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Title: History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Volume 1

Author: Jr. Joseph Smith

Creator: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Editor: B. H. Roberts

Release date: October 11, 2014 [eBook #47091]
Most recently updated: January 15, 2021

Language: English

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, VOLUME 1 ***

HISTORY
OF THE
CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
OF
LATTER-DAY SAINTS.


PERIOD I.

History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

By Himself.


Volume I.


An Introduction and Notes
by
B. H. Roberts.


Published by the Church.


Deseret News.
Salt Lake City, Utah.
1902.

{III}

Preface.

In publishing the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is felt that a solemn duty is being performed to the Saints and to the world. The events which make up the history of the Church in this age are the most important that history can chronicle. It is due therefore both to the Saints themselves and to the world that a faithful and complete history of the facts in which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had its origin, together with the events through which it was subsequently developed, and all the circumstances, experiences and trials through which it passed be made known to mankind. It is important, too, that so far as possible the events which make up the history be related by the persons who witnessed them, since such statements give the reader testimony of the facts at first hand; and there is placed on record at the same time the highest order of historical evidence of the truth of what is stated. It was these considerations which induced the Church authorities, under whose auspices this history is published, to take the narrative of the Prophet Joseph Smith as found in the manuscript History of the Church—now in the archives of the Historian's office—for the body of the work, rather than to authorize the writing of a history in the ordinary way. The editors of the work are not oblivious to the fact that to proceed in the manner followed in these volumes has its disadvantages; that it renders it impossible to correlate the facts, and give unity to the work; {IV} that it makes the body of the work more of the nature of annals than of history; with the accompanying result that the conclusion of an event, or even a series of events, is frequently postponed indefinitely, and each reader is left to be his own "philosopher of history" while perusing these pages; that is, to form his own conclusions upon the data here presented to him. To overcome, at least in some small degree, the obvious disadvantages of the style in which it has been determined to publish this history, marginal notes relating to important matters are given, which, while it is not claimed that they overcome the difficulties of the annalistic style of the main body of the work, will nevertheless, be of great service to the reader both in this respect and also in here and there enlarging upon the Prophet's narrative where the narrative does not include all the facts known upon the subject.

From the first the Prophet Joseph Smith had a clear apprehension of the importance of keeping a faithful record of the events connected with the great work which God was bringing forth through his instrumentality; and it is to his appreciation of the importance of that fact, and his never tiring energy respecting it, that we are indebted for the minute completeness of our Church annals. While the very rapidity with which events happened, together with the quickly changing circumstances through which the purposes of God were unfolded in the great Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, necessarily occupied the time of the Prophet, and well nigh made it impossible for him to give all the attention to the making of annals that is necessary to such work, still he quite thoroughly supervised the writing of his history, with the result that more complete historical data have been written and preserved {V} respecting the coming forth of the work of God in these last days than any other great movement whatsoever.

One difficulty the Prophet experienced in writing the annals of the Church, which he usually called his history, was the unfaithfulness of some whom he employed in this service, and the frequent change of historians, owing to the ever shifting conditions surrounding the Church in the early years of its existence. It would be marvelous indeed if under all these circumstances there had been no mistakes made in our annals, no conflict of dates, no errors in the relation of events. But whether these conditions are taken into account or not, the manuscript annals of the Church are astonishingly free from errors of dates, relation of facts, and anachronisms of every description. When the Church historians George A. Smith and Wilford Woodruff completed their publication of the History of Joseph Smith, down to the 8th of August, 1844, which history was published in installments in the Deseret News, Utah, and in the Millennial Star, England, they expressed themselves upon the correctness of what they had published in the following manner:

"The History of Joseph Smith is now before the world, and we are satisfied that a history more correct in its details than this was never published. To have it strictly correct, the greatest possible pains have been taken by the historians and clerks engaged in the work. They were eye and ear witnesses of nearly all the transactions recorded in this history, most of which were reported as they transpired, and, where they were not personally present, they have had access to those who were. Moreover, since the death of the Prophet Joseph, the history has been carefully revised under the strict inspection of {VI} President Brigham Young, and approved by him. We, therefore, hereby bear our testimony to all the world, unto whom these words shall come, that the History of Joseph Smith is true, and is one of the most authentic histories ever written."

Their statement assuredly is true; and yet by a careful revision of the work they did, and the correction of a few errors in dates and other details, the work has been brought to a still higher state of perfection. Where grammatical accuracy was violated in the original record it has been corrected, so far as observed; but no historical or doctrinal statement has been changed. Some changes will be observed in the matter of the biographies of the leading Elders of the early days of the Church. When a man of prominence connected himself with the Church, the Prophet Joseph usually gave a biographical sketch of him in his own history, then writing; and sometimes these biographies were long and unduly interrupted the movement of events. To rid the body of the work of this encumbrance it was decided to place all biographical matter in marginal notes; this made it necessary to condense very much those found in the Prophet's narrative, while severe brevity—after accuracy—has been the aim in those prepared by the annotator.

The most careful attention has been given to this work by those engaged in its preparation. The manuscript has been read to the Church Historian, President Anthon H. Lund, with constant reference to the original manuscript history and all copies of it published in the Times and Seasons and the Millennial Star; and also to various editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Book of Commandments published at Independence, Missouri, in 1833, {VII} where the revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith are contained. In the course of this work slight variations in phraseology were discovered in the several editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, that doubtless arose through careless proof reading; and as between the most carefully proof-read editions and the revelations found in the manuscript History of the Church there were some slight differences, which were corrected to agree with the original manuscript; but the corrections were never made until first submitted to the First Presidency, and carefully considered and approved by them. We therefore feel that this great care has resulted in presenting to the Church and to the world the revelations which the Prophet Joseph Smith received in their most perfect form; and that a standard is created for all future publication of these revelations. Speaking of the revelations that appear in this book, it is proper to remark that one of the chief values of this volume of the History of the Church will arise from the fact that the greater number of those revelations received by the Prophet Joseph Smith is published in it—one hundred and one, out of a hundred and thirty-three found in the Doctrine and Covenants; and as they are published in connection with the circumstances existing when brought forth, the student of the doctrines of the Church will find this volume of almost incalculable benefit to him.

In the Introduction it is believed the reader will find a fitting background from which are projected with majestic boldness the great events and splendid doctrines of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. That dispensation, of which this history is but the chronicle, bears an important relation to all former dispensations since {VIII} the world began. It is the ocean into which they as streams flow. It is their complement, and unifying force—it makes them all one; and demonstrates that while things to men appear but in parts, God forever stands in the presence of the whole, and dispenses His providences with reference to His perfect comprehension of the end from the beginning. It is to exhibit this relation of dispensations that the Introduction is written, and the importance of the subject must be the apology for its length.

{IX}

Table of Contents.

Volume I.

Preface.
Introduction.
Antiquity of the Gospel.
The Gospel Revealed to Adam.
Establishment of the Ancient Church.
The Gospel Versus the Law.
From Moses to John the Baptist and Messiah.
The Dispensation of the Meridian of Time.
The Identity of the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time and the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times Considered.
Joel's Prophecy of the Dispensation of the Last Days.
Daniel's Prophecy of the Rise of the Kingdom of God in the Last Days.
The Announcement of the Universal Apostasy.
Character of the Early Christians.
The Rise of False Teachers.
The Development of False Doctrines After the Death of the Apostles.
The Revolution of the Fourth Century: Constantine.
Christianity Made a Persecuting Religion.
Persecution of "Heretics."
Christianity Before and After Constantine.
Decline in Moral and Spiritual Living Among Christians.
Loss of Spiritual Gifts.
Departure of "Christendom" from the True Doctrine of Deity.
The Christian Doctrine of God.
Paganization of the Christian Doctrine of God.
The Church of Christ Displaced by the Churches of Men.
Testimony of Prophecy to the Universal Apostasy.
Conclusion.

{X}

CHAPTER I.

Joseph Smith's Birth and Lineage—The Prophet's First Vision—"This is My Beloved Son."

The Prophet's Introduction
Birth and Ancestry.
Religious Excitement in Western New York.
Reflection on Divided Christendom.
Perplexity of the Prophet.
The Promise of St. James Tested.
Effort of Satan to Destroy the Prophet.
The First Vision.
State of Christian World.
Sectarian opposition.
Reflections Upon Sectarian Oppositions.
All Doubts Settled.

CHAPTER II.

The Visitation of Moroni—Existence of the Book of Mormon Made Known.

Interval of Three Years, 1820-23.
Confession of Errors.
Appearing of Moroni.
Moroni's Message.
Ancient Prophecies Quoted.
Plates not to be Shown.
Second Appearing of Moroni.
Third Appearing of Moroni.
Fourth Appearing of Moroni.
The Hill Cumorah.
The Nephite Record.
Fourth Annual Visitation to Cumorah.
Story of Being a Money Digger.
The Prophet's Marriage.

CHAPTER III.

The Nephite Record Delivered to Joseph—The Angel's Warning The Work of Translation.

The Prophet Receives the Plates.
Efforts of Enemies to Get the Plates.
Misrepresentations.
Removal to Pennsylvania.
Words of the Book given to the Learned.
The Loss of 116 Pages of Manuscript.
Prophet's Journey to Manchester and Return to Pennsylvania.
Interpreters and Plates Returned to the Prophet.
Interval in the Work of Translation.
Three Witnesses Promised.

{XI}

CHAPTER IV.

Oliver Cowdery Becomes the Prophet's Scribe—The Translation of the Plates Continued.

Oliver Cowdery.
Witness of the Spirit to Cowdery.
The Mission of John the Apostle.
Oliver desires to Translate.

CHAPTER V.

Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood—First Baptisms.

The Aaronic Priesthood Restored.
Limitation of the Aaronic Priesthood.
John the Baptist, May 15, 1829.
Outpourings of the Spirit.
Ordination and Baptism Kept Secret.
Conversion of Samuel H. Smith.
Hyrum Smith's Inquiries.
Assistance from Joseph Knight, Sen.
Prophet's Removal to Fayette.
David, John, and Peter Whitmer, Jun., as Assistants.
Early Baptisms.

CHAPTER VI.

The Testimony of the Especial Witnesses to the Book of Mormon.

Provision made for Special Witnesses.
Seeking the Fulfillment of the Promise.
The Order of Prayer.
The Visitation of the Angel—Viewing the Plates.
Martin Harris Views the Plates.
Statement of the Witnesses.
Early Progress in the Work.

CHAPTER VII.

The Day Appointed for Organizing the Church—Revelation on Church Government.

Directions for the Organization of the Church.
Instructions on Church Organization.

{XII}

CHAPTER VIII.

The Book of Mormon Published—The Church Organized.

Price for Publishing Book of Mormon.
The Title Page.
Procedure in the Organization of the Church.
Joseph Smith, Jun., Appointed Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the Church.
The Church of Jesus Christ Begins its Career.
Word of the Lord to Several Persons.

CHAPTER IX.

The Commencement of the Public Ministry of the Church.

The First Public Discourse.
The Prophet's Ministry at Colesville.
Labors of the Prophet with Newel Knight.
The First Miracle in the Church.
Remarkable Experience of Newel Knight.
Effect of Publishing the Book of Mormon.
First Conference of the Church.
Effect of Spiritual Manifestations.
Baptisms.
Labor of the Prophet at Colesville.
The Adventures of Emily Coburn.
Mobbings.
The Prophet Arrested.
The Prophet Escapes the Mob.
Excitement over the Prophet's Case.
The Trial.
Daughters of Mr. Stoal as Witnesses.
The Acquittal.
The Prophet's second Arrest.
Unnecessary Severity.
The Second Trial.
Newel Knight vs. Lawyer Seymour.
Plea for the State.
Plea for the Defendant.
Change in Sentiment.
The Prophet Acquitted.

CHAPTER X.

The Molestation at Colesville by Mobs—The Revelation Embodying the vision of Moses.

The Second Flight from Colesville.
Reflections on Persecution.
The Strength which God gave.
Encouragement from Inspired Dreams.
Compilation of Revelations.
Cowdery's Error.
Prophet's Correction of Error.

{XIII}

CHAPTER XI.

Further Light Respecting the Sacrament—Prophet's Removal to Fayette.

Instructions on the Sacrament.
A Confirmation Meeting.
The Prophet's Father-in-law Embittered.
The Eyes of Enemies Blinded Through Faith.
The Prophet Finds an Asylum at Fayette.
Spurious Revelations Through Hyrum Page.
The Conference of September 26th.
Satisfactory Results of the Conference.
Mission to the Lamanites.
Departure of the Lamanite Mission.
Arrival at Kirtland.
Previous Relations of Pratt and Rigdon.
Presentation of the Book of Mormon to Sidney Rigdon.
Public Ministry at Mentor.
The Work Opened at Kirtland.
Conversion of Sidney Rigdon.

CHAPTER XII.

Lost Books of Ancient Scripture—Commandment to the Church in New York to Move to Ohio.

Readiness of the Lord to Impart Knowledge.
Orson Pratt Seeks to Know the Will of the Lord.
Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge Visit the Prophet.
Of the Lost Books of Scripture.

CHAPTER XIII.

Prospects of the Church at the Opening of the year 1831—Removal of the Prophet Joseph From New York to Ohio—Doctrinal Development.

Prospects of the Church, 1831.
Why Covill Rejected the Commandment.
The Prophet Removes to Ohio.
The Branch of the Church at Kirtland.
Revelation Giving the Law of the Church.
Pretensions of a Woman to Revelations, etc.
A Special Conference, 3rd-6th of June.

{XIV}

CHAPTER XIV.

Effort to Overwhelm the Church By Falsehood—Sundry Revelations Leading to Doctrinal Development.

Efforts Through the Press to Retard the Work.
The Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
John Whitmer Appointed Historian.
On the Purchase of Land in Ohio.
The Shaking Quakers.
Inquiry on Spiritual Manifestations.
Arrival in Ohio of the New York Saints.

CHAPTER XV.

The Important conference of June 3rd-6th—Arrival of the Elders in Western Missouri.

Important Conference of June 3rd-6th at Kirtland.
Difficulty in the Thompson Branch.
Report of Oliver Cowdery on Conditions on Western Missouri.
Marsh and Thayre Separated as Missionary Companions.
Departure of the Prophets and Company for Missouri.
Treatment by the Way.
Arrival in Missouri.
Questions and the Answer by Revelation.
The First Sabbath in Zion.
Arrival of the Colesville Branch.

CHAPTER XVI.

The Founding of Zion.

The First Act in the Founding of Zion.
Description of the Land of Zion.
Agricultural Products.
Animals, Domestic and Wild.
The Climate.
The Future Glory of Zion.
Dedication of the Temple Site.
First Conference in Zion.
Death of Polly Knight.
Directions for the Elders.
Prophet and Others Depart for Kirtland.
A Chance Meeting of Elders.
Arrival of the Prophet and Party at Kirtland.
Anxiety of the Saints to Receive the Word of the Lord.
Preparation to Move to Hiram.

{XV}

CHAPTER XVII.

The Apostasy of Ezra Booth—Preparations for Publishing Book of Commandments.

The Prophet Move to Hiram.
Ezra Booth's Apostasy.
The Purchase of a Press.
A Prayer Revealed.
Revision of the Bible Renewed.
Instructions and Appointments of the Conference of October 11th.
Special Conference of October 21st.
Conference at Orange, Ohio, October 25th.
Special Conference Nov. 1st.
Language of Revelations Criticised.
The Folly of William M'Lellin.
Preparation of the Revelations for Publication, November 1st-15th.
Dedication of the Book of Commandments.
Esteem in which the Conference Held the Book of Commandments and Book of Mormon.

CHAPTER XVIII.

The Amherst Conference—The Vision of the Degrees of Glory in Man's Future Life.

The Labors of the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon.
The Prophet's Earnest Labors in Kirtland.
Effectiveness of the Prophet's and Sidney Rigdon's Labors.
Translation Renewed.
The Amherst Conference.
Revelation of the Degrees of Future Glory.
The Prophet's Views on the Foregoing Revelation.
A Key to St. John's Book of Revelation.
Sundry Revelations.

CHAPTER XIX.

Mob Violence at Hiram—The Second Journey of the Prophet to Zion, and Return to Kirtland.

Prospects of the "Evening and Morning Star."
The Prophet's Life in Hiram.
A Prophecy on Omsted Johnson.
Apostates.
Mob Violence at Hiram.
Brutality of the Mob.
The Prophet's Pitiable Condition.
A Case of Mistaken Identity.
The Prophet's Undaunted Spirit.
Elder Rigdon's Condition.
{XVI} Composition of the Mob.
The Prophet Starts on his Second Visit to Zion.
Incidents by the Way.
Prophet Acknowledged President of the High Priesthood.
The Purposes the Prophet Seeks to Effect Through Church Organization.
A Visit to the Colesville Saints Literary Affairs of the Church Considered.
Transaction of Temporal Business.
Return Journey to Kirtland—Incidents by the Way.
The Foreknowledge of a Seer.

CHAPTER XX.

"The Evening and Morning Star."

Occupation of the Prophet, Summer of 1832.
Opposition by the Press.
Second No. of the "Star."

CHAPTER XXI.

Larger Views of the Doctrine of Priesthood Revealed—The Meeting of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Jun., Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball.

Baptism of George A. Smith.
Return of Elders from Missouri.
The Prophet's Visit to Eastern Cities.
The Arrival of the Youngs at Kirtland.

CHAPTER XXII.

The Prophecy on the War of the Rebellion—The Olive Leaf—Communication to Mr. Seaton—Warning to Zion.

State of the World at the Close of 1832.

CHAPTER XXIII.

The Enjoyment of Spiritual Blessings in the Church—The Word of Wisdom.

Enjoyment of Spiritual Gifts.
Ordinances of the Washing of Feet.
The Elders Pronounced Clean.
Revision of the New Testament Completed.
John Murdock's Message to the Thompson Branch.
{XVII} Concerning the Prophet's Communication to Seaton.
Case of Burr Riggs.
Consideration of Missouri Correspondence of the 11th and 12th of January.
Excommunication of Burr Riggs.
A Word of Comfort to the Prophet.
The Apocrypha.
A Mission to the East Appointed.
Case of Brother Lake.

CHAPTER XXIV.

Kirtland to be a Stake of Zion—Regulation of Church Affairs in Missouri.

School of Prophets.
Rigdon and Williams Ordained Presidents.
Kirtland a Stake of Zion.
Matters Relating to Church Government in Zion Settled.
Purchase of the French Farm.
Conference in Zion.
The State of the World.
First Assembly of Mob in Zion.
Conference of High Priests in Kirtland.
Another Conference of High Priests.
Council Proceedings Approved.
Signs of the Times.
Removal of Indians.
Arrival of the Prophet's Relatives in Kirtland.

CHAPTER XXV.

Preparations for Building the Kirtland Temple—Trial and Excommunication of "Doctor" Philastus Hurlburt.

The House of the Lord at Kirtland.
The Trial of "Doctor" Hurlburt.
The House of the Lord to be Built at Kirtland.
The French Farm.
John Johnson Ordained a High Priest.
Ground Broken for Kirtland Temple.
Action of Conference with Reference to the Temple.
Hurlburt's Appeal.
Copley's Case.
Excommunication of "Doctor" Hurlburt.
Case of James Higbee.

{XVIII}

CHAPTER XXVI.

The Plat of the City of Zion—Its Temples—Correspondence on Affairs in Zion and Eugene.

The General Plan of the City of Zion.
The Blocks Set Aside for Temples.
Location of Land for the Agriculturist.
Zion a Group of Cities.
Names of the Temples.
The House of the Lord for the Presidency.
The Pulpits of the Temple.
The Windows.
General Dimensions.
Arrangements of the Curtains.
Important Letter to Brethren in Zion.

CHAPTER XXVII.

Preparation of the Mob in Jackson County to Resort to Violence—Important Excerpts From the "Star."

The Rise of Mob Force in Jackson County.
The Mob Ignores the Constitutional Guarantee of Religious Freedom.
Council of Elders in Kirtland.

CHAPTER XXVIII.

Mob Violence in the Land of Zion.

Demands of the Mob.
The Mob's Treatment of Elder Partridge.
Charles Allen.
Reflection of the Prophet.
Aftermath of Mob Violence.
The Second Gathering of the Mob.
A Messenger Sent to Kirtland.
The "Western" Monitor on Jackson County Troubles.
The Prophet's Comment of the "Monitor" article.
Corner Stone of Kirtland Temple Laid.

CHAPTER XXIX.

Minor Events in Zion and Kirtland—An Appeal to the Governor of Missouri.

Prophet's Letter to Vienna Jaques.

{XIX}

CHAPTER XXX.

The Prophet's Mission to Canada.

The Prophet Starts for Canada.
Letter to Saints in Zion.
Distraction about Zion.
Narrative of Canada Journey Renewed.
At Father Nickerson's.
Through Upper Canada.
Meeting at Bradford.
Meeting and Baptisms at Mt. Pleasant.
Return to Kirtland.
Action of Governor Dunklin on Petition.
Preparations for Asserting Rights.
Counsel Employed.

CHAPTER XXXI.

Expulsion of the Saints From Jackson County.

Attack on the Saints Settled on Big Blue.
The Saints at the Prairie Settlement Attacked.
Mobbing at Independence.
Other Incidents at Independence.
An Appeal to the Circuit Court.
Events of Monday, Nov. 4th.
The Battle.
Gilbert et al. on Trial.
Assault on the Prisoners.
Incidents of the 5th November.
One Hundred Volunteers.
The Demand of the Mob Militia.
The Savagery of the Mob.
Events of the 5th and 6th of November.
Scenes on the Banks of the Missouri.
Lieutenant Governor Boggs.
In Exile.
The Stars Fall.

CHAPTER XXXII.

Remembrance of Canada Saints—Correspondence and Petition Relative to Missouri Affairs.

Letter to Moses C. Nickerson.
The Prophet's Reflections.
Sidney Rigdon.
A Prophecy.
The Prophet's Maxims.
Frederick G. Williams.
Attorney General's Letter to the Exiles' Counsel.
Judge Ryland's Letter to Amos Reese.
Hyde and Gould Return to Kirtland.
Remnants Scattered.
New Church Press.
The Dedication of the New Press.

{XX}

CHAPTER XXXIII.

The Prophet's Sympathy for the Exiled Saints—Reasons for their expulsion From Zion.

Expulsion of Saints from Van Buren County.
Sad Condition of the Saints

CHAPTER XXXIV.

A Press Established at Kirtland—Blessing Upon the Prophet's Family—Responsibility for Lawless Acts in Missouri.

Dedication of Printing Press.
Strength and Weakness of Oliver Cowdery.
The Prophet's Blessing Upon his Father's House.
His Mother.
His Brother Hyrum.
His Brother Samuel.
Prophecy on the Head of his Brother William.
A Prayer.
Messengers to Zion.
A Life Guard of Washington Driven from Jackson County.
Court of Inquiry.
Excommunications at Kirtland.
Elliott, Haggart and Babbitt cases.
Disposition of the Star Press.
Where Responsibility Rests.

CHAPTER XXXV.

Important Correspondence on Jackson County Affairs, Chiefly Between Leading Officials of the Church in Zion and State Officials of Missouri.

Algernon Sidney Gilbert's Letter to Governor Dunklin.
Letter of the First Presidency to the Scattered Saints.
Letter from Governor Dunklin to the Brethren in Missouri.
Letter of Algernon Sidney Gilbert to A. Leonard, Esq., Attorney.
Letter from Brethren in Clay County, Mo., to Judge Ryland.
{XXI} Letter of W. W. Phelps et al. to Judge Woodward.
Affidavit of Abigail Leonard.
Letter of W. W. Phelps to the Brethren in Kirtland, Detailing the Farcical Effort of the Officers of Missouri to Enforce the Law.
Second Petition to the President of the United States.
Letter of Algernon S. Gilbert et al. to President Accompanying Foregoing Petition.
Letter of the Brethren to Governor Dunklin, Asking him to Write the President in Connection with their Petition.
Letter of W. W. Phelps to U. S. Senator Benton of Missouri on the Subject of the Petition to the President.
Letter from Governor Dunklin to the Brethren, Answering the one Inviting him to Write the President on the Subject of Saint's Petition.
The Brethren in Missouri to Governor Dunklin, Informing him that they Expect the Arrival of Reinforcement from their Brethren in the East.
Letter of Governor Dunklin Replying to the Communication of April 24th from the Brethren in Clay County.
Letter to Governor Dunklin Answering his of April 20th, Wherein he Cautioned the Saints to Keep their Enemies in the Wrong.
Letter to Colonel S. D. Lucas Asking About Arms Surrendered at Independence.
Reply of the General Government to the Petition of the Saints.

{XXV}

Introduction.

Antiquity of the Gospel.

The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is also the history of the opening and progress of the Dispensation of the fullness of Times; and as that dispensation bears an important relation to all dispensations which have preceded it, let us here ascertain in what that relation consists. By doing so we shall have a better appreciation of the full import of those events which make up the history of the Church.

A dispensation, without reference to any specific application or limitation of the term, is the act of dealing out or distributing, such as the dispensation of justice by courts, the dispensation of blessings or afflictions by the hand of Providence. Theologically a dispensation is defined as one of the several systems or bodies of law in which at different periods God has revealed his mind and will to man, such as the Patriarchal Dispensation, the Mosaic Dispensation, or the Christian Dispensation. The word is also sometimes applied to the periods of time during which the said laws obtain. That is, the period from Adam to Noah is usually called the Patriarchal Dispensation. From Noah to the calling of Abraham, the Noachian Dispensation; and from Abraham to the calling of Moses, the Abrahamic Dispensation. But the word dispensation as connected with the Gospel of Jesus Christ means the opening of the heavens to men; the giving out or dispensing to them the word of God; the revealing to men in whole or the part the principles and ordinances of the Gospel; the conferring of divine authority upon certain chosen ones, by which they are empowered to act in the name, that is, in the authority of God, and for Him. That is a dispensation as relating to the Gospel; and the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times is the dispensation which includes all others and gathers to itself all things which bear any relation whatsoever to the work of God. Also it is the last dispensation, the one in which will be gathered together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.[1] It is the dispensation which will see fulfilled all the decrees of God respecting the salvation of men and the redemption of the earth itself; and bears such relation to all other {XXVI} dispensations of the Gospel as the ocean does to all earth's streams. It receives and unites them all in itself.

That there have been many dispensations of the Gospel, many times that divine authority has been conferred upon men, is apparent from the Scripture narrative of such events. And yet, strange as it may seem, in the face of such Scripture narratives, there are those among professing Christians who hold that the Gospel had no earlier origin than the time of Messiah's ministry in the flesh. As a matter of fact, however, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has existed from the very earliest ages of the world. There are, indeed, certain passages of Scripture which lead us to believe that even before the earth was made or ever man was placed upon it, the Gospel had been formulated and was understood by the spirits which inhabited the kingdom of the Father; and who, in course of time, would be blessed with a probation on the earth—an earth-life. If this be not true, of what significance is the Scripture which speaks of Jesus as the Lamb ordained before the foundation of the world, but revealed in this day for the salvation of man?[2] What of the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world"?[3] And further: "They that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world."[4] "Where wast thou," asked the Lord of Job, "when I laid the foundations of the earth? * * * When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"[5] There is evidence in these expressions found in Scripture that before the foundations of the earth were laid the sacrifice necessary to the redemption of men was understood, and the "Lamb" for the sacrifice was chosen, Jesus, the Messiah. There is evidence in these expressions from Scripture of the pre-existence of the spirits of men, and the names of some of them at least were written in the "Book of Life" from the foundation of the world, and it is not unlikely that the shouting of all the sons of God for joy, at the creation of the earth was in consequence of the prospects which opened before them because of the earth-life and the salvation that would come to them through the Gospel—even in the prospects of that "eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began."

The Gospel Revealed to Adam.

The Gospel, then, is of great antiquity. Older than the hills, older {XXVII} than the earth; for in the heavenly kingdom was it formulated before the foundations of the earth were laid. Nor were men left in ignorance of the plan of their redemption until the coming of the Messiah in the flesh. From the first that plan was known. Our annals are imperfect on that head, doubtless, but enough exists even in the Jewish scriptures to indicate the existence of a knowledge of the fact of the Atonement and of the redemption of man through that means. Abel, the son of Adam, is the first we read of in the Jewish scriptures as offering "the firstlings of his flock" as a sacrifice unto God. How came he to offer sacrifice of the firstlings of his flock? Doubtless behind Abel's sacrifice, as behind similar offerings in subsequent ages, stood the fact of the Christ's Atonement.[6] In it was figured forth the means of man's redemption—through a sacrifice, and that the sacrifice of the first-born. But where learned Abel to offer sacrifice if not from his father Adam? It is reasonably certain that Adam as well as Abel offered sacrifices, in like manner and for the same intent; and to Adam, though the Jewish scriptures are silent respecting it, God must have revealed both the necessity of offering sacrifice and the great thing of which it was but the symbol. And here, to some advantage, may be quoted a passage from the writings of Moses, as revealed to Joseph Smith, in December, 1830. From what was then made known to the great latter-day Prophet of the writings of Moses, it appears that our book of Genesis does not contain all that was revealed to Moses respecting the revelations of God to Adam and his children of the first generation. According to this more complete account of the revelation to Moses, after Adam was driven from Eden, God gave commandments both to him and his wife, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks for an offering unto the Lord, and Adam was obedient unto the commandment:

And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why doest thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me. And the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son for evermore.[7]

After some time elapsed and men multiplied in the earth and wickedness increased; after Abel, the righteous, was slain and Cain was a vagabond in the earth for the murder; after Lamech had also become a murderer and Satan had great power among the disobedient—then, it is written:

{XXVIII} And God cursed the earth with a sore curse, and was angry with the wicked, with all the sons of men whom he had made; for they would not hearken unto His voice, nor believe on His Only Begotten Son, even Him whom He declared should come in the meridian of time, who was prepared from before the foundation of the world. And thus the Gospel began to be preached, from the beginning, being declared by holy angels sent forth from the presence of God, and by His own voice, and by the gift of the Holy Ghost. And thus all things were confirmed unto Adam, by an holy ordinance, and the Gospel preached, and a decree sent forth, that it should be in the world, until the end thereof.[8]

Establishment of the Ancient Church.

As the Gospel was thus preached there were those among the children of Adam who obeyed it, and a record of those men was kept, and they constituted the ancient Church of God. Enoch was of the number of righteous ones, and a preacher of righteousness. In these revealed writings of Moses he is represented in the course of his ministry as referring to the manner in which the Gospel was taught to Adam;

And he said unto them: Because that Adam fell, we are and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe. Behold Satan hath come among the children of men, and tempteth them to worship him; and men have become carnal, sensual, and devilish, and are shut out from the presence of God. But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent. And He called upon our father Adam by His own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. And He also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in His name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you.[9]

Adam was obedient to the commandments of the Lord, and taught them to his children, many of whom believed them, obeyed, and became the sons of God.

Enoch, we are told, "walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."[10] Paul, in speaking of him, says: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him."[11] But the writings of Moses, as revealed to {XXIX} Joseph Smith, and from which I have been quoting, give information that not only was Enoch translated but the Saints inhabiting his city, into which he had gathered his people, and this city was called Zion; "And it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into His own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is fled."[12]

The Gospel versus the Law.

Thus the gospel was taught to the ancients. Noah was a preacher of it as well as Enoch. So, too, was Melchizedek, priest of the Most High God, King of Salem, who met Abraham in his day and blessed him.[13] Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, bears unmistakable testimony to the fact that the Gospel was preached unto Abraham; and also that it was offered to Israel under Moses before "the law of carnal commandments" was given. "I would not that ye should be ignorant," he says, "how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."[14]

Referring again to the fact of the presentation of the Gospel to ancient Israel, Paul says that the Gospel was preached unto ancient Israel, as well as unto Israel in his day; but the preaching of the Gospel to ancient Israel was not profitable to them, because they received it not in faith, and as a result displeased God by their unbelief, and the rebellious perished in the wilderness.[15]

Paul's great controversy with the Christian Jews was in relation to the superiority of the Gospel to the law of Moses. Many of the Christian Jews while accepting Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah, still held to the law with something like superstitious reverence, and could not be persuaded that the Gospel superseded the law, and was, in fact, a fulfillment of all its types and symbols. This controversy culminated in Paul's now celebrated letter to the Galatians, wherein he says:

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would {XXX} justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. * * * * Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not And to seeds, as of many: but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. * * * * Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. * * * Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.[16]

From Moses to John the Baptist and Messiah.

In greater clearness, however, than in these sayings of Paul gathered up from his writings like scattered rays of light from a prism's reflection, the antiquity of the Gospel, as far as it concerns ancient Israel, is stated in a revelation of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith. And not only the antiquity of the Gospel, but in greater clearness also is stated the reasons why, after the Gospel was first preached to ancient Israel, the law of carnal commandments was "added" to the Gospel, or given in its place, to act as a schoolmaster to bring Israel unto Christ. And by the knowledge imparted in that revelation the time between the Mosaic dispensation and the coming of John the Baptist, to prepare the way for the coming of Christ, is spanned by a statement so rational, that the truth of it cannot be reasonably questioned. Speaking of the Melchizedek Priesthood and its powers in administering the ordinances of the Gospel, and how it came to disappear as an organization in Israel, the passage in question says:

This greater Priesthood administereth the Gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God; Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest; and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the Priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh, for without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God: but they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence, therefore, the Lord in His wrath (for His anger was kindled against them) swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fullness of his glory. Therefore He took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy {XXXI} Priesthood also; and the lesser Priesthood continued, which Priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory Gospel; which Gospel is the Gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in His wrath, caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb; for he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of His people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.[17]

As before remarked, this passage spans the interval of time between Moses and John the Baptist, and gives a fuller explanation than can be found in the writings of Paul or elsewhere, for the reason why and in what manner the law supplanted the Gospel; and what measure of the Priesthood remained with Israel unto the coming of John; in what the mission of John consisted, and in what manner he was qualified to fulfill that mission.

It should be remarked, however, that while the Lord took Moses out of the midst of ancient Israel, and the Holy Melchisedek Priesthood also, as an institution, as an organization, it is evident that subsequently special dispensations of that Priesthood were given to individual prophets, such as Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel: for these men exercised powers and enjoyed privileges which belong exclusively to the Melchisedek Priesthood.

The Dispensation of the Meridian of Time.

With the period between Moses and John the Baptist spanned, we come to the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time. This dispensation begins with the preaching of John the Baptist in the wilderness. It was made glorious by the personal ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God; by His suffering and death, for the redemption of mankind; by His glorious resurrection from the dead; by his subsequent ministry among his followers, and His final ascension into heaven to the throne of His Father; by the faithful ministry of His Apostles, by whom the good tidings of man's salvation were published to the world: by the establishment of the Church as the agency through which the Gospel was to be more widely proclaimed, and those who accepted the Gospel were more thoroughly instructed in its doctrines, guarded from error, and finally perfected in the Christian life. An inspired volume of Scripture, the New Testament, was also brought {XXXII} into existence, from the teachings of the inspired Apostles, in which the great fundamental truths of the Gospel were embodied and cast in a form that would be enduring, and to which men could appeal through all the ages to come, as an authoritative statement, not only of what Jesus said and what He did, but also a statement of what doctrines are to be believed; what precepts to be practiced; what ordinances to be observed. By thus embodying the chief doctrines of Christ in a volume of Scripture that should live forever, and be published in all the languages of the world, provision was made for such a dissemination of the knowledge of God, that the world would never again be wholly without that knowledge; and though the Church might become corrupted, as it afterwards did; though men ambitious of distinction and power might usurp authority and establish churches, in which they taught for doctrines the commandments of men, as they certainly did; still in this volume of Scripture men henceforth would have at hand a standard of truth by which to test the utterances of would-be teachers, while at the same time it would keep above the horizon of a world's knowledge the great truths of the Gospel—the existence and character of God; the manifestation of Him through the person and character of Jesus of Nazareth; the relationship existing between God and man; the fall of man; and the redemption provided for him in the atonement of Jesus Christ. All this was achieved in the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time; a mighty work accomplished by the Son of God and His associates; a work sealed not only by the blood of Jesus Christ, but by the blood also of many faithful witnesses, which shall make their testimony of force in the world.

Identity of the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time and the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times Considered.

At this point we are confronted with a question that must be settled before progress is possible with this Introduction. Owing to the phraseology of certain passages of Scripture, making reference to the coming of Messiah in the flesh, and to the work of God in those days, the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time is mistaken for the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. In Mark's Gospel, for instance, John the Baptist is represented as saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."[18] The words in Italics are usually understood to make reference to the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. Again it is written: "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law."[19] The words, "when the fulness of the time was come," are supposed to refer to the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. Other passages of Scripture referring to the days of Messiah's personal ministry among men in the flesh, speak of them as the "last days." Paul in the opening sentence of his letter to the Hebrews, does this: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things."[20] So St. John, in addressing the Saints in his day: "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now are there many anti-Christs; whereby we know that it is the last time." [21] These with two other special passages of Scripture to be separately considered, constitute the authority upon which the Meridian Dispensation is confounded with the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. And yet all these passages are susceptible of quite a different and more natural rendering. Without controversy it will be conceded that the Lord had an appointed time for His Son Jesus to come to earth in the flesh and perform the mission that had been assigned him; to suffer; to die; to arise again from the dead. And when the fullness of this time was come, God indeed sent forth His Son into the world. As for those inspired writers who speak of the "last days," and the "last times"—they speak relatively; that is, with reference to former days and times; and, of course, the days and times in which they lived to them were the last days, and the last times; but they were not the last days of the earth's temporal existence; they were not the last days in any general sense at all, as there have been now some two thousand years of days since then. They were not the "last days" that are understood as immediately preceding the glorious coming of the Son of God.

Joel's Great Prophecy of the Dispensation of the Last Days.

Of the special passages before referred to, and which I said would receive separate consideration, the first is Peter's quotation from the Prophet Joel concerning the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon "all flesh in the last days." This quotation from Joel is regarded as identifying the days in which the Apostle was speaking, as "the last days;" and the dispensation in which he was living as the Dispensation of the Last Days and of the Fulness of Times. The conditions existing when Peter was speaking, and the prophecy of Joel, however, admit {XXXIV} of no such interpretation. The circumstances were as follows: The Holy Ghost in an extraordinary manner rested upon the Apostles and gave them the power of speaking in other languages than those they had learned. Some in the listening multitude attributed this singular manifestation to drunkenness, whereupon the Apostle Peter arose and refuted the slander, saying: "These are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."[22] "For," to finish the passage as it stands in Joel, but which is not in Peter's quotation, "For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."[23]

Because Peter, referring to the Spirit that was then resting upon the Twelve Apostles, said, "this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel," etc., the very general opinion prevails that Joel's prophecy was then fulfilled; and hence the last days were come. This is an entire misapprehension of the purpose of Peter in making the quotation; as also of the quoted passage itself. Beyond all controversy Peter meant only: This Spirit which you now see resting upon these Apostles of Jesus of Nazareth, is that same Spirit which your Prophet Joel says will, in the last days, be poured out upon all flesh. Obviously he did not mean that this occasion of the Apostles receiving the Holy Ghost was a complete fulfillment of Joel's prediction. To insist upon such an exegesis would be to charge the chief of the Apostles with palpable ignorance of the meaning of Joel's prophecy. On the occasion in question the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Twelve Apostles, who were given the power to speak in various tongues; Joel's prophecy for its complete fulfillment requires that the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Ghost, shall be poured out upon all flesh; and undoubtedly refers to that time which shall come in the blessed millennium when the enmity shall not only cease between man and man, but even between the beasts of the forests and of the fields; and between man and beast, as described by Isaiah in the following language:

The wolf also shall dwell with the Lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp; and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.[24]

Compare these conditions so vividly described with what Joel himself says of the period when the Spirit of the Lord shall be poured out upon all flesh, and it will at once be clear that the two Prophets are dealing with the same period, and not only dealing with the same period, but that the period itself is certainly far beyond in time the days of Peter; in fact is still in the future; for the sun has not yet been turned into blackness; nor the moon into blood; nor have the stars withdrawn their shining. It is obvious that the events upon the day of Pentecost did not fulfil the terms of this prophecy, except in those particulars already pointed out. The mention in this prophecy, however, of those special signs which Jesus refers to as immediately preceding His own second and glorious coming, clearly demonstrate that Joel was speaking of the last days indeed, and not of a circumstance that occurred in connection with a period more properly designated as the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time. Immediately following his prediction of the outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh, Joel represents the Lord as saying: "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come." And later: "The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel."

Compare this with the Savior's description of conditions in the earth that will precede His own second coming:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.[25]

The same wonders in heaven and earth; the same changes in sun, and moon, and stars; the same promises of the gathering of God's people as are found in the prophecy of Joel. There can be no question, then, but that the prophecy of Joel refers to the same "last days" that Jesus here alludes to—the days of the coming of the Son of Man—and not to the days of Peter and the other Apostles in the Meridian of time.

The sum of the matter then is, that Peter was not living in the "last days;" that the prophecy of Joel was not in its entirety fulfilled in the outpouring of God's Spirit upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost; that at no time subsequent to the days of the Apostles has there existed such conditions in the earth as amount to a complete fulfilment of Joel's prophecy; therefore at some time future from the days of the Apostles, we may look forward to a universal outpouring of God's Holy Spirit upon all flesh, resulting in a universal peace and widespread knowledge of God, brought about, unquestionably, by a subsequent dispensation from that in which Peter wrought—the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, in which God promises to "gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in Him."[26]

Daniel's Prophecy of the Rise of the Kingdom of God in the Last Days.

The second special Scripture to which I have promised a separate consideration is the prophecy of Daniel relative to the succession of the great earth empires; and the final establishment of the Kingdom of God, which in "the last days" shall fill the whole earth and remain for ever. By an error on the part of Christian writers Daniel's prophecy concerning the Kingdom of God to be set up in "the last days" is supposed to have been fulfilled by the founding of "The spiritual kingdom of Christ" in the days of Messiah's earthly ministry; and therefore the conclusion is drawn that those days were "the last days," and the dispensation then ushered in, the final dispensation of the Gospel. It is my purpose here to refute that error.

The prophecy in question is familiar, and comes from Daniel's interpretation of the king of Babylon's dream of the great image, whose "brightness was excellent, whose form was terrible." The head of the image was of gold; his breast and arms were of silver; the body and thighs of brass; the legs of iron; and the feet and the toes part of iron and part of clay. The king in his dream also saw a little stone cut out of the mountain without hands, that smote the image upon the feet of mixed clay and iron, and broke it to pieces—until it became like the chaff of the summer {XXXVII} thrashing floor, and the wind of heaven carried it away, that no place was found for it: but the little stone cut from the mountain without hands, which smote the image on the feet and ground it to dust, became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. This it the dream; and this is the prophet's interpretation, addressed to the king of Babylon:

Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall rise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided: but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with the miry clay. And as the toes and the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.[27]

As understood by the learned, Daniel's interpretation stands thus:

"(1) The Golden Head—the Assyrio-Babylonish monarchy (the 6th and 5th century B.C.);

"(2) The Silver Breast and Arms—the Medo-Persian empire (from 538 B.C. to about 330 B.C.);

"(3) The Brazen Belly and Thighs—the Greco-Macedonian kingdom, especially after Alexander, those of Egypt and Syria (from about 330 B.C. to 160 B.C.);

"(4) The Legs of Iron—the power of Rome, bestriding the east and west, but broken into a number of states, the ten toes, which retained some of its warlike strength (the iron), mingled with elements of weakness (the soft potters' clay), which rendered the whole imperial structure unstable.

{XXXVIII} "(5) The Stone cut without hands out of the Living Rock, dashing down the image, becoming a great mountain, and filling all the earth—The Spiritual Kingdom of Christ."

The last phrase—"The Spiritual Kingdom of Christ"—meaning of course the "Christian churches" which have existed from the time of Christ, and that now exist, and which, taken together, form Christ's spiritual kingdom.

On the foregoing exegesis, which is the one commonly accepted by orthodox Christians, I make the following several observations:

First: The phrase with reference to the little Stone, "cut out of the Living Rock," is one introduced by Dr. Smith, from whose "Old Testament History" [28] the above analysis of Daniel's interpretation is taken. The language of the Bible is, "cut out of the mountain without hands." Why it is changed by the Doctor one may not conjecture, unless it is to lay the foundation of an argument not warranted by the text of Daniel's interpretation. It is enough here to note that the change in phraseology is wholly gratuitous and unwarranted.

Second: The claim that the "little Stone cut from the mountain without hands," is the "Spiritual Kingdom of Christ"—if by that "spiritual kingdom" is meant not a real kingdom, actually existing, visible and tangible—is an assumption of the Doctor's. It is not the language of the Bible, nor is there any evidence in Scripture for believing that the "kingdom," represented by "the stone cut out of the mountain without hands," is any less a material kingdom than those which preceded it. The differences between this kingdom of God and the other kingdoms of the vision are not in the kingdom being "spiritual," but in these: (1) that the kingdom which God shall set up will never be destroyed; (2) never left to another people: (3) will break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms: (4) it shall fill the whole earth; (5) and stand forever. We are warranted in the belief, however, that it will be a tangible, bona fide, government of God on earth, consisting of a king; subordinate officers; laws; subjects; and the whole earth for its territory—for its dominion. The coming forth of such a government, the founding of such a kingdom, is in harmony with all the hopes of all the saints, and the predictions of all the prophets who have touched upon the subject. It is the actual reign of Christ on earth with His Saints, in fulfillment of the hopes held out to them in every dispensation of the Gospel. It is to be the burden of the song of the redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, that Christ has made them unto their God kings and priests—"and we shall reign on the earth." [29] It is to be the chorus in {XXXIX} heaven—the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. [30] And the elders in heaven shall say:

We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldst give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth.[31]

And still again:

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.[32]

It should be observed respecting the last passage and the one preceding it, that "the reign on earth" of the kingdom of God is connected with the resurrection of the righteous saints; so that it will be the "last days" indeed—not in the days of the Roman empire. And this reign of the saints on earth, this kingdom of God which they shall constitute shall be a reign of righteousness, but a veritable kingdom nevertheless.

Third: The orthodox exegesis under consideration omits one important matter of fact, viz., that instead of four great dominant political powers symbolized in the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw, and which Daniel interpreted, there are five: viz., (1) The Head of Gold—Babylonish kingdom; (2) the Chest and Arms of Silver—the Medo-Persian monarchy; (3) the Brazen Belly and Thighs—the Greco-Macedonian Empire: (4) the Legs of Iron—Rome; (5) the Feet and Toes mixed of iron and clay—the modern kingdoms and states of the world.

This failure to recognize the fifth political power represented by the feet and toes of Daniel's image leads to serious errors with respect to this prophecy. It has led the theologians to assign the setting up of God's kingdom spoken of in the prophecy to the wrong period of the world's history. They say the kingdom represented by the stone cut from the mountain without hands is "the spiritual kingdom of Christ;" and that the said kingdom was set up in the days of Messiah's earthly ministry in the meridian of time. This, however, cannot be correct; for the Church which Jesus established by His personal ministry and which, it is granted, is sometimes spoken of as the Kingdom of {XL} God, was founded in the days of the Roman empire, the fourth world power of Daniel's prophecy; and at a time, too, when imperial Rome was at the very zenith of her glory and power. Whereas the terms of Daniel's prophecy require that the kingdom which God shall establish, and which was represented by the stone cut from the mountain without hands, shall be set up in the days of the fifth political world power—in the days of the kingdom represented by the pieces of iron and clay in the feet and toes of the image. The language of the prophecy on this point is: "And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom [i. e. the political power so represented, and that succeeds the fourth power or Roman empire,] shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, * * * they [i. e., the kingdom represented by the pieces of iron and clay,] shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings [not in the days of the Roman empire]—in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which never shall be destroyed."

Fourth: One of the peculiarities of the kingdom of God of Daniel's prophecy is, that when it is established among men it will not only never be destroyed, but "the kingdom shall not be left to other people." By which saying we can only conclude that when the kingdom of God shall be set up by the Lord in the last days, it will not be taken from the people to whom it shall come, and be given to, or left, to another people. But how stands it with the institution which arose from the preaching of the Gospel in the days of Messiah's earthly ministry, the church, sometimes called the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven? Was it not "left to other people"? Messiah Himself said of the Jews, "Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." This passage comes, too, as a conclusion to the parable of the householder who let both his house and his vineyard to unworthy husbandmen, who successively beat, stoned, and slew the servants, and even the son and heir whom the master sent to collect his portion of the fruit of the vineyard. "When the Lord of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?" asked Jesus of his hearers. "He will miserably destroy these wicked men," they replied, "and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their season." They had pronounced judgment among themselves. The parable presented the case of the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking, exactly, and Jesus quickly made the application of the judgment—"Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given unto a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." [33] There can be no mistaking the meaning of the parable or its application; and some years later we have Paul saying to the contradicting and blaspheming Jews of Antioch in Pisidia: "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us." [34] And so it came to pass that as Israel in those days rejected the Gospel of the kingdom which was first offered to them, so God also rejected them; and they have stood rejected to this day; smitten and trodden under food of the Gentile races, a scoff, a hiss, and a byword in every land that they have inhabited; while the kingdom of God first offered to them was left to other people, to the Gentiles, who, for a season, brought forth the fruits thereof. But the fact that the kingdom then preached to the Jews was taken from them and given to another people, is proof positive that it was not the kingdom which was to fulfill the terms of Daniel's great prophecy.

Fifth: Another characteristic of the kingdom of God of Daniel's prophecy is, that it will never be destroyed, but will break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and stand for ever. This is not true of that institution brought into existence by the preaching of Messiah and the Apostles, sometimes called the kingdom of God, but more properly the Church of Christ. Saddening as the thought may seem, the Church founded by the labors of Jesus and His Apostles was destroyed from the earth; the Gospel was perverted; its ordinances were changed; its laws were transgressed; its covenant was, on the part of man, broken; and the world was left to flounder in the darkness of a long period of apostasy from God. For the reason, then, that the institution founded by the preaching of the Apostles was destroyed in the earth, as well as for the other reasons considered, the conclusion is forced upon the mind that the Church founded by Jesus and the Apostles was not the fulfillment of Daniel's great prophecy respecting the kingdom which God promised to set up in the last days: and hence we may look for another dispensation beyond the times of the Apostles, which will culminate in subduing the kingdoms of this world and making them the kingdom of our God and His Christ, followed by that reign of righteousness and peace of which all the prophets have spoken.

Having considered the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time and corrected the popular error which confounds that dispensation with the {XLII} Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, it is necessary now to consider the decline of the Christian religion.

The Announcement of the Universal Apostasy.

It is a most startling announcement with which the Prophet Joseph Smith begins his message to the world. Concerning the question, he asked God—"Which of all the sects is right, and which shall I join?" he says:

"I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt; that they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men: having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."[35]

This is a tremendous arraignment of all Christendom. It charges a condition of universal apostasy from God, especially upon Christendom that was dwelling in a fancied security of being the farthest removed from the possibility of such a charge; each division of the so-called Christian Church felicitating itself with the flattering unction that its own particular society possessed the enlightened fullness of the Christian religion. While the boldness of this declaration of the young Prophet is astounding, upon reflection it must be conceded that just such a condition of affairs in the religious world is consistent with the work he, under the direction of divine Providence, was about to inaugurate. Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of sects there were already enough in existence. Division and subdivision had already created of confusion more than enough, and there was no possible excuse for the introduction of a new Christian sect. But if men through apostasy had corrupted the Christian religion and lost divine authority to administer the ordinances of the Gospel, it was of the utmost importance that a new dispensation of the true Christian religion should be given to the world. It should also be observed at this point, that Joseph Smith, then but a boy, scarcely removed from childhood, was not himself pronouncing judgment upon the status of Christendom. It was not he who declared the sects to be all wrong, their creeds an abomination, and the professors thereof corrupt. He of all persons, both on account of his extreme {XLIII} youthfulness and his lack of general information, was among the least qualified to pronounce upon such a question. Indeed, he himself confesses his unfitness for such an office. His seeking knowledge from God upon this very question—"which of all the sects is right?" is a confession of his own inability to determine the matter. No human wisdom was sufficient to answer that question. No man in all the world was so pre-eminent as to be justified in proclaiming the divine acceptance of one church in preference to another. Divine wisdom alone was sufficient to pass judgment upon such a question; and there is peculiar force in the circumstance that the announcement which Joseph Smith makes with reference to this subject is not formulated by him nor by any other man, but is given to him of God. God has been the judge of apostate Christendom, Joseph Smith but His messenger, to herald that judgment to the world.

It now becomes my melancholy task to trace through the early Christian centuries the decline of the Christian religion. By this phrase I mean that a really unchristian religion was gradually substituted for the beautiful religion of Jesus Christ; that a universal apostasy from the Christian doctrine and the Christian Church took place. So tracing the decline of Christianity, I shall establish the truth of the first great message with which the modern prophet, Joseph Smith, came to the world; and shall also prove the fact, that a necessity existed for the establishment of such a work as he claims, under God, to have founded, and of which the several volumes of this work are the detailed history.

Character of the Early Christians.

First of all, it should be remarked that the early Christians were not so far removed from the possession of the common weaknesses of humanity as to preclude the possibility of apostatizing from the Christian religion. Owing to our being so far removed from them in time, by which many of their defects are obscured, and the exaggerated celebration of their virtues, extravagant ideas of the sanctity of their lives, and the holiness of their natures have very generally obtained, whereas a little inquiry into the character of the early Saints will prove that they were very human, and men of like passions with ourselves. The mother of Zebedee's children exhibited a rather ambitious spirit, and the two brethren themselves gave much offense to their fellow Apostles by aspiring to sit one on the right hand of Jesus and the other on His left when He should come in His kingdom.[36] Even Peter, the chief Apostle, exhibited his full share of human weakness {XLIV} when he thrice denied his Lord in the presence of his enemies, through fear, and even confirmed that denial by cursing and swearing.[37] It was rather a heated controversy, too, that arose in the early Christian Church as to whether those who accepted the Christian faith were still bound to the observances of the law of Moses, and more especially to the rite of circumcision. Although there seems to have been an amicable and authoritative settlement of that question by the decision of what some learned writers have called the first general council of the Church held by the Apostles and Elders at Jerusalem,[38] yet the old difficulty broke out again and again, not only between the Jewish saints and the Gentile converts, but even among the Apostles themselves, leading to serious accusations one against another, the straining of friendship between fellow-workmen in the ministry, through criminations and recriminations.

After the settlement of this very question of circumcision by the council at Jerusalem, Peter went down to Antioch and at first mingled unreservedly with both Gentile and Jewish converts without distinction, accepting both Jew and Gentile in perfect fellowship, departing entirely from the restraints placed on a Jew by the law of Moses, which rendered it unlawful for one who was a Jew to have such unrestricted fellowship with the Gentiles. But when certain ones came down from James, who resided at Jerusalem, then Peter, fearful of offending "them which were of the circumcision," suddenly withdrew his social fellowship from the Gentile converts. Other Jewish brethren did the same; Barnabas, the friend of Paul, being among the number. Whereupon Paul, as he himself testified, withstood Peter to the face, directly charging him before all the brethren with dissimulation, saying: "If thou being a Jew livest after the manner of Gentiles and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?"[39] Yet this same Paul notwithstanding his loyalty to the Gentile converts on that occasion, his zeal for the decision which had been rendered by the council of the Church at Jerusalem, and notwithstanding his usually strong moral courage, subsequently showed by his conduct, that he, too, was not beyond the weakness of "becoming all things to all men;" for a short time after the incident with Peter at Antioch, when in the province of Galatia, and he desired Timothy to be his companion in the ministry, Paul took him and circumcised him, because it was well known that while his mother was a Jewess, his father was a Greek, and all this for fear of the Jews.[40]

{XLV} This question continued to be a cause of contention, even after this sharp disputation at Antioch; for though the decision of the council at Jerusalem was against the contention of the Judaizing party, yet they continued to agitate the question whenever opportunity presented itself, and seemed especially to follow close upon the footsteps of Paul in his missionary journeys; and in Galatia, at least, succeeded in turning the saints of that province from the grace of Christ unto another gospel, perverting the Gospel of Christ.[41] This question continued to agitate the Church throughout the Apostolic age, and was finally settled through overwhelming numbers of Gentiles being converted, and taking possession of the Church, rather than through any profound respect for the decision of the council at Jerusalem.

The withdrawal of John Mark from the ministry while accompanying Paul and Barnabas on their first mission in Asia Minor, and which withdrawal grew out of a faltering of his zeal or a misunderstanding with his companions, will be readily called to mind.[42] Subsequently, when Paul proposed to Barnabas that they go again and visit the brethren in every city where they had preached while on their first mission, a sharp contention arose between them about this same John Mark. Barnabas desired to take him again into the ministry, but Paul seriously objected; and so pronounced was the quarrel between them that these two friends and fellow yokemen in the ministry parted company no more to be united. It is just possible also that in addition to this misunderstanding about John Mark, the severe reproof which Paul administered to Barnabas in the affair of dissimulation at Antioch had somewhat strained their friendship.

Turning from these misunderstandings and criminations among the leading officers of the Church, let us inquire how it stood with the members. The epistle of Paul to the church at Corinth discloses the fact that there were serious schisms among them; some boasting that they were of Paul, others that they were of Apollos, others of Cephas, and still others of Christ; which led Paul to ask sharply, "Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you?"[43] There were endless strifes as well as divisions among them, which caused Paul to denounce them as carnally minded.[44] Among them also was such fornication as was not named among the Gentiles, "that one should have his father's wife!" And this shameful sin had not humbled the church at Corinth, for Paul denounced them for being puffed up in the presence of such a crime, rather than having mourned over it.[45] They were in the habit of going {XLVI} to law one with another, and that before the world, in violation of the teachings of Jesus Christ.[46] They desecrated the ordinance of the Lord's Supper by their drunkenness, for which they were sharply reproved by the Apostle.[47] They ate and drank unworthily, "not discerning the Lord's body; for which cause many were sickly among them, and many slept" (that is, died). There were heresies also among them,[48] some denying the resurrection of the dead, while others possessed not the knowledge of God, which the Apostle declared was their shame.[49] It is true, this sharp letter of reproof made the Corinthian saints sorry, and sorry, too, after a godly fashion, in that it brought them to a partial repentance; but even in the second epistle, from which we learn of their partial repentance, the Apostle could still charge that there were many in the church who had not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they had committed.[50] From this second letter, also, we learn that there were many in the Church at large who corrupted the word of God;[51] that there were those, even in the ministry, who were "false prophets, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ."[52]

Of the churches throughout the province of Galatia, it is scarcely necessary to say more than we have already said concerning the invasion of that province by Judaizing Christian ministers who were turning away the saints from the grace of Christ back to the beggarly elements of the law of carnal commandments; a circumstance which led Paul to exclaim: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that had called you unto the grace of Christ, unto another gospel; which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ."[53]

That there were two distinct parties in the Church at this time, between whom bitter contentions arose, is further evidenced by the letter of Paul to the Philippians. Some preached Christ even of envy and strife, and some of good will. "The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely," says Paul, "supposing to add affliction to my bonds: but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the Gospel."[54] "Beware of dogs," said he again to the same people; "beware of evil workers; beware of the concision."[55] "Brethren, be {XLVII} followers of me," he admonishes them, "and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example, for many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things."[56] To the Colossians Paul found it necessary to say: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. * * * * Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind."[57]

But it is in Paul's pastoral letters that we get a deeper insight into corruptions threatening the early church, and even beginning to lay the foundation for that subsequent apostasy which overwhelmed it. The Apostle sent Timothy to the saints at Ephesus to represent him, that he might charge some to teach no other doctrines than those which he had delivered to them: "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith," for some had turned aside from the commandment of charity, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned, unto "vile jangling, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm."[58] Others concerning faith had made shipwreck, of whom were Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom Paul had delivered unto Satan that they might learn not to blaspheme.[59] Others had "erred concerning the faith" and had "given heed to vain babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called."[60] In his second letter to Timothy, Paul informs him that all the saints in Asia had turned away from him, "of whom were Phygellus and Hermogenes."[61] He admonishes Timothy again to shun "profane and vain babblings," "for," said he, "they will increase unto more ungodliness, and their word will eat as doth a canker; of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who, concerning the truth, have erred, saying that the resurrection is passed already, and overthrown the faith of some."[62] Demos, once a fellow-laborer with Paul, had forsaken him, "having loved this present world;"[63] and at Paul's first answer, that is, when arraigned before the court at Rome, no man {XLVIII} stood with him, but all men forsook him; he prays that God will not lay this to their charge.[64]

Paul admonished Titus to hold fast to the faith, for there were many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision; who subverted whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake; and were giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men and turning from the truth.[65]

Peter also had something to say with reference to the danger of heresies and false teachers which menaced the Church. He declared that there would be false teachers among the saints, who "privily would bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." "And many," said he, "shall follow their pernicious ways: by reason of whom the truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now for a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them unto chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment"—he argued that the Lord would not spare these corrupters of the Gospel of Christ, who, like the dog, had turned again to his own vomit, and the sow who was washed to her wallowing in the mire.[66] He charged also that some were wresting the epistles of Paul, as they were some of the "other scriptures," unto their own destruction.[67]

John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, also bears testimony to the existence of anti-Christs, false prophets, and the depravity of many in the early Church. "It is the last time," said he, "and as ye have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now there are many anti-Christs, whereby we know that it is the last time;" * * * * "They went out from us * * * * that they might be manifest that they were not all of us."[68] "Try the spirits," said he, in the same epistle, "whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world."[69] Again: "Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver, an anti-Christ."[70]

Jude also is a witness against this class of deceivers. He admonished {XLIX} the saints to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints;" "for," said he, "there are certain men crept in unawares, * * * ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."[71] The rest of the epistle he devotes to a description of their wickedness, comparing it with the conduct of Satan, and the vileness of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

I have not given this review of the condition of the Church of Christ in the Apostolic age with the view of establishing the idea that the Church at that time was in a complete state of apostasy; nor have I dwelt upon the weaknesses and sins of the early saints for the purpose of holding them up for contempt. My only purpose has been to dispel, first of all, the extravagant ideas that obtain in many minds concerning the absolute sanctity of the early Christians; and secondly, and mainly, to show that there were elements and tendencies existing in the early Church, even in the days of the Apostles, that would, when unrestrained by Apostolic authority and power, lead to its entire overthrow.

We have no good reason to believe that there occurred any change for the better in the affairs of the Church after the demise of the Apostles, no reason to believe that there were fewer heresies or fewer false teachers, or false prophets to lead away the people with their vain philosophies, their foolish babblings, and opposition of science falsely so called. On the contrary, one is forced to believe the prediction of Paul, viz., that evil men and seducers would wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived;[72] for who, after the Apostles were fallen asleep, would stand up and correct the heresies that were brought into the Church, rebuke the schismatics, the false teachers and false prophets that arose to draw away disciples after them? If false teachers insinuated themselves into the Church, brought in damnable heresies by reason of which the way of truth was evil spoken of, and the pure religion of Jesus Christ corrupted even while inspired Apostles were still in the Church, it is not unreasonable to conclude that all these evils would increase and revel unchecked after the death of the Apostles.

The Rise of False Teachers.

I cannot, of course, in this introduction, enter into even a brief history of false teachers in the early Christian centuries. That of itself would be matter for a volume. I shall therefore content myself with making quotations from reliable authorities that will directly establish the fact of the rapid increase in the number of false teachers, and the {L} pernicious effects of their doctrines upon the Christian religion. It should be said before making these quotations, however, that Protestant writers are interested in maintaining that the Christian religion was perpetuated, even through the ages of apostasy, and given back to mankind by the agency of the so-called "Reformation" of the sixteenth century. Hence in their writings, when stating the corruptions of the early Church, they are especially guarded lest too strong a statement would lead to the belief that the Christian religion had been utterly subverted. Indeed, it is well known that Milner wrote his Church History—which should be regarded not so much as the history of the Church as the history of piety—to counteract the influence of Mosheim's Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, which work Milner considered too frank in its statements of perversions and abuses of religion. The Protestant writers must need set forth the theory that the Christian religion survived all the abuses and corruptions of it through ages of apostasy, else they would have no logical ground for the sixteenth century "Reformation" to stand upon. They seem not oblivious to the fact, though never mentioning it, that if the Christian religion was displaced by a paganized religion—a false religion—as is fully predicted, as we shall see later, in the New Testament prophecies, and of which the works of Protestant writers go far towards proving—then the only possible way in which the true Christian religion and the Church of Christ could be restored would be by re-opening of the heavens, and the giving forth of a new dispensation of the Gospel, together with a renewal of divine authority to preach it, and administer its ordinances of salvation. Catholics hold that there has been no great apostasy in the Church. Their theory is, that there has been a constant, unbroken, perpetuation of the Christian Church from the days of the Messiah and His Apostles until now; and that the Roman Catholic church is that very Church so perpetuated through the ages. Catholic writers admit that there have been very corrupt periods in the Church and many wicked prelates, and some vile popes; yet they hold that the Church has persisted, that the Christian religion has been preserved in the earth.

With these remarks on the position of the Protestant and Catholic churches respecting their attitude on the subject of the perpetuation of the Christian religion, I proceed with the quotations promised; and, first, a passage from Neander's History of the Christian Religion and Church, on the very great difference between the writings of the Apostles and the writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers; and the suddenness of that transition, to the disparagement of the productions of the Fathers:

A phenomenon, singular in its kind, is the striking difference between {LI} the writings of the Apostles and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, who were so nearly their contemporaries. In other cases, transitions are wont to be gradual; but in this instance we observe a sudden change. There are here no gentle gradations, but all at once an abrupt transition from one style of language to another; a phenomenon which should lead us to acknowledge the fact of a special agency of the Divine Spirit in the souls of the Apostles. After the time of the first extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost followed by the period of the free development of human nature in Christianity; and here, as in all other cases, the beginning must be small and feeble before the effects of Christianity could penetrate more widely, and bring fully under their influence the great powers of the human mind. It was to be shown first, what the divine power could effect by the foolishness of preaching. The writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers have unhappily for the most part, come down to us in a condition very little worthy of confidence, partly because under the name of these men, so highly venerated in the Church, writings were early forged for the purpose of giving authority to particular opinions or principles; and partly because their own writings which were extant became interpolated in subservience to a Jewish hierarchical interest which aimed to crush the free spirit of the Gospel.[73]

There is no authority of scripture for the supposition made here by Dr. Neander that the extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost were to be confined to the Apostles; the whole tenor of scripture authority is to the contrary. It is the theory of the Gospel itself, that all who receive it, and particularly its ministers, shall have the divine Spirit as a special agency working in their souls, through all time, and there is no warrant for the belief that its operations were to be confined to those who first received it and became its first ministers. Therefore, this sudden transition in the matter of excellence and trustworthiness between the writings of the Apostles and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers indicates not only a deterioration in the character of the teachers in the Church and what is taught, but more especially indicates the progress of the "mystery of iniquity" which was at work subverting the Christian religion and destroying the Church of Christ.

On the question of forged books and writings mentioned in the passage from Neander, Dr. Nathaniel Lardner refers to a dissertation written by Dr. Mosheim, which shows the reasons and causes for the many forged writings produced in the first and second centuries, and then adds: "All own that Christians of all sorts were guilty of this fraud. Indeed we may say it was one great fault of the times; for truth needs no such defenses, and would blush at the sight of them."[74]

Eusebius, quoting Hegesippus on the subject of false teachers and referring to the condition of the Church about the close of the first century, says:

{LII} The Church continued until then [close of the first century] as a pure and uncorrupt virgin, whilst if there were any at all that attempted to pervert the sound doctrine of the saving Gospel, they were yet skulking in dark retreats: but when the sacred choir of Apostles became extinct, and the generation of those that had been privileged to hear their inspired wisdom had passed away, then also the combinations of impious errors arose by the fraud and delusions of false teachers. These also, as there were none of the Apostles left, henceforth attempted without shame, to preach their false doctrine against the gospel of truth.[75]

Dr. Mosheim has the following on the same subject:

Not long after the Savior's ascension, various histories of His life and doctrines, full of impositions and fables, were composed by persons of no bad intentions, perhaps, but who were superstitious, simple, and piously fraudulent; and afterwards various other spurious writings were palmed upon the world, falsely inscribed with the names of the holy Apostles.[76]

This condition of things with reference to the writers in the centuries under consideration, naturally leads one to the reflection, that if there were so much of fraud, and so many forged writings, what must have been the state of the Church at this time with reference to oral teaching? We are justified in believing, I think, that bad as was the state of things with reference to the writings of these early teachers of the Church, the discourses of such as preached may be depended upon as being much worse. In this view of the case, one can readily understand that the "authority of antiquity" so generally urged as a reason for accepting the testimonies of the Fathers, that "handmaid to scripture," as "antiquity" is sometimes called, the whole body of it, written and oral, may indeed "be regarded," as Dr. Jortin remarks, "as Briarean, for she has a hundred hands, and these hands often clash and beat one another."[77]

Moreover, it often happens that those who are condemned by some of these Fathers as heretics were not only censured for their heresies, but sometimes for the truths which they held. For example: Papias, a Bishop and Christian Father in the second century, is condemned by Eusebius for saying that he received from Apostolic men—meaning thereby men who were associated with the Apostles—the fact that there would be a corporeal reign of Christ on earth with the saints, after the resurrection, which would continue through a thousand years.[78]

{LIII} Prodicus is censured by Clement of Alexandria for holding that men are by nature the children of Deity.[79]

Marcion, besides being condemned for his many errors, is also censured by Irenaeus for believing in salvation for the dead, concerning which, it must be acknowledged, Marcion did hold peculiar views; but that is no reason why the general principle should be condemned.[80] He taught that Jesus Christ went to Hades and preached there, and brought hence all that believed on him. "The ancients," continue Irenaeus, as quoted by Lardner, "being of opinion that eternal life is not to be obtained but through faith in Jesus Christ, and that God is too merciful to let men perish for not hearing the Gospel, supposed that the Lord preached also to the dead, that they might have the same advantage with the living." He further adds, "In the language of Marcion and the fathers, hell does not necessarily mean the place of the damned; in that place is Tartarus, the place of torment, and Paradise, or the bosom of Abraham, a place of rest and refreshment. In that part of Hades Jesus found the just men of the Old Testament. They were not miserable, but were in a place of comfort and pleasure." "For Christ," he continues, "promiseth the Jews after this life, rest in Hades, even in the bosom of Abraham." This far the doctrine of Marcion is in strict agreement with the New Testament, though denounced as blasphemy by his opponent. The unfortunate part of Marcion's doctrine on this head is that he taught that Cain and the wicked of Sodom and the Egyptians, and in fact all the nations in general, though they had lived in all manner of wickedness, were saved by the Lord, but that Abel, Enoch, Noah, and the patriarchs and prophets and other righteous men who walked with God and pleased Him in their earth life, did not obtain salvation because they suspected that in the preaching of Christ in the spirit world there was some scheme of deception to lead them away from their present qualified acceptance with God, and therefore they would not come to Christ nor believe in him, for which reason, as he says, "their souls remained in hell."[81]

Marcion is also condemned for believing in the eternity of matter.[82] So, too, Hermogenes is censured by Tertullian for the same cause, and for arguing that God made the world out of matter and could not have made it out of nothing.[83]

And so throughout there is censure and counter censure between the orthodox and the heretics, and it is difficult at times to determine which are the orthodox and which heretics, so frequently do they change {LIV} places. Nor was there any improvement in the ages that succeeded these that have been briefly considered. The editor of Dr. Jortin's learned work on ecclesiastical history, William Trollope, on a passage of Jortin's on the early fathers, says of the fathers of the fourth century:

After the counsel of Nice,[84] a class of writers sprung up, greatly inferior to their predecessors, in whatever light their pretensions are viewed. Sadly deficient in learning, prejudiced in opinion, and inelegant in style, they cannot be admitted for a moment into competition with those who were contemporary with the Apostles and their immediate successors.[85]

The whole tenor of his remarks is to the effect that while the fathers of the second and third centuries, are not to be relied upon in their interpretations of scripture, were frequently deceived in opinions, and not always to be depended upon in matters of tradition, yet they were greatly to be preferred in all respects to the fathers of succeeding centuries.

The Development of False Doctrines After the Death of the Apostles.

Here, too, I shall rely very largely upon the conclusions of the learned. Dr. Lardner, referring to the development of the heresies, the seeds of which were sown in the days of the Apostles, says:

Eusebius relates that Ignatius, on his way from Antioch to Rome, exhorted the churches to beware of heresies which were then springing up, and which would increase; and that he afterwards wrote his epistles in order to guard them against these corruptions, and to confirm them in the faith. This opinion that the seeds of these heresies were sown in the time of the Apostles, and sprang up immediately after is an opinion probable in itself and is embraced by several learned moderns; particularly by Vitringa, and by the late Rev. Mr. Brekel of Liverpool.[86]

A certain Mr. Deacon attempted to refute the Mr. Brekel referred to by Dr. Lardner, and to maintain the purity of the Church of the first three centuries. On this Mr. Brekel observed that "If this point were thoroughly examined, it would appear that the Christian Church preserved her virgin purity no longer than the Apostolic age, at least if we may give credit to Hegesippus." Relying upon the {LV} support of the ecclesiastical history of Socrates, a writer of the first half of the fifth century, Mr. Brekel also says: "To mention the corruptions and innovations in religion of the four first centuries, is wholly superfluous; when it is so very notorious, that, even before the reign of Constantine, there sprang up a sort of heathenish Christianity which mingled itself with the true Christian religion."[87]

Of the impending departure from the Christian religion immediately succeeding the days of the apostles, Dr. Neander says:

Already, in the latter part of the age of St. Paul, we shall see many things different from what they had been originally; and so it cannot appear strange if other changes come to be introduced into the constitution of the [Christian] communities, by the altered circumstances of the times immediately succeeding those of St. Paul or St. John. Then ensued those strongly marked oppositions and schisms, those dangers with which the corruptions engendered by manifold foreign elements threatened primitive Christianity.[88]

Dr. Philip Smith, the author of the "Students' Ecclesiastical History," in speaking of the early corruptions of the Christian religion, says:

The sad truth is that as soon as Christianity was generally diffused, it began to absorb corruption from all the lands in which it was planted, and to reflect the complexion of all their systems of religion and philosophy.[89]

Dean Milman, in his preface to his annotated edition of Edward Gibbon's great work, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," and commenting upon that great author's attitude respecting the Christian religion, says:

If, after all, the view of the early progress of Christianity be melancholy and humiliating, we must beware lest we charge the whole of this on the infidelity of the historian. It is idle, it is disingenuous to deny or to dissemble the early depravations of Christianity, its gradual but rapid departure from its primitive simplicity and purity, still more from its spirit of universal love. It may be no unsalutary lesson to the Christian world, that this silent, this unavoidable perhaps, yet fatal change shall have been drawn by an impartial, or even an hostile hand.[90]

Dr. Mosheim, in his "Institutes," deals at length with the abuses which arose in the Church in the second and third centuries, which I abridge to the following, and first as to the second century: Many rites were added without necessity to both public and private {LVI} religious worship, to the great offense of good men; and principally because of the perversity of mankind who are more delighted with the pomp and splendor of external forms and pageantry than with the true devotion of the heart. There is good reason to believe that the Christian bishops purposely multiplied sacred rites for the sake of rendering the Jews and pagans more friendly to them. For both these classes had always been accustomed to numerous and splendid ceremonies, and believed them an essential part of religion. In pursuance of this policy, and to silence the calumnies of the pagans and the Jews against them—to the effect that the Christians were pronounced atheists, because destitute of temples, altars, victims, priests, and all that pomp in which the vulgar suppose the essence of religion to consist—the Christian leaders introduced many rites, that they might be able to maintain that they really had those things which the pagans had, only they subsisted under different forms. Some of these rites—justified, as was supposed, by a comparison of the Christian oblations with Jewish victims and sacrifices—in time corrupted essentially the doctrine of the Lord's supper, and converted it into a sacrifice. To add further to the dignity of the Christian Religion, the churches of the east feigned mysteries similar to those of the pagan religions; and, as with the pagans, the holy rites of the mysteries were concealed from the vulgar: "And they not only applied the terms used in the pagan mysteries to the Christian institutions, particularly baptism and the Lord's supper, but they gradually introduced also the rites which were designated by those terms." This practice originated in the eastern provinces of the empire, and thence, after the times of Adrian (who first introduced the Grecian mysteries among the Latins), it spread among the Christians of the west. "A large part, therefore, of Christian observances and institutions, even in this century, had the aspect of the pagan mysteries." In like manner many ceremonies and customs of the Egyptians were adopted.[91]

Speaking of the third century the Doctor says that all the monuments of this century show that there was a great increase of ceremonies in the Church owing to the prevailing passion for the Platonic philosophy. Hence arose the public exorcisms, the multiplication of fasts, the aversion to matrimony, and the painful austerities and penances which were enjoined upon offenders.[92]

The Revolution of the Fourth Century: Constantine.

It will be observed that I have so far confined my quotations concerning the corruptions which arose in the Church to the first three centuries {LVII} of the Christian Era. I have done so purposely; and chiefly that I might show by such quotations that the forces which were to bring about the destruction of the Christian Church were active during those ages; and also because an event took place in the first part of the fourth century that culminated in the triumph of those forces. This event was the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome. Constantine the Great was the emperor under whose reign this unlooked for revolution took place. He was the son of Constantine Chlorus, emperor of the West in the preceding reign, which reign he had shared with Galerius Maximianus, who ruled the East. Constantine was an "emperor born of an emperor, the pious son of a most pious and virtuous father," is the flattering announcement of his parentage on the paternal side, by his contemporary, Eusebius, the church historian; though he neglects to mention the obscure origin and humble vocation (that of inn keeper) of his mother, Helena, whom her husband repudiated when raised to the dignity of "Caesar" in the reign of Diocletian.

Constantine was proclaimed emperor by the army in Britain on the death of his father at York, 306 A. D.; but civil strife raged through the empire for eighteen years, occasioned by the contending aspirants for the imperial dignity. The future patron of Christianity, however, overcame all his rivals and reigned sole monarch of Rome from 323 A. D., to the time of his death, fourteen years later.

The policy of Constantine's father towards the Christians in his division of the empire, the West, had been one not only of toleration but also of friendship; and this policy the son followed from the commencement of his career as emperor. The fact of both his own and his father's friendliness toward the Church on the one hand, and the hostility of his rivals against the Church on the other, brought to him the united support of the Christians throughout the empire; and though they were not so numerous as they are frequently represented to be, yet it cannot be denied that the Christians were important factors in determining the course of events in the empire at this time, and truly they were faithful allies to Constantine, and he, on his part, neglected not to meet their anticipations of reward.

A careful study of his life and character will force the conviction upon the mind that Constantine was a most suitable head for the revolution which ended by establishing a pseudo-Christianity as the state religion of the decaying empire. A professed Christian for many years, if we may believe Lactantius and Eusebius he postponed his baptism, after the fashion of his times, until the very last year of his life, in order that, purified at once from all the stains of sin by means of it, he might be sure of entering into bliss. Such the explanation of those who would defend this delay of the emperor's; but one cannot fail to {LVIII} remember that it was quite customary at this time among many professing the Christian religion to put off baptism as long as they dared that they might enjoy a life of sin, and then through the means of baptism, just before death, as by magic, obtain forgiveness.[93] On the motives that prompted Constantine's acceptance of Christianity, our historians are not agreed. According to Eusebius his conversion was brought about through seeing in the heavens a luminous cross at midday, and above it the inscription: "By this Conquer." This miraculous sign was supplemented on the night following by the appearance of Jesus Christ to the emperor in a dream, with the same symbol, the cross, and directed him to make it the ensign of his banners and his protection against the power of the enemy.[94] According to Theodoret the emperor was converted through the arguments of his Christian mother.[95] According to Zosimus, it was through the arguments of an Egyptian Christian bishop—supposed to be Hosius, Bishop of Corduba—who promised him absolution for his crimes, which included a number of murders, if he would but accept Christianity.[96]

It is as difficult to settle upon the time of Constantine's conversion as it is the means and nature of it. Neander inclines to the opinion that he was early influenced in favor of Christianity through the example if not the teachings of his parents, who, if not fully converted to the Christian faith, were at least tolerant of it; and may be reasonably counted among that number who at least admitted Christ to the pantheon of the gods. But an act of his in 308 A. D., after the death of his father, and he himself had been proclaimed emperor of the West, shows that he was at that time still attached to the pagan forms of worship; for hearing that the Franks who had been inclined to rebellion against his government had, on his preparations to make war upon them, laid down their arms, he offered public thanks in a celebrated temple of Apollo and gave a magnificent offering to the god.[97]

The story of his conversion as related by Eusebius would fix that event in the year 312 A. D.; and surely if the open vision of the luminous cross and the subsequent appearing of Christ in his dream, were realities, Constantine had sufficient grounds for a prompt and unequivocal conversion to the Christian faith. But after that, if we consider the conduct of the emperor, we shall find him, however astonishing it may seem, still attached to pagan ceremonies of worship. As late as 321, A. D., nine years after the visitation of Christ to him, we find him accused of artfully balancing the hopes and fears of both his pagan and Christian {LIX} subjects by publishing in the same year two edicts; the first of which enjoined the solemn observance of Sunday; and the second directed the consultation of the Haruspices[98]—the soothsayers of the old pagan religion. Of this circumstance, Neander, who is disposed to palliate the conduct of Constantine as far as possible, after intimating that this lapse might be accounted for on the grounds of state policy, says, "Yet the other hypothesis, viz., that Constantine had actually fallen back into heathen superstitions may indeed be regarded as the more natural."[99] Five years after his supposed miraculous conversion "we find marks of the pagan state religion upon the imperial coins."[100] "A medal was struck," says Dr. John W. Draper, doubtless referring to the same thing, "on which was impressed his [Constantine's] title of 'God,' together with the monogram of Christ." "Another," he continues, "represented him as raised by a hand from the sky while seated in the chariot of the Sun. But more particularly the great porphyry pillar, a column one hundred and twenty feet in height, exhibited the true religious condition of the founder of Constantinople. The statue on its summit mingled together the Sun, the Savior, and the Emperor. Its body was a colossal image of Apollo, whose features were replaced by those of Constantine, and around the head, like rays, were fixed the nails of the cross of Christ recently discovered in Jerusalem."[101] While on the day Constantinople was formally made the capital of the empire, he honored the statue of Fortune with his gifts. In view of all these acts, ranging as they do over the greater part of the first Christian emperor's life, and through many years after his supposed conversion, I think Gibbon is justified in his remarks upon this part of Constantine's conduct: "It was an arduous task to eradicate the habits and prejudices of his education, to acknowledge the divine power of Christ, and to understand that the truth of his revelation was incompatible with the worship of the gods."[102]

Turning from the consideration of the equivocal conduct of the emperor to his character, we have a subject about which there is less disagreement among authorities; for even Christian apologists are compelled to admit the wickedness of this first Christian emperor. "Relying with presumptuous confidence," says Neander, "on the great things which God had done, through him, for the advancement of the Christian Church, he found it easy to excuse or extenuate to his conscience many a wrong deed, into which he had suffered himself to be betrayed by {LX} ambition, the love of rule, the arbitrary exercise of power, or the jealousy of despotism."[103]

"It is indeed true that Constantine's life was not such as the precepts of Christianity required," Dr. Mosheim remarks, but softens the statement against the emperor by saying that, "It is but too notorious that many persons who look upon the Christian religion as indubitably true and of divine origin, yet do not conform their lives to all its holy precepts."[104]

Dr. Lardner, after drawing a most favorable outline of Constantine's person and character, and citing the flattery of contemporary panegyrists as a description of the man, says: "Having observed these virtues of Constantine, and other things, which are to his advantage; a just respect to truth obligeth us to take notice of some other things, which seem to cast a reflection upon him."[105] And then in the most naive manner he adds: "Among these, one of the chief is putting to death so many of his relatives!" He enumerates the victims of the first Christian emperor as follows: "Maximilian Herculius, his wife's father; Bassianus, husband of his sister Anastasia; Crispus, his own son; Fausta, his wife; Licinius, husband of his sister Constantia; and Licinianus, or Licinius the younger, his nephew, and son of the forementioned Licinius."[106] The last named victim was a mere lad when put to death, "not more than a little above eleven years of age, if so much," is Dr. Lardner's own description of him. Fausta was suffocated in a steam bath, though she had been his wife for twenty years and mother of three of his sons. It should be remembered that this is the list of victims admitted by a most learned and pious Christian writer, not a catalogue drawn up by pagan historians, whom we might suspect of malice against one who had deserted the shrines of the ancient gods for the faith of the Christians. But this rather formidable list of murdered victims admitted by Dr. Lardner, shakes not his faith in the goodness of the first Christian emperor. Some of these "executions" he palliates, if not justifies, on the ground of political necessity; and others on the ground of domestic perfidy; though he almost stumbles in his efforts at excusing the taking off of Crispus, the emperor's own son; Fausta, his wife; and the lad Licinius. "These are the executions," he says, "which above all others cast a reflection upon the reign of Constantine; though there are also hints of the death of some others about the same time, with whom Constantine had till then lived in {LXI} friendship."[107] After which the Doctor immediately adds—in the very face of all the facts he adduces, and after reciting the condemnation of both heathen and Christian writers of some of these murders—the following: "I do by no means think that Constantine was a man of a cruel disposition; and therefore I am unwilling to touch upon any other actions of a like nature: as his making some German princes taken captive, fight in the theatre; and sending the head of Maxentius to Africa, after it had been made a part of Constantine's triumphal entry at Rome." When one finds a sober Christian writer of the eighteenth century who can thus speak of Constantine; and further remembers that to this day a priest of the Greek church seldom mentions the name of the "imperial saint," without adding the title, "Equal to the Apostles;" one is not surprised that while he lived, and at his court a Christian bishop could be found who "congratulated him as constituted by God to rule over all, in the present world, and destined to reign with the son of God in the world to come."[108] Or that Eusebius, who is spoken of as one of the best bishops of the imperial court, "did not scruple for a moment to ascribe to the purest motives of a true servant of God all those transactions into which the emperor, without evincing the slightest regard to truth or to humanity, had suffered himself to be drawn by an ambition which could not abide a rival, in the struggle with Licinius; when he represents the emperor, in a war which, beyond a doubt, had been undertaken from motives of a purely selfish policy, as marshalling the order of the battle, and giving out the words of command by divine inspiration bestowed in answer to his prayer."[109]

Enough of this. Let us look no longer at this first of the Christian emperors through the eyes of churchmen seeking to extol his virtues and hide his crimes, all for the honor of the Church. So odious had he become in Rome for his many murders that a pasquinade which compared his reign to that of the detested Nero was nailed to the palace gates. "The guilty emperor," says one, "in the first burst of anger, was on the point of darkening the tragedy, if such a thing had been possible, by a massacre of the Roman populace who had thus insulted him." His brothers were consulted on this measure of vengeance, however, and the result of their counsel was a resolution to degrade Rome to a subordinate rank, and build a metropolis elsewhere, and hence the new capital of the empire rose on the shores of the Bosphorus.

Reflecting upon the career of Constantine from the days of his young manhood, which had in it something of the quality that makes the successful leader of men, to the time when he fell under the influence of the false priests of a corrupted religion, Draper says:

{LXII} From the rough soldier who accepted the purple at York, how great the change to the effeminate emperor of the Bosphorus, in silken robes stiffened with threads of gold, a diadem of sapphires and pearls, and false hair, stained of various tints; his steps stealthily guarded by mysterious eunuchs flitting through the palace, the streets full of spies, and an ever watchful police! The same man who approaches us as the Roman imperator retires from us as the Asiastic despot. In the last days of his life he put aside the imperial purple, and, assuming the customary white garments, prepared for baptism, that the sins of his long and evil life might all be washed away. Since complete purification can thus be only once obtained, he was desirous to procrastinate that ceremony to the last moment. Profoundly politic, even in his relations with heaven, he thenceforth reclined on a white bed, took no further part in worldly affairs, and, having thus insured a right to the continuance of that prosperity in a future life which he had enjoyed in this, expired.[110]

And so Gibbon:

The sublime theory of the gospel had made a much fainter impression on the heart, than on the understanding, of Constantine himself. He pursued the great objects of his ambition through the dark and bloody paths of war and policy; and, after the victory, he abandoned himself, without moderation, to the abuse of his fortune. Instead of asserting his just superiority above the imperfect heroism and profane philosophy of Trajan and the Antonines, the mature age of Constantine forfeited the reputation which he had acquired in his youth. As he gradually advanced in the knowledge of truth, he proportionately declined in the practice of virtue; and the same year of his reign in which he convened the council of Nice, was polluted by the execution, or rather murder of his eldest son [Crispus]. * * * * At the time of the death of Crispus, the emperor could no longer hesitate in the choice of religion; he could no longer be ignorant that the church was possessed of an infallible remedy, [baptism] though he chose to defer the application of it till the approach of death had removed the temptation and danger of a relapse. * * * * The example and reputation of Constantine seemed to countenance the delay of baptism. Future tyrants were encouraged to believe that the innocent blood which they might shed in a long reign would instantly be washed away in the waters of regeneration; and the abuse of religion dangerously undermined the foundations of moral virtue.[111]

Such, then, was the first Christian emperor. He uplifted "Christianity" from the condition of a persecuted religion, and made it the state religion of Rome; and also provided means for its wider acceptance. If for this it shall be claimed, as it is, that much in his evil life should be overlooked, it would still be pertinent to ask whether his acts in connection with Christianity did not debase rather than exalt it; and if his provisions for its wider acceptation did not tend rather to the corruption of what remained true in the Christianity then extant, than to the establishment of true religion.

{LXIII} Christianity made a Persecuting Religion.

The edict of Milan, by which was intended no more than the establishment of religious liberty in the empire, and which was issued in 313 A. D., by Constantine and his colleague, Licinius, was well enough. Freedom to teach and practice the truth is all the Christian church could ask or expect. Had he stopped here, his action in this particular would have met with universal applause. But he went beyond this. He not only protected the Christians by his laws, but prohibited by express edicts the free exercise of religion to the pagans. His proscriptions were mild at first, going no further than to prohibit soothsaying and divination in private houses or anywhere in secret. Later, however, if we may believe the words of Eusebius, he placed the pagan religion under the ban of the laws. Eusebius says:

The emperor proceeded to act with great vigor, gave the government of the provinces chiefly to Christians, and when any Gentiles were made governors they were prohibited to sacrifice. Which law comprehended not only presidents of provinces but also higher officers, and even the praetorian praefects. If they were Christians, they were required to act according to their principles. If they were otherwise disposed, still the practice of idolatrous rites were forbidden. * * * * And soon after that were two laws published, at one and the same time, one prohibiting the detestable rites of idolatry hitherto practiced in cities and country places; and that for the future none should erect statues to the gods, nor perform the vain arts of divination, nor offer up any sacrifices. The other law was for enlarging Christian oratories and churches, or for rebuilding them more grand and splendid.[112]

When contrasting the course of the first Christian emperor with the pagan emperors, Eusebius says, "They commanded the temples to be magnificently adorned; he demolished them to the foundation, especially such as were most respected by superstitious people."[113] Later he expressly says that throughout the whole Roman empire, the doors of idolatry were shut to the commonalty and to the soldiery, and that "every kind of sacrifice was prohibited." Again he says, that there were several laws published for these purposes, forbidding sacrifices, divinations, raising statues, and the secret mysteries or rites of initiation. And he says further, that "in Egypt a sort of priesthood, consecrated to the honor of the Nile, was entirely suppressed."[114] I am not unmindful that some respectable authorities question if Constantine really departed from the policy of toleration announced in his edict of Milan; and that even Gibbon is inclined to believe in his toleration of {LXIV} paganism. The statement here made by Eusebius, the contemporary and biographer of Constantine, however, together with reference to the edicts of suppression quoted by his son Constans in the succeeding reign, and which is quoted by Lardner,[115] establishes beyond question the policy of intolerance of Constantine toward paganism. Especially when what Eusebius has said is supplemented by the fact that the emperor destroyed a number of heathen temples, and peremptorily ordered the closing of the others. Among the heathen temples destroyed was one at Aegae, in Cilicia, erected to Aesculapius, celebrated for the number of sick that had been healed there, and held in high esteem by men of the better class among the pagans and philosophers. It is said that by its destruction and the public exhibition of certain images of the gods, many tricks of the priests were exposed and became objects of sport to the populace.[116] But while this may have been the conduct of some insincere pagans, those who remained heathens, as LeClerc has well said, "were no doubt extremely shocked at the manner in which the statues of their gods were treated; and could not consider the Christians as men of moderation. For, in short, those statues were as dear to them, as anything, the most sacred, could be to the Christians."[117] Eusebius taunted the philosophers about the destruction of the temple, without any interference on the part of the god to whom it had been erected, apparently all unmindful of the fact that just such taunts had been hurled at the Christian martyrs in the days that the "kingdom of God suffered violence, and the violent took it by force." "Had not Eusebius," remarked Lardner, "often heard with his own ears, and read in the history of ancient martyrs, the insults and triumphs of the heathens over the Christians, that they professed themselves the worshipers of the great and only true God, and yet everybody, that pleased, was able to molest and destroy them, as he saw good?"[118]

The zeal of Christian writers has done all in its power to excuse or palliate the conduct of Constantine in his acts for the suppression of the pagan religion and worship; but after all is said by his apologists that can be said; after every allowance is conceded for the times in which he lived, and the previous conduct of the pagans through two centuries of violence towards the Christians, the fact remains that the first Christian emperor did by his edicts put the ancient religion of the empire under the ban of the law, and by acts of violence destroyed some of its temples and closed the rest by imperial decree, that the pagan gods might not be worshiped; and this, doubtless, with the approval—and it would not {LXV} be difficult to believe, under all the circumstances, at the suggestion—of Christian bishops who thronged his court. On the foundation of intolerance thus laid by him, others hastened to build. In the succeeding reign, among the first laws enacted was this one against pagan sacrifices:

Let superstition cease; let the madness of sacrificing he abolished. For whoever shall presume contrary to the constitution of our father, a prince of blessed memory, and contrary to this command of our clemency, to offer sacrifices, let a proper and convenient punishment be inflicted, and execution presently done upon him.[119]

This edict was supplemented a few years later[120] by the following edict:

It is our pleasure that in all places and in all cities, the temples be immediately shut, and carefully guarded that none may have the power of offending, It is likewise our pleasure, that all our subjects should abstain from sacrifices. If any one should be guilty of such an act, let him feel the sword of vengeance; and after his execution, let his property be confiscated to the public use. We denounce the same penalties against the governors of the provinces, if they neglect to punish the criminals.[121]

It is not necessary to pursue the subject much further. It will be sufficient to say that during the fourth century, by following the policy of suppression inaugurated by this first Christian emperor, Christianity was changed from a persecuted to a persecuting religion. Without restraint from the ecclesiastical authorities, the Christian emperors issued edicts against the pagan religion, proscribed its followers, destroyed its temples, and confiscated its property to the uses of the rival religion. Even Neander, speaking of this revolution, and constrained as he is to say all that he can for the honor of the Christian Church, is compelled to admit that "the relation of things had become reversed. As in former times the observance of the pagan ceremonies, the religion of the state, had appeared in the light of a civil duty, and the profession of Christianity in that of a crime against the state; so now it was the case, not indeed that the outward profession of Christianity was commanded as a universal civil duty, for against this the spirit of Christianity too earnestly remonstrated; but that the exercise of the pagan religion was made politically dangerous."[122] In the pages of this eminent Christian historian one may read that before the close of the century which witnessed the elevation of Christianity to the dignity of the state religion of the empire, wild troops of Christian monks were undertaking campaigns, especially in the country, for the destruction of the {LXVI} heathen temples in which sacrifices were alleged to have been performed; of bishops who not only superintended the destruction of heathen temples at the head of bands of soldiers and gladiators, but paraded through the streets of the cities the symbols of the heathen faith, provoking civil conflicts which Christian emperors did not hesitate to take advantage of for the more complete suppression of paganism.[123] Meantime a pagan apologist, Libanius, arises to plead the cause of religious toleration, and in the course of his address to the Christian emperor, Theodosius, he puts to shame the Christianity then in vogue, by showing the emperor how far the Church had departed from the spirit of the Christian religion, by saying: "Force is said not to be permitted, even according to the laws of your own religion: persuasion is said to be praised, but force condemned by them. Why then, do you wreak your fury against the temples, when this surely is not to persuade, but to use force? Thus, then, it is plain you would transgress even the laws of your own religion."[124] Lardner calls attention to the fact that as under pagan emperors previous to Constantine Christianity had been in a state of persecution, so now, after Constantine, he proceeds to show that paganism under Christian emperors was all along in a state of persecution—"However, I would hope, not so severe and vigorous as that of the Christians in the foregoing period of near three hundred years."[125] And so LeClerc, as quoted by Lardner:

Thus it was that the Christians continued to return to the pagans what they had suffered from them during the first three centuries, instead of gaining them by patience and mildness, which they had so much recommended when they were the weakest. This conduct was proper to make the pagans more obstinate, by teaching them that the Christians affected to speak of humanity and moderation from interest only, and not from a principle of religion as they pretended. At least it is certain, that thereby they lost the right to complain of the manner in which the pagans had treated them in times past, or to boast of the mildness of their religion, which they effectually disparaged by those persecutions. * * * Nor ought we to imagine that the penalties laid by Christians upon the pagans were light. If a sacrifice was offered in a private place, with the knowledge of the proprietor, the place was confiscated; if not, they were to pay a fine of twenty pounds of gold, as much as if it had been done in a temple; and in some cases the penalty of death was appointed. We may look into the oration of Libanius for the temples, where that orator sustains the same character before Theodosius as the Christians had formerly done before pagan emperors. I must acknowledge that this phenomenon, if I may so call it, gives me pain: for I could wish that they who defended the {LXVII} truth had preserved to themselves the honor of being the only persons that were persecuted for religion.[126]

Persecution of "Heretics."

Once started upon the policy of suppressing by force those of a different religion, Christianity did not stop with the persecution of the pagans; bad and un-Christian as that was, still more serious results occurred from the persecutions inflicted upon so-called heretics in the Church, by those who were considered orthodox. It is true that there were heretics in the Church before the days of Constantine; much progress had been made in the matter of paganizing Christianity, and more or less of intolerance was manifested by Christian sects towards one another; but it was the policy and example of this first Christian emperor that laid the real foundation for that monument of shame and disgrace to the Christian name which rises upon the plains of Christian discord and strife and war waged against heretics in the name and for the glory of Christ. It is this which constitutes the most melancholy page of ecclesiastical history.

In his office of supreme pontiff in the old pagan religion, which he held by virtue of being emperor of Rome, Constantine may naturally have supposed that the supreme headship of the religion he had protected and the Church he had elevated fell to him for the same reason; and with it the right to reconcile differences, compose factions, and determine what should be the orthodox faith. At any rate we find him acting somewhat in this capacity. When contending church parties appealed to him, he at first was indifferent to their disputes, and tried to shame them into harmony by referring to the conduct of the Greek philosophers, who never discussed difficult questions before ignorant multitudes; who could "maintain their arguments without losing their temper; and assert their freedom without violating any friendship."[127] His efforts at reconciling the differences that arose among Christians over what is known as the Arian controversy were of no avail; and after six years of bitter strife, the emperor summoned the bishops of the Church to Nicea in Bithynia. After long deliberation Arianism was condemned, and orthodox Christianity was established by decree of the council, ratified by the emperor, to which all Christians must conform. Those who resisted the divine judgment of the synod must prepare themselves for immediate exile.[128] How effectual the argument, "belief or banishment," even among the bishops at the council, was, may be determined from the fact that "the opposition to the decision of the council was almost {LXVIII} instantly reduced from seventeen to two."[129] In his zeal to enforce orthodoxy the emperor forgot his former moderation, and in 326 A.D.—the year following the council of Nicea—he issued a general edict against heretics, in which, after condemning his own past forbearance as occasioning men's being seduced, he says to the various heretical parties:

Wherefore, since this your pernicious wickedness is no longer to be endured, we by this present law command you, that you no more presume to meet together. And we have given orders that all those places where you are wont to hold assemblies should be taken away. Yea, our concern for this matter is such, that we not only forbid you to assemble to any public place; but we likewise forbid all assemblies of your foolish superstition in private houses, and in all private places whatever. All of you, therefore, who have any sincere love of truth, come to the Catholic church. And that this remedy may have its full effect, we ordain that all your superstitious conventicles, I mean oratories of all heretics, if it be fit to call such houses oratories, be forthwith taken away, and without any opposition delivered to the Catholic church: and that the rest of your places be adjudged to the public.[130]

"Thus the dens of heretics were laid open by the imperial edict," exultantly exclaims Eusebius, the Christian bishop, "and the wild beasts, the ring leaders of their impiety, were scattered."[131] And thus was the paganized Christian church launched upon that career of persecution of heretics within the church, as well as upon the policy of persecuting those of a different religion; a policy that has filled the world with religious wars, and deeds of cruelty which would better become the reign of a Nero than Christian rulers of Christian nations. It is a terrible arraignment which Gibbon draws against apostate Christendom in the concluding paragraph of his review of the persecutions which had been endured by the followers of Christ in the Christian centuries preceding Constantine. He says:

We shall conclude this chapter by a melancholy truth, which obtrudes itself on the reluctant mind; that, even admitting, without hesitation or inquiry, all that history has recorded, or devotion has feigned, on the subject of martyrdoms, it must still be acknowledged that the Christians, in the course of their intestine dissensions, have inflicted far greater severities on each other than they have experienced from the zeal of infidels. During the ages of ignorance which followed the subversion of the Roman empire in the west,[132] the bishops of the imperial city extended their dominion over the laity as well as clergy of the Latin church. The {LXIX} fabric of superstition which they had erected, and which might long have defied the feeble efforts of reason, was at length assaulted by a crowd of daring fanatics, who, from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, assumed the popular character of reformers. The church of Rome defended by violence the empire which she had acquired by fraud; a system of peace and benevolence was soon disgraced by proscriptions, wars, massacres, and the institution of the holy office; and as the reformers were animated by the love of civil as well as religious freedom, the Catholic princes connected their own interest with that of the clergy, and enforced by fire and sword the terror of spiritual censures. In the Netherlands alone more than one hundred thousand of the subjects of Charles the Fifth are said to have suffered by the hand of the executioner; and this extraordinary number is attested by Grotius, a man of genius and learning, who preserved his moderation amidst the fury of contending sects, and who composed the annals of his own age and century, at the time when the invention of printing had facilitated the means of intelligence and increased the danger of detection. If we are obliged to submit our belief to the authority of Grotius, it must be allowed that the number of protestants who were executed in a single province and a single reign far exceeded that of the primitive martyrs in the space of three centuries, and of the Roman empire![133]

Both Guizot and Milman, eminent Christian scholars, annotated the work of Edward Gibbon, the former in French, the latter in an English edition; and at every point where they could modify a statement or soften a passage apparently unjust to Christianity, they did so; but in the presence of the important and terrible passages just quoted, they remained absolutely silent! Nor has any other Christian writer since their day, so far as I know, attempted to contradict the statement of Mr. Gibbon. It is proper to say, however, that in a note Mr. Gibbon himself cites the fact that Fra Paola, an Italian writer, places the number of Belgic martyrs at fifty thousand, but even that computation would still leave the conclusion of Mr. Gibbon's reflections unimpaired.

The circumstance of the Church elevated by Constantine becoming a persecuting Church is a strong evidence of its paganized state; for the true Christian religion is not a persecuting religion; the true Church of Christ is not a persecuting Church. When the Samaritans would not receive the Messiah, some of the Apostles would have them consumed by fire from heaven; but the Master turned and rebuked them, saying, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."[134] It is true that Messiah said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be {LXX} they of his own household."[135] This, however, is but a prediction of the effect of the proclamation of the Gospel, not an authorization to force the acceptance of Christianity by the sword; nor does it authorize the Church to invoke the arm of the civil authority to execute by force her doctrinal decrees. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is true, did not bring peace, but a sword; the sword, however, was found in the hands of those who rejected the Gospel, not in the hands of those who accepted and preached it. And when the Church departed so far from the spirit of Christ that she grasped the sword in her own hands, or dictated the civil authority to wield it in her behalf, and that became the policy of the Church, the adoption of that policy proclaimed her apostate condition to the world, in a manner to be known and read of all men.

Christianity Before and After Constantine.

I think sufficient has been said to justify the belief that the reign of Constantine marks the period when the paganization of Christianity had become complete. I do not mean by this that there is any particular date which one may set down to show that here true Christianity ceases, and there apostate Christianity begins; which is a point frequently insisted upon by those who contend for the unbroken perpetuity of Christianity from the days of Messiah. They demand to know on what night it was that the whole collection of Christians, of different nationalities and languages, went to bed sound in the Christian faith, to awake the next morning all pagans.[136] I claim no such sudden revolution brought about the apostasy which I am sure took place. We have seen by what has already been said, that even in the time of the Apostles there was a tendency on the part of the Christians to depart from the religion of Jesus Christ; that after the days of the Apostles there was a steady increase in the number and influence of false teachers; an insidious introduction of heresies; a multiplication of rites and ceremonies well known in the pagan celebration of religious mysteries, but entirely foreign to the Gospel; and an amalgamation of pagan doctrines with Christian principles. It remains to be shown that there was a steady increase of immorality among the professing Christians; a marked loss of spirituality; a rapid growth of pride and worldliness on the part of Christian bishops and other church leaders; and at last, an utter departure from the true and living God and Jesus Christ whom He had sent, and the establishment of a system in its place, as debasing to men as it was dishonorable to God.

Taking then the reign of Constantine as the period beyond which the {LXXI} true religion of Christ did not extend, nor the true Church of Christ exist, let us consider Christianity before his reign and after it. Here I shall ask the reader to take into account as part of the consideration of Christianity previous to Constantine what I have already set before him in this introduction concerning the tendency to division and heresies which existed in the Church in the days of the Apostles; and also those quotations I have made from eminent Christian authorities, which give evidence of the early corruption of Christianity, and which too plainly testify that it was in a state of steady decline through the second and third centuries, until it was fit only for such enthronement as a Constantine could give it, when he made it the state religion of a corrupt empire hastening to its decay. If the reader will do this, it will obviate the necessity of my referring to these matters again.

Decline in Moral and Spiritual Living Among Christians.

It will be conceded that the Gospel of Jesus Christ commands a very high order of moral and spiritual living, and that the Apostles enjoined this moral law upon the early saints as essential to the favor of God. Others also after the days of the Apostles, followed in the same admonition, and indeed the sharp contrast that existed between the lives of converts before and after their acceptance of Christianity was a matter of pride not only to St. Paul,[137] but to Justin Martyr of the second century, who, in reference to the change produced in the lives of Christian converts, said:

We who were once slaves of lust, now have delight only in purity of morals; we, who once practiced arts of magic, have consecrated ourselves to the Eternal and Good God; we, who once prized gain above all things, give even what we have to the common use, and share it with such as are in need; we, who once hated and murdered one another, who on account of differences of customs would have no common hearth with strangers, do now, since the appearance of Christ, live together with them; we pray for our enemies; we seek to convince those that hate us without cause, so that there may order their lives according to Christ's glorious doctrine and attain to the joyful hope of receiving like blessings with us from God, the Lord of all.[138]

It was not long, however, before there was a marked departure from this high moral level among the Christians. In tracing that decline I shall use chiefly the History of the Church by Joseph Milner, published in 1794. My reason for doing so is as follows: I have already stated in this writing, that Milner wrote what some regard as his "great history of the Church," to counteract the influence of Dr. Mosheim's splendid "Institutes of Ecclesiastical History," which is evidently by some {LXXII} regarded as too much a history of the perversions and abuses of religion. Milner plainly informs his readers that he intends to write the history of those only who have been real, not nominal, Christians, irrespective of the external Church to which they belonged, proceeding upon the theory that these good men constitute the Church of Christ. His history, in other words, is a history of piety, not of the Church. It will be his purpose therefore to exalt the morality of the Christians in all ages; and I quote his work respecting the moral deteriorations of the Christians that I may not be charged with quoting authorities who some think have made too much of Christian shortcomings. Milner says that a gloomy cloud, concerning moral conditions, hung over the close of the first century, and proceeds to argue that the first impressions made by the effusions of the spirit are the strongest; that human depravity overborne for a time arose afresh, particularly in the next generation, and hence the disorders of schisms and heresies in the Church. Neander does not agree with the philosophy of Milner. He says, "Christianity, since it first entered human nature, has operated, wherever it has struck root, with the same divine power for sanctification; and this divine power cannot be weakened by the lapse of ages. In this respect, therefore, the period of the first appearance of Christianity could have no advantage over any of the following ages of the Christian Church."[139] And he follows this declaration with a statement, that the change which Christianity produced in the lives of those who accepted it appeared so strongly marked by the contrast it presented with what they had previously been when pagans. The correctness of the philosophy I shall leave these two great Christian authorities to settle between themselves. I am concerned more particularly with the facts in the case.

In consequence of the prominence that has been given to the persecutions of the Christians during the first three centuries, the impression very extensively prevails that the early Christian Church was constantly under the hard pressure of continuous and relentless persecutions. This, however, is not the case. There were many periods of peace granted to the Christians. Indeed their periods of persecution were only occasional, and it is a question if these periods of peace were not more detrimental to Christianity than the seasons of persecution. Milner, under the authority of Origen, says that the long peace granted the Church in the third century, during the reign of the several emperors, from about 260 A. D., to the opening of the fourth century, produced a great degree of luke-warmness and religious indecorum. "Let the reader," he says, "only notice the indifference which Origen here describes and the conduct of Christians both in the first and second centuries, and {LXXIII} he will be affected with the greatness of the declension." Then he quotes Origen: "Several come to church only on solemn festivals, and then not so much for instruction as diversion. Some go out again as soon as they have heard the lecture, without conferring or asking the pastors questions. Others stay not till the lecture is ended, and others hear not so much as a single word, but entertain themselves in a corner of the church."[140]

Coming to the middle of the third century, just previous to that severe persecution inaugurated by the emperor Decius, and speaking of Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Milner exclaims: "A star of the first magnitude, when we consider the time in which he lived! Let us recreate ourselves with the contemplation of it. We are fatigued with hunting for Christian goodness, and we have discovered but little and that little with much difficulty. We shall find Cyprian to be a character who partook indeed of the declensions which we have noticed and lamented, but who was still far superior, I apprehend, in real simplicity and piety, to the Christians of the East."[141] This same Cyprian, in which Milner delights, speaking of the effects of the long peace upon the Church which preceded the Decian persecution, says:

Each had been bent on improving his own patrimony, and had forgotten what believers had done under the Apostles, and what they ought always to do. They were brooding over the arts of amassing wealth; the pastors and the deacons each forgot his duty; works of mercy were neglected, and discipline was at the lowest ebb; luxury and effeminacy prevailed; meritricious arts in dress were cultivated; fraud and deception practiced among brethren. Christians would unite themselves in matrimony with unbelievers; could swear, not only without reverence but without veracity. With haughty asperity they despised their ecclesiastical superiors; they railed against one another with outrageous acrimony, and conducted quarrels with determined malice. Even many bishops, who ought to be guides and patterns to the rest, neglected the peculiar duties of their stations, gave themselves up to secular pursuits. They deserted their places of residence and their flocks; they traveled through distant provinces in quest of pleasure and gain; gave no assistance to their needy brethren, but were insatiable in their thirst of money. They possessed estates by fraud and multiplied usury. What have we not deserved to suffer for such conduct? Even the divine word hath foretold us what we might expect: "If his children forsake my law and walk not in my judgments, I will visit their offenses with the rod and their sins with scourges." These things had been denounced and foretold, but in vain. Our sins had brought our affairs to that pass, that because we had despised the Lord's directions, we were obliged to undergo a correction of our multiplied evils and a trial of our faith by severe remedies.[142]

{LXXIV} Referring to the long reign of peace in the closing decade of the third century, Milner says:

This new scene [the toleration of Christianity by a pagan government] did not prove favorable to the growth of grace and holiness. In no period since the Apostles was there ever so great a general decay as in this. Not even in particular instances can we discover during this interval much of lively Christianity.[143]

Here I drop Milner to take up Eusebius, who was an eye witness of the moral declension among the Christians previous to the last great pagan persecution under the emperor Diocletian. Referring to the long period of peace which the Church had enjoyed—a period of forty years—he says:

But when, by reason of excessive liberty, we sunk into negligence and sloth, one envying and reviling another in different ways, and we were almost, as it were, upon the point of taking up arms against each other with words as with darts and spears, prelates inveighing against prelates, and people rising up against people, and hypocrisy and dissimulation had arisen to the greatest height of malignity, then the divine judgment, which usually proceeds with a lenient hand, whilst the multitudes were yet crowding into the Church, with gentle and mild visitations began to afflict the episcopacy; the persecution having begun with those brethren in the army. But as if destitute of all sensibility, we were not prompt in measures to appease and propitiate the Deity; some indeed like atheists, regarding our situation as unheeded and unobserved by a Providence, we added one wickedness and misery to another. But some that appeared to be our pastors deserting the law of piety, were inflamed against each other with mutual strifes, only accumulating quarrels and threats, rivalship, hostility and hatred to each other, only anxious to assert the government as a kind of sovereignty for themselves.[144]

Here I shall avail myself of some reflections upon this condition which I have elsewhere expressed;[145] Let it be remembered that what is said in the foregoing quotation is from a writer contemporary with the events, and who says, in the very chapter following the one from which I have just quoted, that it was not for him to record the dissensions and follies which the shepherds of the people exercised against each other before the persecution. He also adds: "We shall not make mention of those that were shaken by the persecution, nor of those that suffered shipwreck in their salvation, and of their own accord were sunk in the depths of the watery gulf."[146] Then in his Book of Martyrs, referring to events that occurred between the edicts ordering the persecution, he says: "But the events that occurred in the intermediate times, besides {LXXV} those already related, I have thought proper to pass by; I mean more particularly the circumstances of the different heads of the churches, who from being shepherds of the reasonable flocks of Christ, that did not govern in a lawful and becoming manner, were condemned by divine justice, as unworthy of such a charge, to be the keepers of the unreasonable camel, an animal deformed in the structure of his body; and condemned further to be the keepers of the imperial horses. * * * * Moreover, the ambitious aspirings of many to office, and the injudicious and unlawful ordinations that took place, the divisions among the confessors themselves, the great schisms and difficulties industriously fomented by the factions among the new members, against the relics of the Church, devising one innovation after another, and unmercifully thrusting them into the midst of all these calamities, heaping up affliction upon affliction. All this, I say, I have resolved to pass by, judging it foreign to my purpose, wishing, as I said in the beginning, to shun and avoid giving an account of them."[147] Hence, however bad the condition of the Church is represented to be by ecclesiastical writers, we must know that it was still worse than that; however numerous the schisms; however unholy the ambition of aspiring prelates; however frequent and serious the innovations upon the primitive ordinances of the Gospel; however great the confusion and apostasy in the Church is represented to be; we must know that it is still worse than that, since the Church historians contemporaneous with the events refused to record these things in their fulness, lest it should prove disastrous to the Church; just as some of our modern scholars professing to write Church history express their determination to close their eyes to the corruption and abuses which form the greater part of the melancholy story of ecclesiastical history, for fear that relating these things would make it appear that real religion scarcely had any existence.[148]

I shall say no more upon the matter of moral declensions among Christians, except this: If there was such moral declensions among Christians as is represented by the foregoing high authorities on Christian affairs in the centuries preceding Constantine, what moral declension must have prevailed when from a proscribed religion Christianity was exalted to the dignity of the state religion of the empire; and her prelates and clergy were recalled from exile and suffering, poverty and disgrace, and loaded with the wealth and honors that the lord of the Roman world could bestow? Consider, in this connection, the propositions of Constantine at the council of Nicea for the propaganda of Christianity, and pass a candid judgment upon the moral or rather immoral effect they would produce upon the Church. Neander thus states them:

{LXXVI} "The heathen would be most easily led to salvation, if the condition of the Christians were made to appear to them in all respects enviable.

"They [the bishops] should consider, that the advantage to be derived from preaching could not belong to all.

"Some, he said, might be drawn to the faith by being seasonably supplied with the means of subsistence.

"Others were accustomed to repair to that quarter where they found protection and intercession (alluding to the intercessions of the bishops).

"Others would be won by an affable reception.

"Others by being honored with presents.

"There were but few who honestly loved the exhibitions of religious doctrine; but few were the friends of truth (therefore but few sincere converts).

"For this reason they should accommodate themselves to the characters of all, and like skillful physicians, give to each man that which might contribute to his cure, so that in every way the saving doctrine might be glorified in all."[149]

The effect of adopting such methods for the more rapid propagation of Christianity, as is here proposed by the emperor to the bishops assembled at the council of Nicea, must be apparent to all, and is quite universally lamented by Christian writers of later ages. "A course of proceeding upon such principles," remarks Neander himself, "must entirely have thrown open a wide door for all manner of hypocrisy. Even Eusebius, the panegyrist of Constantine, blinded as he was by the splendor which the latter had cast over the outward Church—even he is obliged to reckon among the grievous evils of this period, of which he was an eye witness, the indescribable hypocrisy of those who gave themselves out as Christians merely for temporal advantage, and who, by their outward show of zeal for the faith, contrived to win the confidence of the emperor, which he suffered them to abuse."[150] "The piercing eye of ambition and avarice," says Gibbon, "soon discovered that the profession of Christianity might contribute to the interest of the present as well as of a future life. The hopes of wealth and honors, the example of an emperor, his exhortations, his irresistible smiles, diffused conviction among the venal and obsequious crowds which usually fill the apartments of a palace. The cities which signalized a forward zeal by the voluntary destruction of their temples, were distinguished by municipal privileges and rewarded with popular donatives. * * * As the lower ranks of society are governed by imitation, the conversion of those who possessed any eminence of birth, of power, or of riches, was soon followed by dependent multitudes. The salvation of the common people was purchased at an easy rate, if it be true that in one year {LXXVII} twelve thousand men were baptized at Rome, besides a proportionable number of women and children; and that a white garment, with twenty pieces of gold, had been promised by the emperor to every convert."[151]

Under all these circumstances it is small wonder if men exclaimed as Augustine did somewhat later in his commentary on St. John—"How many seek Jesus only that He may benefit them in earthly matters! One man has a law suit, so he seeks the intercession of the clergy: another is oppressed by his superior, so he takes refuge in the Church. Others are seeking, one in this way and another in that, to be interceded for in some quarter where they have but little influence themselves. The Church is daily full of such persons. Seldom is Jesus sought for Jesus' sake!"[152] After nicely balancing the possibility and probability of those who came into the Church for present worldly advantage being converted in time to a true faith in the Christian religion, Neander says: "Beyond all doubt the number was far greater of those who grew hardened in that worldly sense by which from the first they had profaned a holy profession, and who were thus the means of introducing into the Church a great mass of corruption."

"Unhappily," he adds, "there were bishops whose only wish was to make the conversion to Christianity a right easy thing for the pagans. * * * Hence they baptized even those who lived in open sin, and who plainly enough manifested that it was not their purpose to forsake it. They imagined that when these were only baptized and introduced into the fellowship of the Church, it was then time enough to admonish them against sin."[153] Surely it was not difficult among such a mass of unconverted members thus brought into the Church to find elements that would foster the errors, both in ethics and in doctrine, which about this time arose in the Church. It is small wonder that it was well nigh publicly adopted in this age—as we are informed by Mosheim—"That to deceive and lie is a virtue when religion can be promoted by it, and that error in religion ought to be visited with penalties and punishments." The first of these evils resulted in the accumulation of that mass of myth and fable that burdens the annals of the dark ages; the second established the "holy inquisition," alike the shame of the Roman Catholic church and the so-called Christian civilization she has influenced. "It is almost incredible," continues Mosheim, speaking of the first evil referred to, "what a mass of the most insipid fables, and what a host of pious falsehoods have, through all the centuries, grown out of it, to the great detriment of true religion. If some inquisitive person were to examine the conduct and the writings of the {LXXVIII} great and most pious teachers of this century, I fear he would find about all of them infected with this leprosy." "Those idle fictions," he adds, "which a regard for the Platonic philosophy, and for the prevailing opinions of the day had induced most theologians to embrace, even before the time of Constantine, were now in various ways confirmed, extended and embellished. Hence it is that we see, on every side, evident traces of excessive veneration for departed saints; of a purifying fire for the soul when separated from the body; of the celibacy of the clergy; of the worship of images and relics; and of many other opinions, which in process of time almost banished the true religion, or"—and here the Doctor perhaps remembered that he was a Protestant and that his position as such would not admit of conceding the utter subversion of the Christian religion, and hence added—"or at least very much obscured and corrupted it." "Genuine piety" he continues, "was supplanted by a long train of superstitious observances which originated partly from opinions inconsiderately embraced, partly from a preposterous disposition to adopt profane rites and combine them with Christian worship, and partly from the natural predilections of mankind in general for a splendid and ostentatious religion."[154]

The Loss of Spiritual Gifts.

Not only did the moral declensions in the Church, which started soon after the demise of the Apostles, proceed with accelerated pace after Constantine became the patron of the Church, and with such resulting evils as I have pointed out, but there was a like declension in the enjoyment of spiritual gifts in the Church. It is well known that the Apostles promised the Holy Ghost to those who received the Gospel, and the enjoyment of those supernatural gifts which go with it. Indeed Jesus Himself said in His last commission to his disciples:

Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.[155]

Paul, in speaking of the spiritual gifts promised in the Gospel, says:

Now there are diversities of gifts, by the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are {LXXIX} diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits, to another diverse kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.[156]

It is well known that the spiritual gifts here enumerated were enjoyed by the saints in the early Christian centuries; and especially in Apostolic times. The New Testament books are replete with reference to the enjoyment of these gifts of the Spirit among the saints. Nor is there any intimation of the discontinuance of them. On the contrary it is reasonable to conclude that so long as the saints shall continue in the enjoyment of the Holy Ghost, that long also will they enjoy the spiritual gifts which proceed from a possession of Him. Moreover, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."[157] Such are the effects of the operations of the Holy Ghost upon the nature of man. These fruits of the Spirit indicate the change that the Spirit of God may effect in human nature; by which that which is corrupted through sin may be conformed to that which is pure and holy, according to the working whereby the Spirit is able to subdue all things unto Himself, in them that give place for His indwelling in their souls. This effectual working of the Spirit in the souls of men, by which they were transformed from vileness to holiness, was the boast of the early saints. And, upon reflection, all will concede that the victories of the Spirit in reforming the lives of men and making them in their very nature conform to the likeness of Christ in righteousness, are more to be desired and more to be celebrated than those victories which are physical or intellectual merely in their nature. Indeed these latter fruits of the Spirit derive their chief value from the extent to which they contribute to the production of the former—that is, to the extent that they establish men in the faith, enable them to crucify the flesh with the lusts thereof, and help them to live in harmony with the sweet influence of the Spirit of God. When men live in harmony with that Spirit there will righteousness obtain; there will love abound; there will the Gospel of Christ appear triumphant. Where these fruits do not appear, there the Gospel of Christ is not; there the powers of darkness for the time being, are triumphant. Yet notwithstanding this promise {LXXX} concerning the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts of the Gospel, the evidence is abundant and conclusive that when all the Apostles were deceased, then there was a marked declension in the manifestation of the spiritual powers of the Gospel. "With the close of the New Testament records," says Dr. Phillip Smith, author of The Student's Ecclesiastical History, "and the death of the last surviving Apostle, the history of the Church passes from its sacred to its purely human phase. The miraculous gifts which attested the divine mission of the Apostles ceased; not indeed by any formal record of their withdrawal, but by the clear evidence that they were possessed no longer."[158]

Dr. Jortin bears witness to the same fact. He says:

The words Eusebius intimated that he thought those extraordinary powers to be, at least, not very common afterwards—[i. e., the beginning of the second century]. "They went about," says he, "with God's co-operative grace, for even then the divine Spirit performed many miracles by them." * * * This brings the probability of miracles down to the beginning of the second century, in the middle of which Justin Martyr says: "There are prophetic gifts among us even until now:" and amongst these gifts he reckons up miraculous powers, as healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, etc. His words imply an opinion that such gifts were not only exercised in his time, but had been continued down to his time, and he may be justly supposed to speak the sense of his contemporary Christians; and that is all that I cite him for. It seems probable that if we bad a full and authentic history of the propagation of the Gospel, from the time of the Apostles to the middle of the second century, composed by eye witnesses and by the preachers of Christianity, we should find miracles wrought for the conversion of the pagans. But from A. D. 70 to 150 is a dark interval, and we have very short accounts of the transactions of those days, unless we should accept of groundless rumors and frivolous tales.[159]

So, also, Dr. Mosheim, speaking of the second century, and after commenting on the extent to which the extraordinary divine gifts contributed to the extension of the limits of the Church, says: "The gift of foreign tongues appears to have gradually ceased, as soon as many nations became enlightened with the truth; * * * but the other gifts with which God favored the rising Church of Christ, were, as we learn from numerous testimonies of the ancients, still conferred upon particular persons here and there." And when writing of the fourth and succeeding centuries, he, too, bears witness of the declension, and final cessation of these spiritual powers among the Christians; and, indeed, the most of our ecclesiastical writers form the same conclusion.

Thus the Christians lost the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts of the {LXXXI} Gospel, such as inspired dreams, prophecies, healings, speaking in new tongues, ministering of angels, and, most to be lamented of all, direct revelation from God, by which the will of God might be made known to His people and His Church preserved from error, from decadence, and from destruction: and by the absence of these spiritual gifts and powers among the Christians of the third and fourth centuries, we may know that a mere man-made religion, having indeed a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, had succeeded to the spiritually gifted religion, of Jesus Christ, wherein the power of God is ever present and outwardly as well as inwardly manifested.

Departure of "Christendom" from the True Doctrine of Deity.

In nothing perhaps was there a wider departure from the real truth of Christianity than in the doctrine concerning God defined by the general council of the Church held within the lifetime of Constantine, and which, in fact, he assembled upon his own authority. This was the celebrated Council of Nicea in Bithynia, Asia Minor, held in 325 A.D. The main purpose for which the first general Council of the Church was assembled was to settle a dispute between one Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, and his bishop, Alexander, of the same city, respecting the doctrine of the Godhead. The dispute proved to be far-reaching in its effects, and for three hundred years the rivalry of the contending factions disturbed the peace of Christendom. We shall have clearer conceptions of the subject, however, and be better able to judge of the extent to which there was a departure from the true doctrine respecting the Godhead, by the definitions formulated and enforced upon the Church by the council of Nicea, if we first consider the doctrine of the Godhead as found in the Testament.

The Christian Doctrine of God.

The existence of God both Jesus and the Apostles accepted as a fact. In all the teachings of the former He nowhere seeks to prove God's existence. He assumes that, and proceeds from that basis with His doctrine. He declares the fact that God was His Father, and frequently calls Himself the Son of God.[160] After His resurrection and departure into heaven, the Apostle taught that He, the Son of God, was with God the Father in the beginning; that He, as well as the Father, was God; that under the direction of the Father He was the Creator of {LXXXII} worlds; that without Him was not anything made that was made.[161] That in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;[162] and that He was the express image of the Father's person.[163] Jesus Himself taught that He and the Father were one[164] that whosoever had seen Him had seen the Father also;[165] that it was part of His mission to reveal God, the Father, through His own personality; for as was the Son, so too was the Father.[166] Hence Jesus was God manifested in flesh—a revelation of God to the world.[167] That is, a revelation, not only of the being of God, but of the kind of being God is.

Jesus also taught (and in doing so showed in what the "oneness" of Himself and His Father consisted) that the disciples might be one with Him, and also one with each other, as He and the Father were one.[168] Not one in person—not all merged into one individual, and all distinctions of personality lost; but one in mind, in knowledge, in love, in will—one by reason of the indwelling in all of the one spirit, even as the mind and will of God the Father was also in Jesus Christ.[169]

The Holy Ghost, too, was upheld by the Christian religion to be God.[170] Jesus ascribed to Him a distinct personality; as proceeding from the Father; as sent forth in the name of the Son, as feeling love; experiencing grief; as forbidding; as abiding; as teaching; as bearing witness; as appointing to work; and as interceding for men. All of which clearly establishes for Him a personality.

The distinct personality of these three individual Gods (united however into one Godhead, or Divine Council), was made apparent at the baptism of Jesus; for as He, God the Son, came up out of the water from His baptism at the hands of John, a manifestation of the presence of the Holy Ghost was given in the sign of the dove which rested upon Jesus, while out of the glory of heaven the voice of God the Father was heard saying, "This," referring to Jesus, "is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The distinctness of the personality of each member of the Godhead is also shown by the commandment to baptize those who believe the Gospel equally in the name of each person of the Holy Trinity. That is, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the {LXXXIII} Holy Ghost.[171] And again, also, in the Apostolic benediction, viz., "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all."[172]

These three personages constitute the Christian Godhead, the Holy Trinity. In early Christian theology they were regarded as the Supreme Governing and Creating Power in heaven and in earth. Of which Trinity the Father was worshiped in the name of the Son, while the Holy Ghost bore record of both the Father and the Son. And though the Holy Trinity was made all of three distinct persons, yet did they constitute but one Godhead, or Supreme Governing Power.

This outline of the doctrine of God derived from the New Testament represents Him as anthropomorphic; that is, like man in form; or, rather, it re-affirms the old doctrine found in the book of Genesis, viz., that man is created in the image of God, and after His likeness. The outline of New Testament doctrine of God also ascribes to Him what are called human attributes and feelings; but as in the foregoing we first say that God is represented as being in human form, and then to get the exact truth say: "Or, rather, man was created in the image and likeness of God," so in this latter case, when we have said that the doctrine of the New Testament ascribes human attributes and feelings to God, to get the exact truth we should say: "Or, rather, man possesses the attributes of God"—the attributes of knowing, willing, judging, loving, etc.—though it should be stated, of course, that man does not possess these attributes in their perfection, as God does. The same may also be said of the physical perfections. While man has been created in the image and likeness of God, yet our bodies in their present state of imperfection—sometimes stunted in growth, diseased, subject to sickness, wasting, decay, and death—cannot be said to be like God's glorious, perfect physical body, yet we have the Divine word that our bodies shall be like His:

"For our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be {LXXXIV} fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."[173]

So also the attributes of the spirit of man—the attributes of the mind—now imperfect, impure, unholy, and limited in the range of vision and apprehension of things, owing largely to the conditions in which man finds himself placed in this earth-life (and all for a wise purpose in God's economy); yet the time will come that it will be with the spirit as with the body; for God shall change our vile spirit that it may be fashioned like unto His own glorious spirit, "according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." That whereas now we see only as through a glass, darkly, then we shall see as we are seen; that whereas now we know but in part, then we shall know even as we are known.[174]

The foregoing doctrine of God, taught to the Christians in Apostolic times, awakened their pious reverence without exciting their curiosity. They dealt with no metaphysical abstractions, but were contented to accept the teachings of the Apostles in humble faith, and believed that Jesus Christ was the complete manifestation of Deity, and the express image of God His Father; and hence a revelation to them of God; while the Holy Ghost they accepted as God's witness and messenger to them.

Paganization of the Christian Doctrine of God.

But Christianity, as is well known, came in contact with other doctrines concerning Deity. It was almost immediately brought in touch with the mysticism of the Orient and also with the philosophy of the Greeks, who took so much delight in intellectual subtleties. In the Oriental philosophies, and in the Greek, there was conceived the idea of a trinity in Deity; an idea which possibly may have come down from the doctrines revealed to the patriarchs concerning the Godhead, but which had been corrupted and rendered unintelligible by the vain philosophizings of men. In some of the Oriental systems the trinity or Trimurti consisted of Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver; and Siva, the Destroyer. It will be seen, however, that this trinity is not necessarily one of persons, or individuals, but may be one of attributes, qualities, or even a trinity of functions in one being; and in this way it is usually understood.[175]

Plato's trinity is sometimes stated in the terms, "First Cause; Reason, or Logos; and Soul of the Universe;" but more commonly in these: "Goodness, Intellect, and Will." The nature of the Greek trinity has long been a matter of contention among the learned, and one indeed that is not settled to this day. Is there indicated in his system "a true and proper tri-personality, or merely a personification of three impersonalities," a trinity of attributes or functions? The answers to these questions are varied, and would require too much space for consideration here. Christians having been taught to accept the New Testament doctrine of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as constituting one Godhead, Christianity no sooner came in contact with the philosophies of the Greeks and Egyptians than there was an effort made to {LXXXV} identify the Christian trinity with that of the Greek and other philosophies. The temptation to do this was very great. Christianity was a proscribed religion and its followers detested. Whenever it could be shown, therefore, that under new symbols the Church really taught the same doctrines that the old philosophers, which were held in esteem, did, it was regarded as a distinct gain to Christianity. The mere fact of Christianity teaching a trinity of any kind was a sufficient basis of comparison, under the temptation offered, and hence in a short time we have the alleged followers of Christ involved in all the metaphysical disputations of the age. The chief difficulty in those speculations was to define the nature of the Logos, or Word of God; a title that is given to our Savior by the Apostle St. John,[176] be it remembered. Adopting absolute "being" as the postulate of their conception of God, absolute oneness, and therefore absolute singleness, their difficulties arose in trying to reconcile the existence of three persons in the Godhead to the postulate of unity. The disputations were carried on chiefly concerning Christ, the "Word," in His relationship to the Godhead; and the disputants concerned themselves with such questions as these: "Is Jesus the Word?" "If He be the Word, did He emanate from God in time or before time?" "If He emanated from God, is He co-eternal and of the same, that is identical, substance with Him, or merely of a similar substance?" "Is He distinct from the Father, that is, separate from Him, or is He not?" "Is He made or begotten?" "Can He beget in return?" "Has He paternity, or productive virtue without paternity?" Similar questions were asked as to the other Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. These questions were violently agitated at Alexandria by the bishop of that city, Alexander, and one of the presbyters, Arius, 318-321 A. D.; thence spread throughout Christendom, and culminated finally in the Council at Nicea, 325 A. D. Arius held the doctrine that Logos or Word was a dependent or spontaneous production created out of nothing by the will of the Father, hence the Son of God, by whom all things were made, begotten before all worlds; but there had been a time when the Logos was not; and also He was of a substance, however similar it might be, different from the Father. This doctrine, in the minds of the opponents of Arius, detracted from the divine nature of Christ, in fact, denied Him true Deity and relegated Him to the position of a creature, against which the piety of a large number of Christians rebelled. After six years of hot disputation and frequent appeals by the contestants to the emperor, the council of Nicea was assembled and the mysteries of the Christian faith submitted to public debate, a portion of the time, at least, in the presence of the emperor, who, {LXXXVI} to some extent, seemed to exercise the functions of president over the assembly. The doctrine of Arius was condemned, and after "long deliberations, among struggles, and scrupulous examinations," the following creed was adopted:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, creator of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of the same substance with the Father, by whom all things were made in heaven and in earth, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, was incarnate, was made man, suffered, rose again the third day, ascended into the heavens, and He will come to judge the living and the dead; and in the Holy Ghost. Those who say there was a time when He was not, and He was not before He was begotten, and He was made of nothing (he was created), or who says that He is of another hypostatis, or of another substance (than the Father), or that the Son of God is created, that he is mutable, or subject to change, the Catholic church anathematizes.[177]

Arius himself was condemned as a heretic and banished into one of the remote provinces, Ilyricum, his friends and disciples branded by law, with the odius name of "Porphyrians," because it is supposed that Arius, like Porphyry, had sought to injure Christianity. His writings were condemned to the flames and a capital punishment was pronounced against those in whose possession they should be found. Three years later, however, through the influence of the women at the imperial court, Constantine softened in his demeanor towards Arius and his followers. The exiles were recalled and Arius himself was received at court and his faith approved by a synod of prelates and presbyters at Jerusalem; but on the day that he was to be publicly received in the cathedral church at Constantinople, by the order of the emperor, who, by the way, received the sacrament at the hands of Arius, he expired under circumstances which have led many to believe that other means than the prayers of the orthodox against him were the cause of his death. The leaders of the orthodox party, Athanasius of Alexandria, Eustathius of Antioch, and Paul of Constantinople, were now to feel the wrath of the first Christian emperor. They were deposed on various occasions and by the sentence of numerous councils, and banished into distant provinces. In fact, so far from the adoption of the Nicene creed ending the conflict which had arisen, it was more like the opening of that controversy which agitated Christendom for so long, and resulted in so many shameful conflicts. Councils were arrayed against councils, and though they never could convince one another of error, they never failed, in the spirit of such Christian charity as was then extant, to close their {LXXXVII} decrees with curses. Votes were bartered for and purchased in those councils, and facts justify the latent sarcasm in Gibbon's remark, that "the cause of truth and justice was promoted by the influence of gold." There were persecutions and counter-persecutions, as now one party and then the other prevailed; there were assassinations and bloody battles over this doctrine of Deity, the accounts of which fill, as they also disgrace, our Christian annals. The creed which was adopted at Nicea, however, became the settled doctrine of orthodox Christendom, and remains so to this day.

It is difficult to determine which is really the worst, the creed itself or the explanations of it. At any rate, we do not clearly see the impiety of its doctrines until we listen to the explanations that have been made of it. Athanasius himself has left on record a creed explanatory of the one adopted at Nicea. True, among the learned, many doubt Athanasius being the author of the creed which bears his name; but, however much doubt may be thrown upon that question, no one hesitates to accept it as the orthodox explanation of the doctrine of Deity, and, in fact, it is accepted as one of the important symbols of the Christian faith, and is as follows:

We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is all one; the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreate, but one uncreate and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty; and yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God.

As already stated, this creed of St. Athanasius is accepted as one of the symbols of the orthodox Christian faith. It is understood that these two creeds teach that God is incorporeal, that is to say, an immaterial being. The Catholic church says: "There is but one God, the creator of heaven and earth, the supreme incorporeal, uncreated being who exists of Himself and is infinite in all his attributes."[178] While the Church of England teaches in her articles of faith "that there is but one living and true God everlasting, without body,[179] parts, or passions, of infinite {LXXXVIII} power, wisdom and goodness." This view of God as an incorporeal, immaterial, bodiless, partless, passionless, being is now and has been from the days of the great apostasy from God and Christ, in the second and third centuries, the doctrine of Deity generally accepted by apostate Christendom. The simple doctrine of the Christian Godhead, set forth in the New Testament is corrupted by the meaningless jargon of these creeds, and their explanations; and the learned who profess a belief in them are wandering in the darkness of the mysticisms of the old pagan philosophies. No wonder that Athanasius himself, whom Gibbon with a quiet sarcasm calls the most sagacious of the Christian theologians, candidly confessed that whenever he forced his understanding to mediate on the divinity of the Logos (and which, of course, involved the whole doctrine of the Godhead), his "toilsome and unavailing efforts recoiled on themselves; and the more he thought, the less he comprehended: and the more he wrote, the less capable was he of expressing his thoughts!" It is a fine passage with which Gibbon closes his reflections upon this subject, and hence I shall give it place here:

In every step of the inquiry, we are compelled to feel and acknowledge the immeasurable disproportion between the size of the object and the capacity of the human mind. We may try to abstract the notions of time, of space, and of matter, which so closely adhere to all the perceptions of our experimental knowledge; but as soon as we presume to reason of infinite substance, or spiritual generation; as often as we deduce any positive conclusions from a negative idea, we are involved in darkness, perplexity, and inevitable contradiction.[180]

Recurrence to the New Testament doctrine of God, and a comparison of it with the doctrine of Deity set forth in the Nicean and Athanasian creeds, will exhibit the wide departure—the absolute apostasy—that has taken place in respect of this most fundamental of all doctrines of religion—the doctrine of God. Truly "Christians" have denied the Lord that bought them,[181] and turned literally to fables. They have enthroned a conception of a negative idea of "being," which can stand in no possible relationship to man, nor man to it; and to this they ascribe divine attributes and give it title, knee and adoration which belong to God alone. Small wonder that the angel whom John saw flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to commit to the earth in the hour of God's judgment, in the last days, should cry aloud to the inhabitants of the earth, saying, "Fear God and give glory to Him; * * * * and worship Him that made {LXXXIX} heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters"[182]—small wonder, I repeat, that such should be part of this great message, for truly the whole world had departed from the worship of the true and living God.

The Church of Christ Displaced by the Churches of Men.

The departure from the form and spirit of church government was no less marked than the moral and spiritual declension among the Christians of the early centuries of the era, or the departure from the true doctrine of Deity. Beyond filling the vacancy in the council of the Twelve Apostles, occasioned by the fall of Judas, there is no clear and satisfactory evidence that other successors of the Apostles were ever chosen, though the fair implication is that the organization of the Church with Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Seventies, Bishops, Teachers, etc., was to be perpetuated as at first established. At least this organization was given for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, until the saints should come to a unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God;[183] so that the plain inference is that as long as there are saints to be perfected, or edified, or united, or brought to the knowledge of God; so long as there is work for a ministry, or the necessity of a Church through the agency of which the truth is to be taught to the world, so long as it will be necessary to perpetuate the organization given of God for the achievement of those high purposes. To say that man could devise a better organization for the accomplishment of these several objects would be to challenge the wisdom of God. To say that any of these means provided in the Church organization could be dispensed with, would be to contradict the plain teaching of scripture, which, in this very connection forbids the eye to say to the hand, I have no need of thee; or the head to the feet, I have no need of you; that is, one officer of the Church may not say to another officer, I have no need of thee.[184] The doctrine of scripture is that all the officers of the Church together with their several gifts are essential to the Church of Christ; essential to its perfection; essential to the performance of the sacred functions assigned to it. Yet it must be conceded that the organization described in the New Testament did not survive the last of the Apostles; or preserve much beyond that time, the spirit which the Master had impressed upon it.[185]

The Apostles, while they lived, exercised a general jurisdiction over the Church, to which all submitted without question. In the exercise {XC} of their general authority they organized branches of the Church, appointed Elders or Bishops to take the oversight of them, and instructed them in Church government, and discipline, and doctrine. After the demise of the Apostles, there seems to have been left no central authority to exercise the functions of general supervision or presidency over the entire Church, such as the Twelve had exercised. That center of unity, together with the power thereof, seems to have vanished from the Church with the Apostles. The bishops and some subordinate officers remained, it is true, but these were local, not general authorities. The Church in each city or district of country after the Apostolic age, seems to have been regarded as a sort of independent republic of itself, without any bond of consociation with any other church beyond that which was the result of possessing a common faith in Christianity, which bond was one of sympathy merely, not of hierarchal association. The rise of the hierarchy with the centralization of its powers in the bishop of Rome, and which ultimately dominated the whole Church, and not only the Church but, directly or indirectly, the western civilized world, came later, and was of gradual development; and when it was finally established, it was not the organization described in the New Testament, the Church with an inspired priesthood of Apostles, and Prophets, Evangelists, Seventies, and Pastors, etc., but a hierarchy fashioned by man out of such remnants of Church organization as survived Apostolic times. As the number of Christians increased, the bishops of large cities organized new branches of the Church in the suburbs of their cities, and in the towns and villages adjacent, and ordained for them a ministry. It was but natural perhaps that the officers of these new branches of the Church, both the bishops and the subordinate clergy, should look to the one who had brought them into existence as a sort of general presiding authority over them. And hence, in time arose what were called metropolitan bishops, bishops who had under their direction the bishops of neighboring towns and villages—bishops of the "suburbs and the fields," they were sometimes called—and perhaps of the entire province of which the metropolitan city was recognized as the center. As the bishops of the metropolis of a province, in the manner described, became the center of ecclesiastical unity for that province, so, too, in time, the bishops of cities which were the capitals of the three great divisions {XCI} of the empire—Antioch, Alexandria and Rome—asserted a superior dignity over metropolitan bishops. It was in these cities that the exarchs of the empire resided, and if we may trust the authority of Neander, the bishops of these cities also, at first, took that title, but later made choice of the more ecclesiastical name of Patriarch.[186] In addition to the importance attached to these cities as the capitals of the great divisions of the empire, a superior dignity in the minds of Christians attached to the Churches founded by the Apostles as the surest depositories of the Apostolic teaching and doctrine; and as Apostolic origin could be claimed for the churches in the three cities named, it is not surprising, when their political importance is added, that the bishops of those cities claimed superior dignity for their office, and united under their jurisdiction the metropolitan bishops of the respective three great divisions of the empire. Subsequently the same title was granted to the bishop of Jerusalem, and to the bishop of Constantinople; to the former it was granted in virtue of the peculiar sanctity which attaches to Jerusalem, and the fact that the first Christian Church was planted there; to the latter, because it was made the capital of the empire, "New Rome;" and because also it was peculiarly the city of the first imperial patron of Christianity. Thus five patriarchates were established.

Through circumstances too numerous and intricate to detail here, the bishops of Rome changed the primacy of mere precedence which had been accorded them among associated brethren, to a primacy of power and jurisdiction, which resulted in the bishops of Rome becoming recognized as the supreme head of the Christian Church; and the papacy entered upon that marvelous career which by the impartial can but be regarded as the shame of the Christian name.

Attention has already been called to the corruptions which prevailed in that period of peace in the closing decades of the third century, where bishops are represented as being full of pride and ostentation; as deserting the law of piety and being inflamed against each other with mutual strifes, only accumulating quarrels, threats, rivalships, hostilities, hatred towards each other, and only anxious to assert the Church government as a kind of sovereignty for themselves.[187] And all this when Christianity was a proscribed religion; and when the Church, and especially its leaders, the bishops, were liable to severest persecution. Reason and a due consideration of human nature both combined to fix upon us the conviction that the bitterness of rivalry, of hatred, of ambition, must have greatly increased when metropolitan and patriarchal bishops, formerly proscribed and hunted like wild beasts, rose to the dignity of civil princes, and took upon them more and ever more of the spirit of worldliness as wealth and honor and popular applause were made the accompaniments of their ecclesiastical offices. History confirms what reason and a knowledge of human nature suggests; for the history of the Church after the elevation of proscribed Christianity to the dignity of the state religion of the Roman empire, is but the melancholy history of unholy ambitions, jealousies, strifes, contentions, murders, and wars between rival bishops and their adherents on the one {XCII} hand; and equally unholy struggles for worldly advantages with kings and rulers of this world, on the other. The spirit that actuated the bishops of the Church after their elevation through the policy of Constantine is admirably illustrated by a remark of Gregory of Nazianzus, made in Constantinople, 380 A. D., when deploring the evils of the Church. He says:

Would to heaven there were no primacy, no eminence of place, and no tyrannical precedence of rank; that we might be known by eminence of virtue alone! But, as the case now stands, the distinction of a seat at the right hand or the left, or in the middle; at a higher or a lower place; of going before or aside of each other, has given rise to many disorders among us, to no salutary purpose whatsoever and plunged multitudes in ruin.[188]

Matters in Church government did not mend with time, but grew worse and worse. Pride increased; rivalship between contending prelates grew more embittered; ambition mounted higher and ever higher in the breasts of the shepherds of the flock of Christ. In his association with his Apostles—to whom he committed the keys of His kingdom—the Master had discouraged ambition and had said that he who would be great among his followers must be their minister; and whosoever would be chief among them, was to be their servant; and the government of His Church was to be distinct in these particulars from the governments of this world.[189] But all in vain were the instructions of Messiah to the worldly, ambitious prelates of an apostate Christianity which had gradually supplanted the religion of Jesus Christ; and henceforth we may see in that hierarchy which usurped the place of the Church of Christ from the time of Constantine, all the spirit of pride, envy, jealousy, contention, strife, selfishness, bitterness, and unholy ambition which characterized the princes and rulers of this world; attended, too, with all the evils that wait upon these passions of rulers when once let loose, viz., secret plottings, usurpations of authority, corrupt elections, cruel imprisonments, banishments, secret and public murders, and wars; all undertaken, of course, in the interest of the gentle religion of Jesus Christ, and the maintenance of that authority which is based on love, and whose control over men is through the means of persuasion and the teaching of true knowledge. Is it not evident that the kingdom of peace, wherein was to dwell righteousness and truth, had become merely one of the kingdoms of this world? And were not the Fratriceli of the thirteenth century, though denounced as heretics, right when they loudly proclaimed their conviction that "the fatal gift of a Christian emperor had been the doom of the true Christian religion?"

{XCIII} The Testimony of Prophecy to the Universal Apostasy.

Clear as the fact is made in this historical view that there was a complete and universal apostasy from the religion established in the Dispensation of the Meridian of Time; and clear as is the proof from the same review that the Church of Christ then established was destroyed, there is yet another line of evidence pointing to the same solemn fact that I can not altogether omit, though often used in our literature, viz., the testimony of prophecy to the apostasy from the Christian religion, and the destruction of the Church of Christ.

The Apostles themselves through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost were fully aware that such an apostasy would take place, as the following several predictions bear witness: Paul passing through Ephesus admonished the Elders of that Church to take heed to the flock "over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers; * * * * * for I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."[190]

To Timothy Paul said: "the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats."[191] And again: "I charge thee to preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."[192]

And still again he said to Timothy: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."[193]

Peter's prophecy concerning the rise of false teachers among the saints, who privately would bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and by reason of whom the way of truth would be evil spoken of, we have already quoted.[194]

{XCIV} Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians gives utterance to a prophecy which covers the whole ground of the absolute and universal apostasy of Christendom. A prophecy which, if the apostasy of so-called Christendom has not been complete and universal, proves beyond all question that the great Apostle of the Gentiles is a false prophet; or if fulfilled, then it proves that the Church of Christ, so far as it existed in the earth was to be destroyed; that another and different religion was to be substituted for the Christian religion: that another church, one founded by men, was to take the place of the Church of Christ, a worldly church dominated by the very spirit of Lucifer, who, under its rule, would oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God; and sit in the temple of God showing himself, so far as this world is concerned, that he is God. Moreover Paul declared in this very prophecy I am about to quote that the forces which would ultimately bring to pass this universal apostasy from the Christian religion—"the mystery of iniquity—" was already at work even in his day. With this introduction, which is also to be considered as my comment upon and interpretation of the passage, I quote Paul's great prediction on the universal Apostasy.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [hindereth] will let [hinder], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.[195]

A more ancient prophet than Paul also predicted a like condition of the world in the last days. "Behold," says Isaiah, "the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest. * * * * * The land shall be utterly emptied and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The {XCV} earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left."[196]

Clearly all this prophecy of Isaiah's has not yet been fulfilled; for the earth, however much it may have been defiled under the inhabitants thereof, has not yet been burned, and but few men left. That is a judgment that still hangs over the world; and will come upon it as sure as the Lord has spoken the word; and that, too, because men have transgressed the laws; because they have changed the ordinances, because they have broken—not the covenant made with Moses, or with Abraham—but because they have broken the everlasting covenant; of which covenant the blood of Christ is the sign and seal.[197] In other words, they have broken the Gospel covenant—departed from the Gospel faith—hence the predicted judgment.

If I did not think these two great prophecies foretold completely the universal apostasy of Christendom, I should be tempted to enter into the consideration of the great prophecies to be found in the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation, and show how to both of these prophets, as well as unto Paul and other New Testament writers, the Lord revealed the rise of an earth power that would not only open his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name and them who dwell in heaven;[198] who would speak great words against the Most High, and so magnify himself as to stand up against the Prince of princes[199]—but who would also make war with the saints and "prevail against them;"[200] who would "wear out the saints of the Most High;"[201] "destroy the mighty and the holy people;"[202] "make war with the saints and overcome them."[203] But believing that the two passages quoted at length entirely cover the subject prophetically, I shall not here enter into further prophetic proofs either as to the corruptions of the Christian religion or the destruction of the Christian Church, deeming that what has already been set forth sufficient on that head.

Conclusion.

The sum of the whole matter is:—The purpose of man's creation, and the plan of his redemption, were known to God and the immense host {XCVI} of the spirits of men before the creation of the earth. Adam came to the new creation, the earth, under the divine commandment to people it with his offspring. From Adam to Messiah numerous dispensations of the Gospel were given to men; but these dispensations were limited in their effectiveness, owing to the proneness of men to reject the truth, and to walk in darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Yet God left not Himself without witnesses in the earth; for there were a few in all dispensations that honored Him and His righteous laws. Finally, when the appointed time was come, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, came and made the appointed Atonement for the sins of the world and brought men under the dominion of His mercy. He taught the Gospel; He brought life and immortality to light; He brought into existence His Church, and then ascended on high to His Father. For a time the Gospel in its purity was preached in the world by the chosen Apostles, though even in their day men began to mar it with their vain philosophies, their doctrines of science, falsely so called; and when the Apostles were all fallen asleep, then corruptions ran riot in the Church, doctrines of men were taught for the commandments of God; a church made by men was substituted for the Church of Christ; a church full of pride and worldliness; a church which while it clung to forms of godliness ran riot in excesses and abominations—until spiritual darkness fell like a pall over the nations; and thus they lay for ages. In vain men sought to establish reforms, and through them bring back the religion of Jesus Christ, and the Church of Christ. To do that, however, was beyond the power of these men, however good their intentions. The Gospel taken from the earth, divine authority lost, the Church of Christ destroyed, there was but one way in which all these could be restored, viz.: By re-opening the heavens and dispensing again a knowledge of the Gospel; by once more conferring divine authority upon men, together with a commission to teach all the world, and re-establish the Church of Christ on earth. In a word, it would require the incoming of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times to restore all things, and gather together in one all things in Christ, both in heaven and in earth. Such Dispensation is promised of God, as we have seen; and now it only remains to add that the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as set forth in these volumes, is the history of that series of events which has resulted in the restoration of the Gospel in its fullness, and the re-establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ on earth.

Footnotes

1. Eph. 1:8-10.

2. I Peter 1:18-25.

3. Rev. 13:8.

4. Rev. 17:8.

5. Job 38:4-6.

6. Paul to Titus 1:2.

7. Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, ch. 5:6-8, Edition of 1902, quoted throughout.

8. Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, ch. 5:56-59.

9. Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, ch 6:48-52.

10. Gen. 5:24.

11. Heb. 11:5.

12. Pearl of Great Price, Book of Moses, ch. 7:69.

13. Heb. 7:1.

14. 1 Cor. 10:1-4.

15. Heb. 3:14-19 and 4:1-2. This cites the close of one chapter and the opening verses of another, but it should be remembered that Paul did not divide his epistle into chapters and verses; and this awkward division is but one of the many divisions that exist in the Scriptures.

16. Gal. 3.

17. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 84:19-28.

18. Mark 1:15.

19. Gal. 4:4.

20. Heb 1:1, 2.

21. I John 2:18.

22. Acts 2:15-21.

23. Joel 2:28-32.

24. Isaiah 11:6-9.

25. Matt. 24:29-31.

26. Eph. 1:10.

27. Dan. 2:37-45.

28. Edition of 1878, page 622.

29. Rev. 5:10.

30. Rev. 11:15.

31. Ibid. 11:17, 18.

32. Ibid. 20:6.

33. Matt. 21:43.

34. Acts 13:46, 47.

35. History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 6.

36. Matt. 20:20-24.

37. Matt. 26:69-75.

38. Acts 15

39. Galatians 2:1-14.

40. Acts 16:1-4.

41. Gal. 1:6, 7.

42. Acts 13:13.

43. I Cor. 1:12-13.

44. I Cor. 3:3, 4.

45. I Cor. 5:1-3.

46. I Cor. 6:1-20, and Matt. 18:15, 17.

47. I Cor. 11:2-22 and 29, 30.

48. I Cor. 11:19.

49. I Cor. 15:12-34.

50. 2 Cor. 11:21

51. 2 Cor. 2:17.

52. 2 Cor. 11:12-14.

53. Gal. 1:6, 7.

54. Phil. 1:15, 16.

55. Phil. 3:2.

56. Phil. 3:17, 19.

57. Col. 2:8, 18.

58. I Tim. 1:4-7.

59. I Tim. 1:19, 20.

60. I Tim. 6:20, 21.

61. 2 Tim. 1:15.

62. 2 Tim. 2:16, 18.

63. 2 Tim. 4:10.

64. 2 Tim. 4:16.

65. Titus 1:9-14.

66. 2 Peter 2.

67. Ibid. 3:16.

68. I John 2:18, 19.

69. I John 4:1.

70. 2 John 1:7.

71. Jude 3, 4.

72. 2 Tim. 3:13.

73. Vol. 1, pp. 656, 657.

74. Lardner's Works, vol. 8, p. 330.

75. Eus. Ec. Hist., bk. 3, ch. 32.

76. Institutes, bk. 1 cent. 1, part 2, ch. 2.

77. Jortin's Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1, p. 248.

78. Eusebius, bk. 3, ch. 39.

79. Lardner Works, vol. 8, p. 418.

80. Lardner Works, vol. 8, 449:470; also I Peter 3:18-21; Ibid, 4:6; I Cor. 15:29.

81. Lardner, vol. 8, p. 460.

82. Ibid. p. 581-2.

83. Lardner, vol. 8, p. 345.

84. Held in 325 A. D.

85. Jortin, vol. 1, p. 166, note.

86. Lardner, vol. 8, p. 344.

87. Lardner, vol. 8, p. 345.

88. Neander's History of the Christian Religion and Church, vol. 1, p. 191.

89. Student's Eccles. Hist., vol. 1, p. 49.

90. Gibbon's Roman Empire, Preface by Dean Milman, p. 15.

91. Institutes, vol. 1, cent. 2, ch. 4.

92. Ibid. cent. 3, part 2. ch. 4.

93. Neander Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 253. Decline and Fall, vol. 2, chap. 20.

94. Eusebius' Life of Constantine, bk. 1, 27.

95. Hist. Eccles., vol. I, bk. 1, ch. 17.

96. Zosimus, bk. 2, p. 104.

97. Neander's Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 8.

98. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. 3, ch. 20.

99. Neander Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 23.

100. Neander Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 21.

101. Intellectual Development of Europe, vol. 1, p. 280.

102. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ch. 20.

103. Neander Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 24.

104. Mosheim's Institutes, vol. 1, p. 214.

105. Lardner, vol. 4, p. 39.

106. Lardner, vol. 4, p. 39.

107. Lardner, vol. 4, p. 44.

108. Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 25.

109. Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 25.

110. Draper, Intellectual Development, vol. 1, p. 283.

111. Decline and Fall. ch. 20.

112. Life of Constantine (Eusebius) I, ch. 2:44.

113. Ibid, ch. 45.

114. Life of Constantine, (Eusebius) I, ch. 4:23, 25.

115. Lardner, vol. 8, p. 169.

116. Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 26, 27.

117. Lardner, Works, vol. 4, p. 49.

118. Lardner, Works, vol. 4, p. 50.

119. Lardner, Works, vol. 8, p. 169.

120. In 353 A. D., according to Gothford.

121. The law is extant in the Theodocian Code

122. Neander, vol. 2, p. 34.

123. Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 2, pp. 88-110.

124. Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 67.

125. Lardner, Works, vol. 8, p. 164.

126. Lardner, Works, vol. 8, p. 276.

127. Decline and Fall, ch. 21.

128. Decline and Fall, ch. 21.

129. Decline and Fall, ch. 21.

130. Lardner, Works, vol. 4, p. 36.

131. Life of Constantine, Eusebius, p. 66.

132. This event occured about 476 A. D.

133. Decline and Fall, ch. 16.

134. Luke 9:54-56.

135. Matt. 10:34-36.

136. End of Religious Controversy, Milner, Letter 26.

137. I Cor. 6:9-11.

138. Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 250.

139. Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 259.

140. Milner's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, cent. 3, ch. 6.

141. Milner's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, cent. 3, ch. 6.

142. Milner's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, cent. 3, ch. 8.

143. Milner's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, cent. 3, ch. 17.

144. Eusebius' Eccl. Hist., bk. 8, ch. 1.

145. New Witnesses for God, pp. 75, 76.

146. Eusebius' Eccl. Hist., bk. 8, ch. 2.

147. Book of Martyrs, ch. 12.

148. See Milner's Introduction to his Church Hist., vol. 1.

149. Neander's Church Hist., vol 2, pp. 29-30.

150. Neander's Church Hist., vol 2, p. 30.

151. Decline and Fall, ch. 20.

152. Augustine on St. John, tract 25, ch. 10.

153. Neander's Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 120.

154. Mosheim, book 2, cent, 4, part 2, chap. 3.

155. Mark, 16:15-18.

156. I Cor., 12:4-11.

157. Gal. 5:22-24.

158. Student's Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1, p. 62.

159. Jortin's Eccl. Hist., vol. 1, pp. 134-6.

160. John 10; Matt. 27; Mark 14:61, 62.

161. For all of which see John 1:1-4, 14; Heb. 1:1-3; Matt. 28:18.

162. Col. 1:15-19, and 2:9.

163. Heb. 1:2, 3.

164. John 10:30; 17:11-22.

165. John 14:9.

166. John 14:1-9; John 1:18.

167. I Tim. 3:16.

168. John 14:10, 11, 19, 20; also John 17.

169. Eph. 3:14-19.

170. Acts 5:1-14. To lie to the Holy Ghost is to lie to God, because the Holy Ghost is God.

171. Matt. 28:19, 20.

172. 2 Cor. 13:14.

173. Phil. 3:20, 21.

174. I Cor. 14.

175. See Shedd's History of Christian Doctrine, vol. 1, p. 342, et seq. and note.

176. John 1:1-5, 14.

177. Hist. Christian Councils (Hefele), p. 294.

178. Catholic Belief (Bruno), p. 1.

179. I.e. without materiality.

180. Decline and Fall, 21.

181. 2 Peter, 2:1.

182. Rev. 14:6, 7.

183. I Cor. 12; Eph. 4.

184. I Cor. 12.

185. Matt. 20.

186. Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 196.

187. See pp. 73-75.

188. This remark is quoted by Neander, Ch. Hist., vol. 2, p. 198.

189. Matt. 20:26, 27.

190. Acts 20:28-30.

191. I Tim. 4:1, 2, 3.

192. 2 Tim. 4:1, 2, 3, 4.

193. 2 Tim. 3:1-5.

194. See page 48, and 2 Peter 1:3.

195. 2 Thes. 2:1-12.

196. Isaiah 24:1-6.

197. Heb. 13:10.

198. Rev. 13:6.

199. Dan. 7:25; 8:25.

200. Dan. 7:21.

201. Dan. 7:25.

202. Dan. 8:24.

203. Rev. 13:7.

{1}

Chapter I.

Joseph Smith's Birth and Lineage—the Prophet's First Vision—"This Is My Beloved Son."

The Prophet's Introduction.

Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil-disposed and designing persons, in relation to the rise and progress of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its progress in the world—I have been induced to write this history, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth into possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession. In this history I shall present the various events in relation to this Church, in truth and righteousness, as they have transpired, or as they at {2} present exist, being now the eighth[1] year since the organization of said Church.

Birth and Ancestry.

I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, state of Vermont. My father, Joseph Smith, was born July 12th, 1771, in Topsfield, Essex county, Massachusetts; his father, Asael Smith, was born March 7th, 1744, in Topsfield, Massachusetts; his father, Samuel Smith, was born January 26th, 1714, in Topsfield, Massachusetts; his father, Samuel Smith, was born January 26th, 1666, in Topsfield, Massachusetts; his father, Robert Smith, came from England. My father, Joseph Smith, Senior, left the state of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the state of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts. In about four years after my father's arrival in Palmyra he moved with his family into Manchester, in the same county of Ontario, his family consisting of eleven souls, namely—my father, Joseph Smith, my mother, Lucy Smith, (whose name, previous to her marriage, was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack,)[2] my brothers Alvin, (who died November 19th, 1824, in the 27th year of his age,) Hyrum, myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos, and my sisters Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy.

Religious Excitement in Western New York.

Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed {3} affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, "Lo here!" and others, "Lo, there!" Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist. For notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased—yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued; priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.

Reflections on Divided Christendom.

I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father's family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely—my mother Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia. During this time of great excitement, my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult {4} were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.

Perplexity of the Prophet.

In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself, what is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it? While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

The Promise of James Tested.

Never did any passage of Scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passage of Scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible. At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to "ask of God," concluding that if He gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture. So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask God, I retired to the woods to make {5} the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

Effort of Satan to Destroy the Prophet.

After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

The First Vision.

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said pointing to the other—

"THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, HEAR HIM."

State of Christian World.

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of {6} myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right—and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt; that "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men: having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." He again forbade me to join with any of them: and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, "Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off." I then said to my mother, "I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true."

Sectarian Opposition.

It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy? Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist preachers, who was very active in the before-mentioned religious excitement, and, conversing with him on the subject of religion, I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying, it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the Apostles, and that there {7} would never be any more of them. I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me.

Reflections upon Sectarian Opposition.

It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to the last breath, that he had both seen a light, and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise. So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality {8} speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart, Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision, and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it, at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.

All Doubts Settled.

I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned; that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but to continue as I was until further directed. I had found the testimony of James to be true, that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided.

Footnotes

1. That is, 1838, since the Church was organized April 6th, 1830. The date at which the Prophet began the writing of this History is also indicated on a subsequent page, where reference is made to the final return of the plates to the angel, in whose charge they remained "until this day, the second day of May, 1838."

2. The Mack family, at least back to Ebenezer Mack, grandfather of Lucy, was from the state of Connecticut (Joseph Smith and his Progenitors, by Lucy Smith, ch. 9.)

{9}

Chapter II.

The Visitation of Moroni—Existence of the Book of Mormon Made Known.

Interval of Three Years 1820-23.

I continued to pursue my common vocation in life until the twenty-first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious, because I continued to affirm that I had seen a vision.

Confession of Errors.

During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends, and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me,—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any {10} one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament.[1]

Appearing of Moroni.

In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the {11} evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before Him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had done. While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bed side, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor. He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked and his arms also, a little above the wrist, so, also were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom. Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person.

Moroni's Message.

When first I looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me and that his name was Moroni;[2] that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both {12} good and evil spoken of among all people. He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the sources from whence they sprang. He also said that the fullness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants; also that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted "Seers" in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.

Ancient Prophecies Quoted.

After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi,[3] and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus:

For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble: for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus:

Behold I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

He also quoted the next verse differently:

And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers; if it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted {13} also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that Prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when "they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people," but soon would come. He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fullness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of Scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here.

Plates not to be Shown.

Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breast plate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.

Second Appearing of Moroni.

After this communication, I saw the light in the room began to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so, until the room was again left dark, except just around me, when instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended until he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance. I lay musing on the singularity of the scene and marveling greatly at what had been told to me by this extraordinary messenger; when, in the midst of my meditation, I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside. He {14} commenced, and again related the very same things which he had done at the first visit, without the least variation; which having done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation. Having related these things, he again ascended as he had done before.

The Third Appearing of Moroni.

By this time, so deep were the impressions made on my mind, that sleep had fled from my eyes, and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard. But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before; and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me, (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father's family,) to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building His kingdom; otherwise I could not get them. After this third visit, he again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.

Fourth Appearing of Moroni.

I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the {15} field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything. The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger standing over my head, surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received. I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.

The Hill Cumorah.

Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood.[4] On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it {16} was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.

The Nephite Record.

Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crosswise of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them.

Four Annual Visits to Cumorah.

I made an attempt to take them out, but was for bidden by the messenger, and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time; but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates. Accordingly, as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there, and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews, respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner His kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.

Story of Being a Money Digger.

As my father's worldly circumstances were very limited, we were under the necessity of laboring with our hands, hiring out by day's work and otherwise, as we could get opportunity. Sometimes we were at home, and sometimes abroad, and by continued labor, were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance. In the year 1824[5] my father's family met with a great affliction by the death of my eldest brother, {17} Alvin. In the month of October, 1825, I hired with an old gentleman by the name of Josiah Stowel, who lived in Chenango county, state of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquehanna county, state of Pennsylvania; and had, previous to my hiring to him, been digging, in order, if possible, to discover the mine. After I went to live with him, he took me, with the rest of his hands, to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month, without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger.

The Prophet's Marriage.

During the time that I was thus employed, I was put to board with a Mr. Isaac Hale, of that place; it was there I first saw my wife (his daughter), Emma Hale.[6] On the 18th of January, 1827, we were married, while I was yet employed in the service of Mr. Stowel. Owing to my continuing to assert that I had seen a vision, persecution still followed me, and my wife's father's family were very much opposed to our being married. I was, therefore, under the necessity of taking her elsewhere; so we went and were married at the house of Squire Tarbill, in South Bainbridge, Chenango county, New York. Immediately after my marriage, I left Mr. Stoal's and went to my father's, and farmed with him that season.

Footnotes

1. With this agrees a letter which the Prophet addressed to Oliver Cowdery upon hearing that it was the intention of the latter to publish a series of articles in the Saints' Messenger and Advocate, on "Early Scenes and Incidents in the Church." The letter referred to appeared in vol. 1, no. 3, of the Messenger and Advocate, 1834. Letter of Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery:Dear Brother: Having learned from the first number of the Messenger and Advocate, that you were not only about to "give a history of the rise and progress of the Church of the Latter-day Saints;" but that said history would necessarily embrace my life and character, I have been induced to give you the time and place of my birth; as I have learned that many of the opposers of those principles which I have held forth to the world, profess a personal acquaintance with me, though when in my presence, represent me to be another person, in age, education, and stature, from what I am. I was born (according to the record of the same kept by my parents) in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, on the 23rd of December, 1805. At the age of ten my father's family removed to Palmyra, New York, where, in the vicinity of which, I lived, or, made it my place of residence, until I was twenty-one; the latter part in the town of Manchester. During this time, as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies; but as my accusers are, and have been forward to accuse me of being guilty of gross and outrageous violations of the peace and good order of the community, I take the occasion to remark that, though as I have said above, "as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies," I have not, neither can it be sustained, in truth, been guilty of wronging or injuring any man or society of men; and those imperfections to which I allude, and for which I have often had occasion to lament, were a light, and too often, vain mind, exhibiting a foolish and trifling conversation. This being all, and the worst, that my accusers can substantiate against my moral character, I wish to add that it is not without a deep feeling of regret that I am thus called upon in answer to my own conscience, to fulfil a duty I owe to myself, as well as to the cause of truth, in making this public confession of my former uncircumspect walk, and trifling conversation and more particularly, as I often acted in violation of those holy precepts which I knew came from God. But as the "Articles and Covenants," of this Church are plain upon this particular point, I do not deem it important to proceed further. I only add, that I do not, nor never have, pretended to be any other than a man "subject to passion," and liable, without the assisting grace of the Savior, to deviate from that perfect path in which all men are commanded to walk. By giving the above a place in your valuable paper, you will confer a lasting favor upon myself as an individual, and, as I humbly hope, subserve the cause of righteousness. I am, with feelings of esteem, your fellow-laborer in the Gospel of our Lord,[Signed] Joseph Smith.

2. In the original publication of the history in the Times and Seasons at Nauvoo, this name appears as "Nephi," and the Millennial Star perpetuated the error in its republication of the History. That it is an error is evident, and it is so noted in the manuscripts to which access has been had in the preparation of this work. See also Book of Doctrine and Covenants, section 27, par. 5, and section 128, par. 20.

3. Most likely the first part of the chapter; as that deals with the coming of a messenger to prepare the way for the glorious coming of Messiah.

4. The following description of Cumorah is from the pen of Oliver Cowdery:

You are acquainted with the mail road from Palmyra, Wayne county, to Canandaigua, Ontario county, New York, and also, as you pass from the former to the latter place, before arriving at the little village of Manchester, say from three to four, or about four miles from Palmyra, you pass a large hill on the east side of the road. Why I say large, is because it is as large perhaps, as any in that country. To a person acquainted with this road a description would be unnecessary, as it is the largest and rises the highest of any on that route. The north end rises quite sudden until it assumes a level with the more southerly extremity, and I think I may say an elevation higher than at the south a short distance, say half or three-fourths of a mile. As you pass toward Canandaigua it lessens gradually until the surface assumes its common level, or is broken by other smaller hills or ridges, water-courses and ravines. I think I am justified in saying that this is the highest hill for some distance round, and I am certain that its appearance, as it rises so suddenly from the plain on the north, must attract the notice of the traveler as he passes by.—Messenger and Advocate, 1834.

5. A genealogy of the Prophet's family in the Church records gives the date of Alvin's death, November 19, 1825. Lucy Smith's History of the Prophet agrees with the text above.—1824, November 19.

6. Emma Hale was born in the town of Harmony, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, July 10, 1804. It will therefore be observed that Emma Hale was in her twenty-third year at the time of her marriage with the Prophet; hence of age; hence, under the law, mistress of her own actions. This is remarked because the Prophet, in works written against him, is charged with having abducted his wife.

{18}

Chapter III.

The Nephite Record Delivered to Joseph—the Angel's Warning—the Work of Translation.

The Prophet Receives the Plates.

At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the Breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.

Efforts of Enemies to Get the Plates.

I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge {19} until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight.[1]

Misrepresentations.

The excitement, however, still continued, and rumor with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating falsehoods about my father's family, and about myself. If I were to relate a thousandth part of them, it would fill up volumes. The persecution, however, became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving Manchester, and going with my wife to Susquehanna county, in the state of Pennsylvania.

Removal to Pennsylvania.

While preparing to start,—being very poor, and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability that we would ever be otherwise,—in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris,[2] who came to us and gave me fifty dollars to assist us on our journey. Mr. Harris was a resident of Palmyra township, Wayne county, in the state of New York, and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pennsylvania; and immediately after my arrival there I commenced copying the characters off the plates. I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them, which I did between the time I arrived at the house of my wife's father, in the month of December, and the February following.

Words of the Book Given to the Learned.

Some time in this month of February, the aforementioned Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York. For what took place relative to him and the {20} characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances, as he related them to me after his return, which was as follows:

I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.

He then said to me, "Let me see that certificate." I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying, that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, "I cannot read a sealed book." I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.[3]

The Loss of 116 Pages of Manuscript.

Mr. Harris, having returned from his tour, left me and went home to Palmyra, arranged his affairs, and returned again to my house about the 12th of April, 1828, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, which we continued until the 14th of June following, by which time he {21} had written one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript on foolscap paper. Some time after Mr. Harris had begun to write for me, he began to importune me to give him liberty to carry the writings home and show them; and desired of me that I would inquire of the Lord, through the Urim and Thummim, if he might not do so. I did inquire, and the answer was that he must not. However, he was not satisfied with this answer, and desired that I should inquire again. I did so, and the answer was as before. Still he could not be contented, but insisted that I should inquire once more. After much solicitation I again inquired of the Lord, and permission was granted him to have the writings on certain conditions; which were, that he show them only to his brother, Preserved Harris, his own wife, his father and his mother, and a Mrs. Cobb, a sister to his wife. In accordance with this last answer, I required of him that he should bind himself in a covenant to me in a most solemn manner that he would not do otherwise than had been directed. He did so. He bound himself as I required of him, took the writings, and went his way. Notwithstanding, however, the great restrictions which he had been laid under, and the solemnity of the covenant which he had made with me, he did show them to others, and by stratagem they got them away from him, and they never have been recovered unto this day.

Prophet's Journey to Manchester and Return to Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, while Martin Harris was gone with the writings, I went to visit my father's family at Manchester. I continued there for a short season, and then returned to my place in Pennsylvania. Immediately after my return home, I was walking out a little distance, when, behold, the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the Urim and Thummim again—for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings, which he lost by transgression—and I {22} inquired of the Lord through it, and obtained the following:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., given July, 1828, concerning certain manuscripts of the first part of the Book of Mormon, which had been taken from the possession of Martin Harris.[4]

1. The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

2. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth He vary from that which He hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and His course is one eternal round.

3. Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;

4. For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.

5. Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict were your commandments; and remember, also, the promises which were made to you, if you did not transgress them.

6. And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men;

7. For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God, although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise His works;

8. Yet you should have been faithful and He would have extended His arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and He would have been with you in every time of trouble.

9. Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.

10. But remember God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;

11. Except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men and have no more gift.

12. And when thou deliveredst up that which God had given thee sight and power to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred into the hands of a wicked man,

13. Who has set at naught the counsels of God, and has broken the {23} most sacred promises which were made before God, and has depended upon his own judgment and boasted in his own wisdom;

14. And this is the reason that thou hast lost thy privileges for a season;

15. For thou hast suffered the counsel of thy director to be trampled upon from the beginning.

16. Nevertheless, my work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Savior has come into the world, through the testimony of the Jews, even so shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my people,

17. And to the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers—

18. And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquity of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their iniquities and their abominations;

19. And for this very purpose are these plates preserved which contain these records, that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which He made to His people;

20. And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the Gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. Amen.

Interpreters and Plates Returned to the Prophet.

After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from me again; but in a few days they were returned to me, when I inquired of the Lord, and the Lord said thus unto me:[5]

Revelation, given to Joseph Smith, Jun., informing him of the alteration of the manuscript of the fore part of the Book of Mormon.[6]

1. Now, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate by the means of the {24} Urim and Thummim, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them.

2. And you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened.

3. Nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again; therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun;

4. Do not run faster, or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end:

5. Pray always that you may come off conqueror: yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.

6. Behold, they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted has sought to destroy you.

7. And for this cause I said that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift;

8. And because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold wicked men have taken them from you:

9. Therefore, you have delivered them up, yea, that which was sacred, unto wickedness.

10. And, behold, Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands.

11. And behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written;

12. And, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work;

13. For he hath put it into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.

14. Verily, I say unto you, that I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing.

15. For, behold, he has put it into their hearts to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God in asking to translate it over again;

16. And then, behold, they say and think in their hearts, We will see if God has given him power to translate; if so, he will also give him power again;

17. And if God giveth him power again, or if he translates again, or, in other words, if he bringeth forth the same words, behold, we have the same with us, and we have altered them:

18. Therefore, they will not agree, and we will say that he has lied in his words, and that he has no gift, and that he has no power:

{25} 19. Therefore we will destroy him, and also the work, and we will do this that we may not be ashamed in the end, and that we may get glory of the world.

20. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that Satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which is good,

21. And their hearts are corrupt, and full of wickedness and abominations, and they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil: therefore they will not ask of me.

22. Satan stirreth them up, that he may lead their souls to destruction.

23. And thus he has laid a cunning plan, thinking to destroy the work of God; but I will require this at their hands, and it shall turn to their shame and condemnation in the day of judgment.

24. Yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work;

25. Yea, he saith unto them, Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy—behold, this is no harm; And thus he flattereth them, and telleth them that it is no sin to lie, that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him;

26. And thus he flattereth them, and leadeth them along until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare;

27. And thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.

28. Verily, verily, I say unto you, woe be unto him that lieth to deceive, because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.

29. Now, behold, they have altered these words, because Satan saith unto them, He hath deceived you, and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity, to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God.

30. Behold, I say unto you, that you shall not translate again those words which have gone forth out of your hands;

31. For, behold, they shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those words. For, behold, if you should bring forth the same words, they will say that you have lied, and that you have pretended to translate, but that you have contradicted yourself:

32. And, behold they will publish this, and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words.

33. Thus Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation;

34. But behold, here is wisdom, and because I show unto you wisdom, and give you commandments concerning these things, what you shall do, show it not unto the world until you have accomplished the work of translation.

35. Marvel not that I said unto you, Here is wisdom, show it not {26} unto the world, for I said, show it not unto the world, that you may be preserved.

36. Behold, I do not say that you shall not show it unto the righteous;

37. But as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter.

38. And now, verily, I say unto you, that an account of those things that you have written, which have gone out of your hands, is engraven upon the plates of Nephi;

39. Yea, and you remember it was said in those writings that a more particular account was given of these things upon the plates of Nephi.

40. And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi is more particular concerning the things which, in my wisdom, I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account;

41. Therefore, you shall translate the engravings which are on the plates of Nephi, down even till you come to the reign of King Benjamin, or until you come to that which you have translated, which you have retained.

42. And behold, you shall publish it as the record of Nephi, and thus I will confound those who have altered my words.

43. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

44. Behold, they have only got a part or an abridgment of the account of Nephi.

45. Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my Gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.

46. And behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my Gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.

47. And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers;

48. Yea, and this was their faith, that my gospel, which I gave unto them, that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites, because of their dissensions.

49. Now, this is not all—their faith in their prayers was, that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible, that other nations should possess this land;

{27} 50. And thus they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this Gospel in this land, might have eternal life;

51. Yea, that it might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be.

52. And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my Gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up.

53. And for this cause have I said, If this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my Church among them.

54. Now I do not say this to destroy my Church, but I say this to build up my Church;

55. Therefore, whosoever belongeth to my Church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven;

56. But it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my commandments, but build up churches unto themselves to get gain, yea, and all those that do wickedly and build up the kingdom of the devil; yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center.

57. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I came unto my own, and my own received me not.

58. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

59. I am He who said, Other sheep have I which are not of this fold, unto my disciples, and many there were that understood me not.

60. And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob;

61. And I will bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in my name;

62. Yea, and I will also bring to light my Gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me;

63. And this I do that I may establish my Gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the Scriptures and do not understand them;

64. Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery;

65. For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts.

66. Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely.

{28} 67. Behold, this is my doctrine: whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my Church.

68. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my Church.

69. And now, behold, whosoever is of my Church, and endureth of my Church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against him.

70. And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen.

Interval in the Work of Translation.

I did not, however, go immediately to translating, but went to laboring with my hands upon a small farm which I had purchased of my wife's father, in order to provide for my family. In the month of February, 1829, my father came to visit us, at which time I received the following revelation for him:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Sen., given February, 1829.[7]

1. Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men;

2. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day;

3. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work,

4. For behold the field is white already to harvest, and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

5. And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.

6. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.

7. Ask, and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

Three Witnesses Promised.

The following I applied for and obtained, at the request of the aforementioned Martin Harris:

Revelation, given March, 1829.[8]

1. Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has {29} desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you have received of me;

2. And now, behold, this shall you say unto him, He who spake unto you, said unto you, I, the Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and have commanded you that you should stand as a witness of these things,

3. And I have caused you that you should enter into a covenant with me, that you should not show them except to those persons to whom I commanded you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you.

4. And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift, until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.

5. Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words;

6. For hereafter you shall be ordained and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men.

7. Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you should show them all these things which I have committed unto you.

8. Oh, this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation, mine anger is kindled against them!

9. Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations;

10. But this generation shall have my word through you;

11. And in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things, and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you:

12. Yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true, for from heaven will I declare it unto them.

13. I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are;

14. And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my Church out of the wilderness; clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.

15. And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word;

16. And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit, and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit.

{30} 17. And you must wait yet a little while, for ye are not yet ordained;

18. And their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation if they harden their hearts against them;

19. For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming.

20. Behold, I tell you these things, even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem, and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.

21. And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me, and to yield to the persuasions of men no more;

22. And that you be firm in keeping the commandments wherewith I have commanded you, and if you do this, behold I grant unto you eternal life, even if you should be slain.

23. And now, again, I speak unto you, my servant Joseph concerning the man that desires the witness.

24. Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see.

25. And then he shall say unto the people of this generation, Behold, I have seen the things which the Lord hath shown unto Joseph Smith, Jun., and I know of a surety that they are true for I have seen them, for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.

26. And I, the Lord, commanded him, my servant Martin Harris, that he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he shall say, I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God, and these are the words which he shall say;

27. But if he deny this, he will break the covenant which he has before covenanted with me, and behold he is condemned.

28. And now, except he humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things that he has done which are wrong, and covenant with me that he will keep my commandments, and exercise faith in me, behold, I say unto him, he shall have no such views, for I will grant unto him no views of the things of which I have spoken.

29. And if this be the case, I command you, my servant Joseph that you shall say unto him, that he shall do no more, nor trouble me any more concerning this matter.

30. And if this be the case, behold, I say unto thee Joseph, when {31} thou hast translated a few more pages, thou shalt stop for a season, even until I command thee again; then thou mayest translate again.

31. And except thou do this, behold, thou shalt have no more gift, and I will take away the things which I have entrusted with thee.

32. And now, because I forsee the lying in wait to destroy thee, yea, I forsee that if my servant Martin Harris humbleth not himself, and receive a witness from my hand, that he will fall into transgression;

33. And there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee from off the face of the earth, and for this cause, that thy days may be prolonged, I have given unto thee these commandments;

34. Yea, for this cause I have said, Stop and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee.

35. And if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up at the last day. Amen.

Footnotes

1. See footnote page 2.

2. Martin Harris, who subsequently became one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, was born in East-town, Saratoga county, New York, on the 18th of May, 1783. When in his ninth year his father moved with his family into Palmyra, Wayne county, so that man and boy Martin Harris had lived in Palmyra some thirty-six years. He had amassed a considerable property in lands, and had established a reputation for business reliability.

3. In a letter to E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, who published a book against the Church in 1834, Professor Anthon acknowledged the visit of Martin Harris to him and the presentation of the characters in question. He states, however, that Harris, whom he describes as "a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer," presented him with a note from Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, of New York, requesting him (Anthon) to decipher, if possible, a paper which the "farmer" would hand to him. The call on Dr. Mitchell, alluded to in Martin Harris' statement above, must, therefore, have referred to a second visit to Dr. Mitchell, after his adventure with Professor Anthon. The latter's communication to Howe bears the date of February 17th, 1834, and is published in extenso in Smucker's History of the Mormons, pp. 37-39.

4. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 3.

5. 5. This revelation, which appears as section 10 in the Doctrine and Covenants is there dated May, 1829. This is clearly an error. The Prophet's words in the text above can lead to but one conclusion, namely, that this was the first revelation he received after the plates and the Urim and Thummim were finally restored to him and this, he says, was only "a few days" after he had received the previous revelation, which, indeed, refers to the same subject as this one. The latter was, therefore, in all probability, received in August or September, 1828.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 10.

7. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 4.

8. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 5.

{32}

Chapter IV.

Oliver Cowdery Becomes the Prophet's Scribe—the Translation of the Plates Continued.

Oliver Cowdery.

On the 5th day of April, 1829, Oliver Cowdery[1] came to my house, until which time I had never seen him. He stated to me that having been teaching school in the neighborhood where my father resided, and my father being one of those who sent to the school, he went to board for a season at his house, and while there the family related to him the circumstance of my having received the plates, and accordingly he had come to make inquiries of me.[2] Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery (being the 7th of April)[3] I {33} commenced to translate the Book of Mormon, and he began to write for me, which having continued for some time, I inquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim, and obtained the following:

Revelation given April, 1829, to Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith, Jun.[4]

1. A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men.

2. Behold, I am God, and give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my words.

3. Behold, the field is white already to harvest, therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God;

4. Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God;

5. Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.

6. Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion;

7. Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.

8. Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so it shall be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.

9. Say nothing but repentance unto this generation: keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.

10. Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above:

11. And if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous: therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, convince them of the error of their ways.

12. Make not thy gift known unto any, save it be those who are of thy faith. Trifle not with sacred things.

13. If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.

{34} 14. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done, for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired, thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.

15. Behold, thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me, and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things, that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the spirit of truth;

16. Yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart.

17. I tell thee these things as a witness unto thee that the words of the work which thou hast been writing are true.

18. Therefore be diligent, stand by my servant Joseph faithfully, in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be for the word's sake.

19. Admonish him in his faults and also receive admonition from him. Be patient; be sober; be temperate; have patience, faith, hope and charity.

20. Behold, thou art Oliver, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desire; therefore, treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.

21. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto my own, and my own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

22. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.

23. Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

24. And now, behold, you have received a witness, for if I have told you things which no man knoweth, have you not received a witness?

25. And, behold, I grant unto you a gift, if you desire of me, to translate even as my servant Joseph.

26. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my Gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people;

27. And now I command you, that if you have good desires—a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven—then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my Scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity.

28. And now, behold, I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry; and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

{35} 29. Verily, verily, I say unto you, if they reject my words, and this part of my Gospel and ministry, blessed are ye, for they can do no more unto you than unto me;

30. And even if they do unto you, even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory;

31. But if they reject not my words, which shall be established by the testimony which shall be given, blessed are they, and then shall ye have joy in the fruit of your labors.

32. Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them: even so am I in the midst of you.

33. Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.

34. Therefore, fear not, little flock, do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

35. Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.

36. Look unto me in every thought; doubt not; fear not;

37. Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

Witness of the Spirit to Cowdery.

After we had received this revelation, Oliver Cowdery stated to me that after he had gone to my father's to board, and after the family had communicated to him concerning my having obtained the plates, that one night after he had retired to bed he called upon the Lord to know if these things were so, and the Lord manifested to him that they were true, but he had kept the circumstance entirely secret, and had mentioned it to no one; so that after this revelation was given, he knew that the work was true, because no being living knew of the thing alluded to in the revelation, but God and himself.

The Mission of John the Apostle.

During the month of April I continued to translate, and he to write, with little cessation, during which time we received several revelations. A difference of opinion arising between us about the account of John the Apostle, mentioned in the {36} New Testament, [5] as to whether he died or continued to live, we mutually agreed to settle it by the Urim and Thummim and the following is the word which we received:

Revelation, given to Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, in Harmony, Pennsylvania, April, 1829, when they desired to know whether John, the beloved disciple, tarried on earth or died. Translated from parchment, written and hid up by himself.[6]

1. And the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.

2. And I said unto him, Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto Thee.

3. And the Lord said unto me, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this, thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shall prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

4. And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter: If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but thou desiredst that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my kingdom.

5. I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire, but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done;

6. Yea, he has undertaken a greater work, therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.

7. And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James; and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.

8. Verily, I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which ye have desired.

Oliver Desires to Translate.

Whilst continuing the work of translation, during the month of April, Oliver Cowdery became exceedingly anxious to have the power to translate bestowed upon him, and in relation to this desire the following revelations were obtained:

Revelation, given April, 1829.[7]

1. Oliver Cowdery, verily, verily, I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, who is your God and your Redeemer, even so surely {37} shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall receive a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which are ancient, which contain those parts of my Scripture of which have been spoken by the manifestation of my Spirit;

2. Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost which shall come upon you, and which shall dwell in your heart.

3. Now, behold, this is the Spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground;

4. Therefore this is thy gift, apply unto it, and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, when, if it were not so they would slay you and bring your soul to destruction.

5. Oh, remember these words and keep my commandments. Remember, this is your gift.

6. Now this is not all thy gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron: behold, it has told you many things;

7. Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you;

8. Therefore doubt not, for it is the gift of God, and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.

9. And, therefore, whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you, by that means, that will I grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it:

10. Remember that without faith you can do nothing, therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not:

11. Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.

12. Behold, it is I that have spoken it; and I am the same that spake unto you from the beginning. Amen.

Revelation, given to Oliver Cowdery, April, 1829.[8]

1. Behold, I say unto you, my son, that because you did not translate according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., even so I would {38} that ye should continue until you have finished this record, which I have entrusted unto him:

2. And then, behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate.

3. Be patient, my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time.

4. Behold, the work which you are called to do, is to write for my servant Joseph;

5. And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you.

6. Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.

7. Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me.

8. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right;

9. But if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong: therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me.

10. Now if you had known this, you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.

11. Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now;

12. For, do you not behold that I have given unto my servant Joseph sufficient strength, whereby it is made up? and neither of you have I condemned.

13. Do this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no temptation.

14. Stand fast in the work wherewith I have called you, and a hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day. Amen.

Footnotes

1. Oliver Cowdery was born in the town of Wells, Rutland county, Vermont, Oct. 3, 1806. He married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer, in Kaw township, Jackson county, Missouri, Dec. 18, 1832. She was born in Fayette, Seneca county, New York, January 22, 1815.

2. Previous to joining the Prophet Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery had met David Whitmer at Palmyra, and conversed with him concerning the rumors rife in that vicinity about the finding of the Book of Mormon plates. This chance meeting resulted in a friendship between the young men, and finally when Cowdery determined to visit the Prophet in Harmony, he went via the Whitmer residence, at Fayette, which was near the town of Waterloo, at the head of Seneca lake, Seneca county, New York; and promised his friend David Whitmer that after visiting the Prophet he would write him his impressions as to the truth or untruth of Joseph Smith's having an ancient record. (See statement of David Whitmer in Kansas City Journal, June 5th, 1886; also statement of the same to Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, in 1878. Millennial Star, vol. 11, pp. 769-774.)

3. This date, 7th of April, and the one above, 5th of April, 1829, in the History of Joseph Smith, published in the Millennial Star, are given as the 15th and 17th of April, respectively. The dates in the Star, however, are typographical errors, as in the original MS of the History the dates are as given in the text. See also Cowdery's letters to W. W. Phelps, published in Messenger and Advocate, 1834, where the dates are also given as in the text above—5th and 7th of April.

4. Doctrine and Covenants, section 6.

5. St. John, chap. 21, verse 22.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 7.

7. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 8.

8. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 9.

{39}

Chapter V.

Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood—First Baptisms.

The Aaronic Priesthood Restored.

We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying:

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.[1]

Limitations of the Aaronic Priesthood.

He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and afterwards that he should baptize me. Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me, after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he {40} laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded.

John the Baptist, May 15, 1829.

The messenger who visited us on this occasion, and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood he said would in due time be conferred on us,[2] and that I should be called the first Elder of the {41} Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the 15th day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger and baptized.

{42} Outpourings of the Spirit.

Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.[3]

Ordination and Baptism Kept Secret.

{43} Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the Scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of. In the meantime we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of having received the Priesthood and our having been baptized, owing to a {44} spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood. We had been threatened with being mobbed from time to time, and this, too, by professors of religion. And their intentions of mobbing us were only counteracted by the influence of my wife's father's family (under Divine providence), who had become very friendly to me, and who were opposed to mobs, and were willing that I should be allowed to continue the work of translation without interruption; and therefore offered and promised us protection from all unlawful proceedings as far as in them lay.

Conversion of Samuel H. Smith.

After a few days, however, feeling it to be our duty, we commenced to reason out of the Scriptures with our acquaintances and friends, as we happened to meet with them. About this time my brother Samuel H. Smith[4] came to visit us. We informed him of what the Lord was about to do for the children of men, and began to reason with him out of the Bible. We also showed him that part of the work which we had translated, and labored to persuade him concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was now about to be revealed in its fulness. He was not, however, very easily persuaded of these things, but after much inquiry and explanation he retired to the woods, in order that by secret and fervent prayer he might obtain of a merciful God wisdom to enable him to judge for himself. The result was that he obtained revelation for himself sufficient to convince him of the truth of our assertions to him; and on the twenty-fifth day of that same month in which we had been baptized and ordained, Oliver Cowdery baptized him; and he returned to his father's house, greatly glorifying and praising God, being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Hyrum Smith's Inquiry.

Not many days afterwards, my brother Hyrum Smith[5] {45} came to us to inquire concerning these things, when at his earnest request, I inquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim, and received for him the following:

Revelation, given to Hyrum Smith, Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, May, 1829.[6]

1. A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

2. Behold, I am God; give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my word.

3. Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore, who desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God;

4. Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God;

5. Therefore, if you will ask me, you shall receive; if you will knock, it shall be opened unto you.

6. Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.

7. Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich: Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.

8. Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.

9. Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.

10. Behold, thou hast a gift, or thou shalt have a gift if thou wilt desire of me in faith, with an honest heart, believing in the power of Jesus Christ, or in my power which speaketh unto thee.

11. For, behold, it is I that speak; behold I am the light which shineth in darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee.

12. And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good: yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously, and this is my Spirit.

13. Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy,

{46} 14. And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.

15. Behold, I command you that you need not suppose that you are called to preach until you are called:

16. Wait a little longer, until you shall have my word, my rock, my Church, and my Gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine.

17. And then, behold, according to your desires, yea, even according to your faith, shall it be done unto you.

18. Keep my commandments, hold your peace, appeal unto my Spirit;

19. Yea, cleave unto me with all your heart, that you may assist in bringing to light those things of which have been spoken—yea, the translation of my work; be patient until you shall accomplish it.

20. Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength;

21. Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.

22. But now hold your peace, study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men, and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men, or that which is now translating, yea, until you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation, and then shall all things be added thereto.

23. Behold, thou art Hyrum, my son; seek the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added according to that which is just.

24. Build upon my rock, which is my Gospel;

25. Deny not the spirit of revelation, nor the spirit of prophecy, for woe unto him that denieth these things;

26. Therefore, treasure up in your heart until the time which is in my wisdom that you shall go forth.

27. Behold, I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in their sickle to reap.

28. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world.

29. I am the same who came unto my own and my own received me not;

30. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name. Amen.

{47} Assistance from Joseph Knight, Sen.

About the same time an old gentleman came to visit us of whose name I wish to make honorable mention—Mr. Joseph Knight, Sen.,[7] of Colesville, Broome county, New York, who, having heard of the manner in which we were occupying our time, very kindly and considerately brought us a quantity of provisions, in order that we might not be interrupted in the work of translation by the want of such necessaries of life; and I would just mention here, as in duty bound, that he several times brought us supplies, a distance of at least thirty miles, which enabled us to continue the work when otherwise we must have relinquished it for a season. {48} Being very anxious to know his duty as to this work, I inquired of the Lord for him, and obtained the following:

Revelation, given to Joseph Smith, Sen., at Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, May, 1829.[8]

1. A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

2. Behold, I am God; give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore, give heed unto my word.

3. Behold, the field is white already to harvest, therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.

4. Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God.

5. Therefore if you will ask of me, you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.

6. Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.

7. Behold, I speak unto you, and also to all those who have desires to bring forth and establish this work;

8. And no one can assist in this work, except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.

9. Behold, I am the light and the life of the world, that speak these words, therefore give heed with your might, and then you are called. Amen.

The Prophet's Removal to Fayette.

Shortly after commencing to translate, I became acquainted with Mr. Peter Whitmer,[9] of Fayette, Seneca county, New York, and also with some of his family. In the beginning of the month of June, his son, David Whitmer,[10] came to the place {49} where we were residing, and brought with him a two-horse wagon, for the purpose of having us accompany him to his father's place, and there remain until we should finish the work. It was arranged that we should have our board free of charge, and the assistance of one of his brothers to write for me, and also his own assistance when convenient. Having much need of such timely aid in an undertaking so arduous, and being informed that the people in the neighborhood of the Whitmers were anxiously awaiting the opportunity to inquire into these things, we accepted the invitation, and accompanied Mr. Whitmer to his father's house, and there resided until the translation was finished and the copyright secured. Upon our arrival, we found Mr. Whitmer's family very anxious concerning the work, and very friendly toward ourselves. They continued so, boarded and lodged us according to arrangements; and John Whitmer,[11] in particular, assisted us very much in writing during the remainder of the work.

David, John and Peter Whitmer, Jun., as Assistants.

In the meantime, David, John and Peter Whitmer, Jun.,[12] became our zealous friends and assistants in the work; and being anxious to know their respective duties, and having desired with much earnestness that I should inquire of the Lord concerning them, I did so, through the means of the Urim and Thummim, and obtained for them in succession the following revelations:

Revelation, given to David Whitmer, at Fayette, Seneca County, New York, June, 1829.[13]

1. A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men.

2. Behold, I am God; give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my word.

{50} 3. Behold, the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God;

4. Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God;

5. Therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock, it shall be opened unto you.

6. Seek to bring forth and establish my Zion. Keep my commandments in all things;

7. And if you keep my commandments and endure to the end, you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

8. And it shall come to pass, that if you shall ask the Father in my name, in faith believing, you shall receive the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance, that you may stand as a witness of the things of which you shall both hear and see, and also that you may declare repentance unto this generation.

9. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth; a light which cannot be hid in darkness.

10. Wherefore I must bring forth the fulness of my Gospel from the Gentiles unto the house of Israel.

11. And behold, thou art David, and thou art called to assist; which thing if ye do, and are faithful, ye shall be blessed both spiritually and temporally, and great shall be your reward. Amen.

Revelation given to John Whitmer, June, 1829.[14]

1. Hearken, my servant John, and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer,

2. For behold, I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth,

3. And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone;

4. For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.

5. Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.

6. And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you, will be to declare repentance unto this people, {51} that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

Revelation given to Peter Whitmer, Jun., June, 1829.[15]

1. Harken, my servant Peter, and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer,

2. For behold, I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth,

3. And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone;

4. For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.

5. Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given unto you according to my commandments.

6. And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you, will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

Early Baptisms.

We found the people of Seneca county in general friendly, and disposed to enquire into the truth of these strange matters which now began to be noised abroad. Many opened their houses to us, in order that we might have an opportunity of meeting with our friends for the purpose of instruction and explanation. We met with many from time to time who were willing to hear us, and who desired to find out the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and apparently willing to obey the Gospel, when once fairly convinced and satisfied in their own minds; and in this same month of June, my brother Hyrum Smith, David Whitmer, and Peter Whitmer, Jun., were baptized in Seneca lake, the two former by myself, the latter by Oliver Cowdery. From this time forth many became believers, and some were baptized whilst we continued to instruct and persuade as many as applied for information.

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 13.

2. Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood.—The promise to confer upon Joseph and Oliver the Melchizedek Priesthood was fulfilled; but as there is no definite account of the event in the history of the Prophet Joseph, or, for matter of that, in any of our annals, the evidences of the fact of their ordination to the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood promised them by John the Baptist are presented now, together with a consideration of the place where, and the time when the great event occurred. The Prophet Joseph, in a communication to the Church, under date of September 6, 1842, makes undoubted allusion to the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood in the course of an ecstatic review of the great things God had revealed to him. He said: "And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah. Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book. The voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light. The voice of Peter, James and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times." (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 128:20.) In one of the early revelations given to the Prophet Joseph, the Lord makes most direct reference to the restoration of the higher Priesthood through the ministration of Peter, James and John. The subject matter of the revelation is the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; and in the course of it the Lord promises to "drink of the fruit of the vine" with His servants on earth to whom the revelation is addressed; "and with Moroni, * * * and also Michael, or Adam, the father of all, * * * and also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be Apostles, and special witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry, and of the same things which I revealed unto them; unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times." (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 27). This revelation was given some time early in August, 1830, but only the first four verses were written at that time. The rest of it was written in September of that year. (See chapter 11 of this volume). These two allusions—the one by the Prophet and the other by the Lord—to the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood not only make clear the fact that the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored in accordance with the promise of John the Baptist when conferring the Aaronic Priesthood, but they make it possible to fix upon the place where, and approximately the time when, the event occurred. Undoubtedly the place where the ordination was performed was on the banks of the Susquehanna river, in the wilderness between Colesville, in Broome county, New York, and Harmony, in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania; for it is there the Prophet says the voice of Peter, James and John was heard declaring themselves as "possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times;" for which appearing and declaration there could be no other occasion than the ordination of Oliver and Joseph to the Melchizedek Priesthood in fulfilment of the promises made by John the Baptist. The time at which the ordination took place was evidently between the 15th of May, 1829, and August, 1830. The last named date is the one under which the Lord so definitely referred to the circumstance of having sent Peter, James and John to ordain Joseph and others to be Apostles, even special witnesses of His name, and unto whom He had committed the keys of the kingdom. Hence the time of the ordination must have been between those two dates. From information contained in other revelations, however, this period within which the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored may be considerably reduced. In April, 1830, a revelation was given concerning the organization and government of the Church, and in that revelation the Lord said: "Which commandments [i. e. to organize the Church] were given to Joseph Smith, Jr., who was called of God and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ to be the first Elder of this Church; and to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second Elder of this Church, and ordained under his hand." (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 20:2, 3.) This allusion to the ordination of these men to the apostleship reduces the time of their ordination to the period between the 15th of May, 1829, and April 6, 1830. But the time within which the ordination took place may be still further reduced. In a revelation bearing the date of June, 1829, making known the calling of the Twelve Apostles in these last days, and addressed to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, the Lord said: "I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine Apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called." As this could scarcely be said of men who had not been ordained to the same holy apostleship as that held by Paul, and consequently to the Melchizedek Priesthood, the conclusion is reasonable that the ordination promised by John the Baptist, doubtless occurred some time between May 15, 1829, and the expiration of the month of June of that same year. That there was a distinct administration of angels in the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood is sustained by the testimony of Oliver Cowdery. On the occasion of his returning to the Church at Kanesville, Iowa, in the fall of 1848, after an absence of eleven years from the body of the Saints, in the course of the public address which he then delivered, he said: "I was present with Joseph when an holy angel from God came down from heaven and conferred on us, or restored, the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood, and said to us, at the same time, that it should remain upon the earth while the earth stands. I was also present with Joseph when the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred by the holy angel from on high. This Priesthood, we then conferred on each other by the will and commandment of God." The authority for the foregoing statement is the report of Bishop Reuben Miller, who was present on the occasion of Oliver Cowdery's delivering the address from which the above is quoted. Bishop Miller's notes of Cowdery's remarks were published in the Deseret News of the 13th of April, 1859. It is to be observed that Oliver Cowdery, in this quotation, is represented as saying with reference to the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, that it was by the "holy angel," whereas, according to the statement of the Prophet, that Priesthood was restored by three angels—Peter, James and John. The discrepancy may arise from imperfect recording of Oliver's language. In a signed statement which Oliver Cowdery gave to Samuel W. Richards, under date of January 13, 1849—the statement has been published a number of times in our Church periodicals—being about two months and a half after delivering the address reported by Bishop Miller, he said: "John the Baptist, holding the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood; Peter, James and John, holding the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, have also ministered for those who shall be heirs of salvation, and with these administrations ordained men to the same Priesthood. These Priesthoods, with their authority, are now, and must continue to be in the body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. * * * Accept assurances, dear brother, of the unfeigned prayer of him who, in connection with Joseph, the Seer, was blessed with the above administrations."

[Signed] Oliver Cowdery.

3. It may be well at this point to call attention to the singular and important fact that the Prophet, neither in his narrative of the above really great and dramatic event, nor in any of those great visions and revelations which precede or follow it, stops to comment or grow eloquent over the importance of an administration or the grandeur of an occasion. He may never have heard the maxim, "A true tale speeds best being plainly told," but had he heard of it and adopted it as his motto, he could not have followed it more closely than unconsciously he has done in his narrative. He seems to have but one object in view, and that is to get on record the plain truth pertaining to the coming forth of the work of God. Oliver Cowdery, however, who shared in this ministration of the angel, John the Baptist, has left upon record a description of the scene and the impressions it left upon his mind, and which, withal is of such singular beauty and power that I think the history of the event should not go to the world without it. After speaking of his own and the Prophet's desire to hear the commandment given, "Arise and be baptized," he says: "This was not long desired before it was realized. The Lord, who is rich in mercy, and ever willing to answer the consistent prayer of the humble, after we had called upon him in a fervent manner, aside from the abodes of men, condescended to manifest to us His will." On a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the Gospel of repentance. "What joy! what wonder! what amazement! While the world was racked and distracted—while millions were groping as the blind for the wall, and while all men were resting upon uncertainty, as a general mass, our eyes beheld—our ears heard. As in the 'blaze of day;' yes, more—above the glitter of the May sunbeam, which then shed its brilliancy over the face of nature! Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, 'I am thy fellow-servant,' dispelled every fear. We listened, we gazed, we admired! 'Twas the voice of an angel from glory—'twas a message from the Most High, and as we heard we rejoiced, while His love enkindled upon our souls, and we were rapt in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt? Nowhere; uncertainty had fled, doubt had sunk, no more to rise, while fiction and deception had fled forever. But, dear brother, think further, think for a moment what joy filled our hearts and with what surprise we must have bowed, (for who would not have bowed the knee for such a blessing?) when we received under his hands the Holy Priesthood, as he said, 'Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer this Priesthood and this authority, which remain upon earth, that the sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!'

"I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as it was delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow man; deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave, but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind! The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel; the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me, past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior's goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry, and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease."—(Messenger and Advocate, 1834.)

4. Samuel H. Smith was born in Tunbridge, Vt., March 13, 1808. He was the fourth son of Joseph and Lucy Smith.

5. Hyrum Smith was born in Tunbridge, Vt., February 9, 1800. He was the second son of Joseph and Lucy Smith, and at this time the oldest son living.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 11.

7. There is no record in the Church annals of the time and place of the birth of Joseph Knight, Sen. He was well advanced in life, however, when the work of God in these last days began to come forth. From the journal of his son, Newel Knight, it is learned that Joseph Knight, Sen., married Polly Peck; that he moved into the state of New York and settled on the Susquehanna river, near the great bend, in Chenango county, in 1809. Two years later he removed to Colesville, Broome county, New York, where he remained nineteen years. "My father," says Newel Knight in his journal, "owned a farm, a grist mill and carding machine. He was not rich, yet he possessed enough of this world's goods to secure to himself and family, not only the necessaries, but also the comforts of life. His family, consisting of my mother, three sons and four daughters, he reared in a genteel and respectable manner, and gave his children a good, common school education. My father was a sober, honest man, generally respected and beloved by his neighbors and acquaintances. He did not belong to any religious sect, but was a believer in the Universalian doctrine." The business in which Joseph Knight, Sen., engaged, made it necessary at times for him to hire men, and the Prophet Joseph was occasionally employed by him. To the Knight family, who were greatly attached to him, the young Prophet related many of the things God had revealed respecting the Book of Mormon, then as yet, to come forth. So far at least was the elder Knight taken into the Prophet's confidence that he purposely so arranged his affairs as to be at the Smith family residence, near Manchester, at the time the plates of the Book of Mormon were given into Joseph's possession. Mr. Knight had driven to the Smith residence with a horse and carriage, and in this conveyance, according to the statement of both Lucy Smith, mother of the Prophet, (See Lucy Smith's History of the Prophet, ch. 23), and Joseph Knight, Sen., Joseph, in company with his wife Emma, drove away very early—before daylight—on the morning of September the 22nd. It is presumed, of course, the Prophet drove to Cumorah, and there received from Moroni the plates of the Book of Mormon, the Urim and Thummim and Breastplate, which were, for some time—excepting the Urim and Thummim—concealed in the woods. Mr. Knight remained at the Smith residence several days, and was there the day Joseph brought home the plates; and in company with Joseph Smith, Sen., and Mr. Stoal—who was also present at the Smith residence in company with Mr. Knight—went in search of those men who had assailed the Prophet while on his way home with the plates, but they did not find them. From Joseph's narrative in the text it will be seen that the senior Joseph Knight's interest in the work continued.

8. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 12.

9. Peter Whitmer, Sen., was born April 14, 1773. Of the place of his birth there is no record in the Church annals, but it was doubtless in the state of Pennsylvania. He married Mary Musselman, who was born 27th of August, 1778; and to them were born eight children. The Elder Whitmer was a strict Presbyterian, and trained his children in that faith. In the early years of the 19th century he moved from the state of Pennsylvania to New York, and settled in Fayette township, about three miles south of Waterloo, where the Prophet made his acquaintance.

10. David Whitmer was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 7th, 1805, and was the fourth son of Peter Whitmer, Sen., and Mary Musselman Whitmer.

11. John Whitmer was born August 27th, 1802. He was the third son of Peter Whitmer, Sen., and Mary Musselman Whitmer.

12. Peter Whitmer, Jun., was born September 27th, 1809, and was the fifth son, but sixth child of Mary Musselman and Peter Whitmer, Sen.

13. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 14.

14. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 15.

15. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 16.

{52}

Chapter VI.

The Testimony of the Especial Witnesses to the Book of Mormon.

Provision Made for Special Witnesses.

In the course of the work of translation, we ascertained that three special witnesses[1] were to be provided by the Lord, to whom He would grant that they should see the plates from which this work (the Book of Mormon) should be translated; and that these witnesses should bear record of the same, as will be found recorded, Book of Mormon, page 581 [Book of Ether, chapter 5, verses 2, 3 and 4], and also page 86 [II Nephi, chapter 11, verse 3].[2] Almost immediately after we had made this discovery, it occurred to {53} Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and the aforementioned Martin Harris (who had come to inquire after our progress in the work) that they would have me inquire of the Lord to know if they might not obtain of Him the privilege to be these three special witnesses; and finally they became so very solicitous, and urged me so much to inquire that at length I complied; and through the Urim and Thummim, I obtained of the Lord for them the following:

Revelation to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, at Fayette, Seneca County, New York, June, 1829, given previous to their viewing the plates containing the Book of Mormon.[3]

1. Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do, with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea;

2. And it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.

3. And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God;

4. And this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men in this work.

5. And ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., has seen them, for it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had faith;

6. And he has translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true.

7. Wherefore you have received the same power, and the same faith, and the same gift like unto him;

8. And if you do these last commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; for my grace is sufficient for you, and you shall be lifted up at the last day.

9. And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it unto you, that I might bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men. Amen.

{54} Seeking the Fulfilment of the Promise.

Not many days after the above commandment was given, we four, viz., Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and myself, agreed to retire into the woods, and try to obtain, by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfilment of the promises given in the above revelation—that they should have a view of the plates. We accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr. Whitmer's house, to which we retired, and having knelt down, we began to pray in much faith to Almighty God to bestow upon us a realization of these promises.

The Order of Prayer.

According to previous arrangement, I commenced prayer to our Heavenly Father, and was followed by each of the others in succession. We did not at the first trial, however, obtain any answer or manifestation of divine favor in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer, each calling on and praying fervently to God in rotation, but with the same result as before.

The Visitation of the Angel—Viewing the Plates.

Upon this, our second failure, Martin Harris proposed that he should withdraw himself from us, believing, as he expressed himself, that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining what we wished for. He accordingly withdrew from us, and we knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged in prayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding brightness; and behold, an angel stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, "David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps His commandments;" when, immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying, "These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The {55} translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear."

Martin Harris also Views the Plates.

I now left David and Oliver, and went in pursuit of Martin Harris, whom I found at a considerable distance, fervently engaged in prayer. He soon told me, however, that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord, and earnestly requested me to join him in prayer, that he also might realize the same blessings which we had just received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained our desires, for before we had yet finished, the same vision was opened to our view, at least it was again opened to me, and I once more beheld and heard the same things; whilst at the same moment, Martin Harris cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of joy, "'Tis enough; 'tis enough; mine eyes have beheld; mine eyes have beheld;" and jumping up, he shouted, "Hosanna," blessing God, and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly.[4]

Statement of the Witnesses.

{56} Having thus, through the mercy of God, obtained these glorious manifestations, it now remained for these three individuals to fulfil the commandment which they had received, viz., to bear record of these things; in order to accomplish which, they drew up and subscribed[5] the following document:[6]

The Testimony of Three Witnesses.

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the {57} Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record—which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for His voice hath declared it unto us, wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates, and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man; And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true, and it is marvelous in our eyes; Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things; And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

Oliver Cowdery,

David Whitmer,

Martin Harris.

Soon after these things had transpired, the following additional testimony was obtained:[7]

The Testimony of Eight Witnesses.

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator {58} of this work,[8] has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record, with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

Christian Whitmer,

Jacob Whitmer,

Peter Whitmer, Jun.,

John Whitmer,

Hiram Page,

Joseph Smith, Sen.,

Hyrum Smith,

Samuel H. Smith.

{59} Early Progress in the Work.

Meantime we continued to translate, at intervals, when not under the necessity of attending to the numerous inquirers who now began to visit us—some for the sake of finding the truth others for the purpose of putting hard questions, and trying to confound us. Among the latter class were several learned priests, who generally came for the purpose of disputation. However, the Lord continued to pour out upon us His Holy Spirit, and as often as we had need, He gave us in that moment what to say; so that although unlearned and inexperienced in religious controversies, yet we were able to confound those learned priests of the day; whilst at the same time we were enabled to convince the honest in heart that we had obtained, through the mercy of God, the true and everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ; and occasionally we administered the ordinance of baptism for the remission of sins to such as believed.

Footnotes

1. See also revelation given March, 1829, page 29.

2. In the original manuscript copy of the History, the reference here made are to the first edition of the Book of Mormon, but to avoid confusion, the pages, chapters and verses of the later and prevailing editions are given. In the first edition [now very rare] the reference from the Book of Ether is on page 548, toward the middle of chapter 2; and that from Nephi is on page 86, toward the beginning of chapter 8. The quotations are as follows:

"And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work; and unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true. And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record:—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day."—Book of Ether, 5:2-4.

"And my brother, Jacob also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words."—2 Nephi 11:3.

3. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 17.

4. There are some other details connected with the obtaining of the testimony of the Three Witnesses which ought not to be omitted at this point. The day on which the Three Witnesses received their manifestation the usual morning family service was held at the Whitmer residence, namely, scripture-reading, singing, and prayer. Besides the Whitmer family, the Prophet and his wife and Oliver Cowdery, there were present the Prophet's father and mother and Martin Harris. As soon as Joseph rose from his knees, he approached Martin Harris and said, "with a solemnity that thrills through my veins to this day," says the Prophet's mother, who relates this circumstance: "Martin Harris, you have got to humble yourself before your God this day, that you may obtain a forgiveness of your sins. If you do, it is the will of God that you should look upon the plates in company with Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer." (History of the Prophet Joseph, by Lucy Smith, ch. 31.) When the former transgression of Martin Harris in the matter of betraying the trust of the Prophet, by which part of the translation of the Book of Mormon had been lost (see p. 21)—when this and the pride and self-will of the man's character are taken into account, there was certainly a necessity for the admonition which the Prophet gave Martin Harris that morning. The circumstance also affords an explanation of Martin's difficulty in obtaining a testimony which, after his withdrawal from them, appears to have been given so readily to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer.

Another circumstance is related by Lucy Smith which is here apropos, namely, the joy of the Prophet in having other witnesses than himself to the truth of the work the Lord was then bringing forth to the world. Speaking of the witnesses returning to the Whitmer home after seeing the plates, she says: "When they returned to the house, it was between three and four o'clock p. m. Mrs. Whitmer, Mr. Smith, and myself were sitting in the bedroom at the time. On coming in, Joseph threw himself down beside me, and exclaimed, 'Father, mother, you do not know how happy I am; the Lord has now caused the plates to be shown to three more besides myself. They have seen an angel, who has testified to them, and they will have to bear witness to the truth of what I have said, for now they know for themselves that I do not go about to deceive the people, and I feel as if I was relieved of a burden which was almost too heavy for me to bear, and it rejoices my soul that I am not any longer to be entirely alone in the world.' Upon this, Martin Harris came in. He seemed almost overcome with joy, and testified boldly to what he had both seen and heard. And so did David and Oliver, adding that no tongue could express the joy of their hearts and the greatness of the things which they had both seen and heard."—("History of the Prophet Joseph," ch. xxxi.)

5. In an extended interview between Elders Orson Pratt, Joseph F. Smith (both of the council of the Twelve Apostles) and David Whitmer, at the home of Mr. Whitmer, in Richmond, Missouri, in September, 1878, the question was asked the then aged witness if he and the other witnesses did or did not sign the testimonies themselves. Whitmer replied that each signed his own name.—Pratt and Smith Report, Millennial Star, vol. 11, nos. 49, 50. Report is dated Sept. 17, 1878.

6. In the first edition of the Book of Mormon the testimony of Three Witnesses, and also the Testimony of Eight Witnesses appear at the end—or on the last two pages of the volume, instead of being, as in the later editions, on the page following the title-page. The first edition also had the following:

Preface.

To the Reader—

As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again—and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work; but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing; therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. Wherefore to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have through His grace and mercy, accomplished that which He hath commanded me, respecting this thing. I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, New York.

The Author.

7. According to Lucy Smith (see History of the Prophet Joseph, ch. 31) the eight witnesses obtained a view of the plates near the Smith residence at Manchester. It was on the occasion of the Prophet Joseph's coming over to Manchester from Fayette, accompanied by several of the Whitmers and Hiram Page, to make arrangements about getting the Book of Mormon printed. After arriving at the Smith residence, Joseph Smith, Sen., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith, joined Joseph's company from Fayette, and together they repaired to a place in the woods where members of the Smith family were wont to hold secret prayer, and there the plates were shown to these eight witness by the Prophet himself. The difference between the testimony given the Three Witnesses and that given to the Eight, is that the former was attended by a splendid display of the glory and power of God and the ministration of an angel, while the latter was attended by no such display, but was a plain, matter-of-fact exhibition of the plates by the Prophet to his friends, and they not only saw the plates, but handled them and examined the engravings upon them.

8. In the first edition, the words "Author and Proprietor" appear instead of the word "translator." The reason for this is obvious. Under the laws then existing the copyright was secured to "authors and proprietors;" and hence on the title page of the first edition, "Joseph Smith, Junior, author and proprietor," takes the place of the line "Translated by Joseph Smith, Jun.," in the later editions. The Prophet merely adopted the phraseology of the law. Preceding the preface to the first edition appears the following certificate of copyright, which is interesting not only as explaining the foregoing point, but also as preserving an important date in Church history:

Northern District of New York, to wit:

Be it Remembered, That on the eleventh day of June, in the fifty-third year of the independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1829, JOSEPH SMITH JUN., of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a Book, the right whereof the claims as author, in the words following to wit: [Here follows the title page with the words, "By Joseph Smith, Junior, Author and Proprietor, Palmyra: Printed by E. B. Grandin for the Author. 1830."]

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled "An act for the encouragement of learning by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned;" and also the act, entitled, "An act supplementary to an act, entitled, 'An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."

R. R. Lansing,

Clerk of the Northern District of New York.

{60}

Chapter VII.

The Day Appointed for Organizing the Church—Revelation on Church Government.

Directions for the Organization of the Church.

We now became anxious to have that promise realized to us, which the angel that conferred upon us the Aaronic Priesthood had given us, viz., that provided we continued faithful, we should also have the Melchisedek Priesthood, which holds the authority of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. We had for some time made this matter a subject of humble prayer, and at length we got together in the chamber of Mr. Whitmer's house, in order more particularly to seek of the Lord what we now so earnestly desired; and here, to our unspeakable satisfaction, did we realize the truth of the Savior's promise—"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"—for we had not long been engaged in solemn and fervent prayer, when the word of the Lord came unto us in the chamber,[1] commanding us {61} that I should ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ; and that he also should ordain me to the same office; and then to ordain others, as it should be made known unto us from time to time. We were, however, commanded to defer this our ordination until such times as it should be practicable to have our brethren, who had been and who should be baptized, assembled together, when we must have their sanction to our thus proceeding to ordain each other, and have them decide by vote whether they were willing to accept us as spiritual teachers or not; when also we were commanded to bless bread and break it with them, and to take wine, bless it, and drink it with them; afterward proceed to ordain each other according to commandment; then call out such men as the Spirit should dictate, and ordain them; and then attend to the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, upon all those whom we had previously baptized, doing all things in the name of the Lord. The following commandment will further illustrate the {62} nature of our calling to this Priesthood, as well as that of others who were yet to be sought after:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, making known the calling of Twelve Apostles in these last days; and also instructions relative to building up the Church of Christ according to the fulness of the Gospel. Given in Fayette, New York, June, 1829.[2]

1. Now, behold, because of the thing which you, my servant Oliver Cowdery, have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words:

2. Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true;

3. And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;

4. For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my Church, my Gospel and my rock.

5. Wherefore, if you shall build up my Church, upon the foundation of my Gospel and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.

6. Behold, the world is ripening in iniquity, and it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance, both the Gentiles and also the house of Israel;

7. Wherefore, as thou hast been baptized by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., according to that which I have commanded him, he hath fulfilled the thing which I commanded him.

8. And now marvel not that I have called him unto mine own purpose, which purpose is known in me; wherefore, if he shall be diligent in keeping my commandments, he shall be blessed unto eternal life, and his name is Joseph.

9. And now, Oliver Cowdery, I speak unto you, and also unto David Whitmer, by the way of commandment; for, behold, I command all men everywhere to repent, and I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine Apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called.

10. Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

11. For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore He suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto Him.

12. And He hath risen again from the dead, that He might bring all men unto Him, on conditions of repentance.

13. And how great is His joy in the soul that repenteth!

14. Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people;

{63} 15. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

16. And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

17. Behold, you have my Gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.

18. Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men.

19. And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.

20. Contend against no church save it be the church of the devil.

21. Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness;

22. And as many as repent, and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.

23. Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved;

24. Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father for in that name shall they be called at the last day;

25. Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.

26. And now, behold, there are others who are called to declare my Gospel, both unto Gentile and unto Jew:

27. Yea, even Twelve, and the Twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the Twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart;

28. And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my Gospel unto every creature;

29. And they are they who are ordained of me to baptize in my name according to that which is written;

30. And you have that which is written before you; wherefore, you must perform it according to the words which are written.

31. And now I speak unto you the Twelve—Behold, my grace is sufficient for you: you must walk uprightly before me and sin not.

32. And, behold, you are they who are ordained of me to ordain Priests and Teachers; to declare my Gospel; according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and according to the callings and gifts of God unto men;

33. And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.

34. These words are not of men, nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me, and not of man;

{64} 35. For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you, for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another, and save it were by my power, you could not have them;

36. Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.

37. And now, behold, I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve, who shall have the desires of which I have spoken;

38. And by their desires and their works you shall know them.

39. And when you have found them, you shall show these things unto them.

40. And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name;

41. And you must preach unto the world, saying, You must repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ;

42. For all men must repent and be baptized, and not only men, but women, and children who have arrived to the years of accountability.

43. And now, after that you have received this, you must keep my commandments in all things;

44. And by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men, unto the convincing of many of their sins, that they may come unto repentance, and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father.

45. Wherefore, the blessings which I give unto you are above all things.

46. And after that you have received this, if you keep not my commandments you cannot be saved in the kingdom of my Father.

47. Behold, I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer, by the power of my Spirit have spoken it. Amen.

Instructions on Church Organization.

In this manner did the Lord continue to give us instructions from time to time, concerning the duties which now devolved upon us; and among many other things of the kind, we obtained of Him the following, by the spirit of prophecy and revelation; which not only gave us much information, but also pointed out to us the precise day upon which, according to His will and commandment, we should proceed to organize His Church once more here upon the earth:

A Revelation on Church Government.[3]

1. The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and {65} Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April;

2. Which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, Jun., who was called of God, and ordained an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first Elder of this Church;

3. And to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second Elder of this Church, and ordained under his hand;

4. And this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory, both now and for ever. Amen.

5. After it was truly manifested unto this first Elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world.

6. But after repenting, and humbling himself sincerely, through faith, God ministered to him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness;

7. And gave unto him commandments which instilled him;

8. And gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon;

9. Which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also;

10. Which was given by inspiration, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared unto the world by them;

11. Proving to the world that the Holy Scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to His holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old,

12. Thereby showing that He is the same God yesterday, today, and for ever. Amen.

13. Therefore, having so great witnesses, by them shall the world be judged, even as many as shall hereafter come to a knowledge of this work;

14. And those who receive it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life;

15. But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation;

16. For the Lord God hath spoken it; and we, the Elders of the Church, have heard and bear witness to the words of the glorious Majesty on high, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

17. By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same {66} unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;

18. And that He created man, male, and female, after His own image and in His own likeness, created He them,

19. And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve Him, the only living and true God, and that He should be the only being whom they should worship.

20. But by the transgression of these holy laws, man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man.

21. Wherefore, the Almighty God gave His Only Begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of Him.

22. He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.

23. He was crucified, died, and rose again the third day;

24. And ascended into heaven, to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father.

25. That as many as would believe and be baptized in His holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved:

26. Not only those who believed after He came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before He came, who believed in the words of the holy prophets, who spake as they were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost, who truly testified of Him in all things, should have eternal life,

27. As well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God by the Holy Ghost which beareth record of the Father and of the Son;

28. Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.

29. And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in His name, and endure in faith on His name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.

30. And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is just and true;

31. And we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength.

32. But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God;

33. Therefore let the Church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation;

34. Yea and even let those who are sanctified take heed also.

35. And we know that these things are true and according to the {67} revelations of John, neither adding to, nor diminishing from the prophecy of his book, the Holy Scriptures, or the revelations of God which shall come hereafter by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, the voice of God, or the ministering of angels.

36. And the Lord God has spoken it; and honor, power and glory be rendered to His holy name, both now and ever. Amen.

37. And again, by way of commandment to the Church concerning the manner of baptism.—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the Church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve Him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into His Church.

38. The duty of the Elders, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, and members of the Church of Christ.—An Apostle is an Elder, and it is his calling to baptize;

39. And to ordain other Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons;

40. And to administer bread and wine—the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ;

41. And to confirm those who are baptized into the Church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the Scriptures;

42. And to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the Church;

43. And to confirm the Church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost;

44. And to take the lead of all meetings.

45. The Elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.

46. The Priest's duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament;

47. And visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties.

48. And he may also ordain other Priests, Teachers, and Deacons.

49. And he is to take the lead of meetings when there is no Elder present;

50. But when there is an Elder present, he is only to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize,

51. And visit the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties.

52. In all these duties the Priest is to assist the Elder if occasion requires.

{68} 53. The Teacher's duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them;

54. And see that there is no iniquity in the Church—neither hardness with each other—neither lying, back biting, nor evil speaking;

55. And see that the Church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty;

56. And he is to take the lead of meetings in the absence of the Elder or Priest—

57. And is to be assisted always, in all his duties in the Church, by the Deacons, if occasion requires.

58. But neither Teachers nor Deacons have authority to baptize, administer the sacrament, or lay on hands;

59. They are, however, to warn, expound, exhort, and teach and invite all to come unto Christ.

60. Every Elder, Priest, Teacher, or Deacon is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him; and he is to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one who ordains him.

61. The several Elders composing this Church of Christ are to meet in conference once in three months, or from time to time as said conferences shall direct or appoint;

62. And said conferences are to do whatever Church business is necessary to be done at the time.

63. The Elders are to receive their licenses from other Elders, by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences.

64. Each Priest, Teacher, or Deacon, who is ordained by a Priest, may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate, when presented to an Elder, shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling, or he may receive it from a conference.

65. No person is to be ordained to any office in this Church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that Church;

66. But the presiding Elders, traveling Bishops, High Councilors, High Priests, and Elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the Church that a vote may be called.

67. Every president of the High Priesthood (or presiding Elder), Bishop, High Councilor and High Priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a High Council or general conference.[4]

68. The duty of the members after they are received by baptism.—The Elders or Priests are to have a sufficient time to expound all things {69} concerning the Church of Christ to their understanding, previous to their partaking of the Sacrament and being confirmed by the laying on of the hands of the Elders, so that all things may be done in order.

69. And the members shall manifest before the Church, and also before the Elders, by a godly walk and conversation, that they are worthy of it, that there may be works and faith agreeable to the Holy Scriptures—walking in holiness before the Lord.

70. Every member of the Church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the Elders before the Church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in His name.

71. No one can be received into the Church of Christ, unless he has arrived unto the years of accountability before God, and is capable of repentance.

72. Baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent:—

73. The person who is called of God, and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name—Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

74. Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water.

75. It is expedient that the Church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus;

76. And the Elder or Priest shall administer it; and after this manner shall he administer it: he shall kneel with the Church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying—

77. O God, the Eternal Father, we ask Thee in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of Thy Son, and witness unto Thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of Thy Son, and always remember Him and keep His commandments which He has given them, that they may always have His Spirit to be with them. Amen.

78. The manner of administering the wine: He shall take the cup also, and say—

79. O God, the Eternal Father, we ask Thee in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of Thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto Thee, O God, {70} the Eternal Father, that they do always remember Him, That they may have His Spirit to be with them. Amen.

80. Any member of the Church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the Scriptures direct.

81. It shall be the duty of the several churches, composing the Church of Christ, to send one or more of their Teachers to attend the several conferences held by the Elders of the Church,

82. With a list of the names of the several members uniting themselves with the Church since the last conference, or send by the hand of some Priest, so that a regular list of all the names of the whole Church may be kept in a book by one of the Elders whomsoever the other Elders shall appoint from time to time;

83. And also, if any have been expelled from the Church, so that their names may be blotted out of the general Church record of names.

84. All members removing from the church where they reside, if going to a church where they are not known, may take a letter, certifying that they are regular members and in good standing, which certificate may be signed by any Elder or Priest if the member receiving the letter is personally acquainted with the Elder or Priest, or it may be signed by the Teachers or Deacons of the Church.

Footnotes

1. This occasion is unquestionably the one that the Prophet Joseph alludes to in his letter to the Saints in Nauvoo, under date or September 6th 1842, (Doctrine and Covenants sec. 128:21) where he says: "Again what do we hear * * * the voice of God in the chamber of old father Peter Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." It must not be thought because of the reference in the text above to the desire of Joseph and Oliver to have the Melchizedek Priesthood conferred upon them, and the commandment given that they should ordain each other Elders of the Church—it must not be thought because of this, I repeat, that there is any conflict between what is here stated in the text and what has been said with reference to the restoration of the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood by Peter, James and John. This "voice of God in the chamber of old Father Peter Whitmer, in Fayette," commanding Joseph and Oliver to ordain each other "Elders of the Church," but also commanding them to defer said ordinations until their brethren who had been and should be baptized could be assembled together to give their sanction to such procedure—was all previous to their ordination to the Apostleship under the hands of Peter, James and John and; to be regarded as instruction to them as to how they should proceed in the matter of ordaining each other, and calling and ordaining others to the same ministry, after they themselves should have received the keys of this Melchizedek Priesthood. The ordination of each other to be Elders of the Church was deferred until the meeting at which the Church was organized, the 6th of April, 1830. (see p. 75.) But this voice of God in Peter Whitmer's chamber, which told them how to proceed in the matter of ordaining each other, was given in or before June, 1829. The evidence of this is in the fact that the revelation in Whitmer's chamber, about ordaining each other "Elders of the Church," precedes the one immediately following the paragraph of narrative above: and that revelation, making known the calling to the Twelve Apostles, was given in June, 1829, ten months before the instructions relative to ordaining each other to be Elders in the Church was carried out. Meantime, as we have seen (see note pp. 40, 41, 42,) before the 6th of April, 1830, and probably before that very month of June, 1829, had expired Peter, James and John had come and conferred upon Joseph and Oliver the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the holy apostleship, by which authority they were authorized to organize the Church, ordain each other Elders, and also call and ordain others to the same office.

2. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 18.

3. Doctrine and Covenants, section 20.

4. Verses 65, 66 and 67 were added by the Prophet some time after the rest of the revelation was given.

{71}

Chapter VIII.

The Book of Mormon Published—the Church Organized.

Price for Publishing Book of Mormon.

Meantime, our translation drawing to a close, we went to Palmyra, Wayne county, New York, secured the copyright, and agreed with Mr. Egbert B. Grandin to print five thousand copies for the sum of three thousand dollars.

The Title Page.

I wish to mention here that the title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated, the language of the whole running the same as all Hebrew writing in general;[1] and that said title page is not by any means a modern composition, either of mine or of any other man who has lived or does live in this generation. Therefore, in order to correct an error which generally exists concerning it, I give below that part of the title-page of the English version of the Book of Mormon, which is a genuine and literal translation of the title-page of the original Book of Mormon as recorded on the plates:

The Book of Mormon.

An account written by the hand of Mormon, upon Plates, taken from the Plates of Nephi.

Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, who are a {72} remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether, also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to heaven; which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting Himself unto all nations. And now, if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

The remainder of the title-page is, of course, modern.

A Commandment of God and not of man, to Martin Harris, given (Manchester, New York, March, 1830) by Him who is Eternal.[2]

1. I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea even I am He, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.

2. I, having accomplished and finished the will of Him, whose I am, even the Father, concerning me—having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself—

3. Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and deeds which he hath done.

4. And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless;

5. Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand;

{73} 6. Nevertheless it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.

7. Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other Scriptures, that it might work among the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name's glory.

8. Wherefore I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine Apostles.

9. I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest;

10. For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand, is endless punishment, for endless is my name: wherefore—

11. Eternal punishment is God's punishment.

12. Endless punishment is God's punishment.

13. Wherefore I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;

14. And it is by my almighty power that you have received them;

15. Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not!

16. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

17. But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I,

18. Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer, both body and spirit: and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

19. Nevertheless glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men;

20. Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power, and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.

21. And I command you, that you preach naught but repentance, and show not these things unto the world until it is wisdom in me.

22. For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish.

23. Learn of me and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.

24. I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do His will,

{74} 25. And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife; nor seek thy neighbor's life.

26. And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God.

27. Which is my word to the Gentiles, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the Gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.

28. And again, I command thee that thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart; yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private.

29. And thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see.

30. And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers.

31. And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior and remission of sins by baptism and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.

32. Behold this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter; for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even unto the end of thy life.

33. And misery thou shalt receive if thou wilt slight these counsels: yea even the destruction of thyself and property.

34. Impart a portion of thy property; yea, even part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family.

35. Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage.

36. Leave thy house and home, except when thou shalt desire to see thy family:

37. And speak freely to all: yea, preach, exhort, declare the truth, even with a loud voice, with a sound of rejoicing, crying—Hosanna, hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Lord God!

38. Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing; yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof.

39. Behold canst thou read this without rejoicing and lifting up thy heart for gladness?

40. Or canst thou run about longer as a blind guide?

41. Or canst thou be humble and meek, and conduct thyself wisely before me? yea, come unto me thy Savior. Amen.

Procedure in the Organization of the Church. Joseph Smith, Jun., Appointed a Prophet, Seer and Revelator to the Church.

Whilst the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the {75} printer,[3] we still continued to bear testimony and give information, as far as we had opportunity; and also made known to our brethren that we had received a commandment to organize the Church; and accordingly we met together for that purpose, {76} at the house of Mr. Peter Whitmer, Sen., (being six in number,)[4] on Tuesday, the sixth day of April, {77} A. D., one thousand eight hundred and thirty. Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our Heavenly Father, we proceeded, according to previous commandment, to call on our brethren to know whether they accepted us as their teachers in the things of the Kingdom of God, and whether they were satisfied that we should proceed and be organized as a Church according to said commandment which we had received. To these several propositions they consented by a unanimous vote. I then laid my hands upon Oliver Cowdery, and ordained him an Elder of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints;" after {78} which, he ordained me also to the office of an Elder of said Church. We then took bread, blessed it, and brake it with them; also wine, blessed it, and drank it with them. We then laid our hands on each individual member of the Church present, that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and be confirmed members of the Church of Christ. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree—some prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord, and rejoiced exceedingly. Whilst yet together, I received the following commandment:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., given at Fayette, Seneca County, New York, April 6th, 1830.[5]

1. Behold, there shall be a record kept among you, and in it thou shall be called a Seer, a Translator, a Prophet, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, an Elder of the Church through the will of God the Father and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ,

2. Being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith,

3. Which Church was organized and established in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April.

4. Wherefore, meaning the Church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

5. For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith;

6. For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and His name's glory.

7. For thus saith the Lord God, Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard.

8. Yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer; for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins, and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works.

9. For, behold, I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard with a mighty blessing, and they shall believe on his words, which are given {79} him through me by the Comforter, which manifesteth that Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world, yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart.

10. Wherefore it behoveth me that he should be ordained by you, Oliver Cowdery, mine Apostle;

11. This being an ordinance unto you, that you are an Elder under his hand, he being the first unto you, that you might be an Elder unto this Church of Christ, bearing my name,

12. And the first preacher of this Church unto the Church, and before the world, yea, before the Gentiles; yea, and thus saith the Lord God, lo, lo! to the Jews also. Amen.

The Church of Jesus Christ Begins its Career.

We now proceeded to call out and ordain some others of the brethren to different offices of the Priesthood, according as the Spirit manifested unto us: and after a happy time spent in witnessing and feeling for ourselves the powers and blessings of the Holy Ghost, through the grace of God bestowed upon us, we dismissed with the pleasing knowledge that we were now individually members of, and acknowledged of God, "The Church of Jesus Christ," organized in accordance with commandments and revelations given by Him to ourselves in these last days, as well as according to the order of the Church as recorded in the New Testament. Several persons who had attended the above meeting, became convinced of the truth and came forward shortly after, and were received into the Church; among the rest, my own father and mother were baptized, to my great joy and consolation; and about the same time, Martin Harris and Orrin Porter Rockwell.

Revelation to the Church of Christ which was established in these last days, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty. Given at Manchester, New York, April, 1830, in consequence of some desiring to unite with the Church without re-baptism, who had previously been baptized.[6]

1. Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.

{80} 2. Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times, it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works;

3. For it is because of your dead works, that I have caused this last covenant and this Church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old.

4. Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.

Word of the Lord to Several Persons.

The following persons being anxious to know of the Lord what might be their respective duties in relation to this work, I inquired of the Lord, and received for them the following:

Revelation to Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Samuel H. Smith, Joseph Smith, Sen., and Joseph Knight, Sen. Given at Manchester, New York, April, 1830.[7]

1. Behold, I speak unto you, Oliver, a few words. Behold, thou art blessed, and art under no condemnation. But beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation.

2. Make known thy calling unto the Church, and also before the world, and thy heart shall be opened to preach the truth from henceforth and forever. Amen.

3. Behold, I speak unto you, Hyrum, a few words: for thou also art under no condemnation, and thy heart is opened, and thy tongue loosed; and thy calling is to exhortation, and to strengthen the Church continually. Wherefore thy duty is unto the Church forever, and this because of thy family. Amen.

4. Behold, I speak a few words unto you, Samuel, for thou also art under no condemnation, and thy calling is to exhortation, and to strengthen the Church, and thou art not as yet called to preach before the world. Amen.

5. Behold I speak a few words unto you, Joseph, for thou also art under no condemnation, and thy calling also is to exhortation, and to strengthen the Church, and this is thy duty from henceforth and forever. Amen.

6. Behold, I manifest unto you, Joseph Knight, by these words, that you must take up your cross, in the which you must pray vocally before the world as well as in secret, and in your family, and among your friends, and in all places.

7. And, behold, it is your duty to unite with the true Church, and give your language to exhortation continually, that you may receive the reward of the laborer. Amen.

Footnotes

1. That is, from right to left.

2. Doctrine and Covenants, section 19. No words of the Prophet introduce this revelation in his History. Nothing is known of the circumstances which called it forth. And yet there are few revelations that have been given in the present dispensation of the Gospel more important than this one. The doctrine of the atonement of the Lord Jesus, as directly applying to the individual, and God's exposition of "Eternal Punishment," as here set forth, give it a place of first importance in the doctrinal development of the Church.

3. Nothing is said by the Prophet in his History of the difficulties that arose "whilst the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the printer;" nor of the care that was taken to prevent the manuscript falling into the hands of enemies of the work. It is proper, however, that these matters should be stated at this point. It appears that when the arrangements was completed with Mr. Grandin for printing the Book of Mormon, the Prophet went down to Harmony, in Pennsylvania. Before taking his departure, however, it was arranged:First: that Oliver Cowdery transcribe the whole manuscript; hence it came about that there were two manuscript copies of the Book of Mormon, the original, which was taken in charge by the Prophet after the publication of the book, and the copy made by Oliver Cowdery for the printer's use, and which finally was given by him into the custody of David Whitmer, with whose family it remains to this day (1901).Second: that the copy made by Oliver Cowdery from the original manuscript only should be taken to the printers, so that if that should be destroyed the original would remain in the hands of the Prophet and his associates from which it could be replaced; and even this copy was supplied the printer in small quantities at a time, usually enough only for a single day's work of the printer.

Third: that in going to and from the office whoever carried the manuscript—usually it was Oliver Cowdery—should always have a guard to attend him.

Fourth: that a guard should be kept constantly upon the watch, both night and day, about the house, to protect the manuscript from malicious persons, who might seek to destroy it. (The authorities for the above are: Lucy Smith's History of the Prophet Joseph, ch 31; the statements of Stephen S. Harding, who a number of times visited Grandin's establishment while the Book of Mormon was being printed; His statement is published in The Prophet of Palmyra, by Thomas Gregg, pg. 34-56—this is that same Stephen S. Harding who was governor of Utah Territory from July, 1862 to July, 1863; also the statement of J. H. Gilbert, the principal compositor on the Book of Mormon. The extreme care in allowing the printer to have but a small amount of copy at a time is subject of ridicule in nearly all anti-"Mormon" books that treat of this period. In addition to all this is the evidence of the manuscript in the hands of the Whitmer family, nearly every page of which is in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery, and by being divided into "takes" clearly bears evidence of having passed through the printers hands. The evidence also in the existence of portions of the original manuscript, now in the possession of President Joseph F. Smith, which was taken from its depository in one of the corner stones of the Nauvoo House, where it was placed by the hands of Joseph the Prophet, with other relics, on the occasion of laying the corner stone of that building on the 2nd of October, 1841. Unfortunately a great part of the manuscript was destroyed by dampness, but enough is preserved to establish the fact that it is the original).

Notwithstanding all the precautions taken by the little group of brethren engaged in publishing the book, the Nephite record, mutilated by interlineations of human invention, omissions, and added vulgarisms intended to destroy the work, came nearly being given to the world before the Book of Mormon itself was published. This was the work of one Esquire Cole, ex-justice of the peace, who undertook to publish the Book of Mormon, in instalments, in a weekly periodical called Dogberry Paper on Winter Hill. He obtained the use of Grandin's press nights and on Sundays, and surely must have obtained the advance sheets of the printed forms of the Book of Mormon, which he was using, with the knowledge of Mr. Grandin; at least it is difficult to conceive how he could obtain and use them without his knowledge. Hyrum Smith, feeling uneasy concerning the security of that part of the Book of Mormon in the hands of the printer, induced Oliver Cowdery one Sunday to go with him to the printer's to see if all was well, and there they found Squire Cole at work on his Dogberry Paper, and publishing mutilated extracts from the Book of Mormon. He refused to desist from his unlawful course; but Joseph was sent for and came up during the week from Harmony, and by firmly asserting his rights under the copyright law and by threatening to prosecute those who infringed them, Cole was induced to abandon his intention of publishing the Book of Mormon in his paper.

This difficulty past, another arose. The people of Palmyra and vicinity held a mass meeting and passed a resolution pledging themselves not to purchase the Book of Mormon when published, and to use their influence to prevent others from purchasing it. This had the effect of causing Mr. Grandin to suspend printing until he could obtain renewed assurance of receiving the amount agreed upon for printing the edition of five thousand. Again the Prophet was sent for, and again he made the journey from Harmony to Palmyra, quieted the fears of Mr. Grandin by renewed assurance on the part of himself and Martin Harris that the amount agreed upon would be paid. The work proceeded, and at last issued from the press, notwithstanding all the difficulties it had encountered (see Lucy Smith's History of the Prophet Joseph, ch. 33).

4. The following statement is interesting as furnishing the names of these six: Names of the six members of the Church as they were organized April 6, 1830—Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, Jun., Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer, Jun., Samuel H. Smith, David Whitmer. Some of these had been baptized previously; but were all baptized on the day of organization. These names were given to Joseph Knight by Oliver Cowdery.

(signed) Joseph Knight.

G. S. L. City

Aug. 11th, 1862.

Witnesses

G. A. Smith,

Robt. L. Campbell,

Thos. Bullock,

John V. Long.

(Copy)

There has been some question as to the number that had been baptized previous to the organization of the Church on the 6th day of April, 1830. David Whitmer in his "Address to All Believers in Christ," a pamphlet of seventy-five pages, published in 1887, says that there were six Elders and about seventy members before April 6th, 1830. Others have estimated the number at thirty, thirty-five, and forty. These estimates, however, are beyond all question too large. In the minutes of the second conference of the Church, held at Fayette, New York, on the 26th of September, 1830, this statement is made: "Number of the several members uniting to this Church, since the last conference, thirty-five: making in whole now belonging to this Church, sixty-two." "The last conference," referred to was one held on the 9th of June, 1830. If there were but sixty-two members in September, 1830, and thirty-five of them were added since the conference of the Church held on the 9th of June of that year, then there were but twenty-seven in the Church on the said 9th of June. In the last week of May, 1830, Newel Knight was baptized—one; on the 18th of April, 1830, Oliver Cowdery baptized seven, (the names are given on p. 81), on the 11th of April, Oliver baptized six persons (their names are also given on p. 81); on the 6th of April, 1830, the same day that the Church was organized, there were four persons baptized, two of whom were the father and mother of the Prophet (see p. 79). This makes a total of eighteen baptized between the 9th of June conference and the 6th of April meeting; and as there were but twenty-seven in the Church on the 9th of June, the number that had been baptized up to the 6th of April, 1830, must have been but nine. The Far West Record, containing the minutes of the conferences of the 9th of June, and the 26th of September, was kept by the clerks of the High Council in Missouri, and the minutes of the two conferences above referred to, and which give the information here set forth, occupy pages one and two of that record. The accuracy of the minutes of the conference of the 26th of September, 1830, which fix the membership of the Church at that time at sixty-two, is confirmed by the following remark of the Prophet, to be found in his history in December of that same year, which remark immediately precedes extracts from the prophecy of Enoch in this volume (ch. 12): "To the joy of the little flock, which in all, from Colesville to Canandaigua, New York, numbered about seventy members, did the Lord reveal the following," etc. When it is remembered that the Prophet is here speaking of conditions existing in December, 1830, and the figures given are exclusive of the additions which had been made in Kirtland, Ohio, it strongly sustains the correctness of the minutes of the conference of September 26th, which record the membership of the Church at that time to be but sixty-two. The correctness of this number is also still further confirmed by a brief historical sketch of "The Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ," published in the Evening and Morning Star under date of April, 1833, where it is said: "In October 1830, the number of disciples had increased to between seventy and eighty." (p.169.)

5. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 21.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 22.

7. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 23.

{81}

Chapter IX.

The Commencement of the Public Ministry of the Church.

The First Public Discourse.

On Sunday, April 11th, 1830, Oliver Cowdery preached the first public discourse that was delivered by any of our number. Our meeting was held, by previous appointment, at the house of Mr. Peter Whitmer, Sen., Fayette. Large numbers of people attended, and the same day the following were baptized, viz., Hiram Page, Katharine Page, Christian Whitmer, Anne Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Elizabeth Whitmer; and on the 18th day, Peter Whitmer, Sen., Mary Whitmer, William Jolly, Elizabeth Jolly, Vincent Jolly, Richard B. Peterson, and Elizabeth Anne Whitmer—all by Oliver Cowdery, in Seneca Lake.

The Prophet's Ministry at Colesville.

During this month of April, I went on a visit to the residence of Mr. Joseph Knight, of Colesville, Broome county, New York, with whom and his family I had been for some time acquainted, and whose name I had previously mentioned as having been so kind and thoughtful towards us while translating the Book of Mormon. Mr. Knight and his family were Universalists, but were willing to reason with me upon my religious views, and were, as usual, friendly and hospitable. We held several meetings in the neighborhood; we had many friends, and some enemies. Our meetings were well attended, and many began to pray fervently to Almighty God, that He would give them wisdom to understand the truth.

{82} Labors of the Prophet with Newel Knight.

Amongst those who attended our meetings regularly, was Newel Knight, son of Joseph Knight. He and I had many serious conversations on the important subject of man's eternal salvation. We had got into the habit of praying much at our meetings, and Newel had said that he would try and take up his cross, and pray vocally during meeting; but when we again met together, he rather excused himself. I tried to prevail upon him, making use of the figure, supposing that he should get into a mud-hole, would he not try to help himself out? And I further said that we were willing now to help him out of the mud-hole. He replied, that provided he had got into a mud-hole through carelessness, he would rather wait and get out himself, than to have others help him; and so he would wait until he could get into the woods by himself, and there he would pray. Accordingly, he deferred praying until next morning, when he retired into the woods; where, according to his own account afterwards, he made several attempts to pray, but could scarcely do so, feeling that he had not done his duty, in refusing to pray in the presence of others. He began to feel uneasy, and continued to feel worse both in mind and body, until, upon reaching his own house, his appearance was such as to alarm his wife very much. He requested her to go and bring me to him. I went and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a very strange manner; his visage and limbs distorted and twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine; and finally he was caught up off the floor of the apartment, and tossed about most fearfully.

The First Miracle in the Church.

His situation was soon made known to his neighbors and relatives and in a short time as many as eight or nine grown persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for a time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he spoke to me, and with great {83} earnestness requested me to cast the devil out of him, saying that he knew he was in him, and that he also knew that I could cast him out.

I replied, "If you know that I can, it shall be done;" and then almost unconsciously I rebuked the devil, and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him; when immediately Newel spoke out and said that he saw the devil leave him and vanish from his sight. This was the first miracle which was done in the Church, or by any member of it; and it was done not by man, nor by the power of man, but it was done by God, and by the power of godliness; therefore, let the honor and the praise, the dominion and the glory, be ascribed to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

Remarkable Experience of Newel Knight.

The scene was now entirely changed, for as soon as the devil had departed from our friend, his countenance became natural, his distortions of body ceased, and almost immediately the Spirit of the Lord descended upon him, and the visions of eternity were opened to his view. So soon as consciousness returned, his bodily weakness was such that we were obliged to lay him upon his bed, and wait upon him for some time. He afterwards related his experience as follows:

I now began to feel a most pleasing sensation resting on me, and immediately the visions of heaven were opened to my view. I felt myself attracted upward, and remained for some time enwrapt in contemplation, insomuch that I knew not what was going on in the room. By and by, I felt some weight pressing upon my shoulder and the side of my head, which served to recall me to a sense of my situation, and I found that the Spirit of the Lord had actually caught me up off the floor, and that my shoulder and head were pressing against the beams.

All this was witnessed by many, to their great astonishment and satisfaction, when they saw the devil thus cast out, and the power of God, and His Holy Spirit thus made manifest. As may be expected, such a scene as {84} this contributed much to make believers of those who witnessed it, and finally the greater part of them became members of the Church.

Effect of Publishing the Book of Mormon.

Soon after this occurrence I returned to Fayette, Seneca county. The Book of Mormon (the stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim,) had now been published for some time, and as the ancient prophet had predicted of it, "it was accounted as a strange thing." No small stir was created by its appearance. Great opposition and much persecution followed the believers of its authenticity. But it had now come to pass that truth had sprung out of the earth, and righteousness had looked down from heaven, so we feared not our opponents, knowing that we had both truth and righteousness on our side, that we had both the Father and the Son, because we had the doctrines of Christ, and abided in them; and therefore we continued to preach and to give information to all who were willing to hear.

During the last week in May, the above-mentioned Newel Knight came to visit us at Fayette, and was baptized by David Whitmer.

The first Conference of the Church.

On the ninth day of June,[1] 1830, we held our first conference as an organized Church. Our numbers were about thirty, besides whom many assembled with us, who were either believers or anxious to learn. Having opened by singing and prayer, we partook together of the emblems of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We then proceeded to confirm several who had lately been baptized, after which we called out and ordained several to the various offices {85} of the Priesthood. Much exhortation and instruction was given, and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us in a miraculous manner—many of our number prophesied, whilst others had the heavens opened to their view, and were so overcome that we had to lay them on beds or other convenient places; among the rest was Brother Newel Knight, who had to be placed on a bed, being unable to help himself. By his own account of the transaction, he could not understand why we should lay him on the bed, as he felt no sense of weakness. He felt his heart filled with love, with glory, and pleasure unspeakable, and could discern all that was going on in the room; when all of a sudden a vision of the future burst upon him. He saw there represented the great work which through my instrumentality was yet to be accomplished. He saw heaven opened, and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high, and had it made plain to his understanding that the time would come when he would be admitted into his presence to enjoy His society for ever and ever. When their bodily strength was restored to these brethren, they shouted hosannas to God and the Lamb, and rehearsed the glorious things which they had seen and felt, whilst they were yet in the spirit.

Effect of Spiritual Manifestations.

Such scenes as these were calculated to inspire our hearts with joy unspeakable, and fill us with awe and reverence for that Almighty Being, by whose grace we had been called to be instrumental in bringing about, for the children of men, the enjoyment of such glorious blessings as were now at this time poured out upon us. To find ourselves engaged in the very same order of things as observed by the holy Apostles of old; to realize the importance and solemnity of such proceedings; and to witness and feel with our own natural senses, the like glorious manifestations of the powers of the Priesthood, the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost, and the goodness and condescension of a {86} merciful God unto such as obey the everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, combined to create within us sensations of rapturous gratitude, and inspire us with fresh zeal and energy in the cause of truth.

Baptisms.

Shortly after this conference, David Whitmer baptized the following persons in Seneca lake: viz., John Poorman, John Jolly, Julia Anne Jolly, Harriet Jolly, Jerusha Smith, Katherine Smith, William Smith, Don C. Smith, Peter Rockwell, Caroline Rockwell, and Electa Rockwell.

Labor of the Prophet at Colesville.

Immediately after conference I returned to my own house, and from thence, accompanied by my wife, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and David Whitmer, went again on a visit to Mr. Knight, of Colesville, Broome county. We found a number in the neighborhood still believing, and now anxious to be baptized. We appointed a meeting for the Sabbath, and on the afternoon of Saturday we erected a dam across a stream of water, which was convenient, for the purpose of there attending to the ordinance of baptism; but during the night a mob collected and tore down our dam, which hindered us from attending to the baptism on the Sabbath. We afterward found out that this mob had been instigated to this act of molestation by certain sectarian priests of the neighborhood, who began to consider their craft in danger, and took this plan to stop the progress of the truth; and the sequel will show how determinedly they prosecuted their opposition, as well as to how little purpose in the end. The Sabbath arrived, and we held our meeting. Oliver Cowdery preached, and others of us bore testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, the doctrine of repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, etc. Amongst our audience were those who had torn down our dam, and who seemed desirous to give us trouble, but did not until after the meeting was dismissed, {87} when they immediately commenced talking to those whom they considered our friends, and tried to turn them against us and our doctrines.

Adventures of Emily Coburn.

Amongst the many present at this meeting, was one Emily Coburn, sister to the wife of Newel Knight. The Rev. Mr. Shearer, a divine of the Presbyterian faith, who had considered himself her pastor, came to understand that she was likely to believe our doctrine, and had, a short time previous to this meeting, come to labor with her. But having spent some time with her without being able to persuade her against us, he endeavored to have her leave her sister's house and go with him to her father's, who lived at a distance. For this purpose, he had recourse to stratagem; he told her that one of her brothers was waiting at a certain place desirous to have her go with him. He succeeded thus in getting her a little distance from the house, when seeing that her brother was not in waiting for her, she refused to go any further with him; upon which he took hold of her by the arm to force her along. But her sister was soon with them, and as the two women were too many for him to cope with, he was forced to sneak off without accomplishing his errand, after all his labor and ingenuity. Nothing daunted, however, he went to her father, representing to him some thing or other, which induced the old gentleman to give him a power of attorney, which, as soon as our meeting was over, on the above-named Sunday evening, he immediately served upon her, and carried her off to her father's residence by open violence against her will. All his labor was in vain, however, for the said Emily Coburn in a short time afterwards, was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Baptisms.

Early on Monday morning we were on the alert, and before our enemies were aware of our proceedings, we had repaired the dam, and the following thirteen {88} persons baptized, by Oliver Cowdery, viz., Emma Smith, Hezekiah Peck and wife, Joseph Knight, Sen., and wife, William Stringham and wife, Joseph Knight, Jun., Aaron Culver and wife, Levi Hale, Polly Knight, and Julia Stringham.

Mobbings.

Before the baptizing was entirely finished, the mob began again to collect, and shortly after we had retired, they amounted to about fifty men. They surrounded the house of Mr. Knight—whither we had retired—raging with anger, and apparently determined to commit violence upon us. Some asked us questions, others threatened us, so that we thought it wisdom to leave and go to the house of Newel Knight. There also they followed us, and it was only by the exercise of great prudence on our part, and reliance in our heavenly Father, that they were kept from laying violent hands upon us; and so long as they chose to stay, we were obliged to answer them various unprofitable questions, and bear with insults and threatenings without number.

The Prophet Arrested.

We had appointed a meeting for this evening, for the purpose of attending to the confirmation of those who had been the same morning baptized. The time appointed had arrived and our friends had nearly all collected together, when to my surprise, I was visited by a constable, and arrested by him on a warrant, on the charge of being a disorderly person, of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, etc. The constable informed me, soon after I had been arrested, that the plan of those who had got out the warrant was to get me into the hands of the mob, who were now lying in ambush for me; but that he was determined to save me from them, as he had found me to be a different sort of person from what I had been represented to him. I soon found that he had told me the truth in this matter, for not far from Mr. Knight's house, the wagon in which {89} we had set out was surrounded by a mob, who seemed only to await some signal from the constable; but to their great disappointment, he gave the horse the whip, and drove me out of their reach.

The Prophet Escapes the Mob.

Whilst driving in great haste one of the wagon wheels came off, which left us once more very nearly surrounded by them, as they had come on in close pursuit. However, we managed to replace the wheel and again left them behind us. He drove on to the town of South Bainbridge, Chenango county, where he lodged me for the time being in an upper room of a tavern; and in order that all might be right with himself and with me also, he slept during the night with his feet against the door, and a loaded musket by his side, whilst I occupied a bed which was in the room; he having declared that if we were interrupted unlawfully, he would fight for me, and defend me as far as it was in his power.

Excitement Over the Prophet's Case.

On the day following, a court was convened for the purpose of investigating those charges which had been preferred against me. A great excitement prevailed on account of the scandalous falsehoods which had been circulated, the nature of which will appear in the sequel. In the meantime, my friend, Joseph Knight, had repaired to two of his neighbors, viz., James Davidson and John Reid, Esqrs., respectable farmers, men renowned for their integrity, and well versed in the laws of their country; and retained them on my behalf during my trial.

The Trial.

At length the trial commenced amidst a multitude of spectators, who in general evinced a belief that I was guilty of all that had been reported concerning me, and of course were very zealous that I should be punished according to my crimes. Among many witnesses called up against me, was Mr. Josiah Stoal—of whom I have made mention as having worked for him some time—and examined to the following effect:

{90} "Did not the prisoner, Joseph Smith, have a horse of you?"

"Yes."

"Did not he go to you and tell you that an angel had appeared unto him and authorized him to get the horse from you?"

"No, he told me no such story."

"Well, how had he the horse of you?"

"He bought him of me as any other man would."

"Have you had your pay?"

"That is not your business."

The question being again put, the witness replied:

"I hold his note for the price of the horse, which I consider as good as the pay; for I am well acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jun., and know him to be an honest man; and if he wishes, I am ready to let him have another horse on the same terms."

Mr. Jonathan Thompson was next called up and examined:

"Has not the prisoner, Joseph Smith Jun., had a yoke of oxen of you?"

"Yes."

"Did he not obtain them of you by telling you that he had a revelation to the effect that he was to have them?"

"No, he did not mention a word of the kind concerning the oxen; he purchased them the same as any other man would."

Daughters of Mr. Stoal as Witnesses. The Acquittal.

After a few more such attempts, the court was detained for a time, in order that two young women, daughters of Mr. Stoal, with whom I had at times kept company, might be sent for, in order, if possible, to elicit something from them which might be made a pretext against me. The young ladies arrived, and were severally examined touching my character and conduct in general, but particularly as to my behavior towards them, both in public and private; when they both bore such testimony in my favor as left my {91} enemies without a pretext on their account. Several other attempts were made to prove something against me, and even circumstances which were alleged to have taken place in Broome county, were brought forward, but these my lawyers would not admit of as testimony against me; in consequence of which my persecutors managed to detain the court until they had succeeded in obtaining a warrant from Broome county, which warrant they served upon me at the very moment that I was acquitted by this court.

The Prophet's Second Arrest.

The constable who served this second warrant upon me had no sooner arrested me than he began to abuse and insult me; and so unfeeling was he with me, that although I had been kept all the day in court without anything to eat since the morning, yet he hurried me off to Broome county, a distance of about fifteen miles, before he allowed me any kind of food whatever. He took me to a tavern, and gathered in a number of men, who used every means to abuse, ridicule and insult me. They spit up on me, pointed their fingers at me, saying, "Prophesy, prophesy!" and thus did they imitate those who crucified the Savior of mankind, not knowing what they did.

Unnecessary Severity.

We were at this time not far distant from my own house. I wished to be allowed the privilege of spending the night with my wife at home, offering any wished for security for my appearance; but this was denied me. I applied for something to eat. The constable ordered me some crusts of bread and water, which was the only food I that night received. At length we retired to bed. The constable made me lie next the wall. He then laid himself down by me and put his arm around me, and upon my moving in the least, would clench me fast, fearing that I intended to escape from him; and in this very disagreeable manner did we pass the night.

The Second Trial.

Next day I was brought before the magistrate's court at Colesville, Broome county, and put upon my trial. My {92} former faithful friends and lawyers were again at my side; my former persecutors were arrayed against me. Many witnesses were again called forward and examined, some of whom swore to the most palpable falsehoods, and like the false witnesses which had appeared against me the day previous, they contradicted themselves so plainly that the court would not admit their testimony. Others were called, who showed by their zeal that they were willing enough to prove something against me, but all they could do was to tell something which somebody else had told them.

Newel Knight vs. Lawyer Seymour.

In this frivolous and vexatious manner did they proceed for a considerable time, when, finally, Newel Knight was called up and examined by Lawyer Seymour, who had been especially sent for on this occasion. One Lawyer Burch, also, was on the side of the prosecution; but Mr. Seymour seemed to be a more zealous Presbyterian, and appeared very anxious and determined that the people should not be deluded by any one professing the power of godliness, and not "denying the power thereof."

Mr. Knight was sworn, and Mr. Seymour interrogated him as follows:

"Did the prisoner, Joseph Smith, Jun., cast the devil out of you?"

"No, sir."

"Why, have not you had the devil cast out of you?"

"Yes, sir."

"And had not Joe Smith some hand in its being done?"

"Yes, sir."

"And did not he cast him out of you?"

"No, sir; it was done by the power of God, and Joseph Smith was the instrument in the hands of God, on the occasion. He commanded him to come out of me in the name of Jesus Christ."

"And are you sure that it was the devil?"

"Yes, sir."

{93} "Did you see him after he was cast out of you?"

"Yes, sir! I saw him."

"Pray, what did he look like?"

[Here one of my lawyers informed the witness that he need not answer the question.] The witness replied:

"I believe I need not answer your last question, but I will do it, provided I be allowed to ask you one question first, and you answer me, viz., Do you, Mr. Seymour, understand the things of the spirit?

"No," answered Mr. Seymour, "I do not pretend to such big things."

"Well, then," replied Knight, "it would be of no use to tell you what the devil looked like, for it was a spiritual sight, and spiritually discerned; and of course you would not understand it were I to tell you of it."

The lawyer dropped his head, whilst the loud laugh of the audience proclaimed his discomfiture.

Plea for the State.

Mr. Seymour now addressed the court, and in a long and violent harangue endeavored to blacken my character and bring me in guilty of the charges which had been brought against me. Among other things, he brought up the story of my having been a money-digger; and in this manner proceeded, hoping evidently to influence the court and the people against me.

Plea for the Defendant.

Mr. Davidson and Mr. Reid followed on my behalf. They held forth in true colors the nature of the prosecution, the malignancy of intention, and the apparent disposition to persecute their client, rather than to afford him justice. They took up the different arguments which had been brought by the lawyers for the prosecution, and having shown their utter futility and misapplication, then proceeded to scrutinize the evidence which had been adduced, and each, in his turn, thanked God that he had been engaged in so good a cause as that of defending a man whose character stood so well the test of such a strict investigation. In fact, these men, although not regular {94} lawyers, were upon this occasion able to put to silence their opponents, and convince the court that I was innocent. They spoke like men inspired of God, whilst those who were arrayed against me trembled under the sound of their voices, and quailed before them like criminals before a bar of justice.[2]

{95} Change in Sentiment.

The majority of the assembled multitude had now begun to find that nothing could be sustained against me. Even the constable who arrested me, and treated me so badly, now came and apologized to me and asked my forgiveness for his behavior towards {96} me; and so far was he changed, that he informed me that the mob were determined, if the court acquitted me, that they would have me, and rail-ride me, and tar and feather me; and further, that he was willing to favor me and lead me out in safety by a private way.

The Prophet Acquitted.

The court found the charges against me not sustained; I was accordingly acquitted, to the great satisfaction of my friends and vexation of my enemies, who were still determined upon molesting me. But through the instrumentality of my new friend the constable, I was enabled to escape them and make my way in safety to my wife's sister's house, where I found my wife awaiting with much anxiety the issue of those ungodly proceedings, and in company with her I arrived next day in safety at my own house.

Footnotes

1. The date of this conference, in the History of the Prophet, published in the Times and Seasons and the Millennial Star, as also in the History in manuscript in the custody of the Church Historian—from which the history published in those periodicals was taken—is given as the "first day of June;" but the minutes of the conference, written, as the minutes themselves state, by Oliver Cowdery, and recorded in the Far West Record, are dated "June 9th," 1830. It is for this reason that the date is changed in the text. These minutes also state that this conference of June 9th, was adjourned to convene again at the same place on the "26th of September, 1830."

2. In a speech made at a public gathering in Nauvoo, on the 17th of May, 1844, the above-mentioned Mr. Reid who defended the Prophet in these early prosecutions before the courts of New York, very strongly corroborates the statements of the Prophet's History with reference to those court trials and the Prophet's vindication in them. Mr. Reid never became a member of the Church, but was always the Prophet's staunch and true friend. His remarks on the occasion referred to were as follows: The first acquaintance I had with Gen. Smith was about the year 1823. He came into my neighborhood, being then about eighteen years of age, and resided there two years; during which time I became intimately acquainted with him. I do know that his character was irreproachable; that he was well known for truth and uprightness; that he moved in the first circles of the community, and he was often spoken of as a young man of intelligence and good morals, and possessing a mind susceptible of the highest intellectual attainments. I early discovered that his mind was constantly in search of truth, expressing an anxious desire to know the will of God concerning His children here below, often speaking of those things which professed Christians believe in. I have often observed to my best informed friends (those that were free from superstition and bigotry) that I thought Joseph was predestinated by his God from all eternity to be an instrument in the hands of the great Dispenser of all good, to do a great work; what it was I knew not. After living in that neighborhood about three years, enjoying the good feelings of his acquaintances, as a worthy youth, he told his particular friends that he had had a revelation from God to go to the west about eighty miles, to his father's, in which neighborhood he would find hid in the earth an old history written on golden plates, which would give great light and knowledge concerning the will of God towards His people in this generation; unfolding the destiny of all nations, kindreds and tongues; he said that he distinctly heard the voice of Him that spake. Joseph Knight, one of the fathers of your Church, a worthy man and my intimate friend, went with him. When I reflect upon our former friendship, Mr. Chairman, and upon the scenes that he (i. e. Joseph Knight) has passed through in consequence of mal-administration, mobocracy and cruelty, I feel to lift up my voice to high heaven and pray God to bless the aged veteran, and that his silver locks may go down to the grave in peace, like a shock of corn fully ripe. In a few days his friends returned with the glad news that Joseph had found the plates and had gone down to his father-in-law's for the purpose of translating them. I believe he remained there until he finished the translation. After the book was published, he came to live in the neighborhood of Father Knight's about four miles from me, and began to preach the Gospel, and many were pricked in their hearts, believed and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. He soon formed a church at Colesville, his meetings were numerously attended; the eyes of all people were upon him with astonishment. O, Mr. Chairman, the world was turned up side down at once, and the devil, always ready to assist and help along in all difficulties that arise among men, personified in some of the religionists, begun to prick up his ears and jump and kick and run about like Jim Crow, calling for rotten eggs to help in the wake; you would have thought, sir, that Gog and Magog were let loose on the young man. He called upon the world's people (as they are called) but got no help; he then flew about in the sectarian churches like lightning, and they immediately came to his aid, and uniting their efforts, roared against him like the thunders of Mount Sinai. When those fiery bigots were let loose, they united in pouring the red hot vials of their wrath upon his head. The cry of a "False prophet! false prophet!" was sounded from village to village, and every foul epithet that malice and wicked ingenuity could invent was heaped upon him. Yes, sir, the same spirit that influenced the Presbyterians of Massachusetts, about one hundred and fifty years ago, in their persecution of the Quakers, when they first began to preach their doctrines in that state, was fully manifested by those religious bigots who were afraid if they let them alone their doctrines would come to nought. * * * But, Mr. Chairman, I am wandering too far from the subject. I will return to the persecutions which followed General Smith, when his cheeks blossomed with the beauty of youth, and his eyes sparked with innocence. Those bigots soon made up a false accusation against him and had him arraigned before Joseph Chamberlain, a justice of the peace, a man that was always ready to deal justice to all, and a man of great discernment of mind. The case came on about 10 o'clock A.M. I was called upon to defend the prisoner. The prosecutors employed the best counsel they could get, and ransacked the town of Bainbridge and county of Chenango for witnesses that would swear hard enough to convict the prisoner; but they entirely failed. Yes, sir, let me say to you that not one blemish nor spot was found against his character, he come from that trial, not withstanding the mighty efforts that were made to convict him of crime by his vigilant persecutors, with his character unstained by even the appearance of guilt. The trial closed about 12 o'clock at night. After a few moments' deliberation, the court pronounced the words "not guilty" and the prisoner was discharged. But alas! the devil, not satisfied with his defeat, stirred up a man not unlike himself, who was more fit to dwell among the fields of hell than to belong to the human family, to go to Colesville and get another writ, and take him to Broome county for another trial. They were sure they could send that boy to hell, or Texas, they did not care which; and in half an hour after he was discharged by the court, he was arrested again, and on the way to Colesville for another trial. I was again called upon by his friends to defend him against his malignant persecutors, and clear him from the false charges they had preferred against him. I made every reasonable excuse I could, as I was nearly worn down through fatigue and want of sleep; as I had been engaged in law suits for two days, and nearly the whole of two nights. But I saw the persecution was great against him; and here let me say, Mr. Chairman, singular as it may seem, while Mr. Knight was pleading with me to go, a peculiar impression or thought struck my mind, that I must go and defend him, for he was the Lord's anointed. I did not know what it meant, but thought I must go and clear the Lord's anointed. I said I would go, and started with as much faith as the Apostles had when they could remove mountains accompanied by Father Knight, who was like the old patriarchs that followed the ark of God to the city of David. * * * * * The next morning about 10 o'clock the court was organized. The prisoner was to be tried by three justices of the peace, that his departure out of the county might be made sure. Neither talents nor money were wanting to insure them success. They employed the ablest lawyer in that county, and introduced twenty or thirty witnesses before dark, but proved nothing. They then sent out runners and ransacked the hills and vales, grog shops and ditches, and gathered together a company that looked as if they had come from hell and had been whipped by the soot boy thereof; which they brought forward to testify one after the other, but with no better success than before, although they wrung and twisted into every shape, in trying to tell something that would criminate the prisoner. Nothing was proven against him whatever. Having got through with the examination of their witnesses about 2 o'clock in the morning, the case was argued about two hours. There was not one particle of testimony against the prisoner. No, sir, he came out like the three children from the fiery furnace, without the smell of fire upon his garments. The court deliberated upon the case for half an hour with closed doors, and then we were called in. The court arraigned the prisoner and said: "Mr. Smith, we have had your case under consideration, examined the testimony and find nothing to condemn you, and therefore you are discharged." They then proceeded to reprimand him severely, not because anything derogatory to his character in any shape had been proven against him by the host of witnesses that had testified during the trial, but merely to please those fiends in human shape who were engaged in the unhallowed persecution of an innocent man, sheerly on account of his religious opinions.

After they had got through, I arose and said: "This court puts me in mind of a certain trial held before Felix of old, when the enemies of Paul arraigned him before the venerable judge for some alleged crime, and nothing was found in him worthy of death or of bonds. Yet to please the Jews, who were his accusers, he was left bound contrary to law; and this court has served Mr. Smith in the same way, by their unlawful and uncalled for reprimand after his discharge, to please his accusers." We got him away that night from the midst of three hundred people without his receiving any injury; but I am well aware that we were assisted by some higher power than man; for to look back on the scene, I cannot tell how we succeeded in getting him away. I take no glory to myself; it was the Lord's work and marvelous in our eyes.—Times and Seasons, vol. v, pp. 549-552.

{97}

Chapter X.

Further Molestation at Colesville by Mobs—The Revelation Embodying the Vision of Moses.

Second Flight from Colesville.

After a few days I returned to Colesville, in company with Oliver Cowdery, for the purpose of confirming those whom we had been forced to leave for a time. We had scarcely arrived at Mr. Knight's, when the mob was seen collecting together to oppose us, and we considered it wisdom to leave for home, which we did, without even waiting for any refreshments. Our enemies pursued us, and it was oftentimes as much as we could do to elude them. However, we managed to get home, after having traveled all night, except a short time, during which we were forced to rest ourselves under a large tree by the wayside, sleeping and watching alternately.

Reflections on Persecution.

Thus were we persecuted on account of our religious faith—in a country the Constitution of which guarantees to every man the indefeasible right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience—and by men, too, who were professors of religion, and who were not backward to maintain the right of religious liberty for themselves, though they could thus wantonly deny it to us. For instance, Cyrus McMaster, a Presbyterian of high standing in his church, was one of the chief instigators of these persecutions; and he at one time told me personally that he considered me guilty without judge or jury. The celebrated Dr. Boyington, also a Presbyterian, was another instigator of these deeds of outrage; whilst a young man named Benton, of the same religious faith, swore out the first warrant against {98} me. I could mention many others also, but for brevity's sake, will make these suffice for the present.

The Strength which God Gave.

I will say, however, that amid all the trials and tribulations we had to wade through, the Lord, who well knew our infantile and delicate situation, vouchsafed for us a supply of strength, and granted us "line upon line of knowledge—here a little and there a little," of which the following was a precious morsel:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., given June, 1830.[1]

1. The words of God which He spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,

2. And he saw God face to face, and he talked with Him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure His presence:

3. And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

4. And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.

5. Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

6. And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for He is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

7. And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son; for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.

8. And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.

9. And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that His glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.

10. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

{99} 11. But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in His presence; but His glory was upon me; and I beheld His face, for I was transfigured before Him.

12. And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

13. And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of His Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

14. For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were strengthened before Him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?

15. Blessed be the name of my God, for His Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for Him only shalt thou serve.

16. Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.

17. And He also gave me commandments when He called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me.

18. And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of Him: for His glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between Him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.

19. And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and rent upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.

20. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.

21. And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.

22. And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.

23. And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men.

24. And it came to pass that when Satan had departed from the presence of Moses, that Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled {100} with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son;

25. And calling upon the name of God, he beheld His glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.

26. And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen.

27. And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God.

28. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.

29. And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.

30. And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?

31. And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with Him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.

32. And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.

33. And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.

34. And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.

35. But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

36. And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord saying: Be merciful unto Thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then Thy servant will be content.

37. And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man, but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.

38. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

{101} 39. For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

40. And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak.

41. And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe.

42. These words were spoken unto Moses in the mount, the name of which shall not be known among the children of men. And now they are spoken unto you. Show them not unto any except them that believe. Even so. Amen.

Meantime, and notwithstanding all the rage of our enemies, we had much consolation, and many things occurred to strengthen our faith and cheer our hearts.

Encouragement From Inspired Dreams.

After our departure from Colesville, after the trial, the Church there were very anxious, as might be expected, concerning our again visiting them, during which time Sister Knight, wife of Newel Knight, had a dream, which enabled her to say that we would visit them that day, which really came to pass, for a few hours afterwards we arrived; and thus was our faith much strengthened concerning dreams and visions in the last days, foretold by the ancient Prophet Joel; and although we this time were forced to seek safety from our enemies by flight, yet did we feel confident that eventually we should come off victorious, if we only continued faithful to Him who had called us forth from darkness into the marvelous light of the everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Shortly after our return home, we received the following commandments:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, given at Harmony, Pennsylvania, July, 1830.[2]

1. Behold thou wast called and chosen to write the Book of Mormon, and to my ministry; and I have lifted thee up out of thy afflictions, and have {102} counseled thee, that thou hast been delivered from all thine enemies, and thou hast been delivered from the powers of Satan and from darkness!

2. Nevertheless, thou art not excusable in thy transgressions; nevertheless, go thy way and sin no more.

3. Magnify thine office; and after thou hast sowed thy fields and secured them, go speedily unto the church which is in Colesville, Fayette, and Manchester, and they shall support thee; and I will bless them both spiritually and temporally;

4. But if they receive thee not, I will send upon them a cursing instead of a blessing.

5. And thou shalt continue in calling upon God in my name, and writing the things which shall be given thee by the Comforter, and expounding all Scriptures unto the Church;

6. And it shall be given thee in the very moment what thou shalt speak and write, and they shall hear it, or I will send unto them a cursing instead of a blessing.

7. For thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion; and in this thou shalt have strength.

8. Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.

9. And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all Scriptures, and continue in laying on of the hands and confirming the Churches.

10. And thy brother Oliver shall continue in bearing my name before the world, and also to the Church. And he shall not suppose that he can say enough in my cause; and lo, I am with him to the end.

11. In me he shall have glory, and not of himself; whether in weakness or in strength, whether in bonds or free,

12. And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my Gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men.

13. Require not miracles, except I shall command you, except casting out devils, healing the sick, and against poisonous serpents, and against deadly poisons;

14. And these things ye shall not do, except it be required of you by them who desire it, that the scriptures might be fulfilled; for ye shall do according to that which is written.

15. And in whatsoever place ye shall enter, and they receive you not in my name, ye shall leave a cursing instead of a blessing, by casting off the dust of your feet against them as a testimony, and cleansing your feet by the wayside.

{103} 16. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall lay their hands upon you by violence, ye shall command to be smitten in my name; and, behold, I will smite them according to your words, in mine own due time.

17. And whosoever shall go to law with thee shall be cursed by the law.

18. And thou shalt take no purse nor scrip, neither staves, neither two coats, for the Church shall give unto thee in the very hour what thou needest for food and for raiment, and for shoes and for money, and for scrip;

19. For thou art called to prune my vineyard with a mighty pruning, yea, even for the last time. Yea, and also all those whom thou hast ordained, and they shall do even according to this pattern. Amen.

Revelation given at Harmony, Pennsylvania, July, 1830.[3]

1. Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter, for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom.

2. A revelation I give unto you concerning my will, and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion.

3. Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.

4. Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come.

5. And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy husband, in his afflictions with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness.

6. And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant, Oliver Cowdery, whithersoever I will.

7. And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scripture, and to exhort the Church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit;

8. For he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.

9. And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the Church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith.

10. And verily I say unto thee, that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.

{104} 11. And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my Church:

12. For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart, yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

13. Wherefore lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.

14. Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride. Let thy soul delight in thy husband, and the glory which shall come upon him.

15. Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.

16. And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen.

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, and John Whitmer, given at Harmony, Pennsylvania, July, 1830.[4]

1. Behold, I say unto you, that you shall let your time be devoted to the studying of the Scriptures, and to preaching, and to confirming the Church at Colesville, and to performing your labors on the land, such as is required, until after you shall go to the west to hold the next conference; and then it shall be made known what you shall do.

2. And all things shall be done by common consent in the Church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.

Compilation of Revelations.

Shortly after we had received the above revelations, Oliver Cowdery returned to Mr. Peter Whitmer's, Sen., and I began to arrange and copy the revelations, which we had received from time to time; in which I was assisted by John Whitmer, who now resided with me.

Cowdery's Error.

Whilst thus employed in the work appointed me by my Heavenly Father, I received a letter from Oliver Cowdery, the contents of which gave me both sorrow and uneasiness. Not having that letter now in my possession, I cannot of course give it here in full, but merely an extract of the most prominent parts, which I can yet, and expect long to, remember. {105} He wrote to inform me that he had discovered an error in one of the commandments—Book of Doctrine and Covenants: "And truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto a remission of their sins."[5]

The above quotation, he said, was erroneous, and added: "I command you in the name of God to erase those words, that no priestcraft be amongst us!"

I immediately wrote to him in reply, in which I asked him by what authority he took upon him to command me to alter or erase, to add to or diminish from, a revelation or commandment from Almighty God.

The Prophet's Correction of the Error.

A few days afterwards I visited him and Mr. Whitmer's family, when I found the family in general of his opinion concerning the words above quoted, and it was not without both labor and perseverance that I could prevail with any of them to reason calmly on the subject. However, Christian Whitmer at length became convinced that the sentence was reasonable, and according to Scripture; and finally, with his assistance, I succeeded in bringing, not only the Whitmer family, but also Oliver Cowdery to acknowledge that they had been in error, and that the sentence in dispute was in accordance with the rest of the commandment. And thus was this error rooted out, which having its rise in presumption and rash judgment, was the more particularly calculated (when once fairly understood) to teach each and all of us the necessity of humility and meekness before the Lord, that He might teach us of His ways, that we might walk in His paths, and live by every word that proceedeth forth from His mouth.

Footnotes

1. Pearl of Great Price.

2. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 24.

3. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 25.

4. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 26.

5. Part of paragraph 37, sec. 20, Doctrine and Covenants.

{106}

Chapter XI.

Further Light Respecting the Sacrament—The Prophet's Removal to Fayette.

Instructions on the Sacrament.

Early in the month of August Newel Knight and his wife paid us a visit at my place in Harmony, Pennsylvania; and as neither his wife nor mine had been as yet confirmed, it was proposed that we should confirm them, and partake together of the Sacrament, before he and his wife should leave us. In order to prepare for this I set out to procure some wine for the occasion, but had gone only a short distance when I was met by a heavenly messenger, and received the following revelation, the first four paragraphs of which were written at this time, and the remainder in the September following:

Revelation given at Harmony, Pennsylvania, August, 1830.[1]

1. Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.

2. For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the Sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory; remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins:

3. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies:

4. Wherefore, you shall partake of none except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father's kingdom which shall be built up on the earth.

{107} 5. Behold, this is wisdom in me: wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting Gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim:

6. And also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things, spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days:

7. And also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias;

8. Which John I have sent unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, to ordain you unto the first Priesthood which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron:

9. And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse:

10. And also with Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers, by whom the promises remain;

11. And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days.

12. And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them:

13. Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the Gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth:

14. And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world:

15. Wherefore, lift up your heart and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.

16. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you.

17. Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked:

18. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you {108} and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen.

A Confirmation Meeting.

In obedience to the above commandment, we prepared some wine of our own making, and held our meeting, consisting only of five, viz., Newel Knight and his wife, myself and my wife, and John Whitmer. We partook together of the Sacrament, after which we confirmed these two sisters into the Church, and spent the evening in a glorious manner. The Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon us, we praised the Lord God, and rejoiced exceedingly.

The Prophet's Father-in-law Embittered.

About this time a spirit of persecution began again to manifest itself against us in the neighborhood where I now resided, which was commenced by a man of the Methodist persuasion, who professed to be a minister of God. This man had learned that my father-in-law and his family had promised us protection, and were friendly, and inquiring into the work; and knowing that if he could get him turned against me, my friends in that place would be but few, he visited my father-in-law, and told him falsehoods concerning me of the most shameful nature, which turned the old gentleman and his family so much against us, that they would no longer promise us protection nor believe our doctrines.[2]

The Eyes of Enemies Blinded Through Faith.

Towards the latter end of August, in company with John and David Whitmer, and my brother Hyrum Smith, I visited the Church at Colesville, New York. Well knowing the determined hostility of our enemies in that quarter, and also knowing that it was our duty to visit the Church, we had called upon our Heavenly Father, in mighty {109} prayer, that He would grant us an opportunity of meeting with them, that he would blind the eyes of our enemies, so that they would not know us, and that we might on this occasion return unmolested. Our prayers were not in vain, for when within a little distance of Mr. Knight's place, we encountered a large company at work upon the public road, amongst whom were several of our most bitter enemies. They looked earnestly at us, but not knowing us, we passed on without interruption. That evening we assembled the Church, and confirmed them, partook of the Sacrament, and held a happy meeting, having much reason to rejoice in the God of our salvation, and sing hosannas to His holy name. Next morning we set out on our return home, and although our enemies had offered a reward of five dollars to any one who would give them information of our arrival, yet did we get out of the neighborhood, without the least annoyance, and arrived home in safety. Some few days afterwards, however, Newel Knight came to my place, and from him we learned that, very shortly after our departure, the mob came to know of our having been there, when they immediately collected together, and threatened the brethren, and very much annoyed them during all that day.

The Prophet Finds an Asylum in Fayette.

Meantime, Brother Knight had come with his wagon, prepared to move my family to Fayette, New York. Mr. Whitmer, having heard of the persecutions against us at Harmony, Pennsylvania, had invited us to go and live with him; and during the last week in August we arrived at Fayette, amidst the congratulations of our brethren and friends.

Spurious Revelations Through Hiram Page.

To our great grief, however, we soon found that Satan had been lying in wait to deceive, and seeking whom he might devour. Brother Hiram Page had in his possession a certain stone, by which he had obtained certain "revelations" concerning the upbuilding of Zion, the order of the {110} Church, etc., all of which were entirely at variance with the order of God's house, as laid down in the New Testament, as well as in our late revelations. As a conference meeting had been appointed for the 26th[3] day of September, I thought it wisdom not to do much more than to converse with the brethren on the subject, until the conference should meet. Finding, however, that many, especially the Whitmer family and Oliver Cowdery, were believing much in the things set forth by this stone, we thought best to inquire of the Lord concerning so important a matter; and before conference convened, we received the following:

Revelation to Oliver Cowdery, given at Fayette, New York, September, 1830.[4]

1. Behold, I say unto thee, Oliver, that it shall be given unto thee, that thou shalt be heard by the Church in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the Comforter, concerning the revelations and commandments which I have given.

2. But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this Church, excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.

3. And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto {111} him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the Church.

4. And if thou art led at any time by the comforter to speak or teach or at all times by the way of commandment unto the Church, thou mayest do it.

5. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom:

6. And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church,

7. For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.

8. And now, behold, I my unto you, that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings, thou shalt cause my Church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.

9. And now, behold, I say unto you, that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth, where the city of Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you, that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.

10. Thou shalt not leave this place until after the conference, and my servant Joseph shall be appointed to preside over the conference by the voice of it, and what he saith to thee thou shalt tell.

11. And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone, are not of me, and that Satan deceiveth him;

12. For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this Church contrary to the church covenants.

13. For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the Church, by the prayer of faith.

14. And thou shalt assist to settle all these things according to the covenants of the Church before thou shalt take thy journey among the Lamanites.

15. And it shall be given thee from the time thou shalt go, until the time thou shalt return, what thou shalt do.

16. And thou must open thy mouth at all times declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing. Amen.

Revelation, given in the presence of Six Elders, in Fayette, New York, September, 1830.[5]

1. Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;

{112} 2. Who will gather His people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer.

3. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that at this time your sins are forgiven you, therefore ye receive these things; but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you.

4. Verily, I say unto you, that ye are chosen out of the world to declare my Gospel with the sound of rejoicing, as with the voice of a trump.

5. Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is His good will to give you the kingdom;

6. And as it is written, Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, being united in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive;

7. And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;

8. Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father, that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked;

9. For the hour is nigh, and the day soon at hand, when the earth is ripe; and all the proud, and they that do wickedly, shall be as stubble, and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth;

10. For the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke, so shall it come to pass;

11. For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.

12. And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, by the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments, and none else;

13. For a trump shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai, and all the earth shall quake, and they shall come forth—yea, even the dead which died in me, to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am, to be with me, that we may be one.

14. But, behold, I say unto you, that before this great day shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and there shall be greater signs in heaven above, and in the earth beneath;

{113} 15. And there shall be weeping and wailing among the hosts of men;

16. And there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth;

17. And it shall come to pass because of the wickedness of the world, that I will take vengeance upon the wicked, for they will not repent: for the cup of mine indignation is full; for behold, my blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not.

18. Wherefore, I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which will take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them;

19. And their tongues shall be staid that they shall not utter against me; and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets:

20. And it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest, and the fowls of the air shall devour them up.

21. And the great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet, who spoke of these things, which have not come to pass, but surely must, as I live, for abominations shall not reign.

22. And again, verily, verily, I say unto you that when the thousand years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season;

23. And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth,

24. For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fullness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea;

25. And not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand.

26. But, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth; yea, even all.

27. And the righteous shall be gathered on my right hand unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father;

28. Wherefore I will say unto them—Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

29. And now behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from mine own mouth that they should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power.

{114} 30. But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men: and as the words have gone forth out of my mouth, even so shall they be fulfilled, that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my spirit.

31. For by the power of my spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal—

32. Firstly spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, first temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work—

33. Speaking unto you that you may naturally understand; but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you that ye may understand, because ye have asked it of me and are agreed.

34. Wherefore, verily I say unto you, that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.

35. Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.

36. And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil (for, behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;

37. And they were thrust down, and then came the devil and his angels;

38. And, behold, there is a place prepared for them from the beginning, which place is hell:

39. And it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves; for if they never should have bitter, they could not know the sweet.)

40. Wherefore, it came to pass that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook of the forbidden fruit, and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation.

41. Wherefore I the Lord God caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the first death, even that same death, which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say—Depart, ye cursed.

42. But, behold, I say unto you, that I the Lord God gave unto Adam {115} and unto his seed that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I the Lord God should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.

43. And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation; that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;

44. And they that believe not unto eternal damnation, for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not;

45. For they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey.

46. But, behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten:

47. Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me;

48. For it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers.

49. And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent?

50. And he that hath no understanding, it remaineth in me to do according as it is written. And now I declare no more unto you at this time. Amen.

The Conference of September 26th.

At length our conference assembled. The subject of the stone previously mentioned was discussed, and after considerable investigation, Brother Page, as well as the whole Church who were present, renounced the said stone, and all things connected therewith, much to our mutual satisfaction and happiness. We now partook of the Sacrament, confirmed and ordained many, and attended to a great variety of Church business on the first and the two following days of the conference, during which time we had much of the power of God manifested amongst us; the Holy Ghost came upon us, and filled us with joy unspeakable; and peace, and faith, and hope, and charity abounded in our midst.

Before we separated we received the following:

{116} Revelation to David Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jun., and John Whitmer, given September, 1830.[6]

1. Behold, I say unto you, David, that you have feared man and have not relied on me for strength as you ought.

2. But your mind has been on the things of the earth more than on the things of me, your Maker, and the ministry whereunto you have been called; and you have not given heed unto my Spirit, and to those who were set over you, but have been persuaded by those whom I have not commanded:

3. Wherefore, you are left to inquire for yourself, at my hand, and ponder upon the things which you have received.

4. And your home shall be at your father's house until I give unto you further commandments. And you shall attend to the ministry in the Church, and before the world, and in the regions round about. Amen.

5. Behold, I say unto you Peter, that you shall take your journey with your brother Oliver, for the time has come that it is expedient in me that you shall open your mouth to declare my Gospel; therefore, fear not, but give heed unto the words and advice of your brother, which he shall give you.

6. And be you afflicted in all his afflictions, ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer, and faith, for his and your deliverance: for I have given unto him power to build up my Church among the Lamanites:

7. And none have I appointed to be his counselor over him in the Church concerning Church matters, except it is his brother, Joseph Smith, Jun.

8. Wherefore, give heed unto these things and be diligent in keeping my commandments, and you shall be blessed unto eternal life. Amen.

9. Behold, I say unto you, my servant John, that thou shalt commence from this time forth to proclaim my Gospel, as with the voice of a trump.

10. And your labor shall be at your brother Philip Burroughs', and in that region round about; yea, wherever you can be heard, until I command you to go from hence.

11. And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen.

Revelation to Thomas B. Marsh, Given September, 1830.[7]

1. Thomas, my son, blessed are you because of your faith in my work.

2. Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family: {117} nevertheless, I will bless you and your family; yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my Church.

3. Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come: and your tongue shall be loosed; and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation.

4. You shall declare the things which have been revealed to my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., You shall begin to preach from this time forth; yea, to reap in the field which is white already to be burned:

5. Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.

6. Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them;

7. Yea, I will open the hearts of the people, and they will receive you. And I will establish a church by your hand;

8. And you shall strengthen them and prepare them against the time when they shall be gathered.

9. Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.

10. Behold, I say unto you that you shall be a physician unto the Church, but not unto the world, for they will not receive you.

11. Go your way withersoever I will, and it shall be given you by the Comforter what you shall do, and whither you shall go.

12. Pray always lest you enter into temptation, and lose your reward.

13. Be faithful unto the end, and lo, I am with you. These words are not of man, nor of men, but of me, even Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, by the will of the Father. Amen.[8]

{118}

Satisfactory Results of the Conference.

During this conference, which continued three days, the utmost harmony prevailed, and all things were settled satisfactorily to all present, and a desire was manifested by all the Saints to go forward and labor with all their powers to spread the great and glorious principles of truth, which had been revealed by our Heavenly Father. A number were baptized during the conference, and the word of the Lord spread and prevailed.

Mission to the Lamanites.

At this time a great desire was manifested by several of the Elders respecting the remnants of the house of Joseph, the Lamanites, residing in the west—knowing[9] that the purposes of God were great respecting that people, and hoping that the time had come when the promises of the Almighty in regard to them were about to be accomplished, and that they would receive the Gospel, and enjoy its blessings. The desire being so great, it was agreed that we should inquire of the Lord respecting the propriety of sending some of the Elders[10] among them, which we accordingly did, and received the following:

Revelation to Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson, given October, 1830.[11]

1. And now concerning my servant Parley P. Pratt,[12] behold I say {119} unto him that as I live, I will that he shall declare my Gospel and learn of me and be meek and lowly of heart;

2. And that which I have appointed unto him is, that he shall go with my servants Older Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.

3. And Ziba Peterson, also, shall go with them, and I myself will go with them and be in their midst; and I am their advocate with the Father, and nothing shall prevail against them.

{120} 4. And they shall give heed to that which is written and pretend to no other revelation, and they shall pray always that I may unfold the same to their understanding;

5. And they shall give heed unto these words and trifle not, and I will bless them. Amen.

Departure of the Lamanite Mission. Arrival at Kirtland.

Immediately on receiving this revelation, preparations were made for the journey of the brethren therein designated, to the borders of the Lamanites, and a copy of the revelation was given them. They bade adieu to their brethren and friends, and commenced their journey, preaching by the way, and leaving a sealing testimony behind them, lifting up their voice like a trump in the different villages through which they passed.[13] They continued their journey until they came to Kirtland, Ohio, where they tarried some time, there being quite a number in that place and vicinity who believed their testimony, and came forward and obeyed the Gospel. Among the number was Mr. Sidney Rigdon,[14] and a large portion of the church over which he presided.

{121} Previous Relations of Pratt and Rigdon.

Previous to this, Elder Parley P. Pratt had been a preacher in the same church with Mr. Rigdon, and resided in the town of Amherst, Loraine county, in Ohio, and had been sent into the state of New York on a mission, where he became {122} acquainted with the circumstances of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and was introduced to Joseph Smith, Jun., and other members of the Church. The belief that there were many in the church with which he had formerly been united, who were honest seekers after truth, induced Elder Pratt; while on his journey to the west, to call upon his friends, and make known the great things which the Lord had brought to pass.

Presentation of the Book of Mormon to Sidney Rigdon.

The first house at which they called in the vicinity of Kirtland, was Mr. Rigdon's, and after the usual salutations, they presented him with the Book of Mormon, stating that it was a revelation from God. This being the first time he had ever heard of, or seen, the Book of Mormon,[15] he felt very much {123} surprised at the assertion, and replied that he had the Bible which he believed was a revelation from God, and with which he pretended to have some acquaintance; but with respect of the book they had presented him, he must say {124} that he had considerable doubt. Upon this, they expressed a desire to investigate the subject, and argue the matter. But he replied, "No, young gentleman, you must not argue with me on the subject; but I will read your book, and see what claims it has upon my faith, and will endeavor to ascertain whether it be a revelation from God or not."

Public Ministry at Mentor.

After some further conversation they expressed a desire to lay the subject before the people, and requested the privilege of preaching in Mr. Rigdon's chapel, to which he readily consented. The appointment was accordingly published, and a large and respectable congregation assembled. Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt severally addressed the meeting. At the conclusion, Mr. Rigdon arose, and stated to the congregation that the information they had that evening received was of an extraordinary character, and certainly demanded their most serious consideration; and as the Apostle advised his brethren to "prove all things, and hold fast that which is good," so he would exhort his brethren to do likewise, and give the matter a careful investigation, and not turn against it without being fully convinced of its being an imposition, lest they should, possibly, resist the truth.

The Work Opened at Kirtland.

A few miles from Mr. Rigdon's home in Mentor, at the town of Kirtland, where a number of the members of his church, who lived together and had all things common—from which circumstance has risen the idea that this was the case with the Church of Jesus Christ. To that place the Elders immediately repaired, and proclaimed the Gospel unto them, with considerable success; for their testimony was received by many of the people, and seventeen came forward in obedience to the Gospel.

The Conversion of Sidney Rigdon.

While thus engaged, they visited Mr. Rigdon occasionally, and found him very earnestly reading the Book of Mormon,—praying to the Lord for direction, and meditating on the things he heard and read; and after a {125} fortnight from the time the book was put into his hands, he was fully convinced of the truth of the work, by a revelation from Jesus Christ, which was made known to him in a remarkable manner, so that he could exclaim, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto me, but my Father which is in heaven." Accordingly he and his wife were both baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ; and, together with those who had been previously admitted to baptism, made a little branch of the Church, in this section of Ohio, of about twenty members.

This much accomplished, the brethren bound for the borders of the Lamanites, bade an affectionate farewell to the Saints in Kirtland and vicinity; and, after adding one of their new converts to their number—Dr. Frederick G. Williams[16]—they went on their way rejoicing.

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants, section 27.

2. Mr. Hale, the Prophet's father-in-law, retained the bitterness then engendered in his mind; and some years later—namely, in 1834—made an affidavit concerning the character of Joseph the Prophet, which has been very generally quoted in anti-"Mormon" works.

3. In the manuscript of the Prophet Joseph's History this conference is said to have been appointed for the "first day of September;" but in the Far West Record, a manuscript record kept by the clerks of the High Council in Missouri—and to which reference has before been made—are the minutes of the 9th of June conference (1830), which state that that conference adjourned to meet again on the 26th of September. The record also contains the minutes of the above conference bearing the date of September 26th. In addition to these reasons for changing the date in the text is the fact that immediately, or at least very soon after the close of the conference, a revelation was sought and obtained concerning the mission to the Lamanites, to which, even previous to the conference, Oliver Cowdery had been appointed (Doctrine and Covenants, 28:8-10). The said revelation bears the date of "October, 1830." (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 32), which would scarcely be the case if the conference had been held on the first, rather than near the close of September, as there is every reason to believe from the record that this revelation was received immediately after the conference closed. Moreover, the 26th of September, 1830, came on Sunday; whereas the first of September came on Wednesday, and as the conference lasted but three days, the brethren would scarcely arrange such a gathering without appointing it for such days as would include a Sunday.

4. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 28.

5. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 29.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 30.

7. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 31.

8. Thomas Baldwin Marsh, to whom the foregoing revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph, was born in Massachusetts, November 1, 1799, and after his marriage to Elizabeth Godkin in 1820, he went into the grocery business in New York, afterwards engaging in a type foundry in Boston. Here he joined the Methodist church, but on comparing its principles with the Scripture, and failing to make them correspond, he withdrew from all sects, but expected and indeed predicted the rise of a new church which should have the truth in its purity. He was moved by the Spirit to make a journey west, during which he heard of the Book of Mormon. He met Martin Harris at the office where it was being printed, and secured proof sheets of the first sixteen pages. He later met Oliver Cowdery, and remained with him two days, receiving from him full information as to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Returning to his home near Boston, he kept up a correspondence with the Prophet and Oliver for about a year; and upon learning of the organization of the Church, he moved to Palmyra in September, 1830, and was baptized by David Whitmer, and a few days later was ordained an Elder by Oliver Cowdery.

9. Of course this knowledge arose from what the brethren had learned from the Book of Mormon of the promises of God to the Lamanites.

10. The consideration of the "propriety" of sending Elders among the Lamanites here referred to was doubtless restricted to the propriety of increasing the number of Elders to go among them; for before the conference convened the propriety of sending EIders to the Lamanites had been settled by the word of the Lord. In a revelation receive before the conference of September 26th, Oliver Cowdery was appointed to go on a mission to the Lamanites, though instructed not to leave Fayette until after the conference. (See p. 111; also Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 28:8-10.) And before the conference adjourned another revelation was received in which Peter Whitmer, Jun., was appointed to accompany Oliver Cowdery on his mission. (See p. 116; and Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 30:5-6.) Hence these inquiries after the conference concerning the "propriety" of sending Elders among the Lamanites, I repeat, must have had reference merely to the propriety of increasing the number that should go. It will be observed also that the revelation which follows in the text merely appoints Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson to accompany Elders Cowdery and Whitmer.

11. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 32.

12. Parley Parker Pratt was born on the 12th day of April, 1807, in Burlington, Otsego county, state of New York. He was the third son of Jared and Charity Pratt. Jared was the son of Obediah and Jemima Pratt; Obediah was the son of Christopher and Sarah Pratt; Christopher was the son of William and Hannah Pratt; William was the son of Joseph Pratt, Joseph was the son of Lieutenant William and Elizabeth Pratt, who were found among the first settlers of Hartford, Connecticut, in the year 1639.

This William Pratt was a member of the legislature for some twenty-five or thirty sessions; and the general court gave him one hundred acres of land in Saybrook, Connecticut, for services performed as lieutenant in the Pequot war; he was one of the judges of the first court in New London county. Parley P. Pratt is a lineal descendant, of the seventh generation, from that distinguished pilgrim and humble pioneer to the new world. Parley P. Pratt was reared to hard work on a farm and though his opportunities for acquiring an education were extremely limited, he was brought up in the strictest school of morals. Even in early youth he gave evidence of a profoundly religious nature, and while yet in his teens became identified with the Baptist church. In 1826 he left New York state and settled some thirty miles west of the town of Cleveland, in the state of Ohio, and laid the foundation of a wilderness home. The next year, 1827, he returned to Canaan, Columbia county, New York,—the county where much of his boyhood was spent, the home, too, of his parents—and there married Thankful Halsey, on the 9th of September, 1827. The same month the newly married couple returned to the wilderness home west of Cleveland. About eighteen months later Sidney Rigdon, who was connected with Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott and others in that aggressive reform movement among the Christian sects, which resulted in the founding of the sect of the "Disciples" or "Campbellites," came into Mr. Pratt's neighborhood preaching the doctrines of faith, repentance and baptism. As his doctrine more nearly conformed to the scriptures than any other Mr. Pratt had heard, he accepted Sydney Rigdon's teachings, joined the "Disciples," and became a minister in that church. He determined to take up the ministry as his life's labor, sold his possessions and started first of all to call upon his relatives in New York. En route, however, he was moved upon by the spirit to stop off at Newark, in New York, while his wife continued her journey to her father's home. At Newark, Mr. Pratt first heard of and saw the Book of Mormon, and, without delay, hastened to Palmyra to investigate the story of its coming forth. At the home of the Smiths, near Manchester, he met with Hyrum, brother of the Prophet, and from him learned the particulars of the work. In company with Hyrum Smith he went to Fayette, where he met with Oliver Cowdery; and about the first of September he was baptized by him in Seneca Lake, and straightway was ordained an Elder of the Church. After these events he continued his journey to the home of his kindred in Columbia county, New York, where he baptized his brother Orson, then a youth of nineteen years. He returned to Fayette in time to attend the conference, where he met the Prophet Joseph, and received the appointment to the Lamanite mission as related in the text.

13. After traveling for some days the Lamanite mission called at some Indian encampments near the city of Buffalo, where they spent part of a day instructing them in the knowledge of their forefathers. These Indians were of the Cattaraugus tribe, and kindly received the brethren, who left with certain of their number who could read English, two copies of the Book of Mormon. And then continued their journey westward. (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 49, 61.)

14. Sidney Rigdon was born in Saint Clair township, Allegheny county, state of Pennsylvania, on the 19th of February, A. D. 1793, and was the youngest son of William and Nancy Rigdon, William Rigdon, his father, a native of Hartford county, state of Maryland, was born A. D. 1743, and died May 26th, A. D. 1810. William Rigdon was the son of Thomas Baker and Ann Lucy Rigdon. Thomas Baker Rigdon was a native of the state of Maryland, and was the son of Thomas Baker Rigdon, who came from Great Britain. Ann Lucy Rigdon, grandmother of Sidney Rigdon, was a native of Ireland, and emigrated to the city of Boston, Massachusetts and was there married to Thomas Baker Rigdon. Nancy Rigdon's mother was a native of Freehold, Monmouth county, New Jersey; she was born March 16th, 1759, and died October 3rd, 1839, and was the eldest daughter of Byrant Gallaher, who was a native of Ireland. Elizabeth Gallaher, mother to the aforesaid Nancy Rigdon, was the second wife of the said Byrant Gallaher, and her maiden name was Reed. She was a native of Monmouth county, New Jersey. Her parents were natives of Scotland. The early days of Sidney Rigdon's life were uneventful. His youth and the early years of his manhood were spent at his father's farm in St. Clair township, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. When Sidney was seventeen years old his father died, but he continued on the same farm with his mother until he was twenty-six. In his twenty-fifth year he joined the "Regular Baptist" society or church. The pastor in charge was the Rev. David Phillips, a clergyman from Wales. In March, 1819, Mr. Rigdon left the farm and made his home with the Rev. Andrew Clark, of Pittsburgh, also a Baptist minister. While residing with Mr. Clark he took out a license and began from that time his career as a minister. In May, 1819, he removed from Pennsylvania to Trumbull county, Ohio. In July of the same year he made his home with Adamson Bentley, a minister of the same faith. While residing at Bentley's he met Phebe Brook, to whom he was married on the 12th day of June, 1820. She was a native of the state of New Jersey, Bridgetown, Cumberland county, but had previously removed to Trumbull county, Ohio. Sidney Rigdon continued to preach throughout Trumbull county until November, 1821. Passing through Pittsburgh about that time, for the purpose of visiting his relatives at the old homestead in St. Clair township, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, he was invited to preach to the Baptist society of Pittsburg, which he did the following and several succeeding Sundays. As the congregation had no regular pastor they invited him to take charge and become their regular minister; a "call" which he accepted and removed from Warren in Trumbull county, Ohio, to Pittsburg in February, 1822. Meantime misgivings arose in his mind with reference to some of the doctrines of the church with which he was connected, especially with reference to the fate of unbaptized infants. Finally, after serving his congregation about two years and six months, he gave up his charge in August, 1824, and retired from the ministry. After taking this step he joined his wife's brother, Richard Brook, in the tanning business. Together they started a small tannery in which Mr. Rigdon worked as a journeyman for some two years. Meantime he had formed the acquaintance of Mr. Alexander Campbell, generally regarded as the founder of the sect of the "Disciples," or "Campbellites," and Mr. Walter Scott, a Scotchman by birth, but at this time a resident of Pittsburg and a dissenter from a Scandinavian church with which he had formerly been associated. These three gentlemen often met and discussed the subject of religion, the necessity for a universal reformation among the churches, the abandonment of their creeds, etc. The consultations they held led ultimately to the establishment of the church or sect of the "Disciples." Mr. Rigdon left Pittsburg in 1826, and went to Bainbridge, Geaugo county, Ohio, where the people urged him to speak to them. He did so, following in his teachings that line of doctrine which in his consultation with Messrs. Campbell and Scott they had considered were essential to Christian spiritual life, viz., faith in God, repentance of sins, baptism by immersion in water for the remission of sins, and holiness of life—a godly walk and conversation. Mr. Rigdon continued to labor in Bainbridge for about one year, when the people of Mentor, in the same county, but some thirty miles distant from Bainbridge, invited him to reside among them and preach. This he consented to do, and notwithstanding he at first met with some opposition, he prevailed against it and extended his labors into surrounding townships and counties until he had in a number of places a large following. Such were his circumstances and such his labor when the message of "Mormonism" found him—when Parley P. Pratt presented him with the Book of Mormon and its attendant message.

15. The circumstance of Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt and their associates presenting Sidney Rigdon with the Book of Mormon is thus related in the Life of Sidney Rigdon, by his son, John W. Rigdon (Ms. p. 18): "In the fall of 1830, Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Oliver Cowdery, and Peter Whitmer called at the home of Sidney Rigdon, in the town of Mentor, Ohio, and Parley P. Pratt presented to him a bound volume of the Book of Mormon in the presence of his wife and his oldest child, Athalia Rigdon, now Athalia Robinson, who was then a girl ten years old, and now (1900) living in the town of Friendship, Allegheny county, state of New York; and who remembers the transaction as well as any incident of her life. Parley P. Pratt, at the time he handed the book to Sidney Rigdon, said it was a revelation from God."

Again referring to this circumstance near the close of the sketch of his father's life, John W. Rigdon relates how, in the fall of 1863, he visited the territory of Utah, where he spent the winter among the "Mormon" people. He was not favorably impressed with their religious life, and came to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon itself was a fraud. He determined in his own heart that if ever he returned home and found his father, Sidney Rigdon, alive, he would try and find out what he knew of the origin of the Book of Mormon. "Although," he adds, "he had never told but one story about it, and that was that Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery presented him with a bound volume of that book in the year 1830, while he (Sidney Rigdon) was preaching Campbellism at Mentor, Ohio." What John W. Rigdon claims to have seen in Utah, however, together with the fact that Sidney Rigdon had been charged with writing the Book of Mormon, made him suspicious; "and," he remarks, "I concluded I would make an investigation for my own satisfaction and find out if I could if he had all these years been deceiving his family and the world, by telling that which was not true, and I was in earnest about it. If Sidney Rigdon, my father, had thrown his life away by telling a falsehood and bringing sorrow and disgrace upon his family, I wanted to know it and was determined to find out the facts, no matter what the consequences might be. I reached home in the fall of 1865, found my father in good health and [he] was very much pleased to see me. As he had not heard anything from me for some time, he was afraid that I had been killed by the Indians. Shortly after I had arrived home, I went to my father's room; he was there and alone, now was the time for me to commence my inquiries in regard to the origin of the Book of Mormon, and as to the truth of the 'Mormon' religion. I told him what I had seen at Salt Lake City, and I said to him that what I had seen at Salt Lake had not impressed me very favorably toward the 'Mormon' Church, and as to the origin of the Book of Mormon I had some doubts. You have been charged with writing that book and giving it to Joseph Smith to introduce to the world. You have always told me one story; that you never saw the book until it was presented to you by Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery; and all you ever knew of the origin of that book was what they told you and what Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed to have seen the plates had told you. Is this true? If so all right; if it is not, you owe it to me and your family to tell it. You are an old man and you will soon pass away, and I wish to know if Joseph Smith, in your intimacy with him for fourteen years, has not said something to you that led you to believe he obtained that book in some other way than what he had told you. Give me all you know about it, that I may know the truth. My father, after I had finished saying what I have repeated above, looked at me a moment, raised his hand above his head and slowly said with tears glistening in his eyes: 'My son, I can swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of that book is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of that book was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me, and in all my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but the one story, and that was that he found it engraved upon gold plates in a hill near Palmyra, New York, and that an angel had appeared to him and directed him where to find it; and I have never, to you or to anyone else, told but the one story, and that I now repeat to you.' I believed him, and now believe he told me the truth. He also said to me after that that Mormonism was true; that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and this world would find it out some day. After my father's death, my mother, who survived him several years, was in the enjoyment of good health up to the time of her last sickness, she being eighty-six years old. A short time before her death I had a conversation with her about the origin of the Book of Mormon, and wanted to know what she remembered about its being presented to my father. She said to me in that conversation that what my father had told me about the book being presented to him was true, for she was present at the time and knew that was the first time he ever saw it, and that the stories told about my father writing the Book of Mormon were not true. This she said to me in her old age and when the shadows of the grave were gathering around her and I believe her." (Life of Sidney Rigdon, by his son John W. Rigdon, Ms, pp. 188-195)

Our author also mentions in his sketch of his father's life, an affidavit given to him by his sister, Athalia Robinson, to the same effect as the statement of Sidney Rigdon and his wife, relative to the coming of Pratt and Cowdery to their home in Mentor, and presenting to her father a bound copy of the Book of Mormon. Athalia was ten years old at the time, and distinctly remembered throughout her life the circumstance. (Ibid, Ms. pp. 195-6).

16. Frederick Granger Williams was born in Suffield, Hartford county, Connecticut, October 28th, 1787. He was therefore a man of forty-three years of age when the Gospel was brought to him at Kirtland by Oliver Cowdery and associates. He was a man of considerable influence in the community where he resided. He owned a farm near Kirtland, but at the time the Gospel found him he was practicing medicine, and was widely known as Dr. Williams. He abandoned the practice of his profession, however, for the work of the ministry, and accompanied the Lamanite mission to Missouri.

{126}

Chapter XII.

Lost Books of Ancient Scripture—Commandment to the Church in New York to Move to Ohio.

Readiness of the Lord to Impart Knowledge.

The Lord who is ever ready to instruct such as diligently seek in faith gave the following revelation at Fayette, New York:

Revelation to Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet, given October, 1830.[1]

1. Behold I say unto you, my servants Ezra and Northrop, open ye your ears and hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, whose word is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow, soul and spirit: and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

2. For verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye are called to lift up your voices as with the sound of a trump, to declare my Gospel unto a crooked and perverse generation:

3. For behold, the field is white already to harvest: and it is the eleventh hour, and the last time that I shall call laborers into my vineyard.

4. And my vineyard has become corrupted every whit; and there is none which doeth good save it be a few; and they err in many instances, because of priestcrafts, all having corrupt minds.

5. And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this Church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness:

6. And even so will I gather mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, even as many as will believe in me, and hearken unto my voice:

7. Yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that the field is white already to harvest; wherefore, thrust in your sickles, and reap with all your might, mind, and strength.

8. Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness;

{127} 9. Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you:

10. Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying—Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make His paths straight, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;

11. Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

12. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my Gospel, and remember that they shall have faith in me, or they can in no wise be saved;

13. And upon this rock I will build my Church; yea, upon this rock ye are built, and if ye continue, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you;

14. And ye shall remember the Church articles and covenants to keep them.

15. And whoso having faith you shall confirm in my Church, by the laying on of the hands, and I will bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost upon them.

16. And the Book of Mormon and the Holy Scriptures, are given of me for your instruction; and the power of my Spirit quickeneth all things:

17. Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom:

18. For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly. Even so. Amen.

Orson Pratt Seeks to Know the Will of the Lord.

In the fore part of November, Orson Pratt,[2] a young man nineteen years of age, who had been baptized at the first preaching of his brother Parley P. Pratt, September 19th (his birthday), about six weeks previous, in Canaan, New York, {128} came to inquire of the Lord what his duty was, and received the following answer:

A Revelation to Orson Pratt, given November, 1830.[3]

1. My son Orson, hearken and hear, and behold what I, the Lord God, shall say unto you, even Jesus Christ your Redeemer;

2. The light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not;

3. Who so loved the world that He gave His own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God; wherefore you are my son,

4. And blessed are you because you have believed;

5. And more blessed are you because you are called of me to preach my Gospel—

6. To lift up your voice as with the sound of a trump, both long and loud, and cry repentance unto a crooked and perverse generation, preparing the way of the Lord for His second coming;

7. For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, the time is soon at hand that I shall come in a cloud with power and great glory,

8. And it shall be a great day at the time of my coming, for all nations shall tremble.

9. But before that great day shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars shall refuse their shining, and some shall fall, and great destructions await the wicked:

10. Wherefore lift up your voice and spare not, for the Lord God hath spoken; therefore prophesy, and it shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost;

11. And if you are faithful, behold, I am with you until I come:

12. And verily, verily, I say unto you, I come quickly. I am your Lord and your Redeemer. Even so. Amen.

Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge Visit the Prophet.

In December Sidney Rigdon came to inquire of the Lord, and with him came Edward Partridge;[4] the latter was a pattern of piety, and one of the Lord's great men. Shortly after the arrival of these two brethren, thus spake the Lord:

{129} Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, given at Fayette, New York, December, 1830.[5]

1. Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever.

2. I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one.

3. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work.

4. Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me, and before Elijah which should come and thou knewest it not.

5. Thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost;

6. But now I give unto thee a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, even as the apostles of old.

7. And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all people;

8. For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name.

{130} 9. And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick, they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk;

10. And the time speedily cometh that great things are to be shown forth unto the children of men;

11. But without faith shall not anything be shown forth, except desolations upon Babylon, the same which has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

12. And there are none that doeth good except those who are ready to receive the fulness of my Gospel which I have sent forth unto this generation.

13. Wherefore I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit:

14. And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them.

15. And the poor and the meek shall have the Gospel preached unto them, and they shall be looking forth for the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand:

16. And they shall learn the parable of the fig tree, for even now already summer is nigh,

17. And I have sent forth the fulness of my Gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him,

18. And I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming if he abide in me, and if not, another will I plant in his stead.

19. Wherefore, watch over him, that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things:

20. And a commandment I give unto thee, that thou shalt write for him; and the Scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect;

21. For they will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep, and shall abide the day of my coming, for they shall be purified, even as I am pure.

22. And now I say unto you, tarry with him, and he shall journey with you; forsake him not, and surely these things shall be fulfilled.

23. And inasmuch as ye do not write, behold, it shall be given unto {131} him to prophesy: and thou shalt preach my Gospel, and call on the holy prophets to prove his words, as they shall be given him.

24. Keep all the commandments and covenants by which ye are bound; and I will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish,

25. And Israel shall be saved in mine own due time; and by the keys which I have given shall they be led, and no more be confounded at all.

26. Lift up your hearts and be glad, your redemption draweth nigh.

27. Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold I come quickly. Even so. Amen.

And the voice of the Lord to Edward Partridge was:

A Revelation to Edward Partridge, given December, 1830.[6]

1. Thus saith the Lord God, the Mighty One of Israel, Behold, I say unto you, my servant Edward, that you are blessed and your sins are forgiven you, and you are called to preach my Gospel as with the voice of a trump;

2. And I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom;

3. And you shall declare it with a loud voice, saying, Hosanna, blessed be the name of the most high God.

4. And now this calling and commandment give I unto you concerning all men,

5. That as many as shall come before my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun., embracing this calling and commandment, shall be ordained and sent forth to preach the everlasting Gospel among the nations.

6. Crying repentance, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation, and come forth out of the fire, hating even the garments spotted with the flesh.

7. And this commandment shall be given unto the Elders of my Church, that every man which will embrace it with singleness of heart, may be ordained and sent forth, even as I have spoken.

8. I am Jesus Christ the Son of God: wherefore, gird up your loins and I will suddenly come to my temple. Even so. Amen.

Of the Lost Books of Scripture.

It may be well to observe here, that the Lord greatly encouraged and strengthened the faith of His little flock, which had embraced the fullness of the everlasting {132} Gospel, as revealed to them in the Book of Mormon, by giving some more extended information upon the Scriptures, a translation of which had already commenced. Much conjecture and conversation frequently occurred among the Saints, concerning the books mentioned, and referred to, in various places in the Old and New Testaments, which were now nowhere to be found.[7] The common remark was, "They are lost books;" but it seems the Apostolic Church had some of these writings, as Jude mentions or quotes the Prophecy of Enoch, the seventh from Adam. To the joy of the {133} little flock, which in all, from Colesville to Canandaigua, New York, numbered about seventy members, did the Lord reveal the following doings of olden times, from the prophecy of Enoch:[8]

Extracts from the Prophecy of Enoch.

1. And it came to pass that Enoch continued his speech, saying, Behold, our father Adam taught these things, and many have believed and become the sons of God, and many have believed not, and have perished in their sins, and are looking forth with fear, in torment, for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God to be poured out upon them.

2. And from that time forth Enoch began to prophesy, saying unto the people, That, as I was journeying, and stood upon the place Mahujah and cried unto the Lord, there came a voice out of heaven, saying, Turn ye, and get ye upon the Mount Simeon.

3. And it came to pass that I turned and went up on the mount; and as I stood upon the mount, I beheld the heavens open, and I was clothed upon with glory,

4. And I saw the Lord; and He stood before my face, and He talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and He said unto me, Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations.

5. And it came to pass that I beheld in the valley of Shum, and lo, a great people which dwelt in tents, which were the people of Shum.

6. And again the Lord said unto me, Look; and I looked towards the north, and I beheld the people of Canaan, which dwelt in tents.

7. And the Lord said unto me, Prophesy; and I prophesied, saying, Behold the people of Canaan, which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them that they shall utterly be destroyed; and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there but the people of Canaan;

8. For behold the Lord shall curse the land with much heat, and the barrenness thereof shall go forth forever; and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, and they were despised among all people.

9. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me, Look; and I {134} looked, and I beheld the land of Sharon, and the land of Enoch, and the land of Omner, and the land of Heni, and the land of Shem, and the land of Haner, and the land of Hanannihah, and all the inhabitants thereof;

10. And the Lord said unto me, Go to this people, and say unto them, that they must repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die.

11. And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost which beareth record of the Father and the Son.

12. And it came to pass that Enoch continued to call upon all the people, save it were the people of Canaan, to repent;

13. And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch; and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.

14. There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off, and went upon the land which came up out of the depths of the sea.

15. And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all the people that fought against God;

16. And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with His people, and they dwelt in righteousness.

17. The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon His people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish.

18. And the Lord called His people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them;

19. And Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the city of Holiness: even Zion.

20. And it came to pass that Enoch talked with the Lord; and he said unto the Lord, Surely Zion shall dwell in safety forever. But the Lord said unto Enoch, Zion have I blessed, but the residue of the people have I cursed.

21. And it came to pass that the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of {135} time, was taken up into heaven! And the Lord said unto Enoch, Behold mine abode forever.

22. And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam, save it were the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.

23. And after that Zion was taken up into heaven, Enoch beheld, and lo, all the nations of the earth were before him; and there came generation upon generation;

24. And Enoch was high and lifted up, even in the bosom of the Father, and of the Son of Man; and behold, the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth.

25. And he saw angels descending out of heaven; and he heard a loud voice saying, Wo, wo be unto the inhabitants of the earth!

26. And he beheld Satan; and he had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed and his angels rejoiced.

27. And Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father and the Son; and the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.

28. And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and He wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying, How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears is the rain upon the mountains?

29. And Enoch said unto the Lord, How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

30. And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of Thy creations; and Thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet Thou art there, and Thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; Thou art merciful and kind forever;

31. And Thou hast taken Zion to Thine own bosom, from all Thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and nought but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of Thy Throne; and mercy shall go before Thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?

32. The Lord said unto Enoch, behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

33. And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father, but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood.

{136} 34. And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them; for my fierce anger is kindled against them.

35. Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.

36. Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also; and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren;

37. But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

38. But behold, these which thine eyes are upon shall perish in the floods; and behold, I will shut them up; a prison have I prepared for them.

39. And Him which I have chosen hath plead before my face. Wherefore, He suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment;

40. Wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands.

41. And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Enoch, and told Enoch all the doings of the children of men; wherefore Enoch knew, and looked upon their wickedness and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook.

42. And Enoch also saw Noah, and his family; that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should be saved with a temporal salvation;

43. Wherefore Enoch saw that Noah built an ark, and that the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in His own hand; but upon the residue of the wicked the floods came and swallowed them up.

44. And as Enoch saw this, he had bitterness of soul, and wept over his brethren, and said unto the heavens, I will refuse to be comforted; but the Lord said unto Enoch, Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look;

45. And it came to pass that Enoch looked; and from Noah, he beheld all the families of the earth; and he cried unto the Lord, saying, When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified, and have eternal life?

46. And the Lord said, It shall be in the meridian of time, in the days of wickedness and vengeance.

{137} 47. And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying, The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me.

48. And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying, Wo, wo is me, the mother of men! I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children! When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which has gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?

49. And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying, O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah?

50. And it came to pass that Enoch continued his cry unto the Lord, saying, I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah, and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the floods.

51. And the Lord could not withhold; and he covenanted with Enoch and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah;

52. And he sent forth an unalterable decree, that a remnant of his seed should always be found among all nations, while the earth should stand;

53. And the Lord said, Blessed is he through whose seed Messiah shall come; for he saith, I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity; whoso cometh in at the gate and climbeth up by me shall never fall; wherefore, blessed are they of whom I have spoken, for they shall come forth with songs of everlasting joy.

54. And it came to pass that Enoch cried unto the Lord, saying, When the Son of Man cometh in the flesh, shall the earth rest? I pray Thee, show me these things.

55. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Look; and he looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men;

56. And he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent; and the Saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory;

57. And as many of the spirits as were in prison came forth, and stood on the right hand of God; and the remainder were reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.

{138} 58. And again Enoch wept and cried unto the Lord, saying, When shall the earth rest?

59. And Enoch beheld the Son of Man ascend up unto the Father; and he called unto the Lord, saying, Wilt thou not come again upon the earth? For as much as Thou art God, and I know Thee, and Thou hast sworn unto me, and commanded me that I should ask in the name of Thine Only Begotten, Thou hast made me, and given unto me a right to Thy throne, and not of myself, but through Thine own grace; wherefore, I ask Thee if Thou wilt not come again on the earth.

60. And the Lord said unto Enoch, As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah;

61. And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve;

62. And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; His resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

63. And the Lord said unto Enoch, Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;

64. And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made, and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.

65. And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years;

66. But before that day he saw great tribulations among the wicked; and he also saw the sea, that it was troubled, and men's hearts failing them, looking forth with fear for the judgments of the Almighty God, which should come upon the wicked.

67. And the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world; and he saw the day of the righteous, the hour of their redemption; and received a fulness of joy;

{139} 68. And all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years;

69. And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into His own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is fled.

Commanded to Go to Ohio.

Soon after the words of Enoch were given, the Lord gave the following commandment:

A Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, given December, 1830.[9]

1. Behold, I say unto you, that it is not expedient in me that ye should translate any more until ye shall go to the Ohio, and this because of the enemy and for your sakes.

2. And again, I say unto you, that ye shall not go until ye have preached my Gospel in those parts, and have strengthened up the Church whithersoever it is found, and more especially in Colesville; for, behold, they pray unto me in much faith.

3. And again, a commandment I give unto the Church, that it is expedient in me that they should assemble together at the Ohio, against the time that my servant Oliver Cowdery shall return unto them.

4. Behold, here is wisdom, and let every man choose for himself until I come. Even so. Amen.

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 33.

2. Orson Pratt was born September 19, 1811, in Hartford, Washington county, New York. His ancestors are enumerated in the biographical note of his brother, Parley P. Pratt, pp. 118, 119. The humble circumstances of his parents compelled him to seek employment where he could obtain it in various places, mainly at farming, during which time, however, he managed to get some schooling, paying especial attention to arithmetic, and gaining an acquaintance also with bookkeeping, grammar, geography and surveying. The early lessons of morality and religion taught at his father's home made deep impressions on his youthful mind, and led him in the autumn of 1829, particularly to seek the Lord. For this purpose he retired frequently to the lonely fields or the woods for prayer. This continued till September, 1830, when his brother Parley P. Pratt, an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came into the neighborhood where he resided, and as related in the text was converted at the first preaching of his brother Parley P. Pratt.

3. Doctrine and Covenants, section 34.

4. Edward Partridge was born in Pittsfield, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, on the 27th of August, 1793, of William and Jemima Partridge. His father's ancestor emigrated from Berwick, Scotland, during the seventeenth century, and settled at Hadley, Massachusetts, on Connecticut river. Nothing worthy of note transpired in his youth, with the exception, that he remembered, (though the precise time he could not recollect) that the Spirit of the Lord strove with him a number of times, insomuch that his heart was made tender, and he went and wept; and sometimes he went silently and poured the effusions of his soul to God in prayer.

At the age of sixteen he went to learn the hatter's trade, and continued as an apprentice for about four years. At the age of twenty he had become disgusted with the religious world. He saw no beauty, comeliness, or loveliness in the character of God as represented by the teaching of the various religious sects. He however heard a Universal Restorationer preach upon the love of God: this sermon gave him exalted opinions of God, and he concluded that Universal Restoration was right according to the Bible. He continued in this belief till 1828, when he and his wife were baptized into the "Campbellite" church by Sidney Rigdon, in Mentor, though they resided in Painesville, Ohio. He continued a member of this church, though doubting at times its being the true one, until Elders Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, Jun., and Ziba Peterson came with the Book of Mormon, when he began to investigate the subject of religion anew. As stated in the text he accompanied Sidney Rigdon to Fayette, New York, where, on the 11th of December, he was baptized by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Seneca river.

5. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 35.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 36.

7. The most prominent of the "lost books" of the Old Testament are mentioned in the following passages: I Chronicles, 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29;2 Chronicles 12:15; I Samuel, 10:25; I Kings, 4:32, 33. The following is the list of "lost books" mentioned in the New Testament:

Scripture of Abraham's Time: "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham." (Galatians 3:8.) The Christian world says, "Moses was God's first pen," but it appears from the above quotation that some one wrote scriptures even before Abraham's day, and he read them, learned the Gospel from them and also learned that God would justify the heathen through faith.

Prophecy of Enoch: Speaking of characters who are like "raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame," Jude says: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment upon all," etc. (Jude, 14, 15.) From this it appears that Enoch had a revelation concerning the glorious coming of the Son of God to judgment. May not the prophecy of Enoch have been among the scriptures with which Abraham was acquainted?

Another Epistle of Jude: "When I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the Saints." (Jude 3.) We have but one epistle of Jude. Would not the epistle on the "common salvation" be as important as the one the only one we now have from Jude's pen?

Another Epistle to the Ephesians: In Ephesians, 3 and 3rd, Paul alludes to another epistle which he had written to that people, but of which the world has no knowledge except from this reference which is made by its author. This epistle contained a revelation from God.

An Epistle to the Laodiceans: "When the epistle [Colossians] is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea." (Colossians, 4:16.) The epistles to the Laodiceans is among the lost scripture.

Another Epistle to the Corinthians: In the "first letter to the Corinthians" is this statement: "I wrote you in an epistle not to company with fornicators" (1 Corinthians, 5:9). From this it would appear that our so-called first epistle to the Corinthians is really not the first, since Paul in it speaks of a former letter he had written to the Corinthians, and which was doubtless as good scripture as the two which have been preserved.

8. This prophecy of Enoch is contained in the "Writings of Moses," which about this time were revealed to the Prophet, and are now published in the "Pearl of Great Price." It will be understood, then, by the reader, that the "Prophecy of Enoch" itself is found in the "Writings of Moses," and that in the text above we have but a few extracts of the most prominent parts of "Enoch's Prophecy." For the complete prophecy the reader is referred to the "Pearl of Great Price." (Chapter 7.)

9. Doctrine and Covenants, section 37.

{140}

Chapter XIII.

Prospects of the Church at the Opening of the Year 1831—Removal of the Prophet Joseph from New York to Ohio—Doctrinal Development.

Prospects of the Church—1831.

The year 1831 opened with a prospect great and glorious for the welfare of the kingdom; for on the 2nd of January, 1831, a conference was held in the town of Fayette, New York, at which the ordinary business of the Church was transacted; and in addition, the following revelation was received:

Revelation, given January 2nd, 1831.[1]

1. Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven before the world was made:

2. The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes:

3. I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me:

4. I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them;

5. But behold, the residue of the wicked have I kept in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day, which shall come at the end of the earth;

6. And even so will I cause the wicked to be kept, that will not hear my voice but harden their hearts, and wo, wo, wo, is their doom.

{141} 7. But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst, and ye cannot see me;

8. But the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am; for the vail of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not purified shall not abide the day:

9. Wherefore gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the kingdom is yours, and the enemy shall not overcome.

10. verily, I say unto you, ye are clean, but not all; and there is none else with whom I am well pleased.

11. For all flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven.

12. Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.

13. And now I show unto you a mystery, a thing which is had in secret chambers, to bring to pass even your destruction in process of time, and ye knew it not.

14. But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily some of you are guilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your weakness.

15. Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours:

16. And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me, and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.

17. And I have made the earth rich, and behold it is my footstool, wherefore, again I will stand upon it;

18. And I hold forth and deign to give unto you greater riches, even a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh;

19. And I will give it unto you for the land of your inheritance, if you seek it with all your hearts:

20. And this shall be my covenant with you, ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the inheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away.

21. But verily I say unto you, that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be your King and watch over you.

22. Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free {142} people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your Law-giver, and what can stay my hand?

23. But verily, I say unto you, teach one another according to the office wherewith I have appointed you,

24. And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me.

25. And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself;

26. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one, Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other, Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there, and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just.

27. Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am: I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one, ye are not mine.

28. And again I say unto you, that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.

29. Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.

30. I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.

31. And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless:

32. Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high;

33. And from thence, whomsoever I will, shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand.

34. And now I give unto the Church in these parts, a commandment that certain men among them shall be appointed, and they shall be appointed by the voice of the Church;

35. And they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief, that they shall not suffer; and send them forth to the place which I have commanded them;

36. And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this Church.

{143} 37. And they have farms that cannot be sold, let them be left or rented as seemeth them good.

38. See that all things are preserved; and when men are endowed with power from on high and sent forth, all these things shall be gathered unto the bosom of the Church.

39. And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.

40. And again I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment, that every man, both Elder, Priest, Teacher, and also member, go to with his might, with the labor of his hands, to prepare and accomplish the things which I have commanded.

41. And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.

42. And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Even so. Amen.

James Covill.

Not long after this conference of the 2nd of January closed, there was a man came to me by the name of James Covill, who had been a Baptist minister for about forty years, and covenanted with the Lord that he would obey any command that the Lord would give to him through me, as His servant, and I received the following:

Revelation to James Covill, given at Fayette, New York, January 5th, 1831.[2]

1. Hearken and listen to the voice of Him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ,

2. The light and life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not:

3. The same which came in the meridian of time unto my own, and my own received me not;

4. But to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons, and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons.

5. And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my Gospel receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my Gospel receiveth not me.

{144} 6. And this is my Gospel: repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the Kingdom.

7. And now, behold, I say unto you, my servant James, I have looked upon thy works and I know thee;

8. And verily I say unto thee, thine heart is now right before me at this time, and behold, I have bestowed great blessings upon thy head.

9. Nevertheless thou hast seen great sorrow, for thou hast rejected me many times because of pride and the cares of the world;

10. But, behold, the days of thy deliverance are come, if thou wilt hearken to my voice, which saith unto thee, arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known.

11. And if thou do this, I have prepared thee for a greater work. Thou shalt preach the fullness of my Gospel, which I have sent forth in these last days; the covenant which I have sent forth to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel.

12. And it shall come to pass that power shall rest upon thee; thou shalt have great faith, and I will be with thee and go before thy face.

13. Thou art called to labor in my vineyard, and to build up my Church, and to bring forth Zion, that it may rejoice upon the hills and flourish.

14. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou art not called to go into the eastern countries, but thou art called to go to the Ohio.

15. And inasmuch as my people shall assemble themselves to the Ohio, I have kept in store a blessing such as is not known among the children of men, and it shall be poured forth upon their heads. And from thence men shall go forth into all nations.

16. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that the people in Ohio call upon me in much faith, thinking I will stay my hand in judgment upon the nations, but I cannot deny my word;

17. Wherefore lay to with your might and call faithful laborers into my vineyard, that it may be pruned for the last time.

18. And inasmuch as they do repent and receive the fullness of my Gospel, and become sanctified, I will stay my hand in judgment:

19. Wherefore, go forth, crying with a loud voice, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand; crying Hosanna! blessed be the name of the most High God.

20. Go forth baptizing with water, preparing the way before my face, for the time of my coming;

21. For the time is at hand; the day nor the hour no man knoweth; but it surely shall come.

{145} 22. And he that receiveth these things receiveth me; and they shall be gathered unto me in time and in eternity.

23. And again, it shall come to pass, that on as many as ye shall baptize with water, ye shall lay your hands, and they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and shall be looking forth for the signs of my coming, and shall know me.

24. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen.

Why Covill Rejected the Commandment.

As James Covill rejected the word of the Lord, and returned to his former principles and people, the Lord gave unto me and Sidney Rigdon the following revelation, explaining why he obeyed not the word:

Revelation given at Fayette, New York, January 6, 1831.[3]

1. Behold, verily, I say unto you, that the heart of my servant James Covill was right before me, for he covenanted with me that he would obey my word,

2. And he received the word with gladness, but straightway Satan tempted him; and the fear of persecution, and the cares of the world, caused him to reject the word;

3. Wherefore he broke my covenant, and it remaineth with me to do with him as seemeth me good. Amen.

The Prophet Removes to Ohio.

The latter part of January, in company with Brothers Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, I started with my wife for Kirtland, Ohio, where we arrived about the first of February, and were kindly received and welcomed into the house of Brother Newel K. Whitney.[4] My wife and I lived in {146} the family of Brother Whitney several weeks, and received every kindness and attention which could be expected, and especially from Sister Whitney.

The Branch of the Church at Kirtland.

The branch of the Church in this part of the Lord's vineyard, which had increased to nearly one hundred members, were striving to do the will of God, so far as they knew it, though some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them. With a little caution and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brethren and sisters to overcome them. The plan of "common stock," which had existed in what was called "the family,"[5] whose members generally had embraced the everlasting Gospel, was readily abandoned for {147} the more perfect law of the Lord; and the false spirits were easily discerned and rejected by the light of revelation.

The Lord gave unto the Church the following:

Revelation, given at Kirtland, Ohio, February 4th, 1831.[6]

1. Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.

2. Hearken, O ye Elders of my Church whom I have called, behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall assemble yourselves together to agree upon my word,

3. And by the prayer of your faith ye shall receive my law, that ye may know how to govern my Church and have all things right before me.

4. And I will be your Ruler when I come; and behold, I come quickly, and ye shall see that my law is kept.

5. He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you:

6. For it is not meet that the things which belong to the children of the kingdom, shall be given to them that are not worthy, or to dogs, or the pearls to be cast before swine.

7. And again, it is meet that my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., should have a house built, in which to live and translate.

8. And again, it is meet that my servant, Sidney Rigdon should live as seemeth him good, inasmuch as he keepeth my commandments.

9. And again, I have called my servant, Edward Partridge, and I give a commandment, that he should be appointed by the voice of the Church, and ordained a Bishop unto the Church, to leave his merchandise and to spend all his time in the labors of the Church:

10. To see to all things as it shall be appointed unto him, in my laws in the day that I shall give them.

11. And this because his heart is pure before me, for he is like unto Nathaniel of old, in whom there is no guile.

12. These words are given unto you, and they are pure before me; wherefore beware how you hold them, for they are to be answered upon your souls in the day of judgment. Even so. Amen.

{148} Revelation Giving the Law of the Church.

On the 9th of February, 1831, at Kirtland, in the presence of twelve Elders, and according to the promise heretofore made,[7] the Lord gave the following revelation, embracing the law of the Church:

Revelation, given February, 1831.[8]

1. Hearken, O ye Elders of my Church, who have assembled yourselves together in my name, even Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, the Savior of the world, inasmuch as they believe on my name and keep my commandments.

2. Again, I say unto you, hearken and hear and obey the law which I shall give unto you;

3. For verily I say, as ye have assembled yourselves together according to the commandment wherewith I commanded you, and are agreed as touching this one thing, and have asked the Father in my name, even so ye shall receive.

4. Behold, verily I say unto you, I give unto you this first commandment, that ye shall go forth in my name, every one of you, excepting my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon.

5. And I give unto them a commandment that they shall go forth for a little season, and it shall be given by the power of the Spirit when they shall return;

6. And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my Gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God;

7. And ye shall go forth baptizing with water, saying—Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

8. And from this place ye shall go forth into the regions westward; and inasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you, ye shall build up my Church in every region,

9. Until the time shall come when it shall be revealed unto you from on high, when the city of the New Jerusalem shall be prepared, that ye may be gathered in one, that ye may be my people and I will be your God.

10. And again, I say unto you, that my servant, Edward Partridge, shall stand in the office wherewith I have appointed him. And it shall come to pass, that if he transgress, another shall be appointed in his stead. Even so. Amen.

{149} 11. Again, I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my Gospel, or to build up my Church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the Church that he has authority, and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the Church.

12. And again, the Elders, Priests and Teachers of this Church shall teach the principles of my Gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fullness of the Gospel;

13. And they shall observe the covenants and Church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit;

14. And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith, and if ye receive not the Spirit, ye shall not teach,

15. And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my scripture is given.

16. And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;

17. For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son.

18. And now, behold, I speak unto the Church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.

19. And again, I say, thou shalt not kill; but he that killeth shall die.

20. Thou shalt not steal; and he that stealeth and will not repent, shall be cast out.

21. Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent, shall be cast out.

22. Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else;

23. And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out.

24. Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out;

25. But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive;

26. But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out.

27. Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm.

28. Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my Scriptures: he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out.

{150} 29. If thou lovest me, thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.

30. And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken—

31. And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me—and they shall be laid before the Bishop of my Church and his counselors, two of the Elders, or High Priests[9] such as he shall appoint or has appointed and set apart for that purpose.

32. And it shall come to pass, that after they are laid before the Bishop of my Church, and after that he has received these testimonies concerning the consecration of the properties of my Church, that they cannot be taken from the Church agreeable to my commandments; every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family.

33. And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the Church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support, after this first consecration, which is a residue to be consecrated unto the Bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied, and receive according to his wants.

34. Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy, as shall be appointed by the High Council of the Church, and the Bishop and his council,

35. And for the purpose of purchasing lands for the public benefit of the Church, and building houses of worship, and building up of the New Jerusalem which is hereafter to be revealed,

36. That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple. And this I do for the salvation of my people.

37. And it shall come to pass, that he that sinneth and repenteth not, shall be cast out of the Church, and shall not receive again that which he has consecrated unto the poor and the needy of my Church; or in other words, unto me;

38. For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me;

39. For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets, shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate of the riches of those who embrace my Gospel among the Gentiles, unto the poor of my people who are of the house of Israel.

{151} 40. And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands;

41. And let all things be done in cleanliness before me.

42. Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.

43. And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy.

44. And the Elders of the Church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me.

45. Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.

46. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me, shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them;

47. And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter.

48. And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed;

49. He who hath faith to see shall see;

50. He who hath faith to hear shall hear;

51. The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap;

52. And they who have not faith to do these things, but believe in me, have power to become my sons; and inasmuch as they break not my laws, thou shalt bear their infirmities.

53. Thou shalt stand in the place of thy stewardship;

54. Thou shalt not take thy brother's garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother;

55. And if thou obtainest more than that which would be for thy support, thou shalt give it into my store-house, that all things may be done according to that which I have said.

56. Thou shalt ask and my Scriptures shall be given as I have appointed, and they shall be preserved in safety;

57. And it is expedient that thou shouldst hold thy peace concerning them, and not teach them until ye have received them in full.

58. And I give unto you a commandment that then ye shall teach them unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

59. Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my Scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my Church;

{152} 60. And he that doeth according to these things shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned, if he so continue.

61. If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.

62. Thou shalt ask, and it shall be revealed unto you in mine own due time where the New Jerusalem shall be built.

63. And behold, it shall come to pass that my servants shall be sent forth to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south;

64. And even now, let him that goeth to the east, teach them that shall be converted to flee to the west, and this in consequence of that which is coming on the earth, and of secret combinations.

65. Behold, thou shalt observe all these things, and great shall be thy reward; for unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but unto the world it is not given to know them.

66. Ye shall observe the laws which ye have received and be faithful.

67. And ye shall hereafter receive Church covenants, such as shall be sufficient to establish you, both here and in the New Jerusalem.

68. Therefore, he that lacketh wisdom, let him ask of me, and I will give him liberally and upbraid him not.

69. Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for unto you the kingdom, or in other words, the keys of the Church have been given. Even so. Amen.

70. The Priests and Teachers shall have their stewardships, even as the members;

71. And the Elders, or High Priests,[10] who are appointed to assist the Bishop as counselors in all things, are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the Bishop, for the good of the poor, and for other purposes, as before mentioned;

72. Or they are to receive a just remuneration for all their services, either a stewardship or otherwise, as may be thought best or decided by the counselors and Bishop.

73. And the Bishop, also, shall receive his support, or a just renumeration for all his services in the Church.

74.[11] Behold, verily I say unto you, that whatever persons among you, having put away their companions for the cause of fornication, or in other words, if they shall testify before you in all lowliness of heart that this is the case, ye shall not cast them out from among you;

{153} 75. But if ye shall find that any persons have left their companions for the sake of adultery, and they themselves are the offenders, and their companions are living, they shall be cast out from among you.

76. And again, I say unto you, that ye shall be watchful and careful, with all inquiry, that ye receive none such among you if they are married;

77. And if they are not married, they shall repent of all their sins, or ye shall not receive them.

78. And again, every person who belongeth to this Church of Christ, shall observe to keep all the commandments and covenants of the Church.

79. And it shall come to pass, that if any persons among you shall kill, they shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness, and it shall be proved according to the laws of the land.

80. And if any man or woman shall commit adultery, he or she shall be tried before two Elders of the Church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the Church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better.

81. But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses, and the Elders shall lay the case before the Church, and the Church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God.

82. And if it can be, it is necessary that the Bishop be present also.

83. And thus ye shall do in all cases which shall come before you.

84. And if a man or woman shall rob, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land.

85. And if he or she shall steal, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land.

86. And if he or she shall lie, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land.

87. And if he or she do any manner of iniquity, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law, even that of God.

88. And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess, thou shalt be reconciled.

89. And if he or she confess not, thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the Church, not to the members, but to the Elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.

90. And if thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastened before many.

91. And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, {154} that he or she may be ashamed. And if he or she confess not, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of God.

92. If any shall offend in secret, he or she shall be rebuked in secret, that he or she may have opportunity to confess in secret to him or her whom he or she has offended, and to God, that the Church may not speak reproachfully of him or her.

93. And thus shall ye conduct in all things.

Pretentions of a Woman to Revelations, etc.

Soon after the foregoing revelation was received, a woman[12] came making great pretensions of revealing commandments, laws and other curious matters; and as almost every person has advocates for both theory and practice, in the various notions and projects of the age, it became necessary to inquire of the Lord, when I received the following:

Revelation given at Kirtland, February, 1831.[13]

1. O hearken, ye Elders of my Church, and give ear to the words which I shall speak unto you;

2. For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my Church, through him whom I have appointed unto you, to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.

3. And this ye shall know assuredly that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me.

4. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him, for if it be taken from him, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead;

5. And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;

6. And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.

7. For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall {155} come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received, and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.

8. And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together, ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my Church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given;

9. And thus ye shall become instructed in the law of my Church, and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me,

10. That inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be added to the kingdom which ye have received. Inasmuch as ye do it not, it shall be taken, even that which ye have received.

11. Purge ye out the iniquity which is among you; sanctify yourselves before me,

12. And if ye desire the glories of the kingdom, appoint ye my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and uphold him before me by the prayer of faith.

13. And again, I say unto you, that if ye desire the mysteries of the kingdom, provide for him food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth to accomplish the work, wherewith I have commanded him;

14. And if ye do it not, he shall remain unto them that have received him, that I may reserve unto myself a pure people before me.

15. Again I say, hearken ye Elders of my Church, whom I have appointed: Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit;

16. And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken.

17. Hearken ye, for, behold, the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand.

18. For the day cometh that the Lord shall utter His voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble, and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations, Ye Saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again;

19. Wherefore gird up your loins lest ye be found among the wicked.

20. Lift up your voices and spare not. Call upon the nations to repent, both old and young, both bond and free, saying, prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord;

21. For if I, who am a man, do lift up my voice and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye say when the day cometh when {156} the thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying, repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord;

22. Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words, Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come.

23. And again, the Lord shall utter His voice out of heaven, saying, Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you.

24. O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wing, but ye would not!

25. How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long and by the voice of glory, and honor, and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not?

26. Behold the day has come, when the cup of the wrath of my indignation is full.

27. Behold, verily I say unto you, that these are the words of the Lord your God;

28. Wherefore labor ye, labor ye in my vineyard for the last time—for the last time call upon the inhabitants of the earth,

29. For in mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth,

30. For the great Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come;

31. For Satan shall be bound, and when he is loosed again, he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth;

32. And he that liveth in righteousness shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire;

33. And the wicked shall go away into unquenchable fire, and their end no man knoweth on earth, nor ever shall know, until they come before me in judgment.

34. Hearken ye to these words; Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.

35. Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen.

{157} A Special Conference, 3rd-6th of June.

The latter part of February I received the following revelation, which caused the Church to appoint a conference to be held early in the month of June ensuing:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, given at Kirtland, February, 1831.[14]

1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, it is expedient in me that the Elders of my Church should be called together, from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, by letter or some other way.

2. And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.

3. And it shall come to pass that they shall go forth into the regions round about, and preach repentance unto the people;

4. And many shall be converted, insomuch that ye shall obtain power to organize yourselves according to the laws of man;

5. That your enemies may not have power over you, that you may be preserved in all things; that you may be enabled to keep my laws, that every bond may be broken wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy my people.

6. Behold, I say unto you, that ye must visit the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief, that they may be kept until all things may be done according to my law which ye have received. Amen.

Footnotes

1. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 38.

2. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 39.

3. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 11.

4. Newel Kimball Whitney was descended from the Whitneys of Watertown, Mass., who emigrated from England in 1635. His mother was a native of the "Bay state," and his father of the state of Vermont. There, also, Newel was born, in Marlborough, Windham county, February 5, 1795. A natural business man, he made his own way in the world, and after figuring as a sutler during the war of 1812, and taking part in the battle of Plattsburg, near Lake Champlain, he established himself as an Indian trader at Green Bay, Lake Michigan. He next settled in Ohio, where he made the acquaintance of Algernon Sidney Gilbert, a merchant of Painesville, whose partner he became in the successful firm of Gilbert and Whitney at Kirtland. In October, 1822, he married Elizabeth Ann Smith, a young lady from Connecticut, who is known in Church history as "Mother Whitney." When Oliver Cowdery and his fellow missionaries came to Kirtland, en route to Missouri, the Whitneys were Campbellites, members of Sidney Rigdon's flock, but upon hearing the fulness of the Gospel as preached by those Elders, they embraced it. In the Whitney family folk lore the incident of the Prophet's arrival at Kirtland is thus related: "About the first of February, 1831, a sleigh containing four persons drove through the streets of Kirtland and drew up in front of the store of Gilbert and Whitney. One of the men, a young and stalwart personage alighted, and springing up the steps walked into the store and to where the junior partner was standing. 'Newel K. Whitney! Thou art the man!' he exclaimed, extending his hand cordially, as if to an old and familiar acquaintance. 'You have the advantage of me,' replied the merchant, as he mechanically took the proffered hand, 'I could not call you by name as you have me.' 'I am Joseph the Prophet,' said the stranger smiling. 'You've prayed me here, now what do you want of me?'" The Prophet, it is said, while in the East had seen the Whitneys, in vision, praying for his coming to Kirtland. "Mother Whitney" also tells how on a certain night prior to the advent of Elder Cowdery and his companions, while she and her husband were praying to the Lord to know how they might obtain the gift of the Holy Ghost, which of all things they desired, they saw a vision as of a cloud of glory resting upon their house, and heard a voice from heaven saying, "Prepare to receive the word of the Lord, for it is coming." Shortly afterwards Oliver Cowdery and his associates came with the Book of Mormon, and with the message of the restored Gospel. Moreover, in further fulfilment of this vision, under the rooftree of the Whitneys the Prophet received a number of the revelations contained in this volume.

5. This organization, called "the family," came into existence before the Gospel was preached in Kirtland, through an effort of the people of this neighborhood to live as the early Christians are said to have lived, viz., "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common."—(Acts 4:32.)

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 41.

7. This refers to the promise which the Lord gave in the revelation of January 1831, see p. 142, verse 32.

8. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 42.

9. The words, "or High Priests," were added by the Prophet some years after: and also the words, "High Council," in the 34th verse.—Orson Pratt.

10. The words, "or High Priests," were added by the Prophet some years after.—Orson Pratt.

11. Verses 74 to 93 inclusive, were given some days after the first 73 verses.—Orson Pratt.

12. This woman's name, according to the history of the church kept by John Whitmer, was Hubble. "She professed to be a prophetess of the Lord, and professed to have many revelations, and knew the Book of Mormon was true, and that she should become a teacher in the church of Christ. She appeared to be very sanctimonious and deceived some who were not able to detect her in her hypocrisy; others, however, had the spirit of discernment and her follies and abominations were manifest." John Whitmer's History of the Church, ch. 3.

13. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 43.

14. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 44.

{158}

Chapter XIV.

Effort to Overwhelm the Church by Falsehood—Sundry Revelations Leading to Doctrinal Development.

Efforts through the Press to Retard the Work.

At this age of the Church [i. e., early in the spring of 1831] many false reports, lies, and foolish stories, were published in the newspapers, and circulated in every direction, to prevent people from investigating the work, or embracing the faith. A great earthquake in China, which destroyed from one to two thousand inhabitants, was burlesqued in some papers, as "Mormonism in China."[1] But to the joy of the Saints who had to struggle against every thing that prejudice and wickedness could invent, I received the following:

{159} Revelation at Kirtland, given March 7th, 1831.[2]

1. Hearken, O ye people of my Church, to whom the kingdom has been given—hearken ye and give ear to Him who laid the foundation of the earth, who made the heavens and all the hosts thereof, and by whom all things were made which live, and move, and have a being.

2. And again, I say, hearken unto my voice, lest death shall overtake you; in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the harvest ended, and your souls not saved.

3. Listen to Him who is the Advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before Him,

4. Saying, Father, behold the sufferings and death of Him who did no sin, in whom Thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of Thy Son which was shed—the blood of Him whom Thou gavest that Thyself might be glorified;

5. Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.

6. Hearken, O ye people of my Church, and ye Elders listen together, and hear my voice while it is called today, and harden not your hearts,

7. For verily I say unto you that I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the light and the life of the world—a light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

8. I came unto my own, and my own received me not; but unto as many as received me, gave I power to do many miracles, and to become the sons of God, and even unto them that believed on my name gave I power to obtain eternal life.

9. And even so, I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me;

10. Wherefore, come ye unto it, and with him that cometh, I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning,

11. Wherefore hearken ye together and let me show unto you, even my wisdom—the wisdom of Him whom ye say is the God of Enoch, and his brethren,

12. Who were separated from the earth, and were received unto myself—a city reserved until a day of righteousness shall come—a day which was sought for by all holy men, and they found it not because of wickedness and abominations;

13. And confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth;

{160} 14. But obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.

15. Wherefore, hearken and I will reason with you, and I will speak unto you and prophesy, as unto men in days of old;

16. And I will show it plainly, as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh, and spake unto them, saying, as ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven, to fulfil the promises that I have made unto your fathers,

17. For as ye have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I will show unto you how the day of redemption shall come, and also the restoration of the scattered Israel.

18. And now ye behold this temple which is in Jerusalem, which ye call the house of God, and your enemies say that this house shall never fall.

19. But, verily, I say unto you, that desolation shall come upon this generation as a thief in the night, and this people shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations.

20. And this temple which ye now see shall be thrown down that there shall not be left one stone upon another.

21. And it shall come to pass, that this generation of Jews shall not pass away, until every desolation which I have told you concerning them shall come to pass.

22. Ye say that ye know that the end of the world cometh; ye say also that ye know that the heavens and the earth shall pass away;

23. And in this ye say truly, for so it is; but these things which I have told you shall not pass away until all shall be fulfilled,

24. And this I have told you concerning Jerusalem, and when that day shall come, shall a remnant be scattered among all nations;

25. But they shall be gathered again, but they shall remain until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

26. And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men's hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth His coming until the end of the earth.

27. And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound;

28. And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my Gospel;

29. But they receive it not, for they perceive not the light and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men;

30. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled;

{161} 31. And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass, until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land;

32. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices, and curse God and die.

33. And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.

34. And, now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled:

35. And I said unto them, be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled;

36. And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you:

37. Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;

38. Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.

39. And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of man:

40. And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath;

41. And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke;

42. And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven;

43. And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place,

44. And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory, with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.

45. But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump, and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud.

46. Wherefore, if ye have slept in peace, blessed are you, for as you now behold me and know that I am, even so shall ye come unto me and your souls shall live, and your redemption shall be perfected, and the saints shall come forth from the four quarters of the earth.

{162} 47. Then shall the arm of the Lord fall upon the nations.

48. And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake,

49. And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it, and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly,

50. And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed, and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.

51. And then shall the Jews look upon me and say, What are these wounds in Thine hands and in Thy feet?

52. Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them, These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.

53. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their King.

54. And then shall the heathen nations be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection; and it shall be tolerable for them;

55. And Satan shall be bound that he shall have no place in the hearts of the children of men.

56. And at that day when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins;

57. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived; verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.

58. And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation,

59. For the Lord shall be in their midst, and His glory shall be upon them, and He will be their King and their Lawgiver.

60. And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known;

61. Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come;

62. For verily I say unto you, that great things await you;

63. Ye hear of wars in foreign lands, but, behold, I say unto you, they are nigh, even at your doors, and not many years hence ye shall hear of wars in your own lands.

{163} 64. Wherefore, I, the Lord, have said, Gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye Elders of my Church; go ye forth into the western countries, call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me;

65. And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you,

66. And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the Saints of the Most High God;

67. And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.

68. And it shall come to pass, among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.

69. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.

70. And it shall be said among the wicked, Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.

71. And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.

72. And now I say unto you, keep these things from going abroad unto the world, until it is expedient in me, that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you;

73. That when they shall know it, that they may consider these things;

74. For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble;

75. And all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of his might. Even so. Amen.

The Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

The next day after the above was received, I also received the following revelation, relative to the gifts of the Holy Ghost:

Revelation, given at Kirtland, March 8th, 1831.[3]

1. Hearken, O ye people of my Church; for verily I say unto you, {164} that these things were spoken unto you for your profit and learning;

2. But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the Elders of my Church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit;

3. Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world;

4. Ye are also commanded not to cast any one who belongeth to the church out of your sacrament meetings; nevertheless, if any have trespassed, let him not partake until he makes reconciliation.

5. And again I say unto you, ye shall not cast any out of your sacrament meetings, who are earnestly seeking the kingdom: I speak this concerning those who are not of the Church.

6. And again I say unto you, concerning your confirmation meetings, that if there be any that are not of the Church, that are earnestly seeking after the kingdom, ye shall not cast them out;

7. But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you, even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men, for some are of men, and others of devils.

8. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived, seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;

9. For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lust.

10. And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the Church,

11. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God:

{165} 12. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby;

13. To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He was crucified for the sins of the world;

14. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.

15. And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.

16. And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.

17. And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom;

18. To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.

19. And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed,

20. And to others it is given to have faith to heal.

21. And again, to some is given the working of miracles,

22. And to others it is given to prophesy,

23. And to others the discerning of spirits.

24. And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues,

25. And to another is given the interpretation of tongues:

26. And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.

27. And unto the Bishop of the Church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the Church, and to be Elders unto the Church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God.

28. And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit;

29. That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby:

30. He that asketh in the Spirit, asketh according to the will of God, wherefore it is done even as he asketh.

31. And again I say unto you, all things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit;

32. And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessings ye are blessed with;

33. And ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen.

{166} John Whitmer Appointed Historian.

The same day that I received the foregoing revelation, I also received the following, setting apart John Whitmer as a historian,[4] inasmuch as he is faithful:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and John Whitmer, given at Kirtland, March 8th, 1831.[5]

1. Behold, it is expedient in me that my servant John should write and keep a regular history, and assist you, my servant Joseph, in transcribing all things which shall be given you, until he is called to further duties.

2. Again, verily I say unto you, that he can also lift up his voice in meetings, whenever it shall be expedient.

3. And again, I say unto you, that it shall be appointed unto him to keep the Church record and history continually, for Oliver Cowdery I have appointed to another office.

4. Wherefore it shall be given him, inasmuch as he is faithful by the Comforter, to write these things. Even so. Amen.

On the Purchase of Lands in Ohio.

Upon inquiry how the brethren should act in regard to purchasing lands to settle upon,[6] and where they should finally make a permanent location, I received the following:

Revelation, given at Kirtland, March, 1831.[7]

1. It is necessary that ye should remain for the present time in your places of abode, as it shall be suitable to your circumstances;

2. And inasmuch as ye have lands, ye shall impart to the eastern brethren;

3. And inasmuch as ye have not lands, let them buy for the present {167} time in those regions round about as seemeth them good, for it must needs be necessary that they have places to live upon for the present time.

4. It must needs be necessary, that ye save all the money that ye can, and that ye obtain all that ye can in righteousness, that in time ye may be enabled to purchase land for an inheritance, even the city.

5. The place is not yet to be revealed, but after your brethren come from the east, there are to be certain men appointed, and to them it shall be given to know the place, or to them it shall be revealed.

6. And they shall be appointed to purchase the lands, and to make a commencement to lay the foundation of the city; and then shall ye begin to be gathered with your families, every man according to his family, according to his circumstances, and as is appointed to him by the Presidency and the Bishop of the Church, according to the laws and commandments which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive. Even so. Amen.

The Shaking Quakers.

At about this time came Leman Copley, one of the sect called Shaking Quakers,[8] and embraced the fullness of the everlasting Gospel, apparently honest-hearted, but still retaining the idea that the Shakers were right in some particulars of their faith. In order to have more perfect understanding on the subject, I inquired of the Lord, and received the following:

Revelation to Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Leman Copley, given March, 1831.[9]

1. Hearken unto my word, my servants Sidney, and Parley, and {168} Leman, for behold, verily I say unto you, that I give unto you a commandment that you shall go and preach my Gospel which ye have received, even as ye have received it, unto the Shakers.

2. Behold, I say unto you, that they desire to know the truth in part, but not all, for they are not right before me and must needs repent;

3. Wherefore I send you, my servants Sidney and Parley to preach the Gospel unto them;

4. And my servant Leman shall be ordained unto this work, that he may reason with them, not according to that which he has received of them, but according to that which shall be taught him by you my servants, and by so doing I will bless him, otherwise he shall not prosper.

5. Thus saith the Lord, for I am God, and have sent mine Only Begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world, and have decreed that he that receiveth Him shall be saved, and he that receiveth Him not shall be damned.

6. And they have done unto the Son of man even as they listed; and He has taken His power on the right hand of His glory, and now reigneth in the heavens, and will reign till He descends on the earth to put all enemies under His feet, which time is nigh at hand:

7. I, the Lord God, have spoken it, but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven nor shall they know until He comes.

8. Wherefore I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of.

9. Wherefore I say unto you, that I have sent unto you mine everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning—

10. And that which I have promised I have so fulfilled—and the nations of the earth shall bow to it; and, if not of themselves, they shall come down, for that which is now exalted of itself shall be laid low of power;

11. Wherefore I give unto you a commandment that ye go among this people, and say unto them, like unto mine Apostle of old, whose name was Peter;

12. Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, who was on the earth, and is to come, the beginning and the end,

13. Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, according to the holy commandment, for the remission of sins;

14. And whoso doeth this shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of the hands of the Elders of the Church.

15. And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man;

{169} 16. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.

17. And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.

18. And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;

19. For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance:

20. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin;

21. And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.

22. And again, verily, I say unto you, that the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth.

23. Wherefore be not deceived, but continue in steadfastness, looking forth for the heavens to be shaken, and the earth to tremble and to reel to and fro as a drunken man, and for the valleys to be exalted, and for the mountains to be made low, and for the rough places to become smooth; and all this when the angel shall sound his trumpet.

24. But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

25. Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.

26. Behold, I say unto you, go forth as I have commanded you—repent of all your sins, ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you:

27. Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded;

28. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, and I come quickly. Even so. Amen. [10]

{170} Inquiry on Spiritual Manifestations.

During the month of April, I continued to translate the Scriptures as time would allow. In May, a number of Elders being present, and not understanding the different spirits[11] abroad in the earth, I inquired and received from the Lord the following:

Revelation, given May, 1831.[12]

1. Hearken, O ye Elders of my Church, and give ear to the voice of the living God, and attend to the words of wisdom which shall be given unto you, according as ye have asked and are agreed as touching the Church, and the spirits which have gone abroad in the earth.

2. Behold, verily, I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world;

3. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.

4. Behold, I the Lord have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the Church that profess my name;

5. But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.

6. But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment.

7. Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power, but behold such shall be reclaimed;

{171} 8. But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my Church, for the same are overcome of the world;

9. Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me.

10. And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the Elders of His Church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand:

11. Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another, face to face:

12. Now when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man, even so will I the Lord, reason with you, that you may understand;

13. Wherefore, I, the Lord, ask you this question, Unto what were ye ordained?

14. To preach my Gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth;

15. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God, and in this are ye justified?

16. Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.

17. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?

18. And if it be by some other way, it is not of God.

19. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?

20. If it be some other way it is not of God:

21. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth, receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?

22. Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

23. And that which doth not edify is not of God and is darkness;

24. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light, and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

25. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;

26. He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.

27. Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, {172} the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father, through Jesus Christ, His Son.

28. But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin;

29. And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus, and it shall be done:

30. But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask, and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.

31. Wherefore, it shall come to pass, that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit, ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus, and if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God:

32. And it shall be given unto you power over that spirit, and you shall proclaim against that spirit with a loud voice that it is not of God;

33. Not with railing accusation, that ye be not overcome, neither with boasting, nor rejoicing, lest you be seized therewith.

34. He that receiveth of God, let him account it of God, and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive.

35. And by giving heed and doing these things which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive: and the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things which are not ordained of Him.

36. And behold, verily I say unto you, blessed are you who are now hearing these words of mine from the mouth of my servant, for your sins are forgiven you.

37. Let my servant, Joseph Wakefield, in whom I am well pleased, and my servant, Parley P. Pratt go forth among the churches and strengthen them by the word of exhortation;

38. And also my servant John Corrill, or as many of my servants as are ordained unto this office, and let them labor in the vineyard; and let no man hinder them doing that which I have appointed unto them:

39. Wherefore in this thing my servant Edward Partridge is not justified; nevertheless let him repent and he shall be forgiven.

40. Behold, ye are little children, and ye cannot bear all things now; we must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.

41. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;

42. And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost:

43. And the Father and I are one: I am in the Father and the Father in me: and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you;

44. Wherefore I am in your midst, and I am the Good Shepherd, and the Stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.

45. And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am.

{173} 46. Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready. Even so. Amen. [13]

Arrival in Ohio of the New York Saints.

Not long after the foregoing was received, the Saints from the State of New York began to come on, and it seemed necessary to settle them; therefore at the solicitation of Bishop Partridge, I inquired, and received the following:

Revelation, given May, 1831.[14]

1. Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, and I will speak unto my servant Edward Partridge, and give unto him directions, for it must needs be that he receive directions how to organize this people;

2. For it must needs be that they be organized according to my laws—otherwise, they will be cut off.

3. Wherefore, let my servant Edward Partridge, and those whom he has chosen, in whom I am well pleased, appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances, and his wants and needs.

4. And let my servant Edward Partridge, when he shall appoint a man his portion, give unto him a writing that shall secure unto him his portion, that he shall hold it, even this right and this inheritance in the Church, until he transgresses and is not accounted worthy by the voice {174} of the Church, according to the laws and covenants of the Church, to belong to the Church:

5. And if he shall transgress and is not accounted worthy to belong to the Church, he shall not have power to claim that portion which he has consecrated unto the Bishop for the poor and needy of my Church; therefore, he shall not retain the gift, but shall only have claim on that portion that is deeded unto him.

6. And thus all things shall be made sure, according to the laws of the land.

7. And let that which belongs to this people be appointed unto this people;

8. And the money which is left unto this people, let there be an agent appointed unto this people, to take the money to provide food and raiment, according to the wants of this people.

9. And let every man deal honestly, and be alike among this people, and receive alike, that ye may be one, even as I have commanded you.

10. And let that which belongeth to this people not be taken and given unto that of another church;

11. Wherefore, if another church would receive money of this church, let them pay unto this church again according as they shall agree;

12. And this shall be done through the Bishop or the agent, which shall be appointed by the voice of the Church.

13. And again, let the Bishop appoint a storehouse unto this Church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the Bishop.

14. And let him also reserve unto himself for his own wants, and for the wants of his family, as he shall be employed in doing this business.

15. And thus I grant unto this people a privilege of organizing themselves according to my laws.

16. And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence;

17. And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good.

18. Behold, this shall be an example unto my servant Edward Partridge, in other places, in all churches.

19. And whoso is found a faithful, a just and a wise steward, shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.

20. Verily, I say unto you, I am Jesus Christ, who cometh quickly, in an hour you think not. Even so. Amen.

Footnotes

1. This earthquake in China is a matter of some interest in connection with the history of the church, since it was the means of bringing Simonds Ryder, a somewhat noted preacher of the Campbellite faith, into the Church. According to Hayden's History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve (a Campbellite book), Mr. Ryder was much perplexed over "Mormonism," and for a time was undecided whether to join the Church or not. "In the month of June," (1831) writes Mr. Hayden, "he read in a newspaper an account of the destruction of Pekin in China, and he remembered that six weeks before, a young 'Mormon' girl had predicted the destruction of that city." J. H. Kennedy, in his Early Days of Mormonism (Scribner's & Sons, 1888), refers to the same thing, and adds: "This appeal to the superstitious part of his nature was the final weight in the balance and he threw the whole power of his influence upon the side of 'Mormonism.' His surrender caused an excitement almost equal to that which followed the fall of Rigdon," (pp. 103-4). It was doubtless this prophecy and the conversion connected with it that led the papers mentioned in the text to refer to it as "Mormonism" in China. The discrepancy in dates, Hayden and Kennedy referring to the published accounts of the events as appearing in June, and the Prophet making reference to it previous to the 7th of March, need cause no confusion. It will be seen that the Prophet alludes to it in connection with a number of other things as taking place "at this age of the Church"—a very indefinite reference as to the time in which a thing may have occurred.

2. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 45.

3. Doctrine and Covenants, sec 46. With reference to the matters mentioned in verses 17 in this revelation, John Whitmer writes: "In the beginning of the Church, while yet in her infancy, the disciples used to exclude unbelievers, which caused some to marvel and converse of this matter because of the things written in the Book of Mormon [3 Nephi 18:22-34.] Therefore the Lord deigned to speak on this subject, that His people might come to understanding, and said that He had always given to His Elders to conduct all meetings as they were led by the Spirit."—John Whitmer's History of the Church, ch. 4.

4. Previous to this Oliver Cowdery, had acted as historian and recorder. John Whitmer, according to his own representations, said he would rather not keep the Church history, but observed—"The will of the Lord be done, and if He desires it, I wish that He would manifest it through Joseph the seer."—John Whitmer's History of the Church, ch. 6.—Accordingly the revelation was given.

5. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 47.

6. This question was agitating the minds of the brethren in consequence of the expected arrival in the near future, of the Saints from New York, who had been commanded to gather to Ohio, and for whose reception it was necessary to make preparations.

7. Doctrine and Covenants, section 48.

8. "This sect of Christians arose in England, and Ann Lee has the credit of being its founder. They derive their name from their manner of worship, which is performed by singing and dancing and clapping their hands in regular time, to a novel but rather pleasant kind of music. This sect was persecuted in England, and came to America in 1774. They first settled in Watervliet, near Albany, New York. They have, or think they have, revelations from heaven, or gifts from the Holy Spirit, which direct them in the choice of their leaders, and in other important concerns. Their dress and manners are similar to those of the society of Friends (Quakers); hence they are often called Shaking Quakers."—Hayward's Book of All Religions, pp. 84-85. "They assert, with the Quakers, that all external ordinances, especially baptism and the Lord's supper, ceased in the apostolic age; and that God had sent no one to preach since that time till they were raised up, to call in the elect in a new dispensation. They deny the doctrine of the Trinity and a vicarious atonement, as also the resurrection of the body."—Burder's History of All Religions, p. 502.

9. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 49.

10. Elders Rigdon and Pratt fulfilled the mission appointed to them by this revelation. In company with Leman Copley, who at his own earnest request had been ordained to the Priesthood, (John Whitmer's History of the Church, p. 20) they visited the settlement of the Shakers, near Cleveland, Ohio, and preached the Gospel to them; "but," writes Elder Pratt, "they utterly refused to hear or obey the Gospel."—Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, p. 65 (first ed.) John Whitmer also remarks upon this incident: "The above-named brethren went and proclaimed [the Gospel] according to the revelation given them, but the Shakers hearkened not to their words and received not the Gospel at that time, for they are bound in tradition and priestcraft; and thus they are led away with foolish and vain imaginations."—John Whitmer's History of the Church. Ms. p. 20.

11. This is a very brief allusion to very important and strange phenomena. Elder Parley P. Pratt, in his Autobiography, has a much more extended account of the spirit manifestations which called forth the revelation upon the subject. "As I went forth among the different branches," he says, alluding to the branches in the vicinity of Kirtland, "some very strange spiritual operations were manifested, which were disgusting rather than edifying. Some persons would seem to swoon away and make unseemly gestures, and be drawn or disfigured in their countenances. Others would fall into ecstasies and be drawn into contortions, cramp, fits etc. Others would seem to have visions, and revelations, which were not edifying and which were not congenial to the doctrine and spirit of the Gospel. In short, a false and lying spirit seemed to be creeping into the Church. All these things were new and strange to me and had originated in the Church during our absence, and previous to the arrival of President Joseph Smith from New York. Feeling our weakness and inexperience, and lest we should err in judgment concerning these spiritual phenomena, myself, John Murdock, and several other Elders, went to Joseph smith and asked him to inquire of the Lord concerning these spirits or manifestations. After we had joined in prayer in his translating room, he dictated in our presence the following revelation." This is the revelation given in the text above on spiritual manifestations.

12. Doctrine and Covenants, sec 50.

13. Elder Parley P. Pratt; in his Autobiography, referring to this revelation, for he was present when it was given—indeed it was obtained chiefly at his own and Elder John Murdock's solicitation—takes occasion to relate how this and other revelations were given through the Prophet. "Each sentence," says he, "was uttered slowly and very distinctly, and with a pause between each, sufficiently long for it to be recorded by an ordinary writer in long hand. This was the manner in which all his written revelations were dictated and written. There was never any hesitation, reviewing, or reading back, in order to keep the run of the subject; neither did any of these communications undergo revisions, interlinings or corrections. As he dictated them so they stood, so far as I have witnessed; and I was present to witness the dictation of several communications of several pages each."—Aut. Parley P. Pratt, pp. 65-66. This statement of Elder Pratt's is true in a general way, and valuable as a description of the manner in which revelations were dictated by the Prophet; and needs modifying only to the extent of saying that some of the early revelations first published in the "Book of Commandments," in 1833, were revised by the Prophet himself in the way of correcting errors made by the scribes and publishers; and some additional clauses were inserted to throw increased light upon the subjects treated in the revelations and paragraphs added, to make the principles or instructions apply to officers not in the Church at the time some of the earlier revelations were given. The addition of verses, 65, 66 and 67 in sec. 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants, is an example.

14. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 51.

{175}

Chapter XV.

The Important Conference of June 3rd-6th—Arrival of the Elders in Western Missouri.

Important Conference of June 3rd-6th, at Kirtland.

On the 3rd[1] of June, the Elders from the various parts of the country where they were laboring, came in; and the conference before appointed, convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power to the most perfect satisfaction of the Saints. The man of sin was revealed,[2] and the authority of the {176} Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders.[3] It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required.[4] Great harmony prevailed; several were ordained; faith was strengthened; and humility, so necessary for the {177} blessing of God to follow prayer, characterized the Saints.

The next day, as a kind continuation of this great work of the last days, I received the following:

Revelation, given June, 1831.[5]

1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the Elders whom He hath called and chosen in these last days, by the voice of His Spirit,

2. Saying, I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant.

3. Wherefore, verily I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon take their journey as soon as preparations can be made to leave their homes, and journey to the land of Missouri.

4. And inasmuch as they are faithful unto me, it shall be made known unto them what they shall do;

5. And it shall also, inasmuch as they are faithful, be made known unto them the land of your inheritance.

6. And inasmuch as they are not faithful, they shall be cut off, even as I will, as seemeth me good.

7. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Lyman Wight, and my servant John Corrill take their journey speedily;

8. And also my servant John Murdock, and my servant Hyrum Smith, take their journey unto the same place by the way of Detroit.

9. And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the Prophets and Apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith.

10. Let them go two by two, and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by water, and the laying on of the hands by the water's side;

11. For thus saith the Lord, I will cut my work short in righteousness, for the days come that I will send forth judgment unto victory.

12. And let my servant Lyman Wight beware, for Satan desireth to sift him as chaff.

13. And behold, he that is faithful shall be made ruler over many things.

14. And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye {178} may not be deceived, for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations;

15. Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances.

16. He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances.

17. And again, he that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom, according to the revelations and truths which I have given you.

18. And again, he that is overcome and bringeth not forth fruits, even according to this pattern, is not of me;

19. Wherefore, by this pattern ye shall know the spirits in all cases under the whole heavens.

20. And the days have come, according to men's faith it shall be done unto them.

21. Behold, this commandment is given unto all the Elders whom I have chosen.

22. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Thomas B. Marsh, and my servant Ezra Thayre, take their journey also, preaching the word by the way unto this same land.

23. And again, let my servant Isaac Morley, and my servant Ezra Booth take their journey, also preaching the word by the way unto this same land.

24. And again, let my servants Edward Partridge and Martin Harris take their journey with my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun.,

25. Let my servants David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock also take their journey and preach by the way unto this same land.

26. And let my servants Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt take their journey and preach by the way, even unto this same land.

27. And let my servants Solomon Hancock and Simeon Carter also take their journey unto this same land, and preach by the way.

28. Let my servants Edson Fuller and Jacob Scott also take their journey.

29. Let my servants Levi W. Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin also take their journey.

30. Let my servants Reynolds Cahoon and Samuel H. Smith also take their journey.

31. Let my servants Wheeler Baldwin and William Carter also take their journey.

32. And let my servants Newel Knight and Selah J. Griffin, both be ordained, and also take their journey;

33. Yea, verily, I say, let all these take their journey unto one place, {179} in their several courses, and one man shall not build upon another's foundation, neither journey in another's track.

34. He that is faithful, the same shall be kept and blessed with much fruit.

35. And again, I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Wakefield and Solomon Humphrey take their journey into the eastern lands;

36. Let them labor with their families, declaring none other things than the Prophets and Apostles, that which they have seen and heard, and most assuredly believe, that the prophecies may be fulfilled.

37. In consequence of transgression, let that which was bestowed upon Heman Bassett be taken from him, and placed upon the head of Simonds Ryder.

38. And again, verily I say unto you, let Jared Carter be ordained a Priest, and also George James be ordained a Priest.

39. Let the residue of the Elders watch over the Churches, and declare the word in the regions round about them: and let them labor with their own hands that there be no idolatry nor wickedness practiced.

40. And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.

41. And again, let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, and Edward Partridge, take with them a recommend from the Church. And let there be one obtained for my servant Oliver Cowdery also;

42. And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful, ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.

43. But, behold, I the Lord, will hasten the city in its time, and will crown the faithful with joy and with rejoicing.

44. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I will lift them up at the last day. Even so. Amen.

Shortly after the foregoing was received, at the request of Algernon Sidney Gilbert I inquired, and obtained the following:

Revelation, given June, 1831.[6]

1. Behold, I say unto you my servant Sidney Gilbert, that I have heard your prayers, and you have called upon me that it should be made known unto you of the Lord your God, concerning your calling {180} and election in the Church, which I, the Lord, have raised up in these last days.

2. Behold, I, the Lord, who was crucified for the sins of the world, give unto you a commandment that you shall forsake the world.

3. Take upon you mine ordination, even that of an Elder, to preach faith and repentance, and remission of sins, according to my word, and the reception of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands.

4. And also to be an agent unto this Church in the place which shall be appointed by the Bishop, according to commandments which shall be given hereafter.

5. And again, verily I say unto you, you shall take your journey with my servants Joseph Smith, Jun, and Sidney Rigdon.

6. Behold these are the first ordinances which you shall receive, and the residue shall be made known in a time to come, according to your labor in my vineyard.

7. And again, I would that ye should learn that he only is saved who endureth unto the end. Even so. Amen.

Difficulty in the Thompson Branch.

The branch of the Church in Thompson, on account of breaking the covenant,[7] and not knowing what to do, they sent in Newel Knight and other Elders, to ask me to inquire of the Lord for them; which I did, and received the following:

{181} Revelation to Newel Knight, given at Kirtland, June, 1831. [8]

1. Behold, thus saith the Lord, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, even he who was crucified for the sins of the world.

2. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, my servant, Newel Knight, you shall stand fast in the office wherewith I have appointed you;

3. And if your brethren desire to escape their enemies, let them repent of all their sins, and become truly humble before me and contrite;

4. And as the covenant which they made unto me has been broken, even so it has become void and of none effect;

5. And wo to him by whom this offense cometh, for it had been better for him that he had been drowned in the depth of the sea;

6. But blessed are they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment, for they shall obtain mercy.

7. Wherefore, go to now and flee the land, lest your enemies come upon you; and take your journey, and appoint whom you will to be your leader, and to pay monies for you.[9]

8. And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.

9. And after you have done journeying, behold, I say unto you, seek ye a living like unto men, until I prepare a place for you,

10. And again, be patient in tribulation until I come; and, behold, I came quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls. Even so. Amen.

The Elders now began to go to the western country, two and two, according to the word of the Lord.

Report of Oliver Cowdery on Conditions in Western Missouri.

From Parley P. Pratt, who during the spring had returned from his mission of last fall, we had verbal {182} information; and from letters from the still remaining Elders we had written intelligence; and as the mission to Western Missouri and the gathering of the Saints to that place was the most important subject which then engrossed the attention of the Church, I will here insert the copy of a letter, received about this time from that section, dated at Kaw Township, Missouri, May 7, 1831.

Our Dearly Beloved Brethren:—I have nothing particular to write as concerning the Lamanites; because of a short journey which I have just returned from, and in consequence of which I have not written to you since the 16th of last month. Brother Ziba Peterson and myself went into the county east, which is Lafayette, about forty miles; and, in the name of Jesus, we called on the people to repent, many of whom are, I believe, earnestly searching for truth, and if sincerely, I pray they may find that precious treasure, for it seems to be wholly fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter.

The letter we received from you, informed us that the opposition was great against you. Now, our beloved brethren, we verily believe that we also can rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer shame for His name; for almost the whole country, consisting of Universalists, Atheists, Deists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and other professed Christians, priests and people; with all the devils from the infernal pit are united, and foaming out their own shame [against us]. God forbid that I should bring a railing accusation against them, for vengeance belongeth to Him who is able to repay; and herein, brethren, we confide.

I am lately informed of another tribe of Lamanites, who have abundance of flocks of the best kinds of sheep and cattle; and they manufacture blankets of a superior quality. The tribe is very numerous; they live three hundred miles west of Santa Fe, and are called Navashoes.[10] Why I mention this tribe is because I feel under obligations to communicate to my brethren any information concerning the Lamanites that I meet with in my labors and travels, believing, as I do, that much is expected from me in the cause of our Lord; and doubting not that I am daily remembered before the throne of the Most High by all my brethren, as well by those who have not seen my face in the flesh as by those who have.

We begin to expect our brother Parley P. Pratt soon; we have heard from him only when he was at St. Louis. We are all well, bless the Lord; {183} and preach the Gospel we will, if earth and hell oppose our way—for we dwell in the midst of scorpions—and in Jesus we trust. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Oliver Cowdery.

P. S.—I beseech Brother Whitney to remember and write, and direct to me, Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.[11]

{184} About the middle of June, while we were preparing for our journey to Missouri, William W. Phelps and {185} his family arrived among us—"to do the will of the Lord," he said: so I inquired of the Lord concerning him and received the following:

Revelation given June, 1831.[12]

1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant William, yea, even the Lord of the whole earth, thou art called and chosen, and after thou hast been baptized by water, which, if you do with an eye single to my glory, you shall have a remission of your sins and a reception of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands;

2. And then thou shalt be ordained by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., to be an Elder unto this Church, to preach repentance and remission of sins by way of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the living God;

3. And on whomsoever you shall lay your hands, if they are contrite before me, you shall have power to give the Holy Spirit.

4. And again, you shall be ordained to assist my servant Oliver Cowdery to do the work of printing, and of selecting, and writing books for schools in this Church, that little children also may receive instruction before me as is pleasing unto me.

{186} 5. And again, verily I say unto you, for this cause ye shall take your journey with my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that you may be planted in the land of your inheritance to do this work.

6. And again, let my servant Joseph Coe also take his journey with them. The residue shall be made known hereafter, even as I will. Amen.[13]

Marsh and Thayre Separated as Missionary Companions.

Soon after I received the foregoing, Elder Thomas B. Marsh came to inquire what he should do; as Elder Ezra Thayre, his yoke-fellow in the ministry, could not get ready to start on his mission as soon as he (Marsh) would; and I inquired of the Lord, and received the following:

Revelation, given at Kirtland, 1831.[14]

1. Hearken, O ye people who profess my name, saith the Lord your God, for behold, mine anger is kindled against the rebellious, and they shall know mine arm and mine indignation, in the day of visitation and of wrath upon the nations.

2. And he that will not take up his cross and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved.

3. Behold, I, the Lord, command, and he that will not obey, shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded, and the commandment is broken;

4. Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord.

5. Wherefore, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre, and give a new commandment unto my servant Thomas, that he shall take up his journey, speedily to the land of Missouri, and my servant Selah J. Griffin shall also go with him.

6. For behold, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Selah J. Griffin and Newel Knight, in consequence of the stiffneckedness of my people which are in Thompson, and their rebellions;

{187} 7. Wherefore, let my servant Newel Knight remain with them, and as many as will go may go, that are contrite before me, and be led by him to the land which I have appointed.

8. And again, verily I say unto you, that my servant Ezra Thayre must repent of his pride, and of his selfishness, and obey the former commandment which I have given him concerning the place upon which he lives.

9. And if he will do this, as there shall be no divisions made upon the land, he shall be appointed still to go to the land of Missouri;

10. Otherwise he shall receive the money which he has paid; and shall leave the place, and shall be cut off out of my Church, saith the Lord God of hosts;

11. And though the heaven and the earth pass away, these words shall not pass away, but shall be fulfilled.

12. And if my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., must needs pay the money, behold, I, the Lord, will pay it unto him again in the land of Missouri, that those of whom he shall receive may be rewarded again according to that which they do;

13. For according to that which they do, they shall receive, even in lands for their inheritance.

14. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my people, you have many things to do and to repent of; for behold, your sins have come up unto me, and are not pardoned, because you seek to counsel in your own ways.

15. And your hearts are not satisfied. And ye obey not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.

16. Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!

17. Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men's goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!

18. But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.

19. For behold, the Lord shall come, and His recompense shall be with him, and He shall reward every man, and the poor shall rejoice;

20. And their generations shall inherit the earth from generation to {188} generation, for ever and ever. And now I make an end of speaking unto you. Even so. Amen.[15]

The Departure of the Prophet and Company for Missouri.

On the 19th of June, in company with Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Joseph Coe, Algernon S. Gilbert and his wife, I started from Kirtland, Ohio, for the land of Missouri, agreeable to the commandment before received, wherein it was promised that if we were faithful, the land of our inheritance, even the place for the city of the New Jerusalem, should be revealed. We went by wagon, canal boats, and stages to Cincinnati, where I had an interview with the Rev. Walter Scott, one of the founders of the Campbellites, or Newlight church.[16] Before the close of our interview, he manifested one of the bitterest spirits against the doctrine of the New Testament (that "these signs shall follow them that believe," as recorded in Mark the 16th chapter,) that I ever witnessed among men. We left Cincinnati in a steamer, and landed at Louisville, Kentucky, where we were detained three days in waiting for a steamer to convey us to St. Louis. At St. Louis, myself, Brothers Harris, Phelps, Partridge and Coe, went by land on foot to Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, where we arrived about the middle of July, and the rest of the company came by water a few days later.

Treatment by the Way.

Notwithstanding the corruptions and abominations of the times, and the evil spirit manifested towards us on account of our belief in the Book of Mormon, at many places and among various persons, yet the Lord continued His watchful care and {189} loving kindness to us day by day; and we made it a rule wherever there was an opportunity, to read a chapter in the Bible, and pray; and these seasons of worship gave us great consolation.

Arrival in Missouri. Reflections on State of Society in Missouri. Questions and the Answer by Revelation.

The meeting of our brethren, who had long awaited our arrival, was a glorious one, and moistened with many tears. It seemed good and pleasant for brethren to meet together in unity. But our reflections were many, coming as we had from a highly cultivated state of society in the east, and standing now upon the confines or western limits of the United States, and looking into the vast wilderness of those that sat in darkness; how natural it was to observe the degradation, leanness of intellect, ferocity, and jealousy of a people that were nearly a century behind the times, and to feel for those who roamed about without the benefit of civilization, refinement, or religion; yea, and exclaim in the language of the Prophets: "When will the wilderness blossom as the rose? When will Zion be built up in her glory, and where will Thy temple stand, unto which all nations shall come in the last days?" Our anxiety was soon relieved by receiving the following:

Revelation, given in Zion, July, 1831.[17]

1. Hearken, O ye Elders of my Church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the Saints:

2. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.

3. And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and the spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court house.

4. Wherefore it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the Saints; and also every tract lying westward even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile.

{190} 5. And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance.

6. And let my servant Sidney Gilbert stand in the office to which I have appointed him, to receive monies, to be an agent unto the Church, to buy land in all the regions round about, inasmuch as can be done in righteousness, and as wisdom shall direct.

7. And let my servant Edward Partridge, stand in the office to which I have appointed him, and divide unto the Saints their inheritance, even as I have commanded; and also those whom he has appointed to assist him.

8. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Sidney Gilbert plant himself in this place, and establish a store, that he may sell goods without fraud, that he may obtain money to buy lands for the good of the Saints, and that he may obtain whatsoever things the disciples may need to plant them in their inheritance.

9. And also let my servant Sidney Gilbert obtain a license—(behold here is wisdom, and whoso readeth let him understand)—that he may send goods also unto the people, even by whom he will, as clerks employed in his service.

10. And thus provide for my Saints, that my Gospel may be preached unto those who sit in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death.

11. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William W. Phelps be planted in this place, and be established as a printer unto the Church;

12. And lo, if the world receive his writings—(behold here is wisdom)—let him obtain whatsoever he can obtain in righteousness, for the good of the Saints.

13. And let my servant Oliver Cowdery assist him, even as I have commanded, in whatsoever place I shall appoint unto him, to copy, and to correct, and select, that all things may be right before me, as it shall be proved by the Spirit through him.

14. And thus let those of whom I have spoken be planted in the land of Zion, as speedily as can be, with their families, to do those things even as I have spoken.

15. And now concerning the gathering: Let the Bishop and the agent make preparations for those families which have been commanded to come to this land, as soon as possible, and plant them in their inheritance.

16. And unto the residue of both Elders and members further directions shall be given hereafter. Even so. Amen.

The First Sabbath in Zion.

The first Sabbath after our arrival in Jackson county, Brother W. W. Phelps preached to a western audience over the boundary of the United States, wherein were present specimens of all the families {191} of the earth; Shem, Ham and Japheth; several of the Lamanites or Indians—representative of Shem; quite a respectable number of negroes—descendants of Ham; and the balance was made up of citizens of the surrounding country, and fully represented themselves as pioneers of the West. At this meeting two were baptized, who had previously believed in the fullness of the Gospel.

Arrival of the Colesville Branch.

During this week the Colesville branch, referred to in the latter part of the last revelation,[18] and Sidney Rigdon, Sidney Gilbert and wife and Elders Morley and Booth, arrived. I received the following:

Revelation, given in Zion, August, 1831.[19]

1. Hearken, O ye Elders of my Church, and give ear to my word, and learn of me what I will concerning you, and also concerning this land unto which I have sent you:

2. For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

3. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

4. For after much tribulation cometh the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

5. Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow.

6. Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come;

7. And also that you might be honored of laying the foundation, and of bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand;

8. And also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor; yea, a feast of fat things, of wine on the lees well refined, that the earth may know that the mouths of the Prophets shall not fail;

9. Yea a supper of the house of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited.

10. Firstly, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble;

{192} 11. And after that cometh the day of my power: then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come.

12. Behold, I, the Lord, have spoken it.

13. And that the testimony might go forth from Zion, yea, from the mouth of the city of the heritage of God:

14. Yea, for this cause I have sent you hither, and have selected my servant Edward Partridge, and have appointed unto him his mission in this land;

15. But if he repent not of his sins, which are unbelief and blindness of heart, let him take heed lest he fall.

16. Behold his mission is given unto him, and it shall not be given again.

17. And whoso standeth in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto His children;

18. And to judge His people by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the Prophets of God;

19. For verily I say unto you, my law shall be kept on this land.

20. Let no man think he is ruler, but let God rule him that judgeth, according to the counsel of His own will; or, in other words, him that counseleth or sitteth upon the judgment seat.

21. Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land:

22. Wherefore be subject to the powers that be, until He reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under His feet.

23. Behold, the laws which ye have received from my hand are the laws of the Church, and in this light ye shall hold them forth. Behold, here is wisdom.

24. And now as I spake concerning my servant Edward Partridge, this land is the land of his residence, and those whom he has appointed for his counselors. And also the land of the residence of him whom I have appointed to keep my store-house;

25. Wherefore let them bring their families to this land, as they shall counsel between themselves and me.

26. For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things, for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

27. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

{193} 28. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

29. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

30. Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?

31. Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?

32. I command and men obey not, I revoke and they receive not the blessing;

33. Then they say in their hearts, this is not the work of the Lord, for His promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not above.

34. And now I give unto you further directions concerning this land.

35. It is wisdom in me that my servant Martin Harris should be an example unto the Church, in laying his monies before the Bishop of the Church.

36. And also, this is a law unto every man that cometh unto this land to receive an inheritance; and he shall do with his monies according as the law directs.

37. And it is wisdom also, that there should be lands purchased in Independence, for the place of the store-house, and also for the house of the printing.

38. And other directions concerning my servant Martin Harris shall be given him of the Spirit, that he may receive his inheritance as seemeth him good.

39. And let him repent of his sins, for he seeketh the praise of the world.

40. And also let my servant William W. Phelps stand in the office which I have appointed him, and receive his inheritance in the land;

41. And also he hath need to repent, for I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me.

42. Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

43. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins. Behold he will confess them and forsake them.

44. And now, verily, I say concerning the residue of the Elders of my Church, the time has not yet come, for many years, for them to receive their inheritance in this land—except they desire it through the prayer of faith—only as it shall be appointed unto them of the Lord.

{194} 45. For, behold, they shall push the people together from the ends of the earth;

46. Wherefore, assemble yourselves together; and they who are not appointed to stay in this land, let them preach the Gospel in the regions round about, and after that let them return to their homes.

47. Let them preach by the way, and bear testimony of the truth in all places, and call upon the rich, the high and the low, and the poor to repent;

48. And let them build up churches, inasmuch as the inhabitants of the earth will repent.

49. And let there be an agent appointed by the voice of the Church, unto the church in Ohio, to receive monies to purchase lands in Zion.

50. And I give unto my servant, Sidney Rigdon, a commandment that he shall write a description of the land of Zion, and a statement of the will of God, as it shall be made known by the Spirit unto him;

51. And an epistle and subscription, to be presented unto all the churches to obtain monies, to be put into the hands of the Bishop, of himself or the agent, as seemeth him good or as he shall direct, to purchase lands for an inheritance for the children of God.

52. For, behold, verily I say unto you, the Lord willeth that the disciples, and the children of men should open their hearts, even to purchase this whole region of country, as soon as the time will permit.

53. Behold, here is wisdom. Let them do this lest they receive none inheritance, save it be by the shedding of blood.

54. And again, inasmuch as there is land obtained, let there be workmen sent forth of all kinds unto this land, to labor for the saints of God.

55. Let all these things be done in order; and let the privileges of the lands be made known from time to time, by the Bishop or the agent of the Church;

56. And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight, but let it be done as it shall be counseled by the Elders of the Church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time.

57. And let my servant Sidney Rigdon consecrate and dedicate this land, and the spot for the temple unto the Lord.

58. And let a conference meeting be called, and after that let my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun., return, and also Oliver Cowdery with them, to accomplish the residue of the work which I have appointed unto them in their own land, and the residue as shall be ruled by the conferences.

59. And let no man return from this land, except he bear record by the way of that which he knows and most assuredly believes.

{195} 60. Let that which has been bestowed upon Ziba Peterson be taken from him; and let him stand as a member in this Church, and labor his own hands, with the brethren until he is sufficiently chastened for all his sins, for he confesseth them not, and he thinketh to hide them.

61. Let the residue of the Elders of this Church, who are coming to this land, some of whom are exceedingly blessed even above measure, also hold a conference upon this land.

62. And let my servant Edward Partridge direct the conference which shall be held by them.

63. And let them also return, preaching the Gospel by the way, bearing record of the things which are revealed unto them;

64. For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the utmost parts of the earth—the Gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe.

65. And behold the Son of man cometh. Amen.

Footnotes

1. This date in the Prophet's narrative is given the 6th of June, but the minutes of the conference in the Far West Record are dated "June 3rd." In John Whitmer's History of the Church it is written: "June 3rd 1831, a general conference was called, and a blessing promised if the Elders were faithful and humble before Him [i. e. the Lord]. Therefore the Elders assembled from the east and from the west, from the north and the south, and also many members." (p. 21.) Whitmer, however, speaks of the conference as continuing several days (p. 22); and then under date of "the 6th of June" states that the revelation was given which Joseph, the Prophet, in the text of his History above, speaks of as having been given the day following the close of the conference. The 3rd of June, 1831, fell upon Friday, so that the great probability is that this important conference commenced on Friday and continued through Saturday and Sunday; and then before the Elders dispersed on Monday, the 6th, the revelation alluded to by the Prophet, was given. Previous conferences of a general character usually occupied three days, See p. 118, and hence it is likely that this one did.

2. The manner in which the man of sin was revealed and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood manifested, is related by John Whitmer, in his History of the Church (ch. 7). After giving the names of those who were ordained High Priests the day on which the two powers were manifested, he says: "Joseph Smith, Jun., prophesied the day previous that the man of sin would be revealed. While the Lord poured out His Spirit upon His servants, the devil took a notion to make known his power. He bound Harvey Whitlock and John Murdock so that they could not speak, and others were affected but the Lord showed to Joseph, the seer, the design of the thing; he commanded the devil in the name of Christ, and he departed, to our joy and comfort."

Parley P. Pratt also alludes to this subject in his Autobiography: "In this conference much instruction was given by President Smith, who spoke in great power, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and the spirit of power and of testimony rested down upon the Elders in a marvelous manner. Here also were some strange manifestations of false spirits, which were immediately rebuked." (p. 72.)

3. A misapprehension has arisen in the minds of some respecting the statement—"The authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders." It has been supposed that this passage meant that the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood was now for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation. This of course is an error, since even before the Church was organized, the Apostleship, the highest authority in the Melchizedek Priesthood, was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and very probably upon David Whitmer also (See pp. 40-42, note.) The Prophet does not mean that the Melchizedek Priesthood was given for the first time in the Church. It was at this conference, however, that the special office of High Priest was for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation, except in so far as Apostles are also High Priests (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 84:63); and of course as there were men who had been ordained to the apostleship before this conference of June, 1831, in that manner there had been High Priests in the Church, but not otherwise.

4. In addition to the spiritual manifestations already mentioned as having occurred at this conference of June 3rd-6th, it should be said that, according to John Whitmer's History of the Church (ch. 5): "The Spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph in an unusual manner, and he prophesied that John the Revelator was then among the Ten Tribes of Israel who had been led away by Salmanasser, king of Assyria, to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion, to again possess the land of their fathers. He prophesied many more things that I have not written. After he had prophesied he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight and ordained him to the High Priesthood [i. e. ordained him a High Priest], after the holy order of God. And the Spirit fell upon Lyman, and he prophesied concerning the coming of Christ. He said that there were some in the congregation that should live until the Savior should descend from heaven with a shout, with all the holy angels with Him. He said the coming of the Savior should be like the sun rising in the east, and will cover the whole earth. So with the coming of the Son of Man; yea, He will appear in His brightness and consume all [the wicked] before Him; and the hills will be laid low, and the valleys be exalted, and the crooked be made straight, and the rough smooth. And some of my brethren shall suffer martyrdom for the sake of the religion of Jesus Christ, and seal their testimony of Jesus Christ, and seal their testimony of Jesus with their blood. He saw the heavens opened and the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father, making intercession for his brethren, the Saints. He said that God would work a work in these last days that tongue cannot express and the mind is not capable to conceive. The glory of the Lord shone around."

"The congregation at this conference number two thousand souls."—Cannon's Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, p. 113.

This was the fourth general conference of the Church, the others were held on the 9th of June, 1830; the 26th of September, 1830; and the 2nd of January, 1831, respectively; and all at Fayette, Seneca County, New York.

5. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 52.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 53.

7. It is difficult to determine with exactness in what the transgressions of the Saints at Thompson consisted; but it is evident that selfishness and rebellion were at the bottom of their trouble, and that Leman Copley and Ezra Thayre were immediately concerned in it. The saints comprising the Colesville branch, when they arrived at the gathering place, in Ohio, were advised to remain together and were settled at Thompson, a place in the vicinity of Kirtland. On their arrival Bishop Edward Partridge urged the Prophet Joseph to inquire of the Lord concerning the manner of settling them, and providing for them. Whereupon the Prophet inquired of the Lord and received the revelation found on page 173. It will be seen from that revelation that the saints of the Colesville branch were to be organized under the law of consecration and stewardship. That is, in brief, the Saints were to make a consecration of whatsoever things they possessed unto the Bishop, and then each man receive from the Bishop a stewardship. Every man was to be equal in his stewardship, according to his family, his circumstances, and his needs. For details in the matter the reader is referred to the revelation itself. It is evident that some of the brethren already living at Thompson, had agreed to enter into the law of consecration and stewardship with the Saints from Colesville; and that afterwards they broke this covenant. Among these were Leman Copley and Ezra Thayre. "A man by the name of Copley," says Newel Knight in his journal, "had a considerable tract of land there [in Thompson] which he offered to let the saints occupy. Consequently a contract was agreed upon, and we commenced work in good faith. But in a short time Copley broke the engagement, and I went to Kirtland to see Brother Joseph," etc. ("Scraps of Biography," in which is published Newel Knight's journal, ch. vi.) Of this matter, John Whitmer, then the Church Historian, writes: "At this time [the early part of June] the Church at Thompson, Ohio, was involved in difficulty because of the rebellion of Leman Copley, who would not do as he had previously agreed, which thing confused the whole Church, and finally the Lord spake through Joseph the Prophet, saying:" He then quotes the revelation to Newel Knight given in the text above.—(John Whitmer's History of the Church chap. viii). For Ezra Thayre's part in the proceedings at Thompson, see the revelation given to Thomas B. Marsh, pp. 186, 187.

8. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 54.

9. "The Church at Thompson," says John Whitmer, "made all possible haste to leave for Missouri, and left, and none of their enemies harmed them."—John Whitmer's History of the Church, chap. 8. Newel Knight was appointed the leader of this company, which was made up of the Colesville branch, and under his leadership they made the entire journey from Thompson to Missouri.

10. It was doubtless the Navajo Indians, whose reservation is now located in northeastern Arizona of whom Oliver heard.

11. The Mission to the Lamanites—As the "mission to the Lamanites" is a very prominent event in early Church history, it is proper that the labors of the brethren engaged in at should be spoken of more fully than appears anywhere in the Prophet's narrative, and at this point, following the letter of Oliver Cowdery, seems as appropriate a place as will be found to speak of it. It has already been said that the brethren of the mission called upon the Cattaraugus tribe, near Buffalo, New York, (p. 120 note). After leaving Kirtland, on their journey westward, they visited the Wyandot tribe of Indians near Sandusky, Ohio, with whom they spent several days. "We were well received," writes Elder Parley P. Pratt, "and had an opportunity of laying before them the record of their forefathers, which we did. They rejoiced in the tidings, bid us Godspeed, and desired us to write to them in relation to our success among the tribes further west, who had already removed to the Indian territory, where these expected soon to go."—Aut. P. P. Pratt, p. 54. On arriving at Independence two of the company secured employment, while the other three crossed the frontier and began their labors among the Indians. They visited the Shawnees, spending one night with them, and the next day crossed the Kansas river and began their labors among the Delawares. They sought an interview with the chief of the Delawares, known among the whites as Chief Anderson. He was the grand sachem of ten nations or tribes, and consequently possessed of large influence. He had always opposed the introduction of missionaries among his people, and therefore did not at first extend a very hearty welcome to the brethren. However, through an interpreter, the brethren made known their errand and explained to him the Book of Mormon and the information it contained for his people. They asked to be heard before a full council of his nation, a proposition which the chief took under consideration until the next day. Next morning the conversation with the Delaware Chief was renewed, but he was not inclined at first to call the council. But as he began to understand better the nature of the Book of Mormon, he changed his mind and asked the brethren to suspend their conversation until the council could be assembled. A runner was dispatched to the tribes, and in about an hour forty leading men were assembled and seated in grave silence to hear the message concerning the book of their forefathers. At the request of the chief Oliver Cowdery in substance delivered the following address:

Oliver Cowdery's Speech to the Delawares.

"Aged Chief, and Venerable Council of the Delaware nation: we are glad of this opportunity to address you as our red brethren and friends. We have traveled a long from towards the rising sun to bring you glad news; We have traveled the wilderness, crossed the deep and wide rivers, and waded in the deep snows, and in the face of the storms of winter, to communicate to you great knowledge which has lately come to oar ears and hearts and which will do the red man good as well as the pale face.

"Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea—from the rising to the setting sun; the whole land was theirs; the Great Spirit gave it to them, and no pale faces dwelt among them. But now they are few in numbers; their possessions are small, and the pale faces are many.

"Thousands of moons ago, when the red men's forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land, the Great Spirit talked with them, and revealed His law and His will, and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets. This they wrote in a Book, together with their history and the things which should befall their children in the latter days.

"This Book was written on plates of gold and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations.

"It was then that the people prospered and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth, built buildings and cities and abounded in all good things, as the pale faces now do.

"But they became wicked; they killed one another and shed much blood; they killed their prophets and wise men, and sought to destroy the Book. The Great Spirit became angry and would speak to them no more; they had no more good and wise dreams; no more visions, no more angels sent among them by the Great Spirit; and the Lord commanded Mormon and Moroni, their last wise men and prophets to hide the Book in the earth, that it might be preserved in safety and be found and made known in the latter-day to the pale faces who should possess the land, that they might again make it known to the red men, in order to restore them to the knowledge of the will of the Great Spirit and to His favor. And if the red men would then receive this Book and learn the things written in it and do according thereunto, they should be restored to all their rights and privileges; should cease to fight and kill one another; should become one people; cultivate the earth in peace, in common with the pale faces who were willing to believe and obey the same Book and be good men and live in peace.

"Then should the red men become great and have plenty to eat and good clothes to wear, and should be in favor with the Great Spirit and be His children, while He would be their Great Father and talk with them, and raise up prophets and wise and good men among them again who should teach them many things.

"This Book, which contained these things, was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the state of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario county.

"In that neighborhood there lived a young man named Joseph Smith, who prayed to the Great Spirit much, in order that he might know the truth, and the Great Spirit sent an angel to him and told him where this Book was hid by Moroni, and commanded him to go and get it. He accordingly went to the place and dug in the earth and found the Book written on golden plates.

"But it was written in the language of the forefathers of the red men; therefore this young man, being a pale face, could not understand it; but the angel told him and showed him and gave him knowledge of the language and how to interpret the Book. So he interpreted it into the language of the pale faces, and wrote it on paper and caused it to be printed, and published thousands of copies of it among them, and then sent us to the red men to bring some copies of it to them, and to tell them this news. So we have now come from him, and here is a copy of the Book, which we now present to our red friend, the Chief of the Delawares, which we hope he will cause to be read and known among his tribe; it will do them good."

We then presented him with a Book of Mormon.

There was a pause in the council and some conversation in their own language, after which the chief made the following reply;

The Chief's Reply.

"We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this new news concerning the Book of our forefathers; it makes us glad in here,"—placing his hand on his heart. "It is now winter; we are new settlers in this place; the snow is deep; our cattle and horses are dying; our wigwams are poor; we have much to do in the spring—to build houses and fence and make farms; but we will build a council house and meet together, and you shall read to us and teach us more concerning the Book of our fathers and the will of the Great Spirit."

Elder Parley P. Pratt in his report of the matter adds: "We continued for several days to instruct the old Chief and many of his tribe. The interest became more and more intense on their part, from day to day, until at length nearly the whole tribe began to feel a spirit of inquiry and excitement on the subject. We found several among them who could read, and to them we gave copies of the Book, explaining to them that it was the Book of their forefathers. Some began to rejoice exceedingly and took great pains to tell the news to others in their own language. The excitement now reached the frontier settlements in Missouri, and stirred up the jealousy and envy of the Indian agents and sectarian missionaries to that degree that we were soon ordered out of the Indian country as disturbers of the peace, and even threatened with the military in case of non-compliance. We accordingly departed from the Indian country and came over the line, and commenced laboring in Jackson county, Missouri, among the whites. We were well received and listened to by many, and some were baptized and added to the Church."

"Thus ended our first Indian mission, in which we had preached the Gospel in its fulness and distributed the record of their forefathers among three tribes, viz.: the Cattaraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N. Y.; the Wyandots, of Ohio; and the Delawares, west of Missouri."—Aut. P. P. Pratt, pp. 56-61.

12. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. lv.

13. William Wine Phelps, spoken of in the foregoing revelation, was born at Hanover, Morris county, New Jersey, February 17th, 1792. He was therefore in his fortieth year when he came to the Church at Kirtland, to cast in his lot with the Saints. It appears that before making his appearance at Kirtland, he had resided chiefly in the state of New York; and had been somewhat active in politics. He had been the editor of a partisan newspaper; and had aspired to be the candidate for the office of lieutenant-governor of New York. On the 28th of April, 1815, he married Sally Waterman, at Smyrna, Chenango county, New York.

14. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 56.

15. The phrase in the ninth verse of the foregoing revelation, "As there shall be no divisions made upon the land," undoubtedly has reference to the land upon which Ezra Thayre was living at Thompson, and which he had covenanted, under some arrangement for compensation, to grant to the Church, and which contract he attempted, at least, to repudiate.

16. Reference is made to both Mr. Alexander Campbell and Mr. Scott, and the founding of the "Campbellite" or "Disciples" sect in the biographical sketch of Sidney Rigdon; as also Rigdon's connection with that movement.—See pp. 120, 121.

17. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 57.

18. Verse fifteen.

19. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 58.

{196}

Chapter XVI.

The Founding of Zion.

The First Act in the Founding of Zion.

On the second day of August, I assisted the Colesville branch of the Church[1] to lay the first log, for a house, as a foundation of Zion in Kaw township, twelve miles west of Independence. The log was carried and placed by twelve men, in honor of the twelve tribes of Israel. At the same time, through prayer, the land of Zion was consecrated and dedicated by Elder Sidney Rigdon for the gathering of the Saints.[2] It was a season of joy to those present, and afforded a glimpse of the future, which time will yet unfold to the satisfaction of the faithful.

{197} Description of the Land of Zion.

As we had received a commandment for Elder Rigdon to write a description of the land of Zion, we sought for all the information necessary to accomplish so desirable an object. The country is unlike the timbered states of the East. As far as the eye can reach the beautiful rolling prairies lie spread out like a sea of meadows; and are decorated with a growth of flowers so gorgeous and grand as to exceed description; and nothing is more fruitful, or a richer stockholder in the blooming prairie than the honey bee. Only on the water courses is timber to be found. There in strips from one to three miles in width, and following faithfully the meanderings of the streams, it grows in luxuriant forests. The forests are a mixture of oak, hickory, black walnut, elm, ash, cherry, honey locust, mulberry, coffee bean, hackberry, boxelder, and bass wood; with the addition of cottonwood, butterwood, pecan, and soft and hard maple upon the bottoms. The shrubbery is beautiful, and consists in part of plums, grapes, crab apple, and persimmons.

Agricultural Products. Animals, Domestic and Wild.

The soil is rich and fertile; from three to ten feet deep, and generally composed of a rich black mold, intermingled with clay and sand. It yields in abundance, wheat, corn, sweet potatoes, cotton and many other common agricultural products. Horses, cattle and hogs, though of an inferior breed, are tolerably plentiful and seem nearly to raise themselves by grazing in the vast prairie range in summer, and feeding upon the bottoms in winter. The wild game is less plentiful of course where man has commenced the cultivation of the soil, than in the wild prairies. Buffalo, elk, deer, bear, wolves, beaver and many smaller animals here roam at pleasure. Turkeys, geese, swans, ducks, yea a variety of the feathered tribe, are among the rich abundance that graces the delightful regions of this goodly land—the heritage of the children of God.

{198} The Climate.

The season is mild and delightful nearly three quarters of the year, and as the land of Zion, situated at about equal distances from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as from the Alleghany and Rocky mountains, in the thirty-ninth degree of north latitude, and between the sixteenth and seventeenth degrees of west longitude,[3] it bids fair—when the curse is taken from the land—to become one of the most blessed places on the globe. The winters are milder than the Atlantic states of the same parallel of latitude, and the weather is more agreeable; so that were the virtues of the inhabitants only equal to the blessings of the Lord which He permits to crown the industry of those inhabitants, there would be a measure of the good things of life for the benefit of the Saints, full, pressed down, and running over even an hundred-fold. The disadvantages here, as in all new countries, are self-evident—lack of mills and schools; together with the natural privations and inconveniences which the hand of industry, the refinement of society, and the polish of science, overcome.

The Future Glory of Zion.

But all these impediments vanish when it is recollected what the Prophets have said concerning Zion in the last days; how the glory of Lebanon is to come upon her; the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of His sanctuary, that He may make the place of His feet glorious. Where for brass, He will bring gold; and for iron, He will bring silver; and for wood, brass; and for stones, iron; and where the feast of fat things will be given to the just; yea, when the splendor of the Lord is brought to our consideration for the good of His people, the calculations of men and the vain glory of the world vanish, and we exclaim, "Out of Zion the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."

{199} Dedication of the Temple Site.

On the third day of August, I proceeded to dedicate the spot for the Temple, a little west of Independence, and there were also present Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge, W. W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and Joseph Coe.

The 87th Psalm was read:—

His foundation is in the holy mountains. The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the Highest Himself shall establish her. The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

The scene was solemn and impressive.

First Conference in Zion.

On the 4th I attended the first conference in the land of Zion. It was held at the house of Brother Joshua Lewis, in Kaw township, in the presence of the Colesville branch of the Church. The Spirit of the Lord was there.

Death of Polly Knight.

On the 7th, I attended the funeral of Sister Polly Knight, the wife of Joseph Knight, Sen., this was the first death in the Church in this land, and I can say, a worthy member sleeps in Jesus till the resurrection.[4]

I also received the following:

{200} Revelation, given in Zion, August 7th, 1831.[5]

1. Behold, blessed, saith the Lord, are they who have come up unto this land with an eye single to my glory, according to my commandments;

2. For those that live shall inherit the earth, and those that die shall rest from all their labors, and their works shall follow them, and they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father, which I have prepared for them;

3. Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my Gospel, for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth; and it shall bring forth in its strength;

4. And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few; and with revelations in their time: they that are faithful and diligent before me.

5. Wherefore I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve Him.

6. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.

7. Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.

8. Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

9. And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;

10. For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;

11. Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times;

12. But remember that on this, the Lord's day, thou shalt offer thine oblations; and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.

13. And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart, that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.

14. Verily, this is fasting and prayer; or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.

15. And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances; not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance;

{201} 16. Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours: the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;

17. Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;

18. Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

19. Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

20. And it pleaseth God that He hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion:

21. And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is His wrath kindled, save those who confess not His hand in all things, and obey not His commandments.

22. Behold, this is according to the law and the prophets; wherefore, trouble me no more concerning this matter.

23. But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.

24. I, the Lord have spoken it, and the Spirit beareth record. Amen.

Directions for the Elders.

On the 8th, as there had been some inquiry among the Elders what they were to do, I received the following:

Revelation, given August, 1831.[6]

1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the Elders of His Church, who are to return speedily to the land from whence they came. Behold, it pleaseth me, that you have come up hither;

2. But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them.

3. And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have;

4. For I, the Lord, rule in the heavens above, and among the armies of the earth; and in the day when I shall make up my jewels, all men shall know what it is that bespeaketh the power of God.

{202} 5. But verily, I will speak unto you concerning your journey unto the land from whence you came. Let there be a craft made, or bought, as seemeth you good, it mattereth not unto me, and take your journey speedily for the place which is called St. Louis.

6. And from thence let my servants Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, take their journey for Cincinnati;

7. And in this place let them lift up their voice and declare my word with loud voices, without wrath or doubting, lifting up holy hands upon them. For I am able to make you holy, and your sins are forgiven you.

8. And let the residue take their journey from St. Louis, two by two, and preach the word, not in haste, among the congregations of the wicked, until they return to the churches from whence they came.

9. And all this for the good of the churches; for this intent have I sent them.

10. And let my servant Edward Partridge impart of the money which I have given him, a portion unto mine Elders who are commanded to return;

11. And he that is able, let him return by the way of the agent, and he that is not, of him it is not required.

12. And now I speak of the residue who are to come unto this land.

13. Behold, they have been sent to preach my Gospel among the congregations of the wicked; wherefore, I give unto them a commandment thus: Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.

14. And after thou hast come up unto the land of Zion, and hast proclaimed my word, thou shalt speedily return, proclaiming my word among the congregations of the wicked, not in haste, neither in wrath nor with strife;

15. And shake off the dust of thy feet against those who receive thee not; not in their presence, lest thou provoke them; but in secret, and wash thy feet, as a testimony against them in the day of judgment.

16. Behold, this is sufficient for you, and the will of Him who hath sent you.

17. And by the mouth of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., it shall be made known concerning Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery. The residue hereafter. Even so. Amen.

Prophet and Others Depart for Kirtland.

On the 9th, in company with ten Elders, I left Independence landing for Kirtland. We started down the river in canoes, and went the first day as far as Fort Osage, where we had an excellent wild turkey for supper. Nothing very important {203} occurred till the third day, when many of the dangers so common upon the western waters, manifested themselves; and after we had encamped upon the bank of the river, at McIlwaine's Bend, Brother Phelps, in open vision by daylight, saw the destroyer in his most horrible power, ride upon the face of the waters; others heard the noise, but saw not the vision.

The next morning after prayer, I received the following:

Revelation, given August, 1831.[7]

1. Behold, and hearken unto the voice of Him who has all power, who is from everlasting to everlasting, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

2. Behold, verily thus saith the Lord unto you, O ye Elders of my Church, who are assembled upon this spot, whose sins are now forgiven you, for I, the Lord, forgive sins, and am merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts;

3. But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine Elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief;

4. Nevertheless, I suffered it that ye might bear record; behold, there are many dangers upon the waters, and more especially hereafter;

5. For I, the Lord, have decreed in mine anger, many destructions upon the waters; yea, and especially upon these waters;

6. Nevertheless, all flesh is in mine hand, and he that is faithful among you shall not perish by the waters.

7. Wherefore it is expedient that my servant Sidney Gilbert and my servant William W. Phelps, be in haste upon their errand and mission;

8. Nevertheless I would not suffer that ye should part until you were chastened for all your sins, that you might be one, that you might not perish in wickedness;

9. But now, verily I say, it behoveth me that ye should part, wherefore let my servants Sidney Gilbert and William W. Phelps take their former company, and let them take their journey in haste that they may fill their mission, and through faith they shall overcome;

10. And inasmuch as they are faithful they shall be preserved, and I, the Lord, will be with them.

11. And let the residue take that which is needful for clothing.

{204} 12. Let my servant Sidney Gilbert take that which is not needful with him, as you shall agree.

13. And now, behold, for your good I gave unto you a commandment concerning these things; and I, the Lord, will reason with you as with men in days of old.

14. Behold, I, the Lord, in the beginning blessed the waters, but in the last days, by the mouth of my servant John, I cursed the waters;

15. Wherefore, the days will come that no flesh shall be safe upon the waters,

16. And it shall be said in days to come that none is able to go up to the land of Zion upon the waters, but he that is upright in heart.

17. And, as I, the Lord, in the beginning cursed the land, even so in the last days have I blessed it, in its time, for the use of my Saints, that they may partake the fatness thereof.

18. And now I give unto you a commandment that what I say unto one I say unto all, that you shall forewarn your brethren concerning these waters, that they come not in journeying upon them, lest their faith fail and they are caught in snares;

19. I, the Lord have decreed, and the destroyer rideth upon the face thereof, and I revoke not the decree;

20. I, the Lord, was angry with you yesterday, but today mine anger is turned away.

21. Wherefore, let those concerning whom I have spoken, that should take their journey in haste—again I say unto you, let them take their journey in haste.

22. And it mattereth not unto me, after a little, if it so be that they fill their mission, whether they go by water or by land; let this be as it is made known unto them according to their judgments hereafter.

23. And now, concerning my servants Sidney Rigdon, and Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, let them come not again upon the waters, save it be upon the canal, while journeying unto their homes, or in other words they shall not come upon the waters to journey, save upon the canal.

24. Behold, I, the Lord, have appointed a way for the journeying of my Saints, and behold this is the way—that after they leave the canal, they shall journey by land, inasmuch as they are commanded to journey and go up unto the land of Zion;

25. And they shall do like unto the children of Israel, pitching their tents by the way.

26. And, behold, this commandment you shall give unto all your brethren;

{205} 27. Nevertheless, unto whom it is given power to command the waters, unto him it is given by the Spirit to know all his ways;

28. Wherefore let him do as the Spirit of the living God commandeth him, whether upon the land or upon the waters, as it remaineth with me to do hereafter;

29. And unto you it is given the course for the Saints, or the way for the Saints of the camp of the Lord, to journey.

30. And again, verily I say unto you, my servants Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, shall not open their mouths in the congregations of the wicked, until they arrive at Cincinnati;

31. And in that place they shall lift up their voices unto God against that people; yea unto Him whose anger is kindled against their wickedness; a people who are well-nigh ripened for destruction;

32. And from thence let them journey for the congregations of their brethren, for their labors even now, are wanted more abundantly among them than among the congregations of the wicked.

33. And now concerning the residue, let them journey and declare the word among the congregations of the wicked, inasmuch as it is given;

34. And inasmuch as they do this they shall rid their garments, and they shall be spotless before me;

35. And let them journey together, or two by two, as seemeth them good, only let my servant Reynolds Cahoon, and my servant Samuel H. Smith, with whom I am well pleased, be not separated until they return to their homes, and this for a wise purpose in me.

36. And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer little children, for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you;

37. And inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours.

38. Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for He cometh in an hour you think not.

39. Pray always that you enter not into temptation, that you may abide the day of His coming, whether in life or in death. Even so. Amen.

A Chance Meeting of Elders.

On the 13th [August] I met several of the Elders on their way to the land of Zion, and after the joyful salutations with which brethren meet each other, who are actually "contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints," I received the following:

{206} Revelation, given August, 1831.[8]

1. Behold, and hearken O ye Elders of my Church, saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, your advocate, who knoweth the weakness of man and how to succor them who are tempted;

2. And verily mine eyes are upon those who have not as yet gone up unto the land of Zion; wherefore your mission is not yet full;

3. Nevertheless ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne, is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon, and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.

4. And now continue your journey. Assemble yourselves upon the land of Zion, and hold a meeting and rejoice together, and offer a sacrament unto the Most High;

5. And then you may return to bear record, yea, even all together, or two by two, as seemeth you good, it mattereth not unto me, only be faithful, and declare glad tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, of among the congregations of the wicked.

6. Behold, I, the Lord, have brought you together that the promise might be fulfilled, that the faithful among you should be preserved and rejoice together in the land of Missouri. I, the Lord, promised the faithful and cannot lie.

7. I, the Lord, am willing, if any among you desire to ride upon horses, or upon mules, or in chariots, he shall receive this blessing, if he receive it from the hand of the Lord, with a thankful heart in all things.

8. These things remain with you to do according to judgment and the directions of the Spirit.

9. Behold, the kingdom is yours. And behold, and lo, I am with the faithful always. Even so. Amen.

Arrival of the Prophet and Party at Kirtland.

After this meeting with the Elders, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, and myself, continued our journey by land to St. Louis, where we overtook Brothers Phelps and Gilbert. From this place we took stage, and they went by water to Kirtland, where we arrived safe and well on the 27th [August]. Many things transpired upon this journey to strengthen our faith, and which displayed the goodness of God in such a marvelous manner, that we could not help beholding the exertions of Satan to blind the eyes of the people, so as to hide the true light that lights every man that comes into the world.

{207} Anxiety of the Saints to Receive the Word of the Lord.

In these infant days of the Church, there was a great anxiety to obtain the word of the Lord upon every subject that in any way concerned our salvation; and as the land of Zion was now the most important temporal object in view, I enquired of the Lord for further information upon the gathering of the Saints, and the purchase of the land, and other matters, and received the following:

Revelation, given in Kirtland, August, 1831.[9]

1. Hearken, O ye people, and open your hearts and give ear from afar; and listen, you that call yourselves the people of the Lord, and hear the word of the Lord and His will concerning you:

2. Yea, verily, I say, hear the word of Him whose anger is kindled against the wicked and rebellious;

3. Who willeth to take even them whom He will take, and preserveth in life them whom He will preserve;

4. Who buildeth up at His own will and pleasure; and destroyeth when he pleases, and is able to cast the soul down to hell.

5. Behold, I, the Lord, utter my voice, and it shall be obeyed.

6. Wherefore, verily I say, let the wicked take heed, and let the rebellious fear and tremble; and let the unbelieving hold their lips, for the day of wrath shall come upon them as a whirlwind, and all flesh shall know that I am God.

7. And he that seeketh signs shall see signs, but not unto salvation.

8. Verily, I say unto you, there are those among you who seek signs, and there have been such even from the beginning;

9. But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.

10. Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men, nor as they please, but by the will of God.

11. Yea, signs come by faith, unto mighty works, for without faith no man pleaseth God: and with whom God is angry He is not well pleased; wherefore, unto such He showeth no sign, only in wrath unto their condemnation.

12. Wherefore, I, the Lord, am not pleased with those among you who have sought after signs and wonders for faith, and not for the good of men unto my glory;

13. Nevertheless, I gave commandments, and many have turned away from my commandments and have not kept them.

{208} 14. There were among you adulterers and adulteresses; some of whom have turned away from you, and others remain with you that hereafter shall be revealed.

15. Let such beware and repent speedily, lest judgment shall come upon them as a snare, and their folly shall be made manifest, and their works shall follow them in the eyes of the people.

16. And, verily, I say unto you, as I have said before, he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith and shall fear:

17. Wherefore I, the Lord, have said that the fearful, and the unbelieving, and all liars, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death.

18. Verily I say, that they shall not have part in the first resurrection.

19. And now, behold, I, the Lord, say unto you, that ye are not justified because these things are among you;

20. Nevertheless he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come;

21. When the earth shall be transfigured, even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount; of which account the fulness ye have not yet received.

22. And now, verily, I say unto you, that as I said that I would make known my will unto you, behold I will make it known unto you, not by the way of commandment, for there are many who observe not to keep my commandments.

23. But unto him that keepeth my commandments, I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.

24. And now, behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning His Saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence.

25. Behold, the land of Zion, I, the Lord, hold it in mine own hands;

26. Nevertheless, I, the Lord, render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's:

27. Wherefore, I, the Lord, will that you should purchase the lands that you may have advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger;

28. For Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood.

{209} 29. Wherefore the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.

30. And if by purchase, behold you are blessed;

31. And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.

32. I, the Lord, am angry with the wicked; I am holding my Spirit from the inhabitants of the earth.

33. I have sworn in my wrath, and decreed wars upon the face of the earth, and the wicked shall slay the wicked, and fear shall come upon every man,

34. And the Saints also shall hardly escape; nevertheless, I, the Lord, am with them, and will come down in heaven from the presence of my Father, and consume the wicked with unquenchable fire.

35. And behold, this is not yet, but by and by;

36. Wherefore, seeing that I, the Lord, have decreed all these things upon the face of the earth, I will that my Saints should be assembled upon the land of Zion;

37. And that every man should take righteousness in his hands and faithfulness upon his loins, and lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth; and declare both by word and by flight, that desolation shall come upon the wicked.

38. Wherefore let my disciples in Kirtland arrange their temporal concerns, who dwell upon this farm.

39. Let my servant Titus Billings, who has the care thereof, dispose of the land, that he may be prepared in the coming spring to take his journey up unto the land of Zion, with those that dwell upon the face thereof, excepting those whom I shall reserve unto myself, that shall not go until I shall command them.

40. And let all the monies which can be spared, it mattereth not unto me whether it be little or much, be sent up unto the land of Zion, unto them whom I have appointed to receive.

41. Behold, I, the Lord, will give unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., power that he shall be enabled to discern by the Spirit those who shall go up unto the land of Zion, and those of my disciples who shall tarry.

42. Let my servant Newel K. Whitney retain his store, or in other words, the store yet for a little season.

43. Nevertheless let him impart all the money which he can impart, to be sent up unto the land of Zion.

44. Behold, these things are in his own hands, let him do according to wisdom.

{210} 45. Verily I say, let him be ordained as an agent unto the disciples that shall tarry, and let him be ordained unto this power;

46. And now speedily visit the churches, expounding these things unto them, with my servant Oliver Cowdery. Behold, this is my will, obtaining moneys even as I have directed.

47. He that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world.

48. He that sendeth up treasures unto the land of Zion, shall receive an inheritance in this world, and his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world to come:

49. Yea, and blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth, when the Lord shall come, and old things shall pass away, and all things become new, they shall rise from the dead and shall not die after, and shall receive an inheritance before the Lord, in the holy city.

50. And he that liveth when the Lord shall come, and has kept the faith, blessed is he; nevertheless it is appointed to him to die at the age of man.

51. Wherefore, children shall grow up until they become old, old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.

52. Wherefore, for this cause preached the apostles unto the world the resurrection of the dead.

53. These things are the things that ye must look for, and, speaking after the manner of the Lord, they are now nigh at hand, and in a time to come, even in the day of the coming of the Son of Man.

54. And until that hour there will be foolish virgins among the wise; and at that hour cometh an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked; and in that day will I send mine angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them into unquenchable fire.

55. And now behold, verily I say unto you, I the Lord, am not pleased with my servant Sidney Rigdon, he exalted himself in his heart, and received not counsel, but grieved the Spirit;

56. Wherefore his writing is not acceptable unto the Lord, and he shall make another and if the Lord receive it not, behold he standeth no longer in the office which I have appointed him.

57. And again, verily I say unto you, those who desire in their hearts, in meekness, to warn sinners to repentance, let them be ordained unto this power.

58. For this is a day of warning, and not a day of many words. For I, the Lord, am not to be mocked in the last days.

59. Behold, I am from above, and my power lieth beneath. I am over all, and in all, and through all, and search all things, and the day cometh that all things shall be subject unto me.

60. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ.

{211} 61. Wherefore let all men beware how they take my name in their lips;

62. For, behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority.

63. Wherefore, let the Church repent of their sins, and I, the Lord, will own them, otherwise they shall be cut off.

64. Remember that that which cometh from above, is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit, and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation.

65. Let my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, seek them a home, as they are taught through prayer by the Spirit.

66. These things remain to overcome through patience, that such may receive a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, otherwise, a greater condemnation. Amen.

Preparations to Move to Hiram.

The early part of September was spent in making preparations to remove to the town of Hiram, and renew our work on the translation of the Bible. The brethren who were commanded to go up to Zion were earnestly engaged in getting ready to start in the coming October. On the 11th of September I received the following:

Revelation, given in Kirtland.[10]

1. Behold, thus saith the Lord your God unto you, O ye Elders of my Church, hearken ye and hear, and receive my will concerning you;

2. For verily I say unto you, I will that ye should overcome the world; wherefore I will have compassion upon you.

3. There are those among you who have sinned; but verily I say, for this once, for mine own glory, and for the salvation of souls, I have forgiven you your sins.

4. I will be merciful unto you, for I have given unto you the kingdom:

5. And the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom shall not be taken from my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., through the means I have appointed, while he liveth, inasmuch as he obeyeth mine ordinances.

6. There are those who have sought occasion against him without cause;

{212} 7. Nevertheless he has sinned but verily I say unto you, I, the Lord forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me and ask forgiveness, who have not sinned unto death.

8. My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another, and forgave not one another in their hearts, and for this evil they were afflicted, and sorely chastened.

9. Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another, for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses, standeth condemned before the Lord, for there remaineth in him the greater sin.

10. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men;

11. And ye ought to say in your hearts, let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.

12. And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the Church, and do with him as the Scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation.

13. And this ye shall do that God may be glorified, not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend Him who is your Lawgiver.

14. Verily I say, for this cause ye shall do these things.

15. Behold, I, the Lord, was angry with him who was my servant Ezra Booth, and also my servant Isaac Morley, for they kept not the law, neither the commandment;

16. They sought evil in their hearts, and I, the Lord, withheld my Spirit. They condemned for evil that thing in which there was no evil; nevertheless I have forgiven my servant Isaac Morley.

17. And also my servant Edward Partridge, behold, he hath sinned, and Satan seeketh to destroy his soul; but when these things are made known unto them, and they repent of the evil, they shall be forgiven.

18. And now, verily I say, that it is expedient in me that my servant Sidney Gilbert, after a few weeks, shall return upon his business, and to his agency in the land of Zion;

19. And that which he hath seen and heard may be made known unto my disciples, that they perish not. And for this cause have I spoken these things.

20. And again, I say unto you, that my servant Isaac Morley may not be tempted above that which he is able to bear, and counsel wrongfully to your hurt, I gave commandment that his farm should be sold.

21. I will not that my servant Frederick G. Williams should sell his farm, for I, the Lord, will to retain a strong hold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years, in the which I will not overthrow the wicked, that thereby I may save some;

22. And after that day, I, the Lord, will not hold any guilty that shall {213} go with an open heart up to the land of Zion; for I the Lord, require the hearts of the children of men.

23. Behold, now it is called today (until the coming of the Son of Man), and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned (at His coming);

24. For after today cometh the burning: this is speaking after the manner of the Lord; for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of hosts: and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.

25. Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today.

26. And it is not meet that my servants, Newel K. Whitney and Sidney Gilbert, should sell their store and their possessions here, for this is not wisdom until the residue of the Church, which remaineth in this place, shall go up unto the land of Zion.

27. Behold, it is said in my laws, or forbidden, to get in debt to thine enemies;

28. But behold, it is not said at any time that the Lord should not take when He please, and pay as seemeth Him good:

29. Wherefore, as ye are agents, ye are on the Lord's errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord, is the Lord's business,

30. And He hath set you to provide for His Saints in these last days, that they may obtain an inheritance in the land of Zion:

31. And behold, I, the Lord, declare unto you, and my words are sure and shall not fail, that they shall obtain it;

32. But all things must come to pass in their time;

33. Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

34. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days;

35. And the rebellious shall be cut off out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away, and shall not inherit the land:

36. For, verily, I say that the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim, wherefore they shall be plucked out.

37. Behold, I, the Lord, have made my Church in these last days like unto a judge sitting on a hill, or in a high place, to judge the nations;

38. For it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion;

39. And liars and hypocrites shall be proved by them, and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known.

{214} 40. And even the Bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships, shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead;

41. For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her,

42. And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven.

43. And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it. Amen.

Footnotes

1. The Colesville branch of the Church numbered about sixty souls.—Statement made by Oliver Cowdery in "John Whitmer's History of the Church," ch. ix.

2. Speaking of this second of August meeting, in addition to what the Prophet relates in his narrative, John Whitmer, in his "History of the Church," (ch. ix) gives the following interesting details from a statement of Oliver Cowdery's: "On the second day of August, 1831, Rigdon stood up and asked, saying,

"'Do you receive this land for the land of your inheritance with thankful hearts from the Lord?'

"Answer from all: 'We do.'

"'Do you pledge yourselves to keep the law of God in this land which you never have kept in your own lands?'

"'We do.'

"'Do you pledge yourselves to see that others of your brethren who shall come hither do keep the laws of God?'

"'We do.'

"After prayer, he arose and said: 'I now pronounce this land consecrated and dedicated unto the Lord for a possession and inheritance for the Saints, and for all the faithful servants of the Lord to the remotest ages of time. In the name of Jesus Christ, having authority from Him. Amen.'"

3. This is the Washington longitude. It is between ninety-five and ninety-six degrees west longitude from Greenwich.

4. Polly Knight's health had been failing for some time, according to a statement made by her son, Newel. She was very ill during her journey from Kirtland to Missouri. "Yet," says her son, "she would not consent to stop traveling; her only, or her greatest desire was to set her feet upon the land of Zion, and to have her body interred in that land. I went on shore and bought lumber to make a coffin, in case she should die before we arrived at our place of destination—so fast did she fail. But the Lord gave her the desire of her heart, and she lived to stand upon that land."—Scraps of Biography, p. 70.

5. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 59.

6. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 60.

7. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 61.

8. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 62.

9. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 63.

10. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 64.

{215}

Chapter XVII.

The Apostasy of Ezra Booth—Preparations for Publishing the Book of Commandments.

The Prophet Moves to Hiram.

On the 12th of September, I removed with my family to the township of Hiram, and commenced living with John Johnson. Hiram was in Portage county, and about thirty miles south-easterly from Kirtland. From this time until the forepart of October, I did little more than prepare to re-commence the translation of the Bible.[1]

Ezra Booth's Apostasy.

About this time Ezra Booth came out as an apostate. He came into the Church upon seeing a person healed of an infirmity of many years standing.[2] He had been a Methodist priest for some time previous to his embracing the fulness of the Gospel, {216} as developed in the Book of Mormon; and upon his admission into the Church he was ordained an Elder. As will be seen by the foregoing revelations,[3] he went up to Missouri as a companion of Elder Morley; but when he actually learned that faith, humility, patience, and tribulation go before blessing, and that God brings low before He exalts; that instead of the "Savior's granting him power to smite men and make them believe," (as he said he wanted God to do in his own case)—when he found he must become all things to all men, that he might peradventure, save some; and that, too, by all diligence, by perils by sea and land; as was the case in the days of Jesus—then he was disappointed. In the 6th chapter of St. John's Gospel, 26th verse, it is written: "Verily, verily I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." So it was with Booth; and when he was disappointed by his own evil heart, he turned away, and as said before, became an apostate, and wrote a series of letters,[4] which, by their {217} coloring, falsity, and vain calculations to overthrow the work of the Lord, exposed his weakness, wickedness and folly, and left him a monument of his own shame, for the world to wonder at.[5]

The Purchase of a Press.

A conference was held in which Brother W. W. Phelps was instructed to stop at Cincinnati on his way to Missouri and purchase a press and type, for the purpose of establishing and publishing a monthly paper at Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, to be called the Evening and Morning Star.

The first Sunday in October, Orson Hyde,[6] a clerk in Brother Sidney Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney's store, in Kirtland, was baptized, and became a member of the Church. He was soon after designated as one of the chosen men of the Lord, to bear His word to the nations.

{218} A Prayer Revealed.

In the fore part of October, I received the following prayer through revelation:

Revelation.[7]

1. Hearken, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth, yea, whose voice is unto men—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.

2. The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the Gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth;

3. Yea, a voice crying; prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom;

4. Pray unto the Lord, call upon His holy name, make known His wonderful works among the people;

5. Call upon the Lord, that His kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of His glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth;

6. Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be glorified in heaven so on earth, that thine enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Revision of the Bible Renewed.

{219} Soon after the above revelation was received, I renewed my work on the translation of the Scriptures, in company with Elder Rigdon, who had removed to Hiram, to act in his office of scribe to me.

Instructions and Appointments of the Conference of October 11th.

On the 11th of October, a conference was held at Brother Johnson's, where I was living, at which the Elders were instructed in the ancient manner of conducting meetings, of which knowledge most of them were ignorant. A committee of six was appointed to instruct the several branches of the Church. Elders David Whitmer and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed as two of the said committee; with the further duty on their mission, of setting forth the condition of Brothers Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that they might obtain means to continue the translation. This conference was adjourned till the 25th of October, to meet at the house of Irenus Burnett, in Orange, Cuyahoga county.

Special Conference of October 21st.

On the 21st, I attended a special conference, to settle a difficulty which had occurred in Kirtland, on account of William Cahoon and Peter Devolue, having abused one of Brother Whitney's children. Elder Rigdon and myself were appointed to go to Kirtland and settle the difficulty, which we did.

Conference at Orange, Ohio, October 25th.

At the conference on the 25th, at Orange, twelve High Priests, seventeen Elders, four Priests, three Teachers, and four Deacons, together with a large congregation attended. Much business was done, and the four remaining members of the committee, authorized by the conference at Hiram on the 11th, were appointed, and consisted of Simeon Carter, Orson Hyde, Hyrum Smith, and Emer Harris.[8]

{220} At the request of William E. M'Lellin,[9] I inquired of the Lord, and received the following:

Revelation, given October, 1831.[10]

1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my servant William E. M'Lellin, {221} Blessed are you, inasmuch as you have turned away from your iniquities, and have received my truths, saith the Lord your Redeemer, the Savior of the world, even of as many as believe on my name.

2. Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fullness of my Gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life and be made partakers of the glories which are to be revealed in the last days, as it was written by the prophets and apostles in days of old.

3. Verily I say unto you, my servant William, that you are clean, but not all; repent, therefore, of those things which are not pleasing in my sight, saith the Lord, for the Lord will show them unto you.

4. And now, verily, I, the Lord, will show unto you what I will concerning you, or what is my will concerning you;

5. Behold, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should proclaim my Gospel from land to land, and from city to city; yea, in those regions round about where it has not been proclaimed.

6. Tarry not many days in this place; go not up unto the land of Zion as yet; but inasmuch as you can send, send; otherwise think not of thy property.

7. Go unto the eastern lands, bear testimony in every place, unto every people and in their synagogues; reasoning with the people.

8. Let my servant Samuel H. Smith go with you, and forsake him not, and give him thine instructions; and he that is faithful shall be made strong in every place, and I, the Lord, will go with you.

9. Lay your hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. Return not till I the Lord shall send you. Be patient in affliction. Ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.

10. Seek not to be cumbered. Forsake all unrighteousness. Commit not adultery, a temptation with which thou hast been troubled.

11. Keep these sayings, for they are true and faithful, and thou shalt magnify thine office, and push many people to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads.

12. Continue in these things even unto the end, and you shall have a crown of eternal life at the right hand of my Father, who is full of grace and truth.

13. Verily, thus saith the Lord your God, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Special Conference November 1st.

I returned from the conference at Orange, to Hiram; and as Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer were to start for Independence, Missouri, a special conference was appointed for the {222} first of November,[11] at which I received the following:

Revelation.[12]

1. Hearken, O ye people of my Church, saith the voice of Him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say, hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.

2. For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape, and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.

3. And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow, for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.

4. And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.

5. And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.

6. Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.

7. Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled.

8. And verily, I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these {223} tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven the unbelieving and rebellious;

9. Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure;

10. Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.

11. Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear:

12. Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;

13. And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and His sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.

14. And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of His servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles shall be cut off from among the people;

15. For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

16. They seek not the Lord to establish His righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own God, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

17. Wherefore I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

18. And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets;

19. The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh,

20. But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;

21. That faith also might increase in the earth;

22. That mine everlasting covenant might be established;

23. That the fullness of my Gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.

24. Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

{224} 25. And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known:

26. And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed:

27. And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent:

28. And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time:

29. And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon;

30. And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this Church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the Church collectively and not individually.

31. For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.

32. Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;

33. And he that repents not, from him, shall be taken even the light which he has received, for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.

34. And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth, I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh,

35. For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion;

36. And also the Lord shall have power over His Saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Iduma, or the world.

37. Search these commandments for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.

38. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself: and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same;

39. For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen.

Language of Revelations Criticised.

After this revelation was received, some conversation was had concerning revelations and language. I received the following:

{225} Revelation, given November, 1831.[13]

1. Behold and hearken, O ye Elders of my Church, who have assembled yourselves together, whose prayers I have heard, and whose hearts I know, and whose desires have come up before me.

2. Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give.

3. Ye endeavored to believe that ye should secure the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you, there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.

4. And now I, the Lord, give unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments which are lying before you;

5. Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and his language you have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language, this you also know;

6. Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you;

7. Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true;

8. But if ye cannot make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true;

9. For ye know that there is no unrighteousness in them, and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights;

10. And again, verily, I say unto you, that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent, and you shall see me and know that I am; not with the carnal, neither natural mind, but with the spiritual;

11. For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.

12. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God; neither after the carnal mind;

13. Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore continue in patience until ye are perfected.

14. Let not your minds turn back, and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen.

{226} The Folly of William E. M'Lellin.

After the foregoing was received, William E. M'Lellin, as the wisest man, in his own estimation, having more learning than sense, endeavored to write a commandment like unto one of the least of the Lord's, but failed; it was an awful responsibility to write in the name of the Lord. The Elders and all present that witnessed this vain attempt of a man to imitate the language of Jesus Christ, renewed their faith in the fullness of the Gospel, and in the truth of the commandments and revelations which the Lord had given to the Church through my instrumentality; and the Elders signified a willingness to bear testimony of their truth to all the world. Accordingly I received the following:

The testimony of the witnesses to the book of the Lord's commandments, which He gave to His Church through Joseph Smith, Jun., who was appointed by the voice of the Church for this purpose; we therefore feel willing to bear testimony to all the world of mankind, to every creature upon the face of all the earth and upon the islands of the sea, that the Lord has borne record to our souls, through the Holy Ghost, shed forth upon us, that these commandments were given by inspiration of God, and are profitable for all men, and are verily true. We give this testimony unto the world, the Lord being our helper; and it is through the grace of God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are permitted to have this privilege of bearing this testimony unto the world, that the children of men may be profited thereby.[14]

{227} As the following Elders—Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and William E. M'Lellin—were desirous to know the mind of the Lord concerning themselves, I inquired, and received the following:

Revelation, given November, 1831.[15]

1. My servant, Orson Hyde, was called by his ordination to proclaim the everlasting Gospel, by the Spirit of the living God, from people to people, and from land to land, in the congregations of the wicked, in their synagogues, reasoning with, and expounding all Scriptures unto them.

2. And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this Priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth;

3. And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

4. And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation;

5. Behold this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants;

6. Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

7. This is the word of the Lord unto you my servant, Orson Hyde, and also unto my servant Luke Johnson, and unto my servant Lyman Johnson, and unto my servant William E. M'Lellin, and unto all the faithful Elders of my Church.

8. Go ye into all the world, preach the Gospel to every creature, acting in the authority which I have given you, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;

9. And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned;

10. And he that believeth shall be blest with signs following, even as it is written;

11. And unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man;

12. And of as many as the Father shall bear record, to you shall be given power to seal them up unto eternal life. Amen.

{228} 13. And now concerning the items in addition to the covenants and commandments, they are these:

14. There remaineth hereafter, in the due time of the Lord, other Bishops to be set apart unto the Church, to minister even according to the first;

15. Wherefore they shall be High Priests who are worthy, and they shall be appointed by the First Presidency of the Melchisedek Priesthood, except they be literal descendants of Aaron,

16. And if they be literal descendants of Aaron, they have a legal right to the bishopric, if they are the firstborn among the sons of Aaron;

17. For the firstborn holds the right of presidency over this Priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same.

18. No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this Priesthood, except he be a literal descendant and the firstborn of Aaron.

19. But, as a high priest of the Melchisedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices he may officiate in the office of Bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power under the hands of the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

20. And literal descendants of Aaron, also, must be designated by this Presidency, and found worthy, and anointed, and ordained under the hands of this Presidency, otherwise they are not legally authorized to officiate in their Priesthood;

21. But by virtue of the decree concerning their right of the Priesthood descending from father to son, they may claim their anointing if at any time they can prove their lineage, or do ascertain it by revelation from the Lord under the hands of the above named Presidency.

22. And again, no Bishop or High Priest who shall be set apart for this ministry, shall be tried or condemned for any crime, save it be before the First Presidency of the Church;

23. And inasmuch as he is found guilty before this Presidency, by testimony that cannot be impeached, he shall be condemned;

24. And if he repent he shall be forgiven, according to the covenants and commandments of the Church.

25. And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

26. For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized;

27. And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their {229} sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands,

28. And they shall also teach their children to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord.

29. And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

30. And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.

31. Now, I the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.

32. These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them: wherefore, let my servant Oliver Cowdery carry these sayings unto the land of Zion.

33. And a commandment I give unto them, that he that observeth not his prayers before the Lord in the season thereof, let him be had in remembrance before the judge of my people.

34. These sayings are true and faithful; wherefore transgress them not, neither take therefrom.

35. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, and I come quickly. Amen.

Preparation of the Revelations for Publication, Nov. 1st-15th.

It had been decided by the conference that Elder Oliver Cowdery should carry the commandments and revelations to Independence, Missouri, for printing, and that I should arrange and get them in readiness by the time that he left, which was to be by—or, if possible, before—the 15th of the month [November]. At this time there were many things which the Elders desired to know relative to preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, and concerning the gathering; and in order to walk by the true light, and be instructed from on high, on the 3rd of November, 1831, I inquired of the Lord and received the following important revelation, which has since been added to the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and called the Appendix:

Revelation, given November 3, 1831.[16]

1. Hearken, O ye people of my Church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you;

{230} 2. The Lord who shall suddenly come to His temple; the Lord who shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment; yea, upon all the nations that forget God, and upon all the ungodly among you.

3. For He shall make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God.

4. Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my Church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry.

5. Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.

6. Call your solemn assemblies, and speak often one to another. And let every man call upon the name of the Lord;

7. Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you, Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

8. Send forth the Elders of my Church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations; first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.

9. And behold, and lo, this shall be their cry, and the voice of the Lord unto all people: Go ye forth unto the land of Zion, that the borders of my people may be enlarged, and that her stakes may be strengthened, and that Zion may go forth unto the regions round about;

10. Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom: behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.

11. Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.

12. Let them therefore, who are among the Gentiles, flee unto Zion.

13. And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord's house.

14. Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon.

15. But verily, thus saith the Lord, Let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth let him not look back, lest sudden destruction shall come upon him.

16. Hearken and hear, O ye inhabitants of the earth. Listen, ye Elders of my Church together, and hear the voice of the Lord; for He calleth upon all men, and He commandeth all men everywhere to repent.

{231} 17. For, behold, the Lord God hath sent forth the angel crying through the midst of heaven, saying, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight, for the hour of His coming is nigh—

18. When the Lamb shall stand upon Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads:

19. Wherefore, prepare ye for the coming of the Bridegroom; go ye, go ye out to meet Him,

20. For behold, He shall stand upon the mount of Olives, and upon the mighty ocean, even the great deep, and upon the islands of the sea, and upon the land of Zion;

21. And He shall utter His voice out of Zion, and He shall speak from Jerusalem, and His voice shall be heard among all people.

22. And it shall be a voice as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, which shall break down the mountains, and the valleys shall not be found;

23. He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land:

24. And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.

25. And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh.

26. And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord and their prophets shall hear His voice, and shall no longer stay themselves, and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.

27. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.

28. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them,

29. And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land.

30. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.

31. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.

32. And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim;

33. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.

34. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows.

35. And they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain, shall be {232} sanctified in holiness before the Lord, to dwell in his presence day and night, forever and ever.

36. And now, verily saith the Lord, That these things might be known among you, O inhabitants of the earth, I have sent forth mine angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel, who hath appeared unto some, and hath committed it unto man, who shall appear unto many that dwell on the earth;

37. And this Gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

38. And the servants of God shall go forth, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come;

39. And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters,

40. Calling upon the name of the Lord day and night, saying, O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence.

41. And it shall be answered upon their heads, for the presence of the Lord shall be as the melting fire that burneth, and as the fire which causeth the waters to boil.

42. O Lord, Thou shalt come down to make Thy name known to thine adversaries, and all nations shall tremble at Thy presence.

43. When Thou doest terrible things—things they look not for;

44. Yea, when Thou comest down, and the mountains flow down at Thy presence, Thou shalt meet him who rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, who remembereth Thee in Thy ways.

45. For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides Thee, how great things Thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for Thee.

46. And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea from the regions which are not known, clothed in His glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?

47. And He shall say; I am He who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.

48. And the Lord shall be red in His apparel, and His garments like him that treadeth in the wine vat,

49. And so great shall be the glory of His presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame; and the moon shall withhold its light; and the stars shall be hurled from their places;

50. And his voice shall be heard, I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me;

51. And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and {233} stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart.

52. And now the year of my redeemed is come, and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that He has bestowed upon them according to His goodness, and according to His loving kindness, for ever and ever.

53. In all their afflictions He was afflicted. And the angel of His presence saved them; and in His love, and in His pity, He redeemed them, and bare them, and carried them all the days of old;

54. Yea, and Enoch also, and they who were with him; the prophets who were before him; and Noah also, and they who were before him; and Moses also and they who were before him.

55. And from Moses to Elijah, and from Elijah to John, who were with Christ in His resurrection, and the holy Apostles, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, shall be in the presence of the Lamb.

56. And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when He shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night for ever and ever.

57. And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of His Gospel, His everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity,

58. To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord's errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight;

59. And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thrash the nations by the power of His Spirit.

60. And for this cause these commandments were given; they were commanded to be kept from the world in the day that they were given, but now are to go forth unto all flesh.

61. And this according to the mind and will of the Lord, who ruleth over all flesh.

62. And unto him that repenteth and sanctifieth himself before the Lord, shall be given eternal life;

63. And upon them that hearken not to the voice of the Lord shall be fulfilled that which was written by the Prophet Moses, that they should be cut off from among the people.

64. And also that which was written by the Prophet Malachi; For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh {234} shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

65. Wherefore, this shall be the answer of the Lord unto them:—

66. In that day when I came unto mine own, no man among you received me, and you were driven out.

67. When I called again, there was none of you to answer, yet my arm was not shortened at all, that I could not redeem, neither my power to deliver.

68. Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea. I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink and die for thirst.

69. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering.

70. And this shall ye have of my hand: Ye shall lie down in sorrow.

71. Behold, and lo, there are none to deliver you, for ye obeyed not my voice when I called to you out of the heavens; ye believed not my servants, and when they were sent unto you, ye received them not.

72. Wherefore, they sealed up the testimony and bound up the law, and ye were delivered over unto darkness;

73. These shall go away into outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

74. Behold the Lord your God hath spoken it. Amen.

Dedication of the Book of Commandments.

The Book of Commandments and Revelations was to be dedicated by prayer to the service of Almighty God by me; and after I had done this, I inquired of the Lord concerning these things, and received the following:

Revelation, given November, 1831.[17]

1. Hearken unto me saith the Lord your God: For my servant Oliver Cowdery's sake, it is not wisdom in me that he should be entrusted with the commandments and the moneys which he shall carry unto the {235} land of Zion, except one go with him who will be true and faithful;

2. Wherefore, I, the Lord will, that my servant, John Whitmer, should go with my servant Oliver Cowdery;

3. And also that he shall continue in writing and making a history of all the important things which he shall observe and know concerning my Church:

4. And also that he receive counsel and assistance from my servant Oliver Cowdery and others.

5. And also my servants who are abroad in the earth, should send forth the accounts of their stewardships to the land of Zion;

6. For the land of Zion shall be a seat and a place to receive and do all these things;

7. Nevertheless let my servant John Whitmer travel many times from place to place, and from church to church, that he may the more easily obtain knowledge;

8. Preaching and expounding, writing, copying, selecting, and obtaining all things which shall be for the good of the Church, and for the rising generations, that shall grow up on the land of Zion, to possess it from generation to generation, forever and ever. Amen.

Esteem in which the Conference Held the Book of Commandments and Book of Mormon.

My time was occupied closely in reviewing the commandments and sitting in conference, for nearly two weeks; for from the first to the twelfth of November we held four special conferences. In the last which was held at Brother Johnson's, in Hiram, after deliberate consideration, in consequence of the book of revelations, now to be printed, being the foundation of the Church in these last days, and a benefit to the world, showing that the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom of our Savior are again entrusted to man; and the riches of eternity within the compass of those who are willing to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God—therefore the conference voted that they prize the revelations to be worth to the Church the riches of the whole earth, speaking temporally. The great benefits to the world which result from the Book of Mormon and the revelations, which the Lord has seen fit in His infinite wisdom to grant unto us for our salvation, and for the {236} salvation of all that will believe, were duly appreciated;[18] and in answer to an inquiry, I received the following:

Revelation, given November, 1831.[19]

1. Behold, and hearken, O ye inhabitants of Zion, and all ye people of my Church who are afar off, and hear the word of the Lord which I give unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and also unto my servant Martin Harris, and also unto my servant Oliver Cowdery, and also unto my servant John Whitmer, and also unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, and also unto my servant William W. Phelps, by the way of commandment unto them.

2. For I give unto them a commandment; wherefore hearken and hear, for thus saith the Lord unto them—

3. I, the Lord, have appointed them, and ordained them to be stewards over the revelations and commandments which I have given unto them, and which I shall hereafter give unto them;

4. And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment.

5. Wherefore I have appointed unto them, and this is their business in the Church of God, to manage them and the concerns thereof; yea, the benefits thereof.

{237} 6. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not give these things unto the Church, neither unto the world;

7. Nevertheless, inasmuch as they receive more than is needful for their necessities and their wants, it shall be given into my storehouse,

8. And the benefits shall be consecrated unto the inhabitants of Zion, and unto their generations, inasmuch as they become heirs according to the laws of the kingdom.

9. Behold, this is what the lord requires of every man in his stewardship, even as I, the Lord, have appointed, or shall hereafter appoint unto any man.

10. And behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the Church of the living God;

11. Yea, neither the Bishop, neither the agent who keepeth the Lord's storehouse, neither he who is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things;

12. He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship, to administer in temporal things;

13. Yea, even more abundantly, which abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestation of the Spirit;

14. Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.

15. Now this commandment I give unto my servants for their benefit while they remain, for a manifestation of my blessings upon their heads, and for a reward of their diligence and for their security;

16. For food and for raiment; for an inheritance; for houses and for lands, in whatsoever circumstances I, the Lord, shall place them, and whithersoever I, the Lord, shall send them;

17. For they have been faithful over many things; and have done well inasmuch as they have not sinned.

18. Behold, I, the Lord, am merciful and will bless them, and they shall enter into the joy of these things. Even so. Amen.

Footnotes

1. It would be more proper to say "revision of the Bible" than "translation" of it; as the Prophet did not at any time pretend to a knowledge of the ancient languages that would enable him to translate from the Hebrew or the Greek as "translation" is commonly understood. But what he did was to revise the English text of the Bible under the inspiration of God; and that led him not only to give different renderings of various passages, but also to supply missing parts.

2. The miracle here referred to is thus related in Hayden's History of the Disciples (a Campbellite work), pp. 250-1. "Ezra Booth, of Mantua, a Methodist preacher of much more than ordinary culture, and with strong natural abilities, in company with his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and some other citizens of this place [Hiram], visited Smith at his home in Kirtland, in 1831. Mrs. Johnson had been afflicted for some time with a lame arm, and was not at the time of the visit able to lift her hand to her head. The party visited Smith partly out of curiosity, and partly to see for themselves what there might be in the new doctrine. During the interview the conversation turned on the subject of supernatural gifts, such as were conferred in the days of the apostles. Some one said, 'Here is Mrs. Johnson with a lame arm; has God given any power to man now on the earth to cure her?' A few moments later, when the conversation had turned in another direction, Smith rose, and walking across the room, taking Mrs. Johnson by the hand, said in the most solemn and impressive manner: 'Woman, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to be whole,' and immediately left the room. The company were awe-stricken at the infinite presumption of the man, and the calm assurance with which he spoke. The sudden mental and moral shock—I know not how better to explain the well-attested fact—electrified the rheumatic arm—Mrs. Johnson at once lifted it up with ease, and on her return home the next day she was able to do her washing without difficulty or pain."

3. See page 212, verses 15, 16.

4. It is generally supposed that Ezra Booth was the first to turn away from the faith; but this is an error. Others denied the faith before him, but he was the first apostate, I think, to publish anything against the Church. That he was not the first apostate, however, is evident from the fact that John Whitmer in his history makes mention of others turning from the faith even before the journey of the Elders to Missouri was undertaken; whereas Booth did not announce his apostasy until his return from that journey in the month of September. Writing of a time previous to the assembling of the conference of June 3rd-6th, 1831, John Whitmer remarks: "About these days the disciples arrived from the state of New York to this place, Kirtland, Ohio. They had some difficulty between themselves because of some that did not continue faithful—who denied the truth and turned to fables." (Ch. 8.) Again in chapter 8 he says: "After some of the Elders had left [i. e., for Missouri], and the time for Joseph Smith, Jun., and others to leave [had come]—some of those who had been commanded to take their journey speedily, had denied the faith and turned from the truth." And still speaking of a time previous to the apostasy of Booth, and before detailing the events which happened on the land of Zion among the Elders who went there, he says: "There was much trouble and unbelief among those who called themselves disciples of Christ; some apostatized and became enemies to the cause of God, and persecuted the Saints." (Chapter 9.) All this was before Booth's apostasy. In the minutes of a conference held on the 6th of September, 1831, and signed by Oliver Cowdery, it is recorded: "Upon testimony satisfactory to this conference, it was voted that Ezra Booth be silenced from preaching as an Elder in this Church."

5. The series of letters referred to in the text above were nine in number, and first appeared in the Ohio Star, published at Ravenna, the county seat of Portage county. Afterwards they were published in E. D. Howe's Book, Mormonism Unveiled, pp. 175-221.

6. Orson Hyde was born January 8th, 1805, at Oxford, New Haven county, Connecticut. He was the son of Nathan and Sally Hyde. His father served in the United States army in the war of 1812. When Orson was seven years old his mother died, and the large family of Nathan Hyde, consisting of nine sons and three daughters, were scattered. Orson was taken in charge by a man of the name of Nathan Wheeler. Seven years later, or when young Hyde was fourteen years of age, Mr. Wheeler moved from the state of Connecticut to Ohio, settling in the vicinity of Kirtland. Orson accompanied him and continued to live with him in Ohio for about four years, after which he engaged in various occupations on his own account, at last becoming a clerk in the firm of Gilbert & Whitney, merchants. In the year 1827 a religious revival of unusual fervor occurred in Kirtland and vicinity, and under its influence Orson Hyde became a convert to the Methodist faith; and shortly afterwards was made a class leader. "At about the same time," writes Edward Tullidge, in a biographical sketch of him, "he heard that a 'golden Bible' had been dug out of a rock in the state of New York. It was treated, however, as a hoax; but, on reading the report, Hyde remarked: 'Who knows but that this 'golden Bible' may break up our religion and change its whole features and bearing." (Utah and her Founders, Biographical Sketches, p. 70). Some time subsequent to his becoming a Methodist he heard Sidney Rigdon preach the Campbellite faith, and being convinced that the doctrine Rigdon advocated was more scriptural than that which he had embraced, he accepted it and was baptized into the Campbellite church. He also became a theological student under his new teacher's instruction, with a view of becoming a minister of the new church; and, in fact, began to preach and had already assisted in founding several Campbellite congregations in Lorain and Huron counties. In 1830, he was made pastor over these congregations. In the fall of that year the Lamanite mission of the Church of Jesus Christ arrived in the northeast part of Ohio, and soon the whole country was agitated by the presentation of the Book of Mormon and its attendant message, the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. At first Orson Hyde, at the request of members of the Campbellite faith, opposed the Book of Mormon in public addresses; but feeling reproved by the Spirit for this course, he suspended his opposition in order to make further inquiry, with the result that after much prayer and some hesitancy he accepted the great latter-day message, and was baptized, as related in the text.

7. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 65.

8. This was a very important conference, and continued through two days, the 25th and 26th of October—Tuesday and Wednesday. The minutes of it are contained in the Far West Record, pp. 10-15. Very many of the brethren holding the Priesthood addressed the conference, and each one expressed his willingness to consecrate all he possessed to God and His cause. The minutes of the Prophets remarks upon this subject, as relating to his own willingness to consecrate all to the Lord, are of particular interest. It stands as follows in the record: "Brother Joseph Smith. Jun., said that he had nothing to consecrate to the Lord of the things of the earth, yet he felt to consecrate himself and family. Was thankful that God had given him a place among His Saints; felt willing to labor for their good" (p. 13). It appears at this time that the Prophet and other leading Elders of the Church were much embarrassed in the work of translating the Scriptures and preaching the Gospel, in consequence of the difficulty they encountered to do this work of the ministry and at the same time provide for their families. It appears also that the Saints were somewhat backward in providing means for the support of the ministry of the Church. Referring to the subject the Prophet, according to the minutes above referred to, said: "The Lord held the Church bound to provide for the families of the absent Elders while proclaiming the Gospel. Further said that God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church" (p. 13).

The remarks of Simeon Carter, one of the High Priests in attendance at the conference, are of interest and importance, owing to the light they throw upon the views of the faithful brethren respecting the journey to the land of Zion and the work that had been accomplished there. The minute of his remarks stands as follows: "Brother Simeon Carter said that he was thankful that he had been spared and preserved to go to the land of Zion according to the commandment of the Lord, for he received it as from His mouth; and also thanked the Lord that his feet had trodden upon the consecrated ground which was the inheritance of the Saints. Testified that the Book of Mormon was true. Mourned because of the falling away [in Kirtland] since he took his journey to the land of Zion" (p. 12).

Another item of interest will be found in the following circumstance: Several of the brethren took occasion to testify to the truth of the Book of Mormon; and now the minutes—"Brother Hyrum Smith said that he thought best that the information of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon be related by Joseph himself to the Elders present, that all might know for themselves." "Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., said that it was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon; and also said that it was not expedient for him to relate these things" (p. 13). This will account for the Prophet confining himself to the merest generalities in all his statements concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

9. The exact date of the birth of William E. M'Lellin cannot be ascertained. He was born in the state of Tennessee about the year 1806. He first heard the Gospel preached by Elders Samuel H. Smith and Reynolds Cahoon, while those brethren were en route from Kirtland to Independence, Missouri, in the early summer of 1831. He closed up his affairs as soon as possible and followed these missionaries to Jackson county. On the way to that place he was baptized and ordained an Elder. During the same summer he made his way to Kirtland, where we find him in attendance at the special conference of October 25th, seeking to learn the will of the Lord, through the Prophet, respecting himself.

10. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 66.

11. This special conference at Hiram on November 1st, should receive larger notice. The number of copies in the edition of the Book of Commandments to be printed was considered and the decision reached that ten thousand should be published. The conference lasted two days. In the afternoon of the first day of the conference, according to the minutes of the meeting, the preface to the Book of Commandments was "received by inspiration." The same afternoon, the following occurred: "Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., said that inasmuch as the Lord had bestowed a great blessing upon us in giving commandments and revelations, he asked the conference what testimony they were willing to attach to these commandments which would shortly be sent to the world. A number of the brethren arose and said that they were willing to testify to the world that they knew that they were of the Lord." (Far West Record, p. 16.)

In the second day's proceedings of the conference it is recorded: "The revelation of last evening read by the moderator [this was Oliver Cowdery]. The brethren then arose in turn and bore witness to the truth of the Book of Commandments; after which Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., arose and expressed his feelings and gratitude concerning the commandments and preface received yesterday." (Far West Record, p. 16.)

12. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 1. This revelation which, in the current edition, and in fact in all editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, stands as section 1, is the Lord's Preface to the revelations which He has given to this Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.

13. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 67.

14. This "Testimony" to the truth of the "Book of Commandments" was doubtless drawn up with the intention of having it signed by the Elders present at the conference; but whether that was done or not does not appear in the Ms. of the Prophet's history. The testimony itself, however, is in the manuscript History. This is remarked because it has not been published heretofore in the History of the Prophet. The matter appears to stand thus: Each of the Elders present at the conference testified to the truth of the revelations then about to be published; and, as already seen (p. 222 note), expressed a willingness to testify to the truth of the revelations to all the world. Accordingly this testimony was prepared with the intention of having it signed and published in the "Book of Commandments." It may have been signed, too, and carried to Missouri, but owing to the fact that the printing press was destroyed by a mob before the "Book of Commandments" was all printed, the "Testimony" does not appear in the part of it that was printed. The names of the Elders present at this special conference, according to the minutes of it in the Far West Record (p. 15), are as follows: Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, William B. M'Lellin, Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson.

15. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 68.

16. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 133.

17. Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 69. It must not be understood from the first paragraph of this revelation that Oliver Cowdery was untrustworthy, and therefore it was necessary that a companion be provided for him. The fact was that much of the journey between Kirtland and Independence, or Zion, was through a sparsely settled country, the western portion of it through a frontier country where there is always a gathering, more or less, of lawless people; and it was at considerable risk that a person traveled through such a country, especially when alone and carrying money with him. It was wisdom then, for the sake of Oliver Cowdery, and to insure the safety of the money and the sacred things he was to carry with him, that one should go with him that would be a true and faithful companion, hence the appointment of John Whitmer.