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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

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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



Wild Vagaries Of The Converts








The scenes at Kirtland during the first winter of the church
there reached the limit of religious enthusiasm. The younger
members outdid the elder in manifesting their belief. They saw
wonderful lights in the air, and constantly received visions.
Mounting stumps in the field, they preached to imaginary
congregations, and, picking up stones, they would read on them
words which they said disappeared as soon as known. At the
evening prayer-meetings the laying on of hands would be followed
by a sort of fit, in which the enthusiasts would fall apparently
lifeless on the floor, or contort their faces, creep on their
hands or knees, imitate the Indian process of killing and
scalping, and chase balls of fire through the fields.*

*Corrill's "Brief History of the Church," p. 16; Howe's
"Mormonism Unveiled," p. 104.


Some of the young men announced that they had received
"commissions" to teach and preach, written on parchment, which
came to them from the sky, and which they reached by jumping into
the air. Howe reproduces one of these, the conclusion of which,
with the seal, follows:--

"That you had a messenger tell you to go and get the other night,
you must not show to any son of Adam. Obey this, and I will stand
by you in all cases. My servants, obey my commandments in all
cases, and I will provide.

"Be ye always ready, Be ye always ready, Whenever I shall call,
Be ye always ready, My seal.

"There shall be something of great importance revealed when I
shall call you to go: My servants, be faithful over a few things,
and I will make you a ruler over many. Amen, Amen, Amen."

Foolishly extravagant as these manifestations appear (Corrill
says that comparatively few members indulged in them), there was
nothing in them peculiar to the Mormon belief. The meetings of
the Disciples, in the year of Smith's arrival in Ohio and later,
when men like Campbell and Scott spoke, were swayed with the most
intense religious enthusiasm. A description of the effect of
Campbell's preaching at a grove meeting in the Cuyahoga Valley in
1831 says:--

"The woods were full of horses and carriages, and the hundreds
already there were rapidly swelled to many thousands; all were of
one race-the Yankee; all of one calling, or nearly, the
farmer.... When Campbell closed, low murmurs broke and ran
through the awed crowd; men and women from all parts of the vast
assembly with streaming eyes came forward; young men who had
climbed into small trees from curiosity, came down from
conviction, and went forward for baptism."*

* Riddle's "The Portrait."

It is easy to cite very "orthodox" precedents for such
manifestations. One of these we find in the accounts of what were
called "the jerks," which accompanied a great revival in 1803,
brought about by the preaching of the Rev. Joseph Badger, a Yale
graduate and a Congregationalist, who was the first missionary to
the Western Reserve. J. S. C. Abbott, in his history of Ohio,
describing the "jerks," says:--

"The subject was instantaneously seized with spasms in every
muscle, nerve and tendon. His head was thrown backward and
forward, and from side to side, with inconceivable rapidity. So
swift was the motion that the features could no more be discerned
than the spokes of a wheel can be seen when revolving with the
greatest velocity.... All were impressed with a conviction that
there was something supernatural in these convulsions, and that
it was opposing the spirit of God to resist them."

The most extravagant enthusiasm of the Kirtland converts, and the
most extravagant claims of the Mormon leaders at that time, were
exceeded by the manifestations of converts in the early days of
Methodism, and the miraculous occurrences testified to by Wesley
himself,*--a cloud tempering the sun in answer to his prayer; his
horse cured of lameness by faith; the case of a blind Catholic
girl who saw plainly when her eyes rested on the New Testament,
but became blind again when she took up the Mass Book.

* For examples see Lecky's "England in the Nineteenth Century,
Vol. III, Chap. VIII, and Wesley's "Journal."


These Mormon enthusiasts were only suffering from a manifestation
to which man is subject; and we can agree with a Mormon elder
who, although he left the church disgusted with its
extravagances, afterward remarked, "The man of religious feeling
will know how to pity rather than upbraid that zeal without
knowledge which leads a man to fancy that he has found the ladder
of Jacob, and that he sees the angel of the Lord ascending and
descending before his eyes."

When Smith and Rigdon reached Kirtland they found the new church
in a state of chaos because of these wild excitements, and of an
attempt to establish a community of possessions, growing out of
Rigdon's previous teachings. These communists held that what
belonged to one belonged to all, and that they could even use any
one's clothes or other personal property without asking
permission. Many of the flock resented this, and anything but a
condition of brotherly love resulted. Smith, in his account of
the situation as they found it, says that the members were
striving to do the will of God, "though some had strange notions,
and false spirits had crept in among them. With a little caution
and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brothers and sisters to
overcome them. The plan of 'common stock,' which had existed in
what was called 'the family,' whose members generally had
embraced the Everlasting Gospel, was readily abandoned for the
more perfect law of the Lord,"*--which the prophet at once
expounded.

* Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, Supt., p. 56.


Smith announced that the Lord had informed him that the ravings
of the converts were of the devil, and this had a deterring
effect; but at an important meeting of elders to receive an
endowment, some three months later, conducted by Smith himself,
the spirits got hold of some of the elders. "It threw one from
his seat to the floor," says Corrill. "It bound another so that
for some time he could not use his limbs or speak; and some other
curious effects were experienced. But by a mighty exertion, in
the name of the Lord, it was exposed and shown to be of an evil
source."





Next: Growth Of The Church

Previous: The First Converts At Kirtland



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