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´╗┐Title: Succession in the Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Author: Roberts, B. H.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Succession in the Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" ***

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http://bencrowder.net/books/mtp. Volunteers: Benjamin
Bytheway, Jean-Michel Carter, Ben Crowder, Meridith Crowder,
Cameron Dixon, Eric Heaps.



_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.


Copyright applied for
February, 1894.


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

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

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.

                                             THE AUTHOR.



_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_.[A]

[Footnote A: From Brigham Young's speech, at a special Conference in
Nauvoo, August 8th, 1844, the conference being convened to consider
the claims of Sidney Rigdon to be the Guardian of the Church.--_Mill.
Star_, Vol. XXV, p. 216.]

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. 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 Pittsburg, 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

[Footnote A: The revelation was given 19th January, 1841.--Doc. and
Cov., Sec. cxxiv 103-106.]

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 which led Joseph to make an effort to get rid of Sidney
Rigdon as counselor, at the October conference in 1843.

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
understand 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

[Footnote A: Tract on Sidney Rigdon, by Jedediah M. Grant, pp. 15,

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
Pittsburg 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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: Hist. Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXV, 215.]

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. I
    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

[Footnote A: History of Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXV., 215.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: Life of Brigham Young (Tullidge) p. 115. Continuing the
subject President Cannon says: "The Lord gave his people a testimony
that left no room for doubt as to who was the man chosen to lead them.
They both saw and heard with their natural eyes and ears, and then the
words which were uttered came, accompanied by the convincing power of
God, to their hearts, and they were filled with the Spirit and with
great joy. There had been gloom, and in some hearts probably, doubt
and uncertainty; but now it was plain to all that here was the man
upon whom the Lord had bestowed the necessary authority to act in
their midst in Joseph's stead. On that occasion Brigham Young seemed
to be transformed, and a change such as that we read of in the
Scriptures as happening to the Prophet Elisha, when Elijah was
translated in his presence, seemed to have taken place with him. The
mantle of the Prophet Joseph had been left for Brigham Young. . . . .
The people said one to another: 'The Spirit of Joseph rests on
Brigham;' they knew that he was the man chosen to lead them, and they
honored him accordingly. . . . . As far as our observation went (we
were only a boy at the time), the people were divided into three
classes from the time of the death of Joseph up to this meeting of
which we speak. One class felt clearly and understandingly that
President Brigham Young was the man whose right it was to preside, he
being the President of the Twelve Apostles, and that body being,
through the death of Joseph and Hyrum, the presiding quorum of the
Church. Another class were not quite clear as to who would be called
to preside; but they felt very certain that Sidney Rigdon was not the
man. They did not believe that God would choose a coward and traitor
to lead his people, to both of which characters they believed Rigdon
had a claim. The third class, and we think its members were few, was
composed of those who had no clear views one way or the other. They
were undecided in their feelings. . . . . With very few exceptions,
then, the people returned to their homes from that meeting filled with
great rejoicing. All uncertainty and anxiety were removed. They had
heard the voice of the Shepherd and they knew it."]

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,[A] 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.

[Footnote A: The above remark of President Woodruff's is taken from a
testimony of his following a discourse on the subject of Priesthood
and the Right of Succession, delivered by the writer of this
pamphlet.--See _Deseret Evening News_, March 12th, 1892.]

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,[A] 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.

[Footnote A: Heber C. Kimball.]

    . . . . 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[A] 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.[B]

[Footnote A: Wm. Law had been a counselor to the Prophet Joseph, but
was found in transgression and apostasy, had been excommunicated, and
was among those who brought about the martyrdom at Carthage.]

[Footnote B: _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXV., pp. 216, 231-2, 3.]

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

    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 unless 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 intend 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

[Footnote A: _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXV,. p. 264.]

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

    "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, 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,[A] and trying it by quorums."[B]

[Footnote A: That is, whether the church wanted to have Sidney Rigdon
for a "guardian" or leader.]

[Footnote B: The quorums had been arranged to vote separately and in
their order, but when Elder Young put the question on accepting the
Twelve to preside over the church, the question was put to all the
quorums and the whole congregation at once. And since the vote to
sustain the Twelve was unanimous, there was no need of putting the
question on the acceptance of Sidney Rigdon either to the quorums or
the people.--The facts in the text are quoted from the history of the
prophet Joseph, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXV., p. 264.]

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.[A] The law of the
church in this matter is:

[Footnote A: The elective principle is not only carried out by direct
means, it may be carried on by indirect means--it is just as much a
fact under the form of popular acceptance as of popular

    No person is to be ordained to any office in this Church, where
    there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the
    vote of that Church.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., sec. xx, 65.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. cvii, 22.]

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 "upheld 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.[A]

[Footnote A: Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 133.]

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

    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.[A]

[Footnote A: Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 229.]

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

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."[A] 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 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.

[Footnote A: Pamphlet on Sidney Rigdon, by Elder J. M. Grant, p. 18.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: And inasmuch as a president of the high priesthood shall
transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council
of the church, who shall be assisted by twelve counselors of the high
priesthood; and their decision upon his head shall be an end of
controversy concerning him.--Doc. and Cov., sec. cvii, 82, 83.]

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: See the minutes of Sidney Rigdon's trial in Grant's
pamphlet on Sidney Rigdon, pp. 19 to 37.]

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 headquarters. 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 Seasons_ 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 Seasons_ following, the editor corrected the
error of his associate by saying that the notice of William's
appointment to be patriarch should have read patriarch "to" the
church, not "over" it. He, of course, also denied that William was
President of the church.[A]

[Footnote A: _Times and Seasons_, Vol. VI, No. 9 and No. 10, Art.

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.[A]

[Footnote A: Acts xv, 19, 20.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: Matt. xvi.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: John the Baptist at the time he conferred on Joseph Smith
and Oliver Cowdery the Aaronic Priesthood (May 15, 1829) said that "he
acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys
of the Priesthood of Melchisedek."--(Hist. Joseph, _Mill. Star_,
supplement, Vol. XIV, p. 15.)

"I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, . . .
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 special witnesses of my name."--(Doc. and
Cov., sec. xvii 5, 12.)

"Again what do we hear? . . . the voice of Peter, James and John in
the wilderness, between Harmony . . . and Colesville . . . declaring
themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom," (Doc. and Cov.,
sec. cxxviii, 20), and so throughout. It is scarcely probable that
Peter would thus invariably have been named first unless that had been
his place, as the chief, that is, the presiding Apostle.]

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, sickness, 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 supporting
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 pretentions 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; but 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 cannot 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, 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

    William Smith,
    A. Milliken,
    W. I. Salisbury,
    David Elliott,
    Robt. Campbell,
    Elias Smith,
    Joseph Cain,
    Bro. Stringham,
    Chas. Kelly,
    Bro. McLery,
    Mrs. Taylor,
    Mrs. Milliken,
    Mrs. Salisbury,
    Mrs. McLery,
    Mrs. Kelly,
    Mrs. Sherman.

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 30th:

    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.

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.

                                               WILLIAM SMITH."[A]

[Footnote A: Taylor's Journal under date of June 30, 1845.]

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."[A]

[Footnote A: John Taylor's journal, under date of June 30, 1845.]

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."[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid.]

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 tem_ 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 tem_, of
the church, and Lyman Wight[A] and Aaron Hook as counselors _pro tem_
to the President _pro tem_, 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

[Footnote A: I cannot learn that Lyman Wight, once a member of the
quorum of the Twelve, sanctioned this use of his name, or that he ever
was connected with this attempt at organization on the part of Wm.

[Footnote B: See Jason W. Briggs quoted by Tullidge in his supplement
to the Life of Joseph, Josephite edition, p. 577.]

A year later, viz., in the summer of 1851, Palestine, Lee county,
Illinois, was designated as a Stake of Zion, a gathering 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

[Footnote A: Tullidge's Hist. of Joseph the prophet (Josephite
edition, p. 577). Tullidge must be regarded as favorably disposed to
the "Josephites," as he became identified with that movement. I
mention the fact here as I find it necessary to depend upon him for
facts occasionally.]

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 1880, 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

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 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 if 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 friendship 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, 1844,
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

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 wen 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

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 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, we only know
that he died out of the church of Christ and in obscurity. The
rebellion of these two prominent men in the church, and their effort
to lead away a party therefrom, brought neither honor or fame to them
nor even wealth--they did not prosper. In January, 1841, the Lord had
said to Lyman Wight:

    It is my will that my servant Lyman Wight should continue in
    preaching for Zion, in the spirit of meekness, confessing me
    before the world, and I will bear him up as on eagle's wings, and
    he shall beget glory and honor to himself, and unto my name. That
    when he shall finish his work, that I may receive him unto myself,
    even as I did my servant David Patten, who is with me at this
    time, and also my servant Edward Partridge, and also my aged
    servant Joseph Smith, Sen., who sitteth with Abraham at his right
    hand, and blessed and holy is he; for he is mine.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. cxxiv, 18, 19.]

Of Bishop Miller, the Lord said:

    I say unto you, my servant George Miller is without guile; he may
    be trusted because of the integrity of his heart; and for the love
    which he has to my testimony, I, the Lord, love him! I therefore
    say unto you, I seal upon his head the office of a Bishopric, like
    unto my servant Edward Partridge, that he may receive the
    consecrations of mine house, that he may administer blessings upon
    the heads of the poor of my people, saith the Lord. Let no man
    despise my servant George, for he shall honor me.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. cxxiv, 20, 21.]

What a splendid prospect was opened before these men! to what heights
they could hope to ascend--even to the companionship of God! Here was
honor, glory, exaltation held out to them, within their reach; but
they pushed it all aside--exchanged it all for the "wo" of them who
are cut off from the church of Christ--who are overcome of the
world![A] And 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

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. 1, 8.]

    _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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., sec. xliii.]

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: See letter of Crandell Dunn, who was presiding over the
branches of the church in Western Michigan at the time--_Mill. Star_,
Vol. VIII., p. 93.]

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 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![A]

[Footnote A: _Mill. Star_, Vol. VIII, p. 94.]

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,[A] and swelled the number of those who
have made shipwreck of faith through opposing legitimate authority.

[Footnote A: John E. Page was disfellowshipped from the quorum of the
Twelve, February 9th, 1846; and excommunicated from the church June
27, 1846.]

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

Mr. Strang was not satisfied with being Prophet and President of the
church, he must also be a king; and accordingly was crowned and given
a scepter[A]--"The attribute to awe and majesty, wherein doth sit the
dread and fear of kings!"

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXV, p. 718.]

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 church, 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 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.

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 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

    _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 "Re-organized 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_[A] called to it,
    many at once received it as the solution of the question of

[Footnote A: That is, by the preaching of William Smith.]

[Footnote B: Tullidge's supplement to Josephite edition of Life of
Joseph the Prophet, p. 576.]

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 "seed" should come forward
to take his place; and proceeded 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, 1851,
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.[A]

[Footnote A: Josephite edition of Life of Joseph the Prophet, p. 578.]

This "revelation" Mr. Briggs was commanded to send to the churches at
Palestine, Voree, Waukesha and other places.[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid.]

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 "Yellow Stone Branch."[A]
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

[Footnote A: The "Yellow Stone Branch" where "Father Gurley" was
located was in La Fayette Co., South Western Wisconsin. Beloit where
Jason W. Briggs operated was in extreme south of the same state.]

    "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."[A]

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition, p. 580.]

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[A]--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:

[Footnote A: Isaiah ii. 2-4.]

    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. 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:[A]

[Footnote A: Through whom is not stated.]

    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

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,

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 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 heir to the presidency of the high priesthood in a
    presiding capacity.

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

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition, p. 592.]

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.[A] They were even unable to decide on
the validity of the ordinations of the men who had attended the
October conference.[B]

[Footnote A: Ibid, p. 594.]

[Footnote B: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition, p. 594.]

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.[A] Near the
close of this revelation the men engaged in this movement were
commanded to organize themselves:

[Footnote A: Ibid, 595.]

    "'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.[A]

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition, p. 595.]

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph, the Prophet, Josephite edition, p.

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

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition, p. 601.]

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, 1860, is called by the Josephite historian Tullidge,
"an apostolic interval." During 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 amount
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

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition, p. 767.]

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 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

[Footnote A: For the above acts see his autobiography in the Life of
Joseph, Josephite ed., pp. 743-773.]

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.[A] Mr. Smith states as his
reason for sending for 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

[Footnote A: William Marks, according to the statement of Joseph Smith
in his autobiography, came in company with James J. Strang to Fulton
City, where Emma Smith and her son Joseph lived during the winter of
1845-6, and had a brief interview with Joseph and his mother,
promising to meet them again. Messrs. Marks and Strang held meetings
in the neighborhood, but Mr. Smith says he did not see them again. It
was claimed by Mr. Strang that he on this occasion ordained "young
Joseph" to the same priesthood that his uncle Hyrum held, and it seems
that he afterwards so reported to some of his followers. As late as
June, 1891, Mr L. D. Hickey, a Strangite, wrote a tract entitled,
"_Who was the Successor of Joseph Smith?_" in which the following
occurs: "Nov. 6 1846, James J. Strang was commanded to go and anoint
and ordain Joseph Smith, the son of the martyr, to the same priesthood
his uncle Hyrum held. We have all the proof we want that James did
obey God; and that left the son of Joseph as one of the Presidents of
the church, and the Book of Rules says in case of the death of either
of the First Presidents, the other shall preside until the vacancy is
filled. This was the situation of the church at the dead of James [J.
Strang]. So that by virtue of the ordination Joseph obtained under the
hands of James and no other ordination, we [the Strangites] hold him
the legal President of the Church from the death of James to this
day."--(page 5.) Joseph Smith denies any such ordination having taken
place unless it was done when he was unconscious and unknown to
William Marks.--See _Life of Joseph the Prophet_, Josephite edition,
p. 754.]

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."[A]

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition p. 767.]

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 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, 1860, 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

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![A]

[Footnote A: I Kings xxii, 7-14]

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

[Footnote A: Letter to Orson Spencer, Jan. 23rd. 1848, _Mill. Star_,
Vol. X, p. 115.]

What a contrast also between his "I-pledge-myself-to-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 receiveth 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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., sec. xxi.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Successor_, (Josephite pamphlet,) pp. 10, II, also
_The Saint's Herald_, Vol XXXIX, No. 24. p. 375.]

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, (1) 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;

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

[Footnote A: See _The Saint's Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, p. 337; and also
_The Successor_, a Josephite pamphlet, pp. 8, 9, 10, 11.]

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 after we came out of jail_,[A] [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

[Footnote A: The _italics_ are mine, note them. R.]

[Footnote B: _The Saint's Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 338-9.]

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 1844; 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, 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:_--[A]

[Footnote A: A Josephite tract sustaining the claims of "young
Joseph," p. 3.]

    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_[A] 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.

[Footnote A: The _italics_ are mine. R.]

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 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.[A] 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:

[Footnote A: History of Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XVI., p.

    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.[A]

[Footnote A: Hist. Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_ Vol. XVII, p.148.]

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., sec. xxiv, 56-59.]

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 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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 338.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Successor_, p. 8.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXV, p. 718.]

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: See his autobiography published in Josephite edition of
the Life of Joseph the Prophet, from p. 743-801.]

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 is 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 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 1860, 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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Successor_, p. 14.]

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,"[A] and since the "elect"[B] cannot be
deceived, her endorsement of her son, and her rejection of all others,
is taken as

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. xxv.]

[Footnote B: Matt. xxiv, 24.]

    Conclusive testimony that young Joseph is his father's

[Footnote A: _The Successor_, p. 15.]

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saint's Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: See pp. 19-21.]

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

    From hints and inuendoes that I heard frequently, I was induced to
    believe that Joseph had designated his son to succeed 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 inuendo,
    "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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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.
                                       LOUIS GAULTER,
                                       HARRIET E. GAULTER.[A]

    LAMONI, Iowa, May 26, 1892.

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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

[Footnote A: Ibid, p. 339.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saint's Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, No. 22, p. 339.]

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 inuendoes;" 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 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

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_."[A]

[Footnote A: Page 491.--Let it be remembered that the Josephites in
this work quoted accepted Mr. Tullidge as their historian. Italics are
mine. R.]

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 Hyrum to live to avenge my blood, but he is determined not
    to leave me.[A]

[Footnote A: Hist. Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXIV, p. 332.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _Times and Seasons_, Vol. V, p. 683.]

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 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[A] 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.[B]

[Footnote A: "An evangelist is a patriarch, even the oldest man of the
blood of Joseph or of the seed of Abraham."--_Joseph Smith_ (Hist. of
Joseph, under date of June 27, 1839).]

[Footnote B: Doc. and Cov, cvii, 39, 40.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Successor_, pp. 4, 5.]

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.[A] This is the
way the passage is used by the writer of the Josephite tract called
_The Successor_. Another writer, or perhaps the same one in another
place, thus quotes it in support of "young Joseph's" claims:

[Footnote A: _The Successor_, p. 4.]

    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

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX. p. 337.]

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,[A] 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.

[Footnote A: Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham.]

Of the second office in the church which descends from father to
son--the office of bishop--the revelations of God provide 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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. lxviii.]

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][A] 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_[B]
    through you and your lineage, until the restoration of all things
    spoken of by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world

[Footnote A: Words in brackets are the Josephite writer's.]

[Footnote B: Italics in the above are Josephite's.]

[Footnote C: Doc. and Cov. sec. lxviii.]

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 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,[A]
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.

[Footnote A: See _Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX., pp. 358-9-0.]

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

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;_[A] and that
    priesthood is eternal as God himself, having neither beginning of
    days nor end of life.[B]

[Footnote A: _Italics_ mine.--R.]

[Footnote B: Hist, of Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXII, p. 55.]

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 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

[Footnote A: Aut. of Joseph Smith, in Josephite edition, Life of
Joseph, p. 753.]

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

[Footnote A: Aut. of Mr. Smith, in Josephite edition of Life of
Joseph, p. 763.]

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

[Footnote A: Ibid.]

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

[Footnote A: Aut. of Mr. Smith, Life of Joseph, Josephite edition, p.

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."[A] 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

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., Sec. cvii, 22.]

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;[A] that is, the only saints who were
"faithfully honoring and obeying the law of the Lord, and the order of
his church"[B]--so easy is it to say:

[Footnote A: _The Successor_, p. 9.]

[Footnote B: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, p. 375.]

    Orthodoxy, my lord, is _my_ doxy; and heterodoxy is some other
    man's doxy![A]

[Footnote A: Bishop Warburton's answer to Lord Sandwich when he said
he did not know the difference between heterodoxy and orthodoxy.]

I come next to the fourth and last claim made in behalf of Mr. Smith,

_He was ordained to be President of the church by those holding legal

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 prophet;[A]--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;[B]--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,[C] 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.

[Footnote A: In the winter of 1843, at a time of great danger to the
prophet, and when Nauvoo was in danger of being invaded from Missouri
to capture him, forty men were sworn into service as special police.
In addressing them on the occasion of their being sworn in, the
prophet, then mayor of the city, spoke of the danger he was in from
traitors living in Nauvoo, saying, "We have a Judas in our midst."
This appears to have had an unpleasant effect upon the minds of some
leading men in the church, especially upon the minds of Wm. Law and
Wm. Marks, who complained before the mayor's court about the actions
of these special police. After the investigation of their complaints
Joseph, in his journal, says: "Whatever can be the matter with these
men?" [Law and Marks] Is it that the wicked flee when no man pursueth,
that hit pigeons always flutter, that drowning men catch at straws, or
that presidents Law and Marks are absolutely traitors to the church,
that my remarks should produce such excitement in their minds? . . .
The people in the town are astonished, almost every man saying to his
neighbor, "Is it possible that brother Law or brother Marks is a
traitor, and would deliver brother Joseph into the hands of his
enemies in Missouri? If not, what can be the meaning of all this? The
righteous are as bold as a lion."--(Hist. Jos. S., _Mill. S_., Vol.
XXII, p. 631.) Yet this man of whom the prophet could write these
words, is the chief man in ordaining his son "President of the

[Footnote B: He had previously been dropped by the high council
because he persisted in sustaining the claims of Sidney Rigdon as
against those of the Twelve.--_Times and Seasons_, Vol. V, p. 692.]

[Footnote C: See his Aut. in Josephite Ed., Life of Joseph, p. 754.]

Zenas H. Gurley for years followed fames J. Strang's 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[A] 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."[B]

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph Smith (Tullidge) Josephite Ed. p. 774.]

[Footnote B: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, p. 375.]

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.

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.[A] 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.[B]

[Footnote A: Meaning the organization on the 6th of April, 1830.]

[Footnote B: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition, p. 601.]

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 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

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.[A] Here
then is a promise made to them of the Melchisedek priesthood.

[Footnote A: Hist. Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XIV, p. 15,

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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. xxvii.]

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_.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. Sec. xviii.]

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.[A] 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 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.[B] 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:--

[Footnote A: While in this revelation which refers to Oliver and David
as apostles, Joseph is not called an apostle, yet we know he was such
for in the revelation which commanded that the church be organized on
the 6th of April, 1830, it is said: "Which commandments were given to
Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this church; and to Oliver
Cowdery, who was called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the
second elder of the church, and ordained under his hand."--Doc. and
Cov., sec. xx, 2, 3.]

[Footnote B: His. Joseph Smith, Mill. Star, Vol. XIV (Supplement), p.

    "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.[A]

[Footnote A: Life of Joseph the Prophet, Josephite edition, p. 493.]

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 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

    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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. xliii.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, p. 358, the words in
italics are all the Josephite writer's.]

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.[A] 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 one else but him, until he should be taken from the
earth, 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.[B]

[Footnote A: Hist. of Joseph, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XIV, p. 60,

[Footnote B: The revelation teaching that none but Joseph should be
the law-giver to the church until he be taken from the earth if he
remained faithful, etc., was given February, 1831, but before this the
Lord had made it the law of the church that "no person is to be
ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly
organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church. . . .
Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder) . . . is
to be ordained by the direction of a high council or general
conference."--(Rev. given April, 1830, Doc. and Cov. sec. xx.) The
"president of the high priesthood" is also the President of the
church, hence the foregoing law applies to the President as well as
other officers of the church--he must be sustained by the church and
if he is not, he cannot act in that position.]

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 be 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, 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,

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


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_.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., sec. cvii]

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

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., sec. xvii.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: Ibid, verses 27-33.]

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._[A]

[Footnote A: From the pamphlet issued by the Reorganization, entitled
"A Word of Consolation to the Scattered Saints," quoted by Tullidge.
Life of Joseph, Josephite edition, pp. 589-90.]

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."

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, the Twelve stood in their place,
with full power and authority to act as the presiding quorum in the

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

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,[A] 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.

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. xxvii, 13.]

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

[Footnote A: In proof that Josephite writers assume both these
positions, see _The Saints' Herald_, Vol. XXXIX, pp. 407-8]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: Hist. Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XV, p. 261. The
instructions are from the prophet Joseph.]

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 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[A] 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_.[B]

[Footnote A: _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXV. Nos. 14, 15, 16.]

[Footnote B: Doc. and Cov., sec. cvii.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. sec. cvii, 36.]

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

    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[A] to the satisfaction of the parties.[B]

[Footnote A: That is, court.]

[Footnote B: Doc. and Cov. sec. cii, 2.]

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

[Footnote A: Hist. of Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XV, 261.]

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!_[A]

[Footnote A: The _italics_ are mine. R. Doc. and Cov., sec. xc.]

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 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 the kingdom are
    right here with the church_.[A]

[Footnote A: Brigham Young, quoted by Tullidge. See Life of Brigham
Young, p. 106.]

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

    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

[Footnote A: Autobiography P. P. Pratt, p. 361.]

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 bind on earth shall be
bound in heaven,"[A] 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.

[Footnote A: Matt. xvi.]

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. 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."[A]

[Footnote A: Hist. Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, Vol. XXV, p. 232.]

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[A] 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.[B]

[Footnote A: The saints.]

[Footnote B: History of Joseph Smith, _Mill. Star_, p. 215-6.]

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 Rigdon were still agitated,

    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."[A]

[Footnote A: _Times and Seasons_, Vol. V, p. 698.]

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."[A]

[Footnote A: Remarks of President Woodruff following a discourse on
Priesthood and the Right of Succession, by the writer in 1892.--See

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 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.[A]

[Footnote A: _Mill. Star_, Vol. X, p. 115.]

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


    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._[A]

                                                   WILLIAM MARKS.[B]

    NAUVOO, Dec. 9, 1844.

[Footnote A: _Italics_ are mine, R.]

[Footnote B: _Times and Seasons_, Vol. V, p. 742.]

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 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_.[A]

[Footnote A: History of Joseph Smith, _Mill Star_, Vol. XXV, p. 216.]

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."[A] 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

[Footnote A: Josephites try to make it appear from a statement in the
general epistle of the Twelve issued in 1847, to the effect that they
were about to "reorganize" the church with a President and two
counselors, that President Brigham Young and his associates considered
the church disorganized, (see discourse by Alexander H. Smith. _The
Saints' Herald_ supplement of June 24th, 1893.) But it will be
observed that the reorganization contemplated in the epistle of the
Twelve is limited to reorganizing the First Presidency, the only
quorum that was disorganized. For the same purpose, reference (see
same discourse) is made to the re-baptism of the saints after their
arrival in Salt Lake valley. But this was merely a renewal of
covenants, which to make more impressive was accompanied by baptism;
and neither reflected discredit on the first baptisms of the
parties--from which is always reckoned the standing of the person in
the church--nor carried any idea with it that the church had become

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 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, 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.[A] Isaiah, too, long centuries before this time, had declared
that it should come to pass

[Footnote A: Under date of _August 6th, 1842_, Joseph writes in his
history: "I prophesied that the saints would continue to suffer much
affliction, and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would
apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors, or lose
their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you
will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and
see them become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains."]

    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.[A]

[Footnote A: Isaiah ii, 2.]

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 bears
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 per centage 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 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

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 at 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[A] 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:

[Footnote A: 1894.]

    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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., Sec. cvii, 95, 96.]

This they say limits the number of quorums to seven, and 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.[A]

[Footnote A: Hist. Joseph Smith, under date of May 2nd, 1835. _Mill.
Star_, Vol. XV, p. 261.]

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 lifetime, 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."[A] 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:

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov. Sec. cx.]

    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.[A]

[Footnote A: Doc. and Cov., Sec. cxxviii.]

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 controling 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.[A]

[Footnote A: I am indebted to the Presidents and Recorders of the
respective temples for the information here given.]

_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......43,433
    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:_[A]

    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

[Footnote A: Dedicated April, 1893, the report is for 8 months.]

The total number of baptisms for the dead,.........683,377
Of ordinations to the priesthood,..................120,232
Of Endowments,.....................................300,511
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.[A]

[Footnote A: St. John, xv.]

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.[A]

[Footnote A: St. Luke vi.]

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. 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 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 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.[A] 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.

[Footnote A: The passage paraphrased will be found in Paul to the
Philippians i, 15-20.]

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 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
pretentions 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 off 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, Salt 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 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 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
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

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
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 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 time, 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

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.

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