Jeni Broberg Holzapfel and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, eds., A Woman’s View: Helen Mar Whitney’s Reminiscences of Early Church History (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997), 269–325.
Helen Mar Whitney recalls the completion of the Nauvoo Temple and the commencement of the administration of temple ordinances to more than six thousand Latter-day Saints. While the fall of 1845 “found Nauvoo as it were, one vast mechanic shop, as nearly every family was engaged in making wagons, “ the Saints continued their labors to receive the promised blessings of the temple before their departure into Iowa. Between December 1845 and January 1846 the Saints experienced a period of great rejoicing in the temple as a consequence of the blessings received.
Published from 1 May to 15 October 1883, this chapter contains important extracts from Heber C. Kimball’s diary housed in the Archive Division, Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Salt Lake City. Helen edited the material carefully, and she knew that it would “no doubt, be read with interest by the Latter-day Saints.” She eliminated explicit references to the temple endowment ceremony to make the citations appropriate for public view.
In our last article we mentioned the circumstance of an Italian brother making an offering of all his money to the trustee in trust to carry on the work on the temple. Previous to this the work was almost completely at a standstill for want of means, and President Young had urged the brethren to have faith and go on and the Lord would provide means. On the day when Brother Toronto laid down his money the brethren were to meet in council and consider the subject of means. President Young walked into the council with the gold in his pocket, when they were debating the question of giving up the work, and he said, “Brethren, will you go on with the work and trust in the Lord?” And they were doubtful. When President Young scattered the gold over the room the brethren were as much astonished as men could possibly be. Is not this a proof that the Lord provides means to carry on His work? Brother Toronto has since accumulated means and raised a family, been to Italy and Sicily, and in his native land, accomplished a good work.
In the month of July, 1845, a large caravan came to our city. This was a rarity in that part of the country, and something that I had never seen, though I remember of one passing our house when we were living in Mendon, state of New York, just previous to our leaving there. I was then between four and five years old, and I teased my ma, and cried because she would not let me go with my brother William and others to see it. She told me that I was too little and I would have plenty of chances when I got older. I never heard of another till about a year after we came to Nauvoo. Then there was an opportunity for me to go, as William (who was living with Dr. F. G. Williams, at Upper Commerce) came to take me to one, but found me sick with a fresh attack of ague, and quite delirious to all around me, so that I knew nothing of it till it was over. But now there seemed nothing in the way to prevent my seeing a circus. I was just putting on a white dress, I remember, as the caravan passed our house, the day being extremely warm but otherwise it was very pleasant. My youthful anticipations were at their height, but alas for our earthly hopes, I seemed doomed to disappointment, as they had no more than spread their canvas before a sudden windstorm came and blew it to the ground, and the rain come down in torrents, so that they could not put it up again, and came very near losing some of their animals. So I had to wait till I was considerably older before my chances came to witness the circus, as we left the next February for the West, and I never again had this privilege till some years after we came to Salt Lake; and by that time my enthusiasm had considerably moderated, and I have long since become satiated with them.
After the storm was over, I accompanied father and others to see the animals, but the change in the weather obliged us to dress in thick clothing, and even mantles and overcoats were necessary. Thus we find life is one of disappointed hopes, till we have learned to restrain ourselves and become moderate in all things—then peace and pleasure is the natural result. The following interesting items I gather from my father’s journal. “August 4th, which was Sunday,” he says, “President B. Young preached in the forenoon, and warned the Saints to beware and not forget their God.” This is a warning we would do well today to accept and profit by the same.
“Monday, 5th,” he says, “our county election was held. Had a bee the same day to get wood for the Nauvoo House; had one hundred and fifty teams.” By the 20th, it seems, they had got eight courses on two sides of the Nauvoo House. But Satan became more and more enraged as he saw the work of God continuing to progress, and his power was arrayed against the Saints, and on the 15th of September, while my father and others of his brethren were in council, at Brother Joseph Kingsbury’s two sheriffs came after the following men: B. Young, H. C. Kimball, P. P. Pratt, G. A. Smith, John Taylor, W. Richards, G. Miller, John Karns, O. Pratt, O. Hyde, and John Page. These men said they were requested not to serve a writ on William Smith. They did not find any of them and soon left the city.
16th, father met with his brethren to consult about what measures to enter into, and concluded to stop the work on the Nauvoo House. Adjourned at twelve o’clock, and met again at two. “We had not been in more than ten minutes,” father says, “before J. B. Backenstoss, a sheriff and lawyer, not a Mormon, and Porter Rockwell came in. Learned that a mob rushed upon them suddenly and chased them from Warsaw. In the struggle to get away from the mob, Porter Rockwell shot one man, and Backenstoss one or two more.” Orders were sent to the precinct by the sheriff for them to be in readiness. “About ten in the evening Col. Markham went to Carthage, with fifty men. My Father in Heaven, wilt thou help thy people and deliver us from our enemies, as thou art our Father and our God.” He wrote that on the evening of the 18th several companies went out to take prisoners; Bro. Redfield came in at the same time with tidings from Lima. On the 19th, the Twelve were in council most of the day at Bishop Miller’s. Father mentions one young man by the name of Tippen, being shot by accident in the camp. He says, “Visited the camp about ten o’clock. Tippen died about that time as we were going to see him.
“20th, Saturday. Rose early in the morning, went to the council room. Two hundred men went in wagons to meet Backenstoss at the junction. Tippen was buried; had a short discourse by B. Young and myself on the public square. Most of the army came home.
“Monday, 22nd, held council with a committee from McDonough County, at John Taylor’s. Chose three men to meet them on Tuesday at McComb, as follows. A. Babbit, Bedell and Wells.
“Tuesday, 23rd. The day pleasant. Much rumor from Camp Creek, spent most of the day in council, * * receiving letters from different parts of the country. Writs out for twelve or thirteen men.
“Wednesday, 24th. All the Twelve and about thirty others went to Carthage to give ourselves up for trial. Went before Squire Barns and were dismissed. We went to see the jail where Joseph and Hyrum were killed. Most of the people had left the place; got home about sunset and met a committee from Quincy. Met in council at John Taylor’s. Wrote a proposition to the mob; broke up at one o’clock in the morning.”
Friday, 26th, father speaks of attending council at Brother Taylor’s, the same day at one o’clock, he says, “met for prayer and council at W. Richards’s, from thence went into the public square, and saw one hundred families come in from Camp Creek and other places. B. Young spoke to them, then we went and laid hands upon the sick, eighteen of them.”
Saturday, he mentions being again in council, then went with General Charles Rich to visit the sick. At three in the afternoon he and brethren went to the mansion. He says, “Brother Rose came in with news from Beardstown. He saw General Hardin with two hundred and fifty men on his way to our city. From thence we went to the temple, then to see the troops on the square. My health being poor, went home early.
“Sunday, 28th, being rainy, few met at the stand. B. Young spoke a few words, by counsel, to get in their grain and other things. Went to see the sick, Sister Woolley and others. * * Met in council. Bedell got back from Springfield. The news good from the Governor Backenstoss went to Carthage to meet General Hardin. The tide of the mob is low at this time. * * William Clayton came in with a proclamation from General Hardin, and a letter. He is now in Carthage with his troops. Dr. Colston came in.
“29th. At nine o’clock met in council at Daniel Spencer’s. Five Lamanites were present. Adjourned at twelve, met at one for prayer and council, at W. Richards’s. * * Bro. Bent and Isaac Morley met with us to present the names of those to go west. In the evening went down to the river. B. Young baptized three red men, and confirmed them at the water’s edge.
“30th. The council met at the Seventies Hall, adjourned at twelve o’clock, as General Hardin had come into town with his posse to search for property and lost men. He wished to have council with the Twelve, so we went to his camp on the hill. He read to us his orders, which he had received from the governor; after which they searched the temple, Masonic hall, and the Nauvoo barn, then went down the river to camp. The Twelve and bishops met at W. Richards’s for prayer and council. We asked the Lord to frustrate the designs of our enemies and to blind their eyes, and cause the troops to leave our city. Held council in the evening at John Taylor’s. Wrote another proposition to people of the state, that we were going away—to come and purchase our lands and houses and we would leave.”
General Hardin, Judge Douglas McDougal, and Col. Warren met them next day in council at John Taylor’s. Father wrote, “After much conversation we adjourned about eleven o’clock. Went to the temple with them and their army. They went all over the temple. Took dinner at Brother Taylor’s. Met in council in the after part of the day, with the same men. I discovered a spirit in them not to do much for us. Went back to their camp at four or five o’clock. We met again in the evening, Brother Andrew Perkins, and Dr. Colston came in from Carthage, said there were three hundred of the mob.
“Oct. 1st. Engaged in council * * and visiting the sick. Oct. 2nd. The Twelve and others met in council with general Hardin’s staff. His regiment left early in the morning, and the general left about eleven o’clock for Carthage. Then B. Young and myself went to visit the sick. Went also to the temple. They were laying the lower floor for the conference.” The same day he mentions attending the funeral of Sister Daniel Spencer, and from thence went to W. Richards’s for council and prayer. Says, “Great union prevailed.”
These historical items will be of more than usual interest to this people at the present period and they are calculated to instill into them new faith and determination to persevere in defence of the sacred principle of liberty, which we still enjoy (thank God) in spite of every effort that has been made by our foes, who seem to have forgotten that persecution and intolerance beget an increase of union, and the same spirit and love of liberty thrills our bosoms, which at the darkest hour roused our country to action, and inspired the hearts of the people to appoint for their commander-in-chief, George Washington, and he was filled with the spirit and power of his office, the same as was Brigham Young at the most critical moment in the tide of our affairs in Nauvoo; and we read that Washington was often led to retire alone from camp, and bow in secret prayer to that same God of Israel, in whom we trust, not only to relieve his over-burdened heart, but to gain His divine assistance in that awful conflict. This people were placed in a similar condition, and likely to be scattered as sheep without a shepherd, had they not chosen to be led by men who were inspired by a divine power to lead them to victory. Where if they had not been united, and had had no other but human aid to look to, or to interfere in their behalf, they could never have survived through those early scenes of trial and tribulation, much less to have carried out the great revelations and commands of the Almighty. But they knew as well as they do today the necessity of humility and prayer without ceasing, and that in everything they must give thanks, knowing that “he who is faithful shall overcome all things, and shall be lifted up at the last day.” We know that a “threefold cord is not quickly broken, and wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men.” We have had examples enough to show what persecution will do, and what has been, and ever will be effected by outside pressure, a practice which our foes seem determined to keep up. Nowhere can they find another such a people, whose lives and works so nearly resemble those of the ancient followers of the poor and despised Nazarene, who have shown their faith by their works, and a like willingness to make sacrifice of home, friends, and all their worldly prospects (as thousands have done) and what is of more value than all the rest, their good name. For the last fifty years we have been looked down upon, persecuted, driven about and wronged, for nothing only our religion, and still we cling to it in defiance of all that this nation is threatening to do, and why is it that they do not cause us to fear and quake before them? Because we know that our Redeemer liveth, and we still have a positive assurance of divine support if we keep humble and united. We are aware that the “Mormons” as a people, have not yet become all that they should be. Many among us are like dead branches—are neither one thing nor the other; and the Lord says He wants us to be either hot or cold, for the lukewarm He would “spew out of His mouth.” If we were all in that condition and would mix in with Babylon we would meet with but little interference from them, but rather let us be upon the watchtower, for the signs of the times foreshadow great and mighty changes which have been long foretold by the prophets, ancient and modern; I remember, yes, and so do hundreds of this people, how the solemnity of these things rested upon my father for years previous to his death; because he foresaw, in the vision of his mind, the awful scenes when the judgments of an offended God would be poured out without measure upon the inhabitants of the earth, and he beheld the fate of those who are at ease in Zion; and it will take nothing less than His scourging hand to wake them from their slumber.
Therefore, our present troubles may be viewed in the light of a Godsend, or a blessing in disguise, like all the rest, for it will wake up many and carry off the dross, and unite His Saints more closely than they have ever been. And none others can become heirs with our elder Brother, to that celestial and eternal glory that is awaiting all who are willing to take up and bear their cross. Such can safely leave the outcome to Him who stands at the helm; but let us see that we keep inside of the good ship, while being tossed over these rough billows, or passing through the narrow places, which all must do before we can ever reach our eternal inheritance.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 11, no. 23,
1 May 1883, pp. 177–78
The first meeting held in the temple at Nauvoo was on Sunday, October 5th, 1845. I was present with the choir on this occasion, also at conference the three following days. The choir and orchestra occupied a gallery at the west end opposite the stand. The following items I take from my father’s journal: “Meeting opened at five minutes to eleven by President B. Young as a form of dedication prayer. Great joy and gratitude was felt by the Saints to realize this blessing which they had so long looked for. There were five thousand persons seated comfortably. Elder John Taylor preached respecting our moving to the West. Some few companies were called out preparatory to organizing for removal. In the afternoon the four companies were addressed by President B. Young.
“Monday, 6th. Our general conference assembled in the temple for the first time; much business was done. The Twelve met in council and for prayer, morning and evening, to our Heavenly Father to stay the wrath of our enemies, and to overthrow all their designs, which He has done thus far, and we thank His holy name. Tuesday, 7th. In the morning the Twelve met for prayer in the usual place. Conference met in the temple. I preached in the morning, together with Amasa Lyman. In the afternoon, when the conference was assembled, Major Warren came in with his posse of troops and surrounded our cannon, supposing it was a mob, President Young dismissed the conference and told the brethren to go home, and let every man be prepared. Warren commenced to search one or two houses—they then went back to Carthage.
“Wednesday, 8th. * * Conference met—much business was transacted. President Young spoke upon the thieves who were in the place, and Mother Smith spoke at some length. * * This day was the close of the conference. All things went off in union, not a dissenting voice in the congregation, and a perfect union exhibited by the Saints to remove from the country the coming spring. All these things transpire in answer to the prayers of the Saints, who meet together constantly after the holy order; and the glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost for His blessings upon Israel.
“Thursday, 9th. In the morning I, with my brethren, met for prayer and then met in the temple to counsel them on going east, etc., to sell property, and much business presented. * * * In the evening the usual company met for prayer; the following things were prayed for—the prosperity of the elders in the United States, and the brethren on the South Pacific Islands, and the brethren in the West among the red men of the forest, that our enemies may be frustrated in all their designs, that confusion and disorder and treachery might enter into their ranks, that the sick of His people might be healed, union preserved, and that all of His servants may be saved from their enemies, that they should not have power to serve their vexatious writs, that the temple and font may be finished, and dedicated and consecrated to the most high God, that His servants and handmaids may obtain their ordinances and sealing powers of the priesthood, and the way be opened for His saints to go to the West, etc.”
On the 12th he mentions twenty-five captains being appointed, and all the companies to number nine called out. Next day he, with President Young, met for counsel with two Lamanites, Joseph Herring (Shawnee tribe) and Lewis Dana (Oneida nation). He says, “We ordained Joseph Herring an elder, Lewis Dana having previously been ordained. We had much conversation with them and received much counsel from them as to the traits of character of the red men. * * J. B. Backenstoss and several others came to my house in the evening, and several tunes were played on the piano by Sister Pitch-forth.” I remember this incident, and the lady whom my father mentions was my music teacher—her name I could hardly remember and was pleased to see it mentioned in his journal.
She had a little, delicate frame and was inexperienced, like thousands who have emigrated from the cities of the old country to the western frontiers, more especially those who have cast their lot with the Latter-day Saints. But she, though in poverty with her children, was never sad—her countenance always wore the same pleasant smile. She was happy in the knowledge that she had gained a key that would open the door to the true riches that cannot perish. She early sank under the many hardships and privations which befell the latter-day pilgrims while journeying westward, but members of her family are still living in Utah who honorably represent her name. I also remember the following incidents, copied from father’s journal:
“Tuesday, 14th. Mary Gont was sealed to Lewis Dana, a Laman-ite, by B. Young, being the first Lamanite having a wife sealed to him under the New and Everlasting Covenant for time and all eternity, she being a white woman.” Her husband was civilized, and had been an elder about four years—he being the first Lamanite ever ordained an elder in the Church of Latter-day Saints.
Wednesday morning, the 15th, father received a letter from Sheriff Backenstos, requesting an interview. “At two o’clock,” he says, “I met J. B. Backenstos at his room in the Mansion. * * He then and there gave me his mind and views concerning the religion we professed to believe, he firmly and positively believed it to be the truth, and he intended to embrace it by going forward in the waters of baptism soon, and he would go with us the whole extent to the expense of his life and all he possessed.
“Saturday, 18th. * * Much rumor of war. * * Elder Hyde returned home from the east and brought five thousand yards of topsail Russia duck.” This was for tents and wagon covers.
Sunday, 19th, he wrote, “Met at the temple in company with the Twelve. Elder Hyde preached. At four in the afternoon the Twelve met their company to organize them in the following manner by placing captains over fifties and tens, and each captain organizing his own company.” On the 20th, he says, “General Arlington Bennett came into our city—had an interview with him at Dr. Richard’s. * * I solicited him to meet us at John Taylor’s in council this evening. He met according to agreement—continued with us till ten o’clock.” Next day a posse of the governor’s troops came into the city, but did not interfere with anyone and soon left.
He wrote on the 23rd, “The governor’s posse, consisting of thirteen men, came into the city to take Bogus Press, and searched Brother Woodworm’s house (one of our near neighbors) and then left the city. * * On the 24th one of the governor’s troops was shot by Brother Bigelow in self-defense (not mortally). Report says that General Arlington Bennett was hissed out of Carthage yesterday. * * At this time matters look dark—our enemies are much enraged. * * Wherein we have asked the Lord He has answered us in every instance; I therefore feel to praise and exalt His holy name for the blessings and favors to His people Israel.”
On the 28th, he says, “J. B. Backenstos came to Brother God-dard’s (as we were then concealed) saying to us that Major Warren wished to have an interview with the Twelve. Accordingly at three p.m. Brother Brigham and myself met the following at Dr. Richard’s: Major Warren, Captains Turner and Morgan. During our interview John Taylor, George A. Smith, A. Lyman, also J. Backenstos were present. Major Warren wished to know whether we were willing that writs should be served on the citizens of this place. President Young told him we were perfectly willing so far as he and brethren were concerned, as he and his brethren did not hold any official office in the city or county. That we only governed the matters pertaining to the Church. This seemed to calm his apprehensions. They left us at five p.m. with pretty good feelings.”
Father wrote, “Wednesday, 29th. We spent part of the day at Brother Rockwood’s. Many of the brethren came in for counsel. Joseph Herring (the Lamanite) was one, about going home west to his tribe. * * This night I returned home as the posse had left with their writs. Thursday, 30th. Bishop Miller and Brother Burdell returned from Springfield, whither they had been to visit the governor.”
Saturday, November 2nd, he speaks of Elder Hyde preaching upon the subject of trusting in God. “Elder Taylor followed and gave an excellent exhortation much in the same strain. I also spoke and counselled the Saints to pay their tithing, etc. In the afternoon I met the first emigration company and came to a partial organization, and gave much counsel and instruction on our intended removal.”
At this time President Young was sick and unable to attend to business. On the 7th father mentions a large raft of pine lumber, which came down the river, and he says, “On the 10th Brigham Young, Bishop Miller and I borrowed six hundred dollars and paid Brother Russell, as he had bought one hundred thousand feet of pine boards. This will finish the temple.”
On the 11th he says, “The young people had a dance at the Mansion—J. B. Backenstos and myself took supper with them by the request of Benjamin Johnson—from thence I returned home.”
I remember this occasion as a very pleasant one, and the mention of it reminds me of an incident connected with it. My father was quite a favorite with the sheriff, and I being there with him he requested the privilege of taking me to supper. He also invited me to dance, and being the guest he was invited to lead out at the opening of the ball. During the dance, at each rest of “the light fantastic toe,” I was entertained with the rehearsal of what he seemed to view as a wonderful night dream, or vision he called it, and gave me his interpretation of it. But I was rather young and gay, and could scarcely appreciate or view it in the same light that he did—especially as coming from that quarter; besides, being in the midst of a delightful quadrille, that with the thrilling music of the band was far more to my taste, and much more exhilarating, than was the subject upon which he seemed determined to dwell. Sheriff Backenstoss was a friend (no doubt) raised up by the Lord to favor His people at that critical time. His resolutions, which he expressed to my father, even if they were made in good faith, were spoken too loudly, as he did not hold long to them. I believe that Satan is ever present to take down notes, and he soon learns our weak points; we should therefore put a double guard upon our lips, and when we vow we ought to say, the Lord helping me, or as said an ancient apostle, “If the Lord wills we should live, and do this or that.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 11, no. 24,
15 May 1883, p. 186
Father makes frequent mention of gatherings at the Mansion and other places, in which we took part, also of entertainments given at the concert hall, and of presiding there a number of times, which has served to refresh my memory. Several familiar items I found written in a small pocket diary which had been overlooked. The following he wrote: “February 1st, 1845. * * At ten o’clock in the evening Elder B. Young and myself went to see Joseph and Hyrum.” I remembered this incident and that he brought home a small scrap from each of their burial robes. Their bodies had been kept hidden till this time upon Joseph’s premises and closely guarded, as there had been large sums of money offered for them by different parties to speculate upon; but the Saints were never so poor nor so destitute of human feelings as to commit such an act towards anyone, much less men so beloved and revered as were the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum.
Father speaks of frequent visits paid to their mother and to their widows, Emma and Mary Smith. The 25th of April following, he mentions “assembling at the Mansion in company with five of the Twelve, Sister Emma and Dr. Bernhisal to see the giants, Frederic W. Randall and his lady. He afterwards took me with other members of his family to see them. None others were present but Brigham Young, which circumstance was impressed upon my mind by his looking so diminutive as they stood side by side with the giant. He wore an immense gold watch and chain, also a large pin and finger ring, the latter, which we handled, was so large that it went easily over three of the President’s largest fingers. He was heavily built and had a deep and powerful voice. His wife was about the right height for him, but did not seem to enjoy going about the world for a show as much as he did, being in a delicate state of health, she expressed her repugnance to this kind of life and a desire for a more quiet one back in their native land among the highlands.
“They reminded us so of the characters we read of in the ‘Scottish chiefs’ and other novels of the olden times, when their brave chieftains and ladies of high degree were all large in stature. The Book of Mormon and Bible also, tell us that there were ‘giants in those days.’”
On the “6th of February,” father wrote, “Last night I dreamed I was at work on my wheel, with others, in the pottery and putting vessels in the kiln for burning. Several were assisting—the work was great.” He also mentions going with my mother to a potter shop, and says, “I made a crock upon the wheel—the first one for nine years.” Those acquainted with him knew him to be a potter, this was his favorite trade, and he frequently made use of the parable as Jesus did. He first learned the blacksmith trade, when but a boy in the state of Vermont, which business he carried on in the winter and the pottery during the warm weather. Both were very profitable trades and would have made him a wealthy man, but instead he willingly gave his time and talents towards the great work of building up our Father’s kingdom.
He gives the following account of their April conference in 1845, which was held, after the first day, in one of the valleys a little south of the temple, the weather being very windy and dusty:
“April 6th. The Saints convened at ten o’clock at the stand, being fifteen years since the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and there are one-third more people now than there ever were before at any conference since the Church began. * I called the meeting to order and offered prayer. B. Young preached on the subject of baptism for the dead. * * * We met at two o’clock—two acres were covered as thick as they could stand—four on a square yard—reckoned to be twenty thousand Saints. Meeting opened by O. Hyde; then the little children were blessed. We came to a close at five in the afternoon. The wind blew hard and very dusty.
“Monday, 7th. Met at ten o’clock in a valley among the hills. Spent the forenoon talking about the temple and Nauvoo House. In the afternoon the revelation on the Nauvoo House and tithing was read by Elder O. Pratt, then Elder B. Young spoke. * * *
“April 8th. * * I spoke one hour in the morning—Elder B. Young filled up the time. The afternoon was occupied by B. Young and O. Hyde. At five o’clock the conference adjourned till next October. All went off well.”
On the evening of the 9th, he mentions being at the concert hall and enjoying the beautiful singing and music, etc. At a meeting held the next evening he speaks of G. J. Adams and Samuel Branson being cut off from the Church for bad conduct, also about getting the Masonic hall for a printing office. “This lodge,” he says, “was organized on the 15th day of March, 1842, with forty members. Joseph Smith was made a Mason on the same evening, Abraham Jones was present and acted as Master. The first night he (Joseph) took the first and second degree, the next night took the third degree.” The following I copy from his largest journal:
“Joseph and Hyrum Smith were Master Masons, yet they were massacred through the instrumentality of some of the leading men of that fraternity through the states. * * Although bound under the strongest obligations to be true and faithful to each other in every case and under every circumstance, the commission of crime excepted.”
There is no denying that there were some mean and disreputable characters among us, the same as are found in all other communities, and those who (Judas like) sought to wind themselves into the good graces of both parties; and according to Jesus’ words the net was to gather of all kinds; but those who have not already met their just rewards, will in due time, let him be “Mormon,” Gentile or Jew, or whatever name they may be called by, each one will be made to answer for his or her own sins, whatever crime they may have committed it will return fourfold upon their own heads.
It seems it was the 12th of the following month that my father and several of his brethren found it necessary to conceal themselves to escape the clutches of their enemies who came there to serve their writs. Father, B. Young and W. Richards went to the house of Bishop Edward Hunter that day with the church history and hid in the same upper room where Joseph had previously been concealed. W. Richards was then sick with the chills and fever, and President Young’s health was also quite poor. Father wrote the morning following, “Had a good night’s rest, B. Young dreamed of seeing a vessel blown onto dry land—I dreamt of saving some persons from being drowned. * * At nine o’clock G. A. Smith came to us. * * Read history all day, taking turns. When it came night B. Young and I went home. Found my family well, but lonesome. Returned the same night to our lodging.” 14th he wrote, “Elder Richards better, but B. Young quite poorly; the day wet and chilly. * * * Wrote a line to my wife, who came and took dinner with us, had a good visit. * * 15th [of April 1845], Last night I dreamed I saw many serpents—they jumped at me, but did not bite. At four o’clock in the morning Joseph Kingsbury took him in his buggy to Aaron Fair’s.”
This place was a mile or two from the city, on the edge of a thick wood, where he stayed that day. My mother went in the afternoon with Sarah Kingsbury to see him. He wrote that he went into the forest twice to pray, the second time accompanied by my mother. They left in the edge of the evening—he to meet with the Holy Order at W. Richards’—from there he came home, then went back to Bishop Hunter’s.
On the 19th, he says, “* * Vilate with Sarah Ann Kingsbury took me in a buggy to Brother Robert Pierce’s, where I found Brigham Young, John Taylor and George A. Smith. We rested all day and felt refreshed—received great kindness from sister Pierce and her two daughters, Mary and Margerete; may the Lord bless them with peace and plenty. After dark went through the city disguised—saw many of the Saints, but they knew me not; went home where I found my wife Vilate, and all well but lonesome—went back to my lodging at eleven—almost as light as day.”
Next day he wrote that Willard Richards came there with the church history. “About ten o’clock in the morning (he says) my dear Vilate came to see me with Sister Sarah Ann Kingsbury. * * * They left in one hour, and my daughter came, and Sarah Ann with her, and they took lunch with us at two o’clock.”
This visit at Brother Pierce’s I remember very well. Several of the apostles were present that day, and we spent a very agreeable afternoon in conversation, while some were engaged reading history, and we had some good singing. Brother Taylor sang “The Upper Call,” composed by himself. We left at dusk, after which father wrote in his journal: “Oh Lord, bless my dear wife and children, that they may be righteous from the oldest to the youngest, and all live till they become old.”
He came home and stayed that night, but was called up at three in the morning and went to the trustee’s office, where he remained through the day.
“In the evening (he says) I rode down with Bishop Whitney to administer to his wife and two children, and Julia Durphy, who was working for them—they were very sick.” A few days after this my mother was taken sick with chills and fever, and father could only come to see her at night. It was three weeks before they could meet with the Saints, and this course they were compelled to take much of the time, while they were building and performing the work in the House of the Lord.
Our persecuters and the murderers of the Prophet and Patriarch supposed when they were killed, that this act would be the death blow to Mormonism, but when finding out their mistake, and that the Saints did not resent it as they expected them to, they commenced the same course towards the apostles, to whom Joseph had delivered the keys of the kingdom. But knowing themselves to be innocent, and that they would be treated in a similar manner, having proven how much justice there was to be found in the United States for “Mormons”; they had no notion of putting themselves into the power of bloodthirsty men to be placed in chains and dungeons, for this would have brought a dead standstill to the work upon the temple.
Had not this people (as a rule) been the most honest and sincere followers of Christ, and willing to be led and controled in the holy order of the priesthood, and governed by principles which were continually being taught and impressed upon their minds by wiser heads, more (I believe) would have been driven to desperation, and long ago have attempted to deal out retribution in their own way, as did John D. Lee and his gang. But they were not walking in obedience, and were entirely void of the Holy Spirit, or they could never have committed so cruel and cowardly an act—taking advantage of that time and opportunity to wreak vengeance upon a small company of emigrants, although the latter were heard cursing and threatening as they went through the settlements, and boasting of what they had done to the “Mormons” in Missouri, and what they would do before they left the territory, still they were not excusable, for they had been taught better from the beginning, and that they would never be justified in taking up arms or to shed blood, except in self defence, but were to leave all things to Him, who says, “Vengence is mine, I will repay.” They forgot this, just as the majority of the world do, and allowed their wicked passions to get the upper hand of them, and united with the wild Indians, who, it is well known at that time, were extremely savage and hostile towards the whites, and had already caused a great amount of trouble and expense to this people, who, it should be remembered, were not allowed to live anywhere else within our country’s domains, but among the murderous and treacherous savages, and we are not indebted for our own lives to any effort or assistance rendered us by Uncle Sam. But these things are never taken into consideration by those who cry treason and harp upon the worn out tales of crimes which were never committed nor sanctioned by the Latter-day Saints, for if they had it would have sealed their eternal damnation, and for such we know there is no redemption. At the same time our over righteous accusers would rejoice could they but get the power and opportunity to wipe us out of existence, and they are the ones who boast so loudly of their own spotless purity, of their superior wisdom, and of their great and enlightened Christianity. But thank God that we are separated from such, and that we have higher and more exalted aims than persecuting, fighting and shedding the blood of our fellow beings, because they will not believe nor be governed by the same religious views that we are, and that He has brought us out from among them, and helped us to colonize this desert land, and redeem it from its barrenness, making it to blossom as the rose, and that the honest in heart are being gathered here from every nation, kindred, tongue and people, as Jesus declared they should be, through the instrumentality of His servants, who have been obedient to His command to go forth into the world without purse or scrip etc., and that we can stand up boldly and proclaim to the world our innocence, and that we have kept ourselves freer from crime and corruption than have any other sect or society in the known world. Why, we ask, in the name of conscience should not the priests and leaders of other denominations be made answerable for all the lawlessness and criminal acts that are committed by church members, and be brought before courts and imprisoned for the same, as they have sought continually to do by the authorities of the Church of Latter-day Saints? This is something that few stop to reflect upon, and a question which fewer, I think, would be willing to answer; but we do not envy them, for when we are brought face to face in the presence of Zion’s King, they will then learn to their own dismay that in persecuting us they have been warring against their great and only Redeemer.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 1,
June 1, 1883, pp. 6–7
In the words of Sister Bathsheba Smith, in “The Women of Mor-mondom,” “The Fall of 1845 found Nauvoo as it were, one vast mechanic shop, as nearly every family was engaged in making wagons,” and all seemed cheerful while preparing for the general move to the Rocky Mountains. There were many intelligent and active young men who chose to be adopted into different families of the apostles and patriarchs. Among the ones adopted to my father were two splendid carpenters, Hosea Cushing and William King, who, with Brother George Wallace, had been employed to do the carpenter work on our house. They were all three from Boston. There were three sailors, natives of Denmark, who came into our family; they were the first that we had ever seen from that land, and were something of a curiosity. Hans C. Hanson, Peter O. Hanson and John Forsgreen were their names—all but the latter and William King have remained true to the gospel. So we were well provided with mechanics and tent makers. Father wrote the following: “While working in the temple, Brother Hans Christian Hanson (a Dane) is our doorkeeper and fireman—his brother, Peter Olson, is translating the Book of Mormon—two thirds through.” The south wing of our house was turned into a workshop, and nights was occupied by the brethren, who stood guard there through the winter. The pleasure of having John Kay and Howard Egan come (who were stationed there at Brigham Young’s through a portion of the winter) was always anticipated by the young people. They were very entertaining—Egan with his interesting yarns and anecdotes, and the singing by John Kay it would be useless for us to try to describe, but, suffice it to say, his voice (a baritone) was most magnificent, and his songs and the style in which he sang them surpassed anything that we are accustomed to hearing nowadays; and many an evening we were thus entertained, as we circled around the “ingleside,” and the hours flew by so swiftly that midnight was often there before we knew it. During the summer previous, John Kay had been in the practice of standing guard the forepart of the night at the house of President Young, and often at evening when the moon shone brightly, William would hitch the horses to our large carriage, in which a dozen could easily ride, and Vilate Young, the president’s daughter, being among the number, we would often call and take in John Kay, and drive for an hour or more around the same block, for the sake of keeping him with us, and each time would drive closely to the president’s gate, to satisfy him that all was right. The young people were incapable of feeling the weight which rested upon our fathers and mothers.
“November 12th. Last evening I dreamed of seeing a large quantity of honey bees—they were peacably inclined.” Thus wrote my father, who was what might be termed a dreamer, and of them he makes frequent mention in his journal. His new brick house (it seems) was finished that day, as he wrote, “Brother Nichols and Brown came to paint my house—made a finish of the same, which makes a completion inside and out, and for which I feel thankful to my Heavenly Father.” As soon as the house was finished my brother with his wife and child, moved in with us so that his place could be disposed of. The spirit of mobocracy reigned throughout the country, and they were continually committing depredations upon the Saints in the outskirts of the city, and in small settlements. My father mentions the house of a Brother Rice being burnt, on the 12th, and says, “thirty men were engaged in it.” “On the night of the 15th, Brother Edmund Durphy was shot by a mob at Lima, and was brought into our city on Sunday, the 16th. * * * J. B. Backenstos came in and gave us the particulars of the death of Brother Durphy.” On the 17th, he wrote, “Egan and Lathrop got home from St. Louis, * * were hunted by enemies at every point.”
On the 21st he mentions a sheriff by the name of Stigall coming there for Brother Fellers, “because (he says) Brother Fellers drove off his own cattle—this is wonderful. At seven in the evening * * Backenstos came in and said that Major Warren swore if the Anties would not help him bring those men who killed Durphy to justice he would have the county, and wanted Backenstos to go for them with his forces.”
On the 24th, he wrote, “The painters are putting on the last coat of paint in the upper rooms of the temple. Two stoves were put up in the largest room, and they were cleaning out the upper part. The font is going on—several of the oxen done—the horns are on.
“25th, I with Brigham Young and George A. Smith spent the forenoon in raising money for the purpose of sending to St. Louis to get iron—also clothing for the temple hands, as they are suffering much for the want of the same. We raised some money to send to St. Louis by Hiram Kimball. * * At two o’clock I went to Bishop Millers, to the wedding of his son Joshua. My wife and son William and daughter Helen went with me. President B. Young and Bishop Whitney and families were present. * * About sixty persons took dinner—had good music and a splendid time.” I remember this occasion and can add my testimony to his of the agreeable time we spent. About this time a letter was received by Brother Lewis Rob-bins, from William Smith, which, father said “was read in counsel—it was filled with wrath against the Twelve.” A few days later news came that William Smith and George J. Adams were giving their affidavits against the Twelve as treasoners. Those two men were guilty of treason, and were inspired by the father of lies and sought revenge for nothing only because their own wickedness and corruption had been brought to light, the same as do all other dishonest apostates, who seek vainly to bring destruction upon the holy priesthood, and those whom they have withdrawn from; but they only destroy themselves, by becoming the instruments of his Satanic majesty, who knows as well as we “that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles and that they will hear it.”
On the 27th of November, father wrote, “Silas Haight and Halkins Taylor came into our city to take some of the brethren prisoners, being authorized by the United States.
“On the 28th they left the city, (father said) in answer to prayer, thank the Lord our God.”
He wrote, “Saturday, the 29th, carpets were laid down in the attic story of the temple. They were sent by different ones for the purpose. * * * My wife Vilate, Sister E. A. Whitney and her daughter Sarah and Sister Bathsheba Smith came to assist us. President B. Young, H. C. Kimball, O. Hyde, P. P. Pratt, G. A. Smith, O. Spencer, L. Woodworm, G. Miller, W. W. Phelps, L. Richards and A. P. Rock-wood were present, and at evening we all went into the room of B. Young, which is the southeast corner, and bowed ourselves before the Lord, and gave Him thanks for his goodness unto us in sparing our lives to finish this house, and for many other blessings received. * * *
“Sunday, the 30th, I and the others of the Twelve and about twenty brethren in all, clothed and offered up the dedication prayer of the upper rooms.
“December 1st, A. W. Babbit got home from Detroit, where he had been on a mission to the Catholics. The tidings are good and cheering—said some of them would be here in a few days to rent some of our public buildings. On the 2nd they received a letter from a company in Philadelphia, wishing to purchase our city. The letter was written at Bloomington.”
The following he wrote: “December 5th, at half past eleven my wife and daughter, Sister Whitney and daughter Sarah came to the temple for the purpose of doing some sewing. * * * They commenced working at twelve o’clock, at the ringing of the temple bell. * * * Sister Mary Ann Young, wife of President Young, came at two in the afternoon.”
I remember this circumstance, and that we sat in father’s room, next to B. Young’s, who, with his brother (Uncle Joseph) came in and sang some hymns—Sister Young assisting them. Uncle Joseph sang “The Upper California,” and the rest joined in the chorus. “At four o’clock (he says) Sister Vilate, Sister Whitney, Sarah Ann and Helen left; I went with them to Brother Kingsbury’s; took dinner—from thence they returned home, and I to the temple.” In another place is the following: “At three o’clock William brought his wife, my daughter Helen and Mary Ann Sheflin (father’s wife) up into the attic of the temple; I took them through all the rooms—from there they went into the top of the tower. After dark they came to see me in my room; I bowed with them before the Lord and called upon him and asked his blessing upon our heads and thanked him that He had given us this privilege.”
On Saturday, the 6th, everything was completed in the attic story of the temple, and father wrote, “Peace dwells here in the house of the Lord. We all feel to rejoice before the Lord, that he in his kind providence has permitted his servants to finish the attic. * * When we left the room we asked the Lord to bless Israel, and hold us in safety till we could give some of his faithful elders their endowments.” On Sunday all of the holy order were to assemble there. “This (father said) is the advice of President B. Young, and our wives will come and partake with us—the sacrament will be administered—this gives them great joy.
“Sunday, 7th, snow falling—the weather mild—* * went to David Fulmer’s and sealed two women to him for time and eternity, gave some counsel, and then returned to the temple, where I found my wife Vilate, Bishop Whitney and wife.” Present were the following persons, which father says, “are members of the holy order of the holy priesthood, having received it in the lifetime of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the Prophet and Patriarch: President B. Young, Mary Ann Young, H. C. Kimball, Vilate Kimball, O. Hyde, Marinda N. Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Mary Ann Pratt, John Taylor, Leonora Taylor, G. A. Smith, Bathsheba Smith and Willard Richards, high priests and their wives, John and Clarisa Smith, Alpheus and Loris Cutler, Reynolds and Thirza Cahoon, Newel K. and Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Cornelius and Permilla Lot, Isaac and Lucy Morley, Orson and Catharine Spencer, George and Mary Miller, Joseph Young, Levi Richards, William Clayton, Joseph Fielding and his sister Mary Smith, Sister Mercy R. Thompson, Agnes Smith (Carlos Smith’s widow,) Joseph Kingsbury, John Bernhisel, W. W. and Sally Phelps, Lucian and Phebe Woodworm. Forty-two persons present. We clothed and commenced our meeting at two o’clock with prayer by Joseph Fielding; sang a hymn, and Elder John Taylor spoke a short time; then H. C. Kimball spoke; Elder B. Young was sick and had to retire to his room and lay down on his couch. Elder O. Hyde gave a short exhortation. After he closed a hymn was sung; then H. C. Kimball and Bishop N. K. Whitney broke bread, which was blessed by H. C. Kimball. Elder B. Young came in and partook with us. Wine was blessed by Joseph Young and carried around by N. K. Whitney; we had singing while it was passing around. Then P. P. Pratt arose and spoke and W. W. Phelps spoke—great solemnity rested upon the brethren and sisters; great union in our meeting. * * * John Smith (the patriarch) spoke a short time, then Elder B. Young said, this quorum should meet here every Sabbath and partake of the sacrament. They gave us good counsel * * all went home in good spirits.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 2,
15 June 1883, pp. 9–10
The following interesting events written by my father as they transpired, will, no doubt, be read with interest by the Latter-day Saints.
“Tuesday, December 9th. The Twelve met in counsel at Willard Richards’s with two Catholics; Mr. Tucker of Quincy, and Mr. Hamilton, of Springfield, who came to contract for our city.
“Wednesday, 10th.” Father wrote—”This morning went up to the temple in company with my wife and Sister Whitney—the morning very fine but cold. * * Found President B. Young and a number of the brethren. * * About half past ten it was reported that Priest Tucker and his associates were below, waiting an interview with the Twelve and council. Mr. Tucker and Mr. Hamilton were admitted into the upper rooms of the temple, accompanied by Bishop Joseph Heywood, who gave the gentlemen an introduction to those present. The propositions of the council in regard to the sale of our property were presented to Mr. Tucker in writing, who read them over and then handed them to Mr. Hamilton, who also read them. The gentlemen were then invited into President Young’s room—present, besides the Twelve, were George Miller, John M. Bernhisel, Joseph L. Heywood and William Clayton.
“Mr. Tucker made some observations respecting the two main rooms of the temple. * * President Young replied and explained in regard to that matter, also the pulpits, place for the organ etc., and also the side rooms. Mr. Hamilton asked a question as to the disposal of our public buildings. In answer to which Elder Hyde read aloud the written proposition and offered some explanations. * * * President Young remarked that we wished to realize, from the sale of our property, sufficient to take all our poor with us in a comfortable manner. If he was alone he could take his wife with him and make his way to the Pacific with little difficulty, but at the same time he did not wish to do it. He would rather have his wagons and go with all the rest of the church comfortably. Mr. Tucker said he thought it would be wisdom to publish our propositions in all the Catholic papers and lay the matter plain before their people—should also think it advisable for the Catholic bishops to send a competent committee to ascertain the value of our property etc. At the same time they would use all their influence to effect a sale as speedily as possible—thinks they have men in St. Louis, New York and other cities, who could soon raise the amount we want, but the time is so very short, he does not know whether it can be done so soon. He then asked if we would be willing to have our propositions published in their papers. President Young replied we should have no objections, providing it was understood that we reserved the right to sell when we had the chance—Elder P. P. Pratt thought it would be well to talk over the propositions and investigate them, so as to have everything perfectly and clearly understood. Mr. Hamilton wished to ascertain upon what conditions they could obtain two of our public buildings—one for a school and one for a church. * * * President Young said he was well aware that there were many men in the Catholic Church who could furnish all the money we would want at once, but he supposed it was with them as it was with a Mr. Butler, who owned a wealthy bank, when asked why he did not sign off more bills, he replied, it was a good deal of trouble to sign off bills. He supposed it was too much trouble for them to dig their money out of their vaults; but he wished it understood that while we make a liberal proposition to dispose of our property, we must have the means to help ourselves away.
“Mr. Tucker said their object was to write to each bishop and enclose our propositions in a letter, at the same time advising him either to come himself or to appoint a committee of efficient men to come and value the property, and enter into terms for a final agreement. He said the sum to be raised was large, and the time very short, * * but thinks it can be accomplished—thinks they could be able to give us a decided answer by the 25th inst.
“President Young said he would like to add a note to our proposals before they go for publication, to this effect: That if they agree to our propositions we will lease them the temple for a period of from five to thirty-five years, at a reasonable price, the rent to be paid in finishing the unfinished parts of the temple, the wall around the temple block and the block west of the temple and keeping the temple in repair. The council agreed to the amendment, which was accordingly added to the proposals and handed to Mr. Tucker. Mr. Tucker seemed to give much encouragement that an arrangement would speedily be entered into to accomplish what we want. Both the gentlemen seem highly pleased with the temple and the city, and appear to feel sanguine that the Catholics should get this temple and vicinity. About half past twelve they departed, evidently feeling well toward us. * * * * * *
“At a quarter to four, Elder Hyde came into my room and brought tidings that our sheriff J. B. Backenstos was clear and acquited. The jury said if there had been no witnesses only on the part of the State it would not have required two minutes to have made up their verdict. They have got two of the mob witnesses in jail for perjury, and Backenstos has gone to Springfield to request the governor to withdraw his troops.
“About half past one o’clock,” father says, “Mother Lucy Smith, the mother of the Prophet, arrived; * * the first time that the old lady has been in the attic. She with Sister Agnes, the widow of Don C. Smith, Sister Mary, widow of Hyrum, her sister Mercy Thompson and Elizabeth Ann Whitney took lunch with my father and mother.” He wrote, “Mother Smith says, ‘Write that I ate hearty.’” He continues, “all the rooms are nicely carpeted and have a very splendid and comfortable appearance. * * * At three o’clock Sister Mary Ann Young, Vilate Kimball and Elizabeth Ann Whitney commenced washing and anointing each other—being the first in the holy temple of the Lord.” We are here reminded of the Prophet Joseph’s words that “The sisters are always first in all good works.” At twenty-five minutes past four o’clock President B. Young and H. C. Kimball commenced washing and anointing Elder Willard Richards. Mother Smith went through the holy ordinances that evening with those who have been previously mentioned as receiving them in the lifetime of the Prophet, so my father wrote, and that some retired early, and the rest continued working till half past three in the morning, when President Young and all present knelt down and, A. Lyman being mouth, offered up prayer and praise to the Most High, for his goodness. Father says, “B. Young and wife, H. C. Kimball and George A. Smith, also Sister Mary Smith, her sister, Mercy R. Thompson and W. W. Phelps and his wife tarried in the temple all night. We only obtained about an hour and a half sleep. In the morning Sister Young and the others went home; B. Young and myself went to Joseph Kingsbury’s and ate breakfast, * * returned back to the temple and found several of the brethren and sisters had come in to receive their endowments. * * Sister Vilate Kimball and Elizabeth Ann Whitney, attended to the * * females. At one o’clock Elder Orson Pratt came in; he has just returned from his mission to the east.” Some portions of father’s journal were written by William Clayton. He wrote, “After we got through President Young called the following persons into Heber’s room viz. H. C. Kimball, P. P. Pratt, John Taylor, O. Hyde, John E. Page, George A. Smith, Amasa Lyman, Newel K. Whitney, George Miller and William Clayton. The president then stated that he had received a letter from Samual Brannan, saying that he had been to Washington and had learned that the Secretary of War and the heads of the government were laying plans and were determined to prevent our moving west; alleging that it is against the law for an armed body of men to go from the United States to any other government. They say it will not do to let the Mormons go to California nor Oregon, neither will it do to let them tarry in the states, and they must be exterminated from the face of the earth.”
To all earthly appearance we were then to be scattered or wiped out of existence. We were but a little handful and no power to look to but to the Omnipotent, whose hand had thus far kept us together and not the power of man. But He, in his infinite mercy, had endowed them and given them the key by which his faithful servants and handmaidens could approach nearer to His throne, and find greater favor, because of their humble obedience to His laws and requirements. Father says, “We prayed that the Lord would defeat and frustrate all the plans of our enemies, and inasmuch as they make plots and lay plans to exterminate this people and destroy the priesthood from off the earth, that the curse of God may come upon them, even all the evil which they design to bring upon this people, and that the Lord would preserve the lives of His servants and lead us out of this ungodly nation in peace.” After we got through there was a unanimous feeling that the Lord would answer our prayers and defeat our enemies. President Young said we should go away from here in peace in spite of our enemies.
The holy ordinances of the priesthood are the things most dreaded by the enemies of all righteousness, and it is him (the father of lies) who is at work stirring up the hearts of men to destroy it from off the earth. The Latter-day Saints are prepared for this and know that he will leave no stone unturned to accomplish this end. How plainly we can see his workings in the efforts made in these days by his agents to stop not only the legitimate emigration from the spirit world but also the honest in heart from the various nations of the earth; but how feeble are their efforts—Consul Mason for instance trying to prove that “Mormon” missionaries are bringing “over paupers for wives,” etc., but they all prove abortive, and in the very course they are pursuing they are inadvertantly publishing the gospel truths and making proselytes faster even than the missionaries can do; and we can’t but repeat these words, “God works in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.” Because the keys of the priesthood which were to be conferred upon Aaron and his seed have been handed down and administered to the Latter-day Saints, and because the faithful portion are still determined to be faithful and true to the sacred covenants which were made in the temple of our God, we are to be threatened, harassed and persecuted to the bitter end.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 3,
1 July 1883, p. 14
It reminds me of a time in my father’s early history, previous to his hearing of “Mormonism.” It was in 1823 when he received the three first degrees of Masonry in the lodge at Victor Flats, Ontario Co., New York, and in 1824, previous to receiving all of the rights up to the Royal Arch Masons, the Morgan affair broke out and the Masonic hall in Canandaigua was burned by anti-Masons, and all their records consumed. It seems that the Masons were persecuted and the same unjust proceedings were heaped upon them by the anti-Masons that have been upon those who hold the priesthood. “Not as many as three of us,” father says, “could meet together, unless in secret, without being mobbed. I have been driven from my houses and possessions with many of my brethren belonging to that fraternity five times, by mobs led by some of their leading men. * * * I have been as true as an angel from the heavens to the covenants I made in the lodge at Victor. * * I wish that all men were Masons and would live up to their profession, then the world would be in a much better state than it is now.” The Prophet Joseph after becoming a Mason said that Masonry had been taken from the priesthood. In Nauvoo I was acquainted with the widow and daughter of Morgan who exposed Masonry. I remember once, when but a young girl, of getting a glimpse of the outside of the Morgan’s book, exposing Masonry, but which my father always kept locked up. Now if men should be true to Masonry and hold sacred their covenants to that or any other fraternity, why in the name of conscience should not our covenants to the Great Master Mason be held as sacred? Yes, and more binding and the greater should be our obligations. At all events we intend to prove true to our integrity and hold to the sacred covenants and institutions which we know have been established by the Almighty, and are calculated to put mankind in possession of the means of salvation, temporal as well as spiritual, and to bring us into our proper sphere and relationship to God our Heavenly Father, and which has given to women as well as men the true key that can unlock the mysteries of the eternal worlds—bringing back to our recollection these glorious things which we lost remembrance of in coming down to this dark world as wanderers in the paths of darkness, ignorance and degradation. It teaches us to be virtuous, honest and upright—to subdue and bring into subjection our fallen natures, and requires us to put away our vanities and not indulge in anything which is low or that would be offensive to God or the celestial beings. These things were taught to us in that holy sanctuary, and ought to be riveted upon our minds and upon those of our children, so as to be remembered and lived up to in all coming life. And though we have come far short of living what we profess, still we hope to do so in time. But if because of the faith and integrity of our hearts we are to be persecuted and threatened—innocent women imprisoned and the liberty and lives of an honest and God-fearing people to be jeopardized because they are determined to be true to their covenants, obedient to His commands; we want them (who are the enemies of God) to know and understand that we shall continue to throw ourselves upon His mercy instead of theirs—into the hands of men who have long since proven themselves to be liars and traitors, not only to their country, but to themselves and to their God; whom we know to be doubly dyed in the darkest pools of filth and corruption; and we wish them to understand that it will take more prisons and fetters than they can provide to bind the souls of men, or even to make of a Latter-day Saint a covenant-breaker—to deny or give up one of the principles of our holy religion, the celestial order of marriage not excepted, and every attack made upon us only increases our faith and determination to stand firm to the end, come life or come death.
Saturday, December 20, 1845, father wrote, “President Young having slept in the temple last night was early at his post and dictating in relation to the business of the day and arranging the workmen in order, etc., after which he listened to a reading from Captain Freemont’s journal by Franklin D. Richards. * * * * * The morning was a very beautiful one—the sun shining clear and bright through the east windows of the room in which the party were assembled. * * The reading was finished at ten o’clock, at which time Miss Eliza R. Snow handed in a list of the females washed this morning, which list she has taken for several days past. At seventeen minutes past nine a.m. we commenced washing in the male department. * *
“President Young left the temple about half past four o’clock to be absent for the night.
“At five o’clock a meeting was held in my room. * * We offered up thanks to God and asked for the health of Bishop Whitney’s youngest child, also for mine, and that God would turn away the wrath of this government from us and overrule things for good.”
My mother’s three youngest, David, Charles, and Brigham had been suffering from the whooping cough for a month or more previous to this, and continued to all winter. Her babe and Bishop Whitney’s were dangerously sick with it when we were compelled to leave Nauvoo in the month of February, 1846.
“Sunday, December 21st,” writes his clerk, “According to appointment on Sunday last a meeting was held in the east room. * * Seventy-five persons were present, Elder H. C. Kimball presiding.” After mentioning the names of the brethren and sisters, he says, “At five minutes before eleven the song, ‘Glorious things of thee are spoken’ was sung—Father John Smith then made a few remarks—blessed the bread and it was handed round by Bishop George Miller—The wine was blessed by Bishop Miller and handed round by him. While the wine was passing around Elder George A. Smith arose and addressed the congregation. He thanked God for the privileges this day enjoyed, and spoke of the difficulties under which the church had labored to attain to the blessings we now enjoy. Another thing he thanked God for—already had more than five hundred persons passed through, and therefore, if half of them should be like the foolish virgins and turn away from the truth, the principles of the holy priesthood would be Beyond the reach of mobs and the assaults of the adversaries of this Church. Order was one of the laws of heaven. When we come together * * and unite our hearts and act as one mind, the Lord will hear us and will answer our prayers. He related an instance of some children being healed and cured of the whooping cough in one night through the prayers of himself and Elder Woodruff in Michigan, while they were there on a mission. Said that whenever they could get an opportunity they retired to the wilderness or to an upper room, they did so * * * and were always answered. It would be a good thing for us * * every day and pray to God and in private circles. * * * We are different from what we were before we entered into this quorum. Speedy vengeance will now overtake the transgressor. When a man and his wife are united in feeling, and act in union, I believe that they can hold their children by prayer and faith, and will not be obliged to give them up to death until they are fourscore years old. Sometimes men trifle and destroy the confidence which each ought to have in the other, this prevents a union of faith and feeling. The apostacy of Thos. B. Marsh was caused by so small a thing as a pint of strippings—and his oaths brought the exterminating order which drove us all out of Missouri.
“The woman ought to be in subjection to the man—be careful to guard against loud laughter—against levity and talebearing. He expressed his unfeigned love for the brethren and his confidence in their endeavors to keep these rules. ‘The Spirit of God’ was then sung. Elder Kimball next addressed the meeting. He concurred in all that had been said, the observation of these things is most essential. About four years ago next May nine persons were admitted into the holy order—five are now living. B. Young, W. Richards, George Miller, N. K. Whitney and H. C. Kimball, two are dead, and two are worse than dead. You have not got all you will have if you are faithful.” He spoke of the necessity of women being in subjection to their husbands, “I am subject to my God, my wife is subject to me and will reverence me in my place, and I will try to make her happy. I do not want her to step forward and dictate to me any more than I dictate to President Young. In his absence I take his place according to his request. Shall we cease from loud laughter? * * Will you never slander your brother and sister? I will refer your minds to the covenants you have made, by an observance of these things you will have dreams and visions. *
* * We shall not be with you long. We cannot rest day nor night until we put you in possession of the priesthood. * * If we have made you clean every whit, go now to work and make others clean.” * * There are from seven to twelve persons who have met together every day to pray ever since Joseph’s death, and the people have been sustained upon this principle. Here is Brother Turley has been liberated by the power of God and not of man.
“Elder Cahoon bore testimony of the importance of those things which had been spoken, and rejoiced in the idea that the things he was taught in the beginning were the same things now taught and remembered, and it is so because they are eternal things.
“The assembly was then formed for prayer, and Elder John Taylor being mouth the whole congregation united with him in prayer.
* * At ten minutes past two the meeting was dismissed and another congregation met in the same room.
“At three o’clock sang ‘Hosanna’—prayer by Orson Hyde, after which by invitation of Elder Kimball who presided (President Young not having been at the temple today, and the duty of presiding having devolved upon Elder Kimball as the next in succession) Amasa Lyman addressed the assembly, he said, ‘Doubtless with most of the present assembly it is the beginning of a new era in their lives—they have come to a time they never saw before—they have come to the commencement of a knowledge of things, and it is necessary that they should be riveted on their minds. One important thing to be understood is this, that those portions of the priesthood which you have received are all essential matters.’
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 4,
15 July 1883, p. 26
It is not merely that you may see these things, but it is a matter of fact, a matter that has to do directly with your salvation, for which you have talked and labored many years. It is not for amusement you are brought to receive these things, but to put you in possession of the means of salvation, and be brought into a proper relationship to God—hence a man becomes responsible for his own conduct and that of his wife, if he has one. It is not designed that the things that are presented today should be forgotten tomorrow, but be remembered and practiced through all coming life—Hence it is a stepstone to approach to the favor of God. Having descended to the lowest state of degradation, it is the beginning of a homeward journey; it is like a man lost in a wilderness, and the means with which we are invested here are to direct us in our homeward journey. You then see the reason why you are required to put away your vanities, cease to talk of all those things which are not conducive to eternal life. This is why you are required to be sober, to be honest, that you could ask and receive, knock and it should be opened, and that when you sought for things you would find them. It is putting you in possession of those keys by which you can ask for things you need and obtain them. This is the key by which to obtain all the glory and felicity of eternal life. It is the key by which you approach God. No impression which you receive here should be lost. It was to rivet the recollections of these things in your memory, like a nail in a sure place never to be forgotten. The scenery through which you have passed is actually laying before you a picture or map, by which you are to travel through life, and obtain an entrance into the celestial kingdom hereafter. If you are tempted in regard to these things here, you will be tempted when you approach the presence of God hereafter. You have, by being faithful, been brought to this point, by maintaining these things which have been entrusted to you. * * * It is not merely for the sake of talking over these things that they are given to you, but for your benefit and for your triumph over the powers of darkness hereafter. We want the man to remember that he has covenanted to keep the law of God, and the woman to obey her husband, and if you keep your covenants you will not be guilty of transgression. The line that is drawn is for you to maintain your covenants, and you will always be found in the path of obedience, after that which is virtuous and holy and good, and will never be swallowed up by unhallowed feelings and passions. If you are found worthy and maintain your integrity, and do not run away and think you have got all your endowment, you will be found worthy after a while, which will make you honorable with God. You have not yet been ordained to anything, but will be by and by. You have received these things because of your compliance with all the requisitions of the law, and if faithful you will receive more. You have now learned how to pray. You have been taught how to approach God and be recognized. This is the principle by which the church has been kept together, and not the power of arms. A few individuals have asked for your preservation, and their prayers have been heard, and it is this which has preserved you from being scattered to the four winds. Those who have learned to approach God and receive these blessings, are they better than you? The only difference is they have been permitted to have these things revealed unto them. The principles which have been opened to you are the things which ought to occupy your attention all your lives. They are not second to anything; you have the key by which, if you are faithful, you will claim on your posterity all the blessings of the priesthood.”
Elder H. C. Kimball said, “The ideas advanced by Brother Lyman are good and true. * * * God is like one of us, for He created us in his own image. Every man that ever came upon this earth, or any other earth, will take the course we have taken—Another thing, it is to bring us to an organization, and just as quick as we can get into that order and government, we have the celestial kingdom here. You have got to know your brethren or you never can honor God. The man was created, and God gave him dominion over the whole earth, but he saw that he never could multiply and replenish the earth without woman; and He made one and gave her to him. He did not make the man for the woman but the woman for the man. * * But if a man does not use a woman well and take good care of her, God will take her away from him and give her to another. Perfect order and consistency makes heaven, but we are now deranged, and the tail has become the head. * * * One reason why we bring our wives with us is that they may make a covenant with us to keep these things sacred. * * You can’t sin so cheap now as you could before you came to this order. It is not for us to reproach the Lord’s anointed, nor to speak evil of him; all have covenanted not to do it.” * *
Elder George A. Smith made a few remarks; he spoke principally in relation to the importance of keeping sacred those principles which we had received. * * He was followed by Elder Orson Hyde. * * The congregation was dismissed by prayer by Elder John Taylor.
Those teachings and the wonderful experience of the Latter-day Saints since they were given, and the apostacy of some who were then such bright and shining lights, have led me to indulge in deep and sorrowful reflections on the same. The awful and irreparable loss of those whose great light has become darkness, because they forgot and transgressed the very laws and principles which their own lips were inspired to utter in that house of God, and to proclaim it for years after to the Saints, and also to the nations afar off. And do we realize that this warning voice has been sounding in our ears for more than half a century, and that the Lord is now coming out from His hiding place to vex the nations, and that He will no longer be trifled with? These things we were forcibly reminded of by the late terrible fire in this city. Though the threats of men could not make our knees tremble, God is able to, and to humble us to the dust, and which I truly believe he will do, and that quickly, unless we change from our present course in mixing up and following in the ways of Babylon. Being absent from the city at the time of that dreadful fire, when hearing the awful tidings it sounded “like a death knell to departed hopes”; and this feeling was not lessened when hearing repeatedly these old familiar words, uttered years ago. Brother Heber predicted that “whisky street” (Main Street) would yet burn “like an old tinder box.” We also heard President Young speak in a similar manner. If it deserved that title then, by what name should it now be called, with other places established since then, and sustained by the outside element, and which are in a similar state of putrefaction? We little looked for anything of this kind when coming away to this far off wilderness, and for many years we were almost entirely free from its contaminating influence. But these things we suppose are necessary to prove us. It has long been foretold that God’s judgments should commence at His house, and it appears to me that this is but the beginning, and that it stands us in hand to search into our own hearts, and ask ourselves if we are living up to all of His requirements. We read that “Those who fear the Lord will prepare their hearts and humble their souls in His sight, saying, we will fall into the hands of the Lord and not into the hands of men, for us His majesty is, so is His mercy.” But how much longer can we look for mercy? What hath not mercy mixed with judgment done? How can we look for it if we are not keeping His commandments and the “Word of Wisdom” given by the Lord through His Prophet Joseph, to the Latter-day Saints on the 27th of February, 1833. It was sent greeting—not by commandment or constrained, but by revelation * * * showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all Saints in the last days.
“Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation. * * * * And all Saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones, and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I the Lord give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel and not slay them. Amen.”
My father’s clerk wrote the following: “Dec. 23rd. Almon W. Babbit entered the temple, was invited by President Young into his room; he brings report that officers from Springfield are here, and several of the state troops after the Twelve; particularly Amasa Lyman. * * At three o’clock John Scott informed George D. Grant that an officer and assistants were watching for President Young and others at the front door of the temple. Brother Grant carried the information to President Young, who soon devised a scheme by which their intentions to carry him off might be frustrated.” The President directed Brother William Miller, who was present at the time, to put on his cloak, but which happened to be my father’s—their cloaks being precisely alike. He threw it around Brother Miller’s shoulders, and told him to wear it and also his hat and accompany George Grant to his carriage at the door, etc. They followed his directions. Brother Clayton wrote: “As Brother Miller was about to get into the carriage with Elder Grant, the officer and five or six of his assistants arrested him supposing him to be President B. Young. They were about to drive away with him, having made their boasts that they would get as many of the Twelve as they could—take them down to Warren, and have a New Year’s frolic killing them, but they were persuaded to drive to the Nauvoo Mansion and tarry until tomorrow morning, when the validity of the writ would be tested.
“They were kept in profound ignorance of their mistake. * * Esq. Babbit takes the legal management of the case, and when they have stopped long enough to make a good tavern bill will probably get their eyes open and pull off.
“Esq. Babbit came in at five o’clock, and reports that the officer * * has left the city and gone to Carthage with the prisoner. * * Lawyer Edmunds, a partner of Mr. Babbit’s has gone with them to act as counsel for the prisoner. The officer has writs for B. Young, H. C. Kimball, P. P. Pratt, John Taylor, George A. Smith, Amasa Lyman and T. Turley, who are all charged with counterfeiting the coin of the United States.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 5,
1 August 1883, p. 34
I well remember the farce, and for interesting particulars will refer to the “Life of Brigham Young.” He says, “There were my sons, Joseph A. and Brigham Jr., Brother H. C. Kimball’s boys and others who were looking on, and all seemed at once to understand and participate in the joke. They followed the carriage to the Mansion House and gathered around Brother Miller with tears in their eyes, saying, father, or President Young, where are you going? Brother Miller looked at them kindly, but made no reply; and the marshal really thought that he had got ‘Brother Brigham.’ Lawyer Edmonds, who was staying at the Mansion House, appreciating the joke, volunteered to Brother Miller to go to Carthage with him and see him safe through. When they arrived within two or three miles of Carthage, the marshal, with his posse, stopped. They arose in their carriages, buggies and wagon, and, like a tribe of Indians going to battle, or as if they were a pack of demons yelling and shouting, exclaimed, ‘We’ve got him, we’ve got him, we’ve got him!’
“When they reached Carthage the marshal took the supposed Brigham into an upper room of the hotel, and placed a guard over him, at the same time telling those around that they had got him. Brother Miller remained in the room until they bade him come to supper. While there parties came in one after the other, and asked for Brigham, Bro. Miller was pointed out to them. So it continued until an apostate Mormon, by the name of Thatcher, who had lived in Nauvoo, came in and sat down and asked the landlord where Brigham was. ‘That is Mr. Young,’ said the landlord, pointing across the table to Bro. Miller. ‘Where? I can’t see anyone that looks like Brigham,’ Thatcher replied. The landlord told him it was that fleshy man, eating.
‘“Oh, h——!’ exclaimed Thatcher, ‘that’s not Brigham, that’s William Miller, one of my old neighbors.’
“Upon hearing this the landlord went, and tapping the sheriff on the shoulder, took him a few steps to one side, and said, ‘You have made a mistake. That is not Brigham Young; it is William Miller of Nauvoo.’
“The marshal, very much astonished, exclaimed, ‘Good heavens, and he passed for Brigham!’ He then took Bro. Miller into a room, and turning to him, said, ‘What in h——is the reason you did not tell me your name?’ ‘You have not asked me my name,’ Bro. Miller replied. ‘Well, what is your name?’ said the sheriff, with another oath. ‘My name is William Miller.’ ‘I thought your name was Brigham Young. Do you say this for a fact?’ ‘Certainly I do,’ returned Bro. Miller. ‘Then,’ said the marshal, ‘why did you not tell me that before?’ ‘I was under no obligation to tell you,’ replied Miller.
“The marshal, in a rage, walked out of the room, followed by Bro. Miller, who walked off in company with Lawyer Edmonds, Sheriff Backenstos and others, who took him across lots to a place of safety; and this is the real birth of the story of ‘Bogus Brigham.’”
They never believed for a moment that Brigham or his brother apostles were guilty of counterfeiting. It was only an excuse gotten up for the want of a better one to drive the “Mormons” to desperation, that they might have an excuse for exterminating them; for then they were looked upon as a dangerous foe in a political point of view, the same as they are today.
Dec. 26th. “At about half past six p.m.,” he writes, “Sheriff Backenstos came to the temple—was admitted to the office room. *
* Had conference with President Young, H. C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, P. P. Pratt, John Taylor, Amasa Lyman and George A. Smith. He gave an account of the occurrences at Carthage. * * Said the United States
Deputy Marshal was in town with writs for the Twelve and G. Miller.
* * *
“Saturday, 27th. * * * None of the Twelve present at the temple except Orson Pratt. At fifteen minutes past ten o’clock the United States Deputy Marshal from Springfield, by the name of Roberts, came to the temple in company with Almon W. Babbit. He was freely admitted to every part of the temple to which he desired access. He went into the tower, on the roof, and into the attic story, passed through the various departments into the east room where he intently examined the portraits and made inquiries as to where they were severally, but obtained no correct information. He was requested to take off his boots in the preparation room, which request he complied with. After remaining about a half an hour he departed. About two o’clock he returned in company with Sheriff Backenstos and a gentleman whom the marshal introduced to us as from New Orleans. They visited the middle room and the tower and departed in about a half an hour. Doctor Bernhisel came in about one o’clock—had borrowed the ‘New York Sun’ of December 9th, 1845, which contained a letter said to have been written by Emma Smith to the editor. * * * Elder Orson Pratt has been engaged in making astronomical calculations from several observatories—he makes the latitude of Nauvoo to be 40° 35’ 48”. * * * Elder Orson Hyde came in, * * said that the officers had been watching his house.
“Sunday, December 28th. Meeting at half past ten o’clock this day in the attic story of the temple. * * A very large congregation was present, some of the side rooms were filled. * * About two hundred persons were present, clothed in priestly garments. President Young addressed the meeting, it having been opened with prayer by P. P. Pratt and singing the songs of Zion, ‘The morning breaks, the shadows flee,’ and ‘Come to me, e t c ‘President Young desired them to be wise and do honor to the cause they had espoused, and bring no reproach upon the character of Him who has given us of the things of His kingdom liberally. ‘The keys of the priesthood are for the purpose of impressing on the mind the order of the creation. Adam’s name was more ancient than he was. It was the name of a man long before him who enjoyed the priesthood. * * * After his fall another name was given to Adam. * * The order and ordinances prove the principles taught in the Bible. First, men should love their God supremely. * * Liberty and happiness will never shine upon men until they learn these principles. * * The love which David and Jonathan had for each other was the love of the priesthood. God is a personage of tabernacle. The Son is a personage of tabernacle. The Spirit, or Holy Ghost, is also a personage, but not a personage of tabernacle, but a personage of spirit. God dwells in eternal burnings—puts his hand through the veil and writes on the wall. And any person who goes through these ordinances, unless they cleanse their hearts and sanctify themselves and sanctify the Lord it will damn them. * We shall not be able to have another public meeting here on account of the weight on the floor—it has already caused the walls to crack, prevents the doors from shutting and will injure the roof. I see here 200 persons, * * and the wood is to be supplied as follows—1000 men, or as many as can be obtained, to go to the islands and cut wood, and send teams to go and draw it to the temple until 1000 cords have been obtained.’
“They sang the hymn, ‘Glorious things of thee are spoken.’ Prayer by Amasa Lyman, asking blessing on the bread. Passed around by Charles C. Rich and George Miller. Blessing on the wine asked by P. P. Pratt. While the wine was passing around sang the hymn, ‘Adam Ondi Ahman.’
“Elder Kimball next spoke—cautioned the brethren and sisters against telling that the Twelve were in the temple. Alluded to the stories in circulation that several persons had been killed on their way through the ordinances, etc., etc. After which a hymn was sung, being led by Brother S. H. Goddard, John Kay and William Cahoon, when they united in prayer, Elder John Taylor being mouth, and the congregation was dismissed by Elder Orson Hyde. At five o’clock President Young and H. C. Kimball, assisted by their wives and Sister Whitney, washed and anointed for their health their three little children, whose names are John Willard Young, Brigham Willard Kimball and Mary Jane Whitney.
“Just at dark three of the dragoons stationed at Carthage came in with a man named Noah Miller whom they wished to deliver up to the proper officers. He was charged with swindling several persons out of their property. They brought a letter from Major Warren, the commanding officer, the tenor of which was as above.” This is on file among President Young’s papers, “President Young and his wife and child, Elder H. C. Kimball and wife and child, and several other persons remained in the temple over night.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 6,
15 August 1883, p. 42
Monday, 29th. Several men presented themselves at the dwelling of President George Miller this morning, some came into the house and enquired for him while others remained outside. It was suspected that they were after him with a writ, and although President Miller was present and before them all the time, no one knew him; neither did any of the brethren, several of whom were present, seem to know where he was, and the suspicious individuals soon left. At two o’clock word was brought that a company of soldiers were in from Carthage. They proved to be four dragoons. They came up the hill; went around by the east end and north side of the temple, out of the north gate and drew up in front of President George Miller’s.
“An alarm was raised that the troops were endeavoring to get into the temple, and President Young ordered the lights taken out of the staircase, but they said they were searching for hogs, said to have been stolen from Mr. Hibbard. * * After prayer was over * * President Young and Elder Kimball went into the tower, * * spent half an hour and returned—spent nearly an hour reading Captain Freemont’s narrative, then retired for the night.
“Tuesday, 30th. Almon W. Babbit came in at half past eleven and reported that the marshal had left Carthage for Springfield, and there would be no more danger from writs. P. P. Pratt has been engaged part of the time in forming a schedule for a pioneer company of 1000 men to precede the body of emigrants, to find a proper location, and to put in seed early in the summer. * * *
“The labors of the day having been brought to a close at so early an hour (half past eight) it was thought proper to have a little season of recreation; accordingly, Brother Hans Hanson was invited to produce his violin. He did so, and played several lively airs; several excellent songs were sung, in which several of the brethren and sisters joined. The ‘Upper California’ was sung by Erastus Snow; after which Sister Whitney, being invited by President Young, stood up, and invoking the gift of tongues, sang one of the most beautiful songs in tongues that was ever heard. The interpretation was given by her husband, Bishop Whitney. It related to our efforts to build this house, and to the privilege we now have of meeting together in it—of our departure shortly to the country of the Lamanites, and their rejoicing when they hear the gospel, and of the ingathering of Israel. Altogether it was one of the most touching and beautiful exhibitions of the power of the spirit in the gift of tongues, which was ever witnessed, (so it appeared to the writer of this, William Clayton). After a little conversation of a general nature the exercises of the evening were closed by prayer by President B. Young.” * *
December 31st, he wrote, “President Young and Elder Kimball are superintending in the operations of the day—examining maps with reference to selecting a location for the Saints west of the Rocky Mountains, and reading the various works which have been written and published by travelers in those regions.” * * At six o’clock the high council, the high priests and the seventies met together for prayer, each quorum by itself, and all dressed in the * * holy order of the priesthood. Thus ended the year 1845, in the temple of our God.”
January 1st, 1846. Thursday. “This day is the first of another year—the morning is rainy, the ground very soft, and the mud very deep. A heavy mist rests on the low ground under the bluffs; the sunlight is very dim being nearly shut out by the dark, heavy clouds, which overspread the whole face of the sky, and everything around wears a gloomy and dismal aspect—but notwithstanding the unfavorable appearance of things the brethren and sisters are assembling together in the house of the Lord to receive their endowments.” Thus wrote William Clayton; he also says—”The plasterers have commenced this morning to plaster the arched ceiling of the lower hall of the temple; the floor is laid, the framework of the pulpits and surrounding seats for the choir and band are put up, and the work of fitting the room for dedication and holding meetings therein progresses very fast.”
New Year’s evening I, with quite a number of young friends, had the privilege of receiving the holy ordinances; and William Clayton wrote the following:
“After a little time had elapsed the whole company were assembled together in the east room; in number about fifty, and all knelt down upon the carpet and united with H. C. Kimball in thanksgiving to God for His great mercy and goodness to us in granting us this opportunity of meeting together in the house of the Lord, and in prayer to Him that He would continue to bless us, that He would bless President Brigham Young with health and wisdom, that he might be able to lead and direct this people, and that the same blessings might be extended to all his brethren of the Twelve, and on the Saints, and that God would bless our wives and give unto them strength of body, that they might live and administer to the servants of God, that they might see three score years and ten, and behold the Kingdom of God established in the earth, and that we might be enabled to continue in Nauvoo in peace until all the faithful Saints had received their endowments, and that when the time to leave here should arrive that we might have those things that we need to enable us to go away in comfort—that to this end our possessions might look good to those who are round about us, that they may buy them and pay us gold and silver and such things as we may need; also that God would bless our children and all things that pertain to us, and dedicating the whole company to God, gave Him the glory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
“Wm. G. Young and Adelia C. Clark were then married by President Brigham Young; his nephew, Brigham H. Young, and Sidenia O. Clark officiated as groomsman and bridesmaid. After asking them repeatedly if it was the understanding that they were to be married for time and for eternity, and receiving an answer in the affirmative, he then asked Hazen Kimball and his wife (the latter being a sister of the bride) if the bride’s parents understood their intentions and approved of them; and received satisfactory answers. After the ceremony was over he pronounced various blessings upon them. The clerk wrote the following: ‘Two or three songs were sung, and President Young invited the company to supper, which had been prepared. Bishop Whitney and wife led the way, and were followed by about half the company; the table not being extensive enough to accommodate more. President Young said we could worship God in the dance as well as in other ways, but strongly impressed upon the minds of those present the impropriety of mingling again with the wicked after having come in here, and taken upon them the covenants which they had. He spoke pointedly to his daughter Vilate, and told her that if she should do so after this she might expect to meet the frown of a father. * * He was followed by L. R. Foster, who concurred in the remarks of President Young, and said he would like to have the question put, that it might be known how many of those present were willing to make a covenant, etc. Elder H. C. Kimball said, before the question was put he wished to say a few words—He felt thankful that President Young had touched this subject, and also that we had this opportunity of meeting together in this manner; said that those who were parents had become responsible for the conduct of their children, and for his part he should not be willing that his children should meet with the wicked. * He said to his own children, that they had covenanted here this evening that they would receive the instructions, and listen to the counsel of their father and mother, and he hoped they would remember it. * * * Erastus Snow expressed his feelings in a few words. * * The president then invited all those who were willing to covenant that they would keep themselves from mingling with the wicked to rise upon their feet; whereupon all rose up. * * * Hans C. Hanson, a Dane, inquired if it would be permitted for him to speak a few words, and receiving an approving nod from the President, said he had been in the habit of playing the fiddle for mixed companies among the wicked, and that in such companies he had seen very ungodly conduct, that on a certain occasion he played for some who were called Saints, but they went down to a steamboat and got about twenty-five passengers to join them; and, said he, they wanted to get away all our girls—and there was very bad talk there; when he saw the Saints enjoying themselves in the dance as they did here, he made a covenant with himself, that he would no more play the fiddle for the wicked, but that the Saints should have the use of his fiddle, and, that when he went on a mission, he would leave it with the Saints, and asked them if they would take care of it. They answered, “Yes.”
“‘The Spirit of God was present, and the spirit of meekness, humility, and gratitude to God for the great privileges we enjoy, so that tears came into the eyes of many of those present. Love and union, peace and harmony, pervaded. The utmost decorum was observed; not a loud laugh nor a rude jest saluted the ear. * *
‘“The persons present on this occasion were as follows: President Young, his wife, and daughter Vilate, and sons, Joseph and Brigham, two little girls and infant; Elder H. C. Kimball and his wife Vilate, his son William H., with wife, and his daughter, Helen Mar Kimball; John Young and Lorenzo Young and his wife, Persis, their son William G., the bridegroom, Phineas H. Young and his son Brigham H. Young, N. K. Whitney and wife, Horace H. and Orson K. Whitney, John Whitney, Amasa Lyman and his wife, Eliza M. Partridge, Caroline E. Partridge, Lucy A. Seely, Clarissa C. Decker, Joseph C. Kingsbury, Sarah Ann Kingsbury, Helen Jeanette Murry, Mary Houston, Sidenia O. Clark, Adelia C. Clark, Hazen Kimball and wife, Lorenzo Snow, Eliza R. Snow and Mary Smith.’
“When the president told us at about half past two o’clock that it was time to seek repose, the sisters retired to the side rooms, and the brethren stretching themselves upon the floor or on the sofas—all were soon in the embraces of ‘tired nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep,’ with the exception of the bridegroom and bride, and a few of their friends, who, being unable to close their eyes in sleep from the abundance of their joy, passed the short hours of the morning in agreeable conversation in the office.”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 7,
1 September 1883, p. 50
Friday, January 2nd. The weather was clear and cold this morning. At an early hour those who slept in the temple were stirring, and a large company had assembled in the vestry, waiting for their washings and anointings, although it had been supposed the work must cease for a short time for want of oil, but several bottles had been brought in for temple use by various individuals, so that by the time it was wanted there were seventeen bottles. These were consecrated * * by the following persons: * * Amasa Lyman, George A. Smith, Joseph Young, William Crosby, A. O. Smoot, Charles C. Rich and F. D. Richards. * * * After the regular exercises and business of the day were over and the meeting of the high council and the high priests were closed, we had some excellent instrumental and vocal music—several members of the band having been invited in by Elder Kimball, viz.: Wm. Pitt, Wm. Clayton, J. F. Hutchinson and James Smithers. They performed several very beautiful pieces of music, and at the request of President Joseph Young played a Fisher’s Hornpipe, upon which he broke the gravity of the scene by dancing by himself. President Young then invited some others to join him in the dance. * * After a short time spent in dancing Elder Hyde made a short address, and requested those present to unite with him in thanksgiving and prayer to God—which they did. A new song composed by Wm. Clayton, called ‘Come with me,’ was first sung by Clayton and Hutchinson, accompanied on the violin by Pitt and on the bass viol by Smithers. When this was over an address was made by Elder Hyde. After the address and prayer the president gave permission to anyone to speak, or pray, or shout, or speak in tongues. No one seemed too disposed to use the opportunity, whereupon the president arose and made a short address. * * He alluded to the privilege which we now have of meeting in this house, and said that we could worship God in the dance, as well as in other ways. * * ‘The way for us to grow and thrive is for us to serve the Lord in all we do; and as we have called upon the different quorums to meet together once a day, so it will eventually be with the whole Church. There will be houses for them to meet in. Remember the covenants that we have entered into. No man is to be filled with lightness—no brother or sister will be allowed to speak evil of his brother or sister. * * It is the duty of the quorum to meet together—we cannot enjoy it but a short time. * * We will praise the Lord as we please. Now, as to dancing in this house—there are thousands of brethren and sisters that have labored to build these walls and put on this roof, and they are shut out from any opportunity of enjoying any amusement among the wicked—or in the world, and shall they have any recreation? Yes! and this is the very place where they can have liberty. We will go to a land where there are at least no old settlers to quarrel with us; where we can say we have killed the snakes and made the roads, and we will leave this wicked nation to themselves for they have rejected the gospel. This church has obtained already all they have labored for in building this temple, but after we leave here (I feel it in my bones) there will be thousands of men that can go into any part of the world and build up the kingdom, and build temples. If any want to faint, let them faint. If there are any that don’t want to go with us, don’t urge them. The United States government says, if we let the Mormons go out from this nation they will give us trouble. Well, perhaps their fears will come upon them. Where is there a city of refuge on the face of the earth but this? They have tried to break us up, but with all their officers, all their troops and all their power we are here yet. They have got writs out for me, but they have not got me yet, and when they do get me they will get something else, I assure you. From Polk down to the meanest bogus maker or whisky seller it was resolved to break up the “Mormons” this fall; and if I had hearkened to Col. Backenstos we should have been broken up and all put out of the way. But when he received correct instructions he acted right, and the plan and trap which our enemies laid for us worked so that it gave us the advantage over them; and when he went according to counsel he came off victorious every time. We are hunted and persecuted and our enemies try to trouble us in every way. We need a little recreation. My mind is continually upon the stretch, because I know the Church must be saved. The gospel must be preached to all the world. Temples must be built, and then add to this all minor matters, I tell you no man knows, or can know the burden and responsibility that rests upon my mind, unless he experiences it. One thing I will do, I will do my utmost to break down every thing that divides; I will not have division and contention, and I mean that there shall not be a fiddle in this Church but what has Holiness to the Lord upon it, nor a flute, nor a trumpet, nor any other instrument of music. If Joseph Smith had lived we should not have been here, we should have been in some other country. We can’t stay in this house but a little while. We have got to build another house; it will be a larger house than this, and a more glorious one, and we shall build a great many more; we shall come back here, and we shall go to Kirtland, and build houses all over the continent of North America. Last night we had some of our young folks here—some of our children, and they all covenanted that they would no more mingle with the wicked. After closing his remarks he gave permission for all that wished to retire to do so.’”
The traditions of our forefathers, which we all inherited a portion of, were such that dancing was once thought among the unpardonable sins. In the early days of Kirtland, I remember that the ones guilty of indulging in so gross a sin as dancing were considered worthy of being disfellowshipped. They, like the sects of the day, had received their training from the old school where to sing a song or to laugh or run upon the Sabbath day was too much for the sanctity of those who believed in burning men, women and children as witches, etc. At the same time they professed to believe in the Holy Bible, and upon which all profess to have founded their religion. But there we find nothing to condemn dancing; but we do read in Exodus, chapter XV, 20 21 verses:
“And Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously.” This same spirit was what filled the hearts of the Saints of Nauvoo, who had built a temple to the Most High. In the midst of the most bitter poverty and persecution they had proven their faith by their works. The Lord had been their shield and their defense; though scourged and smitten from time to time they had no cause to doubt but he would still protect them and fight their battles. This He had promised, through Joseph the Prophet, that He would do, like as he did to Moses in the case of the children of Israel if they would go forward and do His bidding, and after being delivered even out of the seventh trouble their joy and gratitude was poured out to their Deliverer in music and the dance, and they felt to sing, “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people, which thou has redeemed: thou has guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.”
“Tis not to go to church today
And look devout and seem to pray,
And e’er tomorrow’s sun goes down
Be dealing scandal through the town.”
“There are six things that the Lord hates, yea, seven that He abhors—a proud look and a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth evil imaginations, feet that be swift to run to mischief, the false witness that speaketh lies and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
No one can truthfully say that either Joseph Smith’s prophetic words, or those spoken by Brigham Young and his brethren have failed. Thousands upon thousands of this people can testify to the fulfilment of their words spoken concerning this latter day work in that early day up to this time. They were placed upon record for us and our posterity to read, foretelling events and what should be accomplished in a far off country, of which we then knew little or nothing. Then how can we disbelieve the rest? And have we not witnessed and helped to fulfil many of the predictions of Isaiah? How plain and beautiful are these words: “And there shall be a highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left from Assyria, like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountains; lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee, for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee.
“The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” “Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north give up; and to the south keep not back: bring my sons from far and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” We have cause to believe that many of the sons and daughters of those who persecuted the Saints are coming to a knowledge of the truth, and already they are gathering up to Zion; and how vain are the efforts of man to put a veto to the great Latter-day work which the Grand Ruler of the universe has put his hand to, to accomplish in this the last dispensation of the fulness of time. Is it not the sons of strangers that have brought strength and muscle, and have builded our walls and our cities, and assisted in bringing this barren soil under subjection? Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to our windows, but the remnant of His people? The prophet also said, “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and the kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.”
But how many have remained true to those sacred covenants made in the house of the Lord, and continued true to the same? Has He not been merciful, long-suffering and forbearing with us during all the years of our pilgrimage? With all our sinfulness and ingratitude He has still extended towards us a hand of mercy and prosperity. But are we deserving the title of Latter-day Saints—following as we are doing in the ways of Babylon, and mixing up with the gentile world till we can scarcely be distinguished from them? “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out from the midst of her, be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” So spoke the prophet Isaiah. If we could but realize the great loss that we are sustaining by disobeying any of the commandments of God and remember that we have got to render up to Him a strict account for every act, word, and even every idle thought, we would certainly do different, and I think we would be more careful and put a double guard upon that unruly member which causes so many needless pangs and heart burnings by the unfeeling criticisms, evil speaking and tale bearing which are so commonly indulged in—making mountains out of molehills, thereby sowing the seeds of enmity and discord and hatred between brothers and sisters, and by those, too, who have covenanted before God and His angels that they would cease the practice and do it no more. Nor would there be so striking a line drawn between the rich and the poor by following and apeing, not only the Babylonish styles, which are fast creeping into our midst with all their stiff and aristocratic forms, but other great evils which are growing out of it. Pride and high mindedness we know that the Lord will not countenance. They are not according to the gospel nor the pattern set by our Savior, whose only associates (we read) were the poor, and they were looked down upon just as they are today. It is very humiliating to confess that we have such things in Zion, but which cannot long be permitted for they are among the greatest of sins, and which are calculated to lead men and women down to perdition.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 8,
15 September 1883, pp. 57–58
Saturday, January 3rd,” wrote the clerk: “This was a clear beautiful morning—the air comfortably warm—President Young having been up late last night did not rise very early; Elder Kimball was up somewhat earlier. Uncle John Smith and his wife Clarissa came in early in the morning, also Isaac Morley and others.” President Brigham Young (it appears), was quite sick during that day, was suffering from chills and fever, and did not come out of his room till five o’clock in the afternoon.
The next day, Sunday, no public meeting was held in the temple on account of the floor not being strong enough to support so large a company as would have come in. In the morning there was a council held in President Young’s room, and another in the afternoon, in which it was decided that David Candland be sent to England. Brother Candland was present at the council.
“A letter was received this day from Samuel Brannan in New York, also one from Pittsburg, signed William W. Salt, both of which were answered. The one to Brannan under the signature of Brigham Young—the other was signed William W. Pepper, by David Mustard, clerk—both written by Elder Hyde. A copy of the New York Sun, of December 19th, 1845, containing a letter from James Arlington Bennett, to the editor, in which he refers to a letter bearing the signature of Emma Smith, published in that paper on the 9th of Dec, was also received by President Young. Bennett’s letter to the editor contained some things which were considered as evidences that he was also the author of the letter signed Emma Smith, at least that idea was advanced by L. R. Foster, and was generally concurred in by those present, and was referred to in President Young’s letter to Brannan.
“The different quorums met in their respective rooms for prayers at the usual time, viz., the high council and the high priests.” * *
Monday, 5th. “This,” he says, “was a pleasant morning and many persons were early at the temple. * * President Young’s health is almost restored. He was ready for duty at an early hour—Spent the morning in hearing letters and newspapers, and giving directions as to the business of the day.” He speaks of George D. Grant having received ten or twelve letters from William Smith, which, by Brother Grant’s permission, were read to President Young. The last was dated at Cincinnatti, and was very scurilous. “The quorums met at night as usual for prayer. Prayed for the preservation of President Brigham Young and his counsel and all the quorums, and for blessings upon all the Saints, the overthrow of our enemies, the healing of the sick that are among us, for blessings upon the house of Israel, and for our reception among them, and for all the Saints abroad.”
On the 6th he speaks of Elder Babbit coming into the temple before noon, “bringing a letter written by Gov. Thomas Ford, to J. B. Backenstos, dated Springfield, 29th, in which he refers, among other matters, to the probability that the U. S. government would send a military force to Nauvoo to assist in arresting the Twelve, who are charged with counterfeiting.”
The following named persons are mentioned as engaged in working at the cushions or upholstery on the new altar:—Sisters Mary Ann Young, Vilate Kimball, Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Eliza R. Snow, Mary and Agnes Smith (the wives of Hyrum and Carlos Smith), Mercy R. Thompson and Sarah Ann Whitney.
He wrote that evening: “At six o’clock p.m. President B. Young and Heber C. Kimball, with their wives, Mary Ann Young and Vilate Kimball, left the temple to go to Elder John Taylor’s to attend a party.” This incident I well remember. It was called the Printer’s Festival. Among the most pleasing incidents that claim a place in my memory, were the Printer’s Festival, given annually by Elder John Taylor who was editor of the Nauvoo Times and Seasons.
It is more pleasant to dwell upon the sunny side, though without a dark background and an occasional shadow to the mental picture it would be very tame and insipid. Thus it would be with life had we nought but repose. Were there no storms to meet—no rough and angry billows to dash upon our devoted heads while crossing over the ocean of life, nor any dangerous foes to contend with and overcome, we would neither appreciate our blessings nor our deliverance, nor have learned to trust to a divine power for the same. And our experience would be of little value to ourselves and of less interest to the ones who may read our history. The first printer’s festival that I attended was with H. K. Whitney, who was one of the printers, and this was held out on the prairie at a farm (I think) of Brother Benbow’s in the summer of 1845. And there for the first time I remember meeting Brother George Q. Cannon who was but a mere lad and nearly, if not quite, the youngest boy in the office, and I rather think that Judge Elias Smith was the eldest, he being the business agent in the office. This one given at the house of Elder Taylor was the last, being about a month previous to our departure from our beautiful city Nauvoo to become again wanderers upon western plains for the gospel’s sake—to seek another home where those who drove us out believed that no white man could dwell.
Among the guests at Brother Taylor’s were not only President B. Young and counselors, but others who, like them, had been kept secreted a goodly portion of the time. There were one or two incidents connected with this party which helped to stamp it upon my memory. When entering Brother Taylor’s door in company with my parents I was greeted with the following salutation, “I wish you much joy,” etc., and it was repeated by everyone that met us, some person having started the report that H. K. Whitney and myself were married, which was all news to us, we being perfectly ignorant of any such transaction, but as we found it impossible to convince them to the contrary,
Horace, who thought it a good joke, and did not mind carrying it out, commenced there and then to call me “wife,” and for years after he invariably addressed me by this title, though we were not married until the 3rd of the following February, President B. Young performing the ceremony in the temple, and on the 27th of the same month we crossed the Mississippi, en route for the Rocky Mountains. This was rather too long and tedious a journey to be called a wedding tour—thousands of miles over scorched and dreary deserts, rocky mountains and poisonous lakes of alkali, etc. But after all it had its sunny side as well as its dark shadows, the description of which we must leave till some future time, and return to the festival where Judge W. W. Phelps was the next to be made the victim of a practical joke. And as the judge had asserted that no one could play a joke upon him, it did not end so pleasantly. The offender happened to be the judge’s eldest son, (Waterman) who was one of the typesetters and had a persistent habit of playing practical jokes. He happened to be sitting behind the judge, who was seated in an easy chair, and pinned the cushion to his father’s coat skirt, who soon gratified his irreverent son by rising and the appendage with him, which of course attracted general attention, though but few had yet come. But the judge did not relish the joke. His face colored up and a very black cloud rested down upon his usually fun-loving visage as he looked around and probably guessed the author of it. He left the room in a terrible passion and did not return nor quite recover from it during the whole evening. This cast a momentary cloud over the ones who witnessed this scene, but it would have been impossible for anyone, even the judge, under similar circumstances, with a keen sense of the ridiculous, to have refrained from laughing, though we felt ashamed for his son whose bump of reverence (if he ever possessed any) must have been sorely neglected to be thus lacking in the necessary respect due to a parent. But how often do we witness that same spirit of irreverence paid to parents and to the aged. My youthful training was such that I could never treat my parents nor the aged with any undue familiarity. In the Holy Bible we read, “Hast thou children? Instruct them and bow down their neck from their youth. Hast thou daughters? Have a care of their body, and shew not thyself cheerful toward them.” This would be thought rather harsh treatment in these days, but we should realize that a great and an awful responsibility is resting upon parents, and we need much of the Holy Spirit to assist us in the training of our offspring, for there are seldom two who are constituted alike—each one has his or her own peculiarities; and many I believe will wake up in the morning of the resurrection and find themselves childless because of their wicked and brutal treatment of them in this life. But if the youth could but be prevailed upon to listen to kind teachings or profit by other’s experience they might avoid many of the gulfs and quicksands which we can see lying in the pathway before them. “A reproof from a friend is better than smiles from a hypocrite.”
We read in holy writ that “the Lord hath given the father honor over the children and confirmed the authority of the mother over the sons. Whoso honoreth his mother is as one that layeth up treasure. Whoso honoreth his father shall have joy in his own children, and when he maketh his prayer he shall be heard.” Honor thy father and mother both in word and deed, that a blessing may come upon thee from them. “My son, help thy father in his age, and grieve him not as long as he liveth. And if his understanding fail, have patience with him; and despise him not when thou art in thy full strength, for the relieving of thy father shall not be forgotten; and instead of sins it shall be added to build thee up. In the days of thine affliction it shall be remembered; thy sins also shall melt away as the ice in the fair, warm weather. Honor thy father with thy whole heart, and forget not the sorrows of thy mother. Remember that thou wast begotten of them and how canst thou recompense them the things that they have done for thee?”
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 9,
1 October 1883, p. 71
I had nearly forgotten our artist, Brother Major, from England, who commenced in the summer of 1845 to paint our family group. It was upon a large canvas, tastefully arranged,—my father and mother sitting with baby in the centre,—myself at her side and my brother William with his wife and little daughter on the left, and four younger brothers made up the family group. I sat for mine more than any of the rest, and the face was nearly completed before it was taken off the frame to be packed away, which was done only a short time previous to our leaving Nauvoo. One of the same size, with President B. Young and family was begun at the same time—the latter I saw but a short time previous to Sister Young’s death—also another with the First Presidency, B. Young, H. C. Kimball and W. Richards, and the Twelve Apostles sitting in council, which was hanging there in the same unfinished state, Brother Major having died many years ago.
The following incidents close this volume of my father’s journal; and though he may have continued it through the rest of the month, we have not been able to find any clue to it. But being a frequent visitor at the temple I can testify to the faithfulness of my father and mother, and many more of my brethren and sisters, who continued laboring there without ceasing until the evening of February 3rd, at which time my marriage took place. The great work which the Lord had predicted through the Prophet Joseph should be done in that house was fulfilled in spite of all the threats and the snares set by His foes to prevent it.
“January 7th. This morning there was an immense crowd at the reception room waiting for admission into the washing and anointing rooms. The brethren came along bearing vessels filled with all kinds of provisions for the use of those attending to the ordinances of the Lord’s House. The supply is much greater than the consumption. * * * The supply of provisions brought in today has been very abundant, and much of it has been sent away to those families that are destitute.
“A letter was received this morning from Mr. Tucker, the Catholic priest, informing us that the bishop could not raise money enough to purchase our property, but would either purchase or rent one of our public buildings, but would not insure it against fire or mobs. A council was held in Pres. Young’s room, and the letter was taken into consideration.” The result of their deliberation, it seems, was that they would not answer the letter, that the Catholics might go their own way, for they would have no more to do with them. At six o’clock that evening, he says, “The High Priests held their different meetings in rooms No. 8 and 10.” After putting down each name he continues, “The three meetings were conducted by persons chosen in each one to preside, and all the individuals in them were clothed in priestly apparel, and the greatest unanimity of feeling prevailed. The most prominent things prayed for were, the preservation of President B. Young and all the Twelve, and that the ordinances of the endowment might continue until all the elders had received their washings and anointings, and that the Saints might all be able to procure means by which they could remove from Nauvoo to the West in a comfortable manner, and for the sick, that they may be healed—and that God would disappoint our enemies in all their plans.”
He speaks of Sister Ann M. Foster going home about that time with her little boy, Lucian R. Foster, Jr., “having been in the temple all the time since yesterday noon. Her little boy was quite sick when she came, but went away quite well.” On the Sunday previous she brought him to the temple, and at the request of Brother Foster my father, Pres. Young and P. P. Pratt laid their hands upon him and pronounced upon him many blessings, and among them that of life and health.
“About 9 o’clock this evening Elder H. C. Kimball and his wife, Bishop Whitney and his wife left the temple and went to Joseph Kingsbury’s to remain until William Kimball should carry a load of persons, viz: L. R. Foster, Horace Whitney and Mary Ellen Harris to their respective homes. After which he returned and carried home his father and mother in the carriage with the grey horses. Bishop Whitney and his wife went home also in the same carriage. President Brigham Young left the temple about 1 0 o’clock and went home for the night.”
“This afternoon and evening the new altar was used for the first time,—four individuals and their wives were sealed. The altar is about 2 1/
Sister Mary Ellen Harris, mentioned above, is living here in Salt Lake City, and is one of my father’s widows, and is known and respected by hundreds, not only for her faithfulness to the gospel, but for her many qualities of head and heart. She has testified to me that she was sealed in that temple to my father, and that she chose him because he was a man of God, though her heart was grieved that she should cause Sister Vilate Kimball one pang, but felt that if she did not take this step her own glory would be clipped. My mother, hearing how Mary Ellen felt, caused her forever after to feel kindly towards her. There were over twenty women sealed to my father in that temple for the same conscientious reasons expressed by Sister Mary Ellen; and five of them were taken as the wives of the Prophet Joseph. Those women were actuated by the one principle, salvation and exaltation in our Father’s kingdom; though three or four became disaffected in consequence of their light becoming darkness, and they had not sufficient grace, therefore, apostasy was the result. One who left him in a rash moment never denied the faith, and she speedily repented the step. It was but a few years after, when afflicted with an incurable disease, that she came to one of his wives, Harriet S. Kimball, desiring the privilege of remaining under his roof, where she was received and nursed tenderly by Harriet, till death came to her release. I believe that his wives were all honest when they took this step. All had refused offers from single men, and no earthly inducements were held out to them to enter the plural order. They were given to understand that this was to be a life of trial and sacrifice, and no one was forced to enter into this order only by the power of the Holy Ghost, which bringing, as it did, conviction to their hearts, I may say did compel them to accept and obey it. Pure and exalted was their aim—they saw a glory which they could not attain to except they obeyed this celestial law, of which they would know nothing, nor can they ever understand it only by that same spirit, which will reveal all things to the humble and contrite. To enter this much talked of order (which those who openly sustain and foster all manner of licentiousness and crimes, professing to look upon it with such holy horror, and enact laws to destroy us and our family relations) is the first and grandest step towards advancement in that great and purifying plan laid down by the Almighty, and I know that it is a divine institution, and that it places women as well as men upon a higher plane, and will more quickly free her from that bondage and curse which fell upon her through transgression, than any other, and that the ones who practice and advocate it will be the first to stand again as man’s equal, as did our first mother, Eve, in the garden of Eden. Though many blunders have been made by the inexperienced and wrongs committed by individuals, which they will be called to answer for sooner or later, I can testify to the purity of the principle, and that it is godlike in its fruits, and has a tendency to expand the soul, and to raise our thoughts and desires above the groveling things of earth, which, through the many generations that have passed away, has become corrupt, narrow and contracted. The ones who practice it as a God-given principle become more pure and lofty in every thought and desire; their aspirations reach to something higher than the gratification of earthly lusts and those who remain true and virtuous will continue to progress in the higher walks throughout time and all eternities; while those who reject it, and set themselves up to judge and condemn and revile against the ones who passing through the fiery ordeals, that are necessary to purify and prepare us to enter those higher grades, of which they know nothing, having never crossed even the threshold, will have dwindled and passed away, and been forgotten, even “like chaff upon the summer threshing floor.” They refuse to believe facts though we publish and send them out into the world, desiring them to know things just as they are. We do not proclaim these things in a boasting spirit, nor in and of ourselves, but in the strength of Him to whose promises and truths we have clung for more than fifty years, and the latter are our most powerful weapons against all the vile slander that can be raised against us, and our faith is that we shall still go on conquering and to conquer. We can anticipate the feelings of our persecuters when the truth breaks in upon them, and they awake to their own condition; and the Lord knows that they already have my sympathies.
Woman’s Exponent, vol. 12, no. 10,
15 October 1883, p. 74