IN July appeared the first number of the Advocate, a paper from which we have quoted in former volumes, published in the interests of the church, and edited by Elders W. W. Blair and Z. H. Gurley. Elder Gurley, however, only retained that position for three numbers and then Elder Blair became the sole editor.
July 8, Elder Joseph Dewsnup wrote from Manchester, England, where the recent revolt from Utah rule had taken place, as follows:
I am very happy in being able to inform you of the success of the work of God in this city. We now number forty members, and good prospects for many more; there are many inquirers attending our meetings and others who desire our visits, so that with one thing and another our time is well occupied.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, p. 233.
Under date of July 10 Elder D. H. Bays wrote an account of the debate previously arranged for, with the Christian Church at Stockdale, Texas, and also of an attack made upon him at the same place by a Mr. Washburn, of the Baptist Church. Of these he states as follows
In all my life I have never known the truth to be put to a test at once so trying and fiery as the one just referred to. But I knew the Lord would give us the victory, so we awaited patiently till the ordeal was past, when his mercy appeared. The discussion terminated favorably to the cause of truth.
Under a previous arrangement they were to occupy the Sunday before the debate and I the one following. But they refused to stand to this agreement, pleading a misunderstanding. We proposed to divide the time rather than the congregation; but this did not suit them, and still refusing to give us any showing. Some twenty-five men turned out on the morning of July 4, and built a good arbor under which we continued to hold meetings till Monday, July 8, the congregations being large and very attentive. Five were baptized on Monday, and several others will undoubtedly unite with us on my return.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, p. 260.
To his letter he appends two certificates, one signed by citizens of Wilson County, and one by moderators in the discussion. They were as follows:
To Whom it May Concern: We, the undersigned citizens of the county of Wilson, and state of Texas, do hereby certify that we were present at a discussion held in Stockdale, within the County and State aforesaid, on the 1st, 2d, and 3d days of July, 1878, between D. H. Bays, of the Latter Day Saints, and A. Marquis, of the Christian Church (so-called). And, as lovers of fair play and even-handed justice, we deem it due to ourselves and the good people of Wilson County, to say that we deprecate the course pursued by both Mr. Marquis, and Mr. Washburn of the Baptist Church, and their friends, during said discussion. Mr. Bays, as his opponents were constrained to confess, deported himself like a Christian gentleman; and we only regret that his opponents did not manifest as much fairness in their course.
When the discussion was about half through, conscious of their inability to sustain themselves by fair scriptural argument, Mr. Bays' opponents began to introduce and circulate evil reports against him and his church, thinking thereby to prejudice the minds of the people against him and destroy his influence. Just before the opening of the forenoon session on the second day, Mr. Marquis made a little speech introducing Mr. Washburn, who read the statements of two men respecting things that should have occurred in Missouri and Illinois. But when put to the test, these men who professed to know so much about Mr. Bays and his church actually refused to be questioned upon their statements, thereby creating a grave doubt as to the truthfulness of their assertions.
Mr. Bays appointed the next day, July 3, at two o'clock in the afternoon to examine the witnesses, but they both, refused to be present and left the town. The whole ground was reviewed, and their effort to stigmatize fell to the ground.
Mr. Marquis and his friends claiming the use of the house after the debate to the exclusion of Mr. Bays, and many responsible persons desiring to hear the latter gentleman speak, some twenty-five men turned out on the morning of the 4th, and by noon had a comfortable place which they called "Gospel Arbor," under which services were held without any to "molest or make us afraid."
We earnestly hope the good people of our State may never again be called upon to witness a transaction at once so manifestly unfair and disreputable as the circumstance referred to above.
STOCKDALE, Wilson County, Texas, July 8, 1878.
Signed: D. T. Hale, T. N. Russell, G. W. Humphreys, D. C. Pennell, Peter Mason, Thos. Day, John McWharton, M. L. Curry, J. C. Dickens, B. F. Myers, James Estill, J. A. Currie, Nathan Jackson, Wm. C. Burris, T. Miller, M. T. Ward, H. Henson, S. A. Edmison, J. G. Edmison, J. A, Walker, W. R. Estill.
To Whom it May Concern: In answer to a request, I hereby state as president. of the meeting in which a discussion was held between Mr. Marquis, of the Christian Church, and Mr. Bays, of the Latter Day Saints, that, in my opinion, in the discussion of the first three propositions Mr. Bays fully sustained all that he proposed to do, and Mr. Marquis never dislodged him in one instance. But in the arguments offered upon the fourth proposition, neither gained any decided point in the direction of gospel truth as touching the question of "Baptisms."
Signed: J. B. CONE.
STOCKDALE, Wilson County, Texas, July 3, 1878.
I hereby state, as I was moderator for Mr. Marquis, the above to be true, as my opinion, to the best of my judgment.
J. T. FERGUSON.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, pp. 260, 261.
July 11, John Whitmer one of the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon, died at Far West, Missouri.
July 28, 1878, Elder Thomas Dobson, of the High Priests' Quorum, a veteran in the cause, and a faithful and true man, died at his home in Deloit, Iowa. Elder Charles Derry, who knew him well, and who had often been associated with him in church work, wrote of him as follows:
In his death the church militant loses one of its noblest members. It may have more brilliant men, but I doubt if it has any better. His life was devoted to the cause of truth, he cared for nothing more, he was a pattern of piety, a model of industry, and an example of self-sacrifice that renders him truly an ornament to the church. He was in truth a man of God. "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." . . . A life like his, since he obeyed the truth, will do to pattern by. I would to God mine was as even, as free from errors, and as worthy of divine acceptance. Universally beloved, not for his brilliancy, nor for
suppleness in bending to the world, but for his constant goodness; his unyielding integrity, his unflinching devotion to the right. Every man knew where to find him; the church knew where to find him, and it never doubted him. His memory is blest, may mine be as dear to the Saints. As yet I have no news of his last hours, I was with him a few weeks ago, and saw then he was passing away. His harness, the whole armor of truth, was on him, and with it he triumphantly passed to the presence of his God. May you and I live as purely, fight as manfully, endure as bravely; and die as godlike. No ostentation in his life, unselfish, always preferring others to himself, and never shrinking at the call of duty. In his death I lose a brother and a friend.
The Herald for August 1, 1878, contained the following:
We were privileged while in Canada, to converse with some of those who were present at the baptism in the River Thames at London, the story of which was told in a letter from Bro. J. J. Cornish, at the time of its occurrence. One brother, Sparks, gave us a succinct account of it, in something like the following style: From the necessity arising out of the fact that all the brethren were laboring during the day hours of labor, their baptisms were performed in the evening, and it was often quite late when they would reach the river. On this occasion they were delayed a little, and when they reached the water it was quite dark. They proceeded along the bank as well as they could, calling to each other from time to time, till they came to a suitable spot; after a season of prayer, the brother who was officiating and the candidate for baptism, started into the water, when suddenly, from above there shone down upon the water a bright mellow light, like yellow sunshine, sufficient in size to cover the place where the baptism was performed, and remained long enough for the performance of the rite. The sensations of the people witnessing it, for it was seen by both those in and out of the church, were various and strange; but all felt that the good powers above had ruled and kindly manifested the approval of God upon those engaged in his service. No more remarkable circumstance than this was the light at Saul's conversion; and we presume the light was of a similar character. We did not witness this display; but we believe the statement of those present on that occasion, and are convinced that it occurred; we did, however, once witness the coming and going of a similar light, and praise God to-day for the evidence that it brought. No one that witnessed this singular attestation of light on the banks of the Thames, Ontario, ought ever to doubt the fact that God is with the Reorganized Church.
On August 12 Elder Bays again wrote of the conflict and its consequences, as follows:
At the afternoon services several preachers were present. I spoke from Mark 16:17, and I seldom have better liberty. The members of the Christian Church-conscious of their defeat in the late discussion with Elder Marquis-had another man present,
whom they considered a man of larger experience and greater ability. At the close of the meeting this gentleman arose and challenged me to a discussion of the points of difference between us. Of course, a sense of justice to myself, as well as to the cause we represent, would not permit me to decline. I accepted the challenge, stating that I should be compelled to return home, and that the only thing in the way would be the necessary means to pay my fare back. This was taken by the gentleman and his friends to be a polite way of "getting out" of the gentleman's grasp. After dismissal two gentlemen of influence, and some means, said to me that they would vouch for the necessary means for my return, saying: "We don't want you to feel cramped. So go ahead, and make the arrangements just as if you had the money in your pocket.," I felt to thank God for his goodness, and the gentlemen for their love for the truth, and fair play.
So we met at the Cibalo River, on Monday, to attend to the ordinance of baptism. Here the preachers met us, and after we had baptized one and they one, we entered into arrangement for the proposed debate, before the entire congregation. I proposed to affirm the same propositions discussed with Mr. Marquis, but he declined. He read some propositions, the very nature of which would throw us outside of the Bible, and made the issue to depend on oral testimony, and requiring us to affirm things we neither believe nor teach. Of course we declined.
The following propositions were finally agreed upon:
First. "The church that I, D. Pennington, belong to, is the church of God." D. Pennington affirms.
Second. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the church of Christ." D. H. Bays affirms.
On Sunday, August 4, I baptized seven (one Monday, making eight altogether), and organized the Stockdale Branch, with twenty-two members (including Srs. Cobb and Richardson, late of Florida), with John Currie, president; G. W. Humphreys, teacher; and James Pearsall, clerk. Nearly a half score more have signified their intention to obey the gospel message when I return, if, indeed, I shall be permitted to do so. . . .
The investigation resulted favorably to the cause of truth; many, both those in the church and those out of it, acknowledging themselves stronger in the faith than before; the board of moderators rendering a judgment (privately) in our favor. Of course some who would not have it otherwise, are of opinion that their man came out victorious. This gentleman has promised, should I be permitted to return, to undertake the herculean task of proving Joseph Smith a "false prophet."-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, p. 269.
Another debate soon followed this in which Elder Bays met a Mr. Stuart, of the Christian Church, at Oak Island Texas.
In Herald for August 15, President Joseph Smith made the following comment regarding the closing of houses of worship against others:
We are informed that an elder of the church under President John Taylor, of Utah, in reporting his labors, states that the use of a church, or meeting-house, owned and controlled by the "Josephites" was refused him sometime during the last winter or spring. We hope sincerely that this is not true.
Our opinion from the start has been that our houses of worship should be open, under proper circumstances, to all; and especially to those with whom we were particularly antagonistic. We have ever acted upon this principle, and always advised the church to do so. That sort of conservatism that sits in a manger neither eating the hay, nor suffering the ox to eat it, we have little sympathy with. Nor have we much more sympathy with that principle of controversy that asks to be heard, but refuses to hear. We can not consistently complain that others, including the Utah church, close the doors against us and will not permit us to speak in their houses, if we do so to them; for by refusing to give them the use of our houses to preach in, we virtually say to them, "This is the way we wish you to do to us." So far as we are concerned, we are not ready to say that to any one.
Our ministry are abroad, and in Utah, asking the people to hear them; can we afford to turn the key of their houses against our brethren by locking their ministers out of our houses; we say no. Let us be consistent if we be "fanatical."
We believe that the truth we bear will not be hurt by the occasional showing up that we get from others; and this is conspicuously so, to our mind, in reference to the efforts against us, by the Utah system. We control a meeting-house at Plano, and wish our Utah religionists to know, that if they come, we shall hear them if they will talk to us.
Commencing August 20, a debate was held in Red River County, Texas, between Elder A. J. Cato and a Christian minister. It was reported to have resulted favorably to the Saints.
The semiannual conference for 1878 convened at Galland's Grove, Iowa, September 7, Presidents Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair presiding; Elder Henry A. Stebbins, secretary, with T. W. Smith and Eli T. Dobson his assistants. Reports from missionaries in the field and from local authorities were quite general and encouraging.
President Joseph Smith, chairman of the committee previously appointed on affairs in Canada, made a lengthy report on the conditions existing there, recommending that
no further prosecutions be had with reference to difficulties there. The committee was discharged.
The Second Quorum of Elders reported that they had received into the quorum William C. Cadwell and George W. Shute.
Phineas Cadwell, James M. Harvey, James C. Crabb, and Jonas W. Chatburn were ordained high priests, and the ordination of George Derry, S. S. Wilcox, C. G. McIntosh, and George Sweet was provided for to the same office.
M. H. Forscutt was ordained first counselor to the president of the High Priests' Quorum. D. H. Bays was ordained a seventy.
William Chambers was ordained president of the Second Quorum of Elders; and David Chambers and William C. Cadwell were ordained his counselors. Talley Clark and Lucius Merchant were received into quorum. William T. Bozarth was ordained second counselor to the president of the Third Quorum of Elders.
The Third Quorum also reported that they had received into their quorum the following elders: Levi Anthony, William Hawkins, Benan Salisbury, Robert Young, John T. Kinneman, John M. Terry, and William Lewis.
The following resolutions were adopted:
Resolved, That the law of tithing as given in the revelation of 1838, and referred to in the revelation of 1861, is applicable to the church in its present condition, and should be observed.
Resolved, That the building of houses of worship in the various branches of the church is in keeping with the law, and an excellent aid to the preaching of the word.
Resolved, That all baptisms, in order to be legal, must be done by both the administrator and the candidate going down into the water, according to the instructions in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; and if there are any now numbered with the church who have received the ordinance with any less than the above requirements, that they are hereby required to receive the administration of the ordinance in the above form.
Resolved, That this body, representing the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, does hereby authoritatively indorse [endorse] the Holy Scriptures as revised, corrected, and translated by the Spirit of revelation, by Joseph Smith, Jr., the Seer, and as published by the church we represent.
Resolved, That this body, representing the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, recognize the Holy Scriptures, the Book of Mormon, the revelations of God contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and all other revelations which have been or shall be revealed through God's appointed prophet, which have been or may be hereafter accepted by the church as the standard of authority on all matters of church government and doctrine, and the final standard of reference on appeal in all controversies arising, or which may arise in this church of Christ.
Whereas, We accept the revelations heretofore given to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, through the present presiding officer thereof, as being the word of the Lord to his church, equally with those published in the book of Doctrine and Covenants; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the revelations received by the President of the church in 1861,1863, and 1865, be received as from God, authoritative and binding on us as a body; and in connection with the revelation of 1873, that they be hereafter compiled with that book.
Resolved, That this body declares that the use of tobacco is expensive, injurious, and filthy, and that it should be discouraged by the ministry.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, pp. 294, 295, 296.
The following complaint was presented against Elder J. W. Briggs, of the Twelve:
To the President and Brethren in General Conference Assembled: We, the undersigned, would respectfully represent to your honorable body, that Elder Jason W. Briggs, president of the Quorum of the Twelve, has taught, and still persists in teaching, doctrines which are clearly antagonistic to the views generally held by the church, as taught in the received text-books of the church, as follows:
First. He has denied the preëxistence of man, and in doing so, has also denied the preëxistence of Christ, as a personal entity.
Second. He has assailed the utterances of the Holy Spirit, and refers to them as being only equal, or inferior to Mother Shipton's prophecy.
Third. He has denied the doctrine of the gathering and the law of tithing, as taught in the books.
J. W. CHATBURN.
J. M. HARVEY.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, p. 294.
After some discussion and consideration this was disposed of by the adoption of the following:
Resolved, That this conference request the First Presidency to appoint a court, having competent jurisdiction, designate the time and place of its assembling, and notify all parties whose presence they may deem necessary to the suit, to try the case of J. W. Briggs on the charges made
against him at this session of conference; said court to report their action at the ensuing April conference.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, p. 296.
The following missions were appointed:
J. R. Lambert, as health and circumstances permit; James Caffall, Western Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado; Z. H. Gurley, Utah; W. H. Kelley, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan; E. C. Briggs, Western States; Josiah Ells, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; A. H. Smith, Northern Missouri and Southern Iowa; J. H. Lake, Central Illinois, Southern Iowa, and Northern Missouri; T. W. Smith, in the East; M. H. Forscutt, Southwestern Iowa; J. T. Davies, Southwestern Missouri, Southeastern Kansas, and Indian Territory; James McKiernan, as circumstances permit; J. H. Hansen, Southeastern Mission; R. J. Anthony, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas; F. C. Warnky, Colorado; J. T. Phillips, Missouri; E. C. Brand, Northern Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada; Duncan Campbell, Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri; J. F. McDowell, Northern Illinois and Iowa; Charles Derry, Illinois, including St. Louis District; C. N. Brown, New England Mission and Ohio; P. N. Brix, Danish Mission; J. C. Clapp, Pacific Slope; D. S. Mills, president of Pacific Slope Mission; J. S. Patterson, Northwestern Illinois, Northeastern Iowa, and Southwestern Wisconsin; A. J. Cato, Indian Territory and Texas; Heman C. Smith, Southeastern States; C. G. Lanphear, as circumstances permit; J. C. Foss, Maine; J. W. Gillen, as circumstances permit; M. T. Short, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois; Columbus Scott, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio; J. M. Wait, Wisconsin; Joseph Lakeman, Maine and New Brunswick; Robert Davis, Michigan and Canada; Joseph Luff, Canada; J. J. Cornish, Michigan and Canada; G. S. Yerrington, Eastern Mission; Thomas Taylor, president of European Mission; Arthur Leverton, Canada; D. H. Bays, W. T. Bozarth, Ralph Jenkins, and J. W. Bryan, Texas Mission; John Landers, Kansas; R. M. Elvin, Southwestern Iowa, Southeastern Nebraska, Northeastern Kansas, and Northwestern Missouri; James Brown, Western Virginia and Ohio; Magnus Fyrando, Utah; W. B. Smith, Northeastern
Iowa; R. C. Elvin, Nebraska: J. A. McIntosh and A. McCord as circumstances permit; B. V. Springer, Southern Indiana, Southern Ohio, and Kentucky.
A committee consisting of D. H. Bays, T. W. Chatburn, and C. M. Wilder was appointed on music-book. This committee reported favorably upon the proposition to publish a book of tunes suitable to the hymns in hymn-book then in use. Its recommendations were adopted to the effect that the book be given the public at as early a day as practicable. The board of removal made the following report, which was accepted and the committee continued:
The committee known as the board of removal beg leave to report, that the improvements contemplated last April have been made. One of the roads referred to in the last report has graded their road through the township of Fayette, over nearly all the lands through which it runs, but nothing has been done towards grading the other. From this nothing could be done other than has been done by your committee. The prospect for a successful removal at no very distant day appears to be good.
JOSEPH SMITH, Chairman of Committee.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, p. 292.
The Saints of Texas, through Elder D. H. Bays, who made the presentation speech, presented to the church a gavel made of native Texas wood. It was received by President Smith in behalf of the church, and a vote of thanks was extended to the donors.
A petition from the North Kansas and Central Kansas Districts was granted, uniting the two in one.
Applications were made for membership on original baptism in behalf of William and Huldah Batchelder, of Moline, Illinois, and Meacham Curtis, of Banders County, Texas. The first two were referred to Davenport, Iowa, Branch, for examination as to worthiness. The last was received.
In the same issue of the Herald appeared a lengthy editorial on "Deacon's Duty," being the last of a series on duties of officers.
About this time there appeared in several periodicals a letter addressed to the President of the United States called out by the universal prevalence and fatality of the yellow fever in the Southern States. This will be interesting in connection with the prediction of
Joseph Smith in his letter of January 2, 1844, to John C. Calhoun. (See volume 2, page 710.) The letter read as follows:
PHILADELPHIA, September 16.
To His Excellency the President of the United States: The conviction grows deeper with thoughtful men that "the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land." On the very threshold, as we had flattered ourselves, of returning prosperity, we find the whole country plunged into mourning, and the wished-for revival of business seriously delayed by the alarming pestilence that ravages our Southern borders. This is but the last in a long series of calamities which reaches back to the very beginning of our Civil War. That these facts attest the displeasure of the Supreme Ruler of the world against this nation we are profoundly convinced, and also that our only hope of escape from still sorer retributions lies in a diligent inquiry into the causes of God's anger, and in speedy and heartfelt repentance and reformation. That the mind of the people may be turned to these momentous considerations, and that united prayer for the grace of repentance and for the removal of his heavy judgments may ascend to the Father of Mercies through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we, citizens of Philadelphia and vicinity, respectfully ask you to appoint, in your wisdom, an early and convenient day to be observed by the whole nation as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.
JOHN Y. DOBBINS, President M. E. Preachers' Meeting.
NATHAN B. DURELL, Sec. of the Preachers' Meeting.
R. JOHNS, Moderator Presbyterian Ministerial Assn.
CHARLES BROWN, Sec. Presbyterian Ministerial Assn.
R. G. MOSES, President Baptist Ministerial Conference.
J. NEWTON RITNER, Sec. Baptist Ministerial Conference.
JOHN ALEXANDER, Chairman Ex. Com. Sabbath Alliance.
JAMES POLLOCK, Superintendent U. S. Mint.
O. C. BOSAYSHELL, Coiner U. S. Mint.
J. C. BOOTH, Melter and Refiner U. S. Mint.
Wm. E. DuBois, Assayer U. S. Mint.
GEORGE H. STUART.
JOSHUA L. BAILY.
AMOS R. LITTLE, and many others.
-The Saints' Herald, vol. 25, p. 345,
The Herald prefaced this letter with the following comments:
We have had the following on the hook some time, but it has been omitted for want of preparation and room. It is very suggestive, that such a conviction should have seized these men; but to those who have been waiting and watching, these are but the beginning of sorrows, and have been prophesied of by Latter Day Saints. Famine in China, in India, and lack of rain in a large district of Brazil, causing a famine
there, together with the horror of war in Europe, and the yellow fever plague in the South, as recited above, are all in fulfillment of what has been foretold.
On September 24, 1878, Elder Joseph F. Smith, of Utah, called on President Joseph Smith at Plano, Illinois. In his report to conference in October he made some statements which President Smith in the Herald for November 1, 1878, notices as follows:
We noticed in our issue for October 1 the fact that Joseph F. Smith, of the church in Utah, had called on his way west. He and Elder O. Pratt had called on their way east, during our absence at the fall conference, and expressed a desire to examine the manuscript copy from which we had published the New, or Inspired Translation, and compare it with the published copy. Of course, neither of them saw it at that time, as we were absent and the brethren of the office were not informed of the matter. These men then went on east. Soon after our return home, which we reached the second day after the adjournment of conference, we received a telegram from Elder Smith, dated at New York, asking whether he could be permitted to see the manuscript on his return. We replied that we could tell when we saw him. He called as we have published, when we assured him that we were willing that they should examine the manuscripts and compare the New Translation as published by the Reorganization, with them, provided they were authorized by their conference, or by President John Taylor to do so; that we would appoint a committee who should meet with them and they examine the manuscript together; but that we would not submit them to examination by any unauthorized persons. We further stated to him that if Elder Pratt should be authorized by President Taylor to call and make the examination we were willing to submit them to him in presence of a commission appointed by us; as, believing that we had done our work faithfully, we were not averse to its examination; and that it must be distinctly understood that we did not object to their examination and comparison with the published version, by a commission duly authorized by the church authorities.
We see it stated in the minutes of their late semiannual conference that Elder Joseph F. Smith in reporting his trip east mentioned the call upon us and its object, but that they "found no satisfaction." Now if this statement means that we refused, or showed an aversion to the examination of the manuscript by proper persons duly authorized to represent the church which Elders Pratt and Smith belong to, it misleads the people and misstates the fact. If it means that there was no satisfaction in their not being permitted to examine those records as individuals, or simply as elders of their church casually calling out of curiosity, we shall not dispute it; because they are the only judges of what pleases or displeases, of what is satisfactory or unsatisfactory to themselves. As
for us, we deemed it proper that if they asked to be permitted to examine work that we had faithfully, honestly, and conscientiously performed, they should do it under conditions that we might deem sufficient to protect ourselves from consequences that might possibly arise from a hostile conclusion.
Elder J. P. Smith informed us that Elder Pratt was still east and that he might call as he returned home, which he thought would be in early November. Complications must have changed this decision, for we notice that Elder Pratt was in attendance at the conference. Moreover, we requested Elder Smith to state to Elder Pratt that we invited him to stop and speak to the people here, informing him that if Elder Pratt would do so we would insure him a good audience and a hearing. Several citizens had expressed a desire to see and hear him, and, we also, as a society wished to hear him.
On their way east our people gave them the time of their prayer-meeting, and they occupied it. We want it comprehended by our polygamic opposers, that whether we have much or little to lose, or to gain, as they esteem us, we do not propose to lose, or to gain by duplicity, or cowardice.
The Saints' Advocate for September contained the following concise statement concerning the progress of the church:
The Reorganized Church, in April, 1860, did not number, probably, more than one hundred fifty members. It has continued to progress steadily until now. It has had to fight against "the world, the flesh, and the devil," and the accumulated evils of the great latter-day apostasy; and the last much worse than the first.
It planted itself squarely upon the doctrines taught in the three authorized standard works, the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Covenants, and wherever its ministry have proclaimed its doctrines, in the States and Territories of our nation, in England, Wales, Scotland, Switzerland, Denmark, Otaheite, Australia, the Canadas, Nova Scotia, and the "Islands of the Sea," God has "confirmed the work with signs following them who believe."
And at no time has the work been spreading so rapidly, and with such favor and power as in the present year. Never were the prospects so good before. Truly, the Lord is giving "grace and favor" to his people, and his work, as he promised, June 22, 1834.
On September 28 Dexter P. Hartwell, who had formerly been assigned a mission to the Southern States, and who failed to go on account of ill health, died at his home, Cartersville, Iowa.
The difference in the attitude of the Reorganization and that of the Utah church regarding David Whitmer as the custodian of the manuscript of the Book of Mormon is
clearly indicated in the following extracts. Elder Magnus Fyrando, writing from Wanship, Utah, October 13, states:
Attended Brighamite conference on the 7th in the Tabernacle; heard Orson Pratt give an account of his mission east, also J. F. Smith. He said: "We are lacking part of church history, so went down to see if we could find some, but we found that we had all they had and a good deal more; went to David Whitmer to get the manuscript of the Book of Mormon, but found he would not part with it under any consideration; however he being an apostate had no right to it, but it belonged to the church, and it did not belong to any apostate." They then visited Kirtland; got the dimensions of the Temple; went to Plano to visit his cousin Joseph Smith, "but not to get him to come and lead the church; no, we don't want any apostate to lead the church as long as we have such good men among us (turning to J. Taylor and Orson Hyde) that have borne the burden and heat of the day, and never suffered the work to stand still. No, we want no apostates to led us. God will raise up men to lead his church."
In the Herald for October 15, President Joseph Smith expressed his views on the subject as follows:
From the Richmond, Missouri, Conservator, we learn that Messrs. O. Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, on their way east, visited Father David Whitmer, with the apparent object of obtaining from him the manuscript copy of the Book of Mormon, of which he has long been the honored custodian. That aged shepherd refused to surrender the manuscripts, properly regarding himself the rightful guardian of that record. Whatever may have been the circumstances under which these manuscripts were left in his care and keeping, we have no doubt but what Mr. Whitmer was honestly made their custodian; and we are pleased to see with what fidelity he guards the trust confided to him. Yes, we honor the steadfastness with which he retains that record; and while he so retains it he states unmistakably that he knows the book to be of divine origin, and that the testimony given by him so long ago, as found affixed to the first edition, and prefixed to later ones, is true and faithful, we are content that he shall still maintain his integrity and keep his trust inviolate.
As an instance showing how the doctrine taught by the Latter Day Saints had affected the adherents of other faiths, we insert an account of a "Prophetic Conference" held in New York City on November 1, 1878:
"THE PROPHETIC CONFERENCE."
A number of clergymen of different denominations, but having personal views respecting certain doctrines, lately agreed to meet in conference and put in form their views. This conference met in New York City, on the 1st of November, just passed, and embodied their belief in a few brief resolutions. We take pleasure in
giving to the readers of the Herald the embodied results of this Prophetic Conference, as it was called; and in doing so can not resist the temptation of writing the thought, that the platform looks as though some Latter Day Saint wrote it.
The committee on resolutions reported the following, which were received and adopted unanimously:
"Before closing this conference composed of brethren from so many different branches of the one redeemed church of our Lord, we desire disclaiming whatever doctrines have been or may be held in connection with the belief of the premillennial of our Lord which conflict with the faith once delivered to the saints and received by the church universal among the ages, and to bear our united testimony to that which we believe to be the truth of the gospel in the particulars which follow, viz.:
"1. We affirm our belief in the supreme and absolute authority of the written word of God on all questions of doctrine and duty.
"2. The prophetic words of the Old Testament concerning the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ were literally fulfilled in his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, and so the prophetic words of both the Old and New Testaments concerning his second coming will be literally fulfilled in his visible bodily return to this earth in like manner as he went up into heaven; and this glorious epiphany of the great God, our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the blessed hope of the believer and of the church during the entire dispensation.
"3. The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is everywhere represented in the Scriptures as imminent, and may occur at any moment. Yet, the precise day and hour thereof, is unknown to man, and known only to God.
"4. The Scriptures nowhere teach that the whole world will be converted to God, or that there will be a reign of universal righteousness and peace before the return of our blessed Lord, but that only at, and by his coming in power and glory, will the prophecies concerning the progress of evil and the development of anti-Christ, the time of the Gentiles, and ingathering of Israel, the resurrection of the dead in Christ, and transfiguration of his living saints, receive their fulfillment and the period of millennial blessedness its inauguration.
"5. The duty of the church during the absence of the bridegroom is to watch and pray, to work and wait, to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and thus hasten the coming of the day of God and to his latest promise, 'Surely I come quickly,' to respond in joyous hope, 'Even so, come Lord Jesus.' . . .
"Resolved, That the doctrine of our Lord's premillennial advent, instead of paralyzing evangelistic and missionary efforts, is one of the mightiest incentives to earnestness in preaching the gospel to every creature till he cometh."
Forty years ago the Saints were universally ridiculed by the clergy for teaching and exhorting the people to believe in the personal coming and
millennial reign of Christ; and for just as confidently stating that though his coming was "imminent," even "at the doors," no one did know, neither was it given any one to know the day and hour of his coming. Now men, denominated clergymen, ecclesiastics, pastors of churches, meet together, and assuming to sit in prophetic conference to pass resolutions by a "unanimous" vote, that as the prophecies of the old book were literally (and we italicized the word) fulfilled, so would the prophecies of both the Old and New be as literally fulfilled.
It will hardly be in order for any of these gentlemen to denounce the elders of the church for declaring their belief in the literal fulfillment of prophecy, now that they have so publicly written the word literal in their creed. Does it not look as if the influence of the latter-day work had been at work in that conference?
We are informed that Mr. Reynolds, the chairman of that conference, was from Peoria, in Illinois; and that he has had opportunity to inform himself in the views of the church touching the second coming of Christ. If this be true, who shall say how far others of those men may not have been acquainted with the same views; and whether the teaching of the church may not have indirectly urged these resolutions.
The Saints have gone wherever the few could go; and by tongue and pen have sounded the tocsin, "The Lord is coming." And is it not clearly within the lines of hope to believe that the "word has not returned void"? Is it not within the region of possibilities that the spirit that has watched over the fortunes of the ancient covenant people, and the work of God, is moving upon men almost everywhere, diffusing the moral light of the morn of Christ's coming, into heart and mind, even to the "putting down of contention"? We think so; and hence, we are prepared to hail this as another evidence of the work we have in hand.
On November 28, 1878, Orson Hyde, one of the first apostles chosen in this dispensation, whose biography is found in this work, volume 1, pages 652 and 653, died at Spring City, Utah.
The year 1878 had been one of more than average activity, and considerable progress had resulted. It closed with fair prospects. A new weapon had been used against it in the form of a book purporting to be the "Life and Confession of John D. Lee;" but like many other such works it carried with it its own refutation, and the effect it produced was very short lived.