revelation in vss. 9b-10:
" . . . that he may send goods also unto the Lamanites even by whom I will as clerks employed in his service; and thus the gospel may be preached unto them."
This revelation is of great importance since it marks for the Saints the spot of the "center place" for the Latter-day kingdom of Christ.
52. Identifying where this courthouse was is complicated by the fact that three courthouses were built in Independence during the decade of this revelation. The first courthouse was a log structure, the latter two were brick. The courthouse of the revelation was the first brick structure which stood from 1831 to 1836. This building is the least known of the three and nearly all LDS histories misidentify the courthouse of the revelation with either the log structure (renovated as a historical site) or the second brick structure appearing in an 1850 etching. [Max H. Parkin, BYUS 14 (Summer 1974) 451-457.]
53. Edward Partridge wrote to his wife:
"You will percieve by the commandments recd. here (which our brethren will carry home) that Brothers Morley, Correll and Phelps and myself are to plant ourselves and our families here as soon as consistant, you will likewise perceive that we are left to our own agreement how we will manage about getting our families here." [Partridge journal typescript LDS Archives, p. 7]
54. This paragraph went through several modifications in the ms history. As it stands now, it is close to the text originally penned by Phelps in 1843. During this period of the writing, Joseph Smith spent months at a time away from Nauvoo in hiding. Phelps was more or less on his own. The text at this point was modified by someone (probably Willard Richards) to read as follows:
The first Sabbath after our arrival in Jackson county, brother W W Phelps preached to a western audience, [according to the previously mentioned uncanonized revelation -see note above] over the boundary of the United States, wherein were present specimens of "all the families of the earth:" for there were several of the Indians quite a respectable number of Negros[sic] and the balance was made up of citizens of the surrounding country, and fully represented themselves as pioneers of the west.[PJS 1:357-358]
The text was later restored to Phelps' version for publication, probably by B. H. Roberts.
William E. McLellin described the first reaction of the old settlers to this initial influx of Mormons and their doctrines: "A.[ugust] 18th I rose and paid 37 C. and rode on 10 miles to Independence ---Jackson Co. I stopped and took breakfast and fed my horse and rested about 5 hours, in which time I conversed with a number in the villagers about those people that they called Mormonites. They though[t] they were generally a very honest people but very much deluded by Smith and others. Notwithstanding I felt anxious to see them and examine for myself."
55. Verse fifteen.(BHR)
56. The earliest extant copy of this revelation is found in BC chapter 59. However, it is clear that several ms copies were made. Levi Hancock, one of the elders who were commanded (D&C 52) to journey to Missouri, arrived after this revelation was given and felt disappointed that he had missed most of the "founding" events.I soon traveled the distance of about five miles and came to the Temple lot where some of the Saints lived and I soon found Zebedee [Coltrin] He was glad to see me as I was him We prayed together He took me to Sister Gilberts She showed me the Revelation given in August and showed me these words. [quotes D&C 58:61] "There" said she "That means you brother Levi, Zebedee, Simeon, and Solomon! Joseph gave this when you were seven hundred miles away. Every body says you are blessed." [Levi Hancock journal, 40, 41. HDC]
No significant variations exist among known copies of this revelation. [Woodford]
During the last week in July, Sidney Rigdon and the Thompson Saints arrived. The revelation was received shortly after.
57. The preceding verses contain clear warning of mob trouble to come.
58. After Joseph and his group arrived in Independence, they lodged in a school house and discussed the selection of the "center place" of Zion. Edward Partridge disagreed with the Prophet's selection of the center place, feeling that land away from Independence offered better prospects. Joseph became angry with Partridge and some altercation ensued between the two. In addition, Joseph had apparently claimed a vision before coming to Independence which showed Oliver Cowdery had baptized a significant group. Partridge is quoted as saying to Joseph Smith: "I wish you not to tell us any more, that you know these by the spirit when you do not; you told us, that Oliver had raised up a large Church here, and there is no such thing." In fact the missionaries had baptized at least eleven by the time of the revelation, possibly more. Partridge makes an oblique reference to his personal struggle in his journal (p.7). Later, Sidney Ridgon preferred a charge against Partridge for his behavior. Partridge asked for forgiveness. Partridge remained loyal to Smith, in spite of being encouraged by apostates to turn against the Prophet. [Parkin, "Conflict," 83f; HC 1:267. Notes in chapters 16, 19, 20]
59. Harris was faithful in donating to the cause. Orson Pratt [called to travel to Missouri with his brother Parley] remarked years later:[Harris] was among the favored few who went up from the State of Ohio in the summer of 1831, and journeyed nearly a thousand miles to the western part of Missouri, to Jackson County. The Prophet went at the same time. Martin Harris was the first man that the Lord called by name to consecrate his money, and lay the same at the feet of the Bishop in Jackson County, Mo., according to the order of consecration. He willingly did it; he knew the work to be true; he knew that the word of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph was just as sacred as any word that ever came from the mouth of any Prophet from the foundation of the world. He consecrated his money and his substance, according to the word of the Lord. What for? As the revelation states, as an example to the rest of the Church. [JD 18:160-161]
60. The official history does not note obedience to this instruction with regard to the temple. We have inserted the fulfillment of this command in the next chapter's notes on the events of August 3. See note 9 there.