The First Theologian of the Latter Day Saints

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Rigdon in Ohio

Probably the very first attempts at portraying the Rev. Sidney S. Rigdon in an historical setting were made in the pages of 1830s newspapers like the Painesville Telegraph. Less than a month after Rigdon's Nov. 8, 1830 baptism under the administration of "Church of Christ" Elder Oliver Cowdery, the Dec. 4th issue of the Telegraph spoke of the "Rigdonites," a break-away group of former Campbellites who were following the teachings of Rev. Sidney Rigdon. The story of Rigdon (the "man of many creeds") and his conversion to Mormonism was told haphazardly in the Feb.-Apr. issues of the paper, where the former Campbellite minister was branded as the probable "author of Mormonism."

Other Ohio newspaper were quick to follow the Telegraph in printing reports on Rigdon's Mormon conversion. The Feb. 15. 1831 number of the Cleveland Advertiser says: "Rigdon was formerly a disciple of Campbell's and who it is said was sent out to make proselytes, but is probable he thought he should find it more advantageous to operate on his own capital, and therefore wrote, as it is believed, the Book of Mormon;" while the Nov. 18, 1830 issue of the Hudson Obeserver and Telegraph speaks of Rigdon as "a certain Elder" who had only slightly "hesitated in deciding whether to reject or receive" what the Editor calls "Campbellism Improved" (i. e., Mormonism). The Democratic rival of the Telegraph in Geauga County, Ohio was the Geauga Gazette. That paper's editor took an occasional notice of Rigdon; after the paper had merged with the Chardon Spectator the new journal reprinted an article in its issue of Jan. 18, 1834 pointing our Rigdon as the probable secret redactor of "a respectable clergyman's" original composition of the Book of Mormon.

One of Rigdon's erstwhile Campbellite converts, Elder Parley P. Pratt recalled, in 1838: "Early in 1831, Mr. Rigdon having been ordained, under our hands, visited elder J. Smith, Jr., in the state of New-York, for the first time; and from that time forth, rumor began to circulate, that he (Rigdon) was the author of the Book of Mormon." Rigdon's "first time" travels to visit with "elder J. Smith, Jr." were noticed in the New York Ontario Messenger of Dec. 22, 1830 and other newspapers of the region, and some of this intelligence was quickly relayed to the northern Ohio papers for publication. Sidney Rigdon's new religion (and speculation over his true role within that new religion) soon became a continuing news story.

While the Ohio editors knew Rigdon well enough to occasionally pass along juicy tidbits of personal gossip, it took the researching of the noted newspaperman, James Gordon Bennett, to tie the Ohio preacher to Joseph Smith and the other pre-1830 New York money-digger and Mormons. Other New York papers had printed articles on the Mormons, including mentions of Rigdon, but editor Mordecai M. Noah, at NYC Morning Courier and New York Enquirer seemed to take a special interest in the sect. Writing home to the Morning Courier during an investigative tour of the western part of the state, reporter Bennett supplies two reports on the Palmyra Mormons. In the article published on Sep. 1, 1831, Bennett tells of an "ex-preacher from Ohio" called "Rangdon," who first "thought of turning their [money] digging concern into a religious plot." Bennett's articles were widely reprinted and their words fixed in the minds of the reading public an indelible image of the Rev. Sidney Rigdon being the founder of Mormonism. Rigdon's old religious mentor, the Rev. Alexander Campbell, gave his former lieutenant considerable negative publicity in the pages of his Millennial Harbinger during the early 1830s; with perhaps the most telling of those reports being the one Campbell printed on Feb. 7, 1831. In a report published in his issue of Sep. 6, 1830 Campbell printed practically the only surviving description of a Rigdon sermon preached prior to his conversion to Mormonism. Campbell was slow to admit the notion of Rigdon being Momronism's founder to the pages of his paper, but he opened the door to that belief in his issue of Jan. 6, 1835. Another of Campbell's lieutenants, the Rev. Walter Scott, knew Sidney Rigdon well, but generally avoided mentioning him after 1830. In two rare exceptions to that rule, Scott supplied some interesting comments concerning Rev. Rigdon in his Evangelist of the True Gospel on July 1, 1839 and again on Sep. 1, 1843

Rigdon in Missouri

The Rev. Sidney S. Rigdon's career in Ohio overlapped his experience with the Mormons in Missouri in the 1830s. Although various newspaper reports provide a few details in regard to those experience, they were perhaps first compiled in Eber D. Howe's 1834 Mormonism Unvailed and the 1840 Senate Document #189. Unfavorable information on Rigdon from the latter document was widely reprinted for several years, perpetually sullying his image a as pious man of the cloth and painting him as a wild-eyed, murderous fanatic. John Corrill's 1839 book, A Brief History of the Church, records some of his personal recollections of Sidney Rigdon in Ohio and Missouri. Rigdon's own Oration Delivered by Mr. Sidney Rigdon (1838 pamphlet) and An Appeal to the American People (1840 booklet) provides some insight into the mind of the man during his residence in Missouri, as does his late 1838 letter from Liberty Jail. Rigdon's religious protege, Parley P. Pratt, took it upon himself to defend his mentor and tell a little of Rigdon's story in his 1838 tract Mormonism Unveiled. Pratt added a few more details in his Dec. 1839 letter to the NYC New Era. Pratt's 1864 biographical sketch in the LDS Millennial Star and his posthumously published 1874 autobiography add a few more smidgens of information on Rev. Rigdon's early days.

Rigdon in Illinois

During the winter of 1838-39 Rev. Rigdon fled Missouri for the safety of Illinois along with many other Mormon refugees. He and his flock initially received good press in the pages of local papers like the Quincy Whig and the Quincy Argus. As time passed the Whig newspapers of Illinois generally began to take an increasingly dim view of Rev. Rigdon and his comrad-in-arms, Joseph Smith. See for, example, the Quincy Whig's various responses to the content of two Rigdon letters, initially published in that paper on May 25, 1839 and June 8, 1839. Ex-Mormon John Corrill's expose of the LDS Church did little to enhance Rigdon's tarnished reputation, but another ex-Mormon, John C. Bennett, gave Rigdon and his family a more sympathetic exposure in his 1842 History of the Saints. Several of the episodes involving Rigdon published by Bennett saw an earlier rendition in the pages of the Illinois Whig papers, like the Sangamo Journal, the Alton Telegraph, and the Warsaw Signal.

In order to get a fully favorable personal history and laudatory biographical data into print, Rev. Rigdon was forced to write the exposition himself, between 1839 and 1841. The results were published as segments in the serialized "History of Joseph Smith" in the Mormon Times and Seasons between May. 1, 1843 and Oct. 15, 1843. With the printing of the final episode in this series, Rigdon at last had his self-enhanced story before the public. The lime-light did not shine for very long. Before another year was over Rigdon had been excommunicated from the LDS Church and irreparably vilified in the pages of its journals, the Times and Seasons, (which printed his church trial, beginning on Sep. 15, 1844), the Nauvoo Neighbor, and the New York Prophet. Spanning the gap between Rigdon's lionization in the 1843 pages of the Times and Seasons and his fall from grace in mid-1844, was a 1843 pamphlet issued by John E. Page at Pittsburgh in which some approving historical and biographical data on Rev. Rigdon saw print.

Rigdon in Later Years

Rigdon left the western frontier for his old home in the Pittsburgh area not long after his excommunication. He paused in St. Louis long enough to fire off a final verbal salvo against the Nauvoo leadership on Sep. 12, 1844, and resumed his attacks against the "Brighamites" a few months later in his own Pittsburgh Messenger & Advocate. The other Pittsburgh newspapers noticed this new religious intrusion into their midst and offered caustic responses to Rigdon and his followers in the months that followed. Typical articles of this type were printed in the Pittsburgh Advertiser on May 7, 1845 and in the Pittsburgh Gazette throughout the spring of 1845.

In the years that followed innumerable books and articles appeared telling the story of the Mormons from various viewpoints. Following two early attacks on Rigdon by Elder J. M. Grant and Apostle Orson Hyde, the LDS-authored volumes in this great collection tended to downplay the contributions of Sidney Rigdon to Mormon history, or to ignore the man altogether. Non-Mormon contributions generally devoted some space to Rigdon's story, if for no other reason than the fact that many writers voewed him as the probable inventor of Mormonism. Typical of these mid-19th centiry anti-Mormon histories was Pomeroy Tucker's 1867 book Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism, which identified Rev. Rigdon with a "mysterious stranger" intent upon secretly establishing Mormonism with Joseph Smith well before 1867. Fictional authors of the time allowed their imaginations to run wild in "exposing" the supposed pre-1830 conspiring of Smith and Rigdon: variations upon this fanciful story may be found in Frederick Marryat's 1843 Monsieur Violet: His Travels (largely pirated from popular newspaper accounts of the period), Orvilla S. Belisle's 1855 The Prophets, or Mormonism Unveiled (derived from the writings of Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin G. Ferris and others), and Percy B. St. John's 1861 Jessie, the Mormon's Daughter (a thick pot-boiler that manages to introduce Solomon Spalding, Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith as characters in the same tale).

Considerable new information on Rev. Rigdon's pre-Mormon days was gained from the publication of Robert Richardson's 1868 compilation of the Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, followed by Amos S. Hayden's 1876 book, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve. The last great literary effort written from the "Rigdon as mysterious stranger" was William H. Whitsitt's 1891 opus, Sidney Rigdon, the Real Founder of Mormonism. At about this same time, Rigdon's son, John Wicliffe Rigdon, also wrote biographical studies of his father; these are considered in part two of this article.

Rev. Rigdon made occasional efforts to revive his moribund Mormon splinter group, especially in the mid-1860s, after the death of his wife. Some additional information on the man was compiled and ended up the the papers of Stephen Post, now on file at LDS Church archives, with copies on microfilm available at the BYU Harold B. Lee Library and the University of Utah Marriott Library. One interesting publication resulting from one of these attempted Rigdonite revivals was a 3-part article penned by his former admirer Austin Cowles and published in Moore's Rural New Yorker in 1868-69. By the end of the 19th century the image of Sidney S. Rigdon languished as a largely a forgotten figure in official and semi-offical Mormon histories. To a small extent this neglect was remedied with the publication of Elder John Jaques' 8-part article, "The Life and Labors of Sidney Rigdon," in the pages of Improvement Era during 1899-1900. Somewhat forgiving portrayals of the man were then presented in the first volume of Elder Andrew Jenson's four volume Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia (1901-1936) and by Elder Orson F. Whitney in his 1904 History of Utah. These were followed by Elder Heman C. Smith's very supportive biographical series, published in the RLDS Journal of History in 1910-1911. Although, technically speaking, all of the latter four works appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, their content and general tone place them in company with other later 19th century Mormon writings.

Continue with Part Two: 20th Century




Vol. III.                               DECEMBER, 1899.                               No. 2.

    [pp. 97-109]



Sidney S. Rigdon, as it is understood his proper name was, but who was universally known as Sidney Rigdon, was born in St. Clair Township, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, February 19, 1793, and was the youngest son of William and Nancy Rigdon.

William Rigdon was born in Hartford County, Maryland, in 1743, and died May 26, 1810. He was the son of Thomas Baker Rigdon and Ann Lucy Rigdon. Thomas Baker Rigdon was born in Maryland and was the son of Thomas Baker Rigdon, from Great Britain.

Ann Lucy Rigdon, grandmother of Sidney, was born in Ireland. She emigrated to Boston, and was there married to Thomas Baker Rigdon.

Nancy Rigdon's mother was born at Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey, March 16, 1759, and died October 3, 1839; was eldest daughter of Briant Gallaher, of Ireland. Elizabeth Reed Gallaher, mother of Nancy Rigdon, was Gallaher's second wife, and was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Her parents were born in Scotland.

Sidney Rigdon thought he was of Norman extraction, and that his ancestors came to England with William the Conqueror. Sidney's father was a farmer and had three sons, Carvil, Loami, Sidney S., and a daughter Lucy. Before his marriage, William Rigdon moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania, and Sidney Rigdon's mother had previously moved to the same state from New Jersey.

When Sidney Rigdon was seventeen years of age, his father died, and Sidney's mother died when he was twenty-six years old. In his 25th year, he became a member of the society of "Regular Baptists," under the charge of Rev. David Phillips, from Wales, and the next year left the farm, and went to live with Rev. Andrew Clark, another Baptist preacher. While there, Sidney received a license and commenced to preach, and from March, 1819, followed farming no more.

In May of that year, he went to Trumbull County, Ohio, and in July lived with Adamson Bentley, another Baptist preacher. There Sidney became acquainted with Phebe Brook, a native of Bridgetown, Cumberland County, New Jersey, whom he married, June 12, 1820.

He continued to preach in that region until November 1821, when, on request, he left Warren, Trumbull Co., and took charge of the First Baptist Church, Pittsburg, where he preached with considerable success, that church soon rising from a very low, confused state to a rapid increase of members, crowded meetings, and to be one of the most respectable churches of that city. He became a very popular preacher, and his society was much sought after. But after awhile he was greatly perplexed with the idea that the doctrines taught by the church he was connected with were not altogether in accordance with scripture. Nor were those of any other church with which he was acquainted altogether satisfactory to him. But he knew no other way of getting a living, and he had a wife and three children to support. After great deliberation and reflection and solemn prayer, he resolved to follow his convictions. In August, 1824, he announced to the members of that church that he was determined to withdraw from it, as he could no longer uphold its doctrines. In consequence of his great popularity, this unexpected announcement caused amazement, sorrow, and tears to his congregation.

At that time Alexander Campbell, who came from Ireland, was a member of the Baptist association, but he afterwards separated from it. Walter Scott, a native of Scotland, also left it about the same time. Mr. Campbell had previously lived at Bethany, Brook County, Virginia, where he published the Christian Baptist, monthly.

After leaving the Baptist church, these three gentlemen, being very friendly, frequently met together to discuss religious topics. Eventually from this connection sprang a church, the members of which called themselves "Disciples," but which were generally known as Campbellites, though Rigdon had much to do with it.

For the maintenance of his family, Mr. Rigdon went to work as a journeyman tanner, many of his former warm friends looking upon him with great coolness and indifference. His wife cheerfully shared his sorrow and humiliation, believing that all would work together for their good.

After having labored for two years as a tanner, he removed to Bainbridge, Geauga Co., Ohio, where, it being known that he had been a popular preacher, he was solicited to preach, with which request he complied. Thenceforth he devoted himself to the work of the ministry, confining himself to no special creed, but holding the Bible as his rule of faith, and advocating repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, doctrines which Mr. Campbell and he had been investigating. He labored in that vicinity one year with much success, numbers attending his meetings, building up a large and respectable church at Mantua, Portage County, Ohio. His doctrines were new, and crowded houses assembled to hear him, though some opposed and ridiculed his doctrines.

He was then pressingly invited to remove to Mentor, an enterprising town, about thirty miles from Bainbridge, and near Lake Erie, which he did sometime afterward. There were the remnants of a Baptist church, nearly broken up, the members of which were attached to his doctrines. But many of the citizens were jealous of him, and slanderous reports were circulated concerning him. However, he continued his labors, and in a few months the opposition weakened, prejudice gave way, and he became very popular, the churches where he preached being filled to overflowing to hear him, the doctrines being new, but were elucidated with unusual clearness, and enforced with great eloquence. Calls came from every direction for him to preach, which he complied with as much as he could. His fame increased and spread abroad, thousands, rich and poor, flocking to hear his eloquent discourses, so that the churches where he preached became too small to hold the crowds who went to hear him, and he had to preach in the open air, in the woods and groves, to the multitudes of eager hearers. He expatiated upon the literal fulfillment of prophecy, the gathering of Israel in the last days, the coming of the Son of man, the judgments to be poured out upon the ungodly, the reign of Christ with his saints on the earth, the millennium, etc.

Many became convinced and were baptized, whole churches became converted, and he soon had large and flourishing societies throughout that region. He was a welcome visitor wherever he went, and his society was courted by the learned and intelligent.

He then had a wife and six children, and lived in a small, unfinished frame house, not very comfortable. The members of his church held a meeting to take into consideration his wants and provide for them. They resolved to erect him a suitable residence. They purchased a farm, and commenced the building of a better house and outbuildings for him, and his prospects with regard to temporal things became brighter than ever before.

This was in the fall of 1830, at which time Elders Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Oliver Cowdery, and Peter Whitmer stayed awhile at Mentor, on their mission to the Indians on the western boundaries of Missouri. Elder Pratt had been a preacher in the same church as Sidney Rigdon, who was his instructor. Elder Pratt resided as Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio. He had been sent into the State of New York on a mission, where he became acquainted with the circumstances of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and was introduced to Joseph Smith and other Latter-day Saints. After reading the Book of Mormon, Parley P. Pratt became convinced that it was of God, was baptized, ordained an elder, and began to preach. Believing that there were many among his former associates who were honest seekers after truth, and being sent on his mission to the west, he resolved to call during his journey on his old friends, and make known to them the great work which the Lord had begun.

The first house Elder Pratt and his brethren called at was Sidney Rigdon's. They presented him with the Book of Mormon, saying that it was a revelation from God. He had not heard of it before, and was much prejudiced at the assertion, replying that he was acquainted with one Bible, which he believed was a revelation from God, but he had considerable doubts regarding their book. They wished to investigate the subject with him. But he said, "No, young gentlemen, you must not argue with me on the subject, but I will read your book, and see what claim it has upon my faith, and will endeavor to ascertain whether it be a revelation from God or not." But he readily granted their request to preach in his chapel and lay the subject before the people.

According to appointment, a large congregation assembled, which was addressed by Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt, followed by Sidney Rigdon, who said the information they had received was of an extraordinary character and demanded the most serious consideration. He exhorted his hearers to take the apostle's advice, "to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good," and not turn against what they had heard without being fully convinced of its being an imposition, lest possibly they should resist the truth.

Elders Cowdery and Pratt returned home with Mr. Rigdon conversing upon the things preached about. He said he would read the Book of Mormon, investigate it fully, and then frankly tell them his mind and feelings on the subject.

About a fortnight after he had received the book, and after much prayer and meditation, he was convinced by a revelation from Jesus Christ, given in a remarkable manner. Fully satisfied in his own mind of the truth of the work, he informed his wife of it, and found that she was investigating the subject and was believing with all her heart.

To embrace the new doctrines was a severe trial. He informed his wife that it would undoubtedly make a great change in their worldly circumstances if he obeyed the Gospel, and he said to her, "My dear, you have once followed me into poverty, are you again willing to do the same?"

She replied, "I have weighed the matter, I have contemplated on the circumstances in which we may be placed, I have counted the cost, and I am perfectly satisfied to follow you; it is my desire to do the will of God, come life or come death."

Accordingly both were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and with those already baptized in that place, formed a branch of The Church of about twenty members, and Brother Rigdon and others were ordained to the ministry. Elders Cowdery and Pratt bade an affectionate farewell and proceeded on their mission to the Lamanites.

In December, 1830, Elder Rigdon went to Joseph Smith to inquire of the Lord. Shortly after, Joseph received a revelation of which the following is part:

"Behold, verily, verily I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work. Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold, thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me, and before Elijah, which should come, and thou knewest it not. Thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost; but now I give unto thee a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, even as the apostles of old.

"And I have sent forth the fullness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph; and in weakness have I blessed him, and I have given unto him the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which shall come from this time until the time of my coming, if he abide in me; and if not, another will I plant in his stead.

"Wherefore watch over him, that his faith fail not; and it shall be given by the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, that knoweth all things. And a commandment I give unto thee, that thou shalt write for him; and the scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect; for they will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep, and shall abide the day of my coming, for they shall be purified, even as I am pure. And now I say unto you, tarry with him, and he shall journey with you, -- forsake him not, and surely these things shall be fulfilled. And inasmuch as ye do not write, behold it shall be given unto him to prophesy; and thou shalt preach my Gospel, and call on the holy prophets to prove his words, as they shall be given him."

The following is an extract from a revelation through Joseph to Edward Partridge:

"I will lay my hands upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom; and you shall declare it with a loud voice, saying, Hosannah, blessed be the name of the Most High God.

"And now this calling and commandment give I unto you concerning all men, that as many as shall come before my servants, Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr., embracing this calling and commandment, shall be ordained and sent forth to preach the everlasting Gospel among the nations, crying repentance, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation, and come forth out of the fire, hating even the garments spotted with the flesh."

Other revelations were given to Joseph and Sidney soon afterward concerning their labors in preaching the Gospel, etc.

In the latter part of January, 1831, the Prophet Joseph and wife, accompanied by elders Rigdon and Partridge, started for Kirtland where they arrived about the first of February. They were kindly received and welcomed by Brother N. K. Whitney and family.

In February a revelation was given, directing that the elders should go forth, preaching the Gospel, excepting, "my servant Joseph, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon. And I give unto them a commandment that they shall go forth for a little season, and it shall be given them by the power of my Spirit when they shall return."

In March, a revelation was given directing Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt and Lemon Copley to go and preach the Gospel to the Shakers, calling on them to believe, repent and be baptized, which the three brethren did, near Cleveland, but the Shakers rejected the Gospel.

On the 19th of June, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, W. W. Phelps, Joseph Coe, A. S. Gilbert and wife started from Kirtland, in accordance with a revelation previously given, for Missouri, going by wagon, canal boats and stages to Cincinnati, and by steamer to St. Louis. Joseph Smith and some others went thence to Independence, Jackson County, Missouri on foot, on land, and the rest went by water, Sidney Rigdon and wife among them, arriving about the middle of July. In August Sidney was appointed by revelation to write a description of the land of Zion, also an epistle to be sent to the different branches of The Church.

On August 2, in accordance with a revelation, Sidney Rigdon consecrated and dedicated the land of Zion for the gathering of the Saints. On the 3rd, the spot for the temple, a little west of Independence, was dedicated in the presence of eight men, among whom were Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge, W. W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and Joseph Coe.

A revelation was given, August 8, directing that Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery take their journy for St. Louis and Cincinnati. The next day, Joseph with ten elders left Independence landing, in sixteen canoes, on the way to Kirtland.

A revelation was given on the 12th, directing Joseph, Sidney and Oliver to travel by land and not on the waters, except on the canal, while returning to their homes. They three were not to preach to the world till they got to Cincinnati. From St. Louis, they took stage for Kirtland, arriving on the 27th.

In a revelation given the same month, after their arrival in Kirtland, Joseph and Sidney were directed to seek them a home, and of Sidney the Lord said:

"And now, behold, verily I say unto you, I the Lord, am not pleased with my servant Sidney Rigdon; he exalteth himself in his heart, and receiveth not counsel, but grieveth the Spirit; wherefore his writing is not acceptable unto the Lord; and he shall make another, and, if the Lord receive it not, behold he standeth no longer in the office unto which I have appointed him."

In October, Joseph and Sidney, having removed to Hiram, Portage County, about thirty miles south-easterly from Kirtland, Joseph recommenced the translation of the scriptures, Sidney acting as scribe. At a conference, October 11, David Whitmer and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed to obtain means for Joseph and Sidney to continue the translation.

On the 3rd of December, as directed by revelation, Joseph and Sidney went to Kirtland, preaching in several other places also.

A revelation was given January 10, 1832, commanding Joseph and Sidney to continue the translation until it was finished. While translating St. John's gospel, on February 16, Joseph and Sidney had a remarkable vision concerning the glories of the celestial, terrestrial and telestial worlds.

In the night of the 25th of March, a party of mobocrats led by Simonds Rider, a Campbellite preacher, seized Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, dragged them out of their houses, abused them shamefully, and tarred and feathered them, that being at the time a favorite method of mobocratic assault and torture. Sidney was dragged out by the heels and injured so much that he became delirious and remained so several days. The mob was composed of various religious parties, mostly Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists, who continued to molest and menace Father John Johnson's house for a long time.

Elder Rigdon and family, who were sick with the measles, removed to Kirtland the following Wednesday, 29th.

Saturday, April 1, on account of the mob, he went to Chardon and joined Joseph at Warren on the 2nd. On the 5th, they left Steubenville by steamboat for Wheeling, Va., going thence by steamer to Louisville and St. Louis, thence by stage to Independence, where they arrived on the 24th. Elder Rigdon preached two powerful discoures while there.

May 6, Joseph, Sidney and N. K. Whitney left Independence by stage, via St. Louis, for Kirtland, where they arrived in June, and Joseph recommenced the translation of the Scriptures, spending most of the summer on that work.

On the 2nd of February, 1833, Joseph completed the translation of the New Testament, in which Sidney Rigdon had assisted him as scribe.

According to revelation given March 8, 1833, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were ordained and set apart March 18 by Joseph Smith, as his counselors in the presidency.

March 23, Sidney set apart Ezra Thayre and Joseph Coe to purchase land in Kirtland on which to build a stake of Zion.

In the spring, Sidney had raised up and was presiding over a branch in Norton Township, Medina County, Ohio.

Having finished the translation of the Scriptures on July 2nd, the first presidency started on preaching tours.

At this time, sectarian missionaries on the frontiers rose up and excited a mobocratic uprising against the Saints in Jackson County, Missouri.

Joseph, Sidney, and Freeman Nickerson left Kirtland, October 5, on a journey eastward and to upper Canada. They preached at several places on the way, returning to Kirtland November 4. After their return, Sidney was afflicted with sore eyes.

In a revelation given October 12, Sidney was called to be a spokesman unto Joseph:

"And it is expedient in me that you, my servant Sidney, should be a spokesman unto this people; yes, verily, I will ordain you unto this calling, even to be a spokesman unto my servant Joseph; and I will give unto him power to be mighty in testimony; and I will give unto thee power to be mighty in expounding all scriptures, that thou mayest be a spokesman unto him, and he shall be a revelator unto thee, that thou mayest know the certainty of all things pertaining to the things of my kingdom on the earth."

Joseph wrote of Sidney Rigdon, November 19, as follows:

"My heart is somewhat sorrowful, but I feel to trust in the Lord, the God of Jacob. I have learned in my travels that man is treacherous and selfish, but few excepted.

"Brother Sidney is a man whom I love, but is not capable of that pure and steadfast love for those who are his benefactors, as should possess the breast of a president of the Church of Christ. This, with some other little things, such as a selfishness and independence of mind, which, too often manifested, destroy the confidence of those who would lay down their lives for him -- but, notwithstanding these things, he is a very great and good man; a man of great power of words, and can gain the friendship of his hearers very quick. He is a man whom God will uphold, if he will continue faithful to his calling. O God, grant that he may, for the Lord's sake. Amen.

"The man who willeth to do well, we should extol his virtues, and speak not of his faults behind his back. A man who wilfully turneth away from his friend without a cause is not easily forgiven. The kindness of a man should never be forgotten. That person who never forsaketh his trust, should ever have the highest place for regard in our hearts, and our love should never fail, but increase more and more, and this is my disposition and sentiment.

"And again, blessed be Brother Sidney, also, notwithstanding he shall be high and lifted up, yet he shall bow down under the yoke like unto an ass that croucheth beneath his burthen, that learneth his master's will by the stroke of the rod; thus saith the Lord; yet the Lord will have mercy on him, and he shall bring forth much fruit, even as the vine of the choice grape, when her clusters are ripe, before the time of the gleaning of the vintage; and the Lord shall make his heart merry as with sweet wine, because of him who putteth forth his hand and lifteth him up out of deep mire, and pointeth him out the way, and guideth his feet when he stumbleth, and humbleth him in his pride. Blessed are his generations; nevertheless one shall hunt after them as a man hunteth after an ass that has strayed in the wilderness, and straightway findeth him and bringeth him into the fold. Thus shall the Lord watch over his generation, that they be saved. Even so. Amen."

In accordance with a revelation given February 24, 1834, Sidney Rigdon and Lyman Wight started soon after on a mission to the country eastward, to preach and to endeavor to get some young and middle aged volunteer brethren to go to Jackson County, Missouri, and assist in the redemption of Zion.

With Joseph Smith and other elders, Sidney and Lyman attended a conference, March 17, at Avon, Livingston County, New York, with this purpose in view, and also to raise means to free the Kirtland Church from debt. Joseph, Sidney and Lyman started back for Kirtland on the 19th, arriving there on the 28th.

On the 18th of April, Joseph, Sidney, Oliver and Zebedee Coltrin left Kirtland for New Portage to hold conference. At Norton they retired to the wilderness and united in prayer for the brethren who were going to the land of Zion. They then laid hands on and blessed each other. Elders Rigdon, Cowdery and Coltrin blessed Joseph.

On the 21st, they attended an important conference when several brethren volunteered to go to Zion and others donated money "for the benefit of the scattered brethren in Zion." On the 22nd, Joseph, Sidney, Oliver and others returned to Kirtland.

Early in May, Joseph left Kirtland for Missouri. Elder Rigdon continued to act in his presidential office at Kirtland. He was also one of the trustees and conductors of the "Kirtland school," wherein penmanship, arithmetic, English grammar and geography were taught during the winter.

At a meeting, March 7, 1835, Sidney was appointed to lay on hands and bestow blessings in the name of the Lord on those who had labored on the Kirtland temple, or who had "consecrated to its upbuilding." Accordingly, many blessings were given that day and the next.

April 3 and 4, Elder Rigdon was presiding at a conference at Freedom, New York.

On the 2nd of May he attended a grand council and conference at Kirtland, and a High Council August 4.

Joseph, Sidney, Oliver, and F. G. Williams, having been appointed a committee, September 24, 1834, to arrange "the items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, for the government of the Church," a General Assembly of the Church was held at Kirtland, August 17, to take into consideration the labors of the committee, which had resulted in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter-day Saints." The book was accepted by unanimous vote of the assembly. Joseph was absent in Michigan, but Oliver and Sidney were in Kirtland and acted as presidents in the assembly.

Joseph, Sidney, and Oliver left Kirtland for New Portage, September 2, to attend a conference, returning on the 8th.

Joseph, Sidney, and several others united in a prayer meeting, October 23, asking the Lord to deliver them out of their afflictions and difficulties caused by debts, to deliver Zion without the shedding of blood, to grant them long life and freedom from mobs, to preserve their posterity, to enable them and others to go to Zion (Western Missouri), and purchase inheritances there without perplexity and trouble, and finally save them in the celestial kingdom.

On November 2, Joseph, Sidney, Oliver and others, went to Willoughby to hear Senator Piexotto lecture on the theory and practice of physic. The next day Joseph assisted in organizing the "Elders' School," and dedicated it at Kirtland.

Various meetings and councils were held on different days, and visitors of more or less note were received, with many of which events Sidney was connected. On Sunday, 8th, in the afternoon meeting, John Smith made some remarks and a proposition concerning the case of Isaac Hill, after which "President Rigdon then arose and very abruptly militated against the sentiment of Uncle John, which had a direct tendency to destroy his influence, and bring him into disrepute in the eyes of the Church, which was not right. He also misrepresented Mr. Hill's case, and spread darkness rather than light upon the subject.

"After I returned home," writes Joseph, "I labored with Uncle John, and convinced him that he was wrong; and he made his confession to my satisfaction. I then went and labored with President Rigdon, and succeeded in convincing him also of his error, which he confessed to my satisfaction."




Vol. III.                               JANUARY, 1900.                               No. 3.

    [pp. 218-227]



On Sunday morning, January 3, 1836, "President Sidney Rigdon delivered a fine discourse on revelation."

In a council at Kirtland, on the 13th, under the hands of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith, several brethren were ordained to the High Priesthood and to be counselors in that stake of Zion. Also Joseph, Sidney, W. W. Phelps, David Whitmer, and Hyrum Smith were appointed to draft rules and regulations to govern the house of the Lord, which was done accordingly, and in a council on the 15th the rules were unanimously accepted. President Rigdon, on his request, was administered to for a severe affliction in his face, which troubled him most at night, probably neuralgia.

On the 16th, Joseph, Sidney and others attended a council of the Twelve, where some unpleasantness caused by harsh expressions, was mollified, and the brethren covenanted to be more regardful of each other's feelings, Joseph stating that he did not countenance harsh language, neither in himself nor any other man.

The next day, Sunday, an excellent meeting was held, the brethren confessing their faults to each other.

At meetings on the 21st and 22nd, at which the Presidency and others were present, the ordinance of anointing with oil and of blessing was attended to, many glorious visions were beheld, and the ministration of angels was enjoyed. On the 28th and 30th, the several quorums of the authorities of The Church met and were set in order. The holy anointing was further attended to and more angelic visions were beheld. A similar meeting was held on the 1st of February.

The next day, in the school house, President Rigdon delivered an animated discourse, chiefly on the scattering and gathering of Israel, and "the Spirit bore record that the Lord was well pleased." During the same month a number of other meetings and councils were held, at which more visions were seen by some of the brethren.

About this time, Joseph, Sidney, and other brethren were engaged in learning Hebrew, under the teaching of Professor Seixas.

On the 25th, President Rigdon's wife was very sick, but after being administered to by Joseph and other brethren she began to recover.

On the 3rd of March, the Presidency and several quorums met to consider certain resolutions concerning licenses, at which time Joseph said, "Equal rights and privileges, is my motto; and one man is as good as another, if he behaves as well; and that all men should be esteemed alike, without regard to distinctions of an official nature." Joseph was nominated as chairman of conference to sign licenses, and Sidney as chairman pro tem.

On the 13th, the Presidency and Twelve decided that they move to Zion (Western Missouri) on or before May 15th, if the way was opened before them.

On the 18th, Sidney preached a fine discourse at the funeral of Susan Johnson.

On the morning of the 27th, in solemn assembly, at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, President Rigdon opened and closed by prayer, and also preached two and a half hours, among other things showing that conflicting sects and parties and diversity of religious sentiment ever had obtained and ever would obtain when people were not led by present revelation.

President F. G. Williams said that while President Rigdon was offering the first prayer, an angel entered the window, took his seat between Father Smith and President Williams, and remained there during the prayer. Many glorious visions were beheld, and Joseph said the temple was filled with angels. He offered the dedicatory prayer. A bright light, like a pillar of fire, rested upon the temple, and the people in the neighborhood "were astonished at what was transpiring."

On the 29th, Joseph, F. G. Williams, Sidney, Hyrum Smith, and Oliver Cowdery met in the most holy place in the Lord's house, and sought for revelation concerning going west. During the meeting, Sidney washed the feet of Joseph Smith, Jr., and his father, also of Hyrum Smith. Joseph washed Sidney's feet, and Hyrum washed David Whitmer's and Oliver Cowdery's. The feet of many other brethren were washed also, on that day and the next.

On the 31st, the temple services were repeated.

In a Council meeting, April 2, Sidney Rigdon and F. G. Williams were appointed a committe to devise means to discharge the debts of the printing company.

On May 27th, Joseph Smith's grand mother, Mary Smith, died. Sidney Rigdon delivered the address at her funeral.

Presidents F. G. Williams and Sidney Rigdon, June 16, presided in a High Council meeting at the trial of Preserved Harris and Isaac McWithy.

On the 25th of July, Joseph, Sidney, Oliver Cowdery, F. G. Williams and Hyrum Smith wrote to W. W. Phelps and others, in Missouri, advising them not to be the first aggressors, but to be wise and prudent, to preserve peace with all, and to stand by the constitution. Also one to John Thornton and others, of Liberty, Clay County, concerning the Missouri troubles.

The same afternoon, Joseph, Sidney, Hyrum Smith, and Oliver Cowdery left Kirtland and in the evening took steamer at Fairport, arriving at Buffalo, N. Y., next evening. Thence they took a line boat for Utica, arriving there on the morning of the 29th, then took rail for Schenectady, on the first passenger car on the new road, being six hours traveling eighty miles, and by rail also to Albany, arriving the same evening. There, next day, they went on the steamer Erie, which had a race with the steamer Rochester, the Erie arriving at New York a few hours ahead. Thence by steamer to Providence, and from there to Boston by rail, arriving at Salem, Mass., early in August. There they hired a house and engaged in preaching and teaching, returning to Kirtland in September.

A conference in the house of the Lord, December 22, was attended by the First Presidency and other authorities of The Church. The subject of the emigration of the poor to Zion, and their settlement there, from the churches abroad, was considered and motions were passed accordingly.

On the 2nd of January, 1837, Sidney Rigdon was chairman at a special meeting of the "Kirtland Safety Society," when the old constitution, adopted November 2, 1836, was annulled and a "preamble and articles of agreement" were adopted of the "Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company."

During the winter, many well attended meetings were held by the different quorums in the house of the Lord. The Kirtland high school was taught in the attic story.

On the 1st of February, the firm of O. Cowdery & Co., was dissolved by mutual consent, and the entire establishment was transferred to Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon, Warren O. Cowdery to act as agent in the printing office and book-bindery and as editor of the Messenger and Advocate.

Preparatory meetings, with washings and anointings, having been had on April 3, 4, and 5, a solemn assembly of official members of The Church was held in the Lord's house, Kirtland, at which Presidents Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery addressed the assembly.

In May, the Messenger and Advocate office and contents were transferred to Wm. Marks, of Portage. Presidents Smith and Rigdon continued the office by power of attorney.

About this time a spirit of speculation crept into the quorums. On or about the 1st of June, the First Presidency set apart Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde to a mission to England, and on the 12th, Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon set apart Willard Richards to that mission.

July 27, Presidents Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and T. B. Marsh left Kirtland for Canada, but Joseph was stopped at Painsville by malicious lawsuits, so all returned to Kirtland. Next day they started again for Ashtabula, thence by steamer for Buffalo, going thence to Toronto, and returning the last of August to Kirtland.

At a conference held at Kirtland, September 3, Joseph Smith was presented as president and Sidney Rigdon and F. G. Williams as his counselors, the three to constitute the First Presidents of The Church. F. G. Williams was not sustained. Other officers were presented and sustained.

On the 10th, in an assembly in the Lord's house, Kirtland, President Rigdon read the rules and regulations of the house of the Lord, as passed January 18, 1836, which were received. Some misunderstandings and incorrect reports were corrected.

September 17, at a conference in the house of the Lord, Kirtland, it was voted that Joseph and Sidney "go and appoint other stakes, or places of gathering." On the 27th, Joseph and Sidney accompanied by William Smith and Vinson Knight, started on that mission, arriving at Terre Haute, Indiana, October 12, and at Far West, Missouri, in the latter part of October, or early in November, and attending a meeting in that place on November 6.

Next day at a general assembly or conference, President Rigdon introduced the business. Joseph Smith was accepted as president, and Sidney Rigdon as one of his counselors. F. G. Williams was objected to and rejected, and Hyrum Smith was chosen as counselor in place of Williams. President Rigdon and congregation called on the Lord to dedicate the land for the gathering of the Saints and for their inheritances.

President Rigdon attended a general meeting at Far West on the 10th, when the subjects of laying off cities, consecrating for public purposes, and the prospectus of the Elders' Journal, were considered. It was also voted that the city of Far West be enlarged to contain four square sections, or two miles square.

In November, Joseph left Far West for Kirtland, arriving there on or about December 10. Sidney was probably with him.

"On the 22nd of December," says Joseph, "Brigham Young left Kirtland in consequence of the fury of the mob, the spirit that prevailed in the apostates who had threatened to destroy him, because he would proclaim publicly and privately that he knew by the power of the Holy Ghost that I was a prophet of the Most High God, that I had not transgressed and fallen as the apostates declared.

"Apostacy, persecution, confusion and mobocracy strove hard to bear rule at Kirtland, and thus closed the year 1837."

Joseph continues: "A new year dawned upon the Church in Kirtland in all the bitterness of the spirit of apostate mobocracy; which continued to rage and grow hotter and hotter, until Elder Rigdon and myself were obliged to flee from its deadly influence, as did the apostles and prophets of old, and as Jesus said, 'when they persecute you in one city, flee to another.' And on the evening of the 12th of January, about 10 o'clock, we left Kirtland on horseback, to escape mob violence, which was about to burst upon us under the color of legal process to cover their hellish designs, and save themselves from the just judgment of the law. We concontinued our travels during the night, and at 8 o'clock on the morning of the 13th, arrived among the brethren in Norton township, Medina county, Ohio, a distance of sixty miles from Kirtland, where we tarried about thirty-six hours, when our families arrived, and on the 16th pursued our journey with our families, in covered wagons, toward the city of Far West, in Missouri, passing through Dayton, Eaton, etc., to Dublin, Indiana, where we tarried nine days and refreshed ourselves.

"The weather was extremely cold, and we were obliged to secret ourselves in our wagons, sometimes to elude the grasp of our pursuers, who continued their race more than two hundred miles from Kirtland, armed with pistols, etc., seeking our lives. They frequently crossed our track, twice they were in the houses where we stopped, once we tarried all night in the same house with them, with only a partition between us and them; and heard their oaths and imprecations and threats concerning us, if they could catch us; and late in the evening they came in our room and examined us, but decided we were not the men. At other times we passed them in the streets, and gazed upon them, and they on us, but they knew us not. One Lyons was one of our pursuers."

At Dublin, Indiana, Joseph and Sidney separated, meeting again at Terre Haute. After resting, they again separated, and continued their journey.

Joseph crossed the Mississippi river at Quincy, Illinois, and arrived at Far West, March 14, being met a hundred and twenty miles on the way by brethren with teams and money and received at Far West with open arms, warm hearts, and great hospitality. Sidney was detained near Paris, Illinois, by sickness in his family, and afterwards at Huntsville, through his wife's ill health. Brigham Young, Daniel S. Miles, and Levi Richards arrived with Joseph at Far West; Sidney and family reached there April 4, having had a tedious journey, and his family having suffered many afflictions."

Joseph and Sidney presided at a meeting in Far West, April 6, "to celebrate the anniversary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," etc. Various officers were appointed.

On the 7th and 8th of April the general authorities of The Church held the first quarterly conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at Far West, which was attended by Presidents Smith and Rigdon.

Early in April, Joseph and Sidney wrote a letter to John Whitmer in consequence of his withholding the records of The Church in the city of Far West, asking him to give up his notes of Church history.

A revelation was given, April 26, through Joseph to the First Presidency and all the officers and members of The Church, concerning Zion and the building of a house of the Lord at Far West, and directing the First Presidency not to get into debt any more for the building of a house to His name, also concerning the appointing and building up of other stakes around there.

On the 28th, Presidents Smith and Rigdon attended the High Council by invitation, and acted as counselors in an appeal case from the branch near Gymon's mill.

For several days the first Presidency were largely engaged in writing Church history, and on May 5th, in writing for the Elders' Journal.

On the 10th, President Rigdon, although suffering from a severe cold and hoarseness, delivered an address at the school house, elucidating the policy of both the Federal and Democratic parties, by which address Joseph said, "I was highly edified."

On the 12th, Presidents Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon attended a meeting of the High Council, concerning their pecuniary affairs, they being very poor. The Council made over to Joseph and Sidney each an eighty-acre lot, and also appointed a committee of three, who agreed that Joseph and Sidney should receive a just remuneration for their services for the year in the printing establishment, and in translating ancient records, etc.

On the 13th, Sidney preached the funeral sermon of Swain Williams, son of F. G. Williams, and on the next day was preparing and correcting matter for the press.

On the 18th, Joseph, Sidney and others left Far West to visit the north country and lay off a stake of Zion, making locations and laying off claims for the gathering of the Saints, the benefit of the poor, etc. They traveled to the mouth of Honey Creek, camping there for the night.

On the 19th, they crossed Grand River, at the mouth of Honey Creek and Nelson's Ferry, then went eighteen miles up Grand River to Lyman Wight's, at the foot of Tower Hill, so named by Joseph because they found there the remains of an old Nephite altar or tower. There they camped. Then Joseph and Sidney went up the river to Wight's Ferry, which the brethren called Spring Hill, but, said Joseph, "by the mouth of the Lord it was named Adam-ondiahman, because," said he, "it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet."

On the evening of Sunday, 20th, they went six miles north and camped. On the 21st, they made some locations, and returned to Robinson's Grove, two miles, to secure some land near Grand River. In council they voted to secure the land between there and Far West, especially on Grand River.

On the 22nd, President Rigdon went east with a company and selected some of the best locations in the country. Next day all traveled east locating lands on Grove Creek and near Adam-ondi-ahman. Joseph and Sidney went to Col. Wight's toward evening.

On the 24th, Sidney and company went to Grove Creek to finish surveying, returning on the 28th to Far West. The company kept surveying, making locations, also building houses, etc., for several days.

A conference was held near Lyman Wight's, Adam-ondi-ahman, on the 28th, and that stake was organized, with John Smith as president, and Reynolds Cahoon and Lyman Wight as counselors. Adam-ondi-ahman is beautifully situated, immediately on the north side of Grand River, Daviess County, Missouri, about twenty-five miles north of Far West.

On the 4th of July, at Far West, there was a fine celebration, with a grand procession. The corner stones of the temple were laid, with much rejoicing, after which an oration was delivered by President Rigdon.

On the 9th, at a conference of the Twelve Apostles, at Far West, President Rigdon gave some counsel concerning provision necessary to be made for the families of the Twelve while laboring away, and advising them to instruct their converts to move promptly to the places of gathering, and strictly attend to the law of God.

On the 10th, Joseph, Sidney, Hyrum, and G. W. Robinson visited Adam-ondi-ahman.

In the latter part of this month, Judge Morin, of Mill Port, informed some brethren that the mob had determined to prevent the "Mormons" from voting at the election on August 6, and thereby elect Colonel William P. Peniston, who led the mob in Clay County. Judge Morin advised the brethren to go prepared for an attack, and stand by their rights. But the brethren hoped better things and paid little heed to his friendly counsel.

On the 26th, the First Presidency, the bishop's court and others held a meeting at Far West, when various financial matters were considered and arranged.

Joseph and Sidney left Far West on the 28th for Adam-ondi-ahman to settle some Canadian brethren, returning on the 30th.

On the 5th of August, Elder Erastus Snow and President Rigdon preached. Several were confirmed, among them F. G. Williams, he having been rebaptized.

On the 6th, the citizens of Caldwell County, assembled at Far West, unanimously recommended Sidney Rigdon for postmaster of that place, W. W. Phelps having resigned.

The citizens of Far West met and unanimously agreed to have a weekly newspaper, Sidney Rigdon to be the editor. It was also voted that a petition be circulated to locate the county seat at Far West. Joseph, Sidney and Hyrum advocated the measure and urged on the brethren to build and live in cities and carry on their farms outside, according to the order of God.

This was the day of election. Toward mid-day, William B. Peniston mounted a barrel, harangued the electors, exciting them against the "Mormons," who, he said, were horse-thieves, liars, counterfeits, etc., boasting that he headed the mob to drive them out of Clay County and "would not prevent them being mobbed now." Soon quarreling, fighting and mobbing commenced. The county authorities said it was a premeditated thing to prevent the "Mormons" from voting. The mob collected with guns, knives, etc. The brethren of Far West hid their wives and children in a hazel bush thicket, and stood sentry over them during the night in the rain.

On the 7th, reports came that two or three of the brethren had been killed at Gallatin, and others prevented from voting, and that a majarity of the Daviess County people were determined to drive the Saints from the county. Joseph, Sidney, Hyrum Smith and fifteen or twenty others started for Gallatin, to assist the brethren there, reaching Colonel Wight's that night, and learned that none of the brethren had been killed, but several were badly wounded.

On the 8th, several citizens of Mill Port called, and it was agreed to have a meeting next day with some of the principal men of the county at Adam-ondi-ahman, at which a peaceable agreement was come to between the two parties. Joseph and his companions returned to Far West that night, 9th.

On the morning of the 11th, Joseph and council and Almon W. Babbit left Far West to visit the brethren on the Forks of Grand River, who had come from Canada with Elder Babbit and had settled there, contrary to counsel. Joseph and council returned to Far West on the 13th, and were chased ten or twelve miles by evidesigning men, but eluded their grasp. When eight miles from home, Joseph and council were met by some brethren who said a writ had been issued by Judge King for his arrest and that of Lyman Wight, for attempting to defend their rights. The spirit of mobocracy continued to stalk abroad, notwithstanding all treaties of peace.

On the 1st of September, the First Presidency, with Judge Higbee as surveyor, went north fourteen or fifteen miles, and appointed a place for a city, and the brethren were instructed to gather immediately into it. The presidency returned to Far West by evening.

There was great excitement at this time among the Missourians. All of upper Missouri was in uproar and confusion. The mob was collecting all around, saying they meant to drive the "Mormons" from Daviess County, as had been done from Jackson County.

On the 2nd, Joseph sent for General Atichison, of Liberty, Clay County, to see if he could not put a stop to the collection of people and to hostilities in Daviess County. The General arrived at Far West the next day.

On the 4th, General Atchison was consulted with, who said he would do all in his power to disperse the mob. Generals Atchison and Doniphan (partners) were engaged as lawyers and counselors-at-law, to defend the brethren. The same day Joseph and Sidney commenced the study of law under the instruction of Generals Atchison and Doniphan.

The result of the council with Generals Atchison and Doniphan was that Joseph and Colonel Wight volunteer to be tried by Judge King. Accordingly on the 7th, the trial commenced, William P. Peniston, the mobocrat being the prosecutor. The result, although there was no proof of crime, was that Joseph and Colonel Wight were held in five-hundred-dollar bonds.

On the 2nd of October, Joseph, Sidney, Hyrum, Isaac Morley, and G. W. Robinson met the camp of emigrants about five hundred miles from Kirtland -- about eight hundred and eighty-six miles the way they traveled -- and escorted them into Far West. President Rigdon provided supper for the sick. Other brethren provided for the rest.

On the 3rd, Joseph, Sidney, Hyrum, and Brigham Young went with the emigrants a mile or two and then returned to Far West.

On the 24th, Thomas B. Marsh, formerly President of the Twelve, having apostatized since the conference, went to Richmond, and made affidavit before Henry Jacobs, justice of the peace, to vile calumnies, lies and slanders against Joseph and the Church.

On the 31st, Colonel Hinkle, commanding the Caldwell Militia, Far West, made an unauthorized agreement with the State Militia, or rather mob leaders, to give up the Church leaders to be tried and punished. Colonel Hinkle and the officers of the governor's troops then waited upon Joseph Smith, and invited him to go into the camp for an interview; accordingly Joseph, hoping to settle the difficulties without the enforcing of Governor Boggs' exterminating order, accompanied by Sidney, P. P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson, went into the camp, when they were taken as prisoners of war, and treated with contempt, insult, taunts and sneers, and in the evening had to lie on the cold ground.

On the first of November, Hyrum Smith and Amasa Lyman were brought prisoners into camp, a court martial was held, and the prisoners were sentenced to be shot the next morning on the public square as an ensample to the "Mormons." General Doniphan said he would have nothing to do with such cold-blooded murder, and he would withdraw his forces. General Atchison withdrew when Governor Bogg's exterminating order was received.

The militia then went into Far West, abused the inhabitants, and plundered their houses at pleasure. Eighty more men were taken prisoners, the remainder being ordered to leave and disperse on pain of death.

On the 2nd, the martial law sentence not having been carried out, Joseph, Sidney, Hyrum, P. P. Pratt, Amasa Lyman, and George W. Robinson were taken from Far West, by the governor's troops, on the way to Independence, arriving there on Sunday, 4th.

On the 6th, fifty-six more brethren were also made prisoners by General Clark at Far West, and started off for Richmond next day.

On the 8th, Joseph, Sidney and the prisoners at Independence were started off for Richmond, arriving there on the 9th, where they were hand-cuffed and chained two together. While there in charge of Colonel Price, all manner of abuse was heaped upon them.

On the 13th, Joseph, Sidney, and a number of others were placed at the bar of the court, Austin A. King, a Methodist, presiding as judge, The examination continued till Saturday, 24th, when several were acquitted. The remaining prisoners were released or bailed on the 18th. except Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, Hyrum Smith, and Alexander McRae, who were held on the charge of treason and murder. Also P. P. Pratt and some others were sent to Richmond jail on similar charges. Those who were to go to Liberty jail were taken there about the end of the month, where they were closely confined and all personal communication with friends was cut off.

About this time, W. G. McClellan, Burr Riggs, and others, plundered the houses of Sidney Rigdon and other brethren under pretense or color of law, or order from General Clark.

Said Joseph: "Thus, in a land of liberty, in the town of Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, I and my fellow prisoners, in chains, dungeons and jail, saw the close of 1838."




Vol. III.                               FEBRUARY, 1900.                               No. 4.

    [pp. 265-273]



With the new year Joseph Smith, in Liberty jail, wrote: "Tuesday, January 1, 1839, dawned upon us as prisoners of hope, but not as sons of liberty. O Columbia, Columbia! how thou art fallen! 'The land of the free, the home of the brave!' 'The asylum of the oppressed' -- oppressing thy noblest sons, in a loathsome dungeon, without any provocation, only that they have claimed to worship the God of their fathers according to his own word, and the dictates of their own consciences. Elder P. P. Pratt and his companions in tribulation were still held in bondage in their doleful prison in Richmond."

On the 23rd of February, Joseph and his fellow prisoners demanded a writ of habeas corpus of Judge Turnham, one of the county judges, which was reluctantly granted. The consequent investigation resulted in the release of Sidney Rigdon. The rest of the prisoners were recommitted to jail, Sidney returned there for a favorable opportunity of leaving, as threats were abundant that the prisoners should never get out of the country alive. Sidney was let out of the jail secretly at night, through the friendship of the sheriff and the jailor, "after having declared in prison that the sufferings of Jesus Christ were a fool to his," from which it appears that Sidney's sufferings, of the body and mind together, were almost more than he could bear. According to Lyman Wight's testimony, when the brethren were taken before the militia mob and treacherously surrendered by Colonel Hinkle, "Sidney Rigdon, who was of a delicate constitution, received a slight shock of apoplectic fits, which excited great laughter and much ridicule in the guard and mob-militia. Thus the prisoners spent a doleful night in the midst of a prejudiced and diabolical community." Sidney was solemnly warned by his releasers to get out of the state with as little delay as possible. He was pursued by a body of armed men, but he arrived safely at Quincy, Illinois.

On the 26th, Isaac Galland, of Commerce, Illinois, wrote to D. W. Rogers that he would be pleased to have Mr. Rigdon or some other leading members of The Church go and examine some land for settlement.

The Democratic association and the citizens of Quincy generally had a sympathetic meeting on the 27th. A committee reported having met Mr. Rigdon and others, who gave a condensed statement of the facts concerning the situation of the Saints in Missouri and around, and resolutions were passed to assist them in various ways. Sidney Rigdon made to the meeting a statement of the wrongs suffered by the "Mormons" in Missouri and of their present suffering condition.

In the latter part of February President Rigdon, Judge Higbee, Israel Barlow, and Edward Partridge went to see Dr. Galland about some land, and concluded it would not be wise to make a trade with him then.

A brother Lee, who had lived near Haun's Mill, died opposite Quincy, and President Rigdon preached his funeral sermon in the court house.

At a meeting, March 9, in Quincy, President Rigdon, Elder Green, Judge Higbee, Brother Benson, and Israel Barlow were appointed a committee to visit and select certain lands in Iowa Territory.

On the 10th of April, Sidney wrote from Quincy to Joseph in the following strain:

We wish you to know that our friendship is unabating, and our exertions for your delivery, and that of The Church, unceasing. For this purpose we have labored to secure the friendship of the governor of this state, with all the principal men in this place. In this we have succeeded beyond our highest anticipations. Governor Carlin assured us last evening, that he would lay our case before the legislature of this state, and have the action of that body upon it; and he would use all his influence to have an action which should be favorable to our people. He is also getting papers prepared signed by all the noted men in this part of the country, to give us a favorable reception at Washington, whither we shall repair forthwith, after having visited the Governor of Iowa, of whose friendship we have the strongest testimonies. We leave Quincy this day to visit him. Our plan of operation is to impeach the state of Missouri on an item of the Constitution of the United States, that the general government shall give to each state a republican form of government. Such a form of government does not exist in Missouri, and we can prove it.

Governor Carlin and his lady enter with all the enthusiasm of their natures into this work, having no doubt that we can accomplish this object.

Our plan of operation in this work is to get all the governors, in their next messages, to have the subject brought before the legislatures, and we will have a man at the capital of each state to furnish them with the testimony on the subject; and we design to be at Washington to wait upon Congress and have the action of that body on it also; all this going on at the same time, and have the action of the whole during one session.

Brother G. W. Robinson will be engaged all the time between this and the next sitting of the legislatures, in taking affidavits, and preparing for the tug of war; while we will be going from state to state, visiting the respective governors, to get the case mentioned in their messages to the legislatures, so as to have the whole going on at once. You will see by this that our time is engrossed to overflowing.

A. Ripley also wrote to the brethren in jail in Missouri:

President Rigdon is wielding a mighty shaft against the whole kidney of foul calumniators and mobocrats of Missouri. Yesterday he spent a part of the day with Governor Carlin of this State. The president told him that he was informed that Governor Boggs was calculating to take out a bench warrant for himself and others, and then make a demand of his exellency for them to be given up, to be taken back to Missouri for trial; and he was assured by that noble minded hero, that if Mr. Boggs undertook that thing, he would get himself insulted. He also assured him that the people called "Mormons" should find a permanent protection in this state. He also solicited our people, one and all to settle in this state; and if there could be a tract of country that would suit our convenience, he would use his influence for Congress to make a grant of it to us, to redress our wrongs, and make up our losses.

After having been prisoners about six months, Joseph and other brethren escaped from Liberty jail, on the 16th, while the guards were drunk. The prisoners took this step because of the prevalent and continued reckless threats of murder, and that the prisoners should never leave there alive.

At this time Elias Higbee said he was living on the Big-Neck prairie, on the same farm with Sidney Rigdon.

The last of the Saints left Far West on the 20th.

After suffering much fatigue and hunger, Joseph arrived at Quincy on the 22nd. He said that before leaving Missouri, he had paid there about fifty thousand dollars, in cash and property, as lawyers' fees, "for which," says he, "I received very little in return; for sometimes they were afraid to act on account of the mob, and sometimes they were so drunk as to incapacitate them for business. But there were a few honorable exceptions."

The same day Governor Lucas wrote to "Dr. Sidney Rigdon," sympathizing with the Saints, and also wrote to Governor Shannon, of Ohio, and Martin Van Buren, President of the United States, introducing and recommending Sidney Rigdon to them, to solicit an investigation by the government, into the causes that led to the expulsion of the people called "Mormons" from the state of Missouri.

Joseph Smith and committee, on the 1st of May, bought a farm of Dr. Isaac Galland, which was to have been deeded to Alanson Ripley, but Sidney Rigdon declared that "no committee should control any property which he had anything to do with." Consequently, it was deeded to George W. Robinson, Rigdon's son-in-law, "with the express understanding that he should deed it to The Church when The Church had paid for it according to their obligation in the contract."

A general conference was held at the Presbyterian camp ground, near Quincy, May 4 and 5, at which President Joseph Smith was chairman, and President Sidney Rigdon, then residing at Commerce, was present. On the 5th, Sidney was appointed by the conference a delegate to the city of Washington, D. C., to lay the case of the Saints before the general government. Eight prominent citizens of Quincy signed a letter, on the 8th, introducing "Rev. Sidney Rigdon" to the president of the United States, and to the heads of departments, etc. Samuel Leech also, on the 10th, gave Sidney a sympathetic letter of recommendation.

The same day Joseph Smith and family arrived and took up their residence in a small log house at the White Purchase, about a mile south of Commerce.

On the 17th, Sidney, Joseph and Hyrum wrote to the Quincy Whig, disclaiming for themselves and the Latter-day Saints certain offensive political partisan sentiments, emanating from Lyman Wight and published in that paper. Also on the 25th, they wrote to Elder R. B. Thompson on the same subject.

Joseph, Sidney and Hyrum, and Bishops Whitney and Knight went across the river, July 2, and visited a land purchase made by Bishop Knight as a location for a town, and advised that a town be built there, to be called Zarahemla.

At a public meeting on Sunday, 7th, Sidney Rigdon and others addressed the audience. Farewell addresses were also given by members of the twelve who were going on missions.

At a conference on Sunday, October 6, Judge Higbee was appointed to accompany Presidents Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon to Washington.

The Nauvoo high council, on the 28th, voted to sign recommendations for Joseph, Sidney, and Elias Higbee, "delegates for The Church, to importune the president and Congress of the United States for redress," of the grievances of the Saints in Missouri. Next day, (29th) the brethren accompanied by O. P. Rockwell, left Nauvoo in a two-horse carriage, for the city of Washington, arriving at Quincy on the 30th. Elder Rigdon was sick on the 31st. On November 1, he was administered to by Dr. Robert D. Foster, who joined the brethren and accompanied them. They arrived at Springfield on the 4th and left on the 8th, Elder Rigdon's health continuing poor and Dr. Foster continuing to accompany and attend to him.

They arrived at Kirtland on the 10th. Elder Rigdon's health remained so poor, the roads were so bad, the time was fast spending, and it being necessary for the committee to be in Washington, Joseph Smith and Judge Higbee started by stage on the most expeditious route to that city, leaving Rockwell, Rigdon and Foster to follow at their leisure in the carriage. Joseph and Higbee arrived at Washington November 28th. They saw President Martin Van Buren the next day.

Sidney and others were near Washington, Pennsylvania, on the 29th.

Rockwell and Higbee arrived at Philadelphia about December 23, with Joseph's carriage, having left Sidney sick at Washington, Pennsylvania, with Dr. Foster to take care of him. Sidney and Dr. Foster arrived at Philadelphia about the 14th of January, 1840.

About the last of January, having been on a visit to Philadelphia and vicinity, Joseph, O. P. Rockwell, Higbee, and Foster left that city by railway, for Washington, D. C., Joseph's carriage having been sold, and Rigdon being left sick at Philadelphia. He does not appear to have visited Washington, but tarried in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Joseph had an interview with President Van Buren, who treated him very insolently, saying, "Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you;" and, "If I take up for you, I shall lose the vote of Missouri." Mr. John C. Calhoun also treated Joseph badly. The Prophet left Washington early in February, satisfied that there was little use to stay longer. Leaving Judge Higbee there, Joseph returned by railroad with O. P. Rockwell and Dr. Foster to Dayton, Ohio. Joseph arrived at Nauvoo, March 4, after a wearisome journey on horseback, through snow and mud. Of his visit to the national capital he says, "When I went to the White House at Washington, and presented letters of introduction from Thomas Carlin, governor of Illinois, to Martin Van Buren, he looked at them very contemptuously, and said, 'Governor Carlin! Governor Carlin! Who's Governor Carlin? Governor Carlin's nobody."' Also speaking of his experience there, Joseph further says, "Having witnessed many vexatious movements in government officers, whose sole object should be the peace and prosperity and happiness of the whole people; but instead of this, I discovered that popular clamor and personal aggrandizement were the ruling principles of those in authority, and my heart faints within me when I see, by the visions of the Almighty, the end of this nation, if she continues to disregard the cries and petitions of her virtuous citizens, as she has done, and is now doing.

"On my way home I did not fail to proclaim the iniquity and insolence of Martin Van Buren, towards myself and injured people, which will have its effect upon the public mind; and may he never be elected again to any office of trust or power, by which he may abuse the innocent and let the guilty go free."

March 17, Horace R. Hotchkiss, of Fair Haven, wrote to "Reverends Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr.," sympathizing with them and with Judge Higbee, and inviting them to take up their quarters at his house if they went so far east.

Judge Higbee said the committee on judiciary reported adversely on the memorial.

April 3, Sidney, wrote, from New Jersey, to Joseph that his health was slowly improving.

In conference at Nauvoo, April 8, Joseph, Sidney and Elias Higbee were thanked by resolution for "the prompt and efficient manner in which they had discharged their duty," and were requested to continue to use their endeavors to obtain redress for a suffering people. At the conference, F.G. Williams was forgiven and received back into fellowship.

Early in April, Richard M. Young had received from Sidney Rigdon a petition for the appointment of Geo. W. Robinson as postmaster at Commerce, and had the name changed to Nauvoo.

At a meeting of the citizens of Nauvoo, July 13, Isaac Galland, Rebert B. Thompson, Sidney Rigdon and Daniel H. Wells, as a committee, presented resolutions and a memorial to Governor Carlin, concerning the attempts of Missourians to kidnap and abduct "Mormons" from Illinois.

On the 25th, 27th and 30th, and Aug. 15, John C. Bennett, M.D. and Quarter Master General of the state of Illinois, wrote sympathetically to "Reverends Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr:"

Early in September, Governor Boggs, of Missouri, having made a demand upon Governor Carlin, of Illinois, for Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, P.P. Pratt, Caleb Baldwin and Alanson Brown, as fugitives from justice, Governor Carlin issued an order for their apprehension, but the sheriff could not find them.

On the 15th, President Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith issued a "proclamation to the Saints scattered abroad," stating the condition of the Church-and urging emigration to Nauvoo and vicinity and assisting in building the city and temple.

Probably Sidney Rigdon had become tired of the mobocratic spirit of the Western states and entertained a desire to live in the Eastern states, for, on the 19th of January, 1841, Joseph received a revelation, in which the following occurs:

And again, verily I say unto you, if my servant Sidney will serve me, and be counselor unto my servant Joseph, let him rise and come up, and stand in the office of his calling, and humble himself before me; and if he will offer unto me an acceptable offering, and acknowledgments, and remain with my people, behold, I the Lord your God will heal him that he shall be healed; and he shall lift up his voice again on the mountains, and be a spokesman before my face. Let him come and locate his family in the neighborhood in which my servant Joseph resides, and in all his journeyings let him lift up his voice as with the sound of a trump, and warn the inhabitants of the earth to flee the wrath to come; let him assist my servant Joseph.

If my servant Sidney will do my will, let him not remove his family unto the eastern lands, but let him change their habitation, even as I have said. Behold, it is not my will that he shall seek to find safety and refuge out of the city which I have appointed unto you, even the city of Nauvoo. Verily I say unto you, even now, if he hearken to my voice, it shall be well with him. Even so. Amen.

I give unto him, Joseph, for counselors, my servant Sidney Rigdon, and my servant William Law, that these may constitute a quorum and First Presidency, to receive the oracles for the whole Church.

Sidney Rigdon was elected a member of the Nauvoo city council, February 1.

By an ordinance of the city council, dated February 3, Sidney was made a member of the board of trustees of the "University of the City of Nauvoo."

By an act of the Illinois legislature, approved February 27, Sidney was appointed one of the incorporators of "the Nauvoo Agricultural and manufacturing Association."

President Sidney Rigdon delivered an address at the laying of the corner-stones of the Nauvoo Temple, April 6.

At the conference next day, in consequence of his weakness, resulting from his labors of the day before, he called on John C. Bennett to officiate in his place. Consequently, on the 8th, John C. Bennett was presented, with the First Presidency, as Assistant President until President Rigdon's health should be restored. President Rigdon delivered a discourse, in the afternoon of the same day, of "Baptism for the Dead," followed by President Joseph Smith on the same subject.

On Sunday, 11th, President Rigdon spoke on "Baptism for the Remission of Sins."

On Sunday, June 1, President Joseph Smith says, "Elder Sidney Rigdon has been ordained a prophet, seer and revelator."

Early this month Joseph said, "The newspapers of the United States are teeming with all manner of lies, abusing the Saints of the Most High, and striving to call down the wrath of the people upon his servants." How much like the condition of things now, at the junction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries!




Vol. III.                               MARCH, 1900.                               No. 5.

    [pp. 218-227]



On Sunday, July 25, 1841, Elder Sidney Rigdon preached a general funeral sermon, designed to comfort and instruct the Saints, especially those who had been called to mourn the loss of relatives and friends. He was followed by President Joseph Smith, illustrating the subject of the resurrection.

At a special conference at Nauvoo, August 16, President Rigdon made some "appropriate remarks on speculation," and on November 1, he resigned his seat in the city council, on account of ill health. Joseph baptized Sidney in the font in behalf of his parents, December 28.

On the 12th of May, 1842, Joseph dictated a letter to Sidney, "concerning certain difficulties or surmises which existed." The next day Joseph received a letter in reply. In the evening, Joseph, accompanied by Elder Willard Richards, had an interview with Elder Rigdon, at the post office, "concerning certain evil reports, put in circulation by Francis M. Higbee, about some of Elder Rigdon's family and others; much apparent satisfaction was manifested at the conversation by Elder Rigdon."

In the Nauvoo Wasp of July 23, Sidney Rigdon says: "As there seems to be some foolish notions that I have been engaged with J.C. Bennett, in the difficulties between him and some of the citizens of this place, I merely say in reply to such idle and vain reports that they are without foundation in truth."

Elder Rigdon called Elder William Clayton into his office, October 5, and told him that Judge Douglass had said, at Carthage, that he had ascertained that Governor Carlin had intentionally issued an illegal writ to get Joseph to Carthage, where he might be acquitted by habeas corpus before Judge Douglass, and then be arrested by a legal writ, as soon as released under the illegal one, and be seized by waiting emissaries and borne away to Missouri, without further ceremony.

On the 7th, Elder Elias Higbee stated similar things, and that he had heard that many Missourians were going into Illinois, to endeavor to take Joseph. On hearing these things, Joseph said, "It is more and more evident that Carlin is determined to have me taken to Missouri, if he can."

In answer to a letter of the 17th, Justin Butterfield, on the 20th, wrote from Chicago to Sidney Rigdon upon the illegality of the requsition made by the Governor of Missouri upon the Governor of Illinois for the surrender of Joseph Smith, on the charge of being an accessory to the shooting of Governor Boggs. Mr. Butterfield said he had no doubt that the supreme court of Illinois would discharge Joseph upon habeas corpus.

In a letter to Horace R. Hotchkiss, Esq., November 26, Joseph wrote:

In regard to your having written to me some few weeks ago, I will observe that I have received no communication from you for some months back. If you wrote to me, the letter has been broken open and detained, no doubt, as has been the case with a great quantity of letters from my friends of late, and especially within the last three months.

Few if any letters for me can get through the post office in this place, and more particularly letters containing money, and matters of much importance. I am satisfied that S. Rigdon and others connected with him have been the means of doing incalculable injury, not only to myself, but to the citizens in general; and, sir, under such a state of things, you will have some idea of the difficulties I have to encounter, and the censure I have to bear through the unjust conduct of that man and others, whom he permits to interfere with the post office business. Having said so much I must close for the present.

Concerning going to Missouri, Joseph said, December 28:

Let the government of Missouri redress the wrongs she has done to the Saints, or let the curse follow them from generation to generation until they do. When I was going up to Missouri, in company with Elder Rigdon and our families, on an extremely cold day, to go forward was fourteen miles to a house, and backward nearly as far.

We applied to all the taverns for admission in vain; we were "Mormons," and could not be received. Such was the extreme cold that in one hour we must have perished. We pleaded for our women and children in vain. We counseled together, and the brethren agreed to stand by me, and we concluded that we might as well die fighting as freeze to death.

I went into a tavern and plead our cause to get admission. The landlord said he could not keep us for love or money. I told him we must and would stay, let the consequence be what it might; for we must stay or perish. The landlord replied, "We have heard the Mormons are very bad people; and the inhabitants of Paris have combined not to have anything to do with them, or you might stay." I said to him, "We will stay; but no thanks to you. I have men enough to take the town; and if we must freeze, we will freeze by the burning of these houses." The taverns were then opened, and we were accommodated, and received many apologies in the morning from the inhabitants for their abusive treatment.

John C. Bennett wrote to Sidney Rigdon and Orson Pratt, from Springfield, Illinois, January 10, 1843, showing that he (Bennett) was endeavoring to have Joseph rearrested and taken to Missouri. In connection with this circumstance Joseph said, "I would just remark, that I am not at all indebted to Rigdon for this letter, but to Orson Pratt, who, after he had read it, immediately brought it to me."

There was a time of rejoicing and congratulation on the release of Joseph from arrest at Carthage; and on the 18th, concerning a party at his house, he says:

I then read John C. Bennett's letter to Mr. Sidney Rigdon and Orson Pratt, of the 10th inst, and told them that Mr. Pratt showed me the letter. Mr. Rigdon did not want to have it known that he had any hand in showing the letter, but wanted to keep it a secret, as though he were holding a private correspondence with Bennett; but as soon as Mr. Pratt got the letter, he brought it to me, which proves that Mr. Pratt had no correspondence with Bennett, and had no fellowship for his works of darkness.

Joseph says, February 11: "This day had an interview with Elder Rigdon and his family, they expressed a willingness to be saved; good feelings prevailed, and we again shook hands together." The same day Sidney Rigdon was elected city attorney. On the 13th, he "gave a brief history of our second visit to Jackson County, Missouri." Joseph also received a letter from Sidney about William H. Rollison wanting to get the Nauvoo post office, and inclosing petition in opposition to Rollison. Sidney Rigdon, postmaster, wrote to Alfred Edward Stokes, on the 19th, deprecating and denying the many false stories circulated concerning the Saints.

Sidney Rigdon's physical constitution appeared to have been not very strong, and his sufferings in Kirtland and Missouri from the mobs evidently had somewhat weakened his mind as well as his body. Although Joseph thought much of him and was ever kindly disposed towards him, yet, at times at least, Joseph evidently could not place full confidence in him. Nor could some other brethren. Consequently, on March 27, Joseph wrote to him as follows:

DEAR SIR: -- It is with sensations of deep regret and poignant grief that I dictate a few lines to you this morning, to let you know what my feelings are in relation to yourself, as it is against my principles to act the part of a hypocrite or to dissemble in anywise whatever with any man. I have tried for a long time to smother my feelings and not let you know that I thought you were secretly and underhandedly doing all you could to take advantage of and injure me; but whether my feelings are right or wrong, remains for eternity to reveal.

I cannot any longer forbear throwing off the mask and letting you know of the secret wranglings of my heart, that you may not be deceived in relation to them, and that you may be prepared, sir, to take whatever course you see proper in the premises.

I am, sir, honest, when I say that I believe and am laboring under the fullest convictions that you are actually practicing deception and wickedness against me and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and that you are in connection with John C. Bennett and George W. Robinson in the whole of their abominable practices, in seeking to destroy me and this people; and that Jared Carter is as deep in the mud as you, sir, are in the mire, in your conspiracies; and that you are in the exercise of a traitorous spirit against our lives and interests, by combining with our enemies and the murderous Missourians. My feelings, sir, have been wrought upon to a very great extent, in relation to yourself, ever since soon after the first appearance of John C. Bennett in this place. There has been something dark and mysterious hovering over our business concerns, that are not only palpable but altogether unaccountable, in relation to the post office. And, sir, from the very first of the pretentions of John C. Bennett to secure to me the post office, (which by-the-bye, I have never desired, if I could have justice done me in that department, without my occupancy,) I have known, sir, that it was a fraud practiced upon me, and of the secret plottings and connivings between him and yourself in relation to the matter the whole time, as well as many other things which I have kept locked up in my own bosom. But I am constrained, at this time, to make known my feelings to you.

I do not write this with the intention of insulting you, or of bearing down upon you or with a desire to take any advantage of you, or with the intention of laying one straw in your way detrimental to your character or influence, or to suffer anything whatever that has taken place, which is within my observation or that has come to my knowledge to go abroad, betraying any confidence that has ever been placed in me. But I do assure you, most sincerely, that what I have said I verily believe; and this is the reason why I have said it-that you may know the real convictions of my heart, not because I have any malice or hatred, neither would I injure one hair of your head; and I will assure you that these convictions are attended with the deepest sorrow.

I wish to God it were not so, and that I could get rid of the achings of my heart on that subject; and I now notify you that unless something should take place to restore my mind to its former confidence in you, by some acknowledgments on your part, or some explanations that shall do away my jealousies, I must, as a conscientious man, publish my withdrawal of my fellowship from you to The Church, through the medium of the Times and Seasons, and demand of the conference a hearing concerning your case; that on conviction of justifiable grounds, they will demand your license. I could say much more, but let the above suffice for the present.

Yours, in haste,


Sidney answered Joseph's letter the same day, expressing surprise at its contents. He denied having any collusion with John C. Bennett, or others, or giving him any countenance in regard to the post office, or any other troubles. Bennett had threatened Sidney if he did not cease aiding Joseph, and had made a violent attack upon him (Sidney) in a speech at St. Louis. Sidney's letter is too lengthy for insertion here. In it he said: "Now, on the broad scale, I can assert in truth, that with myself and any other person on this globe there never was nor is there now existing anything privately or publicly to injure your character in any respect whatever; neither has any person spoken to me on any such subject. All that has ever been said by me has been said to your face, all of which you know as well as I."

"I do consider it a matter of just offense to me to hear about Bennett's assisting me to office. I shall have a lower opinion of myself than I now have when I think I need his assistance."

At the general conference, April 6, on the floor of the Temple, Nauvoo, when Elder Rigdon's name was presented as counselor to President Smith, Elder Rigdon said the last time he attended conference was at the laying of the corner stones of the temple. He had had poor health since, and had been connected with most forbidding circumstances, resulting in "some feelings." He had never had a doubt of the work. He had told his family to guard against that fellow, Bennett, for some time he would attempt to make a rupture among the people. Elder Rigdon had just received a threatening letter from Bennett to the effect that if he (Rigdon) did not change his course, he should feel the force of Bennett's power. As he (Rigdon) had an increase of health and strength, he desired to serve the Church in any way possible.

Dimick B. Huntington asked what he meant when he said Bennett was a good man, and when he called him a perfect gentleman. Elder Rigdon said he did not recollect it, and Dimick must have been mistaken. Dimick said he knew he was not.

The vote to sustain Rigdon was put and carried unanimously.

At the conference the next day (7th), while the choir was singing, President Joseph Smith remarked to Elder Rigdon, "This day is a millennium within these walls, for there is nothing but peace," showing that Joseph was inclined to accept Rigdon's professions. But that condition did not last long.

Joseph said on Thursday, April 20, "Elder Rigdon received a letter last Sunday, informing him that the Nauvoo post office was abolished. He foolishly supposed it genuine, neglected his duty, and started for Carthage to learn more about it, but was met by Mr. Hamilton, an old mail contractor, who satisfied him it was a hoax; and he returned home, and the mail arrived as usual today."

On the 9th of May, Joseph, Sidney, P. P. Pratt, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and about a hundred others, gentlemen and ladies, took a trip on the Maid of Iowa, on the Mississippi River.

On the 1st of July, on investigation of writ of habeas corpus, in the municipal court of Nauvoo, in the case of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon gave lengthy testimony concerning the Missouri troubles. On the same day, Sidney acted as moderator at a public meeting of the citizens of Nauvoo in the Assembly Hall, "in relation to the late arrest of General Joseph Smith."

On Sunday afternoon, August 13, at the stand, President Joseph Smith made the following remarks:

"We have had certain traders in this city, who have been writing falsehoods to Missouri; and there is a certain man in this city who has made a covenant to betray and give me up to the Missourians, and that, too, before Governor Carlin commenced his persecutions. That man is no other than Sidney Rigdon. This testimony I have from gentlemen from abroad, whose names I do not wish to give.

"I most solemnly proclaim the withdrawal of my fellowship from this man, on condition that the foregoing be true; and let the Saints proclaim abroad, that he may no longer be acknowledged as my Counsellor; and all who feel to sanction my proceedings and views will manifest it by uplifted hands.

"There was unanimous vote that Sidney Rigdon be disfellowshiped, and his license demanded."

At the stand, on Sunday, 20th, Sidney Rigdon read a copy of a letter, to show the people that he was not guilty of treachery.

On Sunday morning, 27th at the stand, Joseph said: "Two weeks ago today, something was said about Elder Sidney Rigdon, and a vote was taken to disfellowship him, and to demand his license on account of a report brought by Elder Hyde from Quincy." He then read a letter from Thomas Carlin to Sidney Rigdon in answer to one from him. The nature of Carlin's letter was to shield Sidney from imputations of unfaithfulness to Joseph, who then said, "The letter is one of the most evasive things, and carries with it a design to hide the truth."

At conference, October 7, "Elder Sidney Rigdon addressed the conference on the subject of his situation and circumstances among the Saints. President Joseph Smith addressed the conference, inviting an expression of any charges or complaints which the conference had to make. He stated his dissatisfaction with Elder Sidney Rigdon as a counselor, not having received any material benefit from his labors or counsels since their escape from Missouri. Several complaints were then brought forward in reference to his management in the post office; a supposed correspondence and connection with John C. Bennett, with ex-Governor Carlin, and with the Missourians, of a treacherous character; also his leaguing with dishonest persons in endeavoring to defraud the innocent. President Joseph Smith related to the conference the detention of documents from Justin Butterfield, Esq., which were designed for the benefit of himself (President Smith), but were not handed over for some three or four weeks, greatly to his disadvantage; also, an indirect testimony from Missouri, through the mother of Orin P. Rockwell, that said Rigdon and others had given information, by letter, of President Smith's visit to Dixon, advising them to proceed to that place and arrest him there. He stated that, in consequence of those and other circumstances, and his unprofitableness to him as a counselor, he did not wish to retain him in that station, unless those difficulties could be removed; but desired his salvation, and expressed his willingness that he should retain a place among the Saints. Elder Sidney Rigdon pleaded, concerning the document from Justin Butterfield, Esq., that he received it in answer to some inquiries which he had transmitted to him; that he received it at a time when he was sick, and unable to examine it; did not know that it was designed for the perusal and benefit of President Joseph Smith; that he had consequently, ordered it to be laid aside, where it remained until inquired for by Joseph Smith. He had never written to Missouri concerning the visit of Joseph Smith to Dixon, and knew of no other person having done so. That concerning certain rumors of belligerent operations under Governor Carlin's administration, he had related them, not to alarm or disturb any one; but that he had the rumors from good authorities, and supposed them well founded. That he had never received but one communication from John C. Bennett, and that of a business character, except one addressed to him conjointly with Elder Orson Pratt, which he handed over to President Smith. That he had never written any letters to John C. Bennett."

The next day, Sunday, 8th, "Elder Rigdon resumed his plea of defense. He related the circumstances of his reception in the city of Quincy, after his escape from Missouri-the cause of his delay in not going to the city of Washington, on an express to which he had been appointed; and closed with a moving appeal to President Joseph Smith, concerning their former friendship, associations, and sufferings; and expressed his willingness to resign his place, though with sorrowful and indescribable feelings. During this address, the sympathies of the congregation were highly excited."

Elder Almon W. Babbitt and President William Law spoke in defense of Sidney, Elder Babbitt stating that Esquire Johnson exonerated Elder Sidney Rigdon from the charges or suspicion of having had a treacherous correspondence with ex-Governor Carlin.

President Joseph Smith explained the supposed treacherous correspondence with ex-Governor Carlin, and expressed entire lack of confidence in Sidney's integrity and steadfastness, judging from past intercourse.

President Hyrum Smith advocated the exercise of mercy toward their fellows, and especially towards their aged companion and fellow servant in the cause of truth and righteousness, whereupon, on motion by William Marks, the conference voted that Elder Sidney Rigdon be permitted to retain his station as counselor to the First President.

President Joseph Smith arose and said: "I have thrown him off my shoulders, and you have again put him on me; you may carry him, but I will not."




Vol. III.                               APRIL, 1900.                               No. 6.

    [pp. 458-462]



At a meeting in Nauvoo, on Sunday, October 22, 1843, Elder Rigdon preached half an hour on "Poor Rich Folks." He also preached there November 5. On the 29th, he spoke at a meeting of citizens of Nauvoo, to adopt a memorial to Congress in regard to the Missouri troubles.

January 30, 1844, a Millerite preached in the Assembly Room to a full house, and Elder Rigdon replied to him.

Sidney Rigdon, postmaster, published a lengthy appeal to the Legislature of the State of Pennsylvania, setting forth the grievances he had suffered through the persecution against The Church by the State of Missouri, concluding as follows:

"Under all these circumstances, your memorialist prays to be heard by your honorable body touching all the matters of his memorial. And as a memorial will be presented to Congress this session for redress of our grievances, he prays your honorable body will instruct the whole delegation of Pennsylvania, in both houses, to use all their influence in the national councils to have redress granted."

On February 6, Joseph, Hyrum, Sidney and the twelve apostles, and their wives, had supper and a pleasant time at Elder John Taylor's.

Joseph, Hyrum and Sidney met with the twelve apostles in the Assembly Room on the 23rd, concerning the contemplated Oregon and California Exploring Expedition. Joseph said: "I told them I wanted an exploration of all that mountain country. Perhaps it would be best to go direct to Santa Fe. Send twenty-five men: let them preach the Gospel wherever they go. Let that man go that can raise $500, a good horse and mule, a double-barrel gun, one barrel rifle, and the other smooth bore, a saddle and bridle, a pair of revolving pistols, bowie knife and a good sabre. Appoint a leader, and let him beat up for volunteers. I want every man that goes to be a king and a priest. When he gets on the mountains, he may want to talk with his God; when with the savage nations, have power to govern, etc. If we don't get volunteers, wait till after the election." A number of brethren volunteered to go.

On the evening of Sunday, 25th, at a prayer meeting in the Assembly Room, Joseph said, evidently in reference to the same subject, "I gave some important instructions, and prophesied that within five years we should be out of the power of our old enemies, whether they were apostates or of the world, and told the brethren to record it, that when it comes to pass they need not say they had forgotten the saying."

Sidney Rigdon met Joseph and several other brethren in council in the Assembly Room, March 19. On Sunday, 24, Sidney addressed the meeting at the stand.

Elder Rigdon attended conference, April 6, and addressed the audience, morning and afternoon. In commencing, he said:

"It is with no ordinary degree of satisfaction. I enjoy this privilege this morning. Want of health and other circumstances have kept me in silence for nearly the last five years. It can hardly be expected that when the violence of sickness has used its influence, and the seeds of disease have so long preyed upon me, that I can rise before this congregation, only in weakness. I am now come forth from a bed of sickness, and have enough of strength left to appear here for the first time in my true character. I have not come before a conference for the last five years in my true character. I shall consider this important privilege sacred in my family history during life."

He continued relating incidents connected with the history of The Church, testifying to its being the work of God, and he (Sidney) had gazed in visions on the glory of God in days gone by. He also addressed the conference on Sunday, 7th, and on the 8th.

A meeting was held at the stand, on the 27th, to give instructions to the elders going out electioneering. President Rigdon and William Smith addressed the meeting.

On the 8th of May, in the case of Francis M. Higbee vs. Joseph Smith, before the municipal court of Nauvoo, on writ of habeas corpus, Sidney Rigdon was one of the counsel for Smith and was also one of the witnesses.

Joseph and Sidney attended a prayer meeting on the 11th.

At a state convention in the Assembly Hall, on the 17th, Sidney Rigdon addressed the meeting. It was voted that General Joseph Smith be the choice of the convention for President of the United States, and Sidney Rigdon, Esq., for Vice-President.

Writs were expected from Carthage, on the 25th, for the arrest of Joseph Smith, on two indictments, one charging false swearing, on the testimony of Joseph H. Jackson and Robert D. Foster, and the other charging "polygamy or something else," on the testimony of William Law. Francis M. Higbee had sworn so hard that Joseph had received stolen property, that Higbee's testimony was rejected. After a long talk with Edward Hunter, Hyrum Smith, Dr. W. Richards, William Marks, Almon W. Babbitt, Shadrach Roundy, Edward Bonney and others, Joseph concluded not to keep out of the way of the officers any longer.

The same day, Sidney Rigdon resigned the office of Postmaster of Nauvoo, and recommended Joseph Smith as his successor.

On the 14th of June, Sidney Rigdon wrote to Governor Ford on the situation in Nauvoo and adjacent places, relating the Nauvoo Expositor matters and suggesting the dispersing of all uncalled for assemblies, and letting the laws have their regular course. Sidney concluded thus: "I send this to your excellency as confidential, as I wish not to take any part in the affair, or be known in it."

Joseph Smith was arrested, June 25, by Constable David Bettisworth, on a charge of treason against the State of Illinois, on a writ granted the day before, upon the oath of Augustine Spencer. Hyrum was arrested the same day, on a similar charge, on a writ granted on the 24th, on the affidavit of Henry O. Norton. The two prisoners were taken to Carthage jail.

On the 26th, Joseph said: "Poor Rigdon, I am glad he is gone to Pittsburg, out of the way; were he to preside, he would lead the Church to destruction in less than five years." It might have been said before, that when they were in Ohio, returning to Kirtland from a mission to Canada, in 1837, Joseph carried Sidney, who was sick, weak and scared, upon his (Joseph's) back and waded in the night through a swampy cross-country, and they thus escaped from mobocratic enemies, who were waiting in the regular road to seize them.

Joseph and Hyrum were shot and murdered in Carthage Jail by the mob, on the evening of the 27th.

"Murder most foul, as at the best it is." But this in spite of honor's sacred pledge of safety, given by the governor. An everlasting blot on Illinois' escutcheon.

Willard Richards and John Taylor were with them in jail when the crime was committed. Brother Taylor was shot and severely wounded by the mob, at the same time.

Upon that fatal day, of the twelve, Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and Wilford Woodruff were in Boston; Heber C. Kimball and Lyman Wight were in Philadelphia and New York; P. P. Pratt was on a canal boat between Utica and Buffalo, N. Y.; George A. Smith was in Jackson Co., Michigan, and Amasa Lyman was in Cincinnati. On hearing the sad news, they started for Nauvoo.

President Sidney Rigdom arrived at Nauvoo from Pittsburg, August 3. Elders P. P. Pratt, W. Richards and Geo. A. Smith invited him to meet in council on the morning of the 4th, which he agreed to.

On Sunday, 4th, Elders Pratt, Richards and Smith, met in council and waited an hour for Elder Rigdon, who excused himself afterwards by saying he was engaged with a lawyer.

At 10 a. m., at the meeting at the stand, "Elder Rigdon preached from the words: 'For my thoughts are not as your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.' He related a vision which he said the Lord had shown him concerning the situation of The Church, and said there must be a guardian appointed to build The Church up to Joseph, as he had begun it.

"He said he was the identical man that the ancient prophets had sung about, wrote and rejoiced over, and that he was sent to do the identical work that had been the theme of all the prophets in every preceding generation. He said that the Lord's ways were not as our ways, for the Lord said He would 'Hiss for the fly from the uttermost parts of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria,' and thereby destroy his enemies; that the time was near at hand when he would see one hundred tons of metal per second thrown at the enemies of God, and that the blood would be to the horses' bridles; and that he expected to walk into the palace of Queen Victoria and lead her out by the nose, when no one would have the power to say, 'Why do ye so?' and, if it were not for two or three things which he knew, this people would be utterly destroyed, and not a soul left to tell the tale."

His talking in this strain showed that his mind was failing.

"Elder P. P. Pratt in referring to the remarks of Brother Rigdon, on a subsequent occasion, said, 'I am the identical man the prophets never sang nor wrote a word about."'

In the afternoon, "Elder William Marks, president of the Stake, gave public notice (at the request of Elder Rigdon) that there would be a special meeting of The Church at the stand, on Thursday, the 8th instant, for the purpose of choosing a guardian (president and trustees).

"Dr. Richards proposed waiting till the twelve apostles returned, and told the Saints to ask wisdom of God.

"Elder Grover proposed waiting to examine the revelation.

"Elder Marks said President Rigdon wanted the meeting on Tuesday, but he put it off till Thursday; that Elder Rigdon was some distance from his family, and wanted to know if this people had anything for him to do: if not, he wanted to go on his way, for there was a people numbering thousands and tens of thousands who would receive him; that he wanted to visit other branches around, but he had come here first.

"Elder Rich called upon William Clayton, and said he was dissatisfied with the hurried movement of Elder Rigdon. He considered, inasmuch as the twelve had been sent for and were soon expected home, the notice for meeting was premature, and it seemed to him a plot laid to take advantage of the situation of the Saints."




Vol. III.                               MAY, 1900.                               No. 7.

    [pp. 487-492]



On Monday, August 5, 1844, "Elders Parley P. Pratt, W. Richards, J. Taylor, Geo. A. Smith, Amasa Lyman and Bishop Whitney waited upon Elder Sidney Rigdon in the morning. He said he would meet them in council at Elder Taylor's after dinner.

"They accordingly met in council, and when Elder Rigdon came in, he paced the room and said, 'Gentlemen, you're used up; gentlemen, you are all divided; the anti-Mormons have got you; the brethren are voting every way, some for James, some for Deming, some for Coulson, and some for Bedell; the anti-Mormons have got you; you cannot stay in the country; everything is in confusion; you can do nothing; you lack a great leader; you want a head, and unless you unite upon that head you are blown to the four winds; the anti-Mormons will carry the election -- a guardian must be appointed.'

"Elder George A. Smith said, 'Brethren, Elder Rigdon is entirely mistaken, there is no division; the brethren are united; the election will be unanimous, and the friends of law and order will be elected by a thousand majority. There is no occasion to be alarmed, President Rigdon is inspiring fears there are no grounds for.'

"Elder Rigdon said he did not expect the people to choose a guardian on Thursday, but to have a prayer meeting and interchange of thought and feeling, and warm up each other's hearts."

Several of the Twelve having arrived at Nauvoo, there was a meeting of the Twelve Apostles, the High Council, and the High Priests at the Seventies' Hall, on the 7th, at 4 p. m.

President Brigham Young called upon President Rigdon to make a statement to the Church concerning his message to the Saints, and the vision and revelation he had received.

President Rigdon said:

The object of my mission is to visit the Saints and offer myself to them as a guardian. I had a vision at Pittsburg, June 27th. This was presented to my mind not as an open vision, but rather a continuation of the vision mentioned in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

It was shown to me that this Church must be built up to Joseph, and that all the blessings we receive must come through him. I have been ordained a spokesman to Joseph, and I must come to Nauvoo and see that the Church is governed in a proper manner. Joseph sustains the same relationship to this Church as he has always done. No man can be the successor of Joseph.

The kingdom is to be built up to Jesus Christ through Joseph; there must be revelation still. The martyred Prophet is still the head of this Church; every quorum should stand as you stood in your washings and consecrations. I have been consecrated a spokesman to Joseph, and I was commanded to speak for him. The Church is not disorganized though our head is gone.

We may have a diversity of feelings on this matter. I have been called to be a spokesman unto Joseph, and I want to build up the Church unto him: and if the people want me to sustain this place, I want it upon the principle that every individual shall acknowledge it for himself.

I propose to be a guardian to the people; in this I have discharged my duty and done what God has commanded me, and the people can please themselves whether they accept me or not.

President Brigham Young said he did not care who led the Church, but one thing he must know, and that was what God said about it. He said:

I have the keys and the means of obtaining the mind of God on the subject.

I know there are those in our midst who will seek the lives of the Twelve as they did the lives of Joseph and Hyrum. We shall ordain others and give the fullness of the Priesthood, so that if we are killed, the fullness of the Priesthood may remain.

Joseph conferred upon our heads all the keys and powers belonging to the Apostleship which he himself held before he was taken away, and no man or set of men can get between Joseph and the Twelve in this world or in the world to come.

How often has Joseph said to the Twelve, "I have laid the foundation and you must build thereon, for upon your shoulders the kingdom rests."

The following report shows how the claims of Sidney Rigdon were decided upon: "At a special meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Nauvoo, at 10 a. m., on Thursday, August 8, 1844, by the request of President William Marks (who was then presiding over that Stake of Zion,) to choose a guardian, or President and Trustee, Sidney Rigdon took his position in a wagon, about two rods in front of the stand, and harangued the Saints for about one and a half hours, upon choosing a guardian for The Church. The meeting was then dismissed, when President Brigham Young gave out an appointment for the brethren to assemble at 2 p. m.

"At the appointed time the brethren came together. Present of the Twelve, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith. The several quorums were organized on and around the stand according to order."

President Brigham Young said, among other things:

For the first time in my life, for the first time in your lives, for the first time in the kingdom of God in the 19th century, without a Prophet at our head, do I step forth to act in my calling in connection with the quorum of the Twelve, as Apostles of Jesus Christ unto this generation -- Apostles whom God has called by revelation through the Prophet Joseph, who are ordained and anointed to bear off the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world.

The first position I take in behalf of the Twelve and the people is, to ask a few questions; I ask the Latter-day Saints, Do you, as individuals, at this time, want to choose a Prophet or a guardian? Inasmuch as our Prophet and Patriarch are taken from our midst, do you want someone to guard, to guide and lead you through this world into the kingdom of God or not? All that want some person to be a guardian or a Prophet, a spokesman or something else, signify it by raising the right hand. (No votes.)

I now wish to speak of the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If the Church is organized, and you want to know how it is organized, I will tell you. I know your feelings -- do you want me to tell your feelings?

Here is President Rigdon, who was counselor to Joseph. I ask, where are Joseph and Hyrum? They are gone beyond the vail; and if Elder Rigdon wants to act as his counselor; he must go beyond the vail where he is.

There has been much said about President Rigdon being President of the Church, and leading the people, being the head, etc. Brother Rigdon has come 1,600 miles to tell you what he wants to do for you. If the people want President Rigdon to lead them they may have him; but I say unto you that the Quorum of the Twelve have the keys of the kingdom of God in all the world.

The Twelve are appointed by the finger of God. Here is Brigham, have his knees ever faltered? Have his lips ever quivered? Here is Heber and the rest of the Twelve, an independent body, who have the keys of the Priesthood -- the keys of the kingdom of God to deliver to all the world. This is true, so help me God. They stand next to Joseph, and are as the First Presidency of the Church.

I know who are Joseph's friends, and who are his enemies. I know where the keys of the kingdom are, and where they will eternally be. You cannot call a man to be a Prophet; you cannot take Elder Rigdon and place him above the Twelve; if so, he must be ordained by them.

Again, perhaps some think that our beloved Brother Rigdon would not be honored, would not be looked to as a friend; but if he does right and remains faithful he will not act against our counsel nor we against his, but act together, and we shall be as one.

Do you want a spokesman? Here are Elder Rigdon, Brother Amasa Lyman (who Joseph expected to take as a counselor) and myself. Do you want the Church properly organized, or do you want a spokesman to be chief cook and bottle-washer? Elder Rigdon claims to be spokesman to the Prophet. Very well, he was; but can he now act in that office? If he wants now to be a spokesman to the Prophet, he must go to the other side of the vail, for the Prophet is there, but Elder Rigdon is here. Why will Elder Rigdon be a fool? Who knows anything of the Priesthood, or of the organization of the kingdom of God? I am plain.

Now, if you want Sidney Rigdon or William Law to lead you, or anybody else, you are welcome to them; but I tell you, in the name of the Lord, that no man can put another between the Twelve and the Prophet Joseph. Why? Because Joseph was their file leader, and he has committed into their hands the keys of the kingdom in this last dispensation, for all the world; don't put a thread between the Priesthood and God.

I will ask, Who has stood next to Joseph and Hyrum? I have, and I will stand next to him. We have a head and that head is the Apostleship, the spirit and power of Joseph, and we can now begin to see the necessity of that Apostleship.

Brother Rigdon was at his side -- not above. No man has a right to counsel the Twelve but Joseph Smith. Think of these things. You cannot appoint a Prophet; but if you let the Twelve remain and act in their place, the keys of the kingdom are with them and they can manage the affairs of the Church and direct all things aright.

Now, all this does not lessen the character of President Rigdon; let him magnify his calling, and Joseph will want him beyond the vail -- let him be careful what he does, lest that thread which binds us together is cut asunder.

Amasa Lyman sustained President Brigham Young and the Twelve.

President Rigdon called upon W. W. Phelps to speak in his behalf, as he could not speak.

Elder Phelps sustained the Twelve, saying:

"If you want to do right, uphold the Twelve. If they die, I am willing to die with them; but do your duty and you will be endowed. I will sustain the Twelve as long as I have breath."

President Brigham Young said:

I do not ask you to take my counsel or advice alone, but every one of you act for youselves; but if Brother Rigdon is the person you want to lead you, vote for him, but not unless you intend to follow him and support him as you did Joseph. Do not say so without you mean to take his counsel hereafter.

I will ask you as quorums: Do you want Brother Rigdon to stand forward as your leader, your guide, your spokesman? President Rigdon wants me to bring up the other question first, and that is, Does the Church want, and is it their only desire to sustain the Twelve as the First Presidency of this people?

Here are the Apostles, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants -- they are written on the tablet of my heart. If the Church want the Twelve to stand as the head, the First Presidency of the Church, and at the head of this kingdom in all the world, stand next to Joseph, walk up into their calling, and hold the keys of this kingdom, every man, every woman, every quorum is now put in order, and you are now the sole controllers of it.

All that are in favor of this, in all the congregation of the Saints, manifest it by holding up the right hand. (There was a universal vote.) If there are any of the contrary mind, every man and every woman who does not want the Twelve to preside, lift up your hands in like manner. (No hands up.) This supersedes the other question, and trying it by quorums.

We feel as though we could take Brother Rigdon in our bosom along with us; we want such a man as Brother Rigdon. He has been sent away by Brother Joseph to build up a kingdom; let him keep the instructions and calling; let him raise up a mighty kingdom in Pittsburg, and we will lift up his hands to Almighty God.

Let no man suppose that the kingdom is rent from you; that it is not organized. If all the quorums of the Church were slain, except the High Priests, they would rise up with the keys of the kingdom, and have the powers of the Priesthood upon them, and build up the kingdom, and the devil cannot help himself.

We want to know the feelings of the people. Is it your will to support the Twelve in all the world in their missions? (The congregation sustained this question by a unanimous vote.)

I feel to bring up Brother Rigdon; we are of one mind with him and he with us. Will this congregation uphold him in the place he occupies by the prayer of faith and let him be one with us and we with him? (Unanimous.)




Vol. III.                               JUNE, 1900.                               No. 8.

    [pp. 579-587]



The subsequent course of Elder Rigdon, however, was not at all satisfactory, so it was resolved that his case should be taken into consideration by the High Council. Consequently he was notified to appear in his own defense.

At a meeting of The Church, on the meeting ground, Nauvoo, on Sunday, September 8, 1844, there were present, of the Twelve Apostles, President Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, P.P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, George A. Smith, John Taylor and Amasa Lyman.

"The High Council organized themselves with Bishop Newel K. Whitney at their head, as follows: William Marks, president of the stake, and Charles C. Rich, counselor; Samuel Bent, James Allred, Lewis D. Wilson, Alpheus Cutler, David Fullmer, George W. Harris, Thomas Grover, Aaron Johnson, Henry G. Sherwood; also Reynolds Cahoon, Asahel Smith, and Ezra T. Benson, in the place of three absent members."

After the meeting was opened, President Young addressed the people and said the business of the day would result in this -- that all those who were for Joseph and Hyrum, the Book of Mormon, book of Doctrine and Covenants, the temple and Joseph's measures, and for the Twelve, they being one party, would be called upon to manifest their principles openly and boldly. Those who were for Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, James Emmett, etc., could show themselves boldly and withdraw without fear. Those who wished to tarry and build up the city and temple, and carry out the measures and revelations of the martyred prophets, could make known who they were. If there should be but ten left, he (Brigham) wanted to be one of that number. He said:

"I have traveled these many years in the midst of poverty and tribulation, and that too with blood in my shoes, month after month, to sustain and preach this Gospel and build up this kingdom, and God forbid that I should now turn round and seek to destroy that which I have been laboring to build up.

"We have here before us this morning, the High Council and Bishop Whitney at their head, and we will try Sidney Rigdon before this council, and let them take an action on his case this morning, and then we will present it to The Church, and let The Church also take an action upon it. I am willing that you should know that my feelings for Sidney Rigdon as a man, as a private citizen, are of the best kind. I have loved that man, and always had the very best feelings for him; I have stood in defense of his life and his house in Kirtland, and have lain on the floor night after night and week after week, to defend him. There are those who are following Sidney for whom my heart is grieved. I esteem them as good citizens; but when it touches the salvation of the people, I am the man that walks to the line.

"I am informed that Elder Rigdon is sick; I am also informed that he and his party have had a council this morning and have concluded not to say anything in their own defense, thinking that would be best for them. I have no idea that Elder Rigdon is any more sick than I am; anyhow, we have a right to try his case, for he had sufficient notice to prepare himself if he had been disposed. We gave him notice last Tuesday evening, and had it published in the Neighbor, and, was he sick, he could have sent us word to have the case deferred."

President Young said that Elder Rigdon, the previous Sunday, poured blessings on the people in an unbounded degree, encouraged the building up of the city and temple, said he was one with them.

"I said upon the back of his statements, 'You see that Brother Rigdon is with us. I have not seen that Brother Rigdon has been with us since he returned from Pittsburg; I have known that he was not with us in spirit, but I took him at his word."'

Having heard that Rigdon had a meeting on Monday evening, 2nd, at which men were ordained to be prophets, priests, and kings, President Young and Elder Orson Hyde went to Rigdon's on the 3rd, and, said President Young,

"I looked him right in the face, and asked him if he had a meeting last night, here, in which men were ordained to be prophets, priests and kings. He replied, 'No, we had no meeting here; had we, brother Soby?"'

"'Well, did you have a meeting anywhere, Brother Rigdon, in which men were ordained to be prophets, priests and kings?'

"'Well, I don't know; did we have a meeting last night, brother Soby? Yes, I believe there was one last night; wasn't there, Brother Soby, up at your house?'

"I saw the disposition of Elder Rigdon to conceal the truth and equivocate, and I determined to know the whole secret. I said to him again, 'Elder Rigdon, did you not ordain those men at that meeting last night?'

"He replied, 'Yes, I suppose I did.'

"I then asked Brother Rigdon by what authority he ordained prophets, priests and kings.

"With a very significant air, he replied, 'Oh, I know about that!'

"I then asked Brother Rigdon, 'Do you not think, really, that you hold the keys and authority above any man, or set of men, in this Church, even the Twelve?'

"Says he, 'I never taught any such doctrine, did I, Brother Soby?'

"Says I, 'Brother Rigdon, tell me the truth, do you not think so?'

"He replied, 'Yes, I do."'

In the evening, eight of the Twelve, with Bishop Whitney, after visiting with Elder Rigdon, went to Dr. Richards, when a committee of three was appointed, who went and demanded Elder Rigdon's license, but he refused to give it up, saying, "I did not receive it from you, neither shall I give it up to you." Hence the present trial.

President Young said the Twelve were to be witnesses, not judges, before the High Council. Elder Rigdon had not conducted himself like a man of God, nor a prophet of God, nor a counselor to the First President, since he returned to Nauvoo.

Elder Orson Hyde said he had written, by counsel of President Brigham Young and others of the Twelve at Boston, to Elder Rigdon at Pittsburg, desiring him and Elder Page to meet them at Nauvoo, and there rest, mourn for the martyrs, and counsel together. But Elder Rigdon had gone direct to Nauvoo, taken steps to call The Church together to appoint a guardian, being anxious to crowd action before the Twelve could get there, as it was necessary that he should return home immediately to his family. But since the Twelve had arrived, and The Church had unanimously chosen to sustain the Twelve, Elder Rigdon was no more anxious to return to Pittsburg. Brother Joseph Smith had said, "If I am taken away, upon you, the Twelve, will rest the responsibility of leading this people, and don't be bluffed off by any man." Elder Hyde had invited Elder Rigdon to meet with the Twelve in council, but he said he was sick.

Rigdon said he had no jurisdiction over the Twelve, nor the Twelve over him; that there would be many churches built up all over the world, not subject to one common head, at which Elder Hyde replied, "Where there are many heads, there is no head at all, and a thing that has got many heads, must be a hydra -- a monster; a house divided against itself cannot stand."

Elder Hyde further said that one of Rigdon's party had said to a brother, "If you will not tell it to the Twelve, I will tell you our plans," which were that Elder Rigdon was going to feel the minds of the branches, and then of the people of Nauvoo, and make a party and raise influence to divide the people, and the remainder could follow the Twelve. When Rigdon's license was demanded, and he refused to give it up, he threatened to turn traitor, saying, "Inasmuch as you have demanded my license, I shall find it my duty to publish all your secret meetings and all the history of the secret works of this Church, in the public journals," intimating that it would bring a mob upon The Church, saying, "I know what effect it will have; there is a rod and a scourge awaits this people." Elder Hyde said, "Elder Rigdon, if you want the honor of bringing distress upon this people, you may have it; you may have the honor of it here, and you may have the honor of it in eternity, and every effort to bring distress upon this people will recoil back upon your own head." "Elder Young says he can prove that Elder Rigdon made use of the same expressions previous to our visiting him last Tuesday."

Elder Hyde said of Elder Rigdon:

"Now I don't know of any man in this Church that has gone deeper into matters than he did, in Far West, in his oration on the 4th of July. He was the cause of our troubles in Missouri, and although Brother Joseph tried to restrain him, he would take his own course.

"Before I went east on, the 4th of April last, we were in council with Brother Joseph almost every day, for weeks; says Brother Joseph, in one of those councils, 'There is something going to happen; I don't know what it is, but the Lord bids me to hasten and give you your endowment before the temple is finished.' He conducted us through every ordinance of the holy priesthood, and when he had gone through with all the ordinances, he rejoiced very much, and said, 'Now if they kill me, you have got all the keys and all the ordinances, and you can confer them upon others, and the hosts of Satan will not be able to tear down the kingdom as fast as you will be able to build it up, and now,' says he, 'On your shoulders will rest the responsibility of leading this people, for the Lord is going to let me rest awhile.'

"Elder Rigdon's name was not mentioned, although he was here all the time, but he did not attend our councils.

"When we were coming away last Tuesday evening, Elder Rigdon said, 'You are not led by the Lord, and I have known it for a long time that you were not led by the Lord."'

Elder Parley P. Pratt said he was a member of the same Church as Elder Rigdon was, before they heard the Gospel, and had no feelings except in his favor. But the salvation of The Church was of far more importance than anything else. Elder Pratt then spoke of Rigdon's tergiversations, saying one thing at one time and a contrary thing at another time, pledging himself that a certain meeting should only be a prayer meeting and then turning it into a business meeting, ordaining men to various offices, claiming that he had authority and keys over any one else; that he was to help to fight a bloody battle with the sword, etc. "It was for this ordaining men to unheard of offices in an illegal manner, and the proceedings at their secret meetings, that the fellowship of the Twelve was withdrawn from Elder Rigdon." Elder Pratt said he demanded Elder Rigdon's license, but he refused to give it up, saying:

"I shall now take the liberty to publish to the world all the secret works of this Church, and stir up the world against you, and I know the result, both on you and The Church and myself. I have sat and laughed in my sleeve at the proceedings of the Twelve this evening, for they have been fulfilling in this last act the vision I had at Pittsburg. I knew you would withdraw fellowship from me; I knew you would oppose me in all my movements. It was all shown to me in the vision before I left Pittsburg."

Elder Pratt said:

"Last Sunday, Elder Rigdon said we were a blessed people. Now he says he has known ever since before he left Pittsburg that this same blessed people would cut him off before he left them. Only think of the idea, after blessing the congregation as he did last Sabbath, two days after, he says, 'This people have not been led by the Lord for long time, and I have known it."'

Elder Pratt further said that the things revealed to Sidney Rigdon, touching great battles to be fought somewhere, the secret meetings, the ordination of officers, and the government of the Church, was a revelation of falsehood and delusion, calculated to lead the people astray, and result in open apostasy, and was designed to bring destruction on the Church, unless there was speedy repentance.

Elder Amasa Lyman corroborated the testimony given. He asked,

"Where has this individual been for these years past? Has he been laboring to support and uphold the man whom God has appointed to bring forth this work? Has he been endeavoring for the last four or five years to build up the principles taught and laid down by the man of God?" This man who has been asleep all the while, when he was not too sick to sleep and smoke his pipe and take his drink, corresponds with John C. Bennett and other mean, corrupt men. This is the character of the man on whom shines the light of revelation; this is the man who says the Twelve have gone astray and this Church is not led by the Lord. This man is made generalissimo of all the armies of the Gentiles, I suppose; this is the man who is to fight those wonderful battles till the blood of the slain flows as high as the horses' bridles in the brook Kedron.

"For the last four or five years we have never heard of Sidney's getting a revelation, but, as soon as Brother Joseph is out of the way, he manufactures one to allure the people and destroy them. Now, after he has given his testimony to the world, after finding fault with God because he happened to get into jail in Missouri, and because he was poor, yet this is the man that can get such wonderful revelations. Now this is the man who has got the keys of the conquest, the keys of David! keys which the Twelve never heard were to be given to man; who had in a manner cursed God to his face. It may be pleaded that Sidney Rigdon may be mistaken. If he should, it is not the first time he has been mistaken in his revelations."

Elder W.W. Phelps spoke, relating chiefly to Elder Marks' connection with Sidney Rigdon.

Elder W. Marks said when he gave out the appointment to choose a guardian, at Elder Rigdon's request, he (Marks) did not understand the object of the meeting.

Elder O. Hyde said that a short time before the difficulty, President Joseph Smith, in one of their councils, told them he had given them all keys and ordinances which had been committed to him.

There was a call for the question from many parts of the congregation, whereupon President B. Young submitted the case to Bishop Whitney and the High Council.

Bishop Whitney gave the privilege to the High Council to offer remarks, but no one spoke. Bishop Whitney then said:

"I was well acquainted with Elder Rigdon a number of years before he came into the Church. I never had any confidence in Brother Rigdon as a revelator, and why? Because I have so repeatedly heard Brother Joseph rebuke him for speaking, in the name of the Lord, what was not so. He was always either in the bottom of the cellar or up in the garret window. At the time his license was taken away in Kirtland, he was more sanguine than he is now. The people were excited very much at that time. Brother Joseph was away, and when he returned and learned what Sidney had been doing, he took him into council, told him to give up his license to the Bishop and divest himself of all the authority he could, for, said he (Joseph), 'The less authority you have, the better it will be for you.' It has been repeatedly the case, when he has been speaking to the Church, that Joseph has rebuked him for it.

"I feel that Brother Rigdon came here with a bad spirit, and has delivered a revelation. If such things as are contained in his revelation have been revealed to him, it is from a source with which we want nothing to do. When he first came here, I thought he was deceived, but since last Tuesday evening, I have been convinced that he is dishonest. He made many evasive replies to the interrogatories of the Twelve, and I think his calculation is to scatter this people, because his theory comes in opposition to President Joseph Smith's revelations. It has been proved that he prophesied that we should not build this temple. I believe he is an evil designing man. He is dishonest, and he has lied to carry out his theory. He preached one thing one day, and the contrary another. I feel to sustain the Twelve in withdrawing their fellowship, and I think the High Council and the Church ought to sustain the decision of the Twelve."

Bishop Whitney called upon the High Council to manifest if they were satisfied with his decision. The vote was unanimous in the affirmative.

Elder O. Hyde said he was not satisfied with the motion. It was not explicit enough.

Elder W.W. Phelps moved "That Elder Sidney Rigdon be cut off from the Church and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until he repents."

Bishop Whitney presented the motion to the High Council, and the vote was unanimous in the affirmative.

Elder W.W. Phelps then offered the same motion to the Church. The vote was unanimous, except a few of Elder Rigdon's party.

President B. Young requested those who were for Sidney Rigdon to manifest it, and they numbered about ten.

President Young "arose and delivered Sidney Rigdon over to the buffetings of Satan, in the name of the Lord. And all the people said, Amen."

Several others were cut off, and a vote was taken to suspend or disfellowship all who voted to follow Sidney Rigdon, or advocate his doctrines.




Vol. III.                               JULY, 1900.                               No. 9.

    [pp. ?]



Among the recent visitors to Salt Lake City, not one has attracted more interest, from early members of The Church, than John W. Rigdon of New York City, the only surviving son of Sidney Rigdon who was one of the early workers in the cause of God, and once the first counselor to the Prophet Joseph. Patriarch John Smith and John W. Rigdon were school companions in Nauvoo, and Mr. Rigdon also knew President Lorenzo Snow. His object in coming to Utah was to call upon some of his old-time friends. On Saturday, May 19, he visited with President Lorenzo Snow, and spent some time in the President's office. Mr. Rigdon is a pleasant gentleman, well on in years, having been born in Mentor, Ohio, in 1830. His hair and mustache are white. He has a thin face, a round, full voice, bright eyes, and a nervous, sensitive nature. In manner, he is very affable; in conversation, ready and intelligent. He stands erect, and his rather tall but thin form lends him a dignified bearing. He carried as a souvenir a cane which had been taken from the oaken boxes in which the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought from Carthage to Nauvoo, after the martyrdom.

That Mr. Rigdon is by profession a lawyer was evidenced by his ready logic, and the ease in which he gave expression to his sentiments. In speaking of old scenes in and about Nauvoo, he was several times affected to tears, especially was this the case when the later lonely and brooding life of his father was referred to, and when he spoke of his own early days in Nauvoo: "In Nauvoo were the happiest days of my life," he said. "When I went to Pennsylvania, I was a stranger, and I became very homesick for Nauvoo. I think the people ought never to have left Nauvoo; but then, it was, perhaps, for the best."

On entering the President's office, President Snow introduced Mr. Rigdon to several who were present, and in so doing called him Brother Rigdon, which apparently intentional slip he partly corrected by remarking, "Mr. Rigdon says he is a half 'Mormon.' " To this the visitor, quickly awakening as if his whole nervous force were called upon in the effort, replied: "I am a 'Mormon' this far: I believe in the early 'Mormonism.' I believe Joseph Smith found the plates of that Book of Mormon, when, where and in the manner he claimed he did. I know my father never wrote the book. He never varied in telling the story of how Joseph obtained it. He always related it in the same way, and I believe he told the truth. At one time," he continued, "I had doubts about this, but I have come to know these facts, although I might not be able to prove them as I could prove some other things. When I went to father just before his death, and told him that if he knew anything regarding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, that had not been told, he owed it as a duty to himself and his family, to tell it, he reiterated that he had but one story to tell, and that was the story told him by the Prophet Joseph Smith, that the records from which the book was taken were engraved on gold plates. Father then testified to me that Joseph was a prophet of God, and that an angel had handed him the plates from which was taken the Book of Mormon. I believe this testimony, although for a long time I was skeptical about it. So far, I am a 'Mormon,' and my heart is with your people. So was my father's; he never permitted any man in his presence to speak disrespectfully of The Church."

Speaking of his baptism he seemed proud of having been baptized by Hyrum Smith, the patriarch, in the presence of his own father and the Prophet Joseph. "I was sick, he said, "and I remember well how father, who was one of those positive men, came in one morning and said, 'Well boys, you are to be baptized today.' Sick as I was, I knew it was no use resisting, and so was taken and baptized in the river. I quickly recovered thereafter." He related other interesting experiences incident to his boyhood life in The Church which were corroborated by Patriarch Smith and deeply enjoyed by the other listeners.

Mr. Rigdon has been in Utah once before, having crossed the plains with an ox team in 1863. He then called on President Young, who urged him to ask his father to come and reside in Salt Lake. He wrote his father to this effect, but the invitation was never accepted. Mr. Rigdon has a wife, two daughters and a son. His son, who resides in California, has visited Salt Lake City, on other occasions.

Speaking of his father, Mr. Rigdon, in a later interview affirmed that the two points on which his father hung out were polygamy and the accession of Brigham Young to the leadership of The Church, and although he never recovered from the humiliation, and spent the remainder of his days in silence, whenever The Church was assailed, the old fire would kindle in his eyes, he would become animated, and the assailant would soon retire a thoroughly whipped man.


RIGDON, Sidney

Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia

by Andrew Jenson (Four Vols. 1901-1936)

RIGDON, Sidney, first counselor to President Joseph Smith, from 1833 to 1844, was born Feb. 19, 1793, in St. Clair township, Alleghany county, Pa.; he was the youngest son of William and Nancy Rigdon. Sidney's father was a farmer and had three sons, Carvil, Loami and Sidney, and a daughter Lucy. When Sidney was seventeen years old, his father died, and when he was twenty-six years of age his mother also passed away. In his twenty-fifth year he became a member of the society of "Regular Baptists," and the next year he left the farm and went to live with Andrew Clark, a Baptist preacher. While there, Sidney received a license and commenced to preach, and after March, 1819, he gave up farming altogether. In May, 1819, he went to Trumbull county, Ohio, and while living with Adamson Bentley, another Baptist preacher, he became acquainted with Phebe Brook, a native of Bridgetown, Cumberland county, New Jersey, whom he married June 12, 1820. He continued to preach in that region until November, 1821, when he left Warren to take charge of the First Baptist Church in Pittsburg, where he preached with considerable success, and the church soon rose from a very low, confused state to a rapid increase of members, and to be one of the most respectable churches of the city. He became a most popular preacher, but after awhile he was greatly perplexed with the idea that the doctrines taught by the church with which he was connected was not altogether in accordance with Scripture, and after great deliberation and reflection and solemn prayer he resolved to follow his convictions; and in August, 1824, he announced to the members of the church that he had determined to withdraw from it, as he could no longer uphold its doctrines. In consequence of his great popularity, this unexpected announcement caused amazement, sorrow and tears to his congregation. At that time Alexander Campbell, a native of Ireland, was a member of the Baptist association, but he afterwards separated from it. Walter Scott, a native of Scotland, and a printer by trade, also left it about the same time. After leaving the Baptist church, these three gentlemen, being very friendly, often met together to discuss religious topics. Eventually, from this connection, sprang a church, the members of which called themselves "Disciples," but which are generally known as Campbellites. For the maintenance of his family, Sidney Rigdon labored for two years as a tanner, after which he removed to Bainbridge, Geuaga county, Ohio, where he was solicited to preach, it having become known that he had been a popular preacher. Thenceforth he devoted himself to the work of the ministry, confining himself to no special creed, but holding the Bible as his rule of faith and advocating repentance and baptism for the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost--doctrines which he and Alexander Campbell had been investigating. He labored in that vicinity one year with much success, and built up a large and respectable church at Mantua, Portage county, Ohio.

His doctrines were new, and crowded houses assembled to hear him, though some opposed and ridiculed his doctrines. He was then pressingly invited to remove to Mentor, an enterprising town, about thirty miles from Bainbridge, and near Lake Erie, which he did soon afterwards. At this place there were remnants of a Baptist church, the members of which became interested in his doctrines. But many of the citizens were jealous of him, and slanderous reports were circulated concerning him. By continuing his labors, however, the opposition weakened, prejudice gave way and he became very popular. Calls came from every direction for him to preach, and his fame increased and spread abroad. Both rich and poor crowded his churches. Many became convinced and were baptized, whole churches became converted and he soon had large and flourishing societies throughout that region. He was a welcome visitor wherever he went, and his society was courted by the learned and intelligent. With his wife and six children he lived in a small unfinished, frame building, but the members of his church, resolving to erect him a suitable residence, purchased a farm and commenced the erection of a good house and outbuildings for him. His prospects with regard to temporal things had thus become brighter than ever before, when, in the fall of 1830, Elders Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson and Peter Whitmer, jun., called at Mentor on their mission to the Indians on the western boundaries of Missouri. Elder Pratt had been a preacher in the same church as Sidney Rigdon and had resided at Amherst, Lorain county, Ohio. He had gone on a mission for his church, into the State of New York, where he became acquainted with the circumstances of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and was introduced to Joseph Smith and other Latter-day Saints. After reading the Book of Mormon, Mr. Pratt became convinced that it was of God, was baptized and ordained an Elder, and began to preach. Being called on a mission to the west he resolved, during his journey through Ohio, to call on his old friends and associates in that State, believing that many of them were honest seekers after truth. Arriving at Mentor, Sidney Rigdon's house was the first place Elder Pratt and his missionary companions visited. They presented him with a copy of the Book of Mormon, saying that it was a revelation from God. He had not heard of it before, and was much prejudiced at the assertion, replying that he was acquainted with the Bible which he believed was a revelation from God, but he had considerable doubts regarding their book. He, however, consented to read it, and after a fortnight's careful perusal of the sacred volume, and after much prayer and meditation, he was convinced of its truth. His wife, also, became a believer, and both were baptized Nov. 14, 1830. Together with others who were baptized about the same time, they were organized into a branch of the Church. Brother Rigdon and others were ordained to the ministry, after which Elder Pratt and missionary companions continued their journey further west.

In December, 1830, Elder Rigdon visited Joseph the Prophet in Fayette, New York, and was commanded by revelation to preach the gospel and assist the Prophet in his labors. From that time till Joseph's death, the two were closely associated together. Early in 1831, the Prophet Joseph and wife accompanied Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge to Kirtland, Ohio, where they were kindly received and welcomed by Bro. Newel K. Whitney and family. Soon afterwards, the Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon were called by revelation to preach the gospel, and in June, accompanied by others, they started for Missouri, where Sidney Rigdon dedicated the land of Zion for the gathering of the Saints. He also wrote a description of the country. After his return to Ohio, Sidney Rigdon assisted the Prophet Joseph in translating the holy Scriptures, and while thus employed in the town of Hiram, Portage county, he, together with Joseph, was attacked by a party of mobocrats, abused most shamefully and tarred and feathered. He was dragged out of his house by the heels and injured so much that he became delirious and remained so for several days. Elder Rigdon and family, who were sick with the measles, then removed to Kirtland, but he soon afterwards accompanied the Prophet on another visit to Missouri, from which he returned to Kirtland in June, 1832. He then spent most of the summer with Joseph in translating the Scriptures. March 18, 1833, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were ordained and set apart as counselors to Joseph Smith in the First Presidency. After preaching extensively in Ohio, Sidney Rigdon accompanied the Prophet on a missionary trip to upper Canada in October, 1833. While on this mission Sidney Rigdon was called by revelation to be a spokesman to Joseph. After their return, Joseph wrote as follows: "Brother Sidney is a man whom I love, but he is not capable of that pure and steadfast love for those who are his benefactors, as should possess the breast of a president of the Church of Christ. This, with some other little things, such as selfishness and independence of mind, which, too often manifested, destroy the confidence of those who would lay down their lives for him. But, notwithstanding these things, he is a very great and good man--a man of great power of words, and can gain the friendship of his hearers very quickly. He is a man whom God will uphold, if he will continue to his calling." Early in 1834 Sidney Rigdon assisted in obtaining volunteers for Zion's Camp, and while Joseph journeyed to and from Missouri with that body of men, Elder Rigdon had charge of affairs at Kirtland. He was also one of the trustees and conductors of the "Kirtland school," wherein penmanship, arithmetic, English grammar and geography were taught during the winter. He was also a member of a committee appointed to arrange "the items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, for the government of the Church," which resulted in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" being published in 1835.

At the time of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, March 27, 1836, Sidney Rigdon preached a powerful discourse, and afterwards took an active part in blessing his brethren. Soon afterwards he performed a short mission to the Eastern States. In 1837, he accompanied the Prophet on another trip to Missouri "to appoint other Stakes or places of gathering." On their return to Kirtland, Ohio, they found the spirit of apostasy and mobocracy prevailing there to an alarming extent, in consequence of which Elder Rigdon, together with the Prophet, was obliged to flee from Kirtland, in January, 1838. Elder Rigdon and family arrived at Far West, Mo., April 4, 1838. He assisted in organizing a Stake of Zion called Adam-ondi-Ahman in Daviess county, and preached and sat in council with his brethren. July 4, 1838, he delivered an oration at Far West, in which he denounced the enemies of the Saints in very strong terms, which caused much bitterness of feeling among the non-Mormons. In the meantime, the persecutions against the Saints in Missouri were renewed, and Sidney Rigdon was among the brethren who were betrayed into the hands of the mob-militia by Geo. M. Hinkle, Oct. 31, 1838. Together with the Prophet Joseph and other fellow-prisoners, he was sentenced to be shot; but this being prevented he was incarcerated in Liberty jail from November, 1838, till February, 1839, when he was released on bail. After his escape into Illinois, he advocated the cause of the persecuted Saints with much diligence, and his arraignment of the actions of the Missourians aroused much sympathy on the part of the inhabitants of Quincy, who showed exiled Saints many acts of kindness. After the escape of the Prophet Joseph from his imprisonment in Missouri, Elder Rigdon took an active part in the founding of Nauvoo, where he passed through sickness and much suffering. He also accompanied Joseph the Prophet to Washington, D.C., to present the grievances of the Saints to the government and to Congress. When Nauvoo became a chartered city, Sidney Rigdon was elected a member of the city council. He also served as city attorney and postmaster, and in other public capacities; but he did not discharge his duties as counselor to President Joseph Smith with that religious zeal and ability which had characterized his early career in the Church. He was accused of being associated with the plans of John C. Bennett and other enemies of the Church, but this he always denied. At the general conference of the Church, held at Nauvoo in October, 1843, President Joseph Smith rejected him as his counselor; but through the intercession of Hyrum Smith, he was retained in his office. Early in 1844, when Joseph Smith became a candidate for president of the United States, the same convention that nominated Joseph nominated Sidney Rigdon for vice-president. Soon afterward Bro. Rigdon left Nauvoo, for Pittsburg, Pa., where he remained until after the Prophet's death. The news of the terrible tragedy at Carthage having reached him, he hastened back to Nauvoo to offer himself as a guardian for the Church.

His claims were duly considered, but at the memorable meeting, held at Nauvoo, Aug. 8, 1844, he was rejected by the people, and the Twelve Apostles were recognized as the head of the Church. The subsequent course of Elder Rigdon, however, not being at all satisfactory, his case was taken before the High Council at Nauvoo, Sept. 8, 1844, and carefully tried. It resulted in his excommunication from the Church. Soon afterwards he left Nauvoo and located in Pennsylvania; but in 1847 he made his home in the village of Friendship, Alleghany county, New York, where he lived uninterruptedly till his death, which occurred at that place July 14, 1876. The "Register," a paper published in Friendship, stated at the time of his death "that numerous pilgrimages had been made to him from different parts by various persons desirous of obtaining further information from him relative to the origin of the Book of Mormon; but he unwaveringly adhered to his original theory on this matter, being the same as that held by the Mormons; and he treated with great scorn and contempt the statement of parties imputing the authorship of the work to himself." (For further particulars, see History of Joseph Smith, and early Church publications generally; also "Improvement Era," Vol. 3.)


Volume Three                                                         Number One



[p. 3]


Sidney Rigdon, who was quite closely associated with Joseph Smith in the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was a man of superior ability, power, and influence; and such was the character of his service that his life work is so intertwined with the history of the church that the history of one can not be written without the other.

We think, therefore, that it is important that an account of his life and ministry, more full than has yet been published, should have place in the columns of the JOURNAL OF HISTORY. It is not our purpose to defend Elder Rigdon against the attacks made upon him by those who have undertaken to assail his record or character, but we design to tell the leading events of his life without seeking to influence the reader's opinion of the man. His work will speak for itself, and we are sure that all who read will find very much to admire in the character of the man.

We insert the following items which are doubtless authentic and reliable:

The following statement of facts in relation to the birth, life, education, and occupation of Sidney Rigdon, minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the Church of the Latter Day Saints, is taken from the family records, as kept by his parents and by the subscribers.

He (S. Rigdon) was born on his father's farm. Piny Fork of Peter's Creek, St. Clair township. Alleghany Co., Pa., Feb., 19, 1793, where he lived till the winter of 1818 and 1819, and followed farming and received a common English education. In the fall of 1817 he professed religion, and joined the regular Baptist Church of that place, and in the winter of 1818 and 1819 he went to Beaver Co., Pa., where he studied divinity with a Baptist preacher by the name of Clark, and was licensed to preach by the Conoquenessing Church (time not recollected) and went from there to Warren, Ohio, and was ordained a regular Baptist preacher,


4                             JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                           

and returned to Pittsburgh in the winter of 1821 and '22, and took the care of the First Regular Baptist Church, and there continued to preach till the Baptist Association met in Pittsburgh, (precise time not recollected, but we think about the fall of 1824) at which time they brought some charges against him for not being sound in the faith; brought him to trial, but denied him the liberty of speaking in self-defence, and he declared a non-fellowship with them, and began to preach Campbellism. And he, and they that joined with him got the liberty of the Court House, there they held their meetings, and he and his brother-in-law, Mr. Brooks, followed the tanning business till the winter of 1827-'28, when he (S. Rigdon) moved somewhere into the Western Reserve, in Ohio, and there continued to preach till the Latter Day Saints came to that part of the country, and he joined them, and continues to be an elder in that church (of Latter Day Saints, called Mormons.

In confirmation of the above statements, we hereby subscribe our names.

Upper St. Clair Township, Alleghany Co., Pa.     

January 27, 1843.

During the time Elder Rigdon was associated with the movement referred to in the above as "Campbellism" he was closely associated with such leaders in that movement as Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, Walter Scott, Adamson Bently, and might himself be counted as one of the founders of the Disciples or Christian Church.

In the History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve by A. S. Hayden he is quite prominently and frequently mentioned. We quote the following instances:

The appearance of that periodical, August, 1823, forms a marked epoch in the public announcement of the principles of a much-needed reformation. Mr. Scott remained yet a few years in Pittsburgh, where he became acquainted, and for a time associated, with Sidney Rigdon, then pastor of a small Baptist church in the city. The two communions, that under Rigdon and the company to whom Scott preached, united together and became one body. -- Page 64..

Besides these accredited messengers, the following preachers were present, who, by a resolution of the association, were invited to a seat in its counsels: Walter Scott, Samuel Holmes, William West, and Sidney Rigdon. -- Pages 56,57..

Among the seniors were Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander, Adamson Bentley, and Sidney Rigdon with Walter Scott, to whom multitudes of the young disciples looked with the affection of children to a


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.               5

spiritual father. Of the younger preachers, may be named Jacob Osborne, Marcus Bosworth, William Hayden, John Henry, Symonds Ryder, Zeb Rudolph, John Applegate, John Secrest, A. G. Ewing, as also Aylett Raines, the Cottons, and Reuben Ferguson.. -- Page 163..

There occurred at this meeting a passage at arms between Mr. Campbell and Mr. Rigdon. It was only about two months previous to the fall of that star from heaven. -- Page 298..

Sidney Rigdon was an orator of no inconsiderable abilities. In person, he was full medium height, rotund in form; of countenance, while speaking, open and winning, with a cast of melancholy. His action was graceful, his language copious, fluent in utterance, with articulation clear and musical. Yet he was an enthusiast, and unstable. His personal influence with an audience was very great, but many, with talents far inferior, surpassed him in judgment and permanent power with the people. He was just the man for an awakening. He was an early reader of the "Christian Baptist," and admiring its strong and progressive teaching, he circulated the paper, and brought out its views in his sermons. Whatever may be justly said of him after he had surrendered himself a victim and a leader of the Mormon delusion, it would scarcely be just to deny sincerity and candor to him, previous to that time when his bright star became permanently eclipsed under that dark cloud. -- Page 192..

Rigdon, who had taken no part in this discussion, becoming weary of it, said: "You are consuming too much time on this question. One of the old Jerusalem preachers would start out with his hunting shirt and moccasins, and convert half the world while you are discussing and settling plans!" Upon this, Bro. Scott arose with a genial smile, and remarked: "Brethren, give me my Bible, my Head, and Bro. William Hayden, and we will go out and convert the world." Then Rigdon, "I move that we give Bro. Scott his Bible, his Head, and Bro. William Hayden." It was settled in a few moments, as Rigdon's resolution was seconded and passed unanimously. -- Page 174..

These references serve to show that he was prominently and favorably regarded among his colleagues in the Western Reserve.

In 1830 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, then in its infancy, sent four missionaries from New York into the western country, viz, Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, jr., and Ziba Peterson. Elder Pratt having previously been acquainted with Mr. Rigdon, they called on him at Mentor, Ohio, where he was pastor of a congregation.


6                             JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                           

The following from the pen of Joseph Smith will be interesting in this connection and throw light upon the situation:

As there has been a great rumor, and many false statements have been given to the world respecting Elder Rigdon's connection with the church of Jesus Christ, it is necessary that a correct account of the same be given, so that the public mind may be disabused on the subject. I shall therefore proceed to give a brief history of his life down, from authentic sources, as also an account of his connection with the church of Jesus Christ.

Sidney Rigdon was born in Saint Clair Township, Alleghany County, State of Pennsylvania, on the 19th of February, A. D. 1793, and was the youngest son of William and Nancy Rigdon. William Rigdon, his father, was a native of Hartford county, State of Maryland, was born A. D. 1743, and died May 26th A. D. 1810, in the sixty-second (seventh) year of his age. William Rigdon was the son of Thomas Baker, and Ann Lucy Rigdon. Thomas Baker Rigdon was a native of the State of Maryland, and was the son of Thomas Baker Rigdon, who came from Great Britain.

Ann Lucy Rigdon, grandmother of Sidney Rigdon, was a native of Ireland, and emigrated to the city of Boston, Massachusetts, and was there married to Thomas Baker Rigdon. Nancy Rigdon's mother was a native of Freehold, Monmouth county, New Jersey; was born March 16th, 1759, and died October 3d, 1839, and was the eldest daughter of Bryant Gallaher, who was a native of Ireland. Elizabeth Gallaher, mother to the said Nancy Rigden, was the second wife of the said Bryant Gallaher, and whose maiden name was Reed, and who was a native of Monmouth county, New Jersey. Their parents were natives of Scotland.

His father, William Rigdon, was a farmer, and he removed from the State of Maryland some time prior to his marriage; to the State of Pennsylvania; and his mother had removed some time prior to that, from the State of New Jersey to the same State; where they were married, and continued to follow agricultural pursuits. They had four children, viz: three sons, and one daughter. The eldest, sons, were called Carvil, Loami, and Sidney, the subject of this brief history. The fourth a daughter, named Lucy.

Nothing very remarkable took place in the youthful days of Elder Rigdon, suffice it to say, that he continued at home with his parents, following the occupation of a farmer until he was seventeen years of age, when his father died; after which event, he continued on the same farm with his mother, until he was twenty-six years of age. In his twenty-fifth year, he connected himself with a society which in that country was called Regular Baptists. The church he united with, was at that time under the charge of the Rev. David Phillips, a clergyman from Wales. The year following he left the farm and went to reside with the Rev. Andrew Clark, a minister of the same order. During his continuance with him, he received a license to preach in that society, and commenced from that


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.               7

time to preach, and returned to farming occupations no more. This was in March 1819.

In the month of May of the same year, he left the State of Pennsylvania and went to Trumball county, State of Ohio, and took up his residence at the house of Adamson Bentley, a preacher of the same faith. This was in July of the same year. While there, he became acquainted with Phebe Brook, to whom he was married on the 12th of June, A. D. 1820. She was a native of the State of New Jersey, Bridgetown, Cumberland county, and had previously removed to Trumball county, Ohio. After his marriage he continued to preach in that district of country until November, 1821, when he was requested by the First Baptist Church of the city of Pittsburg, to take the pastorial charge of said Church, which invitation he accepted, and in February, A. D. 1822, he left Warren, Trumball county, and removed to that city and entered immediately upon his pastorial duties, and continued to preach to that church with considerable success. At the time he commenced his labors in that church, and for some time before, the church was in a very low state and much confusion existed in consequence of the conduct of their former pastor. However, soon after Elder Rigdon commenced his labors there was a pleasing change effected, for by his incessant labors and his peculiar style of preaching, the church was crowded with anxious listeners. The number of members rapidly increased, and it soon became one of the most respectable churches in that city. He was now a popular minister, and was much respected in that city, and all classes and persuasions sought his society. After he had been in that place some time, his mind was troubled and much perplexed, with the idea that the doctrines maintained by that society were not altogether in accordance with the scriptures. This thing continued to agitate his mind, more and more, and his reflections open these occasions were peculiarly trying; for according to his views of the word of God, no other church that he was acquainted with was right, or with whom he could associate; consequently, if he was to disavow the doctrine of the church with whom he was then associated, he knew of no other way of obtaining a livelihood except by mental {manual} labor, and at that time had a wife and three children to support.

On the one hand was wealth, popularity and honor, on the other, appeared nothing but poverty and hard labor. But, notwithstanding his great ministerial success, and the prospect of ease and affluence, (which frequently swerve the mind, and have an undue influence on too many who wear the sacred garb of religion, who for the sake of popularity and of wealth, can calm and lull to rest their conscientious scruples, and succomb to the popular church,) yet, his mind rose superior to all these considerations. -- Truth was his pursuit, and for truth he was prepared to make every sacrifice in his power. After mature deliberation, deep reflection, and solemn prayer to his Heavenly Father, the resolve was made, and the important step was taken; and in the month of August, A. D. 1824, after laboring among that people two years and six months, he made known his determination, to withdraw from the church, as he


8                             JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                           

could no longer uphold the doctrines taught and maintained by it. This announcement was like a clap of thunder. Amazement seized the congregation, which was then collected, which at last gave way in a flood of tears. It would be in vain to attempt to describe the feelings of the church on that occasion, who were zealously attached to their beloved pastor, of the feelings of their minister. On his part it was indeed a struggle of principle over affection and kindness.

There was at the time of his separation from that church, a gentleman of the name of Alexander Campbell, who was formerly from Ireland, and who has since obtained considerable notoriety in the religious world, who was then a member of the same association, and who afterwards separated from it. There was also another gentleman, by the name of Walter Scott, a Scotchman by birth, who was a member of the Scandinavian [sic] Church, in that city, and who separated from the same about that time.

Prior to these separations, Mr. Campbell resided in Bethany, Brook county, Virginia, where he published a monthly periodical, called the Christian Baptist. After they had separated from the different churches, these gentlemen were on terms of the greatest friendship, and frequently met together to discuss the subject of religion; being yet undetermined respecting the principles of the doctrine of Christ, or what course to pursue. However, from this connection sprung up a new church in the world, known by the name of "Campbellites," they call themselves "Disciples." The reason why they were called Campbellites, was, in consequence of Mr. Campbells' publishing the periodical above mentioned, and it being the means through which they communicated their sentiments to the world; other than this, Mr. Campbell was no more the originator of that sect than Elder Rigdon.

Having now retired from the ministry, and having no way by which to sustain his family, besides his own industry, he was necessiated to find other employment in order to provide for his maintenance, and for this purpose he engaged in the humble capacity of a journeyman tanner, in that city, and followed his new employment, without murmuring, for two years, during which time he both saw and experienced that by resigning his pastorial vocations in that city and engaging in the humble occupation of a tanne, he had lost many who once professed the greatest friendship, and who manifested the greatest love for his society; that when he was seen by them in the garb suited to the employment of a tanner, there was no longer that freedom, courtesy and friendship manifested; that many of his former friends became estranged and looked upon him with coolness and indifference too obvious to admit of deception. To a well regulated and enlightened mind -- to one who soars above the arbitrary and vain lines of distinction which pride or envy may draw, such conduct appears ridiculous, while at the same time it cannot but cause feelings of a peculiar nature to those who for their honesty and integrity of heart have brought themselves into situations to be made the subjects of it.


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                9

These things, however, did not affect his mind, so as to change his purpose. He had counted the cost before his separation, and had made his mind known to his wife, who cheerfully shared his sorrow and humiliation, believing that all things would work together for their good, being conscious that what they had done was for conscience sake, and in the fear of the Lord.

After laboring for two years as a tanner, he removed to Bainbridge, Geauga, county, Ohio, where it was known that he had been a preacher, and had gained considerable distinction as a public speaker, and the people soliciting him to preach, he complied with their request. From this time forward, he devoted himself to the work of the ministry, confining himself to no creed, but held up the Bible as the rule of faith, and advocating those doctrines which had been the subject of his, and Mr. Campbell's investigations; viz: Repentance and baptism, for the remission of sins.

He continued to labor in that vicinity one year, and during that time, his former success attended his labors. Large numbers invariably attended his meetings. While he labored in that neighborhood, he was instrumental in building up a large and respectable church, in the town of Mantua, Portage county, Ohio. The doctrines which he advanced being new, public attention was awakened, and great excitement pervaded throughout that whole section of country, and frequently the congregations which he addressed, were so large that it was impossible to make himself audible to all. The subjects he proposed were presented in such an impressive manner to the congregations, that those who were unbiased by bigotry and prejudice, had to exclaim, "We never heard it in this manner before." There were some, however, that opposed the doctrines which he advanced, but not with that opposition which ever ought to characterize the noble and ingenious. Those by whom he was opposed, well knew that an honorable and public investigation, would inevitably discover the weakness and fatality of their doctrines; consequently they shunned it, and endeavored, by ridiculing the doctrines which he promulgated, to suppress them.

This, however, did not turn him from the path which he felt to be his duty; for he continued to set forth the doctrines of repentance, and baptism for remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, according to the teachings of Peter, on the day of Pentecost, exhorting his hearers in the mean time, to throw away their creeds of faith -- to take the Bible as their standard, and search its sacred pages -- to learn to live by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of the Lord, and to rise above every sectarian sentiment, and the traditions of the age, and explore the wide and glorious fields of truth which the scriptures holds out to them.

After laboring in that neighborhood one year, he received a very pressing invitation to remove to the town of Mentor, in the same county, about thirty miles from Bainbridge, and within a few miles from Lake Erie, which he sometime afterwards complied with. The persons by whom he was more particularly requested to move to that place, were the remnants of a


10                             JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                           

Baptist Church, which was nearly broken up, the members of which had become attached to the doctrines promulgated by Elder Rigdon.

The town of Mentor was settled by wealthy and enterprizing individuals, who had by their industry and good management made that township one of the most delightful in that country, or probably in the Western Reserve. Its advantages for agricultural purposes could hardly be surpassed, while the splendid farms, fertile fields, and stately mansions made it particularly attractive to the eye of the traveler, and gives evidence of enterprise and wealth. In that beautiful location he took up his residence, and immediately commenced his labors, with that zeal and assiduity which had formerly characterized him.

But being a stranger, and many reports being put in circulation of a character calculated to lessen him in the estimation of the people, and consequently destroy his influence, some persons were even wicked enough to retail those slanderous reports which were promulgated, and endeavored to stir up persecution against him; consequently many of the citizens were jealous, and did not extend to him that confidence which he might otherwise have expected.

His path was not strewed with flowers, but the thorns of persecution beset him, and he had to contend against much prejudice and opposition, whose swollen waves might have sunk one less courageous, resolute, and determined; yet, notwithstanding these unfavorable circumstances, he continued to meet the storm, to stem the torrent, and bear up under the reproach for some time.

At length the storm subsided, for after laboring in that neighborhood about eight months, he so wrought upon the feelings of the people by his consistent walk and conversation -- his sociability, combined with his overwhelming eloquence, that a perfect calm succeeded; their evil apprehensions and surmisings were allayed, their prejudices gave way, and the man whom they had looked upon with jealousy was now their theme of praise, and their welcome guest. Those who had been most hostile, now became his warmest admirers, and most constant friends.

The churches in which he preached, which had heretofore been filled with anxious hearers, were now filled to overflowing, the poor flocked to the services, and the rich thronged the assemblies.

The doctrines he advanced, were new, but at the same time were elucidated with such clearness, and enforced with an eloquence altogether superior to what they had listened to before, that those whose sectarian prejudices were not too deeply rooted, who listened to the deep and searching discourses which he delivered from time to time, could not fail of being greatly affected, and convinced that the principles he advanced were true, and in accordance with the Scriptures. Nor were his labors and success confined to that township alone, but calls were made in every direction for him to preach, which he complied with, as much as he possibly could, until his labors became very extensive, and spread over a vast extent of country.

Wherever he went, the same success attended his ministry, and he was


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                11

every where received with kindness, and welcomed by persons of all classes. Prejudice after prejudice, gave way on every hand; opposition after opposition, was broken down, and bigotry was rooted from its strongholds. The truths he advanced were received with gladness, and the doctrines he taught had a glorious ascendancy wherever he had the opportunity of promulgating them.

His fame as an orator and deep reasoner in the Scriptures continued to spread far and wide, and he soon gained a popularity and an elevation which has fallen to the lot of but few, consequently thousands flocked to hear his eloquent discourses.

When it was known where he was going to preach, there might be seen long before the appointed time, persons of all classes, sects and denominations, flocking like doves to their windows, from a considerable distance. The humble pedestrian, and the rich in their splendid equipages might be seen crowding the roads.

The churches in the different places, where he preached, were now no longer large enough to contain the vast assemblies which congregated from time to time, so that he had to repair to the wide spread canopy of heaven, and in the woods and in the groves, he addressed the multitudes which flocked to hear him. Nor was his preaching in vain. It was not empty sound that so closely engaged the attention of his audiences, and with which they were so deeply interested, but it was the truths that were imparted, the intelligence which was conveyed, and the duties which were enforced.

Not only did the writings of the New Testament occupy his attention, but occasionally those of the ancient prophets, particularly those prophesies which had reference to the present and to the future, were brought up to review and treated in a manner entirely new, and deeply interesting. No longer did he follow the old beaten track, which had been traveled for ages by the religious world but he dared to enter upon new grounds; called in question the opinions of uninspired men; showed the foolish ideas of many commentators on the sacred Scriptures -- exposed their ignorance and contradictions -- threw new light on the sacred volume, particularly those prophecies which so deeply interest this generation and which had been entirely overlooked, or mystified by the religious world but cleared up scriptures which had heretofore appeared inexplicable, and delighted his astonished audience with things "new and old" -- proved to a demonstration the literal fulfilment of prophecy, the gathering of Israel in the last days, to their ancient inheritances, with their ultimate splendor and glory; the situation of the world at the coming of the Son of Man -- the judgments which Almighty God would pour out upon the ungodly, prior to that event, and the reign of Christ with his saints on the earth, in the millennium.

These important subjects could not fail to have their weight on the minds of his hearers, who clearly discerned the situation in which they were placed, by the sound and logical arguments which he adduced; and soon, numbers felt the importance of obeying that form of doctrine


12                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

which had been delivered them; so that they might be accounted worthy to escape those things which were coming on the earth, and many came forward desiring to be baptized for the remission of sins. He accordingly commenced to baptize, and like John of old, there flocked to him people from all the region round about -- persons of all ranks and standings in society -- the rich, the poor, and noble and the brave, flocked to be baptized of him. Nor was this desire confined to individuals, or families, but whole societies threw away their creeds and articles of faith, and became obedient to the faith he promulgated, and he soon had large and flourishing societies throughout that whole region of country.

He now was a welcome visitor wherever he traveled -- his society was courted by the learned, and intelligent, and the highest encomiums were bestowed upon him for his biblical lore, and his eloquence.

The work of the ministry engaged all his time and attention, he felt deeply for the salvation of his fellow man, and for the attainment of which, he labored with unceasing dilligence.

During this state of unexampled success, the prospect of wealth and affluence was fairly open before him; but he looked upon it with indifference, and made every thing subservient to the promotion of correct principles: and having food and raiment, he learned therewith to be content. As a proof of this, his family were in no better circumstances, and made no greater appearance in the world, than when he labored at the occupation of tanning. His family consisted of his wife and six children, and lived in a very small, unfinished frame house, hardly capable of making a family comfortable; which affords a clear proof that his affections were not set upon things of a worldly nature, or secular aggrandizement.

After he labored in that vicinity some time, and having received but little pecuniary aid, the members of the church which he had built up, held a meeting to take his circumstances into consideration, and provide for his wants, and place him in a situation suitable to the high and important office which he sustained in the church. They resolved upon erecting him a suitable residence, where he could make his family comfortable, and accommodate his numerous friends, who visited him. A committee was appointed to make a purchase of land, and to erect such buildings as were necessary. The committee soon made a purchase of a farm in a beautiful situation in that township, made contracts for erecting a suitable dwelling house, stable, barn etc., and soon made a commencement on the house, and had a quantity of the building materials on the spot. He being held in the highest respect by that people, they entered the work with pleasure, and seemed to vie with each other in their labors of love, believing it a duty to make their beloved pastor and his family comfortable. His prospects, with regard to temporal things, were now brighter than they ever had been; and he felt happy in the midst of a people who had every disposition to promote his welfare.

Under these pleasing circumstances, and enjoying this full tide of prosperity, he hardly thought that, for his attachment to truth, he would


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                13

soon see the prospect blasted, and himself and family reduced to a more humble situation than before.

At this time, it being in the fall of A. D. 1830, Elders Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, called at that town, on their way to the Western Boundary of the State of Missouri, testifying to the truth of the "Book of Mormon," and that the Lord had raised up a prophet, and restored the priesthood. Previous to this, Elder Parley Pratt had been a preacher in the same church with Elder Rigdon, and resided in the town of Amherst, Lorain county, in that State, and had been sent into the State of New York, on a mission, where he became acquainted with the circumstances of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and was introduced to Joseph Smith, jr., and others of the church of Latter Day Saints. After listening to the testimony of the witnesses, and reading the "book," he became convinced that it was of God, and that the principles which they taught, were the principles of truth. He was then baptized, and shortly after was ordained an elder, and began to preach, and from that time became a strenous advocate of the truth.

Believing there were many in the church with whom he had formerly been united, who were honest seekers after truth, induced him, while on his journey to the West, to call upon his friends, and make known the great things which the Lord had brought to pass. The first house at which they called, was Elder Rigdon's; and after the usual salutations, presented him with the Book of Mormon -- stating that it was a revelation from God. This being the first time he had ever heard of or seen the Book of Mormon, he felt very much prejudiced at the assertion; and replied, that he had one Bible which he believed was a revelation from God, and with which he pretended to have some acquaintance; but with respect to the book they had presented him, he must say that he had "considerable doubt." Upon which they expressed a desire to investigate the subject, and argue the matter; but he replied, "No, young gentlemen, you must not argue with me on the subject; but I will read your book, and see what claim it has upon my faith, and will endeavor to ascertain whether it be a revelation from God or not." After some farther conversation on the subject, they expressed a desire to lay the subject before the people, and requested the privilege of preaching in Elder Rigdon's church, to which he readily consented. The appointment was accordingly published, and a large and respectable congregation assembled. Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt severally addressed the meeting. At the conclusion, Elder Rigdon arose and stated to the congregation that the information they had that evening obtained was of an extraordinary character and certainly demanded their most serious consideration: and as the apostle advised his brethren "to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good," so he would exhort his brethren to do likewise, and give the matter a careful investigation; and not turn against it, without being fully convinced of its being an imposition, lest they should, possibly resist the truth.


14                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

This was, indeed, generous on the part of Elder Rigdon, and gave evidence of his entire freedom from any sectarian bias; but allowing his mind full scope to range, untrammeled, through the Scriptures, embracing every principle of truth, and rejecting error, under whatever guise it should appear. He was perfectly willing to allow his members the same privilege. Having received great light on the scriptures, he felt desirous to receive more, from whatever quarter it should come. This was his prevailing characteristic; and if any sentiment was advanced by anyone, that was new, or tended to throw light on the Scriptures, or the dealings of God with the children of men, it was always gladly received, and treasured up in his mind. After the meeting broke up, the brethren returned home with Elder Rigdon, and conversed upon the important things which they had proclaimed. He informed them that he should read the Book of Mormon, give it a full investigation, and then would frankly tell them his mind and feelings on the subject -- told them they were welcome to abide at his house until he had opportunity of reading it.

About two miles from Elder Rigdon's, at the town of Kirtland, were a number of the members of his church, who lived together, and had all things common -- from which circumstance has arisen the idea that this was the case with the Church of Jesus Christ -- to which place they immediately repaired, and proclaimed the gospel to them, with some considerable success; for their testimony was received by many of the people, and seventeen came forward in obedience to the gospel.

While thus engaged, they visited Elder Rigdon occasionally, and found him very earnestly engaged in reading the "Book of Mormon," -- praying to the Lord for direction, and meditating on the things he heard and read; and after a fortnight from the time the book was put in his hands, he was fully convinced of the truth of the work, by a revelation from Jesus Christ, which was made known to him in a remarkable manner, so that he could exclaim "flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto me, by my father which is in heaven."

Being now fully satisfied in his own mind of the truth of the work, and the necessity of obedience thereto, he informed his wife of the same, and was happy to find that she was not only diligently investigating the subject, but was believing with all her heart, and was desirous of obeying the truth, which, undoubtedly, was great satisfaction to his mind.

The consequence of obeying the truth, and embracing a system of religion, so unpopular as that of the Church of Jesus Christ, presented itself in the strongest possible light.

At present, the honors and applause of the world were showered down upon him, his wants were abundantly supplied, and were anticipated. He was respected by the entire community, and his name was a tower of strength. His council was sought for, respected and esteemed. But if he should unite with the church of Christ, his prospects of wealth and affluence would vanish; his family dependent upon him for support, must necessarily share his humiliation and poverty. He was aware that his


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                15

character and his reputation must suffer in the estimation of the community.

Aware of all these things, there must have been feelings of no ordinary kind, agitate his bosom at that particular crisis; but yet they did not deter him from the path of duty. He had formerly made a sacrifice for truth and conscience' sake, and had been sustained; consequently, he felt great confidence in the Lord, believing that if he pursued the path of duty, no good thing would be withheld from him.

Although he felt great confidence in the Lord, yet he felt it a trial of some magnitude, when he avowed his determination to his beloved companion, who had before shared in his poverty, and who had cheerfully struggled through it without murmuring or repining. He informed her what the consequences would undoubtedly be respecting their worldly circumstances if they obeyed the gospel; and then said: "My dear, you have once followed me into poverty, are you again willing to do the same?" She then said: "I have weighed the matter, I have contemplated on the circumstances in which we may be placed; I have counted the cost, and I am perfectly satisfied to follow you; it is my desire to do the will of God, come life or come death." Accordingly, they were both baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ; and, together with those who had previously been admitted to baptism, made a little branch, in this section of Ohio, of about twenty members, whom the brethren, bound for the borders of the Lamanites, after adding to their number, one of their converts, Dr. Frederick G. Williams, bade an affectionate farewell, and went on their way rejoicing.

Parley P. Pratt's account of the visit to Mr. Rigdon is as follows:

After traveling for some days we called on an Indian nation at or near Buffalo; and spent part of a day with them, instructing them in the knowledge of the record of their fore fathers. We were kindly received, and much interest was manifested by them on hearing this news. We made a present of two copies of the Book of Mormon to certain of them who could read, and repaired to Buffalo. Thence we continued our journey, for about two hundred miles, and at length called on Mr. Rigdon, my former friend and instructor, in the Reformed Baptist Society. He received us cordially and entertained us with hospitality.

We soon presented him with a Book of Mormon, and related to him the history of the same. He was much interested, and promised a thorough perusal of the book.

We tarried in this region for some time, and devoted our time to the ministry, and visiting from house to house.

At length Mr. Rigdon and many others became convinced that they had no authority to minister in the ordinances of God; and that they had not been legally baptized and ordained. They, therefore, came forward and were baptized by us, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.


16                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

The news of our coming was soon noised abroad, and the news of the discovery of the Book of Mormon and the marvelous events connected with it. The interest and excitement now became general in Kirtland, and in all the region round about. The people thronged us night and day, insomuch that we had no time for rest or retirement. Meetings were convened in different neighborhoods, and multitudes came together soliciting our attendance; while thousands flocked about us daily; some to be taught, some for curiosity, some to obey the gospel, and some to dispute or resist it.

In two or three weeks from our arrival in the neighborhood with the news, we had baptized one hundred and twenty seven souls, and this number soon increased to a thousand. The disciples were filled with joy and gladness, while rage and lying was abundantly manifested by gainsayers; faith was strong, joy was great, and persecution heavy.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between John G. Smith and Julia Giles, on the second of November, 1826, agreeable to license obtained from court of said county.
                       SIDNEY RIGDON .
       EDWARD PAINE, Jun., Clerk Com. Pleas.   
Recorded the 13th of Dec., 1826.

January, 1827. Elder Rigdon held public meetings in Mantua, Ohio. (Hayden's History of the Disciples of the Western Reserve.)

February, 1827. Preached funeral discourse of Hannah Tanner, Chester, Ohio. (Authenticated by Henry Tanner.)

March and April, 1827. Held protracted meetings at Mentor, Ohio; baptizing Nancy M. Sanford, William Dunson and wife, and others. (Evidence by Nancy M. Sanford, Mantua, Ohio.)

That his life prior to his uniting with the Latter Day Saints was an active one is indicated by the following items from the county records and other reliable sources.


The introduction to dates appearing on page 16, which reads as follows: "That his life prior to his uniting with the Latter Day Saints was an active one is indicated by the following items from the county records and other reliable sources," should have been inserted after the second paragraph on said page, instead of where it now appears.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that on the fifth day of June, l827, in the village of Painesville, I solemnized the marriage contract between Theron Freeman and Elizabeth Waterman, agreeable to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                       SIDNEY RIGDON.
          EDWARD PAINE, Jun.., Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded June 7, 1827.


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                17

June 15, 1827.  Baptized Thomas Clapp, and others, Mentor, Ohio. Personal testimony of Henry H. Clapp, Mentor, Ohio.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between James Gray and Mary Kerr, in township of Mentor, on the 3d of July, 1827.
                       SIDNEY RIGDON.
          EDWARD PAINE, Jun.., Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded July 12, 1827.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that on the June 19th of July, l827, I solemnized the marriage contract in the township of Kirtland, between Alden Snow and Ruth Parker, agreeable to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.        SIDNEY RIGDON.
          EDWARD PAINE, Jun.., Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded August 10, 1827

August 23, 1827.  Elder Rigdon met with the Ministerial Association of the Western Reserve at New Lisbon, Ohio.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract on the 9th of October, 1827, in the township of Mentor, between Stephen Sherman and Wealthy Mathews, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of court of said county,
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
          EDWARD PAINE, Jun.., Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded October 27, 1827

October 20, 1827, A member of the ministerial council at Warren, Ohio.

November, 1827, Held a series of meetings at New Lisbon, Ohio.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Alvin Wait and Sophia Gunn, on the 6th of Dec., 1827, in the township of Kirtland, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
          EDWARD PAINE, Jun.., Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded December 12, 1827.


18                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Roswell D. Cottrell and Matilda Olds, in the township of Concord, on the 13th day of December, 1827, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
          EDWARD PAINE, Jun.., Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded January 8, 1828.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Otis Harrington and Lyma Corning, in the township of Mentor, on the 14th day of February, 1828, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
          EDWARD PAINE, Jun.., Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded March 31, 1828.

March, 1828, Instructor of a class in theology at Mentor, Ohio; and also held a series of meetings at Mentor and Warren, Ohio. Zebulon Rudolph, afterwards an elder in the Disciples Church, was a member of this class in theology, with others. He became a man of note in the Western Reserve.

April, 1828. Elder Rigdon conducted a great religious revival in Kirtland, Ohio.

May, 1828. He meets with Alexander Campbell at Shalerville, Ohio, and held a protracted meeting at that place.

June, 1828. Elder Rigdon baptized Henry H. Clapp at Mentor, Ohio.

August, 1828. Attended great yearly association at Warren, Ohio,

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Luther Dille and Clarissa Kent, in the township of Mentor, on the 7th day of September, 1828, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
           D. D. AIKEN, Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded October 13, 1828.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Nachor Corning and Phebe E. Wilson, in the township of Mentor, on the


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                19

18th day of September, 1828, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
           D. D. AIKEN, Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded October 13, 1828.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Albert Churchill and Anna Fosdick, on the 1st day of January, 1829, in the township of Concord, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
           D. D. AIKEN, Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded February 12, 1829.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Erastus Root and Rebccca Tuttle, on the 1st day of January, 1829, in the township of Mentor, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
           D. D. AIKEN, Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded February 12, 1829.

March, 1829. Protracted meeting, Mentor, Ohio.

April 12, 1829. Protracted meeting at Kirtland, Ohio.

Lyman Wight, in his private journal, says: "I resided in this place (Warrenville, Ohio) till 1829, about the month of May, when I heard Sidney Rigdon preach what was then called Rigdonite doctrine. After hearing him go through the principle of baptism for the remission of sins, I went forward and was baptized by his hands."

July 1, 1829. Organized church at Perry, Ohio.

In the journal of Lyman Wight, he writes August (same year): "My wife was baptized together with John Murdock and many others by Sidney Rigdon."

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between John Strong and Ann Eliza More, on the 13th of August, 1829, in the township of Kirtland, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
           D. D. AIKEN, Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded September 14, 1829.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Darwin Atwater and Harriett Clapp, on the 14th of September, 1829,


20                         JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                       

in the township of Mentor, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
           D. D. AIKEN, Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded October 7, 1829.

September, 1829. Series of meetings at Mentor, Ohio, baptizing J. J. Moss, who was afterwards Disciple minister of some note.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This is to certify that I solemnized the marriage contract between Joel Roberts and Relief Bates, on the 14th of September, 1829, in the township of Perry, agreeably to license obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
           D. D. AIKEN, Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded October 7, 1829.

October, 1829. At Perry, Ohio.

November, 1829. Held meetings at Wait Hill, Ohio; baptizing Alvin Wait.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Cuyahoga County |

This certifies that I solemnized the marriage contract between David Chandler and Polly Johnson, in the township Chagrin on the 31st day of December, one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-nine, agreeably to license. obtained from the clerk of the court of said county.           SIDNEY RIGDON,
                    Pastor Baptist
                    Church in Mentor,
                    Geauga Co., Ohio.

Filed and Recorded January 12, 1830.

March, 1830. At Mentor, Ohio.

June 1 to 30. At Mentor, Ohio.

July, 1830 Protracted meeting at Pleasant Valley, Ohio; baptized forty-five.

August, 1830. With Alexander Campbell at Austintown, Ohio.

State of Ohio,
..............................} ss.
Geauga County ....|

This certifies that I married Lewis B. Wood to Laura Cleveland in Kirtland township, on the 4th of November, 1830.
                SIDNEY RIGDON.
           D. D. AIKEN, Clerk Com. Pleas.
Recorded November 11, 1830.

Lyman Wight states that "my Family and myself were baptized on November 14, 1830." And his widow states that she distinctly remembers that Rigdon was baptized on the same day.


Volume Three                                                 Number Three


JULY  1910

[p. 279]


(Continued from page 20.)

In December, 1830, Elder Rigdon in company with Edward Partridge went to New York for the purpose of visiting Joseph Smith in which Elder Rigdon and his former work were recognized in the following language:

Behold, verily, verily I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers and prepared thee for a greater work. Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold, thou wast sent forth even as John, to prepare the way before me, and before Elijah which should come, and thou knew it not. Thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost; but now I give unto thee a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, even as the apostles of old

Joseph Smith had previously commenced an inspired revision or correction of the Holy Scriptures, and Sidney Rigdon commenced to assist him in this important work and continued to do so at intervals until the translation was completed on July 2, 1833.

After a short sojourn in New York he returned to his home in Ohio, where he resided for several years, taking an active part in church work, which sometimes called him from home for weeks and months at a time.

June 19, 1831, in company with Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Joseph Coe, and Algernon S. Gilbert and wife, he started from Kirtland, Ohio for Missouri, prompted by a reveled promise that the land of their inheritance would be pointed out, and the place for the building of the New Jerusalem would be revealed.

They journeyed by wagon, boat, and stage as far as Saint Louis, going by way of Cincinnati, Louisville, and Cairo.


280                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

From Saint Louis the majority of the company went on foot to Independence, Missouri, but Elder Rigdon in company with Gilbert and wife made the journey by boat. Those walking arrived at Independence about the middle of July and those traveling by boat a few days later.

Several other elders who left Kirtland at the same time, but traveled by different routes, met this company at Independence. In July a revelation was received pointing out that Independence was the center place, and that the spot for the temple was lying westward upon a lot that was not far from the court-house.

He was present on August 2, when the land of Zion was consecrated, and offered the dedicatory prayer. He was also one of the participants on the following day when the spot for the temple was dedicated.

August 9, in company with ten others, he started on his return trip, leaving the landing near Independence in a canoe, and walking a part of the way to Saint Louis in company with Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Thence they went by stage, arriving at Kirtland August 27.

He then entered actively into the work before mentioned as scribe for Joseph Smith in the revision of the Scriptures, and in preaching in the vicinity. About this time he removed to Hiram, Ohio, where the work of revision or translation was veing done. While thus engaged, on the night of March 25, 1832, a mob composed of overzealous religionists maltreated him and Joseph Smith, leaving Elder Rigdon on the ground apparently dead. He finally recovered, though delirious for several days. Immediately after his recovery he took his family back to Kirtland. On April 1 he again started for Missouri, accompanied by Joseph Smith, Newel K. Whitney, Peter Whitmer, and Jesse Gauze. They went by stage and boat, traveling via Wellsville, Steubenville, Wheeling, Cincinnati,


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                281

Louisville, Cairo, and Saint Louis, arriving at Independence on April 24.

Here he participated in an important conference held on the 26th when the church was more fully organized

May 6, in company with Joseph Smith and Newel K. Whitney, he commenced his return home. Leaving his companions, who were detained by an accident to Bishop Whitney at Greenville. Indiana, he proceeded alone to Kirtland. He then continued in the vicinity of home actively engaged in church interests.

March 8, 1833, a revelation was received providing for counselors to the president of the church, thus forming a quorum of three which was subsequently known as the "First Presidency." Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were called to occupy in this important position. They were ordained on the 18th of March at the time of the organization of the school of the prophets.

On July 2, 1833, the day the translation was finished, he wrote to the "brethren in Zion" from which we quote as follows:

I, Sidney, write this in great haste, in answer to yours to Brother Joseph, as I am going off immediately, in company with Brother Frederick, to proclaim the gospel; we think of starting to-morrow. Having finished the translation of the Bible, a few hours since, and needing some recreation, we know of no way we can spend our time more to divine acceptance, than endeavoring to build up his Zion, in these last days, as we are not willing to idle any time away, which can be spent to useful purposes. Doors are open continually for proclaiming; the spirit of bitterness among the people is fast subsiding, and a spirit of inquiry is taking its place. I proclaimed last Sunday at Chardon, our county seat. I had the court-house. There was a general turnout, good attention, and a pressing invitation for more meetings, which will be granted if the Lord will, when we return from this tour.

October 5, in company with Joseph Smith and Freeman Nickerson, he started from Kirtland on a mission to Canada, where they preached for about one month with great success, returning to Kirtland November 4, 1833. When in 1834


282                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

Joseph Smith and Frederick G. Williams of the First Presidency were absent in Missouri, with Zion's Camp, seeking to reinstate to their homes their brethren who had been driven away, Sidney Rigdon remained at Kirtland, presiding over the church there. At this time the temple was in course of construction and to Sidney Rigdon's courage and faithfulness the success in building was largely due.

Elder Heber C. Kimball, who was with Zion's Camp, speaking of conditions during their absence, has this to say of Elder Rigdon

Elder Rigdon when addressing the brethren upon the importance of building this house, spake to this effect: that we should use every effort to accomplish this building by the time appointed; and if we did, the Lord would accept it at our hands; and on it depends the salvation of the church and also of the world. Looking at the sufferings and poverty of the church, he frequently used to go upon the walls of the building both by night and day and frequently wetting the walls with his tears, crying aloud to the Almighty to send means whereby we might accomplish the building. After we returned from our journey to the West, the whole church united in this undertaking, and every man lent a helping hand. Those who had no teams went to work in the stone quarry and prepared the stones for drawing to the house. President Joseph Smith, jr., being our foreman in the quarry; the Presidency, high priests, and elders all alike assisting. Those who had teams assisted in drawing the stone to the house. These all laboring one day in the week, brought as many stones to the house as supplied the masons through the whole week. We continued in this manner until the walls of the house were reared.

When the temple was finally completed and dedicated, March 27, 1836, Elder Rigdon preached the dedicatory sermon. Joseph Smith in commenting on this discourse states:

The speaker (S. Rigdon) selected the eighth chapter of Matthew, the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth verses from which he proposed to address the congregation, confining himself more closely to the twentieth verse. He spoke two hours and a half in his usual forcible and logical manner. At one time in the course of his remarks he was rather pathetic than otherwise, which drew tears from many eyes. He was then taking a retrospective view of the toils, privations, and anxieties of those who had labored upon the walls of the house to erect them; and added, there were those who had wet them with their tears, in the silent shades of night, while they were praying to the God of heaven to protect them and stay the unhallowed hands of ruthless spoilers, who had uttered a prophecy


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                283

when the foundation was laid that the walls would never be reared.... This was only a short digression from the main thread of his discourse, which he soon resumed. . . . But to conclude, we can truly say no one unacquainted with the manner of delivery and style of our speaker can from reading form any adequate idea of the powerful effect he is capable of producing in the minds of his hearers; and to say on this occasion he showed himself master of his subject and did well, would be doing him injustice; to say he acquitted himself with honor or did very well, would be detracting from his real merit; and to say that he did exceeding well, would be only halting praise.

In the summer and autumn of 1836, Elder Rigdon visited the Eastern States, in company with Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and Oliver Cowdery.

In 2837 Elder Rigdon was one of the officers and promoters of what was known as the Kirtland Bank, a history of which has been published in the JOURNAL OF HISTORY.

On February 1, 1837, Elder Rigdon became interested as one of the proprietors of the Messenger and Advocate, published at Kirtland, Ohio.

In July and August, 1837, Elder Rigdon, in company with Joseph Smith, William Smith, and Vinson Knight started again for Missouri, arriving at Far West in Caldwell County about the last of October. He took part in regulating and more fully organizing the church in Missouri. Returning to Kirtland in December he found the church and church affairs in a serious condition in consequence of some being disaffected and stirring up opposition against Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and other leading men. This resulted in several, including Elder Rigdon, removing from Kirtland, Ohio, to Far West, Missouri, early in 1838.

Joseph Smith gives the following account of these extraordinary events:

A new year dawned upon the church in Kirtland in all the bitterness of the spirit of apostate mobocracy; which continued to rage and grow hotter and hotter, until Elder Rigdon and myself were obliged to flee from its deadly influence, as did the apostles and prophets of old, and as Jesus said, "when they persecute you in one city, flee to another." And on the evening of the 12th of January, about ten o'clock, we left Kirtland,


284                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

on horseback, to escape mob violence, which was about to burst upon us under the color of legal process to cover their hellish designs and save themselves from the just judgment of the law. We continued our travels during the night, and at eight o'clock on the morning of the 13th arrived among the brethren in Norton Township, Medina County, Ohio, a distance of about sixty miles from Kirtland; where we tarried about thirty-six hours, when our families arrived, and on the 16th pursued our journey with our families, in covered wagons, toward the city of Far West, in Missouri; passing through Dayton, Eaton, etc., to Dublin, Indiana, where we tarried nine days and refreshed ourselves.

The weather was extremely cold and we were obliged to secrete ourselves in our wagons sometimes, to elude the grasp of our pursuers, who continued their race more than two hundred miles from Kirtland, armed with pistols, etc., seeking our lives. They frequently crossed our track; twice they were in the houses where we stopped; once we tarried all night in the same house with them, with only a partition between us and them, and heard their oaths and imprecations and threats concerning us, if they could catch us; and late in the evening they came in our room and examined us, but decided we were not the men. At other times we passed them in the streets, and gazed upon them, and they on us; but they knew us not. One Lyons was one of our pursuers.

I parted with Brother Rigdon at Dublin, and traveling different routes we met at Terre Haute, where, after resting we separated again, and I pursued my journey, crossing the Mississippi River at Quincy, Illinois.

When I had arrived within one hundred and twenty miles of Far West the brethren met me with the teams and money to help me forward; and when eight miles from the city we were met by an escort; viz., Thomas B. Marsh and others, who receive[d] us with open arms; and on the 13th of March I with my family and some others put up at Brother Barnard's for the night. Here we were met by an escort of the brethren from the town, who came to make us welcome to their little Zion.

On the 14th as we were about entering Far West, many of the brethren came out to meet us, who also with open arms welcomed us to their bosoms. We were immediately received under the hospitable roof of Brother George W. Harris, who treated us with all possible kindness; and we refreshed ourselves with much satisfaction after our long and tedious journey, the brethren bringing in such things as we had need of for our comfort and convenience.

Sidney Rigdon arrived at Far West, April 4, 1838.

April 6, the eighth anniversary of the organization of the church was celebrated at Far West, Sidney Rigdon presiding.

During the summer Elder Rigdon was busy with others visiting and locating lands in Caldwell and adjoining counties.

July 4, there was a celebration at Far West at which Sidney Rigdon was the orator of the day.


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.               285

In this oration, though bidding defiance (perhaps unwisely) to his enemies, he gave utterance to the most patriotic and loyal sentiments, of which the following is an extract:

We have been taught from our cradles, to reverence the fathers of the Revolution, and venerate the very urns which contain the ashes of those who sleep; and every feeling of our hearts responds in perfect unison to the precept. Our country and its institutions, are written on the tablet of our hearts, as with the blood of the heroes who offered their lives in sacrifice, to redeem us from oppression. On its towers, the flag of freedom waves, and invites the oppressed to enter, and find an asylum; under the safeguard of the constitution the tyrant's grasp is unfastened, and equal rights and privileges flow to every part of the grand whole. Protected by its laws and defended by its powers, the oppressed and persecuted saint can worship under his own vine, and under his own fig tree, and none can molest or make afraid. We have always contemplated it, and do now, as the only true fabric of freedom, and bulwark of liberty, in the world. Its very existence, has taught the civilized world, lessons of freedom, far surpassing those of a Pitt, a Wilberforce, a Canning, or a Grey, and has cast all their efforts in the shade for ever. It has stood, and now stands, as the arbiter of the world, the judger of the nations, and the rebuker of tyrants throughout the world: it is the standard of freedom, both civil and religious. By its existence, the fears of the superstitious have been removed, and the pretext of tyrants have been swept away as a refuge of lies, and the rights of man have been restored, and freedom, both political and religious, have been made to triumph. Our government is known throughout the civilized world, as the standard of freedom, civil, religious, and political; by it are the acts of all nations tried, and it serves to expose the frauds, the deceptions, and the crafts, of the old world, in attempting to pawn upon the people, monarchy and aristocracy, for republicanism and freedom. So powerful has been its influence, that the hand of the oppressor, even in the Old World has been lightened, tyrants have been made to tremble, and oppressors of mankind, have been filled with fear. Thrones, if they have not been cast down, have been striped of their terror, and the oppressed subject has been, measurably, delivered from his bondage. Having been rocked in the cradle of liberty, and educated in the school of freedom, all our prejudices and prepossessions are deeply rooted in favor of the superlative excellence of a government, from which all our privileges and enjoyments have flown. We are wedded in it by the strongest ties -- bound to it by cords as strong as death, -- to preserve it, aught to be our aim in all our pursuits, to maintain its constitution unviolable, its institutions uncorrupted, its laws unviolated, and its order unchanged.

The following from the same oration will serve to show the sentiments of Elder Rigdon on religious freedom and religious rights:


286                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

There is one thing, in the midst of our political differences, which ought to create feelings of joy and gratitude in every heart, and in the bosom of every well-wisher of mankind, that all parties in politics express the strongest desire to preserve both the Union and the Constitution unimpaired and unbroken, and only differ about the means to accomplish this object -- so desirable, as expressed by all parties. And while this, indeed, is the object of parties in this republic, there is nothing to fear. The prospects for the future, will be as flattering as the past, in celebrating this the anniversary of our independence: all party distinctions should be forgotten -- all religious differences should be laid aside. We are members of our common Republic, equally dependent on a faithful execution of its laws, for our protection in the enjoyment of our civil, political, and religious privileges. All have a common interest in the preservation of the Union, and in defence and support of the Constitution. Northern, southern, and western interests, ought to be forgotten, or lost for the time being, in the more noble desire to preserve the Unon; -- we cannot by rending it in pieces. In the former there is hope, in the latter fear, in one peace, in the other war. In times of peace, it ought to be our aim and our object, to strengthen the bonds of the Union by cultivating peace and good will among ourselves; and in times of war, to meet our foes sword in hand, and defend our rights, at the expense of life. For what is life when freedom has fled? It is a name -- a bubble; "Better far sleep with the dead, than be oppressed among the living."

All attempts, on the part of religious aspirants, to unite church and state ought to be repealed with indignation, and every religious society supported in its rights, and in the exercise of its conscientious devotions -- the Mohameden, the pagan, and the idolater, not excepted -- and be partakers equally in the benefits of the government; for if the Union is preserved, it will be by endearing the people to it; and this can only be done by securing to all their most sacred rights. The least deviation from the strictest rule of right, on the part of any portion of the people, or their public servants, will create dissatisfaction, that dissatisfaction will end in strife -- strife in war -- war, in the dissolution of the Union. It is on the virtue of the people, that depends the existence of the government, and not on the wisdom of legislators. Wherefore serveth laws, (it matters not how righteous in themselves,) when the people in violation of them, tear those rights from one another, which they (the laws) were designed to protect? If we preserve the nation from ruin, and the people from war, it will be by securing to others, what we claim to ourselves, and being as zealous to defend another's rights, as to secure our own. If on this day, the fathers of our nation, pledged their fortunes, their lives, and their sacred honors, to one another, and to the claims which they represented, to be free, or to lose all earthly inheritance (not life and honor excepted), so ought we to follow their example and pledge our fortunes, our lives, and our sacred honors, as their children and successors, in maintaining inviolable, what they obtained by their treasure, and their blood. With holy feelings, sacred desires, and grateful hearts to our divine Benefactor, ought we to perform the duties of this day, and enjoy the privileges, which, as Saints of the living God, we enjoy in this land of liberty and freedom, where our most sacred rights, even that of worshipping our God according to his will, is secured unto us by law, and our religious rights so identified with the existence of the nation, that to deprive us of them, will be to doom the nation to ruin, and the Union to dissolution.

(To be continued)


Volume Three                                                   Number Four



[p. 401]


(Continued from page 286.)

In the fall of 1838 the former citizens of Missouri made an effort to prevent the Latter Day Saints from voting at the general election. This was in some instances resented, and was the beginning of hostilities between the new and old citizens. Governor Boggs, who was previously an open and bitter enemy of the Latter Day Saints, called out the militia, and without an investigation treated the Latter Day Saints as enemies of the State. The militia under the command of Generals Licas, Clark, Wilson, Doniphan, and others, marched upon Far West.

Preparation was made for resistance. There was a regiment of the State;s militia organized among the Saints, whose officers had been duly commissioned by the governor. This regiment was called out in defense, and for a time it seemed as if there would be a conflict with state militia on each side.

As the aggressors approached the city of Far West, October 31, 1838, a flag of truce, which was met by officers in the city, was sent out. A conference was held between militia officers on either side.

A demand was made that leading church officers appear in the council. Accordingly Lieutenant Colonel George M. Hinkle returned into the city and escorted to the enemies' camp, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson. Instead of these men being admitted to conference they were immediately taken into custody as prisoners of war. The next day Hyrum Smith and Amasa Lyman were brought into camp and added to the number of prisoners.


402                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

A court-martial was held and the prisoners were condemned to be shot on the public square at Far West at nine o'clock, November 2, 1838. The execution of this order was intrusted to Brigadier-General Alexander W. Doniphan. The following is a copy of the order:

Brigadier-General Doniphan; Sir: You will take Joseph Smith and other prisoners into the public square at Far West, and shoot them at nine o'clock to-morrow morning.       SAMUEL LUCAS.
                                Major-General Commanding.

Against this order General Doniphan rebelled, returning the following reply:

It is cold blooded murder. I will not obey your order. My brigade will march for Liberty to-morrow morning at eight o'clock; and if you execute these men; I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God!       A. W. DONIPHAN, Brigadier-General.

This so disconcerted General Lucas and his advisors that the sentence was not executed, but the prisoners were sent at once to Independence, Missouri, arriving there November 3, under the escort of Generals Lucas and Wilson. In Independence they were held under custody for several days, when upon the order of General Clark they were taken to Richmond, Missouri, arriving there November 9 under the escort of General Sterling Price, subsequently of Confederate fame. Here many more church members were added to the number of prisoners of war. Another court-martial was held, and the sentence of death by shooting was passed upon the prisoners. General Clark, fearing that he might be transcending authority by trying and executing civilians by military authority, sent a messenger to Fort Leavenworth to ask advice. Lieutenant-Colonel Richard P. Mason, then in command at the fort, returned the answer: "It would be nothing more and nothing less than cold-blooded murder." General Clark then concluded to turn them over to civil authorities. An examination was held before Judge Austin A. King, who discharged the most of the prisoners, but held six of them to


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                403

answer further charges, and sent them to Liberty, Clay County, for safe-keeping. Though they were started from Richmond for Liberty, November 30, 1838, the mittimus committing them was not made out and signed until March, 1839. It reads as follows:

State of Missouri,
Ray County.
    To the Keeper of the Jail of Clay County; Greeting: Whereas, Joseph Smith, jr., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander MacCrae and Caleb Baldwin, as also Sidney Rigdon, have been brought before me, Austin A. King, judge of the fifth judicial circuit in the State of Missouri, and charged with the offense of treason against the State of Missouri, and the said defendants on their examination before me, being held to answer further to said charge, the said Joseph Smith, jr., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander MacCrae and Caleb Baldwin, to answer in the county of Daviess, and the said Sidney Rigdon, to answer further in the county of Caldwell for said charge of treason, and there being no jail in said counties, these are, therefore, to command that you receive the said Joseph Smith, j., Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander MacCrae, Caleb Baldwin and Sidney Rigdon, into your custody in the jail of said county of Clay, there to remain until they be delivered therefrom by due course of law.

Given under my hand and seal the 29th day of November, 1838.
                                        AUSTIN A. KING.

On January 30, 1839, Elder Rigdon was admitted to bail and released. The civil authorities seemed glad to be thus relieved of this case, as no persistent effort was made either to bring Elder Rigdon to trial or collect bail of the sureties. He proceeded at once to Illinois. His account of these events is as follows:

This trial lasted for a long time, the result of which was, that I was ordered to be discharged from prison, and the rest remanded back; but I was told by those who professed to be my friends, that it would not do for me to go out of jail at that time, as the mob were watching, and would most certainly take my life and when I got out, that I must leave the State, for the mob, availing themselves of the exterminating order of Governor Boggs, would, if I were found in the State, surely take my life; that I had no way to escape them but to flee with all speed from the State. It was some ten days after this before I dare leave the jail. Every preparation was made that could be made for my escape. There was a carriage ready to take me in and carry me off with all speed. A pilot was ready -- one


404                           JOURNAL  OF  HISTORY                         

who was well acquainted with the country -- to pilot me through the country so that I might not go on any of the public roads. My wife came to the jail to accompany me, of whose society I had been deprived for four months. Just at dark, the sheriff and jailer came to the jail with our supper. I sat down and ate. There were a number watching. After I had supped, I whispered to the jailer to blow out all the candles but one, and step away from the door with that one. All this was done. The sheriff then took me by the arm, and an apparent scuffle ensued, so much so, that those who were watching, did not know who it was the sheriff was scuffling with. The sheriff kept pushing me towards the door, and I apparently resisting, until we reached the door, which was quickly opened and we both reached the street. He took me by the hand and bade me farewell, telling me to make my escape, which I did with all possible speed. The night was dark. After I had gone probably one hundred rods, I heard some person coming after me in haste. The thought struck me in a moment that the mob was after me. I drew a pistol and cocked it, determined not to be taken alive. When the person approaching me spoke, I knew his voice, and he speedily came to me. In a few minutes I heard a horse coming. I again sprung my pistol cock. Again a voice saluted my ears that I was acquainted with. The man came speedily up and said he had come to pilot me through the country. I now recollected I had left my wife in the jail. I mentioned it to them, and one of them returned, and the other and myself pursued our journey as swiftly as we could. After I had gone about three miles, my wife overtook me in a carriage, into which I got, and we rode all night. It was an open carriage, and in the month of February 1839, we got to the house of an acquaintance just as the day appeared. There I put up until the next morning, when I started again and reached a place called Tenny's Grove; and to my great surprise I here found my family, and was again united with them, after an absence of four months, under the most painful circumstances. From thence I made my way to Illinois, where I now am. My wife, after I left her, went directly to Far West and got the family under way, and all unexpectedly met at Tenny's Grove.

In Illinois he became immediately active in assisting to locate the Saints, who had been exiled from Missouri.

In May, 1839, Elder Rigdon was appointed by a conference of the church held at Quincy, Illinois, as a delegate to Washington to present the grievances of the Saints before Congress. It was when contemplating this mission that Governor Robert Lucas, of Iowa, who had been governor of Ohio when the Saints were operating there, gave Elder Rigdon a letter of introduction and recommendation to Present Van Buren which read as follows:


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                405

Burlington, Iowa Territory, April 22,1839.    

To His Excellency, Martin Van Buren, President of the United States.
Sir: I have the honor to introduce to your acquaintance, the bearer, Doctor Sidney Rigdon, who was for many years citizen of the State of Ohio, and a firm supporter of the administration of the general Government.

Doctor Rigdon visits Washington (as I am informed) as the representative of a community of people called Mormons, to solicit from the Government of the United States, an investigation into the causes that led to their expulsion from the State of Missouri: together with the various circumstances connected with that extraordinary affair.

I think it due to that people to state, that they had for a number of years a community established in Ohio, and that while in that State they were (as far as I ever heard) believed to be an industrious, inoffensive people; and I have no recollection of having ever heard of any of them being charged in that State as violators of the laws.

With sincere respect, I am your obedient servant,
                        ROBERT LUCAS.

Governor Lucas also gave him the following letter to Governor Shannon, of Ohio:

Burlington, Iowa Territory, April 22,1839.    

To His Excellency, Wilson Shannon, Governor of the State of Ohio.
Sir: I have the honor to introduce to your acquaintance, Doctor Sidney Rigdon, who was for many years a citizen of Ohio. Doctor Rigdon wishes to obtain, from the general government of the United States, an investigation into the causes that led to the expulsion of the people called Mormons from the State of Missouri, together with all the facts connected with that extraordinary affair. This investigation, it appears to me, is due them as citizens of the United States, as well as to the nation at large.

Any assistance that you can render the Doctor towards accomplishing that desirable object, will be gratefully received and duly appreciated by your sincere friend and humble servant,
                        ROBERT LUCAS.

There were also letters given him by citizens of Quincy of which the following are copies"

To His Excellency, the President of the United States, the Heads of Departments, and to all whom this may be shown: The undersigned citizens of Quincy, Illinois, beg leave to introduce to you the bearer, Rev. Sidney Rigdon. Mr. Rigdon is a divine, connected with the Church of Latter Day Saints, and having enjoyed his acquaintance for some time past, we take great pleasure in recommending him to your favorable notice as a man of piety and a valuable citizen.


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Any representation he may make touching the object of his mission to your city may be implicitly relied on.
                         Very respectfully yours,
The bearer, the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, is a member of a society of people called Mormons, or Latter Day Saints, who have been driven from the State of Missouri, by order of the Executive of that State, and who have taken up their residence in and about this place in large numbers. I have no hesitation in saying that this people have been most shamefully persecuted and cruelly treated by the people of Missouri.

Mr. Rigdon has resided in and near this place for three or four months, during which time his conduct has been that of a gentleman and a moral and worthy citizen.
                         SAMUEL LEACH.

Subsequently Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee were associated with Elder Rigdon, and they repaired to Washington, and in October, 1839, laid before Congress the following lengthy petition, giving an epitomized history of troubles in Missouri:

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled: Your petitioners, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Elias Higbee, would most respectfully represent, that they have been delegated, by their brethren and fellow citizens, known as 'Latter Day Saints' (commonly called Mormons), to prepare and present to you a statement of their wrongs, and a prayer for their relief, which they now have the honor to submit to the consideration of your honorable body.

In the summer of 1831 a portion of the society above-named commenced a settlement in the county of Jackson, in the State of Missouri. The individuals making that settlement had emigrated from almost every State in the Union to that lovely spot in the far West, with the hope of improving their condition, of building houses for themselves and posterity, and of erecting temples, where they and theirs might worship their Creator according to the dictates of their conscience. Though they had wandered far from the homes of their childhood, still they had been taught to believe that a citizen born in any one State in this great Republic might remove to another and enjoy all the rights and immunities of citizens of the State of his adoption -- that wherever waved the American


             BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.             407

flag, beneath its stars and stripes an American citizen might look for protection and justice, for liberty in person and in conscience.

They bought farms, built houses, and erected churches. Some tilled the earth, others bought and sold merchandise, and others again toiled as mechanics. They were industrious and moral, and they prospered; and though often persecuted and vilified for their difference in religious opinion from their fellow citizens, they were happy; they saw their society increasing in numbers, their farms teemed with plenty, and they fondly looked forward to a future big with hope. That there was prejudice against them, they knew; that slanders were propagated against them, they deplored; yet they felt that these were unjust; and hoped that time and an uprightness of life, would enable them to outlive them. While the summer of peace, happiness, and hope shone over the infant settlement of the saints, the cloud was gathering, unseen by them, that bore in its bosom the thunderbolt of destruction.

On the 20th July, 1833, around their peaceful village a mob gathered, to the surprise and terror of the quiet 'Mormons'-why, they knew not; they had broken no law, they had harmed no man, in deed or thought. Why they were thus threatened, they knew not. Soon a committee from the mob called upon the leading 'Mormons' of the place; they announced that the store, the printing office, and the shops must be closed, and that forthwith every "Mormon" must leave the county. The message was so terrible, so unexpected, that the "Mormons" asked time for deliberation and consultation, which being refused, the brethren were severally asked, "Are you willing to abandon your homes' The reply was, "We will not go;" which determination being reported to the committee of the mob, one of them replied that he was sorry; for, said he, 'The work of destruction must now begin." No sooner said than it was done. The printing office, a two-story brick building, was assailed by the mob and tore down, and, with its valuable appurtenances, destroyed. They next proceeded to the store with a like purpose. Its owner in part, Mr. Gilbert, agreed to close it, and they delayed their purpose.

They then proceeded to the dwelling of Mr. Partridge, the beloved bishop of the church there, dragged him and his family to the public square, where, surrounded by hundreds, they partially stripped him of his clothing and tarred and feathered him from head to foot. A man by the name of Allen was at the same time treated in a similar manner. The mob then dispersed with an agreement to meet again on the next Tuesday, the above outrages having been committed on Saturday.

Tuesday came, and with it came the mob, bearing a red flag, in token of blood. They proceeded to the houses of Isaac Morley and others of the leading men, and seized them, telling them to bid their families farewell, that they would never see them again. They were then driven, at the point of the bayonet, to jail, and there, amid the jeers and insults of the crowd, they were thrust in prison, to be kept as hostages; in case any of the mob should be killed, they were to die to pay for it. Here some two or three of the Mormons offered to surrender up their lives, if


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that would satisfy the fury of the mob, and purchase peace and security for their unoffending brethren, their helpless wives and children. The reply of the mob was, that the Mormons must leave the county en masse, or that every man should be put to death.

The Mormons, terrified and defenseless, then entered into an agreement to leave the county -- one half by the first of January, the other half by the first of April next ensuing. This treaty being made and ratified, the mob dispersed. Again, for a time, the persecuted Mormons enjoyed a respite from their persecutions; but not long was the repose permitted them.

Sometime in the month of October a meeting was held at Independence, at which it was determined to remove the Mormons or die. Inflammatory speeches were made, and one of the speakers swore he would remove the "Mormons from the county if he had to wade up to his neck in blood."

Be it remarked that up to this time the Mormons had faithfully observed the treaty, and were guilty of no offense against the laws of the land or of society, but were peaceably following the routine of their daily duties.

Shortly after the meeting above referred to, another persecution commenced; some of the 'Mormons' were shot at, others were whipped, their houses were assailed with brick-bats, broken open, and thrown down; their women and children were insulted; and thus for many weeks, without offense, without resistance, by night and by day, were they harassed, insulted, and oppressed.

There is a point beyond which endurance ceases to be a virtue. The worm when trampled upon will turn upon its oppressor. A company of about thirty Mormons fell in with twice that number of the mob engaged in the destruction of Mormon property, when a battle ensued, in which one Mormon was killed, and two or three of the mob; acting in concert with the officer who commanded the mob, was Lilburn W. Boggs, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Missouri. When the noise of the battle was spread abroad, the public mind became much inflamed. The militia collected in arms from all quarters and in great numbers, and inflamed to fury. They demanded that the "Mormons" should surrender up all their arms and immediately quit the county. Compelled by overpowering numbers, the "Mormons" submitted. They surrendered up fifty-one guns, which have never been returned or paid for.

The next day parties of the mob went from house to house threatening women and children with death if they did not immediately leave their homes. Imagination cannot paint the terror which now pervaded the Mormon community. The weather was intensely cold, and women and children abandoned their homes and fled in every direction without sufficient clothing to protect them from the piercing cold. Women gave birth to children in the woods and on the prairies. One hundred and twenty women and children, for the space of ten days, with only three or four men in company, concealed themselves in the woods in hourly expectation and fear of massacre, until they finally escaped into Clay


             BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.              409

County. The society of "Mormons," after the above disturbances, removed to the county of Clay, where they were kindly received by the inhabitants and their wants administered to by their charity.

In the meantime the houses of the "Mormons" in the county of Jackson, amounting to about two hundred, were burned down or otherwise destroyed by the mob, as well as much of their crops, furniture, and stock.

The damage done to the property of the "Mormons" by the mob in the county of Jackson as above related, as near as they can ascertain, would amount to the sum of one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars. The number of "Mormons" thus driven from the county of Jackson amounted to about twelve hundred souls. For the property thus destroyed they have never been paid.

After the expulsion of the "Mormons" from the county of Jackson as above related, they removed to and settled in the county of Clay. They there purchased out some of the former inhabitants, and entered at the land office wild lands offered for sale by the general government. The most of them became freeholders, owning each an eighty or more of land.

The "Mormons" lived peaceably in the county of Clay for about three years, and all that time increased rapidly in numbers, by immigration, and also in wealth by their industry. After they had resided in that county about three years, the citizens not connected with them began to look upon them with jealousy and alarm. Reports were again put in circulation against them; public meetings were held in the counties of Clay and Jackson, at which violent resolutions were passed against the "Mormons," and rumors of mobs began again to spread alarm among the "Mormons." At this juncture the "Mormons," desirous of avoiding all conflict with their fellow citizens, and anxious to preserve the peace and harmony of the society around them, as well as their own, deputized a committee of their leading men to make terms of peace with their fellow citizens of Clay. An interview took place between them and a committee of citizens, at which it was agreed that the "Mormons" should leave the county of Clay, and that the citizens of Clay County should buy their lands.

These terms were complied with. The "Mormons" removed to and settled in the county of Caldwell, and the citizens never paid them value for their lands. Many received nothing at all for their land. The "Mormons" by this removal sacrificed much both of money and feeling, but the sacrifice was made upon the altar of duty, for the peace of the community.

Your memorialists would beg here to give what they believe a just explanation of the causes of the prejudice and persecution against the "Mormons" related above, and which will follow. That there might have been some unworthy members among them cannot be denied; but many aver that as a community they were as moral, as upright, and as observant of the laws of the land as any body of people in the world. Why then this prejudice and persecution? An answer they trust will


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be found in the fact that they were a body of people distinct from their fellow citizens, in religious opinions, in their habits, and in their associations. They were numerous enough to make the power of their numerical and moral force a matter of anxiety and dread to the political and religious parties by which they are surrounded; which arose not from what the "Mormons" had done, but from the fear of what they might do.

In addition, the "Mormons" have purchased of the settlers, or of the government, or obtained by pre‘mption, the best lands in all those regions of the State; and at the times of speculation, the cupidity of many was aroused to possess those lands by driving off the "Mormons," and taking forcible possession, or constraining them to sell, through fear or coercion, at a price merely nominal.

After the "Mormons" removed from Clay they settled in the county of Caldwell as aforesaid.

Your memorialists do not deem it necessary for their purpose to detail the history of the progress, the cares, and anxieties of the "Mormons" from the time they settled in Caldwell in the year 1836 until the fall of 1838. They would, however, state, that during all that time they deported themselves as good citizens, obeying the laws of the land, and the moral and religious duties enjoined by their faith. That there might have been some faithless among the faithful, is possible. They would not deny that there might have been some who were a scandal to their brethren; and what society, they would ask, has not some unworthy members? Where is the sect, where the community, in which there cannot be found some who trample under foot the laws of God and man? They believe the "Mormon" community to have as few such as any other association, religious or political. Within the above period the "Mormons" continued to increase in wealth and numbers, until in the fall of the year 1838 they numbered about fifteen thousand souls.

They purchased of the Government, or of the citizen, or held by pre‘mption, almost all the lands in the county of Caldwell and a portion of the lands in Daviess and Carroll. The county of Caldwell was settled almost entirely by "Mormons," and "Mormons" were rapidly filling up the counties of Daviess and Caldwell [Carroll]. When they first commenced settling in those counties there were but few settlements made there; the lands were wild and uncultivated. In the fall of 1838 large farms had been made, well improved and stocked. Lands had risen in value and sold for from ten to twenty-five dollars. The improvement and settlement had been such that it was a common remark that the county of Caldwell would soon be the wealthiest in the State.

Thus stood their affairs in the fall of 1838, when the storm of persecution again raged over the heads of the "Mormons," and the fierce demon of the mob drove them forth houseless and homeless and penniless upon the charities of the world, which to them, thank God! have been like angels' visits, but not few, or far between. This last persecution began at an election which was held in Daviess County on the first Monday of August, 1838. A "Mormon" went to the polls to vote. One of the mob


             BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                411

standing by opposed his voting, contending that a "Mormon" had no more right to vote than a negro; one angry word brought on another, and blows followed. They are, however, happy to state that the "Mormon" was not the aggressor, but was on the defensive; others interfered, not one alone, but many assailed the 'Mormon.' His brethren, seeing him thus assailed by numbers, rushed to the rescue; then came others of the mob, until finally a general row commenced. The "Mormons" were victorious. The next day a rumor reached the "Mormons" of Caldwell, that two of their brethren had been killed in this fight, and that a refusal had been made to surrender their bodies for burial. Not knowing at the time that this rumor was false, they became much excited, and several of them started for Daviess County with a view of giving the brethren, whom they supposed to have been killed, a decent interment; where they arrived next morning. Among the citizens this fight produced a great excitement. They held a public meeting and resolved to drive the "Mormons" from the county. Individuals began also to threaten the "Mormons" as a body, and swear that they should leave the county in three days. When the "Mormons" who had gone from Caldwell to Daviess, as aforesaid, arrived there, they found this state of excitement to exist. They also heard that a large mob was collecting against them, headed by Adam Black, one of the judges of the county court of Daviess County.

Under these circumstances, and with a view to allay the excitement, they called on Mr. Black, and inquired of him whether the reports they had heard in relation to him were true. Upon his denying them to be true, they then requested him to give that denial in writing, which he freely did. This writing they published with a view of calming the public mind and allaying the excitement. Having done this, they rested in quiet for some time after, hoping that their efforts would produce the desired effect. Their surprise can, under these circumstances, be easily imagined, when a short time after they learned that said Black had gone before Judge King and made oath that he was forced to sign the instrument by armed "Mormons," and procured a warrant for the arrest of Joseph Smith, Jr., and Lyman Wight, which was placed in the hands of the sheriff. It was also reported that the said individuals had refused to surrender themselves, and that an armed force was collecting to come and take them.

Your memorialists aver that the sheriff had never made any efforts to serve the writ, and that the said Smith and Wight, so far from making any resistance, did not know that such a writ had been issued until they learned it first by report as above related. In the meantime the rumor had run over the whole country that the "Mormons" were compelling individuals to sign certain instruments in writing, and that they were resisting the process of the law. The public mind became much inflamed, and the mob began to collect from all quarters and in large numbers, with pretensions of assisting the sheriff to serve the process; and here let it be observed in passing that Adam Black had sold the


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improvement and pre‘mption claim on which he then resided, to the "Mormons," received his pay for the same, and that through his instrumentality the "Mormons" were driven off, and now retains both their money and the improvements.

(To be continued.)



Volume Four                                                   Number One



[p. 93]


(Continued from page 412, volume 3.)

As soon as the above reports reached the ears of the said Smith and Wight, they determined immediately upon the course they ought to pursue, which was to submit to the laws. They both surrendered themselves up to Judge King, underwent a trial, and in the absence of all sufficient testimony they were discharged. They hoped that this voluntary submission of theirs to the law, and their triumphant vindication of the charge, would allay the excitement of the community. But not so-the long-desired opportunity had arrived when the oppression and extermination of the "Mormons" might be made to assume the form of legal proceeding. The mob that had assembled for the pretended purpose of assisting the officers in the execution of process did not disperse upon the acquittal of Smith and Wight, but continued embodied with the encampments and forms of a military force, and committing depredations upon "Mormon" property. The "Mormons" in this extremity called upon the laws of the land and the officers of the law, for protection. After much delay, the militia under Generals Atchison, Doniphan, and Parks, were sent to their relief. They arrived on the 13th September, and encamped between the "Mormons" and the mob.

The above officers made no attempt to disperse the mob, excusing themselves by saying, 'that their own men had sympathies with the mob.' After remaining there for several days, those officers adopted the following expedient of settling the difficulties: they mustered the mob, and enrolled them with their own troops, and then disbanded the whole, with orders to seek their several homes. The officers went home, excepting Parks, who remained for their protection, with his men.

The "Mormons" made an agreement with the citizens of Daviess to buy out their lands and pre‘mption rights, and appointed a committee to make the purchase, and to go on buying till they had purchased to the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars. While these purchases were going on, the citizens were heard to say that as soon as they had sold out to the "Mormons" and received their pay, they would drive the "Mormons" off and keep both their lands and the money.

The mob, when disbanded in Daviess by the generals as aforesaid, instead of repairing to their homes as commanded, proceeded in a body to the adjoining county of Carroll and encamped around De Witt, a village built and inhabited by 'Mormons;' while thus encamped around De Witt they sent to the county of Jackson and procured a cannon. They invested the place so closely that no person could leave the town in safety; when they did so, they were fired upon by the mob. The horses of the "Mormons" were stolen and their cattle killed. The citizens of De Witt, amounting to about seventy families, were in great extremity


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and worn out by want and sickness. In their extremity they made application to Governor Boggs for protection and relief; but no protection, no relief, was granted them. When reduced to the last extremity, no alternative was left them but to seek protection by flight and the abandonment of their homes. Accordingly on the evening of the 11th of October, 1838, they retreated from De Witt and made their way to the counties of Daviess and Caldwell, leaving many of their effects in the possession of the mob.

Your memorialists will not detail the horrors and sufferings of such a flight, when shared with women and children. They might detail many. One lady who had given birth to a child just before the flight commenced, died on the road and was buried without a coffin. Many others, sick, worn-out, starved, deprived of medical aid, died upon the road. The remnant of "Mormons" from De Witt arrived in Daviess and Caldwell, and found a short relief and supply of their wants from their friends and brethren there.

After the abandonment of De Witt and the flight of the "Mormons" from Carroll, one Sashiel Woods addressed the mob, advising them to take their cannon and march to the county of Daviess and drive the "Mormons" from that county and seize upon their lands and other property, saying that the "Mormons" could get no benefit of the law, as they had recently seen. They then commenced their march from Carroll to Daviess, carrying with them the cannon which they had received from Jackson. On their way they captured two "Mormons," made them ride on the cannon, and taunted them as they went along, telling them that they were going to drive the "Mormons" from Daviess to Caldwell, and from Caldwell to hell; and that they should find no quarter but at the cannon's mouth. The mob at this time was reported to number about four hundred strong.

The "Mormons," in these distresses, in pursuance of the laws of Missouri, made application to Judge King, the circuit judge of that circuit, for protection, and for the aid of the officers of the law to protect them. Judge King, as they have been informed, and believe, gave an order to Major General D. B. Atchison to call out the militia to protect the "Mormons" against the fury of the mob. General Atchison thereupon gave orders to Brigadiers Parks and Doniphan. In pursuance of these orders issued as aforesaid, on the 18th of October, 1838, General Doniphan arrived at Far West, a "Mormon" village in the county of Caldwell, with a small company of militia. After he had been at Far West two days, General Doniphan disbanded his company, alleging to the "Mormons" as his reason for so doing that his company had the same feelings as the mob, and that he could not rely upon them. In a short time General Parks arrived at Far West, and also disbanded his company. At this time the mob was marching from Carroll to Daviess. General Doniphan, while at Far West, directed the "Mormons" to raise a company to protect themselves, telling them that one Cornelius Gillium was raising a mob to destroy their town, and also advising them to place out guards to watch the motions of the mob. He also directed them to raise a


             BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.              95

company and send them to Daviess to aid their brethren there against the mob which was marching down upon them from Carroll. This the "Mormons" did; they mustered a company of about sixty men, who proceeded to Diahman. When General Parks arrived at Far West as aforesaid and learned that General Doniphan had disbanded his men, he expressed great dissatisfaction. The same evening on which General Parks disbanded his company as aforesaid he proceeded to Diahman, in order to learn what the mob were doing there, and if possible to protect the "Mormons."

When General Parks had arrived in Daviess he found that the mob had commenced its operations there, which was on the 20th October, 1838. They commenced by burning the house of a man who had gone to Tennessee on business and left his wife at home with two small children. When the house was burned down, the wife and two small children were left in the snow, and she had to walk three miles before she could find a shelter, carrying her two children all that distance, and had to wade Grand River, which was three feet deep. The mob on the same evening burned seven other houses, burning and destroying all the property that they thought proper. The next morning, Colonel Lyman Wight, an officer in the militia, inquired of General Parks what was to be done, as he now saw the course the mob was determined to pursue. General Parks replied that he (Wight) should take a company of men and give the mob battle, and that he would be responsible for the act, saying that they could have no peace with the mob until they had given them a scourging.

On the next morning, in obedience to his order, David W. Patten was dispatched with one hundred men under his command to meet the mob as they were advancing from Carroll, with directions to protect the citizens and collect and bring into Far West such of the "Mormons" as were scattered through the county, and unprotected, and if the mob interfered he must fight them. The company under the command of Patten was the same, in part, that had gone from Far West by the order of General Doniphan to protect the citizens of Daviess. As Patten went in the direction of the mob, they fled before him, leaving their cannon, which Patten took possession of. The mob dispersed. Patten with his men then returned to Daviess County. Patten in a few days after returned to Far West. It was now supposed that the difficulties were at an end. But contrary to expectation, on the evening of the 23d October messengers arrived at Far West and informed the citizens that a body of armed men had made their appearance in the south part of the county, and that they were burning houses, destroying property, and threatening the "Mormon" citizens with death unless they left the county the next morning by ten o'clock, or renounced their religion.

About midnight another messenger arrived with news of the like tenor. Patten collected about sixty men and proceeded to the scene of the disturbance, to protect if possible the lives and property of the "Mormon" citizens. On his arrival at the neighborhood where the first disturbance had commenced, he found that the mob had gone to another neighborhood


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to prosecute their acts of plunder and outrage. He marched a short distance and unexpectedly came upon the encampment of the mob. The guards of the mob fired upon him and killed one of his men. Patten then charged the mob, and after a few fires the mob dispersed and fled, but Patten was killed and another of his men. After the fight and the dispersion of the mob, Patten's company returned to Far West. The report of the proceedings created much excitement. The community were made to believe that the "Mormons" were in rebellion against the law; whereas the above facts show they were an injured people, standing up in the defense of their persons and their property.

At this time the Governor of the State issued an order to General Clark to raise several thousand men and march against the "Mormons" and drive them from the State, or exterminate them. Major-General Lucas and Brigadier-General Wilson collected three or four thousand men; and with this formidable force commenced their march and arrived at Far West. In their rear marched General Clark with another formidable force.

In the meantime the "Mormons" had not heard of these immense preparations, and so far from expecting an armed force under the orders of the State to war against them, were daily expecting a force from the Governor to protect their lives and their property from the mob.

When this formidable array first made its appearance, intent upon peace the "Mormons" sent a white flag several miles to meet them, to ascertain the reason why an armed force was marching against them, and what we might expect at their hands. They gave us no satisfaction, but continued marching towards Far West. Immediately on their arrival a man came bearing a white flag from their camp. He was interrogated about his business; he answered the interrogations, saying they wanted three persons out of Far West before they massacred the rest. Those persons refused to go, and he returned back to the camp. He was closely followed by General Doniphan and his whole brigade marching to the city of Far West in line of battle. The citizens also of Far West formed a line of battle in full front of Doniphan's army; upon this Doniphan ordered a halt, and then a retreat. Night closed upon both parties without any collision.

On the next day, towards evening, the "Mormons" were officially informed that the Governor of the State had sent this immense force against them to massacre them or drive them from the State. As soon as the "Mormons" learned that this order had the sanction of the Governor of the State, they determined to make no resistance; to submit themselves to the authorities of the State, however tyrannical and unjust soever the exercise of that authority might be.

The commanders of the Missouri militia before Far West sent a messenger into the town, requesting an interview in their camp with five of the principal citizens among the "Mormons," pledging their faith for their safe return on the following morning at eight o'clock. Invited, as they supposed, to propose and receive terms of peace, and under the pledge of a safe conduct, Lyman Wight, George W. Robinson,


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                97

Joseph Smith, Jr., P. P. Pratt, and Sidney Rigdon went towards the camp of the militia. Before they arrived at the camp, they were surrounded by the whole army; and by order of General Lucas put under guard, and marched to the camp, and were told that they were prisoners of war. A court-martial was held that night, and they, without being heard, and in the absence of all proof, condemned to be shot next morning.

The execution of this bloody order was prevented by the manly protest of General Doniphan. He denounced the act as cold-blooded murder, and withdrew his brigade. This noble stand taken by General Doniphan prevented the murder of the prisoners. It is here worthy of note that seventeen preachers of the gospel were on this court-martial, and were in favor of the sentence.

The next morning the prisoners were marched under a strong guard to Independence, in Jackson County, and after being detained there for a week, they were marched to Richmond, where General Clark then was with his troops. Here a court of inquiry was held before Judge King; this continued from the 11th until the 28th of November; while the five prisoners were kept in chains, and about fifty other "Mormons," taken at Far West, were penned up in an open, unfinished courthouse. In this mock court of inquiry the defendants were prevented from giving any testimony on their part, by an armed force at the courthouse; they were advised by their lawyers not to bring any, as they would be in danger of their lives, or drove out of the county; so there was no testimony examined only against them.

In this inquiry a great many questions were asked relative to religious opinions. The conclusion of the court of inquiry was to send the prisoners to jail upon a charge of treason.

They do not deem it necessary to detail their sufferings while in prison; the horrors of a prison for four long months, in darkness, in want, alone, and during the cold of winter, can better be conceived than expressed. In the following April the prisoners were sent to the county of Daviess for trial; they were then indicted for treason, and a change of venue was taken to Boone County. The prisoners were sent to the county of Boone, and while on their way made their escape and fled to the State of Illinois.

That they were suffered to escape, admits of no doubt. The truth is, the State of Missouri had become ashamed of their proceedings against the "Mormons," and as the best means of getting out of the scrape, gave the prisoners an opportunity to escape. In proof of this, the prisoners have ever since been living publicly in the State of Illinois, and the Executive of Missouri have made no demand upon the Executive of Illinois. Can it be supposed that the people of Missouri would thus tamely submit to the commission of treason by a portion of their citizens, and make no effort to punish the guilty, when they were thus publicly living in an adjoining State? Is not this passiveness evidence [that] they knew the "Mormons" were innocent and the citizens of Missouri wrong?

But to return to the operations of General Lucas before Far West;


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we need only say that the exterminating order of Governor Boggs was carried into full effect. After the above-named individuals were taken prisoners, all the "Mormons" in Far West, about five hundred in number, surrendered up their arms to the militia without any resistance. The "Mormons" now fled in every direction -- women and children, through the dead of winter, marked their footsteps with blood as they fled from the State of Missouri.

The orders of the Governor were that they should be driven from the State or destroyed. About fifteen thousand souls, between the sacking of Far West and spring, abandoned their homes, their property, their all, hurried by the terrors of their armed pursuers, in want of every necessary of life, with bleeding hearts sought refuge in the State of Illinois, where they now reside.

We cannot trespass upon your time by the relation of cases of individual suffering; they would fill a volume. We forbear for our regard to humanity, to detail the particulars of the conduct of the Missouri militia. We could relate instances of house burnings, destruction of property, robbings, rapes, and murder, that would shame humanity. One instance as a sample of many which they enacted: Two hundred of the militia came suddenly upon some "Mormon" families emigrating to the State, and then encamped at Haun's mill in Caldwell County. The "Mormon" men and children took refuge in an old log house which had been used as a blacksmith's shop. On seeing the militia approach, the "Mormons" cried for quarter, but in vain; they were instantly fired upon; eighteen fell dead; and their murderers, putting the muzzles of their guns between the logs, fired indiscriminately upon children, upon the dead and dying. One little boy, whose father (Warren Smith) had just been shot dead, cried piteously to the militia to spare his life. The reply was, 'Kill him, kill him [with an oath], he is the son of a damned Mormon.' At this they shot his head all open and left him dead by the side of his father. About the same time an old man by the name of McBride, a soldier of the Revolution, came up to them and begged his life; but they hewed him to pieces with an old corn cutter. They then loaded themselves with plunder and departed.

Your petitioners have thus given a brief outline of the history of the "Mormon" persecutions in Missouri -- all which they can prove to be true, if an opportunity be given them. It will be seen from this their brief statement, that neither the "Mormons" as a body nor individuals of that body have been guilty of any offense against the laws of Missouri, or of the United States; but their only offense has been their religious opinion.

The above statement will also show that the "Mormons" on all occasions submitted to the laws of the land, and yielded to its authority in every extremity, and at every hazard, at the risk of life and property. The above statement will illustrate another truth: that wherever the "Mormons" made any resistance to the mob, it was in self-defense; and for these acts of self-defense they always had the authority and sanction of the officers of the law for so doing. Yet they, to the number of about


             BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                99

fifteen thousand souls, have been driven from their homes in Missouri. Their property, to the amount of two millions of dollars, has been taken from them, or destroyed. Some of them have been murdered, beaten, bruised, or lamed, and have all been driven forth, wandering over the world without homes, without property.

But the loss of property does not comprise half their sufferings. They were human beings, possessed of human feelings and human sympathies. Their agony of soul was the bitterest drop in the cup of their sorrows.

For these wrongs the "Mormons" ought to have some redress; yet how and where shall they seek and obtain it? Your Constitution guarantees to every citizen, even the humblest, the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property. It promises to all, religious freedom, the right to all to worship God beneath their own vine and fig tree, according to the dictates of their conscience. It guarantees to all the citizens of the several States the right to become citizens of any one of the States, and to enjoy all the rights and immunities of the citizens of the State of his adoption. Yet of all these rights have the "Mormons" been deprived. They have, without a cause, without a trial, been deprived of life, liberty, and property. They have been persecuted for their religious opinions. They have been driven from the State of Missouri, at the point of the bayonet, and prevented from enjoying and exercising the rights of citizens of the State of Missouri. It is the theory of our laws that for the protection of every legal right there is provided a legal remedy. What, then, we would respectfully ask, is the remedy of the 'Mormons?' Shall they apply to the legislature of the State of Missouri for redress? They have done so. They have petitioned, and these petitions have been treated with silence and contempt. Shall they apply to the federal courts? They were, at the time of the injury, citizens of the State of Missouri. Shall they apply to the court of the State of Missouri? Whom shall they sue? The order for their destruction, their extermination, was granted by the Executive of the State of Missouri. Is not this a plea of justification for the loss of individuals, done in pursuance of that order? If not, before whom shall the "Mormons" institute a trial? Shall they summon a jury of the individuals who composed the mob? An appeal to them were in vain. They dare not go to Missouri to institute a suit; their lives would be in danger.

For ourselves, we see no redress, unless it is awarded by the Congress of the United States. And here we make our appeal as American Citizens, as Christians, and as men-believing that the high sense of justice which exists in your honorable bodies will not allow such oppression to be practiced upon any portion of the citizens of this vast republic with impunity; but that some measures which your wisdom may dictate may be taken, so that the great body of people who have been thus abused may have redress for the wrongs which they have suffered. And to your decision they look with confidence; hoping it may be such as shall tend to dry up the tear of the widow and orphan, and again place in situations of peace those who have been driven from


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their homes and have had to wade through scenes of sorrow and distress.

And your memorialists as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.

This petition was referred to the committee on judiciary. This committee after summing up the points in the petition stated:

It can never be presumed that a State either wants the power or lacks the disposition to redress the wrongs of its own citizens, committed within her own territory, whether they proceed from the lawless acts of her officers or any other persons. The committee therefore report that they recommend the passage of the following resolution:

Resolved, That the committee on the judiciary be discharged from the further consideration of the memorial in this case; and that the memorialists have leave to withdraw the papers which accompany their memorial. 1

This resolution was adopted by the Senate, March 23, 1840.

While in the East Elder Rigdon visited and preached in several cities.

On February 1, 1841, at the first city election of the city of Nauvoo, Elder Rigdon was elected a member of the city council.

At the General Conference of the church in October, 1843, complaints were made against Elder Rigdon, it being alleged that he had carried on a treacherous correspondence with Governor Carlin and others. A thorough investigation was had, but nothing was disclosed damaging to the character of Elder Rigdon.

The record contains the following entry:

President Joseph Smith arose and satisfactorily explained to the congregation the supposed treacherous correspondence with ex-Governor Carlin, which wholly removed suspicion from Elder Sidney Rigdon, and from every other person.

1 Technically the basis of this resolution is sound. The presumption as stated in this report, should be in favor of the State, as it is in favor of the accused in all cases. But the court is lame and evasive in this: It finds the presumption in the case the final conclusion without hearing the testimony. -- H.C.S.


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.               101

About this time Elder Rigdon removed from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

On May 17, 1844, at a convention held at Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith, of Nauvoo, Illinois, was nominated for President of the United States, and Sidney Rigdon, of Pennsylvania, for Vice-president.

There was probably no expectation of electing this ticket, but in view of the treatment they had received from both political parties, the Saints felt that they could not support any of them, hence nominated a ticket upon which they could conscientiously exercise the right of franchise. A short time after this ticket was named, viz, June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith was assassinated at Carthage, Illinois.

No one was nominated to take his place on the ticket, and hence the ticket was not presented at the polls

After the death of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon returned to Nauvoo and arranged with local church authorities for a public meeting in which to present his claims to leadership. The meeting was duly announced and convened on August 8, 1844. Brigham Young and some of his colleagues appeared at the meeting and practically took charge of it and dominated it in its proceedings; hence Rigdon was rejected.

An open rupture thenceforth existed between Elder Rigdon and Young and his associates. Rigdon was cited for trial before the Bishop's court, Bishop Newel K. Whitney presiding. He did not appear, but Brigham Young and his fellows appeared and again dominated the council, and Rigdon was expelled.

Rigdon had returned to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and there established a periodical entitled the Messenger and Advocate, the first issue appearing October 15, 1844. From this periodical we learn that as a counter movement from that which expelled him, he renounced all affiliation with the church in Nauvoo. In the Messenger and Advocate for April 15, 1845,


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we find the following resolutions adopted by Rigdon and his followers:

Preamble and resolutions of the Church of Christ.

Whereas, The connection which has heretofore existed between ourselves and the people calling themselves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, renders it necessary that we publish to the world, a succinct statement of facts relating to the position we now sustain to God and our fellow-men; and

Whereas, In consequence of the rejection by that people, of what we undountedly deem to be the order of the church and kingdom of God, and introduction of doctrines and practices clearly inimical to the law of God, and altogether subversive of the laws of the land, abrogating the marriage contract, and substituting, under the professed sanction of heaven, a system of extreme licentiousness, uprooting every legal restraint, and eminently calculated in its very nature to produce the entire destruction of every virtuous tie, and pouring contempt upon every holy principle, contained in the revelations of God to his creature man; and must inevitably entail upon that people abject wretchedness and woe, subjecting them to the righteous condemnation of every virtuous intelligence, whether in heaven or on earth; and

Whereas, The better to conceal the justly odious system of polygamy -- duplicity, hypocrisy, and falsehood, are inculcated as virtues -- the most sacred obligations constantly violated, and families and individuals plunged into irrevocable ruin and despair; therefore

Resolved, That we hold no fellowship with the people calling themselves the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and can have no communion with them, unless they repent and obey the principles of righteousness and truth.

Resolved, That we maintain the truth and the truth only, at all hazards; renouncing at once, and for ever, the unsanctifying dogma, that it is sometimes lawful to lie.

Resolved, That our subjection to the law of God impels us to yield implicit obedience to the law of the land.

Resolved, That we do maintain and do earnestly contend for the faith which was once, and is again delivered to the saints, contained in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Covenants.

Resolved, That we feel it a solemn and imperative obligation, we owe to God and our fellow-man, to disseminate to the extent of our ability, correct information regarding certain pernicious doctrines and practices which are secretly taught by the leaders and many of the members of the society called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; verily believing them demoralizing and destructive, combining all the worst features of barbarism, and containing all the elements of the wildest anarchy, and would if unchecked by the power of truth, ultimately extinguish the species.


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                103

Sidney Rigdon was then and ever after an uncompromising foe of polygamy, and condemned Brigham Young and his colleagues in unmeasured terms for its practice. He has been misunderstood in this. The misunderstanding has partly arisen from a misconception of a statement published in Times and Seasons for November 15, 1844, which reads as follows: The saints of the last days have witnessed the outgoings and incomings of so many apostates that nothing but truth has any effect upon them. In the present instance, after the sham quotations of Sidney and his clique, from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, to skulk off, under the "dreadful splendor" of "spiritual wifery," which is brought into the account as graciously as if the law of the land allowed a man a plurality of wives, is fiendish, and like the rest of Sidney's revelation, just because he wanted to go to Pittsburg and live. Wo to the man or men who will thus wilfully lie to injure an innocent people! The law of the land and the rules of the church do not allow one man to have more than one wife alive at once, but if any man's wife die, he has a right to marry another, and to be sealed to both for eternity; to the living and the dead! there is no law of God or man against it! This is all the spiritual wife system that ever was tolerated in the church, and they know it.

It was not the intention of the writer, evidently, to accuse Rigdon of spiritual wifery, but to deny that it was practiced at Nauvoo, and to accuse Rigdon of lying about the people there as an excuse to skulk off under the splendor of the allegation, etc.

(To be continued.)


Volume Four                                                  Number Two


APRIL  1911

[p. 171]


(Continued from page 103.)

The Messenger and Advocate is replete with condemnation of the practice of polygamy and the denunciation of those who practiced it. In this periodical for April 15, 1845, there is a sermon from Elder Rigdon in which he argues that it would not be consistent for the Lord to command a practice contrary to the existing laws of the land. The following are extracts from this discourse:



"Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.: wherefore be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet." -- Book of Covenants 18:15.

The above text, which is taken from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, demands the strictest attention of all who profess to be members of the Church of Christ. They were written particularly for their use and benefit, and in every respect suited to their present and future condition, be that as it may. It is said in the Book of Mormon, that the Lord had this Government established for the purpose of building his church under its protection, or words to this effect; clearly intimating that the laws and institutions of the Government were every way suited to the end for which they were intended.

If our text has any meaning at all, it establishes one fact beyond controversy, that such are the laws of this land, that in order to obtain salvation, it is not necessary to break them; that they are of a character that every duty can be performed and requirement complied with, that is in any way connected with our salvation, without violating in any degree or trampling on the political institutions of the country.

When the Lord says that he organized or caused political institutions to be organized for a particular purpose, we have all confidence that they were every way calculated to obtain the end for which they were instituted, and when, by after revelation, he says to those, for whose benefit he said he had caused them to be established, and after the church had been organized by special direction from himself, that in order to keep his commandments they (the church) need not break the laws of the land, we feel ourselves at liberty to believe, that there is nothing pertaining to the salvation of that church or people, which renders it


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I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." Here the apostle says that he prayed that the saints might have the spirit of revelation in the knowledge of God, and goes on till the close of the chapter, showing what they could know by this spirit of revelation. The eyes of their understanding would be enlightened. They would know the hope of their calling, the riches of glory, the excellency of God's power, and many other things to which we direct the attention of our readers. In the first epistle of John, second chapter and twentieth verse, we have the following: "But ye have an unction from the Holy One: and ye know all things." The saints are here said to have an unction from the Holy One and (by it) lnow, or may know all things.

We think sufficient has been said to settle the question for ever in the mind of all who wish to know. The order of heaven, which includes the gift of the Holy Spirit, puts it in the power of the people, in despite of corrupted apostles and prophets to the contrary, to understand the truth, abd detect error, and if they do not use that power, they will be held responsible for it before God.

In relation to the saints of the last days, we think there ought to be but one opinion. The Lord long before his church was established, caused a government to be organized, which he said he did in order that his church might be built up in it; and at an early day of its experience, said it was not necessary for his saints to break the laws of that Government in order to keep his commandments. From the view we have taken of the way and manner of God's dealings with those who have gone before us; we can see the limits which the Lord has set to his scheme of things delivered to us; that he has bound himself within the limits of the laws of this land in delivering his revelation to us. This he has done that we, as the ancients, may also be able to guard ourselves against the dissolute habits of prophets, abd the corruptions of those who might seek to oppress us. To this end he has placed the matter in a situation that the people may see and understand. He has set bounds to the field of revelation, and told the saints that no revelation which is necessary for their salvation, will be in violation of the laws of the land, necessary for their salvation, will be in violation of the laws of the land... [sic]

To conclude, we say to the saints, read, reflect, and save yourselves from the untoward generation.

This opposition to polygamy by Rigdon was very pronounced throughout his entire life. As late as March 27, 1866, he claimed to receive a divine communication on the subject from which we extract the following:


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                179

The word of the Lord to his servant Stephen Post concerning the things whereof he has inquired. I the Lord say unto my servant Stephen that the system of polygamy as had among a people who were called after my name was not of me saith the Lord. I the Lord your Redeemer disavow it. I never gave to Joseph Smith or any other man authority to introduce in my name that system as had among that people in any of its forms as a pretended relation or otherwise, and you shall not suffer it to exist in Zion. Yea, you shall not suffer it to make its appearance in Zion, nor among her children in any of its forms, for in so doing you will bring it before my face and it is before me saith the Lord an abomination. I forbid it among the Nephites and as you are properly classed as Nephites, I the Lord therefore forbid its appearance among you, Therefore if there come any to you who have been partakers in that abomination you shall require a baptism of them and it shall be between you and such a baptism of renunciation; they shall renounce that system to you before me, and their baptism shall be a pledge to you in my presence saith the Lord, that in their hearts they have renounced the system; and should it appear afterward by word or deed that they in their baptism had acted deceitfully, you shall cause their names to be blotted from among the names of the children of Zion for their abomination before me and their hypocrisy to you...

As to those who have not polluted themselves with polygamy, the thing I the Lord hate, they can be baptized again or not. If they are dissatisfied with their baptism let them be baptized again so that they can act in good faith before me saith the Lord.

It has been aserted that Rigdon accused Joseph Smith of introducing polygamy at Nauvoo, Illinois, but diligent research has failed to disclose any statement from Rigdon that he personally knew of any such thing. He may have held that Joseph Smith was in some sense responsible, but he accepted it upon the testimony of others. In February, 1845, he visited Kirtland, Ohio, and there met William Law and William E. McLellin and from them heard statements upon this subject which were new to him, showing that he had not personal knowledge of the matter. In the Messenger and Advocate for March 15, 1845, he relates the incident as follows:

An unexpected circumstance took place that evening, it was the arrival of Brn. William Law, and William E. McLellin from Hampton, Rock Island County, Illinois. Brother Law addressed the congregation for some time, setting forth what he knew about the people and affairs at Nauvoo; some of which was new to us. He settled the question for ever on the public mind, in relation to the spiritual wife system, and the abominations


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concerning it. As Joseph Smith and others had attempted to get him into it, and in order to do so had made him acquainted with many things about it that we never knew before. The whole combined put the matter at rest, and the public mind was quieted, and all doubts removed.

If then, Elder Rigdon entertained the opinion that Joseph Smith indorsed polygamy, he based his belief upon the testimony of these two men, both of whom were bitter enemies of Joseph Smith previous to his death.

At a conference convened upon his call in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, April 6 to 11, 1845, Elder Rigdon claimed to reorganize the church with himself as president, and with Ebenezer Robinson and Samuel James his counselors.

At this same conference the following men were installed as the Quorum of Twelve apostles: Samuel Bennett, Hugh Herringshaw, Jeremiah Hatch, jr., James Blakeslee, Josiah Ells, Benjamin Winchester, William Small, E. R. Swackhammer, David L. Lathrop, Joseph M. Cole, George W. Robinson, and William E. McLellin. The following were constituted Presidents of the Seventy: Amos B. Tomlinson, John F. Olney, Frederick Merryweather, Leonard Rich, George T. Leach, James M. Greig, and William Hutchings.

A standing high council was organized, composed of Dennis Savary, Charles A. Beck, John Smith, Thomas J. Lanyon, James Logan, James A. Forgeus, Matthew Smith, Peter Boyer, Robert Kincaid, Lewis James, James Spratley, and John Frazier. The presiding bishopric were William Richards, bishop; Timothy L. Baker and Richard Croxall, counselers. A stake was organized at Pittsburg with Richard Savary president; James Smith and Samuel G. Flagg counselors.

Carvel Rigdon, brother of President Rigdon, was chosen patriarch. Austin Cowles was made president of the High Priest's Quorum, with William Stanley and Hiram Kellog, counselors.

President of Elder's Quorum, John Duncan, with Briggs Alden and William White, counselors. Much business of importance


               BIOGRAPHY  OF  SIDNEY  RIGDON.                181

was transacted at this conference, including the appointment of a committee of five, viz, Samuel Bennett, Jeremiah Hatch, jr., William E. McLellin, Joseph M. Cole, and George W. Robinson to draw up preamble and resolutions expressive of the views and feelings of the conference relative to the people of Nauvoo under the presidency of Brigham Young and his associates. 1 This committee was also directed to prepare an address to the people of the United States and the world.

1 Resolutions on page 102 last issue.


Volume Four                                                     Number Three


JULY  1911

[p. 259]


(Continued from page 181.)

The organization under Sidney Rigdon entered actively into the work before it, both aggressively and defensively. The opposition to the organization at Nauvii under the presidency of Brigham Young and his fellows was very pronounced, and polygamy was expecially repudiated by Rigdon and his followers. Elder John E. Page, of the Quorum of Twelve, published a notice regarding the expulsion of Rigdon and the renunciation of his indorsers as follows:

Notice is hereby given to the public to beware of receiving the ordinance of baptism at the hands of Mr. Sidney Rigdon, esq.; or any of his adherents, thinking to attach themselves to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, for Mr. S. Rigdon is at this time expelled from the aforesaid church, and all his adherents are suspended from the performance or administration of any ordinance whatever, until they repent and adhere to the proper authorities of the said church. For whatever, Mr. S. Rigdon, or any of his adherents may say or do, under the pretention or nominal name of Latter Day Saints, in a legal point of light, will be no more in connection with the true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, than the Republic of the United States has with the crown of England.     JOHN E. PAGE, Elder.
And one of the Twelve traveling high council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. -- Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1, p. 48.

To this Elder Rigdon made a lengthy reply, addressed to James M. Greig, from which we extract as follows:

Bro. J. Grieg, Dear Sir: Yours of the 14th inst. was received per mail this morning. The intelligence was cheering; these early evidences of the virtue and firm integrity of the Saints speaks volumes in favor of their future prospects. What, dear brother, can withstand the truth when its advocates are uncompromising in their attachment to virtue and holy principles. Since the world began, all the dispensations delivered to men of the living God, have been thrown into confusion by the introduction of doctrines and practices which were at war with godliness, and subversive to all that was good and noble. Hence the distraction of the religious world. At some time past so great was the departures from the truth, by those who professed to be the people of God, that if a Noah, a Daniel, and a Job had been among them, they


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could save their own souls only, and not even be able to save a son or daughter. Such an attempt has Satan made on us, and was maturing his plan so completely to effect our overthrow, that the few left who could not be corrupted could do nothing more than save their own souls; but the iniquity was discovered before the adversary had gotten the fangs of his corruption so fastened on us that we could not unfasten them.

I have been informed, since Mr. Page published this Bull, and subsequent departure from this place, that he had attempted to teach the doctrine of spirutual wives in this city some time since. This will account for his sudden departure from both this place and yours.

It would seem almost impossible that there could be found a set of men and women, in this age of the world, with the revelations of God in their hands, who could invent and propagate doctrines so ruinous to society, so debasing and demoralizing as the doctrine of a man having a plurality of wives; for it is the existence of this strange doctrine -- worse than the strange fire offered on the altar, by corrupted Israel -- that was at the root of all the evils which have followed, and are following in the church, the very mention of which could not fail to redden the cheek of decency with a blush.

The whole of the revelations of God in all ages, charge the prophets and leaders of the people, with being the authors or corruptions which from time to time overrun the people of God. We need not marvel then that like evils have befallen us. The crime of the people was that they loved to have it so, they were not charged with introducing the corruptions, but having pleasure in them after the prophets and leaders, had introduced them. It is no small degree of satisfaction to me, to find the people rising in the exercise of their just rights, and casting off, not only the leaders, but those who are led by these corruptors, seducing spirits which introduce doctrines of demons.

Those who read the New Testament with care, can not avoid seeing that the apostles have declared that a corruption like that we complain of, was to make its appearance in the last days. See Second Timothy, 3d chapter, from the 1st to the 9th verse inclusive. These sayings, which the apostles, at Nauvoo, have applied to the professing world, are as applicable to themselves as to any others now living, or any others who have lived since the days of Paul. In the 6th verse we are told that "For of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins. led away with divers lusts." Now of what sort are those who creep into houses and lead astray silly women? The answer is given in the preceding verse. Persons that can do that are such as are without natural affection, boasters, proud inventors of evil things, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. When we see such men, as above described, they, according to Paul, would do other things, that is, enter into houses and lead astray silly women.

That the Twelve and there adherents have entered into houses and led


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astray silly women, is a fact susceptible of the highest proof; and we are authorized by Paul to apply all the rest he has said to them. "For of this sort enter into houses and lead astray silly women." What sort? we ask the before described religionists, for says Paul, "they have a form of godliness." The conclusion then is, that they effected the ruin of silly females, by, or through a form of godliness.

Paul says, the corruption he has described was to take place in the last days now, from this, the people of the last days are authorized to call anything of the kind which may make its appearance, it matters not by whom these corruptions were introduced, prophet, apostle, evangelist, or pastor, whomever introduces them, has an account to settle with Paul in the great day when the affairs of the universe shall be adjusted before an umpire who can not err, for either these doctrines and practices are corruptions, or else Paul stands charged with a departure from truth.

From what is said in the 9th verse, the iniquity complained of was to be a thing conducted in secret. "But they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be manifest unto all men." Nothing can be plainer than this abomination of leading silly women astray, was to be a secret thing 00 carried on privately, and the exposure of it was to put a final stop to their wickedness. "But they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be made manifest."

This secret working in matters of religion is, and always has been evidence of corruption. The Saints always have been warned against the secret works of darkness; light and truth not only manifest themselves, but also that make manifest the secret works of darkness. It is equally plain according to Paul, that no such thing could be carried on, however secretly it might be done, without detection, "For their folly shall be made manifest."

Those leaders of silly women, if they had regarded the Scriptures, might have known that their race was a short one, and that their wickedness would be made manifest; for thus had Paul written more than seventeen hundred years ago, and as proof that Paul was inspired behold it has come to pass in our day and before our eyes.

It is a fact so well known, that the Twelve and their adherents have endeavored to carry on this spiritual wife business in secret, that I hardly need mention it here, and have gone to the most shameful and desperate lengths, to keep it from the public. First, insulting innocent females, and when they resented the insult, these monsters in human shape would assail their characters by lying and perjuries, with a multitude of desperate men to help them to effect the ruin of those whom they had insulted, and all this to enable them to keep these corrupt practices from the view of the world. I could bring facts which can be established in any court of justice, in relation to these vile abominations practiced under the garb of religion that would make humanity blush. No falsehood too great, and no perjury too daring, in order to conceal these heaven-daring abuses of mankind; but I say in the language of Paul, they shall


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go no further, for their folly is now being made manifest, and will not cease until it is manifest unto all.

How often have these men and their accomplices stood up before the congregation, and called God and all the holy angels to witness, that there was no such doctrine taught in the church; and it has now come to light, by testimony which cannot be gainsaid, that at the time they thus dared heaven and insulted the world, they were living in the practice of these enormities; and there were multitudes of their followers in the congregation at the time who knew it. These things only tend to confirm the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church of God, for we now see in that body fulfilling, what the apostles acknowledged. According to both prophets and apostles, the true church in the last days would be tried, with all the corruptions which had overthrown all the previous orders, kingdoms, or churches which God had set up; and before she could be exalted to her true glory, to overcome all the inventions of Satan or of man, but more of this in our next.

Dear brother, through this letter to you, I would call on all the Saints into whose hands this may come, to arise and deliver themselves from the corruption, disorder and ruin, that Satan through the Twelve as instruments, designs to bring upon them, know ye that no strange thing has befallen you, that an attempt is being made upon you by those in high authority, and those who are arrogating to themselves authority in violation of the order of heaven. -- Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 12 to 14.

In an editorial in the Messenger and Advocate, November 1, 1844, Elder Rigdon made a prediction concerning Nauvoo which, considered in connection with subsequent events, is very significant. He said:

Know, reader, that He who rules in the heavens, has declared the fate of Nauvoo; and all shall see his hand on Nauvoo for destruction, and not for salvation: for Nauvoo on account of the iniquities of her people, will be desolated; the Saints there have polluted their inheritances, and God will cast them down, and make an ensample to all, those who come after them; and all the efforts of man to the contrary will not save her.

It is not [now] our intention, in the future numbers of our paper, to devote very little of them to these local matters, but to a very different object -- to the setting forth the doctrines of the revelations of heaven. We will leave Nauvoo, and those of her inhabitants who have corrupted their way before the Lord, to their fate; assuring them that an overthrow awaits them, and no earthly power can save them.

The ignorant corrupters at Nauvoo are busily engaged, up to the last dates, in spinning out the history of their own ignorance and shame, in an unceasing effort to do something to hide their secret doctrine from the public gaze. Do they think such fooling will any longer hide from the


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world their system of polygamy? If they do they will find their mistake by and by.

The position of the church under the presidency of President Rigdon was set forth in the resolutions of a conference held at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, October 12, 1844, over which Richard Savery presided and James Logan was secretary.

Whereas the quorum of the Twelve, and their adherents in Nauvoo, have rejected Elder S. Rigdon as the presiding officer of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and thus violating the law of the church, as found in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, which we esteem most sacred and dear to all lovers of truth, for no other reasons, in our opinion, than his having claimed his lawfuyl standing in the church, and his decided opposition to the nefarious doctrine of polygamy, and other things odious in their nature and tendency; for the truth of which, it now becomes our painful duty to say to all our friends and brethren in Christ, we have the most positive and decisive evidence; wherefore,

1. Resolved, That we feel it our imperative duty, to receive and sustain Elder S. Rigdon in the office of first president of the church, whereunto, according to the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord has called him; and also that we uphold him in this office by our faith and prayers.

2. Resolved, That in consequence of the most flagrant violation of the original, or true principles and order of the church, by the Twelve and their abettors, by rejecting Elder Rigdon, and practicing the doctrine of polygamy, despoiling female virtue and chastity by seducing them, and tyrannizing over those who will not sanction their works of darkness, and many other like things, for which we regard them as apostates, and men fallen from the true order of the church, into a state of wickedness and corruption: therefore, we hold no fellowship with them, and as a branch of the true church, standing upon the original platform, and the acknowledged and received doctrine of said church, we do not consider ourselves identified with them.

3. Resolved, That we sincerely request and advise all of our friends and brethren that stand connected with us in the true cause of God, to join with us in our efforts that we may redeem our characters from the odium and disgrace that the Twelve and others have brought upon us all, or in other words, all the church, by their evil practices, as mentioned in preamble and previous resolutions.

Resolved, That we hereby avow to all men both far and near, that we have the most implicit confidence in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and that we receive them as our rule of practice and faith.

Resolved, That Elders Wingate, William Richards, J. B. Newton, and B. Winchester, have authority from this conference to go as messengers


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of the eastern branches of the church and set before them the true state of the church, and regulate the affairs of the same.

Other churches in other places adopted resolutions of similar import.

Thus it will be seen they took a stand squarely upon the standard books of, and the revelations to, the church. Notwithstanding this, this organization seemed to lack adhesive qualities and very soon many, including several of the leading men, became disaffected and united with other organizations. The organization maintained its struggle for several years, but was more numerous immediately after its establishment than ever afterward.

About 1865 and 1866, through the zealous efforts of Elder Stephen Post, then counselor to Elder Rigdon, there was a revival of interest, but it soon relapsed. The organization has become entirely extinct, though there may be a few individuals who yet retain faith in the claims of Elder Rigdon. He died at Friendship, Allegheny County, New York, July 14, 1876.

So far as we know, Elder Sidney Rigdon maintained his integrity and honor until the end of his eventful life. Had all other leaders condemned evil as he did and taught as he taught regarding the laws of the land, some of them would have avoided much trouble for themselves and followers and saved the United States much treasure and vexation. At the April conference of 1845 he said:

Brethren, hear my voice, to-day obey the principles of truth delivered and you never, no never, shall have a charge preferred against one of you. But if you do not obey the laws of this kingdom, and work out salvation, you will be cursed with sore cursings. Never break the laws of this land at the suggestion of apostle, prophet, or even angel.

(To be continued.)

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