"My boy, where are you from?" they would ask.
"From the east," was the answer.
"Where are you going?"
"To the west."
"To see where we can get land cheapest and best."
"Who leads the camp?"
"Sometimes one, sometimes another."
"Captain Wallace, Major Bruce," etc.
The Prophet Joseph believed in being kind to all animals, and he instructed his brethren in Zion's camp to kill none except for food. Man must first become peaceful, before animals will lose their fierceness. Not long after this instruction had been given, a brother became very tired by traveling and lay down on the ground to sleep. When he awoke, what should he see but a rattlesnake coiled up not more than a foot away from his head. Just then some of the brethren came up and wanted to kill the snake; but the brother said, "No, I'll protect him, for he and I have had a good nap together." He remembered what Joseph had said.
On June 7th the company having crossed the Mississippi river, camped on Salt river in Missouri. More of the brethren had joined the company on the way, and now it numbered two hundred and five men. From this point Parley P. Pratt and Orson Hyde were sent to Governor Dunklin at Jefferson city, asking him to use his power as the highest officer in the state to have the Saints brought back to their homes in Jackson county. The governor said he thought it right that the Saints should get back their lands, yet he was afraid if they tried to go back or if he called out soldiers to help them get their homes, there would be a terrible war and many people killed. So the governor would do nothing to help them.
While Zion's camp was making its way to the Saints in Clay county, a meeting was held in Liberty where some mobbers from Jackson county tried to arouse the people against the Saints. Nothing being done at this meeting, a party of fifteen men started for Independence to raise an army large enough to destroy Joseph and the camp.
One of the leaders of this band was James Campbell. As he pushed his pistols into the holsters before starting, he said with an oath: "The eagles and turkey buzzards shall eat my flesh if I do not fix Joe Smith and his army so that their skins will not hold shucks before two days are passed!" As he and his companions were crossing the Missouri river their boat sank. Seven of them were drowned and among them was Campbell. What was left of his body was found three weeks after lodged on a pile of drift wood. The "eagles and turkey buzzards" had eaten the flesh from his bones.
On the 19th the camp passed through Richmond. They expected to reach Clay county that night, but were so greatly hindered by accidents that they camped for the night between two forks of Fishing river. A large mob had gathered, bent on destroying the camp. A boat containing forty mobbers had been sent over the river, when a storm arose. The rain fell in torrents, the lightning flashed, the thunder shook the earth. Great hail stones destroyed the corn in the fields and stripped the trees of leaves. The mob scattered in confusion. The river rose nearly forty feet, which made it impossible for anyone to cross. The brethren took shelter in a schoolhouse and escaped the storm. Thus again the Lord preserved his people from their enemies.
The next day the camp moved five miles out on the prairie. While here, some of the leading men of Ray county called on the brethren to learn what their intentions were. Joseph told them how the Saints had been persecuted in Jackson county; and that they had come one thousand miles with clothing and provisions for their brethren; that they had no intentions of harming any one, but their mission was to do good, and if possible help their brethren to get their lands back again. At the close of their talk, the visitors promised to do what they could to prevent the mobs from disturbing them, which promise they kept.
The next day, June 22nd, Sheriff Gillium of Clay county came into camp. He also wanted to know what the camp was going to do. Joseph explained to him. In order to get back their lands and live in peace, the Saints proposed to buy the lands from those who could not live with them in Jackson county, but nothing came of this and other offers that were made to settle the trouble.
This same day an important revelation was given through the prophet. The brethren were told that the Lord did not want them to fight, and that they must wait for a time before Zion should be redeemed.
During the march of the camp, some of the brethren had found fault and had not listened to the counsels of the prophet. Joseph had told them that if they did not repent, sickness would come into the camp and many would die. This was now fulfilled. On June 22nd, that dread disease called the cholera appeared in the camp. When you are told that during the next four or five days sixty-eight of the brethren took the disease and thirteen died, you may perhaps imagine what a terrible time they had.
On June 23rd they marched into Clay county and camped on Rush creek, where two days later the camp was disbanded. For two weeks Joseph labored among the Saints and then he returned to Kirtland. Most of the others also went back to their homes in the east about the same time.
Topics.—1. Organizing Zion's camp. 2. March of Zion's camp. 3. The camp on Fishing river. 4. The scourge.
Questions and Review.—1. What was Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight's mission to Kirtland? 2. What instruction did the Lord give them? (See Doc. and Cov., sec. 103.) 3. How was Zion's camp organized? 4. What was its object? 5. Through what states did it march? 6. What were Joseph's teachings about kindness to animals? 7. What was the fate of James Campbell? 8. How were the brethren saved from their enemies on Fishing river? 9. What did the brethren propose to the citizens of Jackson? 10. Why did the scourge come upon the camp? 11. What revelation was given on Fishing river? 12. Where and when was Zion's camp disbanded?
THE CHURCH AT KIRTLAND.
During the time that the Saints were having such a hard time in Missouri, the Church in and around Kirtland was growing in numbers and strength. Joseph with many of the elders went on missionary trips to various parts of the United States and Canada, and many new branches of the Church were organized.
In September, 1831, Joseph moved to the town of Hiram, about thirty miles from Kirtland. While living here, he was busy translating the scriptures, preaching the gospel, and holding meetings. Thirteen of the revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants were given at Hiram. One of these revelations, called the Vision, tells of the three glories which are in store for the children of God, besides many other grand teachings which some day you will want to read. (Section 76.)
But wicked men continued to tell false things about Joseph and the Church. Many people believed these stories, and the result was that the brethren were often annoyed and badly treated. On the night of March 25th, 1832, Joseph and Sidney Rigdon were dragged from their homes by an angry mob into the woods. Sidney was so misused that he was left for dead. Joseph was beaten and stripped of his clothes, and his body was covered with tar. The mob also tried to force poison from a bottle into his mouth, but in this they failed. Notwithstanding this ill treatment, Joseph was able the next day, it being Sunday, to preach to a large meeting and to baptize three new converts.
Shortly after this, Joseph made his second visit to Missouri. After his return, he settled again at Kirtland, where he continued to receive many revelations and to do much for the building up of the Church.
On December 25, 1832, Joseph received a revelation wherein it was stated that the time would come when there would be a great war between the Northern States and the Southern States. Even the place of its beginning was told, namely, South Carolina.
In February, 1833, a school was opened in Kirtland for the elders of the Church. It was called the "School of the Prophets," and there the brethren met and were instructed in the principles of the gospel.
A revelation called the Word of Wisdom was given on the 27th of the same month. You will find it in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 89, and every one of you should read it.
On March 18th a very important meeting was held in Kirtland. On that date Joseph ordained Sidney Rigdon to be his first counselor, and Frederick G. Williams to be his second counselor, and these three now became the First Presidency, which is the highest authority in the Church. You have been told something of Sidney Rigdon. Elder Williams held his position nearly five years, when he apostatized, and Hyrum Smith was chosen in his stead. At the death of Joseph Smith, Sen., who was patriarch of the Church, Hyrum was chosen to fill his position and William Law was called to the office of second counselor to Joseph. Law held this position until about two months before the Prophet's death when he was cut off from the Church.
February 17, 1834, the first high council of the Church was organized. This body consists of twelve men who must be high priests, over which the stake presidency presides. It is a kind of court. When members of the Church have trouble one with another which neither they, nor the teachers, nor the bishop can settle, it is brought before the high council to be adjusted.
Each stake of Zion now has a high council. Here are the names of the first one organized: besides the First Presidency, Joseph Smith, Sen., John Smith, Joseph Coe, John Johnson, Martin Harris, John S. Carter, Jared Carter, Oliver Cowdery, Samuel H. Smith, Orson Hyde, Sylvester Smith and Luke Johnson.
It was shortly after this that Zion's Camp was organized and made the trip to Missouri, of which you were told in the last chapter.
After his return Joseph was again busy performing his many duties as president of the Church.
Topics.—1. Joseph at Hiram. 2. Prophecy on War. 3. Word of Wisdom. 4. The first presidency. 5. The high council.
Questions and Review.—1. To what two places were the Saints now gathering? 2. Where is Hiram? 3. What did Joseph do there? 4. Tell about the mobbing at Hiram. 5. When was the prophecy on war given? 6. How long after was it fulfilled? 7. What led to the war between the North and the South? 8. What was the "School of the Prophets?" 9. In the Word of Wisdom, what does the Lord say is not good for the body? 10. What does He say is good? 11. What promise is made to those who keep the Word of Wisdom? 12. What is the First Presidency? 13. Who were the first to fill this position? 14. Who are the present First Presidency? 15. What is the duty of the high council? 16. Name some members of the high council of your stake.
THE TWELVE APOSTLES—THE SEVENTIES—THE KIRTLAND TEMPLE.
On the 14th of February, 1835, Joseph called together the brethren who had gone with him to Missouri in Zion's Camp. He spoke to the meeting and told the brethren the Lord had not forgotten them, but had remembered their faithfulness in answering the call of duty, and now he had a blessing for them.
Joseph then said the time had come when twelve apostles should be called. It was the duty of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon to select twelve men for this high calling, and these three brethren were then blessed for this purpose by the First Presidency. The following were then selected to be the first quorum of Twelve Apostles in the Church: Thomas B. Marsh, David W. Patten, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Wm. E. McLellin, Parley P. Pratt, Luke Johnson, William Smith, Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton and Lyman E. Johnson.
It is the duty of the Twelve Apostles to build up the Church and regulate its affairs in all the world under the direction of the First Presidency; also to open the door of the gospel to all nations.
On the 28th of February there was another meeting held, at which the first quorum of seventy was organized. You will remember that the Savior, after He had chosen Twelve Apostles to preach the gospel, chose also seventy to aid the Twelve in their work. So in our day, twelve men could not do all the work of spreading the gospel, so it was necessary to call other men. In this body of men seventy form a quorum. The first quorum was organized from the brethren who were members of Zion's Camp.
It is the special duty of the Seventies to travel and preach the gospel under the direction of the Twelve.
As early as May, 1833, the Lord told Joseph that the Saints should build a house to his name. July 23, the foundation was laid. The Saints in Kirtland were not many, neither were they rich, and it was therefore a great task for them to build such a house as the temple. However, they gave donations of what they had and worked willingly with all their might, until at last it was finished and dedicated to the Lord on Sunday, March 27, 1836.
During the meetings many glorious blessings were received. Angels were seen by many of the Saints, Brigham Young spoke in tongues, others prophesied, and many saw glorious visions. At the evening meeting George A. Smith arose and prophesied, when a noise was heard like the sound of a mighty wind which filled the temple. All the people arose at once and the Prophet Joseph told the Saints that the temple was filled with angels, as he could see them. The people living near the temple, seeing a bright light resting on the building and hearing a strange sound within, came rushing up to see what was the matter.
Nearly every day there were meetings held in the temple. The next Sunday after the dedication, Joseph and Oliver were praying in the sacred house when the Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto them. He stood on the breastwork of the pulpit, and Joseph describes Him as a most glorious personage. Jesus told them that He had accepted the temple and promised them great blessings if they would continue to keep his commandments.
After this vision had closed, Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared unto them and each of them gave to Joseph and Oliver many blessings concerning the gospel.
You would think that after all these blessings from the Lord the Saints would never turn away from the truth; but sad to say this was not the case. During the years 1837 and 1838 many of the brethren in Kirtland began to buy and sell land and set up stores and banks for the purpose of making money. Now, there would have been nothing wrong in all this if they had done all their business honestly; but the trouble was that many wanted to get rich so fast that oftimes they would cheat each other. This of course was inspired by the evil one, who did his best to stop the progress of the Church. It was a very hard trial for Joseph and those of his brethren who stood by him to see so many leading men fall away into wickedness.
Again, you may also wonder how men who have been in the company of the Prophet and who have seen angels and heavenly visions can deny the faith, but the fact is they sometimes do. The whole secret is this:
No matter how much a person has seen or how much he knows, if he sins and does not repent, the Spirit of God will leave him, and he will be in the dark. It then becomes an easy matter for him to fall away from the Church.
During the two years named above, four of the Twelve Apostles and many of the leading men apostatized; and then, not satisfied with so doing, they began to join the mobs who persecuted Joseph and the Saints. This led the Church leaders to remove to Missouri, and soon after nearly all the Saints followed them to the land of Zion.
Topics.—1. The calling of the Twelve Apostles. 2. Calling of the Seventy. 3. The Kirtland Temple. 4. The apostasy at Kirtland.
Questions and Review.—1. From what body were the first Twelve Apostles called? 2. Who chose the names? 3. Name the first Twelve Apostles? 4. Name the present Twelve. 5. What is the duty of the Twelve? 6. What is the duty of the Seventies? 7. How many Seventies' quorums are there in the Church? 8. Tell about the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. 9. Who appeared to Joseph and Oliver in the temple? 10. What causes many to fall from the Church? 11. What is the only safe way to remain faithful.
THE MISSION TO ENGLAND.
In the year 1837, when the evil one was trying with all his might to overthrow the Church both at Kirtland and in Missouri, the Lord told Joseph that the time had come for "something new" to be done. This was to send missionaries to England and open the gospel door to that people.
Elder Heber C. Kimball was chosen to take the lead of this mission, and with him went Orson Hyde, Willard Richards, Joseph Fielding, John Goodson, Isaac Russell, and John Snider.
This was the first mission to any foreign country, and in those days of slow travel, a trip to Europe was no small matter. The brethren set out on their journey without purse or scrip, but the Lord opened up their way, and at last they landed in Liverpool, England, July 20, 1837.
They were in a strange country, had no money, no friends.
"Go to Preston," said the Spirit of the Lord to them. Preston is a city thirty miles from Liverpool, and there they went. Joseph Fielding had a brother living in the city, who was a preacher, and on his invitation the missionaries held their first meeting in his chapel. This was the first Sunday after their arrival. The people listened eagerly to what the elders said, for it seems that a great many honest souls had been waiting for just such a message.
After the third meeting, the Rev. Mr. Fielding would not let the elders use his church, as he was afraid they would take away his congregation. From that time he opposed the missionaries, and was soon joined in this by other preachers.
However, the people had received a taste of the gospel and they wanted more, so meetings were held in private houses. On the eighth day after the arrival of the elders in England, nine persons were baptized into the Church by Elder Kimball.
Thus was the door opened, and the gospel soon spread in a wonderful manner. The elders now separated and went to different towns, preaching, baptizing, and organizing branches of the Church. Great crowds came out to hear them, especially in and around the city of Preston. It was a most glorious time and full of interesting events which this little book cannot tell you about; but here is a sample:
One day Elder Kimball told some of the brethren that he thought of going to a place called Chatburn, to hold meetings. He was told that it would do no good, as it was a very wicked place, and the people there would have nothing to do with preachers. Elder Kimball went, however, and large crowds came out to hear him. While teaching the people the need of repenting of their evil doings and being baptized for the remission of their sins, Brother Kimball felt someone pulling at his coat:
"Please sir, will you baptize me?" asked one.
"And me, and me!" exclaimed a dozen voices.
So Elder Kimball went down into the water and baptized twenty-five persons. As the elders were walking out of the village, the young folks of the place ran to meet them, the older people stood in their doors to greet and bless them, while the children ran ahead, hand in hand, singing their songs of gladness.
At a conference held in Preston, April 8, 1838, there were reports from twenty-six branches of the Church. The total number of souls in the Church was reported to be about two thousand; and all this was done in the short space of eight months.
The next day Elders Kimball, Hyde, and Russell left for home, leaving Willard Richards to preside over the mission. Many were the sad partings these brethren had with the Saints, for a great love grows up between the Saints in the world and the elders who have brought them the gospel.
January 11, 1840, Elders John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff landed in England. Brother Woodruff was led by the Spirit to go into a part of England called Herefordshire. Here he found a religious body of people called United Brethren. They had withdrawn from the Church of England, and were now praying that the Lord would send them more light. These people heard Elder Woodruff gladly, and with joy they received the gospel. Within one month he baptized all their preachers, forty-five in number, and one hundred and sixty of their members. In eight months time Elder Woodruff brought eighteen hundred souls into the Church, including all the six hundred United Brethren, save one.
At one time just as Elder Woodruff was about to begin a meeting, a constable came to arrest him for preaching. The officer was asked to take a seat, and was told that after the meeting Elder Woodruff would be at his service. The constable was very much interested in the sermon. At the close of the meeting seven persons asked for baptism, and the constable was one of the number. After this, two clerks of the Church of England were sent as spies to find out what the Mormon elders preached. Both of these men believed and joined the Church.
Now came others of the Apostles to England to roll on the work. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and George A. Smith arrived on April 6, 1840. At a conference held in Preston on the 14th, Willard Richards was ordained an Apostle, so that now there were eight of the Twelve together. At this meeting it was decided to print a paper to be called The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star. This paper has been published from that day to this, it being the oldest publication in the Church.
The Church now grew rapidly. Branches were organized in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and in many of the large cities in England. At a conference held in the city of Manchester, April 6, 1841, it was found that there were about six thousand members of the Church in Great Britain. Eight hundred Saints had emigrated to America during the year. At this conference, nine of the Twelve were present, Orson Hyde having arrived on his way to Palestine, where he was going to dedicate that land for the gathering of the Jews.
Shortly after this conference, the apostles left England to return home, leaving Parley P. Pratt in charge of the mission. From that time the work has continued in Great Britain, and many honest souls have come to the knowledge of the gospel.
Topics.—1. The first mission to England. 2. Wilford Woodruff's experience. 3. Mission of the eight Apostles.
Questions and Review.—1. When were the first missionaries sent to England? 2. Who were they? 3. Where was the first sermon preached? 4. How did the people receive the elders? 5. What happened at Chatburn? 6. What was accomplished in eight months? 7. Who were the second missionaries to England? 8. Who were the United Brethren? 9. Tell of President Woodruff's work among them. 10. Who composed the third party of missionaries? 11. What was done at the conference held April 14, 1840. 12. What is the Millennial Star? 13. What was Orson Hyde's mission to Palestine?
We must now leave the pleasant scenes of preaching the gospel in England, and go back to the more troubled times among the main body of the Saints in the State of Missouri.
You will remember that when the Saints were driven from Jackson county, they found a place to rest in Clay county just north across the river. The people of Clay received them kindly, and the Saints stayed for about three years in that county. During this period, they tried many times to regain their homes by asking the governor and even the president of the United States to enforce the laws and see that their lands and homes were given back to them. Governor Dunklin talked very pleasantly about the rights of the Saints, but in the end he did nothing to protect the people or help them to gain possession of their property.
At a large meeting held in Liberty, the county seat of Clay county, on the 16th of June, 1834, in order to try to settle the trouble between the Saints and the Jackson county people, the following offer was made by the Jackson men to the Saints:
The Jackson people offered to buy all the land of the "Mormons" in Jackson county, paying them a high price for it within thirty days, or the people of Jackson offered to sell all their lands to the "Mormons" at the same high price to be paid for in thirty days. This offer may seem to be fair, but when it is remembered that the Lord had revealed to them that the city of Zion should be built in Jackson county, and had told the Saints to buy and not sell, it will be seen that this offer was not meant in good faith. Again, the Saints could not buy out all the mobbers' land in Jackson, much as they would have liked so to do, as there was so much of it, and they had no money to pay for it in thirty days. The Saints therefore could not agree to this, but they made an offer to buy out the lands of those who could not live in peace with them, and pay them in one year.
Nothing came of these offers.
And now the people of Clay county asked the Saints to remove from their midst. The country was again getting excited about the "Mormons," and the Clay county people were afraid that the mobs would come to disturb them; so in order to be on good terms with the people who had been friends to them, the Saints again left their homes and traveled north-east, away out into the country where there were hardly any settlers. Here they began to build a city which they called Far West, and after a time they had a county laid off which was named Caldwell.
This movement began in September, 1836, and by the next summer nearly all the Saints had left Clay county.
You will call to mind that the Prophet Joseph, with the brethren in Zion's Camp had visited the Saints while in Clay county. In the spring of 1838 Joseph arrived at Far West from Kirtland, and from that time on the Prophet remained with the main body of the Saints in Missouri and Illinois.
The Saints now had peace again for a season. They gathered to Far West and surrounding places from Kirtland and other eastern localities. Farms were made, houses built, towns laid out, and it seemed as if the Saints could at last live and enjoy their rights as Americans.
Joseph was busy setting the Church in order and in receiving the word of the Lord for the guidance of the Saints.
One of the most important revelations given at this time was regarding the law of tithing. This law says that the Saints should first put all their surplus property into the hands of the bishop to be used for the benefit of the Church, and then after that, they should pay one tenth of all they made, as a tithing to the Lord; and the Lord further said that if the Saints did not keep this law, the land whereon they dwelt should not be a land of Zion unto them.
In the year 1838 the Saints in and around Far West numbered about twelve thousand. Thus you see they began to be a power in the land, especially when it came to voting for officers of the state and county. At these times the Saints would of course vote for good men, men who were their friends, and this often made the Missourians angry.
At an election in Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess county, August 6, 1838, a mob of Missourians tried to prevent the brethren from voting. A general fight was the result, in which the "Mormons" defended themselves with umbrellas, sticks, whips, and their stout fists.
Reports came to Joseph and the people in Far West that some of the brethren had been killed and that the mobbers would not let their bodies be buried. At this, Joseph, with about twenty armed men, rode towards the scene of trouble. On the way he learned that the report was not true. They then called on a justice of the peace, named Adam Black. Mr. Black promised Joseph that he would not aid the mob, but would enforce the laws justly. Next day Joseph and his party held a meeting with some leading men of the county, wherein both parties promised to keep the peace, and if any person broke the law in this respect he was to be given up to the officers of the law and punished.
Some twenty days after Mr. Black had made such good promises, he and some others had papers made out for the arrest of Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight for coming into Daviess co., and doing all kinds of wicked deeds. When the constable called on Joseph at Far West, Joseph said he was willing to stand trial, but he wanted it to be in Caldwell, instead of Daviess county, as in the latter there existed too much excitement and ill-feeling. The officer did not arrest the Prophet at this time, but the report spread that Joseph had resisted the officer and would not be arrested. To prove how false this was, Joseph with his brother Hyrum and some others, went to Daviess county for trial. At this trial Mr. Black swore to some wicked falsehoods, and although four witnesses told the truth of the matter, Joseph and Lyman were bound over, that is, they were to be ready to stand trial when the regular court should meet.
False reports now flew far and wide again, and the mobs began to gather from other counties to "help drive the Mormons from the State." Some of the mob painted and dressed themselves up as Indians. The Saints, especially in the smaller settlements, were attacked, until they had to flee to Far West for protection. The Saints now thought it time to protect themselves from the mobs, so they organized a company of state militia. Lyman Wight was an officer in this militia and he commanded the men. He succeeded in driving the mob from Daviess county, but this of course, only made the excitement the greater.
On the evening of October 24, 1838, news reached Far West that a Methodist preacher by the name of Bogart was leading a mob to destroy the property of the Saints on Log Creek. That same evening a company of about seventy-five men led by Captain David W. Patten mounted their horses and rode to the scene of trouble. Early the next morning, just as it was getting daylight the mob was found encamped on Crooked River. The Far West Militia dismounted and marched on to the enemy. A battle took place. The mob took refuge behind the river bank, while the brethren charged them sword in hand. The enemy was soon put to flight across the river. As they were fleeing, one of the mobbers wheeled around from behind a tree and shot Captain Patten, who instantly fell. A number of brethren were badly wounded, and two died the next night. One was Patterson O'Banion, and the other Captain Patten.
Brother Patten was a member of the first quorum of Twelve Apostles. He had taken an active part in the affairs of the Church up to the time of his death, having filled many missions and done many great works in the name of Jesus Christ. Apostle Patten was one of the first martyrs of the Church. Of him Joseph the Prophet said at his funeral:
"There lies a man who has done just as he said he would; he has laid down his life for his friends."
Topics.—1. The Saints in Clay county. 2. Removed to Caldwell county. 3. The beginning of trouble. 4. The Crooked River battle. 5. Apostle David W. Patten.
Questions and Review.—1. From Jackson county where did the Saints go? 2. How did they try to get their homes again? 3. What did Governor Dunklin do? 4. What offer did the Jackson people make to the Saints? 5. Why did not the Saints accept this offer? 6. What did the Saints offer to do? 7. Why did the people of Clay county wish the Saints to leave them? 8. When and where did the Saints then go? 9. What is the law of tithing? 10. What was the case of the new trouble between the Saints and the Missourians? 11. What came of Joseph's trip to Daviess county? 12. Describe the Crooked River battle. 13. Tell about David W. Patten.
THE HAUN'S MILL MASSACRE.
In this chapter I wish to tell you about one of the saddest events that happened in all that sad time of persecution in Missouri.
It occurred on October 30, 1838, during the time of great excitement, when bands of armed men roamed over the country doing what damage they could to the homes of the Saints.
At a point on Shoal Creek, about sixteen miles from Fat West, a brother by the name of Haun had built a flour mill. Besides the mill there were a blacksmith shop and half a dozen houses. About thirty families lived here, some of which had just arrived from the Eastern States and were yet camping in their tents.
This little body of Saints had been threatened by mobs a number of times, but on the 28th, a treaty of peace was made in which each party agreed not to molest the other. Before this, however, Joseph had advised the Saints at Haun's Mill to move into Far West, which advice they had not taken.
October 30th was a beautiful autumn day. The air was warm, and the breeze stirred the fields of wheat and rustled the corn. The children were playing on the banks of the creek, and their merry laugh was echoed by the birds in the forest close at hand. All seemed peaceful and lovely.
About four o'clock in the afternoon, a company of two hundred and forty men dashed up to the clearing. Brother David Evans who had command of the few brethren, ran out to meet them, swinging his hat and crying, "Peace, peace." The leader of the mob told all who desired to save their lives and make peace to run into the blacksmith shop. Some of the brethren did this, but in a few seconds after, a volley was fired into the shop. The bullets went between the logs, which were far apart, and in at the open door, killing and wounding the brethren within. Some few shots were fired back, but the brethren soon saw it was useless to resist, so they tried to save themselves as best they could. Men, women and children scattered in every direction taking refuge in the woods, while the bullets of the mobbers flew thick and fast among them, wounding and killing.
The mob kept on firing at the shop until they thought all within were killed; then they went about the place killing all they could find alive, and robbing the houses of everything they could carry off. They even stripped the dead and dying of their clothes. They went into the blacksmith shop for this purpose, and there they saw dead men lying in piles, and wounded men groaning in pain, while pools of blood stood on the floor. A little ten year old boy named Sardius Smith had crawled under the bellows, trying to hide from the wicked mobbers; but one of them saw him and dragged him out. Then putting the muzzle of his gun to the boy's head he killed him instantly. Sardius' little brother, Alma, seven years old had a great hole shot in his hip; but he lay still, fearing that if he moved they would shoot him again. Another boy by the name of Charles Merrick was discovered. He pleaded with the mobbers not to kill him: "I am an American boy," he said "O! don't kill me!" The mobber heeded not, but blew out his brains.
Thomas McBride, an old, gray-haired man who had fought in the Revolutionary War under Washington, gave up his gun to a mobber, and then pleaded for his life. The cruel mobber took the gun and shot the old man dead, and then another mobber cut him to pieces with an old corn cutter.
Thus it continued. I cannot tell you half of the horrible things which happened. At last the mobbers departed, and night came on. Then, lowly and fearfully, the women and children and what few men were left crept out of their hiding places to see what had been done and to help as best they could. Perhaps you can imagine what they saw and how they felt during that long, dark night in the midst of dead and dying husbands, brothers and sons.
Next morning it was found that nineteen men and boys were dead, or wounded so badly that they could not live, and about fifteen others were wounded. What to do with the dead was the question. There were not men enough to dig graves; besides, the mob might come back again and finish their awful work; so the best they could do was to put the nineteen bodies into a large, dry well that was close by. This was done, and straw and earth placed on top.
Sister Smith, mother of Sardius and Alma, has told some of the experiences which she passed through during that awful time. Her husband and one son were killed, while another son had his hip nearly shot away. During that first night she says that she prayed to God to know what to do for her wounded boy, and the Lord distinctly whispered to her what kind of poultice to put on the wound and how to treat him.
"I removed the boy to a house next day," she says, "and dressed his hip, the Lord directing me as before."
"'Alma, my child,' I said, 'you believe that the Lord made your hip?'
"'Well, the Lord can make something there in place of your hip, don't you believe he can, Alma?'
"'Do you think that the Lord can, mother?'
"'Yes, my son,' I replied, 'He has shown it all to me in a vision.'
"And then I laid him comfortably on his face and said: 'Now you lay like that and don't move, and the Lord will make you another hip.'
"So I laid Alma on his face for five weeks, until he was entirely recovered, a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket."
Alma grew up to be a man and became a useful member of the Church.
Topics.—1. The massacre at Haun's Mill. 2. Sardius and Alma Smith.
Questions and Review.—1. Where was Haun's Mill. 2. What advice did Joseph give the Saints who lived there? 3. What happened October 30, 1838? 4. Tell about the Smith boys and Charles Merrick. 5. Tell about Thomas McBride. 6. How many were killed?
DRIVEN FROM MISSOURI.
Wild reports now went over the country about the "Mormons;" and to make these reports seem true some of the mobbers actually set fire to their own log cabins and then accused the Saints of the act.
In a previous chapter, mention was made of Lilburn W. Boggs. This man was now governor of the state, and we shall see how he used his power against the "Mormons," whom he hated so much.
The reports that the "Mormons" were burning houses and driving people from their homes, reached the governor, and he believed, or pretended to believe, all these false stories. So he gave orders to the officers of the state militia to organize an army of 2,000 men, march to the scene of the trouble, and see that the people whom the "Mormons" had driven from their homes were returned to them. Note how eager the governor was to restore these few presumably abused people to their lands—but it was all right that twelve hundred "Mormons" should be driven from their property!
The next day after the governor had issued this order, the news of the Crooked River battle reached him, so he changed his instructions to the commanding officer, General Clark. This order, given October 27, 1838, is known as Governor Boggs' exterminating order, and is one of the most disgraceful and wicked commands known in history. Exterminate means to destroy utterly, to root out completely, and this is what a governor of a state said should be done to twelve thousand innocent people if they did not leave the state.
Companies of Missouri militia now came marching from various parts of the state into Caldwell and other counties nearby. Soon Far West was surrounded by an army. Niel Gillium was there with his band of men in Indian costume, who whooped and yelled like true savages. On the evening of October 30th, a party of men came fresh from the awful massacre, at Haun's Mill, eager for more blood. Thus the town was surrounded, and as it seemed, doomed to destruction.
The few brethren in Far West prepared to defend themselves as best they could. It might appear useless for a handful of men to oppose an army, but when men are fighting for their homes, their liberty, their wives and their children, a few can do mighty deeds.
But they were not to fight. Traitors were in the camp of the Saints and they now betrayed their brethren into the hands of the enemy. Colonel George M. Hinkle was the commander of the Far West militia, and he went to the mob commanders and promised to deliver up to them the Church leaders. He also made an agreement with them that the Saints would deliver up their arms, sign away their property to pay the expenses of the war, and then leave the state. This was all done without the knowledge of the "Mormons" or their leaders.
On the evening of October 30th, Colonel Hinkle told Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson that the officers of the mob-militia wanted to consult with them and try to arrange matters. Next morning these brethren went with Hinkle some distance out of Far West where they were met by General Lucas, and soon most of the mob came up. Lucas ordered his men to surround the brethren, when Hinkle stepped up and said:
"General Lucas, these are the prisoners I agreed to deliver to you."
The brethren were then marched into the camp of the mob-militia where they were received with great shouts, curses, and yells. All that night they were compelled to lie on the cold ground, and it rained before morning. The next day Hyrum Smith and Amasa M. Lyman were brought as prisoners into camp.
That day General Lucas demanded the arms of the "Mormons," promising them protection, and the return of their guns after the trouble was over; but no sooner had the mob obtained possession of the arms then they began stealing and carrying away everything they could lay their hands on. They also destroyed much property and abused innocent women and children. Those of the brethren that had property were compelled to sign it away to the mob.
On the evening of November 1st, General Lucas held a court in which Joseph and his brethren were to be tried. This court was composed of seventeen preachers and some army officers. None of the prisoners were present, and knew nothing of what was going on. The brethren were found guilty and sentenced to be shot next morning at eight, o'clock, on the public square in Far West. When the sentence was passed Generals Doniphan and Graham said it was murder, and they would have nothing to do with it. This checked Lucas in his evil designs and so they decided to take the prisoners to Jackson county and kill them there. Before starting, they were allowed to go to their homes and see their families, but they were not permitted to speak to them. Their wives and children clung to them, crying in their despair, and were only separated by the cruel swords of the guards.
Fifty-six of the leading brethren were now taken prisoners and sent to the town of Richmond. Most of them were released shortly after.
On November 6th General Clark made his famous speech to the Saints in Far West, wherein he told them that he had come to carry out the governor's orders to destroy them, but he would be lenient and give them a little time to get out of the state. He advised the Saints to be like other people and not organize themselves with bishops, presidents, etc. It was a very foolish, conceited speech.
About twenty-five miles north of Far West was a beautiful settlement of the Saints. Joseph said it was the place where our father Adam had blessed his children, and where he will come again to visit his people. So the place was called Adam-ondi-Ahman. The people here had suffered with the rest of the Saints, and now in the cold month of November they were driven from their homes and took refuge for the winter in Far West.
During that hard winter and time of trial when Joseph and many of his brethren were in prison and many others had apostatized, one name comes to the front as that of a faithful man. It is Brigham Young. He was ever true to the Prophet, and Joseph could rely on him. With him were such noble men as Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, and many others. Brigham was now president of the Twelve, and it was his duty to take the lead in looking after the affairs of the Church during the absence of the First Presidency.
In January, 1839, Brigham Young called a meeting to consider what should be done in aiding the poor Saints to remove from Missouri. President Young presented a resolution that the brethren should never desert the poor Saints, but that they should help them to escape from their persecutors. A great many brethren agreed to this, and that winter and spring the move eastward to Illinois continued. They did not travel in large bodies, but in small companies as they got ready. Not one family who wished to go was left behind.
The sufferings of that winter journey cannot be told you here. Many died on the way through exposure and hardships. The mobs would not let them alone even when they were leaving as fast as they could. Mobs often rode into Far West, abused the people, stole horses, drove off cattle and took anything that pleased them. The Saints traded their farms for horses and wagons in which to get away. Sometimes fine farms were nearly given away. It is told of one brother that he sold forty acres of good land for a blind mare and a clock.
July 8, 1838, the Lord gave a revelation wherein he called the Twelve Apostles to go on a mission to England. The Twelve were to take leave of the Saints at the temple site in Far West, April 26, 1839. (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 118.) This time had now come, but it seemed impossible that it could be carried out, as most of the Saints had left Far West and the mobbers swore that this was a revelation that should not be fulfilled. They would kill the first Apostle that came into the place, they said.
However, seven of the Twelve arrived at Far West the night before the 26th, and early next morning they went to the temple lot, rolled a large stone to the southeast corner of the temple grounds as a foundation, and then proceeded to hold a meeting. Elders Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith were then ordained Apostles, the brethren prayed and sang and then dismissed the meeting, bidding good-bye to the eighteen Saints present. Not a mobber was astir that morning, and the word of the Lord was again fulfilled.
Topics.—1. Governor Boggs' exterminating order. 2. Betrayal of Joseph and his brethren. 3. Adam-ondi-Ahman. 4. Departure from Far West. 5. The meeting of the Twelve at Far West.
Questions and Review.—1. How did the mob make the people believe that the "Mormons" were burning houses, etc.? 2. What reports were brought to Governor Boggs? 3. What was the exterminating order? 4. What kinds of "soldiers" surrounded Far West? 5. What did Colonel Hinkle do? 6. What kind of court did General Lucas have to try Joseph and his brethren? 7. What was their sentence? 8. Why was it not carried out? 9. What did General Clark say in his speech? 10. Where was Adam-ondi-Ahman? 11. Why was it so called? 12. What did Brigham Young now do? 13. Tell about the meeting held at Far West, April 26, 1839.
IN MISSOURI PRISONS.
From Far West Joseph and his brethren who had been taken prisoners were marched towards Jackson county. At first General Wilson who had them in charge treated the brethren badly, but as they proceeded on their journey he became quite friendly, and told the prisoners that he was just going to show the people of Independence what a "set of fine fellows you are."
While on the march the Lord comforted Joseph, and he spoke to the other prisoners as follows: "Be of good cheer, brethren; the word of the Lord came to me last night that our lives should be given us, and that whatever we may suffer during this captivity, not one of our lives shall be taken."
After they had crossed the Missouri river into Jackson county, many people came to see these wonders, the "Mormons." One lady came up and asked the guards which of the prisoners the "Mormons" worshiped. Joseph was pointed out to her. She then asked the Prophet if he professed to be the Lord and Savior. Joseph said he was only a man sent by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel. Quite a crowd had gathered around, and Joseph went on explaining the principles of faith, repentance, etc. Thus Joseph preached a sermon in Jackson county in fulfillment of a prediction he had made some months before.
At Independence their treatment was not bad. The people seemed curious to see them, and the brethren spent their time in talking with people who came to them.
General Clark, who also wanted some of the "honor" of having these noted prisoners, now ordered them to Richmond, in Ray county, where the general had a talk with them. Shortly after this, some guards came into the jail house and fastened the seven prisoners together by means of a chain and pad-locks. In this way they lived in a room without chairs or beds, sleeping on the hard, cold floor at nights. Guards with loaded guns stood watch over them, and talked to each other of the wicked deeds they had done at Far West and other places near by. About these horrible acts they boasted in glee while the prisoners had to lie and hear it all.
One night, says P.P. Pratt, he lay next to Joseph, listening to all this vile talk, when suddenly Joseph arose to his feet and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion, these words:
"'Silence! ye fiends of the infernal pit! In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still. I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease your talk, or you or I die this minute'
"He ceased to speak. He stood erect in terrible majesty, chained and without a weapon; calm, unruffled, and dignified as an angel, he looked down upon the quailing guards, whose weapons dropped to the ground, whose knees smote together." The ruffians instantly became still, and were very glad when a change of guard came so that they could get away.
General Clark tried hard to find some law by which he could have Joseph tried by an army court, but he failed in this and therefore he handed the prisoners over to the civil authorities.
Another farce of a trial was now had. About forty men, mostly apostates, testified against the prisoners. The brethren had no witnesses, and when the mobber Bogart was sent to Far West for some, he simply arrested them and put them in prison. The result of the hearing was that Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, and Caleb Baldwin were sent to Liberty, Clay county, to jail. Parley P. Pratt and others were to remain in Richmond jail, while some others were released.
Joseph with his fellow-prisoners remained in Liberty jail from November 28, 1838, to April 6, 1839. During all this time they suffered the hardships of prison life, together with abuses not usually imposed on common prisoners. It is claimed by some that they were offered human flesh to eat. During this time of trial Joseph was cheerful and told the brethren they would get out safe. He wrote many letters of instruction to the Saints, bidding them to be faithful to their religion. The brethren who were at liberty were not idle. They were appealing continually to the judges and the governor for justice for their brethren, but it was of little use. At one hearing, Sidney Rigdon was released but he had to go back to jail for a time because the mob threatened to kill him.
Seeing that it was useless trying to be released lawfully the brethren decided to try to escape. The evening of February 7, 1839, when the guard should come with their supper, was fixed as the time to try; but Hyrum wanted to be sure about the matter so he asked Joseph to enquire of the Lord if it was wisdom for them to make the attempt. Joseph did so and was informed that if they were all united they would be able to escape that evening. Therefore all but Lyman Wight agreed to the plan. He wanted to wait till the next day, and as the brethren would not go without him, they decided to wait.
That evening the guard left the door wide open and gave them a good chance to escape, but they did not try. The next evening the jailor brought a double guard with him, and six of the brethren came to see the prisoners. Though it was a very poor chance to escape, they meant to try. When the guard went to close the door the prisoners followed and tried to prevent him, but they did not succeed. All but one of the visiting brethren were also locked in, and he had a narrow escape from the mob outside who soon collected and made all kinds of threats against the prisoners.
The visitors now thought that they also were in great danger, but Joseph told them not to fear, as not a hair of their heads would be injured. This promise came true, because at a trial they had next day they were all set free and nothing was taken from them.
April 6, 1839, the prisoners were ordered to Gallatin, Daviess county. After their long confinement the brethren were weak, and it was hard to stand the long journey. On the 9th they had another trial or hearing. The jury consisted mainly of men who had taken part in the Haun's Mill massacre, and most of the time during the trial they were drunk. The presiding officer, Judge King, was also as bad as the jury. This mock trial continued for several days. Men who sat on the jury during the day acted as guards at night, where they boasted of their murders, thefts, etc., to the prisoners. This trial resulted in the brethren being held for "murder, treason, burglary, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing."
The prisoners now asked for a change of venue, that is, a change of place of trial. This was granted, and on April 15 they started for Boone county under guard of the sheriff and four men. On the night of the 16th the sheriff told them he was going to take a drink of grog before going to bed and they could do as they pleased. The sheriff and three of the guards went to bed drunk, and the other guard helped the brethren saddle the horses and get away. They traveled day and night, and after much suffering Joseph arrived at the city of Quincy, Illinois, April 22, 1839, where he was gladly welcomed by his family and friends.
Topics.—1. Prisoners taken to Independence. 2. In Richmond jail. 3. In Liberty jail. 4. The attempt to escape. 5. Their last trial and escape.
Questions and Review.—1. Who were taken as prisoners to Independence? 2. What prediction did Joseph make while on the way? 3. How did Joseph fulfill his own prophecy in Jackson county? 4. Where were they taken next? 5. How were they treated in Richmond jail? 6. Describe Joseph's rebuke. 7. Where next were they sent? 8. How long were they in Liberty jail? 9. Why was the attempt to escape a failure? 10. Where were they next taken? 11. Describe their last trial. 12. How did they escape?
From his prison in Missouri, Joseph had advised his brethren to buy land in the state of Illinois and Iowa. Towards these states, therefore, the Saints had fled, leaving merciless, blood-stained Missouri to the judgment of God.
Twenty years afterwards when the great war broke out between the North and the South, Missouri was one of the fiercest battle grounds, and its people suffered terribly for the misery and bloodshed they had brought upon the Saints.
The people of Illinois received the homeless Saints kindly, and sold them land upon which to live. At a small place called Commerce, situated on the east bank of the Mississippi river, Joseph bought land, and there he decided to locate the headquarters of the Church. The place was beautifully situated in a bend of the river. Here a city was laid out and called Nauvoo, meaning beauty and rest, and Joseph invited the Saints to settle and build up the place. It was no small task to gather the scattered Saints into one body again, but early in the summer of 1839 a number of houses were erected in the new city.
Now came another trouble. Commerce was not a healthful place, but the Saints were promised that that would be changed; however, it was not long before a great many of the Saints became sick. Nearly every house was afflicted, and Joseph himself also took the fever. On the morning of July 22nd, Joseph arose from his bed and commenced administering to the sick. He began with those in his own house, then went to some camping in his yard. The Prophet commanded the sick in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to arise from their beds and be made whole, and the sick were healed on ever side. He then went from house to house and from tent to tent upon the bank of the river, healing the people. Many wonderful healings were performed. Joseph would take the sick person by the hand, or stand in the door of the tent and command the afflicted person to arise and be made whole. The Prophet with some of the brethren who were now with him crossed the river to the place where Brigham Young was lying ill. President Young was soon healed and followed with the rest. As there were many whom the Prophet could not reach, the Twelve were sent to administer to them. Joseph gave Wilford Woodruff a silk handkerchief which he was to use in healing some children. President Woodruff kept the handkerchief to the day of his death.
After this, there was very little sickness in Nauvoo. During the summer and fall of 1839 the city grew rapidly. About this time seven of the Twelve left for their mission to England, of which you have been told, and the English Saints soon began to gather to Nauvoo.
Late in October, 1839, Joseph went to the city of Washington to lay the troubles of the Church before the authorities of the nation. Joseph made the acquaintance of many leading men, among them John C. Calhoun, and Henry Clay. Martin Van Buren was president, and to him Joseph told of the wrongs they had suffered from the people of Missouri. It was then that the president made the famous remark: "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you." His meaning, no doubt, was that the president of the United States had no right to interfere with the affairs of a state; but that all such troubles should be settled by the state itself.
So Joseph returned without any help. Meanwhile, Nauvoo grew into a large city. Ten wards were laid off and organized. April 6, 1841, the corner stone of the temple was laid. Many public buildings were erected. Good houses were built, and beautiful gardens soon bloomed around them. On the outskirts of the city, fields of grain stretched as far as the eye could reach. In 1842 there were 20,000 people in the city, and Nauvoo promised to be one of the largest cities in the West.
The fame of Joseph and the "Mormon" city spread, and many people came to see the wonder. Missionaries were sent out to preach, the Times and Seasons published by the Church, printed many Gospel truths and much important history. The militia was organized and the city had a well-drilled body of men called the Nauvoo Legion. Peace and prosperity smiled upon them for a season, and it seemed that at last there would be a permanent stake of Zion established.
But it was not to be. The hate that burned in the hearts of evil men had not grown less, but was only waiting for a chance to show itself. Trouble again arose. It would not be easy to understand the many causes that led to these troubles, but a few may be noted.
The Saints now had great power at the polls, the same as in Missouri. The "Mormons" would not vote for men who would not give them their rights, and so many of these politicians became their enemies and stirred up the people against the Saints by their many lies. Then, there were the jealousies of the sectarian preachers; and perhaps worse than all, the evil work of apostates. Then it happened that a band of thieves troubled the neighborhood, and of course the "Mormons" were blamed. It was not a hard matter to find excuses for a further persecution of the Latter-day Saints.
And now came again Governor Boggs, of Missouri. He, it seems, had not had enough, so he asked Governor Carlin to deliver to him Joseph and the other brethren who had escaped from Missouri. Governor Carlin of Illinois, made out the papers for the brethren's arrest, but the officer could not find them when he went to Nauvoo. He therefore returned without his prisoners, and nothing more was done in the matter until nearly a year later, when Joseph was visiting the governor at Quincy. Governor Carlin treated Joseph kindly, but as soon as the Prophet had left, some of the officers were sent after him. They overtook Joseph and arrested him on the old charge from Missouri. However, they went on to Nauvoo, where the sheriff, being sick, was taken good care of by his prisoner. As it was Joseph's right by law to be tried in Illinois, he was permitted to have a hearing before Judge Stephen A. Douglas, in Monmouth, Illinois. There was great excitement at the trial, some of his enemies trying to excite a mob against him. At the close of the hearing Joseph was set free by the judge.
Dr. J.C. Bennett was the mayor of Nauvoo, and held other high positions; but he proved to be a very wicked man. At one time, when the Legion was having a sham fight, Bennett tried to get Joseph into a position that he might be shot without anyone knowing who did it. This did not succeed. Then he began to commit sin, and say that Joseph upheld him in it. Bennett was of course cut off from the Church, after which he wrote many false things against Joseph and the Saints and was the means of bringing much persecution on them.
In May, 1842, Ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri was shot at and wounded by some person in Independence. Although at this time they were hundreds of miles from Independence, Joseph Smith and O.P. Rockwell were charged with this crime, and again papers were issued for their arrest. They were tried in Nauvoo and acquitted. As the Missourians were trying many schemes to take Joseph to Missouri and there kill him, he went in hiding for a time. Every effort was made to take Joseph, and rewards were offered for his capture. Elder Rockwell was kidnapped and taken to Missouri, where he was ill-treated, but at last escaped.
Thomas Ford now became governor of Illinois and to him Joseph went. The governor prevailed upon Joseph to stand another trial, which was held at Springfield, Illinois. Joseph was again proved innocent and released.
But the fiends from Missouri would not give up. Once again he was taken while away from Nauvoo, by two officers, who abused him shamefully. I cannot tell you all about his exciting adventures—that you must read in a larger history—but at last he arrived safe again in Nauvoo.
Persecution continued. Mobs now gathered around Nauvoo. Threats were made that mobs would come from Missouri, and join with those of Illinois, against the "Mormons." There was great unrest. When Joseph was spoken to about the danger he was in, he said he was not exposed to as much danger from outside enemies as from traitors within. "We have a Judas in our midst," he said.
Thus ended the year 1843.
Topics.—1. Settlement at Nauvoo. 2. The healing of the sick. 3. City of Nauvoo. 4. Attempts to take Joseph to Missouri.
Questions and Review.—1. Locate Nauvoo. 2. What was its name before it was called Nauvoo? 3. Relate how Joseph healed the sick. 4. When did Joseph go to Washington? 5. What was his mission there? 6. What answer did President Martin Van Buren make? 7. Why was it useless to expect justice from Missouri? 8. What kind of city did Nauvoo become? 9. What was the Times and Seasons? 10. What was the Nauvoo Legion? 11. Name some of the causes that led to the new persecution. 12. Who was Dr. Bennett, and what did he do? 13. Tell of the efforts to get Joseph to Missouri.
On January 29, 1844, Joseph Smith was nominated for President of the United States. Neither he nor his friends had much hopes of his election, but it gave the citizens of Nauvoo at least a chance to vote for an honest man who was their friend. Brethren were sent to various parts of the country to make speeches in his favor, and Joseph published his views on how the government should be conducted. One of his ideas was that the government should set the negro slaves free, paying their masters for them. President Abraham Lincoln, twenty years later, also favored this plan.
Meanwhile, Nauvoo prospered and the Church grew. When the weather would permit, meetings were held in a grove near the temple, there being no room large enough to hold the large crowds of people. Joseph continued to give many glorious truths to the Church about the nature of God, the land of Zion, baptism for the dead, and many other things.
The Prophet's prediction that there was a Judas in their midst soon proved too true; and there were more than one. William Law, Joseph's second counselor, William Marks, president of the Nauvoo Stake, with many other leading men proved themselves false to Joseph and the Church. They even planned with Joseph's enemies to have him killed. They were also proved guilty of other sins and were therefore cut off from the Church. After this, these men said Joseph was a fallen prophet, and so they organized a church of their own. It did not amount to anything, however.
Joseph's periods of peace were not many. Apostates were his worst enemies, and they were all the time annoying him by having him arrested on all manner of false charges. These men were very bitter, and they howled around him like a pack of wolves, eager to devour him; but Joseph trusted in the Saints and they in him, for those who were faithful to their duties knew by the Spirit of God that Joseph was not a fallen prophet.
In June, 1844, the enemies of the Saints began to publish a paper in Nauvoo, called the Expositor. Its purpose was to deprive the people of Nauvoo of their rights, so it boldly said. One paper was printed, and that was so full of false statements and abuse against the city officials that the city council declared it a nuisance and had the press, type, etc., destroyed.
This raised great excitement among the enemies of the Church. Joseph and seventeen others were arrested, tried before a court in Nauvoo, and acquitted; but this did not satisfy the mobbers. On the advice of the United States judge for that district, Joseph and his brethren allowed themselves to be arrested again and have a trial before Justice Daniel H. Wells, then not a "Mormon." They were again discharged as innocent of crime.
Now mobs began to threaten again, but the Nauvoo Legion was ready to defend the city. As the Legion was drawn up in front of Joseph's house one day—it was the 18th of June—he got upon a platform and spoke to the soldiers. That speech was long remembered by those who heard it. It thrilled them through and through and at the word they would gladly have marched and met the mob in battle; but that was not Joseph's way. He was always willing to have the laws carried out even if he suffered thereby, so that his enemies could have no just excuse. That was the Prophet Joseph Smith's last public speech.
During the excitement Governor Ford arrived at Carthage, a town about eighteen miles from Nauvoo, and the county seat of Hancock county. The governor sent word to Nauvoo that he wanted some explanation of the trouble, so Joseph sent some of the brethren to him. The governor treated his callers rudely. Carthage was full of mobs, and the governor seemed to believe all they told him about the "Mormons." He organized the mobs into troops. Joseph asked the governor to come to Nauvoo and investigate the whole matter; but no: Joseph must go to Carthage. The governor said he would protect him if he would go.
It was on the evening of June 22nd. Joseph and Hyrum had called some brethren together: "All they want is Hyrum and myself," said the Prophet. Joseph and Hyrum both seemed certain that if their enemies got them in their power again they would be killed. Joseph then proposed that he and Hyrum should escape to the Rocky Mountains. Preparations for this trip were made and they were rowed over the river to Iowa, when Joseph's wife sent some of the brethren to plead with him to return. Some brethren also found fault with him in running away to "leave the flock to the wolves."
Joseph replied, "If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of none to myself." So they went back, Joseph saying, "We shall be butchered."
On the morning of June 24th Joseph and eighteen brethren set out for Carthage to be tried again on the old charge. As he rode out the Prophet made many expressions of goodby to his friends. Four miles from Carthage they met a company of militia going to Nauvoo with an order from the governor that the Nauvoo Legion give up its arms. Joseph rode back with them to see that this was done. Twice he bade his family farewell. His face was pale, and he was suffering.
"I am going like a lamb to the slaughter," he said, "but I am calm as a summer morning."
At Carthage they were received with oaths and threats by the troops. Apostates and soldiers swore that the brethren would never leave Carthage alive.
The next day the governor paraded the prisoners before the troops, who insulted them as they passed along. Then they were placed in the jail awaiting their trial.
The day following, the prisoners were marched to the court house, guarded by the troops; but the trial was postponed until the next day, and the brethren were taken back to jail.
This was the 26th of June. That night Joseph was lying on the floor with some of the brethren. Brother Dan Jones was on one side and Brother John S. Fullmer on the other.
"Lay your head on my arm for a pillow, Brother John," said Joseph, and then he talked with him in a low tone. Joseph expressed a desire to see his family again and preach to the Saints once more.
To Brother Jones he whispered, "Are you afraid to die?" When Brother Jones said he was not, Joseph replied, "You will yet see Wales, and fulfill the mission appointed you, before you die." (Dan Jones did a wonderful missionary work in Wales.)
The next morning the guards frequently told some of the brethren that if they did not wish to be killed they had better get away from Joseph. This was told to Governor Ford, but he paid no attention to it.
At 10:30 that morning, June 27, the governor with the most friendly of the troops left for Nauvoo, and the brethren were left to their fate.
In an upper room of Carthage jail, Joseph, Hyrum, John Taylor, and Willard Richards were spending their time in writing letters, singing, talking, and praying. In the afternoon Joseph asked Elder Taylor to sing the hymn, commencing:
"A poor wayfaring man of grief."
And when it was done he asked him to sing it again. Brother Taylor said he could hardly sing it, he felt so sad, but he sang the hymn again.
About 5 o'clock in the afternoon a mob of about two hundred men surrounded the jail. They had blackened their faces with powder and mud. Then the firing began. The mob rushed up the stairs, shooting into the room where the four brethren were. The prisoners sprang to the door to close it but the guns of the mob forced it open. Elders Taylor and Richards tried to push the guns aside with their canes. The bullets flew like hail into the room. One ball came through the door and struck Hyrum in the head. Four others hit him, and he fell back saying:
"I am a dead man."
Joseph gazed on his brother and exclaimed: "Oh! dear brother Hyrum!"
Elder Taylor now tried to jump from the window. A ball struck him, and he was about to fall from the window, when another bullet from the outside hit his watch in his vest pocket and threw him back into the room. Here he was hit by two more balls, and he rolled under the bed.
Then Joseph went to the open window intending to leap out. Two bullets struck him and he fell outward, exclaiming:
"O Lord, my God!"
As soon as he had struck the ground a mobber set him against a well curb a few feet from the jail, and then, by order of Col. Levi Williams, a mobber and Baptist preacher, four men sent bullets into his body.
Then the mob fled, and the whole town of Carthage with them, fearing the vengeance of the people of Nauvoo. But vengeance is the Lord's.
Willard Richards was not hurt. That night he spent in attending to his wounded brother, John Taylor, and watching over the dead bodies of the Prophet and Patriarch.
Joseph's earthly work was done, and the Master had called him away from the haunts of mobs and wicked men. He sealed his testimony with his blood. He had spent his life in working for the salvation of his fellowman, and even yet in a freer and grander sphere he is working for the cause of Christ and the Church.
Topics.—1. Joseph nominated for president. 2. Traitors. 3. The Expositor. 4. Joseph goes to Carthage. 5. The martyrdom.
Questions and Review.—1. When was Joseph nominated for President of the United States? 2. What were his ideas of slavery? 3. Where were the large meetings in Nauvoo held? 4. Who proved false to Joseph? 5. How did the Saints know that Joseph was not a fallen prophet? 6. What was the Nauvoo Expositor? 7. Why was it destroyed? 8. Why did Joseph object to being tried in Carthage? 9. On what occasion did Joseph deliver his last speech? 10. Why did not Joseph go west to the mountains? 11. What did Governor Ford promise? 12. Give some expressions of the prophet on going to Carthage. 13. Who were with Joseph in jail? 14. Tell about the martyrdom. 15. When did it take place? 16. How old was Joseph when he was killed?
EXPULSION FROM ILLINOIS.
When the bodies of the martyred Prophet and Patriarch were brought from Carthage, they were met by thousands of the Saints from Nauvoo who wept aloud for the loss of their beloved leaders. The scene was a very sad one. Elder Willard Richards spoke to the people and advised them to remain peaceable as they had always been, and let the Lord avenge the murder of their loved ones.
The bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were buried privately at Nauvoo so that their enemies might not disturb them.
And now the Saints were a little confused about who should be their leaders. Joseph, the President of the Church, and Hyrum, one of his counselors, were dead, and Sidney Rigdon, the other counselors, had some months before got tired of affairs at Nauvoo and had gone to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was an apostate at heart, though he had not yet been cut off from the Church. Most of the Twelve Apostles were away on missions, and word was sent for them to return as soon as possible.
Though at first there was some misunderstanding among the Saints, the Lord did not intend his Church should go to pieces because its leader had been taken away. The Church had been set up never to be thrown down or left to other people. The Gospel had been given to the earth "for the last time and for the fullness of times." The Saints had a promise that the kingdom was theirs "and the enemy shall not overcome." It would be a poor church, indeed, that would go to pieces every time its chief officer died. No; the Lord, through Joseph, had organized the Church so well that this could not be. There was a quorum in the Church that had been given all the power necessary to carry on the work of the Church in case the First Presidency was taken away. That quorum was the Twelve Apostles. Now that there was no First Presidency, it was the duty of the Twelve to preside and regulate the affairs of the Church until such time that there should be another president appointed. Brigham Young was the president of the Twelve, so in reality he was the leading man in the Church.
But now came Sidney Rigdon from Pittsburg. He wanted to be appointed the leader of the Church, or as he called it, a "guardian." He, with some others, tried to have a meeting of the Saints before the Twelve could get home. This meeting was appointed for the 8th of August, 1844. On the 6th of August President Young and five of the Apostles arrived at Nauvoo.
The meeting was held at the grove, and Sidney Rigdon and some of the Twelve spoke. When Brigham Young arose to address the meeting, it seemed to the Saints that both in appearance and speech he was like the Prophet Joseph. This certainly was a sign to them. At this meeting Sidney Rigdon was rejected and the Twelve Apostles were upheld as the quorum to lead the Church.
Sidney Rigdon did not like this. He got a few followers and tried to organize another church. A number of others did the same, but all these movements did not amount to much. The Saints kept on under the direction of the Twelve, building the temple and other public edifices in Nauvoo.
The enemies of the Church were disappointed. They had thought that if they could get Joseph out of the way that would be the end of "Mormonism." Of course they did not understand that "Mormonism" is the Lord's work and does not depend for its success on one or two men. He can raise up any number of men to carry on his work, and now Brigham Young and his brethren were the men who could and would carry it on.
In May, 1845, some of the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum were tried, and by a jury pronounced innocent. This gave the mobbers more courage, and they gathered again. In the small settlements outside of Nauvoo many houses were burned and the inmates driven into the fields. These Saints were advised to move into Nauvoo for protection.
Some time before his death, Joseph had predicted that the Saints would yet move to the Rocky Mountains; and he had even begun the movement by holding councils and asking for volunteers from the brethren to go ahead and locate a place to which the Church might gather. President Young and the Twelve now began preparing to carry this plan out. They could plainly see that it was useless to try to live in peace in Illinois. The mobs grew larger and fiercer. The people living in the counties surrounding Hancock county, threatened to drive the "Mormons" from the state; and the officers whose duty it was to enforce the laws would not do so if it was to protect the "Mormons."
So in August, 1845, it was decided to select three thousand men who, with their families, were to go to Upper California. All this western country was then called Upper California. The authorities of the Church promised the mob leaders that if they would not molest them they would all leave the state early the next spring.
But the mobbing did not cease at this; so the sheriff of the county, a Mr. Backenstos, organized a posse, that is, a company of men to help him enforce the laws and keep order. The sheriff kept after the mob to prevent them from burning houses, etc., and this made the mobbers very angry. One day some of them tried to kill the sheriff, but he was saved by two "Mormons" coming to his rescue. Thus during the summer and fall of 1845 there was much trouble between the mobs, the "Mormons," and the militia.
All this time the Saints had worked hard to finish the temple. It had been decided to do this even if they had to work with the "trowel in one hand and a sword in the other." October 5th the temple was near enough finished that a conference was held in the building. No general conference had been held for three years, as Joseph had said none should be convened until it could be held in the temple.
After this the work on the building still went on, and in a short time it was so far completed that it was dedicated, and a great many of the Saints received their endowments within its sacred walls.
All that winter, (1845-46) Nauvoo was like a big workshop. Everybody that could was preparing for the great move westward. Farms and houses were offered for sale. Wagons were built, and as iron was scarce, many of them had wooden tires. Horses and cattle were gathered. It was to be the sixth move of the Saints from their homes, and it was no small undertaking now as there were many thousands of people, and they were to go to a wild, unknown land among the deserts and mountains of the West.
The move began on February 4, 1846, and from that date on there was a continuous stream of wagons crossing the Mississippi river to the Iowa side. A camp was made on Sugar creek, nine miles from Nauvoo, where the Saints gathered. Towards the last of the month the weather became very cold, the river froze over so that teams could be driven across on the ice. It was a bad time of the year to begin such a move. Many of the Saints were poorly clad, some had no tents or wagon covers, and in the snow and cold there was much suffering; but on the Saints went, looking with sad hearts on their deserted homes; but rather would they face the winter storms and cold than to live in constant dread of cruel mobs.
Topics.—1. Presiding authority in the Church. 2. The Twelve sustained. 3. Action of Sidney Rigdon. 4. Mobbings. 5. The removal.
Questions and Review.—1. Where were Joseph and Hyrum buried? 2. What were the feelings of the Saints? 3. Why were the Saints troubled about a leader? 4. Where were most of the Twelve at the time of the martyrdom? 5. When the First Presidency is taken away, what is the next presiding authority in the Church? 6. What did Sidney Rigdon want? 7. What testimony was given the Saints at the meeting on August 8th? 8. What became of Sidney Rigdon? 9. What did the enemies of the Church expect to do by killing Joseph Smith? 10. Who first planned the move to the mountains? 11. Tell about the work of the mobs. 12. Why did the Saints work so hard to finish the temple, knowing they would have to leave it? 13. When did the move westward begin?
THE BATTLE OF NAUVOO.
Leaving the main body of the Saints traveling westward, in this chapter I wish to tell you about what happened to those who remained in Nauvoo; and by the way, this is the last chapter of this little history in which mobs will play an important part.
In the summer of 1846 there were about six hundred Saints in Nauvoo, most of whom had been unable to get away. Many were poor, some were sick, and there were many old people and children. Many non-"Mormons" had bought property from the Saints who had left, and had moved into the city. The mob called these friendly citizens "Jack Mormons."
Naturally, one would think that these few Saints would be left to get ready to move in peace; but not so. If there is any doubt of the brutal character of the mob, what they now did will remove that doubt forever.