History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

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Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil disposed and designing persons in relation to the rise and progress of the , all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a church, and its progress in the world; I have been induced to write this history so as to disabuse the publick mind, and put all enquirers after truth into possession of the facts as they have transpired in relation both to myself and the Church as far as I have such facts in possession.
In this history I will present the various events in relation to this Church in truth and righteousness as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, [HC 1:1] being now the eighth year since the organization of said Church. I was born in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and five, on the twenty third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, State of Vermont. <​Note A see page 131​> My father <​see Note E [C] page 2, adenda. My Father​> left the State of and moved to , Ontario, (now Wayne) County, in the State of New York when I was in my tenth year. <​or thereabouts.​>
In about four years after ’s arrival at , he moved with his family into in the same County of . His family consisting of eleven souls, namely, My Father , My Mother whose name previous to her marriage was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack [Sr.], my brothers (who is now dead <​died Nov. 19th: 1823 in the 25 year of his age​>) , Myself, , , , and my Sisters , and . Sometime in the second year after our removal to , there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodist<​s​>, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country, indeed the whole district of [HC 1:2] Country seemed affected by it and great [p. 1] multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division among the people, Some Crying, “Lo here” and some Lo there. Some were contending for the Methodist faith, Some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist; for notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great Zeal manifested by the respective Clergy who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling in order to have every body converted as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased[.] Yet when the Converts began to file off some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the Priests and the Converts were mere pretence more pretended than real, for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued; Priest contending against priest, and convert against convert so that all their good feelings one for another (if they ever had any) were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
I was at this time in my fifteenth year. s family was <​were​> proselyted to the Presbyterian faith and four of them joined that Church, Namely, My Mother , My Brothers , , and my Sister .
During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness, but though my feelings were deep and often pungent, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties though I attended their several meetings <​as often​> as occasion would permit. But in process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them, but so great was the confusion and strife amongst the different denominations that it was impossible for a person young as I was and so unacquainted with men and things to come to any certain conclusion who was [HC 1:3] right and who was wrong. My mind at different times was greatly excited for the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all their powers of either reason or sophistry to prove their errors, or at least to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally Zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
In the midst of this war of words, and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself, what is to be done? Who of all these parties are right? Or are they all wrong together? and if any one of them be right which is it? And how shall I know it?
While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, First Chapter and fifth verse which reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.[”] Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man that this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did, for how to act I did not know and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had would never know, for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same [p. 2] passage of Scripture so differently as <​to​> destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible. At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion or else I must do as James directs, that is, Ask of God. I at last came to the determination to ask of God, concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally and not upbraid, I might venture. So in accordance with this my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make [HC 1:4] the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful clear day early in the spring of Eightteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had <​made​> such an attempt, for amidst all <​my​> anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
After I had retired into the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God, I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was <​siezed​> upon by some power which entirely overcame me and <​had​> such astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had siezed upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction, not to an imaginary ruin but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world who had such a marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being. Just at this moment of great alarm I saw a pillar <​of​> light exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gracefully gradually untill it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages (whose brightness and glory defy all description) standing above me in the air. One of <​them​> spake unto me calling me by name and said (pointing to the other) “This is my beloved Son, Hear him.” My object in going to enquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner therefore did I get [HC 1:5] possession of myself so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right, (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the Personage who addressed me said that all their Creeds were an abomination in his sight, that those professors were all corrupt, that “they draw near to me to with their lips but their hearts are far from me, They teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of Godliness but they deny the power thereof.” He again forbade me to join with any of them and many other thing[s] did he say unto me which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again I found myself lying on <​my​> back looking up into Heaven. <​B see Note P 132​> Some few days after I had this vision I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist Preachers who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement and conversing with him on the subject of religion I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had.
I was greatly surprised at his behaviour, he treated my communication not only lightly but with great contempt, saying it was all of the Devil, that there was no such thing as visions or revelations in these days, that all such things had ceased with the [p. 3] apostles and that [HC 1:6] there never would be any more of them. I soon found however that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion and was the cause of great persecution which continued to increase and though I was an obscure boy only between fourteen and fifteen years of age <​or thereabouts,​> and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, Yet men of high standing would take notice sufficiently to excite the public mind against me and create a hot persecution, and this was common <​among​> all the sects: all united to persecute me. It has often caused me serious reflection both then and since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy of a little over fourteen years of age and one too who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintainance by his daily labor should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day so as to create in them a spirit of the bitterest persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and was often cause of great sorrow to myself. However it was nevertheless a fact, that I had had a Vision. I have thought since that I felt much like as Paul did when he made his defence before King Aggrippa and related the account of the Vision he had when the saw a light and heard a voice, but still there were but few who beleived him, some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad, and he was ridiculed and reviled, But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision he knew he had, and <​all​> the persecution under Heaven could not make it otherwise, and though they should persecute him unto death Yet he knew and would know to his latest breath that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise. So it was with me, I had actualy seen a light and in the midst [HC 1:7] of that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak <​un​>to me, or one of them did, And though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, Yet it was true and while they were persecuting me reviling me and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart, why persecute <​me​> for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision, “and who am I that I can withstand God” Or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen, for I had seen a vision, I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dare I do it, at least I knew that by so doing <​I​> would offend God and come under condemnation. I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned, that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but continue as I was untill further directed, for I had found the testimony of James to be true, that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain and not be upbraided. [HC 1:8] I continued to pursue my common avocations in life untill the twenty first of September, One thousand Eight hundred and twenty three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hand of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious because I continued to affirm that I <​had​> seen a Vision. During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year Eighteen hundred and twenty three, (having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends, and to have treated me kindly [p. 4] and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavoured in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me) I was left to all kinds of temptations, and mingling <​with​> all kinds of society I frequently <​fell​> into many foolish errors and displayed the weakness of youth and the corruption <​foibles​> of human nature which I am sorry to say led me into divers temptations to the gratification of many appetites offensive in the sight of God. <​See Note C. P. 133​> [HC 1:9] In consequence of these things I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when on [HC 1:10] the evening of the above mentioned twenty first of september, after I had retired to my bed for the night I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me that I might know of my state and standing before him. For I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation as I had previously had one. While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in the room which continued to increase untill the room was lighter than at noonday and <​when​> immediately a personage <​appeared​> at my bedside standing in the air for his feet did not touch the floor. He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond any<​thing​> earthly I had ever seen, nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedinly white and brilliant, His hands were naked and his arms also a little above the wrist<​s​>. So also were his feet naked as were his legs a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe as it was open so that I could see into his bosom. Not only was his robe exceedingly white but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me. He called me by name and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me and that his name was Nephi <​*Moroni​>. <​*Evidently a clerical error; see Book Doc &amp; Cov., Sec 50, par 2; Sec 106, par 20; also Elder’s Journal Vol. 1, page 43. Should read Moroni.​> That God had a work for me to do, and that my <​name​> should be had for good and evil among all nations kindreds and tongues. or that it should [HC 1:11] be both good and evil spoken of among all people. He said there was a book deposited written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fullness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it as delivered by the Saviour to the ancient inhabitants. Also that there were two stones in silver bows and these (put in <​stones fastened​> to a breast plate) which constituted what is called the deposited with the plates, and <​the possession and use of these stones​> that was what constituted in ancient or former times and that God <​had​> prepared them for the purpose of the book. After telling me these things he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old testament, he first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as reads in our books he quoted it thus, “For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud <​yea​> and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble, for <​they day​> that cometh shall burn them saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” And again he quoted the fifth verse thus, “Behold I will reveal unto you the by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” He also quoted the next verse differently, [p. 5] “And he shall plant in the hearts of the Children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers, if it were not so the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” In addition to these quotations he quoted the Eleventh Chapter of Isaiah saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He [HC 1:12] quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty second and twenty third verses precisely as they stand in our new testament, He said that that prophet was Christ, but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.
He also quoted the second chapter of Joel from the twenty eighth to the last verse. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled but was soon to be. And he further stated the fullness of the was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here. Again he told me that when I got those plates of which he had spoken (for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled) I should not show <​them​> to any person, neither the breastplate with the only to those to whom I should be to show them, If I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.
After this conversation communication I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so untill the room was again left dark except just round him, when instantly I saw as it were a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended up till he entirely disappeared and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.
I lay musing on the singularity of the scene and marvelling greatly at what had been told me by this extraordinary messenger, when in the midst of my meditation I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside. He [HC 1:13] commenced and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit without the least variation which having done, he informed me of great judgements which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence, and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation: Having related these things he again ascended as he had done before.
By this time so deep were the impressions made on my mind that sleep had fled from my eyes and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard:
But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father’s family) to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich, This he forbid me, saying that I must have no no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive but that of building his kingdom, otherwise I could not get them. After this third visit he again ascended up into heaven as before and I was again left to ponder on the [p. 6] strangeness of what I had just experienced, when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me the third time, the cock crew, and I found that day was approaching so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night. I shortly after arose from my bed, and as usual went to the necessary labors of the day, but in attempting to labor as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as rendered me entirely unable. who was laboring along <​with​> me discovered something to be wrong with me and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house, but in attempting to cross [HC 1:14] the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me and I fell helpless on the ground and for a time was quite unconscious of any thing. The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me calling me by name. I looked up and beheld the same messenger— standing over my head surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.
I obeyed. I returned back to in the field and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replyed to me, that it was of God, and to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited, and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.<​*​> Under a stound stone of considerable size, lay the plates deposited in a stone box, This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part [HC 1:15] of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all round was covered with earth. Having removed the earth off the edge of the stone, and obtained a lever which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up, I looked in and there indeed did I behold the plates, the and the Breastplate as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement, in the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them. I made an attempt to take them out but was forbidden by the messenger and was again informed that the time <​for​> bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would untill four years from that time, but he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so untill the time should come for obtaining the plates. Accordingly as I had been commanded I went at the end of each year, and at each time I found the same messenger there and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days. As ’s worldly circumstances were very, <​limited​> we were under the necessity of laboring with our hands, hiring by days works and otherwise as we could get opportunity sometimes we were at home and some times abroad and by continued labor were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance.
In the year Eighteen hundred and twenty four s family met with a great affliction by the death [HC 1:16] of my eldest brother . In the month of October Eighteen hundred and twenty five I hired with an old Gentleman, by name of [p. 7]
<​*I mentioned to President Smith that I considered it necessary that an explanation of <​the location of​> the place where the box was deposited would be required in order that the history be satisfactory. ​>
<​<​*​>Convenient to the little village of , Ontario County, New York, Stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood, On the west side of this hill not far from the top​>
who lived in , State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in , Susquahanah County, State of Pensylvania, and had previous to my hiring with him been digging in order if possible to discover the mine. After I went to live with <​him​> he took me among the rest of his hands to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my have <​having​> been a money digger.
January 1827
During the time that I was thus employed I was put to board with a Mr of that place, ’Twas there that I first saw my wife, (his daughter) . On the eighteenth of January Eighteen hundred and twenty seven we were married while yet I was employed in the service of . Owing to my still continuing to assert that I had seen a vision, persecution still followed me, and so much was excited, that he was greatly <​and my wife’s father’s family were very much​> opposed to our being married, in so much that he would not suffer us to be married at his house I was therefore under the necessity of taking her elsewhere, so we went and were married at the house of . <​Squire Tarbill [Zechariah Tarble] in South Bainbridge. Chenango County. New York.​> Immediately after my marriage I left s, and went to ’s and farmed with him that season. [HC 1:17]
September 1827
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the and the breastplate, In <​On​> the twenty second day of September, One thousand Eight hundred and twenty seven, having went as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge that I should be responsible for them. That if I should let them go carelessly or <​through​> any neglect of mine I should be cut off, but that if I would use all my endeavours to preserve them untill <​he​> (the messenger) called should call for them, they should be protected.
I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them, for no sooner was it known that I had them than the most strenious exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be resorted invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continualy to get them from me if possible but by the wisdom of God they remained safe in my hands untill I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand, when according to arrangement the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him and he has them in his charge untill this day, being the Sec[HC 1:18]ond day of May, One thousand Eight hundred and thirty eight.
September 1827–February 1828
The excitement however still continued, and rumour with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating tales about my father’s family and about myself. If I were to relate a thousandth part of them it would fill up volumes. The persecution however became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving and going with <​to​> Susquahanah County in the State of Pensyllvania. While preparing to start (being very poor and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability that we would ever be otherwise) in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a Gentleman by <​the​> name of , who came to us and gave me fifty dollars [p. 8] to assist us in our affliction, was a resident of Wayne County in the State of New York and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in , and immediately after my arrival there I commenced copying the characters of all the plates. I copyed a considerable number of them and by means of the I some of them which I did between the time I arrived at the house of in the month of December, and the February following. Some time in this month of February the aforementioned Mr came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off of the plates and started with them to the City of . For what took place relative to him and the characters I refer to his own account of [HC 1:19] the circumstances as he related them to me after his return which was as follows. “I went to the City of and presented the Characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian.
I then shewed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldeak, Assyriac, and Arabac, and he said that they were true characters. He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of that they were true characters and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct.
I took the Certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when called me back and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an Angel of God had revealed it unto him. He then said to me, let me see that certificate, I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it [to] him when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministring of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them.<​*​> <​I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them, he replied “I cannot read a sealed book”.​> I left him and went to Dr Mitchel [Samuel L. Mitchill] who sanctioned what had said respecting both the Characters and the translation.”
April–June 1828
having returned from this tour he left me and went home to , arranged his affairs, and returned again to my house about the twelfth of April, Eighteen hundred and twentyeight, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, which we continued untill the fourteenth of June following, [HC 1:20] by which time he had written one hundred and sixteen <​pages​> of manuscript on foolscap paper. Some time after had began to write for me, he began to tease me to give him liberty to carry the writings home and shew them, and desired of me that I would enquire of the Lord through the Urim and Thummin if he might not do so. I did enquire, and the answer was that he must not. However he was not satisfied with this answer, and desired that I should enquire again. I did so, and the answer was as before. Still he could not be contented but insisted that I should enquire once more. after After much solicitation I again enquired of the Lord, and permission was granted him to have the writings on certain conditions, which were, that he shew them only to his brother. , his own wife [], his father [Nathan], and his mother [Rhoda Lapham Harris], and a Mrs [Polly Harris] Cobb a sister to . In accordance with this last answer I required of him that he should bind himself in a covenant to me [p. 9] in the most solemn manner that he would not do otherwise than had been directed. He did so. He bound himself as I required of him, took the writings and went his way.
Notwithstanding however the great restrictions which he had been laid under, and the solemnity of the covenant which he had made with me, he did shew them to others and by stratagem they got them away from him, and they never have been recovered nor obtained back again untill this day. [blank] In the mean time while was gone with the writings, I went to visit ’s family at . I continued there for a short season and then returned to my place in . Immediately after my return home I was walking out a little distance, when Behold the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the again (for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting take the writings which he lost by [HC 1:21] transgression) and I enquired of the Lord through them and obtained the folowing revelation.
July 1828
Revelation to Joseph Smyth jr, given July 1828 concerning certain manuscripts on the first part of the book of Mormon which had been taken from the possession of .
The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God, cannot be frustrated neither can they come to nought, for God doth not walk in crooked <​paths​>: neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said: therefore his paths are strait and his course is one eternal round.
Remember remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men: for although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet, if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at nought the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will, and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.
Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict were your ; and remember, also, the promises which were made to you, if you did not transgress them; and behold how oft you have transgressed the commandments and <​the​> laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men: for behold you should not have feared man more than God, although men set at nought the councils of God, and despise his words, yet you should have been faithful and he would have extended his arm, and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.
Behold thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall, but remember God is merciful: therefore repent of that which thou hast done, which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen and art again called to the work: except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift.
And when thou deliveredst up that which God <​gave​> thee sight and power to , thou deliveredst up that which was sacred, into the hands of a wicked man, who has set at nought the counsels of God, and has broken the [HC 1:22] most sacred promises, which were made before God, and depended upon his own judgment, [p. 10]
a[nd] [boas]ted in his ow[n] wisdom and this is the reason why thou has[t] lost thy privileges for a season, for thou hast suffered the counsel of thy director to be trampled upon from the beginning.
Nevertheless my work shall go forth, for, inasmuch as the knowledge of a Saviour has come unto the world, through the testimony of the jews, even so shall the knowledge of a Saviour come <​un​>to my people; and to the , and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers; and this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the , and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquities of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their unbelief iniquities and their abominations: and for this very purpose are these plates preserved which contain these records, that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to his people; and that the Lamanites might come to a knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they might believe the gospel, and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name; and that through their repentance they might be saved:
After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates, and the were taken from me again, but in a few days they were returned to me,<​***​> <​when I enquired of the Lord, and the Lord said thus unto me.​>
February 1829
I did not however go immediately to , but went to laboring with my hands upon a small farm which I had purchased of , in order to provide for my family. In the month of February, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine my father came to visit us at which time I received the following revelation for him.
Revelation to given February 1829.
Now, behold, a marvellous work is about to come forth among the children of men, therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that you serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that you may stand blameless before God at the last day: therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work, for behold the field is white already to harvest, and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perish not, but bringeth salvation to his soul, and faith, hope, and charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualifies him for the work.
Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, Godliness, charity, humility, diligence.— Ask and ye shall recieve, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.
March 1829
The following I applied for at the request of the aforementioned and obtained.
Revelation given March, 1829.
Behold I say unto you, that as my servant has de[HC 1:28]sired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith Jr., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you <​have​> received of me: and now behold, this shall you say unto him, He who spake unto you, said unto you, I the Lord am God, and gave <​have given​> these things unto you my servant Joseph Smith Jr. and <​have​> you that you shall stand as a witness of these things, and I have caused you that you should enter into a cove [p. 11]
Circa April 1829, inserted pages
<​“N.B. This Revelation will read, after the interlined words in page 11 & line 17th—​>
***Revelation given to Joseph Smith Jr May 1829 informing him of the alteration of the manuscript of the forepart of the Book of Mormon.
1 Now, behold I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given <​unto​> you to translate, by the [HC 1:23] means of the , into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them; and you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened; nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again, therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of as you have begun: do not run faster, or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate, but be diligent unto the end: pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, and that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan, that do uphold his work. Behold they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted, has sought to destroy you. And for this cause I said, that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been intrusted and he has also sought to destroy your gift, and because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold wicked men have taken them from you: therefore, you have delivered them up: yea, that which was sacred unto wickedness. And behold Satan has put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands; and behold I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary to from that which you translated and caused to be written; and on this wise the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he might destroy this work; for he has put it into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.
2 Verily I say unto you, that I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing, for behold he has put it into their hearts to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God, in asking to translate it over again, and then behold they say, and think in their hearts, we will see if God has given him power to translate, if so he will also give him power again; and if God give<​th​> him power again [p. [1]]
or if he again, or in other words, if he bringeth forth the same words, behold we have altered them: therefore they will not agree, and we will say that he has lied in his words, and that he has no gift, and that he has no power: [HC 1:24] therefore we will destroy him, and also the work, and we will do this that we may not be ashamed in the end, and that we may get glory of the world.
3 Verily, verily I say unto you, that Satan has great hold upon their hearts he stirrith them up to iniquity against that which is good, and their hearts are corrupt and full of wickedness and abominations, and they love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil: therefore they will not ask of me. Satan stirreth them up, that he may lead their souls to destruction. And thus he has laid a cunning plan, thinking to destroy the work of God, but I will require this at their hands, and it shall turn to their shame and condemnation in the day of judgement; yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work, yea, he saith unto them, deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy: behold this is no harm, and thus he flattereth them and telleth them that it is no sin to lie, that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him, and thus he flattereth them and leadeth them along, untill he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare; and thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.
4 Verily, verily I say unto you, wo be unto him that lyeth to decieve because he supposeth that another lieth to decieve, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.
5 Now behold they altered those words, because Satan saith unto them, He hath deceived you: and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity, to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God. 6 Behold I say unto you, that you shall not translate again those words which have gone forth out of your hands; for behold they shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those words.
For behold, if you should bring forth the same words, they will say, that you have lied; that you have pretended to translate, but that you have contradicted yourself: and behold they will publish this, and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words. Thus Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this generation; that the work may not come forth in this generation: but behold here is wisdom, and because I shew unto you wisdom, and give you concerning these things, what you shall do, shew it not unto the world untill you have accomplished the work of translation.
7 Marvel not that I said unto you here is wisdom, show it not [HC 1:25] unto the [p. [2]]
world that you may be preserved. Behold I do not say that you shall not show it unto the righteous, but as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, therefore I say unto you, hold your peace untill I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter. 8 And now verily I say unto you, that an account of those things that you have written, which have gone out of your hands, are engraven upon the plates of Nephi: yea, and you remember, it was said in those writings, that a more particular account was given of these things upon the plates of Nephi. 9 And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi, is more particular concerning the things which in my wisdom I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account therefore you shall translate the engravings which are on the plates of Nephi down even till you come to the reign of King Benjamin, or untill you come to that which you have translated, which you have retained, and behold you shall publish it as the record of Nephi, and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not that suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. 10 Behold they have only got a part, or an abridgement of the account of Nephi. Behold there are many writings things engraven on the plates of Nephi, which do throw greater views upon my gospel, therefore, it is wisdom in me, that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work. And behold all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy Phrophets, yea and also my disciples desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people. And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers; yea, and this was their faith, that my gospel which I gave unto them, that they might preach in their days might come unto their brethren, the , and also all that had become Lamanites, because of their dissensions.
11 Now this is not all, their faith in their prayers were, that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this land, [HC 1:26] and thus they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel, in this land, might have eternal life; yea, that it might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongues or people, they may be. 12 And now behold according to their faith in their prayers, will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up. 13 And for this cause have I said, if this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my among them. Now I do not say <​*​> [p. [3]]
* this to destroy my church, but I say this to build up my , therefore whosoever belongeth to my Church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven: but it is they who do not fear me, neither keep my , but buildeth up Churches unto themselves, to get gain; yea, and all those that do wickedly and buildeth up the kingdom of the devil; yea, verily, verily I say unto you that it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the Centre.
14 Behold I am Jesus Christ, the son of God: I came unto my own and my own received me not. I am the light which shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. I am he who said, other sheep have I which are not of this fold, unto my disciples, and many there were that understood me not. 15 And I will shew unto this people, that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob: and I will bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in my name, yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and behold they shall not deny that which you have recieved, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine: yea, and the only doctrine which is in me; and this I do, that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention: yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention, concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures, and do not understand them: therefore I will unfold unto them this great mystery, for behold I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts: yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. [HC 1:27] 16 Behold this is my doctrine: whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my Church: whosoever declareth more or less than this the same is not of me, but is against me: therefore, he is not of my Church. 17 And now behold whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
18 And now remember the words of him, who is the life and the light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen. [4 lines blank] [p. [4]]
March 1829, continued
nant with me that you should not shew them except to those persons to whom I you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you. And you have a gift to the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded you that you pretend to no other gift untill my purposes is fulfilled in you this; for I will grant unto you no other gift untill it is finished.
Verily I say unto you, that wo shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words: for hereafter you shall be and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men, Behold if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you could show them all these things which I have committed unto you. O this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation mine anger is kindled against is kindled a them.
Behold, verily I say unto you I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; but this generation shall have my word through you; and in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I shall show these things: and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you, yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true: for from heaven will I declare it unto them: I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are; and to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony, among this generation, in this, the beginning of the rising up, and the coming forth of my out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word; and behold whosoever believeth on my words them will I visit with the manifestation of my spirit, and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the spirit. [HC 1:29]
And you must wait yet a little while; for ye are not yet ordained—and their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation if they harden their hearts against them: for a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to <​be​> poured out, from time to time, if they repent not, untill the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away, and utterly consumed <​destroyed​> by the brightness of my coming. Behold, I tell you these things even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem, and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.
And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me, and yield to the persuasions of men no more; and that you be firm in keeping the commandments wherewith I have commanded you, and if you do this, behold I grant unto you eternal life, even if you should be slain.
And now again I speak unto you my servant Joseph, concerning the man that desires the witness: Behold I say unto him he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me: but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see. And then he shall say unto the people of this generation, behold I have seen the things which the Lord has shewn to Joseph Smith jr. and I [p. 12]
know of a surety that they are true for I have seen them: for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man. And I the Lord him, my servant that he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he shall say, I have seen them and they have been shown unto me by the power of God: And these are the words which he shall say. But if he deny this he will break the covenant which he has covenanted with me, and behold he is condemned. And now except he humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things the things that he has done which are wrong, and covenant with me, that he will keep my commandments, and exercise in me faith in me, behold I say unto him, he shall have no such views; for I will grant unto him no views of the things of which I have spoken. And if this be the case I command you, my servant Joseph, that you shall say unto him that he shall do no more, nor trouble me any more concerning this matter.
And if this be the case, behold I say unto thee Joseph, when [HC 1:30] thou hast a few more pages thou shalt stop for a season, even untill I command thee again, then thou mayest translate again. And except thou do this, behold, thou shalt have no more gift, and I will take away the things which I have entrusted with you <​thee​>. And now because I foresee the lying in wait to destroy thee: yea I foresee that if my servant , humbleth not himself, and receive a witness from my hand that he will fall into transgression; and there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee <​from​> off the face of the earth: and for this cause that thy days may be prolonged, I have given unto thee the<​se​> commandments; yea, for this cause I have said, stop and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee; and if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up at the last day. Amen. [HC 1:31]
April 1829
On the fifth day of Aprile Eighteen hundred and twenty nine came to my house, untill when I had never seen him. He stated to me that having been teaching school in the neighborhood where resided, and my father being one of those who sent to the school, he had went to board for a season at my father’s house, and while there the family related to him the circumstance of my having received the plates, and accordingly he had came to make enquiries of me.
Two days after the arrival of (being the seventh of April) I commenced to translate the book of Mor[HC 1:32]mon and he commenced to write for me, which having continued for some time I enquired of the Lord through the and obtained the following revelation.
Revelation given April 1829, to and Joseph Smith Jr..
A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men: behold I am God, and give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword, to dividing asunder of the joints to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore give heed unto my words.
Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God: yea who [p. 13]
soever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God, therefore, if you <​will​> ask of me you shall receive; if you <​will​> knock and it shall be opened unto you. Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my , and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion: seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold he that hath eternal life is rich. Verily, verily I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be unto you; and if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. Say nothing but repentance <​un​>to this generation, keep my commandments and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.
Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sac[r]ed and cometh from above: and if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous: therefore thou <​shalt​> exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, convince them of the error of their ways. Make not thy gift known unto any save it be those of who are of thy faith. Trifle not with sacred things. If thou wilt do good, yea and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation. [HC 1:33] Verily verily I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done, for thou hast enquired of me, and behold as often as thou hast enquired, thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
Behold thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind and now I tell thee these things, that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth; yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God, that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart: I tell thee these things as a witness unto thee, that the words or the work which thou hast been writing is true.
Therefore be diligent, stand by my servant Joseph faithfully in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be, for the word’s sake. Admonish him in his faults and also receive admonition of him. Be patient; be sober; be temperate: have patience, faith, hope and charity. Behold thou art , and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore, treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love. Behold I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto my own and my own received me not.— I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
Verily, verily I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things; did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God? And now behold you have received a witness, for if I have told you things which no man knoweth, have you not received a witness? And behold I grant unto you a gift, if you desire of me, to even as my servant Joseph.
Verily, verily I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of [p. 14]
my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people; and now I you, that if you have good desires, a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven, then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity. And now behold I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph the of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry: and in the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established. [HC 1:34]
Verily, verily I say unto you, if they reject my words, and this part of my gospel and ministry, blessed are ye, for they can do no more unto you than unto me; and if they do unto you even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory: but if they reject not my words, which <​shall​> be established by the testimony which shall be given, blessed are they; and then shall ye have joy in the fruit of your labours.
Verily, verily I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or there three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold there will I be in the midst of them, even so am I in the midst of you. Fear not to do good my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap: therefore if ye sow good, ye shall also reap good for your reward: Therefore fear not little flock, do good, let earth and hell combine against, <​you​> for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. Behold I do not condemn you, go your ways and sin no more: perform with soberness the work which I have commanded; <​you​> look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not: behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet: be faithful; keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
After we had received this revelation he () stated to me that after he had gone to ’s to board, and after the family communicated to him concerning my having got the plates, that one night after he had retired to bed, he called upon the Lord to know if these things were so, and that the Lord had manifested to him that they were true, but that he had kept the circumstance entirely secret, and had mentioned it to no being, so that after this revelation having been given, he knew that the work was true, because that no mortal being living knew of the thing alluded <​to​> in the revelation but God and himself.
During the month of April I continued to , and he to write with little cessation, during which time we received several revelations. A difference of opinion arising between us about the account of John the Apostle, mentioned in the new testament, John, twenty first chapter and twenty second verse, whether he died, or whether he con[HC 1:35]tinued; We we mutually agreed to settle <​it​> by the , and the following is the word which we received.
A Revelation given to Joseph Smith jr, and in Pensylvania- April 1829. when they desired to know whether John, the beloved disciple, tarried on earth.—
Translated from parchment, written and hid up by himself.
And the Lord said unto me, John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if <​shall​> you ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you. And I said unto him, Lord, give <​unto​> me power over [p. 15]
death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. And the Lord said unto me, Verily, verily I say unto thee, because thou desiredst this, thou shalt tarry untill I come in my glory, and shall prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.
And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desiredst of me that he might bring souls unto me; but thou desiredst that thou might speedily come into my kingdom unto me in my kingdom. I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire, but my beloved has desired, that he might do more, or a greater work, yet among men than what he has before done; yea he has undertaken a greater work; therefore, I will make him as flaming fire and a ministring angel: he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth; and I will make thee a <​to​> minister for him and for thy brother James: and unto you three I will give this power and the of this ministry untill I come.
Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which you have desired.
Whilst continuing the work of during this <​the​> month of April; became exceedingly anxious to have the power to translate bestowed upon him and in relation to this desire the folowing revelations were obtained.
Revelation given April 1829.
, verily, verily I say unto you that assuredly as the Lord liveth who is your God and your Redeemer, even so sure [HC 1:36] shall you receive a knowledge of whatsoever things you shall ask in faith, with an honest heart, believing that you shall recieve a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which were ancient which contain those parts of my scripture of which have been spoken, by the manifestation of my spirit; yea, behold I will tell you in your mind and in in your heart by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you, and which shall dwell in your heart.
Now behold this is the Spirit of Revelation: behold this is the Spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the red sea on dry ground: therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, when, if it were not so, they would slay you and bring your soul to destruction. O remember these words, and keep my commandments.— Remember this is your gift. Now this is not all your <​thy​> gift: for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron: behold it has told you many things: behold there is no other power save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you; therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God, and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away from out of your hands; for it is the work of God. And therefore whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it: remember, that without faith you can do nothing; Therefore ask in faith. Trifle not in <​with​> these things: do not ask for that which you ought not ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and [p. 16]
receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred, and according to your faith shall it be done unto you. Behold it is I that have spoken it: and I am the same who spake unto you from the beginning. Amen.
Revelation given to , April 1829.
Behold I say unto you, my son, that because you did not according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant Joseph Smith jr even so I would [HC 1:37] that I you should continue untill you have finished this record, which I have intrusted unto him: and then behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate.
Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold, the work which you are called to do, is to write for my servant Joseph; and behold it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmur my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.
Behold you have not understood, you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me; but behold I say unto you, that you must study it in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you: therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong: therefore you cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me.
Now if you had known this, you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now. Behold it was expedient when you commenced but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now: for do you not behold that I have given unto my servant Joseph sufficient strength, whereby it is made up? and neither of you have I condemned.
Do this thing which I have you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful and yield to no temptation. Stand fast in the work wherein wherewith I have called you, and a hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day. Amen. [HC 1:38]
May 1829
We still continued the <​work of​> translation, when in the ensuing month (May, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine) we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting for the remission of sins as we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed praying and calling upon the Lord, a Messenger from heaven, descended in a cloud of light, and having , he ordained us, saying unto us; “Upon you my fellow servants in the name of Messiah I confer the , which holds the of the ministring of angels and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and this shall never be taken again from the earth, untill the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” He said this Aaronic priesthood had not [p. 17] the power of , for the , but that this should be conferred on <​us​> hereafter and he us to go and be , and gave us directions that I should baptize , and afterward that he should baptize me. and that I should be called the first elder of the Church and he the second. Accordingly we went and were baptized, I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me, after which I laid my hands upon his head and him to the , and [HC 1:39] afterward he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same priesthood, for so we were commanded.
The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this priesthood upon us said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the new Testament, and that he acted under the direction <​of​> Peter, James, and John, who held the of the priesthood of Melchisedeck, which priesthood he said should in due time be conferred on us. And that I should be called [HC 1:40] the first of the and he the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, Eighteen hundred and twenty-nine that we were baptized; under and ordained under the hand of that <​the​> Messenger. [HC 1:41]
Immediately upon our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized than the Holy Ghost fell upon him and he stood up and prophecied many things which should shortly come to pass: And again so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the Spirit of Prophecy, when standing up I prophecied concerning the rise of this church, and many other things connected with the Church and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our Salvation. [HC 1:42]
Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the Scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us, in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before <​had​> thought of. In the meantime we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of our having been baptized, and having received this priesthood; owing to a spirit of persecution [HC 1:43] which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood. We had been threatened with being mobbed, from time to time, and this too by professors of religion, and their intentions of mobbing us, were only counteracted by the influence of ’s family (under Divine Providence) who had became very friendly to me and were opposed to mobs; and were willing that I should be allowed to continue the work of without interruption: And therefore offered and promised us protection from all unlawful proceedings as far as in them lay.
After a few days however, feeling it to be our duty, we commenced to reason out of the scriptures, with our acquaintances and friends, as we happened to meet with them. About this time my brother, came [p. 18] to visit us. We informed him of what the Lord was about to do for the children of men; and to reason with him out of the Bible: We also showed him that part of the work which we had translated, and labored to persuade him concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ which was now about to be revealed in it’s fulness. He was not however very easily persuaded of these things, but after much enquiry and explanation, he retired to the woods, in order that by secret and fervent prayer he might obtain of a merciful God, wisdom to enable him to judge for himself: The result was that he obtained revelation for himself sufficient to convince him of the truth of our assertions to him and on the [blank] <​twenty fifth​> day of that same month in which we had been and ; baptized him, And he returned to ’s house greatly glorifying and praising God, being filled with the Holy Spirit. Not many days afterwards, my brother [HC 1:44] came to us to enquire concerning these things, when at his earnest request, I enquired of the Lord through the , and received for him the following
Revelation given to , at , Susquehanah County, Pensylvania. May 1829.
1 A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men: behold I am God and give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore, give heed unto my word.
2 Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God; yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God: therefore, if you will ask of me, you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.
3 Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you keep my , and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion. Seek not for riches, but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich; behold he that hath eternal life is rich.
4 Verily, verily I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be done unto you; and, if you desire you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. <​say nothing but repentance unto this generation.​> Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.
5 Behold thou hast a gift, or thou shalt have a gift if thou wilt desire of me in faith with an honest heart, believing in the power of Jesus Christ, or in my power which speaketh unto thee: for behold it is I that speaketh: behold I am the light which shineth in the darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee.
6 And now, verily, verily I say unto thee, put your [p. 19]
trust in that spirit which leadeth to do good: yea, to do justly; to walk humbly; to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
7 Verily, verily I say unto you, I will impart <​unto​> you of my spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy, [HC 1:45] and then shall you know, or by this shall ye know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which is pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.
8 Behold I , that you that you need not suppose that you are called to preach untill you are called: wait a little longer, untill you shall receive <​have​> my word, my rock, my church, and my gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine; and then behold, according to your desires, yea, even according to your faith; shall it be done unto you.
9 Keep my commandments; hold your peace; appeal unto my spirit: yea, cleave unto me with all your heart, that you may assist in bringing to light those things of which have been spoken: yea, the of my work: be patient untill you shall accomplish it.
10 Behold this is your work, to keep my commandments: yea, with all your might, mind and strength: seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then if you desire, it you shall have my Spirit, and my word: yea the power of God, unto the convincing of men: but now hold your peace; study my word, which hath gone forth among the children of men; and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men; or that which is now translating; yea, untill you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation; and then shall all things be added thereunto.
11 Behold thou art ; my son, seek the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added according to that which is just. Build upon my rock, which is my gospel; deny not the spirit of revelation, nor the spirit of prophecy, for wo unto him that denieth these things: therefore treasure up in your hearts untill the time which is in my wisdom, that you shall go forth: behold I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in their sickles to reap.
12 Behold I am Jesus Christ, the son of God: I am the life and the light of the world: I am the same who came unto my own, and my own received me not: but verily, verily I say unto you, that as many as receiveth me, them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name. Amen. [HC 1:46]
About the same time came an old Gentleman to visit us, of whose name I wish to make honorable mention; Mr of , Broom County, Penn [New York]; who having heard of the manner in which we were occupying our time, very kindly and considerately brought us, a quantity of provisions, in order that we might not be interrupted in the work of translation, by the want of such necessaries of life: and I would just [p. 20] mention here (as in duty bound) that he several times brought us supplies (a distance of at least thirty miles) which enabled us to continue the work when otherwise we must have relinquished it for a season. [HC 1:47]
Being very anxious to know his duty as to this work, I enquired of the Lord for him, and obtained as follows.
Revelation given to at Susquehanah County, Pennsylvania. May 1829.
1 A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men: behold I am God, and give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore give heed unto my word.
2 Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God: yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God: therefore knock if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you knock it shall be opened unto you.
3 Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.
4 Behold I speak unto you, and also to all those who have desires to bring forth and establish this work, and no one can assist in this work, except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be intrusted to his care.
5 Behold I am the light and the light <​life​> of the world, that speaketh these words: therefore, give heed with your might, and then you are called.
June 1829
Shortly after commencing to , I became acquainted with Mr of , Seneca County New York, and also with some of his family. In the beginning of the month of June, his son, came [HC 1:48] to the place where we were residing, and brought with him a two horse waggon, for the purpose of having us accompany him to his father’s place and there remain untill we should finish the work. He proposed that we should have our board free of charge, and the assistance of one of his brothers to write for me, as also his own assistance when convenient.
Having much need of such timely aid in an undertaking so arduous, and being informed that the people of the neighborhood were anxiously the awaiting the opportunity to enquire into these things; we accepted the invitation and accompanied to ’s house, and there resided [p. 21] untill the was finished, and the copyright secured. Upon our arrival, we found ’s family very anxious concerning the work, and very friendly towards ourselves. They continued so, boarded and lodged us according to proposal, and , in particular, assisted us very much in writing during the remainder of the work.
In the meantime, , , and became our zealous friends and assistants in the work; And being anxious to know their respective duties, and having desired with much earnestness that I should enquire of the Lord concerning them, I did so, through the means of the and obtained for them in succession the folowing Revelations.
Revelation given to , at , Seneca County New York. June 1829.
1 A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men: behold I am God, and give heed to my word, which is quick [HC 1:49] and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore give heed unto my word. 2 Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God: yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God: therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.
3 Seek to establish bring forth and establish my Zion. Keep my in all things, and if you keep my commandments, and endure to the end, you shall have eternal life; which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
4 And it shall come to pass, that if you shall ask the father in my name, in faith believing, you shall receive the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance, that you may stand as a witness of the things of which you shall both hear and see; and also, that you may declare repentance unto this generation. 5 Behold I am Jesus Christ the son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth, a light which cannot be hid in darkness: wherefore, I must bring forth the fulness of my gospel from the unto the house of Israel. And behold thou art , and thou art called to assist: which thing if ye do, and are faithful ye shall be blessed both spiritually and temporally, and great shall be your reward. Amen.
Revelation given to , at , Seneca County, New York, June 1829.
1 Hearken my servant , and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer, for behold I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth, and I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone: for many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of most worth unto you.
2 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given [p. 22]
you, according to my .
3 And now behold I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth to unto you, will be to declare repentance unto this [HC 1:50] people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.
Revelation given to at , Seneca County, New York. June 1829.
1 Hearken my servant , and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer, for behold I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth, and I will tell <​thee​> that which no man knoweth save thee <​me​> and thee alone: for many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you 2 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments:
3 And now behold I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you, will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.
We found the people of in general friendly and disposed to enquire into the truth of these strange matters which now began to be noised abroad: Many opened their houses to us in order that we might have an opportunity of meeting with our friends for the purposes of instruction and explanation. We met with many from time to time, who were willing to hear us, and wishful to find out the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and apparently willing to obey the Gospel when once fairly convinced and satisfied in their own minds; and in this same month of June, my brother , , and were , <​in Seneca lake​> the two former by myself; the latter by
From this time forth many became believers, and were baptized, whilst we continued to instruct and persuade as many as <​applied​> for information. [HC 1:51]
In th[e] course of the work of we ascertained that three special witnesses were to be provided by the Lord, to whom he would grant, that they should see the plates from which this work (the Book of Mormon) should be translated, and that these witnesses should bear record of the same; as will be found, recorded, Book of Mormon First edition <​second book of Nephi, chap. 11.​> Page 110. and second edition Page [blank]. <​third european edition section 17, page 102.​>
Almost immediately after we had made this discovery, [HC 1:52] it occurred to , , and the aforementioned (who had came to enquire after our progress in the work) that they would have me enquire of the Lord, to know if they might not obtain of him to be these three special witnesses; and finally they became so very solicitous, and teazed me so much, that at length <​I​> complied, and through the , I obtained of the Lord for them the folowing Revelation. [p. 23]
Revelation to , , and , at , Seneca County, New York, June 1829. Given previous to their viewing the plates containing the Book of Mormon.
1 Behold I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the which were given to the brother of on the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the red sea; and it is by <​your​> faith that you shall obtain a view of them; even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.
2 And after that you have obtained faith and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them by the power of God; and this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith jr, may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men in this work. And ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith Jr has seen them, for it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had faith: and he has the book, even that part which I have him, and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true. 3 Wherefore you have received the same power, and the same faith, and the same gift like unto him; and if you do these last commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; for my grace is sufficient for you: and you shall be lifted up at the last day.— And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it unto you, that I might bring my righteous purposes unto the children of men. A[men. ] [HC 1:53]
Not many days after the above commandment was given, we four, viz , , and myself, agreed to retire into the woods, and try to obtain by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfilment of the promises given in this revelation; that they should have a view of the pl[ates] &c[.] we accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr Whitmer’s [house], to which we retired, and having knelt down, we began to pray in much faith, to Almighty God to bestow upon us a realization of those promises. According to previous arrangement, I commenced by vocal prayer to our Heavenly Father and was folowed by each of the rest in succession; we did not yet however obtain any answer or manifestation of the divine favour in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer each calling on and praying fervently to God in rotation; but with the same result as before. Upon this our second failure, proposed that he would withdraw himself from us, believing as he expressed himself that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining what we wished for: He accordingly withdrew from us, and we knelt down again, and had not been [p. 24] many minutes engaged in prayer when presently we beheld a light above us in the air of exceeding brightness, and behold, an angel stood before us; in his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of: he turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings thereon distinctly: He addressed himself to , and said, , blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps all his :” when immediately afterwards we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying [HC 1:54] “These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been by the power of God; the translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear”.— I now left and , and went in pursuit of , who I found at a considerable distance fervently engaged in prayer; he soon told me however that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord, and earnestly requested me, to join him in prayer, that he also might realize the same blessings which we had just recieved: we accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained our desires, for before we had yet finished, the same vision was opened to our view; at least it was again to me, and I once more beheld, and seen, and heard the same things; whilst at the same moment, cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of Joy “’Tis enough, ’tis enough; mine eyes have beheld, mine eyes have beheld”, and jumping up he shouted, Hosanna, blessing God; and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly. [HC 1:55] Having thus through the mercy of God, obtained these glorious manifestations, it now remained for these three individuals to fulfil the commandment which they had received, viz: to bear record of these things; in order to accomplish which, they drew up and subscribed the following document.
The Testimony of Three Witnesses.
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we through the grace of God the [HC 1:56] Father, and our lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the , and also of the , their brethren, and also of the , who came from the tower of which has hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from Heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless, the voice [p. 25]
of the Lord us, that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgement seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Soon after these things had transpired the following additional tes[t]imony was obtained.
And also the Testimony of Eight Witnesses.
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith Jr, the translator [HC 1:57] of this work has shewn unto us, the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands: and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world, that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
. [HC 1:58]
Mean time we continued to , at intervals, when not necessitated to attend to the numerous enquirers, that now began to visit us; some for the sake of finding the truth, others for the purpose of putting hard questions, and trying to confound us, among the latter class, were several learned Priests <​who​> generally came for the purpose of disputation: However the Lord continued to pour out upon us his Holy Spirit, and as often as we had need, he gave us in that moment what to say; so that although unlearned, and inexperienced in religious controversies, yet were we able to confound those learned Rabbi’s of the day, whilst at the same time, we were enabled to convince the honest in heart, that we had obtained (through the mercy of God) to the true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ, so that almost daily we administered the ordinance of for the remission of sins, so such as believed. [HC 1:59] We now became anxious to have that promise realized to us, which the Angel that conferred upon us the [p. 26] had given us, viz: that provided we continued faithful; we should also have the Melchesidec Priesthood, which holds the authority of the . We had for some time made this matter a subject of humble prayer, and at length we got together in the Chamber of Mr Whitmer’s house in order more particularly to seek of the Lord what we now so earnestly desired: and here to our unspeakable satisfaction did we realize the truth of the Saviour’s promise; “Ask, and you shall recieve, seek, and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you;” for we had not long been engaged in solemn and fervent prayer, when the word of the Lord, came unto us in the Chamber, us; that I should [HC 1:60] to be an in the , and that he also should ordain me to the same office, accordin and then <​to​> ordain others as it should be made known unto us, from time to time: we were however commanded to defer this our ordination untill, such times, as it should be practicable to have our brethren, who had been and who should be , assembled together, when we must have their sanction to our thus proceeding to ordain each other, and have them decide by vote whether they were willing to accept us as spiritual teachers, or not, when also we were commanded to , afterward proceed to ordain each other according to commandment, then call out such men as the Spirit should dictate, and ordain them, and then attend to the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, upon all those whom we had previously baptized; doing all things in the name of the Lord.
The following commandment will further il[HC 1:61]lustrate the nature of our calling to this Priesthood as well as that of others who were yet to be sought after.
Revelation to Joseph Smith Jr, , and , making known the calling of in these last days, and also instructions relative to building up the , according to the fulness of the gospel: Given in , Seneca County New York, June 1829.
1 Now behold, because of the thing which you, my servant, have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words: behold I have manifested unto you by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true: wherefore you know that they are true; and if you know that they are true, behold I have given unto a you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written, for in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my Church, my gospel and my rock; wherefore if you shall build up my Church upon the foundation of my gospel and my [p. 27]
rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.
2 Behold the world is ripening in iniquity, and it must needs be, that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance, both the , and also the house of Israel: wherefore, as thou hast been by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith Jr— according to that which I have him, he hath fulfilled the thing which I commanded him. And now marvel not that I have called him to my mine own purpose; which purpose is known in me: wherefore if he shall be diligent in keeping my commandments, he shall be blessed unto eternal life, and his name is Joseph. 3 And now , I speak unto you, and also unto by the way of commandment: for behold I command all men every where to repent, and I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine , for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called. Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God: for behold the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh: wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead that he might bring all men unto him on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in his soul that repenteth.— Wherefore you are called to cry repentance unto this people. [HC 1:62] And if it <​so​> be that you should labour all your days, in crying repentance to this people, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father.
4 And now if your joy will be great with one soul, that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy, if you should bring many souls unto me? Behold you have my gospel before you, and my rock and my salvation: ask the Father in my name in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost which manifesteth all things which is expedient unto the Children of men. And if you have not faith, hope and charity, you can do nothing. Contend against no church, save it be the Church of the devil. Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness, and as many as repent, and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved. Behold, Jesus Christ is the name <​which is​> given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved: wherefore all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day: wherefore if they know not the name by which they are called, they can not have place in the kingdom of my Father.
5 And now behold there are others who are called to declare my gospel both unto Gentile, and unto Jew: yea, even twelve: and the twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name, with full purpose of heart: and the twelve are they, who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart: and if they desire to take upon them my name [p. 28]
with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world, to preach my gospel unto every creature: and they are they who are of me to in my name, according to that which is written; and you have that which is written before you: wherefore you must perform it according to the words which are written. And now I speak unto : Behold my grace is sufficient for you: you must walk uprigh[t]ly before me, and sin not. And behold you are they who are ordained of me, to ordain and to declare my gospel, according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and according to the callings, and gifts of God unto men: and I Jesus Christ, your Lord, and your God have spoken it. These words are not of men, nor of man, but of me: wherefore, you shall testify they are of me, and not of man: for it is my voice which speaketh them unto you: for they are given by my spirit unto you: and by my power you can read them [HC 1:63] one to another: and save it were by my power, you could not have them: wherefore you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words. 6 And now behold I give unto you, , and also unto you , that you shall search out the twelve who shall have the desires of which I have spoken; and by their desires and their works you shall know them: and when you have found them you shall shew these things unto them. And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name: and you must preach unto all the world saying you must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ: for all men must repent, and be baptized; and not only men, but women, and children who have arriven to the years of accountability.
7 And now, after that you have received this, you must keep my in all things: and by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men, unto the convincing of many of their sins, that they may come unto repentance: and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father: wherefore the blessings which I give unto you, are above all things. And after <​that​> you have received this, if you keep not my commandments, you cannot be saved in the kingdom of my Father.
Behold I Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer by the power of my spirit have spoken it. Amen.
June–August 1829
In this manner did the Lord continue to give us instructions from time to time, concerning our <​the​> duties which now devolved upon us, and among many other things of the kind, we obtained of him the folowing, by the Spirit of Prophecy and revelation; which not only gave us much information, but also pointed out to us the precise day upon which, according to his will and commandment, we should proceed to organize to organize his once again, here upon the earth. [p. 29]
1 The rise of the in these last days, being One thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord [HC 1:64] and Saviour Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established, agreeably to the laws of our country, by the will and of God in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April: which commandments were given to Joseph Smith Jr who was called of God, and an of Jesus Christ, to be the of this Church: and to , who was also called of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ; to be the second elder of this Church, and ordained under his hand: and this according to the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again [in] the vanities of the world; but after repenting, and humbling himself, sincerely, through faith God ministered unto him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness; and gave unto him commandments, which inspired him, and gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to the Book of Mormon, which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the , and to the Jews also, which was given by inspiration, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared <​un​>to the world by them, proving to the world that the holy Scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men, and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old, thereby showing that he is the same God, yesterday, today, and for ever.— Amen.
3 Therefore having so great witnesses, by them shall the world be judged, even as many as shall here hereafter come to a knowledge of this work; and those who receive it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life; but those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their condemnation, for the Lord God has spoken it; and we the elders of the Church, have read <​heard​> and bear witness to the words of the glorious Majesty on high, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
4 By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, the same un[HC 1:65]changeable God, the framer of heaven and earth and all things which are in them, and that he created man male and female: after his own image, and in his own likeness created he them, and gave unto them commandments, that they should love and serve him the only true and living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship: but by the transgression of these holy laws, man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man.
5 Wherefore the Almighty God gave his only begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of him; he suffered temptations but gave no [p. 30]
heed unto them; he was crucified, died, and rose again the third day; and ascended into heaven to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father, that as many as would believe and be , in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end should be saved: not only those who believed after he came in the meridian of time in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came, who believed in the words of the holy prophets, who spake as they were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost who truly testified of him in all things, should have eternal life, as well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God by the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father, and of the Son, which Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.
6 And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is just and true: and we know also, that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights; minds, and strength: but there is a possibility that man may fall from grace, and depart from the living God. Therefore let the take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptations; yea, and even let those who are sanctified, take heed also.— And we know that these things are true, and according to the [HC 1:66] revelations of John, neither adding to, nor diminishing from the prophecy of his book, the holy scriptures, or the revelations of God which shall come hereafter by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, the voice of God, or the ministering of Angels: And the Lord God has spoken it; and honor, power, and glory, be rendered to his holy name, both now and ever. Amen.
7 And again by way of to the church concerning the manner of baptism. All those who humble themselves before God and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of <​all​> their sins and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.
8 The duty of the , , , <​,​> and members of the church of Christ. An is an elder, and it is his duty to baptize, and to other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, and to and to those who are baptized into the Church, by the for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures; and to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church; and to confirm the Church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving [p. 31]
of the Holy Ghost— and to take the lead in all meetings.
9 The are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the and revelations of God.
10 The duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and , and administer the , and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and attend to all family duties: and he may also ordain other priests, , and — and he is to take the lead of meetings when there is no elder present, but when there is an elder present, he is only to preach, teach expound, exhort, and baptize, and visit the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally, and in secret, and attend to all family duties. In all these duties the priest is to assist the elder if occasion requires. [HC 1:67]
11 The teacher’s duty is to watch over the always, and be with, and strengthen them, and see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other; neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking; and see that each member <​the church​> meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty— and he is to take the lead of all meetings in the absence of the elder or priest— and is to be assisted always, in all his duties in the church, by the deacons if occasion requires: but neither teachers nor deacons have authority to baptize, administer the sacrament or ; they are however to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come to Christ.
12 Every Elder, priest, teacher, or deacon, is to be according to the gifts and calling of God unto him: and he is to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost which is in the one that ordains him.
13 The several elders composing this Church of Christ are to meet in once in three months, or from time to time, as said conferences shall direct or appoint: and said conferences are to do whatever Church business is necessary to be done at the time.
14 The elders are to receive their from other elders by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences.
15 Each priest teacher or deacon, who is ordained by a priest, may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate when presented to an elder shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling— or he may receive it from a conference.
16 No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized of the same, without the vote of that church; but the presiding elders, travelling , high counsellors, , and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the Church, that a vote may be called.
17 Every of the , (or presiding elder) bishop, high counsellor, and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a or general conference, 18 The duties <​duty​> of the members after they are received by [p. 32]
: 19 The or are to have a sufficient time to expound all [HC 1:68] things concerning the to their understanding, previous to their partaking of the , and being by the of the elders: so that all things may be done in order. And the members shall manifest before the Church, and also before the elders, by a godly walk and conversation, that they are worthy of it, that there may be works and faith agreeable to the holy scriptures— walking in holiness before the Lord.
20 Every member of the Church <​of Christ​> having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name.
21 No one can be received into the church of Christ unless he has arrived unto the years of accountability before God, and is capable of repentance.
22 Baptism is to be administered in the following manner, unto all those who repent: The person who is called of God, and has authority of Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented him or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having authority of been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth out <​again​> out of the water.
23 It is expedient that the Church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus: and the elder or priest shall administer it: and after this manner shall he administer it: he shall kneel with the church, and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying, O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy son Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy son, and witness unto thee O God, the Eternal Father that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy son, and always remember him and keep his which he has given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them Amen.
24 The manner of administering the wine: He shall take cup also, and say, O God, the eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy son which was shed for them, that they may witness [HC 1:69] unto thee O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, and that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
25 Any member of the Church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct.
26 It shall be the duty of the several churches composing the Church of Christ, to send one or more of their to attend the several held by the elders of the Church; with a list of the names of the several members [p. 33]
uniting themselves with the since the last , or send by the hand of some , so that a regular list of all the names of the whole church may be kept in a book, by one of the , whoever the other elders may appoint from time to time:— And also, if any have been expelled from the church: so that their names may be blotted out of the general church record of names.
27 All members removing from the church where they reside, if going to a church where they are not known, may take a letter certifying that they are regular members and in good standing: which certificate may be signed by any elder or priest, if the person member receiving the letter is personally acquainted with the elder or priest, or it may be signed by the , or of the church. [HC 1:70]
Mean time our drawing to a close, we went to , Wayne County, N. Y: Secured the Copyright; and agreed with Mr to print five thousand Copies, for the sum of three thousand dollars.
I wish also to mention here, that the Title Page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated; and not by any means the language of the whole running same as all Hebrew writing in general; and that, said Title Page is not by any means a modern composition either of mine or of any other man’s who has lived or does live in this generation. Therefore, in order to correct an error which generally exists concerning it, I give below that part of the Title Page of the English Version of the Book of Mormon, which is a genuine and literal translation of the Title Page of the Original Book of Mormon, as recorded on the plates.
Book of Mormom
An account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates, Taken from the plates of Nephi.
Wherefore it is an abridgement of the record of the , and also of the ; written to the Lamanites, who are a rem[HC 1:71]nant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and : written by way of , and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation.
Written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof: sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.
An abridgement taken from the book of Ether, also; which is a record of the ; who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they [p. 34]
were building a tower to get to Heaven: which is to shew unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the Covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of <​the​> Jew and that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations. And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgement seat of Christ.
(The remainder <​(of the Title page)​> is of course, modern)
A of God and not of man to , given ( New York, March, 1830) by him who is eternal.
1 I am Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord: yea, even I am the <​He​>, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world: I having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father concerning me: having done this that I might subdue all things unto myself: retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgement, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works, and the deeds which he hath done. And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I God am endless: wherefore, I revoke not the judgements which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth: yea, to those who are found on my left hand; [HC 1:72] nevertheless it is not written, that there shall be no end to this torment; but it is written endless torment
2 Again, it is written eternal damnation: wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory: wherefore I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you, to know even as my . I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest. For behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it? for behold I am endless, and the punishment which is given at <​from​> my hand is endless punishment, for endless is my name: wherefore
Eternal punishment) Endless punishment
is God’s punishment:) is God’s punishment:
wherefore I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith Jr, in my name: and it is by my almighty power that you have received them: therefore I command you to repent, repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore: how sore you know not! how exquisite you know not! yea, how hard to bear ye know not! For behold, I God have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer, if they [p. 35]
would repent, but if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I: which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and Spirit: and would that I might [not] drink the bitter cup and shrink: nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men: wherefore I you again to repent lest I humble you by my almighty power, and that you confess your sins lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit. And I command you that you preach nought but repentance; and show not these things unto the world untill it is wisdom in me; for they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive: wherefore, they must not know these things lest they perish: learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me: I am Jesus Christ: I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will. [HC 1:73]
3 And again: I command thee, that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. Nor seek thy neighbor’s life. And again: I command thee, that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God, which is my word to the , that soon it may go to the jew, of whom the are a remnant: that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.
4 And again I command thee, that thou shalt pray vocally as well as in thy heart: yea, before the world, as well as in secret; in public as well as in private. And thou shalt declare glad tidings: yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see. And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers. And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior and remission of sins of by and by fire; yea, even the Holy Ghost.
5 Behold this is a great, and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter: for this shall suffice for thy daily walk even unto the end of thy life. And misery thou shalt receive, if thou wilt slight these counsels; yea, even destruction of thyself and property. Impart a portion of thy property; yea, even part of thy lands and all save the support of thy family. Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage. Leave thy house and home, except when thou shalt desire to see thy family. And Speak freely to all; yea, preach, exhort, declare the truth, even with a loud voice; with a sound of rejoicing, crying hosanna! hosanna! blessed be the name of the Lord God.
6 Pray always and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing: yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of the earth, and corruptibleness to the extent thereof. Behold, canst thou read this without rejoicing and lifting up thy heart for gladness: or canst thou run about longer as a blind guide, or canst thou be meek and humble and meek, and conduct thyself wisely before me; yea, come unto me thy Saviour.
Amen. [p. 36]
6 April 1830 • Tuesday
Whilst the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the [HC 1:74] printer, we still continued to bear testimony, and give information, as far as we had opportunity; and also made known to our brethren, that we had received to organize the And accordingly we met together for that [HC 1:75] purpose, at the house of the above mentioned (being six in number) on Tuesday the sixth day of [HC 1:76] April, AD One thousand, eight hundred and thirty.
Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our Heavenly Father we proceeded, (according to previous commandment) to call on our brethren to know whether they accepted us as their teachers in the things of the Kingdom of God, and whether they were satisfied that we should proceed and be organized as a Church according to said commandment which we had received. To these they consented by an unanimous vote. I then upon and him an of the [HC 1:77] “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” after which he ordained me also to the office of an Elder of said Church. We then . We then laid our hands on each individual member of the Church present that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and be members of the Church of Christ. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree. Some prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord and rejoiced exceedingly. Whilst yet together I received the following commandment.
Revelation to Joseph Smith Jr, Given at , Seneca Co N Y. April 6th 1830.
1 Behold there shall be a record kept among you, and in it, thou shalt be called a , a , a prophet, an of Jesus Christ, an elder of the Church through the will of the Father God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ; being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith; which church was organized and established, in the year of <​y​>our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April.
2 Wherefore, meaning the Church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words, and commandments, which he shall give unto you, as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me: for his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith; for by doing these things, the gates of hell shall not prevail against thee you: yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you; and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.—
For thus saith the Lord God, him have I inspired to move the cause of in mighty power for your good; and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard: yea, his weeping for Zion <​I​> have I seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn <​for her​> no longer, for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins [p. 37]
and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works.
3 For behold I will bless all those that <​who​> labour in my vineyard, with a mighty blessing, and they shall believe on his words, which are given [HC 1:78] through me, by the Comforter, which manifesteth that Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world; yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart. Wherefore, it behooveth me, that he should be by you, , mine ; this being an unto you, that you are an under his hand, he being the first unto you, that you might be an elder unto this , bearing my name; and the first preacher of this Church, unto the Church, and before the world; yea, before the : yea, and thus saith the Lord God, lo, lo, to the Jews also. Amen.
We now proceeded to call out and ordain some others of the brethren to different offices of the , according as the Spirit manifested unto us; and after a happy time spent in witnessing and feeling for ourselves the mercies <​powers &​> the blessings of the Holy Ghost, through the grace of God bestowed upon us, we dismissed with the pleasing knowledge that we were now individually, members of, and acknowledged of God, “The Church of Jesus Christ,” organized in accordance with and revelations, given by him to ourselves, in these last days, as well as according to the order of the Church as recorded of in the New Testament.
April 1830
Several persons who had attended the above meeting, and got convinced of the truth, came forward shortly after, and were received into the church, among the rest My own and were to my great joy and consolation, and about the same time and a [blank] <​Orrin Porter​> Rockwell.
Revelation to the Church of Christ, which was established in these last days, in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty: Given <​at​> New York, April 1830, in consequence of some desiring to unite with the Church without re-baptism, who had previously been baptized.
1 Behold I say unto you, that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing, and this is a new and an everlasting covenant; even that which was from the beginning.— [HC 1:79] Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times, it availeth not him nothing; for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works; for it is because of your dead works, that I have caused this last covenant, and this church to be built up unto me; even as in days of old. Wherefore enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen.
The following persons being anxious to know of the Lord what might be their respective duties, in relation to this work, I enquired of the Lord and received for them the following——
Revelation to , , , [p. 38]
, and , Given at , New York, April 1830.
1 Behold I speak unto you, , a few words. Behold thou art blessed, and art under no condemnation. But beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation. Make known thy calling unto the , and also before the world; and thy heart shall be opened to preach the truth from henceforth and for ever. Amen.
2 Behold I speak unto you a few words: for thou also art under no condemnation, and thy heart is opened, and thy tongue loosed; and thy calling is to exhortation, and to strengthen the church continually. Wherefore thy duty is unto the church forever; and this because of thy family. Amen.
3 Behold I speak a few words unto you : for thou also art under no condemnation, and thy calling is to exhortation, and to strengthen the church. And thou art not as yet called to preach before the world. Amen.
4 Behold I speak a few words unto you, : for thou also art under no condemnation, and thy calling also is to exhortation, and to strengthen the Church. And this is thy duty from henceforth and forever. Amen.
5 Behold I manifest unto you , by these words, that you must take up your cross, in the which you must pray vocally before the world as well as in secret, and in your family, and among your friends, and in all places.— And behold it is your duty to unite with the true church, and give your language to exhortation continually, that you may receive the reward of the Laborer. Amen. [HC 1:80]
On Sunday April 11th 1830, preached the first public discourse, that was delivered by any <​of​> our number. Our meeting was held by previous appointment at the house of , , large numbers of people attended, and the same day the following were ; Viz: , Kathrine [Catherine Whitmer] Page, , Anne Whitmer , Elizabeth [Schott] Whitmer, and on the 18th D[itt]o , , , , Richard B. Peterson and Elizabeth anne Whitmer, all by in Seneca Lake.
During this month of april I went on a visit to the residence of Mr , of , Broom Co N.Y. with whom and his family I had been previously acquainted, and of whose name I have above mentioned, as having been so kind and thoughtful towards us, while the book of Mormon. and his family were Universalists, but were willing to reason with me upon <​my​> religious views, and were as usual friendly and hospitable. We held several meetings in the neighbourhood, we had many friends, and some enemies. Our meetings were well attended, and many began to pray fervently [p. 39] to Almighty God, that He would give them wisdom to understand the truth. [HC 1:81]
April–May 1830
Amongst those who attended our meetings regularly, was son to . He and I had now many and serious conversations on the important subject of man’s eternal salvation: we had got into the habit of praying much at our meetings and had said that he would try and take up his cross, and pray vocally during meeting; but when we again met together, he rather excused himself; I tryed to prevail upon him, making use of the figure, supposing that he should get into a mudhole would he not try and help himself out, and that we were willing now to help him out of the mudhole, he replied that provided he had got into a mudhole through carelessness, he would rather wait and get out himself, than have others to help him, and so he would wait untill he should get into the woods by himself, and there he would pray. Accordingly he deferred praying untill next morning, when he retired into the woods, where (according to his own accoount afterwards) he made several attempts to pray, but could scarcely do so, feeling that he had not done his duty, but that he should have prayed in the presence of others. He began to feel uneasy, and continued to feel worse both in mind and body, untill, upon reaching his own house, his appearance was such as to alarm his wife very much. He requested her to go and bring me to him. I went and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a very strange manner. His visage and limbs distorted and twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine; and finally he was caught up off the floor of the apartment and tossed about most fearfully. His situation was soon made known to his neighbours and relatives, and in a short time as many as eight or nine grown persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for a time, I succeeded in getting hold <​of​> him by the hand, when almost immediately he spoke to [HC 1:82] me, and with great earnestness requested of me, that I should cast the Devil out of him, saying that he knew he was in him, and that he also knew that I could cast him out. I replied “If you know that I can, it shall be done” and then almost unconsciously I rebuked the devil, and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him; when immediately spoke out and said that he saw the devil leave him and vanish from his sight. This was the first miracle which was done in this , and it or by any member of it, and it was done, not by man nor by the power of man, but it was done by God, and by the power of Godliness: Therefore let the honour and the praise, the dominion and the glory be ascribed to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for ever and ever Amen.
The scene was now entirely changed for as soon as the devil had departed from our friend, his countenance became natural, his distortions of body ceased, and almost immediately the Spirit of the Lord descended upon him, and the visions of eternity were opened to his view. He afterwards related his experience as follows. “I now began to feel a most pleasing sensation resting upon me, and immed [p. 40]iately the visions of heaven were opened to my view. I felt myself attracted upward and remained for some time enwrapt in contemplation in so much that I knew not what was going on in the room. By and by I felt some weight pressing upon my shoulder and the side of my head; which served to recall me to a sense of my situation, and I found that the Spirit of the Lord had actually caught me up off the floor, and that my shoulder and head were pressing against the beams.”
All this was witnessed by many, to their great astonishment and satisfaction when thy <​they​> saw the devil thus cast out; and the power of God and his holy spirit thus made manifest. So soon as consciousness returned, his bodily weakness was such that we were obliged to lay him upon his bed, and wait upon him for some time. As may be expected, such [HC 1:83] a scene as this contributed much to make believers of those who witnessed it, and finally, the greater part of them became members of the .
Soon after this occurrence I returned to , Seneca County. The Book of Mormon (“The Stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim”) had now been published for some time, and as the ancient Prophet had predicted of it; “It was accounted as a strange thing.” No small stir was created by its appearance; great opposition, <​and​> much persecution followed the believers of its authenticity; but it had now come to pass that, Truth had sprung out of the earth; and Righteousness had looked down from Heaven, so we feared not our opponents, knowing that we had both Truth and righteousness on our side; that we had both the Father and the Son, because we had the doctrines of Christ and abided in them; and therefore <​we​> continued to preach and to give information to all who were willing to hear.
During the last week in May the above mentioned came to visit us, at and was by .
June 1830
On the first day of June 1830, we held our first conference as an as an organized Church. Our numbers were about thirty, beside<​s​> whom, many assembled with us, who were either believers or anxious to learn.
Having opened by singing and prayer, we , we then called proceeded to several who had lately been baptized; after which we called out and severals to the various offices of the . Much [HC 1:84] exhortation and instruction was given; and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us in a miraculous manner many of our number prophecied, whilst others had the Heavens opened to their view, and were so over come that we had to lay them on beds, or other convenient places: Among the rest was Brother who had to be placed on a bed, being unable to help himself. By his own account of the transaction, He could not understand why we should lay him on the bed, <​as​> he felt no sensibility of weakness. He felt his heart filled with love, with glory and pleasure [p. 41] unspeakable, and could discern all that was going on in the room, when all of a sudden a vision of futurity burst upon him. He saw there represented, the great work which through my instrumentality was yet to be accomplished. He saw Heaven opened and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high, and had it made plain to his understanding that the time would come whe[n] he would be admitted into his presence to enjoy his society for ever and ever. When their bodily strength was restored to these brethren, they shouted “hosannas to God and the lamb” and rehearsed the glorious things which they had seen and felt, whilst they were yet in the Spirit.
Such scenes as these were calculated to inspire our hearts with joy unspeakable, and fill us with awe and reverence for that Almighty Being, by whose grace we had been called to be instrumental in bringing about for the children of men, the enjoyment of such glorious blessings as were now at this time poured out upon us. To find ourselves engaged in the very same order of things, as observed by the holy Apostles of old; To realize the importance and solemnity of such proceedings, and to witness and feel with our own natural senses, the like glorious manifestations of the powers of the ; the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost; and the goodness and condescension of a merciful God, unto [HC 1:85] such as obey the everlasting gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, combined to create within us, sensations of rapturous gratitude, and inspire <​us​> with fresh zeal and energy, in the cause of truth.
Shortly after this conference the following persons in Seneca lake. viz: John Poorman, , Julia Anne Jolly— and Harriett Jolly, , , , — Peter Rockwell— Caroline Rockwell and Electa Rockwell.
Immediately after , I returned to my own house, and from thence (accompanied by my , , and ) journeyed again on a visit to ’s of , Broom Co. We found a number in the neighborhood still believing and now anxious to be baptized.
We appointed a meeting for the Sabbath, and on the afternoon of Saturday we erected a dam across a stream of water which was convenient, for the purpose of there attending to the , but during the night a mob collected, and tore down our dam which hindered us of attending to the baptism on the sabbath.
We afterward found out that this mob had been instigated to this act of molestation, by certain Sectarian Priests of the neighborhood, who began to consider their craft in danger, and took this plan to stop the progress of the truth, and the sequel will show how determinedly they prosecuted their opposition, as well as to how little purpose in the end.
The Sabbath arrived and we held our meeting, preached, and others of us bore testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, the doctrine of repen [p. 42]tance, , and for the gift of the Holy Ghost &c &c, amongst our audience were those who had torn down our dam and who seemed wishful to give us trouble, but did not untill after the meeting was dis[HC 1:86]missed, when they immediately commenced talking to those whom they considered our friends, to try to turn them against us and our doctrines.
Amongst the many present at this meeting was one Emily Coburn sister to the of . The Revd Mr Shearer [John Sherer], a divine <​Priest​> of the presbyterian faith, who had considered himself her pastor, came to understand that she was likely to believe our doctrine, and had a short <​time​> previous to this, our meeting, came to labor with her, but having spent some time with her without being able to persuade her against us, he endeavored to have her leave her sisters house, and go with him to her father’s, who lived at a distance of at least [blank] miles off: For this purpose he had recourse to stratagem, he told her that one of her brothers was waiting at a certain place, wishful to have her go home with him; he succeeded thus to get her a little distance from the house when, seeing that her brother was not in waiting for her, She refused to go any further with him; upon which he got hold of her by the arm to force her along; but her sister, was soon with them; and the two women were too many for him and he was forced to sneak off without his errand <​prey​>, after all his labor and ingenuity. Nothing daunted however he went to her Father, represented to him something or other, which induced the Old Gentleman to give him a power of Attorney, which, as soon as our meeting was over, on the above named sunday evening, he immediately served upon her and carried her off to her father’s residence, by open violence, against her will. All his labor was in vain however, for the said Emily Coburn, in a short time afterwards, was baptized and , a member of the “.”
However, early on Monday morning we were on the alert, and before our enemies were aware we had repaired the dam, and proceeded to baptize, when the following [HC 1:87] thirteen persons were baptized under the hands of viz: , and wife, and — William Stringham and wife— Aaron Culver and wife— Levi Hale— and Julia Stringham.— Before the baptism was entirely finished, the mob began again to collect, and shortly after we had retired, they amounted to about fifty men. They surrounded the house of (where we had retired to) raging with anger and apparently wishful to commit violence upon us. Some asked us questions, others threatened us, so that we thought it wisdom to leave and go to the house of .
There also the<​y​> followed us, and it was only by the exercise of great prudence on our part, and reliance on our heavenly Father that they were kept [p. 43] from laying violent hands upon us, and so long as they chose to stay, we were obliged to answer them various unprofitable questions, and bear with insults and threatenings without number.
We had appointed a meeting for this evening, for the purpose of attending to the of those who had been the same morning ; the time appointed had arrived, and our friends had nearly all collected together, when to my surprise, I was visited by a constable, and arrested by him on a warrant, on charge of being a disorderly person; of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, &c &c. The Constable informed me (soon after I had been arrested) that the plan of those who had got out the warrant, was to get me into the hands of the mob, who were now lying in ambush for me; but that he was determined to save me from them, as he had found me to be a different sort of person from what I had been represented to him. I soon found that he had told me the truth in this matter, for not far from ’s house, the waggon in which we had set out; [HC 1:88] was surrounded by the mob, who seemed only to await some signal from the Constable; but to their great disappointment— he gave the horse the whip and drove me out of their reach. Whilst driving along pretty quickly <​in great haste​>, one of the waggon wheels came off, which left us, once more, very nearly surrounded by them, as they had came on, in close pursuit; however we now managed to get <​replace​> the wheel on again and, again left them behind us. He drove on to the Town of South Bainbridge Chenango County, where he lodged me for the time being, in an upper room of a Tavern, and in order that all might be right with himself and with me also, he slept during the night with his feet against the door, and a loaded musket by his side, whilst I occupied a bed which was in the room, he having declared that if we were interrupted unlawfully, that he would fight for me, and defend me as far as in his power.
On the day following a court was convened for the purpose of investigating those charges which had been preferred against me, A great excitement prevailed on account of the scandalous falsehoods which had been circulated, the nature of which will come out <​appear​> in the sequel.
In the mean time, my friend, , had repaired to two of his neighbours viz: and John Reid Esqrs, (respectable farmers; men renowned for their integrity, and well versed in the laws of their country,) and retained them on my behalf during my trial. At <​length​> the trial commenced amidst a multitude of spectators who in general evinced a belief that I was guilty of all that had been reported concerning me, and of course were very zealous, that I should be punished according to my crimes. Among many witnesses call<​ed​> up against me, was Mr (of whom I have made mention, as having worked for him some time) and examined to the following effect.— [HC 1:89] Q— Did not the prisoner Joseph Smith have a horse of you? Ansr Yes. Q— Did not he go to you and tell you, that an angel had appeared unto him, and authorised him to get [p. 44] the horse from you? Ansr No, he told me no such story. Q— Well; How did had he the horse of you? Ansr He bought him of me, as another <​any other​> man would do. Q— Have you had your pay? Ansr That is not your business. The question being again put, the witness replied, “I hold his note for the price of the horse, which I consider as good as the pay— for I am well acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr, and know him to be an honest man; and if he wishes I am ready to let him have another horse on the same terms”.——
Mr Jonathan Thompson was next called up, and examined— Q— Has not the prisoner, Joseph Smith Jr had a yoke of oxen of you? Ansr Yes. Q— Did he not obtain them of you by telling you that he had a revelation to the effect that he was to have them? Ansr No, He did not mention a word of the kind concerning the oxen; he purchased them, same as another <​any other​> man would.
After a few more such attempts, the court was detained for a time, in order that two young women (daughters to ) with whom I had at times kept company; might be sent for, in order, if possible to elicit something from them which might be made a pretext against me. The young Ladies arrived and were severally examined, touching my character, and conduct in general but particularly as to my behaviour towards them both in publick and private, when they both bore such testimony in my [HC 1:90] favor, as left my enemies without a pretext on their account.— Several attempts were now made to prove something against me, and even circumstances which were alleged to have taken place in were brought forward; but these, my lawyers would not here admit of <​as testimony​> against me, <​in thi​> in consequence of which, my persecutors managed to detain the court, untill they had succeeded in obtaining a warrant from , and which warrant the[y] served upon me, at the very moment in which I had been <​that I was​> acquitted by this court.
The constable who served this second warrant upon me, had no sooner arrested me, than he began to abuse and insult me, and so unfeeling was he with me, that although I had been kept all the day in court, without any thing to eat since the morning, yet he hurried me off to , a distance of about fifteen miles before he allowed me any thing <​kind​> of food whatever.
He took me to a tavern, and gathered in a number of men, who used every means to abuse, ridicule, and insult me. They spit upon me, pointed their fingers at me, saying prophesy, prophesy, and thus did they imitate those who crucified the Saviour of mankind, not knowing what they did. We were at this time not far distant from my own house, I wished to be allowed the privilege of spending the night with my at home, offering any wished for security, for my appearance, but this was denied me. I applied for something to eat. the The Constable ordered me some crusts of bread, and water, which was the only fare <​pr food​> I that night received <​that night​>. At length we retired to bed; the constable [p. 45] made me lie next the wall; He then laid himself down by me, and put his arm around me; and upon my moving in the least, would clench me fast, fearing that I intended to escape from him: And in this (not very <​dis​>agreeable) manner did we pass the night.— Next day I was brought before the Magistrate’s Court [HC 1:91] of [blank], and put upon my trial. My former faithful friends and lawyers were again at my side, my former persecutors were arrayed against me. Many witnesses were again called forward and examined; some of whom swore to the most palpable falsehoods, and like to the false witnesses which had appeared against me the day previous; they contradicted themselves so plainly, that the Court would not admit their testimony. Others were called who shewed by their zeal, that they were willing enough to prove something against me; but all they could do, was to tell somethings which some body else had told them. In this “frivolous and vexatious” manner did they proceed for a considerable time, when finally was called up, and examined by Lawyer , who had been especially sent for on this occasion. One Lawyer Burch, also was on the side of the prosecution; but seemed to <​be​> a more zealous Presbyterian, and appeared very anxious and determined that the people should not be deluded by any one professing the power of Godliness; and not “denying the power thereof.”
So soon as had been <​was​> sworn, <​&​> proceeded to interrogate him as follows. Q— Did the prisoner, Joseph Smith, Jr cast the devil out of you? Ansr No sir. Q— Why, have not you had the devil cast out of you? Ansr Yes Sir. Q And did he not cast Q— And had not Joe Smith some hand in its being done? Ansr Yes Sir. Q And did not he cast him out of you? Ansr No Sir it was done by the power of God, and Joseph Smith was the instrument in the hands of God on the occasion; He commanded him <​to come​> out of me in the name of Jesus Christ.
Q, And are you sure that it was the devil? [HC 1:92] Ansr Yes Sir. Q Did you see him, after he was cast out of you? Ansr Yes Sir I saw him. Q Pray, what did he look like?— (Here one of my lawyers, informed the that he need not answer the question,) The replied, I believe I need not answer your last question, but I will do it, provided I be allowed to ask you one question first, and you answer me. Viz: Do you, , understand the things of the Spirit? No (answered ) I do not pretend to such big things. Well then (replied ,) it would be of no use to tell you what the devil looked like, for it was a a spiritual sight, and spiritually discerned; and of course you would not understand it, were I to tell you of it. The Lawyer dropped his head, whilst the loud laugh of the audience proclaimed his discomfiture. now addressed the court, and in a long and violent harangue endeavored to blacken my character and bring me in guilty of the charges which had been brought against me; among other things, he brought up the story of my having been a money digger, and in this manner proceeded, in hopes to influence the court and the people against me. [p. 46] and followed on my behalf. They held forth in true colours, the nature of the prosecution; the malignancy of intention, and the apparent disposition to persecute their client, rather than to afford him justice. They took up the different arguments which had been brought by the lawyers for the prosecution and having shewed their utter futility and misapplication; then proceeded to scrutinise the evidence which had been adduced, and each in his turn, thanked God that He had been engaged in so good a cause, as that of defending a man whose character stood so well the test of such a strict investigation. In fact, these men, (although not [HC 1:93] regular lawyers) were upon this occasion able to put to silence their opponents, and convince the court that I was innocent.
They spoke like men inspired of God, whilst those who were arrayed against me, trembled under the sound of their voices, and quailed before them like criminals before a bar of justice. [HC 1:94]
The majority of the assembled multitude had now began to find that nothing could be sustained against me: even the Constable who arrested <​me,​> and treated me so badly— now came and apologized to me, and asked my forgiveness <​for​> of <​for​> his be[HC 1:95]haviour towards me; and so far was he changed that he informed me that the mob were determined, that if the Court acquitted me; that they would have me, and rail ride me, and tar and feather me; and further, that he was willing to favour me, and lead me out in safety by another <​a private​> way.
The Court finding the charges against me, not sustained, I was accordingly acquitted, to the great satisfaction of my friends, and vexation of my enemies, who were still determined upon molesting me, but through the instrumentality of my new friend, the Constable; I was enabled to escape them, and make my way in safety to my wifes sister’s house, where I found my awaiting with much anxiety the issue of these <​those​> ungodly proceedings: and with her in company next day arrived in safety at my own house. [HC 1:96]
After a few days however, I again returned to , in company with , for the purpose of those whom we had thus been forced to abandon <​leave​> for a time. We had scarcely arrived at ’s when the mob was seen collecting together to oppose us, and we considered it wisdom to leave for home, which we did, without even waiting for any refreshment. Our enemies pursued us, and it was oftentimes as much as we could do to elude them; however we managed to get home, after having travelled all night, except a short time, during which we were forced to rest ourselve[s] under a large tree by the way side, sleeping and watching alternately. And thus were we persecuted on account of our religious faith— in a country, the constitution of which, guarantees to every man the indefeasible right, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience; and by men too, who were professors [p. 47] of religion, and who were not backward to maintain this privilege for themselves; though they thus wantonly could deny it to us. For instance Cyrus McMaster a Presbyterian of high standing in his church was one of the chief instigators of these persecutions, and he at one time told me personally, that he considered me guilty without judge or jury. The celebrated , also a presbyterian, was another instigator to those deeds of outrage: Whilst a young man named , of the same religious faith swore out the first warrant against me. [HC 1:97] I could mention many others also, but for brevity’s sake, will make these suffice for the present. <​-[☞Here insert the sheet marked A.1.]-​> [HC 1:98] [HC 1:99] [HC 1:100]
Mean time, notwithstanding all the rage of our enemies, still we had much consolation, and many things occurred to strengthen our faith, and cheer our hearts. After our return from , the church there, were <​at ​>, as might be expected, <​were​> very anxious concerning our again visiting them, during which time, , (wife to ) had a dream, which enabled her to say that we would visit them that day, which really came to pass, for a few hours afterwards we arrived, and thus was our <​the​> faith much <​of the saints​> strengthened, concerning dreams and visions in the last days, foretold by the ancient Prophet Joel: And although we, this time, were forced to seek safety from our enemies by flight, yet did we feel confidence that eventualy we should come off victorious, if we only continued faithful to Him who had called us forth from darkness, into the marvellous light of the Everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
July 1830
Shortly after our return home, we received the following .
Revelation given to Joseph Smith Jr, and , Given at , Pennsylvania, July, 1830.
1 Behold thou wast called and chosen to write the Book of Mor[HC 1:101]mon, and to my ministry; and I have lifted thee up, out of thy afflictions, and have counselled thee, that thou hast been delivered from all thine enemies, and thou hast been delivered from the powers of Satan, and from darkness! Nevertheless, thou art not excusable in thy transgressions; nevertheless, go thy way, and sin no more.
2 Magnify thine office; and after thou hast sowed thy fields, and secured them, go speedily unto the which is in , and , and they shall support thee; and I will bless them both spiritually and temporally; but if they receive thee not, I will send upon them a cursing instead of a blessing.
3 And thou shalt continue <​in​> calling upon God in my name, and writing the things which shall be given thee by the comforter, and expounding all scriptures unto the church, and it shall be given thee in the very moment, what thou shalt speak and write; and they shall hear it, or I will send unto them a cursing instead of a blessing:
4 For thou shalt devote all thy service in . And in this thou shalt have strength. Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many: but endure them, [p. 48]
for lo, I am with you, even unto the end of thy days. And in temporal labours thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all scriptures. And continue in , and the churches.
5 And thy brother shall continue in bearing my name before the world; and also to the . And he shall not suppose that he can say enough in my cause; and lo I am with him to the end. In me he shall have glory, and not of himself, whether in weakness or in strength, whether in bonds or free: And at all times and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the sound <​voice​> of a trump, both day and night. and I will give unto him strength, such as is not known among men.
6 Require not miracles, except I shall you; except casting out devils, healing the sick; and against poisonous serpents; and against deadly poisons; and these things ye shall not do, except it be required of you, by them who desire it, that the scriptures might be fulfilled, for ye shall do according to that which is written. And in whatsoever place ye shall enter, and they receive you not, in my name, ye shall leave a cursing instead of a blessing, by casting off the dust of your feet against them as a testimony, and cleansing your feet by the way side. [HC 1:102]
7 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall lay their hands upon you by violence, ye shall command to be smitten in my name, and behold I will smite them according to your words, in mine own due time. And whosoever shall go to law with thee shall be cursed by the law. And thou shalt take no purse, no scrip, neither staves, neither two coats, for the Church shall give unto thee in the very hour, what thou needest for food, and for raiment and for shoes, and for money, and for scrip: For thou art called to prune my vineyard with a mighty pruning, yea, even for the last time. Yea, and also, all those whom thou hast . And they shall do even according to this pattern. Amen.
Revelation given at , Penn. July 1830.
1 Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, my daughter, for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom. A revelation I give unto you concerning my will, and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve your <​thy​> life, and thou shalt receive an in . Behold thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called. Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee, and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come.
2 And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant Joseph Smith Jr. thy husband, in his afflictions with consoling words, in the spirit [p. 49]
of meekness. And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant , whithersoever I will. And thou shalt be under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the , according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit: for he shall , and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much. And thou needst not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the Church: for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith.
3 And verily I say unto thee, that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better. [HC 1:103] And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred Hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my Church: for my soul delighteth in the song of the heart: yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me. And it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.— Wherefore lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.
4 Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride. Let thy soul delight in thy husband, and the glory which shall come upon him. Keep my continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come. And verily, verily I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen.
Revelation to Joseph Smith Jr. and , given at , Penn, July 1830.
1 Behold, I say unto you, that you shall let your time be devoted to the studying of the scriptures, and to preaching, and to the Church at ; and to performing your labors on the land, such as is required, untill after you shall go to the west, to hold the next , and then it shall be made known what you shall do. And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith; for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.
Shortly after we had received the above revelations, returned to s, and I began to arrange and copy the revelations which we had received from time to time; in which I was assisted by , who now resided with me. Whilst thus (and otherwise at intervals) employed in the work appointed me, by my Heavenly Father; I received a letter from — the contents of which, gave me both sorrow and uneasiness. Not having that letter <​now​> in my possession, I cannot, of course give it here in full, but merely an extract of the most prominent parts, which I can yet, and expect long to remember. [HC 1:104] He wrote to inform me, that he had discovered an error in one of the , Book [p. 50] of “Doctrine and Covenants” Sect, 2nd Par. 7th “and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins”
The above quotation he said was erroneous, and added; “I command you in the name of God to erase those words, that no be amongst us.”
I immediately wrote to him in reply, in which I asked him, by what authority he took upon him to command me to alter, or erase, to add or diminish to or from a revelation or from Almighty God. In a few days afterwards I visited him and ’s family, when I found the family in general of his opinion concerning the words above quoted; and it was not without both labor and perseverance that I could prevail with any of them to reason calmly on the subject; however , at length got convinced that it was reasonable and according to scripture, and finally, with his assistance I succeeded of <​in​> bringing not only the Whitmer family, but also also to acknowledge that they had been in error, and that the sentence in dispute was in accordance of <​with​> the rest of the commandment. And thus was this error rooted out, which having its rise in presumption and rash judgement, was the more particularly calculated (when one once fairly understood) to teach each and all of the us the necessity of humility, and meekness before the Lord, that he might teach us of his ways; that we might walk in his paths, and live by every word which proceedeth forth from his mouth. [HC 1:105]
August 1830
Early in the month of August, and his wife paid us a visit, at my place at , Penn; and as neither nor mine had been as yet , and it was proposed that we should confirm them, and partake together of the , before he and his wife should leave us.— In order to prepare for this; I set out to go to procure some wine for the occasion, but had gone but <​only​> a short distance when I was met by a heavenly messenger, and received the following revelation; the first paragraph of which was written at this time, and the remainder in the September following.
Revelation given at Penn, August 1830.
1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God and your redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful. For behold I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what you shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory; remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins: wherefore a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies: wherefore you shall partake of none, except it is made new among you, yea, in this my Father’s kingdom which shall be built up on the earth. [HC 1:106] 2 Behold this is wis [p. 51]
dom in me: wherefore marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you, to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of the my everlasting gospel; to whom I have committed the of the record of the stick of Ephraim; and also with Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things, or the restorer of all things spoken by the mouth of <​all​> the holy prophets since the world began, concerning the last days: and also John the son of Zacharias, which Zacharias he (Elias) visited and gave promise that he should have a son, and his name should be John, and he should be filled with the spirit of Elias; which John I have sent unto you my servants, Joseph Smith Jr, and , to you unto this which you have received, that you might be called and ordained even as Aaron: And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse: and also, with Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, your fathers; by whom the promises remain: and also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days:
3 And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry: and of the same things which I revealed unto them: unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a of the gospel for the last days times; and for the fulness of times, in which I will gather together in one all things, both which are in Heaven and which are on earth: and also with all those whom my father hath given me out of the world: wherefore lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that you may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all ye may be able to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth; having on the breast plate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you, taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto [HC 1:107] you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful untill I come, and ye shall be caught up that where I am ye shall be also. Amen.
In obedience to the above we prepared some wine of our own make, and held our meeting, consisting only of five viz: and , myself and my , and . We partook together of the , after which we these two sisters into the , and spent the evening in a glorious manner. The Spirit of the Lord was poured out [p. 52] upon us, we praised the Lord God, and rejoiced exceedingly.
About this time a spirit of persecution began <​again​> to manifest itself against us in the neighborhood where I now resided, which was commenced by a man of the methodist persuasion, who professed to be a minister of God, and whose name was [blank]. This man came to understand <​understood​>, that my and his family had promised us protection, and were friendly; and enquiring into the work, and knowing that if he could get him turned against me, my friends in that place would be but few, he accordingly went to visit my father in law, and told him falsehoods concerning me, of the most shameful nature, which turned the Old gentleman and his family so much against us, that they would no longer promise us protection, nor believe our doctrines.
Towards the latter end of August I (in company with and , and my brother ) visited the at , N.Y. Well knowing the determined hostilities <​hostility​> of our enemies in that quarter, and also knowing that it was our duty to visit the church, we had called upon our Heavenly Father in mighty [HC 1:108] prayer, that he would grant us an opportunity of meeting with them; that he would blind the eyes of our enemies, so that they would not know us, and that we might on this occasion return unmolested.— Our prayers were not in vain, for, when within a little distance of s place, we encountered a large company at work upon the public road, among <​whom​> were several of our most bitter enemies. They looked earnestly at us, but not knowing us, we passed on with out interruption. We that evening assembled the church, and them, partook of the , and held a happy meeting, having much reason to rejoice in the God of our salvation, and sing Hosannas to his holy name.
Next morning we set out on our return home, and although our enemies had offered a reward of five dollars, to any one who would give them information of our arrival, yet did we get clear out of the neighborhood, without the least annoyance, and arrived at home in safety.— Some few days afterwards however, came to my place, and from him we learnt that very shortly after our departure the mob had came to know of our having been there, when they immediately collected together, and had threatened the brethren and very much annoyed them during all that day.
Mean time Brother Knight had came, with his waggon, prepared to move my family, &c, &c, to , N Y. Mr Whitmer having heard of the persecutions which had been got up against us at , Penn, had invited <​us​> to go and live with him; and during the last week of August we arrived at , amidst the congratulations of our brethren and friends.
To our great grief however, we soon found that Satan had been lying in wait to deceive, and seeking whom he might devour. Brother [p. 53] had got in his possession, a certain stone, by which he had obtained to certain <​two​> revelations, concerning the upbuilding of , the order of the [HC 1:109] &c &c, all of which were entirely at variance with the order of Gods house, as laid down in the new Testament, as well as in our late revelations.
September 1830
As a meeting had been appointed for the first day of September, I thought it wisdom not to do much more than to converse with the brethren on the subject, untill the conference should meet. Finding however that many (especially the Whitmer family and ) were believing much in the things set forth by this stone, we thought best to enquire of the Lord concerning so important a matter, and before conference convened, we received the following,
Revelation to , Given at , N,Y, September 1830.
1 Behold I say unto thee, , that it shall be given unto thee, that thou shalt be heard by the church, in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the comforter, concerning the revelations and which I have given.
2 But behold, verily, verily I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church, excepting my servant Joseph Smith Jr, for he receiveth them even as Moses; and thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give [HC 1:110] unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the church. And if thou art led at any time by the comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom: And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the Church; for I have given him the of the mysteries and the revelations which are , untill I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.
3 And now, behold I say unto you, that you shall go unto the , and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive their <​thy​> teachings, thou shalt cause my to be established among them, and thou shalt have revelations but write them not by way of commandment. And now behold I say unto you, that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold I say unto you, that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.
4 Thou shalt not leave this place until after conference, and my servant Joseph shall be appointed to preside over the conference by the voice of it, and what he saith to thee, thou shalt tell. And again, thou shalt take thy brother between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me, and that Satan deceiveth him: for behold these things have not been appointed unto him: neither shall any thing be appointed unto any of this church, contrary to the church covenants, for all things must [p. 54]
be done in order and by common consent in the , by the prayer of faith.
5 And thou shalt assist to settle all these things, according to the covenants of the church before thou shalt take thy journey among the . And it shall be given thee from the time that thou shalt go, untill the time that thou shalt return, what thou shalt do. And thou must open thy mouth at all times, declaring my gospel with the sound of rejoicing. Amen.
Revelation given in the presence of six elders, in , N,Y. September 1830.
Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I, AM, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins; [HC 1:111] who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice, and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer. Behold, verily, verily I say unto you, that at this time your sins are forgiven you, therefore you receive these things: but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you.
2 Verily I say unto you, that you are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel with the sound of rejoicing, as with the voice of a trump: lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom; and as it is written, Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, being united in prayer according to my , ye shall receive; and ye are called to bring to pass the of mine elect, for mine elect hear my voice, and harden not their hearts: wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father, that they shall be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts, and be prepared in all things, against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked: for the hour is nigh, and the day soon at hand, when the earth is ripe: and all the proud, and all <​they​> that do wickedly, shall be as stubble, and I will burn them up, saith the lord of hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth: for the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke so shall it come to pass; for I will reveal myself from heaven with power, and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.
3 And again, verily, verily I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, by the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments, [p. 55]
and none else; for a trump shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai, and all the earth shall quake, and they shall come forth: yea, even the dead which died in me, to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am, to be with me, that we may be one.
4 But behold, I say unto you, that before this great day shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven; and there shall be greater signs in heaven above, and in the earth beneath; [HC 1:112] and there shall be weeping and wailing among the hosts of men: and there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth: and it shall come to pass, because of the wickedness of the world, that I will take vengeance upon the wicked, for they will not repent: for the cup of mine indignation is full; for behold my blood will <​shall​> not cleanse them, if they hear me not.
5 Wherefore I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them, and their tongues shall be stayed, that they shall not utter against me, and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets: and it shall come to pass, that the beasts of the forests, and the fowls of the air, shall devour them up: and that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekeil the prophet, which spoke of these things, which have not come to pass, but surely must, as I live, for abomination shall not reign.
6 And again, verily, verily I say unto you, that when the thousand years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a little season; and the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed, and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, for all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts: the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost for it is the workmanship of mine hand.
7 But behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael mine Archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth; yea, even all; and the righteous shall be gathered on my right hand unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father: wherefore I will say unto them, depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
8 And now behold I say unto you, never at any time, have I declared from mine own mouth, that they should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power; [HC 1:113] but remember, that all my judgements are not given unto men: and as the words are <​have​> gone forth out of my mouth, even so shall they be [p. 56]
fulfilled, that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things, whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit; for by the power of my spirit created I them: yea, all things both spiritual and temporal: firstly spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work: and again, firstly temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work: Speaking unto you, that you may naturally understand, but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you, that ye may understand, because ye have asked it of me, and are agreed.
9 Wherefore, verily I say unto you, that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal, neither any man, nor the children of men: neither Adam your father, whom I created: behold I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural, nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.
10 And it came to pass, that Adam being tempted of the devil, for behold the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me saying, give me thy power Give me thine honor, which is my power: and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency: and they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels; and behold there is a place prepared for them, from the beginning, which place is hell: and it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves, for if they never should have bitter, they could not know the sweet.
11 Wherefore, it came to pass, that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook the forbidden fruit, and transgressed the , wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation. Wherefore I the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out of <​from​> the garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression: wherein he became spiritually dead: which is the first death, even that same death, which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say, Depart ye cursed.
12 But behold I say unto you, that I the Lord God gave unto [HC 1:114] Adam, and unto his seed, that they should not die unto as to the temporal death, untill I the Lord God should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine only begotten son: and thus I the the Lord God appoint unto man, the days of his probation; that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe, and they that believe not, unto eternal damnation, for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not, for they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of him whom they list to obey. 13. But behold I say unto you, that [p. 57]
little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world, through mine Only begotten: Wherefore they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, untill they begin to become accountable before me; for it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers.
14 And again I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not to repent, and he that hath no understanding, it remaineth in me to do according as it is written. And now I declare no more unto you at this time. Amen.
At length, our assembled; the subject of the stone above mentioned, was discussed, and after considerable investigation, , as well as the whole who were present, renounced the said stone, and all things connected therewith, much to our mutual satisfaction and happiness. We now partook of the , , and many, and attended to a great variety of business on that and the following day; during which time we had much of the power of God manifested amongst us; the Holy Ghost came upon us, and filled us with joy unspeakable; and peace, and faith, and hope, and charity abounded in our midst. Before we separated we obtained the following, [HC 1:115]
Revelation to , and given at , New York, September, 1830.
1 Behold I say unto you, , that you have feared man, and not relied on me for strength, as you ought: but your mind has been on the things of the earth more than on the things of me, your Maker, and the ministry whereunto you have been called; and you have not given heed unto my Spirit, and to those who were set over you, but you have been persuaded by those whom I have not commanded: wherefore you are left to enquire for yourself at my hand, and ponder upon the things which you have received. And your home shall be at ’s house, untill I give unto you further commandments. And you shall attend to the ministry in the Church, and before the world, and in the regions round about. Amen.
2 Behold I say unto you, , that you shall take your journey with your brother , for the time has come, that it is expedient in me, that you shall open your mouth to declare my gospel: therefore, fear not but give heed unto the words and advice of your brother, which he shall give you.— And be you afflicted in <​all​> his afflictions, ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer, and faith for his and your deliverance: for I have given unto him power, to build up my church among the : and none have I appointed to be his counsellor, over him, in the church, concerning church matters, except it is his [p. 58]
brother Joseph Smith Jr. Wherefore give heed unto these things, and be diligent in keeping these my , and you shall be blessed unto eternal life. Amen.
3 Behold I say unto you, my servant , that thou shalt commence from this time forth to proclaim my gospel, as with the voice of a trump. And your labour shall be at your brother ’, and in that region round about yea, wherever you can be heard, untill I command you to go from hence. And your whole labor shall be in , with all your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen.
Revelation to , given at , September 1830.
1 , my son, blessed are you because of your faith in my work. Behold you have had many afflictions on account of your family: [HC 1:116] nevertheless I will bless you, and your family: yea, your little ones, and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth, and be one with you in my .
2 Lift up your heart and rejoice for the hour of your mission is come; and your tongue shall be loosed; and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation. You shall declare the things which have been revealed to my servant Joseph Smith Jr. You shall begin to preach from this time forth; yea, to reap in the field which is white already to be burned: therefore thrust in your sickle with all your soul; and your sins are forgiven you; and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore your family shall live.
3 Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them: yea, I will open the hearts of the people and they will receive you. And I will establish a church by your hand; and you shall strengthen them and prepare them against the time when they shall be gathered. Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.
4 Behold I say unto you, that you shall be a physician unto the church, but not unto the world, for they will not receive you. Go your way whithersoever I will, and it shall be given you by the Comforter what you shall do, and whither you shall go. Pray always, lest you enter into temptation, and lose your reward. Be faithful unto the end and, lo, I am with you. These words are not of man nor of men, but of me, even Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, by the will of the Father. Amen. [HC 1:117] [3 lines blank] [p. 59]
During this which continued three days the utmost harmony prevailed and all things were settled satisfactory to all present, and a desire was manifest by all the saints to go forward and labor with all their power to spread the great and glorious principles of truth which had been revealed by our heavenly father. A number were during the conference and the work of the Lord spread and prevailed.
October 1830
At this time a great desire was manifest by several of the respecting the remnants of the house of Joseph— the residing in the west, knowing that the purposes of God were great to that people and hoping that the time had come when the promises of the Almighty in regard to that people were about to be accomplished, and that they would receive the gospel and enjoy its blessings. The desire being so great that it was agreed upon we should enquire of the Lord respecting the propriety of sending som of the Elders among them, which we accordingly did and received the following revelation
Revelation to and given Octr. 1830
1 And now concerning my servant behold I say [HC 1:118] unto him that as I live I will <​that he shall​> declare my gospel and learn of me, and be meek and lowly of heart and that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants and into the wilderness among the Lamanites; and also shall go with them, and I myself will go with them and be in their midst: and I am their advocate with the Father and nothing shall prevail. [HC 1:119] And they shall give heed to that which is written and pretend to no other revelations and they shall pray allways that I may unfold them to their understanding; and they shall give heed unto these words and trifle not and I will bless them. Amen.
Immediately on the receipt of receiving this revelation preparations were made for the journey of the brethren therin designated to the boarders of the Lamanites and a copy of the revelation was given them: [p. 60]
Having got ready for their journey they bade adieu to their Brethren and friends and commenced their journey, preaching by the way and leaving a testimony behind them lifting up their voice like a trump in the different villages through which they passed. They continued their journey until they came to <​mentor​> Ohio, <​*to page 72​> where they tarried some time there being quite a number in that place who believed their testimony and came forward and obeyed the gospel among the number was and a large portion of the Church over which he presided. [HC 1:120]
Biography of Sidney Rigdon
As there has been a great rumor and many false statements have been given to the world respecting s’ connexion with the church of Jesus Christ, it [is] necessary that <​a​> correct account of the same be given so, that the public mind may be disabused on the subject. I shall therefore proceed to give a brief history of his life drawn from Authentic sources, as also, an account of his connexion with the .
was born in Saint Clair Township Allegany County State of Pensylvania on the 19th. Feby A.D. 1793, and was the youngest son of William and Nancy Rigdon. William Rigdon his father was a native of Hartford County. State of Maryland, was born A.D. 1749 and died May 26th. A.D. 1810, in the 62nd. year of his age. William Rigdon was the son of Thomas Baker and Ann Lacy Rigdon. Thomas Baker Rigdon was a native of the State of Maryland and was the son of Thomas Baker Rigdon who came from Great Britain.
Ann Lacy Rigdon, Grandmother of was a native of Ireland and emigrated to <​the​> City of Mass and was there married to Thomas Baker Rigdon.
Nancy Rigdon his mother was a native of Freehold Monmouth County, New Jersey was born March 16. 1759 and died Octr. 3rd 1839 and was the eldest daughter of Bryant Gallaher who was a native of Ireland. Elisabeth Gallaher Mother to the said Nancy Rigdon was the second wife of the said Bryant Gallaher and whose maiden name was Reed and was a native of New Jersey. Her parents were natives of Scotland [p. 61] In giving an account of his progenitors is of the opinion that he is of Norman Extraction and thinks that the name of Rigdon was derived from the French word Rig-o-don which signifies a dance, which language was spoken by the Normans, and that his Ancestors came over to England with William the Conque[r]or.
His father William Rigdon was a farmer and he removed from the State of Maryland sometime prior to his marriage to the State of , and his Mother had removed some time prior to that from the State of to the same state, where they were married and continued to follow agricultural pursuits. They She had four children viz three Sons and the Daughter. The Eldest were sons called Carvel, Loami and The subject of this brief history the fourth a Daughter named Lacy.
Nothing very remarkable took place in the youthful days of , suffice it to say that he continued at home with his parents following the occupation of a Farmer until he was seventeen years of age when his father died. After which event he continued on the same farm with his mother until he was 26 years of age.
In his 25th. year he connected himself with a Society which in that year wa country was called Regular Baptists. The church he united with was at that time under the charge of the Rev David Phillips a clergyman from Wales. The year following he left the farm and went to reside with the Rev Andrew Clark a minister of the same order, during his continuance with him he received a licence to preach in that society and commenced from that time to preach and returned to farming occupations no more. This was in March A.D. 1819.
In the month of May of the same year, he left the State of and went to Trumball County State of Ohio, and took up his residence at the house of Adamson Bentley a preacher of the same faith. This [p. 62] was in July of the same year while there he became acquainted with Phebe Brooks to whom he was married on the 12th. of June A.D. 1820. She was a native of the state of <​Bridge Town Cumberland Co​> and had previously removed to Trumball Co Ohio After his marriage he continued to preach in that district of Country until Novr. 1821 when he was requested by the first Baptist Church of the City of to take the pastoral charge of said church, which invitation he accepted and in Feby A.D. 1822 he left Warren in Trumball Co and removed to that City and immediately entered upon his pastoral duties and continued to preach to that church with considerable success. At the time he commenced his labors in that church and for some time before, the church was in a very low state and much confusion existed in consequence of the conduct of their former pastor. However soon after Elder commenced his labours there was soon a plesing change effected, for by his incessant labors and his peculiar style of preaching the church was crowded with anxious listners. The number of members rapidly encreased and it soon became one of the most respectable churches in that City.
He was now a popular minister and was much respected in that City and all classes and persuasions sought his society.
After he had been in that city some time his mind was troubled and much perplexed with the idea that the doctrines maintained by that Society were not altogether in accordance with the scriptures. This thing continued to agitate his mind more and more and his reflections on these occasions were peculiarly trying. For according to his views of the word of God, no other Church that he was aquainted with was right or with whom he could associate. Consequently if he was to disavow the doctrine of the Church with whom he was then associated, he knew of no other way of obtaining a livlihood except by manual labor, and at that time had a wife and three children to support.
On the one hand was, wealth, popularity & honor; on the other <​appeared​> nothing but poverty and hard labour— [p. 63] But notwithstanding his great ministerial success and the prospect of ease and affluence, (which frequently Snarere the mind and have an undue influence on too many who wear the sacred garb of religion, who for the Sake of popularity and of wealth can calm and lull to rest their conscienticous scruples and succomb to the popular faith,) yet this his man ros mind rose superior to all these considerations, Truth was his pursuit and for truth he was prepared to make every sacrifice in his power. After mature deliberation, deep reflection & solemn prayer to his heavenly father, the resolve was made and the important step was taken and in the month of August A.D. 1824 after laboring among that people Two years and six months he made know his determination to withdraw from that Church as he could no longer uphold the doctrines taught and maintained by it. This announcement was like a clap of thunder amazement seized the congregation which was then collected which at last gave way for a flood of tears It would be in vain attempt to describe the feelings of the Church on that occasion who were zealously attached to their beloved pastor, or the feelings of their minister on his part it was indeed a struggle of principle over affection and kindness.
There was at the time of his separation from that Church a gentleman of the name of who was formerly from Ireland and who has since obtained Considerable not[o]riety in the religious world, who was then a member of the same association and who afterwards seperated from it. There was also another gentleman of the name of Walter Scott, a Scotchman by birth who was at that time a member of the Scandainenian Sandamenian church in that City and who seperated from the same about that time.
Prior to these seperations resided in Bethany Brook County Virginia where he published a monthly periodical called the Christian Baptist. After they had seperated from the different churches these gentlemen were on terms of the greatest friendship and frequently met together to discus the subject of religion being yet undetermined respecting [p. 64] the principles of the doctrine of Christ or what course to pursue. However from this connexion sprang up a new sect in the world known by the name of Campellites. They call themselves “desciples”. The reason why they were called Campellites was in consequence of ’s publishing the periodical above mentioned and it being the means through which they communicated their sentiments to the world, other than this was no more the originater of that sect than Elder
Having now retired from the ministry, and having no way to by which to sustain his family besides his own industry, he was necessi[t]ated to find other imployment in order to provide for their maintainance; and for this purpose he engaged in the humble capacity of a Journeyman Tanner in that City, and followed his new employment <​without​> murmering for two years. <​1826 Aug​> During which <​time​> he both saw and experienced, that by resigning his pastorial vocation in that city and engaging in the humble occupation of a tanner he had lost many who once professed the greatest friendship, and who manifested the greatest love for his society— that when he was seen by them in the garb suited to the employment of a tanner there was no longer that freedom, courtesy, and friendship manifested <​& that​> many of his friends became estranged, and looked upon him <​with​> coolness and indiferance; too obvious to admit of deception. To a well regulated and enlightened mind, to one, who soars above the arbitrary and vain lines of distinction which pride or envy may have drawn, such conduct appears ridiculous; while at the same time it cannot but cause feelings of a peculiar nature in those who, for their honesty and integrity of heart have brought themselves into situations to be made the subjects of it.
These things, however <​did not​> affect his mind, so as to change his purpose. He had counted the cost before his separation and had made his mind known to his his wife <​who​> cheerfully shared his sorrow and humiliation; believing that all things would work together for their good, being conscious that what they had <​done​>, was for conscience sake, and in the fear of the Lord.
After laboring for two years [p. 65] as a Tanner, he removed to Bainbridge, G[e]auga County Ohio, where it was known that he had been a preacher and had gained considerable distinction as a public speaker, and the bishop people soliciting to have him him to preach he complied with their request. From this time forward he devoted himself to the work of the ministry, confining himself to no creed but held up the Bible as the rule of faith, and advocated those Doctrines which had been the subject of his and ’s investigations, viz, Repentance and Baptism for the remission of sins.
He continued to labor in that vicinity one <​1827​> year and, During the time, his former success attended his labors; large numbers invariably attended his meetings. While he labored in that neighborhood he was instrumental in building up a large and respectable church in the Town of Mantua Portage County, Ohio. The doctrines which he advanced being new public attention was awakened and great excitement prevailed throughout that whole section of country and frequently the congregation <​congregations​> which he addressed were so large that it was impossible to make himself audible to all. The subjects he proposed were presented, in such an impressive manner, to the congregations that those who were unbiased by bigotry and prejudice had to exclaim “we never heard it in this manner before”. There were however some that opposed the doctrines which he advanced but not with that noble opposition which <​ever​> ocurred ought <​to​> characterize the nob[l]e and ingenuous, when they hold different views respecting religion. Those by whom he was chiefly opposed well knew that an honorable and public investigation would inevitably discover the weakness and fatality falibity of their doctrines consequently they shuned it, but resorted to base slander and abuse and <​endeavored​> by ridiculing the doctrines which he promulgated, to suppress them. This, however, did not turn him from the path which he felt to be his duty; for he continued to set forth the <​ was teaching the​> doctrine of repentance & baptism for remission of [p. 66] sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost according to the teachings of Peter, on the day of Penticost; exhorting his hearers, in the mean time, to throw away their creeds of faith, to take the Bible as their standard and search its sacred pages to learn to live by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of the Lord, and to rise above every sectarian sentiment and the tradition of the age, and explore the wide and glorious fields of truth which the scriptures holds out to view)
After labouring in that neighbourhood one year, he received a very pressing invitation to remove to the town of Mento[r] in the same county, and about thirty miles from Bainbridge and within a few miles from Lake Erie, which he sometime afterward complied with.
The persons by whom he was more particularly requested, to move to that place, were the remnents of a Baptist Church which was nearly broke up, the members of which had become attached to the doctrines promulgated by Elder .
The Town of Mento[r] was settled by wealthy and enterprising individuals, who had by industry and good management made that township one of the most delightful in that or probably in the Western Reserve. Its advantages for agricultural purposes could hardly be surpassed, while the splendid farms, fertile fields, and stately mansions make it particularly attractive to the eye of the traveller and gives evidence of enterprize and wealth.
In that beautiful location he took up his residence, and immediately commenced his labors, with that zeal and assiduity which had formerly characterized him. But being a stranger, and many reports being put in circulation, of a character calculated to lesson him in the estimation of the people and consequently destroy his influence. Some persons were even wicked enough to retail those slanderous reports which were promulgated, and endeavour to stir up persecution against him, consequently many of the citizens were jealous and did not extend to him that confidence which he might otherwise be expected. [p. 67]
His path was not strewed with flowers, but the thorns of persecution beset him and he had to contend against much prejudice and opposition, whose swollen waves might have sunk one less courageous, resolute and determined; yet, notwithstanding these unfavorable circumstances he continued to meet the storm, to stem the torrent and bear up under the reproach for some time.
At length the storm subsided; for after <​1828​> laboring in that neighborhood about eight months, he so won upon the feelings of the people by his consistant walk and Conversation, his frankness and sociability, combined with his overwhelming eloquence, that a perfect calm succeeded, their evil apprehensions and surmizings were allayed, their prejudices gave way; and the man whom they had looked upon with jealousy, was now their theme of praise and their welcome guest: Those who had been most hostile now became his warmest admirers and most constant friends. The churches in which he preached which had heretofore been filled with anxious hearers, were now filled to overflowing: the poor flocked to the services and the rich throng’d the assemblies.
The doctrines he advanced were new, but at the same time were elucidated with such clearness, and enforced with an eloquence altogether superior to what they had been accustomed to before, that those, whose sectarian predjudices were not too deeply rooted, who listened to the deep and searching discourses, which he delivered from time to time, could not fail of being greatly affected, and convinced that the principles he advanced were true, and in accordance with the scriptures.
Nor were his labors and success confined to that Township alone, but calls were made in every direction for him to preach, which he complied with as much as he possibly could, until his labors became very extensive and spread over a vast extent of country.
Wherever he went the same success attended his ministry, and he was every way received with kindness and welcomed by persons of all classes. Predjudice after prejudice gave way on every hand. Opposition after opposition was broken down, and bigotry was [p. 68] routed from its strong holds: The truths he advanced were received with gladness, and the doctrines he taught had a glorious ascendancy, wherever he had the opportunity of promulgating them.
His fame as an orator, and deep reasoner in the scriptures continued to spread far and wide, and he soon gained a popularity, and an elevation, which has fallen to the lot of but few; consequently thousands flocked to hear his eloquent discourses.
When it was known where he was going to preach, there might be seen, long before the appointed time, persons of all classes, sects, and denominations flocking like doves to the windows, from a considerable distance— The humble pedestrian, and the rich in their splendid equipages might be seen crowding the roads.
The churches in the different places w[h]ere he preached, were now no longer large enough to contain the vast assemblies which congregated from time to time, so that he had to repair to the wide spread canopy of heaven, and in the woods, and in the groves he addressed the multitudes which flocked to hear him.
Nor was his preaching in vain. It was not empty sound that so closely engaged the attention of his audiences and with which they were so deeply interested, but it was the truths which were imparted, the intelligence which was conveyed, and the duties which were enforced.
Not only did the writings of the new testament occupy his attention, but occasionally those of the antient prophets; particularly their prophesies which had reference to the present, and to the future; were brought up to review, and treated in a manner entirely new and deeply interesting. No longer did he follow the old beaten track which had been travelled for ages by the religious world; but he dared to enter upon new grounds, called in question the opinions of uninspired men, shewed the foolish ideas of many commentators on the sacred scriptures— exposed their [p. [69]] their ignorance and contradictions— threw new light on the sacred volume, particularly those prophesies which so deeply interested this generation, and which had been entirely overlooked, or mystified by the religious world — cleared up scriptures which had heretofore appeared inexplicable, and delighted his astonished audience with things “new and old”— proved to a demonstration the litteral fulfilment of prophecy, the gathering of Israel in the last days to their antient inheritances, with their ultimate splendour and glory.— The situation of the world at the coming of the son of man.— The Judgements which Almighty God would pour out upon the ungodly prior to that event, and the reign of christ with his saints on the earth in the mellenium.
These important subjects could not fail to have their weight on the minds of his hearers, who clearly discerned the situation in which they were placed, by the sound and logical arguments, which he adduced, and soon, numbers, felt the importance of obeying, that form of doctrine, which had been delivered them, so that they might be accounted worthy to escape those things which were coming on the earth and many came forward desiring to be baptized for the remission of sins. He accordingly commenced to baptize, and like John of old, there flocked to him people from all the region round about,— persons of all ranks and standings in society,— the rich the poor, the noble and the brave, flocked to be baptized of him
Nor was this desire confined to individuals or families, but whole societies, threw away their creeds in an[d] articles of faith, and became obedient to the faith he promulgated; and he soon had large and florishing Societies throughout that whole region of country.
He now was a welcome visitor wherever he travelled; and his society was courted by the learned and intelligent, and the highest encomiums were bestowed upon him, for his biblical lore and eloquence.
The work of the ministry engaged all his time and attention; he felt deeply for the salvation of his fellow man and for the attainment of which, he labored [p. 70] with unceasing diligence.
During this state of unexampled success, the prospect of wealth and afluence was fairly open before him, but he looked upon it with indifference and made every thing subserviant to the promotion of correct principles; and having food and raiment he learnt therewith to be content. as a proof of this his family were in no better circumstances, made no greater appearance in the world, than whe[n] he labored at the occupation of tanning. His family consisted of his wife and six children, and lived in a very small unfinished frame house, hardly capable of making a family comfortable, which affords an evident proof that his affections were not set upon things of a worldly nature, or secular aggrandizement.
After he had labored in that vicinity some time and having received but little pecuniary aid; the members of the churches, which he had built up, held a meeting, to take into consideration his circumstances, and after provide for his wants and place him in a situation suitable to the high and important office which he sustained in the church. They resolved upon erecting him a sui[t]able residence, where he could make his family comfortable, and accommodate his numerous friends who visited him. A committe was appointed to make a purchase of land and to erect such buildings as were necessary.
The committee soon made a purchase of a farm in a beautiful situation in that township and made contracts for erecting a suitable dwelling house, stable, barn &c &c. and soon made a commencement on the house and had a quantity of the building materials on the spot. He being held in the highest respect by that people, they entered into the work with pleasure, and seemed to vie with each other in their labor of love, believing it a duty to make their beloved pastor and his family comfortable.
His prospects with regard to temporal things, were now brighter than ever they had been [p. 71] before, and he felt happy in the midst of a people who had every disposition to promote his welfare.
Under these pleasing circumstances and enjoying this full tide of prosperity, he hardly thought, that for his attachment to truth, he would soon see the prospect blasted, and himself and family reduced to a more humble situation than before.
October 1830, continued
At this time, it being in the fall of A.D. 1830, Elders , , and , called at that town, on their way to the western boundaries of the State of , testifying to the truth of the “Book of Mormon”, and that the Lord had raised up a prophet, and restored the .)
<​x​> Previous to this Elder <​Mr​> had been a preacher in the same church with Elder and resided in the town of , Lorain Co. in that State, and had been sent into the State of on a mission, where he be[HC 1:121]came aquainted with the circumstances of the coming forth of the book of Mormon, and was introduced to Joseph Smith Junr. and other’s of the . After listening to the testimony of the witnesses, and reading the “Book” he became convinced that it was of God, and that the principles which they taught were the principles of truth, he was then and shortly after was an and began to preach, and from that time became a streneous advocate of the truth.
Believing there were many in the church with whom he had formerly been united who were honest seekers after truth, induced him while on his journey to the west, to call upon his friends and make known the great things which the Lord had brought to pass.<​0 See 4 lines below— This being​>
<​*​> The first house in at which they called was Elder s, and after the usual salutations presented him with the Book of Mormon, stating that it was a revelation from God. <​x​> <​see 2 paragraphs above—​> <​o​> This being the first time he <​​> had ever heard of or seen the Book of Mormon, he felt [HC 1:122] very much surprised at the assertion, and replied that he had their Bible which he believed was a revelation from [p. 72] God, and which he pretended to have some aquaintance, but with respect to the book they had [HC 1:123] presented him, he must say that he had considerable doubts. Upon which they expressed a desire to investigate the subject, and argue the matter, but he replied; No: Young gentlemen, “you must not argue with me on the subject, “but I will read your book and see what claims it has upon my faith, and will endeavour to ascertain, whether it be a revelation from God or not.
After some further conversation on the subject they expressed a desire to lay the subject before the people, and requested the privilege of preaching in Elder ’s Chapel <​to​> which he readily consented. The appointment was accordingly published and a large and respectable congregation assembled. and severally addressed the meeting. At the conclusion Elder arose and stated to the congregation, that the information they had that evening received was of an extraordinary character, and certainly demanded their most severe consideration, and as the Apostle advised his brethren “to prove all things and hold fast that which was good,” so he would exhort his brethren to do likewise and give the matter a careful investigation, and not turn against without being fully convinced of its being an imposition, lest they should possibly resist the truth.
<​see p. 74—​> This was indeed generous on the part of and gave evidence, of his entire freedom from any sectarian bias; but allowing his mind full scope to range untramelled through the scriptures, embracing every principle of truth and rejecting error under whatever guise it should appear, he was perfectly willing to allow his members the same privilege. Having received great light on the scriptures he felt desireous to receive more from whatever quarter it should come from. This was <​his previaleing​> characteristics and if any sentiment was advanced by any one, that was new or tended to throw light on the scriptures or the dealings of God with the children of men, it was allways treasured up in his mind, and gladly received it. [p. 73]
After the meeting broke up, the brethren returned home with Elder and conversed upon the important things which they had proclaimed. He informed them that he should read the Book of Mormon, give it a full investigation, and then would frankly tell them his mind and belief on the subject,— Told them they were welcome to abide at his house until he had oppertuing [opportunity] of reading it.
About two <​A few​> miles from Elder s, at the town of were a number of the members of his Church, who lived together and had all things common from which circumstance has arisen the idea that this was the case with the Church of Jesus Christ; to which place they immediately repaired and proclaimed the gospel unto them with considerable success for their testimony was received by many of the people and seventeen came forward in obedience to the gospel.
While thus engaged they visited Elder occasionally, and found him very earnestly engaged in reading the “Book of Mormon”, praying to the Lord for direction, and meditating on the things he heard and read; and [HC 1:124] after a fortnight from the time the Book was put into his hands, he was fully convinced of the truth of the work, by a revelation from Jesus Christ which was made known to him in a remarkable, manner, so that he could exclaim, “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto me but my father which is in heaven.”
Being now fully satisfied in his own mind of the truth of work and the necessity of obedience thereto he informed his wife of the same, and was happy to find, that she was not only diligently investigating the subject but was believing with all her heart, and was desirious of obeying the truth, which, undoubtedly was a great satisfaction to his mind.
The consequence <​of​> obeying the truth, and embracing a system of religion so unpopular as that of the at that time was, presented itself in the strongest possible light. At present the honors and [p. 74] applause of the world, were showered down upon him, his wants were abundantly supplied, and even anticipated. He was respected by the entire community; and his name was a tour [tower] of strength; His council was sought for, respected and esteemed. But if he should unite with the , his prospect of wealth and affluence would vanish, his family dependant upon him for support must necessarily share his humiliation and poverty. He was aware that his character and his reputation must suffer in the estimation of the community.
Aware of all these things, there must have been feelings of no ordinary kind, agitate <​agitating​> his bosom at that particular crisis, but yet they did not deter him from the path of duty: He had formerly made a sacrifice for truth and conscience sake and had been sustained; consequently he felt great confidence in the Lord, believing that if he pursued the path of duty, no good thing would be withheld from him.
Although he felt great confidence in the Lord yet he felt it a trial of some magnitude when he a◊◊◊◊ed his determination to his beloved companion, who had before shared in his poverty and who had cheerfully struggled through it without murmuring or repining.
He informed her what the consequences would undoubtedly be respecting their worldly circumstances if they obeyed the gospel and then said “My Dear you have once followed me into poverty, are you again willing to do the same” she answered I have weighed the matter, I have contemplated <​on​> the circumstances in which we may be placed, I have counted the cost, and I am perfectly satisfied to follow you. yea, it is my desire to do the will of God, come life or come death. Accordingly they <​( & wife)​> were both into the church of Jesus Christ; and, together with those who had been previously admitted to baptism, made a little in this section of , of about twenty members; whom the brethren, bound for the borders of the Lamanites; after adding to their [p. 75] number, one of their converts, Dr