Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Gospel Doctrine Lesson 28: How We Taught This Topic in the Past

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 28: How We Taught This Topic in the Past

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 19, 2009

Lesson 28: “Oh, God, Where Art Thou?”


1932: Lesson Book for The Ordained Teachers, No. 1

Lesson 36: When Great Sorrows Are Our Portion

President Heber J. Grant: My wife Lucy was very sick for nearly three years prior to her death. At one time I was in the hospital with her for six months. When she was dying, I called my children into the bedroom and told her their mama was dying. My daughter Lutie said she did not want her mama to die, and insisted that I lay hands upon her and heal her, saying that she had often seen her mother, when sick in the hospital, in San Francisco, suffering intensely, go to sleep immediately and have a peaceful night’s rest, when I had blessed her. I explained to my children that we all had to die, some time, and that I felt that their mama’s time had come. The children went out of the room, and I knelt down by the bed of my dying wife, and told the Lord that I acknowledged his hand in life or in death, in joy or in sorrow, in prosperity or adversity; that I did not complain because my wife was dying, but that I lacked the strength to see my wife die and have her death affect the faith of my children in the ordinances of the gospel. I therefore pleaded with him to give to my daughter Lutie a testimony that it was his will that her mother should die. Within a few short hours, my wife breathed her last. Then I called the children into the bedroom and announced that their mama was dead. My little boy, Heber, commenced weeping bitterly, and Lutie put her arms around him and kissed him, and told him not to cry, that the voice of the Lord had said to her, “In the death of your mama the will of the Lord will be done.” Lutie knew nothing of my prayer, and this manifestation to her was a direct answer to my supplication to the Lord and for it I have never ceased to be grateful. * * *

When my son Heber was dying, notwithstanding I had builded great hopes upon his future life and he was my only living son, I never experienced a more peaceful, calm spirit, than was in my home. I was sitting by the little boy, expecting every moment would be the last. Between me and Augusta, was a vacant chair, and as I was sitting there, the impression came over me that my boy’s mother was occupying this vacant chair, waiting for him to breathe his last. I turned to Augusta and spoke of the peaceful influence that I felt, that there was apparently no death in the room, and asked her how she felt. She said her feelings were the same as mine, and she had the impression that Lucy was in the chair between us, waiting for Heber’s death.

When Heber was dying, they came and woke me up. I had just finished having a dream. The dream was that while I was sleeping, a messenger came in company with my wife, and she instructed him to carefully take Heber out of the bed, that she had come for him, and she wanted him to go with her, and the messenger was to take him so quietly that I would not be disturbed. In my dream, I jumped up out of bed immediately, and took hold of my boy. The messenger who was acting under Lucy’s instructions to take him away had a struggle with me, and I succeeded in wrenching Heber away from him. but in doing so, I fell, and I fell upon him, and very seriously injured his limb, from which he had been suffering so long with hip disease. His cries of agony pierced my very soul, and I got to thinking, “What if I have injured him, and made him lame for all the days of his life? It would have been better to have let his mother take him.”

I felt quite sad to think I had not consented to my boy being taken by his mother. I walked out of the house and wandered around the streets, and happened to meet Brother Joseph E. Taylor. I told him of Lucy coming to the house to try and get her boy, and of the struggle that I had had with the messenger. He spoke of the fact that a mother has to offer her life upon the altar of sacrifice to bring her children into the world, and he said to me, “Brother Grant, much as I like to keep my children on this earth, I believe if the mother of any of my children were to come for her child, I certainly would raise no objections. I do not think there should be any family quarrels over a matter of this kind.” I walked home with the feeling in my heart that if Lucy returned again, she could have her boy. I had just come to this conclusion in my dream when I was awakened, and the information was given to me that Heber was dying; and a subsequent impression which both Augusta and I received, that his mother was sitting between us waiting for his death, was in confirmation of my dream.

I never had a serious dream in my life except the above, and it has always been a source of comfort to me. No man can tell me that I do not know that God lives and that he hears and answers prayers, after the manifestation that came to Lutie that it was his will that her mother should die. * * * No words of mine can express the gratitude that I felt at the time of Heber’s death. Alma, in his commandments to his son Helaman (ch. 36, B.M.0 speaks of the agony he felt when the angel appeared to him and rebuked him, and says nothing could be more exquisite than his pain. Alma also tells of the joy that he felt after calling upon the name of Jesus Christ, and says that nothing could be so exquisite as the peace and happiness that came to him. I can testify of my absolute knowledge that nothing short of the Spirit of the Lord ever could have brought the peace ane comfort to me which I experienced at the time of Heber’s death. I am naturally affectionate in my disposition. I loved my last and only living son with all my heart. I had builded great hopes on what I expected him to accomplish.

I expected to see him a missionary proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I hoped that he might live to be a power for good upon the earth; and yet, notwithstanding all these aspirations that I had for my boy, I was able, because of the blessings of the Lord, to see him die without shedding a tear. No power on earth could have given to me this peace. It was of God. And I can never speak of it or write of it without feelings of gratitude filling my heart, far beyond any power with which I am endowed to express my feelings. – Era, Vol. 15, Part 2, pp. 726-730.

Review Questions

1. Why are we so grief-stricken at the death of a loved one in our family?

2. What hope does the Lord give us that we shall meet again?

3. What comforting message was given to the little daughter of President Grant at the death of her mother?

4. Show that President Grant also had the same testimony in his heart.

5. What great hopes had President Grant built up for the future of his son Heber?

6. Account for the “peaceful, calm spirit” he felt at the passign of his son.

7. What is your interpretation of the dream he had?

8. Why is it displeasing to the Lord for us to endeavor to hold tenaciously to those he has called to the other side?

9. What Spirit brings the greatest joy and comfort in times of great sorrows?

1934: Church History Sunday School Lessons

Lesson 39: Joseph Rebukes the Guards

While the Haun’s Mill Massacre was going on, twelve miles east, Far West was being surrounded by some twenty-two hundred soldiers. In the midst of it all came the news that seventeen men, women, and children had been shot to death and a dozen others wounded at the Mill village. Then, too, word came into the city that it would soon be blown to pieces by the cannons the state troops were bringing. Surely it looked as if the Mormons were to be killed. Word was sent to the people that all who would deny Mormonism would be saved. All that they had to do was to say that they would not follow Joseph Smith any longer nor listen to his teachings. This was a severe test to those Mormons who had but little faith.

Right here, a terrible thing happened. Hinkle, the head Mormon General, turned traitor, making a secret agreement with the army and General Lucas the leader. some time during the night, Hinkle went out to Lucas and agreed upon four things, very disgraceful things they were, too.

First, to deliver Joseph and Hyrum and all other Church leaders over to the army officers to be tried, possibly put to death.

Second, to require all the Saints to give up their weapons of war.

Third, to compel the Mormons to deed over to the state all their houses and lands to pay the men who were fighting them.

Fourth, to require that all the Mormons, twelve to fifteen thousand, leave Missouri.

With this agreement made, Colonel Hinkle got the Prophet and Hyrum and other leaders to follow him out to the army. He told them that the officers wished to hold a peaceful conference, looking toward ending the difficulties. As soon as the brethren were in the midst of the soldiers, the mob army gave a great shout and took the Mormon leaders. Hinkle then exclaimed, “General Lucas, these are the prisoners I agreed to deliver to you.” Not until then did it really dawn upon the leaders that Hinkle was a traitor to his people. Regarding this scene apostle Parley P. Pratt says, “These all set up a constant yell, like so many blood hounds let loose upon their prey. If the vision of the infernal region could suddenly be opened to the mind, with thousands of malicious fiends, all clamoring, exulting, deriding, blaspheming, mocking, railing, raging, and foaming like a troubled sea, then could an idea be formed of the hell which we had entered.”

All night long, the weather being very chilly, October 31, 1838, the brethren were held, not being allowed warm coats or blankets. During the early morning, the army officers held a trial for the brethren and decided that the quickest way out of the whole trouble was to kill these leaders. This would cause the Mormons to flee more quickly. General Lucas signed the following order:

“Brigadier General Doniphan:

Sir: You will take Joseph Smith and the other prisoners into the Public Square of Far West and shoot them at 9 o’clock tomorrow morning.

Since the Public Square was near the homes of many of the leaders, it was thought that this great public killing would start the Saints out of the country in a hurry. General Doniphan, however, was not so cruel, and refused to obey orders. He wrote to Lucas, “It is cold-blooded murder! I will not obey your orders. If you execute these men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal. SO HELP ME GOD.”

Although Doniphan refused to obey this command, he was never punished. He knew that Lucas would not dare carry the case before the state officials. The four terms of the treaty signed by Hinkle were soon put in force. As soon as all the arms of the Saints were taken away, the mob force was turned loose. Now came the most sorrowful days the Saints had ever suffered. Of what the soldiers did, we read, “they entered the city without restraint on pretext of searching for fire arms. They tore up floors, ruined furniture, destroyed property, whipped men and forced them to sign deeds to their property at the point of the bayonet; and were so cruel and wicked toward some of the girls and women that they died shortly after. About eighty men, the very strength of Zion, were marched off as prisoners, while their wives and children, along with the rest of the Saints were ordered to leave the state at once.”

Bishop Partridge, one of the prisoners, says, “We were confined in a large open room where the cold northern blasts penetrated freely. our fires were small and our allowance for wood and food was scanty; they gave us not even a blanket to lie upon; our beds were on the cold floors. The vilest of the vile did guard us and treat us like dogs.”

During these days of saddest trials, while Joseph and Hyrum and their companions were in jail, Hyrum’s wife, Mary Fielding Smith, gave birth to Joseph F., November 13, 1838. This child was to become the sixth president of the church. When he was two or three days old, and Mary was still dangerously ill, the mob rushed into her home, ransacking things, and then turned the bedding upside-down upon the child, smothering it until almost dead, when rescued.

To make sure that the Prophet and his companions did not escape, they were taken to the Richmond jail and chained together, night and day, without chairs or beds, sleeping on the floor with but half enough to keep them warm; eating food not fit for the dogs. Guards with loaded guns stood watch, cursing the Mormons when they had to feed or otherwise wait upon them. With poor ventilation and wretched toilet conditions, their plight was most miserable. For six long months, thus they suffered.

Night after night these guards told vulgar stories, mingled with horrible oaths, even recounting to each other their acts of cruelty toward the Saints. Then they boasted “of shooting men, women, and children.” Apostle Parley P. Pratt writes, “I had listened until I had become so disgusted, shocked, horrified, and so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards; but had said nothing to Joseph, or anyone else, although I lay next to him and knew he was awake. On a sudden he rose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion, uttering, as near as I can recollect, the following words:

Silence! Ye fiends of the infernal pit. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still. I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die this instant!”

Although Joseph stood in chains, still the guards trembled in fear. They begged his forgiveness and remained quiet. Never before or since, says Brother Pratt, did he ever know of such God-like power resting upon any human being as came upon the Prophet that night in the Richmond jail.

Shortly after this incident Joseph and Hyrum and several others were taken to the Liberty jail. Then followed a winter of suffering, not only in body but in spirits. Here they were held while their wives and children and friends by the thousands were driven through winter storm more than a hundred and fifty miles eastward into the State of Illinois.

On April 5, 1839, a company of mobbers, hearing that Joseph might be set free, swore that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed the Mormon Prophet. All their attempt, however, failed. On April 16th, while the brethren were being taken to Boone County for a new trial, the Sheriff and four guards gave the brethren horses, telling them to make good their escape. Six days later, after many hardships, they joined their families in Illinois, happy, indeed to be with their folks, free again.

1949: Doctrine and Covenants Studies, by Bryant S. Hinckley

Chapter 43: Many Are Called but Few Are Chosen (Section 121)

When and Where Given

On November 30, 1838, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, Caleb Baldwin and Sidney Rigdon were placed in Liberty Jail, Missouri. They were confined for five months in this loathsome dungeon where they suffered all of the infamy and insult that could be heaped upon them, and where they endured hardships that cannot be described. The food was coarse and filthy. This was sometimes relieved by friends who brought them wholesome food and passed it through the prison window.

Prison Temple

On March 20, 1839, the remarkable revelation comprising section 121 was received. Brigham H. Roberts refers to the jail as a “prison temple.” “… The eyes of the Saints were turned to it as the place whence would come encouragement, counsel – the word of the Lord. It was more temple than prison, so long as the Prophet was there. It was a place of meditation and prayer. A temple, first of all, is a place of prayer; and prayer is communion with God. It is the ‘infinite in man seeking the infinite in God.’ Where they find each other, there is holy sanctuary – a temple. Joseph Smith sought God in this rude prison, and found him. Out of the midst of his tribulations he called upon God in passionate earnestness. … And God answered. …” (CHC, Vol. I, p. 526.)

The winter of 1838-9 was one of the darkest periods in the history of the Latter-day Saints, and the Prophet’s imprisonment in Liberty Jail was one of the greatest hardships that came to him during his troubled life. Out of it, however, came this great revelation, the like of which was never before given to mortal man.

This revelation bars priestcraft form the Church and enthrones there a true priesthood directed by the pure love of God and of man. It establishes the government of the church as a moral government; and moral government alone is God’s government. It makes clear that coercion or compulsion can never be exercised in administering the affairs of God. They have no place in his church and Kingdom. Man’s agency is held inviolate.

Commenting on this, Brigham H. Roberts said:

“… The Missouri experiences of the Church were trying and sad. The days were filled with sorrow and the nights with terror; but if out of those fiery ordeals came this lesson, and the absolute truth and force of it could come to the church in no other way, it was worth to the Church for its future guidance and to humanity, all that it cost the Saints. … If the Son of Man had to learn obedience by the things which he suffered, it is not surprising if lesser men learn obedience in the same way, but more slowly.” (CHC, Vol. I, p. 529.)

This Revelation Deals with the Very Essence of Divine Government

In it Joseph Smith gave to the world the essential of a new and higher civilization. Ponder for a moment this statement: “Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson –” Note the answer: “That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.” (D&C 121:34-36.)

No man, no matter what priesthood he holds or what his calling might be, can exercise that priesthood in any degree of unrighteousness and retain the Spirit of the Lord. “… when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (D&C 121:37.)

Men can only proceed in the exercise of the priesthood with humility and with an eye single to the glory of God. Their hearts must be filled with a love for the souls of men and a desire to serve them. In this revelation the Lord tells us that almost all men as soon as they get a little authority begin to exercise unrighteous dominion, hence “many are called, but few are chosen.”

“Man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as makes the angels weep.”


Where in all scripture is there a nobler declaration of the spirit in which the power and authority in the Church is exercised than in the following words: “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.” (D&C 121:41, 42.)

That is the doctrine of the holy priesthood; that is the spirit, an essence of divine government. Arrogance, priestcraft, unholy dominion, compulsion and all the mandates of unrighteousness are forever forbidden in the Church of God. How glorious are the ways of the Almighty!

Rebuke is often necessary, and the Prophet himself and his successors were compelled to administer it sometimes with great sharpness. But note this: “Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.” (D&C 121:43, 44.)

Let us analyze verses 45 and 46. We are here admonished to exercise “charity toward all men and toward the household of faith,” which means to manifest love, kindness, patience and forgiveness; to show tolerance and magnanimity toward all men. These are virtues that distinguish the good and great of the earth.

We are further admonished to “let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly,” with the promise that if we do this our confidence and our faith in God shall wax strong. Purity of thought is one of the sources of faith. This is one of the most beautiful references to virtue found in all the scripture, making clear the blessings which are promised to the pure in heart.

We are further assured if we do this, “the doctrine of the priesthood” shall be distilled upon our souls “as the dews from heaven.” (Verse 45.)

Then comes the great crowning promise so sublimely expressed in verse 46. It is remarkable that these great utterances had their birth in a loathsome dungeon.

Note: “‘Liberty Jail’ faced the east, and was a scant two hundred yards from the court house. It was built of rough dressed limestone, of yellowish color. ‘Its dimensions were twenty by twenty-0two feet, and the walls were two feet thick. It had two floors, hence two rooms – an upper one and a basement, which formed a dungeon. In the east end was a heavy door made strong, and of great thickness, by nailing inch oak boards together with iron spikes. In the south side of the upper room there was a small opening, a foot and a half square, with strong iron bars, two inches apart, firmly imbedded in the stones of the wall. It cost the county six hundred dollars; Solomon Fry being the contractor.’” (CHC, Vol. I, p. 526.)

The old jail was torn down many years ago. Recently the Church purchased this property and may some day restore the jail.

1968-69: History of the Church for Children


Related Scripture

“but without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6.


To teach that we must be ever diligent in our struggle against temptations, and thus remain “true to the faith.”

To show how some great men fell from the Church and how others became stronger in their faith.

Point of View

The experiences of the Church during 1836-37 showed that firmness in testimony and purity of life are absolutely essential qualities to keep members faithful to the Church. the Lord tried some people and found them weak; others were true, and they became stronger with the passage of time.

The trials of the period were such as to test the loyalty of the Church leaders. It was a sorrowful day for the Prophet when men like Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris had to be excommunicated from the Church. In contrast, we have the challenge of David W. Patten, the first apostle martyred in modern times. He died after urging solemnly, “Whatever you do else, O do not deny the faith.”

That was a time when some grew faint and faltered. But the majority carried on even in the face of plunderings and murders. They were sustained by the example of patience and courage shown by the Prophet Joseph.


1. Have the class sing “Shall the Youth of Zion Falter?” – Discuss briefly the words of the song. Lead into the lesson after drawing attention to the importance of being “true to the faith.” (For words of the song see Enrichment Section)

2. Call upon an assigned student to define apostasy. Invite a brief class discussion.

3. Ask an assigned student to explain what is meant in his opinion by denying the faith.

4. Discuss with students the value they place on their Church membership. Would they sell it? Would they deny it if threatened with disfavor, punishment or death?

5. Bring several types of measuring devices to class – a measuring cup, a tape measure, a ruler, a yardstick, etc. Describe briefly the function of each, then hold up a yardstick which has been labeled – “the measure of faith.” Point out that in today’s lesson we are going to observe how the faith of the early Saints was measured. Hold the yardstick up against the chalkboard and mark off several lengths. The majority of the early Church members had a remarkably long faith. In fact there was no end to it. A few had a faith that seemed shorter. As we learn more today about the stalwart and faithful Saints in Missouri, who were so unmercifully persecuted, let us place ourselves in their shoes, and let us imagine that we were there. How long would our faith last under similar conditions of hardship and persecution?

6. One of the illustrations from the Enrichment Section might be used as an approach.


TEXT The year 1836 is known as a period of great spiritual blessings for Latter-day Saints. But the two years, 1837-38, which followed are remembered as the period of apostasy and sorrow. These testing years tore from the Church more of its leading members than any other two years in Church history.

Days of Apostasy and Sorrow.

Among those who left the Church were three members of the Quorum of the Twelve; Oliver Cowdery; David, Jacob, John, and Father and Mother Whitmer; Hiram Page, a brother-in-law to the Whitmers; and Martin Harris. There were also many others.

By the fall of 1838, some 15,000 Mormons had settled in five counties of northern Missouri.

In Caldwell County alone more than 5,000 Saints had gathered in that fast growing capital city of Far West. One of the first buildings in Caldwell County was a schoolhouse; the Mormons also used this building for a chapel and a courthouse.

Mormons Do Not Believe in Having Slaves. The Saints were a very busy people; they did not believe in using slaves to do their work – to wash dishes, tend children, plow fields, or milk cows. Many of the Missourians, however, had slaves to do their work. The slaveholders, not liking the Mormons or their religious beliefs, called them “Northerners” and started making trouble for them by spreading falsehoods about the Church and its people.

A mob leader, while giving a political talk to a large group of people, declared that the Mormons were “liars” and “horse thieves.” Then he shouted, “… you know they profess to heal the sick, and cast out devils, and you all know that it is a lie.” And the crowd seemed to believe him.

The Mormons Must Go. L.W. Boggs, who had helped to drive the Mormons from Jackson County was now the governor of Missouri. He agreed that the time had come to drive every Latter-day Saint from the State of Missouri – however, all those who would deny their faith in the Mormon Church and its teachings could remain in their homes and be protected by the militia. But if they refused to deny their faith and to cease teaching it to the people, they must leave at once.

During the summer of 1838, “land-jumpers” and “outlaws” with “jealous and greedy eyes” boasted that they would drive every Mormon from the state.

Mormons Told Not to Vote. Two weeks before election day, August 6, 1838, Judge Morin told some of the brethren that a mob was preparing to keep the Mormons from voting. In this way the mobbers could elect Mr. Peniston, a mob leader, to office. Peniston had given his word that he would help get rid of the Mormons. The judge warned the Saints to be prepared for an attack, to stand their ground, and to protect their property and rights as American citizens.

On election day at Gallatin in Daviess County, Peniston himself, with a group of half-drunken men, stood at the door of the voting place. When the voters gathered, Peniston jumped upon a barrel and began telling many false stories about the Mormons and their Church. He declared that the Saints should not be allowed to vote.

A moment later, when Elder Brown went to vote, Dick Welding, the mob bully, began an argument and tried to strike Elder Brown. Then followed a free-for-all fight in which several men on each side were knocked down. The mob started off to get fire-arms.

A few of the Mormons voted, but the others hurried to their homes to protect their families, for the mobbers had shouted that they would return and drive every Mormon from the state.

When groups of armed men gathered in town, the brethren hurried their families from their homes and hid them in “a thicket of hazelbrush,” where they spent the night standing guard over them in the rain.

The State Militia Called Out by Governor Boggs. Many false reports were soon signed and sent to the governor, who, without making any inquiry about their truthfulness, made a call for three thousand men. he called this a “precautionary measure.”

Since the state gave the militia wages, blankets and food, it had little trouble in getting all the men it needed. Many of these were the Saints’ worst enemies, who joined the army hoping to obtain Mormon lands, homes, and other property.

The Prophet Issues a Call for Protection. The Prophet, with the other leaders of the Church, sent urgent, written appeals “to sheriffs, to judges, to the government and to the President of the United States,” but these appeals went unheeded.

The Prophet recorded in his journal a report that men from eleven counties were gathering to help take himself and Lyman Wight for an offence they had not committed. This clearly foretold evil intentions against the Church and the Saints in Missouri.

DeWitt, the First Village Captured. As fall came on, about three hundred mobbers laid siege to the village of DeWitt, where they shot at the Saints, and stole their horses, cattle, hogs, and chickens. Then at night they celebrated around their campfires.

This condition continued for a week or two, and no one was allowed to enter or leave the town. When the Prophet learned of the conditions, he rode fifty miles on horseback, slipped past the mob guards and cautiously entered DeWitt.

As days passed, the Prophet said: “The men fired at us a great many times … Many houses belonging to my brethren were burned, their cattle driven away, and a great quantity of their property was destroyed.”

Mr. Caldwell, a non-Mormon, who had been held under this awful siege, got past the mob and went to the state capital to talk with Governor Boggs.

But Caldwell returned with a disappointing answer. The governor’s answer showed where his sympathies lay. He said: “The quarrel is between the Mormons and the mob, and they can fight it out.”

Mormons Flee to Far West. After several unsuccessful efforts to make peace with the mob, the Prophet and the people at DeWitt loaded what things they could into their wagons and pulled off for Far West, fifty miles away. They left their homes, barns and lands in the hands of the mob who said they would pay for them, but they never did.

Several people, who had been sick at DeWitt, died in their wagons, according to the Prophet, and “we had to inter them by the wayside without a coffin.”

The Prophet adds that a “woman of the name of Jensen, who had some short time before given birth to a child, died …” They buried her by the road with only brush and dirt for a covering. In addition to these sorrows, the Saints were shot at by the mob as they moved westward.

Mobs on All Sides. Mobs were operating in several counties. The Prophet reports that at Adam-ondi-Ahman, “the mob [was] … driving off horses, sheep, cattle, hogs, etc. … A number of … houses were burned down … Women and children … were thus obliged to leave their homes and travel several miles in order to effect their escape.”

“My feelings,” continues the Prophet, “were such as I cannot describe when I saw them flock into the village, almost entirely destitute of clothes, and only escaping with their lives.”

On one of these nights in late October, the Saints at Far West were aroused from their beds, about midnight, by the startling call of the bugle. In a very few minutes, seventy-five Mormons were marching under Captain Patten toward Crooked River to rescue several of their brethren, who had been captured by a raiding mob.

A fight followed, and the mob fled, leaving four or five of the brethren dead or wounded upon the ground. Gideon Carter “was shot in the head,” says the Prophet, “and left dead on the ground so defaced that the brethren did not know him …” Patrick O’Banion was fatally wounded, and did not live long after the engagement.

“Captain Patten … fell, mortally wounded … David Patten … of the Twelve Apostles … died, as he lived, a man of God … One of his last expressions to his wife was … ‘whatever you do else, O do not deny the faith!’”

This saying was repeated many times by the Saints, especially when being promised protection by the mob if they would “deny the faith.”

Governor Orders Mormons from the State. The day after the Crooked river trouble, Governor Boggs issued what is known as “the extermination order” that finally drove the Mormons from the State of Missouri.

In his orders against the Saints, Governor Boggs wrote to General Clark: “the Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state, if necessary for the public good … If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so, to any extent you may think necessary …” Signed, L.W. Boggs, Governor of Missouri.

No action was taken against apostate Mormons – those who had “denied the faith.” They were left alone.

Nineteen Mormons Shot to Death. On a beautiful afternoon, October 30, 1838, without the least warning, about 240 horsemen rushed upon the thirty or so families at the Haun’s Mill village, shooting everyone they could see.

A dozen men and boys who ran into the blacksmith shop were “caught in a death trap.” The raiders poured volley after volley through the wide cracks of the log building.

Elder Smith’s ten-year-old son was dragged from his hiding place under the bellows, and while begging for his life was shot to death. Little Alma Smith, who was seven or eight years old, was shot through the hip by one of the mobbers. Through the prayers of the mother and the blessings of the Lord, Alma lived to get well. He later came to Utah with the Pioneers.

“Oh! don’t kill me. I am an American boy!” cried little Charles Merrick. But the top of his head was blown off, and he was left among the dead.

Before they left, the mobbers stripped what clothing they wanted from the dead and dying. Elder Warren Smith cried out in agony while one brutal fellow pulled him around the floor, jerking off his boots. The mob also robbed the houses, wagons and tents of the Saints.

When the mob rode away, they left about nineteen dead and as many more wounded.

Activities and Applications

1. Even nine-and ten-year-old youngsters ought to be sobered somewhat by the descriptions given in the lesson. Call to their attention that the Saints who fought and struggled so valiantly for the survival of the faith are not just “people of the past.” In many cases they are our forebears. We are related to them. We cannot take lightly the responsibility that we have also to defend the faith.

At this time it would be well to “strike hard” at the hearts of students. It might be suggested that each one be invited to make a commitment – to his stand on the faith – to bear his testimony as to what Church membership and the Gospel mean to him.

Students might be asked to sit in silence for a moment to think about their responsibilities to the Gospel.

2. Ask students to concentrate during the closing class prayer, on being true to the faith. Invite students to be conscious of their stand on faith as they offer their own prayers privately.

Remind students that one of the purposes of partaking of the sacrament is to renew their promise to remain faithful, and to witness that they are willing to keep the Lord’s commandments. It might be well to repeat one of the sacramental prayers.

3. Remind youngsters also that after they are baptized they have a solemn obligation to defend the gospel and to keep the faith.

4. Bring into clear focus areas of behavior in which young Church members today might possibly be sowing the seeds of apostasy in their own lives, such as in:

a. Taking a smoke because of the pressure of friends.
b. Letting down standards of clean talk and actions in order to “join the crowd.”
c. Failing to defend the Church and its leaders when someone criticizes them.
d. Being disrespectful or disorderly in the chapel, which is a house of worship.
e. Taking the Lord’s name in vain.
f. Staying away from meetings to do what they consider to be “more important” things.
g. Being disrespectful to parents and to those who are doing their best to do right.

Students may suggest other such points. The problems we experience today may not come in the form of mob violence or great physical hardships. Our generation may be the recipients of too much ease, comfort, and idle time. Lack of opposition can lead to a renouncing of faith just as readily and easily as can the pressure of opposition. The Arabs spoke with great wisdom when they said that “too much sun makes a desert.”

Just as a person cannot learn to play the piano by listening to the radio or watching television, neither can his faith become strong in the complete absence of struggle. Faith, like the pianist’s fingers, must be exercised in order to ensure strong performance. That is why the Lord has provided us with commandments and rules of conduct – that we may exercise faith in meeting restrictions, temptations, obstacles, associations, pains, sorrows, and setbacks.

5. Other suggestions for applications and activities might be found under the Approaches or enrichment headings.


1. What was known as the great spiritual year?

2. What two years will be remembered as a period of apostasy and sorrow?

3. Name several persons who left the church during this period.

4. By the fall of 1838 about how many Mormons had settled in the five counties of northern Missouri?

5. What was the capital city of Caldwell County?

6. Why didn’t the Mormons believe in having slaves?

7. Who was the governor of Missouri? What kind of a man was he?

8. What did he say regarding the Mormons in Missouri?

9. Can you suggest reasons why the mob didn’t want the Mormons to vote?

10. To whom did the Church leaders send an urgent request for help?

11. What was the name of the first Mormon village captured by the enemy?

12. When Mr. Caldwell, a non-Mormon, protested to the governor about the plight of the Mormons, what was the governor’s response?

13. After the Crooked River battle, what were David Patten’s dying words to his wife?

14. What order did the governor issue which resulted in the Mormons being driven out of Missouri?

15. What was the name of the village where nineteen Mormons were killed?



Joseph and Oliver are Fourth Cousins. Next to the Prophet, in seeing and hearing marvelous things, was Oliver Cowdery, the Prophet’s fourth cousin. Strange as it may seem, neither of these men, working side by side, forming the true Church, knew that their mothers descended from Edward Fuller, a Pilgrim on the Mayflower. this fact was not known until 1934.

Some of the glorious Blessings Given to Oliver. Oliver Cowdery, who became the Assistant President of the Church, had many glorious experiences. He saw the plates and the other sacred things that the angel showed to the Three Witnesses.

History tells us that Oliver saw the following heavenly beings: Moroni, John the Baptist, Peter, James and John, Moses, Elias, Elijah, as well as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Oliver helped to choose the first Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and to teach them their duties. Oliver heard the voice of Michael (Adam)( telling Joseph and Oliver that the devil, who appeared as an angel of light, was trying to deceive them. At least twice he heard the voice of God, speaking from heaven – once in Father Whitmer’s home, and again in the woods when the angel showed the Three Witnesses the plates.

Sacred things Written by Oliver. Without question, the most important thing that Oliver wrote was the Book of Mormon, as “it fell from the lips of Joseph Smith.” A little later he also wrote a copy of the Book of Mormon for the printer.

Oliver wrote many of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, as they were repeated to him by the Prophet.

Oliver as a Missionary. It was partly through Oliver’s visits to the Whitmers, and his letters to them, that this large family became converts.

Six months after the Church was organized, Oliver and his three missionary companions carried the Gospel to the Kirtland area, where about a thousand people were baptized within six months. Traveling and preaching, a thousand miles westward from Kirtland in 1831, he opened the first mission to the Indians, near Independence, Missouri.

The Prophet writes that on the first Sunday after the church had been formed, Oliver Cowdery preached the “first sermon in the true Church of Jesus Christ,” at the close of which six people were baptized.

Oliver Was Cut Off from the Church. Even though Oliver had received all these glorious blessings, he and some of the Whitmers became rebellious and refused to obey the High Council in Missouri.

During these days, the High Council in Missouri sent a letter to each of the brethren concerned, asking them to meet with the High Council to answer certain charges. These men were Oliver Cowdery, three of the Whitmers – David, Jacob, and John – and Hiram Page, a brother-in-law to the Whitmers.

But these men turned a deaf ear to the High Council. Therefore, the High Council on April 12 and 13, 1838, cut the five men off from the Church. Martin Harris had been cut off at Kirtland in December, 1837.

Attorney in Court Makes Fun of Oliver Cowdery. Shortly after being cut off from the Church, Oliver moved to the state of Michigan, where he became a prosecuting attorney.

One day Robert Barrington, who did not then belong to the Church, went to the courthouse to hear a murder trial that Oliver Cowdery was in charge of. The courtroom was crowded, he says, “like sardines in a box.” During the trial, the attorney on the side of the man being tried arose and began making fun of Oliver for being a witness to the Book of Mormon.

Among other things the attorney said: “Mr. Cowdery, when you shall reply to my argument, I wish you would tell something about the angel that was coming down from heaven in his night clothes, speaking to you and Joe Smith; and also something about those tin plates that you said Joe Smith dug out of the Cumorah Hill, which you have printed into a book and by which you have defrauded so many of our countrymen. It might interest the court and the jury to hear something about that.”

Mr. Barrington related that every eye was set upon Oliver. The people could not believe that they had made such a mistake in electing a prosecuting attorney who had been connected with the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith.

Oliver stood, and fixing his eyes upon the crowd, began to speak. He said, “I wish that I could escape replying to my brother attorney, but I dare not.

“The angel who appeared was not dressed in his night clothes. He had on a beautiful white garment, and a beautiful white robe swung over his shoulders. And he stood a few feet from the ground.

“He said to us – there being three of us present – among other things, that if we ever denied what we there saw and heard, there would be no forgiveness for us in this life. And he told us that the Book of Mormon had been correctly translated and contained the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“This vision, or revelation, or whatever you might call it, was in the daytime. It was not in a dream in the night, for it happened some time between twelve and two o’clock. And the glory that surrounded this person,” said Oliver, “was brighter than the noonday sun.

“I am not now with the Mormon Church,” he continued. “I left several years ago, but I have never denied what I there saw and heard. this is all the answer I care to give to my opponent.”

Oliver Decided to Return to the Church. After staying away from the Church and its people for ten years, Oliver decided to repent and rejoin the Church. He also planned to follow the Pioneers to Utah.

He and his wife and daughter reached Kanesville, Iowa, in October, 1848. Conference was held on the 21st of that month.

During that conference, Oliver rose to speak: “My name is Cowdery, Oliver Cowdery.” Even though ever person in that conference had heard about this very important man, few had seen him. So with keen attention they listened to his thrilling story about his early associations with the Church and with the Prophet, Joseph Smith.

A week or two later Oliver Cowdery appeared before a High Council. As he stood there in the prime of life, forty-two years of age, Oliver begged forgiveness of his errors and asked to be baptized again into God’s true Church – the Church he had helped to form eighteen years before. he just wanted to enter the Church as a humble member. Soon afterward, he was re-baptized.

Oliver Died in Missouri. Since no Pioneers were leaving until spring, Oliver went southward and spent the winter with his wife’s folks, the Whitmers, at Richmond, Missouri.

While there, Oliver tried to get David, Jacob and John Whitmer, along wit Hiram Page, to do as he had done, confess their errors and be re-baptized.

Although these men would not heed Oliver’s advice, they were all true to their testimonies about the sacred plates and the Book of Mormon.

The next spring, before Oliver had a chance to start for Utah, he became sick with lung trouble. As he lay dying upon his bed, on March 3, 1849, he again pronounced a strong testimony about the glorious things he had seen and heard, and especially about the sacred Book of Mormon plates.

His last words to his wife and loved ones were: “I am going to my Savior!”

In 1934, Oliver’s temple work was done in the Salt Lake Temple by his sixth cousin, Joseph Fielding Smith. Since that day, work in the temples has been done for many of Oliver’s ancestors.


David Whitmer’s Dying Testimony. Even though David did not move westward with the Pioneers or join the Church again, he never denied his testimony about seeing the plates, the angel, and other sacred things.

While living at Richmond, Missouri, he published an article about his testimony as one of the Three Witnesses. “I will say once more to all mankind, that I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof.

“I also testify to the world that neither Oliver Cowdery nor Martin Harris ever at any time denied their testimony. They both died reaffirming the truth of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.”

Relating the story of David’s death, his town paper says that this man, while his friends stood by his bed, looked up at them saying: “I want to say to you all … the record of the Nephites (Book of Mormon) [is] true, so you can say that you heard me bear my testimony on my death-bed … God bless you all.”

“He turned his eyes toward heaven,” reports this non-Mormon paper, “and a wonderful light came over his countenance, which remained several moments, when his eyes gradually closed, and David Whitmer had gone to his rest.”

(Note to teachers: You will find an excellent article telling of an interview with David Whitmer in the Instructor, July 1960, page 226.)


Last Testimony of Martin Harris. It will be remembered that Martin Harris was so sure of what he had heard and seen during the vision given to the Three Witnesses that he paid the printer three thousand dollars to publish the first five thousand copies of the Book of Mormon.

After being out of the Church for many years, he came to Utah in 1870, where he was baptized again and was ordained an elder. As he lay dying upon his bed, “holding the Book of Mormon in his hand, [he] bore his last testimony to those who were present,” repeating again the story about his seeing the angel, the glorious light, and the plates, and of hearing the voice of God bearing testimony that the Book of Mormon was true.


Shall the youth of Zion falter
In defending truth and right?
While the enemy assaileth,
Shall we shrink or shun the fight? No!

True to the faith that our parents have cherished,
True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,
To God’s command, soul, heart and hand,
Faithful and true we will ever stand.

While we know the powers of darkness
Seek to thwart the work of God,
shall the children of the promise
Cease the grasp the “iron rod”? No!

We will work out our salvation,
We will cleave unto the truth;
We will watch and pray and labor
With the fervent zeal of youth. Yes!

We will strive to be found worthy
Of the kingdom of our Lord,
With the faithful ones redeemed,
who have loved and kept his word. Yes1


A lot of Church folks are like wheelbarrows – not good unless pushed.

some are like canoes – they need to be paddled.

Some are like kites – if you don’t keep a string on them, they’ll fly away.

And many are like the North Star – there when you need them, dependable, ever loyal, in short, a never-failing guide.

– Albert L. Zobell, Jr., Story Sermons, p. 36. Bookcraft.

Some of us think we are true to the faith but frail to realize that faithfulness is based on willing service. Is our faithfulness like that described below?


I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Real service is what I desire,
I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord,
but don’t ask me to sing in the choir!

I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord,
I like to see things come to pass,
But don’t ask me to teach anywhere, dear Lord,
I’d much rather stay in my class.

I’ll give what you want me to give, dear Lord,
I yearn for the kingdom to thrive,
I’ll give you some pennies or nickels, dear Lord,
But please don’t ask me to tithe.

I’ll read what you want me to read, dear Lord,
If genealogy isn’t implied,
I never did like to search books, dear Lord,
For names of people who’ve died.

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Yes – I’ll go almost anywhere
But I’ve got too many tasks to do, dear Lord,
to go down to Welfare Square.

I’ll give what you want me to give, dear Lord,
and I’m sure I’ll never begrudge it,
But I haven’t the money to spare, dear Lord,
To pay in the Welfare or budget.

Yes, I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
I’ll serve you with all my might,
But don’t ask me to go to the temple, dear Lord,
Because I’m far too busy each night.

– Anonymous, Quoted in Story Sermons, p. 88, Albert L. Zobell, Jr. Bookcraft.

1968-69: History of the Church for Children


Related Scripture

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. – Matt. 25:35-36.


To learn that salvation must be earned by the individual’s own obedience to God’s law, which includes kindness and respect for the right of others.

To show why the Saints left Missouri and how the people of Illinois treated them.

Point of View

This lesson on the rejection of the Mormons by the mobs of Missouri and the subsequent kindnesses extended to them by the loyal citizens of western Illinois, is a strong illustration of an important principle in the lives of all of us.

The Saints made every effort to comply with the laws of the states in which they lived. The Prophet stood trial when he knew the charges were false and that the witnesses would lie.

Even in prison the windows of heaven were opened to the Prophet; revelations were given that gave hope and resolution to his companions; he sent instructions to the leading men among the Saints which were full of cheerful encouragement.

The Prophet described the conduct of the Saints as follows: “And their virtuous deeds and heroic actions, while in defence of truth and the brethren, will be fresh and blooming when the names of their oppressors shall be either entirely forgotten, or only remembered for their barbarism and cruelty.”

By industry and fortitude the Saints pushed forward. Their heroic efforts should set a pattern for us to follow.


1. Report on “Friendship Week” and its associated activities. Draw conclusions that will bring into focus the lesson concept.

2. Ask students to report the results of a family discussion about attitudes toward strangers, non-members, etc. Draw some conclusions. Don’t call for reports unless there is some evidence that some discussions were had during the week.

3. Ask an assigned student to tell briefly the story of the “Good Samaritan.” There are appropriate implications in this story that provide a good approach to the lesson.

4. Read and discuss the scripture under Related Scripture.

5. Write this statement on the board: Treat others as you would like them to treat you. (Paraphrase of Matthew 7:12) Challenge students to identify themselves with someone else – to assume the role a stranger, a non-member of the church, or a neighbor – and to imagine how they would like to be treated by others if they were that person. (This activity might be reserved until after the lesson presentation – under Applications.)

In connection with this discussion it might be effective if the teacher produced a cupcake on a plate, and a knife. Ask students how they would cut the cupcake to give themselves a piece, as well as a piece to someone else. Reverse the illustrations by supposing that someone else is cutting the cake. ‘How much of the cake would you like him to share with you?”

On every hand our Mormon forerunners were mistreated, and yet, as we shall see, some people were kind to them and helped them.



As darkness closed in upon the fearful Saints at Far West, October 30, 1838, they were surrounded by a hostile force of 2,000 men. Another large force was on the way. On every side the army was making ready to attack Far West and other Mormon towns.

The City of Far West Surrenders.

The next day Colonel George M. Hinckle, who had lost his faith in the Church, but who was still at the head of the Mormon protective force, went to General Lucas and secretly agreed to the following terms: (1) The Mormon leaders should be tried and punished. (2) enough property would be confiscated by the militia to pay the cost of the war. (3) All Mormons were to leave the State of Missouri. (4) Firearms of every kind would be surrendered.

Joseph Smith and Other Leaders Betrayed.Towards evening, Colonel Hinkle told the Prophet, Sidney rigdon, and three others that General Lucas wanted to talk terms of peace with them.

The five men agreed to meet General Lucas, but as soon as they entered the enemy camp Colonel Hinkle said: “General, these are the prisoners I agreed to deliver up.” Not until that moment did the Prophet find out the evil that was in the heart of the apostate colonel.

When the mobbers learned that the “Mormon Prophet” had been captured, they set up a prolonged howl of victory which sounded like the howl of demons. The five men had to lie down on the cold ground, and were left all night without the least shelter from a cold, October rain storm.

Throughout the night the evil guards kept taunting the Prophet. They shouted, “Come, Mr. Smith, show us an angel! Give us a revelation! Show us a miracle.” Then they cursed and swore and boasted of their brutal acts against the Saints.

The Prophet and Four Companions Ordered to Be Shot. During the night, the officers of the militia held a court-martial. The Prophet and his companions were to be shot on Friday morning, November 2, in the public square of Far West, as a warning to the other Mormons. Meanwhile, two other leading brethren had been taken as prisoners; one of them being the Prophet’s brother, Hyrum.

But General Doniphan, being well acquainted with the Prophet, overruled this sentence of death. He wrote to general Lucas and warned that if the Prophet and the other men were executed as ordered, he would personally see to it that General Lucas was held to account for their deaths.

General Lucas postponed the execution of his prisoners; however, he marched into the Mormon capital, where, at the point of a bayonet, the brethren were forced to sign over their property to pay the cost of the war. Bands of armed men then hurried from house to house, doing all kinds of damage and evil acts.

An additional eighty men were taken as prisoners, and the remainder were ordered to leave the state; the Mormons were forbidden, under threat of being shot by the mob, to assemble more than three in a place at one time.

Death Forecast for Church Leaders. A few days later, General Clark arrived in Far West with another 1600 troops. He called the Mormon men together and passed on the governor’s order that the Saints leave the state or be exterminated.

Clark said that if their leaders had not been handed over, their “families would have been destroyed” and their “houses in ashes.” “As for your leaders,” he continued, “… do not once think that you will see their faces again, for their fate is fixed – their die is cast – their doom is sealed.’

But despite all the threats, the Prophet had told his companions on the morning of November 3, that the Lord had assured him during the past night that not one of their lives would be taken at that time.

The Prophet and Six Companions Chained Together. The prisoners were marched down the streets of Independence. Then they were taken across the Missouri River and placed in Richmond Jail. Cruel chains were fastened around each man’s ankles linking all the men together; the chains were then tightened with padlocks, which chafed their legs night and day.

Transferred to the Liberty Jail. After being held in the Richmond Jail for about three weeks, Joseph and Hyrum and four others – still chained and padlocked together – were placed into a wagon and taken twenty-five miles westward to a jail in Clay County, called Liberty Jail. The brethren were thrust into this place, and the heavy door was barred behind them.

Liberty Jail took on a new importance from the very first day that these men, holding the Holy Priesthood, entered the place. Prison walls could not prevent prayers from reaching heaven, nor could they hold back the returning answers.

To this spiritual lighthouse came Brigham Young and other leaders of the Church to receive the inspiring words of God’s servant, and to bring assurances of the Saints’ love. While thus confined, the Prophet received revelations and wrote instructions to the Saints. (See especially sections 121, 122, and 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants.)

The Saints Driven from Missouri. During the storms and winter blasts of 1838-39, the mob and the militia, obeying the governor’s orders, commenced driving from the State of Missouri every Mormon who would not “deny the faith.” Very few of the saints gave up the Church for the protection of the mob.

On April 16, 1839, while Joseph and his companions were being carried eastward to Boone County for a new trial, the sheriff (apparently acting under the orders of judge Birch) sold two horses to the brethren and allowed them to escape. Nine or ten days later they joined their families at Quincy, Illinois, ready to begin a new life in a new state.

The Saints lost more than two million dollars’ worth of homes and farms to the mobbers of Missouri.

Friends in Illinois. When thousands of homeless Mormons, fleeing from the mob in Missouri, had ferried over the wide Mississippi River at Quincy, Illinois, the people of that friendly state formed welfare committees to aid them.

These helpful groups gathered food, clothing, and money for those in need. They also found work for many heads of families.

Some people in western Illinois called a meeting, and drew up a written resolution, condemning the governor of Missouri for issuing the extermination order against the Mormons, and then turning upon them an evil mob-militia that drove the Mormons out and stole their property.

Malaria Spreads Through the Camp. Into Illinois the anxious Mormons flocked by the thousands; but being worn and weary from months of persecution and travel, and because of the unhealthful conditions of Commerce when they arrived there, they became an easy prey to the dread malaria – an epidemic that was common during the hot summer months along the Mississippi River.

In tents and wagons and under willow boweries men, women and children lay with this burning fever. Joseph and Emma filled their own home and tent with the sick. Then the Prophet himself came down with the disease.

On the morning of July 22, the power of the Lord rested upon the Prophet. He arose and commanded the sick in his house and dooryard “in the name of Jesus Christ to arise and be made whole. The sick were healed upon every side of him.

Apostles on a Mission to England. Three days after that “great day of healing,” John Taylor, who later became the third president of the Church, along with Wilford Woodruff, who became the fourth president, left Nauvoo on al mission to England. (Nauvoo was the new name given to Commerce.)

Since both men were ill, and their families were down with malaria, it was difficult for them to start on the mission to which several of the Twelve Apostles had been called.

After going a short distance, Elders Taylor and Woodruff stopped and talked with Apostle Parley P. Pratt, who was building a log cabin to shelter his family while he would be away on his mission.

Elder Pratt gave the brethren an empty purse. Apostle Heber C. Kimball, who was building a log cabin a little farther on, said, “As Parley has given you a purse, I have got a dollar I will give you to put in it.” Wilford Woodruff says, “He gave me both a dollar and a blessing.”

Later that year other members of the Quorum of the Twelve left for England.

Apostles Brigham Young and heber c. Kimball had both been ill, together with their families, but at the appointed hour they climbed into a waiting wagon that was to carry them eastward. After going a short distance they stopped the wagon and shouted: “Hurrah, hurrah, for Israel!” Their wives, hearing the shout, opened the cabin door and cried out, “good-bye, God bless you!”

Eighteen Hundred Baptized by Wilford Woodruff. The apostles were greatly blessed in England: they printed a Church paper, a Church hymn book, the Book of Mormon, and over fifty thousand tracts and pamphlets. Elder Woodruff says that through the blessings of the Lord, he was able to bring into the Church over eighteen hundred souls in a few months. Hundreds of converts were also baptized by other apostles. Some of our own forebears may have been among those converted.

Activities and Applications

This lesson on the rejection of the Mormons by the mobs of Missouri, and the subsequent kindnesses extended to them by the loyal citizens of western Illinois, is a strong illustration of an important principle in the lives of all of us.

1. Organize a “buddy” project in which class members will endeavor to cultivate friendships with neighborhood boys and girls who seem to lack friends.

2. Have a special class party and invite some of the less popular youngsters in the area.

3. Encourage students to refrain from making snap judgments about others, and from snubbing those who seem to fall short according to the students’ standards.

4. Impress upon students that they should not mock or make fun of others.

5. Remind youngsters that persecution takes many forms. Sometimes we persecute with unkind words and idle gossip.

6. Stress the importance of being tolerant of those who do not believe as we do or who do not have the same customs as ourselves.

7. Ask students to call to mind times when they have been the object of ridicule or teasing; the recipients of unkind treatment. Get them to recall how they felt. Then remind them that others feel as they do when ridiculed or teased or mistreated.

8. A point might be made relative to kindness to animals, and to other harmless creatures.

9. Sometimes we offend others because of a poor example. Non-member visitors to our chapels and community may be offended because of rudeness, lack of consideration, irreverence, or disrespect. Reinforcement might be given to this idea in a special showing of the Sunday School film, “As Others See Us.” The film might be shown as part of a special evening’s program in which emphasis is given to the concept of kindness to others.

10. A potent application of this concept is found in the contacting of inactive class members and in the subsequent attitudes manifest by students towards those who came to class after long absence or for the first time.


1. Who was a traitor to the Church and its leaders?

2. What order did the court-martial give regarding the imprisoned Church leaders?

3. Who wrote a letter to General Lucas warning him against killing the Prophet and his companions?

4. In what jail were the Prophet and the other brethren held for six months?

5. What revelations did Joseph receive while in Liberty Jail?

6. Describe how the Prophet and those who were with them were finally set free.

7. Where did the Mormons go after leaving Missouri?

8. Who aided the Mormons after they left Missouri?

9. What did the loyal citizens of Illinois think about the Missouri “extermination” order?

10. What disease did many of the Mormons get after they arrived in Illinois?

11. What happened to many of them to bring an end to the disease?

12. Who were sent on missions to England?

13. What kind of success did these missionaries have in England?

Enrichment Heeding the urgent requests of the brethren, the soldiers marched them to their homes to get some changes of clothes.

Brethren Bade Farewell to Their Families Before Going with the Soldiers.

“I found my wife and children in tears,” says the Prophet. “… They clung to my garments … I requested to have a private interview with them a few minutes, but this privilege was denied me by the guard.”

Elder Pratt writes: “I went to my house, being guarded by two or three soldiers; the cold rain was pouring down without, and on entering my little cottage, there lay my wife sick of a fever, with which she had been for some time confined.”

In the same bed were two children, one three months old and the other five years. although they had no provisions or fuel, the rough soldiers forced Parley from his helpless family.

“I halted with the guard,” he says, “at the door of Hyrum Smith, and heard the sobs and groans of his wife at his parting words.” Since this was less than two weeks before the birth of the future President Joseph f. smith, and as Mary Fielding smith was mothering five children born to Hyrum’s first wife, her sorrow was almost more than she could bear.

Brethren Held in Prison for Six Months. Little did these fathers imagine, as they were marched off to jail, first in Richmond and later in Liberty, that six long months would pass before most of them would gain their freedom. By that time their homes in Missouri would be lost to them, and their wives and families driven from the state.

Elder Pratt says that the weather was very cold “and we suffered much … Elder Rigdon was taken very sick … and finally lost his reason; but still he was kept in a miserable, noisy, and cold room, compelled to sleep on the floor with a chain and padlock round his ankle, and fastened to six others.”

“In one of those tedious nights [in Richmond Jail],” Elder Pratt continues, “we had lain as if in sleep till the hour of midnight had passed, and our ears and hearts had been pained, while we had listened for hours to the obscene jests, the horrid oaths … and filthy language of our guards.”

Not being able to endure it any longer, the Prophet “arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion:

”’Silence, ye fiends of the infernal pit! In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die this instant!’”

The power of God which was upon the Prophet so frightened the wicked guards that they did not dare raise a hand or a gun against the Prophet, who stood in chains but filled with the glory of God. The shaking guards shrank into a corner or crouched at the Prophet’s feet begging his pardon. They remained quiet till the guard was changed.

Israel Barlow Found Site for New City. Joseph Smith writes that while Elder Israel Barlow was fleeing from the mob in Missouri, in the late fall of 1838, he traveled northeast some two hundred miles and found himself at Commerce, the future site of Nauvoo.

Since Elder Barlow had been stripped of his property, he was greatly in need of help, “and making his wants known, found friends who assisted him.” He was also introduced to Dr. Isaac Galland to whom he told the story of the suffering Saints in Missouri.

Dr. Galland, who at once became interested in Elder Barlow, the church, and its people, was later baptized by the Prophet and ordained an elder. The Prophet says that this was “a providential introduction of the church to commerce,” the future site of the great city of Nauvoo.

“Brother Barlow,” says the Prophet, “went directly to Quincy … and made known his interview with Dr. Galland to the Church.” Dr. Galland used his influence to recommend the Saints to the citizens of Illinois, and assisted in their settling at Commerce, where he sold the Saints land on very favorable terms.

The Prophet Secured the Site for Nauvoo. On May 10, 1839, about three weeks after receiving his freedom from the Liberty Jail, Joseph Smith arrived at Commerce with some of the brethren.

The Prophet was very pleased with this fine site for a new city. Through a committee of the brethren a large farm was bought from Dr. Galland for $9,000, and an adjoining one from Hugh White for $5,000. The brethren gave their long-term notes for this property. The Prophet then moved into a small log house on this land on the east bank of the river.

Soon thereafter, 500 acres were bought for $53,500. then Mormon property in Missouri was trade4d for $80,000 worth of land near Commerce. Twenty thousand acres on the west side of the river were also secured. In this way the church came to own land not only at Nauvoo but also on the opposite side of the river.

“Nauvoo” is a Hebrew word meaning “beautiful place,” or a “beautiful place to rest.” One writer says that “this new haven was half-circled on the north, the west, and the south by the broad, silvery Mississippi River … almost a mile wide.”

It was upon this land, rising eastward from the river, that the Saints built the largest city in the State of Illinois as well as a million-dollar temple … a similar temple to the one they had planned to erect in Missouri before the mob drove them out.

The Prophet says, however, that the land along the river was “covered with trees and bushes, and much of it was so wet that it was with the utmost difficulty a footman could get through …” but he adds that he believed it might “become a healthful place by the blessings of heaven to the Saints.”

Healing the Sick. Wilford Woodruff says that after healing all the sick on the east side of the river, the Prophet took several brethren and crossed the river to Montrose.

The first house they went into was Brigham Young’s. He was sick in his bed at the time. The Prophet went into his house and healed him and they came out together.

The brethren then entered the home of Elijah Fordham. He “had been dying for an hour, and we expected each minute would be his last. … When we entered the house, Brother Joseph walked up to Brother Fordham and took him by the right hand. … He saw that Brother Fordham’s eyes were glazed, and that he was speechless and unconscious.

“After taking hold of his hand, he looked down into the dying man’s face and said: ‘Brother Fordham, do you not know me?’ At first there was no reply; but we could all see the effect of the Spirit of God rested upon h8im.

“He again said: ‘Elijah, do you not know me?’ With a low whisper, Brother Fordham answered, ‘Yes.’ The Prophet then said: ‘Have you the faith to be healed?’ The answer, which was a little plainer than before was: ‘I am afraid it is too late, if you had come sooner, I think I might have been. …’

“Joseph then said: ‘Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ?’

“‘I do, brother Joseph,’ was the response.

“Then the Prophet of God spoke with a loud voice … ‘Elijah, I command you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, to arise and be made whole!’

“The words of the Prophet were not like the words of man, but like the voice of God. It seemed to me that the house shook from its foundation. Elijah Fordham leaped from his bed like a man raised from the dead. A healthy color came to his face, and life was manifested in every ct.” He called for his clothes and put them on, then asked for a bowl of bread and milk, and ate it. He put on his hat and followed the Prophet into the street, to visit others who were sick. They went from house to house raising the sick from their beds.

Money for Missionaries. Heber C. Kimball reports that before Brigham Young and he left on their mission they had obtained $13.50, which was all the money they had. But when they reached Kirtland, they found that on the way they had spent $87.00. He says that this extra money must have been placed in their trunk by some heavenly messenger, who supplied them daily as he knew they needed help.

In 1840, there were nine of the apostles in England at the same time.


I, too, Will Share

Life is sweet, and full of joy
Because of those who share with me;
So I, in turn, will share you with you.
A good idea, don’t you agree?

One evening we talked with a man, not overly blessed with the goods of this world, who had a philosophy about giving to the Church.

“You know,” he mused, “I’ve discovered that folks who give usually have it to give … to me, it may be a modern application of what happened in the Old Testament when Elijah blessed the generous widow woman who shared her meal and oil with the Prophet Elijah, and he blessed her in that her meal barrel nor her cruse of oil never went empty again.”

– Albert L. Zobell, Jr., Story Wisdom, p. 50, Bookcraft

He Who Giveth, Receiveth

And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have, one to another. – Mosiah 4:21.

If a neighbor’s house were on fire, would you hesitate in turning in the alarm? If you walked b his driveway and discovered his automobile lights were on would you tell him? If his child were hurt, would you help him in getting to the hospital? Yet, most of us are reluctant in aiding our neighbor with his Church activity, or of sharing the truths of the Gospel with him.

– Albert L. Zobell, Jr., Story Quotes, p. 18, Bookcraft


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