“1846,” Ronald D. Dennis, ed., Prophet of the Jubilee (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997), 29–56.
What Is “Mormonism?”
THIS question is so oft repeated that we do not have time to answer everyone who asks it; and yet, we desire for everyone throughout the world, but especially in Wales, to know what Mormonism is; and since the purpose of this publication is to explain the excellence of this glorious plan, this PROPHET can answer for himself, and set the following things before his readers:—
“My descent is from the tribe of Joseph, who was sold to the Egyptians. My fathers came out of Jerusalem in the time of king Zedekiah, about six hundred years before its destruction, and the enslavement of its inhabitants by Shalmaneser: they brought the five books of Moses, and Elijah’s prophecy with them. After traveling in the wilderness for a year-and-a-half, as they were led by the Lord their God, they landed on a continent [now called America]; and as it was a fine and excellent land in which to dwell, they began to work it, and settle in it, according to the commandment of the Lord their God; and while they were faithful, keeping the Lord’s commandments, and listening to the voice of his prophets who were in their midst, they prospered, increasing greatly; and when they transgressed against his commandments, he sent judgments upon them. At some times they rose against each other, killing throngs of each other; at other times God raised up prophets to teach them, and they thrived. They lived thus for hundreds of years, keeping from age to age the history of the most ancient things of God’s dispensation to them, until they went into great decline, about four hundred years after the birth of Christ. And I, Mormon, was the last prophet who was in their midst, and they sought to take my life too; but I hid from them, and made an abridgement of the history of my ancestors from the plates I received from my father, and inscribed it on gold plates, according to God’s instruction to my fathers; and after finishing I gave them to my son Moroni to hide at the top of a high mountain, until the prophecies about my brethren were fulfilled, as God revealed that they would go into complete decline, until they lost all knowledge of their ancestors, and receive twofold from the Lord’s hand for their sins; and God revealed that he would visit them again in mercy in his own good time, and he made a promise to me, and to my fathers, that he would reveal this book to the Gentiles, and from them to the rest of my people in the latter days, and this when he was about to restore them to possession of the country, in order to civilize and settle them in this land which God had promised to my fathers; and let my brethren know for certain that when God reveals these oracles to men, he is extending his hand a second time to gather the remnant of his people from the four corners of the earth, the Jews to the land of Canaan, and the remnant of Israel on this continent. That he is at that time, by revealing these things, beginning to fulfill his promise to our father Abraham. This is the banner which he will raise to the Gentiles from afar; at this time will he begin to build Zion in the latter days, by restoring the fulness of the eternal gospel to men. Therefore, let those who will be living on earth when these things are made known, know that the Lord began it, and he will finish it; yes, even though all the kings of the earth rise against him. The Lord swore in an oath to our fathers that he would not turn away his hand until it was finished. And to Moses he says of Israel, Though you be pushed to the ends of heaven, the Lord your God will gather you from there; he will make with the house of Jacob a new covenant in the latter days, and will set his fear in their hearts, that they may not retreat from him ever more and for eternity; and he will be their king for ever, and his sanctuary shall be among them for ever. Blessed will be those who are alive when the Lord begins this work, if they obey him, but woe unto those who rebel against him.”
This is a little of the history of the prophet Mormon, and his testimony; and thousands of men alive now, testify that he speaks the truth, that God has revealed the said oracles in this age, that he has begun this great work by giving the dispensation of the fulness of times to men, in which he gathers all things in Christ Jesus; that he has established his kingdom through divine power once again, according to the plan of his Son; and sent servants to invite all who will come to the wedding feast of the Lamb, for he is now preparing his bride for his coming, through her obedience first to the following conditions:
I. That there is but one true gospel or plan revealed under heaven among men, whereby a sinner may be reconciled with God, sanctified, and prepared to have a part in the “adoption, that is the redemption of the body,” to enjoy the company of the firstborn, and all the saints perfected; when they will reign with their Lord for a thousand years, and thereafter may dwell eternally in the presence of Him who is a consuming fire, and eternal burning of all imperfections. That this plan is perfect, like its Author, conceived in the divine council before the world existed, that it is like its Author unchangeable, functioning according to that design in all its parts, and its movements bearing the same fruits, or answering such purposes in every age in the world, in which it has been, is, or will be. That Jesus Christ, who is the true Son of God, was born of woman, and satisfied divine justice by offering himself on the cross as a blameless offering acceptable to God, and rose from the grave, according to the scriptures, in the fulness of the times preordained in the early council, and thereby arranged or opened the way, and established that perfect plan, that he could not have established any other, without making one or the other superfluous, and therefore imperfect, and that this plan is to be believed and obeyed in all things, according to his design; that not one iota, not one assertion can be changed or rejected, nor anything eliminated from it, without its being imperfect, and thereby ineffective in bringing “life and immortality to light.”
II. That this same perfect plan was revealed by the good Creator and Father of mankind, to his children in the beginning, by himself, by angels sent from him, through visions, the spirit of prophecy, and revelations in all manner of ways.
III. That this same perfect plan has been corrupted and perverted by men, in many ages of the world to such an extent that it became necessary for its author, the Creator and Sustainer of the world and its inhabitants, to restore it, through such means, and in the same manner as it was first established. Hence the necessity for the several dispensations given to the world, in different ages, as is proved in the holy book.
IV. That Jesus Christ, the Messiah, did after his resurrection appear, and minister to the Jews in Palestine, to the tribe of Joseph in America, to the remnant of Israel in the north country, to the spirits in prison, who had died previously without being offered this plan, 1 Peter iii, 19, 20; iv, 6. “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, which must hear my voice.” Not the Gentiles, for they did not hear his voice; they did not call anyone but the seed of Abraham sheep; the others were dogs. And that he established this perfect and glorious plan in those parts of the world.
V. That the Gentiles were partakers of this plan, some years after Christ rose on high, not by his personal ministry, but through his servants, and by the Holy Ghost, which revealed to them his truth, his resurrection, and his elevation to the right hand of the Almighty as Prince and Savior.
VI. That that perfect plan has been changed and corrupted by men to such an extent, for hundreds of years, that it is no longer to be found in its power, its purity, and its essential glory among Jews, Gentiles, or Israelites; and this is the cause of all the different divisions and sects that overwhelm the world because men are seeking to rediscover that plan; and, having failed, they make ones of their own as similar to it as they can, and give it that name, denying its essential power, according to the prophecies about the latter days.
VII. That this same perfect plan has again been restored to the earth, and established in this age, in the same manner, and by the same means, as in every previous dispensation; viz, by the voice of God in heaven, by angelic ministry, visions, and revelations from the Lord. This is a new dispensation, not a new plan, but a complete restoration of the original plan, namely the one which was purchased in the eternal council, which was established by the patriarchs, the prophets, by Christ, and the apostles, and this last time, that is the eleventh hour, to bring in “the latter-day glory,” “the fulness of the Gentiles,” “the restoration of Judah,” and “the remnant of Israel,” yes, that “the times of the restoration of all things” that God spoke through the lips of all his holy prophets ever might come, to prepare the way for the second coming of the Messiah to reign triumphantly over all his enemies in glory, for a thousand years. If this is the true religion, what important consequences follow its acceptance and its rejection!
First Principles of Christianity
THE first principles in the fulness of the eternal gospel in this age, as in every previous age, are:—
Firstly,—To believe in Jesus Christ, as Savior and the atoning one, crucified and resurrected. *
Secondly,—To repent of all their sins, and leave them, walking a new life, doing justice to all men, and serving God.
Thirdly (but not first or second),—To be buried in water and resurrected, by one of God’s chosen servants, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins. See Acts xi, 38, and xxii, 16; 1 Peter iii, 21, &c.
Fourthly,—To receive the Holy Ghost, through the laying on of hands by the elders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. See Acts viii, 17, 18, 20, and xix, 6; 1 Tim. iv, 14; 2 Tim. i, 6; Heb. vi, 1, 2.
Fifthly,—To believe in, and pray to enjoy the spiritual gifts, and the good blessings, that were enjoyed by those who obeyed this heavenly plan in former ages; such as, speaking wisdom—speaking knowledge—miraculous faith—the gift of healing, and being healed, through anointing with holy oil in the name of the Lord, the prayer of faith, and the laying on of hands. See James v, 14, 15; Mark xvi, 18. Also, to endeavor to gain the gift of prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking with strange tongues, interpreting the same, receiving revelations from God, angelic ministry, the company of good spirits from the eternal world in visions, &c, and all other blessings that are promised in the scriptures to the children of God. See 1 Cor. xii, and xiv, 1, 5, 18, 39; Acts ii, 39, and xix, 6; Mark xvi, 17, 18; Eph. iv, 11–14, &c.
Sixthly,—All who profess this plan, should live in holiness and righteousness, praying with every prayer, as the Spirit lends them expression; do good to all, especially to the family of faith; pray for those who do them harm and persecute them; dissociate themselves from all the Babel-forms, and every form of unsound doctrine, remembering that such things corrupt good morals; come out of Babylon, do not partake of its sins, lest you receive its plagues.
And lastly,—Those who come into the bond of this new covenant, and the fulness of the gospel, should watch and pray, lest they fall into temptation, but be ready, waiting for the coming of the Son of Man; for he will come suddenly and immediately on the children of darkness, when they say, Peace, peace; when they, after all the warning, as in the days of Noah, are eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and casting the evil day far away from them; therefore, the Son of Man will come in such an hour as they think not.
This is the correct depiction of the evangelical plan according to the scriptures, and as the Latter-day Saints have it, and all that is contrary to this comes from evil; and if anyone should come to you, professing to be servants of God, without bringing this doctrine—yes, “though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than these things, let him be accursed.” As John says, so say we—”If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” We are frequently accused of preaching a new gospel, throwing these scriptures in our faces, yes, by some as conscientious as David was, when he gave the verdict on himself; and it was not more appropriate for Nathan to say to him, “Thou art the man,” than it would be for us to say the same thing to these our accusers. And whosoever takes the trouble to compare our profession with the scriptures will see clearly that it is a completely false accusation, and that it is the eternal plan we have—that it is our accusers who are preaching new gospels, if in fact they are gospels. Dear Welshman, do not believe them, without looking for yourself; for some of these prefer to see you lose your life, than see the hope of their profit fading; and then they shout loudly, Away with these people, they speak against our “great goddess,” whom our fathers have worshipped.
Revelation of The Gold Plates
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WHEN it shall be brought forth by the power of God, it shall be carried to the Gentiles, of whom many will receive it, and afterwards will the seed of Israel be brought into the fold of their Redeemer, by obeying it also. Those who kept the commandments of the Lord on this land desired this at his hand, and through the prayer of faith they obtained the promise that if their descendants should transgress and fall away, these records would be restored to their children. These things are sacred and must be kept so; for the promise of the Lord concerning them must be fulfilled. No man can obtain them if his heart is impure, because they contain that which is sacred. By them will the Lord work a great and marvelous work. The wisdom of the wise shall become as naught, and the understanding of the prudent shall be hid, because the power of God shall be displayed. Those who profess to know the truth, but walk in deceit, shall tremble with anger against him; but with signs and with wonders, with gifts of healing—the manifestations of the power of God, and with the Holy Ghost, shall the hearts of the faithful be comforted. You have now beheld the power of God manifested, and the power of Satan; you see that there is nothing desirable in the works of darkness; that they cannot bring happiness, that those who are overcome therewith are miserable; while, on the other hand, the righteous are blessed with a place in the kingdom of God, where joy unspeakable surrounds them. There they rest, beyond the power of the enemies of truth, and where no evil can disturb them. They are continually crowned with the glory of God, and they feast upon his goodness, and enjoy his smiles. Behold! notwithstanding you have seen this great manifestation of power, by which you may ever be able to detect the evil one, yet I give unto you another sign, and when it comes to pass then know that the Lord is God, and reigneth, and that he will fulfill his purposes, and that the knowledge which this record contains will go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people under the whole heaven. This is the sign: when they begin to hear that God has revealed these things to you, the workers of iniquity will seek your overthrow. They will proclaim and circulate stories, and false accusations to destroy your reputation, and also will seek to take your life without cause; but remember this, if you are faithful, continuing to keep the commandments of the Lord hereafter, he will preserve you from their hands, and he will enable you to bring knowledge of these records to men; for in due time God will give you a commandment to come and receive them. When they are interpreted, the Lord will give the holy priesthood to some, and they shall begin to proclaim this gospel, baptizing by water for remission of sins, and after that they shall have the power to give the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Then will persecution rage more and more; for the iniquities of evil men shall be revealed, and those who are not built upon the rock will seek to overthrow the church; but it will increase the more opposed, and spread farther and farther, increasing in knowledge till it shall be sanctified, and receive its inheritance when the glory of God will rest upon it. And when this takes place, and all things are prepared, the ten tribes of Israel will be revealed in the north country, whither they have been for a long season; and when this is fulfilled the saying of the prophet will be brought to pass,—’And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.’ But, notwithstanding the workers of iniquity shall seek your destruction, the arm of the Lord will defend you, and will make you victorious over them all, to bring these things forth, if you keep all his commandments. Your name shall be known among the nations, for the work which the Lord will perform by your hands shall cause the righteous to rejoice, and the jealous to rage; with the one it shall be had in respect and honor, and with the other in reproach and contempt; yet with these it shall cause fear and terror, because of the great and marvelous work which shall follow the coming forth of this fulness of the gospel. Now, go thy way rejoicing; remember the great things the Lord hath done for thee. Be diligent in keeping his commandments, and he will deliver thee from temptations, the arts and devices of the wicked, until thy work is complete. Forget not to pray, that thy mind may become strong, that when he shall manifest unto thee thou mayest have power to escape the evil, and to obtain these precious records.”
Many more instructions and pieces of information were given by the mouth of the angel to Mr. Smith, which are too lengthy to publish here. During the period of the four following years, he frequently received revelations from the mouths of heavenly messengers; and on the morning of the 22nd of September, 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into his hands. And now, reader, what really makes these truths seem more unreasonable or incredible in our times, than it was for those heavenly messengers to do similar things to others in former times? I venture to say that no one who believes the one can produce an answer, nor offer an objection to the other, only the unfounded tales of tradition and prejudice. Yet, we do not ask anyone to depend entirely on the testimony of Joseph Smith for the truth of this, any more than we do; but hundreds of thousands are alive now in every corner of the earth, and hundreds now in Wales, who have received sufficient testimonies from God according to his promise, that it is true; and not only that, but every man of honest heart who obeys this eternal gospel, will receive testimonies also from the same source for himself. Is this not a valuable promise? Then prove it, and see that it is true.
Description of the Plates
HAVING proved in the previous issue of the PROPHET that angelic ministry, in these latter days, is logical, scriptural, and a genuine fact, we gave a little of the history of the visit of holy messengers to Mr. Joseph Smith in America, their message, the wonderful discovery of precious old records, and the way they were delivered into his hands; and as we promised we will give a description of them, how they were translated, the testimonies of those who saw them with their eyes, and felt them with their hands, and so knew the things of which they testified. We will also give a brief summary of the contents of these old, profitable, and glorious records. Our knowledge and experience of prejudice and its harmful effects, are sufficient to excuse us for warning the gentle reader not to judge the following story, according to the unfounded stories that have already filled the country almost to overflowing. And, for his own and the truth’s sake, let him not weigh it either in the religious scales of the age. If angels had nothing to do with the discovery of the aforementioned records, no doubt the wise and great historians of the country would approve it as the most precious thing that has taken place on the continent since its original settlement; it would have a place next to the highest shelf in the libraries of the theologians, and it would be seen gilded, and in its proper place on the tables of the leaders of the world; yes, it would create a new era in the history of the world! What a great objection the family of man has to angels associating with them in our days! Where is the essential principle that was created in man to fit him to associate with his brothers above? Has it completely disappeared from the human race by now? Where is reason? Has tradition swallowed it entirely? Many other things were brought forth on the continent, and in other places, more incredible than the things under consideration; but the one is generally believed, and the others are denied in the face of incontrovertible and divine facts! We remember one remarkable occasion that came to our attention while we were there, as an example, to prove what has been said, and to show the irrationality and power of prejudice. On the 16th of April, 1843, a man by the name of Robert Wiley, a merchant in Kinderhook, Pike County, state of Illinois, dreamt that there were some treasures hidden in a hillock known to him in the neighborhood; and after digging for about thirteen feet from the surface, he found six brass plates, four inches long, an inch-and-three-quarters wide at one end, and two-and-three-quarter inches wide at the other end; four lists of letters (hieroglyphics) on each side of them. On one of the plates is the picture of three skulls, the largest in the middle, surrounded by rays similar to those one sees surrounding the head of our Savior in the pictures that are made of him now. Underneath the two smaller ones is the picture of two trees, and their branches; on one of the plates is the picture of a large head, and the picture of two hands pointing to it. We saw those plates, and the case was publicized through the newspapers, and I did not hear that anyone disbelieved it; but if the one who found them were to utter a word that angels had anything to do with the matter, we do not think that he would be believed about this, any more than Joseph Smith is believed that he received gold plates. Thus the prejudice is so strong against angels, that people would rather believe the testimony of this professed deist, than the other godly man. There is every sign that these plates had been hidden there for many an age, for trees two-and-a-half feet thick were growing on top of those artificial mounds. The wise men of the world have imagined a great deal about the origin of these mounds, and many other remains of the buildings of the ancients; but their history and their makers, and everything else that pertains to them, are entirely unknown to the world; only what is shown on the plates is revealed from time to time. And is not the discovery of the one that is generally accepted (and if anyone should doubt, he can see the picture of them here), an admission of the other? And is not the fact that this uneducated Joseph Smith has translated the one set of plates, while knowledge of the hieroglyphics has been lost to the world, almost since time immemorial, apart from a few letters, proof that he also translated correctly the others that were given to him through angelic ministry? No doubt these, in addition to the many others that could be noted, are incontrovertible facts in the eyes of every reasonable man.
But to return to the story about the gold plates, for such they appear to be. The hieroglyphics were engraved upon them, on each side. The size of the plates was seven to eight inches in length and width, and thinner than common tin, bound into a volume, with three rings running through holes at one edge of the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The letters on the unsealed part were small and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, as well as much skill in the art of engraving. With these records was found a curious instrument, called by the ancients the Urim and Thummim, which consisted of two transparent stones, clear as crystal, set in the two rims of a bow. This instrument was in use in ancient times by persons called “seers,” and through it things past and future, far and near, were revealed to them.
Persecution Concerning the Plates
WHEN the inhabitants of that vicinity heard that Mr. Smith had seen heavenly visions, and that he had discovered those sacred records, they began to ridicule him and persecute him; even when he was taking the plates home, he was waylaid by two men who had secreted themselves for the purpose of robbing him of the records on his return; for there had been great excitement in those areas since the time he was informed that he would receive them, and everyone was in a state of anticipation or fear; one of the two struck Mr. Smith with a club before he perceived them; but being a very strong man and large in stature, with great exertion he cleared himself from them and ran towards home, being closely pursued until he came near his father’s house, and having failed to get hold of him again, they fled, and for fear of being caught, they withdrew from the country licking their wounds, and no more was heard of them; but the wife of one of them, fifteen years later, happened to be in a company in England where everyone was doing his worst in telling stories about the saints, and she admitted that her husband was one of the two above, that he was never well after that, but died because of the thing, and that that was the reason she had left the country. But before these two men fled they spread the word that Mr. Smith had obtained the gold plates, and soon the news was broadcast through those parts, and they started inventing misrepresentations, and false accusations to slander his character, in accordance with what the angel had told him previously; and not only were all manner of tales about him flying as if upon the wings of the wind, but frequently a riotous mob of evil men attacked the house at night. Several times he was shot at and very narrowly escaped. Every device and evil plan they could invent was tried to get the plates away from him. And being continually in danger of his life from such a gang of cruel and abandoned wretches, he decided to leave the place and go to Pennsylvania; and accordingly he packed up the few goods he intended to take with him in a wagon, hiding the plates in a barrel of beans. He had not gone far before he was overtaken by a man who told him to stop, that he had a warrant to search his wagon, although he did not say for what; but Mr. Smith knew that his purpose was to obtain the plates; and after searching everywhere except where they were, he went away sadly disappointed. After he had driven on, another came in the same manner and with the same purpose, and after ransacking almost everything, he too went away equally chagrined because of his disappointment. After that Mr. Smith pursued his journey without any further molestation until he came into the northern part of Pennsylvania, near the Susquehanna river, where he had intended to go when he set off.
Story of the Translation of the Plates
HAVING provided himself with a home, Joseph Smith commenced translating the records, with the help of God, and through the means of the Urim and Thummim. Being a poor writer, he employed a scribe to write the translation as it came out of his mouth. In the meantime, a few of the original characters of the plates were accurately transcribed by Mr. Smith, which, with the translation, were taken by a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris to the city of New York, and which he presented to a learned linguist by the name of Dr. Anthon, who professed to be extensively acquainted with many languages, both ancient and modern. After examining them carefully for a while, he said he was unable to decipher them correctly, but he translated a few here and there, writing them down on paper; then he said that if the book were brought to him, he could assist in translating them. He questioned Mr. Harris about them, by whom and where they were found; he said they were very old Egyptian hieroglyphics, and that he knew of no one who could translate them more accurately than himself. He listened very intently to Mr. Harris telling the story, until he said that it was an angel who had given them to a young man of his acquaintance. The doctor leapt to his feet in rage when he heard about the angel. “Trickery, all trickery,” he said; “talking about an angel now, indeed!—all lies—be off with you,” he said; and shouting “Poo, poo!” he threw what he had translated into the back part of the fire; but Mr. Harris was agile enough to snatch them from there before they were destroyed; and despite all his prejudice, the whole thing was published in the newspapers there, together with the conversation the two of them had, and the doctor later admitted the truth of it. And whosoever believes the Bible will be completely satisfied by comparing these things with what is seen in Isaiah xxix, 11—”And the vision of all is become to you as the WORDS of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed.” Ver. 12—”And the BOOK is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” Behold the literal fulfillment of a remarkable prophecy, over two thousand years after its proclamation, and three times as many miles away from the place where it was made! Is this not solid proof? It will be noticed that it was the WORDS of the book that were to be given to the learned one, yes, the words of that “sealed” book. But the BOOK itself would be given “to him that was not learned,” namely Joseph Smith; and so it was done. Perhaps some of the “terrible ones” and the “scornful ones” of this age will wonder that we venture to prove the truth of the Book of Mormon through the scriptures, but they need to do so no longer; for if the Bible did not prove it true, it would not be believed by us any more than by them. Oh, yes; the prophets have spoken clearly about it in many an age, as well as the great and marvelous work God would do on the earth when he revealed the Book of Mormon to the world: see ver. 14 of the same chapter—”Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be bid.” In order to see when these things were to take place, follow that phrase “this people.” See the previous verse—”Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.” “This people” will be contemporary with the bringing forth of the “sealed book.” If the prophet were living in the nineteenth century, I wonder if he could have given a more detailed and skillful description of it than he gave here?
Some say that these things were accomplished in ancient times; but let them read it again, in order to better understand it, especially ver. 17—”Is it not yet a very little while [that is after beginning the great work, when the “sealed book” is revealed] and Lebanon [an expanse of wilderness in Palestine] shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?” Ver. 18—”And in THAT day shall the deaf hear the words of the BOOK and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.” Are those not great miracles? And yet, no greater than have already been accomplished since this sealed book was revealed; i.e., if these eyes of mine testify the truth. It is evident, throughout this chapter, but especially in ver. 22, that this work is as recent as our times, when the Lord will fulfill his covenant with Abraham, namely—”And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger for an everlasting possession;” and here he says, “Jacob shall not now be ashamed [his seed amidst the gentiles], neither shall his face now wax pale.” Why so? Ver. 23 gives the answer—”But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him [possessing the “land wherein they are strangers,” after their last dispersal], they shall sanctify my name; and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob [Jesus Christ, their Messiah], and shall fear the God of Israel.” For refusing “the Holy One of Israel,” they were scattered to the four corners of the earth. Since Jacob and Israel are one and the same, the Holy One of each name is the same; and everyone knows that all Israel does not yet sanctify the name of the Son of Man, but rejects him as a fraud; but when the above prophecy is fulfilled, they will believe in him, although not before they are gathered back to their country either, but after that. So, it is clear enough that Isaiah, apart from many other prophets, proves the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and these others will be brought forward in their time; but for the time being, let us proceed with the story.
Mr. Smith continued the work of translation, as diligently as his circumstances would permit, until he finished the unsealed part of the records, which is called the “BOOK OF MORMON,” and which contains nearly as much reading as the Old Testament.
The Book of Mormon—Its Description
WE have given a brief history, in the previous chapter, of the origin of this book, which has given rise to such excitement, joy, lies, and truths, and has caused such an indescribable revolution in the four corners of the earth, that almost all the people are already taking up arms in its favor, or against it. Ever since its first appearance to the world, the pastors and the leaders of the people have attacked it at the tops of their voices; writers seized upon their invented tales, too, until the ears of the people are made numb by the sound of their bells ringing, “Deceivers, false teachers, false prophets, fools, cunning frauds, liars,” &c, &c; and that is echoed from the tongues of religious people, drunkards, learned and unlearned heretics. They have by now sounded and resounded until they have almost stunned the world, and have been instrumental, although unwillingly, in bringing it to the attention of the people; and in the midst of all the noise, there are some of honest principle, who are searching for the truth, and who ask them, what is the cause of all this strange agitation? Why does everyone unite, from every party and no party, great and small, noble and plebeian, in every country, to oppose these people? The only answer that could be had from them would be:—”Oh, we do not really know what the matter is, except that some deceitful and uneducated wretches have come to our midst, as the apostles once did, testifying that angels have appeared to some men in these days; they profess to have revelations, miracles, &c, as though it were necessary to restore in our midst in this enlightened age the religion of the ancient times, and that faith which once was given to the saints; and through that they endanger all the religions and the numerous sects which our godly fathers gave to us, and which have been constructed on the basis of the wisdom of the theologians and the great men of the whole world, independent of the Spirit of God, and all its facts; this is the cause” (they say); and then they raise their voice in unison, shouting, “Great is human wisdom, great and excellent are the new forms of theological beliefs of this age; great is the ability of our uninspired pastors, who do not want to know anything but their own imaginings and opinions, and how strange it is the way they satisfy us with enticing words of human wisdom which are not the explanation of the Spirit and the power, for there is no need for that now; otherwise our faith would rest on the power of God rather than on the wisdom of the wise men.” It is not surprising, then, that it is so difficult to obtain from the populace, in the midst of such noise and stupor, a hearing or credence for even the best, sweetest, and most remarkable news that was ever offered to them.
I suppose that no book ever had so much said against it by those who knew so little about it, as the Book of Mormon. Wherever it goes in every country, the ears of the populace are filled to the brim with stories and tales as numerous and varied as their authors, which consequently contradict each other; many of them published and preached by those who have never seen the book; others by those who have dipped into it here and there, purposely to pick faults, and not infrequently one sees quotations from it greatly distorted and twisted. Some describe it as an invented tale; others say it is a new Bible, to supersede the old. Some condemn it for being the most worthless tissue of foolishness they ever saw; others say that it is the most skillful fraud possible. Some find fault with it because it is too similar to the Bible, that its testimony coincides with it, and is therefore unnecessary; but others assert that it is a fraud because it is not similar enough to the Bible. Some condemn the principles it contains because they are immoral, totally evil, and blasphemous; but others of their brothers proclaim to their faces that the principles teach morality, chastity, and holiness, as though it had been purposely composed to trick in that way. Amongst others, one learned minister went to the trouble of publishing a 60-page treatise, against the Book of Mormon, &c, accusing it unsparingly of comprising a strangely foolish mixture, “of faith and acts, of God’s mercies, and of asking obedience of his creatures.” Some of the great men of the age have proclaimed that its idiom, its language, and its contents prove its antiquity; and others of the same class, that it bears every mark of a recent forgery. Some cannot make out what use it could be, or how to prove its truth, unless there were some prophecies in it to be fulfilled, from which they could prove its divinity; others quote extensively from the prophecies that are about to be fulfilled, and they condemn it for being too clear: the old prophets did not do thus, they say.
Now, in the face of such a variety of conflicting claims about something that is so essential to understand properly, it would be not only very beneficial, but in the common interest to present a summary of the contents of the Book of Mormon, until we can print it in Welsh; although it is not, as we are accused, instead of or to replace the holy Bible, in any manner or means. There is not a word in it that contradicts the Bible, but it proves the divinity of the Bible undeniably, so that one need only read it to remove not only that false accusation, but every other one, and believe its truth and the Bible’s too.
Early Inhabitants of America
IN this valuable book can be found the ancient history of the American continent, from its early settlement by a colony who came there from the great separation which occurred at the tower of Babel, to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. By these records we are informed that America in ancient times was inhabited by two distinct races of people; the first came directly from the tower of Babel, being called Jaredites; the second came from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ, being Israelites, principally the descendants of Joseph. The first nation, or Jaredites, were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The majority of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century, and the remaining remnant gradually dwindled into an uncivilized state, until they divided into a multitude of nations, who are now called by Europeans, the “American Indians.”
We also learn from this ancient book that the Jaredites were a righteous people, that they obtained favor in the sight of the Lord, so that, at the confusion of languages, they were not confounded; but because of their righteousness, the Lord miraculously led them from the tower to the great ocean, where they were commanded to build vessels, in which they sailed across the great deep and landed on the shores of North America. The Lord swore unto them in his wrath, that whosoever should possess this land of promise should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them, and they were fully ripened in iniquity. But he promised that if they kept his commandments he would make them the greatest and most powerful nation of all the nations of the earth.
In the process of time they increased greatly, becoming a very numerous and powerful people, occupying a large part of the country, building many large cities and being a civilized and comfortable nation. They were well versed in agriculture and machinery to a great extent. Trade and commerce flourished on every hand; yet, in consequence of wickedness they were often visited by the Lord with terrible judgments. Many prophets were raised up among them from generation to generation, who warned the people to forsake their evil ways, and prophesied of judgments and calamities which would overtake them if they did not repent. Sometimes they were visited by pestilence and plagues; at other times by famine and war, until at length (having occupied the land for some sixteen hundred years) their wickedness became so great that the Lord threatened, by the mouth of his prophets, to utterly destroy them from the face of the land. Even so they gave no heed to these warnings until the word of the Lord was fulfilled, and they were entirely destroyed, leaving their houses, their cities, and their possessions desolate. Their sacred records, which were kept on gold plates, were hidden by one of their last prophets, until they were discovered by the remnant of Joseph, which soon afterwards was brought there from Jerusalem to inherit the land.
Jewish Inhabitants of America
THIS remnant of Joseph was also led in a miraculous way from Jerusalem, in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. They were first led to the eastern borders of the Red Sea; then they journeyed along the borders thereof in a southeastern direction; after which they went eastward, until they came to the great ocean. There, by the command of God, they built a vessel in which they were safely brought across the ocean, landing upon the western coast of the American continent. In the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, at the time the Jews were carried away captive into Babylon, more people came from Jerusalem, some of whom were descendants of Judah; they landed in the north part of America, and emigrated into the northern parts of South America, where they lived until they were discovered by the remnant of Joseph, about four hundred years later.
From these records we learn that this remnant of Joseph, soon after they landed, separated themselves into two distinct nations. This division was caused by a certain portion, in their wickedness, persecuting and pursuing the remainder who were more righteous than they, until they came to the northern parts of South America, leaving the wicked nation in possession of the middle and southern parts of the same. The first nation was called Nephites, being led by a prophet whose name was Nephi. The other nation was called Lamanites, being led by a wicked man whose name was Laman. The Nephites had in their possession a copy of the five books of Moses, together with the writings of the holy prophets down to Jeremiah, in whose days they left Jerusalem; these were engraved on plates in Egyptian characters. They themselves also made plates soon after their landing, on which they engraved their history, as well as many of the prophecies, visions, and revelations they received. These sacred records were kept by holy and inspired men, who handed them down from generation to generation. The Lord gave unto them the whole continent for a land of promise, and he promised that they and their children after them should inherit it, on condition of their obedience to his commandments; or, if they were disobedient, they should be cut off from his presence. And the Nephites prospered in the land according to their righteousness, and they multiplied greatly and spread forth to the east, and west, and north: they built cities, synagogues, and temples, together with towers, castles, fortifications, and strong fortresses, to defend themselves against their enemies. They cultivated the earth, and raised various kinds of crops in abundance; they also possessed large flocks, and many domestic animals; they became a contented people, and were made wealthy by the abundance of their gold, silver, copper, tin, and iron. They were very skillful in the arts; they made various accurate and useful kinds of machinery; cloths of various kinds were manufactured, &c. Swords, scimitars, and various implements of war were made, together with shields and bucklers, to defend themselves in battle with their enemies. And in the days of their righteousness they were a civilized, able, and happy people.
But, on the other hand, the Lamanites, because of the hardness of their hearts and their disobedience, brought down the judgments of God on their own heads in many ways; nevertheless they were not destroyed as a nation, but the Lord God sent forth a curse upon them and they declined into a people no longer fair of appearance, color, or habits; yes, into a loathsome, uncivilized, cruel, and bloodthirsty people; being great enemies to the Nephites, whom they sought to overcome and destroy. Many times they came against them with their numerous hosts to battle; but they were repulsed by the Nephites almost always, not, however, without great loss on both sides; and thousands were frequently slain in their battles, and were piled together in slaughtered heaps, and covered with earth, which is proved to be true by the numerous mounds found in North and South America, filled with human bones, &c.
The second colony left Jerusalem eleven years after the remnant of Joseph, lived in the North, and after that emigrated to the South, until they were found by the Nephites; these were called the people of Zarahemla. They too had gone into a sad decline, and there had been civil war among them for many years, and they had brought no records with them; so their language too had been greatly corrupted and altered. They denied the existence of God; and at the time they were visited by the Nephites, although numerous, they were only in a partial state of civilization. But in time, after the Nephites united with them, they taught them the scriptures which were in their possession; they restored them to civilization and became one nation with them. And in the process of time, the Nephites built ships near the Isthmus of Darien, in which great numbers of them sailed northward, and colonized that part. Other colonies emigrated by land to the same place; and so, in a few centuries, nearly the whole continent became peopled. The north, at that time, was almost entirely destitute of timber, it having been destroyed by the more ancient race; that is those who came there first from the tower of Babel, as was mentioned; and because of that, the Nephites were obliged to build their houses, for the most part, of cement: also they carried much timber there from the south, and planted many types of trees there too, which they brought from the south, so that they would grow and in time their wants would be supplied. So, large cities were built in time, not only by the Nephites, but also by the Lamanites. The law of Moses was observed by the former, and God raised up prophets among them from time to time throughout their generations. Many records, both historical and prophetical, which were of great size, were kept among them; some on plates of gold, brass, and many other materials. The records of the more ancient race who had been destroyed before they came here were also found by them; these were engraved on plates of gold; they translated them into their own language by the power of God and through the means of the Urim and Thummim. They contained a historical account from the creation down to the tower of Babel, and from that time down until they were destroyed, comprising a period of fourteen or fifteen hundred years. They also contained many prophecies, great and marvelous, reaching forward in time to the end of the era of the new heaven and the new earth, and the final consummation of all things.
The prophets also among the Nephites prophesied of great things and opened the secrets of futurity; they foresaw the coming of the Messiah in the flesh, the strange and great things which would take place in ages to come; the blessings and the unutterable glory that God intends for their descendants in the latter days, according to his eternal design in the morning council. They would break out in floods of joy and song, as they gazed through their divine binoculars, at the establishment of the kingdom of peace, the peaceful reign of righteousness, when the world would be restored to purity. We are reminded how the public was recently amazed because some wealthy astronomer had built a telescope of enormous size in order to see further into the starry depths and understand their numbers, their orbits, and their order. But he and one Herschel would be consigned to oblivion if one had a mere glimpse through that wonderful telescope, through which those ancient godly prophets saw not only the orbits and the magnificence of the lunar bodies and those close by, but also the composition and establishment of the worlds before the morning stars did sing, and the sons of God did leap with joy,—the incomprehensible blessedness, and the unsearchable glory of those eternal abodes, which eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, and which it has never come into man’s heart to imagine. Also, when they looked through the other end of it, they saw a detailed and correct description of the tumult of nations, wars, diseases, plagues, and pestilences—the judgments of God on empires, earthquakes, and revolutions; they saw kings rolling in the dust, and emperors on the dungheaps. And, further still, they saw the saints of the Most High taking possession of the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom, beneath all the heavens—the coming of the Ancient of Days, with his head like fleece, and the restoration of the keys of all dispensations to his hand—the greatness, glory and excellence of the Second Adam, coming triumphantly, with his crown on his head, his imperial scepter in his hand, and all his saints with him, in their beautiful aerial chariots;—yes, this would be shown to them now and again in their turn, until they saw the King of kings riding on his white stallion, as on a sea of glass, an innumerable multitude with him in glory, and a thousand myriads throwing their crowns at his feet, serving him and praising him who loved them, and bought them, and washed them in his blood, of every tribe and tongue, people and nation under heaven, and made them kings and priests for him, to reign with Him on the perfect and undefiled EARTH. Through this excellent telescope, the Nephites saw the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Son of God in the land of their forefathers, and together the celestial and terrestrial phenomena at the time bore out the truth of the prophecies of their fathers. Notwithstanding all this, they fell into great wickedness, and cast out the saints of God, and the prophets, and stoned and killed those that God sent to them. Therefore, at about the time of the crucifixion of the Son of God, they were visited in great judgment. Thick darkness covered the continent for a time, the earth groaned terribly in anguish and sorrow at their transgressions, leaping like a boat before the furious waves of the ocean; the limestone was rent in fear into broken fragments, and shot in pieces far away; mighty mountains were sunk into valleys, to hide their heads in shame, and in their indignant rage they boiled up and raised the bottom of their fertile meadows to shroud their heads in a blanket of cloud, to remain as a monument to testify to future generations how the elements felt excruciating agony and grief when the nails were driven into the pure hands of him who made us; yes, they sympathized as though the stab of the long, sharp lance were penetrating to the depths of their very bowels, when it pierced the heart of the Creator of heaven and earth. Many large cities at the time ceased to be; their synagogues and fine temples were torn to shreds; their foundations, together with their cities and their citizens by the thousands in places were massacred and swallowed up into the depths of oblivion—there to recall and promise a literal fulfillment of the divine prophecies of their fathers, according to the Book of Mormon; and in Yucatan, Guatemala, Mexico, and many other places on the continent, there are brimstone and salt lakes—the ruins of their castles, their fortified cities, and a host of other facts which remain today and are truthful witnesses to the fulfillment of the prophecies of the ancestors of the American Indians, and consequently of the Book of Mormon. Through dreadful judgments the Lord destroyed most of the Nephites and the Lamanites, that the blood of the saints and the prophets they had killed might no longer cry to him for vengeance.
Manchester Annual Conference
WHIT SUNDAY, May 31, 1846. This Conference was held this year in the Hall of Science, Manchester. The first meeting was opened at ten o’clock in the morning, with singing and prayer. R. Hedlock, Esq., was called to preside; and Thomas Ward and John Banks as vice-presidents. The officials present were counted as follows: Elders, 107; priests, 63; teachers, 24; deacons, 7; and about 5000 listeners. The President announced in a simple and clear manner the purpose of the meeting, the importance and glory of the great work before us, and he expressed an earnest desire to have a part in the Saints’ prayers, that the Spirit of Light might lead us to all truth, so that everything might be done for the edification of the church, and the glory of Him to whom it belongs. Then he called on the Representatives of all the Conferences throughout Britain to report the number of their officials, their members, and how many were baptized since the last Conference; and 29 Conferences were present, comprising 10,345 members, 224 elders, 637 priests, 323 teachers, 178 deacons, 2,268 baptized since the last Conference.
N.B. There are five large Districts that were not represented in the Conference, and consequently are not included in the above reckoning; but sufficient proofs can be seen here that all those who say we are “dying of consumption, vertigo, cholera and every disease” they can imagine, are false prophets thus far. Not only England, but Wales too, are troubled by them, yes when we are more successful than any other denomination; but they prophesy their own will, and we will succeed until we fill the world.
In the afternoon meeting the Lord’s Supper was served to some three thousand Saints, all in unity and love. They were addressed by several of the officials on numerous important matters; and doubtless the Comforter filled everyone’s hearts with joy throughout the place. Several of the Representatives rose to make known the general quality of their Conferences, and the great works of God in their midst: there was never a time of greater unity and success in general than this.
In the evening meeting, the meeting was addressed by president Hedlock. He gave beneficial teachings on several matters, but particularly about the gathering together according to God’s command, the necessity for it, the salvation and great blessings to be gained from it, together with the most convenient and advantageous way of doing so. He showed clearly that the “British and American Commercial Joint Stock Company,” would be prepared to bring about this great aim, and that it would allow the poor from every country, those who cannot join with the Saints in any other way, to enjoy this great privilege. And he revealed that the above Company is now in operation, having been established by the Act of Parliament, and urged everyone to cooperate for its success. The vice-presidents enlarged warmly and eloquently on the same matters, and they were followed by Elders C. Kimball, Samuel Downe, and D. Jones; then the meeting was closed with prayer and singing, and, to judge from the congregation’s good cheer, they went away in complete satisfaction and great joy.
Monday at 10, the meeting was begun by John Banks; then the Presidents of the various Districts were appointed and arranged for the future. Some new ones were established; among others, it was proposed by D. Jones, and seconded by the President, that eleven of the churches in Monmouthshire be a Conference belonging to Wales, and that John Morris preside over it, which was passed unanimously. Then the President made it known that D. Jones had been sent from America by the highest authority in the church to preside over all the Districts throughout Wales, and that his duty is to organize all matters in them, and arrange the best measures in order to spread the work throughout Wales, &c. Then the meeting ended.
At half past two, the afternoon meeting was begun as in the usual manner. Some matters were decided relating to the Scotland, and Isle of Man Districts, and several preachers were sent to assist the presidents who were there, and in some places in England. It was proposed by J. Johnson that the Garway District be linked with Wales, under the presidency of D. Jones; the President greatly supported that, and he requested that D. Jones send a president for Garway. In reply he indicated his willingness to comply with their counsel, although he had so much to supervise already; but he said that the present religious restoration reminded us of the national decline many years ago, when it was agreed to give to the foreign oppressors one county of Wales every century and that he almost thought that these latter days are the “times of the restitution of all things,” since a District in the year was being restored to the principality; and he promised to do what he could for the welfare and comfort of those under his care. Before the end of the meeting the president announced his intention of setting the Commercial Joint Stock Co. before them in the next meeting, so that they could arrange together the best measures to be brought forward.
Tuesday, the meeting was opened at ten o’clock by D. Jones. Then, according to his promise, the President put the matters of the Joint Stock Co. before the Conference, and showed that this company was founded on the laws of Britain, fully registered in Chancery, and that every measure was to be carried out by twelve deputies elected by a majority of the members, and that these were bound in surety to behave according to the Act of Parliament, and for the greatest good of the members, independently of the church, because hundreds of members, yes, some of them having taken hundreds of shares, were not in the church; yet, he demonstrated that the Company in many ways tended to the advantage of the church, especially with regard to the settlement of the Saints in California, to trade with them, since our own ships take loads of all sorts of goods and merchandise from England and other places, which is not only essential, but advantageous, in order to go to such a new land so far from the markets of the commercial world. The Company intends to send one of its ships there towards the end of this year, with a load of merchandise, and those emigrants who choose to go there. They also intend to take several machines to establish manufactories to make clothes, &c, and establish various branches of the arts, and all that they will need for their sustenance, their comfort, and their success in that western paradise, together with some others who wish to go there, where they will find peace to worship God according to their conscience, without mobs of those who call themselves Christians martyring them, imprisoning them, oppressing them, and robbing them of their possessions, burning their houses over their heads by the score, and exiling them from place to place, as they have continued to do without any cause, for the last sixteen years. The President showed that the Saints in every settlement they made had enriched their enemies, who, having taken their money, often turned traitor against them, and after leaving, greatly misrepresented them, in order to incite persecution against them; but through this company the Saints are enabled to meet their own needs on the way of righteousness, and to bring profit to the company too, independent of their enemies. He showed the varied and beneficent aims of this excellent company, and he was followed by Messers. Ward, Jones, Wiley, and others, who enlarged on the aims and powers of the company to benefit not only its members, but the Saints too, for unity is strength; and the Saints had not begun one work so far which they had not through the help of God succeeded in finishing; yes, even though the whole world and the devil set every obstacle they could in their way. Our opponents say that we have been prevented from building the temple in Nauvoo; that is not true, for it has been finished despite everything, and thousands have received their endowment in it, and several of them have reached England afterwards.
Others say that we have been exiled from “the promised land,” because we were exiled from Nauvoo, and from the United States; that is not true either, for we never thought that the City of Nauvoo was the “Promised Land.” Do our accusers not know the difference between a city and a “land?” Those are their words; and their work of exiling the Saints from one end of that country to the other does not prove that the Saints are disappointed in their expectation, and they will not be disappointed in that, any more than in their obedience to the other commandments of their Lord and God.
They also showed that this company would be an instrument under God’s blessing, to bring about those aims with great success and diligence, to the undoubted amazement of our opponents.
After that, the meeting was adjourned until the afternoon.
At two o’clock, the meeting was opened, and the matters of the Joint Stock Company were pursued. On the 17th of April last, the dealings of this company were endorsed in Chancery; there is permission to sell ten thousand shares, for a pound each, with a right to increase them, and already over eight thousand have been distributed, and over four thousand more are on the register of applicants; and the presidents of the various districts and churches are requested to sell as many shares as they can, so that a new ship the Directors have in mind can be bought, and sent out this year to California.
It was proposed by D. Jones, for the Directors, that they not only approve what was done by the President in their absence, but that he was deserving of their gratitude for his diligence and ability, and that they should join with the company in saluting his unusual success in establishing the company under many disadvantages, without falling into one error, or illegality which might cause legal penalty. This was approved unanimously.
It was also proposed by D. Jones, and was warmly approved by everyone,—That the Conference approve the previous conduct of President Hedlock, and his counselors, for the churches in Britain, and that we continue to assist them through our faith and our prayers.
The Presidents returned their thanks with great affection, and with a fervent prayer that the Lord lead us with his spirit always, so that we may continue in the unity of that faith once given to the saints; and thus ended the largest, pleasantest, and most beneficial conference, I should think, held by us in Britain.
We will give more information about the Joint Stock Company to our readers, together with its rules, its actions, and its success, through the PROPHET from time to time; but it would be too long in this issue.
So we had a rewarding conference, and every sign, through our unity, zeal, and determination, that the work is in the hand of our God, to go on to universal success.
Account of The Merthyr Tydfil Conference
ON SUNDAY, the 12th of July, a conference was held in the Cymreigyddion Hall, in the above town. The morning meeting began at ten o’clock, and Capt. D. Jones was called to be president, and William Davies of Rhymni, and Edward Edwards, as scribes.
After singing and praying, the president called on the presidents of the various branches throughout Wales, to report on their present situation, the number of their officials, members, and their progress in the last three months; and these were the results:—Number of branches, 34; members, 670; elders, 22; priests, 42; teachers, 25; deacons, 15. Baptized during the last three months 110. N.B. There are three preachers and several Saints in Pembrokeshire, apart from the above number.
The audience was warmly addressed by several of the elders, on the magnitude of this work, the glory of the “dispensation of the fulness of times,” the necessity for unity and faithfulness, and the help of the Spirit of God under all persecutions, in order to continue faithful to the end. They showed the general situation of the branches to be quite comfortable and successful. Then the Monmouthshire branches were established as a district, and brother John Morris, Victoria, to preside over it. The assembled Saints in Llanybydder, Machynlleth, Harlech, Ffestiniog, Hirwaun, and Cefncoedycymer were recognized as branches of this district for the present time. Then the meeting was adjourned until two o’clock.
At two, the Saints’ meeting was held. The meeting was begun with singing and prayer, by the president. Afterwards he indicated our duty to comply with the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper; and its purposes, namely to remember the Lord’s death: the continuance of the sacrament, that is “until he comes” in his kingdom, in power and glory; and the blessed state of those who continue to do this worthily, that they shall enter into the joy of their Lord, “to the wedding feast of the Lamb;” that it will be said to them, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom,” &c. When the King is among them, having prepared for them “a feast of rich delicacies, and of pure clear wine,” or as he says himself, “until I drink it new with you in my father’s kingdom,” &c. He showed the necessity for everyone to be reconciled, if there was any disagreement between them, before they could be worthy to eat or drink. After that the sacrament was administered to about five or six hundred Saints, all rejoicing in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. Afterwards several testified, especially the missionaries who had returned from preaching the gospel throughout Gwynedd, about the certainty they have, and their determination to carry on with the work, depending on their heavenly Father for strength according to the day, and success in their labor, for the glory of his name, the establishment of his kingdom, and the saving of the souls of their fellow-countrymen. In about three months Abel Evans baptized over twenty in the counties of the North, several of whom had never heard the gospel before; four new churches were established there, all enjoying the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost, more or less, and in several places the sick were receiving health through God’s power. Brother Robert Evans of Arfon said he had been preaching the gospel to mostly numerous congregations, from Conway to Rhuddlan, Newmarket, and as far as Rhosllanerchrugog; and that in every place those of honest heart searched the scriptures, and found the things that are preached “so,” believed them, and in some places obeyed them; that the harvest was indeed great, and ripe, but the workers scarce. Eliezer Edwards also, from Carmarthenshire, informed us that many places are anxious to hear our principles preached, because they were tired of reading and believing the stories that are preached and published against us; that reasonable men could see that we must have more religion than our persecutors, for us to be persecuted or to suffer persecution so cruelly and without cause; thus the false accusations and counter-claims are controlled from above, to be for the success of the gospel, and to bring shame to their inventors. Brother Ebenezer Morris said that several preachers with him were getting on successfully in Pontypridd, Dihewyd, Llantrisant, &c, and several had been baptized since the last conference, and that they had hopes of many more soon. All agreed that it was from the preachers and professors of the sects that they had the cruelest persecution; and in some places, that it was men without religion who prevented them from being stoned by the believers. The meeting was closed with a prayer for the Lord of the harvest to remove the obstacles from their way, and send workers to his harvest.
At half past six, after opening the meeting in the usual manner, the president showed briefly and comprehensively the glory of the eternal gospel, that it is through it that “life and purity” will be brought “to the light,” its unchangeableness, &c, and afterwards he testified that a dispensation has been given to men, in these latter days, to preach the gospel through God’s power, and that He works with and confirms the word through the powers and the marvels of those who follow. He was followed by brother John Morris, in English, on the same important matter. Afterwards Robert Evans showed clearly the impossibility of a BOOK authorizing anyone to preach, to administer the sacraments of God’s house, or to send out servants for God, unless they were called by God in some way, and ordained by his servants. He also proved the necessity for all the offices and sacraments, together with all the spiritual gifts, in order to make the body or church of Christ perfect, from the similar necessity for all the members (according to the comparison used by Paul in 1 Cor. xii) to make the human body perfect; then he testified solemnly and fearlessly that he had found such a church now, possessing all the members, that is the gifts; and he earnestly urged all his listeners to come into it quickly, before the door was closed, so that they too might enjoy these blessings, and inherit eternal life. After closing the meeting two were baptized, and the large crowd left, to all appearances having found great satisfaction.
Monday at ten, the meeting was begun with singing and prayer. The president announced that the main aim of the meeting was to elect and ordain officials, demonstrating the difference between the two priesthoods, the necessity for the one and the other in the church, along with all the offices that belong to them, before one can minister lawfully in any office. He made clear the careful account that must be given for these precious talents, from the example of the “unprofitable” servant, who was cast into the uttermost darkness, Meroz, &c. He demonstrated the danger of, and the punishment for, misusing their talent, or not using it at every opportunity, that it is a priceless pearl, which with faithfulness will ensure for its owner eternal life, and an enduring crown to wear; and on the other hand, if it was misused, it would be the odor of death until death. He showed the great need there is for workers in the vineyard, and earnestly urged his fellow officials to take courage in the work, to seize every opportunity to do good, taking care to be “clean vessels” when dealing with things as sacred as the ordinances of the house of God, and rely on him whose work it is, to strengthen us from day to day, in order to build his kingdom, magnify the name of his Son Jesus, and save our fellow-countrymen. He urged all the Saints, but especially the officials, to be patient and fore-bearing when opposed by the religious people of the country; not to be annoyed, but to take pity on them, and pray for them, since that was how some of us were until we were enlightened; and not to “dote about questions and strifes of words,” but out of love for them, endeavor through testimony and good examples to win them to the kingdom of God; for they are poor creatures, they know not what they do, nor what things they oppose; that hundreds and thousands of honest-hearted people desire to grasp the substance of the gospel, but even so, in their ignorance, are misled by their pastors onto the ways they tend to, often without looking into the matter; eager to believe the shameful stories about us which they would want to be true, until the mark of the persecuting shepherd is seen on his flock much too often; but even so let us follow the example of our great Shepherd, who when he was reviled did not revile in turn, for a soft word turns away wrath; therefore, dear brethren, “in your patience possess your souls,” “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Let us remember that we are blessed when everyone speaks ill of us for the sake of Christ and the gospel, for so did they say of our brethren before us. And with many other counsels the president urged his brethren to carry on with courage and warmth, as we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. After that, apt explanatory comments were made on the matters under consideration, by brother Thomas Pugh, Cwmbach. He demonstrated the superiority of this plan over the human doctrines he had preached in his ignorance, for years. He was determined to go on, since he had got hold of a religion with “power” in it, which brought him more light, knowledge, and happiness, in a few hours than what he had before brought him in many years. Then ten of the priests were called and ordained as elders. Twenty-three other priests, eleven teachers, and four deacons, belonging to the various branches throughout Wales, were called. Those who were called testified to their knowledge of the truth, and their determination to endeavor to fulfill their various duties, relying on God for the help of his Spirit to lead them to all truth, for the glory of his name and the benefit of mankind.
After that the meeting was concluded, to make way for the many kind sisters who were already waiting to prepare the magnificent feast in the Hall, in accordance with the previous announcement; and by two o’clock the scene had changed remarkably from the previous meetings—tables were to be seen all over the Hall laden with delicacies of many colors, shapes, and flavors. The dishes were exquisitely beautiful and well arranged, the tea tasty and good, and the company remarkably cheerful and happy. In the course of the afternoon, about seven hundred, who had obtained tickets, sat at the tables, and some hundreds more came, paying without tickets, as not enough had been prepared. To judge by all appearances, we would say from the unity, the happiness, and the love, that everyone was delighted. Hundreds of respected friends from the world came to join in our feast, and we greatly enjoyed their company. Throughout it all, our minds ran back and forth, from the blessed time when the first parents of all of us feasted in unity and happiness, with no enemy, with no trouble, pain, or error, but all content. But what of the blessed day that is to come, of which feasts such as these are but drops in the ocean. Hail to the “times of the restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets;” then—
“The wolf in contentment and innocence will be In loving affection caressing the lamb; The stag and the lion will lick in true love, And rest as friends in a meadow of flowers.
“The mute and the deaf will harmoniously sing, The lame and the wounded will dance roundabout; The eyes of the blind will see light again, And they too will join in rejoicing and praise.
“The earth will be covered in worshipping, And Jesus’s name will be hailed above all; And all faithful nations will be seen on that day, Coming in myriads to join in the throng; Steam-driven trains and full-laden ships Of sons and of daughters for Zion all bound.
“From the ends of the earth come Ephraim and Judah, To greet Jesus joyfully as the Messiah: And if their rejection of him was once bitter, They’ll feel their repentance as life after death.
“All malice and envy will be there assembled, With the spirit of war, and complaint, and contention; Self-interest and pride and all hateful greed—There to be cast to oblivion, like dross.
“The church will be cleansed in the light of her laws, Till seraphim also will yearn to enroll; And her bridegroom her company so often will seek, Thousands of angels will herald his path.
“Joy and much praise and increasing affection, Will fill every heart in that happy assembly: Praise be and glory, amen, hallelujah, From saints and from angels to the name of Jehovah.”
At half past seven, the tables were moved and the remains of the feast, and the President took the chair; and after singing, rhymes were made up on the occasion of the conference, the feast, the success of the cause, and the Saints were urged to continue in brotherly love, and to live peacefully with all men as far as possible.
The President revealed the necessity of sending missionaries to preach the gospel throughout the principality, the great and numerous difficulties that lie on the way, especially considering that not many of the wise and the great of the world have yet been called in Wales—that God now, as before, had revealed these great things to the lowliest of the Welsh, so that the magnificence of the power would be of God, and not of us. And although we preach the gospel free to the world, it cannot be done without food and clothes any more than before, especially in the midst of this perverse and unbelieving generation. God does not expect that, for the worker deserves his food and clothes; and who expects that more than those who have tasted forgiveness, known the sweetness of the feast, become children of the light, and received of the Spirit of Christ, who is a burning flame of love for the salvation of every man.
Then the following were proposed by the President, seconded, and unanimously approved by the large crowd:—
“That the Missionary Society be established tonight, with the sole purpose of assisting the missionaries who are sent from here throughout the country, to places where there are no Saints to supply their needs.
“That a committee be formed, comprising the presidents of all the different branches throughout Wales, and that they choose their president, treasurer, and secretary; and that the majority be entitled to change any officer or member of the committee, when they deem it necessary.
“That the treasurer give surety for the money in his possession, and that he not pay any of the society’s money to anyone, without obtaining a ticket signed by the president on the instructions of the majority of the committee; and that he take a receipt for what he pays, signed by the recipient.
“That the president be empowered to summon the committee when he deems it necessary, giving each member ten days’ notice.
“That the secretary keep a record of the actions and accounts of the society, to show his accounts at every festival of the society in public, as well as whenever the majority of the committee requests it.
“That the remainder of the money produced by this tea party, after paying all costs, be used for the sole benefit of the society.
“That the president of every branch hold a meeting every first Monday evening of the month, to pray to God to prosper the efforts of the society, then to announce the progress of the missionaries, and urge everyone to contribute what they can at the time, in order to help the society; and that he send what is collected to the chief treasurer, at the first opportunity after every meeting, and obtain a receipt from him for it.”
The President was chosen to be president of the society; William Phillips, Merthyr, treasurer; and William Davies, Rhymni, secretary, and Edward Edwards, Abercanaid, to assist them.
Robert Evans and Abel Evans gave a comprehensive and entertaining report on their travels through the North, earnestly desiring their brethren in Merthyr to come out to the fight, to help them in the army of the God of Israel against the strong giants who are building the walls of great Babylon.
Then the President called on those preachers present who could arrange their affairs so that they could go into the vineyard for a while, to indicate this by standing up; and behold, fifteen stood up, indicating, “Here we are, send us;” these indicated their willingness and determination to go out into the vineyard, some for three months, some for five, and others on whom no one depended for sustenance, devoted their whole time to preaching the gospel. The committee decided to assist them as far as possible out of the fund, according to their needs.
Then William Phillips gave a detailed account of what had been received, and the costs of this feast, and there was found to be a profit of £22 10s.
Thanks were given by the Saints to their friends from the world for their company, their good cheer, and their courtesy, throughout the conference and the feast.
The congregation’s thanks were given to Mr. Hopkins, the owner of the Hall, for his kindness and his amiability in providing every facility asked of him. And then the President closed the most highly attended, successful, and well mannered conference and tea party we have ever seen in Wales, with a prayer for God to bless our work, and keep us all faithful until we end our race in eternal happiness. Amen.
To WHAT end are we driven out hither and thither? To what end are we slandered by the tongues of one and all? Why do they disperse our meetings, try to silence us entirely? If there is some aim beneath it all, what is it? who can tell?
What! to halt the ocean’s tide? what! to turn back the sea? What! Are your sights on halting the flow of a volcano, feeble folk? Try to halt the cloud’s course, try to halt the waves of the sea; They are more easily halted than the Lord’s Saints are silenced.
If Christ saved our life, if he gave us his Holy Spirit—
If this spirit fills our soul, and burns like fire—
If a wealth of promises yonder awaits faithful saints—
Oh! how can we be silent, with our honor, and our privilege?
Who attempted, but your brothers, to silence in days of yore The saints and the apostles—first stalwarts who had the faith? If they failed then, in the heat of the great battle,—If their fate was giving up, you too should give up now.