still greater affliction in store for the young Prophet.
MRS. HARRIS AND THE DEVIL, 27
The ablest scholars can rarely make two translations pre-
cisely alike from any foreign language, for the idiomatic ex-
pressions of one tongue often find several equivalents in an-
other, and when the translation has been made from hieroglyph-
ics, in which a sign represents a sentence or a paragraph, the
difficulty of obtaining two perfectly similar translations is pro-
portionately increased. Joseph understood this. His soul was
sick, and " the Lord," ever ready to aid the penitent, came to his
assistance, denounced Martin Harris as " a wicked man," and
revealed to the Prophet how the difficulty could be obviated.
In the revelation which he then received,* Joseph was in-
formed that Satan had inspired Martin Harris and his friends
to get possession of the manuscript, and that they had deter-
mined that, if his second translation differed from theirs, they
would expose him, and say that he was an impostor and had
only pretended to translate, and, should he make a perfect du-
plicate of the first, they would alter their copy, and so make
him contradict himself. To circumvent all this, Joseph was
instructed that among the plates a. " Book of Nephi " existed,
and that that would serve the purpose equally as well as the
lost manuscript. Joseph obeyed the heavenly oracle, and thus
the sacred volume now actually commences with the Book of
!Nephi, instead of the Book of Mormon as originally intended.
In this way was lost that narrative which had been so care-
fully prepared by an ancient Judo-American prophet and
engraver, under such very trying circumstances : a narrative
which, according to Joseph, had been hidden up in the stone
box at least twelve hundred years, until finally revealed by an
angel of God for the salvation of the human family, and for the
preservation of which Joseph had already suffered much perse-
cution. Mrs. and Mr. Harris have much to answer for.
Some persons may have read the Book of Mormon through
consecutively, but as a general thing, even among the Mor-
mons, the foundation of their faith is never boasted of as being
an interesting document. The substitution, therefore, of Nephi
for a commencement, instead of that intended by " the Lord "
but stolen by the devil, has not probably caused any irrele-
vancy nor cut the thread of the story if it ever had one.
* " Doctrine and Covenants," p. 169.
28 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
With the assistance of Oliver Cowdery as scribe, the trans-
lation went on without interruption and the character of " the
" kingdom " was gradually developed. They came to a por-
tion of the narrative that informed them that baptism by im-
mersion for the remission of sins had been taught and com-
manded to the ancient inhabitants of America, and the trans-
lator, ever eager to know his " privileges," proposed, on the
15th of May, that they should retire to the woods, and " in-
" quire of the Lord."
" While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord,
a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid
his hands upon us he ordained us, saying unto us : ' Upon you, my fellow-
servants, in the name of the Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which
holds the Iceys of the ministering of angels and of the Gospel of repentance
and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins ; and this shall never
again be taken from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offer-
ing unto the Lord in righteousness.'' He said this Aaronic Priesthood
had not the power of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost,
but that this should be conferred on us hereafter, and he commanded us
to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver
Cowdery, and, afterwards, that he should baptize me." *
This " messenger " asserted that he was John the Baptist,
and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James, and
John, who held the priesthood of Melchisedec, which in due
time was to be conferred upon them when they would take
rank Joseph as the first elder and Oliver the second. As
instructed, they went into the water together, and Joseph bap-
tized Oliver by immersion, and he in turn immersed Joseph.
The latter laid his hands upon Oliver's head and ordained him
to the Aaronio priesthood, and Oliver afterwards laid his hands
upon Joseph's head and ordained him to the same priesthood
" for so we were commanded."
As they came out of the water they " experienced great and
" glorious, blessings." " The Holy Ghost fell upon Oliver and
" he prophesied," and then Joseph " stood up and prophesied."
They had a happy time together, but, owing to the persecu-
ting disposition of the unbelievers, they kept their baptism
and ordination and rejoicings a secret for a time.
* " Pearl of Great Price," p. 46.
THE FIRST MORMON BAPTISM.
The preparatory work was now fast advancing. Joseph
was rapidly developing, and Oliver was an excellent scribe.
Three " witnesses " were to be favoured with a " manifestation "
and, from among the personal friends of Joseph, David Whit-
mer was selected to join Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris
with the assurance that if they would exercise faith they should
have a view of the
plates and also of the
Urim and Thummim.
They did exercise
faith, and in their
" testimony," pre-
fixed to the Book of
Mormon, they "de-
" clare with words of
" soberness that an
" angel of God came
" down from heaven,
" and he brought
" and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates
" and the engravings thereon." * This event occurred, accord-
ing to Mormon chronology, in June or July, 1829. Another
" testimony " is given to the world by eight witnesses the
father and two brothers of Joseph, four of the Whitmer fami-
ly, and one Page. They affirm that they had seen the original
plates, " hefted " them, and that they had " the appearance of
" gold, and were of ancient work and curious workmanship."
In the commencement of 1830 the translation was pub-
lished under the title of The Book of Mormon, and thus was
laid the foundation of the new faith.
* The Author entered into correspondence with one of the Whitmers to elicit from
him information concerning his mental condition during the time that he affirms he
saw the plates. Whitmer was asked if he was in his usual condition of conscious-
ness and was sensible of surrounding objects while he beheld the plates ; but he
refused to answer the enquiry. Harris is reported to have said that he witnessed
them by " the eye of faith."
The First Mormon Baptism.
OEGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH.Disciples receive the Holy Ghost Ancient
Apostles and Prophets revisit the earth Newell Knight is tortured by the Devil
His experience claimed as the first " Latter-Day " Miracle Judge Edmonds
records similar phenomena in Spiritualism.
ON Tuesday, April 6th, 1830, the " Church of Christ " was
organized in the house of Peter Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca
county, New York, an event which, according to the ingenious
calculation of Orson Pratt, transpired exactly 1800 years to a
day from the resurrection of Christ.
The ten years which had elapsed from Joseph's first vision
had been strictly a period of preparatory work, and there were
at this date but few converts to his mission ready for organiza-
tion. At the appointed time these assembled, and are thus
embalmed in Mormon history :
Joseph Smith [the prophet.]
Oliver Cowdery [his scribe].
Hyrum Smith [an elder brother of Joseph].
Peter Whitmer, Junr.
Samuel H. Smith [a younger brother of Joseph], and
Alternating the Smiths and the Whitmers gives a better
appearance to the list than if the two families were separated.
Martin Harris, though so important a personage in the prelim-
inary work, is supposed to have been denied the honour of be-
longing to the first organization, in consequence of the trouble
which he caused about the lost manuscript.
The chosen six " entered into covenant to serve the Lord,"
partook of the sacrament of the Supper, and Joseph and Oliver
ordained each other as spiritual teachers to the Church. This
met the unanimous approval of the two Smiths and the two
THE FIRST MORMON MIRACLE. 33
Whitmers, and Joseph and Oliver laid their hands upon the
others, that they might receive the " gift of the Holy Ghost."
" Thus," says Orson Pratt, " was the Church of Christ once
" more restored to the earth, holding the keys of authority and
"power to ~bind, to loose, and to seal on the earth and in heaven,
" according to the commandments of God, and the revelations
" of Jesus Christ." More than this could not easily be claimed.
On the Sunday succeeding the organization, Oliver Cow-
dery preached the first public discourse on " this dispensation "
and the principles of " the Gospel as revealed to Joseph/' and
from that day the " testimony " of the Mormon elders has
been carried to every civilized nation.
For a time, conversions were but slowly made, but the
"gifts" began to manifest themselves, and the few Saints "re-
" joiced with exceeding great joy ; " the wicked raged, the
devil attacked " the Kingdom," and a " miracle " was per-
Notwithstanding so much of interest has to be but briefly
stated, it seems necessary to give in detail the relation of this
first miracle in the Latter-Day kingdom, and the more so from
the fact of its similarity to the manifestations of modern Spirit-
ualism. Joseph relates, in his autobiography, that a young
man named Newell Knight was greatly exercised on " the
" work " that he had announced to him, and attempted to pray
in the woods for some enlightenment. He became unwell
mentally and physically, and caused some alarm to his wife.
Joseph was -sent for, and thus reports what took place :
" I went and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body
acted upon in a very strange manner, his visage and limbs distorted and
twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine, and finally he
was caught up off the floor of the apartment, and tossed about most fear-
fully. His situation was soon made known to the neighbours and relatives,
and in a short time as many as eight or nine grown persons had got to-
gether to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for a time, I suc-
ceeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he
spoke to me, and with very great earnestness required of me that I should
cast the devil out of him, saying that he knew that he was in him, and
that he also knew that I could cast him out. I replied, ' If you know that
'I can, it shall be done,' and then almost unconsciously I rebuked the devil
and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him,
when immediately Newell spoke out and said that he saw the devil leave
34 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
him, and vanish from his sight. This was the first miracle that was done
in this Church, &c."
The scene changes, and Newell, overwhelmed with the
good spirit, and joyous beyond expression, is lifted from the
floor to the roof till " the beams would let him go no further."
In subsequent gatherings of the Saints, Newell is particularly
favoured, sees " the heavens opened," and " beholds the glory
" of God." He was among the faithful few who endured to
the end, and then quietly " fell asleep in Jesus."
It is strangely argued that this first " miracle " in the Mor-
mon Church was an evidence of the divine mission of Joseph
Smith and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Elder
Orson Pratt reasons thus on the subject :
" The great miracle that was wrought upon Newell Knight, and that,
too, before he became a member of the Church, and in the presence of
some eight or nine of his neighbours, must have given him the most perfect
knowledge of the truth of the Boole of Mormon; and it must also have been
a convincing testimony to all who saw him." ..." This great manifestation
of the power of God, in contrast with the power of the evil one, must
have given a knowledge to those who were present that Joseph Smith was a
great prophet and seer, and that the Book of Mormon was a divine revela-
The Author, in searching an old file of papers, accidentally
cast his eye upon a record of the experience of Judge John "W.
Edmonds, of New York, wherein that gentleman relates in the
New York Tribune, some time in 1859, his experience in
" casting out devils," which is so remarkably similar to the ex-
perience of Joseph Smith with Newell Knight, that it deserves
the careful consideration of the Latter-Day Saints. The Judge
" Casting out devils. I take this phrase as I find it in the Scriptures,
as indicating that the subject is possessed by an influence which produces
violent throes, or, as it is said in Scripture, ' Straightway the spirit tare
4 him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed foaming.'
" I have witnessed many instances of this when the subject was re-
lieved simply by laying on of hands, and sometimes by a mere command
to the spirit to depart.
" I was once at a circle in Troy, some twenty persons were present,
when a strong man became unconscious and violently convulsed. He beat
* " Evidences of the Book of Mormon and the Bible Compared," p. 63.
CASTING .OUT DEVILS. 35
the table with great force with both fists. I put my hand on his head
against vehement struggles on his part to prevent it, and in a few moments
he was restored to quiet and consciousness. I once had a man similarly
affected in my own room, who beat his head violently on a marble-top
table, and fell to the flbor in convulsions. He was. recovered by the same
means, though more slowly. A man from Chicago called on me afflicted
with convulsions of his arms and legs. He was restored by the mere ex-
ercise of will. Last year, at my own house, I found a man lying on the
floor, distorted and convulsed. I lifted him up, and compelled him to sit
in a chair, and then, with a few words, addressed not to him, but to the
spirit who was influencing him, he was at once restored to composure."
Had Judge Edmonds known less and believed more, with
such an experience, he, too, might have been presented to the
world as a " prophet, seer, and revelator," and some enthusi-
astic Pratt might have proved that his writings were divinely
inspired. Fortunately for the world, the Judge, instead of de-
livering a new Gospel, followed the profession of the law.
THE FIKST CONFERENCE. Parley P. Pratt, and Orson Pratt Converted Mis-
sionary Enterprise begins Elders sent to preach to the Indians Sidney Eigdon
converts his Campbellite Congregation Saints commanded to gather in Ohio
Jackson County, Missouri, designated the " Land of Promise."
ON the 1st of June, 1830, the first conference was held, at
which only thirty members were represented, though many
others either believers or such as were anxious to learn
were present. At this time the testimony of Joseph and his
brethren did not extend far from his father's residence and the
neighbourhood where his wife's family resided. About the be-
ginning of August, the attention of Parley P. Pratt was drawn
to the movement, and soon after he was converted and bap-
tized. Parley, who had been a local preacher of some denomi-
nation, was fluent of speech and in every way calculated to be
a zealous disciple of the cause. Soon after his own conversion,
he visited and converted Sidney Rigdon, a very able Campbel-
lite preacher then residing in Ohio, and Sidney immediately as-
sumed the task of converting his flock to the new faith. Orson
Pratt was also numbered among the early disciples, and Joseph
soon found himself surrounded by those men of talent who
gave the Biblical arguments in favour of Mormonism which it
has ever since retained.
In common with all who believe themselves to be en-
trusted with a special mission, Joseph's faith was great and he
anticipated wonderful results from his preaching. The conver-
sion of the world was now a very urgent matter, as " the Lord "
had informed him that " He was going to cut short His work
" in righteousness in the last days." Consistently, therefore,
with the publication of the Book of Mormon as a historical
SIDNEY RIGDON MEETS THE PROPHET. 37
record of the ancient inhabitants of America, the Indians* on
the western frontier were the first to be honoured with a special
mission, and a number of the elders were set apart for this
work and sent forth " without purse or scrip " to preach to the
" Lamanites." *
In addition to the instruction which Joseph claims to have
received from the angels who frequently visited him, he was
also endowed with the " gift^of revelation," by which he was
able to give " the word of the Lord " on every subject and to
everybody. Men were called, chosen, ordained, and sent on
missions by the commandment of revelation ; they were blessed,
honoured, reproved and cursed by it as the case might require,
and Joseph, as frequently as any one else, got his full share of
rebuke and chastisement. Jesus Christ is said to be the author
of the numerous revelations given to the Mormon Church
through Joseph Smith, and in this way the early disciples were
directed in all their affairs, whether spiritual or temporal. Jo-
seph became, in the language of one of the hymns, " the mouth-
" piece of God," and henceforth his address to the Saints in all
matters of importance was : u Thus saith the Lord."
Sidney Rigdon was successful with many of his congrega-
tion and " the people round about," so that Ohio became the
object of the Prophet's attention. In December, 1830, Rigdon
paid a visit to the Prophet and prolonged his stay till January,
aiding him in his inspired translation of the New Testament,
after which the Prophet returned with him to Ohio.., During
this visit " the Lord commanded the Saints in the State of
" New York to gather in Ohio," and instructions to that effect
were promulgated and obeyed. In a few months they were
comfortably situated in the northern portion of that State. But
all this was only temporary. Joseph had ever present in his
mind the " New Jerusalem " that was to be built up somewhere
in the last days, but where that was to be he had notyet learned.
" The Lord," who guided Joseph, would appear to have re-
solved to keep the locality of the New Jerusalem secret as long
as possible and therefore only spoke of it in vague terms. " In
" February, 1831, the Saints were commanded to ask the Lord
" and he would in due time reveal unto them the place where
* The designation of the Indians in modern revelation.
38 THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS.
" the E"ew Jerusalem should be built and where the Saints
" should eventually be gathered in one." On the 7th of March
they were commanded to gather up their riches with one heart
and one mind to purchase the inheritance which " the Lord "
would point out to them. Of this inheritance they knew noth-
ing definite, but were told that it was somewhere on the west-
ern frontiers. In June, about thirty elders were sent out west-
ward on a preaching tour. They were to go out by twos, and
were to build up branches of the Church wherever the people
would listen to them, and were eventually to meet together
when the place of the New Jerusalem would be made known
About the middle of July, Joseph and several of the elders
met at Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, and then at
length the revelation about the New Jerusalem was forthcoming.
It was very explicit concerning the great things " the Lord "
would do in this generation, but, as will presently be seen, that
troublesome devil, who never to the moment of his tragic
death forsook Joseph, was determined to thwart the purposes
of " the Lord " and lead the Prophet and his brethren into fear-
By the light of facts which have since transpired, the fol-
lowing revelation of " the Lord " on the gathering to Missouri
becomes intensely interesting, showing as it does the measure
of confidence which the world can place in modern revelation,
and inculcating a salutary lesson to the Mormons themselves
now under the prophetic guidance of Brigham Young.
" Verily this is the Word of the Lord, that the City New Jerusalem
shall be built by the gathering of the Saints, beginning at this place, even
the place of the Temple, which Tvmple shall be reared in this generation, for
verily this generation shall not pass away until an house shall ~be built unto
the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory
of the Lord which shall fill the house." *
" Hearken, O ye elders of my Church, saith the Lord your God, who
have assembled yourselves together according to my commandments in
this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have ap-
pointed and consecrated for the gathering of the Saints; wherefore this is the
land of promise and the place for the City of Zion. And thus saith the Lord
your God, If you will receive wisdom, here is wisdom. Behold the place
* " Book of Doctrine and Covenants," p. 82, par. 2.
THE NEW JERUSALEM. 39
which is now called Independence is the centre place, and a spot for the
Temple is lying westward upon a lot which is not far from the court
This revelation is dated, " Zion, July, 1831." In another,
given September 22, 1832, it is stated that the place was " ap-'
" pointed by the finger of the Lord," and the gathering of the
Saints and the building of the New Jerusalem are again as-
sured. The succeeding history of the Mormons in Missouri
exhibits anything but the fulfilment of these promises : on the
contrary it relates only the overthrow of the hopes of the un-
The few Saints from Colesville, Broome county, New York,
who had been commanded to gather to Ohio and afterwards to
Missouri,' had now arrived, and on the 2nd of August the
foundation of the first house was laid, twelve miles west of In-
dependence, twelve men taking part in laying that foundation
in honour of the Twelve. Tribes of Israel. The land of Zion on
that occasion was dedicated unto the Lord by prayer, and on
the following day the Temple' lot was dedicated in the presence
of eighteen men. Next day the first conference was held in
the land of Zion. A few days afterwards, Joseph and Sidney
left Independence to return to Kirtland, where they arrived
on the 2Yth of August, and immediately afterwards Joseph had
an abundant outpouring of revelation.
* " Book of Doctrine and Covenants," pp. 165-6, par. 1.
SATAN THREATENS THE CHURCH. He shakes and corrupts the Ohio Saints
The Youthful Prophet labours with Great Zeal Missionaries evangelize
the Eastern States Smith and Eigdon behold a Great Vision They are tarred
and feathered Go to Missouri and found a Newspaper.
DURING the absence of the young Prophet in Missouri, the
believers had not been doing as well as he expected. He was,
therefore,- immediately armed with a revelation reproving them
for seeking " signs." In that revelation (August, 1831) occurs
this singularly explicit statement : " with whom God is an-
" gry, he is not well pleased '." * Uninspired persons would pro-
bably consider such a declaration somewhat unnecessary ; it
almost requires a second revelation to explain its meaning.
Even at that early day a few of the new converts appear
to have exhibited loose notions of morality. Of these, some.,
charged with being " adulterers and adulteresses," were stat-
' sd to have " turned away," and the others were warned to
'' beware and repent speedily." All through the history of the
Church during the life-time of Joseph may be noticed a dispo-
sition to free-loveism. The new spirit was very affectionate,
and required to be strictly guarded. It is, however, due to
Joseph to add that hi revelations were severe in condemnation
of the lack of chastity.
Some idea may be formed of the zeal with which Joseph
was building up the- kingdom and preparing for the future,
when it is stated that,, during the year 1831, he received no
less than thirty-seven revelations. In addition to the cares of
the Church, preaching, testifying, and administering, he had
collected the ]STew York and Pennsylvania Saints in Ohio, had
* " Covenants and Commandments," p. 149.
THE PROPHET TARRED AND FEATHERED. 41
commanded them to go to Missouri, went there himself, and
dedicated to "the Lord" the land " promised to believers for an
" everlasting inheritance," gave some portion of his time to
furnishing the world with an inspired translation of the New