The First Theologian of the Latter Day Saints

Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876)
Memorial to Penn. Legislature
Times and Seasons, Vol. V (1844)

Nauvoo Neighbor, Jan. 13, 1844

  • Rigdon born in PA, moved to OH
  • his cheerfulness and melancholy
  • the Missourians and civil law
  • Lilburn W. Boggs & Missourians
  • his appeal to the Pennsylvanians
  • his warning of God's wrath

  • comments

  • 1840 Appeal to American People   |   Times & Seasons History: 1843   1844


    Vol. V.                 City  of  Nauvoo,  Ill.  February 1, 1844.                 No. 3.

    [ 418 ]

    Your memoralist, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and now an exile in the state of Illinois, begs leave, most respectfully to represent to your honorable body, that he was born in the state of Pennsylvania, on the 19th of February, A. D. 1793, in Alleghany county, and township of St. Clair, that he continued his permanent residence in said state until the year 1826, when he moved to the state of Ohio. In 1831, he went into the state of Missouri, and in connexion with other members of said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, became the owner of real estate in the county of Jackson, in said state; but by reason of the violence of a formidable mob, and the unwillingness of the authorities of Missouri to protect your memorialist, and those connected with him, in the possession of their rights, they were forbidden the privilege of enjoying their property, or receiving any benefit therefrom; that in the month of April, 1838, your memorialist moved with his family into the state of Missouri, into Caldwell county, and became owner of real estate in the said county of Caldwell, without however being privileged to enjoy the benefit of his lands in Jackson county. All the lands owned by your memorialist and his brethren, in Jackson county, were purchased from the United States, for which payment had been made in full; the benefits of which payment the United States now enjoy, and has, ever since the purchase. There had large numbers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints settled in Caldwell county, at the time your memorialist went into that county, as also in Davies county, in said state. We commenced building houses, and improving our lands; building mills and other machinery, for our mutual benefit; quietly and peaceably enjoying our new homes, and using much industry and economy, to render the desolate waste, whither we had been driven, a pleasant habitation for man. The toils of the day, were followed by the sound of the hammer, the noise of the plane, and the hum of the wheel, at night. Day and night all was bustle, all was stir; every hour of the day, and many of the night, brought forth the fruits of industry, for the benefit of the settlers, and added additional improvement, beauty and comfort to our new homes. Our social circles, however, were not unfrequently disturbed by the tears and sobbings of some disconsolate widow, or the weeping of some bereaved orphan, bewailing the loss of a husband or a father, who had fallen a victim to the violence to [sic - of?] of the Jackson and Clay county mobs. Jackson county was the place of our choice, and nothing but violence could have caused our people to leave it. Their hearts were set upon it, and all their feelings associated with that place, as the future home of themselves and their posterity. The location in Caldwell and Davies counties, was only made by our people, by reason of violence and lawless outrages committed upon them. It was always received by us as a place of exile, and not of choice, and in dispite of all our efforts at cheerfulness, at times, the mind would be almost overwhelmed with melancholy, and we would say in our hearts, and often with our lips, 'what availeth us that our ancestors bled. and our fathers fought for liberty, while we are as captives in a strange land?' and like Israel along the streams of Babylon, we would be almost ready to hang our harps on the willows, and refuse to sing the song of Zion. O where is the patrimony our fathers bequeathed to us? Where is the liberty they purchased with their blood? Fled! alas fled!! but we hope not forever.

    But the wants of our families would dissipate our feelings; we would engage in the labors of the day, and the toils of the night, with untiring perseverance, and struggle with all the powers of both mind and body, to render our families comfortable, and make our homes pleasant. But alas! this privilege was not allowed us. Our quiet industry, and untiring perseverance soon awakened the jealousy of our enemies, and the cry went forth, that if the Mormons (as they called us) were let alone, Caldwell county would, in five years, be the most wealthy and populous county in the state. This our enemies could not endure; and a regular system of mobocracy, of violence, and plunder, was formed to check us in our course to wealth and greatness, as our enemies supposed: and, indeed, they had some reason to think so; for an extent of improvement had been made in this remote and wild region, in the space of a few months, which had no [parallel] in the history of our western settlements, and I strongly doubt whether any where else.

    This banditti of marauders increased in numbers and violence, until by device and stratagem, duplicity and falsehood, they got the authorities of the state to interfere, and aid them in their diabolical purposes; and the then Governor
    of the state, Lilburn W. Boggs, actually sent a large military force into the county, with orders to exterminate us and confiscate our property; or such was the authority the commanders of the military array claimed, by virtue of the order received from the governor. -- Suffice it to say, that our settlements were broken up, our towns plundered, our farms laid waste, our crops ruined, our flocks and herds either killed or driven away, our houses rifled, our goods, money. clothing, provisions and all we had, carried away; men were shot down like wild beasts, or had their brains dashed out: women were insulted and ravished, until they died in the hands of their destroyers. Children were killed, while pleading for their lives. All intreaties were vain and fruitless; men, women and children, alike, fell victims to the violence and cruelty of these ruffians. Men moving into the county with their families, were shot down; their waggons, teams and loading, taken by the plunderers as booty, and their wives, with their little ones, ordered out of the state forthwith, or suffer death, as had their husbands; leaving them no means of conveyance but their feet, and no means of subsistence but begging. Soldiers of the revolution were slain in the most brutal manner while pleading for their lives, in the name of American citizens. Many were thrown into prison to endure the insults of a mock trial, that would have disgraced an inquisition. This last part of the scene, was doubtless designed to make the distant public believe, that there was some excuse for all this outrage and violence. Among the number of those cast into prison, was your memorialist, who had to endure four months imprisonment, part of the time in chains.

    To give your honorable body a correct idea of the origin of these scenes of cruelty and woe, we will here transcribe the preamble to a set of resolutions passed by these plunderers, at their first meeting held in Jackson county, for the purpose of taking measures for the expulsion of our people from that county. It is as follows:

    "We the undersigned, citizens of Jackson county, believing that an important crisis is at hand, as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious society of people that have settled and are still settling in our county, styling themselves Mormons; and intending as we do, to rid our society, peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must, and believing as we do, that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least, a sufficient one against the evils which are now inflicted on us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem it expedient and if the highest importance to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose, which we deem it almost superfluous to say, is justified as well by the law of nature, as by the law of self defence."

    Your honorable body will see by the above, that the reason assigned for the formation of the company (and this was the first that was formed,) was the want of power in the civil law to enable them to effect their object. Hear their own words -- 'And believing as we do, that the arm of civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least a sufficient one against the evils which are now inflicted upon us.' What were the evils complained of? Strange must be the answer, themselves being judges; the existence of a religious society among them; a society too against which even envy and malice themselves could not find an accusation, or ferret out a lawless impropriety, or one act which the lawless recognized as crime. For, says the complainants, we form ourselves into a company, because the laws do not provide for the evils which afflict us; or this in effect is what they say. If any individual or individuals of said society, or the society as a body, had transgressed the laws, had not the state power to lawfully inflict the punishment due to said offence? The sequel shows they had. What are the facts of the case, our enemies being the judges themselves? They are, that our people had so deported themselves, as to be justified by the laws; claiming no right but such as the laws guaranteed; exercising no power beyond the limits set for them by the laws of the country; and this was the reason why our enemies formed themselves into a company for our expulsion, or at least, they so say. If our people had been transgressors of the laws, no need then for the people of Jackson county to form themselves into a company to drive us from our homes; they could have done this lawfully; no need of a companys' being formed, all could have been done without, that humanity could have demanded.

    By virtue then of the unholy determination, as stated above, our people were attacked, indiscriminately, men women and children: their houses were rifled; the inmates driven out into open fields or wild prairies; their farms desolated; their crops all destroyed; their goods, and chattels carried off or otherwise destroyed; men were caught, tied up, whipped, until some died in their hands, others had to tie handkerchiefs round their bodies to keep their bowels from falling out: others were shot down; their wives and little ones driven from their habitation! and this often in the night, having nothing but their night clothes on; their
    houses would be set on fire, and all consumed, leaving hundreds of women and little children thus destitute and naked. wandering bare-footed and nearly naked, in the darkness of the night and dead of winter, in the fields and open prairies, without any covering but the heavens, or any bed but the earth; and their condition so terrible that they might be followed by their blood, which flowed from their lacerated and bleeding feet. Females in this heart rending condition, gave birth to children, in the open air, and exposed to the inclemencies of the winter. The consequences were that many sickened and many died. And if we ask, why all this abuse? the answer must be, because the people had not transgressed the laws; if they had, their persecutors would have punished them by the laws: but they had not done it, and for this cause they must suffer all the cruelties which the most inhuman barbarity could invent. The lands which your memorialist and his brethren had purchased from the general government, and on which large improvements were made, were thus taken possession of by our persecutors, and the same are held by them till this day, and we are forbid the privilege of enjoying them or any benefit arising from them, I mean the lands in Jackson County.

    After wandering about for a length of time, those that were thus unlawfully deprived of their earthly all and cruelly driven from their homes, got into Clay county in said state of Missouri; and again began to get homes; but in a short time, the same scenes began to be acted in Clay, as had been in Jackson county, and the people were again driven, and got into Caldwell or what was afterwards Caldwell county, and into Davies county, or a large majority of them, and here again purchased lands from the general government.

    To give your honourable body a correct idea of how those who had been thus driven and stripped of their all, were enabled again to purchase, it is only necessary to say, that there was a constant emigration into the country of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; many of those had money, and they loaned part of what they had to those who had none, and enabled them to purchase homes. The land soon began to rise in value, and the first purchasers were enabled to sell part of what they had purchased for enough to pay for the whole, and save themselves a home: some more and some less. There were few, if any who did not in this way get homes, but were privileged only a very short time to enjoy them. We were followed into Caldwell and Davies counties, by the same relentless spirit, and by the same persecutors who had desolated our people in Jackson county, under the command of Major General Lucas, of Independence, Jackson county seat of the first mob, and the place where the first company was formed for our destruction. He was joined on his way hither by many of other counties, and invaded our towns and settlements, laid all waste and drove us into exile.

    Lilburn W. Boggs, who was Lieutenant [Governor] of the state, when the persecution first [commenced], and one of the principal actors in the persecution, was now (1838) Governor of the state, and used his executive influence to have us all massacred or driven into exile; again taking all we had, and holds it till this day; and all this because we were not lawless and disobedient. For if the laws had given them a sufficient guarantee against the evils complained of by the existence of our religious society among them, then would they have had recourse to the laws. If we had been transgressors of law, our houses would not have been rifled, our women ravished, our farms desolated, and our goods and chattels destroyed; our men killed, our wives and children driven into the the prairies, and made to suffer the indignities that the most brutal barbarity could inflict, but would only have had to suffer that which the laws would inflict, which were founded in justice, framed in righteousness and administered in humanity. But scourged by this banditti, without the forms of law, and according to their own declaration, in violation of all law, or the principles of humanity, we were doomed to suffer all kinds of cruelty which barbarity or inhumanity could invent. And they have gravely told the world that they deem it almost superfluous to say that their cause was justified, as well by the law of nature as by the law of self defence. Now, in the name of all humanity, what law of nature justified, or law of self defence required the infliction of such shameless cruelties? In so saying they show most assuredly but very little respect to the intelligence of humanity of American citizens, and in the eyes of the civilized world have cast a shade, and a dark one too, on the character of the sons of a noble ancestry, for they have virtually said that Americans look upon such cruelties as the acts of virtue and the fatherly chastisements of humanity.

    During the whole progress of those scenes of cruelty, from the beginning, we petitioned the authorities of Missouri for protection and redress. In the name of American citizens, we appealed to their patriotism, to their justice, to their humanity, and to their sacred honors; but they were deaf to our entreaties, and lent a listless ear to our petitions. All attempts at
    redress or protection were vain, and they heeded us not, until we were exiles in a strange land, though one (and to its honor be it spoken) where we found both friends and a home. But since our residence in Illinois, Missouri has followed us with the same relentless spirit of persecution. Warrants have been sent by the governor of Missouri to the governor of Illinois, demanding the body of your memorialist, and a number of others; for that of Joseph Smith three several warrants have been sent, all of which have been set aside by the legal authorities of Illinois; and yet they cease not their persecution. Our people are kidnapped, and carried into Missouri, and there are insulted and whipped (as many have been) and cast into prison, and left to get out as they could. All this without the forms of trial. Missouri is by these brutal means endeavouring to make the public think that they have cause for this barbarity. But, let me ask your honorable body, what excuse can be pled for such inhuman barbarity and brutal recklessness? Let me further ask the attention of your honorable body to the fact, that all the before described outrages were committed by a body of men calling themselves militia, called out by order of the governor for the professed object of seeing that the laws were kept, and their supremacy maintained. Such was their pretended object, and under this cover they put at defiance the laws of both God and man; of nature, humanity, and decency; and in these unhallowed abuses of all the laws of civilized society in the world, they were upheld by the authorities of the state, and actually paid by the state, for committing theft, robbery, rapine, violence rape, and murder, with innumerable cruelties, painful to mention. And when we made application to the authorities for redress, we were insulted instead of receiving common civilities. The constitution of the United States provides, that the United States shall give to each state a republican form of government. Is it a republican form of government where such outrages can be committed in the face of the authorities, and yet no redress can be had; where all law is suspended to give place to cruelty, barbarity, and inhumanity? Let your honorable body answer.

    Her statesmen in the national councils may attempt to plead excuses for these diabolical outrages, but all they can do is stamp infamy on their own characters, and engrave disgrace on the urn that contains their ashes after they sleep. What, I ask your honorable body, can be pled in extenuation of crimes so barbarous, cruelties so infamous, and outrages so violent. What crime can any man commit, it matters not how flagrant, which can, according to the laws of the civilized world, subject his wife to insult, his daughters to rape, his property to public plunder, his children to starvation, and himself and family to exile. The very character of the outrage is all the testimony I think your honorable body can ask -- that it was without provocation on the part of the sufferers; for if there had been provocation then would the transgressors have had to suffer the penalty of broken laws, but their punishment -- if such it can be called -- was not the penalty inflicted for the breach of any law, for no law in existence knows such a penalty or penalties. Why then all this cruelty? Answer, because the people had violated no law; nor prevented from exercising the rights, which they, (according to the laws,) enjoyed, and had a right to be protected in, in any state in the union.

    Being refused redress by the authorities of Missouri, to whom shall your memorialist look? He answers, to the people of his native state, and through them to the general government, and where can he look with more confidence, than to the patriots of Pennsylvania, the state of his nativity, and the place of the sepulchers of his fathers. Yes, your memorialist says in his heart, "I will tell you my wrongs and grievances and that of my brethren, in Pennsylvania; I will publish them in the streets, high ways and high places of the 'Key Stone State,' that her statesmen may plead the cause of suffering innocence in the halls of the National Legislature; her matrons may arise in the strength of patriotism; her fair ones in virtuous indignation, and their united voices cease not, until the cause of the innocent shall be heard, and their most sacred rights restored." To your honorable body then, the representatives of the people of his native state, your memorialist utters his complaining voice; to you he tells the tale of his wrongs, and his woes, and that of his brethren, and appeals to your honorable body, as one of Pennsylvania's native sons, and asks you in the name of all that is patriotic, republican and honorable, to instruct the whole delegation of Pennsylvania in congress, to use all lawful and constitutional means to obtain for us redress for our wrongs and losses. Believing as your memorialist does, that the general government has not only the power to act in the premises, but are bound by every sacred obligation by which American citizens are bound to one another, in our national compact, to see that no injury is inflicted without redress being made.

    Weak indeed must be our republican institutions, and as contemptible our national capacity,
    if it is a fact, that American citizens, after having purchased lands from the government, and received the government guarantee to be protected in the enjoyment of them, they can be lawlessly and causelessly driven off by violence and cruelty, and yet the government have no power to protect them, or redress their wrongs. Tell not this in Pennsylvania, publish it not in the streets of Harrisburg, for surely, the sons of the 'Key Stone State' will feel themselves insulted.

    Well may the nations of the old world ridicule the weakness, and impotency of our free institutions, a government not able to protect its own citizens! A government, it must be famous indeed in the annals of history, and a pattern to the world, which is so governed as to admit the most flagrant abuses known to the civilized world, and acknowledged by all to be such; and yet no power to redress them. Hear it O ye barbarians! Listen to it O ye savages!! and hasten, yea hasten all of you to America; there you can glut your avarice by plunder, and riot in the blood of innocence, till you are satisfied, and the government has no power to restrain, nor strength to punish, nor yet ability to redress the sufferers at your hands.

    From the acquaintance which your memorialist has with the history of his native state, he has been induced to make his appeal to your honored body -- a state whose people are noted for their civic virtues and zealous attachment to the principles of civil and religious liberty; a people venerable from the beginning of our national existence; whose virtuous efforts to the sacred principles of freedom, religious, civil, and political, have obtained for themselves imperishable laurels in the history of our country's glory; a people whose colonial organization was based upon the holy principles of equal rights and equal privileges; a people whose national escutcheon has never been stained with the martyrs blood; a state whose statesmen, divines and heroes, labored in the cabinet, the desk and the field, to secure, and hand down to their posterity, in all succeeding ages, the boon of heaven, the sacred rights of freemen.

    It was in the honored metropolis of Pennsylvania, the seat of the first colonial congress, when the principles of liberty were matured, from whence emanated the voice of independence, whose echoes rolled and reverberated, till it reached the circumference of the colonial settlements, and inspired the sons of freedom, until there was but one voice heard "Freedom or death." It was there when the leaders and heroes of the revolution, pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors, to each other, to be scourged by a tyrant's scepter no longer, until all they had, and all they were, were offered on the altar of freedom.

    Not only were the principles of equal rights inscribed in legible characters on the flags which floated on her towers, in the incipient stages of our national existence, but they were engraven on the hearts of the people, with an impression which could not be obliterated. All who collected in her towers, or fought under her banners, could contend and fight for freedom only. Her teachers of religion, whose influence in the pulpit, and eloquence in public assemblies, wielded an overwhelming influence in the pulpit, and eloquence in public assemblies, wielded an overwhelming influence in forwarding the cause of liberty; did they use this influence in securing to themselves governmental patronage, or religious preferences? All acquainted with the history of the times answer no. They were citizens of Pennsylvania, and the immortal Penn had inscribed on every pot and bell in the colony, 'Civil and Religious liberty.' The patriotism of Pennsylvania's religious teachers was pure. They threw in their whole weight of character and influence to promote a cause which made others equal with themselves; for the glorious privilege of seeing a people free. Her heroes bore the horrors of war, not to sway the tyrant's scepter, or enjoy a lordling's wealth, but to found an assylum for the oppressed, and prepare a land of freedom for the tyrant's slave. -- Her statesmen, while in the councils of the nation, devoted all their wisdom and talents to establish a government where every man should be free; the slave liberated from bondage, and the colored African enjoy the rights of citizenship; all enjoying equal rights to speak, to act, to worship, peculiar privileges to none. Such were Pennsylvania's sons at the beginning; and surely their sons and successors must have degenerated, lamentably degenerated, from the purity and patriotism of their fathers and predecessors, if crimes and cruelties, such as your memorialist complains of, go unheeded and unregarded. Honorable regard for the people of my native state forbids the thought.

    In confidence of the purity and patriotism of the representatives of the people of his native state, your memorialist comes to your honorable body, through this his winged messenger, to tell you that the altar which was erected by the blood of your ancestors, to civil and religious liberty, from whence ascended up the holy incense of pure patriotism and universal good will to man, into the presence of Jehovah, a savior of life, is thrown down and the worshipers thereat, have been driven away, or else they are laying slain at the place of the altar. --
    He comes to tell your honorable body, that the temple your fathers erected to freedom, whither their sons assembled to hear her precepts and cherish her doctrines in their hearts, has been desecrated; its portals closed, so that those that go up hither, are forbidden to enter.

    He comes to tell your honorable body, that the blood of the heroes and patriots of the revolution, who have been slain by wicked hands for enjoying their religious rights, the boon of heaven to man, has cried, and is crying in the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, saying, 'redress, redress our wrongs, O Lord God of the whole earth.

    He comes to tell your honorable body, that the dying groans of infant innocence, and the shrieks of insulted and abused females -- and many of them widows of revolutionary patriots have ascended up into the ears of Omnipotence, and are registered in the archives of eternity, to be had in the day of retribution, as a testimony against the whole nation, unless their cries and groans are heard by the representatives of the people, and ample redress made, as far as the nation can make it, or else the wrath of the Almighty will come down in fury against the whole nation.

    Under all these circumstances, your memorialist prays to be heard by your honorable body, touching all the matters of his memorial; and as a memorial will be presented to congress this session, for redress of our grievances, he prays your honorable body will instruct the whole delegation of Pennsylvania, in both houses, to use all their influence in the national counsels, to have redress granted.

    And, as in duty bound, your memorialist will ever pray.
    SIDNEY RIGDON, P. M.      

    Sidney Rigdon (1793-1876)
    "History of Joseph Smith"
    Times and Seasons, Vol. V (1844)

  • July 15   (1832: Jan.)
  • August 1   (1832: Feb.)
  • August 15   (1832: Mar.)
  • September 2   (1832: Mar.-Apr.)

  • comments at bottom of each issue

  • Vol. V.                 City  of  Nauvoo,  Ill.  July 15, 1844.                 No. 13.

           [ 576 ]


    From this time till the 8th or 10th of January, 1832, myself and elder Rigdon continued to preach in Shalersville, Ravenna, and other places, setting forth the truth, vindicating the cause of our Redeemer; showing that the day of vengeance was coming upon this generation like a thief in the night: that prejudice, blindness, darkness, filled the minds of many, and caused them to persecute the true church, and reject the true light; by which means we did much towards allaying the excited feelings which were growing out of the scandalous letters then being published in the "Ohio Star," at Ravenna, by the before mentioned apostate Ezra Booth. On the 10th of January, I received the following
    Revelation to Joseph Smith, jun. and Sidney Rigdon, January 1832. The word of the Lord unto them concerning the church of the living God established in the last days, making known the will of the Lord unto the elders, what they shall do until conference.

    For verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient in me, that they should continue preaching the gospel, and in exhortation to the churches in the regions round about, until conference, and then behold it shall be made known unto them by the voice of the conference their several missions.

    Now verily I say unto you, my servants Joseph Smith, jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again, and inasmuch as it is practicable to preach in the regions round about, until conference; and after that, it is expedient to continue the work of translation, until it be finished. And let this be a pattern unto the elders, until further knowledge, even as it is written. Now I give no more unto you at this time. Gird up your loins and be sober; even so: Amen.

    Upon the reception of the foregoing word of the Lord, I recommenced the translation of the scriptures, and labored diligently until January. During this period, I also received the following as
    An explanation of the epistle to the 1st Corinthians, 7th chapter, 14th verse.

    For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband, else were your children unclean, but now they are holy.

    Now in the days of the apostles the law of circumcision was had among all the Jews who believed not the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it came to pass that there arose a great contention among the people concerning the law of circumcision, for the unbelieving husband was desirous that his children should be circumcised and become subject to the law of Moses, which law was fulfilled.

    And it came to pass that the children being brought up in subjection to the law of Moses, and give heed to the traditions of their fathers, and believed not the gospel of Christ, wherein they become unholy; wherefore, for this cause the apostle wrote unto the church, giving unto them a commandment, not of the Lord but of himself, that a believer should not be united to an unbeliever, except the law of Moses should be done among them, that their children might remain without circumcision; and that the tradition might be done away, which saith that little children are unholy; for it was had among the Jews; but little children are holy, being sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ; and this is what the scriptures mean.

    A few days before the conference was to commence in Amhurst, Lorain county, I started in company with the elders that dwelt in my own vicinity, and arrived in due time.

    At this conference much harmony prevailed and considerable business was done to advance the kingdom, and promulgate the gospel to the inhabitants of the surrounding country.

    The elders seemed anxious for me to enquire of the Lord that they might know his will, or learn what would be most pleasing to him for them to do, in order to bring men to a sense of their condition; for, as it was written, all men have gone out of the way, so that none doth good, no not one. I enquired and received the following:
          Revelation given January, 1832.

    Verily, verily I say unto you, I who speak even by the voice of my spirit: even Alpha and Omega, your Lord and your God: hearken, O ye who have given your names to go forth to preach my gospel, and to prune my vineyard; Behold I say unto you, that it is my will that you should go forth and not tarry, neither be idle, but labor with your mights; lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, proclaiming the truth according to the revelations and commandments which I have given you, and thus if ye are faithful ye shall be laden
           [ 577 ]
    with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality and eternal life.

    Therefore, verily I say unto my servant Wm. E. McLellin, I revoke the commission which I gave unto him, to go into the eastern countries, and I give unto him a new commission and a new commandment, in the which I the Lord chasteneth him for the murmurings of his heart; and he sinned; nevertheless I forgive him, and say unto him again, go ye into the south countries; and let my servant Luke Johnson go with him and proclaim the things which I have commanded them, calling on the name of the Lord for the Comforter, which shall teach them all the things that are expedient for them, praying always that they faint not: and inasmuch as they do this I will be with them even unto the end. Behold this is the will of the Lord your God concerning you; even so: Amen.

    And again, verily thus saith the Lord, let my servant Orson Hyde, and my servant Samuel H. Smith, take their journey into the eastern countries, and proclaim the things which I have commanded them, and inasmuch as they are faithful, lo I will be with them even unto the end. And again, verily I say unto my servant Orson Pratt; they shall also take their journey into the eastern countries; and behold and lo, I am with them also even unto the end. And again I say unto my servant Asa Dodd and unto my servant Calves Wilson, that they also shall take their journey unto the western countries, and proclaim my gospel even as I have commanded them; and he who is faithful shall overcome all things, and shall be lifted up at the last day. And again I say unto my servant Major N. Ashley and my servant Burr Riggs, let them take their journey also unto the south country; yea, let all these take their journey as I have commanded them; going from house to house, and from village to village, and from city to city; and in whatsoever house ye enter, and they receive you, leave your blessing upon that house, and in whatsoever house ye enter and they receive you not, ye shall depart speedily from that house, and shake off the dust of your feet as a testimony against them; and you shall be filled with joy and gladness; and know this, that in the day of judgment, you shall be judges of that house, and condemn them; and it shall be more tolerable for the heathen in the day of judgment than for that house: therefore gird up your loins and be faithful, and ye shall overcome all things and be lifted up at the last day; even so: Amen.

    And again, thus saith the Lord unto you, O ye elders of my church, who have given your names that you might know his will concerning you; behold I say unto you, that it is the duty of the church to assist in supporting the families of those; and also to support the families of those who are called and must needs be sent unto the world, to proclaim the gospel unto the world, wherefore I the Lord give unto you this commandment, that ye obtain places for your families, inasmuch as your brethren are willing to open their hearts; and let all such as can obtain places for their families, and support of the church for them, not fail to go into the world: whether to the east, or to the west, or to the north, or to the south; let them ask and they shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto them, and make known from on high, even by the comforter whither they shall go.

    And again verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide and he shall in no wise lose his crown; and let him labor in the church. Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repents and mends his ways. Wherefore let my servant Simeon Carter, and my servant Emer Harris, be united in the ministry. -- And also my servant Ezra Thayer, and my servant Thomas B. Marsh. Also my servant Hyrum Smith, and my servant Reynolds Cahoon; and also my servant Daniel Stanton, and my servant Seymour Brunson; and also my servant Sylvester Smith, and my servant Gideon Carter; and also my servant Ruggles Eames, and my servant Stephen Burnett; and also my servant Micah B. Welton, and also my servant Eden Smith; even so: Amen.

    Notes: (forthcoming)

    Vol. V.                 City  of  Nauvoo,  Ill.  August 1, 1844.                 No. 14.

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    Upon my return from Amherst conference, I resumed the translation of the scriptures. -- From revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points, touching the salvation of man, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled. It appeared self-evident from what truths were left, that if God rewarded everyone according to the deeds done in the body, the term "heaven," as intended for the saints eternal home, must include more kingdoms than one. Accordingly on the 16th of February, 1832, while translating John's gospel, myself and elder Rigdon saw the following


    Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior;-great is his wisdom; marvelous are his ways; and the extent of his doings none can find out; his purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand: from eternity to eternity, he is the same and his years never fail.

    For thus saith the Lord, I the Lord am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness, and in truth unto the end; great shall be their reward, and eternal shall be their glory; and to them will I reveal all mysteries; yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old; and for ages to come will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom; Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations; their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to nought; for by my spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power I will make known unto them the secrets of my will; yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

    We, Joseph Smith, jr. and Sidney Rigdon, being in the spirit on the 16th of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, by the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened, and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God, even those things which were from the beginning before the world was, which were ordained of the Father, through his only begotten Son, who was in the bosom if the Father, even from the beginning, of whom we bear record, and the record which we bear is the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw and with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision; for while we were doing the work of translation which the Lord had appointed unto us, we came to the 29th verse of the 5th chapter of John, which was given unto us as follows: -- speaking of the resurrection of the dead, concerning those who shall hear the voice of the Son of man-and shall come forth; they who have done good in the resurrection of the just, and they who have done evil in the resurrection of the unjust. Now this caused us to marvel, for it was given unto us of the Spirit: and while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understanding, and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about: and we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness; -- and saw the holy angels, and they who were sanctified before his throne, worshiping God and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever. And now after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony last of all, which we give of him, that he lives; for we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the only begotten of the Father; that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created; and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God, who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the only begotten Son -- whom the Father loved, and who was in the bosom of the Father-and was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son, and was called Perdition: for the heavens wept over him; he was Lucifer a son of the morning; and we beheld and lo, he is fallen! is fallen! even a son of the morning. And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision: for we beheld satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and his Christ; wherefore he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasses
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    them round about. And we saw a vision of the sufferings of those with whom he made war and overcame, for thus came the voice of the Lord unto us.

    Thus saith the Lord, concerning all those who know my power and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil, to be overcome, and to deny the truth, and defy my power: they are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say it had been better for them never to have been born; for they are vessels of wrath doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels, in eternity: concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come: having denied the Holy Spirit, after having received it, and having denied the only begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame: these are they who shall go away into the lake of fire and brimstone, with the devils and his angels, and the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power; yea, verily the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath; for all the rest shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and the glory of the lamb, who was slain, who was in the bosom of the Father before the worlds were made. -- And this is the gospel, the glad tidings which the voice but of the heavens bore record unto us, that he came into the world, even Jesus to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through him all might be saved, whom the father had put into his power, and made by him; who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition, who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him: wherefore he saves all except them; they shall go away into everlasting punishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to reign with the devil and his angels in eternity, where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment, and the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows, neither will be revealed unto man, except them who are made partakers, thereof: nevertheless I the Lord show it by vision unto many, but straightway shut it up again: wherefore the end, the width, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except them who are ordained unto this condemnation. And we heard the voice saying, Write the vision for lo! this is the end of the vision of the sufferings of the ungodly!

    And again, we bear record for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ, concerning them who come forth in the resurrection of the just: they are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name, and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given, that, by keeping the commandments, they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true: they are they who are the church of the first born; they are they into whose hands the Father has given all things: they are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory, and are priests of the Most High after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the only begotten Son:-- wherefore as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God: wherefore all things are theirs, whether life or death, or all things present, or things to come, all are theirs, and they are Christ's and Christ is God's; and they shall overcome all things: wherefore let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet; -- these shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever; these are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven, to reign on the earth over his people; these are they who shall have part in the first resurrection; these are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just: these are they who are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all; those [these] are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the first born: these are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all; -- these are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out of this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood: these are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God the highest of all; whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

    And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo! these are those who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the
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    church of the first born, who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun of the firmament. Behold, these are they who died without law; and also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it; these are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men: these are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness; these are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father; wherefore they are bodies terrestrial, und [and] not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun: these are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus: wherefore they obtained not the crown over the kingdom of our God. And now this is the end of the vision which we saw of the terrestrial, that the Lord commanded us to write while we were yet in the Spirit.

    And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differ from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament; these are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus: these are they who deny not the Holy Spirit: these are they who are thrust down to hell: these are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil, until the first resurrection, the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work: these are they who receive not of his fulness in the [eternal] world, but of the Holy spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial; and also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels, who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them, for they shall be heirs of salvation.-And thus we saw in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial which surpasses all understanding; and no man knows it except him to whom God has revealed it. And thus we saw the glory of the terrestrial, which excels in all things the glory of the telestial, even in glory, and in power, and in might, and in dominion: And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things; where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever, and ever: before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence and give him glory forever and ever. They who dwell in his presence are the church of the first born; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace; and he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion. And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one. And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one. And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one, for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world: for these are they who are of Paul, and of Appollos, and of Cephas: these are they who say they are some of one and some of another; some of Christ; and some of John; and some of Moses; and some of Elias; and some of Esaias; and some of Isaiah; and some of Enoch, but received not the gospel; neither the testimony of Jesus; neither the prophets: neither the everlasting covenant; last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught unto the church of the first born, and received into the cloud: these are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whoever loves and makes a lie: these are they who suffer the wrath of God on the earth: these are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire: these are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God until the fulness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work, when he shall deliver up the kingdom and present it unto the Father spotless, saying I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God: then shall be crowned with the crown of his glory, to sit on the throne of his power to reign forever and ever. But behold and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore, and heard the voice of the Lord saying: -- These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever: for they shall be judged according to their works; and every man shall receive according to his own works, and his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared, and they shall be servants of the Most High, but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end. This is the end of the vision which we saw, which we were commanded to write while we were yet in the Spirit.

    But great and marvellous are the works of the Lord and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpasses all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion, which he commanded us we should not write, while we were yet in the Spirit, and
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    are not lawful for man to utter; neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him and purify themselves before him; to whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; that through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory, and honor, and dominion forever and ever: Amen.

    Nothing could be more pleasing to the saints upon the order of the kingdom of the Lord, than the light which burst upon the world through the foregoing vision. Every law, every commandment, every promise, every truth, and every point touching the destiny of man, from Genesis to Revelations, where the purity of either remains unsullied from the wisdom of men, goes to show the perfection of the theory, and witnesses the fact that that document is a transcript from the records of the eternal world. The sublimity of the ideas; the purity of the language; the scope for action; the continued duration for completion, in order that the heirs of salvation may confess the Lord and bow the knee. The rewards for faithfulness, and the punishments for sins, are so much beyond the narrow-mindedness of men, that every honest man is constrained to exclaim: "It came from God."

    About the first of March, in connexion with the translation of the scriptures, I received the following explanation of the revelations of St. John.
    What is the sea of glass spoken of by John, 4th chapter and 6th verse of the revelations?

        It is the earth in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state.

    What are we to understand by the four beasts spoken of by John in the 4th chapter and 6th verse of Revelations?

        They are figurative expressions) used by the Revelator John, in describing heaven, the paradise of God, the happiness of men, and of beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air, that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal, and that which is temporal, in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person; as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.

    Are the four beasts limited to individual beasts, or do they represent classes or orders?

        They are limited to four individual beasts, which were shown to John, to represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order, or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity.

    What are we to understand by the eyes and wings which the beasts had?

        Their eyes are a representation of light and knowledge; that is, they are full of knowledge -- and their wings are a representation of power, to move, to act, &c.

    What are we to understand by the four and twenty elders spoken of by John?

        We are to understand that these elders whom John saw, were elders who had been faithful in the of the ministry, and were dead, who belonged to the seven churches, and were then in the paradise of God.

    What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals.

        We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries and works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning the earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence.

    What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed?

        We are to understand that the first seal contains things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh.

    What are we to understand by the four angels spoken of by John, 7th chapter and 1st verse of Revelations.

        We are to understand that they are four angels sent forth from God, to whom is given power over the four parts of the earth, to save life and to destroy; these are they who have the everlasting gospel to commit to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, having power to shut the heavens, to seal unto life, or to cast down to the regions of darkness.

    What are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east, Revelations, 7th chapter and 2nd verse?

        We are to understand that the angel ascended from the east; is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the Twelve Tribes of Israel, wherefore he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads; and if you will receive it, this is Elias which was come, to gather together the tribes of Israel, and restore all things.

    What time are the things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished?

        They are to be accomplished in the sixth
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    thousand year, or the opening of the sixth seal.

    What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel, twelve thousand out of every tribe?

        We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come, to the church of the first born.

    What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelations?

        We are to understand that God made the world in six days, and of the seventh day he finished his work and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth; even so in the beginning of the seventh thousand year will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels, are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seven thousandth year, the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.

    When are the things to be accomplished which are written in the 9th chapter of Revelations?

        They are to be accomplished after the opening of the seventh seal, before the coming of Christ.

    What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by. John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelations?

        We are to understand that it was a mission and an ordinance for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things.

    What is to be understood by the two witnesses in the 11th chapter of Revelations?

        They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and build the city of Jerusalem, in the land of their fathers.

    Notes: (forthcoming)

    Vol. V.                 City  of  Nauvoo,  Ill.  August 15, 1844.                 No. 15.

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    Previous to the 20th of March, I received the four following revelations, besides the work of translating.
    Revelation given March 1832. The order given of the Lord, to Enoch, for the purpose of establishing the poor.

    The Lord spake unto Enoch, saying, Hearken unto me saith the Lord your God, who are ordained unto the high priesthood of my church, who have assembled yourselves together, and listen to the counsel of him who has ordained you from on high, who shall speak in your ears the words of wisdom, that salvation may be unto you in that thing which you have presented before me, saith the Lord God: for verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand, and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion, or in other words the city of Enoch, for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church to advance the cause which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven, that you may be equal in the bands of heavenly things, yea and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things; for if ye are not equal in earthly things, ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things: for if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.

    And now, verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient that all things be done unto my glory, that ye should, who are joined together in this order; or in other words, let my servant Ahasdah, and my servant Gazelam, or Enoch, and my servant Pelagoram, sit in council the saints which are in Zion: otherwise satan seeketh to to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded, and understand not the things which are prepared for them: wherefore a commandment I give unto you, to prepare and organize yourselves by a bond or everlasting covenant that cannot be broken.

    And he who breaketh it shall lose his office and standing in the church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of satan until the day of redemption. Behold this is the preparation wherewith I prepare you, and the foundation, and the ensample, which I give unto you whereby you may accomplish the commandments which are given you, that through my providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world, that you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Zion, who hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman; who hath appointed Michael, your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high; and given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One, who is without beginning of days or end of life.

    Verily, verily I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father has in his own hands, and prepared for you; and ye cannot hear all things now, nevertheless be of good cheer, for I will lead you along: the kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours; and the riches of eternity are yours; and he who receiveth all things, with thankfulness, shall be made glorious, and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundredfold, yea more: wherefore do the things which I have commanded you, saith your Redeemer, even the son of Ahman, who prepareth all things before he taketh you; for ye are the church of the first born, and he will take you in the cloud, and appoint every man his portion. And he that is a faithful and wise steward shall inherit all things: Amen.

        Revelation given March, 1832.

    Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that my servant Jared Carter should go again into the eastern countries, from place to place, and from city to city, in the power of the ordination wherewith he has been ordained, proclaiming glad tidings of great joy, even the everlasting gospel, and I will send upon him the Comforter which shall teach him the truth and the way whither he shall go; and inasmuch as he is faithful I will crown him again with sheaves: wherefore let your heart be glad my servant Jared Carter, and fear not saith your Lord, even Jesus Christ: Amen.

        Revelation given March 1832.

    Verily thus saith the Lord, unto you my servant Stephen Burnett, go ye, go ye, into the world, and preach the gospel to every creature
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    that cometh under the sound of your voice, and inasmuch as you desire a companion I will give unto you my servant Eden Smith; wherefore go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south; to the east or to the west; it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss; therefore declare the things which ye have heard and verily believe, and know to be true. Behold this is the will of him who hath called you, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ: Amen.

        Revelation given March, 1832.

    Verily, verily I say unto you my servant Frederick G. Williams, listen to the voice of him who speaketh, to the word of the Lord your God, and hearken to the calling wherewith you are called, even to be a high priest in my church, and a counselor to my servant Joseph Smith, jr. unto whom I have given the keys of the kingdom, which belongeth always unto the presidency of the high priesthood; therefore, verily I acknowledge him and will bless him, and also thee, inasmuch as thou art faithful in council, in the office which I have appointed unto you, in prayer always vocally, and in thy heart, in public and in private; also in thy ministry on proclaiming the gospel in the land of the living, and among thy brethren: and in doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and will promote the glory of him who is your Lord:-wherefore, be faithful, stand in the office which I have appointed unto you, succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees: and if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father. Behold, and lo, these are the words of Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ: Amen.
    I received a letter from the brethren who went up to the land of Zion, stating that they had arrived at Independence, Missouri, in good health and spirits, with a printing press and a store of goods. They also sent me the prospectus for the monthly paper agreeably to the instructions of the fall conference; it read as follows:

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    ...February, 22, 1832.

    According to previous calculations, we now began to make preparations to visit the brethren who had removed to the land of Missouri. Before going to Hiram to live with father Johnson, my wife had taken two children, (twins) of John Murdock, to bring up. She received them when only nine days old; they were now nearly eleven months. I would remark that nothing important had occurred since I came to reside at father Johnson's house in Hiram; I had held meetings on the sabbaths and evenings and baptized a number. Father Johnson's son, Olmsted Johnson, came home on a visit, during which I told him if he did not obey the gospel, the spirit he was of would lead him to destruction; and then he went away, he would never return or see his father again. He went to the southern states and Mexico; -- on his return took sick and died in Virginia. In addition to the apostate Booth, Simonds Rider Eli Johnson, Edward Johnson and John Johnson, jr. had apostatized.

    On the 25th of March, the twins before mentioned, which had been sick of the measles for some time, caused us to be broke of our rest in taking care of them, especially my wife. In the evening I told her she had better retire to rest with one of the children, and I would watch with the sickest child. In the night she told me I had better lay down on the trundle bed, and I did so, and was soon after awoke by her screaming murder! when I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men; some of whose hands were in my hair, and some hold of my shirt, drawers and limbs. The foot of the trundle bed was towards the door, leaving only room enough for the door to swing. My wife heard a gentle taping on the windows which she then took no particular notice of, (but which was unquestionably designed for ascertaining whether we were all asleep,) and soon after the mob burst open the door and surrounded the bed in an instant, and, as I said, the first I knew I was going out of the door in the hands of an infuriated mob, I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg, with which I made a pass at one man, and he fell on the door steps. I was immediately confined again; and they swore by God, they would kill me if I did not be still, which quieted me. As they passed around the house with me, the fellow that I kicked came to me and thrust his hand into my face, all covered with blood, (for I hit him on the nose,) and with an exulting horse laugh, muttered: "ge, gee, God damn ye, I'll fix ye."

    They then seized me by the throat, and held on till I lost my breath. After I came to, as they passed along with me, about thirty rods from the house, I saw elder Rigdon stretched out on the ground, whither they had dragged him by the heels. I supposed he was dead.

    I began to plead with them, saying: you will have mercy and spare my life, I hope. To which they replied: "God damn ye, call on yer God for help, we'll show ye no mercy;" and the people began to show themselves in every direction: one coming from the orchard had a plank, and I expected they would kill me, and carry me off on the plank. They then turned to the right, and went on about thirty rods further; about sixty rods from the house, and thirty from where I saw elder Rigdon; into the meadow, where they stopped, and one said "Simonds, Simonds" (meaning I suppose Simonds Rider,) "pull up his drawers, pull up his drawers, he will take cold." Another replied: a'nt ye going to kill 'im? a'nt ye going to kill 'im? when a group of mobbers collected a little way off and said: "Simonds, Simonds, come here:" and Simonds charged those who had hold of me to keep me from touching the ground. (as they had done all the time) lest I should get a spring upon them They went and held a council, and as I could occasionally overhear a word, I suppose it was to know
           [ 612 ]
    whither it was best to kill me. They returned after a while, when I learned that they had concluded not to kill me but to pound and scratch me well, tear off my shirt and drawers, and leave me naked, one cried, 'Simonds, Simonds, where's the tar bucket?' 'I don't know' answered one, 'where 'tis, Eli's left it.' They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar, when one exclaimed, 'God damn it, let us tar his mouth;' and they tried to force the tar-paddle into my mouth; I twisted my head around, so that they could not; and they cried out: 'God damn ye, hold up yer head and let us give ye some tar.' -- They then tried to force a vial into my mouth, and broke it in my teeth. All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar; and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat, and then muttered out: -- 'God damn ye, that's the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks.'

    They then left me, and I attempted to rise, but fell again; I pulled the tar away from my lips, &c. so that I could breath more freely, and after a while I began to recover, and raised myself up, when I saw two lights. I made my way towards one of them, and found it was father Johnsons.' When I had came to the door, I was naked, and the tar made me look as though I had been covered with blood, and when my wife saw me she thought I was all mashed to pieces, and fainted. During the affray abroad, the sisters of the neighborhood had collected at my room. I called for a blanket, they threw me one and shut the door; I wrapped it around me and went in.

    In the mean time, brother John Poorman heard an out cry across the corn field, and running that way met Father Johnson, who had been fastened in his house at the commencement of the assault, by having the door barred by the mob, but on calling to his wife to bring his gun, saying he would blow a hole through the door, the mob fled, and father Johnson seizing a club ran after the party that had elder Rigdon, and knocked one man, and raised his club to lever another, exclaiming: 'what are you doing here?' when they left elder Rigdon and turned upon father Johnson, who, turning to run towards his own house met brother Poorman coming out of the cornfield; each supposing the other to be a mobber, an encounter ensued, and Poorman gave Johnson a severe blow on the right shouleer[shoulder] with a stick or stone, which brought him to the ground. Poorman ran immediately towards father Johnsons,' and arriving while I was waiting for the blanket, exclaimed: 'I'm afraid I've killed him.' Killed who? asked one; when Poorman hastily related the circumstances of the rencounter near the corn field, and went into the shed and hid himself. Father Johnson soon recovered so as to come to the house, when the whole mystery was quickly solved concerning the difficulty between him and Poorman, who, on learning the facts, joyfully came from his hiding place.

    My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and cleansing my body; so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again. This being Sabbath morning, the people assembled for meeting at the usual hour of worship, and among those came also the mobbers; viz: Simonds Rider, a Campbelite preacher, and leader of the mob; one McClentic, son of a Campbelite preacher, and Pelatiah Allen, Esq. who gave the mob a barrel of whiskey to raise their spirits; and many others. With my flesh all scarified and defaced, I preached to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals.

    The next morning I went to see elder Rigdon, and found him crazy, and his head highly inflamed, for they had dragged him by his heels, and those too, so high from the earth he could not raise his head from the rough frozen surface, which lascerated it exceedingly; and when he saw me he called to his wife to bring him his razor. She asked him what he wanted of it? and he replied to kill me. Sister Rigdon left the room, and he asked me to bring him his razor; and I asked him what he wanted of it, and he replied he wanted to kill his wife, and he continued delirious some days. The feathers which were used with the tar on this occasion, the mob took out of elder Rigdon's house. After they had seized him, and dragged him out, one of the banditti returned to get some pillows; when the women shut him in and kept him some time.

    (To be Continued.)

    Note 1: Dean C. Jessee provides a transcript of the 1839 manuscript source for the Hiram tarring and feathering, on pages 373-374 of Volume I of his 1989 Papers of Joseph Smith. The 1839 text and the 1844 published version are substantially the same. Jessee inserts the footnote: "Eli and Edward Johnson may have been relatives but were not children of John Johnson, Sr." Jessee also inserts a note with an excerpt from the May 19, 1858 Deseret News autobiographical sketch, "History of Luke Johnson," and speculates that "one McClintic" was William McClintock, of Freedom. Portage Co., Ohio.

    Note 2: William H. Whitsitt, writing between 1886 and 1891, provides the following comments:"Between the 1st and 20th of March 1832... to appearance Joseph was steadily and perhaps rapidly gaining ground against his adversaries [Ezra] Booth and [Symonds] Ryder; by the existing aspect of affairs it would not be many months before Hiram would acknowledge that the prophet was complete master of the situation and of the town as well. Ryder and Booth must have begun to lose heart and hope; it would be indispensable to alter their methods if they expected to get quit of the presence and power of the Mormon church in their community. That suggestion fell upon fruitful soil; it sprang up and came to ripeness on the night of Saturday the 25th of March 1832. At a late hour of the night Joseph and Sidney were surprised, taken from their beds, and treated to a generous dress of tar and feathers. The account which Mr. Smith has left of this transaction is suspected to be full of amusing exaggerations; he was never in the least peril of life or limb (Lucy Smith, pp. 203-204). It was good policy to make the most of anything that bore the semblance of persecution; his fears enlarged the aspect of the few harmless strokes that fell upon him. His body was scarcely bruised and he was able to officiate in the school house where his followers assembled the next day. --- Mr. Smith accused the Disciples of having a large share in this farce, claiming to have identified in the crowd his old associate Symonds Ryder. One M'Clentic, who he declares was the "son of a Campbellite minister" is also assigned to a leading role; likewise Pelatia Allen Esq., another distinguished member of the Disciples' church, is affirmed to have excited the mob to screw their courage to the sticking place by the present of a barrel of whiskey (Mackay, p. 71 / 65). In short Joseph was inclined to lay most of the blame upon the Disciples. Possibly this may have been the real state of the case; just as possibly it may have been nothing better than an expression of the passion and prejudice that had been engendered by several months of sharp rivalry."

    Note 3: See also Max Parkin's 1966 "Conflict at Kirtland," pages 248-256 and the on-line article: March 24, 1832 - Hiram, Ohio.

    Vol. V.                 City  of  Nauvoo,  Ill.  September 2, 1844.                 No. 16.

           [ 624 ]


    During the mob, one of the twins received a severe cold, and continued to grow worse till Friday, and died. The mobbers were composed of various religious parties, but mostly Campbelites, Methodists and Baptists, who continued to molest and menace father Johnson's house for a long time. Elder Rigdon removed to Kirtland with his family, then sick with the measles, the following Wednesday, and on account of the mob he went to Chardon on Saturday, April first. Sunday, April second, I started for Missouri, in company with Newel K. Whitney, Peter Whitmer, and Jesse Gauze, to fulfil the revelation. Not wishing to go by Kirtland, as another mob existed in that neighborhood, (and indeed, the spirit of mobocracy was very prevalent through the region of the country at the time,) brother George Pitkin took us in his waggon, by the most expeditious route to Warren, where we arrived the same day, and were there joined by elder Rigdon, who left Chardon in the morning; and proceeding onward; we arrived at Wellsville the next day, and the day following at Stubenville, where we left the waggon; and on Wednesday the fifth of April, we took passage on board a steam packet for Wheeling, Virginia; where we purchased a lot of paper for the press in Zion, then in care of W. W. Phelps.

    After we left Hiram, fearing for the safety of my family, on account of the mob, I wrote to my wife, (in connection with bishop Whitney,) to have her go to Kirtland and tarry with his family till our return. She went to Kirtland, to brother Whitney's, and sister Whitney's aunt, Sarah Smith, (who was then living with her,) inquired of her niece if my wife was going to stay there; and, on being answered in the affirmative, said she should go away, for there was not room enough for both of them; accordingly sister Whitney invited my wife to leave, which she did immediately; having enjoyed about two hours visit. She then went to brother Reynolds Cahoon's, and father Smith's, and doctor Williams', where I found her, very disconsolate on my return.

    From Wheeling we took passage on board the steamer Trenton. While at the dock, during the night, the boat was twice on fire, burning the whole width of the boat through into the cabin, but with so little damage the boat went on in the morning; and when we arrived at Cincinnati, some of the mob which had followed us all the way round, left us, and we arrived at Louisville the same night; Captain Brittle offered us protection on board of his boat, and gave us supper and breakfast gratuitously. At Louisville, we were joined by elder Titus Billings, who was journeying with a company of saints from Kirtland to Zion, and we took passage on the steamer Charleston for St. Louis, where we parted with brother Billings and company and by stage arrived at Independence, Missouri, on the twenty-fourth of April, a distance of about three hundred miles from St. Louis....

    Notes: (forthcoming)

    Transcriber's Comments
    Sidney Rigdon's 1844 Memorial

    (under construction)

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