Volume 1 Chapter 15
The Important Conference of June 3rd-6th—Arrival of the Elders in Western Missouri.
Important Conference of June 3rd-6th, at Kirtland.
On the 3rd 1 of June, the Elders from the various parts of the country where they were laboring, came in; and the conference before appointed, convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power to the most perfect satisfaction of the Saints. The man of sin was revealed, 2 and the authority of the Melchizedek [Page 176] Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders. 3 It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required. 4 Great harmony prevailed; several were ordained; faith was strengthened; and humility, so necessary for the [Page 177] blessing of God to follow prayer, characterized the Saints.
The next day, as a kind continuation of this great work of the last days, I received the following:
Revelation, given June, 1831. 5
1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders whom he hath called and chosen in these last days, by the voice of his Spirit—
2. Saying; I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant.
3. Wherefore, verily I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon take their journey as soon as preparations can be made to leave their homes, and journey to the land of Missouri.
4. And inasmuch as they are faithful unto me, it shall be made known unto them what they shall do;
5. And it shall also, inasmuch as they are faithful, be made known unto them the land of your inheritance.
6. And inasmuch as they are not faithful, they shall be cut off, even as I will, as seemeth me good.
7. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Lyman Wight and my servant John Corrill take their journey speedily;
8. And also my servant John Murdock, and my servant Hyrum Smith, take their journey unto the same place by the way of Detroit.
9. And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith.
10. Let them go two by two and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by water, and the laying on of the hands by the water's side.
11. For thus saith the Lord, I will cut my work short in righteousness, for the days come that I will send forth judgment unto victory.
12. And let my servant Lyman Wight beware, for Satan desireth to sift him as chaff.
13. And behold, he that is faithful shall be made ruler over many things.
14. And again, I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations—
15. Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances.
16. He that speaketh, whose spirit is contrite, whose language is meek and edifieth, the same is of God if he obey mine ordinances.
17. And again, he that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom, according to the revelations and truths which I have given you.
18. And again, he that is overcome and bringeth not forth fruits, even according to this pattern, is not of me.
19. Wherefore, by this pattern ye shall know the spirits in all cases under the whole heavens.
20. And the days have come; according to men's faith it shall be done unto them.
21. Behold, this commandment is given unto all the elders whom I have chosen.
22. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Thomas B. Marsh and my servant Ezra Thayre, take their journey also, preaching the word by the way unto this same land.
23. And again, let my servant Isaac Morley, and my servant Ezra Booth take their journey, also preaching the word by the way unto this same land.
24. And again, let my servants Edward Partridge and Martin Harris take their journey with my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun.
25. Let my servants David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock also take their journey, and preach by the way unto this same land.
26. And let my servants Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt take their journey, and preach by the way, even unto this same land.
27. And let my servants Solomon Hancock and Simeon Carter also take their journey unto this same land, and preach by the way.
28. Let my servants Edson Fuller and Jacob Scott also take their journey.
29. Let my servants Levi W. Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin also take their journey.
30. Let my servants Reynolds Cahoon and Samuel H. Smith also take their journey.
31. Let my servants Wheeler Baldwin and William Carter also take their journey.
32. And let my servants Newel Knight and Selah J. Griffin, both be ordained, and also take their journey.
33. Yea, verily I say, let all these take their journey unto one place, in their several courses, and one man shall not build upon another's foundation, neither journey in another's track.
34. He that is faithful, the same shall be kept and blessed with much fruit.
35. And again, I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Wakefield and Solomon Humphrey take their journey into the eastern lands;
36. Let them labor with their families, declaring none other things than the prophets and apostles, that which they have seen and heard and most assuredly believe, that the prophecies may be fulfilled.
37. In consequence of transgression, let that which was bestowed upon Heman Bassett be taken from him, and placed upon the head of Simonds Ryder.
38. And again, verily I say unto you, let Jared Carter be ordained a priest, and also George James be ordained a priest.
39. Let the residue of the elders watch over the churches, and declare the word in the regions round about them: and let them labor with their own hands that there be no idolatry nor wickedness practiced.
40. And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.
41. And again, let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, and Edward Partridge take with them a recommend from the church. And let there be one obtained for my servant Oliver Cowdery also.
42. And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.
43. But, behold, I, the Lord, will hasten the city in its time, and will crown the faithful with joy and with rejoicing.
44. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I will lift them up at the last day. Even so. Amen.
Shortly after the foregoing was received, at the request of Algernon Sidney Gilbert I inquired, and obtained the following:
Revelation, given June, 1831. 6
1. Behold, I say unto you, my servant Sidney Gilbert, that I have heard your prayers, and you have called upon me that it should be made known unto you, of the Lord your God, concerning your calling and election in the church, which I, the Lord, have raised up in these last days.
2. Behold, I, the Lord, who was crucified for the sins of the world, give unto you a commandment that you shall forsake the world.
3. Take upon you mine ordination, even that of an elder, to preach faith and repentance and remission of sins, according to my word, and the reception of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands;
4. And also to be an agent unto this church in the place which shall be appointed by the bishop, according to commandments which shall be given hereafter.
5. And again, verily I say unto you, you shall take your journey with my servants Joseph Smith, Jun, and Sidney Rigdon.
6. Behold these are the first ordinances which you shall receive; and the residue shall be made known in a time to come, according to your labor in my vineyard.
7. And again, I would that ye should learn that he only is saved who endureth unto the end. Even so. Amen.
Difficulty in the Thompson Branch.
The branch of the Church in Thompson, on account of breaking the covenant, 7 and not knowing what to do, they sent in Newel Knight and other Elders, to ask me to inquire of the Lord for them; which I did, and received the following:
Revelation to Newel Knight, given at Kirtland June, 1831. 8
1. Behold, thus saith the Lord, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, even he who was crucified for the sins of the world—
2. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, my servant Newel Knight, you shall stand fast in the office wherewith I have appointed you.
3. And if your brethren desire to escape their enemies, let them repent of all their sins, and become truly humble before me and contrite.
4. And as the covenant which they made unto me has been broken, even so it has become void and of none effect.
5. And wo to him by whom this offense cometh, for it had been better for him that he had been drowned in the depth of the sea.
6. But blessed are they who have kept the covenant and observed the commandment, for they shall obtain mercy.
7. Wherefore, go to now and flee the land, lest your enemies come upon you; and take your journey, and appoint whom you will to be your leader, and to pay monies for you. 9
8. And thus you shall take your journey into the regions westward, unto the land of Missouri, unto the borders of the Lamanites.
9. And after you have done journeying, behold, I say unto you, seek ye a living like unto men, until I prepare a place for you,
10. And again be patient in tribulation until I come; and, behold, I came quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls. Even so. Amen.
The Elders now began to go to the western country, two and two, according to the word of the Lord.
Report of Oliver Cowdery on Conditions in Western Missouri.
From Parley P. Pratt, who during the spring had returned from his mission of last fall, we had verbal information; and from letters from the still remaining Elders we had written intelligence; and as the mission to Western Missouri and the gathering of the Saints to that place was the most important subject which then engrossed the attention of the Church, I will here insert the copy of a letter, received about this time from that section, dated at Kaw Township, Missouri, May 7, 1831:
Our Dearly Beloved Brethren:—I have nothing particular to write as concerning the Lamanites; because of a short journey which I have just returned from, and in consequence of which I have not written to you since the 16th of last month. Brother Ziba Peterson and myself went into the county east, which is Lafayette, about forty miles; and, in the name of Jesus, we called on the people to repent, many of whom are, I believe, earnestly searching for truth, and if sincerely, I pray they may find that precious treasure, for it seems to be wholly fallen in the streets, and equity cannot enter.
The letter we received from you informed us that the opposition was great against you. Now, our beloved brethren, we verily believe that we also can rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer shame for His name; for almost the whole country, consisting of Universalists, Atheists, Deists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and other professed Christians, priests and people; with all the devils from the infernal pit are united, and foaming out their own shame [against us]. God forbid that I should bring a railing accusation against them, for vengeance belongeth to Him who is able to repay; and herein, brethren, we confide.
I am lately informed of another tribe of Lamanites, who have abundance of flocks of the best kinds of sheep and cattle; and they manufacture blankets of a superior quality. The tribe, is very numerous; they live three hundred miles west of Santa Fe, and are called Navashoes. 10 Why I mention this tribe is because I feel under obligations to communicate to my brethren any information concerning the Lamanites that I meet with in my labors and travels; believing, as I do, that much is expected from me in the cause of our Lord; and doubting not that I am daily remembered before the throne of the Most High by all my brethren, as well by those who have not seen my face in the flesh as by those who have.
We begin to expect our brother Parley P. Pratt soon; we have heard from him only when he was at St. Louis. We are all well, bless the Lord; and preach the Gospel we will, if earth and hell oppose our way—for we dwell in the midst of scorpions—and in Jesus we trust. Grace be with you all. Amen.
P. S.—I beseech Brother Whitney to remember and write, and direct to me, Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. 11
About the middle of June, while we were preparing for our journey to Missouri, William W. Phelps and his family arrived among us—"to do the will of the Lord," he said: so I inquired of the Lord concerning him and received the following:
Revelation given June, 1831. 12
1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant William, yea, even the Lord of the whole earth, thou art called and chosen; and after thou hast been baptized by water, which if you do with an eye single to my glory, you shall have a remission of your sins and a reception of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands;
2. And then thou shalt be ordained by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., to be an elder unto this church, to preach repentance and remission of sins by way of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the living God.
3. And on whomsoever you shall lay your hands, if they are contrite before me, you shall have power to give the Holy Spirit.
4. And again, you shall be ordained to assist my servant Oliver Cowdery to do the work of printing, and of selecting and writing books for schools in this Church, that little children also may receive instruction before me as is pleasing unto me.
5. And again, verily I say unto you, for this cause ye shall take your journey with my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that you may be planted in the land of your inheritance to do this work
6. And again, let my servant Joseph Coe also take his journey with them. The residue shall be made known hereafter, even as I will. Amen. 13
Marsh and Thayre Separated as Missionary Companions.
Soon after I received the foregoing, Elder Thomas B. Marsh came to inquire what he should do; as Elder Ezra Thayre, his yoke-fellow in the ministry, could not get ready to start on his mission as soon as he (Marsh) would; and I inquired of the Lord, and received the following:
Revelation, given at Kirtland, June, 1831. 14
1. Hearken, O ye people who profess my name, saith the Lord your God; for behold, mine anger is kindled against the rebellious, and they shall know mine arm and mine indignation, in the day of visitation and of wrath upon the nations.
2. And he that will not take up his cross and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved.
3. Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken.
4. Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord.
5. Wherefore, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre, and give a new commandment unto my servant Thomas, that he shall take up his journey speedily to the land of Missouri, and my servant Selah J. Griffin shall also go with him.
6. For behold, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Selah J. Griffin and Newel Knight, in consequence of the stiffneckedness of my people which are in Thompson and their rebellions.
7. Wherefore, let my servant Newel Knight remain with them, and as many as will go may go, that are contrite before me, and be led by him to the land which I have appointed.
8. And again, verily I say unto you, that my servant Ezra Thayre must repent of his pride, and of his selfishness, and obey the former commandment which I have given him concerning the place upon which he lives.
9. And if he will do this, as there shall be no divisions made upon the land, he shall be appointed still to go to the land of Missouri;
10. Otherwise he shall receive the money which he has paid, and shall leave the place, and shall be cut off out of my church, saith the Lord God of hosts;
11. And though the heaven and the earth pass away, these words shall not pass away, but shall be fulfilled.
12. And if my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., must needs pay the money, behold, I, the Lord, will pay it unto him again in the land of Missouri, that those of whom he shall receive may be rewarded again according to that which they do;
13. For according to that which they do they shall receive, even in lands for their inheritance.
14. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my people—you have many things to do and to repent of; for behold, your sins have come up unto me, and are not pardoned, because you seek to counsel in your own ways.
15. And your hearts are not satisfied. And ye obey not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.
16. Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!
17. Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men's goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
18. But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.
19. For behold, the Lord shall come, and his recompense shall be with him, and he shall reward every man, and the poor shall rejoice;
20. And their generations shall inherit the earth from generation to generation, for ever and ever. And now I make an end of speaking unto you. Even so. Amen. 15
The Departure of the Prophet and Company for Missouri.
On the 19th of June, in company with Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Joseph Coe, Algernon S. Gilbert and his wife, I started from Kirtland, Ohio, for the land of Missouri, agreeable to the commandment before received, wherein it was promised that if we were faithful, the land of our inheritance, even the place for the city of the New Jerusalem, should be revealed. We went by wagon, canal boats, and stages to Cincinnati, where I had an interview with the Rev. Walter Scott, one of the founders of the Campbellites, or Newlight church. 16 Before the close of our interview, he manifested one of the bitterest spirits against the doctrine of the New Testament (that "these signs shall follow them that believe," as recorded in Mark the 16th chapter,) that I ever witnessed among men. We left Cincinnati in a steamer, and landed at Louisville, Kentucky, where we were detained three days in waiting for a steamer to convey us to St. Louis. At St. Louis, myself, Brothers Harris, Phelps, Partridge and Coe, went by land on foot to Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, where we arrived about the middle of July, and the rest of the company came by water a few days later.
Treatment by the Way.
Notwithstanding the corruptions and abominations of the times, and the evil spirit manifested towards us on account of our belief in the Book of Mormon, at many places and among various persons, yet the Lord continued His watchful care and loving kindness to us day by day; and we made it a rule wherever there was an opportunity, to read a chapter in the Bible, and pray; and these seasons of worship gave us great consolation.
Arrival in Missouri; Reflections on State of Society in Missouri; Questions and the Answer by Revelation.
The meeting of our brethren, who had long awaited our arrival, was a glorious one, and moistened with many tears. It seemed good and pleasant for brethren to meet together in unity. But our reflections were many, coming as we had from a highly cultivated state of society in the east, and standing now upon the confines or western limits of the United States, and looking into the vast wilderness of those that sat in darkness; how natural it was to observe the degradation, leanness of intellect, ferocity, and jealousy of a people that were nearly a century behind the times, and to feel for those who roamed about without the benefit of civilization, refinement, or religion; yea, and exclaim in the language of the Prophets: "When will the wilderness blossom as the rose? When will Zion be built up in her glory, and where will Thy temple stand, unto which all nations shall come in the last days?" Our anxiety was soon relieved by receiving the following:
Revelation, given in Zion, July, 1831. 17
1. Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the Saints.
2. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.
3. And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and the spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the court-house.
4. Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the Saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile.
5. And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance.
6. And let my servant Sidney Gilbert stand in the office to which I have appointed him, to receive monies, to be an agent unto the church, to buy land in all the regions round about, inasmuch as can be done in righteousness, and as wisdom shall direct.
7. And let my servant Edward Partridge stand in the office to which I have appointed him, and divide unto the Saints their inheritance, even as I have commanded; and also those whom he has appointed to assist him.
8. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Sidney Gilbert plant himself in this place, and establish a store, that he may sell goods without fraud, that he may obtain money to buy lands for the good of the Saints, and that he may obtain whatsoever things the disciples may need to plant them in their inheritance.
9. And also let my servant Sidney Gilbert obtain a license—behold here is wisdom, and whoso readeth let him understand—that he may send goods also unto the people, even by whom he will as clerks employed in his service.
10. And thus provide for my saints, that my gospel may be preached unto those who sit in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death.
11. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant William W. Phelps be planted in this place, and be established as a printer unto the church.
12. And lo, if the world receive his writings—behold here is wisdom—let him obtain whatsoever he can obtain in righteousness, for the good of the Saints.
13. And let my servant Oliver Cowdery assist him, even as I have commanded, in whatsoever place I shall appoint unto him, to copy, and to correct, and select, that all things may be right before me, as it shall be proved by the Spirit through him.
14. And thus let those of whom I have spoken be planted in the land of Zion, as speedily as can be, with their families, to do those things even as I have spoken.
15. And now concerning the gathering—Let the bishop and the agent make preparations for those families which have been commanded to come to this land, as soon as possible, and plant them in their inheritance.
And unto the residue of both elders and members further directions shall be given hereafter. Even so. Amen.
The First Sabbath in Zion.
The first Sabbath after our arrival in Jackson county, Brother W. W. Phelps preached to a western audience over the boundary of the United States, wherein were present specimens of all the families of the earth; Shem, Ham and Japheth; several of the Lamanites or Indians—representative of Shem; quite a respectable number of negroes—descendants of Ham; and the balance was made up of citizens of the surrounding country, and fully represented themselves as pioneers of the West. At this meeting two were baptized, who had previously believed in the fulness of the Gospel.
Arrival of the Colesville Branch.
During this week the Colesville branch, referred to in the latter part of the last revelation, 18 and Sidney Rigdon, Sidney Gilbert and wife and Elders Morley and Booth, arrived. I received the following:
Revelation, given in Zion, August, 1831. 19
1. Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to my word, and learn of me what I will concerning you, and also concerning this land unto which I have sent you.
2. For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
3. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
4. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.
5. Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow.
6. Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you—that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come;
7. And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand;
8. And also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor; yea, a feast of fat things, of wine on the lees well refined, that the earth may know that the mouths of the prophets shall not fail;
9. Yea, a supper of the house of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited.
10. First, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble;
11. And after that cometh the day of my power; then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come.
12. Behold, I, the Lord, have spoken it.
13. And that the testimony might go forth from Zion, yea, from the mouth of the city of the heritage of God—
14. Yea, for this cause I have sent you hither, and have selected my servant Edward Partridge, and have appointed unto him his mission in this land.
15. But if he repent not of his sins, which are unbelief and blindness of heart, let him take heed lest he fall.
16. Behold his mission is given unto him, and it shall not be given again.
17. And whoso standeth in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children;
18. And to judge his people by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the prophets of God.
19. For verily I say unto you, my law shall be kept on this land.
20. Let no man think he is ruler; but let God rule him that judgeth, according to the counsel of his own will; or, in other words, him that counseleth or sitteth upon the judgment seat.
21. Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.
22. Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet.
23. Behold, the laws which ye have received from my hand are the laws of the church, and in this light ye shall hold them forth. Behold, here is wisdom.
24. And now as I spake concerning my servant Edward Partridge, this land is the land of his residence, and those whom he has appointed for his counselors; and also the land of the residence of him whom I have appointed to keep my store-house;
25. Wherefore, let them bring their families to this land, as they shall counsel between themselves and me.
26. For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
29. But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.
30. Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?
31. Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?
32. I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
33. Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.
34. And now I give unto you further directions concerning this land.
35. It is wisdom in me that my servant Martin Harris should be an example unto the church, in laying his monies before the bishop of the church.
36. And also, this is a law unto every man that cometh unto this land to receive an inheritance; and he shall do with his monies according as the law directs.
37. And it is wisdom also that there should be lands purchased in Independence, for the place of the store-house, and also for the house of the printing.
38. And other directions concerning my servant Martin Harris shall be given him of the Spirit, that he may receive his inheritance as seemeth him good;
39. And let him repent of his sins, for he seeketh the praise of the world.
40. And also let my servant William W. Phelps stand in the office which I have appointed him, and receive his inheritance in the land;
41. And also he hath need to repent, for I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me.
42. Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.
43. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold he will confess them and forsake them.
44. And now, verily, I say concerning the residue of the elders of my church, the time has not yet come, for many years, for them to receive their inheritance in this land, except they desire it through the prayer of faith, only as it shall be appointed unto them of the Lord.
45. For, behold, they shall push the people together from the ends of the earth.
46. Wherefore, assemble yourselves together; and they who are not appointed to stay in this land, let them preach the gospel in the regions round about; and after that let them return to their homes.
47. Let them preach by the way, and bear testimony of the truth in all places, and call upon the rich, the high and the low, and the poor to repent.
48. And let them build up churches, inasmuch as the inhabitants of the earth will repent.
49. And let there be an agent appointed by the voice of the church, unto the church in Ohio, to receive monies to purchase lands in Zion.
50. And I give unto my servant Sidney Rigdon a commandment, that he shall write a description of the land of Zion, and a statement of the will of God, as it shall be made known by the Spirit unto him;
51. And an epistle and subscription, to be presented unto all the churches to obtain monies, to be put into the hands of the bishop, of himself or the agent, as seemeth him good or as he shall direct, to purchase lands for an inheritance for the children of God.
52. For, behold, verily I say unto you, the Lord willeth that the disciples, and the children of men should open their hearts, even to purchase this whole region of country, as soon as the time will permit.
53. Behold, here is wisdom. Let them do this lest they receive none inheritance, save it be by the shedding of blood.
54. And again, inasmuch as there is land obtained, let there be workmen sent forth of all kinds unto this land, to labor for the saints of God.
55. Let all these things be done in order; and let the privileges of the lands be made known from time to time, by the bishop or the agent of the church.
56. And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight; but let it be done as it shall be counseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time.
57. And let my servant Sidney Rigdon consecrate and dedicate this land, and the spot for the temple unto the Lord.
58. And let a conference meeting be called; and after that let my servants Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jun., return, and also Oliver Cowdery with them, to accomplish the residue of the work which I have appointed unto them in their own land, and the residue as shall be ruled by the conferences.
59. And let no man return from this land except he bear record by the way of that which he knows and most assuredly believes.
60. Let that which has been bestowed upon Ziba Peterson be taken from him; and let him stand as a member in the church, and labor his own hands, with the brethren, until he is sufficiently chastened for all his sins; for he confesseth them not, and he thinketh to hide them.
61. Let the residue of the elders of this church, who are coming to this land, some of whom are exceedingly blessed even above measure, also hold a conference upon this land.
62. And let my servant Edward Partridge direct the conference which shall be held by them.
63. And let them also return, preaching the gospel by the way, bearing record of the things which are revealed unto them.
64. For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth—the gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe.
65. And behold the Son of man cometh. Amen.
Chapter 15 - Notes
1. This date in the Prophet's narrative is given the 6th of June, but the minutes of the conference in the Far West Record are dated "June 3rd." In John Whitmer's History of the Church it is written: "June 3rd 1831, a general conference was called, and a blessing promised if the Elders were faithful and humble before Him [i. e. the Lord]. Therefore the Elders assembled from the east and from the west, from the north and the south, and also many members." (p. 21.) Whitmer, however, speaks of the conference as continuing several days (p. 22); and then under date of "the 6th of June states that the revelation was given which Joseph, the Prophet, in the text of his History above, speaks of as having been given the day following the close of the conference. The 3rd of June, 1831, fell upon Friday, so that the great probability is that this important conference commenced on Friday and continued through Saturday and Sunday; and then before the Elders dispersed on Monday, the 6th, the revelation alluded to by the Prophet, was given. Previous conferences of a general character usually occupied three days, See p. 118, and hence it is likely that this one did.
2. The manner in which the man of sin was revealed and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood manifested, is related by John Whitmer, in his History of the Church (ch. 7). After giving the names of those who were ordained High Priests the day on which the two powers were manifested, he says: "Joseph Smith, Jun., prophesied the day previous that the man of sin would be revealed. While the Lord poured out His Spirit upon His servants, the devil took a notion to make known his power. He bound Harvey Whitlock and John Murdock so that they could not speak, and others were affected but the Lord showed to Joseph, the seer, the design of the thing; he commanded the devil in the name of Christ, and he departed, to our joy and comfort"
Parley P. Pratt also alludes to this subject in his Autobiography: "In this conference much instruction was given by President Smith, who spoke in great power, as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and the spirit of power and of testimony rested down upon the Elders in a marvelous manner. Here also were some strange manifestations of false spirits, which were immediately rebuked." (p. 72.)
3. A misapprehension has arisen in the minds of some respecting the statement—"The authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders." It has been supposed that this passage meant that the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood was now for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation. This of course is an error, since even before the Church was organized, the Apostleship, the highest authority in the Melchizedek Priesthood, was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, and very probably upon David Whitmer also (See pp. 40-42, note.) The Prophet does not mean that the Melchizedek Priesthood was given for the first time in the Church. It was at this conference, however, that the special office of High Priest was for the first time conferred upon men in this dispensation, except in so far as Apostles are also High Priests (D&C 84:63); and of course as there were men who had been ordained to the apostleship before this conference of June, 1831, in that manner there had been High Priests in the Church, but not otherwise.
4. In addition to the spiritual manifestations already mentioned as having occurred at this conference of June 3rd-6th, it should be said that, according to John Whitmer's History of the Church (ch. 5): "The Spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph in an unusual manner, and he prophesied that John the Revelator was then among the Ten Tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion, to again possess the land of their fathers. He prophesied many more things that I have not written. After he had prophesied he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight and ordained him to the High Priesthood [i. e. ordained him a High Priest], after the holy order of God. And the Spirit fell upon Lyman, and he prophesied concerning the coming of Christ. He said that there were some in the congregation that should live until the Savior should descend from heaven with a shout, with all the holy angels with Him. He said the coming of the Savior should be like the sun rising in the east, and will cover the whole earth. So with the coming of the Son of Man; yea, He will appear in His brightness and consume all [the wicked] before Him; and the hills will be laid low, and the valleys be exalted, and the crooked be made straight, and the rough smooth. And some of my brethren shall suffer martyrdom for the sake of the religion of Jesus Christ, and seal their testimony of Jesus Christ, and seal their testimony of Jesus with their blood. He saw the heavens opened and the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father, making intercession for his brethren, the Saints. He said that God would work a work in these last days that tongue cannot express and the mind is not capable to conceive. The glory of the Lord shone around."
"The congregation at this conference number two thousand souls."—Cannon's Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, p. 113.
This was the fourth general conference of the Church, the others were held on the 9th of June, 1830; the 26th of September, 1830; and the 2nd of January, 1831, respectively; and all at Fayette, Seneca County, New York.
5. D&C 52.
6. D&C 53.
7. It is difficult to determine with exactness in what the transgressions of the Saints at Thompson consisted; but it is evident that selfishness and rebellion were at the bottom of their trouble, and that Leman Copley and Ezra Thayre were immediately concerned in it. The saints comprising the Colesville branch, when they arrived at the gathering place, in Ohio, were advised to remain together and were settled at Thompson, a place in the vicinity of Kirtland. On their arrival Bishop Edward Partridge urged the Prophet Joseph to inquire of the Lord concerning the manner of settling them, and providing for them. Whereupon the Prophet inquired of the Lord and received the revelation found on page 173. It will be seen from that revelation that the saints of the Colesville branch were to be organized under the law of consecration and stewardship. That is, in brief, the Saints were to make a consecration of whatsoever things they possessed unto the Bishop, and then each man receive from the Bishop a stewardship. Every man was to be equal in his stewardship, according to his family, his circumstances, and his needs. For details in the matter the reader is referred to the revelation itself. It is evident that some of the brethren already living at Thompson, had agreed to enter into the law of consecration and stewardship with the Saints from Colesville; and that afterwards they broke this covenant. Among these were Leman Copley and Ezra Thayre. "A man by the name of Copley," says Newel Knight in his journal, "had a considerable tract of land there [in Thompson] which he offered to let the saints occupy. Consequently a contract was agreed upon, and we commenced work in good faith. But in a short time Copley broke the engagement, and I went to Kirtland to see Brother Joseph," etc. Scraps of Biography, in which is published Newel Knight's journal, ch. 6.) Of this matter, John Whitmer, then the Church Historian, writes: "At this time [the early part of June] the Church at Thompson, Ohio, was involved in difficulty because of the rebellion of Leman Copley, who would not do as he had previously agreed, which thing confused the whole Church, and finally the Lord spake through Joseph the Prophet, saying:" He then quotes the revelation to Newel Knight given in the text above. (John Whitmer's History of the Church chap. 8). For Ezra Thayre's part in the proceedings at Thompson, see the revelation given to Thomas B. Marsh, pp. 186, 187.
8. D&C 54.
9. "The Church at Thompson," says John Whitmer, "made all possible haste to leave for Missouri, and left, and none of their enemies harmed them."—John Whitmer's History of the Church, chap. 8. Newel Knight was appointed the leader of this company, which was made up of the Colesville branch, and under his leadership they made the entire journey from Thompson to Missouri.
11. The Mission to the Lamanites—As the "mission to the Lamanites" is a very prominent event in early Church history, it is proper that the labors of the brethren engaged in at should be spoken of more fully than appears anywhere in the Prophet's narrative, and at this point, following the letter of Oliver Cowdery, seems as appropriate a place as will be found to speak of it. It has already been said that the brethren of the mission called upon the Cattaraugus tribe, near Buffalo, New York, (p. 120 note). After leaving Kirtland, on their journey westward, they visited the Wyandot tribe of Indians near Sandusky, Ohio, with whom they spent several days. "We were well received," writes Elder Parley P. Pratt, "and had an opportunity of laying before them the record of their forefathers, which we did. They rejoiced in the tidings, bid us Godspeed, and desired us to write to them in relation to our success among the tribes further west, who had already removed to the Indian territory, where these expected soon to go."—Aut. P. P. Pratt, p. 54.
On arriving at Independence two of the company secured employment, while the other three crossed the frontier and began their labors among the Indians. They visited the Shawnees, spending one night with them, and the next day crossed the Kansas river and began their labors among the Delawares. They sought an interview with the chief of the Delawares, known among the whites as Chief Anderson. He was the grand sachem of ten nations or tribes, and consequently possessed of large influence. He had always opposed the introduction of missionaries among his people, and therefore did not at first extend a very hearty welcome to the brethren. However, through an interpreter, the brethren made known their errand and explained to him the Book of Mormon and the information it contained for his people. They asked to be heard before a full council of his nation, a proposition which the chief took under consideration until the next day. Next morning the conversation with the Delaware Chief was renewed, but he was not inclined at first to call the council. But as he began to understand better the nature of the Book of Mormon, he changed his mind and asked the brethren to suspend their conversation until the council could be assembled. A runner was dispatched to the tribes, and in about an hour forty leading men were assembled and seated in grave silence to hear the message concerning the book of their forefathers. At the request of the chief Oliver Cowdery in substance delivered the following address:
Oliver Cowdery's Speech to the Delawares.
"Aged Chief, and Venerable Council of the Delaware nation: we are glad of this opportunity to address you as our red brethren and friends. We have traveled a long from towards the rising sun to bring you glad news; We have traveled the wilderness, crossed the deep and wide rivers, and waded in the deep snows, and in the face of the storms of winter, to communicate to you great knowledge which has lately come to oar ears and hearts and which will do the red man good as well as the pale face.
"Once the red men were many; they occupied the country from sea to sea—from the rising to the setting sun; the whole land was theirs; the Great Spirit gave it to them, and no pale faces dwelt among them. But now they are few in numbers; their possessions are small, and the pale faces are many.
"Thousands of moons ago, when the red men's forefathers dwelt in peace and possessed this whole land, the Great Spirit talked with them, and revealed His law and His will, and much knowledge to their wise men and prophets. This they wrote in a Book, together with their history and the things which should befall their children in the latter days.
"This Book was written on plates of gold and handed down from father to son for many ages and generations.
"It was then that the people prospered and were strong and mighty; they cultivated the earth, built buildings and cities and abounded in all good things, as the pale faces now do.
"But they became wicked; they killed one another and shed much blood; they killed their prophets and wise men, and sought to destroy the Book. The Great Spirit became angry and would speak to them no more; they had no more good and wise dreams; no more visions, no more angels sent among them by the Great Spirit; and the Lord commanded Mormon and Moroni, their last wise men and prophets to hide the Book in the earth, that it might be preserved in safety and be found and made known in the latter-day to the pale faces who should possess the land, that they might again make it known to the red men, in order to restore them to the knowledge of the will of the Great Spirit and to His favor. And if the red men would then receive this Book and learn the things written in it and do according thereunto, they should be restored to all their rights and privileges; should cease to fight and kill one another; should become one people; cultivate the earth in peace, in common with the pale faces who were willing to believe and obey the same Book and be good men and live in peace.
"Then should the red men become great and have plenty to eat and good clothes to wear, and should be in favor with the Great Spirit and be His children, while He would be their Great Father and talk with them, and raise up prophets and wise and good men among them again who should teach them many things.
"This Book, which contained these things, was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him Cumorah, which hill is now in the state of New York, near the village of Palmyra, in Ontario county.
"In that neighborhood there lived a young man named Joseph Smith, who prayed to the Great Spirit much, in order that he might know the truth, and the Great Spirit sent an angel to him and told him where this Book was hid by Moroni, and commanded him to go and get it. He accordingly went to the place and dug in the earth and found the Book written on golden plates.
"But it was written in the language of the forefathers of the red men; therefore this young man, being a pale face, could not understand it; but the angel told him and showed him and gave him knowledge of the language and how to interpret the Book. So he interpreted it into the language of the pale faces, and wrote it on paper and caused it to be printed, and published thousands of copies of it among them, and then sent us to the red men to bring some copies of it to them, and to tell them this news. So we have now come from him, and here is a copy of the Book, which we now present to our red friend, the Chief of the Delawares, which we hope he will cause to be read and known among his tribe; it will do them good."
We then presented him with a Book of Mormon.
There was a pause in the council and some conversation in their own language, after which the chief made the following reply;
The Chief's Reply.
"We feel truly thankful to our white friends who have come so far and been at such pains to tell us good news, and especially this new news concerning the Book of our forefathers; it makes us glad in here,"—placing his hand on his heart. "It is now winter; we are new settlers in this place; the snow is deep; our cattle and horses are dying; our wigwams are poor; we have much to do in the spring—to build houses and fence and make farms; but we will build a council house and meet together, and you shall read to us and teach us more concerning the Book of our fathers and the will of the Great Spirit."
Elder Parley P. Pratt in his report of the matter adds: "We continued for several days to instruct the old Chief and many of his tribe. The interest became more and more intense on their part, from day to day, until at length nearly the whole tribe began to feel a spirit of inquiry and excitement on the subject. We found several among them who could read, and to them we gave copies of the Book, explaining to them that it was the Book of their forefathers. Some began to rejoice exceedingly and took great pains to tell the news to others in their own language. The excitement now reached the frontier settlements in Missouri, and stirred up the jealousy and envy of the Indian agents and sectarian missionaries to that degree that we were soon ordered out of the Indian country as disturbers of the peace, and even threatened with the military in case of non-compliance. We accordingly departed from the Indian country and came over the line, and commenced laboring in Jackson county, Missouri, among the whites. We were well received and listened to by many, and some were baptized and added to the Church.
"Thus ended our first Indian mission, in which we had preached the Gospel in its fulness and distributed the record of their forefathers among three tribes, viz.: the Cattaraugus Indians, near Buffalo, N. Y.; the Wyandots, of Ohio; and the Delawares, west of Missouri."—Aut. P. P. Pratt, pp. 56-61.
12. D&C 55.
13. William Wine Phelps, spoken of in the foregoing revelation, was born at Hanover, Morris county, New Jersey, February 17th, 1792. He was therefore in his fortieth year when he came to the Church at Kirtland, to cast in his lot with the Saints. It appears that before making his appearance at Kirtland, he had resided chiefly in the state of New York; and had been somewhat active in politics. He had been the editor of a partisan newspaper; and had aspired to be the candidate for the office of lieutenant-governor of New York. On the 28th of April, 1815, he married Sally Waterman, at Smyrna, Chenango county, New York.
14. D&C 56.
15. The phrase in the ninth verse of the foregoing revelation, "As there shall be no divisions made upon the land," undoubtedly has reference to the land upon which Ezra Thayre was living at Thompson, and which he had covenanted, under some arrangement for compensation, to grant to the Church, and which contract he attempted, at least, to repudiate.
16. Reference is made to both Mr. Alexander Campbell and Mr. Scott, and the founding of the "Campbellite" or "Disciples" sect in the biographical sketch of Sidney Rigdon; as also Rigdon's connection with that movement.—See pp. 120, 121.
17. D&C 57.
19. D&C 58.