Discourse, 9 May 1841, as Reported by Julius Alexander Reed
JS, Discourse, , Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 9 May 1841. Featured version reported by Julius Alexander Reed; handwriting of Julius Alexander Reed; two pages, Julius Alexander Reed, Papers, Special Collections, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines. Includes docket.
On 9 May 1841, JS delivered a discourse at , Iowa Territory, addressing the Latter-day Saints’ efforts to build a city in and complaints made by British members of the . Two years earlier, in mid-1839, church and had purchased from nearly 18,000 acres in what was known as the “” in , Iowa Territory. In early March 1841, JS dictated a revelation directing the Saints in Iowa Territory to in in Lee County or in other appointed gathering sites. Two months later, in his 9 May discourse, JS discussed some of the circumstances in Lee County as well as some of the challenges the Saints faced there.
JS also responded to complaints from certain British converts who had immigrated to the area. In July 1838 the had been directed to “go over the great waters” and proselytize in the British Isles. Those apostles who went arrived in early 1840 and continued their work into April 1841. Through their efforts, thousands in converted to the Latter-day Saint faith, and by 1841 those converts were steadily streaming into . In May 1841, the Warsaw Signal reported that “great dissatisfaction exists at Nauvoo, amongst those who have lately arrived from England,” and that “some have left both the City and the Church— not believing, on the one hand, in the mission of the Prophet, and on the other, dissatisfied with the temporal government which is exercised over them.” In June 1841, the Times and Seasons responded to this report stating that “there may be individuals who feel dissatisfied, but it is far from being general.” The newspaper further cautioned that “those who have come expecting to find gold in our streets, and all the luxuries of an old country, will find themselves disappointed, but those who have maturely considered the advantages and disadvantages, are perfectly satisfied and contented.” In his discourse, JS reportedly encouraged dissatisfied immigrants to leave, saying that he no longer wanted to hear their complaints.
Julius Alexander Reed, a Congregationalist minister living in , apparently heard JS speak on 9 May and made notes on what he said. Reed seems to have interspersed some related personal notes among his notes of JS’s discourse, and his account of the sermon seems to move between the first and third person in reference to JS.
Carriageupset Ap[ril] 6. Mrs S. [Emma Smith] thrown out
That man that s[ai]d that he wishd my had been killd when the Carriage upset— that man I will hunt for his blood to the grave— I will be revenged— My appetite shall be satisfied with his blood— I will hunt for him as the greyhound hunts for the heart of the hare— If he ever darkens my doors I will send him to hell— So help me God— I am no prophet I am no christian if I dont do it—
On Ap. 6 <7>. or 8th Revelation that a city sh[oul]d be laid off on west side of — (at ) & built up— 4 miles square—
May 9. in above sermon. Kilbourn told me he w[oul]d like me to join him & build up a city— And he thought having permission from so good a man all wd have confiden[c]e in him it— & he wasagent for & had laid out & was selling lots— Kilbourn says Smith stressed to him he c[oul]d do a good deal towards building up a city on this side— Kilbourn replied the titlle was in dispute that when the title was perfected perhaps they something cd be done—
(Jos. Smith has laid of[f] Town 4 miles square— & is no has been giving warrantee deeds <J. Smith sd> People in had acted so much like devils <& fools> the emigration had turned to another quarter— He that is a fool let him be a fool & Im the boy to tell him of it that is the idea. <also sd all who oppose him in this didnt know beans when the bag was open— The Lord God Almighty will build a city there & they may help themselves—> shd go to hell & it shd not be in his power to escape— he had not so much religion as his dog— & God had not so much regard for him as for his dog— for I love my dog & God loves me—
Ap. 7 or 8. Revealed to Jos. Smith that it advisable all the Mormons shd give Jos S[mith] a deed of trust to all their property— it wd <be> safe in his hands— sd in that case it cd not be attacked—
Smith (referring to trouble with Mr. B.) They acted more like devils than any thing else If they wanted to fight he was ready for them he wd rather fight than eat—
The English. He had borne trouble & persecution, trials he had pas[s]ed thro[ugh] <were> enough to wear out any man— His greatest troubles were in the — always fawning sycophants there. Some make great complaint because dont find things just as they want them— Expect too much from the ch[urch] <are> No soldiers— If they had waded with me this way in they wd clear their complaints here— I guess they dont know much about hardships & trials— [p. ]
On 6 April 1841, the church had celebrated its eleventh anniversary by laying the cornerstones of the Nauvootemple. (Benediction, 6 Apr. 1841; “Celebration of the Aniversary of the Church,” Times and Seasons, 15 Apr. 1841, 2:376.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
The land titles in the Half-Breed Tract were in dispute. The History of Lee County, Iowa reported that “there was a deal of sharp practice” taking place, with individuals “selling land to which they had no rightful title” and claiming “land in which they had no ownership.” Also, “there were no authorized surveys, and no boundary lines to claims, and, as a natural result, numerous conflicts and quarrels ensued.” (History of Lee County, Iowa, 164–166; Cook, “Isaac Galland”, 264–265.)
The History of Lee County, Iowa, Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, &c., a Biographical Directory of Citizens. . . . Chicago: Western Historical Co., 1879.
A warranty deed is used to convey or sell the title of land from one party to another when there is no lien or prior claim to the land. (“Warranty,” in Bouvier, Law Dictionary, 2:486–487.)
Bouvier, John. A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America, and of the Several States of the American Union; With References to the Civil and Other Systems of Foreign Law. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Deacon and Peterson, 1854.
Alexander Campbell left his association with Regular Baptists to promote, with several other Christian reformers, the restoration of primitive Christianity through an appeal to New Testament teachings and practices. Campbell’s followers and supporters came to be known as Disciples of Christ or, less formally, as Campbellites. In January 1832, Campbell’s movement merged with a similar movement led by Barton Stone, whose followers—many of whom were former Presbyterians—referred to themselves simply as Christians. (See Hayden, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, chap. 1; McAllister and Tucker, Journey in Faith, 26–28; and Foster et al., Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, 713–716.)
Hayden, Amos Sutton. Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio; with Biographical Sketches of the Principal Agents in Their Religious Movement. Cincinnati: Chase and Hall, 1875.
McAllister, Lester G., and William E. Tucker. Journey in Faith: A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1975.
Foster, Douglas A., Anthony L. Dunnavant, Paul M. Blowers, and D. Newell Williams, eds. The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2004.