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Sidney Rigdon,
The Real Founder of Mormonism

Hyrum and Joseph Smith, Jr.


William H. Whitsitt

THE  MORMON  PERIOD: Nov. 8, 1830 -- Sep. 8, 1844
(Part E: Section IX, pp. 1266-1294)

Contents  |  Book   I  |  Book  II  |  Book  III  |  Book  IV   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  |  Book V


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Chapter I.
Sixth Effort to Organize the Hierarchy.

Having completed an account of the historical incidents which fell out during the Nauvoo Period, it may now be allowed to discuss the theological changes which occured at that season. The Hierarchy had become so extensive as to present serious complications. At the beginning of the residence at Nauvoo it was in much confusion. The fifth effort that was made to organize it had left it in a deplorable situation. The injunction which commanded every man to "learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he was appointed" (D&C 107:90), was almost impossible to be performed. Neither Joseph nor Sidney, nor any other man was able to comprehend all the intricacies of the scheme that was laid down in the D&C, 107:77-100. There was urgent necessity of a measure of relief, by means of which the Hierarchy should be simplified and rendered comprehensible in respect to its organization. The last effort that was made to organize the hierarchy took place on the 19th of January 1841; the details of it may be consulted [at] D&C, 124:123-145.

Through that undertaking the situation was improved. For example, a deal of nonsense was rejected, as in the case of the High Council of Twenty-four Elders (D&C, 107:79). The Patriarch was the luckiest officer in the church, inasmuch as under the new scheme he was promoted from the twelvth to the first place. As yet, however, there is no proof of the existence of [local] patriarchs at Stakes and branches such as came in vogue at a later time. No mention of these


officials is found anywhere in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; and there is not any proof that Joseph during his lifetime ever heard of them. There was no Stake outside of Nauvoo between 1839 and 1844, where a Standing High Council was in existence after the pattern of the Standing High Council at Nauvoo. Furthermore the items of the catalogue are here given in a different order in one or two cases, a circumstance which appears to affect the rank of different classes of office-bearers but in particular the rank of the Seventy Traveling Elders. The details may be brought to view by a comparison of the following scheme with that of a previous chapter that was devoted to an explanation of the Fifth Effort to Organize the Hierarchy.

It may likewise be noted that in the arrangement here produced the Melchisedek Priesthood alone survives; the Aaronic Priesthood has long since taken its departure, there having been no official mention of it in this connection for several years. A correct diagram of the Sixth effort to arrange the Hierarchy might be set forth upon the basis of D.&C., 124, 123-45 about as follows:

I. Melchisedek Priesthood (D.&C., 124, 123).
1. Patriarch of the church, Hyrum Smith (v. 124).
2. Joseph Smith, Presiding Elder over all the church, Translator, Revelator, Seer and Prophet (v. 125).
3. Sidney Rigdon and William Law, Counselors to Joseph (v. 126).
4. [5]. President of the Twelve Apostles, namely Brigham Young, who was left without the benefit of any Counselors (v. 127).
6. Quorum of Ten Apostles, composed of:
Heber C. Kimball,


Parley P. Pratt,
Orson Pratt,
Orson Hyde,
William Smith,
John Taylor,
John E. Page,
Wilford Woodruff,
Willard Richards,
George A. Smith.
The place made vacant by the death of David Patten was not yet supplied (vv. 129-30).
7. High Council of Twelve High-priests, composed of:
Samuel Bent,
H. G. Sherwood,
George W. Harris,
Charles C. Rich,
Thomas Grover,
Newel Knight,
David Dert,
Dunnar Wilson,
Aaron Johnson,
David Fullmer,
Alpheus Cutler,
William Huntington (vv. 131-2).
7. President of the High-priests namely, Don C. Smith, with his two Counselors, Amasa Lyman and Noah Packard.
8. Quorum of High-priests (vv. 133-6).
9.President of the Elders, namely, John A. Hicks and his two Counselors Samuel Williams and Jesse Baker.
10. Quorum of Elders (v. 137).
11. President of the Seventy Traveling Elders, namely, Joseph Young, with six Secondary Presidents, namely:
Josiah Butterfield,
Daniel Miles,
Henry Herriman,
Zera Pulsipher,
Levi Hancock,
James Foster.
12. Quorum of the Seventy Elders (vv. 138-40).
13. Presiding Bishop of the whole church, namely, Vinson Knight, with his two Counselors, namely, Samuel H. Smith and Shadrach Roundy (v. 141).
14. President of the Priests, namely Samuel Rolfe, with his two Counselors whose names are not mentioned (v. 142).
15. Quorum of the Priests.
16. President of the Teachers and his two Counselors, not of whose names are given (v. 142).


18. Quorum of the Teachers.
19. President of the Deacons of the church, with his two counselors, note of whose names are mentioned (v. 142).
20. Quorum of the Deacons.
21. President of the Stake of Nauvoo, with his two counselors, whose names are all likewise suppressed (v. 142).
22. Though no reference is made to him, it is supposed that the Historian or Recorder of the church was still retained (D.&C., 128, 4).
23. Recorder for the benefit of those who were baptized for the dead (D.&C., 128, 4).

Nothing could have been more cumbrous and unserviceable than the above scheme, notwithstanding the fact that the Hierarchy and its articulation is sometimes cried up as a specimen of divine inspiration and wisdom. Minuter examination demonstrates that instead of divine capacity rather vulgar human incapacity were at play every time Sidney and Joseph undertook to arrange the different offices of the church.

In the year 1842 Joseph introduced a new order called kings and priests, perhaps with allusion to Revelation 1, 6. Although it is several times mentioned a deal of obscurity rests upon it. Only the most highly favored were honored by admission to it. The prophet counseled that none but kings and priests should be permitted to compose the delegation which he expected to send to the Rocky Mountains for the purpose of spying out a home there (Juvenile Instructor, vol. 14, p. 164). The establishment of this order occasioned a measure of alarm in the state of Illinois; Ford speaks of an oath of allegiance that was prescribed by the prophet to himself and administered to his followers (p. 321). It cannot be decided whether these kings and priests were an order of the Hierarchy or not; nor what place if any they should occupy in the above scheme.


Chapter II.
Doctrinal Changes of the Nauvoo Period.
(Baptism for the Dead)

A sharp and natural concern was felt among the faithful touching the condition of such of their relatives and friends as had never heard or embraced the "ancient gospel." The notion of consigning all these to perdition without any discrimination or benefit of clergy was exceedingly painful. The first concession that was made for their advantage was conveyed in the Vision that was bestowed upon Joseph and Sidney at Hiram, Ohio, on the 16th of February 1832 (D.&C., Section 76). But this expedient was not entirely satisfactory; it smacked too keenly of the sentiments of the Restorationists and looked very like an effort to court the good will of Martin Harris and Edward Partridge, both of whom are known to have been of Restorationist proclivities.

A second expedient was invented by Joseph on the evening of the 21st of January 1836, when he brought his departed Brother Alvin into heaven in virtue of his ignorance of the "ancient gospel" at the time when he was carried away by death (Tullidge, pp. 162-3). This achievement, however, did not render assurance quite as sure as could be desired; the subject was not yet set at rest.

Finally they fell upon the scheme of baptism for the dead, according to a suggestion contained in the passage at 1 Corinthians 15, 29: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" This expedient must have brought the prophet an amount of satisfaction regarding


the situation of his brother Alvin that he had not felt before.

Possibly the literalizing interpretation of the above Scripture may have been broached during the leisure that was afforded by the imprisonment that was suffered in the jail at Liberty, Missouri. Here was an occasion to discuss topics of theology, which it may be supposed the parties concerned were not slow to make use of. After they had come to Nauvoo it is suspected the subject was abroad in the air, and not seldom the theme of conversation. Joseph contrived to make up his mind during the summer of the year 1840, and it is likely that his own example in submitting to baptism for the salvation of his brother Alvin may have set the fashion among the Saints (Lucy Smith, p. 284). It has already been shown how he preached the doctrine of baptism for the dead at the October conference in 1840.

The maxim of Mr. Campbell, "where the Scriptures speak, we speak," is one of the best, in the hands of a person who is acquainted with the principles of Biblical Interpretation and is skilful to apply the same. But this maxim was in the wrong hands in the case of most of the people with whom Mr. Campbell had to deal; certainly in the hands of Mr. Rigdon it hardly ever failed to produce deplorable results.

During the autumn of 1840 numbers of the faithful in every part of the vineyard appear to have submitted to baptism for the behoof of their departed loved ones (D.&C., 124, 35). No man was swifter than Joseph to perceive and improve a point that was likely to promote


the influence and authority of the Hierarchy; it must be allowed that he displayed real genius in that regard. The example of the Catholic Hierarchy with relation to the doctrine of Purgatory was before his eyes and he was swift to take that kind of a hint. The possibility of comforting and helping the departed is one of the strongest motives that can be brought to bear in any portion of the world.

In order to bring the new doctrine and the usage that was founded upon it more directly into the service of the Priesthood, it has been shown that on the 19th of January 1841 a stipulation was established that baptism for the dead should henceforth be limited to Zion and her Stakes and to Jerusalem in Palestine (D.&C., 124, 36), a circumstance which put a stop to a deal of loose practice and rendered the privilege in question of more value in the sight of all concerned. At Nauvoo it might be performed outside of any building while the temple was in process of construction (D.&C., 124, 31); but that liberty was abruptly denied at the October Conference in 1841, and a font was opened in the basement of the House of the Lord on the 21st of November of the same year.

Several Biblical arguments were advanced in support of the practice besides the passage already cited in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. One of the most important citations was Revelation 20, 12: "And I saw the dead small and great stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of these things which were written in the books, according to their works." The application


relates to the circumstance that the prophet had appointed a general Recorder for the church and a minor Recorder in each ward of the city of Nauvoo, who should set down the names of deceased persons whose friends had submitted to immersion on their behalf, together with the names of any witnesses who might have been in attendance and all other facts of moment. Out of the books which these Recorders should make it was affirmed that the quick and the dead would be judged. This coincidence was considered to be a striking fulfillment of inspired prophecy (D.&C., 128, 3-9).

Hebrews 11, 40, was likewise cited in favor of the propriety of Baptism for the dead. It reads as follows: "God having provided some better thing for us that they without us should not be made perfect." Joseph was pleased to argue that "their salvation is necessary to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers that they without us cannot be made perfect; neither can we without our dead be made perfect" (D.&C., 128, 15). It is difficult to calculate the amount of influence that might be brought to bear upon excited consciences by considerations of that color.

Malachi 4, 5-6, was the next passage that was shamefully abused in this interest. It reads as follows: "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. It was maintained that in the ordinance of baptism for the dead the hearts of the fathers were turned to


the children and the hearts of children were turned to the fathers in a striking and admirable fulfillment of prophecy" (D.&C., 128, 17-18).

Allusion was likewise given to 1 Peter 3, 19: "By which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison." It was claimed that many spirits are still in prison whom it is easy to release through the ordinance of baptism for the dead (D.&C., 128, 22).

By degrees however, the sentiment of Hierarchical ambition got the better of the prophet, and baptism for the dead was preached more with reference to the interests of the Priesthood than with reference to the salvation of the departed. Joseph thus candidly confesses the real sentiment that moved his conduct. And again, for the precedent, Matthew 16, 18-19: "And I also say unto thee, that thou are Peter; and upon this Rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Now the great and grand secret of the whole matter, and the summum bonum of the whole subject that is lying before us, consists in obtaining the powers of the Priesthood. In other words, if the Saints should fail to conduct themselves with proper humility, and to pay all the numerous fees that would be required, they could not obtain "the powers of the Priesthood" without which their dead would remain in perdition to eternal ages, no matter how frequently the devotee might submit to baptism for their behoof.


Chapter III.
Doctrinal Changes of the Nauvoo Period.
(Materialism and Plurality of Gods)

Materialism took its rise among the Mormons as early as the month of December 1830. It had its roots among the Swedenborgian tenets that were embraced by Sidney, and introduced into the translation of the first seven chapters of Genesis. This matter has been sufficiently explained in the chapter of the present work that was devoted to a discussion of Swedenborgiana.

It was there shown that according to Mormon theology, spirits have existed from the beginning, which expression seems to signify the same as from eternal cycles. These spirits have the same shape as the body which in any given instance they may chance to occupy. Swedenborg had been careful to speak of them as a "spiritual substance," but that conception was altogether too nice for Mr. Rigdon; it was inconceivable to his mind that there could be any other than a material substance (D.&C., 131, 7-8). Consequently the Mormons reached the conclusion that spirits are material substances and hence that matter is eternal (D.&C., 93, 33). Whoever desires more closely to consider the form in which Swedenborgianism impressed itself upon the mind of Mr. Smith, will find other themes of reflection in the first 62 verses of Section 88 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, where his materialism again budded forth.

The anthropomorphism (D.&C., 130, 22) which the Mormons, by means of a perverse


process of their own are believed likewise to have derived from the Swedenborgians, would also supply them with arguments in favor of the eternity of matter, or at any rate of that portion of matter which existed in the body of Deity. By reason of the care with which the notion was cultivated it began to be recognized as early as the year 1839 that materialism was one of the standing features of Mormonism. John Corrill in his "History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," which was published in that year, declares how "they believe that matter is eternal" (Kidder, p. 226). Parley P. Pratt appeared in the year 1840 with a "Treatise on the Regeneration and Eternal Duration of Matter" (Stenhouse, p. 744). Here were delivered at length a set of views which already had been briefly produced in Mr. Pratt's "Voice of Warning," pp. 153-4, a work which was first given to the public in the year 1837.

Materialism being now pretty widely acknowledged, Mr. Smith felt that it would be proper for him to contribute what he could to help it forward. That enterprise was undertaken in the Book of Abraham, a small treatise which he began to publish in the Times and Seasons newspaper on the 1st of March 1842 (Kidder, p. 334). A portion of this performance is devoted to the business of strengthening the bonds of priestcraft among the Mormons (Pearl of Great Price, pp. 33-8); another section (pp. 38-40) is given to explain the process by which a day with the Lord is equal to a thousand years of common time, while the last division is improved to confirm the views of the faithful in regard to materialism (pp. 41-45).

These last pages are composed of a new translation with


Joseph's last variations and additions, of the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis. It is in several ways an interesting specimen, but there is only space to remark that the notion of creation is entirely surrendered. Joseph was wont to affirm that, "Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be" (D.&C., 93, 29). It was a form of matter that was eternal. Out of it innumerable "intelligences were organized before the world was" (Pearl of Great Price, p. 41).

Likewise he was at pains to reject the position that was formerly conceded to the effect that the world was created by God. Here is the fashion in which he now construed the opening verse of the Book of Genesis: "And there stood one among these intelligences that was like unto God, and he said unto those that were with him, 'we will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell'...and they went down at the beginning, and they organized and formed [that is the Gods] the heavens and the earth" (Pearl of Great Price, p. 41). Not only was the matter out of which the intelligences were formed of eternal existence, but also the other matter out of which the earth was organized.

It will be remembered that Joseph had been studying Hebrew under Rabbi Seixas at Kirtland. Of course he fancied that he was an expert, and an occasion was never missed to give an airing to his attainments. In the Hebrew Lexicon he had perceived that the word for God was in the plural number, a circumstance that admirably


suited certain conclusions that he had previously formed touching the plurality of the Gods. Accordingly in this new translation, Mr. Smith is at pains in every instance to render the word Elohim in the plural number: "And the Gods said, let their be an expanse in the midst of the waters" (Pearl of Great Price, p. 42). It can hardly be questioned that Joseph believed that he was going to astonish the whole world by the above extraordinary suggestion.

It will be seen that the materialism of the Mormon system was of comparatively slow growth; it has likewise been of comparatively slight favor. To the present day numbers of excellent Saints know little or nothing about it, and Joseph himself had little confidence in his inspiration at this point. In proof of the correctness of this opinion may be mentioned the circumstance that at the instance of the Honorable John Wentworth of Chicago he once published the different items of his creed. These appeared in the Times and Seasons for the 1st of March 1842, the same issue in which he began to publish the Book of Abraham, and yet not a word is uttered among them all touching materialism or the plurality of Gods, notwithstanding the fact that both of these were inculcated in the Book of Abraham, which for a series of years he had been engaged in elaborating. The text of that creed has become a Mormon classic, in which character it deserves to be inserted in full:

We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.


We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We believe that these ordinances are: First, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; Second, Repentance; Third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; Fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We believe that a man must be called of God by prophecy and by laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer the ordinances thereof.

We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive Church, viz. Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists, etc.

We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelations, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon this continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.


We claim the privilege of worshiping almighty God according the the dictates of our conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may.

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul "We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report, or praiseworthy we seek after these things" (Pearl, pp. 79-80).
The neglect of materialism in quite recent times is also very striking among the Mormons. Apstle Orson Pratt considered that he was called to defend a tenet which Joseph and his brother Parley P. Pratt had so vigorously proclaimed. Accordingly he wrote a treatise entitled the "Absurdities of Immaterialism," and another on "the Great First Cause." In the year 1884 when the Works of Orson Pratt were republished under the auspices of George Q. Cannon at Salt Lake City, it was precisely those documents which inculcated materialism that were left out of the collection. Possibly it was these same productions which contributed to render the Saints always a trifle dubious of the orthodoxy of Orson Pratt. It was formerly a common saying among them "that Orson Pratt was much too learned to keep for any length of time out of perdition" (Remy and Brenchley, 2, p. 177).


Chapter IV.
Doctrinal Changes of the Nauvoo Period.
(Celestial Marriage: D&C, 132:1-27)

Section 132 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants handles two separate and distinct topics and it would be easier to understand if it were divided at Verse 27. All that lies before that Verse treats of the so-called Celestial Marriage; all that follows it treats of Polygamy.

The fancies of Swedenborg, from the outset, took a firm hold upon the mind of Mr. Smith. The notion of the northern seer to the effect that things in heaven are but a continuation of things on earth was particularly dear to Joseph. He liked to hear about the "administrations, offices, employments, tradings, studies in all departments of learning, and wonderful pieces of workmanship" (True Christian Religion, n. 694) that were asserted to be in heaven: "how man walks, runs and sits, as in the former world; lies down, sleeps and wakes up, as in the former world; eats and drinks, as in the former world; enjoys conjugal delight, as in the former world; in a word, he is a man as to all and every particular. Whence it is manifest that death is not an extinction, but a continuation of life, and that it is only a transition" (True Christian Religion, n. 792).

That suggestion of a continuation easily lent itself to be improved for hierarchical and theocratical purposes. The style in which Joseph employed it for those purposes is characteristic


of his general method. He invented what he was pleased to designate as a "law of the new and everlasting covenant," which provided that,

All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations that are not made and entered into, and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time, on whom this power and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue or force, in and after the resurrection of the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead" (D.&C., 132, 7).

Here was an improvement upon his conceits that had not been comtemplated by Swedenborg; Joseph and his impudent Theocracy took a preemption of every department of the business of continuation in the next world. Nothing could be more amusing than the prophet's arrogance. His blows were particularly aimed at his old enemy the civil commonwealth. Not content with what he said above he adds:

"Everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones or principalities or powers or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me, or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down and shall not remain after men are dead,


neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God; for whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed" (132, 13-4).
Evidently there was neither safety nor hope for those who might choose to keep on the side of the civil state.

The above "law of the new and everlasting covenant" was considered to apply with especial force to the concerns of matrimony. It was brought to bear in the following fashion:
"Therefore if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word; and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world, and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world" (132, 15). In brief words it was known to all men that the civil governments unite people only for the time that they both shall live; if you desire your marriage to continue in eternity, Joseph told his followers, the only chance to accomplish that purpose is to submit to a new ceremony called by the name of "sealing" by means of which the contract will be confirmed beyond any sort of peradventure.

Insolent as this provision might be it was an improvement upon the demands of those who maintained that the ceremony of marriage when administered under the authority of the civil government was not valid even in the present world. It was necessary in the year 1835 for the more sober section of the authorities to remind the faithful


that "all legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church should be held sacred and fulfilled" (D.&C., fourth European edition, CIX, 4).
But it was to be expected that certain of the brethren would be so well content with marriage that had been celebrated outside of the Theocracy as to hesitate to repeat the ceremony. Considerations must therefore be invented to move these to lay aside their civil marriage and accept of the Celestial Marriage which the Theocracy alone had to bestow. If they should profess that when they were joined together by the civil authorities they had in their hearts made vows for eternity, and hence that it was not required of them to renew the operation, Joseph assured such parties that if the said marriage covenant had not been "sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom the Lord had anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word" (132, 18).

Other parties who might have no great care about the other world were reminded of the inconveniences of quitting this world without being partakers of the benefits of Celestial Marriage. In the first place they would never be able to rise beyond the dignity of angels in heaven, while those who submitted to be sealed by the Theocracy would be Gods in heaven, and would always be rising higher in the scale of power and glory. If the objectors affirmed that it was possible for them to marry a second time after they should die and


come to heaven, Joseph was ready with the express word of the Lord declaring that "when they shall rise from the dead they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are as angels in heaven." It was possible to do everything else in heaven except to get married there (132, 16-7); this grade of marriage at least could be obtained nowhere else except from the Mormon Theocracy.

Celestial Marriage on the other hand, when duly adminstered by the authorities of the Theocracy, it was promised would promote a fulness of glory (132, 4). All who entered heaven in the marriage relation would shortly become Gods, who should "inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities and powers, dominions, all heights and depths," and they would enjoy a "continuation of the seeds forever and ever" (132, 19). To neglect or to reject Celestial Marriage entailed several undesirable results. Reference has been made above to the fact that those who offended in this sort could become nothing more than angels in heaven, according to Mark 12, 25. It was in addition suggested that they were in danger to be damned (132, 6).

In the entire concern of Celestial Marriage appears both the ambition and the arrogance of the Hierarchy; no ceremony could be performed without the Priesthood (132, 18-9), and the insolent Theocracy stood pre‘minent above the civil state.


Chapter V.
Doctrinal Changes of the Nauvoo Period.
(Polygamy: D&C, 132:28-66)

There is no good room to question the fact that the prophet was a practical polygamist from an early date. The leading circumstances in that connection have been detailed in the chapter entitled Joseph Improves his Welcome; in the chapter entitled A Disastrous Victory it has also been shown that he gave up his life as a victim to the cause of polygamy. But the question has been raised whether Joseph was the real author of the particular revelation that is here under review.

Touching that issue it may be allowed to state that there is antecedent probability that Mr. Smith is the author of it. He was a polygamist, and he was in the custom of writing revelations. He had previously obtained an unwritten revelation relating to this topic (Bennett, p. 238).

The 12th of July 1843, the date at which Joseph is said to have produced this revelation fits to a nicety the conditions in which he then found himself; it would be difficult if not impossible to explain the subsequent occurrences of his history without some such transaction as this revelation.

The historical notes found in the body of the revelation are such as could not have been invented so admirably by another hand. Joseph and Emma were on the point of separating from each other on account of the "strange women" whom he had received (v. 52);


he had set apart for her uses a portion of his property, which by command of the Lord he had been instructed to offer to her (V. 51); it was doubtful whether Emma Smith would abide the "strange women" even after the revelation of the Lord was produced to her (vv. 54-5). She is said to have burnt the original of this revelation that was written in the character of William Clayton, when Hyrum Smith had carelessly committed it to her keeping, and it was only preserved by reason of the fact that Newel K. Whitney had previously taken a copy of it (Remy and Brenchley, vol. 2, p. 119).

Those who are familiar with the English style of Joseph will recognize it without question in this performance; in the department of English expression Joseph's peculiarities were very marked and they all appear to perfection here.

Nobody in the ranks of the Mormon fold at that period except Sidney Rigdon was sufficiently a master of Swedenborgian theology to have introduced and adapted the Swedenborgian sentiments that are made use of in this revelation. But Sidney Rigdon was a violent adversary of polygamy; hence it is clear that none but Joseph could have produced the document.

The denial which Emma Smith is alleged to have made in the month of February 1879 (Tullidge, pp. 791-2) is of no consequence; it will not avail in the slightest degree in the face of contemporary facts that are set down in the revelation (132, 51-7). These facts must always condemn anything that she might have said to the contrary; they are a part of the original sources, while it is


capable of proof in other particulars that her memory was totally untrustworthy.

The argument which Joseph has here composed in favor of polygamy is of the vulgar literalistic sort. Polygamy was represented to be a law of God that was imposed by divine revelation upon Abraham (132, 28-9); it was a direct divine command which the Patriarch was as much under obligation to observe as the command to sacrifice his son Isaac (vv. 35-6). It was likewise a usage sanctified and confirmed by the example of Jacob, David, Solomon and other unexceptionable characters. The ambition of Mr. Campbell was excited to "restore the ancient order of things," but Joseph went beyond him in that regard, for he seems to claim a direct divine appointment to "restore all things" (v. 40). Furthermore, Joseph claims that he was of the seed of Abraham, and therefore was subject in an especial sense to the law that was imposed upon Abraham (v. 31). In the title page of the Book of Mormon he had been solicitous to represent himself as a Gentile by whose agency that work had been brought forth.

A second argument employed by Joseph in favor of polygamy is based upon his interpretation of the tenets of Swedenborg. The northern seer was fond of representing that there were many different societies in heaven. As a specimen of his sentiments the following citation may be presented from the True Christian Religion, n. 32:


The infinity of God appeared still more evident to me from the angelic heaven, and also from hell, seeing that they are both of the orderly devices and subdivided into innumerable societies or congregations, according to all the varieties of the love of good and evil, and that every one obtains a place according to his love."
Joseph was enraptured with that conceit; he handles it with special unction at Section 88, 36-40 of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. In his version, however, a society or congregation became a "kingdom," and the conception of innumerable kingdoms was applied in his own fashion at this place. The family which a man possesses on earth will be his "kingdom" in heaven. Without a family he will possess neither throne nor kingdom in the upper world, but will pass for nothing better than an angel; he can never hope to become one of the Gods (v. 37). But it is very desirable like Abraham to occupy a throne (v. 29) and to rule over a kingdom. Exaltation in heaven depends altogether upon earthly marriage (v. 37; v. 49); the degree of exaltation and the size of the kingdom that is to be bestowed depends upon the number of wives. These wives will continue in the other world the toil of "bearing the souls of men" even down to eternal ages, which souls shall all be added to the kingdom of the fortunate polygamist so that he will shortly become one of the foremost princes of the better land (v. 63). So powerful is this conceit in Utah that young and handsome women have been known to reject the addresses of suitors of eligible age that they might find a place in the immense "kingdom" of some hoary Apostle who had more wives than he could conveniently muster.


Our Lord's parable with regard to the pounds of money (Luke 19, 15-26), was abused to supply a principle upon which to bestow the advantages of many wives; it was stipulated that he that had been faithful over a few things should be made ruler over many (v. 44; v. 53).

A check was placed upon the process of multiplying wives in the shape of the consent of the first wife (v. 61); but this check was rendered of no avail by the additional provision that in case she refused her consent she would become a transgressor, and the husband was therefore made independent of her will (v. 65). Joseph had to employ that provision to bring Mrs. Emma Smith to terms (Remy and Brenchley, 2, p. 130, note); possibly it was added for her especial benefit.


Chapter VI.
Practical Changes of the Nauvoo Period.

When Sidney and Joseph came out of New York into Ohio early in the year 1831 it was anticipated that the faithful would receive the promised grace of endowment without the aid of any appointed ceremony of endowment. The results of that experiment were so unsatisfactory that it was considered worth while when the temple at Kirtland was dedicated in March 1836 to elaborate and employ a special ceremony of endowment. The benefit of receiving the endowment was at that time apparently confined to official persons; none but members of the different Quorums of the priesthood were favored with it. The ceremony consisted in washing the entire body in pure water and then in anointing the head with oil, in connection with which performance suitable blessings were pronounced upon the recipients.

Only the last two of the above items were enacted within the limits of the temple at Kirtland; the washing of the body was done by the separate Quorums in private houses (Juvenile Instructor, vol. 15, p. 194). The public washing of feet which was in high favor at Kirtland was apparently never afterwards brought into use.

In the state of Missouri no special progress was made in developing the ceremonial of the endowment for the reason that the Saints had no temple there and during the whole period of Joseph and Sidney's sojourn among them the church were kept in commotion by means of their treasonous practices. Likewise in Nauvoo it appears that no great advances


occurred prior to the time when Joseph and Sidney joined the Masonic fraternity, a circumstance which is believed to have revived their already excessive interest in religious mysteries. Complaints were freely uttered against Mr. Smith on the ground that he was disposed to alter and corrupt the usages of the Masons. Possibly the truth of the matter may lie in the circumstance that he appropriated or accommodated those usages for the behoof of the organization that was called by the name of Order Lodge.

This Order Lodge was a sort of continuation of the endowment proceedings that were once current in Kirtland temple. All sorts of people were eligible to membership in the Order Lodge; its privileges were not as in the case of the endowment at Kirtland, confined exclusively to official characters; the only question that was proposed relating to qualifications merely inquired whether the applicant was completely devoted to the interests of the Hierarchy. However, it is believed that none but males were eligible to membership in Order Lodge; one of the objects for which the Female Relief Association was organized on the 17th of March 1842, may have been to supply the advantages of endowment to women.

As in Kirtland so in the Order Lodge the lustration of the entire person was doubtless performed in advance. The first that was seen of the candidate by the Order Lodge, he was already stripped naked and led blindfold into the presence of the members. After he had been duly inspected in that style he was expected to take an oath that was chiefly remarkable for treason against the civil government (Bennett, pp. 275-6).


He was then clothed in the robe of the fraternity, with reference it is supposed to the best robe that was brought forth for the uses of the prodigal son. In the next place precious ointment was poured upon his head till it ran down upon his beard and the skirts of his garments, and then a hole was cut in the bosom of this robe, which he was enjoined never upon any occasion to wear again (Bennett, p. 277). It was claimed that if this robe were kept always at hand the Destroying Angel would never come nigh the owner of it nor his family (Bennett, p. 248), but no charm that Joseph could ever invent would avail to keep death away. Finally a candidate was compelled to attend to a more or less lengthy discourse in which the authority and ambitions of the Hierarchy were duly enforced (Bennett, p. 277).

About the 15th of December 1845 the temple at Nauvoo was sufficiently advanced to allow the Saints to receive in its walls the ceremony of endowment (Lee, p. 160). It is supposed that at this date the performances of Order Lodge and indeed its existence were suspended. Certain glimpses of the ceremonial that went forward in the endowment rooms of the temple at Nauvoo have been afforded by the narrative of John D. Lee, pp. 168-71, from which it is conceived to have been but the same as is now daily enacted in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City. Several accounts of the proceedings that are had in Salt Lake have been given to the public; the reader is referred to the description found in Hyde's Mormonism pp. 89-100, with which he may compare the description presented by Mrs. S. G. R---- in a pamphlet entitled Handbook of Mormonism, pp. 23-31.


It was the purpose of Joseph to introduce the animal sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood into the temple at Nauvoo, as also the Holy of Holies, wherein his people should "receive conversations and statutes and judgments" but his life was cut off before he was permitted fully to accomplish these marvels in the "restoration of the ancient order of things" (D.&C., 124, 39).

Anointing invariably attended the ceremony of the endowment, but there would seem to have been other cases in which it was bestowed. Scarcely any of the officers of the higher ranks of the hierarchy were ordained at Nauvoo without being anointed in connection with the process (D.&C., 124, 91; 132, 18).

In conclusion it may be of interest to mention that when celestial marriage was introduced at Nauvoo there is said to have been a considerable dismemberment of families. The marriages that had been celebrated outside of the Mormon community were denounced as invalid, and in consequence various persons who had been united for longer or shorter periods felt themselves at liberty to leave their companions and to set their children adrift. In a few cases it was agreed by different parties to exchange wives. This was one of the results of the arrogance of the Theocracy in setting forth the doctrine of "sealing" (Lee, p. 165).

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