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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

In Illinois

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Sidney Rigdon
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reformation
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting








The geographical situation of Nauvoo had something in its favor.
Lying on the east bank of the Mississippi, which is there two
miles wide, it had a water frontage on three sides, because of a
bend in the stream, and the land was somewhat rising back from
the river. But its water front was the only thing in its favor.
"The place was literally a wilderness," says Smith. "The land was
mostly covered with trees and bushes, and much of it so wet that
it was with the utmost difficulty a foot man could get through,
and totally impossible for teams. Commerce was so unhealthy very
few could live there, but, believing it might become a healthy
place by the blessing of heaven to the Saints, and no more
eligible place presenting itself, I considered it wisdom to make
an attempt to build up a city."

Contemporary accounts say that most of the refugees from Missouri
suffered from chills and fevers during their first year in the
new settlement. Smith, in his autobiography, laments the
mortality among the settlers. The Rev. Henry Caswall, in his
description of three days at Nauvoo in 1842, says:--

"I was informed again and again in Montrose, Iowa, that nearly
half of the English who emigrated to Nauvoo in 1841 died soon
after their arrival. . . In his sermon at Montrose in May 9,
1841, the following words of most Christian consolation were
delivered by the Prophet to the poor deluded English: 'Many of
the English who have lately come here have expressed great
disappointment on their arrival. Such persons have every reason
to be satisfied in this beautiful and fertile country. If they
choose to complain, they may; but I don't want to be troubled
with their complaints. If they are not satisfied here, I have
only this to say to them, "Don't stay whining about me, but go
back to England, and go to h--l and be d--d."'"*

*"City of the Mormons," p. 55.


Brigham Young, in after years, thus spoke of Smith's exhibition
of miraculous healing during the year after their arrival in
Illinois: "Joseph commenced in his own house and dooryard,
commanding the sick, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be
made whole, and they were healed according to his word. He then
continued to travel from house to house, healing the sick as he
went."* Any attempt to reconcile this statement by Young with the
previously cited testimony about the mortality of the place would
be futile.

* "Life of Brigham Young" (Cannon & Son, publishers), p. 32.


The growth of the town, however, was more rapid than that of any
of the former Mormon settlements. The United States census shows
that the population of Hancock County, Illinois, increased from
483 in 1830 to 9946 in 1840. Statements regarding the population
of Nauvoo during the Mormon occupancy are conflicting and often
exaggerated. In a letter to the elders in England, printed in the
Times and Seasons of January, 1841, Smith said, "There are at
present about 3000 inhabitants in Nauvoo." The same periodical,
in an article on the city, on December 15, 1841, said that it was
"a densely populated city of near 10,000 inhabitants." A visitor,
describing the place in a letter in the Columbus (Ohio) Advocate
of March, 1842, said that it contained about 7000 persons, and
that the buildings were small and much scattered, log cabins
predominating. The Times and Seasons of October, 1842, said, "It
will be no more than probably correct if we allow the city to
contain between 7000 and 8000 houses, with a population of 14,000
or 15,000," with two steam mills and other manufacturing concerns
in operation. W. W. Phelps estimated the population in 1844 at
14,000, almost all professed Mormons. The Times and Seasons in
1845 said that a census just taken showed a population of 11,057
in the city and one third more outside the city limits.

As soon as the Mormons arrived, Nauvoo was laid out in blocks
measuring about 180 by 200 feet, with a river frontage of more
than three miles. An English visitor to the place in 1843 wrote
"The city is of great dimensions, laid out in beautiful order;
the streets are wide and cross each other at right angles, which
will add greatly to its order and magnificence when finished. The
city rises on a quick incline from the rolling Mississippi, and
as you stand near the Temple you may gaze on the picturesque
scenery round. At your side is the Temple, the wonder of the
world; round about and beneath you may behold handsome stores,
large mansions, and fine cottages, interspersed with varied
scenery."*

* Mackay's "The Mormons," p. 128.


Whatever the exact population of the place may have been, its
rapid growth is indisputable. The cause of this must be sought,
not in natural business reasons, such as have given a permanent
increase of population to so many of our Western cities, but
chiefly in active and aggressive proselyting work both in this
country and in Europe. This work was assisted by the sympathy
which the treatment of the Mormons had very generally secured for
them. Copies of Mormon Bibles were rare outside of the hands of
the brethren, and the text of Smith's "revelations" bearing on
his property designs in Missouri was known to comparatively few
even in the church. While the Nauvoo edition of the "Doctrine and
Covenants" was in course of publication, the Times and Seasons,
on January 1, 1842, said that it would be published in the
spring, "but, many of our readers being deprived of the privilege
of perusing its valuable pages, we insert the first section."
Mormon emissaries took advantage of this situation to tell their
story in their own way at all points of the compass. Meetings
were held in the large cities of the Eastern states to express
sympathy with these victims of the opponents of "freedom of
religious opinion," and to raise money for their relief, and the
voice of the press, from the Mississippi to the Atlantic, was,
without a discovered exception, on the side of the refugees.

This paved the way for a vast extension of that mission work
which began with the trip of Cowdery and his associates in 1830,
was expanded throughout this country while the Saints were at
Kirtland, and was extended to foreign lands in 1837. The
missionaries sent out in the early days of the church represented
various degrees of experience and qualification. There were among
them men like Orson Hyde and Willard Richards, who, although they
gave up secular callings on entering the church, were close
students of the Scriptures and debaters who could hold their own,
when it came to an interpretation of the Scriptures, before any
average audience. Many were sent out without any especial
equipment for their task. John D. Lee, describing his first trip,
says:--

"I started forth an illiterate, inexperienced person, without
purse or scrip. I could hardly quote a passage of Scripture. Yet
I went forth to say to the world that I was a minister of the
Gospel." He was among the successful proselyters, and rose to
influence in the church.* Of the requirement that the
missionaries should be beggars, Lorenzo Snow, who was sent out on
a mission from Kirtland in 1837, says, "It was a severe trial to
my natural feelings of independence to go without purse or scrip
especially the purse; for, from the time I was old enough to
work, the feeling that 'I paid my way' always seemed a necessary
adjunct to self respect."

* For an account of his travels and successes, see "Mormonism
Unveiled."


Parley P. Pratt, in a letter to Smith from New York in November,
1839, describing the success of the work in the United States,
says, "You would now find churches of the Saints in Philadelphia,
in Albany, in Brooklyn, in New York, in Sing Sing, in Jersey, in
Pennsylvania, on Long Island, and in various other places all
around us," and he speaks of the "spread of the work" in Michigan
and Maine.

The importance of England as a field from which to draw emigrants
to the new settlement was early recognized at Nauvoo, and in 1840
such lights of the church as Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, P.
P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and George
A. Smith, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, were sent to
cultivate that field. There they ordained Willard Richards an
Apostle, preached and labored for over a year, established a
printing-office which turned out a vast amount of Mormon
literature, including their Bible and "Doctrine and Covenants,"
and began the publication of the Millennial Star.

In 1840 Orson Hyde was sent on a mission to the Jews in London,
Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, and the same year
missionaries were sent to Australia, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of
Man, and the East Indies. In 1844 a missionary was sent to the
Sandwich Islands; in 1849 others were sent to France, Denmark,
Sweden, Norway and Iceland, Italy, and Switzerland; in 1850 ten
more elders were sent to the Sandwich Islands; in 1851 four
converts were baptized in Hindostan; in 1852 a branch of the
church was organized at Malta; in 1853 three elders reached the
Cape of Good Hope; and in 1861 two began work in Holland, but
with poor success. We shall see that this proselyting labor has
continued with undiminished industry to the present day, in all
parts of the United States as well as in foreign lands.

England provided an especially promising field for Mormon
missionary work. The great manufacturing towns contained hundreds
of people, densely ignorant,* superstitious, and so poor that the
ownership of a piece of land in their own country was practically
beyond the limit of their ambition. These people were naturally
susceptible to the Mormon teachings, easily imposed upon by
stories of alleged miracles, and ready to migrate to any part of
the earth where a building lot or a farm was promised them. The
letters from the first missionaries in England gave glowing
reports of the results of their labors. Thus Wilford Woodruff,
writing from Manchester in 1840, said, "The work has been so
rapid it was impossible to ascertain the exact number belonging
to each branch, but the whole number is 33 churches, 534 members,
75 officers, all of which had embraced the work in less than four
months." Lorenzo Snow, in a letter from London in April, 1841,
said: "Throughout all England, in almost every town and city of
any considerable importance, we have chapels or public halls in
which we meet for public worship. All over this vast kingdom the
laws of Zion are rolling onward with the most astonishing
rapidity."

* "It has been calculated that there are in England and Wales six
million persons who can neither read nor write, that is to say,
about one-third of the population, including, of course, infants;
but of all the children more than one-half attend no place of
public instruction."--Dickens, "Household Words."


The visiting missionaries began their work in England at Preston,
Lancashire, in 1836 or 1837, and soon secured there some five
hundred converts. Then they worked on each side of the Ribble,
making converts in all the villages, and gaining over a few farm
owners and mechanics of some means. Their method was first to
drop hints to the villagers that the Holy Bible is defective in
translation and incomplete, and that the Mormon Bible corrects
all these defects. Not able to hold his own in any theological
discussion, the rustic was invited to a meeting. At that meeting
the missionary would announce that he would speak simply as the
Lord directed him, and he would then present the Mormon view of
their Bible and prophet. As soon as converts were won over, they
were immersed, at night, and given the sacrament. Then they were
initiated into the secret "church meeting," to which only the
faithful were admitted, and where the flock were told of visions
and "gifts," and exhorted to stand firm (along with their earthly
goods) for the church, and warned against apostasy.

One way in which the prophetic gift of the missionaries was
proved in the early days in England was as follows: "Whenever a
candidate was immersed, some of the brethren was given a letter
signed by Hyde and Kimball, setting forth that 'brother will not
abide in the spirit of the Lord, but will reject the truth, and
become the enemy of the people of God, etc., etc.' If the brother
did not apostatize, this letter remained unopened; if he did, it
was read as a striking verification of prophecy."*

* Caswall's "City of the Mormons," appendix.


Miracles exerted a most potent influence among the people in
England with whom the early missionaries labored, and the
Millennial Star contains a long list of reported successes in
this line. There are accounts of very clumsy tricks that were
attempted to carry out the deception. Thus, at Newport, Wales,
three Mormon elders announced that they would raise a dead man to
life. The "corpse" was laid out and surrounded by weeping
friends, and the elders were about to begin their incantations,
when a doubting Thomas in the audience attacked the "corpse" with
a whip, and soon had him fleeing for dear life.*

* Tract by Rev. F. B. Ashley, p. 22.


Thomas Webster, who was baptized in England in 1837 by Orson Hyde
and became an elder, saw the falsity of the Mormon professions
through the failure of their miracles and other pretensions, and,
after renouncing their faith, published a pamphlet exposing their
methods. He relates many of the declarations made by the first
missionaries in Preston to their ignorant hearers. Hyde declared
that the apostles Peter, James, and John were still alive. He and
Kimball asserted that neither of them would "taste death" before
Christ's second coming. At one meeting Kimball predicted that in
ten or fifteen years the sea would be dried up between Liverpool
and America. "One of the most glaring things they ever brought
before the public," says Webster, "was stated in a letter written
by Orson Hyde to the brethren in Preston, saying they were on the
way to the promised land in Missouri by hundreds, and the wagons
reached a mile in length. They fell in with some of their
brethren in Canada, who told him the Lord had been raining down
manna in rich profusion, which covered from seven to ten acres of
land. It was like wafers dipped in honey, and both Saints and
sinners partook of it. I was present in the pulpit when this
letter was read."

However ridiculous such methods may appear, their success in
Great Britain was great.* In three years after the arrival of the
first missionaries, the General Conference reported a membership
of 4019 in England alone; in 1850 the General Conference reported
that the Mormons in England and Scotland numbered 27,863, and in
Wales 4342. The report for June, 1851, showed a total of 30,747
in the United Kingdom, and said, "During the last fourteen years
more than 50,000 have been baptized in England, of which nearly
17,000 have migrated from her shores to Zion." In the years
between 1840 and 1843 it was estimated that 3758 foreign converts
settled in and around Nauvoo.**

* "There is no page of religious history which more proudly tells
its story than that which relates this peculiar phase of Mormon
experience. The excitement was contagious, even affecting persons
in the higher ranks of social life, and the result was a grand
outpouring of spiritual and miraculous healing power of the most
astonishing description. Miracles were heard of everywhere, and
numerous competent and most reliable witnesses bore testimony to
their genuineness." --"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 10.

** Two of the most intelligent English converts, who did
proselyting work for the church and in later years saw their
error, have given testimony concerning this work in Great
Britain. John Hyde, Jr., summing up in 1857 the proselyting
system, said: "Enthusiasm is the secret of the great success of
Mormon proselyting; it is the universal characteristic of the
people when proselyted; it is the hidden and strong cord that
leads them to Utah, and the iron clamp that keeps them
there."--"Mormonism," p. 171.


Stenhouse says: "Mormonism in England, Scotland and Wales was a
grand triumph, and was fast ripening for a vigorous campaign in
Continental Europe" (when polygamy was pronounced).
The emigration of Mormon converts from Great Britain to the
United States, in its earlier stages, was thoroughly systemized
by the church authorities in this country. The first record of
the movement of any considerable body tells of a company of about
two hundred who sailed for New York from Liverpool in August,
1840, on the ship North American, in charge of two elders. A
second vessel with emigrants, the Shefeld, sailed from Bristol to
New York in February, 1841. The expense of the trip from New York
to Nauvoo proved in excess of the means of many of these
immigrants, some of whom were obliged to stop at Kirtland and
other places in Ohio. This led to a change of route, by which
vessels sailed from British ports direct to New Orleans, the
immigrants ascending the Mississippi to Nauvoo.

The extent of this movement to the time of the departure of the
Saints from Nauvoo is thus given by James Linforth, who says the
figures are "as complete and correct as it is possible now to
make them*":--

* "Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley," 1855.


Year *** No. of Vessels *** No. of Emigrants
1840 1 200
1841 6 1177
1842 8 1614
1843 5 769
1844 5 644
1845-46 3 346
Total 3750

The Mormon agents in England would charter a vessel at an English
port* when a sufficient company had assembled and announce their
intention to embark. The emigrants would be notified of the date
of sailing, and an agent would accompany them all the way to
Nauvoo. Men with money were especially desired, as were mechanics
of all kinds, since the one sound business view that seems to
have been taken by the leaders at Nauvoo was that it would be
necessary to establish manufactures there if the people were to
be able to earn a living. In some instances the passage money was
advanced to the converts.

* For Dickens's description of one of these vessels ready to
sail, see "The Uncommercial Traveller," Chap. XXII





Next: The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings

Previous: The Settlement Of Nauvoo



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