Origin of the 'Reorganized' Church and the Question of Succession by Smith, Joseph Fielding
Origin of the "Reorganized" Church and the Question of Succession
By Elder Joseph F. Smith, Jr.
Salt Lake City
During the summer of 1906 and continuing until the summer of 1907, a number of Reorganite ministers who were engaged in missionary work in Salt Lake City and Ogden, were greatly encouraged by one or two apostates and the local anti-"Mormon" press. Their method of proselyting was of the usual nature, a tirade of abuse and false accusation hurled at the authorities of the Church. Encouraged by the anti-"Mormon" help, they became extremely vindictive in their references to President Brigham Young and the present Church authorities. Their sermons were so bitter and malignant--which has been the character of most of their work from the beginning, in Utah--that they raised considerable protest from many respectable citizens. Even non-"Mormons" declared that in no other community would such vicious attacks be tolerated. It appeared at times that these missionaries were attempting to provoke the "Mormon" people to some act of violence, that it might be seized upon and published to the world through the anti-"Mormon" press that they had been mobbed, and thus capital for their cause be made of it. Fortunately they were not molested to the credit of the people so constantly abused. One of these meetings was attended by a prominent gentleman from the East who was somewhat acquainted with Utah and her people, he said, in conversation with the writer a few days later, that never in his experience has he witnessed such a thing before. "If that fellow"--referring to a Reorganite who has since been promoted in his church--"should come to our town and abuse the ministers of our church, calling them murderers, thieves and liars, as he did Brigham Young and your churchmen, we would kick him off the streets."
While this agitation was going on, a number of the young people of Ogden appealed to their stake presidency asking that some reply to those assaults be made for the benefit of those who were not grounded in the faith, and in danger of being deceived. Acting on this request the presidency of the Weber Stake invited the writer to speak along these lines in the Ogden Tabernacle. The invitation was accepted and two discourses were delivered, the first, March 10, 1907, on the subject of the "Origin of the Reorganized Church," and the other April 28, 1907, on the question of "Succession." These remarks were subsequently published in the _Deseret News_, and many requests were received asking that they be published in pamphlet form, where they could be preserved by those who had to meet the ministers of the "Reorganization." An edition was therefore published in the summer of 1907, which has been disposed of, evidently without supplying the demand, for in the summer of 1909 the orders for the pamphlet were so great that is was deemed necessary to issue a second edition. In the meantime a reply appeared in the Saints' Herald, commencing with the issue of June 30, and ending that of July 21, 1909. This reply will be remembered more for the unfair way matters were treated and the fact that the greater part of the evidence was left untouched, than for any merit in the argument presented. Wherever it was deemed necessary, for the sake of those who may be deceived, answers are given in this work in footnote references to the argument set forth in the Reorganite "defense." However, there was nothing presented in the "defense" that really required any reply; by reading carefully the discourses mentioned, the ordinary reader can readily perceive the trickery, deception and sophistry, of the Reorganite reply.
Part one of this book contains the discourse delivered in Ogden on the "Origin of the 'Reorganized' Church;" part two contains the discourse on the "Succession in the Presidency," and part three deals with the most prominent differences existing between the Church and the "Reorganization," wherein they accuse us of departing from the doctrines of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This matter in part three is added by request of a number of parties who have had to meet the sophistry of the Reorganite missionaries.
This book is not put forth to replace any other work, neither with the idea that it will turn Reorganite ministers from the folly of their ways; but with the hope that some honest soul who have been deceived may see the light and embrace the truth, and that the feet of the weak may be strengthened in the path of righteousness that they may not falter on their way. Neither is it intended to be an exhaustive treatise in of the subjects it contains; the idea has been in the main, to present matters that have not been treated elsewhere.--J. F. S., Jr.
ORIGIN OF THE "REORGANIZED" CHURCH.
The Question of Rejection--Salvation for the Dead
* * * * *
Remarks made in the Weber Stake Tabernacle, Ogden City, March 10, 1907, by Elder Joseph F. Smith, Jr.
* * * * *
My beloved brethren and sisters and friends: The great majority of you who are assembled here today are, without doubt, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I suppose that most of you have a divine testimony of the truth of this latter-day work--the Gospel of Christ--which we have received. To you who have a testimony, my remarks shall not be addressed particularly, but if you will bear with me in what I have to say that I may be led to say something that will strengthen the faith of those who may be weak, or that will encourage those who have no faith at all, I will feel amply paid.
I am not here for the purpose of assailing any man for his religion, for we Latter-day Saints hold that every man is entitled to his religious views and should have the privilege of worshiping according to the dictates of his conscience, let him worship, how, where, or what he may. And we will protect him in this right. But we are opposed to the custom adopted by certain men who travel through the settlements of our people abusing the authorities of the Church, distorting our doctrines and defaming the dead, for the purpose of destroying the faith and confidence of the Latter-day Saints. Therefore in treating the subject of the "Reorganized" Church this afternoon, it will be in the spirit of self-defense.
We will first consider the statement made by the senior senator from Michigan, Mr. Burrows, in his speech delivered in the United States Senate on the 11th of last December. After stating that the membership of the Church at the martyrdom in 1844, was 50,000 adherents, he continues:
"The death of Joseph Smith in 1844, carried dismay and demoralization throughout the entire membership of the Mormon Church, scattering its adherents in divers directions and for the time being seemed to presage the complete overthrow and dissolution of the organization. Recovering, however, from the shock, the scattered bands soon reappeared in various parts of the country and promulgated their doctrines with increased zeal, and set to work to reassemble and reorganize their scattered forces, resulting finally in the formation of what is now known and recognized as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters at Lamoni, Iowa, and presided over by Joseph Smith, a son of the prophet."
"During this period of disintegration one Brigham Young, who had identified himself with the 'Mormon Organization' as early as 1832, a man of indomitable will and undaunted courage, bold and unscrupulous, seized upon the occasion of the demoralization incident to the death of the prophet to place himself at the head of some 5,000 Mormons, and marching over desert and mountain, established himself with his adherents in the valley of Salt Lake, July 24, 1847, then Mexican territory, where he undoubtedly indulged the hope that the new doctrine of polygamy about to be publicly proclaimed by him might be promulgated with impunity and practiced and maintained without interference by the United States."
Now, this is not true. The senior senator from Michigan has here stated the position of the "Reorganized" Church as capably and clearly as any member of that sect could possibly have done, and in exactly the same way that they have stated it for the past forty-seven years. Why he was led to make such a statement he best may know, but it shows the careful coaching that he has received by members of the "Reorganized" Church in their opposition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In a pamphlet published by that organization in 1864, the following appears:
"The greater portion of the Church did not follow this Brigham Young, and in obedience to the revelation in relation to gathering, remained around about the land of Zion, waiting for the Lord to again reveal Himself; and today where there is one Saint who was in the Church in the days of Joseph the martyr, now associated with Brigham Young, there are ten of those old members standing aloof or rejoicing under the administration of the word of the Lord through his son Joseph."
SAINTS FOLLOWED PRESIDENT YOUNG.
And this is not true. Now I intend to show that at the martyrdom the Latter-day Saints followed President Brigham Young and the Twelve. And too, in accordance with divine revelation. For we learn in the Doctrine and Covenants that the quorum of Apostles is equal in authority with the First Presidency and it is their right to take the lead of Church affairs and the presidency in the absence of the First Presidency, or when that quorum is invaded by the death of the President of the Church.
At the time of the martyrdom the Church in and about Nauvoo, the headquarters, numbered not to exceed 20,000 souls. This information is based on the best possible authority. And while this was not all the Church membership in the United States, it was the great bulk of the Saints, as the following will show:
In the Times and Seasons, volume 2, page 274, in a "Proclamation to the Saints scattered abroad," and signed by the Presidency Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith, dated January 15, 1841, we read the following:
"The population of our city is increasing with unparalleled rapidity, numbering more than 3,000 inhabitants. Every facility is offered in the city and adjacent country, in Hancock county, for the successful prosecution of the mechanical arts, and the pleasing pursuits of agriculture. The waters of the Mississippi can be successfully used for manufacturing purposes, to an almost unlimited extent.
"Having been instrumental in the hands of our Heavenly Father in laying a foundation for the gathering of Zion, we would say, let all those who appreciate the blessings of the Gospel, and realize the importance of obeying the commandments of heaven, who have been blessed of heaven with the possession of this world's goods, first prepare for the general gathering, let them dispose of their effects as fast as circumstances will possibly admit, without making too great sacrifice, and remove to our city and county--establish and build up manufactories in the city, purchase and cultivate farms in the county--this will secure our permanent inheritance, and prepare the way for the gathering of the poor. This is agreeable to the order of heaven, and the only principle on which the gathering can be effected--let the rich, then, and all who can assist in establishing this place, make every preparation to come on without delay, and strengthen our hands, and assist in promoting the happiness of the Saints. This cannot be too forcibly impressed on the minds of all, and the elders are hereby instructed to proclaim this word in all places where the Saints reside, in their public administrations, for this is according to the instructions we have received from the Lord."
Now, this shows that the Saints "scattered abroad" were commanded of the Lord to gather at Nauvoo and in Hancock county, Illinois. It will go without saying that all the faithful Latter-day Saints would take advantage of this commandment and therefore the faithful Saints, or the great majority of them would soon be located at Nauvoo. Again in this same volume, page 434, we find another proclamation to the Saints abroad, signed by President Joseph Smith, in which he says:
"The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, anxious to promote the prosperity of said Church, feel it their duty to call upon the Saints who reside out of this county to make preparations to come in, without delay. This is important and should be attended to by all who feel an interest in the prosperity of this the corner stone of Zion. Here the Temple must be raised, the university be built, and other edifices erected which are necessary for the great work of the last days; and which can only be done by a concentration of energy and enterprise. Let it therefore be understood, that all the stakes, excepting those in this county and in Lee county, Iowa, are discontinued, and the Saints instructed to settle in this county as soon as circumstances will permit."
This was on May 24, 1841, and we find in the same volume, page 520, an epistle from the Twelve to the "Saints scattered abroad," in which the following is found:
"We say to all Saints who desire to do the will of heaven, arise, and tarry not, but come up hither to the places of gathering as speedily as possible, for the time is rapidly approaching when the Saints will have occasion to regret that they have so long neglected to assemble themselves together and stand in holy places awaiting those tremendous events which are so rapidly approaching the nations of the earth.
"It will be recollected that in a recent communication from the First Presidency, all places of gathering are discontinued, excepting Hancock county, Ill., and Zarahemla in Lee county, I. T., opposite Nauvoo."
At the conference of the Church held in October, 1841, Almon W. Babbitt was disfellowshipped for persuading Saints who were emigrating to Nauvoo to remain and build up Kirtland, Ohio, as the minutes say, "until such time as he shall make satisfaction." This shows how important this doctrine of gathering was. Therefore the great bulk of the Latter-day Saints, at the time of the martyrdom, were located at Nauvoo and its vicinity.
It is in order now to show that these Latter-day Saints sustained President Brigham Young and the Twelve.
On the 8th day of August, following the martyrdom, a special conference was held in Nauvoo at which time the claims of Sidney Rigdon and the rightful claim of the Twelve Apostles were presented for the vote of the Latter-day Saints. At this conference President Young, in addressing the Saints said:
"I will ask you as quorums, Do you want Brother Rigdon to stand forward as your leader, your guide, your spokesman? President Rigdon wants me to bring up the other question first, and that is, Does the Church want, and is it their only desire to sustain the Twelve as the First Presidency of this people? * * * * All that are in favor of this, in all the congregation of the Saints manifest it by holding up the right hand. (There was a universal vote.) If there are any of the contrary mind, every man and every woman who does not want the Twelve to preside, lift up your hands in like manner, (no hands up.) This supersedes the other question, and trying it by quorums." (History of the Church, Aug. 8, 1844.)
Also at the general conference held the following October the Apostles were again unanimously sustained by the vote of the Church as the presiding quorum and Presidency of the Church. (Times and Seasons, 5:692). Mark you this was by the unanimous vote of the Saints.
Now, in the exodus from Nauvoo these Saints--the great bulk of the Church, continued to be true and faithful and followed the Twelve Apostles.
Governor Thomas Ford, in his "History of Illinois," states that in 1846 there were 16,000 Church members with the Twelve on the plains of Iowa, while the 1,000 that remained, a small remnant, were those who were unable to sell their property, or who having no property to sell, were unable to get away. (History of "Reorganized" Church iii:164). And this remnant followed as soon as they were able.
In the census report for 1850--three years after the settlement of Salt Lake valley, we learn that the population of Utah was 11,380, all Mormons. That same year the population of Pottawattomie county, Iowa, was 7,828, all Mormons, the Latter-day Saints at Kanesville. Thus we see that 19,208 members of the Church who had followed President Brigham Young in the exodus from Nauvoo, were located at these two places. And that is not all, there were other settlements of the Saints at Garden Grove, Mount Pisgah, St. Louis, and other places where temporary settlements for the Saints were formed during that exodus. These also later gathered to Utah. Thus we see that almost the entire membership of the Church as it stood in 1844, is accounted for in the following of President Brigham Young and the Twelve. That the Church was not threatened with dissolution the following statistics will show--I have not at hand the increase of membership of the Church during that period in the United States, but the increase in Great Britain is as follows: In the year 1844, the population of the Church in the British Isles was 7,797. Six years after the martyrdom--December, 1850--that membership had increased to 30,747. This does not show much of a dissolution or falling away.
WHO FORSOOK THE CHURCH?
I do not intend to convey the idea that there was not a falling away, an apostasy, at the time of the martyrdom and the exodus from Nauvoo, for there were many who forsook the cause, but compared with the Church membership, they were but few. Who were they? Did the faithful Saints forsake the Church at that time? Did those who risked their lives--who were shot with the Prophet and Patriarch forsake the Church? No! We do not find the faithful Latter-day Saints, who had the Gospel rooted in their hearts turning away. Then who were those who forsook the cause? I will tell you.
In the parable of the sower the Savior said:
"Behold a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed some seed fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up. Some fell upon stony places where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away."
In explaining this parable He said:
"But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended."
These were they who forsook the Church in the exodus from Nauvoo. Not the faithful who had been tried and proved and not found wanting, who had an abiding testimony of the truth. Now, let us see what Gen. Thomas L. Kane has to say on this subject. He visited Nauvoo about this time and also the camps of Israel. In the postscript to the second edition of his lecture on "The Mormons" he says, page 86:
"The Mormons as I saw them, though a majority, were but a portion of the Church as it flourished in Illinois. When the persecution triumphed there, and no alternative remained for the steadfast in the faith but the flight out of Egypt into the wilderness, as it was termed, all their fair weather friends forsook them." * * * * *
"So the Mormons have been as it were, broken and screened by calamity. Their designing leaders have left them to seek after fortunes elsewhere. Those that remain of the old stock are the masses, always honest in the main and sincere even in delusion; and their guides are a few tried and trusty men, little initiated in the plotting of synagogues, and more noted for services rendered than bounties received. They are the men whom I saw on the prairie trail, sharing sorrow with the sorrowful, and poverty with the poor; the chief of them all, a man of rare natural endowment, to whose masterly guidance they are mainly indebted for their present prosperity, driving his own ox team and carrying his sick child in his arms."
We have the statement of Sidney Rigdon, one of those who forsook the cause. It is found in his Messenger and Advocate for June, 1846, pages 474-5, and a portion of his statement I will now read:
"Their camp [that is the camp of the exiles, the pioneers] is in the western part of Iowa, some 200 miles west of Nauvoo. Their situation according to our informant, is as miserable as it well could be. Their stock of provisions they took with them, is getting fast reduced, so much so, that they can proceed no further; neither can they go back. They are there without shelter, other than tents and wagons, and their tents so indifferent that they will not shed the rain, which has been incessantly falling since their arrival. In this awful condition is to be found the aged and infirm, the mother and tender infant. When our informant left, they were going to fence in some 300 or 400 acres of land, for the purpose of raising a crop of corn to try and preserve life. The remains of their furniture, which in part consists of beds and bedding, they are sending off to Missouri to exchange for corn and bacon to sustain life. * * * * This said Young professed to be a follower of Christ, and hold communion with Him, and to receive revelations from Him; but where are his pretensions now? He has got, according to our informant, some 800 or 1,000 people far into the wilds, without food, without shelter, and himself being judge, without object. * * * A state of wretchedness beyond this is not easily conceived of. Our informant says when he left, which was some three weeks since [and I may add that it is quite evident from this account why he left] the mud, by reason of the incessant rains, was six inches deep round their camp."
I suppose that there are some present this afternoon who realize the hardships through which the pioneers had to pass that tried men's souls and that only the faithful were able to endure.
I have now shown that the great majority of the Latter-day Saints followed President Brigham Young and were true to the Church. We get a good idea of the number who scattered from the testimony of William W. Blair.
FEW JOINED REORGANITES.
Of the members of the Church who were in fellowship in 1844-6, the "Reorganized" Church has received no more, and likely less than 1,000 converts, which fact shows that the apostasy was not so great in 1844-6 as has been stated by the Senator from Michigan and members of the "Reorganization." This statement is based on the testimony of William W. Blair, one of the original members of the "Reorganized" Church, as he testified before the United States court of appeals for the Western district of Missouri, in 1894, in the temple lot suit, which was for the possession of property in the hands of the "Church of Christ," or "Hedrickites."
Before that court Mr. Blair, who was for many years a member of the presidency of the "Reorganized" Church, testified that "1,000 was probably too high an estimate for the members of the original Church, that had joined the 'Reorganized' Church." He could "approximately say," that 1,000 had joined the "Reorganized" Church, and "possibly that estimate was too large." (Record pp. 180, 181).
ORIGIN OF "REORGANIZED" CHURCH.
We will now consider the origin of this "Reorganized" Church. Many people have been lead to believe that this society had its origin at the martyrdom, or immediately following the martyrdom. But this is not the fact. Properly it did not come into existence until 1860--16 years after the martyrdom, but the two men who were mainly responsible for the organization commenced their work in 1852-3. These men were Jason W. Briggs and Zenas H. Gurley. Perhaps a brief outline of their lives would be interesting.
Jason W. Briggs who was really the founder of the "Reorganized" Church, or, who perhaps did more than any other one man to bring about that sect, was born June 25, 1821, at Pompey, Onondaga county, N. Y. It is said he joined the Church at Potosi, Wis., about 1841, but most of the history of this man we get through the records of the "reorganization." His home was at Beloit, Wis., from 1842 to 1854. He remained with the Church under the leadership of President Young and the Twelve until the year 1846 (Reorg. Hist., 3:737). It is interesting to note in this regard that the exodus commenced February 4, 1846, so we are quite safe in saying that this man was one of "the fair weather friends."
After the exodus he joined James J. Strang, and in his organization labored in the ministry quite extensively (Reorganite History 3; 737), filling short missions to various parts of New York and in Wisconsin.
In September of 1849, with B. G. Wright, he organized the Waukesha branch of Mr. Strang's church (Hist. Reorganized Church, 3; 737-8). Now, remember this was in September, 1849, and the organization of this branch was in the Strangite church. About this same time he also organized the Beloit branch for the same organization.
In 1850 he left Mr. Strang's organization and joined with William Smith, who had himself been a follower of Mr. Strang until excommunicated from that organization. In William Smith's church Mr. Briggs accepted the position of "apostle;" but at the time of the disintegration of William Smith's church in 1851, he withdrew, and in 1852 joined with Zenas H. Gurley. These two men then organized what was called at the time the "New Organization of the Church," but today known as the "Reorganized" Church.
In 1886, together with the family of Zenas H. Gurley, Mr. Briggs withdrew from the "Reorganization," which he had begotten. (Saints' Herald, 33; 248-9). His reasons for withdrawing we will consider later.
Zenas H. Gurley was more active in the Church previous to the martyrdom. He was ordained a Seventy in Nauvoo in 1844, and when the Twenty-first quorum of Seventy was organized, April 6, 1845, he was chosen as the senior president, he being the oldest of the presidents chosen. He was a native of New York state, born May 29, 1801, and was therefore 43 years of age in 1844.
We know something about this man's career between the martyrdom and the exodus from the minutes of this quorum of Seventy. And as this record contains some very interesting items I will read a few of them here. In the minutes of November 2, 1845, we read:
"President Zenas H. Gurley apologized for his absence the two last meetings. He then enlarged upon the subject (i. e., the subject before the quorum). He said he had received the assurance of an addition of power of the Priesthood upon every accession of authority he had received. We ought to be the best men living in consideration of our privileges as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, enlightened as it was with divine revelation, He exhorted the brethren not to aspire but to rise upon their own merits and to visit the poor in their afflictions."
In the minutes of November 9, we are informed that President Erastus H. Derby, one of the presidents of that quorum, said:
"Brother Brigham advised and counseled the Saints to get ready for emigration in May, 1846. If he (Derby) possessed the wealth of the whole nation he would not stay behind the Church going into the wilderness."
Immediately following these remarks, Zenas H. Gurley arose and said, as the minutes read, that "He confirmed the same." That is, he too would rather forsake the wealth of the whole nation than fail to go with the Church into the wilderness. Then continuing his remarks, he said:
"Small prototypes of great national events were given by command of God, by the ancient prophets, and the like would probably nowadays distinguish what God is about to do in the earth. * * * Certain characters have been elected from before time to fulfill certain purposes in the earth, called though they were from all nations, tongues, and ranks. * * * The order of free masonry was outrageously violated by the people of Hancock; but the pledges, obligations and vows of the Latter-day Saints would, if adhered to, exalt them to thrones dominions and power."
This was in relation to temple work. On the 21st of December, 1845, he said:
"He remembered forcibly the sayings of the first presidents of Seventy, that we should so live that no charge can be brought against us. A few years ago the men in high standing in this Church (the Twelve) were as little as we are. They obtained their exaltation by patient submission to right, and minding their own business. * * * There are many young men in this quorum able to travel a great way. You will be called on to go, also to receive your endowment. Keep always meek and a teachable spirit. The willow always bends in the breeze and is also firm in the root. Though many have gone out from the Church."--now remember this--"YET it increases as fast as ever and evinces to the world as great affinity and identity to the eternal plan of Jehovah as ever it did."
This does not sound much like a falling away or a dissolution of the Church, does it? And this is the testimony of Zenas H. Gurley given before he left the Church. Again, on the 3rd of January, 1846, the minutes say:
"Zenas H. Gurley enlarged on the subject of liberally donating to the Church necessities. God said He has so shaped the scheme of salvation as that to be saved and appear approved of God, we must sacrifice of all that we possess. * * He felt filled with the Spirit. The course the Church is pursuing has been spoken of by Jesus Christ and the holy prophets of olden time."
There is his endorsement of the course of the Church. And on January 10, 1846:
"Zenas H. Gurley arose and said that the presidents of the quorum had received their endowment."
Continuing he said--mark you, he was one of those presidents:
"He observed that it was remarkable for an unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He felt for the quorum that they should receive their endowment. The Church authorities, the quorum of Seventy in succession, to furnish the people engaged in the endowment, one day each, and he wanted the quorum (Twenty-first) to acquit themselves from every obligation."
It may be interesting to know that this man and his wife were endowed in the Temple January 6, 1846. Here is the testimony of Zenas H. Gurley in relation to the Temple ceremonies when he was in full fellowship in the Church and was in possession of the spirit of his calling. At that time he declared most emphatically that on that occasion the Spirit of the Lord was unusual in its outpouring. If that is true and he could testify to it then, there cannot be anything so very bad in these glorious privileges of which he testified. In later years when he had lost the spirit of the Gospel and was fighting the work he had formerly upheld, he denounced in bitterness these sacred ordinances that he on this occasion sanctioned. His former testimony is the one that is consistent.
On the 17th of January, 1846, the minutes say:
"President Zenas H. Gurley arose and said * * The business before the meeting was the arranging for a donation for the benefit of those of the Priesthood engaged in the Temple. (Not on the Temple but in it). He beautifully observed that it was his design, and also his council's to exalt the Twenty-first quorum, and the quorum should reciprocally return the favor; give support and influence towards its welfare."
Then on the 25th of the same month:
"President Zenas H. Gurley arose and said that the business before the meeting was to select persons to receive their endowment. He had received direction to select 10 or 12 to go in the Temple. He desired the brethren not to think it was partiality to make this selection. The most important point to be considered was to learn obedience. This was the principle taught by Jesus Christ."
He then proceeded to name the brethren for this purpose, and continuing his remarks he said:
"The Saints who have passed through the trials of the Church were generally rooted and grounded in love and have a witness in their hearts or they would not have remained."
And I say amen to that. I wish with all my soul that Zenas H. Gurley had been one of them for his own sake, for it was but 10 days after he made this utterance, that the exodus from Nauvoo began, and this is the last reference we have of Zenas H. Gurley while connected with the Church! What became of him? "Because he had no root he withered away." The terrible trials the Saints were forced to undergo in the wilderness were too great for him; he could not stand the test. And while he had declared that he would go with the Saints even if it required that he should sacrifice the wealth of the whole nation, when put to the actual test, his heart failed him and he sought safety in flight, he sought his life, but lost the life eternal!
The next reference we have of him in the minutes of the Twenty-first quorum is in 1855, where the statement is made that he had fled from the Church and was associated with James J. Strang. Of his connection with Mr. Strang, I prefer to read to you the account from the history of the "Reorganized" Church, for you know then we will have it correct. On page 744 of volume three we have the following:
"After the death of Joseph Smith, Elder Gurley investigated the claims of the various leaders, and finally accepted those of James J. Strang as being the most reasonable. A letter written by him from Gananoque, Canada West, November 6, 1849, and published in Gospel Herald, volume 4, page 187, indicates that he was then on a mission to Canada in the interest of the organization under Strang. On January 1, 1850, he again wrote from Landsdown, Upper Canada, still engaged in the same work.
"A letter written January 10, 1850, from Pittsburg, Canada West, manifested zeal in his work."
We have already shown how he manifested great zeal in his work in the Twenty-first quorum before he left the Church. But to continue:
"March 15, 1850 he wrote from St. Lawrence, New York, that he was assisting Brother Silsby in organizing the brethren and helping them in getting ready for Beaver. He was present at a conference held at Voree, Wisconsin, June 1 and 2, 1850, and in these minutes we find this entry: 'Brother Z. H. Gurley was'--
Then there is an ellipsis, no doubt it would be interesting to know what follows, and the account continues--
'sent to the northeastern parts of Wisconsin, on the presentation of President Strang.'"
Now, please note carefully what follows:
"It was probably while on the mission thus appointed that Elder Gurley raised up the Yellowstone branch, the members of which helped to form the nucleus of the Reorganization."--Page 744-5.
We have already seen that Jason W. Briggs raised up the Waukesha branch of the Strangite church in 1849, also that he raised up the Beloit branch for the same organization, and now we have the admission fatal to their organization, that the Yellowstone branch was also raised up to Mr. James J. Strang. These branches you see became the nucleus of the "Reorganization." They were not connected with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to their own admission, but were organized for the Church of James J. Strang. Yet, mark you, these Strangite branches were admitted into what was called the "New organization," or the "Reorganization," on their original baptisms. It is quite evident that the "Reorganization" is the offspring of the church of this man James J. Strang.
Now let us return to Jason W. Briggs. In Mr. Heman C. Smith's "True Succession," pages 134-135, we have an alleged revelation that this man received that was the cause of the coming together of the so-called "Reorganized" Church. I have already told you that he was the most important man in this movement, if not the father of it. The "revelation" is as follows:
"Therefore, let the elders whom I have ordained by the hand of my servant Joseph, or by the hand of those ordained by him, resist not this authority, nor faint in the discharge of duty, which is to preach my gospel as revealed in the records of the Jews, and the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; and cry repentance and remission of sins through obedience to the gospel, and I will sustain them, and give them my Spirit; and in mine own due time will I call upon the seed of Joseph Smith, and will bring one forth, and he shall be mighty and strong, and he shall preside over the High Priesthood of my Church; and then shall the quorums assemble, and the pure in heart shall gather, and Zion shall be reinhabited, as I said unto my servant Joseph Smith."
WHY BRIGGS SECEDED.
In this alleged revelation we have this man teaching lineal Priesthood or the right of succession from father to son. We also have him teaching the literal gathering to Zion of the honest in heart. We will now see what his reasons were for withdrawing from the "Reorganized" Church. We find on pages 248-249 of volume 33 of the Saints' Herald that the reasons why this man withdrew from the "Reorganization" with the family of Zenas H. Gurley, were as follows:
That he could not believe in:
(1) "The literal gathering of the Church into Jackson and the adjoining counties in the state of Missouri (or any one or more places) known as a local Zion."
(2) "Temple building and ceremonial endowments therein."
(3) "Baptism for the dead."
(4) "Tithing as a law applicable to the Church."
(5) "The law of consecration by which individuals are made legal heirs to the Kingdom of Zion."
(6) "A sole mouthpiece of God to the Church."
(7) "The plenary inspiration of and consequent absolute authority of what are called the sacred books."
(8) "The doctrine of 'cursing our enemies,' and of 'avenging God upon them to the third and fourth generations.'"
(9) "To the foregoing may be added the revelation of January 19, 1841, section 107 D. & C., (124 our edition), which enjoins upon the Church the building of a hotel, called the 'Lord's boarding-house,' for Joseph Smith and posterity to dwell in from generation to generation, as also the promise contained therein, viz: 'And as I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say to my servant Joseph, in thee and thy seed shall the kindreds of the earth be blessed."
"This coupled with the provisions in section 43, that 'none else should or could receive revelation for the Church' and the provision of section 19, that the Church shall receive Joseph's words and commands the same as if from God's own mouth,--establish in our judgment a lineal descent of authority, equivalent to an imperial dynasty, which is foreign to the spirit and genius of the Gospel of Christ."
This communication was dated March 28, 1886, and was signed by Jason W. Briggs, (president of their apostles); Zenas H. Gurley, (a member of that quorum); Gracie Gurley, Margaret Gurley, Edwin H. Gurley, Mida Gurley.
We see that this Mr. Briggs repudiated the fundamental portions of his alleged revelation. In the "revelation" he teaches the gathering, but here he says he does not believe in the gathering, either to Jackson county or to any other place to be known as a local Zion. In his "revelation" he teaches lineal Priesthood, but when he withdraws from the church one reason was that he could not believe in "a sole mouth-piece of God to the Church," and in an "imperial dynasty," which he erroneously thought was taught in the revelation. Thus he repudiates his "revelation," denies the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and repudiates the standard works of the Church. Unstable to the last, this man would not rest content in this organization which he was such a potent instrument in bringing into existence.
There is another thing in his so-called "revelation" that is interesting. He declares that the Lord would raise up one of the seed of Joseph Smith who would be mighty and strong. Now, evidently this refers to Joseph Smith, president of that organization. Joseph Smith of the "Reorganized" Church declares that he is not the one mighty and strong and the "Reorganized" Church has backed him up by resolution in that conclusion.
QUESTION OF REJECTION.
We now come to the question of the rejection of the Church. Our friends tell us that the Church was rejected for the reason that they failed to complete the Nauvoo Temple "in the sufficient time granted by the Lord." They say that the Temple was not finished. The president of the "Reorganization" has made the following statement in this connection:
"The basement was fitted for occupation and the baptismal font was ready for use. The auditorium on the first floor was completed sufficiently to be seated and occupied for assembly purposes. The stairway on the south side was completed for use. The auditorium on the second floor, the stairway on the north side, nor any other portion of the building except those above named were completed; though the small rooms above the second floor auditorium were used by President Young and the resident Church authorities for various purposes." (History of Reorganized Church, 2:562).
His brother Alexander makes a similar statement.
In reply to this it is only necessary to say that it made no difference whether the Temple was finished or not. The revelation of January 19, 1841, provided,
"That when I (the Lord) give a commandment to any of the sons of men, to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might, and with all they have, to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them, and hinder them from performing that work; behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings:
"And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments, I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.
"Therefore for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God:
"And I will answer judgment, wrath, and indignation, wailing and anguish and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not and hate me, saith the Lord your God.
"And this I make an example unto you for your consolation concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work, and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression saith the Lord your God."
No sane man will dare say that the Saints were not hindered by their enemies in the building of the Nauvoo Temple, both before and after the martyrdom. Nevertheless, I maintain that they were diligent in their labors as the following references will show, furthermore that the Temple was completed. In the Times and Seasons, volume 3, page 775, is to be found an editorial written by the Prophet Joseph in which he says:
"This noble edifice is progressing with great rapidity; strenuous exertions are being made on every hand to facilitate its erection; and materials of all kinds are in great state of forwardness. * * * *
"While the busy multitudes have thus been engaged in their several avocations, performing their daily labor, and working one-tenth of their time, others have not been less forward in bringing in their tithings and consecrations for the same great object. Never since the formation of this Church was laid have we seen manifested a greater willingness to comply with the requisitions of Jehovah; a more ardent desire to do the will of God; more strenuous exertions used, or greater sacrifices made, then there have been since the Lord said: Let the Temple be built by the tithing of my people. It seemed as though the spirit of enterprise, philanthropy, and obedience rested simultaneously upon old and young; and brethren and sisters, boys and girls, and even strangers, who were not in the Church, united with an unprecedented liberality in the accomplishment of this great work; nor could the widow in many instances, be prevented, out of her scanty pittance, from throwing in her two mites."
This was written in May, 1842. Remember the date, for I will have occasion to refer to this again before we are through.
This editorial reveals to us what is meant by laboring with your might and "to cease not their diligence." The Lord did not require all the time of the Saints to be devoted on that building, but a tithing--one-tenth of their time or means. That is all He required of them in order that they should fulfill the commandment. This is also set forth in the second vol. of the Times and Seasons, page 567, and in vol., 3 pages 938-9, but I take it for granted that the reference given is sufficient to cover this ground.
TEMPLE BUILT BY SACRIFICE.
Let us here pause a moment and see what it took to build the Temple. That structure cost more than one million dollars; the Saints were poor, and a great deal of the time the Temple was in course of erection they were harassed by their enemies. The Prophet Joseph was forced into exile to avoid his enemies who tried to drag him to Missouri, and therefore he could not devote his personal attention to the building of the Temple as he otherwise would have done; and in this way the work was retarded to some degree by the enemies of the people. Moreover, the building of that structure was not like building one today. The Saints could not order their timber from the lumber yard in a state of preparation for the Temple. There were no iron foundries from which they could obtain the required metal properly prepared; but on the contrary, every detail had to be performed by the Saints. The timber had to be hewed in the far off forests of Wisconsin, carried to Nauvoo, and cut into boards and for the various uses of the Temple. The stone had to be cut and polished from the quarries, and the whole work had to be supplied out of the tithing of the people. If the Lord had required all of their time how would they have supported their families? Of course, He could have cared for them, but it was but the tenth, mark you, of their time and means that was required. And yet some of our friends complain that the Temple was not completed inside of six months! Naturally under these conditions it would take a number of years to complete the building.
We have seen that the Saints were diligent up to May, 1842. Let us now see if they did not continue their diligence. Of course, there were some who were not diligent; but not of the faithful, not of those who followed the Twelve. At the April conference, 1844, the Patriarch Hyrum Smith, addressing the Saints, said:
"I am one of the committee (i. e., Temple committee); the committee tell me the quarry is blockaded, it is filled with rock, the stone cutters are wanting work; come on with your teams as soon as conference is over. It is not necessary for me to tell who will come and do it; I will prophesy that you will do it. There is not one in the city but that will do right if they know it, only one or two exceptions, and they are not worth notice; God will take care of them, and if He doesn't, the devil will." (T. & S., 5:597).
Now, I know that Hyrum Smith was a prophet of God, the Lord declared it, and his prophecy did not fail. This shows the willingness of the Saints to do this work as late as 1844.
In a communication to the Times and Seasons, October 13, 1844, signed "C," we have the following:
"The Temple is rising even faster than could have been anticipated, and has a very imposing appearance."
Again on page 744, of volume 5, Times and Seasons, (December 15, 1844), this is stated:
"The Temple has progressed with greater rapidity since the death of Joseph and Hyrum than ever it had done before; and things in this city never looked more prosperous."
And in an editorial in this same paper of May 15, 1845:
"The Temple progresses rapidly and the Saints being united (as we have heretofore said), are industrious, frugal and determined."
Then in the Times and Seasons, volume 6, page 926:
"After a little more than four years of hard labor, in truly troublesome times, and not, too, without the loss of the best blood in the Church, on the morning of the 24th ult. (April, 1845), at a little past 6, a goodly number of Saints had the honor, and glory to witness the capstone of the Temple laid in its place."
In a letter from Elder John Taylor to Joseph Cain (Mill. Star, 8:31), we find this:
"My feelings were very peculiar while standing in the font, which is of stone, and passing through the rooms when I thought how the Saints had labored and striven to complete the building."
And in the Times and Seasons, volume 6, page 1017:
"On Sunday, the 5th of October (1845) through the indefatigable exertions, unceasing industry, and heaven blessed labors, in the midst of trials, tribulations, poverty, and worldly obstacles, solemnized, in some instances, by death, about 5,000 Saints had the inexpressible joy and great gratification to meet for the first time in the house of the Lord in the city of Joseph (Nauvoo). From mites and tithing, millions had risen up to the glory of God, as a Temple where the children of the last kingdom, could come together and praise the Lord."
There are other passages; but these ought to suffice on this point of the diligence of the Saints. But some one will say, all this testimony is from those who are interested--from your friends. Should we take the testimony of our enemies, those who are interested in our downfall, and who are not acquainted with these facts? However, I will add the testimony of one who hoped that the Temple would not be finished. In the Messenger and Advocate of June, 1846, published by Sidney Rigdon, I quote the following:
"That people [the Saints with Brigham Young] were told that they would not finish that Temple which THEY were building. They were told that they would get the roof on, and do some of the inside work, but never would finish it."
Now mark this; he adds:
"No people ever labored harder to prove the above declaration false. No pains were spared; but where has it terminated? Just as we said it would."
Here we have the testimony of Sidney Rigdon, who opposed the Twelve and the Church and the building of that Temple. Yet he says they were diligent, but when he says it was not completed, he spoke too soon. This article was written just shortly after the exodus commenced, and at that time the Temple was not quite finished; but it was finished before all the Saints' left Nauvoo.
I suppose that it is unnecessary to continue this branch of the subject any further, but since our Church members have to meet the sophistry on the part of the elders of the "Reorganization," we will.
NAUVOO TEMPLE COMPLETED.
In proof that the Temple was completed I present the following evidence. In the Times and Seasons, volume 6, page 1017, we find the following:
"It certainly afforded a holy satisfaction to think that since the 6th of April, 1841, when the first stone was laid, amidst the most straightened circumstances, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has witnessed their bread cast upon waters; or more properly their obedience to the commandments of the Lord appear in the tangible form of a Temple, entirely enclosed, windows in, with temporary floors, pulpits, and seats to accommodate so many persons preparatory to a general conference."
And on page 1018:
"The font and the other parts of the Temple will be in readiness in a few days to commence the administration of holy ordinances of endowment, for which the faithful have long diligently labored and fervently prayed, desiring above all things to see the beauty of the Lord and inquire in His holy Temple."
Now, this was given in October, 1845, and we learn that the font--that is the permanent font, which replaced the former and temporary one--also the other parts of the Temple would be in readiness in a few days to commence the administration of holy ordinances. I wish now to refer to another reference from the writings of the president of the "Reorganization." I have already read where he declares that the font and the first floor above the basement and one stairway, also the basement, were completed. He reaffirms that in the following from an editorial in the Saints' Herald of February 17, 1904:
"Work continued to be done on the Temple until the fall of 1845, possibly until the summer of 1846"--you see he is not quite sure about it--"but the building was never finished; and whatever ordinances were performed in it took place in rooms not wholly finished."
Now note this particularly:
"The north stairway, the second or upper auditorium, and the attic were entirely incompleted."
We will now examine the Times and Seasons of January 20, 1846, and see what his testimony is worth. Here on page 1096 occurs the following:
"January thus far has been mild, which, in the midst of our preparations for an exodus next spring, has given an excellent time to finish the Temple. Nothing has appeared so much like a finish of that holy edifice as the present."
Now, I want to call your attention to this which immediately follows:
"The ATTIC story was finished in December."
That is in December 1845. You will remember that the president of the Reorganization declares that the attic was "entirely incompleted." But to continue the quotation:
"And if the Lord continues to favor us, the first story above the basement will be completed ready for meeting, in the month of February. The font, standing upon 12 stone oxen, is about ready, and the floor of the story is laid, so that all speculation about the Temple of God at Nauvoo, must cease."
Now the temporary floors were laid in October, 1845, so these floors must have been the permanent ones, and while the temporary finishing in October was for the purpose of fitting the building for the ordinances, this finishing was permanent.
Here is an interesting feature about the testimony of this man. The parts of the Temple which the president of the "Reorganized" Church says were completed--finished, the Times and Seasons here states would not be finished for a few days, or till February, but the part of the building which he says was "entirely incompleted," is here declared to have been finished in the past December, 1845. I shall not dispute with him the fact that the parts which he says were finished, were completed, for they were; but what does his testimony amount to as evidence when confronted with the statement of the Times and Seasons? Simply nothing; more than to prove that he knew nothing about it at all. Now which shall we believe? The Times and Seasons, published at the time, or the president of the "Reorganization," who made his statement some 40 years later? Remember if he admits that the Temple was finished his whole structure crumbles to the ground--it's bound to crumble anyway sooner or later, for it is built upon the sand.
Elder John Taylor, in an address to the Saints in England, published in the Millennial Star of November, 1846, (vol. 8:97) has this to say:
"Time alone can unfold this to many, but to us it has been manifested long ago, years before the Temple WAS COMPLETED, and long before the martyrdom of our Prophet and Patriarch."
Here he declares that the Temple was completed. Now our friends quote from the remarks of President Brigham Young delivered at the dedication of the St. George Temple to the effect that up to that time the Saints had never had the privilege of completing and enjoying a Temple. I call your attention to the fact that President Brigham Young left Nauvoo before the Temple was finished. He left in February, 1846, and a great portion of the Latter-day Saints were expelled from that city before they had the privilege of receiving the ordinances of the house of God, therefore President Young was correct when he said we had not up to that time had the privilege of completing and enjoying one. But I will now call your attention to the statement of President Young's made in October, 1863, (News, 13:96). Said he,
"We have already built two Temples, one at Kirtland, Ohio, and one at Nauvoo, Illinois. * * * God commanded us to build the Nauvoo Temple, and we built it, and performed our duty pretty well. There are elders present here today who labored on that house with not a shoe to their foot, or pantaloons that would cover their limbs, or a shirt to cover their arms.
"We performed the work, and performed it WITHIN THE TIME WHICH THE LORD GAVE US TO DO IT IN. Apostates said that we never could perform that work, but through the blessing of God it was completed and accepted of Him. Apostates never build Temples unto God, but the Saints are called to do this work."
The Nauvoo Temple was publicly dedicated May 1, 1846, by Elder Orson Hyde, and the following day about 3,000 Saints met in the building in a public service. It is most likely that the greater number of these Saints were also at the dedication. It is not reasonable to suppose that this building was dedicated until it was finished, for each part had been dedicated as it was finished, and the dedication on the 1st of May, 1846, was of the entire structure.
THE REVELATION ON TEMPLE WORK.
I have now shown that the Temple was completed; that the Saints were diligent in their labors, and they were also hindered by their enemies. I now reaffirm what has previously been said; that it made no difference, so far as the Church and its authority is concerned, even if the Temple had not been completed, or finished, in the technical sense of that word. Some of the embellishments, the ornamentations and fixtures, may not have been placed in the building according to the original intention, and in that technical sense the building may not have been "finished completely." But if so, what difference would it make? The Lord, thank heaven, is not as technical and peevish as men are, or woe be unto all of us. The revelation does not say that the Church would be rejected with its dead if every identical board and plank or fixture was not in the building according to the original design. The thing the revelation does require is that a place be prepared, or built, where the Lord could reveal the Priesthood and its ordinances which had been taken away or that had not been restored. And, too, if the temporary floors had not been replaced by the permanent floors, the Lord could and would have revealed Himself to the Saints and would have accepted of their offering. Now let's see just what the revelation does say about this matter. Beginning at verse 25.
"25. And again, verily I say unto you, let all my Saints come from afar;
26. And send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and say unto them; come ye, with all your gold, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with all your antiquities; and with all who have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come, and bring the box tree, and the fir tree, and the pine tree, together with all the precious trees of the earth;
27. And with iron, with copper, and with brass, and with zinc, and with all your precious things of the earth, and build a house to my name, for the most High to dwell therein;
28. For there is not a place found on earth that he may come and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulnesss of the Priesthood;
29. For a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that they, my Saints, may be baptized for those who are dead;
30. For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.
31. But I command you, all ye my Saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me, and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
32. But behold, at the end of this appointment, your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment, ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
33. For verily I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead belongeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me.
34. For therein (that is in Temples) are the keys of the Holy Priesthood ordained that you may receive honor and glory.
35. And after this time, your baptisms for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord.
36. For it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead.
37. And again, verily I say unto you, How shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name?
38. For, for this cause I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was;
39. Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices, by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places, wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelation and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name."
I have read quite extensively from this revelation, now let us examine and see just what is meant. At the time this revelation was given the Saints were baptizing in the Mississippi river for their dead, this was a special privilege that the Lord granted them in their poverty and while they could prepare a place in the Temple for that ordinance. He declares that while that place was being built He would accept of their baptisms in the river, but just as soon as a place could be prepared in the Temple baptisms for the dead in the river should cease. Now you will notice that verse 31 reads:
"But I command you, all ye my Saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me."
Now I wish you to note what follows:
"And during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me."
I take it that this means that the Lord would accept of their baptisms in the river until they could prepare a place where the ordinance could be attended to properly, and that He would not discontinue river baptisms until they had had sufficient time to build such a place. I want to read what the president of the "Reorganized" Church has to say on this point. Said he:
"Baptisms for the dead was a permissive rite."
Of course I do not agree with him that it was a permissive rite, but to continue the quotation:
"Baptism for the dead was a permissive rite; or to write more plainly, the Church was permitted by the Lord to baptize for the dead under certain rules."
Here is the rule:
"By terms stated in the revelation this permissive rite could be performed and would be acceptable if performed in the river while the time given the Church in which the Temple should be built was passing. After the completion of the Temple, baptisms for the dead were to be performed in it." (Saints' Herald, February 17, 1904).
We are certainly safe in saying that the Lord would not break His promise, therefore if we can discover a time when baptisms were discontinued in the river it will be a sign that the sufficient time had expired, so far as baptisms in the river for the dead were concerned. I turn to the minutes of the October conference, 1841, and read from the remarks on baptism for the dead delivered by the Prophet on the third day as follows:
"There shall be no more baptisms for the dead until the ordinance can be attended to in the font of the Lord's house; and the Church shall not hold another general conference, until they can meet in said house. _For thus saith the Lord!_" (Times and Seasons, Vol. II., page 578).
Remember this was in October, 1841--six months after the first stone of the Temple was laid. Was the Temple finished? No. Was the Church then rejected with its dead? Verily no! for this was 1841, and I have already referred you to the editorial of the Prophet's of May, 1842, wherein he says that never since the formation, or foundation, of the Church was laid, have the Saints been so willing to comply with the requisitions of Jehovah, and manifested a more ardent desire to do the will of God, than in the building of that Temple. Therefore they could not have been rejected. Yet the sufficient time was up. What must we then conclude? That the Temple had progressed so far that baptisms could be performed in it for the dead in accordance with the revelation, and it did not depend altogether, you will see, on the complete finishing of the building; and as the rooms were finished one by one and dedicated, they too, could be used for the ordinances of the Temple until the whole Temple was built.
Are we right in our conclusion that a font had been built? Yes, a temporary font had been built in the basement of the Temple--a temporary one--but obviously one that answered the requirements of the revelation. Moreover, in this temporary font, which was used by the command of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith, baptisms for the dead were performed from November, 1841, until it was replaced by the permanent font, and then these baptisms continued in that until the Saints were driven from Nauvoo.
BAPTISMS FOR THE DEAD OBLIGATORY.
We will now examine the thirty-second verse; it is:
"But behold, at the end of this appointment, your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me."
That means, of course, the baptisms in the river shall not be acceptable after the font is built. But listen to this:
"And if you do not these things at the END OF THE APPOINTMENT ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God."
If you do not do what things? Does it mean if you do not build the Temple at the END of the appointment? That would be absurd. It means, if you do not perform your baptisms for your dead and the ordinances for the dead at the end--not the beginning, but the end--of the appointment, then will you be rejected with your dead. So you see it was not the failure to finish the attic, or to carve figures in the woodwork, or embellish the building by placing pictures on the walls, or painting them; it was not for this that the Church was to be rejected; but it was to be rejected with its dead if it failed to perform the work in the Temple for the dead when the opportunity was afforded. Now let us see if this view is not in harmony with other Scriptures. I turn to the second section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Here the angel says:
"Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
"And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
"If it were not so, the whole earth would be UTTERLY WASTED AT ITS COMING."
Why would the earth be wasted? Simply because if there is not a welding link between the fathers and the children--which is the work for the dead--then we will all stand rejected; the whole work of God will fail and be utterly wasted. Such a condition of course, shall not be. When Elijah restored this Priesthood, he said that the time spoken of had fully come, and that the dreadful day of the Lord was near, even at the doors.
Let us now see what Joseph Smith had to say in relation to this. Speaking of the baptism and salvation for the dead, he said:
"The GREATEST RESPONSIBILITY in this world that God has laid upon us, is to seek after our dead. The apostle says they without us cannot be made perfect. Now I will speak of them: I say to you, Paul, you cannot be perfect without us; it is necessary that those who have gone before, and those who come after us should have salvation in common with us, and thus hath God made it OBLIGATORY to man. Hence God said He would send Elijah." (Times and Seasons, 6:616).
Moreover, at the conference held October, 1841, to which I have already referred, the prophet said this:
"Baptism for the dead is the only way that men can appear as saviors on Mount Zion. The proclamation of the first principles of the gospel was a means of salvation to men individually, and it was the truth, not men, that saved them; but men by actively engaging in rites of salvation _substitutionally_, become instrumental in bringing multitudes of their kin into the Kingdom of God."
"This doctrine"--that is, baptism for the dead--"he said, presents in a clear light the wisdom and mercy of God, in preparing an ordinance for the salvation of the dead, being baptized by proxy, their names recorded in heaven, and they judged according to the deeds done in the body."
Now here comes the most important statement.
--"This doctrine was the BURDEN OF THE SCRIPTURES. Those Saints who NEGLECT it in behalf of their deceased relatives, do it at the PERIL OF THEIR OWN SALVATION."
There we have the key to the whole situation. If we neglect the salvation of our dead when we have the opportunity to save them, then we ourselves will be rejected, and that is just what the revelation of January 19, 1841, says. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 128, verse 5, we are told that baptism for the dead was prepared from before the foundation of the world, "for the salvation of the dead," mark this, "WHO SHOULD DIE WITHOUT A KNOWLEDGE OF THE GOSPEL!" And in verse 15:
"And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers, 'that they without us cannot be made perfect, neither can we without our dead be made perfect.'"
Here we have it in this revelation that if we do not save our dead we cannot ourselves be saved, therefore if we neglect their salvation, we ourselves will be rejected. Now verse 18:
"It is sufficient to know * * * that the earth will be smitten with a curse, UNLESS there is a welding link of some kind or other, between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other, and behold what is that subject? IT IS THE BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the Gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulnesss of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories, should take place, and be revealed, from the days of Adam even to the present time; and not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this the dispensation of the fulness of times."
SALVATION FOR THE DEAD IMPORTANT.
Now, is it not plain to see how important this doctrine is, and why the Saints were to be rejected? But they were not rejected for they performed the baptisms for their dead, and are today performing the baptisms and the ordinances for and in behalf of their dead. Therefore they are not rejected. Again, the Prophet says that the Saints have not too much time to save and redeem their dead, and gather their living relatives together that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten, as revealed by Malachi. Therefore it is quite evident why the Lord permitted them to baptize in the river, and not wait until those ordinances could be performed in the Temple, and why He was so anxious that they should hurry and prepare a place in the Temple, where they could be performed in accordance with the plan from before the foundation of the world.
Here is another statement that I wish to refer to. In an editorial in the Times and Seasons written by the Prophet, in volume 3, pages 759-761, where he is speaking of the remarks made by the Savior to the Jews, that upon them should come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, who was slain between the Temple and the altar, Joseph the Prophet declares in most emphatic terms that the reason why this blood was to come upon these Jews was, that:
"They possessed greater privileges than any other generation, not only as pertaining to themselves but to their dead, their sin was greater as they not only neglected their own salvation but that of their progenitors, and hence their blood was required at their hands."
Now, if these Jews were to answer for the blood of their progenitors because they neglected the salvation of their dead, then, may we not ask; will not we have to answer for the blood of our dead if we neglect these ordinances in their behalf? It matters not even if we have been baptized and have had hands laid on our heads for the reception of the Holy Ghost; if we wilfully neglect the salvation of our dead, then also we shall stand rejected of the Lord because we have rejected our dead; and just so sure their blood will be required at our hands.
Now, what is the attitude of the "Reorganized" Church in relation to the salvation of the dead, the neglect of which the Church--yes, and also the individual--was to stand rejected of the Lord? I have here a copy of a resolution that was passed by the general conference of that sect in 1886, at the time that Mr. Briggs withdrew. This resolution is in reply to his charge that he could not accept the principle of "baptism for the dead." Here it is:
"That as to the alleged Temple building and ceremonial endowments therein, that we know of no Temple building, except as edifices wherein to worship God, and no endowment except the endowment of the Holy Spirit of the kind experienced by the early Saints on Pentecost day."
"'Baptism for the dead' referred to belongs to those local questions of which the body has said by resolution:
"'That the commandments of a local character, given to the first organization of the Church are binding on the Reorganization only so far as they are either reiterated or referred to as binding by commandment to this church. And _that_ principle has neither been reiterated nor referred to as a commandment."
Just think of that! They declare that we were rejected because we failed to build a house where these ordinances were to be performed, and yet they actually have the audacity to say that the work of salvation for the dead is not binding on them because it has not been reiterated or referred to as a commandment binding on them. Now is that consistent? They call it a local commandment, yet we have seen that this commandment was the burden of the Scriptures and the greatest responsibility that God has placed upon us, and we are obliged to save our dead if we would ourselves be saved. And yet, this commandment without which the whole earth was to be utterly wasted and destroyed--this eternal commandment that had been prepared before the foundation of the world--is not binding on them! "A local commandment!" "A permissive rite!" My friends, from the teachings of Joseph Smith the Prophet, which I have presented, you may well judge which is the Church "rejected with its dead."
1. This statement that the Latter-day Saints were endeavoring to get beyond the jurisdiction of the United States, which is repeated so often by anti-"Mormon" writers and speakers, including many devotees of the "Reorganization," who vainly attempt to prove the disloyalty of the Saints, is rather astonishing in the face of the facts of history. The exodus to the Rocky Mountains was undertaken _of necessity_, as it was from Missouri to Illinois, because the Saints had been ruthlessly driven from their homes by armed mobocrats. Notwithstanding this, the Church came to the Rocky Mountains because the Lord willed it so, for He permitted the expulsion from Nauvoo that His purposes might be fulfilled. The Prophet Joseph Smith, as early as 1842, received a revelation declaring that the Saints would be driven to these valleys. That revelation is found in the history of the Church for Saturday, August 6, 1842. Our friends the Reorganites, have themselves testified in their more sober moments to the truth of this grand prediction. In a history published by them in 1880, and which they said was "the aim of the publishers to place within the reach of those who cared to know, a more correct standard from which to determine the character and work of Joseph Smith, the founder, under divine direction, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," "And is the cheapest book published by the (Reorganized) Church." They record the following:
"Just at this time (1842) also occurred Joseph's first marked prophecy, on record, concerning the removal of the Saints to the Rocky Mountains. Says the Record:
"Saturday 6th, (August, 1842). Passed over the river to Montrose, Iowa, in company with General Adams, Colonel Brewer, and others, and witnessed the installation of the officers of the Rising Sun Lodge of Ancient York Masons, at Montrose, by General James Adams, Deputy Grand Master of Illinois. While the Deputy Grand Master was engaged in giving the requisite instructions to the Master Elect, I had a conversation with a number of brethren, in the shade of the building, on the subject of our persecutions in Missouri, and the constant annoyance which has followed us since we were driven from the State. I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction, and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors, or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some would live to go and assist in making settlements and building cities, and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains."
"The exodus is a great historic fact. It would do violence to history to expunge this record. The Twelve, however, may have shaped the record thus to fit their own events. It is not even affirmed that Joseph gave such a revelation to the Church; but the historical landmark, pointing to the Rocky Mountains, is this prophecy to his Masonic brethren, on the 6th of August, 1842, just about five years before the feet of the pioneers emerged from the last mountain gorge into the beautiful valley of the Great Salt Lake." (Tullidge's Life of Joseph Smith, Lamoni edition, page 398-9).
In February 1844 a company was selected to go and explore Oregon and California (Utah then being a portion of what was called "Upper California,") for the purpose of selecting a site where the Saints could build a city. The minutes of this meeting say: "At a meeting of the Twelve, at the Mayor's office, Nauvoo, February 21, 1844, seven o'clock, p. m., Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith, Willard Richards and four others being present, called by previous notice, by instruction of President Joseph Smith on the 20th instant, for the purpose of selecting a company to explore Oregon and California, and select a site for a new city for the Saints."
Jonathan Dunham, Phineas H. Young, David D. Yearsley and David Fullmer, volunteered to go; and Alphonzo Young, James Emmett, George D. Watt, and Daniel Spencer were requested to go. These brethren were requested to meet with the council on the following Friday evening at the Assembly Room, and the history of the Prophet continues: "Met with the Twelve in the Assembly Room (Friday 23rd) concerning the Oregon and California Exploring Expedition; Hyrum and Sidney present. I told them I wanted an exploration of all that mountain country. Perhaps it would be best to go direct to Santa Fe. Send twenty-five men: let them preach the Gospel wherever they go. Let that man go that can raise $500, a good horse and mule, a double-barrel gun, one barrel rifle, and the other smooth bore, a saddle and bridle, a pair of revolving pistols, bowie-knife, and a good saber. Appoint a leader, and let him beat up for volunteers. I want every man that goes to be a king and a priest. When he gets on the mountains he may want to talk with his God; when with the savage nations have power to govern, etc. If we don't get volunteers wait until after the election."
On this and other occasions shortly following, these volunteered to go: George D. Watt, Samuel Bent, Joseph A. Kelting, David Fullmer, James Emmett, Daniel Spencer, Samuel Rolfe, Daniel Avery, Samuel W. Richards, Almon L. Fuller, Hosea Stout, Thomas S. Edwards, Moses Smith and Rufus Beach. There were also others. It is also a fact that on the evening of June 22, 1844, because of persecution, the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum and a few others crossed the Mississippi river with the intention of going to the Rocky Mountains, beyond the persecutions of their enemies. The following day they were accused of cowardice by false friends who declared that they were fleeing from the flock in time of danger. This falsehood so wounded the Prophet who had stood in the breach from the beginning to protect the Saints, that he returned to Nauvoo, and gave himself up declaring that if his life was of no value to his friends, it was of none to himself. Four days later he suffered martyrdom, sealing his testimony with his blood.
Mr. George Derry, himself a Reorganite, in the Saints' Herald for January 31, 1906, in reply to the editor who doubted that any such intention as a settlement in the West was contemplated by Joseph Smith, wrote the following:
"In reading the article in Saints' Herald, No. 46, 'The Editor at Home,' I got the impression that the writer was in doubt as to the correct statement of S. W. Richards that he was one of twenty-five men that were selected by Joseph Smith, Jr., to go out west to try to find a location for the Saints beyond the reach of mobs--a condition no doubt desirable in those trying times. S. W. Richards was president of the Church in the British Isles while I lived in London. I was president of a branch there and I was often brought in contact with other presiding officers as they met in council every month. The London conference was composed of forty-two branches, was often visited by the president of the mission and his counselors. I well remember S. W. Richards and others making the same statement at one of our monthly meetings, for they frequently dwelt at considerable length on the persecutions and trials of the Saints in that day. I believed the statements then--fifty-three years ago. I have no reason to reject it now. I have never heard it disproved. The testimony of S. W. Richards is as true in 1905 [See Era, Vol. 7, 927] as it was in 1853, that the company was organized. Recording the facts would not add to their _truthfulness_. I never heard that the company went west, but the company was _organized_, although conditions were changed.
"In reading of the wonderful manifestations given in Kirtland, I find the following vision seen by Joseph Smith: 'I saw Brigham Young standing in a strange land in the far South and West in a desert place on a rock in the midst of about a dozen men of color. He was preaching to them in their own tongue. I saw the twelve apostles of the Lamb that _now are_ upon the earth standing together in a circle, much fatigued. I finally saw them in the celestial Kingdom of God.'
"The conditions here stated very much resemble the conditions existing in Utah extending four hundred miles south of Salt Lake City. Here is certainly strong indication, if visions are reliable, that Brigham Young with the rest of the apostles would go to a strange land beyond the bounds of civilization. And in view of the mobbings and drivings they had to endure, is it any wonder that they should seek a quiet resting-place? Who shall say there was anything dishonorable in organizing a company by Joseph Smith, Jr., to seek out a quiet resting-place where they could be free to worship God in peace, none to make them afraid? The writer seems to have serious doubts as to the truth of the statements of the two men he met in Salt Lake City, because we have no record of the preparations made. I never heard it stated that the company did go west, because conditions changed, but the fact still remains--the company was formed, firearms and provisions were agreed upon, but as to what happened to change the program we have no record. But that the company was formed under the direction and choice of Joseph Smith is beyond doubt." As early as 1831, the Lord in a revelation (Doc. & Cov. 49:25) declared that "Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed." When Brigham Young therefore, and the apostles, lead the Church to the valleys of the mountains, it was in fulfillment of the word of the Lord to Joseph Smith, uttered first, in March, 1831, second in August 1842, and moreover, it was but carrying out the design of the Prophet Joseph Smith. When men accuse the Saints of fleeing to the west desiring to get beyond the borders of the United States, and of being disloyal to the American government, they not only place themselves at variance with the facts of history, but utter a miserable falsehood that merits only the severest contempt. In B. H. Roberts' "Succession," pages 109 to 126, a complete array of evidence regarding the exodus as outlined by Joseph Smith may be found.
2. In several of the revelations given to the Church in the beginning, the doctrine of common consent is made mandatory. In the revelation of April 6, 1830, the date of the organization of the Church--the Lord says: "The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders, by vote of the Church (branch) to which they belong, or from the conferences." * * * * * No person is to be ordained to any office in this Church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that Church." In section 26, verse 2: "All things shall be done by common consent in the Church, by much prayer and faith, for all things ye shall receive by faith." See also Sec. 124:144.
The Saints by vote accepted the Twelve Apostles as the presiding quorum of the Church at this special conference August 8, and again at the regular conference in October. This fact settled the matter of succession according to the revelations. These authorities and their successors, have been sustained at each conference of the Church, twice a year, and at the quarterly conferences of the various stakes four times a year from that day to this. The question of succession was, therefore, settled at Nauvoo when the assembled Saints voted to sustain the Apostles as the presiding quorum of the Church. The attempt of any party or parties, before any other body, to set up the Church and to ordain officers in conflict with the action of the Church on the dates previously mentioned, would be illegally done; just as much so as if in the municipality, state or nation, after the majority of the citizens had elected officers (and that almost unanimously) to serve them, a few disgruntled, defeated, candidates and their sympathizers should appoint another election, hold it by themselves and then declare that the regularly and properly elected officers were rejected and unauthorized to serve. Such a thing in the nation could be no more foolish or absurd than were the attempts of apostates to set up a _new organization_ of the Church from a handful of disgruntled office-seekers and their sympathizers. In one case there would be as much authority as in the other and no more.
But the contention of Reorganites has been, that the apostles assumed authority and powers that did not belong to them. That their duty was in the world and it was the prerogative of the high council of Nauvoo with William Marks and counselors, at their head, to direct the affairs of the Church. They say:
"That the Twelve usurped authority, and assumed privileges and duties after the death of Joseph and Hyrum which did not belong to them, is seen in the fact that their mission and calling was to travel abroad among the branches, and throughout the world, preaching, organizing branches, thus building up the Church outside of Zion and the organized stakes. That such was their mission and calling may be seen in the law of the Church which is further confirmed in the teachings of the martyr as follows:
"'The Twelve _will have no right_ to go into Zion, or any of its stakes, and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof, where there is a standing high council. But it is _their duty to go abroad_ and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the Church.' Joseph Smith's History, Mill. Star, Vol. 15, p. 261.
"After the death of Joseph, the Twelve superseded, by their arrogant, despotic acts, the standing high council at the stake of Nauvoo, of both which the late President Wm. Marks was president. And this usurpation thus begun, has been perpetuated till now; entailing darkness, discord, and misrule upon that faction of the Church." (The Successor pp. 14, 15).
Alexander H. Smith, presiding patriarch of the "Reorganized" church, and then one of their "apostles," made the following statement, March 29, 1885, in Salt Lake City:
"At the evening meeting his remarks were directed to the subject of the reorganization of the church, in which he showed why this measure became necessary, and how Brigham Young and the Twelve Apostles usurped the leadership. He quoted from declarations of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and the revelations to show what the organization and order of the priesthood were, and how, in case of death of the prophet, the word of the Lord, was to be given to the Saints. It was to be through the high council of the chief or center stake of Zion, in which jurisdiction the Twelve Apostles had no business whatever. Their work and powers extended only to matters beyond the borders of Zion. When the prophet was killed, therefore, the right and duty to rule fell upon the high council at Nauvoo, of which Elder Marks was the president. But Brigham Young and eight others of the Twelve, brushed this order of the priesthood to one side, and seized the reins of government themselves." (Saints' Herald, Vol. 32:342).
This argument set forth in the "Successor" and by Alexander H. Smith, which has been quite universal in the "Reorganized" Church, would not be quite so bad if it was not for a number of insurmountable difficulties and objections that stand in the way. In the first place the objectors fail to state that the powers of the high council and stake presidency at Nauvoo, were limited to the affairs of the stake, and outside of that they held no jurisdiction. Following the martyrdom, the Church was considering matters that affected the whole Church and not merely the stake at Nauvoo. The Twelve Apostles, therefore, assumed by legal right their proper place as the presiding quorum of the Church, and were so sustained. The revelation on Priesthood (sec. 107) says the Twelve Apostles, form a quorum equal in authority with the First Presidency (verse 24) and it was the duty of the Apostles, not only to ordain evangelical ministers (Patriarchs) but also to ordain and set in order all the other officers of the Church, (verse 58). We read that "God hath set some in the Church, _first_ apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers," etc. (I. Cor. 12:28) not _first_ high councils and presidents of Stakes. Neither are the duties of the Apostles confined to their labors out side of the Stakes of Zion.
3. If Jason W. Briggs joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints June 6, 1841, and resided in Wisconsin from that time till 1854, he cannot be considered a faithful member of the Church, "who desired to do the will of heaven;" for in remaining at Beloit during all these years he was going contrary to the word of the Lord given to the Prophet in 1841. On January 15th of that year, the Lord said through the Presidency, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith, and on divers other occasions, that the Saints scattered abroad should come to Nauvoo and Hancock county. Here is the command: "Let all those who _appreciate the blessings of the Gospel_, and realize the importance of _obeying the commandments of heaven_ * * * first prepare for the general gathering. _Let them dispose of their effects as fast as circumstances will possibly admit_, without making too great sacrifice, and _remove to our city and county_. * * * _This cannot be too forcibly impressed_ on the _minds of all_, and the elders are hereby instructed to proclaim this word in all places where the Saints reside in their public ministrations, _for this is according to the instructions we have received from the Lord_. (My italics.)
Again, on May 24, 1841, the Prophet said this gathering to Hancock and Lee counties was "important and should be attended to _by all who feel an interest in the prosperity of this corner stone of Zion_," and the Twelve Apostles a short time later, under the direction of the First Presidency, in an epistle to the Saints, said: "We say to _all Saints who desire to do the will of heaven_, arise, and tarry not, but come up hither to the place of gathering _as speedily as possible_." (My italics.)
Mr. Briggs visited Nauvoo once in 1843, but again returned to Wisconsin (Reorg. Hist. 3:737) where he lived until 1854, either defying this commandment or else ignoring it, thus proving he was not in harmony with the Presidency of the Church, and was one who did not "desire to do the will of heaven." If he had been faithful he would have gone to Nauvoo and remained there and assisted in the building of the Temple, but he did not do so, _was not diligent_ and went contrary to the "instructions" the Presidency had "received from the Lord." That the Lord would not choose such an unfaithful servant to build up His Church, give him revelations and cause him to stand as president pro tem., in the place of the Seed of Joseph Smith, which Reorganites claim Jason W. Briggs did, is obvious and requires no further comment.
4. I have been taken to task for saying that about this time Jason W. Briggs organized the Beloit branch for the Strang organization. Reorganites claim that the Beloit branch was raised up in 1842 or 1843--they don't know just when. For the sake of the argument we will grant that a branch was organized at Beloit in 1842 or 1843. If so, the faithful members of that branch removed to Nauvoo, agreeable to the commandment of the Lord previously quoted. Those who remained at Beloit, like Jason W. Briggs, were not faithful in that they did not "desire to do the will of heaven." And what has been said of Mr. Briggs, will also apply to them. Nevertheless, between 1846 and 1848, Jason W. Briggs organized the Beloit branch for Strang's organization, or else the Reorganite history is at fault. They say that in 1849 the Beloit branch was a Strangite branch, and remained with Mr. Strang until 1850 (Reorg. Hist., 3:737). Most of these members--and they were few--after they left the Strangites joined the organization of William B. Smith's organizations were without authority, so whatever power those unfaithful members had before 1844, they lost when they joined these apostate organizations of Strang, et al. For they could not take power or authority with them. This truth is expressed by an officer of the Reorganized Church who said, at Galland's Grove, Iowa, October 25, 1863: "Whenever individuals claiming authority under the church as organized by the first Joseph, become members of any faction, they immediately become divested of all authority except that received from that faction." (True Saints' Herald, Vol. 4, page 158).
5. In a vain effort to blind the readers of the Saints' Herald the "defender" tries to make it appear that I state here that Zenas H. Gurley left the "Reorganized" church; but from the way he writes it, it is evident that he doesn't himself believe that any such attempt was made. Zenas H. Gurley, Sen., died August 28, 1871, and in speaking of his _family_ in 1886--fifteen years later--it is obvious that the reference does not include him. That Mr. Gurley left them when he got on the other side, I have my reasons to believe, but at no time in the entire publication has he been confounded with his son of the same name. The son is mentioned _but once_ and then only incidentally and unavoidably in connection with the withdrawal of Jason W. Briggs from the "Reorganization." The _family_ of Zenas H. Gurley mentioned here consisted of his wife Margaret, sons Zenas H. (who was one of their "Apostles") Edwin H., and their wives. The attempt of the writer of the "defense" to throw dust in the eyes of the readers of the _Saints' Herald_ as he has done here and at many other points, is contemptible.
6. In the "defense" that appeared in the Saints' Herald, June 30, 1909, in answer to this, the statement is made that, "Those were received whose original baptisms had been performed either previously to 1844 or by men who held authority previous to 1844." This declaration helps their cause not at all, for whatever authority any of those men who were active in these various "factions" may have held, when in the Church, they could not take it with them, when they withdrew. Moreover, action was taken against them and they were divested of all authority by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from which their authority came. And what authentic proof have they to offer that these men had authority in the Prophet's day? Zenas H. Gurley, and Jason W. Briggs were confessedly, the two most active and most noted in this work of the "Reorganization." Mr. Gurley, it is true, was senior president of the 21st quorum of Seventy at Nauvoo before he left the Church, having been ordained under the direction of President Joseph Young. He claimed it was by virtue of this office in the Priesthood that he officiated originally in the bringing forth of the "New Organization," in 1852. (True Saints' Herald, Vol. I, page 56). Yet the president of the "Reorganization" himself repudiates that authority. (See section on Succession, subject _Properly Ordained?_)
It is claimed by the "Reorganization" that Mr. Briggs was an Elder in 1842, but that also is mere sayso, there is no authentic record for it. In proof of this I submit the following correspondence.
Salt Lake City., Feb. 21, 1905.
_Mr. Heman C. Smith, Church Historian, Reorganized Church_.
Dear Sir: The 3rd volume of the "History of the Reorganized Church," page 737, states that Jason W. Briggs was ordained an Elder in 1842. Will you kindly inform me who ordained him and the date of the ordination; also the authority on which the statement of the ordination is made, and oblige?
Very respectfully, JOSEPH F. SMITH, JR.
The reply dated Lamoni, Iowa, Feb. 26, 1905, is as follows:
_Mr. Joseph F. Smith, Jr._ _Salt Lake City, U._
Dear Sir: Yours of February 21, is at hand and contents noted.
Replying we will say we are not able to inform you as to who officiated in the ordination of Elder Jason W. Briggs to the office of Elder; nor can we give you the date any nearer than the year 1842.
The authority upon which the statement was made is the sworn statement of Elder Briggs in the Temple Lot Case. See Plaintiff's Abstract, page 393.
Very respectfully, HEMAN C. SMITH.
In the formation of the "New Organization" (now the "Reorganization") Mr. Briggs acted by virtue of the office of High Priest. Mr. Gurley says they had "two High Priests (Mr. Briggs being one of them) and one senior President of the Seventies." (The Seventy being himself). See True Saints' Herald, Vol. I, page 56. And in the "revelation" given by Mr. Deam it was stated that "It is my will that you respect authority in my Church, therefore let the greatest among you preside at your conference." (True Saints' Herald, Vol. I, p. 55). Mr. Jason W. Briggs was chosen to preside (p. 57). Where did he get his authority as a High Priest by which he had the right to preside? From James J. Strang. The Voree record of conferences, April 8, 1846, contains the following: "Resolved unanimously that Jason W. Briggs be ordained a High Priest. Ordination under the hands of President James J. Strang and William Marks."
7. In reply to this the Reorganite "defender" declares that I have not been fair to Mr. Briggs, that if he believed "even one section out of what was in excess of one hundred, both as to its genuineness and authenticity, it would necessarily follow that he believed to an extent in the mission of Joseph Smith through whom it was given, in that case Joseph F. Smith, Jr., could not truthfully use the language he did in describing Briggs' attitude toward the Standard works of the Church." * * * * Mr. Briggs denied the _plenary_ inspiration of the sacred books; but that is neither a denial of the authenticity, or of the partiality of their inspiration."
This is a mere quibble. Mr. Briggs denied the gathering of Israel; temple building and the ceremonial endowments therein; the salvation of the dead through the temple ordinances, which the Prophet Joseph said was "the burden of the Scriptures;" the law of tithing and of consecration, the only law by which Zion could be redeemed and built; the right of Joseph Smith or any other man to be a sole mouthpiece of God to the Church; the plenary inspiration and consequent absolute authority of the _Scriptures_; and the revelation on temple building. What else he did not believe is not stated; but _if_ there is any fundamental principle in the mission of the Prophet Joseph, or in the Scriptures that he _did believe_, surely he ought to have full credit for it!
8. The writer of the "defense" also very peevishly objects to the statement that Mr. Briggs was unstable to the last. He says: "If unstable and discontented _to_ the last, he could not have been stable and contented for a generation preceding the 'last'. If stable and contented for upwards of thirty years preceding the last (1886,) then Mr. Smith uttered an untruth, then he reflected a falsehood, when he said Briggs was 'unstable' and discontent 'to the last.' Why not tell the truth about him even though an 'apostate?' I see no excuse for reflecting on his stability any part of his life. If he stepped momentarily aside from his path in the early part of his life it was because his north star was obscured by a cloud he could not avoid; but as soon as the cloud disappeared and his guiding star was again visible, he resumed his pathway. No lack of stability there. * * * * Joseph F. Smith, Jr., should tell the truth, even about the dead."
Another quibble. This is rather a severe arraignment to come from a member of the "Reorganized" Church, which organization has been from its beginning so energetic in maligning the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, both living and dead, accusing them of every wickedness under the sun, even going so far as to accuse President Young of being an accomplice in the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith. (See R. C. Evans, in Toronto Star, of January 28, 1905, and Saints' Herald, Vol. 32:190.)
Well, let us see wherein we have wrongfully accused Mr. Briggs. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1841; failed to gather at Nauvoo when commanded; left the Church in 1846 during the exodus, "because he had no root;" joined James J. Strang in 1846 and remained with him until 1850; left Mr. Strang and followed William Smith until 1851; left William Smith and joined with Zenas H. Gurley in the "New Organization of the Church," which finally resulted in the forming of the "Reorganized" Church; remained with this organization until 1886, when he withdrew from it and died at Harris, Colorado, January 11, 1899, rejecting the work he performed in all these organizations. Moreover, he was "ordained" April 8, 1846 to the office of "High Priest" by James J. Strang, and declared that Strang was Joseph Smith's legal successor as this letter will show:
"The following letter was written in answer to one from Mr. Briggs of Wisconsin. His letter is too scurrilous to appear in print, therefore we publish only the reply of Mr. Bacon."
"Beaver Island, July 18th, 1851.
"Sir: Some time since I received a letter from you in which you claim to take the liberty to write to me, on the ground that our acquaintance had been such as to forbid personal enmities; and, therefore, you would carry out the precept: 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you;' and that I was less orthodox in the pretenses of Strang, etc., than some others. * * * * * I will not notice the argument, powerful as it may be, which you assert you have found upon examination, touching the letter of appointment. But what examination can this be, in which you have found out that you spoke that which was not true? _When you declared in public congregations, at your own fireside, and at the fireside of your neighbors_, that Joseph Smith wrote with his own hand the 'Letter of Appointment' (for you saw him in vision) and your surprise and faith in the 'knocking spirits' of New York, from the fact that they (the spirits) asserted the same?"
He represented the Beloit and Prairie branches of Strang's church at the conference held in October, 1848, (Voree Record) and traveled quite extensively for that cult from 1846 to 1850. When he joined William B. Smith he acknowledged him as Prophet and leader, was ordained by William B. Smith, an "Apostle." After he left William B. Smith and joined Zenas H. Gurley he claimed to have a revelation embodying the very things he repudiated when he withdrew from the "Reorganization."
To Mathias F. Cowley, in the presence of others, Mr. Briggs, a short time before his death in answer to the question whether the "revelation" he received in 1851 was true or not, said: "You know we learn by experience. I would not like to claim it to be a revelation now, but it is just as good as any revelation that was given to Joseph Smith."
Although he remained with the "Reorganized" Church for thirty years, if this record does not show that he was unstable of character at the beginning all the way through and "to the end," pray tell, what does instability mean!
9. The members of the "Reorganized" Church in the beginning laid great stress on the statement that the Prophet Joseph Smith was smitten by the shaft of death (D. & C. 85th sec.) for putting forth his hand to steady the ark of God, and that his successor should be the "one mighty and strong," the Lord should send, "holding the sceptre of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints, whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God."
Mr. Briggs in his "revelation" says the Prophet's successor should be one mighty and strong and one of his seed, and for years the claim was made that Joseph Smith the present head of the "Reorganization," was that personage. This is emphatically declared in the "Successor," (revised edition) and in various numbers of the "Saints' Herald" and other of their publications. This is from page 66, Vol. 17, True L. D. S. Herald: "God foreknew the character of sister Emma--that she would be faithful and true to him who had called her--and he _elected_ her to be the mother of the successor of the Martyr--the "one mighty and strong," who is "to set in order the _house_ of God, (i. e., the church; see I. Tim. iii. 15; I. Pet. iv. 17; Heb. iii. 6), and arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints; the man who shall lead them (the Saints) like as Moses led the children of Israel, (which was by direct revelation from God), and who, when sent of God, would find the Saints in 'bondage,' from which they should be 'led out' by power, (of God) 'and with a stretched out arm.'"
That's the way they formerly gave it; but they have been forced to recede because their president has not come up to this standard of the one spoken of in the Prophet's revelation. Therefore they have, since 1900, resolved:
"Whereas, we have received no divine communication authorizing any particular interpretation of the revelation before us; and as the Reorganized Church has never taken action upon the matter;
"Resolved, that we leave it an open question, to be decided as God may develop His purposes among us, while we acknowledge the leading features in it to be prominently characteristic of Jesus Christ." (From a letter by Joseph Smith of the "Reorganization" in my possession--J. F. S., Jr.)
This is rather a hard jolt to Mr. Briggs' "revelation."
10. The Reorganite "defender" says, "Also, we wish Mr. Smith to note, that the Lord in the same connection says, 'If my people will hearken to my voice,' they shall not be moved out of their place. Were they moved? Yes, they were cannonaded from Nauvoo, their enemies scattered them, some of them went to Utah. Was it because they "hearkened," or because they had not hearkened?"
He misinterprets the Scriptures. Thus do they read:
"And if my people will hearken unto my voice, _and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people_, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place" (verse 45). Who these _servants_ were that the Saints should _"hearken"_ to, the Lord informs us in verses 124 to 129 of this same section. "First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith, to be a Patriarch unto you, * * * I give unto you Joseph Smith, to be a presiding elder over all my Church. * * * I give unto him for counselors my servant Sidney Rigdon, and my servant William Law. * * * * I give unto you my servant Brigham Young, to be a President over the Twelve traveling council, which Twelve hold the keys to open up the authority of my kingdom upon the four corners of the earth, and after that to send my word to every creature; They are--Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, William Smith, John Taylor, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, George A. Smith." These were the general authorities who were to be _"hearkened"_ to. And the people hearkened to the Prophets Joseph and Hyrum Smith until their death, then the right of presidency fell on the shoulders of the Twelve. The faithful Saints "hearkened" to them and helped them to build the Temple. But the unfaithful rejected these servants whom the Lord in this revelation gave to the Church for the Saints to hearken to, departed from Nauvoo, refused to comply with the command of the Lord to build His house, and were consequently _moved out of their place_ in the Church into the "Reorganization." The moving "out of their place" did not refer to the location (Nauvoo) but to their place in the Kingdom of God; or, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And all who refused to obey this commandment and hearken to these _servants_ were removed from the Church. "But if they will not hearken to my voice, _nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed_, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. And it shall come to pass, That if you build a house unto my name, and _do not do the things that I say_, (i. e., hearken to "the voice of these men whom I have appointed") I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promise which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord." (verses 46-7).
11. The Reorganite response to this is as follows: "Not by any means, no such an indication. We have seen that they were diligent _in_ May 1842--not _up to_. The corner-stone of the edifice had been laid April 6, 1841, over a year from the date of the quotation. Room for a great deal of lagging between those two periods of time."
"The next quotation is from Hyrum Smith (no reference) at the April Conference, 1844, who speaks of, as Joseph F. Smith [Jr.], puts it, the 'willingness of the Saints to do the work as late as 1844.' Yes, but he does not say they had been willing afforded time _up to_ 1844. From May 1842, to April, 1844, (nearly two years), afforded time to be guilty of lethargy and to falter enough to incur the penalty the fiat of the Lord had fixed."
Such miserable, puerile, balderdash set forth as argument, is disgusting. Nevertheless it is characteristic of the "defense" writer who, throughout, argues in this fashion, failing to present the quotations he attacks for fear his readers will discover his dishonorable methods. He was afraid to present to his readers the quotation from the remarks of Patriarch Hyrum Smith and the quotation from the Prophet wherein he said:
"Never since the formation of this Church was laid have we seen manifest a greater willingness to comply with the requisitions of Jehovah, a more ardent desire to do the will of God; more strenuous exertions used or greater sacrifices made, than have been SINCE _the Lord said_, LET THE TEMPLE BE BUILT BY THE TITHING OF MY PEOPLE!"
The reasons he did not give these quotations is, that he knew his readers would see his trickery and deception. Then he goes on to argue that the Saints were not _diligent_ in September 1841, because the Lord said at that time: "Let the work of my Temple, and _all the works which I have appointed unto you_, be continued on and not cease, let _your diligence_ and _your perseverance_, and _patience_, and _your works be redoubled_, and you shall in no wise lose your reward." (My italics). Therefore, he argues, "they were not sufficiently diligent at that time," because they were commanded to _redouble_ their works. "That at least makes one positive break in Mr. Smith's chain of diligence."
Let us see: their works that were to be redoubled were not confined to the building of the Temple, and the context of this revelation (see sec. 127) proves that they were in favor with the Lord and had been _diligent_ and _patient_ and _persevering_ in their works. We have seen too, from the Prophet's own words, that "laboring with their might" meant _one-tenth_ of their _time_ or _means--a tithing_ of the people, which is all the Lord had asked of them, and this could be redoubled without any thought of lethargy or lack of diligence. There is no sense in the Reorganite "defender," being unreasonable, technical and peevish in this matter to win a point for a dilapidated cause. There is sufficient evidence given in this book; and it is not all that could be given by any means, to show that the Saints labored faithfully, diligently, and did all that the Lord required of them until they had completed the Temple; and that, too, while they were being harassed, persecuted, and in every way opposed by their enemies. All these facts the "defender" very carefully avoids.
Another thing. Who was it that failed to be diligent and to labor with their mights in building the Temple? Those scattered members who refused to go to Nauvoo when commanded, and afterwards,--if we may accept Reorganite testimony--became the nucleus of their Church! Those who fled from Nauvoo with James J. Strang, Sidney Rigdon and William Smith; forsaking the Church; refusing to assist in the completion of the Temple; opposing the building of that edifice; even prophesying that it would not be built, and blocking the progress of its erection! Notwithstanding the Lord declared to Parley P. Pratt in a revelation just following the martyrdom--which is accepted by the Reorganites as genuine--"Go and say unto _my people_ (not rejected) in Nauvoo, that they shall continue to pursue their daily duties and take care of themselves, and make no movement in _Church government_ to reorganize or alter anything until the return of the remainder of the quorum of the Twelve (not rejected). _But exhort them that they continue to build the House of the Lord which I have commanded them to build in Nauvoo_." (My comments and italics). Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, page 371). Notwithstanding this commandment, some forsook Nauvoo and refused to assist in building the Temple, and these were the ones who afterwards became active members of the "Reorganization." It will take more evidence than a lot of innuendos, accusations, and downright sophistry to prove that the Lord rejected those who labored diligently on the Temple, according to His command, and accepted those who rejected the Temple, and refused to assist in its erection.
12. Commenting on this the Reorganite "defender" says: "On page 23 he quotes from Sidney Rigdon, 'In the _Messenger_ and _Advocate_ for June, 1846;' and on next page (24) he says: 'At that time (June, 1846) the temple was not quite finished.' On page 24, not finished in June, and on page 23, finished on May 1st. On which page is he correct?"
If the foregoing criticism was written through ignorance, of course the writer may be excused, for one cannot be expected to furnish reasoning powers to men who lack the capacity to understand a simple fact. But it appears very forcibly that it is a deliberate prevarication, prepared purposely to deceive, and thus shall I look upon it, rather than lay it to his stupidity.
There is no contradiction whatever here, for I did not say, as he gives it: "At this time (June, 1846) the Temple was not quite finished." The reference taken from the letter of Sidney Rigdon, appeared in the _Messenger_ and _Advocate_ of June, 1846, along with a number of other articles _written_ in March, April and May, 1846. Any greenhorn, much less a man of wisdom and intelligence, knows that an article appearing in a monthly magazine is _always written before_ the date of publication of the magazine, and more was this the case in 1846, when the modern improvements and facilities were not to be had by a small country publication. Now, what I did say--which would have been apparent to his readers had he dared to publish the statement of Sidney Rigdon and my comment which proves the diligence of the Saints _up to_ the last--was this: "This article was written just shortly after the exodus commenced, and at _that time_ (i. e., shortly after the exodus commenced) the Temple was not quite finished, but it was finished before all the Saints left Nauvoo." (See context). This harmonizes perfectly with the date of dedication. Moreover, Sidney Rigdon had not been at Nauvoo since before the exodus commenced, which was in February, 1846, not June, and was not prepared to say just what the Saints did after that time.
13. In answer to the question, "when was the Church rejected with its dead?" the president of the "Reorganization" in an editorial in the Saints' Herald, February 17, 1905, said: "We are not aware that specific date or time, or any one specific act has been fixed upon as _the_ time and _the_ event when and why the Church was rejected." He then declares that the seed was sown as early as 1843 that finally grew and culminated in the "rejection of the Church."
Mr. Heman C. Smith quotes Lyman Wight (True Succession, p. 74) as follows: "We were to have sufficient time to build that house, [Nauvoo Temple] during which time our baptisms for our dead should be acceptable in the river. If we did not build within this time we were to be rejected as a church, we and our dead together. Both the Temple and baptizing went very leisurely, till the Temple was somewhere in building the second story, when Brother Joseph from the stand announced the alarming declaration that baptism for the dead was no longer acceptable in the river. As much to say the time for building the Temple had passed by, and both we and our dead were rejected together. * * *
"The Church now stands rejected together with their dead. The Church being rejected now stands alienated from her God in every sense of the word."
Mr. Heman C. Smith accepts this statement saying: "What but blind ambition to rule prevented others of the signers [Apostles] from recognizing the consequence so apparent?"
This was written by Lyman Wight in _1851_ and was an _afterthought_ on his part, for he continued to work in the ministry until the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, without one intimation by word or deed that the Church had been rejected in 1841. Moreover, if the Saints could get the structure of a building that cost a million dollars "somewhere in building the second story" in that time of distress and trouble, within _about six months_ they could not possibly have worked _very leisurely_, and the Prophet in 1842 praised them for their diligence and zeal. (See page 38).
Another Reorganite writer (A. M. Chase) in the Saints' Herald for June 20, 1906, declares that the Church was rejected in 1841: "When this appointment was ended by revelation, October 3, 1841, and the temple not completed, then all Israel should have known they were 'rejected as a church' with their dead."
It is quite evident that the sufficient time was up on this date, for they were to have the privilege to baptize in the river "while the time was passing" and this privilege of baptizing in the river terminated, October 3, 1841, thus proving that the time had come for baptisms in the Temple. It was not _finished_ and the revelation did not call for it to be _finished_, and at this time it was _built_ sufficiently for this ordinance to be attended to in the font in the proper way. For that reason the Lord transferred the ordinance of baptism for the dead from the river to the font of the Lord's House. That he had not rejected the Church is evident from this very commandment, for in it the Lord tells them to baptize in the font in the Temple, which He would not have done had they been rejected. If He had rejected them He would have stated so positively in a revelation to the Prophet, for he received several revelations _after_ this event and some of them were concerning baptism for the dead and temple work. (See sections 127 and 128). This commandment given to the Church in 1841 and other revelations subsequently, prove conclusively that the Lord would and did accept of the work for the dead in the Temple, without it being "completely finished," after the privilege to baptize in the river had expired. The thing for which they were to be rejected was the failure to perform these ordinances, _after the expiration of river baptisms_, and the Saints did not fail to perform the ordinances in the Temple.
14. The Reorganite "defender" at this point carefully avoids the evidence and argument presented here, and argues at great length attempting to prove that the Church was rejected because the Lord said He was "_about_ to restore many things to the earth pertaining to the Priesthood." The Lord said: "I deign to reveal unto _My Church_, things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulnesss of times." The "defender" says these things were not revealed, nor restored to the Church; that no revelations that were kept hid from before the foundation of the world, pertaining to the Priesthood in the dispensation of the fulnesss of times, have been revealed from heaven; therefore the Church was rejected with its dead. He says their Doctrine and Covenants contains no such revelations; that no such revelations are to be found in our edition of the Doctrine and Covenants; and, therefore, he concludes, no such revelations have been given to us, or the Church; so the Church must have been rejected.
He asks me to answer the following questions: "Now let us ask, Mr. Smith: Have any such revelations been received? Name them. Where are they and what are they?"
I have taken this matter up under the head of "Temple Building and Ceremonial Endowments Therein." All that is necessary to say here is this: If the Lord kept things hid from the world since before the foundation thereof was laid and now has revealed them to His people, they are not intended for the world and necessarily will not be found in the written word. Such revelations have been revealed unto the Church in the Temples of the Lord; but I shall _not_ name them. If the Lord saw fit to keep them from the world, yes, and from the dispensations past, He does not intend to reveal them to the world _now_; neither to the scoffer and the unbeliever in His works. Let our friend read Matthew 7:10-12, as it is given in the Holy Scriptures: "_And the mysteries of the kingdom ye shall keep within yourselves_; for it is not meet to give that which is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls unto swine, lest they trample them under their feet. For the world cannot receive that which ye, yourselves, are not able to bear; wherefore ye shall not give your pearls unto them, lest they turn again and rend you."
Succession in the Presidency of the Church.
* * * * *
An Address Delivered in the Weber Stake Tabernacle, Ogden, Sunday, April 28, 1907, by Elder Joseph F. Smith, Jr.
* * * * *
A short time ago I was invited to address the Saints from this stand on the subject of "The Origin of the Reorganized Church." It has been thought by some that it would be wise to continue the subject and therefore I have been invited to address you this afternoon on the question of Succession in the Presidency of the Church. In doing so, I desire it to be understood that I have no feeling of animosity towards those of a different faith; but so much has been said on the other side of this question, and so little in our defense, that I feel it important to deal with this subject.
The testimony on which members of the so-called "Reorganized" Church base their contention that Joseph, son of the Prophet Joseph Smith, should have succeeded his father in the Presidency of the Church is as follows:
1. That it is his right by the law of lineage--that the office of president of the High Priesthood descends from father to the first born son.
2. That it is his right by appointment of his father.
3. That he was properly ordained by those holding the authority to preach and administer in the ordinances of the gospel.
We shall take these questions up and consider them and will refer to the passages in the Doctrine and Covenants that are used by these people, together with other passages that they do not use, and we will see just how much there is in them in support of their position.
We will first consider the statement that the Prophet was to choose his successor. The passages referred to in support of this are in the Doctrine and Covenants as follows: Sections 28:6-7, 35:18, and 43:2-5. These I shall read to you. I cannot stop now to explain the circumstances under which these revelations were given, and take it for granted that you will consider that matter for yourselves. The first of these was given to Oliver Cowdery and I read, beginning with the 4th verse:
"And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter, to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the Church, thou mayest do it. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom; and thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the Church, for I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead."
You see, the Lord was to appoint another.
The passage in section 35 is as follows:
"And I have sent forth the fulnesss of my Gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him, and I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, IF HE ABIDE IN ME, AND IF NOT, ANOTHER WILL I PLANT IN HIS STEAD. Wherefore, watch over him that his faith fail not, and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things."
The third passage is as follows, beginning with the first verse:
"O hearken, ye Elders of my Church, and give an ear to the word which I shall speak unto you; for behold verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my Church, through him whom I have appointed unto you, to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.
"And this ye shall know assuredly that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him, FOR IF IT BE TAKEN FROM HIM, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead; and this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; and this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me."
These revelations, extracts from which I have read, were all given between September, 1830, and the first of March, 1831. At that time the Church was less than one year old, and was not fully organized with its various officers as we have it today. The quorums of Apostles and Seventies were not called till 1835--over four years subsequent to these revelations. When they were given the Prophet Joseph was young and inexperienced, and this law was laid down for the government of the Church as it existed at that time, as these revelations clearly indicate. You will notice from these passages, that the Lord was to choose another in the Prophet's stead in case of his removal through transgression, or for any other cause, during that incipient stage of the history of the Church. It was necessary at that time that some provision be made for the perpetuity of the prophetic office, in case that Joseph Smith should not prove faithful to the great trust in the days of his preparation and qualification, and before he became thoroughly seasoned and fitted for this important calling. In such an emergency the power of necessity must have been conferred by Joseph Smith on his successor, for he held the keys; therefore, the Lord declared that in case of the prophet's transgression or removal, he would still retain the power in that case to ordain his successor and to confer upon such successor, whom the Lord was to choose, the keys and authority that had been conferred upon him.
It must also be remembered that the Prophet Joseph, like the prophets of old and even the Savior Himself, had to continue from grace to grace and "increase in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God," and with him, as with the Master, "he received not a fulnesss at first;" but through trials, tribulations, and varied experiences, had to prove his worthiness before God in order that he might hold the keys of the kingdom. It was during this period of preparation that the expression in the revelations quoted were given regarding the appointment of a successor; but later the Lord revealed more of His will, and the Church was established with all the proper officers and quorums for its guidance and perpetuity, when death should remove its President. Moreover, while in these revelations the Lord prepared the means of a successor in case of the transgression or removal of Joseph Smith, later when he had proved himself and evinced before God through his faithfulness that he was worthy of the trust placed in him, the Lord declared that the keys of the kingdom should never be taken from him in the following words:
"Thus saith the Lord, verily, verily, I say unto you my son, thy sins are forgiven thee according to thy petition, for thy prayers and the prayers of thy brethren have come up into my ears; Therefore thou art blessed from henceforth that bear the keys of the kingdom given unto you; which kingdom is coming forth for the last time.
"Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall NEVER be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come; nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the CHURCH."
I take it as a natural sequence that this law which was given in March, 1833, superseded the provision made in 1830 and winter of 1831, wherein a law was given as a protection to the Church in case of the taking away of the keys from Joseph the Prophet--a contingency that did not arise. Later in the year 1835, when the Twelve Apostles were chosen and their duties defined, the Lord declared that they were equal with the Presidency as a quorum. That is, in case of the dissolution or destruction of the First Presidency of the Church, the Twelve should succeed to the presidency, and would thus act until such time and place as the Lord revealed that the First Presidency should be again organized. And whenever the First Presidency should be disorganized it would devolve upon the Apostles' quorum to set in order and direct the affairs of the Church. I quote from the one hundred and seventh section.
"And they (that is the Twelve) form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three Presidents previously mentioned.
"The Seventy are also called to preach the Gospel and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world. Thus differing from other officers in the Church in the duties of their calling.
"And they form a quorum equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named."
That is to say: that when the First Presidency is disorganized, the Twelve Apostles become the presiding quorum of the Church until the presidency is again organized, and during that time they are virtually the Presidency of the Church--the presiding quorum. If through some cause--which is not likely to arise--both these quorums should be destroyed then it would devolve on the Seventies to set in order the Church and they would become the presiding quorum. This is the law that God has revealed, and it is the only law and order of the Priesthood that He has revealed for the guidance of the Church in succession. You may search the Doctrine and Covenants from beginning to end and will find no other law of succession.
I think it must be conceded that the Apostles could not be equal in authority with the Presidency when the First Presidency is fully and properly organized. There could not be two heads--or three heads--of equal authority at the same time, for such a thing would lead to confusion. Hence the Apostles are equal, as has been stated in that they have power to assume control of the affairs of the Church when the Presidency is dissolved by the death of the President. This idea was clearly in the mind of the Prophet when on the 16th day of January, 1836, in a special council of the Presidency and the Twelve, he said--This is in the History of the Church, vol. 2, page 374; also the 'Reorganite' history, vol. 2, pages 11-12:
"I next proceeded to explain the duty of the Twelve, and their authority, which is next to the present Presidency, and that the arrangement of the assembly in this place on the 15th instant, in placing the High Council of Kirtland next the Presidency, was because the business to be transacted was business relating to that body in particular, which was to fill the several quorums in Kirtland, not because they were first in office, and that the arrangements were the most judicious that could be made on the occasion; also the Twelve are not subject to any other than the First Presidency; viz., myself, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, who are now my counselors; and where I am not, there is no First Presidency over the Twelve."
If in such a case, there is no First Presidency over the Twelve, then the Twelve must be the presiding quorum of the Church when the First Presidency is disorganized. Again, at a special conference of the Church held August 16, 1841, we are informed in the minutes that the Prophet addressed the Saints as follows--(T. S., 2. 521.):
"President Joseph Smith now arriving proceeded to state to the conference at considerable length, the object of their present meeting, and in addition to what President Young had stated in the morning, said that the time had come when the Twelve should be called upon to stand in their place next to the First Presidency, and attend to the settling of emigrants and the business of the Church at the stakes and assist to bear off the kingdom victorious to the nations; and as they had been faithful and had borne the burden in the heat of the day that it was right that they should have an opportunity of providing something for themselves and families, and at the same time relieve him so that he might attend to the business of translating.
"Motioned, seconded and carried, that the conference approve of the instructions of President Smith, in relation to the Twelve, and that they proceed accordingly, to attend to the duties of their office."
Therefore it was by right of divine appointment that the Apostles' quorum became the presiding quorum of the Church at the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
We will now consider this "law of lineage." From section 86, they quote to us as follows:
"Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you with whom the Priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers, for ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God; therefore your life and the Priesthood hath remained and must needs remain through you and your lineage, until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began."
But they fail to quote the eleventh and succeeding verse:
"Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the gentiles, and through the Priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it, Amen."
But to whom was this revelation given? Was it to the Prophet Joseph Smith alone? Is this a promise that his seed shall inherit the Priesthood? Certainly not. This revelation was given December 6, 1832, to the Elders of the Church. Therefore, when members of the "Reorganization" declare that Joseph Smith was one of these Elders and must be included with his posterity in the promise, we meet their argument with the counter statement, that the promise was also to Hyrum Smith, to Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and a large number of other Elders who never have been identified with the "Reorganization," nor have their children, and to them this promise is as sure as to the seed of any others. We must not lose sight of the fact that no man can lay claim to salvation, nor to the Priesthood of God, simply because he had a faithful father. The inference in this eleventh verse is, that if they are not faithful, then they will not receive the fulfilment of the promise. The posterity of Joseph Smith, like the posterity of any other Elder of Israel, will stand or fall on their own foundation which they have builded. And if the sons of Joseph Smith refuse to keep the commandments, the blessings will pass them by; but God's work will continue until the consummation of all things.
Again they quote from section 112 as follows:
"For verily I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation which ye have received, have come down from the fathers; and last of all being sent down from heaven unto you."
This revelation was given to Thomas B. Marsh and the Apostles in July, 1837; and while it is true that the Priesthood which these men held did come down from the fathers, it was not from father to son, from generation to generation, in the flesh. For the Priesthood, as we know, was conferred on the heads of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by Peter, James and John. Joseph Smith's grandfather did not hold the Priesthood nor his fathers before him for generations upon generations. So we must look at this in a broader sense than our friends are willing that we should do. What is meant by the Priesthood coming down from the fathers, and that it must needs remain through the lineage of the Elders of the Church? It means simply this, that the Priesthood has come down from those who held it in ancient days and has been conferred upon men in this day according to promise, because they are of the seed of Joseph of the tribe of Ephraim. For the Lord promised to bless the children of Ephraim in the latter days with His power. And when the Church was established it was with the promise that it was never again to be destroyed; therefore, it must needs be that the Priesthood remain through the lineage of the Elders of the Church. But it will be through those who are faithful, and not the unfaithful sons, and there is not one word in these passages that declares that the Presidency of the High Priesthood descends from father to son, and that it is the right of the son of Joseph Smith to succeed his father. Not one word!
They also quote section 110; to the effect that the generations were to be blessed through the seed of Joseph Smith. That passage is from a vision received by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, April 3, 1836, when they received the keys of various dispensations, and is as follows:
"After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham, saying, that in us, and our seed, all generations after us should be blessed."
Therefore they say that unless the sons of the Prophet Joseph Smith were in the true Church and held the Priesthood, this promise would fail. Not so, however. As I have said, if those sons are not faithful the realization of the promise will pass them by until some of the seed of Joseph Smith will stand up to receive the blessing. Furthermore, this promise was not made solely to Joseph Smith. Oliver Cowdery received the same blessing; but he left the Church and went into forbidden paths, and the promised blessing was taken from him and given to another. So it will be with the sons of Joseph the Prophet; if they repent not they shall not receive the blessing. The Lord has declared:
"Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled? I command and a man obeys not, I revoke and they receive not the blessing."
I stated that this blessing that was given to Oliver Cowdery was taken from him and given to another. In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 124:94-95, this is found:
"And from this time forth I appoint unto him (that is Hyrum Smith) that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my Church, as well as my servant Joseph.
"That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph, and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and Priesthood, and gifts of the Priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery."
Here the blessings of Oliver Cowdery are transferred to the head of Hyrum Smith, and, therefore, we can say with equal emphasis that in the seed of Hyrum Smith, as well as in the seed of Joseph Smith, all generations after him shall be blessed. For the Lord hath spoken it! Now, the seed of Hyrum Smith are not connected with the "Reorganization." However, in the words of another let me say:
"That the descendants of Joseph Smith, and those of Hyrum Smith, stand before God as do all other men, assured of honor or dishonor, exaltation or degradation, according to their individual works."
We are also referred to verses 56-58 of section 124, which, perhaps, is a passage on which they lay the greatest stress of all. I shall read beginning with the fifty-sixth verse, and ask you to follow me closely and I will read it as clearly as I possibly can:
"And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph, and his house have place therein, from generation to generation;
"For this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him.
"And as I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, in thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed."
You see it says, "this anointing have I put upon his head." What anointing does this refer to? Notice that it says, "as pertaining to my boarding house * * let my servant Joseph, and his house have place therein, from generation to generation." That is the anointing the term "this" refers to. It is the place in that boarding house, and has nothing to do with the Presidency of the Church. I have already shown to you that in the seed of Hyrum Smith as well as in the seed of Joseph Smith the generations after them were to be blessed; there is nothing in this promise indicating that the posterity of either of them shall have right to the Presidency of the Church.
But they say this blessing does not refer to the boarding house in which the Prophet Joseph paid stock for himself and generations after him; but that it refers to the blessing of his progenitors; that is, to the birthright which was given to Joseph--the right of the primogeniture. And considering this passage Heman C. Smith, in his "True Succession," has the following to say:
"Here then is the blessing given to Joseph to occupy in this position, and to discharge these duties and responsibilities. But some one objects that this is not called a 'blessing;' but is it not a blessing? However, to silence this caviling, we refer the reader to the blessing of Joseph Smith as pronounced by his father on the occasion of the ordination of the High Council. February 19, 1834, Joseph in his history says:
"'My father Joseph then laid his hands upon my head and said, "Joseph, I lay my hands upon thy head and pronounce the blessings of thy progenitors upon thee, that thou mayest hold the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, until the coming of the Lord. Amen.'" (True Succession, p. 44).
Then he goes on to say that this is the blessing referred to in the revelation I have just quoted from, and that it was the blessing of the primogeniture. The birthright of the first born. But Mr. Heman C. Smith is too hasty. Invariably in quoting this blessing given to the Prophet by his father and which is found in the Times and Seasons, volume 6, pages 994-5, they tactfully refrain from quoting what immediately follows. I will quote it from the Times and Seasons:
"He also laid his hands upon the head of his son Samuel and said, 'Samuel, I lay my hands upon thy head, and pronounce the blessing of thy progenitors upon thee, that thou mayest remain a Priest of the Most High God, and like Samuel of old, hear His voice, saying, Samuel, Samuel. Amen.'
"John Johnson also, laid his hands upon the head of his son Luke and said, 'My Father in heaven, I ask thee to bless this my son, according to the blessings of his forefathers, that he may be strengthened in his ministry, according to his holy calling. Amen.'"
This proves to us that the blessing of the progenitors was not necessarily the blessing of the first born; nor was it the right to the Presidency of the Church; for Samuel received a blessing similar to that of his brother Joseph, and neither of them received the birthright in these blessings. I shall now show you that it was Hyrum Smith who received the blessing of the first born--the birthright--and it was not the Presidency of the Church either, for they are not the same. However, before I show this I want to read a paragraph from the history published by the "Reorganized" Church. This is volume 2, and is "written and compiled" by Joseph Smith and his assistant, Heman C. Smith, their historian. On pages 462-3 they give the dying blessings pronounced by Patriarch Joseph Smith on the heads of his children. They introduce this account in the following words:
"In connection with the fact that Joseph's and William's children are identified with the Reorganization, while Hyrum's and Samuel's are in Utah, it is interesting to note that the children of the two former were to be blessed after them, while the children of the two latter are not mentioned.
"The account of this deathbed scene and the blessings, as given by Lucy Smith, the mother of the Prophet and widow of the Patriarch, is as follows:"
Here is the blessing of Hyrum Smith:
"My son Hyrum, I seal upon your head your patriarchal blessing, which I placed upon your head before, for that shall be verified. In addition to this, I now give you my dying blessing, You shall have a season of peace, so that you shall have sufficient rest to accomplish the work which God has given you to do. You shall be as firm as the pillars of heaven unto the end of your days. I NOW SEAL UPON YOUR HEAD THE PATRIARCHAL POWER, and you shall bless the people. This is my dying blessing upon your head in the name of Jesus. Amen."
There is the birthright!
And now Joseph's blessing:
"Joseph, my son, you are called to a high and holy calling. You are even called to do the work of the Lord. Hold out faithful and you shall be blessed and your children after you. You shall even live to finish your work. At this Joseph cried out, weeping, 'Oh! my father, shall I?' 'Yes,' said his father, 'you shall live to lay out the plan of all the work which God has given you to do. This is my dying blessing on your head, in the name of Jesus. I also confirm your former blessing upon your head; for it shall be fulfilled. Even so. Amen."
On first thought it is a little strange that the children of Joseph the Prophet are to be blessed after him, while that promise is not in the blessing of Hyrum Smith. However, let us examine the blessing given to Hyrum Smith a little more closely. The first sentence reads: "My son Hyrum, I seal upon your head your patriarchal blessing, which I placed upon your head before, _for that shall be verified_. And what followed was in addition to that former blessing so there was no need of repeating what that former blessing contained; but it was to be verified. I have before me that former blessing. This is a patriarchal blessing given by Patriarch Joseph Smith on the head of his son Hyrum, December 9, 1834, in Kirtland, Ohio, and is recorded in Patriarch Joseph Smith's book of blessings on pages 1 and 2, and is in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. Here is a portion of it:
"Hyrum, thou art my oldest son whom the Lord has spared unto me. * * * * Behold thou art Hyrum, the Lord hath called thee by that name, and by that name He has blessed thee. Thou hast borne the burden and the heat of the day, thou hast toiled hard and labored much for the good of thy father's family; thou hast been a stay many times to them, and by thy diligence they have often been sustained. Thou hast loved thy father's family with a pure love, and hast greatly desired their salvation. Thou hast always stood by thy father, and reached forth the helping hand to lift him up when he was in affliction, and though he has been out of the way, thou hast never forsaken him nor laughed him to scorn; for all these kindnesses the Lord my God will bless thee."
I promised that I would prove to you that when the Patriarch blessed Joseph, his son, with the blessing of his progenitors, that it was not the birthright, but that that blessing was reserved for Hyrum. Here is the proof, or at least a portion of it. The blessing continues:
"I now ask my Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, to BLESS THEE with the SAME BLESSING with which Jacob blessed his son Joseph, for thou art his true descendant, and thy posterity shall be numbered with the house of Ephraim, and with them thou shalt stand up to crown the tribes of Israel; when they come shouting to Zion. * * * *
"The Lord will multiply his choice blessings upon thee and thy seed after thee and thou with them shall have an inheritance in Zion, and they shall possess it from generation to generation, and thy name shall never be blotted out from among the just, for the righteous shall rise up, and also thy children after thee, and say thy memory is just, that thou wert a just man and perfect in thy day."
We see that Hyrum was blessed with the blessing of Joseph, and we learn from the fifth chapter of I Chronicles that through the transgression of Reuben, Joseph received the birthright, and he got it from his father Jacob. In the second verse we read:
"For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's."
Before we leave this chapter in Chronicles let me state that if Joseph received the birthright, and if the birthright and the Presidency of the Church were inseparable, then it should have been through Joseph that the Messiah should have come; but we learn that Judah prevailed above his brethren in this particular.
So you see Hyrum was blessed with Joseph's blessing, and in his dying blessing his father declared that it should be verified! I maintain that the birthright therefore was not the blessing of his progenitors that was given to Joseph, neither to Samuel Smith.
Our friends have solemnly informed us there was "no blessing to the children of Hyrum Smith." I desire to call your attention to a few expressions in the blessing which I have just read. The promise is here given that the posterity of Hyrum Smith shall be numbered with the house of Ephraim and shall stand up with their father to crown the tribes of Israel when they come shouting to Zion. Now, how can they crown the tribes of Israel unless they hold the Priesthood and are faithful men? Again, the promise is made to them that they shall have an inheritance in Zion and possess it from generation to generation, and their names never were to be blotted out. Now, how could this be unless they were members of the Church holding the Priesthood? For the faithless and unbelieving and the apostate was not to be numbered in Zion, but his name was to be blotted out. I think you will agree with me that these gentlemen in their preface to these blessings spoke rather hastily of the children of Hyrum Smith.
I have here another blessing. This was given by the Prophet Joseph to his brother Hyrum December 18, 1833, at Kirtland, and is also recorded in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery and is on file in the Historian's office, Salt Lake City. This blessing shows to us that the Prophet Joseph Smith recognized the fact that his brother Hyrum had received the birthright. He says:
"Blessed of the Lord is my brother Hyrum, for the integrity of his heart; he shall be girt about with strength, and faithfulness shall be the strength of his loins; from generation to generation he shall be a shaft in the hands of his God to execute judgment upon His enemies."
I will pause here. We are told that faithfulness shall be the strength of his loins. This is a figure. We all understand what it means. It means that the children of Hyrum Smith shall be faithful and from generation to generation shall be a shaft in the hands of God to execute His judgments. That is what it means!
But the blessing continues:
"And he shall be hid by the hand of the Lord, that none of his secret parts shall be discovered unto his enemies unto his hurt. * * * He shall stand in the tracks of his father, and be numbered among those who hold the right of Patriarchal Priesthood, even the Evangelical Priesthood and power shall be upon him. His children shall be many and his posterity numerous, and they shall rise up and call him blessed."
Here we have the Prophet acknowledging that his brother Hyrum should receive the birthright, for it was the right of Patriarchal Priesthood, even the Evangelical Priesthood that was conferred upon the first born, and not the office of President of the Church.
We learn from the Doctrine and Covenants that there are two offices in the Church that descend from father to son. One is that of the Bishopric, for upon Aaron and his sons the Lord conferred this Priesthood (section 68:16-18). The other is that of the Evangelist. This we learn in section 107, but our friends misconstrue this section and try to make it appear that it is the Melchizedek Priesthood that is meant.
I will read it and you may judge for yourselves:
"It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the Church to ordain Evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation.
"The order of this Priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made.
"This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner," etc.
Now, Hyrum Smith obtained this birthright from his father. The Prophet Joseph Smith declared in his blessing upon the head of his brother Hyrum that it was his right to walk in the footsteps of his father. Let's see what the Lord says about this: In section 124, verse 91, we read:
"And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William (Law) be appointed, ordained, and anointed, as a counselor unto my servant Joseph in the room of my servant Hyrum, that my servant Hyrum may take the office of Priesthood and Patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also BY RIGHT!"
The fact that the Lord has made two exceptions in the order of the Priesthood, and has so plainly indicated them proves beyond the need of controversy that the other offices do not so descend, for if they did, the Lord would not make special mention of these two. Another thing, if the first born son was to receive the office of Patriarch, that is sufficient proof that the Presidency of the High Priesthood did not so descend, for if it did one man must of necessity hold them both. Again we learn that this evangelical order came down from father to son and was instituted in the days of Adam. Let us see if the office of president has come down in that manner.
Reorganites sometimes quote to us the following from section 81, but for the life of me I do not understand why, since it destroys their position:
"Verily, verily I say unto you my servant Frederick G. Williams listen to the voice of him who speaketh, to the word of the Lord, your God; and hearken to the calling wherewith you are called, even to be a High Priest in my Church, and a counselor unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.
"Unto whom I have given the keys of the kingdom, which belongeth always unto the Presidency of the High Priesthood."
If the keys of the kingdom belongeth always to the Presidency of the High Priesthood, then Peter was President of the High Priesthood for the Lord conferred upon him the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:19), and he conferred them upon Joseph Smith (Doc. & Cov. 27 and 128 sections) even when we go back in ancient Israel we find Moses of the tribe of Levi ordaining Joshua the son of Nun as his successor, and not his own son; Joseph, son of Jacob, receiving the birthright, but his brother Levi receiving the Priesthood in Israel, and Judah the promise of the Messiah. Even in Book of Mormon times, Nephi was the younger brother of Sam, a faithful man, and Nephi ordained his brother Jacob, not his son. Alma who became the High Priest of the Nephite church was not a son of Mosiah who by right of birth became the king of the people. And thus we might go on. It is a peculiar law indeed when the Lord ignores it almost if not quite every time, and we may conclude that it is a man-made doctrine concocted to bolster up the claim of an aspiring set of men, not inspired of the Lord.
CHOSEN BY HIS FATHER.
We will now consider the claim that the president of the "Reorganized" Church was appointed by his father. They base their claim on the testimony of the following witnesses: (1) the statement of the president of the "Reorganization," (2) the statement of Lyman Wight, (3) the statement of James Whitehead, (4) the statement of John S. Carter, (5) and the statement of William Smith.
The president of their church declares that he was blessed in Liberty Jail, twice afterwards before the fall of 1843, and again publicly in the Grove at Nauvoo. (True Succession, p. 40). However, he is very careful in the wording of his statement and deals with glittering generalities. All he dare tell us is that the "promise and blessing of a life of usefulness to the cause of truth was pronounced upon his head." Lyman Wight declares that the Prophet blessed his son in Liberty Jail in 1839 as his successor. In another place he states that this blessing was given shortly after they came out of Liberty Jail. (See Succession, pp. 51-2). So you see that Lyman Wight contradicts himself. We will further examine his statement. Sidney Rigdon, Caleb Baldwin and Alexander McRae were fellow prisoners with the Prophet Joseph, Patriarch Hyrum and Lyman Wight in Liberty. If any such blessing or ordination, or whatever you desire to call it, had taken place at that time these brethren would have known something of it. Moreover, Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon were counselors to the President, and in such an appointment they would in all reason have been called on to assist in such blessing; an account of it would have been made on the records of the Church. In other words it would have been done in an official way, and not in a corner. These fellow prisoners with the Prophet and Patriarch, even including Lyman Wight, knew nothing of such an appointment, calling or ordination while in Liberty prison. No record of such a thing was made. Again, that such a blessing did not take place, either in or shortly after they came out of that prison, is quite evident from the fact that Sidney Rigdon, August 8, 1844, while making his claim to the "guardianship" of the Church, declared that there could be no successor to Joseph Smith. It is also quite evident that this expression was an afterthought on the part of Lyman Wight from the fact that on that memorable 8th of August, 1844, he voted to sustain the Twelve Apostles as the presiding quorum and Presidency of the Church, (History of the Church, for August 8, 1844). If such a thing had taken place Sidney Rigdon and Lyman Wight would most certainly have remembered it on that day. But they were not only ignorant of such a thing, but each took a course diametrically opposed to this alleged blessing. The entire lives of Caleb Baldwin and Alexander McRae also protest against the statement of Lyman Wight.
The testimony of James Whitehead is as follows:
"I recollect a meeting that was held in the winter of 1843, at Nauvoo, Ill., prior to Joseph Smith's death, at which the appointment was made by him, Joseph Smith, of his successor. His son Joseph was selected as his successor. Joseph Smith did the talking. There were present Joseph and Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, and some others who also spoke on the subject; there were 25 I suppose at the meeting. At that meeting Joseph Smith, the present presiding officer of the complainant church, was selected by his father as his successor. He was ordained and anointed at that meeting. Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, anointed him, and Joseph, his father, blessed him and ordained him and Newel K. Whitney poured the oil on his head, and he was set apart to be his father's successor in office, holding all the powers that his father held. I cannot tell all the persons that were present, there was a good many there. John Taylor and Willard Richards, they were two of the Twelve, Ebenezer Robinson was present, and George J. Adams, Alpheus Cutler, and Reynolds Cahoon. I cannot tell them all; I was there too."
Newel K. Whitney, John Taylor, Willard Richards and Reynolds Cahoon all remained with the Church and came with the Twelve to Utah. Their entire lives protest against this falsehood of James Whitehead. They deny that any such ordination ever took place. Ebenezer Robinson also denies it and after the martyrdom, he followed Sidney Rigdon, and later joined the Whitmerites. If George J. Adams was present on such an occasion, he soon forgot it, for after the martyrdom, he followed James J. Strang and acknowledged him as the legal successor to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and was the very man who crowned Strang "king" on Beaver Island. Alpheus Cutler also denied that any such thing as this occurred. I shall read his testimony. This is the statement of Abraham Kimball, his grandson:
Father Cutler said:
"I know that Brigham Young is Joseph Smith's legal and lawful successor, and always did know it. But the reason I am where I am, I could not be led but must lead. I have run my race and must meet my fate, and I know what my doom is, as I died once as dead as any one dies. And I went to the land of spirits, and saw the crown I should wear if I remained faithful and the condemnation I should meet if I failed. I begged to stay. I was informed I could not remain now, but must return and warn sinners to repent. And the first word I spoke on returning was to Sidney Rigdon, who was bending over me, 'Sidney, repent of your sins or you will be damned.' He then continued. 'I know that Mormonism is true. I know that Heber C. Kimball is your father, and Isaac's and he is a good man. Now I want you to take Isaac and return to your father, and remain true to Mormonism and never yield the point, for it will save and exalt you in the kingdom of God and all who will live it to the end of their days.' He then wept like a child, which caused my eyes to moisten. After recovering himself he continued by saying: 'Now my boy, I want to ask one favor of you, and that is that you will never reveal what I have told you today to the people I lead while I live as you boys are going away and I depend on the people for my support.' I promised him I would do as requested. He then released me to go visiting."
"Now, Mr. Wilcox (E. S. Wilcox) and friends, I am in a shape that I may be called to meet my God any minute, as disease is praying upon my poor body and I am near a skeleton, and my flesh may soon be devoured by worms; but I bear testimony to you before my God that the statement I have made of Alpheus Cutler's confession is correct as near as I can word it."--Saints' Herald, Vol. 52:255.
You see that each of these men named by James Whitehead give the lie to his declaration by their entire lives, but this is not all. Joseph Smith of the "Reorganized" Church denies it himself. While he states that he was blessed by his father, in his testimony under oath in the Temple lot suit, he said:
"No, sir, I did not state that I was ordained by my father; I did not make the statement. I was NOT ordained by my father as his successor--according to my understanding of the word ordained, I was not"--Plaintiff's Abstract, Page 79, Par. 126.
Thus the testimony of James Whitehead is worthless. John S. Carter said the Prophet chose his son at a public meeting in Nauvoo on a Sunday, "not long before Joseph was killed." (True Succession, page 48). Yet none of the people knew of this. Nothing was said of it during the trouble with Sidney Rigdon. And William Marks, president of the Nauvoo Stake, would most likely be present at the public meetings held on Sundays in Nauvoo. Yet he supported the claim of Sidney Rigdon to be the guardian when the latter declared that there could be no successor. It is a little strange that such an appointment could be made at a public meeting and all the people--just a few months later--be ignorant of it. Where were the people the day this public meeting was held? How much easier it would have been for Sidney Rigdon to have said, August 8, 1844: "I want to be appointed 'Guardian' until young Joseph grows up," instead of declaring that no successor could be appointed! How easy it would have been for Lyman Wight to have said, "I was present when Joseph blessed his son in Liberty prison, as his successor," or for James Whitehead and John S. Carter to have declared that young Joseph had been ordained as his father's successor in a public meeting in Nauvoo shortly before the martyrdom, and thus have reminded the people of it. How strange that such an important occurrence should slip the minds of the entire people on such a vital occasion? But they did not think of it. The truth is it was an afterthought on the part of these men.
Another thing which is peculiar: There were too many "appointments" and "ordinations" of this "successor" which makes the thing look suspicious. It is hardly reasonable to suppose that the Prophet, "appointed," "blessed," and "ordained" his son to this office every few days. If such a thing had taken place it would have been done in the proper way and manner in the presence of the presiding officers of the Church and a proper record of it would have been made and filed away. But the records of the Church are silent and it is quite significant that Lyman Wight, James Whitehead, John S. Carter and even Joseph of the "Reorganization" himself had "forgotten" this "appointing" or "ordination" at the most critical moment for it to have been mentioned--August 8, 1844.
William Smith stated that the right of Presidency was by lineage, and therefore he supported the son of the Prophet in 1850, or even in November, 1845. (True Succession, p. 17). Yet William Smith knew of no appointment or ordination of young Joseph, although he was one of the Apostles, and would have been sure to have known had such a thing taken place. In May, 1845, he stated that the Twelve were the proper authorities to lead the Church. (Times and Seasons, 6:904). He was excommunicated in the following October and it was not till after his excommunication that he advocated the right of young Joseph. Furthermore, William Smith claimed that he was himself ordained by his brother to lead the Church (Roberts' Succession, pp. 103-105.) And he also followed James J. Strang and accepted him as the "successor" until excommunicated from that cult.
Now, can we put any credence in the testimonies of such men as Lyman Wight, James Whitehead, John S. Carter, and William Smith? Most assuredly not.
That the Prophet did not choose his son is quite evident also from the following testimony given by reliable witnesses and at the proper time:
TESTIMONY OF PRESIDENT YOUNG.
At a meeting held at Nauvoo, August 7, 1844, he said:
"How often has Joseph said to the Twelve, 'I have laid the foundation and you must build thereon, for upon your shoulders the kingdom rests. * * * * I tell you in the name of the Lord, that no man can put another between the Twelve and the Prophet Joseph Smith. Why? Because Joseph was their file leader, and he has committed into their hands the keys of the kingdom in this last dispensation for all the world; don't put a thread between the Priesthood of God."--(History of the Church for August 7, 1844).
And in a letter written to Orson Spencer, January 23, 1848, President Young said:
"Joseph told the Twelve the year before he died, 'There is not one key or power to be bestowed on this Church to lead the people into the celestial gate but I have give you, showed you, and talked it over to you, the kingdom is set up, and you have the perfect pattern, and you can go and build up the kingdom and go in at the celestial gate, taking your train with you."--Mill. Star, 10:115.
TESTIMONY OF HEBER C. KIMBALL.
"Brother Joseph has passed behind the veil, and he pulled off his shoes, and some one else puts them on, until he passes the veil to Brother Joseph. President Young is our president, and our head, and he puts the shoes on first. If Brother Hyrum had remained here, he would have put them on. Hyrum has gone with Joseph and is still his counselor. The Twelve have received the keys of the kingdom, and as long as there is one of them left, he will hold them in preference to any one else."--Times and Seasons, 5: 664.
TESTIMONY OF ORSON HYDE.
"The shafts of the enemy are always aimed at the head first. Brother Joseph said some time before he was murdered, 'If I am taken away, upon you, the Twelve, will rest the responsibility of leading this people, and do not be bluffed off by any man."--Times and Seasons, 5: 650.
"Before I went east on the 4th of April last, we were in council with Brother Joseph almost every day for weeks, said Brother Joseph in one of those councils, 'There is something going to happen; I don't know what it is, but the Lord bids me to hasten and give you your endowment before the Temple is finished.' He conducted us through every ordinance of the Holy Priesthood, and when he had gone through with all the ordinances, he rejoiced very much, and said, 'Now, if they kill me, you have got all the keys, and all the ordinances and you can confer them upon others, and the hosts of Satan will not be able to tear down the kingdom, as fast as you will be able to build it up;' and now, said he, 'on your shoulders will the responsibility of leading this people rest, for the Lord is going to let me rest awhile.'"--Times and Seasons, 5: 651.
TESTIMONY OF WILFORD WOODRUFF.
"Has the Prophet Joseph found Elder Rigdon in his councils when he organized the quorum of the Twelve, a few months before his death, to prepare them for the endowment? And when they received their endowment, and actually received the keys of the kingdom of God, and oracles of God, keys of revelation, and the pattern of heavenly things, and thus, addressing the Twelve, (Joseph) exclaimed, 'Upon your shoulders, the kingdom rests, and you must round your shoulders, and bear it; for I have had to do it until now. But now the responsibility rests upon you.'"--Times and Seasons, 5: 698
And also President Woodruff's testimony given in 1892. (Succession, page 101).
BATHSHEBA W. SMITH'S TESTIMONY.
"I was a resident of Nauvoo, State of Illinois, from 1840 to 1846. I was married to George A. Smith, July 25, 1841, Elder Don Carlos Smith performing the ceremony. Near the close of the year 1843, or in the beginning of the year 1844, I received the ordinance of anointing in a room in Sister Emma Smith's house in Nauvoo, and the same day, in company with my husband, I received my endowment in the upper room over the Prophet Joseph Smith's store. The endowments were given under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who afterwards gave us lectures or instructions in regard to the endowment ceremonies. They are the same today as they were then.
In the year 1844, a short time before the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith, it was my privilege to attend a regular prayer circle meeting in the upper room over the Prophet's store. There were present at this meeting most of the Twelve Apostles, their wives, and a number of other prominent brethren and their wives. On that occasion the Prophet arose and spoke at great length, and during his remarks I heard him say that he had conferred on the heads of the Twelve Apostles all the keys and powers pertaining to the Priesthood, and that upon the heads of the Twelve Apostles the burden of the kingdom rested, and they would have to carry it."
BENJAMIN F. JOHNSON'S TESTIMONY.
At the eighty-seventh birthday anniversary celebration of Elder Benjamin F. Johnson, held at Mesa, Arizona, July 29, 1905, that Patriarch said:
"I speak of things of which I know I was the business partner of Joseph Smith, from my mission until the time of his martyrdom, was as familiar with him as with my brother or my father.
"Do I know that Brigham Young was the true successor of Joseph Smith? I knew it before the Prophet was martyred, for Joseph had made it known. I was present when the Prophet gave his charge to the Twelve Apostles, when in council, after solemn prayer, he rose up with the light of heaven shining in his countenance, related his experiences with reference to the beginning of this work, the responsibilities placed upon him, the persecutions and hardships through which he had passed. He declared that God had revealed all the truth necessary to save mankind, had given unto him the keys of the kingdom, and he had carried the weight and load thus far, and then, speaking directly to the Twelve, he said: 'I now roll off the burden of this responsibility upon you; I give unto you all the keys and powers bestowed upon me, and I say unto you, that unless you round up your shoulders and bear off this kingdom you will be damned."
EZRA T. CLARK'S TESTIMONY.
"Before I left Nauvoo, I heard the Prophet Joseph say he would give the Saints a key whereby they would never be led away or deceived, and that was: 'The Lord would never suffer the majority of this people to be led away or deceived by imposters, nor would he allow the records of this Church to fall into the hands of the enemy.' I heard Joseph say this, and I also heard him say that he would roll the burden of the Apostleship upon the quorum of the Twelve. I heard Joseph preach many times; heard him in the last sermon he ever delivered, bear testimony to the truth of the work that God had called him to; also that the Lord had never suffered him to be slain by his enemies, because his work had not been done, until a short time ago. He had now laid the foundation of this work, and rolled the burden of the Priesthood upon the Twelve; and having given them their washings and anointings, they would now bear off this work triumphantly, and it would roll on faster than ever before; and, if the Lord was willing to accept him, he was willing to go."--M. I. A. Era, Vol. 5: 202.
We will now consider the claim that Joseph Smith of the "Reorganization" was properly ordained. We must first know what constitutes a proper ordination.
First. It must be done by those holding authority in the Priesthood who have been properly appointed; otherwise the ordination is not valid.
Second. The ordination must be approved by the body of the Church and sanctioned by the Church, or it is not valid. For there is in the Gospel the law of common consent. Doc. & Cov. Sec. 20:63, 65; 26:2.
Third, If a man exercises his Priesthood contrary to the rules of the Church, or in unrighteousness, Amen to his authority.--Doc. & Cov. 121:27.
Fourth, "Again, I say unto you, it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my Gospel, or to build up my Church except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the Church that he has authority, and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the Church."--(Sec. 42:11).
The question is, will the ordination of Joseph Smith of the "Reorganization" stand this test? He was "ordained" under the hands of William Marks (mouth), Zenas H. Gurley, William W. Blair and Samuel Powers. Messrs. Blair and Powers never did belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so we will pass them by without consideration, and will take up the cases of William Marks and Zenas H. Gurley separately.
William Marks was president of the Nauvoo stake at the time of the martyrdom, but it is of a more recent period that we are considering him. Did he in 1860 hold the priesthood? William Marks was dropped from his position as president of the Nauvoo stake at a conference of the Church held October 7, 1844. (T. & S., 5: 692).
The whole Church voting not to sustain him, excepting two votes. This action was taken because he supported the claims of Sidney Rigdon and opposed the Twelve and action of the Church. In the December following he acknowledged his error in the following:
"After mature and candid deliberation, I am fully and satisfactorily convinced that Mr. Sidney Rigdon's claims to the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are not founded in truth. I have been deceived by his specious pretenses and now feel to warn every one over whom I may have any influence to beware of him, and his pretended visions and revelations. The Twelve are the proper persons to lead the Church."
After making this acknowledgment he was received back into fellowship, but did not again obtain his former position. Later he became dissatisfied and withdrew from the Church and was excommunicated. During the exodus he joined James J. Strang, and in 1846 was called to be a counselor to James J. Strang in his organization. (History of "Reorganized" Church, 3:723). For a time he was also president of Strang's "Stake of Zion," and also a bishop in his organization (History of "Reorganized" Church, 3:44 and 723). First a "bishop," then "president of the 'Stake of Zion,' and then "counselor" in Strang's presidency. In 1852 he became a member of Charles B. Thompson's church (Reorg. Hist., 3:55 and 3:724). In 1855 he left Thompson and entered into an organization with John E. Page and others (Reorg. Hist., 3:724); and on June 11, 1859, he was received into the "Reorganization" on his original baptism," "and they recognized his original ordination to the Priesthood, although he had been disfellowshiped by the church that conferred that Priesthood. After he was disfellowshiped in 1844 and later left the Church and wandered around through the organizations of James J. Strang, Charles B. Thompson and John E. Page, receiving "ordinations," and honors, and positions, in these movements, he was then received into the "Reorganized" Church on his original baptism. Now, I ask the question in all candor of any fair minded Latter-day Saint--Did he after this, in 1860, have any authority or Priesthood to confer upon Joseph Smith of the "Reorganization," much less the keys and position of president of the High Priesthood; keys that he never did hold?
Zenas H. Gurley, who also laid hands on the head of Joseph in that "ordination," was ordained to the office of a Seventy in Nauvoo in 1844 under the direction of President Joseph Young. Members of the "Reorganization" claim that he was ordained a Seventy in Far West, Mo., in 1838, but this is not the fact. The records in the Historian's office show that this man was ordained in 1844, as I have stated, and the following year--April 6, 1845--he was made the senior president of the Twenty-first quorum of Seventy. He left the Church as did William Marks, and therefore lost his Priesthood and had none to confer on the head of Joseph Smith.
Now the revelation clearly indicates that no man is called to build up the Church unless it is known to the Church that he has been properly ordained to that calling, by the heads of the Church. But these men were not so called. On the 8th of July, 1904, I wrote to Mr. Heman C. Smith, historian of the "Reorganization" as follows:
"In the biographical sketch of Zenas H. Gurley, in the third volume of your Church History, the statement is made that he, (Zenas H. Gurley) was ordained to the office of a Seventy at Far West, Missouri. Would you kindly furnish me with the date of this ordination, and also state the authority on which the statement is made, and oblige."
On the 15th of that month I received the following:
"Replying to yours of July 8, will say that the church record in the Recorder's office shows that Zenas H. Gurley was ordained to the office of Seventy at Far West, Mo., in 1838; day and month are not stated. This appears once in the hand-writing of Isaac Sheen, former church recorder, and once in the handwriting of Henry A. Stebbins, the present church recorder. Elder Stebbins' memory is that he received it directly from Elder Gurley; and it is presumable that Elder Sheen also had the information direct. It is upon the authority of this record that the statement was made in the biographical sketch."
You see they don't know very much about it, it is all presumption. I cannot conceive of any reason why Mr. Gurley would desire to falsify the record, and doubt that he ever made such a statement as the above. The fact is, however, that he was not ordained a Seventy in Far West in 1838, but in Nauvoo in 1844.
Now we will see how much faith they put in the "authority" of Mr. Gurley themselves. January 30, 1905, the following communication was sent to the president of the "Reorganization:"
"Will you be so kind as to answer for me the following questions: Is it a teaching of the 'Reorganized' Church that the quorums of Seventies are limited in number to seven quorums, or do you place a limit on these quorums at all?
"Do you recognize as valid any of the ordinations in Nauvoo in 1844-5, of men to the office of Seventy, under the direction of the Twelve Apostles and first council of Seventy, beyond those of the first seven quorums?
"In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, the custom is to ordain Seventies and organize quorums beyond the seventh, and as this practice has been opposed by some of the Elders of the 'Reorganized' Church, I was prompted to inquire if those Elders were in harmony with the doctrines of the Church."
On the 31st of January the following was received:
"There are no provisions as revelations as law to the Church for the organization of more than seven quorums of Seventy; for that reason we do not recognize as valid any of the ordinations in Nauvoo in 1844-5 beyond those of the first seven quorums; and our teaching is that the number is necessarily limited by direct provision of the law."
Thus you see, the president of the "Reorganization" repudiates the Priesthood of the very man who "ordained" him to the office which he pretends to hold. In conclusion let me add that these men did not hold the keys of the kingdom and therefore could not bestow them on another. The organization to which they belong is not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and all the laying on of hands that they can practice from now till dooms day, will not give one single soul the Priesthood of God, for that can only come through the proper channel--the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. An ordination in the "Reorganized" Church is of no more effect than is an ordination in the Methodist, Presbyterian, or Catholic church, for those officiating do not hold the Priesthood, and are not recognized of God. The Prophet did bestow the keys of the kingdom upon the head of Brigham Young and with him his associates, the Twelve, as we have shown with a multitude of unimpeachable testimony. If it was necessary for all the prophets from Adam to Peter, James and John to confer their keys upon the head of Joseph Smith (See D. & C., 110 and 128 sections), notwithstanding he has been ordained to the Priesthood by angels, then in all reason we must hold that it is necessary for him to bestow the same power and keys of the kingdom on others which the evidence shows that he did. The men who ordained Joseph Smith of the "Reorganization" were not regularly ordained and did not hold the keys of the kingdom. The Apostles constituted the second quorum in the Church and were sustained in their calling as the First Presidency of the Church by the vote of the people August 8, 1844, and again at the fall conference in October of that same year.
I call the attention of the Latter-day Saints once more to the fact previously mentioned (section 43:4-6) that there is but one at a time who holds the keys and the right to receive revelation for the Church, and that man is the President of the Church. And when the First Presidency is disorganized through the death of the President, then, according to revelation, the Twelve Apostles become the presiding quorum of the Church, and then, if the Lord has any revelations to give to His people they will come through the proper channels--the President of the Twelve. If we will keep this in mind it will be a key to us as the Lord intended that it should be, by which we may gage and weigh the pretended revelations of men. When we see this man, or that man, or perhaps that woman, or child, giving revelations as was the case in the "Reorganized" Church when Jason W. Briggs, Zenas H. Gurley, Henry H. Deam and the daughter of Zenas H. Gurley, received "revelations" bearing on the organization of their cult, we will know assuredly that these things are not of God. The Lord will never ignore the presiding officer and quorum of the Church, for he respects authority, as He requires us to respect authority. And it will always be a key to us, if we will bear it in mind, that whenever He has a revelation or commandment to give to His people that it will come through the presiding officer of the Church. This is plainly taught in the revelations.
If there is within the sound of my voice one soul who has not received a testimony of this work, and that Brigham Young was the right man in the right place, and the rightful successor, and so on down to the present day, then I say to you, when you go home go before the Lord in the spirit of repentance, and humility, and prayer, and ask Him in faith for that knowledge and He will hear your prayers. There is no reason why any man should be deceived, for the Lord has promised us that we shall receive if we ask and if we knock it shall be opened unto us. By keeping the commandments of God, all men may know of this work that it is true. If you will do this, then when these deceivers and pretenders, these men who delight in destroying your faith, come to you saying that you are in the dark, you can say to them, get behind me, for I will not be deceived by you. I know we have the truth, that this is the work of the Lord, that Jesus is the Redeemer of the world, and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and was called to stand at the head of this dispensation, and those keys and that position he will ever hold. He was not a fallen Prophet, but died a martyr to this work. May God bless you. Amen.
1. Serious objection is raised to this line of argument by the author of the "defense," who attempts to place me in a false position by imputing to me expressions that are not here conveyed. Had he been honest in his argument he would have fairly presented what I have had to say; but this he has studiously avoided throughout his reply. Here he argues that the provisions in these revelations regarding a "successor" were not limited in their scope, but were to be carried out during the life of Joseph Smith. I respectfully call his attention to an editorial in the _Saints' Herald_ of August 18, 1888. At that time Joseph Smith, his president, and William W. Blair, counselor, were the editors of the _Herald_. The article is called "_The Power to Perpetuate the Church_." After quoting these passages the author--presumably the editor, or his assistant, for it is an editorial--continues:
(d) "The authority to ordain is given unto the Church.
(e) " 'Verily, I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come; nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another; yea, even unto the Church.'
(f) "This language was addressed to Joseph Smith, the one who had been appointed of God to hold and exercise the gift to receive commandments and revelations for the Church, two full years after it was said through him _that if he fell away he should have power only to appoint one in his stead_. The saying is preceded by the statement that the sins of Joseph Smith had been forgiven him, and he should bear the keys from thenceforth.
(g) "Joseph Smith was taken away dying a martyr, of which death he was conscious and made preparation before it occurred. He was not accused of the Lord of transgression and the gift that had been conferred upon him taken from him; nor was there a command given him to appoint another in his stead because he had been unworthy and the Lord proposed to depose him from his office. _It was only in the event of the gift being taken from him that he was to so appoint another. This event did not occur_. * * *
"If Joseph Smith had been adjudged unworthy to longer bear the "keys" and exercise the "gift," which had been conferred upon him, he was under obligation to declare it, at the command of God, and to designate who the Lord had ordained to act in his stead. _The fact that no such declaration was made_, is strong proof that no command came from God, and _no one was so designated to act in his stead_ while he was still living. This proof is made stronger still by the declaration made by Joseph Smith just before his death: "I go as a lamb to the slaughter."
(h) "If Joseph Smith continued to abide in Christ, which all must admit that he did, in that case the gift conferred was to continue with him; not only in the present world, the life of the flesh, but the keys were to remain with him in the world to come. But that no harm could come to the Church, and the elders be put in possession of a key to the situation in case Joseph Smith should be taken, _they were told that there was no one other than he appointed until he was taken, and that when this should occur the oracles should be given to the Church_.
(k) "The command, 'Nevertheless through you shall the oracles be given unto the Church,' is equivalent to the saying, Until Joseph Smith be taken he shall continue to act in the office unto which he is called, and shall continue to exercise the gifts conferred upon him; but when he is taken, _then_ the oracles and the power conferred in them _are lodged with, or in the Church_, to be exercised and observed in accordance with the revelations and commandments given to and accepted by the Church, from God through him, up to the time he should be taken."
The writer then quotes sec. 87, paragraph 5, Reorganite Doctrine and Covenants, and continues:
(n) "This commandment was given to Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams. The latter died before Joseph Smith did; and whatever may have been the rights of Sidney Rigdon at the death of Joseph Smith, he was not permitted to stand in Joseph's stead nor act as his successor. This confirms the thought that Joseph was to continue in the exercise of the gift conferred upon him, during his life, and _was not to be compelled to appoint another in his stead_." (My italics throughout.)
2. Of this the "defense" says: "Our friend's idea is that 'the order of this priesthood;' refers to the office of evangelist in particular rather than to the Melchizedek priesthood in general, although the latter is under consideration not only on the page from which the quotation is taken, but also on the following page and on the two preceding."
It does refer to the priesthood of the evangelist, and only by a deliberate twisting of the Scriptures can it be made to apply to the Melchizedek Priesthood in general; it does not read that way. In the verses preceding the _offices_ of the priesthood have been defined also the duties of the officers. The paragraphs immediately preceding speak of the High Councils.
Verse 38 declares that the traveling High Council shall call upon the Seventy when they need assistance, then verse 39 says it is the duty of the Twelve to ordain evangelical ministers. From and including verse 40 to 57, is parenthetical and is explanatory of the office of the Evangelist. Verse 58 continues: "It is the duty of the Twelve, _also_ to ordain and set in order _all other officers_ in the Church. Only by misconstruing the revelation can this be given the appearance of applying to the Melchizedek Priesthood.
The critic says: "If it said 'this _office_ of the Priesthood,' there might be some shadow of reason in his contention, but it does not." Is our friend not aware of the fact that the office of the Evangelist (Patriarch) is spoken of as an order of Priesthood? The Lord said pertaining to Hyrum Smith: "That my servant Hyrum may take the office of _Priesthood_ and Patriarch which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right." (Sec. 124:91). And in the blessing of Hyrum by his brother Joseph at Kirtland: "He shall stand in the tracks of his father, and be numbered among those who hold the right of Patriarchal _Priesthood_, even the Evangelical _Priesthood_ and power shall be upon him." It is spoken of as an order of Priesthood, although a part of the Melchizedek Priesthood, just as the Levitical is spoken of as an order, included in the Aaronic Priesthood.
3. The "defense" writer says: "There is not a scrap of evidence that Moses confirmed upon Joshua a particle of Priesthood--merely the civil leadership" The Scriptures say: "And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; _for Moses had laid his hands upon him_; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses." (Deut. 34:9). He may, of course, quibble because it does not say he gave him "the priesthood" when he laid hands upon him; but surely he did not lay hands on Joshua merely to give him civil leadership. It was by the power of the Priesthood that he led Israel and commanded the sun and moon, he could have done it by no other power. In regard to the others mentioned here who were ordained, the "defender" is absolutely silent.
4. Of this argument and the testimony that follows the "defense" writer remains silent, the editor of the Herald, however, takes exception to the statement that Lyman Wight was at the meeting on the 8th of August, having refused to attend. He says: "Heber C. Kimball and George Miller came to his house, in her presence, (L. Wight's oldest daughter) with a summons from Brigham Young to appear, which he declined to do, declaring that the Twelve were usurping authority. This resulted in a personal encounter during which Miller was forcibly evicted from the room by Wight and Kimball followed without awaiting the enforcement of the order."
If Lyman Wight refused to attend that meeting then he is incompetent to say that the Apostles were usurping authority, for he knew nothing about it. Moreover, if this statement is true it merely shows the bitter apostate spirit manifested by Lyman Wight at that time. It was his duty to meet with the Twelve and if things were not going as he thought they should he had the privilege of stating his feelings; this he refused to do, if the statement is correct. His hasty unchristian-like action and sulking in his house does not redound to the credit of the man.
5. Blood Atonement and Origin of Plural Marriage, p. 104.
6. Here are a few items in the history of William Marks after he left the Church and was excommunicated.
At a conference held at Voree, April 6, 1846, "On motion of William Marks * * * James J. Strang unanimously called to the chair as President of the Conference." "On motion of Elder William Marks, it was unanimously resolved that this church receive, acknowledge, and uphold James J. Strang as President of this church, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator, with our faith and prayers."--_Voree Record_.
April 8, 1846: "The First Presidency presented William Marks for the office of Bishop of the Church and on motion of Apostle John E. Page, resolved unanimously (that he) be sustained."--_Voree Record_.
Aug. 26, 1849: "Brother William Marks was then ordained, consecrated and set apart as Apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ, a Counselor to the Prophet, one of the First Presidency, and a Prophet of the Most High God, under the hands of Presidents Strang and Adams."
"Brother William Marks was anointed, _ordained_ and set apart to administer baptism for the dead, under the hands of Presidents Strang and Adams."--_Voree Record_.
Previously, William Marks had forsaken James J. Strang, and January, 1849, James J. Strang had a "revelation" in which he said: "Behold my servant, William Marks, has gone far astray in departing from me, yet I will give unto him a little space, that he may return and receive my word, and stand in his place; for I remember his works that he has done in the time that is past. If he will return and abide faithful, I will make him great, and his possessions shall be great, and he shall possess a city, and his children shall dwell therein; a nation shall call him Blessed."
Well, he returned, and at the conference August 25, 1849, arose and said: "He ought to make a confession to the Saints for _not_ acting in his calling and also to ask their forgiveness. Gave a brief history of the course he had pursued after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph, testified that he had ever had the fullest confidence in the work of the last days, and knew it was of God, and was now determined by the help of God to go forth in the discharge of his duty and act in the place in which he was called by revelation of God through His servant James" [J. Strang].--_Voree Record_.
He was received back and sustained.
In the year 1852 he joined Charles B. Thompson's organization and was "_ordained_" "Chief evangelitical teacher of the School of Faith in Jehovah's Presbytery of Zion." Acting in this calling he wrote an epistle to "the School of Faith to all the traveling teacher's quorums and classes of said school, and Jehovah's presbytery of Zion." In that epistle he said:
"Well Brethren: I have lived to see the foundation and the platform laid, the principles revealed and the order given, whereby the great work of the Father can, and will be accomplished. _There is no doubt resting on my mind in reference to this work of Baneemy being the work of God, for I am fully convinced that it is the work it purports to be_, the work of the Father spoken of in the Book of Mormon, to prepare the way for the restoration of His covenants to the house of Israel. Now, all who are convinced of this fact ought to move forward and take a decided stand to labor for Jehovah and the benefit of Mankind. I intend from this time, henceforth, to labor in the cause and give my influence and substance to speed the work." (Harbinger and Organ, Vol. 3:52-3-4).
This is his testimony when with Thompson. He later organized a quorum at Batavia, and appointed James Blakeslee--a man who was excommunicated from the Church May 18, 1844, with Francis M. Higbee, Charles Ivans and Austin Cowles, for apostasy--chief, and Jehial Savage teacher. "After this he joined John E. Page's organization, forgetting how faithful he had promised to be in Thompson's organization, and later (1859) connected himself with the "New Organization." He was not one of the true fold, for:
"When he [the true Shepherd] putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers."--(John 10:4-5).
The Doctrines of Joseph Smith.
One of the charges made by the "Reorganized" Church against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is that when the Apostles assumed their place as the presiding quorum following the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, they departed from the pure Gospel as it was revealed in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the revelations and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and in the stead thereof introduced false doctrines that were never entertained by the Prophet and were foreign to the revelations given to the Church. This proves, they declare, the "apostasy" of the Church and its "rejection" and the few scattered members who refused to follow the leadership of the Apostles into forbidden paths, and to accept these "false doctrines" retained the Spirit of the Lord and were directed by Him to "re-organize" the "faithful" members into what was then called a "New Organization of the Church," the name subsequently having been changed to the "Re-organized" Church. They inform us--though it is most likely with some misgivings and doubts--that these "faithful" few who refused to follow after "false gods," or "bow the knee to Baal," still retained the Priesthood they had received from the "Original" Church and were "not rejected as individuals" although the "Church was rejected with its dead." Therefore, when these "faithful" souls tired of wandering around in the apostate organizations of James J. Strang, Sidney Rigdon, William Smith, Charles B. Thompson, and others, as sheep that knew not the Master's voice, and therefore followed strangers, receiving from these self-appointed leaders "ordinations" and honors, and after having testified that these false teachers were inspired of God and their organizations the work of the Lord--after all this, when they came together and formed the "New Organization" they were still the "faithful" who had not followed after "false gods" or "bowed the knee to Baal," and had retained power to "re-organize" the Church according to the original pattern, although the Prophet had not commissioned them.
In an address to these scattered "faithful" written shortly after the "New Organization of the Church" was formed, the declaration was made "that we believe that the Church of Christ organized on the 6th day of April, A. D. 1830, exists as on that day, wherever six or more Saints are organized to the pattern in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants." And, of course, _they_ are the Saints "organized according to the pattern"--if their word can be taken for the fact.
The president of their church states it this way: "The individuals who kept this covenant (the new and everlasting covenant of the Gospel) were accepted of Him and were not rejected, nor their standing before God put in jeopardy by the departure of others from the faith. Whatever office in the priesthood each held, under the ordinations ordered by the call of God and vote of the Church, would remain valid. They could as elders, priests, teachers, etc., pursue the duties of warning, expounding, and inviting all to come to Christ, and by command of God, could build up the Church from any single branch, which, like themselves, had not bowed the knee to Baal, or departed from the faith of the Church as founded in the standard works of the body at the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith."--(Saints' Herald, Feb. 17, 1904).
In their attempt to prove that the Apostles led the Church astray and introduced false doctrines, they have one standard by which the Church and the Apostles are measured; but in proving that _they_ are the "faithful who have kept the new and everlasting covenant" and have remained in harmony with "the pattern" their standard of measurement is quite another thing. The Church is to be judged by all the unauthorized sayings and doings of any or all of its members or ministers. Their church is to be judged "by its authorized doctrines and deeds, and not by the unauthorized sayings or doings of some or many of its members or ministers." (_See Blood Atonement and Origin of Plural Marriage, page 44_).
They even go so far in their own defense as to reject the teachings and revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, wherein they are in conflict with their expressed views and have not been received by them by vote of their church as doctrine; but they deny to us the privilege of being tried by our "authorized doctrines and deeds," and would force upon us, as a body, teachings of any member of the Church wherein they think they could make a point to their advantage; and this they have done in the courts of the land. We grant unto them the right to be tried by that rule laid down by the president of their organization, and claim the right to be tried by the same kind of standard. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not responsible for the sayings or doings of any individual in conflict with that which has been received as a standard by which the Church is to be governed. We are to be judged by _our_ authorized doctrines and deeds not by the whims or notions of men. But the ministers of the "Reorganization" have not been willing from the beginning to permit us to stand on this platform, but insist that we stand on the platform they have prepared for us.
The Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, including the Articles of Faith, have been received by the vote of the Church in general conference assembled as the standard works of the Church. On this platform we stand. The Church is not responsible for the remarks made by any Elder or for the numerous books that have been written. The authors of the words or books must be responsible for their own utterances. It is not to be supposed from this that all that has been written outside of the standard works of the Church is discarded and rejected, for these things are profitable as helps in the government of the Church, and to promote faith in the members. The point is this, if in these books mistakes are found, "they are the mistakes of men," and the Church as an organization is not to be held accountable for them, but for that which is received from time to time by vote of the Church, as it comes through the President of the High Priesthood. When the Lord reveals his mind and will it is to be received, "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same," but we are not to be judged by "unauthorized sayings or deeds."
The ministers of the "Reorganization" tell us that the Church has departed from the teachings received from 1830-1844 in many principles of vital importance, viz., the Godhead, marriage, the atonement, the location of Zion, Temple building and the ceremonies therein, and other things, in which they have strictly adhered to the original faith. We will take these subjects up one by one and see which organization it is that is following the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the doctrines of "the Original Church." First as to the Godhead.
The first article of faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reads as follows:
"We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."
We accept these three personages as the supreme governing council in the heavens. The Father and the Son have tabernacles of flesh and bones, and the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit. (D. & C. 130:22). We worship the Father in the name of the Son, who is the Mediator between God and man, and His is the only name given whereby man can be saved (D. & C. 18:23). We accept Jesus as the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, although we are all His offspring in the spirit, (Acts 17:28) and therefore His children. This is the teaching of "Mormonism."
We are accused by the Reorganites, however, of departing from the doctrines of the Prophet Joseph Smith in that we believe in a plurality of Gods. That we believe in a plurality of Gods is true, and if they do not--and they confess almost unanimously that they do not--then they are not following the teachings and revelations of Joseph Smith. If the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are separate and distinct personages, then they are three Gods, then they are plural, this fact Joseph Smith taught to the world. But our Reorganite friends quote from a purported discourse of President Brigham Young to the effect that Adam is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. But this discourse even if reported correctly--which we have reason to believe is not the case--is not the doctrine of the Church and has not been received by the Church. Joseph Smith the Prophet taught a plurality of Gods, and moreover, that man, by obeying the commandments of God and keeping the whole law will eventually reach the power and exaltation by which he also will become a God. And if Reorganites do not accept this truth, then they have departed from the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The doctrine of plurality of Gods, did not originate with Brigham Young, but was taught him by Joseph Smith.
In a discourse delivered by the Prophet in Nauvoo at the April conference of the Church in 1844, he said:
"I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.
"_God himself_ was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make Himself visible,--I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form--like yourselves in all the person, image and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.
* * * * * * * *
"I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of creation in the Bible--_Berosheit_. I want to analyze the word. _Baith_--in, by, through, and everything else. _Rosh_--the head. _Sheit_--grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, 'The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.' That is the true meaning of the word--_Baurau_ signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. _Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council_.
"I will transpose and simplify it in the English language. Oh ye lawyers, ye doctors, and ye priests, who have persecuted me, I want to let you know that the Holy Ghost knows something as well as you do. The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world."--(See Era, January, 1909).
In another discourse delivered June 16, 1844 the Prophet said:
"And hath made us kings and priests unto God _and His Father_: to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."--(Rev. 1:6). It is altogether correct in the translation. Now, you know that of late some malicious and corrupt men have sprung up and apostatized from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they declare that the Prophet believes in a plurality of Gods; and, lo and behold! we have discovered a very great secret, they cry, 'The Prophet says there are many Gods, and this proves that he has fallen.'"
"I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for the express purpose. I wish to declare I have always, and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a spirit; and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it? The text says--'And hath made us kings and priests unto God _and His Father_.' The apostles have discovered that there were Gods above, for Paul says God was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. My object was to preach the Scriptures, and preach the doctrine they contain, there being a God above the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ I am bold to declare. * * John was one of the men, and the Apostles declare they were made kings and priests unto God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It reads just so in the Revelations. Hence, the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. It is all over the face of the Bible. It stands beyond the power of controversy. A wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.'
"Paul says there are Gods many, and Lords many * * * But to us there is but one God--that is, _pertaining_ to us; and he is in all and through all. But if Joseph Smith says there are Gods many and Lords many, they cry: 'Away with him! Crucify him, crucify him!' Mankind verily say that the Scriptures are with them. Search the Scriptures, for they testify of things that these apostates would gravely pronounce blasphemy. Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are. I say there are Gods many, and Lords many, but to us only one; and we are to be in subjection to that one, and no man can limit the bounds or the eternal existence of eternal time. * * * Some say I do not interpret the Scriptures the same as they do. they say it means the heathens' gods. Paul says there are Gods many, and Lords many; and that makes a plurality of Gods, in spite of the whims of all men. * * You know, and I testify, that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods. I have it from God, and get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text. I will show from the Hebrew Bible that I am correct, and the first word shows a plurality of Gods; and I want the apostates and learned men to come here and prove to the contrary, if they can. An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. _Berosheit Baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits_, rendered by King James' translators, 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I want to analyze the word _Berosheit. Rosh_, the head; _sheit_, a grammatical termination. The _Baith_ was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth; _Eloheim_ is from the word _Eloi_, God in the singular number; and by adding the word _heim_, it renders it Gods. It read first--'In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods,' or, as others have translated it--'The head of the Gods called the Gods together.'
* * * * * * *
"The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the learning in the world to refute me. 'In the beginning the head of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth.' * * If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads--'_Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait Aushamayeen vehau auraits_,' 'The head one of the Gods said, 'Let us make man in our own image.' I once asked a learned Jew 'If the Hebrew language compells us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural? He replied--'That is the rule, with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible.' He acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe them. Hear and judge for yourselves: and if you go away satisfied, well and good.
"In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. * * * The word _Eloheim_ ought to be in the plural all the way through--Gods. The head of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take a (this) view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of all the Gods."--(See Mill. Star, Vol. 24:108, et seq).
This is the doctrine taught by Joseph Smith the Prophet at Nauvoo, and we accept his teachings as authentic. "But this was not published until after the Prophet's death," says our Reorganite objectors, and "Brigham Young tampered with history and made it read to suit himself, therefore we do not accept it." Nevertheless these two discourses were delivered before the congregation of the Saints and thousands of them heard the Prophet deliver these remarks, and _if he had not spoken as here represented_, the Apostles would not have dared publish his remarks within a month or two after they were delivered, for the people would have discovered the deception. But thousands of them have testified that these discourses were delivered by Joseph Smith. None can, without successful contradiction, say he did not deliver them. Again, the objection is raised, that these discourses were never accepted by the Church as doctrine, and therefore are not binding even if the Prophet did deliver them. Very well; the fact remains that the Church has accepted the Bible _as far as it is translated correctly_. Therefore, where it is not translated correctly we should receive the correct translation _when it is given_. The Prophet says the Hebrew word _Eloheim_ is plural and means Gods, and should have been so translated in the Bible throughout. Is that true? If you think not, why not accept the Prophet's challenge to prove to the contrary? If you cannot, then hold your peace about it being binding!
Well, my friends of the "Reorganization" we will give you another quotation from the Prophet Joseph Smith, _this time it was published_ before his martyrdom and that too by himself, for which he declared he stood responsible (See Times and Seasons, Vol. 3:710). This quotation is taken from the _Book of Abraham_ in the _Times and Seasons_ for March 1, 1842, which the Prophet says are some ancient records "from the Catacombs of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham, which he made in Egypt, called the _Book of Abraham_, written by his own hand, upon papyrus." These records were translated by the Prophet at Nauvoo, and in the MS. History of the Church prepared under his direction, he declares that they are absolutely the writings of Abraham, a fact which a reading of them will show. If you accept Joseph Smith as a Prophet, Seer and Revelator, you must, if you believe he translated the record, accept these writings, at least as the genuine translations of Abraham's record. There is no room for quibbling here.
This is from the Prophet's translation:
"Thus, I Abraham, talked with the Lord face to face, as one man talketh with another. * * * * *
"Now the Lord had shewn unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones, and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and He said, these, I will make my rulers; for He stood among those that were spirits, and He saw that they were good; and He said unto me, Abraham, thou art one of them, thou wast chosen before thou wast born. And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and He said unto those, who were with Him, We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an Earth whereon these may dwell; and we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; and they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate, shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate, shall have glory added upon their heads forever and forever.
Verse 23. "And the Lord said, who shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man, here am I, send me. And another answered and said, here am I, send me. And the Lord said, I will send the first. And the second was angry and kept not his first estate, and, at that day, many followed after him. And then the Lord said, let us go down; and they went down at the beginning, and they organized and formed (that is, the Gods) the heavens and the earth. And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate; because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the water.
24. And they said, the Gods, let there be light, and there was light. And they, the Gods, comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided from the darkness, and the Gods called the light day, and the darkness they called night. * * * * *
25. And the Gods also said let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters. And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse: and it was so, even as they ordered. And the Gods called the expanse heaven. * * *
26. And the Gods ordered, saying, let the waters under the heavens be gathered unto one place, and let the earth come up dry, and it was so, as they ordered; and the Gods pronounced the earth dry."
Thus it continues unto the end of the 32nd verse in each verse declaring that the formation of the earth was done under the direction of the Gods. This agrees admirably with the discourses delivered at Nauvoo in 1844, previously quoted. Is it true doctrine? It certainly was taught by Joseph Smith, so in accepting it, we are not so far out of harmony with his teachings on this subject as our enemies have stated. Here again we hear another objection from our Reorganite brethren. Say they: "This _Book of Abraham_ was never accepted by the Church in the Prophet's day as doctrine and it has not been so accepted by us; it is not a part of 'our authorized doctrines and deeds,' therefore it is not binding on us." Perhaps so, you may not have accepted it. That does not destroy the truth of this doctrine, which the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Church in his day _did accept_--the Doctrine of plurality of Gods. Do you deny this? If so then you deny the revelations of God given through the Seer and _you_ are out of harmony with the revelations given through that man. The Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants both have been received as the law of the Church, and these sacred books both teach the doctrine of plurality of Gods. First as to the Bible: I quote in each instance from the "Inspired Translation."
"For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward."--(Deut. 10:17).
Joshua says: "The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know."--(Josh. 22:22).
David the Psalmist says: "Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.
"Oh give thanks unto the God of gods; for His mercy endureth forever.
"Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His mercy endureth forever."--(Psalm 136:1-3).
Again he says in the 138th Psalm: "I will praise Thee with my whole heart; before the gods, will sing praise unto Thee."
But you say these were the heathen gods? but that will never do, surely the Lord is not the chief God of the heathen gods. Perhaps we may discover more light on the subject.
Again the Psalmist sings: "God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. * * * I have said ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High."
Say what you will of the other passages, but of this you must admit that the heathen gods are not mentioned, for this truth received the divine approval of the Redeemer Himself as He taught the apostate Jew: Hear Him:
"I and my Father are one."
"Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shown you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
"The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, maketh thyself God."
"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
"If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, _and the Scriptures cannot be broken_;
"Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?"
And the Jews were shocked, just as a Reorganite minister is, with this doctrine of plurality of Gods, and they sought the life of the Savior, but He was delivered out of their midst.
The Apostle John in his First Epistle and third chapter also teaches this doctrine:
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore _the world knoweth us not_, because it knew him not.
"Beloved, _now are we the sons of God_, and _it doth not yet appear what we shall be_; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
If the faithful, who keep the commandments of the Father are _His sons_, then they are heirs of the kingdom and shall receive of the fulnesss of the Father's glory, even until they become like Father. And how can they be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect if they are not like Him?
In the revelations given to Joseph which were accepted by the Church before 1844, the doctrine of plurality of Gods is also taught. From the "Vision" one of the grandest revelations ever given to man, I quote the following:
"And again, we bear record for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the Gospel of Christ, concerning them who come forth in the resurrection of the just: They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on His name, and were baptized after the manner of His burial, being buried in the water in His name, and this according to the commandment which He has given, that by keeping the commandments, they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power: and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true; they are they who are the Church of the firstborn; they are they into whose hands the Father has given all things; they are they who are priests and kings, who have received of His fulnesss, and of His glory, and are priests of the Most High after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son; wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God; wherefore all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs, and they are Christ's and Christ is God's and they shall overcome all things."--(D. & C., Sec. 76:50-60. Reorganite edition, 76:5).
How could this doctrine be stated plainer? This is the doctrine taught by the Savior to the Jews, by David in his psalms and by others of the prophets. Here it is stated emphatically that they who are of the Church of the Firstborn (i. e., those who keep the whole law) even "_as it is written, they are gods_, even the sons of God!" Where is it written? In this section; and in the words of the Savior wherein He says, referring to David's Psalm, "_the Scriptures cannot be broken_" (John 10:34-36). Doesn't this teach plainly the doctrine of plurality of Gods? Does it not teach the fact that the children shall, through obedience, sometime obtain the exaltation of the Gods themselves? If not what does it mean? Even a Reorganite dare not argue that these are the heathen gods!
Now, if they overcome _all things, then_ there _are not some things_ that they do not overcome. If these are to receive "of His fulnesss and of His glory, and if into their 'hands the Father has _given all things_, then the Father _has not withheld_ some of the fulnesss of His glory, or _some things_. And if they receive His fulnesss and His glory, and if _all things_ are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, _all are theirs_," how can they receive these blessings and not become Gods? They cannot. Yet this is doctrine received by the Church and taught by Joseph Smith the Seer.
Speaking of this same subject in the revelation on Priesthood (Sec. 84:35-40. Reorganite edition, 83:6) the Lord says:
"And also all they who receive this priesthood receiveth me, saith the Lord, for he that receiveth my servants receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father, and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom. Therefore, _all that my Father hath_ shall be given unto him; and this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood. Therefore, all those who receiveth the priesthood receiveth this oath and covenant of my Father, _which He cannot break, neither can it be moved_; but whoso breaketh this covenant, after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness of sins in this world nor in the world to come."
Here again we are given to understand that those who are faithful in obtaining the priesthood and magnifying their calling that they become of the Church of the Firstborn, receiving ALL THAT THE FATHER HATH! and this according to an oath and covenant that cannot be broken. Now, again, how are they to receive _all that the Father hath_, if something is withheld? And if something is not withheld, how can they receive all that He hath and not become as He is, that is, Gods themselves?
Here is another revelation given to the Prophet December 27, 1832. This is section 88 and verses 106-7 (Reorganite edition, 85:33):
"And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying, It is finished! It is finished! the Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone; even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God; And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of His might, and the saints shall be filled with His glory, and receive their inheritance and be _made equal with Him_" (i. e., with Christ).
How can the Saints receive of His fulnesss and be _equal_ with the Lord and not be as He is, that is Gods? This is not the doctrine of Brigham Young (for then in the eyes of Reorganites it would be blasphemy), but these are the revelations of the Lord to Joseph Smith. And these revelations have been received by the "Reorganized" Church as binding on them, yet they do not accept the truth these revelations contain. Therefore, they prove themselves to be those who have departed from the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
A word now, in relation to Adam. If all those, _as it is written--and the Scriptures cannot be broken_--are Gods unto whom the word of God came, and they are to receive all things, even the fulnesss of the Father's glory and be made equal with him, will not Father Adam be included among them? What do the Scriptures say of _him_?
In section 27 of the Doctrine and Covenants he is called, Michael, or Adam, the _father of all, the prince of all_, the "ancient of days."
In section 107:54-55: "And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the Prince, the Archangel,
"And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him, _I have set thee to be at the head_--a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and _thou art a prince over them forever_." Section 78:16: "Who hath appointed Michael your prince, and established his feet, and _set him upon high, and given unto him the keys of Salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One_, who is without beginning of days or end of life."
These expressions are from the revelations to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young did not receive them, although he accepted them.
This is what the Prophet said in a discourse in 1839:
"The Priesthood was first given to Adam, he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed, as in Gen. 1:26, 27, 28. He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael, the Archangel spoken of in the Scriptures. * * * * The Priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, _it is by Adam's authority_. (My italics.)
"Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael, he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.--(History of the Church, Vol. 3:385-7. See also Vol. 4:207-9.)
Now, if all the Saints who become members of the Church of the Firstborn are to become Gods--_and the Scriptures cannot be broken_--through the fulnesss of the Father's glory which they are to receive after they are "made equal with Him," will not Adam, who is appointed "_to be at the head_" as "a prince over them forever," be one of them? And as one of them he shall hold the scepter of power and rule over them under the direction of the Holy One of Israel, and they shall be in subjection to him forever.
This was taught by Joseph Smith, and in departing from it, the "Reorganized" Church has denied the revelations and teachings of the Lord.
THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER.
In connection with this subject, Reorganites also claim that Brigham Young went astray and apostatized because he declared that Jesus Christ was not begotten of the Holy Ghost. Reorganites claim that He was begotten of the Holy Ghost, and they make the statement that the Scriptures so teach. But they do err not understanding the Scriptures. They tell us the Book of Mormon states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. I challenge the statement; the Book of Mormon teaches no such thing! Neither does the Bible. It is true there is one passage that states so but we must consider it in the light of other passages with which it is in conflict. The Book of Mormon says:
"And behold, He shall be born of Mary at Jerusalem * * she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed, and conceive _by the power_ of the Holy Ghost."
With this Luke agrees:
"Then said Mary unto the angel; How can this be?
"And the angel answered and said unto her, of the Holy Ghost, and _the power of the Highest_. Therefore also, that holy child that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.--Luke 1:34-35).
In Matthew it reads "of the Holy Ghost" which evidently means "power of the Holy Ghost," to agree with the Book of Mormon and with Luke.
If Reorganites are correct then Jesus is not the Only Begotten Son of the Father, but the Son of the Holy Ghost. This will not do for it conflicts with the Scriptures. The Prophet taught that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost were three separate personages, and that Jesus was the Only Begotten of the Father. In the Book of Genesis, (Inspired Scriptures) Jesus is spoken of throughout as the _Only Begotten of the Father_ not less than _twelve_ times and in the Book of Mormon at least five times and a great number of times in the Doctrine and Covenants (see section 76:23, 25, 35, 57) and in these Scriptures He is spoken of as the Son of God innumerable times. Now, if He is the _Only Begotten_ of the Father in the flesh, He must be the Son of the Father and not the Son of the Holy Ghost. Yet, to be consistent, Reorganites must claim that Jesus is the Son of the Holy Ghost and not the Son of God the Father. Their alternative--if it can be called such--must be, then, the stand of Mr. William H. Kelley, the "president" of their "apostles," who in a written statement in answer to the question put to him by the writer, September 10, 1903: "You say that Jesus Christ the Son of God was begotten of the Holy Ghost. Is He the Son of the Holy Ghost?"
Mr. Kelley signed his answer as follows: "_I do not know_. Wm. H. Kelley."
Just think of this for a moment. Here is a man professing to be the Chief of the Special Witnesses for Christ, declaring that he does not know whether Jesus is the Son of God the Father or the Son of the Holy Ghost. And the Savior declared it so plainly that He was the Son of the Father, His Only Begotten, and was so acknowledged by the Father throughout the Scriptures. "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." John 17:3. Again we prove that _they_ have departed from the Scriptures and the teachings and revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Why do they make this error? Because they do not understand the Scriptures and fail to recognize the fact that all things that the Father doeth are done by the _power of the Holy Ghost_.
The question of Celestial (including plural) marriage is treated quite extensively in _Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage_ so it will be passed with a brief notice here.
We maintain with abundant authority that Joseph Smith the Prophet introduced Celestial Marriage, that is, marriage for eternity, into the Church. This fact has been admitted by many members of the "Reorganized" Church, notwithstanding they attack us on this doctrine and say it is not a doctrine of the Church. And while they attack us the better part of them hope it is true. What is there so terrible in the doctrine of the preservation of the family union in eternity? What right-living God-fearing man is there but would be glad to meet his parents, his wife and children, in the kingdom of God and know they were united never again to separate? While this belief is not taught in the creeds of men--including the Reorganites--yet there is a hope burning in the bosoms of many people that this doctrine _may_ prove true!
Well, it is a Scriptural doctrine, and it _is_ true, for the Lord revealed it to Joseph Smith. In the beginning, the very first marriage was one intended to last forever. Do you not believe it? I quote from the Inspired Scriptures:
"And I, God, created man _in mine own image_, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him, _male and female created I them_, And I, God, blessed them, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."--(Genesis 1:29-30).
This was a spiritual creation, man was created in the image of God, _male and female_, first in the Spirit, and told in that spiritual creation that they were expected to multiply and replenish the earth when they were placed upon it to subdue it. This we prove from the second chapter of Genesis beginning with the fifth verse:
"For I, the Lord God, created all things of which I have spoken _spiritually_, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth; for I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth.
"And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men, and not yet a man to till the ground, for in heaven created I them, and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air."
Verse 23. "And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten, that it was not good that the man should be alone;
"Wherefore, I will make an help meet for him."
Here the Lord declares that it is not good for man to be alone, and therefore he gave him an helpmeet, Eve; and this union was formed before _mortality or death came into the world_, and there is no indication that it was meant to have an end. If, therefore, it was not good for man to be alone before the days of mortality, will it not also be good for man to have a helpmeet _after_ mortality has passed away? Paul thought so, said he: "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, _in the Lord_."--(I Cor. 11:11).
Alexender H. Smith, "Patriarch" of the "Reorganized" Church, in a discourse that is very excellent in many respects, delivered July 1, 1903, and published in "Zion's Ensign" of December 31, 1903, taught the eternity of the marriage covenant as strongly and emphatically as it could have been done by an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The subject of the discourse was: "In My Father's house are many mansions," after enlarging upon the theme for some time, he concludes his discourse with some personal testimony regarding the last illness of his mother from which the following extracts are here produced:
"Pretty son the still, small voice of the Spirit said, "If your mother dies _she will be with her companion, Joseph_. If she lives she cannot but live a few short years at most of pain and anguish."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Just before she passed away she called, 'Joseph, Joseph,' I thought she meant my brother. He was in the room, and I spoke to him, and said, Joseph, mother wants you. I was at the head of the bed. My mother raised right up, lifted her left hand as high as she could raise it, and called, Joseph. I put my left arm under her shoulders, took her hand in mine, saying, Mother, what is it, laid her hand on her bosom, and she was dead; she had passed away.
"And when I talked of her calling, Sr. Revel, who was with us during our sickness, said, Don't you understand that? No, I replied, I do not. Well, a short time before she died she had a vision which she related to me. She said that your father came to her and said to her, Emma, come with me, it is time for you to come with me. And as she related it she said, I put on my bonnet and my shawl and went with him; I did not think that it was anything unusual. I went with him into a mansion, a beautiful mansion, and he showed me through the different apartments of that beautiful mansion. And one room was the nursery. In that nursery was a babe in the cradle. She said, I knew my babe, my Don Carlos that was taken away from me. She sprang forward, caught the child up in her arms, and wept with joy over the child. When she recovered herself sufficiently she turned to Joseph, and said. Where are the rest of my children? He said to her, Emma, be patient, and you shall have all of your children."
Then Alexander comments:
"Do you wonder why, as a son of that mother, I plead for those who believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and picture their beautiful home in the city of God, in the language that I do, when I realize that my mother occupies, or will occupy one of those beautiful mansions? _It may be imagination; but it is grand_; it fills me with a grand hope."
And so they do hope, notwithstanding the fact that they oppose us in this doctrine, and say that there is no union of parents and children in family union after death. They secretly hope, and pray in their very hearts, that after all in this we _may_ be right.
This subject is also found in _Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage_, therefore only a brief outline will be given here. Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to _atone_, as far as possible, in their behalf. This is Scriptural doctrine, and is taught in all the standard works of the Church. The doctrine was established in the beginning, that "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, _by man shall his_ blood shed to _atone_ as far as possible, in their behalf. For a commandment I give, that every man's brother shall preserve the life of man, for in mine own image have I made man."--(Genesis 9:12-13, Inspired Scriptures).
This was the law among the Nephites: "Wo unto the murderer, who deliberately killeth, _for he shall die_."--(II Nephi 9:35).
John says: "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. _There is a sin unto death_: I do not say that ye shall pray for it."
Every nation since the world began has practiced blood atonement at least in part as that doctrine is based upon the Scriptures. And men for certain crimes have had to _atone_ for their sins wherein they have placed themselves beyond the redeeming power of the blood of Christ.
But that the Church practices "Blood Atonement" on apostates or any others, which is preached by ministers of the "Reorganization" is a damnable falsehood for which the accusers must answer.
Members of the "Reorganized" Church inform us that Zion does not include Utah, but is limited to Jackson County, Mo., and the regions round about, Nauvoo being one of the "corner stones;" and when the Saints came westward they left the borders of Zion. Moreover, since Temples were to be built in Zion and Jerusalem, all the Temples we may build in Utah or the West are not recognized of the Lord on this ground alone, if no other.
We accept the fact that the center place where the City New Jerusalem is to be built, is in Jackson Country, Missouri. It was never the intention to substitute Utah or any other place for Jackson Country. But we do hold that Zion when reference is made to the land, is as broad as America, both North and South--all of it is Zion. If Zion is limited in its scope to the country surrounding Jackson County, it is indeed too bad that Nephi did not know that fact. What a glorious thing it would have been had there been a few Reorganites in his day to inform him of it. Then he and his people would not have fallen into the error of building Temples--like unto Solomon's at Jerusalem--away off down in Central or South America, but they could have placed one in Jackson Country, or the regions round about. It was really an unfortunate occurrence.
But to be serious. The Book of Mormon informs us that the whole of America, both North and South, is a choice land above all other lands, in other words--Zion. The Lord told the Jaredites that He would lead them to a land "which is choice above all the land of the earth." (Ether 1:42). We understand that they landed in Central America where their kingdom existed the greater part of their residence in America. When the Lord led the family of Lehi to this land, He said to them: "And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands." (I. Nephi, 2:20). It is generally understood that they landed in South America, and that their nations, the Nephites and Lamanites, dwelt in South and Central America during the greater part of their sojourn here. At any rate, the time of their civilization was principally spent in the South and not in the region now comprising the United States. This proves beyond the possibility of doubt that the choice land was South as well as North America, and while the City New Jerusalem, which the Book of Mormon tells us is to be built on this land that is choice above all other lands, will be in Jackson County, nevertheless, if one accepts the Book of Mormon, one must accept the whole hemisphere as the land of Zion.
At the April conference of the Church, held at Nauvoo in 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that the whole of America was Zion. (See Mill. Star, 23:280). His remarks are recorded in the _Life of Joseph the Prophet_ (Reorganite edition, page 503) as follows:
"But in the mighty sweep of the crowning sermons of his life we must not overlook the more miscellaneous gems and striking sayings. Here is one for America, like the sound of an archangel's trump:
"I want to make a proclamation to the Elders. You know very well that the Lord has led this Church by revelation. I have now another revelation--a grand and glorious revelation. I shall not be able to dwell as largely upon it as at some other time, but I will give you the first principles. You know there has been a great discussion in relation to Zion, where it is, and where the gathering of the dispensation is, which I am now going to tell you. The Prophets have spoken and written upon it, but I will make a proclamation that will cover a broader ground. _The whole of America is Zion itself_, from north to south, and is described by the Prophets, who declared that it is the Zion, where the mountain of the Lord should be, and that it should be in the centre of the land. When the Elders will take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible they will see it."
"AN ESOTERIC GOSPEL."
Another charge is that after the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, President Young and the Apostles introduced secrets into the Church, that they claimed to hold "_keys that the written word never spoke of, nor never will_." (True Succession, p. 122). All this, say they, is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the teachings of Joseph Smith, who always taught openly and not in secret. One of their defenders writing on this point quotes from the Redeemer as follows:
"Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, wither the Jews always resort; _and in secret have I said nothing_. Why ask thou me? ask them: behold they know what I said." (John 18:18-21.)
"But Brigham was afraid that people would ask his followers what he taught. In speaking of some who wanted their endowments, he says: 'Well, he gets his endowment, and what for? To go to California, and _reveal everything he can_, and stir up wickedness, and prepare himself for hell." (Journal of Discourses, 2: 144).
"Christ was not afraid of any revealments. He stood there among His enemies, defying them to find any fault with His teachings; but Brigham was afraid of what his followers might reveal of his doctrine and secret works. Did he represent Christ?" (Necessity for a Reorganization, p. 30).
Yes, Jesus taught the Gospel openly as far as the Jews were able to stand it; but it does not follow that he did not teach His disciples things that were not for the world! And at times He was constrained by His Father from teaching His disciples some truths. Why? Because of the hardness of their hearts they were not able to receive His teachings. In not revealing everything to the world, did Brigham Young,--aye, did Joseph Smith represent Christ? for Brigham Young was only following in the footsteps of the Seer! What was it the Savior said to Peter, James, and John, when they came down from the mount of transfiguration? Jesus charged them, saying, "Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of Man be risen again from the dead."--Matt. 17:8. (Inspired Scriptures) Why didn't he tell them to proclaim it openly from the housetops? Because it was not for the world! Jesus was in the habit of teaching the people in parables. On one occasion when He had thus spoken, His disciples came and said unto him:
"Why speakest Thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, _Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven_, but _to them_ it is not given. For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever continueth not to receive, from him _shall be taken away even that he hath_. Therefore speak I to them in parables; because they, seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand." (Matt. 13:8-12).
On another occasion Jesus said unto His disciples: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (John 10:16). But He did not tell them who those "other sheep" were. The reason He failed to tell them this interesting fact we learn from the Book of Mormon:
"And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, He said unto those Twelve whom He had chosen, ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph. And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you. And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem; neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment, that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land. This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them. That other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. And now, _because of stiffneckedness and unbelief, they understood not my word: therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them_." (III. Nephi, 15:11-17).
How different this is from Reorganite philosophy, according to their rule of faith, Jesus should have spoken boldly and openly and should not have withheld anything. Was Jesus "_afraid_ of any revealments?"
Paul says he knew a man, whether in the body, or out of the body, he could not tell, "How that he was caught up into paradise, and _heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter_." What made the words unlawful to utter to man? simply because in the hardness of his heart and unbelief, man was not worthy to hear them, he could not endure them.
The Book of Mormon is most emphatic on this point that there are "mysteries" that are not to be revealed to the unfaithful. This is from the Prophet Alma:
"And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, (Zeezrom), saying, It is given unto many _to know the mysteries_ of God; _nevertheless they are laid under a strict command, that they shall not impart only according to the portion of His word, which He doth grant unto the children of men; according to the heed and diligence which they give unto Him_; and therefore he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, _until he know them in full_; and they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the _lesser portion_ of the word, _until they know nothing concerning his mysteries_; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now, this is what is meant by the chains of hell."
It is because Reorganites have hardened their hearts that they have not received the _greater portion_ of the word, even the mysteries, and therefore they are, through their hard-heartedness and unbelief, captives of the devil and in danger of the chains of hell.
If the Lord places His servants under a strict command _not to reveal_ His word, "only according to the portion of His word, which He doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto Him;" and, therefore, they withhold some of those things from the world that have been revealed unto them does that make them _cowardly_? If so, not only Brigham Young, but Joseph Smith, yes, even the Son of Man Himself would be cowardly. No, the fact that they have refused to do this thing proves them to possess the greatest courage, for it has caused them to face persecutions, even death.
We are told that the Book of Mormon contains the fulnesss of the Gospel, yet the greater parts of the teachings of the Savior to that people are not yet revealed, because of the unbelief of the people. This is from III. Nephi, 26th chapter:
"And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the teachings which Jesus did truly teach unto the people; but behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which He taught the people; and these things have I written, which are a _lesser part_ of the things which He taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.
"And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, _to try their faith_, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things, then shall the _greater things_ be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, _unto their condemnation_. Behold I was about to write them all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, _but the Lord forbid it, saying, I will try the faith of my people_." (Verses 6-11).
The calling of Brigham Young a coward for withholding some things that the Lord has revealed to His Church, may be excused because of the ignorance of the accusers; but who dare presume to say the Lord was cowardly because He withheld the greater things from His people? And yet if you have done it unto one of His servants ye have done it unto Him.
"Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw: and there never was greater things made manifest, than that which was made manifest unto the brother of Jared; wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And He commanded me that I should seal them up; and He also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord. For the Lord said unto me, They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord." (Ether 4:4-6).
Joseph the Prophet was commanded to keep some things from going out into the world that had been revealed unto him and the Church. He also received revelations that he could not teach to the Church in the beginning, no more than Jesus could teach all things to His disciples. When he did reveal some of the "mysteries" there were many who left Him and denied the faith, just as they did when Jesus told His disciples He was the bread of life (John 6:66). "Many of them went back and walked no more with Him." The Prophet said at Kirtland, April 6, 1837: "If the Church knew all the commandments, one half they would condemn through prejudice and ignorance. (Hist. of Church, Vol. 2:477). A great many did fall away at that time, not being able to endure, and among them were the Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, one of whom afterwards set up a church of his own, declaring that Joseph Smith was a fallen Prophet, and rejecting all his commandments given after about 1835.
The Lord gave a revelation to the Prophet, March 7, 1831, at Kirtland (Sec. 45), in which He revealed many things to take place before His second coming, and at the close of the revelation He said:
"And now I say unto you, _keep these things from going abroad unto the world_, until it is expedient in me that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you."
When the Prophet Joseph gave his charge to the first foreign missionaries of the Church, Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Joseph Fielding, and others, he said:
"My instructions to the brethren were, when they arrived in England, to adhere closely to the first principles of the Gospel, and remain _silent_ concerning the _gathering_, the _vision_, (D. & C., Sec. 76), and the _Book of Doctrine and Covenants_, until such time as the work was fully established, and it should be clearly made manifest by the Spirit to do otherwise. (Hist. of Church, 2:492).
Was there anything in the doctrine of _gathering_, in the _vision_, or the _Doctrine and Covenants_, that Joseph Smith was ashamed of? Was he "afraid that people would ask his followers what he taught?" that he gave such a charge to these first foreign missionaries of the Church! Was he afraid, a coward? No, he was merely obeying the voice of the Spirit, for the people were not prepared to receive these things. Brigham Young was no more "afraid that the people would ask his followers what he taught," than was Joseph Smith, or even the Master Himself, when He commanded certain of His disciples to withhold some of His teachings from the world, until after His resurrection.
Now, our Reorganite friends have attempted to make considerable capital out of the statement of President Brigham Young, that there were "keys that the written word never spoke of, nor never will." In the light of the facts herein set forth, that "it is given unto many to _know the mysteries_ of God; _nevertheless they are laid under a strict command, that they shall not impart only according to the portion of His word, which He doth grant unto the children of men_; according to the _heed_ and _diligence_ which they give unto Him, and that things have been revealed to the faithful even to babes, that were "_forbidden_, that there should not any man _write them_," and that many of them have seen and heard "_unspeakable things_, which are _not lawful to be written_," (III. Nephi 26:16, 18). is it, after all, so unreasonable that there should be _keys_ that the written word _does not and will not_ speak of? Joseph Smith the Prophet held the "_keys_" of the _mystery of things which have been sealed_, even things which were from the foundation of the world." (D. & C. 35:18), which _mysteries_ it was given to the Saints to know, "but _unto the world_ it is not _given to know them_." (D. & C. 42:65). Again: "But unto him that keepeth my commandments, I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life." (D. & C. 63:23).
Now, how were these _keys_ and _mysteries_ to be kept from the world, if they were to be published to the world in the written word? And if the Saints through faithfulness are to receive the _mysteries_ of the kingdom, then they must be withheld from the world and from the unfaithful. How is this to be if they are to be published to the world in the written word? Therefore, when our friends of the "Reorganization" attack President Young because there were _keys_ not spoken of in the written word, which keys we have seen were held by Joseph Smith, they merely display their own ignorance and folly in raising the question.
TEMPLE BUILDING AND CEREMONIAL ENDOWMENTS THEREIN.
Another phase of this same subject is Temple work, which is so bitterly attacked by the Reorganites. They say:
"That as to the alleged 'temple building and ceremonial endowments therein,' that we know of no temple building, except as edifices wherein to worship God, and no endowment except the endowment of the Holy Spirit of the kind experienced by the early Saints on Pentecost day." (Book of Resolutions, p. 82).
They take the ground that the Temple work of the Latter-day Saints is contrary to the teachings of the Prophet, and it was not contemplated before the martyrdom that in the Temple of God anything of a secret nature should take place. Of course it is to be expected that the "Reorganization" knows of "no Temple building or ceremonial endowments therein," for they have rejected the "_greater things_" and therefore the Lord has withheld from them this knowledge "to their condemnation." This charge has been already answered in part in what goes before, but we will see what is in the revelations to Joseph Smith which justify still further the actions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the belief and practice of "ceremonial endowments," etc., in the Temples.
After speaking of baptism for the dead in the revelation of January 19, 1841, the Lord continues:
"And again, verily I say unto you, How shall your _washings_ be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name? * * * Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your _anointings_, and your _washings_, and your baptisms for the dead, and your _solemn assemblies_, and your memorials for your sacrifices, by the sons of Levi, and for your _oracles in your most holy places_, wherein you receive _conversations_, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for her glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, _are ordained_ by the _ordinance of my holy house_ which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name. And verily I say unto you, Let this house be built unto my name, that _I may reveal mine ordinances therein, unto my people_." (Verses 37-40).
Here are mentioned ordinances that were not had on Pentecost day that were to be had in the Lord's Temple, of which our self-confessed Reorganites know nothing, because God has not revealed these things unto them, and He will not for they have rejected these greater things to _their own condemnation_.
In the Book of Abraham (See Pearl of Great Price) published by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Times and Seasons in 1842, is given a fac-similie of hieroglyphics with an accompanying translation by Joseph Smith, as far as he was permitted to translate. These figures are numbered from 1 to 20. Here are some of these translations and comments of the Prophet: Figure 3.--Is made to represent God, sitting upon His throne, clothed with power and authority; with a crown of eternal light upon His head; representing also the grand _key-words_ of the Holy Priesthood, as revealed to Adam, etc." Figure 7.--Represents God sitting upon His throne revealing through the heavens, the grand _key-words_ of the Priesthood, as, also, the sign of the Holy Ghost unto Abraham, in the form of a dove. Figure 8.--_Contains writing that cannot be revealed unto the world, but is to be had in the Holy Temple of God_. Figures 9, 10, 11, the Prophet says "Ought not to be revealed at the present time; if the world can find out these numbers, so let it be. Amen." Figures 12, to 20, "Will be given in the own due time of the Lord." Then the Prophet concludes: "The above translation is given as far as we have any right to give, at the present time."
Here, then, we find things that were to be taught to the Saints in the Temple of the Lord, but were not to be revealed to the world; for they are sacred and holy, and can only be had in the Temple of God, for the Lord through Joseph Smith declared it.
Again, in verse 28 (see 124), the Lord says: "For there is not a place found on earth that he may come and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the _fulnesss of the Priesthood_." Therefore, we learn that only in the Temple of the Lord can the fulnesss of the Priesthood be received by His people.
These facts place our Reorganite brethren in a rather unenviable light, for they are opposing through ignorance and unbelief, and the hardness of their hearts, the revelations of the Lord on Temple work as it was revealed to Joseph Smith, and by him to others, and from them to the Church.
"Hold on," say they, "not so fast, the Lord said He was _about_ to restore these things, but it depended on the faithfulness of the Saints, and Joseph Smith died before the Temple was built, therefore, since these things could only be revealed to the people _in the Temple_ they were not revealed."
"Have any such revelations been received? Name them. Where are they and what are they? Our Doctrine and Covenants contains only two sections that were given between that time and the time the Saints left Nauvoo, and they are not revelations, but letters of Joseph Smith containing items of revelation pertaining to baptism for the dead. The Utah Doctrine and Covenants contains nothing that could be accepted as a response, an answer, to the promise in full."
Now, it's our turn to cry "Hold on, not so fast." We will examine the word of the Lord: In verse 41 (sec. 124) He says: "For I deign to reveal _unto my Church_, things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, _things that pertain to the dispensation_ of the fulnesss of times." Well, if we were rejected, and _they have not received_ the revelations of these things the Lord was _about to reveal to His Church_, then it stands to reason that _they are not His Church_ or they would have received them. For the word of the Lord cannot be broken. They testify to us that _they have not_ received these things.
In section 127:8, the Lord again affirms: "For _I am about to restore many things_ to the earth, pertaining to the Priesthood, saith the Lord of Hosts." Yes, He was about to do it, but nearly seventy years have passed away and the "Reorganization" confesses that they have not been revealed to them yet! Then they are not the Church! This is obvious.
Elijah said the time had fully come (Sec. 110) and the Prophet said "the earth will be smitten with a curse, unless there is a welding link of some kind or other, between the fathers and the children * * * it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulnesss of times * * that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of _dispensations_, and _keys_, and _powers_, and _glories_ should take place and _be revealed_ from the days of Adam even to the present time; and not only this, but those things which _never have been revealed from the foundation of the world_, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this the dispensation of the fulnesss of times." (Sec. 128:18).
Here is a point of considerable interest that our friends have overlooked. The Lord says: "_And I will show unto my servant Joseph ALL THINGS pertaining to this house, and the Priesthood thereof_; and the place whereon it shall be built. (Sec. 124:42). Evidently the Lord was going to show him these things before the Temple was built. Did the Lord keep His word? Our Reorganite friends say not, that these things _were not_ revealed. But they were revealed to Joseph Smith _and he revealed them to others_; not the unfaithful who would receive only the "lesser portion of the word" and were therefore denied the greater things, but he taught them to the Apostles and others. Now, the Lord did not say that Joseph Smith could not receive the fulnesss of the Priesthood _out side of the Temple_, neither that he should not confer the same Priesthood upon others, to the contrary the Lord said He would reveal these things to Joseph Smith, but it was _His people, His Church_ that could not receive them outside of the Temple of the Lord! and unto them He was going to reveal them _in_ the Temple, but unto Joseph Smith He would show _all things_ pertaining to His house, and _the Priesthood thereof_.
It is unnecessary here to quote the evidence proving that Joseph Smith received _all things_ pertaining to the Priesthood of the Lord's house and conferred them on the heads of the Apostles, for that is given in another place, and has often been recorded. It is, therefore, sufficient to say that shortly before his death he conferred upon the heads of the Apostles all the _keys and Priesthood_ the Lord had given him, and this was done by command of the Lord. We will merely refer to the testimony of Orson Hyde which with other testimonies is given in this book. Said Brother Hyde:
"Before I went east on the 4th of April last, we were in council with Brother Joseph almost every day for weeks, said Brother Joseph in one of those councils, 'There is something going to happen; I don't know what it is, but the Lord bids me to hasten and give you your endowment before the Temple is finished.' He conducted us through every ordinance of the Holy Priesthood, and when he had gone through with all the ordinances, he rejoiced very much, and said, 'Now, if they kill me, you have got all the keys, and all the ordinances, and you can confer them upon others, and the hosts of Satan will not be able to tear down the kingdom, as fast as you will be able to build it up.'" (Times and Seasons, 5:651).
"Have any such revelations been received? they cry. Name them. Where are they and what are they?" Yes, these revelations have been received. They were revealed to Joseph Smith and from him to the Apostles, and by the Apostles they have been given to the faithful Saints in the Temples of the Lord; both at Nauvoo and here in Utah. "_Name them?_" No, I shall not name them nor tell what they are. Why? because if the Lord kept some things hid from the world since before the foundation of the world, pertaining to the dispensation of the fulnesss of times, and has revealed them now unto _His Church_, I have no authority to reveal them to the world. Moreover, I am--like every other member of the Church--"laid under a strict command, not to impart only according to the portion of His word, which He doth grant unto the children of men." Should I reveal these things, because of the hardness of your hearts you would not receive them, therefore, you shall receive but the lesser portion of the word, to your condemnation. If you will not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will you though one arose from the dead.
Another charge is that the Presidents of the Church have not received the revelations of the Lord which have been given to the "Reorganization" through their president. The charge is false. The Presidents of the Church from the Prophet Joseph until now have received revelations from the Lord for the guidance of His people. While all these revelations have not been placed in the Doctrine and Covenants, they are none the less true. Not all the revelations given to Joseph the Seer were placed in the Doctrine and Covenants in his day, we have added many of his revelations to that volume since his death; and there are others that have not been placed in it. Some of them were for the Church and _not for the world_, and, therefore, are given only to the Saints. But many revelations have been given to the Church since the death of Joseph Smith, some of these have been published, some have not. It has been my privilege to read and handle a number of them that are still in the manuscript and have not as yet been given to the world for a wise purpose in the Lord. But they are on file and will be preserved.
A short time ago a number of Elders visited Lamoni and held meetings there. The following issue of the Saints' Herald contained an editorial, not very dignified, ridiculing them. It was written by the associate editor. In part he said:
"It may be urged that these are young and inexperienced men. But the dearth of spiritual power is not confined to these young men. Joseph F. Smith, who is supposed to be a 'Prophet, seer, and revelator,' when before the Senate Committee was asked by Senator Dubois, 'Have you received any individual revelations yourself, since you became president of the Church under your own definition, even, of a revelation?'
"To this he replied, 'I cannot say that I have.'
"A moment later he added, 'Well, I can say this: That if I live as I should in the line of my duties, I am susceptible, I think, of the impressions of the Spirit of the Lord upon my mind at any time, _just as any good Methodist or any other church member might be_.'
"This seems to be in line with the experiences of his predecessors, Snow, Woodruff, Taylor, and Young, who also posed as 'revelators,' for during a period of over sixty years they have received nothing professing to be a revelation, that was thought worthy of a place in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants." (Elbert A. Smith, _Saints' Herald_, 56:681).
This slurring presumption counts for naught, for the editor of the _Herald_ knows nothing pertaining to the revelations we have received, or what we think of them. Nor is he fair to President Joseph F. Smith in this quotation from the record of the investigation, for it does not convey the belief or knowledge, or the true expression of President Smith, and was purposely misapplied, which a careful reading of his testimony will show.
To presume to speak in the name of the Lord is a serious matter, and woe be to the man who speaks in the name of the Lord when he has not been commanded. It is far better never to receive a revelation than to follow after those who receive "revelations" that the Lord has not given. The "revelations" given by the Reorganite president to the "Reorganized" Church, need only to be read to convince one of their spurious character. They are weak, puerile, and it takes a very little of the spirit of discernment to know what source they are of. However, if they are acceptable to the "Reorganization," that is their business. We are satisfied.
But the people who lack in discernment may be deceived through the pretenses of men and accept for facts and revelations that which the Lord has not commanded. If there are any who are honestly deceived pertaining to the revelations of this man who presumes to be the "President of the High Priesthood" and "the mouthpiece of God," we will respectfully call their attention to one or two items in his pretended revelations.
This is from section 116, "revelation" given May 4, 1865:
"Be not hasty in ordaining men of the negro race to offices in my church, for verily I say unto you, All are not acceptable unto me as servants, nevertheless I will that all may be saved, but every man in his own order, and there are some who are chosen instruments to be ministers to their own race. Be ye content, I the Lord have spoken it."
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught the Saints that the negroes could not hold the Priesthood, for the Lord had cursed them as pertaining to the Priesthood. This is supported by the revelation in the Book of Abraham, which was translated by the Prophet. It reads:
"Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of government of Ham, which was patriarchal.
"Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but _cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood_. Now, Pharaoh being of the lineage by which _he could not have the right of Priesthood_, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry." (Book of Abraham 1:25-27).
The Lord did not tell Abraham that the children of Ham were cursed as pertaining to the Priesthood, and then command Joseph Smith of the "Reorganization" to be slow in ordaining them. In the "Reorganized" Church they have a few, at least, of the negro race, that they have "ordained to the priesthood" but it is contrary to the word of God. This Reorganite revelation is spurious.
Here is an extract from another:
"The quorum of twelve, my servants, may choose and appoint one of their number to take the place of my servant Alexander H. Smith, and _if they shall choose William H. Kelley_, from among them for this place, _it will be pleasing unto me_; NEVERTHELESS, IF _directed by the spirit of revelation_ and _wisdom_ they _may choose another_." (Sec. 124:3).
Can any sane man believe that the Lord gave this "revelation?" Did He not know His mind and will, was not _His_ the "spirit of revelation and wisdom?" or was there a disagreement on the point between the Lord and the Holy Spirit?
Other extracts might be given from these alleged "revelations" showing their inconsistency, but this will suffice. I have not given these in the spirit of ridicule, but for the purpose of opening the eyes of the blind that they might see, and seeing understand. Let our friends straighten out a few things of this kind among themselves, then they can the better attack us on the point of revelation.
At this point I desire to consider another matter. At the Salt Lake Conference, held March 19, 1905, not long after the return of President Joseph F. Smith from the investigation in Washington, he addressed the Saints on the subject of revelation. In the course of his remarks, he referred to his testimony and said:
"Now, with reference to the principle and doctrine of revelation, it may be proper for me to say a few words on this subject while I am on my feet. For me to say, which was the very end that my critics and inquisitors were endeavoring to get me to say, in order that I might be led into that trap which they had made for me, to say that God had given to me a revelation upon some new doctrine, or theory, or principle, or precept, or anything to be written, to be observed, or handed down as a guide to the Church, would have been untrue. I could not have said that, for He has not done this. But has God revealed to me His mind and His will? Has He made manifest to me a knowledge of His truth by and through the Spirit of revelation? Did you ever hear of my denying that? No; no man has ever heard me deny that.
"When I was baptized as a little child, right up here at the junction of East Temple and North Temple streets, where City Creek then ran, but where it is now covered and obliterated--when I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints, God Almighty revealed to me that I had done an act which He approved; I received then and there a revelation from Almighty God, that has been with me like a well of living water, springing up into everlasting life in me, which has been a stay and a staff to me in all my daily walks, at home and abroad. God revealed to me that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that his message was divine, that he was raised up by the power of the Almighty to lay the foundation of this great latter-day work. The Lord has revealed to me the truth that he sealed his testimony with his blood, that he was true to the end, as was the Son of God, true until he cried, 'It is enough!' upon the cross. The Lord has revealed to me in terms that are unmistakable and that are undeniable, that Brigham Young succeeded lawfully and divinely to the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the will of the Almighty. I would not be without that revelation for all the gold and wealth of the world. The Lord revealed to me in terms that cannot be mistaken, by me at least, that John Taylor was inspired of the Lord and was a Prophet of God, and was the lawful and divine successor in the Priesthood and Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to Brigham Young. The Lord revealed to me that Wilford Woodruff lawfully and divinely succeeded John Taylor, that Lorenzo Snow lawfully and divinely followed Wilford Woodruff. I leave to you to say whether the Lord willed, and whether it is lawful and right, that I should be in the position in which God has suffered me to be placed. * *
"The Lord Almighty has revealed to me many things for my own guidance, to assist me in the discharge of my duty, as an elder in the Church, as a high priest in the Church, as an apostle, one of the twelve apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And I fervently believe that God has manifested to me in my present capacity, many glorious things, many principles and oftentimes much more wisdom than is inherent in myself; and I believe He will continue to do so as long as I am receptive, as long as I am in a position to hear when He speaks, to listen when He calls, and to receive when He gives to me that which He desires."
These remarks were taken up, twisted, and falsified by a Salt Lake newspaper, which is so characterless and vile that it is without an equal, and sent out into the world as a press dispatch, declaring that President Joseph F. Smith had in the Tabernacle confessed that he had lied before the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections, in relation to the subject of revelation when he was a witness before said committee. They made it appear in their dispatch that he had stated in Washington that he had not received any revelation, and in the Tabernacle he declared that that was false for he had received many of them. He testified in Washington as he testified in the Tabernacle, that he had received revelation, as this will show:
Mr. Tayler: Did Joseph Smith contend that always there was a visible appearance of the Almighty or of an angel?
Mr. Smith. No, sir: he did not.
Mr. Tayler. How otherwise did he claim to receive revelations?
Mr. Smith. By the Spirit of the Lord.
Mr. Tayler. And in that way, such revelations _as you have received_, you have had them?
Mr. Smith. Yes, sir. (Investigation, Vol. 1: 100).
Without waiting to verify this falsehood circulated from an unspeakable source in Salt Lake City, the President of the "Reorganization," as editor of the _Saints' Herald_ took up the hue and cry with evident great pleasure and wrote an editorial consigning President Joseph F. Smith to perdition as a perjurer in the following words:
"_Who Make and Love a Lie_."
"If President Joseph F. Smith has stated in public what it is currently reported he has, that in the statements made by him when a witness before the Senatorial Committee, whose sittings for inquiry have lately been finished, the report of which in regard to the unseating of Senator Smoot is awaited, he testified to that which was not true, he has done an unfortunate and unwise thing. There may have been some moral bravery in doing as he did in stating that he was breaking the law of the State, the law of the United States, and the law of God by continuing to live with his five wives; and such boldness may have made some admirers of the President of the Utah Church; but, when that president publicly states that he lied when he gave his evidence before the Senatorial Committee, those who may have admired him for his avowal of his guilt will not, cannot admire him as a confessed perjurer. It may be said that President Joseph F. Smith did not make oath to what was false, as he was not sworn, that is, no judicial oath was administered to him, but, when a witness chooses to affirm that privilege is granted by the courts; the form of the affirmation is much like this: 'I do solemnly affirm, subject to the pains and penalties of perjury, that the testimony I shall give in the case now pending * * * shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.' If President Joseph F. Smith faced the committee on such an affirmation, and gave false testimony, can it be called anything but perjury? We think not.
"We were surprised when he testified as he did; we now are more surprised to learn that he has said that he affirmed what was not true. What can honorable men in or out of the Church think of such a man? What reliance can be placed on what such a man declares? If he sought by falsehood to avoid falling into a "trap" set for him before the committee, by confessing that he did so falsify, he has assuredly fallen into a more open and dangerous one." (Saints' Herald, Vol. 52:314-315).
Immediately after this editorial appeared in the _Saints' Herald_ the attention of the editor, Joseph Smith, was called to the fact that it was based on a falsehood. Among others who requested him to correct the wrong and injustice he had inflicted on his people as well as on President Smith, was the writer, who immediately forwarded a protest with a clipping from a non-"Mormon" Utah paper correcting the false report. Others wrote to him on the same subject, but no satisfactory correction was ever made. This was very unchristianlike conduct; surely not the part of a prophet of the Lord! It is true, that in a later editorial he quoted a portion of the remarks of President Joseph F. Smith delivered at that conference, but without apology or correction for bearing false witness. This is the comment following the brief extract he saw fit to give:
"We give these extracts from President Joseph F. Smith's talk on the afternoon of March 19, 1905, on the subject of revelation, as they contain the statements on which the charge is based that he contradicted and denied what he testified to before the Territorial (Investigation) Committee, offering no comment upon them, leaving those who read them to judge of them without the bias of an expression from us."
Surely his sense of fairness after making such an accusation, should have demanded of him more than this.
The following letter, which, under the circumstances, is worthy of producing, was forwarded to him also requesting that justice be done, but it was ignored absolutely:
"Salt Lake City, April 5, 1905.
"_Joseph Smith, Esq_., "_Editor, 'The Saints' Herald,'_ "_Lamoni, Iowa_.
"My Dear Sir:
"I was very greatly surprised to notice in the issue of the 'Herald' of March 29, 1905, your editorial entitled, 'Who Make and Love a Lie.' I am surprised because of the plainly implied accusation that President Joseph F. Smith is a maker and lover of lies. I am surprised because of the unfairness of the article referred to which will take for granted the statement of a man's bitterest foe and place that statement before his people, commenting upon it as if it were an admitted fact, without one word of explanation from the person so wickedly accused, or a single effort to present both sides. I am surprised because such an article appears in a periodical which is the organ of a religious organization claiming to have sprung out of the work founded by the great prophet who, 'came up through much tribulation,' and who was misrepresented through all his days upon the earth.
"I am surprised that a man whose early years were spent in the sorrows and privations incident to the persecutions suffered by a father whose whole life was spent in sorrow and affliction, in consequence of the false testimony borne against him and the constant misrepresentation of his mission, should allow himself to pass judgment upon another before hearing his defense, and finding him guilty of 'an unfortunate and unwise thing,' forgetting the wise proverb, 'He who judgeth a matter before he heareth it, is not wise.'
"It is true, the article begins with the expression--'_If_President Joseph F. Smith has stated in public,' etc., etc., but the remainder of the article clearly assumes that it is sure that he _did_ so state, as note: "but, when the President publicly states that he lied when he gave his evidence,' * * * those who (previously) admired him. * * * * cannot admire him as a confessed perjurer.
"President Joseph F. Smith has never stated in public nor in private that he lied when he gave his evidence or at any other time, and he is not a confessed, nor any other kind of a perjurer, and I must repeat that I am surprised that any man claiming to be fair, and to be an example of truthfulness, should follow in the steps of men who indeed 'love and make lies,' as you well know.
"Does it occur to you that there is anything in the nature of _loving_ a lie when a person repeats the lies of others and takes pleasure in assuming the false accusations are true?--or that there is anything in the nature of '_making_ a lie' when a person takes the lying testimony of a man's foes and places it before his people without giving them the opportunity of judging the matter by knowing both sides?
"It was by such specious falsehoods that the life of the Prophet Joseph was repeatedly placed in danger. It was by such false testimony that the Son of Man was condemned by the Priests, the Rabbis, the Scribes and the Pharisees.
"You ask, 'What can honorable men, in or out of the Church, think of such a man?'
"Let me say in reply to your question:--honorable men and men of wisdom, who love the truth, in or out of the Church, seek to know the truth before joining with the rabble in the cry, 'Crucify him! Crucify him!' and such men, who know the facts, and who love not a lie, but love the truth and the Lord its maker, honor and revere the man whom your article so subtly defames. They know him to be an upright, true, pure, honorable man, whose simple life has been before his people all his days, whose heart is true, whose tongue is true, whose courage is undaunted, whose faith is unshaken, and who is, in all respects, worthy of the love, confidence and support of the people of the living God.
"In order that you may not fall under the dreadful charge of 'Loving and Making a Lie,' will you publish, for the information of the readers of the 'Herald,' the other side of this matter if it is furnished you?
"It is not my habit to take up matters of this kind, and if these accusations had been made against myself, I should never have noticed them, but knowing what a great injustice your article does to a good and noble man--my true friend and brother--I felt impelled to call your attention to it, in the hope that your sense of fairness would cause you to do simple justice, and not join in the hue and cry of those who 'Make and Love a Lie.'"
"Yours truly, "THOMAS HULL."
He failed absolutely, when the evidence was furnished him, to justly, honorably, make the matter right. There is some degree of commendation due the man who maligns another if he is willing to make amends, and we can honor a man who will correct an error when he discovers that fact and is willing to make full satisfaction; but little respect can be had for one who, after wronging another, will not attempt to right it when he learns he is wrong. Abraham Lincoln said in his debate with Douglas, that there was a _moral rule_, "That persons who tell what they do not know to be true, falsify as much as those who knowingly tell falsehoods." We leave the matter in the hand of a Just Judge, who will judge all men according to their works.
WHO ORDAINED BRIGHAM YOUNG.
_The following is from the Deseret News, May 11, 1907_.
A correspondent writing from Parker, Idaho, requests a reply, through the columns of the "News" to the question, "By whom was President Young ordained to the Presidency of the Church?" It appears that the emissaries of the Reorganite Church have discovered in that question a fruitful source of sophistical controversy, and that they are triumphantly asking it wherever they go.
The proper reply is, he was ordained by the Prophet Joseph to that calling, when the Prophet, prompted by the Holy Spirit, conferred upon the Twelve Apostles the power and authority, he himself had received. The following statement of facts by Elder Joseph F. Smith, Jr., can be verified by the authentic records of the Church:
"The Prophet Joseph earnestly desired that his brother Hyrum should live to succeed him in the Presidency of the Church. In the year 1841, by command of the Lord, he ordained him to this exalted position, as is quite evident from the following, Section 124, verses 94-5, of the Doctrine and Covenants:
"And from this time forth I appoint unto him (Hyrum Smith) that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my Church as well as my servant Joseph.
"That he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph, and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall show unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing and glory, and honor, and Priesthood, and gifts of the Priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery."
From this revelation we learn that the Lord appointed Hyrum Smith both as Patriarch and to act in concert with his brother Joseph in the Presidency of the Church. In accordance with this revelation, Hyrum was so ordained January 24, 1841. This was not in the sense of a counselor to Joseph, for at this very appointment Hyrum was removed as counselor to the President and William Law was ordained in his stead.
Joseph and Hyrum continued to so act from this time forth until their martyrdom, June 27, 1844. Shortly before the martyrdom the Prophet tried with all his power to persuade Hyrum not to accompany him to Carthage, knowing full well the fate that awaited them there. Had Hyrum stayed behind, and thereby remained in mortality, he would, by virtue of his position and ordination received in 1841, have become the president of the Church. His brother intended that this should be (Times and Seasons, 5:683), but through his faithfulness to, and love for, his brother, Hyrum fell a martyr before the Prophet Joseph did.
Now mark! The Lord, who knew that Hyrum should receive a martyr's crown at Carthage, in the winter of 1843-4, commanded the Prophet to confer upon the heads of the Twelve Apostles, every key, power, and principle, that the Lord had sealed upon his head. The Prophet declared that he knew not why, but the Lord commanded him to endow the Twelve with these keys and Priesthood, and after it was done, he rejoiced very much, saying in substance, "Now, if they kill me, you have all the keys and all the ordinances and you can confer them upon others, and the powers of Satan will not be able to tear down the kingdom as fast as you will be able to build it up, and upon your shoulders will the responsibility of leading this people rest." (Times and Seasons, 5:651).
In this manner the Prophet ordained the Twelve Apostles, which body constitutes the second quorum of the Church, equal in authority with the First Presidency. (Doc. & Cov. 107:23-24) with the keys of the kingdom, Brigham Young was president of the Twelve, and upon him devolved the duty of presiding.
Therefore, after the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the Twelve assumed by authority of their office, the duty to preside over the Church. Later, when through revelation the quorum of the First Presidency was reorganized with three presidents--Brigham Young and Counselors Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards, they claimed, and rightfully, that since they were ordained under the hands of Joseph Smith and from him had received all the keys and powers of the Priesthood which the Prophet held, it would have been superfluous to have been ordained again. They were in this capacity, however, set apart and sustained by the unanimous vote of the Saints, which was essential to make such ordination of force in the Church.
There is an abundance of testimony to prove that the Prophet did so ordain the Twelve, some of which can be found in the Times and Seasons, volume 5, pages 651, 664, and 698; also in the Millennial Star, volume 10, page 115.
We repeat that Brigham Young received all the keys, powers, authority and Priesthood, that were held by Joseph Smith, that enabled him to preside over the High Priesthood, from the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo in the winter of 1843-4."
This important question was settled long ago by the entire body of the Saints who accepted the leadership of the Twelve, after the departure of the Prophet and Patriarch, and sustained President Young in his office. It was settled by the approval of the Almighty of the marvelous work He accomplished, and which could not have been done without divine aid and guidance. To ascribe the mighty deeds Brigham Young performed through the power of the divine Spirit which rested upon him, to the spirit that is the originator of succession, rebellion, apostasy, and falsehood, is to come dangerously near blasphemy. What is it but a repetition of the sin of the adversaries of our Lord who, although they knew that "no man can do the miracles that thou doest, except God be with him" (John 3:2): yet proclaimed to the people: "He hath an unclean spirit," (Mark 3:30). What is it but to assail the disciple with a weapon that was in vain directed against the Master? There was some excuse for difference of opinion on the subject of succession, immediately after the martyrdom, because the people were not in possession of full information, but there is no excuse now. To use a familiar illustration: At the time of an election citizens are expected to have different opinions as to candidates for office; they are expected to work for those whose views and principles they support. But when the question is settled at the polls, loyalty demands that all accept the verdict and work together for the common interests of the community. The body of the Latter-day Saints having accepted, as guided by the Holy Spirit, the leadership of the Twelve, there was no longer any valid reason for seeking the leadership of other shepherds.
The trouble with some of our "Reorganized" brethren is that they look upon the members of the Church as a flock of sheep, that, like other property, can be inherited. This is entirely contrary to the fundamental principles of the Gospel. The Church belongs to Christ. The leaders and officers are the servants of the Lord and the people of the Lord. It follows that the Lord raises up whoever He pleases, to perform the services necessary from time to time. Brigham Young was every way equipped for the peculiar work needed during his time. Who could have done what he did? Sidney Rigdon? Lyman Wight? James J. Strang? Or the founders of the so-called "Reorganized" Church? Let the reader reflect on the facts history records, and then decide for himself, remembering that every tree is known by its fruit.
1. This Priesthood and fulnesss can only be obtained in the Temple of God.
2. See Pamphlet by Hyrum O. Smith, "_The Necessity for a Reorganization_," pp. 22-24.
3. Saints' Herald, Vol. 56:662.
4. As an additional evidence that these things were revealed to the Prophet, attention is called to the patriarchal blessing given by his father and found on page 71:
"You shall even live to finish your work. At this Joseph cried out, weeping, 'Oh, my father, shall I?' 'Yes,' said his father, 'you shall live to lay out the plan of all the work which God has given you to do."
This proves, then, that the Lord revealed to him all these things promised in the revelations that had been kept hid. And he revealed them unto the Apostles.