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Author of The Life of John Taylor, Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, The Gospel.


The keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come; nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another—even to the Church, The Lord to Joseph Smith, Doc. and Cov., sec. xc.




THE fact that many honest people in the United States and other countries are being led astray by the pretensions of the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," or "Josephite Church," as it is more commonly called, must justify the publication of this work. My desire to preserve from error those not acquainted with the order of the priesthood of God, and the facts of church history in the great dispensation of the last days, has been the incentive which prompted me to write it. Moreover, though the facts of church history which of themselves disprove the claims of the "Josephite Church," are abundant, yet are they scattered through the church works in such a manner as to make it exceedingly difficult for the Elders of the church to consult them; and, therefore, the writer believes he is doing a service to those Elders who are and shall hereafter be engaged in the ministry, especially to those who travel in the localities where they will come in contact with "Josephite" pretensions—by publishing this treatise on the Succession in the Presidency of the Church.

I have endeavored to treat the theme on as broad a basis as possible, and have avoided technical disputes with our opponents, which only serve to burden the subject with matter that is not only unprofitable in itself, but wearying to the patience of the reader. Nor does the successful issue of our argument demand that we stop to contend over every error, either in history or argument, made by "Josephites." Did we attempt it, our task would be endless. An attorney being called upon to explain why his absent client should not be punished for contempt of court, told the judge he could assign several good reasons for the absence of his client— -reasons which he hoped and believed would clear him, even in the opinion of the judge, of any intention to treat the court with disrespect. "You may name them," gruffly said the judge. "Well, then, your honor, in the first place my client is dead; and in the second place—" "Never mind your ‘in the second place,"’ said the judge, "if the man is dead that is sufficient— the Court dismisses the case." So with this controversy; there being a few leading facts of church history, and a principle or two connected with the order of the priesthood which, if considered in the light of right reason, dispose of all the claims made by "Josephites," it is not necessary to consider their quibbles and all the details of their sophistry.

The writer is under deep obligation to acknowledge assistance he has received from a number of prominent brethren; to some for placing at his disposal books and papers, and to others for reading the work from the manuscript and greatly improving it by their invaluable suggestions. The brethren who have thus rendered me assistance are too numerous to mention by name, and it would be unfair to name a few only, when the writer is indebted to so many and to each equally. The consciousness of having assisted in a work which is designed to carry enlightenment to many in regard to so important a matter as the subject of this writing, will reward them for their labors.




All that want to draw away a party from the Church after them let them do it if they can, but they will not prosper.*

WHEN the Prophet Joseph Smith fell a martyr at Carthage, Illinois, on the 27th of June, 1844, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was deprived of its President. As that was a condition which had never existed before in this dispensation, and one that the church had not anticipated, the question very naturally arose: Upon what person or quorum devolved the responsibility of leadership—of Presidency? It is a matter of astonishment that so many arose as claimants for the position; but it reveals the vanity and weakness of human nature which in its love of power looks clear beyond the responsibilities in the case, and seeks only for that position which exalts its possessor above his fellows.

Among the many who claimed to be the legal successor to the prophet Joseph, and, indeed, the first, was Sidney Rigdon, the only remaining counselor in the First Presidency.

[2] Hyrum Smith, the other counselor to the prophet, had nobly suffered martyrdom with him at Carthage. At the time of the martyrdom of Presidents Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon was living at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, presiding over the branch of the church and preaching the gospel at that place. He had removed from Nauvoo to Pitts burg, in opposition to a revelation from God which required him to make his home in Nauvoo, and stand in his office and calling of counselor and spokesman to the prophet Joseph.

The truth is that from the expulsion of the saints from Missouri in 1838-9, Sidney Rigdon had been of but little service either to the church or to the prophet as a counselor. He was a man of admitted ability as an orator, but lacked discretion; a man of fervid imagination, but of inferior judgment; ambitious of place and honor, but without that steadiness of purpose and other qualities of soul which in time secure them. In the early years of the church he suffered much for the cause of God, but he also complained much; especially was this the case in respect to the hardships he endured in Missouri; and subsequently of his poverty and illness at Nauvoo. This habit of complaining doubtless did much to deprive him of the spirit of the Lord; for at times it bordered upon blasphemy. More than once he was heard to say that Jesus Christ was a fool in suffering as compared with himself! Having lost, in part at least, the spirit of the Lord, his interest in the church and its work waned, and after the settlement at Nauvoo he was seldom seen in the councils of the priesthood. Moreover, it was known that he was in sympathy and even in communication with some of the avowed enemies of Joseph, among others with that arch traitor, John C. Bennett, who was plotting the overthrow of both Joseph and the church. It was doubtless these considerations

[3] which led Joseph to make an effort to get rid of Sidney Rigdon as counselor, at the October conference in ????

On that occasion the prophet represented to the church that such had been the course of Sidney Rigdon that he considered it no longer his duty to sustain him as his counselor. Hyrum Smith, however, pleaded the cause of his fellow counselor, and so strongly urged the saints to deal mercifully with Sidney Rigdon, that when the question of sustaining him was presented to the conference, the saints voted in his favor. "I have thrown him off my shoulders, and you have again put him on me," said Joseph. "You may carry him, but I will not." And so confident was he that Sidney Rigdon would continue to fail in the performance of his duty, that he ordained Elder Amasa Lyman to succeed him, both as counselor and spokesman. "Some of the Elders did not under stand how Elder Lyman could be ordained to succeed Elder Rigdon, as the church had voted to try him another year. Elder Joseph Smith was requested to give an explanation. ‘Why,’ said he, ‘by the same rule that Samuel anointed David to be king over Israel, while Saul was yet crowned. Please read the 16th chapter of I Samuel.’ Elder Smith’s explanation, though short, proved a quietus to all their rising conjectures."

Notwithstanding all his fair promises of amendment, Sidney Rigdon continued neglectful of his high duties, and if for a time his old-time enthusiasm revived—as it seemed to at the April conference following, it was as the flickering flame of a tallow dip, only—not the steady rays of the ever-shining sun. He longed to return to the east; and notwithstanding the word of the Lord commanding him to make his home at Nauvoo, he frequently talked with Joseph about going to

[4] Pittsburgh to live, and finally obtained his consent to go there, and take his family with him. He was instructed to preach, write and build up the church in that city.

Such was the standing and course of the man who after the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph was the first to claim the right to lead the church! He made all haste to Nauvoo, and ignoring the members of the quorum of the Twelve who were in the city—Elders Willard Richards, John Taylor, and Parley P. Pratt—he conferred with Elder William Marks, president of the Stake of Nauvoo, and at once began agitating the question of appointing a "Guardian" to the church. He arrived in Nauvoo on Saturday, the 3rd of August; next day he harangued the saints who assembled in the grove near the temple, upon the necessity of appointing a "Guardian" to build up the church to the martyred prophet, and in the afternoon meeting urged William Marks to make a special appointment for the saints to assemble on the following Tuesday for that purpose. Elder Marks was in sympathy with Sidney Rigdon, but for some reason he refused to make the appointment for Tuesday, but made it for Thursday, the 8th of August. This was a most fortunate circumstance, since a sufficient number of the Twelve to make a majority of that quorum arrived on the evening of the 6th, and, of course, they were in time to be present at the meeting to be held on the 8th. The day previous to that meeting, however, the Twelve called a meeting of the high council and high priests, before which they called on Sidney Rigdon to make a statement of his purposes and relate the revelation he claimed to have received at Pittsburg, which prompted his journey to Nauvoo. In substance he replied that the object of his visit was to offer himself to the saints as a "Guardian;" that it had been shown to him in vision at Pittsburg, that the church must be built up to Joseph the martyr; that all the blessings the saints could receive would come through their late prophet; that no man could be

[5] a successor to Joseph; that the church was not disorganized, though the head was gone; that he had been commanded to come to Nauvoo and see that the church was governed properly, and propose himself to be a "Guardian" to the people.

To this Elder Brigham Young replied:

I do not care who leads this Church, even though it were Ann Lee; but one thing I must know, and that is what God says about it. (have the keys and the means of obtaining the mind of God on the subject. . . . Joseph conferred upon our heads all the keys and powers belonging to the apostleship which he himself held before he was taken away, and no man nor set of men can get between Joseph and the Twelve in this world or in the world to come. How often has Joseph said to the Twelve, I have laid the foundation and you must build thereon, for upon your shoulders the kingdom rests.

The next day was the one appointed by Sidney Rigdon for the church to assemble and choose a "Guardian." The attendance was large, as intense interest had been awakened upon the subject to be considered. Sidney Rigdon addressed the assembly, setting forth his claim to the "Guardianship" of the church. He had full opportunity to present his case, and for an hour and a half spoke without interruption; but despite his reputation as an orator, he failed to convince the saints that he was sent of God.

As soon as Sidney Rigdon closed his speech, Elder Brigham Young arose and made a few remarks. It was on that occasion that he was transfigured before the people, so that through him the saints heard the voice and felt the presence of their departed leader. George Q. Cannon, who was present on that occasion, says:

If Joseph had risen from the dead and again spoken in their hearing, the effect could not have been more startling than it was to many present at that meeting; it was the voice of Joseph himself; and not only was it the voice of Joseph which was heard, but it seemed in the eyes of the people as if it were the very person of Joseph which stood before them. A more wonderful and miraculous event than was wrought that day in the presence of that congregation we never heard of.

In the journal of Elder Wm. C. Staines, of that date, the following statement is recorded:

Brigham Young said— "I will tell you who your leaders or guardians will be. The Twelve—I at their head!’ This was with a voice like the voice of the prophet Joseph. I thought it was he, and so did thousands who heard it. This was very satisfactory to the people, and a vote was taken to sustain the Twelve in their office, which, with a few dissenting voices, was passed."

President Wilford Woodruff, describing the event, says:

When Brigham Young arose and commenced speaking, as has been said, if I had not seen him with my own eyes, there is no one that could have convinced me that it was not Joseph Smith; and anyone can testify to this who was acquainted with these two men.

The remarks of Elder Young, during which he was transfigured before the people, closed the forenoon meeting. When in the afternoon the church again assembled and Elder Young addressed them at some length on the subject of appointing a leader for the church, representing the claims of the Twelve as the quorum having the right to act in the absence of the late prophet-president. Following are some quotations from a summary of his speech taken down at the time:

For the first time in my life, for the first time in your lives, for the first time in the kingdom of God, in the nineteenth century, without a prophet at our head, do I step forth to act in my calling in connection with the quorum of the Twelve, as Apostles of Jesus Christ unto this generation—Apostles whom God has called by revelation through the prophet Joseph, who are ordained and anointed to bear off the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world.

… If any man thinks he has influence among this people, to lead away a party, let him try it, and he will find out that there is power with the Apostles, which will carry them off victorious through all the world, and build up and defend the church and kingdom of God.

… If the people want President Rigdon to lead them, they may have him; but I say unto you that the quorum of the Twelve have the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world. The Twelve are appointed by the finger of God. Here is Brigham, have his knees ever faltered? have his lips ever quivered? Here is Heber, and the rest of the Twelve, an independent body, who have the keys of the priesthood—the keys of the kingdom of God—to deliver to all the world; this is true, so help me God. They stand next to Joseph, and are as the First Presidency of the Church.

… You must not appoint any man at our head; if you should, the Twelve must ordain him. You cannot appoint a man at our head; but if you do want any other man or men to lead you, take them, and we will go our way to build up the kingdom in all the world,

… Brother Joseph, the prophet, has laid the foundation for a grand work, and we will build upon it; you have never seen the quorums built one upon another. There is an almighty foundation laid, and we can build a kingdom such as there never was in the world: we can build a kingdom faster than Satan can kill the saints off.

… Now, if you want Sidney Rigdon or Wm. Law to lead you, or anybody else, you are welcome to them; but I tell you, in the name of the Lord, that no man can put another between the Twelve and the prophet Joseph. Why? Because Joseph was their file leader, and he has committed into their hands the keys of the kingdom in this last dispensation, for all the world; don’t put a thread between the priesthood and God.

Elder Amasa Lyman spoke in support of the Twelve; and then Sidney Rigdon was granted the privilege of speaking;

[9] he declined personally, but called on Elder W. W. Phelps to speak in his behalf. Elder Phelps while evidently sympathizing with Elder Rigdon, supported the claims of the Twelve. After further discussion Elder Young arose to put the question as to whether the church would sustain the Twelve or Sidney Rigdon:

I do not ask you to take my counsel or advice alone, but every one of you act for yourselves; but if Brother Rigdon is the person you want to lead you, vote for him, but not un less you intend to follow him and support him as you did Joseph And I would say the same for the Twelve, don’t make a covenant to support them unless you in tend to abide by their counsel I want every man, before he enters into a covenant, to know what he is going to do; but we want to know if this people will support the priesthood in the name of Israel’s God. If you say you will, do so.

Elder Young was then about to put the question to the assembled quorums as to whether they wanted Elder Rigdon for a leader, when, at the request of the latter, the question on supporting the Twelve as the presiding quorum in the church was first put in the following manner:

"Do the Church want and is it their only desire to sustain the Twelve as the First Presidency of this people ? If the Church want the Twelve to stand as the head, the First Presidency of the Church, and at the head of this kingdom in all the world, stand next to Joseph, walk up into their calling, and hold the keys of this kingdom—every man, every woman,

[10] every quorum is now put in order, and you are now the sole controllers of it—all that are in favor of this in all the congregation of the Saints, manifest it by holding up the right hand. (There was a universal vote.) If there are any of the contrary mind—every man and every woman who does not want the Twelve to preside, lift up your hands in like manner. (No hands up.) This supersedes the other question, and trying it by quorums.

This disposed of Sidney Rigdon. He had full opportunity to present his case before the church. The saints had full opportunity and liberty to vote for him had they wanted him for their leader; but they rejected him and sustained the Twelve.

I have been careful to deal with this case of Sidney Rigdon’s in so great detail, for the reason that it exhibits in operation a very important principle, viz., that of "common consent" or the "voice of the people" in electing their leaders. I use the word "elect" advisedly, for though the manner of electing the officers of the church is by indirect means—by popular acceptance—the elective principle is nevertheless operative, since men proposed for office cannot act unless the people vote to sustain them. The law of the church in this matter is:

No person is to be ordained to any office in this Church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, with out the vote of that Church.

This law applies to the First Presidency as well as to the humblest officer in the church:

Of the Melchisedek Priesthood, three presiding High Priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith and prayer of the Church, from a quorum of the Presidency of the Church.

It is not enough that the men constituting the First Presidency of the church be "appointed and ordained to that office;" they must also be "chosen by the body" and "up held by the confidence, faith and prayer of the church." President Brigham Young on this subject says:

Joseph presided over the Church by the voice of the people. …Does a man’s being a Prophet in this Church prove that he shall be the President of it? I answer, no. A man may be a prophet, seer and revelator, and it may have nothing to do with his being President of the Church. Suffice it to say that Joseph was the President of the Church, so long as he lived. The people chose to have it so. He always filled that responsible station by the voice of the people.

… The keys of the priesthood were committed to Joseph to build up the kingdom of God on the earth, and were not to be taken from him in time or in eternity; but when he was called to preside over the Church, it was by the voice of the people, though he held the keys of the priesthood independent of their voice.

But, mark you, he did not hold the power to preside over them contrary to their voices, that is, contrary to their con sent. President Taylor says:

It is by the voice of God and the voice of the people that our present President [Brigham Young] obtained his authority. He obtained his authority first from God, and secondly from the people; and if a man possesses five grains of common sense, when he has the privilege of voting for or against a man, he will not vote for a man who will, oppress the people; he will vote according to the dictates of his conscience; for this is the right and duty of this people in the choice of their President and other leading officers of the kingdom of God.

Thus in ecclesiastical as in civil government it is true that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. We shall have occasion in the course of our argument, to recur to this principle and its importance in respect to the subject treated in this writing.

It may be interesting to the reader to know that Sidney Rigdon himself outwardly seemed to acquiesce in the decision of the church with regard to himself. The Sunday following the meeting above described he addressed the saints for a long time, "blessed them in the name of the Lord; telling them emphatically that he was with the Twelve. He wished to know the mind of the church in relation to his returning to Pittsburg, they said, "go in peace." Yet all the while he was thus seemingly accepting the decision of the church and seeking its counsel, secretly he was holding meetings with men of questionable integrity in the church, telling them that it was revealed to him before leaving Pittsburg that the church would reject him; but, nevertheless, he was the proper person to lead the church—to be its Guardian; for to that position he had been called of God, and held keys of authority higher than any ever conferred upon the Prophet Joseph—the keys of David which, according to his representations, gave him the power to open and no man could shut; to shut and no man could open; and the power to organize armies for the destruction of the Gentiles. In fact his fervid imagination

[13] pictured himself a great military chieftain, by whose prowess all the enemies of God were to be subdued. He secretly ordained men to be prophets, priests and kings to the Gentiles. He also chose and appointed military officers to take command of the armies that were to be raised ere long to fight the battles of the great God. Meantime, while he in public had spoken of the virtues and honor of the martyred prophets, Joseph and Hyrum, in the highest terms, in his secret meetings he began to cast reflections upon their conduct, and hint at the existence of grave iniquity among the Twelve and in the church.

As soon as the Twelve learned of these proceedings on the part of Elder Rigdon, they called upon him to explain by what authority he held secret meetings and ordained men to the aforesaid offices. He sought to evade the question, but finding that he was dealing with men not to be trifled with he at last confessed to both holding the meetings and ordaining the officers. His brethren sought to convince him of his error, but at this point he refused to be corrected. The quorum of the Twelve, with the presiding bishop of the church, held a council meeting to consider his conduct, and concluded to demand Elder Rigdon’s license. He refused to surrender it, saying that he had not received it from the Twelve and he would not give it up to them. He was then cited before the council of the church which has a right to try a president of the high priesthood, viz., the presiding bishop of the church assisted by twelve high priests.

He refused to appear before this council, and therefore, after giving him due notice and an opportunity to appear and defend himself, the council convened in the presence of a large

[14] congregation of the saints on the 8th of September, 1844, and proceeded to hear evidence in the case. The evidence established the insubordination of Elder Rigdon and the irregularity of his course, and a motion that he be excommunicated from the church until he repented was carried both by the council composed of the bishop and the twelve high priests, and also by the great congregation of the saints. Ten only, and they of Rigdon’s following, voting in the negative.

After his excommunication he made an attempt at organizing a church, choosing twelve apostles, etc., but his efforts amounted to but little. He soon retired from Nauvoo to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, which he established as his head quarters. He sent missionaries to many branches of the church to represent his claims to the Presidency, but they succeeded in getting only slight support and that for the most part from among those weak in the faith. His church, never strong either in numbers or prominent men, soon crumbled into decay; Sidney Rigdon himself sank out of sight and in 1876 he died in obscurity in Alleghany county, state of New York.

The fate of Sidney Rigdon and the fate of the organization which he founded prove the prophetic character of the words of Brigham Young:

All that want to draw away a party from the church after them, let them do it if they can, but they will not prosper.


FOLLOWING the attempt of Sidney Rigdon to become the "Guardian of the Church," we will consider the efforts of William Smith, brother to the prophet Joseph, to become its President. He was a member of the quorum of the Twelve at the death of the prophet, though for some time his conduct had been such as to bring him into disrepute among the Saints. He was of a turbulent, ungovernable disposition; a man of fierce passions and violent temper. When the saints were driven from Missouri, in 1838, and his brother Joseph cast into prison, such was his vindictiveness against the prophet that at a general conference of the church held near Quincy, Illinois, May 4th, 1839, he was suspended from fellowship; but was afterwards restored, mainly through the pleadings of that same brother against ‘whom he railed with such bitterness of speech.

Shortly after the martyrdom of his brothers, Joseph and Hyrum, William was ordained to the office of patriarch to the church, to succeed Hyrum Smith, who held that office at the time of his death. The associate editor of the Times and Sea sons in making the announcement of William’s appointment put it that he had been appointed and ordained patriarch "over the Church." Whereupon a number of persons of a disposition ever ready to take advantage of a word or make men an offender because of it, begun to ask if William was Patriarch "over" the church, did not that also make him President of the church. In the issue of the Times and Sea sons following, the editor corrected the error of his associate by saying that the notice of William’s appointment to be patriarch

[16] should have read patriarch "to" the church, not "over" it. He, of course, also denied that William was President of the church.

Whether it was the discussion about William’s appointment to be patriarch "over" the church which first put it into his head to make a claim to the office of President of the church; or that he took advantage of the phrase "Patriarch over the Church,’’ to bring forward claims to the Presidency which he had previously entertained, may not be accurately determined; but most likely it was the latter, because on the occasion of the writer’s visit to William Smith, at his home, near Elkader, Clayton County, Iowa, late in the summer of 1880, he claimed to have been anointed, appointed, and ordained by the prophet Joseph to succeed to the office of President of the church after the prophet’s death.

William Smith, however, based his claim to the position of president, mainly upon the fact that he was the brother of the Prophet, the only surviving brother, and therefore he should succeed to his brother’s position. He claimed to find a precedent for this in scripture. In the council which convened in the early Christian church to consider how far the Gentile converts were under obligations to observe the forms and ceremonies of the Jewish law, after Peter and Paul and Barnabas and others were through speaking on the subject, James, "the Lord’s brother," is represented as saying:

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles have turned unto God; but that we write unto them; that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication and from things strangled and from blood.

The "sentence" of James here is regarded as the "decision" of the council; and William Smith argued that if James gave the decision of the council, he must have been the president of the council; and if president of the council, then President of the church; and since James was the Lord’s brother and succeeded him in the Presidency of the church, so in this dispensation, as in the former one, the surviving brother of him who stood at the head of the church should succeed to the Presidency.

But this sophistry is confronted by the stubborn fact that the Lord Jesus had said to the Apostle Peter in the most direct terms:

I give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

It is controverted also by all the facts of history which represent Peter as the chief Apostle and as holding a Presidency over the entire church. In modern revelation, too, the order in which the Apostles have been named who have administered to men on the earth—has been invariably Peter, James and John—Peter always named first as the leader, the chief.

William Smith, however, did not command much of a following in this first attempt to make himself a leader. His profligate life was too notorious in Nauvoo to make it possible for him to wield much influence even as a schismatic. His efforts at leadership on this occasion resulted only in violent denunciations of those who would not receive him, and his final expulsion from the church. At the general conference held on the 6th of October, 1845, he was disfellowshipped from the quorum of the Twelve, and on the 12th of the same month, more of his wickedness having come to light, he was excommunicated from the church. He shortly afterwards became associated with James J. Strang and other apostates in an attempt to establish a church in the state of Wisconsin, but that failed as we shall see.

Here it will be proper to note the support which Lucy Smith, mother of William, gave to his claims to the Presidency. I regret being under the necessity of quoting her in such a controversy, as it shows this good and noble woman to have been very much mistaken in this matter, and one must ever be sorry to see those who are upright mistaken, especially in so grave a matter as this under consideration. One must ever feel a delicacy in referring to the words and actions of the mother of Joseph and Hyrum, of Don Carlos and Samuel H. Smith. She was a woman who had suffered much for the work of God and the testimony of Jesus; who’ in addition to toil, sick ness, .poverty and exile had lived to see her two noblest Sons murdered, and two other sons and her husband laid away in premature graves, indirectly the victims of that relentless persecution which followed her family and the church from the beginning. These sufferings and her great age doubtless will account for that weakness of mind through which, and not through any wrong intent, I feel sure, she was led into this error of sup porting the claims of her son William. But glad as I would be to pass by this matter for the sake of Sister Lucy Smith, I cannot do so, for the reason that the Josephites quote her as supporting the claims of ‘Young Joseph," and I wish to show by her support of William that she did not do it.

The evidence that Sister Lucy Smith sustained the pretensions of William Smith to the Presidency and not those made in behalf of "Young Joseph," is found in the journal of the late President John Taylor, a member of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the time in Nauvoo:

Friday, June 27th, 1845.

This was the anniversary of the day that Brothers Joseph and Hyrum were killed and myself shot. We met together (the quorum of the Priesthood) to pray, several of the Twelve were present. When I returned [home] in the evening, Mrs. Taylor showed me a copy of a vision that Mother Lucy Smith had, stating that her son William was head of the Church; the following is a copy:


Brothers and children, I was much troubled and felt as if I had the sins of the whole world to bear, and the burden of the Church; and I felt that there was something wrong. I called on the Lord to show me what was wrong, and if it was I. I called upon him until I slept. I then heard a voice calling on me saying, awake, awake, awake, for the only son that thou hast living, they for his life have laid a snare. My aged servant Joseph who was the first Patriarch of this Church, and my servant Hyrum who was the second Patriarch, my servant Joseph who was Prophet and Seer, and my servants Samuel, William and Don Carlos—they were the first founders, fathers and heads of this Church, raised up in these last days, and thou art the mother, and thy daughters have helped, and they are the daughters in Israel, and have helped raise up this Church. Arise, arise, arise, and take thy place, you know not what has been in the hearts of some; hut he said thou shalt know. He told me what it was; but I shall not tell. (I saw William in a room full of armed men and he having no weapons. They would have crushed him down, if it had not been for the power of God; and many of the family would have been cut off— [the] Lord having softened their hearts. Two of them had blacker hearts than the rest, and I know who they are, and I will tell them if they will come to me. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball know it is so, and dare not deny it.) Call upon the Twelve, let all things be set in order, and keep their hearts pure from this time hence forth; the voice saith be merciful, and then Zion shall arise and flourish as a rose. What I was told I cannot tell.

Thou art the mother in Israel, and tell thy children all to walk uprightly. Thy son William, he shall have power over the churches, he is father in Israel over the patriarchs and the whole of the Church; he is the last of the lineage that is raised up in these last days. He is Patriarch to regulate the affairs of the Church. He is President over all the Church, they can’t take his apostleship away from him. The Presidency of the Church belongs to William, he being the last of the heads of the Church, according to the lineage, he having inherited it from the family from before the foundation of the world. Thou art a mother in Israel. Thy spirit arose and said in eternity that it would take a body to be a mother to prophet [s] who should be raised up to save the last dispensation. And the spirit said unto me to be faithful, (and that I was faithful,) and tell the Church to be faithful. And the spirit said I should live until I was satisfied with life.

Brothers and children, I want you to take notice that the burden of the Church rests [on William].


Joseph came to me and said: "That day is coming when I shall wave the scepter of power over my enemies. Be patient my brothers and sisters, the day is coming when you shall have eternal life and be rewarded for all your troubles.


Father came to me and I said, Father, have you come? And he said "yes." I said tell me where you have been. And he said, "I have been all around here. I have come to you again to tell you one thing certain, which I have told you many times before. It is my prayer and the prayers of our sons that you live to take care of William and my daughters,

[21] and see that they have their rights and standing where they ought to have it. He turned to go away, and I said I will go with you. He said you must stay.

The following persons were present at the time this vision was related:

William Smith, Mrs. Taylor,

A. Milliken, Mrs. Millikeri,

W. I. Salisbury, Mrs. Salisbury,

David Elliott, Mrs. McLery,

Robt. Campbell, Mrs. Kelly,

Elias Smith, Mrs. Sherman.

Joseph Cain,

Bro. Stringham,

Chas. Kelly,

Bro. McLery,

On June 30th, 1845, at the request of Sister Lucy Smith, seven of the Twelve, with Bishops Miller and Whitney and Elder Cahoon, met at her house to talk over these visions in respect to William. Several members of her family were present. It was also arranged for William Smith to be present, but he failed to appear. I copy from Elder Taylor’s journal, under date of June 3oth:

The conversation was full and free. President Young stated that William was "aiming at power and authority and priesthood that did not belong to him; that he would sustain William in his office and calling, but would not allow him to tread upon his or any other man’s neck; that if the Church wanted to have William Smith, he would mention it to them, and they should have their choice. This, however, neither the Church, nor the Twelve would consent to; for if it had been put to them—I do not suppose that twenty would have voted for him, out of the many thousands there are in the Church. Mother Smith said he [William] did not want it; she did not profess to be a revelator only for herself and family, that she wanted peace, union and harmony. The Twelve all expressed the same feeling and manifested the greatest kindness to Mother Smith as did also the bishops.

[22] Though William did not meet with the Twelve, he addressed a letter to President Brigham Young which was read at the above meeting. After complaining about the article on Patriarchs, which had appeared in the Times and Seasons, he concludes thus:

"My proposition is, my share of the kingdom, and if you will publish in the Neighbor and Times and Seasons the true state of the case in regard to my office as Patriarch over the whole Church, this will give me a right to visit all branches of the Church, and intrude on no man’s rights; and further to attend to all of the ordinances of God, no man being my head, I will reconcile all difficulties, and Elder Young can stand as the President of the Church, and by my most hearty wish and consent. This will settle all difficulties and restore peace and good order, and farther than this, I cannot say, only that I want all men to understand that my father’s family are of the royal blood, and promised seed, and no man or set of men can take their crown or place in time nor eternity. Brother Young, the above is my proposition and will settle all difficulties at once, and these are my avowed sentiments and no equivocation.


To this letter the Twelve wrote an answer before leaving the house of Mother Smith. In said letter the brethren regretted not having had the pleasure of meeting William. They had had considerable talk with

"Mother Smith, and find her possessing the best of feelings towards the whole Church. As to your requests in your letter we would say: we are perfectly willing and wish to have all things right, but there are some ordinances in the Church that cannot be administered by any person out of this place at present, but must be done here. As to having the right to administer all ordinances in the world and no one standing at your head, we could not sanction, because the President of the Church, and each one of our quorum are amenable to the quorum of which you are a member. But as to your right to officiate in the office of Patriarch, we say you have the right to officiate in all the world wherever your lot may be cast, and no one to dictate or control you excepting the Twelve, which body of men must preside over the whole Church in all the world."

The following postscript was added:

"We have read this to Mother Smith, Catherine, Lucy, and Arthur, and they express their satisfaction with it, as well as those of the council who are present."

Elder Taylor thus concludes his account of this visit with ‘‘Mother Smith:’’

We prayed with Mother Smith before we left her; and she and the family manifested good feelings. I am sorry the old lady should be troubled, she is a good woman and has passed through much trouble for the cause of truth, and has the respect and confidence of the whole Church."

After his failure in Nauvoo, and in Wisconsin in connection with Mr. Strang, we next hear of William Smith in the winter and spring of 1850, visiting those who had been members of the church in Illinois and Kentucky, teaching ‘‘lineal priesthood as applied to the Presidency of the church." That is, he taught that his brother Joseph’s eldest son had a right by virtue of lineage to succeed to the Presidency of the church; but also taught in connection with this that it was his right as the only surviving brother of the former President, uncle and natural guardian of the "seed" of Joseph the prophet, to stand, in the interim, as president pro tern of the church. There seemed to be a general acquiescence with this by the members of the church remaining in the districts where he labored—most of whom were either apostates or weak in the faith—and in the spring of 1850, he called a conference to assemble in Covington, Kentucky, where he effected an organization by having himself sustained as President pro tern, of the church, and Lyman Wight and Aaron Hook as counselors pro tern to the President pro tern, and Joseph Wood as counselor and spokesman. It is claimed that many of the "saints" in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, were identified with this movement.

A year later, viz., in the summer of 1851, Palestine, Lee ‘county, Illinois, was designated as a Stake of Zion, a gatherering [sic] place for the saints, and the home of William Smith. At the October conference held at Palestine that year, there was a confession of belief in and the practice of polygamy, which resulted in many immediately withdrawing from the organization; and, it is said, that the declaration proved the means ultimately of its complete destruction.

This was the last effort of William Smith at organizing a church; subsequently, when an organization was effected with Joseph Smith, eldest son of the prophet, as its President, he became nominally connected with that movement, but he was never prominent or influential. In the summer of 188o, the writer, then on a mission in the state of Iowa, in company with Hyrum Jensen, called at the home of William Smith, near Elkader, and found him living in poverty and obscurity.

As I think upon this man, and of how far he fell—from the office of an Apostle and Patriarch to the Church—when I

[25] think of his vain attempt to become President of the church, and, failing in that, attempting to lead away a party, then organizing a faction from the remnants of the church left in Illinois and Wisconsin, and every effort of his ending in failure—I think of the prophetic words of President Brigham Young:

All that want to draw away a party from the Church after them, let them do it ~f they can, but they will not prosper!



IT can scarcely be said that either Lyman Wight or Bishop George Miller sought to lead the church; but they were guilty of insubordination to the constituted authorities and lead away parties with them, and illustrate the truth of President Young’s prediction about the failure of such persons, hence we consider their course.

Lyman Wight was a strong, bold man; fixed in his friend ship for the prophet Joseph, and true to him under many trying circumstances; but withal rather difficult to control, and after the death of Joseph soon manifested a disposition of insubordination to authority. As far back as February, 1844, he had expressed a desire to go to Texas, and after the death of the prophet seemed determined that the church should be removed there. For some time a number of persons had worked under his and Bishop George Miller’s direction in the pineries of Wisconsin, getting out lumber for the Temple. In the latter part of August, President Young desired him to return to the pineries and continue his labors; but he refused and expressed a determination to carry out his own views, and be the controller of his own conduct regardless of the counsel of the presiding quorum. He therefore went to Texas instead of to Wisconsin, taking a small company of saints with him and settling in Texas, not far from the present site of Austin.

For his insubordination Lyman Wight was excommunicated from the church, the action being taken in Salt Lake City, 1848, The company of saints that followed him were soon scattered as sheep that have wandered from the fold and the care of the shepherd; but some few of them finally found their way back into the church. Lyman Wight lived in obscurity in Texas, unknown by the world, unhonored, without a following, and died outside the church of Christ, with which he had suffered so much during the persecutions it passed through in Missouri.

Bishop George Miller was closely associated with Lyman Wight in his rebellion against the authority of President Young. As already stated they had been associated in directing the labors of the brethren working in the pineries, and on returning to Nauvoo both had manifested a spirit of insubordination to authority. Bishop Miller, however, did not immediately follow Lyman Wight to Texas, but remained with the church some two years longer, and was among the first to cross the Mississippi in the great exodus from Nauvoo. During the subsequent journey through what was then the wilderness of Iowa, he manifested a disposition to draw off with his company from the main camp; and when the great body of the exiled saints went into Winter Quarters, near Council Bluffs, Bishop Miller and his company were more than a hundred and fifty miles north at the junction of the Running Water and the Missouri River, where they remained during the winter of 1846-47.

In the spring of 1847, when the saints were making ready for their journey to the west, Bishop Miller urged the advisability of changing their destination, and going to Texas, where Lyman Wight had already settled. The bishop’s views being rejected, he withdrew from the camp, followed by a few over whom he had influence, and with them he joined Lyman Wight in Texas. The union, however, was of short duration. The spirit which led them to rebel against President Young would not permit them to live in peace together. They soon quarrelled [sic] and separated, Miller making his way to Wisconsin where he joined James J. Strang. He was excommunicated from the church for his rebellion at the same time as Lyman Wight, in Salt Lake City, 1848. Of the circumstances under which he died we have not learned, instead of living among the saints, honored as God’s servants, supported by the faith, prayer, love and confidence of the church of Christ, they lived and finally died in wretched obscurity—unwept, unhonored and unsung, their lives and their ending only important as illustrating the truth of the prophetic words of him who said:

All that want to draw away a party from the church after them, let them do it if they can, but they will not prosper!


BUT little is heard of James J. Strang in the church until after the death of the prophet Joseph; but that he was a man of considerable intellectual ability there can be no question. Mr. Strang claimed that about ten days before his death the prophet Joseph gave to him a letter containing a revelation appointing him [James J. Strang] to be his successor as President and Prophet of the church. The letter also appointed Mr. Strang’s counselor, and commanded the Twelve Apostles to proclaim Voree, Wisconsin, as the gathering place of the saints. Mr. Strang attempted to strengthen his claim to the position of President and Prophet of the church by reference to the revelation which says:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my Church, through him whom I have appointed to receive commandments and revelations from my hand. And this ye shall know assuredly that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations, until he be taken, if he abide in me. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him, for if it be taken from him, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.

Mr. Strang claimed that the appointment he received through the letter here presented as coming from the prophet Joseph, fulfilled the terms of the revelation above quoted; for he had been appointed through the prophet Joseph.

When he presented this "letter" and "revelation" to some of the saints in Michigan, viz., to those living in the

[31] town of Florence, St. Joseph County, they asked him if the Twelve that were commanded in his "revelation" to proclaim Voree, Wisconsin, as the gathering place for the saints, were the Twelve Apostles at Nauvoo. He replied they were. Did they know anything of this "revelation?" They did not. Had he been ordained a prophet? He replied no. The saints were suspicious of his claims, and would not receive him.

This question as to his ordination presented a serious difficulty to Mr. Strang, a difficulty which he tried to surmount by announcing soon afterwards that immediately after the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph, an angel appeared to him and ordained him to be a prophet to the church, and the successor to Joseph as the President thereof.

He presented himself in Nauvoo and succeeded in drawing to his support a number of restless men—men who had been neglectful of their duties in the church of Christ, and of a disposition to follow any person who promised them change and excitement. Not many followed him from Nauvoo, however, for there his influence amounted to little; but in the scattered branches, especially in those in Wisconsin, he succeeded in deceiving many. Among those who accepted and sustained his claims were William Smith, the only surviving brother of the prophet Joseph; the notorious John C. Bennett, who had been excommunicated from the church for his crimes, and afterward plotted with the enemies of Joseph to bring to pass his destruction; and also John E. Page, one of the Twelve, who for several years previous to Joseph’s death had been in bad repute with the church. John C. Bennett had first supported Sidney Rigdon, claiming to have received a sealed document from the prophet Joseph—when as yet he was in full fellowship with the church—with a strict charge not to open

[32] it until after the prophet’s death. When he opened it, lo! it contained what purported to, be a revelation from the deceased prophet appointing Sidney Rigdon to be his successor. John C. Bennett averred that this was as it should be, and so eagerly was this purported revelation accepted by the supporters of Mr. Rigdon, that they had it published and widely circulated among the branches of the church. But when Mr. Strang came forward with his claims, John C. Bennett turned from Sidney Rigdon and supported Mr. Strang—having forgot, apparently, the "revelation" contained in the sealed document which appointed Mr. Rigdon President of the church!

John E. Page, in support of the Strang movement, intercepted a company of saints in Michigan, en route from Canada to Nauvoo. He represented that it was the will of the Lord that they should settle in Voree, Wisconsin, Mr. Strang’ s gathering place, and not go to Nauvoo. This company, however, were prudent enough not to receive his representations without investigation. They sent messengers to Nauvoo who received such instructions from the Twelve as preserved them from the deceitfulness of this apostate Apostle. John E. Page continued to support the claims of James J. Strang, and for doing so was excommunicated from the church, and swelled the number of those who have made shipwreck of faith through opposing legitimate authority.

Mr. Strang in a short time changed his gathering place from Voree, Wisconsin, to Beaver Island, in the north end of Lake Michigan. He organized a township on Beaver Island, went to the state legislature and succeeded in having the whole group of islands in north Lake Michigan organized into a county, under the name of Manitou County, which for some years Mr. Strang represented in the Michigan state legislature.

Mr. Strang was not satisfied with being Prophet and President

[33] of the church, he must also be a king; and accordingly was crowned and given a scepter—"The attribute to awe and majesty, wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings!"

He was crowned by George J. Adams, also an apostate from the church. At one time Mr. Adams had been appointed to go on a mission to the empire of Russia, to preach the gospel; but before he started he was found to be in transgression. His appointment was, of course, cancelled; and subsequently, as he still further transgressed, he was excommunicated’ from the chruch, [sic] after which he joined Mr. Strang at Beaver Island.

It may be well to observe, in passing, that all these aspirants for place and power manifested an insatiable desire for the honors and titles of men, a thing which shows them to be as vain as they were ambitious, and distinguishes them from true leaders (especially those whom God calls), who so loose [sic] themselves in their work, that self is unthought of, much less the empty honors and titles of men. Mr. Strang was not only a "king" in name, but also one in disposition if those who represent his conduct speak truly. Arbitrary and cruel in his methods of government, he finally provoked much dissatisfaction among his followers, and not a few dissensions. [sic]

The people whom he gathered together on Beaver Island soon fell into disrepute with their neighbors. They are represented as claiming that the earth was the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; that they were the Lord’s saints and heirs to that which was the Lord’s, and hence did not hesitate to purloin their neighbor’s goods. In other words, they were accused by their neighbors with being an organized community of thieves, who thrived by plundering more honest people. It is not our prerogative to pronounce upon the truth or falsity of these charges. It is enough to say that Mr. Strang and his followers were held in great abhorrence by the other inhabitants of the Manitou group of islands and the

[34] people on the neighboring main-land; and in the summer of 1856, there was a general uprising of the people in those parts which resulted in the killing of Mr. Strang—some accounts say, by two men of his own party, and the breaking up of his organization.

Once more we stand face to face with the prophetic words of President Young:

All that want to draw away a party from the church after them, let them do it if they can, but they will not prosper!



WE now come to the last organization that was brought into existence through the agency of men once associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the so-called "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," commonly called the "Josephite Church." This organization is still in existence, and has for its President, Joseph Smith, the eldest son of the prophet Joseph. It is my purpose first to give an account of how this organization came into existence, and then consider the claims of Mr. Joseph Smith to be of right the President of the church founded, under God, by his father.

Jason W. Briggs, one of the founders and leaders in the Josephite movement, informs us that in the spring of 1850, William Smith, whose acquaintance the reader has already formed, called a conference at Covington, Kentucky:

From which time he visited many of the branches and scattered saints, teaching "lineal Priesthood" as applying to the Presidency of the Church. . . . This principle, though pretty clearly shown in the books, had been almost entirely overlooked or forgotten by the saints; but when their attention was thus called to it, many at once received it as the solution of the question of Presidency."

William Smith as the reader is already informed, claimed the right ‘as natural guardian of the "seed" of Joseph the prophet, to stand as President pro tem of the church until the

[36] "seed" should come forward to take his place; and procedeed [sic] to organize a church with that understanding. This organization as already stated held a conference, in October, 1851, at which was proclaimed a belief in and practice of polygamy. Among those who attended this conference of William Smith’s church was Jason W. Briggs, who, after returning to his home in Wisconsin, was much perplexed over the condition of the church. While pondering in his heart the situation, on the 18th of November, 1858, on the prairie some three miles from the town of Beloit, Wisconsin, he claims to have received a revelation from God. In that "revelation" the Lord is represented as declaring it to be the duty of those elders who had been ordained by the prophet Joseph, or by the hand of those ordained by him, to preach the gospel—

As revealed in the record of the Jews, and the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants; and cry repentance and remission of sins through obedience to the gospel, and I will sustain them and give them my spirit; and in my own due time will I call upon the seed of Joseph Smith, and I will bring one forth, and he shall be mighty and strong, and he shall preside over the High Priesthood of my Church; and then shall the quorums assemble, and the pure in heart shall gather, and Zion shall be re-inhabited, as I said unto my servant Joseph Smith; after many days shall all these things be accomplished, saith the spirit.

This "revelation" Mr. Briggs was commanded to send to the churches at Palestine, Voree, Waukesha and other places. While the messengers of Mr. Briggs are carrying his "revelation" to the scattered churches in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, it is necessary to relate some incidents said to have occurred in another part of Wisconsin, in what is called the

[37] "Yellow Stone Branch." This "branch" belonged to that organization founded by James J. Strang, and was presided over by Zenas H. Gurley, frequently called "Father Gurley." During the year 1850, according to Mr. Gurley’s own statement, several strange things came to his knowledge which satisfied him that

"Neither .J. J. Strang, Brigham Young, William Smith, nor any that had claimed to be prophets, since Joseph’s death, were the servants of God."

The doubts born in 1850, grew stronger in Mr. Gurley’s mind in 1851; and one Sunday evening, in the fall of that year, while reflecting upon the prophecies of Isaiah, respecting the great latter-day work—especially of that prophecy which speaks of the house of the Lord in the last days being established in the top of the mountains, and all nations flowing unto it—he thought then of Strang’s Beaver Island operation, and felt ashamed that he had ever thought that this would bring to pass the work predicted by the Hebrew prophet. He claims then to have heard the voice of the spirit say to him:

Rise up, cast off all that claim to be prophets, and go forth and preach the gospel and say that God will raise up a prophet to complete his work.

A few weeks afterwards this commandment and prophecy was repeated, and he began looking about for a starting point. Meantime one David Powell arrived at Yellow Stone with Mr. Briggs’s "revelation," which predicted the coming forth of one from the seed of Joseph the prophet, to lead the church. Mr.

[38] Gurley, however, could not wholly accept the "revelation" of Mr. Briggs. It had been "revealed" to him that God would raise up a prophet, but who it would be had not been made known to him. About ten or fifteen days after the arrival of Mr. Briggs’s messenger, word was brought to Mr. Gurley that his little daughter was "singing and speaking in tongues" at a neighbor’s house. Mr. Gurley hurried to the house and after listening to the child a short time, he requested all present to join with him in asking the Lord to tell them who the successor of Joseph was. They spent a few moments in prayer when the Holy Spirit declared:

The successor of Joseph Smith is Joseph Smith, the son of Joseph Smith the prophet. It is his right by lineage, saith the Lord your God.

Shortly after this manifestation of the gift of tongues and the proclamation of the above reputed revelation, the "Yellow Stone branch" was convened and James J. Strang formally renounced as a prophet, seer and revelator to the church, and the allegiance of the branch pledged to the "seed" of Joseph Smith the prophet. The above "revelation" made it possible for Mr. Gurley to unite with Mr. Briggs, and word was accordingly sent to the latter, that evidence of the truth of his "revelation" had been received, and proposed the holding of a conference in June, 1852. After some correspondence it was finally settled that the conference be held in the town of Beloit, Wisconsin.

This conference by resolution first disclaimed all connection and fellowship with those men who had presumed to lead the church, charging them with having assumed powers contrary to the law of God. Secondly the conference

Resolved, That the successor of Joseph Smith, junior, as

[39] the presiding High Priest in the Melchisedek Priesthood, must of necessity be of the seed of Joseph Smith, junior, in fulfillment of the law and promises of God.

The other resolutions of importance adopted by the conference declared that the office of President of the church grew out of the authority of the presiding high priest in the high priesthood; that they recognize the validity of all legal ordinations in the church; that the whole law of the church is contained in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants; that there was no stake of Zion to which the saints are commanded at present to gather; and that it was the duty of the elders to cry repentance and remission of sins to this generation. A committee was appointed to write a pamphlet based on these resolutions entitled "A Word of Consolation to the Scattered Saints."

It was about this time, viz, during the summer of 1852, that the "stake of Zion" in Lee county, Illinois, founded by William Smith’s church, went to pieces and a number of the members thereof joined this Josephite movement set on foot by Messrs. Briggs and Gurley.

The next conference of the Josephite church was held in October, 1852, at the Yellow Stone branch. and then more especially was considered the question of authority to preside in the church that was forming, pending the coming forth of "young Joseph" to be its president. The pamphlet which the June conference had ordered written, announced that the "highest authority presides always," and the deliberations of the conference resulted in the following:

Resolved, That in the opinion of this conference, the one holding the highest priesthood in the church is to preside, and represent the rightfull [sic] heir to the presidency of the high priesthood in a presiding capacity.

[40] These men, however, found great difficulty in determining who held the highest authority as many unwarrantable ordinations had taken place in the various factions.

After earnest discussion it was determined that all ordinations not within the limits of the law should be ignored, and all within the limit recognized. This excluded all above an high priest, who being the highest recognized, was sustained as the presiding authority.

I have been unable to learn, however, that any one of the high priests was selected to preside over the Josephite church at this juncture, and one is left to infer that the whole body of so-called high priests were to preside. During the winter of 1853, the "spirit" intimated to Mr. Gurley, that they must "organize;" but this they knew not how to do, further than they had done. They were even unable to decide on the validity of the ordinations of the men who had attended the October conference.

In the month of March, 1853, the subject of organization being still agitated, the question was put to the Lord: "Were those ordained apostles by William Smith recognized by God?" The answer was that those ordinations were not acceptable—were not of God. Near the close of this revelation the men engaged in this movement were commanded to organize themselves:

"For ere long,’ saith the Lord, ‘I will require the prophet at your hand.’"

But how to organize they did not know. They claim to have had two high priests and one senior president of the seventies among them. "But how could these men organize the church?" asks Mr. Gurley:

It was impossible, utterly impossible. We counseled upon it, and concluded that possibly, under the present circumstances, it might be right for high priests, and for the senior President of seventies to ordain seventies; but when done what would it accomplish? Nothing, just nothing. We were in trouble—deep trouble! To refuse to organize was disobedience; to go forward in the attempt was darkness. There was but one alternative, and that was to seek wisdom from above.

The result of inquiring of the Lord, according to the statement of Mr. Gurley, was that a commandment was given appointing a day of fasting and prayer, and the Lord promised to show them how to organize. When the meeting assembled the following question was put to the Lord:

Will the Lord please to tell us how to organize And who among us will he acknowledge as the representative of the legal heir to the Presidency of the Church.

To this inquiry it is claimed that an answer was obtained through a "revelation" to one H. H. Deam, a high priest, which reads as follows:

Verily thus saith the Lord, as I said unto my servant Moses,—see thou do all things according to the pattern,—so I say unto you. Behold the pattern is before you. It is my will that you respect authority in my Church; therefore let the greatest among you preside at your conference. Let three men be appointed by the conference to select seven men from among you, who shall compose the majority of the Twelve, for it is my will that that quorum should not be filled up at present. Let the President of the conference, assisted by two ‘others, ordain them. The senior of them shall stand as the

[42] representative. Let them select twelve men from among you, and ordain them to compose the high council. Behold ye understand the order of the bishopric, the seventies, the elders, the priests, the teachers, and deacons. Therefore organize according to the pattern; behold I will be with you unto the end.

This alleged revelation was given on the 20th of March, 1853, and at the April conference following an organization was effected on the above indicated plan. After a long discussion, about whose priesthood was the highest—in the course of which a great deal of ill-feeling was manifested—finally the controversy ended in favor of Mr. Briggs, and he was called to preside at the conference. Ethan Griffith, William Cline and Cyrus Newkirk were appointed the committee to select the seven "apostles" to form the majority of the quorum of the Twelve. The men selected were Zenas H. [Father] Gurley, Henry H. Deam, Jason W. Briggs,’ Daniel B. Razy, John Cunningham, George White and Reuben Newkirk. It was voted that a "stake of Zion" be organized in the town of Argyle, Lafayette Co., Wisconsin, of which William Cline, Cyrus Newkirk and Isaac Butterfield were chosen and ordained the presidency. A number of "seventies" were also ordained. At the close of the conference a "revelation" was received informing the conference that what had been done was recorded in heaven, and to the seven "apostles" it was said:

I give unto you the care of my flock on earth; take the oversight of them, as you shall give an account unto me in the day of judgment.

The period between the time of this organization effected in April, 1853, and the time when Joseph Smith, son of the prophet became its president, April, i86o, is called by the Josephite historian Tullidge, "an apostolic interval." During

[43] that interval the Josephite church seemed not to make much progress. Joseph Smith was several times solicited to take the Presidency of it, but he seemed not at all anxious for the place.

In 1856, the "reorganized church" sent to the predicted head of it, the word of the Lord, urging him to come and take his place.’ The document was signed by J. W. Briggs, "representative president of the church and the priesthood in Zarahemla." Messrs. Briggs and Gurley were appointed a committee to present this message to Mr. Smith, which they did at his home near Nauvoo. According to Mr. Smith’s own account of this visit, these messengers did not meet with a very cordial reception; and when Mr. Briggs vehemently urged the matter upon him, and "announced the culmination of the message in tones of thunder, and almost dictatorially" urged him to accept the message and do as directed therein, or reject it at his peril, he says he met this "vehemence indignantly, and almost turned these messengers out of doors."

The effort on the part of Messrs. Briggs and Gurley to induce Mr. Smith to become their president ended on this occasion in disappointment, though before leaving Nauvoo the whole situation was talked over in the presence of Mrs. Emma Smith, mother of Joseph.

It is to be remarked as passing strange that neither on this occasion, nor on any other that Josephite history speaks of, was it urged upon Joseph Smith that he had already been formally anointed by his father to be the President of the church.

Early in February, 1860, a call was issued, signed by Z. H. Gurley and Reuben Newkirk, calling for a general conference to assemble at Amboy, Illinois, the following April. All the branches of the church in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan were urged to send representatives, as it was desirable to

[44] choose a high council and organize and set in order all the quorums under the First Presidency; and an intimation was made that much more than was anticipated might be realized—was it an intimation that Joseph Smith would come and accept the Presidency of their church?

Meantime Joseph Smith who, according to his own autobiography, had failed as storekeeper, railroad contractor, in the study of law, in farming, and while keeping soul and body together by labor and from his fees as justice of the peace, was confronted with the question of his connection with his "father’s work;" and in the winter of 1859, resolved to put himself in communication with the "reorganized church. "

He accordingly wrote to Mr. William Marks, informing him that he was "soon going to take his father’s place at the head of the Mormon church," and requested him and others that he considered nearest him, to come to Nauvoo and confer with him. Mr. Smith states as his reason for sending for

[45] Mr. Marks that he was president of the stake of Zion at Nauvoo at the death of Joseph, the prophet; that he had retained his faith in Mormonism as taught by Joseph and Hyrum; and hence his council would be valuable. Mr. Smith also announced his intention to his mother and step-father; the former approved his course, the latter took a speculative view of it and built fond schemes for obtaining wealth through the position to be taken by his step-son.

Soon after this, Mr. Marks, one Israel L. Rogers and William’ W. Blair, all interested in the ‘‘Reorganized church" movement, visited Mr. Smith at his mother’s home in Nauvoo, and held an interview with them. It was finally decided that Mr. Smith and his mother should attend the ensuing April conference, called to assemble at Amboy, Lee county, Illinois, and the matter was to be laid before the church and a decision arrived at:

"For, said Elder Marks; we have had enough of man—made prophets, and we don’t want any more of that sort. If God has called you, we want to know it. If he has, the Church is ready to sustain you; if not, we want nothing to do with you."

Messrs. Marks, Rogers and Blair, in 1860, seem not to have been so urgent as Messrs. Briggs and Gurley had been in 1856; the latter had commanded him to take the Presidency of the church, or refuse to do so at his peril; the former merely agreed to see about it, by presenting the matter to the church. Indeed for men who professed to have evidence that Mr. Smith had been called, blessed and anointed by Joseph the prophet to be the President of the church, and to possess the right to that position by virtue of lineage, the reply of Mr. Marks to Mr. Smith’s proposition to take the Presidency of the Reorganized church seems unaccountably cold, and too

[46] much burdened with doubt and independence when addressing the only man who, on the theory of the "Reorganized church," could possibly succeed to the Presidency. Mr. Smith affects to have been made indignant at the urgency of Messrs. Briggs and Gurley, in 1856; the coldness and independence of Messrs. Marks, Rogers and Blair must have been a still greater source of annoyance.

Mr. Smith Went to the conference at Amboy, and in the afternoon of the 6th of April, i86o, made a speech, at the conclusion of which it was moved that he be received as a prophet, —the successor of his father. The motion was carried by a unanimous vote, after which Mr. Gurley who, assisted by Mr. William Marks, presided at the conference, arose and said:

Brother Joseph, I present this Church to you in the name of Jesus Christ!

And of course Mr. Smith accepted it.

The speech made by Mr. Smith at the above mentioned conference is remarkable only for its tameness; but I quote a few sentences that may be of special interest; first as showing that he claimed to be called to his position by a power not his own:— I came not here of myself but by the influence of the spirit. For some time past I have received manifestations pointing to the position I am about to assume. I wish to say that I have come here not to be dictated by any men or set of men. I have come in obedience to a power not my own, and shall be dictated by the power which sent me.

… Some, who ought to know the proprieties of the church, have told me that no certain form was necessary in order for me to assume the leadership, that the position came by right of lineage, yet I know that if I attempted to lead as a prophet by these considerations, and not by a call from heaven, men would not be lead to believe who do not believe now. And so I have come not of my own dictation to this sacred office.


As to revelations he said:

I have my peculiar notions in regard to revelations, but am happy to say that they accord with those I am to associate with, at least with those of them with whom I have conversed. I am not very conversant with those books (pointing to a volume before him), not so conversant as I should be and will be.

That his "notions in regard to revelations" were indeed "peculiar," one only has to read the following to be convinced:

I pledge myself to promulgate no doctrine that shall not be approved by you, or the code of good morals.

How different this from the reply of one of the ancient prophets, when some sought to have him give out no prophecy or revelation but what should be approved by them:

And Micaiah said, as the Lord liveth what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak!

How different, too, from the spirit of Brigham Young who shortly after being chosen President of the church wrote:

As the Lord’s will is my will all the time—as He dictates so will I perform. If He don’t guide the ship, we’ll go down in the whirlpool.

What a contrast also between his "I-pledge-myselfto-promulgate-no-doctrine-that-shall-not-be-approved-by-you" position of the son of the great prophet, and the position in which the Almighty God of heaven placed his father. The prophet Joseph’s position may be learned from the following revelation given the very day the church was organized:


Behold there shall be a record kept among you, and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church, through the will of God the Father and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ.

…Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receive/h them, walking in all holiness before me. For his words ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith; for by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good and his name’s glory.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so is this position given to the prophet Joseph by the Lord higher than that assumed by his son, who claims to be his successor, and yet stands pledged to promulgate no doctrine that shall not be approved by his associates! What manner of prophet is this?

Following Mr. Smith’s acceptance of the church at the hands of Mr. Gurley, he was ordained to the office of President of the high priesthood and President of the church by William Marks, Zenas H. Gurley, Samuel Powers and W. W. Blair. Mr. Marks was president of the Nauvoo stake of Zion at the death of the prophet, and the other three gentlemen were "apostles" in the Reorganized church.

We have now followed the history of the "Reorganized church" as far as it is necessary. It only remains to remark that it is a stream formed by the confluence of two other streams; one of which, represented by Mr. Gurley and his following, flows from Strangism; and the other, represented by

Mr. Briggs and his following, flows from the church organized by William Smith. We leave it for Josephites to inform us on what principle of philosophy two corrupt, apostate streams by uniting, make a pure one!



LET us now consider the claims of Mr. Joseph Smith to be of right the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His claims, or those made in his behalf by his friends and followers, are based upon the following assumptions :—

First, that he was called to that position when a boy, through his father, (i) by prophecy and blessing in Liberty jail, Missouri, where his father was confined in the winter of 1838-9 (2) by revelation in 1841 and (3) by a formal anointing in a council of the priesthood at Nauvoo, in 1844:

Second, that the position in his by lineage—it is his birthright:— Third, that he was called to the position by "revelation" to himself; and,

Fourth, he was ordained to it by those holding legal authority.

It is my purpose to consider these claims in their order, one by one, and show the untrustworthiness of the evidence upon which they are based, the weakness of the argument by which they are sustained, and finally how these claims contradict both the facts of history and the order that exists in the holy priesthood. I take up the first assumption in its several parts:

He was called to that position [i. e., to be President of the church], through his father, by prophecy and blessing in Liberty jail.


This claim is based solely upon the testimony of Lyman Wight. They quote him as follows:

In the private journal of Lyman Wight … this is found: "Sunday, December 8th, 1850, bore testimony that Joseph Smith appointed those of his own posterity to be his successor.’’

And in a letter he wrote in July, 1855, from Medina river, Texas, to the Northern Islander, a Strangite paper, Brother Wight said: Now Mr. Editor, if you had been present when Joseph called on me shortly alter we came out of jail, [Liberty jail, Missouri.—Ed.] to lay hands with him on the head of a youth, and heard him cry aloud, "you are my successor when I depart." and heard the blessings poured on his head,—I say had you heard all this, and seen the tears streaming from his eyes—you would not have been led [into following Strang] by blind fanaticism, or a zeal without knowledge.

Of this testimony it is to be said, first on the entry in Mr. Wight’s journal, that it is too general in its character to be of much service in supporting the claims of "young Joseph." We are not certain that he refers to him at all. Then if Lyman Wight knew in 1850 that Joseph the prophet had blessed his son Joseph to be his successor, as prophet and president of the church, Mr. Wight knew it in 8844; and is it not strange that he did not speak of it and advocate it when the question of a successor was warmly discussed in Nauvoo, during the autumn of 1844? Why is it that we have nothing from him on the subject earlier than 1850? And this silence on the part of Mr. Wight is the more significant when it is remembered that he was a bold, fearless man. It cannot be said in truth, that Brigham Young’s influence was so masterly as to awe him into silence. As a matter of fact he violently opposed Brigham Young in some of his measures,

[51] and at last rebelled against him; but nothing is said by him until 1850, about the appointment of any of the prophet’s posterity to succeed to the presidency of the church.

The letter quoted from the Northern Islander, might be of some force if its statements were not contradicted as to time and place and circumstance by another statement, also made in a Josephite publication. Let it be observed that according to the testimony of Mr. Wight, in the Northern Islander, the "blessing and prophecy" under consideration was given at a time that the prophet called on Mr. Wight, shortly after they came out of Liberty jail. With that in mind read the following in The Successor:--

Lyman Wight, one of the Twelve, always taught the saints whom he led into Texas, that none but "little Joseph" could lead the church, as successor to the martyr. He said he knew it, for in 1839, when Hyrum, Joseph, and himself were in prison, in Liberty jail, Missouri, "little Joseph’’ was brought by his mother and left with his father in the jail, while she was attending to business affairs in the town—and that then and there Joseph, with Hyrum and himself, laid their hands upon the lad’s head, and Joseph proceeded to bless him, and prophesied that he would yet lead the church of the living God; and he blessed him to that end. Such was the testimony of Lyman Wight up to 1858, the year in which he died.

This statement makes the "blessing and ‘prophecy" to have been pronounced upon the head of "young Joseph," in Liberty jail; whereas the statement made by Mr. Wight in the Northern Islander, places it shortly after they came out of Liberty jail. And be it further remarked, that if it took place after they came out of prison, then it must have taken place in Illinois and not in Missouri at all. For the family of the

[52] prophet started from Far West on the 7th of February, 1839, in charge of Stephen Markham, and after many hardships arrived on the banks of the Mississippi, opposite the town of Quincy, Illinois, on the 15th of the same month. Joseph Smith and his fellow prisoners were taken from Liberty jail to Gallatin, for trial, in April. They applied for and obtained a change of venue from Daviess to Boone county, and while en’ route escaped from their guards. After making their escape the prophet says:

We continued our journey; both by night and by day; and after suffering much fatigue and hunger, I arrived in Quincy, Illinois (Monday, April 22nd) amidst the congratulations of my friends and the embraces of my family, whom I found as well as could be expected, considering what they had been called on to endure.

Hence if the "prophecy and blessing" on the head .of "young Joseph" took place after Mr. Wight and the prophet Joseph got out of prison, it must have taken place in Illinois and not in Liberty jail, Missouri, as related in the second statement with such detail of circumstance. This contradiction in the testimony of Mr. Wight, taken in connection with the fact that at the time of making it, viz, in 1855, he had lost his honor, was an apostate, neither being true to the church of Christ led by his fellow apostles nor true to the son of the prophet whom he claimed to know had been set apart to succeed to the Presidency of the church—these considerations, I say, render the testimony of Lyman Wight worthless.

" Furthermore, Caleb Baldwin and Alexander McRae were fellow-prisoners of Joseph and Hyrum Smith as well as Lyman Wight. They all occupied the same prison-cell—how is it, if the ordination of "young Joseph" to succeed his father

[53] took place in Liberty Jail, that these men knew nothing of it; for that they knew nothing of it is evident from their silence. Surely such a thing could not occur in Liberty jail without their knowing it. And had it occurred it is a matter that would have been well remembered and frequently spoken of as one of the notable incidents of their Liberty-prison life. But not one word have either Caleb Baldwin or Alexander McRae left on record that such a notable thing ever took place; neither has Lyman Wight in any way that carries even so much as a poor shadow of conviction with it.

(2) Mr. Smith further claims that he was called to be President of the church through his father by revelation in 1841.

The revelation referred to was given the 19th of January, 1841. The passage in it supposed to sustain the claim of appointment of "young Joseph" to be the President of the church is the following:

And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph, and his house have place therein, from generation to generation; for this anointing have I put upon his head, that" his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him, and as I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, in thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed. Therefore let my servant Joseph and his seed after him have place in that house, from generation to generation, for ever and for ever, saith the Lord.

This is not difficult to comprehend as it stands thus in the Doctrine and Covenants unmarred. It is simply this: a commandment was given to build the Nauvoo House, a tavern, for the boarding and lodging of strangers. Joseph

[54] Smith and his family were also to have a home therein; for he was commanded to put stock in the house, and as a matter of fact did put considerable stock into it; and his family after him, from generation to generation, was to have that inheritance in the house. It was to be theirs because the prophet Joseph had purchased the stock which secured to him, and his posterity after him, the right of a home within it. The passage does not in any manner refer to succession in the Presidency of the church. What it does refer to is clearly seen in the commencement of the paragraph— "And now I say unto you, as pertaining to, my boarding house, which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, etc." That is the subject of the passage, not the priesthood, nor the succession of the prophet Joseph’s son to his father’s position as President of the church. How absurd the argument that because a man’s posterity are to inherit his stock in a hotel, or succeed to the right of living in it as a return for having paid a large sum towards the construction of it, that therefore we must conclude that it means, too, that a man’s posterity or at least the "head" of it—the eldest son—must also inherit the father’s priesthood and calling as President of the church! Yet this is the construction Josephites put upon this passage. To do it, however, they are under the necessity of reading into the revelation something which the Lord never put there. In evidence of which, and also as an illustration of Josephite methods, I reproduce the passage as they print it in their controversial writings, with this exception that I write the lines which they insert in brackets in italics also, that they may the more readily be observed:

And now I say unto you as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph Smith and his house have place therein from generation to generation; for this anointing [appointment and consecration to be prophet and

[55] president of the church] have I put upon his head, that his blessings [to these offices and callings] shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him, and as I said unto Abraham, concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph, in thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed. Therefore [for that reason] let my servant Joseph and his seed after him, have place in that house from generation to generation, forever and forever saith the Lord.

Of this it is only necessary to say that a cause which requires such a wresting of the word of God to wring a promise out of it that the eldest son of the prophet would succeed to the office of the President of the church after the death of his father—a cause which requires such a reading as is here thrust into the revelation in brackets, is desperate indeed!

(3) Mr. Smith claims that he was called through his father to be President of the church by a formal anointing in a council at Nauvoo, in 1844.

In support of this claim Josephites quote only the testimony of Mr. James Whitehead, who resides at Lamoni, Iowa, and who is said to have been one of the secretaries of Joseph the prophet. It is said of him rather than by him, that for the past twenty and more years he has

Testified publicly that he personally knew that Joseph the seer, in the presence of a number of the ministry, in Nauvoo, anointed and set apart his son Joseph to be his successor in the prophetic office and Presidency of the church, and that soon after the seer announced publicly from the stand, on a Sunday, that his son Joseph would be his successor.

In The Successor, already several times quoted, it is said that Mr. Whitehead testifies that Bishop Newel K. Whitney was present and held the horn of oil on the occasion of this

[56] anointing. He asserts that George J. Adams was also present; and Emma, wife of the prophet, is represented as having said:— She well remembers the, time, and, though not present, she heard her husband say that young Joseph was set apart to be his successor. She also says that after young Joseph was anointed and set apart, George J. Adams came down to her room greatly elated with what had transpired, saying that they now knew who would be the successor of Joseph; that it was young Joseph, for his father had just set him apart to that office and calling.

I would have more respect for this evidence if, instead of being the alleged statements of these several parties, it had been the very statements themselves—the statements of Mr. Whitehead and of Emma Smith, instead of a report of what they said by some Josephite writer. So far as Mr. George J. Adams is concerned he must very soon have forgotten his elation at finding out who the true successor of the prophet was; for he afterwards became a follower of Mr. Strang, and the very man who crowned him "king" at Beaver Island.

Of this alleged anointing in 1844, when Mr. Smith was a lad twelve years of age, he himself can only say:

Before the death of my father and uncle Hyrum, I was blessed by the first, in the presence of quite a number of then prominent Elders in the Church, this blessing being confirmed just prior to the tragedy at Carthage.

This is the only personal statement of his that I have ever seen in all the writings of the Josephites in regard to his ordination and blessing by his father, and it appears that he has no recollection of the nature of this "blessing;" if he was anointed and blessed to be the future prophet and President of the

[57]church, he evidently has no recollection of it, though he was of an age when such a circumstance would make a deep impression on the mind and would never have left him in the doubt he confesses to, respecting his connection with the work of his father to which for many years, in his youth, he exhibited almost complete indifference.

Of the alleged statement of Emma Smith, that she well remembers, though not present, the circumstance of the anointing in 1844—the elation of George J. Adams on learning who the successor of Joseph the prophet was to be, he coming immediately to her room after the ceremony of anointing to tell her the glad news; and also about well remembering her husband say that "young Joseph" was anointed and set apart to be his successor—of all this, I say, it is somewhat strange that Mrs. Emma Smith did not "well remember" it during the years of doubt through which "her son" passed, respecting his connection with the work of his father. ‘ How ii it that she did not then come to his assistance by reminding him—since he had forgotten it, if he ever knew it—that he had been anointed and set apart to be the successor of his father,—both her husband and George J. Adams having told her so! Especially is her silence astonishing on the occasion of the visit of Messrs. Briggs and Gurley in 1856 to "young Joseph," when those gentlemen almost, as we have seen, commanded him to become the President of their organization. One of the interviews between these gentlemen and Mr. Smith was conducted in the home of Mrs. Emma Smith, they being introduced at that time both to her and her husband, Mr. Bidamon. It was on that very occasion, too, that Mr. Smith gave these gentlemen the answer that he would not go with them to be their leader, and he plodded on four years longer, in doubt as to what his future connection would be with the church. Instinctively

[58] one exclaims why did not his mother at that crisis come to the rescue, and say: Why, my son, you are yet to become the prophet and President of the church, founded under God, by your father. I well remember, though not present, the occasion on which you were anointed and set apart to that position by your father. Both your father and George J. Adams told me of it—the day you were blessed, don’t you remember it? Instead of this we see her absolutely silent!

It is claimed, however, that at the Amboy conference in i86o, she endorsed her son as President of the church.

She publicly bore a faithful testimony to the work begun through her martyred husband, and said the present occasion was one she had looked for for the last sixteen years. Said she knew such a time must come, but had not known until a short time before that it was so near at hand.

And this is the best she could do! Much stress is laid upon Mrs. Emma Smith being spoken of in one of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants as an "elect lady," and since the "elect" cannot be deceived, her endorsement of her son, and her rejection of all others, is taken as

Conclusive testimony that young Joseph is his father’s successor!

But would not the "testimony" have been more "conclusive," if on that occasion she had given a personal statement that her son had been anointed and set apart in 1844, by his father; and though not present, she knew it upon the statement of both her husband and George J. Adams? Was not the occasion worthy of such a statement? Would it not have been

[59] opportune? Would it not have been at least more conclusive than the argument based on Mrs. Emma Smith being an "elect lady," and her endorsement of "young Joseph?"

I now proceed to examine the testimony given in a general way, that is, without reference to special occasions on which Mr. Smith was called or anointed to be his father’s successor, as prophet and President of the church; but which represents the general idea that he was to succeed to these positions.

Charles Derry, whose word will not be questioned by those who know him, says that William Clayton, of Salt Lake City, told him at the time they were laboring together in England, that he knew it was for "little Joseph" to lead the church.

Yet William Clayton, a man of unyielding determination and probity of character, continued a member of the church of Christ, led to Utah by President Brigham Young and his fellow apostles, giving to it and its leaders his unqualified support To accept the statement of Charles Derry is to make the best part of William Clayton’s life a lie—those who knew him, at least, will refuse to do that. I put the character of William Clayton and the fact of his allegiance to the church of Christ under the Presidency of Brigham Young, against the statement of Charles Derry.

W. W. Phelps wrote to Alpheus Cutler in 1847, that church affairs were in a bad condition, and that he did not look for a change for the better until the Lord should send "young Joseph" to lead the church.

This is a case similar to the one which precedes it—Mr. Phelps gave his allegiance to the church of Christ in Utah up to the time of his death, and the fact of his allegiance is put

[60] against the statement he is said to have made in a letter to Alpheus Cutler—mark you, we have not the letter, nor even a quotation from it. It is the life and character of W. W. Phelps against the alleged statement of Mr. Cutler.

P. P. Pratt said to D. S. Mills, now of Santa Ana, California, and to others when they were going from Utah to California, that the church would never be fully and properly organized till young Joseph was called to lead it.

This testimony is on a par with the two quotations which precede it. The statement attributed to Elder Pratt is contradicted by the facts of his life and allegiance to the church of Christ led to Utah by President Brigham Young.

Sister Lucy Smith, the mother of Joseph the seer, used to tell the saints who called on her that young Joseph would yet lead the church, for he had been appointed by his father.

To controvert this testimony it is only necessary to refer to the "visions?" of Lucy Smith published in this work, where she attempts to sustain the claims of her son William to be the President of the church; and wherein she says:

The Presidency of the Church belongs to William, he being the last of the heads of the Church, according to the lineage, he having inherited it from the family from before the foundation of the world.

Bishop Geo. Miller in a letter to the Northern Islander, in 1855, is represented as saying:

From hints and innuendoes that I heard frequently, I was induced to believe that Joseph had designated his son to succeed

[61] him in the prophetic office, and on this belief I rested.

… I had frequent attempts at conversation with Brigham Young and H. C. Kimball, in regard to Joseph’s leaving one to succeed him in the prophetic office, and in all my attempts to ascertain the desired truth as to that personage, I was invariably met with the innuendo, "stop" or "hush Brother Miller, let there be nothing said in regard to that matter, or we will have little Joseph killed as his father was;" inferring indirectly that Joseph Smith had appointed his son Joseph to succeed him in the prophetic office.

If Bishop Miller had any testimony of any weight that Mr. Smith, the son of the prophet, had been appointed to succeed to the position of prophet and President of the church, will those who rely on his statements explain how it is that with such testimony in his possession he ran off after other leaders? First following Mr. Lyman Wight to Texas, and after quarrelling with him joining Mr. Strang in Michigan. Bishop Miller, like Lyman Wight, lost his honor, he was neither true to the church of Christ led by the Twelve after the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph, nor true to Mr. Wight, nor "young Joseph." He became a restless man after his apostasy, unstable as water. There is nothing either in the nature of his testimony or the character of the man after his apostasy which gives any influence to his statement.

This is to certify to all concerned, that we, the undersigned, heard Brigham Young, in Salt Lake City, in 1854, and in Brigham City, Utah, about 1859, when he was speaking in public meeting concerning young Joseph Smith, son of Joseph the seer, say that there was no man in the church more willing and ready than he to give the Presidency of the church to. young Joseph, when the latter would come and claim it.


LAMONI, Iowa, May 26, 1892.

[62] In line with this is the following:

Brigham Young, at the April conference in 1854, said that young Joseph was the man to lead the church, and that were it not for his mother’s influence, he would have been in Utah long before; but he would come, and he would to God he was then in Utah to take the burden off his shoulders; he would receive him with open arms.

I have carefully examined the minutes of the April conference of 1854, and also all the discourses published that President Brigham Young delivered at that conference; and neither in the minutes or in the discourses can I find anything which justifies the above statement in regard to what President Young said at that conference. I take it therefore that the assertion is based upon the statement of Louis and Harriet Gaulter which precede it. If there is anything in the discourses of President Brigham Young, or the minutes of any of the conferences of the church which would bear out the case of the "Reorganized church," the writers thereof would be at great pains to publish it. The fact that they do not publish the words of President Young, but the words of others who claim to have heard him say that "young Joseph" was the man to lead the church, is pretty fair evidence that they can find nothing directly upon the point at issue in President Young’s own words.

The late Arthur Millikin, who resided at Colchester, Illinois, brother-in-law to the martyr, said in a letter to young Joseph in 1868, Brigham Young said in a council, at our house in Nauvoo, shortly after your father’s death, that neither Rigdon, himself, nor any other man but "young Joseph" could lead this people, when he comes of age, and no person can take it from him, and that to talk about it in public would endanger the boy’s life.

[63] Amos B. Moore, of Lamoni, Iowa, is represented as saying:

I heard Brigham Young say from the public stand, in Nauvoo, soon after the death of Joseph the Seer, that he and the Saints knew "Little Joseph" would stand in his father’s place and lead the Church, but it would not do to teach it then, for their enemies would kill him as they did his father.

Is it worth while to stop to point out the inconsistencies of this testimony? What Bishop Miller represents as having been conveyed to him in private conversation (himself at the time a trusted leader,) only in the most vague manner—by "hints and innuendoes;" and to Mr. Millikin in the privacy of a confidential council of the priesthood, with the caution that nothing must be said about it least the boy’s life be put in jeopardy thereby—what was conveyed to these parties in secret, Mr. Moore represents Brigham Young as teaching from the public stand! Yet so far recognizing the danger of having it taught as to say it must not be mentioned least their enemies kill the boy as they had his father—yet Brigham Young teaching it the while in the most public manner! I will not here write an apostrophe to consistency. I will merely put Brigham Young’s reputation for common sense and discretion against the testimony of Mr. Moore.

This is the Josephite case on the matter of Mr. Smith being appointed by his father to the position of prophet and President of the church. I have given all the testimony they have been able to rake together, and have quoted it as they give it in their own works, not a word changed, not a witness of theirs overlooked, so far as they have published their statements. And now that this testimony is before the reader, I ask him: What is its value? Look it over, there is not a direct statement at first hand in it, except, perhaps, in the case of Mr. Wight, and in his testimony, as presented by

[64] the Josephites themselves, there is such conflict as to time and place as to render it worthless. Not even Mr. Smith, the claimant himself, makes a direct averment that he was ordained by his father to succeed him as prophet and President of the church. The best he can do is to say that he was blessed by his father in the year 1844, in the presence of quite a number of then prominent elders in the church; but as to the nature of that blessing he is silent. The testimony the Reorganized church depends on is hear-say testimony only, and that of a very questionable character—of the nature of old wives’ fables, and the assertions of apostates!

Following the several testimonies relied upon by Josephites to sustain their claims that "young Joseph" was appointed by his father to succeed to the Presidency, I have made such remarks as point out the worthlessness of each statement, I now wish to call attention to considerations which destroy the whole theory: -

First, the silence of Sidney Rigdon in respect to "young Joseph," when he was putting forth his claims to be the "Guardian of the church," to build it up to Joseph the martyr. Had the idea prevailed at Nauvoo, as Josephites claim, that the son of the martyred prophet was to succeed his father as President of the church, what an opportunity for Sidney Rigdon, when putting forth his claims to be the "Guardian of the church!" How greatly would it have strengthened his position, if he could in truth have said: I claim the right to be the Guardian of the church until "young Joseph," whom our late prophet anointed and ordained to succeed him, shall have arrived at a suitable age to take his place. There would have been some significance to the phrase, "Guardian of the church, "if Sidney Rigdon could have assumed this position. But he did not ‘assume it, and the fair inference is that the reason why he did not assume it is because there was no idea prevalent at Nauvoo that "young Joseph" would succeed to his father’s place.

Second, the silence of William Smith in respect to "young Joseph" in his controversy with the Twelve in respect to leadership. Had any idea prevailed at Nauvoo that "young Joseph" was to succeed to the Presidency of the church, this man, his uncle, would have known it; and would have strengthened his own claims at that time to the right of leadership, by proclaiming himself, as he did afterwards, in 1850, the natural guardian of the one who had been anointed and ordained to succeed to the office of President. But this he did not do. On the contrary, he claimed the place for himself by virtue of being the brother of the prophet. When he failed to secure the position of leadership for himself, he followed the leadership of James J. Strang instead of supporting the claims of "young Joseph." Not until 1850 did he begin to proclaim the right of "young Joseph" to be the President of the church; and then not by any virtue of appointment from his father, but by right of lineage; and with this movement on his part originates the claims of Mr. Smith to the Presidency.

Third, Mr. Edward Tullidge, in his life of Joseph the prophet—the Josephite edition—quotes the prophet Joseph as saying:

"I told Stephen Markham," says Joseph, "that if I and Hyrum were ever taken again, we should [would?] be massacred, or I was not a Prophet of God. I want Hyrum to live to lead the Church, but he is determined not to leave me.

Mr. Tullidge quotes this passage differently from what it is written in the history of Joseph Smith; what authority he has for doing it he does not say. In Joseph’s own history it is written:

I want Hyrurn to live to avenge my blood, but he is determined not to leave me.

But though Mr. Tullidge misquotes this passage, there is evidence in addition to his word, that Joseph did desire and even ordained Hyrum Smith to succeed him. At the October conference following the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, and the 8th of August meeting at which the Twelve were recognized as the presiding quorum in the church, President Young in a discourse said:

If Hyrum had lived he would not have stood between Joseph and the Twelve, but he would have stood for Joseph. Did Joseph ordain any man to take his place? He did. Who was it? It was Hyrum. But Hyrum’ fell a martyr before Joseph did.

If the prophet Joseph wanted Hyrum to lead the church, as asserted by Mr. Tullidge, and had "ordained" him to that position—according to the statement of President Young— what becomes of the claims made in behalf of "young Joseph" to an appointment and ordination to lead the church? In desiring and ordaining Hyrum to fill his place had the prophet forgotten ,the "anointing" and "ordination" of his son? This clearly disposes of the claims of "young Joseph" through any appointment by his father; for if the prophet Joseph appointed and ordained his brother Hyrum to succeed him, he did not appoint or ordain his son Joseph to do the same thing. If ever there was a case of a claim not proven, Mr. Smith’s claim of appointment to the Presidency of the church through his father is that case.

Having disposed of Mr. Smith’s claim to the right of the Presidency of the church so far as it is based upon an appointment

[67] through his father, let us now take up his second claim, viz:

The position is his by lineage—his birth-right.

There are two offices and only two, in the church which descend by lineage from father to son: the office of patriarch and that of bishop. Of patriarchs it is said:,

It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the Church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation. The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner.

The revelation then traces the lineage from Adam to Noah. This passage applies solely to patriarchs in the’ church, and yet Josephites attempt in their arguments to make it apply to the Presidency of the church. They say:

The law of lineage points unmistakably to young Joseph as the legal successor of his father. The law in the Doctrine and Covenants informs us that.

And then follows part of the foregoing quotation—beginning with "The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, etc."—being careful to omit the clause of the passage which shows it to refer to evangelists or patriarchs only. This is the way the passage is used by the writer of the Josephite tract called The Successor.

[68]Another writer, or perhaps the same one in another place, thus quotes it in support of "young Joseph’s" claims:

The order [including offices] of this Priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. This order [not the Priesthood, but the offices therein] was instituted in the days of Adam, and came down by lineage in the following manner: From Adam to Seth [Abel having been slain].

I have written the words inserted by the Josephite writer in brackets in italics, that they may all the more readily be noticed. The Josephites are not only guilty of making a clear misapplication of this passage, but they read into the revelation by their inserted words in brackets what is not there, and what was never intended to be conveyed even by inference. The statement of the revelation is that the patriarchal order of priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, etc.; and not the offices in the priesthood as the Josephite writer quoted above affirms by his bracketed inserted words in the revelation.

I cannot think this is merely a mistake on the part of Josephite writers, the matter is so plainly a perversion of scripture, that it amounts to downright dishonesty.

In like manner Josephites misapply a passage in the writings of Abraham, where Abraham is represented as seeking after the patriarchal order of priesthood which was his by virtue of his lineage. Abraham sought for his rights as a patriarch—which right comes down from father to son, but Josephite writers make his words apply to the office of high priests in general, instead of confining it to patriarchs.

Of the second office in the church which descends from ‘father to son—the office of bishop—the revelations of God provide

[69] that the literal descendants of Aaron—among the first born of his sons—have a right by virtue of their lineage to that position, if at any time they can prove their lineage, or do ascertain it by revelation from the Lord. But even in that case they must be designated by the Presidency of the Melchisedek priesthood, found worthy, and ordained by that Presidency, or by its direction, otherwise they are not legally authorized to officiate in that calling.

These are the only offices in the priesthood which descend by lineage; yet Josephite writers quote the following in support of "young Joseph’s" claims to the Presidency by lineage:

Therefore thus saith the Lord unto you [Joseph the martyr] with whom the Priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers, for ye are lawful heirs according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God; therefore your life and the Priesthood hath remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage, until the restoration of all things spoken of by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.

It is only by inserting the words, "Joseph the martyr," into ‘the revelation—as the Josephite writer has done—that the passage can be made to apply at all to the prophet Joseph personally. The revelation quoted is one that was given, explaining the parable of the wheat and tares, and begins thus:

Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares, etc.

Throughout the Lord addresses his "servants" and not Joseph Smith personally. Hence the statement in the passage

[70] that the priesthood had continued through the lineage of their fathers; that they were lawful heirs according to the flesh; that it must remain through them and their lineage until the restoration of all things—was a statement concerning, and a promise made as much to the other elders addressed on that occasion and their posterity, as to Joseph Smith and his posterity; and the insertion in the passage of’ "Joseph the martyr" in order to make the passage apply to him personally and to his posterity alone, is another instance of a Josephite writer’s trickery.

Moreover, the statement and promise made to all the servants of God to whom the revelation is addressed, is in relation to the priesthood—not the Presidency of the priesthood, or the Presidency of the church, or any other office in the priesthood or church of Christ. Priesthood, and office in the priesthood are two things quite distinct; and even if a man inherited the priesthood of his fathers, it does not follow that he would inherit their office, which must come to him by appointment as the law of the Lord directs, and hereafter to be considered.

Josephites are at great pains to trace in the Book of Mormon the handing down of records and other sacred things from father to son, and this to prove—what? That the office of President of the church or leader of the people, descends by right of lineage from father to son ! That is, because the records of a people are handed down from father to son, therefore the Presidency of the church descends by lineage also! What can be more absurd than this? Nor does it help our opponents out of the absurdity because some of those who held the records among the Nephites were presiding high priests over the church. Its only significance is that in those particular cases the office of presiding high priest and that of recorder were united.

[71] Moreover, in the matter of the records descending from father to son the chain of succession is frequently broken, and in some instances those breaks make a divergence from the direct line. Out of sixteen transfers of the records and other sacred things from one person to another, from the time Lehi left Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah to the Nephites—in seven instances the transfer is not made from father to son! In three instances the transfer is made to brothers instead of from father to son; in two cases the transfer is made to nephews; and in two instances the transfer is made to those who are no kin at all, making seven exceptions to the rule out of sixteen cases; lacking only one of being half! Out of six transfers of the sacred things, from the coming of Messiah among the Nephites to Joseph Smith, three of them are not from father to son. One transfer is made to a brother; and two are made to persons of no kin whatever to their predecessors. Josephites say the ‘‘exceptions’’ in this matter "prove the rule," but a "rule" that is violated in half the cases where it is supposed to operate, has rather too many exceptions to prove it—they destroy it.

Let it not be lost sight of, however, that the argument based upon the transfer of records among the Nephites from father to son has nothing to do with the office of President of the church descending by lineage.

As a conclusion to my argument against the claim of Mr. Smith, that the position of President of the church is his by right of lineage, I quote the words of his illustrious father. In a discourse delivered on the 27th of August, 1843, having for his text the seventh chapter of Hebrews, and explaining the phrase in the third verse—"without father, without mother, without descent," etc., he said:

The Melchisedek priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is eternal as God himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.

In the face of this how can Mr. Smith claim any right, by virtue of lineage, to the Melchisedek priesthood, much less to the highest office in that priesthood? His claim is denied by that very father from whom he claims, to have received it by inheritance. It occurs to me here to ask a question: If the office of President of the church does descend by lineage from the fathers, through the line of the eldest sons, how is it that the "law" did not operate on the other side of the prophet Joseph as well as on this side of him? If that "law" had operated so—and there is no good reason why it should not so operate, if indeed it be the "law" of the priesthood—it would have left out not only the present Mr. Smith but even the prophet Joseph himself. For in that event it would have come first to Joseph Smith, the father of the prophet, who was a noble, righteous man; and then after his death to his eldest living son, Hyrum Smith, than whom there has been no more righteous man among all the sons of God who have lived in this generation; and from him it would have passed on to his eldest son, thus leaving out the prophet Joseph altogether, as well as Mr. Smith. But let us leave a claim already disproved, and an argument which proves too much for those who employ it.

The third claim made in behalf of Mr. Smith is:

He was called to the position of President of the church by ‘‘revelation" to himself.

Of this it is not necessary to say very much. It could only be important if sustained by the other two claims, viz: that he was appointed by his father to succeed to the office of President of the church; and secondly, that the office is his by lineage. Since these two claims have been disproven. it renders

[73] his third claim of no effect. The "revelations" to himself by which he was called, however, are as shadowy as the arguments by which it is attempted to sustain his two preceding claims are weak.

Those "revelations" calling him to the Presidency of the church, as I gather them from Mr. Smith’s Autobiography, are as follows: First, a vision just after recovering from an illness, in 1853, in which was shown to him, on the one hand, the busy marts of the world where men struggle for place, power and distinction; and on the other hand, an extended plain covered with the peaceful homes of a thrifty, happy people. A personage who appeared by his side said:

Which would you prefer, life, success and renown among the busy scenes that you first saw; or a place among these people without honors or renown? Think of it well, for the choice will be offered to you sooner or later, and you must be prepared to decide. Your decision once made you cannot recall it, and must abide the result.

Second, one day out in an open field, while considering the question, "why not go to Utah?" he was overshadowed by a bright cloud and he heard the words: "Because the light in which you stand is greater than theirs."

Third, a manifestation was given to him that he must oppose polygamy; but in what way the manifestation was given is not stated.

Fourth, in 1859, when revolving the question in his mind: "where and with whom shall my life-labor lie," he received a manifestation—how he does not say—to the following effect:

The Saints reorganizing at Zarahemla and other places, is the only organized portion of the Church accepted by me. I have given them my spirit, and will continue to do so while they remain humble and faithful.

These are all the "revelations" spoken of by Mr. Smith in his autobiography, or quoted by his supporters, hence these must be the "revelations", to himself by which he was called to be President of the church! Just where the "call" can be found in them is the thing which the writer of these, pages cannot see: and he challenges anybody else to point it out.

It should be observed here, perhaps, that "revelations" to a man personally, that he is called to be President of the church, even when clear and definite, do not constitute him, the President. Something else is necessary. As observed elsewhere, not only must a man be called of God, but he must be accepted by the church— "chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the church." Besides having no definite call by "revelation," even to himself (judging by the visions and manifestations related by Mr. Smith) to preside over the church, Mr. Smith has never complied with the conditions of the law of the church stated above. That is, he has never been "chosen by the body . . . . upheld by the confidence, faith and prayers of the church"—unless, indeed, the few people, scarce a corporal’s guard, who gathered at the Josephite conference at Amboy, in 1860, constituted out of all the tens of thousands of saints in this country at the time, the church! What of the scores of thousands of saints in Utah at that time who never so much as received notice of or an invitation to be present at that "general conference of the church" at Amboy? Surely Messrs. Gurley and Newkirk were somewhat at fault in neglecting to notify the majority of the saints to attend that conference at which the only true President of the church was to be chosen! To call that gathering at Amboy the general conference of the church, is as ridiculous as absurdity can make it. It is on a par, however, with the "revelations" to Mr. Smith, calling him to be President of the church—the one is a fitting concomitant of the other.

Of course Josephites see the absurdity of this gathering at Amboy being called a general conference of the church, and try to escape it by explaining that all the rest of the saints were in transgression, and could not call a conference—those represented at the Amboy conference were the only saints; that is, the only saints who were "faithfully honoring and obeying the law of the Lord, and the order of his church"—so easy is it to say:

Orthodoxy, my lord, is my doxy; and heterodoxy is some other man’s doxy!

I come next ‘to the fourth and last claim made in behalf of Mr. Smith, viz:—-

He was ordained to be President of the church by those holding legal authority.

Mr. Smith was ordained by Messrs. William Marks, Z. H. Gurley, Samuel Powers and W. W. Blair; William Marks, I think, being mouth. This is that William Marks, who in 1839, was chosen president of the stake of Zion at Commerce, afterwards Nauvoo;—who a year or two before the prophet Joseph’s death was associated with traitors and distrusted by the

[76] prophet;_ who sustained the claims of Sidney Rigdon to be "Guardian of the church" ;—who at the general conference of the church in Nauvoo, October, 1844, was rejected by the saints as president of the Nauvoo stake of Zion, two persons only voting in his favor, the rest against him;—who as we shall see further on, in December, 1844, over his own signature said: "The Twelve are the proper persons to lead the church;"—who, in 1846, as per statement of Mr. Smith himself, was associated with Mr. Strang, the apostate, in preaching in Fulton city and vicinity, calling upon Mr. Smith and his mother at the time ;—and who in 1860 is the chief man in ordaining Mr. Smith "President of the church’ ‘—one possessing "legal" authority to do so! To say the least, in the light of William Marks’ record, his "legal authority" to ordain the President of the church is very questionable.

Zenas H. Gurley for years followed James J. Strang’s

[77] leadership, and., advocated his claims. Subsequently apostatizing from him and uniting with Mr. Jason W. Briggs, in forming the "Reorganized church." Any authority held by Mr. Gurley previous to the death of Joseph the prophet, was destroyed by his leaving the church of Christ to follow the apostate James J. Strang; hence any ordination received under his hands was worthless.

I have not been able to learn what position, if any, Messrs. Powers and Blair held in the church previous to the martyrdom of the prophet; but it is enough to know that about the time "young Joseph" decided to take the Presidency of the "Reorganized church," they were associated with William Marks in the work of "reorganizing" the ‘church. It is claimed ‘for them, however, as also for Mr. Gurley, that "they were apostles called by prophecy in the Reorganized church."

It has already been stated how seven Josephite apostles were called and ordained in our sketch of the rise of the Josephite church. Seven men were "called" to form a majority of the quorum of the twelve, by a "revelation" through H. H. Deam; but Messrs. Rogers and Blair were not in that number, hence they must have been "called" subsequently. But, no matter when they were "called," if they held any apostolic authority, they held it by virtue of some ordination received at the hands of some one or more of the seven apostles, chosen through Mr. Deam’s "revelation." Now, I affirm that among all those seven men who were "called" to form the majority of the quorum of the twelve, in the "Reorganization" not one of them held the apostleship; that they could not give what they did not possess; that therefore neither the seven men called to be apostles, in April, 1853, received the apostleship, nor any whom they subsequently ordained.

[78] Further on I shall show that the church. of Christ was not disorganized at the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, nor at any other time since it was organized by the commandment of God, to Joseph the prophet, in 1830; and therefore, this "Reorganization" which began its existence in 1852—3 must have been a spurious institution, and, therefore, incapable of bestowing legitimate authority upon anyone.

The methods of argument by which the claims of the "Reorganization" are sustained must be noticed, for they are as erroneous as they are misleading. After the April conference of the "Reorganization" in 1853, a pamphlet was issued entitled ‘‘A word of consolation to the scattered Saints," in which a justification of the proceedings of said conference is attempted. In that pamphlet it is said:

In justification of the course then taken, and the principles involved on the question of authority, we have ever courted, and still court, investigation in the rigid character of the facts in the first organization. Here they are: Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the lesser priesthood by an angel; then by their authority, and a commandment, they on the 6th day of April, ordained each other Elders, and the eldership ordained high priests and apostles, and this high priesthood, ordained, by commandment, the president of the high priesthood, the highest office in the Church; so that the alleged lesser, ordaining the greater is common to both the first organization and the Reorganization alike. The same class of facts justify both, or condemn both.

There is one important fact in the history of the organization of the church in 1830, which the authors of the above quoted pamphlet have overlooked. It is a fact, too, which destroys all likeness between the organization of the church and its alleged reorganization, and all the fine-spun theories

[79] about the lesser ordaining the greater. That overlooked fact is that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery held the apostleship on the 6th of April, 1830, and by its power, and not by the power of the Aaronic priesthood—as alleged by the Josephite writers—organized the church of Christ. In proof of this I submit the following:

When Joseph and Oliver were ordained to the Aaronic priesthood by John the Baptist, May 15th, 1829, they were informed by John that he operated under the direction of the apostles Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Melchisedek priesthood, which, in due time, the heavenly messenger said, would be conferred upon them. Here then is a promise made to them of the Melchisedek priesthood.

In an address written to the saints by the prophet Joseph, under date of September 6th, 1842, he says:

Again what do we hear? …The voice of Peter, James and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna River, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom and of the dispensation of the fullness of times.

This doubtless fixes the place where the apostleship was conferred upon the prophet. Now as to the time. In a revelation given in September, 1830, referring to Joseph and Oliver, and speaking of partaking of the sacrament again on earth, the Lord said:—

The hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni and also with John the son of Zacharias . . . . and also with Peter, James and John whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you apostles, and especial witnesses of my name.


In another revelation dated June, 1829, the Lord says:—

And now, Oliver Cowdery, I speak unto you and also unto David Whitmer, by the way of commandment; for behold, I command all men everywhere to repent, and I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine Apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called.

This revelation is the one which informed these men that Twelve Apostles would be called and foretold that Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer would be appointed to select them. From the above quotation it is evident that Oliver and David had received the apostleship at that time, and, of course, Joseph had received it also. This revelation, let it be remembered, was given in June, 1829, ten months before the organization of the church in April, 1830. And it was by virtue and power of that apostleship which holds the keys of the Melchisedek priesthood, that the church of Christ was organized; elders, high priests, seventies, and apostles ordained; high councils and stakes of Zion organized; and the whole church of Christ set in order. It was not the lesser ordaining the higher—as claimed by Josephite writers— that is not the order in the church, nor the manner in which the church was organized on the 6th of April, 1830. It is true that Joseph and Oliver ordained each other elders ‘‘of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," on the day the church was organized; but they did not do that by virtue of the Aaronic priesthood which had been conferred upon them, but by virtue of the apostleship

[81] they had received. Joseph and Oliver had just been accepted by their brethren to be the presiding elders in the church, and proceeded to ordain each other to that office. Whereupon Josephite writers rush to the conclusion that by virtue of their ordination to the lesser priesthood, they proceeded to ordain each other elders in the higher or Melchisedek priesthood, and that that "eldership ordained high priests, and apostles," and that the "high priesthood," thus brought into existence, "by commandment ordained the President of the high priesthood—the highest .office in the church." That is the order of things by which the Josephite reorganization was brought into existence; that is, the lesser ordaining the greater! This argument in support of their proceeding commits them forever to that position, they cannot escape it, and it damns their organization beyond all hope of redemption; for nothing can be clearer than the self-evident proposition that a man cannot give that which he does not possess. Besides the contention is straight against the statement of the prophet Joseph himself as to how we in this generation came by the priesthood, even as published in Josephite works:—

"The Savior, Moses, and Elias gave the keys of the priesthood to Peter, James and John on the mount, when they were transfigured before him. . . . How have we come at the Priesthood in the last days? It came down in regular succession. Peter, James and John had it given to them, and they gave it to others’ ‘—presumably referring to himself and Oliver Cowdery.

There is no similarity between the organization of the church of Christ on the 6th of April, 1830, and the alleged reorganization in 1853. The first was organized by men holding the keys of the holy Melchisedek priesthood—the

[82] apostleship—which possesses the power to organize the church, ordain all the officers therein and set all things pertaining to it in order. But the "reorganization" is accomplished by men of very questionable standing and authority as to their priesthood; and apparently conscious of the inadequacy of even the priesthood they claim to have possessed to perform the task before them—virtually the organization of the church of Christ—they fly to the untenable position, as false in philosophy as it is in fact, that the lesser can ordain the greater, until that greater thus created can ordain a still greater, even the greatest of all! Investigated, then, ‘‘in the rigid character of the facts in the first organization,’’ the ‘‘reorganization" is found strewn along the sharp-edged rocks of absurdity; and the conviction is forced upon the mind of the investigator that Mr. Smith was not ordained to be "President of the church" by those holding legal authority.

Josephites lay much stress upon the following passage in one of the revelations:

I say unto you that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand. And this ye shall know assuredly, that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him, for if it be taken from him, he shall not have power, except to appoint another in his stead; and this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations and commandments; and this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know that they are not of me. For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me, shall come in at the gate and be ordained, as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received, and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.


Josephites insist that this revelation provides that the successor of the prophet Joseph must be appointed by him. Following is their reasoning upon the passage:

We find in a former commandment, given February, 1831, these very pertinent and instructive words in respect to how and by whom the successor of Joseph the Seer would be selected and appointed. It says: "But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift [of revelator, seer, prophet, etc., for the church, to receive ‘commandments and revelations’ for a ‘law’ unto the church—ED ] except it be through him [Joseph the Seer] ;" and it then adds that even if the Lord should take that "gift" from Joseph, he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead; so that in any event the successor in the office of chief presiding seer, prophet and revelator to the church (which always carries with it the presidency of the church and its priesthood), must be selected and appointed through and by the predecessor—Joseph the Seer.

The circumstances under which the revelation above quoted was given are these: There came to the church at Kirtland in 1831 a woman making great pretentions to the power of revealing laws and commandments to the church; and some of the saints were much perplexed to know in what light to regard her and her alleged revelations. Joseph, to set their minds at rest, inquired of the Lord and received the revelation from which the passage under consideration is taken. The revelation read in the light of these facts means simply this: First the Lord gives the saints to understand that He has appointed Joseph Smith, the prophet, to receive revelations as laws and commandments for His church and no on! else but him, until he should be taken from the earth,

[84] provided he remained faithful to the Lord; second, in the event of the prophet Joseph not being faithful, even then he shall still have power to ordain some one else to take his place; third, the one who succeeds to the position of the prophet Joseph, must come in at the gate, and be ordained as the Lord had before instructed the church—that is, he must be accepted by the church, and be ordained by the direction of a general conference.

The information thus given officially to the church was calculated to preserve the saints from following unauthorized "law-givers." Through it they learned that Joseph, if he remained faithful, would be the law-giver to Israel; if he transgressed he should retain sufficient of the power of revelation to designate whom the Lord would have to succeed him; and in that or any other event the man who becomes President must come in at the gate and be ordained as described in one of the laws of the church previously given. There was surely no need after this that any should he deceived. But to argue from what is set down in this revelation that the only possible way for a successor "in any event," to be appointed to the church was through Joseph Smith the prophet, is clearly an error; for the only provision made in this revelation for him to appoint his successor is in the event of his own transgression; and I affirm that Joseph Smith was faithful to God and the church up to the day of his death. Never in his life was he more faithful,

[85] more favored by God, or more powerful, or fruitful in revelation or intelligence than in the closing year of his life. He was God’s mouthpiece to the church of Christ on earth to the very moment that he sealed his testimony with his blood at Carthage, Illinois.

Having received premonitions of his approaching fate, he desired that his brother Hyrum who had shared his toils, dangers and responsibilities, and who under all circumstances however trying had been true and just and merciful—he desired that this brother should succeed him in leading the church. It so happened, however, in the providences of God that Hyrum fell a martyr before Joseph; and therefore the man whom the prophet desired to succeed him, as well as himself, were taken from the earth. So that notwithstanding the fact that Joseph desired Hyrum to succeed to the Presidency, and had appointed him to that place, both himself and the one he appointed being taken away by the hand of death—the question confronts us just as it would have done had Joseph never intimated that he wanted Hyrum to succeed him. And I now ask, in the absence of both Joseph and Hyrum, where was the authority lodged to lead the church and carry on the work of God? Was the church disorganized? Had God been so shortsighted, so unlike himself, as to establish his church in such a manner that at the death of two of his servants it crumbled to pieces? Can it be that God, with whom all things are as present, had not foreseen this fate which overtook his servants Joseph and Hyrum, and failed to provide for such an emergency? O, charge not the Lord with such lack of wisdom, or his church with such imperfection in its organization!



IN the church there are three general presiding councils, of equal authority. These are the First Presidency; the traveling presiding high council, or Twelve Apostles; and the first quorum of Seventy. In proof of the assertion, I quote the Doctrine and Covenants

Of the Melchisedek priesthood, three presiding high priests, chosen by the body, appointed and ordained to that office, and upheld by the confidence, faith and prayer of the church, form a quorum of the Presidency of the church.

The twelve traveling counselors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world; thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling. And they form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three Presidents previously mentioned.

The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world. Thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling; and they form a quorum equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named.

It is the order of the law of God, however, that the Twelve act under the direction of the First Presidency, and the Seventy under the direction of the Twelve. It is also pro vided that in the decisions of either the Twelve or the Seventy, those quorums must be unanimous—"every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions," in order for said decisions to be entitled to the same blessings that the decisions of a quorum of three Presidents receive. However, when circumstances

[87] render it impossible to be otherwise, a majority of the members may form a quorum.

The decisions of these quorums or either of them are to be made in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long suffering; and in that event their decisions are final. But if their decisions are unrighteous they may be brought before a general assembly of the several quorums which constitute the spiritual authorities of the church—in no other way can there be an appeal from their decisions.

These are the limitations set to the equality of these quorums and the only limitations, and now in case of the absence, destruction or rejection of the first of these three great councils, upon whom does the duty and responsibility of Presidency fall? We could well-nigh let the Josephites themselves answer that question. They say:

Now let us examine the order of Presidency in the Church. Supposing the First President is absent, who presides in council or in conference? The counselors, both or either of them. And why? Because they are the highest authority present. True. Then here is the key to unlock the whole secret of the Presidency of the Church. Hear it then! The highest authority presides always.

The closing assertion is made well-nigh as strong as type can be made to say it; and to it I respond that is true. Now let us consider the situation at Nauvoo after the death of the prophet Joseph, and then see where the Presidency of the church would fall according to this Josephite doctrine that "the highest authority presides always."

[88] The prophet Joseph, his brother Hyrum and Sidney Rigdon constituted the First Presidency at the time of the martyrdom. Joseph and Hyrum being taken, Sidney Rigdon alone was left of that great quorum. We have already spoken of the delinquency of Mr. Rigdon in the performance of his duty during the five years preceding the prophet’s death, of Joseph’s efforts to be rid of him and of his standing in his quorum at the time his two associates were assassinated at Carthage. He sought to be appointed Guardian of the church, but was unanimously rejected by the assembled quorums of priesthood and the saints at Nauvoo. This was clearly their right, and when the unfaithfulness of Sidney Rigdon and his unfitness for the place is taken into account, not even Josephites can say the church did wrong in rejecting him. In the very meetings where he sought to be appointed "Guardian of the church" there stood the man whom the prophet Joseph had ordained to take his place—Amasa Lyman. But Elder Lyman had never been presented to the people to be sustained by their vote, and hence his appointment was not completed, and he had no claim even to the counselorship to the Presidency. The death of the prophets, Joseph and Hyrum, and the rejection of the unworthy Sidney Rigdon, removed the First Presidency from the church. In Hyrum Smith there fell by martyrdom the only man that the prophet Joseph had designated to succeed him in the Presidency; so that not only was the First Presidency removed from the church, but the only man concerning whom the prophet had expressed a desire to succeed him was also removed. Then upon whom devolved the Presidency? Upon the next highest authority in the church— the Twelve Apostles. And as they possessed equal authority with the First Presidency, there was nothing the First Presidency could do but what the Twelve could do. So long as the First Presidency existed the Twelve could only operate under their direction, but now that there was no First Presidency in existence,

[89] the Twelve stood in their place, with full power and authority to act as the presiding quorum in the church.

The church was no more disorganized by the death of Joseph and Hyrum and the rejection of Sidney Rigdon than the government of the United States becomes disorganized when the president dies, or is impeached. The Twelve possessing equal power and authority with the First Presidency, in case of the death or removal of that Presidency, have all the keys and authority necessary to preside over all the church, direct in all the affairs thereof, and move right on with the work of God.

When the Lord stretched forth his hand to establish his church in these last days, and for the last time, committing unto men the keys of his kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last time; and for the fullness of times, in the which God will gather together in one, all things, both which are in heaven and which are in earth—it is not to be supposed, I say, that in a few years he would permit that church thus brought forth out of obscurity to become disorganized, and fall back into darkness. The thought is preposterous. There is nothing in all that God has revealed to indicate that he ever contemplated its disorganization; but on the contrary, there is every encouragement to believe that it will go on from grace to grace, from faith to faith, from one victory to another until, like the little stone of Daniel’s vision, it shall become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.

The position of Josephite writers that it was an usurpation for the Twelve to assume the Presidency of the church when the First Presidency was removed by the death of Joseph and Hyrum and the rejection of Sidney Rigdon, is false. The other position that the high council at Nauvoo

[90] was the proper authority to succeed to the functions of the Presidency is equally false.

In support of their first position, viz., that it was an usurpation for the Twelve to assume the Presidency of the church at Nauvoo after the death of the prophet, Josephites rely upon the following:

The Twelve will have no right to go into Zion, or any of her stakes, and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof where there is a standing high council; but it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the church. When the Twelve are together, or a quorum of them, in any church, they will have authority to act independently, and make decisions, and those decisions will be valid. But where there is not a quorum they will have to do business by the voice of the church. No standing high council has authority to go into the churches abroad and regulate the matters thereof; for this belongs to the Twelve.

Wherein the usurpation lies, according to Josephite argument, is in this: The Twelve came to Nauvoo, where there was a regularly organized stake, and undertook to regulate the affairs thereof. The reply to that sophistry—no, it is not even sophistry—it is simply an inaccurate, not to say untrue, statement. The Twelve did not come to Nauvoo to regulate the affairs of that stake independent of its standing high council. Their action was in relation to the whole church of Christ, and not to the affairs of Nauvoo stake. It was a matter which affected all the stakes of Zion and all the branches of the church throughout the world, as much those branches scattered throughout the United States and Great Britain as those in the stake at Nauvoo, that the Twelve

[91] came to Nauvoo to regulate. Matters of such high importance were considered and decided upon which the Twelve and the Twelve only, in the absence of the First Presidency, could deal with; and in those matters the Twelve not only consulted with the high council of the Nauvoo stake, but they called a general assembly of all the quorums and arranged them in their order to act as the highest spiritual authorities in the church. The quorums sustained the action of the Twelve in every particular, and from the united action of the assembled quorums of the priesthood there is no appeal.

In support of the Josephite assumption that the high council at Nauvoo was the proper authority to regulate the affairs of the church and not the Twelve, the following is quoted:

The standing high councils, at the Stakes of Zion, form a quorum equal in authority, in the affairs of the Church, in all their decisions, to the quorum of the Presidency, or to the traveling high council.

The answer to this assumption is, first, that the high council is a judicial and not a presiding or executive council, as is proven by the following:

The high council was appointed by revelation for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the Church, which could not be settled by the Church or the bishop’s council to the satisfaction of the parties.

Hence the "equality’’ here referred to must have reference to judicial not to administrative affairs in the church. The

[92] second answer to the assumption is that the standing high council in a stake of Zion is a local council, limited in its operations to the particular district of country comprising the stake. If any proof were needed to sustain the statement it would be found in the words of the prophet Joseph:

No standing high council has authority to go into the churches abroad and regulate the matters thereof; for this belongs to the Twelve.

Surely no one will contend that the standing high council in one stake could go into another stake and attempt to regulate the affairs thereof; for that would create confusion. Nothing can be clearer in the organization of the church than the fact that the standing high councils in the stakes of Zion

-are judicial not executive bodies, limited in their jurisdiction to the stakes in which they are respectively located; and hence not the proper councils to undertake the general Presidency of the church, or administrative functions of any kind.


LET us now proceed to the proof that Joseph Smith, the prophet, did not take the keys of authority with him from the church, when he fell a martyr to the truth, but that said keys of authority remained with the church, more especially with the quorum of the Twelve.

On March 8th, 1833, the Lord said to Joseph Smith:

Verily, I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you. while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come; nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given unto another; yea, even to the church!

Joseph and Hyrum, then, did not take with them the ‘‘oracles’’ of God necessary to make the church efficient in accomplishing the work that God designed it to perform. Though the keys given to the prophet were never to be taken from him, either in this world or that which is to come—though for ever he is to stand as the President of the great dispensation of the fullness of times—yet the keys of authority and power committed to his hands may be given to another, "even to the church," not to his posterity, mark you.

This revelation makes it easy to believe that there was inspiration in the declaration of Brigham Young, uttered when he heard for the first time of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum. He was at Peterboro, N. H., when the sad intelligence reached him:—

The first thing that I thought of was whether Joseph had

[94] taken the keys of the kingdom with him from the earth. Brother Orson Pratt sat on my left, we were both leaning back in our chairs. Bringing my hand down on my knee, I said, the keys of/he kingdom are right here with the church.

In line also with this revelation under consideration is the testimony of the spirit of God to Parley P. Pratt. This elder while making his way on foot across the prairies of Illinois towards Nauvoo, bowed down with grief at the loss of Joseph and Hyrum, heard the spirit of God say:

Lift up your head and rejoice, for behold it is well with my servants Joseph and Hyrum. My servant Joseph still holds the keys of my kingdom in this dispensation, and he shall stand in due time on the earth, in the flesh, and fulfill that to which he is appointed. Go and say to my people in Nauvoo that they shall continue to pursue their daily duties, and take care of themselves, and make no movement in church government to organize or alter anything until the return of the remainder of the quorum of the Twelve; but exhort them that they continue to build up the house of the Lord, which I have commanded them to build in Nauvoo.

The keys had not been taken from Joseph—he is yet to stand on the earth and fulfill all that is appointed to him—the work which under God he had founded was to go on, is the significance of this message of the spirit.

A carping criticism may ask: How can Joseph Smith forever stand at the head of the dispensation of the fullness of times, never have the keys of authority thereof taken from him, and yet give those keys or oracles to another, "even to the church"—how can this thing be? It can be upon the same principle that God can give his power to men, even the priesthood, and yet not diminish aught from his own power: Upon the same principle that Jesus could say to Peter, "I give unto you the keys of the kingdom, and whatsoever you hind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and yet Jesus lose nothing in dignity of office, in authority, or the possession of keys. Upon the same principle that Peter, James and John, (whom John the Baptist declared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery possessed the keys of the priesthood of Melchisedek,) could give the keys of the priesthood of Melchisedek to Joseph Smith, and yet not strip themselves of them. So Joseph Smith could give the keys or oracles of the priesthood to the church and still hold them—giving the keys to the Twelve more especially, and yet stand in his place, without losing one iota of power ever conferred upon him. It is a case where the one possessing keys of power and authority can give and not diminish his own store; but even increase it more abundantly, being made richer the more he gives, when bestowing upon those who are worthy to receive such high things; even as God increases the ever widening circle of his. own power by giving that power—the priesthood—to his faithful sons.

It now remains for me to prove that the prophet Joseph did give the "oracles to another"—and that they remained with the church.

On the 7th of August, 1844, at a meeting of the Twelve Apostles, high council of the Nauvoo stake, and high priests, held in the Seventies’ Hall, in a speech following one made by Sidney Rigdon, Brigham Young, speaking of the Twelve, said:

Joseph conferred upon our heads all the keys and powers belonging to the apostleship which he himself held before he was taken away, and no man or set of men can get between Joseph and the Twelve in this world or the world to come. Flow often has Joseph said to the Twelve, "I have laid the foundation and you must build thereon, for upon your shoulders the kingdom rests,"


In his speech in behalf of the claims of the Twelve Apostles to lead the church, on that memorable day, the 8th of August, 1844, Brigham Young said:

I say unto you that the quorum of the Twelve have the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world. …You cannot appoint a prophet; but if you will let the Twelve remain and act in their place, the keys of the kingdom are with them and they can manage the affairs of the church and direct in all things aright.

Whence this confidence on the part of Brigham Young before the church to make so bold a declaration that the keys of the kingdom were still with the church—held more especially by the Twelve? It arose from the fact that the prophet Joseph had committed those keys to the Twelve.

Elder Woodruff, writing from Salem, Mass., under date of October 11th, 1844, at a time when the claims of Sidney Rig-don were still agitated, said

Has the prophet Joseph found Elder Rigdon in his counsels when he organized the quorum of the Twelve, a few months before his death, to prepare them for their endowment? And when they received their endowment, and actually received the keys of the Kingdom of God, and the oracles of God, keys of revelation, and the pattern of heavenly things; and thus addressing the Twelve, exclaimed, "upon your shoulders the kingdom rests, and you must round up your shoulders, and bear it; for I have had to do it until now. But now the responsibility rests upon you. It mattereth not what becomes of me.

That was when Wilford Woodruff was a young man; let us hear him forty-eight years later, when he stood up under the weight of eighty-five years and in the presence of a large congregation. said:

I remember the last speech that he [Joseph the prophet] ever gave us before his death. It was before we started upon our mission to the East. He stood upon his feet some three hours. The room was filled as with consuming fire, his face was as clear as amber, and he was clothed upon by the power of God. He laid before us our duty. He laid before us the fullness of this great work of God; and in his remarks to us he said: "I have had sealed upon my head every key, every power, every principle of life and salvation that God has ever given to any man who ever lived upon the face of the earth. And these principles and this Priesthood and power belong to this great and last dispensation which the God of heaven has set his hand to establish in the earth, "now," said he, addressing the Twelve, "I have sealed upon your heads every key, every power, and every principle which the Lord has sealed upon my head." And continuing he said: "I have lived up to the present time, I have been in the midst of this people and in the great work and labor of redemption. I have desired to live to see this temple [the Nauvoo temple] built. But I shall never live to see it completed, but you will. After addressing us in this manner he said: "I tell you the burden of this kingdom now rests upon your shoulders; you have got to bear it off in all the world, and if you don’t do it you will be damned."

The testimony of Wilford Woodruff in his youth is the same as in his old age; the same when a missionary in the eastern states traveling without purse or scrip, as when President of the church of Jesus Christ, honored and loved for his unswerving integrity and truth.

Under date of January 23rd, 1848, President Brigham Young, in a letter to Orson Spencer, President of the British Mission, informing him of the organization of the First Presidency of the church at Winter Quarters in 1848, said:—

Joseph told the Twelve, the year before he died, there is

[98] not one key or power to be bestowed on this Church to lead the people into the celestial gate but I have given you, showed you, and talked it over to you, the kingdom is set up, and you have the perfect pattern, you can go and build up the kingdom, and go in at the celestial gate, taking your train with you.

And now for a testimony from the "enemy’s" camp that the Twelve were the proper persons to lead the church, after the prophet Joseph’s death:


After mature and candid deliberation I am fully and satisfactorily convinced that Mr. Sidney Rigdon’ s claims to the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are not founded in Truth. I have been deceived by his specious pretences, and now feel to warn every one over whom I have any influence to beware of him, and his pretended visions and revelations. The Twelve are the proper persons to lead the church.

Nauvoo, Dec. 9, 1844.

This is that same William Marks who after this testimony became the associate of James J. Strang and subsequently was the chief man in ordaining "young Joseph" to be President of the church. He is a type of the character of men who founded the "Reorganized church."

This completes our direct testimony that the keys of authority and power held by the prophet Joseph were not taken from the earth by him, but that he had given them to another, "even to the church," the authority to exercise the powers thereof, after his death, more especially belonging to the Twelve as the highest general presiding quorum in

[99] the church in case of the absence, destruction or rejection of the First Presidency. Let it be remembered that all the keys of priesthood which the prophet Joseph held were given to the Twelve; and they from time to time, as occasions required, have given those keys of authority to other worthy men; and thus all the authority, keys of priesthood, and heavenly powers conferred upon the prophet Joseph have been preserved unto the church, and are with it to this day.

The array of testimony presented, taken in connection with the law of the church as given in the revelations of God, clearly demonstrates that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was not disorganized at the death of the prophets Joseph and Hyrum; that such a thing was never contemplated in the work of God in this dispensation; and since the church has never been disorganized, any organization claiming to be the "Reorganized church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" is a counterfeit, and writes fraud in the very title of it.

Now that we draw to the close of our consideration of the claims of this "Reorganized church,’’ we cannot point to its destruction as we have done in the case of Sidney Rigdon’s church, William Smith’s church and James J. Strang’s church; for the Reorganized church still exists. But its doom is written as distinctly as that of the other false churches that we have seen crumble to pieces into shapeless heaps of ruin. It is only a question of time with regard to its failure. MENE, MENE, TEKEL, is written upon its walls—God hath numbered thy kingdom—weighed in the balances—found wanting!



If any man thinks he has influence among this people to lead away a party, let him try it, and he will find out that there is power with the Apostles which will carry them off victorious through all the world, and build up and defend the church and kingdom of God.

THERE is yet another line of evidence to be adduced in support of the great truth that the church has never been disorganized in this dispensation, and therefore has never stood in need of a "reorganization." That evidence is based upon the favor and blessing of God which has followed the church of Christ led by the Twelve Apostles from Nauvoo, and their successors in the leadership of the church.

The first thing to be considered as indicating the favor of God which attended the church under the Presidency of the Twelve Apostles, is the fact that the church was held together through that trying period immediately following the

[101] martyrdom of the prophets Joseph and Hyrum. Though aspirants arose on every hand to usurp authority and deceive the saints, calm and unmoved stood the quorum of the Twelve, as watchmen upon the towers of Zion. They sounded a warning when danger arose; they reproved the saints with sharpness when moved upon by the Holy Ghost to do so; and members of their own quorum did not escape this reproof whenever pride or vain ambition or any other evil was seen in their conduct. The fear of man was taken from their hearts. Conscious of the rectitude of their own intentions, and strong in the favor of God, they neither trembled at the frowns of men in high places, nor fawned at the feet of those in power. With manly courage they put their trust in God, and sought only to do that which the inspiration of God dictated. The saints recognized in their deportment the conduct of true shepherds, ready to lay down their lives for the flock of Christ, and they trusted them implicitly.

Thus trusted by the saints the Twelve went on building upon the foundation laid by the prophet Joseph. They took steps to push the building up of Nauvoo, but their chief interest and their most strenuous efforts centered in completing the Temple and Nauvoo House. The work of God so well begun by Joseph Smith, instead of being retarded by his martyrdom, seemed to receive fresh impetus; as if the blood of the martyrs had already added new strength to the church. Men who had thought the whole of "Mormonism" was comprised in what they called the "genius" of Joseph Smith, looked on in astonishment as they saw the church become more firmly established after his taking off than while he lived. They soon began to see that Joseph Smith a martyr was more potent than Joseph Smith alive.

The quorums of the priesthood were greatly increased; the number of missionaries multiplied. Not only was the welfare of the church at Nauvoo the subject of the Apostles’ care,

[102] but the branches scattered throughout the states of the American Union and Great Britain received their watchful attention.

The Temple was completed, many of the servants and saints of God received their washings, anointings and blessings therein, in fulfillment of the great desire of the prophet Joseph.

This accomplished, and mobocracy again raising its horrid front, to plague the church, the Twelve turned their faces towards the west; for they remembered that Joseph himself had prophesied that the saints would yet be driven to the Rocky Mountains, and there become a mighty people. Isaiah, too, long centuries before this time, had declared that it should come to pass

In the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

It gives evidence of divine inspiration in the Twelve that in the midst of their perplexities at Nauvoo, during the last year the church remained there, their hearts were inclined to lead the church of God to the place indicated as its abode in the last days, both by ancient and modern prophecy.

That great exodus of the church from Nauvoo, with the subsequent journey of the saints across the wilderness of Iowa and the great plains which form the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, is one of the most remarkable events in either ancient or modern history, when considered in the light of the circumstances under which it took place—a ‘people well nigh stripped of all their worldly possessions, teams and wagons improvised with such animals and materials as in the hurry of their departure, under the menace of mob violence, could be gathered together;—indifferently clothed and provisioned for contact with the hardships inseparably connected with such an enterprise, and the lapse of time ere they could replenish their scanty stores;—making their way through an unexplored wilderness, a great part of which was desert;—seeking a destination a thousand miles from the frontiers of civilization;—absolutely without any base of supplies, trusting solely to the providences of God for their daily needs;—warlike tribes of Indians on every hand—and yet, under the direction of the Apostles, they accomplished the great enterprise with little loss of life, and in an incredibly short space of time!

This exodus and the subsequent settlement of the saints in the valleys of Utah, confirmed the greatness of President Young’s genius in the minds of the men of the world, but to all who have an abiding faith in the divinity of the great work of God in the last days, it hears witness that the Lord was with President Brigham Young and his fellow Apostles, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; and confirms the faith of the Latter-day Saints, that their leaders held divine authority, and were the proper men to preside over the church of Christ after the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph.

Not only was the exodus from Nauvoo successfully executed, but the location of the Latter-day Saints in the Rocky Mountains was equally well carried out. Removing the church to Salt Lake valley resulted in founding commonwealths throughout the inter-Rocky Mountain region; for the saints settling in the mountains made it possible for others to establish homes there also; and it must be remembered that the Latter-day Saints have not only settled Utah but have formed extensive colonies in Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado.


The church while in the eastern states never numbered more than three or at the most four stakes of Zion. But since coming to the west the stakes of Zion have increased to thirty-six, each with its high council, its high priests’ quorum, its several elders’ quorums, and stake organizations of Relief Societies, Improvement Associations for both sexes; and quite a number of the stakes have church academies where theology is made a leading feature of the curriculum.

Within these thirty-six stakes are about five hundred organized wards, presided over by bishops, who are assisted in their labor of preserving the saints in the faith, looking after the poor, and keeping down iniquity, etc., by local quorums of priests, teachers and deacons. In addition to all this, there are ward organizations of Relief Societies, Improvement Associations for both sexes, and Primary Societies for children. In each ward, also, is a Sunday School for the instruction of the youth. Throughout the stakes of Zion there are 504 Sunday Schools, with a total membership, including officers, teachers and pupils, of 72,519; in the libraries of the Sunday Schools are 23,541 volumes; and more than fifteen thousand dollars is expended annually in Sunday School work.

In the organized stakes the saints number about two hundred and fifty thousand; and though but few individuals among them can be considered wealthy, yet they are a prosperous, contented, and therefore a happy people. A greater percentage of them own the homes they live in and the lands they cultivate, than is the case with any other community in all the world; and they are freer than any other people on earth from those difficulties arising in the industrial world which embitter the relations of employer and employed. Peace is in their habitations; God is honored at the family altars, as well as in the public sanctuaries; faith and confidence in God abound on every hand, and everywhere one may see evidences that God is with the people. He has neither forsaken them nor their

[105] leaders, as He would have done had they turned away from His gospel, trampled His church under their feet, or blasphemed His priesthood by employing it to fleece the saints and aggrandize themselves.

Such is the condition of the work of God within the organized stakes of Zion—such are the results attained, the development as to organization, increase of numbers, and temporal and ‘spiritual prosperity. But while this great work has been going on ~t the gathering places of the saints, the foreign work of the church has not been neglected. On the contrary the work of preaching the gospel to the world has been made to keep pace with the development of the work at the gathering places of the saints. Among the first acts of the Twelve after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum was one to greatly increase the numbers of the seventies—the quorums of the priesthood which more especially constitute the foreign ministry of the church. At the October conference in 1844 the quorums of seventies were increased from two to ten. Since that time the seventies have been increased, until now they number one hundred and seven quorums, comprising a body of seven thousand men, whose special calling it is to preach the gospel abroad. Josephites complain against the church for thus increasing the number of quorums of seventy; and mark it down as a violation of the order of the church, and quote as proof the following from the Doctrine and Covenants:

And these seven presidents are to choose other seventies, besides the first seventy, to whom they belong, and are to preside over them; and also other seventy, until seven times seventy, if the labor in the vineyard of necessity requires it.

This they say limits the number of quorums to seven, and

[106] therefore no more than seven ought to be chosen. The prophet Joseph, however, when the first quorums of seventy were being organized said:

If the first Seventy are all employed, and there is a call for, more laborers, it will be the duty of the seven Presidents of the first Seventy to call and ordain other seventy and send them forth to labor in the vineyard, until if needs be, they set apart seven times seventy, and even until there are one hundred and forty and four thousand thus set apart for the ministry.

Not only have the quorums designed to form the foreign ministry of the church been greatly increased, but they have been employed. Since the death of the prophet Joseph in addition to maintaining the missions in those countries where proclamation of the gospel had been made during his life-time, missions have been established in the following countries, and tens of thousands of the honest in heart gathered out of ‘them:

France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Italy, Switzerland, Jersey Islands, Hindostan, Malta, Cape of Good Hope, Mexico, among a number of Indian tribes in the Western States and Territories in the United States, Sandwich Islands, Samoa, Friendly Islands, New Zealand, Turkey, and the mission has lately been reopened in Palestine.

In a number of these countries periodicals have been published. This is the case in France, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark.

The Book of Mormon since the death of the prophet Joseph has been translated and published in the following languages: French, German, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Welsh, Swedish, Spanish, Hawaiian and Maori.

It has also been translated but not yet published in Hindostanee and modern Hebrew. And thus the testimony of the Nephites to the great truths that the Lord is God, that Jesus is the Christ, and the gospel the power of God unto salvation to all those who believe and obey it, is being sent to all the world in well-nigh all the languages thereof by the church of Christ; and the saints are ridding their garments of the blood of this generation both by preaching the gospel by word of mouth and also by sending forth the written word.

The phase of the great Latter-day work which seemed most to occupy the attention of the prophet Joseph Smith in the last year of .his life, was that which relates to the salvation for the dead. Of this he preached most frequently; often was it the subject of his correspondence, his whole mind seemed given to it. Elijah had visited him in Kirtland Temple and had restored the keys of the priesthood which "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse." "Therefore," said Elijah, "the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands, and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors." No wonder then that this matter occupied his mind when the keys for the salvation of the dead were placed in his hands attended with all the responsibility that attaches thereto. Following are his views upon the greatness, importance and future prospects of this work for the dead:

The earth will be smitten with a curse, unless there is a welding link of some kind or other, between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other, and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect, without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time; and not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and the prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings, in this dispensation of the fullness of times.

And this is the work the prophet of God had in mind to do for all the generations of men from Adam to the present dispensation! No wonder it was the controlling theme of both his tongue and pen; his meditation by night, his thought by day. And as a proof to the world that the keys of the priesthood which administer in these holy ordinances for the dead were committed to the Twelve and have been with the Presidency of the church from the days of the prophet until now, I point to the four magnificent temples reared by the saints in Utah to the name of the most high God—erected for the express purpose of performing this work which so burdened the mind of the prophet Joseph in the last year of his life.

Josephites of course profess a belief in this great feature of the work of God—in baptism for the dead and the sealing powers linking together all the dispensations that have been given to man, and all the families and kindred of the earth; but where are their temples in which this work is going on? Show me thy faith by thy works! Mr. Smith claims to have been ordained by his father to be President of the church, to have inherited his father’s priesthood and office, but where, I ask, is the evidence that he has inherited his father’s interest, anxiety, and activity in respect to his greater part of the work of the dispensation of the fulness of times—the work that touches the interests of the generations of men that are past as well as those that are now alive, or shall live in the generations to come? When Elijah’s cloak fell from his receding form to the shoulders of Elisha, not only the material garment fell upon him, but also the spirit and the power of Elijah was upon Elisha, and he did the works of the departed prophet. So has it been with those who have succeeded to the Presidency of the church since the death of the prophet Joseph. Great as the work for the living has been since then, still greater has been the work for the dead; in proof of which I give the following information respecting the work done in the temples of God. The report from each temple dates from the commencement of work therein up to December 31st, 1893.

St. George Temple:

Baptisms for the dead 264,158

Ordinations to the priesthood for the dead . . 43,753

Endowments for the dead 112,350

Logan Temple.’

Baptisms for the dead 239,480

Ordinations to the priesthood for the dead 43,423

Endowments for the dead 107,456

Sealings (husbands and wives) for the dead. . 30,072

Sealings (children to parents) for the dead 6,735

Manti Temple:

Baptisms for the dead 157,989

Ordination to the priesthood for the dead 28,076

Endowments for the dead 67,062

Sealings (husbands and wives) for the dead 23,800

Sealings (children to parents) for the dead . . 4,449

Salt Lake Temple.

Baptisms for the dead 21,750

Ordinations to the priesthood for the dead, 4,980

Endowments for the dead 3,643

Sealings (husbands and wives) for the dead, . 3,700

Sealings (children to parents) for the dead, . 973

The total number of baptisms for the dead 683,377

Of ordinations to the priesthood 120,232

Of Endowments 300,51 I

Of sealings (including wives and husbands and children to the parents—3 Temples only reported,) 69,749

Let us consider another proof that the church led to the mountains of Israel under the Presidency of the Apostles is indeed the very church of Christ, and that it has never been disorganized, or lost the favor of God.

During his personal ministry on earth, Jesus said:

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world therefore the world hateth you.

Again he said:

Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets …Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you? for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

[111] During the lifetime of the prophet Joseph from the first time he called upon the Lord when a mere lad, to the day he fell by the old well-curb at Carthage jail, pierced by the bullets of assassins, the adversary was ever upon the alert for his destruction. The hearts of the wicked were stirred against him, false priests combined both against him and the work which under God, he founded; officers of the law with false charges and unlawful warrants dogged his footsteps, mobs rose in acts of violence against him and his people;-he was made acquainted with the tyranny of unjust judges, corrupt courts, and the gloom of the prison cell. He was made to feel that the world did not love him, that he was not of the world, that the Powers of Darkness hated the church of Christ. Since the death of the prophet Joseph, the same Powers which pursued him and the work he established have continued their hostilities against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the elders of that church, not the elders of the Reorganized church, who have been hunted by mobs, and beaten for no other crime than calling men to repentance. It is the. blood of the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not of the "Reorganized church," which today unavenged crimsons the soil of the states of Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi.

It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not the "Reorganized church" which has been constantly assailed, despoiled of its property, its members driven into exile~ hundreds thrust into prison, whole communities terrorized— and all this through the administrators of the government acting under a mistaken zeal created by the persistent misrepresentations of sectarian priests and religious bigots—some of our "friends" of high standing in the "Reorganization" joining in the hue and cry against the saints of God and aiding in the work of misrepresentation.

Yet all this has not retarded the work of God. It has gone steadily forward.

[112] The injustice that has been done the church is beginning to be recognized. Already the government has restored the personal property it confiscated. And as for the fines, imprisonment, and exile inflicted on so many of the saints during the past ten years, these things have only contributed to spreading abroad knowledge respecting the gospel and its restoration. The Lord has his own way of accomplishing his purposes. To the peasant shepherds on the hills of Judea, he sent the angels of heaven to testify of the - -birth of the Messiah; and doubtless the testimony of these men was sufficient to found faith in the minds of the people among whom they moved that the great hope of Israel was fulfilled—the Messiah was born. But the king as well as the peasant must have a testimony that the Son of God had come into the world; and hence from the far east wise men skilled in the knowledge of the heavenly bodies and their movements and their signs are brought to the court of proud King Herod, to testify that Messiah, the promised King and Redeemer of Israel is born.

Preaching without purse or scrip by ‘the Twelve Apostles, and other servants of God, might answer all the purposes for spreading abroad a knowledge of the gospel among the common people. The gospel, however, was not designed for the poor and the lowly only; it is meant also for the rich and the proud among men. And when God would have it proclaimed to magistrates, rulers, governors, kings and emperors, he called his servant Paul and led him through such experiences, including mobbings, whippings, exile and imprisonment, as brought him in contact with the great and high ones of the earth. Not only before the judges and governors of Judea and the petty kings who visited them was the gospel preached, but, as there is good reason to believe, it was declared before the purple-robed Emperor of Rome. Through this means the kings of the earth learned the Christian story and the plan of salvation included in it. It

[113] was preached not only in the humble homes of the poor, but also in the marble palaces of the Caesars.

So in this dispensation of the fulness of times, the Lord has led his servants and his church through such experiences as will best make known the great work of the last days—the opening of the heavens and the committing of a dispensation of the gospel to the children of men.

Preaching the gospel without purse and scrip by the elders of the church has been a very successful method of making known the truth among men. There is something in it which goes right home to the hearts of the honest. It is a method, too, which has, in the main, built up the church so far. There are classes, however, as in the dispensation opened by the personal ministry of Messiah, that would never be reached by such a method. These are the rich and great, the proud and high, the judges, legislators, presidents and kings of the earth. How long, for example, would it be under the method of preaching the gospel without purse and scrip before the humble elders of the church working in that way would get a hearing before the president and his cabinet, not once but repeatedly? Or how long would it be under the aforesaid method of preaching before the House of Representatives, or the more aristocratic Senate of the United States would devote day after day to the consideration of Mormonism? How long would the elders be preaching without purse and scrip, though zealous as angels, before they could arrest the attention of the Supreme Court of the United States sufficiently to have the judges sit in solemn session, clad in all the vestments of their high office to listen to an explanation of "Mormonism?" I risk the assertion that such things could never have been attained by the elders preaching without purse or scrip. Yet such a remarkable hearing as hinted at above has been given to "Mormonism" in all these

[114] great divisions of the general government of the United States. And by becoming for many years a national question, it has been kept prominently before the world; and not only the masses have been aroused by the proclamation of its principles, but the attention of statesmen and rulers has been attracted to it, and to them, in a manner, the gospel has been preached. What though it hath been preached by some through envy and strife, to paraphrase the words of Paul? What then? Notwithstanding every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached and therein do the saints rejoice, yea, and they will rejoice; for they know that this shall turn to their salvation. God hath not left himself without witnesses among the great ones of the earth; but ever and anon as they have heard about the truth and of the truth, in cabinet council, Senate chamber, legislative hall, the courts of kings and the palaces of princes—the spirit of God hath testified to their hearts that the gospel they heard preached, whether preached of strife or of good-will, was the truth of heaven, and for that testimony statesmen, judges, governors and kings shall give an account in the day of judgment to the God who gave it to them.

But what of all this? Why, where the lambs are the vultures are gathered together. The very violence towards the church of Christ on the part of hate-inspired men, moved upon by the spirit of him who in heaven rebelled against the truth of God and the priesthood, bears witness that the keys of the priesthood are still with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and hence Lucifer, through wicked men and in diverse ways, seeks its destruction. ‘‘Marvel not if the world hate you, it hated me before it hated you, if you were of the world the world would love its own!" And in the evidences of the hatred of the wicked for the Church of Jesus Christ of

[115] Latter-day Saints may be read the negative proof of their acceptance with God as his church.

My task is ended. I have taken two great prophecies of Brigham Young, prophet, seer, and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his day, and traced out their fulfillment. The first prophecy—

All that want to draw away a party from the church after them, let them do it if they can, but they will not prosper—was proven to be true by a brief consideration of the rise and fall of the principal factions called into existence under the leadership of ambitious, wicked men. We have seen go to pieces upon the rock of President Young’s inspired prediction Sidney Rigdon’s church, William Smith’s, James J. Strang’s, and the organization, such as it was, founded by George Miller and Lyman Wight—none of them prospered. We have considered the claims of the Reorganized or Josephite church, built from the ruins of these other churches just enumerated. Its pretensions have been viewed from every standpoint, and are found lacking in every element of consistency and truth. Misconceptions of the work and laws of God constituted its foundation; and the folly, sophistry, ignorance and vain ambition of—to be charitable—mistaken men, comprise its superstructure!

We have taken the second part of President Brigham Young’s inspired prophecy—If any man thinks he has influence among this people to lead away a party, let him try it, and he will find out that there is power with the Apostles which will carry them of victorious through all the world, and build up and defend the church and kingdom of God—and have found the truth of it demonstrated in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The favor, blessing, power and glory of God have indeed attended the labors of the Apostles who led the Saints from Nauvoo, and the Presidencies of the church which succeeded them; of a truth there has been with those Apostles and their successors a power which has carried them off victorious through all the world, and built up and defended the church and kingdom of God.




Remarks following a lecture delivered by Elder B. H. Roberts in the Assembly Hall, Sail Lake City, February 23rd, 1892, under the auspices of the Y.M.M.I. Associations of the Salt Lake Stake, on "Priesthood and the Right of Succession."

I realize it is somewhat late, but I want to beg the indulgence of this assembly a few moments. I felt that as I was a member of these Mutual Improvement Associations I wanted to attend this meeting and hear this lecture. I did not wish to interfere with the time of Brother Roberts. He has given us an excellent discourse, and has told us the truth. There are a few things pertaining to this subject about which I wish to bear my testimony to the young men of Israel.

First, I wish to say a few words regarding Priesthood. There is no mistake about the Priesthood of God Almighty. The God of heaven himself has created and redeemed this world by the power of that priesthood; and no being that ever dwelt on this earth ever has been or ever will be able to do or perform any work pertaining to salvation unless it is by that eternal and everlasting Priesthood. And where that Priesthood of Almighty God is manifest, the power of that Priesthood is with the people, no matter what age or generation they have lived in. And I wish to say that there has been no generation, no dispensation, any greater than the one in which Joseph Smith was raised up. He laid the foundation of this great work, under God, and He established the Church upon the face of the whole earth, in fulfillment of revelation and prophecy, from Father Adam down to our day; and the

[118] Lord has made, and will make no mistake in regard to calling a people or giving them the Priesthood.

As I have said, Joseph Smith organized the Church. He lived but a short time with us—though longer than the Savior did after He entered the ministry. The Savior lived about three and a half years from the time He commenced His ministrations among the people until He was crucified. Joseph Smith lived some fourteen years, if I mistake not, after he organized this Church. He also was slain. But- before he died, he organized the Church with Apostles, Patriarchs, Pastors, Teachers, and the whole government of the Church of God; and that Priesthood he organized or laid the foundations of remained with the people after his death, as Brother Roberts has said tonight. The Twelve Apostles stood next to the First Presidency of the Church; and I am a living witness myself to this work. I am a living witness to the testimony that he gave to the Twelve Apostles when all of us received our endowments under his hands. I remember the last speech that he ever gave us before his death. It was before we started upon our mission to the East. He stood upon his feet some three hours. The room was filled as with consuming fire, his face was as clear as amber, and he was clothed upon by the power of God. He laid before us our duty. He laid before us the fullness of this great work of God; and in his remarks to us he said: "I have had sealed upon my head every key, every power, every principle of life and salvation that God has ever given to any man who ever lived upon the face of the earth. And these principles and this Priesthood and power belong to this great and last dispensation which the God of Heaven has set His hand to establish in the earth." "Now," said he addressing the Twelve, "I have sealed upon your heads every key, every power, and every principle which the Lord has sealed upon my head." Continuing, he -said, "I have lived so long—up to the present time—I have been in the midst of this people, and in the great work and labor of redemption. I have desired to live to see this Temple [at Nauvoo] built. But I shall never live to see it completed; but you will." Now, we didn’t suppose but what he would live. We didn’t comprehend what he meant. Neither did the Twelve in the days of the Savior comprehend what He meant when He said, "I am going away from you; if I go not the

[119] Comforter will not come unto you." And so we did not understand Joseph when he said he would not live to see that Temple completed; it was not given us to realize it at that time.

After addressing us in this manner he said: "I tell you the burden of this kingdom now rests upon your shoulders; you have got to bear it off in all the world, and if you don’t do it you will be damned." That was pretty strong language, but it was full of meaning,- it was full of significance. Joseph was trained in the Priesthood before he came to this planet. He understood the Priesthood perfectly before he came here. He understood its work and its lineage, so far as lineage applies to offices in the priesthood. He also understood that he was going. away from this earth; but we did not know it until after he was put to death. I was in Boston with President Young the very hour he and his brother Hyrum were slain. And at that moment there was a power of darkness surrounded us, a feeling of heaviness that I never felt before. I had never seen President Young feel so bad in my life before as he did that hour.

Nearly all the quorum of the Twelve were on missions in the eastern States when the terrible tragedy at Carthage took place; and we did not hear of it for some time afterwards. We returned to Nauvoo. It has been repeated to you here tonight what was done in the conference in Nauvoo. I do not know whether there is anyone present here tonight but myself who was at that conference—there are but few living who were present on that occasion. Brigham stepped forth as a leader of Israel, as has been said here tonight by Brother Roberts, and Sidney Rigdon also tried to get the presidency; but when his name was put to a vote before the conference of the Latter-day Saints, and they were asked if they wanted him as their guardian, to guide them in the Celestial Kingdom, Brigham said: "All who do, raise your right hand," and I did not see a hand raised in his favor in that congregation.

Brigham then asked if they wanted the Twelve Apostles to step forth and magnify their calling and build up the Church and establish the Kingdom of God in all the earth. "All who do, raise your right hand," and almost every soul in that congregation voted; and when Brigham Young arose and commenced speaking, if I had not seen him with my own

[120] eyes, there is no one that could have convinced me that it was not Joseph Smith speaking. It was as the voice and face of Joseph Smith; as anyone can testify who was there and acquainted with these two men.

Several men have claimed authority to lead the Church, but the Prophet Joseph never conferred any such authority upon any of them. The keys of the Presidency after his death were held by the Twelve Apostles, and by them only, until the Council of the First Presidency was reorganized.

I name these things to show that the Lord has put his mark of approval upon the acts of the Apostles who followed the Prophet Joseph Smith in the establishment of this great work upon the earth; and the Priesthood will continue here and the work increase until Jesus Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven.

I wish here to ask a question. How has every man who has gone on his own authority and left the Church, and undertaken to build up a Church to himself succeeded? How has he prospered? What has he done? Why, just as they did who tried to establish "Strangism," and "Rigdonism" and every other ‘ism" that has ever arisen? They have gone overboard. The power and influence of God have not been with them; the Priesthood has not been with them; the Lord has not called them to do the work they tried to do, and the result has been a failure—a complete failure every time.

On the other hand, how has He prospered and blessed those who have gone forth to the nations of the earth and declared the Gospel of Christ to the millions upon millions of their fellow men? Why, He has prospered and blessed them richly, and opened their way to success. Who are they who have gone forth to the nations of the earth and who have visited the islands of the sea, and have accomplished this great work of gathering, built cities and reclaimed the desert? Not those who tried to lead different factions from the Church, not those who were ambitious to lead the people of God; but it has been the Elders- of Israel, those who have received the Priesthood from the hands of Joseph Smith and his followers, or through the authority which God gave them. Who are they who came here to these valleys of the mountains whose coming had been pointed out by the finger of God? Who are they who have built these Temples and erected edifices to the

[121] great Jehovah? Why, it is the same class of men that was true to Joseph, those who have been true to God and the covenants they made. Has God made any mistake? Read the revelations of the Almighty ; they speak for themselves. The Lord has appointed this people to come to this land; this is a great work; we are living in a great dispensation—the dispensation of the last days. The Lord has not deceived any one in this matter; He will deceive no man in regard to this work. This people have traveled from place to place ever since the organization of this Church, until today they are settled here in the valleys of these mountains and have prospered and increased marvelously; and they will continue to grow and increase in strength and power until Christ comes upon the earth.

A man cannot leave this Church without the power of God leaves him. It has been the power of the Priesthood that made men great; and no man can handle it only according to the order of God. If they do they will fall, as has been stated in the revelations of God, read by Brother Roberts this evening. I want to say to the young men of Israel, go and do what is right; you need have no fears regarding the authority of this work. The Lord has called the weak things of this earth. He has called them from the plow, from the plane the workshop and the hammer—He has taken the illiterate men of the world and sent them forth to preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. Even the Lord Jesus Christ was born in a stable and cradled in a manger. He came forth and fulfilled the prophecies. His whole life was one of poverty and affliction. He was scorned and hated by the world of mankind. His Apostles were selected from among the poor and the humble of the earth. So it is with the men who have led the Church in these days. They have been called from various vocations. They have been men who were humble, and God has been with them. God has established His work, and He has sent ministers to the different nations of the earth.

I wish to say to the Latter-day Saints, all that we have to do is to be faithful, to keep His commandments, to be humble, to seek Him in mighty prayer and all will be well with us.

There has been a great deal of work done in this dispensation. The Lord called this people to the valleys of the mountains in fulfillment of prophecy. Old father Jacob, in

[122] blessing Joseph and Ephraim, told them what would take place with them and their posterity to the latest generation; that their blessings should extend to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. We are here as descendants of Joseph and Ephraim, and Abraham, who were patriarchs and holy men of God. They had the Priesthood, and it has been continued and handed down from generation to generation as long as God has had a people upon the earth. He has revealed it in this dispensation through the Prophet Joseph, and it is here to stay and will remain until Christ comes.

I want to say to the young men and maidens of the Latter-day Saints, have no fears from what you hear through the outside world or from those who are professing to build up the kingdom of God, but who have not got the Priesthood as established by the Almighty through Joseph Smith. If you will do your duty all will be right. I am thankful for the privilege of living so long. I have seen the progress of this work almost from the commencement. I thank God for what I see today. I see great improvement but there is still great room for improvement among us now.

I wish to say to our young men there is an evil power, a growing power of darkness around and amongst us. The powers of darkness desire to lead the young men of Israel astray. They think if they can do this, if they can get them to do wickedly, they can weaken this Church. But our young men are raised up to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, and not to be easily led astray.

I pray God my Heavenly Father to bless the Latter-day Saints, that we may all have faith in Him and in the revelations and promises He has given, and in - all the truths we have received, and if we do so, all will be well with us. We have come here upon a mission. Our mission is a great and responsible one; it is mighty. In fact, we have been called to leave our homes, our fathers, our mothers, our wives, our children, all that is dear to us, and to go abroad to preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. We have been called to do this, and as Brother Joseph Smith said, if we do not round up our shoulders and help to bear off this kingdom, we shall be damned. No man can receive the Priesthood from the hands of the Almighty and abuse it but what it will be answered upon his head.


Therefore, let us all, old and young, improve the timer live our religion, have faith in God and His works. The Lord brought us here, His power has been upon us; by His power and His blessings we have built temples and beautified homes and there has never been a people that I know of that have-ever had the power to rear as many temples in so short a time as we have done in the mountains of Israel. Let us remember this and be faithful, remembering our fasting and prayers, call upon the Lord in secret prayer, and ask him to bless and direct us.

The Lord is with us, His hand is over us, and he is guiding this work and will continue to do so until Zion shall arise and be built up and shall stand in beauty, power and become-the glory of the whole earth, while the judgments of God shall extend throughout the nations.

May God bless you as Mutual Improvement Associations, may He bless every organization ‘and association that has been established as helps and governments to this great latter-day work; and may we be blessed in all our endeavors to do right—which may God grant, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

We extend our appreciation to Alma Allred for his work in scanning this very large pamphlet and making it available to us.