John Corrill, “Brief History,” Manuscript, circa 1838–1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

of the
a member of the legislature of .
Copyright Notice
destrict, S.S.
Be it remembered, that on the eleventh day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty nine, of said destrict, hath deposited in this office the title page of a book the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following to wit: “A brief history of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints (commonly called Mormons) including an account of their doctrine and disc[i]pline with the reasons of the author for leaving the church. By , an member of the Legislature of .”
In conformity with the several acts of Congress for the encouragement of learning by securing the copies of Maps Charts and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned and extending the benefits thereof to the acts of designing engraving and etching historical and other prints
A true copy.
Jo Gamble Clk
In conversing with my friends, I have been frequently asked, “how did you come to join the Mormons?”— “how could you yield to their delusions?” These inquiries and others of the same nature, I have always answered frankly and fully, as it is my intention to do in the present little work, which, indeed, I have [un]dertaken not less for the satisfaction of my friends who have [adv]ised me to it, than to explain the motives which have [gov]erned my conduct. I know of no better way of doing this, than [to] give a brief history of the circumstances that have come to [m]y knowledge had from personal observation as well as from [ot]her sources. It is not pretended, however, that these pages will contain a complete account of all the doctrinal particulars connected with the Mormons. Such an account would not, perhaps, be of interest to the general reader. I shall confine myself to so much of their history as will enable men him to judge correctly of the true character of the “Church of Christ of Latter day Saints,” as well as to understand the reasons of my own own conduct.
[pages 1–19 missing] in faith. much more might be quoted but I will pass to the next topic
Chapter 7
Chap 6th. <​7th.​>
The gathering. Prophets quoted. Power of God to be manifested in the fulfilment of prophecy. Many to be called and sent of God. Conclusions.
The work of the gathering. On searching the scriptures, I found that much was said on this subject, though it was little noticed generally. The 37th of Ezekiel, speaks very clearly; but it is too lengthy to quote here. Suffice it to say, that it promises to gather the Israelites from every place where they have been scattered, and that they and their children and their children’s children shall inherit the land of Israel forever. Isa 2. 2, 3 and Mic[a]h 4. 1, 2. make similar <​promises.​> Isa. 11. 11–16. also speaks of the same, to-gether with the promise of working great miracles for their safe return, such as drying the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and smiting the river (Nile) in the seven streams thereof, and casting up a highway as it was to Israel in the days that he came up out of the land of Egypt. Now When, how, where and by whom shall this great work be accomplished, unless God calls, qualifies, and send forth men endowed with power to do it: for the house of Israel is scattered to all parts of the earth, and who shall know who they are, and where to find them, and how to gather them unless God reveals it to and send them for that purpose. But this he has promised to do; for Jeremiah says that [p. 20] the Lord will send many fishers, and many hunters, and they shall fish them and hunt them from every mountain, <​and​> hill, and from the holes of the rocks in every land whither they have been driven, and bring them again into the land that he gave to their farthers. (Jer 16. 14–16) Not <​only​> is the house of Israel to be gatherd; but God hath purposed that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he will gather all things whether in Heaven or in Earth. (Eph 1. 9, 10) Hence, after after considering all these scriptural declarations, and many others that might be named, I came to the conclusion that it was not unreasonable to believe that there was to be a gathering in the last days.
Chapter 8
Chap. 8th.
New religion compared with the Bible. Mode of admission into the church. Effects.
The morality and effects of the new religion. I found that the book of Mormon taught all the morality, piety, virtue, honesty, righteousness and Godliness that the Bible did, and even condemned the whoredoms of David, Solomon and others, and strictly enjoined family and secret prayer, and that too in great faith, that our prayers may be answered; and, in order to be admitted into the church a person must manifest faith in Christ and a hearty repentanc[e] of all their sins. Baptism, by Immersion, they believed was for the remission of sins. And the [p. 21] laying of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost they think will be attended with Signs following just in proportion to the faith and righteousness of the believer.
Chapter 9
Chapter 9th.
Join the church— goes to the West— Singular behavior of some of the younger members— Ordained an elder— Smith’s arrival at — Appointment of a bishop— The new revelation called the [3 words illegible] Law— An outline of its contents— Start for the West— Return to .
I have thus given a brief account of the investigation I went through in relations <​to​> these different subjects. Although I was not fully satisfied, yet viewing this religion to be much nearer the religion of the Bible then any other I could find, I concluded to join the church, with this the determination that if ever I found it to be a deception, I would leave it. There are other doctrines and discipline of the church which I shall mention in their proper place, but will now resume my history. During the fall and winter of AD 1830 & 31, was continually crowded. Persons came from all qua[r]ters enquiring after the new religion. and his company left in the fall for the west, to find the spot, as some said for the Temple and place of gathering. Many improprieties and visionary notions crept into the church, which tried the feelings of the more sound minded. Many young persons became very visionary, and had divers operations of the Spirit, [p. 22] as they supposed. They saw marvelous <​wonderful​> lights in the air and on the ground, and would relate many great and marvelous things which they saw in their visions. They conducted themselves in a strange manner, sometimes imitating Indians in their maneauvres, sometimes running out into the fields, getting on stumps of trees and there preaching as though surrounded by a congregation,— all the while so completely absorbed in visions as to be apparently insensible to all that was passing around them. I would here remark, however, that it was but a very few of the church that was <​who were​> exercised in that way. The more substantial minded looked upon it with astonishment, and were suspicious that it was from an evil source. I joined the church on the tenth of January, 1831, and in the course of three or four days I was ordained an elder. Shortly after this, the church from the state of removed to , Ohio. Smith and were among the number; for after had joined the church in , he was afraid that he had been deceived, so he and went to the state of to enquire further into it. said he went to the enemies of the church to find out their feelings and [p. 23]
Chapter 10
[page 24 missing] <​Chap. 10​>
<​Increase of the church— Further account of the visionaries— Revelation concerning them— Appointed a counsellor to the bishop— Duties— The Endowment Meeting of fifty elders— The Endowment— Do Doubting— Commandment to go to — Arrival in — Smith returns to —​>
<​Other elders proceeded to erect churches in various places, and the work increased very fast. Smith remained in . Those visionary spirits spoken of before​> continued in the church, and rose to such a height and <​that​> the elders became so dissatisfied with them that <​they​> became determined to have something done about it. Accordingly, they called upon the prophet and united in prayer, and asked God to give them light upon the subject. They received a revelation through the prophet, which was very gratifying, for it condemned these visionary spirits, and gave rules for Judging of spirits in general. After a while these spirits were rooted out of the church. Some time in May following, a church was organized in , a township a few miles from , at which time and were chosen counsellors to the to assist him in his business, which was to receive consecrations of property and attend to the temporal concerns of the church. Previous to this there was a revelation received requiring the prophet to call the elders together that they might receive and endowment. This was done, and the meeting took place sometime in June. About fifty elders met, which was about all the elders that then belonged to the church [p. 25] The meeting was conducted by Smith. Some <​curious​> things curious took place. The same visionary and marvelous spirits spoken of before, got hold of some of the elders; it threw one of from his seat on to the floor; it bound another, so that for some time he could not use his limbs nor speak, and some other curious effects were experienced, but by a mightiy exertion, in the name of the Lord, it was exposed and shewn to be from and evil source. The Melchesideck priesthood was then for the first time introduced and confered on several of the elders. In this chiefly consisted the endowment,— it being a new order and authority bestowed <​authority​>. However, some doubting took place among the elders, and considerable conversation <​was held​> on the subject. The elders not fairly understanding the nature of the endowment, it took some time to reconcile all their feelings. In a few days, however, a commandment was received for the elders to go to , two by two. and No two went were to travel in the track of <​the​> others, and they were to preach the gospel by the way. After a little delay, we started. Smith, and six or eight others came into in company. They continued their journey until they arrived in , where they found and his companions. Smith’s pointed out the spot for the temple, read <​received​> some revelation concerning the purchasing of land and settling the church in that place,— [p. 26] appointed some persons to remain there, held one or two conferences, and then returned with part of his company to . went back with him.
Chapter 11
Chap. 11
Enthusiasm to emigrate to — Rules not observed— Consequences— Citizens become dissatisfied— Violence to the Property destoyed— Mormons agree to leave— Petition to the — His answer— Further hostilities— Preparation for defence— Fatal conflict— Mormons go to — Their reception— Grand Jury— Gen. – Attorney General—
The church immediately began to gather in , and on this subject they became quite enthusiastic. They had been commanded not to go up in haste, nor by flight, but to have all things prepared before them. Money was to be sent up to the , and as fast as lands were purchased and preparations made, the bishop was to let it be known, and <​that​> the church <​might be​> gathered in. But this regulation was not attended to, for the church got crazy to go up to Zion, as it was then called. The rich were afraid to send up their money to purchase lands, and the poor crowded up in numbers, without having any places provided, contrary to the advice of the bishop and others, untill the old citizens began to be highly displeased. They saw their filling up with emigrants, principally poor. They disliked their religion, and saw also that if let alone, they would in [p. 27] In a short time become a majority, and of course rule the . The church kept increasing, and the old citizens became more and more dissatisfied, and from time to time offered to sell their farms and possessions. But the Mormons, though desirous, were too poor to purchase them. The feelings of the people were became greatly exasperated in consequence of the many falsehoods and evil reports that were in constant circulation against the church. Thus matters grew worse and worse, untill the people arose in their fury; and on the 20th. day of July AD 1833, the citizens met at the in , and appointed a committe[e] who called upon six or seven of the leading Mormons, and required them to shut up all their work shops, their , and their , and <​agree to​> leave the . The Mormons required time to give them an answer, but <​they​> would grant but fifteen minutes. The Mormons then refused to comply with their proposals, and the committe then returned to the where the people were assembled, <​and​> related to them the answer of the Mormons. They then took a vote to demolish the , which they did immediately, and tar[r]ed and feathered the and two one or two others, and appointed the 23d to meet again and carry on the work of destruction. The day arrived and the [p. 28] people met,— Several hundred in number, and plainly manifested a full determination to carry on the work of destruction. Some four or five of the leading Mormons offered to their lives if they would spare the church; but they answered no! every man should answer for his own life, or leave the .
The Mormons agreed to leave, and this appeased their wrath for that time. A part was to leave in the spring January and a part in the spring. This agreement having been made in duress, the Mormons considered it illegal and not binding, and supposed that the or authorities would protect them if applied to, and not suffer them to be driven off in that manner. Here let me remark, that up to this time, the Mormons had not so much as lifted a finger <​even​> in their own defence, so tenacious were they for the precepts of the gospel “turn the other cheek.” Between two and three months passed off in peace, when towards the last of October, a petition was drawn up and circulated in the church, praying the for protection. But he said we must appeal to the civil law for redress. This we tried but found it of no use; for as soon as the people found out that we had petitioned the for protection, and [p. 29] that we were about to appeal to the law for redress, they became very angry, and again commenced hostilities. The Mormons then began to prepare for self defence, but were badly armed. The citizens would collect together and by night commit depredations on the Mormons, by puttings pulling down their houses, whipping the men, &c., untill sometime about the fourth of November, 1833, a conflict took place, in which three of four persons were killed and others wounded. This took place above Blue, eight or nine miles from , and the news reach[e]d a little after dark, at which time six or eight of the Mormons were undergoing a sham trial under a pretence of law; but this news produced such confusion in the , and the people became so angry, that the court was obliged to shut up the prisioners in the court Jail to keep them from being murdered. The people continued to gather from different parts of the , and such was the wrath and determination manifested, that before light the next morning, the Mormon leaders agreed for themselves and the church, to leave the . , who lived above Blue, eight or ten miles distance, on hearing that several Mormons were in Jail without just cause, and supposing they intended to take their lives, gathered up some one hundred and fifty men [p. 30] partly armed, and marched to , but on learning that the Mormons had agreed to leave the , they conceded to the same and gave up their arms,— fifty two guns, a pistol and sword, which and others faithfully agreed to deliver up after the as soon as they had left the : but this they <​afterwards​> refused to do, although required to by a written order from the , and the Mormons have never received the guns nor an equivalent for them to this day. The Mormons all left in the course of three or four weeks. Some went to Vanburen county, some went <​to the​> eastward, but the major part went to , where they were received in a hospitable manner. and They were not suffered to return to , even to settle up their af business. During all these difficulties, the Mormons were accused of many crimes. This of course was necessary for an excuse. But the people of well know, that up to that time, the Mormons had not been guilty of crime nor done any thing whereby they could criminate them by the law; and, in my opinion, the<​se​> <​stories​> only reasons of their raising up <​originated in​> was their hatred towards the Mormon religion, and <​the fear intertained​> their fear of their overrunning and ruling the . The people of gave the Mormons employment and paid them good wages; and by their industry they made themselves comfortable with the exception of some [p. 31] families that were put to it <​found it difficult​> to get shelters. for For The number driven out, was about twelve hundred. Sometime in the winter of 1833 & ’4, the ordered the criminal acts of the people to be complained of and laid before the Grand Jury of . For this purpose, he ordered with his company of Blues, to guard the witnesses over to the trial, which he did, much to the satisfaction of the witnesses. The also requested the Attorney General to go and assist, but after getting there and seeing the situation of things, and the spirit of the people, he advised the witnesses to go home and not try to do any thing about it, for they would be unable to get justice. They took his advise and returned with the guard.
Chapter 12
Chap. 12
and visit . Strength of the Lord’s house— proceed to — Their intentions— The Cholera— Dispersion— — Description Elders gather at — Learning sought for— Solem assembly and its effects— Dedication— Book of articles and covenants adopted— atuthorities organised
About this time, and went to , and after seeing Smith, who resided there, and consulting on the subject, they received a revelation to gather up (the strength of the Lord’s house and go up to relieve their brethren, who had been driven out of Zion. Accordingly, they gathered up) about two hundred and fifty men, who armed themselves, and with Smith at their head, marched to , where they arrived sometime in July, AD 1834. Meanwhile, the Mormons [p. 32] in made preparations to join them when they should get there, and they generally thought that the , on a petition <​to that effect,​> would reinstate them those that had been driven out from their lands (for they had not sold them,) and then their brethren that came up in the camp would enable them to keep possession of their lands. But after arriving in , a council was held, in which it was concluded to give up the expedition at that time. The Cholera broke out among them, and they immediately dispersed, the most of them returning home again, in a short time. With the exception of some little threatning, the church lived in peace untill the summer of 1836; and notwithstanding all these difficulties, the church <​it​> continued to gather in and in the adjacent counties, <​the members​> in hopes <​hopeing​> that they would get back to . The church also kept gathering at . They laid out a town, appointed certain lots for various purposes, one of which was to build the upon, for the building of which, they had received a revelation. This building they commenced, if I recollect rightly, in 1833, in poverty and without means to do it. In AD 1834, they completed the walls, and in 1835 & ’6, they nearly finished it. The cost was nearly forty thousand dollars. A committe was [p. 33] appointed to gather donations. They traveled among the churches and collected a considerable amount, but not sufficient; so that in the end, they found themselves thirteen or fourteen thousand dollars in debt. This was eighty feet by sixty, and fifty seven feet high to the top of the wall. It was divided into two stories, each twenty two feet high and arched over head. Ten feet was cut of[f] by from the front end by a petition<​partition​> and used as an entrance, and <​it​> also it contained the stair cases <​stairs.​> This left the main room fifty five feet by sixty five feet in the clear, bothe below and above. In each of these rooms were built two pulpits, one in each end. Each pulpit consisted of four different apartments, the first fourth standing on a platform raised a suitable height above the floor, the second <​third​> stood directly behind and elevated a little above the first <​fourth​>, the third <​second​> in rear of and elevated above the second <​third,​> and so the was the fourth <​first​> above the third <​second​>. Each of these apartments was just large enough and rightly calculated to receive three persons, and the breast work <​in front​> of each of these three last mentioned, was constituted of three semicircles joining each other, and finished in good style. The first <​fourth,​> a lower one was straight in front, and had a table leaf attached to it, that could be raised at pleasure, for the convenience of admin [p. 34] istering the sacrament, &c. These pulpits were alike in each end of the house, and one was for the use of the High Melchesideck or High preisthood, and other for the Aaraonic or lesser priesthood. The first, or highest apartment, was used by occupied by the first presidency over all the church; the second apartment, by the President of the High preists and his two councellors; the third by th three of the High Preists, and the fourth by the President of the Elders and his two counsellors. The highest apartment of the other pulpit was occupied by the Bishop of the church, and his two counsellors, the next by the President of the Preists and his two counsellors, the third by the President of the Teach[e]rs and his two counsellors and <​the​> fourth by the President of the Deaccons and his two counsellors. Each of these apartments had curtains hanging from the ceiling over head down to the top of the pulpit, which could be rolled up or drop[p]ed down at pleasure, and when droped down would completely exclude those within the apartment, completely from the sight of all others. The room itself was finished with slips and seats so calculated that by slipping them <​the seats​> a littl[e] the congregation could change their faces toward either pulpit they chose; for in some cases the High priesthood would [p. 35]
[page 36 missing] and other branches, they also employed the celebrated Hebrew teacher, , who gave them much insight into the Hebrew leanguage in a short time. They had been previously commanded to seek learning and study the best books, and get a know[l]edge of countries, kingdoms, languages, &c, which inspired them with an extravagant thirst after knowledge. Several months previous to this, they had been commanded to prepare themselves for a Solemn Assembly, as may be seen by referring to the Book of Covenants. At length the time arrived for their assembly to meet, previous to which, Smith exhorted the elders to Solemnise their minds, by casting away every evil from them in thought, word or deed, and let their hearts become sanctified, because they need not expect a blessing from <​God​> without being duly prepared for it, for the Holy Ghost would not dwell in unholy temples. This meeting took place in March, 1836, a little previous to which the had been dedicated. As well as I can remember, the Solem Assembly was conducted nearly as follows. The cerimony was first performed upon the first presidency, together with the bishops and their counsellors, after which the elders in their turn attended to the cerimony, and <​it was​> alike upon <​all.​> [p. 37] They were to purify their bodies by washing them entirely with pure water, after which they were to wash each others feet, and annoint each other with oil, pronouncing mutual blessings during the performance. The Sacrament was then administered in which they partook of the bread and wine freely, and a report went abroad that some of them got drunk. As to that every man must answer for himself. A simular report the reader will reccollect went out concerning the disciples at Jerusalem on the day of pentecost. This was followed by a marvelous spirit of prophecy. Every man’s mouth was ful of prophecyaying, and for a number of days or weeks, their time was spent in visiting from house to house, making feasts, prophecying, and pronouncing blessings on each other, to that degree, that from the external appearance, one would have supposed that the last days had <​truly​> come, in which the spirit of the Lord was poured out upon all flesh, as far as the church was concerned; for their sons and their daughters were full of prophecying. In this prophecying great blessings were pronouncd upon the faithful, and also great curses upon the ungodly. Long before this, a committe had been appointed to collect and compile the articles, [p. 38] covenants and discipline of the church. This had been done, presented to and adopted by the church, and published to the world. As a preparation also to the solem assembly, all the constituted authorities or quorums were filled out in point of numbers, and presented to the church, each one in it proper place, and acknowldged of the church as the proper authorities by which the church should be governed according to the articles and convenants. These authorities, or different quorums, had been organized and established one after another by Smith himself, as the church increased, and their different powers plainly set forth in the book of Doctrine and covenants. But for the satisfaction of those who have not access to that book, I will here give a general account of them.
Chapter 13
Chap 13
The priesthood described. Zion and her stakes. Manner of dealing with transgressors. Ordinations. Reflections on the subject.
There are in the church two preisthoods. First the Melchesideck or high priesthood, also called the greater priesthood. Second, the Aaraonic or lesser priesthood. In the first, or Melchesideck preisthood, were ordained High preists and elders; in the second, were ordained preists, teachers, and deacons. Each different grade chose one of its number to preside over the rest [p. 39] who was called President, and whose duty it was to call together those over whom he presided, at stated times, to edify one another and receive instruction from him. The first, or High Presthood, was to stand at the head of and regulate the spiritual concerns of the church. The second, or lesser priesthood, was to administer in the ordinances and attend to <​the​> temporal concerns of the church. Three of the High preests were chosen and set apart by the church to preside over all the churches of that order in all the world, and were called presidents, and constituted what is called the first presidency. Joseph Smith, Junr, , and , are the persons at present. The church that was to be established in was called Zion the centre of gathering, and those established by revelation in other places are called stakes of Zion, or Stakes; hence the stake at , the stake at , the Stake at , &c. Each stake was to have a presidency consisting of three high priests, chosen and set apart for that purpose, where jurisdiction was confined to the limits of the of the stake over which they took the watch care. There was also to be a high council, consisting of twelve High Priests, established at each stake, also a bishop who stood at the head of the Lesser pristhood, and administered in temporal things. He [p. 40] had two counsellors who with himself formed a court to try transgressors. If two members had a difficulty they were to settle it between <​themselves​> or by the assistance of another, according to the scriptures; but if they could not do this, then it went before the bishop’s court for terial, but if either party was dissatisfied with the bishop’s decision, he could appeal it to the High council. There was also a traveling High council consisting of twelve high prests called the twelve Apostles, or the twelve, whose duty it was to travel and preach the Gospel to all the world. They were also to regulate the church in all places where it was not properly organized. One of their member presided over the rest in their councils. There were other bodies formed called the seventies, consisting of seventy elders each, (not High preests), seven of whom presided over the rest in their councils. These seventies were to travel and preach in all the world, under the direction of the twelve, who was <​were​> to open or lead the way, and then call upon the seventies for assistance. There were three of these bodies formed, called the first, second and third seventies. The first presidency, the High council, the twelve, and each of the seventies were equal in power. That is to say, each had a right to discipline their own member, and transact othr business of the church within their calling, and a decision of either one of these bodies, when [p. 41] in regular session, could not be appealed from to any other; for one had no right or power to reverse or overthrow the judgment or decision of the other. But they could all be called together and form a conference consisting of all the authorities, to which an appeal could be taken from either one and the decision reversed. These were the regular constituted authorities of the church; but besides this, Smith and taught the church that these authorities in ruling or watching over the church were nothing more than servants to the church, and that the church as a body had the power in themselves to do any thing that either or all of them these authorities could do, and that if either or all of these constituted leaders authorities became deranged or broken down, or did not perform their duty to the satisfaction of the church, the church had a right to raise up in a body and put them out of office, make another selection and reorganize them, and thus keep in order, for the power was in the p[e]ople and not in the servants. The High prists elders and priests were to travel and and to preach, but the teachers and deacons were to be standing ministers to the church. Hence, in the last organizing of the church, each branch of the church chose a teacher to preside over them, whose duty it was to take paticular charge of that branch and report from time to time to the [p. 42] general conference of elders which was to be held qua[r]terly. For some time after the commencement of the church, an elder might ordain an elder, priest, teacher or deacon, when and where he thought proper, but after stakes were planted, and the church became organized they established a rule that none should be ordained without consent of the church or branch that he belonged to. Neither should any man be placed over a branch or take charge of it without consent of the same. Thus I have given a brief portrait of the authorities of the church. In vewing the subject, I saw that there were several different bodies that had equal power. I thought therefore they would serve as a check on <​upon​> each other, and I concluded there was no dander where the full power power and authority was reserved to the people. I did not examine the scriptures much on the subject, but I thought that no man who was acquainted with his Bible would pretend to deny that two presthoods existed in ancient times. As to the Apostolic church I knew that Paul declared that Christ himself was a priest after the order of Melchesideck, that it never changed and was such a presthood as become them: from which I infered that it was confered on them. Inasmuch is as the New testament was pretty much silent on the subject [p. 43] and does not shew the precise order in that respect of the Apostolic church every man is left to judge for himself.
Chapter 14
Chap 14
Smiths charge to the elders. Their return. Gathering continues. Mormons leave and settle in . In debt. Pride. Merchantdizing. Banking. Dissentions and its effects. Elders go to England.
At the Close of the solem assembly meetings <​in ​> Smith told the elders that they were now endowed with power to go forth and build up the Church Kingdom, that they must now call upon God for themselves, and do that which the spirit directed them to do, and every man was accountable to God for his own doings, and he charged them to be careful and avoid contention; not to meddle with other orders of Christians, nor proclaim against their doctrines, but to preach the Gospel in its simplicity, and let others alone. The elders that lived in Upper returned to their homes in in the spring of 1836, but had not been there long before a portion of the people who had been peacable during their absence, began now to be uneasy. The church also continued to gather in , till the appearance was that they would sooner or later be overun by the Mormons, and this uneasy portion of the people, either because they hated our religion, or were afraid we [p. 44] would become a majority, or from some other cause, I know not what, (for the Mormons had committed no crime,) continued to stir up excitement, and the Mormons began to prepare for self defence, untill the more rational and sensible part of the citizens saw that it was coming to bloodshed, and that something must be done. They accordingly appointed a committe who called upon the Mormons to meet them in conference, which they did, and agreed to leave the . The committe agreed to, and did help them to obtain a place of residence, which was in the teritory of , since organized into the county of , and the people in the vicinity agreed consented to it. The Mormons purchased great quantities of land in ; made improvements, and their works plainly shew that they were industrious, though they labored under many disadvantages on account of their poverty and former difficulties. Many of them were obliged to seek labor in the neighboring counties for their bread. The people gave them employment, and many of them also borrowed money to purchase lands with. Friendship began to be restored between them and their neighbors. The old prejudices prejudices were fast dying away, and they were doing well, [p. 45] untill the summer of 1838. <​(Paragraph​> And now I return to with my story. After finishing the so far as to have it ready for the solem assembly, the church found itself something like fifteen or twenty thousand dollars in debt, as near as I can reccollect. As the had been built by faith, as they termed it, they must now continue their faith and contrive some means to pay the debt. Notwithstanding they were deeply in debt, they had so managed as to keep up their credit, so they concluded to try the Mercantile business. Accordingly, they ran in debt in and elsewhere, some thirty thousand dollars for goods, and shortly after some fifty or sixty thousand more, as I was informed; but they did not fully understand the mercantile business, and withal they suffered pride to arise in their hearts, and became desirous of fine houses, and fine clothes, and indulged to much in these things, supposing for a few months that they were very rich. They also spent some thousands of dollars in building a steam mill which never profited them any thing. They also bought many farms at extravagant prices and made part payments which they afterwards lost by not being able to meet the remaining payments. They also got up a Bank, for which they could get no charter, so they issued their paper without a [p. 46] a charter, and of course they could not collect their pay on notes received for loans, and after struggling with it a while they broke down. During their Mercantile and banking operations, they not only indulged in pride, but also suffered jealousy to arise among them, and several persons dissented from the church and accused the Leaders of the church with bad management, selfishness, seeking for riches, honor and dominion, tyranizing over the people and striving constantly after power and property. On the other hand, the leaders of the church accused the dissenters with dishonesty, want of fait faith and righteousness, wicked in their intentions, guilty of crimes such as stealing, lying, encouraging the making of counterfeist money &c. And this strife or opposition arose to a great heighth, so that instead of pulling together as brethren, ought to, they tried every way in their power, seemingly, to destroy each othr; their enemies from without rejoiced at this <​and​> assisted the dessenters what they could, untill Smith and finally were obligd to leave , and with their families came to , in March or April, 1838. During this strife, some of the elders became tired of this scene and left . went to the city of , where he built up a church and published [p. 47]
Chapter 15
<​Chap. 15.​>
<​Debts how paid. Difficulty in the church. Smith and visits the church. Presidency changed. Dissenters withdrew. Removal to . New town commenced called . Feelings produced. Boasting. Settlement of .​>
In order to pay the debts in and elsewhere, many of the church in turned out their farms and strip[p]ed themselves of property, and took orders on the in and in their poverty followed Smith and to as soon as practicable. Some of the dissenters came also, and notwithstanding they affected a sort of reconciliation of their difficulties, yet it was plain that hard feelings existed. and had served as presidents of the church in the upper country from the time they came from , but sometime in the winter of 1836 & ’7, a difficulty arose between them and the church on account of their having enterd the town plot and some othr lands in their own names: but that upon on an investigation of the matter they gave the town plot [p. [48]] and some othr lands into the hands of the as the prope[r]ty of the church. However perfect reconciliation of feelings was not restored, but in the fall of 1837, Smith and , and others, came to on a visit.
A general meeting was called for the church to choose whethr they would have the old presidency rule over them any longer or not. Their old difficulties were talked over, and so far reconiciled <​that​> they still chose to have and their presidents; but in the winter following, the old difficulty broke out again, and the excitement rose so high that they turned them out of their presidential office, and and two others served as presidents protempore, untill Smith and arrived, and even untill now. After <​when​> Smith and arrived, the church was much pl[e]ased and supposd that things would be managed right by them, and they would have bettr times than they had had but it was not long before the old feelings began to be stir[r]ed up between the church and the dissenters. and Complaints were made to the authorities of the church against them upon which they immediately withdrew from the church. The church in had been doing well with the exception of these little difficulties among themselves, untill the 1st. [p. 49] presidency came to and began to move things to their own notion; many of the church had settled in and to all appearance lived as peacably with their neighbors as people generally do. But not long after Smith and arrived in they went to and pitched upon a place to build a town, was already on the ground with his family. They laid out a town and began to settle it pretty rapidly. Smith gave it the name of which he said was formely given to a certain val[l]ey where Adam previous to his d[e]ath called his children together and blessed them. The interpretation in english is the Valey of God in which Adam blessed his children. Many of the church became elated with the idea of settling in and round about the new town, especially those who had come from , as it was designed more paticularly for them. This stired up the people of in some degree. They saw that if this town built up rapidly it would injure their seat, and also that the Mormons would soon overrun and rule the and they did not like to live [p. 50] under the laws and administration of “Jo Smith”. also would frequently boast in his discourses of what they would do if the mob did not let them alone: they would fight and they would die upon the ground, and they would not give up their rights &c. when as yet there was no mob. But this preaching inspired the Mormons with a fighting spirit and some of the other citizens began to be stired up to anger. Shortly after the new town was established in , the presidency concluded to establish a Settlement in at the mouth of in Carol [Carroll] county. Accordingly and went and purchased a numbr of lots in a little town called and shortly after moved there with their families and increased their families as Settlement as fast as they could consistently. <​+ 16​> When Smith and [p. 51]
Chapter 16
<​Chap 16​>
<​Support of Smith and . Spirit excited. Union necessary. Salt sermon. Dissenters expelled. Murmuring put down.​>
When Smith and —— first moved to they said that they did not intend to meddle with temporal concerns, but attend to their spiritual calling, and they relied upon the donations of the church for their support. But after a while it was thought best by the High council to give them some certains amount each year which should be sufficent for their support to support them. [p. [51[a]]] They were to labor in word and doctrine, to write for and superintend the press and to look to the welfare of the church. Notwithstanding the dissenters had left the church yet the old strife kept up and the presiding Smith and with othe[r]s complained much of the ill treatment they had received from the dissenters and others. They said they had been prosecuted from time to time with vexacious law suits; that mobs had arisen up against them time after time; that they had been harrased to death as it were for seven or eight years, and they were determined to bear it no longer; for they had rathr die than suffr such things. And it was the will of God that the saints should fight their death, rather than suffer such things. That if the chu[r]ch would be united and exercise faith in God he would protect them, though their enemies were ever so numerous. But in order to get protection and favor from God they must become one, and be perfectly united in all things, cleanse themselves from every kind of pollution and keep the whole law of God. And if they would do this God would strengthen them against their enemies his arm should be thier arm and the time was not far distant when if they purified themselves properly one should be able to chase his <​thousand​> and two put their ten thousand to flight.
This kind of preaching was the chief [p. 52] topic of conversation all last summer untill many of the church became inspired with the belief that God would enable them to stand against any thing even the state of or the if they should come in a mob. Many of the church however became disgusted with these things, and looked upon them as great inconsistences and calculated to bring swift destruction upon the church. But such was the influence of the presidency over the church that it was of no use to say any thing, for the Lord they supposed was going to do great things which would require great faith and they must prepare for it. For this <​end​> end much was to be done and the scripture says, “if ye are agreed as touching any one thing it shall be done” consequently to become one was very essential and they must be well united in all things, and this though a great work must and should be done performed at all hazards. But there were many obstacles in the way. The dissenters kept up a kind of secret opposition to the presidency and church. They would occasionly speak against them, influence the minds of the members against them and occasionally correspond with their enemies abroad; and the church it was said would never become pure unless these dissenters were routed from among them. Moreover if they were suffered to remain they would destroy the church. Secret meetings were held and plans contrived how to get rid of them. Some had [p. 53] one plan and some another, but there was a sort of backwardness in bringing it about, untill delivered from the pulpit, what I call the salt Sermon. “If the salt have lost its saviour [savor] it is of thenceforth good for nothing but but to be cast out and trod[d]en under the feet of men,” was his text, and although he did not call names in his sermon, yet it was plainly understood that he meant that dissenters or those who had denied the faith, ought to be cast out and literally troden underfoot. He indirectly accused some of them with crime.
This sermon had the desired effect. Excitement was produced in the church, and, suffice it to say, that in three or four days several of the dissenters became much alarmed from the and fled from the place in a gr[e]at fright, and their families soon followed; but their property was attached for debt. Necessity compelled others of the dissenters to confess and give satisfaction to the church. This scene I looked upon with horror, and considered it as proceeding from a mob spirit. Thus the work of purifying was commenced, and now it must be carried out. Another thing was in the way. There was a good deal of murmuring, finding fault and complaining against the first presidency and others of the leaders for various causes, but more especially on account of money which the had presidency had borrowed from time to time during the building of the in , and the carrying on [p. 54] their mercantile and banking operations. Some of the debts had been paid, but many <​several​> remained unpaid; and many who had lost their farms in paying the debts in debts <​felt​> bad, and they murmured and complained to that degree that the presidency and church got tired of heard hearing it untill they became determined to have it stopped. <​x 17​> Some time in June [p. 55]
Chapter 17
<​Chap 17​>
<​Secret society formed. Presidency upheld. Former revelations refered to. Organization. . Intentions. Perversions. Object of gathering. Tyrany exercised. New constitution. Names of society. And numbers.​>
<​Some time in June​> last, a few individuals began to form a society that should be agreed in all things. In order to this, they bound themselves under very close restrictions. As this society began to increase, they <​secretly​> entered into solem covenants before God, and bound themselves under oath to keep the secrets of the society, and covenanted to stand by one another in difficulty, whethr right or wrong; but said they would correct each other’s wrongs among themselves. As the presidency stood next to God, or between God and the church, and was the oracle through which the word and will of God was communicated to the church, they esteemed it a very essential thing to have their word or the word of God through them strictly adhered to. They therefore entered into a covenant that the words of the presidency should be obeyed, and no one should be suffered to raise his hand or voice against it; for as they stood at the head of the church, it was considered no more than reasonable that they knew more about the will of God than any others did. Consequently all things must be in submission to them, and moreover, all tattling, lying & backbiting must be put down, and he that would not submit willingly should be forced to it or leave the . Now this secret combination was directly opposed to the former revelations, and especially to [p. [55[a]]] the book of Mormon which declared that God worketh not by in secret and all such as did should be destroyed. Many were opposed to this society, but such was their determination and such also their threatnings <​against them,​> that those opposed dare not speak their minds on the subject.
They said they meant to cleanse their own members first and then the church. In order to carry on their operations they organized themselves into companies of fifties and tens, with a captain to each company, that they might be ready to act <​in concert​> on any occasion. It was supposed by the church at large, that this organization was for the purpose of resisting a mob, if any should arise against them, and many of this secret society itself did not understand the true intention of their leaders. Who first started this society I know not; but Doctor was the most prominent leader and instructor, and was assisted by others. The first presidency did not seem to have much to do with it at first. They would, however, go into their meetings occasionally, and sanction their doings. was very forward and indefatiguable in accomplishing their purposes; for he devoted his whole talents to it, and spared no pains, and I thought was as grand a villian as his wit and ability would admit of. How much he was assisted by the presidency, I know not, for they stood behind the curtain as it were. but I thought that they stood as wire workers behind the curtain. Be this as it may, they run into awful extremes [p. 56] for it seemed that they felt justified, and thought it was the will of God to use any measures whatever, whether lawful or unlawful, to accomplish their purpose and put down those that opposed them. In this they perverted the former belief and notions of the church; for the church always previous to the o believed that judgments, pestilence disease, famine, great troubles and vexations were sooner or later to be pourd out upon all the wicked and cut them off in the course of time, and this they supposed would be done by God himself; and the object of gathering together was that they might purify themselves and stand in Holy places appointed of God for that purpose, and thus escape these Judgments. But now it began to be taught that the church, instead of God, or rather the church in the hands of God, was to bring about these things. And I was told, but I cannot vouch for the truth of it, that some of them went so far as to contrive plans how they might scatter poison, pestilence and disease among the inhabitants and mak[e] them thing think it was judgments sent from God; but here let me remark that this was not known only to some half dozen of or so of the leaders and not to the church nor even the great majority of this secret society. I accused Smith and of it, but they both denied it promptly. Be this as it may, it was clearly evident to me that the leaders of this faction intended to set up a monarchial government in which the Presidency should tyranize and rule [p. 57] over all things. In fact there was so much tyrrany and oppression exercised, that for several weeks many persons durst not speak their minds nor let them be known; and I have learned of late that a constitution was formed savoring of all the spirit of Monarchy and adopted by the leaders and some others of this society, and <​but​> I conclude that but few knew about it, for I never heard one lisp <​on the subject,​> about it untill exposed it after he was arrested. Some persons individuals went so far as to state that they would kill any pe[r]son if the presidency should say it was it the will of God; for these things were necessary sometimes to save the church from corruption and destruction. All the while it was preached to them that they must purify themselves from all evil, for the time was now at hand when every thing that offended in the Kingdom of God must be cast out. This they detemined to do, whether by fair means or foul, regardless of consequences. They sometimes went by the name of the Big Fan; this, I supposed, was figurative of their intentions to cleanse the chaff from the wheat. They also assumed the name of the Daughter of Zion, and afterwards were called Danites. Why they assumed these last names, I never knew, but always supposed that <​they​> took it from the scripture, which speaks of them, the <​first​> prophetically and the last historically (see Mich. 4.13 read the whole chapter, also Judges 17 & 18 chapters)
This society increased, as near as I could learn, to the number of three hundred. <​x​> The church celebrated the fourth of July by raising a liberty pole on which they hoisted the American flag. They also [p. 58]
Chapter 18
<​(15) Chap 18​>
<​Fourth of July celebrated. s oration. The Election.​>
<​The church celebrated the fourth of July by raising a liberty pole on which they hoisted the American flag.​> <​They also​> formed a civil and military procession, and delivered an oration in which there were one or two sentences to which considerable exceptions was taken by the people of other counties. The substance was, that they did not mean to suffer vexacious law suits and other abuses as they had done,— but if a mob fell on them they would resist and would follow them to their houses and it should be a war of extermination to one or the other party. This spirit was kept up untill the church, or many individuals, became so inspired with it that we they would not hear any offence.
As the Danites had covenanted and agreed to support the heads of the church in all things, so of course they must controll the elections as well as othr matters. Therefore they got up a meeting of their <​Danite​> officers on saturday before the election, and appointed a committe[e] consisting of one man from each tow[n]ship in the , who called upon the first presidency to assist them in making out a nomination. Accordingly a ticket was made out to suit them and a sufficent number printed that night. The next day another meeting of the Danites was conveaned two hundred or more in number, and these tickets divided out among them. They agreed to scatter them through out the county of and support it the next morning at the polls, which they did. The people supposed that this ticket was from head quarters and that it was the will of God that all should go for it. But many saw that it was taking an undue advantage of the election, and were extremely dissatisfied; not so much with the ticket itself as with the principle [p. [59]] <​ which it had been got up; for the ticket democratic and the Mormons as indivi duals are almost universally of that party. There was some murmuring and finding fault after the election by those opposed to the proceedings, but this was soon put down by the Danite influence.​>
Chapter 19
<​Chap 19​>
<​Election in . Unhappy affray. Excitement. Expedition to . . Smith and . Public meeting in . The Sheriff. Gathering in . Trials before .​>
<​The election in​> was not conducted in this manner. Every man there voted as he pleased, but an unhappy affray took place there. Feelings existed as I observed before between the Mormons and other citizens on account of their settling the new town and filling up the so fast. a citizen and candidate, on seeing that the Mormons were not going for him, made a flaming speech on election day in which he said that they Mormons ought not to be suffered to vote. I was informed, however, that they were not prohibited; but still the feelings became somewhat excited on both sides, though there was but little said untill one of the Mormons and one of the citizens got into a conversation in which they gave each other the lie. The citizen struck the Mormon, and followed him up for another blow, when he was met by another Mormon who knocked him down. From this one after another on both sides, fell into the ranks, and a general conflict was the result. Some were badly hurt from clubs and boards that were used on both sides. The Mormons got the better, I believe, I believe in that affray; but left the polls I was told soon after it was over. This affray increased the [p. 60] excitement on both sides. Some of the citizens threatened threatened those Mormons that had distinguished themselves in the battle, and the Mormons kept a look out that night. The next morning news of the battle came to , and it was stated and believed that they were gathering on both sides in ,— that two Mormons had been killed, and that the citizens would not let the Mormons bury them. called for volunteers, and raised about one hundred and fifty men, who went out to under arms. Smith and went with them. When they got to they did not meet with any gathering of the mob, though <​it was said​> there was a collection at . They also found that none had been killed. Instead of returning home again as they ought to have done they took a notion to make the citizens agree to live in peace and not come out in mobs. They went to the house of , a justice of the peace, and compelled him to sign a writing to that effe[c]t. After staying a day or two, and trying to make some two or three othrs sign the paper they went home. But the citizens of were not satisfied. went to and entered complaint. Others went to other parts and made general complaint against the Mormons. Smith, and othe[r]s, they said had broken the law by going onto into armed amd making sign the paper. It was said that and J Smith would not be taken but would die first. Some one or two meetings were [p. 61] got up in , in which they took some exceptions to ’s orations, but they resolved to do nothing contrary to law in, nor approbate a mob. This I thought had a good effect in suppressing unlawful proceedings. But the law must be enforced. A writ was issued for Smith and , and the Sheriff, it is said, informed of it, but through fear of s threatnings, desisted from <​trying​> <​to​> taking <​take​> him, but went to for advice. He advised him to try to serve the precept, but if resisted, then command assistance of the citizens, and if they were resisted by a superior force, then to call for the militia, untill he got force enough. Runne[r]s went into other counties to solicit assistance They requested <​citizens​> to gather in by a day appointed, and be in readiness to assist the sheriff in taking . Accordingly <​they​> gathered in to a considerable number. This excited and alarmed the Mormons. They began to think that there was some other object in view besides taking ; for Smith had previously told the Sheriff that he had never resisted but was perfectly willing to surrender and said he would persuade to do so. For this purpose he sent for to come to and see him, which he did, and agreed to submit, saying that the Sheriff had never attempted to take him. The citizens continued to gather, and news came to Smith that there would be four thousand together in a few days. This alarmed Smith, and he sent a messenger to to come out to and see him, and to advise what to do. he <​He​> did so, and also went to and advised Smith and and Such othrs a[s] were accused, to surrender, and [p. 62] <​which they did, and were tried before and bound over. Then and returned home.​>
Chapter 20
<​Chap 20​>
<​Gathering continued. Prisoners taken. Arms taken. Dispersion by the militia. Gathering at . . Petition to the . Mormons leave . There spirits and feelings become desperate​>
<​This however​> did not satisfy the people of . In my opinion their great object was to get rid of the Mormons in their . The excitement grew worse and worse, the people continued to gather to the number of two or three hundred in and appointed Dr Austin of Carol [Carroll] as their leader. The mormons also gathered at under ready for defense. Sentinels were kept out by both parties, and they recoinnoirtered the country as they thought proper. A party of Austin’s men fired on two Mormons a man and a boy, the man escaped but the boy they took prisoner. They also sent to and got sixty or eighty stand of arms; but on their way to the waggon broke down, and the Mormons got news of it and sent ten men who took the arms forty five four in number and three men prisioners and carried them to . These were afterwards delivered up to as he passed through on his way to . A messenger <​from the Mormons​> with this news, and together with affidavits taken before , was sent to , who ordered out five hundrd militia to quell the disturbance. with a company from the Platt country had joined Austin’s company, and some Mormons from had joined ’s company. Thus the militia found them. placed the [p. 63] militia between the parties, visited both and required them to disperse. I was told submitted and said he would be governed by the authorities. The troops from dispersed and went home; but Austins company did not disperse under two or three days, and then with such reluctance, that it was thought necessary to leave a company of militia for thirty days to keep <​the​> peace. A little previous <​to​> this the citizens of Carol county had called meetings and resolved to drive the Mormons from that county. Several of the citizens of Carol went to assist the people of , but after they were dispersed from they commenced gathering against the Mormons in . They The number collected was about three hundred and they also appointed Doctor Austin to be their commander. The Mormons though weak in that place prepared themselves for defence, and were commanded by . When they got this news at they turned out about one hundred in number and went to assist their brethren at . Smith and went along. of with two companies of militia went to the scene of difficulty, but had not force enough to disperse them. Some of the citizens near sent a petition to the pray<​ing​> the dispersion of <​the​> mob as I was informed, but the Mormons were informed that the said they must take care of themselves. This the has since told me was a mistake; for he [p. 64] was at at the time, and moreover and other officers had full power to act when necessary without an order from him. called upon for more militia, but before they arrived the Mormons concluded to give up the ground and leave the place and the citizens of Carol agreed to pay them for their improvements. I never heard of any accusations that the people of Carol had against the Mormons but still they were determined they should not settle in that county; so they came to about fifty waggons in number. I have since understood that the people of Carol did not mean to pay them as they had agreed, but I know not whether this be true or not. When they came from I discovered that the feelings of many were much exasperated at the treatment they had received at , and especially at having been obliged to leave the place. News also followed them that the citizens were coming from to with the cannon for the purpose of driving the Mormons from they took two Mormons prisoners on their way and told them that they meant to drive the Mormons from to and from to h—l. Smith and others appeared much excited in feeling. “They (the church) had been driven from place to place; their property destroyed; their rights as citizens taken from them; abuse upon abuse practised upon them from time to time; they had sought for redress through the medium of the Law, but never could get it, the state of refused to protect them in their rights; the [p. 65] had been petitioned many times but never would do any thing for them.” This in substance had been their talk for months. “And the ” they said “while they were at refused to do any thing for them but said that they must take care of themselves. Now they meant to do it, for they found that they must take care of themselves as <​they​> could get help from no other qua[r]ter. Moreover they said that they had found out that the several members of the church had dissenting dissented in feeling, and were operating against them by carrying evil reports to their neighbors enemies thereby increasing the excitement and endangering their lives, and now they were determined to clear them out or spill their blood in the streets, moreover they meant to make clean work now and expel the mob from and then from . I asked Smith whether he thought they could hold out in the course and prosper in carrying it into effect. He said answered they would or die in the attempt. I answered that they would have the whole upon them. answered replied, no; they they would not have the whole state on them but only that party which was governed by a mob spirit and they were not very numerous: and they, when they found they would have to fight, would not be so fond of gathring together against them. I plainly saw that their feelings were much irritated and they determined on their course; I therefore said no more. I had highly disapproved of their course for months past, and had taken no part in their warfare. I knew that they were jealous of me as a dissenter, and that it was of no use for me to say any thing more. In fact I felt that it was necessary [p. 66] <​for me to look out for my own safety.​>
Chapter 21
<​Chap . 21.​>
<​Public meeting. Resolution passed. Volunteers raised. Reflections. Expedition to . Doings there. New order of consecration. Enthusiastic notions. Plunderings. Piece of Ordnance taken.​>
<​X​> This conversation was sunday morning after they returned from . Smith preached that day pretty much from the same spirit and requested a general meeting of all the male members on the next day. They accordingly met and passed resolutions to the following effect. All members of the church should take hold and help; those who had been backward in carrying on the warfare should now come forward, and their property should be consecrated so far as might be necessary for the use of the army. If any man undertook to leave the place and go to the enemy he should be stop[p]ed and brought back or loose his life. As soon as their meeting was over, they collected upon the public square and called for volunteers. About two hundred were raised to go to . Others were raised to guard . A company called the Fur company was raised for the purpose of procuring provisions for, pressing teams and even men sometimes into the army in . I now saw plainly that they had become desperate and their career would soon end; for I knew that their doings would soon bring the people upon them and I dreaded the consequences. I would have been glad to have been out of that with my family, but I could not get away. The decree was passed and there was no the other chance for me and the other dissenters but to affect <​pretend​> to take hold with the rest. I now understood that they meant to fall upon and scatter the mob wherever they could find them collected. The next day which was tusday, they mar [p. 67] marched to . The following day it snowed, and there was not much done, except perhaps to lay some plans of operation. The next day a company of about eighty mounted men went to where they found from ten to twenty men who fled as they approached the town. They plundered a store and burnt it, and carried off some other property. Another company of seventy or eighty went to Millport, and on finding the place pretty <​much​> deserted, they left it as they found it. Another company of about the same size went on to Grindstone fork, and professed themselves to to be citizens of Carol [Carroll]. This they did I was told to find out who was against them, they also commit some little robberies <​thefts​>. Another company on foot went somewhere in the country and returned with a quantity of plundered property. During these two days I laid by the fire with a lame leg. I clearly saw from the remarks passing through the camp and from their doings that destruction to the Mormons was nigh at hand. I was astonished at the weakness and folly of the Mormons to think they could possibly hold out in such a course. I heard nothing from the leaders, but in the camp it was said that they meant not only to scatter the mob, but also to destroy those places that harbored them; that and Millport were of that class <​number​>; that the time had arrived for the riches of the gentiles to be consecrated to the house of Israel, but they meant to confine themselves more to the mob characters in their plunderings. They conjectured that mob after mob [p. 68] <​as they termed it​> would arise against them which they would have to subdue one after another even till they should reach where said he meant to winter. Many had the weakness to believe that God would enable them to do it. as yet As yet they had found no mob <​citizens​> collected in , save those few in . Though when we started from , it was currently reported and believed by all, that there were five hundred in Millport, and that the next day there would be eight hundred to commence operations. On Friday morning I returned to with who had come out the day before with some provisions. When <​they​> found no citizens gathered together against them they ought to have been peacable and merely stood on the defensive, but they had become to[o] desparate in feeling for that, and resolved to clear from every thing in the shape of what they called mobs, which they did effectually in the course of that and the next week. It appeared to me also that the love of pillage grew upon them very fast; for they plundered every king of property they could get hold of, and burnt many buildings <​cabbins​> in , some say eighty and some a hundred and fifty. They also went with a company to and took a piece of cannon <​ordinance​> which had been brought there by the company that came from Carol county. After this most of those who belonged to returned home. [p. 69]
Chapter 22
<​Chap 22​>
<​Destructionist and destroying Angel. Battle with . Great excitement and people in arms. and escape. and the Militia. Battle at .​>
<​X 22​> mean while was well guarded for they had heard that they were to be attacted by with a company from the Platt. But he did not attempt it. They also heard that a company was coming from Buncum, and they organized a company of ten men that were called the Destructionist, whose commander was called the Destroying Angel. Their business was to watch the movements of the citizens and if they gathered in Buncum and left the place for these destructionists were to slip in behind them and burn the place. So they were to do it, it was said, by , or any other place that should turn out men to injure them. I believe they never attempted to burn another place, though -[it was reported in that time was set for them to burn that place, and many left it for a short time, but this I think was incorrect. Shortly after the Mormon troops came from they received news that a company was gathered on and that some of them had been to some houses on Log creek in and ordered off the families with severe threats if they were not off by sunrise the next morning. They took away their arms and <​it was said​> also burnt a waggon and a house and took three men prisoners. On receiving this news, a company was fitted out to disperse them. Capt Fear not () commanded them. They went in the night to the house of Fields in , but [p. 70] not finding the company there they proceeded to another place, and had not proceeded far till they met with a sentinal who hailed them and after a word or two shot one of them down and then ran to his company. But they followed him up in a hurry, and after a fire or two charged on the company and soon dispersed them. and supposed they had killed several. They then gathered up a part of the plunder and about thirty horses and returned leaving one of their men dead on the ground, though they did not miss him till they had got home. Three or four others were badly wounded and one other died soon. One of the opposite party was killed and others wounded. This battle produced great excitement among the people and the Mormons found in a day or two that it was militia instead of mob that they had assailed. had collected a company and got permission to guard Buncum, and was there encamped for that purpose when when they fell on him. The excitement increased rapidly, and in a day or two the whole country was seemingly was in arms. At this I was greatly alarmed, for I expected the people would turn in mass against without order or regulation and massacre and destroy without mercy, and that nothing could stop them. I tried to contrive some plan to get away with my family but I could not effect it. , and some others [p. 71] made their escape in the night with their families, but were followed the next day by twenty horseman from without success. The Mormons were still collected at and at and a small company also collected at who lived in that section of the country. seeing the tumult and uproar called out the militia. The news of this pleased me, for I thought that if they turned out under authority they would of course observe good order, and it was also stated that ’s object was to investigate the affair and bring the guilty to punishment, and rescue the innocent. I was informed that the Mormons at made a covenant with the other citizens to let each other alone, and the Mormons were to remain at the . But in a short time two or three companies of Militia came upon them; from what cause I know not. A battle was the result, and some twenty or thirty Mormons were killed, but none of the Militia as I heard but some wounded. There were different reports about the number killed, but I heard one of the Militia tell that a well twenty or therity feet deep was filled up with their <​dead bodies​> to within three feet of the top. These troops I was told were from and and some from Carol [Carroll], but by what authority they fell upon these [p. 72] <​Mormons I never could learn.​>
Chapter 23
<​Chap 23​>
<​Peace sought for. Miltia encamp at . Correspondence with the officers. Breast work. s order.​>
<​On sunday​> the fourth of November we heard that Generals and with an army were encamped on . On sunday evening Smith came to me to have me accompany the next day to meet their army with a white flag in order to open correspondence an if possible and agree upon some terms of peace. We went in company <​with​> and about one hundred and Sixty horseman. When we got near we learned that the army had moved on to Log creek and were making their way to . We thought proper to return and it was with difficulty that we got back, for the militia had come between us and town. When we arrived we saw a line of battle drawn up between before us and town the town by the militia, and the Mormons also arrayed to meet them; but the militia for some cause withdrew to their camp on Goose creek. about dark took a white flag and went into their camp. He saw and othrs. with his troops from had joined the army, and they were about thirteen hundred strong. When returned he said that had appointed the next morning at eight Oclock to meet a committe of Mormons and [p. 73] make proposals of peace. He promised that no harm should befal us that night. He stated that their object was to bring the guilty to punishment, but the innocent should have an opportunity to escape befor they would attact the place. That night the Mormons built a sort of breastwork of rails, house logs boards &c on that side of town next the army, but it was about a good a defence as a common fence would be. Much has been said abroad about the Mormons building forts, entrenchments &c. but this breast work spoken of above is all that they ever had. In the night both armies were alarmed more or less, each being afraid of an attact from the othr. Next morning at the time appointed , and went with the white flag and met Generals and some other officers who informed us that they were waiting for whom they expected soon with the s order; that they were not prepared to make proposals of peace untill it arrived, for they knew not what it would require of them or us.
They agreed to let us know as soon as they received it. At the same time informed us that had the chief command. Smith appeared much alarmed and told me to beg like a dog for peace, and afterwards said he had rather [p. 74] go to states prision for twenty years or had rather die himself than have the people exterminated. About three Oclock in the evening we received word that the ’s order had arrived, so we we went again to meet them and see what it was. , , , and went and read the order to us. Smith had previously requested that after receiving the order, or finding out what the required, we should see him before we agreed to any proposals. We did so, and although the Mormons have accused us of giving up their leaders by intrigue we yet smith himself was the first man that agreed to the proposals. The following is a true copy of the s order.
“Head quaters of the Militia City of Jefferson Oct 27. 1838. Sir since the orders of the morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your Division I have received by of and W C Williams Esqr. one of my aids information of the most appalling nature, which entirely changes the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defianc[e] of the laws and of having made war upon the people of this . Your orders are therefore to hasten your operations and endeavor to reach in with all possible speed [p. 75]
The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the if necessary for the public peace. If you can increase your forces you are authorized to do so to any extent you may consider necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj Genl. Willock of Marion county to raise five hundred men and to march them to the Northern boundary part of and there unite with of , who has been ordered with five hundred men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the North. They have been directed to communicate with you by express. You can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead therefore of proceeding as at first directed to reinstate the citizens of in their homes you proceed immediately to and there operate against the Mormons. of has been ordered to have four hundred men of his Brigade in readiness to Join you at . The whole force will be placed under your command. Genl Fayette Howard county” (signed)
com in chief”
<​X​> This order order greatly agitated my mind. I expected we should be exterminated without fail. There lay three thousand [p. 76]
Chapter 24
<​Chap 24​>
<​Reflections. Terms of peace. Surrender of Smith and others. Arms surrendered. Place guarded. Prisoners and arms taken to .​>
<​This order greatly agitated my mind. I expected we should be exterminated without fail. There lay three thousand​> men highly excited and full of revenge veangance and in as mutch as the officers could do to do to keep them off from us any how, and they now had authority from the to exterminate with orders to cut of[f] our retreat, and the word Mormons I thought included innocent as well as guilty. so of cours there was no escape for any. Theese were my first reflections on hearing the order. But soon said that they would be more mild than the order required; that if we would give up the heads of the church to be punished; surrendr our arms; give up all our property, (those who had taken up arms,) to pay the debts of the whole church and the damages done in and elsewhere, and then all except leave the state forthwith except those retained to be punished, they would spare our lives and protect us out of the . The sun was then about two hours high and he gave us till sunset to make up our minds and deliver the prisoners. A man gentleman of note told me that if these men was suffered to escape, Or if they could not be found nothing could save the place from destruction and the people from extermination. We knew that had no authority and his requirements were illegal for he was out of the bounds of his Division and the s order was to and not to him: but there was no other way for the Mormons but to submit. We immediately went into town and collected Joseph Smith Junr , , [p. 77] , together and told them the what the ’s order and required. Smith said if it was the ’s order they would submit and the Lord would take care of them. So we hurried with them as fast as possible to the place appointed. We met with his army but a short distance from town, he had made every arrangement to surround and destroy the Far place. But the prisoners delivered themselves up and with the army and prisoners returned to their camp. These prisoners were to be retained as hostages till morning and then if they did not agree to the proposal they were to be set at liberty again, I suppose they agreed to the proposals, for they were not set at liberty. Next morning marched his army near to town and Marched out the Mormons who gave up their arms about six hundred guns beside sword and pistols, and surrendered themselves as prisoners. I would here remark that a few days previous to this, news had frequently come to that they were soon to be attacted and destroyed so the of the county court had ordered with the militia to guard the against invasions. they They turned out and organized under this order and in this situation surrendered to . was sent to A guard was place[d] around to keep all things secure, and with an army was sent to [p. 78]
Chapter 25
<​Chap 25​>
<​Arrival of . Number of his troops. Prisoners selected. Marched to . Investigation. Prisioners retained. Charges against them. Conduct of the soldiers. Prisoner killed. Property taken by Citizens. Appropriation. Petition of Mormons​>
On Sunday Saturday evening or Sunday morning arrived with fourteen hundred mounted men and said there were six thousand more within a days march, but they were turned back. Previous to the arrival of the Mormons were gathered together and about five hundred made to sign a deed of trust in which five commissioners were appointed to whom they deeded all their property in trust for the use of all the creditors of the church and also to pay all the damages done by the Danites, and, <​the​> overplus, <​if any​> was to be returned refunded. <​ratified what had done and​> kept the town well guarded and permitted none to go out except now and then one to see the their families and then return again. However in a day or two he gathered up all the Mormons prisoners and selected forty or fifty, such as he thought from the best information he could get ought to be punished, and put them in a store and had them guarded over night. He then withdrew the guard from town and let the remainder go free, but the next day marched with the [p. [79]] prisoners <​to ​> where had been previously ordered to return the prisoners and arms he had taken to . In they guarded the prisioners seven of whom (the leaders) they put in irons and held a court of enquiry before over them after which they retained thirty six for trial and let the rest between twenty and thirty go free. Those retained for trial were charged with various crimes, murder Treason, Murder, Arson Burglary, Robbery and Larceny. <​before leaving ​> sent to with a sufficient <​force​> and he so regulated matters there as to have all the Mormons leave except a very few who was to see to the property &c. The Mormons from mostly went to . The prisioners charged with with Treason and murder were confined in jail <​in and ​> and the rest let to bail. During this campaign many reports were circulated concerning the misconduct of the soldiers but how far they were true I am not able to say, but I thought at the time that the officers tried to keep good order among the troops and that whatever troops abuse was practiced on the Mormons ought to have been charged on the individuals that did it and not upon the officers or community at large. It was said that women were insulted and even ravished, but the I doubt the truth of the latter. Some were insutld [insulted] yet as as soon as the officers were informed they set guards to prevent further insult. Two men that were taken prisoners were struct on the head, one was badly hurt and the other [p. 80] killed, the man who killed him accused him of having abused his family and burned his house, but on returning home he found his house had not been burned not at all. Why he was not committed for triol I never knew. Many othrs were taken prisioners but generally were well treated and set free without injury. There was much corn, cattle, fodder &c used for the army, but the officers <​said​> the would pay for it. There were some instances of soldiers shooting cattle hogs and sheep merely for sport when they did not want them for food, but this I understood was contrary to the officers orders. There also were also several cases in which persons were plundered of horses and other proprety even clothing out of and furniture out of houses by the soldiers, but they alleged that they were looking after and getting their property back which had been taken from them. I have been told that the same has been practiced more or Less by companies passing through the since the troops have been withdrawn. Others to whom they were indebted have taken their property for debts untill they are litterally strip[p]ed and are at this time in a miserable destitute situation. The Legislature on hearing of their situations appropriated two thousand dollars for their relief as well <​as​> the for the relief of the destitute in . A number of the Mormons met and appointed a committe[e] who drew up a petition [p. 81] in their behalf to the Legislature setting forth a short history of their difficulties from their first settlement in to the present time and praying the Legislature to recind the s recind the exterminating order under which they were compeled to leave the , and also release them from the deed of trust made in duress, pay them for their arms or return them, and pay them for their arms taken from them as well as othr damages sustained by them in and let them have the privilege of living in the . (When took their arms in he agreed to return them as soon as they left the , but this he refused to do even on the s order for them.) Some two hundred families have left and others are preparing to go, But those some are desirous to stay in the , and their object in getting up the petition was to be relieved from their expelling contract so that men should not have the privilege of abusing them under a legal pretence, thinking it was right because they agreed to leave the thought that contract was strictly in illegal. This petition I presented to the Legislature on the 19 Dec. It produced some excitement, and in the house and was laid on the table for the present. I will now state
Chapter 26
Chap 26
Bible translated. Egyptian mummies. Increase and numbers of the church. Opposition. law Laws of consecration. Terms established. Their effect. [p. 82]
I will now state some things which have taken place in the church but not mentioned before. Shortly after the church was first established Smith translated the Bible the Old and New testaments which differs a lit[t]le in some places from the old translation. This has not been published though they contemplated doing it. In the summer of 1835 they purchased three or four Egyptian Mummies with an antent [ancient] egyptian record written on Papirus, a part of which Smith professed to translate making it out to be the writing of Abraham.
The High Priests Elders and priests have from the commencement of the church labored indefatigueably to proclaim the gospel and gain disciples, and they have generally been successful though strongly opposed. On the sixth day of April 1830 there were but six members in the church, but now their members are differently estimated from ten to forty thousand, though in my opinion there are from twelve to twenty thousand. Much exertion has been used to confute and put down their doctrine and belief, but as foolish as it is they their elders have generally been able to compete with and baffle their opponents. Several publications have appeared against thiers as well as News paper prints, but the misfortune generally has been that they contained so much misrepresentation that it has destroyed the confidence of the public in the truth they did contain. Men of influence had in the church have at different times turned against it [p. 83] become its violent enemies and tried to destroy it but generally without success. If Smith and others of the leaders had managed wisely and prudently in all things, and manifested truly a Christian spirit, it would have been very difficult to put them down. But their imprudence and miscalculation and manifest desire for power and proprty have opened the eyes of many, and did more to destroy <​them​> than could possibly have been done otherwise. My opinion is that if they <​church​> had been let alone by the citizens they would have divided and subdivided so as to have completely destroyed themselves and their power as a people in a short time. I will now proceed to mention some points of doctrine and faith peculiar to the church which I have not before mentioned.
It is beleived <​by them​> that the church ought to act in concert and feel one general interest in building up the “great cause” and that every man ought to consider his property as consecrated to the Lord for that purpose, yet their law gives every man the privilege of managing his own concerns and provides against taking each others property without paying for it, and if a man gives for the benefit of the church it is considered a voluntary offering. Yet the law requir[e]s or enjoins a consecration of the overplus after reserving for himself and family and to carry on his business. then the overflow the law Much has been said and great [p. 84] exertions used at times to inspire the members of the church with a spirit of consecration and voluntary offering. Some have thus been led to give up all, while others have been very backward which has caused the leaders at times to resort to other meanes of obtaining money to carry on their operations. From some they would borrow promising to pay again, others they would stimulate to liberality by promising them blessings <​and prosperity​> in the name of the Lord, in their business and futuere prospects: thus many from time to time have lost their property and become dissatisfied untill a great many have lost confidence in their leaders. Shortly after the Danites became organized they set out to enforce the law of consecration; but this did not amount to much. Then they undertook another plan in which <​was​> very officious and forward: viz, to constitute large Firms so that every <​male​> member of the church could become a member of the Firm. Every man was to put in all his property by leasing it the to the firm for a term of years, overseers or managers were to be chosen from time to time by the members of the firm to manage the concerns of the same, and the rest were to labor under their direction. In the division of the profits more regard was to be paid towards the needs and wants of the members than to the amount of stock put in. Many joined these firms, while many others were much dissatisfied with them, which caused considerable feeling and excitement in the church.
Smith said <​every man​> must act his own feelings whether to join or not, yet great exertions [p. 85] <​were used and especially by to persuade all to join.​>
Chapter 27
<​Chap 27​>
<​Healing the sick. Blessing children. Age of accountability. Patriarchs. Words of wisdom. Sacrament. Resurrection and future state. Matter eternal. War law. Cause of difficulty. Remarks to the church.​>
<​X 27​> The Mormons believe in and constantly practice the laying on of hands <​and praying​> for the healing of the sick; sometimes they are <​have been​> healed, sometimes partly healed and sometimes not benefited at all: if they are healed they say it was because of their faith as the Saveour promised, “according to thy faith be it unto thee; thy faith hath made the whole” &c Math. 8.13 and 9.22. If partly healed it is still according to their faith as it was said of some in old times “and he began to mend from that very hour;” but if they are not healed or benefitted at all then it is for the want of faith as when the Lunatic was brought to the disciples and they could not heal him because of their unbelief Math 17.20 & 13.58. But they think in this as in many other cases, practice makes perfect, and <​it​> is necessary to an increase in Faith confidence and the powr of God.
They <​members of the church​> are also required
The members of the church are required to bring their children under eight years old into meeting and have the elders lay hands -[on and bless them <​47— sig 7.​> in the name of the Lord. This they say was according to the custom of the ancients, also of the Saviour who commanded little children to be brought to him for that purpose. They also believe that a child begins to be accountable at eight years old and not sooner, and it is the duty of the [p. 86] parents to teach & instruct them up to that age and then have them baptised into the church. and then
It also was a rule in the church to have one in each stake (most generally the oldest if suitable) appointed and ordained and a Patriarch whose duty it was to be a sort of father to the church and bless such children as had no natural father to bless them.
For a general rule they excluded the use of Ardent spirits, Tobacco, Tea and Coffe[e] in accordance with a revelation called the words of wisdom in which the abstinence from these things were reccommended but not commanded. <​Also wasting of flesh or taking of life of animals unnecessarily, or for sport, was forbidden​>
The Sacrament was administered on every first day (sabbath) by a High prieest or an elder, bread and wine are used as emblems but for wine they prefer the pure juice of the grape when they can get it, and they administer in the name of remembrance of the body and blood of the Saviour as the scripture commands
They believe that in the Resurrection there are different glories to which persons will be raised and enjoy. The first is compared to the sun, and is called the Celestial; the second is compared to the Moon and is called the Terrestrial; the third is compared to the stars and called the Telestial. The last has in itself many different glories and differing from each other as do the stars 1 Cor. 15. 40–42. They also believe that every man will be raised in his own order and will enjoy that glory for which he has been prepared according to his works [p. 87]
The Celestial Kingdom they think is a kingdom of perfect order and he that will not submit to the laws and ordinances and established order of God in the church can never enter the Celestial Glory. And they believe that the spirits of the just enter Paradise, after death, and remain there untill the resurrection when they are reunited with the body and entr into a perfect state of Glory. They also believe that the wicked will be raised according to the scriptures
They believe that matter is eternal, and that nothing of all God’s works will ever be destroyed or wasted <​lost​> but in the end all things will be restored to its <​their​> proper place.
And the sons of perdition alone will endure the lowest hell or lake of fire and brimstone.
In matters of war they hold it <​a​> duty to strive for peace and not resent an injury but bear patiently the first second and third time, but they are not bound to receive <​or bear​> the fourth, but may resist to the uttermost in their own defence and in putting down their enemies
They esteem the law of God as given through their prophet to be vastly superior to any other law and if they could have the privilege <​they​> would p[r]efer to be governed by that alone, and this I believe is the grand cause of difficulty jealousy and difficulty between them and their neighbors, who prefer to be governed by other laws
<​The abolition question is discarded by them as being inconsistent with the decrees of Heaven and detrimental to the peace and welfare of community.​>
<​Thus I have g In a council some three of four years ago it was agreed the that the church should bear the name of “the church of Christ of Latter day Saints”​>
<​Thus I have given a brief sketch of the church and now with a few​> [p. 88] remarks to the church I will close
I have left the church <​you​> not because I disbelieve the Bible, for I believe in God, and relig the Saviour and religion the same as ever, but when I retrace our track and viewing the doings of the church for six years past I can see nothing that convinces me that God had has been our leader; calculation after calculation has failed, and plan after plan has been overthrown, and our prophet seemed not to know the event till too late. If he said go up and prosper, still we did not propser, but have labored and toiled and waded through trials, difficulties and temptations of various kinds in hopes of deliverance. untill we are finally broken down and measurably destroyed, and that too through the foolishness and miscalculations of the church and leaders But no deliverance came. The promises failed, and time after time we have been disappointed; and still were commanded in the most rigid manner to follow him, which the church did untill many were led into the commission of crime, have been apprehended and broken down by their opponents and many have been obliged to abandon their country, their families and all they possessed, and great afflictions be has been brought upon the whole church. What shall we say to these things? Did not Your prophet proclaim in your ears that the day was your own and you should overcome, when in less that a week you were all made prisoners of war, and [p. 89] would have been exterminated, had it not been for the exertions and influence of a few dissenters, and the humane and manly spirit of a few <​certain​> Officers.
But where now <​may​> I you look for deliverance? You may say in God, but I say in the exercise of common sense and that sound reason with which God has endowed you, and my advise is to follow that in preference to those <​pretended​> visions and revelations which <​have​> served no better purpose than to increase your trouble and keep you constantly in hot water; and serveres to bind you down your soul and body under that bondage which is more to be dreaded than the Roman yoke or Spanish Inquisition. For my own part, I had rather enjoy liberty in Hell, than endure <​suffer​> bondage endure bondage in Heaven. [p. 90]