Mormon History, Wednesday, November 30, 2011

-- Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Typically, when new sources are added to the Mormon-Church-History database, entries preceeding the current date are not posted. However, because of its importance, Mormon-Church-History will 'catch up' on the newly added John Taylor journal. It will span some 50 entries starting December 26, 1844 up through Feb 19, 1845. Once these entries have been posted, Mormon-Church-History will continue in typical fashion, presenting multiple sources in chronological order continuing from Feb 19, 1845.
-- Thursday, December 26th, 1844
[Apostle John Taylor diary] I attended the dedication of the Seventies' Hall.  The services commenced under the direction of Pres. Joseph Young, who organized the meeting in the following order: The stand was occupied by the seven presiding presidents of the Seventies; and the Twelve or as many of them as were present. The senior president of each Quorum was seated on the right, the choir of singers on the left, and the brass band in front. The second and third quorums in order, with their families, might in turn, participate in the privilege of the dedication, according to their respective quorums, there being fifteen quorums, whose claims were equal, two of which convened in the Hall each day, beginning with the second and third.

 The excellent melody of the Choir and Band, mingled with the devout aspirations of a congregation of all saints, gave the commencement of their services an air of interest, felicity, and glory, at once feeling, touching, pathetic, grand, and sublime.

 A hymn composed by Elder W. W. Phelps,  or the dedication, entitled 'a voice from the Prophet: come to me,' was sung; and a supplication to the throne of grace made.

 The dedication prayer by President Brigham Young,  was in substance as follows: Thou God who dwellest in the midst of thine own Kingdoms, and doeth thy pleasure in the midst of the same. We realize that we are thy children, although we have long wandered from thee. Yet we feel that it is thy good pleasure to bless us, when we come unto thee with hearts of humility.

 Therefore we desire to present ourselves before thee as dutiful children to an earthly parent, knowing that we are thine, and ask thee for those [p. 3] things we need. We feel, our Father, that we are in a world of darkness, trouble, and death, where we cannot behold thy glory; yet we come unto thee in the name of Jesus Christ, thy son, and ask thee to forgive our sins and past offences. Fill us with thy spirit, and accept our praise, while we dedicate ourselves unto thee, and as we have approximated to behold this beautiful morning, the day in which begins a new year, do thou, our heavenly Father, look down in compassion upon us, the creatures of thy care and protection, who dwell upon thy footstool. Increase our knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, that we, thy servants, may be enabled to administer salvation to thy people, even as thou hast committed a dispensation of the same unto us; and while we call on thy name we desire union in thy presence, our Father, to dedicate unto thee this Hall, the ground upon which it stands, and all things that appertain unto it. We ask thee to let thy blessing rest upon thy servant Edward Hunter,  our beloved brother, who has donated to us the ground upon which this sacred edifice has been erected. We pray thee to enrich him and his family, not only with the good things if this world, but with the riches of eternity also. We ask thee, our Father, to accept the dedication of our hearts this morning, and may we feel the prelude of that power and authority with which thy servants shall be clothed, when they shall go forth and open the door of salvation to the nations and kingdoms of the earth; even thy servants, the Seventies, upon whom the burthen of thy kingdom does rest, and to whom the keys of the same shall be committed from time to time. We now dedicate this hall unto thee, our Father, and ask thee in the name of thy son Jesus Christ, to sanctify it and make it holy, and may no foul spirit be suffered to enter it, but may it be filled with thy spirit that it may be called the gate of heaven, and may all who enter within its doors be made to feel thy love and power.

 We ask thee to pour out thy spirit upon the presidency of the Seventies; wilt thou endow them with knowledge and understanding that they may be enabled to instruct the servants over whom they are called to preside; and do thou let the same blessings flow upon each quorum, that all thy servants may be filled with thy spirit, and become mighty men before thee that they may go forth and gather the pure in heart, Zion redeemed and Jerusalem rebuilt,'1/2--Help us, O Lord, to separate ourselves from all iniquity, that evil doers may not exist in our midst, but may this people become a holy people, peculiar to thyself, to show forth thy praise in all the world. Our Father in heaven, we humbly beseech thee to shield and protect us in this city; provide for and sustain us by the power, that we may be enabled to accomplish the work which thou hast commanded us to do. Assist us to build the Temple and Nauvoo House;  that the truth and light of the everlasting gospel may shine forth from this place, to the honor and praise of thy holy name.

 Regard in mercy the quorum of the Twelve, at whom the arrows of the destroyer are directed. Preserve them O Lord, by thine own omnipotent power, that they may stand in holy places and be enabled to disseminate the knowledge to thy kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth; wilt thou sustain us, our Father, that we may perform and accomplish the mighty work whereunto we are called. We feel to lament and mourn the loss of our beloved brothers, Joseph and Hyrum, the Prophet and Patriarch, whom thou hast suffered to be martyred for the testimony of the truth; but we thank thee Father, that although they have been taken from us for the present, yet that same spirit which animated their bosoms, the fruits of which is peace and charity, still remains amongst the people.'1/2--We now commit ourselves into thy care, and ask thee to guide and control us by the council of heaven, through all the shifting and various scenes of mortality, that the number of our days may be filled up in usefulness, and we be prepared from that exalted station and rest that remains for the people of God, and the honor, praise, and glory of our salvation, we will ascribe unto thee; for thine is the kingdom, power and glory, worlds without end: Amen.

 A hymn composed by me for the dedication of the Seventies' Hall, and dedicated to President Brigham Young, was sung by Elder John Kay,  assisted by the band, entitled 'the Seer.' Elder H. Kimball  addressed the congregation in plain though impressive language, and in his usual philanthropic manner, used a chain as a figure to illustrate the principles of graduation, while in pursuit of celestial enjoyment in worlds to come.

 Elder George A. Smith,  offered some very appropriate remarks relative to union. He referred to the Zion camp, and their expedition to Missouri, and after giving an interesting account on that subject, concluded with an exhortation to union, firmness, and perseverance. He said that if we were of one heart and mind, we might be as the angels are. Perfect union and harmony exist among them. Hence their concept of action, and consequently their influence and power with God; and the same principle (continued he) we could make a heaven wherever in the dispensation of providence, we might be placed, possessing this principle, consonant with the honors, glory, and immortality of angels.

 At -12 o'clock, a recess of one hour was given each day at 1 o'clock the house was called to order by President Joseph Young.

 Elder O. Hyde  took the stand, and continued the same subject, and introduced for a comparison, the circumstance of the Assyrian King, who gave his son a bundle of arrows bound in a quiver, and commanded him to break them which he in vain attempted to do while they were firmly bound together; but when they were unbound and separated, the object was effected.

 This circumstance he likened to this people, and said that if we were united we would be able to stand against all the fiery darts that could be hurled upon us by the adversary of our salvation. Some having a knowledge of this fact, have used every effort to divide this people, in order to accomplish their wicked designs. Some few have been led to the North, others to the West, and some to the East. Those who have separated may be broken;'1/2-- but those who remain together firmly united can never be broken.

 After speaking of authorities in the Church or Kingdom of God, he observed that apostles in the primitive age of christianity were first witnesses to all the nations of the earth. They afterwards made judges of that same people. Hence the saying of the Apostles, know ye not that the Saints will judge the world? that is that generation or people to whom they were sent as witnesses. (See 1st Corinthians, 6 chapter 2, 3, verses.) Indeed they were competent to sit in judgment upon them, having had an experimental knowledge of their course of conduct and barbarous treatment towards the servants of God that were sent to establish peace among them.

 Many of whom they did not only reject, but tortured and slew them in a cruel manner. This was the fate of the Prophets and Apostles who vainly attempted to restore them from their wickedness, assuring them, to use the language of the scripture: As you mete out to others so shall it be measured to you again.

 The declaration of John while on the Isle of Patmous, through the spirit of God, declaring things which would come to pass, says: she had double for all her sins. The reason is obvious. The debt was of long standing; she had exercised unceasing tyranny over the servants of God, and refused them justice and mercy. Therefore as they meted out, double measure shall be given them in return. I have no doubt, said he, but the old Scribes, and Pharisees, after scourging the saints in the most horrid manner, and causing many to seal their testimony with their blood, would go into the Temple with all the sanctity imaginable and ask God to forgive their sins; when in reality he would have nothing to do with the matter until they first obtained forgiveness from those whom they had injured, by making ample satisfaction to them. For proof of this fact examine the declaration of Jesus to the Apostles:'1/2--Whosoever sins ye remit on earth, shall be remitted in heaven. And if they were retained in heaven also. [p. 8] Neither can this generation get forgiveness from God, for the great injuries that they have done us as a people, without first rendering perfect satisfaction to us whom they have injured. The elders of this Church have been swift witnesses to Missouri, and all the world. Hence in vain may they plead to have their sins remitted until the proper steps are taken.

 Our Prophet has been slain, and the burthen of the kingdom has fallen upon us (the Twelve) and our lives are sought after; but while the angel that administers to man is still in attendance, his life is protected, for the guardian angel is stronger than death; but when he is withdrawn, humanity is easily overcome. Hence it was with the son of God while upon the cross, that even he, the Savior of the world, could but exclaim: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me! Referring to the protecting angel whom the Lord had called away, leaving Jesus in the arms of death; that he might be taken away from this world of misery and pain, to the mansions of God, where he should turn and rule the nations with a rod of Iron. For proof of my assertion I have only to call upon the same individual who exclaimed on the cross: My God why hast thou taken away my protecting angel.

 At the time of his arrest he commanded Peter to put up his sword and gave him to understand that [if] it was the will of God that he should not drink of the bitter cup (death) that he could call on his Father for ten legions of angels who would eagerly fly to his assistance. But had he been delivered from the cross, how could the scriptures have been fulfilled, which says the saints are the salt of the earth. Another word respecting the arrows, which by the spirit of God was made manifest to me last summer. There were certain persons who endeavored to divide and draw away the saints from this place, by telling them in secret councils: I have the wink from the Twelve; their minds are to sanction our going to build up, &.

 I have got my work laid out by revelation; but you must not say a word to them (the Twelve) about this matter, for if you do, you will not get any satisfaction, they will disclaim in public any knowledge of such a move; but I understand them; all is right; and thus hold them in ignorance; also, bind them by solemn oath, not to disclose the matter to any human being, not even to their wives, under the penalty of death. Through hypocrisy and false statements, a few, and but a few, have been deceived and torn from the bundle of arrows, by those who have led off from this place. This is an aspiring spirit and is from the devil; and every spirit that refuses to make manifest, is from Lucifer, the prince of darkness. Now let the Saints, from this time forth be guarded against all such secret councils or confirmations.

 Elder Amasa Lyman  expressed his gratitude to God for the favorable circumstances under which we are placed at present. Said he, when we contemplate the exalted station and high calling of this august body of men, we can but associate it with their future destiny. They, as a people are only forming a character for heaven and immoral happiness. This certainly should stimulate each man of you to action, and remove every drowsy, careless, idle, feeling from their minds, while in each heart the most lively sensations of joy should spring up. He advised them to embrace every opportunity afforded them to improve their minds and obtain useful knowledge. Just take the saints out of the world, said he, and soon destruction would sweep the land, as was the fact with Sodom and Gomorrah.

 In speaking of the Seventies Library and Institute Association, he remarked that the Seventies were designed to be messengers to every land and kingdom under heaven, and consequently they will have ample opportunity to gather many antiquities, with various books, charts, &., to deposite in the Library for the advancement of art and science, which, with just principles, will go heart and hand unto perfection; being built upon truth, the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ the chief corner stone, which shall sound out from this voluminous Institute, and with its benign influence organize and harmonize the vast extent of terra firma. (2)

1 - Note from the editor
2 - 'The John Taylor Nauvoo journal, January 1845-September 1845,' BYU Studies 23:3 (1983) edited by Dean C. Jessee

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