Letter from John Taylor, 3 February 1841

  • Source Note

Document Transcript

, Feb. 3rd, 1841
Very Dear Brother:—
Peace be to you and your household, and may the blessings of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob rest upon you, and abide with you for ever, and ever, Amen.
I have to apologise for being so long in writing to you, as month after month has rolled along in quick sucession since ever I performed that duty, or dropped a line to that man whom above all others upon the face of the earth, I have the greatest reason to respect; because God has done it, and chosen him from among all the nations of the earth as the honored instrument to whom he would reveal himself, commit the keys of the kingdom unto; and by whose means he would usher in the “fulness of the dispensation of times,” gather his Israel, bring in the fulness of the Gentiles, redeem the earth from under the curse, and prepare a people for that time when the earth should resume its paradistic glory, creation be delivered from under the curse, and all creation praise the Lord, that dispensation which cheered the hearts of Patriarchs, and Prophets, and Apostles, that restitution the thought of which dried the martyrs tear, soothed the pillow of the dying saint; supported his prophets when strangers, and pilgrims, upheld and cheered them in prisons, in dens, in caves, in dungeons, in death; for they had respect to the recompense of reward. That dispensation which has employed the energies of dead (living saints) to accomplish, even Abel, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Moses, Eligah, Our Savior, Peter, Moroni, Alma, Amalek, Nephi,—and Michael, and all the priesthood, who according to the councils of God, the decrees of heaven, the order of the priesthood, the eternal purpose of Jehovah have selected the man, set in order the priesthood, ushered in that dispensation of which they all wrote, all prophesied of, all looked forward too, all anticipated, all died in the faith of: which faith we participate of, which blessing we enjoy; which glory we expect to see brought about through the mercy of God the intercession of Jesus, and the united energies of living and dead saints, we being made perfect by them and they by us.—
I thank God my Heavenly Father, that ever I heard the sound of this gospel, and received a part in this priesthood. I received it with greater joy than earthly treasures, than the effervescent praise of man, or all the empty bubbles of earthly honor. And I pray [p. 400] that I may be kept humble, and that I may be able to realize continually the importance of my calling and finish my work with joy.
I have no doubt but that the rest of my brethren in the Quorum have all written to you, and no doubt will have put you in possession of all general information in relation to the work here; you have also received intelligence of our movements through the medium of the “Star” it would therefore be superfluous in me to enter into, those things generally. I am happy to state, however, that we have been united in our councils to the present time; that there has been no discordant feeling, nor jarring string; we were very happy to receive a communication from you, and to hear that things were prospering so well in , and wi the church generally; we were pleased to have your approbation and council which at all times is very acceptable. We have also received your letter in the “Times and Seasons” which also gave us satisfaction: and we feel thankful to our Heavenly Father that in all things we have gone right both in regard to our publishing the Hymn Book, the Book of Mormon and to our purposes in regard to coming home, and in regard to our labors. We find that in all things our proceedings have precisely accorded with your council.
As it regards the work in general it is prospering here on all hands, in , where it first commenced; they are continually adding to the church in , Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and in Lancashire. In , the work is beginning to break out, and in Edinburg, and Glasgow it is prospering. In the Isle of Man, and in Wales, it is rolling forth and to use a Sectarian expression “there has been a going among the mulberry trees” “a shaking among the dry bones.”
Perhaps it may not be altogether uninteresting for me to give a brief history of my proceedings since I left in company with , it would be superfluous for me to state the route we took to . Our mode of traveling, my sickness on the road, and our visit to &c. Suffice it to say, , and I landed in January 1840 and immediately proceeded to , to council with the Persident of the church in England and his council, as to our best mode of proceeding until the rest of our Quorum came, when it was agreed upon that I should go to , and go to Staffordshire and then go to Birmingham if they thought proper; we took the parting hand the day following and each one took his respective course. accompanied me to where we immediately commenced our labors: the first Sabbath we visited several places of worship I asked liberty to make a few remarks in one and had an opportunity of speaking in their vestry to 18, or 20, preachers, and leaders while I was delivering my testimony some wept and others shouted Glory be to God, but when on being asked; I informed them what society we belonged to, they were afraid of us, having heard so many reports. One of their preachers, however, invited us home in the evening, and we appointed a meeting at his house in the week—members attended, to whom we conversed. We then took a room that would hold 4 or 500 people and in the meantime visited all that we could get access to. We called upon many of the leading ministers of different denominations, and delivered our testimony to them, some received us kindly, some otherwise but none would let us have their Chapels to hold forth in, they were so good in general, and so pure, that they had no room for the gospel, they were too holy to be righteous, too good to be pure, and had too much religion to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Our being in town soon got rumored about and I suppose about 300 attended our first meeting, in preaching the power of God rested upon the people, and on my asking them if it was not good news they responded “yes”—while many wept under the influence of the spirit; and after preaching, ten persons came forward to be baptized, some of which felt convinced as soon as they saw us that we were men of God, and others had dreamed about us. Thus we see that the power was of God and not of man and to Him be the Glory. Things have continued to progress in this place from that time to the present we have now about 160 in society: 3 Elders, 5 Priests, 2 Teachers, and 2 Deacons.— We have taken the largest Hall in , and in the most eligible situation for twelve months, and things seem more likely for progressing than ever they have done from the commencement.
I visited Ireland some time ago and planted the standard of truth in that nation I stayed there something over a week, preached in several places, and baptized 2 before I left. Elder [Theodore] Curtis is now there and there is between 20 and 30 baptized. I did purpose making a stand in Belfast, but as I had other engagements in Scotland and , I knew that I would not commence without giving our adversaries an advantage which I knew that they would make a dishonorable use of; so I thought it best not to commence, as I had not time to stay. From thence I went to the City of Glasgow in Scotland where I met with , who had raised up a small church, to whom I preached. On my way to Glasgow a gentleman on the same boat informed me that had written a letter to his friends concerning the persecution and that as he was acquainted with him he, had published it in a periodical of that City (Belfast) I preached several times also in a place called Paisely in Scotland, where Elders [Samuel] Mulliner and [Alexander] Wright had raised up a church and obtained considerable influence, from thence I returned to , soon after I started to the Isle of Man, where I hired a large room capable of containing 1000 persons and commenced delivering lectures: great excitement prevailed and a persecuting spirit soon manifested itself. I held a discussion with one man, a preacher which had a tendency to enlighten the eyes of the public. Another wrote in the papers, and I answered him, another published pamphlets, and I answered them; another delivered lectures and I answer [p. 401]ed them, and finally challenged any of them to meet me before the public and prove the Book of Mormon, and my doctrine false if they could, but this they were afraid to do and gave up the contest. I see sir, more clearly every day the impossiblity of overturning the principles of truth by any of the foolish dogmas or lame reasoning of this present generation, and how should they? for God has revealed it, and his arm supports it. I went to a country place on the Is[l]and and sat down in the chimney corner, and talked to a few neighbors, who came in, and baptized 8 and and confirmed them the same night before I left them, nor would they wait until the morning. I sent you several papers which no doubt you will have received, I staid between two and three months in the Island, has been laboring there since I left, now he is gone to , and one of our brethren is there. There is about 70 baptized and the work is still progressing there is another place in the neighborhood of , a branch of this place, where there is 30 members. The numbers in this neighborhood that I have had a hand in, are as follows:
160. Isle of Man 70.
Ireland about 25. Howarden [Hawarden, Wales] 30.
I mention this to show that I have not labored in vain, but that God has in some measure blessed my feeble labors.
The work in this country is beginning to attract more general notice, and to assume a more formidable and respectable appearance in , in , and also in the Isle of Man, we have the largest Hall in this place, and men of respectability and influence begin to look at it: it has for some time been almost exclusively confined to the lowest grade of society, particularly in the manifactory districts, but I think the time is not far distant when the trumpet will sound loudly through all parts of this land and all classes will hear it.
You will probably be made acquainted with our attentions of visiting this next Spring we propose holding a general conference and setting in order the affairs of the church, and then taking our departure some time in the middle of April. however purposes staying. We have no intelligence yet of Elders and , nor any of the Seventies arrived but three, two of which have returned. (Elders and Blakesley) Elder [James] Burnham will stay for some time. It would be well if more of them were here, if they were good men, and men of intelligence. is in , from whence Elders , and have started. Elder continues, he is I think in, or near Birmingham. will return with us. About 330 saints started from here about 3 weeks ago, upwards of 200, by , Ship “Sheffield.” Captain [Richard K.] Porter, via , the remainder on Ship “Echo.” Captain Wood, also for . A small company, expect to start the same route, perhaps 50, to sail on the 12th, of this month on the “Ulesto,” perhaps you may get this before any of them arrive, as it goes to-morrow per Steam Packet. I have not room for politics, in fact there is nothing particular at present The Egyptian affair is settled. France is coming to her reason again, and I do not think that and England will go to war about McLeod, the sitting of the Syrian question has of course opened a way for the Jews. How the affairs of China will terminate is yet, I believe a little uncertain.
As ever yours in the bonds of the Everlasting Covenant,
To President Joseph Smith. [p. 402]