History of Joseph Smith, Vol. 1 Chapter 19. [Mar. 1832 - May 1832]
Mob Violence At Hiram--The Second Journey of the Prophet To Zion, And Return To Kirtland.
[For an explanation of abbreviations used see vol. 1 chapter 1.]
[Copyright © 1998 BOAP. All rights reserved.]
I RECEIVED a letter from the brethren who went up to the land of Zion, stating that they had arrived at Independence, Missouri, in good health and spirits, with a printing press and a store of goods. Agreeable to the instructions of the fall conference, they also sent me the prospectus of a monthly paper(1), The Evening and Morning Star.(2)
According to previous intentions(3), we now began to make preparations to visit the brethren who had removed to the land of Missouri(4). Before going to Hiram to live with Father Johnson(5), my wife had taken two children (twins), of John Murdock's, to rear(6). She received them when only nine days old; they were now nearly eleven months. I would remark that nothing important had occurred since I came to reside in Father Johnson's house in Hiram, except that I had held meetings on the Sabbaths and evenings, and baptized a number(7).
Father Johnson's son, Olmsted Johnson(8), about this time came home on a visit, during which I told him if he did not obey the Gospel, the spirit he was of would lead him to destruction, and when he went away, he would never return or see his father again. He went to the Southern States and Mexico; on his return he took sick and died in Virginia.
In addition to the apostate Ezra Booth, Simonds Ryder(9), Eli Johnson(10), Edward Johnson(11) and John Johnson, Jun., had apostatized.
On the 24th of March, the twins before mentioned, which had been sick of the measles for some time, caused us to be broken of our rest in taking care of them, especially my wife. In the evening I told her she had better retire to rest with one of the children, and I would watch with the sicker child. In the night she told me I had better lie down on the trundle bed, and I did so, and was soon after awakened by her screaming murder, when I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men; some of whose hands were in my hair, and some had hold of my shirt, drawers and limbs. The foot of the trundle bed was towards the door, leaving only room enough for the door to swing open. My wife heard a gentle tapping on the windows which she then took no particular notice of (but which was unquestionably designed for ascertaining whether or not we were all asleep), and soon after the mob burst open the door and surrounded the bed in an instant, and, as I said, the first I knew I was going out of the door in the hands of an infuriated mob. I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg, with which I made a pass at one man, and he fell on the door steps. I was immediately overpowered again; and they swore by G-- --(12), they would kill me if I did not be still, which quieted me. As they passed around the house with me, the fellow that I kicked came to me and thrust his hand, all covered with blood, into my face and with an exulting hoarse laugh, muttered "Ge, gee, G-- d-- ye, I'll fix ye."(13)
They then seized me by the throat and held on till I lost my breath. After I came to, as they passed along with me about thirty rods from the house I saw Elder Rigdon stretched out on the ground, whither they had dragged him by his heels. I supposed he was dead. I began to plead with them, saying, "You will have mercy and spare my life, I hope." To which they replied, "G--d--ye, call on yer God for help, we'll show ye no mercy;" and the people began to show themselves in every direction; one coming from the orchard had a plank; and I expected they would kill me, and carry me off on the plank. They then turned to the right, and went on about thirty rods further; about sixty rods from the house, and thirty from where I saw Elder Rigdon, into the meadow, where they stopped, and one said, "Simonds, Simonds," (meaning, I supposed, Simonds Ryder,) "pull up his drawers, pull up his drawers, he will take cold." Another replied: "Ain't ye going to kill 'im? ain't ye going to kill 'im?" when a group of mobbers collected a little way off, and said: "Simonds, Simonds, come here;" and "Simonds" charged those who had hold of me to keep me from touching the ground (as they had done all the time), lest I should get a spring upon them. They held a council, and as I could occasionally overhear a word, I supposed it was to know whether or not it was best to kill me. They returned after a while, when I learned that they had concluded not to kill me, but to beat and scratch me well, tear off my shirt and drawers, and leave me naked. One cried, "Simonds, Simonds, where's the tar bucket?" "I don't know," answered one, "where 'tis, Eli's left it. They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar, when one exclaimed, with an oath, "Let us tar up his mouth," and they tried to force the tar-paddle into my mouth; I twisted my head around, so that they could not; and they cried out, "G--d--ye, hold up yer head and let us give ye some tar." They then tried to force a vial(14) into my mouth, and broke it in my teeth. All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar; and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat, and then muttered out: "G-- d---ye, that's the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks!"(15)
They then left me(16), and I attempted to rise, but fell again; I pulled the tar away from my lips, so that I could breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover, and raised myself up, whereupon I saw two lights. I made my way towards one of them, and found it was Father Johnson's. When I came to the door I was naked, and the tar made me look as if I were covered with blood, and when my wife saw me she thought I was all crushed(17) to pieces, and fainted. During the affray abroad, the sisters of the neighborhood had collected at my room. I called for a blanket, they threw me one and shut the door; I wrapped it around me and went in.
In the meantime, Brother John Poorman heard an outcry across the corn field, and running that way met father Johnson, who had been fastened in his house at the commencement of the assault, by having his door barred by the mob, but on calling to his wife to bring his gun, saying he would blow a hole through the door, the mob fled, and Father Johnson, seizing a club, ran after the party that had Elder Rigdon, and knocked down one man, and raised his club to level another, exclaiming, "What are you doing here?" when they left Elder Rigdon and turned upon Father Johnson, who, turning to run toward his own house, met Brother Poorman coming out of the corn field; each supposing the other to be a mobber, an encounter ensued, and Poorman gave Johnson a severe blow on the left shoulder with a stick or stone, which brought him to the ground.(18) Poorman ran immediately towards Father Johnson's, and arriving while I was waiting for the blanket, exclaimed, "I'm afraid I've killed him." Killed who? asked one; when Poorman hastily related the circumstances of the encounter near the corn field, and went into the shed and hid himself. Father Johnson soon recovered so as to come to the house, when the whole mystery was quickly solved concerning the difficulty between him and Poorman, who, on learning the facts, joyfully came from his hiding place.
My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and cleansing my body; so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again. This being the Sabbath morning, the people assembled for meeting at the usual hour of worship, and among them came also the mobbers; viz.: Simonds Ryder, a Campbellite preacher and leader of the mob; one McClentic(19), who had his hands in my hair; one Streeter, son of a Campbellite minister; and Felatiah Allen, Esq., who gave the mob a barrel of whiskey to raise their spirits. Besides these named, there were many others in the mob. With my flesh all scarified and defaced, I preached to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals.(20)
The next morning I went to see Elder Rigdon, and found him crazy, and his head highly inflamed, for they had dragged him by his heels, and those, too, so high from the ground that he could not raise his head from the rough, frozen surface, which lacerated it exceedingly; and when he saw me he called to his wife to bring him his razor. She asked him what he wanted of it; and he replied, to kill me. Sister Rigdon left the room, and he asked me to bring his razor; I asked him what he wanted of it, and he replied he wanted to kill his wife; and he continued delirious some days. The feathers which were used with the tar on this occasion, the mob took out of Elder Rigdon's house. After they had seized him, and dragged him out, one of the banditti returned to get some pillows; when the women shut him in and kept him a prisoner some time.
During the mobbing one of the twins contracted(21) a severe cold, continued to grow worse until Friday, and then died. The mobbers composed of various religious parties, but mostly Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists, who continued to molest and menace Father Johnson's house for a long time. Elder Rigdon removed to Kirtland with his family(22)--then sick with the measles--the following Wednesday; and, on account of the mob, he went to Chardon(23) on Saturday, March 31st.(24)
April first(25), I started for Missouri, in company with Newel K. Whitney, Peter Whitmer, and Jesse Gause, to fulfil the revelation. Not wishing to go by Kirtland, as another mob existed in that neighborhood (and indeed, the spirit of mobocracy was very prevalent through that whole region of country at the time), brother George Pitkin took us in his wagon by the most expeditious route to Warren, where we arrived the same day, and were there joined by Elder Rigdon, who left Chardon in the morning; and proceeding onward, we arrived at Wellsville the next day, and the day following at Steubenville, where we left the wagon; and on Wednesday, the 4th of April, we took passage on board a steam packet for Wheeling, Virginia; where we purchased a lot of paper for the press in Zion, then in care of W. W. Phelps.
After we left Hiram, fearing for the safety of my family, on account of the mob, I wrote to my wife (in connection with Bishop Whitney) suggesting that she go to Kirtland and tarry with Brother Whitney's family until our return(26). From Wheeling we took passage on board the steamer Trenton. While at the dock, during the night, the boat was twice on fire burning the whole width of the boat through into the cabin, but with so little damage that the boat went on in the morning; and when we arrived at Cincinnati, some of the mob which had followed us, left us, and we arrived at Louisville the same night. Captain Brittle offered us protection on board of his boat, and gave us supper and breakfast gratuitously.
At Louisville we were joined by Elder Titus Billings(27), who was journeying with a company of Saints from Kirtland to Zion, and we took passage on the steamer Charleston for St. Louis, where we parted from Brother Billings and company, and by stage arrived at Independence, Missouri, on the twenty-fourth of April, having traveled a distance of about three hundred miles from St. Louis. We found the brethren in Zion, generally enjoying health and faith; and they were extremely glad to welcome us among them.
On the 26th(28), I called a general council of the Church, and was acknowledged as the President, of the High Priesthood, according to a previous ordination at a conference of High Priests, Elders and members, held at Amherst, Ohio, on the 25th of January, 1832. The right hand of fellowship was given to me by the Bishop, Edward Partridge, in behalf of the Church. The scene was solemn, impressive and delightful. During the intermission, a difficulty or hardness which had existed between Bishop Partridge and Elder Rigdon(29), was amicably settled, and when we came together in the afternoon, all hearts seemed to rejoice and I received the following:(30)Revelation [D&C 82], given April, 1832 [April 26, 1832], showing the order given to Enoch, and the Church in his day.(31)
1. Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.
2. Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly, yea, even all of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.
3. For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation
4. Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.
5. Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth;
6. And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way.
7. And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.
8. And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;
9. Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.
10. I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what 1 say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
11. Therefore, verily I say unto you, that it is expedient for my servants Alam(32) [Edward Partridge] and Ahashdah [Newel K. Whitney], Mahalaleel [A. Sidney Gilbert] and Pelagoram [Sidney Rigdon], and my servant Gazelam [Joseph Smith], and Horah [John Whitmer] and Olihah [Oliver Cowdery], and Shalemanasseh [W. W. Phelps] and Mahemson [Martin Harris], to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression, except judgment shall immediately follow, in your several stewardships--
12. To manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric both in the land of Zion and in the land of Shinehah [Kirtland];
13. For I have consecrated the land of Shinehah [Kirtland] in mine own due time for the benefit of the saints of the Most High, and for a stake to Zion.
14. For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness, her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.
15. Therefore, I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant, and it shall be done according to the laws of the Lord.
16. Behold, here is wisdom also in me for your good.
17. And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just--
18. And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord's storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church--
19. Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
20. This order I have appointed to be an everlasting order unto you, and unto your successors, inasmuch as you sin not.
21. And the soul that sins against this covenant, and hardeneth his heart against it, shall be dealt with according to the laws of my church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.
22. And now, verily I say unto you, and this is wisdom, make unto yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, and they will not destroy you.
23. Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I will repay. Peace be with you, my blessings continue with you.
24. For even yet the kingdom is yours, and shall be forever, if you fall not from your steadfastness. Even so. Amen.
On the 27th, we transacted considerable business for the salvation of the Saints, who were settling among a ferocious set of mobbers, like lambs among wolves. It was my endeavor to so organize the Church, that the brethren might eventually be independent of every incumbrance beneath the celestial kingdom, by bonds and covenants of mutual friendship, and mutual love.(33)
On the 28th and 29th, I visited the brethren above Big Blue river, in Kaw township(34), a few miles(35) west of Independence, and received a welcome only known by brethren and sisters united as one in the same faith, and by the same baptism, and supported by the same Lord. The Colesville branch, in particular, rejoiced as the ancient Saints did with Paul(36). It is good to rejoice with the people of God. On the 30th, I returned to Independence, and again sat in council(37) with the brethren, and received the following;
Revelation, given April, 1832. [D&C 83](38) [April 30, 1832]
1. Verily, thus saith the Lord, in addition to the laws of the church concerning women and children, those who belong to the church, who have lost their husbands or fathers:
2. Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance, until their husbands are taken; and if they are not found transgressors they shall have fellowship in the church.
3. And if they are not faithful they shall not have fellowship in the church; yet they may remain upon their inheritances according to the laws of the land.
4. All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age.
5. And after that, they have claim upon the church, or in other words upon the Lord's storehouse, if their parents have not wherewith to give them inheritances.
6. And the storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor. Amen.
Our council was continued on the 1st of May(39), when it was ordered that three thousand copies of the Book of Commandments be printed in the first edition(40); that William W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, and John Whitmer, be appointed to review and prepare such revelations for the press as shall be deemed proper for publication, and print them as soon as possible at Independence, Missouri; the announcement to be made that they are "Published by W. W. Phelps & Co." It was also ordered that W. W. Phelps correct and print the hymns which had been selected by Emma Smith in fulfillment of the revelation.
Arrangements were also made for supplying the Saints with stores in Missouri and Ohio(41), which action, with a few exceptions, was hailed with joy by the brethren(42). Before we left Independence, Elder Rigdon preached two most powerful(43) discourses, which, so far as outward appearance was concerned, gave great satisfaction to the people.
On the 6th of May I gave the parting hand to the brethren in Independence, and, in company with Brothers Rigdon and Whitney commenced a return to Kirtland, by stage to St. Louis, from thence to Vincennes, Indiana; and from thence to New Albany, near the falls of the Ohio river. Before we arrived at the latter place, the horses became frightened, and while going at full speed Bishop Whitney attempted to jump out of the coach, but having his coat fast, caught his foot in the wheel, and had his leg and foot broken in several places; at the same time I jumped out unhurt. We put up at Mr. Porter's public house, in Greenville, for four weeks, while Elder Rigdon went directly forward to Kirtland. During all this time, Brother Whitney lost not a meal of victuals or a night's sleep, and Dr. Porter, our landlord's brother, who attended him, said it was a pity(44) we had not got some "Mormon" there, as they could set broken bones or do anything else. I tarried with Brother Whitney and administered to him till he was able to be moved.(45) While at this place I frequently walked out in the woods, where I saw several fresh graves; and one day when I rose from the dinner table, I walked directly to the door and commenced vomiting most profusely. I raised large quantities of blood and poisonous matter, and so great were the muscular contortions of my system, that my jaw in a few moments was dislocated. This I succeeded in replacing with my own hands, and made my way to Brother Whitney (who was on the bed), as speedily as possible; he laid his hands on me and administered to me in the name of the Lord, and I was healed in an instant, although the effect of the poison was so powerful, as to cause much of the hair to become loosened from my head. Thanks be to my Heavenly Father for His interference in my behalf at this critical moment, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Brother Whitney had not had his foot moved from the bed for nearly four weeks, when I went into his room, after a walk in the grove(46), and told him if he would agree to start for home in the morning, we would take a wagon to the river, about four miles, and there would be a ferry-boat in waiting which would take us quickly across, where we would find a hack which would take us directly to the landing, where we should find a boat, in waiting, and we would be going up the river before ten o'clock, and have a prosperous journey home. He took courage and told me he would go. We started next morning, and found everything as I had told him(47), for we were passing rapidly up the river before ten o'clock, and, landing at Wellsville, took stage coach to Chardon, from thence in a wagon to Kirtland, where we arrived some time in June.
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Notes Chapter 19
1. The ms history inserts the entire prospectus of the paper here.
2. The prospectus of The Evening and Morning Star, referred to above document, from which the following is condensed: it is announced that the Star will be devoted to unfolding the meaning of the revelations of God from the earliest times to the present, but more especially those revelations which God has given in the present dispensation; that God made choice of Israel in ancient times through whom to make known His will unto mankind; but owing to transgression Israel was taken captive and scattered among all nations; God, however, promised that in the last days He would gather Israel then scattered and bring them again into their own lands where they should be wonderfully prospered.
The time for the accomplishment of these things is rapidly approaching. It will be attended with the sore judgments of God upon the wicked. And as in all past ages, before allowing judgments to fall upon the wicked, God has sent them a word of warning and an opportunity to repent so too in the crisis pending the Lord will not bring the threatened calamity upon mankind without sending forth due warning. "Therefore, in the fear of Him (the Lord) and to spread the truth among all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, this paper is sent forth, that a wicked world may know that Jesus Christ the Redeemer, who shall come to Zion will soon appear." The Evening and Morning Star--in addition to being a herald of Israel's return to the favor of God and a messenger of the everlasting Gospel--will also contain whatever of truth or information that will benefit the Saints of God temporally as well as spiritually, "without interfering with politics, broils or the gainsaying of the world." It is also announced that from the Star press it may be expected as soon as wisdom directs, that there will be issued "many sacred records which have slept for ages." The Star was to be a royal quarto sheet, issued monthly, at one dollar a year, until it should be deemed proper to publish it oftener. The prospectus was issued In February and signed by W. W. Phelps.(BHR)
3. The ms history uses the term "calculation."
4. Reasons which prompted the Missouri trip were (1) to organize branches of the Literary and United Firms, (2) to allow Joseph Smith to be sustained as President of the High Priests, (3) to work out a difficulty between Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, and (4) to assist in regulating the program of consecration. On 20 March 1832 Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon received a revelation (in question/answer form) concerning their pending departure for independence, Missouri:[Q] First Shall we procure the paper required of our breatheren in this letter and carry it with us or not and if we do what moneys shall we use for that purpose
[A] It is expedient saith the Lord unto you that the paper shall be purchased for the printing of the book of the Lords commandments and it must needs be that you take it with for it is not expedient thay my servent Martin should as yet go up unto the land of Zion [D & C 58: 35-39] let the purchase be made by the Bishop if it must needs be by hire let whatsoever is done be done in the name of the Lord
[Q] Second shall we finish the translation of the New Testament before we go to Zion or wait till we return
[A] It is expedient saith the Lord that there be no delays and thus saith the Lord for the greatest good and benefit of the church Wherefore omit the translation for the present time [RJS, 168 n5; Newel K. Whitney collection, BYU]
5. The Johnson family was one of the typical American families of old colonial times--the men were large, strong, brave, sensible, honest, well-to-do. "My grandfather, Israel Johnson," writes Luke Johnson in his autobiographical sketch, "lived in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, and was much respected by his neighbors for his honesty, integrity and industry. My father, John Johnson, was born in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, April 11th, 1779. He followed the occupation of farming on a large scale, and was noted for paying his debts and living independently from Pomfret, Vermont, to Hiram, Portage county, Ohio. He was connected with the Methodist church for about five years previous to receiving the Gospel." Luke Johnson then relates the circumstance of the Prophet, through the power of God, healing his mother of chronic rheumatism in the arm which converted Ezra Booth as already related on page 215, and then resumes: "My father was satisfied in regard to the truth of Mormonism, and was baptized by Joseph Smith Jun in the winter of 1830-1, and furnished him and his family a home, while he translated a portion of the Bible."(BHR)
6. Their names were Joseph S. and Julia. They were born in Orange, Cuyahoga county Ohio, April 30, 1831. Emma Smith, the Prophet's wife, had given birth to twins a boy and girl--on the same date. They lived but three hours and Emma Smith took the motherless Murdock twins in the fond hope that they would fill the void in her life occasioned by the loss of her own.(BHR)
7. Joseph's remark that nothing important transpired at the Johnson's is certainly an understatement but points to the extraordinary events which he had passed through.
8. Olmstead Johnson, b. 1809, d. February 24, 1834, son of John Johnson, Sr., born at Pomfret, Windsor County, Vermont, d. at Warrenton, Virginia. [ES Apr. 1834]
9. Mention has already been made of Simonds Ryder's conversion to the Gospel through the fulfilment of a prophecy relating to an earthquake in Pekin, China (see p. 158). The initial point of his apostasy is equally interesting. It appears that some time after his baptism he was ordained an Elder of the Church (Far West Record, p. 4); and somewhat later informed by a communication signed by the Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, that it was the will of the Lord, made known by the spirit that he should preach the Gospel. Both in the letter he received and in the official commission to preach, however, his name was spelled R-i-d-e-r, instead of R-y-d-e-r, and is soberly stated in the History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve (Hayden) that he thought if the " spirit through which he had been called to preach could err in the matter of spelling his name, it might have erred in calling him to the ministry as well, or, in other words he was led to doubt if he were called at all by the spirit of God, because of the error in spelling his name! The same circumstance is referred to in Kennedy's Early Days of Mormonism (p. 101). Kennedy also remarks that while in the uncertain mood excited by this incident Ezra Booth returned from Missouri, and a comparison of experiences led to a complete overthrow of all belief in the new creed in the minds of both.(BHR) [In the ms history, Ryder is spelled Rider.]
10. Eli Johnson was not one of John Johnson's sons. Data on him has not been located.
11. Edward Johnson, b. 1809 at Morristown, Morris County, New Jersey. M. Matilda Archer, 1833. D. 1890. Not one of John Johnson's sons.
12. The words which appear with letters omitted (a customary device with late 19th century writers) appear in full in the ms history. The account of the mob given here was dictated by Joseph Smith February 9, 1843. [Joseph Smith diary, February 9, 1843. LDS Archives.]
13. The man whom the Prophet struck was named Waste. He was regarded, says Luke Johnson, as the strongest man in the Western Reserve, and had boasted that he could take the Prophet out of the house alone "At the time they [the mob] were taking him [the Prophet] out of the house, Waste had hold of one foot Joseph drew up his leg and gave him a kick which sent him sprawling into the street. He afterwards said that the Prophet was the most powerful man he ever had hold of in his life " (History of Luke Johnson, by himself, Millennial Star vol. xxvi, p. 835.)(BHR) [Johnson's entire account of the incident is found in PJS 1:377 n1]
14. The ms history says "phial."
15. One Carnot Mason assisted others in dragging Joseph from the house by the hair of his head. Later, Joseph Smith showed Levi Hancock a patch of hair that had been pulled out by the roots leaving his scalp bare. The container pushed into Joseph's mouth contained nitric acid, and the action broke one of his teeth. This caused a whistling sound when he spoke. A "doctor" Dennison had been appointed by the mob to emasculate Joseph but when the moment came he lost resolve.
Many press notices called the mobbing incident diabolical. Laura Kimball, a resident of Hiram at the time wrote, "Persecution against the Saints was very strong, and a mob led by some apostates tarred and feathered brother Joseph and Sidney, and left brother Joseph, as they supposed, dead upon the ground." Simonds Ryder, by then a vigorous opponent of Smith and one of the mob stated,In the winter of 1831 Joseph Smith, with others, had an appointment in the south school-house, in Hiram. Such was the apparent piety, sincerity and humility of the speakers, that many of the hearers were greatly affected, and thought it impossible that such preachers should lie in wait to deceive.
During the next spring and summer several converts were made, and their success seemed to indicate an immediate triumph in Hiram. But when they went to Missouri to lay the foundation of the splendid city of Zion, and also of the temple, they left their papers behind [dissidents stole some of the mss of the revelations and Book of Mormon]. This gave their new converts an opportunity to become acquainted with the internal arrangement of their church, which revealed to them the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the control of Joseph Smith the prophet. This was too much for the Hiramites, and they left the Mormonites faster than they had ever joined them, and by fall the Mormon church in Hiram was a very lean concern.
But some who had been the dupes of this deception, determined not to let it pass with impunity; and, accordingly, a company was formed of citizens from Shalersville, Garrettsville, and Hiram, in March, 1832, and proceeded to headquarters in the darkness of night, and took Smith and Rigdon from their beds, and tarred and feathered them both, and let them go. This had the desired effect, which was to get rid of them. They soon left for Kirtland. [Parkin, "Conflict," 203, 204. See also PJS 1:377 n1]
16. At least one account claims that Joseph said his spirit left his body and he hovered above the scene. [Aroet Hale journal, p.3 LDS Archives] Other principals in the mob are not named, but see the statement of John Barber given March 21, 1902, LDS Archives.
17. Ms history: "mashed."
18. This blow broke his collar bone, according to the statement of his son, Luke Johnson. David Whitmer laid his hands upon him, and he was immediately healed. (Millennial Star, vol. xxvi, p. 835) (BHR)
19. Possibly William McClintock of Freedom, Portage County. PJS 1:377 n2.
20. According to the statement of Luke Johnson (autobiographical sketch, Millennial Star, vol. xxvi, p. 834-5), there were about forty or fifty in the mob that attacked the Prophet on this occasion. He also states that a Dr. Dennison, a man of considerable influence in the community, was a member of this mob, and threatened to do the Prophet great bodily injury, but when he saw the Prophet in the hands of his enemies his heart failed him. Carnot Mason was the one who first seized the Prophet and dragged him from his bed. Speaking of the fate that overtook some of the members of the mob, Johnson remarks that Mason, soon after the mobbing, "had an attack of spinal affection." Fullars, another of the mob, died of cholera, in Cleveland, Ohio, and Dr. Dennison was sent to the penitentiary for ten years (but for what offense he does not say) and died before the term expired. (BHR)
21. Ms history: "received."
22. Rigdon suffered what was undoubtedly a serious concussion and was delirious for several days as noted in the narrative. The incident may have had lasting effects on Rigdon. When he was jailed in Missouri years later, Sidney was released because of seizures. He seemed also to be subject to episodes of depression. Rigdon left Hiram and went to Kirtland on Wednesday, March 28th . Rigdon gives the following account of events at the time.The next week I removed to K[irtlan]d on [account] of the mob. Child had meassles. Moved in open wagon Wednesday 29 March--Stayed till first of April, then on acct mob I went to Chardon 2d April I left Chardon and arrived at Warren where I met Br Joseph & N K Whitney and Jesse Gaus and proceeded immediately for Wellesville on April 3 and on the fourth went Steubenville 5th left on board a steamer for Wheeling. left this boat went on board the steamer Trenton bound to Louisville. On the night we entered that boat. it was dis[covere]d to be on fire but was extinguished without loss. 6th left next morning and arrived at Cincinati where some of the mob which had followed all the way round left us. from thence we left and arrived at Louisville that night Capt Brattle offered us protection kept on bord of his boat and gave us supper and breakfast gratuitously. Here we fell in with Titus Billings and his company from Kirtland we all went on board the steamer Charleston bound for St Louis we left St Louis in a stage for Fayette from thence to Independence a private carriage and arrived the day of April.
Back by stage to St Louis from thence to Vincennes between which place and New Albany the stage over set and broke brother Whitney's leg and I left Brother [Joseph] to take care of him [in] a little place called Greenville 12 miles from N[ew] A[lbany] proceeded home nothing occured on the road home About 4 weeks after I arrived they arrived. [Sidney Rigdon Papers, Church Archives].
In her history of Joseph Smith, Lucy Mack Smith mistakenly inserts another event involving Rigdon in this period. This was an incident where Rigdon preached falsely in a instance of mental depression partly related to his differences with Edward Partridge and dejection over problems in Zion. This in fact took place in June-July 1832. See notes below and in the following chapter.
The persecution in Ohio at this period caused members of the Church to be in more or less constant fear. The violence to Smith and Rigdon was not repeated in terms of severity, but Latter-day Saints were now on guard. One man who lived in Kirtland as a boy at this time related, "Much of my boyhood was spent in assisting to prepare arms for the protection of the Saints. The lower story of my mother's house in Kirtland was at that time used by Brother M. C. Davis as a gunsmith shop, for the manufacture of defensive weapons." Violence against Mormons in Independence, MO., crested in 1833 with mobbing and murder. The Ohio Saints feared the same fate. Smith wrote to Partridge, "The inhabitants of this country threaten our destruction, and we know not how soon they may be permitted to follow the example of the Missourians." On January 7, 1834 a mob assembled and fired a cannon near Kirtland. Heber C. Kimball noted that "we had to guard ourselves night after night, and for weeks were not permitted to take off our clothes, and were obliged to lay with our fire locks in our arms." Threats from various sources left the Mormons in Ohio in a constant state of anxiety until Smith and Rigdon finally fled Ohio in January 1838. [Parkin, 206ff.]
Joseph Smith wrote to W. W. Phelps regarding his concern about leaving his wife and remaining child to travel to Missouri in obedience to the revelations: "[We left] our familys in affiication admidst of death upon the mercy of mobs & of brethern who you know sometimes are found to be unstable unbelieving, unmerciful and in this trying situation to keep the commandment of God we took our lives in our hands and traveled through every combination of wickedness to your country for your salvation." [July 31, 1832, PWJS, 245 .]
23. Chardon was the county seat of Geauga county and about five miles from Kirtland. (BHR)
24. Ms history says April 1st.
25. Ms history says "Sunday, April second, I started . . ."
26. The ms history adds here:She went to Kirtland to Bro. Whitney's, and Sister Whitney's Aunt, Sarah Smith, (who was then living with her,) enquired of her Niece if my wife was going to stay there; and, on being answered in the affirmative, said she would go away, for there was not room enough for both of them: accordingly Sister Whitney invited my wife to leave, which she did immediately, having enjoyed about two hours visit. She then went to Brother Reynolds Cahoon's - and father Smiths and Doctor Williams, where I found her, very disconsolate, on my return. [See PJS 1:379 n1]While Joseph was returning to Ohio, he was met by Martin Harris who informed him that at that time (about June 6th) Emma was staying with Joseph Smith, Sr. (See note 45 below.) She apparently moved to Frederick G. Williams' home near or following that date. See also Elizabeth Ann Whitney's autobiographical account in Women's Exponent 7, 51 where she gives a somewhat different recital of events:Aunt Sarah, who had always lived with me, and felt a sort of supervision of everything pertaining to my welfare and, happiness, and who had been a true and faithful friend to us, under all circumstances, was very much disconcerted by the turn things had taken; she looked upon Joseph like all other preachers, and did not like to see us made the dupes of priestcraft, which was her version of all religious doctrine and opinions; and acting upon her own theory and responsibility, when my husband was absent with the Prophet Joseph upon business, and I was in delicate health, and unable to attend to any domestic duties, she took the opportunity to rid herself and us of the family, considering it not only an incumbrance, but an entirely unnecessary inconvenience. I would have shared the last morsel with either of them, and was grieved beyond comparison when I found what she had done; but she had a good motive in it, and really thought she was consulting the best interests of those who were far dearer to her than her own life; her devotion and her power of self-sacrifice towards us individually were unlimited, but her efforts, like those of many other sincere and ardent friends, were misdirected.
27. Titus Billings was born on March 25th, 1793, at Greenfield, Franklin county, Massachusetts. He is said to be the second person baptized in Kirtland, Ohio, the baptism taking place in November, 1830. (BHR) [see notes at D&C 63]
28. Ms history has the words "of April" inserted in another hand. [Thomas Bullock? PJS 1:380 n1]
29. Rigdon's complaints against Partridge arose from their first visit to Missouri in 1831. The Lamanite missionaries had been in the Independence area for some time and Joseph Smith had, at least by some accounts, predicted that Oliver had raised up a significant branch of the Church there. One imagines that when the party (including Smith, Partridge and Rigdon) arrived, they may have expected something like the success of Ohio. If so, this could explain the disappointment expressed by Partridge who complained that Joseph had lied. When the brethren from Ohio met with those who had preceded them in Missouri, Joseph declared that this place (Independence) should be the gathering point. Partridge disagreed saying that there were much better areas in the region. There were violent words and perhaps physical violence exchanged between Partridge and Smith. Finally, when the Ohio group journeyed home, Partridge, the bishop of Zion, seems to have been less than forthcoming (at least in Ridgon's mind) with financial help for the journey, perhaps forcing the group with Joseph and Sidney to travel by canoe. This resulted in Rigdon nearly drowning (when a canoe overturned) which he evidently blamed on Partridge. This seeming disrespect for the Prophet and the water experience stood between Rigdon and Partridge. The FWR (March 10, 1832) indicates that the conference there took up these charges against Partridge but decided they had no authority to proceed. Partridge replied in relation to his insulting behavior, "if Br. Joseph has not forgiven him he hopes he will, as he is & has always been sorry." See note 58 at volume 1 chapter 15 also chapter 16 notes; D&C 60:10; D&C 64:15-17. See also the letter on p. 318 of the text. See the following note by B. H. Roberts and the minutes in FWR. While the April conference meetings claimed all differences were resolved between Rigdon and Partridge, Rigdon found by letter after he returned to Ohio that the Missouri Saints were complaining against he and Joseph Smith. See the next chapter's notes and Rigdon's account of the journey to Missouri in April 1832 above. John Whitmer briefly notes the conflict as one of the purposes of the visit:And it came to pass that Joseph the Seer and Sidney the Scribe, and N. K. Whitney and one Jesse Gause came to Zion to comfort the Saints and settle some little difficulties, and regulate the Church and affairs concerning it. We had a pleasant visit with them and they returned again in peace. I will here mention one circumstance and the return of these brethren. While they were riding in a stagecoach, the horses ran away and upset the coach and broke N. K. Whitney's ankle bone. But notwithstanding, through the providence of God he soon got home; but is now somewhat infirm in consequence of aforesaid accident.
30. "All differences," says the minutes of this meeting, recorded in the Far West Record--"all differences settled, and the hearts of all were united together in love."--(p. 25.) (BHR) [but see above]
31. No (early) ms copies of this revelation are known at present. The revelation appeared in print first in the 1835 D&C. The FWR notes the circumstances of the revelation as follows:Independence, April 26, 1832.
Met in Council. High Priests present:
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Newel K. Whitney
William W. Phelps
First: Joseph Smith Jr. acknowledged by the High Priests in the land of Zion to be President of the High Priesthood [note that the elders did not vote, since Joseph was being acknowledged president of the high priests], according to commandments and ordination in Ohio, at the conference held in Amherst, January 25, 1832. And the right hand of fellowship given him by the Bishop Edward Partridge in the land of Zion in the name of the Church.
Brother Sidney Gilbert was ordained a High Priest under the hand of Brother Joseph Smith Jr.
Brother Sidney Rigdon then stated the items embraced in the Revelation received in Ohio and the reason why we were commanded to come to this land and sit in council with the High Priests here, for the particulars of which read the commandment.
Conference adjourned for one hour.
John Whitmer Clerk
Prayer by Brother Edward Partridge.
All differences settled and the hearts of all run together in love [Partridge-Rigdon controversy]. A Revelation received through him whom the Church has appointed respecting organization.
Council adjourned until tomorrow, 9 o'clock A. M.
Prayer by Jesse Gause.
John Whitmer, Clerk
Gause was probably regarded as senior to Rigdon. In July, Rigdon was dropped from the presidency for a period, leaving Gause as the only counselor to Joseph Smith. See notes in the following chapter.
32. For the odd names, see the previous chapter notes.
33. Here the Prophet refers to the completion of the organization of the United Firm. The FWR contains the following record:Council convened. Opened by singing "He dies the friend of sinners dies &c" & prayer by br. Sidney RigdonMary Rollins, a niece of Sidney Gilbert, records the organization of the Independence branch of the firm:
Resolved, that the name of the Firm mentioned in the Commandments yesterday by Gilbert, Whitney & Company in Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio.
Resolved that brs. William W. Phelps & Sidney Gilbert draft the bond for the above named Firm. As there was not any business of importance before the Council Brothers Sidney, Joseph & William gave desertations on the Gospel, its appendages &c. Council Closed in prayer by br. Joseph Smith jr.
April 27. 1832. John Whitmer, ClerkIn the fall of 1831, in company with Bishop Partridge, Father Morley, W. W. Phelps, Cyrus Daniels and their families, mother and myself, my brother Henry and sister Caroline, under the guardianship of Algernon S. Gilbert, left Kirtland for Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. Soon, quite a number of the Saints settled in Independence. Uncle Gilbert opened a store of dry goods, and groceries; while his partner, Newel K. Whitney, kept one in Kirtland, where they had one for several years before the Gospel came to them. [Mary Rollins Lightner, The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 17 (July 1926), 195.]
34. Newel Knight records the visit: "Brother Joseph did not forget his old friends of the Colesville Branch, and he came the twelve miles to visit us; we welcomed him heartily and were greatly rejoiced to see his face once more, and to shake him by the hand. He remained with us two days" Knight's father gives more detail of this visit: "The next year in 1832 he Came again to Missouri and set things in order and Cald the Colesvill Church to gather and seald them up to Eternal Life. And this made some little feeling among others But I think he [k]new Best. So that passed of[f] and he Returned to Kirtland again" [Jessee, BYUS 17, p. 39] The practice of "sealing up to eternal life" was a power that went with ordination to high priest. Orson Pratt notes several instances in his journals of August 26, 1833 and September 8, 1833. See also Jared Carter's journal for fall 1831 - see notes at D&C 79 and FWR October 25, 1831, D&C 68:12, Reynolds Cahoon journal.
35. Ms history says "Twelve miles."
36. It should be remembered that these Colesville Saints were among the first to receive the Gospel under the teachings of the Prophet, and hence his heart was naturally tender toward them, and this visit was doubtless especially delightful both to the saints and the Prophet. (BHR)
37. There may be some confusion of dates here. See notes following the text of D&C 83. The FWR records the minutes of this council -see notes below.
38. This revelation adds to the "laws of the Church" that is to D&C 42 and other revelations. The provisions given in this revelation applied to regulation of the law of consecration as practiced in Independence. This revelation appears in several mss from the period; we may infer that it was considered an important regulation. The text went through significant additions apparently. One ms exists in the handwriting of Sidney Rigdon who was with Joseph Smith when this revelation was given. This may be the original copy of the revelation (located at BYU library.) The last part of vs. 2, vs. 3, the last of vs. 5 and all of vs. 6 are additions which appear in later copies but are not present in the earliest mss. See Woodford for the complete list of changes.
39. FWR designates this council as taking place April 30th.
40. This action of course, annulled the resolution at the Kirtland conference to publish an edition of ten thousand. (See p. 222.) (BHR)
41. The FWR contains minutes of this conference and the previous day. Note the resolutions regarding the care of the revelation mss. They were not to be distributed until printing. Part of the motivation for printing the revelations was to have the official record crystalized. Many of the important revelations were frequently copied by hand by interested Saints, resulting in a large number of errors creeping into the record.Minutes of a Council of the litterary Firm Zion
April 30, 1832
Joseph Smith jr. Prisident.
William W. Phelps
Jesse Gauss, one of the President's councillors.
Ordered by the Council that three thousand copies of the book of Commandments be printed the first edition.
Secondly: Ordered by the Council that the printing of an alminack for Zion this season be left at the option of brs. William Oliver & John.
Thirdly: Ordered by the Council that all Revelations be limited to the parties concerned until printed.
Fourthly: Ordered by the Council that brs. William, Oliver & John be appointed to review the Book of Commandments & select for printing such as shall be deemed by them proper, as dictated by the Spirit & make all necessary verbal [grammatical] corrections.
Fifthly: Ordered by the Council that the Hymns selected by sister Emma be corrected by br. William W. Phelps. Closed
Prayer by br. Sidney Rigdon.
Oliver Cowdery Clerk.
The United Firm also met either the same day, or the following day. The HC text claims May 1, the FWR has April 30. The minutes for this meeting from the FWR follow:Minutes of a meeting of the United Firm.
Joseph Smith jr. President of Conference & also of the High priesthood
Oliver Cowdery, Clerk of Conference, and printer to the Church
Edward Partridge Bishop
Newel K. Whitney Bishop of Kirtland
Sidney Gilbert Agent in Zion
Sidney Rigdon, Counsillor of President.
John Whitmer, Lord's Clerk.
William W. Phelps, printer to the Church
Jesse Gauss Counsillor to the President (denied the faith).
[The clerks who copied the minutes into the FWR often included information about the post-date behavior of participants - this note indicates that Gause left the Church sometime after the date of this particular meeting -he was in fact excommunicated in Dec. 1832]
Resolved that A. S. Gilbert & Newel K. Whitney be appointed agents to act in the name of this Firm.
Resolved that whenever any special business occur it shall be the duty of the United Firm by their branches at Jackson County Missouri & Geauga County Ohio to regulate the same by special agency.
Resolved That the firm loan fifteen thousand dollars for five years or longer at six per cent anually or semi-annually as the agreement can be made, & that N. K. Whitney & Co. be appointed to negotiate the same. [I.e., the firm was to attempt to secure a loan]
Closed. Prayer by br. Sidney Rigdon.
Oliver Cowdery, Clerk of Conference.
42. The arrangements here referred to for the establishment of stores in Missouri and Ohio, as disclosed by the minutes of these council meetings of the 26th, 27th, 30th of April, and the 1st of May, were that the brethren in mercantile pursuits in Kirtland and Zion should be united in one firm and the establishments in Kirtland and Zion respectively were regarded merely as branches of the one firm. Still it was resolved that each of these branches should have a separate company name. The name of the branch in Zion was to be "Gilbert, Whitney & Company," and the one in Kirtland "Newel K. Whitney & Company." W. W. Phelps and A. S. Gilbert were appointed to draft the bond for the united firm. A. S. Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney were appointed to be the agents of the new firm. It was also resolved that whenever any special business should arise it would be the duty of the united firm by its branches at Jackson county Missouri and Geauga county, Ohio, to regulate the same by special agency. It was also resolved that the united firm negotiate a loan of fifteen thousand dollars at six per centum. The firm of Newel K. Whitney & Co. was appointed to transact the business. (BHR)
43. The words "most powerful" are crossed out in the ms history.
44. The ms history quotes Porter as saying "a dam'd pity we had not got some Mormon there, as they can set broken bones, or do any thing else." Evidently, the brethren did not disclose their Church affiliation. Whitney's wife (Exponent) gives her reminiscent version of the time:My husband traveled with Joseph, the Prophet, through many of the Eastern cities, bearing their testimony and collecting means towards building a temple in Kirtland, and also to purchase lands in Missouri. During this journey the Prophet Joseph often prophesied of the destruction that would come upon the cities of the Eastern states, and especially New York, that in that city there would not be left a vestige of its grandeur. That wars would soon commence in our own land, which last has since transpired; he said to my husband if they reject us they shall have our testimony, for we will write it and leave it upon their doorsteps and windowsills; he prophesied of the desolation by fire, by storms, by pestilence and by earthquakes. After their return from the East they traveled together up to Missouri, and while upon this journey my husband had his ankle broken, and through the power of the administration of the gospel ordinance and faith, he was relieved from all pain; but by Joseph's counsel returned home.Observe that Elizabeth reverses the real order of events, having Smith and her husband going East prior to the Missouri trip. (Note 17 chapter 21 this volume.)
45. Joseph Smith wrote to his wife during his stay with Whitney:
June 6th Greenville Floid Co [Floyd County, Indiana], 1832
I would inform you that Brother Martin [Harris] has arrived here and braught the pleasing news that our Familys were well when he left there which Greately Cheared our hearts and revived our Spirits we thank our hevenly Father for his Goodness unto us and all of you Martin arrived on Satterday the Same week he left Chagrin haveing a prosperous time we are all in good health Brother Whitneys leg is gaining and he thinks he Shall be able to to perform his Journy so as to get home about the 20th my Situation is a very unpleasent one although I will endeaver to be Contented the Lord asisting me I have visited a grove which is Just back of the town almost every day where I can be Secluded from the eyes of any mortal and there give vent to all the feelings of my heart in meaditation and prayr I have Called to mind all the past moments of my life and am left to morn and Shed tears of sorrow for my folly in Sufering the adversary of my Soul to have so much power over me as he has had in times past but God i merciful and has forgiven my Sins and I rejoice that he Sendeth forth the Comferter unto as many as believe and humbleeth themselves before him I was grieved to hear that Hiram had lost his little Child [Mary, aged two years, eleven months] I think we Can in Some degree Simpathise with him but we all must be reconciled to our lots and say the will of the Lord be done Sister Whitney wrote a letter to her husband which was very chearing and being unwell at that time and filled with much anxiety it would have been very Consoling to me to have received a few lines from you but as you did not take the trouble I will try to be contented with my lot knowing that God is my friend in him I shall find comfort I have given my life into his hands I am prepared to go at his Call I desire to be with Christ I Count not my life dear to me only to do his will I am not pleased to hear that William Mclelin has come back and disobayed the voice of him who is altogether Lovely for a woman I am astonished at Sister Emaline yet I cannot belive she is not a worthy sister I hope She will find him true and kind to here but have no reason to expect it his Conduct merits the disapprobation of every true follower of Christ but this is a painful subject I hope you will excuse my warmth of feeling in mentioning this subject and also my inability in convaying my ideas in writing I am happy to find that you are still in the faith of Christ and at Father Smiths I hope you will Comfort Father and Mother in their trials and Hiram and Jerusha and the rest of the Family tell Sophronia I remember her and Kalvin in my prayrs my respects to the rest I Should Like to See little Julia and once more take here on my knee and converse with you on all the subject which concerns us things I cannot is not prudent for me to write I omit al the important things which could I See you I could make you acquainted with tell Brother Williams that I and Brother Whitney will arrange the business of that farm when we Come give my respects to all the Brotheren Br Whitney Family tell them he is Chearfull and patient and true Brother to me I subscribe myself your Husband the Lord bless you peace be with you so Farewell untill I return
Joseph Smith Jr
(martin will come with us)
46. The letter in the previous note indicates the purpose for walking in this grove was prayer and meditation.
47. This is an instance of the Prophet Joseph's power as a seer. Another example is given by David Whitmer in his account of going to Harmony, Pennsylvania after the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery in order to take them to his father's home in Fayette New York in the summer of 1829 when the Book of Mormon was in course of translation. "When I arrived at Harmony," says David, "Joseph and Oliver were coming toward me, and met me some distance from the house. Oliver told me that Joseph had informed him when I started from home, where I had stopped the first night how I read the sign at the tavern, where I stopped the next night etc. and that I would be there that day before dinner and this was why they had come out to meet me; all of which was exactly as Joseph had told Oliver, at which I was greatly astonished" (David Whitmer's Statement to Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith Millennial Star, vol. xl, nos. 49, 50.) (BHR)