31 August 1842 (Wednesday). Grove

Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes[1]

Prest. Joseph Smith opened the meeting by addressing the Society. He commenced by expressing his happiness and thankfulness for the privilege of being present on the occasion. He said that great exertions had been made on the part of our enemies, but they had not accomplished their purpose—God had enabled him to keep out of their hands—he had war'd a good warfare inasmuch as he had whip'd out all of Bennett's host [2] his feelings at present time were that inasmuch as the Lord Almighty had preserv'd him to day. He said it reminded him of the Savior, when he said to the pharisees, "Go ye and tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." &C. [3]

He said he expected the heavenly Father had decreed that the Missourians shall not get him—if they do, it will be because he does not keep out of the way.

Pres. S. continued by saying, I shall triumph over my enemies—I have begun to triumph over them at home and I shall do it abroad—All those that rise up against me will feel the weight of their iniquity upon their own heads—Those that speak evil are abominable characters and full of iniquity. All the fuss and all the stir against me, is like the jack in the lantern, it cannot be found. Altho' I do wrong, I do not the wrongs that I am charg'd with doing—the wrong that I do is thro' the frailty of human nature like other men. No man lives without fault. Do you think that even Jesus, if he were here would be without fault in your eyes? They said all manner of evil against him—they all watch'd for iniquity. How easy it was for Jesus to call out all the iniquity of the hearts of those whom he was among? The servants of the Lord are required to guard against those things that are calculated to do the most evil— the little foxes spoil the vines [4]—little evils do the most injury to the church If you have evil feelings and speak of them to one another, it has a tendency to do mischief—these things result in those evils which are calculated to cut the throats of the heads of the church.

When I do the best I can—when I am accomplishing the greatest good, then the most evils are got up against me. I would to God that you would be wise. I now counsel you, if you know any thing, hold your tongues, and the least harm will be done.

The Female Relief Society has taken the the most active part in my welfare—against my enemies—in petitioning to the Governor [5]-these measures were all necessary—Do you not see that I foresaw what was coming beforehand? by the spirit of prophecy?—all had an influence in my redemption from the hand of my enemies.

If these measures had not been taken, more serious consequences would have resulted.

I have come here to bless you. The Society has done well—their principles are to practice holiness. God loves you and your prayers in my behalf shall avail much—let them not cease to ascend to God in my behalf. The enemy will never get weary, I expect he will array everything against me—I expect a tremendous warfare. He that will war the christian warfare will have the angels of devils and all the infernal powers of darkness continually array'd against him. When wicked and corrupt men oppose, it is a criterion to judge if a man is warring the christian warfare. When all men speak evil of you, blessed are ye, &C. [6] Shall a man be considered bad when men speak evil of him? No! If a man stands and opposes the world of sin, he may expect all things array'd against him.

But it will be but a little season and all these afflictions will be turned away from us inasmuch as we are faithful and are not overcome by these evils. By seeing the blessings of the endowment rolling on and the kingdom increasing and spreading from sea to sea, we will rejoice that we were not overcome by these foolish things. [7]

Prest. S. then remark'd that a few things had been manifested to him in his absence respecting the baptism for the dead, which he should communicate next Sabbath if nothing should occur to prevent. [8]

Prest. S. then addressed the throne of grace.

Prest. S. said he had one remark to make respecting the baptism for the dead to suffice for the time being, until he has opportunity to discuss the subject to greater length—that is, all persons baptiz'd for the dead must have a Recorder present, that he may be an eye witness to testify of it. [9] It will be necessary in the grand Council, that these things be testified let it be attended to from this time lest if there is any lack it may be at the expense of our friends—they may not come forth &C.

—31 August 1842


[1] See History of the Church, 5:139-41, and Teachings, pp. 257-60. The source for the entries in History of the Church and Teachings is the Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes, kept by Eliza R. Snow.

[2] See 29 August 1842, note 5.

[3] Luke 13:32.

[4] Song of Solomon 2:15.

[5] Governor Thomas Carlin of Illinois. To counterbalance the acrimonious orations of excommunicated John C. Bennett, members of the Nauvoo Relief Society sent a petition, signed by 1,000 women, to Governor Thomas Carlin. The petition, which spoke in the highest terms of Joseph Smith's virtue, requested the governor to take action against Bennett because there was fear of an "attack upon the peaceable inhabitants of the city of Nauvoo and vicinity, through [the latter's] intrigues and false representations" (see History of the Church, 5:71, 82).

[6] Matthew 5:11-12.

[7] The "foolish things," mentioned in the text, had reference to recent attempts on the part of Missouri to extradite the Prophet as well as the wide publicity given to the John C. Bennett scandal. Despite these grave obstacles Joseph Smith continued to demonstrate his characteristic optimism and did not lose perspective of the magnitude of the latter-day work.

[8] On the following day the Prophet wrote a letter presenting the details of what "had been manifested to him" during his exile. He apparently felt that he needed to remain in exile, and so the letter took the place of a discourse on 6 September 1842. On that day, too, in another letter he unfolded further information. Both letters deal with the doctrine of baptism for the dead and are included in the Doctrine and Covenants, as sections 127 and 128 respectively.

[9] The day after this discourse was given, Joseph Smith wrote a letter on the subject of the necessity of "eyewitnesses" to baptisms for the dead. This letter has been added to the Church's canon of scripture and is D&C 127.