Elder Sidney Rigdon's ‘Hiram Period’

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John Smith
Missionary Diary

(written in Ohio: 1832)

  March 1832 excerpt:

  24 I got so that I could Ride a lit[t]le and went to Chippaway

  25 went with Brethern Semer Brunson and Luke Johnson
      3 miles and held meeting

  26 I visited Som[e] of the members and held meting at
      broth[er] Bradens...

Transcriber's Comments

Davis Bitton, in his 1977 Guide to Mormon Diaries & Autobiographies, describes this LDS Archives item thusly:


2292  SMITH, JOHN Diary (1831-1832)
Holograph. 34 pp. 16.2 cm. HDC (Msd 5348)

Author was baptized at Northampton, [Portage, later Summit] County, Ohio, by Lyman Wight, May 1831. Was ordained an elder. Dated entries run from 29 May 1831 to 21 August 1832. Held Church services in his home at Northampton. Records many missionary sorties into the surrounding countryside. Sometimes travels with Joseph Smith, Sr., or other members of the Smith family, although not a member of the Smith family.

He is the father of Eden Smith. Makes two fairly lengthy preaching tours southward from Northampton, the second in response to a letter asking him to come and heal two women whom he had baptized during the first trip south. Sold his property preparatory to going to Zion, 1832. Preached in Michigan in August, where he baptized Moses Smith. Diary ends as he returns home to Kirtland.

In the second half of his autobiographical sketch, published by the Deseret News in 1858, former LDS Apostle Luke Johnson says, "I received the gospel, and was baptized by Joseph Smith, May 10, 1831. Soon thereafter I... performed a mission to the southern part of Ohio, in company with Robert Rathburn, where we baptized several and organized a branch in Chippewa."

Johnson is here referring to Chippewa Township, in northwestern Wayne County -- an area which was practically contiguous with the southwest corner of Johnson's own home county of Portage (as boundaries existed in the 1830s):

Located about half way between Johnson's father's home in Hiram, and the new Mormon branch in Chippewa, was Northhampton (now in Summit Co.), where another Mormon branch had been established in 1831. Elder John Smith, his wife Sarah and their son Eden were prominent members of that congregation and the father and son each served local missions and kept records of their respective travels (generally in the direction of Chippewa).

It comes as no surprise to discover an interaction between Elder John Smith and the traveling missionary pair, Seymour Brunson and Luke Johnson, near Chippewa (perhaps at Doylestown), on Sunday March 25, 1832. The three elders evidently held a preaching service together in the Chippewa area that day -- the same day that a tarred and feathered Joseph Smith was able to clean up sufficiently, to hold his own Sunday service in Hiram.

According to John Smith's diary, he departed Northhampton on March 20th and was joined by Stephen Burnett on the 21st, at Chippewa. Burnett had been traveling the area with John's son Eden. John Smith returned home to Northampton, in company with Elder Burnett, on April 13th.

Given all of this historical information, it becomes impossible to place Elder Luke Johnson at his parents' home in Hiram, on the night of March 24-25, 1832, when Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were assaulted there. Any details Luke relates † of that tar and feathering incident, must be ascribed to second-hand knowledge. In other words, Luke's testimony is hearsay and cannot be fully relied upon, except in those parts where supporting evidence is available to confirm his account.

It appears unlikely that Luke obtained any eye witness knowledge of events in the Johnson household that night from his sister Nancy, since one report places her in Chardon, at a boarding school, during that period. Her probable absence from the scene lessens the likelihood that the attack upon Smith came as "mob" vengeance, in response to any recent illicit relations between himself and the Johnson girl (whom he later made one of his plural wives).

† In addition to his 1858 published autobiography, Luke is also on record in the "Manuscript History of the Church" as having related some details of the 1832 tar and feathering incident to Elder Thomas Bullock in 1846. According to a summary, copied into the Dec. 13, 1846 entry in the LDS "Journal History of the Church," on that day "Bro. Luke Johnson stated that all but one who were engaged in mobbing, tarring and Feathering Joseph and Sidney in the town of Hiram, Portage county, [Ohio], had come to some untimely end, and the survivor, Carnot Mason, had been severely afflicted, Carnot was the person who dragged Joseph out of the house by his hair. Dr. Denison prepared the vial for Joseph, supposed to be Aqua Fortis." This historian's paraphrase was evidently based upon the account left by Bullock himself in his 1846-47 "Poor Camp" Journal: "Sunday 13 December 1846 -- I was at Doctor's all day... A delightful day.... Luke Johnson told the Council of 12 that Carnot Mason is the only man alive out of between 25 and 30 who tarred, feathered and poisoned Joseph at Hiram, Portage County, and Mason dragged Joseph out by the hair of his head Dr. Denison prepared [the] Viol of Aqua Fortis" (transcribed by Will Bagley in his 1997 The Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of... Thomas Bullock, pp. 106-07).

The initial "S." was inserted into Luke Johnson's name, when the "Manuscript History" record was typed into the "Journal History." There is no evidence that Luke used a middle name or initial during his lifetime.

Dan Jones
Prophet of the Jubilee

Volume I, Number 5.
Rhydybont, Wales, U.K.: Nov. 1846

  Nov. 1846 article excerpt
  (English translation courtesy of Ron Dennis)

  Transcriber's Comments


120                                                PROPHWYD  Y  JUBILI.                                               

Sefydliad y Saint yn Kirtland a'r Erlidigaeth yn Missouri.


About the year 1831, the Saints from every state started to gather in Kirtland, a small town in the State of Ohio, a few miles south of Lake Erie. Several of them bought land, and worked it diligently; others of them built houses; and the craftsmen among them went into business, according to their various crafts; and thus they carried on for a while successfully and comfortably ... Having increased their numbers to some thousands, they set to building a house of worship, or large temple, in Kirtland, and they persisted diligently, under all sorts of disadvantages, until they completed a convenient and beautiful building. Soon afterwards, their neighbors were jealous of their success, and they feared that the "Mormons," as they called them, would be so numerous in time as to have an influence against them in the elections; as though their fellowmen would forfeit their freedom and their civil rights when they believed the gospel; and the only plan they could devise, in order to keep the reins of power in their own hands, was to bring false accusations against peaceful and innocent people....

It was about this time that the foolish story about Joseph Smith, that he "walked on the water," was invented. But it was said beforehand that it was a woman called Ann Lee, in the eastern states, who did that; and we remember hearing that story being brought against Southcott, when we were schoolchildren; but most recently it was attributed to Joseph Smith: and however foolish and offensive the story is, yes, without ever so much as one word of truth, or any substance to it, about Joseph Smith, yet it has been proclaimed in the newspapers and across the pulpits of America. It is also a surprising thing that this story, like thousands of others that are just as groundless, has gained a passage across the Atlantic Ocean, has gone around England and Scotland, and is now traveling rapidly through Wales; it is being helped on its way from chapel to chapel -- riding swiftly on the saddles of preachers, from one county to another -- mounting the pulpits of one denomination that is just as welcoming as the next; and it is strange how it satisfies the taste of those who have given themselves up to solid error, so that they believe lies, those who do not accept truth's love. This is such a tasty morsel that the respectable editor of the Revivalist embraced it with the right hand of society, writing holiness on its forehead, and giving it a passport, and as free a passage as he could, in its


                                               PROPHWYD  Y  JUBILI.                                                121

ungodly task of deceiving his fellow countrymen, so that it might prepare the way for his own carriage. We do not think that it would be necessary for anyone to say that every word of this story is false, if it were not for the fact that some reverend gentlemen like these were trying to sanctify it with their corrupt lips, and thus give it an appearance of truth. But the people have had enough proof by now that the reverends are no better than their neighbors at telling the truth.

But to return to the story. The persecution against the Saints grew as much as their success. Joseph Smith was brought many times before the courts, and he was accused of almost everything that evil men could devise, in order to bring him down. In their great eagerness, the witnesses swore too much to be true; and since they swore opposite things to each other, yes, although he was judged by his professed enemies, he escaped from their grasp each time greater than a conqueror. Since they could not prove him guilty of transgression against civil law, a mob would often attack his house at night, threatening him with death, unless he took the Saints away from there.

Once in particular they attacked his house in the middle of a cold night, when there was considerable snow and ice; they dragged him from his house by his feet, and they beat him cruelly, until they thought they had killed him; even so, there was life left in him, and he could hear them discussing amongst themselves what to do with him. Some advocated digging a grave there, and burying him. They went to fetch spades to that end, but since the earth was too hard for them to do that, some of them went back to Mr. Smith's house and took a pillow off his bed. After tearing off his clothes, they plastered his body with pitch; then they rubbed the feathers in the pitch, and left him there for dead. Soon after they went away, he got up, and went to his house. His wife had gone to tell people about it, and to beg her neighbors for help. Mr. Smith took care of himself, and it was found that his bones were in one piece, but that his front teeth were broken. The next morning (the Sabbath), he preached to a large crowd, keeping his engagement. The story of the persecutions and the oppression suffered by the Saints after this would be too long to describe here; but since there was no justice or peace for them to enjoy in Kirtland, nor any hope of such, in the year 1834, some of them went towards the west in search of a place where they could live together in peace. They settled in Jackson County, State of Missouri; they bought lands from the government, which they continued to pioneer and to work, and the Saints from Kirtland would emigrate there from time to time, as their circumstances permitted. They soon began to preach there; and the inhabitants had nothing in particular against them or their doctrine for a while, apart from some of the sectarians who shouted after them, "deceivers, and false prophets."

In the following July, several thousand of the Saints came to settle in Jackson County, and they very soon turned the wilderness into meadowland. They built a town called Far West, in a salubrious and attractive location. The surrounding country was owned by the Saints. They built cottages, mills, and villages; and they put seeds in the ground, expecting to have that peace and freedom to worship God according to their conscience, which the laws of the


122                                                PROPHWYD  Y  JUBILI.                                               

republic promised each and every one of its subjects. The Saints took care, as much as they could, not to give their neighbors any reason to persecute them, so that some of them had denied themselves to the extent of promising not to interfere in anything pertaining to the state; but others claimed their right...

(remainder not transcribed, due to copyright restrictions)

Note 1: The Welsh Mormon convert, Dan Jones, reportedly was in close contact with Joseph Smith at Nauvoo and thus able to gather miscellaneous personal information on the man and his activities. After Smith's death, Dan Jones edited and published a monthly periodical (July 1846 - Dec. 1848) in Wales, called Prophwyd y Jubili. This magazine's thirty issues have been translated into English by Ronald D. Dennis, under the title, "Prophet of the Jubilee," (Provo, BYU: 1997).

Note 2: Dan Jones' account of the March 24, 1832 tar and feathering of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is abbreviated, fragmentary and probably not fully reliable. His reconstruction of events evidently came from a traumatized, semi-conscious Joseph Smith, who had no way of knowing what his attackers had planned and agreed to, prior to the actual assault. It seems unlikely that a band of grown men from an agricultural region would have suddently gone off to search for "spades," with which to try and dig a grave in obviously frozen ground. Jones relates a problematic narrative in which the attackers were intially undecided as to Smith's fate -- but very soon afterward had fluid pitch and feathers, ready to be applied to Smith's body. In Jones' telling of the story, Emma Smith was missing from the scene, because she "had gone to tell people" about the attack. In the Times and Seasons version of the story (published two years earlier), Smith return to the Johnson home, covered in tar -- which his waiting wife mistakes for blood and gore: ("when my wife saw me she thought I was all mashed to pieces"). Since Smith's major priority was to have this foreign covering removed, his encounter with Emma would have necessarily had to occur soon after his return to the house. Emma could not have been very far away at that time (according to Smith).

Edward W. Tullidge
Women of Mormondom

NYC: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877

  Chapter 5 excerpt

  Chapter 44 excerpt

  Transcriber's Comments


[ 36 ]



And there came one as a "voice crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord!"

Thus ever!

A coming to Israel with "a new and everlasting covenant;" this was the theme of the ancient prophets, now unfolded.

There was the voice crying in the wilderness of Ohio, just before the advent of the latter-day prophet.

The voice was Sidney Rigdon. He was to Joseph Smith as a John the Baptist.

The forerunner made straight the way in the wilderness of the virgin West. He raised up a church of disciples in and around Kirtland. He led those who afterwards became latter-day saints to faith in the promises, and baptized them in water for the remission of sins. But he had not power to baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire from heaven. Yet he taught the literal fulfillment of the prophesies concerning the last days, and heralded the advent of the "one greater than I."

"The same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."


                                      THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                       37

That is ever the "one greater than I," be his name whatever it may.

Joseph Smith baptized with the Holy Ghost. But Sidney knew not that he was heralding Joseph.

And the prophet himself was but as the voice crying in the wilderness of the great dark world: "Prepare ye the way for the second advent of earth's Lord." His mission was also to "make straight in the desert a highway" for the God of Israel; for Israel was going up, -- following the angel of the covenant, to the chambers of the mountains.

He came with a great lamp and a great light in those days, dazzling to the eyes of the generation that "crucified" him in its blindness.

Joseph was the sign of Messiah's coming. He unlocked the sealed heavens by faith and "election." He came in "the spirit and power of Elijah." The mantle of Elijah was upon him.

Be it always understood that the coming of Joseph Smith "to restore the covenant to Israel" signifies the near advent of Messiah to reign as King of Israel. Joseph was the Elijah of the last days.

These are the first principles of Mormonism. And to witness of their truth this testament of the sisters is given, with the signs and wonders proceeding from the mission of Him who unlocked the heavens and preached the gospel of new revelations to the world, whose light of revelation had gone out.

But first came the famous Alexander Campbell and his compeer, Sidney Rigdon, to the West with the "lamp." Seekers after truth, whose hearts had, been strangely moved by some potent spirit, whose


38                                       THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                      

influence they felt pervading but understood not, saw the lamp and admired.

Mr. Campbell, of Virginia, was a reformed Baptist. He with Sidney Rigdon, a Mr. Walter Scott, and some other gifted men, had dissented from the regular Baptists, from whom they differed much in doctrine. They preached baptism for the remission of sins, promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, and believed in the literal fulfillment of prophesy. They also had some of the apostolic forms of organization in their church.

In Ohio they raised up branches. In Kirtland and the regions round, they made many disciples, who bore the style of "disciples," though the popular sect-name was "Campbellites." Among them were Eliza R. Snow, Elizabeth Ann Whitney, and many more, who afterwards embraced the "fullness of the everlasting gospel" as restored by the angels to the Mormon prophet.

But these evangels of a John the Baptist mission brought not to the West the light of new revelation in their lamp.

These had not yet even heard of the opening of a new dispensation of revelations. As they came by the way they had seen no angels with new commissions for the Messiah age. No Moses nor Elijah had been with them on a mount of transfiguration. Nor had they entered into the chamber with the angel of the covenant, bringing a renewal of the covenant to Israel. This was in the mission of the "one greater" than they who came after.

They brought the lamp without the light -- nothing more. Better the light without the evangelical


                                      THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                       39

lamp -- better a conscientious intellect than the forms of sectarian godliness without the power.

Without the power to unlock the heavens, and the Elijah faith to call the angels down, there could be no new dispensation -- no millennial civilization for the world, to crown the civilization of the ages.

Light came to Sidney Rigdon from the Mormon Elijah, and he comprehended the light; but Alexander Campbell rejected the prophet when his message came; he would have none of his angels. He had been preaching the literal fulfillment of prophesy, but when the covenant was revealed he was not ready. The lamp, not the light, was his admiration. Himself was the lamp; Joseph had the light from the spirit world, and the darkness comprehended it not.

Alexander Campbell was a learned and an able man -- the very form of wisdom, but without the spirit.

Joseph Smith was an unlettered youth. He came not in the polished form of wisdom -- either divine or human -- but in the demonstration of the Holy Ghost, and with signs following the believer.

Mr. Campbell would receive no new revelation from such an one -- no everlasting covenant from the new Jerusalem which was waiting to come down, to establish on earth a great spiritual empire, that the King might appear to Zion in his glory, with all his angels and the ancients of days.

The tattered and blood-stained commissions of old Rome were sufficient for the polished divine, -- Rome which had made all nations drunk with her spiritual fornications, -- Rome which put to death


40                                       THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                      

the Son of God when his Israel in blindness rejected him.

Between Rome and Jerusalem there was now the great controversy of the God of Israel. Not the old Jerusalem which had traveled from the east to the west, led by the angel of the covenant, up out of the land of Egypt! The new Jerusalem to the earth then, as she is to-day! Ever will she be the new Jerusalem ever will "old things" be passing away when "the Lord cometh!"

And the angel of the west appeared by night to the youth, as he watched in the chamber of his father's house, in a little village in the State of New York. On that charmed night when the invisibles hovered about the earth the angel that stood before him read to the messenger of Messiah the mystic text of his mission:

"Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his Temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts."


[ 41 ]



Now there dwelt in Kirtland in those days disciples who feared the Lord.

And they "spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name."

"We had been praying," says mother Whitney, "to know from the Lord how we could obtain the gift of the Holy Ghost. My husband, Newel K. Whitney, and myself, were Campbellites. We had been baptized for the remission of our sins, and believed in the laying on of hands and the gifts of the spirit. But there was no one with authority to confer the Holy Ghost upon us. We were seeking to know how to obtain the spirit and the gifts bestowed upon the ancient saints."

"Sister Eliza Snow was also a Campbellite. We were acquainted before the restoration of the gospel to the earth. She, like myself, was seeking for the fullness of the gospel. She lived at the time in Mantua."

"One night -- it was midnight -- as my husband


42                                       THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                      

and I, in our house at Kirtland, were praying to the father to be shown the way, the spirit rested upon us and a cloud overshadowed the house.

It was as though we were out of doors. The house passed away from our vision. We were not conscious of anything but the presence of the spirit and the cloud that was over us.

We were wrapped in the cloud. A solemn awe pervaded us. We saw the cloud and we felt the spirit of the Lord.

Then we heard a voice out of the cloud saying:

'Prepare to receive the word of the Lord, for it is coming!'

At this we marveled greatly; but from that moment we knew that the word of the Lord was coming to Kirtland." ...


52                                       THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                      


It was now October, 1830. A revelation had been given through the mouth of the prophet in which elders Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, Tiber [sic] Peterson and Parley P. Pratt were appointed to go into the wilderness through the Western States, and to the Indian Territory.

These elders journeyed until they came to the spiritual pastorale of Sydney Rigdon, in Ohio. He received the elders cordially, and Parley presented his former friend and instructor with the Book of Mormon, and related to him the history of the same.

"The news of our coming," says Parley, "was soon noised abroad, and the news of the discovery of the Book of Mormon and the marvelous events connected with it. The interest and excitement now became general in Kirtland, and in all the region round about. The people thronged us


                                      THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                       53

night and day, insomuch that we had no time for rest or retirement. Meetings were convened in different neighborhoods, and multitudes came together soliciting our attendance; while thousands flocked about us daily, some to be taught, some for curiosity, some to obey the gospel, and some to dispute or resist it."

"In two or three weeks from our arrival in the neighborhood with the news, we had baptized one hundred and twenty-seven souls; and this number soon increased to one thousand. The disciples were filled with joy and gladness; while rage and lying was abundantly manifested by gainsayers.Faith was strong, joy was great, and persecution heavy."

"We proceeded to ordain Sidney Rigdon, Isaac Morley, John Murdock, Lyman Wight, Edward Partridge, and many others to the ministry; and leaving them to take care of the churches, and to minister the gospel, we took leave of the saints, and continued our journey."

Thus was fulfilled the vision of "Mother Whitney." Kirtland had heard the "word of the Lord." The angel that spoke from the cloud, at midnight, in Kirtland, was endowed with the gift of prophesy. The "daughter of the voice" which followed Israel down through the ages was potent still -- was still an oracle to the children of the covenant.


[ 403 ]



The life of Mrs. Orson Hyde is replete with incidents of the early days, including the shameful occurrence of the tarring and feathering ofthe prophet, which took place while he was at her father's house.

Her maiden name was Marinda M. [sic - N.] Johnson, she being the daughter of John and Elsa Johnson, a family well known among the pioneer converts of Ohio. She was born in Pomfret, Windsor county, Vermont, June 28, 1815.

"In February of 1818," she says, "my father, in company with several families from the same place, emigrated to Hiram, Portage county, Ohio. In the winter of 1831, Ezra Booth, a Methodist minister, procured a copy of the Book of Mormon and brought it to my father's house. They sat up all night reading it, and were very much exercised


404                                       THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                      

over it. As soon as they heard that Joseph Smith had arrived in Kirtland, Mr. Booth and wife and my father and mother went immediately to see him. They were convinced and baptized before they returned. They invited the prophet and Elder Rigdon to accompany them home, which they did, and preached several times to crowded congregations, baptizing quite a number. I was baptized in April following. The next fall Joseph came with his family to live at my father's house. He was at that time translating the Bible, and Elder Rigdon was acting as scribe. The following spring, a mob, disguising themselves as black men, gathered and burst into his sleeping apartment one night, and dragged him from the bed where he was nursing a sick child. They also went to the house of Elder Rigdon, and took him out with Joseph into an orchard, where, after choking and beating them, they tarred and feathered them, and left them nearly dead. My father, at the first onset, started to the rescue, but was knocked down, and lay senseless for some time. Here I feel like bearing my testimony that during the whole yearthat Joseph was an inmate of my father's house I never saw aught in his daily life or conversation to make me doubt his divine mission.

"In 1833 we moved to Kirtland, and in 1834 I was married to Orson Hyde, and became fully initiated into the cares and duties of a missionary's wife, my husband in common with most of the elders giving his time and energies to the work of the ministry.

"In the summer of 1837, leaving me with a three-weeks


                                      THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                       405

old babe, he, in company with Heber C. Kimball and others, went on their first mission to England. Shortly after his return, in the summer of 1838, we, in company with several other families, went to Missouri, where we remained till the next spring. We then went to Nauvoo. In the spring of 1840 Mr. Hyde went on his mission to Palestine; going in the apostolic style, without purse or scrip, preaching his way, and when all other channels were closed, teaching the English language in Europe, till he gained sufficient money to take him to the Holy Land, where he offered up his prayer on the Mount of Olives, and dedicated Jerusalem to the gathering of the Jews in this dispensation. Having accomplished a three years mission, he returned, and shortly after, in accordance with the revelation on celestial marriage, and with my full consent, married two more wives. At last we were forced to flee from Nauvoo, and in the spring of 1846, we made our way to Council Bluffs, where our husband left us to go again on mission to England. On his return, in the fall of 1847, he was appointed to take charge of the saints in the States, and to send off the emigration as fast as it arrived in a suitable condition on the frontiers; also to edit a paper in the church interest, the name of which was Frontier Guardian.

"In the summer of 1852 we brought our family safely through to Salt Lake City, where we have had peace and safety ever since.

"In 1868 I was chosen to preside over the branch of the Female Relief Society of the ward in


406                                       THE  WOMEN  OF  MORMONDOM.                                      

which I reside, the duties of which position I have prayerfully attempted to perform."

Note 1: It is an interesting thing that Mrs. Hyde (Smith?) says nothing about the supposed healing of her mother's lame arm by Joseph Smith, in 1831. By 1837 or 1838 her parents had left the LDS Church and it is likely that Mrs. Hyde was aware that the arm continued to to be a problem for her mother throughout her later life. The asserted healing was not a "miracle" suitable for faith-promotion under the circumstances of that day and age. Also, Mrs. Hyde says nothing of her "sealing" to Joseph Smith, Jr.; nor does she hint at their intmate relationship at Nauvoo. The Tullidge interview was sufficently bland enough to serve as the basis for her 1886 obituary in the Deseret News.

Note 2: Mrs. Hyde's description of a March 24, 1832 "a mob, disguising themselves as black men," generally agrees with the published news of the day, which spoke of "a number of persons, some say 25 or 30, disguised with colored faces." She honestly refrains from placing herself at the scene of the tar and feathering -- probably because it was well known among her old friends that she had been away in boarding school at that time.

Note 3: For some unknown reason Marinda Nancy neglects to mention that her family's conversion into Mormonism began with the baptism of her brother, Lyman E. Johnson, by Sidney Rigdon on January 27, 1831. Her brother Luke was baptized on May 10, 1831. Her own baptism reportedly was delayed until early 1832.

George Q. Cannon
Life of Joseph Smith

SLC: Juvenile Instructor, 1888

  Chaps. 19-21 excerpt

  Transcriber's Comments


                                                  JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                   121

"Wherefore, verily I say let the wicked take heed, and let the rebellious fear and tremble; and let the unbelieving hold their lips, for the day of wrath shall come upon them as a whirlwind, and all flesh shall know that I am God.

"And he that seeketh shall see signs, but not unto salvation. * * * "But behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow them that believe."

The ensuing few days were spent in earnest labor among the Saints in Kirtland, many of whom were preparing to go up to Zion hoping to start in the coming October. Joseph and Sidney were making ready to remove to the town of Hiram in Portage County, Ohio, where the Prophet intended to re-engage in the work of translating the Bible. On the 12th day of September, 1831, Joseph departed from Kirtland to take up his abode at Hiram; and here he encountered anew and in violence the malicious spirit which, too often, accompanies those who seek after signs.



Joseph had learned and taught to his brethren that the mission of the gospel was to bring peace and salvation to all mankind. He himself ministered in the utmost humility among the Saints as well as among strangers, for he was well aware that faith, meekness, patience and tribulation went before blessing, and that God required lowliness of heart before He exalted men; but the lesson which was so plain to him was never learned by some who became associated with the Church in that early day. One of the first of those who sought for signs was Ezra Booth, a man who had been a


122                                                   JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                  

Methodist priest and had become suddenly converted to the gospel by seeing a miracle performed. Soon afterwards he asked that he might be granted power of God to smite men and make them believe the gospel of Christ. His conversion had been by a sign, and he sought to minister by means of signs. He wanted to go forth with the power to bless in one hand and the power to curse in the other, and save souls after a fashion he thought would be successful, and entirely different from the way ordained by the Lord. Early in the month of September, 1831, Ezra Booth became disappointed and yielded to the spirit of apostasy. Later he wrote a series of false and malignant letters which aroused hatred against Joseph and the cause, and which culminated in a murderous attack.

It was on the 12th day of September, 1831, that the Prophet took up his abode with his family at Hiram, Portage County, Ohio, at the residence of John Johnson, a member of the Church, and father to Luke S. and Lyman E. Johnson, who afterwards were chosen to be two of the Twelve Apostles. His daughter Marinda was the wife of Orson Hyde, another of the Twelve. Hiram was about thirty miles in a south-easterly direction from Kirtland. His first work was the preparation to continue the translation of the Bible. In the meantime, conferences were held and the word of the Lord was received. At the first conference held at the house where Joseph resided, October 11, 1831, it was decided that William W. Phelps should go to Missouri, and on his way, at Cincinnati, should purchase a press and type for the publication of a paper at Independence, to be called The Evening and Morning Star. This conference was adjourned until the 25th day of that month to meet at the house of Serems Burnett, in Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. During the interval certain Elders

Iwere designated and directed to go forth among the other branches of the Church and collect means to aid the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, while engaged in the translation of the Scriptures.

At Orange, there were in attendance at the adjourned conference twelve High Priests, seventeen Elders, four Priests,


                                                  JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                   123

three Teachers and four Deacons, in addition to a large congregation of other members.

While at Orange William E. McLellin, one of the prominent Elders, desired the Prophet to obtain the will of the Lord concerning him. Joseph complied, and through the word of the Lord which came as an answer to his prayer, William E. McLellin received much encouragement for what he had done; but he was commanded to repent of some things and was warned against adultery, a sin to which, it appears, he was inclined. He was promised great blessings if he should overcome. This instruction, direct from the Almighty, seemed to affect him for a time, but the words did not sink deep into his heart, because he soon rebelled and attempted to bring reproach upon the Church of Christ. He joined with others in whom the spirit of discontent was brooding, to find fault with the revelations of the Lord which Joseph received.

When the Prophet returned to Hiram, the Lord condemned the folly and pride of McLellin and his sympathizers, and said to them that they might seek out of the book of commandments, even the least of the revelations, and appoint the wisest man among them to make one like unto it from his own knowledge. Filled with vanity and self-conceit, McLellin sacrilegiously essayed to write a commandment in rivalry ot those bestowed direct from God upon the Church. But he failed miserably in his audacious effort, to the chagrin and humiliation of himself and his fellows. The attempt was not without its benefits, however, for the Saints were enabled to recognize the difference between the works of God and the presumptuous efforts of men. Upon this subject the Lord had said that the Elders should be under condemnation if they failed to bear record of the truth of His commandments, should the one who attempted to imitate them not succeed in his effort; "for," He said, "ye know there is no unrighteousness in them, and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights." The Elders obeyed this behest of the Lord and declared in strength and power their absolute knowledge that the revelations which had been bestowed upon the Church were from God.


124                                                   JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                  

(pages 124-125 not transcribed)


126                                                   JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                  

In November Joseph arranged the commandments of the Lord to the Church which he had received, in their proper order, and sent them up into Missouri by the hands of Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer, the purpose being to issue a printed edition of them for their dissemination among the Saints.

Though the translating of the Scriptures occupied his attention at this time, yet the Prophet was not permitted to confine himself entirely to this labor; he was often required to go out and preach the gospel. Sidney Rigdon accompanied him, and wherever they went they overcame all opposition, confounding their enemies by a simple declaration of the truth and putting to.shame such of the sectarian preachers as opposed them.

On the 4th day of December, 1831, while the Prophet was at Kirtland, Newel K. Whitney was called by revelation from the Lord, to be a Bishop in that part of the vineyard, and his duties in that important office were specified.

Ezra Booth had succeeded in securing space in the columns of the Ohio Star, in which to publish his slanderous denunciations and falsehoods concerning Joseph and the Church. In replying to these, and in vindicating the people against them, the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon were closely occupied for some weeks. Satan was busy arousing enmity and he used the apostate Booth and others as his instruments to provoke persecution. They were successful in filling the minds of many with darkness and prejudice; but Joseph and Sidney wherever they appeared were enabled to allay much of the excited feeling of bigotry.

At Hiram on the 16th day of February, 1832, the "vision" which is recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 76, -- one of the grandest revelations given by God to man, in


                                                  JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                   127

which the different degrees of glory held in reserve by the Almighty for His children and the dreadful fate which awaits the sons of perdition, were described with felicitous clearness -- was given to Joseph and Sidney Rigdon. In writing this vision they leave this momentous testimony:

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, [Jesus Christ] this is the testimony last of all, which we give of him, that he lives;

"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God, and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father --

"That by him and through him, and of him the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."

As the numerical strength of the Church increased, the Lord renewed His instruction concerning the welfare of the poor of His people. In a revelation given in the month of March, 1832, it was declared that a storehouse must be established for the needy among the Saints. This revelation also declared the Lord's will and purpose to yet establish a city in the land of Zion to secure equality of earthly blessings among the Saints.

The wondrous enlightenment wrought by the revelations and the instructions of the past year had been shared by Joseph with his brethren. Nor did the knowledge of the great work stop with the Prophet and the believers. It extended to the opponents of the Almighty's purposes, and they were stirred up to intensity of hate. The wider the influence of the Prophet and his mission, the greater the scope of salvation thus ordained, the fiercer flamed out the fire of persecution. The murderous spirit of evil which had followed close upon Joseph's footsteps for several years threw its shadow on his humble home at Hiram. He had received a letter from Missouri announcing the arrival of the brethren at Independence and containing a prospectus for The Evening and Morning Star; and he was making preparation to visit the land of Zion when the fury of mobocratic violence broke loose upon him.

During his residence at Father Johnson's he had held many meetings in the evenings and on the Sabbath and had baptized a number of persons. Olmsted Johnson, a son of


128                                                   JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                  

father Johnson who had come upon a visit, heard the gospel from Joseph's lips; but the young man would not accept it. Joseph was led to warn him that if he rejected the truth, and should depart without obeying the requirements of the gospel, he would never return nor see his father's face more in this life. Olmsted was obdurate and left Hiram for the Southern States and Mexico. On his journey homeward he was stricken with illness in Virginia and died there -- a literal fulfillment of the warning he had received.

Ezra Booth exerted a baleful influence upon three others of the Johnson boys who had already accepted the gospel, and they grew weak in the faith: and finally, together with Simonds Rider, apostatized and opposed the Prophet.



When the Prophet went to Hiram, he carried with him twin children, the offspring of John Murdock, which Emma adopted when they were nine days old, intending to rear them in place of twin children of her own which had died. These babes were now eleven months old. On the 25th of March they were very ill, and the Prophet and his wife were anxiously nursing them and getting only a little broken rest. At a late hour of the night Joseph was lying down and slumbering heavily from weariness, when Emma heard a gentle tapping on the window. Her senses were dulled by sleepiness, and she paid little attention to the noise and made no inquiry nor investigation. A few moments later an infuriated mob


                                                  JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                   129

burst the door open and surrounded the bed whereon Joseph lay in deep slumber. Ten or twelve of them had seized him, and were dragging him from the house, when Emma screamed. The cry awakened the Prophet, and in an instant he realized his position. As they were taking him through the door he made a desperate struggle to release himself. Getting a limb clear for a moment he kicked one of the mob with such force as to fell the wretch to the ground. But before Joseph could bring his superior physical powers to bear, he was confined again within the grasp of numerous hands; and with a torrent of oaths, in which the mobbers profaned the name of Deity, they declared that they would kill him if he did not cease his struggles. As they started around the house with him, the mobocrat whom he had kicked came thrusting his bloody hands into the Prophet's face and shrieked at him with frightful execrations. Then they seized his throat and choked him until he ceased to breathe. When he recovered his senses from this inhuman attack he was nearly a furlong from the house, and there he saw Sidney Rigdon stretched upon the ground where the mob had dragged him by the heels. The Prophet thought that his companion was dead.

These fiendish men continued to curse him and to blaspheme the name of Deity. They told him to ask his God for help for they would give him none. They then dragged him nearly another furlong into a meadow and began calling to each other, continuing, however, to utter threats and oaths at him. By this time many additions had been made to their number. One cried out asking if Joseph was not to be killed. A group gathered at a little distance to hold a council and fix upon the Prophet's fate; while several of the number held him suspended in the air lest his person should touch the ground and thereby give him an opportunity to get a spring and wrench himself loose. After the council was concluded, the leading mobocrats declared that they would not kill him but would strip him naked and whip and tear his flesh. One cried out for a tar bucket and when it was brought another exclaimed with a wicked oath, "Let us tar up his mouth!"


130                                                   JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                  

They thrust a reeking tar paddle into his face and attempted to force it down his throat, but he kept his teeth tightly clenched. Then they tried to force a phial containing aqua-fortis into his mouth, but it broke between his lips. Not content with inflicting all this violence upon the Prophet's helpless form, one of the inhuman wretches, as though he was a devil incarnate, fell upon him and began to tear like a wildcat, at the same time screaming with a curse, "That's the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks!"

While the mob were bruising him they mentioned two names that were familiar to him, "Simonds" and "Eli."

After they left Joseph, he attempted to rise but fell back again from pain and exhaustion. He succeeded, however, in tearing the tar away from his face so that he could breathe freely and shortly afterward he began to recover. Arising, he made his way toward a light and found that it was from the house of Father Johnson where he lived. Emma saw his bruised form covered with tar and thinking him to be fatally mangled she screamed and fainted.

Securing some covering for his person, the Prophet entered the house and spent the night in cleansing his body and dressing his wounds.

Before making the assault upon Joseph the mob had locked Father Johnson in his room. He had called for his wife to bring his gun, saying that he would blow a hole through the door; and at this the mob fled. As soon as he could force an egress, Father Johnson rushed from the house, seizing a club as he ran. He overtook the party which had captured Sidney Rigdon, and knocked one man down and was about to smite another to the earth when the mob deserted their first victim to attack the heroic old man. This diversion saved Sidney only for a brief time; the mob soon returned to him and inflicted serious pain and indignity upon him. They dragged him by his heels and left his head to strike upon the rough and frozen ground. By such barbarous treatment his scalp was lacerated and his body bruised, and he was driven into a delirium.

The next morning, being the Sabbath, the people assembled


                                                  JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                   131

at the usual hour of worship. With them came some of the mobbers, Simonds Rider, an apostate and Campbellite preacher, leader of the mob; one McClentic, son of a Campbellite minister; and Pelatiah Allen, Esq., who had given the mob a barrel of whisky to fill them with the devilish daring necessary for their crime. Many others of the mob were also in attendance.

With his flesh all bruised and scarred, Joseph went to the meeting and stood before the congregation, facing his assailants of the previous night calmly and manfully. He preached a powerful sermon and on the same day baptized three believers into the Church.

This mob was chiefly composed of religious men, principally sanctimonious Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists, besides several apostates from the Church. They continued to watch the house of Father Johnson, and even the death of one of the helpless little children, which occurred on the Friday following from the exposures of the night of the attack, could not dissuade the demoniac men from their purpose. Indeed the death of this poor little infant seemed to act upon them like a taste of blood upon a tiger. It drove them to a murderous frenzy. The spirit of mobocracy spread through all that region of country and was particularly fierce at Kirtland. Sidney Rigdon fled to the latter city from Hiram taking his sick family; but after a brief rest was compelled to again flee and went to Chardon. The Prophet himself remained in Hiram during another week.


132                                                   JOSEPH  THE  PROPHET                                                  



On the 2nd day of April, 1832, Joseph started from Hiram for Missouri. He was carried by Elder George Pitkin in the latter's wagon to Stubenville, whence the Prophet and Sidney, who had joined him in the meantime, took passage on Wednesday, the 5th of April, 1832, on hoard a steamboat for Wheeling, then in the state of Virginia.

After departing from Hiram, Joseph directed his wife to go to Kirtland and await his return; and this she did, finding help and consolation with his friends.

From Wheeling he soon resumed his journey toward Zion and readied there on the 24th day of April, 1832.

Two days later, in a solemn assemblage of the Church, Joseph was sustained as President of the High Priesthood. Bishop Edward Partridge extended the right hand of fellowship and recognition to Joseph in the office to which he had been elected, and the Saints ratified the deed in an impressive and unanimous manner.

The Prophet found the Saints in Zion surrounded by people filled with the spirit of murder and rapine, and he sought with all the vigor and faith of his soul to unite the people in the bonds of love and mutual trust and help, that thus they might be enabled to withstand the assaults of their enemies. It was characteristic of him and of the revealed work that he should teach his brethren at this hour, as always before and always after until the hour of his death, the potency of union. His purpose was then, as ever, to show the Saints the strength of a passive defence, coupled with kindness toward all


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humanity. Joseph had the personal strength and courage which, when not controlled by some mighty influence, make a man ambitious to overcome and punish any cruel foe hy the arm of flesh, and yet in all his sufferings and ministrations he never advised or permitted any aggression upon the law or any insult to rightful authority....

(remainder of text not transcribed)

Notes: (forthcoming)

Francis M. Green
Hiram College and
West. Res. Eclectic Institute

Columbus, Ohio: O. S. Hubbell Co., 1901

  Text excerpt

  Appendix excerpt

  Transcriber's Comments



The First Meetings of the Corporators.

1849. Carnot Mason was elected president, Zeb Rudolph, secretary; Symonds Ryder, treasurer; and William Hayden was appointed a solicitor for funds. A building committee was also appointed. This committee was Pelatiah Allyn, Jr., Zeb Rudolph, Carnot Mason, Jason Ryder and Alvah Udall. The first two of these men were practical carpenters and afterward rendered substantial aid on the Institute building. The natural business ability of Esq. Alvah Udall as he was called placed him at the head of this committee and the rapidity with which the edifice was planned and completed was largely due to his untiring energy. This meeting also adopted a seal for the institution the design of which was -- a vignette, a dove with an olive branch in its beak, its wings half raised, resting on the open Bible, with the motto, "Let there be light." ...


82                           HISTORY  OF  HIRAM  COLLEGE                          

...Carnot Mason was long and favorably known as one of the leading citizens of Hiram. No man was more faithful or more useful in the founding and support of the school.

He did much at the meeting held in Aurora November 7, 1849, to settle the question of the location of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute. He was firm but not contentious in his disposition. He was a member of the Building Committee and insisted on putting up a good building, for the reason that it would give character and rank to the school. He was President of the Board of Trustees from 1849 to 1856. He was an active, devoted Christian and faithful in all his relations


            THE PERIOD OF ESTABLISHMENT, 1850-1857.             83

in life. He was born in Vermont December 16, 1804, and died January 31, 1856.

Symonds Ryder had in him the Pilgrim blood and the Puritan firmness. He was the lineal descendant of a Ryder who came over in the Mayflower. In character he was as sturdy as the oak. He was a man of sound judgment and maintained an inflexible character for candor and righteousness. He was a man of peace and cared strictly for his own affairs, and not interfering with others; yet the affairs of others sought him out, and often asked his skillful hand in their adjustment. When he became a member of the church of Hiram in 1828 "he was the most important accession that the Hiram Church has ever had, so far as local results are concerned." His judicious counsels were always appreciated by the Board of Trustees. He was the Treasurer of the Board from 1849 to 1860 and "in his hands every penny was accounted for." He was born November 20, 1792, at Hartford, Vermont, the same town which was the birthplace of Carnot Mason, and died August 1, 1870.

Isaac Errett was "a full-orbed man." The elements were wisely proportioned and mixed in him. During his life he was recognized as a man of extraordinary power and of surpassing fulness of mental equipment. His father was born in Ireland, his mother in England. He was one of the best friends Hiram ever had. He was one of the wisest and most capable of its first Board of Trustees. At his suggestion the name, Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, was adopted. In personal appearance he was striking and prepossessing. He was simple and direct in his speech; his language was chaste and copious from his vocabulary of Anglo-Saxon words. He was born in New York City January 2, 1820, and died December 19, 1888.


84                           HISTORY  OF  HIRAM  COLLEGE                          

William Hayden was the incarnation on the Western Reserve of the religious principles of the Disciples of Christ. To his foresight, decision, influence and tremendous energy, is due, probably more than to any other person the origin and foundation of the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute. Years before the enterprise was announced he discovered the coming need, and conversed upon it with persons who were in his intimate counsels. After his death in 1863, his associates in the Board of Trustees placed on record: "To him this Institution owes its existence and present prosperity." He was the first "solicitor" or financial agent of the new school; and one of its trustees at the time of his death. He was born in Pennsylvania June 30, 1799, and died April 7, 1863.

Zeb Rudolph was a man of rare qualities physically, mentally, morally, and to the end of his long life he sustained a blameless reputation. He was a pillar of truth, justice and honor wherever he appeared. In the earliest counsels of the Eclectic he was wise in judgment and efficient in action. He was the first Secretary of the Board, and a member of the Building Committee, and a workman in the construction of the building. He was loved and venerated by all who knew him in his mature years. He was born in Maryland in 1803, and died October 20, 1897.

Frederick Williams, though a native of Massachusetts, was long a prominent citizen of Portage County, Ohio. He was actively identified with church and educational affairs for many years. He was one of the first Board of Trustees of the Eclectic Institute...


                                          APPENDIX                                           405

The Mormon Episode at Hiram

The career of Mormonism at Hiram was brief, but hot while it lasted. Symonds Ryder, who for a short time gave heed to its advocates and lived in the midst of the scenes he describes, says: "In the winter of 1831 Joseph Smith, with others, had an appointment in the south school house in Hiram. Such was the apparent piety, sincerity and humility of the speakers, that many of the hearers were greatly affected, and thought it impossible that such preachers should lie in wait to deceive. During the next spring and summer several converts were made, and their success seemed to indicate an immediate triumph in Hiram. But when they went to Missouri to lay the foundation of the splendid city of Zion, and also of the temple, they left their papers behind.


406                                           APPENDIX                                          

This gave their new converts an opportunity to become acquainted with the internal arrangement of their church, which revealed to them the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under control of Joseph Smith, the prophet. This was too much for the Hiramites, and they left the Mormonites faster than they had ever joined them, and by fall the Mormon church in Hiram was a very lean concern. But some who had been dupes of this deception, determined not to let it pass with impunity; and, accordingly, a company was formed of citizens from Shalersville, Garrettsville, and Hiram in March, 1832, and proceeded to headquarters in the darkness of the night, and took Smith and Rigdon from their beds and tarred and feathered them both, and let them go. This had the desired effect, which was to get rid of them. They soon left for Kirtland. All who continued with the Mormons, and had any property, lost all; among whom was John Johnson, one of our most worthy men; also, Esquire Snow, of Mantua, who lost two or three thousand dollars." The letter from which this extract is taken was written to A. S. Hayden by Symonds Ryder, February 1, 1868.

In 1831 Mr. Ryder was informed that by special revelation he had been appointed and commissioned an elder of the Mormon church. "His commission came, and he found his name misspelled. Was the Holy Spirit so fallible as to fail even in orthography? Beginning with this challenge, his strong, incisive mind and honest heart were brought to the task of re-examining the ground on which he stood;" and soon the spell of enchantment was broken, and the delusion was ended.

Somewhat more in detail, Hartwell Ryder, son of Symonds Ryder, and now past his eightieth year, on the night of December 31, 1900, at a public meeting in Hiram, described the tarring and feathering of Rigdon and Smith: "Large numbers met in the Hinckley brick-yard at night. They organized, one party to go to Rigdon's house, and another to the Johnson house. The move was to be secret. Not a word was to be spoken. Rigdon was taken out, near to an oak tree, now standing on the south side of the road, and treated to a coat of tar and feathers. All that summer


                                          APPENDIX                                           407

after, the boy Hartwell saw feathers on the ground. Where the Stevens house now stands was the Johnson house, and there the other party found Joe Smith in bed, in the west room, above the cellar story. They put him out from this loft, down into the hands of those outside. About the time this was done, at Rigdon's a young woman in another room had been wakened, and was striking a light to see what was going on. Perceiving there would be a revelation of the characters in this religious play, a tall man inside, imitating the voice of Elder Symonds Ryder, commanded that they be let out. The outsiders opened the door, and out they went, before the light of discovery came. It is but just to say that Ryder had nothing to do with this affair. Smith was taken about twenty rods south, and received his coat of tar and feathers. Thus ended the Mormon absurdity in Hiram in 1831-2. Some twelve or fifteen went off into the wilds of Missouri, and were, with the church, driven from there, and lost their property....

Note 1: The writer does not indicate whether the tar applied to Smith and Rigdon was hot or cold. A viscous mixture of cold tar and grease might have been used, even on a frigid March night in northern Ohio. However, the tar was probably hot (or at least warm), since Mary B. Treudley supplies this detail on page 37 of her 1950 Prelude to the Future; the First Hundred Years of Hiram College: "Smith and Rigdon left Hiram never to return. The tree under which the tar was heated was long pointed out to strangers, but it too has disappeared" (emphasis added). This appears to have been the same "oak tree... standing on the south side of the road," running between the Johnson house and the Rigdons' log cabin, which Francis M. Green mentioned in his 1901 book.

Note 2: The activity reported within the Johnson house is confusing. Presumably the intruders gained access to the second story "loft" and transported Smith outside, through a door or window. Why members of the gang required that a door first be opened by "the outsiders," before all could make their escape, remains unclear. The writer does not explain what purpose was served by "a tall man, imitating the voice of Elder Symonds Ryder;" nor whether his vocal mimicry of Ryder's voice was intentional. Perhaps that detail was added (by Hartwell Ryder?) simply to explain who some auditors of the night's activities might have thought they heard Ryder's voice in the darkness. The disclaimer offered ("It is but just to say that Ryder had nothing to do with this affair") is equally puzzling.

Note 3: Hartwell Ryder's account of the lowering of Smith's body from the Johnson home's "loft" (second story) "down into the hands of those outside," does not match Smith's own story, of being taken out through the open door, downstairs.

Hartwell Ryder
"A short History of the Foundation
of the Mormon Church"

Hiram College Archives: Hiram, Ohio


  Transcriber's Comments

Intellectual Property Rights held by
Hiram College Archives -- only short,
"fair use" excerpts are presented here.

  In the fall of 1831 the church in Hiram became very large. In June, preceding, my father,
Symonds Ryder, united with them, and soon Smith had another revelation, that he
was to act as Elder of the Hiram Church... (p. 3)

[Having been warned] in a meeting held at the Johnson house on the 27th of February, 1832,
...Smith dared anyone to touch a Mormon, saying that anyone who should do so would be
stricken by the Lord... (p. 4)

...men met in the brickyard belonging to Benjamin Hinckley... marched to the Johnson house
where... Smith... was introduced to tar and feathers.... The next morning after the leaders
were tarred and feathered, my father went past the Johnson house from which the Mormons
came out like bees from a hive and accused him of being the leader of the mob. (p. 4)

Note: Hartwell Ryder gives as the reason for the March 24, 1832 assault, that Smith had
"a revelation that all who had property should give it over into the hands of Smith for the
good of the Hiram Church," and that the local citizens reacted with hostility to that news.

Note: Hiram College Archives copy contains added 1940s notes by Agnes Monroe Smith.
An independent typescript in the H. Michael Marquardt Papers is substantially different.

John Henry Evans
One Hundred Years of Mormonism
SLC: Deseret Books, 1905

  ch. 3 excerpt

  Transcriber's Comments

[ 150 ]



It is a curious fact in the history of the Church that the Prophet Joseph nearly all his life was engaged in some inspired literary undertaking. From 1827 to 1829 he was at work on the translation of the Book of Mormon. As soon as that duty was performed and the book published to the world, he entered upon the task of revising the Hebrew Scriptures, which occupied his attention till the year 1833. Finally, in 1837, there fell into his hands some rolls of Egyptian papyrus the translation of which filled up his spare moments for a number of years. All this labor of revision and translation, however, even that of the Nephite Scriptures, was more incidental in its character than we have been accustomed to believe -- incidental, that is, to the enunciation of the great truths which it was instrumental in bringing to light.

Plain and Precious Things.

Probably the occasion for the inspired revision of the Bible arose out of some passages in the Book of Mormon in reference to the book that "proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew." Speaking of the time when the "great and abominable church" held sway over the human mind, the Nephite record declares prophetically that this church had "taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants," and that this was done in order to "pervert the right ways of the Lord," by blinding men's eyes and hardening their hearts....


                                AS  OF  THE  STARS  DIFFER                            151

(pages 151-159 not transcribed)


160                   ONE  HUNDRED  YEARS  OF  MORMONISM                  

believing husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband, else were your children unclean, but now are they holy" -- was explained in a revelation (section 74) to the Prophet. In the same way many passages in the Revelation of St. John were expounded to Joseph and his companion. Reference to section 77, of the Doctrine and Covenants, will make it clear that this modern Restorer has reflected no inconsiderable light upon this profoundly obscure book, a book which no theologian in Christendom lays any claim to understanding.

But the most important of the revelations connected with the revision of the Scriptures, is the one called "the Vision," and found in section seventy-six of the Doctrine and Covenants. The occasion for this revelation was a difficulty which the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon had experienced in understanding the twenty-ninth verse of the fifth chapter of John, which speaks of the resurrection of the dead, and which we have already quoted. "Now this caused us to marvel," declares the Prophet, "for it was given unto us of the spirit. And while we meditated upon these things the Lord touched the eyes of our understanding and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about; and we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness; and saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God and the Lamb for ever and ever."

Apostates and Mobocrats.

All these things occurred at Hiram, Portage county, a town about thirty miles southeast of Kirtland. Joseph had moved there for the purpose, it seems, of continuing the revision of the Scriptures, and was living with the family of John Johnson, a member of the Church. Emma was with the


                                AS  OF  THE  STARS  DIFFER                            161

Prophet, and Sidney Rigdon and his family were occupying a house in the same town.

Hiram was the home also of Ezra Booth and Simonds Ryder, both of whom had been somewhat noted preachers, the former in the Methodist Church, the latter in the Campbellite organization. Booth had been converted by seeing a miracle performed. Mrs. Johnson, it appears, had been afflicted for some time with a lame arm, and while she and her husband and Mr. and Mrs. Booth were on a visit to the Prophet, then at Kirtland, the latter at their request had administered to her arm, upon which it was immediately healed. Booth thereupon joined the Church. Subsequently, he went to Zion with the group of Elders who were called to go there; but he soon became disaffected and left the Church. The Prophet says that when Booth learned that "faith, humility, patience, and tribulation go before blessing," when he found out that the Savior would not grant him power, "to smite men and make them believe," as he had desired, he was disappointed. Shortly afterwards he published in the Ohio Star a series of nine articles, in which he endeavored to cast odium upon the cause he had forsaken.

The conversion and the apostasy of Simonds Ryder are equally interesting as throwing light upon his character. Like Booth, Ryder was converted by a supernatural manifestation, though in his case it was a prophecy. An earthquake took place in Pekin, China, which Ryder had heard predicted by a young "Mormon" girl six weeks previously. As he had been for some time considering whether or not to join the Church, this proved "the final weight in the balance," and he threw his influence upon the side of "Mormonism," which caused an excitement almost equal to that which followed the conversion of Rigdon. He was ordained an elder, but in the letter which notified him of the


162                   ONE  HUNDRED  YEARS  OF  MORMONISM                  

fact that it was the will of the Lord that he should preach the gospel, as well as in his commission to preach, his name was spelled R-i-d-e-r instead of R-y-d-e-r. This led him to doubt whether the Lord had had anything to do with hi> call, since if the "Spirit through which he had been called to preach could err in the matter of spelling his name, it might have erred in calling him to the ministry as well." So a misplaced letter proved his undoing spiritually, and he left the Church. He seems to have been as bitter against his former friends, as his companion preacher, Ezra Booth. In addition, three of the Johnson boys, Eli, Edward, and John, Jr., had also left the Church.

The significance that attaches to the apostasy of Booth and Ryder at this time, is, that they led a strong opposition against the Prophet which resulted in the customary mob violence. This disturbance occurred in the latter part of March, 1832. On the night of the 24th, Joseph, exhausted by long watching at the bedside of two sick children -- the Murdock twins, which Emma had adopted in place of her own, which had died -- had thrown himself upon the bed and fallen asleep. Emma, who had retired, was awakened by a tapping at the window, which, however, she took no particular notice of at the time. But it was only a few moments till about a dozen men broke into the room, roughly took up the sleeping form of Joseph, and dragged him out, amid the screams of his wife, and his own struggles to free himself from their grasp. About thirty rods from the house they came upon another band of men with Sidney Rigdon, who had been dragged by the feet, his head beating against the rough, frozen ground. Leaving Rigdon, unconscious, the united mob, increasing in number every minute, went about thirty rods more where they held a consultation to determine what should be done with the Prophet. While the majority were thus engaged, a number of others


                                AS  OF  THE  STARS  DIFFER                            163

held Joseph, being careful to keep him from touching the ground, lest he should spring away from them. The result of the deliberation was that he was stripped of his clothes, and then covered with tar and feathers. With threats, horrible imprecations, and blasphemy, they perpetrated this outrage on the Prophet's person, forcing the tar-paddle into his mouth, and breaking a vial of liquid against his teeth. They then left him. After several attempts to rise he finally succeeded, wiped away the tar from his lips so that he might breathe more freely, and made his way towards a light, which he afterwards found issued from his own window. Calling for a blanket, he entered the house, where a number of the sisters in the neighborhood, hearing of the trouble, had collected. He spent the rest of the night in removing the tar and cleansing his body. The next day being Sunday, he preached at the usual meeting of the Saints, at which several of the mobbers were in attendance, but he made no allusion to the preceding night. For several days after this barbarous treatment, Sidney Rigdon was delirious.

In the mob, besides Ryder and probably Booth, were "one McClintic," whom Joseph recognized; a man by the name of Waste, "the strongest man in the Western Reserve;" Streeter, a son of a Campbellite preacher; "Felatiah Allen, who gave the mob a barrel of whisky to raise their spirits; and many others of various religious parties, but mostly Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists." The mob had obtained the feathers which they used on this occasion from Elder Rigdon's home. In consequence of exposure brought on by this affair, one of the twins contracted a "severe cold, from which it died a few days later. Soon after this, Sidney Rigdon moved with his family to Chardon, a place about five miles from Kirtland. Joseph went on his second visit to Zion, in Missouri, thus probably escaping other


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mobbings, for "the spirit of mobocracy was very prevalent through that whole region of country at the time."...

Notes: (forthcoming)

Brigham H. Roberts
"History of the Mormon Church"

Americana V:5 (May)
NYC: National Americana Soc., 1910

  Ch. 21 excerpt

  Transcriber's Comments


[ 464 ]


BY BRIGHAM H. ROBERTS, Assistant Historian of the Church



Lights and shadows closely intermingle in the history of the Church in the new dispensation. Following close upon the Vision recounted in the last chapter was perpetrated one of the cruelest and most cowardly outrages of mob violence in the history of our country. Quite a number of men in Portage county followed Ezra Booth in his apostasy, among whom a very bitter spirit of opposition to Jospeh Smith developed. So far as one may judge nothing had occurred that gave the least color of justification for the unexpected out-burst of violence; except that Elders Rigdon and Smith had been more than usually active and successful in their public ministry in Hiram and vicinity. The alleged "public exposure of Smith's methods," by such men as Booth and Ryder, another apostate, 1

1. According to "Hayden's History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve," Mr. Ryder was much perplexed over "Mormonism," and for a time was undecided whether to join the Church or not. "In the month of June," (1831), writes Mr. Hayden, "he read in a newspaper an account of the destruction of Pekin in China, and he remembered that six weeks before, a young 'Mormon' girl had predicted the destruction of that city." [pg. 251] J. H. Kennedy, in his "Early Days of Mormonism," (Scribner's & Son 1888) refers to the same thing, and adds: "This appeal to the superstitious part ot his nature was the final weight in the balance, and he threw the whole power of his influence upon the side of 'Mormonism.' His surrender caused an excitement almost equal to that which followed the fall of Rigdon?" (pp. 103-4).

The initial point of his apostasy is equally interesting. It appears that some time after his baptism he was ordained an Elder of the Church: and somewhat later informed by a communication signed by the Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, that it was the will of the Lord, made known by the Spirit, that he should preach the Gospel. Both in the letter he received and in the official commission to preach, however, his name was spelled Ri-d-e-r, instead of R-y-d-e-r and it was soberly stated in the "History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve" (Hayden), that he thought if the "Spirit" through which he had been called to preach could err in the matter of spelling his name, it might have erred in calling him to the ministry as well; or, in other words, he was led to doubt if he were called at all by the Spirit of God, because of the error in spelling his name! The same circumstance is referred to in "Kennedy's Early Days of Mormonism."


                                  HISTORY  OF  THE  MORMON  CHURCH                                   465

"coupled with rumors of immoral practises in the fold," do not justify a resort to mob violence, though Linn in his "Story of the Mormons," cites these as the causes of the outrage upon Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. There was nothing in the Booth Letters to the "Ohio Star," even if all Booth there alleges against the Prophet were admitted as true that would give any color of excuse for resorting to violence; and equally lame is the appeal to "rumors of immoral practises in the fold;" and the further excuse suggested by Hayden, in his "Early History of the Disciple's Church in the Western Reserve," is equally unconvincing, viz, the assertion that after Elders Smith and Rigdon left with the Western Mission for Missouri, in 1831, papers which they left behind them and which fell into the hands of the people of Hiram, "revealed the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the personal control of Smith, the Prophet;" and that "some who had been the dupes of this disception determined not to let it pass with impunity." 2 The experience of men in all reforms and revolutions, and more especially where such movements involve religious prejudices or principles, can be appealed to as showing that there is no bitterness so intense, no hatred so unreasoning as the bitterness and hate of the apostate; and in the early spring of 1832, those who had turned from the faith, with some others, assaulted Elders Smith and Rigdon under the following circumstances:

For some time the Prophet and his wife had been broken of their rest in caring for twin babes, then about one year old, and afflicted with the measles. Emma Smith had taken these babes -- children of John Murdock's, the mother having died shortly after their birth -- to rear, hoping that they would fill the void in her life occasioned by the death of her own twin babes born on the same day as the Murdock twins. On the night of the 24th of March, after long watching over one of the babes, the Prophet at the solicitations of his wife lay down on a trundle bed to get a little sleep. The next thing he was conscious of was the screams of his wife, and found himself in the hands of a dozen ruffians and being carried out of the house. Naturally he did not submit quietly, but resisted with all his might. He was over-powered,

2. See work cited in the text, page 221.


466                                   HISTORY  OF  THE  MORMON  CHURCH                                  

however, and beaten and choked into insensibility. Recovering from this first attack, he was carried past the orchard towards the meadow. On the way he saw Elder Rigdon stretched out upon the ground, and apparently dead. He expected the same fate for himself, but expressed the hope to his captors that they would not kill him. There seemed to be some uncertainty among the mob on this point. A consultation was held, after which the Prophet was again assaulted, his clothing torn from him, his body scratched and beaten, and covered with tar and feathers. In the brutal process one man tried to force the tar paddle into his mouth; another a phial, supposed to contain aqua-fortis, but broke it in his teeth. All this was attended with horrible oaths and imprecations such as might be expected from friends [sic - fiends] incarnate engaged in such a lawless, brutal proceeding.

After the departure of the mob the Prophet tried to rise and make his way to the Johnson house, but fell from exhaustion and the effect of his beating. After he began to recover his strength he removed some of the tar from his lips that he might breathe more freely. A second attempt to reach the house was more successful. On seeing him covered with blood and tar his wife fainted. Meantime his friends having gathered at the Johnson home, they spent the rest of the night in cleansing his lacerated and bruised body.

Elder Rigdon had apparently suffered more even than the Prophet, or else had less strength to endure the ordeal. He had for sometime lived in a small house not far from the Johnson residence. From this he was taken by the mob and dragged by the heels held high while his head dashed over the hard frozen ground, until he was rendered unconscious. For several days he was delirious, and in his mania seemed desirous of killing his best friends.

The mobbing took place on Saturday night. The Prophet had an appointment to preach at Hiram on Sunday morning, and all bruised and scarified as he was, he appeared before the congregation, held the appointed service; and in the afternoon administered baptism to three converts. In the morning meeting several members of the mob were present, known to the Prophet through the inadvertent use of some of their names during the mob's


                                  HISTORY  OF  THE  MORMON  CHURCH                                   467

proceedings, 3 and in other cases known to him by their close contact with him in the struggle he made against their assaults. They were not all an ignorant rabble, but among them were prominent Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists. Simonds Ryder, apparently, was their leader; and the Prophet declares that Felatiah [sic] Allen, Esq., supplied a barrel of whiskey to render the mob, numbering between forty and fifty, reckless. 4

In order to get a proper understanding of the events which make up the history of the Church during these and subsequent years it is necessary to note the fact that in creating two centers of activity for the Church, -- Independence. Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, there had arisen a rivalry and something of jealousy between the two places. The foundation of the Church membership in Jackson county consisted of the first converts of the Prophet in Fayette and Colesville, New York; whereas at Kirtland the foundation of the Church membership consisted largely of the following of Sidney Rigdon. The New York group, besides being the Prophet's earliest friends and first converts had followed him under the commandment of God from New York to Ohio, almost in one body; and thence, under his direction, from Ohio to the western boarders of Missouri. True, the Prophet had also come from Ohio to Missouri, and had assisted the New York Saints in locating the city of Zion and dedicating the site of the future Temple of God, still the Prophet had largely devoted himself personally to the saints at Kirtland, and to the affairs of that centre of Church activity. Here he had met a number of influential men. Besides Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, there were Sidney Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney, prosperous merchants; Frederick G. Williams, Titus Billings and the Johnson family. True, some of these Kirtland leaders had been stationed at Independence, but chiefly as leaders; Edward Partridge as Bishop; Sidney Gilbert, in charge of the Lord's storehouse; William W. Phelps, as "Printer unto the Church," while Oliver Cowdery, the only one of the early New York Group recognized by appointment to official position, was appointed

3. For instance at one point in the proceedings one mobber called to another -- "Simonds. Simonds, where's the tar bucket?" "I don't know where tis," answered another, "Eli's left it" -- referring doubtless to Simonds Ryder, the Campbellite preacher before referred to, and Eli Johnson, two of the mob leaders.

4. History of the Church, "Vol. I, pp. 264-5 and foot notes.

Note 1: In his 1930 revision of this chapter (for Comprehensive History of the Church, Roberts inserted this footnote for the first paragraph on page 466:"3. The consultation had was in respect of a horrible mutilation upon the Prophet's person. (See Autobiography of Luke Johnson, Millennial Star, vol. xxvi)." (See also Autobiography of Luke Johnson)."

Note 2: On page 467 Roberts guesses that "Simonds [sic] Ryder, apparently, was their leader." His evident reluctance in assigning hard and fast blame upon Mr. Ryder, perhaps can be traced to Roberts' earlier consultations with that man's son, Hartwell Ryder. Hartwell protested Mormon allegations that his father had been involved in the tarring and feathering incident (see Roberts' "Figures in Early Church History" in the Deseret Evening News of Sept. 27, 1902).

Abram Garfield
"An Episode of the Thirties"
(written in about 1934)
Hiram College Archives: Hiram, Ohio


  Transcriber's Comments

Intellectual Property Rights Held by
Hiram College Archives -- only short,
"fair use" excerpts are presented here.

"Zeb Rudolph tells me that Rigdon was a Baptist but had turned Campbellite. He heard him preach
up near Lake Erie.... the town Mentor -- two years ago when Zeb was up there studying." (p. 17)

..."Well, Symonds, go on" said Charlie Raymond "You haven't told us yet. We hear
that Smith told you he had a message that his temple was to go up on your hill." (p. 32)

[Joseph Smith, in his bed,] pulled the covers over his head, drew up his knees and gave way
to a terror which always hovered near unless he had the whip hand. (p. 36)

Note 1: Abram Garfield's c.1934 story of the Mormon tenure in Hiram (1831-2) is largely fanciful and frequently
strays from known dates, events and persons comprising Garfield's narrative. His account of Mormon plans to
build a temple on Symonds Ryder's farm is not fully supported by early sources, (other than Lucius V. Bierce's
1860 historical sketch which says "on a hill near the 'Hinckley farm,'" and doesn't mention Ryder's property).

Note 2: Frederick A. Henry, who studied Ohio Mormon history, donated this manuscript in 1936. He then said it
"was written for (and I surmise from the tongue of) his uncle Joseph Rudolph, son of Zeb and Arabella Rudolph."

Note 3: A prominent character in Garfield's story is "Mother Whittemore," probably meant as a fictional stand-in
for David Whitmer's wife, Julia Ann Jolly Whitmer. Bierce mistakenly referred to Mr. Whitmer as "Whittemore,"
whom he said was among the "leading Mormons" who "pulled up their stakes and moved to Hiram" in 1831. In
Garfield's story historical facts are conflated and oversimplified: Mrs. Whitmer improves a "log kitchen and two
small rooms," to provide a framed second story for lodgers like Rigdon and Smith, near the John Johnson house.

Gerald V. Stamm
"The Mormons in Portage County: 1830-32"
(March 15, 1939)
Hiram College Archives: Hiram, Ohio

  pg. 4 excerpt
  pg. 5 excerpt
  pg. 7 excerpt
  pg. 8 excerpt

  Transcriber's Comments

Intellectual Property Rights Held by
Hiram College Archives -- only short,
"fair use" excerpts are presented here.

"Rigdon had a revelation that Hiram was to be the "Stake of Zion," and thence the
colony moved." (p. 4)

"Smith, through a "revelation" commanded Ryder to go to Missouri on a mission." (p. 5)

"[John] Johnson's farm was one of the sect's possessions, and was bought by James Stevens
grandfather from either the Mormon church...or some member." (p. 7)

"So successful had Smith become that he had a "revelation" that a temple was to be erected
on the Hinckley Farm... the warfare came to a head on the night of March 25 [sic], 1832.
That evening Smith returned to the Johnson place from a meeting in the South schoolhouse,
where during the past few days he had succeeded in making new converts." (p. 8)

Note 1: Gerald V. Stamm's 1939 sketch of the Mormon tenure in Hiram, during 1831-2, appears to be
derived from common, published sources, with some occasional narrative embellishments inserted
by the writer. The one original source cited (the "Stevens Scrapbook") has been lost from public
view. Stamm's unsupported historical creations should be read with appropriate scholarly caution.

Note 2: Although Mr. Stamm says that Smith "commanded Ryder to go to Missouri on a mission,"
Hartwell Ryder (speaking of his father's relations with the Mormons) says that "Smith had another
revelation, that he was to act as Elder of the Hiram Church." If Symonds Ryder was commanded to
go on a Missouri mission, such an assignment would have impeded his duties as a presiding elder.

Note 3: Stamm's statement saying that "Smith returned to the Johnson place from a meeting in the
South schoolhouse," on the night that he was assaulted, makes a potentially important point --
that there had been a meeting of local people near Smith's residence, not long before the attack.
Some sources place the assailants in Benjamin Hinckley's brickyard (which was located across the
road from the school) prior to the tar and feathering. The hostile part of Smith's audience could
have moved from the school to the brickyard, after the meeting, without attracting much attention.

Joseph F. Smith
Essentials in Church History
SLC: Deseret News, 1922

  Title page

  Ch. 17 excerpt
  Tar and Feathering

  Ch. 18 excerpt
  D. P. Hurlbut

  Transcriber's Comments




A History of the Church from the Birth of Joseph Smith
to the Present Time (1922), with Introductory
Chapters on the Antiquity of the Gospel
and the "Falling Away"

Of the Council of the Twelve, and Church Historian


Salt Lake City, Utah
Deseret News Press


[ 137 ]



Desire of the Saints for Knowledge of Zion. -- August 28, [1831] the day after the return of the brethren from Missouri, fell on Sunday. An inspirational meeting was held at which the brethren reported their labors. Among the business transacted was the ordination of Oliver Cowdery to the office of high priest "by the voice of the Church and the command of God, under the hand of Sidney Rigdon," says the record. Oliver Cowdery was in Missouri when the conference in June was held, at which the first high priests were ordained.

As the Saints were very anxious to know more in relation to Zion, the purchasing of lands there and their inheritances, the 'Prophet inquired of the Lord, and received a revelation (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 63) in which the difficulties and persecutions of the Saints in that land were fore-shadowed. Again the people were cautioned and reproved wherein they had not kept the commandments of the Lord. Among other things the Lord declared the following:
"And now, verily, I say unto you, that as I said that I would make known my will unto you, behold I will make it known unto you, not by the way of commandment, for there are many who observe not to keep my commandments; but unto him that keepeth my commandments, I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life. And now, behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his Saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence. Behold, the land of Zion, I, the Lord, holdeth it in mine own hands; nevertheless, I, the Lord, render unto Caesar the things which are

138                                         ESSENTIALS  IN  CHURCH  HISTORY                                        

Caesar's. Wherefore, I, the Lord, will that you should purchase the lands that you may have advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger; for Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood. Wherefore the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you. And if by purchase, behold you are blessed; and if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance. I, the Lord, am angry with the wicked; I am holding my Spirit from the inhabitants of the earth."

Apostasy of Ezra Booth. -- In September [1831] Joseph Smith moved with his family to Hiram, in Portage County, Ohio, about thirty miles southeast of Kirtland, and commenced living at the home of John Johnson. About this time Ezra Booth left the Church. He had been ordained a high priest, and had taken the trip to Missouri, but had been rebellious. Before coming into the Church he was a Methodist priest; but through the performance of a miracle he was baptized, and from that time he desired to make men believe by the performance of miracles, even by smiting them, or with forcible means. After leaving the Church he wrote a number of articles against the truth which were afterwards published in an anti-"Mormon" book.

Purchase of a Printing Press. -- As Oliver Cowdery and William W. Phelps had been called to print and publish books and writings for the Church, it was necessary that a printing press be purchased. William W. Phelps was instructed, therefore, to call at Cincinnati on his return to Missouri, and purchase a press for this purpose. This press was to be taken to Independence, where they were to print a monthly paper to be called the Evening and Morning Star. This was the first publication in the Church.

Revision of the Bible. -- While residing at Hiram, Joseph Smith was engaged in the revision of the Bible, which work was commenced in Fayette, but had been delayed by

                                          THE  BOOK  OF  COMMANDMENTS                                          139

command of the Lord until this time because of other duties Sidney Rigdon, who also had located in Hiram, continued to write for him. In course of time the Prophet wentthrough the Bible, topic by topic, revising as he was led by revelation.
The work was never fully completed, for


140                                         ESSENTIALS  IN  CHURCH  HISTORY                                        

he had intended, while at Nauvoo, a number of years later, to finish the work, but was cut off by his enemies. Nevertheless, many plain and precious things were revealed which throw great light upon many subjects.

Special Conference of November. -- As Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer were appointed to go to Missouri to attend to duties there, which had been assigned to them, a special conference was called for November 1, 1831, to consider such matters as might need attention before their departure.

Preparation for Publication of Commandments. -- At this special conference, which was held at Hiram, the matter of publishing the revelations and commandments given through Joseph Smith, was considered. This was the will of the Lord, for during that conference he gave the revelation one of the most important in the Doctrine and Covenants which he called "my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth" (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 1). These inhabitants were commanded, as well as were the Saints, to "search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled." The Lord was willing, "to make these things known unto all flesh, for I am no respecter of persons," he said, "and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion; and also the Lord shall have power over his Saints, and shall reign intheir midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world."

Endorsement of the Revelations. -- It was decided that an edition of ten thousand copies of the Book of Commandments should be published. However, at a later date (May 1, 1832) this was changed to three thousand copies. Joseph Smith addressed the elders and said, inasmuch as the Lord had bestowed a great blessing upon them in giving commandments

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and revelations, he would ask the conference what testimony they were willing to give regarding these commandments which should shortly be sent to the world. After the reading of the Lord's preface, a number of the brethren arose and bore witness to the truth of the revelations, which were to be published in the Book of Commandments. The conference lasted two days and much other business was transacted.

Criticism of the Revelations. -- Not all of those present at the conference fully endorsed these revelations; there was one at least, who questioned their language. This was William E. McLellin, who had but recently joined the Church. The Prophet, thereupon received a commandment from the Lord (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 67) in which he was directed to invite the "most wise among you" to choose out of the revelations the least, and attempt to make one like unto it; and if this "wise" individual could duplicate the least of the revelations, then the elders might be justified in saying they did not "know that they are true." If this proved to be a failure, then they would be "under condemnation" if they did not bear record that they are true.

William E. McLellin's Folly. -- William McLellin, as the wisest man, accepted the challenge from the Lord. His attempt was a humiliating failure, to the convincing of the elders present, who unitedly signified their willingness to bear testimony to all the world, of the truth of the revelations given to Joseph Smith.

Other Important Revelations. -- At the conclusion of this conference the Lord gave another commandment (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 68) for the benefit of Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson and William E. McLellin, who had inquired concerning themselves. In addition to the advice and commandments given to these men there was much counsel and commandment for the inhabitants in Zion, for there were idlers among them, the Lord declared, and they were to keep the Sabbath day, to remember their prayers, to teach their children the principles of the Gospel and have

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them baptized when eight years old, for these things they were failing to do; therefore the Lord was not pleased with them. Instructions were also given regarding the Priesthood and its powers, for the guidance of the Church. This information Oliver Cowdery was to carry on his return to Zion.

On the 3rd of November, the Lord gave the great revelation known as the Appendix, to the Book of Commandments, which appears as Section 133 in the book of Doctrine and Covenants.

Arrangement of the Revelations. -- It was decided that Oliver Cowdery should carry the revelations to Missouri, where they should be printed. Joseph Smith was therefore kept busy during the days intervening, as Oliver expected to leave about the 15th of November. The Prophet writes: "My time was occupied closely in reviewing the commandments and sitting in conference, for nearly two weeks; for from the first to the twelfth of November, we held four special conferences."

Worth of the Revelations. -- At the last of these conferences, held in Hiram, at the home of John Johnson, the members voted, after deliberate consideration of the revelations, "that they prize the revelations to be worth to the Church the riches of the whole earth, speaking temporally." The benefits to the Church and to the world, which come from the Book of Mormon and the revelations to Joseph Smith, were also considered, and the expression of the conference was to the effect that the infinite wisdom of the Lord, in granting for their salvation and the salvation of the world, these sacred things, should be fully appreciated.

Commandments Dedicated. -- It was voted that Joseph Smith be appointed to dedicate and consecrate these brethren, Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer, and the sacred writings entrusted to their care, to the Lord. Moreover, it was also voted that, in consequence of the diligence of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and Sidney Rigdon, "in bringing to light, by the grace of God, these

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sacred things, they be appointed to manage them according to the laws of the Church, and that their families as well as the families of Hyrum Smith, Christian Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Hiram Page and David Whitmer, also Samuel Smith, William Smith and Don Carlos Smith, be remembered to the bishop of Zion as worthy of inheritances in the land of Zion. In accord with this motion regarding the dedication of the revelations and those who should carry them, this action was taken at this time by Joseph Smith. Shortly after this conference, Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer departed on their journey.

Labors Among the Enemy. -- On the 1st of December [1831], Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were commanded to take "a mission for a season" and call upon the inhabitants of the earth, and, said the Lord, "confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you, both in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful, their shame shall be made manifest. Wherefore let them bring forth their strong reason against the Lord." The reason for this commandment was due to the activities of the apostate Ezra Booth, who was publishing in Ravenna, Ohio, many falsehoods against the Church. According to this call Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon left on the 3rd of December for Kirtland, to fulfil this revelation. For some time they spoke in Kirtland, Shalersville, Ravenna, and other places, vindicating the cause and confounding their enemies. They were blessed with the Spirit of the Lord, and witnessed the fulfilment of the promises made to them; for they were able to allay much of the excitement and change false impressions which had grown out of scandalous articles in the "Ohio Star" at Ravenna.

The Amherst Conference. -- On the 15th day of January, 1832, a conference was held at Amherst, Loraine County, Ohio. At this conference much business was transacted in harmony and in the spirit of fellowship. Joseph Smith was sustained as President of the High Priesthood. The revelation known as Section 75 in the Doctrine and

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Covenants was also given in which a number of elders were called to take missions, two by two, in several directions throughout the land.

The Vision of the Glories. -- At the close of this conference, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon again took up their work of revising the scriptures. While doing so, "it appeared self-evident," they declared, "from what truths were left, that if God rewarded every one according to the deeds done in the body, the term 'Heaven' is intended for the Saints' eternal home, must include more kingdoms than one.' Accordingly on the 16th of February, 1832, while revising St. John's Gospel, and in answer to their prayer, they saw the heavens opened and beheld the Father and the Son. The account of this vision, as it is given in Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants, is one of the choicest bits of literature, and one of the greatest revelations ever given to man. It throws a flood of light upon eternity and the destiny of the human race and teaches the mercy of a loving Father, who saves all the workmanship of his hands, save it be the sons of perdition, who sin against the light and crucify their Redeemer again unto themselves. That every man shall be rewarded according to his works, and that a place has been prepared for each individual somewhere in the mansion of the Father, after he is purged from sin, is a glorious and merciful provision in the plan of salvation, which this vision declares, as it was provided before the world began. It would be folly to attempt to comment on this most wonderful revelation of the power and loving kindness of the Lord, which the words of man cannot adequately express.

The Prophet's Views on the Vision. -- The words of Joseph Smith pertaining to this opening of the heavens, are well expressed. "Nothing," he has written, "could be more pleasing to the Saints upon the order of the kingdom of the Lord, than the light which burst upon the world through the foregoing vision. Every law, every commandment, every promise, every truth, and every point touching the destiny

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of man, from Genesis to Revelation, where the purity of the scriptures remains unsullied by the folly of men, go to show the perfection of the theory (of different degrees of glory in the future life) and witness the fact that that document is a transcript from the records of the eternal world. The sublimity of the ideas; the purity of the language; the scope for action; the continued duration for completion, in order that the heirs of salvation may confess the Lord and bow the knee; the rewards for faithfulness, and the punishments for sins, are so much beyond the narrow-mindedness of men, that every honest man is constrained to exclaim: 'It came from God!" Joseph Smith or any other man guided by the inspiration of man's power could not have written it.

Mob Violence in Hiram. -- Before going to Hiram, Ohio, to live, Joseph Smith and his wife adopted two children (twins) of Elder John Murdock's. Their mother died at their birth, and Emma Smith, having lost twins of her own which were born the same day, took the Murdock twins to raise. In March, 1832, when these children were about eleven months old, they took the measles, and their care caused both the Prophet and his wife to lose much rest. On the night of the 24th, after the family had retired, a mob surrounded the house, broke open the door and dragged the Prophet into the open. On the way he managed to get one foot loose with which he kicked one of the ruffians and knocked him down. At this, with blasphemous oath, the fiends swore they would kill the Prophet if he made further resistance. They then choked him until he was unconscious. When he came too, he discovered Sidney Rigdon, whom they had also taken from his home and dragged by his heels so that his head struck at every step on the frozen earth. He was unconscious on the ground. About sixty rods from the house the mob held a council to decide what further action they might take. Some were ready to kill the Prophet, but returning to him they attempted to force a vial of acid in his mouth, but the vial was broken against his teeth. An attempt was also made to fill his

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mouth with tar; failing in this they tore from him his clothes, and applied the tar with feathers to his body. After shamefully beating him they left him helpless on the ground. Joseph attempted to rise, but fell to the ground again. After a while he began to recover his strength, and made his way with difficulty to his home.

Sidney received similar treatment, which left him delirious for several days. The Prophet's friends spent the night cleaning the tar from his body, and the following day, it being the Sabbath, he met with the people at the regular hour, and addressed them. Several of the members of the mob were present, including Simonds Ryder, an apostate, and leader of the mob; a Mr. McClentic and Felatiah Allen, who had provided the mob with a barrel of whisky to raise their spirits and make them "brave" to do the deed. During the mobbing one of the twins became exposed, contracted a severe cold, and a few days later, died.

Second Visit to Missouri. -- The first of April, Joseph Smith, with Newel K. Whitney and Jesse Cause, left for Missouri to fulfil the provisions of a revelation (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 78) in respect to regulating and establishing the affairs of the store house for the poor, and the consecration of properties. They were later joined by Sidney Rigdon. On the way they purchased paper, at Wheeling, Virginia, for the press in Zion, and arrived in Independence on the 24th of April. Two days later at a general council of the Church, Joseph Smith was acknowledged by the Saints in Zion as President of the High Priesthood, ratifying the action of the Amherst conference, held January 25, 1832.

Zion and Her Stakes. -- During this conference a revelation was given commanding the elders to bind themselves in a covenant of consecration, which could not be broken. Kirtland was to become a "stake of Zion." a "For I have consecrated

a The term "Stake of Zion," which was first used in a revelation given in November, 1831 (Sec. 68) is a comparison to the stakes which bind a tent. Isaiah says: "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes there

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the land of Shinehah (Kirtland), in mine own due time," said the Lord, "for the benefit of the Saints of the Most High, and for a stake of Zion. For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthed; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments. Therefore I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant, and it shall be done according to the laws of the Lord."

Return to Kirtland. -- Joseph and the brethren visited the Colesville Saints in Kaw township, who rejoiced greatly to see them. It was agreed in a council held on the first of May to print but three thousand copies of the Book of Commandments, and that the revelations should be reviewed and prepared by Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps and John Whitmer; and that the hymns selected by Emma Smith be prepared for printing. After the transaction of other necessary business, Joseph Smith and his companions, Rigdon and Whitney, returned to Kirtland. On this journey Joseph was poisoned and Bishop Whitney met with an accident breaking his leg and foot in several places; both were healed by the power of the Lord.

of shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken (Ch. 33:20). Again: "Enlarge the place of thy tent and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes" (Ch. 54:2). Zion is the tent, the settlements surrounding her, are the cords and stakes. It is as improper to speak of Zion in Missouri as the "center stake of Zion," as it would be to call a tent a stake.


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Important Revelations. -- In the fall of 1832 and continuing through the winter and spring of 1833, a number of remarkable revelations were given for the edification and guidance of the Church. Great principles of science and philosophy, as well as of doctrine and spiritual truth, were revealed.

On the 22nd and 23rd of September, at the inquiry of a number of elders of the Church, the history and power of the Priesthood were revealed (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 84); the responsibilities taken by those who are ordained, were explained; the promises made to those who are faithful that they shall receive the fulness of the blessings of the father's kingdom for he had declared it "with an oath and covenant, which belongeth to the Priesthood," with the penalty attached that "whoso breaketh this covenant * * * and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world, nor in the word to come" -- were clearly defined; the place of the great temple, and when it shall be built, and many other things dealing with the gathering of the Saints, the building of Zion and its redemption, were set forth.

November 27 the Lord stated that he would send one mighty and strong to arrange the inheritances of the Saints in Zion (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 85). December 6, the parable of the wheat and the tares was explained (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 86). On Christmas day the prophecy on war, which has so far been fulfilled, was given (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 87). Two days later the remarkable revelation on scientific and doctrinal truth, known as the "Olive Leaf" (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 88), was presented to the Church. In this wonderful

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communication from the heavens, the following eternal principles, among many others, were revealed:

The light of Christ is the light of truth and is the light of the sun, the planets, the stars, and the power by which they were made; it is the light which quickeneth the intelligence of man; it is the life and light of all things, and is the law by which they are governed; it fills the immensity of space; to every kingdom there is given laws which have their bounds and conditions; there is no space in which there is no kingdom, great or small; the worlds in space are peopled with the children of our Father; the earth on which we dwell is a living body and shall die, but shall be raised again a celestial body and shall become the abode of celestial beings; the inhabitants of the earth who are unfaithful must inherit another kingdom in eternity; he who cannot abide the law of the celestial kingdom, cannot abide a celestial glory; every man in the resurrection is quickened by the glory of the kingdom to which he has attained: the spirit and the body is the soul of man, and the redemption of the soul is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; after the testimonies of the elders will come the testimonies of judgments; the order of the signs preceding the coming of the Savior, are made known; the redemption of the just; the destruction of the "great and abominable church;" and the fate of the wicked, are declared among the great truths contained in this revelation.

In February, 1833, the Lord gave to Joseph Smith the "Word of Wisdom" (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 89), for the temporal salvation of mankind. March 15, 1833, the doctrmes of the eternity of matter; the glory of God is Intelligence; the innocence of man in the beginning; and many other things were received (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 93).

The School of the Prophets. -- In the revelation of December 27, 1833 (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 88), the elders of the Church were also commanded to "teach one another the doctrines of the kingdom." They were to be instructed "more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the

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law of the Gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God," that were expedient for them to understand. They were to tarry in Kirtland for this instruction, before they should "go forth, among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the Saints for the hour of judgment which is to come." They were to seek diligently out of the best books, words of wisdom and learning "even by study and also by faith." That this should be accomplished, they were to prepare a house of prayer, learning and faith, even a house of glory -- a house of God. In it they were to call their solemn assemblies; one should be appointed as teacher, and not all speak at once. While one speaks, all others should give attention. In this manner there was to be perfect order in the School of the Prophets for -- so it should be called. Moreover, the Lord declared: "And this shall be the order of the house of the presidency of the school: He that is appointed to be president, or teacher, shall be found standing in his place, in the house which shall be prepared for him. Therefore, he shall be first in the house of God, in a place that the congregation in the house may hear his words carefully and distinctly, not with loud speech." Those who were entitled to attend should be the officers of the Church who are called to the ministry, "beginning at the high priests, even down to the deacons." They were to greet each other in fellowship, with proper salutations. They should be men who were clean from the blood of this generation, sober-minded and full of faith. Further, the Lord stated: "And ye are called to do this by prayer and thanksgiving as the Spirit shall give utterance in all your doings in the house of the Lord, in the School of the Prophets, that it may become a sanctuary, a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit to your edification."

The Coming of Brigham Young and Others. -- September 10, George Albert Smith, son of John Smith and cousin to the Prophet, was baptized in Potsdam, New York. He was a youth fifteen years of age, who in later years

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was to play an important part in the work of these latter days. About the 8th of November, Joseph Young, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and John P. Greene, came from Mendon, Monroe County, New York. This was the first meeting of Joseph Smith and these brethren. They remained in Kirtland for a number of days and were privileged to meet with the Prophet on several occasions. In one of their meetings, Brigham Young and John P. Greene spoke in tongues, as did also the Prophet Joseph Smith. These brethren had received the Gospel in Mendon. It had first been brought to their attention in the summer or fall of 1831 4 through the labors of Samuel H. Smith, who had left a copy of the Book of Mormon with John P. Greene. Later, through the preaching of Elders Alpheus Gifford, Elial Strong and others they were persuaded to receive the truth, Brigham Young was baptized by Elder Eleazer Miller, April 14, 1832; was ordained an elder and at once entered the ministry and assisted in raising up several branches in the vicinity of Mendon, New York.

The Prophet's Labors in Kirtland. -- The winter of 1832-3 was spent by Joseph Smith in revision of the scriptures; in the School of the Prophets, which had just been organized by commandment (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 88); and in the holding of conferences from time to time. In January a number of meetings of the elders were held, in which the ordinances of washing of feet, as spoken of in the 13th chapter of John, was attended to, as commanded by the Lord (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 88). On the 2nd of February the Prophet finished the revision of the New Testament, as far as he was directed to revise it at that time, and sealed it up not to be opened until it arrived in Zion. Several epistles were written to the Saints, and much correspondence passed between the elders in Zion and those in Kirtland in relation to their work.

Organization of the First Presidency. -- March 18, 1833, the First Presidency of the Church was organized, with Joseph Smith, president, and Sidney Rigdon and Frederick

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G. Williams, counselors. This was in fulfilment of the commandment given in a revelation (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 90) on the 8th of that month, wherein the Lord said to Joseph Smith: "And again, verily I say unto thy brethren, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, their sins are forgiven them also, and they are accounted as equal with thee in holding the keys of the kingdom." One year before, in March, 1832, the Lord had called Frederick G. Williams to this position by revelation (Doc. and Cov. Sec. 81), and to hold "the keys of the kingdom, which belongeth always unto the Presidency of the High Priesthood." Joseph Smith laid his hands on the heads of each of these men and ordained them to take part with him in this great responsibility. Thus another step in the organization of the Church was completed.

Kirtland a Stake of Zion. -- March 23, 1833, a council of the elders was called for the purpose of appointing a committee to purchase lands in Kirtland, upon which the Saints might build a stake of Zion. After some deliberations a committee was appointed consisting of Ezra Thayer and Joseph Coe. Later the property was purchased for this purpose, and many of the elders commenced to labor in various ways for the building of a city for the Saints at Kirtland.

First Gathering of the Mob in Zion. -- In April, 1833, the first gathering of the mob in Jackson County took place. About three hundred men came together to decide upon a plan of campaign for the removal of the members of the

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Church in Jackson County. At the same time the elders in Jackson County met in solemn prayer and petitioned the Lord that the efforts of their enemies might fail. They had reason to meet and pray, for the wickedness of their enemies was extreme. Nor were the Saints free from guilt before the Lord. They had failed to keep strictly the commandments of the Lord which had been given them for the building up of Zion. Jealousies had arisen and murmurings were heard; even the Prophet, as well as others of the leading brethren, had been criticized. Some of the members had failed to observe the law of consecration, which had been given for the building of Zion, and their humility, in some respects, had been forgotten. However, on this occasion the deliberations of their enemies came to nothing. The Lord had heard the prayers of the Saints.

A House of the Lord in Kirtland. -- At a conference of high priests held May 4, 1833, a committee was appointed to obtain subscriptions for the building of a house for a school, in compliance with the revelations of December 27, 1832, and March 8, 1833, where the elders might receive instructions before going out to warn the world. Hyrum Smith, Jared Carter and Reynolds Cahoon, were appointed as that committee. May 6, Joseph Smith received another revelation in which the Church was commanded to "commence a work of laying out and preparing a beginning and foundation of a stake of Zion," in Kirtland. A house was also to be built for the work of printing, translating, and "all things whatsoever the Lord should command them." The committee immediately went to work to gather means by subscriptions for this purpose. They had previously been commanded to build a house unto the Lord, to be a house of prayer and fasting, to be a temple unto His name.

Commencement of the Kirtland Temple. -- By the first of June the preparations for the building of the Kirtland Temple were under way. A circular letter was sent out by the building committee to the various branches of the Church, June 1, the Prophet received the word of the Lord in relation

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to the building of the temple, in which the Saints were commanded to hasten the work, and the necessity for such a building was made known. "Ye have sinned against me a very grievous sin, in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things, that I have given unto you concerning the building of mine house," said the Lord. Then He states the reason, in part for the full purpose for such a house was not at that time made known to be as follows: "For the preparation wherewith I design to prepare mine apostles to prune my vineyard for the last time, that I may bring to pass my strange act, that I may pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. * * * Yea, verily I say unto you, I give you a commandment that you should build an house, in the which I design to endow those whom I have chosen, with power from on high. For this is the promise of the Father unto you, therefore I command you to tarry, even as mine apostles at Jerusalem."

From this it is discovered that there were certain 'endowments and blessings to be given to the elders, before they could go forth fully prepared to preach the Gospel in the world, which could only be obtained in the temple of the Lord. For this cause the Lord commanded that the temple be built at once, for the preaching of the Gospel was urgent, and the laborers were few. The Saints therefore, went to work diligently in the midst of many difficulties, both within, as well as without, the Church, to build the house of the Lord.

The First Work on the Temple. -- On the 5th of June, George A. Smith hauled the first load of stone, and Hyrum Smith and Reynolds Cahoon, two of the building committee, commenced to dig the trench for the foundation, which they later finished with their own hands. Others also volunteered, and by these means the work progressed.

The Case of "Doctor" Hurlburt. -- On the 3rd of June a charge was preferred against Philastus Hurlburt, who was accused of unchristian conduct while on a mission to the east. On investigation his elder's licence was taken from

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him. On the 21st he appealed his case and on making confession of his improper conduct and a seeming show of repentance, he was reinstated. Two days later, however, his sincerity was called in question, and on the testimony of witnesses who had heard him say that he had not repented and had deceived "JosePn Smith's God," he was excommunicated from the Church. He later manifested a bitter spirit and in April, 1834, was bound by the court to keep the peace, "with good and sufficient security in the sum of two hundred dollars," for threats against the life of Joseph Smith. a

a Any reference to "Dr." Hurlburt might be considered insignificant but for one thing which developed after his apostasy and excommunication, which may be mentioned briefly here. He was not a doctor, but was so called because he was the seventh son. He had been a Methodist, but had been expelled from that body for immoral conduct, before he joined the Church. While engaged in missionary work in Pennsylvania he heard of a manuscript that had been written by one Solomon Spaulding, which dealt with the subject of the American Indian. Hurlburt had an evil thought. If he could make it appear that the Book of Mormon was taken, or plagiarized, from the Spaulding Manuscript, it would prove to be an irreparable injury to "Mormonism." Others became interested in the scheme and a book was produced by E. D. Howe, entitled "Mormonism Unveiled." Of course the Spaulding story was lost so that no comparison was possible. For many years the publication of E. D. Howe was made to do mighty service against the Book of Mormon. As time went on, however, the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding was found, and is now in the archives of Oberlin College, in Ohio. A comparison with the Book of Mormon proved that the two productions were no more alike than the Bible is like the story of Gulliver's Travels. Since that day the Hurlburt-Howe theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon has been dead. For a thorough account of this question the reader is referred to "The Myth of the Manuscript Found," by Elder George Reynolds; and "New Witness for God," Vol. 3; Page 354, by Elder B. H. Roberts.

Note 1: On pages 145-46 Elder Joseph Fielding Smith presents an abbreviated summary of the March 1832 tar and feathering of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, setting his description within the temporal context of a series of "revelations" communicated by Joseph Smith (in one case in company with Sidney Rigdon) while at Hiram, Ohio -- and yet the writer makes no direct connection between those unique texts and the 1832 assault. He does, however, mention that not all Mormons of that period accepted the "revelations" as inspired. This may have been especially true of "the Vision" recorded on Feb. 16, 1832. For more on an unbelieving (and even hostile) reaction to this event and to its doctrinal innovations, see Tim Rathbone's unpublished 1987 paper "The Impact of the 'Vision' on the Membership of the Early Church," E. Cecil McGavin's 1949 Historical Background of the D&C, pp. 188-194, and chapters 25 and 26 in Mark L. Staker's 2010 Hearken, O Ye People.

Note 2: On page 146 Elder Smith relates the aftermath of the March 1832 tar and feathering episode, stating that Simonds Ryder, "an apostate, and leader of the mob," attended the Mormon leader's preaching service on the following Sunday. He also states that a certain "Felatiah Allen" (Pelatiah Allyn the 4th?) was present, and that it was he "who had provided the mob with a barrel of whisky to raise their spirits and make them 'brave' to do the deed." How the writer came to these particular conclusions he does not explain. Symmonds Ryder's son, Hartwell Ryder, clearly stated in 1902 that his father was not involved in that unfortunate event and demanded that such LDS allegations be "erased from the Mormon books." In 1900 Hartwell made a similar assertion, "that Ryder had nothing to do with this affair." While it is possible that Pelatiah Allyn, IV was the person who supplied "a barrel of whisky" to the 1832 assailants, a 1909 source related that the liquor donation was only made available to the attackers afterthey were "returning from the tar and feathering expedition," when they "found the barrel conveniently placed with the spigot toward the road." If Mr. Allyn was indeed the supplier, then the barrel would have probably been placed near the intersection of what are now Pioneer Trail Road and Route 700, in the neighborhood south of Hiram Centre where the old Allyn residence once stood. Such a scenario would seem to preclude a wild, drunken mob planning and carrying out the hostile actions of that night.

Elmer Cecil McGavin
Historical Background of D&C
SLC: Paragon Printing Co., 1949

  Title page
  Ch. 7 excerpt
  Ch. 8 excerpt
  Ch. 9 excerpt
  Ch. 11 excerpt
  Ch. 13 excerpt
  Transcriber's Comments

Contents Copyright 1949 by E. C. McGavin
All rights reserved; only limited,
"fair use" excerpts are presented here.




of the



E. Cecil McGavin

author of






  Due to copyright law restrictions,
only limited "fair use" excerpts are presented here.

[ 105 ]



"You've prayed me here. Now what do you want of me?" The speaker was Joseph Smith, while the surprised listener was Newel K. Whitney. The place was the store of Gilbert and Whitney in Kirtland, Ohio. It was early in February, shortly after he arrived in the village which was soon to become the headquarters of the Church.

Yes, Newel K. Whitney was among the many who had been exercised by the preaching of four missionaries as they tarried in northern Ohio before continuing their journey to the "border of the Lamanites." Joseph and Emma were made welcome in the Whitney home, where they lived for a few months.

The Whitney family was one of the most respectable and influential families in the community. To gain their friendship and be invited to share their hospitality for a few months magnified the favored guests in the eyes of the public. It is said that Joseph, had seen the Whitneys in vision praying for his coming to Kirtland.

The Whitneys related that they were once praying fervently to know how they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, of which the "Campbellite" missionaries had preached so much, when they beheld a cloud of glory resting upon their house and heard a voice saying, "Prepare to receive the word of the Lord, for it is coming!" [1]


The Whitneys and almost all the other converts in Ohio were members of a new society called the "Disciples of Christ." They were called the "Campbellites" because of their two outstanding leaders, Thomas and Alexander Campbell. There was no church in the world that taught so many doctrines of the restoration as the "Campbellites" had been teaching for a few years. Just as surely as Parley

1 History of the Church. I, 146.

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P. Pratt found a few "people prepared" in eastern Canada, awaiting the message he took them, so did the four missionaries who paused in Kirtland during their journey to the Indians in western Missouri.

The work of preparation that had been accomplished in eastern Canada was very meager in comparison with that which the "Campbellite" reformers had achieved in northern Ohio. When Heber C. Kimball set Parley P. Pratt apart for his mission to Canada he promised him that "there thou shalt find a people prepared for the fulness of the Gospel, and they shall receive thee." Yet that preparation was limited, indeed, and the number who received his message was a mere handful in comparison with the hundreds who readily accepted the message in Ohio.

A few years later Wilford Woodruff was inspired to go to Herefordshire in England, where a work of preparation was in progress. In a few months he baptized eighteen hundred members, including forty-five preachers. In every case where groups similar to the "Toronto Society" and the "United Brethren" were contacted, their numbers were small and the work of preparation they had accomplished was restricted and limited in comparison with the "Campbellite" reformation that had swept the Western Reserve.

The first revelation given in behalf of Sidney Rigdon announced a truth that cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the reformers in Ohio. It contained these words, "Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way 'before me." There was no other place in the world where the Church leaders could have turned at that time and found a people prepared and doctrines being taught that were so comparable to the revealed teachings of the restoration.

There was a legend among the early Teutonic tribes in central Europe that a goddess in heaven known as the Norn-Mother, was assigned to keep watch over the earth

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and send the spirits from heaven to earth at the time they could do the most good. The poet Edwin Markham had this theory in mind when he wrote his masterpiece, "Lincoln, the Great Commoner," which begins with these lines:
When the Norn-Mother saw the Whirlwind Hour,
Greatening and darkening as it hurried on,
She bent the strenuous Heavens and came down,
To make a man to meet the mortal need.
The work of preparation that had been accomplished on the Western Reserve was nothing short of miraculous. It was as great a mission in the spirit of Elias as had been accomplished before by the great reformers in Europe. It was a master stroke of diplomacy when Joseph Smith went home with Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, where he and his missionaries were soon to baptize hundreds from the "Campbellite" fold and build a powerful branch in a short time, an accomplishment that could not have been achieved elsewhere in the world.

For a complete knowledge of Church history and the growth of the Doctrine and Covenants we must know the story of the "Disciples of Christ" on the Western Reserve. They were teaching so many things that the Mormons later taught that they accused Joseph Smith of stealing most of his religious pattern from them. Moreover, most of these common doctrines were not a part of the restoration at the dawn of 1831 when the Prophet moved among them. Upon this subject a thesis was recently written in an eastern university for a Ph. D. degree, "The Influence of the Frontier on Joseph Smith."

In 1807 Thomas Campbell, a Scotch-Irish preacher arrived in America to carry out the reformation he had dreamed about in Ireland. Two years later his son Alexander arrived and gave his full support to his father's reformation. They were weary of the strife that existed in the sects of Christendom, hoping to promote unity by

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restoring the primitive church of the New Testament. [2]

The Campbells sought to be bound only by the scriptures and not by any human creeds. Since they practiced baptism by immersion they were invited to join the Baptist Association, which they did in 1813.

Because of friction the Campbells withdrew from that association in 1830. The most popular theme of the reformers was the "Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things." Their ministers were soon preaching this message in the hamlets on the frontier, where they found many disciples. In 1830 many Baptists united with the reformation. Sidney Rigdon, his brother-in-law Adamson Bentley, and many other Baptist preachers followed Thomas Campbell into his expanding society.

In 1820 Rigdon accepted the new ideas of this reformation and was licensed to preach the same year. "He was a man of extraordinary native eloquence," his Campbellite friends wrote of him, "and soon made his name well known. Along with Bentley he gave himself to the new ideas until 1830 when he fell away to Mormonism. By these men, in cooperation with Walter Scott, the majority of the Baptist churches on the Western Reserve were permeated with the new teaching." [3]

The Campbells were brilliant, aggressive, and courageous. They taught many revolutionary doctrines that were not taught by any other denomination at that time. They insisted that there had been an apostasy and that the primitive church would be restored; that ministers would be endowed with the holy authority that the ancient apostles possessed. They taught that baptism by immersion was for the remission of sins, a new doctrine even to the Baptists.

Some of the Baptist factions had practiced the laying on of hands, feet-washing, the anointing of the sick,

2 Daryl Chase, Christianity Through the Centuries, p. 242.

3 Errett Gates and E. B. Hurlbert. The Early Relation and Separation of Baptists and Disciples, p. 86; A. S. Hayden, History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, pp. 31, 61, 77.

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weekly communion, and other revolutionary doctrines as a part of their plan to restore the ancient order of things. For a time they even anointed apostles, but the custom soon met with disapproval and was discontinued.

Then as now the motto of the "Campbellites" was "Where the Bible speaks we speak and where the Bible is silent we are silent," yet their ministers could not agree on where the Bible "spoke." In 1829 they started a new publication, its very name filled with the spirit of the time, The Millennial Harbinger, which soon became a powerful instrument in carrying the new philosophy to many people. The fly leaf, first printed on the eve of that historic year of restoration -- 1830 -- bore this striking prophecy of restoration:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.
This new movement has never been given its full credit as a forerunner, preparing the way for the restoration. In all the hamlets near Kirtland, Rigdon, Bentley, and Scott had long been preaching many of the doctrines of the restoration -- the same doctrines that the four missionaries expounded when they paused in Kirtland to tell the old friends of Elder Pratt of the restoration of the ancient order of things. One of the most popular of the common beliefs were the first "five principles." The "Campbellite" reformers always stressed them -- "First faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Scott often stopped children on the street, asked them to raise one hand and he would count the five principles on their fingers, urging them to hasten home and tell their parents about the five principles and invite them to attend their public meeting that night. While preaching he

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would often raise his left hand "Using his thumb for faith, and so on; then contrast it with the five points of Calvinism; and thus make it so plain that the little boys could carry it home."

These reformers had built up such strong branches on the Western Reserve that it is little wonder that the restoration was received with such willingness. This people was prepared for the truth. They had heard about the first five principles; all salaried "hirelings" in the church had been denounced; a name that reflected the primitive Christian Church was recommended; the Lord's Supper was observed weekly, the apostasy was taught, and the restoration of the ancient order of things was prayerfully anticipated. [4]

In every hamlet on the Western Reserve the missionaries from this new society were preaching the popular creeds to audiences on the street corners, in cottage meetings, and in large chapels. Hundreds of free thinkers on the frontier embraced the new religion and looked forward to a full "restoration of the ancient order of things." Joseph Smith moved into the very strongholds of this denomination, and soon convinced hundreds that the "restoration" the Campbell disciples had been expecting was now in progress under a different name and far more glorious than they had anticipated.

Typical of the sermons and writings from the leaders of that reform movement, we quote the following from their popular literature:
The spirit of God has been moving the minds of such men as Glas, Sandeman, and others to plead for a restoration of the ancient Gospel. [5]

Hence we cherish the hope and breathe the prayer that the spirit of missionary zeal and of primitive simplicity may shed its effulgence on our American Zion... [6]

It is obvious to the most superficial observer, who is at all
4 Winifred E. Garrison, Religion Follows the Frontier, pp. 59-67.

5 W. T. Moore, A Comprehensive History of the Disciples of Christ, p. 432

6 The Christian Baptist, (Preface).

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(under construction)

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(under construction)

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the course, and the only course, that will effect a cure and renovate the constitution. [14]

And while I write and labor as I do, he that knows the hearts of all flesh knows that I do it from the fullest conviction from his oracles that the Christianity of our day is a corrupt Christianity, and that the ancient order of things is lost sight of in almost all denominations of professing Christians. [15]

It is a thing equally deplorable and dangerous, that there are as many creeds as there are opinions among men; as many doctrines as inclinations; and as many sources of blasphemy as there are faults among us; because we make creeds arbitrarily, and explain them as arbitrarily. And as there is but one faith, so is there but one God, one Lord, and one baptism. We renounce this one faith when we make so many different creeds; and that diversity is the reason why we have no true faith among us. We can not be ignorant that since the Council of Nice, we have done nothing but make creeds. [16]
The teachings of the "Disciples" had certainly opened the way for the divine truths that were soon to be taught in every hamlet on the frontier. This work of preparation was well acknowledged and explained in the first revelation that was given in behalf of Sidney Rigdon when he arrived in Fayette to interview the Prophet and ascertain if this were the true restoration about which he and his colleagues had been dreaming:
I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work.

Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before Elijah which should come, and thou knewest it not.

Thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost;

But now I give unto thee a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, even as the apostles of old.

And it shall come to pass that there shall be a great work in the land, even among the Gentiles, for their folly and their abominations shall be made manifest in the eyes of all people. [17]
14 The Christian Baptist, 1:33.

15 Ibid., IV: 285.

16 Ibid., IV: 296.

17 Doctrine and Covenants 35:3-7.

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We fail to catch the full significance of those words until we know the doctrines of the "Disciples" and realize how they were preparing the people for the truths of the restoration. In that same revelation Sidney was instructed to become a scribe for Joseph "and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine elect."

This was welcome news to the new disciple, since his former leaders had long been preaching that the Bible should be revised. In fact they had published a revision of the scriptures and had insisted that the Protestant Bible was poorly translated. Most ministers would have rebelled against Joseph Smith if they had been told, the day they first met him, that they were expected to assist in the revision of the Bible. Sidney had been teaching that doc- trine for a decade and was anxious to hasten into the welcome labor at once.


In any other region but northern Ohio the Church would have had a hard time getting a foothold. Their doctrines were so new and revolutionary to those of orthodox Christianity that a wave of persecution would have engulfed them, but there were thousands on the Western Reserve who were well prepared for the divine message.

During the summer of 1828, Bishops Scott, Rigdon, and Bentley baptized 800 persons in the vicinity of Kirtland. In every instance "baptism was connected with the promise of the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost," a doctrine that was not being taught elsewhere. [18]

We must glean many facts from the official publications of the "Campbellites" to show what a comprehensive preparation they had made for the restoration. Their prolific writings abound with such teachings and historical sidelights as the following:

18 Gates and Hurlbert, op. cit., p. 34.

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If any man, therefore, contend that human creeds are necessary to the unity of the church, he at the same time and by all the same arguments, contends that the scriptures of the Holy spirit are insufficient -- that is, imperfect or defective. Every human creed is based upon the inadequacy, that is, the imperfection of the holy scriptures. [19]
The historian Grafton assures us that the people on the restless frontier were well prepared for such a reform as the Campbells started. "Many there were," he was convinced, "who, wearied with the denominational strife, and restive under ecclesiastical domination, awaited a prophet whose aim was spiritual emancipation, and whose strong and fearless leadership they could trust." [20]

This is typical of the voluminous writings of the "Campbellites" on the various subjects of the restoration. For years their publications had been crowded with this philosophy. Their sermons shook the hearers out of their lethargy and complacency, firing them with a zeal to look forward to something greater than any of the churches offered them, and created a spirit of discontent in the churches on the frontier. By 1830 the restless people on the frontier were eagerly awaiting something new in religion. The "Campbellites" had said so much about the restoration of the ancient order and an inspired ministry going abroad, endowed with the authority that the ancient disciples possessed, with authority to correct the evils in the churches, revise the Bible, and restore the primitive religion, that the thousands on the Western Reserve expected just such a message as the Mormons brought them.

"Mark it well," declared one of their preachers, "we are the only people who would tolerate, or who ever did tolerate any person to continue as a reformer or a restorer amongst us." [21] "It was the baptism for the remission of sins that distinguished the baptisms of these reforming preachers from ordinary Baptist baptisms." [22] "Sidney Rigdon,

19 The Christian Baptist, p. 134.

20 Thomas W. Grafton, Life of Alexander Campbell, p. 116.

21 Gates and Hurlbert, op. cit., p. 520.

22 Ibid., p. 66.

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before his defection to the Mormons, began to advocate the restoration of the ancient communism as practised in the church at Jerusalem. These extremes were not widespread. They were the inevitable phenomena connected with an earnest effort to restore the primitive faith and practice." [23]

This was a time of preparation. Just as surely as John the Baptist went forth preaching a doctrine of preparation for greater things to come, so did the zealous "Campbellites" preach a preparatory message to the colonists on the Ohio frontier. Concerning other reform movements at the same time it has been wisely said:

Protestant churches were departing from the principles of the great Reformation in their faith and practice. These are indications that the spirit of reform was in the air. It belonged to the spirit of the age. None of them have come to such widespread influence or strength as the movement led by the Campbells.

Besides these organized and affiliated bodies there were tingle churches that sought the New Testament basis, which were entirely out of fellowship with other churches; one in Baltimore under the leadership of a Mr. Duncan; one in Philadelphia under the leadership of Mr. Chambers; and one in Gettysburg, Pa., under the leadership of Mr. McLean. All three were Presbyterian churches. They renounced the authority of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Presbystery in 1825, and established themselves upon New Testament ground. About 1818-1820 a church in New York was organized independently, with the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, and sought to restore the exact order of the apostolic churches. This church heard of other similar organizations from time to time, and entered into correspondence with them to ascertain the faith and practice of each. The following churches were heard from -- one in Edinburg, one in Manchester, and one in Dublin. [24]
"All agreed to the desirability of the union of all Christians, but did not agree as to the way of it, namely: By restoring apostolic Christianity... It is the work of God, who hath raised up a prophet in these last days in the person of the Bethany sage." [25]

23 Ibid., p. 75.

24 Ibid., p. 84.

25 Ibid., p. 87.

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(under construction)

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(under construction)

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Baptists surrendering the title, yet holding the Head, even Christ; Restorationists, giving up their fruitless and faulty speculation, now obedient to the faith once delivered to the saints; Bible Christians, recovered from their negative gospel to the apostle's method of preaching, together with very many other forms of religions belief, all rejoicing together, perfectly united in the same mind and the same judgment. [27]


The story of the conversion of Sidney Rigdon has been well told in the records of the Church, but the following account from the pen of a "Campbellite" historian is interesting and sheds a flood of light and local color on this subject:
Sidney Rigdon was an orator of no inconsiderable abilities. In person, he was full medium height, rotund in form; of countenance, while speaking, open and winning, with a little cast of melancholy. His action clear and musical. Yet he was an enthusiast, and unstable. His personal influence with an audience was very great; but many, with talents far inferior, surpassed him in judgment and permanent power with the people. He was just the man for an awakening.

The trumpet which blew gave no uncertain sound. It was the old jubilee trumpet, first sounded by the fishermen of Galilee on the day of Pentecost, announcing glad tidings to the nations that the year of release from bondage in sin had now come, calling ransomed sinners to return, freely pardoned, to their homes. They spoke with authority, for the word they delivered was not theirs, but that of Jesus Christ. The whole community was quickly and thoroughly aroused. Many turned to the Lord. The first person to accept the offered boon and lead the people to Christ, was an intelligent young man, M. S. Clapp, then in his twenty-first year, son of Judge Clapp. His older brother, Thomas J. Clapp, had been baptized in June previous. Twenty persons were baptized the first time they repaired to the Jordan. The immediate result of the meeting was the conversion of over fifty souls to the Lord Jesus.

It is impossible to describe the agitation of the public mind. The things which they heard were so new, yet so clearly scriptural,
27 Hayden, op. cit., pp. 36, 162.

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that, while some hesitated and many wondered, they could not gainsay it; and nearly the whole church accepted cordially the doctrine of the Lord, exchanged their "articles" for the new covenant as the only divine the basis for Christ's church, and abandoned unscriptural titles and church names, choosing to be known simply as the disciples of Christ.

From Mentor they went to Kirtland, where almost an equal in-gathering awaited them. The fields were white for the harvest. At the first baptizing here, twenty souls were lifted into the kingdom. Others followed, and soon the numbers so increased that a separate organization became a necessity -- so mightily prevailed the word of the Lord.

The news of this great overturn spread quickly through the country, up and down the lake shore. Bentley went to Painesville. The rumor of the revival in Mentor preceded him, with some exaggerated and perverted accounts of the preaching. He delivered a few discourses on the first principles of the gospel, and left them to leaven the minds of his hearers. The church now contained over a hundred members.

Few communities have been so stable; the families here named have composed the staple of membership, and the support of the church from that time to the present. This congregation has long stood as a lighthouse. It was shaken as by a tempest under the outbreak of Mormonism; but it is to be noted that few of its members were led astray. While the church in Kirtland, with less experience, and more immediately in Rigdon's power, became engulphed, and has never since been recovered, the church in Mentor, with stronger material, withstood the shock. They were much aided in their resistance by the presence of Elder Thomas Campbell, who spent several months there and in the vicinity during the agitation which it produced.

Bro. A. P. Jones and J. J. Moss, equally bold and with more learning, was his true yoke-fellow. They were both teaching in the vicinity of Kirtland, when Mormonism invaded the place, and hand in hand, though young, they often put its champions to flight.

This was in the fall of 1830. This coarse imposture was not born of chance. Characterized by much that is gross, and accompanied by practices repulsive for their lowness and vulgarity, it yet had a plan and an aim, and it was led on by a master spirit of delusion. It marked out its own coarse, and premeditated its points of attack. Its advent in Mentor was not accidental. Its four emissaries to the "Lamanites" in the West, like the four evil messengers from the Euphrates (Rev. ix: 15), had Rigdon in their

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eye before leaving Palmyra, N. Y. On his part, Rigdon, with pompous pretense, was travailing with expectancy of some great event soon tube revealed to the surprise and astonishment of mankind. Gifted with very fine powers of mind, an imagination at once fertile, glowing and wild to extravagance, with temperament tinged with sadness and bordering on credulity, he was prepared and preparing others for the voice of some mysterious event soon to come.

The discomfiture he experienced at the hands of Mr. Campbell at Austintown, when seeking to introduce his common property scheme, turned him away mortified, chagrined and alienated. This was only two and a half months before he received, in peace, the messengers of delusion. Another fact: A little after this, the same fall, and before the first emissaries of the Mormon prophet came to Mentor, Parley P. Pratt, a young preacher of some promise from Lorain County, a disciple under Rigdon's influence, passing through Palmyra, the prophet's home, turned aside to see this great sight. He became an easy convert Immediately an embassy is prepared, composed of this same P. P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery and two others, for the "Lamanites."

The next scene opens in Mentor. About the middle of November, came two footmen with carpet bags filled with copies of the Book of Mormon, stopped at Rigdon's What passed that night between him and these young prophets no pen will reveal; but interpreting events came rapidly on. Next morning, while Judge Clapp's family were at breakfast, in came Rigdon, and in an excited manner said: "Two men came to my house last night on a c-u-r-i-o-u-s- mission;" prolonging the word in a strange manner. When thus awakened, all around the table looking up, he proceeded to narrate how some men in Palmyra, N. Y., had found, by the direction of an angel, certain plates inscribed with mysterious characters; that by the same heavenly visitant, a young man, ignorant of letters, had been led into the secret of deciphering the writing on the plates; that it made known the origin of the Indian tribes; with other matters of great interest to the world and that the discovery would be of such importance as to open the way for the introduction of the Millennium. Amazement! They had been accustomed to his stories about the Indians, much more marvelous than credible, but that strange statement, made with an air both of wonder and credulity, overcame their patience. "It's all a lie," cried out Matthew; quite disconcerting the half apostate Rigdon; and this future Aaron of the new prophet retired.

These two men who came to Rigdon's residence, were the young preacher before named, P. P. Pratt, intimately acquainted

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with Rigdon, and therefore, doubtless chosen to lead the mission, and Oliver Cowdery. This Mr. Cowdery was one of the three original witnesses to Mormonism; Martin Harris and David Whitmer were the other two. Harris was the first scribe to record the new Bible at the dictation of Smith; but through carelessness he suffered the devil to steal 116 pages of the manuscript, and then Cowdery was chosen in his stead.

These men staid with Rigdon all the week. In the neighborhood lived a Mr. Morely, a member of the church in Kirtland, who, acting on the community principles, had established a "family." The new doctrines of having "all things in common," and of restoring miracles to the world as a fruit and proof of true faith, found a ready welcome by this incipient "community." They were all, seventeen in number, re-immersed in one night into this new dispensation.

At this, Rigdon seemed much displeased. He told them what they had done was without precedent or authority from the Scriptures, as he showed, baptized penitential believers for the remission of sins. When pressed, they said what they had done was merely at the solicitation of those persons. Rigdon called on them for proofs of the truth of their book and mission. They related the manner in which they obtained faith, which was by praying for a sign, and an angel appeared to them. Rigdon here showed them from Scripture the possibility of their being deceived: "For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." "But." said Cowdery, "do you think if I should go to my Heavenly Father, with all sincerity, and pray to him, in the name of Jesus Christ, that he would not show me an angel -- that he would suffer Satan to deceive me." Rigdon replied: "If the Heavenly Father has ever promised to show you an angel to confirm anything, he would not suffer you to be deceived; for John says: "If we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." "But," he continued, "if you should ask the Heavenly Father to show you an angel, when he has never promised such a thing -- if the devil never had an opportunity before of deceiving you, you give him one now."

This was a word in season, fitly spoken; yet, strange enough! two days afterward he was persuaded to tempt God by asking this sign. The sign appeared, and he was convinced that Mormonism was of God! According to his own reasoning, therefore, Satan appeared to him as an angel of light. But he now imputed his former reasoning to pride, incredulity, and the influence of the Evil One."

The next Sunday Rigdon, accompanied by Pratt and Cowdery,

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went to Kirtland to his appointment. He attempted to preach; but with the awful blasphemy in his heart, and the guilt of so shameless an apostasy on his conscience, how could he open his mouth in the name of the insulted Jesus. The eloquent lips which never stammered before, soon became speechless, and his tongue was dumb. The faithless watchman, covered with the shame of his fall, surrendered his pulpit and congregation to the prey of wolves. Cowdery and Pratt did most of the preaching; and that day, both Mr. and Mrs. Rigdon, with many of the members of the church in Kirtland, were baptized into the new faith.

Though coming into Ohio first among the disciples, and introduced to their attention in a well-planned and artful manner, very few of the leading members were for a moment deceived. After its first approach, it boasted of few converts from any of our churches. Rigdon, Pratt and Orson Hyde, the last two young and but little known, were the only preachers who gave it countenance.

The opposition to it was quick on its feet, in rank, and doing effective work to check the imposture. J. J. Moss, at the time a young school-teacher in the place, pelted them, but not with grass. Isaac Moore stood up, and became a shield to many. The vigilance of the Clapps prevented any serious inroads into the church of Mentor. Collins forbade its approach to Chardon, and it merely skulked around it hills. Alexander P. Jones was there also, young, shrewd, and skilled. In many an encounter he was left without a foe. But the misfortune governing the case was that many people, victims of excitement and credulity, and taught in nearly all pulpits to pray for faith, now found themselves met on their own grounds, and so finding an emotion or impulse answerable to an expected response from heaven, dared not dispute the answer to their own prayers, and were hurried into the vortex. The reason the delusion made little progress among the Disciples, save only at Kirtland, where the way it was paved by the common-stock principle, is to be found in the cardinal principle everywhere taught and accepted among them, that faith is founded on testimony.

The venerable Thomas Campbell, hearing of the defection of Rigdon and the progress this silly delusion was making, came quickly to the front. He spent much of the winter in Mentor and vicinity. His wise counsels and great weight of influence interposed an effectual barrier against its encroachments. He addressed a communication to Rigdon so firm, so fatherly and characteristic, that the reader shall have the pleasure of perusing it. Its great length will apologize for the omission of a portion of it. Soon after his return to Kirtland, Rigdon fulminated a pompous

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challenge to the world to disprove the new Bible. On this Mr. Campbell wrote him, as follows:

Mentor, February 4, 1831.        
Mr. Sidney Rigdon,

"Dear Sir: -- It may seem strange, that instead of a confidential and friendly visit, after so long an absence, I should thus address, by letter, one whom for many years I have considered not only as a courteous and benevolent friend, but is a beloved brother and fellow-laborer in the gospel; but, alas! how changed, how fallen! Nevertheless, I should now have visited you, as formerly, could I conceive that my so doing would answer the important purpose, both to ourselves and to the public, to which we both stand pledged, from the conspicuous and important stations we occupy -- you as the professed disciple and public teacher of the infernal Book of Mormon, and I as a professed disciple and public teacher of the supernal book of the Old and New Testaments of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which you now say is superceded by the Book of Mormon -- is become a dead letter; -- so dead that the belief and obedience of it, without the reception of the latter, is no longer available for salvation. To the disproof of this assertion, I understand you to defy the world. I here use the epithets infernal and supernal in their primary and literal meaning, the former signifying from beneath, the latter from above, both of which are truly applied, if the respective authors may be accredited; of the later of which, however, I have no doubt. But, my dear sir, supposing you are sincere in your present, as in your former profession, neither yourself, your friends, nor the world are bound to consider you as more infallable in your latter than in your former confidence, any further than you can render good and intelligible reasons for your present certainty. This, I understand from your declaration on last Lord's day, you are abundantly prepared and ready to do. I, therefore, as in duty bound, accept the challenge, and shall hold myself in readiness, if the Lord permit, to meet you publicly, in any place, either in Mentor or Kirtland, or in any of the adjoining towns that may appear most eligible for the accommodation of the public. The sooner the investigation takes place pace the better for all concerned.

"The proposition that I have assumed, and which I mean to assume and defend against Mormonism and every other ism that has been assumed since the Christian era, is the all-sufficiency and the alone-sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, vulgarly called the Bible, to make every

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intelligent believer wise to salvation, thoroughly furnished for any good work. This proposition, clearly and fully established, as I believe it most certainly can be, we have no more need for Quakerism, Shakerism, Wilkinsonianism, Buchanism, Mormonism, or any other ism, than we have for three eyes, three ears, three hands, or three feet, in order to see, hear, work, or walk. [28]
The work of preparation had been accomplished on the Ohio frontier; the preparatory message had swept the Western Reserve, preparing thousands for the divine message that was soon to come, but the ones who had spread the new philosophy were the ones in whose camps the opposition would arise and from which the worst persecution would spread.

28 Hayden, op. cit., pp. 174, 197, 209-218.

  Due to copyright law restrictions,
only limited "fair use" excerpts are presented here.

[ 127 ]



Two months after the Book of Mormon came from the press the translator was instructed to commence an inspired revision of the scriptures. In June, 1830, the first part of the "Book of Moses" was revealed at the time he started to revise the book of Genesis. This valuable material was to be used as a preface to Genesis. At the close of the year when he was again free to devote a little time to the task of revision the latter part of the "Book of Moses" was revised. It was called the "Prophecy of Enoch."

When he was ready to undertake the inspired revision of the scriptures he purchased from E. B. Grandin a large, pulpit edition of the Bible which had been printed in 1828. It contained the Apocrypha, those seven books which were considered by the Protestants as questionable. They were inserted at the end of the Old Testament. This was the King James Version, the Bible of the Protestant world. After the documents that are now preserved in the Pearl of Great Price were revealed, he made a check mark with a pencil at the beginning and end of every verse he was changing. Then he would dictate and his scribe would write the corrections or additions. He wrote no footnotes or marginal notes in the Bible, all the changes being written by the secretary on a. thick sheaf of paper he had prepared for the purpose.

During Sidney's visit at Fayette he was instructed "to write for him; and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine elect." [1] In the spirit of Elias he had been well prepared for such an assignment. It was not necessary for his religious pattern to be altered seriously before he could enter upon that labor. He had long been convinced of the need of such an inspired revision. When this revision was undertaken in the very strongholds of the "Campbellites" and a flood of new information

1 Doctrine and Covenants 35:20.

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was revealed it turned the reformers against the leaders of the restoration more than anything they had done up to that time. We must deviate long enough to explain the "Campbellite" philosophy in this regard and show why they resented having their "thunder" stolen, as they considered it.

Most Christians considered the Bible so perfect and correct that a revision of any kind was regarded as blasphemy. Joseph Smith could not have gone into many denominations, converted an educated orthodox minister and put him to work immediately as an assistant in the revision of the Bible. We have under estimated the great mission of preparation that was accomplished by the "Campbellites" in Ohio on the eve of the arrival of the Mormons in that region.

At that time the Journal and Luminary, a popular newspaper published in Cincinnati, Ohio said of this subject:
So long as a disposition to alter the Bible was confined to erratic sects, such as Campbellites, Universalists, etc., we had no fears. Nothing better could be expected from such a source; but when a great evangelical denomination betrays a disposition to tamper with the English Bible, it is time to be alarmed for the purity of the Word of God.
This was typical of the general attitude throughout Christendom on that subject. People who regarded the Bible as a perfect, complete, and properly translated book of scripture would resent many of the teachings of the restoration. The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, as well as the sermons and writings of the Church leaders would be rejected because of their inference that the Christian scriptures were poorly translated and improperly preserved. The "Campbellites" were in full agreement with the critical quotations in the Book of Mormon, which would be regarded in most Christian denominations as un-Christian and blasphemous:
...For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also

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many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.

And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.

Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God. [2]


In 1826 Alexander Campbell published a revision of the New Testament which he called Living Oracles. This was practically a reprint of a translation recently completed by three Scotch Presbyterian ministers. He took the liberty of publishing it under his name as "proprietor," and took other liberties in revising it to suit his fancy. This revision became very popular with his disciples and others who did not consider it blasphemy to revise the scriptures. In subsequent editions he made many additional changes, not because the "original Greek" texts had changed, but because he had changed his religious belief. After he was baptized in "much water" by the Reverend Luce of the Baptist Church, he changed his New Testament to conform wholly to his new-found faith. In the future editions his translation spoke of "John the Immerser, immersing in the Jordan."

In other instances he was not reluctant to depart from the orthodox text and introduce radical changes, as the following examples testify:
And she brought forth a masculine son. Revelation 12:5.

In those days appeared John the Immerser, who proclaimed in the wilderness of Judea, saying Reform, for the Reign of Heaven approaches. Matthew 3:1-2.

But I say unto you, whosoever is angry with his brother unjustly, shall be obnoxious to the judges; whosoever shall call him fool, shall be obnoxious to the council; but whosoever shall call him miscreant, shall be obnoxious to hell fire. Matthew 5:22.

And why do you observe the mote in your brother's eye, but are insensible of the splinter in your own eye? Or how dare you
2 1 Nephi 13:23-32.

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say to your brother, Let me take the mote out of your eye; when lo! you have a splinter in your own? Hypocrite, first take the splinter out of your own eye; then you will see clearly to take the mote out of your brother's eye. Matthew 7:3.

But whosoever hears these my precepts, and does them not, shall be compared to a simpleton, who built his house upon the sand. Matthew 7:25.

Who though he was in the form of God did not affect to appear in divine majesty. Phillipians 2:6-7.

I tell you likewise, you are named Stone, and on this rock I will build my congregation, on which the gates of Hades shall not prevail. Matthew 16:18.
In the fourth edition of his New Testament he added an appendix which contained this paragraph:
"From persons of sound biblical learning and candor, we have nothing to fear; but from all bigots and liberal critics we expect the same coarse treatment which has fallen to the lot of every translator from Jerome's time until the present day, March 1, 1833."
The Campbell reformers were daring, courageous, revolutionary. They were not bound by any religious pattern or theological precedents. "If we have the right to preach we have the right to baptize," Alexander Campbell once remarked when asked about the authority he possessed. He and his father wrote and lectured extensively about biblical revision and fallibility. In the popular Millennial Harbinger he reprinted the following article, reminding his readers that it is a Christian duty to "guard the purity of that source." It gave him great satisfaction to reprint such materials as this:
Falsification of the Scriptures. -- A reverend gentleman in England, named Curtis, has recently made some appalling disclosures in relation to the careless and iniquitous manner in which the University editions of the Holy Bible, published by the King's printer, are put forth to the world. Mr. Curtis has exposed some enormous errors, and variations from the original text, as given in King James' time. Six hundred mistakes have been found in one book, and eight hundred in another! many of them most important, and all of them inexcusable. Some of the grosser ones,

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which would seem to have been concerted and intentional, have been rife for forty years. The true sense of Holy Writ, it is contended, has been greatly warped by these errors; and measures are in train to have them ratified, in all future editions of the scriptures published in England. It is stated that the churches in America have long since adopted the edition in question as a standard; -- if so, it is of the last importance, we should conceive to import one of the corrected copies, now preparing, at the earliest period. The writer remarks, with much sorrowful feeling, that such perversions of the Sacred Word have given rise to more scoffers and infidels, than could have been otherwise produced by any other cause.
His comments on this article are interesting. As if with the voice of authority he offered this explanation:
In regard to the falsifications and mistakes of the Bible, noticed in the first article, there is great reason to fear that they extend beyond the "University Editions published by the King's Printer." In the multiplicity of editions we see every day palmed upon the world, without any sanction or authority whatever, by booksellers and societies and denominations and sects of all sorts, where is the security that the text may not be altered to suit the peculiar tenets of each particular sect, or marred by the carelessness or ignorance of the publishers? We have heard it asserted, and from the hurried manner in which these Bibles are multiplied almost to infinity, we believe it to be true, that many of the common editions are scandalously inaccurate, if not wilfully falsified, to sanction the peculiar tenets of the sects by whom they are published. The common people who have in a great degree lost their reverence and value for the Sacred Book, from the usual effects of too great plenty, receive it without enquiry, though there is no security whatever for its accuracy, and no sanction of church or state to guard against interpolation, corruption or mistake.

These things ought not to be. The Bible is too important a volume to be left thus at the mercy of ignorance, carelessness, or wilful interested falsification. It should come forth with the sanction of some high and responsible authority, and carry with it evidence that it has undergone the strict scrutiny of persons, whose learning and integrity sufficiently guaranty the public against deception and falsehood. As it is now, we really see no obstacle to publishing Bibles to suit any system of morals or religion, and whose precepts may outrage every principle of the Decalogue. Living as we do under a Government which neither interferes nor allows interference in religious matters, it is without

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doubt difficult, if not impossible, to prevent impositions of this kind, since there is no law that we know of to prevent a man from publishing any book he pleases under the denomination of the Holy Bible. Still the evil we speak of is not the less to be deplored; and we cannot but recommend it most earnestly to the attention of all those who would preserve the scriptures from degenerating by degress into a heterogeneous jumble of contradictory and irreconcilable inconsistencies. The few doctrinal differences originating in the two translations of the Bibles of the Catholic and Protestant faiths, detract but little from the divinity of the Scriptures; but the eternal multiplication of these differences, must, in the end, entirely destroy their force and authority, and undermine the very foundation of our faith. When it is seen that they sanction the most opposite and incongruous opinions, and that those who agree in nothing under heaven, can find in the Scriptures authority for all their differences, it cannot but happen that reflecting minds will begin to doubt the infallibility of an oracle so liable to be misinterpreted.
While the golden plates were being translated, the Campbells were pleading for a revision of the scriptures. Their arguments were continued even after the revision of the Bible was completed by Joseph Smith. Such a doctrine was certainly not new on the Western Reserve. The following quotations show what a vast work of preparation had been done by the Campbells and their ministers in northern Ohio on the eve of the restoration:
There is no commentator, theologian, critic, or man of letters, who has paid much attention to the common English version, who does not say that it needs correction and emendation. But how this is to be accomplished....

And why does he call the common version "King James' Bible," when there are many thousand alterations in it? So rare is a pure copy of King James', that I presume Dr. Clelland never saw one. I have not leisure to count, but I will affirm on the comparisons which I have made, taking, the ration of a single book, that there are more than ten thousand alterations in the Bible Society editions of the King's version, compared with a genuine King James' Bible!

....To look to England for any change in the present version of the English Bible, is out of the question. The relative situation of the Established and Dissenting Churches, is sufficient to satisfy any one, that while it subsists, there can be no agreement,

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even on such points as a reformation of the present English Bible, in matters not sectarian. We must, therefore, judge and act for ourselves; and as unquestionably the changes, that might be adopted in this country, would be sanctioned, for the most part, if not altogether, by the best English and Scotch commentators, we may indulge the hope that we might thus be instrumental in preparing the way in Great Britain, for an amend-men of King James' Bible among themselves.
Alexander Campbell quoted the following text from a recent translation of the scriptures by Dickenson, objecting seriously to that kind of translation:
Moreover, there was a Pharisee, whose name was Nicodemus, a senator of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Teacher, we know that thou art an instructor emanated from God; for no one can achieve these miracles which thou performest unless God be with him. Jesus answered and said to him, Indeed, I assure you, that except a man be reproduced, he cannot realize the reign of God. Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be produced when he is mature? Can he again pass into a state of embryo, and be produced? Jesus replied. I most assuredly declare to you, that unless a man be produced of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is produced from the body is natural life, and that which is produced from the Spirit is spiritual life. [3]
The Campbell comments on the Dickenson revision of the Bible give one an idea of what he would think when Joseph Smith started to revise the scriptures, adding lengthy material and supplying such additional information as is found in the seventy-sixth section of the Doctrine and Covenants. In opposition to the Dickenson version he made these comments:
As to the delicacy, (which appears the chief object of the translator,) I would ask whether this squeamishness and fastidiousness do not betray more indelicacy of thought than is found in the simple and unaffected language of nature. The prude is more scrupulous and affected than a woman of unsuspected virtue. The over nicety of the former excites suspicion, while the simplicity and artlessness of the latter exhibit a mind unpractised in the arts of deception. If it be indelicate to speak of being born again, it is equally so to speak of being born; and this translator,
3 Millennial Harbinger, IV, 461.

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to be consistent with himself, ought to exclude this word and all its relatives from the Bible. Instead of "Them who are born of woman," he ought to say, 'Of them that are produced by women;' and instead of "Thou shalt not commit adultery," "Thou shalt not have criminal conversation with a married lady." But even this is too coarse for a gentleman of such refined taste. It would be better to leave out the commandment altogether than to offend the rules of politeness! [4]
As the revision of the scripture progressed under the inspiration of heaven, the Mormon leaders eagerly read the new translations that appeared and perused the numerous comments that appeared in the press on that subject. In the official publication of the Church just one month before the inspired revision was completed, an article was printed which contained this appropriate paragraph, "O what a blessing, that the Lord will bestow the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the meek and humble, whereby they can know of a surety his words from the words of men! O that men would learn wisdom, and know that a house divided against itself cannot stand." [5]

The Campbells and their popular teachers had blazed the trail on the Western Reserve and convinced thousands that the King James Version had not been translated correctly or divinely protected and preserved. For a decade they had been preaching about the Bible almost exactly what Nephi had told the people in his day. [6]

In each revision of Campbell's Living Oracles he made many changes in the text, not because the original Greek had changed, but because he was being influenced by the Unitarian creeds. He was criticized by his enemies because of the continuous revisions he was making, yet it convinced the thousands who regarded him as a great reformer that the Bible was not a static, sealed book, but should be subject to periodic and continuous revision and improvement.

In defense of his extensive revision of the translation

4 Ibid., IV. 402, 522.

5 The Evening and Morning Star, June, 1833.

6 Nephi 13:20-32.

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by the three scholars in Ireland, and in praise of William Tyndale's translation which was so freely copied by the translators of 1611, he wrote:
I think it will do much to expand the too contracted minds of many of the leaders of the people on the subject of New and Old Versions. It will correct much, of that blind and implicit homage paid to the King's translators and translation, and cannot fail to convince the most prejudiced eulogists of the piety and eminent proficiency in ancient and sacred literature of the authors of the common version, that they have been rendering honor where it was not due, and ignorantly withholding it from the real author of the common version, to whom it was justly due: for certainly there is no man of good sense and of ordinary candor, who, after examining and comparing William Tyndal's Testament with the common, that will not acknowledge that William Tyndal is the real author of the King's version; or, in other words, that the King's translators were no translators at all, but simply copyists of Tyndal and collator of other Protestant versions. My edition of Campbell, MacKnight, and Doddridge's version, is fully as much my version as the common version is that of King James' "forty-seven eminent Divines." [7]
It is amazing what a preparatory work was done by the "Campbellites" on the Ohio frontier. In the spirit of Elias they had prepared thousands of independent, freethinking Christians for the message the Mormons were soon to bring them. There was no place in America where such work of preparation had been so successfully pushed forward. It was wisely and truthfully said to Sidney Rigdon when he first met Joseph Smith, "Behold, thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me, and before Elijah which should come, and thou knowest it not."8

In most Christian communities at that time they regarded the Bible as being so perfect that there was no room in their theological pattern for new scriptures such as the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. The "Campbellites" have not

7 The Millennial Harbinger. 1838, p. 92.

8 Doctrine and Covenants 35:3-7.

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(under construction)

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and philological accuracy, such as is possessed in no human composition." He further stated that, "Every syllable of it is just what it would be had God spoken from heaven without the intervention of any human agent." [10]

In 1861 Dean Burgon wrote about this subject:
The Bible is the very utterance of the Eternal; as much God's own word as if high heaven were open and we heard God speaking to us with human voice. Every book is inspired alike, and is inspired entirely. Inspiration is not a difference of degree, but of kind. The Bible is filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit of God; the books of it, and the words of it and the very letters of it. The Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth on the throne. Each book of it, every letter of it is the direct utterance of the Most High, supreme, absolute, faultless, unerring.
In a community where such a philosophy abounded there was no place for missionaries of the restoration. People who regarded the Bible in the manner expressed above would have regarded the Book of Mormon as unChristian and blasphemous. In accepting the philosophy of the "Campbellites" one need not fling aside the Bible, but should see the shadow of man's hand that has fallen across many of its pages.

On the eve of the restoration the "Campbellites" were discussing a variety of subjects that were soon to be featured by the restored Church. In 1828 The Christian Baptist published this interesting comment:
What mean these words, 1 Car. XV. 29. "Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead rise not at all, why are they then baptized for the dead?"

Answer. The next verse gives the key of interpretation. "And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?" Why should I, Paul, hazard my life in attesting the resurrection of Jesus Christ, if I had not the most unequivocal proof of his resurrection? Through this medium contemplate the preceding words. Only recollect that the word immerse is used frequently for sufferings. Jesus said, "I have an immersion to undergo, and how am I straightened till it be accomplished." I have to
10 Presbyterian Review, II, 245.

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be immersed in an immense flood of sufferings. Also the phrase, "fallen asleep for Christ," is equivalent to dying for declaring faith in him. Now these criticisms regarded, and the elliptical verse 29, is plain and forcible -- "If there be no resurrection from the dead, what shall they do who are immersed in afflictions and distress for believing and declaring that the dead will be raised? If the dead rise not at all, if they are not assured of their resurrection, why do they submit to be immersed in sorrows in the hope of a resurrection?"
A few years later another magazine published these comments on a subject that was soon to become a popular one, yet the true explanation was to be found only in the restored Church:
Our early translators seem to have adopted the Roman Catholic notion of the gospel being preached to departed souls -- "For whi for this thing it is preeched also to deed men." -- Wickliff. "For unto thys purpose verely was the gospel preached also unto the deed."-- Cranmer. Later translators have entertained very various opinions. Whitby, MacKnight, and Wakefield, consider `the dead' to be the Gentile world, "dead in sins." Wesley understands the apostle to say, "the gospel was preached ever since it was given to Adam, to them that are now dead, in their several generations." Scott thinks "the gospel had before this been preached to those (righteous persons) who were dead when the apostle wrote, either as martyrs for the truth, or dying in the course of providence." Knatchbull, by giving the words a scarcely justifiable construction, makes easy sense: "For this cause was the gospel preached to them that were dead, that they who lived according to men in the flesh may be condemned; but they who live according to God in the spirit may live." Boothroyd regards the dead as being martyrs, who, though they were condemned as to men in the flesh, yet lived as to God in the spirit. Adam Clarks takes the dead to be antedeluvians, who, although dead in sins and condemned to death by the righteous judgment of God, yet were respited and preached to, that they might "live a blessed life in eternity." [11]
One year before the "Words of Moses" were revealed at the time the inspired revision of the scriptures was undertaken, The Christian Baptist said of the subject of biblical revision:

11 The London Christian Messenger, 1851.

                                   JOSEPH  SMITH  REVISES  THE BIBLE                                      139

That God should send a message to mankind, on such an important subject as their eternal happiness, in language not intelligible to the most illiterate of them, is utterly incredible, and to impute such conduct to the Deity is manifest impiety. If, then, the scriptures do contain a divine communication, it follows of course, that the words chosen by the Revealing Spirit must be the fittest to convey the ideas which he meant to communicate, that could be selected, and such as he knew to be perfectly intelligible to those to whom he addressed them, so far as he intended them to be understood. This granted, we are certainly authorized to consider the words of Scripture as they stand in the connexion formed by the Spirit, as calculated to convey with perfect clearness and certainty, all the information which he designed to convey by them, and of course as insusceptible of additional clearness of certainty by and change of terms which man can devise.

And that King James' version needs a revision is just as plain to the learned and biblical student, as that the Scotch and English used in the sixteenth century, is not the language now spoken in these United States. And this may be made as plain to the common mind, as it is that the coat which suited the boy of twelve, will not suit the same person when forty years old. As the boy grows from his coat, so do we from the language of our ancestors.


The selection of northern Ohio as a gathering place for the disciples of the restoration was a master stroke of diplomacy. Furthermore, the choice of that favorable region was a matter of divine inspiration. There was no other place in all the world where they could soon make so many converts and get a foothold among the people whose religious training had prepared them for the glorious truths of the restoration. In most other communities where the Bible was regarded as a perfect book that needed no revision or additional scriptures or revelations to clarify or explain the mysterious texts in the old scriptures, there would have been far more persecution, indifference, and bitter opposition. The objections to the Mormon philosophy in this regard, which was popular among most Christian denominations, is well expressed in these words:

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One of the objections which the enemies of the Bible have against it is what they call the "contradictions" in it. The Mormons are chief among those who try to show that there are contradictions in the Bible. They say these contradictions show that the book has not been properly translated, and that God favored the world by giving Joseph Smith a better translation. [12]
In most communities at that time it would have been regarded as blasphemy to speak unkindly of the Bible, revise the sacred text, and add to it a few volumes of scripture equally as sacred and valuable. In a later chapter we shall have more to say about the inspired revision of the scriptures and the revelations that were given in connection with that diligent study of the holy scriptures.

12 The Octographic Review, September 23, 1913.

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[ 141 ]



The moment hundreds of the members of the "Campbellite" fold deserted the movement and accepted the "restoration of the ancient order" as an accomplished fact, not an anticipation, their angry leaders began a bitter persecution against the new reform movement that far eclypsed that the Campbells had started a few years before. As the reform movement of John the Baptist had been swallowed up by the ministry of the Master, so the restoration absorbed and engulfed much of the "Campbellite" reformation in Ohio.

"Alexander Campbell never forgave the Mormons," we are assured by Gates and Hurlbert, "for running off with Rigdon and many others of his flock." His prolific writings were filled with scathing denunciations against the new religion that had gone further in the work of restoration than he ever dreamed of. The younger Campbell considered Rigdon a traitor who had persuaded his new leader to adopt many of the dogmas of the "Disciples" and put them forth as features of the restoration.

This angry reformer read the Book of Mormon carefully and proceeded to inform his members how to put forth the best arguments against it when they contacted the Mormon missionaries. In his Millennial Harbinger under date of February 7, 1831, he published his famous article on "Modern Delusions," in which he had written one of the most comprehensive negative appraisals of the book that has ever been written. He and his colleagues made extensive tours over northern Ohio, holding protracted meetings in all the hamlets on the frontier in an effort to turn the tide against the new movement. The brutal persecution that followed must be laid at the feet of the Campbells and their ministers who were enraged at the success of the Mormons in their very strongholds.

Upon hearing of the "defection" of Sidney Rigdon,

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the venerable Thomas Campbell took to the frontier where he lectured in Mentor, Hiram, Warren, and other villages, persuading his disturbed flock to remain with him and not be carried away by the "Mormonite delusion." His vigorous campaign together with the writings and preaching of his son are said to have saved the day da for them, thus preventing a widespread apostasy from their fold.

They argued that the only truths the Mormons had were stolen from them. They were unmindful of the fact that many other reformers had taught for years that the true Gospel was not on the earth. The historian Mosheim had written of this glorious expectation:
Some of this class of people, perceiving that such a church as they had formed an idea of would never be established by human means, indulged the hope that God himself would in his own time erect for himself a new church, free from every blemish and impurity; and that he would raise up certain persons, and fill them with heavenly light for the accomplishment of this great object. [1]
In 1534 the brave reformer Rothmann published a book in which he declared: "The world has fallen from the truth, and that it has been misled by the papacy and by the so-called Evangelical teachers, but the time is at hand when Christ shall restore the world lost in sin, and this restoration or restitution of the world shall take place by means of the lowly and unlearned." [2]

It is a well known fact that Roger Williams resigned as pastor over the largest Baptist church in America because "There was no regularly constituted church on earth nor any person authorized to administer church ordinances, nor can there be until new apostles are sent by the Great Head of the Church for whose coming I am seeking." [3]

One of Roger William's biographers wrote that he "denied that any ministry now exists which is authorized

1 J. L. Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, Book 4, p. 200.

2 E. B. Sax, Rise and Pall of the Anabaptists, p. 63.

3 Picturesque America, p. 502.

                            THE  REFORMERS  BECOME  PERSECUTORS                               143

to preach the gospel to the impenitent, or to administer the ordinances." [4] Another biographer wrote that "He considered the church of Christ so fallen in apostasy as to have lost both its right form and the due administration of the ordinances, which could only be restored by some new apostolic or specially commissioned messenger from above." [5]

In 1713 a daring reformer had said:
Christianity, having degenerated into a Beast and Harlot, receives sentence of condemnation, which yet God is pleased not to execute without calling men to repentance by one more, and that the last Dispensation of his Grace.... In the world's sixth, which is its old age, it shall by the favor of Jesus Christ receive one more Dispensation of his Grace, which will be the last the wicked world is ever to expect. It will consist, as the former did, in appearing, revelation and re-establishment of some ordinances. [6]


"Fits of melancholy followed by fits of enthusiasm accompanied by some kind of nervous spasms and swoonings which he has since his defection," argued Alexander Campbell, "he interpreted into the agency of the Holy Ghost... Baptism for the remission of sins is a phrase not found in their book. A few of their leaders took it from Rigdon.... The Mormonite religion was got up to deceive the people and obtain their property, and was a wicked contrivance with Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. May God have mercy on the wicked men, and may they repent of this their wickedness." [7]
The persecution that was thrust upon the Church leaders in Ohio was due almost entirely to the "Campbellite" leaders whose jealous anger knew no bounds. We have wandered far afield from our appointed task in order to present the complete historical background of the early

4 Cramp's Baptist History, p. 461.

5 Struggles and Triumphs of Religious Liberty, p. 238.

6 Peter Poiret, Economy of the Restoration of Man, IV, 205.

7 The Millennial Harbinger, I. 38.

144                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND  DOCTRINE  AND  COVENANTS                

incidents in Church history and the revelations that were given soon after Joseph Smith arrived in Ohio.

In later chapters we shall see that this extensive and apparently extraneous historical material makes a positive contribution to the early revelations that were given in Ohio. This feature of history has never been presented in its fulness before, yet it was certainly a work of preparation that should not be overlooked.

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[ 171 ]



In several of the early revelations men were admonished to ask for divine assistance, and they were promised that they should receive the coveted blessing if they asked in faith. The Prophet obeyed this advice and found many opportunities to call upon the Lord in times of crisis or emergency. Especially during the early years of his ministry he found this divine source an abundant fountain filled with the water of life. During his first journey to Missouri he found many perplexing problems that could not have been solved except by means of divine wisdom from heaven.


The four missionaries to the Lamanites had opened the portals and blazed the trail to Independence, Missouri -- the rendezvous of destiny. In the early summer of 1831 Joseph Smith and a few friends made the long journey to the border of the Lamanites. Though they were approaching sacred soil they were doing so at a very critical time. For a decade there had been a wild, lawless element on the Missouri frontier. Since the Missouri Compromise in 1820 the settlers there had been opposed to an influx of settlers from the North. During the years that the Saints tried to establish a foothold in the land of Zion they were the victims of political as well as religious persecution. It was a time when passions were influenced by the struggle of the pro and anti-slavery forces over the Missouri question. As late as May 7, 1836, Daniel Webster wrote of the situation in Missouri, "We are in a peck of trouble here, and I hardly see our way through." [1]

Soon after the Prophet arrived in Zion he received several important revelations. [2] The history of this period is so well known that one should read the revelations that

1 Carl R. Fish, American Diplomacy, p. 252.

2 Doctrine and Covenants, Sections 57, 58, 59, and 60.

(pages 172-178 not transcribed)

                                    "ASK  AND  YE  SHALL  RECEIVE"                                       179

Five years after the Book of Mormon came from the press another volume of sacred writings was published to the world.


The Pearl of Great Price was first published in Liverpool, England in 1851. In addition to what is included in the present edition it included "a Key to the Revelations of St. John," which now comprises Section 77 in the Doctrine and Covenants, and "The Prophecy on War," which is preserved in Section 87. Seven pages of choice selections from the Doctrine and Covenants, and John Jacque's popular poem, "O, Say What is Truth," were included in the first edition of the third book of scripture for this generation.


In the autumn of 1831 when they were considering the publication of the Book of Commandments in the hamlet of Hiram, there arose a wave of opposition in that community. This had been a busy time for the Church leaders. Four special conferences had been held to consider the publication of the revelations, at which time many revelations had been given, the work of the ministry, the revision of the scriptures, and other pressing duties taxed their energy and time. As soon as it was decided to publish the Book of Commandments and everything was completed for that project, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were commanded to go forth as missionaries and lift up their voices in opposition to what Ezra Booth and other enemies were saying against them. [9]

Since so many of the "Campbellites" had joined the Church, their leaders started a vicious persecution in an effort to prevent others from accepting the message of the restoration. With the apostasy of Ezra Booth, Symonds Ryder, and others a tide of opposition was rising against

9 Doctrine and Covenants, Section 71.

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the Church. Its strongest forces were consolidated in the hamlet of Hiram. In a neighboring town Booth was publishing many falsehoods against the Church, attempting to crush the Church to which he had been miraculously converted for a season. Urgent as the work of the ministry was in Hiram, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were commanded to go forth in the majesty and spirit of their divine calling to "confound your enemies! call upon them to meet you in public and in private... let them bring forth their strong reasons against you."

When these stalwart leaders were advised to go forth and "labor in my vineyard for a season," they were as' sured that "there is no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and if any man lift up his voice against you he shall be confounded in mine own due time."

In the following chapter we shall discuss the opposition that abounded in northern Ohio, thus showing the pressing need of this commandment at this critical time. During the passing years the enemy has certainly been confounded. The "Campbellites" then had their strongholds spread over the frontier from Virginia to Ohio and from New York to Florida, but while the restored Church has spread to every civilized nation of the earth, gathering many disciples from every land under the h yens, the "Campbellite" fold has ceased to grow. Today they have a few organized branches in the land. Their proselyting efforts are aimed largely against the Mormons. They have a college in Texas where they train their ministers in the art of arguing against the "Mormonites" just as Alexander Campbell did in his day.

In 1946 they sent one of their ministers to Europe. He told the author that he intended going into, all the large branches of the Church in that land and give them Alexander Campbell's version of the Book of Mormon. The present condition of this struggling society is an example of the confusion that befell them in the time of the Lord.

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[ 181 ]



After residing in Kirtland for many months, the Prophet and his wife were invited to enjoy the hospitality of John Johnson and his family. In the autumn of 1831 they moved to his home which was in the village of Hiram, about thirty miles from Kirtland. Hiram was a hotbed of "Campbellism," where a few converts had been made. The ones who remained with the "Disciples" were so angry at the Mormons that they were determined to put an end to the movement.

Among the leaders in this persecution were Jacob Scott, Ezra Booth, Symonds Ryder, and others who had joined the Church for a season and had apostatized, becoming vicious and brutal in their designs to thwart the work of the Lord in that community. Joseph Smith was headed for trouble and persecution when he rode home with "father Johnson" to spend the winter in his large frame house.

Ryder had been in the Church but a short time until the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon wrote him a letter, informing him that it was the will of the Lord that he should go on a mission. Since he did not have a strong testimony and was not anxious to become a missionary he objected to the way his name had been spelled. He spelled it Symonds Ryder, whereas it was spelled Simonds Rider in the letter that sought to call him to the ministry. The revelation that mentioned him also misspelled his name.' He was thus convinced that the inspiration that resulted in his missionary call was responsible for the spelling of his name -- the wisdom of men, not the inspiration of heaven. For this reason he left the Church and became a bitter enemy. The persecutions that soon followed in Hiram were a result of the pernicious activities of Ryder and his angry colleagues.

1 Doctrine and Covenants 57:37.

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The winter months were spent in revising the scriptures. There were enough strong leaders in all the branches in northern Ohio by that time so that the Prophet could leave many responsibilities for others, as he devoted all his spare time to an intensive and inspired revision of the scriptures. He had scarcely arrived in Kirtland when he was instructed, "Thou shalt ask, and my scriptures shall be given as I have appointed, and they shall be preserved in safety." [2]

A few days later he was advised to commence the revision of the New Testament, his study up to that time having been concerned with the Old Testament. [3] At this time they turned to Matthew and began to revise that book. For a time they alternated, reading a time from the Old and then turning to the New Testament.

In the Johnson home at Hiram they read many of the books in both testaments, making hundreds of changes in the text. The changes were not confined to grammatical corrections, but lengthy additions were supplied in several places. At the close of Genesis was added the prophecy made by Joseph in Egypt, which was preserved in Nephi. [4]

Hundreds of statements like "the Lord hardned Pharaoh's heart" were changed to read that "Ph raoh hardened his heart." "It repented the Lord that he had created man," is made to read that Noah repented of the fact. Many faulty texts were revised, such as this mysterious text, "Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien."5 The inspired revision insists that such flesh should not be eaten, sold or given away.

The disputed text that declares that Melchizedek was "without father, without mother, without descent," is

2 Doctrine and Covenants 42:56.

3 Doctrine and Covenants 45:60.61.

4 II Nephi 3:11-22.

5 Deuteronomy 14:21.

(pages 183-187 not transcribed)

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1836 the spirit of Elijah was poured out over the whole earth, people everywhere becoming deeply interested in genealogical research. In like manner the Apocrypha fell into disfavor soon after the Lord revealed that "there are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men."

The writer has made a special study of this subject, discovering that the "doubtful" books were popular in the Authorized Version until about 1830, but from that time forward these books were rejected from the Protestant Bible.

The advice to "understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth," is good advice regarding these books. St. Augustine once said of them:
This reverence have I learnt to give to those books of Scripture only which are called canonical. Others I so read that I think not anything to be true because they so thought it, but because they were able to persuade me either by those canonical authors, or by some probable reason, that it did not swerve from the truth.


During this inspired study of the Bible there must have been a flood of wisdom upon the minds of the students that were not included in the revised text of the Bible. One such document has been preserved in the Doctrine and Covenants, the great vision of the heavenly kingdoms. [8]

Questions arose in their minds as they considered the text that spoke of the resurrection of the good "to life" and "they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." [9] Since they did not fully understand this text they prayed for information regarding it. A vision was opened to their minds and they seemed to look into eternity as a voice explained the scenes they were shown.

It was a cold day in winter, February 16, 1832, that

8 Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76.

9 John 5:29.

                                            THE  VISION  OF  GLORIES                                               189

the two students prayed for divine information. There were many Saints in the village, some of whom came daily seeking the Prophet's advice on various problems, or to exchange greetings with him. During this vision a few friends walked into the parlor of the Johnson home and stood in sheer bewilderment as they watched and listened. Philo Dibble was one of the witnesses and has left us a description of that wonderful scene.

The two men would stare out in space, oblivious of walls, ceiling, or the few friends who had entered the room unbidden and unnoticed. "I see a glorious kingdom," Joseph would say, "and the voice tells me that this is the church of the Firstborn..." Sidney would nod his head in approval and then remark that the scene had changed and he now saw a lesser kingdom and a voice declared it to be the terrestrial world. "These are they who are of the terrestrial," declared the voice. "And now the scene changes." Joseph interpolated, "and the voice declares this to be the telestial world, and these are they who receive the telestial glory."

Philo Dibble declared that ten or twelve men crowded into the room during the vision, standing there staring at the ceiling as the two men gazed into the heavens. These visitors did not see any of the miraculous scenes, nor did they hear the voice that explained the various kingdoms that were shown to them. The vision lasted two or three hours, most of which time the visitors stood in the room, yet seemed unnoticed by the two men who were shown the vision.

"What do I see?" was asked many times by these two men, then each in turn would explain what had been shown to him and related what the voice was saying to him. The other always agreed that he saw and heard the same things. This account is preserved in the Juvenile Instructor, volume 27, page 303, and is a valuable contribution to the understanding of the method in which this revelation was received.

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And thus the great vision was given. When it was over Sidney was so weak he could scarcely lift a glass of water to his lips. The Prophet remarked that the early visions he received affected him that way, but he w. as now accustomed to them. This glorious vision was soon recorded exactly as it was given and as it is preserved today. It is one of the greatest revelations ever given to the children of men. It came like all divine messages, in answer to prayer. Not at any time did the Lord thrust a revelation upon His servants. They always came when asked for and when needed most.


Information like this could not be kept a secret in a small community where there were many members to share the good news and many of the enemy to spread it abroad. Often from the pulpit or the press the heaven-inspired truths were announced to the world soon after they were received. Given in the presence of witnesses this remarkable vision was soon being talked about in the community. In a few days it would reach the ears of the jealous "Campbellite" leaders who were getting enraged at the way "the Mormonites were stealing their thunder."

The irate reformers preached against the new doctrines and flooded their publications with tirades against the reformation that was sweeping far ahead of their own reform movement. The Millennial Harbinger carried such challenging titles as this, "Mormonism -- the means by which it Stole the True Gospel," in an effort to turn the public mind against the popular movement that was sweeping, the frontier and seriously reducing the membership in the fold of the "Disciples."

Hiram was the headquarters of the enemy camp. Sidney Rigdon and many of their leaders who united with the true Church had resided there and their characters and works were well known. The "Disciples" who apostatized from the Church -- Ezra Booth, Symonds Ryder, Jacob Scott,

                                            THE  VISION  OF  GLORIES                                               191

and others -- lived in that village or were well known there. In that hamlet a movement was brewing to drive the Mormons from the village.

The Campbells and their ministers were enraged because Joseph Smith had "adopted" so many of their teachings, followed their advice and began to revise the Bible, and had convinced many people that his message was divine. In fact they insisted that every important thing that the "Mormonites" taught had been borrowed from them. They rebelled against the revision of the Bible which had made such progress in Hiram. The brilliant Campbell had made many revisions in the New Testament which the three ministers had produced in Ireland. Now the unlearned leader of the Mormons was doing far more in his biblical revision than the daring Campbell had done. At this time the enemy was angry enough to drive the Mormons from the town. They were waiting for one more crisis to arise that would kindle the flame that was ready to ignite and cause a great conflagration.

The great vision on the three degrees of glory was the issue that brought this hostile movement to a head. This message which was so well received by the Saints, kindled the anger of the enemy until it knew no bounds. This glorious revelation in the wake of an extensive revision of the Bible, brought Alexander Campbell and his father on a lecture tour to save their flock at this time of crisis. At Hiram, Mentor, Mantua, Kirtland, and many other villages their voices were raised in opposition to the new movement.

This revelation on the three heavenly kingdoms was the last straw -- the straw that broke the Campbell back. One opponent complained that Joseph Smith "out masoned King Solomon," but the "Campbellites" complained that he had stolen their thunder and was running wild with it.

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This incident provoked them to the breaking point because just one year before the Church was organized, Alexander Campbell had expressed his belief in "The Three Kingdoms." [10] If Joseph Smith had ever heard about this doctrine it certainly would not have influenced him in the least in writing the famous document he recorded on the three heavenly kingdoms. Campbell's philosophy is a good example of the wisdom and conjectures of men. His views when contrasted with the revealed will of the Lord seem childish and worldly, yet they were responsible for the collection of a mob with intent to kill Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.

For the purpose of acquainting the reader with the worldly views of Alexander Campbell on this subject we glean a few extracts from his discussion of the three kingdoms:
The gates of admission into these three kingdoms is different -- Flesh, Faith, and Works. To be born of the flesh, or to be a descendant of Abraham, introduced a child into the first kingdom of God. To be born of water and spirit, through faith in Jesus Christ, brings men and women into the second kingdom. But neither flesh, faith, nor water, without good works, will introduce a man or woman into the third kingdom.

The nature of these three kingdoms, the privileges enjoyed by the subjects, and the terms of admission, are very imperfectly understood in the present day. These kingdoms are unhappily confounded in the minds of many.... All the descendants of Jacob, without regard to regeneration, were lawful subjects of the first kingdom. None can be subjects of the second unless born again; and flesh and blood cannot inherit the third and ultimate kingdom.... It is but an opinion that infants, idiots, and some Jews and Pagans may without even faith or baptism, be brought into the third kingdom, merely in consequence of the sacrifice of Christ; and I doubt not that many Paidobaptists of all sects will be admitted into the kingdom of glory. Indeed, all they who obey Jesus Christ, through faith in his blood, according to their knowledge, I am of the opinion will be introduced into that kingdom....
10 The Christian Baptist, VI, 557-8. April, [sic - June] 1829.

                                            THE  VISION  OF  GLORIES                                               193

There are three kingdoms: the kingdom of the Law, the Kingdom of Favor, and the Kingdom of Glory; each has a different constitution, different subjects, privileges, and terms of admission.... But when we speak of admission into the everlasting kingdom, we must have due respect to those grand and fundamental principles so clearly propounded in the New Institution. We must discriminate between the kingdom of favor and the kingdom of glory....
(He then spoke at length as if in vision he were speaking as one who had passed from life to the realm of the departed.)
When I waited at the altar and waited in the sanctuary my conscience was often troubled... I saw that His institution differed from that of Moses as the sun excelled a star. I apprehended the reign of favor, and gladly became a citizen of the second kingdom.... I felt myself in a new kingdom, a kingdom of favor. Sin did not now lord it over me as before, and my heart beat in unison with the favor which superabounded; so that in comparison with the former kingdom, my sun always shone in a bright and cloudless sky....

I ran the race and finished my course. I slept in Jesus; and lo! I awoke at the second trump, and all my deeds came into remembrance, not one of them was forgotten by God.... The contrast between the kingdom of law and the kingdom of favor prepared me to enjoy and to relish the contrast between the kingdom of favor and the kingdom of glory.... I have been thrice born -- once of flesh, once of water and spirit, and once from the grave. Each birth brought me into congenial society. My fellow citizens always resembled my nativity. I was surrounded once with the children of the flesh, then with those born from above, and now with those born from the ashes of the grave.
Yes, this great revelation was the straw that broke the Campbell back and turned their angry agents against the Mormon leaders. Their historian Hayden later wrote of conditions in Hiram at this critical time:
Perhaps in no place, except Kirtland, did the doctrines of the "Latter-day Saints" gain a more permanent footing than in Hiram. It entrenched itself there so strongly that its leaders felt assured of the capture of the town. Rigdon's former popularity in that region gave wings to their appeal, and many people, not avowed converts, were under a spell of wonder at the strange things sounded in their ears." [11]
11 Hayden, op. cit., p. 216 [sic - 220].

194                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND  DOCTRINE  AND  COVENANTS                

This great revelation did much to encourage and unite the Saints as it turned the enemy against them. Its value was well expressed by the Prophet in these words:
Nothing could be more pleasing to the Saints upon the order of the kingdom of the Lord, than the light which burst upon the world through the foregoing vision. Every law, every commandment, every promise, every truth, and every point touching the destiny of man, from Genesis to Revelation, where the purity of the scriptures, remains unsullied by the folly of men, go to show the perfection of the theory (of different degrees of glory in the future life) and witness the fact that that document is a transcript from the records of the eternal world. The sublimity of the ideas; the purity of the language; the scope for action; the continued duration for completion, in order that the heirs of salvation may confess the Lord and bow the knee; the rewards for faithfulness, and the punishments for sins, are so much beyond the narrow-mindedness of men, that every honest man is constrained to exclaim: "It came from God!"


As this good news was noised abroad the enemy resolved to put the work down with a cruel hand. In fact they carefully planned to kill the two leaders. During a cold spell in March their wicked plan was to be carried out. A physician in the town contributed two vials of poison, one to kill the Johnson watch dog, the other to be forced down the throats of the men. Some of the poison was inserted in a piece of meat and fed to the dog. The great watch dog, Rover, was cold and silent when the men were ready for their well planned party. In the day time while the Johnson house was vacant Eli Johnson and John Ural [sic - Udell?] entered the house, spike the Johnson guns so they could not be used against them when they should attack the inmates that evening. They even stole one of Joseph's pillows so they could use the feathers to throw upon him after they covered his body with warm tar.

Everything in readiness, the guns spiked, the dog poisoned, the tar and feathers ready, the son of a "Campbellite" minister McClentic, living near Rigdon's house,

                                            THE  VISION  OF  GLORIES                                               195

gave a barrel of whiskey to the mobbers when they were ready to kill the two leaders. [12] On a very cold night, after a round of drinks, the enemy was at the door of the Johnson home. There was no barking dog to sound the alarm and no weapons in the house to be used against them. These drunken fiends seized the Prophet, dragging him from his bed and carried him out into the bitter cold. Several men had their hands upon him at once until they reached the door, where only two or three could find room to hold him in their grasp.

At the doorway he broke loose and seized the largest and strongest man in the crowd, Warren Waste, a trained wrestler who was considered the strongest man on the Western Reserve. Before the crowd could seize the Prophet again he threw his full strength against Waste, but his energy was only wasted, as the gang was soon upon him. Waste later said that "Joe Smith was the strongest man I ever grappled with."

Some of his clothes were torn from his body and he was dragged into the orchard back of the house. An open vial of poison was thrust against his lips, but he kept his mouth closed so no poison would get into it. The small bottle was beaten against his teeth until it was broken, its sharp edges cutting his lips severely.

He was beat unconscious, covered with a coat of warm tar and left for dead. When his friends carried him back to the house he was told that Sidney Rigdon had received the same treatment. He had been dragged over the frozen plowed ground until he was soon knocked unconscious and serious injury was done to the base of his skull. Many people blame this accident for his future delinquency in the Church. While in Liberty jail he acted like a mad man and was released.

The next day, being the Sabbath, the Prophet kept a preaching appointment in the village. In the audience

12 Church History (Reorganized), I, 243.

196                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND  DOCTRINE  AND  COVENANTS                

were some of the mobbers and the men who helped plan the crime.

Within a few years all the men who took part in that raid had suffered a painful death. Miles Norton who poisoned the Johnson watch dog was killed by a ram in the barnyard, its spiral horn being thrust through Norton's body. Warren Waste and Carnot Mason boasted of having bent the Prophet's legs over his back, holding them in that position as he lay on the ground face downward. Waste was later killed by a falling log while he was building a house. Mason died from a spinal affliction that was more painful than a Boston Crab. The man who tried to pour the poison into his mouth was buried alive while digging a well.

At that time the adopted Murdock twins were suffering from the measles. The little boy was very sick, the girl having practically recovered. On that particular night the boy was sleeping with the Prophet so that Emma could get some sleep. When the Prophet was dragged from his bed the little boy was left uncovered, caught a severe cold and soon died. This child may well be called the first martyr in this dispensation.

This was the price Joseph Smith had to pay for spending a winter in Hiram, the hotbed of the "Campbellites," some of whom had apostatized from the Church.

The "Disciples" were so delighted to welcome Symonds Ryder and his colleagues back into their society that he was honored with many positions of trust and responsibility as a reward for his return. In 1843 he employed Abraham Lincoln to institute a chancery suit in the courts, receiving several letters from the young lawyer who was destined to become the great emancipator. [13]

Almost forty years after the incident, Ryder was invited to write an account of Joseph Smith's activity in Hiram during that historic winter. His epistle included these lines:

13 P. M. Angel, New Letters and Papers of Abraham Lincoln, p. 18.

                                            THE  VISION  OF  GLORIES                                               197

To give particulars of the Mormon excitement of 1831 would require a volume -- a few words must suffice. It has been stated that from the year 1815 to 1835, a period of twenty years, "all sorts of doctrine by all sorts of preachers had been heard;" and most of the people of Hiram had been disposed to turn out and hear. This went by the specious name of "liberal." The Mormons in Kirtland, being informed of this peculiar state of things, were soon prepared for the onset.

In the winter of 1831 Joseph Smith, with others, had an appointment in the south school-house, in Hiram. Such was the apparent piety, sincerity and humility of the speakers, that many of the hearers were greatly affected, and thought it impossible that such preachers should lie in wait to deceive.

During the next spring and summer several converts were made, and their success seemed to indicate an immediate triumph in Hiram. But when they went to Missouri to lay the foundation of the splendid city of Zion, and also of the temple, they left their papers behind. This gave their new converts an opportunity to become acquainted with the internal arrangement of their church, which revealed to them the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the control of Joseph Smith the prophet. This was too much for the Hiramites, and they left the Mormonites faster than they had ever joined them, and by fall the Mormon church in Hiram was a very lean concern.

But some who had been the dupes of this deception, determined not to let it pass with impunity; and, accordingly, a company was formed of citizens from Shalersville, Garretsville, and Hiram, in March, 1832, and proceeded to headquarters in the darkness of night, and took Smith and Rigdon from their beds, and tarred and feathered them both, and let them go. This had the desired effect, which was to get rid of them. They soon left for Kirtland.

All who continued with the Mormons, and had any property, lost all; among whom was John Johnson, one of our most worthy men; also, Esq. Snow, of Mantua, who lost two or three thousand dollars. [14]
It was a high price they were asked to pay for a few months in Hiram, but it was well worth the cost. The one majestic revelation of the three degrees of glory

14 Hayden, op. cit., pp. 216-219 [sic - p. 220].

198                 HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND  DOCTRINE  AND  COVENANTS                

repaid them for all their efforts and hardships in that village. It is one of the greatest contributions ever made in the world of religious philosophy....

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Notes: (forthcoming)

Nels B. Lundwall
Fate of the Persecutors...
SLC: Bookcraft, 1952

  Title page

  Ch. 4 excerpt

  Transcriber's Comments

Contents Copyright 1952 by N. B. Lundwall
All rights reserved; only limited,
"fair use" excerpts are presented here.


The  Fate  of  the  Persecutors
of  the
Prophet  Joseph  Smith


Being a compilation of historical data on
the personal testimony of Joseph Smith,
his  greatness,  his  persecutions  and
prosecutions, conspiracies against his life, his
imprisonments, his martyrdom, his funeral
and burial, the trial of his murderers,
the sorrow and mourning of his followers,
the fate of those who persecuted and killed
him, and the attitude of his followers who
also endured and passed through many of
these experiences.


Compiled by N. B. Lundwall


Because of copyright law restrictions,
only limited "fair use" excerpts are presented here.

[ 68 ]


Persecution  Led  by  Modern  Preachers


Whenever God has authorized his servants to deliver His messages, the counterfeit have also existed, as in the days of Moses, Elijah, the Apostles of old, and in our day. Christ said to the Scribes and Pharisees, the very men who put him to death, "Ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell." The Redeemer said to the Prophet Joseph Smith in our day, of these modern Scribes and Pharisees, these modern priests of Baal: "Their creeds were an abomination in His sight; their professors were all corrupt; they draw near to me with their lips but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrine the commandments of men; they have a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof."

To summarize the part these modern priests have played in this generation, the following is quoted from Elder B. H. Roberts' reply to the Salt Lake City Ministerial Association:

"I have been meeting your class, gentlemen, for now thirty years; and have had controversies of various kinds with it during that time, and I know you as a class quite thoroughly. I speak from experience, not malice, and comparing you as a class with other classes of men whom I have known, it is just a plain, solemn truth that you are, as a class, narrow, bigoted, intolerant, petty; and I say that in the very best of feeling. * * * *"

"These gentlemen reviewers express two fears. One is that they will be charged, because of issuing this review, with misrepresentation. Well, I don't wonder at that, and I think we have proven that you have misrepresented. But they also fear that we will charge them with persecution. Gentlemen, we acquit you of the intention of persecution. When the Revs. Phineas Ewing, Dixon, Cavanaugh, Hunter, Bogart, Isaac McCoy, Riley, Pixley, Woods and others carried on an agitation in Missouri against "Mormonism" and the "Mormons" that resulted in burning hundreds of our homes and driving our people-including women and children, remember -- to bivouac out in the wilderness at an inclement season of the year; when the mob incited by these reverends, your prototypes, gentlemen, laid waste our fields and gardens, stripped our people of their earthly possessions, keeping up that agitation until twelve thousand or fifteen thousand people were driven from the state of Missouri, dispossessed of several hundred thousand acres of land -- two hundred and fifty thousand acres, to be exact -- which they had entered, and rendered them homeless -- we might call, we do call, that persecution. When the Rev. Mr. Levi Williams led the mob that shot to death Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith in Carthage prison, and when the Rev. Mr. Thomas S. Brockman led the forces against Nauvoo, after the great body of the people

PERSECUTIONS  LED  BY  MODERN  PREACHERS                                                     69

had withdrawn from that city, and expelled the aged, the widow and the fatherless, and, laid waste the property of the people -- we think we are justified in calling that persecution, of which, right reverend gentlemen were the chief instigators. And when in this territory some years ago one wave of agitation followed another, until a reign of terror was produced, and a regime was established under which men guilty at most of a misdemeanor, could nevertheless be imprisoned for a term of years covering a lifetime, and fined to the exhaustion of all they possessed, under the beautiful scheme of segregating the offense into numerous counts in each indictment; and when in that reign of terror women were compelled to clasp their little ones to -their breasts and go out among strangers, exiled from their homes -- we might be inclined to call that persecution."



And now your question as to the cause of the early persecutions of the Saints. To answer this question, we should go back to its inception to find the cause for the hate that is ever behind to incite persecution. Between the present and former dispensations there is a striking analogy. Jesus appeared to the learned, haughty, dignified and opulent Jews as the "poor illiterate carpenter's son of Nazareth, despised "Galilean," who claimed to be the son of the Highest, the Great Jehovah, that "without" him there was nothing made that was made, that he held "all power both in Heaven and on Earth," that he could "destroy the temple and rear it up in three days," etc., while the multitude turned from them to follow the "lowly Nazarene," hence their envy and jealousy which ripened into hate and in their nailing Him as a malefactor to the cross; and just so has it been in our day.

Joseph Smith, of lowly birth, was a farm boy of common class, poor, illiterate and without distinction other than being religiously inclined; he attended revivals, was in the anxious circles honestly seeking religion and to learn which was the right church; and calling upon the Lord in simple faith that he might know. Both the Father and the Son in a pillar of light descended, and in teaching him commanded that "he join no religious sect, as their creeds were all an abomination in His sight."

This blow, by an ignorant son of poverty at fourteen years of age, in the face of all Christendom, was an insult to the dignity of all priestly learning, greatness and wealth; but with their millions in Bible, missionary and other societies for converting the world, all their greatness defied and denounced by an ignorant boy, their contempt led to hatred and persecution. And when that boy became a man, he claimed to have revelations, and that an angel had delivered to him golden plates containing a history of a fallen people, and that God, through him, was about to restore the ancient gospel in its purity, which, if true, would blot out all their greatness. Inspired by hate, they made lies their weapons with which to fight the truth; both of which are attributes of the devil.

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The room shown in the rear of the Johnson residence (the one where the door stands open) is that occupied by the Prophet and his family in the winter of 1832, and from which he was dragged at midnight March 25, 1832, by a mob, cruelly beaten, tarred and feathered, and only saved from a still more horrible violence by the mercy of God. The door immediately facing the reader is the one from which the Prophet was dragged. The day following (Sunday) he preached, scarified as he was, from the front steps of Father Johnson's residence to an immense congregation.

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PERSECUTIONS  LED  BY  MODERN  PREACHERS                                                     71

whose servants they were, as "blind leaders of the blind." The multitudes were blinded by the popular prejudice and cry of "away with them"; and all going together to the pit; just as the Master saw, and upon the cross "prayed His Father to forgive them as they knew not what they did." Our Prophet Joseph, like the Master, was held in contempt by learned priests, bigots and hypocrites, and like Him, was scorned, despised, and derided by the rich; and by all Christendom was derided without cause, and persecuted unto death by those who would not know him.
                      Excerpt from letter of Benjamin F. Johnson to George S. Gibbs.


While on a, mission in the Northern States, and laboring in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, on March 24, 1902, I, in company with Lorenzo Sorenson of Smithfield, Utah, were tracting from house to house and called at the home of a Mr. Silas Raymond who was in possession of two relics in the shape of a tar bucket and a dark lantern used the night of the horrible mobbing of the Prophet Joseph which occurred on March 25, 1832. Mr. Raymond answered the door and when we introduced ourselves as Mormon missionaries, he uttered an oath "G__ D__ you Mormons, come in. I want to show you something." He excused himself and returned in a few minutes with a tar bucket which was made from a block of wood 8 inches in diameter and 10 or 12 inches in height, chiseled out to make a bucket, a hole bored through each side at the top and a piece of rope knotted at each end to make the handle. It was a very crude affair. It was covered with hard tar both inside and out and had never been used for anything after the mobbing. The lantern was called a dark lantern; and was about the size of a one gallon can. It had a pointed top on it to shed rain and a wire handle attached, with a little door cut in the side, through which a candle was put into the can and lighted. There were perforations -- diamond shape, heart shape and crescent shape, also decorations were used to let the light flicker out.

Upon returning with these relics he uttered another oath: ("There they are, G__ d__ you.") and placed them before us saying: -- "Pick 'em up; handle 'em; look 'em over," and stated that they were used on the night of the mobbing of the Prophet Joseph Smith at Hiram, Ohio, while at the home of Brother Johnson.

He stated that this bucket filled with liquid tar was poured over the head of Joe Smith and he was rolled onto a feather tick which had been ripped open and was rolled into the feathers.

Mr. Raymond stated that his father was one of the leaders of the mob and that from the time of this mobbing something seemed to have come upon his father that he was never well again; was finally confined to his bed where slow death came upon him, mortification setting in at his toes and he died by inches as mortification worked its way upward. Before dying he called his family together and talked with them regarding the mobbing and

72                                                             FATE  OF  JOSEPH  SMITH'S  PERSECUTORS

their future course in life, stating that his days were numbered, but he wanted to tell them that so far as he was concerned they could please themselves which religious denomination they affiliated themselves with, but for his part he was convinced that Joe Smith was all that he ever claimed to be -- a prophet of God.

After viewing these relics, and returning to our rooms, we thought a great deal about them and wrote to President Joseph F. Smith, President of the Church, asking if he thought such relics would be genuine. We received an answer to our letter stating that there was no question but what they were genuine and instructed us to buy the relics from Mr. Raymond if a reasonable price could be agreed on, so that they could be put in the Church museum. Mr. Raymond refused to sell them stating that they had been handed down from his father's death to the oldest member of the family and they were to be kept in the family as long as they desired to have them. He said they were of no use to him, the Church should have them but it was his father's request that they should be kept in the family.

Two of this Mr. Raymond's aunts joined the Church and moved West with the Saints.
Signed: John D. Barber        

John D. Barber being duly sworn, deposes and says that the foregoing statement is a true recital of events as they occurred and happened according to his knowledge.

In witness whereof, he has set his hand and signature this 28th day of September, 1948.
CHAS. L. FROST        
County Clerk in and for the        
County of Summit, State of Utah.      


In connection with the above persecution, the following is quoted from E. Cecil McGavin's book: Historical Background of the Doctrine and Covenants, (p. 196). "Within a few years all the men who took part in that raid had suffered a painful death. Miles Norton who poisoned the Johnson watch dog was killed by a ram in the barnyard, its spiral horn being thrust through Norton's body. Warren Waste and Carnot Mason boasted of having bent the Prophet's legs over his back, holding them in that position as he lay on the ground face downward. Waste was later killed by a falling log while he was building a house. Mason died from a spinal affliction that was more painful than a Boston Crab. The man who tried to pour the poison into his mouth was buried alive while digging a well."


(An account of the mobbing which took place (March 25th, 1832) at Hiram, where Joseph lived, at the time, with "Father Johnson," is thus related by Joseph):

"On the 25th of March, the twins before mentioned, which had been sick of the measles for some time, caused us to be broken

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74                                                             FATE  OF  JOSEPH  SMITH'S  PERSECUTORS

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In this inhuman onslaught, Sidney Rigdon was dragged by his heels over the frozen ground until his head was badly lacerated, which rendered him delirious for several days. "Father Johnson" was also roughly handled. Joseph's friends spent the remainder of the night in removing the tar and washing and cleansing his body, so that he could be clothed again. The next day was Sunday, and true to his mission, and agreeably with his determined purpose to do the will of heaven, he went to meeting, with his "flesh all scarified and defaced," and preached to a congregation, among whom were the identical mobbers who had thus invaded his home, dragged him from his imploring wife and sick children, and abused him in a manner disgraceful even to the character of savages, and in the afternoon baptized three individuals.

Owing to the exposure to which the sick children were subjected through this sudden and cruel demonstration, one of them received a severe cold and died soon afterwards.

The mobbers were mostly, if not entirely, professors of religion. Simonds Rider, the leader of the mob, was a Campbellite preacher. Not satisfied with the cruelties inflicted, they kept up their aggressive demonstrations around "Father Johnson's" for some time afterwards.
The Martyrs, pp. 22-24.          


Beautiful for situation is Hiram, one of the many incorporated hamlets of northern Ohio.

A mile and a half westward from what Hiramites call the "center," meaning by that the college campus and the neat modern cottage homes that face it as a public square, is the old "Johnson homestead," where the Prophet Joseph Smith lived for some months during the eventful years of 1831 and 1832. Here in the east upper room he, with Sidney Rigdon as scribe, "translated" or what

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