(Newspapers of Ohio, Illinois)

The Saints’ Herald
(Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, 1860-63)
(Plano, Kendall County, Illinois, 1863-71)
1860-1871 Articles

Elder Isaac Sheen, First Editor of the Saints' Herald

1872-1881 (IL)   1882-1886 (IA)   1887-1921 (IA)   1922-1977 (MO)

Jan 01 '60  |  Mar 01 '60  |  Jul 01 '60
Oct 01 '62  |  Dec 01 '63  |  Dec 15 '63
Jan 15 '64  |  Feb 01 '64  |  Jun 01 '64
Aug 15 '64  |  Jun 01 '68  |  Jan 01 '69
Nov 01 '69

(more articles forthcoming)

Old Newspapers Index  |  When did Sidney Rigdon first meet Joseph Smith?


No. 1.]                                    Cincinnati, Ohio, January, 1860.                                    [Vol. I.

[p. 6]


A more delusive idea never entered into the heart of man than the belief that polygamy is one of the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is a favored doctrine of the Salt Lake Church, because that Church has "turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness," and plunged themselves into this iniquity in direct opposition to the plain and positive commandments of the Lord our God, as they are recorded in the Book of Mormon, in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and in the Old and New Testament. In the first place, we will call your attention to a revelation which was given expressly to this Church, in February 1831; Sec. 13, par. 7, where the Lord says to the Church: "thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out. Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery and repenteth not, shall be cast out, but he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive; but if he doeth it again he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out." This revelation teaches us that a man that cleaves unto more than one wife is guilty of adultery, has denied the faith, and shall not have the Spirit.

How can it be said of a man who has more than one wife that he cleaves unto her and none else. In denouncing polygamy as a crime we only do that which this Church did long since. If it is wrong for us to do so, it was wrong for the Church to do so. In the Book of Cov., 109 Sec., 4 par., the Church says, "inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man
[p. 7]
should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again." This was the doctrine of the true Church, from which the Salt Lake Church has apostatized, and the hypocrisy of the leaders of the latter Church is manifested in the fact that they published in 1845, an edition of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants containing this declaration. This was at a time when they advocated and practiced polygamy privately, and publicly denied it. The severe denunciation against polygamists, in the Book of Mormon, is claimed by these backsliders to be a subject that is not applicable to them, but was a law to the Nephites to whom it is given.

In a revelation which was given us in September 1832, an entirely opposite doctrine is strictly enjoined upon us. If this solemn warning had been observed, the scourge and judgment there prophesied of, would not have been realized. They disregarded the commandments of God in the Book of Mormon, therefore the scourge and judgment spoken of in this revelation has had a speedily fulfilment. The Lord said unto the Saints, "your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole Church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant even the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments which I have given them not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written, that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion; for shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily I say unto you, nay."

It would be a strange way to remember the Book of Mormon, by teaching and practising polygamy, because it positively and universally forbids it. They have proved the truth of this revelation by bringing a scourge and judgment upon themselves. Now let us see in what way they "remember the new Covenant, even the Book of Mormon." In that part of the Book of Mormon, called the Book of Mosiah, 7c., the record says, "now it came to pass that Zenif conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father. For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord." This is one of the ways that renegades remember the Book of Mormon, by imitating the wicked men whose abominations and wickedness are denounced. This king
[p. 8]
Noah seems to have been very much admired by Brigham Young, for their characters are nearly alike. Licentiousness, oppression, persecution, robbery and murder, are cardinal features of their systems. It would be useless to cite the lengthy history of the wickedness of this prototype of Brigham Young, and the judgments which fell upon him and his priests. For additional evidence on this subject, from the Book of Mormon, we would call your attention to our letter in reply to O. Pratt. We might call your attention to many prophesies in the Bible which these backsliders have fulfilled by their abominations. Ezekiel appears to have had a very clear manifestation of the wickedness of these men and the plan pursued by them, by which they embarked into polygamy. In Ezekiel 14 c. 1, 5 v. the prophet says, "then came certain of the elders of Israel upon me, and sat before me. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their face; should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them and say unto them, thus saith the Lord God; every man in the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols." We have shown you, that God gave a revelation unto us in which he commanded that every man should "cleave unto his wife and none else" and that he commanded us saying, "repent and remember the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written," and that in that book there is much testimony against polygamy. All these instructions were sufficient for our guidance, but "men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their face." This adulterous spirit had captivated their hearts and they desired a license from God to lead away captive the fair daughters of his people; and in this state of mind they came to the prophet Joseph. Could the Lord do anything more or less than what Ezekiel hath prophesied. The Lord hath declared by Ezekiel what kind of an answer he would give them, therefore he answered them according to the multitude of their idols. Paul had also prophesied that "for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Both these prophesies agree. In Ezekiel's prophecy, the Lord also says, "I will set my face against that men, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. And if the prophet be
[p. 9]
deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him. and I will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity; the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him; that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord God." 8, 11 v. We have here the facts as they have transpired and as they will continue to transpire in relation to this subject. The death of the prophet is one fact that has been realized although he abhorred and repented of this iniquity before his death. This branch of the subject we shall leave to some of our brethren, who are qualified to explain it satisfactorily. Those who have practiced these abominations have become "a sign and a proverb" among men in accordance with this prophecy. These are the "false teachers" prophesied of by Peter, of whom he said, "many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom, the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandize of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." The reason why the Lord destroyed the prophet and made those who "set up their idols in their heart, "a sign and a proverb" made them bear the punishment of their iniquity is worthy of our earnest attention. We are informed that the reason why the Lord would perform all these things was this, "that the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God." Here is positive evidence that this prophecy was to be fulfilled in the last days, for there has only been a small part of the house of Israel (at any time since this prophecy was given) that were obedient to the Lord. The time is not fully come when Israel shall go no more astray," and not "be polluted any more with all their transgressions," therefore the punishment of these men who have committed these sins must continue until that happy day shall come. But as the Lord says in this prophecy, "repent and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations, so say we, and return unto the fold from whence you have strayed." As some may yet doubt whether God would act in this way toward men who set up their idols in their heart, we will see how God dealt with Balaam. In Numbers 22 c. we are informed that Balak, king of the Moabites, sent the elders of Moab and Midian unto Balaam with the rewards of divination, in their hands to entreat him that he would curse Israel, but God said unto Balaam, "thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people, for they are blessed." And Balaam rose up in
[p. 10]
the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, "get you into your land; for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you." And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honorable than they. And they came to Balaam and said to him, "thus saith Balak, the son of Zippor, let nothing, I pray three, hinder thee from coming unto me; For I will promote thee unto very great honor, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me; come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people." Now although the Lord had said unto Balaam, "thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people, for they are blessed," yet the great honor that was offered him, allured him, and he inquired of the Lord again, and said unto the princes, "tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more. And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, "if the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do." And Balaam rose up in the morning and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And God's anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. So we find that the Lord told him not to go, but afterwards having "set up his idol in his heart" he inquired of the Lord again whether he might not go and curse Israel and God's anger was kindled against him because he did so, although God had commanded him to go. This is, therefore, a parallel case with Ezekiel's prophecy.

In 1 Kings, 22 c., we are informed that the king of Israel wanted Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to go up with him to Rammoth-Gilead to battle, and there were four hundred prophets who said "go up, for the Lord shall deliver it into the hands of the king." And Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?" And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat. "there is yet one, Micaiah, the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil." And Jehoshaphat said, "let not the king say so." So he was sent for. The messenger that was gone to call Micaiah, spake unto him, saying "behold now the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth; let thy word I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good." And Micaiah said, "As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak." We are then informed that Micaiah prophesied like the false prophets and then against them. And he said, "I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto
[p. 11]
him, wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also; go forth and do so. Now all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee." This doctrine was extensively preached in the Church before iniquity overthrew the Church, and by this doctrine the Church might have been saved, if men had not "set up their idols in their heart."

Note: See also the following unusual passages in articles in this publication during the year 1860: "The Book of Abraham was translated through the 'gift and power' of the Holy Ghost by Joseph Smith. We learn from this revelation that the first woman was not begotten and born of parents but Created out of the rib of Adam. Here we have four witnesses, Joseph Smith, Abraham, Moroni and Alma, all bearing testimony they were created from the dust of the ground." (p. 270) "The new translation of the Bible (Smith's Bible), and the Book of Abraham both teach the doctrine of a Plurality of Gods. Although it is an unpopular doctrine, it is the doctrine of the common version of the Bible. The new translation of the Bible was commenced very soon after the church was organized and therefore this doctrine was a doctrine of the Church at that time. Some say if we believe in a plurality of Gods, why do we not believe in Adam as a God. The scriptural evidences show that the revelations in the New Translation of the Bible and in the Book of Abraham concerning the Gods all harmonize together." (pp. 282-283). "Now, we propose to prove that all the revelations which Joseph Smith gave unto the Church we are bound to give heed unto. If the first edition of that book (Doctrine and Covenants) is divine all the subsequent revelations which are contained in the Book of Covenants, in The Book of Abraham, etc., and which he gave to the church are equally divine." (p. 63; cf. Shook's True Origin of Polygamy, p. 162).


No. 3.]                                    Cincinnati, Ohio, March, 1860.                                    [Vol. I.

(under construction)


Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 7.]                                    Cincinnati, Ohio, July, 1860.                                    [Vol. I.



In a letter to Bro. Joseph Smith, his uncle, Wm. Smith says:

"It would seem that Brigham is making use of my influence against you; as you will see by the slip I enclose in this letter. Brigham, you know, boasts of his $200,000; some of this spoils was taken from Nauvoo, and my property was taken along with it. After many invitations to join them, from delegates sent from Salt Lake, to prove to some of the Mormons living about this region of the country, that Brigham was not honest in his profession of justice, I wrote to him to remunerate me for some of the losses I had sustained in the break-up of the Church, and you can see how willing the man is to get influence from the Smith family; and yet how unwilling he is to deal justly; and the lies which they tell are monstrous. God will surely bring them into judgment in some way. As I have told you, I am your friend, and shall sustain your present position as the lawful head and leader of the Mormon Church, and be assured, Joseph, that I have no feelings against you or any of those who have joined in with you."

Note 1: This is the first known appearance of William Smith's comments, in print, since his Letter of May 19, 1857, addressed to the New York Tribune. In that communication William specifically states: "I am not a Mormon. The treachery, corruption and murderous practices of the leaders of the Mormon Church long since disgusted me with a doctrine which produces such results, and as a matter of course I left the heaven-defying traitors, as every honest man should do." Possibly William was able to differentiate between the group led by this nephew, "Young Joseph," as being "Latter Day Saints" and the group led by Brigham Young, as being "Mormons." The 1860 Federal census for Erie Co., Pennsylvania shows William and his family living in Venango township, near the border with Chautauqua Co., New York. The couple's second child, Edson Don Carlos Smith, was born at Elkander, Clayton Co., Iowa on Sept. 6, 1862. According to the recollection of this second son (written down at the request of B. H. Roberts i n 1933), William B. Smith moved his family from Pennsylvania to Iowa between 1858 and 1862. By the time the War between the States began, in 1861, William Smith was again living in Clayton Co., Iowa. He is said to have served in the Illinois Infantry during the Civil War -- probably in 1861-63 and then again in 1864-66.

Note 2: The "Utah Rumor" referred to in the heading, was probably the report, then current, saying that William had joined the Brighamites. According to D. Michael Quinn's 1976 BYU Studies paper, "The Mormon Succession Crisis of 1844," In 1860 Brigham Young received letters from William Smith and the LDS missionary, J. J. Butler, saying that Elder Butler had baptized William Smith back into the Church and that William would move to Utah. Quinn says: "About the time of William Smith's baptism into the Church... his nephew, Joseph Smith III, became president of the Reorganized Church... Lacking a promise from Brigham Young of restoration to the apostleship, William Smith deferred going to Utah in the apparent hope that with the rise of the Reorganization either Brigham Young or Joseph Smith III would make him an offer of high office in return for his support." The sequence of events may have gone something like this: (1. At the beginning of April, 1860 William was not invited to take a high office in the new RLDS Church. (2. William turned to the Utah Mormons and accepted baptism later that same April. (3. William's April, 1860 letter to Brigham Young did not win him any promise of financial compensation for his previous "losses," so he renounced his recent Mormon rebaptism and turned again to the RLDS, with the letter published in the July, 1860 Herald. (4. When this action brought no rewards, William at last gave up the quest for power and money, and joined the Union Army.


No. 4. - Vol. 3.]                          Cincinnati,  Oct., 1862.                         [Whole No. 28.

For  the  Herald.

Concerning the Latter Day Work.

In the year 1825 I and my family took breakfast one day about 7 o'clock. I sent the children off to school, and I and my wife were left alone. About 8 1/2 o'clock I stepped to the door because I heard singing, and there was an old gentleman stepped to the gate, and he said "good morning sir." I said good morning, also. He said "do you ever give a stranger and a poor traveller something to eat." I said, always, come in. As he stepped along he came singing a hymn which I never heard before. It seemed to lighten up my soul and filled it with the Spirit of the Lord. I said to my wife, here is a traveller who is hungry, I want you to get him a good warm breakfast, and she did so.

He was plainly and decently dressed and had on a white handkerchief, and a bundle in his hand. He continued until she got his breakfast, but would stop and ask me questions which I could not answer, and then he would smile. He finished his blessing after eating and put his chair back, and continued his singing for a little, then he rose and left the choicest blessings for me and my house, and bid me good bye. He stepped on the door step, and as he let down the latch I lifted it, as I opened the door there was no man there, and he could not possibly have gone out of my way, for I could see 40 or 50 rods all around. I searchest every place for him. I called my wife out and we were astonished above all measure. I made mention of it 8 or 10 miles from home and they said there had been just such a man who had been heard of in different places.

I did not hear much about the Book of Mormon until Joseph Smith was getting it printed, and then my men which were at work on my building brought false stories to me, and I was filled with wrath about it. I said I would let a pair of horses go to take him to prison. I said it is blasphemy. I took a hoe and went into the field. As soon as I commenced I was struck as with a rushing wind, which almost frightened me to death. When I was a little recovered, I started for the house. I got to talking with these men and became more wrathy than ever. I went back again, and was frightened double what I was before. When I recovered I started again for the house and ran.

When they commenced preaching, a messenger came to tell me that my mother was dying. I had a half brother living with me and a nephew, and they took my horses and went to meeting, to hear Hyrum preach while I was gone. When I came back they told me that they had been to hear him preach on the Golden Bible. I did not like it, and I told them that they must not take my horses again to hear those blasphemous wretches preach. My half brother said that Hyrum said that Joseph had seen an angel. My nephew said that there was something in it, and that I had better go and hear him. About that time I had another brother about 40 miles off. He came down and wanted me to go for he wanted to go himself. -- The next Sunday I went and there was a large concourse of people around his (Hyrum's) father's house, so that they extended to the road, filling up the large lot. I rushed in and got close to the stand, so as to be particular to hear what was said.

When Hyrum began to speak, every word touched me to the inmost soul. I thought every word was pointed to me. God punished ire and riveted me to the spot. I could not help myself. The tears rolled down my cheeks, I was very proud and stubborn. There were many there who knew me, I dare not look up. I sat until I recovered myself before I dare look up. They sung some hymns and that filled me with the Spirit. When Hyrum got through, he picked up a book and said, "here is the Book of Mormon." I said, let me see it. I then opened the book, and I received a shock with such exquisite joy that no pen can write and no tongue can express. I shut the book and said, what is the price of it? "Fourteen shillings" was the reply. I said, I'll take the book. I opened it again, and I felt a double portion of the Spirit, that I did not know whether I was in the world or not. I felt as though I was truly in heaven.

Martin Harris rushed to me to tell me that the book was true. I told him that he need not tell me that, for I knew that it is true as well as he. I hunted up my brother and I said, let us go home. -- He said, "what do you think of the book?" I said, it is true as sure as God sits upon his throne. I asked him what he thought of it. He said that he believed it, and had an evidence of its truth. -- When God shows a man such a thing by the power of the Holy Ghost he knows it is true. He cannot doubt it.

When we started on our way home, there came a bird of the color of a robin, but a little larger. It new around the horses heads nearly down to my hands as I held the lines, and followed us about 1 1/2 miles chirping all the way. My brother kept saying, what does that mean? I never saw a bird act so in my life. When I got to some woods it new off making another singular noise. I came up to the door and my nephew said, Uncle Ezra has bought one of those books, I knew he would. My wife came out and wanted to know what I had got. I said, I have bought a book and it overpowers me to read it, but I am going to lay it alongside of the Bible and see whether they agree. I could not read it for one or two months without being filled with the Spirit of the Lord. When I laid it down by the Bible, I could find any passages that I wanted without turning the leaves over, opening to any passage in the Bible which I wanted to find, and I had been very little acquainted with the Bible.

When it got noised around, my house was filled with the neighbors who wanted to see and hear it read. I read it myself because I was filled with the Spirit. Men that swore would say with an oath that it read well. They filled my house all day, and men made my wife believe that I was crazy and would lose my friends and all my property. There was a Methodist woman in my house, and her husband came over for her after all the company was gone, and he was a Methodist. He wanted to know what I supposed that book was for. I told him that it was to fulfil the covenants which God made with Abraham, concerning his seed. He wanted to know how I could prove that? I told him by the Bible. He said there was no such thing in the Bible, and they were all cursed people, and they would go to hell at last. I turned instantly to the place where it says, "I will bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the utmost parts of the earth, and they shall be my people and I will be their God." When I said that, he said "come wife, let's go home, I don't want such a God to rule over me." When they were gone my wife began to cry, and said that I was crazy, and it would ruin me, and she would leave me. I withdrew from the company, and sat down in the sitting room. Suddenly a change came over me. I was sitting down to meditate upon it, and suddenly an angel stood before me. He was a tall, black-eyed man, and he was the handsomest person that I ever saw, and so bright and white that he shined like the sun. he had on the handsomest robe that I ever saw. He had a child in his arms as white as he was, with the most brilliant appearance. He said, "you have come at the eleventh hour." He said, "you must become as this little child, or you can in no wise enter into the kingdom of God." He then said, "behold it is a male child." He said, "take care, the devil is after the child," and I saw a huge black form in the shape of a man at the door, and I had a large dog laying in the room, and he rose up and went to the door and growled three times, and came back and laid down again. The angel disappeared as he spoke, and the devil withdrew. Then a double portion of the Spirit came on me, and I went into the room to my wife, and said hallelujah to God and the Lamb! Hosannah to Jesus on high! I have seen an angel of God, who has been into my room and visited me to-night. The first sermon that ever I preached was to my wife.

They wanted me to bring the book to Canandaigua, and I did so, and they perused it, first one, then another. Then one spoke and said that he had a boy at home and if he could not make a better book than that he would flog him. Then they all made their comments. Some said one thing and some another, and none believed it. A lawyer (Dudley Martin) was sitting by reading a newspaper. He said, "have you all made your comments on the book?" They said yes. He said let me see it. He looked in it a few minutes and said, well gentlemen, you have all made your comments on the book, and if you wish to bet 500 dollars, I will bet that you cannot make such a book. He said again, I know as much as any of you, and as much as all of you, and I will bet you 500 dollars that you cannot do it. Next day I had occasion [to] go to a grist mill, and the most of these men were there. They commenced immediately, enquiring whether I believed it still. I could not say that I believed it, I knew it. Then an editor of a paper asked me if I had a liberal education. I said no. Then he said that he could tell me that I knew nothing concerning God if I had not had a liberal education. He said that there was no God only the God of nature, that we all came by chance. I asked him how all things came, the sun, moon and planets, and who made them and this world teeming with all its live animals. I pointed to the fields with their ripening grain and all the flowers with the green leaves and trees. He said the grain was caused by the labor of men's hands. He said the cattle were all made by nature and came by chance, and likewise the trees and the flowers. There was a Quaker there who said that if the book had come through any of their preachers he would have believed it. I asked him what kind of a man Martin Harris was. He said Martin lived neighbor to him, and was an honest man, and if he should meet him in the woods and he wanted 500 or 1000 dollars, he would let him have it, because he was a punctual man.

Then I rose and testified by the Spirit that there was a God, who made all things -- heaven and earth, and things therein. I was in the Spirit all the time. I told them that the books was to gather the house of Israel. After I had borne testimony by the Spirit, I started for home, and when I got home I put up my horse and went into the same room were I saw the angel, and sat down alone. As I did so, while pondering on the things which had transpired that day, there was a rainbow came down on each side of the room, which was the most beautiful that I ever saw. I looked up and said, O Jesus, my God, and then there was a voice said, you have done well, and applauded me very highly. He said, yes, I am God that made heaven and earth, and there is none other God beside me. Then I was so filled with the Spirit that I thought I was in heaven. The rainbow disappeared gradually and all was gone. Then I was in the Spirit again, and a man came and brought me a roll of paper and presented it to me, and also a trumpet and told me to blow it. I told him that I never blowed any in my life. He said you can blow it, try it. I put it in my mouth and blowed on it, and it made the most beautiful sound that I ever heard. The roll of paper was the revelation on me and Northrop Sweet. Oliver (Cowdery) was the man that brought the roll and trumpet. When he brought the revelation on me and Northrop Sweet, he said, here is a revelation from God for you, now blow your trumpet, and I said, I never blowed a trumpet. He said, you can. When that vision passed away I saw in vision that I was driving on a road that I never drove before.

Joseph was then in Harmony, Pa., and the next Sunday he came to his father's house, and we assembled to see him. I had not conversed with him before concerning the book. Then I told him what had happened and how I knew the book was true. He then asked me what hindered me from going into the water, as Oliver Cowdery's mother was going to be baptized. I said, I am ready and willing at any time. Then we started to the water, which was four or five miles off. When I got on the way I saw the same horses and the same persons, (6 of them) that I saw in the before mentioned vision, and the houses all along were the same as had been shown me. When I came to the grist mill, I saw that T had seen it in the vision, but I had never been there before. We were baptized just below the mill." There was a green meadow which I had seen before. Parley P. Pratt baptized us, and I had seen him in the vision. I saw him pull two fish out of the water and another which was a small fish. -- I saw that I and Oliver's mother were the two persons referred to in the vision. The small fish meant Northrop Sweet. He was baptized at the same time, but soon left the church.

About this time my brother came and told me that he dreamt that my mother died and flew away into a swamp, and she was spotted. I felt concerned, fearing that she was lost. She was a Methodist. I prayed to God that I might know whether she was saved. -- I prayed in faith, and I never asked for anything about that time but he gave it to me. I saw my mother suddenly standing before me. She had on the same looking dress as I saw the angel have. I said, O my mother! my mother! She said that I had sinned in some things but I must be faithful.

I and Northrop Sweet were both confirmed by Joseph, and Northrop had the Spirit, but I did not. Joseph said to me, you will not receive the Spirit now, but you will soon. The next morning I was going a journey, and I got on the box of the stage. I rode so until 9 o'clock, P. M., then a young man got on, and he swore. I reproved him for it. He said that his parents were Baptists and taught him better, and he was going to quit and go home. Then the Lord poured out his Spirit upon me in the most extraordinary manner. -- Then we stopped at a hotel. When I went to bed, as I laid my coat off, I received a greater outpouring. Then I said, I know that Joseph is a prophet, and I have never doubted since.

I invited Joseph to come to my barn and I said that I would go to Canandagua and get a large congregation. The barn was about 50 feet long by 18 wide. It was filled and some could not get in. Joseph, Hyrum, Oliver Cowdery, D., J. and P. Whitmer, P. P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson preached with great power. Then the people invited us to Canandagua. I went down to engage a place for them to preach in. They had promised that we should meet in the Methodist Meeting house, but the Trustees would not agree, so I engaged the Court House. The elders met at my house that night. -- We went down and Sydney commenced preaching. I attended the door. The meeting commenced about dark. About 7 or 8 o'clock, I saw a light spring up in the east. I pointed it out to some that were standing out, and they all looked at it, and they said that it was the Montezuma marsh on fire. The marsh was only in the east. I said look in the south as another great light sprung up in that direction, then another in the west, and I said look in the west; then another in the north, and I said look in the north. It became about as light as noon day, and rolled over in the sky like a great blaze of fire, extending and met at the zenith. It was seen by about 40 or 50 persons outside. I locked the door and would not let them go in to disturb the congregation, therefore the congregation knew nothing about it. It continued about one hour and a half. It passed away before the meeting broke up.

After the meeting, I got all the brethren into my wagon to go to my house. After we had started we saw a light as large as a hogshead, which followed us all the way, (3 1/2 miles) above the wagon probably 150 feet, and it lighted us so that we could see the horses tracks in the road. Joseph said that it was one of the signs of the coming of the Son of man. When we got to the house, I told the brethren to go in, and I would unharness. The light went no further than we went. I could see to unharness and feed my horses as well as in the day time. There was no moon visible. When I was done, the light flashed and disappeared instantly.

At another time I saw the Savior coming on a cloud from the east like a man on a horse in great glory like unto fire. Just before the Conference at Sandwich, Illinois, Oct. 6th, 1860, I saw the Savior traveling on the earth, just as he was in his ministry, with him. I felt his hand as much as any man's hand, that I ever had hold of. I asked him if he would receive me, and he said he would if I would declare what I knew concerning his gospel and the Book of Mormon. He said that if I would do so he would visit me again. I asked him if it would do any good. He said, O, yes, it will do a great deal of good. I heard the most beautiful singing that I ever heard in all my life. It seemed as if there were ten thousand tongues.

I say in the presence of God and all his holy angels, and before all that seraphic host, that this is the truth. If there are any errors, I do not know it.


Note 1: In his 2000 book, Early Mormon Documents III, Dan Vogel says on page 78: "...10 October is the most likely Sunday in October [1830] for the baptisms of Thayre, Sweet, and Keziah Cowdery." Following Ezra Thayre's account, he and Northrop Sweet must have been confirmed that same day or shortly thereafter. The date of "Joseph, Hyrum, Oliver Cowdery," the three "Whitmers," "P. P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson" gathering in Thayre's barn, where they "preached with great power," must have been in mid-October, at the latest. However, Pratt, Cowdery, Peterson, and Whitmer left on their "mission" to the Lamanites about Oct. 10, 1830 -- so there appears to be some kind of conflict in the chronology Thayre here provides. The "Four Missionaries" left the Palmyra area just after Oct. 17th and two of them arrived at the Mentor, Ohio home of Sidney Rigdon on Oct. 28th. The problem being, that Thayre seemingly places Sidney Rigdon at his barn in Farmington, Ontario Co., New York before the departure of the "Four Missionaries."

Note 2: Mr. Vogel (on page 80 of his Early Mormon Documents III,) says: "The presence of Sidney Rigdon necessarily dates these Canandaigua meetings to December 1830 or January 1831, probably the former. Thayre perhaps conflates two separate meetings: October 1830, when Joseph Smith preached in his barn, and the following December, when Smith perhaps again preached in his barn and Rigdon in the courthouse." While this interpretation makes sense, it may not provide the only possible answer to the chronological conflict. It may be that Rigdon actually did preach to the early Mormons in western New York, prior to the departure of the "Four Missionaries." See Emily Austin's 1882 book, page 37 for a similarly anachronistic report of Rigdon's having been in that same general region of the country.


Vol. 4.                              Plano, Ill.,  December 1, 1863.                              No. 11.

For the Herald.

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 6-8, 1863.

Apostate Wickedness, Profanity, Stupidity and Folly exhibited, that the pure in heart may know what Brighamism is, and come out from it and loathe it.

Bro. Sheen: -- I think that if this letter is published it will do good, yet I do not know whether I should fill so much space in the Herald with such trash, but you can judge better than I whether it will be profitable and interesting to the saints. It is intended for this people.

Oct. 6th. -- Brigham Young, at the Conference in the Bowery, said: "As for those who Abraham Lincoln has sent here, if they meddle with our domestic affairs, I will send them to hell across lots..."

On the 7th inst., he said: "As to the subject of the Prophet Joseph, (what shall I call it) or Josephism, you have heard of that Young Josephism; it is a humbug and of the devil. Let me just say here that I know more of that family than any man living, and Joseph Smith that now lives in Illinois will never lead this people, the Latter-Day Saints... [Young] Joseph is a confirmed infidel, and Emma I know and have known her for years, and she tried to destroy the church, and to influence Joseph against the twelve -- against Brigham, Heber and others, and tried to destroy Joseph by administering poison to him, which she did several times, but she gave him too much and he vomited up, and she was always opposed to Joseph, and filled with the devil...."

Geo. A. Smith was the next speaker, who said: "As concerning [Young] Joseph Smith, a great deal has been said of a purity of blood, to whom God had given a priesthood, and that God would not reveal any revelations but through that priesthood... Much has been said of Joseph, Now I was a cousin to him, and a personal friend to him, and I loved him, but Wm. Smith, the brother of Joseph wanted me to join with him, to come out against Joseph with all our might. I told him I would not do it, and then he called me his enemy..."

On the 8th... In the afternoon W. W. Phelps... [said] "And now about Emma Smith. I was with the prophet, if I understand the matter a little, when he translated the Book of Abraham, and that was in '35, and now the time has come to talk plainer on some things... about the 1st of July of '43, Joseph Smith got a large sum of gold, and Emma wanted her share, but he told her she should not have it. She said well if you won't get that revelation on polygamy I can do without the money..."

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 4.                              Plano, Ill.,  December 15, 1863.                              No. 12.


Died, in the village of White Creek, Adams Co., Wis., Nov. 12, 1863, Silvia Barker, wife of William Barker, in the sixty-fourth year of her age.

Mother Barker was truly a mother in Israel. She embraced the gospel in this dispensation about the year 1831 or '32. She has lived to see the church pass through many trials, persecution, fire and sword, but with christian consistency, and intelligent reliance on the arm of Jehovah, she has kept the faith, and rejoiced to see the church reorganized under the leadership of Joseph, son and successor of the martyred prophet, and like Simon of old, she could exclaim, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." She was buried to-day; such a spectacle I never before saw; so many friends, children and grand-children attended the funeral of their mother and grand-mother. In Christ she lived, in Christ she died, and with Christ she hoped to reign a thousand years on the earth in its renovated condition, with those who have a part in the first resurrection.   truly and sincerely,
                            H. P. Brown.
White Creek, Wis., Nov. 14, 1863.

Note: Silvia Barker was the wife of Elder William Barker, Sr., the Mormon leader of the 1832-33 "gathering" at Busti and Jamestown, Chautauqua Co., New York. It was on the Barker farm that D. Philastus Hurlbut was baptized into the Mormon faith, in the year 1832. Elder Hiram P. Brown (1825-1889) married Hannah A. Barker (1827-1883?), who was born in Chautauqua Co., N. Y. She was baptized a Strangite Mormon March 1848 at Fulton, Rock Co., Wisconsin. Hannah was the daughter of Elder William Barker, Sr., and Sylvia Barker, who also seems to have been Strangites. Sylvia Barker, Hiram P. Brown's mother-in-law, joined the Reorganization in about 1861.


Vol. 5.                              Plano, Ill.,  January 15, 1864.                              No. 2.

For the Herald.


Bro. Isaac Sheen: -- In a former communication I apprized you that Sidney Rigdon had published and sent forth a pamphlet entitled "An Appeal to the Latter-Day Saints." The names of J. H. Newton, W. Richards and W. Stanley, are set forth as its authors, yet to us who know the parties, and are familiar with the tone and style of Sidney's ringing of changes [sic - charges?] upon the same idea, is conclusive to us of its authorship. He has been trying for some time to form a nucleus as a starting point.... In the "Appeal" he assumes the right to the Presidency of the Priesthood, in virtue of sundry ordinations and certain prophecies in the B. of M. and D. and C.... The "Appeal" is divided into eight sections, and contains about seventy pages. The first section is principally quotations proving the necessity of searching the prophecies of the old prophets, the B. of M. and D. and C....

The second section of the "Appeal" professes to give the general import of the contents of the book, and "what the prophecies, promises and words are," The 30th Sec. of D. and C., is the first referred to, and the statement is made, that "Joseph Smith the Translator and Revelator was sorely reproved of the Lord for having transgressed His commandments while translating the plates, and was threatened with being cut off, unless he obeyed more strictly the injunctions laid upon him."...

The third section of the "Appeal" is devoted to an attempt to prove that the church is blotted out of existence, or rather will be at the end of the rule of the twelve in Utah...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 5.                              Plano, Ill.,  February 1, 1864.                              No. 3.

For the Herald.


The next assumption in the "Appeal," is that Sidney, as spokesman to Joseph, was prdained to proclaim the words of the Book of Mormon to the Lamanites, and thereby save them.... The "Appeal" says, "the church is gone to be no more forever," and Joseph is no more, therefore Sidney's calling as spokesman, of necessity has ceased to be...

We have now before us the whole pith and substance of the "Appeal," or rather the foundation principles upon which the superstructure rests, this is admitted on page 27, which reads thus: "Here is the sum of the whole matter. * * * The prophet Malachi had said that before Christ came He would send his messenger, and he should prepare the way before Him. Joseph Smith said that Sidney Rigdon was that messenger. * * * The Spirit said that the Lord would raise up a spokesman to Joseph Smith, and Joseph Smith said that Sidney was that spokesman. * * * The Lord said he would prepare a priesthood with which he would gather Israel. Joseph Smith said that Sidney Rigdon held that priesthood."...

The fifth Section of the "Appeal" commences by quoting Sec. 101 par 3: "behold I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power: therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel, for ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham; and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power." We will now give a specimen of the reasoning in this case to show how the conclusions are reached, as a sample of the manner in which propositions in the "Appeal" are solved. Now for the reasoning in the "Appeal:"

"Let us take in connection with this (101 Sec. 3 par.) the 3 par of 85 Sec., which we have already referred to in speaking of the mission of Sidney Rigdon as connected with Fred. G. Williams, we have these words: behold, and lo, they shall turn to the Jews, and then cometh the day when the arm of the Lord shall be revealed in power in convincing the nations, the heathen nations, the house of Joseph, of the gospel of their salvation; 4 par., for it shall come to pass in that day every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, and shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ."

So much for the argument, now mark the conclusions therefrom. "Here we are told who the man is, that is to lead Zion like Moses led Israel: it is said of Sidney Rigdon, that when the ministry he holds turns to the Jews, then cometh the day when the arm of the Lord shall be revealed in power. So if Zion is to be led by power, he is the man to do it; if this is not the case, the book is not intelligible."...

Sidney published a paper in Pittsburgh, Pa., from Oct. 1844 until Oct. 1845. In it is the record of his doings, consequently it is a matter of history that Sidney organized what he called the kingdom of Daniel, and that he prophesied, and sealed, and blessed, and yet the whole was a miserable failure. His teachings were all very grand, but alas! all very false. He spoke presumptuously in the name of the Lord. Of such men Moses in Deut. 18:22 said, "when a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follows not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." It is not known to us in all the revelations extant, that the Lord will ever employ such a man on His errand, who thus presumes to act in His name without His commandments. This inference is legitimate, from the words, "thou shalt not be afraid of him." Therefore beware, O ye saints! lest ye be deceived by the "Appeal," or its advocates.

About twenty pages of the "Appeal" is interspersed eith railing accusations against Joseph and his family with regard to Sidney and his family. As a specimen of Sidney's spirit, and the venomous malignity with which he is actuated, we give some extracts from pages 47, 48, 49 of the "Appeal."

"Satan however had determined that such an event as qualifying the Lord's priesthood never should take place, for as he had got the Smith family under his influence, he turned them on the one the Lord had chosen with a fury that might have done honor to Saul when he sought the life of Savid. Saul would not however have condescended to the scandalous degradation of the Smith family, Saul was a man who had been too well raised to condescend to the low vulgarity of the Smiths, such outrages as they committed were peculiar to the lowest class of mankind.

"What presents the case now under consideration in its most forbidding character was, that the revilers and persecutors in this instance were more indebted to the presecuted for the position they occupied than all the rest put together, but when a people fall from their stedfastness before God, and give themselves over to Satan, they are far worse than those who had never known God. Consequently, there was no falsehood too foul for Joseph and his wife to fabricate; no slander too base for their foul and polluted hearts to invent; no degraded condescension too low for them to bow to in order to effect their demonical purpose of destroying their benefactor; and when they could do nothing else, they attacked his family, trying to scandalize two or three innocent girls. They employed all, over whom they had any influence. Persons went off a distance, and wrote back that they had there found letters written by his family speaking evil of the Smiths; the whole concocted among themselves, to create some excuse for their sardonic falsehoods. Men were employed to bear false witness, and purjure themselves to effect their object."

"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." -- Matt. 12:34.

Here we have the outpourings of Sidney's vindictiveness. Can anything be more brutal, or more false....

In writing this article my motive has been to point out the heresies of the "Appeal," its sophisteries and false conclusions. Having suffered myself beforetime from Sidney's pretensions and false teachings, I know the baneful influence of such things upon the minds of men...
JOSIAH ELLS.        
Pittsburgh, Pa., Dec. 5, 1863.

Note: See James T. Cobb's article, "Rigdon's Part in Mormonism," in the Sept. 9, 1879 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune, for some additional interesting comments on the contents of Rigdon's 1863 pamphlet.


Vol. 5.                              Plano, Ill.,  June 1, 1864.                              No. 11.


We have deemed it appropriate to make some remarks concerning the restoration of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel... In 2 Esdras 13: 40-47, Esdras wrote concerning "the ten tribes which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, that they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land. And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river. For the most High then showed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over. For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth. Then dwelt they there until the latter time; and now when they shall begin to come, the Highest shall stay the springs of the stream again, that they may go through: therefore sawest thou the multitude with peace."

The next prophecy that we will cite is in Jeremiah 22: 3-8, where the Lord says, "I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land."

There are several criterions in this prophecy which prove that this prophecy is not yet fulfilled... There are many plain and glorious prophecies on this subject which demand our consideration, for the time of their fulfillment is nigh at hand. The exile and isolation of the ten tribes at the North Pole is clearly shown in the Scriptures as any fact whatever, and the discoveries of Arctic navigators show that there is land there, and a mild climate. All these facts combined, great and marvelous as they are, are not sufficient to attract much attention. This is truly an energetic, enterprising and scientific age, but the hidden wonders of the extreme north have been neglected, while the folly of the idea of a northwest passage has been fully developed. Let the men of science continue to disregard the wonders of the extreme north, but they will awake from their slumbers when it shall become a common saying that "the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country."

Note 1: For a likely source for the Mormon belief that the "lost tribes" of Israel reside in a secret place, beyond the polar ice and snows, from which they will miraculously return to occupy their promised lands, see the July 9, 1831 issue of the Georgia Cherokee Phoenix.

Note 2: In 1872 Edlder Isaac Sheen took the RLDS doctrine of the "Lost Tribes" one step farther into the lunatic fringe, by advocating their possible location on the "inner surface of the earth." Although Sheen did not expressly mention the hollow earth teachings of John C. Symmes, they are quite obviously the source of this particular bit of latter day inspiration. The Herald briefly took up the Symmes theory in its issue of July 1, 1878, when it reprinted a letter written by the son of the infamous hollow-earth advocate. The Herald of Feb. 15, 1881 reprinted yet another letter written by the same son. In his 1881 letter the son makes a brief reference to reports then in circulation, that the planet was hollow and that a Hebrew-speaking people lived within its subterranean depths. Perhaps it was Elder Sheen's familiarity with such reports that led Sheen to postulate that the Hebrew-speaking "lost tribes" might be hidden away within the vacuous earth. Captain Symmes lived not too far from Cincinnati in his later years and his geographic innovations were frequently mentioned in that city's press during the first half of the 19th century. The first issues of the Saints' Herald were also published at Cincinnati, which was for many years the home of Isaac Sheen. Elder Sheen would have naturally heard something of Symmes' theories, just by being in the news business in that city. However, the Elder's advocacy for "traces" of the "lost tribes" being discoverable near "the North Pole, or open sea... either on the outer or inner surface of the earth," probably reflects Mormon beliefs dating back to the teachings of Joseph Smith, jr., first published during the Kirtland period of LDS history. See LDS author Frank Culmer's 1886 booklet, The Inner World for a Utah Mormon view on the topic. Whether or not Smith himself had heard of Symmes' theories at an early date remains unknown, certainly they were being discussed in the newspapers as late as 1831 -- some of his first followers were, no doubt, familiar with the well publicized hollow-earth idea.


Vol. 6.                              Plano, Ill.,  August 15, 1864.                              No. 4.


(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 15.                               Plano, Ill.,  June 1, 1868.                              No. 11.

From the Elkander Journal, Feb. 5, 1867.


John T. Stoneman, Esq., of McGregor, as per announcement, favored our citizens on Wednesday evening last, with a lecture on "Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet." -- The Universalist Church was crowded. -- Everybody expected a "good thing," and they were not disappointed. He traced the history of Joe Smith and Mormonism from its earliest invention, for such he called that creed. He backed his statement with historical facts and incidents, and made happy comparisons between the Mormon and Mohometan bibles. The leading ideas of the Mormons, and of Joe Smith, especially, his habits and inclinations, were all presented by Mr. Stoneman in the liveliest and most attractive manner. His delivery was unexceptional, and his lecture throughout displayed a perfect knowledge of the subject he was discoursing upon. It was an able, eloquent lecture, and it received the undivided attention and approbation of all his hearers -- with one exception -- and that was William Smith, a brother of the celebrated Joe Smith, who resides in the vicinity of this place, and had gone to hear Mr. Stoneman. At the close of the latter's lecture, some of the audience called upon Mr. Smith for some remarks, but not expecting this, he was unprepared, and declined to speak until the following evening (Thursday). Everybody was on tip-toe to hear him, and were much pleased when Mr. Smith assented to the unanimous request of the audience.


As will be readily believed, the church was again filled to overflowing. It was hardly expected that a common farmer, such as Mr. Smith appeared to be, could say many "smart things," or be in any way eloquent, but the fact that he was a brother of the Mormon prophet, and himself once prominently connected with the Mormons, led the curious and the seekers after truth to the church. And this time they were again agreeably disappointed. He not only spoke very readily, but, being entirely conversant with the subject, having made it a life study, he elicited many facts and presented them in a most striking language. He also displayed a native wit and sarcasm that many times brought down the house with thunders of applause. The speech was an answer to Mr. Stoneman's lecture, from which he differed in many respects. He followed it step by step, and when he had concluded, one readily believed that Mormonism wasn't half as bad when it was first conceived as many suppose. Mr. Smith is a firm believer in the Mormon doctrine as taught by his brother, the prophet, but like him, he was opposed to polygamy. -- If time permitted, we would like to follow both Mr. Stoneman's and Mr. Smith's lectures, but the latter may, perhaps, favor us with a statement which will be more full and more correct than any thing we could write. Doubtless every one of our readers would gladly hear about Mormonism from so eminent a source.

Note: This appears to be the first substantial article reporting the activities of William Smith (by 1868 "William B. Smith") in the popular press since the publication of his letter in the July, 1860 issue of the Herald. William evidently finished up his secind term of service with the Union Army in late 1865 or early 1866, and returned to his wife and children in Clayton Co., Iowa. The 1870 Federal Census for Iowa shows a William B. Smith and his wife Eliza E. Smith, living in Boardman twp., Clayton Co., Iowa, with Eliza's two previous children (Byron and Julia Brain) and three children of the marriage: Willie (age 12), Edson C. (age 7) and Mary L. (age 4). These names correspond to the following children, as given in the July, 1835 issue of Utah Genealogical Magazine: William Enoch (b. 1858); Edson Don Carlos (b. 1862); and Louie May (b. aft. 1862) -- Boardman township includes the county seat, Elkader.


Vol. 15.                              Plano, Ill.,  January 1, 1869.                              No. 1.


                                                Elkader, Clayton Co., Iowa.
                                                October 16th, 1868.
Dear Nephew:

I am in receipt of your last note on those matters of "appreciation." I do not refer to this subject again out of any ill feelings whatever, but as I have been misunderstood as well as misrepresented in the most of my proceedings in times that are past, I have thought it best to tell you some little of my feelings on the question of Mormonism. Since my sojourn in this part of the country, I had concluded to remain silent on the subject, still preaching occasionally, notwithstanding.

I have always viewed the subject of gospel truth as standing upon independent grounds, and free for all, high or low, rich or poor, bond or free, black or white; nor are the blessings of the gospel, (which is salvation,) purchased with money, silver or gold; neither does God regard the man of office, or of high estate, with greater respect than He does the man of low degree. God is no respector of persons. All flesh is as grass, or the flower of the field which fadeth away. It is for this reason that I seek for no honors, nor have I ever sought for honors under the name of Mormonism; nor have I sought it under any name whatever, save it be the name of Christ. All my hopes are centered in God, and in Jesus Christ His Son. Without this hope I should be of all men most miserable; hence, the preaching of Christ and His gospel is all my theme, and greatest delight, and while I occupy this ground, I can see no reason why I should become the advocate of any particular sect, or class of Mormons now extant. And lest some of your adherents might think that I am swinging for a place (seat) in the New Organization, I would inform them that I am satisfied perfectly with my present position; and should I hereafter seek a change in my locality as to a connection with any religious class of professors, I think that I could suit myself much better than to unite with any class of L. D. Saints or Mormons that I have any knowledge of at present; with all due respect to you, Joseph, and the labors of yourself and your brothers to redeem your father's name from disgrace, do I say this. And to this end, I had determined not to chime in any opposition to your course.

According to my philosophy on the true plan of salvation to save all men, I am not in sympathy (very strongly) with any of the present organized bands of Mormons, your own not excepted. Still out of respect to yourself, and that of your father's family, I would not impede your progress. Hence, when Stoneman assailed your father's reputation as he did, I could not longer remain silent. And that you may see how the credit of matters stands with me in this community, enclosed I send you some slips, taken from the Clayton Co. Journal. You may also judge that I seek not the society of those who have so meanly misrepresented my acts and doings, while I was honestly and sincerely laboring to save the church from the monstrous imposition of Brighamism. Not that I claim perfection in all that has been said or done; still I look at the main points and real designs as for good or evil. Your father's course in life was not faultless; neither can, or will it be said of you, Joseph, fifty years hence, that all was right in every particular. Nor do I expect such an approval to fall on all the acts of my former life. -- Experience will teach you what men can say in time to come, and how they will revile that which we have thought was for the best at the time.

But to drop this subject now, sometime I will tell you where I think your plan of church building in this New Organization is at fault. Yet in the progress of your affairs I sincerely hope you may prosper; and I do not allude to the calumny so common in these Mormon affairs, because I care anything about these matters; nor do I let these matters fret my spirit; nor do I blame you for what others say; and I sincerely hope, Joseph, that in your ministry you may escape the bitterness and wrath that has been the common lot of all prophets since the world began. Think of me your friend, Joseph. Come out and see me. There are many here who would be glad to hear you speak, and no doubt would contribute to assist you on your return home. I would be glad to see you, and would procure the Church in Elkader for you to speak in. Don't fail to come as soon as God in His providence will permit. Come, come and see us.
                               WILLIAM B. SMITH.

(The following are the extracts from the Clayton County Journal referred to in the foregoing letter, -- ED.)


"MORMONISM. -- The Republican party abolished Slavery in the United States, and it established the principle of human liberty and equal rights for all time to come. Slavery was one of the 'twin relics' of Barbarism. Its 'twin' is still in existence -- polygamy. Beyond the Rocky Mountains 50,000 human beings are bound to a degree of serfdom worse than that of former Russia; a social degradation that reaches into the barbarous ages for a comparison. It is a stain, a curse upon the nation. And now the Republican party has again achieved a victory and the reins of government are still in its hands, it will be the privilege, nay, the duty of that party to abolish that nuisance. Old Brigham with his sixty wives and his adulterous villainous crew, must be taught the laws of God as well as decency and morality. If unwilling to submit to the supreme laws of the land they must be exterminated. Their wives, now worse than vassals, must be liberated; their temple, a mockery to Jehovah must be leveled to the earth. This is one of the many labors of the Republican party during the succeeding four years.

"The people of America are not intolerant upon political, much less upon religious views. The Constitution of the United States provides for free and unobstructed worship of God according to the dictates of his own conscience. Mormonism as first established, devoid of polygamy and other kindred crimes, has as much right to exist as any other denomination or creed. Whatever may be thought of Joe Smith or his doctrines, those who believe in him have a right to do so, but Mormonism of to-day is synonymous with murder, robbery and licentiousness. It is practiced openly and boldly before the country. It stinks in the nostrils of the nation and the curse must be abolished.

"The iron horse is rapidly approaching the capitol of polygamy. Thousands will turn their eyes towards Utah, but the devilish system of social servitude, incorporated by Brigham Young and his hypocritical, blood-stained Elders and Apostles will prevent them from making that territory their home. The iron horse can carry soldiers and weapons of war there. Tens of thousands of soldiers will rally at the first call to wipe out these law-breakers and adulterers, and it needs but the voice of Congress, and the command of the President to teach them that there is 'a God in Israel.'

"We have investigated this question for some time past, and we shall from time to time allude to it in our columns. Elder Wm. B. Smith, brother of Joe Smith, the originator of Mormon doctrines, has furnished us with many items of interest, which, in the course of our articles we will present in as clear and forcible a light as possible.

"Our object in writing these articles will be to awaken the people to the danger of fostering and perpetuating a race of cut throats and villains such as is the population of Utah to-day,"

"MORMONISM. -- In this issue we publish an extract of a series of articles from the pen of Elder Wm. B. Smith upon the subject of Mormonism and Mormon affairs, which we intend to give for the benefit of the public and reader in general. We do so the more readily from the acquaintance we have of Mr. Smith as a citizen of Clayton county. We care not whether Elder Smith be Mormon, Methodist, Catholic or Universalist, we judge of all men according to their moral worth in society. Mr. Smith's religion we know not outside of repute, but as far as his politics are concerned we have ever found him on the right side of the question. During the war with the South, he served near two years as a soldier, in helping put down the rebellion. In 1841 and '42 he served in the legislature as Representative from Hancock county, in the State of Illinois. He has followed the occupation of a farmer in the vicinity of Elkader, and upon Sundays occasionally preaching. As a man, he is candid, honest, and upright -- a citizen of whom rumor speaks no evil, and he is a faithful expounder of true Mormonism, while he deprecates polygamy."

"To Vindicate. -- However much some may deprecate the articles on Mormonism in this paper, we care not, but one thing we do know, and that is it vindicates, abets, upholds and sustains primitive Mormonism to an extent compatible with the wishes of those interested in having the world discriminate between the original, primitive Mormonism, and the apostate, polygamite, Brigham Youngites. The writer of the expositions is a man known for truth and veracity, and he presents them in his own unblemished language in order to be more perfectly understood. Let him alone. In vindicating true Mormonism he sustains the good character of those sons and daughters, (and they are many,) whose parents were honest and faithful Mormons and citizens. Fate has designed the name of Wm. B. Smith, brother of 'Joe Smith,' to be written in history, and let no ruthless, foul-mouthed tongue assail."

Note 1: The series of articles which William B. Smith wrote for the Elkader Clayton County Journal were never reprinted in the Saints' Herald, nor are they known to exist as reprints or extracts in any other contemporary publication. No copies of the original articles from the Clayton County Journal have yet been located for transcription.

Note 2: The above endorsements of William B. Smith, published in the Elkader paper in 1868, did not escape the careful attention of T. B. H. Stenjouse. In his 1872 book on the Saints, Stenhouse provides these remarks: "While the Rigdon-Young difficulty about the succession was going on, Lyman Wight, one of the twelve apostles, and William Smith, another apostle and brother of the murdered Prophet, were objects of some anxiety; but the former was "let alone severely," and the latter, for a time, was spoken of with patronizing kindness as 'the remaining brother of the Prophet and the Patriarch.'... The Prophet's brother was soon after accused of sowing his 'wild oats,' without proper regard to the order of the new revelation; and he was easily got rid of. He has since managed to maintain a happy obscurity... From the beginning of Mormonism the ruling authorities have accepted defamation of character as the best weapon with which to assail the discontented. Without challenging the Mormon charges against the Prophet's brother, it is due to the latter to append the following from the Clayton County (Iowa) Journal..."


Vol. 16.                              Plano, Ill.,  November 1, 1869.                              No. 9.


Lafayette, Doniphan Co., Kan.,    
September 17, 1869.    
Bro. Mark H. Forscutt:
Yours of the 1st inst. is received. Many thanks for Herald and Hope. The tracts you sent me are received all right. Let me here say that the Hope fully meets my expectations. It is indeed a "spicy beet," and well calculated to do much good. May God speed the little truth-bearer till its mission shall be filled to the glory of the Lord.

I feel that I must give you the outlines of a short visit to Ray county, Mo. I started thither Friday, Sept. 10th, and tarried at St. Joseph till 8 o'clock next morning, when I took the train for Camden, a small river town in Ray county, situated on the North Missouri Railroad, where I arrived the same day, at 6 o'clock, P. M., and was kindly received by Bro. E. M. Shepherd and his excellent lady.

On my way down I stopped at Kansas City. The stupenduous iron railroad bridge across the Missouri River, at this point, is a fine display of the artistic and mechanical powers of man. It is a grand piece of work.

In Camden, I preached twice, and it was remarked that such attention and profound interest were never before manifested in the place. The people were astonished. What they heard called "Mormonism," was not what they expected. It savored very strongly of gospel truth.

After meeting Sunday evening, having given liberty for remarks, Bro. Bone, a Methodist circuit preacher, took the stand to show that I was wrong in placing faith before repentance. He quoted a few passages like the following: "Repent and believe the gospel;" "repentance from dead works, and faith toward God," to which I replied, and judging from appearances, to the satisfaction of a majority present. In justice to the man, I will say that he was free from prejudice and malice, monstrous vices which so almost universally characterize the ministers of his denomination, when they come in contact with the Latter Day Work. After meeting, I accepted an invitation to go home with him, where we engaged in a pleasant conversation. He found no fault with the doctrine.

Monday, 13th I visited Richmond, the county seat seat of Ray, where, to my surprise, I found Bro. David Whitmer, one of the "three witness." He is now 64 years old and somewhat broken. He entertains some ideas of minor importance, which could not be considered orthodox; but so far as his faith in the Latter Day Work is concerned, he remains as firm as the everlasting hills. Our conversation was brought to an abrupt and untimely end by a fit of the ague, to which he had been subject for some days past. With a promise to return, I departed.

I also had the great pleasure of calling on Sister Oliver Cowdery. She alao lives in Richmond with her amiable daughter, Mrs. Johnson. They are both unshaken in the faith.

John Whitmer, one of the "eight witnesses," still lives in Far West, in full faith, looking for the glory of Zion.

Wm. E. McLellin is in Independence. There are living in that vicinity many others who hold to the good old way.
           Yours in gospel bonds,
                                   DAVIS H. BAYS.

Notes: (forthcoming)

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