Mormon History, Jan 1, 1845

-- Jan 1, 1845
[Nauvoo Neighbor] - Letter: "From the Governor, in Relation to the Disturbances in Hancock County" -- Gov. Thomas Ford -- Letter from the Gov. to the Senate and House of Representatives. Includes insertions by the editor, and speaks about the Danites, Joseph being crowned King, and the practice of polygamy.

- Ordinances: Announcement of Civil Service Appointments -- Editorial -- Elias Smith was appointed Post Master, upon the resignation of Geo W. Robinson; Howard Egan was appointed Conservator of Joel Bullard.

- Story: "Trades Meeting" - Synopsis -- Editorial -- Describes the most recent trades meeting, and includes a resolution passed by the body. (1)

[Nauvoo Temple] oseph Hovey described the work of the masons in preparing for the next summer work on the Temple: "I, Joseph, and family enjoy the blessings of God, yea even health, I cut stone with all my might on the temple of the Lord this winter. I, Joseph, cut one star and its base and also one window and caps and closures on the temple building." (2)

-- Jan 1, 1845, Wednesday
[William Clayton Writings] Reflections. Jan. 1st 1845

... The organization of the Kingdom of God on 11th March last is one important event. (3)

[William Clayton Writings] This organization was called the Council of Fifty or Kingdom of God, and was titled by revelation as follows, ``Verily thus saith the Lord, this is the name by which you shall be called, the Kingdom of God and his Laws, with the Keys and power thereof, and judgment in the hands of his servants, Ahman Christ.''

In this Council was the plan arranged for supporting Pres. Jos. Smith as a candidate for the presidency of the U.S. Prest Joseph was the standing chairman of the council and myself the Clerk. In this Council was also devised the plan of esbtablishing an emigration to Texas, and plans laid for the exaltation of a standard and ensign of truth for the nations of the earth. In this council was the plan devised to restore the Ancients to the knowledge of the truth and the restoration of union and peace amongst ourselves. In this council was Prest Joseph chosen our prophet, Priest, and King by Hosannas. In this council was the principles of eternal truth rolled forth to the hearers 51 without reserve and the hearts of the servants of God made to rejoice exceedingly. (3)

[William Clayton Writings] Wednesday 1st ... Reflections

... I was admitted a member of the first quorum and a member of the council of fifty. I have received two companions, received two children and buried one. (3)

[William Clayton Writings] ``I have a good prospect of adding another crown to my family,'' he could say as he looked forward to 1845. (3)

[William Clayton Writings] ``The year 1844 has passed away with all its sorrow, joys and extraordinary scenes,'' he began, and then described some of those scenes in colorful language that literally oozed bitterness and disgust. Not only was the world corrupt and full of ``hellish traditions,'' but it was ``sustained by a sectarian priesthood, whose officers are the legitimate sons and daughters of the great whore of all the earth.'' This ``ungodly generation'' was slumbering in the arms of Satan, ``under whose caresses they feel perfectly safe and at ease.'' The Saints were thus engaged in holy war, for, said Clayton, ``These characters with mobocratic governments at their right hand, and Satin at their head run this little world and their united efforts are to destroy the few who seek to serve God according to his ordinances.'' God, however, was with the Saints, ``their rear guard & their leader,'' and the important events of that year seemed to prove it. One such event had
been the organization of the Kingdom of God or the Council of Fifty. Another was the period of heavy floods, while a third was the martyrdom itself. Tragic as it was, Clayton saw the murder as at least fulfilling some purpose, for it would permanently stain wicked Illinois with the ``innocent blood of the two best men who ever lived on the earth,'' and it would indelibly write in the hearts of the Saints the memory of that awful day. In this, at least, Clayton was prophetic, for, next only to the First Vision and the Book of Mormon, the martyrdom has become a sacred story of Mormon piety.

But Clayton's year-end reflections were not all negative. He had received two new ``companions'' (i.e. wives: Margaret Moon and Alice Hardman) and had a ``good propsect of adding another crown to my family [i.e., Diantha Farr] which is a source of great consolation to me.'' The Saints were united in sustaining the Twelve, and on the whole the year closed ``with the blessing of the Almighty God in the midst of his Saints and their never seemed to be a better feeling than at the present.''

Like a clear mountain pool, Clayton's cogitations of that day both reflected and enhanced his deepest feelings. The mere act of writing undoubtedly sharpened and clarified them. He ended his introspection with a long prayer of thanksgiving, supplication, and commitment. He appealed for blessings on his family, his future wife Diantha, and his mother-in-law. But he also prayed for himself, and in words that reflected the kind of discipleship that did not seek power but, at least, craved both the recognition and the confidence of his leaders. It was this that helped bring meaning to his discipleship: Thou has bestowed many blessings upon me. Thou has preserved my life. Thou has given me favor in the eyes of thy servants. Thou hast preserved me from following in the tracts of apostates and thou has done more for me than I have deserved. ... And now O God I ask thee in the name of Jesus Christ thy Son to take charge of me this year also. ... Will thou O Lord continue to give me
favor in their eyes. May my conduct continually be such as to secure their good feelings and entire confidence. ... May I grow in wisdom, humility, virtue, patience and gratitude to thee, yea O Lord and may my heart be purified so that it will be fit for the principles of eternal truth to abide there forever. (3)

1 -
2 - Brown, Lisle (compiler), Chronology of the Construction, Destruction and Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple
3 - Fillerup, Robert C., compiler; William Clayton Nauvoo Diaries and Personal Writings, A chronological compilation of the personal writings of William Clayton while he was a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois.

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