(Newspapers of Missouri)

Misc. Missouri Newspapers
1881-1900 Articles

Ensign Publishing Office, Independence, Mo., 1895

1831-1837   |   1838-1840   |   1841-1850   |   1851-1880   |   1881-1900   |   1901-1930

Haml Jan 21 '81    RCon Mar 25 '81    KCJ Apr 17 '81    KCJ Apr 24 '81    KCJ Jun 05 '81
KCJ Jun 12 '81    KCJ Jun 19 '81    KCJ Nov 27 '81    WkGr Sep 28 '83    LibTr Oct 12 '83
LibTr Oct 19 '83    LibTr Nov 02 '83    LibTr Nov 09 '83    KCJ Nov 18 '83    RCon Aug 22 '84
RCon Jan 09 '85    KCJ Jan 18 '85    LibTr Mar 12 '86    LibTr Apr 09 '86    KTms Dec 16 '87
RDem Jan 26 '88    RCon Jan 26 '88    KCT Jan 26 '88    RDem Feb 02 '88
ZionE May 16 '91    ZionE May 23 '91    ZionE May 30 '91    ZionE Jun 06 '91    ZionE Jun 13 '91
ZionE Jun 20 '91    ZionE Jun 27 '91    ZionE Jul 04 '91    ZionE Oct 10 '91    ZionE Apr 23 '92
ZionE Apr 30 '92    ZionE May 07 '92    ZionE Aug 27 '92    ZionE May 27 '93    ZionE Jun 24 '93
ZionE Jul 01 '93    ZionE Jul 08 '93    ZionE Jul 15 '93    ZionE Aug 19 '93    ZionE Dec 02 '93
ZionE Dec 30 '93    ZionE Jan 13 '94    ZionE Mar 24 '94    ZionE Mar 31 '94    ZionE Apr 14 '94
ZionE Jun 09 '94    ZionE Nov 24 '94
KCT Apr 06 '95    KCJ Apr 06 '95    KCS Apr 06 '95    KCT Apr 07 '95    KCJ Apr 07 '95    KCS Apr 07 '95
KCT Apr 08 '95    KCJ Apr 08 '95    KCS Apr 08 '95    KCT Apr 09 '95    KCJ Apr 09 '95    KCS Apr 09 '95
KCT Apr 10 '95    KCJ Apr 10 '95    KCS Apr 10 '95    KCT Apr 11 '95    KCJ Apr 11 '95    KCS Apr 11 '95
KCT Apr 12 '95    KCJ Apr 12 '95    KCS Apr 12 '95    KCT Apr 13 '95    KCJ Apr 13 '95    KCS Apr 13 '95
ZionE Apr 13 '95    KCT Apr 14 '95    KCJ Apr 14 '95    KCS Apr 14 '95    KCT Apr 15 '95    KCJ Apr 15 '95
KCS Apr 15 '95    ZionE Apr 20 '95    ZionE Apr 27 '95    ZionE Apr 27 '95    ZionE Jun 06 '96    ZionE Jul 04 '96
ZionE Mar 25 '97    ZionE Jun 03 '97    ZionE Jun 17 '97    ZionE Dec 30 '97    ZionE Aug 18 '98    ChrEv Oct 12 '99
ChrEv Nov 02 '99

Articles Index   |   St. Louis papers   |   Missouri Republican (after 1849)


Vol. ?                           Hamilton, Missouri, Friday, January 21, 1881.                           No. ?


(1880 David Whitmer Interview)

(see 1887 reprint in Kingston, Mo. newspaper)

Note: No original issue of this newspaper has yet been located for article transcription. The text will be added here when it becomes available


Vol. ?                         Richmond, Missouri,  March 25, 1881.                         No. ?


Unto all Nations, Kindreds, Tongues and People, unto whom these presents shall come.

It having been represented by one John Murphy, of Polo, Caldwell county, Missouri, that I, in a conversation with him last summer, denied my testimony as one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon.

To the end, therefore, that he may understand me now, if he did not then; and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once for all to make this public statement:

That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book, as one of the Three Witnesses. Those who know me best well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all my statements as then made and published.

He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear; it was no delusion; what is written is written, and he that readeth, let him understand. And that no one may be misled or deceived by this statement, I wish here to state that I do not endorse polygamy or spiritual wifeism. It is a great evil, shocking to the moral sense, and the more so because practiced in the name of religion. It is of men and not of God, and is especially forbidden in the Book of Mormon itself. I do not endorse the change of the name of the Church, for, as the wife takes the name of the husband so should the Church of the Lamb of God take the name of its head, even Christ. It is the Church of Christ. As to the high priesthood, Jesus Christ himself was the last great high priest, this, too, after the order of Melchisedek, as I understand the Holy Scriptures.

Finally, I do not endorse any of the teachings of the so-called Mormons or Latter-day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible and Book of Mormon, for the same gospel is plainly taught in both of these books as I understand the word of God. And if any man doubt, should he not carefully and honestly read and understand the same before presuming to sit in judgment and condemning the light, which shineth in darkness, and showeth the way of eternal life as pointed out by the unerring hand of God?

In the spirit of Christ, who hath said: "Follow thou me, for I am the life, the light and the way," I submit this statement to the world; God in whom I trust being my judge as to the sincerity of my motives and the faith and hope that is in me of eternal life.

My sincere desire is that the world may be benefited by this plain and simple statement of the truth.

And all the honor to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen!
Richmond, Mo., March 19, 1881.

We the undersigned citizens of Richmond, Ray county, Misouri, where David Whitmer has resided since the year A. D. 1838, certify that we have been long and intimately acquainted with him and know him to be a man of the highest integrity, and of undoubted truth and veracity.

Given at Richmond, Missouri, this March 19, A. D. 1881:

Gen. Alexander W. Doniphan.
Hon. George W. Dunn, Judge of the Fifth Judical Circuit.
Thomas D. Woodson, President of Ray Co. Savings Bank.
J. T. Child, editor of "Conservator."
H. C. Garner, Cashier of Ray Co. Savings Bank.
W. A. Holman, County Treasurer.
J. S. Hughes, Banker, Richmond.
James Hughes, Banker, Richmond. D. P. Whitmer, Attorney-at-Law.
Hon. Jas. W. Black, Attorney-at-Law.
L. C. Cantwell, Postmaster, Richmond.
George I. Wasson, Mayor.
Jas. A. Davis, County Collector.
C. J. Hughes, Probate Judge and Presiding Justice of Raj- County Court.
Geo. W. Trigg, County Clerk.
W. W. Mosby, M. D.
Thos. McGinnis, ex-Sheriff Ray County.
J. P. Quesenberry, Merchant.
W. R. Holman, Furniture Merchant.
Lewis Slaughter, Recorder of- Deeds.
Geo. W. Buchanan, M. D.
A. K. Reyburn.


Elsewhere we publish a letter from David Whitmer, an old and well known citizen of Ray, as well as an indorsement of his standing as a man signed by a number of the leading citizens of this community, in reply to some unwarranted aspersions made upon him. There is no doubt that Mr. Whitmer, who was one of the Three Witnesses of the authenticity of the gold plates, from which he asserts that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (a fac simile of the characters he now has in his possession with the original records), is firmly convinced of its divine origin, and while he makes no effort to obtrude his views or beliefs, he simply wants the world to know that so far as he is concerned there is no "variableness or shadow of turning." Having resided here for near a half a century, it is with no little pride that he points to his past record with the consciousness that he has done nothing derogatory to his character as a citizen and a believer in the Son of Mary, to warrant such an attack on him, come from what source it may, and now with the lillies of seventy-five winters crowning him like an aureole, and his pilgrimage on earth well nigh ended, he reiterates his former statements, and will leave futurity to solve the problem that he was but a passing witness to its fulfillment. His attacks on the vileness that has sprung up with the Utah Church, must have a salutary effect upon those bigamists who have made adultery the corner-stone in the edifice of their belief.

Note: See page 10 of Whitmer's 1887 Address for the full text of the Conservator's "An Explanation." Most reprints in LDS sources suppress the final sentence of these 1881 editorial comments.


Vol. ?                         Kansas City, Mo.,  Sunday, April 17, 1881.                         No. ?

(under construction)

Notes: The above is an article by a Mr. [James?] Whitehead, containing the record of his interview with Elder Bush of the RLDS Church. The text will be posted once a copy of the article is located and transcribed.


Vol. ?                         Kansas City, Mo.,  Sunday, April 24, 1881.                         No. ?


An Old Settler Gives the Gentile Version of the Mormon Troubles.


Whitehead's Sunset Scenes Reviewed and Revised by One Who Knows.

Correspondence of the Kansas City Journal.

I have read with no little interest the letter of your California correspondent, Whitehead, published in the Journal last Sunday, about the quiet, peaceful settlement of Josephite Mormons in the Gospel swamp of the occident, and their recital of events that transpired in Jackson county fifty years ago in connection with their residence and final expulsion therefrom, and their confident hope of a triumphant return to their beloved Zion in the near future. And especially is this so because all the names and events mentioned are familiar to me, having been myself a citizen of the county during those troublous times. [I] have no doubt but the statements were made by them to your correspondent in perfect sincerity and implicit belief in their truth. For half a century they have, no doubt, constituted the constant dream and theme of their lives amidst all the vicissitudes and hardships of their journeyings to and fro. As there is such a mixture of truth and fiction, and such a turning of events and facts wrong end foremost, I deem it proper to try to straighten them out somewhat lest some of the misstatements made by them be regarded as historical facts. For instance: "These good old pioneers recite many thrilling episodes of life near Kansas City fifty years ago. One about the scuttling of the ferry boat at Wayne City, loaded with Mormon refugees. A plank had been loosened so that the water pressed it off and several were drowned." The chief trouble about this statement is that it is upside down and wrong end foremost. The boat was not loaded with Mormons, but with a delegation of seven prominent Jackson county Gentiles who were on their return from Liberty, where they had gone to try to effect a compromise with two Mormon leaders and their attornies. But in order to convey a proper understanding of this particular episode I will have to briefly outline the whole affair with its causes and culminations.

The Mormons crossed the Missouri river at Wayne City into Clay county on the 3d or 4th of November, 1833. The scuttling of the ferry boat occurred during the following spring or summer. They met with much sympathy and generous treatment from the citizens of Clay county immediately on their arrival. Gen. Doniphan and D. R. Atchison were employed by them to prosecute suits against parties who had maltreated them, and perhaps for their reinstatement in their possessions in Jackson county, and there was a continued rumor prevailing that they were about to return vi et armis.

At a public meeting of the citizens of Jackson, seven prominent citizens were appointed to go to Liberty to try to effect some kind of compromise with the Mormon leaders and their attornies, their safety being first guaranteed by the Mormons. It was on their return that


Night had set in before reaching the ferry and when nearly half way across the boat was discovered to be rapidly sinking. Some threw off their coats and swam to shore, others saved themselves by holding to their horses' tails. The persons in the boat were Col. Samuel C. Owens, Smallwood Noland, generally known as Uncle Wood Noland; his nephew, Smallwood V. Noland, known as Little Wood; Samuel Campbell, Gen. Lucas, Jesse Overton, and one other whose name I have forgotten; also the boatman, Sol. Everett, his brother-in-law Bradbury, and a hand. Everett was the only one drowned, and whether true or otherwise, he was suspected of having, at the instigation of the Mormons, planned the wholesale murder, as he was known to be in strong sympathy with the Mormons, if not actually a member.

One incident connected with this event I have heretofore related in my occasional old-time sketches. I will tell it again which will make it a thrice told tale. Uncle Smallwood Noland was, as he deserved to be, a favorite with everybody, known far and wide as the popular tavern keeper of Independence. Somehow as the boat sank he missed his hold on his horse, but having been in his younger days an expert swimmer, he struck out manfully for terra firma. It being too dark, however, to see the shore, he unfortunately laid his course right down the river, and, notwithstanding his obesity, had measured more than a mile of the distance to St. Louis when he found his strength failing and knew he would soon have to respond to the last summons, when, to his unutterable joy, he slid right up onto a long, slim sawyer standing a few feet out of the water. But his joy was but short-lived. He was chilled by the cold waters. His cries for help were unheard and unheeded. Away up the river, more than a mile, were seen the dim, flickering lights of persons seeking the lost and drowning. No friendly voice bid him hope and hold on, and the only resource in his extremity was to prepare for death which seemed inevitable.

Uncle Wood was an exemplary Methodist, and Methodist prayers were in those early times generally uttered in a very loud voice. To say that his prayer on that occasion was no exception would hardly do justice to his effort. It was very loud, earnest and to the point. Indeed it was asserted that his stentorian utterances were indistinctly heard a mile and a half up the river at Wayne City. Having exhausted his powers of utterance and the subject, he quietly slipped down into the cold waters, determined to make one last, expiring effort for life, when his foot touched something. Feeling around with his foot he found it to be solid ground and the water but little more than waist deep and Uncle Wood waded out to dry land on the Clay side. He found the next day that the last half mile of his desperate swim of the night previous had been over a sand-bar, where he could easily have touched bottom. Finding his way through the woods to the house of old Joe Brown, where the blazing fire and generous draughts of something warm administered with unstinted hand by his hospitable host, Uncle Wood was soon himself again, except in the hoarseness of voice, which troubled him for a few days afterwards

But to return to the queer sayings of the good saints of Gospel swamp as given to your correspondent. I said that I was a citizen of the county during those troublous times between the Gentiles and Mormons, but I was, except during the winters, almost continuously absent from home, being engaged in making surveys of Indian tribal boundaries during 1831 and 1832, west of Missouri and Arkansas. Still I had a knowledge and still have a recollection of all important events that occurred during the sojourn of the Latter Day Saints in this land of their fancied Zion, and while I feel sure that the statements of Elder Bush to your correspondent were made in the sincere belief that what he was telling was true. I yet know that in some of them he was wrong, and in others he has got things somewhat mixed. It would take more time than I now have to spare and more space than you could afford to notice all the discrepancies contained in their recitals. In one point, however, I can safely agree with them, viz., that during their sojourn in Zion they were ill-used and roughly handled by the unbelieving Gentiles, and when they attempted to retaliate by marching in a body of about 400 armed men to the capture and


during the night of November 2d, 1833, and were met soon after daylight not far from the suburbs by the citizens of the towns and vicinity and surrendered their guns and pitchforks and scythes, that the leaders were compelled to sign an agreement that the Mormons should leave the county en masse in twenty-four hours. This they did, being forced to do so, and no doubt great hardships were endured in consequence of that hasty hegira. It would be a long story to tell what led to this culmination of troubles between the opposing factions -- too long for a newspaper article, and I will only say now that since the world began no two claims of people were ever before thrown together who were so thoroughly and completely unfitted to live together in peace and friendship. In habits of thought, in sentiment and homogeneity they were as wide apart as the poles. The Mormons were mostly visionary enthusiasts, many of them firm in the belief that they were to live and reign with Christ a thousand years; that the unbelieving Gentiles, as the citizens were called, were to be gathered into the fold of the saints -- or driven out if necessary by the shedding of blood in order to make ready for the second advent of Christ; that the inheritance of the saints included the entire county, many portions thereof being already [sic - already allotted?] by metes and bounds to various members regardless of present ownership, although no attempts were made to take possession thereof.

The revelations purporting to come from God, through his chosen prophet Joe Smith, and which were regularly published in their Evening and Morning Star, plainly told the old citizens these things and what they might as well make up their minds to accept. Already in less than three years they held the balance of power between the two political parties, and that accounts for the great friendship spoken of by Brother Bush manifested by Little Wood Noland toward the Mormon brotherhood. He was a standing candidate for office and a thorough demagogue.

I said the Mormons received


at the hands of the people of Jackson county. I will modify this by saying at the hands of a very small portion of the citizens; for all the outrages were committed by not more than fifty of the roughs of the county.

The better class of citizens, however much they feared the seemingly inevitable result, took no part in the unlawful proceedings against these people, but all were convinced that it was only a question of time when the entire population would be under the rule and control of the Mormon hierarchy, for the stream of immigrant proselytes to the faith was continuous and increasing in volume -- a very unpleasant outlook to the early settler, truly.

Nearly all the best land had been entered before their arrival, and the worst portions only were entered by their bishop, Partridge, and settled upon by them, about ten acres being a common allotment to a family. The largest settlement was along the valley of Brush creek, from the state line eastward to the road leading from Westport southward -- another a mile or two farther southeastward, on the present farm of Jesse Thomas -- and still another near and around the Linwood school house, called the Whitmer settlement, and it was at this place the battle was fought on the evening previous to their night march upon the town of Independence, and the only other settlement of any consequence was situated west and adjoining the town of Independence, where they fixed the site for their temple. Old man Rockwell, the father of the famous Danite, Oren Rockwell, who shot Gov. Boggs, lived at the crossing of Big Blue, and kept a ferry during high water. Less than half a dozen of the original settlers became proselytes to the faith during their sojourn in the county.

In the interview described by your correspondent, the good old patriarch of Gospel swamp gave utterance to the following deliverance: "The prophet Joseph informs us in his diary that his mind was filled with painful reflections on account of the degradation, leanness of intellect, ferocity and jealousy of a people who were more than a century behind the age." Jerusalem and Jericho! What


is this recorded by the holy Joseph against us besotted Philistines, there being then only two persons in all the land, named Harper and Butterfield, found worthy of favorable mention, and they were residents of the Sui hills. The narrative further tells of the journeying on foot from St. Louis to Zion of the pioneer saints, Joseph, the Prophet, Harris, Phelps, Partridge and Coe. Allow me to amplify the record. They halted not at the state line, but continued their weary march still westward into the land of the Lamanites, commonly known as Shawnees and Delawares, where they commenced a vigorous proselyting campaign among those benighted redskins, but the heathen harkened not to the voice of the prophets, nay, even laughed them to scorn at the same time telling them to "puck a chee," which being interpreted means "get up and git," and the brethren not heeding the invitation was alacrity, one Richard W. Cummins, the United States Indian agent for those tribes gave them twenty four hours to get back eastward of the state line or otherwise to travel under an escort of six breech clouted Lamanites to the Fort Leavenworth guard house, and thus was our beloved Kansas cheated out of the glory of the future great temple of the Latter Day Saints. The Indian intercourse laws forbid the settlement or residence of any but Indians on the lands set apart to them, except by special license of the government agent. In their ignorance of this regulation the guiding hand of providence brought them back to the right spot, whereat they set the stakes of Zion and the temple.

In the summer of 1832 my father entered and built a residence upon a tract of land lying in the southern suburbs of Westport, now owned by Gen. Reid, in order to be convenient to his field of labor in locating and allotting lands to the Indian tribes emigrating from east of the Mississippi river. About half a mile south, on Brush creek, there lived an old, gray-headed Mormon named Pryor, who was a frequent visitor at our house, having, as he professed, no doubt honestly,


and friendship for my father, and who would patiently listen to the harmless nonsense of the garrulous old fanatic while his discourse would often run thus: "Brother M., I have the greatest regard and friendship for you; pray without ceasing for the Lord to open your eyes to see and understand the near approach of the end, as revealed to us through the chosen prophet, Joseph. This land of promise is already parceled to the Saints by divine authority. Your tract, brother M., is included in my inheritance and in the Lord's own good time I will possess it, for it is so recorded. But fear not, Brother M. The Lord will either open your eyes to become one of us, or He will make me an instrument for your welfare."

At one of these friendly visits, while in the room of my oldest brother, Dr. Rice McCoy, who was in bed, just recovering from a protracted illness, the old enthusiast had poured out a long stream of nonsense about the Lamanites, the Nephites, and many other ites mentioned in the book of Mormon, and my brother, wearying of the interminable harangue, slowly turned over toward him, saying:

"See here, my good friend. The name of my ancestors on my mother's side was Polk. Is there any mention made in your book of a tribe of Polkites?"

"None, I think, brother," said Pryor.

"Then please to count me out, and let me go to sleep," responded my brother, as he wearily settled his head on his pillow.

I mention these last incidents merely to give the reader some general idea as to what were the causes that brought about the bitter enmity that was engendered between the Saints and gentiles in our county fifty years ago. The subject is a prolific one upon which I could be as garrulous and interminable as was the good honest old fanatic Pryor, but eui bono! -- and who wants to listen to or read about it? I have a manuscript of twenty of thirty pages written by my father detailing the events that occurred just previous and at the expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson county; these pages I loaned to Mr. North, who is compiling a history of Jackson county for the Union Historical society -- not having been returned as yet. I have been under the necessity of writing this article from memory alone. At a future time I hope to be able to make a systematic and authentic record of those piping days of the Mormon war.

Choutuau, Kas., April 22.                                         J. C. M.

Note 1: The writer of the above piece was John Calvin McCoy (1811-1889), a pioneer resident of western Missouri and a son of the well known Rev. Isaac McCoy. For his father's early report on the Mormons, see the Dec. 20, 1833 issue of the Daily Missouri Republican and a slightly earlier edition of the Fayette Western Monitor. For a sympathetic view of the Rev. McCoy, his interactions with the Mormons, and his Dec. 1833 statement, see Warren A. Jennings' "Isaac McCoy and the Mormons," in the Oct. 1966 issue of Missouri Historical Quarterly, (LXI:1, pp. 63-82). This piece reproduces lengthy quotes from McCoy's 1833 journal, along with extracts from more of his obscure holographs, not otherwise easily accessible for consultation.

Note 2: John C. McCoy's recollection of Joseph Smith's party having "continued their weary march still westward into the land of the Lamanites" is in error. During Smith's one brief visit to Jackson county, he did not cross over into Indian Territory. See also Mr. McCoy's other historical articles in the Jan. 26, 1879, Nov. 18, 1883 and Jan. 18, 1885 issues of the Kansas City Journal. For information on the earliest Mormon activities in western Missouri and in the Indian Territory, see Warren A. Jennings' "The First Mormon Mission to the Indians," in the Autumn 1971 issue of Kansas Historical Quarterly, (XXXVII:3, pp. 288-299) and three articles by Ronald E. Romig: "Jackson County, 1831-1833," in Restoration Studies III, (1986); "First Impressions... 1832-33," in JWHA Journal 10 (1990); and "The Lamanite Mission," in JWHA Journal 14 (1994).


Vol. ?                         Kansas City, Mo.,  June 5, 1881.                         No. ?


Authentic Account of the Origin of The Sect from One of the Patriarchs.


And the Translation of the Book of Mormon -- Polygamy an Excresence.

In view of the large Mormon immigration that is now pouring into this country, and also in view of difficulties that have heretofore existed between that sect and the people of Jackson county, the JOURNAL has taken the trouble to ascertain the facts as to the origin of the sect, as well as the history of their expulsion from Jackson county in 1833.

For the benefit of a great many persons who probably do not know of what the Book of Mormon consists, an exact copy of the title page of the first edition published is given here:

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, which are a remnant of the House of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way the commandment, and also by the spirit of Prophesy and 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, which 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 shew unto the remnant of the House of Israel how 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 be fault, it be the mistake of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of Christ.

Translated from the golden plates by Joseph Smith, jr., Palmyra, N. Y., 1830. Printed by E. B. Grandin for the author.

The translator of the book is said to have been witnessed by eleven persons, as follows: Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, Christian Whitmer, Hiram Page, Jacob Whitmer, Joseph Smith, sr., Peter Whitmer, jr., John Whitmer, Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith, all of whom except David Whitmer are long since dead. David Whitmer,


has resided since 1838 in Richmond, Ray county, Mo., and the JOURNAL dispatched a reporter to Richmond, to interview the "last of the eleven."

The reporter called at the residence of Mr. Whitmer and found the patriarch resting in invalid's chair looking very pale and feeble, he having but just recovered from a long and very severe illness. In person, he is about medium height, of massive frame, though not at all corpulent, his shoulders slightly bent as with the weight of years. His manly, benevolent face was closely shaven, his hair snow-white, and his whole appearance denoted one of nature's noblemen. The education acquired during his boyhood days and his long life devoted to study and thought have stored his mind with a vast fund of information.

After introducing himself, the reporter opened the conversation as follows:

"Mr. Whitmer, knowing that you are the only living witness to the translation of the Book of Mormon and also that you were a resident of Jackson County during the Mormon troubles in 1833, I have been sent to you by the JOURNAL to get from your lips


in regard to these matters. For nearly half a century the world has had but one side only, and it is now our desire to present to our readers for the first time the other side."

"Young man, you are right. I am the only living witness to the Book of Mormon, but I have been imposed upon and misrepresented so many times by persons claiming to be honorable newspapermen, that I feel a delicacy in allowing my name to come before the public in newspaper print again."

"I am very sorry to hear that, but I promise you that we shall only give your statement as you make it and will not misrepresent you in any manner."

After a few other remarks of the same tenor the reporter at last induced the patriarch to furnish the desired facts, which he did in the following language:


"I was born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 7, 1805, but when only four years of age my parents removed to the state of New York, settling at a point midway between the northern extremities of Lake Cayuga and Seneca, two miles from Waterloo, seven miles from Geneva, and twenty-seven miles from Palmyra, where I lived until the year 1831. In the year 1830 I was married to Miss Julia A. Jolly who is still living. The fruit of our union was a son, David J. Whitmer, now aged forty-eight, and a daughter, now aged 46 years, both of whom are now living with me. "I first heard of what is now termed Mormonism in the year 1828. I made a business trip to Palmyra, New York, and while there stopped with one Oliver Cowdery. A great many people in the neighborhood were talking about the finding of certain golden plates by one Joseph Smith, Jr., a young man of the neighborhood. Cowdery and I, as well as others, talked about the matter, but at that time I paid but little attention to it, supposing it to be only


of the neighborhood. Cowdery said he was acquainted with the Smith family, and believing there must be some truth in the story of the plates, he intended to investigate the matter. I had conversation with several young men who said that Joseph Smith had certainly golden plates, and that before he had attained them he had promised to share with them, but had not done so and they were very much incensed with them. Said I, 'how do you know that Joe Smith has the plates?' They replied, 'we saw the plates [sic, place] in the hill that he took them out of just as he described it to us before he obtained them.' These parties were so positive in their statements that I began to believe there must be some foundation for the stories then in circulation all over that part of the country. I had never seen any of the Smith family up to that time, and I began to inquire of the people in regard to them, and learned that one night during the year 1827, Joseph Smith, jr., had a vision, and an angel of God appeared to him and told him where certain plates were to be found, pointing out the spot to him, and that shortly afterward he went to that place and found the plates which were still in his possession. After thinking over the matter for a long time, and talking with Cowdery, who also gave me a history of the finding of the plates, I went home, and after several months Cowdery told me he was going to Harmony, Pa. -- whither Joseph Smith had gone with the plates on account of persecutions of his neighbors -- and see him about the matter. He did go, and on his way he stopped at my father's house and told me that as soon as he found out anything, either


he would let me know. After he got there he became acquainted with Joseph Smith and shortly after, wrote to me telling me that he was convinced that Smith had the records and that he (Smith) had told him that it was the will of heaven that he (Cowdery) should be his scribe to assist in the translation of the plates. He went on, and Joseph translated from the plates and he wrote it down. Shortly after this, Cowdery wrote me another letter in which he gave me a few lines of what they had translated, and he assured me that he knew of a certainty that he had a record of a people that inhabited this continent, and that the plates they were translating gave a complete history of these people. When Cowdery wrote me these things and told me that he had revealed knowledge concerning the truth of them, I showed these letters to my parents, brothers and sisters. Soon after I received another letter from Cowdery telling me to come down into Pennsylvania and bring him and Joseph to my father's house, giving as a reason therefore that they had received a commandment from God to that effect. I went down to Harmony and found everything just as they had written me. The next day after I got there they packed up the plates and we proceeded on our journey to my father's house, where we arrived in due time, and the day after we commenced upon the translation of the remainder of the plates. I, as well as all of my father's family, Smith's wife, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. The translation was by Smith and


"He had two small stones of a chocolate color, nearly egg-shape and perfectly smooth, but not transparent, called interpreters, which were given him with the plates. He did not use the plates in the translation, but would hold the interpreters to his eyes and cover his face with a hat, excluding all light, and before his eyes would appear what seemed to be parchment, on which would appear the characters of the plates in a line at the top and immediately below would appear the translation, in English, which Smith would read to his scribe, who wrote it down exactly as it fell from his lips. The scribe would then read the sentence written, and if any mistake had been made the characters would remain visible to Smith until corrected, when they faded from sight to be replaced by another line. The translation at my father's occupied about one month, that is from June 1 to July 1, 1829."

"Were the plates under the immediate control of Smith all the time?"

"No, they were not. I will explain how that was. When Joseph first received the plates he translated 116 pages of the book of Lehi, with Martin Harris as scribe. When this had been completed they rested for a time, and Harris wanted to take the manuscript home with him to show to his family and friends. To this Joseph demurred, but finally


if Harris might be allowed to take it. The answer was 'no.' Harris teased Joseph for a long time and finally persuaded him to ask the Lord a second time, pledging himself to be responsible for its safekeeping. To this second inquiry the Lord told Joseph that Harris might take the manuscript, which he did, showing it to a great many people; but, through some carelessness, he allowed it to be stolen from him. This incurred the Lord's displeasure and he sent an angel to Joseph demanding the plates, and until Joseph had thoroughly repented of his transgressions, would not allow him to have the use of them again. When Joseph was again allowed to resume the translation, the plates were taken care of by a messenger of God, and when Joseph wanted to see the plates, this messenger was always at hand. The 116 pages of the book of 'Lehi' which were stolen were never recovered, nor would the Lord permit Joseph to make a second translation of it.

"A few months after the translation was completed, that is in the spring of 1830, Joseph had the book published, and this (showing a well-worn volume) is a copy of the first edition, which I have had in my possession ever since it was printed."

"When did you see the plates?"

"It was in the latter part of June, 1829. Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and myself were together, and the angel showed them to us. We not only saw the plates of the book of Mormon, but he also showed us the brass plates of the Book of Ether and many others. They were shown to us in this way: Joseph and Oliver and I were


when we were overshadowed by a light more glorious than that of the sun. In the midst of this light, but a few feet from us, appeared a table upon which were many golden plates, also the sword of Laban and the directors. I saw them as plain as I see you now and distinctly heard the voice of the Lord declaring that the records of the plates of the Book of Mormon were translated by the gift and the power of God."

"Who else saw the plates at this time?"

"No one. Martin Harris, the other witness, saw them the same day, and the eight witnesses, Christian Whitmer, Hiram Page, Jacob Whitmer, Joseph Smith, sr., Peter Whitmer, Hyrum Smith, Jno. Whitmer and Samuel H. Smith, saw them next day."

"Did you see the angel?"

"Yes, he stood before us. Our testimony as recorded in the Book of Mormon is absolutely true, just as it is written there."

"Can you describe the plates?"

"They appeared to be of gold, about six by nine inches in size, about as thick as parchment, a great many in number, and bound together like the leaves of a book by massive rings passing through the back edges. The engravings upon them were very plain and of very curious appearance. Smith made facsimiles of some of the plates and sent them by Martin Harris to Profs. Anthon and Mitchell, of New York City, for examination. They pronounced the characters reformed Egyptian, but were unable to read them."

"Did Joseph Smith ever relate to you the circumstances of his


"Yes, he told me that he first found the plates in the year 1823; that during the fall of 1827 [sic] he had a vision, an angel appearing to him three times in one night and telling him that there was a record of an ancient people deposited in a hill near his father's house, called by the ancients 'Cumorah,' situated in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, N. Y. The angel pointed out the exact spot, and, some time after, he went and found the records or plates deposited in a stone box in the hill, just as had been described to him by the angel. It was some little time, however, before the angel would allow Smith to remove the plates from their place of deposit."

"When was the Church first established?"

"We had preaching during the time the book was being translated, but our church was not regularly organized until after the book was printed in the winter of 1829-30. The first organization was in Seneca county, New York, under the name of 'The Church of Christ.' The first elders were Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, Hyrum Smith, John Whitmer, Peter Whitmer and myself. On the 6th of April, 1830, the church was called together and the elders acknowledged according to the laws of New York. Our instructions from the Lord were to teach nothing except the old and new testaments and the Book of Mormon. From that time the church spread abroad and multiplied very rapidly. In the summer of 1830, Parley Pratt, Peter Whitmer, and S. Peterson went to Kirtland, O., and established a branch of the church, which also grew very fast, and soon after a fine temple was erected, which is still standing. During the winter of 1830, the same parties went to Independence, Missouri, established a church, and purchased very large tracts of land in all parts of Jackson county as well as a large amount of property in the town of Independence, including the site for the temple. The reason for the emigration to Jackson county was that Smith had received a revelation from God designating Independence as the place of the gathering of the Saints together in the latter days. Joseph Smith and Elder Sidney Rigdon, of the Kirtland church, established the church in Jackson County, but soon after returned to Ohio. The temple has never been built at Independence, but the site still remains vacant and the title deeds are held by the church. I have no doubt but that at some future day


About 500 people emigrated from Ohio to Jackson county and the church thence increased in numbers with extraordinary rapidity during the ensuing two years. They lived in peace in Jackson county until early in the summer of 1833, when difficulties arose between the church and the citizens of the county. What first occasioned these difficulties I am unable to say, except that the church was composed principally of Eastern and Northern people who were opposed to slavery, and that there were among us a few ignorant and simple-minded persons who were continually making boasts to the Jackson county people that they intended to possess the entire county, erect a temple, etc. This of course occasioned hard feelings and excited the bitter jealousy of the other religious denominations.

"The church at Independence established a newspaper called the Morning and Evening Star, which published the revelations of Joseph Smith and the doctrines of the church, which also caused a great deal of hard feelings among the citizens. I was at that time living three miles east of Westport, and the first intimation I ever had that the people intended driving us out of the county was an affray between an organized mob of about eighty citizens and about eighteen Mormons, which occurred at Wilson's store, near Big Blue, about the middle of the summer of 1833. The mob destroyed a number of our dwellings and fired upon the little party of Mormons, killing one young man and wounding several others. The Mormons returned the fire, killing the leader of the mob, A Campbellite preacher named Lovett. The next difficulty was in Independence, about the middle of July, of the same year, when


of armed men gathered in front of the court house under the leadership, I think, of three men, named Wilson, Cockrell, and Overton. A committee of ten was appointed to wait upon the leaders of the church and state their demands, which were that the Morning and Evening Star newspaper office and all other places of business be closed, and that we immediately leave the county. This was so sudden and unexpected that we asked time to consider the matter, which was refused and a battle immediately ensued, during which the newspaper office, which stood on the southwest corner of the square, just south of the present site of Chrisman & Sawyer's bank. was torn down and the type scattered to the four winds. Bishop Partridge and another of the saints were dragged from their houses and tarred and feathered upon the public square, and numerous other indignities heaped upon us, but no one was killed. After this, difficulties of a like nature occurred almost daily until some time in October when the final uprising took place, and we were driven out at the muzzles of guns from the county, without being given an opportunity of disposing of our lands. Our houses were burned and our property destroyed, and several of our number killed. The indignities that were heaped upon us were


"We were beaten, our families grossly assaulted and fled for our lives out of the county. We scattered in every direction, the larger portion going to Van Buren and Grand river. A short time after the citizens of Clay county invited us to come there, which we did, and were treated with the utmost kindness,"

"Did your people ever have an opportunity of selling their lands in Jackson county?"

"No, they did not, and it now, by right, belongs to their descendants."

"What became of the church after their expulsion from Jackson county?"

"In 1836 W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer, accompanied by a large number of our people, went to Far West, Caldwell county, and established a church. They lived there and multiplied very rapidly until a838, when Elders Jos. Smith and Sidney Rigdon came out from Ohio and were dissatisfied with the church, and gave new laws, revelations, etc. The leaders of the Far West church refused to conform to the new laws of Smith and Rigdon, and they issued a decree organizing what was termed the 'Danites, or Destroying Angels,' who were bound by the most fearful oaths to obey the commandments of the leaders of the church. The Danites consisted only of those selected by Smith and Rigdon. They threatened myself, John Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and Lyman Johnson with


unless we took the same oath, but we refused, and fled for our lives to Clay county, and since that time I have had nothing to do with the so-called 'Latter-Day Saints' church, but I still hold to the truth of the original Church of Christ, as organized in New York. During the fall of 1838 the church of Far West became very violent towards the citizens of Caldwell county, which terminated in an uprising similar to that in Jackson county, and they were driven from the state. Smith and Rigdon were arrested and kept prisoners for some time, but finally escaped and went to Nauvoo, Ill., followed by the saints from Far West, and established a church and built a fine temple. They remained in Nauvoo until 1844, when they became very corrupt, upheld polygamy, established an endowment house, etc., which occasioned an uprising of the people, and Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum and John Taylor, the present head of the church in Salt Lake, were arrested and cast into prison, and the two Smiths afterwards shot and killed through the windows of the jail. The temple was destroyed and the church scattered, a portion going to Salt Lake under the leadership of Brigham Young and John Taylor, where they have remained ever since, practicing the vile system of


"I belong to the original church, organized 1n 1829, and have never associated myself with any other, and never upheld the reorganization or change of name to 'Latter-Day Saints,' at Kirtland, O."

"Where did you go after leaving Far West?"

I went to Clay county and in the latter part of 1838 came here and have lived here ever since. Oliver Cowdery lived in Clay county until 1848, when he came here and died in my father's house in the winter of 1849."

"What kind of people were the Mormons of Jackson county?"

"They were a peaceable, law-abiding and industrious people, and with the exception of a few simple-minded ones, paid strict attention to their own business. There never was a charge of any kind preferred against any of them during their stay in Jackson county. Their only crime was that they were opposed to slavery, and were industrious, progressive and enterprising in their habits and teachings."

"How did the name of Mormons originate?"

"It was given to us by our enemies and was never recognized by us."

"I understand, Mr. Whitmer, that you have the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon."

"I have; here it is."

He produced about 500 pages of manuscript, yellow with age, of large, old-fashioned, unruled foolscap paper, closely written upon both sides with ink, and fastened together in sections with yarn strings. It very plainly showed that it had been through the hands of the printer, the 'take' marks being still upon it.

"This," continued he, "was kept by Oliver Cowdery, and when he came to die he placed them in my care, charging me to preserve them so long as I lived. When I die I will leave them to my nephew, David Whitmer, my namesake. J. F. Smith and Orson Pratt, of Salt Lake City, were here three years ago, and offered me a fabulous price for them, but I would not part with them for all the money in the universe."

"Are you not afraid they will be destroyed or stolen?"

"No, the Lord will take care of his own. When this house was destroyed by the cyclone three years ago to-day (June 1, 1878), nothing in the room where this manuscript was kept was harmed. Everything else was completely destroyed."

Both Mr. Whitmer and his family are thoroughly imbued with the idea that the manuscript is under the immediate protection of the Almighty."

"Are there any relations of Oliver Cowdery now living in this vicinity?

"Yes, his daughter, Mrs. Dr. Chas. Johnson, now resides in town."

The reporter copied the following certificate of the standing of Mr. Whitmer in the community, among his papers, and obtained his permission to use it. It shows the character of the man, and adds to the value of his statement given above.

We, the undersigned citizens of Richmond, Ray county, Mo., where David Whitmer, sr., has resided since the year A.D. 1838, certify that we have been long and intimately acquainted with him and known him to be a man of the highest integrity, and of undoubted truth and veracity.

Given at Richmond, Mo., this March, 19th, 1881.

A. W. Doniphan.
George W. Dunn, judge of the Fifth Judicial circuit.
T. D. Woodson, president of Ray County Savings bank.
J. T. Child, editor of Conservator.
H. C. Garner, cashier of Ray County Savings bank.
W. A. Holman, county treasurer.
J. S. Hughes, banker, Richmond.
James Hughes, banker, Richmond.
D. P. Whitmer, attorney at law.
Jas. W. Black, attorney at law.
L. C. Cantwell, postmaster, Richmond.
George I. Wasson, mayor.
Jas. A. Davis, county collector.
C. J. Hughes, probate judge & presiding justice, Ray co. court.
Geo.W. Trigg, county clerk.
W. W. Mosby, M. D.
J. P. Quesenberry, merchant.
W. R. Holman, furniture merchant.
Lewis Slaughter, recorder of deeds.
Geo. W. Buchanan, M. D.
A. K. Reyburn.

This ended the interview ad after bidding the old man adieu and thanking him for his kindness the writer took his leave.

The reporter also interviewed several other old settlers of Richmond, who were present during the Mormon difficulties of 1833, upon the subject, and whose statements will be given hereafter.

Note: This article was reprinted in the Saints' Herald of July 1, 1881 and again in the Deseret News, on July 11, 1931. For a similar contemporary David Whitmer interview, see the Chicago Times of Oct. 17, 1881.


Vol. ?                         Kansas City, Missouri, Sunday, June 12, 1881.                         No. ?


The Settlement of the Peculiar People in Jackson County.


Gen. Doniphan's Recollections of the Troubles of that Early Time.

There is probably no man in Western Missouri who is better acquainted with the various causes of the difficulties between the citizens of Jackson and Caldwell counties and the Mormons during the years of 1833 and 1838 than Gen. Alexander W. Doniphan, then a resident of Clay county, but now of Richmond, Ray county, Mo., and there is, perhaps, no one who took such an active part in the events of those years who can now look back and relate the history of those troubles as dispassionately as he can. In view of these facts a representative of the JOURNAL called upon Gen. Doniphan at his rooms at the Hudgins' house at Richmond, for the purpose of interviewing him upon the subject. The general, after learning the object of the visit, seemed very willing to communicate all he knew in regard to the history of the Mormon troubles, and after a few introductory remarks, related the following:

"I came to Missouri in 1830, and located in Lexington, where I lived until April, 1833, when I removed to Liberty, Clay county. The Mormons came to Jackson county in 1830, and I met Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and Christian Whitmer, three of the Elders, in Independence, during the spring of 1831. Peter Whitmer was a tailor and I employed him to make me a suit of clothes."

"What kind of people were the Mormons?"

"They were northern people, who, on account of their declining to own slaves and their denunciation of the system of slavery, were termed "free soilers." The majority of them were intelligent, industrious and law abiding citizens, but there were some ignorant, simple minded fanatics among them, whom the prophet said would steal. Soon after they came to Jackson county they established a newspaper at Independence called the Morning and Evening Star, edited by W. W. Phelps, in which they published their peculiar tenets and pretended revelations in which they set forth that they had been sent to Jackson county by divine Providence and that they, as a church were to


which then embraced what is now Jackson, Cass and Bates counties. These assumptions were evidently made use of for the purpose of exciting the jealousy of persons of other religious denominations and the more ignorant portions of the community. This of course caused hard feelings between them and the people of the county, but I think the real objections to the Mormons were their denunciation of slavery, and the objections slave holders had to having so large a settlement of anti-slavery people in their midst, and also to their acquiring such a large amount of land, which then belonged to the government, and subject to pre-emption. From these and other causes a very bitter feeling was engendered between the Mormons and citizens which culminated in the month of July, 1833, when a public meeting was held at the court house in Independence, at which it was resolved to tear down the Mormon printing establishment, which resolve was immediately carried out. The mob also committed numerous other outrages, the most brutal of which was the


of Bishop Partridge. I can't positively state who were the leaders of the mob, but it was participated in by a large number of the leading citizens of the county. The Mormons made but little if any resistance, but submitted to the inevitable, and agreed not to establish another paper, and there was an apparent tranquillity existing until about the first of the following November when, from imprudent conduct upon both sides, both Mormons and Gentiles -- as the citizens were then called by the Mormons -- seemed to arm themselves as if expecting a collision. The first clash of arms took place at Wilson's store on the Big Blue, about four miles east of Westport , about the third or fourth day of November, which resulted in several persons being killed upon both sides and several others wounded.

"In a few days after this the citizens organized and determined upon ejecting the Mormons from the county which soon after was done. During the ejectment a great many outrages were perpetrated and the Mormons were compelled to leave almost everything they possessed behind them and it was only by


that they saved their lives. As it was, quite a number were killed on both sides. The majority of the Mormons, after being driven from Jackson county, went to Clay county, where they were received and provided for as well as was possible by the citizens. The Mormons remained in Clay county until 1836, in an unorganized community, when it was agreed between them and the citizens of Clay and Ray counties that if they (the Mormons) would buy out a few citizens then inhabiting what is now Caldwell county, then a part of Ray county, the balance of the land being public, they could enter it at their leisure and we would urge the legislature to create a county for them, which was done at the session of the legislature of 1836-'7.

"I was a member of the legislature and drew the bill organizing Caldwell county for the Mormons exclusively, and the offices of the county were given to their people. The new county filled up very rapidly and they made great progress in agricultural and other improvements. They continued to live prosperously and tranquilly until the summer of 1838, when Joseph Smith came out from Ohio and soon after they commenced forming a settlement in Davis county, which, under their agreement, they had no right to do. This occasioned difficulties with the citizens of Davis county, and in September, 1838, a large number of citizens of Davis and adjoining counties collected with arms in the Mormon settlement called


in Davis county. The Mormons also gathered at the same point, and I, being at that time brigadier-general of the western division of Missouri, was sent by Gov. Boggs with a regiment of Clay county militia to prevent a collision, which, after being there one week, I was able to do, and left them apparently harmonious, the Mormons agreeing that they would return to Caldwell county as soon as they could take care of their crops, etc.

"About one month after this new difficulties arose between the citizens and Mormons, from what causes I never knew, which culminated in the Mormons burning and sacking the Gentile towns of Millport and Gallatin, then very small villages. A few days after this a battle took place on the line between Caldwell and Ray counties between the Mormons, under the command of Capt. Patton, and the citizens of Ray county, under command of Capt. Bogard, in which two Ray county citizens and several Mormons, including Capt. Patton, were killed. The place where the battle occurred is still known as


"Gen. Atchison, who was afterwards United States senator, was then major-general of Northwest Missouri, and ordered me to raise a regiment of militia from Clay, Clinton and Platte counties. I did so, and proceeded at once to the battle ground, and the next day I received an order from Gov. Boggs to take command of all the forces and remain in Ray county until the arrival of Gen. Clark with the state troops. Being satisfied that the governor had over-estimated the number of Mormons, I went on to Far West, county seat of Caldwell county, where all the Mormon forces were assembled. I sent for Judge King, of the circuit court, to come to my camp, and at that juncture Gen. S. D. Lucas, of Jackson county, arrived with a small number of men sent out by the governor. I opened negotiations with the Mormons by going up to their lines in person, and when Judge King came out I consulted with him, and upon his advice the Mormons gave up their arms and turned over to me such men as had violated the laws of the land, and those upon the other side who had done the same were arrested upon warrants issued by Judge King. It has been said that in the treaty I made with the Mormons I stipulated that


under penalty of annihilation if they refused to do so. This is utterly untrue as I made no such stipulation. It is true, however, that in an order to me and other officers Gov. Boggs used the expression 'that the Mormons leave the state or be exterminated,' whereas this order was entirely illegal. I paid no attention to it. In my report to Gov. Boggs I stated to him that I had disregarded that part of his order, as the age of extermination was over, and if I attempted to remove them to some other state it would cause additional trouble. The Mormons commenced immediately after this to move to Nauvoo, Ill., and I know nothing further about them. While the Mormons resided in Clay county, they were a peaceable, sober, industrious and law-abiding people, and during their stay with us not one was ever accused of a crime of any kind."

Gen. Doniphan is now in his 73d year, but is still hale and hearty. He is a man of fine appearance and intellect, and is well known and highly respected all over the state. He has resided in Richmond during the past several years. His statements as given above may be relied upon as strictly the truth in every particular. There are a few old citizens still living near Independence who were in this county during the troubles of 1833, whose statements will be given in the near future.

Note 1: The text of this interview was reprinted in various RLDS publications and was eventually added to the official RLDS Church History, in vol. 4, pages 360-62

Note 2: For more on General Doniphan see Roger Launius' 1997 Alexander William Doniphan: Portrait of a Missouri Moderate. The the Kirksville, Missouri Weekly Graphic of Sept. 28, 1883 featured a similar Doniphan interview, and the Lamoni, Iowa Saint's Herald of Aug. 2, 1884 published a brief report of Reorganized LDS leaders meeting with the General. Mormon Historian George A. Smith had many lauditory things to say about Doniphan (then visiting the Utah Saints) in his discourse of May 24, 1874, which was published in the Deseret Evening News of June 13, 1874.


Vol. ?                         Kansas City, Mo., Sunday,  June 19, 1881.                         No. ?


Col. Thomas Pitcher Gives the "Journal Readers His Recollections of


Events of the Memorable Year of 1833 by one of the Participants

Of the many pioneer citizens of Jackson county who were present and took part in the Mormon difficulties of the memorable year of 1833 but few now live. It is, however, fortunate for the historian that a few yet remain to relate the story of the events of those troublous times, nearly half a century ago, as they occurred, without prejudice. Among the very few of the pioneers still living is


of Independence, who has been a citizen of Jackson county for almost fifty-five years, and who, during the troubles of 1833, was a colonel of the state militia, and took a prominent part in all of the events of the early history of the county. Knowing these facts, a Journal representative at Independence was sent to Col. Pitcher to interview him upon the Mormon history of Jackson county. After learning the object of the visit the colonel lighted his pipe and related the following facts.

"I came to Jackson county, Mo., in the month of November, 1826, and located four miles southwest of Independence. The Mormon immigration to the county commenced in the fall of 1830, and continued until the autumn of 1833. During the first two years of their residence in the county they and the citizens got along together very peaceably, and no one had any thought of a difficulty until the spring of 1833. In the latter part of 1831 the Mormons established a newspaper in Independence called the Morning and Evening Star, which was edited by one W. W. Phelps. This paper published the so-called revelations of Joseph Smith and other leading elders of the church, and other doctrines of their religion. The Mormons, as a rule, were an ignorant and fanatical people, though there were some very intelligent men among them. The troubles of 1833, which led to their expulsion from the county, were originated by these fanatics making boasts that they intended to possess the entire county, saying that God had promised it to them and they were going to have it. This of course caused ill feeling toward them, which continued to grow more and more bitter, until


took place. One Saturday, about the middle of July, 1833, a citizens' meeting was held at the court house in Independence, to declare what was to be done with the Mormons who were pouring into the county, and to devise some means to put a stop to their seditious boasts as to what they proposed to do, etc. This meeting determined to destroy the Mormon printing office, located a short distance south of where Chrisman & Sawyer's bank building now stands, which determination was carried into effect that afternoon."

"Did the citizens give the Mormons any notice of what they intended to do?"

"No, I don't think they gave them any notice whatever, but when they had determined upon destroying the printing office, they immediately proceeded to do so."

"Did the Mormons make any resistance?"

"No, they did not. Some of them tried to argue the case, but it was of no avail. The printing office was a two story brick building, and I don't think its destruction occupied over an hour."

"How many citizens were engaged in the affair?"

"I suppose there must have been over a hundred, altogether."

"Was there any personal violence or other indignities offered the Mormons at that time?"

"Nothing of any particular consequence. Several were knocked down, but as a general thing the Mormons had sufficient discretion to keep out of the way. Bishop Partridge and a saint named Wm. Allen, were taken from their houses and


upon the public square, but I am not sure whether it was done this same day or not, but am of the opinion that it was a few days after. After the excitement attending the destruction of the printing office had subsided, everything went along with comparative smoothness until sometime during the following October, when an outbreak occurred at Wilson's store, near Big Blue, in which Lawyer Brazeale and a man named Lindell, citizens of Independence, and several Mormons were killed, and a number wounded on both sides. This affray seemed to precipitate the general uprising which had been brewing for several months and the next day a band of perhaps 150 Mormons organized and armed themselves in that neighborhood and started for Independence with the avowed intention of burning the town and to kill Col. Sam Owens, Gen. S. D. Lucas, myself and several other leading citizens who had taken part in the destruction of the printing office. We heard of their coming and I being at that time colonel of the state militia organized several hundred citizens of the county under my command in readiness to meet them. The Mormons were under the leadership of Elder Lyman White and were armed with a few guns, chisels fastened on the ends of poles, clubs, etc. The Mormons concealed themselves in the woods just west of town where I met them and finally


with them, the conditions of which were that they were to surrender their arms and leave the county within ten days. They accepted the conditions of the treaty and surrendered and made a hurried flight from the county."

"Was there any blood shed at this time?"

"I do not positively remember but don't think there was."

"Were the Mormons allowed to dispose of their lands and other property before they left the county?"

"No, they did not have time, but afterwards, a great many came back and disposed of their lands without molestation."

"Did they own much property in the county?"

"Yes, they owned a large amount of land all over the county and a great deal of property in the town of Independence."

"Are there any of the Mormons here now who were here at the time of the difficulties of 1833?"

"Only two that I know of, Dr. W. E. McLellan and his wife. At the time of the difficulty at Wilson's store, I had Dr. McLellan and another man under arrest upon a charge of some misdemeanor, I don't remember just what, preferred by one Richard McCarty and their trial was in progress when the news of the battle at Wilson's was received, and I had hard work to protect them during the excitement. I placed them in jail until the next day and then turned them loose and told them to "git" which they did in short order. Dr. McLellan came back here about [fifteen] years ago and he and I often talk over the events of those troublesome times. The doctor was always a very peaceable and law-abiding man and very well liked by everybody during his residence here in 1831-2-3."

"Colonel, after reflecting calmly over these troubles for almost half a century, do you believe that the citizens were justifiable in mistreating and


"I do not think they ought to have been unnecessarily mistreated, but I think the people were entirely justifiable in driving them out, as we could not have lived with them in peace."

"What became of the Mormons after they left Jackson county?"

"They scattered in almost every direction, the majority however, going to Clay county, where they lived for several years."

"Did any of them ever come back [here]?"

"None of them ever came back here to live that I know of except Dr. McLellan; but they used to come back [occasionally] during the next few years after their expulsion, [to transact] business."

"Did you have any trouble with them after [the fi--- expulsion] in 1833?"

"No, we did not. About one year after we heard that they had organized in large numbers and intended coming back again. This rumor created intense excitement, and the whole county was organized under command of Col. Sam Owens, to repel them. But the report proved false."

"Do you think, colonel, that the slavery question had anything to do with the difficulties with the Mormons?"

"No, I don't think that matter had anything to do with it. The Mormons, it is true, were northern and eastern people, and "free soilers." but they did not interfere with the negroes and we did not care whether they owned slaves or not."

"Was anything ever done by the state authorities in regard to the expulsion of the Mormons?"

"Yes, I was arrested the next winter on a warrant issued by Gov. Duncan, on a charge of misdemeanor in office in driving the Mormons out of the county. I was taken to Richmond and tried by court martial and acquited. My trial before the court of inquiry and court martial occupied six or seven months and cost the state over $30,000. About one thousand Mormons testified against me."

"Do you know anything about the Mormons after they left this county?"

"No, I do not. They went to Caldwell county and were driven from there in 1838, but I don't know anything about these troubles."

"Did the Mormons practice polygamy or advocate polygamy while in Jackson county?"

"No, they did not. Polygamy, at that time, had not been heard of."

Col. Pitcher is now upwards of 75 years of age, but time has dealt kindly with him. He is still robust and hearty, and would not ordinarily be taken for a man of over 65 years. He has resided within a few miles of Independence ever since he came to the state, 55 years ago, and is well-known to every old citizen in the county as well as to a majority of the younger ones. In the early times, however, his name was known all over the Western country. As a citizen he is well liked and highly respected by everybody, and his reputation for truth is strictly first class. Next Sunday's Journal will contain another installment of the heretofore unwritten history of the Mormon settlement in and expulsion from Jackson county as related by other pioneer citizens.

To the Editor of the Journal.

RICHMOND, MO., June 13. -- I notice several errors in the interview had with me by one of your reporters as published in the DAILY JOURNAL of June 5th, '81, and wish to correct them.

I am reported as saying that "the young men in the neighborhood saw the plates in the hill." The language used was, that "we saw the place (not the plates) in the hill from which the plates were taken, just as he described them to us before he obtained them." In regard to my going to Harmony, my statement was that "I found everything as Cowdery had written me, and that they packed up next day and went to my father's, (did not say 'packed up the plates') and that he, Smith, (not 'we') then commenced the translation of the remainder of the plates." I did not wish to be understood as saying that those referred to as being present were all of the time in the immediate presence of the translator, but were at the place and saw how the translation was conducted. I did not say that Smith used "two small stones" as stated nor did I call the stone "interpreters." I stated that "he used one stone (not two) and called it a sun [sic - seer?] stone." The "interpreters" were as I understood taken from Smith and were not used by him after losing the first 116 pages as stated. It is my understanding that the stone refered to was furnished him when he commenced translating again after losing the 116 pages.

My statement was and now is that in translating he put the stone in his hat and [that this was accomplished by] putting his face in his hat so as to exclude the light and that then the light and characters appeared in the hat together with the interpretation which he uttered and was written by the scribe and which was tested at the time as stated.

... I stated that "we had preaching during the time the Book of Mormon was being printed," not while the same was being translated, as reported.

I stated that "in the summer of 1830 Oliver Cowdery, Parley Pratt, Peter Whitmer and S. [sic - Z.?] Peterson went to Kirtland, O., and established a church." In the interview, as reported, the name of Cowdery is omitted. ... I made no statement as to who should succeed me in charge of the ancient manuscript referred to; and as to what was done and said by Joseph Smith after leaving Caldwell county in 1838, I did not give as of my knowledge, but from [second-hand] information. I have carefully read the report and think the same is substantially correct except as herein explained and corrected.

Note: The above Col. Pitcher article was reprinted in various RLDS publications, including Part III, Chapter II of Rudolph Etzenhouser's 1894 book, From Palmyra to Independence. Etzenhouser conveniently omits Dr. McLellan's name in his reprint, as well as Col. Pitcher's account of the armed Mormon troop marching upon Independence, with plans to avenge the destruction of their printing office. In the RLDS literature of that day, the Missouri Saints were generally pictured non-aggressive victims, in all cases; while Apostle William McLellan was ignored as much as possible, due to his criticism of the RLDS and their "edited" version of Mormon history.


Vol. ?                         Kansas City, Mo.,  November 27, 1881.                         No. ?



A Half Century View of Kansas City.

Correspondence of the Kansas City Journal.

(under construction)

Note: The above piece is just one of several different historical articles by John C. McCoy, that appeared in 1879-1886 issues of the Kansas City Journal. This article says practically nothing about the Mormons, but it does present an interesting description of the western Missouri frontier at about the time the first LDS arrived in that area.



Vol. IV.                       Kirksville, Missouri, Friday, September 28, 1883.                        No. 23.


Did He Really Believe in His
Religion and Revelation?

A Statement to His Lawyer Which
Throws Doubt Upon It -- How
Smith Escaped the Mob
in Missouri.


About the time that Henry Clay came from his home in the "slashes" of Virginia to Kentucky, a young lawyer of Mason county, prompted by the same sort of impulse, went to the frontier, then in Western Missouri. Some the brightest voting men in the country were gathered then at Lexington, Liberty and Independence, the region afterwards to be noted as the home of the James boys. Here the young Kentuckian spent his life as a promising attorney, Representative, State Senator, the leader of the Whigs, a warm personal friend of Clay and a General in the Mexican army. He now lives quietly in an old-fashioned tavern at the northwest corner of the public square in Richmond, Mo. He is full of anecdotes and incidents of early days in the West, and withal is one of the most genial old men and brilliant conversationalist one will meet in a score of years.

A snowy evening during the winter of 1881-2, the writer spent an evening with him in his room. Among other things Mormonism was discussed. And it is worth mentioning that several Mormon churches hold regular services in the neighborhood of Richmond and, David Whitmer, one of the men who [saw] the Book of Mormon given into the hands of Joe Smith, resides in the town.

He had just then been telling story in an interview with a Chicago paper. He claimed that Smith's story was genuine that the Book of Mormon was a divine gift and that he himself with his own eyes in company with two others had seen Smith receive the book and there could be no doubt about it. He regarded Smith as a true Prophet and Mormonism as the newest revelation of the creator to man.

"General what do you think of Mr. Whitmer's sincerity in his belief in Joe Smith?" was asked.

"I do not doubt it in the least answered. If ever a man believed the story he tells, David Whitmer does. He has lived here many years and known as a thoroughly reliable gentleman. He has always maintained the genuineness of Mormonism and has always told the story of Smith's interview with the angel at Manchester, New York, just as he now tells it. What ground he has for his faith, whether Smith practised some optical illusion or how he managed to give reality to his supernatural visitations are questions not easily answered."


"Then you think Whitmer was simply deceived and thought he saw what he did not see?"

"I'll tell you. You remember Smith and Rigdon founded their sect at Manchester, N. Y. and directed by a revelation, as he claimed, moved to Kirtland, O. and built a temple. There they started a bank without a charter and flooded the adjoining country with notes of questionable value. For this and doubtful business transactions the two leaders were mobbed, tarred and feathered. Six years later the bank failed and Smith and Rigdon took refuge in Missouri, where they had previously built a temple at Independence. Large numbers of Mormons had rapidly gathered. They were charged with plundering burning habitations and secret assassinations and driven successively from Independence to Clay county, and from Clay county to Far West, in Caldwell county, Here they were joined by Smith and Rigdon. Conflicts with the Missourians continued until civil war was fairly inaugurated."

"These troubles, I suppose they claimed to be the persecutions which the righteous always suffer at the hands of the wicked?"

"Yes and Sidney Rigdon declared that now the time had come for the Lord to avenge his people and the land should flow in blood from the Atlantic ocean to the Rocky mountains. The state militia, however, made quick work of them and Smith and Rigdon were made prisoners. Smith was taken to Liberty, in Clay county, for safe keeping. If he had been lodged in jail in Caldwell county the jail would almost certainly have been torn down by the mob and Smith put to death


I was employed as Smith's lawyer and in that capacity visited him in prison. He was a very shrewd fellow with sharp eager eyes and a restless manner. He had no education worth mentioning, but a strong mind and a wonderful knowledge of human nature. I think I never met a man who knew men better. Of course we talked over the case in confidence. There was really no valid charge against him. There had been outrages and murders committed on both sides, but in every case by a mob or armed band, so that no one person could be singled out as the perpetrator. Even the ringleaders could not be certainly placed, for the raids were at night usually, and such precautions taken that only now and then a man was recognized. Smith was the leader of the Mormons and the Mormons were charged with robberies and murders, many of which they probably did not commit. But it could not be shown that Smith ever consented to these deeds of violence or even knew they were to be committed. I told him so plainly and said I was sure I could get him clear if we could get the case continued until the excitement had blown over. However he must go to Booneville for trial, and I told him there was danger that he would be taken from the guard and hanged on the way over. The country was then new and many parts of the road lonely. His guards were the sheriff and posse from Caldwell and could not be expected to make a very stout resistance. Accordingly I suggested that I would secure a strong guard from Liberty to ensure his safety.


"'Don't do anything of the kind,' he said. 'I know these people much better than you do. These fellows off yonder in Caldwell hate me like the devil and are ready enough to hang me, and this Sheriff don't bear me any particular love. But he is poor. They all are up there. And he loves money much more than he hates me. I have some money with me and my friends at Far West can raise a good deal more. I don't believe they will need furnish very much, however. I think I can get off for two or three hundred dollars. And don't you see that on our journey over to Booneville is the very time? I can slip away while we are camped over night and never a breath of suspicion attach to the Sheriff. If you get a guard of your Liberty friends it would make me altogether too safe. I don't know them. They would be hard to approach. There would be two parties to deal with and might become jealous of each other. It would be more than double the difficulty of getting away. To be sure your plan would be sure to clear me finally, for I know as well as you they can prove nothing against me. But, don't you see I can't afford to wait. I have got up this Mormon business. These people are gathered now and believe in me and in this Book of Mormon and other stuff. If I go to prison and lie two or three years, they will lose faith and become scattered, go back to their homes in Illinois and other States. Now their enthusiasm in the midst of my persecutions, is at a white heat, and I could lead them any where. Then they will have grown cold and suspicious; only a few will hang together. It would take me years to gather them again and get them ready for my plans. Perhaps I never could. The best part of my life has been spent in this scheme, and success depends upon my immediate liberation. And I am sure I am not fooled about the power of money with these men. I'm going to be free in a day or two. Once free I shall gather my band and go beyond the Rockies where none will molest me for many years. By that time I shall have a grand empire there and can defend myself.'

"And then," said the General, "He went onto outline what we have since seen partially accomplished in the settlement and growth of the Mormons in Utah. The next day the guard started with the Prophet for Booneville. It had no Clay county contingent. They camped at night at an old deserted cabin in the bottom lands of Missouri, many miles from any settled district. There was scarcely anything to be called a town on their entire journey. Some way all the guards fell asleep some time in the night and in the morning Smith was missing. There was a great beating about of the bushes and hurrying hither and thither for his recapture, but, strange to say all the search was made in one direction, while it was afterwards found the prisoner went in the other. The gold had done its work well; Smith won and led his converts West [sic]. Some years ago I was in Caldwell County and saw a receipt from the Sheriff for money received of Rigdon -- think it was for $200. I am quite sure Smith had not much the rise of $100 with him. So his escape cost between three and four hundred. He was shrewd enough not only to know that money was his best servant, but he fixed the figure within a hundred dollars."

Note 1: Although the Weekly Graphic's journalist neglected to mention his name, the above article obviously centers upon General Alexander William Doniphan (1808-1887), who was employed as Joseph Smith's attorney throughout the 1838 "Mormon War" in Missouri. See Roger Launius' 1997 Alexander William Doniphan: Portrait of a Missouri Moderate (especially pages 66-71) for details on Doniphan's close relationship with the Caldwell County Mormons. The Kansas City Journal of June 12, 1881 featured a similar Doniphan interview, and the Lamoni, Iowa Saint's Herald of Aug. 2, 1884 published a brief report of Reorganized LDS leaders meeting with the General. Mormon Historian George A. Smith had many lauditory things to say about Doniphan (then visiting the Utah Saints) in his discourse of May 24, 1874, which was published in the Deseret Evening News of June 13, 1874.

Note 2: As a duly sworn officer of the Court, Doniphan was obliged to inform authorities of his client's 1839 plans to escape from Missouri custody -- Doniphan evidently neglected to fulfill this legal obligation. The General's recollection of Smith's intention (and ability) to bribe his guards naturally raises the question of how much money Doniphan himself was paid by the Mormon leader at that time. Minus such payment for his professional legal counsel, there appears no way to know for certain whether the General would have still acted as a "friend" of the Mormons. Also, it should be noted that Doniphan's 1884 praise of his Mormon neighbors was directed at the Richmond Whitmerites, and not at Joseph Smith and his followers in Caldwell County, Missouri.


Vol. XXXVIII.                          Liberty, Mo.,  Fri., October 12, 1883.                           No. 23.



In our last chapter we intimated that we would give a little sketch of the religious sect of fanatics called Mormons. Joseph Smith, who announced to the word that he was a prophet by divine authority, and spoke by authority, and not as the Scribes and Pharisees; but as it was revealed to him by the Spirit from the God of Heaven, holding out to his followers th at ho had a mission to perform that would revolutionize or turn topsy turvy "the entire civil and religious systems that were then the customs of the people on the American continent. His zeal did not let him stop on our continent. He sent his emissaries or apostles to the Old Word to make proselytes. Strange as it may seem from our standpoint, they made hundreds of converts, some from almost every nationality on the globe, and they were transferred from the land of their fathers to what they were pleased to call "New Jerusalem," or the land that the Lord had given to the saints as an inheritance, where they were to build their Temple.

It was not long before he had made a great many converts, and got them together at Kirtland, O, This was, if my memory is not at fault, about the year 1831 or '32. -- He came to Missouri to hunt a location for Zion; he professed to be guided by inspiration; he moved on westward, not knowing whither he was going but with full assurance of faith that as soon as his vision saw the place, he would know that it was the land the Lord had given him as an inheritance for him and his posterity (spiritually speaking). At length his prophetic vision opened on Independence, Jackson Co., where he beheld the temple site and place for tho New Jerusalem. Jackson county being a beautiful section of country, it was not to be wondered at that the spirit of his vision should cause him to make that the place for the home of the saints; that there they must gather and build the temple and consecrate it to the Lord. With this view, they left Kirtland, Ohio, and flocked to where their prophet said the City of Zion was to be reared and his temporal kingdom established; where his saints were to rule and reign with an iron rod till they drove out their unbelieving neighbors.

They held all their property as common stock, and had what they termed the Lord's treasury, which was to be used for the benefit of all. Being at that time a large portion of the lands in Jackson county subject to entry, they bought up a great deal of it, buying mostly in large lots, so that they could make the settlements almost entirely of their own people, so as to be able to protect themselves, and to have as little to do as possible with the unbelievers. Their locations were mostly in the western part of the county on Blue river. They got some real estate in the town of Independence, where they established what they called the "Lord's Storehouse," where all had to do their trading, so the few that had the store got all the hard earnings of the poor. They put up a printing press and published a paper called The Evening Star, in which they published their revelations, all of them given to suit the times and circumstances which surrounded them, but all of them were sure to be made so as to impress their followers that they had found the Land of Canaan, and they were to drive out the heathens, or Gentiles, as they called them, and possess the land in peace.

Their audacity and impudence in telling the citizens that it was made known to Joseph, their prophet, priest and king, from high heaven, that Jackson county was theirs -- given to them by the Lord, and it was foolishness in them to resist and fight against God; that the temple was to be built in Independence and that saints were to be gathered from the four quarters of the globe to worship the God of Israel in the New Jerusalem, as it was under the Jewish dispensation. Their idea was, it appears, that they were to establish a spiritual kingdom where the latter day saints were to congregate to worship tho God of Ancient Israel as did their fathers in the days of the prophets; they commenced preparing to build the temple, and, if I recollect, partly dug out the foundation. Their prophet also induced his followers to believe that he would form a temporal kingdom or government, and they would not be subject to the laws of the State, but should make their own laws, have their own civil officers to execute them, Joseph, the prophet, being dictator, aided by revelation and his cabinet or council; and when their edicts were sent forth they were obeyed without a murmur by his followers. Their paper was filled up weekly with revelations, promising great things to the saints who were faithful, and threatening destruction to the citizens if they did not give up their lands and homes peaceably, and leave them in peaceable possession, contending that the Jew and Gentile could not live together in the same locality.

These threats so exasperated the citizens, that there were frequent quarrels between them, and from words they got to blows, till they got to killing each other; and from bad it grow worse, till neighborhoods became arrayed against each other, then they collected almost en masse on both sides against each other, forming themselves in battle array. In the meantime the citizens took their printing press with all the material and hurled them in the Missouri river; and to add insult to injury, they took the Prophet Joseph, with two or three others, and served them with a coat of tar, and then, to make a finishing touch to their dress, covered them nicely with feathers, and paraded them around tho public square in Independence. While this was going on, the rank and file of the ungodly Gentiles were busy in maltreating the saints. This treatment only intensified and exasperated the feelings of the saints, and they determined to revenge themselves on their enemies; and being assured by their leader that the Lord would be with them in battle and deliver their enemies into their hands, they gathered themselves together for battle. The two hostile forces were not long in coming together. They met not far from Westport, and engaged in almost a hand-to-hand encounter. The saints put their enemies to flight, with one or two killed on both sides, with several wounded, but not fatally.

With this victory, and a fresh revelation from the Lord that they should destroy their ungodly enemies, the order was given to march on Independence, and on the second day after their victory, they formed their forces a short distance west of the town, ready and calculating to march right into town and complete the destruction of the place by putting tlie citizens to the sword or to flight. The citizens were not idle. The news of their defeat spread on the wings of the wind, as it were, and they came from the East, West, North and South and met them at their rendezvous in such an overwhelming number, that the saints surrendered, and agreed to lay down their arms and leave the county as soon as they could pull up and get out. I think the time was set, and it was quite short, for them to arrange their pecuniary affairs -- not over two months, and right in the midst of winter. They hastened to make their arrangements to get out of the county, all of them aiming to cross the river into Clay, with a view of scattering out into Ray, Carroll, Clinton and Daviess counties, but mostly in Clay.

There was a very remarkable and strange occurrence took place the night after most of them had crossed the river. They crossed at Everett's ferry, known then as Independence Landing, camped in the bottom, and built their camp-fires for perhaps a mile up and down the river and out in the bottom. It was very cold, but there being plenty of wood, they had large fires, and the whole bottom in the vicinity of their camp presented quite a brilliant appearance; and to add to its brilliancy, a while before day the stars (at least it looked like the stars) commenced falling like great snowflakes, all of them vanishing before they reached the ground, and it continued from a half to three-quarters of an hour, while everything was as light as day. The Mormons and citizens were all filled with wonder, and could not tell what all these strange things meant. The saints looked at it as being a sign from heaven that the Lord would in some miraculous manner enable them to overcome the ungodly Gentiles who had so recklessly driven them from their homes, and exposed their wives and little ones to the cold and chilling blasts of winter without shelter. They immediately set out to hunt up all the empty houses they could find, or shelter of any kind that would protect them from the cold, chilly winds. Their condition was truly distressing, and most of the citizens of Clay county sympathized with them and gave them all the accomdations they could, and by and by they paid them off in the same kind of coin that they did the people of Jackson county.

The Mormons, in the main, were industrious, good workers, and gave general satisfaction to their employers, and could live on less than any people I ever knew. Their women could fix up a good palatable meal out of that which a Gentile's wife would not know how to commence to get half of a dinner or breakfast. They had the knack of economizing in the larder, which was a great help to the men, as they had mostly to earn their bread and butter by day's work, with wages about half what they are now. The women were generally well educated, and, as a rule, were quite intelligent, far more so than the men. Indeed, a great many of the latter could neither read nor write.

Having given shelter to six or seven families, and had them employed to do a great deal of work, thereby becoming quite intimate, I learned a great deal about their creed, and the more I learned, the greater the astonishment, that men and women, apparently of good common sense, could be made such dupes of as to believe that Joe Smith could heal the sick of all manner of diseases; and some professed to believe that he could raise the dead. There was a case in one of the families to whom I had given shelter. The man had quite a handsome, tidy, nice looking woman for a wife, and she was taken with convulsions or fits. She would commence jerking her arms and head, and would finally be convulsed all over. She would keep on her feet till apparently exhausted, then fall down and lay like she was in a kind of trance; when she would come to herself, she would beg them to send for Bro. Joseph; that he, by laying on of hands, could cure her. Finally they got him; he laid his hand on her naked bosom, and she said she felt something run over her like electricity, and as quick, from head to foot, and she was cured, and had no more fits while I knew her. -- That strengthened her husband's faith in Mormonism, until one day I asked him if he couldn't account for it without Joe being a prophet, or having the power of God given him? He said no. I told him I thought I could; that his wife and Joseph wore likely a little too intimate, and it was a kind of ruse to blind his eyes. I told him to watch and see if he didn't learn something that would convince him that I was right. It was not long after this till he denounced Mormonism, fully satisfied that they were a set of imposters. I asked this same man one day how it happened that the women were so much better educated than the men? He told me all of them, both men and women, were of the poorer classes, and in the Eastern States the law made provision for educating females, while boys were only provided for till they were able to work, then they were taken from school and put to learning a trade, or on a farm, to make their living as best they could.

At the time they were drove out of Jackson and made the stop in Clay, they were mostly from the Eastern States, but they had started out their missionaries, who were canvassing every State in the Union, and they did not confine their labors to the States. Joseph commissioned them to cross the briny ocean and herald the news in foreign lands, of the new revelation, that the Lord, by his prophet, Joseph, was going to re-establish his kingdom, both temporal and spiritual, and build the temple anew at the New Jerusalem, the site for which was to be made known to him by revelation. They had great success in their mission in making proselytes in the old country, and through their influence hundreds were transferred to our shores and took up the line of march for the promised land. Poor, deluded mortals! Many of them couldn't speak our language, and many very poor, I might say ignorant, whose passage across the water had to be paid out of the "Lord's Treasury," or common fund.
(To be continued.)

The  Mormons.

Salt Lake, Utah, Oct. 6. -- The attendance at the Mormon conference to-day was much larger than yesterday, fully 6,000 persons being in the tabernacle. The audience was addressed by Apostles Richards, Carrington, Tynan and Cannon, all of whom impressed on their hearers the necessity of living their religion, going into polygamy and paying tithes. Apostle Cannon presented the statistics of the church, showing a membership in Utah of 127,294; number of families, 23,000; births in the past six months, 1,200 males and 1,100 females; number of children under 8 years, 37,000; number of marriages in six months, 339; new members, 23,040; deaths, 781. The church organization embraces 12 apostles, 58 patriarchs, 3,153 high priests, 11,000 elders, 1,500 bishops, 4,400 deacons.

Arizona reports a membership of 2,262; Idaho, not reported, has double that of Arizona. Eighty-one missionaries have been appointed to go om missions to Europe and the United States. Eighteen of the number were set apart for Southern States, where the church is meeting with considerable success in increasing its membership. The Southern converts are being colonized in Colorado mainly.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVIII.                          Liberty, Mo.,  Fri., October 19, 1883.                           No. 24.



The poor, deluded mortals, with all their experience in Jackson , began to tell the citizens of Clay the same old tale: that this country was theirs by gift of the Lord, and it was folly for them to improve their lands, they would not enjoy the fruits of their labor; that it finally would fall into the hands of the saints. One asked me if I didn't believe that they would finally possess the land and yet build the temple at Independence; if it was the Lord's work, and they were the chosen people of God to build the New Jerusalem? I told him all they had to do was to convince the people that what they said was true, and we would all turn Mormons, stay at home on our own land, and enjoy the benefits of our labor. This kind of talk, with their insolence and impudent behavior, so enraged the citizens that they began to consult about the best course to take to rid themselves of a set of religious fanatics, for they found that their faith was so strong that not only the land was theirs, but the goods and chattels of the ungodly Gentiles was theirs, to be held and used as a common stock; so it was concluded to call a mass meeting of the citizens, in conjunction with some of the leading citizens of Jackson county, to determine upon some course that would be best for all parties concerned. -- They met, (I think in the spring of 1835), and several citizens of Jackson came over, who were still smarting under the treatment they had met with from the saints; and the people of Clay were wrought up to high fever heat, and when they met, they were not in a very good frame of feeling to do justice to the Mormon citizens.

There were a great many speeches made, and our friends from Jackson were very rabid. Samnel Owens, James Campbell, Wood Noland, and five or six others, whose names I can't call to mind, all had more or less to say. Owens being the chief speaker, spoke with force and energy, and in a way to arouse the passion, rather than allay it, although it had been decided by the meeting that inflammatory speeches should not be made, and any one departing from that rule should be called to order and set down; but it was plain to be seen that everything that was done or said was all on one side, and very little mercy manifested for the latter day saints. There was one thing that stood out in bold relief -- the saints must go: leave the county -- all hands agreed in that. Some were in favor of giving them good time to get out of the county, so as to not cause them to make any sacrifice of what they had; some wanted them to bo forced to wind up and leave in a limited time, while the larger portion were for them going in double-quick. -- They wrangled and jawed, till Col. Doniphan, who had been a listener and thought their proposition rather too stringent, arose and began to shove up his sleeves, (his manner when a little warmed up), and commenced his remarks in a rather excited tone, when the chairman or some one called him to order, saying he was giving too strong vent to his feelings; that it was calculated to raise an excitement in the crowd, whose feelings were then almost ready to boil over. The Colonel pulled his sleeve up a little higher, and told them "that was what he got up for -- to give vent to his feelings."

I wish I could give his speech, but if I recollect, he advocated the right of citizen and individual liberty, with individual responsibility, and was opposed to Judge Lynch and mob violence; was in favor of law and order; the law was made for the punishment of evil doors, and protect the law-abiding, and should be strictly enforced. If I have not given the basis of his remarks, and the Colonel sees this, let him correct me. The meeting adjourned quite late -- near sundown -- after appointing three men, Judge Cameron and two others, (I can't call to mind just now who they were), to confer with the Mormons and try to find a place for them to locate out of our county. The people of Jackson were gathered at Independence awaiting the return of their committee to the conference, and they were bound to return , and could not be prevailed on to stay, although it was generally believed that if they went, it being in the night, the Mormons would lay in ambush and attack them with a force sufficient to kill the whole outfit; yet they went, taking their lives in their hands, as it were, and got safe to the ferry, little thinking what would be their fate before they reached the other shore. There was rather an over load for the boat to take all of them, but they feared to leave any one on this side, lest the Mormons might come upon them before the boat could return for them, and so they all got aboard, Everett, the ferryman, assuring them that there was no danger. They hadn't got more than half way over, before they found that the water was coming into the boat so fast that there was no help -- they were bound to sink. Owens and one or two others couldn't swim. Campbell, being a good swimmer, (having often swam the Missouri river), began to fix and instruct the others how to manage their horses, to let them have their own way and not attempt to use the bridle, and they would take them to the shore. They had kept the oars going while the boat was filling with water and had gained till they thought they were almost to the other shore. Campbell, feeling no uneasiness for himself, got them all started, encouraging and telling them how to do, and after watching them till they were some distance and all appeared to be getting along finely, he left the boat, after standing on it until the water was nearly waist deep. -- The ferrymen, all good swimmers, left every man to himself; strange to say, the two best swimmers were drowned -- Campbell and Everett, the owner of the ferry. The latter got in 20 or 30 steps of the shore, when his wife asked him how he [was] making it; he answered, all right, but in a moment or two they heard him no more. It was thought that Campbell and him must have taken the cramp, for it was no trouble for either of them to swim the river. -- Their bodies wore recovered two or three days afterwards, some distance down the river, lodged on a rock heap. The men who couldn't swim made their way to shore. -- Owens' life was prolonged only to be taken by the Spaniards in the battle of Chihuahua, under Colonel Doniphan.

The commissioners appointed at the meeting, arranged with the leader of the saints so as to get them out of our county and locate them in Caldwell county, which at that time, say 1835, was sparsely settled, where one of their prominent men, by name of Whitmer, with a few of the rank and file had settled and selected a site for a town and gave it the name of Far West. Joseph, the prophet, gathered up a few of his leading men and repaired to the place; they were, Rigdon, Hiram Smith, Lyman Wright, Col. Hinkle, Taylor, Murdock, and the noted Parley Pratt. They bought land all over the county, and some in Ray, Daviess and Clinton. A new revelation was given to the prophet Joe, that they had found the promised spot where the temple was to be built and one of the greatest cities in the world reared. Their missionaries had been quite successful in making proselytes, and they came from every quarter, many from Europe, and the result was that the county was soon settled up with a motley crew, who had espoused the faith of the latter day saints. They were in general quite industrious working people, and soon a great change was made in the appearance of the county; huts of every description, from a log cabin to a board shanty, with fields and gardens, were seen in every direction, mostly along the strips of timber which were found along the creeks and branches. -- Far West spread over a great deal of ground, with very shabby buildings for a city. The best I saw was the one in which the Mormons surrendered to Gen. Doniphan, in 1838. It was a double log house, the residence of Elder Rigdon, where they had the "endowment room."
(To be continued.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVIII.                          Liberty, Mo.,  Fri., November 2, 1883.                           No. 26.



The population of Far West was considerable at the time they commenced improving, a large proportion being women and children, living in tents, half-face camps, and board shanties. But notwithstanding all their experience in Clay and Jackson, they still persisted in their old ways. They had new revelations, one after another, made to suit the time and circumstances, so as to confirm the dupes in the faith; and as they were very hard run, having to pay tithes on all they had, to help them in their straits, it was revealed to Joseph that the country belonged to them and the "fullness thereof," and consequently anything that belonged to the unbelieving Gentiles, they had a right to take wherever they found it, having full authority from the high priests. The more reckless of them organized themselves into bands, and made it a business to go thro' the country and take with impunity whatever they found that belonged to the citizens and they wanted; and being largely in the majority, they controlled the county in local affairs. Most, or quite all the civil officers, were of their people, and the citizens were at their mercy, an ingredient they possessed very little of; and as like begets like, the Gentiles (the more reckless part) set about retaliating, and formed squads to resist organized bands of Mormons in taking their property. Both sides being made up of men who had very little scruples about what they did, they soon came in contact with each other, and killed and murdered without remorse of conscience, and the consequence was that many a foul deed was done by both saints and sinners. -- They would kill each others' stock, burn huts and shanties, taking off the household goods, such as bedding and clothing, which they could use to advantage, and let the balance be consumed.

While all this was going on at Far West, and more or less all over the county, Sidney Rigdon made a speech at one of their meetings, in which he said "they were a wheel within a wheel; a government within a government," and they had their own laws, which were made by the twelve councilmen, or apostles, and they would obey no other. While the laws of the State might be enforced around them among the Gentiles, it was not to be tolerated inside the circle -- assuring them that they had a right to take from the heathens whatever they found and wanted, as the land and the fullness thereof was theirs. -- With such assurance from their leaders, it is not to be tho't strange that their superstitious and ignorant followers would do all manner of deviltry, and believe that theywere doing God's service.

About thus time, 1837 or 1838, a man by the name of Hinkle, with some others, had got a foot-hold by buying some lots in DeWItt, a little town on the Missouri river, in Carroll county, with a view of building up a town, it being a point on the river that was suited to ship their goods and chattels to, which were intended for Far West; and the Mormon emigrants who came by water nearly all disembarked at that point, and a great many who came by land made it in their way to Far West, and it soon became a place of considerable note, where, in a very short time, there were several hundred men, women and children, Not having houses to accommodate them all, they pitched their tents, and it became a village of canvas.

They gathered in so fast, and their reputation being known, the few citizens of Carroll county began to be uneasy for their peace and safety. They called a meeting, to consult and see if they could devise some plan to rid their county of a set of fanatics, who had become so notorious by their conduct in Clay and Jackson counties, that there was no hope of their remaining among them in peace. After consulting together, there was only one settled conclusion, and that was -- the saints must go! If they would not go peaceably, they must be forced, no matter what the consequences. Some of the hot-headed citizens were in favor of marching right on them and driving them out forthwith. The Mormons increased daily, by emigrants coming in, and the excitement among the citizens rose to such high pitch that it was hard for those of cooler heads to restrain the others from attacking the Mormon camp. The citizens had formed their camp but a little way from the enemy. Many of the citizens of Bay and Clay went to the assistance of their friends in Carroll, and in a few days they had an organized force of four or five hundred men, with officers chosen to command them, who had them under drill for several days. If I am not mistake, Congreve Jackson, of Howard county, had command; W. E. Price, of Clay, was colonel, and Singleton Vaughn, major -- all of them men of good grit.

They appointed a committee to confer with the leaders of the Mormons. They waited on Col. Hinkle, who had command of the saints, and at the first conference he refused to agree to any terms toward leaving the county, but threatened vengeauce to any one that attempted to molest them; that he would fight till he died, before he would agree to the terms, which was to immediately load up their wagons and be ready and off in twenty-four hours. The committee reasoned with them, telling them that the citizens were in camp not more than a mile off, ready to march, and they would certainly move the next day if they did not come to some understanding, and to save the shedding of blood, they had better conclude to go.

Just at this stage of the conference, information was brought to Col. Hinkle that Lyman Wight was on his way from Far West with a company of about fifty men to aid him. That strengthened his nerves, so he did nothing, awaiting for Wright [sic] to arrive. The committee gave them till next morning to answer. Wright arrived during the night, and learning the true condition of things -- that if they persisted, and got into a conflict with the citizens, exasperated as they were, nothing short of being completely routed would be the result, and many a poor fellow would bite the dust and receive his passport to the unknown, and all they had destroyed, so they finally concluded that "prudence was the better part of valor," and let the committee know that they would comply with the terms aud be off in 24 hours. -- They were slow in making the decision, and the morning had wore away till the citizens became restless. The committee not having returned, they had formed their lines ready to march, when they arrived and brought the news that they had agreed to leave between that time and next morning for Far West, and by the time named the whole caravan moved off to Far West, where a similar fate awaited them.

This being the third county they had been driven from, it might be thought, with their experience, that they would change their course, and choose one that would not be calculated to aggravate and provoke the citizens into a frenzy and drive them into mob violence. But it was not so. Being driven from DeWitt with considerable loss, it added several hundred to the population of Caldwell county, which caused their wants to be still greater, and lawless bands continued to prowl over the country, stealing, robbing, murdering and house-burning, till it was past endurance. A company was formed, mostly from Carroll and Ray counties, under command of Capt. Boregard, and started out, intending to avenge some of the wrongs received by their friends. They camped first night on Crooked River, in the southwest part of the county, about 10 or 15 miles from Far West. The Mormons kept themselves well posted, having squads of vigilants all through the county, besides a well organized company called the Danite Band, or United Brothers of Gideon, who were well drilled and constantly on the alert, under command of Daniel Patton (not our Daniel) as captain. He was known as "Capt. Fearnaught." This company being well informed of the location of Capt. Boregard's camp, marched upon it between midnight and day-break. The first that was known of their approach was the cry of the sentinel, "Who comes there?" and then the sound of the rifle of the guard and his retreat to camp; then came the Danites pellmell down the bluff in full charge, almost right into the camp. The alarm and rush was so sudden, the camp was in such a confused condition that they made no formidable resistance, while their enemy was right in among them, cutting right and left, causing a perfect stampede, every man for himself; a few jumped down the bank of the creek and stopped long enough to fire a few shots back, and then retreated for dear life, each making the best of his way for home, the Danites having put their enemy to flight with the loss of their commander, "Capt. Fearnought," and some wounded. I do not recollect the casualties on the part of the citizens, only that there were several wounded. Among them were Cravens, wounded in the hip, severely bnt not fatally; and Tarwator, wounded in the jaw, which proved a distressing wound, yet he recovered, with a disfigured face, and is still living as a witness to the Boregard battle.

The Danites, flushed with their victory, returned to Far West to recruit their forces, while the entire Mormon population prepared for a general conflict, knowing the citizens would rally to avenge the outrages the Mormons had committed. These outrages had become so exasperating that the people were determined on their expulsion from the State. They called on Gov. Boggs for assistance, and he responded by issuing a proclamation ordering Gen. D. R. Atchison to call all out the militia of his division to stop the Mormons from committing their outrages, and enforce the law. The militia of Clay responded to the call by raising two companies -- one commanded by Capt. G. W. Withers, the other (which was called the old men's company) by Robert Adkins or Wm. Young, I can't remember which. -- all ready to march in double-quick time, and under command of Gen. A. W. Doniphan.
(To be continued.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVIII.                          Liberty, Mo.,  Fri., November 9, 1883.                           No. 27.



I think it was the second or third night after the Boregard battle, we camped on the hill above the battle ground, where we expected recruits from the lower counties. The colonel had pitched hia tent in the square, on suitable ground to form a line of battle, with special orders if an alarm was raised to form on his right, and had guards posted at short interval all round the camp, with a picket guard on the road leading to Far West, some half a mile or more from the camp, to give the alarm if the Mormons attempted to make an attack. "Boregard" was the watchword. With those precautions, all hands bunked for a night's rest. All went well till they were calling in the guards, a little after sunrise, to prepare to march, when some one on the outskirts saw the dust rising some distance from camp on the main road leading to Far West, and cried out, "The Mormons are coming!" The colonel jumped from his marquee, and ordered the men to "form on his right." He kept wheelng 'round and the men kept running around to get on his right, till there was a mass of confusion. The colonel swore a little, and threatened to use his sword if they did not form a line. Some one told him to stand still -- that they couldn't form on his right when he kept turning around. The colonel squared himself, and had his line formed in double-quick. By this time the men who were making the dust fly had got close by, and it was found to be a squad of men that had been sent out by the commissary to get some beef cattle. We were very well satisfied that it turned out as it did, for I am not sure that if it had been the Mormons they would have made a perfect stampede of the whole posse of us.

News had arrived in camp that the troops who were coming from below were on the road leading from Richmond to Far West, with orders to meet them at a certain point. We were in the saddle in quick time and on the march, with an advance guard and reconnoitering parties on the right and left, with orders to bring in all the stragglers they found that couldn't give a good account of themselves. The Mormons learning that the militia were marching on Far West with a large force, were panic-stricken, and every fellow was seeking a place of safety or joining their comrades at Far West to help defend the place, so a good many of them had left their huts and tried to keep out of the way, but our reconnoitering parties picked up a good many of them and brought them into our lines, and some were killed -- how many, I presume no one knows. -- One thing wo all knew, there was a good deal of shooting done with our advance guard, and one poor fellow was knocked in the head with the butt of a gun after he had surrendered, by a man who said he was the fellow that had burnt his house, and before he had time to think, the man dealt the blow that sent him to his long home; he died during the night.

The Mormons had collected their forces and started out to give us battle outside of town, and we, leaving the direct road to meet the troops on the Richmond road, missed each other; and after forming our camp about half-mile from town, and before we had dismounted, we saw the Mormons, under full run, aiming to beat us to town. -- Col. Doniphan ordered us to charge and try to cut them off from town. I happened to be only the third man, the colonel, Capt. Withers, and John Hayden being in front of me. We all filed in after our leader, down the hill, across Goose Creek, in full speed, except a few who had to stop to fix a girth, or pick up a blanket, saddle-bags, or provision sack. The Mormons beat us, and had formed their line between us and town; we climbed the hill, formed our line right in front and not more than a hundred yards from them, awaiting orders, and expecting every moment to see the smoke and hear the report of their guns, but we were relieved of suspense by seeing a white flag hoisted in front of their lines. Col. Doniphan ordered the old men's company up between the two lines and held a parley with them for a few minutes, then ordered us back to where we had formed our camp. -- We had not more than pitched our tents and commenced preparing for supper, when orders came from Gov. Boggs to send a portion of the troops to Adam on Diamond, a place on the road where it crossed Grand River, northeast of Far West about 20 miles, to prevent the prophet and his councilors from escaping in that direction. -- This created quite a stir in camp. The officers held a council, and it was decided that to divide the troops and send Colonel Doniphan with his command away, which was the order, it would leave the force at camp too weak to resist the Mormons if they should make an attack, and they concluded to attack the town or make them surrender up Joe Smith, Hiram Smith, Lyman Wright, Sidney Rigdon and Parley Pratt, and about dusk we were ordered to move on the town.

We all thought it was fight this time. We formed our lines ready for the worst, and they held a parley with the leaders and let them say whether they would fight or surrender. They were undecided, and wanted till morning to decide. Col. Doniphan agreed if they would give up the five leaders that were named in the order from the Governor as hostages till morning, he would wait, and if they decided to defend the town, they should be given up. They agreed to give them up on those terms; they were about as badly scared [a] set as I ever saw, except old Wright, who stood like a lion, and said fight, without a sign of fear about him; but the Prophet Joe shook from head to foot, and his knees smote together as had as Belshazzar's, who saw the hand-writing on the wall, and implored his friends to beg for him, for he looked on it as death to be taken to our camp and have men put to guard him who had been so badly treated by his dupes. We marched them to camp, and the colonel put the old men's company to guard them, with special orders to keep them safe.

Morning came and they accepted the terms offered by Col. Doniphan, which were to surrender up their arms, and give up their leaders to be tried for their crimes, and the remainder of them, men, women and children, were to leave the State in a short time. This was in October, 1838. Winter was coming on, and they had to hurry up to escape being caught by the cold and chilling blasts. Many were without means to go with, and those who had a little home had to let it go for whatever it would bring, and the very best they could do was at a great sacrifice, with a great deal of suffering, and no mercy shown them by the citizens. They complied with their agreement under all these adverse circumstances. -- Most of them went to Nauvoo, Ill., Some to Courtland [sic], Ohio, and some sought shelter wherever they could find it outside the State.

This being the fourth time they had been driven, they were badly scattered; and notwithstanding all their difficulties and drawbacks, strange to say, they added largely to their membership, their missionaries having traversed the States and Europe and made proselytes by hundreds, and they were all making their way to Zion -- Joe Smith's New Jerusalem -- the locality of which was hard to find, and they have finally settled down at Salt Lake, where they have had a few years' repose.

Their leaders were sent to Richmond to have a preliminary trial before Judge King, and he sent them to Gallatin, Daviess county, to await the sitting of the grand jury, and from some cause not remembered by the writer, they were transferred to Liberty to await the action of the grand jury in Daviess county. The grand jury found indictments against Joe and Hiram Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley Pratt, Lyman Wright, and several others, for different offenses, such as murder, house-burning, resisting legal process, robbery, and nearly all the crimes known to law. When court convened in Daviess county, they applied for a change of venue, being afraid that they would get justice if they were tried there. Their plea was granted, and they were sent to Boone county and tried before Judge David Todd, (I believe). Col. Doniphan defended them, and they were acquitted -- that is, those who were brought to trial -- for my recollection is, that some of them took advantage of the jailor when he brought them, their meals, and knocked him down and got away, and there was very little effort made to recapture them. Parley Pratt was one who escaped, and only prolonged his life for a few years to die a tragic death near Ft. Gibson, for seducing a man's wife. It was said that he had six wives, but not being satisfied with them, he must destroy the peace of a happy family to get the seventh, which caused his death. Served him right.

After they had all got out of the clutches of the law they made their way to Nauvoo, and built a considerable town, with quite a large tabernacle, where Joseph the Prophet still professed to receive new revelations, until their outrages became so great that the citizens determined on taking some course to rid themselves of them, and they had Joe and Hiram Smith and Taylor arrested, charged with some crime which I don't now recollect, and lodged in the Carthage jail, where Joe and Hiram Smith met their tragic death at the hands of the enraged citizens, and Taylor was badly wounded. Their prophet and leader being killed, they still kept their zeal, and selected Brigham Young to go before them as their leader. They were finally expelled from Nauvoo and took up their line of march westward and found a resting place at Salt Lake, where they have a large city with a magnificent tabernacle.

I will close this chapter on Mormonism by giving the statistics of the church, as reported by Apostle Cannon at their conference, and published in the New York Sun, of Oct. 10th, 1883. He says:

"The Clurch shows membership in Utah of 127,294; number of families, 23,000; births in the past six months, 1,200 males and 1,100 females; number of children under 8 years old, 37,000 number of marriages in the past six months, 339; new members, 23,040, deaths, 781. The church organization embraces 12 apostles, 58 patriarchs, 8,886 Sureties, 3153 high priests, 11,000 elders, 1,500 bishops and 1,400 deacons. Arizona reports a membership of 2,204. Idaho is not reported, but has double that of Arizona. Eighty-one missionaries have been appointed to go on missions to Europe and the United States."

So you see Mormonism still lives and practices polygamy in open violation of the laws of the United States, one of the most demoralizing crimes known to law. You can see from the report of births in six months, that they adhere strictly to the command given to our foreparents, to "multiply and replenish the earth." Adieu to the Latter Day Saints.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                         Kansas City, Mo.,  November 18, 1883.                         No. ?



Reminiscences of an Old Pioneer.

Fifty-three years ago (August, 1830), I crossed the western boundary of Missouri, which was then the line of demarkation for the restless westward bound pioneer, the ultima thule of civilization...

(under construction)

Note: The above piece is just one of several different historical articles by John C. McCoy, that appeared in 1879-1886 issues of the Kansas City Journal. This article says practically nothing about the Mormons, but it does present an interesting description of the western Missouri frontier at about the time the first LDS arrived in that area.


Vol. 31.                         Richmond, Missouri,  August 22, 1884.                         No. ?


We have requested to state that the forty six years of private citizenship on the part of David Whitmer, in Richmond, without stain or blemish, is a moment of his personal standing too strong and enduring to be toppled over by the anathemas of the reputed Mormon prophet, who denounced him when he found that he could no longer use Mr. W. as a tool, and to have the unsupported charges hurled at him now grosser far than the original, as he stands on the confines of the spirit land is, to say the least, uncharitable, and comes with but poor grace from a reputed follower of the son of Mary, whose mission was peace and good will to man.

As regards Mr. Whitmer's religious belief that is between him and his God, and if Elder Braden, at the advanced age of Mr. Whitmer, can show as clear a private record as does the subject of his animadversion, then he can safely fold his hands, close his eyes, and take the leap in the dark with but few misgivings in regard to the future. As regards his war on Mormonism, we have not a word to say, that is his province, but we can see no good in his peddling around a book, a debate between himself and one Kelly, on Mormonism, thus placing the vext question on a higher plane, than it belongs and adding if anything, to its pernicious growth. It should be left to stifle itself to death.

If a life of probity, of unobstrusive benevolence and well doing for well nigh half a century, marks a man as a good citizen, then David Whitmer should enjoy the confidence and esteem of his fellow men. In no instance has he ever endeavored to force his beliefs on others and on every occasion, when the subject was brought up and heralded through the press it has been against his wishes, hence the feeling of indignation that was manifest on the part of many present when Elder Braden announced that he could, by Mormon evidence, convict Mr. Whitmer of being in league with "murderers and horse thieves," which he did not do.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 31.                         Richmond, Missouri,  January 9, 1885.                         No. ?


David Whitmer, Esq., reached his 80th birthday Wednesday last, and is still hale and vigorous, bidding fair to celebrate his centennial anniversary. He remains firm in the faith of his youth, he has passed beyond the years of man's ambition, he feels that he is lingering in the gleam of the sunset of his pilgrimage, he has seen the pronunciamento of Joe Smith the accepted belief of near one million people as of divine origin, he holds in his possession the manuscript from which the book of Mormon was published, he reiterates that he saw the glory of the angel, blinding him by its radiance, heard it proclaim "You have testified to the truth," and with no regrets for the past and no fears for the future he calmly awaits the summons universal that says "come" to the sons of Adam. We wish him many more such anniversaries.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                         Kansas City, Mo.,  January 18, 1885.                         No. ?



A Graphic Sketch of the Rise and Fall of the Mormons in Jackson County.

A Valuable Contribution from an Old Pioneer.

To the Editor of the Kansas City Journal.

In the Kansas City Journal of Sunday, December 28, was published an interesting and well written sketch of a "Famous Town" Independence, MO., which graphically narrates many facts and incidents relating to the early history of that famous border town. The San Francisco writer was not mistaken in his statement that "more thrilling incidents of border warfare and tragic episodes have been enacted in its streets than would fill a large sized volume." From the date of its first settlement as the county seat, in 1826, until about 1848, Independence was peculiarly the border town of the farthest far West, the ultima thule of the progressive and aggressive Angle Saxon...


But to return to the statements of the article first alluded to... It was not in 1835 "the Latter Day Saints here commenced the establishment of a Mormon colony," but it was in 1831, and their higera or expulsion was on November 3, 1833. General Sterling Price did not command the Gentiles who "drove them (the Mormons) from the city." ...

In the latter part of 1830 [sic] the so-called prophet, Joe Smith, accompanied by four of the saints, arrived in Jackson county. These four were Edward Partridge, the first bishop, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitemon [sic], and one other, Morley or Phelps.

Cowdery was said to be the amanuensis who wrote the "Book of Mormon," as dictated by the Prophet Joseph, as translated by him from the golden plates, (or the manuscript of Parson Spaulding's romance) placed in the crown of his hat, a blanket curtain intervening between the prophet and scribe.

Partridge was the first bishop and grantee of all the lands purchased from the government or individuals during the sojourn of the saints in the county, and was principal of the three martyrs who were in 1833 tarred and feathered at the north front of the old court house by a ruthless mob of unregenerated Gentiles.

These five pedestrian pioneers of Mormonism were journeying westward and were (like Abraham) in search of a country which the Lord had promised to the Latter Day Saints as a perpetual inheritance. They stopped at the state line with Col. Robert Patterson, on what is now known as the Vogel place, near Westport. Patterson was one of four families who first moved west of the Big Blue in the fall of 1825, and was the first justice of the peace for Kaw township, but died about 1831 or 1832. After a short stay Smith and party went up west and stopped for some time among the Delawares on the north of Kaw river, making strenuous efforts to make proselytes among the Indians, but with poor success, until Maj. R. W. Drummins peremptorily ordered them out of the Indian territory.

The Indian intercourse laws and regulations of the war department, then in charge of Indian affairs, prohibited white persons from settling or residing in the Indian territory, except by special license or permit of the superintendent of Indian affairs, at St. Louis, or recommendation of the Indian agent in charge. The first notice of Agent Cummins was disregarded, whereupon that matter-of-fact old Tennessean went up in person and gave them the choice of moving instantly on either end of the road -- eastward into Missouri or westward to the Leavenworth guard-house. The former alternative was chosen. The providential indications showing clearly that they had gone too far West for the site of the temple....

Smith [sic] remained only a few weeks after their return to Jackson county and then went back to the headquarters of Mormonism in the East, and I think was never afterwards in the county. Bishop Partridge and I think all three of his companions remained and commenced missionary labors in the effort to make proslytes among the settlers. In this they signally failed as will be hereadter shown.

In book D. of records of the St. Louis superintendency of Indian affairs, is copied a letter from Cowdery to Gen Clark, dated "Independence, Mo., February 14, 1831," "asking for a permit for myself and all who may be recommended to me by that society (meaning Mormons) to have free intercourse with the several tribes." This letter is dated after their expulsion from the Indian territory, the scheme of Smith and his party originally was no doubt to settle among and proselyte the Indians if possible, and take possession of the unoccupied lands assigned to these "Lamanites." The scheme having failed and their divine mission rejected [so] they returned to the unregenerated Gentiles. "Revelations," so called were furnished through the prophets to explain all things secular and ecclesiastical, governed all their movements and plans, and the weekly installment of "Revelations" as published in their weekly newspaper, the Morning Star, in Independence, as will be shown, was the [chief]


and expulsion from the county. Only a limited number of small tracts of the most undesireable land were left unclaimed and unsettled. These were entered during 1831 in the name of Partridge, the bishop, and during that year immigrant saints arrived in large numbers, allotments of ten and twenty acres being assigned to families. They professed to hold their property in common, although several, with some private means, bought land and held it in their own name. Along the valley of Brush creek from the state line eastward for a mile or two, was the largest settlement; another, about two miles southeast of Westport, ehere they had a [borse] mill; still another on the old road to Independence from the Big Blue, eastward, and scattering small tracts elsewhere, few, if any, however, eastward of Independence; another, the Whitmer settlement, was about Linwood, a mile or two southeast of Kansas City. It was at this latter settlement the only real battle was fought between the saints and Gentiles, during the sojourn of the former in the county. Of this battle and its consequences, which resulted in the sudden and summary expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson county, I will make mention hereafter.

The arrival of Joe Smith and his four disciples, followed by the arrival during 1831 of large numbers of the sect, might be termed a surprize to the original settlers. Newspapers were almost unknown at that early period, and few, if any, of the first settlers had heard of the existence of the sect. Their exclusiveness, and assumption of holiness, of miraculous gifts in speaking in unknown tongues as at the day of Penticost and pretended interpretation of the gibberish by those professedly inspired for that purpose and their openly expressed avowal that all the land of this chosen zion, comprising the entire country, had been allotted to the saints by divine authority as made known through his chosen prophet Joseph, surnamed Smith, these together with other causes which will be alluded to hereafter, gradually created a feeling of bitter hostility against them.

During the three years the Mormons remained in Jackson county, viz., 1831, 1832 and 1833, they succeeded in making very few converts among the Gentiles, perhaps not a dozen in all. The first year they were regarded as harmless fanatics. Many were employed as farm laborers and mechanics. I was engaged in surveying boundaries of lands allotted to various Indian tribes, and much of the time I employed them as hands. Few, if any, covert acts of hostility were committed during that year. During the next year, 1832, as their members increased rapidly and they began to openly avow their purpose of possessing the entire country peaceably by converting the Gentiles to the Mormon faith, if they could, but failing in this, to possess it any way, and if necessary by the shedding of blood, and when this determination on the part of the Mormons became manifest to the original settlers, and they saw that immigrants of their class, in view of the speedy ascendancy of the Mormons, socially and politically in the county, were unwilling to risk their fortunes here, and, indeed, that many already here were disposed to get away, then


grew up and increased as time progressed. The better class of law abiding citizens were unwilling to do or sanction acts of outrage, such as tearing down houses, taking out grown men and whipping them, and of inaugurating a war between the classes that should end in the expulsion of one or the other factions, but there was no lack of volunteers for such work. Already in 1833 the Mormons more than held the balance of power between the two political parties (Whigs and Democrats).

Another year at the same rate of increase they would in all probability have elected and installed all the county officers. No one but a Mormon could be induced to buy land to settle upon, and they in the few purchases made by them fixed ruinous prices.

As before stated their chief settlements were situated west of the Big Blue river, comprising probably three-fourths of their numbers, and yet the quantity of land actually purchased and occupied by them amounted to less than 2,000 acres above the Big Blue river.

The supreme folly of the Mormon leaders was in prematurely assuming the aggressive toward the old residents. In asserting and proclaiming in their talks, their sermons, and especially in their newspaper weekly at Independence, their real purposes and plans "Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad." In their case, however, they were evidently made fools. If they had not provoked the hostility of the Gentiles only another year's occupancy would have given them a sure footing, and the forced exodus would have been comprised of Gentiles instead of saints.

True history, however, must record the fact that the deluded followers of the so called prophet, Joseph Smith, in their first effort to organize and establish a religious socialistic community in Jackson county, Mo., were unjustly and outrageously maltreated by the original settlers, and that in the tragic and pitiful scenes which occurred during the last part of their sojourn in this, their promised inheritance, their Zion and New Jerusalem. With scarcely one exception, the settlers were aggressors so far as overt acts of hostility were concerned. During the last year of their stay the continued persecutions to which they were subjected excited the sympathy of many outside of the county, especially of the people of Clay county, who gave them an asylum and assistance for a year or two after their expulsion. Indeed, material aid and arms were furnished them by some citizens of Clay before their expulsion; a wagon with a quantity of guns was stopped near the south part of Kansas City and seized by parties on the watch.

They purchased a few lots in Independence, established a store at the southwest corner of the public square, called the


a joint stock concern by one Gilbert, built a small brick printing office just south of the bank of Chrisman & Sawyer, and commenced a small newspaper called the Morning or Evening Star (I forget which), Phelps & Oliver Cowdery, publishers. In this paper "revelations" were published in nearly every issue, purporting to have been delivered from God to the saints through His chosen prophet, Joseph, pertaining to all matters, ecclesiastical and secular. It was these "revelations," openly avowing their purpose of possessing the entire land, if possible, by converting the Gentiles to the faith so that they would freely bestow their earthly possessions and cast in their lots with the saints, or take the consequences of their perverse opposition of the Divine decrees, more than anything else, that provoked the hostility of the citizens and brought about their forcible expulsion.


One mile west of the Blue, on the old road from Independence to the state line, on what is now the Chouteau farm, there was a country store kept by one Moses G. Wilson, a brigadier general of the militia, a restless partisan, very prominent and influential with a certain class.

This [store] was, during 1833, the rendezvous for the anti-Mormons, where they were wont to meet to discuss the situation and form plans and organize raids upon the Mormon settlements up toward the state line. There was no pretense of legality in any of their proceedings, only a unanimous determination to drive out the Mormons from the country or be themselves driven out.


It was from this rendezvous a mob of about sixty started up the road westward on the 2d of November, 1833, to raid the Mormon settlements, some of them mounted, the rest on foot, one third at least without guns or other weapons, without order or discipline, they marched through the Mormon settlements of Brush creek, without seeing a Mormon man; only women and children were found. With these orders were left for the Mormons to leave the county, and occasionally a Mormon camp was thrown down. Late in the afternoon, on their return through the Whitmer settlement, near Linwood school house, about fifteen, who lived down toward the river, left the main body, and soon afterwards, as the rest were moving east on the road the Mormons


from both sides, which put at least two-thirds of the raiders to precipitate flight. About fifteen or twenty, however, stood their ground for some time, when they too retreated, leaving two of their number dead, viz., Walter Brageale, a lawyer from Independence, and old Billy Linville, a farmer of the neighborhood. On the side of the Mormons one man named Barber was killed. Very few of the Mormons, and a dozen, perhaps, of the raiders were wounded. The battle, if it could be dignified as one, brought the controversy between the belligerents to a crisis. Both parties seemed to recognize that the issue was now


Those of the citizens who had steadfastly refused to join in these raids, especially of the [eastern] part of the county, knew full well that the issue was then made up -- and the alternative was now fight, flight, or submission to a fanatical hierarchy.

It would make this article too long to tell of many facts and incidents that transpired during that Mormon war, antecedent and subsequent to this battle. Of the night march of the saints, to sack, burn and destroy that Sodom of [iniquity], (Independence), of their final surrender in the fallen timber one mile west of the town.

Of the events that led to the destruction of their printing office, press and type; of the [precipituous] flight of the saints; of the belligerent attitude and alarms that prevailed in the county for a year or two following the flight; and a thousand other episodes of thrilling interest enacted in and around that old border town. would in truth "fill a good sized volume."... a book of interesting facts stranger than fiction.

                                                      J. C. M.

Note 1: The writer of the above piece was John Calvin McCoy (1811-1889), a pioneer resident of western Missouri and a son of the well known Rev. Isaac McCoy. For his father's early report on the Mormons, see the Dec. 20, 1833 issue of the Daily Missouri Republican and a slightly earlier edition of the Fayette Western Monitor. For a sympathetic view of the Rev. McCoy, his interactions with the Mormons, and his Dec. 1833 statement, see Warren A. Jennings' "Isaac McCoy and the Mormons," in the Oct. 1966 issue of Missouri Historical Quarterly, (LXI:1, pp. 63-82). This piece reproduces lengthy quotes from McCoy's 1833 journal, along with extracts from more of his obscure holographs, not otherwise easily accessible for consultation.

Note 2: John C. McCoy has obviously confused and conflated the first three or four advents of early Mormon leaders in western Missouri into a single event. Probably, where he first mentions Joseph Smith as a "pedestrian pioneer," the name of Parley P. Pratt should be substituted. Phelps, Morley, Smith and Partridge all arrived subsequent to the initial Cowdery-Pratt group of "pedestrian pioneers." See also John C. McCoy's articles in the Jan. 26, 1879, Apr. 24, 1881, and Nov. 18, 1883 issues of the Kansas City Journal. For information on the earliest Mormon activities in western Missouri and in the Indian Territory, see Warren A. Jennings' "The First Mormon Mission to the Indians," in the Autumn 1971 issue of Kansas Historical Quarterly, (XXXVII:3, pp. 288-299) and three articles by Ronald E. Romig: "Jackson County, 1831-1833," in Restoration Studies III, (1986); "First Impressions... 1832-33," in JWHA Journal 10 (1990); and "The Lamanite Mission," in JWHA Journal 14 (1994).


Vol. ?                          Liberty, Mo.,  March 12, 1886.                           No. ?


A Racy Extract from the Salt Lake Evening News.

False Statements Regarding Treatment of Mormons
During Their Sojourn in Clay County.

We print below an article taken from the Evening News of the 28th ult., a daily Mormon organ published at Salt Lake City, Utah Ter., a copy of which paper was forwarded us with the article marked with the request that we "answer it as it deserves." The length of the article copied, and our consequent lack of space, precludes our privilege of a systematic reply to the same. We therefore present a few facts relative to the history, conduct and habits of [ye festive?] Mormons during their stay in Clay and Jackson counties, and leave our readers, many of whom have personal knowledge of the occurrences, to draw their own conclusions after reading two sides of the question.

It is not denied that the Mormons were subjected to some harsh treatment at the hands of the people of Jackson and Clay counties; but we submit that it was nothing more than their just deserts, brought on by their own absurd, unlawful and fanatical theories and practices. Here is the article referred to:


(see original article for text)

...The notorious Joseph Smith referred to above, the prophet and leader of the Mormons, or Latter Day Saints, had, according to his profession, received by direct communication from God orders to establish and build up, somewhere in the West, a New Jerusalem. The exact location had not been revealed to him; but traveling under divine guidance, he had been assured that his prophetic vision would recognize the place when it had been reached. Accordingly, about the year 1831, the famous Joseph started Westward from Kirtland, Ohio, in quest of the promised land. When he had reached Jackson county, Mo., it was revealed to Joseph that this was the promised land; which fact he communicated to his followers, and thither came the dupes of his persuasion, in large numbers, and located. The place where Independence is situated was elected as the site whereon the Temple should be built; and under his direction the erection of the Temple was begun, but extended no further than the commencement of the foundation. At the time of the location of the Mormons there, Jackson county was comparatively sparsely settled, and there remained yet much land subject to entry. The Mormons at once set about to possess themselves of large landed interests and, at the same time, inform and convince the oldest residents of that county of Joseph's divine revelations, which were, in part, that the Mormons and heathens (meaning the older residents, or gentiles,) could not dwell together in the same county, and that God had bequeathed and set apart this land to their exclusive use and benefit, and consequently the heathens must render up their possessions.

At about this time a newspaper called the Evening Star, was established at Independence. It was a Mormon organ, and through this medium the revelations to Joseph were made known to the people. It advocated the right, by divine sanction, of the Mormons to absolute possession of the lands and the fullness thereof, and insisted that all the trespassing heathens should depart. The rank and file of the Mormons, fully impregnated with this idea, said unto the Jackson county heathens: "What is yours is ours, and what is mine is my own;" and suiting their actions to their words, they began to appropriate to their own use the property and effects of the heathens. About this time the heathens, also, had a revelation, which was to the effect that the festive Mormons were not disposed to tote fair with them, and they began, accordingly, to expostulate with their persecutors, but all to no purpose. The Mormons persisted in their nefarious practices -- to pillage and over ride the heathen until forbearance ceased to be a virtue. It then became necessary, in order to protect their property and their rights, for the heathens to organize to resist the arrogant and fanatical Mormons.

Thus matters grew from bad to worse until the gentiles of Jackson county, from sheer necessity, drove the pestilential Mormons across the river into Clay county. Their printing press and materials were hurled into the Missouri river after them; and thus set the Evening Star, and it is still setting, presumably, -- at the bottom of the river. The time when the Mormons were driven into Clay county, was mid-winter, and the morning of the first day after their arrival on Clay county soil, between the hour of midnight and daybreak, was the time when the stars fell; and it was at this season, also, according to the recollection of its builder, that the first jail in Clay county was built at Liberty -- a cut of which building is given above, the sight of which aroused to such an extent the editorial flow of the Salt Lake City Evening News. The good people of Clay county, through pity for the destitute Mormons who were driven to their doors hungry, cold and homeless, took compassion upon and kindly received them. They generously provided for and gave employment in their families to the Mormons, as well as on their farms and as teachers of schools; which acts on the part of the Clay countians, by the way, won for them, from the people of Jackson county, the title of "Jack Mormons." But in the course of time, the ungrateful hostages, unmindful of the hospitality which had been extended them by the generous heathen people of Clay, began again their perfidious practices, and claimed to have received through their prophet-leader, Joseph, another revelation to the effect that Clay county was the Canaan of which they were in quest, and that this land, too, was theirs by divine gift; that here the Temple was to be erected, and the heathen must render up their property and possessions and depart from the land. The Mormons here became even more fanatical than before and asserted that they were above the operation and control of the laws of Missouri, being subject only to the edicts of the twelve Mormon apostles -- (wondrously treasonable, this.) -- The ill feeling thus [engendered] between the Mormons and the people of Clay county grew and waxed stronger as the absurd professions and intolerable conduct of the misguided Mormons increased, and in time the gallent sons of Clay, exasperated beyond further endurance, arose in their might and informed the Mormons that they must go; and they went, but at the point of the bayonet.

Subsequent to their expulsion from Clay county the Mormons, after remaining a short time at other places, finally congregated at Far West, where again it was revealed to Joseph that the Temple should be built. The depraved natures of the Mormons, not having been changed by past bitter experiences, again asserted itself, and their depredations -- such as stealing, house-burning and, even, murder, as was charged, -- were practiced by them until the State authorities sent troops, under the command of Gen. A. W. Doniphan, who marched upon Far West and compelled the settlement to surrender. Here Joseph and Hiram Smith, Lyman Wright [sic]. Sidney Rigdon, Parley Pratt, et al. were surrendered to the authorities. -- These leaders of the Mormons were first sent to Richmond for preliminary trial before Judge Austin A. King, whence they were taken to Daviess county to await the action of the grand jury; but, owing to the insecurity of the jail there, they were returned to Clay county and incarcerated in the old jail at Liberty. The prisoners, upon their own motion, were granted a change of venue from Daviess to Boone county, and were there tried by Judge David Todd. They were ably defended by Gen. Doniphan, who commanded the force that captured them, and were acquitted.

The charge that, whilst the prisoners were confined in jail at Liberty, they were fed on or offered "Mormon beef, or human flesh, is as false as Dicer's oaths, and is too preposterous to be entertained even for a moment by any other than the most ridiculous Mormon fanatic; as is, also, the charge that poison was administered to them in their food, which, through divine interposition on behalf of the Mormons, had no other effect upon them than that of "a most powerful emetic." The flagrant falsity of this latter charge is at once apparent to the Christian world, and the expression of such an idea, fully endorsed by the Mormons, is certainly sufficient to lead the average Christianized American to accept, in this instance, the old Latin maxim, "falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus," and totally discredit every part of the senseless wrangle of the poor deluded Mormon editor.

Note 1: The editor's assertion, that while the Mormons resided in Clay county, they claimed the land as their own and intended to build a temple there, is largely unsubstantiated. Caldwell county, however, was formed from the northern half of Ray, the county adjoining Clay on the east , and the LDS soon after dedicated a temple lot in Caldwell -- the LDS also claimed part of neighboring Daviess county, as the holy first residence of Adam and Eve, following that ancient couple's departure from the Garden of Eden. Considered in a much broader sense than the editor indicates, the Mormons probably did lay claim to Jackson, Clay and Ray counties, prior to 1836, as part of the region "round about" their promised land -- a region which they felt they would rightfully come to possess in the millenarian near future.

Note 2: The editor's insinuation, that Joseph Smith and other high LDS leaders, "were acquitted" at a trial in Boone county, is not factual. The top Mormon leaders escaped from legal custody before their intended trial in Boone could commence.


Vol. ?                          Liberty, Mo.,  April 9, 1886.                           No. ?

For the Liberty Tribune.


My attention has been called to an article which appeared in the Tribune on the 12th of March, 1886, headed, "Memoirs of the Mormons," in which is [copied] an article taken from the Evening News of the 28th of February, a daily Mormon organ published at Salt Lake City, Utah. In this latter article from the Evening News, are made grave charges against the people and officials of Clay county. Of these charges I have some what to say. At the dates and times referred to in these charges I was a citizen of Clay and had been for some years before. I was at the time familiar with all the facts connected with the Mormon troubles in Jackson, Clay and Caldwell. Some of the facts, I have forgotten, or remember imperfectly; others, I still remember perfectly; others, I still remember well. I write now to give some help, if I can, to the preservation of truth for history; not merely for the purpose of denying the false and reckless statements of the News.

It is often best to leave calumnies and slanders unanswered and unnoticed, and these are of a character to make such the wiser and better treatment; but, as a notice of this article of the News will lead to the necessity of showing the part and share Clay county and its people had in these Mormon [affairs?], I will briefly give such notice as seems to be demanded, taking the charges in the order in which they are made.

The News says: "It was in this place" (Clay county jail) "that Joseph Smith, Hiram Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wright [sic], Caleb Baldwin and Alexander McRae were confined for six months after their mock trial at Richmond before Judge Austin A. King. *  *  *  The judge also, during the trial, declared there was no law for the Mormons in the State of Missouri, that he had sworn to see them exterminated and the Governor's order executed to the very letter, and he would do so. *  *  *  They were asked, during their trial, if they believed in the 7th chapter of Daniel, and, on their admitting a belief in it, the judge turned to the clerk and said: "Write that down, it is a strong point for treason."

It is amazing that a man who thinks himself fit to edit a paper he would wish respected should write for, or permit to go into, his paper statements so ridiculous and absurd. Judge King was an able lawyer, of acknowledged talents, and was afterwards Governor of the State. There were about forty of the Mormon leaders, including the above, turned over to the civil authorities, charged with offences against the State, and Judge King himself presided at the examining trial. I was retained by the Governor of the State to aid the circuit attorney; was present during the whole of the examining trial, and nothing occurred as above represented. The parties [-----ed] were committed to be held for enquiry by the grand jury. No one county jail had room for all, and Jo. Smith and others above named were sent to the Liberty jail, for several reasons it was the place of residence of their chief attorney, Col. Doniphan; they preferred to go there, and the jail was regarded as the safest and strongest we then had.

The trial was not a "mock trial." Judge King presided in good faith and with fairness; and, if Mormon evidence, given by such of them as Dr. Avery [sic], W. W. Phelps, [J. and] David Whitmer and others, is entitled to credit, Judge King could not have ruled otherwise than he did. The testimony was all taken down and afterwards, reported to the Legislature, by whose order it was printed in book-form and distributed over the whole State and thus made known to the world for its judgment.

Again, the News says: "It was in this same Liberty jail that the brethren whose names have already been mentioned were subjected to the most inhuman treatment that the ingenuity of [demons] could devise. For five days they were furnished with what their guards jocularly called 'Mormon beef,' which was nothing else than human flesh, probably the flesh of some of their brethren who had been killed. *  *  *  Nor was this the only atrocity perpetrated upon them while there, for they were given poison in their food three or four times --"

This charge is wholly without truth, not having the shadow of foundation for support, and is as wicked as false. The sheriff was himself jailor, a faithful officer of incorruptible integrity, and was not only kind and humane, but generously indulgent to these prisoners. Of this I give an instance. They desired to be permitted to leave the jail to see me. My office was three or four blocks from the jail; he permitted them, under his charge, to make me the visit, and they came -- Joseph Smith, Hiram Smith, Lyman Wright and, I think , others. Joseph Smith stated their object --

He knew I had been retained to assist the circuit attorney in the examining trials, which were concluded, and they wanted me to aid in their defence after indictment; and Smith said the State would not half pay me for what I had done, but that they could give me a liberal fee. I told him I was through with my engagement with the State, but so far as the prosecution had secrets I [knew] them, and I could not appear in their defence without seeming to take a fee on both sides and, this, no fee could induce me to do. They were permitted by the sheriff to remain in social conversation for an hour or two, and on leaving Jo. Smith asked the loan of a book to read. I told him to look among my books and suit himself. He selected a copy of [Bates' Poems], and they left. I never saw him afterwards; a few days later they all escaped. I never heard complaint of sheriff or guard for unkind or other hard treatment; don't believe there ever was ground for such cimplaint; would have heard if there had been, for in those days we had no secrets; we were told everything

As to the "Mormon beef," "human flesh," "the flesh of some of their brethren," all bosh! No ormon was even killed in Clay county [or] within many miles of Lberty ljail], and no Mormon near the date of their confinement in the Clay county jail. And, "poison!" -- but I will say nothing of that; it is not necessary.

As to the court martial that condemned "the leading brethren at Far West to be shot," I know nothing -- never heard of such a court martial; and it is most singular I never did, if it ever had existence in fact. As to General Clark's address at Far West, I know nothing of it; but, having known Gen. Clark well, it would require evidence to convince me he delivered the address imputed to him.

Again, the News says that "before settling in Caldwell county they" (the Mormons) "had dwelt in Clay county, of which Liberty was the capital, and purchased extensive possessions," and again speaks of the "people of Missouri, who inflicted those terrible wrongs upon an innocent and defenceless people, and who now possess the property of which they were robbed." These words will be construed by the reader to apply to their "purchases of extensive possessions" in Clay county.

Now for the facts about these "extensive possessions" in Clay county. When driven from Jackson county the Mormons, on compulsion, crossed the Missouri river into Clay county as a place of merely temporary refuge. The people of Clay, at that time, believed that they had been greatly wronged and the law disregarded and violated, and invited and encouraged them to take shelter in Clay and did all they could for their comfort. They professed no purpose or desire to make a home in Clay; In Independence was their Temple lot and Zion, and special revelation and their religious faith required and enjoined their return to Jackson, and such was their avowed purpose during all the time they were in Clay. They consulted with Doniphan, Atchison, Rees and myself as to prosecuting criminally, and civilly for damages, the mob in Jackson; and, in aid of their efforts, Atchison, then captain of a company called "Blues," under order of the Governor, took them under his charge and remained to protect them at Independence while the grand jury was in session. Neither effort, by prosecution or suit, could avail anything. Of necessity, therefore, for two or three years they remained in Clay, intending still a return to Jackson. Jo. Smith came out with a large reinforcement from Ohio, adding greatly to their numbers, and still the purpose was to return to Jackson. They made no arrangement in Clay for a place of [worship], and but few made purchases of homes. My best recollection now is that they had come to own, in all, three or four tracts of cheap land of 40 acres each, and for this, I suppose, they had paid. In addition to this, I have an indistinct recollection that Lyman Wright -- or it may have been some one else -- had contracted for 100 acres, but paid nothing. This, so far as I can now remember, was all there was of their "extensive purchased possessions" at the time they decided to leave for Caldwell county. I had nothing to do with any land they owned in Clay and may underestimate the quantity they had purchased; but the true facts can be ascertained [at] the Recorder's office and I hope some gentlemen will take trouble to examine, and, if I am mistaken, make the correction. But whether the Mormons owned more or less than I have stated matters little, [as] it will be found that they have [sold] and received pay for every foot of land they owned in Clay county. It will also be learned, on proper enquiry and examination, that they never lost property of a dollar's value by the hand of any citizen of Clay.

The News speaks of Clay county as a "wilderness country" when they were in that county. This is a mistake. It was the best settled county in the State; every tract of land in the county, good and bad, was entered and owned by individuals, and nearly every tract [made] occupant. Clay county has not today a better or more [-----------] community than it had [then].

It was under a state of facts such as I have stated that, in the early part of the summer of 1836 -- if I am right as to the year -- some excitement against the Mormons in Clay was manifested in the [eastern?] part of the county. This excitement increased and extended partially to other parts of the county. It progressed until a company, under a sort of military organization, was gotten up, with [-------- Ebenezer Price] as captain, and, on the part of the Mormons, a still larger force was [believed] to be organized, under Lyman Wright, and there was appreciation that the two companies might meet and commence a bloody strife. I am satisfied there [was] a large majority of the people [for peace] and opposed to all violent action. When the peace of the county was thus threatened some of us, opposed to violence, consulted as to what could be done to maintain peace. Those who thus conferred and consulted, I think, were Atchison, Doniphan, Rees, Judge Cameron and myself. We decided to invite the leading Mormons, five or six in number, to meet us, in private conference, in the woods on a tract of land I owned and then lived on, adjoining and south of town. They consented to [-----d] us in conference and we, accordingly, met in the woods, as we suggested. It was there agreed and unanimously, that it was [best], if it could be effected, that the Mormons should live in a county to themselves. Judge Cameron assured us he could find such a locality -- where Caldwell county was afterwards established and organized: -- said there were only a very few settlers there; he knew them all, and was [satisfied] they would be glad to sell and leave. The Mormons were delighted with the proposition, and Cameron was appointed to go with them, that they might examine the locality in person, and, if pleased, have his assistance in buying out settlers. They went, as agreed, -- Cameron with them -- and they bought out every man within the bounds described, except one Maguire, who was anxious for the Mormons to come and said he could live with them in peace. They had only to buy a few 40 acre tracts, and at a cost but little above government price.

We promptly made public the result of our conference in the woods; and at once all excitement subdued and all dispersed to their respective homes. The Mormons, having decided to occupy the territory selected, made no delay in quitting Clay county and removing there. But little time was required or necessary to enable them to make this agreed change of residence, as they had but very little to carry with them, being very poor; a fact I mention not as discredit or reproach, but as their misfortune. The following winter (183607) the area of territory they occupied was, by the Legislature, organized into the county of Caldwell, and the Mormons were in exclusive possession, except that Maguire still continued upon his farm. All went to Caldwell except Lyman Wright and some others, who settled on the Missouri river in the southeastern part of Carroll county, where they laid off a town they called DeWitt.

After this all was at peace with them, both in Caldwell and DeWitt; until, I think, it was in the summer of 1838, there was trouble and excitement at DeWitt, resulting in warlike demonstrations. About the same time there was some excitement near the line between Caldwell and Daviess counties. A force of hundreds, composed of citizens of Carroll and Chariton, were in arms near DeWitt, and Wright and his friends, under compulsion, abandoned the place and left the county. The armed party of citizens, who were under the command of Dr. Austin and James Clark, did not lay down arms, but marched out to Daviess county and near the line of that county with Caldwell, and with threats of prosecuting war against the Mormons. This was as public rumor states the facts; and I suppose they were so represented to the Governor, for he promptly issued an order to Gen. Atchison of Clay, to go out with an adequate force of the militia of Clay and oppose the movements of Austin and Clark and [disperse] and order them home. Gen. Atchison gave effective obedience to this order; he compelled the return of Austin and Clark with all under their command. No force was however, necessary, as Austin and Clark promptly decided that they would not resist Atchison's command. Ordered out by the Governor, Gen. Atchison returned home to Clay and all was again at peace with the Mormons until some time in the fall of that year, when at a general and public meeting at Far West, attended by many who were not Mormons, held to lay the corner stone and dedicate their temple, Sidney Regdon [sic] made an unwise and violent address, asserting property rights and claims subversive of law and the rights of others not Mormons, with threats of a character to produce alarm. This was the reported character of Regdon's address. I do not know it to be true. But this, I know, many gave credit to the report, and there soon followed much excitement near the southern and northern lines of Caldwell county, resulting in armed parties on both sides, and in bloodshed, with the trouble increasing and to an extent to threaten civil war. Representations were made to the Governor, to what purport, I do not know. He ordered out a large force of militia to be made up from Howard and all other counties, west along the course of the Missouri. The militia thus ordered out had in command three generals, ranking in the order I name them: Clark, Lucas and Doniphan. I do not know the instructions given by the Governor. After organization, they moved direct to Far West, and there without a fight, the Mormon leaders made surrender. The militia took as prisoners, of the leaders about forty, including the two Smiths, Joseph and Hiram, and these were the same parties delivered into the hands of the civil authorities. I do not now remember to have heard that a life was lost or a gun fired. Why they surrendered without a fight, I do not know, unless it was because of superior numbers against them. That they did intend resistence and fight, I am satisfied, from evidence given in the trial by Dr. Avery [sic], who was captain of the Danite band. He said that J. Smith had assured them they were in no danger from the militia; "that when the militia should reach Far West alegion of angels were to descend [direct] over the temple lot and sweep the mob with a [lesson] of destruction, that he firmly believed this, and to see the angels descend, stationed himself near the temple lot as the militia approached, and while looking up to see the heavens open and the angels appear, there came a runner to tell him that Joseph and the other leaders had surrendered," and he said "I at once lost all faith and am no longer a Mormon." This was told by Dr. Avery in a manner to impress upon the hearer its truth. Many other facts were given in evidence, to prove a purpose of resistance and fight.

Where, in this narrative of facts and events, is to be found ground or cause for abuse or charges against the people of Clay? When driven from Jackson the Mormons had their friendly and kind sympathy and protection. It was a gallant company from Clay, under Atchison, that guarded and protected them while giving their evidence to a Jackson county grand jury. It was citizens of Clay who interposed to provide them ample territory for a country to themselves, where they might have lived in peace; it was a military force from Clay that went to their relief and rescued them from a large force under Austin and Clark; and it was from Clay county officials, the vile slanderer of the Evening News to the contrary notwithstanding, that Smith and others in their county prison received the most kind and generous treatment.

I might tell of Porter Rockwell, acquitted by a Clay court and jury on a charge of shooting with intent to murder Gov. Boggs, who by his own statement and confession was afterwards known to be guilty. And I might tell of what transpired at a meeting in the Court House in Liberty on the day that Mormons bored holes in the ferry boat, intending to drown Col. L. C. Owens and a dozen others from Jackson, but I have said enough for those who are willing to see the truth -- to see the facts that prove, that whether wisely or unwisely, the people of Clay county in all their intercourse with the Mormons, manifested not only kindness and generosity, but a manhood affording substantial protection against their bitter and vindictive enemies, and for which this too generous people have received in return only abuse and the most false and wicked slander.

I had here closed this article and affixed my signature, but erased it to add that no malice or other ill feeling against the Mormons, and no quarrel with their religion prompts this article. I was never an attorney, against them in any of their suits or controversys in the courts, except in this one instance of giving my aid to the circuit attorney on their examining trial before Judge King, and went into that with but little faith that the prosecution could be made successful. Up to that time, whilst I knew that there were among them very weak and imprudent men, I regarded them as harmless, and in no respect dangerous to law and order; but developements made on that trial by the evidence, worked a change in my opinion, and candor compels me now to say, that I believe them to be dangerously unfriendly to our Government and to the law of the land; and if for the next quarter of a century they increased as rapidly as in the past quarter, they will cost the government and country untold amount[s] in money and blood.

                                    -- William T. Wood.

Note 1: The supposed remark by Judge King, in reference to the passage in Daniel, LDS treason, etc., was first voiced by Elder Parley P. Pratt in the old Mormon Tabernacle, at Salt Lake City, on April 7, 1856. See the Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 307 for the text.

Note 2: The fantastic account of the guards serving human flesh as food to the LDS prisoners in Liberty jail was first told by Hyrum Smith and Lyman Wight in 1843. No such accounts were related in 1838-39, when the Mormon leaders' lawyers might have easily brought such charges in the local and national press, had they been judged worthy of public attention.

Note 3: For more on Col. William T. Wood's involvement in the 1836 dislocation of the Mormons from Clay county, Missouri, see various contemporary articles in the Liberty paper, The Far West, including the notice of a "Public Meeting," as reprinted from that source into the pages of the Aug., 1836 issue of the Kirtland Messenger and Advocate.


Kingston   Times.
Vol. ?                          Kingston, Missouri, Friday,  December 16, 1887.                          No. ?


Mr. Editor: -- I have for some time past been waiting for an opportunity to report a conversation which took place between myself and Mr. David Whitmer, one of the surviving witnesses to the Book of Mormon. I had hoped to have a talk with his brother John, but death intervened. I had business in Richmond last June, and thought I would interview Mr. David Whitmer. I met him in the street near the courthouse and told him my business, and he invited me to walk to the livery stable conducted by himself and son. After we were seated in the office room the following conversation occurred:

"I am an Irishman, and live in Caldwell County. I have seen the Book of Mormon, with your name and that of your brother John as testamentary to the Book of Mormon. John is now dead, and you alone are left to satisfy my desire of knowledge concerning these matters."
  "It is warm here: come down to the office at the livery stable."

When seated he asked me for the points concerning which I wanted information.

"First of all, I have heard that you saw an angel: I never saw one: I want your description in its shape, voice and brogue, and the construction of his language. I mean as to his style of speaking. You know we can often determine the class a man belongs to by his language."
  "It had no appearance or shape."

"Then you neither saw nor heard anything?"
  "Nothing, in the way you understand it."

"How, then, could you bear testimony that you saw and heard an angel?"
  "Have you never had impressions?"

"Then you had impressions, such as a Quaker has when the spirit moves him, or as a good Methodist in giving a happy experience -- a [mere] feeling?"
  "Just so."

"I think I understand you respecting the angel; but what about the reformed Egyptian writing on the plate [sic] discovered by Joseph Smith in the cave in New York? How did you know the writing was Egyptian, and that the Book of Mormon is a correct translation -- [this book in England so much talked of]?"
  "Being impressed with the truth and reality of it."

"In the same way in which you were impressed with the presence of the angel which interpreted the writing?"

"Do you know any other language than English?"

"Do you know anything of mesmerism or ventriloquism? Is it not possible you were imposed upon? You look to be honest."
  "I did not know anything of those [arts]."

"You have perhaps read the history of Egypt: How the Carthaginians were descendants of Phoenicia, and how the Israelites sojourned in Egypt and the probability of the old Egyptian being akin to the languages or idioms of Palestine: how the Persians ruled for a time in Egypt; How Alexander and the Greeks ruled afterwards, the Romans next and last of all the Arabs? Now, all these languages are known to linguists in the great universities of Europe, and what need was there of a miracle to decipher? The hieroglyphics are more ancient and the way to read them is discovered; consequently I do not see the need of an angelic visitor to teach us how to read them now-a-days.

You thought doubtless you were impressed for good, but have you considered the precedents for murdering taught in the first chapter of [the] Book of Nephi?"   I stated the circumstances of Nephi being commanded by God to murder his uncle at night in the streets outside the walls of his house in Jerusalem. When he said that that looked bad, [his tone seemed to indicate that] he had never before observed this wickedness in his book, witnessed [by himself] and recommended by his angel to the world. He had an honest, simple look, and my impression, which I think to be as good as his or his angel, is that he ought to reconsider and contradict his former testimony to an illusion, or perhaps cunning scheme being a fact, which has resulted in so much woe to many, and as he seems to be nearly 80 years old, he ought not to delay.
Polo, Mo.

Note: The above article is reportedly a reprint from the Hamilton, Mo. Hamiltonian of Jan. 21, 1881. David Whitmer's March 19, 1881 "Proclamation" appears to have been written partly in response to the Murphy letter. Unfortunately, David Whitmer's proclamation did not address the matter of the angel, purportedly seen by himself, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer. Mr. Murphy's reporting of Whitmer's recollections shows the "angel" to have been a product of mental/emotional "impressions," rather than a living being, possessing a solid body of flesh and bone.


Richmond   Democrat.
Vol. ?                            Richmond, Missouri, Thurs.,  January 26, 1888.                            No. ?

The Last Witness Dead!

David Whitmer, the aged Patriarch, Gone to His Rest.

His Parting Injunction to His Family and Friends.

He Departs in Peace.

For many days past our aged fellow citizen, David Whitmer, lingered the very brink of the grave waiting for the summons, but it did not come until yesterday evening, at 5 o'clock, when his spirit winged its way into the infinite.

David Whitmer was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, January 7th, 1805, consequently [was] in his 83rd year. He possessed a remarkably robust constitution which, added to his habit of activity and temperate living, prolonged his life beyond four score. He lived in Richmond about half a century, and we can say that no man ever lived here, who had among our people, more friends and fewer enemies. Honest, conscientious and upright in all his dealings, just in his estimate of men, and open, manly and frank in his treatment of all, he made lasting friends who loved him to the end.

When a youth he moved to Ontario county, New York. He was married to Julia Ann Jolly, on January 9th 1831, in Seneca county, New York. In 1832 he moved from that place, to Kirtland, Ohio. In 1834 he came to Jackson county, Missouri, and in 1837 moved to Far West, Caldwell county, Missouri, and from there to Richmond in 1838, where he resided to the day of his death. He leaves a wife and two children, two grand children, and several great grand children.

It is well known that he was a firm believer in the bible, in the divinity of Christ and in the authenticity and divine character of the record of the Nephites, better known as the Book of Mormon.

He was the last to go of the three witnesses to "the divine authenticity of the record of the Nephites," and as the history of this Book of Mormon is not much known, we think this a fitting occasion to repeat what Mr. Whitmer has often said on the subject, taken in part from an article written by Joe Johnson of the Plattsburg Democrat.

When he was 24 years of age and working on his father's farm near Palmyra, New York, all that section of the country was more or less excited over the reported discovery by Joseph Smith of the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. Oliver Cowdery,4 the village school teacher, mentioned the matter to him and announced his determination to visit Smith and investigate the matter for himself, promising Mr. Whitmer, at the latter's request, to advise him of the result. A few days later he received a letter from Cowdery, urging him to join him, which he did, being received by the "prophet" with open arms. After remaining long enough to satisfy himself of


The three returned to Whitmer's home, where it was agreed that the work of translation should be prosecuted. Shortly after his return, and while he was plowing in the field one afternoon, he was visited by Smith and Cowdery, who requested that he should accompany them into the woods on a hill across the road for the purpose of witnessing a manifestation that should qualify he and Cowdery to bear witness to the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Smith explaining that such procedure was in accordance with explicit instructions he had received from


Repairing to the woods they engaged in prayer for a short time, when suddenly a great light shone round about them far brighter and more dazzling than the brilliancy of the noon day sun, seemingly enveloping the wood for a considerable distance. A spirit of elevation seized him as of joy indescribable and a strange influence stole over him which so entra[n]ced him that he felt that he was chained to the spot. A moment later and a divine personage clothed in white raiment appeared unto them, and immediately in front of the personage stood a table on which lay a number of gold plates, some brass plates, the "urim and thummim" and the "sword ofLaban." All of these they were directed to examine carefully and after their examination they were told that the Lord would demand that


To all the world. These plates were engraved with characters termed in the Book of Mormon "reformed Egyptian" characters unknown to the linguists ofthe present day, which is claimed as a fulfilment ofthe prophecy of Isaiah:

"And the word of the Lord has become unto them as the leaves of a book which are sealed, and which is delivered unto him that is learned, saying: Read this, I pray thee, and he sayeth, I cannot, for it is sealed," etc.

A slip of paper containing a fac simile of these characters, traced by Joseph Smith, was submitted to the celebrated Professor Anton and others and all confessed their inability to translate them, recognizing in them characteristics of several ancient alphabets. This slip is still in Mr. Whitmer's possession and is cherished with the same sacred care that he bestows on the original manuscript ofthe Book of Mormon, which he also has.

While describing this vision to us, all traces of a severe cold from which he was suffering disappeared for the time being, his form straightened, his countenance assumed almost a beautified expression and his tones became strangely eloquent. Although evidently no studied effort, the description was a


and he carried his hearers with him to that lonely hill by the old farm and they stood there with him awed in the divine presence. Skeptics may laugh and scoff if they will, but no man can listen to Mr. Whitmer as he talks of his interview with the Angel of the Lord, without being most forcibly convinced that he has heard an honest man tell what he honestly believes to be true. The result of this vision was a proclamation for the facts enumerated.


Mentioned in the account of the vision were a pair of transparent stone spectacles. Smith would put on the spectacles, when a few words of the text of the Book of Mormon would appear on the lenses. When these were correctly transcribed by Cowdery, who acted as his amanuensis, these words would disappear and others take their place. When one hundred and sixteen pages were completed, Smith entrusted them to Martin Harris, to take to his home with a view to convert his family to the new faith. They were placed at night in a bureau drawer and next morning were missing, having been stolen. They were never found and never replaced, so that the Book of Mormon to-day is short that number of pages of the original matter. As a


The urim and thummim was taken from Smith. But by humbling himself, he again found favor with the Lord and was presented with a strange oval-shaped, chocolate colored stone, about the size of an egg but more flat, which it was promised should answer the same purpose. With this stone all the present book was translated. The prophet would place the stone in a hat, then put his face in the hat and read the words that appeared thereon. This stone is the only relic of the prophet's work in existence which is not in possession of Mr. Whitmer. It was confided to Oliver Cowdery and preserved by him until his death in 1852 [sic]. After that event Phineas Young succeeded in getting it from Cowdery's widow and it is now among the sacred relics preserved at Salt Lake City.

He bore his long illness with great patience and fortitude, his faith never for a moment wavering, and when the summons came, he sank peacefully to rest, with a smile on his countenance, just as if he was being lulled to sleep by sweet music. Just before the breath left the body, he opened his eyes which glistened with the brightness of his early manhood. He then turned them toward heaven, and a wonderful light came over his countenance, which remained several moments, when the eyes gradually closed and David Whitmer was gone to his rest.

On Monday last at 10 o'clock A.M. after awakening from a short slumber, he said he had seen beyond the veil and saw Christ on the other side. His friends who were constantly at his bedside claim that he had many manifestations of the truth of the great beyond, and which confirms their faith beyond all shadow of doubt.

On Sunday evening at 5:30, January 22, 1888, Mr. Whitmer called his family and some friends to his bedside and addressing himself to the attending physician, said: "Dr. Buchanan I want you to say whether or not I am in my right mind, before I give my dying testimony."

The doctor answered: "Yes you are in your right mind for I have just had a conversation with you."

He then addressed himself to all around his bedside, in these words: "Now you must be faithful in Christ. I want to say to you all the Bible and the record of the Nephites, (Book of Mormon) is true, so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony, on my death bed. All be faithful in Christ and your reward will be according to your works. God bless you all. My trust is in Christ forever, world without end. -- Amen."

It is proper to state the Book of Mormon, the manuscript of which Mr. Whitmer retained to the day of his death, strongly condemns polygamy and the practice of Utah Mormons. In 1879, Orson Pratt and other Mormon Elders came here and attempted to buy the manuscript, but Mr. Whitmer would part with it for no consideration, as he considered it his duty to retain it.

In the spring of 1887, he published a pamphlet, setting forth his religious views, in which he strongly condemns polygamy and forcibly argues by giving scripture quotations, in favor of the Church of Christ, which is the name taken by all true believers in the record of the Nephites.

His remains will be laid to rest to-morrow at the new city cemetery in Richmond. Mr. Whitmer was a very plain man and it was his desire that no display of any kind be made at his burial, hence the only ceremony will be a few appropriate remarks at his late residence.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                         Richmond, Missouri,  January 26, 1888.                         No. ?


The Last Witness to the Divine Authenticity of the
Book of Mormon Dies at His Home in
This City -- A Sketch of His Life.

David Whitmer, one of our oldest and best known citizens, died at his home in Richmond, Wednesday evening at 6 o'clock, surrounded by his entire family and a few of his most intimate friends. He was born near Harrisburg, Penn., on the 7th day of January, 1805, and moved with his parents when only a youth to Ontario county, New York, where he received a limited education. At the age of twenty-six years and on the 9th day of January, 1831, he was married to Julia Ann Jolly, in Fayette county, New York. In 1832 he moved to Kirtland, Ohio, from there he moved to Jackson county, Missouri, in 1834, and in the year 1837 he moved to Far West, Caldwell county, Missouri, where he only remained a short time, moving in 1838 to Richmond, where he has since lived an honored and respected citizen.

For many years he was engaged in the livery business, but for the past ten years he has lived a retired and quiet life, turning the business over entirely to his son, David J., and his grandson Geo. W. Schweich.

Before moving to Missouri he was for many years an elder in the Church of Christ, to which he had attached himself when quite young. In 1838 he withdrew from that portion of the congregation now known as the Mormon church, because of their wicked and abominable practice of polygamy, and because of their utter disregard for the teachings of the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

He was one of the three special witnesses who claimed to have been present when the angel of the lord at high noon, appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith, with the golden plates upon which were inscribed the characters from which by divine aid the prophet Joseph translated the "Book of Mormon," the original manuscript of which was in the possession of Mr. Whitmer at the time of his death, he being the last witness to its divinity, accepting its teachings and holding it with the same sacredness with which he did the teachings of the Bible, claiming that it was a supplement to the Bible.


On Sunday evening before his death he called the family and his attending physician, Dr. George W. Buchanan, to his bedside and said, "Doctor do you consider that I am in my right mind?" to which the Doctor replied, "Yes, you are in your right mind, I have just had a conversation with you." He then addressed himself to all present and said: "I want to give my dying testimony. You must be faithful in Christ. I want to say to you all that the Bible and the record of the Nephites, (The Book of Mormon) are true, so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony on my death bed. All be faithful in Christ and your reward will be worlds without end. Amen."

On Monday morning he again called those present to his bedside, and told them that he had seen another vision which reconfirmed the divinity of the "Book of Mormon," and said that he had seen Christ in the fullness of his glory and majesty, sitting upon his great white throne in heaven waiting to receive his children.

In April, 1887, he published an address to all believers in the Church of Christ as the last surviving witness to the divinity of the "Book of Mormon," in which he gave his views fully upon the true doctrine of the Church of Christ, and in which he condemned in forcible language (though in a christian spirit) the wickedness of the Mormon church at Salt Lake City, and charged them with having apostatized from the true doctrine, and teachings, whose works would in the end be rejected by the great overseer whose scrutinizing eye sees all, and whose great mind reads the thoughts of men.

He leaves, of his immediate family, his wife and two children, David J. Whitmer and Mrs. Julia Schweich, also two grandchildren, Geo. W. Schweich and Mrs. Jas. R. B. Vancleave, of Chicago, all of whom were at his bedside during his last hours, and witnessed his peaceful and quiet death, having the full assurance from his own lips that the way was all clear.

The funeral services will be held at the family residence tomorrow (Friday) morning at 10:30 o'clock, burial in new city cemetery immediately after funeral services.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. ?                               Kansas City, Mo., January 26, 1888.                               No. ?


The Last of the Original Mormons Passes Away.


Story of the Finding and Translation of the Golden Plates
by Joseph Smith -- The Truth of the Work Vouched for
at the Last Moment by the Disciple

(Special to the Kansas City Times)

Richmond, Mo., Jan. 25. -- David Whitmer the last of the original witnesses of the finding of the book of Mormon, died here to-day after a long illness. Last night he affixed his name to an affidavit affirming the truth of Joseph Smith's story. He was born in Pennsylvania, January 5, 1805, but when a mere child his father moved to Ontario county, New York, and settled near Watkin's Glen, on a farm.

In the early part of 1829 the young man heard that Joseph Smith had found an exceedingly valuable golden treasure in the northern part of the county and in company with his brother-in-law, Oliver Cowdery, set out to ascertain the truth or falsity of the story. Smith, who was at that time living with his father on a farm near Manchester, was indisposed at first to exhibit his treasure but was finally persuaded to do so. The treasure consisted of a number of golden plates about eight inches long, seven inches wide and of the thickness of ordinary sheet tin. They were bound together in the shape of a book by three gold rings. A large portion of the leaves were so securely bound together that it was impossible to separate them, but upon the loose leaves were engraved hieroglyphics which were unintelligible to any person who had seen them. With the tablets was an immense pair of spectacles set in a silver bow. Smith announced that he had been commanded to translate the characters upon the plates as soon as possible, and stated further that the work must be done in the presence of three witnesses. Smith, his wife, Cowdery and Whitmer then proceeded to the house of Whitmer's father, where the work of translation was carried out, Smith reading the characters by. ,means of the magic spectacles, Cowdery, Christian Whitmer, a brother of David, and Smith's wife acting as amanuenses. The work of translation occupied nearly eight months. Smith carelessly tattled to the neighbors of the secrets which they were working out, and as a consequence the plates were taken from him by the angel of the Lord, who in place of them gave him a Urim and Thummim of a different shape, which he was to place in his hat and on covering his face with the hat he received straightway a direct revelation.

After the completion of the translation David Whitmer became an ardent disciple of the new religion, and for sometime preached throughout the neighborhood on its behalf. His efforts and those of Cowdery and others met with such success that a Mormon church was founded April 6, 1830, in which year the book of Mormon was first published to the world. In the year following the church and its disciples moved to Kirtland, 0., where Brigham Young first joined the church. The original manuscript from which the book of Mormon was first printed was in the possession of Whitmer from the time it was written. It is stated that the Mormons of late years made strenuous efforts to induce Mr. Whitmer to part with it, but all offers made by them were steadfastly refused.

Leaving Kirtland Whitmer set out as a missionary, preaching the truth as he saw it and exhorting all his hearers to come to Christ. He was very successful in this field, making many converts, and assisted in establishing the settlement in Jackson county, Missouri. When the church had been compelled to flee from Kirtland the members came to Jackson county, but trouble soon arising between them and the Missourians the Mormons moved to Caldwell county. Whitmer then removed to Richmond, Mo.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Richmond   Democrat.
Vol. ?                            Richmond, Missouri, Thurs.,  February 2, 1888.                            No. ?


... David Whitmer bore his long illness with great patience and fortitude, his faith never for a moment wavering, and when the summons came he sank peacefully to rest, with a smile on his countenance, just as if he was being lulled to sleep by sweet music. Just before the breath left the body, he opened his eyes, which glistened with the brightness of his early manhood. He then turned them towards heaven, and a wonderful light came over his countenance, which remained several moments, when the eyes gradually closed and David Whitmer had gone to his rest.

On Monday last at 10 o'clock a.m., after awakening from a short slumber, he said he had seen beyond the veil and saw Christ on the other side. His friends, who were constantly at his bedside, claim that he had many manifestations of the truths of the great beyond, which confirms their faith beyond all shadow of doubt.

On Sunday evening at 5:30 Mr. Whitmer called his family and some friends to his bedside, and addressing himself to the attending physician, said:

"Dr. Buchanan, I want you to say whether or not I am in my right mind, before I give my dying testimony." The doctor answered: "Yes, you are in your right mind, for I have just had a conversation with you." David Whitmer then addressed himself to all around his bedside in these words: "Now you must all be faithful in Christ. I want to say to you all, the Bible and the record of the Nephites (Book of Mormon) are true, so you can say you have heard me bear my testimony on my deathbed. All be faithful in Christ, and your reward will be according to your works. God bless you all. My trust is in Christ forever, worlds without end. Amen."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 1.                            Independence, Mo.  May 16, 1891.                            No. 20.


Now Being Held at Lamoni, Iowa.

                           Wednesday, May 6th.
  I am now on the battlefield where Braden and Kelley are trying their steel. The debate commenced at 7:30 p. m. and probably 1,000 persons were present at its opening session. Tuesday evening, May 5th. Both churches are well represented from a distance. Elder McClure is acting as moderator for Mr. Braden, Elder R. M. Elvin for Bro. Kelley and Mr. R. G. Crawford, one of Lamoni's business men, as presiding moderator.

The question, "All that Joseph Smith gave to the world, purporting to be revelations from God, were entirely of human origin, and frauds," was read and Mr. Braden made his affirmative opening by reading from manuscript. The whole burden seemingly was to tell what he was going to do. He had for the first time in life cornered the Mormons on a fair issue, etc. To know what Mormonism was, one must first know who Solomon Spaulding was, whose work was the foundation of the Book of Mormon, by the theft of Rigdon and the revamping of Smith into a revelation, hence all is a fraud. Spaulding was born in the seventeenth [sic] century, worked himself up through life and finally graduated at Dartmouth college in Hanover, New Hampshire. He early developed into a Presbyterian clergyman. His health failing he commenced to write a romance for a livlihood. Rigdon stole this manuscript, hence the Book of Mormon given to the world by Smith as a revelation is a fraud and Smith was an impostor.

Smith was an illiterate loafer who was filching a living from dupes by fortune telling, digging for hidden treasures, etc. Rigdon was an illiterate, egotistical, bombastic declaimer who stole Spaulding's manuscript and remodled it into a religious fraud. Here, Mr. Braden seemed to have forgotten his former statement about Spaulding and went off in his usual "spread eagle" style, he said: "Spaulding was an illiterate and cranky bore, who had played out as preacher and merchant, and conceived a scheme for deceiving the world with a literary fraud." It was amusing to learn how easy it was for the Rev. Spaulding to drop from a Dartmouth college graduate to an "illiterate, egotistical bore." Spaulding turned tavern keeper and always kept a lot of loafers, tramps and the scums of life around him whom he used to amuse by reading his manuscript to them.

Mr. Braden in his second affirmative declared in his usual bombastic style, That he intended to prove from judges, reverends, and reliable witnesses, men, whose veracity could not be denied, nor their testimony impeached, that they often heard Spaulding read his manuscript, and could testify to the oft repeated "come to pass" and other Book of Mormon phrases. Here again honest auditors were amused to learn how easy it was for Clark Braden, the champion of Campbellites, to transform those ignorant tramps and loafers who stayed around Spaulding's tavern, to hear Spaulding read his manuscript, into "judges, reverends, reliable witnesses -- men whose veracity could not be denied, nor their testimony impeached."

It needs no stretch of imagination or galvanizing of truth to say that Bro. Kelley disproved all those wild and recklessly untrue statements with facts and dates. He produced the Spaulding manuscript, the only one ever written by Spaulding, the very one that Mr. Braden said the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from. The very manuscript that had been in the hands of Howe and Hurlbut, which had fallen into the hands of Mr. Rice of the Sandwich Islands and now in the library of Oberlin College in Ohio. The very one Prof. Fairchild had transcribed for Elder Kelley, and was printed by the Board of Publication at Lamoni, Iowa. The manuscript is testified to by Hurlbut as the very one that Mr. Braden's witnesses testify of having heard read by Spaulding. The very one Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter testified to delivering into the hands of Hurlbut to assist Howe in getting up his "Mormonism Unvailed."

A comparison of this manuscript with the Book of Mormon left Mr. Braden with his witnesses in a poor light before a thinking public. Bro. Kelley showed that there was not a cintilla of proof that Rigdon ever had any knowledge of such a manuscript, nor any possible chance for him to have had any connection with Smith before 1830 -- some time after the Book of Mormon was in print -- Rigdon having lived some 150 or 200 miles from Smith, and at that time was a leading minister in the Disciple church and knew nothing of the Book of Mormon or Mr. Smith till in the fall of 1830 when the book was presented to him by Cowdery and others.

There is no time set when the debate will end. Every thing is passing off smoothly and things of interest to the readers of the ENSIGN will be noted as they pass along.

                           Tuesday, May 12th.

The war is still on but the first proposition closes to-night.

People are seemingly interested as the crowd has increased to near 1,200. In the main, when you hear Mr. Braden's first speech, you have the index to his whole affirmative on the first proposition. The whole burden from beginning to end has been to connect Sidney Rigdon with filching the Spaulding manuscript from a supposed printing office in Pittsburg, and then hunting around for some appropriate person to assist him in bringing forth the "Marvelous book!" He was not long in hearing of one, Joseph Smith, away over in New York state, some two or three hundred miles away, a young, illiterate boy of fifteen summers, who had said he had seen a vision, in which God had informed him that none of the then existing sects were right, but all of their creeds were an abomination to Him and to join none of them, as He was about to bring forth a "marvelous work and a wonder," as prophesied by Isaiah in his 29th chapter.

This young, illiterate, back-woods boy, who was one of the "marvels," though hundreds of miles away, over mountains and hills without railroads or any of the modern inventions for traveling, was just the man for Rigdon's invention! Rigdon "sought out" the man, but did not "spy his game" until in 1827, Smith all this time was working his "marvels" away over in New York, while Rigdon, over in Pennsylvania and Ohio, was either preaching for the Baptists or Disciples, converting his hundreds to these faiths, yet all this time working up the Spaulding story into a new Bible! Smith stuck to his vision over in New York state, telling everybody that there was soon to come to the world a "marvelous work" -- a restoration of the gospel as prophesied of by John in Rev. 14: 6, 7. And in connection with this, God would bring forth a "sealed book" in fulfillment of Isaiah 29: 11; this book should be delivered to "him that is not learned," as seen in verse 12; and after all this should be accomplished "It would not be but a little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field," as noted in verse 17.

Rev. Sidney Rigdon during all this time was waging war against sin and the creeds for the Disciples over in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but, the fame of the Palmyra seer -- the "marvellous back-woods boy" -- was not long in reaching his ears Happy thought! This is the "unlearned boy man" of Isaiah 29, looking after his marvelous "sealed book." The learned "spread eagle, Sidney," -- of Disciple fame -- that had been the "morning star" of Cambellism, now, for the first time in life, sees his way clear to introduce his laborious -- Braden-Spaulding romance -- plagiarized into Smith's "sealed book" -- the veritable Book of Mormon!

Rigdon puts his wits to work how he can effect an interview with Smith. However Mr. Braden has found out the secret and introduces nine witnesses to prove that in the summer of 1827, somebody had seen somebody that had said that they heard somebody say that they had seen some men at Smith's a number of times during the summer of 1827, and it was rumored around that it was Rigdon! Presently out comes the Book of Mormon! Hurlbut, Howe, Miller, Wright, Cunningham and a host of others, and last of all, Mr. Braden, and the famous Mr. Demmings [sic] have a case on hand. Can they only connect Rigdon with Smith, the great mystery of mysteries is forever solved. The case must be made! Old heads are put together and the memories of fifty and sixty years ago flash to their minds as of but yesterday! "All hail!" Somebody had seen Rigdon and others heard he was there! Where? Why at Joe Smith's in New York state in the summer of 1827, and it was rumored around that they were getting up a book to take the place of the Bible! The case is made, for the illiterate ignoramous Smith, could not get up a book of more than 500 closely written pages, world renowned for some of its literary and archeological sayings. But this pestiferous Disciple preacher, Rigdon, who stole Spaulding's manuscript, the work of the learned Presbyterian divine, a graduate of Dartmouth college, has, we know and surely believe, combined with Smith and perpetrated this Mormon fraud. We have proven it as you have seen.

What about it Bro. Kelley? Kelley reads from Hayden's history of the Disciple church (Campbellite authority) and the Millenial Harbinger, by Alexander Campbell, showing that Elder Rigdon was in Ohio every month during the year 1827, preaching, baptizing and solemnizing marriages, which occupied his whole time, making it absolutely impossible for Rigdon to have had time for one single trip to New York state to confer, even for an hour, with Joseph Smith, some 250 miles away, with no railroad facilities and a mountainous country to traverse. Kelley also introduced certificates, from clerks of courts for the year 1827, showing the many and numerous marriage licenses that had been returned for recording by Rigdon during the year; he having joined in marriage more people than any other minister in that part of Ohio. These certificates showed that Rigdon must have been in that vicinity during the whole year. This alibi was so complete and sweeping that it unhinged Braden's theory and left him right where he first commenced.

Bro. Kelley introduced the Rev. Spaulding's manuscript, the famous manuscript handled by Howe and testified to by Hurlbut, as having the veritable "Manuscript Found," testified to by Aaron Wright, John N. Miller and others, which had fallen into the hands of Mr. L. L. Rice from Mr. Howe. This was introduced to show that there was not a name nor event spoken of in the manuscript that could be found in the Book of Mormon. This was Solomon Spaulding's manuscript and the only one he ever wrote; the very one Howe, Miller, Wright and Cunningham testified to at the time Hurlbut got the manuscript from Spaulding's widow in 1834, when Howe and Hurlbut tried to connect the manuscript with the Book of Mormon. The manucript was then testified to by these gentlemen as being the veritable one from which the Book of Mormon was plagiarized. Now this very manuscript coming to light in 1885, and Mr. Rice having gotten it from Howe, and on it written by the hand of Hurlbut himself, that it is the writing of Spaulding, proven by Wright, Miller, et al. is certainly an eye opener and it has "scooped" Mr. Braden out of time.

It is easily seen that Braden has a desperate case on hand. He has been asked time and again to produce another one of Spaulding's manuscripts and let the "cat out of the bag" if the Book of Mormon was manufactured from it. Mr. Braden meets this argument with bluster, and last night made himself famous by crying out at the top of his voice a number of times. "Kelley, you have lied;" until the modesty of the congregation was betrayed by the champion of bluster and rant. If Christianity had to depend upon such "reverends" as Braden it woukd soon die in disgust with the people.

Wednesday evening Bro. Kelley will commense his affirmative on "All that Joseph Smith gave to the world as revelations from God were true revelations from God, and Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.       OBSERVER


Note: This series of debates was published in greater detail in the Lamoni paper, the Independent-Patriot, between Mar. 5, 1891 and Oct. 8, 1891. That set of reports reproduces or paraphrases several primary historical sources, such as hitherto uncited testimony by Solomon Spalding's old neighbors, members of their families, and other early Ohio residents. Unfortunately the mentions of these in the Lamoni paper are fragmentary and in the Independence paper they are missing altogether.


Vol. 1.                            Independence, Mo.  May 23, 1891.                            No. 21.


Held at Lamoni, Iowa, May 5th to 15th.


EDITORS ENSIGN: -- Last evening closed debate on the first proposition. The house was well filled. The disputants had entered into a written agreement as to rules of debate...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 1.                            Independence, Mo.  May 30, 1891.                            No. 22.


... The Saints are generally feeling well over the Kelley-Braden debate. If calling the opponent and his people "frauds," "liars," and "cowards" is making points, then Mr. Braden made many indeed. When he called the Saints of Lamoni cowards, it seemed a queer kind of cowardice, , for when he wished to procure the M. E. church, last fall, our Methodist friends refused to let him have it to lecture against us, whereupon the president of our branch telegraphed him that he could have our church, and the branch and others tirned out and filled the large room, some 800 or 900 in attendance. Is that cowardice? He is no more consistent in any thing he has undertaken in connection with the church.


Held at Lamoni, Iowa, May 5th to 15th.


                  Wednesday, May 13th.


Elder Braden in his first speech on the second proposition said: "There is a system in the world that is called Mormonism. That system believes in a miraculous working power in the church; any church without that power is considered in apostasy. They claim that no church is scriptural unless it has in it apostles, prophets, gifts, etc. This Reorganized church claims to have this; and their book of Doctrine and Covenants, page 65, says: It is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I the Lord am well pleased." Elder Braden read from pages 64, 93, 94 and 227 of Doctrine and Covenants to prove that the Book of Mormon was a new covenant, and that here were statements that Joseph Smith had been given power to translate the said Book of Mormon, and that those that hardened their hearts and rejected it, rejected the new covenant ...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 1.                            Independence, Mo. June 6, 1891.                            No. 23.


Held at Lamoni, Iowa, May 5th to 15th.


                  Thursday, May 14th.


Elder Kelley said, I am glad to present to you the Prophet Joseph Smith, as he is peculiarly called. Elder Braden challenged me last night to prove that Moroni gave plates to Mr. Smith, and that he ever translated any plates...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 1.                            Independence, Mo. June 13, 1891.                            No. 24.


Held at Lamoni, Iowa, May 5th to 15th.



Elder Braden, being introduced, we caught him in our notes as follows

We have as peculiar a line of argument presented by Mr. Kelley as I ever heard. The issue is, did Smith have plates, did he translate them...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 1.                            Independence, Mo. June 20, 1891.                            No. 25.


Held at Lamoni, Iowa, May 5th to 15th.



Said Jresus, "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." His righteousness shall go before him; thy righteousness shall be poured out; thy law is truth. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Suppose I would read this to an infidel and had not the Book of Mormon in my hand to show where Jacob's prediction had its fulfillment. No other record can show the history of the lineage of Joseph...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 1.                            Independence, Mo. June 27, 1891.                            No. 26.


Held at Lamoni, Iowa, May 5th to 15th.



Elder Kelley's opening speech as we caught him in our notes:

The question is, "The revelations that Joseph Smith gave to the world are true and Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God." Last evening Mr. Braden said that this was not a proper question. I held out that if the proposition is not true that Joseph Smith had revelations, Mr. Braden should not have been here...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 1.                            Independence, Mo. July 4, 1891.                            No. 28.


Held at Lamoni, Iowa, May 5th to 15th.


Elder Kelley's last speech as I caught it in my notes:

Elder Kelley said: I think Mr. Braden has been very musical in his last speech, if nothing else. He has proven as much that the Book of Mormon came as a revelation from God as could be proven that the book of Revelations was revelations from God...

(under construction)

... So ends a synopsis of the Braden-Kelley debate so far as my notes are concerned. I no doubt have made some mistakes as I often had to clothe the thought in my own language byt tried to preserve the thread. In Scriptural quotations I may have quoted too lengthy at some times and at other times too brief as I had often only the chapter to refer to in my notes, the speaker not giving the verse, thus forcing me to supply by memory. Have I erred to the damaging of either party I ask pardon.
                           Yours for truth to all.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 2.                            Independence, Mo. October 10, 1891.                            No. 12.


The following taken from the Chicago Inter-Ocean of September 27th, fully explains itself:

"The debate at the state Spiritual camp meeting at Chesterfield several weeks ago between a Spiritualist and a Christian resulted in the Christian church challenging the Spiritualist for a ten days joint debate in this city which was accepted. The spiritual people selected the Hon. Moses Hull of Detroit to pilot them to victory and the Christian people chose Elder Clark Braden of Iowa. Interest was worked up throughout the county and much disappointment was felt when Mr. Hull without giving any reason dlatly refused to meet Braden. Last night Hull addressed a large assemblage at Wysars opra house, giving his reasons for refusing to meet the Iowa man as follows:

"'A few years ago Mr. Braden printed a pamphlet in which he made an attack upon all debators outside of his own line of thought. The attacks were personal. Referring to me, he charged me with intimacy with Victoria Woodhull and saying that for that reason [I] was driven out of Boston. I do not back down from any proposition but meet Braden I will not. He has been turned out of his own church and cannot get a position in it anywhere. He is a libeler and is disreputable in his methods. I will meet any other man the Christian church will present, for it has many able orators and debaters. No honorable man will meet Braden. I can only meet him in a court of justice with him in the dock a prisoner and twelve honest men as jurists to decide the case.'

"Mr. Hull's words caused a sensation. As Mr. Braden is soon to be here it is probable that legal steps will be taken to force Hull to retract."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 3.                            Independence, Mo.  April 23, 1892.                            No. 17.


Held at Oak Grove Church, Vernon
County, Missouri, March 9-20.


Reported for the Ensign by G. R. Wells.


I am glad that the gentleman has come out. Been trying to get him out all the time... I have pulled his house down so rapidly that he can't say a word on doctrine and practice. (I believe I'll turn prophet). We wil never reach it.

I have the Braden-Kelley debate, a debate betweeb Mr. Braden of the Disciples and Mr. Kelley of the Latter Day Saints. I'm going to prove to you that the Book of Mormon is not only a fraud but that the historical part of it was stolen from an innocent man. Mr. Braden took great pains in collecting this testimony and he did it under the searching eye of Mr. Kelley. He dared Mr. Kelley to impeach his evidence. I dare Mr. White to impeach them. Mr. Braden says, page 34: "It is our purpose to prove that the Book of Mormon originated with Solomon Spaulding, was revamped by Sidney Rigdon and given to the world by impostor Joe Smith. We shall give first a sketch of Spaulding and his work until he camein contact with Rigdon; then a sketch of Rigdon and his work until he came in contact with impostor Joe, to give his stolen fabrication to the world by means of his stolen peepstone. Solomon Spaulding was born in Ashford County [sic], in 1761. He graduated at Dartmouth College in 1785, with the degree of A. B. He studied theology and graduated in theology in 1787, and received the degree of A. M. He preached until after 1801. On account of failing health he went into business in Cherry Valley, New York. He failed in merchandizing and moved to Conneaut, Ohio, in 1807 or 8. Here he went into the foundry business and failed again. There were in the township of Conneaut many mounds and other relics of an extinct race of people. Mr. Spaulding became very much interested in these antiquities. In 1809 he began a romance on which he assumed that the ancestors of the Indians were Romans. After writing 40 or 50 pages, he abandoned this idea, because, as he said, the Romans were too near the time in which he was writing. This manuscript was the only one Philastus Hurlbut said he found in the trunk supposed to contain all of Spaulding's manuscripts, when they examined the trunk at Mr. Clark's house in 1834. This manuscript we will designate as Roman manuscript, or manuscript No. 1.

Ever since the European missionaries began to labor among the Indians as early as the year 1500, Spanish, French, English and Portuguese missionaries had observed certain things among the Indians that led some of them to believe that the Indians were of Israelitish origin, descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel. Such ideas can be found in the writings of Spanish, Portuguese and French monks, and in the writings of Elliot, Cotton Mather and some of the American writers before the commencement of the present century. That is what the Book of Mormon teaches. Every one that's got any senses knows that a Jew is not an Indian nor an Indian a Jew. Mr. Spaulding was a firm believer and earnest advocate of this theory. He began to write a romance in which he assumed that the aborigines of America and the authors of its mounds and other antiquities were Israelites. He commenced writing this manuscript as early as 1809. His brother, J. Spaulding certifies that he visited his brother in 1810 and found him writing a book he called the "Manuscript Found," which he intended to publish and hoped by the sales to pay his debts. He described it as follows:

"It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, and endeavored to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the ten lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of Lehi and Nephi. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites, the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences and civilization were all brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various parts of Northern and Southern America. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'And it came to pass,' or 'now it came to pass.'"

I will leave it to the reader, if the average Mormon can give a better synopsis of the historical part of the Nephite portion of the Book of Mormon, than John Spaulding gives in describing his brother's romance. I will give my opponent line upon line and precept upon precept.

Time called.

(Moderator for Box requests White to define duties of officers and government of his church.)


If I haven't defined these things so he can understand, I don't know how to make it plainer.

Now he puts before you thr proposition that the origin of the Book of Mormon is the Spaulding Romance, of course I must pay due respect to what he brings up and will answer it though it's irrelevant. One point I wish you to notice. Nearly all these witnesses he read testify that the Spaulding Romance was an account of the "Ten Lost Tribes." If is his theory be true this will appear in the Book of Mormon; but that book does not say a word about the "Ten Lost Tribes," which goes towards proving no identity between the two.

He says I haven't said a word about doctrine and practice... I explained the duties of most of the officers -- Isn't that practice? ...

(under construction)

Note: The White-Box debate sessions were later compiled and their texts issued as a pamphlet by Zion's Ensign. The exchanges between Elder White and Rev. Box add nothing substantial to the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims, but White's responses during the debate present a typical Reorganized LDS defense of that period.


Vol. 3.                            Independence, Mo.  April 30, 1892.                            No. 18.


Held at Oak Grove Church, Vernon
County, Missouri, March 9-20.


Reported for the Ensign by G. R. Wells.


I am not surprised at being chastised for not keeping the rules and he positively ignoring the rules himself...

I introduce more testimony on the stolen manuscript. I have no doubt that they have got a manuscript, but I deny that it is the "Manuscript Found," the one that these witnesses talk about, and from which the Book of Mormon was taken. Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 35:

Henry Lake, Solomon Spaulding's business partner testifies: Solomon Spaulding frequently read to me from a manuscript * * * I remember telling Mr. Spaulding, that the so frequent use of the words "And it came to pass," "Now it came to pass," rendered the book ridiculous." Aaron Wright testifies: One day when I was at the house of Solomon Spaulding, he showed and read to me a history he was writing, of the Lost Tribes of Israel, purporting that they were the first settlers of America and that the Indians were their descendants. He traced their journey from Jerusalem to America. He told me his object was to account for the fortifications, etc. that were to be found in this country, and said that in time it would be fully believed by all except learned men and historians." No learned man would ever believe such a thing.

Oliver Smith testifies: "Solomon Spaulding boarded at my house six months. All his leisure hours were occupied in writing a historical novel, founded upon the first settlers of this country. He said he intended to trace their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea till their arrival in America, and give an account of their arts, sciences, civilization, laws and contentions. In this way he would give a satisfactory account of all of the old mounds, so common to this country. Nephi and Lehi, were by him represented as the leading characters, when they first started for America. Their main object was to escape the judgments which they supposed were coming on the old world."

John N. Miller, a member of Spaulding's household for many months testifies: "I perused Spaulding's manuscripts as I had leisure more particularly the one he called his "Manuscript Found." It purported to be a history of the first settlers of America. He brought them off from Jerusalem under their leaders detailing their travels by land and by sea."

Mrs. Matilda Spaulding, wife of Solomon Spaulding testifies: Mr. Spaulding conceived the idea of writing of a history of the long lost race that produced these antiquities. Their antiquity led him to write in the most ancient style, and as the Old Testament is the oldest book in the world, he imitated its style as much as possible. As he progressed in his narrative, the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited among them. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth. The neighbors would often ask how Mr. Spaulding progressed in deciphering the manuscript, and when he had sufficient portion prepared, he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled, from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people and could easily be recognized by them."

Rev. Box, Do you know that the word "Mormon" means? It is a Greek word and Donigan's Greek Lexicon says it means "Hobgoblin," (Laughter.)

Mrs. McKinstry, Spaulding's daughter testifies: "My father read the manuscript I had seen him writing to the neighbors and to a clergyman friend of his. Some of the names I have never forgotten. They are as fresh to me to-day as though I heard them but yesterday. They are Mormon, Moroni, Lamenite, Nephi, etc."

Joseph Miller of Amity, Pa., who was intimate with Spaulding in Amity, nursed him in his last illness, and heard him read much from his manuscript, says: "Mr. Spaulding seemed to take delight in reading from his manuscript on foolscap. I heard him read most if not all of it; and had frequent conversations with him about it. Some time ago I heard most of Book of Mormon read, On hearing read the account of the battle between the Amalekites (Book of Alma, chapter 1) in which the soldiers of one army had placed a red mark on their foreheads, to distinguish them from their enemies, it seemed to reproduce in my mind not only the narrative, but the very words as they had been impressed on my mind by the reading of Spaulding's Manuscript."

Rev. John Winter testifies: "In 1822 or 3 Rigdon took out of his desk a large manuscript stating that is was a Bible romance purporting to be a history of the American Indians. That it was written by one Solomon Spaulding, a Presbyterian preacher whose health had failed and who had taken it to the printers to see if it would pay to publish it. And that he (Rigdon) had borrowed it from the printer as a curiosity."

Now gentlemen, there are 10 witnesses here, I haven't read them all, but you can see that the historical part of the Book of Mormon was written by Spaulding, and stolen by Rigdon. I have witnesses here to show that Smith and Rigdon were together. I have no doubt they had the plates and scribbled on them. I have a sample of the writing that was on them...

Time called.

Last night on the first proposition. House packed weather good.


I am a little surprised at my friend's position... I have this Spaulding story on hand. He read you a number of witnesses and said he had 19 altogether. Now, what if these witnesses were true, what has he done? Presumably he has disposed of apostles, prophets, seventies, etc., as well as the spiritual gifts, baptism and the laying on of hands. All this goes down before the Spaulding story! Can't he refute me with the Bible? This matter is entirely refuted by Elder Kelley in the Braden-Kelley debate as you could see; but as you haven't got the book, I shall have to pay some attention to it. Let us hunt his Spaulding story up.

Mrs. McKinstry, the daughter of Spaulding states (Scribner's Monthly), that in 1816 her father, Solomon Spaulding, died at Amity, Pa., (in 1816) and that directly after his death, her mother and herself went to visit as the residence of her uncle, Wm. H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, New York. She says, "We carried all our personal effects with us and one of these was an old trunk in which my mother had placed all my father's writings, which had been preserved. I perfectly remember the appearance of this trunk and of her looking at its contents, there were sermons and other papers and I saw a manuscript about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some of the stories my father had written for me, one of which he called 'The Frogs of Wyndham.' On the outside of this manuscript were written the words 'Manuscript Found.'" After this Mrs. McKinstry's mother went to Pomfret, Conn., to her father's, leaving the daughter at her uncle's. In 1820 her mother married Mr. Davison of Hartwicks, New York, and sent for the things she had left at Onondaga Valley, "and" says she, "I remember that the old trunk with its CONTENTS reached her in safety." In 1828 Mrs. McKinstry was married to Dr. A. McKinstry of Monson, Mass., and went there to live. Her mother soon went to her and was with her until her death in 1844. In 1834, a man by the name of Hurlbut came to Mrs. Davison in her home at Monson to procure of her the manuscript of the "Manuscript Found," with the avowed purpose of comparing the "Mormon Bible" with it. This man brought a letter from Mr. Sabine to his sister requesting her to loan the manuscript to Hurlbut. Mrs. Davison complied by giving him an order to Mr. Jerome Clark, with whom she had placed the trunk, and its contents, to open it and deliver to him the "Manuscript Found." Mr. Clark so delivered it to Hurlbut, but he, contrary to his promise, never returned it.

Solomon Spaulding died in 1816 and left the manuscript in his wife's hands. This manuscript reached her (Mrs. Davison) at Hartwicks, N. Y., in safety in 1820 and later on in 1834 by order from her given to Hurlbut. From 1820-22 is when our opposers locate Rigdon at Patterson's office purloining the manuscript, But we here have the "Manuscript Found" with the widow Spaulding in 1816 and under her eye till into the hands of Hurlbut in 1834. Now let us follow it and see where it goes.

Braden-Kelley debate, page 81, 82 83. Mr. Jesse Harper [sic] from Ills., visited Mrs. Davison and Mrs. McKinstry and the following interview took place and was published in the Quincy (Ill.) Whig, a bitter anti-Mormon Journal:

"Q. Have you read the Book of Mormon?
A. I have read some in it.

Q. Does Mr. Spauldings manuscript, and the Book of Mormon agree?
A. I think some few of the names are alike.

Q. Does the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people?
A. An Idolatrous people.

Q. Where is the manuscript?
A. Dr. P. Hurlburt came here and took it, said he would get it printed, and let me have one half the profits.

Q. Has Dr. P. Hurlburt got the manuscript printed?
A. I received a letter stating it did not read as they expected, and they should not print it.

Q. How large was the manuscript?
A. About one third as large as the Book of Mormon."

Mr. Braden defeats himself. Kelley broke down every witness. Notice that she is not positive, but says "I THINK some of the names are alike; also the manuscript didn't "read as they expected," also the size. Page 82, Mrs. McKinstry:

"Q. How old were you when your father wrote the manuscript?
A. About five years of age.

Q. Did you ever read the manuscript?
A. When I was about twelve years old, I used to read it for diversion.

Q. Did the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people.
A: An idolatrous people.

Q. Does the manuscript and the Book of Mormon agree?
A: I think some of the names agree.

Q. Are you certain that some of the names agree?
A: I am not.

Q. Have you ever read any in the Book of Mormon?
A. I have not.

Here we see they had not read the Book of Mormon; was not certain that the names agree; and the manuscript contains an account of an "idolatrous people" -- both mother and daughter agree on that. The facts are that the Book of Mormon tells of a Christian and not an "Idolatrous" people at all.

Now in the interview with Mrs. McKinstry on April 4th, 1882, in Washington city:

Q. Mrs. McKinstry, have you the "Manuscript Found," Mr. Solomon Spaulding is said to have written, in your possession?
A. I have not.

Q. What became of it?
A. My mother delivered it up for publication to a Mr. Hulburt who came to our house in Massachusetts for it, bearing letters of introduction from my uncle, a Mr. Sabine, a lawyer in New York State.

Q. How do you come to remember the names that were in that manuscript?
A. Well, I suppose I should not but Mr. Spaulding had a way of making a very fancy capital letter at the beginning of a chapter and I remembered the name Lehi, I think it was, from its being written this way."

No certainty here, only "I think" -- notice her again: page 82.

Q. When did you first think about the names in the Book of Mormon and the manuscript agreeing?
A. My attention was first called to it by some parties who asked me if I did not remember it, and then I remembered that they were."

These parties were the old neighbors, Aaron Wright, Miller, etc.

Now, a statement from Mr. Hurlbut (Braden-Kelley, page 91:

"Gibsonburg, Ohio, Aug. 19. 1879.   I visited Mrs. Matilda (Spaulding) Davison at Monson, Mass., in 1834, and never saw her afterwards. I then received from her a manuscript of her husband's, which I did not read but brought home with me and immediately gave it to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, who was then engaged in preparing his book, 'Mormonism Unveiled.' * * * I never received any other manuscript of Spaulding's from Mrs. Davison, or any one else. Of that manuscript I made no other use than to give it, with all my other documents connected with Mormonism, to Mr. Howe. I did not destroy the manuscript nor dispose of it to Joe Smith nor to anyother person."
                           D. P. HULBURT."

It has been reported that the Latter Day Saints had gotten the manuscript and burnt it, upon which it has been said they offered a thousand dollars for it. Howe of course kept it close as its coming to light would have destroyed the sale of his book by refuting his statements.

Here is Mrs. Hurlbut's statement after Hurlbut's death. Page 135, Braden-Kelley:

"Mr. Hurlbut never obtained but one manuscript from Mrs. Davison. That one he let E. D. Howe have. * * * Hulburt spent six months time and a good deal of money looking up the Spaulding manuscript and other evidence, but he was disappointed in not finding what he wanted. This was the reason he turned the whole thing over to Howe. He never was satisfied with what he found, and while on his death-bed he would have given everything he had in the world could he have been certain there was ever a 'Manuscript Found,' as claimed, similar to the Book of Mormon."

Hurlbut didn't know and wasn't satisfied with what he found. Howe is the man who got the thing up. Let us look after him. Page 83 (Braden-Kelley) Aug. [1881]:

Q. "What do you know personally about the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding story being the same?
A. I don't know anything.

Q. Why did you publish a work claiming that the Book of Mormon was the Spaulding Romance?
A. Because I could better believe that Spaulding wrote it than that Joe Smith saw an angel.

Q. Are those your grounds?
A. Yes, sir, they are; and I want you to understand that you can't cram the Book of Mormon down me.

Q. Do you swallow the Bible?
A. That is my business.

Q. Have you not published a pamphlet which does not endorse the Bible?
A. Yes, I have."

Howe was the bottom of this whole story of the Book of Mormon and Spaulding Story being identical. And now Howe don't know anything "about the matter" but can "better believe Spaulding wrote the Book of Mormon than that Joe Smith saw an angel." Maddened with blind prejudice because his wife had joined the Saints, he launched forth to down an innocent people. On pages 27, 32, 35, 38, 42, 44, 52, 65, 68, and 69 of Howe's book he has garbled statements to make his case out. To read his work is to be disgusted at his madness. The manuscript was only one third the size of the book of Mormon, so all of these witnesses testify. That is the manuscript I am now in hunt of. I hold in my hand a verbatim copy of that very "Manuscript Found." I'll prove it to you before I am done. I shall trace this manuscript right home to its very origin, through the hands of Howe, Hurlbut, Mrs. Spaulding and to the death of its author. The only one Spaulding ever wrote and the veritable one testified to by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others of my friend Box's witnesses. Here's the thing itself, (Holding the Manuscript up in his hands before the people). I shall read you the testimonials how it came into our hands from its long hiding place:

"This from the Bibliotheca Sacra was republished in many leading journals east and west, among them the Herald of Grinnell, Iowa; the Western Watchman, Eureka, California; the New York Observer, and Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine.

"The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. That manuscript is doubtless now in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, formerly an anti-slavery editor in Ohio, and for many years State printer at Columbus, During a recent visit to Honolulu, I suggested to Mr. Rice that he might have valuable anti-slavery documents in his possession which he would be willing to contribute to the rich collection already in the Oberlin College Library. In pursuance of this suggestion Mr. Rice began looking over his old pamphlets and papers, and at length came upon an old, worn, and faded manuscript of about one hundred and seventy-five pages, small quarto, purporting to be a history of the migrations and conflicts of the ancient Indian tribes which occupied the territory now belonging to the states of New York, Ohio and Kentucky. On the last page of this manuscript is a certificate and signature giving the names of several persons known to the signer, who have assured him that, to their personal knowledge, the manuscript was the writing of Solomon Spaulding. Mr. Rice has no recollection how or when this manuscript came into his possession. It was enveloped in a coarse piece of wrapping paper and endorsed in Mr. Rice's handwriting "A Manuscript Story."

There seems no reason to doubt that this is the long-lost story. Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English Scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes. Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required.   Signed, James H. Fairchild."

"The letter below was written in answer to our suggestion that the Manuscript be sent for safe keeping to some Historical Society in Chicago, Illinois.

HONOLULU, Sandwich Islands,    
March 28th, 1885.        

The Spaulding Manuscript in my possession came into my hands in this wise. In 1839-40 my partner and myself bought of E. D. Howe the Painesville Telegraph, published at Painesville, Ohio. The transfer of the printing department, types, press, &c., was accompanied with a large collection of books, manuscripts, &c., this manuscript of Spaulding's among the rest. So, you see, it has been in my possession over forty years. But I never examined it, or knew the character of it, until some six or eight months since. The wrapper was marked, 'Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek.' The wonder is, that in some of my movements, I did not destroy or burn it with a large amount of rubbish that had accumulated from time to time.

It happened that Pres't Fairchild was here on a visit, at the time I discovered the contents of it, and it was examined by him and others with much curiosity. Since Pres't Fairchild published the fact of its existence in my possession, I have had applications for it from half a dozen sources, each applicant seeming to think that he or she was entitled to it. Mr. Howe says when he was getting up a book to expose Mormonism as a fraud at an early day, when the Mormons had their head-quarters at Kirtland, he obtained it from some source, and it was inadvertently transferred with the other effects of his printing office. A. B. Deming, of Painesville, who is also getting up some kind of a book I believe on Mormonism, wants me to send it to him. Mrs. Dickinson, of Boston, claiming to be a relative of Spaulding, and who is getting up a book to show that he was the real author of the Book of Mormon, wants it. She thinks, at least, it should be sent to Spaulding's daughter, a Mrs. Somebody -- but she does not inform me where she lives. Deming says that Howe borrowed it when he was getting up his book, and did not return it, as he should have done, etc.

"This Manuscript does not purport to be "a story of the Indians formerly occupying this continent;" but is a history of the wars between the Indians of Ohio and Kentucky, and their progress in civilization, &c. It is certain that this Manuscript is not the origin of the Mormon Bible, whatever some other manuscripts may have been. The only similarity between them, is, in the manner in which each purports to have been found -- one in a cave on Conneaut Creek -- the other in a hill in Ontario county, New York. There is no identity of names, of persons, or places; and there is no similarity of style between them. As I told Mr. Deming, I should as soon think the Book of Revelations was written by the author of Don Quixotte, as that the writer of this Manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon. * * * Deming and Howe inform me that its existence is exciting great interest in that region. I am under a tacit, but not a positive pledge to President Fairchild, to deposit it eventually in the Library of Oberlin College. I shall be free from that pledge, when I see an opportunity to put it to a better use.

Yours, &c.,                
L. L. RICE.      

P. S. -- Upon reflection, since writing the foregoing, I am of the opinion that no one who reads this Manuscript will give credit to the story that Solomon Spaulding was in any wise the author of the Book of Mormon. It is unlikely that any one who wrote so elaborate a work as the Mormon Bible, would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this, which at best is but a feeble imitation of the other. Finally I am more than half convinced that this is his only writing of the sort, and that any pretence that Spaulding was in any sense the author of the other, is a sheer fabrication. It was easy for any body who may have seen this, or heard anything of its contents. to get up the story that they were identical.

L. L. R.      

Now the following extract:

HONOLULU, Sandwich Islands,        
May 14th, 1885.    

MR. JOSEPH SMITH;  Dear Sir: --

I am greatly obliged to you for the information concerning Mormonism, in your letters of April 30th and May 2d. As I am in no sense a Mormonite, of course it is a matter of curiosity, mainly, that I am interested in the history of Mormonism.

Two things are true concerning this manuscript in my possession: First, it is a genuine writing of Solomon Spaulding; and second. it is not the original of the Book of Mormon.

Very respectfully, yours,            
L. L. RICE.    

In a postscript Mr. Rice says he found the following endorsement on the Manuscript:

"The writings of Solomon Spaulding proved by Aron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.
   (Signed)                      D. P. HURLBUT."

Extract from Mr. Rice's letter.

HONOLULU, H. I., June 12, 1885.    

Herewith I send to you the Solomon Spalding Manuscript, to be deposited in the Library of Oberlin College, for reference by any one who may be desirous of seeing or examining it. * * *

Truly, yours, &c.,                
L. L. RICE.      

July 23, 1885.          

I have this day delivered to Mr. E. L. Kelley a copy of the Manuscript of Solomon Spaulding, sent from Honolulu by Mr. L. L. Rice, to the Library of Oberlin College, for safe keeping, and now in my care. The copy was prepared at Mr. Kelley's request, under my supervision, and is, as I believe, an exact transcript of the original manuscript, including erasures, misspellings, etc.

JAS. H. FAIRCHILD,                
Prest. of Oberlin College.    

Now notice particularly one thing -- the endorsement found by Mr. Rice on this manuscript, signed by D. P. Hurlbut. This is the man who got it from Mrs. Davison and wrote on it the endorsement: "The writings of Solomon Spaulding. Proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonials [sic] of the above gentlemen are now in my possession."

The "testimonies of those gentlemen" you heard read from the Braden-Kelley debate last night. This proves an identity between the manuscript I have here and the one Hurlbut had, which was "proved" by Wright, Smith, Miller, and others -- you will remember there were 19 of them. Hurlbut testifies of getting it in 1834 of Mrs. Spaulding, Mrs. Spaulding says she had it in "safe keeping" from 1816, time of the author's death, and gave an order to Hurlbut in 1834 for Mr. Sabine [sic] to deliver it up to Hurlbut; and now we have Hurlbut saying he had the manuscript and testimonies proving it to be the writings of Spaulding, and turned it all over to Howe, because, as his wife said, he didn't find what he was looking for. Howe publishes a book against the Saints, using the testimony, as he claimed from this manuscript, but suppressing the manuscript to hide his fraudulent purposes, announcing at the time that "the Mormons had stolen it." Thus he tries to cover up his dirt, and his followers are not all dead yet. Later on L. L. Rice purchases Howe's printing press, papers, etc., and takes them to Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, where the manuscript was found forty years afterwards.

To show these testimonies are fraudulent, they are only pretended affidavits, and since the document comes to light it shows the trickery of Howe in publishing the testimonies and suppressing the manuscript. He knew that was the document, for it was "proved" by Hurlbut and the very one testified to by Wright, Miller, etc. The witnesses as we now have them say that names "Nephi, Lehi, came to pass," etc., were in the manuscript: a comparison made by Messrs. Rice and Fairchild revealed no similarity in names at all. Not a semblance of identity can be found. Howe's testimony shows that he that they were the same. His work shows that he was a prejudiced and unscrupulous enemy to the Saints. And all this testimony brought from Braden by my opponent was taken from Howe's book, an unreliable source. Were I to read you a few documents derogatory to the character of Mr. Braden, my friend would be ashamed of having brought garbled testimony from such a source. It will take something stronger than that to defeat this Book of Mormon.

Two or three of his nineteen witnesses say that Rigdon was at Smith's house in New York several times during the year 1827, presumably to get up the Book of Mormon. Remember this is their date, the time Smith and Rigdon was together doing their work. I will prove that he was not in New York during that year but was preaching in Ohio for the Disciples and was from 250 to 400 miles away from Joseph Smith. In those days of slow travel it would have taken several weeks to make the trip, which was impossible as you will see from the following alibi. He solemnized a great many marriages, hence some of this is taken from the probate records. The rest is taken from Hayden's History of the Disciples.

My first date is January, 1827, Rigdon is at Mantua, O., Hayden's History, p. 237; February 27th at Chester, O.; March and April, protracted meeting at Mentor, O.; June 5-7, Painesville, O., probate records; July 3-12, Mentor, O., probate records; July 19, Mentor, O.; August 23, New Lisbon, O., Hayden pp. 55-57; September, returns home to Mentor; October 9, Mentor, O.; October last part, Warren, O., Hayden p. 59; November, New Lisbon, Hayden, pp. 72-76; December 6, Kirtland, O., probate records; December 13, Concord, O.; probate record.

This removes the possibility of their being together and utterly refutes my friend's argument and shows his witnesses up in bad light before an honorable public.

Time Called.

Note 1: Elder White makes some errors in his assumptions regarding the fate of Solomon Spalding's writings, after they were taken to Pittsburgh. First of all he does not recognize the Widow's 1839 assertion, that "Sidney Rigdon... was at this time [1812-1816] connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson... Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and to copy it if he chose." Secondly, Elder White assumes that Sidney Rigdon was accused of "purloining the manuscript" in Pittsburgh in "1820-22." This is perhaps too early a date for associating Rigdon with a "purloining" of Spalding's literary property. In his 1834 book, Eber D. Howe, working with minimal information from reliable sources, guessed that Spalding's writings, once carried from Ohio to Pittsburgh, "remained there in seclusion, till about the year 1823 or '24, at which time Sidney Rigdon located himself in that city.... Rigdon resided in Pittsburgh about three years, and during the whole of that time, as he has since frequently asserted, abandoned preaching and all other employment, for the purpose of studying the bible." If Rigdon could have copied some of Spalding's writings as early as 1812-16, left the copy with the printer when he left the area for awhile, and then returned to Pittsburgh in 1823-24 and relocated the unused "printer's copy," it is not unreasonable to believe that he made his final expropriation of the copy during second period of residence in or near the city. During that second period Rigdon operated a tanning shop within walking distance of the printing office where a copy of the "Manuscript Found" was presumably still on file. Whether or not Rigdon was the one who originally made such a "printer's copy," is not the real issue here; the point to be made is that Spalding's widow may well have carried off all her husband's holographs in 1817, but still left an unpublished printer's copy of a certain story on file at the printing office or elsewhere in the city. Her taking Solomon Spalding's manuscripts to New York, after one last attempt to get Patterson to publish part of them, in no way precludes Rigdon's possible access to the text of Spalding's "Manuscript Found."

Note 2: In the case of the 1839 Jesse Haven interview with Mrs. Davison and Mrs. McKinstry, Elder White does not disclose the fact that the reporter was a Mormon missionary -- a cousin and employee of Brigham Young -- who obtained the interview under false pretenses, and then edited the ladies' words to suit the Mormons' purposes. As the submitter of the text himself admits, the ladies' answers were not written down exactly as given. Thus, when they speak of an "idolatrous" people in Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found," there is no way of knowing what portion of that particular story's fictional characters the ladies were claiming to be idol worshippers. In the Oberlin Spalding manuscript, an important segment of the characters were Roman Christians and no main characters were technically "idolatrous." In the Book of Mormon, some of the Lamanites are described as worshippers of "idols" (see the books of Helaman, Mormon, and Alma). Also, as is typical in later LDS and RLDS renditions of the Haven interview, the Widow's admission to Elder Haven, that her earlier 1839 statement (given in support of the Spalding authorship claims), was "in the main" correctly published, is deleted by the Mormon editor.

Note 3: As for Hurlbut's 1879 statement, it contains several patent falsehoods and is unreliable as a "sole source" document for reconstructing the past. Also, E. D. Howe did not suppress Spalding's Roman story, recovered by Hurlbut, but published a summary of its plot-line and said that the Conneaut witnesses had identified it as being something other than what they testified about in their 1833 statements.

Note 4: Elder White is mistaken about the time it would have taken a traveler to go from Kirtland, Ohio to Palmyra or Fayette, New York, or to Harmony Pennsylvania in 1827. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, a traveler taking a steamboat from Fairport (just north of Kirtland) to Buffalo, and a canal boat from Buffalo to Palmyra, could cover the distance in three days. Pittsburgh could have been reached in four days, and Harmony inside of a week. There are several gaps of more than two weeks in Rigdon's known whereabouts between 1827 and 1830.


Vol. 3.                            Independence, Mo.  May 7, 1892.                            No. 19.


Held at Oak Grove Church, Vernon
County, Missouri, March 9-20.


Reported for the Ensign by G. R. Wells.


I would like to answer him on priesthood but I haven't time and get in my recapitulation.

I have no doubt they have a manuscript, but did you notice that they get it through a kind of underground railroad? One of my witnesses stated that Spaulding wrote several manuscripts. We can see how this manuscript can be brought out after the excitement is over. There were two in the trunk but one was gone when they went to get it. I said they added the religious part. Page 63 Braden-Kelley Debate: Mrs. Matilda Davison, in 1834 a Mormon preacher, in a meeting in Conneaut, Ohio, read copious extracts from the Book of Mormon. The historical part was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had been so deeply interested before. John Spaulding was present, and recognized perfectly, the work of his brother. He was annoyed and afflicted, that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose * * * The excitement in Conneaut became so great that the inhabitants held a meeting, and deputized Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place and obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds and to prevent the friends from enlarging an error so delusive.

Here is testimony from the wife and brother of Spaulding. I have just lots of the same kind but haven't time to read it....


My friend said we got the "Manuscript Found" through a kind of "underground" process. The matter speaks for itself. Here's the way we got it:

July 23, 1885.          

I have this day delivered to Mr. E. L. Kelley a copy of the Manuscript of Solomon Spaulding, sent from Honolulu by Mr. L. L. Rice, to the Library of Oberlin College, for safe keeping, and now in my care. The copy was prepared at Mr. Kelley's request, under my supervision, and is, as I believe, an exact transcript of the original manuscript, including erasures, misspellings, etc.

JAS. H. FAIRCHILD,                
Prest. of Oberlin College.    

You can see there is nothing "underground" about that...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 3.                            Independence, Mo.  August 27, 1892.                            No. 35.

Sermon by Elder Wm. B. Smith.

Delivered in the Saints' Church at Independence, Mo.


There are events and occurrences that take place in human life that fasten themselves upon the memory -- that neither time nor old age can obliterate. What a man has seen with his eyes and heard with his ears is an experience that is not easily forgotten. I speak of what I do know, and of what my ears have heard and of what my eyes have seen of this Latter Day Work, and of the coming forth of this strange Book of Mormon revelation.

Brethren and sisters I appear before you to-day, and propose to talk to you on the doctrine and officers of the church of Christ of which you are members, of which also I am a member. It is possible that I may not speak loud enough to make you all hear what I have to say. I have been talking considerably of late in public and I find it begins to tell on my voice.

Now suppose brethren I should present to you a silver dollar with the stamp of the United States upon it to-day, would not that silver dollar with the same stamp of the United States upon it be the same bright silver dollar tomorrow that it is to-day? I think it would be the same. So in this light the church of Christ organized by the same gospel rule never changes upon the same principle, the church of Christ is the same in all ages of the world. Now I have a question to ask this congregation to-day and it is on the solution of a particular passage of Scripture to which I wish to call your attention. The text or passage of Scripture may be found in the 14th chapter of Revelations 6th and seventh verses, concerning the angel that John the Revelator said he saw flying through the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, saying, "Give glory to God for the hour of his judgment has come," I wish to ask my brethren and sisters of the church if there is any one here in the church to-day that can give one a true solution of this text or passage of Scripture. If there are any strangers or reporters present, we would like to have them give us a solution of this passage of Scripture. Perhaps some one can give us a better solution than we have given; if they can we would like to hear it. It is not however, my purpose in this discourse to speak all the time on this text, although in my life's experience in the ministry, I have preached on this text not less than five hundred sermons and the solution of which I have applied is that the angel that John saw flying through the midst of heaven was the angel that appeared to Joseph Smith and revealed to him the place where the golden plates were deposited from which the Book of Mormon was translated, a book, translated by the gift and power of the Spirit of revelation that was endowed upon my brother Joseph Smith, whom God had appointed through the administration of an angel, appointing him to a special work in building up the church of Christ in this latter day dispensation. On the solution of this text we please to say, that Joseph Smith was the man to whom John's angel's message was delivered.

Before concluding this discourse however, we propose to say more on the subject of Joseph Smith's mission work in this dispensation, and concerning the characteristics of the times when the angel of God first appeared unto him and told him of the plates. But before I enter upon that part of my subject, I wish to call your attention to another passage of Scripture which I will here read: See Luke's gospel 13:16-17. In this chapter it will be seen that Jesus is talking to his disciples in parables. It was in this manner he was teaching his gospel to the people and the text we have chosen for this reading is a parable and in this parable also are portrayed events of the future from that day, a prophecy of what should happen in the latter days. Christ said a certain man made a great supper and sent out his servants to say to them that were bidden, come for all things are now ready. And now I wish to say concerning this supper time spoken of here in this parable, it cannot refer to any other time but the evening of time, there are but three periods of twelve hours in the day, morning, noon, and evening, which is the supper time. Neither Christ nor any of his apostles could fill this bill for the supper time. Consequently who is this servant that was to come at supper time. Can this congregation tell me who this servant is that is referred to in the parable, we would like to have a good solution of this text and see if we who profess to be the church of Christ have been making mistakes all along, since we commenced our faith in this Latter Day Work in understanding the Scriptures, When you were baptized my brethren and sisters did you make any mistake, if you did you were found in good company, for Jesus was baptized, then there were three thousand baptized on Pentecost day, tolerable good company on the baptism question, and then there was Paul who was baptized. Such mistakes as those, brethren, I do not think any ought to be ashamed of. And then the dollar spoken of in the comparison, it had the United States seal stamped upon it then, it is just as true to-day as yesterday, God's church is the same built upon the sure foundation Christ being the chief corner stone. There is but one gospel code of laws as named in Hebrews 6:1, 2, 3, faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment, and in Ephesians 4th, it is said one faith, one Lord, and one baptism. There is no way of splitting this baptism in two, and making two baptisms of it. The church of Christ is all right then, built up upon these gospel principles, it is the same to-day as yesterday.

We are here to-day to say that Joseph Smith was the man to whom the angel of God came, and committed into his hands the fullness of the everlasting gospel; neither do I hold that either Martin Luther or John Wesley were the persons to whom the angel appeared; those reformers never professed any special revelations from God, and that servant that was to be sent out a supper time, was to tell the people to come, for all things were ready. This then brings us to the point in the dispensation of the fullness of times when a full gospel must be preached in order to [gain?] a full restoration of the church of Christ upon the earth. Neither of these men, Martin Luther nor John Wesley had wings that they could come flying through the midst of heaven. This angel of whom John speaks, must come, if he has not come, and deliver a message direct from heaven. This message we believe has come, and was delivered in person to Joseph Smith, and there is no reason why we should not believe that the servant spoken of in the parable was Joseph Smith to whom the angel delivered his message, which finally resulted in the organization of the Church of Christ in 1830. The work that was to follow in the supper time dispensation, has in part been fulfilled. While some have believed the gospel, others have made their excuses, and still these excuses are being made; some have married wives, bought oxen, and lands, and cannot come to the gospel feast now being preached, the great feast for the coming Lord.

But there is a day coming when the servants of God will be sent with additional power of the Spirit of God, that the testimony given will be so plain that many will be compelled to come in. In this supper time dispensation or the work of the last days, according to Christ's words, this gospel of the kingdom must be preached in all the world for a witness and then shall the end come.

Our next subject, is the subject of the Book of Mormon and the story of the angel appearing to Joseph Smith, as told by my brother to us. This statement made by my brother was made at a time of peculiar events; it was during a time the brother tells us, that he was praying that the angel, as he calls it, appeared to him. He says that while he was praying, a bright cloud like that of fire appeared before him and in that cloud he saw some person dressed in a robe of exquisite whiteness above the whiteness of the driven snow, if possible. He says at first sight of the personage a spirit of fear fell upon him, and for a moment his strength left him, but the personage spoke to him and said, fear not for I have come to deliver unto you a message and to tell you that God has chosen you for a great work, and that the Lord would reveal in due time what that work should be. The brother further states that this personage told him that none of the churches of the day were right. By further instructions from this personage whom the brother calls an angel, the brother was told that there was a record that had been hid for ages containing the history of a people that once inhabited this country the land of America, and that said record contained the fulness of the gospel of Christ. The place of the deposit of this record was shown the brother in the vision that appeared before him, it was further shown him in the vision that he was to obtain this record.

It is here in this part of my history of this strange vision as related by my brother, that I will mention the circumstances that took place at the time the brother told his story of the angel's visit to his father's family. It was on an occasion like this: while my brothers Alvin, Hyrum, Samuel and myself were at work in adjoining field near the house, my mother came to us and said that we were all requested to come into the house, that Joseph had something to tell us. It was in this manner that Joseph related his vision of the angel's appearing to him before his father's family, and the story told by this brother of the angel's visit was fully believed in by every member of the family as there could be no cause why they should dispute the brother's testimony, from the fact that my father's family was educated, under the teaching of the strictest kind of a religious influence. My mother, Lucy Smith, and my brothers Hyrum and Samuel and my sister Sophronia were members of the Presbyterian church situated in the town of Palmyra, state of New York, said church at the time of this vision shown to my brother, Joseph, was presided over by a clergyman by the name of Stockton. It was in this church presided over by the Rev. Stockton that I spent much of my boy-hood days, especially the Sabbath in the Sunday Schools of that day. Under the religious training of the strictest sense, the order of my father's family was truthfulness, and at the time Joseph told his vision, all of his brothers, sisters, father and mother believed his testimony, and I will here further state that Hyrum, Samuel and Don Carlos and two sisters of mine, Sophronia and Lucy followed up the fortunes and teachings of this brother, Joseph Smith, to the day of their death, and at this time, as I am giving the history of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and of this angel's visit to Joseph Smith, there are but two of that family now living, that is myself, William B. Smith, and my sister Katharine Smith, now Mrs. Katharine Salisbury.

It is fitting in the recital of that history before this congregation to mention some of the events that were transpiring at the time. The brother sought by prayer, wisdom to know what to do in making his choice of churches and as to what church that was then extant in the world was truly the church of Christ. At this time of which I am speaking, one of the most extraordinary reformations was being had all over the country. In the school-houses, in private families the revival meetings were being held and many claimed to be converted to God and professed religion. Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians and churches of every class or denomination were seemingly engaged in this reformation. My brother also, attended these meetings, he was thought to be what was called under concern of mind, such was also the state of the minds of the family. When the family was called in to hear what the brother had to say in his experience as to his religious findings, the experience and testimony which he at that time gave to his father's family, was an entirely different story from what the family expected to hear. When he told them that he had retired in the woods to pray for wisdom that God should direct what he should do, it was the story of the angel's visit as we have stated, also it was in accordance with the instructions given by the Methodist minister, preacher Lane who was one of the principle leaders of the reformation, that should any after getting what was called religion, have doubted as to what church they should join, that they should go into secret prayer and ask God to direct them what to do and what church to join. This is what the brother had done when revealing his mission work and telling his story of the angel's visit to his father's family.

Now in closing up on those meetings the different churches all claimed a share of the converts, the Baptists wanted a share, the Presbyterians wanted a share, and also the Methodists, all wanted a share of the converts. Thus you will see that there were churches in those days the same as in these days, all founded upon their respective creeds and doctrine. The only difference between churches in those days and the churches in these days, is, the churches in those days were more contracted in their religious faith or doctrine, being strongly Calvinistic in belief of hell's punishment and the damnation of little children and on the doctrine of baby sprinkling, etc., but in these days churches are getting more liberal on many of these doubtful points.

While speaking on this subject, I wish to correct an impression that many of the outside world have endeavored to make upon the minds of the people that in making choice of Joseph Smith as a prophet he had been picked up from the low slums of the world and taken from a family having but little or no respectability, in a word, idlers, a charge that I pronounce before this congregation to-day to be false. My father's family were hard laborers and honest. I have done many a hard day's work in helping to roll up logs to clear off land in a heavily timbered country, and never did the world talk of disrespect to the family until the story told of Joseph Smith's mission as a prophet and his angel story told to the world. I am not a believer in the statement often repeaten that God makes choice of ministers to preach his gospel picked up from the lower classes of spirits in the world. That I claim is not the character of the ministry that God has chosen to preach this latter day gospel. Saints I shall not be able to finish on this subject in this discourse to-day and shall have to finish at another time.

But to conclude, that dollar with the United States stamp upon it is just as bright to-day as it was yesterday, and it is just the same with the principles of the gospel of Christ, though sun and moon or stars go out and thousands of years pass away the gospel of Christ is still the same to-day that it was eighteen hundred years ago.   Amen.

Note: As was typical for RLDS preachers during that era, William Smith covered up all mention of his family's magical and money-digging propensities. In his telling of the story, his brother Joseph's "first vision" was not long separated in time from his angelic instruction on obtaining the golden plates. Any mention of a theophany is missing from William's retelling of the "first vision;" to his memory it was simply Joseph's first in a series of angelic encounters. See also William's 1883 booklet, William Smith on Mormonism and his 1884 exposition "An "Old Soldier's Testimony."


Vol. 4.                            Independence, Mo. May 27, 1893.                            No. 22.

Letter from Grove Hill, Iowa

DEAR ENSIGN: -- Would a few lines from the northern part of Eastern Iowa find room in your columns? The Ensign is a welcome visitor here as well as elsewhere. I came to Fairbank on the 3rd and there found Bro. J. S. Roth, who had just landed, ready for work. I find it quite convenient to have him with me when the sectarian cannons open fire on our faith. Brn. Dewald and McRae went to the manager of the opera house and engaged it for ten sermons; to begin on the 7th at 2:30 p. m. We opened up with a large congregation and retained the same to the end of the meetings which lasted over two Sundays. But we had to meet some fierce opposition." Some had reported they had heard one of our elders preach a short time since in an adjoining county that a man might have as many wives as he could support, and one man got up in meeting and made that statement. Bro. Roth wanted him to tell the people whether that elder was preaching that as our doctrine, or exposing it as heresy. The chap saw he was trapped and replied, "I told you what he said." He saw, and so did the people that his fraud was exposed. Bro. Roth told him he would pay the fees if he would go before a justice of the peace and swear that the elder he heard, advocated polygamy; but no, "I told you what he said," was his reply. On Sunday the 7th Rev. Shaw of the Baptist church announced that on the Sunday following, the 14th, he would preach a discourse on what he had read, seen and heard recently, of course we went to hear, for the announcement caused us to suspect that he intended to deal us a death blow. We took notes quite freely so as to be prepared for any emergency. He took for his text, "Prove all things, hold fast that which good." Said he, "People are too narrow minded to-day. It is their duty to hear, read and investigate all things both in politics and religion even if it is in opposition to their own claims, and especially should this be done in religion. A person should never change his faith until thoroughly convinced he is wrong. Then the Bible should be made the standard of evidence and the decision should be rendered by the law of God."

When we heard that statement we felt relieved; for we expected a fair trial for once at least. But lo! and behold! just then he brought out a history and read from it that "Joe Smith was arrested in New York state for disorderly conduct, that he stole the Spaulding Romance and made the Book of Mormon of it. That the names of Lehi, Nephi, Moroni and many others of the same character could be found in both books. After that Smith was killed the Twelve, Apostles elected Brigham Young to be their leader and the reason that Young Joseph would not follow Brigham was that naturally he looked forward to the time when he would be their leader, as successor to his father, etc., etc.

Then he examined the doctrine of the church. Some of his statement were that we could not find in the Bible where we had a right to claim prophets or revelations now, or in the last day. That the Bible did not teach the laying on of hands only by the apostles, and all that was essential to salvation was that which we agreed on. "Then why quibble over non-essentials."

At the close of this lengthy harangue Bro. Roth told the congregation that he would answer all that was worth answering, that afternoon at the opera house. A good congregation was there at 9:30 to hear the reply. I only wish you had room for the answer. But I will risk giving you a few points anyway. Bro. Roth started out with the text: "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." The text caused a smile on the faces of many as it was the same text used by Rev. Shaw in the forenoon. Bro. Roth said he was sorry the brother had not stood on his platform as he understood the Bible should be the standard of evidence in the examination, and then the first thing he had done was to read out of history about "Joe" Smith. That he looked the Bible through and could find no statement at all about Joseph Smith being arrested for disorderly conduct, and he showed here, how histories conflicted with each other. He referred to Beadle p. 33. "Smith was arrested on false charges," also page 40, "The people of Missouri were not justified in exterminating the Mormons." Page 60, "Van Buren acknowledges their cause as just." Bro. Roth asked for the place, county, court, page of docket, the name of the judge and whether Smith was found guilty at that trial he read about. But the reverend gentlemen could not give a single item only "Smith was arrested April 20, 1826, for disorderly conduct." In this connection it will not be amiss to say that I tried to borrow the history from Rev. Shaw for Bro. Roth to examine but was politely refused. No wonder he did not want the book to get into our hands.

Bro. Roth made effectual use of Mr. Samuel Murdock's letter in Herald of May 13th page 294 as we were almost in the neighborhood of Mr. Murdock. The following was also showed in good shape: Heroes of the Plains by J. W. Buel on page 238 says, "in 1856-57 Joseph Smith with 200 Danites captured and burned a train." Story of the Wild West by Hon. W. F. Cody, page 436-7, "In 1857 Joseph Smith with 20 Danites captured one of the trains carrying provision to Johnson's army and robbed them. Barnes' History of U. S., page 183 says Smith was killed June 27, 1844. G. B Quackenbos U. S. History page 410 says Joseph Smith was killed July 7, 1844. Wm. Swinton's school history page 234 says Joseph Smith was killed in 1845. Marla Ward says on page 1, "Smith was shot leaning against a well curb," on page 137 she says, "he was shot stealing Mrs. Bodish, on his way west." According to these statements Smith must have been the most remarkable man that ever lived. He must have had more lives than a cat. Now what will we do with the histories, for they surely must ALL BE TRUE? Also the Christian Cynosure of July 25, 1878 says that a Rev. Mr. Greene saw Solomon Spaulding in 1827 and Mr. King saw Mr. Spaulding in 1829 and he told them both that Smith borrowed the Romance to read to his family while Spaulding was wanting it. Mr. Spaulding died Oct. 20, 1816. See Braden-Kelley Debate, page 43. So if these gentlemen saw him in 1827-9 he was to say the least a very lively corpse.

After Bro. Roth had showed up all his statements which he made about the character of the early Saints to be totally without foundation and some of them plainly false, he took up his assertions on our Bible claims and to say the least of it I think those who heard the reply will not say that the Latter Day Saints are not versed in the Bible, and that they cannot apply it too, when called for. Taking it altogether I think it will be a great help to the cause at Fairbank, for in the reply many things were brought to light which otherwise would not have been done. I believe there are some honest people in Fairbank or the adversary would not have kicked so. Truth has such an intrinsic value that I believe it is bound to triumph no difference how clearly error may be presented. May God help the people there to see the truth. We closed there Sunday night and will now go to Green for two weeks and about the 4th of June we expect to open in Osterdock again to give the people there one more chance, either to obey and be blessed or disobey and run their risk.

May God bless the Ensign and may all the scenes in the picture of its existence be as bright as the sun light of this beautiful day.

Ever praying for Zion's weal, I am
                              Sincerely yours,
                                      J. B. ROUSH.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 4.                            Independence, Mo. June 24, 1893.                            No. 26.

Letter from Osterdock, Ia.

DEAR ENSIGN: -- I send you a letter from Dr. J. F. Potter, copied for the Ensign.

Last winter while Elder Roth was giving a series of discourses upon the subject of the restored gospel Dr. Potter was a listener. The Doctor removed to Clinton, Ia. soon after hearing these sermons. He wrote the letter enclosed addressed to me, from Clinton informing me that he has become a firm believer in the gospel as taught by the Latter Day Saints, and has, as I am informed, been baptized, and united with the church at Clinton. Others who listened to Elder Roth's discourses, became believers in the doctrine, but as yet have not magnified their faith by acts of obedience.

Brn. Roth and Roush are here on a visit, holding forth to good houses. Elder Roth gave the people two timely sermons on the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the result so far as learned, those present at the meeting say they firmly believe the Book of Mormon. What the final result will be of the brethren's labors here is yet difficult to tell. Some, it is known are nearing the kingdom, but popular influence still holds them in chains. Good houses are still in attendance. God is blessing the brethren with good liberty, and with his spirit in preaching the word to his people. Interest still increasing.
                               W. B. SMITH.

                                   CLINTON, Ia.
                                             May 22d, 1893.
Bro. William and Wife: -- As cousin John Wilson is writing to you, I thought I would add a few lines. I am what you might call one of your new brothers, although not so very young in years. Through God's mercy I am enabled to so call you brother, as now we are children of the same Father. How mysterious are his ways. I came there to scoff but remained to pray, and now I can say, the light of my life is Jesus.

Before giving up my old preconceived opinion of the church, I brought up every objection under the sun, only to have them shattered, and so finally in justice to myself, I was obliged to give up the contest and come into the fold, where, thanks be to God, I have found rest, sweet rest. And so thoroughly did I investigate the doctrine of our church, that ere I joined I had become conversant with all of its teachings; I have thoroughly perused six books, including the Book of Mormon and the debate between Braden and Kelley, and I am happy to say that I know for myself that I can give a reason for my faith. I find that passages in the Bible that heretofore were meaningless to my understanding, are now rendered as clear as the noonday sun, The Bible to me now, is a straight story and its requirements possible to be followed, and the result sure to be obtained so that this is a living reality not only revealed to us, as the other churches claim, through the in-dwelling of the Spirit, buy by these signs that follow the believer.

Trusting that you will remember me at the throne of grace, I remain.

                              Your brother in Christ,
                                      DR. F. J. PORTER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 4.                            Independence, Mo. July 1, 1893.                            No. 28.


Elder T. E. Lloyd Replies to Rev. Caroll, Defending the
Book of Mormon and the Prophetic Mission of Joseph Smith.

REVEREND SIR: -- I am glad you read "Remarks Upon Revelation 22:18, 19," as that writing exposed the fallacy upon which many rely in rejecting modern revelation...

The averment that his [Joseph Smith's] character was bad, lacks the essential element of truth. His father. mother, brothers and sisters, who certainly knew the character of Joseph better than did his enemies and opposers, all believed his testimony and became members of the church. Their testimonies corroborated Joseph's, while their lives attested that sincerity, which ever characterizes truth. They all died in the faith, except his brother, W. B. Smith, and his sister, Mrs. Katherine Salisbury, who yet live and in their old age, rejoice to tell the old, old story as they told it, sixty years ago. Emma; Smith whom the prophet married in 1827, ere he translated the Book of Mormon, and who was his constant companion while such work was being wrought, was a firm believer in his divine calling, and hence in the divinity of the Book of Mormon. After the prophet's death, she married again, but remained steadfast in the faith, revering the memory of her illustrious dead, until April 1879, when her tried spirit passed out in triumph to mingle with those gone before....

Joseph Smith, although a prophet was not exempted from the weaknesses of human nature -- the heritage of man. And as the sins of those ancient worthies, were no bar to divine revelation, and did not divest the alleged revelation of divine authority; the same rule applying to the Palmyra Seer, the sins of his boyhood, before his great career began, or those committed in his maturer years, would not necessarily prove that his message was untrue.

It is not true that "leading Mormons," at any time, have admitted that the Smiths, and Joseph in particular, were destitute of morality and virtue; nor yet is it true that the slanders circulated were not "generally contradicted by leading Mormons, at that time, although many of them were so outlandish and ridiculous as to require no refutation.

You say: "More than sixty respectable citizens of Wayne Co., N. Y., testified under oath that the Smith family were immoral, false and fraudulent, and that Joseph was the worst of them." "Respectable citizens!" Surely their work in signing a trumped up, slanderous, exparte statement in 1833, at the instigation of the notorious D. P. Hurlbut, entitles them to be held in loving remembrance through the ages!

Four of the family, namely, the mother Lucy, Hyrum, Samuel H., and Sophronia, had united with the Presbyterian church, and were members in good standing; but they withdrew therefrom, when such duty was made manifest. Yet in 1833, those "sixty respectable citizens," whose business it then was to MANUFACTURE REPUTATION for the Smith family, found it convenient to sign a trumped up statement, defaming those who were good enough to be Presbyterians in good standing, if they had not believed Joseph's testimony! That wonderful statement was not made until the Book of Mormon had been three years in print, and the church three years old, having a membership of several thousand persons. It was a bad thing to be related to a prophet, and still worse to believe a prophet's message. So thought those self-constituted judges, and sanctimonious slanderers of a family, whose offense consisted in a new religious movement, the date of the said statement made, and circumstances connected with the affair, make it quite evident that it was a case of religious persecution, and a scheme to blast the reputation of the Smiths, and so check the spread of the faith.

If the Smiths were such a wicked set, steeped in fraud and crime, why were they not punished by law for such offenses against society? The utter absence of a prosecution, not to say anything of conviction, is in itself, proof sufficient for reasonable persons, that accusations made under such circumstances, were but made for effect, hoping thereby to counteract a religious movement that was spreading like wildfire through the land.

Hurlbut had been expelled from the Methodist church for immoral conduct, and afterward be had imposed himself upon the Saints, only to be again detected, brought to trial and expelled from the church. He threatened the prophet's life, and at Painsville, O., he was put under $1,000 bond to keep the peace. He swore he would have revenge, and he perambulated through Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, in his unscrupulous effort to obtain testimony injurious to the Smiths and other leading men of the church; and it is not surprising that he succeeded in finding "sixty respectable citizens" in Wayne Co., N. Y., who were willing to join in the crusade against the Smiths. Bigotry and intolerance betrayed their unmistakable identity, when those "respectable citizens" subscribed to Hurlbut's miserable statements, intending in one blow to crush the rising church.

An examination of those testimonies and exparte statements shows gross inconsistencies, at once revealing the lying and persecuting character of that batch of evidence (?), so thrust upon the world. In later years, Hurlbut boasted of his work, and gloried in originating the Spaulding story concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon, although, as he stated to Dr. H. Rathburn of Lansing, Mich., there was no truth in it. Hurlbut had done his work, preparing his statements and evidences which he had collected, intending to publish it in a book; but before it was ready for the press, his reputation was so malodorous that it was deemed best to transfer it to E. D. Howe, who published it as "Mormonism Unveiled," in 1834. The unreliability of that work, claiming to give historical data and true statement concerning the Latter Day Saint church, is fully shown in its publication of garbled and corrupted texts from the Book of Mormon. Yet, sir, that is the book which constitutes the stock in trade of those who resort to stale slander, instead of discussing doctrine upon its merits.

Those statements, manifestly malicious and libelous in character, which first appeared in Howe's work, before referred to, have been copied into various encyclopedias. and other books pretending to be true histories of Mormonism, and published far and wide; so vitiating public opinion, and prejudicing the masses against the church.

You say: "He (Joseph Smith) said to one of his friends, Peter Ingersol, there was no such book, that the whole affair was a hoax, but said he, 'as I have got the d---d fools fixed, I shall carry out the fun.'" Who was this Ingersol to whom Joseph Smith should have made a statement, contradicted by his entire life-work? Let the sequel answer. Peter Ingersol lived for many years in Lapeer Co., Mich., where he stated that he never made the statement bearing his name, and published in "Mormonism Unveiled.

Thus we have another instance in which is shown the brilliant talent of Hurlbut in writing Mormon history! And yet a forged, or a repudiated story continues to be quoted as conclusive evidence that the Book of Mormon is a "hoax!" ...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 4.                            Independence, Mo. July 8, 1893.                            No. 29.



Prof. Anthon's statement published in 1834 is as follows...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 4.                            Independence, Mo. July 15, 1893.                            No. 30.



In 1830 the Book of Mormon was first published, and together therewith, the "Testimony of three witnesses," Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris...

(under construction)

The following statement from two sons of witnesses is herewith submitted:
"So far as the transcript of the plates is concerned, the ne now in our possession, of which David Whitmer was the custodian, and now in the hands of his son David, is the only one that was ever taken to Prof. Anthon, so far as I heard from the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. I never heard either of the witnesses speak of any other but this one mentioned.

Of the eight witnesses mentioned in the Book of Mormon, with three of them I have been intimately acquainted from my youth; my own father, Jacob Whitmer, Hiram Page and John Whitmer; also two of the three witnesses, namely, David Whitmer with whom I was acquainted from youth until his demise; also Oliver Cowdery with whom I was intimately and closely associated from 1846 until his death. I have heard all these witnesses named, testify of and converse together, and to others concerning the matter in question, and never heard any intimation of any other transcript.

I was at the bed-side of my dying father, Jacob Whitmer, also Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and with John Whitmer in his death sickness -- all of these men affirmed their testimony as written in the Book of Mormon. The last time I saw Hiram Page, a short time before his death, he was at my father's house conversing on these things (spiritual matters) and his testimony was strong as possible in regard to the Book of Mormon as written therein."
               (Signed) JOHN C. WHITMER.
Richmond, Mo., May 13, 1893.

"I concur in the above statements in reference to the subject matter in hand. I was present with my father, Hiram Page, at his demise, and his testimony was strong and confirmatory of the testimony as written in the Book of Mormon."
               (Signed) PHILANDER A. PAGE.

The witnesses have been vindicated. They left a rich legacy unto mankind, a testimony which shall endure with the ages, while they have gone unto their Maker to receive the "just recompense of reward." ...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 4.                            Independence, Mo. August 19, 1893.                            No. 34.

A Synopsis of the Rosell-Cornish Debate.

Held at Burnham, Mich., Aug. 8-13, '92.


It is surprising to think that a man professing to know so much as Bro. Rossell does, would challenge one of another faith to discuss the merits of each church, and make such a failure...

(under construction)

... he picked up a book written against the church and says he has as many witnesses against the Book of Mormon as I had for it; and which say it is the "Spaulding Story." "Now" says he, "I'm even with him." There are more witnesses today against the Bible, than there are for it! It is untrue because of that? Concerning the Spaulding Story, I have a copy of it here, the original of which we can trace until we find it deposited in the Oberlin College, Oberlin, O. The man who brings that up at this late date is ignorant on what you called Mormonism...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 4.                            Independence, Mo. December 2, 1893.                            No. 49.

Letter from Avoca, Minn.

My wife and I were baptized this fall by Elder J. N. Roberts, and confirmed by him. We were converted to the faith by my father's, William B. Smith's teachings, also through the silent preacher, the Ensign

My father, Wm. B. Smith, brother of the martyred Prophet, Joseph Smith, has at last finished his earthly pilgrimage. He died at Osterdock, Iowa. I have not learned the exact date of his death at this writing, so I can only say he is gone and that he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He was eighty years old and had always been a faithful soldier of the Lord and an able advocate of the same. He had been in delicate health for some time, partly on account of old age and partly on account of disabilities contracted while in the service of his country. Perhaps you will receive a more detailed account of his death through some other source. If you do not, as soon as I can learn the particulars I will send them to you...

If any elder can make it convenient, come and see me, and do some preaching here. Elder Roberts preached a rousing discourse in our school house when he was here, and there is an interest awakened in consequence, and what we need is more of the same.
           I remain fast in the one faith,
                           E. D. C. Smith.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 5.                            Independence, Mo. December 30, 1893.                            No. 1.

Letter from Lancaster, Wis.

Bro. E. C. Briggs and I visited with Uncle Wm. B. Smith a short time before his death and obtained some interesting information concerning the rise of the church which I am under promise to send to the Ensign in the near future. I also obtained an affidavit from him concerning church affairs in the old church and up to the time of his brother's death...
                           J. W. Peterson.

Elders J. W. Peterson and E. M. Wildermuth were at Lancaster, Wisc. on the 19th and expected to hold services over the holidays at Bradville...

Note: The Nov. 11th issue of Zion's Ensign prints a short notice, saying that "Elder E. C. Briggs was at Osterdock, Ia., Oct. 30th..." This fixes the most probable date for the "interesting information" and the "affidavit" Elders Briggs and Peterson obtaied from William B. Smith prior to his death on Nov. 13th. See the Jan. 13, 1894 issue of Zion's Ensign for "Wm. B. Smith's last Statement." This was reprinted a few days later in the Salt Lake City Deseret News, which also printed his obituary in its issue of Dec. 19, 1893. See vol. V, pp. 225-6 of the RLDS History of the Church for a partial copy of his "statement" to Peterson and Briggs. The William B. Smith "affidavit" of c. Nov. 1, 1893 has never been published, but a record of Peterson's second visit with William is preserved in "Declaration of J. W. Peterson," dated May 1, 1921, on file in the RLDS Archives. See also the Saints' Herald of Dec. 9, 1893 for William's obituary, the facts of which were mostly submitted his wife Rosanna.


Vol. 5.                            Independence, Mo. January 13, 1894.                            No. 3.

Wm. B. Smith's last Statement.

                           Bradtville, Wis.
EDITOR ENSIGN: -- As I am under promise to Bro. E. C. Briggs and others, to send to your paper a transcript of an interview between Uncle Wm. B. Smith and E. C. Briggs, I herewith submit the following taken from notes and also from memory.

Bro. Briggs and I visited him next day after he returned from St. Paul being about two weeks before his death. We found him able to be about the house and quite willing to talk. After passing the time of day, etc., Bro. Briggs and he spoke of former meetings and finally drifted on to the subject of Bro. Smith's early boyhood and his knowledge of the rise of the church, Book of Mormon, etc.

Bro. Briggs then handed me a pencil and asked Bro. Smith if he ever saw the plates his brother had had, from which the Book of Mormon was translated"

He replied, "I did not see them uncovered but I handled them and hefted them while wrapped in the tow frock and judged them to have weighed about sixty pounds. I could tell they were plates of some kind and that they were fastened together by rings running through the back. Their size was as described in Mother's history."

Bro. Briggs then asked, "Did any others of the family see them?"

"Yes," said he, "Father and my Brother Samuel saw them as I did while in the frock So did Hyrum and others of the family."

"Was this frock one that Joseph took with him especially to wrap the plates in?"

"No, it was his every day frock such as young men used to wear then."

"Didn't you want to remove the cloth and see the bare plates?" said Bro. B.

"No," he replied; "for father had just asked if he might not be permitted to do so, and Joseph, putting his hand on them said, 'No; I am instructed not to show them to anyone. If I do, I will transgress and lose them again.' Besides we did not care to have him break the commandment and suffer as he did before.'

"Did you not doubt Joseph's testimony sometimes?" said Bro. Briggs.

"No," was the reply. "We all had the most implicit confidence in what he said. He was a truthful boy. Father and mother believed him, why should not the children? I suppose if he had told crooked stories about other things we might have doubted his word about the plates, but Joseph was a truthful boy. That father and mother believed his report and suffered persecution for that belief shows that he was truthful. No sir, we never doubted his word for one minute."

"Well," said Bro. B. "It is said that Joseph and the rest of the family were lazy and indolent."

"We never heard of such a thing until after Joseph told his vision, and not then by our friends. Whenever the neighbors wanted a good days work done they knew where they could get a good hand and they were not particular to take any of the other boys before Joseph either. We cleared sixty acres of the heaviest timber I ever saw. We had a good place, but it required a great deal of labor to make it a good place. We also had on it from twelve to fifteen hundred sugar trees, and to gather the sap and make sugar and molasses from that number of trees was no lazy job. We worked hard to clear our place and the neighbors were a little jealous. If you will figure up how much work it would take to clear sixty acres of heavy timber land, heavier than any here, trees you could not conveniently cut down, you can tell whether we were lazy or not, and Joseph did his share of the work with the rest of the boys.

We never knew we were bad folks until Joseph told his vision. We were considered respectable till then, but at once people began to circulate falsehoods and stories in a wonderful way."

"Were your folks religiously inclined before Joseph saw the angel," asked Bro. Briggs.

"Yes we always had family prayer since I can remember. I well remember father used to carry his spectacles in his vest pocket, (feeling in his lower right hand pocket to show us how and where) and when us boys saw him feel for his specks, we knew that was a signal to get ready for prayer, and if we did not notice it mother would say, 'William,' or whoever was the negligent one, 'get ready for prayer.' After prayer we had a song we would sing, I remember part of it yet.

Another day has passed and gone,
We lay our garments by,
"Hyrum, Samuel, Katharine and mother were members of the Presbyterian church. My father would not join. He did not like it because a Rev. Stockton had preached my brother's funeral sermon and intimated very strongly that he had gone to hell, for Alvin was not a church member, but he was a good boy and my father did not like it."

"What caused Joseph to ask for guidance as to what church he ought to join." asked Bro. B.

"Why, there was a joint revival in the neighborhood between the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians and they had succeeded in stirring up quite a feeling, and after the meeting the question arose which church should have the converts. Rev. Stockton was the president of the meeting and suggested that it was their meeting under their care and they had a church there and they ought to join the Presbyterians, but as father did not like Rev. Stockton very well, our folks hesitated and the next evening a Rev. Lane of the Methodists preached a sermon on 'what church shall I join?' And the burden of his discourse was to ask God, using as a text, ;If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally.' And of course when Joseph went home and was looking over the text he was impressed to do just what the preacher had said, and going out in the woods with a child-like, simple trusting faith believing that God meant just what he said, he kneeled down and prayed; and the time having come for the reorganizing of his church, God was pleased to show him that he should join none of those churches but if faithful he should be chosen to establish the true church."

We also talked with him concerning his connection with the church during the days of his brother, and after Bro. Briggs had gone to Minneapolis I succeeded in getting an affidavit from him on that subject which I will send in my next. I would send it now but I haven't my satchel with me when writing and consequently have not access to it.

I continued preaching services at Osterdock until about three or four days before Uncle William's death, when I was compelled to cross the river again into Wisconsin to fill my appointments, and being away from telegraph communication, I did not learn of his death for several days after it occurred.

Bro. Wildermuth and I are here trying to hold services, but the weather is against us. We go from here to Annaton and vicinity.
                               J. W. PETERSON.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 5.                            Independence, Mo. March 24, 1894.                            No. 13.


Wise Reverends Differ -- Joseph Smith
A Very Remarkable Youth.

Christian Cynosure published by Ezra A. Cook, at Chicago, Illinois, contained in its issue of December 20th, 1877, an article entitled, "Joseph Smith the Mormon," by the Rev. Samuel D. Green, who says of Smith: "He saw money deposited by an early settler, who sat down by this river and deposited his money in the earth just where the miller was erecting his abutments, some of Smith's believers went and dug for the money and one of the walls fell. The diggers were disappointed, and helped rebuild it. This is the only act of mischief I ever heard of him, and of this I never searched the truth, it was a report, and whether true or not, I have no knowledge.

"There was living in Bethany, a Rev. M. Spaulding. * * * He had written some chronicles on the ruins of Central America and some Bible truths mixed up together. Some early history of the character of the inhabitants, connected with bigamy, etc. Joe Smith and Cochrane got some knowledge and borrowed it, and from the help of Spaulding's manuscript they made the Mormon Bible. Rev. Mr. Spaulding called and sent for it a great many times, and his wife came for it, but Smith would not let them have it. Smith told Spaulding, and I heard him, that they had made a Mormon Bible of it, and the Lord had taken it into the wilderness. And he, Joe Smith, prophesied where it was deposited in Palmyra woods about twelve miles east of Rochester, New York. James Harris was appointed to go and get it. He went and pretended he found it beside a log just where Smith said it was. This is the true history of Joe Smith and the beginning of Mormonism, and the people who settled at Salt Lake. After Mr. Spaulding died, his wife came east to Munson, Massachusetts, while I lived there, to visit her friends or relatives, Dr. McKingsbury's [sic, McKinstry's?] family, my near neighbor."


1st. As Mr. Green wrote in 1877 and knew Smith was only guilty of one act of mischief, which was but a report; so Smith is clear of all else at least.

2d. As Mr. Spaulding died in 1816 as repeatedly published in his wife's letter. Mr. Smith told in Green's presence the name of the Book of Mormon when but eleven years old, as he was born in 1805, and as the plates were not had till 1827, Mr. Smith is made a prophet at eleven years of age.

3d. Mr. Green being totally ignorant of what he writes, gives the name Cochrane for Cowdery, James Harris for Martin Harris, and McKingsbury for McKinstry.

Elder M. T. Short of Millersburg, Illinois, reviewed the letter of Mr. Green in the issue of the Cynosure of July 25th, of which the editor in an appended statement said: "The above is the history of the Spaulding book from a Mormon standpoint, most of our readers will recollect the letter from Samuel D. Green in the issue of December 20th, 1877, giving a history of Joe Smith, while stopping at his hotel in Batavia, New York, and the origin of the Book of Mormon. -- Mr. Green saw this Mr. Spaulding as late as 1827; knew that he lent his manuscript to Smith and called for its return several times in vain, and heard Smith tell him it was disposed of. The writer of the above would do well to study Mr. Green's letter as it is altogether reliable and its author is yet living in Chelsea, Massachusetts."

"CHELSEA,           Mass.,
May 12th, 1879.     

"Mr. I. N. WHITE.

"DEAR SIR: -- I send you the Christian Cynosure of the 20th of December 1877. If you had taken the Cynosure, one of the best, open, candid, Christian papers published, you would long ago know all the questions you asked me. * * * I saw Mr. Spaulding as late as 1827 and I have a letter from Wm. Jenkins (now dead) that he saw Spaulding in Attica in 1829, and he wanted to preach there. Another needful you will get from the Cynosure. * * *

"Yours truly,
              "SAMUEL D. GREEN.

. "P. S. -- Send for the 'Broken Seal' to Ezra H. Cook & Co., Chicago, Illinois."


"Samuel D. Green, of Chelsea, Massachusetts, a Master Mason, who was a member of Batavia Lodge, to which Morgan belonged, and an intimate friend of Morgan's, and was, at the time of this abduction, mayor or president of Batavia, and a member of the Presbyterian church.

"A MASONIC REVELATION. -- Mr. Samuel D. Green is a venerable gentleman of the highesr respectability, whose statements seem to be worthy od full credence. The Broken Seal, or, Personal Reminiscences of the Morgan Abduction and Murder, is the title of a book of some three hundred pages just issued by him, purporting to give a full and accurate account, from personal knowledge, of the Morgan 'abduction,' and other Masonic matters which made such an excitement in this country, now almost half a century ago." -- Congregationalist and Recorder, Boston.

"A BOOK FOR THE TIMES. -- We have received from the publisher a book of thrilling interest, entitled, 'The Broken Seal, or, Personal Reminiscences of Samuel D. Green, on the abduction of William Morgan by Freemasons, in 1826.'

Mr. Green is an acquaintance of ours. He is a venerable gentleman, of high respectability and intelligence, upwards of eighty-two years of age, a member of the Congregational church, and we esteem him as a Christian man." -- World's Crisis.

In the Congregationalist of October 24th, 1877, the Rev. Tyron Edwards, D. D., of Philadelphia, tells what he knows about Mormonism: he says "The Book of Mormon was in substance written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, who was a graduate of Dartmouth college and a Presbyterian minister, once settled in Cherry Valley, New York, and afterward living in New Salem, (also called Conneaut), Ohio. Beginning in 1809, and writing at intervals as he did, he often read parts of the work to his neighbors, and among the listeners was Joseph Smith, who not only attended the readings, but borrowed the manuscripts, as he said, to read to his family at home. In 1812 the completed manuscript was placed in the hands of a printer in Pittsburg. Pennsylvania, by the name of Patterson, with a view to its publication. While the printing was delayed, Mr. Spaulding left Pittsburg, for Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816. While the manuscript was in the hands of Patterson, Sidney Rigdon was working for him as a journeyman printer, and it is supposed that he, having copied the manuscript, with Smith concocted the idea of the new religion!!!"


Mr. Smith who was born December 23d, 1805, must have been a very interested listener to the reading of the manuscript, which was completed "in 1812," and "placed in the hands of a printer." And with what elegance he must have read it to "his family!" Not many boys of seven have a family. The vilifiers of Joseph Smith often make him more remarkable than his friends do.

But Mr. Edwards places Mr. Green in a bad fix, as Spaulding died in 1816 he says, while Green saw Spaulding in 1827, Mr. Green having heard Smith tell Spaulding he "made a Mormon Bible out of it," (manuscript) and as Spaulding died in 1816, Smith was a literary wonder at eleven years of age.

In the Detroit Tribune of February 1st, 1872, appeared an article entitled, "The Mormon Church." The writer, J. F. D., mentions a celebrated discussion held in New York City, in 1836 or 1837, at which he was present, and of which he says: "It was shown that Mr. Spaulding, from reading the discoveries made by Mr. Stephens and others in Central America, was led to select the subject of his novel." Mr. Stephens says: "Being entreated with a special confidential mission to Central America, on Wednesday, October 3d, 1839, I embarked on board the British Brig, Mary Ann, for the bay of Honduras." See Stephen's work, Vol. 1, chapter 1, p. 9.

Note 1: This Rudolph Etzenhouser article was integrated into the "Works Against Mormonism" section of his 1894 book, From Palmyra to Independence (see p. 265 ff)

Note 2: The Apr. 7, 1832 issue of the Rochester Daily Advertiser and Telegraph carried this interesting notice: "Married: In Bennington, on the 25th ult. by the Rev. William Throop, Doct. Solomon Spalding to Miss Arvilla Ann Harris, both of Bennington." The "Doct. Solomon Spalding" mentioned here, as being married just west of Attica, at Bennington, Genesee Co., New York, was the author of the unpublished book, "Romance of Celes." The manuscript of that book is in the Library of Congress and is cataloged under the name of Solomon Spalding of Ashford (1761-1816). The latter Solomon was a cousin, one generation removed, from Dr. Solomon Spalding (1797-1862), later of of Lorain Co., Ohio, who married Arvilla Ann Harris, (who was evidently the daughter of Wm. P. Harris of Bennington). Dr. Spalding's "Romance of Celes" (written in the hand of Arvilla Ann) is largely based upon the plurality of worlds precepts championed by the Rev. Thomas Dick during the 1820s. The "Romance of Celes" may have been based upon an earlier literary work by Dr. Spalding's cousin, Solomon Spalding of Ashford. The story contains numerous thematic and phraseology parallels to both the Oberlin Spalding manuscript and the Book of Mormon.

Note 3: The whereabouts of Dr. Solomon Spalding during the late 1820s remains unknown. He was born in Plainfield, New Hampshire, in 1797 and moved with his father to Morristown, Vermont, in 1815. About 1822 he evidently obtained certification to practice as a physician in Genesee Co., NY. In 1827 this particular Solomon would have been 30 years old and presumably unmarried. It appears that he resided in western New York during the 1820s and was a member of the Batavia/Bethany/LeRoy "Olive Branch" Masonic Lodge. Although his name does not appear as a head of a household in the 1830 federal census for New York, it is possible that Dr. Spalding lived with relatives, such as Jabez or William Spalding, who lived in Bethany twp., in Genesee County. He may well have stopped over at Samuel D. Green's hotel in nearby Batavia during the late 1820s or early 1830s. Solomon and Arvilla Ann eventually moved to Amherst twp., Lorain County, Ohio -- probably in the late 1830s. They are listed in the 1840 census of that township as having one son between the ages of 5 and 10 years, perhaps born in New York state. This was Lovel Spalding, who in 1860 was living at St. Illwater, Minnesota.


Vol. 5.                            Independence, Mo. March 31, 1894.                            No. 14.


Claims of the Book of Mormon Examined in the Light of
History, Archaeology, Antiquity and Science.



Delivered at Independence, Mo., February 13th-21st, 1894.


... the following language from Josiah Priest's work:

"They say the tongues which the dove gave to mankind, were infinitely varied; which, when received, they immediately dispersed. But among them were fifteen heads or chiefs of families, which were permitted to speak the same language, and these were the Toltecs, the Aculhucans, and Aztecs, who embodied themselves together, and traveled, they knew not where, but at length arrived in the country of Aztalan, or lake country in America." -- American Antiquities, p. 206.

And the Toltecs, who had a like tradition, say that their fathers were seven in number, who, with their wives, understood each other's speech, and then, after crossing great lands and seas, and undergoing many hardships, finally arrived in America.

Now there is an evidence which did not come to light until years after the Book of Mormon was published. It is quoted by Bancroft the historian. It is stated as being a fact, and you will notice this marvelous agreement with the Book of Mormon. Bancroft's works were not published until 1875. Priest was first published in 1833, having been copyrighted on the 21st of March, 1833, which was nearly four years after the Book of Mormon was copyrighted. But about this I wish to call your attention to the fact that Priest's work (there is a copy here which may be examined by any one) was not entered in the office of the clerk of the Central District of New York until the 21st day of March, 1833, while the Book of Mormon was copyrighted on the 11th day of June, 1829. Now there is a difference of nearly four years in favor of the Book of Mormon. Yet some of our opponents have said, as I heard Mr. Clark Braden say in a public lecture concerning Mr. Priest's work, that it was published in 1825.

Until 1891 I had never seen a complete copy of that rare work, one that included the title-page, copyright, and preface. In October of that year I was passing along Twelfth Street, Kansas City, and seeing a second-hand book-store, I entered it, and one of the first that I saw standing on the shelf was Priest's "American Antiquities." I bought it, and there is the copyright, with the seal of the clerk of the Central District of New York attached certifying to the book, and as to the character of its contents, and the date when it was entered for a copyright, which is a complete refutation of what Mr. Braden said, namely, that it was published nine years before that time....

And in case this book [Book of Mormon] was a fraud, think of the impossibility that Solomon Spaulding, or Sidney Rigdon, or Joseph Smith, living in the wilds of New York and Ohio, without telegraphs, railroads, or any of the conveniences that we have today, think of the impossibility, I say, of their knowing anything of this matter. If the statement is made that Baron Humboldt had investigated some of these things prior to that time, think of the impossibilities even then. Baron Humboldt visited South America in 1799; he was there until 1802; then he passed by Central America, knew nothing concerning the ruins of Palenque, of Uitta and of Uxmal, or of those other wonderful ruins of ancient cities that were buried in the forests and which were not discovered by any English or American traveller or writer for years after the Book of Mormon was translated...

Hence the impossibility of such a thing as Joseph Smith, or Sidney Rigdon, or Solomon Spaulding or any one else in the wilds of New York or Ohio, having access to these works. And how about any one by chance writing that the original people from Babel were all allowed to speak the same language and journey together, just as stated by these discoverers today... Very many now suppose that the evidences of these antiquities and great remains were published before the Book of Mormon was written, exactly as Mr. Braden would carry the idea about Priest's book, as we have seen. It is common to suppose that any one could have taken these books from works already extant.

But I have examined the travels and discoveries of twenty-two writers about the Central American and Peruvian antiquities, and I find that there was but one book published in the English language prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon, and that is the work of Del Rio, which was published in London in 1822. And of this book a literary paper in London, late in the year 1833, spoke of the facts contained in it as having "recently" come to light. Yes, it was at that date a new thing even in the learned world; among those who were most acquainted with such studies and researches; it was in fact almost an unknown book in 1833...

Note 1: For extensive excerpts from Elder Henry A. Stebbins lectures, see his 1894 book, Book of Mormon Lectures. For more on his notions concerning Del Rio's discoveries not being available for consultation during the 1820s, see his Mar. 25, 1897 article in the Ensign: "Modern Knowledge of the Antiquities of America."

Note 2: In his 1901 revision of Book of Mormon Lectures, Stebbins adds this about Del Rio's discoveries at Palenque: "This work is also mentioned by Josiah Priest in his "American Antiquities," 1835 edition, page 246. It seems to be an account in particular of the ruined city called Palenque, otherwise Otolum. In connection with this Mr. Priest quotes from what he calls the "Family Magazine," for 1833, number 34, page 266... From this it appears that in 1833 an interest was just being awakened... I find no evidence that any other American writer mentioned Del Rio's work before Mr. Priest." Of course Elder Stebbins conveniently overlooks the fact that Del Rio's discoveries were mentioned in the newspapers of western New York as early as July 5, 1822 and that information on Central American ruins, Palenque, Del Rio, etc. was paraphrased as length in John V. Yates and Joseph W. Moulton's 1824 volume of their History of New York, a book readily available in western New York prior to 1829.


Vol. 5.                            Independence, Mo. April 14, 1894.                            No. 16.


Claims of the Book of Mormon Examined in the Light of
History, Archaeology, Antiquity and Science.



Delivered at Independence, Mo., February 13th-21st, 1894.


... we find everywhere the evidences of two chief occupations of North America, particularly the southern part, viz., Central America and Mexico. We claim that this is a very strong witness of the truth of the history that is given in the Book of Mormon of the two peoples who dwelt upon this land. And the truth is what we wish to teach to everybody, even as we desire truth ourselves.

It should be remembered that these discoveries of their antiquity and of two distinct epochs of time, were not made until long after the Book of Mormon was published. Some suppose that Smith, or Rigdon, or Spaulding, or whoever got out their ideas, understood these travels... [but] perhaps divine providence kept back these records that they might come later than the Book of Mormon, and thus be corroborative evidence of its truth instead of being charged as its origin... Del Rio was published in London in 1822, but "The Family Magazine" in 1833 speaks of it as being something new, or as first known to the literary world in London.

Now, when we think of the wilds of Western New York and Northern Ohio, in the days of stage coaches, without railroads or telegraphs, or any speedy means of communications, we cannot conceive that such a man as Joseph Smith, unlearned and illiterate, could possibly write or bring out such a work as this... Hence, the impossibility of unlearned and unlettered men like Joseph Smith, even of a man like Sidney Rigdon, knowing anything about these things [American antiquities] that had attracted no attention, not even among enlightened or cultured people of the old world....

Note: Elder Stebbins makes no mention of Sidney Rigdon's pre-Momon belief that the American Indians were a remnant of the lost tribes of Israel and that they would be gathered in North America, to a New Jerusalem, prior to the beginning of the Christian millennium. Such a man as Rigdon might well have searched out obscure references to ancient American civilizations as a sort of hobby -- and, if not in the "wilds of Western New York and Northern Ohio," then in the more literate precincts of Pittsburgh, on occasional trips there to visit his family and friends. Despite what Stebbins attempts to portray, as widespread American ignorance of ancient New World civilizations, much information and speculation about that very subject was available to Solomon Spalding, Sidney Rigdon, and even to Joseph Smith, Jr. See notes accompanying Stebbins' March 31st article above.


Vol. 5.                            Independence, Mo. June 9, 1894.                            No. 24.


Claims of the Book of Mormon Examined in the Light of
History, Archaeology, Antiquity and Science.



Delivered at Independence, Mo., February 13th-21st, 1894.


... Another falsehood... is that the Book of Mormon claims to be a history of the ten lost tribes of Israel. But an hour's reading of the book will be sufficient to convince any one that both of these statements are false, for in no place does the book claim to be the history of the ten lost tribes, or any fragment of them...

One of the earliest writers in support of this theory [Israelite Indians] in later times is Reverend Ethan Smith, of Poultney, Vermont, as shown in his book entitled "Views of the Hebrews, or the Tribes of Israel in America," published in 1825, wherein he undertakes to prove, citing Mr. Adair and others, that the American Indians are descendants from the lost tribes of Israel

Mr. Smith sums up the argument of Mr, Adair that the natives of this continent are of the ten tribes of Israel [in a list of 23 points]... I refer you again to the Hon. E. M. Haines' [1888] volume, "The American Indian," page 101, where he mentions Dr. Boudinot speaking of the Penobscot Indians... Mr. Haines quotes the Rev. Ethan Smith as remarking upon this fact as follows:

"How could it be possible that the wild native Indians, in different parts of the continent, should be found singing this phrase of praise to the Great First Cause, or to Jah, (exclusively Hebrew), without having brought it down by tradition from ancient Israel? The positive testimonies of such men as Boudinot and Adair are not to be dispensed with nor doubted..."

Note: Elder Stebbins makes no mention of previous citations of Ethan Smith and references to his work, as published in various RLDS books and periodicals. For example, see the 1887 articles in the Saints' Herald (both pro and con) regarding a personal link between the Rev. Ethan Smith and the Rev. Solomon Spalding.


Vol. 5.                            Independence, Mo. November 24, 1894.                            No. 49.

The Story of Sidney Rigdon and
the Book of Mormon.

(reprinted from the Saints Herald of Nov. 14, 1894)

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, April 6, 1895.                            No. 96.



The Sixty-Fourth Annual Conference of the
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ
Begins in the So-Called Mormon
Church Today...

The annual session of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ will convene at the stone church in this city today at 10 o'clock. Almost 1,000 visitors had already arrived last night and several hundred more are expected this morning.

The session is advertised to last ten days and will be presided over by the hereditary president of the church, Joseph Smith, Jr., son of its founder, who is called Joseph the Martyr, and who was killed at Carthage, Mo.

The General Sunday school association of the church continued in session yesterday, but was brought to a close last night. Mr. E. A. Blakesley, president of the association, was present and made a report... Mr. W. W. Blair, one of the first presidents, made an address that was greatly appreciated by the large crowd in attendance....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, April 6, 1895.                     No. 298.


The Forty-third Annual Conference of the
Latter Day Saints Will Convene
This Morning.

The forty-third annual conference of the Reorganized church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will convene this morning at 10 o'clock in the Latter Day Saints' church on West Lexington street, Independence. Joseph Smith, the head of the church, arrived last night from Lamoni, Ia., and will assume immediate control of the conference at to-day's session. Yesterday a large number of delegates arrived and many more are expected from distant points. Many of the church missionaries who have worked in foreign fields, will be present and lend interest to the conference. The place of meeting today will be opposite that historic spot known as the temple lot. The premises are now in possession of the Hedrickite church, and a suit to settle their right to occupy the same is now pending in the United States district court, where it was taken on an appeal by the Hedrickite organization. It is probable that the decision will be handed down while the present conference is in session.

The session will open this morning at 10 o'clock in the auditorium of the church, with the quorum of twelve and the quorum of seventy present. The prophet, Joseph Smith, who controls this vast and growing religious sect, will call the conference to order and will preside over its deliberations. The session in the forenoon will be largely routine, but many interesting talks will be made by the elders and others engaged in church work. A committee on credentials will be selected and the general church organization be made ready for business. The afternoon session will be devoted to the hearing of reports from the various districts in the United States and in foreign countries. At 2 o'clock religious exercises will be held.

Yesterday the church was occupied by the General Sunday School Association. During the forenoon an instructive session was held by Mrs. Blakesley. Primary work in the Sunday school was the topic of the discussion. Mrs. Isabel James had charge of the instruction on "Intermediate Work." General discussions followed, and many bright speeches were made by those present. The afternoon was devoted to the closing exercises of the association. The deferred report from the Southern California district as to the relations of the Sunday school to the church was practically tabled. The session proper closed with the selection of officers for the ensuing year. E. A. Blakesley, the present president, was re-elected and Miss Anna Stedman was chosen associate....

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, April 6, 1895.                            No. ?



Joseph Smith, Jr., and other Dignitaries
of the Reorganized Church of the Latter
Day Saints Are There -- A Revelation
Expected During the Session.

At 10 o'clock this morning in their new stone church at Independence the members of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints met in annual conference. It will last ten days. About 600 members are present. All the sessions of the great conference will be held in the new stone church on West Lexington street just across from the plot of ground known among members of the Church of Latter Day Saints as 'Temple lot,' and by them considered sacred. Here it is expected that finally will center heads of the Mormon church and that from this point will emanate the revelations which will dictate the course of the church and of its thousands of members throughout the United States.

The conference was called to order this morning by Elder Alexander Smith. He at once read a resolution that Joseph Smith the son of the great prophet and W. W. Blair act as first vice presidents of the present conference. It was adopted without debate and the venerable and prosperous head of the reorganized church, Joseph Smith, Jr., assumed charge. The organization of the conference was completed by naming H. A. Stebbins as official secretary. F. L. Sheehy of Massachusetts district, M. H. Bond of Pennsylvania and Robert Elden of Missouri were named as a committee on credentials. The hymn Redeemer of Israel was sung by the choir and thus the conference was formally opened. After this and pending the report of the committee on credentials a number of the delegates from the different missions were called upon to give the conference their views upon the work done during the last year. Their reports were uniformly to the effect that work had been encouraging and that their labors had been attended with success. The report of the committee on credentials developed that there was no dispute as to the delegates from different sections and this was speedily disposed of. At noon the conference adjourned to meet again at 2 o'clock but not until Prophet Joseph Smith, jr., had given the conference a talk upon points of decorum to be observed throughout the session. He told them that he would consider it a personal rebuke for a brother to pick up his hat and walk out during the sessions. How would it look said the president, for me to rebuke a visitor when delegates rise and walk out? Let us have the very best of order.

It will be some time before the conference reaches the interesting part of its work. Revelations of the gravest import are expected but the hereditary head of the church will be too busy for a few days to pay much attention to this particular feature of the conference.

There are delegates present from the New England states, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, from Canada, Great Britain and Australasia. The ministry and laity are both represented and there is a fair sprinkling of women in the delegation.

Although Lamoni is the nominal headquarters for the church and is the home of the president, Independence is really the stronghold of the order, possessing the affections of its members who hold as true the prophecy that this is some time to be the Mecca of all true followers of the reorganized church of Latter Day Saints. For this reason the conference now being held is regarded with especial interest by its 30,000 members.

The afternoon session like that of the forenoon, was devoted to clearing up the budget of business which had accumulated since the last conference a year ago.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 7, 1895.                            No. 97.



A Large Attendance of Delegates From All Over
the Country -- Steadily Growing Membership
and Prosperity Reported -- An 8 Per Cent
Gain in Numbers Since Last Year --
The Programme for Today.

The forty-third annual conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ convened in the stone church at Independence yesterday morning at 10 o'clock.

Elder Alexander H. Smith called the meeting to order... W. W. Blair suggested that the morning be passed in listening to short addresses. On motion his suggestion was adopted. The time allotted to each was limited to ten minutes.

A supplement to the Saints' Herald was passed by W. A. Warnaky of Independence. It contained the ministry reports to this conference. It was published at Lamoni, Ia. In this report Joseph Smith, Jr., of the First Presidency has this to say:

"I have preached seventy-five times; presided over several other meetings; blessed several children. I have spoken at Lamoni, quite often when at home. Have spoken at Pleasanton and Lone Rock branches in Decatur district; at Garden Grove, Decatur county; at Woodbine, Moorehead, Little Sioux, Council Bluffs, Ia.; Omaha, Neb.; and have acted as president of Lamoni branch since first Tuesday in January, 1895. I have kept no record of administrations, blessing of children, confirmations, marriages; but have performed that rite three times during the year at Lamoni, once at Moorhead; and am still in the faith."...

E. C. Briggs of the Twelve: "Home duties hindered me taking my mission until December 1. I remained in Chicago during that month and attended several meetings in the city. Since January I have held from three to five services per week. Bay City and Detroit Saints are prospering very encouragingly. Three halls are occupied in Detroit, besides cottage meetings every week. The ministry are all alive, and report in the best of spirits all along the line....

The church was well filled, but not uncomfortably crowded. Many of the delegates did not arrive until yesterday morning. Hence the lack of attendance. In the afternoon the younger visiting members of the church attended the meeting and the crowd was about double the morning audience.

At the Afternoon Session.

The high priests were given seats on the rostrum at the beginning of the afternoon session, which convened at 1:30. The seventies were then placed on either side of the auditorium and the elders occupied seats in the center of the room, according to the four classes, numbered one, two, three and four. After singing an opening hymn the Rev. Alexander Smith, a high priest from a northwestern district, offered prayer...

Marriage and Divorce.

According to the report the causes justifying separation between married persons are adultery and abandonment without cause, constituting presumption of crime, referred to in Matthew 5:22.

Persons who have been married and who have afterward been separated may marry other companions, on condition that the cause for separation was considered by the courts of the land to be a legal one. Such persons may also be received into the church by baptism, as the church is under obligations to observe the law of the land. Persons who at the time of being received into the church are married should be required to keep the contract of marriage then existing sacred and fulfill it to the end.

The meeting adjourned at 4 o'clock to convene again Monday morning. In the meantime, however, there will be several services today...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 7, 1895.                     No. 299.



He Presides Over the Conference in Session at Independence --
Favorable Reports Submitted by Delegates, Governed
by Reed's Rules.

The forty-third annual session of the conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints, was opened with appropriate and imposing ceremonies yesterday morning in the new brick church of the denomination in the western part of Independence. It is the sixty-fifth session of the church of 1830, but is the forty-third since the reorganization. The importance of the reorganization causes the church is number its sessions from that event rather than from the original founding. The leading workers of the reorganized church spare no pains at any time to make plain to all the great dividing line that is so clearly defined between their organization and the Mormon church of Utah.

The sessions are presided over by the venerable and respected president of the church, Joseph Smith of Lamoni, Ia. He is the eldest son of the founder of the church, and is held in deep veneration by the members and workers, and his wise counsels are sought for by all the members and accepted as almost infallible. He is showing his age somewhat, but in the chair, or when speaking, his eyes are as bright and his voice as powerful and strong as those possessed by men of younger years. He takes the deepest interest in the proceedings and intersperses the routine business with advice and fatherly suggestions that are invariably observed.
With him is his younger brother, Alexander Smith, who is also one of the exalted members and officers of the church. With them is Mrs. Salisbury, of Burnside, Ill, sister of the founder of the church, Joseph Smith. She is the sole survivor of the family and is quite as earnest and zealous in her love for the church founded by her brother as are the sons of the founder. She is quite aged, but it is her custom to attend the sessions of her church and take part in the exercises each year. The gathering is an interesting one for many reasons. There are matters of business coming up for action and that are of the highest importance to the well being and future of the organization, and then there are men and women in the conference as members who are of the most interesting personally, and altogether are unique figures in the circle of the church.

They have gathered from every land, almost, beneath the sun. The many states and territories of the nation are represented almost without exception, while England, Wales, Scotland, South America, Australia, many of the lands of Asia and the Isles of the sea have representatives in the gathering, all striving to spread the gospel as they teach and believe it in all lands where intelligence and education are found.

They tell of their grievous and exacting labors, the misfortunes that have befallen them and the privations they have undergone, the sorrow they have borne and the thorny paths they have been forced to tread, and yet through it all, their patience and persistent hope shines bright, as though they knew not the weight of care or feel the restraint of unfavorable surroundings. Their reports made to the conference abound in the most hopeful expressions, and while they speak in brief of adversity, they glow eloquent over even the hopeful signs of the times and gather courage as it by inspiration and face the future with serene hope and unruffled front.

The reports of the various workers of the church for the year just closed as tabulated by the secretary by states, shows that the church has made during the past twelve months a gain in membership of 2,110, which is by 437 the largest gain of any year in the history of the organization. The gain in membership is pretty well scattered over the entire territory covered by the workers for the church. The statistical information concerning the finances of the church was alike encouraging, and showed that the church was growing stronger each year and at the same time was also accumulating the usual amount of church property.

Where the Conference Is Held.

The pretty new stone church where the meetings of the conference are held is a spot very near the Mecca of the church. It stands just across the street from the celebrated temple lot that has so long been in litigation. The edifice is an inviting one, and the interior is pleasant and imposing The 400 elders and delegates were accommodated with ease and there was plenty of room left for the visitors and members of the local church,

The arrangements for seating the members of the conference was of a unique nature. On the platform at the center were seated President Joseph Smith and President W. W. Blair, with the counselors and the Twelve, A. H. Smith, E. C Briggs, James Cahill, J. H. Lake, J. R. Lambert, R. C. Smith and Charles Derry, William Anderson, C. E. Butterworth, J. C. Crabb, Joseph Dewsnup, Sr., M. H. Forscutt, C. G. Lanphear, F. G. Pitt, J. S. Snively, Thomas Taylor, J. M. Terry and. J. W. Waldsmith of the high priests. In the main part of the room on the left, facing the congregation, was seated the quorum of high priests; on the right was the first and second quorums of the Seventy: in front of the president was the quorum of the elders, while back of them were seated the quorums of priests, teachers and deacons and then the delegates to the conference.

In the list of the latter will be found the names of many women, some of them from distant states. The church is broad in its belief along the lines of equality of the sexes and accords the women the full privileges of the conference to represent their local organizations and also the privileges of the floor in addressing the gathering.

The conference was called to order at 10 o'clock yesterday morning by Elder Alexander Smith, and the permanent organization was effected at once by choosing President Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair as the first and second presiding officers of the ten days' session, H. A. Stebblns was elected permanent secretary. The credential committee was composed of F. L Sheehy, of Massachusetts, H. M. Bond, of Pennsylvania, and Robert Elden, of Missouri. Short addresses were then made by President Joseph Smith. W. W. Blair, W. H. Kelley, A. H. Smith and several others, after which the recorder, the secretary and the herald read their annual reports. The reports written and reflected in the short speeches showed the work in a prosperous condition and progress made during the past year in all departments and in all lands. The committee on credentials reported no contests, and President Smith spoke briefly of the decorum he expected to have observed during the conference. He wanted no delegate to walk out during the session, and the first day went through with no transgression of the wish. At noon the conference adjourned until 2 o'clock.

Marriage and Divorce.

The afternoon session was devoted to clearing away of some accumulated business and formal committee reports of no particular interest, until the report of the special committee appointed one year ago to revise the rules of the church and declare its standing on the questions of marriage and divorce was reached. This was an interesting committee and was on a very important point to the economy and record of the church.

The church has never had a well defined law on the two subjects, and last year the matter was placed in the hands of the presidency and the bishop to be adjusted. Their report was a lengthy one, covering the many points very closely, and after being read was ordered spread on the minutes of the conference, and final action was deferred until the next annual gathering for the purpose of allowing the different pastors to study the new position the church is to take and decide if it is the best and is the choice of the elders

The law drafted by the committee took up the question of "just causes for divorce;" "What conditions are there under which divorced parties may be married;" "The lawfulness of a marriage of a person who has divorced companion living;" "separation for cause." The report declared that marriage was instituted by God, a condition between the two sexes, for mental and moral companionship and to fulfill the laws of God as stated in the injunction to "be fruitful and multiply." It defined the domestic relation and stated the Scriptural causes for divorce and separation, the relation of people affected to the church and the duty of the church in the premises. It was declared that the original laws of God gave no cause for divoice, presuming on the purity of the people, but moral lapses had shown the need for some laws bearing on the question, and the Savior while on earth spoke of the causes that made it justifiable for a man to put away his wife. There were some recommendations for the church also included in the report/

Tom Reed's Rules Go.

At the close of the reading of the report it was moved by W. H. Kelley that it be spread on the records and action deferred until the next annual gathering for the purpose of studying the report.

In putting the motion President Smith was somewhat annoyed by the fact that many of those present failed to vote, and stated that inasmuch as they had allowed the opportunity to pass, under the rules of Tom Reed they were counted as voting with the affirmative.

"Is Tom Reed running this meeting?" questioned one of the elders.

"Yes, sir, common sense rules here, and Tom Reed's rues were based on common sense," promptly replied the venerable head of the church.

Later in the day elder Sheehy, of Maine, arose to inquire if one who was counted as having voted in the affirmative would be recognized to move a reconsideration. It was a new point in tactics but it was promptly met by President Smith, who said:

"You will not be recognized for the purpose, you were counted as having voted in the affirmative, but by failing to actually vote you lost your right to move a reconsideration of the question. The way to preserve your rights is to exercise your privilege and actually vote your preference in the in matter."

It was something quite new -- and caused some merriment at the expense of the man from Tom Reed's state. It is a precedent in the rulings of the chair that comes within the ruling of the Twelve, and they may fail to support the chair in the precedent established.

From the St. Louis district conference was read a report, in which there were strong objections to the church hymn book as now used. It is called the "Harmony," and the report stated that it was poorly arranged, having the music on one page and the words on another and in this way confused the singers and interfered with the music of the church. It was stated also that the book was far too expensive, as it cost $2 and $2.50, which was more than the ordinary member was able to spend for that purpose and then it was poorly bound and altogether of little value. The strange arrangement of words and music caused the congregation when worshiping together to use the same hymn to different tunes and made the service in that respect almost ludicrous. The attention of the conference was called to the importance of having the matter corrected at once.

The arrangement of the services was left to the president of the conference. The conference appointed a committee of three, composed of Elgin, Sheehy and Etzenhouser, to furnish all debited information to the reporters at the conference....

Note: Katherine Smith Salisbury's attendance at the 1895 RLDS Conference at Independence was widely reported in the newspapers at that time. She voiced at least three different, important communications to the attendees during the period that the conference was in session. See the Sister Katherine's Testimony web-page for additional information.



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 7, 1895.                            No. ?



A Look at President Smith, Who Expects
to Receive Revelations Direct From
God -- Mormons Who Condemn
Polygamy and Question Divorce.

Joseph Smith, Jr., head of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints and presiding officer of the Mormon conference in session at Independence, combines a practical knowledge of the ways of the popular world with his understanding of the revelations which are said to come direct from God to the hereditary head of the Mormon church. He is a good chairman and disposes of business rapidly. Yesterday afternoon things were moving slowly. The 'saints' were growing listless and tired. When a question was put to them to vote upon only a few gave responses. President Smith didn't like this apathy, and rapped slightly on the desk in front of him. "I suppose you know," he said "that Tom Reed's rules govern here and that when you don't vote you are counted anyhow?"

This remark awakened the conference.

The Rev. Heman C. Smith of Lamoni asked if Tom Reed's rules weren't a little mixed as to application, especially that one with reference to counting a quorum.

"No sir," answered the head of the Mormon church. "Any rule that applies common sense is a good one, and this does that very thing.

"I suppose, then, Mr. President," remarked T. F. Sheehy of Maine, a member of the Council of Seventy and a Tom Reed man, "that inasmuch as those not voting are counted with the majority, we of course have then the right to move to reconsider the question."

"No sir. No sir," was the quick reply of President Smith while a titter went though the conference as it was thought that the president was a little bit of a "seer" himself in his rulings.

The hereditary head of the Church of Latter Day Saints is a man of medium height, of stocky build and looking to be at least 65 years old. He has a slightly bald forehead, a snow white beard, a keen, quick eye and a high pitched unmusical voice. He was dressed yesterday in a black diagonal Prince Albert coat, black trousers and cork soled shoes. He wore a black four-in-hand tie with a small gold pin stuck in the center. He looked like a prosperous business man and certainly he handled the conference in a business like way. He observed closely everything that was going on and often broke into the regular order of business to straighten out a threatened snarl.

At the afternoon session he rearranged the plan of seating the delegates so that it conformed to the order of the church. The high priests were seated on the left of the speaker's platform occupied by President Smith and the council of the twelve. On the right of the platform were grouped the council of seventy, while in the main aisle of the church, directly in front of the platform, were arranged the elders, deacons, priests and teachers composing the first, second, third, fourth and fifth quorums.

Shortly before completing this arrangement an usher started to seat a high priest with the fifth quorum. "Hold on there, brother," said Prophet Smith, "don't put him in there. You'll get 'em all mixed up."

That was the way he handled the conference. He had an eye on everything and was quick, pleasant and chirpy.

"Of course we would like to give you all a front seat and a corner lot," he remarked cheerfully," while the ushers were rearranging the seats of the delegates, "but we can't do it."


Later when he had named an elder on one of the committees and this elder tried to evade service by saying he was too busy, the head of the Mormon church told a story to make clear his point in refusing to let the elder shirk. "A big insurance man told me last summer," said he, "that when he went to a town to secure an agent, people would say, 'take so and so, he hasn't got much to do.' He would answer: 'I don't want him. I want to get the busiest man in town. Then I am sure to have my business attended to.'"

This is the sixty-fifth year of the Mormon church and the forty-third annual conference of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. There are at least 400 delegates in attendance. All the states in the Union are represented, and several foreign countries as well. One delegate comes direct from the Society Islands in the south seas. The men are for the most part solid, intelligent looking fellows. Most of them wear long whiskers. White ties are infrequent and indeed, a clerical aspect is not affected by the assemblage. One good brother from Kansas even wore a flaming red necktie and chewed tobacco vigorously. If the conference may be judged by the first day's developments, there will be little to ruffle the pastoral quiet of the Temple Lot. It is expected that at this conference revelations of importance will be received, which will have much bearing upon the future of the church.

It was shown yesterday that the church finances were in good shape and that the accessions to the church during the last year have been greater than for any previous year in a good bit of its history. The total membership is now 32,809.

When the "Saints" get tired of transacting routine business they stand up and sing a few verses of a hymn. Books are not used, yet everybody sings and perfect knowledge of the church hymnal is shown.


Before adjourning until Monday, President Smith arranged for Sunday services, which will keep the saints in church the better part of the day.

Monday the deliberations of the conference will be resumed.

What might have proved a bone of contention was quickly postponed for another year yesterday. It was the report of the special committee named at the last annual conference upon the question of marriage and divorce and to what extent the church should take a hand. The church of Latter Day Saints does not recognize polygamy and it is a mooted question among its leaders whether it should recognize the law of divorce or permit a divorcee to enter the church.

At the session this week it is probable that interesting points will be disposed of. Very likely the conference will discuss a plan for changing its annual meetings to national conferences to be held only once in five years. The proposition has been broached by those near the head of the church and doubtless it has strong backing.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 8, 1895.                            No. 98.



He preached Yesterday Morning in the Stone Church
at Independence -- Delegates in the Mormon
Conference Form a Large Part of the
Congregation -- Today the Conference
Continues -- The Programme.

The stone church at Independence was crowded with visiting Saints and townspeople yesterday morning. They had gathered to hear the word of God as preached by President Joseph Smith, Jr., of this, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The forty-third annual conference of the believers in this religion convened Saturday, but as told in The Times yesterday, adjourned at 4 o'clock in the afternoon until this morning, Sunday being set aside for various services and prayers....

President Smith was not in the best of health and his features displayed the fact. He made no apology for the brevity of his remarks and none was needed. He spoke just ten minutes, but his sermon contained enough food for thought to keep busy his attentive audience for hours and even days.

Mr. Smith has the strong personal magnetism for which his father, Joseph Smith, Sr., was so widely famed. As the parent had a peculiar directness of speech that was akin to bluntness, so has also the child. Not that President Smith has in any way an unkind voice or a harsh manner, for he possesses the opposite, but when he has anything to say it is said in an imperious and direct manner that brooks no denial.

For instance, before entering upon his sermon yesterday, the venerable head of the church made this announcement:

"I am told," he said, "that those in the rear of the house find it impossible to hear all that is said. The acoustic properties of the building are good, but there is too much moving of chairs. Kindly remember this: each one of you, and hereafter I will hear no further complaint." And then again, at the conclusion of his sermon, he said to the ushers: "I want the doors locked until after the benediction. Otherwise some may leave before the service is ended."

He then began his sermon by stating that his text was selected from one of the characteristic sermons delivered by Christ, in which He said much in a few words....

The conference will meet this morning at 9 o'clock. The first hour will be devoted to a prayer meeting. The regular routine business for which purpose the Saints have gathered, will then be placed in the mill and ground out as rapidly as possible. The meeting will be in session probably ten days and gives promise of being the most interesting one yet held. A first president is to be decided upon by a revelation from heaven. That is, it is so hoped, as the vacancy has existed several years. It was thought the identity of a Saint to fill this position would be revealed here by a revelation three years ago, but none was made.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 8, 1895.                     No. 300.



Men Who Had Thrilling Experiences in
Promulgating The Gospel Attending the
Mormon Conference -- Services
in the Churches Yesterday.

The elders and delegates who are attending the conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Independence spent yesterday, from early until late, attending the different services arranged for the Sabbath. The first service was the social meeting at 9 a. m., conducted by Elders F. G. Pitt and L. L. Rogers. It was followed at 11 o'clock by the annual sermon delivered by the head of the church, President Joseph Smith. He is a strong speaker, and the service was attended by all the new stone church could accommodate. The sacrament was administered during the morning service.

There Is always the greatest of interest in the services conducted by the aged president, and this one being in the new church at Independence, and so near the site of the temple to be erected, was especially interesting and impressive, and every one able to do so was present to hear the sermon and do honor to the head of the church.

There was another service at 2:30 o'clock p. m., conducted by Elders E. L. Kelley and J. H. Lake, and the evening service was conducted by Elders E. C. Smith and J. C. Crabb. The house was well filled at each service.

The men attending the conference feel that the general people have been prejudiced against them and their church on account of the wrong doing of the members of the Utah church, and wherever they go they preach their doctrines so as to overcome this objection and give a proper idea of the church they represent and the doctrines they teach. "Ours is not a gospel or gloom," said Elder Sheehy, in talking of the church. "We are not well understood in many places, and people have a feeling against us that proper information will certainly remove. We teach a very pleasant doctrine, believing that God is too good to damn humanity, and humanity much too good to be damned. Our doctrines are in many respects not very different from those of other churches. We have some points similar to the Presbyterian church, and others similar to the Episcopal church. We have a theology plainly defined and our teachings are for the betterment of humanity and the promotion of all good matters."

The services of the conference will continue during the week. Each morning there will be services, and each afternoon business sessions, and preaching at night. There are some important business matters coming up during the week, and the sessions are interesting to the members as well as to others who may attend.

There are many peculiar men among the delegates and clergy at the convention. They are men who have had strange and novel experiences in their labors in carrying their Gospel message to various parts of the earth.

One of the most important and prominent figures in the gathering, and one who is respected as of great value to the church, is the well known Elder E. C. Briggs, of Iowa. He bears the distinction of having been the first minister to preach a sermon in Salt Lake City differing from the Brigham Young Mormon doctrine. It was in 1863 that he was sent there by the church to carry the gospel message. He met with the most violent opposition at the hands of the Utah Mormons and his pathway was made very rough. He was for a long time unable to secure a place in which to hold services until an Episcopal lady, Mrs. Chief Justice Waite, who lived there, opened her parlors one Sabbath afternoon and in that room he delivered the first sermon in the city. Brigham Young told him personally that he must stop the sermons or he was in danger. The Danites tracked him like bloodhounds for weeks in an effort to take his life, but he escaped and finally when their hunt for his life became so fierce, he appealed to General Connors, of the regular army, there, for protection, and it was given, and he and his converts were enabled to hold their services in peace. It was an experience well calculated to try the spirit of any man, and yet the elder speaks of it as one of the lighter times of his itinerant work.

The present missionary to Utah is Elder H. O. Smith, of Woodbine, la. He is also present. He Is a young man and has had a varied experience during his three years' stay in that part of the country. He reports having had strong opposition. The Mormons under the Brigham Young church are under strict control of the elders, and are mindful of their instructions and are forbidden to attend other religious services.

Bishop E. L. Kelley, of Iowa, who has been in charge of the Temple lot litigation, is also piesent. He is very modest in talking of his important labors in connection with the celebrated suit, but the result of the battle have made him more popular than ever with the people of the church.

Elder J. F. Burton, who is in charge of the work on the Pacific coast, was formerly a sea captain and sailed the Atlantic for many years. He is a son of a Baptist minister of Nova Scotia, but went to sea in boyhood and became a skillful mariner, and was contented with the life and experiences until he became a convert to the new faith. Then he deserted the sea and his roving companions and went over the land proclaiming the Gospel. In recent years he conceived the idea of building a boat and in it cruising the Pacific, doing missionary work among the islanders. The boat was built and was christened the Evanellia, and the voyage as planned was made, with the most pleasing results to the church. The cruise took the Gospel boat down the Pacific among the islands, and around and up among the South American islands, and finally ended with a strong crusade in Hayti, at which place there were some great results accomplished. Pictures of the Gospel boat are on sale at the conference and are very popular. Elder Burton spoke at the meeting last evening. He is one of the strongest talkers in the conference.

G. T. Griffiths, who was for three year the missionary of the church in Wales and England, is also present. He will return to the land of his former labors at the close of the conference, and renew the work he began on his other trip.

President Joseph Smith is, of course, the central figure at this gathering, as he is, and for many years has been, the acknowledged head of the church, and is the prophet and seer of the church now. It is expected that some interesting revelations are to be made during the gathering, as the sessions continue from day to day. President Smith is hale and strong, despite, the fact of his apparent age, and his voice is strong and powerful, and his love and devotion to the church were never more apparent.

Bishop Kelley and Elder Sheehy serve the church as members of two of the most important committees appointed in the conference. They are members of the archaeological committee, and also of the literature and history committee. In serving on the latter committee, it is their duty to secure proof of the fact that the contents of the current histories as touching the record of the early days of the Mormon church are in accurate. They hope to secure such convincing testimony during their service that they will be able to get the statements contained in three of the leading cyclopedias changed and the facts as they state them incorporated in the standard histories. They claim the early history of the church has been grossly misstated on account of the wrong acts of that other wing of the church, and they ask its correction simply as an act of justice. They are securing the most convincing and complete chain of testimony along that line, they claim, and will have it ready possibly for presentation at the next annual gathering.

The other committee on which they are serving is quite important. In their labors and study of archaeology they are hunting for more proofs of the contents of the Book of Mormon, as touching the prehistoric inhabitants and civilization of the land. They claim the Book of Mormon is correct in the statements made concerning the ancient civilization of this land, and that they are securing the most convincing evidences of it from their archaeological examinations and from relics.

Elder Sheehy spoke of it yesterday, and said: "It is a strange and very peculiar point, that the statements made in that book concerning the ancient civilization have been proven true in almost every case where examinations have been made. In the exact spots mentioned are to be found plentiful evidences, of the ancient cities that flourished and decayed ages ago, with a civilization that is surprising as we note the silent evidences. We have material for making that claim very strong and our argument in support of that part of the Book of Mormon is very convincing. For the interests of the church we are pushing the investigations forward as greatly as possible, and new evidences and proofs are coming to light at almost every step."

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 8, 1895.                            No. ?



One Declares That He Visited Heaven
Spiritually and That It is a Reality.
-- Another Says the Saints Must
Humble Their Pride.

The Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints holds firmly to the belief that in it and with its members is the true spirit of prophecy. Visions come to the faithful and by them are related in the conference of the Saints now in progress at Independence. Guided by the spirit of the Holy Ghost they have prophecies which, while years are sometimes required to work out, invariably, according to the members of the reorganized Mormon church, come true.

The second day a business session of the conference at Temple lot, Independence, started with an interesting and especially earnest testimony meeting. Therein the elders, delegates and attendants gave testimony to the evidences given them that they were still in the faith. Elder Bond of Willoughby, O., who took the floor after a particularly exciting prophecy had been delivered by Delegate Brewster of West Virginia, who seventeen years ago had a revelation and is still waiting for it to come true, declared that he knew that the gift of prophecy was in the Mormon church. He had received evidence of it. But he didn't want the representatives of the press to judge the Church of Latter Day Saints by what they might see in the conference; it was possible for cranks to get in, and for incidents to happen which if not judged intelligently might give a wrong impression.

The testimony meeting was started briskly by a delegate from Iowa. He had a vision. He visited heaven spiritually and saw Christ while his corporeal frame remained in the conference hall and his lips were shaping the words descriptive of it. Heaven was a reality, he said, and not a myth.

This vision aroused the religious spirit of the meeting and it was followed by a prophecy from Mrs. Blair of the [Extreme Eastern] district. She spoke in the stilted language of the Scriptures while delivering it: "Yea, verily, I say unto my people my spirit shall be with you. It is with you now and here."

Mrs. Mary Brewster of Wheeling, W. Va., an intelligent looking woman with a bell-like voice and an imposing appearance also delivered a prophecy which had a ring to it. Rising in her seat near the center of the church, Mrs. Brewster closed her eyes and in an impassioned manner delivered the words which came to her from on High. The process of delivering a prophecy in the Mormon church is a simple one. Usually it is done under the excitement of a religious conference and on the spur of the moment. These were the conditions surrounding Mrs. Brewster to-day. Briefly her prophecy was that the Latter Day Saints must humble their pride. They must appeal to the Lord in a penitent and humble way. The spirit of the flesh and of the devil must be chastened.

Joseph Smith, Jr., hereditary head of the Latter Day Saints and ruler of the conference was not present this morning. But it was the prophecy of a woman delegate, Mrs. Blakesley by name, that this conference would receive revelations through Joseph Smith. Three years ago, at the conference held in Independence, she made a like prophecy, but the revelation did not come.

There is especial necessity for the head of the church receiving revelations at this time. Three vacancies exist. One is in the second vice presidency, near the spiritual head of the church and two vacancies exist in the circle of twelve apostles. It was expected three years ago that the second vice presidency would be filled by revelation, but no revelation came. A revelation coming to the church of Latter Day Saints through Joseph Smith, Jr., its hereditary head is a positive dictum and is accepted without dissent. Under the rules of the church a revelation may be referred to the twelve apostles. The church recognizes, however, that there is opportunity for a change. As an elder from Arizona said in the testimony meeting, "When you fix a bill of fare for the Almighty to sign, you are sure to get left."

In the absence of President Smith, the testimony meeting was presided over by I. N. Roberts of Lamoni, Ia., and John Chisnall of Kenawa, Ill. At its close the Rev. Mr. Roberts delivered a sermon and the regular business session was postponed until 2:30 o'clock this afternoon.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, April 9, 1895.                            No. 99.


Remarkable Experience Related by
a Latter Day Saint.


Saw the Streets of Gold. Crowded With People He Knew.


Other Occurrences Reported
Scarcely Less Remarkable.


Most people believe that the day of miracles and prophecy is passed. This, however, is not the idea of the members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

There is in session at Independence a most remarkable meeting of a very devout people. the proceedings of the meeting yesterday were strangely interesting. One woman announcing that she was under the influence of the Spirit, poured forth a prophecy in which she announced that the end of time was near at hand.

Another man told of a visit to heaven and of meeting Jesus Christ face to face upon the golden streets. Still another saint told of an angel that stood in church before a whole congregation. Many others told of wonderful visions, strange healings of the sick, and many other wonderful things. It was evident that not only did the hearers believe all that was said, but that the speakers themselves thoroughly believed what they were saying. There was an earnestness in every face and a manifest feeling of the wonderful importance of everything that was done and said that could not fail to be most impressive.

When, as the hearers believed, the Lord speaking through the lips of Mrs. Mary Brewster, said: "For I say unto you that the end of time is near," there was a catching of breaths and a wildly anxious look upon the strainedly devout faces, which plainly showed how full of awful meaning it all was to them...

Elder Brownlee of Iowa, who was, however, unknown to a large majority of those present, arose and offered this testimonial of God's power."

"Three years ago last fall," he began, in a quavering and pathetically low voice, "I saw the kingdom of heaven. I was transported there either in or out of the body. I do not remember which. The streets were of gold, and I s'posed that I had died. I then thanked God that my life had been sinless and pure, and that I was in the right place. I saw no fluttering spirits, though, sisters and brothers. They were all people... I recognized one of them as the son of God. He stopped before me and bowed, and then I was happy; O, so happy!"...

Mrs. Caroline [sic] Salisbury, 83 years of age and a sister of the original Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, occupied a seat next to the rostrum. She arose and addressed a few remarks to the younger members of the church.

"I stand alone of my father's family," she said in an impressive manner, "and am here for the purpose of helping build this cause and give my testimony in their behalf. I have always found that to be faithful was to be loved by the Lord Jesus Christ, and I say unto you: Be faithful and true and you shall be rewarded in heaven. I beseech you to lead true and pure lives, for then you will find eternal salvation. My heart is full to overflowing and I cannot speak further."

Not a few eyes were damp with tears as this fervent, devoted aged woman resumed her seat, at the conclusion of her pathetic appeals that her hearers lead true and good Christian lives....

Sister Mary Brewster of West Virginia, a sad faced young woman, arose from her seat near the front and in the middle of the house. After a few preliminary remarks she closed her eyes and moved by the spirit of Christ, as according to the saints' belief, made this prophecy in a rapid, though perfectly distinct voice. It is probably the longest prophecy ever delivered in recent years by one not a high officer in the church.

"Thus saith the Spirit unto you: My People. It is My will that while you are thus assembled in this place to abundantly bless you with My Holy Spirit. Your hearts are not as humble before Me as I would have them. I desire you to be more humble and more submissive, that My Holy Spirit may come more abundantly. I desire you to be upright and righteous, that you may not be spoken evil of among your neighbors in the localities where you live. The work is moving onward. It is of God, and I will bless you if you continue faithful. See that each one of you performs your part in the place where you reside, and I will cause you to be a people that may not be spoken evil of, wherever your lot may be cast. I will abundantly bless you with My Holy Spirit if you will pray and fast and continue faithful and humble. I will help you overcome the trials and burdens that may come to you, and I will help you and bless you in them, if you come to Me as you should. Be humble and faithful in the work, for I say unto you that the end of time is near and many of you do not understand it as you should. The hastening time has come, the work is rolling forth, and if you do not stand in your places you shall not be accounted worthy to stand in the presence of God. Therefore be faithful and humble in the work. Let each one, whether in the priesthood or laity, or in whatever position your lot may be cast, be faithful and firm in the work, for I say unto you that the work is of God, and it will roll forth and it will be glorious in the day when I come to make up my jewels. You will find some things that are hard to bear, but bear them with patience and humility, and I will abundantly bless and confort you, and I will speak peace to your drooping spirits. Many of you are isolated from My people in different places, but I will bless you, and My Holy Spirit shall speak peace in your heart, and I will comfort you by dreams and visions of the night, which will help you to overcome the burdens of the day. Therefore see that you are watchful and prayerful, and I will steadfastly bless and keep you, and you shall be able to perform the work that is required of each one of you to do.

"So saith the Holy Spirit. Amen."...

Elder Short the Kicker.

Considerable discussion arose over a greeting sent the conference by the teachers of the church, in which they requested that all teachers be ex-officio, entitled to a voice and vote in the general conference. It was offered as an amendment to the by-laws. Elder Short, who has already become known as the kicker of the conference, vigorously objected to the passage of any such resolution. The question was then discussed pro and con for almost half an hour. It was finally decided to defer action for one year....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, April 9, 1895.                     No. 301.



One of the Most Important Features of the Annual Meeting --
A Glimpse Into the Realm of Spirits --
A Business Session.

After resting from conference matters over the Sabbath and spending the hours of the mornng session in a testimony and experience a meeting that closed with a strong sermon, the members and delegates of the general conference of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saint at Independence got down to work at the afternoon session yesterday, in good shape and transacted a large amount of the routine and accumulated business of the session. Some of the matters were of great importance to the church, some were of but ordinary importance,

President Smith was absent from the morning session and his place in the chair was filled by I. N. Roberts of Lamoni, Ia. John Cheanal, of Illinois. The day's service was opened with a testimony meeting. The service gives the delegates an opportunity of receiving inspired messages and prophecies and revelations. Oft-times these meetings are of the deepest interest and prophecies and revelations of great significance are made public. So fur at the conference there have been but a few of the revelations and prophecies and no messages of particular importance have been received. During the meeting some of importance are expected, as there are several vacancies in the organization of the church that are to remain vacant there until comes a revelation that designates who shall be exalted to fill them. The revelations carrying these messages usually come through the president of the church and when so made public are law for the church, from which there is no appeal. They are accepted at once as the expressed will of God to the church and the favored ones as obedient believers and laborers are certain to accept the duties the offices.

Three prophecies were made public during the service yesterday morning. An aged delegate from Iowa told how he had been taken up to a high place and permitted to see the interior of the celestial city and the Son of God, walking in the midst of it. He was followed by a lady from the East who delivered a message of comfort to the believers, telling them of the watchful eye of the Almighty and the love He felt for the people on earth.

Mrs. Mary Brewster, of West Virginia, made a long; prophecy, telling of the short time until there was to be a reckoning and the great need that all believers should mortify their bodies and cultivate their spiritual graces and grow in faith and abound in good works. She spoke in a loud, clear tone and was listened to closely.

The practice of prophecy and revelation are accepted with perfect faith by the members of the church. One of the elders yesterday, in speaking of the practice and belief, said: "We have great faith in the messages so received. We find our faith founded on the Scriptures. In olden times revelations were received and are now accented as the expressed will of God for the guidance of mankind. We hold that under precisely the same conditions we can have revelations just the same today. If we have the same faith and maintain the same relations with the Great Father that was done by the prophets of olden times the same results will certainly ensue. The revelations come to us as our official conditions in the church demand. The revelations for the bishop are for the guidance of that dignitary in his labors, for the president of the church, the revelations are for his guidance in the care of the church and so on with those in different places in the church."

The attendance at each of the morning testimony meetings during the conference will be large, as it [is] confidently expected that some messages of importance are to arrive through the medium of the president.

At the close of the testimony meeting held yesterday morning the sermon was preached by Elder I. N. Roberts, of Iowa.

The regular business session of the day began at 2:30 and the first matter that came before the conference was the report of the twelve, in which it was stated that the order of silence placed on Apostle G. W Gillen, missionary to England, at the last general conference has been removed, and he was again in the available list of ministers.

The report and the action of the conference brought out in strong light strict adherence of the church to its adopted rules. The church has a rule that forbids the use of tobacco by those who are preaching the doctrines of the church. Apostle Gillen had labored in England with great success and was in high favor with the church when reports came to the quorum of twelve that he was using tobacco. The matter was taken up for action by the quorum, to which the brother was answerable for breaking the rules. The quorum took action on the latter at the last conference and by way of example and discipline he was silenced from preaching for one year. The conference adopted the suggestion of the quorum and yesterday another report came from the twelve that the offending brother had conquered the wicked habit and was again ready for active labors in the church.

When the report was read the brother was seated on the platform with the twelve and the prompt adoption of the report appeared to have an exhilarating effect on him. He is an Irishman and has done faithful and valuable labors among his countrymen and in England for the church. The action of the church shows how closely the rules of guidance are followed.

Reports then came pouring in from the different committees. One reported the lease of a site for a chapel in London, and another the completion of arrangements for building a college at Lamoni, Ia., where sixty-six acres of land are owned by the church. At the same place a Saints' home is to be built. It is to be a home for the wornout ministers and others who may become charges upon the church in their old age.

The history and encyclopedia committee also made a report that there had been published in the last edition of Appleton's an explanatory article for the church, in which some matters misstated in current histories were corrected, and another encyclopedia had agreed to embody an explanatory article in the forthcoming volume.

An amendment to give teachers of the church representation in the general conference precipitated an interesting and prolonged debate. The church has its workers divided into classes, just as they were in olden time -- priests, elders and teachers -- and there appeared to be some opposition to any innovation. One brother declared that the amendment ought to be voted down. Some people would climb into the seat occupied by Moses and fail to grace the position, he declared. He wanted people to be content to wear the harness the Lord designed they should wear and had arranged for them. Several talks followed and finally an effort was made to defer action for one year. This brought out more speakers, but it carried by a vote of 85 to 42. A division was called for and as Elder Short of the minority, saw the twelve apostles rise with him he exclaimed, "We have the brains on our side, even if we are beaten." The thought was comforting to him.

"We have here a report from Cleveland," exclaimed President Smith, but someone broke in with a remark asking If it was from President Cleveland; to which the venerable president made quick and emphatic reply: "I hope not, sir," and then he continued reading the report.

It was a report from the Saints at Cleveland asking for the appointment of an able minister for that city during the summer months.

The protest from the church at St. Louis concerning the church hymnbook, called the "Harmony," was taken up. It was sent to the conference without a signature, but it was read and considered and provoked a lively discussion. The book is too large and improperly arranged for congregational use, the protest declared, and the church needed a collection of hymns printed in a small book for public use. The protest also declared that the binding and work on the book was poorly done and the price quite out of reason. One brother declared the book was too heavy for a lady to carry, and a brother who weighed 160 said it was a tax upon his muscle, to lug it about with him. Bishop Kelley made a sharp defense of the book and roasted the people who made the charges. The matter was finally referred to a committee composed of T. W. Williams. W. H. Garrett and W. S. McRae, who will prepare a report during the week.

A request from the Pittsburg conference for the defining of the church laws relating to the support of the families of district presidents was referred to the bishopric.

The next matter was that relating to the entertainment to be given by the members of the local church Thursday evening for the purpose of raising funds for the payment of obligations against the church. Elder Short made a point that the conference express its serious objections to the customary applause as shown on prior occasions of a similar nature. He was in earnest and objected to applause in the church. He made so strong a point that he carried the day, and had a request adopted that the conference make a request of the parties attending to be very modest in applause. President Smith thought there was such a thing as proper applause and he indorsed it. "I don t like stamping any more than I like to sit behind a big Gainesborough hat, where l can't see," he continued, and there was a smile apparent all over the house.

A delegate added that those who want to applaud provide themselves with a white handkerchief and wave it as recognition of meritorious numbers of the programme. Another delegate thought the harsh applause was started by heedless boys, but President Smith declared that he had seen gray haired men on the platform start it. Bishop Kelley then arose and said he wanted applause. It was recognition of merit and was proper. He had often started applause himself and would do so again.

The services for this morning were then arranged and the day's work concluded.

The question of the belief of the church was raised by the publication of some matters yesterday. The church has no creed, but it has an acknowledged declaration of belief on all points connected with its doctrines. In referring to the ordinances of the Gospel the declaration of belief states; "We believe in the resurrection of the body; that the dead in Christ shall rise first, and the rest of the dead will not live again until the thousand years shall have elapsed. We believe in the doctrine of eternal judgment which provides that men shall be judged, rewarded or punished according to the degree of good or evil they shall have done."

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, April 9, 1895.                            No. ?



Two Vacancies Among the Apostles That
Can Only Be Filled by Direct Command
From on High -- The Church Awaiting
the Word for Years.

President Joseph Smith, Jr., the head of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints has been in executive conference since early morning with the Twelve Apostles. The national conference of the Saints is anxiously awaiting its result. It may mean a revelation and it may not. Revelations do not come to order to the Latter Day Saints. Rarely does the head of the church receive a revelation of grave import. The Spirit has no fixed time or place and no established method of communicating. Perhaps that is one reason every session of the big conference is so well attended. It is not known at what minute the divine truth may be communicated to the faithful through Joseph Smith, the head of the church.

The Mormons are good waiters. Since 1844 they have been waiting for a revelation to decide who is worthy to fill a vacancy in the circle of the Twelve Apostles. Many cherished the hope that at this conference that, and the other two existing vacancies would be filled.

Well informed members, however, take note the significant fact which, they say augurs ill for any important revelations at this conference. That is the fact that the twelve, or rather ten, apostles have been assigned to their missions. They argue that were revelations filling vacancies expected the apostles would not have been assigned to their labors this early.


The Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints has an admirable system of government. Every member of it is required to give one-tenth of his income to the church. If it be money, then the church gets the cash, but if not it is permissible to turn in horses, cattle or other live stock, or labor. Last year from 30,000 members the church collected nearly $80,000, or nearly $2.50 per capita, a wonderfully good showing in church work....


The testimony meeting of the general conference this morning was devoid of experiences that were exciting. Only one elder had a prophecy and it was merely to the effect that the Lord would hasten the day when persecution and unbelief would end and thousands now scoffers would be converted to the church....

Elder J. Brackenbury whose family came to Independence in 1832 and who has been a member of the Mormon church since November 1833, told an interesting story of his experiences. He has been identified with every movement of the church for fifty-eight years. He crossed the Missouri river with the balance of the saints when they came to Missouri and settled in Independence. He was a scholar at Nauvoo when the Mormons thought they had found there the true Zion and when Brigham Young started on the long march to Utah, Brackenbury was one of his followers. But he went only to the Missouri. There he turned back and has since lived in Jackson county. Elder Brackenbury knows much about the history of the Mormon war in Missouri and of the stirring and bloody incidents about Independence. The assault upon ex-Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, the sacking of the office of the Evening Star the first Mormon paper of any kind published in Missouri, are still fresh in his memory. After fifty-eight years study of the Mormon religion he is still an ardent believer in its truths and a staunch member of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints.

Elder Albert Haws of California who conducted the first mission in the Sandwich islands and who with Brackenbury was a pupil at Nauvoo, said that he had received many indisputable evidences of the truth of the work in which the church was engaged. Others gave similar testimony, but the spirit of prophecy was not present. Many women gave experiences of visions that had come to them in the past.

At 11 o'clock the Rev. M. T. Short of Illinois preached to the assembled saints.


The greatest interest was shown in the executive session of the head of the church and the twelve apostles, but no word of what was being done came to the conference. It is probable that the business session late this afternoon may develop interesting matters.

Old Latter Day Saints who have attended many conferences and have seen the head of the church in many spirited discussions, say that he is the master of all the saints in a hot impromptu tilt.

"Just wait some time until something in the conference goes wrong," they say.

"Then you will see Brother Joseph" -- everybody calls him brother Joseph -- "roll up his sleeves and wade in. You will have a chance then to see the stuff that's in him, and why we think much of the man."

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, April 10, 1895.                            No. 100.



Proceedings of the Fourth Day's Sessions of the Conference of
the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints of Jesus
Christ at Independence -- One Woman Prayed for
the Reporters -- The Proceedings in Detail.

The fourth day's session of the annual conference of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints convened at the Stone church in Independence yesterday. The regular order of business as already announced in The Times, was observed, the morning being devoted to prayer, testimonials and preaching, and the afternoon to routine business....

The first to offer testimonials in the morning was a saint who has long since passed his allotted three score years and ten:

"I am sorely afflicted," he said in a tremulous voice, "and have been for five or six months, yet I have walked a mile and a half this morning to be with you. I have seen devils cast out, the blind made to see and the deaf to hear, so I know that there is a true God and that the church of the Saints is His church. It is my ambition to some day be seated on the throne with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I do hope that this may be my privilege."

Several members of both sexes then testified that they had received ample proof from heaven that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the church as recognized by Christ. Only one, however, made any excitement in regard to the manner this fact had been made known. This exception was a Mrs. Wright from Vermont. In her remarks she also took occasion to ask divine blessing for the reporters.

"I was raised in the Church of England," she declared with great fervor, "and when I came to this country I cast about me for the proper religion to embrace. I entered the Methodist church, but soon afterward was brought to the church of the Saints. I was visited one night by an angel who came and stood by my bedside with a square piece of parchment in her uplifted hand. I did not understand, and could not comprehend the meaning of what she read, and the angel left me only to return the next night. Still I could not understand and she disappeared. On the third night she came again. This time she said:

"'I have come to tell you that Joseph Smith is a recognized prophet of heaven.' and then I knew. Now, O sisters and brothers, it is my prayer that you may all be made to know and recognize this great truth. And may God's spirit so embrace the reporters here and may they be so bathed in His spirit that they make correct reports of this meeting. Pray for me and for them that we may all be saved in the end."

Elder George Edwards of Southwest Missouri gave the only other important testimonial. He said:

"I have seen the blind made to see through our belief and the dumb to hear and I know that God is and has always been with us. Late one evening in Southwest Missouri and after I had walked twenty-five miles a voice came to me from heaven and said: 'You are called with a holy calling to lift up the lamp of the gospel,' and I have ever since engaged as a servant of the Lord. I was in an isolated spot and I have no reason to believe but that the voice came from heaven, so I know that I am a recognized servant in the eyes of God."

President Joseph Smith, Jr., the head of the Reorganized church, was in executive session all morning with the members of the Twelve. It was thought that the meeting tonight means a revelation of grave import; but they all know that these visions from heaven are not made to order, therefore they were not disappointed when one failed to materialize...

President Smith again presided at the afternoon session. After hearing the minutes of the previous day read a letter was presented from Burlington, Ia., district, asking that a missionary be sent there....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, April 10, 1895.                     No. 302.



The Event Most Important to the Church Yields
No Eagerly Awaited Revelations --
A Move to Organize the
Order of Enoch.

Yesterday was an interesting day for the members of the general conference of Latter Day Saints at Independence. At 8 o'clock in the morning President Joseph Smith, head of the church, the medium through which come the divine revelations touching important matters of the church, went into the room with the quorum of twelve and spent the entire forenoon with the members in conference over the material and spiritual matter of the church. During the hours of the morning there was the most intense interest felt in the proceedings of this private conference. Each time that conference takes place it is expected that there will be revelations that concern deeply the interests of the church and relate closely to its future and policy on many matters. There are some vacancies in the quorum of twelve and they can be filled only by the direct instructions of the Divine Spirit through revelations. They are liable to come at any time when there are demands that require them, but the general impression is they will come at a meeting of the head of the church and his counselors during their spiritual gatherings.

However, the expected message did not arrive yesterday and is not now expected during the conference. There are ten members of the twelve and they are already assigned to duty and all of the territory is covered, so that there are at present no fields for labors of the others should they receive their Divine appointment at this time. The arrangement was made yesterday and is accepted as evidence that no revelations are coming on that point. Still there is no telling, for it may be that during the sessions to-day revelations filling all the vacancies in the twelve and in the patriarchal part of the church will come to the president, even as he occupies the chair and is presiding over the deliberation of the meeting.

Order of Enoch.

Yesterday afternoon, during a temporary lull in the proceedings just prior to the adjournment, a member introduced and had read a resolution instructing the bishopric to proceed with plans for instituting the Order of Enoch, and that requests for the consecration of property and cash for that purpose be asked of the members at once. An effort was quietly made to refer the matter for a year, when some delegate asked for its immediate consideration, stating that there was an abundance of time at the present session and the matter was of sufficient importance for immediate consideration. A lively discussion was precipitated and the supporters for the present consideration were winning, when, after consultation with President Smith, President Blair, who was in the chair, asked that the matter be deferred until this afternoon, when it will be considered. In the meantime arrangements for the debate are to be made by both factions and a test is coming, one side for and one side against the adoption of the resolution and the legislation it provides.

The Order of Enoch is something provided for in the revelations that came during the active period of 1833 and 1837 to Fred G. Williams and others of Kirtland, O. In brief it is a plan of operation with which the rich, under the direction of the church officers, render opportunities to the poor of the church for bettering their condition. The village of Lamoni, la., is evidence of the plan in a modified form. In that village some wealthy men of the church purchased a large tract of land at a low price and after laying it on into small lots and tracts sold these to men of small means at a rate and under conditions that enabled them to become home owners. The act was sanctioned by the church and the scheme has been, it is said, a success for all concerned.

The same plan is to be worked systematically by duly appointed officers of the church in case the order is established as prayed for in the resolution.

Where the colonization is to take place, or what the plan is, if any exists behind the resolution, remains to be seen, although there was a reference yesterday by one of the speakers to Missouri. He said that he was constantly in receipt of letters from Saints, all over the land asking for information and advice as to places for homes in the West. He felt that it was a delicate and important matter to give the advice asked and not being informed as to the wishes the church he had refrained from issuing an advice on the subject. Now that the matter was before the conference, at a time when business was not rushing, he thought it expedient to give it due consideration.

The scheme does not admit of limitation to the land proposition. The church is empowered to engage in manufacturing and in any other matters where profit is probable for the benefit of the parties in [the] interest and the good of the church. It is a plan, the speaker declared, that was too valuable to be allowed to be unused. The speaker was one of the young and ambitious members of the church.

Bishop Kelley, who is a very impressive and excellent speaker, at once arose and objected to the consideration of the question and answered the energetic arguments of the young man by stating that a rush after the benefits might mean disaster to the very interest and benefit the young man desired to have. The matter, he declared, was not one for the management of finite hands. It was a provision of the Lord for the condition of the church when gathered together, entirely in His hands and control, and any attempt to take charge of it ere He gave explicit directions to that end would certainly mean an assumption of power not warranted and almost certain to be rebuked. He wanted the matter left for a time in the hands of the presidency. The discussion appealed to indicate that the young men of the church were in the majority, but the vote being delayed there may be something done to it again to-day when called up for hearing.

The church looks forward to the time when the members of the body are to be called together and the Order of Enoch then will have precedence over ordinary competitive conditions of life. They claim to have been the leaders in the idea of cooperation. They expect the wealthy members of the church to give liberally of their wealth to the Enoch fund and in this manner extend the benefits the church hopes to be able to show to the unfortunate. The wealthy are also to be encouraged in doing acts of liberality personally. They are to engage in the cooperative business with their employees on a profit-sharing basis, in which the cash of the owner balances the work of the laborer, so that there is an exact and equitable division of profits.

Such a plan necessarily means colonisation to a certain extent. The exact locations for these colonies have not been announced. Three places naturally compete for the colonies and the increase of citizens it would bring. While the competition is not apparent, still the members located at Lamoni, Ia., Kirtland, O., and Independence, Mo., are wide awake, and will not allow such an opportunity to pass through their hands unused. The probabilities are that Independence is the strongest of the three. It is here the temple lot is located and where at some future date will certainly be reared one of the most magnificent church edifices anywhere in the West. The almost hallowed associations that cluster around the city and its honored place in the annals of the church to make it one of the favorite places in the minds of the people from a religious view, while the financiers from their vantage ground consider it far away and the best place in the whole land for such a location,

Daughters of Zion.

Among the organizations of the church that are meeting at Independence with the general conference, possibly the most important one is the ladies' organization, known as the Daughters of Zion. The organization has a large membership and is a strong auxiliary of the church. Mrs. C. B. Kelley, wife of Bishop Kelley, is president; Mrs. Callie Stebbins, wife of Secretary Stebbins, is secretary: Mrs. Audie Anderson, daughter of Joseph Smith, is corresponding secretary, and Mrs. Vee Blair, wife of President Blair, is treasurer. A meeting was held yesterday morning and another one at the close of the day's session, at which time the reports of the officers and workers of the organization were submitted. The objects of the organization are clearly shown in the following extracts from their constitution:

"First -- To unite for mutual benefit and to increase love for the sanctuary of home: to study to educate our children in the principles of the Gospel, to prepare them to resist the evils of the world, and to become active agents for good.

"Second -- To promote social purity and teach the sisters the great responsibility of motherhood, that they may be mothers indeed, guarding the interests not only of their own children, but of the children of others.

"Third -- To extend a helping hand to erring one and to do all in our power to win them to paths of righteousness."

The testimony meeting during the morning hours was full of interest to the workers of the church. The speakers were some of the pioneers of the organization and were just as sound in their faith, they declared, as when they first embraced it.

Elders Brackenbury, who was a pupil of Mormonism at Nauvoo, and Albert Hawes, who was also there, were two of the speakers. They have been in the faith for nearly sixty years and were firmly impressed with the soundness of the doctrinal teaching and had received countless proofs and manifestations showing the truth of the teachings of the church. The spirit of prophecy was absent save for the statement of one of the speakers that the days of persecution were soon to cease.

President Smith Rested.

President Smith was wearied from the session in the morning and did not preside at the afternoon session, but sat beside President Blair during the entire afternoon. The first matter that came up for action was a request from Burlington, Ia., for a minister to conduct a mission at that place. The matter was referred to the bishop and Twelve.

The question of securing recognition for the missionaries in the Society Islands was then taken up and it was stated that the French government will not allow a religious body to teach in that land unless they secure a permit, and that so far their missionaries had not secured it. There was a plan suggested for enlisting the assistance of the ministers of the United States in Paris and the French minister at Washington, but the matter was referred to President Smith and Bishop Kelley for action.

Elders J. A. Robinson and F. G. Pitt then resigned from the college committee and Daniel Anderson and William Anderson were chosen to fill the vacancies. Elder Short made some fun by objecting to making a vote unanimous. The men had voted and he was not willing to vote otherwise.

There was a request received from the second quorum of deacons asking for the right to vote in the general conference, but it was sidetracked and sent after a similar one asked for by the teachers.

The bishops reported that the revelations of last year made no changes in the manner of the support of the families of district presidents.

The auditor's report of the bishop's accounts was received and explained, after which it was ordered spread on the minutes.

Elder R. C. Evans was sent to preach Easter morning at the African M. E. church in Independence. He spoke there last Sunday and the request for another service was complimentary to him and he agreed to go. Elder T. W. Williams will speak in the same place Sunday evening. Elder Evans is known as the boy preacher of Canada.

Biennial Session Move Defeated

A very large amount of interest was aroused during the afternoon session by the introduction of a regulation fixing the time for the next meeting of the general conference two years hence. The resolution was the test of the matter of arranging for biennial meetings, something that his been brewing for three years. Both sides were ready for the fray, and there were some very spirited and interesting addresses made during the discussion that ensued. As President Blair said, the matter was before the conference, and it might as well be ventilated and settled one time as another, and he was anxious to have a full discussion.

Bishop Kelley made a strong address for an annual gathering of the body. The church workers needed these times of counsel and recreation and encouragement, he declared, and the church was largely benefited by them, and he was not willing to trade demonstrated benefits for possibilities. Further, the ordinary demands of business made it necessary to not allow business matters to accumulate and thus hinder and delay the business of the church, as was certain to be done in the case of the biennial sessions. He wanted the frequent gatherings of the workers for the benefits that come with them.

Elder Short also wanted the annual gatherings and made a vigorous effort to convince the conference that the plan proposed was very bad.

Elder Lambert wanted biennial sessions, so as to save expense and let the cash thus saved go into the funds of the church, but this argument was torn up by the address of Elder Halliard, who said the time was not opportune for the change. The organization of the church was not yet complete, and until there were revelations completing the organizations and filling the vacancies, the meetings ought to be held each year. The question of the expense was incidental, not the main one. The brethren ought to be mindful of the church, and lay all plans for the advancement of the work. The line of thought was advanced further by Elder Elgin, who showed the unfinished slate of affairs. The college at Lamonia, the Saints' home at the same place, the Temple lot suit and other matters were of sufficient importance to warrant the annual assemblage for consultation.

The vote was finally taken and resulted in the resolution for biennial sessions being lost 145 to 27. It was noticeable that the twelve nearly all voted for the biennial sessions, but the workers out in the missions districts were anxious for annual gatherings, and won the day.

The services for to-day will begin with the usual testimony meeting, conducted by Elders J. M. Terry and C. Butterworth, followed at 11 o'clock by preaching by T. C. Kelley and D. E. Tucker. To-night the sermon will be by Apostle C. W. Gillen, who was disciplined for using tobacco.

Last evening the sermon was delivered by Alexander H. Smith.

To-morrow evening at the church there is to be an entertainment given by the members of the local churh. It is styled, "An Evening With Amateurs," and a very pleasing programme has been arranged for the occasion. There are to be recitations by Thomas Holdsworth, Miss Ruth Cobb, Profesor Pursley and a reading by Miss. Cobb. Miss Clyde Hoffman will contribute a violin solo, there will be tableaux and plenty or music and choruses nj the choir of the church The proceeds are for the benefit of the church.

Will Dedicate a Church.

The new church of the Latter Day Saints in Kansas City, at 2124 Wabash avenue, is to be dedicated Sunday morning by President Smith. This is to be quite an important event in the church. It is Easter Sunday and the assemblage of church dignitaries will add to the interest of the pleasant occasion. The services are to take place in the morning. Bishop Kelley, of Iowa, is to make the dedicatory prayer, and President Smith will follow with the sermon. Elder Arthur Allen is pastor and the church has over 100 members. It was organized several years ago.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, April 10, 1895.                            No. 205.



The Conference is Developing a Tendency
to Curtail the Power of the President
and Twelve Apostles -- Want the
Enoch Revelation Fulfilled.

If President Joseph Smith, head of the Church of Latter Day Saints doesn't have a revelation soon touching some of the grave matters of church government, some of the saints in the laity will grow weary. Since the beginning of the forty-third annual conference of the Latter Day Saints the most intense interest has been shown in all the sessions. Good crowds have been present and to Joseph Smith, son of the great prophet, himself a seer of the highest standing, both saint and layman have turned as the central figure. But the head of the church has not revealed anything. The spirit of prophecy has not imbued him and beyond presiding over the business sessions the hereditary head of the church has apparently taken no more interest in the conference than any other high church dignitary.

Some issues are becoming sharply [debated] in the conference. Thus far the harmony at the sessions has been of that pronounced type which invites no insidious comment. But there is a change in that feeling. There may be trouble ahead for the president and the twelve apostles.

The rank and file appear to have reached the conclusion that there is too much one man power in the church. These have [-------] but once or twice evidences of this and the subject is on the [----] for a red hot discussion this afternoon. Apparently the twelve apostles and President Smith are running affairs too liberally.

The smoldering discontent was made apparent yesterday afternoon. The President and the twelve have been in the habit of disposing of all mooted questions by quietly referring them to the next conference, one year hence.

This has displeased some of the other workers in humbler fields. They want the questions argued and settled now, preferably while they may have a voice in the matter. When a simple point which the heads of the church did not want decided now was raised yesterday it went the way of the others -- referred to the next national conference.

"Might as well refer it to the czar of Russia," was the sarcastic comment of a deacon who has been consistent in his views upon the question of whether the church should be ruled by the body at large or by the voice of the president through the Twelve Apostles.

Two significant things were developed yesterday showing the trend of feeling in the main body, which is running counter to the heads of the church government. One was the defeat of the proposition to hold biennial instead of annual national conferences, which emanated directly from the twelve apostles and which had the sanction of Joseph Smith. The other was the [-------ing] of the proposition to start now and here the order of Enoch, which in plain English means that the church must deal with the subject matter of the revelation of 1833 which commanded the Mormons to establish Zion and there bring the children of the true church.

Has the time come? Is Independence the true Zion? Shall the Latter Day Saints gather here and wait for the end of time? All these propositions are concealed in the simple proposition to establish the order of Enoch and they must be dealt with at this conference, unless the presidency and the apostles muster greater strength than is expected.

When the question was raised yesterday afternoon by a member who presented the petition which was numerously signed and by the younger members of the church, Mr. Blair, who was presiding, said in an off hand way that it would be referred to the conference to be held next year.

This was the beginning of the fight which is expected to bring forth the liveliest [-------] of the conference. Such strenuous objection was made to this disposition of the matter that finally Acting President Blair asked that the discussion be postponed until this afternoon.

Well informed saints say that the problem is a serious one. Is the head of the church prepared to say by revelation where the Order of Enoch shall be located? is one of the essential questions. The proposition in its simplest form merely provides for a co-operative colony where the wealthy members of the Latter Day Saints shall help the poorer to procure homes and share in the profits of co-operative work and establishments to be started by and through the church.

President Smith, the hereditary head of the church, has been in secret conference since early morning with the twelve apostles. The main body knows nothing of these deliberations, but its members expect much. They look now for revelations of the utmost importance. They expect them at any time. It is said that Prophet Joseph Smith and his church advisors have been in consultation more frequently and for longer periods at this conference than at previous ones for years, which is taken to mean that something may be expected. At 1 o'clock this afternoon nothing that had transpired at the secret meeting had been communicated to the conference.

To-day at the testimony meeting, Mrs. Caroline [sic] S. Salisbury, sister to the first Joseph Smith and only surviving member of the original six people who founded the Church of Mormon in 1830, told the historic story of how Joseph Smith the prophet found the gold plates of the book of Mormon buried in the Hill of Cumorah in New York state. Mrs. Salisbury is a woman 83 years old, but she related graphically and with force and vigor the oft-told story. It required fully half an hour.

Mrs. Salisbury made two or three departures from Mormon history in her story, which the Saints explain by saying that age has impaired her memory somewhat.

Sister Horner, an aged saint, bore testimony of the truthfulness of the story told by the only surviving member of the original Mormon church. She was at Far West when the mob took Joseph Smith out of the jail at Carthage and shot him. She was a resident of Kirtland, O., when the saints were mobbed there and Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered and aqua fortis poured down his throat.

An elder under the excitement following these historical reminiscences delivered this prophecy:


"Thus saith the Lord: Inasmuch as you will continue faithful in this great work God has established on the earth the time is not very far distant when Jesus Christ will break the clouds of heaven and come reign on this earth."

A female saint from Illinois told of a vision which had happened to her, attesting the truth of the book of Mormon and the divinity of the church. Others related like experiences.

Elders Butterworth and Terry presided at the testimony meeting.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, April 11, 1895.                            No. 101.


Joseph Smith's Aged Sister Tells About Moroni's Talk.


Standing in Air the Heavenly Visitor Told Many Things.


Proceedings of the Mormon Conference in Independence.


The story of Joseph Smith's conversation with the angel Moroni, from which sprung the Mormon church, was the main feature of yesterday's session of the conference of the Latter Day Saints at Independence.

The story was told by Mrs. Catharine Salisbury, Joseph Smith's sister, and the last survivor of his immediate family.

Mrs. Salisbury is a very old woman now -- 83 years of age. But she claims to recall the time of the wonderful vision as vividly as though it were but yesterday. She told how the angel had come to her brother in the night and had stood refulgent midway between the floor and ceiling of his room and had talked for hours, telling where the golden record was to be found in the hill of Canoran [sic]. And then she told how the plates had been found and, after much tribulation on account of mobs of evil men raised up to create trouble, how they were translated and how the Church of Jesus Christ was founded. Mrs. Salisbury's discourse was taken down verbatim for the Times and is given in full below.

... Mrs. Catherine Salisbury arose from her seat by the reporters' table and removed the shawl she has worn about her shoulders since the conference began. Seeing her intention to address the members Elder Terry requested her to step upon the rostrum, which by his assistance she did. Mrs. Salisbury is 83 years of age and, as has already been stated in The Times, is the only surviving member of the family of which Joseph Smith, Sr., the founder of the Saintsí church, was one.

Mrs. Salisbury was several times overcome with emotion during her allusion to former scenes, incidents and characters so dear to her heart and mind. After a few short preliminary and unimportant remarks she began her recital. It was heard with rapt attention. She said:

Mrs. Salisbury's Story.

"I stand before you a remnant of the family that brought forth the sacred record, to bear my testimony.

"I can remember the time that this work commenced, that my brother had the vision, that he saw the angel and talked with him. After he had his first vision, he lay in bed one night studying what he had seen. And his room became light, and it grew lighter and lighter until an angel descended and stood by the side of his bed. He did not touch the floor, but he stood in the air. He was dressed in white raiment, of whiteness beyond anything Joseph had ever seen in his life. He saw his hands and wrists, and they were pure and white, and he talked with him. He said that he was Moroni, and that he was sent as a messenger to tell him concerning the record that was hidden in the hill Conoran, which was a history of the people that once inhabited this continent, and also that it was the pure gospel of Christ. That the gospel that he had had been adulterated, and this was the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and would be preached in these last days.

"He also talked with him and told him what was coming upon the earth. And he also opened the vision and showed him the hill Conoran [sic] where the records laid, and talked with him a while, and then ascended. And while Joseph was still thinking over what he had seen and what the angel had told him, he descended again and stood by his side, and repeated the same things. He told him the prophecies of Isaiah were being fulfilled and would come true, and that the record must be brought forth to the church established in the last days, for there was no true church on earth. He ascended again, and then he descended the third time; and then my brother said that the chickens crowed for day, showing that he had conversed with the angel all the blessed night.

"The next morning when my brother got up he went to the field to work, but he could not; the spirit of God was upon him and the angel was with him. Father told him he was not well, and he had better go to the house. Joseph started to the house, but fell by the way, and the angel Moroni appeared to him and said:

"'Joseph, tell your father what you have seen and what you are commanded to do.'

"He said: 'I am afraid my father won't believe me.'

"But the angel told him his father would believe him. So he went to the house and sent for father and my two brothers, and they came to the house and sat and talked quite a spell. I wondered at it. I was young and didn't know what they were talking about, because I knowed they were so busy with their harvesting.

"Father said: 'Joseph, go and do just as you are bid.'

"So he went to the hill Comoran (this was, I think, the 22d day of September, 1827,) and found it exactly as he had seen it [sic - the records box?] in the vision. The earth was rounding on the top, and he got a stick and pried the dirt away from the edges, and got a lever and raised the lid, and there beheld the records that were to be translated, and the Urim and Thummim, and the sword and breast-plate of Laban, and the brass plates Lehi brought from Jerusalem.

"Moroni told him the time had not yet come for them to be brought forth, but that in due time he should bring them forth and translate them. Joseph said: 'I am not learned,' and the angel said" 'There is the Urim and Thummim, and they will show you how to interpret them.'

"The next year at the same time Joseph visited the same place again, and the third year he went expecting to get the records. So he raised up the lid and took them out. And he thought that somebody might come along and see these things (not thinking that the Lord had watched them 1,400 years), and laid the record down and covered up the box. When he turned to take his record it was gone. The angel told him he must persevere and must not give up.

"He raised the lid again, and there was the record, just as it laid before. He reached forth his hands to take it and he felt a pressure pushing him away. He tried the second time, and the third time he fell to the earth with the pressure, and he cried in the bitterness of his soul:

"'Lord, what have I done, that I can not get these records?'

Moroni said: 'You have not obeyed the commandments as you were commanded to; you must obey His commandments in every particular. You were not to lay them out of your hands until you had them in safe keeping.'

"Joseph said: 'What shall I do?'

"He said: 'Come here again next year at this time and bring your oldest brother with you, and you can receive the records.'

"In November my brother took sick, and through the ministering of medicine by the doctors he passed away. Joseph went to the place and inquired of the angel what he should [do] now. The angel said: 'You must bring some person with you.'

"And Joseph said: 'Who shall I bring? My oldest brother is gone.'

The angel said: 'You will know her when you see her.'

That fall he went down to Pennsylvania and became acquainted with his wife, Miss Hale, and he knew when he saw her that she was the one to go with him to get the records.

"In March they were married and he brought her home, and on September 22 she went with him to the place. She didn't see the records, but she went with him. He took them up and brought them part way home and hid them in a hollow log. My father in a few days heard that they had got a conjurer, who they said would come and find the plates, and he came home. Emma was weaving, and he said to her:

"'You will have to go after Joseph (Joseph was away at work), for they are determined to find them records.'

"She said: "If I had a horse I could go.'

"A few days before a stray horse (we had nothing but oxen then) had come to our place, and father said: 'I will get you a saddle and bridle and you can ride that horse.'

"She went where Joseph was at work and told that the records were in danger and that father was anxious for him to come and take care of them. He came right home and went to the place where the records were and wrapped them up in his frock and started home. He stepped on a log and a man raised up and struck at him. Joseph knocked him down. He stepped on the second and third logs, and three different men struck at him, but he made his escape and came home. When he got to the door he said:

"'Father, I have been followed; look and see if you can see any one.'

"He then threw himself on the bed and fainted, and when he came to he told us the circumstances; he had his thumb put out of place and his arm was very lame. We got a chest and locked the records up in the house. From that time on our house was searched all around; and our field and our wheat stacks were searched. The mob was around our house nearly every night, and one night they went into father's cooper shop and tore up his floor and dug the earth up. And from that time until we went to Pennsylvania we had to keep watch for the enemy.

"And when he went to Pennsylvania he commenced translating the book of Mormon, and translated some one hundred and sixteen pages that Martin Harris took home and lost, and, when my brother found they were lost, he was very much troubled and said:

"'I am afraid I have broken the commandments and will not be allowed to translate the record.'

"The angel came and took the Urim and Thummim from him. He fasted and prayed several days, and the angel returned them again, and told him that his sins were forgiven, and for him to go ahead and translate, but not to translate that that was lost, but to begin where he had left off. He commenced, and when he had got the record partly translated, persecution rose there, and he wrote for David Whitmer to come and take him to his house. David came, and he asked how he should carry the plates and he was told that they would be there when he got there, in the garden.

"When he got to Father Whitmer's he found the records, as he had been told he would, and there he finished translating the Book of Mormon, and there is where the three witnesses were showed the plates by the angel, that turned the leaves over one by one. And the angel told them that when the church became pure and [sic - that?] the rest of the record (some of the plates were sealed) would be translated and brought to the church. After that the eight witnesses saw the book, and turned it over leaf by leaf and saw the characters that were on them. From that time on they commenced printing the Book of Mormon, and soon after the book was printed there were six that met together and organized the Church of Jesus Christ as it now exists in these last days."

Prayers of thankfulness were offered by many members to the Divine Being, expressing gratefulness to Him for allowing the conference the privilege and blessing of having Mrs. Salisbury present.

Elder C. Depuy of Lee's Summit, Mo., then arose to his feet and addressed the meeting. During his testimonial he was delivered of a brief prophecy, or, according to the belief of the Saints, was used as a medium through which the Lord spoke. It was:

Thus saith the Lord: Inasmuch as you will continue faithful in this great work God has established on the earth, the time is not very far distant when Jesus Christ will break the clouds of heaven and come and reign on the earth."

Mrs. Smith of Iowa Testified.

Elder Depuy was followed by a Mrs. Smith of Iowa, who gave this testimonial:

"I was brought in this church of the Saints many years ago," she declared, "and I soon learned to love its works. My spirit faltered once, though, brothers and sisters, and I became weak, for I said to myself, 'If Joseph Smith is the authorized president of our church, why have I not had, like others claim, some demonstration?' Then I went to my room and prayed, and as I raised my voice to God I heard the low murmur of flowing water behind me, and I turned to see the cause thereof; and I then saw before me a great body of water, and from the stream came a ladder and arose up to heaven. Then I saw a bright light appear in the sky, and Joseph Smith, the martyr, came out of it and descended this ladder until he reached half way to the water; and in his hand was the Book of Mormon which he held up that I might see and know that he was truly a prophet recognized of God, and that his son is the rightful president of our church. After a little while the vision slowly faded away, but I was satisfied because of what I had seen. I pray you that we may all be pure in heart that in the end we may be saved. This is my prayer in the Lord Jesus Christ's name. Amen."

Several members then testified as to the mistreatment of the original Joseph Smith received at the hands of his persecutors. Among them was Mrs. Horning of Pennsylvania.

"We lived in the far West," she said, "when Joseph Smith, the martyr, was taken from his home and sorely wounded by a mob of his enemies. He resided just across the street from us at the time, and when the mob came it shouted: "We've got your Savior! we've got your Savior!" Then they took him to the woods and poured vinegar down his throat, tarred and feathered his body and dragged him about by his hair. Yet through the grace of God he survived. I know this is true, because I witnessed it."

The balance of the morning was devoted to gospel songs, prayers and the regular preaching service at 11 o'clock.

The Afternoon Session.

President Joseph Smith called the business meeting to order at 2 o'clock. Hymn No. 182, "Shall I Feel to Own His Cross," was sung. This was followed by an offering of prayer by Elder Lambert. The regular order of business was then begun.

The first matter of importance to receive consideration was this resolution. It was brought up Tuesday and carried over until yesterday:

Resolved, That it is the belief of this conference that the time is fully ripe for the establishment of the order known as the Order of Enoch; that the bishopric be instructed by this conference to receive consecrations of money and property and that the work of the gathering be commenced as quickly as in their judgment sufficient property and money is placed in his hand to commence the work.

Upon motion the resolution was referred to the first presidents, who will probably not report upon it until the next conference. In brief, the Order of Enoch is to be established for the purpose of creating a fund to be used for paying the transportation expenses of the poor of the church before the coming of Christ. According to a revelation made to Joseph Smith, the martyr, the center or stake point of the church must be located within twenty-four hours' ride of all branches of the church. The rich will, of course, be able to make the trip, but the poor will find it a difficult matter to make the journey without money. The members of this Order of Enoch, therefore, will be empowered to receive donations of money and property from the wealthy to be kept on hand as a reserve fund to be drawn upon at the proper time by the poor of the church. Independence, by the way, is considered the central point of the ascension. In this connection a most worthy and commendable role of the church may be mentioned. It is that no member in good standing, who for any cause becomes destitute, need apply to city or county for assistance, as a fund is provided for their keeping by the church.

The committee appointed to take action on the objection raised to the church hymn book called "Harmony" made its report, recommending the adoption of a smaller hymn book and several other things...

It is not generally known that strangers and outsiders are admitted at the conference sessions, but such is a fact. The morning prayer services begin at 9 o'clock a. m. today, as usual. The forenoon meetings are the most interesting to the public. ...

Note 1: For other relevant Katherine Salisbury statements see the June 1, 1881, July 3, 1886, May 6, 1893, and Apr. 26, 1899 issues of the Saints' Herald as well as the May 16, 1894 issue of the Carthage Republican and the June 24, 1894 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune. Other germane reports can be found in the columns of the Independence Zion's Ensign and the Lamoni Independent Patriot of that era.

Note 2: Mrs. Salisbury's 1895 RLDS Conference statement adds nothing useful to the official accounts of Joseph Smith's early "visions," as they were then being related in other publications of the RLDS Church. Mrs. Salisbury does not provide a specific date for her brother's alleged "first vision," nor does she provide any serviceable details as to where the various members of the Smith family were during the supposed angelic visitations. In the second alleged encounter, Katherine and her sisters were evidently sleeping downstairs, in the Smith cabin in Manchester, New York. Joseph and his brothers were evidently sleeping upstairs in their single bed in the garret of the small cabin. How a "refulgent" angel was able to hover "midway between the floor and ceiling" in a cramped cabin attic, and there converse aloud with the boy "for hours," without disturbing the rest of the sleeping family, Mrs. Salisbury does not reveal. Apparently this nocturnal event was not discussed at the family breakfast table, and it only became a topic of discussion after the family's harvesting activities began, later that morning.

Note 3: According to Mrs. Salisbury's retelling of her brother's story, (in 1827?) the boy first discovered (and three years later recovered) a sword, a metallic military breastplate, oracular devices, and at least two sets of metal plates from the ancient repository atop Hill Cumorah. How this large collection of items were arranged in the relatively small records "box," the lady does not say.

Note 4: The "conjurer" spoken of in the statement was perhaps Mr. Alvah Beaman, a sometime associate of Joseph Smith, sr., and later father-in-law of Joseph Smith, jr. Beaman later reportedly used magical means to locate the spot where the Smiths had hidden the "records" in their cabin.

Note 5: For a brief mention of Mrs. Salisbury's own encounter with a messenger angel (another Moroni visitation?) see the Kansas City Journal of Apr. 14, 1895.


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, April 11, 1895.                     No. 303.



Her Statement Differs Materially From the
Accepted Records of the Church --
No Revelation Came Through
President Smith.

The interest felt and shown by the delegates and visitors to the general conference of the Latter Day Saints in session at Independence grows from day to day. There is an evident wish on the part of many that revelations may come touching some of the more important matters of the church that are unsettled. At each morning session when "Brother Joseph," as Joseph Smith is called by most of the delegates, goes into secret session and counsel with the twelve apostles of the church there is an almost feverish anxiety among the members for the close of the session. It is expected that at one of these meetings a message from divine authority will come for the direction and guidance of the church.

Yesterday morning the entire forenoon was spent by the head of the church and his chosen followers and counselors in consultation.

As the hours of the morning wore away there was an earnest longing on the part of the delegates to hear from the proceedings. Prayer for a revelation had been made and the answer was expected, but none came, and the counselors came forth from the consultation with no message from the divine head of the church for the edification and guidance of the faithful on earth.

There might have been some manifestation of disappointment over the result had it not been for an event that took place at the testimony meeting during the morning. It proved to be one of the most interesting exercises of the conference. Early in the meeting a sister from Illinois arose and delivered a message from the Ruler of the universe as follows: "The spirit of the Lord is deeply grieved with thee, oh my people. Yea, verily, I say unto ye, ye are becoming proud and high headed when thou shouldst become more humble and ye are therefore commanded to be more humble that ye may receive the blessing."

As she ceased speaking Mr. Caroline Salsbury [sic - Katherine Salisbury?], the aged sister of Joseph Smith, the prophet and first head of the church, who was seated in an easy chair just in front of the speakers' stand, with a great effort arose and began to speak. With her first word she attracted the closest attention from every one in the house. She is very old, more than 83 years of time has she experienced, and she stands to-day the only living person who saw the golden plates from which was translated the Book of Mormon. She spoke for half an hour and every word she spoke was heard distinctly in every part of the church. Her story related to the discovery and finding of the plates, the early trials of the Saints and the vexations and delays of the church from that time.

It was remarkable for the fact that it differed from the story so often told and so long received on the point of the finding of the plates. It has always been stated that Hiram Smith, brother of the prophet, was with him when he found the plates, but this statement was disputed by Mrs. Salsbury, who declared that at that time there was no one save the wife of the prophet and that Hiram was not there at all. The discrepancy is explained by the members who claim that the memory of the aged lady is faulty and that the old story is the correct one.

Her narration of the facts and history, she said, was by the order and direction of the Almighty for the interest and inspiration of the church.

Her great age, the fact that she was to-day the only living witness who ever saw or handled the golden plates and was a [member] of the first Mormon church and had seen all of the trials and difficulties that have fallen to the lot of the Saints, her apparent infirmity and the probability that she would not be at the next conference, all had their effect on the listeners and they were moved to tears at the touching close of the address.

Story of the Golden Plates.

Mrs. Salsbury said:

"I stand before you a remnant of the family that brought forth the sacred record, to bear my testimony.

"I can remember the time that this work commenced, that my brother had the vision, that he saw the angel and talked with him. After he had his first vision he lay on his bed one night studying what he had seen And his room became light, and it grew lighter and lighter until an angel descended and stood by his bed. He did not touch the floor, but he stood in the air. He was dressed in white raiment, of whiteness beyond anything he had ever seen in his life, and had a girdle about his waist. He saw his hands and wrists and they were pure and white, and he talked with him. He said he was Moroni, and that he was sent as a messenger to tell him concerning the record that was hidden in the hill Comorah, which was a history of the people that once inhabited this continent, and also that it was the pure gospel of Christ. That the gospel we had had been adulterated, and this was the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, and would be preached in these last days. He also talked with him and told him concerning the prophecies of Isaiah, and told him what was coming upon the earth. And he also opened the vision and showed him the hill Comorah, where the records laid, and talked with him awhile and then ascended. And while Joseph was still thinking over what he had seen and what the angel had told him, he descended again and stood by his side, and repeated the same things. He told him the prophecies of Isaiah were being fulfilled and would come true and that this record must be brought forth to the church established in the last days for there was no true church on earth. He ascended again, and then he descended the third time; and then my brother said that the chickens crowed for day, showing that he had conversed with the angel all the blessed night.

"The next morning when my brother got up he went to the field to work, but he could not; the spirit of God was upon him and the angel was with him. Father told him he was not well and he had better go to the house. Joseph started to the house, but fell by the way, and the angel Moroni appeared to him and said 'Joseph, tell your father what you have seen and what you are commanded to do.' He said: 'I am afraid my father won't believe me.' But the angel told him his father would believe him. So he went to the house and sent for father and my two brothers, and they came to the house and sat and talked quite a spell. I wondered at it. I was young and I didn't know what they were talking about, because I knew they were so busy with their harvesting. Father said: 'Joseph, go and do just as you are bid.' So he went to the hill Comorah (this was, I think, the 22d day of September, 1827,) and found it exactly as he had seen it in the vision. The earth was rounding on top, and he got a stick and pried the dirt away from the edges, and got a lever and raised the lid, and there beheld the records that were to be translated, and the Urim and Thummim, and the sword and breastplate of Laben, and the brass plates Leni [sic] brought from Jerusalem.

"Moroni told him that the time had not yet come for them to be brought forth, but that in due time he should bring them forth and translate them. Joseph said: 'I am not learned,' and the angel said: 'There is the Urim and Thummim, and they will show you how to interpret them.' The next year, at the same time, Joseph visited the place again, and the third year he went, expecting to get the records. So he raised up the lid and took them out. And he thought that somebody might come along and see these things (not thinking that the Lord had watched them 1,400 years), and laid the record down and covered up the box. When he turned to take his record it was gone. The angel told him he must persevere and must not give up. He raised the lid again, and there was the record, just as it lay before. He reached forth his hands to take it, and he felt a pressure pushing him away. He tried the second time, and the third time he fell to the earth with the pressure, and he cried in the bitterness of his soul: 'Lord, what have I done that I cannot get these records?' Moroni said: 'You have not obeyed the commandments as you were commanded to. You must obey His commandments in every particular. You were not to lay them out of your hands until you had them in safe keeping.' Joseph said; 'What shall I do?' He said: 'Come here next year at this time and bring your oldest brother with you, and you can receive the records.'

"In November my brother took sick, and through the ministering of medicine by the doctors he passed away. Joseph went to the place and inquired of the angel what he should do now. The angel said, 'You must bring some person with you.' And Joseph said, 'Who shall I bring? My oldest brother is gone.' The angel said, 'You will know her when you see her.' That fall he went down to Pennsylvania and became acquainted with his wife, Miss Hale, and he knew when he saw her that she was the one to go with him to get the record. In March they were married, and he brought her home, and on the 22d day of September she went with him to the place. She didn't see the records, but she went with him. He took them up and brought them part way home and hid them in a hollow log. My father, in a few days, heard that they had got a conjuror, who they said would come and find the plates, and he came home. Emma was weaving and he said to her, 'You will have to go after Joseph (Joseph was away at work), for they are determined to find them records,' She said, 'If I had a horse I could go.' A few days before that a stray horse (we had nothing but oxen then) had come to our place, and father said, 'I will get you a saddle and bridle and you can ride that horse.' She went where Joseph was at work and told him that the records were in danger and that father was anxious for him to come and take care of them. He came right home and went to the place where the records were, and wrapped them up in his frock and started home. He stepped on a log and a man raised up and struck at him. Joseph knocked him down. He stepped on the second and third logs, and three different men struck at him, but he made his escape and came home. When he got to the door he said, 'Father, I have been followed, look and see if you can see anyone." He then threw himself on the bed and fainted, and when he came to he told us the circumstances; he had his thumb out of joint and his hand was very lame. We got a chest and locked the records up in the house.

"From that time on our house was searched all around, and our field and our wheat stacks were searched. The mob was around our house nearly every night, and one night they went into father's coopershop and tote up his floor and dug the earth up. And from that time until we went to Pennsylvania we had to keep watch for the enemy. And when he went to Pennsylvania he commenced translating the Book of Mormon and translated some 116 pages that Martin Harris took home and lost: and when my brother found they were lost he was very much troubled and said, 'I am afraid I have broken the commandments and will not be allowed to translate the record.' The angel came and took the Urim and Thummim from him. He fasted and prayed several days, and the angel returned them again and told him that his sins were forgiven, and for him to go ahead and translate, but not to translate that that was lost, but to begin where he had left off. He commenced, and when he got the record partly translated persecution rose there, and he wrote for David Whitmer to come and take him to his house. David came, and he asked how he should carry the plates, and he was told they would be there when he got there, in the garden. When he got to Father Whitmer's he found the records, as he had been told he would, and there he finished translating the Book of Mormon, and there is where the three witnesses were showed the plates by the angel, that turned the leaves over one by one. And the angel told them that when the church became pure the rest of the record (some of the plates were sealed) would be translated and brought to the church. After that the eight witnesses saw the book, and turned it over leaf by leaf and saw the characters that were on them. From that time on they commenced printing the Book of Mormon, and soon after the book was printed there were six that met together and organized the Church of Jesus Christ as it now exists in these last days.

"I was with the church in the beginning," said the aged speaker, "and have been with it all the way through. I have seen the Saints driven like animals from place to place, but to-day at over four score years of age, I am with you, happy and as firm in the faith as at any time in my life. I am glad God gave me strength to attend the conference. I was told to tell you this message, and I have fulfilled the command. And now, may God bless and keep you faithful."

The spiritual feeling engendered by the narration caused one of the older brethren from the East to break forth in a prophecy that "soon the Lord was to break away the clouds that have at times hung low over the church and come again to reign on earth."

With this another of the elderly ladies from Illinois who was with the Mormons at far West when they were located there, arose and told of the divine manifestations of the correctness of the Book of Mormon that she had received during her life and the power and quality of her faith. Others narrated similar instances and the spirit prevailed in large measure up to the time the sermon at 11 o'clock began.

Order of Enoch.

Much interest was shown in the question of the proposed institution of the Order of Enoch, as was exclusively stated in the Journal yesterday morning, and when the matter was taken up for action at the business session in the afternoon every delegate in the city was in his seat. The hostility of the leading men of the church to the matter was shown at the outset when Bishop Kelley made a point of order that the question was not debatable, the remarks were to be made on the motion to refer. He lost the point of order, and then Elder J. A. Robinson, of Independence, made a rousing speech in favor of the early settlement of the matter. The question was such a one as ought to be cared for by the church, and the authority having been given in 1883, it was time for its partial fulfillment.

He was not opposed to the reference of the matter if an early report was forthcoming, but he was opposed to burying it or delaying it further than was necessary. It was just the thing to do to settle the labor question and forever destroy the monster of interest. They had heard from the lips of their venerable president that he was only allowed ten years more to labor for the church, and it was meet that much be done in that space of time. There were provisions for the gathering of the Saints and the distribution of the inheritance by lot, and it was now time that something in that line should be done that the scriptures might be fulfilled and the church placed in the attitude designed by the Creator.

Still there was opposition 'by the episcopacy, and bishop Kelley made a point of the previous question, and the matter was referred. It was shown very plainly, however, that in some matters differences exist, even though the views so different are maintained good naturedly, between the president and twelve on the one hand and the large body of the church on the other, and that while the main body of the church was demanding something new, the others were opposing it with some power.

The older and more in practical men in the conference were with the number opposing the Order of Enoch, and gave for reasons that even if it was of divine origin it was very impracticable, and not calculated to be successful in this day and age of the world. It was argued that the idea of Enoch presumed on a millennium condition of humanity that had not yet obtained, and while it might be for the best to discuss the matter at each gathering and encourage the cultivation of the co-operative spirit in the individual, it was manifestly wrong to jeopardize the interests of the church in the matter by starting the order at present.

The Lamonia [sic] company practically failed in the mission at that place, and the leaders of the church look with great disfavor on the plan. Fifteen years ago there came to President Smith from a town in Iowa a request to come there and organize an Enoch order and start the people in the work. He replied that when they agreed on the plan of operation he would visit them and organize them us desired. That was fifteen years ago, and they have not yet agreed on the basis of organization.

The plan of colonization as embodied in the order means much for Independence when it is finally adopted by the church, as it is expected will be done soon. The order is in pursuance of the plan and divine injunction to gather the Saints together and await the coming of the Lord to dwell with His people. The sacred spot to the Saints is at Independence.

Added to that fact is the proposition that during the waiting process the commercial conditions of life at that place are well calculated to be comfortable, and for these reasons the colonization is finally to be at Independence. In fact, some of the Iowa delegates are in the city now for the purpose of looking for locations and expect to settle there soon. While the order was not organized, there was a big impetus given to the movement, and its popularity increased so that at the next meeting there will be enough strength to effect the organization.

Report on New Hymn Book.

A report was made during the afternoon by the committee appointed to consider the compilation of a new church hymnal. The committee had been appointed at the request of the St. Louis people, who were very much displeased with the style, general arrangement and price of the present book of the church. The report provided for the appointment of a committee of three, composed of Mr. Ralph G. Smith, of Pittsburg, Pa., Mrs. L. L. Ressegue of Lamoni, Ia., and Mr. Arthur Mills, of Independence, Mo., to serve as compilers of the new book, which is to be bound in cloth, with 200 hymns and tunes and fifty other hymns. It is to be sent out to meet the demand such as existed in other churches when the gospel hymns came out. There was considerable adverse criticism to the plan for a new book, as the friends of the old hymn book held out strongly for its claims, while the younger men of the conference fought in a lively manner for the new work.

A resolution to move the official publication offices from Lamoni, la., to Independence, was laid on the table, but secured a greater vote than was expected, and will be taken up for discussion later in the session. There are many people who are becoming favorably impressed with the idea of gathering the Saints together, and Independence has the friends, although some are opposed to the too rapid work of colonization.

The plan of ministry reports was discussed, but, pending the discussion, the president announced that the fire department wanted to give an exhibition for the benefit of the delegates, and the conference was adjourned abruptly to witness It.

Note 1: Compare the Katherine Salisbury testimony transcript published in the Kansas City Times of April 11th with its counterpart in the Journal of the same date.

Note 2: On the same day the local morning paper (the Kansas City Star) reported briefly on Mrs. Salisbury's follow-up testimony, as given before the RLDS Conference on April 11th.



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, April 11, 1895.                            No. 206.



Revelations Are Considered Necessary
Now to Prevent Threatened Dissensions
Over the Government of the Saints'
Church -- Prophecies Discouraged.

The conference of the Latter Day Saints may result in some striking and suggestive changes in the management of the church. In addition to the feature of centralizing the power of Joseph Smith and the twelve apostles, which is being made a prominent issue, it is proposed to abolish the custom of sixty-five years standing which admits prophecies and visions to come, even to the humblest worker, and authorizes him to relate these manifestations to the national conference when the spirit dictates.

This morning the first step toward abolishing this time honored practice was taken when I. N. White, president of one of the seventies, openly frowned upon it and said publicly that he hoped there would be nothing of the sort at the testimony meetings over which he presided.

Later an elder from the Northwest deprecated the fact that the saints were living in an age of sensationalism. The press took only the sensational features of their conferences and scattered them broadcast throughout the world. It gave a wrong impression, he said, and he broadly hinted that the cure for the evil was for no saint to have a prophecy, a vision, or to relate a miracle in the hearing of a newspaper man.

The effect was noticeable upon the conference. The testimony meeting was tame and spiritless.

This innovation, it is said, meets with the approval of the twelve apostles. Perhaps at this conference a revelation will be promulgated forbidding public manifestations among the saints, or at least confining them to Joseph Smith and the twelve apostles.

Slowly, but perceptibly the first presidency and the quorum of apostles are narrowing the circle and decreasing the authority of the church at large in accord with an ambitious plain said to be secretly cherished, of making the governing power of the Latter Day Saints a one-man power.

Many realize this, but few will express themselves.

Yesterday President Joseph Smith took occasion to publicly roast the conference members for their disposition to criticise every act of the church authorities.

"If you don't quit criticising," said he, "soon you won't be able to find an honest man to serve in office. I can stand more than others. Perhaps I am not so thin skinned.

"Why, we even had to fight to get the organ in the saints' church.

"They called it the wooden brother and said we were going to praise God by machinery."

In spite of this rebuke, members of the conference are not disposed to sanction every act of the twelve apostles. They reserve the right to approve or confirm, and concerted efforts of the high authorities to entrench themselves more strongly at the expense of the ministry and laity are likely to prove a turning point in this government of the church.


Joseph Smith, the head of the church, and his twelve apostles were in secret session until midnight last night considering grave questions of church government. Early this morning they again went into executive conference and at 1 o'clock were still conferring.

It is believed now that the conference will not last beyond Monday. President Smith is to dedicate next Sunday the church of the Latter Day Saints at 2124 Wabash avenue, this city, and doubtless Monday will be the last day of the forty-third conference. It is still the belief of the saints that before the close of the conference Joseph Smith, head of the church, will deliver revelations of the utmost importance to the future of the church. Because of widening breaches over disputed points it is urged that revelation only [will] reunite the factions and restore harmony. Probably the three most pronounced factions are to be found respectively at Lamoni, Ia., Kirtland, O., and Independence. Sectional differences divide them. Independence doesn't look with favor on the other two because it knows that some day they will dispute its claim to be the New Jerusalem -- the true Zion.

Lamoni -- the co-operative city founded by the shrewd heads of the Mormon church -- which has been the headquarters of the Saints for twenty years, is ambitious. Joseph Smith lives there, so do the other leading churchmen and quite properly Independence looks upon it as a rival. Some day it will aspire to be the true Zion....


The growing differences between the ministry and the twelve apostles were not quieted in the least by the victory of the apostles in having deferred until next conference the question of establishing the Order of Enoch. Yesterday's business session was remarkable for the ease with which the apostles won their fight against the Order of Enoch and the quick return of the ministry to the fray.

Shortly after the question had been deferred, another resolution emanating from the twelve apostles created a lively discussion. It proposed to dispense with reports from the ministry and to place them under the jurisdiction of the twelve.

This was considered by the ministry as another attack upon their rights and promptly they rallied in opposition to the attempt at centralization of the powers of the church.

Elder Short of Illinois, who has been prominent in the session and who has ventured to take positions at variance with that of the twelve apostles, led the fight against the resolution. It was, he said, an attempt to crush the brains of the ministry reports by having them pass through the discriminating hands of the twelve. Others rallied to Short's standard and the apostles apparently were on the unpopular side. But President Joseph Smith is a man of resources. Otherwise he could not have guided his church safely through forty-three annual conferences. When the debate waxed warmest he quietly informed the conference that the Independence fire department was waiting to give an exhibition and he declared the business session adjourned until 1 o'clock, without waiting for any motion to adjourn. This afternoon the ministry and the apostles will continue the discussion.


At the opening of the "testimony meeting" this morning Elder I. N. White, president of one of the Seventies, who was presiding, took occasion to dash spiritual cold water on the religious enthusiasm of those in attendance. He told them that it was not necessary for them to tell all the wonderful things that happen to the saints. He asked that they at their testimony be fraught with spiritual wisdom, which was a straight tip to the saints to have fewer prophecies in the presence of the worldly.

Sister Caroline [sic] Salisbury, who on Saturday told the story of the Book of Mormon and the finding of the gold plates upon which were transcribed the mysterious characters which, when translated, made up the book which the church regards as divine, told to-day how her mother moved her family and seventy faithful adherents of the Church of Latter Day Saints from New York to Kirtland, O. She told of the miraculous opening of a channel through the ice on Lake Erie just wide enough to admit the passage of their boat after a prayer service in which the saints called on the Lord to open the way for them. She had seen the sick raised from beds after the hand of death was upon them.

Elder James Whitehead, the aged saint who once was private secretary to Joseph Smith the prophet, also gave evidence regarding the divinity of the founder of the church, which had been revealed to him.

Directly after the noon service a number of converts were baptized in the "Saints' pool," some distance from the Temple lot, in the place of Elder Atwood. The services do not differ from that in other churches where immersion is believed in.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Friday, April 12, 1895.                            No. 102.



It Is Suggested to Some of the Brothers and
Sisters That They Omit Their Long Winded
Stories -- Kirtland, Ohio, Selected at the
Place for the Next Meeting of the Latter
Day Saints -- An Entertainment.

The decided stand taken by several prominent officials of the church in regard to revelations was the main feature of the conference of Latter Day Saints at Independence yesterday. Mrs. Catherine Salisbury related another demonstration during the morning session. After considerable argument at the business session in the afternoon it was decided to hold the next conference at Kirtland O., by a vote of 611 to 361 for Lamoni, Ia.

The morning services were conducted under the direction of Elder I. N. White of Independence, and were opened with the hymn, "Let Us Pray for One Another." This was followed by a prayer, after which Elder White made a short address:

"I admonish you, brothers and sisters," he said, "not to give a long string of testimony that can only be dictated by your own minds. Let the spirit of the Lord move you and do not continue speaking after the spirit has departed. Be brief in your prayers and also in your demonstrations. I hope that you will take heed of what I have said. The meeting is now in your hands."

Story of a Miracle.

At the conclusion of Elder White's admonishment several short prayers were offered. Then Mrs. Catherine Salisbury, sister of Joseph Smith, related an incident of her younger days. She is now 83 years of age, but enjoying good health. She said, among other things:

"I did not intend rising to my feet today but I feel as though I must relate a circumstance of my youth in which a demonstration was made to my mother. When we, from persecution, emigrated to Kirtland we believed that the religion of the Latter Day Saints was the religion of God. A Captain Blake was in charge of the boat upon which we were to take passage. There were seventy in our party, and we tried to get accommodations in the town, but when we told our religion we were refused shelter and we returned to the boat. Captain Blake arranged for us the best he could. You see, he had sent out and had the ice measured, and it was eight feet thick, and he said we would not be able to get away for more than two weeks. Our funds were low and would not last that long, and Mother Smith was worried. We got settled on the boat during the afternoon and that night our party gathered together for prayer services. And they all offered prayer to heaven that the ice might be removed immediately, and toward morning a great crushing noise was heard. At daybreak Captain Blake came to us and told Mother Smith that a channel was broken through the ice large enough for the boat to pass through and he marveled greatly, because he knew nothing about ur prayers. He had great faith in Mother Smith, though, and believed when she told him of the prayers. Well, Captain Blake ordered the boat under way, and we passed through this channel in safety, though after many severe trials and tribulations. I do not remember how long the trip took, but longer than usual in crossing Lake Erie. Another boat attempted to follow through after us, but the passage became stopped up with ice and they had to turn about. My three brothers, Joseph, the martyr; Hiram and Samuel met us at Fairport. After we had safely landed Captain Blake came up and stated that in his thirty years' service on Lake Erie he had never before encountered such a storm, and that it was the prayers of our party that had brought the ship through. I could tell many other wonderful things, but I will not consume any more of your time. Let us be faithful. I thank the Lord that I have been faithful, and pray that I may so remain to the end."

People Who Have Seen Visions.

Elder James Whitehead arose and said: "It is not so long ago that I heard the voice of Brother Joseph say to me, 'Fear not, Brother James, for I am here, and you will be with me, never again to part.' And I am thankful to God that I have been pure in spirit and will receive my reward in heaven."

A Mrs. Franklin then testified that she knew that the Saints' religion was not a cunningly devised scheme, because she had visited all the places and things mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

"Not in person have I seen these things, she said, "but my spirit has on many occasions left my body while I slept and visited these scenes, even unto Jerusalem. It would consume too much of your time, brothers and sisters, to describe these places, but they are as told in the Book of Mormon. IO am now in my declining years, but I know that these things are so, and I do not fear to die. May His Holy Spirit rest upon me."

Does Not Believe in Visions.

Elder Pitt of Independence was among the last to arise at the session. His remarks were calculated to dampen the spirits of a large number who have allowed themselves to manufacture wonderful visions that are akin to fairy tales and are calculated to bring the church and its beliefs into disrepute with a thinking public. Elder Pitt is a well educated, intelligent gentleman, and a firm believer in the doctrines of Mormonism as practiced by Joseph Smith. Judging from his remarks he is not in sympathy, however, with the sensational and excitable sisters and brothers who have preceded him.

"I am not here," he said, because of signs and omens, but because my intelligence has told me of the consistency of the religion. Many other denominations besides this one believe in visions and demonstrations. Prominent among these are the Spiritualists. I make no claim of having been visited by angels from heaven and do not believe in manufacturing stories about them, as some of you do. The Spirit of the Lord, it is true, has been upon me many times, but without the assistance of the Spirit of Jesus Christ no religious faith can be pure."

After Elder Pitt came Elder J. W. Wright of Lamoni, Ia., who spoke in the same line.

An intelligent sister Saint stamped her approval on Elder Wright's remarks.

This ended the giving of testimonials for the morning session and a recess was taken until 2 o'clock. The regular forenoon sermon was preached at 11 o'clock, after which baptismal services were held at an elder's private pool, situated about a mile from the church. Two converts were baptised.

The Afternoon Session.

President Smith presided at the business meeting as usual yesterday afternoon.

The first business transacted was the adoption of a report recommending the use of tents.

After a tiresome two hours of speech-making two other matters of importance to the church were disposed of. One was the passing of a motion or resolution for the organization of a college board, and the other the selection of a meeting place next year.

The church has decided to erect a college building at Lamoni, Ia., and as it will be finished before the next conference, it was deemed advisable to select the board of directors at this session. This board will consist of nine members, two of which may not be members of the Saints' church.

Then came the contest between Lamoni, Ia., and Kirtland, O. In this discussion Elder Short, the kicker, referred to the latter place as a jimson-weed town and refuted the statement previously made by another elder regarding so many meetings being held in the West.

The session lasted until 6 o'clock. Before adjourning over night, President Smith announced that Elder Burton would by special request, tell the story of the Evanella at the church tonight. The Evanella is a missionary boat owned by the church. It is only forty-six feet long, yet it has made several successful voyages across the ocean to the Society islands, where a missionary post has been established by the Saints. Elder Burton was captain of this boat.

An Entertaining Last Evening.

The entertainment given for the benefit of the Independence church last night was well attended. The building fund of the church containing about $250 more this morning than it did before, the increase being the result of the affair last night.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Friday, April 12, 1895.                     No. 304.



Gentle Rebuke Administered to the Overzealous
Members Who Publicly Spread
Utterances Which the Church Does
Not Consider Inspired.

The spirit of revelation and prophecy did not brood over the session of the general conference of the Latter Day Saints' church at Independence yesterday. Some of the younger and more impetuous members and workers were disappointed, but they accept the result from day to day with no apparent discomfort, although there are many who would hail with delight the receipt of the message directing the elevation of some of the honored workers of the church to the vacancies that have so long existed.

Joseph Smith, the hereditary head of the church, has had for the last twenty years but one counselor, the venerable and eloquent W. W. Blair. The other place was for many years filled by David H. Smith, brother of the present head of the church. He was one of the most talented and active workers in the church. He was born several months after the death of his father at Nauvoo at the hands of the mob. He was a prodigy. Gifted with wonderful powers of oratory, a most pleasing and charming personality, a writer and poet of accredited ability, and withal an artist and worker with a surprising natural talent, he was looked upon from his boyhood as one from whom the church was to receive many years of valuable labor in matters pertaining to the more complete equipment and organization. As counselor to the head of the church he performed his labors with great zeal and success. Influences for which he was in no way responsible caused him to lose his reason, and twenty years ago he was placed in an asylum, where he still remains. The light of reason has long since died out, and his recovery, hoped for and asked of God for so many years has been said to be an impossibility, and the church has forsaken hope for the event.

In the revelation given the church during the general conference last year there was a paragraph referring to the unfortunate brother and worker, and in it, it was stated that the unfortunate man was still in the hands of the Divine head of the church, and that in due time His will was to be worked out regarding him. This revelation was not given the widespread publicity of others, and for this reason many did not know of the reference, and have continually looked for a revelation to fill the vacancy in the church made by his infirmity. The meaning of the revelation, as accepted by many, is that while he lives there is not likely to be another chosen for the place. The vacancies in the quorum of the twelve may be filled at this or some other early gathering of the church.

Zealous Members Gently Rebuked.

The first step toward a change that is supported by many of the more influential members of the church was taken yesterday at the morning service when Elder I. N. Smith, of the Independence church, who presided at the morning prayer service, gave utterance to a very strong, but consistent, rebuke to the too common practice of certain parties giving utterance to the revelations and prophecies at the services when their zeal was fired and their devotion more than ordinarily awakened by the spiritual influences of the gathering. It has been known for several years that certain of the older and more conservative members were not willing to accept as inspired many of the long utterances of pious but over-zealous souls in the testimony meetings. Many times utterances were made that the church was not in any manner willing to accept as either the inspired word of God, or as a revelation of His divine will concerning man. The rebuke, for it was no less than a wisely directed and delicate rebuke, of yesterday, had its effect, and there were no manifestations of that character during the service.

The position taken by Elder White was warmly supported by another elder, who elaborated it somewhat and pointed out very plainly some of the evil consequences of the practice. The press of the land, he said, used, and from their standpoint used properly, the sensational features of the alleged divinely directed utterances, nnd there was thus a very wrong and harmful impression of the church and its belief sent broadcast. From these utterances the church was being judged, and it was simply time when the church should take hold of the question and prevent violence to itself from within, quite as energetically as it would repel an attack from without. It was perfectly proper for the Saints to have all of the communion with God that was possible, but it was not imperative that every message, or vision, or revelation be first proclaimed publicly.

The innovation, for it is one, is understood to have the full approval of the leaders of the church, and its wisdom is accepted.

Story of a Winter Journey.

At the morning session, Mrs. Caroline [sic] Salisbury, the aged sister of Joseph Smith, the first prophet, again was one of the speakers, and in an interesting manner told of her experiences during the early days of the church, when she, with her relatives, were coming West. They made the journey during the middle of one of the most severe winters ever known in New York, but suffered none from the cold, although others were complaining bitterly, and evidently with good cause. When her mother arrived, with the members of her family, at Buffalo, N. Y., to engage passage across Lake Erie, they found the vessel tied up at the landing, and Captain Blake told them the ice was eight feet thick four miles from the shore and it was impossible to move the boat for weeks. They were advised to secure lodgings, but were unable to secure accommodations in the city, and, after walking the streets until almost disheartened, they were furnished quarters on the boat. During the night they prayed frequently. Her mother, she declares, was on her knees during the greater part of the night, and asked for some deliverance from her pitiable surroundings.

Thus was passed the greater part of the night. Along near the dawn there was heard an awful crashing and grinding of ice along the borders of the lake, and when there was light to see, it was discovered that there was an open channel from the boat out into the clear waters of the lake. The captain was not a believer, but he had sufficient faith in the manifestation to promptly move out, and as he did so the passage way closed up again as tightly as ever. They reached their destination without injury of any kind, and settled, with others, at Kirtland, O.

With tremulous voice and leaning heavily on her chair, she told the strange tale. It was listened to with closest attention by all. There is something in the aged woman, in the knowledge of her long and strange experiences, that attracts the attention of all who hear her. For eighty-five years she has lived. One of the first, she is one of the most devout of the adherents of the church founded by her brother, who gave his life for the organization. When she speaks, all listen, and every word is placed in the minutes of the conference and recorded in the annals of the church.

Joseph Whitehead, the first private secretary of Joseph Smith, founder of the church, spoke for a short time. He was certain of a glorious reward in the future, and expected soon to be called away, and, with the aged sister, and a glad welcome waiting on the other shore. The morning session closed with a sermon by Elder Forscutt, of the Society Islands.

The afternoon business session was presided over by President Smith. The first matter taken up was the proposition to indorse the tent work as carried on in many parts of the country. The plan was pronounced a failure by some and a success by others. It was decided to continue the work wherever it was deemed advisable by the local managers.

The proposed change in the manner of making the reports of the ministers was again discussed, and then deferred,

Spirited Debate Provoked.

When the question of choosing a board of directors for the new college at Lamoni, la., came up, Dr. Hansen, of that place, asked that in the composition of the board two outsiders be chosen, to insure it liberal policy and give a broad local prestige. The question called forth a rabid criticism from Elder Short, who declared that such proposed liberality was wrong in principle, and if the school was under the direction of the church, it ought to be wholly so, so that pupils sent there for education from other states should be wholly under the control of the church and its faith taught to them. He was strongly opposed to the ultra liberalism that was so straight it leaned the other way.

Bishop Kelley took up the question of liberality and broad liberal education and demolished Elder Short in a brief space of time. He declared in the, most emphatic language and with the strongest argument that he believed in the greatest liberality possible. He was for free schools, with all the possible emphasis in the word free. He loved the public school, where education was the only subject; he loved the Sabbath school and church, where religious instruction was afforded. He objected to any sectarian control when it meant the teaching of dogma in the school. If the doctrines of the church were to be taught in the school, he would certainly send his children to the state university, where no effort was made to inject religious dogma.

The same thought was more fully emphasized by Apostle W. H. Kelley, who declared with stirring emphasis against any narrowness or sectarian features. He wanted that point guarded well and declared his great love for the breadth and liberality of the public school system, and in the state schools. The errors of other churches should guide them and enable them to choose wisely.

Will Meet In Kirtland, O. Next Year.

A very interesting discussion was when the matter of choosing a location for the next general conference was taken up. Kirtland, O., the old home of Joseph Smith, a sacred spot in church history, was suggested, while the city of Lamoni, Ia., where the present head of the church resides, was also placed in the race, and the speeches were quite spirited. Elder Short scored Kirtland, O., as a country village, a jimson weed town, where one had to ride in a stage or walk two miles to reach the village. Another speaker sought to win Elder Short over by saying that if he came there they would feed him on maple sugar. Whether this was effective or not, certainly Elder Short made no further objection and even voted for the jimson weed town when a vote was taken. A yea and nay vote was called for and, after a preliminary meeting of the delegations, the vote was taken with the following result: Kirtland, 611: Lamoni, 361.

Missionary Work In Japan.

One of the matters that has been given the most careful consideration by the head of the church and the twelve is the establishment of a mission in Japan during the year to come. The plan, if adopted, will necessitate sending into the country a half dozen Gospel workers who will spread the new Gospel as best they may.

Such matters involve risk to the missionaries and the expenditure of a considerable sum of cash and are given the most careful consideration. The work of evangelization In the foreign lands is one matter which the church has been for years looking after carefully, and it is believed some direction of the Divine will will be manifested this week for the establishment of the work in Japan,

To-night's Programme.

This evening at the church the pulpit will be occupied by Elder Joseph F. Burton, who will tell of the Gospel boat, the Evanella. It was fitted out at San Francisco and in charge of Captain Burton, who for twelve years was a sailing master on the ocean, taken to the Society Islands and other places on a tour of evangelization. It is a strange story he tells of the experiences and much interest is shown in the matter.

A Little Amusement.

The pretty stone church was crowded to its utmost capacity last evening with members, delegates and visitors to the entertainment given by the local church. The proceeds were for the benefit of the church and a goodly sum was netted. The local committee or management was Roderick May, Miss Emma White, J. Cole Moxon, Miss Alice Bozarth and W. N. Robinson.

The entertainment was styled "An Evening With Amateurs" and was splendidly arranged, satisfactory and successful. The programme was very lengthy and was full of pretty features, fine music, readings and tableau. The choir of the church contributed largely to the entertainment. Among those taking part to whom credit is due are Mr. A. H. Mills, Thomas Holdsworth, Mr. Reese Wells, Miss Ruth Lyman Cobb, Mrs. Myre Brackenbury, Mrs. E. S. McNichols, Miss Clyde Hoffman, Miss Carrie H. Gowell, Mrs. O. L. James, Mrs. W. H. Mills, Mr. O. L. James, Professor Pursley, Mrs. Louise Packard and the members of the Saints' choir.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Friday, April 12, 1895.                            No. 207.


Consequently the Session of the Saints lacks
Its Usual Interest for Outsiders.

This afternoon a business session of the Latter Day Saints is expected to settle finally some of the points in dispute between the Twelve Apostles and the main body of the church. The conference will probably end tomorrow.

This afternoon a resolution will be presented to divide the office of recorder and secretary. For eighteen years High Priest H. A. Stebbins has filled the office at an annual salary of $1,200. The resolution is the outcome of differences between the priests and the laity. The priests have been keeping all the good things within their executive circle and the plums that have fallen to the main body have been neither juicy nor numerous.

At to-day's session it is also expected that the Twelve Apostles will appoint the 200 ministers to their missions for the coming year.

Yesterday afternoon Kirtland, O. won a decisive victory over Lamoni, Ia., in securing the next national conference of the saints. It was a lively fight but the eastern city won. The forty-fourth annual conference will be held there beginning April 6, 1896.

At the "testimony" meeting this forenoon Hiram O. Smith of the Rocky mountain district presided. Two converts were confirmed and received into the church. The warning given the saints yesterday by I. N. White to have no visions or prophecies before the worldly was repeated again to-day, with the result that the session was dry. Robert Elvin of Lamoni preached the morning sermon.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, April 13, 1895.                            No. 103.



In Spite of the Presence and Influence of President Smith
a Resolution Is Put Through by a Rousing Vote
Curtailing the Presidential Powers -- List of
Appointments -- Few Revelations Now --
Afraid of the Papers.

The Latter Day Saints had a lively time at yesterday's afternoon session of their conference at Independence. Several members of the Quorum of Twelve assailed the infallibility of the first presidents and cried pooh pooh at their revelations. And in spite of President Smith's presence and influence a resolution hostile to him went through with a rush.

The morning had been slow, lifeless and absolutely devoid of interest, either to the members or to the outside world. Some said that the newspaper reports of the various revelations and demonstrations together with the admonishments of the elders had cooled down the more excitable brethren to a state uninterestingly commonplace. At any rate there were no revelations, no prophecies, no histories, everything was dull and tame.

But at the very beginning of the afternoon session and directly after the opening prayer, Elder Lambert arose and called for a reading and disposition of a resolution introduced Thursday. The secretary produced the paper and President Smith read its contents. It ran:

Resolved. That we adopt the following resolution as found in the conference minutes of 1893.

Resolved, That we go upon record as believing that the act of conveying the emblems to those partaking forms a part of the work of administering the sacrament; and, under the law, neither teachers, deacons, nor laity have the right to serve in that capacity. J. R. Lambert J. W. Wright.

The excitement that followed the reading of this apparently innocent resolution was startling. Two or three arose to their feet and altogether it appeared a metaphorical powder train had been fired.

Bishop Kelley was the first to receive recognition. He spoke at some length and ended his speech by saying that the resolution had been passed in 1893. The secretary, by request, read the minutes of that conference, which showed the bishop's statement to be erroneous.

First President Blair then took the floor and not only spoke upon the subject in question but delved into ancient history to a considerable extent and finally ended by stating that he stood by the interpretation of God's appointee, Joseph Smith, and that he intended to remain with that decision.

Finally he said: "God has told us through Brother Smith what to do in the premises and we can not go back on His instructions."

Elder Blair Takes a Hand.

Mr. Blair was followed by Elder (not Bishop) Kelly, who was recently named a bigger kicker than Elder Short. Mr. Kelly was very emphatic. He waved his arms about in great circles and tramped up and down in evident agitation and indignation.

"I do not believe in a cut-throat, one-man power," he cried, "either in politics or religion. That is what made Brighamites! And that is what made all the other ites and isms. Our decisions as the Quorum of Twelve are as valuable as those of our president and more so. Shall we fall upon our knees, when the first presidents speak, like the Arabs of old and say amen to everything they may say? No! a thousand times no! If the president receives a revelation," he continued, growing more and more excited, and at times almost sticking his finger in President Smith's calm and unmoved face, "do you get it immediately? No, of course you do not. It goes to the high counsel [sic] where it is examined. Then when it has been passed upon you receive it. Not before! We are not and have never been bound by a revelation until the Quorum approves it and the conference has accepted it."

A peculiar silence reigned for several seconds, then Joseph Luff of Independence arose and made a speech on the same lines. Two or three other members of the Twelve took a turn at kicking their leaders, so to speak, but if these rebukes had any effect the immobile countenances of the first presidents failed to show it.

President Smith finally grew weary, though, and took charge in that quiet way of his.

"These arguments have taken a wide range," he said, "despite my efforts to the contrary. Considerable hard feeling has resulted and to continue would be productive of even more personal feeling in the matter. I believe that you are all ready and prepared to vote upon the question, so I now call for a rising vote. Those in favor of the resolution will rise and be counted, and those against it will do likewise."

One hundred and ten voted for the resolution and twenty against it. Joseph Smith's desires have thus for one time not been granted, as he was against the resolution.

After the excitement had subdued Mr. Smith called into question an article published in an evening paper Thursday. He read the entire report through. His main objection was to the statement that the high officials had divided into factions and that a bitter war was in progress between them. He denounced the report as false....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, April 13, 1895.                     No. 305.




Appoints Made for the Ensuing Year, and the
Work of the Conference is Practically at
an End -- No Revelations.

Yesterday was the field day of the general conference of the Latter Day Saints' church at Independence, and there was enough of interest in the proceedings to awaken the liveliest kind of argument during the afternoon, and there was also something in the speeches of far more than ordinary interest, not alone to the church, but significant to people outside of the church.

The argument came up during the afternoon over a resolution that was introduced by Apostle Lambert, of Lamoni. It was an innocent looking thing; on its face, but there was behind it one of the most sacred principles of the church, and in the debate that followed there was seen the strange spectacle of the twelve apostles and the bishop differing to the point of the most earnest argument with President Joseph Smith and outvoting him 5 to 1 when the vote was taken.

At the general conference two years ago, there was a resolution introduced stating that it was the sense of the church that in the administration of the sacrament the teachers, deacons and laity were not empowered to assist even in the passing of the plate or cup. It was thought at that time that it was adopted, but the minutes failed to show it that way and so yesterday the resolution was again brought forward by Apostle Lambert and taken up for argument. Two years ago, when an effort was made to secure its adoption it was stated that the measure had received the support and indorsement of the twelve and seventy, the two highest quorums of the church. Yesterday it was announced that the measure still had the sanction of the two leading bodies and would receive their support.

After having been shown to have received the indorsement of these two bodies two years ago, the president of the church and the chief counselor, W. W. Blair, have both written articles in the official paper of the church teaching exactly the opposite on the question. These articles have been answered with considerable spirit by other writers and the columns of the paper have sparkled with the different views of the leading workers of the church.

Yesterday when the matter was presented and properly before the house, it was replied to with great force and eloquence by the venerable counselor of the President, W. W. Blair. He said the views expressed in the resolution were not in harmony with the rules of the church, and that he was bound to accept the utterances of the president, either when he wrote his as an editor, or spoke as the messenger of God, as the best exposition of the rules of the church. Where the laws of the church needed an explanation or exposition the chosen man of the church was the one above all others best prepared to make plain the meaning of the word.

He said that it was better to not allow the parties named to assist in the sacrament, save in exigencies, and that point having been settled thirteen years ago in the writings of the president of the church the matter was out of place at this time before the church. He declared as for himself, he felt certain that the interpretation of the laws of the church by the president was the purest and the best that could be and he was bound to accept it as the legal meaning.

This brought out the real issue behind the matter. Was President Smith to rule and interpret, or was the church? Bishop Kelley, one of the best speakers in the church, was the first to support the resolution. He declared that the laws of the church designated certain speakers and officers, and their duties were so clearly defined that it was not possible to raise a question like the one up, save by taking a strained meaning of the word "administer." He wanted only the designated officers to perform their particular work. There was no doctrinal question that could be settled by the high tribunals of the church like the presidency. The questions of doctrine were to be settled by the church. No man's idea was to be taken on such matters, and as for the exigencies spoken of he was of the opinion that in the economy of God there were no exigencies at any time that would vary a principle or cause the violation of the rules of the church and the will of God. He was strongly in favor of the resolution.

Apostle J. R. Lambert, who first offered the resolution, was the next speaker, and gave with great emphasis his reasons for it and the great need of it as a safeguard to the interests of the church. He is a strong speaker, and he covered the grounds of the case with emphasis and apparent effect on the members of the body.

Then followed another speech by Counselor Blair, who came in with reserve argument in favor of the interpretation of the plan as he proposed it, so that the voices of Joseph Smith, in the interpretation of the laws of the church, would have precedence, and be accepted as the understanding of the man who is best able to give to the church that counsel calculated for its good. He stated with emphasis that Joseph Smith was the best fitted, from the office he holds and the peculiar relations he holds with the Divine Ruler, to interpret the law of God for the guidance of the church.

This statement brought Apostle Joseph Luff, editor of the Ensign, and one of the foremost speakers of the church, to his feet, with the strong statement that he would accept no man's statement of the law, when its provisions was so plain as to leave no question. God's law, he declared, said that the teachers and deacons should not officiate, and he wanted to know where any man got the right or authority to change the law of God, even in the case of an exigency. He was not yet ready to surrender his moral and religious convictions of right for any man's opinion, editorial or otherwise. If the church was simply to follow the interpretation of some man, then there was no church. The one man power was completely established, and that was just what the church of which he was a member was trying to avoid. The one man power caused Brighamism in Utah and the disgrace and apostacy of the church. He wanted the Reorganized church to fight very shy of it, even in the slightest degree, and stick close to the law of the chuich and the law of God,

Apostle W. H. Kelley was on his feet in an instant with the statement that he wanted the right of the individual recognized.

"I am down on this 'cuckoo' business, whether it is in politics or religion. It is folly to talk of the church bending the knee to every statement made by its leaders. The quorum of the twelve have perfect respect for the head of the church, but it has too much love for the church to allow violence to be done it in any manner or from any source."

He wanted the resolution adopted at once. If the views of Counselor Blair were accepted, it was simply the old cry of "Follow your file leader: fall down when the prophet speaks." I can't indorse the thing the law forbids. My manhood forbids it and I can't and won't do it."

Counselor Blair spoke again stating that he was still of the opinion that Joseph Smith was the chosen teacher of the law of God, and for that reason was the best teacher in the church, and what he said was the best interpretation of the law of the church and ought to be accepted as such.

President Smith had shown the greatest interest in the discussion at the time, and watched it from the first with great attention. Now, at the close of the speech, he stated that he believed the conference was as ready to vote on the proposition as at any time, and for that reason it would do no good to allow the discussion to proceed farther, and cause more strained feeling. The vote was taken and the resolution adopted by a vote of 110 to 20.

The vote was followed by an announcement by President Smith that he valued as a true man and respected one who had the courage and manhood to speak out fearlessly the honest sentiments of his soul. When matters were under discussion it was the time to have the views of all, and it was proper that the views of each should be heard on the subject. The law as adopted, he said, was to be the law of the church, and he was to administer it.

The split, for it was nothing but a split, between the twelve and the presidency, was something of a surprise to the members present. For the past week there appeared to be something like a split between the main body and the twelve and presidency over various matters. The discussions have been strong and to the point, but there have been no [ill] feelings after the matter was settled.

It appeared to be a fight yesterday between the liberal element of the church against a teaching of the president that was considered not according to the rules and doctrines of the church....

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, April 13, 1895.                            No. 208.


They Voted Down a Pet Measure of the
Saints' President Unanimously.

The Twelve Apostles of the Latter Day Saints' church headed a movement yesterday in their conference at Independence which resulted in the defeat of President Joseph Smith on one of his pet propositions -- and this directly after his denial of a statement in The Star that there were conflicts of opinion between the president and his apostles.

At the business session yesterday afternoon Apostle J. R. Lambert of Lamoni, Ia., presented a resolution declaring it to be the sense of the church that in the administration of the sacrament the teachers, deacons and laity were not empowered to assist in passing either plate or cup.

The same resolution came up two years ago and the conference thought that it had been adopted. The minutes kept by a high priest, showed, however, that it had not been, and it developed that Joseph Smith, head of the church and editor of the official organ, the Saints' Herald, had been talking and writing against it ever since.

When the resolution was presented yesterday, W. W. Blair, second president of the church and counselor to Joseph Smith, opposed it. Joseph Smith was, he said, best fitted from his peculiar relations with the Divine ruler to interpret the law of God for the guidance of the church.

Apostle Joseph Luff, Apostle J. R. Lambert, Bishop Kelley, Apostle Kelley and other leaders took sharp issue with President Smith and Counselor Blair. Apostle Luff said that he was not ready to surrender his moral and religious convictions of what was right to any man. If the church was to follow one man, then there was no church. The church was trying to avoid one man power. That was what caused Brighamism in Utah and the disgrace and apostacy that followed.

Apostle W. H. Kelley spoke with fluency against Blair's idea. "I am down on this 'cuckoo' business whether in politics or religion," he said. "It is folly to talk of the church bending the knee to every statement made by its leaders: to fall down when the prophet speaks. My manhood forbids it, and I won't do it."

The vote on the resolution resulted in 116 for it and 29 against. The negative vote represented the influence of President Smith and his counselor, W. W. Blair. It was a big victory for the main body of the church and demonstrated that the Saints are not yet ready to follow blindly any one man.

The split between the presidency and the Twelve Apostles has been brewing ever since the conference met. President Smith has tried to head it off and has denied that trouble existed, but at every business it has cropped out, and yesterday resulted, as herein told, in the overwhelming defeat of President Smith's pet scheme.

Before adjournment yesterday the apostles, high priests, members of the Seventy and the ministry were assigned to their respective stations for the present year. Today's session will complete the work of the conference.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                            Independence, Mo. Saturday, April 13, 1895.                            No. 15.


The sixty-fifth annual conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the forty-third of its Reorganization, convened at 10 o'clock Saturday morning, April 6, in the Stone church.

The history of the church has been an eventful one, and a reference to it here may not be out of place.

Joseph Smith, its earthly founder and president, was born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, Dec. 23, 1805, but afterward moved with his family to western New York. When but a boy he came under strong religious conviction during the process of union revival meetings in the neighborhood of his father's home. At the close of the protracted meetings, not knowing which of the churches to join, he was troubled in mind; but, while reading the Bible at his home one day, his eye fell on the words of James 1:5: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." This exhortation and promise suggested to him a way out of his mental trouble. Faith sprang up in his heart, and on a clear day in the Spring of 1820 he retired to the woods, and after kneeling down, presented his case to God in earnest prayer. In answer, a vision was granted in which two persons appeared, and one, pointing to the other, said: "This is my beloved Son; hear him."

Joseph then presented his question as to which church he should join, and was forbidden to unite with any of them; but was told that in due time, if faithful, he would be chosen as an instrument to organize the Church of Christ, which was not then on earth in its completeness. Several similar heavenly visitations followed this during the next three or four years, and finally Joseph was shown the whereabouts of the golden plates which contained a history of the people of God who inhabited this continent many centuries ago. These plates had been hidden in the earth by commandment of God, by the last prophet, who remained, about 1400 years ago.

After receiving them Joseph received power by inspiration to translate the hieroglyphics upon them, and soon gave to the world what has since been known as the Book of Mormon. With these revelations referred to, came also authority from God to organize the church of Christ, as it had before been organized in Jerusalem and on this continent, with apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and an endowment of the Holy Ghost, producing the spiritual and miraculous gifts. The nucleus for this development was organized on the sixth day of April 1830, from which time until June, 1844, (the date of the death of Joseph Smith) its growth was phenomenal. It is claimed that nearly 200,000 communicants were enrolled in those fourteen years. Mission work was vigorously prosecuted throughout the United States, Canada, England, Wales, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and to a more limited extent in other foreign nations.

Shortly after the organization of the church, its chief officers moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where, in a short time, by dint of great labor and sacrifice, a large house of worship was erected, which still remains, and is everywhere known as the Kirtland Temple.

Moving thence westward, location was made in Independence, Missouri; but the rapid increase of their numbers here alarmed the citizens, who had no use either for the new religion or the free-soil politics of the new comers. An uprising of the Missourians occurred, and the Saints were expelled, first from Jackson, and later from Clay and Caldwell counties. From Missouri they fled before the hand of persecution and found shelter in Illinois, where they settled, and for a few years prospered. In Hancock county they built the beautiful city of Nauvoo and were engaged in constructing another temple, when the opposition encountered in Missouri followed them and asserted itself in various forms. In the Spring or early Summer of 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were arrested on a charge preferred by their enemies, and while waiting in the jail at Carthage, the building was surrounded by a mob with blackened faces, and they were murdered.

Scarcely had the bodies of these two brothers been laid away to rest before aspirants for the office of church president began to assert claims and influence members in greater or less numbers. Iniquity sought and found shelter in certain quarters among them, and their strength declined. In 1846 a general exodus from Nauvoo took place, the people scattering in almost every direction. The most successful among those claiming right. to preside and lead was Brigham Young, who, with his following, spent the winter near Council Bluffs Iowa, and from thence moved in the spring of 1847, westward, and located in the valleys of what is now the Territory of Utah. There, with little to hinder, the vice secretly introduced at Nauvoo, after the death of Joseph Smith, was soon recognized by public announcement and by the command of Brigham Young and those who, like himself, were already entangled therein.

Polygnmy was declared to be a holy doctrine, and in August, 1852, at a special conference held in Salt Lake City, President Young announced that a revelation authorizing the practice of it had been received by Joseph Smith nine years before, and that the document containing it had been kept by him, (Young), under lock and key until that time. Thus did this usurper of authority and place falsely drag the name of Joseph Smith, (who had been dead for eight years), into the responsibility for this abomination. Suffice it here to say that every revelation ever given to the church in his lifetime by Mr. Smith, and every utterance of pen or lip that in any way referred to the marriage relation, showed that monogamy was the only legal and holy rule, and that polygamy was a crime and an abomination in God's sight.

At the time of the scattering from Nauvoo, thousands of the Saints refused to follow any of the self-made leaders, and determined to wait for a day yet to come, which would bring a fulfillment of the revelations contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, when the oldest son of the dead prophet, who had been anointed when a child as his successor, would come forth and take his place as president and prophet to lead the church.

In 1852 those scattered and waiting ones were moved by the Spirit to come together in conference and reorganize the church, which they did at Zarahemla, Wisconsin. By resolution they denounced all leaders then operating and declared themselves determined to be governed by the law contained in the Bible, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. They asserted their faith in the right of Joseph Smith, the oldest son of the deceased prophet, to lead, and announced themselves willing to wait until God should bring him to them.

In April, 1860, while they were in conference at Amboy, Illinois, "Young Joseph," as he was called, came with his mother and presented himself to the body, with the statement that he had been directed to do so by the Spirit of God. By unanimous vote he was received and ordained, and thus began his career as President of the church.

A publication called the Saints' Herald was started, its first issues being from Cincinnati, Ohio, and later from Plano, Ill., and still later from Lamoni, Iowa, the present headquarters and home of the presidency of the church. In the latter place quite a large publishing house and bindery has been established; a fine church, capable of seating a thousand persons in the auditorium alone and 700 in the main room below, has been built.

Missionary work under this Reorganized church has been carried on as in former time, until local churches have been established in different parts of Canada, Wales, Scandinavia, Australia, the Sandwich and South Sea Islands and other foreign places, as well as nearly every State in the United States.

By decision in the circuit courts its right to possess the temple property at Kirtland, Ohio, has been established, and for several years services have been held as of yore in the old building, which has been repaired and restored for that purpose.

The temple lot at Independence has been, by Judge Philips, of the U. S. circuit court, declared to be the property of the Reorganization as legal successors under the original trust. This decision has been appealed from, and the appeal has been heard before the court of appeals; but up to date said court has not announced its findings.

One of the remarkable and promising features of the work of the Reorganization is manifest in the success it has achieved in building up the "waste places" and in re-establishing the faith of the Church as taught by the early day elders, in regions and cities where the name and record of Utahism had cast an odium and terrible reproach. It has maintained an active missionary force in Utah and adjoining territory, and has persistently and in unmistakable terms, denounced the errors of doctrine and practice indulged under Brighamism. In this work its strongest and most effective weapons have been the Book of Mormon and Book of Doctrine and Covenants, for the revelations therein found are stronger and clearer in denunciation of polygamy than any found in the Bible.

The Reorganization believes that the changes occurring in Utah by which the practice of polygamy is said to have been abandoned, are largely the result of the efforts of its ministry of pulpit and press. It watches with eagerness the developments in the West and will not be surprised if some day in the not very distant future the Utah church will confess the righteousness of the course under "Young Joseph's" leadership, and will acknowledge the necessity for Utah to face about and fall in line with the church that is in true succession.

Joseph Smith, the president of the Reorganization, is also the editor of the Saints' Herald, the official paper of the church, and has held that position for over thirty years. He is now 62 years of age, having been born in Kirtland, Ohio, November 6, 1832. To him the progress and developments under the work of the Reorganization furnish a source of constant satisfaction and a cause for gratitude and delight. Therein is manifest a clear indication of the claim made by his father in the face of calumny, invective, persecution and death. Therein is exhibited the divinity of those revelations which gave promise of "favor and grace" in the eyes of the people: of privilege and power to rebuild the "waste places;" and of liberty to occupy in the places where God recorded his name at the first; and therein is revealed the "power of God unto salvation." Millions may indulge a morbid inclination to abuse the name of a man who dared to declare a message God has given him for the world, and as many more may seek to neutralize the force and effect of the message he brought; but thousands will test the virtue of the truth contained in it, and this generation will yet furnish the honorable men who will engage in the laudable work of clearing away the evil their fathers have heaped upon that name and that message, and who will help dig out and elevate to honor the memory of the prophet slain. The operation of silent forces which point to such a consummation we can not fail to discern, and as we look into the face of him who presides over our conference to-day, we can but hope and pray that his life may be extended until his eyes shall survey and his ears shall hear this complete vindication which so directly affects the reputation of his martyred father before the world.

With him we delight in beholding the present and contemplating the future. To hear or read the testimony of thirty thousand or more honest ones who have been blessed by the divinity of this "marvelous work" under the Reorganization is gracious assurance indeed; but we aspire to the privilege of hearing those testimonials echoed in a thousand avenues where they are not heard, and by those who are and will be still without the fold.

We hope that the present conference will be characterized by such spirit and work as shall register the church high in favor with heaven and amply equipped for the aggressive work before it.

The Ensign is not an official organ of the church, but its single aim and constant toil is to establish that unto which the church's organization and life was consecrated from the beginning. Though it is but a private in the ranks it carries its weapons to defend the character and proclaim the divinity of the same gospel that the credentialled organ is dedicated to the maintenance of. Our weapons, however, are not carnal.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 14, 1895.                            No. 104.



The Voice Was Made Audible Through Miss Mary
Brewster's Lips -- It Spoke Out in an Unknown
Language -- Which Was However, Readily
Translated -- And Peace Is Restored
Among the Latter Day Saints -- Last
Business Session of the Conference.

The conference of Latter Day Saints that has been in Independence since April 4 will close tonight. It was so decided at the business meeting held yesterday afternoon. The latter session was full of good cheer and brotherly affection. The morning session was the most interesting one yet held. Prophecies were made in unknown tongues; awe inspiring demonstrations of the power of the Lord were told, and Joseph Smith was declared by the power of God, manifested through Miss Mary Brewster, to be the recognized prophet of heaven. In short, to use the language of an elder, "the spirit of Christ hovered about and over the meeting."

The attack made on President Smith by members of the Twelve Friday afternoon was directly responsible for the great interest taken in the session. Fear of the newspapers, the admonishments of various elders and fear of all things else vanished in the face of the great question that had arisen.

"If Joseph Smith, the martyr," said one elder, "was not a prophet of God; and if his son, our president, is not of God, our leader and prophet, then I say unto you the foundation of the church has crumbled away."

This fact was recognized by all. It was not, therefore, a simple question of the hour that had come up for consideration, but a momentous matter of vast importance that was to determine the life and principles of the church for perhaps all time to come.

Joseph Smith had been attacked by man. It now remained for God to defend him. It is not to be wondered at, then, that many prayers were offered to Him that He might send consolation and advice through the spirit of His Son and by the medium of some of those present. If the president of the Saints be as claimed, it is not to be marveled at, under the circumstances, that prophecies were made in known or unknown tongues, and that the spirit of the Lord was with the meeting.

President Joseph Smith was present at the time Miss Brewster was delivered of her prophecy. He appeared deeply interested in what she said. It will be remembered that Miss Brewster made a prophecy last Monday that was published in Tuesday's Times. She is a young lady with the god-like face. After a few preliminary remarks she began chanting in an unknown tongue, after which she gave this translation:

"Thus saith the Lord unto you, O my people, who are assembled before me this morning: It has been the will of your Father which art in heaven to bless you more than you have received, but your hearts are not before me as I would have them to be. You seek too much the things of this world and the things connected with them. These things are not pleasing in my sight, for I will have you to be humble and faithful in this church. Feel before me that you are as the dust of the earth, and that ye are instruments in my hands for doing good if you will only serve me right. I say unto you, come up higher in the places where you live, in this place and in the places of all the branches of my field.

"I desire you to be more faithful and humble in the discharge of your duty, each one of you, so that you will love one another as you should. Seek to do this and the Holy Spirit shall lead you unto the path of righteousness. And inasmuch as you seek to do these things, and to live before me as you are directed, in the coming year great shall be your blessings. I will visit you in many places with things you have heretofore been unable to receive. I will comfort your hearts. I will cause that this gospel shall go forth, for I say it is of God, and the work of the Lord is in his hands; and inasmuch as ye shall strive to do that which is right, everything shall be accounted for your good.

"And ye shall heed; yea, I say ye shall heed the voice of the prophet of this church, for I say unto you that he has been appointed by the Master of Israel to lead you unto Zion; and ye shall keep the voice of him and his counselors also. But be not hardened in your hearts concerning this. Seek to love me and be faithful in the discharge of your duty; and inasmuch as you shall do these things, my Holy Spirit will bring unto you the things which I shall ordain for your good; and as a people and a body, and a representative of this church, your work shall grow in righteousness before me, and you shall be prepared to stand in the presence of God. Thus saith the Spirit."

A deep silence reigned supreme for several moments after Miss Brewster resumed her seat. Then, as one person, those assembled began to sing the hymn: "Jesus, Our Savior, Is With Us Now."

Several prayers were then offered. Mrs. Catherine Salisbury repeated a demonstration as did Elder James Whitehead. The former is a sister to Joseph Smith, the martyr. Elder Elvin also contributed to the interest by telling of a vision he once had from the pulpit in which he had seen the congregation vanish and in their place a multitude of happy people appear. He interpreted the vision as a demonstration of what would occur on the judgment day.

A Mrs. Harrington gave a prophecy in an unknown tongue. She spoke in a rapid, excited manner and in a very loud voice. The prophecy was not translated. According to an elder's statement, however, when this is done it will be found to be an admonishment from God to those of the Twelve who attacked President Smith Friday.

Elder M. H. Forscutt volunteered the information that he had heard prophecies given in all manner of tongues and that linguists had translated them. He further stated that not one in a hundred of those making these prophecies in unknown tongues had any knowledge whatsoever of the language in which they spoke.

A Mrs. Griffith soon afterward arose and said:

"So saith the Lord: 'If you will come before me in your faith I will come to you from time to time and you shall be blessed. I have appointed a prophet who shall lead you and rule over you and his will must be done. Then will I come to you.'"

Mrs. Griffith's was the last prophecy. It was made in English. After the usual prayer and hymn the session was brought to a close.

President Smith presided at the afternoon business meeting as usual. A large amount of routine business was transacted, and with a snap and vim heretofore a stranger. A communication was read from Prof. Putnam of Harvard college, in which he stated that in his opinion what are known as the Davenport Tablets are beyond doubt authentic records made in centuries past and not manufactured, as some claim, by promoters of the Mormon religion in these latter days.

The reports made by the Twelve, as published in The Times last Sunday, were read, as were also extended reports of the work performed during the past year by the priests, high priests and elders.

A lone elder at Harlon, Ia., desires a companion in his work. He failed to state what sex, however, and as this conference is not a matrimonial bureau, he will probably not receive a helpmate in the way of a wife....

After passing a resolution of thanks to the citizens and saints of Independence for their hospitality, the conference was declared adjourned so far as the business thereof is concerned. The general conference will finally adjourn tonight.

First President W. W. Blair will preach at 11 o'clock today and President Smith in the evening. The usual prayer service and denomination meeting will be held at 9 a. m. The public is cordially invited to attend all these meetings.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 14, 1895.                     No. 306.



While the Voice of the President Was Silenced on Two Occasions,
He Is Held in Deep Veneration by the Members.

All the business of the general conference of the Latter Day Saints' church at Independence was concluded prior to the adjournment last evening, and the session will be formally adjourned this evening after the usual exercises. Many of the delegates and members are to leave for home this morning, some left yesterday and the remainder will go to-morrow.

The session was not as important as some others have been, but still there was sufficient business to make the gathering interesting. There have been during the conference but two questions up for action that precipitated any particular amount of debate, and while matters waxed pretty warm during the flights of oratory and the thunders of eloquence, there was left not the slightest apparent trace of bitterness on the part of the vanquished. One of the two questions referred to was the effort to force biennial sessions of the conference, and the other was the clash Friday between President Smith and the conference over some laws of the church regarding the administration of the sacrament. In each of these combats the wishes of the president were overruled by the conference, and yet there is no more popular man in the body than Joseph Smith, the head of the church. The members of the conference who differed with him in the matters of doctrine did so in an earnest manner and he accepted their direction in the vote with the most gracious compliance and thanks.

Yesterday in the business sessions there was no reference whatever to the clash of Friday, but in the morning testimony meeting there were many references to the matter, and some inspired prophecies concerning it were made public. The effort was to secure the reconsideration of the matter by the body and make the change go as to respect the interpretation of the law as made by the president.

In the testimony meeting yesterday the position of President Smith in Friday's controversy was supported by his aged aunt, Mrs. Caroline [sic] Salisbury, who, trembling with age and infirmity, leaned on her chair and with tremulous voice pleaded with touching appeal to the Saints to support the president, for he was truly the messenger of God. She was a witness of the Gospel in the first, she said, and of the truth of the claim of Joseph to the presidency and the rightful prerogatives of the position. Continuing, she said that Friday night an angel had come to her, told her the church had done wrong, and that unless the church shall follow the prophet in all things the Lord would certainly send His avenging angel and punish His undutiful and disobedient people.

James Whitehead, the first private secretary of Joseph Smith, the first, who is now 83 years of age, arose to speak. He is weak and infirm, but his whole being was aroused and his frame quivered with the emotion he felt as he referred to the tempest of Friday, when the twelve disagreed with the teachings of the president, He spoke of the treachery of certain parties at the time Joseph Smith was assassinated and, as a climax, he said:

"I knew the traitors then, and I know them now, too."

Continuing, he spoke of the action of the church and made a sharp attack on the action of denying the absolute power of the prophet, son of the seer. He subscribed to the belief that the president had divine authority in the matters in question, and said:

"Time will show you that only the prophet sent you by the Eternal God is your law-giver and your interpreter, and the anger of a just God will certainly follow the action taken by the church yesterday. It was the work of Satan, who is doing all in his power to bring a ruction and sorrow into our midst."

The audience was laboring under an intense strain when the aged speaker finished his dramatic effort. Many were weeping, and as the echoes of his voice died away the silence was oppressive and was for a few moments, broken only by smothered sobs. Then a sister from Iowa arose and, in an unknown tongue, delivered a prophecy which she did not translate. She was very much excited and accompanied her utterances with many wild gesticulations.

As she took her seat Elder R. M. Moloney, of Oklahoma, arose and for a few minutes reference to the battle of Friday and hinted that the prophecy in the unknown tongue meant that a warning was given by God that if the church departed from the leadership of the prophet ruin would certainly follow. Speaking for himself, he was willing to say that: "Call it what you please, one man power, popery or what you like, if Joseph Smith is not the only man whose interpretation of the laws is to be followed, then the basis of our religion is knocked into a cocked hat. Joseph Smith is the true prophet, and I hereby warn the church in the name of the Lord, that the action of the church in not following his command will bring sorrow in a great measure to the church."

Elder Harrington then followed with a prophecy declaring that Joseph Smith was the true apostle of God to the people of the church and warning them about doubting him and declaring that the church must recede from its notion or dire afflictions would certainly come upon the church.

Mrs. Mary Brewster, of West Virginia, who has been for years an acknowledged prophetess of great renown, delivered a prophecy at the morning prayer service. She said:

"I say unto thee, Oh, ye my people. This morning do I send a message to you. Your hearts are not right. Ye live not in the holy way. Yea, ye are not in my work with your heart and soul. I say unto you come up higher in my work I desire you to be more faithful and more humble. Yea, as the dust of the earth shall ye become humble. Ye shall live closer to me during the coming years. If ye so live I say unto you that great blessings shall come to you and ye shall do a marvelous work. And I shall come and bless ye more than you can now conceive. Ye shall hear the voice of my chosen prophet, for I have placed him in that position to lead and guide you. Yea, even as a Moses shall he lead you unto the Zion, that your work shall go ahead, and I will honor you. Yea, I say unto you, tie not the hands of those who labor in my cause for such ls not right, and I say unto you, ye shall be severely punished unless ye do follow my chosen prophet, Joseph Smith,"

Just as Mrs. Brewster completed the prophecy, she burst forth into song, using the unknown tongue that sometimes is used in the church meetings. Finishing the song, she gave the interpretation, of it as follows:

"Rejoice, all my people and be content, for I am the Lord thy God, and will give you My strength. I will be with you to the end of your days. Rejoice and be glad for the day of your redemption is nigh."

Following this song another prophecy was delivered by Mrs. Griffith, wife of Apostle Griffith of the twelve, in which she said the Lord would clear away the misunderstanding and differences of the church if the body would come in a spirit of humility.

The utterances of the lady attracted attention. The prophecy was accepted as an indorsement of the position of the president in the controversy with the twelve, while her husband, who is one of the twelve, was on the opposite side of the question when the controversy came up Friday.

A remarkable experience was related by Elder Robert Elgin, one of the leading workers of the church. Recently, while standing in the pulpit of the church at Lamoni, he was given a wonderful vision. The walls of the church seemed to at once disappear, the congregation faded out of sight, and there appeared before him a beautiful vision of peace. There was music by an angel choir, and a sound as of a mighty chorus was heard singing the praises of God. Looking again, he saw a great multitude. It then dawned upon him that he was being given a view of the great resurrection. Looking in the center of the figure he saw a face he knew. It was that of Father James Whitehead, who had been a cripple through life, but in the fields where he was seen he was cured of his affliction and was leaping, shouting and praising God.

During the vision the spirit of God came upon the elder at the time, and told him to tell the people about the vision, that it might strengthen the people in their faith in the teachings of the church and belief of the final resurrection.

During the afternoon business session of the conference, the report of the committee on archaeology was presented by Elder F. M. Sheehy, of Boston. This is a very interesting committee in the church, inasmuch as the work is carried forward for the sole purpose of gathering collateral archaeological evidence supporting the teachings of the Book of Mormon, relative to the ancient people who once inhabited this land. The church clings to the teachings of Nephite history, and is gathering all the evidence possible. It is claimed that there are many strong proofs being secured, and the reports of the committee each year are watched with much interest.

Accompanying the report of the committee was a copy of a letter from Professor F. W. Putnam, of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, relating to finding of articles of metal implements and ornaments in mounds in Ohio, where the prehistoric people lived. He had found thousands of these ornaments, had seen nuggets of gold, and small plates of hammered metal. There has never been evidence found that the people then had a knowledge of smelting and reducing ores. These points are important, as corroborative of the teachings of the Book of Mormon on that point.

Referring to the question of the genuineness of the "Davenport tablet," the committee reported that the legal evidences in favor of the genuineness of the tablet were many and indisputable.

Witnesses of accepted integrity, it was claimed, and statements of the tablet being found in the mound near Davenport, la. Professor Putnam, of the Peabody museum, of Harvard college, had made a close examination of the claim of the tablets and pronounced the evidence conclusive and complete.

The claims of Dr. Le Plengeon as to the discovery of Maya hieroglyphics on the ruins of Chichen-Itza, in Yucatan, and his claim as to the translation of the were indorsed. It was stated that no other work was more strong in support of the teachings of Nephite history. No explorer was so well qualified to pass on prehistoric Yucatan as the scientist referred to. He will print some works on the subject during the year, and it was suggested that the work along the line be continued by some committee to be chosen by the church at the conference.

The conference chose as the committee to take church of the college to be located at Lamoni the following gentlemen: Dr. J. H. Hansen, W. W. Blair, D. T. Lambert, E. A. Blakeslee, A. H. Smith, Joseph Smith, E. L. Kelley, of the church, and P. P. Kelley and John H. Smith, outsiders. It is proposed to get the college well established during the coming year.

It was, by action of the conference, decided to elect no man to any position in the church hereafter who used tobacco in any form.

In a proposition to put the laws of tithing into practice was made and defeated.

The proposition to move the Saints' Herald from Lamoni, Ia. to Independence, Mo., was again called from the table for action. The conference was in a hurry to get through, however, and laid it back again very promptly.

A motion was made by Elder F. M. Sheehy, of Boston, to present each of the reporters with a copy of the Book of Mormon as a token of appreciation of the faithful reports published in the daily papers. The conference promptly adopted the suggestion, despite the statement of Elder Short, who said reporters were richly paid, able to buy their own books, and the church ought to put the books where they would do some good. It was all red tape, he declared.

A vote to sustain the various officers and quorums of the church was adopted. This is an indorsement of their policy and confidence for the future.

Elder M. H. Forescutt, R. M. Elvin and J. M. Gunsolly were chosen as an auditing committee for the coming year.

Closing the session, President Smith expressed his thanks for the fair reports published of the conference and the courtesies shown him. He thanked the officers and members, and pronounced the benediction with a trembling voice.

To-day at 11 o'clock W. W. Blair will preach at the Stone church, and at 7:30 President Smith will deliver the closing sermon of the conference.

This morning at 11 o'clock President Smith will dedicate the chapel at 2324 Wabash avenue, this city. Bishop Kelley will make the opening prayer.

Last evening the sermon was preached by Elder F. M. Sheehy. of Boston. He is one of the strongest workers in the eastern part of the country. Miss Belle James sang the solo, "The Celestial City," at the evening service.





He Has Never Seen the Golden Plates and Does Not Know
Where They Are -- The Venerable Sister of the First Seer.

The General conference of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, that has been in session for the past week at Independence, was composed of many interesting and unique workers. There were men who have had strange experiences, the like of which is not often met with, and yet they tell of their danger and perils with as little concern as though their lives had never been in peril.

The strange teachings of the church and the history that it has made, the division of the church at Nauvoo and the establishment of the apostates at Salt Lake City, the continued struggle between the two organizations, have all combined to attract considerable attention to the Saints. The gatherings are important now. The head of the church is growing old and sometime soon there is to be another president. Last week President Joseph Smith stated he had but ten years more left to labor for the church. The statement attracted attention among the members and is looked upon as prophetic. The conference has been an interesting gathering for the reason the that it was composed of interesting men.

With the exception of Joseph Smith, possibly the most interesting people in the gathering are the two aged members, who from the first have been numbered among the workers of the church. They are Elder James Whitehead and Mrs. Caroline [sic] Salisbury. The former was the first and only private secretary of the first Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the latter is the youngest sister of the prophet. Both of them were with the church during the trouble at Nauvoo: one was a witness to many of the violent scenes and encounters of the early days of the church, and the other a sister of the man who founded and defended the peculiar and unpopular faith, suffered the terrors and endured the ills of that time as only a woman could.

When Mrs. Salisbury arises to speak at the meetings, frail and scarcely able to stand alone, she makes an interesting figure in the gathering. What tongue could tell the woes and anguish she has endured? Who knows the sacrifices she has made for the church her brother founded? For over three score years she has leaned on that faith for comfort and support in the many sad hours of her eventful life. What its comforts are, what the power of support it gives to the believer and the sustaining strength it affords to those who suffer, she certainly has had abundant opportunity of testing, and yet with the many and darkened hours of her life, given and endured that the new faith might be taught to man, she stands in the councils of the church exhorting others to accept and hold fast that faith and declares she has found it an abundant support for all human woes and sorrows, and counts herself happy to have been accounted worthy under God to have suffered all these things for the faith and the church. During the life of her brother she never failed to stand by him in all the storms and trials of the years he was at the head of the church. Holding up his hands and cheering him with woman's words and sweet counsel in the days of sadness and grief, urging him to stand steadfast in the faith he was teaching, never failing to support and encourage him, she presented the model picture of devotion in the hour of sorrow, and much of the work done may be honestly and in justice accounted as the result of the support of the woman who still holds fast the faith even in the shadow of the tomb. She will possibly never be at another conference. The thought saddens the church, for there is an inspiration to the body in listening to the words of one who was living when the church was born, has been with it all of the time and still loves and supports it as the hope of immortality and life beyond the tomb.

Elder Joseph [sic] Whitehead is another inspiring figure in the church. Aged and infirm, he is still as enthusiastic in his love for the church as ever, and is invariably found at conferences. Probably no one in the church knows personally so much of the church work and history of the organization as he, especially in the earlier and stormy days of the faith. He possesses a wonderful memory of names, incidents and events, and loves to point out to others the strong points of the seer of the church, as he saw them under distressing circumstances and in the saddest hours of his life. Standing now in the closing hours of his life, almost alone of the pioneers of the faith, he lives in the past, finds hope, encouragement and inspiration in the history of the men who worked with him in those days, and clings with unswerving faith to the teachings as he received them pure from the first seer of the church.

There has always been a deep interest manifested in the disposition of the golden plates and other articles of ancient usage that were found so many years ago in the celebrated hill of Gomorrah [sic]. How welcome to the eyes of the Saints in these latter days would be these sacred relics. What a deep inspiration would spring from such a view, brief even as it might be.

Yesterday, in speaking of the matter with a Journal reporter, President Joseph Smith said he had never seen the golden plates, as he was not born until after their message and characters had been translated. All he knew of them was what he learned from the church history, as duly authenticated, and from what had been told him by his mother prior to her death. She said she had often seen the plates, the two stones that gave a translation and the other sacred relics that, with them, were found In the hill in New York. He was of the opinion that his aunt, Mrs. Salisbury, had also seen them at that time.

"The plates," said President Smith, "according to our church history, were by my father translated, and, after the copy had been completed and the book published, by Divine direction, returned to the One from whom he received them. This is the accepted history of the church concerning the plates, and we have no doubts whatever of the absolute correctness of each of the statements."

It is the belief of the church that in the proper time the golden plates, sealed at the time they were in the hands of Joseph Smith, will be brought again to earth, placed in the hands of the chosen one of God for translation, for the instruction and guidance of the Saints in the Latter Days. With the sealed plates will also come the breastplates of gold for the Saints, worn by the Gospel workers of old, and the ores [sic - orb?] shown to have been with the plates when Joseph Smith found the resting place of the sacred emblems of the Church of God.

The church, in reading of the breastplates worn, made of gold, accepts the statement entirely in a literal sense, and accepts the belief regarding it with unquestioned faith.

"As to our belief of the Scriptures," said President Smith yesterday, "we accept and use, as other churches do, the King James edition of the Scriptures. We accept all of the original Scriptures, and accept them in a sense perfectly literal. When the Scriptures say that a man must be born again and baptized, we believe it means just what is said. The message of God to mankind brings no needful information in an unintelligible manner. All things needful for man's salvation in the Scriptures can be read and understood by all."

"How does your church stand on the problem of a final union of all religious bodies into one church, for the bettering of humanity and the salvation of man?" was asked of President Smith.

"We have from the first taught with much emphasis that there is but one point where churches could unite. The church has been teaching that doctrine for sixty years, while others have been but recently taking stands on that point. We stand squarely and literally on the proposition as laid down by St. Paul, when he declares that there is but one faith, one body, one baptism and one spirit. We claim that platform, and that basis is the only one where churches can ever unite. When they are willing to lay aside the outside matters and unite, as humble workers under God, for the redemption of humanity and the of the kingdom of God on earth, and meet as in the vineyard of the Lord, at the place and on the basis designated plainly by the Almighty, then will there be one church, one faith, one body and one baptism, and then will come to pass the glorious things promised by God and prophesied by the many inspired writers."

"Will that time ever come?"

"We teach, preach and believe it. We know not when it will come, but, promised of God, we know it will not fail. The interpretation of the law of God must be not of man's opinion, but under Divine direction, according to the law of God. Man's opinions of God's laws and the effort to interpret them by man's standard are responsible for the many churches that exist now."

Discussing the doctrines and teachings of the church, founded by his father, of which he is now head, President Smith shows considerable interest. He is extremely liberal in all his teachings: and especially with regard to other churches and doctrines. That feature shows very plainly in all the talks. As one stated yesterday, "Our proscription and long continued persecution have made us very liberal to all."

Apostle Joseph Luff, one of the twelve, and also editor of the paper called Zion's Ensign, at Independence, is one of the prominent figures in the gathering. He has an interesting history, having been in the ministry prior to joining the Reorganized church. He was for many years an ordained preacher in the Methodist church, becoming enamored of the doctrines of the new faith, he left the other church and has attained honorable prominence in the church of his mature choice. He was ordained as an apostle in 1887 and has done service for the church in Utah, where he was busy with tongue and pen for some years working against the Mormon church there and trying to get the Reorganized church back to its prominence. His writings are crisp and snappy, his comments on men and measures being full of life and point. His paper is read by a large percent of the communicants of the new faith and he has also come prominently before the church as the author of some interesting works on the doctrines and faith of the Reorganized church.

W. W. Blair, who for twenty-two years has acted as the chief advisor and counselor of the president of the church, is one of the most scholarly men in the church. His knowledge of the history and teachings of the church in the early days of Christianity is very great, and in his library are to be found the volumes that throw the greatest light on these points. He is well versed in the history and doctrines of the church, having been in the work of the church as high priest for thirty-eight years. He is growing old, but retains much of the vigor of his earlier days and takes an active part in the councils of the church and attends all of the gatherings.

One of the most active of the young men on the conference, and, indeed, of the church, is Mr. E. A. Blakesly, of Michigan. He is now serving as second counselor to Bishop Kelley and is also president of the General Sunday School Association. He is the son of Bishop Blakesly, who did many years of active service in Michigan and other parts of the North. He is a law graduate of Ann Arbor (Mich.) university and has been manager of the large business interests of his father since the death of the latter, some years since. In these matters he has displayed splendid judgment and in his capacity as counselor he has been of great service to the bishop.

During the life of Bishop Blakesly, Bishop E. L. Kelley served with him as chief counselor and at his death was at once appointed to his vacancy, and in turn appointed the son of his friend as one of his counselors.

Bishop E. L. Kelley, who is attending the conference, was formerly an attorney, and is still a member of the bar in Iowa and entitled to practice in the courts of that commonwealth. His brother, who was his former partner, is Mr. P. P. Kelley, who, with his family, is at the conference on a visit, although not a member or a believer in the new faith. He was one of the most active attorneys in the Temple lot litigation and has done great service to the church in that respect. The litigation has been in the hands of Bishop Kelley, as the representative of the church, and his legal training and education have been great aids in the favorable progress of the suit.

Bishop Kelley is one of the strong men of the church. As a speaker and in the pulpit he has few equals in the organization, while in the general discussions in the conference he is one of the foremost advocates of those liberal customs and practices for which the workers of the church are so actively contending. He is one of the frequent contributors to the church papers, and withal, is a leading man, full of good works. As a minister he gets from the church just a living, while as an attorney he made $10,000 per year.

Elder M. T. Short, of Northern Illinois, is one of the most enthusiastic members of the church. He is full of impulses and when he has an opinion doesn't hesitate to make it public. Sometimes he is right and sometimes he is not, but he has his say on each question. He has an interesting history. He was born in Carthage, Mo., and grew to manhood in the West. He was a Kansas soldier during the war, serving in Company D. of the Eleventh Kansas, with Colonel Tom Moonlight. He was at Independence during several months and while there heard of the fall of Vicksburg. The detachment of soldiers with which his company was connected was at Independence when it was learned that Quantrell was going across the country south of the city toward the Kansas line.

Just here there comes in some history that is interesting. Being from Oskaloosa, Kansas, and knowing the location of the cities, Short decided that Quantrell was to attack either Lawrence or Leavenworth. He made the fact known to the colonel and asked that couriers be sent to Leavenworth to notify the people of the probable attack. As to Lawrence he asked to be allowed to go to that place himself, declaring that he knew the country so well that he could beat the other men there five hours and have the citizens ready for the attack. He was ordered back into line and told that the company was going out to stop Quantrell. It was discovered that Quantrell had too many men and the attack was not made. Quantrell went to Lawrence and the bloody butchery resulted.

Elder Short has been in the ministry for many years. He has served as missionary in Utah and also traveled for two years In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick teaching the new faith.

Apostle G. T. Griffith is one of the twelve and is serving the church at the present in this land, although he has been for several years in charge of the mission work in England and Wales. He is full of enthusiasm and life and does his work in an earnest manner.

Captain Burton, the old sea captain, who took the Gospel boat to the Society Islands and many other places in the Pacific ocean and is now in charge of the mission work on the Pacific coast, has a very interesting history and is one of the men in the church whose counsels are often sought. He Is liberal and broad in the belief, but strong in the faith he teaches.

Elder E. C. Briggs, who was the first missionary to tread the streets of Salt Lake, is at the gathering and is a member of the Twelve. He entered the city of Salt Lake August 7, 1861 and had an audience with Brigham Young four days later, at which time he was told to get out of the city or take the risks he ran. He declared with emphasis he had come to stay and had not the fear of man in his heart. He found after the meeting that Brigham had told that when he came before him Briggs was confounded by the Almighty and unable to speak, showing that he was an impostor. For weeks he sought to get a church or a room, but was unable to do so until a private room was opened and he was allowed to go ahead. He was stoned and shot at repeatedly, but suffered no harm in any of the attempts made on his life. He is now getting quite old, but talks with much spirit of the labors he did for the cause.

No man in the country, out of the church, holds a higher place in the minds of the workers of the church than Judge John F. Philips, of the federal court in this city. The opinion that was rendered by him in the celebrated Temple lot case in the courts here is pointed out among the church workers as one of the plainest and strongest legal arguments in defense of their faith and their authenticity in claiming to be the real church of the Latter Day Saints. The words of the decision are quoted one to the other and the picturesque language, that is so plainly in possession of that learned jurist, is appreciated. His reference to the Hedrickites as holding their claim to the lot only by the powers of squatter sovereignty, and the statement that they appeared to be nothing in the eyes of the court but "ecclesiastical nondescripts" are thoroughly enjoyed by the members. The opinion holds a distinguished place in the current publications of the church, and is by the order of the official board of publication printed in full and placed in the list of publications sanctioned by the church for the information und education of the Saints. This distinguished compliment has never been paid to the writings of any other Gentile writer.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 14, 1895.                            No. 209.


The proceedings of the annual conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has been holding its meetings at Independence the past week, have been calculated to turn the thoughts of the readers and listeners to the existence in the world of a belief in the supernatural, of that quality called Faith. We hear a great deal about the "eclipse of faith" and the decline of faith, and how the world is becoming materialistic and is "throwing off the shackles of superstition," and all that. Yet there is no denying the old, old woman who rose in the Independence conference to tell how in the year 1827 a shining angle clad in white, not seeming to stand on the floor, but in the air, appeared at the bedside of her brother, Joseph Smith, believed in the strong Angel Moroni as truly and actually as in the existence of the men and women about her who listened to her "testimony." She told, moreover, not of a passing impression, but of a belief, formed nearly or quite seventy years ago, and adhered to through evil and through good report, without a moment of wavering for that long time.

Of course there are many, the vast majority, to whom the revelation so real to this aged woman is nothing, and to whom the visions and the prophecies of "The Latter Day Saints" have no significance
, and who might even see, or rather feel, something blasphemous in the expression that the true religion was "revealed by an angel to a Vermont Yankee."

All this disbelief does not, however, in the least shake the faith of those who do believe, of those who are sure that the Angel Moroni came thrice in shining whiteness down, and, on the contrary, the existence of the belief and of the testifying believers in this day and age shows how prone men are to believe: to beat with their hands, as it were, against the curtain that shuts out the other, the invisible, world, and to listen for voices from behind that veil -- and to hear them.

The question is often discussed whether men believe as they once did in the supernatural. It is argued that, because witches are no longer burned, and because certain forms of sorcery no longer exist and certain rites and ceremonies no longer practiced, that men no longer believe in what they cannot see and apprehend with their five senses. But this is a mistake. So far from the increasing intelligence of the world resulting from the diminution of faith, it but increases it. It is known now that the nearer man approaches to absolute brutality and savagery, the less he believes or knows or cares to know of what was before the beginning or shall be after the end. Pope's Indian who "sees God in clouds or hears Him in the wind" was an ideal Indian. The Indian, the wild Indian, of Pope's time did not thus see or hear or apprehend. It is man in his highest and most cultivated and advanced state who can or does conceive such ideas.

So far as angels go, that is to say the belief in them, there may be said to be more angels and more believers now than ever before. Some thousands believe in the Angel Moroni, but how many millions will this day celebrate the appearance of that shining one whose countenance was like the lightning and his raiment white as snow, and who says, "He is not here; He has risen?"

It is the truth that men differ, and that what one man calls a superstition and a delusion, is to another man a stedfast, uplifting and consoling faith. Yet, after all, what should concern us is the universality of belief itself, a belief in what cannot be measured or weighed or calculated like the position of the heavenly bodies by instruments, nor seen by mortal eye. That sort of apprehension grows and gains and spreads and becomes more real and more influential in the world and there is no manner of doubt about it.

It is said that the beliefs change in the world, that those who have not ceased to believe altogether have adapted greatly modified forms of belief. Yet there exist certain old formulas known to have been the same for centuries. They are known to go back to a time when not one common man in a thousand could read or write; yet today when the knowledge of reading and writing is in most civilized countries universal, men believe in these ancient and unchanged creeds as fully and firmly as ever. The prevalence of books we hear so much about cannot dispossess or cast out or exorcise faith.

It may be that ghosts of the sort that haunted spots where wicked murder had been done, the hurrying or slowly moving and awful things which came seemingly but to terrify, do not appear as once men believed they did, but when since the world began was there so much said and printed of spiritual manifestations and appearances? Of the reality of communications from the dead millions of men and women speak with the utmost confidence. Of the powers of healing given to some men and women even as the Apostles, there are many to testify with absolute positiveness. No class of men are exempted from these beliefs. Lawyers and judges who have passed their lives in weighing evidence, men who have spent a life in refuting other men's beliefs, themselves believe. Mathematicians cease to coldly weigh and measure and demonstrate, and simply believe even as children do. Is it because they must?


Unless President Smith is Sustained Disaster
Will Come to the Mormon Church.

The Latter Day Saints conference spent the greater part of its testimony meeting yesterday in listening to visions and prophecies, for the most part bearing upon the business session of Friday at which Joseph Smith, head of the church, was sat upon by the Twelve Apostles backed by a solid majority of the church proper. Sister Mary Brewster prophesied that the church would be severely dealt with unless the members followed the chosen prophet, Joseph Smith. Elder James Whitehead, one of the oldest saints in the conference, also declared that the anger of a just God would surely follow the action of the church on Friday in rejecting the leadership of President Smith.

At the business meeting yesterday afternoon the new board of directors for the Saints college, to be built at Lamoni, Ia., was named. It consists of the Smith family and six others, and is made up as follows: Joseph Smith, A. H. Smith, J. H. Smith, J. H. Hanson, W. W. Blair. J. R. Lambert, E. A. Blakesly, E. L. Kelley, P. P. Kelley.

The proposition formerly discussed and defeated, to remove the Saints Herald Publishing plant from Lamoni to Independence, was revived and discussed and left pending, with the promise that it would be considered later. To-day the Saints will hold Easter services. Many of the ministers will preach in other pulpits. President Joseph Smith will dedicate the Mormon church near the corner of Twenty-third street and Wabash avenue, this city.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Kansas City Times.

Vol. L.                            Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 15, 1895.                            No. 105.



But the Twelve Apostles Have Apparently Questioned This --
It is Said That They Even Throw Out as
Un-authoritative One of the Prophet's
Revelations -- Trouble Brewing in the
Mormon Church -- End of Its
Conference at Independence.

The forty-third annual conference of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints was brought to a close at Independence last night. The conference convened April 6. As already announced in The Times, the next session will be held at Kirtland, O., in April, 1896.

The meetings yesterday were devoid of special interest, with the exception that the sermon by Vice President W. W. Blair in the morning and the address of President Joseph Smith, in the evening were brilliant efforts in a religious way.

The conference just adjourned has proved a most important one. President Smith has lost prestige with his council, and no little amount of it. The rebellion of his council of Twelve was not the result of temporary or recent trouble, but is a storm that has been gathering slowly but surely for years reported in The Times Saturday, Mr. Smith was sat upon and in a decided manner by the members of this quorum on Friday afternoon. His right bower, Vice President Blair, also came in for a share of the abuse on that occasion. From present indications the fight is still in progress, despite the love feast held Saturday afternoon. Not in a public way, however, but in a quiet, yet effective, manner.

The influence of this war on Mr. Smith will be far reaching. Of this no doubt can exist. For a half century now he has been the recognized prophet and leader of the church, with but little opposition. Certainly it is that never before in his reign has he been so severely attacked by his own council as on Friday. Yet, at the same time it is maintained by a majority of the Saints that if the president of the church is ousted or otherwise ceases to rule, the church will immediately decay and crumble away. This fact being recognized the action on the part of the Twelve in attempting to metaphorically cut Mr. Smith's throat seems suicidal.

The prophet, however, is himself partially responsible for all their trouble. At least it is so thought by a majority of the church. They say that he has held the reins too loosely and has put too much confidence in the Twelve. It is further stated that certain short-sighted members of this council aspire to lead the church and think to gain their end by creating a bitter feeling against Joseph.

On Thursday, as told in the Times Friday, a strong rumor was current that President Smith had received a revelation regarding the position of first president A vacancy has existed in this office for ten years and the report caused considerable comment and attracted a large crowd that afternoon. Mr. Smith presided at the meeting, but made no mention of a revelation. It is since strongly intimated that the rumor was well founded, but on account of the estrangement between Joseph and the Twelve that the latter as a body refused to indorse the revelation, hence it was worthless and not announced. If this can be established as a fact there will be some warm time at the next conference, and perhaps before.

"W. W. Blair is at present a first president, appointed according to the Saints' belief and law, by a revelation from God made through Joseph Smith. Mr. Blair's associate first president died in 1884 and no successor has been yet approved by heaven unless, as stated, the revelation came at this conference and was killed by the Twelve, who pass upon such matters before the conference receives them.

The prophecies made by the several members Saturday, and reported in full in The Times yesterday had a wonderful effect on the body of the church. But it is not thought that the Twelve were in any way pleased by them. Whether this is from disbelief in their reliability or a careless disregard of consequences, it is impossible to say. The priests, elders and other quorums believe that God spoke to them through Miss Brewster, Mrs. Harrington and Mrs. Griffin on Saturday morning, and their confidence in their president was immediately restored. It is not strange, then, that they should feel a trifle sore at the Twelve, or, as they have been termed by some, "the scoffers."

"We follow the customs and teachings or the New Testament to the best of our ability," said an elder to a Times reporter yesterday, "and anyone who is at all acquainted with that book is well aware that in those days, visions, demonstrations, prophecies and revelations were of frequent occurrence. Then if we drop our our belief in these things, have we not lost faith in the very origin of the church? It is ridiculous in the extreme to believe that only high officials may be delivered of these prophecies. A Saint is a Saint whether high or low, and in my opinion is so considered by God. The Twelve will find themselves in a most unpleasant predicament if they continue in their fight against Joseph Smith.

"O, yes," he said, in answer to a question. "I am quite well aware that they were supported by our vote on Friday, but that was a case of personal opinion and not an expression of our condemnation of Brother Smith. His father founded our religion and he succeeded his father. We have always worshiped him next to our God, and we will continue to do so."

The outcome of this internal trouble in the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints is awaited with interest by its members.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVII.                     Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 15, 1895.                     No. 307.


Services Conducted by President Smith
and other High Churchmen.

The dedicatory services of the new church of the Latter Day Saints, at Twenty-fourth street and Wabash avenue, yesterday, drew out a large congregation that filled the structure. The services were conducted by High Priest J. G. Pitt, of Chicago; Prophet Joseph Smith and Bishop E. L. Kelley, who, with a number of the bishops and high priests, were in attendance from Independence. The latter all occupied seats on one side of ihe pulpit, while the choir occupied the other side.

On the platform were Bishop Kelley, High Priest Pitt and Prophet Joseph Smith. The service was opened with prayer by High Priest Pitt, after which the choir sang. Prophet Joseph Smith then read the fifteenth Psalm, from which he took his text for the sermon after the singing of a hymn by the congregation. The text was, Psalms, xvii: "Lord, who shall abide in Thy Holy Hill?" Prophet Smith began by outlining the history of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, of which this was a branch from the Independence church. The church, he said, had been built some time and occupied, but it had never been dedicated, because he had made it a rule never to dedicate a church until it was clear of debt, and the rule had not been deviated from in this case. He then made a statement of the cost of the church as follows: The ground cost $1,220.50; the building, $506, the furnishings and other expenses bringing the total up to $2,330.13, all of which had been paid. He said although a modest one, this church was to those who worshiped there a temple for the time being. The remainder of his sermon was along the line of the text. Among other things he said as follows:

The Psalmist, writing under inspiration, defines what should be the characteristics of those who are to be entitled to abide in the tabernacle of the Lord, and to dwell in the Holy Hill of Zion -- the pure in heart.

The doctrine of Christ should be taught. Those who are of anti-Christ, do not confess that Jesus has come in the flesh. Those who shall abide in the Holy Hill not only confess that Jesus has come in the flesh, but that He will come again.

The principles of the doctrine of Christ are, faith in God, repentance, laying on of hands, resurrection and eternal judgment, as found stated by Paul in the 6th chapter of Hebrews.

Ministers should be, and are, agents chosen of Christ, if they are to be effectual to the salvation of man; therefore, the doctrine of Christ should be taught by them. Less or more than this is not authorized of Jesus Christ; nor are any called of Him to misrepresent Him.

The church is 22x40: cost for lot, $1,230.50; lot and building, $2,313.98. No building is dedicated unless paid for; nor is any one offered in dedication against which legal claim for debt exists. When free a building may be dedicated, but not otherwise.

The motto in belief and in practice should be, and is, a free pulpit and an open Blble; the love of God being best shown by love to man.

Salvation comes through obedience to Christ's mandate, and a man must be born again to be able to see the kingdom -- must be born of the water and the spirit or he could not enter into the kingdom.

At the close of the sermon the dedicatory prayer was offered by Bishop E. L. Kelley. When the dedication service was over two infant children, who were present in their parents' arms, were blessed by the prophet. They were Joseph Lewis, Jr., and William Newton Stumpe, Jr. Each child was handed by his father to High Priest Pitt, who in turn placed him in the arms of the prophet. The latter took the child and blessed him in the words of the Savior, and then handed him back to the high priest. A collection and a hymn sung by the congregation closed the services....

Closing Services of the Conference.

The conference of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, which began at Independence last Sunday, is at an end. At the service in the Latter Day Saints' church in that city yesterday forenoon, Rev. W. W. Blair, the second president, preached the sermon. He related his experiences in preaching the doctrines of the church, many of which were of a hazardous and exciting nature. He is one of the oldest men in the church, and was a member of it when it was located at Nauvoo, Ill. Elder W. H. Kelley, of Kirtland, O., had charge of the service held during the afternoon. At night President Joseph Smith preached his discourse closed the conference. Seven converts were baptized in the afternoon by Elders R. C. Evans and J. A. Robinson, in a pool near the Missouri Pacific depot, in the presence of a large number of members of the church and others,

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XV.                            Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 15, 1895.                            No. 210.

Latter Day Saints' Church Dedicated.

The new church of the Latter Day Saints at twenty-fourth street and Wabash avenue was dedicated yesterday. The services were conducted by High Priest F. G. Pitt of Chicago. Prophet Joseph Smith and Bishop E. L. Kelley who with a number of the bishops and high priests were in attendance from Independence. The church was filled with a congregation of members of the church and sight-seers. The church cost over $2,000 all of which was paid. At the conclusion of the dedicatory sermon which was preached by the Prophet Joseph Smith, two infant children were blessed by the prophet.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 6.                            Independence, Mo. Saturday, April 20, 1895.                            No. 16.


The General Conference of 1895, is now a thing of the past. The throng of visitors to our little city has dwindled till but an occasional one is to be seen, and altogether we feel lonesome. For days the press of church business has been such as to leave no chance for leisure or recreation; but the privilege of even a moment's interchange of courtesies and a hearty handshake with those whose hearts are aglow with the same sacred fire that burns within us, though they come from different parts of the country, is refreshing and fraught with indescribable comfort.

The attendance, while not as great as at other times was nevertheless large and the interest intense. The business sessions were characterized by the usual amount of vigorous discussion and earnest expression of opinion on matter presented before the body for action.

The reporters of the Kansas City papers interpreted the warmth of discussion in presenting contrary views, as an indication that the church was threatened with dissolution. Had these same reporters attended conference sessions twenty years ago, they would have had equal cause for their fear. They need to learn that the love of brethren was not lessoned because of differences of individual opinion. The church has flourished and its stability has been demonstrated as much when honest and strong-minded men have asserted their views in contrast, as when there has been a perfect agreement on all matters under consideration.

It is the part of honor and confidence to frankly present individual views at such times, and expose those views to the fire of criticism at the hands of equally honorable brethren who are present, and who have the preservation of the church and faith as deeply at heart. Heads may differ while hearts agree, and when such is the case, the cause of truth does not suffer, provided all are ready for the divine decision in settlement, which usually follows such honest comparison of views. Our newspaper friends as well as some others, have yet to get acquainted with us, and learn that Presidents and Apostles, Seventies, High Priests and Elders, may differ widely on some things and show the intensity of their interest in the expression of those differences, without for a moment allowing their confidence in the heart integrity of each other to be weakened, or their devotion to the eternal truths which are the central principles of their faith, to be lessened. With as deep fervor as ever moved human spirits they can sing at the conclusion of each discussion, "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love."

We hope the church will never see the day when frank and enthusiastic discussion will be unwelcome. The dawn of such a day would be the sunset of its liberty and safety.

The social meetings were enjoyable in the main. The Saints were edified and received comfort in proportion to their diligence and meekness.

The Sunday School and Religio departments proved themselves to be strong factors in the work of mental and moral development, and those who attended their meetings were helped to a fuller appreciation of the importance of these agencies.

Over two hundred missionaries were appointed to labor in various fields at home and abroad, and the reports for the past years showed an advancement almost everywhere. Never has the Reorganization been able to report as successful a year, notwithstanding the severity of the depression in business and financial circles throughout the world. Spiritually, numerically and financially, the church is in advance of its former self, and there is no room nor cause for apprehension except among those who are not ready to rise and move with the body.

A new conference year is now before. Let all, with prayerful hearts and determined wills, enter and occupy in the fields assigned and open, and one year from now the walls of the old Kirtland Temple will ring with the sound of praise and gladness because of the achievements God has led his people unto.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 6.                            Independence, Mo. April 27, 1895.                            No. 17.


Protest from the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints.

St. Joseph, Mo., April 17. -- To the Editor: -- Thousands of your readers throughout Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and elsewhere will note with pain and mortification the answers given to "J. J. S.," of Atlantic, Iowa, in your issue of the 14th inst., Sunday -- "Joseph Smith and the Mormons."

... Sidney Rigdon was a minister, prominent in the Campbellite Church until one year after the Book of Mormon was published to the world. This is proven by the Campbellite Church history and the county records of Ohio, where Rigdon labored, said records containing dates of returns of marriages solemnized by him, acting for said church.

You state that it was "ascertained, however, that this so-called bible was identical with a religious novel written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding."

Are you not yet aware that the "identical" "manuscript found," the romance of Rev. (?) Spaulding was unearthed in 1885 in the possession of Mr. Rice of Honolulu, among whose papers it had lain for nearly half a century and has since been deposited in the Oberlin College Library, Oberlin, Ohio, where it may at any time be compared (contrasted) with the Book of Mormon. The president of the Oberlin college will certify to you that fact at any time. An exact copy has been printed, sworn to, and is now on sale at the Herald Publishing House, Lamoni, Iowa. It is no more like the Book of Mormon than "Don Quixote" is like the Holy Scripture. The private secretary of Joseph Smith, Father James Whitehead, a very honorable gentleman and intelligent, now lives at Lamoni, Iowa, and can give you details of all that occurred at Nauvoo...

                               E. T. DOBDON
No. 214 North Fourth St.

(The above is from the Chicago Inter-Ocean of the 20th inst... -- ED.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 7.                            Independence, Mo. June 6, 1896.                            No. 23.


DEAR ENSIGN: -- I guess you will think my letters are coming rather often, and that I should leave room for others more capable of writing, but I write now to enclose a copy of an article on the Book of Mormon in the Chicago Inter-Ocean for March 24th, 1896, that I thought would be of interest to some of the brethren. The article is from the Query Column as follows:


"Rosewell, S. D.. -- To the Editor: -- Who was the true author of the 'Book of Mormon?' -- (Reader.)

"The Book of Mormon is claimed, by those who have investigated its author and origin critically, to have been written by Solomon Spalding, who graduated at Dartmouth College, in the year 1785. Spalding was a native of Ashford, Connecticut, and two years after his graduation from college became a minister, preaching for several years. Then he retired from the pulpit and went into business in Cherry Valley, New York, and in 1809 came west and settled in Ohio. Three years after he went to Pittsburg and thence removed to Amity, Pennsylvania, where, after a residence of two years, he died in 1816. He was the author of several novels, for which, however, he found no publisher, and his custom was to read these to his friends in manuscript. While he lived in Ohio he wrote quite a story to show that the Indians were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, a view taken by many in accounting for the origin of the aborigines. This he named 'Manuscript Found,' and proposed to publish with it, as preface or advertisement, a fictitious account of its discovery in an Ohio cave, and the work was announced as early as the year 1813. Mrs. Spalding published a statement some years after her husband's death, declaring that in 1812 he placed the manuscript in a printing office at Pittsburg, with which Sidney Rigdon, then a young man, was connected; that Rigdon copied the manuscript, and that his possession of a copy was known to all in the printing office, and was frequently mentioned by himself. The original manuscript was returned to Mr. Spaulding, and his widow kept it till after the publication of the Book of Mormon, when she sent it to Conneaut, in Ohio, where she and her husband had lived, and where it was publicly compared with the Book of Mormon at a meeting composed in part of persons who remembered Spalding's work. The Manuscript came into Smith's hands, and was published through Smith and Rigdon, being early associated with the Mormon movement."

Upon receiving this I asked the following question to which I received no answer: "Was the Spaulding story found in the Sandwich Islands in 1885 by Pres. Fairchild, (president of the Oberlin college), in the possession of L. L. Rice?"

Now, as I have a copy of the Spalding story I know that the Inter-Ocean is wrong.

       Your brother in Christ,
                               B. C. FLINT.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 7.                            Independence, Mo. July 4, 1896.                            No. 27.

William  Kirby  Interviewed

EDITOR ZION'S ENSIGN: -- Following is a brief account of an interview I have had with William Kirby, an elder of the Brighamite Church.

On the 29th ult., he called on me to sell a book entitled, "Mormonism Exposes and Refuted." I asked him what he called Mormonism? He replied, "It is the Book of Mormon, published by Joseph Smith." I looked at the contents of his book a few moments and said to him, "You are about correct, I believe, in the account you give of the doings of the Utah Mormons, but of the work by Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon he has published, that it was made up from Solomon Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found,' is a falsehood, for there is no relationship between the two books. I will take one of your books, however, and examine it farther, but it occurs to me that you have entangled yourself in a net that will take some time to extricate yourself from, for I was once in a similar condition to yours and can sense to some extent, your condition."

On the 6th of June Mr. Kirby called again to know how I liked his book. I told him that the part which stated that the Book of Mormon originated from the Spaulding Manuscript was not true. I then asked him if he had seen the "Manuscript Found," he said he had not. "Why then did you publish such statements that the Book of Mormon was a deception and being made up from the Spaulding Manuscript? He replied, "By what I had read of those who had stated those things, of seeing the Manuscript and the Book of Mormon." I then proffered to loan him a copy of the "Manuscript Found," which offer he accepted, saying, that "If I should find out that I have been publishing a falsehood about the Book of Mormon I will go to Joseph Smith (meaning Joseph Smith of the Reorganized Church) and make it right.

On June 11th I handed the "Manuscript Found" to Mr. Kirby to read so he might know its contents for himself; and on the 12th he returned it. I asked him how he liked it, and if he thought its contents were the same as the Book of Mormon or any part of it; he shook his head and said: "It is not related to the Book of Mormon! It is a silly piece of work, and not worth one's time to read such silly things." "Well , do you believe now that these statements you have copied into your book from D. P. Kidder's book, stating that the Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found' had in it the names of Lehi and Nephi, and that it also showed that the people it claims to represent came from Jerusalem, is false?" To this he said, that "such statements must be false, but the Book of Mormon might have been made up from some of the other writings of Spaulding." To this I remark I informed him that the "Manuscript Found" was the only work of that kind of Solomon Spaulding's, according to his own statement, that the "roll" from which Spaulding copied was the one which "contained the history of the author's life," etc. This being the only "roll translated" by Mr. Spaulding out of the rolls he claimed to have found, leaves no ground for the statement you have made that "the Book of Mormon might have been made up from some of the other writings of Spaulding." And as you said that those statements in regard to the falsity of the account that the "Manuscript Found" contained the same things about Lehi and Nephi, etc., as the Book of Mormon did, so also, it is evident that the account by those same persons concerning other writings of Solomon Spaulding of the same nature being extant, is a false statement also...

These statements and circumstances all go to show that the Book of Mormon is not a "fabrication," nor was [it] "reconstructed from Solomon Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found,'" as you have stated in your work, And since you have discovered your error in that part of your work, I now say to you, be honest and acknowledge it by a public statement in this city, that the information whence you got the account has proven itself to be unreliable.

I trust this item will be of some interest to the readers of Zion's Ensign, which has its banner of truth unfurled to the Nations. And in the event that William Kirby should not feel under any obligation to make his path straight, relative to what he has published against the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, he need not be surprised if I should expose and refute that part of his book which sets forth the claim he has made, that "The Book of Mormon was reconstructed from Solomon Spaulding's Manuscript Found."
       In the bonds of truth,
                               SIMON SMITH.
St. Joseph, Mo., June 21st.

Note: Elder Smith's refutation of the Spalding authorship claims employs the typical RLDS assertion of those days -- that Spalding's "Manuscript Found," the only piece of fiction he ever wrote, had been recovered and published by the RLDS Church, thus disproving the authorship claims entirely. What is mildly surprising in Elder Smith's communication is that he acknowledges the fact that some people had said that Solomon Spalding wrote more than one piece of fiction, and that the story on file at Oberlin College is not the one he called "Manuscript Found." Although the writer acknowledges this argument, he immediately goes to work to demolish its import, by saying that Solomon Spalding himself only claimed to have ever written one fictional work -- thus, the statements by various old witnesses to the contrary are "false." Elder Smith's reasoning at this point is superficial in the extreme. At the beginning of the Oberlin story the author seeks to create an air of verisimilitude for his tale by providing his readers with a fictional account of his finding some ancient records in Ohio. Any school child can see at once that this pretended discovery of ancient records is part of the story itself and does not constitute a realistic claim by the author that only ever wrote one fictional story. As is typical for RLDS apologetics of this period, Elder Smith does not make mention of any of the extensive evidence pointing to the fact that Spalding wrote several fictional stories, and that from the very first articulation of the Spalding authorship claims, in E. D. Howe's 1834 book, the Oberlin manuscript was disavowed by eye witnesses as being the "Manuscript Found."


Vol. 8.                            Independence, Mo. March 25, 1897.                            No. 13.



Recently, at the request of Bro. I. N. White, I wrote a three-chapter article upon the above subject for a certain religious journal, upon the agreement of the editor that he would publish it in his paper. The article was a reply to an attack upon the Book of Mormon, made by one of the contributors to said journal... [we have] arranged with the Ensign to publish such article...

There has also been used against us the quotations in the "Voice of Warning" from Josiah Priest's volume, where he says that the ruins of Otolum (or Palenque, the name by which they are now altogether known), were discovered by Captain Del Rio in 1787, "an account of which was published in English, in 1822," says Priest.

It is stated that this is given in the "Voice of Warning," as proof of the inspiration of the Book of Mormon, "notwithstanding that the city was surveyed nearly half a century before the introduction of the book, and published to the world eight years before the Book of Mormon was published." And that the city of Otolum or Palenque, is much spoken of by us, but that we "ignore the fact that it was discovered about the middle of the sixteenth century, too early, by nearly two centuries (says this critic), to be revealed by the Book of Mormon, or by God through that book."

To all the above we reply, as well as say to any who may have been troubled by such statements, or who are unacquainted with the real facts in this matter, that there has been a great perversion of the truth, an unfair and unjust use made of the facts about the discoveries...

On the other hand there may be those who would like to learn the reasons why it was not possible for Joseph Smith, or others, to have had at hand the alleged information upon which to have based and which to have fabricated the Book of Mormon in 1829-30, and why there could not, at that time, have been any wide-spread knowledge of the ancient cities of Central America, either in Europe or in America. That it was impossible for those men to have had such books and publications there is sufficient proof; and I herewith produce enough on this point to satisfy every impartial mind; or so I believe.

It will be well to consider first the discovery of Otolum, or Palenque, by Captain Del Rio, and its publication. I notice that those who use this item against us do not state where the book was published, or say anything of how very little it was known, even to the learned of the city of London (according to Priest and Stephens), until 1831-33. Mr. John L. Stephens, the noted traveler and explorer among the Central American ruins, wrote as follows about Del Rio and Palenque:

"The report of Captain Del Rio * * * through either the supineness or the jealousy of the Spanish government, was locked in the archives of Guatamala until the time of the revolution, when the original manuscripts came into the hands of an English gentleman and an English translation was published in London in 1822. This was the first notice in Europe of the discovery of these cities. An, instead of electrifying the public mind, so little notice was taken of it that in 1831 the Literary Gazette, a paper of great circulation in London, announced it as (then) a new discovery," -- Central America, Chiapus and Yucatan, Vol. 2. page 269.

From the above statement it will be seen how impossible it was for Joseph Smith, or any others in America, to have known of Del Rio's discovery of Palenque, or for them to have made use of it in fabrication the Book of Mormon in 1829, for that book was copyrighted June 11, 1829, and issued in bok form early in 1830. Thus it was legally entered for publication two years before Del Rio's discovery began to be known to the learned and wealthy students of Europe, the very men who were using all their time and abundant means in discovering something new about antiquities and ancient history.

In further proof that neither in England or America was there any general knowledge about these ruins prior to 1829, I make the following quotations from Josiah Priest. He says:

"It is stated in the Family Magazine, No. 34, p. 266, for 1833, as follows: --'Public attention has been recently excited respecting the ruins of an ancient city found in Guatemala. It would seem that these ruins are now being explored, and much curious and valuable matter in a literary, and historical point of view is anticipated.'" -- Priest's American Antiquities, fifth edition, page 246.

Mr. Priest explains that the discoveries by Del Rio were the ones referred to, and he comments thus:

Let it be understood, this city of Otolum (Palenque), the ruins of which are so immense, is in North, not South America, in the same latitude with the island Jamaica * * * The discovery of these ruins, and also of many others, equally wonderful in the same country, are just commencing to arouse the attention of the schools of Europe, who hitherto have denied that America could boast of her antiquities. But these immense ruins are now being explored under the direction of scientific persons, a history of which, in detail, will be forthcoming, doubtless, in due time." -- Priest's American Antiquities, page 247 of fifth edition.

Notice the words in italics, and consider how much they mean as to the knowledge that was not had in the world prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon. If this knowledge was not had by the schools of learning in the capital cities of Europe how came it in possession of the illiterate young man, or his fellows, or even in the brain or hands of Solomon Spaulding? Remember that the Book of Mormon locates in Central America the greatest civilization that it gives account of, or far away from the Ohio valley, which is the scene of Spaulding's romance; and that just when the Book of Mormon was copyrighted the Central American ruins, according to all writings extant, wrre not at all known to learned European scientists, students, travelers, and antiquarians. And the unlearned young men outrivaled in knowledge the wise students, trained travelers, wealthy schools of learning, and powerful assisting rulers, who had at their command, all the avenues of learning that existed in the world, save that direct from the Lord on high.

But what about Josiah Priest's book, when was it published? I heard one of the most noted of the opposition make a statement in a public discourse that Priest's bok was our armory, and that it was published in 1824; and a certain writer says of a debater that he introduced "a work by Josiah Priest, which was printed in 1824." Clearly there is a purpose to have people believe that all that Mr. Priest wrote was in one book, and that the year 1824 was the time of its publication.

There is no doubt that Mr. Priest wrote a book in 1824 about a variety of curious things as being the wonders of earth and heaven and that in it he gave the theories of James Adair, Rev. Ethan Smith, Dr. Boudinot and others, that the aborigines of America were of Hebrew origin. But it was not a work upon antiquities, and no author anywhere quotes that book upon these matters...

The only book that we have any account of as having been published about Humboldt's discoveries [in Latin America] prior to Josiah Priest's mention in 1833, is a book that he quotes from. He calls it "Researches in America," and says that an edition had been published in America by Helen Maria Williams, probably not long before his book was issued. This is found on page 255 of Priest's American Antiquities, fifth edition, issued in 1835.

But whatever year her book was published in, it could have contained nothing about Palenque or other ruins in that region; because Humboldt neither explored them or knew anything of them when he was in America. And there is no evidence that Joseph Smith had any knowledge of said book, or that it had much circulation in the United States. Nor do we find it quoted by any author except Priest...

... we have always admitted that the theory of a Hebrew origin [for American Indians] was advocated by the celebrated Indian trader about 1775, by the Rev. Ethan Smith in 1825, also by Dr. Boudinot and the Rev. Jedediah Morse early in this century, and there is no disposition to deny it. All who are interested in this point will here have the dates and brief facts that cover the ground.

In the foregoing article I have been explicit in order that no misunderstanding need be had upon any point; at least I hope that all will be clear to those who read; and I believe that I have made no mistakes as to any of the points at issue. That good will be accomplished by this is the only desire that I have.

Lamoni, Iowa, March 4th.

Note 1: Elder Stebbins here provides some details for points in RLDS apologetics which he merely summarized in his 1894 lecture series. As before, he here again puts up a smoke screen of words, in order to conceal the fact that several books containing information possibly germane to the writing of the Book of Mormon were available for consultation by that book's modern author(s) prior to 1829. Many of these sources can be examined on-line, via the links provided at Oliver Cowdery's Bookshelf. See also the notes accompanying excerpts from Stebbins' 1894 lectures, above.

Note 2: This Stebbins article does establish the strong probability that no information about Mayan ruins and culture would have been readily available to Solomon Spalding, who died six years before the Del Rio account was published. Still, Spalding would have had easy access to a wealth of old histories in English, dealing with the ancient civilizations of Mexico and Peru. Clavigero's 1787 History of Mexico was available to him, as were Humboldt's early publications, Southey's 1805 Madoc, etc., etc. In fact, a quick perusal of Southey's citations might have provided Spalding with a great many English languages sources, useful in fabricating a fictional account of the ancient Americans, whether the story was set in Central America, the Ohio River Valley, or elsewhere in the pre-Columbian New World.


Vol. 8.                            Independence, Mo. June 3, 1897.                            No. 23.


"The basis for the Book of Mormon is presumed to have been a novel written by a Baptist minister, named Solomon Spaulding. It has been stated that this novel, -- in manuscript only, -- fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, at one time a brilliant Disciple minister, and that from it he prepared the matter that Joe Smith used in bringing out the book, now known as the Book of Mormon. Spaulding's manuscript is lost, but the matter that Sidney Rigdon furnished to Smith, is now locked up in a vault at Richmond, Ray county, Missouri, and is the property of a son of David Whitmer, one of the so-called witnesses to the Book of Mormon. The Mormons of Utah are said to have offered a large sum of money for it, but the owner will not dispose of it. The story about the original Spaulding manuscript being locked up in a bank vault in Ohio, is not to be credited." -- The Gospel Messenger, April 24, 1897.

Editor Gospel Messenger: -- I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ, known denominationally as "Latter Day Saints." ...

I wonder if the editor of The Messenger considered how Saul-like he had become when he penned the editorial... I quote from his editorial, printed without any apparent good reason:" The basis for the Book of Mormon is presumed to have been a novel written by a Baptist minister, named Solomon Spaulding." You see he does not throw the stone but when he gives it credence and sanction by that mischievous word "presumed," he offers to hold the clothes of a multitude of mud-slingers and villifiers...

Solomon Spaulding wrote a manuscript but when the editor says it fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon he has become so interested in the stoning that his own hand has sought the stone pile.

In a recent debate, a transcript from the records of the Christian church proved so conclusively that Sidney Rigdon was a minister of that church, in good standing, reporting at regular periods his labors, and showing so plainly that he was daily at work hundreds of miles from any possible contact with Joseph Smith until long after the Book of Mormon was in print, that it was regretfully laid aside as an argument by those who kept posted, and has been used since only by those whose duty it is not to try to find out the truth, but just to hold the clothes. "Spaulding's manuscript is lost." Stand clear! The editor in his zeal has at last cast a stone. If he had only been zealous to know the truth before he made such a statement he would have found that the original Spaulding manuscript is now in the charge of the honorable and respected Dr. Fairchild, president of the Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, and that no fair minded person reading it, or a copy (certified), can for one moment consider it the "basis" for the Book of Mormon or any other religious work.

Solomon Spaulding was not a Baptist but a Presbyterian preacher, and in neither a novel or any other manuscript would he be likely to teach the doctrine found in the Book of Mormon as the necessity for baptism; baptism for remission of sins, laying on of hands, etc. Doctrines peculiar to the teaching of Christ, his apostles, the despised "Mormons" as the world delights to call the Latter Day Saints, and also taught to some extent by the "Thinkers" [sic, Dunkers?] or "Brethren." These are not, however, the teachings of the Baptists or Presbyterians.

I have been informed, and truthfully I think, that the church in Utah has offered five hundred thousand dollars for the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Think you if it was the silly romance of Spaulding they would make so great an offer? ...

How long before the good that men have done and which is plainly manifest, shall be chronicled in place of the "repeating of history," and the bearing of false witness?
                               T. S. BROWN.
Winchester, Cal., May 15.

Note: Elder Brown gets it wrong when he says that Solomon Spaulding was a Presbyterian preacher. He was licensed as a Congregational Evangelist following his graduation from Dartmouth, but evidently such "Evangelists" were not ordained ministers with the full powers of a pastor -- they apparently did not baptize, marry, ordain, etc. their fellow Congregationalists. Also, the license was granted only for a limited period of time, after which it and the office it bestowed expired. When Solomon Spalding moved to Cherry Valley, New York, in 1795, his Evangelist's license had probably already expired. His commitment to the Christian faith at that period is questionable, even though he did become a member of the Cherry Valley Presbyterian church. Certainly by the time he left New York for Ohio, in 1809, he must have been a deist or an atheist in his beliefs. He was not known as "Reverend" Spalding in Ohio. Taking his "Sacred Roll" pseudo-scriptures as an example (from the Oberlin story), it seems that Spalding was able and willing to fabricate some very unorthodox "holy writ." After he moved to Pennsylvania, near the end of 1812, his thoughts may very well have been impacted by Kentucky camp meeting religion and the Christian primitivism of the Campbellites. In fact, Spalding may have injected subtle satires upon certain kinds of Christian theology and practices into his manuscript epic before he died -- parodies that a mentally unbalanced young copiest and redactor like Sidney Rigdon may have not quite "got." Given Spalding's later closet unorthodoxy (and perhaps even religious infidelity) there is no way of being certain what he could or could not have written into his story of the ancient Americans.


Vol. 8.                            Independence, Mo. June 17, 1897.                            No. 25.


The issue for June 2d of the Christian Herald and Signs of Our Times, of which the Rev. T. De Witt Talmadge is editor, contains an article entitled "Last Words on Mormonism... honest, fair-minded people will dissent when he says:

"Non-Mormons, without exception, refuse to believe that the Book of Mormon is divinely inspired, as claimed by Joseph Smith and his followers. The question of how far Smith and Rigdon were indebted to the Spaulding manuscript is uncertain. One Spaulding manuscript is in the possession of Oberlin College. The Book of Mormon bears resemblances to this, but is not a copy of it. Prof. Whitsitt, of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, has written a book claiming that Sidney Rigdon was the author of the Mormon Bible, as its theology is the same preached by him."

The brave General would probably say any one is a "Mormon" who expresses his belief in the divinity of the Book of Mormon...But when he says that it is "uncertain how far Smith and Rigdon are indebted to the Spaulding manuscript s," he betrays a woeful ignorance of his subject. That theory has been so thoroughly exploded, and it has been so clearly demonstrated that Sidney Rigdon had never seen, nor communicated, directly or indirectly, with Joseph Smith until some time after the Book of Mormon was published, that much as they were loth to give it up, the most bitter opposers of that book who have kept posted, have discarded that argument, and are seeking other grounds for their opposition.

"One Spaulding manuscript is in the Oberlin (Ohio) College." Where are the others, General? Where is your authority for the inference that there are others? Hurlbut nor Howe claim more than one. and E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, is, we believe, responsible for the whole story of the Spaulding Manuscript being like the Book of Mormon.

But our General gets down to an absolute and bare-faced untruth in what follows. "The Book of Mormon bears resemblance to this. Any one who has read the two works knows there is not the slightest resemblance between the two, and Prof. Fairchild, of Oberlin, agrees to this. What folly for a man of the General's reputation, to undertake to write of something of which he knows nothing. But then, "Prof. Whitsitt, of the Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, has written a book claiming that Sidney Rigdon was the author of the Mormon Bible, as its theology is the same preached by him,"

How profound! To be consistent, General Eaton and the Rev. Prof. Whitsitt should also claim that Confucius is the author of the New Testament Scriptures, because in them are found doctrines which he taught. Sidney Rigdon doubtless taught some things he heard of the latter day work which the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints taught, because he was a believer in the Scriptures, and a seeker for the truth, and if Bro. Eaton believes and Prof. Whitsitt taught any other doctrine than that which the Book of Mormon teaches, then they believe and teach a different a different theology than the New Testament teaches, for the doctrines of both these records are identical....

General Eaton is, doubtless, able to speak of things as he found them in Utah, and we repeat, we have no objection to offer to that part of his writings; but when he allows his prejudices to sway his mind, and undertakes to write about something of which he has no correct knowledge, he demonstrates clearly to those who know the facts in the case, how lacking he is in these elements which characterize all truly great men and writers.

Note 1: Despite Elder Joseph Luff's brave rhetoric in the above article, it does not appear that Gen. Eaton was quite so woefully ignorant as the RLDS journalist tries to portray him. Had Dr. William H. Whitsitt been called upon to respond the Ensign's editors, he might well have concluded that it was Luff and Garrett who were "woefully ignorant" of the essential points of reasoned argument supporting the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims. When Whitsitt first voiced his opinion on this subject in the public press, in 1882, the Oberlin Spalding manuscript had not yet been recovered, copied, and published by the RLDS Church. However, a few months later, when the Oberlin document was incompetently identified as being the long-lost "Manuscript Found," Dr. Whitsitt penned intelligent and effective rebuttals (in 1885 and 1886). And he was not fooled by the RLDS journalistic smoke-screen set up to obscure the facts of this matter. Whitsitt realized that E. D. Howe had indeed claimed there was more than one Spalding manuscript, from his very first articulation of eye-witness testimony regarding Spalding's literary productions, and Whitsitt provided a reasonable explanation for why there had to have been more than one Spalding manuscript story.

Note 2: In answer to Elder Luff's positive assertion of there being not "the slightest resemblance between" the Oberlin manuscript and the Book of Mormon, see the "Sciota Revisited" series of reports, on-line with the Spalding Research Project files. By the turn of the century President Fairchild was admitting that he could not be certain that the Oberlin document really was the "Manuscript Found," or that some Spalding story not in the archives of Oberlin College. Given his brief and inexpert comparison of the Oberlin story with the Book of Mormon, Fairchild's opinon on their degree of textual resemblance (or non-resemblance) was practically worthless.

Note 3: The RLDS editor obviously has not studied the life and reputation of Sidney Rigdon, if he can call the man "a seeker for the truth." Rigdon's religious duplicity and pious lying were well known among the Mormons, both before and after his excommunication from that church -- and, just like the Nauvoo Mormons of the mid-1840s, the RLDS of the mid-1860s had more than a few harsh things to say about Rigdon's pernicious secret activities and deceiving pretensions to divine revelation. Still, both the LDS and RLDS "Book of Covenants" have always contained a section wherein Rev. Rigdon is praised and blessed by God (?) as having wonderously prepared the way for the advent of Mormonism.


Vol. 8.                            Independence, Mo. December 30, 1897.                            No. 52.


This is found in the "Encyclopedic Dictionary," published by Sundicate Publishing Co., Philadelphia, Pa., 1896, and edited by Robert Hunter, A. M., F . G. S., and Prof. Charles Morris.

"MORMON (2), s. (Named from a mythic personage, Mormon, who according to Joseph Smith, led a Jewish Immigration into America in early Times.)...

"The popular name for the members of a religious body calling themselves 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,' or more briefly, 'The :Latter Day Saints.' Their founder was Joseph Smith, a farmer's son, born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, December 23, 1805. He asserted that on September 21, 1823, as he was praying, a supernatural light shone in his room, and an angel appearing made revelations to him, and the next day gave him certain engraved plates, with an instrument called Urim and Thummim (cf. Exod. 28:30; Lev. 8:8). by the aid of which he translated them, publishing the result in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. On this, the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, a Presbyterian preacher, declared that having someyime before written a work of fiction which no publisher could be induced to print, his rejected copy had been lost or stolen, and had reappeared as the angelically revealed Book of Mormon. To silence Spaulding both the faithful and the unbelievers clamored for a sight of the plates. After eight of the former had obtained a look at them, Smith asserted that he had handed them over to the custody of an angel, and they were seen no more." -- The Encyclopedic Dictionary, Vol. 3, p. 3196. ...

Note: See the Mar. 7, 1901 issue of Zion's Ensign for Elder Daniel MacGregor's article, in which this muddled "Encyclopedic Dictionary" entry is subjected to further due disdain.


Vol. 9.                            Independence, Mo. August 18, 1898.                            No. 33.





It is with pleasure I essay the task before me. Possessing an assurance and having implicit trust in what I believe, I enter upon the task of proving the proposition affirmed with no hesitancy whatever.

The proposition is: Is the Book of Mormon a true record...

There are several issues removed from this debate owing to the public confessions of Elder Bays as found in his maiden effort against us: "Doctrine and Dogmas of Mormonism," two of which are the Spaulding story as to the origin of the book, and Sidney Rigdon as chief assistant of Joseph Smith in its existence. He says, "It is generally believed that Sidney Rigdon was the chief abettor of Jodseph Smith in concocting the Mormon scheme. The usual debater undertakes to trace the Book of Mormon to the Spaulding romance through Sidney Rigdon. Nothing can be more erroneous, and it will lead to almost certain defeat * * * The facts are all opposed to this view." p. 22, Doctrine and Dogmas of Mormonism.

Speaking of the Spaulding story as now in the possession of the Oberlin college, "A twelve year old boy in any of our common schools can tell a better story and couch it in far better English. The Spaulding story is a failure. Do not attempt to rely upon it. It will let you down," p. 25. "It was Oliver Cowdery, not Sidney Rigdon who assisted in the so-called translation of the plates," p. 25. "Thus it will be seen that Sidney Rigdon had absolutely nothing to do with originating Mormonism."

There are two books now published by the Christian Publishing House, of St. Louis, Missouri, one representing Clark Braden, the "only man who has ever, ever can, or ever will down Mormonism" -- Clark Braden -- the other from the pen of Bays: the one claims that the "Spaulding Story" was the embryo from which the Book of Mormon spranf; the other says that such a claim is false; yet both are used to down the Book od Mormon. Bays, in referring to the "Spaulding Romance," confesses the failure of those who use it. Braden uses it, and the Christian Brotherhood indorse both. Bays says Oliver Cowdery and not Sidney Rigdon assisted Joseph Smith in bringing the Book of Mormon into existence. Braden says it was Sidney and not Oliver. The Christian church has been taken up with the Braden theory since Alexander Campbell first swallowed it as a sweet morsel, at the hands of the adulterous spirited Hulburt, and unscrupulous Howe. In all of their encounters with our people they have claimed magnificent victories, yet the moment Bays steps on the scene they rally to his standard, and say that "Bays and his book are both children of Providence." "A complete overthrow of the Mormon superstructure... Before I close I will sustain this proposition by the Bible as well as archeaology.   Time.


So far as the arguments of Bro. Williams is concerned, in relation to the Book of Mormon, I might just as well take my seat and permit him to go on...

Now we have a terrible calamity, Braden against Bays, Clark Braden took the position that the Book of Mormon was written from the "Spaulding Romance," and Bays has refuted that position. You should not allow this to have weight in the present conflict. I believed I had something better. What if it is Braden vs. Bays, what has that to do with the question. That does not prove the book true. This is merely a little subterfuge. Bays speaks on this subject from experience. Those who have taken the position that the Book of Mormon sprang from the Spalding story have gone down and will go down.

Note: Rev Bays did not sound quite so sure of himself, on the Book of Mormon origin issue, when he corresponded with A. T. Schroeder a year later. In that exchange he says: "Permit me to assure you that I am glad to have discovered a gentleman sufficiently acquainted with the facts to afford me some additional information concerning the "Spalding manuscript theory" of the origin of the Book of Mormon. I am not loath to confess that I do not know all that may be known upon that question, and I assure you that I shall only be too glad to duly consider any fact that may tend to throw any additional light upon this somewhat perplexing question." However, Bays' feigning of open-mindedness on this issue was not to last very long. Before he concludes his exchanges with Schroeder he is back defending his old negative position on the "Spalding manuscript theory."



Vol. ?                                St. Louis, Mo.,  October 12, 1899.                                No. ?



Gentlemen: I have just examined Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism, and am surprised that the author, with no investigation worth mentioning, should assume to say the Spalding manuscript theory must be abandoned. His statement shows that he doesn't even know what that theory involved. I call attention to this so that in a second edition he may be led to further investigation.
                Yours very truly,
                                A. T. SCHROEDER.

R E P L Y.

                        205 Champion Street, Battle Creek, Michigan, August 9, 1899.
   Dear Sir: Your communication of the 1st inst., forwarded by the Christian Publishing Company, St. Louis, Missouri, for my consideration, is at hand and contents noted. Permit me to assure you that I am glad to have discovered a gentleman sufficiently acquainted with the facts to afford me some additional information concerning the "Spalding manuscript theory" of the origin of the Book of Mormon. I am not loath to confess that I do not know all that may be known upon that question, and I assure you that I shall only be too glad to duly consider any fact that may tend to throw any additional light upon this somewhat perplexing question. Although reared in the faith of the Mormon Church and trained in its history and philosophy, and while I had preached its doctrines and defended its theology in twenty-three public discussions, yet there is no doubt much for me to learn respecting the Spalding romance.

One thing, perhaps, which has helped me to reach this conclusion is your unqualified statement that the author of Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism "does not even know what that theory involved." Before reading your letter I had really flattered myself that I understood, not only the "theory," but also "what that theory involved." During my forty years of experience with Mormonism, and especially during the period of my public debates in its defense, I had carefully examined every fact, every argument advanced in support of the Spalding theory, which includes the testimony of Mrs. Davidson, Mr. Spalding's widow, Mrs. McKinstry, his daughter, the Reverend Doctor Storrs, et al. -- in fact, everything my opponents could produce -- and yet the author has made "no investigation worth mentioning." This reminds me how sadly even authors are sometimes mistaken in themselves.

A critic who is able so to discover the short-comings of a writer as to justify him in the conclusions you seem to have reached must be in possession of a rich store of information to which the writer did not have access. In view of the fact that you "call attention to this so that in a second edition he may be led to further investigation," the writer respectfully requests that you furnish him such evidence as may be in your possession which will in the least aid in reaching just conclusions.

It was my aim when writing Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism to present "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," and if I have failed in this I have fallen short of my ideal. Will you, therefore, as an attorney with a thorough understanding of the laws of evidence, give me such facts as would be admissible under Greenleaf's rules in order to prove, not merely assert, that the Spalding romance is the foundation and origin of the Book of Mormon?

As a lawyer you must have what to you are good and valid reasons for being "surprised that the author with no investigation worth mentioning should assume to say that the Spalding manuscript theory must be abandoned."

Please give me the facts upon which you rely, and state the reasons for your great surprise. I am at the present time engaged in writing upon a subject involving this issue, and shall be delighted to avail myself of any reliable information you may possess which will throw more light upon the questions involved. Hoping to hear from you at once, I am, very respectfully,   Yours for the whole truth,
                       D. H. BAYS.

Note 1: This 1899 exchange between A. T. Schroeder and D. H. Bays, published in the Christian Evangelist, marks Schroeder's first known foray against traditional Mormon defenses against the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims for the Book of Mormon. Although Bays was no longer a member of the Reorganized LDS Church, his responses to the "Spalding theory" continued, to a large extent, to reflect Mormon attitudes on the subject. In the following months Schroeder compiled a considerable amount of source material in support of this explanation for Mormon origins, much of which he never made direct use of in his 1901 pamphlet. A collection of Schroeder's papers, including a box of documents concerning the "Spalding theory" are on file in the Special Collections of the Library at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Note 2: The correspondence exchange between Schroeder and Bays was continued in the next issue of the Christian Evangelist.



Vol. ?                                St. Louis, Mo.,  November 2, 1899.                                No. ?


D. H. BAYS, 205 Champion Street, Battle Creek, Michigan:
   Dear Sir: Yours of August 9 has been duly received. My statement, that you did not know what the Spalding theory involved, was made because your book indicates nothing to show that you ever heard of Spalding having written three manuscripts; the first of which simply outlined the story and is the one now in Oberlin. The second was prepared for the printer; the plot of the story changed as to place from which Indians came here, and the names changed to suit the change in the plot. This is the one which furnishes the basis for the Book of Mormon.

The statement that you had made no investigation worth mentioning was based upon your suggestion that the total want of similarity in names between Spalding's Manuscript and the Book of Mormon was evidence that they had no connection. If you had made any investigation worth mentioning you would have found the absolute identity of the very unusual names in the Book of Mormon with the second Spalding Manuscript was originally one of the principal evidences of the connection between the two. If you had known these facts, and those which necessarily go with them in the study of the question, the Oberlin Manuscript, instead of convincing you that there was no connection between the two, would have furnished many confirmations of the theory that the Spalding Manuscript was the basis of the Book of Mormon.

Mrs. McKinstry made no investigation worthy of mention, not even as much original work as you did. If any evidence was needed as to Mrs. Davidson's superficiality it would be shown by the fact that she knew of the existence of the Oberlin Manuscript, even at the time she wrote, and she was not sufficiently earnest in her search for truth to secure its possession as she probably might have done. If you had made very much original investigation in the matter you might, in the publications of the Utah church, have discovered some few circumstances which would have supplied the only missing links in the evidence of the connection between the Spalding Manuscript and the Book of Mormon.

I can not establish these facts except by hearsay evidence, which Greenleaf would bar, and yet I do not know of any historical fact not now within the knowledge of living witnesses that can be established by any but hearsay evidence. Barring the question of the hearsay character of the evidence, I believe that a case can be made out much stronger than the circumstantial evidence upon which many a man has been hung.

Permit me also to add that your little sarcasms about my "rich Store of information" are wasted on me. I happen to possess a library covering considerable over one thousand books and pamphlets on the subject of Mormonism, and I chance to know something of the contents of those books. Similar statements to the one which you make concerning the Spalding Manuscript have been quite often repeated, and are usually made by persons who have not even read Mrs. Davidson's and Mrs. McKinstry's evidence.

If I have leisure I may in the near future write a short essay on the origin of the Book of Mormon, and if I do I shall take pleasure in sending you a copy. Of course, it would be hard in a letter of ordinary length to cite the evidence from which my impressions are made, and would involve the spending of more time than it is possible for me now to do.

I have before now known men to preach for a lifetime without having the least bit of critical knowledge of their religion, and while I am satisfied from your book that you are better informed than many who attempt to write on the subject of Mormonism, I still believe that there is evidence upon several questions which you have overlooked and which has made you reach wrong conclusions. While on the whole I think your book will do good, I do believe it might have been more free from error.
                Yours very truly,
August 14, 1899.                                A. T. SCHROEDER.

R E P L Y.

A. T. SCHROEDER, Salt Lake City:
   Dear Sir: Replying to your favor of the 14th ult., permit me to say that while I thank you for your promise of future aid and suggestion, yet candor compels me to say that I am not in the least disappointed -- in fact, your letter contains only about what I had reason to expect. I very much regret that, from "a library covering considerably over one thousand books and pamphlets on the subject of Mormonism," you are unable to furnish me with a single fact in support of the old, exploded "Spalding Manuscript theory" of the origin of the Book of Mormon.

In justification of your statement, that the writer of Doctrines and Dogmas of Mormonism "did not know what the Spalding theory involved," you remark that the statement "was made because your book indicates nothing to show that you ever heard of Spalding having written three manuscripts." That there is nothing in my book to indicate that I had ever heard that Spalding had "written three manuscripts" is certainly true, and for the obvious reasons that in that work I deal with facts rather than fancies and unsupported assertion.

I was, at the time my book was written, fully aware that such assertions had repeatedly been made, but as I have never been able to obtain the testimony of a single witness in support of the claim, I have unhesitatingly dismissed it as an idle speculation.

You assure me that the first of these manuscripts "simply outlined the story and is the one now in Oberlin." The second, you assert with equal gravity, "was prepared for the printer," while in the third "the plot of the story changed as to place from which Indians came here and the names changed to suit the change in the plot"; and this, you assure me, "is the one which furnishes the basis for the Book of Mormon."

This is a very pretty "theory," and somewhat ingenious, but where is the evidence to support it? When and where were these "three manuscripts" written? By whom were they preserved after Mr. Spalding's death? And how did they all so mysteriously disappear from view?

Indeed, it is but legitimate and fair to all parties concerned to ask why at }east one of these alleged manuscripts was not produced long ago, and thus for ever silence the defiant voice of the Mormon church which, for the last fifty years, has been clamorous in its demand for proof upon this point.

I confess myself not a little surprised that an attorney, trained in a school of justice to weigh and determine the value and admissibility of evidence, should ask a candid public to decide so grave a matter upon the bare assertion of an interested party, without the shadow of evidence to support it.

If "three manuscripts" ever existed, why not produce the evidence to prove it? Why not induce that library of "over one thousand books and pamphlets" to yield up some of its hidden treasures of knowledge upon this point, and settle this mooted question once for all? Mormonism for more than half a century has been demanding the production of the "Manuscript Found" that it might be compared with the Book of Mormon. Since the discovery of that now historic document, and the further unquestionable fact that it bears not the slightest resemblance to the Book of Mormon, the wonderful discovery has been made that Solomon Spalding wrote "three manuscripts!" While you affirm very dogmatically, as others have done before you, that Spalding wrote three manuscripts, yet, like your predecessors, you offer not a single fact in support of this claim. In the face of these significant facts, you with characteristic pertinacity assert:

"If you had made any investigation worth mentioning, you would have found that the absolute identity of the very unusual names in the Book of Mormon with the second Spalding Manuscript was originally one of the principal evidences of the connection between the two."

Here we have the assumption that a "second Spalding Manuscript" actually existed, and from this assumed premise you jump to the conclusion that the names were "absolutely identical" with those in the Book of Mormon. My objections to this statement are:

1. The existence of a second manuscript is assumed, not proved.

2. If such manuscript really existed, no proof is offered to show the "absolute identity" of the names with those in the Book of Mormon.

Hence, until you establish the alleged fact that such "second Spalding Manuscript" had a bona fide existence, and that the "very unusual names" found in the Book of Mormon are "absolutely identical" with those found in the so-called "second Spalding Manuscript," a fair-minded, just public will reject this new-fangled "Spalding Manuscript theory" as the merest vagary of a prejudiced mind, and wholly without the slightest foundation in fact. I do not say that the "three manuscripts" had no actual existence; but I do say that if such manuscripts ever had anything more than an imaginary existence somebody knows it; and if somebody knows it, why not have that somebody step upon the witness stand and boldly testify to the fact? But why pursue this question further, since you admit that it is only a "theory" -- a theory, too, supported by such a class of evidence which, as a lawyer, you well know would be rejected by any court in this broad land of ours. Acknowledging the fact you say:

"I can not establish these facts except by hearsay evidence, which Greenleaf would bar."

In concluding this paragraph you remark that

"Barring the question of the hearsay character of the evidence, I believe a case can be made out much stronger that the circumstantial evidence upon which many a man has been hung." (Italics mine.)

This may be true, but it must be borne in mind that many an innocent man has been hung upon purely circumstantial evidence," and it is a principle of law from which there is no deviation that a guilty man may better escape the punishment due to his crimes than that an innocent man should suffer the extreme penalty of the law. Hence, juries are always instructed to give the prisoner the benefit of a doubt. But, of course, I need not remind an experienced attorney that there is a vast difference between "hearsay evidence" and "circumstantial evidence." The former Greenleaf peremptorily excludes, while the latter is declared to be the "best evidence" of which any case is susceptible, for the assigned reason that circumstances can not lie, provided that all the circumstances are considered.

Concluding your letter you remark:

"I have before now known men to preach for a lifetime without having the least bit of critical knowledge of their religion, and while I am satisfied from your book that you are better informed than many who write upon Mormonism, I still believe that there is evidence upon several questions which you have overlooked and which has made you reach wrong conclusions."

If, as you seem to think, I have, through lack of information, "reached wrong conclusions," permit me to say that I am always open to conviction and stand ready to correct any and all errors of the past. And if, as you assert, "there is evidence upon several questions which I have overlooked, and which has made me reach "wrong conclusions," I shall esteem it a favor alike to myself and the public if you will furnish me the evidence which has led you to this conclusion, and I shall take great pleasure, I assure you, in making such corrections and emendations as shall be justified by the facts.

As a lover of truth, purity, good government, liberty and law, I have the right to expect your cooperation in a matter fraught with so much importance to all concerned. It becomes a duty alike to yourself, to posterity, and to society that you speak out and give us such facts as may be in your possession relative to the question now under consideration.

That I stand with the class of preachers you name, who have "preached for a lifetime" without a "critical knowledge" of what they preach, may, I confess, be true; but of this others must judge. However this may be, I feel quite sure, if I know myself, that I desire all the light possible upon any question that pertains to Mormonism, and shall only be too glad to avail myself of any facts and figures which you may be pleased to offer.

"While on the whole I think your book will do good, I do believe it might have been more free from error."

In this statement I fully concur. Than;king you for the modest compliment you pay me, permit me to say, in conclusion, that I shall hail with joy any additional light my friends may afford me -- yourself with others -- and shall studiously endeavor to make the second edition of my book all its friends could wish.

A copy of your proposed "Essay on the origin of the Book of Mormon" will be very thankfully received.
                       Very truly yours,

                                     D. H. BAYS.
205 Champion Street, BATTLE CREEK, Michigan, September 7, 1899.

Note: Evidently the Rev. Davis H. Bays never wrote a reply or rebuttal to Schroeder's 1901 pamphlet on the Spalding-Rigdon authorship claims. Shortly after this, Rev. Bays sank into poor health and died on Oct. 24, 1905.

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