JUNE 2 a church building at Wheelers Grove, Iowa, was dedicated; Elders W. W. Blair, E. C. Briggs, H. N. Hansen, and Henry Kemp, assisted by the local authorities, took part in the service.
The Herald for June 29 contained a letter from Elder C. A. Butterworth, dated Queensferry, Victoria, Australia, in which he relates some thrilling experiences. A lecturer was attacking the faith of the Saints, and this young, inexperienced man was called upon to defend. He stated:
This was my first opportunity of defending Joseph, the Prophet, and, like Paul, with much trembling did I do my best, assisted by the Lord, to set forth the words of eternal truth before those who were desirous of gaining an entrance into the paradise of God. You can hardly imagine the feeling that overwhelmed me when I arrived at the school where I was to answer the Mormon-eater, and saw the people crowding around, with not a Saint to be seen. All was perfect silence while I was speaking, and when I had finished there was a clapping of hands and stamping of feet, showing their approval of what I had said.
I rode about five hundred miles on horseback, spoke twenty-one times, baptized two, and left a fine feeling among the people, with several investigating.
In a letter dated May 25, Elder J. W. Wight, writing from Laurieton, New South Wales, relates having had a discussion with a Utah elder, on the subject of polygamy. He says they had a two-night test, and the elder proved himself to be a gentleman.
A reunion was held at Laguna, California, commencing July 5. Heman C. Smith and D. S. Mills presided, and S. G. Wright acted as secretary. There were other officials present and taking part in the proceedings; namely, J. F. Burton, H. L. Holt, John Brush, Daniel Garner, P. M. Betts, A. A. Goff, J. G. Walker, William McGarey, A. W. Thompson, E. J. French, Harvey Hemingway, H. C. Ladd, A. Starkey, Stephen Penfold, John Bedford.
At this reunion a remarkable manifestation of power was witnessed. Elder J. F. Burton, who had previously returned from Australia broken in health, his voice impaired so that it was with difficulty that he could speak, was administered to by Elders Heman C. Smith, D. S. Mills, and Daniel Garner. While the elders' hands were upon his head he cried out, "Brethren, I am healed," and immediately after spoke with clearness and a voice distinct enough to be heard by the assembly, though the meeting was in the open air. Elder D. S. Mills writes:
While thus engaged it seemed as if the very windows of heaven were opened upon us in a glorious manner, which few persons may have ever known, and once experienced are never to be forgotten. In fact it is beyond the powers of pen or tongue to adequately describe. To be filled with the Holy Ghost as we each were on that occasion, is all that mortals can contain, standing in a little spot of heaven on earth, knowing that God hears and at once answers in such mighty power is glorious compensation for earthly ills. No other power can successfully imitate it in working to deceive those who have once felt it. We do know we are working with God when he thus sets his seal to it, and the various idle calls of erring men to return, or lo here and lo there, are as sounding brass to us. Let us return from this holy heaven-blest path never; but onward, higher and higher ever. Elder Daniel Garner was richly blessed in body and spirit; Bro. Burton was instantly healed, and sang it in tongues, praising God who had heard and healed him.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 36, p. 529.
Elder J. A. Currie, Jr., wrote July 18 from Stockdale, Texas, that he had just entered upon an eight-day discussion. His opponent in this debate was Mr. Z. Brooks, who was formerly connected with the church, and published an edition of the Book of Mormon to which he wrote an introduction. At this time he was representing the Disciple Church. August 1 Elder Currie wrote: "Hundreds attended the discussion. I am safe in saying those who do not belong to either church represented by the disputants give us the victory by a large majority, and some of the Campbellites say now, he was not the man to represent them. Their representatives are too old or too young most all the time."
About this time President Joseph Smith was in Utah, where he visited several places in company with Elder R. J. Anthony, presenting the claims of the Reorganization in comparison with the teachings of the Utah church. On July 22 Elder Anthony wrote from Ogden, Utah, as follows:
We have held three meetings in the pavilion here. Bro. Joseph spoke to a good audience Saturday night. Yesterday afternoon at two o'clock I preached the gospel to the people, and last night Bro. Joseph preached to a sea of people. His theme was plural marriage and why he rejected it. When he quoted from the second chapter of Jacob, in Book of Mormon, some young man called out for him to read the balance of the chapter. Joseph did so to the astonishment of the young man, and with a few comments completely upset the Brighamite pet theory built on "If I will raise up seed unto me, I will command my people otherwise." Joseph gave them the correct rendering, and then showed the scourges and judgments which should be visited upon those who practiced such abomination. The reading and comments created quite a little breeze, and applause. The people saw the point. Joseph showed that the Reorganized Church kept the laws of God and the Nation and were entitled to the promised blessings.
Before he had fairly resumed his argument on the main question, a man called to him to read the fourth chapter of Isaiah. Joseph said he would read it if the people wished and comment on it. Several called out, "Read it!" It was then read, also a portion of the third chapter to show the kind of women that would "take hold of one man" predicted in 4:1. And before Joseph got through with the reading and his comments, there was "music in the air." A perfect storm of applause followed.
Joseph was in fair health, although for several days he had been suffering
with facial troubles, but he was free from pain during the sermon-The Saints' Herald, vol. 36, p. 481.
Beginning on August 2 and closing on the 11th, a tent-meeting of Decatur District was held at Davis City, Iowa. Elders J. R. Lambert and H. A. Stebbins presided. The following elders were present and took part in the meeting: M. H. Forscutt, John Landers, A. W. Reese, T. J. Bell, I. L. Rogers, R. S. Salyards, J. P. Dillon, Thomas Wellington, H. R. Harder, Duncan Campbell, John Shippy, W. T. Bozarth, A. H. Smith, John Denio, James McDiffit, William Anderson, John Hawley, C. H. Jones, J. Alfred Davies, W. W. Blair, and A. S. Cochran.
A reunion for Southwestern Iowa was held at Wheelers Grove, commencing August 31 and continuing to September 8. Henry Kemp and H. N. Hansen presided, T. A. Hougas acted as secretary. Other ministers took part as follows: W. W. Blair, J. R. Lambert, H. O. Smith, Daniel Hougas, R. M. Elvin, M. W. Gaylord. There were five baptisms during the reunion.
A reunion meeting of the Northern California District, convened in the Saints' chapel at Sacramento, California, September 6. Thomas Daly presided, and J. R. Cook acted as secretary. The following elders were present and participated: Marcus Lowell, Orrin Smith, J. R. Cook, J. H. Parr. Two were baptized during these meetings.
September 27 Elder D. S. Crawley wrote from Prairie City, Indian Territory, of a debate which he had recently held at that place with a representative of the Disciple Church.
September 28 President Joseph Smith wrote from Richmond, Utah, regarding his visit to Logan:
We have been to Logan, but there is not much to tell. We were permitted the use of the meeting-room in the basement of the tabernacle, quite a large and comfortable room. . . . The use of the room was cheerfully granted us, so far as we could judge. We were told that Apostle Moses Thatcher said, when asked about letting us have the room, "Yes, by all means." Mr. Martineau, chairman of the tabernacle committee, very cheerfully gave his consent, and I think helped us to its use.
The audiences were large, quite as large as the room would hold, many standing, the first and second evenings. On the third, a lecture in the Fourth Ward, on the Book of Mormon, by Elder Edward Stephenson, previously announced, perhaps took some; but the house was comfortably full, and excellent attention was paid. In fact the attention was good throughout; and we were courteously treated. Elder Stewart, a member of the High Council, as I was told, and several others took seats on the stand the first evening, including Elder Steves, of the M. E. Church, Bishops Smith, Lewis, and others. Mr. Stewart stood by us each evening, courteously and kindly. On the second evening I discussed the marriage question, affirming our position respecting its institution, and giving reasons for not accepting plurality. I tried to avoid the use of any language that could justly be taken as abusive, or calculated to stir up anger-I think no offense was taken.
Apostle Moses Thatcher, at my general request for some of the brethren to fill the seats on the stand came and sat with us. I was pleased to meet him and make his acquaintance. . . . Towards the close of my discourse he interrupted me several times, by remarks; but thinking better of it, when I told him I had no objection, he apologized and let me finish. He told me, however, in correction of my statement that the revelation on plural marriage had never received the vote of the people sustaining, or accepting it as a tenet of the faith, that he was himself present when some nine thousand assembled at General Conference, had accepted it by vote. I asked him when it was. He did not remember exactly, but admitted, when I asked him, that it was sometime after 1876. He also stated, in an interruption, when I was reading the notice of April, 1844, about Hiram Brown, that they "did not believe in polygamy, and never did." Of course I accepted both statements, especially the first, and thanked him for it. The second I held to be but a change of name for the same thing, the having more than one wife at the same time; which was the thing under discussion, whatever name it might be called by.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 36, p. 679.
October 3 Elder F. M. Sheehy entered into a debate with Mr. Roys, of the Freewill Baptist persuasion, at Dixfield Center, Maine. The subject discussed was the laying on of hands. Arrangements were made for other discussions to follow.
The Herald for October 5 contained an extensive article from the pen of President Joseph Smith entitled, "Ways that are Doubtful," being a reply to an article furnished by Franklin D. Richards, historian of the Utah church, for a work entitled, "What the World Believes; the False and the True." President Smith met the oft
repeated assertions regarding polygamy, showing the true facts of history upon this point.
The annual reunion convened at Garners Grove, Iowa, October 5. W. W. Blair, Charles Derry, and M. H. Forscutt presided; Elders H. A. Stebbins and J. F. McDowell were chosen as secretaries. Others of the ministry present and participating were as follows: J. R. Lambert, G. A. Blakeslee, S. W. L. Scott, William Chambers, John A. McIntosh, C. E. Butterworth, J. S. Roth, John Pett, David Chambers, H. O. Smith, J. C. Crabb, J. M. Putney, E. C. Brand, W. D. Bullard, J. Turner, J. W. Chatburn, Joseph Seddon, Henry Garner. The minutes of the meeting closed with the following comments:
Thus closed one of the most profitable and spiritually blessed meetings of reunion held in the West. The audience was large and orderly throughout. Every one seemed in good humor and all things passed off pleasantly. The weather was delightful, all that could be desired. There were over two hundred tents on the grounds. The baptisms numbered fifty-five, the majority being adults. The Holy Spirit attended them and also the confirmations. Many children were blessed, and a number of sick benefited through administrations. The preaching was attended by the Holy Spirit's presence and power.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 36, p. 719.
October 6, at the semiannual conference of the Utah church, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, three vacancies in the Quorum of Twelve were filled by placing therein Mariner W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, and Abraham H. Cannon.
October 7, at the conference of the Kent and Elgin District, held at Chatham, Canada, Emanuel Eaton, a colored man, was ordained to the office of elder by John H. Lake, E. L. Kelley, and Arthur Leverton. This was the first elder of the negro race ordained in the church. Some had previously been ordained to lower offices, but none to the Melchisedec priesthood.
The Herald for October 12 contains an editorial review of a work entitled, "Life of Joseph the Prophet," by George Q. Cannon, a member of the First Presidency of the church in Utah. The review questions, and produces reasons for doubting, the correctness of some of the items presented in the book as history.
October 20 Governor A. L. Thomas, of Utah, made his report to the Honorable John W. Noble, Secretary of the Interior, and among other things stated the following regarding the public schools, and the attitude of the Utah church towards the same.
Under the provisions of the Edmunds-Tucker Law, the Territorial superintendent of public schools is appointed by the Supreme Court of the Territory. He is required by law to make an annual report to Congress, and to give in his report detailed information respecting the schools. I shall therefore only refer to the subject in a general way. The importance of free public schools and an efficient public school system in which the youth may be educated, is universally recognized. While Utah has a very fair system of public schools, they fall far short of what they should be. The tax collected for the support of the schools does not pay one half the expenses of maintaining the schools, consequently the pupils must pay tuition fees or the schools be closed. In many of the poorer districts the children are denied school privileges for many months of the year.
There is but little prospect, in fact there is no prospect, that this will be changed. I am led to this conclusion by the fact that the Mormon people with almost entire unanimity are quietly preparing for denominational schools, in which their children may be taught Mormon theology in addition to the ordinary branches of education.
Stake or county academies have been established under church auspices, and in some of the school districts the Mormon children have been withdrawn from the public schools and placed in church schools.
The following extract from a letter written by Wilford Woodruff, the president of the Mormon church, shows very clearly the object and purpose of establishing these church schools:
"We feel that the time has arrived when the proper education of our children should be taken in hand by us as a people. Religious training is practically excluded from the public schools. The perusal of books we value as divine records is forbidden. Our children, if left to the training they receive in these schools, will grow up entirely ignorant of those principles of salvation for which the Latter Day Saints have made so many sacrifices. To permit this condition of things to exist among us would be criminal. The desire is universally expressed by all thinking people in the church that we should have schools where the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants can be used as text-books, and where the principles of our religion may form part of the teaching of the schools."
It is very plain that the church has decided to take its place as an enemy of the public school system and the principles which are at its foundation. The remedy for such an evil is obvious. Congress should at once place the control of the public schools in the hands of those who are
disposed to be friendly to the public school system. If the Mormon church leaders are determined to oppose these schools by establishing denominational schools, their power and influence should be destroyed so far as the administration of school affairs is concerned, and this can only be done by taking the management and control of these schools out of the hands of its members. The free public schools have justly been regarded as one of the strongest pillars which support our political fabric, and it is a strange perversity which prompts the dominant power in Utah, in this age of enlightenment and progress, to attempt to break it down.
Elder R. Etzenhouser wrote from Parish, Illinois, giving an account of a discussion just closed between Reverend Throgmorton of the Baptist Church, and Elder I. M. Smith, on the question of the Book of Mormon. Elder Etzenhouser says: "Bro. Smith made the best affirmative argument on Bible evidence we have known of. He also presented other and profuse evidence, as well as taking due care of the matters furnished on the other side."
Elder James Moler reported the dedication of a Saints' chapel at Roman, Virginia, on November 3.
November 6 a debate commenced at Roman, Virginia, between Elder D. L. Shinn and W. C. Thurman of the Adventist Church, the latter affirming that the doctrine he taught was the doctrine of Christ. Elder James Moler in reporting this debate gives Mr. Thurman credit for having made the hardest fight on the faith he ever heard, but adds, "I consider that the doctrine of the church was well sustained."
November 10 the Denver Branch, at Denver, Colorado, was organized by James Caffall. E. F. Shupe president, Otto A. Westland priest, Walter Menzies teacher, Benjamin Spruce deacon, Walter Menzies secretary. The branch was composed of twenty-two members.
November 24 a church at Crescent City, Iowa, was dedicated, Elder W. W. Blair, assisted by others, participating in the service.
Some misunderstanding having arisen in regard to the part taken by the Reorganized Church affecting the various enactments of Congress respecting the repression of plural marriage or polygamy in Utah, President Smith wrote and published the following explanation:
A mistake of understanding has occurred among some of the elders in the field concerning the part taken by the Reorganized Church in affecting the various enactments of Congress respecting the repression of plural marriage, or polygamy in Utah.
The presidency of the church, at a very early day, took the subject of what effect the legislation of Congress with reference to Utah Mormonism might have upon the corporate and individual rights of the Reorganized Church into consideration, and decided that the peculiar circumstances by which the Reorganization was made a necessity, and the conditions under which it took place, required that those intrusted with the watchcare of the body should in all laudable ways see to it that the lawmaking powers of the Nation and the States and Territories should be informed of the facts and true faith of the Reorganized Church, pending all legislation by which the rights of members, as citizens of the Republic, and the church as a corporate body, might be injuriously affected, either directly or in any remote degree.
In pursuance of this decision of duty, upon the occasion of pending legislation in Congress, the church by its representatives has laid before those likely to be engaged in such legislation, in clear terms and concise form the facts of the founding of the church in 1830, its faith then and subsequently prior to and until the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the loyalty of the members of the church and the commands of God requiring such loyalty, the defection from the faith caused by and resulting from the introduction of plural marriage as a tenet, and the utter untenability of such dogma when measured and determined by organic and existing rules and laws; and all this that these persons might fully consider the attitude of the Reorganized Church and that church be spared wrong and distress by unjust legislation.
In 1866, pending legislation following the enactment of 1862, the senior editor of the Herald, Joseph Smith, was summoned to Washington, at the instance of Congressman Ashley of Ohio, then chairman of the Territorial Committee, to answer questions touching the matter, and to make such suggestions as he might deem necessary. At that examination the position of the church was stated; and the suggestion was made that existing laws be enforced, and no further legislation was suggested.
In the spring of 1870, pending the action of Congress on the Cullom Bill, the April session of conference appointed Joseph Smith, Alexander H. Smith, Mark H. Forscutt, William W. Blair, and Josiah Ells, from among its leading men, a committee to draft a memorial to Congress, setting forth the faith and loyalty of the church to the government, and a statement of facts. This duty these men discharged, and on April 11 that memorial to the President and Vice-president and the Senate and House of Representatives was presented, read and adopted by conference, and ordered to be laid before those to whom it was directed. This was done. Copies of this memorial were sent to each member of the Senate and House of Representatives, and to the governors of the several States,
that so far as it was practicable to do so the information contained in it might be widely spread in the places where the church might have an existence, and desire to do missionary labor.
In 1882, while the Edmunds Bill was pending, the Reorganized Church sent Elders Zenas H. Gurley and Edmund L. Kelley to Washington, as representatives to do whatever might be done by them to protect the interests of the church, and set such facts before those engaged in shaping the legislation as they would be permitted to do. This these brethren did, being permitted to appear before the committee of which Honorable Reed, of Maine, was chairman.
It was also decided that a statement should be made to Secretary of State, Honorable Frederick Frelinghuysen, in respect to the action of his predecessor, Honorable William M. Evarts, by which the rulers of foreign lands have been asked to take measures to prevent the emigration of persons from their respective countries whose faith was supposed to be inimical to the institutions of America, and who were called Latter Day Saints, commonly called Mormons. This was thought advisable, in order to avoid any subsequent confounding of the Reorganized Church and the Utah Mormon church, to the prejudice of the former, should any foreign missions be undertaken by it, and to secure if possible a recognition as loyal citizens of the United States. This duty was performed by Elders Zenas H. Gurley and Joseph Smith, who secured a presentation to Secretary Frelinghuysen, through the kindness of Senator William B. Allison, of Iowa, and Congressman W. P. Hepburn, of the Eighth Congressional District of Iowa, and J. C. Burrows of Michigan; each of whom gave a pleasant and personal recognition of the object contemplated in the effort of these committees.
Subsequently to these efforts, and while the bills contemplating the dissolution of the church corporation in Utah and the confiscation of the Emigration Fund and other property of the church in Utah, were under consideration, the Presidency addressed Congressman W. P. Hepburn, setting forth the injury likely to result from such extreme measures, and protesting against what would inevitably be construed into acts of persecution; and which would be unproductive of the results intended.
In all these several presentations to Congress the Reorganized Church has had but one object in view, and that has been to protect the rights of the believers in the true faith from being confounded with those who, we believe, have been following a perversion of the faith, and thus prevent so far as it was possible, the lawmakers of the Nation from doing violence to the constitutional right of conscience. In all of these efforts, we have set before these men the laws of the Lord as given to the church in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, as the last named was left to the church at the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
How far these several efforts at self-protection upon the part of the Reorganized Church may have affected congressional legislation we are not prepared to say, for we have no means of knowing. We therefore
think it a grave mistake for any of the elders to assume privately, or in their public letters and lectures that the Reorganized Church "framed," or "was instrumental in having enacted" the various bills adopted by Congress respecting polygamy, for all such assumption is made without other evidence than the fact that the efforts were made as herein stated, and speculation supposes that those efforts assisted congressmen to their conclusions.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 36, p. 773.
On November 30 Judge Anderson, of the Supreme Court of Utah, rendered a lengthy opinion regarding the eligibility of parties indorsing [endorsing] the practice of polygamy to naturalization. The opinion closes as follows:
The evidence in this case establishes unquestionably that the teachings, practices, and aims of the Mormon church are antagonistic to the government of the United States, utterly subversive of good morals and the well-being of society, and that its members are animated by a feeling of hostility towards the government and its laws, and therefore an alien who is a member of said church is not a fit person to be made a citizen of the United States.
The applications of Fred W. Miller, Henry J. Owen, John Berg, Charles E. Clissold, Nils Anderson, Carl P. Larsen, Thomas M. Mumford, John Garbett, and Arthur Townsend, to become citizens are therefore denied.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 37, p. 806.
On December 4 Elder H. P. Brown, a high priest in the church, died at his home in Oakland, California. Elder Brown was converted to the faith at an early time. He was for a time connected with J. J. Strang and was ordained one of the Twelve in that organization, but withdrew from its fellowship before the organization was dissolved. Subsequently he united with the Reorganization and became one of its zealous defenders. During the publication of the Expositor at Oakland, California, he was its editor. (See vol. 3, pp. 44, 199, 204, 205, 338, 432.)