Discourse, 6 April 1843–A, as Reported by Times and Seasons

  • Source Note

Document Transcript

President Joseph returned his thanks to the assembly for the manifestation of their confidence, and said he would serve them according to the best ability God should give him.
The first presidency being disposed of, President Joseph said he did not know any thing against the Twelve if he did he would present them for trial. It is not right that all the burden of the , should rest on a few individuals; and we will now consider the propriety of sending the Twelve to collect means for the . There has been too great a solicitude, in individuals, for the building of the , to the exclusion of the . The agents have had too great latitude to practice fraud, by receiving donations and never making report. The church has suffered loss, and I am opposed to that system of collecting funds when any elder may receive moneys.
I am opposed to any man’s handling the public funds of the church who is not duly authorzed.
I advise that some means be devised for transacting business on a sure foundation. The Twelve are the most suitable persons to perform this business; and I want the conference to devise some means to bind them as firm as the pillars of heaven, if possible. The Twelve were always honest, and it will do them no hurt to bind them.
It has been reported that they receive wages at two dollars per day for their services. I have never heard this till recently, and I do not believe it. I know the Twelve have never had any wages at all. They have fulfilled their duty— they have always gone where they were sent, and have labored with their hands for their support, when at home. If we send them into the world to collect funds, we want them to return those funds to this place, that they may be appropriated to the very purpose for which they were designed. I go in for binding up the Twelve, solid, putting them under bonds; and let this conference institute an order to this end, and that the travelling expenses of the agents shall not be borne out of the funds collected for building these houses, and let no man pay money or stock into the hands of the Twelve, except he transmit [p. 181] an account of the same immediately to the Trustee in Trust; and let no man but the Twelve have authority to act as agent for the and .
I would suggest the propriety of your saying that no money should ever be sent by any man except it be some one whom you have appointed as agent, and stop every other man from receiving moneys. It has been customary for any elder to receive moneys for the when he is travelling, but this system of things opens a wide field for every kind of imposition, as any man can assume the name of a Mormon elder, and gather his pockets full of money and go to . Many complaints have come to me of money being sent that I have never received. I will mention one case. He is a good man; his name is Russell, from Akron, New York. His brother had been east on business for him, and there received twenty or twenty-five dollars, as a donation to the , which he put in Russel’s bag, with his money, and forgot to take it out before he returned the bag. Two or three days after his return, he called on his brother for the money belonging to the church; but Russell thought his brother had paid out too much of his money, and he would keep the church’s money to make good his own. I called to see Russell about the money, and he treated me very politely, but did not give me to understand he ever meant to pay it. He said he did not know at the time, that there was any church money in the bag; that he had paid it out, and he had none now.
-[The brother who brought the money from the east, stated to the conference, that he did not think it was because his brother was short of funds, that he kept it, for he had money enough. He had told him that he should not be out of funds again; that his brother had twenty dollars of the church funds, and some dried fruit for the president.]-
President Joseph resumed. I give this as a sample of a thousand instances. We cannot give an account to satisfy the people, on the church books, unless something is done. I propose that you send your moneys for the by the Twelve, some one or all; or some agent of your own choosing, and if you send by others, and the money is lost, ’tis lost to yourselves; I cannot be responsible for it.— Every thing that falls into my hands shall be appropriated to the very thing it was designed for.
Next, it is wrong for the church to make a bridge of my nose, in appropriating church funds. The incorporation required of me securities, which were lodged in the proper hands as the law directs; and I am responsible for all that comes into my hands.
Next, the Temple Committee are bound to me in the sum of $2000, with good securities. If they appropriate any property where they ought not, they are liable to me for it; and the church are running to them, with funds every day, and thus make a bridge over my nose. I am not responsible for it. If you put it into the hands of the Temple Committee, I, nor my clerk, know nothing of it.
So long as you consider me worthy to hold this office, it is your duty to attend to the legal forms belonging to the business; and if not, put some other one in my place. My desire is that the conference minutes may go forth in such form, as those abroad may learn the order of doing business; and that the Twelve be appointed to this special mission, of collecting funds for the ; so that all may know how to send their funds safe, or bring them themselves, and deliver them to the Trustee in Trust, or my clerk, who can always be be found in my . Who are the Temple Committee that they should receive the funds? They are nobody.
When I went to the White House, at , and presented letters of introduction, from , Governor of , to , he looked at it very insignificantly and said, ‘! !! who’s ? ’s nobody.” I erred in spirit. I confess my mistake; and I here make my apology to all the world, and let it be recorded on earth and in heaven, that I am clear of the sin of being angry with for saying that ’s nobody.” I have been sorry for it ever since. All property ought to go through the hands of the Trustee in Trust.
There have been complaints against the Temple Committee for appropriating church funds more freely for the benefit of their own children, than to others, who need assistance more than they do; and the parties may have till Saturday to prepare for trial. [p. 182]