History of the Church Vol. 1 Chapter 20. [June 1832 - August 1832]

"The Evening And Morning Star."

[For an explanation of abbreviations used see vol. 1 chapter 1.]
[Copyright © 1998 BOAP. All rights reserved.]


As soon as I could arrange my affairs(1), I recommenced(2) the translation of the Scriptures, and thus spent most of the summer.(3) In July(4) we received the first number of The Evening and Morning Star, which was a joyous treat to the Saints. Delightful, indeed, was it to contemplate that the little band of brethren had become so large, and grown so strong, in so short a time(5) as to be able to issue a paper of their own, which contained not only some of the revelations, but other information also,--which would gratify and enlighten the humble inquirer after truth.

So embittered was the public mind against the truth, that the press universally had been arrayed against us; and although many newspapers published the prospectus of our paper, yet it appeared to have been done more to calumniate the editor, than give publicity to the forthcoming periodical.(6) Editors thought to do us harm, while the Saints rejoiced that they could do nothing against the truth but for it.(7)

The following are extracts from The Evening and Morning Star, Independence, Missouri, June, 1832--first number:


With the help of God, the first number of The Evening and Morning Star comes to the world for the objects specified in its prospectus, which was published last winter. That we should now recapitulate some of its leading objects, and briefly add a few remarks, will naturally be expected; and we cheerfully do so, that this generation may know--


That the Star comes in these last days as the friend of man, to persuade him to turn to God and live, before the great and terrible day of the Lord sweeps the earth of its wickedness;

That it comes not only as the messenger of truth, to bring the revelations and commandments of God which have been, but to publish those that God gives now, as in the days of old, for He is the same God yesterday, today, and for ever; * * * *

That it comes as the harbinger of peace and good will to them that serve the Lord with a determination to have part in the first resurrection, and finally become Kings and Priests to God the Father in the celestial kingdom, where God and Christ are, and where they will be for eternity; * * * * *

That it comes according to the will of God from those who are not ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ and walk lowly in the valley of humiliation, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon them; knowing that the great day of the Lord will soon usher in the Sabbath of creation, for the rest of the Saints, that the Savior may reign His thousand years of peace upon the earth while Satan is bound;

That it comes in meekness and mercy to all mankind, that they may do works meet for repentance and be saved in the first resurrection, and afterwards dwell with the spirits of just men made perfect in the celestial kingdom;

That it comes to bring good tidings of great joy to all people, but more especially to the house of Israel scattered abroad, that the day of their redemption is near, for the Lord hath set His hand again the second time to restore them to the lands of their inheritance;

That it comes to show that the ensign is now set up unto which all nations shall come, and worship the Lord, the God of Jacob, acceptably;

That it comes when war, and the plague, or pestilence as it is called, are sweeping their thousands and tens of thousands to the grave, to show that the day of tribulation spoken of by our Savior is nigh at hand, even at the doors;

That it comes to repeat the great caution of Paul: Beware lest any man spoil you (the disciples of Christ), through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men and the rudiments of the world;

That it comes to prepare the way of the Lord, that when He comes He may have a holy people ready to receive Him;

That it comes to show that no man can be too good to be saved, but that many may be too bad:


That it comes to declare that goodness consists in doing good, not merely in preaching it:

That it comes to show that all men's religion is vain without charity;

That it comes to open the way for Zion to rise and put on her beautiful garments and become the glory of the earth, that her land may be joined, or married (according to the known translation of Isaiah) to Jerusalem again, and they be one as they were in the days of Peleg.

* * * * * *

Man being created but little below the angels, only wants to know for himself and not by another, that, by obeying the commands of his Creator, he can rise again after death, in the flesh, and reign with Christ a thousand years on the earth without sin; be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and become a King and Priest to God in eternity--to forsake his sins, and say; Lord, I am thine! The first words of which we have any account that Jesus Christ spake concerning the things of eternal life, were, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he was baptized; and truly, if it became the Savior of the world, holy as He was to be baptized in the meridian of time to fulfil all righteousness, how much more necessary it is for man to be baptized in order to be saved. * * *

As this paper is devoted to the great concerns of eternal things and the gathering of the Saints, it will leave politics, the gainsaying of the world, and many other matters, for their proper channels, endeavoring by all means to set an example before the world, which, when followed, will lead our fellow-men to the gates of glory, where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary will find rest. That there may be errors both in us and in the paper, we readily admit, but we mean to grow better, till from little children, we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, which we pray may be the happy lot of thousands, before He comes with the hundred and forty and four thousand that are without guile.(8)


It is the duty of the Church of Christ, to Zion, to stand as an ensign to all nations, that the Lord has set His hand the second time to restore the house of Israel to the lands of their inheritance; and it behooves the members of this Church to manifest before the world by a godly walk, by a noble example, as well as by sterling precept, by prudence in living, by plainness in dress, by industry, by economy, by faith and works, and, above all, by solemnity, humility and patience, that this is a day of warning and not a day of many words.


This being the order in Zion, how much more necessary is it, that the churches of Christ, which have not yet come up to this land should show the world, by well ordered conduct in all things, that they are the children of the living God! It is all-important, and the salvation of many souls depends upon their faultless example. They will, therefore, knowing that the Lord will suddenly come to His temple, do their part in preparing the way, by observing the Sabbath day, and keeping it holy; by teaching their children the Gospel, and teaching them to pray by avoiding extremes in all matters, by shunning every appearance of evil; by studying to be approved, and doing unto others as they would have others do unto them; by bearing trouble and persecution patiently, without a murmur, knowing that Michael, the Arch-angel, when contending with the devil--he disputed about the body of Moses--durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. They will not only set an example worthy of imitation, but they will let their light so shine that others, seeing their good works, may go and do likewise. Example is the great thing that defies the world with all its vain glory; by letting their moderation be known unto all men, both in dress and in living; in words and in deeds; in watching and in praying; in love and in labor, and in works as well as in faith, they [the Saints] preach the world a lecture, they set the inquirer an example, and teach all Christendom a lesson, that studied preaching and pulpit eloquence have failed to accomplish.


The disciples should lose no time in preparing schools for their children, that they may be taught as is pleasing unto the Lord, and brought up in the way of holiness. Those appointed to select and prepare books for the use of schools, will attend to that subject as soon as more weighty matters are finished.(9) But the parents and guardians in the Church of Christ need not wait--it is all-important that children to become good should be taught [good]. Moses, while delivering the words of the Lord to the congregation of Israel, that is, to the parents, says, "And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes." If it were necessary then to teach their children diligently, how much more necessary is it now, when the Church of Christ is to be an ensign, yea, even an ensample to the world, for good? A word to the wise ought to be sufficient, for children soon become men and women. Yes, they are they that must follow us, and perform the duties which not only appertain to this world, but to the second coming of the Savior, even preparing for the Sabbath of creation, and for eternity.



The Star office is situated within twelve miles of the west line of the state of Missouri; which at present is the western limits of the United States, and about 120 miles west of any press in the state, in about 39 degrees of north latitude, and about 17 1/2 degrees of west longitude, 2 1/2 miles south of Missouri river; 280 miles by land, or 500 by water, west of St. Louis; nearly 1,200 miles west of Washington; 1,300 miles from New York, and more than 1,500 miles from Boston.(10)

In August we were again delighted to receive the Star. The following is extracted from the second [July] number:


Brethren, we think it proper to give you some general information respecting the present state of the Church in Zion, and also the work of the gathering. Notwithstanding that nearly all Christendom doubt the propriety of receiving revelations for the government of the Church of Christ in this age, and generally adopt the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the only rule of faith and practice, yet we believe, from the Scriptures of truth, that to every church in past ages which the Lord recognized to be His, He gave revelations, wisely calculated to govern them in the peculiar situation and circumstances under which they were placed, and to enable them by authority to do the peculiar work which they were to perform. The Bible contains revelations given at different times to different people, under different circumstances, as will be seen by editorial articles in this paper. The old world was destroyed for rejecting the revelations of God given to them through Noah. The Israelites were destroyed in the wilderness for despising the revelations given to them through Moses; and Christ said that the world, in the days of the Apostles, would be condemned for not receiving the word of God through them: Thus we see that the judgments of God in the past ages have come upon the people not so much for neglecting the revelations given to their forefathers, as for rejecting those given immediately to themselves. Of the blessings of heaven it may be said, that they always rested upon the heads of those to whom they were promised. Therefore seeing that it not only was, but, as long as God remains the same, always will be, the privilege of the true Church to receive revelations containing blessings and cursings, peculiarly adapted to itself as a Church, we conclude that it is a mistaken notion that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the only rule of faith and practice; nevertheless, inasmuch as the precepts and examples contained in them are truly applicable to us under our particular circumstances, we are bound to be governed by them and we also can receive much benefit from such prophecies as point out the events that shall take place in our day and age. Of these there are many, both in the Old and the New Testaments. They speak plainly of great things that shall be accomplished in the last days--such as preaching the everlasting Gospel to all nations; the gathering of the elect from the four winds of heaven; the building up of Zion and Jerusalem, or the ingathering of the remnants of Jacob, and the planting them in the lands of their fathers' inheritance; the necessary preparation to meet the Savior at His second coming, with all the Saints, to dwell with them in the millennial reign. And now, who with the Bible in his hand, can suppose that these great and marvelous works can be accomplished by the Church without more revelations from the Lord? We cannot, for we worship the God of Israel, in whom is neither variableness nor shadow of turning;--consequently as in days of old, so in these last days, He has given us revelations by which we may know how to organize the Church of Christ, and by His authority to perform the work which He has enjoined upon us. And now brethren, if we wish for blessings upon this Church, we must walk humbly before the Lord, and observe to keep all His commandments. Notwithstanding the work of the gathering will be accomplished, we believe in a speedy manner, yet the Lord has commanded that it shall not be done in haste, nor by flight, but that all things shall be prepared before you; and for this purpose He has made it the duty of the Bishop or agent in the land of Zion to make known, from time to time, the privileges of the land to the conferences, which may determine and make known how many can be accommodated. And the Saints will remember that the Bishop in the land of Zion will not receive any, as wise stewards, without they bring a recommend from the Bishop in Ohio, or from three Elders. The Elders therefore, will be careful not to recommend and send up churches to this place, without first receiving information from the Bishop in Ohio or in the land of Zion, that they can be accommodated when they arrive, so as to be settled without confusion, which would produce pestilence. Therefore, if a church is desirous to come to the land of Zion, we would recommend that first, by letter or otherwise they make known their desires and their situation to the Bishop in Ohio, or in the land of Zion and receive information from them before they start. Brethren will perceive as well as we, that where churches of fifty or a hundred souls each, are coming to the land of Zion, from different parts of the nation and, as soon will be the case, from different nations, without a knowledge of each other they would, when they arrive, be in a state of confusion, and labor under many disadvantages which might be avoided by strictly observing the rules and regulations of the Church. Moreover by being in haste and forcing the sale of property, unreasonable sacrifices have been made and although this is a day of sacrifice and tithing, yet to make lavish and unreasonable sacrifices is not well pleasing in the sight of the Lord.


It is about one year since the work of the gathering commenced, in which time between three and four hundred have arrived here and are mostly located upon their inheritances, and are generally in good health and spirits and are doing well. The expense of journeying and settling here together with the establishment of a printing office and store, have probably exceeded the expectations of our brethren abroad, and although Zion, according to the Prophets, is to become like Eden, or the garden of the Lord, yet, at present it is as it were but a wilderness and desert, and the disadvantages of settling in a new country, you know, are many and great. Therefore prudence would dictate the churches abroad, at present, not to come up to Zion until preparations can be made for them, and they receive information as above. The prospect for crops in this region of country is, at present tolerably good, but calls for provisions will undoubtedly be considerable, for besides the emigration of the whites, the government of the United States is settling the Indians (or remnants of Joseph), immediately to the west, and they must be fed.

Brethren, we drop the above remarks for your benefit until you can have the revelations to peruse for yourselves, which will be published as soon as they consistently can be. Although the Lord has said, that it is His business to provide for His Saints in these last days, yet remember He is not bound so to do, unless we observe His sayings and keep them.



Brethren, as stars of the ensign which is now set up for the benefit of all nations, you are to enlighten the world, you are to prepare the way for the people to come up to Zion; you are to instruct men how to receive the fullness of the Gospel, and the everlasting covenants, even them that were from the beginning; you are to carry the ark of safety before the wondering multitudes without fear, entreating and beseeching all men to be saved; you are to set an example of meekness and humility before Saints and sinners, as did the Savior, and when reviled you are not to revile again, you are to reason with men, as in days of old to bear patiently and answer as the spirit of truth shall direct, allowing all credit for every item of good. You are to walk in the valley of humility, and pray for the salvation of all; yes, you are to pray for your enemies; and warn in compassion without threatening the wicked with judgments which are to be poured out upon the world hereafter. You have no right to take the judgments, which fell upon the ungodly before the flood, and pour them upon the head of this generation; you have no authority to use the judgments which God sent upon Pharaoh in Egypt, to terrify the inhabitants of America, neither have you any direction by commandment, to collect the calamities of six thousand years and paint them upon the curtain of these last days to scare mankind to repentance; no, you are to preach the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, even glad tidings of great joy unto all people.

Again, you are not to take the blessings of an individual, or of a church, from the days of Enoch to the days of the Apostles, and place them upon an individual or a church in these last days; but you are to teach all men that they shall be judged according to their works. For, if God is the same yesterday, today, and for ever, His reward is always with Him; and His revelations and blessings and judgments, before the flood, were fitted for that people and that time, in the days of Abraham, for that man and that time; in the days of Moses, for that man and that time; in the days of David, for that man and that time; in the days of Paul for that man and that time, and now, for this generation and this time. You therefore, must reason from the Bible and the Book of Mormon, with great care and not pervert the meaning of God's sacred word. If our Heavenly Father saw fit to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness, Nineveh for its abomination and Jerusalem for a transgression of His commandments, what have their destruction to do with the salvation of the world now? The Lord says, Vengeance is mine, and I will repay. Teach all men to trust in God and not in man, and do works meet for repentance. Again, teach all men that God is a God of the living and not of the dead. Finally, whatever you do, do it with an eye single to the glory of God. You are the light of the world in matters of pure religion, and many souls may be required at your hands. Let the idea not leave you, that not only the eyes of the world, but the eyes of the angels and of God are upon you.



It is a day of strange appearances. Everything indicates something more than meets the eye. Every nation is opening events which astonish mankind. Even the heart of man begins to melt at the prospect before him. The unquenchable thirst for news; the continuity of emigration, the wars and rumors of wars, with many other signs of the distress of nations, from the old world--as the land is called across the ocean--whisper so loud to the understanding, that he who runs may read the label on the eastern sky--The end is nigh. France is filled with a spirit of rebellion, and when the cholera was sweeping its thousands mobs were collecting to slay their tens of thousands. While the hospitals were crowded with the sick, and the groans of the dying filled the air, the fashionable French were holding cholera balls and dancing at the judgments of the Almighty. In England, where an anxious multitude have been waiting for reformation in government for years, disappointment is destruction. The house of lords has rejected the Reform Bill, and the proud-hearted Englishman says: Reform or Revolution! No stop there; for the sound comes across the Atlantic: Reform or ruin! All the kingdoms of the east seem to be preparing to act the part allotted to them, when the Lord rebukes the nations. As on a morning of some great festival, the church bell, the cannon, the small arms, the music, and the cheers of the multitude, arouse all to what is going on, and thunder to man; Behold the day! So also earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars, the distress of nations, the constant tide of emigration to the west, the wide spreading ravages of the cholera, and the joy of the Saints of God as they come out of Babylon, alarm the world, and whisper to every mortal; Watch ye, for the time is at hand for the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of Israel, with peace on earth and good will to man. Watch the signs of His coming, that ye be not deceived.


In connection with the Star, we publish a weekly paper, entitled the Upper Missouri Advertiser. It will contain sketches of the news of the day, politics, advertisements, and whatever tends to promote the interest of the great West.


The August number of the Star, [no. 3] contained the following:


This desolating sickness is spreading steadily over the United States. The account of its ravages in many places we cannot give. The whole number of cases in New York, to July 31st, is 3,731. Deaths, 1,520.

No man can stop the work of the Lord, for God rules the pestilence, and the pestilence rules men. Forts, sentinels, and oceans may hinder men, or money may bribe, but when the pestilence rides on the wings of the wind, the sentinel has no power; the fort is no obstacle, the ocean is no barrier, and money has no value, the destroying angel goes waving the banner of death over all; and who shall escape his pointed arrow? Not he that could brave death at the cannon's mouth, but shrinks at the sound of the cholera; not he that worshiped his God in some stately chapel, every Sabbath till the cholera comes, and then flees for his life; no, none but he that trusts in God, shall be able to Stand when a thousand shall fall at his side, and ten thousand at his right hand by the noisome pestilence.


To the honorable searchers for truth: we, in a spirit of candor and meekness are bound by every tie that makes man the friend of man, by every endowment of heaven, that renders intelligent beings seekers of happiness to show you the way to salvation. In fact, we are not only bound to do thus for those that seek the riches of eternity, but, to walk in the tracks of our Savior, we must love our enemies; bless them that curse us; do good to them that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us, and persecute us, or else you and the world may know that we are not the children of God. Therefore to be obedient to the precepts of our divine Master, we say unto you--Search the Scriptures--search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory, nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation. No; for when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how he will save them. Then again we say: Search the Scriptures, search the Prophets, and learn what portion of them belongs to you and the people of the nineteenth century. You, no doubt, will agree with us, and say that you have no right to claim the promises of the inhabitants before the flood; that you cannot found your hopes of salvation upon the obedience of the children of Israel when journeying in the wilderness; nor can you expect that the blessings which the Apostles pronounced upon the churches of Christ, eighteen hundred years ago, were intended for you. Again, if others' blessings are not your blessings, others' curses are not your curses; you stand then in these last days, as all have stood before you, agents unto yourselves, to be judged according to your works.


Every man lives for himself. Adam was made to open the ways of the world and for dressing the garden. Noah was born to save seed of everything, when the earth was washed of its wickedness by the flood; and the Son of God came into the world to redeem it from the fall. But except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. This eternal truth settles the question of all men's religion. A man may be saved, after the judgment, in the terrestrial kingdom or in the telestial kingdom but he can never see the celestial kingdom of God without being born of the water and the Spirit. He may receive a glory like unto the moon [i.e. of which the light of the moon is typical], or a star [i.e. of which the light of the stars is typical], but he can never come unto Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and Church of the First-born, which are written in heaven and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, unless he becomes as a little child, and is taught by the Spirit of God. Wherefore, we again say search the revelations of God; study the prophecies, and rejoice that God grants unto the world Seers and Prophets. They are they who saw the mysteries of godliness; they saw the flood before it came; they saw angels ascending and descending upon a ladder that reached from earth to heaven; they saw the stone cut out of the mountain, which filled the whole earth, they saw the Son of God come from the regions of bliss and dwell with men on earth; they saw the deliverer come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob; they saw the glory of the Lord when He showed the transfiguration of the earth on the mount; they saw every mountain laid low and every valley exalted when the Lord was taking vengeance upon the wicked; they saw truth spring out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven in the last days before the Lord came the second time to gather His elect; they saw the end of wickedness on earth, and the Sabbath of creation crowned with peace; they saw the end of the glorious thousand years, when Satan was loosed for a little season, they saw the day of judgment when all men received according to their works, and they saw the heaven and earth flee away to make room for the city of God, when the righteous receive an inheritance in eternity. And, fellow sojourners upon earth it is your privilege to purify yourselves and come up to the same glory, and see for yourselves, and know for yourselves. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

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Notes Chapter 20

1. When Joseph Smith returned to Kirtland, he found his wife living at the home of Frederick G. Williams. He stated that she was very disconsolate, having had to fend for herself while Joseph was in Missouri and during the period he spent with the injured Newel K. Whitney in Greenville, Indiana. She had left Hiram, Ohio and John Johnson's home on Joseph's advise because of mob activity. Joseph returned with his family to John Johnson's home and proceeded with the bible translation work. (See note 26, previous chapter.)

2. The ms history uses the word "commenced."

3. While the writer does not mention it here, this work may have been interrupted with the temporary desertion of Sydney Rigdon who became depressed over the resurgence of his conflict with Edward Partridge and grumblings of Church leaders in Missouri. Frederick G. Williams became the scribe for the work for a time (Rigdon returned to writing for Joseph Smith within a few months). Church leaders in Missouri evidently began to criticize Smith and Rigdon after they left for Ohio (John Corrill wrote to Smith with such criticisms). See the letter of Hyrum Smith and Orson Pratt to Partridge found in this history, page 318 this volume. The depressed Rigdon began making wild assertions [Reynolds Cahoon journal June 10, 1832] which culminated in a weird incident at Kirtland on July 5, 1832 (see below in this note for eye witness accounts). Joseph Smith wrote to William W. Phelps in Missouri on July 31, 1832:

. . . I bear you record that my self Bro Sidney & Newel [K. Whitney] as far as any thing that I know have ever maintained the purest desires for your welfare and do still our object in going to Zion was altogether to keep the commandment of the most high, when Bro Sidney learned the feelings of the Brethren in whom he had placed so much confidence for whom he had endured so much fateague & suffering & whom he loved with so much love his heart was grieved his spirits failed & for a moment he became frantick & the advisary taking the advantage, he spake unadvisedly with his lips after receiving a severe chastisement resigned his commision and became a private member in the church, but has since repented like Peter of old and after a little suffering by the buffiting of Satan had been restored to his high standing in the church of God [PWJ, 246; Recall that Rigdon was serving as a counselor to Joseph Smith in the Presidency of the High Priesthood. The July 28, 1832 entry in the Hyrum Smith journal indicates that was the date Rigdon was reordained to the Presidency of the High Priesthood. Hence, Jesse Gause was Joseph Smith's only counselor during this period.]

Lucy Mack Smith, while misplacing the incident of Rigdon's false sermon chronologically (she puts the episode immediately following the tar and feathers incident at Hiram, Ohio instead of the correct date of July 5th) and missing the motivation, gives some details of the incident of Rigdon's depression:

Sidney Rigdon went immediately to Kirtland, but Joseph remained at Father Johnson's to finish his preparations for a journey, which he contemplated making to Missouri. Immediately after Sidney's arrival at Kirtland, we met for the purpose of holding a prayer meeting, and, as Sidney had not been with us for some time, we hoped to hear from him upon this occasion. We waited a long time before he made his appearance; at last he came in, seemingly much agitated. He did not go to the stand, but began to pace back and forth through the house. My husband said, "Brother Sidney, we would like to hear a discourse from you today." Brother Rigdon replied, in a tone of excitement, "The keys of the kingdom are rent from the Church [Rigdon may have understood the troubles in Missouri to have violated the covenants made between the principals of the united firm or order, which violation was to have serious consequences, see D&C 78], and there shall not be a prayer put up in this house this day." "Oh! no," said Mr. Smith [Joseph Smith, Sr.], "I hope not." "I tell you they are," rejoined Elder Rigdon, "and no man or woman shall put up a prayer in this place to-day."

This greatly disturbed the minds of many sisters, and some brethren. The brethren stared and turned pale, and the sisters cried. Sister [Harriet?] Howe, in particular, was very much terrified: "Oh dear me !" said she, "what shall we do? what shall we do? The keys of the kingdom are taken from us, and what shall we do? I tell you again," said Sidney, with much feeling, "the keys of the kingdom are taken from you, and you never will have them again until you build me a new house."

Hyrum was vexed at this frivolous nonsense, and, taking his hat, he went out of the house, saying, "I'll put a stop to this fuss, pretty quick; I'm going for Joseph."

"Oh don't," said Sister Howe, "for pity's sake, don't go for him. Brother Sidney says the keys of the kingdom are taken from us, and where is the use of bringing Joseph here?"

Hyrum took a horse, and went immediately to Father Johnson's, for Joseph. He arrived there in the afterpart of the night. Joseph being informed of the precise situation of affairs, he got a horse from Father Johnson, and started without delay, with Hyrum, for Kirtland. On his arrival there, the brethren were collected for meeting. Joseph went upon the stand, and informed the brethren that they were under a great mistake, that the Church had not transgressed; "and, as for the keys of the kingdom," said he, "I, myself, hold the keys of this Last Dispensation, and will for ever hold them, both in time and eternity; so set your hearts at rest upon that point, all is right."

He then went on and preached a comforting discourse, after which he appointed a council to sit the next day, by which Sidney was tried, for having lied in the name of the Lord. In this council Joseph told him, he must suffer for what he had done, that he should be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, who would handle him as one man handleth another, that the less Priesthood he had, the better it would be for him and that it would be well for him to give up his license.

After he had sufficiently humbled himself, he received another license; but the old one was retained, and is now in the hands of Bishop Whitney.

Charles C. Rich recalled the incident of Rigdon's second sermon on July 5, 1832:

"[Rigdon] came into the meeting and told the congregation they might as well go home as God had rejected them. He left the meeting but shortly returned and gave the meeting another speech, telling them it was useless to pray or do anything, that the Kingdom was sent from the people. This caused confusion in the congregation both before and after dismissal. Hyrum Smith said he did not believe a word of it and said if he had a horse he would go and see the Prophet, then in the town of Hyrum"[Charles C. Rich autobiography, LDS Church archives.]

Amasa Lyman gave this narrative of Rigdon's sermon:

"Sidney's first revelation in Kirtland was telling the people that the kingdom was rent from them, and they might as well all go home for they were rejected. The saints felt very bad and were almost distracted. When brother Joseph came home, (who was absent at the time) he called Sidney into council and there told him he had lied in the name of the Lord; and says he, "you had better give up your licence and divest yourself of all the authority you can, for you will go into the hands of satan, and he will handle you as one man handleth another, and the less authority you have the better for you." [Times and Seasons 5:660].

Hyrum rode to Hiram, Ohio to get Joseph Smith on July 6th and returned with him to Kirtland on July 7th . Rich noted that "Everybody turned out to meeting--Joseph preached, denouncing the doctrine of Rigdon's as being false, took his licence from him and said, 'The Devil would handle him as one man handles another--the less authority he had the better.'"

Rigdon later reported that he experienced strange things including being tossed about his room. [Lucy Mack Smith ms]

Reynolds Cahoon stated that on the 4th of July Rigdon claimed a revelation justified his claims: " . . . the Lord said that the kingdom was taken from the Church and left with him . . . ." Cahoon's account gives a different slant to Rigdon's claims. The kingdom was given to him.

Philo Dibble gives this account:

Upon one occasion he said the keys of the kingdom were taken from us. On hearing this, many of his hearers wept, and when some one undertook to dismiss the meeting by prayer he said praying would do them no good, and the meeting broke up in confusion.

Brother Hyrum [Smith] came to my house the next morning and told me all about it, and said it was false, and that the keys of the kingdom were still with us. He wanted my carriage and horses to go to the town of Hiram and bring Joseph. The word went abroad among the people immediately that Sidney [Rigdon] was going to expose "Mormonism."

Joseph came up to Kirtland a few days afterwards and held a meeting in a large barn. Nearly all the inhabitants of Kirtland turned out to hear him. The barn was filled with people, and others, unable to get inside, stood around the door as far as they could hear.

Joseph arose in our midst and spoke in mighty power, saying: "I can contend with wicked men and devils--yes with angels. No power can pluck those keys from me, except the power that gave them to me; that was Peter, James and John. But for what Sidney [Rigdon] has done, the devil shall handle him as one man handles another."

Thomas B. Marsh's wife went from the meeting and told Sidney [Rigdon] what Joseph had said, and he replied: "Is it possible that I have been so deceived? But if Joseph says so, it is so."

About three weeks after this, Sidney [Rigdon] was lying on his bed alone. An unseen power lifted him from his bed, threw him across the room, and tossed him from one side of the room to the other. The noise being heard in the adjoining room, his family went in to see what was the matter, and found him going from one side of the room to the other, from the effects of which Sidney was laid up for five or six weeks. Thus was Joseph's prediction in regard to him verified. [Philo Dibble autobiography]

Joseph's letter to Phelps shows some of his feelings about the situation in Missouri and other church matters. [For Richards' edited version, see chapter 21 this volume.] We give the complete letter [Joseph Smith letterbook copy]:
Kirtland Nov 27th 1832

Brother Wm ^W Phelps I say brother because I feel so from the heart and altho it is not long since I wrote a letter unto you yet I feel as tho you would excuse me for writing this as I have many things which I wish to communicate some things which I will mention in this letter which are laying^ great with weight upon my mind I inform you I am well and family God grant that you may enjoy the same and yours and all the brethren and sisters who remember to enquire afte[r] the commandments of the Lord and the welfare of Zion and such a being as me and while I dictate this letter I fancy to myself that you are saying or thinking something simmiler to these words my God great and mighty art thou therefore shew unto thy servant what shall becom[e] of all these who are assaying to come up unto Zion in order to keep the commandments of God and yet rec[e]ive not there inher[i]tance by consecration by order or deed from the bishop the man that God has appointed in a legal way agreeable to the law given to organize and regulate the church and all the affairs of the same; Bro Wm in the love of God having the most implicit confidence in you as a man of God having obtained this confidence by a vision of heaven therefore I will procede to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart and procede to answer the questions firstly, it is the duty of the lord[s] clerk whom he has appointed to keep a hystory and a general church receord of all things that transpire in Zion and of all those who consecrate properties and receive inhertances legally from the bishop and also there manner of life and the faith and works and also of all the apostates who apostatize after receiving ther inher[i]tances in that shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the most high therefore it shall be done unto them as unto the Children of the priest as you will find recorded in the second chapter and sixty first and second verses of Ezra now Brother william if what I have said is true how careful then had men aught to be what they do in the last day lest they think they stand should fall because they keep not the ^Lo[r]d[s] commandments whilest you who obey who do the will of the lord and keep his commandments have need to rejoice with unspeakabl Joy for such shall be exalted very high and shall be lifted up in triumph above all the kingdoms of the world but I must drop this subject at the beginning, O Lord when will the time come when Bro Wm thy servant and myself behold the day that we may stand together and gaze upon eternal wisdom engraven upon the heavens while the magesty of our God holdeth up the dark curtain until we may read the record of eternity to the fulness of our immortal souls, O Lord God deliver us in thy due time from the little narrow prison almost as it were total darkness of paper and pen and Ink and a crooked broken scattered and imperfect Language, I would inform seccondly it is conterary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration agreeable to his law which he has given that he may tithe his people to prepare them against the day of vengence and burning should have there names enrolled with the people of God, neithe[r] is the[ir] geneology to be kept or to be had where it may be found on any of the reccords or hystory of the church there names shall not be found neithe[r] the names of their fathers or the names of the[ir] chil=dren writen in the book of the Law of God saith the Lord of hosts

[the rest of the letter is in Joseph's own hand]

yea thus saith the still small voice which whispereth through and pierceth all things and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest saying and it shall come to pass that I the Lord God will send one mighty and strong holding the scepter of power in his hand clothed with light for a covering whose mouth shallutt utter words Eternal words while his bowels shall be a fou=ntain of truth to set in order the house of God and to ar=ange by lot the inheritance of the saints whose names are found and the names of their fathers and of their children enroled in the Book of the Law of God while tha=t man who was called of God and appointed that puteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God shall fall by the shaft of death like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning and all they who are not found writen in the book of remmemberance shall find none inheritence in that day but they shall be cut assunder and their por=tion shall be appointed them among unbelievers where is wailing and gnashing of teeth these things I say not of myself therefore as the Lord speaketh he will also fu=lfill and they who are of the high Priesthood whose names are not found writen in the book of the Law or that are found to have appostitised or to have been cut off out of the church as well as the lesser Priesthood or the mem=bers in that day shall not find an inheritence among the saints of the most high therefore it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the Priest as you will find recorded in the second chapter and sixty first and second verses of Ezra now Broth_ William if what I say have said is true how careful then had men aught to be what they do in the last days lest they are cut as=sunder short of their expectations and they that think [they] stand should fall because they keep not the Lords comman=dments whilst you who do the will of the Lord and keep his commandments have need to rejoice with unspeakable Joy for such shall be exalted very high and shall be lifted up in triu triumph above all the kingdoms of this world but I must drop (this subject at the begining Oh Lord when will the time come when Brothe[r] William thy Servent and myself sha behold the day that we may stand together and gase upon Eternal wisdom engraven upon the hevens while the mages=ty of our God holdeth up the dark curtain we may read the round of Eternity to the fullness and satisfaction of our immortal souls Oh Lord God deliver us in thy due time from the little narrow prison almost as it were totel darkness of paper pen and ink and a crooked bro=ken scattered and imperfect language I would inform you that I have obtained ten subscribers for the Star and received pay their names and place of residence [are] as follows, John McMahhan, James McMahhan, James White, William Brown, Henry Kingery, Micayer Dillions, Abraham Kingery, John A Fisher, David Houghs, Thomas Singers, the papers and and all to be sent to Guyndotte the papers are all to be sent to Post office Verginea except David Houghs his is to be sent to Wayne ^ County Township Worster County ^Township Ohio, Vienna Jaqis has not r[e]ceived her Papers pleas inform her Sister ^Hariet that Shee is well and give my respects to her tell her that Mrs Angels Brother came after her and the child soon after she went from here all he wanted wanted was the child No more ^my love for all the Brotheren yours in bonds Amen

Joseph Smith Jr
William W Phelps

PS send the evening and morning star to Brothe[r] Joseph Wakefield Watertown Jeffers[on] County New York all to be from first No.

4. After Joseph Smith left Missouri, the Church leaders there held several conferences, the minutes are in the FWR and are quoted here:

May 26, 1832

Minutes of a conference held in Zion, May 26 1832 at the house of br. Sidney Gilbert.

High Priests Present.

Edward Partridge
John Corrill
Isaac Morley
W. W. Phelps
Sidney Gilbert
Jesse Gauss

Elders Present

Titus Billings
Calvin Bebee

To take into consideration a certain transgression of our br. Oliver committed in the fall of 1830 in the Township of Mayfield Cuyahoga County State of Ohio. [This transgression was his involvement with and proposal of marriage to a woman in Ohio- he was already engaged to Elizabeth Whitmer in New York.]

Which after some discussion he having frankly confessed the same to the satisfaction of all present; it was resolved that these proceedings be recorded for the benefit & satisfaction of the Church of Christ.

The reason why the above case was not taken into consideration by proper authority in the Church previous this day, is that some of the Elders supposed that the affair had been adjusted last year when brother Oliver made his confession to the individuals injured & received their forgiveness.

May 29, 1832

Minutes of a Conference held at the office of the Evening & Morning Star on Tuesday 29th day of May 1832 for the purpose of dedicating to the Lord in conformity to certain Revelations given concerning the Printing Establishment [D&C 58:37]


Edward Partridge
Isaac Morley
John Corrill
Oliver Cowdery
John Whitmer
William W. Phelps
Harvey Whitlock
Jesse Gauss
Sidney Gilbert

Elders Present

Calvin Bebee
Peter Dustin
Sealy J. Griffin

The conference was opened by prayer by John Whitmer. Several appropriate commandments read by br. John Whitmer, after which some explanatory remarks were made by brs. Phelps Oliver & others in relation to rules & regulations of the office & important duties devolving upon those whom the Lord has designated to spread his truths & revelations in these last days to the inhabitants of the earth.

After which the Bishop proceeded Solemnly to dedicate the building for Printing & all materials appertaining thereto unto the Lord.

This meeting concluded in prayer by brother William W. Phelps.

Sidney Gilbert, Clerk of Meeting.

July 3, 1832

Zion July 3, 1832

Minutes of a special council held at the dwelling house of Edward Partridge (Bishop) conference opened in prayer by William W. Phelps

High Priests

Edward Partridge
John Corrill
Isaac Morley
William W Phelps
Oliver Cowdery
John Whitmer
Newel Knight
William E McLellin
Major N Ashley
Harvy Whitlock


Calvin Bebee
Peter Dustin
Jesse Hitchcock
Stephen Chase
Thomas Willes
Selah J Griffin
Titus Billings
Christian Whitmer

Resolved that the mode and manner of regulating the Church of Christ Take effect from this time, according to a Revelation received in Hiram Portage County Ohio Nov 11, 1831 [D&C 68]

Adjourned for one hour, Prayer by Elder Calvin Bebee

Convened, Prayer by the Bishop

A letter from Br Patten from Indiana, was exhibited & discussed & advised that he come to this land & also agreed by the conference that an Epistle by written to the church scattered abroad

Prayer by Isaac Morley

John Whitmer Clerk of conference

July 13, 1832

Minutes of a special Conference held in Zion July 13, 1832 at the house of Joseph Knights in Kaw Township for the purpose of dividing the Church on the land of Zion, into branches for the better convenience of holding meetings & organizing the Church &c.


Edward Partridge
Isaac Morley
John Corrill
Harvey Whitlock


Stephen Chase
Selah J Griffin
Thomas Wiles
Christian Whitmer
Sanford Porter
Jonathan Sumner

Hezekiah Peck

Isaac Bebee

Prayer by br. Stephen Chase.

Br. John Corrill appointed Clerk.

After considerable consultation upon the subject it was voted that the branches in each Township be numbered as they are set off.

Voted that for the time being the Disciples in Kaw Township now living & that shall hereafter settle upon Sections No. Be considered in the branch No. first: those on Section No. 29.30.31.&32 [branch number 2] And those on the 24 first no. Sections in Second Township in branch no. 3. & also those in Blue Township be considered a branch.

Closed in prayer by br Jonathan Sumner.

John Corrill Clerk of Con.

August 24, 1832

Minutes of a Conference held in Kaw Township August 24. 1832.


Edward Partridge
Isaac Morley
John Corrill
Oliver Cowdery
Lyman Wight
William E. Mc.lellin
Newel Knight
Levi Jackman
Peter Whitmer jr.
Harvey Whitlock
Major N. Ashley
Peter Dustin


Christian Whitmer
James Emmet
Sanford Porter
Jonathan Sumner

Harvey Whitlock proposed the following questions

1st. Can a man in the Church of Christ walk by faith without law?

2nd. Was the law given to bring men to faith?

3rd. Was the law added because of transgression?

4th. Was the law given because it was asked for?

William E. Mc.lellin Clerk of Conference. [Some of these meetings were precursors to both the religious schools and priesthood quorum meetings eventually established -see the following minutes.]

September 15, 1832

Met in Council September 15. 1832 to choose an Elder to be a President over the Elders in Zion [i.e. essentially the first elders quorum president- see note 37 of volume 1, chapter 17 for the November 1831 revelation authorizing this. This suggests that the November revelation was circulated to Zion in some form.]

Opened in prayer by br Calvin Bebee. Then proceeded chose & Elected br. Christian Whitmer to be our President

Peter Dustin appointed Clerk pro tem.

Resolved that the Elders meet the first Saturday of December next for the first General Conference according to the Commandments and Covenants. Were present then at this meeting:

Calvin Bebee
Peter Dustin
Christian Whitmer
Jonathan Sumner
Sanford Porter
William Bolton
Thomas Laplesh
James Emmet

Some interesting changes in terminology are evident from the minutes quoted above. Previously, the word "churches" (in accord with New Testament use - e.g. Acts 9:31, D&C 24:9) was commonly employed to refer to different congregations of the restored Church. The word "branches" used here is a term still in common and official use in the LDS Church to designate smaller congregations. Note also the respect indicated by the clerks with regard to the bishopric in Zion. Their names come first even though Cowdery is present. Cowdery would not be elevated to the presidency of the high priesthood for some time, even though he was "second elder" at the April 6, 1830 organizational meeting. Hence while Cowdery had been ordained by Peter, James and John, his position in the Church hierarchy was a separate issue and followed the pattern initially set with the visit of John the Baptist -ordination by the authorized mortal and the knowledge and confirmation by Church vote were required.

5. Ms says "space."

6. The Whig (a New York newspaper) noticed "The Mormonites have found a resting place in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, when we have received the prospectus of a newspaper from W. W. Phelps, formerly of Ontario Phoenix. We make a few extracts for the singularity of the thing." The Whig calls the Book of Mormon a strange superstition and suggests that Joseph Smith is a liar and further compares the Mormons with the "St. Simonites" of France [evidently the socialist-utopian sect based on the writing of Henri de Saint-Simon founded three years following his death in 1828]. Hence the economic experiments of the Church (Law of Consecration, United Firm, Literary Firm, etc.) had become part of the Mormon's public persona by this time.

7. While the history gives a positive picture here, the seeds of discord were being sown in Missouri. Several letters exchanged between Kirtland and Independence Saints show that in Missouri, criticism of Joseph Smith had begun, accusing him of a desire to be a monarch. Edward Partridge appears to have been part of the problem, but other leaders and members who, disobedient to counsel, went to "Zion" became a source of irritation to the old settlers in the area. Phelps wrote to Smith with news that things were not going according the rules laid down for settling the frontier in Zion. The critics of Smith, Rigdon and Whitney found a listening ear among some of the weaker Saints who had migrated to Independence, who repeated strange and unauthorized doctrines to their relatives in other parts of the country. Such stories as one that claimed "[the Missouri Saints] are putting up the Indians to slay the Gentiles." Smith complained to Phelps that false statements like this "exposed the lives of the Saints everywhere." In addition, Phelps told Smith that Mormon immigrants were arriving without prior authorization and with no money or property to use in the purchase of land. Smith counseled in his return letter to have Partridge recall Acts 5:1-11. [See Smith to Phelps as cited above.]

The Mormon's reputation in the western U.S. became suspect for their emphasis on the American Indians in a religious context. For example we find in June 1832 the following letter from a man living in Vermillion County, Illinois:

I will inform you that we have a new sort of people in our Country who call themselves mormanites the preach up that the righteous and the wicked should be separated & the were agoing to build a new Jerusalem away out in the plains meaning the grand frontier. . . . It is suspected that there new Jerusalem is a fort & and they themselves are brittish spies they have large ironbound boxes that is supposed to be loaded with guns and ammunition and also coffins that is loaded with the same. . . . They also tell the indians that the are the dissendant of the children of israel and that the shall be restored again that the lord will fight there battles for them. . . . [Joseph Antrim holograph, Ohio Historical Society as quoted in Stanley Kimball BYUS 11/3, 535.]

8. The salutatory address was signed by W. W. Phelps. (BHR)

9. This is in plain allusion to the revelation on page 185 [D&C 55:4] where W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery are appointed a committee to prepare books for schools in the Church, that little children might receive instruction, which is pleasing before the Lord. That revelation and the above article from the Star of June, 1832, plainly foreshadow the great interest the Church would take in education. (BHR)

10. The previous paragraph on geographic locations does not appear in the ms history.

11. "Cholera" as used in 19th century narratives in diaries and other historical records might have referred to any number of contagious conditions involving severe diarrhea. Cholera as a separate disease entity results from colonization of the small bowel by Vibrio cholerae. The disease is characterized by its epidemic occurrence and the production in the more severe cases of massive diarrhea with rapid depletion of extracellular fluid and electrolytes. The last major epidemic in the Western Hemisphere occurred during 1866-1867. The majority of epidemics were waterborne, but direct contamination of food by infected feces probably contributed to the spread in major outbreaks. The responsible bacteria produce a toxin which stimulates secretion of isotonic fluid by all segments of the small bowel. The incubation period varies from about 6 to 48 hours. In severe cases the initial diarrheal stool may be in excess of a quart of liquid. Several liters may be lost within a few hours resulting in deep shock. Vomiting generally follows or sometimes precedes the onset of diarrhea. Muscle cramps follow as saline depletion occurs. A typically ill patient is cyanotic, with thready pulse. The voice is faint, high-pitched and often inaudible. Blood pressure is low and heart rate high. Mortality is quite high without treatment. The disease usually runs its course in 2 to 7 days. Usual causes of death are hypovolemic shock, metabolic acidosis and acute tubular necrosis of the kidneys. All these are indirect effects of V. cholerae invasion, and result from fluid and electrolyte loss. Treatment is very simple: intravenous fluid which can be produced with household supplies. One liter of distilled water to which are added 5 grams of salt, 4 grams of sodium bicarbonate and 1 gram of potassium chloride. Treatment continues until a strong pulse is restored. As losses occur, treatment is re-administered in commensurate doses. Modern antibiotic therapy can dramatically reduce the duration of the disease if begun early. The Mormons were to encounter cholera throughout their travels in the early days of the Church. One of the most notable was the Zion's Camp incident (see volume II of this history). Enterotoxin-producing Escherichia coli may cause a disease with similar symptoms to that produced by V. cholerae but of shorter duration. [Clinical studies in Asiatic cholera I-VI, Bulletin of Johns Hopkins Hospital 118 (1966),165; Journal of Clinical Investigations 38 (1959), 1879.]