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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

IN OHIO

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 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
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
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
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 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 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 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 Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
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



The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government








The Mormons teach that, for fourteen hundred years to the time of
Smith's "revelations," there had been "a general and awful
apostasy from the religion of the New Testament, so that all the
known world have been left for centuries without the Church of
Christ among them; without a priesthood authorized of God to
administer ordinances; that every one of the churches has
perverted the Gospel."* As illustrations of this perversion are
cited the doing away of immersion for the remission of sins by
most churches, of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy
Ghost, and of the miraculous gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit.
The new church presented a modern prophet, who was in direct
communication with God and possessed power to work miracles, and
who taught from a Golden Bible which says that whoever asserts
that there are no longer "revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts,
nor healing, nor speaking with tongues and the interpretation of
tongues,... knoweth not the Gospel of Christ" (Book of Mormon ix.
7, 8).

* Orson Pratt's "Remarkable Visions," No. 6.


It is impossible to decide whether the name "Mormon" was used by
Spaulding in his "Manuscript Found," or was introduced by Rigdon.
It is first encountered in the Mormon Bible in the Book of Mosiah
xviii. 4, as the name of a place where there was a fountain in
which Alma baptized those whom his admonition led to repentance.
Next it occurs in 3 Nephi v. 20: "I am Mormon, and a pure
descendant of Lehi." This Mormon was selected by the "author" of
the Bible to stand sponsor for the condensation of the "records"
of his ancestors which Smith unearthed. It was discovered very
soon after the organization of the Mormon church was announced
that the word was of Greek derivation, uopuw or uopuwv
meaning bugbear, hobgoblin. In the form of "mormo" it is
Anglicized with the same meaning, and is used by Jeremy Collier
and Warburton.* The word "Mormon" in zoology is the generic name
of certain animals, including the mandril baboon. The discovery
of the Greek origin and meaning of the word was not pleasing to
the early Mormon leaders, and they printed in the Times and
Seasons a letter over Smith's signature, in which he solemnly
declared that "there was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from
which I, through the grace of God, translated the Book of
Mormon," and gave the following explanation of the derivation of
the word:

* See "Century Dictionary."


"Before I give a definition to the word, let me say that the
Bible, in its widest sense, means good; for the Saviour says,
according to the Gospel of St. John, 'I am the Good Shepherd';
and it will not be beyond the common use of terms to say that
good is amongst the most important in use, and, though known by
various names in different languages, still its meaning is the
same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon,
good; the Dane, god; the Goth, gods; the German, gut; the Dutch,
goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; the
Egyptian, mo. Hence, with the addition of more, or the
contraction mor, we have the word Mormon, which means literally
more good.

This lucid explanation was doubtless entirely satisfactory to the
persons to whom it was addressed.

In the early "revelations" collected in the "Book of
Commandments" the new church was not styled anything more
definite than "My Church," and the title-page of that book, as
printed in 1833, says that these instructions are "for the
government of the Church of Christ." The name "Mormons" was not
acceptable to the early followers of Smith, who looked on it as a
term of reproach, claiming the designation "Saints." This
objection to the title continues to the present day. It was not
until May 4, 1834, that a council of the church, on motion of
Sidney Rigdon, decided on its present official title, "Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

The belief in the speedy ending of the world, on which the title
"Latter-Day Saints" was founded, has played so unimportant a part
in modern Mormon belief that its prominence as an early tenet of
the church is generally overlooked. At no time was there more
widespread interest in the speedy second coming of Christ and the
Day of Judgment than during the years when the organization of
the Mormon church was taking place. We have seen how much
attention was given to a speedy millennium by the Disciples
preachers. It was in 1833 that William Miller began his sermons
in which he fixed on the year 1843 as the end of the world, and
his views not only found acceptance among his personal followers,
but attracted the liveliest interest in other sects.

The Mormon leaders made this belief a part of their early
doctrine. Thus, in one of the first "revelations" given out by
Smith, dated Fayette, New York, September, 1830, Christ is
represented as saying that "the hour is nigh" when He would
reveal Himself, and "dwell in righteousness with men on earth a
thousand years." In the November following, another "revelation"
declared that "the time is soon at hand that I shall come in a
cloud, with power and great glory." Soon after Smith arrived in
Kirtland a "revelation," dated February, 1831, announced that
"the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand." In January, 1833,
Smith predicted that "there are those now living upon the earth
whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they shall see all
these things of which I have spoken" (the sweeping of the wicked
from the United States, and the return of the lost tribes to it).
Smith declared in 1843 that the Lord had promised that he should
see the Son of Man if he lived to be eighty-five (Sec. 130).*
When Ferris was Secretary of Utah Territory, in 1852-1853, he
found that the Mormons were still expecting the speedy coming of
Christ, but had moved the date forward to 1870. All through
Smith's autobiography and the Millennial Star will be found
mention of every portent that might be construed as an indication
of the coming disruption of this world. As late as December 6,
1856, an editorial in the Millennial Star said, "The signs of the
times clearly indicate to every observing mind that the great day
of the second advent of Messiah is at hand."

* Speaking of W. W. Phelps's last years in Utah, Stenbouse says:
"Often did the old man, in public and in private, regale the
Saints with the assurance that he had the promise by revelation
that he should not taste of death until Jesus came." Phelps died
on March 7, 1872.


As the devout Mohammedan* passes from earth to a heaven of
material bliss, so the Mormons are taught that the Saints, the
sole survivors of the day of judgment, will, with resurrected
bodies, possess the purified earth. The lengths to which Mormon
preachers have dared to go in illustrating this view find a good
illustration in a sermon by arson Pratt, printed in the Deseret
News, Salt Lake City, of August 21, 1852. Having promised that
"farmers will have great farms upon the earth when it is so
changed," and foreseeing that some one might suggest a difficulty
in providing land enough to go round, he met that in this way:--

* The similarity between Smith's early life and visions and
Mohammed's has been mentioned by more than one writer. Stenhouse
observes that Smith's mother "was to him what Cadijah was to
Mohammed," and that "a Mohammedan writer, in a series of essays
recently published in London, treats of the prophecies concerning
the Arabian Prophet, to be found in the Old and New Testaments,
precisely as Orson Pratt applied them to the American Prophet."


"But don't be so fast, says one; don't you know that there are
only about 197,000,000 of square miles, or about 126,000,000,000
of acres upon the surface of the globe? Will these accommodate
all the inhabitants after the resurrection? Yes; for if the earth
should stand 8000 years, or 80 centuries, and the population
should be a thousand millions in every century, that would be
80,000,000,000 of inhabitants, and we know that many centuries
have passed that would not give the tenth part of this; but
supposing this to be the number, there would then be over an acre
and a half for each person upon the surface of the globe."

By eliminating the wicked, so that only one out of a hundred
would share this real estate, he calculated that every Saint
"would receive over 150 acres, which would be quite enough to
raise manna, flax to make robes of, and to have beautiful
orchards of fruit trees."

The Mormon belief is stated by the church leaders to rest on the
Holy Bible, the Mormon Bible, and the "Book of Doctrine and
Covenants," together with the teachings of the Mormon instructors
from Smith's time to the present day. Although the Holy Bible is
named first in this list, it has, as we have seen, played a
secondary part in the church ritual, its principal use by the
Mormon preachers having been to furnish quotations on which to
rest their claims for the inspiration of their own Bible and for
their peculiar teachings. Mormon sermons (usually styled
discourses) rarely, if ever, begin with a text. The "Book of
Doctrine and Covenants" "containing," as the title-page declares,
"the revelations given to Joseph Smith, Jr., for the building up
of the Kingdom of God in the last days," was the directing
authority in the church during Smith's life, and still occupies a
large place in the church history. An examination of the origin
and character of this work will therefore shed much light on the
claims of the church to special direction from on high.

There is little doubt that this system of "revelation" was an
idea of Rigdon. Smith was not, at that time, an inventor; his
forte was making use of ideas conveyed to him. Thus, he did not
originate the idea of using a "peek-stone," but used one freely
as soon as he heard of it. He did not conceive the idea of
receiving a Bible from an angel, but readily transformed the
Spaniard-with-his-throat-cut to an angel when the perfected
scheme was presented to him. We can imagine how attractive
"revelations" would have been to him, and how soon he would
concentrate in himself the power to receive them, and would adapt
them to his personal use.

David Whitmer says, "The revelations, or the Book of
Commandments, up to June, 1829, were given through the stone
through which the Book of Mormon was translated"; but that after
that time" they came through Joseph as a mouthpiece; that is, he
would inquire of the Lord, pray and ask concerning a matter, and
speak out the revelation, which he thought to be a revelation
from the Lord; but sometimes he was mistaken about its being from
the Lord."* Who drew the line between truth and error has never
been explained, but Smith would certainly have resented any such
scepticism.

* "Address to Believers in the Book of Mormon."


Parley P. Pratt thus describes Smith's manner of receiving
"revelations" in Ohio, "Each sentence was uttered slowly and very
distinctly, and with a pause between each sufficiently long for
it to be recorded by an ordinary writer in long hand."*


* Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 65.


These "revelations" made the greatest impression on Smith's
followers, and no other of his pretensions seems to have so
convinced them of his divine credentials. The story of Vienna
Jaques well illustrates this. A Yankee descendant of John
Rodgers, living in Boston, she was convinced by a Mormon elder,
and joined the church members while they were in Kirtland, taking
with her her entire possession, $1500 in cash. This money, like
that of many other devoted members, found its way into Smith's
hands--and stayed there. But he had taken her into his family,
and her support became burdensome to him. So, when the Saints
were "gathering" in Missouri, he announced a "revelation" in
these words (Sec. 90):--

"And again, verily, I [the Lord] say unto you, it is my will that
my handmaid, Vienna Jaques, should receive money to bear her
expenses, and go up unto the land of Zion; and the residue of the
money may be consecrated unto me, and she be rewarded in mine own
due time. Verily, I say unto you, that it is meet in mine eyes
that she should go up unto the land of Zion, and receive an
inheritance from the hand of the Bishop, that she may settle down
in peace, inasmuch as she is faithful, and not to be idle in her
days from thenceforth."

The confiding woman obeyed without a murmur this thinly concealed
scheme to get rid of her, migrated with the church from Missouri
to Illinois and to Utah, and was in Salt Lake City in 1833,
supporting herself as a nurse, and "doubly proud that she has
been made the subject of a revelation from heaven."*

* "Utah and the Mormons," p. 182.


These "revelations" have been published under two titles. The
first edition was printed in Jackson, Missouri, in 1833, in the
Mormon printing establishment, under the title, "Book of
Commandments for the Government of the Church of Christ,
organized according to Law on the 6th of April, 1830." This
edition contained nothing but "revelations," divided into
sixty-five "chapters," and ending with the one dated Kirtland,
September, 1831, which forms Section 64 of the Utah edition of
"Doctrine and Covenants." David Whitmer says that when, in the
spring of 1832, it was proposed by Smith, Rigdon, and others to
publish these revelations, they were earnestly advised by other
members of the church not to do so, as it would be dangerous to
let the world get hold of them; and so it proved. But Smith
declared that any objector should "have his part taken out of the
Tree of Life."*

* It has been stated that the "Book of Commandments" was never
really published, the mob destroying the sheets before it got
out. But David Whitmer is a very positive witness to the
contrary, saying, "I say it was printed complete (and
copyrighted) and many copies distributed among the members of the
church before the printing press was destroyed."


Two years later, while the church was still in Kirtland, the
"revelations" were again prepared for publication, this time
under the title, "Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the
Latter-Day Saints, carefully selected from the revelations of
God, and compiled by Joseph Smith, Jr.; Oliver Cowdery, Sidney
Rigdon, F. G. Williams, proprietors." On August 17, 1835, a
general assembly of the church held in the Kirtland Temple voted
to accept his book as the doctrine and covenants of their faith.
Ebenezer Robinson, who attended the meeting, says that the
majority of those so voting "had neither time nor opportunity to
examine the book for themselves; they had no means of knowing
whether any alterations had been made in any of the revelations
or not."* In fact, many important alterations were so made, as
will be pointed out in the course of this story. One method of
attempting to account for these changes has been by making the
plea that parts were omitted in the Missouri editions. On this
point, however, Whitmer is very positive, as quoted.

* In his reminiscences in The Return.


At the very start Smith's revelations failed to "come true." An
amusing instance of this occurred before the Mormon Bible was
published. While the "copy" was in the hands of the printer,
Grandin, Joe's brother Hyrum and others who had become interested
in the enterprise became impatient over Harris's delay in raising
the money required for bringing out the book. Hyrum finally
proposed that some of them attempt to sell the copyright in
Canada, and he urged Joe to ask the Lord about doing so. Joe
complied, and announced that the mission to Canada would be a
success. Accordingly, Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page made a trip
to Toronto to secure a publisher, but their mission failed
absolutely. This was a critical test of the faith of Joe's
followers. "We were all in great trouble," says David Whitmer,*
"and we asked Joseph how it was that he received a 'revelation'
from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the
copyright, and the brethren had utterly failed in their
undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he inquired of
the Lord about it, and behold, the following 'revelation' came;
through the stone: 'Some revelations are from God, some
revelations are of man, and some revelations are of the Devil.'"
No rule for distinguishing and separating these revelations was
given; but Whitmer, whose faith in Smith's divine mission never
cooled, thus disposes of the matter, "So we see that the
revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of
God." Of course, a prophet whose followers would accept such an
excuse was certain of his hold upon them. This incident well
illustrates the kind of material which formed the nucleus of the
church.

* "Address to All Believers in Christ," p. 30.


Smith never let the previously revealed word of the Lord protect
any of his flock who afterward came in conflict with his own
plans. For example: On March 8, 1831, he announced a "revelation"
(Sec. 47), saying, "Behold, it is expedient in me that my servant
John [Whitmer] should write and keep a regular history" of the
church. John fell into disfavor in later years, and, when he
refused to give up his records, Smith and Rigdon addressed a
letter to him,* in connection with his dismissal, which said that
his notes required correction by them before publication,
"knowing your incompetency as a historian, that writings coming
from your pen could not be put to press without our correcting
them, or else the church must suffer reproach. Indeed, sir, we
never supposed you capable of writing a history." Why the Lord
did not consult Smith and Rigdon before making this appointment
is one of the unexplained mysteries.

* Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 133.


These "revelations," which increased in number from 16 in 1829 to
19 in 1830, numbered 35 in 1831, and then decreased to 16 in
1832, 13 in 1833, 5 in 1834, 2 in 1835, 3 in 1836, 1 in 1837, 8
in 1838 (in the trying times in Missouri), 1 in 1839, none in
1840, 3 in 1841, none in 1842, and 2, including the one on
polygamy, in 1843. We shall see that in his latter days, in
Nauvoo, Smith was allowed to issue revelations only after they
had been censored by a council. He himself testified to the
reckless use which he made of them, and which perhaps brought
about this action. The following is a quotation from his diary:--

"May 19, 1842.-- While the election [of Smith as mayor by the
city council] was going forward, I received and wrote the
following revelation: 'I Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my
servant Joseph, by the voice of the Spirit, Hiram Kimball has
been insinuating evil and forming evil opinions against you with
others; and if he continue in them, he and they shall be
accursed, for I am the Lord thy God, and will stand by thee and
bless thee.' Which I threw across the room to Hiram Kimball, one
of the counsellors."

Thus it seems that there was some limit to the extent of Joe's
effrontery which could be submitted to.

We shall see that Brigham Young in Utah successfully resisted
constant pressure that was put upon him by his flock to continue
the reception of "revelations." While he was prudent enough to
avoid the pitfalls that would have surrounded him as a revealer,
he was crafty enough not to belittle his own authority in so
doing. In his discourse on the occasion of the open announcement
of polygamy, he said, "If an apostle magnifies his calling, his
words are the words of eternal life and salvation to those who
hearken to them, just as much so as any written revelations
contained in these books" (the two Bibles and the "Doctrine and
Covenants").

Hiram Page was not the only person who tried to imitate Smith's
"revelations." A boy named Isaac Russell gave out such messages
at Kirtland; Gladdin Bishop caused much trouble in the same way
at Nauvoo; the High Council withdrew the hand of fellowship from
Oliver Olney for setting himself up as a prophet; and in the same
year the Times and Seasons announced a pamphlet by J. C.
Brewster, purporting to be one of the lost books of Esdras,
"written by the power of God."

In the Times and Seasons (p. 309) will he found a report of a
conference held in New York City on December 4, 1840, at which
Elder Sydney Roberts was arraigned, charged with "having a
revelation that a certain brother must give him a suit of clothes
and a gold watch, the best that could be had; also saluting the
sisters with what he calls a holy kiss." He was told that he
could retain his membership if he would confess, but he declared
that "he knew the revelations which he had spoken were from God."
So he was thereupon "cut off."

The other source of Mormon belief--the teachings of their leading
men--has been no more consistent nor infallible than Smith's
"revelations." Mormon preachers have been generally uneducated
men, most of them ambitious of power, and ready to use the pulpit
to strengthen their own positions. Many an individual elder, firm
in his faith, has travelled and toiled as faithfully as any
Christian missionary; but these men, while they have added to the
church membership, have not made its beliefs.

Smith probably originated very little of the church polity,
except the doctrine of polygamy, and what is published over his
name is generally the production of some of his counsellors.
Section 130 of the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," headed
"Important Items of Instruction, given by Joseph the Prophet,
April 2, 1843," contains the following:--

"When the Saviour shall appear, we shall see him as he is. We
shall see that he is a man like ourselves....

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's;
the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and
bones, but is a personage of spirit. Were it not so, the Holy
Ghost could not dwell in us."

An article in the Millennial Star, Vol. VI, for which the prophet
vouched, contains the following:--

"The weakest child of God which now exists upon the earth will
possess more dominion, more property, more subjects, and more
power in glory than is possessed by Jesus Christ or by his
Father; while, at the same time, Jesus Christ and his Father will
have their dominion, kingdom and subjects increased in
proportion."

One more illustration of Smith's doctrinal views will suffice. In
a funeral sermon preached in Nauvoo, March 20, 1842, he said: "As
concerning the resurrection, I will merely say that all men will
come from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young; there
will not be 'added unto their stature one cubit,' neither taken
from it. All will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in
their bodies but not blood."*

* Millennial Star, Vol. XIX, p. 213.


In "The Latter-Day Saints' Catechism or Child's Ladder," by Elder
David Moffat, Genesis v. 1, and Exodus xxxiii. 22, 23, and xxiv.
10 are cited to prove that God has the form and parts of a man.

The greatest vagaries of doctrinal teachings are found during
Brigham Young's reign in Utah. In the way of a curiosity the
following diagram and its explanation, by Orson Hyde, may be
reproduced from the Millennial Star, Vol. IX, p. 23:--

"The above diagram (not included in this etext) shows the order
and unity of the Kingdom of God. The eternal Father sits at the
head, crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Wherever the other
lines meet there sits a king and priest under God, bearing rule,
authority and dominion under the Father. He is one with the
Father because his Kingdom is joined to his Father's and becomes
part of it.... It will be seen by the above diagram that there
are kingdoms of all sizes, an infinite variety to suit all grades
of merit and ability. The chosen vessels of God are the kings and
priests that are placed at the heads of their kingdoms. They have
received their washings and anointings in the Temple of God on
earth."

Young's ambition was not to be satisfied until his name was
connected with some doctrine peculiarly his own. Accordingly, in
a long sermon preached in the Tabernacle on April 9, 1852, he
made this announcement (the italics and capitals follow the
official report):--

"Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, saint
and sinner. When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he
came into it with a CELESTIAL BODY, and brought Eve, ONE OF HIS
WIVES, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is
MICHAEL, the ARCHANGEL, the ANCIENT OF DAYS, about whom holy men
have written and spoken.* HE is our FATHER and our GOD, AND THE
ONLY GOD WITH WHOM 'WE' HAVE TO DO... Every man upon the earth,
professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it and WILL
KNOW IT SOONER OR LATER.... I could tell you much more about
this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be
nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and over
righteous of mankind.... Jesus, our Elder Brother, was begotten
in the flesh by the same character that was in the Garden of
Eden, and who is our Father in heaven."**

* Young, in a public discourse on October 23, 1853, declared that
he rejected the story of Adam's creation as "baby stories my
mother taught me when I was a child." But the Mormon Bible (2
Nephi ii. 18-22) tells the story of Adam's fall.

** Journal of Discourses, VOL I, pp. 50, 51.


This doctrine was made a leading point of difference between the
Utah church and the Reorganized Church, when the latter was
organized, but it is no longer defended even in Utah. The Deseret
Evening News of March 21, 1900, said on this point, "That which
President Young set forth in the discourse referred to is not
preached either to the Latter-Day Saints or to the world as a
part of the creed of the church."

Young never hesitated to rebuke an associate whose preaching did
not suit him. In a discourse in Salt Lake City, on March 8, 1857,
he rebuked Orson Pratt, one of the ablest of the church writers,
declaring that Pratt did not "know enough to keep his foot out of
it, but drowns himself in his philosophy." He ridiculed his
doctrine that "the devils in hell are composed of and filled with
the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, and possess all the knowledge,
wisdom, and power of the gods, "and said, "When I read some of
the writings of such philosophers they make me think, 'O dear,
granny, what a long tail our puss has got.'"*

* Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 297.


The Mormon church still holds that an existing head of that
organization can always interpret the divine will regarding any
question. This was never more strikingly illustrated than when
Woodruff, by a mere dictum, did away with the obligatory
character of polygamy.

When the Mormons were under a cloud in Illinois, in 1842, John
Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat, applied to Smith for a
statement of their belief, and received in reply a list of 13
"Articles of Faith" over Smith's signature. This statement was
intended to win for them sympathy as martyrs to a simple
religious belief, and it has been cited in Congress as proof of
their soul purity. But as illustrating the polity of the church
it is quite valueless.

The doctrine of polygamy and the ceremonies of the Endowment
House will be considered in their proper place. One distinctive
doctrine of the church must be explained before this subject is
dismissed, namely, that which calls for "baptism for the dead."
This doctrine is founded on an interpretation of Corinthians xv.
29: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if
the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the
dead?"

An explanation of this doctrine in the Times and Seasons of May
1, 1841, says:--"This text teaches us the important and cheering
truth that the departed spirit is in a probationary state, and
capable of being affected by the proclamation of the Gospel....
Christ offers pardon, peace, holiness, and eternal life to the
quick and the dead, the living, on condition of faith and baptism
for remission of sins; the departed, on the same condition of
faith in person and baptism by a living kinsman in his behalf. It
may be asked, will this baptism by proxy necessarily save the
dead? We answer, no; neither will the same necessarily save the
living."

This doctrine was first taught to the church in Ohio. In later
years, in Nauvoo, Smith seemed willing to accept its paternity,
and in an article in the Times and Seasons of April 15, x 842,
signed "Ed.," when he was its editor, he said that he was the
first to point it out. The article shows, however, that it was
doubtless written by Rigdon, as it indicates a knowledge of the
practice of such baptism by the Marcionites in the second
century, and of Chrysostom's explanation of it. A note on
Corinthians xv. 29, in "The New Testament Commentary for English
Readers," edited by Lord Bishop Ellicott of Gloucester and
Bristol (London, 1878), gives the following historical sketch of
the practice:--

"There have been numerous and ingenious conjectures as to the
meaning of this passage. The only tenable interpretation is that
there existed amongst some of the Christians at Corinth a
practice of baptizing a living person in the stead of some
convert who had died before that sacrament had been administered
to him. Such a practice existed amongst the Marcionites in the
second century, and still earlier amongst a sect called the
Cerinthians. The idea evidently was that, whatever benefit flowed
from baptism, might be thus vicariously secured for the deceased
Christian. St. Chrysostom gives the following description of
it:--

"After a catechumen (one prepared for baptism but not actually
baptized) was dead, they hid a living man under the bed of the
deceased; then, coming to the bed of the dead man, they spoke to
him, and asked whether he would receive baptism; and, he making
no answer, the other replied in his stead, and so they baptized
the living for the dead: Does St. Paul then, by what he here
says, sanction the superstitious practice? Certainly not. He
carefully separated himself and the Corinthians, to whom he
immediately addresses himself, from those who adopted this custom
.... Those who do that, and disbelieve a resurrection, refute
themselves. This custom possibly sprang up among the Jewish
converts, who had been accustomed to something similar in their
faith. If a Jew died without having been purified from some
ceremonial uncleanness, some living person had the necessary
ablution performed on him, and the dead were so accounted clean."

Other commentators have found means to explain this text without
giving it reference to a baptism for dead persons, as, for
instance, that it means, "with an interest in the resurrection of
the dead."* Another explanation is that by "the dead" is meant
the dead Christ, as referred to in Romans vi. 3, "Know ye not
that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death?"

* "Commentary by Bishops and Other Clergy of the Anglican
Church."


This doctrine was a very taking one with the uneducated Mormon
converts who crowded into Nauvoo, and the church officers saw in
it a means to hasten the work on the Temple. At first families
would meet on the bank of the Mississippi River, and some one, of
the order of the Melchisedec Priesthood, would baptize them
wholesale for all their dead relatives whose names they could
remember, each sex for relatives of the same. But as soon as the
font in the Temple was ready for use, these baptisms were
restricted to that edifice, and it was required that all the
baptized should have paid their tithings. At a conference at
Nauvoo in October, 1841, Smith said that those who neglected the
baptism of their dead "did it at the peril of their own
salvation."*

* Times and Seasons, Vol. II, p. 578.


The form of church government, as worked out in the early days,
is set forth in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants." The first
officers provided for were the twelve apostles,* and the next the
elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, Edward Partridge being
announced as the first bishop in 1831. The church was loosely
governed for the first years after its establishment at Kirtland.
A guiding power was provided for in a revelation of March 8, 1833
(Sec. 90), when Smith was told by the Lord that Rigdon and F. G.
Williams were accounted as equal with him "in holding the keys of
this last kingdom." These three first held the famous office of
the First Presidency, representing the Trinity.

* (Sec. 18, June, 1829.)


On February 17, 1834 (Sec. 102), a General High Council of
twenty-four High Priests assembled at Smith's house in Kirtland
and organized the High Council of the church, consisting of
Twelve High Priests, with one or three Presidents, as the case
might require. The office of High Priest, and the organization of
a High Council were apparently an afterthought, and were added to
the "revelation" after its publication in the "Book of
Commandments." Other forms of organization that were from time to
time decided on were announced in a revelation dated March 28,
1835 (Sec. 107), which defined the two priesthoods, Melchisedec
and Aaronic, and their powers. There were to be three Presiding
High Priests to form a Quorum of the Presidency of the church; a
Seventy, called to preach the Gospel, who would form a Quorum
equal in authority to the Quorum of the Twelve, and be presided
over by seven of their number. Smith soon organized two of these
Quorums of Seventies. At the time of the dedications of the
Temple at Nauvoo, in 1844, there were fifteen of them, and to-day
they number more than 120.

Each separate church organization, as formed, was called a Stake,
and each Stake had over it a Presidency, High Priests, and
Council of Twelve. We find the meaning of the word "Stake" in
some of Smith's earlier "revelations." Thus, in the one dated
June 4, 1833, regarding the organization of the church at
Kirtland, it was said, "It is expedient in me that this Stake
that I have set for the strength of Zion be made strong." Again,
in one dated December 16, 1839, on the gathering of the Saints,
it is stated, "I have other places which I will appoint unto
them, and they shall be called Stakes for the curtains, or the
strength of Zion." In Utah, to-day, the Stakes form groups of
settlements, and are generally organized on county lines.

The prophet made a substantial provision for his father, founding
for him the office of Patriarch, in accordance with an
unpublished "revelation." The principal business of the Patriarch
was to dispense "blessings," which were regarded by the faithful
as a sort of charm, to ward off misfortune. Joseph, Sr., awarded
these blessings without charge when he began dispensing them at
Kirtland, but a High Council held there in 1835 allowed him $10 a
week while blessing the church. After his formal anointing in
1836 he was known as Father Smith, and the next year his salary
was made $1.50 a day.* Hyrum became Patriarch when his father
died in 1840, his brother William succeeded him, his Uncle John
came next, and his Uncle Joseph after John. Patriarchal blessings
were advertised in the Mormon newspaper in Nauvoo like other
merchandise. They could be obtained in writing, and contained
promises of almost anything that a man could wish, such as
freedom from poverty and disease, life prolonged until the coming
of Christ, etc.** In 1875 the price of a blessing in Utah had
risen to $2. The office of Patriarch is still continued, with one
chief Patriarch, known as Patriarch of the Church, and
subordinate Patriarchs in the different Stakes. The position of
Patriarch of the church has always been regarded as a hereditary
one, and bestowed on some member of the Smith family, as it is
to-day.

* The departure of the Patriarch from Ohio was somewhat dramatic.
As his wife tells the story in her book, the old man was taken by
a constable before a justice of the peace on a charge of
performing the marriage service without any authority, and was
fined $3000, and sentenced to the penitentiary in default of
payment. Through the connivance of the constable, who had been a
Mormon, the prisoner was allowed to leap out of a window, and he
remained in hiding at New Portage until his family were ready to
start for Missouri. The revelation of January 19, 1841, announced
that he was then sitting "with Abraham at his right hand."


* Ferris's "Utah and the Mormons," p. 314, and "Wife No. 19," p.
581.





Next: The First Converts At Kirtland

Previous: Organization Of The Church



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