Chapter 7, The Infant Church Expands William W. Phelps said: I should do injustice to the subject, were I to omit a notice of the Indians that inhabit the territory, of which I am writing. When I was at the garrison, I saw a noble looking, portly Indian, dressed and in fine style for hunting, and for the life of me, I could not help composing the hymn. After the 2nd General Conference of the Church, the brethren left on their mission on the 18th of October which covered 1,500 miles. The hymn was called: O Stop and Tell Me Red Man
(The Messenger and Advocate vol. 1:33- 34, December 1834) Author: William Wine Phelps These lyrics may have been acceptable in 1835, but they would be considered highly offensive by many people today. 1.O stop and tell me, Red Man, Who are ye? Why you roam? 4. Before your nation knew us, Some thousand moon ago, And how you get your living?
Our fathers fell in darkness, Have you no God; no home? And wandered to and fro. 2. With stature straight and portly, hunting And decked in native pride, 5. And long theyve lived by Instead of work and arts
With feathers, paints and broaches, And so our race has dwindled He willingly replied: To idle Indian hearts. 3.I once was pleasant Ephraim, 6. Yet hope within us lingers, When Jacob for me prayed;
As If the Spirit spoke: But oh! How blessings vanish, redemption Hell come for your When man from God has strayed! And break you Gentile yoke: 7. And all your captive brothers
From every clime shall come, And quit their savage customs, To live with God at home. 8. Then joy will fill our bosoms, And blessings crown our days, To live in pure religion, And sing our Makers praise. (Sing to hymn 284, If you could Hie to Kolob) Since 1830, the members of the Church had
accepted the concept of the American Indians as being a remnant of the House of Israel and to whom there were tremendous promises extended (Alma 9:17). Doctrine & Covenants 28:8 Doctrine & Covenants 80:3 This was a revelation in which Oliver Cowdery was called to preach the gospel to the Lamanites. Why Parley P. Pratt? He came from that area and had studied under a man named Sidney Rigdon. Sidney was a prominent minister who
presided over a group of people known as the seekers --- a group dedicated to locating New Testament Christianity. Sidney had also been a part of The Disciples of Christ, called the Cambellites. Sidney broke off from the Reformed Baptist Society. Sidney allowed Parley and others to preach to his congregation. Sidney was not enthusiastic, but because of his friendship for Parley he committed to read the Book of Mormon. Sidney concluded his sermon by quoting First Thessalonians 5:21 which says, prove all things and
hold fast to that which is good. The people thronged the missionaries night and day, insomuch that they had no time for rest and retirement. Within three weeks of their arrival, the missionaries had made a lasting impact by more than doubling the Church membership. When Sidney was informed that Joseph Smith was a young man with hardly a common school education, Sydney replied, If that is all the education he has got, he never wrote this book (John W. Rigdon, Lecture on the Early History of the Mormon Church, LDS Archives).
PARLEY PARKER PRAT T SIDNEY RIGDON President A.W. Cowles of Elmira College interviewed Sidney Rigdon in 1868 and recorded that Sidneys beliefs on this point had not changed: Rigdon expressed the utmost amazement that such a man should write a book which seemed to shed a flood of light on all the old scriptures, open all their profoundest mysteries, and give them perfect consistency and complete system. In his fresh enthusiasm
he exclaimed that if God ever gave a revelation, surely this must be divine (A.W. Cowles, Moores Rural New Yorker, 23 January 23, 1843, 61). Phebe Rigdons (Sidneys wife) desire to do the will of God is impressive! Realizing that baptism, with the subsequent loss of employment and of the home and property provided by his congregation, would greatly affect his family, Sidney asked his wife, Phebe, My dear, you have once followed me into poverty, are you again willing to do the same? Phebes devotion to the Lord and to her husband were
clear in her answer: I have weighed the matter, I have contemplated on the circumstances in which we may be placed; I have counted the cost, and I am perfectly satisfied to follow you; it is my desire to do the will of God, come life or come death (History of Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 4, September 1, 1843: 304). They baptized 127 people into the Church, including such notables as Sidney Rigdon, Isaac Morley, Levi Hancock, Lyman Wight, Philo Dibble, John Murdock and Frederick G. Williams. Many of these men played a powerful role in future operations of the Church. The converts in Ohio more than doubled the entire
membership of the Church in those three weeks. In 1830, Joseph began working on the inspired translation of the Book of Genesis. John Murdock: John Murdock was baptized in the Chagrin River on November 5, 1830 by Parley P. Pratt. He wrote of his conversion and baptism: I was soon introduced to those four men from New York, and presented with The Book of Mormon I read till it was late The Spirit of the Lord rested on me, witnessing to me of the Truth of the work I told the
servants of the Lord that I was ready to walk with them into the waters of baptism. Accordingly, Elder Pratt baptized me and the Spirit of the Lord sensibly attended the ministration, and I came out of the water rejoicing and singing praises to God, and the Lamb! An impression sensibly rested on my mind that cannot, by me, be forgotten This was the third time that I had been immersed, but I never before felt the authority of the Ordinance, but I felt it this time and felt as though my sins were forgiven! (John
Murdock, A Brief Synopsis of the Life of John Murdock, Taken from an Abridged Record of his Journal, Church Archives). Philo Dibble: When I came out of the water, I knew that I had been born of water and of the spirit, for my mind was illuminated with the Holy Ghost. I spent that evening at Frederick G. Williams. While in bed that night I felt what appeared to be a hand upon my left shoulder and a sensation like fibers of fire immediately enveloped my body I was enveloped in a heavenly influence, and
could not sleep for joy. The next morning I started home a happy man (Philo Dibbles Narrative, in Early Scenes in Church History, Salt Lake City, 1882, 75). Edward Partridge: His wife Lydia, wrote concerning the missionaries visit, Edward told them he did not believe what they said, but believed them to be imposters. This trusted businessman (owned a hatters shop in Painesville) was subsequently baptized during a visit
to Palmyra where he had gone to investigate the Prophet Joseph Smith. This trusted business man represented himself and others who esteemed him as a man who would not lie for his right arm! He later became the first Bishop of the Church (Philo Dibbles Narrative, 77). SIDNEY RIGDON Sidney is mentioned in 27 sections of the Doctrine & Covenants. He was born in Pennsylvania and died in New York.
He read the Book of Mormon, believed it was true, and was baptized on Nov. 14th, 1830. He was a scribe to Joseph for much of the translation of the Bible. Referring to the Book of Mormon, Sidney said that if God ever gave a revelation, surely this must be divine (A.W. Cowles, Moores Rural New Yorker 23 (January 23, 1843): 61). After prayer and much meditation, Sidney decided to be baptized. This decision imposed a dilemma upon him.
Joseph described Sydneys dilemma in his history: The honors and applause of the world were showered down upon him, his wants were abundantly supplied, and were anticipated. He was respected by the entire community, and his name was a tower of strength. His (counsel) was sought for, respected and esteemed. --But if he should unite with the Church of Christ, his prospects of wealth and affluence would vanish; his family dependent upon him for support, must necessarily share his humiliation and poverty. He was aware that his character and his reputation must suffer in the estimation of the community (History of Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 4 (September 1, 1843): 304).
Sidney was a spokesman for Joseph and was a powerful speaker. He was known as a defender of the truth. In March of 1832 he was tarred and feathered on the same night that Joseph Smith was in Hiram, Ohio near the John Johnson home. When Joseph went to see him and inquire as to how he was doing, Sidney called to his wife to bring him a razor. She asked him what he was going to do with it and he replied, Im going to kill Joseph Smith. He was delirious for many days after the tar and feathering. In March of 1833 he became a member of the
First Presidency. When Sidney was taken a prisoner to Richmond, Parley saw Rigdon taking leave of his wife and daughters, the mob witnessed slight shock of apoplectic fits, which excited great laughter and much ridicule in the guard and mob militia. The conditions of imprisonment led to depression and to his claim that the sufferings of Jesus Christ were a fool to his. At a court hearing he defended himself while lying on a cot placed in the courtroom because he was too weak to sit in a chair. Alexander Doniphan recorded, Such a burst of
eloquence it was never my fortune to listen to, at its close there was not a dry eye in the room, all were moved to tears. One of the listeners stated, We came here determined to do injury to this man. He is innocent of crime and now gentlemen, out with your money and help this man to return to his destitute family. The audience raised one hundred dollars. By 1842 a personal conflict developed between Sidney and Joseph after the Prophet asked Sidneys daughter Nancy to enter into plural marriage with him. In 1843 Sidney was cut off from the Church for plotting with apostates. He was later reinstated. In 1843, Joseph attempted to have Sidney released as his
counselor. Church members rallied behind Sidney and voted that he be retained. Joseph angrily declared, I have thrown him off my shoulders, and you have again put him on me. You may carry him, but I will not. The day before the martyrdom Joseph said, Poor Rigdon, I am glad he is gone to Pittsburg out of the way. Were he to preside he would lead this Church to destruction in less than five years. After the martyrdom Sidney returned to Nauvoo offering In September 1844 a Church court was held and fellowship was withdrawn from Sidney. He was delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until he
repented. Rigdon returned to Pittsburg and organized the Church of Christ on the 6th of April, 1845. His following failed to grow. At age sixty Sidney was forced to live on the charity of his family. During the last years of his life he resided in Friendship, New York. He died in 1876. It was fifty miles from Kirtland that Parley P. Pratt had his run-in with Stu-Boy. Mr. Peabody was the owner of Stu-Boy. He later joined the church.
Government agents in the territory became jealous of the efforts of the missionaries and since the missionaries had not received proper authorization to preach in the Indian Territory, they were told to desist until permission was granted (Oliver should have gotten a permit). Even though the Lamanite Mission was not very successful in terms of opening the doors of the gospel to the Indian nations, it did have a significant impact upon the History of the Church. The Saints were instructed to head to the Ohio (Doctrine & Covenants 38:32) Why?
No Ohio No Law! The Lord is nice! By traveling west they were saved them from the Civil War. It was likely they would have lost their property and homes in the war. THOMAS B. MARSH (DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 31:9, 12) GOVERN YOUR HOUSE
Strippings were the part of the milk richest in cream. The wife of Thomas B. Marsh (President of the Twelve Apostles), and Sister Harris whos husband was on the High Council, concluded that they would exchange milk, in order to make a little larger cheese than they otherwise could. To be sure to have justice done, it was agreed that they should not save the strippings, but that the milk and strippings should all go together Mrs. Harris, it appeared, was faithful to the agreement and carried to Mrs. Marsh the milk and strippings, but Mrs. Marsh, wishing to make some extra good cheese, saved a pint of strippings from each cow and sent Mrs. Harris the milk without the strippings. Finally it leaked out that Mrs. Marsh had saved the stripping's An appeal was
taken from the Teachers to the Bishop, and a regular Church trial was held. President Marsh did not consider that the Bishop had done him and his lady justice, for they (the bishops court) decided that the strippings were wrongfully saved, and that the woman had violated her covenant. Marsh immediately took an appeal to the High Council, but the High Council confirmed the Bishops decision. Marsh, not being satisfied, took an appeal to the First Presidency of the Church, and Joseph and his Counselors sat upon the case. They approved the decision of the
High Council. This little affair, you will observe, kicked up a considerable breeze, and Thomas B. Marsh then declared that he would sustain the character of his wife, even if he had to go to hell for it (to which Heber C. Kimball wished him well on his way). Then-the President of the Twelve Apostles, the man who should have been the first to do justice and cause reparation to be made for wrong, committed by any member of his family, took the position (George Albert Smith, Journal of Discourses, 3:283-84). President Gordon B. Hinckley repeated the story in General Conference and then commented:
The man who should have settled this little quarrel, but who, rather, pursued it, literally went through hell for it. He lost his testimony of the gospel. For nineteen years he walked in poverty and darkness and bitterness, experiencing illness, and loneliness. He grew old before his time, Finally, like the prodigal son in the parable of the Savior (Luke 15:11-32), he recognized his foolishness and painfully made his way to this valley (Salt Lake), and asked Brigham Young to forgive him and permit his rebaptism into the Church. He had been the first President of the Twelve, loved, respected, and honored in the days of Kirtland, and the early days of Far West. Now he asked only that he might be ordained a deacon and become a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord (Conference Report,
PATH TO APOSTASY You that dont know him, have heard of Thomas B. Marsh, who was formerly the President of the Twelve Apostles, but who apostatized some years ago, in Missouri. He is on his way here, a poor, decrepit, broken down, old man. He has had a paralytic stroke --- one of his arms hangs down. He is coming out here as an object of charity, destitute, without wife, child, or anything else. He has been an apostate
some eighteen years. Most of you know his history In meeting with some of the apostates, Thomas said to them, You dont know what you are about; if you want to see the fruits of apostasy, look on me Many have said to me, How is it that a man like you, who understood so much of the revelations of God as recorded in the Book of the Doctrine and Covenants, should fall away? I told them not to feel too secure, but to take heed lest they also should fall; for I had no scruples in my mind as to the possibility of men falling away.
I can say, in reference to the Quorum of the Twelve, to which I belonged, that I did not consider myself a whit behind any of them, and I suppose that others had the same opinion; but, let no one feel too secure; for, before you think of it, your steps will slide. You will not then think nor feel for a moment as you did before you lost the Spirit of Christ; for when men apostatize, they are left to grovel in the dark. I have sought diligently to know the Spirit of Christ since I turned my face Zion-ward, and I believe I have obtained it. I have frequently wanted to know how my apostasy began, and I
have come to the conclusion that I must have lost the Spirit of the Lord out of my heart. The question is, How and when did I lose the Spirit? The answer is that I became jealous of the Prophet, and then I was double, and overlooked everything that was right, and spent all of my time in looking for the evil; and then, when the Devil began to lead me, it was easy for the carnal mind to rise up, which is anger, jealousy, and wrath. I could feel it within me; I felt angry and wrathful; and the Spirit of the Lord being gone, as the Scriptures say, I was blinded, and I thought it was a beam in brother Josephs eye, but it was nothing but a
mote, and my own eye was filled with the beam (Thomas B. Marsh, Journal of Discourses). The Kirtland Visionaries JanuaryJune 1831 Kirtland, Ohio, had been settled for about twenty years when Joseph and Emma arrived in February 1831. By 1835 when the towns population stood about 2,000, some 900 Mormons lived in Kirtland with another 200 nearby. Two years later, the Mormons were a majority (Once more Joseph and Emma moved into an area stimulated by canal traffic). Eber D. Howe in 1834 published the book called Mormonism Unveiled. Despite its negative tone, it was
filled with good reporting. Joseph entered a new world when he arrived in Kirtland. In Palmyra he was derided and persecuted; in Kirtland admirers and believers surrounded him. Within five years, a temple was built and thousands of followers gathered. Joseph and Emma lived with Isaac Morley, a well-off convert who had worked a farm on Kirtlands northern boundary since 1812. During this time outburst of religious enthusiasm point to the existence of a widespread visionary population hungering for more of God than standard church worship provided. Enthusiasts wanted a more interactive faith
in which the believer and God actively work together to meet lifes daily challenges and in which God Many early converts to Mormonism came out of this culture. Isaac Morley shared property with eleven families called the family. This spawned a smaller branch of five families under Lyman Wight in nearby Mayfield. Virtually all members of the Family were baptized in the first wave of Mormon conversions. Rigdon was baptized within ten days after the four New York missionaries arrived in Mentor on October 28, 1830, and though the majority of his congregation withdrew its support, a few families in Kirtland followed his lead.
Josephs revelation did not bring visionary outbursts to a halt, but he had laid down a line between Mormonism and the visionary culture of its first converts. In a democratic time, the Mormons emerged as the most democratic of churches, rivaled only by the Quakers. The Churchs ministry was both democratic and authoritarian (Church leaders controlled ordinations). Occasionally missionaries lack of tack led to trouble. When Leman Copley, a former Shaker turned Mormon took other missionaries to read Doctrine & Covenants 49
to the Shakers. The Shakers were irked, especially Kitchel their leader. When he dismissed the Mormon delegation, the irrepressible Pratt shook his coattails, saying, in good New Testament fashion, that he shook the dust from his garments as a testimony against them. At this Kitchel blew up, called Pratt a Filthy beast, and told him never to return, while Pratt sat in his seat with his hands covering his face. Pratt simply reported that this strange people utterly refused to hear or obey the gospel. Membership grew to about six hundred within three months of Josephs arrival in Kirtland.
An Endowment of Power Three months after their arrival, Emma gave birth to twins named Thaddeus and Louisa. Both died at birth. After four years of marriage, Emma had borne three children and lost them all. The day after Emma lost the twins, Julia Clapp Murdock, wife of John Murdock, died six hours after giving birth to twins in nearby Orange. Burdened with five children and no wife, Murdock offered the twins to the Smiths. Within ten days, Emma had Julia and Joseph Murdock to care for. According to Hancock, Joseph promised Lyman Wight he would see Christ that day. Wight soon turned stiff and white, exclaiming that he had indeed viewed the Savior.
According to Hancock, Joseph himself said, I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand. After the episode where Satan showed up at the general conference, Joseph ordained five men to the high priesthood, and Lyman Wight ordained eighteen others. Until that time, the word priesthood, although it appeared in the Book of Mormon, had not been used in Mormon sermonizing or modern revelations. The evil spirit was in and out of people all day and the greater part of the night. The four missionaries (Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, and Peter Whitmer) baptized about one hundred
people in less than two months. The message of the restored gospel was received and took root in Ohio. Zion JulyDecember 1831 An agent of the American Home Missionary Society said that even the Christian ministers were a sad lot of churchmen, untrained, uncouth, given to imbibling spirituous liquors. They were not the worst, as many suspicious characters headquarter here When intelligence arrives that a federal Marshall is approaching his county, there is a hurried scurrying of many of this element into Indian country. Four years earlier, the town had been laid out in 143 lots. One
of them, an un-purchased, thickly wooded lot near the courthouse, was declared to be the spot for the temple. They were to buy landall the landfrom there to the states western boundary twenty miles to the west. Then the consecration of properties would begin. Bishop Edward Partridge was to grant inheritances to each family. Objections Not everyone was happy with the Zion mission. Ezra Booth, a convert of the preceding May, came back from Missouri disillusioned. He complained about Josephs behavior on the trip. In nine impassioned letters to the Ohio Star published from October through December 1831, Booth explained his reasons for considering Joseph unworthy. Booth was the first of a half dozen
outspoken apostates who broke with Joseph and mounted campaigns to bring him down. Because of doctrine, honest men remained with the Mormons even after they saw Joseph Smiths failings. In Booths eyes, Joseph Smiths demeanor fell short of a prophets proper character. Joseph lacked society, prudence and stability, frequently showing a spirit of lightness and levity, a temper easily irritated, and an habitual proneness to jesting and joking. More than one-fifth of priesthood-holding converts in Joseph Smiths lifetime were cut off from the Church or turned against it. Many others drifted away. Joseph took these defections in stride; he dismissed individual apostates as blind gnats. But he was not indifferent. The loss
of members troubled him, especially experienced preachers like Booth. Every soldier was needed to build Zion. As the years went by, and one stalwart after another deserted him, Joseph came to value loyalty above every other virtue. For six months, the Smiths lived with John Johnson and his wife, Elsa, who had joined the Mormons after the healing that had converted Booth. The Johnsons were one of the few convert families with substantial property, they offered the Smiths free room and board. The small house purchased from Isaac Hale was the only place they had ever owned; most of the time since their marriage they had lived with friends or their parents. Joseph lived more like a poor Methodist itinerant than a
prophet and seer leading a church. Sidney had been the bookish child that Joseph never was, reading by the light of burning hickory bark when his father denied him candles, and remembering everything he read. Sidney was the superior preacher of the two, but the unlearned Josephs revelations, rather than Sidneys eloquent speeches, formed the foundation of Mormon Nancy Towle, a thirty-five year old itinerant, was one of a corps of female evangelists who helped to satisfy the nations hunger for preaching in the 1830s. She went to Kirtland in the fall of 1831. She saw nothing indecorous in Mormon worship, and yet
concluded that it was one of the most deep-concertedplots of Hell, to deceive the hearts of the simple that had ever come, within the limits of my acquaintance. Once Rigdon sensed hostility, he attacked, saying that Towle was in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity. Furthermore all, that you have ever done in the world, was mischief. According to Towles account, Joseph said nothing until she turned to him and demanded that he swear he had seen an angel. He replied that he never swore at all. Are you not ashamed, of such pretensions? She insisted, You, who are no more, than an ignorant, plough-boy of our land! Joseph calmly noted that the gift, has returned back again, as in former times, to
illiterate fishermen. Within a few years, various Church elders, beginning with Oliver Cowdery, attempted to summarize Church doctrines; later Joseph borrowed from a formulation by Orson Pratt to prepare thirteen Articles of Faith. No other visionary sect of the nineteenth century was so dependent on immediate revelation to carry on business. Joseph believed in the revelations more than any-one. From the beginning, he was his own best follower. He believed in himself and the cause to the point of arrogance, as more than one critic pointed out. Indeed, the Church was
built on his confidence. While all were believers in the Prophet, a few wondered about the capacity of an uneducated young man to do justice to his own revelations.
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