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“Church History,” 1 March 1842

an exterminating order was issued by  Gov. [Lilburn W.] Boggs,10

Boggs charged the state militia with restoring peace to northwest Missouri. If necessary, the governor ordered, the Mormons were to be “exterminated or driven from the state.” (Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, Fayette, MO, 27 Oct. 1838, Mormon War Papers, MSA.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.

and under the sanction of  law an organized banditti ranged through  the country, robbed us of our cattle,  sheep, horses, hogs &c., many of our  people were murdered in cold blood,11

About twenty Mormons were killed during the “Mormon War” in Missouri. (LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 162–168; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” 238–240, 253–298.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

LeSueur, Stephen C. The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1987.

Baugh, Alexander L. “A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1996. Also available as A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri, Dissertations in Latter-day Saint History (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History; BYU Studies, 2000).

the  chastity of our women was violated, and  we were forced to sign away our proper ty at the point of the sword, and after en during every indignity that could be  heaped upon us by an inhuman, ungodly  band of maurauders, from twelve to fif teen thousand souls men, women, and  children were driven from their own  fire sides, and from lands that they had  warrantee deeds of, houseless, friendless,  and homeless (in the depth of winter,) to  wander as exiles on the earth or to seek  an asylum in a more genial clime, and  among a less barbarous people.12

Although the number of Mormons driven from Missouri is unknown, the estimate of “twelve to fifteen thousand” appears to be too high. Others estimated that about eight thousand Mormons were driven from Missouri. (Eliza R. Snow, Caldwell Co., MO, to Isaac Streator, Streetsborough, OH, 22 Feb. 1839, photocopy, CHL; see also Hartley, “Almost Too Intolerable a Burthen,” 7n2.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Snow, Eliza R. Letter, Caldwell Co., MO, to Isaac Streator, Streetsborough, OH, 22 Feb. 1839. Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH.

Hartley, William G. “‘Almost Too Intolerable a Burthen’: The Winter Exodus from Missouri, 1838–39.” Journal of Mormon History 18 (Fall 1992): 6–40.

Many sickened and died, in conse quence of the cold, and hardships they  had to endure; many wives were left  widows, and children orphans, and desti tute. It would take more time than is al lotted me here to describe the injustice,  the wrongs, the murders, the bloodshed,  the theft, misery and woe that has been  caused by the barbarous, inhuman, and  lawless, proceedings of the state of Mis souri.
In the situation before alluded to we  arrived in the state of Illinois in 1839,  where we found a hospitable people and  a friendly home; a people who were wil ling to be governed by the principles of  law and humanity. We have commen ced to build a city called “Nauvoo” in  Hancock co., we number from six to  eight thousand here13

This may be an overstatement of the Nauvoo population. Although some estimates ran even higher (an article in the 1 October 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons described “a population of 14 or 15,000”), a circa February 1842 church census listed 3,413 Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo. (“Nauvoo,” Times and Seasons, 1 Oct. 1842, 3:936–937; Platt, Nauvoo, vii; Leonard, Nauvoo, 179.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

Platt, Lyman De. Nauvoo: Early Mormon Records Series, 1839–1846. Vol. 1. Highland, UT, 1980.

Leonard, Glen M. Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002.

besides vast numbers  in the county around and in almost every  county of the state. We have a city  charter granted us and a charter for a le gion the troops of which now number  1500. We have also a charter for a uni versity, for an agricultural and manufac turing society, have our own laws and  administrators, and possess all the priv ileges that other free and enlightened  citizens enjoy.14

The Nauvoo charter was passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by the governor in December 1840. It included a provision for a city university. The agricultural and manufacturing association was incorporated in February 1841. (Journal of the Senate . . . of Illinois, 9 Dec. 1840, 61; Journal of the House of Representatives . . . of Illinois, 12 Dec. 1840, 110; An Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo [16 Dec. 1840], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], 52–57; An Act to Incorporate the Nauvoo Agricultural and Manufacturing Association, in the County of Hancock [27 Feb. 1841], Laws of the State of Illinois [1840–1841], 139–141.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Journal of the Senate of the Twelfth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, Convened By Proclamation of the Governor, Being Their First Session, Begun and Held in the City of Springfield, November 23, 1840. Springfield, IL: Wm. Walters, 1840.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the Twelfth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, Convened By Proclamation of the Governor, Being Their First Session, Begun and Held in the City of Springfield, November 23, 1840. Springfield, IL: Wm. Walters, 1840.

Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Twelfth General Assembly, at Their Session, Began and Held at Springfield, on the Seventh of December, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Forty. Springfield, IL: William Walters, 1841.

Persecution has not stopped the pro gress of truth, but has only added fuel to  the flame, it has spread with increasing  rapidity, proud of the cause which  they have espoused and conscious of  their innocence and of the truth of their  system amidst calumny and reproach  have the elders of this church gone forth,  and planted the gospel in almost every  state in the Union; it has penetrated our  cities, it has spread over our villages, and  has caused thousands of our intelligent,  noble, and patriotic citizens to obey its  divine mandates, and be governed by its  sacred truths. It has also spread into  England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales:  in the year of 1839 where a few of our  missionaries were sent over five thous and joined the standard of truth,15

A revelation dated 8 July 1838 commanded the Quorum of the Twelve to depart on a mission to Europe. Most of the quorum, along with several other missionaries, left Commerce, Illinois, in 1839, arriving in England in April 1840. They proselytized throughout the British Isles until April 1841, adding approximately five thousand people to the church. (Revelation, 8 July 1838–A, in JS, Journal, 8 July 1838 [D&C 118]; Allen et al., Men with a Mission, 54–302.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Allen, James B., Ronald K. Esplin, and David J. Whittaker. Men with a Mission, 1837–1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992.

there  are numbers now joining in every land.
Our missionaries are going forth to  different nations, and in Germany, Pales tine, New Holland, the East Indies, and  other places, the standard of truth has  been erected:16

Although this description of global missionary work reflected assignments and endeavors that had begun by this time, the effort was still in its infancy. After being appointed to fulfill a mission to the Jews, Orson Hyde traveled to Jerusalem, where on 24 October 1841 he dedicated the land in preparation for the gathering of “Judah’s scattered remnants.”a In July 1840, English convert William James Barratt emigrated to New Holland (now Australia) after being ordained an elder by George A. Smith.b The Times and Seasons noted that “Elder William Donaldson, member of the army” was “bound for the East Indies.”c Simeon Carter was assigned to Germany, but the call was suspended.d
Comprehensive Works Cited

 


aOrson Hyde, “Interesting News from Alexandria and Jerusalem,” LDS Millennial Star, Jan. 1842, 2:132–136; see also Hyde, Voice from Jerusalem, 6–35.

bDevitry-Smith, “William James Barratt,” 53–66.

c“News from the Elders,” Times and Seasons, 1 Dec. 1840, 2:229.

dJS History, vol. C-1, 1224.

 

Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Liverpool. 1840–1970.

Hyde, Orson. A Voice from Jerusalem, or a Sketch of the Travels and Ministry of Elder Orson Hyde, Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to Germany, Constantinople, and Jerusalem. Liverpool: P. P. Pratt, 1842.

Devitry-Smith, John. “William James Barratt: The First Mormon ‘Down Under.’” BYU Studies 28 (Summer 1988): 53–66.

Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). CHL. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

no unhallowed hand can  stop the work from progressing, persecu tions may rage, mobs may combine, ar mies may assemble, calumny may de fame, but the truth of God will go forth  boldly, nobly, and independent till it has  penetrated every continent, visited every  clime, swept every country, and sounded  in every ear, till the purposes of God  shall be accomplished and the great Je hovah shall say the work is done.
We believe in God the Eternal Father,  and in his son Jesus Christ, and in the  Holy Ghost.
We believe that men will be punished  for their own sins and not for Adam’s  transgression.
We believe that through the atone ment of Christ all mankind may be sa ved by obedience to the laws and ordinan ces of the Gospel.
We believe that these ordinances are  1st, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; 2d,  Repentance; 3d, Baptism by immersion  for the remission of sins; 4th, Laying on  of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We believe that a man must be called  of God by “prophesy, and by laying on  of hands”17

See 1 Timothy 4:14.  

 
by those who are in authority  to preach the gospel and administer in  the ordinances thereof.
We believe in the same organization  that existed in the primitive church, viz:  apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers,  evangelists &c.18

See Ephesians 4:11.  

 
We believe in the gift of tongues,  prophesy, revelation, visions, healing, in terpretation of tongues &c.
We believe the bible to be the word of  God as far as it is translated correctly;  we also believe the Book of Mormon to  be the word of God.
We believe all that God has revealed,  all that he does now reveal, and we be [p. 709]
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In 1842, Boston lawyer George Barstow asked his friend John Wentworth, owner and editor of the weekly Chicago Democrat, to write to JS requesting a summary of the doctrines and history of the Latter-day Saints. Barstow was working on a history of New Hampshire, and he sought information about the Mormons for possible inclusion in the book. Barstow ultimately made 1819 the closing date of his study, and because the Mormons did not organize as a church until 1830, they did not have a place in his volume. JS’s essay was published instead as “Church History” in the church’s newspaper Times and Seasons.1

George Barstow, The History of New Hampshire from Its Discovery, in 1614, to the Passage of the Toleration Act, in 1819 (Concord, NH: I. S. Boyd, 1842). Barstow’s initial interest in Mormonism may have been prompted by recent Latter-day Saint missionary activity and church growth in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. (See Eli P. Maginn, Salem, MA, to JS, Nauvoo, IL, 22 Mar. 1842, Times and Seasons, 2 May 1842, 3:778–779; see also Williams, “Missionary Movements of the LDS Church in New England,” 128–133, 147–156.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Barstow, George. The History of New Hampshire: From Its Discovery, in 1614, to the Passage of the Tolerant Act, in 1819. Concord, NH: I. S. Boyd, 1842.

Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

Williams, Richard Shelton. “The Missionary Movements of the LDS Church in New England, 1830–1850.” Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1969.

Opportunities for favorable treatment of the church in non-Mormon publications were rare, and some previous attempts had not been entirely successful. On 4 January 1833, JS wrote a letter to Noah C. Saxton, editor of the New York newspaper American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer. JS told Saxton that the letter had been written “by the commandment of God” and asked the editor to publish the entire letter, but Saxton published only excerpts. JS wrote again on 12 February 1833 asking that the whole of his previous letter be “laid before the public,” but Saxton did not publish it.2

“Mormonism,” American Revivalist, and Rochester [NY] Observer, 2 Feb. 1833, [2]; JS, Kirtland, OH, to Noah C. Saxton, Rochester, NY, 4 Jan. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 14–18; JS, Kirtland, OH, to Noah C. Saxton, Rochester, NY, 12 Feb. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, p. 28.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

American Revivalist and Rochester Observer. Rochester, NY. 1827–1833.

JS Letterbook 1 / Smith, Joseph. “Letter Book A,” 1832–1835. Joseph Smith Collection. CHL.

In 1836, in a volume titled The Religious Creeds and Statistics of Every Christian Denomination in the United States and British Provinces, editor John Hayward included a summary of the Book of Mormon and short excerpts from the Doctrine and Covenants as well as a statement of beliefs furnished by church member Joseph Young, but these materials were bracketed by negative statements from Isaac Hale (the father of JS’s wife Emma Smith) and from the skeptical Hayward.3

Hayward, Religious Creeds and Statistics, 130–142. In 1842 Hayward published The Book of Religions; Comprising the Views, Creeds, Sentiments, or Opinions, of All the Principal Religious Sects in the World, Particularly of All Christian Denominations in Europe and America; to Which Are Added Church and Missionary Statistics, together with Biographical Sketches (Boston: John Hayward, 1842). After referring to the material on “Mormonites” in his 1836 volume, Hayward excerpted passages from “Church History.” (Hayward, Book of Religions, 260–266.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Hayward, John. The Religious Creeds and Statistics of Every Christian Denomination in the United States and British Provinces. With Some Account of the Religious Sentiments of the Jews, American Indians, Deist, Mahometans, &c. Boston: By the author, 1836.

Hayward, John. Book of Religions; Comprising the Views Creeds, Sentiments, or Opinions, of All the Principal Religious Sects in the World, Particularly of All Christian Denominations in Europe and America; To Which Are Added Church and Missionary Statistics, Together with Biographical Sketches. Boston: John Hayward, 1842.

In 1839, the editor of the St. Louis Gazette asked church apostle John Taylor for an article about the church but then declined to print it; Taylor published the history himself as A Short Account of the Murders, Roberies, Burnings, Thefts, and Other Outrages Committed by the Mob and Militia of the State of Missouri, upon the Latter Day Saints.4

John Taylor, A Short Account of the Murders, Roberies, Burnings, Thefts, and Other Outrages Committed by the Mob and Militia of the State of Missouri, upon the Latter Day Saints. The Persecutions They Have Endured for Their Religion, and Their Banishment from That State by the Authorities Thereof ([Springfield, IL]: [By the author], [1839]).
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Taylor, John. A Short Account of the Murders, Roberies, Burnings, Thefts, and Other Outrages Committed by the Mob and Militia of the State of Missouri, Upon the Latter Day Saints. Springfield, IL: By the author, 1839.

JS responded to Wentworth’s request with a “sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-Day Saints.” In this history, which later came to be known among Latter-day Saints as the “Wentworth letter,” JS recounted his first vision of Deity and the production of the Book of Mormon. He also included a thirteen-point summary of Latter-day Saint beliefs, known today as the Articles of Faith.5

In 1851, Franklin D. Richards published the Articles of Faith as part of a pamphlet titled The Pearl of Great Price: Being a Choice Selection from the Revelations, Translations, and Narrations of Joseph Smith, First Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The entire Pearl of Great Price, including the Articles of Faith, was canonized as scripture in 1880. (See Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 2:234–238; see also Whittaker, “Articles of Faith,” 63–78.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

The Pearl of Great Price: Being A Choice Selection from the Revelations, Translations, and Narrations of Joseph Smith, First Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Liverpool: Published by F. D. Richards, 1851.

Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 2 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997, 2005.

Whittaker, David J. “The ‘Articles of Faith’ in Early Mormon Literature and Thought.” In New Views of Mormon History: A Collection of Essays in Honor of Leonard J. Arrington, edited by Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, 63–92. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987.

As he had done when he wrote Saxton nine years earlier, JS asked that Barstow “publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation.”6

JS, “Church History,” 706.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

The essay appeared under the title “Church History” in the 1 March 1842 issue of the Nauvoo, Illinois, Times and Seasons.7

The issue was published no earlier than 2 March, when JS read the proof sheets. (JS, Journal, 2 Mar. 1842.)  

 
No manuscript copy has been located, and it is not known how much of the history was originally written or dictated by JS. “Church History” echoes some wording from Orson Pratt’s A[n] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, and of the Late Discovery of Ancient American Records. Pratt’s summary of church beliefs, upon which JS drew for the list of thirteen church beliefs in “Church History,” was in turn based on a theological summary written by Parley P. Pratt.8

See Pratt and Higbee, An Address . . . to the Citizens of Washington,; compare Pratt, Late Persecution of the Church, iii–xiii.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Pratt, Parley P., and Elias Higbee. An Address by Judge Higbee and Parley P. Pratt, Ministers of the Gospel, of the Church of Jesus Christ of “Latter-day Saints,” to the Citizens of Washington, and to the Public in General. N.p., 1840.

Pratt, Parley P. Late Persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints. Ten Thousand American Citizens Robbed, Plundered, and Banished; Others Imprisoned, and Others Martyred for Their Religion. With a Sketch of Their Rise, Progress and Doctrine. By P. P. Pratt, Minister of the Gospel, Written in Prison. New York: J. W. Harrison, 1840.

Other individuals may have been involved in compiling the essay, including Willard Richards, who wrote extensively as JS’s scribe during this period. Because William W. Phelps revised and expanded the text of “Church History” a year later in answer to a request from editor Israel Daniel Rupp, it is possible that Phelps helped compose the original essay. However, Phelps’s active role as scribe and composer for JS apparently did not commence until late 1842.
Whatever his debt to Phelps, Pratt, or others, JS took responsibility for “Church History” when it was published in the Times and Seasons. His name appears as author, and a note below his name further confirms his approval: “This paper commences my editorial career, I alone stand responsible for it, and shall do for all papers having my signature henceforward.”9

“To Subscribers,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:710; see also Woodruff, Journal, 3 Feb. 1842.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. Also available as Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 1833–1898, edited by Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. (Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1983–1985).

When the history was updated and sent to Rupp for publication, JS again accepted responsibility for the text.

Facts