DC 124 Historical Background
NAUVOO THE BEAUTIFUL
"Most of the Saints expelled from the State of Missouri during the winter 1838-9, found their way into Illinois and Iowa. A majority of them went to Quincy, Ill., about 200 miles from Far West, and there they were kindly and hospitably received. Governor Carlin of Illinois, legislators, and private citizens vied with each other in proffering assistance and sympathy.
"Among the prominent citizens who, at this time, extended a helping hand to the Saints were Daniel H. Wells, a native of Trenton, New York, and Dr. Isaac Galland. Daniel H. Wells was the owner of a tract of land, which he divided into lots and which the exiles were offered, practically on their own terms. Dr. Galland, also, sold his land at a reasonable price and on the most favorable terms.
"The Prophet arrived at Quincy on the 22nd of April, 1839, and two days after, a Council was convened and resolutions were passed directing some of the Saints to go to Zion, and some to settle on Dr. Galland's land, near Commerce, 111. This location soon became the central gathering place, and its name was changed to Nauvoo. In the year 1841, when this Revelation was given, this beautiful city had about 3,000 inhabitants. A charter had been granted by the Illinois Legislature, by which Nauvoo was given a liberal municipal government, with authority to form a militia and erect a university. A Temple was about to be built. The scattered Saints were gathering, and the settlements in Illinois were growing rapidly. The mission in Great Britain was highly successful. Such were the general conditions when this Revelation was given. The Church had a moment's rest. There was calm before the next storm." (Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 768)
"Joseph had selected an area along the banks of the Mississippi River as the saints' new home. Two cities were to be built, the city on the east side of the river was to be called Nauvoo the beautiful, and the city on the west side of the river was to be called Zarahemla. Joseph began to buy land in the area and encouraged the Saints to do the same. Philo Dibble related the circumstances of one land purchase:
When Joseph first came to Nauvoo, then called Commerce, a Mr. White, living there, proffered to sell him his farm for twenty-five hundred dollars, five hundred dollars of the amount to be paid down, and the balance one year from that time. Joseph and the brethren were talking about this offer when some of them said: "We can't buy it, for we lack the money."
Joseph took out his purse, and emptying out its contents, offered a half dollar to one of the brethren, which he declined accepting, but Joseph urged him to take it, and then gave each of the other brethren a similar amount, which left him without any. Addressing the brethren he then said: "Now you all have money, and I have none; but the time will come when I will have money and you will have none!"
He then said to Bishop Knight, "You go back and buy the farm!"
The bargain was closed and the obligations drawn up, but how the money was going to be raised neither Brother Knight nor the other brethren could see.
The next morning Joseph and several of the brethren went down to Mr. White's to sign the agreement and make the first payment on the land. A table was brought out with the papers upon it, and Joseph signed them, moved back from the table and sat with his head down, as if in thought for a moment. Just then a man drove up in a carriage and asked if Mr. Smith was there. Joseph hearing it, got up and went to the door. The man said, "Good morning, Mr. Smith; I am on a speculation today. I want to buy some land, and thought I would come and see you."
Joseph then pointed around where his land lay, but the man said: "I can't go with you today to see the land. Do you want any money this morning?"
Joseph replied that he would like some, and when the stranger asked how much, he told him, "Five hundred dollars."
The man walked into the house with Joseph, emptied a small sack of gold on the table, and counted out that amount. He then handed to Joseph another hundred dollars, saying: "Mr. Smith, I make you a present of this!"
After this transpired, Joseph laughed at the brethren and said: "You trusted in money; but I trusted in God. Now I have money and you have none." (Andrus, They Knew the Prophet, 71-72)
(Brian and Petrea Kelly, Latter-Day History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 222-223)
The name of our city (Nauvoo) is of Hebrew origin, and signifies a beautiful situation, or place, carrying with it, also, the idea of rest; and is truly descriptive of the most delightful location. It is situated on the east bank of the Mississippi river, at the head of the Des Moines Rapids, in Hancock county, bounded on the east by an extensive prairie of surpassing beauty, and on the north, west, and south, by the Mississippi. This place has been objected to by some on account of the sickness which has prevailed in the summer months, but it is the opinion of Doctor Bennett, that Hancock county, and all the eastern and southern portions of the City of Nauvoo, are as healthful as any other portions of the western country, to acclimatized citizens; whilst the northwestern portion of the city has experienced much affliction from fever and ague, which, however, Doctor Bennett thinks can be easily remedied by draining the sloughs on the adjacent islands in the Mississippi.
The population of our city is increasing with unparalleled rapidity, numbering more than 3,000 inhabitants. Every facility is afforded, in the city and adjacent country, in Hancock county, for the successful prosecution of the mechanical arts and the pleasing pursuits of agriculture. The waters of the Mississippi can be successfully used for manufacturing purposes to almost an unlimited extent. (History of the Church, 4:268)
PROPHET HEALS THE SICK
...The Saints in Nauvoo were busy draining swamps, clearing trees, building cabins, planting crops, and building a new town. Soon, however, a sickness, probably malaria, struck many of the people. Joseph and Emma opened their home to the sick but they soon became ill themselves. Wilford Woodruff recorded on July 22:
...while I was living in this cabin... we experienced, with the Prophet Joseph Smith, a day of God's power... On the morning of the 22nd of July, 1839, he arose, reflecting upon the situation of the Saints of God in their persecutions and afflictions. He called upon the Lord in prayer, the power of God rested upon him mightily, and as Jesus healed all the sick around Him in His day, so Joseph, the Prophet of God, healed all around on this occasion. He healed all in his house and dooryard; then, in company with Sidney Rigdon and several of the Twelve, went among the sick lying on the bank of the river, where he commanded them in a loud voice, in the name of Jesus Christ, to rise and be made whole, and they were all healed. When he had healed all on the east side of the river that were sick, he and his companions crossed the Mississippi River in a ferry-boat to the west side, where we were, at Montrose. The first house they went into was President Brigham Young's. He was sick on his bed at the time. The Prophet went into his house and healed him, and they all came out together.
"As they were passing by my door, Brother Joseph said: 'Brother Woodruff, follow me.' These were the only words spoken by any of the company from the time they left Brother Brigham's house till they crossed the public square, and entered Brother Fordham's house. Brother Fordham had been dying for an hour, and we expected each minute would be his last. I felt the spirit of God that was overpowering His Prophet. When we entered the house, Brother Joseph walked up to Brother Fordham and took him by the right hand, his left hand holding his hat. He saw that Brother Fordham's eyes were glazed, and that he was speechless and unconscious.
"After taking his hand, he looked down into the dying man's face and said: 'Brother Fordham, do you not know me?' At first there was no reply, but we all could see the effect of the spirit of God resting on the afflicted man. Joseph again spoke. 'Elijah, do you not know me?' With a low whisper Brother Fordham answered, 'Yes'. The Prophet then said: 'Have you not faith to be healed?' The answer, which was a little plainer than before, was: 'I am afraid it is too late; if you had come sooner, I think I might have been.' He had the appearance of a man waking from sleep; it was the sleep of death. Joseph then said: 'Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ?' 'I do, Brother Joseph,' was the response. Then the Prophet of God spoke with a loud voice, as in the majesty of Jehovah: 'Elijah, I command you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to arise and be made whole.'
"The words of the Prophet were not like the words of man, but like the voice of God. It seemed to me that the house shook on its foundation. Elijah Fordham leaped from his bed like a man raised from the dead. A healthy color came to his face, and life was manifested in every act. His feet had been done up in Indian meal poultices; he kicked these off his feet, scattered the contents, then called for his clothes and put them on. He asked for a bowl of bread and milk, and ate it. He then put on his hat and followed us into the street, to visit others who were sick.
"The unbeliever may ask, 'Was there not deception in this?' If there is any deception in the mind of the unbeliever, there was certainly none with Elijah Fordham, the dying man, or with those who were present with him; for in a few minutes he would have been in the spirit world, if he had not been rescued. Through the blessing of God he lived up till 1880, when he died in Utah; while all who were with him on that occasion, with the exception of one (myself), are in the spirit world. Among the number present were Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and Wilford Woodruff.
"As soon as we left Brother Fordham's house, we went into the home of Joseph B. Noble, who was very low. When we entered the house, Brother Joseph took Brother Noble by the hand, and commanded him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole. He did arise, and was healed immediately.
"While this was going on, the wicked mob in the place, led by one Kilburn, had become alarmed, and followed us into Brother Noble's house. Before they arrived there, Brother Joseph called upon Brother Fordham to offer prayer. While he was praying, the mob entered, with all the evil spirits accompanying them. As soon as they entered, Brother Fordham, who was praying, fainted, and sank to the floor. When Joseph saw the mob in the house, he arose and had the room cleared of both that class of men and their attendant devils. Then Brother Fordham immediately revived, and finished his prayer.
"The case of Brother Noble was the last one of healing upon that day. It was the greatest day for the manifestation of the power of God through the gift of healing since the organization of the Church. When we left Brother Noble's the Prophet Joseph, with those who had accompanied him from the other side, went to the bank of the river, to return home.
"While waiting for the ferry-boat, a man of the world, knowing of the miracles which had been performed, came to Joseph and asked him if he would not go and heal twin children of his, about five months old, who were both lying sick nigh unto death. They were some two miles from Montrose. The Prophet said he could not go; but, after pausing some time, said he would send some one to heal them; and he turned to me and said: 'You go with the man and heal his children.' He took a red silk hankerchief out of his pocket, gave it to me, told me to wipe their faces with the handkerchief when I administered to them, and they should be healed. He also said to me: 'As long as you will keep that handkerchief, it shall remain a league between you and me.' I went with the man, did as the Prophet commanded me, and the children were healed. I have possession of the handkerchief unto this day (Cowley, Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life and Labors, 104-6)." (Brian and Petrea Kelly, Latter-Day History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 225-226)
APPEAL TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
"[By November 1839], Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Elias Higby, and Orrin Porter Rockwell were on their way to Washington, D.C. They were carrying documents and petitions to present to the Congress of the United States to prove the injustices the Saints had suffered in Missouri.
"During the journey, President Rigdon became so ill that he and Porter Rockwell stopped in Columbus, Ohio, while Joseph and Elias Higby continued on to Washington by stagecoach...
"They arrived in Washington on November 28, 1839, and set about their business the next day. Joseph recorded their activities in a letter to his brother Hyrum and the Saints in Nauvoo:
On Friday morning, 29th, we proceeded to the house of the President. We found a very large and splendid palace, surrounded with a splendid enclosure, decorated with all the fineries and elegancies of this world. We went to the door and requested to see the President, when we were immediately introduced into an upper apartment, where we met the President, and were introduced into his parlor, where we presented him with our letters of introduction. As soon as he had read one of them, he looked upon us with a half frown, and said, "What can I do? I can do nothing for you! If I do anything, I shall come in contact with the whole state of Missouri."
But we were not to be intimidated; and demanded a hearing, and constitutional rights. Before we left him he... observed that he felt to sympathize with us, on account of our sufferings.
We have spent the remainder of our time in hunting up the Representatives in order to get our case brought before the House; in giving them letters of introduction, etc., and in getting acquainted. A meeting of the delegation of the state of Illinois was appointed today, to consult for bringing our case before Congress. The gentlemen from Illinois are worthy men, and have treated us with the greatest kindness, and are ready to do all that is in their power; but you are aware, brethren, that they with us have all the prejudices, superstition, and bigotry of an ignorant generation to contend with; nevertheless we believe our case will be brought before the House, and we will leave the event with God; He is our Judge, and the Avenger of our wrongs.
For a general thing there is but little solidity and honorable deportment among those who are sent here to represent the people; but a great deal of pomposity and show. (Smith, History of the Church, 4:40)
"After a couple of weeks in Washington, Joseph left the political business to Judge Higby while he took a train to Philadelphia to preach the gospel and meet with Saints... joseph returned to Washington and met again with President Van Buren who stated, 'Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you. If I take up for you, I shall lose the vote of Missouri' (Smith, History of the Church, 4:80). Joseph then concluded:
His whole course went to show that he was an office-seeker, that self-aggrandizement was his ruling passion, and that justice and righteousness were no part of his composition. I found him such a man as I could not conscientiously support at the head of our noble Republic. I also had an interview with Mr. John C. Calhoun, whose conduct towards me very ill became his station. I became satisfied there was little use for me to tarry (Smith, History of the Church, 4:80)
"Before he left Washington, Joseph preached a few sermons, Matthew S. Davis, a member of Congress attended one of these sermons and wrote to his wife:
My Dear Mary:-I went last evening to hear "Joe Smith," the celebrated Mormon, expound his doctrine. I, with several others, had a desire to understand his tenets as explained by himself. He is not an educated man: but he is a plain, sensible, strong minded man. Everything he says, is said in a manner to leave an impression that he is sincere. There is no levity, no fanaticism, no want of dignity in his deportment. He is apparently from forty to forty-five years of age, rather above the middle stature, and what you ladies would call a very good looking man. In his garb there are no peculiarities; his dress being that of a plain, unpretending citizen. He is by profession a farmer, but is evidently well read...
Throughout his whole address, he displayed strongly a spirit of charity and forbearance... I have changed my opinion of the Mormons. They are an injured and much-abused people (Smith, History of the Church, 4:78-79).
'Unfortunately, the Mormons' requests for help never made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Joseph left for home in early February. Judge Higby stayed a few weeks longer, but finally concluded:
[T]he decision is against us, or in other words unfavorable... they believe redress can only be had in Missouri, the courts and the legislature... I feel now that we have made our last appeal to all earthly tribunals; that we should now put our whole trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We have a right now which we could not heretofore so fully claim-that is, of asking God for redress and redemption, as they have been refused us by man (Smith, History of the Church, 4:88).
"In March of 1840, the Prophet was back in Nauvoo supervising the city's development." (Brian and Petrea Kelly, Latter-Day History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 229-232)
RETURN FROM WASHINGTON AND IMMIGRATION OF THE BRITISH SAINTS
"Returning from four months in the East, Joseph marveled at Nauvoo's progress. The marshy city no longer looked so bad: 'There is now every prospect of our haveing a good society, a peaceable habitation and a desirable residence here.'... 'Nauvoo,' he wrote a prospective convert, 'is probably the best & most beautiful site for a city on the River.' 'If we are suffered to remain there is every prospect of its becoming one of the largest cities on the river if not the western world.' Quincy and Alton, the two most advanced Illinois towns along the Mississippi, each contained about 2,300 people in 1840. Chicago was 4,470, and Springfield, the state capital, just 2,579. Joseph said Nauvoo had nearly 3,000 people, probably including the surrounding countryside, and more were on the way...
"His hopes for Nauvoo rose with rapidly increasing migration. The first boatload of English Mormon immigrants left the Liverpool docks on June 6, 1840, the beginning of a later flood. By 1841, British membership was 5,814, with more eager to migrate than funds allowed. Brigham Young, leader of the 1839 contingent of missionaries, set the Saints off by the shipload. In the first three years of organized migration, more than 2,800 Saints crossed the sea from Britain, some landing in New York, but most in New Orleans. Joseph liked to stroll to the Nauvoo docks to welcome boatloads of converts. The British Saints hoped he would come to England; instead, he offered 'a pressing invitation to come and see me' in Nauvoo.
"Success in Britain dispelled any thought that Mormonism was an American religion. The Book of Mormon may have had a special appeal for Americans, but in England Brigham young and Willard Richard found 'the people of this land much more ready to receive the gospel than those of America.' As in America, the missionaries attracted radical Protestants, many from the United Brethren, a Methodist offshoot searching for the New Testament gospel's promise of spiritual gifts. Within six months of the apostles' arrival, over a thousand, including scores of lay preachers, accepted the message of Wilford Woodruff and other missionaries in Herefordshire where the United Brethren were concentrated. The typical English convert was a dissatisfied Christian seeking religion along the margins of conventional church life. And, as Brigham Young said in a report to Joseph, 'almost without exception it is the poor that receive the gospel.'" (Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 409)
DC 124:1 my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments
Intermittently over the preceding 14 years, the Lord and his angels had been pretty stern with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Moroni warned him not to seek the plates for monetary gain. On one occasion, he received such a stern rebuke from the angel that he looked physically spent, admitting "I have taken the severest chastisement that I have ever had in my life." (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother [Salt Lake City: Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1945], 99 - 101) The Lord rebuked him regarding the 116 pages, "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... because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall... therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you... Except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift." (D&C 3:6-11) Five years later, the Prophet was told, "verily I say unto Joseph Smith, Jun.-You have not kept the commandments, and must needs stand rebuked before the Lord." (D&C 93:47)
If the Lord loveth him whom he chasteneth (Heb. 12:6), then the Lord loved Joseph Smith. The "rough stone rolling" had become pretty smooth around the edges by 1841. Over the years, he had withstood multiple rebukes from the Lord; he had weathered the apostasy of Kirtland in 1837; he had passed the test of Liberty Jail in the winter of 1838. How pleasant it must have been, then, for Joseph to know that the Lord was "well pleased." His offering for the cause had fully demonstrated that in all things the Lord's cause would come first. There would be no more bending to the persuasions of men. The Prophet had learned his lessons. He had weathered the storms.
"Joseph emerged from his months in the Liberty jail with deeper spiritual maturity and power. For nearly nineteen years he had often faced mobs or persecutions, but in prison, though miserable, he had unhindered time to ponder on all the things he had been through and learned. Before the jail, because of his lack of polish and experience, he used great orators to speak for him, like Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery. Now he would stand on his own." (Scot Facer Proctor, Witness of the Light: A Photographic Journey in the Footsteps of the American Prophet Joseph Smith, edited by Maurine Jensen Proctor [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 172.)
Joseph Smith never professed to be a dressed, smooth, polished stone, but to have come rough out of the mountain; and he has been rolling among the rocks and trees, yet it has not hurt him at all: but he will be as smooth and polished in the end as any other stone, while many who were so very polished and smooth in the beginning get badly defaced and spoiled while they are rolling about. (History of the Church, 6: 21.)
I honor and revere the name of Joseph Smith. I delight to hear it; I love it. I love his doctrine...
I feel like shouting Hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 458)
DC 124:2 Nauvoo stake... a cornerstone of Zion... polished with the refinement... of a palace
"With an eye of vision that went beyond the malarial swamp, Joseph renamed Commerce 'Nauvoo,' a Hebrew word meaning 'a beautiful place.' The Saints set out to make the place live up to its name.
"Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a non-Mormon who, weary with traveling through Iowa, among 'a country marred without being improved by careless hands' of the idle settlers, describes his delight at descending a last hillside and having Nauvoo come into view: 'Half encircled by a bend of the river, a beautiful city lay glittering in the fresh morning sun. Its bright new dwellings, set in cool green gardens ranging up around a stately dome-shaped hill. . . . The city appeared to cover several miles, and beyond it, in the background, there rolled off a fair country chequered by the careful lines of fruitful husbandry. The unmistakable marks of industry, enterprise and educated wealth everywhere, made the scene one of singular and most striking beauty.'" (Scot Facer Proctor, Witness of the Light: A Photographic Journey in the Footsteps of the American Prophet Joseph Smith, edited by Maurine Jensen Proctor [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 162)
But the prophecy has not yet seen its final fulfillment. The dedication of the Nauvoo temple in June 2002 may have marked a new era for the historic site, but Nauvoo is not done making history. We should not be surprised if, when all of North and South America becomes a Zion as the prophet prophesied, that nostalgic Nauvoo will be considered one of its cornerstones, "polished with the refinement which is after the similitude of a palace."
DC 124:2-3 make a solemn proclamation... to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof
"Although several assignments were given and some effort expended, because of the pressure of building the temple and various disruptions, this proclamation was not written during the lifetime of Joseph Smith. After his death, the Quorum of the Twelve took responsibility to fulfill the command by issuing a proclamation to the world in 1845. The proclamation reviewed the history of the Church and the problems it faced as a result of the persecution in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. It testified of the future establishment of Zion and the second coming of the Lord, and it invited leaders of the various lands to open their doors to the preaching of the gospel." (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2001] 4:182-183)
Wilford Woodruff published and Parley P. Pratt authored the 16 page pamphlet, a portion of which reads:
PROCLAMATION OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS TO ALL THE KINGS OF THE WORLD, TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE SEVERAL STATES, AND TO THE RULERS AND PEOPLE OF ALL NATIONS.
Know ye that the kingdom of God has come, as has been predicted by ancient prophets, and prayed for in all ages; even that kingdom which shall fill the whole earth, and shall stand for ever....
Therefore we send unto you, with authority from on high, and command you all to repent and humble yourselves as little children before the majesty of the Holy One; and come unto Jesus with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and be baptized in his name for the remission of sins (that is, be buried in the water, in the likeness of his burial, and rise again to newness of life in the likeness of his resurrection), and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the laying on of the hands of the apostles and elders, of this great and last dispensation of mercy to man.
This Spirit shall bear witness to you of the truth of our testimony, and shall enlighten your minds, and be in you as the spirit of prophecy and revelation; it shall bring things past to your understanding and remembrance, and shall show you things to come....
By the light of this Spirit, received through the ministration of the ordinances-by the power and authority of the Holy Apostleship and Priesthood, you will be enabled to understand, and to be the children of light; and thus be prepared to escape all the things that are coming on the earth, and so stand before the Son of Man.
We testify that the foregoing doctrine is the doctrine or gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness; and that it is the only true, everlasting, and unchangeable gospel; and the only plan revealed on earth whereby man can be saved....
There is also another consideration of vast importance to all the rulers and people of the world, in regard to this matter. It is this: As this work progresses in its onward course, and becomes more and more an object of political and religious interest and excitement, no king, ruler, or subject, no community or individual, will stand neutral. All will at length be influenced by one spirit or the other; and will take sides either for or against the kingdom of God, and the fulfilment of the prophets, in the great restoration and return of his long dispersed covenant people...
We say, then, in life or in death, in bonds or free, that the great God has spoken in this age.-And we know it.
He has given us the Holy Priesthood and Apostleship, and the keys of the kingdom of God, to bring about the restoration of all things as promised by the holy prophets of old.-And we know it.
He has revealed the origin and the Records of the aboriginal tribes of America, and their future destiny.-And we know it.
He has revealed the fulness of the gospel, with its gifts, blessings, and ordinances.-And we know it.
He has commanded us to bear witness of it, first to the Gentiles, and then to the remnants of Israel and the Jews.-And we know it.
He has commanded us to gather together his Saints on this Continent, and build up holy cities and sanctuaries.-And we know it.
He has said, that the Gentiles should come into the same gospel and covenant; and be numbered with the house of Israel; and be a blessed people upon this good land for ever, if they would repent and embrace it.-And we know it.
He has also said that, if they do not repent, and come to the knowledge of the truth, and cease to fight against Zion, and also put away all murder, lying, pride, priestcraft, whoredom, and secret abomination, they shall soon perish from the earth, and be cast down to hell.-And we know it.
He has said, that the time is at hand for the Jews to be gathered to Jerusalem.-And we know it.
He has said, that the Ten Tribes of Israel should also be revealed in the North country, together with their oracles and records, preparatory to their return, and to their union with Judah, no more to be separated.-And we know it.
He has said, that when these preparations were made, both in this country and in Jerusalem, and the gospel in all its fulness preached to all nations for a witness and testimony, He will come, and all the Saints with him, to reign on the earth one thousand years.-And we know it.
He has said that he will not come in his glory and destroy the wicked, till these warnings were given and these preparations were made for his reception.-And we know it.
Now, fellow-citizens, if this knowledge, or the publishing of it, is treason or crime, we refuse not to die.
But be ye sure of this, that whether we live or die, the words of the testimony of this proclamation which we now send unto you, shall all be fulfilled.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one jot or tittle of his revealed word shall fail to be fulfilled.
Therefore, again we say to all people, Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins; and you shall receive the Holy Spirit, and shall know the truth, and be numbered with the House of Israel.
And we once more invite all the kings, presidents, governors, rulers, judges, and people of the earth, to aid us, the Latter-day Saints; and also, the Jews, and all the remnants of Israel, by your influence and protection, and by your silver and gold, that we may build the cities of Zion and Jerusalem, and the temples and sanctuaries of our God; and may accomplish the great restoration of all things, and bring in the latter-day glory.
That knowledge, truth, light, love, peace, union, honor, glory, and power, may fill the earth with eternal life and joy.
That death, bondage, oppression, wars, mourning, sorrow, and pain, may be done away for ever, and all tears be wiped from every eye. (Abbreviated excerpt taken from Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Old Testament [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 90, and Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1153)
DC 124:6 the set time has come to favor her
The question has been often asked by strangers who visit our city, why did Brigham Young pick upon this spot to build a city? Because it was shown him before he came here. But when we came to this country, what did we find here? A barren desert as barren as the Desert of Sahara; and the only signs of life were a few black crickets, some coyote wolves, and a few poor wandering Indians. Today we may travel from Paris (Idaho) in the north of our Territory to St. George in the south, a distance of some 500 miles, and see on every hand towns and villages, gardens, and orchards, fields and crops; we behold a people industrious and happy, building their own dwelling houses, meetinghouses, schoolhouses, tabernacles and Temples, and improvements and enterprises are constantly going on. And all this within so short a time. What does this mean? What does it bespeak to the strangers who visit our Territory, and in fact to the whole world, and to heavenly as well as mortal beings? It is evidence that God has set his hand to fulfil the prediction contained in the Bible, that he has commenced the work of uniting the record or stick of Joseph with that of Judah; that the set time has come for him to favor Zion. And how have these things come to pass and what was the origin of this peculiar system that presents itself now to the inhabitants of the earth, which found a resting place in the wilds of this desolate, uninhabited land, and which has already produced such marvelous results? It was performed in a very singular manner, to begin with. As the Lord ever has done in attempting to establish his rule and government on the earth, he chose the weak things of the earth, and them he will use to confound the wisdom of the wise. (Journal of Discourses, 19:224, 09/16/1877)
The Lord has chosen a royal Priesthood and a holy people from among the weak things of the world, in fulfillment of his revelations; and we have been commanded to go forth and bear record of these things, and we have done it. We should have been condemned and the curse of God would have rested upon us if we had not, because the full set time has come to build up and favor Zion, to build up the kingdom of God, to warn the world and prepare them for the judgments of the Almighty. The Millennium is dawning upon the world, we are at the end of the sixth thousand years, and the great day of rest, the Millennium of which the Lord has spoken, will soon dawn and the Savior will come in the clouds of heaven to reign over his people on the earth one thousand years. (Journal of Discourses, 18:113)
Daniel H. Wells
The set time has come for [God] to favor his people, and to establish his kingdom, and the puny arm of man will be powerless to prevent it. Have they not been trying for forty years? Are the lessons of the past of no benefit to the world? It would seem so, indeed. They are slow to learn this lesson... We may be scattered and driven and have many afflictions to endure, but will that stay the work of God? No. How has it been?... It has only increased and given greater velocity to the work of God. (Journal of Discourses, 15:90, 06/08/1872)
DC 124:7-8 Call... upon them... that they may be left also without excuse-And that I may visit them in the day of visitation
Pray to God, day and night, to return you in peace and in safety to the lands of your inheritance: and when the judge fail you, appeal unto the executive; and when the executive fail you, appeal unto the president; and when the president fail you, and all laws fail you, and the humanity of the people fail you, and all things else fail you but God alone, and you continue to weary Him with your importunings, as the poor woman did the unjust judge, He will not fail to execute judgment upon your enemies, and to avenge His own elect that cry unto Him day and night.
Behold, He will not fail you! He will come with ten thousand of His Saints, and all His adversaries shall be destroyed with the breath of His lips! All those who keep their inheritances, notwithstanding they should be beaten and driven, shall be likened unto the wise virgins who took oil in their lamps. But all those who are unbelieving and fearful, will be likened unto the foolish virgins, who took no oil in their lamps. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 36)
DC 124:9 I will visit and soften their hearts, many of them for your good
John H. Smith
While we may expect to be persecuted and hated of all men, we have consolation in the promise of the Lord that He would from time to time soften the hearts of our enemies, and that nothing should intervene to destroy this work, or to frustrate the purposes that it is designed to accomplish. (Journal of Discourses, 26:277)
DC 124:12-14 let my servant Robert B. Thompson help you
"Birth: 1 October 1811, Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England.
Death: 27 August 1841, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.
"Robert Thompson received his education and developed an interest in religion in Dunnington, Yorkshire, England. He joined the Methodists and was a preacher for some years before immigrating to Upper Canada in 1834. It was the preaching of Parley P. Pratt that led Robert to become a member of the Church in May 1836.
"Anxious to join with the Saints, he journeyed to Kirtland in May 1837, but within the year he had returned to Upper Canada to serve a mission. After baptizing many Canadians he once again attempted to settle in Kirtland, but the persecution against the Saints had increased, so Robert joined his brother-in-law Hyrum Smith and journeyed to Far West, Missouri. Escalating persecution led to open confrontation in Missouri. Robert fought in the Battle of Crooked River in defense of the Saints; consequently his enemies swore they would kill him. He suffered from exposure and lack of food as he attempted to avoid their clutches.
"He temporarily settled in Quincy, Illinois, and was employed as a writer for the Argus newspaper and as a courthouse clerk. When he moved to Nauvoo he served as a scribe for the Prophet and also gathered libelous reports and publications against the Church at the Prophet's request. He was appointed general Church clerk, colonel and aide-de-camp of the Nauvoo Legion, Nauvoo city treasurer, and a regent of the University of Nauvoo.
"On 19 January 1841 Robert was called by the Lord to assist the Prophet in writing a proclamation to the kings, presidents, and governors of the earth. 'Let my servant Robert B. Thompson help you to write this proclamation, for I am well pleased with him' (D&C 124:12). In the revelation the Lord promised: 'I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings; let him be faithful and true in all things from henceforth, and he shall be great in mine eyes; but let him remember that his stewardship will I require at his hands' (D&C 124:13-14).
"From May to August 1841 he worked with Don Carlos Smith as an associate editor of the Times and Seasons. On 16 August 1841 he was seized with the same disease that had caused the death of Don Carlos the week before. 'The attachment between them was so strong, it seemed as though they could not long be separated.' Robert died on 27 August 1841 at his residence in Nauvoo at the age of twenty-nine. The Prophet said that he died 'in full hope of a glorious resurrection.'"(Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 322)
Elder Robert Blashel Thompson died at his residence in Nauvoo, in the 30th year of his age, in the full hope of a glorious resurrection. He was associate editor of the Times and Seasons, colonel in the Nauvoo Legion, and had done much writing for myself and the church. (History of the Church, 4:411.)
DC 124:15 blessed is my servant Hyrum Smith; for I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart
M. Russell Ballard
My thoughts are with my great-great-grandfather, Hyrum Smith-a man the Lord said He loved "because of the integrity of his heart, and because he loveth that which is right before me" (D&C 124:15).
There is much in this noble man's character that is worthy of emulation. I would like to be as loyal to my family and friends as Hyrum was to his younger brother Joseph. One historian noted that Hyrum "guarded his younger and more favored brother as tenderly as if the Prophet had been his son instead of his younger brother." When the boy Joseph was stricken with a serious leg infection, it was his teenage brother Hyrum who tenderly applied pressure to the afflicted limb night and day for more than a week.
President Joseph Fielding Smith observed, "It seems almost, from the tender solicitude Hyrum displayed for Joseph that he felt in some way that there had been placed upon him a guardianship for his younger brother." Such loyalty is rare. Remember how the elder sons of Jacob treated their younger brother, Joseph? They were so jealous of his favored position that they sold him into slavery and convinced their grief-stricken father that he had been killed by wild beasts. And consider the strained relationship between young Nephi and his elder brothers, Laman and Lemuel. Their envy was so bitter that it served as a foundation for centuries of heartache and civil war.
But you'll find none of that in the recorded history of Hyrum's relationship with Joseph. Rather, you'll find a lifetime of loving devotion, service, kindness, and constancy. Rachel Ivins Grant, mother of President Heber J. Grant, once said that "of all the men she was acquainted with in her girlhood days in Nauvoo, she admired Hyrum Smith most for his absolute integrity and devotion to God, and his loyalty to the prophet of God." It would please me more than I can say to have such things said of me by those who are in a position to evaluate my loyalty. ("The Legacy of Hyrum," Ensign, Sept. 1994, 57)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
In a revelation the Lord said, "Blessed is my servant Hyrum Smith; for I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart, and because he loveth that which is right." (D&C 124:15.) I personally know of no higher praise that any man could receive.
I have felt impressed to speak today about the need for integrity-old-fashioned, personal, practical integrity. To me, integrity means always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences. It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more importantly, in our thoughts and in our hearts. Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenant. ("Personal Integrity," Ensign, May 1990, 30)
M. Russell Ballard
Faithful Hyrum had a believing heart; he did not have to see everything Joseph saw. For him, hearing the truth from Joseph's lips and feeling the spiritual promptings whispering that it was true were enough. Faith to believe was the source of Hyrum's spiritual strength and is the source of the spiritual strength of faithful members of the Church then and today. We do not need more members who question every detail; we need members who have felt with their hearts, who live close to the Spirit, and who follow its promptings joyfully. We need seeking hearts and minds that welcome gospel truths without argument or complaint and without requiring miraculous manifestation. Oh, how we are blessed when members respond joyfully to counsel from their bishops, stake presidents, quorum or auxiliary leaders, some of whom might be younger than they and less experienced. What great blessings we receive when we follow "that which is right" joyfully and not grudgingly. ("Hyrum Smith: 'Firm As the Pillars of Heaven,' " Ensign, Nov. 1995, 8)
DC 124:16 let my servant John C. Bennett help you... and his reward shall not fail if he receive counsel
"Birth: 4 August 1804, Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts. Son of John Bennett and Abagail Cooke.
Death: 5 August 1867.
"Renowned historian Hubert Howe Bancroft astutely deemed John C. Bennett a 'fraud,' saying, 'He has ability, he has brains and fingers; but he has no soul.' John's duplicity and deception brought sorrow and confusion to most who made his acquaintance. Apparently he received medical training from an uncle, Dr. Samuel Hildreth, a physician in Marietta, Ohio, and his claim to be a medical doctor was accepted in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, and Illinois. He was recognized as the founder of the Illinois State Medical Society and secured professorships in midwifery, diseases of women and children, and medical jurisprudence at Willoughby University in Ohio, where he organized and served as the dean of a medical school in 1834.
"History has accused John of conferring medical degrees for money; the 'diplomas were sold throughout the Middle West and as far east as New York.' The Western Medical Reformer in 1845 referred to John C. Bennett as 'that notorious personage who, in 1833-34, traveled through New York, the north of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and peddled his New Albany diplomas to every ignoramus who could raise ten dollars to buy one.... He filled the diplomas and peddled them out.'
"Despite a widespread sullied reputation, he was an unknown character to the Latter-day Saints in 1840 when he made his first formal contact with Church leaders. Joseph Smith, always cordial to the stranger, extended a warm welcome to him: 'Therefore my general invitation is, Let all that will, come, and partake of the poverty of Nauvoo freely.' John accepted the invitation and came to the city of the Saints.
"Of John C. Bennett, John Taylor said, 'At one time he was a good man.' Joseph Smith, as reported by William Clayton, compared him to the Apostle Paul: '[Paul] was a good orator, but Doctor Bennett is a superior orator, and like Paul is active and deligent, always employing himself in doing good to his fellow men.' Thousands of other Latter-day Saints placed their confidence in him also. John was elected mayor of Nauvoo, major-general of the Nauvoo Legion, and chancellor of the Nauvoo University. In his February 1841 inaugural address as mayor-elect, he stated, 'I trust that the confidence reposed in me, by my fellow citizens, has not been misplaced, and for the honor conferred they will accept my warmest sentiments of gratitude.'
"In March 1841 news of his marred reputation reached Nauvoo. Convincing denials momentarily removed the speculation, and in April 1841 he was appointed assistant to Joseph Smith. Tensions soon erupted between John and the Prophet. When an animated sham battle was enacted by the Nauvoo Legion, John tried to persuade President Smith to carelessly move to an unprotected position. The Spirit whispered to the Prophet that there was 'mischief concealed in that sham battle,' and the Prophet did not comply with John's request.
"Eight days after the incident Joseph initiated Church court proceedings to investigate John's behavior. The investigation uncovered his unscrupulous medical practices, including his taking advantage of his close contacts with female patients and his possible performing of abortions. On 17 May 1842, after his illicit relationships had become public, John resigned as mayor. He later pleaded with Church leaders for forgiveness, 'cried like a child, and ... begged that he might be spared' punishment. He told William Law 'that if he were exposed it would break his mother's heart-that she was old, and if such things reached her ears it would bring her down with sorrow to the grave.' Church leaders were unconvinced.
"John left Nauvoo in mid-June 1842 and, as Church member George Miller reported, soon 'entered into a conspiracy ... to bring a mob upon us, and ... destroy and drive us from our homes.'" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 14 - 15)
(January 8, 1841) During our persecutions in Missouri, [John C. Bennett] became acquainted with the violence we were suffering while in that state, on account of our religion; his sympathy for us was aroused, and his indignation kindled against our persecutors, for the cruelties practiced upon us, and their flagrant violation of both the law and the Constitution. Amidst their heated zeal to put down the truth, he addressed us a letter, tendering to us his assistance in delivering us out of the hands of our enemies, and restoring us again to our privileges, and only required at our hands to point out the way and he would be forthcoming, with all the forces he could raise for the purpose. He has been one of the instruments in effecting our safety and deliverance, from the unjust persecutions and demands of the authorities of Missouri, and also in procuring the city charter. He is a man of enterprise, extensive acquirements, and of independent mind, and is calculated to be a great blessing to our community. (History of the Church, 4:270)
DC 124:18 Lyman Wight should continue in preaching for Zion
"Birth: 9 May 1796, Fairfield Township, Herkimer County, New York. Son of Levi Wight and Sarah Corbon.
Death: 31 March 1858, Dexter, Medino County, Texas.
"Lyman Wight enlisted in the military during the War of 1812 and was stationed at Sackets Harbor, New York, until the conflict ended. He moved to Ohio about 1826 and by 1829 had joined the Campbellite-based 'Common Stock Family' on the Isaac Morley farm. Like others in the 'Family,' he discarded his Campbellite leanings in favor of the truths preached by the missionaries, being baptized by Oliver Cowdery 14 November 1830.
"At the fourth general conference of the Church he was ordained by the Prophet Joseph Smith to the office of high priest, the first man so designated in this dispensation. A few days later he was called to serve a mission to Missouri and was warned, 'Let my servant Lyman Wight beware, for Satan desireth to sift him as chaff' (D&C 52:7, 12). Several months after reaching Missouri he and others went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was so powerful in his discourses that a hundred people were baptized.
"Lyman resided in Jackson County, Missouri, until mobs forced him to flee to Clay County. He volunteered to go and inform the Prophet in Kirtland of the suffering of the Missouri Saints, although he had only three days' provisions for the journey; and he went with Parley P. Pratt. The answer to the problems of the Saints in Missouri was to raise a potential military force, Zion's Camp, to march from Kirtland in the redemption of Zion (see D&C 103:30). Lyman journeyed to Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan mustering volunteers for Zion's Camp. He marched as second only to Joseph Smith in the camp, walking from Michigan to Clay County, Missouri, without stockings on his feet.
"According to Benjamin F. Johnson, 'By Apostle Lyman Wight we were taught to `pray for our enemies,' that God would damn them, and `give us power to kill them.' Lyman's bold statements such as 'Boys, eat, drink and be merry for to-morrow we-fight' caused him to be greatly feared by the Missourians. His explosive expressions of retaliation brought difficulties to the Saints as tempers flared...
"...on 28 June 1838 he was appointed second counselor to John Smith, president of the Adam-ondi-Ahman Stake. Four months later he was a captive of the mob militia and was charged with treason and murder. Missourian General Wilson confided: 'Col. Wight, we have nothing against you, only that you are associated with Joe Smith. He is our enemy and a damned rascal.... If you will come out and swear against him, we will spare your life.'
"Lyman defiantly replied: 'Joseph Smith is not an enemy to mankind, he is not your enemy, and is as good a friend as you have got. Had it not been for him, you would have been in hell long ago, for I should have sent you there, by cutting your throat, and no other man but Joseph Smith could have prevented me, and you may thank him for your life.'
"Wilson responded, 'Wight, you are a strange man; but if you will not accept my proposal, you will be shot tomorrow morning at 8.'
"Lyman said, 'Shoot and be damned.'
"His life was spared, yet his imprisonment had just begun. Lyman was chained to the Prophet in the squalor of Richmond Jail and then confined with him in inhumane conditions in Liberty Jail. It was not until October 1839 that he enjoyed a brief season of peace, when he again served as a counselor to John Smith, but this time in the Zarahemla Stake presidency.
"On 8 April 1841 Lyman was ordained to the apostleship. His first apostolic assignment was strengthening the Saints in the East and collecting funds for building the Nauvoo Temple and the Nauvoo House. He successfully fulfilled these assignments and in the process baptized about two hundred individuals in Kirtland referred to as 'dead members of the Church, and brought many of them to Nauvoo.' From Nauvoo he journeyed up the Mississippi River to Black River, Wisconsin, in February 1844, to help supervise the cutting of timber in the pineries for the temple and the Nauvoo House.
"In Wisconsin he first expressed his desire to preach to the Indians in Texas. Fulfillment of this desire did not materialize until after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. Contrary to apostolic counsel he stubbornly held the view that Joseph Smith had called him to establish a mission in Texas among the Lamanites. His adamant, persuasive stance caused nearly 150 Saints in Wisconsin to journey with him to Texas. They established a small Mormon-breakaway colony, building mills near the present site of Austin before moving to the Perdinales River Valley. [He rejected Brigham Young's leadership of the church and was later excommunicated, living the rest of his life in Texas.]" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 342)
DC 124:19 my servant David Patten... is with me at this time
"Perhaps the greatest tribute that could be paid to anyone is to emulate their faith and reflect their conviction of the teachings of the Savior. Such reflection of the faith of David W. Patten is worthy of our consideration. We note the words of the Savior concerning Elder Patten's status following his death: '[He is] . . . with me at this time, . . .' (D&C 124:19)
"As a man of faith, he died faithful to the Savior. He sought the privilege of sealing his testimony as a martyr in the cause of the kingdom. His greatest desire was to labor for the souls of his fellowmen. Such were the Christ-like attributes of this man of faith." (L. G. Otten and C. M. Caldwell, Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982-1983], 2: 269)
Thomas B. Marsh, the oldest of the original Twelve, chosen in 1838, and who stood at the head, apostatized, and left the Church. David W. Patten was the next in age, and the Lord took him to himself, as we are informed in the revelation given on the 19th of January, 1841. The Lord says: "My servant David W. Patten, who is with me at this time." The Lord accepted of him. He died in the faith-a martyr in Missouri. "I have taken him to myself."... David W. Patten died in the faith, and so far as we know holds the keys of the Presidency of the Twelve, in the world to come. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 19: 118)
DC 124:19 also my servant Edward Partridge
"Bishop Partridge (the first bishop of the Church) was one of the early converts from the Campbellite movement, being baptized on December 11, 1830. Joseph Smith described this new convert as 'a pattern of piety, and one of the Lord's great men, known by his steadfastness and patient endurance to the end.' The Lord himself issued this compliment of Bishop Partridge: 'His heart is pure before me, for he is like unto Nathanael of old, in whom there is no guile' (D&C 41:11).
"...As a result of the many persecutions he endured, his health was broken and he died on May 27, 1840, at the age of forty-seven. Of his demise, the Prophet wrote: 'He lost his life in consequence of the Missouri persecutions, and he is one of that number whose blood will be required at their hands.' This was not to be his final epitaph, however, for the Lord pronounced in a revelation in January 1841 that Edward Partridge 'is with me at this time' (D&C 124:19; Jenson 1:218-22). (Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 412)
DC 124:19 Joseph Smith, Sen. ... sitteth with Abraham at his right hand... for he is mine
Who was Abraham? A patriarch. Who was Father Joseph Smith? A patriarch. It is quite fitting, therefore, that he should associate with Abraham, who was and is also a patriarch; and, perhaps, if we had the full details given, we should have an account of other patriarchs as well. But here is a place alluded to, where he went when he left this world. (The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, 182 - 184.)
Chieko N. Okazaki
What a beautiful promise! Imagine hearing the Lord say, "Deborah, you are mine. Matthew, you are mine." Isn't that a glorious promise? Don't you want to receive it for yourself? (Disciples [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 7)
DC 124:20 my servant George Miller is without guile; he may be trusted because of the integrity of his heart
"During his boyhood George Miller resided in northern and central Kentucky, where he learned the carpenter trade. This skill served him well years later when he worked as a tradesman in several ports from Baltimore to New Orleans and at the University of Virginia. In 1831 George moved to Macomb Township, Illinois, and built an eight-room house, farmed three hundred acres, and attended the Presbyterian church. According to his biographer his introduction to Mormonism 'came from a recruiter seeking volunteers to fight Missouri's so-called Mormon War.' He dismissed Mormonism as 'a humbug' but gave thousands of bushels of grain to the Mormon refugees.
"Among the recipients of George's generosity were the Prophet Joseph Smith and his extended family. George recorded the first time he saw the Prophet: 'A large man sitting in front [in a wagon] driving seemed to be familiar to me as if I had always known him, and suddenly the thought burst on my mind that it was none other than the prophet, Joseph Smith. Indeed, my whole frame was in a tremor with the occurrence of the thought.' George urged the Prophet to agree to preach at a later date, but Joseph was reluctant at first because he had just escaped from prison and felt like 'a bird uncaged'-he wanted to spend time with his family and friends. When he finally consented, 'a time and place was fixed upon' and George 'went to notify the people of the appointment of the Mormon Prophet to preach.'
"After listening to him George later penned, 'I had no remaining doubts left in regard to the truth of the prophet.' This experience, coupled with his receiving of a healing blessing that cured him of a dramatic, sudden paralysis, led him to enter the waters of baptism on 10 August 1839. In his journal he recorded the consequences of his baptism:
[I was] openly persecuted for my religious belief and profession. My cattle were shot on the prairies.... My fences [were] laid down, and the flocks and herds of the prairies turned on my grain fields. I was vexed by petty lawsuits. Men that I had never had dealings with would recover sums of money from me, by bringing into the justice's court false witnesses, and those that owed me would prove payment.
"On 19 January 1841 the Lord revealed through the Prophet that 'my servant George Miller is without guile; he may be trusted because of the integrity of his heart; and for the love which he has to my testimony I, the Lord, love him' (D&C 124:20). The office of bishop was then sealed upon him (see verse 21). Following the revelation George wrote, 'The poor, the blind, the lame, the widow, and the fatherless all looked to me for their daily wants.... My days were filled with toil and care, and my nights ... with sleepless anxiety in waiting on the suffering poor and the sick of the city.'
"In the same revelation he was also instructed to help build the Nauvoo House, which was to be 'a good house, worthy of all acceptation, that the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord' (D&C 124:23). George directed the procuring of timber in Wisconsin for the construction of the Nauvoo House and the Nauvoo Temple. He also served his community as a regent of the University of Nauvoo and as a colonel and, later, as brigadier general in the Nauvoo Legion. His close association with the Prophet was the highlight of his years in Nauvoo: 'I have known Joseph Smith intimately for near three & a half years,' he wrote. 'I unhesitatingly aver that ... a more generous, liberal, honorable, high toned virtuous man, never existed on the footstool of the great Jehovah.'" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 196 - 197)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
In latter-day scriptures, we read that the Lord called Edward Partridge to be bishop for the Church because "his heart is pure before me, for he is like unto Nathanael of old, in whom there is no guile" (D&C 41:11). In another revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith the Lord said, "My servant George Miller is without guile; he may be trusted because of the integrity of his heart; and for the love which he has to my testimony I, the Lord, love him" (D&C 124:20).
These passages of scripture help me understand what the Lord could see in Nathanael, Edward Partridge, and George Miller, and give me some insight into what he expects of the Saints. I believe the Savior was seeking purity of soul in those he called to be his twelve Apostles. When he spoke of being without guile, he referred to something far deeper than outward appearance. He was reaching into the soul, to the very heart of righteousness. He was touching the key to goodness and to the Christlike life.
To be without guile is to be pure in heart-an essential virtue of those who would be counted among true followers of Christ. He taught in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8; see also 3 Ne. 12:8). He revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that Zion is the pure in heart (see D&C 97:21) and that a house is to be built in Zion in which the pure in heart shall see God (see D&C 97:10-16).
If we are without guile, we are honest, true, and righteous. All of these are attributes of Deity and are required of the Saints. Those who are honest are fair and truthful in their speech, straightforward in their dealings, free of deceit, and above stealing, misrepresentation, or any other fraudulent action. Honesty is of God and dishonesty of the devil; the devil was a liar from the beginning. Righteousness is living a life that is in harmony with the laws, principles, and ordinances of the gospel. ("Without Guile," Ensign, May 1988, 80-81)
DC 124:22-25 Let my servant George... Lyman, and... John Snider... build a house unto my name
Interestingly, there is more of section 124 dedicated to the construction of the "Nauvoo House" than to the Nauvoo Temple. Verses 22-26 introduce the idea that the saints are to build a grand hotel and place of entertainment-a gathering place for saints and travelers along the Mississippi. A committee was to be formed with a constitution and specific guidelines given by the Lord regarding financing the project (verses 56 - 82). Typical of the Prophet and early saints, the building was to be built on a grand scale, worthy of the great city of Nauvoo. The gathering from Great Britain and elsewhere would necessitate such a building. Nauvoo's location on the Mississippi would certainly make it an attractive stop for riverboat crews. The saints were building for the future. One month after the revelation, the Committee was formally organized.
"(February 23, 1841)-An Act to Incorporate the Nauvoo House Association.
"Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the people of the state of Illinois, represented in the general assembly, that George Miller, Lyman Wight, John Snider, and Peter Haws, and their associates, are hereby declared a body corporate, under the name and style of the 'Nauvoo House Association;' and they are hereby authorized to erect and furnish a public house of entertainment, to be called the 'Nauvoo House.'
"Sec. 2. The above-named George Miller, Lyman Wight, John Snider, and Peter Haws, and their associates, are hereby declared to be the trustees of the association, with full power and authority to hold in joint tenancy, by themselves and their successors in office, a certain lot in the City of Nauvoo, in the county of Hancock, and state of Illinois, known and designated on the plat of said city, as the south half of lot numbered fifty-six, for the purpose of erecting thereon the house contemplated in the first section of this act..." (History of the Church, 4:301)
DC 124:27 build a house to my name, for the Most High to dwell therein
It seems to be a standing command to the Saints, wherever they may be located, to build a house unto the Lord, wherever there is a stronghold pointed out for the gathering of the Saints, such as Kirtland, Nauvoo, Jackson County, Mo., and other places which are mentioned in revelation. The Lord has commanded his Saints in all these places to do a work, which will be effectually accomplished in due time. They are always commanded to build a house unto the Lord. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 16: 255 - 256)
DC 124:28-30 Baptism for the Dead
D. Todd Christopherson
The doctrine that the living can provide baptism and other essential ordinances to the dead, vicariously, was revealed anew to the Prophet Joseph Smith. [6. See D&C 124, 128, 132; The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee (1984), 486; The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (1991), 49] He learned that the spirits awaiting resurrection are not only offered individual salvation but that they can be bound in heaven as husband and wife and be sealed to their fathers and mothers of all generations past and have sealed to them their children of all generations future. The Lord instructed the Prophet that these sacred rites are appropriately performed only in a house built to His name, a temple. [See D&C 124:29-36. Today's expansive construction of temples across the world has as one of its primary purposes to provide the place where ordinances essential to salvation may be performed for those who, in life, were not privileged to receive them.]
The principle of vicarious service should not seem strange to any Christian. In the baptism of a living person, the officiator acts, by proxy, in place of the Savior. And is it not the central tenet of our faith that Christ's sacrifice atones for our sins by vicariously satisfying the demands of justice for us? As President Gordon B. Hinckley has expressed: "I think that vicarious work for the dead more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Savior Himself than any other work of which I know. It is given with love, without hope of compensation, or repayment or anything of the kind. What a glorious principle." [8. "Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley," Ensign, Jan. 1998, 73]
Some have misunderstood and suppose that deceased souls "are being baptised into the Mormon faith without their knowledge" [9. Ben Fenton, "Mormons Use Secret British War Files 'to Save Souls,' " The Telegraph (London), 15 Feb. 1999] or that "people who once belonged to other faiths can have the Mormon faith retroactively imposed on them." [10. Greg Stott, "Ancestral Passion," Equinox, April/May 1998, 45] They assume that we somehow have power to force a soul in matters of faith. Of course, we do not. God gave man his agency from the beginning. [11. See Moses 7:32; see also Alma 5:33-36; Alma 42:27. ] "The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God," [12. D&C 138:58. ] but only if they accept those ordinances. The Church does not list them on its rolls or count them in its membership.
Our anxiety to redeem the dead, and the time and resources we put behind that commitment, are, above all, an expression of our witness concerning Jesus Christ. It constitutes as powerful a statement as we can make concerning His divine character and mission. It testifies, first, of Christ's Resurrection; second, of the infinite reach of His Atonement; third, that He is the sole source of salvation; fourth, that He has established the conditions for salvation; and, fifth, that He will come again. ("The Redemption of the Dead and the Testimony of Jesus," Ensign, Nov 2000, 9-11)
DC 124:28 restore again that which was lost... even the fulness of the priesthood
Adney Y. Komatsu
In this revelation, which is recorded in section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants, reference is made to "the fulness of the priesthood." What is the meaning of that and how is it obtained? The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: "If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 308.)
President Joseph Fielding Smith further taught: "If you want salvation in the fullest, that is exaltation in the kingdom of God, so that you may become his sons and his daughters, you have got to go to the temple of the Lord and receive these holy ordinances which belong to that house, which cannot be had elsewhere. No man shall receive the fulness of eternity, of exaltation, alone; no woman shall receive that blessing alone; but man and wife, when they receive the sealing power in the temple of the Lord, ... shall pass on to exaltation, and shall continue and become like the Lord. And that is the destiny of men; that is what the Lord desires for his children." (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-56, 2:44.)
It is clear, then, that unless we go to the temple of the Lord and receive all the ordinances and obey the commandments, we cannot receive a fulness of priesthood blessings and neither can we receive exaltation. These are wonderful blessings that have been made available to us through temple work. ("The House of the Lord," Ensign, Nov. 1983, 27-28)
DC 124:30 this ordinance belongeth to my house
"Orson Pratt explained that a practical reason for centering the ordinance of baptism for the dead in the temple is that 'the house of God is a house of order, the kingdom of God is a kingdom of order, and everything must be conducted with order, and with power and authority, so that when it is sealed on earth it is sealed in the heavens, that the records on earth and in heaven may agree-that the Priesthood on earth and in heaven may agree-that they may be one.'" (Hyrum L. Andrus, Principles of Perfection [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1970], 486)
DC 124:30 only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me
Temple ordinances belong in a house of the Lord. However, the Lord has allowed the saints to perform temple ordinances elsewhere while waiting for the temple to be completed. Baptisms for the dead were performed in the Mississippi river, temple rites were administered by the Prophet in the grove of Nauvoo, and endowments were administered on Ensign Peak, north of Salt Lake City, after the saints moved west. (See Origin of the Reorganized Church and the Question of Succession, 49; History of the Church, 4: 608; 7: v-vi)
"In October 1841, Joseph Smith announced that no more baptisms for the dead should be conducted until they could be performed in the temple. Only thirty-six days later, a temporary font was dedicated in the unfinished basement of the newly begun edifice. Constructed of tongued and grooved pine timber, it was oval shaped, measured sixteen feet long by twelve feet wide, had a basin four feet deep, and was trimmed with a molding of 'beautiful carved work in antique style.' The sides were paneled and a flight of stairs led into each end of the font. Reminiscent of the brazen sea in the temple of Solomon, it rested on the backs of twelve oxen (1 Kgs. 7:25). Carved by Elijah Fordham from pine planks glued together, these oxen were patterned after 'the most beautiful five-year-old steer that could be found in the country.' On 21 November, members began to perform baptisms for the dead in this remarkable font. Church members eagerly performed baptisms in behalf of deceased relatives and friends." ("Prologue: the Spirit of Elijah", BYU Studies, vol. 34 (1994), Number 2--1994)
Sunday, May 1, 1842.-I preached in the grove, on the keys of the kingdom, charity, &c. The keys are certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed. The rich can only get them in the Temple, the poor may get them on the mountain top as did Moses. (History of the Church, 4: 608.)
Under such circumstances we perceive that our operations elsewhere will be all correct; it makes no difference. It is the authority of the Priesthood, not the place that validates and sanctifies the ordinance. I was asked if people could be sealed outside. Yes. I could have told them I was sealed outside, and lots of others. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 25: 360.)
DC 124:30-35 if you do not these things... ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead
Most students of the gospel will read D&C 124:30-33 without any misunderstanding. However, since this passage has been misinterpreted, the following changes are offered for clarity
For the ordinance of baptism for the dead belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me if performed outside my house, the only exception being in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me
But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms performed in the river or elsewhere shall be acceptable unto me.
But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these ordinances in the temple at the end of the time appointed ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God
Boyd K. Packer
In a revelation the Lord spoke to the Saints in Nauvoo in these words: "I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me." And then in sober declaration He warned, "and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God." (D&C 124:31-32.) President Joseph Fielding Smith explained this matter:
This passage [D&C 124:31-35] has been misinterpreted by some, especially by enemies of the Church who profess a belief in the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, but do not accept the doctrine of salvation for the dead. A careful reading of these verses will show that it was not the failure to build a house, but the failure to perform the ordinances for the dead in the house after it was prepared for those ordinances that would cause the rejection. In the months when the saints were without a Temple the Lord granted them the privilege of baptizing for their dead in the Mississippi River, but with the understanding that this was a special privilege which would end when they had been given sufficient time to prepare a place in the Temple where this ordinance could be performed. For baptism for the dead, as well as other ordinances for the dead, are to be performed in a house built to the name of the Lord and for that holy purpose. Therefore we find the members of the Church engaging in baptisms for the dead in the river from the time the privilege was granted until the time arrived when the font in the house of the Lord was prepared for that ordinance, and when that time arrived all baptisms for the dead in the river ceased by divine command. The Lord said: [D&C. 124:32-33, quoted.]
And if ye do not these things at the end of the appointment [v. 32], obviously does not mean "if ye do not build a temple at the end of the appointment," as our critics infer it does, but it refers to the ordinances that were to be performed in the Temple, and the failure on the part of the Saints to perform these ordinances for their dead was the thing that would cause their rejection with their dead, and not the failure to build the Temple, which was merely the edifice in which the saving principles were to be performed. This is in harmony with the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who said that if we neglect the salvation of our dead, we do it at the peril of our own salvation! Why? Because we without them cannot be made perfect. (D&C 128:15.) [Salvation Universal, 1912, page 22, as quoted in Roy W. Doxey, Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), 4:265-66] (The Holy Temple [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980], 93)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"By terms stated in the revelation this permissive rite could be performed and would be acceptable if performed in the river while the time given the Church in which the Temple should be built was passing. After the completion of the Temple, baptisms for the dead were to be performed in it." (Saints' Herald, February 17, 1904).
We are certainly safe in saying that the Lord would not break His promise, therefore if we can discover a time when baptisms were discontinued in the river it will be a sign that the sufficient time had expired, so far as baptisms in the river for the dead were concerned. I turn to the minutes of the October conference, 1841, and read from the remarks on baptism for the dead delivered by the Prophet on the third day as follows:
"There shall be no more baptisms for the dead until the ordinance can be attended to in the font of the Lord's house; and the Church shall not hold another general conference, until they can meet in said house. For thus saith the Lord!" (Times and Seasons, Vol. II., page 578).
Remember this was in October, 1841-six months after the first stone of the Temple was laid. Was the Temple finished? No. Was the Church then rejected with its dead? Verily no! for this was 1841... Yet the sufficient time was up.
Are we right in our conclusion that a font had been built? Yes, a temporary font had been built in the basement of the Temple-a temporary one-but obviously one that answered the requirements of the revelation. Moreover, in this temporary font, which was used by the command of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith, baptisms for the dead were performed from November, 1841, until it was replaced by the permanent font, and then these baptisms continued in that until the Saints were driven from Nauvoo. (Origin of the Reorganized Church and the Question of Succession, 50-52)
DC 124:36 in Zion and in her stakes... shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead
David A. Bednar
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that in all ages the divine purpose of gathering the people of God is to build temples so His children can receive the highest ordinances and thereby gain eternal life (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society course of study, 2007], 415-17). This essential relationship between the principle of gathering and the building of temples is highlighted in the Book of Mormon:
"Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted" (Alma 26:5).
The sheaves in this analogy represent newly baptized members of the Church. The garners are the holy temples. Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained: "Clearly, when we baptize, our eyes should gaze beyond the baptismal font to the holy temple. The great garner into which the sheaves should be gathered is the holy temple" (in John L. Hart, "Make Calling Focus of Your Mission," Church News, Sept. 17, 1994, 4). This instruction clarifies and emphasizes the importance of sacred temple ordinances and covenants-that the sheaves may not be wasted.
"Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them" (Alma 26:6). ("Honorably Hold a Name and Standing," Ensign, May 2009, 97-100)
DC 124:37 how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house...built to my name?
The declaration this morning is, that as soon as the Temple and baptismal font are prepared, we calculate to give the Elders of Israel their washings and anointings, and attend to those last and more impressive ordinances, without which we cannot obtain celestial thrones. But there must be a holy place prepared for that purpose. There was a proclamation made during the time that the foundation of the Temple was laid to that effect, and there are provisions made until the work is completed, so that men may receive their endowments and be made kings and priests unto the Most High God, having nothing to do with temporal things, but their whole time will be taken up with things pertaining to the house of God. These must, however, be a place built expressly for that purpose, and for men to be baptized for their dead. It must be built in this central place; for every man who wishes to save his father, mother, brothers, sisters and friends, must go through all the ordinances for each one of them separately, the same as for himself, from baptism to ordination, washing and anointings, and receive all the keys and powers of the Priesthood, the same as for himself. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 362)
James E. Talmage
This then is sufficient answer to the question as to why the Latter-day Saints build and maintain temples. They have been instructed and required so to do by the Lord of Hosts. They have learned that many essential ordinances of the Church are acceptable only when performed in temples specially erected and reserved for the purpose. They know that within these precincts of sanctity the Lord has revealed many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God; and that he has promised to reveal yet more to man in houses sacred to his name. They have learned that a great part of the mission and ministry of the restored Church is the administration of vicarious ordinances in behalf of the unnumbered dead who never heard the tidings of the Gospel, and that for such sacred and saving service Temples are a necessity. (Present Need of Temples by Dr. James E. Talmage, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, Improvement Era, 1912, Vol. Xv. October, 1912 No. 12)
DC 124:39 build unto my holy name
Dallin H. Oaks
All of these references to ancient and modern temples as houses for "the name" of the Lord obviously involve something far more significant than a mere inscription of his sacred name on the structure. The scriptures speak of the Lord's putting his name in a temple because he gives authority for his name to be used in the sacred ordinances of that house. That is the meaning of the Prophet's reference to the Lord's putting his name upon his people in that holy house. (See D&C 109:26.)
Willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ can therefore be understood as willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ.
According to this meaning, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them upon us.
Another future event we may anticipate when we witness our willingness to take that sacred name upon us concerns our relationship to our Savior and the incomprehensible blessings available to those who will be called by his name at the last day. ("Taking upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ," Ensign, May 1985, 80)
DC 124:40 let this house be built unto my name
Theodore M. Burton
This temple was constructed at Nauvoo, Illinois, and dedicated to the Lord. It was used by the saints, therein to receive these sacred ordinances which were mentioned in the revelation. In my book of remembrance I have a record of such ordinance work having been performed in the Nauvoo Temple for my progenitors on my Burton and on my Garr ancestral lines. I am humbly grateful that they were among those earliest members of the Church who received such priesthood blessings. Through sacred temple ordinances they provided a patriarchal inheritance of righteousness for all their descendants who remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and who continue to obey his commandments after taking upon themselves his holy name. (Conference Report, October 1967, Afternoon Meeting 79 - 80.)
DC 124:41 I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world
David B. Haight
Latter-day Saints should be eternally grateful for the revealed knowledge given anciently but reaffirmed in even greater plainness in our dispensation, knowledge that was known by our Lord's apostle Peter when he prophesied that before the second coming of Christ there would be a "restitution of all things" as spoken of by God (D&C 121:26-32). One of these restored doctrines, premortality, or pre-earth existence, should give us a greater appreciation for ourselves and the work assigned us, for each one of us existed as a spirit entity before we were born on this earth.
Most of us have wondered about what occurred in the premortal world and how it relates to our existence here. We should be acquainted with the truth that knowledge of the premortal life was restored in order that we might fulfill our responsibilities as children of God. (A Light unto the World [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 45.)
We have had a great many precious things revealed unto us, many of which have been hid from the minds of men from the foundation of the world. We are placed in a position to operate with God our Heavenly Father in the interests of humanity. He has selected, called and chosen us for this purpose. He has revealed Himself from the heavens. He has introduced the holy Priesthood, and conferred upon men power and authority to operate in his name, to act under his guidance, to be his mouthpieces to declare his will and to make known his designs to the human family. For this purpose men thus endowed and clothed have been sent forth to the nations of the earth, and are now being sent forth to spread that light, truth and intelligence which God has seen fit to reveal to the human family for their good, for their blessing, and for their exaltation in time and throughout the eternities that are to come. (Journal of Discourses, 22:336)
DC 124:42 I will show unto my servant Joseph... the place whereon it shall be built
"Temples are the Lord's holy houses. He guides the selection of the spot where each temple is to be located. He guides the selection of the materials. He guides the selection of people who develop this great program.
"As the Church rapidly expands throughout the world and as temples dot the earth in prophetic fulfillment, the Lord's directing hand will continue to oversee this sacred work of temple building. With a Church membership of nine million, there is a pressing need for more temples in many parts of the world. The Lord has a program in place to anticipate those needs and to respond in an effective manner." (Derek F. Metcalfe, "I Have a Question," Ensign, July 1995, 67)
DC 124:44 if ye labor with all your might I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy
Franklin D. Richards
How did they build it? Here for the first time in this dispensation the principle of tithing was practiced by the Saints in the labor of building a Temple. Few, if any, in those days, who came to Nauvoo, had any surplus, and many had not a comfortable subsistence, consequently the tithing of the people on that Temple was mostly in labor as I well recollect-for I worked in the quarry every tenth day when I was not absent on missionary service. I remember very well that every man who was dependent on his daily labor went in good faith and performed the work assigned him, and it was considered and credited to him as his tithing. When brethren who had property gathered there they were tithed of their surplus property, and then after that of their increase of the residue from that time on. So abundant was the spirit of consecration among the Saints in those days, they voted rather than have the Temple fail of completion by the appointed time, they would appropriate their homes and the lots on which they stood for its accomplishment. (Journal of Discourses, 23:314)
DC 124:45 if my people will hearken unto my voice... they shall not be moved out of their place
Boyd K. Packer
During a very difficult time, the Lord gave... a marvelous promise: "If my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place." (D&C 124:45)
Remember this promise; hold on to it. It should be a great comfort to those struggling to keep a family together in a society increasingly indifferent to, and even hostile toward, those standards which are essential to a happy family.
The promise is a restatement of what the Lord told the multitude: "Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants." (3 Ne. 12:1)
I repeat the promise that those who hearken to the voice of these men whom the Lord has raised up "shall not be moved out of their place." ("The Twelve Apostles," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 8)
Russell M. Nelson
The Lord revealed that "the ordinance of baptizing for the dead ... was instituted from before the foundation of the world." [D&C 124:33] Salvation was thus made available for those "who should die without a knowledge of the gospel." [D&C 128:5] A welding link between generations was provided, that a whole, complete, and perfect union of dispensations, keys, powers, and glories should take place. [See D&C 128:18]
Brothers and sisters, these unseen but sure pillars were in place before the world was. They undergird the everlasting gospel-now restored in its fulness. [See Acts 3:20-21] With such a foundation, this Church will not be moved from its place, [See Dan. 2:28, 31-44; D&C 65:2-6; D&C 124:45] even through the Millennium. ("How Firm Our Foundation," Ensign, May 2002, 75)
DC 124:49-50, 55 when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men... and their enemies come upon them and hinder them
The temple in Jackson County was never built. Nothing more than the cornerstones of the temple in Far West were ever laid. Kirtland was the only completed temple to this point. Church headquarters only lasted in Kirtland about 20 months after the temple dedication. What could the Nauvoo saints expect of this next venture? As far as temple building goes, they were one for three so far. The lesson was that building temples brings persecution. They were making Satan mad. Their enemies would try and hinder them again, but thanks to the comforting promises of the Lord (see D&C 105), they knew that they were not held accountable for commandments not kept because of persecution.
They knew the Nauvoo temple would bring trouble-and it did. This time, most of the saints were driven from Nauvoo before the temple was finished, but it was completed by Brethren left behind for that express purpose. Even though they would not use it once it was completed, it stood as a monument to Satan and the mob that they would keep the commandments of God, for the Lord had told them "to build a house to my name, even in this place, that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life" (v. 55).
Heber C. Kimball
If the Lord tells us to do anything and our enemies hinder us, the Lord will require it at their hands and they must pay that debt, and fully satisfy the demands of justice. (Journal of Discourses, 10:102)
Joseph Fielding Smith
[Regarding persecutions in Missouri] The Lord accepted at the hands of the members of the Church their efforts and absolved them. It is an interesting thing to know that during the Civil War, that section of Missouri suffered, and the wrath of the Lord was poured out upon it, and some of the people who hindered the work of the Lord partook of this wrath in fulfillment of that prediction. (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 4: 113)
DC 124:56 - 82 The Nauvoo House
"A revelation to Joseph Smith in January 1841 commanded the Saints to build both the Nauvoo Temple and the Nauvoo House, a hotel that would be 'a delightful habitation for man, and a resting place for the weary traveler' (D&C 124:60). The Saints were not to isolate themselves from the world, but to provide attractive accommodations for strangers and tourists while they 'contemplate the word of the Lord; and the corner-stone I have appointed for Zion' (D&C 124:23).
"Joseph Smith donated the land for the Nauvoo House, and many Latter-day Saints purchased stock. The design of architects Lucien Woodworth and William Weeks called for an L-shaped brick building forty feet deep and three stories high. Construction began in the spring of 1841 and progressed (with interruptions) into 1845. Eventually, the work was discontinued in an effort to complete the Nauvoo Temple.
"When the Saints left Nauvoo in 1846, the Nauvoo House walls were up above the windows of the second story." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 997)
Unfinished Nauvoo House
"After the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, their bodies were secretly buried in cellar of the uncompleted Nauvoo House to protect the bodies from falling into the hands of the mob. They were later moved to a resting place near the Mansion House.
"With the death of the Prophet, the title of the Nauvoo House passed to Emma Smith. In the 1870s, after Emma married Lewis Bidamon, the unfinished portion of the house was used to construct the Riverside Mansion. Bidamon uncovered the cornerstone and removed the contents including the original manuscript which had suffered extensive damage. Much of the manuscript was thereafter acquired by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Riverside Mansion served as the home where both Bidamon and Emma lived until their deaths.
"The property was acquired by the Community of Christ in 1909 and remains in its possession today." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauvoo_House)
DC 124:58 I say unto Joseph: I thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed
"Through the Prophet Joseph Smith-the latter-day descendant of Joseph and Ephraim-the Lord has made available all of the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to all who will join the Church and prove worthy of the blessings of the temple. In November 1831, the Lord referred to a significant 'blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows' (D&C 133:34). Remember that Ephraim received the birthright over the tribes of Israel. In the last days it has been the leadership responsibility of the tribe of Ephraim to take the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Thus, in compliance with the Lord's covenants and promises made to the fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and in compliance with the birthright blessing given to Ephraim to preside in Israel, the gospel and all of its covenantal powers were literally restored to a literal descendant of Ephraim, one who by right and covenant then could begin the dispersal of that gospel and its priesthood powers, ordinances, and covenants to the ends of the earth." (Robert L. Millet, "The Ancient Covenant Restored," Ensign, Mar. 1998, 45)
Mark E. Petersen
Thus, with the restoration of the gospel, the promises and blessings of Abraham were conferred as a part of the "restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21. See also Matt. 25:31; Matt. 24:30; Eph. 1:9; Rev. 14:6-7.)
Obviously there are great promises to Joseph Smith's posterity. If they will sustain the true church and be faithful, it appears that they will be heirs to the promises thus made to the Prophet and his seed.
This promise is also made to all Latter-day Saints, for we hold the priesthood with Joseph; we preach it abroad as he did and as he commanded. As children of Abraham and co-members of the Church with Joseph Smith, we bear Abraham's name abroad; we bear the Savior's name abroad, and gather in his-and Abraham's-people into the kingdom of God...
So we today, as Latter-day Saints, are even now helping to fulfill the promise made to Abraham that through him and his seed, both the gospel of salvation and the Holy Priesthood would be taken to all nations. (Abraham: Friend of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 64)
Russell M. Nelson
We are also children of the covenant. We have received, as did they of old, the holy priesthood and the everlasting gospel. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are our ancestors. We are of Israel. We have the right to receive the gospel, blessings of the priesthood, and eternal life. Nations of the earth will be blessed by our efforts and by the labors of our posterity. The literal seed of Abraham and those who are gathered into his family by adoption receive these promised blessings-predicated upon acceptance of the Lord and obedience to his commandments. ("Children of the Covenant," Ensign, May 1995, 33)
DC 124:59 let my servant Joseph and his seed after him have place in that house, from generation to generation
"The Nauvoo House was also intended as a residence for Joseph Smith and his descendants (the right of stockholders would be passed to their heirs), and as a place where people who came to the city could receive counsel from those whom the Lord had designated as 'plants of renown' (see Ezek. 34:29; cf. Isa. 60:21; Isa. 61:3) and as 'watchmen upon her walls' (see Isa. 62:6). All this was part of the far-ranging plan for the gathering place of the Church.
"Joseph Smith continually urged the Saints to complete the construction of the Nauvoo House. He, more than many, envisioned the significance of the project. Typical of his exhortations on the matter is the reference in a sermon given at the General Conference meeting of 6 April 1843: 'It is not right that all the burden of the Nauvoo House should rest on a few individuals; and we will now consider the propriety of sending the Twelve to collect means for it. There has been too great a solicitude in individuals for the building of the Temple to the exclusion of the Nauvoo House.' Ultimately, the press of increased persecutions and the desire to complete the Temple prevailed, and on 4 March 1844 the completion of the Nauvoo House was postponed. The building was never completed, and the property and partially constructed walls remained in the hands of Emma Smith with the settlement of the Prophet's estate.
"Two principles of the Lord's work may be learned from the Nauvoo House revelation. First, there is a permanence of perspective in the Lord's work. He knew, of course, that the Saints would soon be driven from Nauvoo, yet he required of them undertakings which looked forward 'from generation to generation.' His kingdom is not a temporary one. Second, to establish his kingdom, the Lord requires temples, but he also requires hotels. Spiritual principles and ordinances are complemented by temporal affairs in his work." (Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 1: The Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 482-483)
Joseph Fielding Smith
This was merely a statement that the posterity of Joseph Smith should have claim after him to the extent of the stock which he held in his name. Similar expressions are made in regard to others who paid stock into this house, that their generations after them should inherit holdings of their sires. This house was never finished because of the persecutions which later arose and the necessity on the part of the saints to build the temple. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 4: 80 - 81)
DC 124:61 receive...counsel from those whom I have set to be as plants of renown, and as watchmen upon her walls
"The Lord has lovingly established his anointed prophets as watchmen not only to protect us and the Church from danger but also to enrich our lives with guidance and counsel. These watchmen are like vigilant shepherds to the flock...
"The kingdom of God-the earthly Church led by living prophets-can be the place where, as the Lord said, we 'may contemplate the glory of Zion' and 'receive ... counsel from those whom I have set to be as plants of renown [i.e., "trees of righteousness," anointed leaders who have been "planted" by the Lord in the midst of the people-see also Ezek. 34:29] and as watchmen upon her walls' (D&C 124:60-61)." (Brent L. Top, Larry E. Dahl, and Walter D. Bowen, Follow the Living Prophets [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 25)
Apocalyptical literature speaks of "plants of renown," renowned men who were surnamed as of Israel. Those thus marked or sealed belong to the glorified Messiah, who in the naming process glorifies them. (The Temple in Antiquity: Ancient Records and Modern Perspectives, 14)
DC 124:62-66 let my servant George Miller, [et al]... organize... their quorum for the purpose of building that house
"The revelation appointed George Miller, Lyman Wight, John Snider, and Peter Haws as a quorum for 'the purpose of building that house.' They were to 'organize themselves,' appoint a president, 'form a constitution,' and 'receive stock for the building of that house' at not less than $50.00 a share. No individual shareholder could invest more than $15,000 and the revelation designated numerous individuals by name who were to purchase shares in the Nauvoo House. One month later the four men complied with the specifications of the revelation by convincing the Illinois State Legislature to pass an act of incorporation for the Nauvoo House Association. The act authorized the four men named above to 'erect and furnish a public house of entertainment, to be called the Nauvoo House,' which 'shall be kept for the accommodation of strangers, travelers, and all other persons who may resort therein for rest and refreshment.' The life of the association was limited to twenty years, and 'spiritous liquors of every description' were perpetually prohibited, 'that such liquor shall never be vended as a beverage, or introduced into common use, in said house.' A curious and courageous turn of events, this latter provision, when one considers that most steamboat passengers and crews were accustomed to the free and bountiful use of 'spiritous liquors' as a part of their daily fare.
"Nauvoo House was never finished. It was one of the casualties of the all-out campaign to finish the temple before leaving for the Great Basin. While Nauvoo House was under construction and the Mormons still believed it would be finished, the needs of river travelers had to be met in other ways. At first, Joseph Smith provided accommodations for visitors and travelers in his personal residence, the Mansion House. In time, however, as the number and frequency of visitors increased, he found this practice both burdensome and costly, since he apparently entertained many people at his own expense. On 15 September 1843, he announced that henceforth the Mansion House would be operated as a hotel in which he and his family would occupy three rooms as a personal residence. His announcement extolled the virtues of the Mansion House as providing the 'best table accommodations in the city' and rendering 'travelers more comfortable than any other place on the Upper Mississippi' with its 'large and convenient' quarters." ("Nauvoo: a River Town" by Dennis Rowley, BYU Studies, vol. 18 (1977-1978), Number 2 - Winter 1978 262.)
DC 124:70 they shall not be permitted to receive any man, as a stockholder... except the same shall pay his stock into their hands at the time he receives stock
One of the common financial exchanges in the days before an abundance of lending institutions was the "IOU." The buyer would give the seller a "note," which constitutes a promise to repay the debt. Joseph Smith bought a huge tract of land in Commerce without much money at all (see story in the historical background above). As converts immigrated to Nauvoo, they would pay Joseph what they could for tracts of land he owned by this "note." He could then pay a portion of the debt back as he received monies. In those days, this practice was a very common transaction between individuals.
However, conflicts often arose when the receiver of the note called for his money or when debtors couldn't fulfill their obligations. Financial woes stemming from this kind of debt had plagued the church in Kirtland and Jackson County. Therefore, the Lord commands that all stockholders in the Nauvoo House could only own stock if they had real money or property at the time of the purchase. They could not give the building committee a "note" in exchange for stock.
DC 124:74-76, 144 my servant Vinson Knight
"Birth: 14 March 1804, Norwich, Hampshire County, Massachusetts. Son of Rudolphos Knight and Rispah Lee.
Death: 31 July 1842, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.
"By age twenty Vinson Knight had inherited an estate located in Perrysburgh, New York, and had cleared a beautiful farm, built a large frame home, and was purported to be prosperous. A housekeeper 'complained of a large sack of money that was always in the way on the top shelf of the cupboard.'
"His life dramatically changed in March 1834 when two strangers, Joseph Smith and Parley P. Pratt, arrived at his home. Vinson and his wife listened to their message and 'became convinced that he was no false prophet but an instrument in the hands of the Lord.' They were baptized in the spring of 1834 and soon sold their holdings in New York and journeyed 135 miles to Kirtland, Ohio.
"Vinson wrote to his mother from Kirtland on 24 June 1835, 'I feel that the Lord has blessed me in all my undertakin[g]s since I left there, both in spiritual and temporal blessings. Our children are blessed with the privilege of school and are blessed with the privilege of going to meetings such as we never had before. I can say to you that I am strong in the faith that I have embraced.... I am willing to stand and proclaim it to all that I see.' He remained with the Saints in Kirtland and worked as a druggist. Vinson was told in his patriarchal blessing, 'The Lord loves thee; he has looked upon all thy ways and brought thee thus far that He might make thee useful in His church.... Thou art a chosen vessel unto the Lord, and if thou art faithful before Him, thou shalt be sanctified and enjoy a fullness of glory.'
"In partial fulfillment of the blessing Vinson was ordained an elder on 2 January 1836. Eleven days later he was ordained a high priest and a counselor to Bishop Newel K. Whitney. The Prophet recorded on that occasion, 'This has been one of the best days I ever spent; there has been an entire union of feeling expressed in all our proceedings this day and the spirit of the God of Israel has rested upon us in mighty power.'
"Vinson's complete immersion in the ecclesiastical affairs of Kirtland was evidenced by his attendance at the School of the Prophets and the dedication of the Kirtland Temple and his charter membership in the Kirtland Safety Society. His defense of the Prophet was noted when an apostate declared he would throw Joseph Smith out of the temple. The Prophet turned to Vinson and simply stated, 'Brother Knight, take this man out.' Vinson caught the man by the legs and tossed him head downward over his shoulder and then carried him, struggling and bawling, out of the building.
"His loyalty to the Prophet was also manifest in Missouri. He traveled with Joseph to Far West in the fall of 1837 and was selected as acting bishop in Adam-ondi-Ahman in 1838. As religious persecution escalated Vinson left his holdings in Missouri rather than deny the Prophet...
"Vinson temporarily located at Quincy, Illinois, in 1839 and was appointed a Church agent, being authorized to purchase thousands of acres in Illinois and Iowa Territory in behalf of the Church. On 4 May 1839 he was appointed to assume the full title of bishop. He served as bishop of the Lower Ward in Nauvoo and on 19 January 1841 was designated Presiding Bishop of the Church (see D&C 124:75).
"Vinson was thirty-eight when he passed away. While speaking at his funeral the Prophet declared, 'There lies a man that has done more for me than my own brother would do.'" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 172-174)
Here, then, is the first intimation that we have of a Presiding Bishop. Neither Bishop Partridge nor Newel K. Whitney at that time was a presiding Bishop, but each one held distinct jurisdiction, presiding in a distinct locality, neither presiding over the other. But when Vinson Knight, in years afterwards, was called, it was his duty to preside over all of the Bishops that were then appointed. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 22: 35)
DC 124:78-79 my servant Isaac Galland... I, the Lord, love him for the work he hath done
(January 8, 1841) Dr. Isaac Galland also, who is one of our benefactors, having under his control a large quantity of land, in the immediate vicinity of our city, and a considerable portion of the city plat, opened both his heart and his hands, and "when we were strangers, took us in," and bade us welcome to share with him in his abundance, leaving his dwelling house, the most splendid edifice in the vicinity, for our accommodation, and partook himself to a small, uncomfortable dwelling. He sold us his large estates on very reasonable terms, and on long credit, so that we might have an opportunity of paying for them without being distressed, and has since taken our lands in Missouri in payment for the whole amount, and has given us a clear and indisputable title for the same. And in addition to the first purchase, we have exchanged lands with him in Missouri to the amount of eighty thousand dollars. He is the honored instrument the Lord used to prepare a home for us, when we were driven from our inheritances, having given him control of vast bodies of land, and prepared his heart to make the use of it the Lord intended he should. Being a man of extensive information, great talents, and high literary fame, he devoted all his powers and influence to give us a standing.
After having thus exerted himself for our salvation and comfort, and formed an intimate acquaintance with many of our people, his mind became wrought up to the greatest feelings, being convinced that our persecutions were like those of the ancient Saints, and, after investigating the doctrines we proclaimed, he became convinced of the truth and of the necessity of obedience thereto, and, to the great joy and satisfaction of the Church, he yielded himself to the waters of baptism, and became a partaker with us in our sufferings, "Choosing rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." (History of the Church, 4:79)
Dr. Galland had provided the saints with needed assistance at a crucial time. The Prophet had hopes that he would continue to be a great benefit to the saints and community.
"As Isaac's acquaintance with the Mormons grew, so did his interest in their new religion. He was baptized on 3 July 1839 by Joseph Smith, confirmed at the water's edge by the Prophet, and ordained an elder about two hours later.7 After two years he was appointed a land agent for the Church. On 25 August 1841 Joseph wrote, 'I delegated my brother Hyrum and Dr. Isaac Galland to go east and negotiate for lands.' They arrived in Pennsylvania in March 1841, but because of illness Hyrum remained only a couple of weeks. This unexpected change in plans left the responsibility of land exchanges to Isaac. This proved to be a fiasco. The Prophet wrote to Isaac on 19 January 1842:
I have become embarrassed in my operations to a certain extent, and partly from a presentation of notes, which you, as my agent, had given for lands purchased in the eastern states, they having been sent to me. I have been obliged to cash them, and having no returns from you to meet those demands, or even the trifling expenses of your outfit, it has placed me in rather an unpleasant situation....
And now, sir, ... I think we had better have a settlement, and if I am owing you, I will pay you as soon as I can, and if you owe me, I shall only expect the same in return, for it is an old and trite maxim, that short reckonings make long friends.
"Isaac returned to Nauvoo and met in council with the Prophet on 2 February 1842. The last known interaction between Joseph Smith and Isaac is a letter dated 11 March 1843, in which Isaac expressed his outrage at John C. Bennett's anti-Mormon lectures and the arrest of Porter Rockwell.
"Isaac resided in Keokuk County, Iowa, from 1842 to 1853. In 1851 he ran for the legislature on the 'Possum' ticket but once again was unsuccessful. During the last decade of his life he was 'a firm and zealous believer in Spiritualism, and was heard to say that Joe Smith was the dupe of his own impostures; that Smith was simply a so-called spiritual medium.' In April 1853 he journeyed from Iowa to Sacramento, California. After learning in 1856 that a lawsuit against the New York Land Company had netted him eleven thousand dollars, Isaac returned to Iowa. His last two years were spent among friends in Fort Madison. To 'his dying breath, Galland felt the Mormons cheated him by non-payment of money owed for the land he purportedly sold them.' (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 98)
DC 124:79-80 be ordained by my servant William Marks, and be blessed of him
"At a conference on 5 October 1839 at Commerce (later Nauvoo), William was appointed to preside over the stake there... However, by 1844 his faith faltered. The Prophet, noting his failings, classified him with apostate William Law: 'What can be the matter with these men [Law and Marks]? Is it that the wicked flee when no man pursueth, that hit pigeons always flutter, that drowning men catch at straws, or that Presidents Law and Marks are absolutely traitors to the Church.'
After the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, William helped wash the bodies of the slain leaders, despite his association with the conspirators. Afterwards, according to Hosea Stout, William attempted to hide conspirator John C. Elliot in his home, but John 'was found out and arrested.'...
The Saints recognized William as an enemy and on 7 October 1844 at general conference rejected him as the Nauvoo stake president for supporting the claims of Sidney Rigdon to the Presidency. On 9 December 1844 he publicly acknowledged his error in the Times and Seasons: 'After mature and candid deliberation, I am fully and satisfactorily convinced that Mr. Sidney Rigdon's claims to the Presidency of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are not founded in truth.... The twelve are the proper persons to lead the church.' After his confession he returned to the fellowship of the Saints, but did not return to his former position...
"On 11 June 1859 he was received into the Reorganized Church. He became a prominent figure in the history of the RLDS Church, being one of three to ordain Joseph Smith III as president. In March 1863 he was called to be first counselor to President Smith. He was ordained to the position on 8 April 1863. William Marks died on 22 May 1872 at Plano, Illinois, at the age of seventy-nine." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 185.)
DC 124:81 my servant Henry G. Sherwood
"Henry Sherwood was baptized and ordained an elder in August 1832... By the summer of 1839 he was residing in Illinois, where Wilford Woodruff recorded that Henry was stricken with malaria and was "nigh unto death." He was miraculously healed on 22 July 1839 as the Prophet Joseph Smith 'stood in the door of his tent and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to arise and come out of his tent, and he obeyed him and was healed.'
"Henry's renewal of health led to new vigor in gospel service. His name appears on many historical entries during the Nauvoo era, for he served as clerk for the Nauvoo high council from 1839 to 1840 and was a member of that council from 1839 to 1846 (see D&C 124:132). He also served on a committee to build houses for the wives of the Twelve and was invited to purchase stock in the Nauvoo House (see D&C 124:81). In addition to these varied assignments he was elected the first Nauvoo marshal, selected as a delegate to a political convention, and authorized to compile a city directory. His community service was temporarily interrupted when he accepted a mission call to New Orleans. His continual service was recognized by the Prophet Joseph, who commented about him and other brethren, 'My heart feels to reciprocate the unwearied kindnesses that have been bestowed upon me by these men.'
"While at Henry's home Lorenzo Snow received his now-famous revelation which he described as follows: 'The eyes of my understanding were opened, and I saw as clear as the sun at noonday, with wonder and astonishment, the pathway of God and man. I formed the following couplet which expresses the revelation, as it was shown to me.... As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.'
"On 24 June 1844 the Prophet exclaimed to Henry and others, 'I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer's morning.' Just three days later Joseph and his brother Hyrum were martyred.
"Henry's faithful service continued after the Martyrdom. He was in the vanguard pioneer company of 1847 and served as commissary general of the camp. He is most remembered as the man who made the drawing of the first survey of Salt Lake City. Lacking paper of suitable size, he drew the survey on sheepskin." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 263-264)
DC 124:83 I the Lord, will build up Kirtland, but I, the Lord, have a scourge prepared for the inhabitants thereof
Much of the persecution that drove the leadership of the Church from Kirtland was internal not external. Apostates, upset about the bank failure and other issues, tried to take over the temple and made life miserable for the faithful. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon left Kirtland in January of 1838. In March, a very large, and largely forgotten group of Kirtland saints migrated to Missouri in a very organized band of pioneers. As far as pioneering goes, this Kirtland group, known as the "Kirtland Camp" travelled much more like 1847 pioneers than the men of Zion's Camp (see History of the Church, 3:87-148 ). These were the most faithful Kirtland saints, arriving in Far West just in time for the Missouri persecutions.
By 1841, some questioned the wisdom of settling in swampy Nauvoo, and, remembering the glory days of Kirtland, wanted to go back. Others, still in Kirtland felt the same nostalgia. The Brethren, however, counseled the saints to gather in Nauvoo. The counsel, it seems, was to protect the saints from a scourge that was more spiritual than temporal. "The scourge came when the body of the Saints left Kirtland, with the gospel and its blessings withdrawn from the community. In past gospel dispensations, the Lord placed scourges upon a land by withdrawing the prophets. It seems reasonable to conclude that one aspect of the scourge was that the Prophet Joseph Smith had left from Kirtland. Some of those who remained in Kirtland eventually joined other churches or religious movements." (Karl Ricks Anderson, Joseph Smith's Kirtland [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 244)
"In 1843 Latter-day Saints participated in a major exodus from Kirtland for the second time. They were not fleeing amid apostate mobocracy and increasing threats from other enemies. Rather they abandoned their homes because they were instructed by Church leaders to gather in Illinois. At a conference in the Kirtland Temple on April 6, 1843, Lyman Wight, an apostle who presided over this conference, announced that the time had come for the Saints in the Western Reserve to migrate to Nauvoo. 'I . . . told you not to leave this place until you were instructed so by revelation,' he said, adding that the season had arrived when the Saints were to be instructed more perfectly and that one of the objects of that conference was 'to devise means to effect a removal of the church [from Kirtland] to the city of Nauvoo' in harmony with the revealed word of God. He advised the Saints to leave as soon as possible while they had 'a chance to go in peace.' The Saints attending the conference voted unanimously to support this program of removal, and they began immediately to plan their migration to Nauvoo.
"Apparently not all Latter-day Saints in Kirtland complied with the instructions concerning the gathering. In 1845 members living there were again reminded in a directive from Brigham Young to move west, 'leaving neither man, woman or child behind that desires to come up here with a pure heart, leaving Kirtland to the owls and the bats for a season.' At a conference held in the Kirtland Temple on April 5, 1845, attended by more than one hundred Saints, members again agreed to sustain the General Authorities, to assist in building the temple in Nauvoo, and to gather with the body of the Church in Illinois.
"During the latter half of the 1840s and the early 1850s, a small branch of the Church was generally maintained in Kirtland, while groups of apostates sought to restore that community to its former position as a major church center. In January 1845, William E. McLellin, Leonard Rich, Jacob Bump, and others organized a new religious group called the Church of Christ. This group grew to about one hundred, then began to dissolve within a few years. Another group during the late 1840s adopted the name Church of Christ and attempted to establish Kirtland as a headquarters, but this faith, which later became known as Brewsterites, also began to decline in 1849. In 1851, Elder James W. Bay summarized conditions in Kirtland in a letter to President Brigham Young:
There have been all kinds of false prophets here in Kirtland, but I have found a few that begin to feel that west is the place, and the authority is there. Bro. Isaac Bullock and I succeeded in getting an organization here, and they begin to have the gifts, and are blessed, and calculate to gather west to the valley.
"During the latter part of the 1840s, after most members of the Church had permanently left Kirtland, apostates seized the temple, and the Latter-day Saints never regained possession. The building was used by various groups for religious, educational, and civic purposes. In fact, shortly after the Saints' major exodus in 1838, the Reverend Nelson Slater obtained a five-year lease on the second and third stories, and that September classes were conducted there under the direction of trustees of the Western Reserve Teachers' Seminary. This school was maintained throughout the 1840s and part of the 1850s and was regarded as an important educational institution in that area.
"After the Western Reserve Teachers' Seminary was dissolved, the population of Kirtland continued to decline, the temple was abandoned, and for years no one maintained the building. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints took possession of the building in 1880, and in the twentieth century it was restored to it original beauty.
"The population of Kirtland Township declined from 1,778 in 1840 to 909 in 1890, the latter census recording fewer inhabitants than when the missionaries introduced the gospel in the Western Reserve in October 1830. fn During the first half of the twentieth century, the population remained sparse, with only 2,663 residents reported in the census of 1950. When Richard W. Young visited Kirtland in 1882, he found a community thinly settled and a temple in poor repair. 'Much of the interior wood work has been taken away for fire wood,' he observed, 'and sashes contained more broken than undamaged panes of glasses. Paint it has not seen for a generation at least.'" (Milton V. Backman, Jr., The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830-1838 [Salt Lake City: Desert Book Co., 1983], 372)
All the Saints that dwell in that land are commanded to come away, for this is "Thus saith the Lord;" therefore pay out no moneys, nor properties for houses, nor lands in that country, for if you do you will lose them, for the time shall come, that you shall not possess them in peace, but shall be scourged with a sore scourge; yet your children may possess them, but not until many years shall pass away; and as to the organization of that branch of the Church, it is not according to the Spirit and will of God; and as to the designs of the leading members of that branch relative to the printing press, and the ordaining of Elders, and sending out Elders to beg for the poor, are not according to the will of God; and in these things they shall not prosper, for they have neglected the House of the Lord, the baptismal font, in this place, wherein their dead may be redeemed, and the key of knowledge that unfolds the dispensation of the fullness of times may be turned, and the mysteries of God be unfolded, upon which their salvation, and the salvation of the world, and the redemption of their dead depends; for "thus saith the Lord," there shall not be a general assembly for a general conference assembled together until the House of the Lord and the baptismal font shall be finished; and if we are not diligent the Church shall be rejected, and their dead also, saith the Lord. Therefore, dear brethren, any proceedings of the Saints otherwise than to put forth their hands with their might to do this work, is not according to the will of God, and shall not prosper; therefore, tarry not in any place whatever, but come forth unto this place from all the world, until it is filled up, and polished, and sanctified according to my word, saith the Lord. Come ye forth from the ends of the earth, that I may hide you from mine indignation that shall scourge the wicked, and then I will send forth and build up Kirtland, and it shall be polished and refined according to my word; therefore your doings and your organizations and designs in printing, or any of your councils, are not of me, saith the Lord, even so. Amen.
Patriarch for the whole Church. (History of the Church, 4:444)
DC 124:84 my servant Almon Babbitt... aspireth to establish his counsel
"This sounds like serious business, that we in our day could be accused by the Lord of setting up a golden calf to worship instead of the true and living God. Most of us probably think that was possible in Moses' day, but certainly not in ours. Let me share some information that may help us to see what Almon Babbit did that was so displeasing to the Lord.
"Almon Babbitt joined the Church in 1833, served a mission to Canada, participated as a member of Zion's Camp, and was given leadership responsibilities in Kirtland and Nauvoo. He apparently had some training in the law. In examining the history of the Church, I found that Brother Babbitt had come into conflict with Church leaders on five different occasions from 1833 to 1841, when this revelation was given. Each time a reconciliation was made, and each time he was given another chance. I wondered what effect, if any, this revelation might have had on Brother Babbitt. I found that he continued to go against the counsel of the Brethren. He opposed John Smith when Brother Smith was sent to Ramus, Illinois, to solicit help for the Nauvoo Legion when Joseph Smith was being harrassed. Babbitt later opposed Orson Hyde in Kanesville, Iowa, after the death of the Prophet. After Babbitt was appointed secretary of the Territory of Utah by Brigham Young and was sent to Washington, D.C., to seek for statehood for Utah, Brigham's friend Thomas L. Kane wrote on several occasions to warn him of Babbitt's behavior in Washington.
"When Babbitt was returning to Utah from the East in 1856, he stopped at Council Bluffs, Iowa. There he was warned by Church leaders that he should wait for a large wagon train before proceeding west because of Indian hostilities. A couple of his wagons left the next day and were attacked by Indians, the drivers killed and goods destroyed. Babbitt and Frank Rowland followed and were encouraged to wait for a military escort at Fort Kearney, but they rejected that counsel and were attacked by Cheyenne Indians near Ash Hollow and were killed. There were very few remains, and the twelve attacking Indians said that Colonel Babbitt had fought like a grizzly bear to his death. How much wiser to have learned to listen to counsel.
"From the day of the organization of the Church in 1830, the Lord has taught and emphasized the importance of his servants; he has carefully defined the special role of the prophet and the president of the Church in receiving guidance and revelation for the entire Church. That theme has been echoed and reechoed throughout the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord even said that all that his Father promised to him could be shared by the Saints if they were true to the covenant of the priesthood. Notice, however, that this promise is predicated upon these words: 'And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; for he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father' (D&C 84:35-37). Certainly our happiness and exaltation depend on following the Lord by following his prophets." (Byron R. Merrill et al., comps., The Heavens Are Open: The 1992 Sperry Symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 44-45)
DC 124:86 if they die...they shall rest from all their labors here, and shall continue their works
LeGrand Richards used to say that if spirit paradise was a place of rest, then he didn't want to go there. He would much prefer to be preaching the gospel and doing the work of the Lord. This scripture reveals the truth that the rest of spirit paradise is a rest from the labors of mortality while the work of God will continue at an accelerated pace.
Charles W. Penrose
As our brethren finish their earthly work, and their bodies are laid down to rest for a while, to be purged in the tomb, they will go forth in the spirit, as Christ did, and as the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum and the rest of the valiant servants have done, and publish the Gospel to the spirits that are behind the veil. A mighty work is going on there, and as our brethren depart hence and their places are taken up by their posterity, they will carry on this work in the spirit world, where there is a wider sphere for their operations than here in the flesh. And they will find that much of the seed that has been sown in mortality among the nations of the earth, which has not appeared to fructify, or to bring forth fruit (for many people have heard the word and have not obeyed it, but have gone down to the grave in their darkness) will come to life and light and power in the world behind the veil. Thousands upon thousands who have heard the Gospel, but have not obeyed it, will be ready to receive it when the servants of God present it to them in the spheres behind the veil. The work of God will be carried on there, and the work of the ordinances will be performed in this sphere, in the temples that are and will be erected. We have only begun this great work, notwithstanding the many thousands of vicarious ordinances that have been performed. This work will go on. It is a mighty work, and you and I can be engaged in it. (Conference Report, April 1904, Afternoon Session 97)
DC 124:87 the sickness of the land shall redound to your glory
Redound means to roll back, recoil. Settling in the marshy land of Commerce Illinois brought a terrible illness upon many saints. In retrospect, most experts feel that the disease was malaria, an infectious disease transmitted by the mosquitoes common in the marshes. In spite of the Prophet's day of healing, many saints were very sick or died of this disease. William Law was apparently afraid to bring his family to Nauvoo because of the sickness. "The humid, wet climate of riverside Nauvoo was the perfect breeding ground for the mosquitos that carried this disease, now known as malaria, which was the most common affliction not only in Nauvoo, but also throughout the Mississippi Valley. The 'sickly season,' as it was called, stretched from midsummer until the first frosts of fall, but the 'shakes' could recur anytime." ("Introduction To the 1845-1846 Journal of Thomas Bullock" by Gregory R. Knight, BYU Studies, vol. 31 (1991), 11)
"Nauvoo... felt the sharp scythe of the grim reaper. There has never been any question about the high death rate in the early days of the Mormon settlement. One writer who described Nauvoo as 'the Beautiful Pesthole' claimed that 'Commerce had failed to grow specifically because it was a place where Malaria was endemic and particularly virulent.' In fact, malaria reached such proportions in 1841 that coffin makers found it difficult to keep up with the demand and Sidney Rigdon was forced to preach a general funeral sermon.
"Death was a subject of interest in correspondence and in numerous journal entries of that period. In 1843 Sally Randall wrote to her family back east: 'It is very sickly here at present with fevers and fever and ague and measles, and a great many children die with them.' Scores died of malaria each year in August and September, and children were especially vulnerable... figures indicate that perhaps 1750 Mormons are buried in Nauvoo, most of them in unmarked graves.
"...But one disease easily identified by modern readers was the most common not only in Nauvoo but throughout the entire Mississippi region: the 'shakes,' or ague and fever... The 'sickly season' extended from midsummer until autumn frosts, but the violent shaking associated with the recurrent malarial chills could come anytime. In a large family, someone was almost always down with the 'shakes.' People associated malaria with swamps but not with mosquitoes. Malaria was commonly believed to result from bad swamp air, which in turn was caused by rotting vegetable matter. An article in the Neighbor of 18 December 1844 informed its readers that 'malaria consists in certain invisible effluvia or emanation from the surface of the earth, which were formerly called Marsh Miusmaia, but to which it has, of late years become fashionable to apply the foreign term malaria.' The northwest portion of the city experienced more affliction from ague and fever than the eastern and southern portions. Residents and visitors alike commented on the incidence of mosquitoes in the most malaria-prone areas but never quite drew the connection...
"Behind every one of the several hundred deaths in Nauvoo is the story of grief-stricken parents, children, friends, and other loved ones. The extent of their sorrow is illustrated by excerpts from one mother's letter. Sally Randall, in a letter to her family back east, described the death of her fourteen-year-old son: 'He was sick three weeks and three days with the ague and fever. . . . He was taken in fits the day before he died and had them almost without cessation as long as he lived. When he breathed his last he went very easy, but oh the agonies he was in before it seemed I could not endure.'" (George W. Givens, In Old Nauvoo: Everyday Life in the City of Joseph [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 112-116)
DC 124:82-102 William Law called as second counselor in the First Presidency
Section 124 mentions many Brethren whose lives teach us important truths. Unfortunately, stories of apostasy seem as frequent as stories of faithfulness, but both are equally interesting and instructive. Of these, however, the story of William Law is paramount. He could be counted as the greatest apostate of the Nauvoo period.
Verses 82 to 102 are addressed primarily to William Law. Herein, he is given great and glorious promises. He is the only latter-day saint to whom the Lord declared, "if I will that he should raise the dead, let him not withhold his voice" (v. 100). He was called to serve with Sidney and Joseph in the First Presidency. Let's review the Lord's counsel to William:
- Pay stock into the Nauvoo House (82)
- Do not move your family to Kirtland (83)
- Trust in the Lord (87)
- Do not fear for your family's health on account of the sickness of Nauvoo (87)
- Keep the commandments (87)
- Proclaim the gospel in Warsaw, Carthage, Burlington, and Madison (88)
- Patiently await further instructions (88)
- Hearken to the counsel of the Prophet Joseph (89)
- Support the cause of the poor (89)
- Publish the new translation of the Bible (89)
- Be ordained a member of the First Presidency (91)
- Receive the keys by which he may ask and receive blessings (97)
- Be humble (97)
- Be without guile (97)
- Cry aloud and spare not with joy and rejoicing and with hosannas (101)
- Assist Joseph Smith in making a solemn proclamation to the kings of the earth (107)
Now let's look at the blessings promised to William predicated on his faithfulness. The Lord declares, "If he will do my will... If he will do my will... If he will do this," (v. 83, 89, 90) then he shall receive the blessings:
- The sickness of the land will abate (87)
- I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings (90)
- He shall not be forsaken (90)
- His seed shall not be found begging bread (90)
- He shall receive of my Spirit (97)
- The Comforter shall manifest unto him the truth of all things (97)
- The Comforter shall give him, in the very hour, what he shall say (97)
- He shall heal the sick (98)
- He shall cast out devils (98)
- He shall be delivered from deadly poisons (98)
- He shall be led in safe paths (99)
- He shall mount up in the imagination of his thoughts as upon eagles' wings (99)
- He shall raise the dead, if I will (100)
- He shall serve a mission held in store for William and Hyrum alone (101)
- He shall serve with Sidney and Joseph receiving the oracles for the whole church (126)
The story of William Law, his rise to the First Presidency and his fall to ignominy, is a long and interesting tale of life in Nauvoo:
"In 1836 William Law abandoned his Presbyterian leanings for Mormonism, in spite of his father's opposition: 'My father is much opposed to [Mormonism] from evil reports &c. which he has heard,' he wrote. In November 1839 he moved from Canada to Nauvoo to be with the Saints." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 175)
"William Law wasted little time putting down roots at Nauvoo. With his brother, Wilson, as partner, he purchased properties, opened a store, and proceeded to build a much-needed steammill. A man of enterprise, William was dedicated to self-improvement through shrewd investment and hard work. He saw in the large influx of Mormons to Nauvoo an opportunity personally to take advantage of the economic growth of the community. Though he was not wealthy, the native Irishman was a man of means, and his influence among the Canadian Saints now began to expand Churchwide as he assumed his new calling in the Presidency.
"Evidence that William Law had unreservedly thrown his lot with the Saints can be demonstrated by itemizing even a few of his church-related activities after arriving in Nauvoo. In early 1840 he apparently became Joseph Smith's creditor when he promised the Mormon prophet one hundred dollars to defray traveling expenses to Washington, D.C. This was only the beginning of an extensive credit-debit relationship which would continue between the two men for the next four years. In January 1841 William accepted a call to serve in the First Presidency, and in June through August of that year he took a mission to Philadelphia with Hyrum Smith. From 1840 through 1843 William made his home available for church meetings of all kinds, and during approximately the same time period he filled regular preaching assignments at Nauvoo and in Lee County, Iowa Territory. The First Presidency counselor defended Joseph Smith's character in 1842 by issuing public statements condemning John C. Bennett's licentious conduct at Nauvoo, and later that same year (September-November) William made a second mission to the Eastern States to preach the gospel, regulate church affairs, and counter Bennett's allegations of immoral conduct on the part of the Prophet. With eight others Law received the ancient endowment from Joseph Smith in May 1842 and continued to meet in private councils with the Prophet until January 1844. William aided Joseph Smith immeasurably during the latter's hiding from law-enforcement officers during August through December 1842, and both Law brothers extended moral and financial support to the Prophet during his trial in Springfield, Illinois, in January 1843. fn Finally, when Joseph was arrested in Dixon, Illinois, in June 1843, for treason, William and Wilson Law were again numbered among those who rendered valuable assistance in his rescue.
"These activities of faith and friendship brought William Law closer to Joseph Smith, resulting in an increased identification with the Saints and a deepening feeling of commitment to Mormonism. In November 1840 William confidently informed a temporary convert that the Mormon church was the 'only organised Church on the Earth [that] God now acknowledges.' After living in close proximity to the Prophet for a year in Nauvoo, William penned his appraisal of the Mormon leader:
I have carefully watched his movements since I have been here, and I assure you I have found him honest and honourable in all our transactions which have been very considerable I believe he is an honest upright man, and as to his follies let who ever is guiltless throw the first stone at him, I shant do it.
"All this clearly suggests that before his apostasy William Law had achieved a high level of commitment to Mormonism (especially to Joseph Smith). Yet for all his apparent willingness to take greater risks and to tolerate suffering for his new religion, William's loyalty to the Mormon prophet was critically and decisively tested in 1843-1844, William must have imagined that the place of a living prophet was only to restore a New Testament church, with proper authority to perform essential ordinances and promulgate Christian teachings; however, Joseph Smith's mission was to restore a dispensation of the fulness of ancient times, with plenary power to institute ancient practices and ordinances and to speak authoritatively on all issues, including political, economic, and social matters. As a result, William Law was constrained to question the validity of his religious experience as a Latter-day Saint...
"William Law perceived Joseph Smith's religious views to be antithetical to good law and order. Not unlike that of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Thomas B. Marsh, and others, William's disaffection coincided with a spiritual departure from the essential purposes of the Kingdom. Law opposed a growing ecclesiastical control over his economic, political, and social life. According to his own statements (made just prior to and after his excommunication), William Law turned against the Mormon prophet because of William's perception that (1) Joseph was totally ungovernable and defiant and was determined to obey or disobey the law of the land at his convenience (i.e., a claim to higher law); (2) Joseph united church and state, both as mayor of Nauvoo (in the passage of city ordinances and the use of police power) and as an influential religious leader by manipulating or seeking to manipulate politicians for private purposes (i.e., breakdown of the rule of law); (3) Joseph had allowed the established judicial order of church government to be trampled under foot; (4) Joseph had attempted to control the temporal (financial) interests of the Mormon people by ecclesiastical authority; and (5) more importantly, Joseph had corrupted the Church by introducing 'false and damnable' doctrines such as a plurality of Gods, a plurality of wives, and the doctrine of unconditional sealing up unto eternal life (i.e., Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet).
"Despite a growing antagonism, William had restrained his feelings and dissembled his opposition as best he could. He was hoping things would change for the better. Although at first Law found himself occupying a middle ground between rational conviction and emotional uncertainty, he became progressively more confident that Joseph Smith was in transgression. It was not until perhaps April or May 1844 that he organized his thinking in such a way as to systematically attack his enemy. Even then he was not assailing the validity of the Restoration. The vehemence with which William Law denounced the Prophet in 1844 was not due to disbelief in Mormon polity, but to his conviction that the Mormon leader had plunged into apostate practices. It was Joseph Smith's influence that Law sought to destroy.
"Since by the time the Laws arrived in Nauvoo building lots in the lower part of the town were available for purchase from only Joseph Smith, William and his brother invested in the upper part of Nauvoo and on the outskirts of the new city. fn While the financial interests of the Laws and the Prophet were in competition in 1842, Joseph encouraged them to become prosperous in ways not prejudicial to the Church. Moreover, both parties maintained tolerably good relations because Joseph and William were in the Presidency. However, by 1843 the fundamental economic interests of the native Irishmen and the Mormon leader were in definite conflict. Brisk competition caused the Prophet to insist that the Saints purchase building lots from only the Church. fn Although most recognized this as a sacrifice which would assist in liquidating Church debts, to William Law it sounded too much like totalitarianism. In 1844 the Laws publicized their opposition to this 'injunction' requiring the Saints to purchase from the Trustee-in-Trust. And in later life William testily remembered that after their alienation he and his brother were effectively unable to sell their property.
"Finally, William Law charged that Joseph Smith had introduced into the Church false doctrines (publicly) and corrupt practices (secretly), thereby perverting his 'priestly authority' and 'forfeiting the holy priesthood.' Specifically, the Irish convert manifested his repugnance to (1) 'a plurality of Gods . . . , [i.e.] other gods as far above our God as he is above us [and] that he wrought out his salvation in the flesh with fear and trembling the same as we do; (2) unconditional sealing up to eternal life' by the power of the priesthood, and (3) a plurality of wives.
The Prophet began to take additional wives in Nauvoo in April 1841. By June 1844, when the Mormon leader was killed, as many as 150 men and women had received temple-related ordinances including the sanctioned, though secret, practice of plural marriage. William's unwillingness in 1843 to accept the sub rosa practice of plural marriage especially worked a hardship on him. As a member of the First Presidency of the Church, William Law had been selected by Joseph Smith to receive the "ancient order of the priesthood" (4 May 1842). The sacred nature of this order (the group was known by its members as the "quorum") was explicitly detailed upon reception, and the specially chosen initiates were placed under covenants of strict obedience. To receive the fulness of the "ancient order" was to be married eternally to one or more women and eventually be sealed up unto eternal life by the power of the priesthood...
"William claimed he was shocked when the particulars of the law of plurality were explained to him. The marriage practice was especially embarrassing to him as he had publicly ridiculed such fears a year before. He had spoken against John C. Bennett's licentiousness in 1842, assuring the Nauvoo populace that neither 'spiritual wifery' nor anything like it was condoned by Church leaders. fn Law's official introduction to plural marriage came from the Church Patriarch (July-August 1843): 'Hyrum gave it [the revelation] to me in his office, told me to take it home and read it, and then be careful with it, and bring it back again.' '[Jane] and I were just turned upside down by it,' related William. 'We did not know what to do.'...
"By January 1844 William's anger, together with his distaste for secret polygamous relationships, brought him to a crucial point in his religious experience as a Latter-day Saint. However much he desired the sealing ordinance, and notwithstanding his alleged commitment to the latter-day Prophet, William claimed he could not assent to the implications of plural marriage. He did not insist on an infallible prophet, but his faith unequivocally required that the prophet admit error and be willing to change. He said: 'If he [Joseph] sins is there no room for repentance, can not God forgive him, and can not we forgive him very often in a day.'
"... On 8 January 1844, when Joseph Smith informed his second counselor that he had been 'dropped' from the First Presidency, the latter exasperatedly declared: 'I confess I feel ennoyed very much by such unprecedented treatment for it is illegal, inasmuch as I was appointed by revelation (so called) first [and was sustained] twice after by unanimous voice of the general Conferences.'
"William Law requested his case be heard at the April 1844 general conference but was denied because of the explosive nature of things at Nauvoo resulting from the mounting opposition of the dissenters. Because Church leaders knew that the detractors could not be contained, they felt their only recourse was excommunication [which took place18 April 1844]...
"In his last encounter with Joseph Smith, on 8 January 1844, William boldly declared that polygamy 'was of the Devil and that [Joseph] should put it down.' But when the Prophet insisted that his practice of the ancient order of marriage was by revelation, any remaining hope for a reconciliation was destroyed. Richard S. Law, William's son said his father, 'with his arms around the neck of the Prophet, was pleading with him to withdraw the doctrine of plural marriage. . . . [William] pleaded for this with Joseph with tears streaming from his eyes. The Prophet was also in tears, but he informed [William] that he could not withdraw the doctrine, for God had commanded him to teach it, and condemnation would come upon him if he was not obedient to the commandment.'
"William was further informed on 8 January 1844 that his rebellion had resulted in his being excluded from the anointed quorum and dropped from the First Presidency. While William considered these actions as 'unjust and dishonourable', he believed that his dismissal had released him from a compromising position: 'I feel relieved from a most embarrassing situation. I cannot fellowship the abominations which I verily know are practiced by this man, consequently I am glad to be free from him.'...
"William was contacted by Hyrum Smith in March 1844 and by Almon W. Babbitt in April 1844 requesting a reconciliation. But the wounds could not be mended. William's terms were simple: a discontinuance of the practice of plural marriage...The question that had plagued William Law was how far to push his denunciation of polygamy. Seeing no hope of a reconciliation, William resolved to save the Church from error by exposing the leviathan to the Nauvoo populace. He seized upon his 'damning evidence', and in late May and early June 1844 he legally charged Joseph Smith with adultery and publicized the nature of the Prophet's polygamous teachings and practices in the pages of the Nauvoo Expositor. But William Law badly misjudged the mentality of the Mormon people. He had not recognized their corporate solidarity or the tremendous love and support extended to Joseph Smith as the Lord's mouthpiece. Much to his dismay, his open attack on the Church leader further alienated him and labeled him as a bitter enemy of the Restoration.
"...In the final analysis, William Law's strong feelings for Mormonism were not enduring. His rejection of Joseph as a true prophet was not just a rational decision based on any one thing. It was a complex transferral of loyalty. The decision to break with the Mormon leader seems to have been only the final stage of a psychological reorientation that had begun early in 1843, even before William first suspected the Prophet was involved in polygamy. In order for one's loyalty to be irreversible it 'must seize [his] feelings and thoughts to the exclusion of almost all else.' Law's commitment to individualism and democracy precluded this. The Irishman's motives for apostasy appear to have stemmed from a perception (real or imagined) that his civil and religious liberties were being threatened within the Mormon community. By 1838 the administrative power of the Church had concentrated into the hands of one man--the Prophet Joseph Smith. Some notable converts were not willing to allow this ecclesiastical domination in their economic and political affairs. Nor would they condone what they considered to be defiance of the law of the land. William Law believed that new doctrines had corrupted the Church. Not unlike Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Lyman Johnson, he believed that the established laws of the Church and the revelations had been trampled underfoot for expedience in order to remove undesirables. Indeed, he maintained that the written revelations--the scriptures--were superior to the living prophet. These men were more comfortable with the then popular values of evangelical Protestantism." ("William Law, Nauvoo Dissenter" by Lyndon W. Cook, BYU Studies, vol. 22 (1982), Number 1 - Fall 1982)
DC 124:91-95 Hyrum... shall hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people
"On Sunday, January 24, 1841, Hyrum Smith was sustained as Patriarch to the Church... The patriarchal office required Hyrum to give individual blessings to the members of the Church, blessings which were carefully recorded by a scribe and given to the recipient. A special office for this work was to be constructed near Hyrum's home. However, his new duties did not remove him from the council of the First Presidency, for the Lord had designated him, as well as Joseph, 'prophet, seer and revelator.' He was to work in concert with Joseph and have all the blessings, glory, and honor, priesthood and gifts of the priesthood that were once conferred on Oliver Cowdery. Hyrum was to fulfill the role next to Joseph, as an associate President of the Church." (Pearson H. Corbett, Hyrum Smith, Patriarch [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 249)
Elder John W. Taylor
Did Hyrum Smith stand up and tell his brother Joseph that he was occupying the position of one of the First Presidency of the Church and stood as the second man in the kingdom, and he did not wish to be released from that position to become the Patriarch of the Church? No, he did not. Why? Because he realized it was the mind and will of God and instead of being a step backward in the Church, it was a step forward; in other words, it was a step into another department which was equally honorable. More than that, it was the mind and will of God, and this should always be considered above all other things. (Conference Report, October 1900, Second Day-Morning Session 32)
DC 124:95 he may... be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood... that were once put upon... Oliver Cowdery
Joseph Fielding Smith
Hyrum Smith was called to be the patriarch to the Church, but he was also called to take Oliver Cowdery's place as special witness to the Prophet... (quotes D&C 124:94-96.)
That calling was over and beyond his office of patriarch. He was a special witness to his brother, and was shown the keys of presidency. Now this situation has been unique in the history of the Church. Since that time that has not been necessary. There are thousands of persons who now are witnesses of the divinity of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so that the office that Hyrum Smith held was more than the office which subsequent patriarchs have held. (Conference Report, October 1944, Evening Meeting 110)
Joseph Fielding Smith
This was a special blessing given to Hyrum Smith, and in accepting it he took the place of Oliver Cowdery, upon whom these keys had previously been bestowed. It should be remembered that whenever the Lord revealed priesthood and the keys of priesthood from the heavens, Oliver Cowdery stood with Joseph Smith in the presence of the heavenly messengers, and was a recipient, as well as Joseph Smith, of all this authority. They held it conjointly, Joseph Smith as the first and Oliver Cowdery as the second elder of the Church.
Thus the law pertaining to witnesses was fully established, for there were two witnesses standing with authority, keys, and presidency, at the head of this the greatest of all dispensations.fn When through transgression Oliver Cowdery lost this wonderful and exalted blessing, Hyrum Smith was chosen by revelation of the Lord to take his place-the Lord calling him in these words:
That he [Hyrum Smith] may act in concert also with my servant Joseph; and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery; That my servant Hyrum may bear record of the things which I shall show unto him, that his name may be had in honorable remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever.
And thus, according to promise, the Lord opened the vision of Hyrum Smith and showed to him those things which were necessary to qualify him for this exalted position, and upon him were conferred by Joseph Smith all the keys and authorities by which he, Hyrum Smith, was able to act in concert with his younger brother as a prophet, seer, and revelator, and president of the Church, "as well as my servant Joseph." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 166)
DC 124:104-110 my servant Sidney... let him arise and come up and stand in the office of his calling, and humble himself
Sidney Rigdon was a particularly great orator, speaking at all the most important milestones in the history of the Church. Excepting the Prophet Joseph Smith, he was the most important Church leader since Oliver Cowdery. However, at times, he suffered from delusional thinking and confusion. Many thought this was secondary to a head injury suffered when he and Joseph were tarred and feathered in March of 1832. During the attack, the mob drug him by his heels with his head dragging upon the hard ground. The Prophet recorded that Sidney was delirious for several days afterward, (History of the Church, 1:265) and it seemed that this injury "occasionally affected his emotional stability for the rest of his life." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1234) By 1841, he was more inconsistent and at times even inappropriate in his remarks.
Jedediah M. Grant
Elders J. [Joseph] and H. [Hyrum] Smith and Elder R. [Rigdon], with the exiled saints, located themselves in the spring of 1839, in the village of Commerce, afterwards called Nauvoo... But the ray of hope had scarcely beamed on the Church, before it was discovered that the scenes in Ohio and Missouri, had not extinguished or abated the strength of Elder R's imagination. He began to say that it was now his privilege to get rich, he went so far as to say "that he never would follow Elder J. Smith's revelations any more, contrary to his own convenience, he also said that Jesus Christ was a fool to him, in sufferings." (see History of the Church 3:264) Elder Smith watched over him, determined to keep him where the effects of his imagination could not prove so disastrous to the saints as heretofore, hoping at the same time, that he would see his error and reform.
At the Conference held in Commerce, October 5th, '39, Elders J. Smith, S. Rigdon, and E. Higbee, were delegated to go to the city of Washington to lay before the authorities of our nation, the sufferings and persecutions of the saints, while in Missouri. It was thought that a trip to the Eastern cities would be beneficial to Elder R., and so it proved, for his mind for several months after he returned, seemed more calm and consistent than it had for a long time previous.
But Elder R. paid very little attention to the affairs of the Church, or the counsels of Elder Smith, he seemed to amuse himself with his own waking dreams, until sickness seized upon him and his family, he would then murmur and threaten to leave Nauvoo and go to the east. The Elders would visit him and pray for his recovery, and comfort him all they could, knowing he had suffered many afflictions. At times he would say, (as he did in this city near five years ago,) the Lord suffers me to be afflicted because I aspire to get ahead of Br. Joseph, thinking myself more capable to lead the Church than he is. But the Lord (said Elder R.,) don't think so. The following from the Book of Cov., page 408, given January 19th, 1841, will show Elder R's standing far better than I can tell it.
(quotes D&C 124:103-110.)
Elder R. complied with part of the above revelation, he located his family as directed, but continued as inactive as before, until Elder Smith was under the necessity of bringing his case before the Conference, Elder R. plead for his standing in the Church, and promised to do better, until he touched Elder Smith's sympathy, he then done by him as he had often done by others wept over him and forgave him. Elder Hyrum Smith whose charity never failed in one instance, was determined to hold on to him; in his meditations about him, he thought, perhaps, that he felt himself slighted, because Elder Joseph Smith had not ordained him to be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as he had some others; he therefore went to his Br. and told him his thoughts, (said he,) Br. Joseph, you have ordained me and Br. Don Carlos and others, to be Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, but you have not ordained Br. Sidney, and I have thought that he feels that you have slighted him, I want you to go, continued H., and ordain him to the same office.
He talked with his Br. until he consented to ordain him. At the time of ordination Elder J. Smith done all he could to cheer up Elder R., who was at the time labouring under indisposition.
But revelations, ordinations, prayers and intercessions proved insufficient to move Elder R. to act up to his duty-again and again he was arraigned before the Conference for his inactivity and improper course. The last time he was brought before the Conference, previous to the death of Elders J. and H. Smith, Elder J. Smith stated to the many thousands assembled on the occasion, that he had to announce to them, that after mature deliberation, he had come to the conclusion that it was no longer his duty to hold on to, and consider Elder S. Rigdon as one of his counsellors, for, (said he,) time after time he has promised to do better, but in every instance he has failed to comply with his most solemn promises; I do therefore reject and cast him off as a man unworthy of the high office to which he has been ordained and appointed, I can no longer sustain him; if the church is disposed to take the responsibility upon itself of sustaining him, it may, but I shall do it no longer.
Elder Hyrum Smith plead with the church, with great earnestness and sympathy, to try Brother Sidney another year; he alluded to the many trying scenes he had passed through with the church and with his brother Joseph; said he, I know that Brother Sidney has not done as he should, but let us forgive him once more, and try him again. His warm appeal to the church caused many a tear to fall, Elder Rigdon made his confession and plead with the church to sustain him, after which Elder H. Smith called on the church to vote, they lifted their hands to try Elder Rigdon another year. Yet Elder J. Smith was so sure that Elder Rigdon would again break his promise and go astray, that he went and ordained Elder Amasa Lyman to succeed him. Some of the Elders did not understand how Elder Lyman could be ordained to succeed Elder Rigdon, as the church had voted to try him another year. Elder J. Smith was requested to give and explanation; "Why, (said he,) by the same rule that Samuel anointed David to be King over Israel while Saul was yet crowned," please read the 16th chapter of I. Samuel. Elder Smith's explanation, though short, proved a quietus to all their rising conjectures. (Collection of Facts Relative to Sidney Rigdon, 13 - 16.)
DC 124:111-114 let my servant Amos Davies... hearken unto the counsel of my servant Joseph
"Amos Davies was the postmaster, a merchant, and a landowner in Commerce (Nauvoo) when the Latter-day Saints located in the area. He welcomed the new Mormon settlers and employed several in his business ventures.... Amos was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April 1840. Two months after his baptism he journeyed to Vermont to visit relatives and remained in the East from June to September. After his return Joseph Smith received a revelation on 19 January 1841 directing Amos to 'pay stock into the hands of those whom I have appointed to build a house for boarding, even the Nauvoo House' (D&C 124:111)...
"It is assumed that Amos followed this counsel, for soon thereafter he was ordained an elder and appointed to be a first lieutenant in the Nauvoo Legion.
"Difficulties arose between the Prophet and Amos Davies in 1842. On 10 March 1842 the Prophet Joseph Smith attended the trial of 'the City of Nauvoo versus Amos Davis, for indecent and abusive language about me while at Mr. Davis' the day previous. The charges were clearly substantiated by the testimony of Dr. Foster, Mr. and Mrs. Hibbard, and others. Mr. Davis was found guilty by the jury, and by the municipal court, bound over to keep the peace six months, under $100 bond.'
"On 30 November 1842 the Prophet had 'Amos Davis brought before the municipal court for slander'... Amos, unhappy with the judgment, appealed his case before the municipal court, but the earlier judgment was confirmed.
"After these court cases, Amos left Nauvoo and was reported to be in Philadelphia from April through September 1843. [Subsequently], He remained in Nauvoo with his interest focused on his merchandising enterprises. When the Saints left the area in 1846, Amos journeyed to visit them in their extremities in Winter Quarters. The wife of one former employee wrote: 'In the early part of winter, my husband's old employer, Amos Davis, came along through our settlement with a load of goods from his store in Nauvoo. He stopped with us for a day. When he left, he gave us some tea, sugar, and coffee, which was highly appreciated and was a luxury in those hard times.'
"In 1850 he journeyed to California with others lured by the Gold Rush. By 1853 he had returned to the Midwest and was residing in Michigan, and by 1858 he was again living in Illinois. Amos died on 22 March 1872 in Illinois at the age of fifty-eight." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 83 - 85)
DC 124:113 when he shall prove himself faithful in all things that shall be entrusted unto his care
George Q. Cannon
If we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, we expect to have control over many things, and there is reason to believe that our dominion will be very extensive. But before we attain to that dominion we must learn to be wise rulers over the few things that God has placed in our charge and to use them for His glory and the advancement of His purposes on the earth.
When He sees that our eyes are single to His glory and that our hearts are pure and free from avarice and every sordid and selfish feeling, He will multiply His blessings upon us because He will then know by testing us that we are fit to be trusted; and it will be said to us according to the words of the Scriptures, "When he shall prove himself faithful in all things that shall be entrusted unto his care, yea, even a few things, he shall become ruler over many." (D&C 124:113.) (Apr. 21, 1867, JD 12:43)
We talk about kings and nobles, and we have admired their glory; but the day is not far distant when there will be thousands of men in Zion holding more power and having more glory, honor and wealth than the greatest and the richest of the nobles of the earth. The earth and its fulness are promised unto us by the Lord our God as soon as we have the wisdom and experience necessary to wield this power and wealth. (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 90)
DC 124:115-118 my servant Robert D. Foster
"Robert D. Foster rose to Church prominence when he journeyed with the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon to the nation's capital in 1839 to seek redress for the wrongs the Saints had suffered in Missouri. On the journey the Prophet reproved him for his conduct toward 'certain females.' Robert was next reproved by the Nauvoo high council for 'lying, slandering the authorities of the Church, profane swearing, etc.,' but after lengthy deliberation he was acquitted of all charges. Freed from both the censure of the Prophet and the reproach of the high council, Robert became a prominent citizen in Nauvoo. He served as a regent of the University of Nauvoo, as a member of the Agricultural and Manufacturing Association, as surgeon-general of the Nauvoo Legion, and as the Hancock County magistrate.
"However, in January 1841 the Lord chastised him for his unscrupulous actions, also giving him specific commandments:
If my servant Robert D. Foster will obey my voice, let him build a house for my servant Joseph, according to the contract which he has made with him, as the door shall be open to him from time to time.
And let him repent of all his folly, and clothe himself with charity; and cease to do evil, and lay aside all his hard speeches;
And pay stock also into the hands of the quorum of the Nauvoo House, for himself and for his generation after him, from generation to generation;
And hearken unto the counsel of my servants ... and it shall be well with him forever and ever. Even so. Amen. (D&C 124:115-18.)
"According to his own words, Robert did buy stock in the Nauvoo House and did assist Joseph in building a house: 'If any man accuses me of exchanging Nauvoo stock for rags, &c., he is mistaken. I gave a thousand dollars to this house ... and fifty dollars to the Relief Society, and some to Fullmer to get stone to build Joseph a house; and I mean to build Joseph a house, and you [the Nauvoo House committee] may build this, and I will help you. I mean to profit by this.' It is assumed that the financial issues between these two men were solved as the Prophet wrote that he 'settled with Dr. Robert D. Foster, and gave him a note to balance all demands.'
"Despite the settlement Robert continued to conflict with Church leaders. In 1844 Robert revealed himself to be an ardent opponent of the Prophet. In April 1844 the Prophet preferred charges against Robert before the high council 'for unchristianlike conduct in general, for abusing my character privily, for throwing out slanderous insinuations against me, for conspiring against my peace and safety, for conspiring against my life, for conspiring against the peace of my family, and for lying.'
"Robert was fined for gambling in April 1844, excommunicated for immorality and apostasy on the eighteenth of that month, and court-martialed in May by the Nauvoo Legion for 'unofficer-like and unbecoming conduct.' In April he was also tried civilly 'for resisting the authorities of the city' and refusing to come to the aid of Marshal John P. Greene. The marshal testified that Robert 'swore by God they would see the Mayor [Joseph Smith] in hell' before he and his companions would submit to arrest. He was fined one hundred dollars and appealed the case to the municipal court.
"The Prophet said of the rebellious Dr. Robert Foster, 'The skirts of my garments were free from his (Foster's) blood; I had made the last overtures of peace to him; and then delivered him into the hands of God, and shook my garments against him as a testimony thereof.'
"Robert became one of the 'twelve apostles' of an apostate church organized by William and Wilson Law. As such, he joined in the conspiracy to murder Joseph Smith and coauthored an anti-Mormon newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. However, for a time Robert appeared reluctant to support the planned murder. In an affidavit Marshal John P. Greene testified that on approximately 27 May 1844 Robert said to him, 'For God's sake, don't suffer that man, Joseph Smith, to go out of doors; for if he steps outside of the door his blood will be spilt.' On 27 May the Prophet recorded, 'Robert D. Foster told some of the brethren (with tears in his eyes) that there was evil determined against me; and that there were some persons who were determined I should not go out of Carthage alive.' However, the die was cast.
"On 7 June 1844, the very day the inflammatory Expositor was issued, Robert 'wanted a private interview' with Joseph Smith. The Prophet declined the interview. But as they spoke he put his hand on Robert's vest and said, 'What have you concealed there?' Robert stammered, 'It's my pistol.'
"After the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum on 27 June 1844, Robert was ordered by nine women to leave the city: 'Mrs. Hyrum Smith, Mrs. John Taylor [and others] waited upon Mr. R. D. Foster, and told him they would not bear his taunts and insults any longer. They ordered him to leave the city forthwith.... These ladies having good reason to believe that Foster was accessory to the murder of their relatives, the Prophets, took liberty of pursuing this course towards him.' In fear, Robert fled from Nauvoo that evening.
"Eventually he was charged with the murders, but unsubstantiated evidence led to his acquittal. Was he guilty? In conversation with Abraham C. Hodge in 1845, he said, 'I am the most miserable wretch that the sun shines upon. If I could recall eighteen months of my life I would be willing to sacrifice everything I have upon earth, my wife and child not excepted. I did love Joseph Smith more than any man that ever lived, if I had been present I would have stood between him and death.' To this Hodge then asked, 'Why did you do as you have done? You were accessory to his murder.' Robert replied, 'I know that, and I have not seen one moment's peace since that time. I know that Mormonism is true, and the thought of meeting (Joseph and Hyrum) at the bar of God is more awful to me than anything else.'" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 90 - 92)
DC 124:119-120 let no man pay stock to the quorum of the Nauvoo house unless he shall be a believer
Financial turmoil plagued the Prophet Joseph Smith ever since the Kirtland Bank failure of 1837. Speculation (mostly on real estate investments) had plagued the leaders of the church in Jackson County, Kirtland, and now in Nauvoo. If members of the church were guilty of speculation, covetousness, and greed, then how much more damage could result from investors who held different belief systems. Even believers had their faith tested when the fruits of financial ventures went sour.
DC 124:124 First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church
Curious it is to saints of the latter-days that the Lord's delineation of priesthood offices begins with the office of patriarch. His order places this office even before the quorum of the First Presidency. What can we make of this? Perhaps this order stems from the days of the ancients when the priesthood was referred to as the "patriarchal priesthood," when the sealing power resided in the hands of Adam, Seth, Enos, etc. (see D&C 107:41-52). According to this order, the office of patriarch "rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made" (D&C 107:40). If this order was practiced as it was anciently, then the first office of the priesthood would have been handed down from father to son-from Joseph Smith Sr. to his oldest living son, Hyrum Smith, from Hyrum Smith to his firstborn son and so on. President of the Church, Joseph F. Smith commented on this seeming contradiction as follows:
It may be considered strange that the Lord should give first of all the Patriarch; yet I do not know any law, any revelation or any commandment from God to the contrary, that has ever been given through any of the Prophets or Presidents of the Church. At the same time we well know that this order has not been strictly followed from the day we came into these valleys until now-and we will not make any change at present. But we will first take it into consideration; we will pray over it, we will get the mind of the Spirit of God upon it, as upon other subjects, and be united before we take any action different to that which has been done. (Conference Report, November 1901, 1)
Still, in our day, we do not generally place the office of Patriarch before the First Presidency. However, anciently, and according to the order of the priesthood instituted before the foundation of the world, the Patriarch comes first. After all, this is the order of the ancients and it will be the order of the priesthood in the eternities. But there is a distinction between the responsibilities of the office of Patriarch and the Quorum of the First Presidency:
"Thus, while the prophets from Adam to Moses acted in administrative and presiding positions while holding the patriarchal priesthood, the patriarchal office today is one of blessing, not one of administration, for, in all such callings, the patriarch serves under the direction of a presiding high priest. On a stake level this is a stake president, and on a general Church level this is the President of the Church." (Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 403)
Joseph Fielding Smith
There is in the Church the office of patriarch to, or of, the Church, sometimes called the "presiding" patriarch. This office was first conferred upon Joseph Smith, Sen., in this dispensation, and was given to him by revelation and right of lineage. This office by divine appointment comes down by lineage and rightfully belongs to the family of Hyrum, son of Joseph Smith, Sen., and descends by the law of primogeniture. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 54)
We have been asked, "Does not patriarch over the whole Church" place Brother William Smith at the head of the whole church as president?
Ans. No... But does not the Book of Doctrine and Covenants say,
"First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a Patriarch unto you to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise whereby ye are sealed up unto the day redemption, that ye may not fall."
Yes. But that is in regard to seniority not in regard to authority in priesthood, for it immediately follows, "I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my church." In page 110, D.C. we read "the duty of president of the office of the high priesthood, is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses." And from this it is evident that the president of the Church, not the Patriarch, is appointed by God to [preside].
But does not the Patriarch stand in the same relationship to the Church, as Adam did to his family, and as Abraham and Jacob did to theirs? No. This is another mistake of our junior, and one that may be very easily made inadvertently. Adam was the natural father of his posterity, who were his family and over whom he presided as Patriarch, Prophet, Priest, and King. Both Abraham and Jacob stood, in the same relationship to their families. But not so with Father Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, or William Smith (i.e. brother of Joseph and Hyrum). They were not the natural fathers of the Church, and could not stand in the same capacity as Adam, Abraham, or Jacob; but inasmuch as there had been none to bless for generations past, according to the ancient order, they were ordained and set apart for the purpose of conferring Patriarchal blessings, to hold the Keys of this priesthood and unlock the door, that had long been closed upon the human family: that blessings might again be conferred according to the ancient order, and those who were orphans, or had no father to bless them, might receive it through a patriarch who should act as proxy for their father, and that fathers might again be enabled to act as patriarchs to their families, and bless their children. For like other ordinances in the Church, this had been neglected; and must needs be restored... The president of the church presides over all patriarchs, presidents, and councils of the church; and this presidency does not depend so much upon genealogy as upon calling, order, and seniority. (The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, selected, arranged, and edited, with an introduction by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941], 148 - 149)
DC 124:126 these... constitute a quorum and First Presidency
Joseph F. Smith
This is the pattern; this is the law; this is the way the Church is organized; this is the way the Priesthood is to be governed. The Lord has not only commanded it, but has set the example by naming the three Presidents of the Church. And I tell you that this order of the Priesthood cannot be done away. It is not lawful or right for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to exist any great length of time without an organization of three First Presidents of the Church; for that is the order of the Priesthood. It is their right to receive the gifts of revelation and inspiration, and of blessing upon all the Church; and the First President is the mouthpiece of God, the revelator, the translator, the seer, and the Prophet of God to the whole Church. It is he who holds the keys of this Holy Priesthood-the keys which unlock the doors of the Temples of God and of the ordinances of His house for the salvation of the living and the redemption of the dead. It is he who holds the sealing power, by which man may bind on earth and it shall be bound in heaven, and by which men duly authorized and appointed of him who holds the keys may loose on earth and it will be loosed in heaven. This is the order of the Holy Priesthood. (Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], vol. 5, April 4, 1897)
DC 124:127 Brigham Young... president over the Twelve traveling council
Gordon B. Hinckley
The record of a special conference held in Nauvoo on August 16, 1841, states: "The time had come when the Twelve should be called upon to stand in their place next to the First Presidency, ... and assist to bear off the kingdom victorious to the nations. ...
"Motion seconded and carried that the conference approve of the instructions of President Smith, in relation to the Twelve, and that they proceed accordingly, to attend to the duties of their office." ("Conference Minutes," Times and Seasons, 2 [1 Sept. 1841]: 521-22.)
It is abundantly clear that the Lord placed the Council of the Twelve, with Brigham Young as its president, next to the Prophet Joseph Smith and gave unto them the keys and the authority to advance the Church under the direction of the Prophet while he was alive, and to govern after his death. The revelations I have just read and the minutes of the Nauvoo meeting were recorded from three to nine years before the blessing of which we are speaking.
The winter of 1843-1844 was a season of great tension in Nauvoo. Enemies were plotting the destruction of the Church. During that winter, on a number of occasions, Joseph assembled the Twelve in the upper room of his brick store on Water Street in Nauvoo. Our archives contain a number of documents attesting to these meetings and what was done in them. I have time to quote from the record of only one who was present. There were many. Wrote he of Joseph Smith:
"This great and good man was led, before his death, to call the Twelve together, from time to time, and to instruct them in all things pertaining to the kingdom, ordinances, and government of God. He often observed that he was laying the foundation, but it would remain for the Twelve to complete the building. Said he, 'I know not why; but for some reason I am constrained to hasten my preparations, and to confer upon the Twelve all the ordinances, keys, covenants, endowments, and sealing ordinances of the priesthood ... for, said he, the Lord is about to lay the burden on your shoulders and let me rest awhile; and if they kill me ... the kingdom of God will roll on, as I have now finished the work which was laid upon me, by committing to you all things for the building up of the kingdom according to the heavenly vision, and the pattern shown me from heaven.' " (Parley P. Pratt, "Proclamation," Millennial Star, 5 [March 1845]: 151.)
As you know, Joseph Smith was killed by the Carthage mob on June 27, 1844. On the following 8th of August a congregation of thousands assembled in Nauvoo. Sidney Rigdon, who had served as a counselor to Joseph Smith, spoke for an hour and a half, proposing that he be appointed guardian of the Church. There was no affirmative response. That afternoon Brigham Young spoke on behalf of the Apostles. Many present testified that he looked and sounded like the martyred Prophet. When, following his talk, a proposal was put that the Twelve lead the Church, having been given the keys by Joseph, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor. ("The Joseph Smith III Document and the Keys of the Kingdom," Ensign, May 1981, 20)
B. H. Roberts
Let us consider the situation as to the first presidency at the death of the Prophet. Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and William Law constituted the first presidency of the church from January, 1841, to April, 1844, Hyrum Smith having been taken from the position of counselor in the first presidency to become the presiding patriarch to the church. On the 18th of April, 1844, as stated in a previous chapter, William Law was excommunicated and had begun the organization of a rival church. At the October conference in 1843, President Joseph Smith had tried to get rid of Sidney Rigdon as his counselor. On that occasion the Prophet represented to the church that such had been the course of Elder Rigdon for some time that he considered it no longer his duty to sustain him as a counselor. Hyrum Smith, however, pleaded the cause of Sidney Rigdon, and so strongly urged the saints to deal mercifully with him, that when the question of sustaining him was presented to the conference, the saints voted in favor of Elder Rigdon's retention as a counselor in the first presidency. "I have thrown him off my shoulders, and you have put him on me,". said President Smith. "You may carry him, but I will not." fn And so confident was he that Sidney Rigdon would continue to fail in the performance of his duty, that he ordained Elder Amasa M. Lyman fn to succeed him, both as counselor and "spokesman." "Some of the elders did not understand how Elder Lyman could be ordained to succeed Elder Rigdon, as the church had voted to try him another year. Elder [President] Joseph Smith was requested to give an explanation. 'Why,' said he, 'by the same rule that Samuel anointed David to be king over Israel, while Saul was yet crowned. Please read the 16th chapter of I Samuel.' Elder Smith's explanation, though short, proved a quietus to all their rising conjectures."
Notwithstanding all his fair promises of amendment, Sidney Rigdon continued neglectful of his high duties, and if for a while his old-time enthusiasm revived-as it seemed to at the April conference of 1844-it was but the flickering of an uncertain flame. He longed to return to the east, and notwithstanding the Lord had commanded him to make his home at Nauvoo, he frequently talked with President Smith about going to Pittsburg to live, and finally obtained his consent to go there, and take his family with him. He was instructed to preach, write, and build up the church in that city.
Such was the standing and the course of the man who after the martyrdom of the Prophet was the first to claim the right to lead the church!
Evidently, since President Smith was dead; since William Law, once a counselor in the presidency, was now excommunicated; since Sidney Rigdon was discredited by the Prophet, and only retained on probation in his office by the sufferance of the saints; and since the man whom the Prophet had selected to succeed Sidney Rigdon-Amasa M. Lyman-had not been presented to and accepted by the people-hence his appointment was not completed-there was no first presidency in existence, and hence by every rule of construction and of reason the twelve apostles being the next general presiding quorum of the church, and possessed of equal authority and power with the council of the first presidency-they were the proper authorities to exercise the functions of the general presiding authority in the church at that time. (A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930], 2: 423 - 424)
DC 124:128-129 the Twelve hold the keys...to send my word to every creature
We have been called upon to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, as they were in ancient days; and inasmuch as we cannot go personally and preach to every creature, we have the responsibility upon us to see that it is preached to every creature, to every nation, tongue, and people. And inasmuch as we do not fulfil this responsibility placed upon us, we shall have to suffer. In connection with others, I have gone forth and endeavored to fulfil in some little measure the great mission the Lord our God has given us to the nations of the earth. I have borne testimony all the day long, first to my own nation, the people of the United States, in the New England, Middle, Western, and Southern States, and in the Territories, and also in the Canadas, Upper and Lower. For many years my voice has been heard throughout the land, warning the people to repent. And I most assuredly know that all the testimonies I have borne are recorded in the heavens, and it is a comfort to me to think they are not lost and forgot; and all the people that have heard them will have to meet them in the great and coming day. (Journal of Discourses, 7:180)
DC 124:131-142 Priesthood organization and callings revealed to Nauvoo saints
Joseph F. Smith
And so the Lord gives to the Church, not only the pattern, but He names the officers who were chosen of Him to fill these various quorums of the Priesthood at that time. There is not one iota of the plan which He instituted that can be dispensed with. Every quorum must be kept in existence, and be kept alive. They must be entrusted with the responsibility of their various callings and duties in the Church, in order that the Church may be blameless in the sight of God, perfect in its organization, and full of light, and inspiration, and power from the Almighty. When these things are not done, there is a blemish, there is something lacking. So, when there is a vacancy in a council of the Priesthood, we should hasten, with wisdom and prudence, and with prayerfulness of heart,-not in too much haste,-to fill the vacancy, that every quorum of the Priesthood may be perfect in its organization, and the Church be properly organized. No man can put too much stress upon these things. Without them there is no government. Without obedience to these rules and patterns that God has given, the Church is not perfect; but, with these quorums organized and this authority diffused among the body, down to the very teachers that visit you in your homes, then the Church is organized after the pattern and plan that God has instituted. (Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], vol. 5, April 4, 1897)
DC 124:133 Don C. Smith to be a president over a quorum of high priests
The High Priests in the ward belong to the High Priests group. The ward high priest group leader is not the president of the group; he is the leader. The high priests quorum is made up of the combination of all the ward high priest groups with the Stake President standing as the president of the quorum. In this scripture, Don C. Smith, the prophet's brother is called to be the stake president of the Nauvoo Stake.
"During his Nauvoo years Don Carlos edited thirty-one issues of the Times and Seasons from 1839 to 1841. He was appointed president of the high priests quorum of Nauvoo (see D&C 124:133). His responsibilities heightened within the first week of February 1841 when he was elected to the Nauvoo City Council, selected as brigadier-general in the second cohort of the Nauvoo Legion, and appointed regent of the University of Nauvoo.
"According to one account, 'Don Carlos Smith was the handsomest man [his sister Catherine] ever saw when dressed in his uniform as an officer of the Nauvoo legion and riding his charger on parade.' Norton Jacob shared the opinion, 'There was a splendid military parade and review of the Nauvoo Legion.... There was ... present in command Brigadier Don Carlos Smith, a noble looking young man.' The Prophet Joseph wrote of him, 'He was six feet four inches high, was very straight and well made, had light hair, and was very strong and active. His usual weight when in health was two hundred pounds. He was universally beloved by the Saints.'
"One of his choice experiences in Nauvoo was receiving a blessing from his father shortly before his father's death. In the blessing he was told: 'You shall be great in the sight of the Lord, for he sees and knows the integrity of your heart, and you shall be blessed; all that know you shall bless you. Your wife and your children shall also be blessed, and you shall live to fulfill all that the Lord has sent you to do.'
"In August 1841 Don Carlos became ill. On the morning of 7 August 1841 at 2:20 a.m. he died at the age of twenty-five. The cause of death was presumed to be either tuberculosis, pneumonia, or 'quick consumption.'" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 270 - 271)
DC 124:134 for the purpose of qualifying those who shall be appointed
It is the duty of a President of the High Priests to get the members of his quorum under him together and to instruct them as to the duties of the presidency, so that in the event of any being called, say, to occupy the office of one of the Twelve Apostles who are High Priests, they would be prepared to enter upon such duty; or that in case they should be called to preside over a Stake, they would be prepared to enter upon the duties of that office; or if they should be called to be Counselors to the President of the Stake, they could act wisely and efficiently in that position; or if they should be called upon to be High Councilors, they would know how to act righteously and equitably in all cases, that they might be called upon to adjudicate. And then if they should be called to be Bishops or Bishop's Counselors, as the case may be, they should be prepared to occupy these or any other offices that they might be called to officiate in. (Journal of Discourses, 21:359)
DC 124:138-139 the quorum of seventies... is instituted for traveling elders to bear record of my name in all the world
B. H. Roberts
The Twelve, with the Seventy, constitute the foreign ministry of the Church. They are special witnesses of God and Christ to the truth of the gospel, and that is their special and peculiar calling in the Church. Not that the whole responsibility of preaching the gospel rests upon the Twelve and the Seventy alone. That responsibility rests upon the whole body of the Church. These quorums, the Twelve and Seventy, are merely the instrumentality through which the Church discharges its obligations to the people of the world in making known to them the truth. (Seventy's Course in Theology [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907-1912], 1: 14 - 15)
DC 124:143 The above offices I have given unto you... for governments, for the work of the ministry and the perfecting of my saints
You may ask, why it was that the Lord did not give the whole pattern at once, why He did not unfold everything all in a moment? It was because we were as little children then, and indeed I am of the opinion that many of us are little children still-and we could not bear all things at once; therefore He revealed unto us enough from time to time to set our minds reflecting; He revealed sufficient to cause us to be stirred up in our minds to pray unto Him; and when we prayed unto Him about any of the duties of the Priesthood, then He would reveal it. (Journal of Discourses, 22:31)
Boyd K. Packer
It took a generation of asking and receiving before the order of things as we know it today was firmly in place. Each move to perfect that order has come about in response to a need and in answer to prayer. And that process continues in our day. ("The Twelve Apostles," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 6)
DC 124:144 you should... approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference
What! the people have a right to reject those whom the Lord names? Yes, they have this right, he gave it to them. "Let them be approved of or not approved of;" showing that he had respect to the people themselves, that they should vote and give their general voice to either sustain or not to sustain. (Journal of Discourses, 19:119)
Charles W. Penrose
Let me tell you that in this Church there are two principles combined-some people think they are opposite and cannot come together, but we have proven in our experience that they can-and these are the theocratic and the democratic principles. They are combined in this organization-the voice of God and the will of the people, the response of the people to that which God says. God commands, and the people say, "We obey; we are ready to listen to the voice of God as it comes from on high." It finds an echo in every heart that is living under the influence and spirit of this work, and the response comes, "I am ready to receive it." When the authorities of the Church are placed before the people, it is very rarely that a contrary vote is seen. Are the people obliged to lift up their hands when called upon to vote in the affirmative? No. They can keep their hands down. They can either vote for or against. That is their privilege; that is their right; it is so recorded in the revelations of God to the Church. Why do they generally-almost always-vote in the affirmative? Simply because they are satisfied that the men who are called to occupy these various positions are men of God, that they are fit for the positions, that they are properly called and ordained, and that they are the right men in the right place. That is the reason they vote in the affirmative. (Journal of Discourses, 24:307)