Mormon History, Feb 25, 1845

-- Feb 25, 1845
[Brigham Young Journal] spent the day with the Brotherin settling up the church affairs had a meeting in the evening Br O. Pratt A. Lymon G. Miller and my self spoke we had a first rate time in Fasting The Names of the Twelve as Chosen


1. Lyman E Johnson

2 Brigham Young

3 Heber C. Kimball

4 Orson Hyde

5 Luke Johnson

6 David W. Patten

7 William E Mc Lallin

8 John F Boynton

9 Wm Smith

10 Orson Pratt

11 Thomas B. Marsh

12 Parley P. Pratt (1)

-- Tuesday, February 25th, 1845
[Apostle John Taylor diary] Chiefly at home. Thursday, Feby. 27th, 1845. In company with some of the principal men at the site of the dam. Friday, Feby. 28th, 1845. Chiefly at home.

A writ was issued from Augusta, Hancock County, for the purpose of arresting Benjn. Brackenbury, (our witness of the murder,) for perjury; it was made returnable to Captain Dunn of Augusta. An officer arrived here on the 10th of March, 1845, and brought three other men with him, to help take Brackenbury. He attempted to arrest Brackenbury, who refused to go with him to Augusta; but said he would go with him to the nearest justice. The officer refused to do this and travelled back. Brackenbury is a young man whose mother belongs to the Church; he (Brackenbury) was employed by a man near Warsaw, to drive a team for him; and requested by him, to go with these men with his team; and he knowing the object of the journey went. He was witness of the murder of Bros. Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and bore testimony against several of the murderers; and for this reason they wished him out of the way; and issued a writ for him to appear at Augusta, a distance of forty miles from this plac
e, for the purpose of having him in their power. A council was called to see what had better be done, when it was thought advisable for him to repair to Augusta and answer the charges and six men were appointed to accompany him as a guard. When they arrived there Dunn postponed the trial on the excuse of the witnesses not having arrived, (he being a mobocrat and wishing to detain and injure him.) On the day appointed for the trial about fifty mobbers went to Augusta for the purpose of injuring Brackenbury; and were disappointed in not finding him there; he having procured a writ of Habeas Corpus to appear at a court in Fulton county. That Court having broke up he repaired to Quincy for trial; and was there acquitted. Gen. Deming arrived here from Carthage, who informed me in the course of a conversation with him, that a man in Carthage a constable named Bettersworth had writs for me. I told him rest contented on that ground, for I never would go for a writ. It was no use a
ny coming with a writ for me, for I will not go. Gen. Deming you know that I am an innocent man; and that I have never injured them; but they have me. I have never broken any law of this State nor of any other; and I defy any man to show that I have injured him. You know that this prosecution is got up for the purpose of destroying the innocent and clearing the murderers. He answered 'I do.' Now Mr. Deming no man but a scoundrel would serve a writ of that kind; and if any man comes to me with a writ of that kind, and does not immediately depart; he or I have to bite the dust, for I carry the instruments with me; and will blow him through as quick as I can; and I have a number of good fellows who will back me up in it. We have a people oppressed all the day long; we have been stript of every constitutional right; our best men have been short down in a manner that would have disgraced the most degenerate barbarians, I myself had my blood split on that occasion; and I am not wi
lling to submit any longer to such devilish proceedings.

I am not willing to place myself nor any other innocent man in their hands; and if any of them meddle with me I will send them to destruction as quick as I can.

Engaged in writing a document to the Governors of the different states, the following is a copy: Nauvoo, Illinois, March 1845.

Honorable Sir, Suffer us, sir, in behalf of a disfranchised and long afflicted people to prefer a few suggestions for your serious consideration, in hope of a friendly and unequivocal response, at as early a period as may suit your convenience, and the extreme urgency of the case seems to demand.

It is not our present design to detail the multiplied and aggravated wrongs that we have received in the midst of a nation that gave us birth.

Some of us have long been loyal citizens of the State over which you have the honor to preside; while others claim citizenship in each of the States of this great confederacy. We say we are a disfranchised people. We are privately told by the highest authorities of this State, that it is neither prudent nor safe for us to vote at the polls: still we have continued to maintain our right to vote, until the blood of our best men has been shed, both in Missouri and the State of Illinois with impunity.

You're doubtless somewhat familiar with the history of our extermination from the State of Missouri; wherein scores of our brethren were massacred; hundreds died through want and sickness occasioned by their unparalleled suffering, some millions of our property were confiscated or destroyed; and some fifteen thousand souls fled for their Lives, to the then hospitable and peaceful shores of Illinois;'--and that the State of Illinois granted to us a liberal charter, for the term of perpetual succession, under whose provisions private rights have become invested, and the largest City in the State has grown up numbering about twenty-thousand inhabitants.

But sir, the startling attitude recently assumed by the State of Illinois forbids us to think that her designs are any less vindictive than those of Missouri. She has already used the military of the State, with the Executive at their head to coerce and surrender up our best men to unparalleled murder, and that too under the most sacred pledges of protection and safety. As a salve for such unearthly perfidy and guilt, she told us through her highest Executive officer, that the laws should be magnified, and the murderers brought to justice; but the blood of her innocent victims had not been wholly wiped from the floor of the awful arena, where the citizens of a sovereign state pounced upon two defenseless servants of God; our Prophet and our Patriarch, before the Senate of that State rescued one of the indicted Actors in that mournful tragedy, from the Sheriff of Hancock county and gave him an honorable seat in [the] Hall of Legislation. And all others who were indicted by
the Grand Jury of Hancock county for the murder of Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith, are suffered to roam at large watching for further prey.

To crown the climax of these bloody deeds, the state has repealed all those chartered rights by which we might have defended ourselves against oppressors. If we defend ourselves hereafter against violence, whether it comes under the shadow of the law or otherwise, (for we have reason to expect it both ways,) we shall then be charged with treason, and suffer the penalty; and if we continue passive and non-resistant, we must certainly expect to perish, for enemies have sworn it.

And, here, Sir, permit us to state that General Joseph Smith, during his short life was arraigned at the bar of his country about 50 times, charged with criminal offences, but was acquitted every time by his country, his enemies almost invariably being his judges: And we further testify that as a people, we are law-abiding, peaceable, and without crime; and we challenge the world to prove the contrary: And while other less cities in Illinois have had special courts instituted to try their criminals, we have been stript of every source of arraigning marauders and murderers who are prowling around to destroy us, except the common magistracy.

With these facts before you, sir, will you write to us without delay, as a father and friend, and advise us what to do? We are many of us, citizens of your State, and all members of the same great confederacy. Our fathers, nay some of us, have fought and bled for our country; and we love her constitution dearly.

In the name of Israel's God, and by the virtue of multiplied ties of country and kindred, we ask your friendly interposition in our favor. Will it be too much to ask you to convene a special session of your State Legislature, and furnish us an asylum where we can enjoy our rights of conscience and religion unmolested? Or will you in a special message to that body when convened, recommend a remonstrance against such unhallowed acts of oppression and expatriation, as this people have continued to receive from the State of Missouri all Illinois? Or will you favor us by your official rank?

Or will you express your views concerning what is called the Great Western Measure, of colonizing the Latter-day Saints in Oregon, the North Western Territory or some location, remote from the States, where the hand of oppression shall not crush every noble principle, and extinguish every patriotic feeling?

And now Hon. Sir, having reached out our imploring hands with deep solemnity, we would importune with you as a father, a friend, a patriot, and a statesman; by the constitution of American library;'--by the blood of our fathers, who have fought for the independence of this republic; by the blood of the martyrs which has been shed in our midst; by the wailings of the widows and orphans; by our murdered fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and children; by the dread of immediate destruction, from secret combinations now forming for our overthrow, and by every endearing tie that binds men to men and renders life bearable, and that, too, for aught we know, for the last time, that you will lend your immediate aid to quell the violence of mobocracy and exert your influence to establish us as a people in our civil and religious rights, where we now are, or in some part of the United States, or at some place remote therefrom, where we may colonize in peace and safety as
soon as circumstances will permit.

We sincerely hope that your future prompt measures towards us will be dictated by the best feelings that dwell in the bosom of humanity; and the blessings of a grateful people, and of many ready to perish, shall come upon you.

We are Sir, with great respect, Your obd't serv'ts Brigham Young, Willard Richards, John Taylor, George Miller, Committee W.W. Phelps, Orson Spencer, L.R. Foster.

In behalf of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at Nauvoo, Illinois.

P.S. As many of our communications post marked at Nauvoo, have failed of their destination, and the mails around us have been intercepted by our enemies, we shall send this to some distant office by the hand of a special messenger.

Speaking a few days since with a man of the name of Solomon Chamberlin, he related some particulars that I thought interesting concerning the manner that he was brought to obey the truth; and concerning the early rise of the Church as he was one of the members. I will relate it in his own words: [p. 50] 'I joined the Methodists when I was 19 years of age. I then commenced reading and studying the bible, and found they (the Methodists) were wrong in many things. About the year 1814 or 1815 the reformed Methodists came off from the Episcopal; and I was in hopes they were right.

I joined them, and remained a member until some time after 1816. At this time the heads of the Church and some families myself with the rest, purchased a farm that cost $25,000, and moved on to it, thinking that the day of gathering had come; and we came into common stock, striving to come on to the Apostle's ground. We believed in revelation and the healing of the sick through faith and prayer; but we were wrong in many things, we had no prophet nor priesthood. This year (1816) we found we were mistaken in many things. At this time I felt very anxious to know whether there were any people on the earth whose principles were right in all things; for I was tired of all orders unless they had the true principles of God: I believed we might receive revelation for ourselves: I believed if we lacked wisdom and humbled ourselves before God in mighty prayer, and asked in sincerity give us; I did so with all my heart, and he answered my prayer. The Lord revealed to me in a vision of
the night an angel, I thought if I could ask him, he could tell me all I wanted to know. I accordingly asked him if we were right. He said not one of us were right, and that there were no people on earth that were right; but that the Lord would in his own due time raise up a church, different from all others, and he would give power and authority as in the days of Christ; and he would carry it through, and it should never be confounded; and that I should live to see the day, and know the work when it came forth; and that great persecution should follow, and much more after this he told me. I proclaimed it to the world and all people what I had seen and heard; and that all denominations on earth were as John said constituted the great whore of all the earth.

Somewhere about the time that Joseph Smith found the record of the Book of Mormon, I began to feel as though the time was nearly come, that had been made known to me by the angel. I made inquiries through the country if there was any strange work of God, such as had not been on the earth since the days of Christ. I was then living on the Erie Canal forty miles below Rochester; I had occasion to go on a visit to Canada. I took [a] boat for Lockport; when the boat came to Palmyra, I felt as if some genii or good spirit told me to leave the boat, and or travel a south course; I did so for about three miles. (I had not yet heard of the gold bible so called at that time, nor any of the Smith family, I was an entire stranger in that part of the country.) Here my guide told me I must put up for the night; and I heard of the Smiths and the gold bible for the first time. I was now within half a mile of Joseph Smith's father's house where my guide had brought me.'--In the morning the
woman asked me if I had heard of the gold bible. I told her I had not; and there was something began on the top of my head and went to my toes like electricity: I said to myself I shall soon find why I have been led to this place in this singular manner. It only being about half a mile from there across lots to Father Smith's. I soon arrived at the house, and found Hyrum walking the floor; as I entered the room, I said peace be to this house; he looked at me and said 'I hope it will be peace.' I then said is there any one here that believes in visions and revelations. He said yes, we are a visionary house. I then said I will give you one of my pamphlets, (which was visionary and of my own composition) and if you are a visionary house, I wish you would make known some of your discoveries, I think I can bear them. They then began to make known to me, that they had obtained a gold record, and had just finished translating it. Here I staid, and they instructed me in the manuscr
ipts of the Book of Mormon; after I had been there two days, I went with Hyrum and some others to Palmyra printing office, where they began to print the Book of Mormon; and as soon as they had printed sixty-four pages I took them and started for Canada; and I preached to all that I saw, high and low, rich and poor, and all that I knew concerning the work. I had but few to oppose, they had not made up their minds, and they knew not what to think of it. I did not see any one in travelling six or seven hundred miles, that had ever heard of the gold bible so called. Whe I returned from Canada, I went to Massachusetts, and preached the work to all both great and small; and told them to prepare for the great work of God, that was now coming forth, that would never be confounded nor be brought down; but would stand for ever and be like unto the apostolic church. As soon as the books were printed, I took eight or ten of them, and started off to sell and to preach; for you could not
sell one without a great deal of preaching. I labored hard for eight days and sold one book on which I made twenty-five cents, and bore my own expenses. I carried them to the reform Methodist Conference, there I found Phineas and Brigham Young with whom I had been acquainted before.

I thought I could soon convince the whole conference of the truth of the Book of Mormon, but I soon found my mistake, for after laboring with them for two days, they rejected me. Phineas and Brigham Young used me well. I returned home and on the way preached it to the Free Will Baptist Church, and they received it, and soon after the Church was established a number of them were baptized. Soon after this I was bap-[p. 53]tized by Joseph Smith in the waters of Seneca Lake, and emigrated to Ohio. In the fall of 1831 I with my family emigrated to Jackson County, Missouri; had my houses burned there and was broke up by the mob. Settled again Clay County, and again lost my property. I then settled in Far West about the year 1837; and was finally driven from there, with the loss of almost every thing I had, and was forced to leave my house, in common with all the brethren,in the midst of snow storms and the most severe weather we had that winter. We had to make shanties and tents
wherever we could find places. There were three died within about half a mile of me with cold hunger, all belonging to one family. Many were our sufferings while in Missouri, and many times have mobbers drawn their pistols to shoot me, and I have told them to shoot away, for I thought it would be a pleasure to die; at another time I was knocked down and lostsome of my heart's blood; and I have seen much of the sufferings of others.'-- From Missouri I have came here, and have lived here since.' (2)

1 - Brigham Young Journal (1801-1877) Journal #2 July, 1837- Mar. 1845
2 - 'The John Taylor Nauvoo journal, January 1845-September 1845,' BYU Studies 23:3 (1983) edited by Dean C. Jessee

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